Friday, July 23, 2010

The Stash

When I began this endeavor, I did not anticipate spending much money. My husband and I like to budget and keep costs down. Back in May, I went to a SHEM sponsored conference. It was so tempting to buy books then, but I went purely to check out materials. My thoughts were "man you could go overboard on this". There were so many different subjects to teach. There was even a Kindergarten chemistry curriculum. I enjoyed the conference. I found some neat ideas for math games. I did not buy the curriculum, but I will definitely used the ideas. Slowly over this summer, I have accumulated quite a stash! It is currently hiding in the closet as I finish scraping wallpaper in the schoolroom.

What it all comes down to is this:
We will be using Saxon Math. I found a used teacher's guide and workbook 2 at a Christian used book store in Springfield called Redeemed. I could go wild in that store! I got quite a deal on the used books. We will be using their First Grade level books since Hannah has a grasp on the Kindergarten level math.

Next, we will be learning English. Now there are many things that go into Kindergarten English. I have a phonics book with monthly assessments. I want to teach Hannah phonics since she has a good grasp on sight reading. There will be reading time included during the day as well. My mother-in-law gave us a whole set of McGuffy Readers. I'm excited about using them. You cannot go wrong with the ole tride and true right?

Now, we do not want to get too carried away, but I thought that now would be a time to introduce a new language into Hannah's vocabulary. I am a bit afraid that it could interfere with her reading, but we will see how it goes. I bought a Spanish workbook. We will work on this from time to time, but the goal here is exposure. We can get into more in depth learning as she gets older. One great website I found was It has some great games for kids. It reminds me of one of my favorites Hannah learned some of the basics of reading from this website. I hope she learns just as much from the Spanish site.

Next, there is science. I found a book with several experiments and season related activities through mailbox. They have several good workbooks that I purchased. My goal with science is to be hands on. I want the curriculum to be balanced with worksheets and activities. I think Hannah will be more excited about learning if we do hands on science. One of the activities we will be doing is raising a butterfly. I found a kit at for 20.00. They have a really cute website as well. Originally, I did pay 20.00, but j.christophers had the kit for 5 dollars less. I hope you check them out. I went into the store and found some super cute toys there.
Finally, there is social studies. Again we used mailbox who had many activities for social studies. I also picked up their geography workbook. You can find out how to order at I know all of this may sound like a bit much, but I thought why not? One day I sat around thinking of activities, and I came up with this: In the fall, we will go to the zoo. I will print out a map of the continents and bring a sticker book. While walking around the zoo, I will teach Hannah about where the animals are from. As we walk along, we will place stickers on each continent. There is a science lesson and geography lesson all wrapped up into one!

I think we are going to enjoy homeschooling. Well, I must be off to scrape more wallpaper. August is fast approaching, and I want the room to be ready. I will post some before and after pictures next time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A new Chapter

I hope I can keep this up. I've never been one to write much. I thought this was just as good of a topic as any considering that my daughter is on the cusp of being a kindergartener. For those of you that are curious about homeschooling, I will explain how we came to this point.

Back in the day (pre-college years), I was asked to help my aunt with a homeschooling project. You see she had decided to homeschool for her own reasons. One being that my cousin was being bullied at school. He has had difficulty with muscle tone and eye sight since birth and we now have a word for his condition--leukodystrophy. I could go into detail on that, but there would be a need for a separate blog. Anyway, the other reason was that his sister was in kindergarten and asked her mom constantly if she could stay home. My aunt finally gave in and tried out homeschooling. They never looked back.

That fateful summer I was asked to help with an art project. My aunt had decided that a unit on art would be just the thing for summer. I came up with an activity where I taped butcher paper under a table and had my cousins lay on their backs and draw pictures. This would lead into a lesson on Michaelangelo and the Cistene Chapel. I had a lot of fun with this lesson. My aunt asked me to also teach Geometry since she was not very skilled in math. There were ups and downs in this process, but Geometry was taught!

All of this planted a seed inside of me. I enjoyed the process of homeschooling.

Fast forward a lifetime later and you have our little family. I must introduce you so that you know the main characters to this journey.

First, there is mom (that's me). I'm a (recently) turned 34 year old housewife (also recently). I was gainfully employed until state budget cuts in the education system lead administration into believing I was not fit for my job. I did search for jobs, but God had other plans. The job search was not fruitful, so my husband began to wonder "can we pull this off??". I went to a convention for SHEM in Southwest Missouri with some church friends. I enjoyed the speakers and felt excitement of what was happening. We decided to homeschool.

Speaking of my husband, he would be character number two in this family. In the event of going full force into homeschooling, my husband came to the conclusion that we could not afford for me to stay home on his current income. He started to look for a new job. Guess what? He found a job working from home!

So here we are two people who formerly worked in the education system now going full throttle into being stay at home parents. His job seems to be going well right now. We're counting on God right now that finances will be taken care of.

Next, there's Hannah. She is our 5 year old. There have been some challenges in raising her. For instance, she is a strong willed little girl. Ok you might think your child is strong willed, but until you've met an actual strong willed child you have no idea. I could go on, but that's a different subject. Along with her strong willed spirit, Hannah is playful, imaginative, extremely caring and sensitive. We've also had some hearing issues which are being addressed. Last month, we found out she has damage in her right ear, but nothing significant. She is a joy and frustration all wrapped up in this bright little girl. We began to see what was to come when she took out a piece of paper when she was 4 and wrote "dog". I had no idea she could spell. I asked her to spell some more words. "Hannah how do you spell cat? How do you spell bat? How do you spell fat?" We giggled at that one when she answered "Daddy!". Just so you know he's not, but it sure was funny!

Finally, there's Noah. His grandpa calls him Dr. Destructo. He is a whirlwind of a 2 year old. He has no fear and will take flying leaps off of the furniture. I think he will be my biggest challenge in homeschooling. How do I distract a 2 year old so that I can educate his older sister. Like his sister, he is bright and full of energy. There are days that I wonder what I am getting into. I'm tempted to start school now so they will be on a schedule. The sibling rivalry is beginning, and they often get into things. Big sister is the leader, and baby brother is the minion there to do her bidding.
This should be fun.

Next time we'll discuss curriculum. I'm so excited!!