Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: King of the castle!

Yes our cat thinks this castle was built just for him.



 Okay, maybe it was built just for him. Meow!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Kindergardener

It's time for some new school year pictures here on the blog, so I am going to do a post featuring each of my kiddos, and their new "first day" picture.


This boy is super excited to be a Kindergardener. I love having a Kinder as well, it's my favorite school year. I love that it can be a fun exciting year exploring new ideas but still a lot of play, and discovering reading.  It's also the first official year he can join the charter. Not that we haven't been learning and doing preschool at home, but he is in with the big kids now. He has stuff he needs to complete each day along with his siblings, and he finally got his very own K level math book. He was soooo excited about that. Asking for it all summer.

Goals: Learn to read/become a stronger reader,

Likes/dislikes: He likes school. He actually says this to me, and to his brothers when they say they don't like it. He likes to swim, and ride his bike. He likes to go camping, and take fun trips. He really likes going to charter classes at the school. He also loves cars. Now for something he dislikes... He dislikes grocery shopping, and bedtime. There's not really much this kid doesn't like!

Curriculum: He will be using Sonlight level K for his main History, Language Arts, and Science. He will also be using Horizon's math, Home Art studio level K, Draw Write now books, and other unit studies we decide to do. I have successfully rounded up all his books, and he is all set to go for this school year. I also hope to do a lot of nature studies with him, and get him outside playing and exploring and hiking as much as I can.


That wraps up our youngest student this year. Next up the 3rd grader!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My homeschool mother's journal: Ch ch ch changes!

Life this week...

It's a new school year, and with that often comes a lot of new exciting things. Sometimes not so exciting as well, just necessary. One of those not so exciting, but necessary changes is that I will not be writing for the homeschool review crew anymore. It was a great blessing in many ways, but in other ways it was just too much. I had to let it go. I still might write a review about something that I receive that I really like once in a while if the opportunity presents itself. I'm glad to be moving on. I am excited for what that means for this school year. We might actually get to some of the learning that I set out to do at the beginning!

School this week...

The boys had their first day of charter classes on Tuesday. Alex had a blast in his PE class. If you look closely at this picture below he was helping the teacher by doing an example. He's there with the green shorts. There were 42 kids in his age level that day! It was pretty crazy, but fun. That's where we'll be spending half our Tuesday's this school year. They have a writing class that I want both Aaron and Aric to do so that is why we picked that day. The charter also offers classes on Thursdays, but I'm thinking one day a week is enough for us.


Alex had his first Sonlight lessons this week which included dinosaurs, and the letter F. He had fun finding some books at the library all about dinosaurs and any that started with the letter F.


Places we went and things we did...

Some of the fun and exciting changes are new activities and classes. Aric is now 8 so he gets to go to cub scouts. I finally got all his patches sewn on his shirt, and he was able to get dressed all up for scouts this week. He is very excited for his cub scout adventure. He went to cub camp during the summer as his first official scout experience, but now that den meetings are going he is excited to really get going on this adventure.


Another new change for Aric is starting cello lessons. He did a strings camp over the summer, and loved trying out the cello. Ever since then he has been asking to take lessons. I was very hesitant because of his age, but he kept asking, and the opportunity to do it cheaper than monthly lessons has come up. So, he'll be doing a strings class with other homeschoolers, and it runs until December. We are renting his cello through Willamette Valley Music Company, so we can decide at that point what he wants to do, if he wants to keep going or not. I'm excited to see where he goes with this. I would love to have another musician in the family.



Something fun...

We had a date night last weekend, and went to Famous Dave's. We decided to get the plate for 2 that featured a little bit of everything. Boy was this delicious! But, boy did it make both of us so full! I ate way too much of it, and pretty much made myself sick. But, it was a fun date!


Something I accomplished this week...

I almost have all the curriculum organized and together. I have been checking and re-checking lists to make sure we are getting all the books in and that we have everything. I still have a few missing books that I have to check and see if they are at the charter school this week, but it has been fun seeing all the new books. I hope to have a curriculum post up soon!

This was the batch of books we picked up on Tuesday at the charter school. It is most of Aaron's (5th grade).
I guess that about wraps up our week! Time for a new one!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Fall/Autumn

It's beginning to look a little like fall around here. I am not a "it has to officially be fall on the calendar" person. We are all feeling like fall is in the air, and getting excited about it.

Alex made this colors of fall emergent reader for school one day. He just loved it. Keeps reading it over and over.

I made these pumpkin snickerdoodles, and they were delicious. Best pumpkin cookies I've ever had.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Apologia Astronomy (A REVIEW)

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

We have loved using many of Apologia's science books (and even a writing book) in our homeschool, so I was very happy to take on this review of Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. Apologia Educational Ministries has updated their Astronomy course, and I was excited to see how this compared to the old one which we have also used in our homeschool.

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

We received a nice package in the mail for this review. This package contained:

  • Student Text
  • Notebooking Journal
  • Jr. Notebooking Journal
  • Audio CD
The Student Text is a beautiful hard cover text book with many beautiful pictures all throughout. A must for any Astronomy course because there is so much beauty in the universe. I found just the cover alone so mesmerizing to look at because the picture just captures the attention of any person and makes them interested to just open the book right up. The chapters are laid out in an easy to follow and read format. The text is conversational and engaging, and the vocabulary is in bold letters to be easily seen and learned. There are experiments and activities all throughout this book as well.

The Notebooking Journal is for grades 3 and up. It contains an easy to follow Daily lesson schedule. It has notebooking pages, copy work pages (usually a scripture to copy), and pages to go along with activities that are completed from the text. There are also mini books to complete, similar to what a child would make in a lapbook but kept in this notebook. It is full color all througout, and has a lot of space for the student to be creative in what they write and record.

The Jr. Notebooking Journal is for under grade 3. It has a lot of what the Notebooking Journal has, but it also includes wider lines for beginning writers, coloring pages, and a little bit easier activities.

The Audio CD is the full text on audio. It is in MP3 format, so can only be used in a CD player that can read that. I wasn't able to play it in my van, but I was able to play it on a computer for sure. I loved having this as an option, but I usually just read myself.


How did we use this? I was able to use both the Notebooking journals because I have a K and a 3rd grader. My Kinder boy was just so excited to have a huge science book all to himself! We followed the daily schedule at the beginning of each of their notebook journals, and I showed them the schedule each day so they would know what we were supposed to accomplish. It was a nice way for them to see what they needed to do. Usually the daily assignments include some reading, and a few activities either from the book or the Journal. Some of the daily assignments were too much, so we'd just save the rest for the next day. A lesson could easily be covered in a few weeks depending on how much the children are interested and if they want to dig deeper.

My Kindergardener loves his new science book!

My 3rd grader is excited about astronomy!

With my younger boys we focus a lot on the vocabulary since there are so many new words that they don't understand. I love that all the vocabulary is bold and easily defined. I usually write those words on the board, and if they write nothing else in their notebooking page for the day they at least have these words written in there. There are also a few spaces for drawing pictures which is great for little learners who can't write a whole lot.


What did I think about this Astronomy curriculum? I loved it. Of course I loved the first edition too, but I love the new layout of this updated version. The text is mostly the same, but it includes a lot of extras and little tidbits that weren't in the other book. This curriculum is designed to last the whole school year, so it has some great detail and information packed within each chapter, so it also makes this book a great reference to have for years. I keep all my Apologia books out on the shelf even if we aren't using them currently just because they are so interesting, and have some great information if we just want to look something up. This astronomy course will take your child on a great adventure through all the planets and space, and I highly recommend it!

If you want to see what others have to say about this curriculum click on the banner below to visit the other crew members to see what they have to say!

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review
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Monday, September 5, 2016

My Homeschool Mother's Journal: week 3

Life this week...

This was a week of changes in our family. I made the difficult decision of not continuing with our co-op this school year. I had no problem with that decision because it's just something I have felt we needed to do for a while, but certain children are really sad about it. So, to ease the sadness we bought a little kitty. Meet Salem. He is our new "class pet", and everyone (mostly) just adores him.


We named him Salem because all the kids are liking the show 'Sabrina, The Teenage Witch' right now, and of course there is a black cat as one of the main characters. This kitty sure is fun to have around.


 In our homeschool this week...

 The local schools started back up, so we spent the first day they were back writing why we are thankful to be homeschooling. I found most of the answers to be what I expected for some children. Others were a surprise. It was also back to seminary for April, and she now has it 5 days a week instead of just 4 as it was last year. We also had our charter orientation where we picked up curriculum, and got i.d. pictures taken. Alex was just so excited the whole time, and kept saying "I just love my new school".


We came home with 2 of the boys' curriculum. I didn't get Aaron's order in on time, so it wasn't there yet. It was fun to go through it all, and after we stacked all the books up Aric says "I have a lot of reading to do this year." Yep, he sure does. We are doing Sonlight (for K and 3rd) and Bookshark (for 5th) this year, so all the reading will be sorta new for us.


Alex just loved looking at all his new books. He was most excited to finally get his K level math book. He has wanted a math book like his siblings for a while.


So, I'd say this is just over half their books so far. I still have a lot coming that I couldn't order through the charter, and I also have to get the Instructor guides too.

Aric's 3rd grade Sonlight curriculum (not comoplete), and a few non-Sonlight books.
Alex's Kindergarden Sonlight curriculum (not complete), and a few non-Sonlight choices as well.
 Aric is so super excited for this science book. For some reason getting this book sparked something in him, and he keeps spewing out facts about science. He started reading it immediately. I am always surprised by these kiddos. I never would have thought he'd get so excited about a Science Encyclopedia because this is a boy that doesn't usually just pick up educational books on his own. It made me smile inside to see him get excited about a book.


Something we accomplished this week...

Well, I didn't accomplish this one, but my hubby did. We needed a change in sleeping arrangements for the boys' room. We had only a double bunk bed with a pull out trundle. Problem was the trundle was always in the way, and didn't always get put away. I decided it was time for a triple bunk, something we'd thought about a while ago. I told Michele that I didn't care what kind of triple bunk, just lets get one made or ordered. He decided to modify a loft bed that we already had! It worked out beautifully, and all the boys were happy with their bed last night. I am excited to get their room back in order, and get some better organization solutions for their room. I love that they can make their bed now without the trundle blankets and pillows laying about.


Something fun from the week...

I took the boys to the kids class at the local garden center. They were making terrariums, which I've wanted to do with the boys for a while, but just didn't ever get it together. Well, how perfect was this class? I didn't have to get anything, just pay the fee and a Saturday morning! The boys weren't so sure about it. They were afraid it'd be too girly because I made the mistake of comparing a terrarium to a "fairy garden". But, as soon as we arrived and they sat at a table with other boys who were making them, they were getting excited. They had dinosaurs for the boys, and little fairies for the girls. They had pink glitter too, which one of my boys used to the fullest. Can you guess which one? I love these little terrariums! The boys did too. They left all excited about their little creations.

See the little dinosaur in the red one? I'm not sure what happened to the green one's dinosaur.
Something from life this week...

The kitty is just so fun and sweet. It's like he's lived here for years. He feels and acts like he owns the place already. Alex loved when the kitty played cars with him.


That about wraps up our week. Now onto a new one!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WAY comes home (A REVIEW)

WAY Comes Home Kit

HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company sent us their WAY Comes Home Kit to review. There is a lot packed into this hands-on health curriculum. We received the WAY Parent Guide, WAY Comes Home DVD, WAY Grades K-1 Student Journal, WAY Grades 2-3 Student Journal, WAY Grades 4-5 Student Journal, the art cardstock pack, WAY Comes Home to MyPlate booklet, and a kit full of equipment to help with the experiments and activities throughout the curriculum. Things that were included in the kit are a stethoscope, scale/balance, fingerprint pad, baskets, foam balls, and more. We received a lot of little fun things in this kit. Oh, and an eye chart, which my children thought was great fun.

WAY Comes Home Kit

I started by reading through the parent guide which gives a brief introduction. It talks about the lesson layout, the different themes for each level, and other resources that can be used such as a booklist of books to checkout from the library. There are suggestions for how to use the vocabulary words as well. Then in the parent guide it goes through each lesson with tons of ideas and things to do.

WAY Comes Home Kit

This curriculum is split up into 3 different levels, K-1, 2-3, and 4-5. We were able to use all 3 journals that they sent us, but let me tell you trying to do all 3 levels was too much! Within each level there are suggestions for the other 2 levels if you have older or younger children. I highly suggest picking one level and using the extras to go up or down because there is so much to do in one level already. Although all my boys loved watching all 3 levels on the DVD.

Within in each level there is a lesson on the DVD to watch, journal activities, hands on activities, an art project, a pray and reflect idea, and even stuff to do over the Weekend. The journals we got had an additional blank cover so the children could decorate it how they want. Then it opens up to the page pictured below. My kids really enjoyed decorating the cover, and I think it is great how this health curriculum really tries to help the individual child get to know themselves, so that they can learn to be the best healthy person they can be. Health encompasses a whole lot, but starting with the individual and who they are and what they need to do is really the best place to start.

WAY Comes Home Kit

What do I think about this curriculum? Overall, I think it is a great choice for an introduction to health for the elementary school age. There is a lot of great information and activities that you can pick and choose from in each lesson. I particularly love the DVD because anything that introduces what we're learning in a fun way on the screen has my children's attention from the start. I like that the levels each have their own theme: K-1 is a "health safari", 2-3 is a "me mystery", and 4-5 is an "innerspace mystery." Each of those themes are very fitting for my boys' ages. I am looking forward to continuing to use this throughout the school year as we study the human body this year, as it will be a great time to talk about what goes into our body and how to keep it healthy.

If you want to see what others had to say about this great health curriculum you can visit them by clicking on the banner below.

WAY Comes Home Kit Review
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