Friday, August 18, 2017

5 days of... Homeschool outside the home

The world is our classroom.

I love that thought because I really feel like it is. We have had some amazing experiences learning together as a family outside of our home. We've gone on boat adventures, taken a train to Seattle, watched police dogs in action, toured chip factories, and much more.

Here are just a few shots of the things we have done over the summer...

Ocean boat tour. We learned all about crabs, and the kids even got to hold one!


Music in the park during the summer...


Exploring caves...


Tennis camp.


Lots and lots of swimming at the local pool


Volunteering at the local foodshare...


This is just the summer, and I didn't share a picture of everything we did!

So, what do we do the rest of the school year? Much of the same, except there is even more.

We could easily spend more days outside of our home doing great activities than at home. There are so many great opportunities that it's easy to find at the end of the week that we've had hardly any time at home to do actual school work! This happens a lot for us. I find so many great opportunities to do classes, field trips, and outdoor adventures that I want to do them all.

I will list some of the regular things we do during the school year including co-ops and classes.

Homeschool days:

We take advantage of many local businesses and museums homeschool discount days. Some that we love to take part in every year include homeschool skates, Oregon Garden homeschool day, and Get Air homeschool jump time. There are too many to list, but I usually keep my eyes and ears open for these. Facebook has been a tremendous help in getting the word out for these times and days. I remember when we first started this homeschool journey, I really had to search high and low for these events because they are often just by word of mouth, and not always advertised.

Homeschool Skate during the day in Salem


We have the wonderful flexibility to just decide to head to a park during the day if the weather is nice (or sometimes when it's not!). When we need a break or want to get some wiggles out you might find us at a park or on a walk. The kids love having the park all to themselves sometimes.

The boys playing at the new nature play area at Champoeg last Fall (2016)
Enjoying the local skate park during the school hours


We can be found at the library 2-3 times a week. We have 2 different libraries that we frequent. Sometimes it's just a resting place for us during lessons, sometimes it's for specific reasons (storytime, homeschool group activities, finding certain books), and often it's just a different place other than home.

Me reading Angus Lost to Alex at the Wilsonville library

Homeschool classes (not co-op):

The kind of classes that I am talking about here are ones that we pay for or that are offered by our charter. We attend our charter enrichment classes once a week, and those include PE, computer, science, writing, and math. We also like to take classes at local places like Village Home, the local art studio, or science museum.

PE class at Summit Learning Charter enrichment
Art History lesson and painting class at Young at Art studio in Salem
Co-op classes:

We attend a co-op where the classes are taught by the moms, and therefore we don't have to pay a lot except for a few small fees (registration, small class fee under $10 usually). We also get a great support system, and make some close friends here. The one we attend meets on Wednesdays for a good portion of the day, so it's an all day out of the house kind of day. Add onto that a drive of 30 minutes one way, and we are usually beat by the end of it, but we have a lot of fun things happen there for Mom and kids.

I taught a class of 6 and 7 year-olds last year, we made a counting rainbow cereal game that all the kids loved.
Church and Cub Scout activities:

My boys are all involved in Cub Scouts and Scouts through our church. They also have other regular church activities including youth group activities, and primary children activities. We also have ward and church wide events like halloween parties, Christmas parties, campouts, talent shows, etc. These always provide great learning experiences, and socializing opportunities.

The Pinewood derby is always a fun one!
Our church/ward Christmas party, and guess who Santa was? Daddy! The big kids figured it out right away. Thankfully the little guy never did.
Field trips:

We have some pretty amazing field trips with homeschoolers all over our area. Sometimes it's with the local or co-op group like to the pumpkin patch, and sometimes it's with a group of families that we don't even know. That happens quite a bit more often (the field trips with people we don't know) just because there is usually a need for a certain number of attendees to make the field trip happen, so a Mom will just organize something and post it on one of the many groups we are a part of. I jump right in if it is something we are interested in. Last year my son's class at co-op ended up turning into a field trip class. He went on some amazing field trips from about January through May including things like the Kettle chip factory, a shirt printing business, and an aviary.

Kiddos at the pumpkin patch last Fall (2016)
I think that about wraps up our "outside the home" homeschool time. I'd say this is where at least half our week is spent. I am working on trying to lower that, but there are just so many good things to do! I can't resist. I haven't figured out our full schedule for the school year yet, but it looks like it will be Wednesday's, Thursdays, and Fridays will probably be main outside activity days. Thanks for visiting the blog hop today (even if I was late :)

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

5 days of...Our favorite school supplies


I love school supplies. In fact I am overloaded with many school supplies from previous years, so we really didn't need a lot this year. So, for this post I decided I would show you just a few things that we purchased for this school year, and some of our other favorites that we already have.


Lets start with maps! I think these are a definite homeschool must have.

I first noticed this World ScrunchMap at Target when we were perusing the school supply section. I didn't buy it the first time, but thought it was really cool. Later I decided it would be a really useful tool in our lessons! So, on our next trip I picked it up.


This thing is absolutely genius. No more folding, and it can scrunch up to take anywhere. I sure could have used this for co-op last year when I had to cart my globe back and forth every week. This would have been super convenient. I'm excited to have this new "school supply" for our use this year. The kids absolutely love that it can just be wrinkled up too. Oh, and the non-tearing feature, so happy for that too. I've gone through many maps because they got ripped up.



I haven't found the scrunch map for the states, so I have a regular paper one for that.


Basic School Supplies.

Now we've got the basics, like pencils, and coloring utensils.

Here's the 1st graders caddy. He absolutely loves this thing. All the items in here are old. We didn't have to replace any scissors, do-a-dot markers, or glue. Just wanted to show some of the things we use almost daily, and replace as needed.


We also use these things on a pretty regular basis. Some of these things are new, some old. We have erasers, watercolors, stickers (for sticker charts or incentives, or decorating lapbooks), glue sticks, expo markers, colored pencils, regular markers, and crayons.


I usually keep all these things handy on these shelves in our dining room (see bottom shelf!), or the drawers next to them.



This is something new for us. I purchased a 2 pack of the my light booklights from Costco, and love how well built they are. Super handy, and they are also very bright. The little white one on the right was purchased at IKEA before I purchased the other 2 (it's not as bright). These are great for projects that need a little more light, and for book reading.



I have had these for years. They were originally purchased for Tot school. Now that my kids are grown out of tot school we use them for all kinds of other things, and they are still super useful. Some of the things we use them for now are: Lunch (yes we eat some meals on them when the kids eat and watch something), messy art projects, drying trays for those messy art projects, playdoh, slime, experiments, etc. The list could go on. I purchased these particular ones at Oriental Trading. They are a good size for most everything!


Games and puzzles.

These are a definite staple in our "school supplies." There is so much valuable learning in playing games and puzzles. We have boxes of games. We had so many that we had to pack some away. I am showing a few games we are going to use as we study the states this year, and a new puzzle.


Computers and laptops.

We definitely need to have these in our home. So many resources on them, and we have to have access to the internet for some classes, and research. We have a new laptop this school year, so I'm excited to have that for us to be able to take learning on the go, or just to other places in the house.



Admittedly we don't really need backpacks on a daily basis, but I like the kids to have them so we can pack them up once in a while if we are going to be out and about a lot. The only one in need of a replacement backpack this year was Aric. Those things are expensive, so we only replace when needed!


Toys and manipulatives.

I list this as a school supply because I just love to have hands on stuff for the kids. I have collected a lot of these things over the years, so we don't have to buy a whole lot anymore. It's fun to pull out something to go along with a theme, or lesson, and adds excitement to our homeschool days.


Minute to Win it.

To wrap this up...

As part of our back to school supplies fun today we played some minute to win it games. I found the games on Etsy, and they were a real hit. We did things like building glue sticks, pencil catching, peanut butter sandwich bouncing, apple stacking, and crayon sorting. All the kids agreed it was super fun.

We kept score, and won prizes too! I hope to have a video of this put together soon. It was a fun morning of games!
That about wraps up our school supplies for this school year. I will not be posting for planning/record keeping tomorrow (I could use advice there myself), but I will resume with outside the home on Thursday.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

5 days of... Curriculum (day 1)


I wish I had all our curriculum here to take some nice pictures, but I don't have it all yet. I've ordered it through the charter, but I won't be able to pick it up until orientation at the end of August. So, I simply have lists with maybe a few pictures splashed in here and there. I will add pictures of stacks of books later if I remember.

Fist we have Alex, the 1st grader. He will be working on strengthening his reading, and learning how to do a little more sit down work. I also want him to have a fun year of learning, so I plan to do a lot of hands-on projects with him because that is the kind of kid he is. Very busy!

1st Grade

Reading:  All About Reading Level 1, Days Go By Pathway reader and workbook
Math:  Life of Fred Apples
Science: Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics
Writing: Handwriting Without Tears printing book, Draw Write Now, and Copywork
History: Story of the Wrold volume 2, Five in a Row units
Geography: USA geography
Art: HomeArt Studio 1
Literature Themes: Lapbooks from Homeschool Share

The 4th grader will be doing much of the same work as his brother, but different levels. They will all do science, history, and geography together.

4th Grade

Reading: Building Our Lives Pathway reader and workbook
Math: Life of Fred Butterflies and Teaching Textbooks 4
Science: Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics
Writing: Handwriting Without Tears Cursive book, Copywork
History: Story of the World volume 2
Geography: USA Geography
Art: HomeArt Studio 4
Spelling: All About Spelling Level 4
Elective/STEM: Lego Mindstorms EV3


The 6th grader I haven't figured all of his stuff out yet completely. I know he will have to take one online class through the charter, and I don't know what class that will be yet. I also haven't been able to put an order for curriculum in yet. I have listed some of the things I am hoping to buy through the charter, and some we do already have.
6th Grade

Reading: Readers in Residence
Math: Life of Fred Kidneys, Teaching Textbooks 5, possibly an online math class with charter school
Science: Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics
Writing: Writers in Residence, Here to Help Learning
History: Story of the World volume 2
Geography: USA Geography

Other resources for our homeschool learning

Nature study with Outdoor Hour Challenge
Art for kids Hub
Pastel art from Hodgepodge art
Music study and appreciation

I am sure this isn't all we will use throughout the year. There will be many library visits as usual, and of course I have the homeschool review crew that will give us opportunities to try out new things all year long.

We also have many outside of the home classes and activities that I will post about on Day 4 of this blog hop. Stay tuned!

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Homeschool Mother's Journal: Smokey, lapbooks, and music

Life this week...

I tried to catch it several times, but the sky was covered in smoke pretty much the whole week (actually it has been like this for several weeks, but this week it was finally getting to me). The light from the sun always had this orange/reddish tint to it making shadows and the ground have a orange glow. The air quality was terrible, and I missed seeing the blue sky, or even clouds for that matter.

The orange/red light from the sun wasn't just at sunset and sunrise. It was all day from all the air pollution/smoke. This is the light shining into my kitchen. You can see the orange glow pretty good. It is not sunset or sunrise either. This was a distinctly different light than usually comes in at that time of day.
Everytime we drove over a hill where we could see the whole city I was just amazed at how hazy it was. Tried to catch it in this picture, but it just didn't really come out in the picture. No, those are clouds though!
Some friends got amazing pictures of the red setting sun, but I just never had a camera around when it happened. I did try to snap a picture of the red moon one night though. Again, you just can't see how red it is.

Homeschool this week...

We are trying to get back into a little bit of a groove by getting some math done each day. This week I had found an old subtraction lapbook printed up that we never used, so I decided to have Alex give it a try. He absolutely loved it. It blew me away because he wanted to finish the whole thing in one day, and he was reading his subtraction families in the car while driving to and from Salem. I think he has a better understanding of subtraction now, and I am excited that he seems to like this method of learning.




His completed lapbook. Yes, we certainly realized we need to practice some number writing too.


I also found some felt numbers. He decided to decorate the back of the lapbook with these.

Reviews we are working on...

We are currently reading this book Imagine The Great Flood by Matt Koceich. It's about a boy who somehow ends up traveling back to the time of Noah's Ark. It's a pretty easy read so far.


Places we're going and people we're seeing...

April had a music camp this week with Salem Symphony. It was a neat experience, and it required us to drive down and back to salem twice a day for 5 days. It ended with a nice little concert this afternoon. We all enjoyed watching the concert, and seeing her play with so many great musicians. This is such an amazing talent of hers.



We also had a swimming/ice cream party with church primary friends. It was an article of faith party, so for each article of faith they had memorized they got a topping for.  Aric had 9 toppings!



My favorite thing this week was...

Seeing signs of fall coming.


My kids' favorite thing this week was...

Finally getting to spend an afternoon at Wunderland. It's a nickel for every game, but most games take 2-6 nickels. There's an admission fee too. It was pretty fun overall though.


Last, but not least...

Alex lost the first of his top 2 teeth. I expect the other to come out pretty soon, it's already wiggly.

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