Monday, June 30, 2014

2nd grade History and Geography

Our textbooks for History and Geography will be from Story of the World, Volume 1. Both boys are pretty excited about studying ancient civilizations. Oliver {K} will be able to sit in on the readings and participate in the craft projects that go along with each chapter. I had debated between Mystery of History and SOTW, but after talking with many other homeschooling moms, we decided on SOTW {price was a big factor} In addition to the activity book from SOTW we will be using the Evan Moor History Pockets because my boys love hands-on projects and crafts. For an interactive time line, we are going with the "binder method". I plan on ordering from this LDS homeschool mother. She has drawn up some pretty great timeline figures. I was going to go with Sonlight's book of time, but this route is a little cheaper--and I'd rather give my money to her! If you check out my 2nd Grade History/Geo pinterest board, you'll find many resources that go along like lapbooks, videos, chapter books, etc. I plan on including these studies 3 days a week in our school schedule.
This is the subject I am looking forward to the most this upcoming school year! Lots to plan and print!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2nd Grade Science

I thought I'd write up a post about each of the subjects that I am planning for the next school year. I will have a 3 year old preschooler, K-5 {early} Kinder {if he was going into public school, I would probably have held him back since Oliver has a late July birthday, but we are going to ease into things and hopefully he will enjoy it!} and a 2nd grader. It was a bit of a "controversial" choice for me to choose our science program because it is from Apologia. They have come forth with some pretty nasty comments about the LDS church, so I wanted to avoid buying from that company. Brigham and even Oliver, decided they REALLY wanted to learn about space. After looking into elementary astronomy courses, nothing fit the bill like Apologia's Astronomy. Darnit. So I searched high and low for used copies nearby so I wouldn't be paying them directly. It was a no-go. I found EVERY other Apologia used text for sale except the astronomy! Oh well. There were a couple places at the convention I went to that sold Apologia. Rainbow Resource Center sells just about everything and they have great prices! So we ended up getting the textbook and the corresponding junior notebook.
I also ordered the lapbook printables that go along with this from www.knowledgeboxcentral.com. If you sign up for their newsletter, you will receive $5 off your first order {which is the cost of Part 1 of the lapbook for Apologia Astronomy} I am sure that will be more than enough, but I also have some weather and rock lapbook units to work on if we have any "extra time" ha!
One of the extras I wanted to purchase along with having an astronomy unit was a telescope. The Nancy B Moonscope has such great reviews and is SUPER affordable. I plan on buying one before the school year starts up again...but there is a chance to win one right now on Dragon Fly Sweet Nest's blog! Giveaway ends next week, so get your entries in!! *UPDATE 7/8* Here is another giveaway for the Nancy B microscope! Another awesome tool for your homeschool!
Next up...History!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

President Party!!!!

The weekend of President's Day also happened to be Brigham's 6th birthday! Since one of his interests is studying Presidents of the United States, he wanted me to plan President Birthday party! Yea! How fun! The first thing I did was look on Pinterest to see if there were any other little kids as cool as Briggy that wanted a President party {there were a few!} so I took a few ideas from other parties and added our own flair too. I shopped online at Oriental Trading and got some cool stuff. The tall cut outs of Lincoln and Washington, the President Door border {for our photo "booth" area} and President face masks all came from OT. The patriotic pinwheel decorations were also from OT. The rest of the table cloth decor was clearance Fourth of July decorations that I picked up from Walmart last year. I'm so disappointed with the quality of these photos! The sun was so bright coming in from the back of the table, that it created we weird darkness. I'm obviously new to this, so bear with me! Also, in poor blogging fashion, I totally forgot to take a few pictures that showed off the "Guess How many Pennies?" game. I had a small mason jar filled with 205 pennies {how many years ago he was born} that one of the cute kids won. For an activity the made Lincoln cabins. The idea came from Martha Stewart, so I'll include a link and photo from her site---but what I did the night before was just hot glue graham cracker houses together and set out pretzel rods, wheat thins, and caramel apple frosting {it was tan} and they all put together their own cabins. We talked about how Lincoln's family didn't have very much money and they all lived in a 1 room home. All the sweet little kids said how grateful they were for bigger homes, and the message of working hard, being honest and striving for what you want hit home. From a 1 room cabin with dirt floors to the White House!
Here is the Lincoln Cabin project: http://www.marthastewart.com/272922/presidents-day-log-cabin
The idea for some of the food signs came from: http://www.overthebigmoon.com/presidents-day-party-and-run-with-fun-presidential-foods Here are the images from our party, in case you want to print them and use them!
The idea for the favor came from: http://www.jacolynmurphy.com/2013/02/happy-presidents-weekend-honoring-abe.html Here was the printout that I made---I attached the skor bar and a sheet of president stickers {from Oriental Trading} for each guest.
It was a super fun birthday! I'm glad Brigham has had such an interest in history and learning about the Presidents. He memorized all of them in order last year, and still spouts them off--no problem! His memory skills are pretty impressive!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

100th day of School!

Wow! This week we will have had our 100th day of school! I started this blog wanting to be a regular poster, but of course a few months have gone by and NADDA! I will someday get the hang of this! One of my favorite things to look at on other homeschool blogs is to get a feel of their routines and school "environment". I know there are plenty of homeschool families that gather around the kitchen table or find a comfy spot on the couch and learn. I think that's great, but it just didn't mesh well with how I wanted to teach. I knew I wanted a separate space where most of our learning happened, where I could keep all of our school "stuff". We moved to a new house right before the school year started. Even though we downsized quite a bit, I'm grateful that this new home had a converted garage where we have extra space for school. This room is the perfect size for our needs right now. I thought I would share a few photos, and also explain a little bit about our new system I set in place. Not sure how it will work, but we have the rest of the school year to test it out and see if its a keeper for the year to come! First, here is our room as you walk in!! I hope it seems bright, cheery and inviting--that's what I was going for! I wanted our space to be fun and happy!
The school table it pushed up against the wall in that photo--which is what we usually do when school is through, just to have more space to play. Here is a view from the table:
This back wall of storage holds A LOT of stuff! the lower boxes hold lots of tot/preschool puzzles and games. I have several "busy bags" for my 2 and 4 year old to use during the day. File folders are also here {but I plan on moving them soon, since I finally laminated the 20 that I've had in my "to-do" pile and will need more space for them!} We have quite a few packs of hot dots jr that the kids love, buckets and BUCKETS of magnet letters, numbers and objects to use on magnetic trays {aka cookie sheets!} Several sets of pattern blocks and tanagram puzzles, many of our math manipulatives, and on the tippy top---markers and playdoh---because I cant leave those down with my frisky boys, the house would be covered in them! In the unit closest to my desk I have "mom" storage with monthly folders filled with seasonal themed worksheets, a bin of that months "Friday activities" {seasonal games, sensory bin stuff, project pieces} and the seasonal monthly books. January and February have had a lot of snowman, MLK, valentine and president themes} On the shelf to the other side I have our Science/Math/Geography/History books separated for easier access. Our other fiction books are in another bookcase.
Here is my newer storage area. Before we had bins of toys. I wasn't crazy about having our toys in our school room, but we didn't have any other space in the house for them...until last week when I realized I could take the bottom bunk bed out of our boys room and have toy storage under there! This is where my new "system" is housed. I really liked the idea of "workboxes" and after looking more and more into it felt it could help my 1st grader become a little bit more independent, and if it goes well, I think my preschooler will do really well with its motivating features next year in kindergarten. Instead of having the pull out drawers like a typical "workbox" I use color-coded magazine holders as each subjects box. The work for each student is in their folder in each of the boxes. I thought this was a pretty great idea, especially for teaching multiple children. All of my kiddo's are "color-coded" in school and in the house. {towels, toothbrushes, etc.} Brigham is blue and Oliver is purple. So the plan is for Brigham to go the first box {orange=language arts} and grab his blue folder. In the folder he has to complete the worksheets or whatever activity is in there. I have a Velcro sticky orange square on the folder. When he's completed his assignment, he sticks the square on underneath the boxes {I have a Velcro strip adhered to the shelf} When 2 colors are completed, he can do a "task tray" as a fun break. These are kind of "big kid tot trays" they are all fun, but educational. Most are language arts/math based, but he is still not the best with scissors, so I will have a fine motor cutting activity mixed in there too} The example of a task tray that I included in the photo is our ketCHup condiments game. The ketchup bottles all have CH written on them, and the mustard have words that either begin or end with CH. He has to pair them together in the right order and record the words. {Those cute ketchup and mustard cutouts are from the Dollar tree} Science and History are not every day, so he has 5 separate activities each day. Whoops. That's not true. I didn't include our Scripture activity that we all do together first thing in the morning, his calendar/morning notebook and we have a latin program that is not featured in this year's rotation because I had a problem with our dvd/dvd player--and decided to save it for either this summer or next year} Pretty much the same thing we were doing, but I think this system allows for a little bit more independence and structure that I like, and think my boys will thrive with. I think. I hope, I pray! If not, we'll try something new. Its trial and error at this point, but so far so good!

Friday, October 11, 2013


I have been an on again off again blogger for a few years....mostly just personal home and family posts, nothing flashy or fancy. I have been "homeschooling" a bit longer than I usually give myself credit for. I started off teaching "Tot" and "Pre-school" homeschool to my boys when they turned 2 years old. My oldest son is now almost 6 and in "First grade". This is my first official year of full-time, paid for curriculum, super scheduled school. We just finished our first unit block of 6 weeks today. I decided I really needed to keep record of all the learning and fun that was going on so I could remember and look back. I also wanted a place where I could share my ideas and finds that I am using or find helpful for YOU. Whoever you may be, probably my family member or best friend :) Another very important facet in our everyday life is our religion. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints {Mormons}. There are definitely LDS undertones in everything that we do, as I try to connect a moral lesson to what we learn, but being Christian, they are also applicable to non-members. I will also be posting our Family Home Evening Lessons and activities in hopes they might help you if you are stuck and need a little inspiration of a topic. I hope I can add value and inspiration to they already amazing world of online homeschool blogs.
Meet My Kids! They all add so much to my day and life. I am truly blessed to be their mother and friend. I am also going a bit gray because they are rambuncious and fun and having 4 kids 5 and under is a little CRAZY :P Brigham is our 1st Grader. He would be a Kindergartener in the public school system, but he is a little smarty pants that finished k4 and kindergarten curriculum right around the time he turned 5. He is my ultra-over-achieving, super-memorizing maniac! He loves learning and reading, and talking, and writing, and music and art and...and...and. He will keep you on your toes and make you want to take a bathroom time out just to get a little peace and quiet :) Do you have one of those? He's always chatting and asking questions, and I love how his little brain is always going and working! He is also sensitive and very tender hearted. He is always making sure everyone is happy and just a sincere little sweetheart. Current obsessions: American statues and monuments, Composers and Presidents...oh, and Ninja Turtles :)
Oliver is our Preschooler. He just turned 4 and FINALLY FINALLLLLLY is interested in sitting down and really participating in "school" He is mostly interested in learning letters and using his cuisenaire rods for math and fun. He is my little comic relief and can be the best snuggle buddy EVER {when he wants to} its always a bit touch and go. He is my moody-dude. I chalk it up to him being a horrible sleeper and the inability to eat reeses peanut butter cups. {He has a dairy, egg and peanut allergy} poor, guy. We try to make due with lots of interesting "vegan" and "nut free" concoctions. Once in awhile I'll post the ones that turn out and aren't hard as a rock :) Oliver loves using the computer, so we have a few learning programs and games that he gets to use throughout the day, and that makes him a little less grouchy! He is my cutie-patootie. Here he is with his baby sister, Matilda. We call her Tilly. I must mention that Oliver is THE BEST BIG BROTHER. He is always playing and cuddling with Matilda, often when I need a little quiet focused time with Brigham during school. He keeps her from crying and getting lonely. Told you he was a sweetie! Matilda is 8 months old and a total doll. Literally, you just can't get any cuter. After 3 boys, I was so thrilled to have my little doll to dress up and smooch. We are all gaga over her and she KNOwS it. We're all wrapped around her itsy bitsy finger!
Then there's Henry. Hank the Tank. My "Tater-Tot". He just turned 2 and he is letting EVERYONE KNOW IT. He recently started some therapy for development and speech, and already has blossomed amazingly these past few months. His vocabulary has exploded and he's understanding things a lot better. My biggest challege the last 6 weeks is keeping Henry occupied and happy while I am teaching and working with the older boys. I have a few fun activities that have been his go-to play things while we are working on school, but I am currently working on a big collection of new busy-bag tot activities that I will be able to post soon. I know I need to amp up the activities for him if the rest of us are going to have a productive year. He is kind of a bull in a china shop, but also the sweetest little smoocher and hugger. He's either popping a fist in your gut or grabbing you for a hug, you're never really quite sure with him! He is as CUTE as a BUTTON. Look at that nose, ai yi yi! He melts my heart!!
Okay, another one of Tilly because I am UHHHHbsessed.
And here's one of me. Im rarely in front of the camera. Not photogenic. Yikes. But we are going to have to get a family photo this year, so at one point you'll get to meet my hub too. Oliver loves taking "sidekick selfies" with me. He is my little social media stud :) haha