Kristen

Feb 242017
 

Roman Numeral ResourcesYou may think that Roman numerals are unimportant, but for something so “outdated” they are still used in many areas including

  • Clocks
  • Movie copyright dates
  • Superbowl numbering
  • Outlines
  • Numbering pages in prefaces of books

Roman Numeral Resources

You can teach Roman numerals alongside your history, math, or Latin program. Here are some free resources I found to help.

Dad’s Worksheets This site includes a Roman numeral chart and converter as well as multiple worksheets to practice sequencing and converting between Arabic and Roman numerals.

The Notebooking Fairy If you use notebooking in your homeschool, you need to check out The Notebooking Fairy. You’ll find free Roman Numeral notebooking pages there to use with your history, Latin, or math study.

Make Free Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are customizable. You can choose either to convert from Arabic to Roman numerals or Roman to Arabic. It also allows you to select how many problems.

Roman numeral worksheet generator Another customizable worksheet. In addition to customizing as above, you can also set the difficulty of the conversion and have addition and subtraction worksheets.

Roman numeral worksheets These worksheets are not customizable, but there are cute coloring pages for younger children that show Roman numeral I, V, and X.

 

Feb 112017
 

Disclosure: I received Thin Stix by Kwik Stix to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Reality of Art Projects

“Mommy, can we paint?”

In my head –  “Ugh.  Not paint. I will have to find newspaper for the table. And where did I put those shirts we were using for smocks? And then there’s the wet paint on everyone’s hands.”

What I say –  “Wouldn’t you rather play outside? Or color with crayons?”

“No, we want to paint.”

In my head – “I really should let them. Kids should be allowed to experiment with different art media. It’s ok if they make a mess. If they were in school, I bet they’d have more chances to paint.”

“OK, Give me a few minutes to get everything set up.”

15 minutes later…

“Everything’s ready. You can paint now.”

5 minutes later…

“Thanks Mommy! Do you like my picture? We’re going to play outside now.”

Sigh.

Art Time

Does anything about my story sound familiar? I want my kids to have fun doing art projects. I want to be a “Yes” mom. But extra work and extra mess goes against my nature. Sometimes I just say yes and deal with the mess. But other times I just say no. Not now. And that’s ok too. However, I have found a solution to those times when the kids want to paint, but I don’t want the mess..

Thin Stix by Kwik Stix

Thin stix

The solution is Kwik Stix! Kwik Stix are tempera paints in a stick. There are no brushes to clean and no liquid paint to spill. There is no need for smocks. It dries in 90 seconds so there’s no running, smearing or smudging.

I received a package of Thin Stix by Kwik Stix to review. I opened them up and gathered my review team. They immediately went to work creating a variety of pictures.

The paint goes on smoothly and evenly. The colors are vibrant and the stix are easy to use. You just twist up more when needed, like chapstick.

Is it painting? Technically, no. But it is art.

These are great for school projects like posters. It is so much easier to write letters with Thin Stix than a paint brush.

Interested in trying Kwik Stix? You can purchase at Amazon.com and select retailers such as Books A Million and Target.

Thin Stix Art Gallery

Abstract Art by Lizzie, age 10

Flower by Anna, age 16

Rainbow by Andrew, age 6

Bob and Larry by Andrew, age 6

Sunny scene by Anna, age 16

 

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Jan 232017
 

VCF Exploring our worldThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is Exploring Our World. I’ve been looking back through old posts about some of the ways we’ve studied history and geography. One of the things that I love about the Virtual Curriculum Fair is that it encourages me to look back over old posts. There is a lot of our homeschool history on this blog. I found that my Virtual Curriculum Fair posts are some of the best.

Last year I wrote Encouraging Curiosity About the World which focused on my oldest son and our years homeschooling him. The year before I described Unschooling Science and the previous was Raising Map Nuts. I looked at these and thought, “What can I add to this?” (Don’t worry, I thought of something!)

There is one activity that has been especially helpful for learning history in our home – reading historical fiction. Both of my girls have read many historical fiction books that they have chosen themselves from the library. I’ve let them read about a variety of historical topics in no particular order. In that way, they’ve built up a basic history knowledge with essentially no effort from me. As a result, they’ve developed an interest in various historical time periods and had a desire to learn more.

Literature-Based History Curricula

While just reading historical fiction is helpful, the love of historical fiction can be built upon with literature-based history curricula. I’ve used a couple of different history curricula that utilized historical fiction and provided a more systematic and logical approach to learning history than random library checkouts. By the way, you can read how I keep track of library books, if you have trouble turning books in on time.

The first one, Truthquest, provides books arranged by topic for specific time periods. You can read my complete review of Truthquest.

The other literature-based history program that we’ve used is Tapestry of Grace. We used it for several years when my older children were younger. We’ve started back with Tapestry of Grace this school year with my 5th grader, Lizzie. Here’s my review of Tapestry of Grace. I also have all the posts on Tapestry of Grace tagged. In addition, I have compared Tapestry of Grace to two other popular literature based history curricula: Sonlight and My Father’s World.

Historical fiction is not just for the kids. I’ve found that reading historical fiction inspires me to learn and study more about particular time periods. There are a couple of  mystery series set in World War I that I have enjoyed so much that I keep looking for more books about that time period.

 

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

Jan 152017
 

Virtual Curriculum Fair teaching mathThis week’s topic for the Virtual Curriculum Fair is math. I love math. However, my love of math doesn’t equal a love of teaching math. I have written quite a bit about math during my years participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. In fact, I’ve written so much, that I don’t have anything further to add to this topic today.

Instead I will share some of my previous thoughts.

In From Counting to Calculus I discussed much of what I’d learned about teaching math during my first 13 years of homeschooling.

I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t have the answers in The Post Where I Admit I was Wrong.

For some background on my math background, see How I Choose Math Curriculum.

Even though I didn’t have much new to add to this topic, I’m sure that the other participants can add a lot more to this topic. Be sure to check out their posts below.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Discovering Patterns: Math and the Mathematical Sciences this week:

Finding Our Math Equilibrium: Our Plan for 11th, 7th, 5th, and 2nd Grades + Free Printables! by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Math Resources and Programs for All Ages by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Math (doesn’t) Stink! by Jennifer King @A Peace of Mind

When Math is NOT Your Thing by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

Math U See and All the Supplements by Laura H @ Four Little Penguins

Discovering Patterns in Our World: STEM Studies by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Junior High Math by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Science & Math for Struggling Learners by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Maths: a subject in progress by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Taking Mathematics out of the Textbook by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acre

Maths for a Very Maths-y Boy by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Practical Math by Annette @ A Net in Time

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Math, How I Loathe Thee by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Math and Logic in Early Elementary and Preschool {virtual curriculum fair 2017} by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos

Low Stress High School Science and Math by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Are these toys or manipulatives? This is math? by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

When You Don’t Have a Math Plan by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Clear Horizons by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

 

 

Jan 082017
 

playing-with-wordsI would like to begin this week’s submission to the Virtual Curriculum Fair with a disclaimer. I am not an expert on special education, and I have no training in teaching children with reading delays. What I have is experience with my own 14 year old son who is on the autism spectrum. However, we have not found any perfect solutions to his reading delays, and we’re still plodding along this educational journey.

Letter Recognition

We knew that William, our 3rd child, was different from our older children by the age of 3 or 4. There were several little clues. (For the sake of brevity and keeping to the topic of reading, I’m only going to discuss differences in the area of reading and reading readiness.) One is that William was a late talker, but not alarmingly late. He liked to look at books and be read to, but at the age of 4, I realized that he wasn’t learning things that my older two had learned naturally. For example, he could sing the alphabet song, but he couldn’t  recognize the letters and didn’t know any of the corresponding sounds.

Decoding

We worked on letters and sounds for a while, waiting on further reading instruction knowing that a child must be ready developmentally in order to read. When William was about 6, I started trying various phonics programs to teach him to read. All About Spelling finally seemed to crack the code and get him started reading. (The companion curriculum, All About Reading didn’t exist at that time.)

Reading comprehension strategy

Reading Comprehension

However, reading is not just decoding. William is a pretty good decoder. What he lacks is reading comprehension. Sadly, his reading comprehension level has not improved very much over the years that he’s been successfully decoding words. His lack of comprehension has negatively impacted all his other school subjects because reading is an integral part of most curricula. Even in math, he struggles with understanding the instructions. Word problems are a big issue. A huge portion of history and science knowledge is most easily acquired by reading.

audio-and-video-curricula for reading comprehension

Moving Forward

This delay has left William with deficits in all areas of his education. I’ve tried a few different strategies and ideas over the last several years, but the main thing that I’ve done is wait. I work through his math word problems with him. He’s learned science through videos and a small amount of history from audio books. I guess I’ve been hoping that one day the reading comprehension will just be there.

reading delay strategies

I’m not saying it wasn’t a good idea to wait. However, the time has come to revisit some of the former things we tried briefly and give them more time to see if they help. I think that I tend to expect results quickly or at least some indication of positive results and am discouraged without that. I doubt I’m alone in that desire.

Strategies

Here are some things that I am or will be trying. I haven’t decided how much to do at once. Right now, I’ve only started on number one.

  1. Reading Detective – This is a program from The Critical Thinking Company. I bought this a couple of years ago and tried about 2 lessons then put it away because it was too frustrating. I pulled it out again last week and tried the 3rd lesson. As much as I want this to be an independent activity, I can see that for this to work, I’m going to have to guide him through this for a while.
  2. Immersion Reading with Kindle books – This is something I also started a couple of years ago, but with technical difficulties I didn’t continue to use it. I am ready to start this again. I know immersion reading has been tremendously helpful to other struggling readers.
  3. Visually appealing factual books – I have some great Usborne and other books that I need to subtly encourage William to read. Short snippets of text for gleaning facts that he’s interested in can help him to enjoy reading and increase his confidence.
  4. Brain Balance Therapy – I read Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo a couple of years ago and found that his ideas made a lot of sense. Part of me wants to try the exercises, but another part of me is hesitant. I think, “What do we have to lose?” but then also worry about my trying to “fix” him. I will be looking over the book again trying to decide whether to try it.

Do any of you have experience with teaching reading comprehension? What are some strategies that have helped your student?

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

All posts will be live by Monday, January 9th at noon EST.

Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind

Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

The Readin’ and Writin’ Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time

Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7

10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Jan 012017
 

It’s January 1st. The first day of a brand new year always brings a level of excitement. For a perfectionist like me, it’s like a clean slate, an unmarked page, or a fresh untracked snow. I’ve been studying about goal setting over the last few weeks and I have learned a few things.

Goals need to be concrete and measurable.

You have to be able to tell if you’ve met your goal.  I may have a tendency to make non-measurable goals because if your goals are nebulous, then you can’t really fail, right? Maybe so, but with non-specific goals, you can’t succeed either. I confess that I am afraid of failure. I hate it. But while that fear may keep me from failing, it also keeps me from succeeding.

goal weekly hands-on

A measurable homeschool goal might be to add 1 hands-on activity per week. NOT Do more hands-on activities.

Goals need to make you stretch.

I could make a goal and to avoid failure, I could set an easy goal. I could set a goal that is measurable, but is something that I’m probably going to do anyway. There’s no benefit to that.

catechism goal

We have gotten stuck in memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism. My goal is to resume memorization of the catechism and memorize through Question 50 by June 1. That is not an easy goal.

Goals need to be possible.

There is a balance between stretching and over-reaching. I could make a goal of making a million dollars this year. That would definitely be a stretch. But there is not a pathway to get there. You don’t have to know every step you’re going to take to achieve your goal, but you do need to at least know how to start in that direction.

The catechism goal that I mentioned above is a stretch, but it is doable. We will have to review and memorize about 2 questions per week to achieve the goal.

Keep the number of goals small.

With a smaller number of goals, you can focus on really accomplishing them. The worst thing that can happen is you achieve them all before the year is up. Then you can set more goals!

I have not completed my goal setting for this year, but I am giving myself permission to work on them more on January 2. I intend to make goals in 5 categories keeping my total number of goals less than 10. 

Since the New Year is a convenient time for setting goals, it is also a perfect time to evaluate how we’re doing with the curriculum and plans I so meticulously laid out in the beginning of the school year (or didn’t, but meant to.)

I have been homeschooling a long time. This year is my 14th year! Homeschooling has become a very natural and automatic part of my life. It’s comfortable. But it has become a little sloppy. There are things that I know I should be doing a better job of.

virtual curriculum fair

Over the next 4 weeks I will be participating in the Virtual Curriculum Fair. This is an excellent opportunity for me to take a closer look at how I used to homeschool and how I’m homeschooling now in very specific areas.

  • Are there things I used to do that I should start again?
  • Should we be moving in a different direction?
  • Am I using the best curriculum for this student?

The Virtual Curriculum Fair is also going to help me to get started working towards meeting my blogging goals for 2017, which include posting weekly. So stay tuned for more updates on how we homeschool.

 

I invite you to see how my fellow bloggers learn in their homeschools (note: all posts will be live by noon EST, Jan. 2nd):

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It’s All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Homeschooling – A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education – 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Making a Change – Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we don’t learn in our homeschool & how I don’t plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv’N Lambert Life

Oct 162016
 

There are a few subjects that strike fear in the hearts of homeschoolers. Advanced math and high school science are a couple that are usually on the list. But there’s another equally scary subject and that’s…

FOREIGN LANGUAGE!

Why is foreign language so scary? The simple fact is that most of us in the US are not bilingual. And it’s really hard to teach something that you don’t know. So by necessity most homeschoolers either look for someone else to teach their students a foreign language, choose a foreign language that isn’t spoken like Latin, or choose a foreign language curriculum that teaches directly to the student with little parent/teacher involvement.

When I was approached by Speekee to review their Accelerate Spanish program for homeschools, I jumped at the opportunity because I’m one of those typical Americans who isn’t bilingual. I’m also stretched for time, so I’m always happy to find educational opportunities that don’t require much input from me. Speekee provided me with 1 year of free access to the program in exchange for my honest review.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish

The Facts

Speekee Accelerate is a video-based Spanish curriculum designed for students ages 8 and up. In addition to short videos, Speekee Accelerate includes worksheets, audio clips, and activity ideas for additional instruction. Each of the 40 weekly lessons is divided into 4 parts. On day 1, students watch the entire video (about 15 minutes). This video is completely in Spanish, spoken by native Spanish speaking children. There is very little explanation in the video, rather it immerses the student in the language. For the next 7 lessons, various sections of the video are watched again with emphasis placed on a different topic that was covered in the video like numbers, colors, greetings, etc. There is also an option to receive a weekly e-mail with activities and links for each lesson.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish Screen Shot

A peek at the lesson interface

My Opinion

The video lessons are quality productions. We did not particularly entertaining, but these are not designed to be entertaining.  The videos allow the student to hear the language spoken. They have kept the dialogue to a minimum. I think that makes them not as overwhelming as watching a regular television program in Spanish. (We do find it interesting to do that occasionally, just to hear the language, but we could definitely not learn Spanish that way.) It’s really not possible to create a very exciting storyline with limited Spanish vocabulary.

I love the fact that the lessons are short. It makes it much easier to fit into our busy days. The weekly e-mail is a fantastic idea and the activity ideas are extra helpful and add some fun to the program.

Speekee Accelerate is a great way to add elementary Spanish instruction into our homeschool day.

Speekee Accelerate Homeschool Spanish Sample Worksheet

A sample worksheet

The Cost

Speekee is a monthly subscription product. You pay just $7.50/month for access to 4 different learning products. In addition to Accelerate, there is Speekee Fast Track for ages 4-7 and Speekee TV which I previously reviewed here. Speekee Play is an on-line game to reinforce and learn more Spanish. If you’re unsure about Speekee, they offer a 2 week free trial and you can cancel your monthly membership at any time.

If you’re looking for an easy way to add some elementary Spanish to your day, I recommend that you try Speekee.

 

Sep 102016
 

We have finished 3 weeks of homeschool for this new school year: my 14th year of homeschooling and I’m still a homeschool curriculum junkie. Have I really been homeschooling that long? Many of my homeschool curriculum choices this year are back to my old favorites.

My oldest son has started college and is living 3 hours away from home. He is doing great! And I am doing better than I expected. It’s definitely been an adjustment though. I took the leaf out of the table this week and can’t get used to how small it looks now.

Below are what I’ve chosen as our homeschool curriculum this year. Please note that I do use affiliate links to help pay for maintaing this blog.

11th grade

My oldest daughter, Anna, is in the 11th grade. This year we have loaded her up with classes outside the home. She is in 2 different co-ops: 1 meets twice per week and the other once per week. We found last year that outside deadlines and accountability to someone other than me are a great thing for her. So we loaded her up!

She’s taking:

Pre-calculus taught by an instructor, but using Teaching Textbooks.

US Government and Economics with the Notgrass materials

World Literature

Art

Health and Nutrition

Physics (Apologia Physics with labs done together in co-op)

So far, it’s going well for her. She has her driver’s license (or I would be going batty!)

Homeschool Curriculum Mess

8th grade

My son William is in 8th grade this year. He has been my struggling learner, but I am really encouraged with his progress this year. He remembered his math concepts over the summer which thrilled me!

He’s using:

Christian Light Math 7 – He has been using this program for several years. We finally found a math program with the right amount of review for him!

All About Spelling – He’s finishing up the last level of AAS this year! It has been a fantastic program for him.

Memorize Galatians – I really love the material from Brookdale House. He is doing great working through the book of Galatians. He will be memorizing the entire book using this program!


Story of the World 2
– ? – Yes, he’s a little old for this, but he does better with audiobooks, so I want to get him a good base for history before high school. He will listen through the series.

Around the World Geography – He is taking this class at a weekly co-op. There has been some homework and projects to do at home and present to the rest of the class.

General Science – I’m still not sure what I’m doing with this. He is taking a general science lab at a weekly co-op (his first experience and I’m happy to report it’s going well.) I pulled out the Apologia General Science book and I just can’t see him making it through the reading. He likes science though, so we may continue the way we have been and allow him to study science topics as he is interested.

5th grade

Lizzie is my 5th grader. She is a bright student and sometimes hard to keep occupied.

She’s learning from:

Singapore Math 5A and 5B – this has been my favorite elementary math program since I started it with my now college student. I love the emphasis on word problems and mathematical understanding.

Latin – She’s finishing up First Form Latin and will start Second Form Latin probably after Christmas.

Classical Composition Fable – I bought this for her last year, but we didn’t make time to do it. I pulled it out again this year and it’s going well. She loves to write and embellish the fables with her own details.

All About Spelling 5 – I love how simple this program is to use. Just pick up the book and go.

Considering God’s Creation and Apologia Elementary Science books – We’re using Considering God’s Creation loosely as a springboard into more in-depth study using the Apologia elementary books. I like the lapbooky aspects of Considering God’s Creation, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand alone science program.

Tapestry of Grace Year 2 – I am trying out Tapestry of Grace again. We used it for several years when my oldest 2 were upper elementary to middle school. I had to put it aside because the discussion aspect of the program just wasn’t working for us as a family. The reason I loved the program so much was to have the whole family on the same “page” in history. It was just not a good fit for my oldest. But I felt a nudging toward it again, so I decided to see if we can use it with my 2 younger children. So far we’ve completed the first 2 weeks and it’s going ok. I am feeling a little flustered trying to keep up with everything.

Kindergarten

Miquon Math Homeschool Curriculum

My baby, Andrew, has started Kindergarten! We are keeping things really light for him and using some old favorites.

Alpha Phonics – This is just simple, no non-sense reading instruction


Handwriting without Tears
– Seriously. No tears. He loves it!

Miquon Math – He’s starting with the orange book. He loves to use the Cuisenaire rods.

Verbal Math – This is something new that I’m trying. I like the way it teaches math without writing the problems down.

So far, everything is running relatively smoothly though I do constantly feel pulled in a thousand directions. I should be an expert by now, but I still make mistakes and struggle to get everything done!

 

 

 

Aug 032016
 

Compass Classroom recently released a new modern history class entitled Modernity, and they gave me the opportunity to preview the course. Covering a wide range of topics from modern history including the Enlightenment, Napoleon, the Industrial Revolution, and the World Wars, the high school level class consists of 27 weekly lessons. Each lesson includes 5 video segments with instructor Dave Raymond that are approximately 20 minutes long.

Along with the video, there are accompanying reading assignments available in Kindle, pdf, and epub formats. In addition to the lecture and reading, the student works on a portfolio and several projects over the course of the school year. The modern history projects include a Reformation Imitation Project, a Speech on Tradition, a Research Paper, and the Hour Project.

The Hour Project is an open-ended final project of the student’s choosing. It should be something that takes a substantial number of hours to complete (they recommend 30-40) and can showcase the talents and interests of the student. Some examples in the teacher guide include copying a famous paintings, making a reproduction of a piece of Victorian furniture, or creating an illustrated children’s book.

 

4 things to love about Modernity

  1. Easy to teach – The course is well-laid out and teacher friendly. It’s divided into daily lessons so it’s very open and go with little to no planning required.
  2. Interesting presentation –  Dave Raymond is excited about history and it shows in his presentation. He’s interesting to listen to. While much of the video is lecture, there is a nice blend of related images mixed with the video of the speaker.
  3. Christian Worldview – There is plenty of opportunity to study history from the politically correct, secular worldview. This class not only teaches history from a Christian perspective, but also provides the Christian perspective of why history is important to study.
  4. Variety – While the format is predictable with 5 daily videos and corresponding readings, the projects and portfolio pages add the opportunity for students to be creative and truly own the content.

If you’re looking for an American History course you can read my review.

Discloser: I received a free download of 8 lessons of Modernity in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post includes affiliate links.

Apr 202016
 

As a homeschool mom of 5 who works part-time from home, I have a lot to manage. Between working, keeping up with my teenagers’ schedules, teaching my younger children, and managing my home, free time is rare. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my lack of close friends. I’ve tried to analyze the reason. I realize I don’t often write personal posts here (OK, so I don’t often write at all), so bear with me as I share.

Why don’t I have close mom friends?

Part of my situation can be explained by moving. I had a couple of very close friends as a young wife and mother. I made those friends at a time when it’s easy to make friends. My husband and I were newly married, and we had no children. Our friends also had no children at the beginning of our friendships. We were free to do lots of things with our friends and spend many late nights, talking, laughing, and playing games. We continued to do so after we had babies. What are portacribs for, right?

Then we moved to a different state. We joined a church 30 minutes from our home. It was hard to invite people over. With young children it seemed harder to build friendships. Being new, everybody already had friends. But I tried, and in that season I made some pretty good friends. I went to women’s Bible study at church and developed some friends there. I was no one’s best friend, but I did have a few ladies that I could talk to. During this time I also had a neighbor that I used to chat with a lot.

Then we moved again, closer to the church. Ironically at the same time that we moved closer, we left that church and joined a much smaller church. I had begun homeschooling a couple of years earlier and it had gotten to the point where attending a weekly daytime women’s Bible study was difficult because we basically lost an entire day of school. Around that time I went through a very difficult time after being rejected by a friend whom I had been meeting with for prayer and fellowship. Desperate to feel like I belonged, I asked to join a group of ladies (from the former church) who had been meeting for a regular evening Bible study. They let me join, and for a while I felt like one of the group. However, after the birth of my 4th child, I needed to host the group in my home because my husband was working a second job in the evenings and I had no childcare. The leader rejected my request, so that was the end of my involvement in that group.

That was over 9 years ago. The sting of that rejection is still there. That group of women still meet and go on weekend getaways. I’ve fought against the sadness that rises up when their pictures show up in my Facebook feed. I’ve wondered for years, what is so wrong with me?

Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone

Better Together Cover Mom Friends

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone. Since I had already been pondering the topic, I thought it might be a good read.

Jill Savage and her adult daughter, Anne McClane. do a great job analyzing the different levels of friendship and the various types of friends. The book has helpful tips for meeting new people and getting to know people. There is a mothering personality inventory and a variety of creative ideas for ways that friends can share each others’ burdens in the busy seasons of life. These include swapping baby sitting or having freezer cooking get togethers. One that I had never  thought of was working with a group of friends taking turns meeting at a different house to do a project with the friend that needs help.

Better Together is a useful resource, especially for those in women’s ministry leadership. It helped me to think through the hurts of my past and admit that one of the reasons that I haven’t made close friends is a fear of rejection and bitterness over past hurts. I also realized that another reason is that I am a bit selfish. I don’t often offer to help others and I’ve failed to invite people over because I’m too busy with my own family.

Important Reminders

Even though I can identify reasons in my own behavior to explain why I may have been in this season of lacking close friends, I  also remind myself that God is sovereign. He knows that I’ve been going through this, and He could have sent a close friend in spite of my friendship flaws. Instead, I have learned more about contentment. In my loneliness, God has been faithful to draw me closer to Himself.

I’m reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot,

“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”

So while I agree that friends are good for moms, I can’t fully agree with the subtitle of this book. No, we’re not meant to mom alone, we’re meant to mom alongside a dad. Having close friends is a bonus.