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Our Week in Review

First, a pop quiz:

Who Am I?

Jackson even had a hard time guessing! He guessed right, but then asked, “Right? At least, I think so.” He can never tell them apart when they are wet in the bathtub, which I think is hysterical! Greg and I can see how they look alike at times, but even we are baffled at the endless “are they twins?” questions from strangers. Thank goodness they aren’t; I shudder to think of the hard work real twin mommies have to put in. I’m lucky that my girls are 18 months a part!

ANYway, our week! Busy! Busy! Add a bit more “busy”! We just finished our second week of school, and things are going much, much smoother! We are in a routine, and the children know what is expected of them and when. It is still hard to juggle London and Brooklyn, but its getting better. So, here are some of the things we did this week!

Dress up! Lots and lots of dress up! The girls are really into this right now, and they alternate between princesses, ninjas, and super-heros.  Whichever they’ve chosen for the day usually stays on ALL day, especially with London. Brooklyn usually just wears it for a few hours and is done, but not London.

Letter of the Week is going really well! Last week was Ee for Elephant. This particular activity has her matching up letter disks to their partner on the page. She LOVES this game, and is very good at it!

The Daily Five is working AWESOME for us! One of his centers is Word Work, and he gets to choose from 5 activities right now to do with his spelling words. Technically he doesn’t have spelling words since we are using All About Spelling and don’t have traditional lists to memorize. I found these lists online and have been using them.

We visited China this week in Expedition Earth! Jackson learned how to write and count to 10 in Mandarin Chinese, how to write his name, how to say “Hello!” and “Thank you”, and learned lots of interesting facts. For fun {yes, fun!}, we made up math problems in Chinese for each other! We read “A Grain of Rice”, which I highly recommend. Jackson loved it! This week is a short week because of Labor Day, and since we only run a 4 day school schedule, we only have 3 days this week. I have to catch up on Science, so we won’t visit South Korea until next week. Instead, we will just keep studying about China and read books like “The Story of Ping” and “Tikki Tikki Tembo”.

Have y’all ever heard of whisper phones? They are great! During Jackson’s Read to Self center during the Daily Five, he can use this to whisper to himself. He is whispering so he isn’t disturbing his sisters while I work with them, but the phone amplifies his voice in his ear, making it seem like he is speaking out loud! It is works great for having kids hear themselves read and creates an awareness of phonetic patterns and mistakes they may be making while decoding without realizing it.

We also play lots of games! This one is a favorite of the kids. Its Bingo by Leapfrog, and comes with several different options. You can do numbers, shapes, colors, etc. Jackson is a good sport and plays along with his sisters, helping them find the right answers.

We also took a field trip to the Children’s Museum with a few of our friends! Usually its pretty expensive, but they were running a summer special of $6 per person, so we jumped at the chance! The children LOVE this place and could spend hours there! When we move closer we may have to get a membership…its a great place to escape the heat and burn off some energy!

On Saturday I celebrated my 31st birthday! We went to Joe’s Farm Grill for lunch and spent the weekend enjoying each others company.

So, on to week 3! Only 33 more to go, lol!


2 Weeks and a Preview

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It’s been two weeks since I left Facebook.

The first few days were hard. Isn’t that sad? But, I’m happy to report that “status update” is no longer part of my mind chatter.

I do miss the people. I miss the support. I miss just feeling like I’m not the only person in my head sometimes, or that no one knows what is going on with us. For example, some of my status updates this week would have been:

“Our garbage disposal bit the dust. It stopped working, we tried to fix it, but we ended up making it smoke and trip its circuit. Not good.”

“Epic Fail: breaking your OWN window when you lock yourself out. We were loud. Cross one off the bucket list.”

“Air conditioner quit today. Bad compressor. Fixed with a “bandaid”, but looking at a $4k repair really soon. Have I mentioned we just fixed the air in our Honda for $1k?”

“I’ve been waiting for Greg’s car to die for years. Check engine light came on. Now, with the new house, we NEED it to keep working. Little Toyota, I’m so sorry I hated you. I love you again.”

This all happened THIS WEEK. Needless to say, I’m riddled with anxiety. It seems like everything is falling at once, and the list of projects is getting longer and longer, while the bank accounts take hit after hit. But here is what is good about not being on Facebook. I would have put those status updates, and that would have been it. Now I’m forced to put it here, and give a real update. The update is this: I am not in control. No amount of stress or anxiety is going to make it better. I need to learn to be content with where I am at and remind myself of our great blessings. We have been blessed beyond measure. While this cheaply built home is driving me insane right now, its a HOME. A fantastic home by some standards. At least we have money to fix our air conditioners in the 115 degree heat; 2 years ago we wouldn’t have. Even if Greg’s car dies, we still have one. Even if all the stuff falls apart and we somehow lose our new home, I will be okay. Devastated, but okay, because I serve a God who is greater than my worries, my pride, my anxiety, and my control. I’m trying to find rest in that.

Enough heavy. 🙂 Because I simply cannot wait any longer to share some of our school room, here is a sneak peak at one of the parts!

This is part of our reading corner! I love how it is coming together, so organized and pretty. The top holds our All About Spelling cards, our build a word box, and a basket to catch random things. I’m going to purchase a file holder to also put up top to hold my hanging file folders for Letter of the Week, Expedition Earth, and any other lesson plans I may need for six weeks. I don’t want to keep it all out, so I’m going to rotate every six weeks. The second shelf hold my supplies bucket (extra manipulatives, craft supplies, etc), our Letter of the Week bucket (to hold our alphabet tiles, magnets, marbles, beads, etc used for some of the activities), and our Art bucket (paint, paintbrushes, modeling clay, etc.) The next shelf holds our curriculum. I found those plastic holders at Lakeshore Learning, and then organized them to hold our supplies. The Readers bucket holds all the books that Jackson can choose from during his Read to Self time, the Read Alouds (which is still mostly empty since I haven’t ordered them yet) will hold all the books that I read out loud to the children, and then there is Math/Science/ Logic and Writing/Grammar/Spelling. The bottoms shelf holds one more curriculum file, which is History/Handwriting/Electives, and then the blue basket which contains all the books we used last year. In our new house, a huge shelving unit is going in the schoolroom closet that will hold everything from past years, which I’m excited for. To the right you can see the CD player where Jackson can do Listen to Reading for any books we may have on CD. I’m going to replace these camping chairs with bean bags. Remember when we were kids and bean bags were cheap? What happened?!?!? I swear, bean bags are RIDICULOUS now. Inflation hit beans hard, apparently. 😉

Today I’m working on our calendar for Circle Time, which means I will have the “Days of the Week” song stuck in my head all day. Have a lovely Wednesday!

Our Curriculum for the 2012-2013 School Year

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I really can’t believe that its time to start school again! I’ve been in crazy lady mode as I print/laminate/copy/organize/plan everything; this is the first year really managing TWO kids at the same time. Jackson will be doing 3rd grade and London will be starting preschool. Brooklyn will do some stuff here and there as she is interested!

There are lots of changes this year! I’ve added in new things and replaced things that weren’t working as well. Our schedule has changed and the amount of seat time is different. I’m really excited to see it work; this is the most organized and in control I’ve ever felt, lol!

First things first…my planner. This year I am using the Ultimate Homeschool Planner. I am in LOVE with this thing! I saw it at the conference I attended back in March and couldn’t wait to order it and start using it.

It gives plenty of space to plan for multiple children, which I love. I’m basically running it by listing everything that needs to be done for each subject for Jackson, and then checking them off as we complete them throughout the week. London’s is planned out by day (hence why I added Mon-Fri above her section). It also has monthly planning pages and a yearly planning page.

Now, for the curriculum!

London: Preschool

We are using Letter of the Week by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.

While I actually haven’t used it yet, it was super easy to plan because she actually GIVES you the lesson plans for the week! Woo-hoo! All I have to do is print and laminate what I need for that particular week, write what I choose in my planner, and we are good to go! What’s great about using a curriculum like this is the blogger has posts about every lesson and how she did them…perfect for if you have any questions or would like to see how she intended an assignment to go. I have Letter A all printed, planned and ready to go. My goal is to having everything prepared for the entire year for LOTW so I can just grab it and go instead of spending an hour every week getting everything ready.

Jackson: 3rd Grade

We are stepping up our game this year! I am super excited to introduce The Daily Five into our Reading Block routine. For those of you who don’t know what that is, basically there are 5 stations that a child rotates through everyday. Those stations are:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
Listen to Reading
Word Work
Work on Writing

Doing this is going to make teaching two kids at the same time SO EASY! Basically, I will get Jackson started on Read to Self. I will spend some time teaching him how to pick out a book, what I expect of him while he is reading, etc. Then, he will find a cozy corner and read for 20 minutes. While he is doing that, I work with London. I get her started, working…by the time she is going strong, Jackson is ready for the next station. I’ll spend some time with him in a lesson (from Language Lessons and Writing with Ease), then start him on his next independent task, like Word Work. As the year gets started, I’ll do a whole separate post on The Daily Five so you can see it in action!

As for the books he is reading, I’ve chosen Core C readers from Sonlight. I will have to add more throughout the year since he reads through them so fast. We will use Sonlights Core A Read Alouds for our read out loud time.

Spelling: All About Spelling, Level 1. Level 1 we will fly through pretty quickly, so I’m sure I’ll be adding Level 2 and 3 throughout the year.

Grammar is First Language Lessons, Level 2. We loved Level 1 last year, so we are just continuing on!

Writing is sort of the hard one. I’m using Writing with Ease, Level 2 which is great for teaching comprehension, dictation, and narration. What I don’t like is that there aren’t any actual writing assignments. So, I’m supplementing with stuff I find from some of my favorite bloggers on Teachers Pay Teachers. I’ll do mini units throughout the year, and he will have to write everyday as part of Work on Writing in the Daily Five. Out of all my subjects, writing is the one I’m the least confident in.

Math is Math U See: Gamma. This is our third year using this curriculum and we love it! This year Jackson is learning multiplication!

Science: We are finishing Apologia’s Young Explorers Human Anatomy and Physiology. We started this in April and took a break during the summer. We will finish this before the school year ends, and then I’ll choose the next book, depending on what he is interested in at the time.

Geography: We are using Confession of a Homeschooler’s Expedition Earth! Just like her LOTW program, she has is all planned out. London and Jackson will be doing this together, but Jackson will have the country/continent/people group reports. I made their passports this morning…it should be really fun!

Electives: I haven’t added these in yet because I need to see how my day runs with our core. I have Artistic Pursuits for Art and am looking into a Latin language study. I probably won’t add these in until October.

As our year starts, I will blog about each of the elements in our Core, such as Expedition Earth, LOTW, All about Spelling, and The Daily Five; our daily schedule and how I organize my day; and tips and tricks of the trade. I’m really excited to see it all come together!