Monday, March 10, 2014

Oh my….a year later. Almost to the day! lol
I just noticed a pattern. Every March I post….because every March I suffer from mid year burn out.
I always have a very difficult time returning from Christmas break and then I continue to flounder until I break down mid March. Just like clock work. lol
Anyways, we have a busy week this week. We are heading to OK to visit with my sister during her Spring break. I know I need a break but at the same time I feel like we should be doing some work while we are there. I forever feel like we are behind. Not a great feeling.
Today is the only full day we have this week. I have to go downtown tomorrow to pick up my passport, Wednesday rachel has an eye appointment, Thursday the kids have mini sessions and Friday my cleaning lady is coming. We leave 6:00am Saturday morning.

To be quite honest I'm really struggling this year. I have a pre teen boy whom I am butting heads with on a daily basis.

Anyways, I was going to go into detail with my struggles but I best be off to tackle the day. But I'm thinking that maybe if I resurrect my little blog I may find some friends and some inspiration/motivation to carry through and finish this year on a happier note.


Monday, March 25, 2013

WEll...oh my it has been a long time since I last posted. :o)
Life got crazy...not in a fun exciting way. Life just became heavy and full with activities, driving, commitments and work,  I tried to squeeze homeschooling in there as well.
I was finally able to unload a huge pile of work responsibilities just before Christmas 2012. Then I crashed for a month! lol After a well deserved break down,  I worked really hard to improve our neglected homeschool. I organized, revamped, researched and implemented. I am now somewhat content with our little homeschool.
I want to get back to's such a great place to document the everyday things, the things that don't get scrapbooked. :o)

Come back soon....I plan on posting again very soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New System

Hello and Happy Monday!
So I just wanted to share with you my new little system. I love workboxes and believe in  the system, but we really had to seriously tweek it in order for it to work for us. James was getting very frustrated with all the little velcro circles, and no matter what I did it seemed like we never finished all the boxes in one day...never!  So we changed it up a bit.
Now I use this basket to corral all of our workbooks and text books that we are currently using. I also place chapter books and seasonal books that we are reading, like the Easter one in the picture.  The workbooks in the basket are the ones that I bought AFTER I ripped out the pages of my previous workbooks. They are in order and they all have tabs on them so I know exactly where we are. No page flipping. The tabs are removable, so when we are finished for the day, I move the tab for the next day.
When we finish a subject, I move the book to the back of the basket.

I also have these file folder "binders". They have six pockets in each book. The red one is Rachel's and the Yellow one is James. Every Sunday I fill each pocket with work for the day. We usually have four or five pocket full of work to do. The work I still in there is from the workbooks I had ripped out the pages from. Those workbook pages are filed and waiting for me to pull them out. So the kids work on those pages, while I teach a lesson to one of the other children. It keeps them busy so I can teach.  

This is what Rachel's pocket looks like, it's ready to go with all her work in it. (there are two days pictured)

When we are finished the day, the kids file their completed work into their binder. 
I use the binders to show our facilitator the work that we have been doing. 

Now the kids hate doing worksheets. So there are lots of games and such that we play. But when we do that sort of stuff, it makes me nervous because then I feel like we aren't completing as much as we should be, because I don't have worksheets to file! 
So I started keeping a journal of our accomplishments. I used to keep a planner, that I would write up on Sunday for the week, but I found that I was always crossing off way more than I was checking off on my planner, so I decided that a journal would be better. 
It keeps me accountable, and it also keeps a record for me to show to our facilitator. I also jot down little notes on concepts or areas that the children need extra practice in, or extra help with. That way I can keep track of their progress, and accomplishments. It's fun to go back through and see how far we have come. :o) 
Here it is:
The sheets are from (the best homeschool printables on the web!)

I keep the sheets in this orange duotang, and at the end of the week I file the three sheets. There is one sheet per child per week. 

I think that's about it for today. 
The kids did well today, we worked really hard and made a lot of progress. 
I'm also really starting to see the benefits of game playing. Even rolling the dice, is so beneficial for math skills. How come I didn't know that 15 years ago when my first daughter was born, I just thought kids learned in school, and that it was the teachers job to teach, and the parents job to love and care for their children. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chinese Lanterns

Today we started our first day using Math In Focus for James. It went well....I'm really hoping that it wil be the answer to our math issues. :o) The program works with manipulatives and lots of pictorials, before   leading into the abstract. I'm really praying that it is a good fit for James. I'll keep you posted. :o)

By The Way, the kit comes with way more than what is pictured,  we pulled everything out and started working on it before I had the chance to take a picture so this is what I had available to take a picture of!

I was poking around our neighborhood dollar store last friday and I found this great little kit. There was only one like it in the store....which is too bad, and it wasn't a dollar it was more like $10.00! But oh well. Anyways, the kit is called World Explorer and it is for grade three...perfect! The kit explores 10 different countries (well-USA and Canada are put together! ): USA/Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, China, Kenya, Morocco, Italy, France, & Australia.  There is a small text booklet that has a one page write up, per country, for all ten countries, and then a small work booklet that has five questions per country to answer, all the answers can be found in the text booklet. PLUS, there is a craft to complete per country, with all the supplies needed to complete each craft included!

I let the kids decide which country to start with....they chose China.
So we read the information on China, and then located China on our map, and on the globe-James knew that China was next to India; and Rachel raved that she knew where India was on the globe. (because we had studied India in December). We worked on answering the questions, and then the kids made these cute lanterns. We even learned that there ARE floating lanterns that people from China use during the Lantern Festival, just like the ones from the movie Tangled, that we saw a couple weeks ago!

Sorry about my picture being out of focus...I just bought a new DSLR, and have not learned how to use it yet!

 Anyways, that was our learning day today, the kids are now outside playing in the snow, and I am getting ready to clean up from lunch and get the house cleaned up before Emily gets home from school.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Hard

This week has been a particularly hard week. We have been suffering from cabin fever big time! The weather is very cold....-25 most days, and -36 with the wind chill factor. It's not even fun getting packed up in the car! It's really starting to have a negative effect on our little homeschool. So we are taking it a bit easier this week. We did some playdough playing and some finger painting. Plus we are planning on visiting Opa's pet store so we can finally stock our fish tank. 
Here are some pictures I took of the kids last week. We worked so hard last week! All the kids did so well.  

 James working really hard on his Math. We have experienced some struggles with math. But I have researched and purchased a different math curriculum for James. It's also a singapore approach. Singapore Math is based on understanding Math, concretely, and abstractly, and it's also a mastery program. I am hoping it be the answer to James math issues. It is due to arrive today so I can't wait to try it out. We have made huge leaps and bounds in Language Arts! James is reading very well. He doesn't completely enjoy it yet.....but he is reading very well. He has made such a remarkable improvement over last year! I really think it has to do with all that phonics work we did last year and this year. I know phonics alone isn't the answer, but for James, it has really helped him sound out his words. I'm so proud of him.

 Rachel is working really hard on her sight word recognition. I love the little sight word program we are using, it's multisensory. She does one word a day. It takes her about 15 minutes to complete the lesson, and then she knows the sight word. Each week we review all the words she has learned so far. She is very good at remembering all of them.  We also just started a program for grammar. I really love it! It's called Voyages in English. The lessons are really short and easy to complete. She also does a little sentence starter every day. Her math is coming along beautifully. I absolutely marvel at how easily math comes to her. I always had to work at math so it's fun to see her have fun with it.
Now that Matthew knows all his letters, I started him on a phonics program. It's called explode the code, it's really simple and easy for him. He almost knows all of his letter sounds.  He is working on handwriting in the picture. He is getting really good at printing-we are almost finished his book. 
I also just started Matthew on a math curriculum called Singapore Math. He's doing really well with it. It's also very cute and fun to work on. There is a lot of cutting and pasting-which he loves. Most of the work we are doing is Kindergarden work, so I'm not sure what we are going to do next year...if he ever went back to school-he would be a whole year ahead! :o) 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Pals Are Here

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! Things got so crazy at Christmas.....things are just finally settling down again.
I want to share with you a new science program we started this week. It's by the same company that publishes Singapore's called My Pals Are Here....not my favorite title for a science curriculum, but I really like it. It isn't completely aligned, but that's fine with me. For James the only topic not covered is Rocks and Minerals and Hearing...and we already covered those topics.

Anyways, the series starts with grade three and four. The books are organized according to theme, there are five themes-Energy, Life Cycles, Transactions, Diversity, and Systems. Each text booklet has a companion lab booklet. The text booklet are really cute, with lots of grade level vocabulary but not a lot of "blocks of text". The pictures are vibrant and fresh. After each chapter in the book, there is a chart that illustrates the concepts and the relationships between concepts.

This is all five text booklets. 

We have started with the Diversity theme. We are working on classification. The book starts with simple classification, living and nonliving. Then it progresses through classifying animals, plants and materials. It ends with testing building materials. I just love how the books are organized, it simplifies complex concepts and then ties them all together.

This is the text booklet. Love the pictures and illustrations.
 This is the lab booklet. The labs are short and don't require a lot of hand writing. But the questions are thought provoking and can lead into further discussion, and exploration of the concepts.

The thing I love most is that all three kids are interested in listening to the lessons. They all learn, even though the content is considered grade three level.
My four year old son asked me if the black goo from the spider man movie was alive...because it can move on it's own like all living mom it must be alive. :o)

If you have any more questions about My Pals Are Here...please ask.
Nicole Bailey

Monday, November 8, 2010

File Folder Fun. :o)

Rachel working on her Initial Digraphs and Matthew working on  Upper/Lowercase Alphabet recognition.

James working on his Initial Blends

This morning we got to work right away after breakfast. We have been doing lots of file folder games lately....the kids like them a lot more than the worksheets, especially for phonics. I am going to see if I can find some math file folders for Rachel and James....I could probably just make my own but wow that sounds like way too much work. I have two sets of file folder games, one set I had to cut out and glue to a file folder myself-very economical-but lots of work. The other set is already assembled-I just have to cut the game pieces out.

Have a great day!