Postcard exchange

I have recently joined a postcard exchange. I thought it would be an awesome way for kids to learn about other places people live. I think it would great if we could get more people to join from all over the country and the world.

 

If you want to learn more about it, visit these blogs:

http://mathairfiona.wordpress.com

http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com

 

If you would like to join, please feel free to contact me, or the two listed above. It’s a fun way to learn about Geography ūüôā

 

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Record Keeping?

I know a lot of people ask about record keeping for their children. I did a lot of searching for the best way to keep my kids’ records. I found a great website that offers a free grade book. I used it last year and it worked wonders for me. http://fivejs.com/free-homeschool-gradebook-record-keeping-spreadsheet-template/. You can keep track of grades, attendance, book lists, etc. If that one doesn’t work for you, there is also a website that has a list of other record keepers. http://www.iamhomeschooling.com/homeschooling-101/563-record-keeping-for-homeschoolers.

As for keeping track of their worksheets and projects, I use 3 ring binders and manila folders. I label each one with the subject and I put all of their paperwork in them. I keep them in order by date. When the 1st semester is over, I take them all out and keep them in a box labeled with the school year and the kid’s name. That way the folders don’t get too full and you will still be able to find all of their work for their portfolio at the end of the year. Every state has a different law about what you need to keep for each child. I live in SC and I have a tab on my page that has the laws for us.

It has been awhile….

It has been awhile since I updated my blog. We have been busy finishing out the school year and trying to decide what to do next school year. Do we continue to homeschool? Do we send our kids to public school? Or do we compromise and register for online public school? All of these options needed to be considered before we moved on.

After weighing out all of our options, we decided the best thing we could do was homeschool our son and sign our daughter up for online public school. The next big decision was which curriculum to choose that will best benefit our son who struggles with school. We researched curriculums, read reviews, and priced out different curriculums. We decided we were going to use a few different levels of Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool (www.allinonehomeschool.com). It is an all free curriculum and you can pick and choose different levels for your child so that you can tailor it to fit each individual student.

For our daughter, we decided it was best to sign her up for online public school. There were a few different options for her too. We decided the right fit for her was South Carolina Connections Academy (www.connectionsacademy.com/south-carolina-virtual-school).

Now that those two big decisions are made, it is time to start getting ready for the school year. I purchased a 180 day planner, plus planners for each of the kids. I have organized my planner for my son according to the Easy Peasy curriculum. I have also supplemented with Singapore Math (textbook and workbook) and Spectrum Spelling (workbook). For my daughter, I will be able to start her planner as soon as Connections Academy releases her weekly planners. The will have her curriculum planned out, and I will decide then if we need to supplement in any areas.

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Sight words or Phonics??

When I was in school (many moons ago), we learned how to read by understanding phonics. We learned the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes and then we learned how to combine those sounds into words. For me, I think that is a great way to learn how to read. If you can sound out all of your letters, then you are able to read just about everything.

Today in school, they are teaching kids how to read by “memorizing” sight words. This is not learning how to read, it’s learning how to memorize. Anyone can memorize words when they are put in front of you. But the real lesson in reading is to be able to sound words out without memorization. Sight words only help with those specific list of words. But what happens when they move off of that list onto other words? Then children need to learn to sound out the words. So why not start by using phonics? That is my million dollar¬† question.

I, personally, started our 4 year old off using phonics. We now have 25 words up on our word wall that she is able to sound out and read. The look of accomplishment that comes over her face when she is able to put sounds together to read words is priceless. And then she is able to put the words on the wall all by herself and she is so proud. To me, the fact that she can sound out these words by using the phonics being taught to her makes me feel proud that we started her early with phonics. As for sight words, we don’t use this list and never plan to.

Changing Curriculum… A good idea?

My son is struggling with some of the curriculum we are using and falling behind in a few classes. This is the 3rd curriculum we have tried. I am asking myself the question, “Is it a good idea to switch curriculum again this school year?” My answer: “If we continue with the curriculum we are on, he will not make it through the sixth grade. So, even though it will be a big transition again, I think that it will be better in the long run.” I know that switching curriculums may upset the current school year, but I believe in the theory that if something is not working, then stop what you are doing and try something else. That is what is great about homeschooling. There are endless possibilities to the kind of curriculum and methods you can use to teach your children. Every child learns differently and not every method or curriculum is suitable for every child.

So, with that being said, here we go on yet another adventure of curriculum changes. I think it will be great once we get transitioned, and we are going to be using a lot of the Easy Peasy All-in-one-Homeschool (allinonehomeschool.wordpress.com) so we will not be going out to buy expensive books or anything. I believe it will be a great transition for our son, because right now, he has the “I don’t care” attitude about school and we need to shake it up so we can get that attitude to go away. Please pray for us as we make this transition.

 

Busy Mom’s Book Challenge 2013

I don’t know about you, but I am a book lover. I love to read books. But as a stay at home mom and homeschool teacher, it seems like I never have any time to read for myself. Well this year, I have given myself a book challenge. I will read 1 book a month, each month this year. This is my challenge to myself. I am keeping track of the books I read at http://www.goodreads.com. Later I will be sharing which books I have read, along with my review of the book.¬†

If you are like me, and love to read but can’t seem to find the time, take the challenge. Give yourself 20 or 30 mins, before bed or while the kids are having lunch, to just read a book. It could be a new book or your favorite book. Just give yourself that one on one time with your book. It is the least you could do for yourself after a long day.

Where does time go?

It seems like yesterday I was changing our baby girl’s diapers. She is now four years old. We started her out¬†in preschool classes this year (homeschooling, of¬†course).¬†It is the first time she has ever experienced any kind of schooling program. She completely took off in Math. She is now working on single digit addition, moving into single digit subtraction. She was working on some things on www.AbcMouse.com, but she quickly outgrew those things. As far as reading, we put our first 4 words up on our word wall this week. We are working on word families. She seems to enjoy that. She loves books, so she is very motivated to learn to read on her own.

Today, I wanted to cry. My baby girl has outgrown almost all of her preschool classes, so we had to move her into Kindergarten so she could be challenged. She was becoming bored with the things we were doing. We signed her up for classes through www.time4learning.com. If you are not familiar with it, you should definately check it out. It is something we pay for. It is $19.95 a month, but going to be well worth it. She was so excited to be moving up a level, but I was sad to see her grow up so fast. One thing I have to say, though, is that I have never seen a child love school and learning as much as she does. It absolutely amazes me.

And onto our 6th grader… I haven’t posted much because we have been getting caught up on some things he had fallen behind in when he was in public school. I am so excited to announce that we have progressed back up into our 6th grade Math book!!! And we are gaining a lot of ground on Language class too. We are at about 5th grade level. For those of you who are unfamiliar with our situation, our son was pushed through many years of public school before we finally pulled him out to start homeschooling. When we started homschool in October of this school year, he tested into 1st grade Reading and 3rd grade Math. The amount of hard work he has put in and the amount of things he caught onto quickly was amazing. All he needed was one on one time and encouragement. So¬†what are we doing?¬†Math¬†we are¬†working on fractions and decimals, Language we are working on Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases, Science we are learning about friction, speed, gravity, etc. , and History we are working on the settlement of Jamestown. He seems to really enjoy this lesson. We are also working on our Bible lessons. We are working on a book called “Why…a Bible study for 9-12 year olds¬†¬† by Heidi Kreider“. We find her books on www.Smashwords.com.

So where does time go? It goes into teaching our kids in any way that works for them. It goes into making sure our kids enjoy learning so they will want to learn more! And it goes into making our homeschool mesh well with our family life so that we can spend as much quality family time as possible.