Category Archives: Homeschooling

Back to {Home}School

Once upon a time, I said I would never homeschool my children.

IMG_7011awmAnd, yet…here we are, embarking on our 8th year of homeschooling!

This year, I have 4 students…ranging from pre-school to junior high! That should keep me busy and out of trouble…or, not.

Rachel is in Pre-School this year:

IMG_6983wmShe is only 2, but loves being at the school table with her big siblings. I’m not entirely convinced that “pre-school” is an academic necessity. We tend to cover the content of most pre-school curriculum naturally, as we live life. So, while I am hesitant to push my littlest one into too much of an academic experience before she is really ready (something that, I’ve found, is very easy to do in the homeschooling world!), we decided to, cautiously, go ahead with a more formal pre-school time for our youngest this year. We are using Preschool Pathways by BJU Press. (We used this with Rebekah last year.) It can be set up for school time every day, or just a few days a week. It is colorful, fun, and laid back with a big emphasis on learning through play. But, at the same time, it will also give a little bit of structure and direction to her days, and hopefully help to keep her purposefully busy and engaged while I am “doing school” with her older siblings. I love that it gives us some special one-on-one time during our busy school days. And, even though their lessons are different, there are enough similarities that I will be able to combine some of her pre-school time with Rebekah’s!

Rebekah is in Pre-K this year:
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I know. I just said that it is very easy for homeschoolers to push our kids academically, or to assume that they are more advanced than they are. But… (There’s always a but.) One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to know my children, and to know their needs and abilities, and somewhat customize their education to match. Some of my kids have shown true interest and academic readiness “early.” But, we have generally tried to keep to a more traditionally accepted schedule. But, Rebekah will be 4 in October, which means that, if she were in the public schools here, she wouldn’t be eligible for Pre-K (or “Transitional Kindergarten”) until next year…and not eligible for real Kindergarten until just before she turns 6! This girl spent all of last year begging for more work. (So much so that I almost considered just putting her in Kindergarten alongside Titus!) So, waiting 2 more years would be tough on her. And, probably a little tough on her mommy too. We are going to be using Footsteps for Fours, by BJU Press. We do lots of playing, and coloring, and reading together. And, my goal is to keep things low key for her, and not push her into something she is not really ready for…but, at the same time, I don’t want to hinder a genuine desire to learn right now. So, this is a great fit. It will give us some focused learning time each day, but in a developmentally and age-appropriate way. Yes, she is almost 4…but she is still only 3. So, we are taking a similar approach with her, as we did with Titus, and we will just take it at her pace. Right now, she is all about school! And, I could definitely see her going through this much faster than the year-long plan that I have laid out. Or, her enthusiasm may wane a bit, and we may slow down as things get harder. And, you know, that would be okay too! For now, she says that she is looking forward to school (all of it!) this year!

Titus is in 1st Grade this year:

IMG_6992wm Again, according to our local school district’s calendar, he “should” be only starting Kindergarten this year. I had to put off teaching him to read a little longer than either he or I wanted (due to the demands of a job change for my husband, a new baby, a move, and my own health issues). He deemed this cruel and unusual punishment! So, my original plan to possibly stretch Kindergarten over 2 school years flew out the window before our last school year even started. He was more than up to every challenge I threw at him! Especially reading! Over the past year, he has become the family bookworm. He devours books, and reads above his grade level with incredible inflection and comprehension. Some of this may just be his natural bent…he is serious, analytical, and just loves to learn. But, I also credit a lot of this to how reading and phonics skills were approached in his Kindergarten curriculum.  So, we will be continuing with BJU Press for 1st grade. I pray that this will only continue to increase his knowledge, and strengthen and improve his skills and love of learning.  He said he is looking forward to all of first grade, but thinks that math is going to be his favorite subject this year.

Hannah is in 7th Grade this year:

IMG_7003wmI have a junior higher!! Speaking strictly as her teacher, I’ve dreaded this moment. But, as I looked over her curriculum, and planned out her lessons, I was surprised to find myself looking forward to it all! I am excited about what she will be covering in her different classes this year. Of all of my kids, I think she is facing the biggest changes, academically. After some serious consideration, prayer, and discussion, we decided to take a step back from the somewhat classically-eclectic approach (mixing classical, textbooks, and unit studies) that we’ve used in past years. We decided to go back to a more cohesive, unified curriculum, with a traditional, textbook approach. It just seems to be what works best for our family dynamics and schedule, and for the variety of personalities, learning styles, and abilities represented in my children. So, like her siblings, she will be using BJU Press for 7th grade. On one hand, her classes are still the most intimidating to me, because I have never taught them before. (Poor thing. As the first child, she is our homeschool guinea pig.) But, the school that I attended from 7th-12th grade used a lot of BJU Press materials. So, although they have been updated quite a bit in the past several years, I am actually very familiar with her curriculum from my own experience as a student! So, this year will definitely be a challenge, for both of us, but, I think it will be a very good one! After looking over her new textbooks, she says that she is most excited about her Literature book, and thinks that will be her favorite subject this year.

 Ready…Set…Go!

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Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Hannah Elisabeth, Homeschooling, Mommyhood, Rachel Susannah, Rebekah Ann, Titus Ryle

Solar Eclipse 2017

We weren’t in the path of totality, but I still thought it would be fun (and yes, even though we haven’t started school yet) educational, for the kids to watch a solar eclipse.

A friend gave us 2 pairs of Eclipse Glasses. But, I was still hesitant to encourage my kids to look at the sun. Even through safety glasses.

So, we made some simple viewers

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The kids had fun trying them out, figuring out the best way to see the semi-circle of the moon passing in front of the sun, and tracking the progress of the eclipse throughout the day.

I read that the gravitational pull is different during an eclipse.
Supposedly, this means that a broom can stand up by itself, and an egg can stand on its end.
So, just for fun, we decided to try it out…IMG_4133Here is the broom…standing up all by itself!

And, here is the egg…082It stood up all by itself too!

(I have no idea if either of these are actually due to a difference in gravity during a solar eclipse. Several websites claimed that both are possible at various times throughout the year. We may have to do a follow-up experiment and see if either one happens again!)

I did end up giving in, and allowing the kids to take turns using the glasses.
After some very stern lectures on how we never, ever, ever look directly at the sun!
We also invited our friend, Mrs. Vicky, to come over and watch with us during the peak of the eclipse.

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(We are having a little bit of remodeling done in our entryway, so there was a large piece of sheetrock waiting to be cut in the front yard. It was perfectly placed under the tree, which allowed the crescent shape to show through all of the leaves! So, the kids took turns using the glasses, and watching the shadows!

IMG_4209“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

~Psalm 19:1 (ESV)

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Filed under Homeschooling, Just for Fun, Life, Mommyhood

An Easy Homemade Eclipse Viewer

Solar Eclipse 2017. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Well, maybe if you’re in the path of totality, which, we aren’t. Here in Houston, we’re looking at maybe 60-70% of the sun being blocked. But, once in a lifetime or not, hi, I’m a homeschool mom. I still think it is a great learning opportunity! So, assuming the clouds move out of the way in time, we will be watching.

We were given 2 pairs of Eclipse Glasses. But, I’m still hesitant to encourage my children to look directly at the sun.

Protecting my little ones’ vision is very high on my list of priorities today. Protecting your vision should be too. But, I keep reading comments on Facebook from adults wondering how much harm it would really do to “just take a little peek.”

DON’T DO IT. Just don’t. Okay? Permanently damaging your vision, or your child’s vision is so not worth it. (Check out this article.)

There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to make a projection viewer. And, I’m going to give you another one… It’s quick, it’s super simple, easy to make at the very last minute, and unlike the ones made with Pringles cans, paper towel rolls, cereal boxes and aluminum foil, you probably have enough of everything on hand to make one for every member of your family.

Here’s what you need:2017-08-21_10-10-54_548

Index cards, and a hole punch. That’s it.

2017-08-21_10-11-29_894You will need 2 index cards for each viewer.

2017-08-21_10-12-28_551Punch a hole in one.

2017-08-21_10-13-19_961That’s it. Done.

Then, when you observe the eclipse, hold the card with the hole above, and slightly off to the side, of the other card, so the sun can shine through the hole. We’ve found it works best if you lay the card without the hole on the ground. The eclipse will be projected on the bottom card. And you, and your children, can safely observe this solar eclipse!

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Watching History

This morning, we watched the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

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As we do every 4 years, we watched history being made.

I have watched every Presidential Inauguration of my adult life (in addition to several before I was of legal voting age). And, since becoming a mom, my children have watched with me.

I am not proud to be an American. I am thankful. And, I want to my children to understand the blessing of the freedoms we have been given, and to be grateful for the privilege that it is to grow up in this country.

Over the years, I have watched the Inauguration of Presidents that I have voted for, agreed with, or was happy to see take office. I have also watched the inauguration of Presidents that I disagreed with, did not vote for, and did not want in office.

But, I have never once feared a violent, militaristic, governmental take over. I have never once feared a total disregard for the transfer of power. I have never feared a brutal and unjust tyrannical regime.

Maybe I should. But, I haven’t.

We have been blessed with peace, with security, and with freedoms unknown in most of the world. Regardless of who our President has been. Regardless of whether or not we deserved it.

The majority of the campaign season, through election night, and even up to the inauguration itself, has been frustrating, disappointing, and divisive, on so many levels.

But, today was a day of ceremony, tradition, and patriotism. We once again witnessed a respectful, peaceful transfer of power. From one political party to another. We heard lofty promises, and were painted a picture of an administration that would be vastly different from the one preceding it.  And yet, we witnessed several of our country’s past leaders, of differing convictions and political affiliations, sit side by side, to witness the inauguration of this country’s newest leader.

President Trump may not have been your choice. (He wasn’t mine.) But, as the President, he deserves our respect.

But, even more than that, he needs our prayers.

After the Inauguration Ceremony concluded, we took some time to pray for our country, and its leaders. We prayed that the Lord would graciously grant wisdom, discernment, integrity, and humility to President Trump and Vice President Pence, as they seek to lead a deeply divided country. We prayed for their protection. We prayed for the men and women they have chosen, and surrounded themselves with, who will advise, counsel, and help to lead this country. But, most of all, we prayed that their hearts that would be softened to the truth of Scripture, and for genuine repentance and salvation.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)

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First Day of School!

I spent the majority of August planning and praying over our new school year. And, ready or not, we started on Tuesday! Since Jason is off on Monday’s we don’t “officially” do school. We occasionally use it as a make up day, but mostly, we try to keep it free for family time…and the occasional field trip.

img_5812wmI have some very eager learners this year! (Rachel is included in the picture because, while she may not have an official “grade” designation, but she is learning so much every day, right alongside her brother and sisters!)

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Hannah: 6th Grade

(I am told that is middle school here. But, that sounds a little too much like junior high, and this mama isn’t quite ready for that.) She is looking forward to Zoology (of course) because “we finally get to study land animals,” and learning to play the flute!

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Titus: Kindergarten

I think his excitement for the first day may have rivaled (or probably exceeded!) mine. He was so excited! He is only 4, so he is still a little bit young, but this boy is ready! I know I should say that our plan is to go slow and keep it low key…but, it’s not. He is not having any of that. He is looking forward to everything!

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Rebekah: Pre-School

In addition to doing “official” pre-school work, we will be including her in our Bible and Zoology lessons, and Tapestry of Grace art projects and read aloud times. She is looking forward to learning to read, but, mostly, she is just excited to be part of our school days!

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And, ready or not…here we go!

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A selfie was the only picture I got with all of my “students” on the first day!

 

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