Fine Arts

My Curriculum Choices 2013: 5 year old 2nd grader

Part 1 of My Curriculum Choices discussed the choices for my eight year old. This time I'll tell you about the choices for my five year old.

Reading/Literature

NIrV Read with Me Bible Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability.

A Beka Book Second Grade Readers: These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book Language 2 that we are using. I like how they compliment each other and the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a resource guide for me that helps me select extra reading material for my son.

Writing

A Beka Book Language 2 workbook: I have used A Beka Book’s Language books in the past with my two oldest sons and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

I will also be introducing my son to cursive handwriting this year.

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I will continue this book with my children from last year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book Arithmetic 2: I have used A Beka Book’s Arithmetic books in the past and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s “Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures” by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at, which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

All Through the Ages by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on the Dark and Middle Ages and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book in the past and it works well for us. History is one of my sons’ favorite subjects.

Geography From A to Z A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton: This cute book will complement our multi-level study of geography through history. It introduces new geography terms in an easy and fun way.

In my last post, part 1, of this series, I explained why I haven’t listed all of the subjects that I am teaching my children. If you the last post and are interested in why I did this, please check it out.

Also, If you did read the last post, you may have noticed that many of my choices for my second grader are the same as my choices for my fourth grader. Though they each have their own Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic books, for many of the other subjects their books are the same. I use a multi level teaching approach in these other areas. This saves me time, and I feel they learn more when they can share and discuss what they have just learned with each other.

What are your kids’ favorite subjects and what do you use in those subject areas?

My Curriculum Choices 2013: 8 year old 4th grader

In this first part of a two part series I'm sharing my curriculum choices for our eight year old who is doing 4th grade work.

Reading/Literature

NIV Boys Bible by Zondervan: I want my son to continue his daily habit of reading his own Bible. This bible has a few study notes presented in an interesting way to boys, that help my son understand what he is reading better. 

A Beka Book 4th grade readers: These readers progress throughout the year together with the Language Book we use. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

A Beka Book Read & Think 4: My son requested this book. He used Read & Think 3 last year and loved the stories in them so much that he requested that I get the 4th grade book this year. His reading improved greatly last year!

Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt: This is a resource guide for me that helps me select extra reading material for my son.

Writing

A Beka Book Language A workbook: The A Beka Book Language series works well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

I will also be introducing my son to cursive handwriting this year. 

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I will continue this book with my children from last year. I like how this book combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book Arithmetic 4: We used the A Beka Book Arithmetic series in the past and they work well for my son. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book. Though this is a workbook, I plan to have my son use it like a textbook and write his answers on a separate piece of paper so we can reuse this book in the future with my other children. He usually needs more space than is provided to show his work anyway.

Science

Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s Exploring Creation series in past years. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

All Through the Ages by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on the Dark and Middle Ages and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from anti-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book in the past and it works well for us. History is one of my sons’ favorite subjects.

Geography From A to Z A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton: This cute book will complement our multi-level study of geography through history. It introduces new geography terms in an easy and fun way.

You may have noticed that I skipped a few subjects like Health & Art. It’s not that I’m not teaching my children those subjects, it’s that I don’t have specific text books for those subjects. Instead, I’m choosing to design my own plan for those subjects and other subjects I may be adding to the books that I’ve listed. Those areas not listed certainly aren’t forgotten.

Next week I'll tell you about my educational plan for my 5 year old who's doing second grade work.

Are you ready for this school year?

Staying Sane with Homeschooling During the Holidays

Around the holidays I can get stressed with homeschooling. I want to keep doing all of our regular school, but I also want to do special things for the holidays. Originally I tried to do both. That was a little too crazy and stressful for me (and the kids). More recently I’ve adopted a different two-fold method to manage during the holidays.

First, I plan ahead and lighten the load. At the beginning of the school year when I’m planning my schedule, I plan a reduced schedule (or extra time off) around the holidays. This way, I don’t have to stress about getting behind if we take the whole day off to bake a pumpkin pie instead of doing math that day.

Second,I incorporate holiday activities into our regular school schedule. During the time we would normally be studying history this week, we stop our normal history study (Greece this semester), and spend the week on Thanksgiving related history topics such as the Pilgrims, or how Thanksgiving became a national holiday, or we learn about our heritage. During our normal art time, we do Thanksgiving related crafts. During our normal time for science, we might learn about live turkeys, or how turkeys are processed to get to the grocery store (my 3 year old is really fascinated with this concept this year) or bake a pie. My holiday approach is similar to a unit study on the particular holiday. 

I find this method makes the holidays a lot more fun for the kids and myself and a lot less stressful. In fact, it’s even an enjoyable time of year to be homeschooling!

How do you stay sane with homeschooling during the holidays?

My Curriculum Choices 2012: 4 year old doing first grade work

Part 1 of My Curriculum Choices discussed the choices for my 7-year-old. This time I'll tell you about my first grader.

Reading/Literature

”NIrV Read with Me Bible” Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability.

A Beka Book “First Grade Readers”: These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book “Language 1” that we are using. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories.

“Alpha-Phonics” by Samuel L Blumenfeld: We started this book last year and are going to continue it this year. It is very simple. The lessons are short which is important since my son is still young. It is reusable which is important because I have younger children that I plan to homeschool in the future also.

Writing

A Beka Book “Language 1” workbook: I have used A Beka Book’s Language books with my older son and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Music

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library All-in-One Course for Children: I introduced the keyboard to my children last year with this book. I plan to make it a weekly experience this year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book.

Math

A Beka Book “Arithmetic 1”: I have used A Beka Book’s Arithmetic books with my older son and have been pleased with them. I like the convenience of having a workbook that my son can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia “Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s “Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures” by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at, which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

”All Through the Ages” by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on Greece and Rome, and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. I used this guide book last year and it worked well. History become one of my sons’ favorite subjects!

Health

A Beka Book “Health Safety and Manners 1”: I like the Christian perspective and short, simple approach to this topic.

“Before I was Born” by Carolyn Nystrom (God’s Design for Sex series): I like to review this book yearly with my sons to encourage a healthy Christian perspective of sex education.

In my post last week, part 1, of this series, I explained why I haven’t listed all of the subjects that I am teaching my children. If you missed last weeks post and are interested in why I did this, please check it out.

Also, If you did read last weeks post, you may have noticed that many of my choices for my first grader are the same as my choices for my third grader. Though they each have their own Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic books, for many of the other subjects their books are the same. I use a multi level teaching approach in these other areas. This saves me time, and I feel they learn more when they can share and discuss what they have just learned with each other.

If you have multiple children, do you use a multi level teaching approach? I’d love to hear why or why not?

My Curriculum Choices 2012: 7 year old doing Third grade work

In this first part of a two part series I'm sharing my curriculum choices for our 7 year old who is doing 3rd grade work.

Reading/Literature

"NIrV Read with Me Bible" Illustrated by Dennis Jones: I want to instill in my son the daily habit of reading his own Bible. I feel this Bible is written at the right reading level for my son’s current reading ability. 

A Beka Book "Readers": These readers progress with difficulty at the same pace as the A Beka Book Language book that we are using. I like the Biblical characteristics and morals that are woven into the stories. 

Classic Books such as The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Warner: I have selected a few classic books for my son to read this year in addition to the A Beka Book Readers. I want to expand his reading styles and introduce him to some classic literature. 

A Beka Book "Read & Think 3": The goal of this book is to improve my son’s reading speed. I like this book because the stories that it uses are often historical.

Writing

A Beka Book "Language 3" workbook: We have used A Beka Book "Language 1" and "Language 2" in the past. They seem to work well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook that he can write in. I like how it explains the language rules and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Music

Alfred's Basic Piano Library: All-in-One Course for Children-Book 1: I introduced the keyboard to my children last year with this book. I plan to make it a weekly experience this year. I like how this books combines lesson and theory into one simple book. 

Math

A Beka Book "Arithmetic 3": We used A Beka Book "Arithmetic 1" and "Arithmetic 2" in the past and they seem to work well for my son. I like the convenience of having a workbook that he can write in. I like how it explains things simply and then gives opportunities to practice them and review them throughout the book.

Science

Apologia "Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day by Fulbright: We used Apologia’s "Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures" by Fulbright last year and it was a good fit for us. This series is written from a creation perspective and I can use it with multi-level teaching. It is more in-depth than many other science books I have looked at which works well for my analytical son and it has lots of simple hands on experiments and activities for my more hands on son.

History & Geography

"All Through the Ages" by Christine Miller: This is a resource guide for me from which I plan to select books on Greece and Rome, and obtain them from our library system. This guide makes it easier for me to select quality books from these historical time periods for my sons that are safe from non-Christian biases. This is a multi-level teaching approach. I used this guide book last year and it worked well. History become one of my sons’ favorite subjects. 

Health

A Beka Book "Health Safety and Manners 3": I like the Christian perspective and short, simple approach to this topic. 

You may have noticed that I skipped a few subjects like Spelling & Geography. It’s not that I’m not teaching my children those subjects, it’s that I don’t have specific text books for those subjects. Instead, I’m choosing to design my own plan for those subjects. For instance for Geography I’m planning on using a computer game called Seterra for part of our curriculum. My son will also be writing reports about different states he studies. I’ll even incorporate current global events and ethnic nights into our geography curriculum. So even though I haven’t listed a text book, those other areas certainly aren’t forgotten.

Next week I'll tell you about my current educational plan for my 4 year old who's doing first grade work.

Have you started your school year? What is your favorite subject to teach and how are you teaching it?

Useful Junkmail-An Oxymoron

I hate wasting things. I’d probably be a hoarder if I didn’t hate clutter so much. Because of my unique combination of personality traits that God has created me with, I try to find non-traditional uses for things that I would otherwise just throw away (If I can’t find an alternative use for something I still throw it away, so in case you were wondering, no, I don’t have a big ball of dental floss hidden in a cupboard somewhere in my house). One of the items that keeps coming into my house, that really has no traditional usefulness, is junk mail. Since we have such a plethora of it, I have through the years come up with a few creative, educational uses for the junk mail I am constantly receiving.

Gift Stress

My husband and I sometimes struggle with giving gifts to our children or receiving gifts for our children from others. We are thankful for whatever our family receives and are truly appreciative of the sentiment behind the gifts given to us and our children. However, sometimes the gifts we receive bring with them issues.

One of the issues that sometimes arises with gifts of toys, is the educational value of them. We are okay with our children playing with toys just for fun, but we don’t want mindless entertainment toys that quickly lose their entertainment value to be the main focus of our children. We prefer toys that serve some form of educational or developmental value. We feel that quality is far superior to quantity in the area of toys.

The other main issue that arises with gifts of toys for us is quantity. The reasons are two-fold. First, there is the general issue of a large quantity of toys and the stress it places on the child. There are studies on this topic so I will summarize it to say children with fewer toys are often less stressed and happier (which also makes Mommy less stressed and happier).

The second part of this issue, is that we live in a small house with very limited storage space. I am constantly going through stuff in our house to try to make room for other stuff that I deem more important. When we receive more stuff, there is always the question of where to put it. Even if the stuff received is more exciting and fun toys, the question of where to put it still remains.

We’ve done a few things to help deal with these issues. We now limit the number of gifts we give to our children. We usually choose no more than three gifts per child. Sheer quantity helps with the issues of storage immensely. We are also mindful of the size of the gifts we choose. Some things are simply too big for our space and are therefore just not options.

We have also stopped giving mostly just fun entertainment toys to our children. We now give mostly stuff with a purpose. In addition to the old standby option of clothing, we have gotten a little more creative. This year one of our children is getting a new backpack because his old one is worn out. Our children love art projects so they have gotten things like glue and tape and even construction paper before. They love this! It’s also helps our financial budget. We like to give our children educational gifts as well, like science books about animals, manipulatives they can play with, a microscope to view things, or a globe to learn about the world. Sometimes we give these gifts to an individual child, but often the educational gifts we give jointly to all the children to share. Another type of gift that we have considered, but not yet given, are less tangible items like a zoo membership, tickets to a museum or sporting event, or a state park pass.

Not only have we made these personal changes in our gift giving to our children, but when grandma and grandpa inquire about gift ideas, we make sure to request these types of gifts as well.

One thing we have done to help with the quantity issue after Christmas, is the “In one, out one” rule. If you are not familiar with this one, it means that when you receive “one” gift “in”, you take “one” item “out” and get rid of it. I usually do this with my children a week or so after Christmas or their birthdays.

We also encourage our children to give of their own stuff to others throughout the year. This takes a bit of effort on my part to find areas for them to give their stuff that it will be appreciated, but it is worth it. In addition to minimizing the quantity of toys that creep into their space, it helps them learn to be givers. Which is a lifelong character quality I want to instill in my children.

Merry Christmas!

 

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