christmas in june: homeschool goodies have arrived!

It’s that time of year all the homeschool geeks look forward to.  Curriculum purchases.  Throughout the school year I research and plan and drool over what we’ll do next year.   I try to adjust to the needs of each child, find the best deals possible, and buy a few items that are NOT curriculum to enhance our homeschool collection.

In years past I have bought a laminator, microscope, learning kits (butterfly pavilions, ect), high quality art supplies– this year it was 3 computers.  They were $200 each!  Thank heaven for tax returns.  The reason behind that purchase was a new curriculum for my 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders.

Switched on Schoolhouse (SOS) is what I landed on for the older 3.  The most important reason behind it was the fact that I’m working full-time.  I needed something that would literally teach them for me.  They will still need some guidance and questions answered, but this form of schooling is what will work best for our family life.  It grades automatically (glory hallelujah!), lists their daily assignments, and I can customize the school schedule any way I please.  It’s a bit on the pricey side in my opinion.  $400 for 5 subjects (Bible, math, language arts, history/geography, and science), but I am very excited that the will be getting a full and comprehensive education with very little prep on my part.

The younger 2 will be using LifePac by the same company, Alpha Omega Publishing.  I have never used that either.  It’s self-teaching as well for readers.  It’s very easy to teach Kindergarten from what I can see.  Therefore, Nick will be able to read and guide the little guy if work takes me away before we finish for the day.  That was an important element for us as a family this year.  It must all be streamlined so anyone (even a babysitter) can help the kids.

Liv has decided she wants to start school right away.  Our projected date for the new year is July 20.  It’s couple weeks earlier than the public schools which gives us a head start and the ability to take breaks when we want.  Everyone’s jazzed about the new learning setup.  Including this super excited nerd mom.

IMG_2885 IMG_2886What have you picked for the upcoming year?  Do you school year-round?  What tips do you have for other homeschool mamas?

homeschool wind down

There have been a few months of adjustment for homeschool and work.  I think we’re finally hitting our stride.  The kids are back to our regular routine.  It has taken a while, but we’re there.

It’s relieving to have them finishing workbooks.  Each have math left.  Isabel also has writing.  Josie, Olivia and Andre have handwriting.  Liv has language.  We are down to the basics now!  It’s very exciting.

Desmond is finally excited to work on his pre-school learning.  I still can’t believe he’ll be in kindergarten next year!  My baby is a tiny boy now.

IMG_2480 IMG_2477 IMG_2475 IMG_2474

Liv had a sick tummy this today :(

IMG_2473

IMG_2471

ABC Mouse is a favorite for Desmond!

crazy thoughts: why I want to be a vagabond and roadschool

Yesterday was my day off.  I had big plans of cleaning and catching up on things around the house.  Instead I spent most of my free time looking at tiny houses and fifth wheels.  Something about our western life seems to feel like a burden to me.

I know I’m thinking crazy vagabond thoughts, but wouldn’t it be so freeing to not spend all time and money pouring into housing and mundane life? What if all the traveling I’ve longed to do , and places that would be so enriching for the kids were a reality?

Yesterday I allowed myself to DREAM…

I do this often.  Just daydream.

What if we roadschooled?  Lived for months at a time in a camper?

Is someone poisoning my food and making me think all these crazy things? I’m sure my husband thinks that’s where all this is coming from.

I realize this.

But, truly, it’s a need to free myself from burden.  Think about it…we spend our whole lives working our hands just so we can pay for a house.  What if that money was spent on life experiences?  Traveling the country…the WORLD!  We could know things about life and God we could never know without taking a leap.

Could we be free to go wherever we wanted?  What would that look like?

I imagine all the people we could meet and help and encourage.  I imagine our family relying and trusting and just being with each other.  How close would we become?  How would that shape our character?  How many opportunities would we have to fully rely on God and trust Him?

I want to place myself in an uncomfortable position.  I want our family to LIVE, to EXPERIENCE, to LEARN, to TRUST, to DREAM.

I’m half way across the world already.

Can you just pretend with me for a minute?

I know it’s a long-shot.  I am dreaming anyways.  Let me be…FREE for a moment.

What sorts of crazy thoughts do you have?  If you could do or be anything, what would it be?  What/who stops you from doing it?

What does your FREE look like?

 

mystery of history curriculum review

I posted here about all the curriculum we’re using this year.  We are continuing through Mystery of History Volume 1.  I’ll let you know right off the bat, we LOVE it!.  I had a request several months back for a review.  Now that we’ve used it for a reasonable amount time, I’m ready to give you my full review.

Please keep in mind, we haven’t completed the book.  I can tell the system of it now, and that every lesson follows the same format.  The simplicity of this curriculum is one of its greatest strengths.  If your child can read you don’t even need to “teach” it.  It’s written to the child.  The activities are short and common enough (no crazy shopping lists) for us to be able to complete them all.  The only thing I purchased was a sewing board for our timeline.

I love the timeline.  It folds up and fits in compact areas.  Timelines we had in the past never got put up because I didn’t like it all over my house.  We don’t have a school room.

So, here’s how it looks.

IMG_2242

 

IMG_2246

IMG_2247

Every three lessons, the timeline and memory cards are filled out.

IMG_2243
IMG_2244 IMG_2245

 

There are review tests and pretests.  These are short but impacting.  No over testing involved

 

 

IMG_2248 IMG_2249

 

 

All the activities we do are filed in a binder, along with tests, and reviews.  The sections we have in our binder are categorized by geographical regions.

The curriculum’s flexibility  is wonderful.  This is designed for K-12.  One book of history for all grades!  You know I love a multi-leveled curriculum. This doesn’t disappoint.  You can make the activities as complicated or simple as you need to.  You can also turn each lesson into a week-long study if that’s what you like.  We don’t.  I usually have books for the week’s topics in every reading level.  They read more in-depth information on their own.  If I’m particularly unorganized or behind, I pull up online articles for the older kids to read.

I don’t say this often but, I can’t see myself ever searching for a different history book for our schooling.  I love that we can do this together, or I can plan out independent study as the kids get older.  There’s just enough written to cover it well, but not to bore them out of the fun of learning history.

We love!  Here’s a link for more information.  There are different volumes.  When you complete one you go to the next.  Then you can circulate them.

I have also done a YouTube video that goes through the book details.  Thanks for reading.  I hope this was helpful.  Please ask any questions you may have.  Have a great day of schooling those babes!

what’s in our workboxes: 4th and 6th grade (using a filing cabinet)

Are you tired of hearing about the Workbox System?  No, you’re not!  I’m not a bit tired about talking of them either.

This video tour shows you what’s now in our file cabinet “workboxes”.  I love this file system for the older kids.  They love it and chose not to get a rolling cart when given the choice to upgrade.

This is great for apartment and small spaces as well.  They key to having them feel motivated in this setup, is to make sure you fill their schedule every time.  The will see their progress and get motivated to finish well.

So without further ado, the video tour.

Do you use workboxes?  What’s your favorite method?