homeschool favorites of 2014

Some of the following favorites are curriculum, some are resources.  Keep in mind I love switching things up.  I have loved different things at different times, for different reasons.  As I made thins list I only put things on that I have loved the WHOLE year.  What are some of your homeschool favorites?

1.  Apologia Science– I have only used the younger series.

2.  Who is God?– We just started this Bible study this year.  I love it so much!  Even my preschooler likes to listen in.

3. Sue Patrick’s Workbox System– Do I ever shut up about this?  No.  I won’t until everyone I know gives it a go.  AMAZING!!

4.  Composition Journals– We never buy the supplementary notebooks that go with our science and Bible.  We use comp.   books!  We also use them for spelling (instead of have a bunch of loose paper), Math (same reason), and as writing  journals for the older kids.

5.  Spelling Power– Have not regretting this K-12 spelling curriculum one moment.

6.  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons– great for pre-K-2nd grade.

7.  Teaching Textbooks Math– I don’t think I can ever not have this in my life.  It grades, teaches, and is fun all-in-one!

8.  Purple Cow Laminater– I got this at Costco a few years ago for $20!  I love having a way to reuse printables I find  online.  No homeschool should be without one.

9.  Teachers Pay Teachers– My favorite resource for said printables.  There are endless FREE printables.

10.  iPoint evolution– I budgeted this into our school year.  I really wanted a METAL sharpener that could attach to the  wall, but this one was on sale at the beginning of the school year for $15.  I am actually glad to have this electric one so  the younger kids can use it without needing help.

11.  Confessions of a Homeschooler– This is a site I go to time after time.  She has wonderful printables and inspiration.

12.  Calendar Notebooks– This I have for pre-K through 6th grade.  My favorite FREE Calendar!  There are different  options for different grade levels.

13.  1Plus1Plus1Equals1– An awesome resource for montessori learning.  I love her sight words section most.

14.  You Can Read– FREE sight words lessons from the above site.  I love, love, love it!

15.  Local Library- THE best thing ever.  Free, fun, and a great place to meet other families.  Some of my closest friends  have been through storytime at the library.

I hope you found this helpful.  Please don’t forget to mention your favorites in the comments.

keepin’ it real

As the rest of the country is on summer break, we here at the farm are beginning our schooling again.  People often ask me if we do school “all year”.  The answerProofread Writing is, yes.

We break often, as we see fit.  We don’t usually do school if anyone is sick.  Sometimes we have other things to do around the house.  This was the reason for our four-week break during the move.  Basically that was our “summer break”.

So long as we’re keepin’ it real here, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  It aint always fun to home school. *gasp*  It’s true.  During these times I remind myself that it would be just like this doing homework with them after school.  Can you relate?

Even if you’re not a homeschooling family, I’m sure you know precisely what I’m talking about.

Here’s the reality of what can happen during school…

…Sometimes we’re very pleased with ourselves…

…sometimes we don’t have our hair brushed…

…sometimes mom wants to pull out her hair, hide under the table and haul their tails off the public school.

Then, she remembers that a call to home school was never painted as smooth-sailing or easy.

This is why a few scheduled days each month aren’t completed.  We know when we all just need a deep breath.  We need to keep it real and admit that we’re not perfect students or super mom.

We fail but we keep moving forward.  We know we’re not perfect and that’s okay.  We persevere.

papers, books, teacher’s dirty looks…

Wow.  Summer flew by us far too quick. We are now back in session.  This will be the busiest year for this mama yet.  Isa is in 3rd grade now, learning cursive and all.  Andre is starting 2nd, Olivia is joining in with Kindergarten, and Miss Josephine is just beside herself with excitement as she begins preschool.  We are hustling and bustling around these parts.  Daily routines are making way to a happy steady family rythmn…at least that’s the “plan” :)

Shall I won’t mention here– in this place where I try to remember the “good” in each day– that it takes awhile for us to adjust?  Not everyone is pleased to do their work, not everyone is obedient, there are issues of respect for authority, and following directions isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea.  We’ll get there, I know.  But sadly, amongst the papers and books, teacher has given plenty of dirty looks.

Don’t judge me.  I’m working on it.

Day by day I know we’ll all get to a place where expectations of new and wonderful lessons are on the forefront of every child’s mind. I don’t know how to achieve it, but I am making it my aim to instill a love for learning in them.  If you love to learn, you are self-motivated and curious.  I do believe this is the longest and most important lesson.  Wish me luck, or rather, pray.  Miracles happen, I’m sure of it.

What keeps your children motivated to learn?  I am praying that our switch in curriculum is the key.  Fun, memorable, unit studies are at our disposal.  Here’s to prayer and steadfastness.  It’s not easy to home school, it’s not always fun to home school, but it is this family’s calling and we’re sticking it out to the end.  Family in tote, books on shelf, Bible in hand, prayers on heart, with my loins girded…I’m heading into this sucker head-on.  Here’s to another year of learning.  *Raised coffee mug*  Yes, I’ve back-slid.  I fell off the wagon.  I’m drinking coffee.  And that’s all I got to say ’bout that.

First day of school 2011.

one teacher, lots of books, and sadly…dirty looks

As we have been implementing a regular learning schedule here, there has been resistance.  I won’t name names.  That’s not fair.  I will say that this resistance has been a learning experience for me.  I didn’t really want to learn these things about myself, but I did.  I learned that when for the umpteenth time a child drops a pencil or sticks it up the nose or in ears, I can be heard plea-shouting, “Please do not stick pencils in any orphases again!”  Honestly, What’s the fascination with that?

I also learned that having everything planned out is very good for everyone.  We can’t give up for the day because there’s a schedule to stick to.  A strict schedule must be adhered to if we are to enjoy the summer warmth outdoors.  I’m thankful I was able to complete the lesson plans.  Chocolate does so much for me, I can’t even tell you!

I’m also thankful to teach my children (no matter how many pencils drop).  I love to see the wonder in their eyes when they learn something amazing.  I love to see the curiosity during a science experiment.  I absolutely love when they relay the information they learn to other people…and teach them something.  I love homeschooling my children.  I truly do.  There are ups and downs, there are steps backwards, but there is an incredible amount of achievement and joy for everyone.  We have endless opportunities here to be knit closer together because of it.  And, we all know how much I love knitting.

Three chairs and two pencils up (off that darn floor) for homeschooling!  We shall finish this marathon together.  Be encouraged, you can do it too.

Lesson plans template for you to enjoy.

planning

It is offically becoming a yearly event.  Planning out the rest of the school year in January.  Doing this any time sooner doesn’t work.  I planned the year out already, and we have not come close to being “on-schedule”.  Summer and Spring and even Fall here are much to warm and fun to be inside doing work.  Winter is the season we get the most done on a regular basis.  So, that’s what I’m busy doing today.  Seeing how far behind our fun has gotten us.  This is best done with at least two erasers and a big hunk o’ chocolate. for security.  No fears though.

 

 

wintery

After weeks of seeing other blogs happily (and some not so happily) post pictures of wintery days, I can finally do the same.  Just yesterday I was wondering if it would ever look and feel like winter.  Highs were in the low 70s, lows in the 40s.  The yard was filled with birds hopping all around and the air was singing choruses of chirpping.  It was then that I realized where the birds fly “south for the winter”– here.

I’m not saying I completely love a frozen nose and chattering teeth, but to experience every season in it’s fullest makes the year more rhythmic.  This is my baking season.  Who doesn’t love the smell of baked goods lingering as the fire roars.  As much as we “slack off” of our lessons in the fall and summer, we more than make up for in the winter.  Long cold days call for much reading and learning here.  Cuddling under a blanket and discovering things we never knew about the human body, and diving into a world before electricity as we read about Benjamin Franklin has been our ventures this week.

Looking out the old wooden windows today has my thoughts turning towards cocoa and knitting.  Oh, knitting.  How I love thee on a cold winters’ day.  Can’t we all just be bears and hibernate?  It is so hard to get dressed during winter.  Pajamas are far too comfy and warm.  Our first snow is for-casted for tonight.  I have my reservations, but certainly my hope as well.

learning again

Next week will mark the start of the new school year for the Garcia kids.  They are excited to start leaning again, and I’m excited to restore a routine in our day.

Cabin fever is very real.

It’s started to manifest itself in all of us.

The lesson plans are completed up to January, so there’s no excuse on my part to put it off any longer.  Let the learning begin!