Lindsey’s Journey

homeschool-journey
Confessions of a “New” homeschooling mom

homeschool-journey Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Lindsey Clair and I am a happily married (12 years to my best friend) mother of three girls.  I am about to embark on a journey and chapter in my life which greatly includes my children.  What journey could it possibly be? You’ve guessed it,  homeschooling!  If you would have told me this a few years ago I would have laughed in your face but all this became real to me towards the beginning/middle of this last 2010-2011 school year.  My oldest daughter just completed her final year at a local public school and has been there the past three years.  It was a great experience and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it but I just felt a tug towards home education and my girls seem to be on board the decision as well.

Sweet pea will be starting third grade (8), cupcake will be starting Kindergarten (5), and jelly bean well, (These are our daughters nicknames in case you are wondering, we aren’t weirdos, I promise lol) she’s our little 2 year old toddler so you get the idea where we are at with that stage of development.  Yes, we are currently potty training and it has been a wonderful bed of roses. HA! Yeah in my dreams, right?  No, it’s been a challenge but I am hoping, just hoping and believing she will be fully potty trained before the start of the school year.  I guess this will be one of my major challenges as a home educator. I  would rather not chase around a toddler but I am brain storming ideas throughout the day to keep jelly bean occupied all the while learning.  Thankfully, being an early childhood educator this task will become easy, did I just say easy?  Okay, it will again be a challenge but hey, they are only so little once I would hate to rush this stage of development. We will all just roll with the punches so to speak.

As a new homeschooling mom I can honestly say in the beginning I went through a brief, very brief, honeymoon phase.  I was super excited and on top of the world knowing I would be my daughters teacher.  But, then it hit me.  Wait a minute! Can I really do this? Can I really teach my child at home?  Apprehension started sinking my feelings of joy then eventually anxiety took over and then I just felt completely overwhelmed.  What was I to do?  With whom should I talk to?  It was then I started researching high and low everything Michigan had to offer as far as homeschooling goes.  I fortunately found a wonderful homeschool fellowship in Northville, Ward Homeschool Fellowship.  It was there I was greeted very warmly and all my worries and fears were completely gone, well for that time being.  Shortly after joining the group and joining on with HSLDA, I started realizing that it was all going to be okay.  Why?  Every homeschooling family is different and what may work for one may not work for the other.  This statement completely helped me put things into perspective on what it actually means to”Home school.”

I am still a little apprehensive here and there because our journey begins the last week of August, (kind of a preview/practice week) and then full swing after Labor Day.  I am only doing what I know I can do as far as schedules and keeping things in order.  Sweet pea will be doing A Beka and cup cake will be doing a “Learn at Home“series by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  I realize that these curriculums may not work for them and I may end up switching completely.  I was told it will take some working with different ideas etc. until I fully know what will work for my children.  I am totally fine with that.  My main goal is to just stay relaxed and not get all stressed out about it.  Breathe in, Breathe out!

What about you?  Are you a new homeschooling mom?  What feelings have you experienced?  I would love to hear from you.  Stick around on my new journey as a homeschooling mom.  I am sure it will be quite a ride but I can’t wait to share withyou the things I have learned.  If you are a seasoned homeschooling mom or dad, I would love to hear from you as well. Any advice is always valued, especially since I still have no clue how this is going to work for my family.  Hey, sometimes it’s fun not knowing right?  Surprises in life make life very interesting!  Happy Homeschooling!

*I just wanted to say a big thank you to Christina for allowing me the opportunity to share my journey with all of you.  I look forward to meeting new families and creating new friendships along the way! 

New Homeschool Year
Gearing up for a “New to Homeschooling” support meeting

New Homeschool Year Well, I can’t believe it, we are now in the month of August which means time to think “back to school” right? Well, homeschool of course. Walking through Target the other day I noticed all the back-to-school supplies and almost got burdened by it thinking I had to pick up my daughter’s school supply list. Then it hit me, WAIT! I don’t have to do that. I can just get the supplies I need for my homeschool and call it a day. It felt so good to not have to worry about details like that. Now I look at the back-to-school supplies in a different light, and it’s a much brighter light I must say.

Anyways, with all of this homeschool planning just today I received a group email through WHSF that there will be a homeschool support meeting for new homeschoolers on Monday, August 15th, from 7pm-9pm at Ward Church in Northville. Let’s just say I will make it a point to be there since well, I am new to homeschooling and support from seasoned and veteran parents is just what I need right now. It will be so nice to have my questions answered. I won’t feel like I am hanging suspended in the air anymore. HA! So great.

I think after the meeting I will be able to get all my ducks in a row and start homeschool planning with a little more confidence. I am excited to be starting on this journey and can’t wait to connect with so many fellow homeschoolers. It is now that it is starting to become more real and thankfully, I am not alone!

Homeschool-Curriculum
Curriculum Overload

 

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As a new homeschooling mom I think I am having curriculum overload.  Is this normal?  I have heard so many different things about ways to approach home education that I am now trying to figure out what is best for my children.  For now, I am going to try a packaged curriculum (A Beka) with my oldest daughter (8) and a variety with my Kindergartner just because she is still so young.  And well, my toddler I will just be giving her age appropriate things to do in the mean time.

I of course want to eventually figure out what their learning styles are and I am definitely prepared that each girl will be different.  My head is spinning just thinking about it.  For all of you moms that have been homeschooling for two years or longer, what do you suggest?  I guess because I am just starting out I will have to play around with different learning styles and curriculum’s until I figure out what is best for them.  My concern is how pricey some of these curriculum’s tend to be.

I think my curriculum overload began when I attended my first homeschool book sale a few weeks back.  Talk about wow!  There were so many to choose from.  At first I was super excited then that bubble completely burst when I couldn’t figure out what was best.  Because I am familiar with A Beka curriculum I just jumped on that for now for third grade.  The Learn @ Home series with a variety of supplements is what I will be working with for my Kindergartener.

Have any of you ever tried Time4Learning.com?  I have heard mixed reviews about it.  I am currently doing a free trial and then doing a blog review for them.  So far, the only thing I have noticed that it doesn’t seem to be perfect for complete homeschooling.  I see it more as a supplement or summer sharpener.  Please share with me your experiences with Time4Learning if any.

I am still also searching for the best foreign language curriculum or program for homeschoolers.  If you know of any or are currently using one that has been successful for your children, I would love to hear from you.

I guess I just need the assurance that my feelings are completely normal and I am not going crazy with all my rollercoaster feelings.  Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to begin this homeschooling journey but boy, do I feel like I am heading into this completely blind.  I look forward to your comments and connecting with many of you in the future!  Maybe some of you that are also new to homeschooling will be attending Ward Church’s Homeschool Fellowhip in Northville on August 15th at 7pm, If so, I will see you there.

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling schedules examined

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Well, I can honestly say that our “homeschooling” area has been established and cabinets have been stocked.  I am ready to start homeschooling, I think! HA!  Well, after attending the New Homeschoolers” support meeting at Ward Church this past Monday evening a lot of my questions were answered and fears were put to ease.  Thanks goodness I am not the only one feeling like I am standing out on a limb heading into this.

One of the biggest topics of the night, and you’ve probably guess it by now, was “SCHEDULES.”  One of the main questions I heard asked was;” How is a typical homeschool day usually run?”  After quite a few chuckles the answer was simply this: “You have to go with what you’re comfortable with.”  There is no right or wrong way of doing it as long as you are educating your children properly and daily.”  Some seasoned parents expressed that they “didn’t have any schedules and just went with the flow during the day.”  Now, as a major scheduler this will not work for me.  I must have a schedule and routine.  Other parents in the same boat as myself expressed that they “did have a time when they did what and when.”  But, and this is a BIG but….”don’t stress or freak out if you don’t get through everything in one day.” Only you know your child the best, try to work around what they are comfortable with too.” With this in mind you may have a happier child and a child who is willing to learn instead of them feeling pressured here and there.”

Wow, okay, so let’s just say after all of this information I came home and changed around my schedule a little bit.  Let me just say it was pretty intense and very, very structured.  Maybe too much.  I don’t want this to become a negative experience that is for sure.  And who knows, I may end up changing my schedules a hundred times before the year is out.  It’s always good to try things out though right?

As a homeschooling parent, whether new or seasoned, what do you think about homeschooling schedules and what does your “schedule” look like?  I most definitely would love to see the differences or the similarities of your schedules.  Please feel free to share with us.

~Happy Homeschooling!

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The Homeschooling Roller Coaster

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Don’t you just love those wild and crazy  roller coasters at amusement parks much like the ones at Cedar Point?  I can honestly say that I do and I always get those butterflies in my gut while climbing up that very first hill.  The one that really gets me is the Millennium Force at Cedar Point.  Traditional and classic roller coasters you usually climb up the hill nice and slow but not with the Millennium Force.  As soon as you are strapped in and seated, the ride begins and it takes you up that first steep climb pretty quickly causing extreme butterflies and possible apprehension.  That first drop is a big one and not knowing how it will turn out is always the question, right?  Well, this pretty much goes for homeschooling, especially being new to the whole adventure.

Right now I feel like I am climbing that hill (not at a slow pace I might add) getting ready to take the first drop and wondering how everything will turn out. The first start of my drop will begin this coming Monday the 29th, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, etc., well,  you get the picture.  I think by the time I reach the end of that first hill so to speak on Friday I will have a clue as what our homeschooling journey will like.  Right now it’s just those endless butterflies and apprehension like I mentioned.  I have told myself to relax and the support of homeschooling families have been great but I guess when starting something fresh and new it’s just inevitable to feel this way.  Don’t get me wrong I am also VERY excited as sometimes the unknown can be quite a rush at least it was this way in the beginning, now getting closer not so much.

Who is currently climbing that roller coaster hill with me?  Are you ready for that first drop?  Let’s just throw our arms up to the sky together and begin on this journey the best that we can.  Please feel free to share what your homeschooling roller coaster ride has been like.  I most definitely would love to hear from you.

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey: Week 1

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All I can say is “wheewww” what a week!  We did it though, we completed our first homeschooling week and made it safely to the bottom of that homeschooling rollercoaster I had mentioned in a previous post.  Was it a smooth ride?  Not at all.  There were quite a few bumps and obstacles along the way but I think we worked through those now and have an idea of how our schedule will flow.  I am so glad that I went with my gut instinct feeling and started this week because after Labor Day the extra curricular activities (dance, piano, and Palaestra classes) will blend into the mix.

Were we able to stay on our homeschooling schedule that I created a few weeks ago?  Yes and no.  I am realizing that I will need to just use it as a guide and roll with the punches so to speak.

Day #1.  I can honestly say that the first day of our homeschooling adventure (Monday, August 29th) was very intense and quite frustrating.  How to tackle a third grader, Kindergartener, and a toddler’s schedule was quite challenging to say the least.  By the end of the day I was asking myself if this was for me and my family.  Of course when starting something new you have to give it time.  I can honestly say just after that first day I felt discouraged and was ready to just pull the plug on the whole thing.  With much encouragement from my husband and extended family I was able to keep my focus and just keep pushing forward.

Day #2, August 30th, was so much better than day #1.  Things started rolling along and I felt as if my girls were actually learning and excited about our new journey.

Day #3, August 31st, made homeschooling an exciting experience, finally.  We were really starting to cover some ground all the while potty training my toddler.  All I can say for that is WOW!

Day #4, September 1st, was hectic but we rolled smoothly.  It was a very productive day!

Day #5, September 2nd.  We just did some review and unit studies and called it a day after the morning hours so that we can enjoy Labor Day Weekend as a family!

If you and your family completed your first week as a homeschooling family I would love to hear how your adventure went.  Please feel free to share with us your experience.

~Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey: Week 2

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Well, last week we officially completed week two of our new homeschooling adventure.  Let me just say it was much easier than the first week though we are wholeheartedly trying to establish our own routine and schedules.  I thrive on structure and routine so this is a must in our homeschool but I do allow room for flexibility of course.  I don’t want to be too hard but I don’t want to be too lenient either.  There just has to be some sort of balance or this momma will go crazy nuts and turn into a bear ROOOOAAARRR! Hahaha.  Just thought I would throw that in there if any of you out there can relate.

This past week was also exciting for us as we got to experience the “Not Back to School picnic over at Trinity Church in Livonia on Wednesday, September 7th.  Though it was a very dreary and rainy day many homeschooling families still came out and took advantage of the resources that were made available.  We didn’t get to meet new families like we wanted to because of the rain but that’s okay, more events to come I am sure.

Friday morning began the Palaestra adventure.  My oldest daughter (8) is taking Fashion Design and my middle daughter (5) is taking a class called “Brain Games” which is a math and language arts supplement.  The girls had a blast and look forward to the weeks ahead.  I met quite a few new families and a few I have already met through Ward Homeschool Fellowship.  I got the awesome opportunity to chat with seasoned and veteran homeschooling moms.  This helped me so very much and the main words of advice I received, (and these same words may help you as well), is “get to know your children first.”  “Even if it takes a few weeks just really get to know your kids.”  “Don’t worry about curriculum as of yet.”  This made so much sense to me and words that I most definitely have taken to heart.  Though we already started our curriculum, I do plan on setting a side special times throughout each  day just to get to know my children in a different light so to speak.

I would love to hear how your homeschooling journey has been.  In the weeks ahead I not only will be talking about our experiences but I will also share recipe ideas for kids, projects, etc.  Please feel free to share with me your ideas as well.   Homeschooling families need each other!

~Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey: Week 3

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It is hard to believe that this past week has marked our third week of homeschooling.  I can honestly say it has definitely been an adventure but is it normal to feel this exhausted in the beginning? Ha ha!  It’s getting better now considering that the nights leading up to homeschooling I was not getting much sleep due to excitement and nerves.  (Plus my gears were constantly spinning, bet you can relate)!

We are gearing up for our very first homeschooling field trip coming up on week four.  Palaestra families will be meeting out at Erwin Orchards for apple picking, cider and donuts, and a Bee 3-D adventure movie.  The girls are beyond excited and I can’t wait to meet more families.  This past Friday, September 16th, I got the privilege of meeting two new families at Palaestra, let me just say this excited me beyond words.  When you started homeschooling did you feel like a fish out of water?  I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with families since I noticed many have already been homeschooling for a while establishing solid those connections.  Thankfully, these wonderful families have welcomed me and other newbies with open arms.

How is your journey unfolding?  I would love to hear from you, don’t be shy!

~Happy Homeschooling =)

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 4 and 5

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Happy fall to all my fellow homeschooling families.  I can’t believe that we are a month in on this adventure.  So much more is unfolding each day and routines are finally starting to fall into place.  I can honestly say I had a couple dark days these past couple of weeks but we made it through  and we are now back on track, thank goodness.  What do I mean by dark days?  Well, I was having my doubts and was starting to feel like a failure in this whole thing.  I was really just  ready to just chuck it all and send them back to school.  I was starting to feel like I wasn’t cut out for this.  In all honesty, I know that my family is supposed to be doing this and the battles in my mind were there to discourage us as a whole.  We fought the battle and won.  I had to come to the realization that “I am not supermom” and that I am not “perfect.”  No way, really?  Mom’s aren’t perfect? What a shocker right? HA!  I guess we wouldn’t need any of this if we were perfect so I am glad that this opportunity has surfaced and has now become a reality that I have now accepted.  Talk about phewww!  I guess my flaw being new to homeschooling is thinking everything has to be completed on the schedule in a single day.  I need to learn to be flexible and realize it’s not going to be like that.  I think I am finally broken of this mentality and can homeschool with peace.  Communicating with other families has been very helpful too.

Now enough of this drama (sarcastic sigh) and on to homeschooling itself.  Last Wednesday we got to go on our very first homeschooling field trip to Erwin Orchards in South Lyon.  So many families from Palaestra showed up.  It was a blast.  We got to experience a wagon ride and go apple picking and enjoy a refreshing cup of apple cider and scrumptious donut.  Afterwards the children enjoyed a Bee 3D Adventure.  Very awesome and something you should check out.  Very clever idea to say the least.  The weather was perfect and we all just had an awesome time.

We are now looking forward to our very first “Fun Friday” with other Ward Homeschool Fellowship Families.   We are registered and ready to roll on Friday, October 7th.  The children will be making kites and having an open gym experience with other children.  My girls are looking forward to that.

My family will be heading out of town this weekend.  We will be taking our homeschooling adventures on the road with us to experience Michigan’s autumn beauty.  Pretty excited about that.

Next week I will be sharing about our academic adventures and how the curriculum I have chosen seems to be working for my girls.

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 6

Photo by Lindsey Clair

This past week has by far been our most unique of homeschooling experiences.  We took a trip up north for the week and did our homeschooling in our family’s cabin.  It was a blast.  We  took a nature walk in the wonderful woods and collected the most amazing colors and contrasts of leaves that I have ever seen.  The beauty of autumn in Michigan is just breaktaking.

The girls learned about fire pit safety and how to behave around a camp fire.  They got to collect the sticks and help with the wood as they helped their daddy build an awesome fire.  They were awestruck at how quickly a fire can start.   They also got to experience grilling hot dogs on an open camp fire.  I never have seen my girls gobble up a hot dog like I did that day.  They just seem to taste so much better, YUM!  And of course after our yummy hot dog meal we roasted marshmallows and built smores.  They really just enjoyed eating the toasted marshmallows alone.  Not me though, I basically inhaled the gooey goodness of the smores, haha!

We took a short road trip further up state to Mackinac City (one of our most favorite places on earth).  Our oldest daughter (8) got to learn about the history behind this magnificent city.  We usually take a ferry ride over to Mackinac Island but we decided to stay in the city for the day.  One day we would like to go to the fort to really learn some rich history.  Their daddy taught them how to skip rocks.  Yeah, that was a very competitive experience haha.  Our sweet 2 year old even tried skipping a few rocks or two, too cute.

It was all in all a very productive week for our family.  They did some much needed chores up there which was a nice change for them as well.

While we were gone my brother and his wife had their second baby.  It was tough not being in town for the blessed event.  The girls were in love with the pictures that were forwarded to us and got to slightly learn about the miracle of birth.  So it was indeed a very eventful week for all of us.  We did get to rest thank goodness and just enjoy our time together as a family.  We most definitely did not want to return home as we love it so much up there but like they say, “all good things must come to an end.”  We look forward to our next trip up.

It was exciting to be able to just pack the family up and do school anywhere we wanted.  I can honestly say if my girls were still in a brick and mortar setting we most definitely would not have planned this trip so randomly.  The flexibility of homeschooling is by far my favorite of our whole new experience.

The girls still enjoy their co-op classes on Fridays and got to experience their first homeschooling “Fun Day” with Ward Homeschool Fellowship families.  They made kites and had open gym which is nice for all the kids to mingle and create new friendships.

I would love to hear how your homeschooling journey is going.  Please feel free to share your experiences.

~Happy Homeschooling

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Homeschooling Journey: Week 7

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Happy Fall!  It’s finally starting to feel like autumn here in good ole’ Michigan.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the warm weather but when it’s time to transition into a new season let’s just get on with it!  I know I am not alone in this, right? (sigh)  Anyways, with autumn in full swing I am so excited to be doing things with my girls in a different light. For example, instead of picking a pumpkin off of a hill at a cider mill, we will be taking a trip to a pumpkin patch and picking out our own pumpkins.  Stuff like this excites me as a new homeschooling mom.

How was our week?  Well, I can honestly say that this past week has been pretty productive.  The girls are moving along and doing great in their learning and I am starting to really enjoy being their teacher.  Yes, there are still those challenges that get in the way but hey, it’s all how we learn and grow in this process.  The girls are currently reviewing some educational toys that will be sharing very soon.  One of the toys happens to be a science experiment that my oldest daughter and I will be doing tomorrow.  When the experiment is completed I will post some pictures in my next post.

Anyways, this past Tuesday and Wednesday my oldest daughter took the MEAP at her old school.  Yes, I know I let her take the public school MEAP test.  How that came about was her old principal said that many school districts open their doors to homeschoolers even the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) test.  Because she will not be measured with the school’s scores she is marked as a homeschooler and her scores go directly to me as the educator to see what she needs work on.  Of course I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.  She completed the reading portion and will complete the math portion next week.   I am curious to see what she scores on both subjects.  After she completed the test on Wednesday, the 13th, the principal offered us gym, P.E, art, and music.  This is something I will have to think about as I really would rather my oldest daughter to get acquainted and establish friendships with new homeschooling families.  Ugh, what am I to do?

On Friday mornings we still enjoy the classes at Palaestra.  It’s always a chance to reconnect with other families and friends.  I am so beyond excited at the relationships we are building.  It is so different than that of relationships with parents in public schools as the connections are on a deeper level.

We are looking forward to some events coming up one being a tour at a chocolate factory, can’t wait!  I will share with you those details as they come up.

Happy Homeschooling~

Homeschooling Journey: Week 8 PLUS fall recipe ideas

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It is so hard to believe that this week has marked our eighth week homeschooling.  So very exciting!  I can honestly say that though it went by fairly quickly, it was also the longest 8 weeks of my life.  Does that even make any sense?  If you are new to homeschooling, you definitely know what I mean by that, HA!  We have officially been broken of strict schedules and routines.  Though yes, we still follow schedules and routines to keep things flowing, I don’t feel like I have to be by the book so to speak anymore.  I have learned to be flexible and just change it up if I need to.  For example, I realized just these past few weeks (upon hearing it from other homeschooling families), that if you don’t get a subject or two completed in a single day, IT”S OKAY, that’s right it’s okay.  I was skeptical of this at first because if you are familiar with the A Beka Curriculum you know that there is no falling behind allowed.  It just keeps on going which could potentially cause your child to become lost.  I discovered this a couple times when we went out of town.  So, I came up with a “Homeschool Homework System.”  Basically, what this is is if my oldest daughter sweet pea (8) doesn’t complete her work after instruction and by the time we move forward with our next lesson, she has the rest of the week to complete it all, all the while learning the next lesson.  This leaves us room to discuss anything she may not understand but also stay caught up.  It has been working thus far.  Who wants an ugly learning experience anyways?  I am trying so hard to make learning a fun experience rather than a by the book experience.  This is my goal.

On a different not, this week has been pretty calm.  My two youngest daughters; cupcake (5) and jelly bean (2) have had a great time playing with a toy that we have been reviewing for a Michigan based educational toy company.  My oldest daughter; sweet pea(8) conducted an experiment with growing glow in the dark crystals from the same company.  I could elaborate on that now, but I won’t until the upcoming review post.  Let’s just say things aren’t going as planned with the experiment and we are just a little disappointed at this point.  But that’s okay, sweet pea still did learn a lot of things regarding chemicals, etc. Stay tuned for our review post coming next week!

                           FALL RECIPE FUN         

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Have you tried baking a new fall recipe lately with your homeschooler?  We have had a blast trying out new recipes  and have become addicted.  Not only is it a blast teaching children how to bake but the end results are oh so yummy!  We are still working on our cookbook.  I will keep you updated on that as we go along.  Right now it’s coming along very slowly but I think it’s because we have had to adjust to homeschooling altogether.  I found a new recipe that we will most definitely be trying over the weekend.  “Pumpkin Cupcakes”  YUM!  You can check out this mouth watering recipe over at Homeschool Articles.

Here are a few other fall recipes you may be interested in trying with your homeschoolers, these are also via Pinterest if you are a fan!

Caramel Apple Pie Popcorn

Pumpkin Sherbet

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Apple Cider Donuts

Apple Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

Don’t these sound just fabulous?  I can’t wait to try a few if not all of these before the autumn season is out.  What about you?  Have any yummy fall recipes to share with us that have been a success with your homeschoolers?  Please do share, I crave new ideas.

NEXT WEEK:  We will be taking a visit to the chocolate factory on Monday for a group homeschool tour.  Can’t wait to share our experience and post pics.  Have a great fall weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling~

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 9 PLUS creative craft/art ideas

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I can’t believe we are in the final week of October.  This month has definitely breezed by, wouldn’t you say so?  I can’t fathom that Christmas is just around the corner already.  Do you have your Christmas lists ready to go?  If you do, GOOD FOR YOU!  I am just not as motivated to complete my shopping this early on though I know the benefits are very great if you do complete it early.  How about those motivated parents out there who already have their Christmas shopping completed?  If that is you, you rock!  I guess I should worry about getting over the next hump and that being THANKSGIVING!

Homeschooling Week 9

Image by Lindsey Clair

On Monday, October 24th, we took a homeschool field trip to Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Northville.  It was a blast as you can see in one of the pics.  Our Tour Guide did an amazing job with the kids.  In the pic she is showing us how they make chocolate molds.  I believe this one was either a pumpkin or a football (she showed us both).  The kids got to dip their own pretzels and decorate them along with decorating their very own chocolate bar.  It was a yummy time for everyone.  I think that this was our best and favorite homeschool field trip thus far.  Can you say CHOCOLATE?  YUMMM!

That same evening, my two oldest girls (8) and (5) had a costume party at ballet and tap.  They both enjoyed parading around their costumes (A Barbie, and a Princess) and passing around and receiving yummy treats.  A fun time was had by all.

Image by Lindsey Clair

Thursday, October 27th, we took a trip to the pumpkin patch.  We were supposed to have done this last week and just never got around to it.  So in the unpredictable crazy fall Michigan weather we had that day, we just went with gusto and picked our pumpkins.  They had a blast even though their little hands were freezing and we got all muddy.  So much fun, HA HA! When we returned home,  we were excited to see a beautiful rainbow form over our home then slowly turned into a double rainbow.  The girls were beyond excited at the beauty of this rainbow.  You could literally pick out every single color as the sun was hitting it beautifully behind the dark and mysterious clouds.  It was truly awesome.

 

Image by Lindsey Clair

On Friday, October 28th, was our Palaestra day.  The girls took part in their very first “Pressed Leaves” contest.  The true Palaestra title is “Fall Leafs Me Happy Contest.”  Isn’t that so cute?  They had such a blast with their creation.  I may be partial but their creation turned out amazing!  Pics of their creation along with results will be posted next week.

Are you currently looking for some unique yet fun and creative craft/art project ideas?  Here are a few your children may enjoy.  You can also change it up to make it age appropriate if need be.

Creative Craft/Art Ideas

Drawing Ideas

 

Painting and Printmaking Projects

Paper and Fabric Arts

Crafts using Clay and Plaster

All of these fantastic projects can be found on Familyfun.com

Happy Homeschooling~

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 10

Image: Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to November.  Thanksgiving is coming and I am so excited.  I love this time of year as it reminds me to be truly thankful.  As a new homeschooling family, I am on a mission to make sure my children really do understand the meaning behind Thanksgiving as I hear so many just refer to the day as “Turkey” day.  Sure, we have yummy turkey on this day to honor the Pilgrims and Indians of the very first Thanksgiving feast, but I really want them to understand the reasons and importance of being thankful.  I have a few fun learning projects lined up to to reinforce this and can’t wait to post pics when they are completed.  Stay tuned for that.

Homeschooling Week 10

This week was quite challenging for our family.  The flu hit two out of three of my children.  It fortunately did not spread to my oldest daughter or to my husband and thankfully, yours truly.  Can you say disinfect and sanitize?  HA!  Yeah I went a little crazy with that but it seemed to work so far.  My 2 year old got hit the hardest and kept me up three nights in a row.  Well, our schedules most definitely got thrown off and I am so exhausted but I think we are getting right back on track.

The end of our homeschool quarter was on Monday and I got to issue cupcake and sweet pea their homeschool report cards.  They are doing great and I am really proud of them.  The smiles on their faces were so priceless as this was their very first (non-public school) report card.  And yay, no conferences haha!  I guess I just get to talk to myself?  I can handle that.

Sweet pea (8) is currently working on a Laura Ingalls Wilder Lapbook.  It’s coming along splendidly.  When it’s completed I will post pics.  She is so excited to be doing research as she loves Little House on the Prairie books.

Image by Lindsey Clair

I mentioned last week that the girls entered a leaf contest ( pic on the left) at Palaestra.  Since it was our first time we most definitely did not know what we were up against and my goodness the creativity was beyond amazing.  They unfortunately did not win but received a recognition certificate.  We know now the degree of creativity we can get with this particular contest.  So much fun.

On Tuesday evening, sweet pea started Pioneer Girls Club at Ward Church in Northville.  She just loves it.  I can’t wait to see what comes of it in the months ahead.  Next Tuesday night is father/daughter night.  That should be a fun time for sweet pea and her daddy.

What cause will you be supporting this Thanksgiving with your family?  We will be doing a food pantry for inner-city children and I can’t wait to get my girls involved for the first time.

~Happy Homeschooling

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 11

 

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m dreaming of a white, Christmas.”  Okay so not really, not just yet.  I just thought it was fitting with the snow showers that we briefly experienced on Thursday, November 10th in the afternoon/evening.  I am not one for snow (gotta love the post pic right, feeling cold yet?) but I must admit, it sure was pretty to watch.  My girls just couldn’t resist and turned on the radio (100.3 WNIC) for Christmas music to set the mood.  It would have worked but we don’t have our Christmas tree up as of yet, not until Thanksgiving.  I am looking forward to our Thanksgiving Day family tradition.  We watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, eat cinnamon rolls and drink hot chocolate all the while putting up our tree and Christmas decorations.  I love that we are creating life long memories for our girls as I remember all of our traditions growing up.

Homeschool week 11

This week by far has been the most unique of our homeschooling journey.  I woke up on Monday morning, November 7th,  with Pink Eye! Ugh!  I was pretty shocked to say the least.  Why?  All my years teaching and working with children I was never infected with this thing and I saw more than enough pink eye to last a lifetime.  Now that I am homeschooling I get Pink Eye? Ha, I know it’s a coincidence I just thought it was pretty comical that it turned out this way.  Anyways, it was a miserable experience which made homeschooling a whole lot more fun let me tell you (sarcastic giggle).  But, we got through it and my eye is better now thanks to good ole’ home remedies.  Baking Soda and water did the trick for me.  I tried a couple other remedies but didn’t seem to really work that well.  It was definitely a learning experience for the girls.  They were told to wash their hands I don’t know how many times that day.

Image by Ron Clair

To add to my pink eye we have been dealing with our precious family pet and the fact he is getting old and pushing through severe arthritis.  It got so bad we thought it was the end for our sweet Alaskan Malamute Bailey, but he is doing well and we will just love on him even if we don’t know when the end will be.  Talk about another experience.  We had to talk about death this week.  It was tough but we got through it.

We are still working on lapbooks and other projects which I will post when they are completed. My oldest daughter took her daddy to father/daughter night at Pioneer Girls held at Ward Church on Tuesday night, November 8th, 2011.  She was just beaming with joy that her daddy was taking her.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

The girls attended their normal Palaestra day and attended WHSF’s Fun Friday.  The children put together a timeline of events, birthdays, etc. that took place on November 11th in years past.  My girls did theirs on the oldest fossils being discovered on November 11, 1988.  They were 350 million years old.  Pretty cool.  They also got to have open gym time with their homeschooling friends and enjoy special surprises provided by WHSF. (Ward Homeschool Fellowship)

Next week, the girls will be learning how to make a decorative cake, I cannot wait to post pics of the outcome.  Have a great weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 12

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am so excited that Thanksgiving is  next week that means Christmas is just around the corner! WHOOT! I am thankful for so many things this year as our family has been through so much these past few years.  We have overcome obstacles that I never thought  that we would have to overcome but we made it and I am here and I am blessed to be surrounded by three beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband.  It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Homeschooling Week 12

Our Homeschooling week went pretty well.  I had to exercise my “flexibility” muscles so to speak as we had a lot come up.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I am not one for spontaneity.  Everything has to be organized and on time.  I am getting better though and it was easier for me to be flexible and move things around.  Was I happy about it?  Absolutely not, haha.  I like having my schedules but my girls are teaching me a lot about myself in that area, I am sure you can relate in some way, shape, or form right?

Image by Lindsey Clair

Last Friday, the girls attended their second Fun Friday at Ward Church through Ward Homeschool Fellowship.  The children put together a timeline for anything that took place on November 11th in years past.  My oldest daughter (8) did a brief report on science discovering the world’s oldest insect fossils on November 11, 1988.  They were found to be 350 million years old.  She did very well presenting in front of everyone.  She was nervous at first but I think she did a great job.

My 5 year old enjoyed making cupcakes from scratch for her class at Palaestra.  Will post pics next week.  It was a great cooking lesson and math lesson as well as she learned about measuring.  That was most definitely a fun math class as it included chocolate.  Gotta love that!!!!

I am very excited to say that my toddler has reached a milestone with our homeschooling journey.  She now automatically plays with her toys, etc. while I am doing instruction with the other girls.  The first few weeks were rough because she demanded all of my attention. Phewww, I think we made it over the first hurdle with her.  Now if I can just get her potty trained……..

My 8 year old is still working on her History project.  She is creating a lapbook in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder and it’s almost completed.  Will most definitely be posting a pic of the end product.  I gave her a deadline to have it finished by Thanksgiving for accountability reasons.  She started work on it in September so it’s coming along nicely.

Because next week will be a short week I will be posting on Wednesday, November 23rd.  I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Weeks 13 and 14

Image by Lindsey Clair

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.  It came and went so quickly.  Now our focus is on the Christmas season.  Do you have your Christmas shopping completed?  I am almost done but there is still so much to be done.  Before we know it Christmas will be gone as fast as it came.  Let’s just really take this time to enjoy our families and friends during this time.

Homeschool weeks 13 & 14

Since last week was Thanksgiving I made a decision to just take the full week off.  We hadn’t had any time off since we started the end of August.  Don’t get me wrong, I kept the girls quite busy with Thanksgiving projects, etc.  My oldest (8) completed her Laura Ingalls Wilder Lapbook.  It turned out adorable.  I will post pics next week.  They also had fun making cornucopias out of sugar cones, vanilla frosting, and fruit shaped fruit snacks.  I unfortunately did not get any pictures but here is a link to give you an idea of what they made…Sugar-Cone Cornucopias.  They also made pilgrim hats out of marshmallows, fudge striped cookies, melted chocolate chips, and frosting.  The girls also enjoyed decorating placemats for our family Thanksgiving Feast.  It was a joyous time filled with lots of food.  I feel full again just thinking about it.

Image by Lindsey Clair

This week we started on some Christmas craft fun as you can see in the pics.  Today they did Christmas stocking lacing crafts.  They were $2 a set at Target and absolutely adorable.  I will post pics also next week.  They sprinkled cinnamon on their gingerbread people to give a lovely Christmas smell.  The Wreaths and Christmas tree were just paper craft fun that they thoroughly enjoyed.  I had fun with my creations as well.  It’s just fun to get involved and have a great time too.  Hey, it makes me feel like a kid, how about you?  Ha Ha! Love it!

Fridays they continue with their classes at Palaestra.  We will be starting new classes next month already.  My oldest is thinking of taking weaving or sewing and my (5) year old will be taking a class called “Reading Adventures.”  If you haven’t had a chance to check out Palaestra, please do.  It’s an amazing experience for the homeschooling family as a whole.

Happy Homeschooling!

Lindsey

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 15

Image by Lindsey Clair

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost here.  I am not much for snow but I do love it when there is snow around Christmas, it just isn’t the same without it.  Honestly, just with that little snow we had earlier in the week, it almost got me in the Christmas spirit.  If we can get a nice and beautiful blanket of snow for Christmas it will…..well, feel like Christmas.  I guess I am nostalgic that way.  I don’t know about you but I remember growing up and it always seemed like there was snow on the ground for Christmas, especially here in good ole’ Michigan.  It doesn’t even feel like December to me right now. Is it the weather? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Homeschool Week 15

Well, wow! Our homeschool has hit week 15 and we are doing alright, haha! It’s coming along and I found a schedule I think we can stick with from time to time with less stress on myself. We try to end our instruction by lunch time.  If there is any work left over it goes in a “work” folder and they finish it to stay caught up. It seems to be working out for all of us and it is helping me “Deschool gently.”

Here is a pic  of the Laura Ingalls Lapbook that I mentioned last week. Sweet Pea (8), did a pretty good job considering it was her very first lapbook. She started the lapbook in September. I gave her a deadline for accountability purposes. She had until Thanksgiving.  Sweet Pea put
finishing touches on it the night before her deadline.  I was proud of her for her dedication to the project.  She is looking forward to starting her next lapbook project.

Lapbooks are pretty simple if you know what you are doing.  I can honestly say in the beginning I was a little confused at what lapbooks consist of as I had never even heard of them prior to homeschooling or maybe I have heard of them and just didn’t give them a second thought.  Lapbooks are so educational and we love the idea of them.

Have you done lapbooks with your kids? Would love to hear on what topics or people. We are trying to get good ideas. For this particular lapbook I let her choose a person from history whom she’d be interested in learning about.  I was excited that she picked Laura Ingalls Wilder as I always loved learning about her as well and reading the books and watching the series.

This week was a pretty exciting week besides completing the lapbook. Cup Cake (5), is officially reading, YAY! I have her reading at the first grade level.  She is so very proud and just loves reading. Sugar Bean (2.5), drew an amazing snowman (pic next week). I was amazed at the detail her being a toddler and all. I will most definitely be starting her with preschool work in the spring as she is turning 3.  I think she will be ready by then.

Both school-aged girls will be continuing next semester at Palaestra with the classes they are currently taking. Sweet Pea adores Fashion Design. Her class has taught her so much on the subject. Her first sketch for a doll was in Palaestra’s art show on Thursday night, December 8th.  She was so excited. Will post a pic in week 16 of our journey. Next semester they will be learning how to sew and apply their sketches with fabric and start creating.  Sweet Pea is so beyond excited about that. She will need to teach her mommy a thing or two about sewing basics, haha! Cup Cake will continue with Brain Games but on a new level. They changed the name for next semester to Lollipop Logic. Cup Cake is looking forward to this reading and language arts supplement class and so is mommy!

How is your homeschooling journey going? Would love to hear from you.  I am always eager to meet new homeschooling families and hear their ideas.

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 16

Image by Lindsey Clair

I’m still dreaming of a white Christmas.  Do you think it’s possible?  I don’t know, this slight heat wave we have been having is just not the face of December that is for sure.  Oh well, snow or not I still plan on celebrating with my family as I know you are looking forward to Christmas traditions with your family.

Homeschool Week 16

This week was full of baking and gingerbread fun.  On Monday, we packed up the car and headed over to grandma’s house for some Christmas cookie baking.  We made three types of Christmas goodies:

  1. Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies
  2. Cinnamon-Nut Crescent Rolls: (These included a yummy cinnamon roll type frosting drizzled on top, YUM)!
  3. 7 Layer Cookies

The girls thoroughly enjoyed all three experiences as not only was it a chance to work with goodies but a chance to learn about recipes and how they come together.  Mommy of course loved the experience as well it was so delish! haha!  We are still enjoying the Christmas goodness.

Image by Lindsey Clair

On Tuesday, we packed up and headed to the other grandma’s house and created a gingerbread village.  It was so much fun as you can see in the pic but let’s just say it didn’t start out that way.  The frosting was being stubborn and didn’t want to bond the gingerbread together.  Our little houses just kept caving in.  When we finally got them to hold, the results were super cute!

On Tuesday night, Sweet Pea (8) and I headed to her Christmas party at Pioneer Girls at Ward Church in Northville.  The night started out with Christmas carols.  Then the girls made a Christmas tree craft and learned about the Candy Cane.  Afterwards they enjoyed some yummy ice cream and cookies.  The night concluded with songs and a cute little Christmas skit.  It was a fun experience for everyone involved.

Because the girls didn’t have dance classes on Monday night or Palaestra on Friday, we had some extra free time.  The girls got to pick out Christmas gifts for the grandparents and aunts and uncles out of the dollar bins at Target.  My goodness did they have a blast with that!

Is your family ready for Christmas?  Is all your shopping completed?  I am excited to say that I am finished with my major shopping I just need to pick up a few stocking stuffers etc., and we are good to go!

I want to wish all the homeschooling families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  See you again in the New Year!  We will be continuing with week 17 the first week of January 2012!  The last couple weeks of 2011 will just be enrichment based and Christmas fun.  See you next year! Haha!

~Happy Homeschooling

Lindsey

 

Homeschooling Reflections

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year fellow homeschoolers.  This week I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on my homeschooling journey thus far.  I will resume with our journey (week 17) next week as I am making some changes in our schedule this week for the new year.  I hope you take this time to reflect with me on your homeschooling journey whether you are brand new to the adventure or seasoned.  We could all use a time of reflection from time to time.

August 2011

The last week of August we began our homeschooling journey.  Let me just say it was one of the toughest things I have ever faced.  Being a teacher I thought it would not be a problem, boy was I wrong.  The first week was so disorganized and just too long most days.  Behaviors were uncontrollable at times and my sleep patterns were disrupted due to stress.  Did I make the wrong decision?  At that time I thought I was going to lose my mind.  I clearly didn’t know what I was doing and needed to connect with the homeschool community ASAP.  Our first week was VERY dark and discouraging.  Would we be able to adjust?  Was homeschooling right for my family?  Only time would tell.

September 2011

The month of September was our “get hooked into the homeschooling community/get to know each other better month.”  I was very fortunate to have found homeschooling support pretty quickly.  Ward Homeschool Fellowship  of Northville, was a life saver for me as well as Palaestra.  Just those alone helped me meet amazing families to keep me encouraged and focused.  Were things getting easier in our little homeschool?  Heck no!  It seemed harder if anything.  My girls just did not get along and mommy was losing patience and frustrated all the time.  School work was a pain in the neck.  It was until I met a homeschooling mother who told me it will just take the first couple months getting to know each other even if it means putting academics on the shelf for the time being.  Character-building was our new subject for the month.  While I am one not to put things aside we still did academics but shifted it slightly into other things which included character-building.  Was I beginning to see a glimpse of hope?

October 2011

Something most definitely needed to change by the time we hit the good old month of October.  Because I am a former Pre-K teacher, I thrived on lesson plans and tight schedules.  Yes, some of this was good to have but this momma had to learn to be flexible and not be so worried about completing everything in one day.  Oh goodness did I ever struggle with that.  Would it get better?

November 2011

By this point in time I realized that our homeschool days were just too long.  I didn’t know how to just relax at times and my days were just downright stressful and I was becoming a crabby mother whom nobody wanted to be around, poor hubby.  It was at Palaestra I met another mother who told me to try just doing all of our academics in the morning and quitting at noon.  If any work was not completed they could finish it on their own time.  This sounded like the perfect idea and it took so much stress off when I discovered it worked for us! Yahoo, I feel free and happier and my children are happier.  This is where I created a “work” folder for them to place unfinished works in for the afternoon.  Works like a charm.

December 2011

This was by far the funnest month I have ever experienced with my children considering it was our first Christmas as homeschoolers.  We took days to just complete fun Christmas crafts and recipes all the while learning.  I became the most flexible I have ever been and it was a joy being a homeschooling family.  Busy?  Oh yes, there was constantly stuff going on as I am sure you can relate but it was so nice being in control of all of our plans without worrying about this or that.  Would I be ready to start a fresh new year with a fresh perspective on homeschooling? Absolutely! 

January 2012

Well, here we are in the new year and here I am excited to move forward in home education.  So much to do but with all the time in the world, gotta love it!  

Welcome 2012, we are ready to tackle you!  I can say that our little homeschool has come a long way in such a short amount a time.  So very blessed and thankful for this opportunity.

~Happy Homeschooling

 

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 17

Image by Lindsey Clair

Wow, it’s hard to believe that we have hit week 17 as a new homeschooling family.  Where does the time go?  It’s funny though, and maybe you can relate, even when the hours just speed on by there are still some days that just don’t seem to go fast enough?  Make any sense?  HA! I know you know what I mean, especially if you have little ones.  Even on those types of days I am learning to just soak even the hardest moments  in because well, it won’t last and they will eventually grow up and not need me like this anymore (sniff, sniff, tear, tear).  I definitely could use some encouragement from seasoned or veteran homeschoolers right about now……Please feel free to share any advice, I will definitely take it all in.

Homeschooling week 17

We have had a pretty interesting week.  On top of our learning the girls got to make some really neat things.  On Wednesday, January 11, we took a field trip over to a good friend’s house where she shared with us the secrets of her amazing cake making business (Kimi’s Custom Cakes).  The Barbie cake you see below is Sweet Pea’s creation.  Sweet Pea and Cupcake were instructed on these masterpieces and they did a pretty amazing job with the help of their talented instructor.  The girls were so very proud of their creations and the styles most definitely showcase their personalities.   They don’t even look like cakes they look so real.  The girls are dreading cutting their amazing cake creations and I definitely don’t blame them.  I told them we can print out the pics that we took and I can frame them.  They were very excited about this as these are their own personal Barbies.

Image by Lindsey Clair On Thursday, January 12, the girls got to put their painting skills to work.  Their Grandma, A.K.A Geegum (my mom) put this project together for them and they all had a blast.  It was fun watching their little eyes concentrate on every detail.  They are looking forward to hanging them on the tree outside my parent’s window where we do homeschooling on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.  Birds are always in this tree so it will be very fun and educational to watch them be used.  My parents live out in the country so this makes it all the more special.

The girls are coming along swimmingly in their learning.  This Friday morning, January 13, was their last day of Brain Games and Fashion Design for the semester at Palaestra.  They have thoroughly enjoyed their very first homeschooling classes.  I signed them up to continue in these classes where they will be learning more than what they learned the first round.  Brain Games will now become Lollipop Logic and the Fashion Design class will be learning how to sew and create.  Sweet Pea (8) is super excited!

The Sweet Pea (8.5) and Cup Cake (5) are currently working on piano recital pieces for the end of spring recital.  This will be Cup Cake’s very first recital and we are so very proud of her.  It has been fun yet a challenge being their piano teacher, yes I play piano haha.  I have been playing since I was 4.  We have a whole line of musicians in our family so it’s only natural for the legacy to continue right?  Well, it’s most definitely in their blood and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Sweet Pea is picking up stuff pretty fast that she is advancing pretty quickly.  She is playing her very first jazz piece and it’s coming along very well.  One blessed momma!

Sweet Pea and Cup Cake are also preparing for their spring dance recital.  Sweet Pea is in her first year of Tap Dance and Cup Cake is in her second year of Ballet.  We are so excited to see the performance this year as last year it was phenomenal.  Central City Dance of Canton put on amazing performances.  Such talented children.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful and restful weekend with your family.  We are looking forward to tackling another week.  How about you?

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 18

Image by Lindsey Clair

Wow, have we actually seen a glimpse of winter here in good old Michigan?  My girls are wanting a really big system to blow through just once so that they can have the joy of sledding and building a snowman.  Originally, I am completely against the snow and cold.  Give me 80 and 90 degree weather and I am one happy camper, hey it’s in my blood can’t help it, haha.  But, I must say I remember having so much fun as a kid playing in the snow which seems like we always had from November to February/March.  I guess if we really want to take advantage of a winter wonderland we should pack the family up and head up north for a weekend because all of that snow action is alive and well up there, so I have heard.

Homeschool Week 18

This week was a pretty laid back week.  On Monday, I chose to take a day off as it was a much needed day off.  We have been going full speed for quite a while not only with our homeschooling but with dance, piano, and other extracurricular activities.  It most definitely has been a blast either way as I love the flexibility that homeschooling brings.  As Michigan homeschoolers we are truly blessed at how much flexibility we are allowed and we need to make sure we are fighting for our right.  Just yesterday, I received an email from HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association), regarding the Michigan State Board targeting homeschoolers.  You can click here to read the original article if you haven’t already.  I most definitely do not want to take our freedom for granted.  It’s important to stay alert on what is going on around us as homeschoolers.  This I am learning very quickly as a new homeschooling family.

Image by Lindsey Clair

This week we have been making our own wall art.  We thought we would decorate our walls with some cuteness before we have to do cosmetic painting to sell our home.  You can bet I am taking a ton of pictures before this is all said and done, haha!  The girls have so many ideas up their sleeves I can’t wait to see what they come up with.  (Sorry for the smudge in the picture on the left, I think little peanut butter fingers got a hold of my phone) ;)

On Friday, Sweet Pea (8) and Cup Cake (5)  started their classes for the winter semester at Palaestra.  They are most definitely excited!  Sweet Pea will be taking Fashion Design II for Third to Fifth graders.  Basically, last semester they sketched their creations.  This semester they will be learning to sew then create.  Sweet Pea cannot wait to get her hands on that needle and thread as she has been practicing here at home.  Cup Cake will be taking a class called: “Lollipop Logic.”  It’s pretty much like the other class “Brain Games” but more concepts have been added.  Cup Cake is excited because she gets to have the same teacher.  She just loves her!

Just to ease my own curiosity, what curriculum are you using with your homeschoolers?  I am trying to round up ideas for this coming fall.  I am thinking of sticking with A Beka Book because it’s going really well but I also want to weigh all my options.

Happy Homeschooling!

 

 

 

Homeschooling Journey: Week 19

It’s hard to believe that we are in the final week of January!  Where did the time go?  It literally seems like yesterday we were opening gifts under the Christmas tree.  Well, I most definitely will not complain.  The closer to spring and summer we get, the better!

Homeschool Week 19

Well, this week was full of surprises and schedule changes.  What? You mean you are not shocked by this little bit of information? Haha!  As homeschooling parents we know that there is no such thing as strict schedules and routines.  Sure, it’s a good thing to implement them and try to follow them when we possibly can but do they always stick?  Absolutely not!  For example, the beginning of the week was supposed to be full of appointments and activities from dentist to dance etc.  My busy schedule was axed to nothing!  The sickies decided to knock on our door and force it’s way in to infect my oldest daughter and I.  Sweet Pea’s (8.5) allergies bothered her and tend to do so when the weather patterns shift like they have been doing.  Her allergies then turned on her and she was knocked down with a fever.  So strange.  Me?  Well, I got hit hard with a head and chest cold and boy did it suck the life out of me.  It was terrible.  I had a few friends that just recovered from pneumonia so I know that that was going around, yikes!  So, because of all this craziness our homeschooling week was well…. quite dull and boring.  Nothing to report, ugh.  We disinefected our home with natural cleaning products.  Does that count as educational? (sarcastic laugh)

Hopefully next week we will be back into the full swing of things and I will have educational things to talk about.   Hey, isn’t it nice to know I am a human being? (LOL) I mean I wish I was supermom but oh well, there will be pics and info next time, or will there be?  Sorry, feeling a little on the sarcastic side today but it’s with a side of humor.  Gotta have a sense of humor in times like these, wouldn’t you agree?

Everyone have a blessed weekend and stay healthy!

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey: Week 20

Welcome to February! Wow, it’s hard to believe we hit week 20 of our homeschooling journey!  I can honestly say I am very pleased with the progress we have made since starting the end of August 2011.  Has it been easy?  Definitely not, but now that we are deep into our homeschooling I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It is been a blessing homeschooling my children.  I am starting to see some positive changes in their behavior too, YAY!

Homeschooling Week 20

We thankfully had a healthy week this week compared to last week.  If you remember last week I mentioned that we really didn’t get anything accomplished due to sickies that entered our doors but we played catch up this week and things are going very well.

Thursday, February 2,  we went to Michael’s Craft Store (My fave) to pick up some valentines supplies for our crafts this coming week.  It was an absolute blast as you can see in the picture below, the deals were awesome!  What will we be creating?  Well, you will have to wait and see the finished products in next week’s post!  Can’t wait!  We will be making special Valentine’s for family and friends.  One of them involves candy making.  Yeah, couldn’t resist that!  What’s Valentine’s Day without candy right?

On Thursday, February 2nd, I received an invite to participate in an early reading program for my 5 year old.  It’s called Funnex Reading Program.  We can’t wait to get started on it.  Cup Cake (5) is doing so well with her reading, she just loves it!

I am also excited to say that we officially have a potty trained 2.5 year old! Hurray!  Jelly Bean must have finally gotten a revelation of the concept because she has been going #1 and #2 pretty well.  Well, okay #1 as we know can be tricky with toddlers as they get so caught up in playing they tend to forget.  Jelly Bean will run down the hall to the potty but not quite make it, but as long as she knows that we are good to go.

Today, Friday, February 3rd, they had Palaestra classes in the morning and Fun Friday through Ward Homeschool Fellowship.  Today was bike day!  This was the first time Jelly Bean will be riding along with us to a Fun Friday!  She is very excited.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed weekend!  I am looking forward to spring and summer how about you?  Not that winter has been that bad but still, I am rooting for warmer temperatures!

Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey: Week 21

Who is loving this sunny and slightly warmer weather?  Sense a little hint of sarcasm? Hehe! I know, winter didn’t really hit our state like it usually does but one can only hope we will stay this mild all the way until spring.  Can you believe that technically spring is next month?

Homeschool Week 21

This week was a fun yet busy week in the Clair household.  We got a lot accomplished and just in time for our family trip up north this next week.  We will be taking our homeschooling adventures along for the ride.  So looking forward to a change of scenery and family bonding time.  I will post pics of our trip the following week.

Tuesday, February 7th, we had a busy day.  We did our homeschool schedule out at my mom and dad’s ranch and then attended our first homeschool “gym” day.  All three girls had a blast with that, even Jelly Bean (2.5).  She just ran, ran, ran.  Hey, it’s what toddlers do best right?  She conked out in the car just a few minutes after pulling out of the parking lot.

Wednesday, Februrary 8th, we had a……Pajama Day!  It was a long time coming.  Did we still do schooling?  Yes, a little bit of schooling along with chores and major cleaning of rooms.  It felt good to be productive all the while sporting our jammies.  We also had breakfast for dinner.  Pancakes…YUM!

Thursday, February 9th, we had a Valentine’s Day CRAFT DAY!  It was messy fun but the results turned out to be adorable. We made doily hearts, book marks, and homemade suckers.  We made a ton for family and friends.  The candy suckers turned out to be super cute and very delish!

Friday mornings are always our Palaestra days and the girls thoroughly enjoy attending.  They are learning so much.  I look forward to the day when I can enroll Jelly Bean into a class.  Maybe when she turns 3 for the preschool program, we will see.

Now thinking about it, I need to start researching curriculum for next year.  Who has started their search?  I am thinking about attending a homeschool book fair.

Hope everyone has a blessed weekend! See you next week when I talk about our northern adventures.

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 22

 

Image by Lindsey Clair

The sun is shining, hurray. I am ready for spring to make its grand entrance, how about you? It sure does make for funner learning experiences though we had a blast this past week in the northern snow.

Homeschool Week 22

This past Saturday evening (February 11th), we packed the family up, snow gear and all and headed up north for the week. My in-laws have a place just south of Gaylord. They let us hold down the fort for a few days and it was a blast. And yes there was snow, lots of it.  It snowed pretty much every day on top of snow they received from a huge storm they had a month ago or so. We definitely took advantage of it though it was freezing and not my cup of tea, ha!

The girls enjoyed making a snow fort and snow-girl. The snow was perfect for packing so it was not a challenge to make a snowman, or snow-girl for that matter.  After snow 101, we did attempt to do some regular schooling to stay on top of things. Though we took a break from curriculum I brought along enrichment sheets and activities. They even practiced their piano recital pieces on a keyboard that my mom-in-law keeps handy up there.

Sweet Pea (8.5), enjoyed an educational game that I can’t wait to share with you in a review so stay tuned for that. It turned out to be a hit as it was for her age and up. It definitely sparks creativity but enough of that. The review will be made available sometime next week.

Friday, February 17, 2012, we jumped back into our Palaestra routine after returning from our trip the night before. The girls woke up ready to start the day. They sawed logs all night as I know our trip was busy fun. This mom needs a vacation from a vacation. Ha!

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 23

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who is gearing up for the big Homeschool Book Fair in Farmington Hills?  I cannot wait.  I went to a mini one last year but super pumped about this particular fair since it includes workshops, used book sale, etc.  My hope is to really find some great deals on curriculum for fall 2012 since I will have a 4th grader, 1st grader, and preschooler.  I am currently using A Beka with Sweet Pea (8.5) and just love it.  I am looking forward to bringing Cup Cake (5) on board.  Jelly Bean (3 in May) my future preschooler, will just do fun stuff that mommy puts together.  I think I am qualified to do that being a former preschool teacher right? (biting nails) Haha!  By the way, what happened to that huge storm we were expecting today?  I know that it is icy and windy, either way we had no Palaestra today.  My girls were so bummed.

Homeschool Week 23

This week has been pretty calm to say the least.  Nothing really awesome and spectacular to report.  But I must stay,  I very proud of my sweet girls and very blessed.  They are really coming along in their learning.  Cup Cake (5) is amazing me with her reading and math skills.  She thoroughly enjoys learning and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Sweet Pea (8.5) has excelled in A Beka and I cannot wait to move her along into 4th grade when the time comes.  She just got done learning about Louisa May Alcott.  She discovered that she wrote “Little Women.”  Sweet Pea is looking forward to reading this book now that her reading skills are very sharp.  I will most definitely be having her do some sort of book report or lapbook on “Little Women” when she is finished reading it. Love it!

I just completed the educational game review that I previously mentioned.  It should be available within the next week or so.  This one was definitely a blast to review.  Stay tuned for that.

Sorry that this post is on the short side, but I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes.  We are enjoying a pajama day with pancakes.  Hoping to get out there and build a snowman with the little bit of snow that we did end up getting, haha.  I heard it’s a great packing snow.

Have a blessed weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 24

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to the month March! Can you believe it? These months are just cruising right on by. I don’t like to say it but time does seem to go faster the older you get. Ugh! I remember hearing that when I was a kid but it never phased me. Well, yeah now as an adult with kids of my own I kind of get it lol.

Homeschool Week 24

Our Homeschool week didn’t exactly turn out the way I expected but I guess it comes with the territory. The sickies made its way back in, ugh. Hubby has strep throat and a sinus infection and Sweet Pea (8.5) has a fever and a cough. The other two girls and myself seem to be hanging in there with no symptoms. Praying it stays that way.

Because our week was slightly thrown off, we didn’t get much done. Cup Cake (5) continued with her math and reading adventures and is doing very well. But, that’s really all I have to report this week. Sorry that its not very exciting or impressive for that matter. But, again it comes with the territory and after all it’s something we all like to call…..life, eek! My mom always made my younger brother and I say this saying growing up: “Life’s rough but I like it.” Oh man did this make me so mad but it’s so the truth. Here I am teaching my girls the exact same thing.  It keeps you positive and thankful to be alive to enjoy life itself even when the going gets tough. Thanks mom!

Next week I am hoping to jump back into our weekly homeschooling routine whatever that is, right? Ha!

Have a blessed and healthy weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 25

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Spring is coming! Spring is coming! Though it most definitely doesn’t feel like it today, we got a nice taste of spring on Wednesday. It was beyond refreshing even in spite of the wind. Next week’s forecast looks like spring for sure, cant wait!

Homeschool Week 25

Well, after our confrontation with the sickies last week in our home we enjoyed a normal week again. Okay well, as normal as homeschooling adventures get. Ha!

We did play catch up with math, reading, and writing, then tagged back on History, Science, etc. It felt good to be productive and back into the swing of things.

Monday evening, March 5th, the girls were beyond excited that their dance costumes have arrived. They are working hard towards their recital. Can’t wait to see the end results in our little ballerina and tap dancer. They are also preparing for a piano recital as well. We have been busy bees that is for sure.

Since this past Wednesday was absolutely gorgeous outside, we took our learning adventures outdoors. I just couldn’t resist.  It was especially great to have opened the windows to air out the house.

This next week I am planning some fun St. Patrick’s Day activities from crafts to recipes.  I will post pics next week.

Cup Cake( 8.5), will be working on her next lapbook.  She will continue to learn about the pioneer days. Kind of an add on from her Laura Ingall’s Wilder lapbook which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Everyone have a wonderful yet restful weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 26

Who has been adoring this early spring weather? I am super excited for next week’s forecast.  It’s going to be absolutely beautiful.  Welcome Spring!  But, most definitely let us not forget those who have lost their homes in the devastating tornadoes that hit Metro Detroit yesterday.  Our thoughts and prayers are most certainly with them as they rebuild and get back on their feet.

Homeschool Week 26

This was was a fun week for the Clair Clan. We did a lot of our homeschool journey in the great outdoors. It was just perfect.  Earlier this week we did a couple St. Patrick’s Day crafts. They weren’t too involved like our Valentine crafts but I must say they did turn out cute.  We also snuck over to McDonald’s and enjoyed a shamrock shake, yum!  This was a definite treat for the girls since we never eat at McDonald’s.

As you can see in the pic we had fun with the most sweetest horse I have ever met. His name is Smokey and belongs to my parents. They also have a mini horse named Dustin but he is such a little stinker. Cute, but a stinker.  I will post a pic of him some other day.

Next week we will be taking a few days off from our homeschooling journey.   We haven’t had much time off since we started and thought it would be a great opportunity to do so.

Hope to see you many of you at the Homeschool Book Fair in Farmington Hills tomorrow.  I am greatly looking forward to it.  Time to whip out the check book, haha.  I know I am hoping to find great deals to get us started for next year.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

Homeschool Journey Week 27: Character Training

Image: AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What a gorgeous week!  Forget spring fever, I’m ready for summer.  It’s so great pulling out the shorts and flip flops in March, love it!  Any homeschooling parents out there do their schooling outside this week?  We most definitely couldn’t resist that idea.  Breathing in the fresh air and taking in the sunshine just helps make learning more enjoyable.  I wish we could do it every day.

Homeschool Week 27

As you can see in the title, “Character Training” was a big part of our homeschooling week.  We most definitely needed it considering my husband was gone on a business trip the entire week.  Not a big deal right?  It is if it’s the first time ever being a part that long.  Wow, I don’t know how families do it.  So exhausting.  Because of this change behaviors kind of took a nasty turn.  I know it’s because the girls missed their daddy but my goodness, ugh something needed to be addressed.

We did do our normal learning off and on throughout the week but the main focus was on character training.  I even had the girls act out scenarios on different situations the wrong way and then the right way.  This seemed to really do the trick in some cases.    Because we have all girls, the drama and emotions can sometimes be at an all time high which can be overwhelming at times, I am sure many of you can relate haha.  There is usually a lot of whining, tattling, etc., so because of this I developed a red flag system.  Well, okay it’s just a red sheet of construction paper I place on the book shelf for them to see, but you get the idea. Here is how this red flag/red paper system works.  When one of the girls (mainly my two oldest soon to be 9 and 5.5), have a problem with one of their sister’s no matter what it is, they go over to the book shelf, grab the red paper, and walk over to me holding it up for me to see.  This way I know something is wrong and we can work it out.  Honestly, this has been working out great!  They even catch themselves getting ready to yell, scream, kick, whatever and run and grab the sheet.  We are able to work things out in a calm manner.  I hope this system holds for quite sometime until it encourages them to work things out on their own.

I am currently searching for character training curriculum’s or studies so if you know of any please feel free to share.  I would like to make character training a big part of our curriculum next homeschool year.  Also, while I am thinking about it, what Spanish curriculum is your family currently using, if any and what are the pros and cons of it?  I am also researching this for the next homeschool year.

Next week we will be jumping right back into our academics at full speed.  I am currently getting ready to order our next year’s curriculum for 4th and 1st grade!  Pretty excited about that.

Enjoy the weather and have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

Homeschooling Journey Week 28: Domestic Skills

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Well, you can most certainly  tell we live in Michigan! Crazy weather.  I guess we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed by these twists and turns as Michigan is known to throw us mighty weather curve balls from time to time.  Hey, I will take the colder weather over snow anytime.  Who is with me?

Homeschool Week 28

Last week we did a little extra character training in our homeschool.  This week we had a lesson on how to keep a clean and organized house.  It was just getting out of control and something had to be done about it.  It seems as if the land of toys has traveled abroad and in unsightly piles here and there.  I can honestly say that I have not been as diligent as I used to be (prior to homeschooling) but I guess we need to establish a “domestic” system now encouraging domestic skills.  It took some doing but we have a system that seems to work for my family and it is simply this.  You are not allowed to leave a room with toys, dishes, etc., left anywhere in the room.  I will say “STOPtake out your pretend binoculars.”  “Do you see anything that should be picked up and put away before leaving this room?”  They understand this well and it has been working so far so good right along with our character training red flag system.   Do we have perfect days where it runs flawlessly?  Haha any homeschooling parent knows it can be like climbing a mountain sometimes but at least there has been definite progress and most likely you can relate.

Due to our domestic training this week, our learning wasn’t necessarily put on hold so to speak but the instruction part was put on break.  It was nice giving them review materials to work diligently on their own in between other life lessons.  Next week we will be doing some fun Easter crafts along with our learning.  I will post pics of those for week 29.

On Monday, March 26th Sweet Pea (8.5) and Cup Cake (5.5), had fun getting their dance costume pictures taken.  They first did class group shots then individual.  I can’t wait to see how they turned out!   Sweet Pea is excited since this is her first year of dance.  She is taking tap.  They are gearing up for their big dance recital this coming June.  Sweet Pea and Cup Cake are also gearing up for their piano recital in June.  Talk about busy but so much fun.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?  They are continuing with their classes at Palaestra on Friday mornings.  We can’t believe that these will be coming to a close on May 11th.  Time is flying by so quickly yet I am so thrilled and blessed by the progress we have made in our homeschooling journey.  I can’t believe it will be 1 year since we started this August.  I wouldn’t trade any minute of it, not even the rough learning patches.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and Happy Homeschooling!

 

Homeschooling Journey: Weeks 29 and 30

 

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I hope everyone had an amazing Easter and hopefully you and your family enjoyed some much needed time off.  Because I didn’t post last week I  will be talking about our homeschool adventures last week and this week.  On top of our busy schedule we did enjoy family time away from homeschooling.  It was a blast!

Homeschool Week 29

Since last week was the week of Easter, we of course did a lot of crafts in honor of it.  We made stain glass Easter eggs out of construction paper and tissue paper, crosses, and of course we had to jump on board the tradition of dying Easter eggs.  I have always done this prior to homeschooling.  It’s just really fun to see how each Easter egg turns out differently.

The girls also earned Easter basket fun.  We try not to do too much candy as we want those smiles to stay healthy and fantastic!  But, it’s always fun to see those smiles as we laid their baskets out on the table so it was the first things the girls saw on Easter morning.  So priceless!

Sweet Pea's latest fashion creation

Sweet Pea (9) really jumped on board finishing her fashion design project from Palaestra.  As you can see her design turned out wonderfully.  She added the lace detail the end of last week and she couldn’t be prouder.  I think she sews better than me now, ha!

Homeschool Week 30

This week has been a slower week.  As new homeschoolers I was trying to decide if we were doing spring break or not.  We ended up taking Good Friday off and the Monday after Easter off.  We did schooling on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We took Thursday off as their grandma and grandpa surprised them with a sleepover Wednesday afternoon.  My husband and I of course cleared the rest of the day and went shopping and on a dinner date.  It was greatly needed and such a blessing.

Because it’s spring break there was no dance, Palaestra, or other events this week.  I have loved the calmness but we will most definitely be ready to jump in full speed this coming Monday.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschooling Journey Week 31: Life Experiences

I dedicate this homeschool post to our sweet family dog Bailey. You will be missed buddy!

Homeschool Week 31

Our family dog, Bailey. R.I.P. buddy!

This past week has been a very emotional week for my family. We had to say goodbye to our family dog of 12 years. His name was Bailey. He was an Alaskan Malamute and the sweetest dog you would ever meet but, I may just be a little partial.  As you can see in the pic he was a large dog but he was a delight.  I always called him my bear rug.

The past few months we started preparing ourselves because of his age and the severe arthritis he was experiencing.   If you know anything about Malamutes you know their life span varies based on size. We had to sit down with our girls, the two older ones anyway, and talk about life and death and what Bailey would be facing. Ugh, talk about a life experience not only for my girls but for myself as a parent.  I am sure I can speak for my husband as well.

These past few months Bailey had been on dog medication to minimize his pain and the vet said we would just know when it was time to have him put to sleep. Talk about a sock in the stomach. On Monday, the medication just seemed to not be working anymore and he would whimper a lot.   He stopped eating by Tuesday and just could not get comfortable anymore. He would limp in pain especially, at night.

Thursday at 1:00 am in the morning he just went further downhill and seemed to be going out of his mind. My husband and I had to sit up with him all night has he paced the house like crazy in pain and panting heavily. We decided then that later in the morning we would have to say our goodbyes and take him in.

This is where it got tricky and a life experience I will never, ever forget.  We had to wake the girls up and then sat them down to tell them what was going to happen.  Oh the heartache and tears.  At this point, precious Bailey could not walk anymore.  We just loved on him and said our goodbyes.  My poor husband carried him with all his strength to the car and left alone.  Ugh, it was so heartbreaking and my husband had the strongest bond with Bailey so you can imagine the hurt he was experiencing.  The girls saw their daddy cry and that was really tough but I believe it was good for them as they don’t ever see him cry.  So this was another life experience learning that everyone, even boys, experience sadness and heartache.

It is hard not seeing Bailey around the house and the girls had to cross feeding him and giving him water off their chore charts.  We expect to see him lying around but he’s not there.  Last night, I went to lock up the doors but routine is to let Bailey outside to do his business then lock up.  I went to call his name but the reality hit, he wasn’t here.

Cup Cake (5), is slightly on the confused side as she thinks he’s coming home after he “wakes” up.  Sweet Pea (9), is taking it pretty hard and our little preschooler, well she keeps asking where he is?  Ugh, being a parent is so difficult sometimes.

We did do some homeschooling this week.  I will be posting a new project we will be working on starting next week.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 32

Image by Lindsey Clair

I am posting early this week as we are headed up north for some homeschool fun and family R&R.  Hopefully there won’t be any snow, yikes.

Homeschool Week 32

I was hoping to post about our project we will be working on but we haven’t quite started as of yet, ugh.  This is due to our schedules being slightly thrown off due to a couple family events.  I am hoping to get started sometime next week.  The girls have been learning about fashion through the ages.  Cup Cake (5.5), started paper dolls from around the world so I will be posting a couple pics very soon.  They are turning out to be really cute.  Sweet Pea (9), will be starting her project hopefully next week.  I will keep you posted on that.

This week we basically have been reviewing what we have learned thus far.  I am very proud of their progress.  Cup Cake earned a reading certificate this week.  She loves reading and is doing very well.  She will most definitely be ready for first grade work.  She was kind of bored with Kindergarten academics so we took everything up a notch.  I am hoping she will excel in first grade A Beka.

Image by Lindsey Clair

Sweet Pea is gearing up for our pony camp event the end of May.  She will be doing a presentation as she has been in training on horse safety, grooming, riding, etc.  This past week she was given instruction to properly clean a saddle.  She passed inspection, haha and did a great job.  My parents will be hosting this pony camp event (which filled up pretty quickly) at their ranch so Sweet Pea has had a couple advantages there.  I look forward to posting pics on that event as well.

Jelly Bean (2.5), is still potty training but almost there.  Can’t wait to rid ourselves of Pull-Ups!  Jelly Bean’s vocabulary is building and it’s so amusing to be able to understand her words, haha.  Goodness, where has the time gone?  We have been working on her numbers and letters.  She can count to 20, yay!  She can also sing her colors in Spanish, haha I just couldn’t resist.  It’s so cute.  She has learned how to cut with preschool scissors thanks to her big sisters.  She holds a crayon correctly and is very observant of everything.  She is most definitely a busy bee and keeps me on my toes.

Do you have any fun homeschool projects you are currently working on or are planning?  I would love to hear from you.

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Week 33: Tree Planting

Happy weekend everyone!  Can you believe the little heat wave that we had? We actually had to turn on the air.  I personally enjoy the summer weather but my husband might beg to differ.  We are like night and day when it comes to temperatures.  I love the heat, he loves the cold.  So yes, you can guess he did not like this heat wave we experienced especially since he chose to cut the grass.  So glad that he did though considering the wild thunderstorm that rolled through.  Yay, summer is coming!

Homeschool Week 33

If you remember I posted early last week since we took a homeschooling trip up north.  We always stay at my in-laws cabin and property just outside of Gaylord.  It’s on 10 acres back in the woods and just beautiful.  On this particular trip the girls learned a lot about the different types of trees and even replanted one to a different location on the property.

It was very educational and exciting for the girls as their daddy taught them this particular lesson.  They learned about saplings and seedlings.  Daddy even quizzed them afterwards and they remembered everything.  To my amazement they were pretty intrigued by it all.  Hands on was definitely key instead of learning about them in some text book.  Now that alone can be on the boring side.  I remember being bored by reading and looking at pictures of trees.  It’s way better to see them and touch them.  It made the learning experience more exciting.  They even counted a few tree rings on the stumps.  It was cute as they tried to figure out how old a few of the trees actually are.

We are looking forward to another homeschool trip back up north in just a couple of short weeks.  My husband has the week off this time so we will be staying a little longer and enjoying nature on top of a little bit of curriculum learning.

As you can see in the pic in the beginning of this post, Cup Cake (5.5) is almost finished with her paper dolls from around the world.  They are turning out really cute and she has been eager to learn about each country with outfit and doll.  She almost remembers the name of each country.

We just celebrated Sweet Pea’s 9th birthday on May 2nd.  We took her out to her favorite restaurant, IHOP.  They sang to her and gave her a free ice cream sundae, yum!  She only got one present from us because she is going to be getting a big one on Sunday at her family party.  I am so pumped about this gift.  I won’t share it as of yet as it is a surprise, shhh.  I will post pics next week revealing her gift.  She has been wanting this for 2 years and is so passionate about it we just couldn’t help but get family in on it to cut down the cost.  Oh the suspense haha!

Sweet Pea also earned her rights to co-ownership of my mom’s horse Smokey.  She works hard in the stables and helps take care of him when she can.  My parents presented her with a certificate stating the ownership, isn’t that great?  She is currently learning horse safety and is having a few riding lessons.  She is gearing up to do a presentation at our Homeschool Pony Camp on May 25th.   I will also be posting pics on that as well.

Jelly Bean (3 on May 13th), is still a very busy bee.  She is talking up a storm and forming her words to make sentences very well.  She is almost completely potty trained yay! She is an absolute joy just like her sisters.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschooling Journey: Week 34

www.customcakesbykimi.com

This week has been a week of birthday fun not only for my now 9 year old Sweet Pea, but also for Jelly Bean, who will be 3 years old on the 13th!  I can’t believe it, where does the time go?  Cup Cake (5.5), is getting a little envious of all of this attention but I assured her that her time will come this September 1st when she turns 6!

Homeschool Week 34

As you can see in the pics, her amazing birthday cake was made by a very close friend of mine.  It’s a Stardoll cake.  Stardoll is a fashion design wesbite for young girls.  Sweet Pea was so in love with this cake.  No one wanted to cut it, would you want to? Haha

Sweet Pea opened probably one of the best birthday gifts in all her 9 years.  I had the grandparents and her aunt and uncle go in on this one.  An American Girl doll!  As many of you know these dolls do not come cheap and I didn’t feel that this would be a practical gift just from us (mommy and daddy).  But, if other family members could chip in it would be perfect and worth it.  Boy, was it ever!  I videoed her opening and screaming with excitment at this gift.  Now, it wasn’t just a normal girly scream!  I can hardly describe it but the love and gratefulness that came out of her heart caused all the women in the room to tear up.  Sweet Pea even cried with thankfulness.  She has been inseparable with this doll ever since.  We got her the “Me Doll” one customized to resemble her.  So cute and sweet.  She is now determined to save up her monies to purchase accessories for it.  Oh, she named her doll Kaden.

www.customcakesbykimi.com

On top of her suprise birthday cake and doll, one of her best friends showed up making it a truly special day!  It was all around a very rememberable day for a very special 9 year old.  We are very proud and blessed.

Jelly Bean hasn’t quite yet received any gifts but she has made it very clear in her preschool vocabulary that she wants cake with strawberries on it and a baby doll!  So easy and sweet right?  Love it!  We will be blessing her this Sunday with those simple little things.

Did we get any homeschooling done?  Haha, for sure but I am excited to say we are winding down out of the curriculum’s!  We should be done completely by the middle of June and starting enrichment.  I just can’t believe it! I guess I need to start ordering the next homeschool year’s curriculum, yikes!

Today was our last day at Palaestra!  What a milestone.  We ended our first homeschool adventure for the year.  It feels great and we can’t wait to return in September.  Sweet Pea is a little heartbroken as her fashion design dress she had worked so hard on has vanished.  It was hanging on the board for the art show last night and we still saw it on there this morning.  Just before we left it was gone, ugh.  Not sure what happened to it but hoping someone returns it.  Sweet Pea is determined to exercise the sewing skills she has obtained and move forward with making another one.  At least we have pictures as a memory!  Still a proud momma.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and…..

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschool Journey Week 35: Pioneering Ways

Image by Lindsey Clair

This week has been fun as we are up north for some R&R but also homeschooling.  The girls are learning about the pioneer way of life.  From Mackinac to the woods it has definitely been an educational experience.

Homeschool Week 35

The cabin we stay in has a visitor.  We have a momma Robin and her babies nesting above one of the windows.  The eggs have not hatched as of yet but the girls are having a ball watching the mother take care of her eggs.  We had to teach them to stay away from her as not to upset her, etc.  They actually have been singing to her, it’s been so sweet to watch.

We got to grill our  hot dogs over an open camp fire flame.  Yummm, it just tastes so much better that way.  We went trekking through the woods looking for different types of plants and even berry bushes.  It’s so great to be able to spark the girls creativity and get them away from the TV, etc.  We are hoping they are learning to be thankful for everything they have at this point, haha!

Momma bird visitor

We are sticking with our curriculum when we can while adding educational experiences from our lovely state.  We are heading back home either tomorrow or Sunday.  Life up here is just so much different and more exciting, haha.  It’s a nice change of pace that is for sure.  I hate to see it come to a close.

Sorry so short.  I am currently typing our experiences in a Subway in town since they are the only place that has WiFi around here, haha!  Wow, rustic living right?

Have a great weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

 

Homeschool Journey: Week 36

Incomposition/Wikimedia.org

I think we are seeing a preview of summer.  Yay! This makes me so happy.  I adore the heat.  Like I said in a previous post, my husband begs to differ.  He’s a winter person, ugh no thanks!  Do you share my passion for the summer heat? Haha, just curious.

Homeschool Week 36

Well, we are almost to the end of our very first homeschool year.  I can’t believe it!  I haven’t officially decided when we will be ending but I am anticipating the middle of June.  We will then move forward with enrichment learning.  I am just so amazed that we made it through out first year.  It sure did go by very quickly.  I am gearing up and looking forward to starting up again in the fall.  We will start a new homeschool journey as year-round homeschoolers.  Do any of you do this?  I would love to hear from you.

Today was our very first homeschool pony and craft camp.  It was a blast and turned out very well.  The feedback was overwhelming and we look forward to hosting another one in the fall.  We had 11 parents and 24 children.  We had horse grooming and safety sessions, riding, crafts etc., it was great.

Since we spent most of this week planning for this homeschool event, our learning was very limited to basic and we did a lot of reviewing.  Next week we will be jumping right back in to our regular routine, whatever that is haha!  I will post more pictures next week.  This homeschool momma is exhausted and going to sign off early, I know you understand.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

Homeschool Journey Week 37: Mini Field Trip

Image by Lindsey Clair

Wow, week 37!  June 20th will mark the end of our very first homeschool year, yay!  It has been a definite roller-coaster ride on this homeschooling journey.  I look forward to posting about our summer adventures next.

Homeschool Week 37

Image by Lindsey Clair

Since our curriculum is winding down we have been able to do more hands on learning.  This past week took a visit to the Country Cat Clinic/Horse Farm across the street from my parent’s ranch.  My mom was horse sitting for a few days while the owners had to take off on a business trip.  So, as you can see we got to have a nice view of the horses.  Absolutely gorgeous.  The girls were so intrigued at their sizes.  One of the horses just had a baby (foal).  She was so sweet and the mother didn’t seem to mind we were there.  She let us pet her.  My mom mentioned that usually the mother will push the baby out of the way so that no one can go up to her.  The girls felt pretty special about that.

We got a free tour of the horse training area, all the stalls, and even the birthing stall.  The pastures seemed to go on for miles.  It you have horse lovers in your home, this was horse heaven.  In one field there were 4 Phillie’s (pic to the left).  They came running up to us all spunky and full of life.  Sweet Pea (9), can imitate the sound of a young horse so they were responding to her.  It was so cute.

Image by Lindsey Clair

The girls looked so tiny compared to these Thoroughbreds.  There was also a Stallion.  They were all just so beautiful and so exciting.  They watched everything that we did.  At one point 5 of them came running up from the pasture thinking it was feeding time.  Wow, it sounded like a major stampede.  Very intimidating but very exciting.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there was also a pregnant horse.  I saw movement in her belly, talk about wow!

We also got a brief glimpse of the Country Cat Clinic.  Funny thing is we only saw one cat the whole time we were there.  This cat seemed to be curious by our presence and followed us everywhere.  We briefly met the Veterinarian and the receptionist.  I have never been to a clinic designed specifically just for cats.  Very interesting.

What was the most memorable homeschool field trip you took with your children this year?  I would love to hear about your adventures.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

 

Homeschool Journey Week 38: One More Week!

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am excited to say that I graduated Cup Cake (5.5) from homeschool Kindergarten this week!  Yay!  I have her ahead of schedule and she is more than ready for first grade.  I will be presenting her with the certificate on Sunday in front of our family and friends.  Pictures to come next week!

Homeschool week 38

Sweet Pea (9), has one week left in her homeschool school year then we start summer sharpeners 2-3 days a week for our summer schedule.  Super pumped and ready for summer fun but I am also excited about our new homeschool year since now I kind of know what I am doing, haha!

Jelly Bean (3) will be starting preschool work with me in the fall.  I just can’t believe how quickly time has been going by.  It’s hard to believe I will have a fourth grader, first grader, and preschooler.  It definitely does make me proud and I feel so honored to be their teacher.

I mentioned in a previous post that we will be trying year round homeschooling in the fall.  Three weeks on, one week off or whatever is flexible.  I am still dead set on that but I know this could change at any moment.

The girls just had their dance recital on Tuesday and it went beautifully!  Sweet Pea did Tap and Cup Cake did ballet.  Cup Cake wants to try Tap this fall.  So cute.  I am also contemplating enrolling Jelly Bean in the fall.  Next, they have their piano recital.  So proud of their accomplishments.  As a homeschooling parent, doesn’t feel great to see your children succeed?  I am so humbled by all of this.

Have a blessed weekend and stay tuned as I wrap up our homeschool year next week!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

Homeschool Journey Week 39: We did it!

I am so excited to say that we are officially done with our very first homeschool year!  We will be starting homeschool summer sharpeners and beyond three days a week starting next week.  I look forward to posting our summer adventures.

Homeschool Week 39

It most definitely has been an incredible journey and I am beyond thrilled at the results of homeschooling thus far.  I was so very nervous in the beginning but I know this is a normal feeling.  I feared that I would damage my girls.  But with all the homeschooling resources, groups, and families that came my way, those fears subsided and I am now convinced that homeschooling is the best method of education for my family so I plan on being in it for the long haul.  I would love to graduate my girls as homeschoolers.

In the weeks ahead I will be planning our next school year by ordering curriculums etc.  This morning I will be enrolling Sweet Pea and Cup Cake in a Palaestra classes for the fall.  Next week, my hopes is to attend a homeschool meeting about possible free homeschooling classes.  I will keep you posted on that as “free” is the key word here.  Gotta love that!

How is your homeschooling space?  I must say I need to get more organized in that area as our space is very limited but we are hoping to expand very soon and I look forward to having more breathing room.  This was a challenge for our family since starting our homeschooling journey.  But, I can’t complain.  We made it work and it will continue you until the time is right for us to move into something bigger.

Well, I guess that is it!  I was hoping to post some final homeschool year pictures but kind of got behind in that area so hopefully I can post some here and there during our summer skill sharpeners.

I would love to hear from you.  How was your homeschool year?  Is there anything you will be doing differently in the fall?  Feel free to share with me anything pertainting to your homeschool journey I would love to read your comments and possibly get ideas.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and see you next week on our new summer adventures!

~Happy Homeschooling

 

Homeschool Summer Sharpeners

Happy Friday!  I am super duper excited right now.  I found awesome deals on used curriculum for grades 1 and 4 for the 2012-2013 year.  They just came this morning and I am pumped and ready to tackle it already.  Is that normal? LOL

Since we ended our first homeschool year I decided to stay up with reading, writing, and math three days a week.  I am calling it “Homeschool Summer Sharpeners.” I will  be digging up fun online resources and projects  in the weeks ahead that I look forward to sharing with you.  We officially start our summer sharpeners next week.  I would like to do Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, but of course will be mixing it up  around our summer fun and vacations.

Our first fun project we completed this past Saturday was for Father’s Day.  We made shirt and tie cards out of scrapbook paper.  They turned out so stinkin’ cute as you can see in the pic.  Of course I am partial haha.  I had originally seen ideas like this on Familyfun.com but I changed it around a bit making it our own.  They most definitely were a hit!

We are looking forward to kicking off our summer adventures this Sunday at the Livonia Spree for some fun and fireworks.  I am praying that the weather holds and the temperature is tolerable for my sweet girls.

What are you doing this weekend?  Anything special?

Have a blessed weekend!

~Happy Summer

Homeschool Summer Sharpener #1

Image by Lindsey Clair

Good morning fellow homeschooling families!  I hope you are able to stay cool and comfortable in this extreme heat that we have been having.  Hopefully we will experience some rain pretty soon.  I keep thinking about all of the families in Colorado, Utah, etc., losing their homes to the fires.  My thoughts and prayers go out to them at this time.  My cousins family had to evacuate from their home out west and waiting to find out if their home is even still standing.  So scary and so disheartening.

On a brighter note, (sigh) we started our homeschool summer sharpeners this week.  Basically, we will just stick with reading, writing, and math three days a week to keep the minds sharp.  I am going to try to mix it up the best I can with learning games, projects, etc.  I know that these subjects have a tendency to become tedious and dry so I am on a mission to make it fun and exciting.  I recently learned of a summer writing camp that I think may be beneficial and I signed the girls up for a summer reading program through Barnes and Noble.  They are excited to jump on that as they will earn a free book after reading and logging 8 books.

We are also staying sharp with piano lessons and music theory.  I don’t want them to lose what they have gained thus far especially since I am there music/piano teacher, haha.  I have been trained in piano, flute, and music theory since a very young age so it’s a great advantage to be able to exercise those talents and skills with my own children.  It’s also a bonus to save money in that department!  I decided to do something different with our music education.  I started a mini piano/theory summer camp to keep it fresh and fun.  The girls are learning about one legendary composer a week along with theory worksheets and learning one classical song a week.  So far it’s going very well.  This week we learned about Johann Sebastian Bach.  Sweet Pea (9) is learning classical piece level 3 Fur Elise and Cup Cake (5.5.) is learning classical piece level 1 beginner, Swan Lake.  They have to perform it to me later today after a week long practice.  Next week we will move into our next session.

Oh, I forgot to mention that we had a blast at the Livonia Spree and Fireworks on Sunday, June 24th.  I always love seeing the girls faces after such a magnificent display.  It was just georgeous as always.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed July 4th celebrating the birth of our country!  God bless America!

I hope you all have a blessed weekend.  Stay cool!

~Happy Homeschooling and Happy Summer

icecream
Homeschool Summer Sharpener #2

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July with your friends and family.  It certainly was a LOUD one, haha!  It was great watching what was once illegal in our state be displayed in our neighborhood though I must admit, it was a little scary seeing fireworks you would normally see at say the Livonia Spree or Detroit Fireworks.  Hey, I will take free family entertainment any day.

Because the holiday was smack dab in the middle of the week, our summer sharpeners got slightly thrown off.  I tried mixing it up a little bit.  I found a great site that I am currently trying out for free called always-icecream.com.  It is a fun “learn and play platform for young girls.”  The educational team behind it are: “educational experts, teachers, and homeschooling parents.”  There are math challenges, United States map challenges, etc.  The monthly subscription based on type of membership doesn’t seem too shabby, but we are just going to give it a trial run to see how the girls respond to it.  Because I have all girls this is perfect, but if you have boys, they have a site designed specifically for them too called clever-dragons.com/login.

This week for mini piano/theory camp, the girls are learning about George Frederic Handel.  Sweet Pea (9) is learning Messiah (Halleujah Chorus) and Cup Cake (5.5) is learning All the Pretty Horses (lullaby).  It’s fun mixing up their songs with different composers.  They are intrigued and seem pretty excited thus far so I am a pretty pleased homeschool mommy.

Next week we will be doing learning through recipes.  I will post our adventures next week!

~Stay cool and Happy Summer

Image by: Free Digital Photos

Homeschool Summer Sharpener #3

Happy Friday!  Who is ready for the weekend?  I know I am, it’s just been one of those weeks.  I know that I mentioned in homeschool summer sharpener #2 that we would be doing some fun with recipes. Ugh yeah, our oven broke.  Can you believe it? Bummer, I know this stuff happens, but it just figures when it is when you have something planned.  Fortunately, it’s just the ignitor that my husband can replace and get fixed so I should have a working oven again soon, yay!

We decided to do chalk fun on the driveway in our backyard.  I had them do writing and math practice with different color chalks.  They also created some cute little artwork as well.

The girls continue to do some fun homeschool summer sharpening on always ice cream.  It’s great to have online resources to supplement their learning.  It’s also nice to have a break sometimes, haha!

Next week, we will be registering for a new homeschool program that will be available in Farmington Hills through Homeschool Connections.   I look forward to sharing these adventures starting in September.

~Have a blessed weekend everyone and Happy Summer!

 

Homeschool Summer Sharpener #4

Happy Friday, I think!  It has been another one of those weeks.  My sweet girls are learning to work together and get along.  Ugh, the fighting, whining, and crying the past few days have escalated.  I guess this is to be expected with three girls 9, almost 6, and 3. Like my lighting bolt? Haha, even through my frustrations, I am learning to just soak in every moment.  I love my girls so much and the fact they are growing quickly helps me put things into perspective.  One day they will be grown with families of their own. (sigh)  Cherish every moment of being a parent through the early years, they fade quickly.  This I am getting a glimpse of.

Because of our emotional week, I decided to throw some character training into the mix.  Hey, this can be a part of our summer sharpeners too right?  We did our normal math, reading, and writing sharpeners through online learning games, creative writing, and fun summer stories for reading.  We are still having oven issues so we haven’t been able to do any learning through recipes.  I will have to get creative and do some summer recipes without the oven, makes sense doesn’t it? HA!

Who here has been having behavior challenges with their children?  I sometimes feel so alone in this, but I know I’m not.  It’s still an adjustment period in that aspect as we are still learning how to be together all the time. Pheww!  To top our week off, my new 3 year old who has been successfully potty trained for over a month now, has decided to do things like go potty on the floor and think it’s funny.  Ugh, again, I know this will pass.

Thinking of the families that lost loved ones in the Colorado movie theatre shooting has made my parenting struggles look so tiny.  I am truly thankful for being a parent.  Let our thoughts and prayers be also with the victims that were hurt in the shooting.

Have a blessed weekend everyone and happy summer!

Image by My Cute Graphics

Homeschool Summer Sharpeners #5 and #6

Good morning fellow homeschoolers.  As you can see I am posting for last week and this week.  Reason?  Well, thankfully the Clair clan will be taking a vacation up state for a few days so this week will be cut short.  Because of our trip, I will not be posting next week, but will resume with our homeschool summer sharpeners the week of August 13th.

Last week and this week has been pretty calm yet unique in some ways.  Jelly Bean (3) has been learning to count with chocolate chips haha yeah part of our recipe adventures, Cup Cake (5.5) has been reading words out of a second grade reading book (yes, all on her own.  I did not motivate her in any way)  Excited mommy?  Oh my goodness, I am esctatic! And  Sweet Pea, (9) has been writing in her summer journal and keeping up with reading and math with books and online games.  When we return from our trip, they will all be working on a summer lapbook.  Can’t wait to post pics of that.

The past few weeks Sweet Pea has been our little gymnast. Oh yes, since the American Girl movie was released (McKenna series), she has been doing cartwheels and handstands like crazy and begging us to enroll her into gymnasatics.  Originally, she was going to take a her second year of tap at Central City Dance, but switched gears on us and wants to try gymnastics.  After watching some of the Olympics, you can bet this motivated her even more.  So what was I to do?  Her heart was on gymnastics and not tap so we enrolled her on Monday, July 30th at Miss Peggy’s Livonia Ultimate Gymnastics.  Cup Cake and Jelly Bean were enrolled back at CCD for ballet and tap.  Yes, our little preschooler will be sporting some new tap shoes this fall.  This mommy is so excited and so proud.  Wow, what a busy homeschool schedule we will have: Piano lessons, dance, gymnastics, etc., It’s going to be very busy but also very rewarding. I like being busy, busy is good.  Oh and speaking of American Girl, I will be getting the awesome privilege of interviewing one of the stars of the recent movie.  It will be featured over at Detroit Mommies, I will keep you posted on that.

Have a wonderful and blessed week everyone and see you on the 13th!

 

Homeschool Summer Sharpener #7

Going down the Sinkhole! It was quite a climb going back up!

Hello, fellow homeschooling families.  Can you believe that we are winding down with summer already?  Where did the time go?  I think it went by way too quickly, what do you think?   Who is ready for a new homeschool year?  I think I am, haha! No, I am getting excited to start year two of our homeschooling adventures.

In the mean time if you have been keeping up with my summer adventures you know that we have been doing summer sharpeners.  This is basically staying on top of subjects that can easily be lost throughout the summer: Math, Reading, and Writing.  I have been mixing up our learning adventures with online games and activities.  I think my girls have stayed pretty fresh with math games, summer reading programs, and writing in their journal.  Hopefully, it will be all worth it when we begin homeschooling the last week in August.

Last week we took our summer sharpeners on vacation but through nature.  We took our girls to the Onaway Sinkholes (Northern Michigan) where they got to see what happened to the earth hundreds of years ago.  They were pretty intriqued and defined it as the earth swallowed the ground.  We also did some mini pioneering fun.  We walked around the woods behind the property we stay at up north and picked berries.  They were so thrilled at this and they were tasty too.

My hiking beauties made it to the bottom!

Our vacation was most definitely a blast yet restful and much needed.  Upon our return to the land of the living, haha, the girls resumed with online math learning and occasional worksheets, reading (Cup Cake 5.5, started reading Pinkalicious and LOVES it) and both girls have kept up writing in their summer journals to practice cursive writing and printing.  I have been including copy writing work in the mix and it seems to be very helpful.

I can’t believe that this week will be the final week of our summer sharpeners.  I think we may take the week off before we start up full swing the week of the 27th.  Stay tuned for a back to school post for homeschoolers I will be doing next week to kick off our new homeschool year.

~Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone and Happy Homeschooling!

Back to School Homeschool Style

Good morning fellow homeschooling families!  Are you enjoying all of those “Back to School” commercials?  The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that we don’t have to worry about those school lists.  So nice and a definite money saver.  It’s nice to be able to go pick up what you need just for your homeschool.  I do need to replenish a few of our supplies, but nothing major.  Even if, there are some great deals out there.

How about “Back to School” clothes?  It’s kind of nice to just run out and get what my girls need, a few clothing items here and there and not worry about uniforms or a serious dress code.  Don’t get me wrong, I teach my girls modesty in the way they dress, it’s just nice to not have to worry about the latest styles and trends to keep up with everyone else, wouldn’t you agree?

As we prepare for our “Back to Homeschool” adventures, my biggest priority is to clean up our homeschooling space.  Boy, did it get out of control towards the end of our first year, haha.  I have some new ideas that I would like to implement now that I have an idea of what I am doing.  It’s such a blessing to be able to make our very own schedule.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

We have wrapped up a few of our summer sharpeners and going to enjoy the rest of the week off because we will be starting our homeschooling schedule next week.  Yikes, where did the time go?  Next week will most likely be a time of getting our feet wet and slowly building our routine.  After Labor Day though, we will be in full swing.

When will you begin your homeschool year?  What new ways have you prepped for “Back to Homeschool?”

~Have a great rest of the summer and Happy Homeschooling!

 

Family Stock Photos by bloggersclipart.com

Our First Week Back as Homeschoolers

Well, we made it through our first week back into our homeschool schedule.  I can’t believe it’s already our second year.  I can honestly say that this time around was a lot easier since I kind of know what I am doing now, haha.  Last year I was slightly stressed and apprehensive, but I know this comes with the territory.  Was I still a little nervous?  Oh  yes!  This year I have a 4th grader, 1st grader, and preschooler so it has been an adventure for sure.

Here is our homeschool schedule this year:

  • 7:00 am-Wake up routine
  • 8:00 am- 11:30/12:00 Instruction (This year I have a  little jar that says “What’s Your Subject” each girl takes turns drawing a subject we will work on, they are loving this!)
  • 12:00 Lunch and Free time
  • 12:30- 3:30 Chores (they go off a color system chart on a dry erase board) Work trays, for work they didn’t get to complete during instruction, and piano practice.
  • Evenings are reserved for extra curricular activities such as piano lessons, gymnastics, and dance, etc.
  • Wednesdays, the girls will be taking classes at Homeschool Connections in Farmington Hills  Historic American Girl class, Writing, Spanish, and P.E.

We are looking forward to our schedule picking up in the weeks ahead though it will be very busy.  Hey, busy is good right?  Especially when we get to plan out our schedule the way we want, love it!

We are looking forward to a nice 4 day weekend ahead and will be ready to jump in with both feet on Tuesday! Can’t wait to share all of our adventures with you.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

 

Homeschool Journey:Week 2

I am excited to say that we made it through our second week of our second year as homeschoolers, yay!  Things are going pretty well and we are looking forward to our schedule picking up next week.  Did I really just say that? lol

This evening, Sweet Pea (9) will be starting gymnastics for the very first time.  Yes, the Olympics inspired my little gymnast wannabe.  Next Tuesday evening we will be adding Pioneer Girls at Ward Church, Homeschool Connections classes in Farmington Hills on Wednesdays, and then we can expect dance to merge into our schedule by the 21st for Cup Cake (6) and Jelly Bean (3).  We are already doing piano lessons on Wednesdays evenings so this will be easy to transition into.

Here is a  brief summary of our homeschool week:

Jelly Bean (3) Preschool:  Intro to letters, colors, and shapes through shaving cream, finger painting and coloring.  She has access to a mini art table where she can explore with all kinds of activities.

Cup Cake (6) 1st Grade: Is really doing well in all her subjects.  Have to supplement her math as she is my little math whiz and is bored with A Beka Arithmetic 1.  I may have to go towards the center/end of the book to really give her a challenge.  In science she made her own little toilet paper roll guitar as an experiment for science.  She was learning about our our ears and how they work.  For My America, My World history, she learned about freedom of speech and the freedom of the press this week.  As you can see she made her own little newspaper.

Sweet Pea (9) 4th Grade: Is being challenged in all subject areas though loving it, okay that’s stretching it with a couple of subjects (cough, cough math) ha! I am trying my best to make it enjoyable though and it seems to be helping.  She will be doing her first book review on top of a few fun projects and experiments I have up my sleeve.

They are loving my “What’s Your Subject”  my concept where they take turns drawing what subject we will be focusing on.  If they don’t complete their work, at least Cup Cake and Sweet Pea, they place it in their work tray to remind them to complete it later.  It’s going very well.

Our color coded chore chart system is going swimmingly as well.  They know that at the end of the month they can potentially earn allowance or special privileges based on the outcome of their work.

We are looking forward to a restful weekend, but we are also looking forward to a new week with exciting adventures.

Have a blessed upcoming weekend everyone and Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschool Journey: Week 3

I am so excited! Our homeschool schedule is picking up. Busy, busy, but a fun busy, busy!  Does that sound normal to be excited about a busy schedule? Haha! It is when it comes to homeschooling and I know many of you can relate!

Sweet Pea (9) and Cup Cake (6), started Pioneer Girls at Ward Church in Novi this past Tuesday, September 11th, 2012.  Cup Cake was super excited to be able to join her sister in these adventures.  On Wednesday, September 12th, both girls started Homeschool Connections classes in Farmington Hills!  I think I mentioned their classes briefly in a previous post, but here they are again:

  • Sweet Pea: American Girl History: Kaya and Felicity and IEWriting program
  • Cup Cake: Fun with Spanish and P.E fun and games

I just have to give a big shout out (even though she may not read this, hey wait she reads now! I can show this to her, haha) to my sweet 6 year old: MOMMY IS SO PROUD OF YOU!  Believe it or not, Cup Cake was the only girl enrolled in the gym class, ugh really? Haha!  She was not very happy at first and the teacher (male) treated her like a princess!  I told her, “you just go in there and enjoy the class.  Show those boys up! Hehe.  If looks could kill when I left her, I wouldn’t be alive to share this with you today. lol  When we returned to pick her up, she was running and smiling and playing tennis, what a trooper! My busy bee needs this class and I know she will learn a lot, boys or no boys.

Sweet Pea will be returning to gymnastics this evening!  She just LOVES it!  I believe next week Cup Cake and Jelly Bean (3) will be starting tap and ballet.  After next week our schedule will finally be in full swing. Fridays I have decided to do what I call a two hour block hop.  It’s where we will just review things we learned and be done for the weekend.  It’s a must after a long week wouldn’t you agree?  I will post new pics next week!

How is your schedule going so far?  Anything new and exciting going on this year for your homeschooling family?  Would love to hear from you.

Happy Homeschooling!

 

School Clip Art by bloggersclipart.com

Homeschool Journey Week 4

Who is ready for fall?  I must say, I am excited about the fall colors, cider mills, and beyond.  My girls are aching to get to the cider mill.  We have a few trips lined up to a variety of places and cannot wait to sip yummy cider and eat scrumptious donuts.

We are planning our first northern homeschool adventure for the fall of 2012.  It is set for the first weekend in October and cannot wait to see nature at its finest. Glorious colors!

This week marks our first “Full” homeschooling week with extracurricular activities.  We are adding dance tonight so now we are in full swing from classes, piano, gymnastics, dance, to whatever else comes our way.  Yeah, I had to learn to say “no” to a few things here and there, don’t want to run ourselves ragged.  This past weekend the girls got bit by a cold bug, ugh.  Nasty, already?  Oh well, all is better now and we are ready to move forward.

Sweet Pea, (9) is working hard in her IE Writing Class (Institute for Excellence in Writing).  She is learning how to make an outline of keywords from an original essay and make it her own.  Through minor frustration, she got through it and is loving the challenge.  She is also thoroughly enjoying her American Girl History class at Homeschool Connections.  She cannot put those books down. So fun!  She is also doing very well in the other subjects.  I have a couple projects lined up that I can’t wait to share with you.

Cup Cake, (6) has been having fun learning about the United States along with symbols, etc.  As you can see she created the Liberty Bell out of aluminumn foil and added the historic crack into it.  She had fun with this one.  I look forward to coming up with other projects for her to get her interested in the history of the United States.  She is also being introduced to writing lower case cursive letters.  It’s been fun, honestly she enjoys it.  She is also our little math whiz.  I am always having to challenge her. Wow!

Jelly Bean, (3) is coming along with her preschool learning.  She is getting the hang of her colors, numbers, and letters.  I introduce a letter, number, and shape per week and do projects and activities around it.  She is loving it!  I am so thrilled for Jelly Bean, she will be starting “Tap” tonight at Central City Dance.  This will be her first year.  She has been asking me all day if it’s time to go.  Can’t wait to share with you her adventure with this one.

Looks like another beautiful day, can’t wait to go outside and enjoy it!  Have a blessed weekend everyone.

~Happy Homeschooling!

Homeschool Journey Weeks 5 and 6

Welcome to October! Wow, where did the time go?  Last week was very busy on top of homeschooling.  I got to sing in a wedding at the Mary Martha Chapel in Greenfield Village, so I  had practices, rehearsal dinners, etc. to prep for.  With that said, I was unable to post our journey last week as time got away from me.  I thought I would just combine last week’s journey with this week’s.

Lapbook Fun

Sweet Pea (9): Getting to Know your Missionaries.  Sweet Pea will be researching historical missionaries and organizing them in her lapbook.  This will coincide with recent missionaries she has learned about in United States History.  This particular lapbook project was purchased and downloaded easily from www.currclick.com.  Love that site!

Cup Cake (6): Monster Math Cup Cake will be putting together a fun monster math activity lapbook as a supplement for her math skills.  She has gone full speed ahead and is going to need to be challenged a little more.  Very good thing yet very surprising.  This lapbook was also purchased and downloaded from www.currclick.com.

Both girls are continuing with their classes at Homeschool Connections in Farmington Hills.  They are loving it and doing very well.  We look forward to what the future brings with this program.  I am currently looking at online foreign language for both girls.  Now this will be fun.  Momma can learn right along with them, love it.  Cup Cake is having fun learning Spanish in her Homeschool Connections class.  They are learning the spanish alphabet with a fun video.  Just click the link at the end of the post.

Jelly Bean (3), well what do I say?  Our little preschooler is blossoming right before our eyes.  Her vocabulary skills have improved tremendously.  She knows how to point and say all the colors and shapes and currently knows the letters A-D with their sounds.  She is loving the hands on activities I have been providing her with.  She’s a busy bee.  Oh yes, and she knows how to use scissors splendidly.  She cut out four shapes without any frustration, yay!

This week we are preparing for our second annual family homeschool trip which we take up north.  We will be leaving this Friday night and will return next Thursday, October 11th.  I have some fun adventures planned that I can’t wait to share with you when we return.

Happy Homeschooling!

Spanish Alphabet Song

 

Image courtesy of [ponsuwan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Northern Adventures Week 7

 
Yesterday we returned from our family northern adventures trip.  The autumn beauty of Michigan is so breaktaking.  The girls learned a lot about nature through our wooded adventures.

We did a unit study on plants and trees.  They learned what annual rings of a tree trunk represent.  They had fun trying to count the ones in the pic.  They learned that the thicker rings meant the tree had a strong year and that the thinner rings were a rough year.

They learned how to label a tree: Crown, Stem, Roots.  A big revelation for my girls was that yes a tree is a large plant, haha!  They realized that the crown of the tree are the branches and leaves, the stem is the trunk, and of course the roots are the foundation of the tree itself.  As you can see in our little project, they had fun discovering parts for our tree diagram below.

Cup Cake (6) and Sweet Pea (9), enjoyed learning from daddy about tree planting.  It’s fun watching each tree grow in size year after year.  They love this activity with their daddy.

We of course took a trip into Mackinac City and ate at our favorite resturaunt: Mama Mia’s and enjoyed yummy fudge.  To wrap up our northern adventures we woke up to a trace of white fluffy snow.  Oh boy!  Michigan is always full of seasonal surprises.  Gotta love it. 

Okay, now to go off track for just a brief moment.  Now in our second year, this homeschooling mom is struggling.  Who has been there?  I am not going to lie, I have been a teary mess trying to figure out what to do.  I am very tempted to put them in school, but I know this isn’t best.  I think I need to revamp our learning styles since it’s multi-age.  Thank you to those of you who have offered encouragement.  I am now seeking out unit study options to make life a little easier.  I think I am still stuck in “teacher” mode wanting to put together lessons plans and follow the book. Ugh, that’s not what homeschooling is, this I am learning.  Because of our age gaps: 9, 6, and 3 we have been having major behavior issues which contributes to the problem as well.  Any character training studies out there available that you can recommend?  I am seeking new ideas from fellow homeschoolers out there, and more encouragement if you can offer it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed weekend!

 

Reflections of a Homeschooling Mom Week 8

Well, time for this homeschooling mom of three to be honest and reflect on our recent homeschooling adventures.  When the new year started, it seemed to be going fine until I hit a “wall” so to speak.  Still being kind of new to this journey things have kind of taken a turn leaving me clueless to what I am going to do next.

What in the world changed?  Who here has felt like they have failed in the “curriculum” department?  How about facing behavior struggles because of age gaps?  Ugh, this is me right now.  I am also learning a lot about myself these days.  My husband pointed out that I am too hard on myself and expect way too much.  Also, being a former early childhood teacher, I am stuck in tight lesson plans and routines.  I  just don’t know how to break myself of this making it very difficult to look for something else.  I have stuck with A Beka since day one because I am familiar with it in the brick and mortar setting.  It’s a wonderful curriculum, but not so much for my multi-age crew.  It’s just not working and allowing flexibility.  It worked great last year when I was teaching Sweet Pea for third grade, but now I have a fourth grader, first grader and preschooler and it’s all just not working out as I was hoping.

A few seasoned families I have come in contact with have suggested multi-age unit studies.  I am still considering this route, but again because of my “teacher stubborness” it feels like it’s just not enough.  Arrghhh.  How do I break myself of this mentality?  A fellow homeschooling friend had suggested me a good read: Deschooling Gently by Tammy Takahashi.  I had downloaded it on my Kindle last year and read it during my “honeymoon” phase of homeschooling so-to-speak.  Now, I am in a place where I need to re-read this book and really take notes.  Not only do I need to deschool my children, I obviously need to deschool myself.  This book is a “step by step guide to fearless homeschooling.”  Boy, am I in need of this.  Here are a few of the many topics this book covers:

  • Deschooling mom
  • Deschooling kids
  • Looking at curriculum in a different way
  • Out-of-the-box curriculum
  • What if my child misses something
  • Self-Discovery instead of education

and much more.

This book is definitely causing my eyes to be opened and I am hoping to find something that will work for my family real soon without breaking the bank.  I am going to use A Beka for the rest of the year as a supplement as not to waste hard earned money.  I still haven’t figured out what’s going to come next, but I guess it comes with the territory.  If you have any suggestions or ideas for this frazzled homeschooling mom, I will be so grateful.  I am in need of something for multi-age and not on the very expensive end.  I am learning just because it’s super expensive, doesn’t mean it’s great.

How are you doing in your homeschool?  Have you faced any new challenges or obstacles?

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

 

Image courtesy of [Evgeni Dinev] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unit Studies, Pumpkins, and Chocolate Week 9

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has offered me encouragement regarding my homeschooling struggles.  Because of you, I have faith and hope in our homeschool.  Here is what I will be doing in the days ahead:

  • Unit Study Mondays
  • A Beka Tuesdays
  • Homeschool Connections Wednesdays
  • Library/Lapbook Thursdays
  • A Beka Fridays with work trays

I think this will work out for us until we switch over to Heart of Dakota next year.  As a former teacher, I am learning to break my strict schedules and routines.  This is taking a load off that is for sure.

This week we learned about pumpkins and chocolate! Great combo, and literally, right? Haha!  Can you say chocolate chip pumpkin muffins?  Oh, those rock!

Pumpkin Lapbooks 

Lapbook Cover

 

Inside (left)

Inside (right)

Chocolate Unit Study/Lapbook 

Cover

Inside (left)

Inside (right)

We will be wrapping up our pumpkin study on Monday with a visit to a barn to pick a pumpkin and decorate.  We wrapped up our chocolate unit study by watching a video on how chocolate is made and making a chocolate cake from scratch.  We incorporated measuring, etc., for our math.  I would include a pic of the finished product, but it just came out of the oven for cooling.  Will post a pic next week.

I am excited for the week ahead.  We will be trick or treating at the library, attending a halloween parade event in Milford right before I attend the Milford Media day event, and much more.  Stay tuned for a movie review.  Sweet Pea (9) and I got to see an upcoming Disney movie in 3-D on Monday night.  Can’t wait to share that with you.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Homeschool Journey Weeks 10 and 11

Who is ready for Thanksgiving?  I know I am and super excited to be moving forward with our Thanksgiving unit studies next week along with lapbooks.  For the past two weeks we focused on the election by doing unit studies, lapbooks, recipes, and crafts.  My girls even joined me on my voting adventure to see what the voting process was like.  They thoroughly enjoyed it and even asked a lot of questions.  One of the workers gave them a mini lesson on where all the votes go after leaving the building.  Good stuff.  As you can see we created “future voter” ribbons.  They wore these to the polls.  We received a lot of compliments.  So much fun.

Future Voter Ribbons

Along with our election learning, we did some fall crafts as you can see in the pic above.  The Q-Tip autumn trees were pretty easy.  I found the template on Pinterest.  They turned out so cute I made frames and hung them on the wall.  I just couldn’t resist. We also created an autumn tree out of recycled brown wrapping paper.  The girls enjoyed learning how to draw a tree while cutting it out.  Right now it’s acting as a Chicka Chicka Book Boom tree for Jelly Bean (3) as a way to learn her letters and sounds.

Election Day Brownies

I have established that Fridays will be our library day.  I check out resources for our unit studies and lapbooks and the girls are allowed to check out up to 3 books of their choosing along with a family movie each.  Of course this has to be something they earn based on their chore and behavior charts.  Hmmm, not sure if this is a go for the week.  I guess I can shoot for one more day.

I am looking forward to taking a trip to Hobby Lobby tomorrow.  We will be picking up some things to create as additions to Christmas gifts.  Super stoked about that.  Nothing better than doing arts and crafts with the kids.  This has always been my favorite even when I was still teaching in a brick and mortar setting.

Let’s see, what else did I miss?  Oh yes, we decided to do a family Thanksgiving up north this year.  The girls will be learning about recipes etc.  It should be a fun time, can’t wait!  I wonder if it will snow?  Brrr, most likely.  Hey, it’s Michigan right?

This week was pretty laid back since a lot of things were closed due to the election.  We look forward to resuming activities next week such as Homeschool Connections, etc.

What will you and your family be doing this Thanksgiving?  Would love to read about your homeschool Thanksgiving traditions.

Before I close, let me update on our homeschooling journey.  I know I was previously down in the dumps and greatly discouraged.  We are finally on a path that I think will work.  All we can do is strive to move forward and take a day at a time.  It’s all worth it in the end, right?

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Homeschool Journey Weeks 12 and 13

Wow, I can’t believe Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The past couple of weeks have been pretty laid back yet fun.  We spent the whole month of November on Thanksgiving unit studies and lapbooks along with videos, recipes, etc.

Photo: Thanksgiving Day up north. Almost 70 degrees, no coats :)

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we packed up our family and headed north.  Boy, was that an adventure.  Thanksgiving day was 66 degrees and gorgeous.  We actually ran around the woods without coats, it was sunny and beautiful.  The next day was a different story.  Blustery cold with snow.  The roads were horrible.  I guess the UP got hammered, we got about 3 inches back in the woods.  The girls loved it, though this momma kind of forgot all the snow gear just in case.  We just had winter coats, hats, and gloves.  No boots or snow suits, oops!

Photo: The day after our 70 degree Thanksgiving weather up north.

The girls helped with the Thanksgiving dinner and pies.  This was my very first full Thanksgiving dinner so I was pretty excited about that.  The turkey turned out awesome, thankfully.  We also enjoyed watching the annual Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit while cooking.  I love creating memories with my kids as my parents did with my brother and I.

The girls did a few fun crafts in honor of the day ranging from hand turkeys to a Thanksgiving tree.  They wrote what they are thankful for on a variety of leaf cutouts and hung it on our little tree.  I would have posted a picture, but unfortunately, there was a mishap where our creation got immersed in H2O and tore to shreds, ugh.  Oh well, it was the thought right?  We still had fun.

This week we will be starting our Christmas unit studies etc.  Can’t wait to share with you our adventures.  I will post on our journey next week combining week 14 and 15. (This week being week 14 as I am a little late in posting)

Have a blessed week everyone!

Homeschooling Journey Weeks 14 and 15

Who is ready for Christmas?  I can’t believe we are only days away and without snow.  “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy.  We are trying to stay up with our A Beka learning, but also taking breaks to complete Christmas unit studies and lapbooks.  We will be doing a lot of fun Christmas baking next week and can’t wait!

Last week we included our Christmas countdown in the mix.  It’s a fun one from Target.  Inside each flap is a piece of chocolate with an activity.  The girls seem to be enjoying that.  We also made these retro sand art Christmas trees.  I had left over colored sand that I thought would be fun to put to good use.  I had the girls paint the paper trees with glue in whatever designs they liked.  While they were doing that, I poured different colors of the sand into a cookie sheet.  They just put the trees face down onto the baking sheet and presto!  They turned out really cute and couldn’t resist making more as decorations.  We also painted pinecones as you can see in the beginning of the post and turned them into ornaments.  Still working on a few more, can’t wait to see how they turn out.  They will be part of our Christmas gifts to family and friends.

This week we are wrapping up extra-curricular activities such as dance, gymnastics, Pioneer Girls, Homeschool Connections classes, etc.  Now the girls are just getting ready for their Christmas piano recitals for the 12/21/2012.  Sweet Pea (9) will be playing Carol of the Bells and the Chinese Nutcracker Dance, and Cup Cake (6) will be playing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Silent Night.  They seem to be coming along pretty well and are ready to perform.  They will be doing a Christmas gift exchange with other piano students so they are really pumped about that too.

What will you and your homeschool be doing over Christmas break?  Will you be schooling here and there or taking a full two to three weeks off?  I am currently undecided, but most likely I will make the girls keep up with math, reading, writing, etc.  I can hear the moans even now, haha.

As you can see, my trend lately is posting every other week.  I will most likely stick with this as my schedule is pretty busy along with other writing/blogging adventures elsewhere.  Stay tuned for my next post just a few days after Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone!

blue-snowflake
Homeschool Journey Weeks 16 and 17

blue-snowflake

Who is enjoying that beautiful white stuff outside?  I am, from my window, haha.  It definitely is pretty. I am looking forward  to taking the girls sledding.  Those are definitely some favorite memories I have with my brother and parents. Fun times!

How was everyone’s Christmas?  I can’t believe it has come and gone so quickly.  Now we are gearing up for a new year.  Wow, 2013!  I am researching fun ideas about this topic, any ideas you would like to share would be greatly appreciated.

The girls are currently doing a lot of independent learning.  We basically just did a lot of Christmas crafts along with baking.  It’s been a blast.  As you can see in the pic, we enjoyed traditional Christmas cookie baking.  Sweet Pea (9) and Cup Cake (6) did an excellent job at their Christmas piano recital.  So proud of them.  Though I know they enjoyed practicing those Christmas songs day after day, they are ready to move onto something new.

Christmas Piano Recital Day!

In the days ahead, we are preparing for some changes in our homeschool.  They are positive and exciting changes.  First off, I am excited to say that I have become a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I will be receiving curriculums that I choose from different vendors to utilize with the girls for up to six weeks and then do a review post on it on my personal homeschooling blog.  Pretty excited about that, though I know it’s going to take some serious dedication.  These aren’t samples of a particular curriculum, but the full curriculum itself.  The first one I have been approved for is Apologia Science for 4th-6th grade.  Can’t wait!  Secondly, the girls have been signed up for new classes through Homeschool Connections.  Here are the new classes for 2013:

Sweet Pea (9)- American Girl History Part 2 and History through Sculpture

Cup Cake (6)-Geography through Culture and Kids Chemistry

I was debating or not whether to sign them up for online classes, but will be waiting until the fall of 2013.  Don’t want to take on too much at this time.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed New Year!  My next post will be the week after next.  Oh, I almost forgot.  Stay tuned for an upcoming book review for young girls.  My daughter thoroughly enjoyed it.  Will post next week.

Many blessings!

Snowflake image courtesy of
free clip art

january-month-snowman
Homeschool Journey Weeks 18 and 19

Month of January Snowman

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe we are in the year 2013.  This year, I will have a 10 year old, a 7 year old, and a 4 year old.  Where does the time go?  Seriously!  I am understanding now what my parents meant about children growing up so fast.  I am cherishing every moment possible with lots of pictures, haha.

Since we are now in the new year, some changes have been made to our blessed homeschool.  We will continue with A Beka curriculum as a supplement, but moving forward with unit studies and lapbooks and a lot of library time.  Right now we are doing Michigan history with “Great Lakes” videos and books.  The girls are having a great time learning about our lovely state.  Changing this up has brought joy back into our homeschooling as there was a lot of heartache and struggles.  Since the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, everything was put into perspective for me.  Homeschooling looks more beautiful to me every day.  I still think about those poor parents and families that have to move on without their precious children.  So devastating.

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I will be reviewing and blogging about a variety of curriculums and programs to find what works for my family.  I received my first shipment and pretty excited about that.  A lot of science, math, etc., in the near future.  You will be able to view those reviews at www.brandonmhomeschool.com if interested as I cannot communicate about the products other than on my personal blog.

My little preschooler (3.5) is learning how to use the computer now.  She loves it.  We are currently covering her letters, numbers, and shapes.  She is learning how to trace and write her name.  She is so proud.  In the weeks ahead I will be introducing her to www.starfall.com.  It’s an excellent program for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  She did a calendar lesson today on there and loved it.  She learned to click and drag pictures onto the calendar, so fun.

We are now in the final semester for Homeschool Connections classes.  The girls will be resuming next semester with more classes.  Since we are signed up through the homeschool partnership through a local virtual school program, it’s great to get our homeschool classes paid for.  In the fall of 2013, I am looking to add online Oxford Virtual courses into the mix.  Right now looking at foreign languages for cup cake (9.5) and sweet pea (6).

Tonight, sweet pea will be completing session two of gymnastics.  She is so excited to move forward with session three.  It is family night tonight, so siblings get to participate on the equipment too.  The girls are also continuing with dance classes and piano lessons.  Love being busy!

Tomorrow we will be participating in Fun Friday at for homeschool fellowship.  There will be open gym time for two hours then the kids will be playing board games that they choose to bring while sipping hot chocolate.  Should be a fun time.

What are your plans for your homeschool in 2013?  Happy Homeschooling!

 

Image courtesy of:
free clip art

Homeschool Journey Weeks 20 and 21

All I can say right now is brrrrrrrr!  I hope you are all staying warm.  This homeschooling mama is so ready for spring.  Actually, let’s just skip spring and go straight to summer, haha.  I guess I’m partial as this is my favorite season.  I LOVE the heat!

Last week and this week have most definitely been interesting.  We have fought off the cold germs and thankfully, none of us have gotten the flu.  Staying on top of handwashing, etc., has been a major goal in our homeschool.  Oh, and LOTS of disinfecting!

Sweet Pea (9.5) and Cup Cake (6), ended their Homeschool Connections classes last week for the semester.  We took a break this week and will be resuming fresh with new classes next Wednesday!  We are loving Homeschool Connections.  I foresee us using these options for the long term.  It’s been a great experience thus far.

Jelly Bean (3.5) is learning how to use the computer.  She just loves it and feels like such a big girl.  She is learning to write her name and exploring all hands on creativity that I make available to her.  She wants to do everything her sisters do, so it’s been a challenge getting her to do “Preschool” appropriate activities.  We are getting it done though.

Last week and this week in our homeschool, our focus as been on:

  • Michigan History (books, educational DVD’s, etc)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (Notebooking, etc.
  • Lots of Math (Online and textbook)

On their own time I have them write in a journal and we do language, etc., a couple times a week.  For our Michigan History adventures, not only are we doing DVD’s, books, etc., we are also doing hands on and visual learning.  This is done here and there with our up north trips which we will be taking in a couple of weeks.  They are working on a project right now that I can’t wait to share with you.  When it’s completed, we will be posting it to Pure Michigan’s Facebook page.  So fun!

In a couple of weeks we will be doing Valentine’s Day fun.  From homeschool parties to awesome crafts and recipes.  I’m thinking of doing some sort of pottery for the grandparents for Valentine’s Day, but homemade!

I’m beyond thrilled that our homeschooling adventures are getting better.  I was getting pretty frustrated there for a while and felt like I just couldn’t do this anymore.  With the support and encouragement I face on a daily basis, it helps me to move forward!  Sure, we still have our days, what homeschool doesn’t?  But, now we have a focus and I know what path I want to take in their learning.

The girls will continue with their extracurricular activities: Piano, Dance, Gymnastics, and Pioneer Girls.  Sweet Pea (9), was moved up in gymnastics to an hour and half training session.  Her goal is to be in the Olympics some day.  Wow, right?  Her determination is very inspiring.

I want to thank my mom for letting me use her pic of her friendly visitors (above).  The deer love to roam their property and visit the horses.  The girls love making weekly visits to see all of the beautiful nature.  Such as blessing!

I hope everyone is doing well.  Anything new and exciting in your homeschool?  I would love to hear from you.

Happy Homeschooling!

Photo Image Courtesy of: Diane Carr

valentines-day-kids
Homeschooling Journey Weeks 22 and 23

Winter has most definitely made its appearance here in good ole’ Michigan.  Stay tuned for more snow.  Apparently we are supposed to get more snow tonight and into tomorrow morning.  I read that north of us is going to get a foot or more of snow, yikes!  While this wouldn’t be an issue for me since we are south of the state, we do have plans to head up north tomorrow night for our northern homeschooling adventures trip.  I guess we will be playing it by ear.

Last week and this week have been pretty busy.  Sometimes I feel like it’s so hard to keep up.  But, we are making do and just swinging through our schedules.  This mom still has a hard time with being flexible.  Being a teacher, I am still used to those rigid lesson plans, etc.

All three girls have been staying up with all of the important subjects.  Extra-curricular activities have been occupying our time as well: Dance, gymnastics, piano, Pioneer Girls, Homeschool Connections classes, and now one more thing will be added to our schedule.  I just signed Cup Cake (6) up for the homeschool vocal music program on Mondays.  She is super excited as we are trying to build her confidence in this area.  Vocal talents run strong in both sides of our family.

Jelly Bean (3.5), has been testing me these days, but she’s a preschooler, it’s expected right? Ahhh!  She wants to do everything her sisters are doing.  She’s definitely a busy bee.  Trying to stay up with her early learning has been a challenge.  I am considering one year of preschool next year just so I can keep my focus.  When she’s ready for kindergarten, I will start homeschooling her again.  Preschoolers are so hands on and busy, they need constant attention.  I know better as a former pre-k teacher.  I don’t want to be selfish in this.  I will be examining this on a daily basis in the days ahead.  I think she will be happier too.  She deserves to be a preschooler and be around other children. Ugh, definitely torn here.  Since the Newport shooting, I have been on the hesitant side of things as far as public schooling, etc.  I am sure it will all work out.  I will keep you posted on my decision.

If we don’t get snowed in up north next week, haha, I will post pics of our adventures the following week.  The girls are hopeful that there will be a ton of snow to play with.  I don’t think they will have anything to worry about, haha.

Tomorrow, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a group of homeschooling buddies.  They will be passing out Valentine’s and will be creating fun crafts and eating yummy treats.  Should be a fun time.  It will be our first Valentine’s party with strictly homeschoolers.   Can’t wait!

Stay warm everyone and happy homeschooling!

 

Image Courtesy of:
free clip art

morningglory
Homeschooling Journey Weeks 24 and 25

It’s hard to believe that we are coming to the end of February.  That’s okay, I am so ready for spring.  Who is with me? I am getting tired of being cold and it being so blah outside.  The poor kiddies are so stir crazy, it’s time for some warmer sunny weather.

Last week we took our homeschooling trip up north.  Brrrrrrr.  There was over a foot of snow back in the woods by the cabin.  Thankfully, my in-laws have a neighbor that plows their driveway etc., just so we can get back there.  I am trying to upload pics from our snowy adventures, but have been having issues with my phone.  Will add the photos when the problem is finally corrected, whatever it is, arrghh!

After enjoying the cold north we resumed our homeschooling routines.  Last week I signed Cup Cake (6) up for homeschooling chorus.  She LOVES it! I am so thrilled and can’t wait to see a boost in her confidence, vocally.  This is how I was at this age.  I was shy to even sing or play the piano in front of people.  After being involved in multiple choirs, bands, and orchestras through the years, my confidence was definitely heightened.  I am excited to see this happen through my children.

We also enjoyed a homeschooling Valentine’s Party.  As you can see in the pic below, (previously uploaded on fb) the kids had a wonderful time.  They enjoyed making yummy treats, passing out Valentine’s, and open gym time.  We did this just before going up north.  It was our first Valentine’s Party with homeschoolers….fun stuff!

vparty

We are still working on our Michigan map collage.  It’s looking great!  When we are finished it will be posted to Pure Michigan’s Facebook page.  The girls are working so hard.  It’s so much fun.

As I type this, Sweet Pea (9.5) is practicing the piano.  She chose classical piece Canon in D and 1812 Overture for the spring/summer recital.  It’s coming along beautifully.  Cup Cake chose Can-Can and The Entertainer for her recital pieces.  Though they are challenging, she is meeting all my expectations.  I am one proud mommy.  It’s nice to be able to teach something that I know really well.  I can’t speak for all the other subjects, hahahaha.

Jelly Bean (3.5) has been learning her letters and numbers with sounds.  She wants so badly to learn how to read like her sisters.  After we master her letters and sounds we will start in on early reading.

Well, I think that is all for now.  Hubby and I are looking forward to a fun weekend together.  The girls are staying the night over my parents house.  They are so excited as so are we. LOL! Grandparents are a blessing! Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed upcoming weekend.  Stay warm and Happy Homeschooling!

Featured Image Courtesy of Diane Carr

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 26 and 27

 

Welcome to March!  Yay, spring is coming.  I am super excited!  Last week and this week has been pretty calm.  We have been finishing up our Michigan map project.  I am hoping for it to be completed within two weeks or so, so that we may be able to post it on Pure Michigan’s Facebook page.  It’s looking awesome, can’t wait to share a pic with you.

All three girls got to participate in the PAWS for Reading program at the library this past Saturday.  Originally, it was Cup Cake’s (6) turn as we signed up for that date, but there was a cancellation which allowed Sweet Pea (9.5) to fill in that spot.  Of course Jelly Bean (3.5) had to jump in on the fun.  The trainer let her tell stories through pictures since she is still in the very early reading stage.  The dog’s name is Molly.  She is a Sheepdog and super cool.  So sweet, as you can see in the pic below.  We wanted to bring her home with us, haha!  Especially, since we are missing having a family dog around.  Our sweet Alaskan Malamute of 13 years (Bailey) will be gone for a year now next month.  So crazy.  We are counting the days when we can get a dog again.  The girls are sure missing it.

Tonight, we will be going to family night at Sweet Pea’s gymnastic center.  We will be signing her up for the final session of the year and Gym Fest where she will perform a routine to showcase all of the the skills she learned throughout the year.  So proud of her.  The next couple of months should be interesting as we will also be getting ready for dance and piano recitals, choir, etc.  Busy but fun times.

I am still scouting out other curriculum ideas for next fall.  I really want something that is multi-age, but allows room for flexibility to add on or take away what we need to.  I’m thinking Heart of Dakota might be something we try.  A Beka is working as a supplement for us as of now as we continue to branch out and try new things.

I’m contemplating putting Jelly Bean (3.5) into preschool next year so that I may focus on her sisters yet give her the education and socialization she deserves.  I only have  a couple of weeks until registration to decide to wing it or not.  The awesome thing about this particular preschool is that they will allow us to use the lobby (in the church) to do our homeschooling while she is in class only two morning sessions a week for two and a half hours.  How awesome is that?  Cuts down on driving time.  There will not be anytime wasted as well.  Time to think, crunch numbers, and plan…..hmmmm.

Stay tuned for an upcoming book review/giveaway here on Homeschooling in Detroit.  I am hoping to have that up and running tomorrow or Monday.

Until next time…..

Happy Homeschooling!

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 28 and 29

 

Welcome to spring!  Wow, not what we really want, is it?  Bleh….Seems like Michigan winters like to hold on just a little bit longer.  Patience is a virtue.  Keep thinking spring, it will eventually get here.  I’m definitely ready for the warmer weather and spring sandals, it’s definitely time to transition over.

Last weekend was full of fun and adventure for our family.  Friday morning, March 15th, I took my sweet girls to Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  We got to attend the matinee performance at 11:00 am.  It was a blast.  We had pretty decent seats which I am so grateful for.  It was the day before the event that I realized I forgot to exchange my “complimentary passes” for actual tickets.  Let’s just say I was a little stressed thinking I wouldn’t get any seats.  How could I be so forgetful? Ugh.  Well hubby said to just take the afternoon to head out there and get them.  We are 50 minutes from the Palace so it wasn’t a hop, skip, and jump, but it was a chance to find it as I have never driven out there by myself before.  When I showed up, the lady behind the ticket counter was pleasant and told me no worries that we could get pretty decent seats.  I was so relieved.  I was also relieved that I knew how to get there and wouldn’t have to worry about it the next morning, haha.  We got there over an hour early and got our souvenirs, etc.  It was an absolute joy seeing the excitement on my girls faces.  This was their very first Disney on Ice experience.  The show was awesome!

We ended up getting home around 2pm.  We rested a little bit, ate dinner, then took Cup Cake (6) and Jelly Bean (3) to dance.  After dance we had a church event to attend to.  It ended up running very late and we all didn’t get home until midnight.  Talk about a tiring day.  The next afternoon, Sweet Pea (9) had a Pompon Clinic at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills.  It ended up being lots of fun for her and she thoroughly enjoyed performing the end-of-session routine.  We went spring clothes shopping afterwards.  I think by the time the weekend was over, we were all pretty beat.  I’m still catching my breath as this week has been just as busy.  I don’t think that will end until June though.  To be expected, right?

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Okay, now to talk about our learning adventures.  I am currently doing a leadership curriculum with Sweet Pea.  So far so good.  Because I am on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I cannot talk specifically about this curriculum, but will share it with you when it is completed.  I desire my oldest daughter to really learn the importance of leadership, especially with her sisters. I know that this can be a difficult task at times.

Cup Cake is currently doing an online Math program.  She is loving it.  Again, I will share with you this info when it’s completed.  She has been getting bored with math so I have been having to supplement left and right.

Jelly Bean is currently working on an alphabet, shapes, and letters lapbook. I will post a pic when it’s completed.  I have also been utilizing online preschool games.  She’s  been loving that as well.  My favorite so far is Kinderweb Free Children’s Games.  It’s simple and not overwhelming yet gets to the point.  She just loves it.  Speaking of preschool, I went to sign her up for preschool yesterday.  Instantly put on the waiting list because the days and times I wanted are full.  I am first on the waiting list, so there is hope.  I am now searching around for other programs that will flow with our homeschooling schedule.  This is not an easy task and close to home for that matter.

How are your homeschooling adventures going?  Trying anything new?  I would love to hear about your adventures.  I love learning new ideas and giving them a try.   Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Homeschooling!

 

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 30 and 31

Wow, can’t believe it’s April!  Just wish the weather reflected more spring-like weather these days.   I’m seeing it’s supposed to go to 55 today, so that’s a good thing.  I am so ready to ditch the winter coats for spring jackets and maybe even sandals.

Last week and this week has been quite interesting in our homeschool.  We had to say goodbye to a precious cousin on my dad’s side of the family.  It was unexpected and still a lot of unanswered questions at this time.   It was hard to focus some days so we took our homeschool adventures very slowly.

I had planned to do a few fun Easter crafts last week, but because of this sad event in our family, we didn’t do them.  We took Good Friday off as a family and at least did some Easter egg dying.  We did the traditional dying and then some unique fun with a cute kit I found at Target.  We made Easter egg animals.  As you can see in the pic below, they turned out super cute.  The girls had so much fun creating.

This week, we have been catching up on math.  I have been doing online testing to see where they are at in their math skills.   Since hearing of the Common Core State Standards that are trying to be implemented in our state for the public schools, etc., I am determined to make sure that my girls are above standards.  Homeschoolers should be ahead anyways, right?  If any of you know of CCSS, please feel free to comment below.  I guess another question would be how will this impact homeschoolers? I have been trying to stay up to date on this as a member of HSLDA and just now catching up on all the info since our family loss.

Our little preschooler was pulled off the waiting list for the preschool program I was looking at.  She’s all registered for the fall.  So excited for her and us as we get to stay in the building and homeschool two mornings a week. (9:00-11:30)  She’s a busy bee and needs way more than I can give her at this time.

Jelly Bean (3.5) completed a fun yet educational preschool lapbook: Letters, Numbers, and Shapes.  My older two have been doing lapbooks so of course Jelly Bean has to jump in on the fun.  I was determined to find something within her age group.  She loved doing this and has learned a lot.

bethany lapbook

Since this week has been spring break, a lot of places have been closed.  No dance, Homeschool Connections, gymnastics, etc.  It has been a refreshing break.  We will be ready to go forward next week in full swing.

Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Happy Homeschooling!

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 32 and 33

 

Wow, what a windy and warm day.  Those winds sound pretty violent at times.  Hoping the power doesn’t go out…..yikes!  The past couple of weeks have been pretty relaxed.  We got a lot accomplished and look forward to more.

We ended up completing our Michigan map collage. They cut out pictures from magazines and painted the water.  As you can see in the pic, it turned out pretty great.  They were so proud.  We posted to Pure Michigan’s Facebook page.  A few random people have “liked” it, so that’s fun.

Sweet Pea (9.5) and Cup Cake (6.5) and working on their next projects.  Sweet Pea is doing a diorama presentation on Louisa May Alcott.  She has been wanting to do her for a while.  For world history, Cup Cake chose to do a project on China.  She is super excited about doing a recipe, learning the language, etc.  I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.  The research has been a blast thus far.

We are gearing up for end of year events such as a choir concert, gymnastics (GymFest), dance recital, and piano recital.  It will be fun to observe all of these events, but it will also be great to be done for the year.  Busy, busy!

I am excited to take Cup Cake to the Michigan Ballet Company’s presentation of Snow White this Saturday.  She is determined to become a professional ballerina, so this was perfect for our mother/daughter date as it is her turn.

I am also excited to be reviewing some curriculum coming up for all 3 girls.  I will keep you posted on those.

Well, this post is cut short as it’s storming so hard the wind and rain blew over stuff by my laptop and in the bathroom, yikes.

Happy Homeschooling!

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 34 and 35

Who is adoring this warm spring weather?  Ahhhh, loving it!  With warmer weather comes exciting outdoor homeschool fun and activities.  We are planning our trip to the zoo in a week or two, looking forward to that.  Can’t miss a good ole’ visit to the zoo, haha.

The past few weeks have been on the crazy side of things as we are gearing up for end of year activities, I am sure you can relate.  We have choir, dance, gymnastics, and piano to prepare for and are so ready to get the show on the road, whoot!  Our Homeschool Connections classes are coming to a close as well.  The girls are so sad.  It’s been a blast, but this homeschooling mom is ready for a nice long break of some sort.  Do we get those? LOL

A couple of weeks ago, we took a homeschool field trip to the Exploration Station in Canton.  If you have never been there, you totally need to plan a trip.  It’s super cheap ($1 for kids, $2 for adults) and a lot of fun for the kids and yes, very educational.  The station is open every fourth Thursday of the month.  It’s basically a walk through of the human body.  I never even knew this was there.  So awesome!  Here are some pics below to give you an idea of our adventures:

 

The girls also enjoyed learning how to shuck corn last week.  They actually enjoyed it, haha!  Guess what their new chore is when we have corn on the cob with dinner?

I have been trying to get together the girls end of year homeschool portfolios.  To help with this, I came across an awesome App that you  may be highly interested in.  It’s the Homeschool Helper App.  It’s only $4.99 and the features are amazing.  Everything can be saved, emailed, and printed for your records.  From book lists to attendance, etc., I am so glad I found this thing.  You can keep track of multiple students for every year.  It’s my new best friend, haha!

Sweet Pea celebrated her 10th birthday on May 2nd!  I can’t believe it.  Where has the time gone?  Our little Jelly Bean is about to turn 4 on the 13th.  (Sigh) Time really does go by too quickly.  My hubby and I will be celebrating 14 years of marriage on May 15th.  I am so excited about that.  Again, where does time go?  May is definitely a busy month in our house.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  I am planning our summer learning adventures.  Math, reading, and writing will most definitely still be in the mix.  I can hear the groans and moans of my girls now, haha!  Oh, they love it. ;)

Happy Homeschooling!

 

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Homeschooling Journey Weeks 36 and 37

Wow, it’s hard to believe we are almost out of the month of May.  We officially ended homeschooling classes and other extracurricular activities.  Just 3 more to go, haha.  Next, we have a gymnastics event, then dance, then piano.  Pheww!

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  I am so excited for Cup Cake (6.5). She is a finalist for the CoverKids contest for Metro Parent Magazine.  She goes in for an audition on June 2nd!  So much fun.  It’s worth a shot.

My family also won a fun ticket giveaway for the Spring Elation event at the Detroit Zoo.  It was a blast.  It rained briefly, but cleared up for the rest of the evening making it enjoyable for everyone.

For the last week in May, we will be wrapping up A Beka for: Math, Language, Science, History, etc.  Whatever is remaining will be used over the summer as brain sharpeners.  We will be starting our summer schedule the first week in June. Yay!

Have any fun family plans for Memorial Day weekend?  I am so excited.  My parents will be taking the girls the whole weekend so hubby and I can have an anniversary getaway.  The girls are beyond excited and of course mommy and daddy are too, haha.  It’s time and much needed for everyone.  I am not sure what we will be doing as it’s a surprise.  Love surprises!

Let’s remember those who lost their lives for our country this Memorial Day!  God bless America!

Well, it looks like this post is short and sweet this time. My next post will be the start of our summer schedule!  Happy Memorial Day everyone!

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5 Websites for Summer Education

I have decided that I will be utilizing educational websites and the library this summer as our summer sharpeners.  It’s nice to mix things up so we will do this up to 3 days a week.  Don’t want to lose all the skills gained throughout the year.

I have compiled a list of 5 educational websites that I plan on using with my girls that you may be interested in.  A couple of them are new to us so I am super excited to  get started.  Here they are:

  1. Study Stack- Study stack is really easy and free to sign up.  You basically create stacks (online flashcards) for subjects you are interested in your child studying.  For example, say I want my girls to study math.  You just click “math” and it takes you to a page with a list of math skills your child needs to work on.  Say I would like my oldest daughter to work on all areas of math for grade 5.    A card from the study stack pops up with a math number sentence, question, etc. and kids work out the answer.  There is a chance to flip the card for the correct answer.  Study stack creates a stack of correct cards and incorrect cards so that your child can study them until they get it.  This applies for all subjects; science, history, English, etc.  Have a highschooler studying for the SAT or ACT’s?  They have study stacks they can use as well.
  2. Discovery Education- Discovery Education is a great tool for digital teaching and learning.  You can use their site for a free trial to decide if you like them.
  3. Internet Public Library-This is excellent for days you just can’t make it to the library or it’s a rainy day and you just want to stay indoors.  They have a variety of options much like that of a brick and mortar library.  You can search for resources by subject, newspapers and magazines,  special collections created by ipl2,  for kids, and for teens.
  4. Education Creations-This site is free to use which is a definite plus!  They have math games, language and phonics, reading, etc.
  5. SchoolExpress-They have over 17,000 free worksheets, online math, units and eworkbooks, etc.

Also, feel free to check out http://www.varsitytutors.com/practice-tests. What educational websites do you currently use that may not be in this list of 5?  I would love to hear from you.  I am always researching these types of websites, especially ones that are free or require a free trial.  I have my notebook and pen ready for additional resources, so bring them on.  Haha!

Have a blessed weekend!

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Homeschool Helper App Keeps you on Track

 

Happy Summer!  I am so excited that we are in my favorite months of the year.  The girls are excited and ready for their pool, the beach, etc.  It’s time to relax and have some fun.  Well, we will be doing our learning 3 times a week, but still planning on having lots of fun this summer.  What are your plans?

While I am sitting here planning and prepping our summer adventures, I am also gearing up for what I will be doing in the fall.  It’s time to revamp and figure out what will work this year.  While all of this is tucked away in my head, I recently came across a pretty awesome App that I just have to share with you.  Maybe you have heard of it, it’s called Homeschool Helper App.  I am so excited about utilizing this App, it just seems like it will make things much easier for me in the long run.

The Homeschool Helper App definitely helps you stay on track with:

  • Lesson Plans
  • Subjects
  • Grades
  • Attendance
  • Book Lists
  • Field Trips

and more.  Everything is right there at your finger tips.  There is a back up mode that allows you to save all the data each time you update.  Then it emails all of the reports where you can then print them out for your records.  How neat is that?  You can easily add a student along with their age and grade for each year you use the App.

The Homeschool Helper App is currently $4.99 and totally worth it.  It can be purchased at the:

Would you utilize something like this in your homeschool to help you stay on track?

Have a blessed weekend and happy homeschooling!

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Our Summer Schedule

It’s hard to believe that we are in the month of July! How did that happen?  All is well.  We are finally at the very end of our crazy schedule.  I am so behind on posting here on Lindsey’s Journey as life most definitely gets in the way sometimes, but I am finally back on and ready to move forward with plans for our summer adventures as well as our new school year which will be the middle/end of next month already. Phewww!

Sweet Pea (10) and Cup Cake (6.5) received their school promotion certificates.  I was debating on whether or not I would do this, but I wanted them to feel special and excited about moving forward to the next grade.  I tried uploading pics, but for some reason they failed on my phone, booo.  Jelly Bean (4) will be entering a private preschool in the fall.  It was the best decision for us at this time.  After preschool, I will pull her back into homeschooling for Kindergarten!

I want to share with you briefly the crafts we made for Father’s Day. Again, sorry so late with this.  We made special frames for daddy and the grandparents.  The inside of the frame is cut from our son’s original receiving blankets from the hospital.  Not the standard birth blankets, but one they gave us as a gift in memory of him.  (Brandon Michael Clair born and became an angel on 8/3/2005)  I had to think of a way to include him too.  He’s always in our hearts.  Both grandparents and daddy were deeply touched by the meaning of the gift.  It was very special.

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This week is going to be a very crazy hectic week.  Monday I had jury duty, Tuesday eye doctor appointment for Cup Cake (6.5), Wednesday play date and lunch dates, Thursday Robot Garage event and meeting.  I think Friday we are free as birds.  I would like to start our summer adventures sometime this week, but it looks like it’s going to be the end of the week.  Hey, it’s okay, right?  I want to catch up on their piano theory learning as we are way behind on that as well. Feeling a little overwhelmed.  I guess it’s time to prioritize and get rid of what is hindering us.  Sometimes it is so hard to say no.  Who is with me on that one?  I need to learn to just say no.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer with your families thus far.  Any special plans?  We have a family vacation scheduled soon and can’t wait.  Even though we are only going up north to the cabin, I will take it.  Sometimes it’s just nice to get away, even if it’s only a few hours away.

Happy Summer!

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Upper Peninsula Adventures

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer thus far.  It seems to be going by pretty quickly.  It’s bittersweet on our end as we love summer fun, yet I always look forward to schedules and routines by the beginning of August.

This week my hubby and I are taking our girls on a Michigan homeschool adventure through the upper peninsula.  We would like for them to see the Tahquamenon Falls (upper and lower).  I need to dig up their Michigan Kids Passports so they can begin filling in all of the places they have visited in Michigan.

We will be exploring and relaxing at our up-north stomping grounds at the cabin.  Then heading up to Mackinac.  We are not sure if we will do the island this time around.  We are taking the girls over the bridge.  For two of the girls, it will be the very first time.  They are so excited.  We plan on staying the night in Mackinac City and then whatever other adventures pop up.  We are so excited as we just love exploring our state.

I was hoping to take them over to Sleeping Bear Dunes maybe on the way home.  I remember my parents taking my brother and I and we would do those dune buggy tours.  Those were so fun.  I would love my girls to experience that as well.  They haven’t played in Lake Michigan, so that will be another event to add to their Michigan Kids Passports.

When they get older we will be taking them to the Mackinac Fort and all of those more detailed historical places.

Sweet Pea (10) loves history so this will be an exciting time for her.  Cup Cake (6.5) and Jelly Bean (4) will enjoy the sights and the activity.  Can’t wait to take pictures of their adventures.  I will post them as soon as we return from our trip.

What adventures are you taking with your family this summer?

Happy Homeschooling!

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Learning to Bake

 

I know it has been a little while since I lasted posted here on Lindsey’s Journey.  I was originally busy planning and prepping our new school year and now adjusting to it.  Who can relate? Haha!  Our schedule also includes Jelly Bean (4) attending preschool Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Yay!  It’s great to be able to homeschool my other two girls in the same building while she is in class.  It’s just so awesome and working out very well.  No time wasted!  Okay, now onto homeschool business……

In my search for healthier food options including sweet treats, I came across Duncan Hines Simple Mornings muffins at Kroger!  Kelly was eager to make them as part of a cooking/baking lesson.

I am usually one to cook with natural ingredients.  I even bake cakes, etc. from scratch when time allows as it is healthier.  Because we are sometimes lacking that extra time, I had to compromise.

I found a no high fructose corn syrup and whole grain triple chocolate chunk muffin mix.  Because Kelly is fairly new to the baking world, I wanted to start simple with a box mix.

Simple Mornings asks for 2 eggs, oil, and water! It also has no preservatives and contains all natural ingredients!  This mom was most definitely on board.

Everything turned out great! She learned to use the oven timer properly and to occasionally check on them when necessary.  She was very proud of her very first healthy muffins.

They were pretty yummy too!

 

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7 Fun and Unique Finds in Nature

We recently took our “Northern Adventures” homeschool trip where the colors were absolutely breath taking.  During our trip in the great outdoors with absolutely mild and wonderful weather (the following week they got their very first snowfall, yikes) I gave the girls a unique assignment that really ended up resulting way better than expected.

I told the girls to hunt around for things in nature that you normally wouldn’t see every day with the naked eye.  It was quite the adventure.  Check out our 7 fun and unique nature pics:

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10 Tips for a Happier Homeschool

Whether you are just starting out or have been homeschooling for years, sometimes it can be a challenge and sometimes, you may find yourself in a homeschool slump.  This most definitely does not make for a happy homeschool environment.  Who has been there?

If you are currently experiencing this, there are ways to overcome and have a happier homeschool through it all. Granted, we will all have our days and there is no such thing as “Happy” all the time.  The idea behind a happy  homeschool is to be at peace with how you approach it along with learning styles, etc.

I have compiled this list based on my personal homeschooling experience.  These tips I need to apply daily as they help me stay focused and determined.

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  1. Start your day with a positive outlook.  Focus on things you know you can accomplish instead of bashing and saying “I can’t do this, or I can’t do that, I’m failing my kids.”  A negative attitude will only reflect off your kids causing a miserable homeschooling environment.
  2. Be flexible.  Don’t expect to get everything done in one day.  If you want that, then you would have sent them to public school.  Just focus on 2-3 subjects or topics and call it a day.  Kids are bound to learn way more when focusing even on just one subject in one day vs. cramming all the subjects into one day and not learning a thing.
  3. Make learning fun and take unique approaches.  Do something different instead of sticking to the books.  Do online approaches or even field trips for a visual and hands on experience.
  4. Keep your homeschool organized.  While it’s important to be flexible, it is also important to be organized.  If it becomes chaotic, you will lose your focus and forget why you are homeschooling in the first place.
  5. Around the seasons and holidays, take time off from the norm and do themed unit studies or lapbooks.  This makes learning fun and takes the edge off especially from the every day learning routine.
  6. Have pajama days once a week.  It’s fun to homeschool in your pajamas and a perk for homeschoolers as life is precious.  Live a little!
  7. Explore other learning options.  That way you don’t feel trapped and your children are able to try different things since all children have different learning styles.  What may work for one may not work for the other.
  8. Join a support group to be around other homeschooling parents.  Not communicating with others can often make you feel alone and cause homeschooling to be a drag and not worth your time.
  9. Reward yourself at the end of your homeschooling day with something you love like chocolate, etc.  We need to take care of ourselves.
  10. Last, but not least, get a good night’s rest.  As cliche as this sounds, if you are not getting the right amount of sleep a night, how are you able to focus and give your all to your homeschool?  Lack of a healthy rest means grumpy parent.  Grumpy parent then means miserable homeschool.

I hope these tips help you and your homeschool.  A happy homeschool is a motivated homeschool.

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5 Sites for Learning with Lapbooks

Does your homeschool utilize lapbooks ?  It’s a great way to educate a child about a particular topic.  We love using lapbooks in our homeschool. I find myself searching for lapbook projects on a weekly basis.  I could potentially become a lapbook junkie, but I have learned to spread it out for other learning opportunities as well.  We don’t want it to become a dull experience so I mix it up when I can.

An excellent way to test the waters is to let your homeschooler choose their own topic for their lapbook.  You can decide from there if this is a learning tool you could continue using.  Your child may end up loving it or just downright find no interest in it whatsoever.  So far my 10 year old loves doing lapbooks and my 7 year old isn’t as enthusiastic.  It’s worth giving it a shot though!  Keep in mind you can cater a lapbook to any age whether it’s rated easy or challenging.  Only you know your child the best.

How do you get started with lapbooks? I try to use different lapbook sites or even create my own.  If you are a homeschooling newbie or have never tried lapbooking with your homeschool, check out these 5 great sites (in random order), for learning with lapbooks.  I have found them to be pretty successful and a whole lot of fun.  Enjoy!

  1. Homeschool Share- They offer free lapbooks and unit studies.
  2. Lap Book Lesssons- This site is excellent if you are new to the wonderful world of lapbooking.
  3. How to Homeschool for Free- This site offers free lapbooking and notebooking resources.
  4. Heart of Wisdom- If you are ready to venture out on your own and create your own lapbooks, this site offers free templates to get you started.
  5. Pinterest Lapbooks- For great ideas on a variety of lapbooks for learning.

 

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4 Kid-Safe Email Sites for Kids

With technology constantly advancing, it’s inevitable that our children will want to be a part of it.  After all, it’s the sign of the times.

You may be finding yourself setting up certain screen times per day etc., just to keep your child in check as the Internet can be a scary and unsafe place if not monitored appropriately.

What if your child wants their own email account?  I spent a few days researching a kid-safe email program for my oldest daughter (10.5) to use as she was constantly asking me for an account.  This mom was very leery and procrastinated for quite a while until I had to give in and realize, hey, it’s all part of life and I don’t want her to fall behind.  Her friends were utilizing it, and I thought it would be good typing practice for her.

In my research, I came across 5 kid safe email sites and programs that I thought I would share with you.  Keep in mind some have free features and some may require a monthly or yearly payment.

4 Kid Safe Email Sites

  1. Kids Safe Mail
  2. Kids Email.org
  3. ZooBuh!
  4. Zilladog

I found that Zilladog works best for us.  It’s currently free (to a certain point).  Parents get their own login to approve emails before sending into child’s inbox.  Kids also get to create a buddy list.  This feature only allows them to email whoever is approved for their list.  I absolutely love it.  No spam or weird junk popping up to corrupt our kids minds.

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Why I use the Library and Internet to Homeschool

Since I began homeschooling in 2011, I have learned so much.  I have mainly learned how to be flexible and not be so rigid in my learning approaches.  It has gotten to the point that I use the library and Internet to teach my girls.  It is amazing how much money we have saved and I can pick and choose what my children actually learn based on our family beliefs.

Here is what I have used in the past, but found it didn’t work for my girls learning styles: (Remember, every child’s learning style is different and every homeschool family is different based on what approach works the best.)

  • A Beka Curriculum-I found this was perfect for one child, but when adding more than one into the mix, it doesn’t leave much room for flexibility.  This is my opinion.
  • Unit Studies and Lapbooks-I found unit studies and lapbooks to be great once in a while, but my girls got bored and needed more of a challenge and even more of a hands-on approach.
  • Multi-Age Curriculums-I have used multi-age options which worked great in some ways, but were more of a challenge in others.
  • Charlotte Mason Method-I utilized www.amblesideonline.org for a few months.  It started out okay, but moved a little too quickly for my girls.  It became an overwhelming and frustrating experience.

I have also been given opportunities to review online programs like Time4Learning, K5 Learning, and much more. I found that a few of them could potentially be something I use again in the future.

The library and the Internet along with field trips and activities have been the best decision I could have made for them.  They have learned so much more than they learned with the other approaches.  I also use Homeschool co-op supplements which is also very beneficial.

So again, Yes! I use the library and Internet to homeschool.  Not only does it work for them, I am saving money as well.  Who says homeschooling has to be expensive?

Let me also point out that I found a pretty cool site called: www.teachervision.com. You get access to dozens of lessons, printables, digital books, etc., for only a small fee per yer.  So worth it as you can pick and choose what they learn through any subject.  They are now aligned with the new Common Core Standards, so I am exploring other options at this time.

What have you found works for your homeschool?  Feel free to share.

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What Does your Homeschool Schedule Look Like?

“Homeschooling” means so many things this day and age as many families have their own styles, curriculums, etc.  What about a homeschool schedule? What does a homeschool schedule look like?

Most likely one homeschooling family’s schedule is different than the next and you basically do what works for you.  I believe there is no right or wrong way.  It’s just a matter of getting into a nice groove with your family.

I will honestly say that after teaching in a brick and mortar setting and being used to a structure and routine, my 1st year homeschool schedule was let’s just say…rigid.  My girls were miserable as was I.  I had to learn to find something that was a nice structure, but with flexibility.  This took a long time for me to overcome.

Maybe you are the opposite and you really don’t have a schedule. You just do what you feel like doing for the day with your kids and everyone is happy.  That’s fine too. Every homeschooling family has an approach that is unique and beneficial.

My personal beliefs for my children is that they should have some sort of schedule to help them learn accountability so that when they are older and get a job, head to college, etc., they will easily adjust to schedules and routines.  Of course this is just an opinion of mine.  This mom is a stickler with routines and schedules, so you can guess what our homeschool schedule is like, haha!  No worries though, I have learned to be flexible and not so rigid in my approaches.  And yes, my girls are much happier for it.

What does your homeschool schedule look like?  Feel free to share.  Would love to see the variety of schedules and routines that are out there.

 

 

Homeschooling through the Summer

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How many of you have plans to continue homeschooling through the summer?  This could be through a summer enrichment format just a few days a week or simply just sticking with your normal homeschooling schedule.  Maybe you just take the entire summer off, that’s cool too.

Our homeschool basically goes the enrichment route keeping up with math, reading, and writing with a lot of fun field trips to keep the minds sharp.  At least I try to do this.  I mean come on, it’s summer, right? Ha!  If anything,  we only do summer homeschooling for 2 to 3 days a week for maybe a couple hours each day.

I know that everyone has their own ideas, but it would be fun to compile a list from everyone to see what could be helpful to avoid being stuck in a rut even through the summer months.

With that said, do you homeschool through the summer?  If so, what activities, ideas, events, etc., do you have in place?

Happy sharing!

DIY Summer Camp

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It’s hard to believe that we are now in the month of June.  With the bitter cold and Polar Vortex way behind us, it’s time to think about summer fun and activities.  Whether you are homeschooling year-round or do summer enrichment activities, here is something you may find fun and exciting, oh yes, and educational too; DIY Summer Camp!

education.com is currently offering these ideas on their site for free!  It’s basically “everything you need to host fun, themed activities.”

They offer 10 weeks of amazing DIY summer activities to create a fun homeschool camp just for you and your kiddies.

  • Week 1: Under the Sea
  • Week 2: Play with Plants
  • Week 3: Animal Adventures
  • Week 4: Summer in Space
  • Week 5: Camping for Kids
  • Week 6: Weather Wonderful
  • Week 7: Dynamite Dinosaurs
  • Week 8: Summertime Science
  • Week 9: Crazy Creatures
  • Week 10: Beach Bash

Each week offers free activities, projects, and games!

This sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  I am thinking of incorporating this into our summer enrichment activities.  And you can’t beat free!

What are your plans for the summer?  Feel free to share your ideas with us.

 

Reading and Math Program for Kids 3-7

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Have you ever heard of Brainzy?  It is a math and reading program developed specifically for kids ages 3-7.

I came across this program by accident actually when I was doing my lesson plans.  Apparently, you can get unlimited access to over 300 fun games and activities.  They are a part of Education.com.

I have not tried it yet, but interested in giving the 7-day free trial a shot.  After the 7-day trial, you have the option of the monthly plan which includes up to 3 students for $6.99 a month.  The annual plan is  up to three students for $3.99 a month!  Not too shabby!

I am considering this as a fun supplement for my kindergartner as I discovered I need to change gears with her.  I am hoping this can be of help to her and to me, haha!

For complete details regarding this reading and math program for kids 3-7, click here!

 

Lindsey Clair is a happily married mother of three daughters. She loves reading, blogging and does freelance writing on the side. Along with her blogging and writing passions, Lindsey has a strong background in music: Piano, Voice, and Flute. She is excited to be sharing her knowledge of music with her daughters as well as on the music team at her church.

Prior to homeschooling she exercised her degree in Child Development by working at day care centers as a caregiver, assistant director and director and then teaching in a private program for 8 years. She is currently the children’s director at her home church. Now on her homeschooling journey she is thrilled to be a part of the homeschool community and what it has to offer not only for her children but for her entire family.

In addition to her adventures here, you an also find her at Jewels in My Crown, Michigan Home Mommy Works and Detroit Mommies.

6 thoughts on “Lindsey’s Journey

  1. Hi,

    My husband and I are going to attend the meeting at Ward Church. We have been talking about homeschooling for our 16 year old. We would like to find someone or a program that she can attend. I was thinking that we may be able to get some questions answered and information that can help with our quest.

    Thanks,

    Terri

    • Hi Terri,

      I think I remember you. Did you bring your daughters as well? There was only one husband and wife team with kids there so that may be why I remember you, ha, if it’s not you, oops, sorry! If it’s who I am thinking of your husband was absolutely a stitch thinking he was bothering with all the questions which as a new homeschooling mom I was pretty fast with the pen getting my same questions answered. Have you decided what you are going to do?

      Lindsey~Lindsey’s Journey

      • Hi Lindsey,

        I hope you get this. I was hoping to find your sight. I am going to start coming to the meetings. We started homeschooling our oldest daughter in June. She is doing Alpha and Omega Switched On Schoolhouse. She is doing great and she loves it. She dosen’t miss the drama at school and she will be finished before or by the time her other classmates are done.

        Well email me back. Hope to hear from you soon.

        Terri

  2. Hey Lindsey,
    I’m also an early childhood educator. We started our journey last year when my oldest was 4. Before then I was working full time as a teacher for the public schools. So as a teacher, you think I’d be better off? Somewhat, but it’s still hard to “go against the grain” so to speak. I’ve heard great things about Ward. I’ll be joining this year. Friends have told me great things!
    Love your site!
    Kelly

  3. Hi – I don’t even know how I stumbled upon your blog but I’m glad I did. I’ve really enjoyed reading it. We’re originally from MI – (Plymouth/Livonia area)but moved to CA 4 years ago for my husband’s job. We may be transferring back and we’re not sure exactly what area yet so we are researching homeschool groups, co ops, clubs… anything we can find so that hopefully we can settle in a homeschool friendly community with many resources to dive into. We may get placed on the East side of the state near St. Clair or Downriver and I know nothing about those areas or if they are many homeschoolers yet! There is also a chance we’ll get placed in Detroit which means we could easily move back to our hometown will definately look into Ward (I used to go there as a teenager!) and Palaestra. Thanks for sharing this info!

    We weren’t homeschoolers before we left. We began homeschooling here in CA. I was like you – I never thought about homeschooling before but when my son (6 at the time) was hurt by the hands of a school aide (I know…right?) I immediately pulled him out and knew homeschooling would be the best option. I had to hit the ground running! Here we have several ways to homeschool. We chose a public charter homeschool. They – file with state,turn in samples, offer 1 or 2 day classes and they even pay for the cirriculum. It’s still overwhelming at times but it’s nice to have some hand holding along the way. I think there are many times we ALL feel like we’re doing it wrong or our kids will be ruined for life but then there are so many amazing days and more moments when you just know it was the best decision you made.

    So I don’t know if this helps but we’re working with a very ecletic cirriculum. We use McGraw-Hill for 2nd grade math (the link didn’t work but if you google it it has the picture of yellow, red and purple jax.) The teacher’s edition is great to work with as well. Many people I know like Singapore math but my son had a strong aversion to it. LOL.

    For spelling/phonics we use Modern Cirriculum Press. We really enjoy using this. The format is broken down nicely for the kids and the workbook “chapters” are short and sweet! We supplement a lot with different writing “opportunities” such as thank you cards, letters inviting a friend over to play, pretending we’re script writers then producers of our own movie etc. You know, the kind of learning that takes place when the kids don’t know they’re learning, they just think they’re playing!LOL We also use a few online spelling tests and a spelling app on my cell phone. We do a weekly test and then it’s texted to grandparents out of state!

    For Social Studies we have Evan Moore History Pockets always on stand by. We like them, we learn from them but for my son, the cutting and pasting gets a little boring. A lot of cutting and maing of the folders but it’s a great concept.

    For science we haven’t used any prepacked cirriculum. We go to the science museum then write about it in his journal with photos and in CA we have a company called MAD Science which is a group of collage age kids that put on these mini science demos. Sometimes at the charter school, sometimes free at the library. The kids love it – it’s a lot of fun. I have a future Astronaut/scientist here so I have to admit we are not lacking in those type of lessons. He is always creating a potion, or designing a working robot with Lego Mindstorms… some might say we tend to be a bit “unschooly” in science (and social studies too). He recently created his own country (due West of Australia!)called Welch’s (yes I think it had something to do with those fruit snacks) and created a travel brochure to encourage visitors and then named himself president – which led to the much needed discussion on elections and campaigns! When we both have creativity block – we pull out the Evan Moore HIstory Pockets as our back up!

    We haven’t used Time4Learning but we do use Brain Pop Jr. Have you heard of that? It’s nice because there are many tools to use to really expand on a lesson. It also has the option to print out a quiz at the end of each 5-10 minute lesson. They’re very brief so it holds their interest. They have a few free lessons to check out if you’re interested and I think our first 30 days was a free trial.

    Well, I’ve talked too much already! Thanks for writing your blog. It’s really eased my mind about homeschooling in MI. It’s sounds like you’re doing a great job and that you’ve found a great homeschooling community!

  4. Lindsey,
    I just came across your blog on accident and I’m so glad that I did. I haven’t been able to read all of the entries, but the ones that I have are right on the mark with me and how I am feeling. My husband and I have decided to try out homeschooling next year with our kindergartener. My daughter will then be 2 which leaves me a little (or a lot) worried on what I’m going to do with her while I’m trying to get my son to focus with me. The choices for curriculum or whether I should use a curriculum for kindergarten or just a bunch of workbooks, what is the best support group to join, etc? I am going to go through all of your entries so I don’t miss a thing, but if you have ANY quick and easy advice, best thing you did, do not do this, I’m all ears (or shall I say eyes). Thanks for all your advice and blog!
    Sandy

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