Friday, August 23, 2013


I began this post - then life overtook me and I didn't get back to it...but I will leave it as I started it and then continue...I hope you enjoy my ramblings...

Our first week of school has come and gone and I can say I have survived!

Is that bad?

Well ptttthhh (tongue sticking out, nose crinkled, arms waving) to you!


We began our new school year this week and while day 2 met with many challenges, overall it's been good.

We've settled into routine nicely, and boy oh boy do I like routine.  The boys agree apparently even thought they may not like admitting it.  Hehe

Our school hours are 10-2:30, I love that.  It gives us a good base of what is allowed when without hundreds of questions (that they already know the answer too).

I have also incorporated interactive journals this year - the boys have a journal for science, spelling, poetry, literature study and history.

Here is a look at Bug's poetry journal.  On the right side of the page is the introduction info we went over about Rudyard Kipling.  Then on the right is the "connection" he made with this info.  He drew a scene from the jungle book.
Here is a look at Bug's spelling journal.  One day 1 he goes over the words (that is the green sheet on the right hand side; and makes flash cards (in the pocket on the left).  Then the next day he does review words by finding them in the sentences (red sheet) and an activity - like the word find on the left.  Day three he words in his building spelling skills book, Day 4 he takes a pre-test (or test).  Everything gets glued onto these two pages.  That way he can see all of his work for Unit 1 at one time when he is reviewing.
This is a look into Red's history journal (Day 2).  This year we are studying Our Nation Under God by Christian Liberty Press.  On the right you can see the information that I provided them (we glued it in).  Then the boys made flaps to cover the definition of each type of government. 
Here is a look at Bug's science journal.  We are using Zoology 1 Flying animals of the 5th day by Apologia.  I got the lapbook that goes with the curriculum from currclick and I am so excited that I did.  We are using all the lapbook parts in our interactive journal.  On the first day we review "What is zoology" and the boys wrote down the definition in a mini book.   Then we added that to the journal.  Our next lesson was about Animal Classification, after the lesson, we created a brochure and added it to our journal.  When we complete lesson 1, these pages will be filled.

Here's a look at Bug's History Journal (Day 1).  On the right you will see Chapter 1 and the information we discussed.  Then you can see the various flaps we made to cover verses we looked up.  We were talking about since God created our world he has the right to govern us.  So we looked up several verses in the bible.  We either glued or wrote the verse on in our journal and created a flap to go over it.  The blue is our Jesus flap, the black is the "universe" and the white is a cloud.

Here is a screen shot of the board during our government lesson.  I am so excited about my new's so big and I have so much love love it!

We did a poetry lesson over "lanterns" - which is a light, airy Japanese poem.  Here you can see what we were learning.  Line 1. is one syllable, Line 2 is two syllables, Line 3 is three syllables, Line 4 is four syllables and Line 5 is one syllable.  Next to it you can see the poem that Bug wrote about the color purple and the poem I wrote about God.
Here you can see a few of our lanterns hanging on the wall.  Ms. Kellie, I think the space one is for you.  Your Jr. Astronaut Training classes have certainly made an impact! 

Is Cool
and it is
black and has stars

The work is done....

The board is clean...

The work all checked...
And that's all, I can't believe another year has begun.  I am so very blessed be able to teach my boys.  I have to remind myself of this blessing time after time, but I truly feel blessed.
Until next time...hug your babies and to love one another...


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

6 months!  What??  Where did time go? 

Being honest...We had a lot going on around here with Co-op, school, soccer and being the co-op chairperson - well that just took it up a notch.  Blogging was just the last thing on my mind.

I have lots of pictures to share...but another time for that.

Curriculum...Can you believe that summer is half over?  What?  We just started!  LOL  No, literally we did.  When June rolled around and kids were getting out of school and the neighbor kid was on our doorstep every day...well we kept trudging along.  During the month of June I attended 8 teacher workshops - oh my goodness, what was I thinking!?!?!?!  But I racked up a ton of hours so that's a great thing.  But in the mix of it all, we fit in several days of learning. 

But I am going to be honest.  We trudged through the first week of July - doing nothing but reading and it hit me.  Give them a break.  Give yourself a break.  Rest, Relax, Read and Prepare for next year. 

So I did. 

I told the boys - we are on summer break...nothing but reading going on.

They were ecstatic!  (Of course!)

So I took a look at the school room (which we haven't used in a few months and noticed that once again it was piled high with co-op stuff, stuff to re-home, curriculum, curriculum, curriculum and so much more. do I do that?

Well I figured out how I do that...we don't have an A/C in that particular room and it gets hot, so we tend to avoid it and school in other rooms. 

Well I decided to remedy that for good.  I drove in to Wal-Mart - priced the smaller A/C units and then headed to Lowes and priced matched one - it's currently in the trunk of my car because it's been raining and in the 70's for two days.  LOL  Well if I had know all I needed to do to get cooler temps was buy an a/c unit.  Hmmm...I will have to keep that in mind for August.  ;)

For those of you who are thinking - What, they don't have central?  Actually we do, but we don't often use it because the set up of our house and ducts it is not very efficient and quite costly.  We find good old fashioned window units work well and best for our little casa.

Rabbit trails...

Anyway, so now I have a unit - woo-hoo!  Hubby is going to get it put in for us...soon!  I have been working for the past few days with the window open - sigh. 

So far I have de-cluttered quite a bit, sorted a lot and piled.  Next I have to remove the piles.  (My least favorite part.)

Last night I sorted through curriculum choices to see what we had already and what direction we wanted to go for this next year.

I have always been a very eclectic my home, in my outside home teaching...I just love it all and I don't like "boxes". 

I tried a few years back to "box" it...simply because at the time that is what I needed.  I didn't stick with it though - I found it to confining and boring and I needed more.  Oh yeah and the kids did too.  LOL  I feel like I forgot about them there.  But honestly, if I don't like it, am I really going to spend time teaching it?  No...the answer is No...with a big N too...I find myself dreading it and that rubs off.

Rabbit trails...

Anyway I have tons of curriculum.  I am a bargain hunter and I love to look for ideas, books and bargains to supplement what the boys are learning or interested in, etc.  So needless to say I have TONS!

But I was able to pare it down for this next year and I am pretty satisfied with what I see.  Now to just get it all organized into the lesson plans.  (My favorite part!)

Here is what the boys will be using:


Math:  Teaching Textbooks -He did really well with this and I love that it's on the computer and so independent; and Xtramath - again he did really well with this last year and it's so fast and simple.

Grammar:  Growing with Grammar - I also have a couple of workbook sources - on is called skill builders grammar and the other is called Texas Write Source.  Both reinforce basic grammar skills.  We will also continue using Daily Grams.

Reading:  Pathway readers - LOVE THEM!  I picked up a reading comprehension workbook at the Target dollar spot that I plan to use as well and a Reading skills book that works on main idea, context clues and drawing conclusions.  We will continue our at home reading challenge as well.  He earns stickers for every 15 minutes of reading or each chapter book finished.  Then he gets to trade them in for goodies from the treasure box.  It has worked very, very well this summer.  Hey don't judge - I wish my kids were avid readers (as I am), but they are not on their own.  Bribery works!

Writing:  We are going to try out Just Write and I am going to continue with the Poetry Party book (Thank you Kellie Watson).  We used this some last semester and it was really simple and easy to follow. 

Spelling: Building Spelling Skills

Phonics: Explode the Code; I also have a word study book that I picked up - it's a little advanced for him right now, but I have him do a page from time to time and he does well with it and it builds vocabulary skills as well as reinforces phonics rules; I also found a book called Vocabulary Power that I will probably use later in the year.

Penmanship: Cursive - I have one of those wipe off books that he uses a lot, but I also purchased the HWT cursive set for more detailed learning and practice.


Math:  I have struggled with finding the right math program for Red.  With Bug I used Saxon and it worked well...with Red it was a disaster of gigantic proportions.  So I struggled most of last year trying to find something that fit.  I came across a program called Free Math Program.  I like what I see so far and we are going to try it out.  I can't see spending money on more programs that don't work, so this is the route we have chosen.  I am hoping to boost him up so he can start Teaching Textbooks before long.  I think he will do well with a computer based curriculum.  I also have a couple of addition and subtraction workbooks we will be working through for extra practice.

Grammar:  I found First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind last year and I have to say I love it and Red does really well with it.  I also have a book called How to Write a Sentence and we are going to use that as well.

Reading:  Pathway of course!  I also have a Reading Comprehension book (Target Dollar Spot) and a couple of reading workbooks that we are going to use as supplements.

Writing:  I have a journal prompts book from Lakeshore Learning Store and some Story Starters from Dollar Tree.

Spelling:  Building Spelling Skills

Phonics:  Explode the code; I also have one of those 100 words your child should know in 2nd grade books - we'll use that for more practice as well as a couple of phonics review books I picked up to hone those phonics skills.

Penmanship: Handwriting without Tears

Well that's the gist of it.  The basics anyway...I still have to work out Bible, Science and History.  I know what I want to use, but I need to get it all put together.  

It feels good to have it sorted out and down on paper.  Freeing so to speak.  I have to make some copies and print some stuff, but over all, its coming together nicely.

I had better get off here now and get to much to do before our summer comes to a close.

Until next time...we-


Saturday, January 05, 2013

I didn't bring chicken...

Thursday I arrived at Mrs. Wilson's door to deliver her noon meal.  As I entered the back door, the screen squeaking and Oreo high tailing it to hide under the car, I had a big smile on my face because I knew Mrs. Wilson was gonna eat that day.  Thursday's meal was bratwurst...a rare treat because it's not really all that good for you.  That's the words of Mr. Stroope and Mrs. Ford anyway.  I also had a couple of cherry pies I had brought from home.  One for Mrs. Wilson and one for her caregiver, Shirley.  And milk, Mrs. Wilson loved her milk.  

When I mounted the steps, I rapped a couple of times and then opened the screen door.  Smiling I said "I didn't bring chicken..." only to be greeted by the sad faces of Shirley and two other ladies.  Shirley looked at me and said, "Oh no, we forgot to call Meals on Wheels."  My immediate response was "What happened?"  

My beloved Mrs. Wilson had peacefully gone home with her Savior sometime during the night.  

Standing in shock, holding her meal, pies and her favorite milk I couldn't move.  

Shirley had come in that morning and found her gone, in her own bed, at the age of 94.

Well 94+ I should say...Mrs. Wilson will be celebrating her 95th birthday with Jesus next Friday.  Can you imagine...a little jealous I am.  I know He's gonna have angel food cake for her...she told me that was her favorite.

What a blessing this sweet, spunky, precious lady was to me and my boys.  

Every Thursday she greeted us with a smile on her face and a story or something to share that made us laugh.  

I grew to love her in the short time that we have delivered to her.  I have to admit she is one of my favorite Meals on Wheels clients.  

She always had a kind word, liked to chat about life, her family, my boys and the things she used to do.  A wise woman she was.

One thing that I loved was how she always had a book close at hand.  Being an avid reader myself, I certainly found her a  kindred heart.

And that woman disliked chicken...she would crack me up all the time.  When I brought a meal that included chicken, she's say - "Oh I'm not gonna eat that, I'll give it to Shirley."  Precious lady...never complaining, just being honest.  

She was a kindred spirit in her love of milk, too.  I always had a chuckle when she would tell me how that was the first thing she was gonna do, drink her milk.  She loved it.  Being a lover of milk myself, I had to agree...every time.

She told Red not to long ago that she was a red head back in her day...somehow I wasn't surprised.  She certainly had a lot of spunk.

I am gonna miss that little lady, the laughter, the smiles and the love she spread in the few minutes I spent with her each week.  

I don't know if those minutes can be called a lifetime, but I can certainly say that they have given me a lifetime of memories of a dear sweet lady that I will miss for a long, long time.  

Today as I attended her memorial service it struck me.  Mrs. Wilson reminds me of my granny.  That's what it is...that's why I grew so close to her in such a short time.  I now understand.

My Granny was a petite spunky little lady full of life and love for others.  I saw these same qualities in Mrs. Wilson.  Mrs. Wilson also had a small bookshelf in the hallway between two rooms.  On this small bookshelf sat a black purse.  Much like the purse I remember my own Granny carrying.  Every time I went to Mrs. Wilson's house and saw this purse on the bookshelf I thought of my own Granny.

It's funny how sometimes a very small thing can trigger a great memory.

So today is a sad day...sad because I don't get to deliver a meal to Mrs. Wilson next week and try to convince her to eat chicken and tease her about her love of milk.  Sad because I am selfish and want her here.  

But today is also a happy day...a day of blessings...

Mrs. Wilson is sitting at the feet of her savior, and I know there is a glass of milk and a good book nearby.  Mrs. Wilson no longer needs oxygen, medicine or a walker.  She is dancing for her Lord and enjoying the mansion God has built for her.

I thank God that he brought Mrs. Wilson to my route and that I had the opportunity to call her my friend.  I thank God that my boys had the opportunity to meet her and hear her stories.  I thank God that I had the opportunity to serve her.  I also thank God that He called her home in such a peaceful way.  I thank God that one day in the future I will get to see her again.  

I already know what I am gonna say..."I didn't bring chicken!"