Simple Snippets of Spring

When those brief moments of warmer days come, we tend to grasp what we can of it!!

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Schooling outdoors is always an option!!

Nature walks are a must!

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Park days add fun

Family four square is always a favorite

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and if it’s really nice, we even adventure to the river

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How does your spring days look? 
Are you able to adventure out and get fresh air?

Let’s Talk Attitude

As this fresh new year has began, I suggest we take a look at the attitudes in our home.  Seeing this is a family blog with a homeschool focus, this topic is something dear to my heart.  Many of us are halfway through our school year, when taking inventory of how things are going is common.  Whether you are a homeschool family or a public school family, couldn’t you agree that attitudes can often make or break a productive day, particularly pertaining to learning?

fruit-of-the-spirit

I’m actually not referring to our children.  I’m actually calling attention to us, the parents.

Are we displaying the fruit of the Spirit around our children?  Are we setting a loving tone to our children’s (home) education?  Even when they’re not being very lovable at times?  They learn from example, so what we model matters!  Just something to ponder in this new year.

Enjoying the Classics

We’ve had an ongoing theme for the year…

Read a classic; watch a movie

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Here are some of our picks that were from our Robinson Curriculum reading list;
others are simply good ole classics we have on hand. 

It takes us about a month per book to read, discuss, and then watch a correlated movie of each one. 

Homeschooling does not have to be difficult to be educational.  We didn’t have to use a study guide or workbook or a complicated scope and sequence to learn from these classic treasures.  Frankly, you don’t even need to own these… simply check your local library (or even with older relatives if you get the privilege of doing that).  I do highly recommend to avoid abridged versions (not.a.fan of the “Great illustrated classic” books).

Benefits I’ve observed from reading classic books with my children:

An increase in vocabulary

Improves their ability to comprehend

Strengthens ethics (good vs bad)

Understands history and culture in context

Recognizes to learn from past mistakes

Creates a natural desire to learn more….
which leads to rabbit trails of self-led interests.

The high quality literary content of these classic books are a treasure to explore!

It’s ingenious to be a homeschooler!

I HATE SCHOOL, and How our First Few Weeks Have Been

That’s how our school year began.
We are going into our 16th year of homeschooling, and my youngest child decides to have an attitude.  Clearly it is a disorder of some sort because just the mention of said word “school” creates a strange reaction of moaning, whining, and flopping down to the ground like a slug.

SCHOOL …

How can the child not like school?  He loves learning, exploring, and frankly, learns easily.
Well, apparently it’s the word… “SCHOOL”

You see, I could of fussed back at him,
got frustrated at his lack of willingness to do school,
disciplined him for poor behavior,
but instead I looked at the pathetic behaving child
and had him cuddle up to me and we talked about the planets,
pondered some outdoor activities, and discussed his feelings.
Then I prayed.

The Answer… don’t call it “school”.
After all, LIFE is the Lesson,
and just about anything we do
is applicable to learning something.
It’s kind of why I picked L.I.F.E. Academy
as the name of our “school”.

I can easily say “hey, let’s go up and lay on my bed and you can read a book to me” and viola, 30 min of reading.  (Reading-check)
I can then say it’s time for Math, and poof he does it (math-check)

Then the real magic comes in the evenings…
tons of fun family time and no one knows it’s still “school”.

We are watching a Math-U-See video for some fun review,
but this child LOVES seeing it and then working with the manipulatives used for the lessons.
We then watch one episode of “What’s in the Bible” which is packed with facts, vocabulary, theology in a fun way.

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Next we pull out these chalkboards to review our penmanship.
It’s been quite the hit.  Write the letter mom says,
then draw a word to compliment the letter, and spell it.
Dad joins in, Sissy joins in (the highschooler).
I will slowly begin doing phonics review,
and eventually spelling games with these boards.
The creativity is endless…
for the letter “i” my youngest came up with “imagination”,
not your typical ice cream or igloo answer, lol.

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We end our evenings by reading our Jesus Freaks Devotional,
finding on the map the country that was the read about,
and pray for that country.

FRIDAYS are also open for some fun.
It’s the one day during the school week that I don’t do childcare,
and I take advantage of that time to spend more intentional with my kids.

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Because we are entering into Medieval Times for History,
I opened the era with the Byzantine period.
We read about Constatine,
while listening to Beethoven in the background,

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then we attempted Byzantine mosaic art,
each of us doing our own masterpiece.

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I also threw in a science project for fun.  Used food coloring (yellow and blue), paper towels to wick the color into the empty center cup, and obviously, we made green.  The cool part was to see the water travel through the paper towels and actually begin to fill the empty cup.

All in all, that was a fun afternoon!

And then there’s my highschooler,
who has been fabulously working at her own pace independently,
while still participating in the things I want her to join us for! 

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Her garden got attacked by moles; it’s a sad affair.
But she still got some harvest.  Those carrots though?

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Oh, and we can’t forget the preschoolers…

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The 3 yr olds are loving preschool time,
and that sweet little photo bomber in the background is just about ready to join the table at almost 15 months of age.  She loves seeing what’s going on with our Discovery Time lessons!!

And That my friends is a random look at how our school year has started so far…

It’s a bit crazy to be a homeschooler.  *smile*

L.I.F.E. Academy~ August Goals 2016

I’ll just be candid here and say that our “first” day of school was a bust.
Mistake #1 was trying to begin school the day after our fabulous 4 day camping trip.
So I put off the first day (Monday) to Tuesday, in which moods were off and we barely got our teacher-student conference cleared (you know, to explain expectations for the year) this day.  Then along comes Wednesday, and I am a huge proponent that Mom’s mood can really set the tone for the house.  Well, my mood was fine (ba ha ha), but my kids were still like in vacation hang over mode.  So, for those that don’t know, I always try to be creative and think of something fun to do on the first day, and this year wasn’t any different.  So, I came up with an Olympic theme since the Summer Olympics is under way.  I thought it was an awesome idea.  I was already to have Family Olympic games right in our backyard.  I even thought up some cool crafts and a snack idea.  However, my youngest child was on a rant.  He was NOT amused at all, thought the whole thing was “stupid”, and grumbled most the day.  Well, there ya go, homeschool reality at its finest.  So do I hang the ungrateful kid in the closet by his toes?  Or maybe just hug the child, rest together, chat about God, nature, and the planets… and ponder a new plan.

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Thursday began with some camoflauge…
and then “boot camp” began!

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Needless to say, moods were improved…

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and Monday, August 8th, our official book work will begin!

August Goals

Bible– Genesis

Literature
Bryson (3rd grade)- Family Under the Bridge
Andrew (5th grade)- Pinocchio (RC)
Katie (Freshman)- Trixie Beldon series, Mildred Elsie series (RC)
Read Aloud- Bambi (classic 1939 version)
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Language Arts
Back to basics- review sentence structure;
Capital beginnings, end marks.!?
Introduce prepositional phrases.
Boys- review penmanship skills/do copywork
Katie- daily essays

Math
The boys- review basic math facts.
focus on +, x (0-6)
Katie- review, all about fractions (+, -, x ,/)

Science
Bryson- All about Crabs
Andrew- All about Ants
Katie- All about the animal kingdom;
introduction to arthropods and crustaceans
*will also begin her seedlings for her fall garden.
Family Read aloud
Burgess Animal Book for Children;
rats, mice, & shrews.

History
The boys- Muhammad and the early years of Islam,
and details of the Arabian days.
Katie- Life of Saint Patrick

Health
Personal safety- stranger danger

American Sign Language/Spanish
family, food, animals

Fine Arts
Composer- Beethoven, Ode to Joy (Olympic march)
Art- Byzantine Mosaics
Poetry- To Laugh Often and Much by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others; 

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed easier 

because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded.

Summer Schedule 2016

We’re having some fun!

Our days are full,
and there are adventures to be had!

Introducing Camp Gonnahaveablast!

Each week we will have a theme to explore.

June 13th-17th           Picnic Play
June 20th-24th         Backyard Bugs
June 27th-July 1st    Patriot Power
July 5th-8th               Creative Construction
July 1th-15th              Vacation Bible School
July 18th-22nd          Icky Sticky Ooey Gooey
July 25th-29th           Going Camping (for real)

The kids will pick camp names to use,
as well as group assigned names:
Babies- are the “Sparklers
Preschoolers- are the “Firecrackers
Primary Kids- are the “Bottle Rockets

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Monday through Wednesday is full of friends;
where most of our themed activities will take place.
Thursdays are only an extra friend or two,
so our rhythm those days will be a bit different.
I’m trying to keep Fridays open for family fun.

Our Daily Rhythm

6:30   Childcare begins to arrive
8:00   Breakfast/clean up
9:00   Indoor/Outdoor Play
10:00 Themed activities
11:30  Nature shows/or nature walk
12:00  LUNCH/clean up
1:00   Quiet time (for littles)
D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read)
Board games- mass variety
History Videos-
3:00   Snack
3:30   Creative Corner (writing supplies)
4:00   FREE play
6:00-7:00  is when childcare goes home.

Our evenings will consist of intentional family bonding, from chores to read alouds to prayer time, and yes, even watching Bob Ross, because we all become memorized at the apparently simple (not) art of nature.

How are your days flowing? 
Scheduled routines?  (our Monday-Wednesday)
Flexible and free?  (our Thursday-Saturday)
or maybe something a little in between?

Homeschool Planning

Let’s just face it.
Most of us homeschoolers love this time of year!
Before we have even wrapped up our school year,
we are already planning and plotting for the next year. 
We just can’t help it.
Fresh ideas and new beginnings; how can that not be exciting?!

I, personally, outline my school plans.
For the next 8 weeks, I will be taking one step at a time to discuss in detail.

Here is my outline:

  1.  Establish when the 1st day of school will be.
    Outline the 4 quarters; mark on a calendar
  2. Create a rhythm chart;
    a brief summary of the week
  3. List subjects to cover for the year
  4. Break subjects into details
    ie science/biology, history/Early American
  5. List resources to use for such subjects
  6. Take supply inventory.
    Make supply list; watch for sales
  7. Plan a 1st Day of School Celebration
  8. Hold a student/teacher conference per child:
    *establish goals
    *share expectations
    *set up planners

See you Monday.  Happy Planning!