Our Cool School Party Day

Woo Hoo!
School has now begun!

DSC_0707

The coolest way to start school is with an
ICE CREAM PARTY!

DSC_0709

Here are our students: (left to right)

TJ- Junior
Katie- 6th grade
Andrew- 2nd/3rd grade
Shane- Freshman (neighbor)
Bryson- Kindergarten
Shelbee- Pre K/ K (neighbor)

DSC_0718

Our formal class picture!

DSC_0719

Our crazy class!

DSC_0730 DSC_0729

DSC_0735

We went over our school rules.
The older kids rules on top;
littles on the lower board.
We discussed our new idea this year;
Our  KINDNESS Project.
One intentional act of kindness each week.

The younger kids colored their “All about Me” book;
the older kids wrote down a few goals for this year.

Shall I share a few ideas with you?  MmmHmmm… think I should….

(We’ll keep whose idea it was anonymous)

Spiritual Goals:
Spread God’s good love of Jesus Christ
To be baptized
To show the love of Jesus more

Community Service:
to serve in the Children’s program at church on Wed nights
to volunteer at Portland Adventist Community Service (PACS)
to volunteer to entertain/babysit two little girls one afternoon a week.

Home:
Don’t burn the house down.

Math:
To finish my math book by the end of the school year.

History:
To study the Revolutionary War

Science:
to memorize the entire periodic table by the end of the school year.

Writing:
to finish a book for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in Nov).

Bible:
to read a chapter a day.

Other:
watch the Seahawks win the Super Bowl.

Not too bad of priorities, eh?

DSC_0710

Next we picked out our school colors;
yellow represents joy
blue represents peace
green represents growth

Then we picked a school mascot (Honey Badger),
to represent being fearless for Christ.
Our School Motto this year; DO HARD THINGS
(common past ones were “Be His Light”, and “Live Outloud”,
both with the intent of sharing Christ’s love.)

DSC_0724

We had fun making tie-dye shirts using our school colors.
We will use these for our school field trips.

DSC_0722

I’m curious how they will turn out.
Last year it was disasterous (orange & black turned into mucky yuck).

Stay tuned for the results….

We additionally spent time praying for our new school year.

All in all, we had a FABULOUS 1st Day!

Homeschool?  Public School?  How do you make the first day special?

and just for FUN, here is last years 1st day Fun Adventure:
Ape Caves!
(no one was interested in that big of an adventure this time, lol).

L.I.F.E. Academy- 2013-2014 begins

DSC_0703

Our New Rhythm of the days~

We begin on Aug 13th.

Older kids work independently in the mornings.  I totally love that they just do their work.
That is the beauty of the Robinson curriculum*.
No fancy work, no expensive extras, just simply to read, write, and do math effectively.

So on my Rhythm chart above, we ideally begin around 9:00.
I am a morning person, so I like to get my morning routine wrapped up before we begin school.  =)
9:ish works for us.  Sometimes sooner, sometimes later.  I am not a drill Sargent.

I spend the morning with my littles. 

While the big kids do math, the younger kids & I do circle time;
Biblical character lessons, scripture memory work, emotions, weather & calendar work.

While the big kids read, the younger kids join me for table time;
Discuss animal of the week and how it pertains to our character lesson,
discussions, copy work, craft, & activity time.

While the big kids do their writing assignment,
the younger kids enjoy story time and Math lessons.

The “younger kids” are Andrew (2nd grade), Bryson (kinder), & Shelbee (neighbor girl, preK/K)

Our afternoons

I have lunch w/ my kids.
I’ve teamed up my kids on a buddy system.  An older one w/ a younger one.
One team prepares lunch, the other cleans up after lunch.  win/win for me.  *smile*
During lunch we will listen and practice our foreign language.
We will focus more strongly on Spanish this year,
but still review our French,
and slowly add our American Sign Language to what we are learning!
Foreign language is meant to be practiced actively.
Lunch time is a perfect setting for us.

Big Kids turn

The younger kids will have quiet time in the afternoon.
They may play quietly in their room, or watch a educational movie of my choice.

The big kids and I will be working through the Constitution this year,
followed by a read aloud time of a biography of a historical figure.
(Benjamin Franklin is up first on the list).
We will also do a quick spelling/grammar review before moving onto Chemistry lessons.

The “big kids” are TJ (junior), Shane (neighbor boy/ freshman), & Katie (6th grade).

School should wrap up around 2, followed by jurisdictions.

The rest of the day we are free to explore our interests~ 

nature walks, cooking, board games, gardening, foursquare, etc…

I have to admit that this year will be our easiest year by far since beginning homeschooling in 2001!
This is the first time there will be no baby/toddler distractions.  Our days are outlined quite smoothly, because, well, the littles are actually old enough to follow directions (and really shouldn’t be called “littles” anymore, but I haven’t quite figured out another phrase to distinguish them from the older kids, lol).

L.I.F.E. Discovery~ curriculum choices.

An update on what we will be doing with our younger children this year!

DSC_0604

As much as I love our Robinson Curriculum,
Andrew is requiring much more emphasis on his reading foundation before moving forward with the big kids.

I chose a curriculum that was user friendly for both Bryson (I can’t believe our baby is in Kindergarten *sniff, sniff*) and Andrew (2nd grade).

Danielle’s Place Homeschool Curriculum

It is very flexible for Preschoolers thru 3rd grade.  Perfect choice for us!

No lesson planning needed… just follow along, printing out things that I need as I go.

All lessons begin with Scriptures and a Character lesson that includes an animal theme.

Other subjects included are:

Penmanship
Art
Science
Math
Working w/ letters & words
PE
Games/activities
Cooking

Andrew will also being doing Abeka seatwork to solidify is reading foundation.
This will include 1st Grade Writing, Spelling, Letter Sounds, & Language skills.
This will be called his “seatwork” to stretch his ability to sit and focus for more than 5 min at a time.

Foreign Language:

Flip Flop Spanish
Flip Flop French
American Sign Language

Life skills:

personal hygiene
chores
generosity, with our time and things.

Looking forward to working with the younger guys every morning while the big kids work independently!
These years go waayyy too fast, so I am embracing every last one of them!

How about you?  Anyone have a “baby” just finishing a milestone?
Potty training perhaps?  riding a bike?  driving a car?  or going to college?

L.I.F.E. Discovery~ lessons w. the littles

DSC_0070

To improvise is a natural process for children.

If you are without a bat… use Christmas wrapping paper!
Can’t find a baseball?  Why, use any ball you’d like!

I am really enjoying the younger kids.  Maybe because it’s bitter-sweet knowing this is my last round at it!

DSC_0082

Last week was Letter Nn:

We learned about nightingales!

We colored them, made nests, and created cheerio birdfeeders.
We also listened to their birdsong.

For science we have been learning about the senses:

This week was the Sense of Touch:

DSC_0084

We created a textured nature page;
soft, hard, smooth, crinkly, scratchy, bumpy, etc…

We also used the goop, glurch, silly putty, and slime that we made during Spring Break

DSC_0045DSC_0051DSC_0059

Hands-on Math:

DSC_0093

Counting money.

DSC_0096

and size-sorting Katie-girl’s homemade nesting origami boxes.
There are 12 in all!  …down to the teeniest box ever, lol.

We also made cookies, went on a nature stroll, and practiced writing our last name.

Love the littles~  they keep life lively!  =)

An Afternoon with just ‘the Boys’

DSC_0308DSC_0303

Easily entertained by their own mischievousness! 

The boys thought it was the funniest thing ever to “hide” all the pillows under TJ’s bed.
I heard giggling and laughter for about 20 minutes before I went upstairs to investigate.

DSC_0302

No clue who took this picture?  I assume Andrew.
Working with Bryson on the letter Bb.

Like the frumpy mom hair?  and the cluttered background?
yeah, just keeping it real ’round here.  *wink*

DSC_0309

Working on tally marks and counting by 5’s.

I had no idea how much fun these guys would have going around counting things in the house!

DSC_0313

Lessons with the Littles are going well. 

Bryson is working on 1 letter a day to get familiar with the sounds of the alphabet.  Admittedly, I have not pushed a structured lesson plan for him while getting Andrew reading.   Honestly, I wanted Andrew to “catch on” to reading before I began with Bryson.    I am pretty confident that it will not take Bryson long to catch up as it is; he is pretty precocious like his sister that way.  I always find it interesting the vast variety of ages our children were when they learned to read; 4, 7, 6, 3, 8, and probably 5.  Grateful not to have the public school define our kids success , push benchmarks, or be allowed to label our kids.  Each one has their own unique gifts as well as their individual challenges, and I am blessed to see each one grow up to be who God wants them to be~

Homeschooling… it’s a beautiful thing.

Chocolate anyone?

DSC_0199

We used chocolate to paint our hot cocoa mugs.

DSC_0200

I made chocolate play dough- no, preferably not edible, although not toxic.

DSC_0214

We had a cup of “hot cocoa” playdough and searched for marshmallows (white beads).

This was Bryson’s technique (below)-  smooth and methodical.

DSC_0215

Dustin was more search in, dig out!

DSC_0216

Next was our math assignment:

Counting marshmallows!  yes, they ate them for snack when we were done.

DSC_0202

Each child (Bryson & Dustin) counted marshmallows in their cup then added them together.

DSC_0207

Chocolate markers smell much better up the nose don’t ya think?

DSC_0201

Overall, I think the boys *loved* their chocolate theme!

I love it when last minute ideas ended up being the best lessons!  This just happened to fall into place.

Playing with preschoolers is the best!

l.i.f.e. discovery~ January

We like sissy’s new easel.  *smile*
Everyone uses it; chalk, dry erase board, painting… it’s all things FUN!

For Preschool:

New year means new beginnings around here.  We went through the alphabet, learning to recognize the letters by shape.  This was our goal for the 3 yr olds.  We now begin again, going through the alphabet, learning to recognize the letters by sound.  Both Bryson & his lil friend Dustin will turn 4 in May, so this will be their 4 yr old goal.  New lessons, new activities, new fun times ahead!

Our AndrewOur sweet student.  For my newest readers, his challenges are Asperger’s Syndrome.  At this point we have no interest in getting him “officially” diagnosed, but after much research he fits into the classic struggles that aspies face.   With that in mind, he seems to pace himself about 2 yrs behind average milestones.

A new year means new beginnings around here.  *wink*
Andrew just turned 7 last month and well into his first grade year, while doing preschool work.  Randomly, as is fitting for him, his brain has finally clicked with blending his sounds and his willingness to “do” work.  Thus, we are officially beginning 1st grade THIS week.

1st grade goals for January:

PHONICS:
comprehend beginning and ending.
Words~ beginning and ending sounds.
Sentences~ beginning and ending words.
Sequencing~  beginning and ending directions.  (this is needed for Andrew, 3 instructions to follow step by step, a skill he has not quite adapted yet, although his 3 yr old brother can.)

WRITING:
that easel has been fabulous!  The pressure needed to write w/ chalk has helped strengthen Andrew’s hand, and his confidence to try harder is building.  I call that a win/win.  =)

MATH:
dice games, ADD it!, and counting to 100 (patterns of 10) are the most common activities.

READING:
Nursery Rhymes, Bible stories, and a Science book about bees.

Consistency is our biggest GOAL!