Teaching Together, 2016 Curriculum Line-Up

Welcome back for another month of Teaching Together.

Being labeled a home school mom sets you up for A LOT of questions. From my thoughts on learning to read clear up to what we plan to do in the high school years. But my favorite question has to be the “WHY?!” Which usually comes with an “are you crazy” expression on their face. However the most common of all the questions I get asked or emailed about is what curriculum we use.

2016 Homeschool
Here is what we have planned for the 2016/2017 school year!

Curriculum

When it comes to choosing homeschooling curriculum you really have two choices. You can by something all-inclusive *bleck* (can you tell I’m not a fan of this method) or you can piece things together on your own. I have always gone with this second choice and here is why.

It saves money
You have more variety
Its less monotonous
It’s easier to customize your curriculum to the way your child learns.

At the end of it all I am sure that both methods are effective. But, everyone has their opinion so I thought why not share mine. It is my blog after all :P. 

Marissa 3rd Grade Emily Kindergarten
I also plan to add in a few electives that will alternate daily.
These will include things like “computer lab” time, art, yoga, and typing.

Schedule

7:30 school starts with prayer
7:35-8:00 Handwriting
8:00-8:45 Math
8:45-9:00 Break
9:00-09:20 Bible
09:20-10:00 Literature/Phonics
10:00-10:30 Spelling/Emily Break
10:30-11:00 Language/ Emily computer games
11:00-12:15 Lunch Break
12:10- 12:45 Creative Writing/ Emily History or Science
12:45-01:15 Marissa computer games/ Emily Book time
01:15-2:00 Apologia Science OR Marissa’s History
02:00-02:30 Art/ Creative Play/ Yoga
 
Lets be real. I say this is our schedule, but it doesn’t mean it will stick or adjustments wont be needed. But at least we have some kind of idea on what to do when and we can tweak things as we need to.
.Goals
 

My goals for our school year are to have way too much fun, finish our books in a timely manner, and hopefully not bomb achievement tests at the end of the year.

That is all.
Surprised?

I kind of am too but where I may thrive on goals, that kind of pressure on a kindergartener just isn’t needed. 

This will be my first year of officially schooling two kids.
I’m nervous and excited.
Pray for me friends.

Sharing our 2016/2017 #homeschool #curriculum plans on this months #TeachingTogether Click To Tweet

Have a question about homeschooling or why we do, what we do? Leave me a comment!

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School Is Out, Teaching Together

School is officially out!!!

I thought today would be the perfect chance to share our “official” last day of the school year photos and interviews with you. This year we ended our home school year on April 28th. I NEVER in my head imagined getting out of school in April, but we put in 36 weeks of work and now we are “done”. I still have some summer lessons planned for the month of May but we will definitely slow down once the pools open.

Last Day M1
Marissa wrapped up second grade and her third year of putting up with me for a teacher.
She is such a trooper.

Last Day E1
Emily finished her second year of pre-k at home and will move on to Kindergarten with mommy next year.

I am excited and intrigued about how things will go with two kids officially in school. I know it will mean my days will be busier and that will be a big adjustment for me.

Finishing our third year of home school feels like a landmark. I nowhere near feel like I have everything figured out, but I also don’t feel scared anymore. Sure it takes work and effort on all accounts, but we are doing it and I would even dare to say we are doing it well. 

last Day M2

Marissa

Age: 7 (so close to 8!)
Favorite color// Blue but I really like pink too
Favorite food// Tacos & Homemade Mac & Cheese (not served together)
Favorite movie// Cinderella (She wanted me to clarify she likes the one with the real people)
Favorite Book// The ‘Whatever After’ book series
Favorite song// ‘It’s A Hard-knock Life’ from Annie
Favorite game// Checkers
Favorite animal// Seals
Favorite thing to do// Go swimming 
Favorite part of school// Science
What was your favorite part of this school year// Experiments and crafts
What are you most excited about this summer// SWIMMING!!!

Last Day Emily2

Emily

Age: 5
Favorite color// I like pink just a little more than orange
Favorite food// Peanut butter crackers
Favorite movie// Anything with Minnie in it!
Favorite Book// 5 Minute Minnie Tales
Favorite song// This is a REALLY hard one, I’ll say ‘It’s A Hard-knock Life’ from Annie
Favorite game// Candy Land
Favorite animal// Let’s say….. I don’t really have a favorite. You can just write down pandas because I kind of do like pandas.
Favorite thing to do// Play with my friends
Favorite part of school// *Very seriously* I don’t have a favorite part of school. I don’t like anything about it.
What was your favorite part of this school year// Art projects
What are you most excited about this summer// Going to the pool!

Girls Together Girls Jump Girls Hug
These girls love each other deeply.

It was so fun taking these photos and watching them pose themselves. At one point Emily turned her head and kissed her sister’s arm… of course I wasn’t ready to capture the photo and missed it.

Here are a few ways we make the last day of school (and days following) special at our house.
We have had so much fun celebrating over the past week!

  • Last day photos
  • Last day interviews
  • Donuts
  • Staying up late (just a little)
  • Play outside A LOT
  • Ice cream
  • Special lunch out
  • Taking a few days to just unwind before finding a new summer routine.
Sharing how we celebrate #School being out on this months #TeachingTogether #linkup #homeschool Click To Tweet

With this school year wrapped we are SO ready to say
Hello Summer!

Last Day of school ME1
What do you do to make the end of the year special?

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Teaching Together, Resurrection Eggs {March 2016}

Welcome back to Teaching Together!
 
This month marks our 6th link-up of sharing and learning together. It may or may not surprise you but these posts are always a HUGE challenge for me. I think it’s because I am so immersed in home school and education all day long that my brain is generally fried in this category. Coming up with posts that others can (and want) to relate too is always so tricky for me.
 
This month I chose to share a project that I have been wanting to do for several Easters now.
It is easy, inexpensive and I didn’t even have to leave my own home yard to gather the supplies #winner!
 
With Easter coming soon, now is the time to start preparing hearts both young and old to celebrate Christ’s glorious defeat over death. 
 
These resurrection eggs take about 15-20 minutes to assemble and are started 11 days before Easter meaning you open your last (12th) egg on Easter morning. This year the day to start would be March 16th! So you have just under 2 weeks to get everything ready.
 

 

Here is what you need
Day 1: Blades of grass. 
(I took 3 and wrapped them together.)
Day 2: 3 Dimes
Day 3: Piece of bread or cracker
Day 4: Small piece of paper rolled into a scroll
Day 5: Piece of rope or yarn for whip
Day 6: Thorn
(I used a brown pipe cleaner to make a crown.)
Day 7: 2 Nails
Day 8: Dice
Day 9: Spear
(I cut a skewer down to size)
Day 10: Piece of thin white cloth
Day 11: Rock
Day 12: Is left empty
 
I used a Sharpie to number my eggs.
 

 

Writing on eggs with a Sharpie… not as easy as I hoped.
 

 

I placed my items in the correct eggs, put the lids on and we are now ready for March 16th!
 
 
You might even say they are egg-cited!So sorry. I just had to do it.

Something in me just can resist a pun.
 
Free Printables
 Now for the printables so you can make your own set. 
First off the egg carton cover that you can print, cut to shape and glue on.
 
Print Cover HERE

 

 

Next are the verses to print off and glue as a reference inside the lid of the box.
 
I only did the references and not the entire verses and I would like to tell you why?
#1 I think it is SO important for kids to see us going to the Bible. Not reading it from our phone or a piece of paper, but opening up Gods word, finding it together and reading it there. I don’t always go this route but the extra bit of time is so well worth it.
#2 As kids get older it is great practice to have them look up the verses, which is what I plan to do.
 
Print Bible references HERE
 
I am so excited to open these eggs every morning with my girls. 
My hope and prayer is that this would be a tool to share the reason we celebrate Easter with your little ones.
 
 

Now it’s your turn to link up what you’ve been learning about lately.

By submitting a link, you are giving me authorization to feature your post.  If your post is featured, we will include a picture and a link to your site to share the love! 

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Teaching Together, Plant Fun {February 2016}

Welcome to Teaching Together #5!

As a home school mom of two, this year has been full of challenges. Like the fact that I am still trying to get the hang of teaching two kids on two very different levels simultaneously. I have been trying to do better and I know it will be even more important when Emily starts Kindergarten in the fall. This months post is an example of what learning together currently looks like in our home. Marissa is working through the plant section of her science book and today I am going to share a few activities I’ve added to make things pre-k friendly for Emily.

Identify the parts of a plant
What better way to learn the parts of a plant than with a craft?!
You need:
blue & green construction paper
cupcake wrapper
seeds
pipe cleaners
scissors
glue

I’d explain how to put it together, but I think it explains itself pretty well. 
You can also label the parts if you wish.
Roots, stem, leaves, flower & seeds. 
Read some books on plants
Books are always a great way to reinforce what you are learning about. 
We like these:
Observe different kinds of seeds
I have quite the seed collection so we looked through my packages checking out the different sizes, shapes an colors of the seeds.
If you don’t have seeds on hand you could always check out a seed display.
Most stores have all kinds of seeds out this time of the year. 
Plant some seeds
We are working on sprouting bean seeds.
It is easy to see by the look on her face that the idea of beans does not impress her. 
To easily do this moisten a paper towel, lay the beans on it, fold the paper towel over the beans, put it in a sandwich bag and leave in a sunny window. You need to keep the paper towel damp. After a few days they will sprout and you can observe the different parts of the growing plant.

We also planted a bean in the dirt and a few carrots too.
Waiting on her plants to grow.
Learn with music
Emily is quite the song bird so any time we can incorporate some music into our learning we do.
This one is pretty catchy and cute which typically also translates to “gets old fast” in mom talk. But she loves it.
Our lessons on plants came just in time. We are about a week away from starting our seedlings for our 2016 summer garden. With a little luck and some more training, learning and practice I might just have a couple of green thumbed girls on my hands. So even if Emily never learns to eat her veggies, at least she will be able to grow them :).

Now it’s your turn to link up what you’ve been learning about lately.

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By submitting a link, you are giving me authorization to feature your post.  If your post is featured, we will include a picture and a link to your site to share the love!

Teaching Together: Learning To Read {January 2015}

Welcome to the January edition of Teaching together!

 

January is month #4 of Teaching Together. How has it been that long?!

We would love to invite you to join us the first Thursday of the month in 2016!

This month you are going to get a big fat dose of what is on my mind lately, and that is teaching little Miss Emily to read. I didn’t officially start teaching Marissa to read until she started Kindergarten, but I don’t think her sister is willing to wait that long.

Today I want to talk about skills needed before a child begins to read, signs that they are ready and few ideas to get you started!

First of all I would like to add that before Marissa I had never taught or even watched a child learn to read. To say I was terrified doesn’t even come close to summing it all up. Add in the fact that we were homeschooling so I was “doing this by myself” and I’m surprised I ever worked up the nerve to start.

Reading is an amazing foundation for a life time of learning.

I wanted a good foundation for our girls and I wanted it to start as soon as they were ready.

How do you know a child is ready to read?

 

#1 They know and can identify all of their alphabet letters.

#2 They know and can match all of the letters to the sounds they make. 

Once you have those two key pieces of the puzzle, you are ready to start putting things together.

Emily has known all of her letters and their sounds for a year now. For the sake of being honest I’ll admit that I’ve just been lazy or distracted. I thought I would put off teaching her to read until about the same time her sister did, until she started teaching herself. 

As a second child who has been “home schooled” since she was 2, she is a sharp and fast learner. I would put worksheets at her desk for her to do and she would start sounding out the words. She would make letter sounds and write the letters down on paper spelling out words, correctly! I finally accepted the fact that not teaching her was doing her an injustice and we dove head first into learning. 

Where to start?

 

One of my favorite ways to start is to teach the child to blend two letter sounds using short vowel sounds only. I find the best (and cheapest) way to do that is to make your own flash cards.

Think BA, HA, ON, AT, CA, PI, GU and any other combo you can create.

I also picked up this book to work through with Emily. I didn’t use this with her sister so I am excited to see how I end up liking it, or not. I’ll try and update this once I develop a stronger opinion.

More ideas

We all know repetitive flash cards can be a bit boring, so here are a few ideas to mix things up a bit. 

*Rewards

Offer a reward if they can get (x) amount of flash cards right.

*Story Time

Find books that you can read together. Short books that have lots of words they can read in them. We have this set of abeka pre-k readers and they are the first books both of my girls have read.

 

*Workbooks

 When the pieces are starting to come together phonics work books can be really helpful. We have been huge fans of Explode The Code Phonics. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about their curriculum and the amazing readers Explode The Code creates. I feel like the fact that I have a 7 year old reading 120+ words a minute and years beyond her reading level is a pretty huge testimony to their program as well.

*Play games

There are so many amazing phonics games out there that keep a childs attention and provide a fun way to learn. One of our favorites has been ABC cookies. This game is SO versatile and can be played for YEARS. From a toddler learning their letters to a young reader. Marissa even still enjoys playing this game with her sister.

*Encouragement
Don’t forget to encourage them along the way. A little encouragement goes a LONG way at this age.
Always remember what’s easy for one child may not be easy for others and all kids learn at different levels and speeds. If your child is struggling to learn don’t take it as a failure on their part or your own. Be creative and try several different approaches and techniques to find what works best for them. Never be afraid to seek out any help you may need. Those precious babies are always worth it.
Happy learning to read!
Do you have any tips to add?
Are or were you terrified to teach your child to read?
Grab our button in my sidebar and link up what you’ve been learning lately!

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Teaching Together Blog Hop {December 2015}

Welcome To Teaching Together #3!

Before we get started I wanted to share a couple my favorite post from our November hop!

It was so exciting to see last months link-up grow. There were lots of great posts to get ideas from, so picking two was really hard. 

Meghan shared some really fun, simple ways you can learn about shapes.

And Desiree shared about how she improvised preschool lessons about the letter F.

Great examples showing that life is full of teachable moments.

Thanks for linking up with us ladies!

Now on to this month…

In the spirit of being completely honest, I almost forgot about this link-up #cohostfail. Oh my goodness, admitting that is just a tad embarrassing. Instead of stressing out to pull something together, I thought I would take a different direction and do a round up.

Here we go!

Christmas is BY FAR my favorite time of the year and there are SO many projects that I want to do with the girls. Today I am sharing with you a few activities that we are looking forward to working on over the next few weeks. 


Jesus Tree Daily Advent Devotional


I have been looking and looking for a family advent devotional and I think this might just be the one.

Christmas Countdown

 

The girls LOVE having a way to count down to Christmas.

 

 

Roll-A-Reindeer

 

We always enjoy a fun Christmas themed game night with the kids. This will definitely be on our list this year.

 

Santa Letters

 

I love the focus of this letter.

One thing they REALLY want, some other ideas and ways for them to think how they can give. Perfect!

Cinnamon Ornaments

 

The girls and I have never made these, it’s finally going to happen!

Nativity Craft

 

This would make a great ornament or sun catcher.

Recycled Gingerbread Houses

 

I love the creativity and practicality of this project.

It could also be adapted for each child.

So many great activities to do in the month of December.
This small collection just barely scratches the surface of what I would like to get done. 
Overly ambitious? You bet I am.

Now it’s your turn!
Grab the button in my sidebar and link up what you’ve been teaching lately.

What Christmas craft are you looking forward to?

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