Friday, December 10, 2010

2009-2010 In Review

Made this video today to show the highlights of our 09-10 school year. :) Just our homeschool antics. Have any questions about what a certain picture is from, what we did, feel free to ask!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hiatus from Blogging

You were probably wondering if I was still here. I am. Don't worry. I haven't died.

Things have been super crazy here. Back in May we were hit with the downfall of the economy at home. There were budget cuts made and my husband was laid off from his job. I had to make ends meet by getting my own job. Sacrifices had to be made, homeschooling was put on the back burner. Lily returned to the private preschool she went to last year and Iris was getting taught little things here and there in passing. Rose was missing Mommy. I was working two minimum wage jobs, from 8-3 as a substitute teaching assistant, and from 4-11 as a hostess at a local restaurant. To top that off, I was still trying to do a little homeschooling on what little free time I had left as well as my own learnings as I am working on my double BA in History and English. Needless to say I was burning my candle on both ends and left my hostessing job yesterday. AMEN!

I hope to be back here in full swing soon. Though Lily is still at the preschool, we have been doing little things here and there. She only has class in the afternoon and it's mostly a social gathering than anything else. We live in a rural area with no homeschool group, unless you count the 30 minute drive to the nearest one and it is Christian based. So for now, with our ridiculous busy schedules as well as my husband and I going to job interviews since we seriously can not afford living on my minimum wage at the elementary school and his unemployment forever *deep breath*, I'm just going to count my losses and pick up where we left off.

One advantage of working of working at the elementary school as a sub is that I get to see what is available for my children. In all honesty, my 4.5 year old is at first grade level, even second level in some areas. My just-turned-3 year old is in K in a lot. (As for my 1 year old, she'll cut ya.) I take sneak peeks on all the curricula they have and what the textbooks hold. It's like crack for me!

Anyway, today is Halloween, and for me, this is a very sacred holiday. It is a day when I honor those who have passed on and celebrate a new year in front of me. This is the last day of harvest and a night for me to dispose of old habits. (I celebrate a lot of the original Pagan traditions) I will be spending this night with my entire family. We will be lighting candles by the windows and burying apples as well as dressing up and going trick-or-treating.  Everyone have a safe, fun, and wonderful night!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 0: The One that Got Away

I was going to begin lessons this week, but was unable to. Iris and Rose (my youngest two) have a stomach flu that has kept them lethargic and, for the most part, miserable. Fevers have been up to a little over 103, and the amount of diaper changes due to loose stools should have been a contest. My husband has been Super-Dad for the past few weeks taking care of them while I at work. He should win a prize!

All lessons were few and scanty. We read phonic books for Iris, and Lily practiced some reading and copy work, but all together, nothing more than a subject a day for about 15 minutes. Our foreign languages are a constant thing, since we are learning 3 at the same time. Nothing new to report other than Iris and Rose seem to be doing better, and I hope to pick up our schooling next week.

Oh, and guess who now has the stomach flu as well as sinusitis & conjunctivitis? Yeah, that would be me. Oh, joy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Request

For my English Comp class I am writing a compare or contrast essay on a topic of my choice. I would like to contrast homeschooling v. public education. I am asking if any of you know of any good sources that I could use for my research. All your help would be super appreciated. Pass along this request if you can. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: I turn 24 today. My 4.5yo is almost as big as me.

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Monday, May 31, 2010

V is for Vaction: Summer Plans Revisited

As you may have seen in my previous post, life has been pretty hectic. Thursday, May 20, my husband was laid off from his company. That same day I went and took my driving exam for the third time so I could (finally) get my driver's license. Both my husband and I are going to online universities, working on our BAs. The past couple of weeks we have just been trying to make ends meet, so I had to put the blog on hiatus until I had a little bit of time. I obviously now have a bit of time. :)

Since my husband is now unemployed, and I have been a SAHM for the past year and a half, we have a lot of free time. We decided to go on vacation. We currently live in Iowa, even though we are originally from Texas, so we are going to go visit our mommies, who still live in Texas, for a couple of weeks. My oldest is super excited. She loves seeing her grandmothers and spending time with them. "I get to go visit Gramma when the board says 'zero' and see my Abuela, who is my other gramma...." This has been going non-stop since I told her when we would leave. She asks me every day. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. So after about 3 days of getting asked the same question every hour, we took one of our chalkboards and made a countdown. This way, when she asks when we leave, I point to the board and she knows how many days we have left. When the board reads "0" then she'll know (and probably damn-near pee herself with glee) when we leave. She is so excited, she still won't shut up about it, but at least she has stopped asking me and just looks at the board. All the questioning has been replaced with commentary, which I can tolerate a bit more. (I wrote the number and "days until we visit"; Lily wrote 'grama' since she can only spell phonetically right now.)

J and I decided to still do learnings while on summer vacation. Since he and I will still be doing our own schoolwork in our own classes, we figured it would be fun for the girls to "be like Mommy and Daddy" and still have a little bit to do. It will be a lot more laid back these couple of months, but at least their minds will still be challenged. On the trip we are taking two series of books that we ordered last year from Scholastic. The first set are Alpha-Tales which are a set of books designed to help with phonics. Each book is dedicated to a letter in the alphabet and is used to identify the shape of both the upper- and lower-case letter and the sound(s) that the letter makes. I will be using this set for Iris, who, even though she knows her alphabet by sight and many of their sounds, is still having a bit of difficulty identifying them in lower-case. The next series of books are Sight Word Stories. Now, I'll be honest, I am not a big fan of sight-reading unless it's musical. English was my second language and what helped me develop my skills was learning through phonics. If I came across a word I did not know, I would sound it out to the best of my ability. To this day I still come across words I have no idea how to pronounce, so with phonics, I can better hear the word and then ask my husband if I said it right. Don't get me wrong, sight reading does work in some cases, but it does not work here. So with Lily, who already knows how to use phonics to help her read, these incredibly short stories (6 sentences) are used to harness that ability without stressing her out with a large plot and complicated sentences. Even though the sight words have been printed in bold, it doesn't seem to hinder her in her reading. She takes the time to read each word slowly to herself until she figures out what the word is by smushing the sounds together. I signed them up for the summer reading program at the public library. Iris's goal is 20 books, Lily's is 40. Working with these books will definitely help them reach their goals.

Along with phonics and reading, Lily will be taking her journal where she will be writing about her day with her scribbly pictures, as well as doing a bit of copy work. I'm not quite sure what she will be copying yet, but I'm thinking of just picking sentences at random from the books she will be reading and then taking it from there. Iris will continue to practice tracing lines and doing simple mazes. For our foreign languages, I'll be taking our Muzzy DVDs. We probably won't use them much while on vacation, but we are working on our colors in Spanish, French, German, and Chinese. I'll probably do simple math problems on a sheet of paper with Lily and review a lot of the work that we all did this past year to keep everything fresh in the girls' memories.

That's about all for now. What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BRB


Life has thrown us a couple of curve balls. Until things settle down, this blog will be on hiatus. If you want to know how I am personally doing, you can go follow my blog, Vonnieness.

Have a great summer.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up: PIRATES!!



This week, we learned all about pirates and watched pirate-themed movies.

Movies:


Books:


For "bookwork" in this theme, I found a coloring book at the Family Dollar store for $1, and the girls worked on the activities and coloring pages. And so did their father, who decided to color a picture like a bunch of superheroes. He had the Human Torch and the Hulk as well as a werewolf and the pirate's chest was "the head of a sentinel." Sometimes I wonder if he is all there. LOL.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Secular Thursday: Summer Plans

I'm doing two blog posts at once, again. This topic comes from Dana at Roscommon Acres, who asked what we were all doing for Summer.

School here ends on the 13th. we are going on a field trip with Lily's preschool to a large playground/park in the city. After that, we won't actually stop learning. All bookwork and such will be done, but we love doing projects, like science experiments and lapbooks, and will continue those on the weekends when my husband is home. At the end of July/beginning of August, we are hoping to take two weeks off to go to Camp Gramma. I am in serious need of a vacation, and I am quite sure that both grandmothers (who live on the same street--which is awesome) will have a great time having their crazy granddaughters over for the Summer.

Nothing big or spectacular, but still lots of fun. What are your plans for Summer?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: (i almost wrote 'worldless')

everyone is sick and tired.

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Unit Ideas for May

  • May Day
    • Beltane
  • flowers
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Mother's Day
  • Dinosaurs
  • Ocean Animals
    • squid/octopi
    • starfish
  • Spring fruit
    • strawberries
    • watermelon
    • pineapples

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Bright and Sunshiney Days





THIS WEEKS HOMESCHOOLING WAS CANCELED DUE TO AWESOME WEATHER!

No, seriously, when you have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and they only have about a handful of pages to go in their workbooks, you NEED to go outside and play! Especially when the weather is awesome. Granted, we did have a couple of rainy days, but it never lasted long, and we went to the library instead of staying home and staring out the windows :) It was a GREAT week of sun and play-fun.

Child: "Look what I can do, Mommy!"
Mommy: "Hold on, honey, Mommy's gonna go down this slide real quick!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Secular Thursday: Earth Day

This post was meant to be posted last week, but I had a VERY busy day and the weekend got busier, so it sat in my drafts for the week until now...just pretend we stepped into our time machine and it's currently 4-22. :D

Happy Earth Day! Yay.

We don't actually do Earth day. We like to celebrate Earth month. I am Pagan and I view the Earth as my Mother, so I have a lot of respect for her. This month we dedicated to learning more about her and ways to take care of her. We learned about trees, flowers, and other plants. We learned about recycling and waste. Last week (4/14) we took a field trip to our county landfill.

It was a very cloudy and windy day, on the brink of raining, when we arrived at the landfill. Because of the weather, we were able to see first hand what the wind likes to do with all the garbage. We already knew there would be a giant pile of mess, but the wind had made a lovely giant scattered pile of mess. The bulldozers and trucks were busy scooping up dirt and dumping it on the piles of garbage to keep them from flying away. We were unable to watch the machine turn the garbage into bales because of this. What we did get to see was, of course, the lovely mess, and a pond at the bottom of the hill where all the rainwater collected. We were pointed out the recycling bins; mixed paper, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum, tins, and glass. --Did you know that the most expensive thing to recycle is glass? They have to pay about a third more to recycle glass than they do with any other material. We also got to see where they kept thrown-out appliances (a bunch of broken fridges, water heaters, and stoves), electronics (computers and the like), and toxic wastes. --Did you know that most household cleaners are not considered toxic waste? You can ask your local landfill how to properly dispose of them if you are unsure.

After the initial tour, we went and saw the original landfill. Lo and behold it is the giant hill right next to the current landfill. Who would have known that the previous landfill would be so beautiful? They lay a filter on the ground before placing the trash. Once the garbage is this incredible hill, they lay the filter on top of the garbage, add six feet of dirt, pack it down, add six more feet of soil, this time loose, add grass seed, and monitor water and methane for the next 30 years. THEY MONITOR FOR THIRTY YEARS. They have this little pond at the bottom of the landfill where all the rain collects so as not to get mixed into the Boyer river or any of the surrounding farm land. They get check these little yellow posts that are sticking out of the ground for any water contamination and a white post at the top of the hill for the methane. Apparently our landfill hasn't been creating any methane. After the thirty years are through, the landfill is considered safe and can be sold off for other purposes.

I think I was the one who learned the most and was the most excited. My girls were just happy to be in some random person's pick up truck looking at garbage and out of the house on a craptastic day. He gave us a video (which I have yet to sit down and watch) about what they do, how they do it, and how they are being earth-conscious, as well as a few pamphlets on recycling and how this particular landfill has helped be a little more greener.

So now, you should go check out your landfill and give Ma Nature some love.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

You can tell they are sister. There is not much variety between them.

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime� 6.5 or higher is required.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

So today, considering it is both Monday AND raining, I would have liked to have stayed in bed. Instead, I auditioned for Glee on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/gleeauditions?link=381318096

I have been such a bad blogger, but this past week has been CRAZY! Thursday seemed to have been all over the place. My schedule was full to the gills, so much so that stuff was overlapping. Then, that night, we had a fellow homeschool family come over from Ohio for the weekend. Much fun was had. We had a great time with them here. My house felt so quiet Sunday morning after they had left.

Anyway, I know a few of my readers (*snort* here I go sounding like I have more than 10 followers) are new to the homeschooling, so I want to share a resource that I absolutely love but had forgotten about.

Some time last week, Lesa from Free K-12 Education had posted about donnayoung.org, which made me *facepalm* because I had completely forgotten about that resource. It's a great place to find templates of paperwork or activities you need.

I started using it last year, when the school year first started, for handwriting. My children are only 2 and 4. I needed something for readiness and one for Kindergarten and they were both available for each skill level. The great thing is that it wasn't just different kinds of lines and letters, but pictures as well. Sort of like dot-to-dot, just without the numbers. There is even a box of suggestions on how you should space the worksheets out and work with them.

When the girls become compulsory age, which isn't for another two years, I plan to use the portfolio set that is provided on the site. I currently use a regular notebook, and if I hadn't already set up one for next year, I'd have started this sooner. It has everything you need to write in. I like this idea because that way you only have the paper you need right when you need it. No extra sheets, or, what usually happens, not enough paper.

That's just my babbling two cents on the site. You should go and check it out. I have liked everything available. I'd keep babbling, but I'm so tired right now, I can barely see straight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homeschooling Blog Carnival

This week's Homeschool Blog Carnival is being hosted at Home Spun Juggling.
Go check out all the awesome blogs (myself included) at http://jugglingpaynes.blogspot.com/2010/04/carnival-of-homeschooling-cartoonists.html!!
Do it, 'cuz I said it.
DO IT!!

No, seriously, you totally should.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Secular Thursday: Preschool-Kindergarten Curricula

A few days ago, I was on Twitter in homeschool chat and the topic of the chat was Curriculum. I currently use what I so fondly call the Outta Ma Butt curriculum. This curriculum is based solely on making it up as you go and running by the seat of your pants. When I mentioned this to my husband he fired me from ever naming anything again. However, Peggy from PeggySue'sBlog suggested that I could just abbreviate it and so now I will forever call it OMB Curriculum.

I am currently rockin' OMB, but not so many people can. Some prefer school-at-home, like an online academy, or a boxed curriculum. I can't afford any of these. The state of Iowa doesn't cover it. I am POOR. But to be honest, I don't really need a curriculum of any sort right now. My oldest is now just finishing up Kindergarten and starting 1st grade next year. Her sister will bunker down with preK, and to continue this honesty, I will say that YOU don't need any curriculum for these grade levels. I found a lot of fun activities and ideas that I either used, or reworked to better suit my needs online. I will now share with you a handful of these links (because if I shared all we'd be here until Tuesday) that I found useful in teaching my girls.

Homeschool Share
Preschool Printables
Alphabet Worsheets
Color Recognition
DLTKs Teach
ABCTeach
Learning Treasures
File Folder Heaven
Printables for your Classroom
Brightly Beaming resources
KidSparkz
Free K-12 Education
Lesson Pathways

Hopefully, if you're considering homeschooling preschool and kindergarten, these resources will help you and get you stepping in the right direction. And even if you don't do a lot of "sit-down" work, they at least give you ideas on what you should be working on with your child.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Secular Thursday: How We Do It All...

or, in reality, how we don't. :)

I'm going to burst into song right now: "Time, time, time, see what's become of me!! While I looked around/For my possibilities !!!!" And you're probably thinking 'why is this crazy woman singing Simon & Garfunkle's A Hazy Shade of Winter?" And I respond with, "but it's covered by the Bangles!" Also. that bit of lyric is suitable for today's post.

Now, a lot of my friends wonder how I have time to do all that I do. I homeschool my girls, I go to school online, I try and make sure the house stays in one piece... Usually my default answer is "MAGIC!" But that's just my catch-all response for anything I don't really have an answer to. In all honesty, I DON'T do it all. Ninety-eight point twenty-three percent of the time, my house is in total chaos. My cats have gotten into something, my children are running rampant through the house, and my dog is old and hiding upstairs from all of the crazy. Most days I have a headache, I keep tripping on my animals/children/toys, I haven't washed my dishes in the past week or two, I don't know where I put something vitally important, I have misplaced my glasses, and I have forgotten to do my homework that is due that very night. By 3pm *I* want to take a nap. My husband is a blessing. If it weren't for him I would have already done murders and arson. On Fridays, he's in charge, and in the evenings he's the one who cooks dinner. He works nights, so we don't get to be with him often, but when we do, I can take a break. I love my kids, I love being with them, and I love teaching them, but sometimes I need a vacation.

So you see, I don't actually do it all. I just try and get SOMETHING done. My goal for every day is to have my daughters learn something new or acquire a new skill. Everything else can just wait. And that's guaranteed to work most of the time, every time.

I was actually going to add to this, but I can't see straight. It's been "one of those days" where you do wish you had magic.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Unit Ideas for April

  • Amphibians
    • frogs
  • Reptiles
    • snakes
  • Insects
    • butterflies and moths
    • bees
    • ladybugs
  • Farm
    • farm animals
    • dairy farms and cows
    • chickens and eggs
  • Earth Day
  • Arbor Day

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The History of Easter

Most people today believe that the practices of Easter *begin* with the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of Jehovah God, but are incorrect in thinking so. The word Easter is derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and Spring, Eostre, whose symbol was the hare (fertility). Eggs were exchanged at this time to symbolize rebirth and were painted to show the coming of the sun and the growth of a new and fertile land. There are several different variations of this goddess such as Ostra (Scandinavian), Ostara (Celtic), Ostern, and Eastre (Teutonic). Her festival was celebrated on the vernal (spring) equinox, or what we now know as the first day of Spring.

Early Christian missionaries wishing to convert the pagan tribes adopted the festival as their own. Since it fell around the time of the memorial of Jesus Christ's death (Passover), the church simply replaced one celebration with another, changing the meaning of the festival and making an easier transition into Christianity for the pagan tribes.

Have a very blessed day today, whether you celebrate Easter for its religious aspects, both Pagan and Christian, or are secular and just love getting chocolate in your plastic egg ;) Today we are dressed in pretty spring-colored dresses, watching secularly-easter-themed movies, going to play outside in the dirt and eating eggs and pancakes for breakfast. How do you celebrate Easter?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

We did stuff with things this week. :) The weather was so lovely the entire week that we spent most of it outside.

Monday:


Tuesday:


Wednesday:





Thursday:




Friday: