i don't claim to know it all. i don't claim to be perfect. i just claim to love jesus.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

our school.

we homeschool. most of you *should* know that by now...i've never really shared our "school" on my blog. so since we started school this week, i thought it would be a fun thing to do. tons of pictures. but i love to talk homeschooling...so i'm excited to share. :)

we do school in our dining room. which we really don't use for dining, unless company is over. so it's pretty much our school room. here's the set up::

the brown shelf we found on clearance last year. i bought the last two they had left. it works AWESOME for school stuff. the top drawer as our math manipulatives, scale, rulers, etc etc in it. and the bottom is full of resource books. the top shelves hold the kids' individual items and school boxes.

i found the white shelf at a rummage sale a month or so ago for only THREE BUCKS! i snagged it, and it fit perfectly where i had placed it in my mind. i have most of our chapter books on the top shelf. my teacher's manuals on the second. and the third is full of random things. our construction paper, loose leaf, page protecters etc. the green file cabinet was given to us by my mom. and it is FULL of resources that a former teacher gave to me. oodles and oodles of file folders filled with information on pretty much ANYTHING. on top we keep the kids' binders for the year. a US binder for each of the girls. and then a binder for everything not history and dustin has a binder for everything of his too.

here's just a random picture of their school boxes. honestly. i LOVE like seriously LOVE school supplies. new crayons. new markers. new colored pencils. new pencils. i just love it all. and finding it for great deals makes it better. we did "longer" boxes this year because it fits the stuff better...dustin is embracing the pink. ;)

if i love anything more than school supplies...it's books. we have a ton a ton of books. like a ton! :) here is one of our bookshelves. this holds mostly school information books. i sell usborne books, i don't do many parties but took advantage of a great deal. so a lot of our books for school are from usborne. they have great books!

more bookshelves...these two book shelves are right next to the tall one. it holds a lot of story picure books. and all of our board books are stacked on the bottom for easy access for miss evaleigh. ((i'm VERY anal about how the books go on the shelves, so the kiddos stack the books on top of the shelves and i put them away. or i go through it each day to organize it again. i'm noticing now that there are two books stacked on top of the one row...it's bugging me...bet your bottom dollar...i'll be fixing it as soon as i'm done posting. :)

this book shelf is in another part of our dining room. it holds a lot of our usborne picture books. and various other hard cover books. we are in the process of saving up money to have this entire shelf replaced ((there are some glass shelves on top of this one, and they're cracked...and well i HATE dusting. so we're planning on having someone custom make a bookshelf for us to put ALL of our books into ONE bookshelf. i'm super excited about that!!))

here is the other shelving unit i bought. it's right next to our two long book shelves. it holds more manipulative stuff. microscope. flash cards. wipe off boards/books. learning games. leap frog book with the pen. etc.

here is the inside of it...closer up...i LOVE discovery toys. and i love their learning games. A B Seas is an awesome game for learning letters. (amelya and breigh learned all their letters that way) Busy Bugs is another favorite, as is Busy Farm. i found the mini motors at a rummage sale this summer...it's a double set AND came with the colored bowls for more fun! and i paid like five bucks! woo hoo. dustin loves the motor ones and he's impressing me with his skills!

this plastic drawered tote thingy is under our stair case. the book shelf with the glass shelves is to your immediate left if you were in my house. (just to give a "feel" for it) this holds some crafty stuff, more learning games, and just plain fun games. our puzzles are on top and there are more puzzles in the blue tote next to it. my kids LOVE puzzles. 

i also thought it'd be fun to share a bit more "in depth" what we use...so...
this is our book basket. i keep this on top of our two long bookshelves. this basket holds the books that are about the topics we're learning for the week. as you can see...vikings are one topic for the week...as is Jesus. some are library books, others are ours. i personally...love having the books, but don't have the funds to have ALL of them. our awesome library director is working with me to get the books together for me each week so i don't have to! AWESOME!!

here is my "lesson plan" binder. ((i've NEVER been this organized with school. i'm loving it this year!)) we're using adventures in my father's world for our "main" part of school. for breigh i'm using the kindergarten curriculum from my father's world to teach her reading. we're really not doing any of the kindergarten curriculum besides that because she can easily learn from the adventures. 

this is our first week of school planned out. i love being organized!!

i have all of the kids' worksheets planned out for the year. ((okay our curriculum does not ME, but i organized them and put each week in a page protector and put it all in one binder.)) doesn't it look so pretty. :) if you're not a homeschooler...or a teacher...i'm sure you think i'm pretty  much crazy by now. i'm okay with that. 

this time line was started last year. but we'll be able to add to it this year with the new things we're learning about. since we don't have a super long wall space i just go "down a line" to continue it. sort of like hitting the enter button. ;)

here's my youngest student. :) 
we're working on lots of play. i'm doing something called blanket time with her. i *wish* i would've taken a friend's advice and started this a long time ago, instead of training her now...but she's catching on fast. basically she's not allowed to leave the blanket. all her toys, cup, etc are on the blanket and she needs to stay and play on it. when she crawls off...i pick her up and say "blanket time" and put her back on. after three days of this...today she sat for almost an HOUR on it! and only ONE time did i have to correct her and put her back on! i wish i would've done it before she started moving because it would be easier to train a non-moving child and then transition into moving. oh well. she loves it. and so do i! i don't have to worry about her and she's right by us the entire time. and i switch up the toys each day, so she won't be getting bored.

dustin will be three in october. this is the first year of any sort of school with him. it is nothing at all structured. i don't think he needs it. he sits in with us during our "main" session. he colors the maps as much as he can. and he colors on paper or in coloring books. he also does the fine motor skills stuff of sorting the bugs, motors, etc. and he's given a lot of breaks. boys especially need breaks...but so do little kids in general. i'm really impressed with the amount of time he has been sitting!

i made up some cute flashcards...i stole the idea...it was not mine. of colors. dustin honestly...didn't know colors before this week really at all. i truthfully don't care. i don't care if he doesn't know them for awhile. i just go through them with him and say blue. then he says blue. and so on. when we talk about stuff during our day we'll say oh the blue ball. or green tractor etc. to incorporate colors, but it is nothing that is "taught" to him. the alphabet cards are used with mainly the K curriculum. we have a song we sing with the sounds of the letters. and we use them for the alphabet song too. ((which dustin doesn't know either...and again...i would've cared tremendously with the girls...but i don't with him. i'm learning to be more laxed. and let him be a kid. when he's 6 and singing the abc's NO ONE will know "when" he learned it...and it won't matter))

cailtlyn will be 4 in a matter of weeks...WHERE did that time go?!!? she is doing "pre-K" work. i use that term very loosely. she sits in on our "main" session, and has been picking up more than i thought she would. and it's so nice to teach one thing instead of a bajillion.

when she needs to do worksheets i have a ton copied out of my resource books. but also bought her a few of her "own" workbooks. i've found with my kids they love the workbook and seeing what they have done. i bought one at sam's club. one at walmart, and the two little ones are from the target dollar section. dustin also does some of those. it's good work for when the other two girls are doing their handwriting, she can do her own writing in "her" book. :)

breigh turned 5 in june. we started K with her at the end of last school year. we are on week 11 of our curriculum. she has grown and matured by leaps and bounds since last school year. i'm amazed at how far she has come in the last few months. we ended last school year not being able to read at all. this week...she read me an ENTIRE SENTENCE with NO help. i was crying. i was so proud of her and the work that she's done. God is soooooo good!!

in addition to my father's world we've also added in singapore math. she's on book B of the K level. she loves her math book, and i LOVE singapore math. the texture letters and vowel ladder are part of the K curriculum. i see now how much the letters make a difference in her learning. amelya they didn't matter much and we used them because it said to. NOW i'm glad i have them because they help breigh "get" it. breigh also does the student worksheets from our adventures curriculum when applicable. which really...is all of them, just "leveled down" if needed.

amelya is 6 1/2. already?! crazy. adventures is the core of her work. it is considered 2nd grade. but really the grade isn't a big deal to me. and people look at me in disbelief when i say she's in 2nd grade, but she flew through the K and 1st grade stuff and we keep moving on. so 2nd grade is what we're up to.

here is her curriculum. her load has grew this year. but she's taking it on like a trooper. the i can do all things is  the art program suggested to use by my father's world. i wasn't going to do it, but decided to because she LOVES art. and she's been enjoying it so far. i think it will help her perfect her art skills. (she's a much better artist than me...she takes after her daddy in this one!) we're using a reason for handwriting the "T" book. which is the transition book. it teaches cursive later on this year. she has great handwriting and wanted to learn when she could write "pretty" like momma. (cursive) so we're doing that. we're finishing up our spelling curiculum from last year. it's a reason for spelling. i LOVE the "a reason for..." curriculums! she's an awesome speller and this is helping her be more confident in herself and her spelling. we're also finishing up our math. we started singapore math 1B this week. i love singapore math. and we're using the "standards" edition versus the "us" edition. based on personal preference.

for science we're following the adventures curriculum. these are the books we'll be using. all four kiddos are doing the same science. ((we're also doing a co-op with a few families to do the experiments and more in depth stuff together. i'm super excited for that!))

for language arts i'm using lessons for the well trained mind. it's by jessie wise. let me be honest...i wasn't sure i was going to like it...after three days...i LOVE LOVE LOVE it. it involves poem memorization. and a lot of oral work. it's amazing how fast the other girls are picking it up. after three days of the poem...amelya has it almost all memorized and breigh does too! the first day we read it (the caterpillar) we had to draw a picture of the poem. so i have that pictured too. it was fun to see the progress of drawing between all four kiddos.
(TOP: breigh, caitlyn. BOTTOM: dustin, amelya)

i forgot to take a picture...okay i really didn't forget at all...of their art desk area. it was a mess. and i didn't feel like posting it. BUT we have an art desk and an art storage area as well. it holds the play doh. paints. paper. crayons. markers. etc. (they are only allowed to use school boxes during school time. any other coloring is done with those crayons markers etc. yes i'm anal like that) 

in case you didn't get enough of my sweet cute kiddos...i love this picture of them. and really see how people can confuse breigh and caitlyn...they really do look a lot alike. :)

even though we don't "have" a phy ed class....there is a ton of stuff to do outside. here is our yard. ((and we don't even have all the toys out of the barn...i'm thinking i can sell them!)) and we have a playroom inside for more "play" and imagination stuff.
of course there is imaginative play on daddy's tractor!

and more fun on the swing set. with built in corn fence. it's always weird when the corn is so tall and you can't see much of anything. :)
and if you need to cool off after a long day of school....we have the pool too. :)

we're also part of our local homeschooling group. we can take advantage of field trip opportunities. WINGS co-op. and park play dates...and oodles of other things. we really keep it to a minimum and usually do wings and play dates. ((i'm also part of a "mom's group" that is awesome)) i like to do the field trip stuff as a family or on a more smaller scale. i feel we enjoy it more that way. and would rather go with a family or two versus a huge group. plus i like having the extra help of shaun around...and love spending that time with him and our blessings. :)

there you have it. an uber long post...but i loved sharing it all with you...i'll leave you with a picture of the "teacher" behind this homeschool...don't mind my red nose...we had baptism after church on sunday and i got a little sunburned on my nose. i have no flying abilities. and can not lead your sleigh tonight.

ps. if you're interested in a giveaway check out my last post!! i'm giving away the 30 day shred. :) i finished day 19 this morning and LOVE it!!

10 loving words from you.:

mittelmommy said...

LOVED reading about your school! I actually just came online to start my first blog post on homeschooling and saw you had one...so, with my free time while Nathan ran to the store with the kids...I read your homeschool post instead of starting mine! LOL

Kristin said...

Ha! You're so funny :D (about your nose) I loved reading about your homeschooling. I have always been curious.....how does homeschooling work, as far as....do they have to take some kind of standardized test to show that they are on a certain grade level? Like, when they get ready to graduate, I'm assuming they have to have records of the work they've done or something? Does that make any sense? I've just always wondered that; if there's some overall organization that you report to or that tests them?

It sounds like you are doing such an awesome job! I just don't think I would be motivated enough to do it, but I do LOVE school supplies and books just like you were describing! You look great too, by the way! :)

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing all the details of your homeschooling. And just so you know I read every word of your uber long post and LOVED it!!

I am so jealous of all your usborne books, I'm thinking I will be placing an order soon.... :)

(Next time we get together, please bring your catalog)

prettybyrdie said...

Thanks for posting about organization! Since I started researching homeschooling I've accumulated so much stuff! People with older kids drop off boxes on my porch, and now my house is starting to overflow so I'm trying to figure out how to organize it all and still keep things accessible.

I also just have to say - - you look incredible! I might have to dust off that 30 day shred dvd that's hiding somewhere behind all the thomas the trains...

Kelli @ RTSM said...

First you are looking awesome! Is that from the 30 day shred or have you been dieting too? Second, I LOVE how excited/passionate and organized you are with your kiddos' school! I wish everyone who homeschooled their kiddos were just like you:)I'm kind of jealous of how organized all your books are...ours are a mess in all kinds of baskets and boxes!

The Mama said...

Hi there! New reader of your blog, your blog name is what caught my eye, and I'm so glad I started reading!! Your children are SO precious, I LOVE all of their names, especially the spellings.

Love reading about your homeschooling. You seem very organized and I am very impressed by it all. I admit that at this point, homeschooling probably isn't where we are headed, but who knows, God could very easily change my mind. I just think you are so organized and your school room is so neat!

Beth said...

This was a GREAT post! You are so organized!!! Love the picture of you and your boy!!!!

Anonymous said...

Too funny on the spam joke :o)

I love, love, love your happy, child-centered pix... and all the books everywhere!!!

Julie in MN
from MFW board

The Mama said...

That was neat. It's always been on my mind to homeschool--so I'd love to hear more!

Francisco Bacon said...

Wow, that schooling must be a handful. I see your bookshelves are sagging under the weight of all the books and activities! Lucky children, they must be doing really well and are lucky to have such a dedicated and loving family.