Category Archives: Learning

Three Things Thursday: Beginning

Three Things Thursday:

        #1.      I’m Baaacckkk!!!

I’ve had all these ideas for posts. Some I started in unpublished drafts, others I didn’t have time to jot down but then completely forgot about.
To Be Honest, I got sidetracked from my original purpose for this blog. I have made quite a few fantastic friendships through other homeschool blogs, groups and forums. These relationships are so treasured. They continue to inspire and encourage me. But, I did begin to feel a little intimidated by all their amazing designs and content. So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to “jump back in.” When I saw this image I just knew it was perfect.

        #2.     I’m Staying

I would like to say that I’ll  continue Three Things Thursdays.  Posting three things I want to share. About Anything.
But realistically speaking. I”m not a writer. I have a natural gift for editing other posts, blogs, flyers, etc.  There have been so many events I’ve wanted to share but, haven’t managed my time.  may post a few randomly. but I am here to stay. Blogging and posting oh so slowly away.

        #3.     I’m Still Loved

The highlight of my week happened today. While we were sitting together on the sofa “dvd schooling” this afternoon all three of my sons passionately discussed who had the pleasure of cuddling next to me. So, despite the fact that KC, KJ, & CJ are now old enough to wipe off my kisses or not want me to hug them in public, it filled my mummy heart to maneuver a way to snuggle with each of them for the duration of TV time.

toddler twins & meprek CJ & me

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Math-Antics

I have previously mentioned our fascinating journey with math.
My oldest was using TT4 halfway through 3rd grade and doing well with it..
2 months in and our computer crashed and couldn’t get a replacement anytime soon.
so.. we tried 2 other math programs.. which was A Complete Waste of Time.
We got a new laptop for Christmas and this was one of the first things he asked for.. by the placement test he placed right back in TT4.
He is now close to halfway through TT4.
So, as our school year started up again after a few weeks “summer break” he’s now 11 beginning his 6th grade year doing TT4.
He LOVES it & is doing much better.
IMG_7110

It worked out WELL…. VERY WELL.
It is going so well, that the twins couldn’t wait to start using TT3.
So now, all my boys are using Teaching Textbooks math.
(Along with the Life of Fred elementary series and XtraMath.org)
There are no more school tears… not over math anyway… 😉
and we are enjoying our homeschool journey together again.

What are you using for Math?

new 2013 Education Plan


We are officially half-way through our LAST week of MunroePalms 2012.
Hooray!  And looking forward to beginning our New School year next month.
So, I thought I’d share our finalized plans.

2013 

  • CJ: 6th Grade
  • KC: 3rd Grade
  • KJ: 3rd Grade

We started doing the Sabbath Rest thing halfway through last year
and we’ll continue mostly following the pattern this year..
Work Full School Days:  6 weeks..
Rest (light school) the 7th week.

  • Group Studies
    (Mon.-Thurs.)

Read the rest of this entry

What’s Your HomeSchool Support?

It’s LIVE!
This video is about the FPEA HomeSchool Convention & tips from Parent-Educators about support structure for your Homeshool.
Join the discussion. What Is Your HomeSchool Support Structure?

I Just Couldn’t Miss It!

fpea 2013


That’s right!
We went to the
Florida Parent-Educators Association HomeSchool Conference
We already had this week scheduled off of school but had other plans. Close to the last minute plans changed and MrC. worked it out that we were able to go. YAY! MrC!
There were so many awesome and amazing moments (including one slight moment of panic from losing my bank card in the middle of the exhibit hall. no worries. it was later recovered). However, the MAIN MESSAGE of the weekend for ME was… Relationship.
Working Slow & Steady with EACH child at THEIR pace is…okay. Great, even.
The parent-child heart-to-heart relationship is the key that unlocks the door to learning!

My Top 5 Highlights:
Read the rest of this entry

The Electives…Getting It In

The Electives…Getting It In

An ambitious homeschooling schedule can routinely bring you to some crossroads, trying to determine which way to go.  Having high expectations for my little ones makes me want to expose them to all the right activities at the right time.  I realize children can do a lot without feeling overwhelmed, if it meets their interest.  So we have included a few electives in our academic calendar year, but we had to be attentive and creative to fit them in.

There are five electives in our schedule and they do not require a lot of time, only a little consistency to make progress.  They are: Art, Spanish, Typing, Music and Soccer – the sport of choice.

So how were we able to get them in? 

One strategy that worked for us is capitalizing on each others strengths.  Since my husband and the boys are early risers, he is able to get them started each morning way before breakfast.  Each morning he’s able to rotate one, two or all three boys on Typing Instructor, depending on the day. Then mostly on the weekends they conduct their Spanish Lesson on Rosetta Stone.  A 30 minute session is all it takes.  Art and Music usually take place after lunch, alternating days.

ART – I Can Do All Things

We were introduced to this through the Adventures in My Father’s World curriculum set.

Resource:  Written by Barry Strebbing, this is a 3 year long art curriculum.  It includes rotating instruction in Drawing, Coloring with pencils and markers, Painting, and Art Appreciation. We also benefit from Mr. Strebbing’s introduction of each lesson on the DVD set.

Feedback:  All three of our sons really enjoy this.  Especially our 9yr old.  Often I find him doodling and putting into practice the lessons as he draws in his personal books during his free time. When I slow down and am not overwhelmed with all my other responsibilities, I sit and do the lessons with them.

SPANISH – Rosetta Stone: Latin American

Rosetta Stone needs no introduction, as it’s a widely known tool to learning a foreign language. This was our major purchase at our local 2011 homeschool convention.

Resource: We purchased all five levels in preparation for future advancement.  The HomeSchool edition allows for each member of the family to have their own log-in and learning tutorials with customized lesson plans and learning track selection. I have all the boys on Speaking & Listening Focus so they are not currently focused on reading and writing at this present time.

Feedback:  It’s like having a completely different teacher and the instructions are clear enough that the boys can navigate their way independently.  We have noticed that younger children who are still learning to enunciate specific sounds (like our twins) may require extra effort to advance since this program is largely built upon pronunciation.  On the other hand, this has been proven beneficial as it does cause them to recognize their errors and correct them.

TYPING – Typing Instructor for Kids: Platinum

I found this program strongly recommended by Timberdoodle, as well as a few fellow homeschool bloggers.

Resource:  The children travel and explore Typer Island through 160 different age-appropriate lessons. Upon installation you can choose the full English or Spanish Language option. This will be a great feature to try as the boys continue to advance in their Spanish lessons. Also included on the CD-rom is a pdf file of a very informative User’s Guide.

Feedback: Typing Instructor for Kids gave the boys the outlet to be introduced to typing skills with a caveat of playing various games after successfully completing a section. The games involved more typing to complete the required task, but they found enough excitement in it to continue typing.  We have noticed that occasional monitoring is needed to remind them to keep their fingers on the home keys  to properly develop the skill. Typing on a standard full size keyboard may also present a challenge for those little hands, so having a smaller keyboard will make it more achievable.

MUSIC – with Ms. Jenni

In the previous year my eldest son received a first class introduction to guitar.  This season, our instructor was able to incorporate the twins (now 7 years old) into weekly music theory intro lessons where they are learning the fundamentals of playing the piano.  At Ms. Jenni’s insistence, I am learning alongside them. Ms. Jenni is very patient with all of us and routinely gives pop quizzes, which the boys enjoy, especially if I make a mistake.

Resources: Ms. Jenni has selected the Bastien Piano Basics Series to incorporate our instruction. It includes piano, theory, performance and technique. So far, we have learned proper body posture and hand placement; as well as finger numbers, the musical alphabet and playing simple rhythm patterns.

 

Feedback:  It is possible to teach your child yourself using similar resources. However, we have a great asset in our personal instructor, who is more knowledgeable and passionate in this area.  Ms. Jenni is PRICELESS.  More information about music is contained in our previous post, How We Home School.

 

SOCCER – Upward Sports in Sept.-Nov.
We talked more about this in our post, How We Home School.  It will be the same format next fall.

So, an ambitious schedule is quite manageable if you are able to leverage some assistance from members of your household.   And if you’re children are like mine who rise early perhaps engaging them in an early morning activity is a viable solution to increase their productivity. Your spouse or an older sibling could supervise the activity or perhaps it is simple enough that a child could work at it on their own.

My, How Time Flies…

I know. I know. It’s been Waaayyyy TOO LONG since my last post.  Our official 1st day of school for MunroePalms Learning Centre 2012 was January 10th. It is now June 10th.
While we began with a BANG!! The spark rapidly fizzled and we slowly began trodding through the day. That continued with an increase in unfocused, inattentive boys…
So, by March I decided we needed to step back. I changed things up a bit to slow down and build their habit of attention. I took off all the “extras.” The non-core lessons.
No Science. No History. No Art. No Typing. No ASL. No Spanish. & No Music, although Music Lessons were already on break after the recital.
I had the boys work on JUST Calendar, Bible, Spelling, English, Handwriting, Reading, Math & Read-Alouds. I made them each a checklist with those subjects for the week. If they worked diligently and focused then they “earned a Science Lesson” (their favourite). It has taken us this long, but we are finally getting into a rhythm that works for all of us.

JANUARY through JUNE!
Oh My Goodness! That’s half the year.
So much has happened:

• The twins KC & KJ had their birthday and turned 7 years old
*my boys are not babies anymore 😥
• The boys hosted their first sleepover
• Our friends went on a missionary trip to China (& India) for @2 whole months
• I sold some books in the local homeschool Used Curriculum Sale for the first time.
• Mr. C. & I went to a parenting workshop
• The boys and I got locked out of my car @ a Sam’s Club.
• Our car battery died @ a different Sam’s Club.
• I’ve started crocheting again 🙂
• Our god-daughter Graduated High School. She leaves for University in a couple weeks 😥

Her mom & I are SO Proud• We missed the local Homeschool conference for the first time in 4 years.
• CJ took the 3rd grade SAT test
• And too many hilariously Candid Conversations that I missed documenting to share here.
I do however, have some pics of some of events over the past few months that I’ll be updating in this post.
Also, I’m going to try to write a monthly highlight of the homeschool happenings at MunroePalms more frequently.

How We HomeSchool

this is how...

...we do it.

When HomeSchooling is mentioned various images may come to mind.  Different families approach HomeSchool in different ways, but we all have the same desire to see our children succeed.  Each HomeSchool’s operation may also vary due to the age and needs of the children.  Ours is very much interwoven with our community.

While much of our coursework is done in the convenience of our home, our children regularly benefit from being connected to the community around us, which enhances our HomeSchool experience.   In a way, you can say part of our HomeSchool experience is outsourced to community members who are more prepared to provide different portions of the education that our children need. This is done without diluting our HomeSchool way of life.

What home school looks like for us!

1)      In our home state of Florida, families desiring to home school must either register as a home education program with the local school district, or a private tutor, or a non-traditional private school.  We choose the latter.  Although, when we first began with CJ’s first grade year, we originally submitted a notice of intent to the district for home education.  The district required us to keep a contemporaneous log of academic activities performed for school and submit an annual evaluation.     In the second year we switched to the non-traditional private school umbrella and have remained to this present day.  We are registered under HomeLife Academy, which is classified as a non-traditional private school.   HLA provides an online account where we submit our education plan, receive student and teacher ID, and input our student’s grades.  It is our hub for school records.  We also have access to school counselors for advice to help us select curriculum as well as being a good sounding board for the issues that arise.   We also registered with Florida Parent Educator’s Association, which is our advocate for HomeSchool Families that help safeguard our legal right to HomeSchool.  They also provide an annual FPEA Convention which is full of resources.  Thousands of home schooling families attend.  See the video to get an idea.

Following The Map

2)      Off Campus:  Connection to my local church has provided additional resources that benefit my children and me.   Once a week I attend a women’s Bible class at my local church.  Infants and preschool children attend child care while school-age children, such as my 9 and 6 year olds participate in a mission’s class taught by volunteers who are members of the church. There, they learn about other cultures such China, India and Egypt , just to name a few.  They often create crafts that depict the culture of each country and they learn social responsibility and Christian values.   It is a great character builder for my boys as it allows them to see how other countries carry out their daily lives.
You can often find us off campus as well visiting one of the nature gardens in Orlando.  Sometimes we meet with other homeschool moms and children making it a group event.  Other off campus activities have included meet-ups organized by other homeschoolers, some of which I originally connected with online.  One of the most recent activity involved a “Back Stage Tour and Party” at a local Chick-Fil-A hosted by The Happy Housewife.

Safety First

Our Host, The Happy Housewife

The children were able to try out the new healthy children’s menu option and I got to try the chicken tortilla salad.  After that, we were able to tour the kitchen and learn about all that Chick-Fil-A goes through to prepare a meal.  The children were amazed to see how many fresh lemons it took to make their famous lemonade.  The food storage was very organized and the kitchen was clean.  The day ended with each child making their own soft serve ice-cream cone from the machine.

We made it ourselves!

One additional element of our off campus activity includes sports.  Upward is a nationally recognized organization that is the world’s largest sports league for children.  They offer leagues for Flag Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Cheerleading.  Our children only participate in UpwardSoccer, but it provides a great sport experience and healthy competition for them.   We also have one other amenity going for us and that is, access to an afterschool program once a week.  Since my husband serves as Director, we are able to visit there once a week.  While I volunteer as a mentor for a student, my sons get to socialize with some of the other students who attend the program.

3)      There are also members of the community that come to our home to deliver services to my HomeSchool.   I have some local friends who are state certified teachers who lend me their ear and expertise from time to time.  This helps me stay on track with our end result.  One of my best friends visits us every week to provide music lessons to my 9 year old.  My younger two are benefiting indirectly, but in the upcoming season we may have to pull them center stage and invest in them more.  For now, my oldest receives guitar lessons.  He can tune his guitar, play chords, notes and identify different parts of his instrument.  He just recently attended and played at his first recital.  I’m ecstatic!

1st Recital

I Did It!

There are many ways to embark on your HomeSchool journey and it is likely to change as you travel down the road.  I hope what I have shared will spark some ideas on how to personalize your HomeSchool and provide the best experience for your family.

Work Space Takes Work

Well, it’s the beginning of a new academic year for us and we recently decided to make improvements on our designated classroom space, which is a transformed carport, now called the Great Room.  The Great Room gives us enough space to house all of our classroom activity.  The only exception is on really hot Florida days and those rare moments when the weather has dropped significantly.  My husband, Mr.C. used cedar wood to enclose it with plenty of open screen windows and doors, which allows for plenty of air flow and natural light, perfect for these active boys.   In the past I have not posted many pictures of our classroom while we worked out the layout, but I’ll post more as we proceed now that I have it looking more the way I desire.

What I do to make it work.

Over the winter break we cleared the desks and freshened up a bit, putting a fresh coat of varnish on the wood desks and reading table as well as on the exterior.  Everyone was involved. Mr.C. also closed in some of the window space to eliminate the occasional overspray of rain drops that blew in from those gusterly winds. He even had me pick up the circular saw to cut a straight edge on the plywood that we’ll put as the underlayment behind the bookshelf  to be constructed behind my desk.  My sons got in on the action as well, helping their dad apply stain to the doors and on the tables you see below.  Having the right space for home school makes class time more respectable and structured for these boys and me.

Bringing back the shine.

A fresh look

CJ doing practical art work using a brush and stain.

Young boys can (and Do) put a lot of wear and tear on classroom items, so to have them involved in the process teaches them a lot about valuing what they have.  It also gives them a sense of appreciation and allows them another opportunity to once again
be the hero.
We have great expectations for the new 2012 school year as my 9yr old  begins fourth grade and the twins begin first grade.  Coming up soon, we’ll post samples of what we do in the Great Room maybe you’ll can get a feel for what our day is like.

2012 on the brain

We school Jan.-Dec. & LOVE it!!
We never break for more than 3 weeks at a time. Usually it’s 2.
But, the one time we took 5-6 weeks off even my hubby said “never again.”
It’s been tweaked a little over the years, but I’m REALLY excited to start.

Our 1st day of MunroePalms 2012 is January 10th.

This year we’ll do light days on Monday with Nature Study;
Tuesday is Bible Class for Mum & Missions Class for the boys, plus Music Lessons;
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are the more “focused” academic days.

I’m now COMMITTED to more of a Charlotte Mason inspired flair with Short Lessons,
& we’ll be using a timer to help keep us focused. The boys & I

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