Friday, July 9, 2010

Sneaking back in...

Yeah, yeah, I know.
Long time no blog.
Rather than make excuses, I'll just jump back in, mmkay?

Besides, I have CURRICULUM choices to share! I think we're almost set for 2nd grade and Pre-K!

But first, I wanna share how I got here. I've been spending a lot of time reading over the past few months. I skimmed through The Well-Trained Mind, read Help for the Harried Homeschooler, read everything I could get my hands on by Sally Clarkson (Mission of Motherhood, Ministry of Motherhood, Educating the Whole-Hearted Child...) Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola, followed by A Charlotte Mason Companion. And then I dove into Charlotte Mason's own writings in her Original Homeschool Series. I also love and have read a bunch of Ruth Beechick's work - Home Start in Reading, Strong Start in Writing, You Can Teach Your Child Successfully... I haven't read For the Children's Sake by Sharon Shaeffer Macauley, but it's on my short list!

I spent hours perusing,,, (these last two are from the same person, HUFI has been replaced by Charlotte Mason Help, but I like poking around the archives of her blog. I joined every Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Yahoo Group I could find.

After all that research, I'm convinced that a CM education is the path for our family. At the very least, we'll be aiming to pursue her ideals and embrace her philosophy. I'm sure iy will be be an ongoing journey for us, especially since I'm honestly feeling pretty inept and unprepared to share some of these things with my kids, having very little exposure or knowledge myself! (Music! Art! Poetry! We'll be learning many of these things together as I see and hear them for the first time, too...) But I am so happy to have "met" Charlotte and am totally loving getting to know her and implement her vision as we go along.

With all that said, here is the basic outline for our upcoming school year:

Ambleside Online Year 1 as scheduled for bible, history, language arts, social studies/geography. I thought about tweaking, spent a lot of time mapping it out and omitting some books, and then overall decided to go with it as designed. I'll pre-read some books (Trial and Triumph, This Country of Ours, etc.) and we won't hesitate to toss things aside as needed.

Daily walks, lots of outside time, weekly art study, daily/weekly music/composer study, handicrafts and skill-building from Dangerous Book for Boys, American Boy's Handy Book, etc. Weekly art classes at our local fine arts academy. Local artist focus and study, "first friday" events... I really want us to embrace the beauty and richness of life as we learn, you know? We have a zoo membership, museum and children's science center memberships, along with a gym membership... We'll dabble a teeny bit in Greek and Latin - word roots, etc. I don't want to get in over my head! I'd like to aim for at least a word (the same word, kwim?) a week in Latin/Greek/German/Spanish (since The Papa is fluent auf Deutsch and Espanol... ) and go from there.

We'll listen to the SOTW 1 CD's again, and use the activity guide for rabbit trailing and as interests dictate.

In addition to copywork and written narration, we're going to use HWOT this year. Last year I didn't use a handwriting program (it was frustrating to him) and now Bug is ready and actually excited (I know! Weird!) about forming letters properly. Monkey is using the wooden pieces and the PreK workbook. We'll play with sand, clay, etc.

Horizons Math 2 for N. I considered switching to Right Start, and ultimately decided to buy the RS Math Games, but stick with what is working. Monkey is started Horizons Math K this week, but I think I might need to find a preschool workbook for him, he wants to "do school" with Noah, but I'm thinking he'll not be ready for the K book as we get further along.

Science Experiments from Academy of Science for Kids. One a week. I bought two kits -- Polymers and Electricity. Bug was ENTRANCED by this lady at the HS convention, and science is his "thing", so I want to embrace that beyond our natural science/outdoor time/ study.

He'll also continue with soccer through the winter (indoor, obviously! ) and he wants to try karate, so we're considering it and deciding if it's worth the shuffle and disruption to family time -- I'm kinda big on one sport at a time, so I don't know if he'll get to do that while doing soccer.

Anyway, that's how it's shaping up!

The last thing that's really bugging me is a wall timeline. I WANT to do one, I just can't figure out exactly HOW I want it to look. Check out this clipart, though -- amazing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mmmmm. Crackpot.

Yep, you read that right. I'm addicted to crockpot cookery! (OK, whatever, it's corny, so what?)

I've always been a big fan of simple cooking. When I had my firstborn, I discovered the reality of "the witching hour" - that magical (Hahahahahahaaaaa! Ahem.) time between naptime and when daddy gets home from work, the period when the happy homemaker attempts to get a healthy and delicious meal prepped and ready to put on the table when her hardworking dearest arrives.

What mama hasn't stirred the jarred spaghetti sauce dumped into a pot on the stove while holding a screaming toddler? Or holding the toddler while the two older banshee.. er, kids whine for more miiiiilk, a snack, "can you turn on Noggin'?!", "can I play PBS Kids?", "Moooom, where are the crayons?"...

I've been reading a crockpotting blog for a few months, and bought her book recently.

Now I'm on a mission to cook with my crackpots every weekday. So far we've had her Fajitas, Chicken and Dumplings, Creamy Beef over Noodles, Tamale Pie, Apple Cheddar Turkey Meatballs, Creamy Corn and Spinach Enchiladas, and Lasagna. EVERY.LAST.ONE. has been met with two thumbs up by everyone, including picky picky 6 y/o and never-eats-veggies not-quite 2 y/o.

So. Just a little encouragement to Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. Tell the witching hour who's boss!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

OK, consider me a couponing convert.

I have never really gotten into clipping coupons. Here and there I'd see a coupon for something I knew we'd use, cut it out, and take it along to the grocery store the next time I went that way. Other than that, it just seemed confusing, time consuming, and pointless -- I live in Alaska - prices are higher, we don't have any stores that double or triple, there are no discount grocery chains like Aldis or whatever.

But someone pointed me to Money Saving Mom a few months ago, and she piqued my interest. Something about the ease with which she described how to go about getting the deals, and recognizing myself in her - she's a homeschooling mom of three young kiddos - if she can coupon, I can coupon... right? So I started clipping a few weeks ago.

None of my coupons seemed to be matching up to sales, so I shrugged my shoulders, tucking away the ads every week, just waiting to see if I'd be able to pick up steam eventually.

Sunday was my first shop using store ads along with MSM's (and Pinching Your Pennie - another great coupon/deal blog and message board!) advice. First stop, Walgreens. I spent $36 (total before store discounts and coupons was $58) and received $18 in Register Rewards - basically CASH to spend the next time I shop at Walgreens. I was AMAZED! Not only did I get great things - 4 boxes of granola bars, 2 boxes of tampons, 2 boxes of sanitary pads, a fancy razor, two bottles of hairspray, chapstick, 2 tubes of Crest Extra Whitening with Scope... but they gave me money BACK. WOWZA.

Now there's another deal I need to go snatch up. Apparently Huggies Jumbo packs of diapers are on sale 2/$18. I have coupons for $2/1 package, making my total $14 for 2 jumbo packs. THEN I'll receive a $4 RR at checkout! I'm also going to buy a Vaseline Intensives Lotion for $6.99, since I have a coupon for $1.50 off and I'll get a $6.50 RR! They're basically PAYING me $1.50 to take the lotion home! AND since I'll be using part of my $18 in register rewards to pay for these purchases, I'll walk away having MADE money! It's mind boggling!

Anyway, I just had to share. I'm NO coupon queen, but I'm learning, and having fun with it. I encourage you to look around at blogs from true coupon queens and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saved $71.36 at the grocery store tonight!

And they practically paid me to take home Snow White on Blu-Ray/DVD! There is a $10 off coupon here and my grocery is offering $10 off when you spend $100 on groceries. They are also giving away a free bottle of Langer's Juice (I got Pomegranate at a value of $5.99!) and a sugar pumpkin with Snow White purchase.

With all of my various coupons and deal-hunting, I spent $102 and saved over $71! That's 41% off! Plus I got a movie I absolutely adored as a little girl for MY little girl. Happy day. =)

Thanks again to one of my favorite bloggers, the money saving mom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Curriculum Update

We're nearly settled on what we're using for 1st grade.

Language Arts:

Social Studies: Geography/Maps workbooks, Sonlight Core 1

Science: Usborne Science Experiments, Encyclopedia of Science, Science in Seconds for Kids

Bible: Lifepacs 1

Art: Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas Usborne 365 Things to Make and Do

PE: Homeschoolers PE class 2x/wk, daily outside time. Seasonally: Soccer, Basketball, Tae Kwon Do...? Hip Hop/Gymnastics? Bug is still deciding what he's interested in trying out.

I think my head is spinning a little less, now that I have it all written down!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily Log

(I feel like saying "Stargate 6.1" or whatever they say on Star Trek here. Hee!)

Today, we:
  • Didn't do much. On first thought, it's escaping me what we actually DID do... hrmmm...
  • Ohhh yeah, I introduced Bug to calculators. He checked three pages of his own math work, and then I caught him using the calculator to move ahead. I explained that I would rather he use his brain to do the problems FIRST, then check them with the calculator. =)
  • I am attending a moms' group on Tuesday mornings, so he spent some time with other homeschooled kids in the "study hall" they offer during - they played Zathura and he worked on some word searches and reading. I really didn't care what he took to work on, just wanted him to have some fun meeting and hanging out with the kids.
  • We came home, had lunch, Bug and Monkey watched Power Rangers while Chickie took a nap and I cleaned, did laundry, etc.
  • Bug putzed around on for about an hour before dinner. He did the first level of the states game, and LOVED the castle game.
  • He spent some time helping Monkey with his take-homes from church last Sunday - "We need to put stickers on the places where God is with you, Elliott... is God with you in a tree? Is God with you at church?" SO sweet! I treasure those kinds of moments.
  • He read a devotion on anger and told me how he tries not to be angry and to get along with others.
  • Right now he's been in bed for over an hour and he's still up reading... I think it's currently Spiderman of some sort.
  • Besides that he was his typical boisterous self, showing me how he could keep a balloon up in the air using only his head, hitting it repeatedly. I think his record was 5 times, not sure...

All in all, a relaxed and cozy day 2!

Tomorrow the big plan for the day is harvesting what's left of the garden and clearing out the flower beds. =)