Friday, August 30, 2013

September Sharing Time Theme

This month we get to teach our children how they can "serve God with all [their] heart, might, mind, and strength." 

Does anyone feel like they're an expert on this topic?  On any of these topics? 

Good, me either.

I'm pretty sure one of the biggest blessings of this calling is the necessity of learning all these wonderful truths a little better so we can bare testimony of them to our Primaries.  It's one of the biggest blessings for me.

Elder Carlos H. Amado said, "To teach His doctrine and to serve our fellowmen are two responsibilities that we accepted when we were baptized.  This converts us into true servants of Christ."

So great!!  Not to mention pretty darn inspirational.

Throughout the month we first learn how to serve through the examples of our Savior, prophets and apostles.  Next, we learn that we serve God when we serve others.

I love the tie in here with last months prayer theme.  Last month we learned that our prayers are often answered through other people.  This month we learn that we can be that other person and help to answer the prayers of others by serving them.

Pretty great, huh?

I read through a few articles on service and these are my favorite two:

Elder Amado's talk titled, Service, A Divine Quality.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks first talk after being sustained an apostle titled, Why Do We Serve?

The Blessings section in Elder Amado's talk is amazing.  I ended up highlighting the whole thing and wrote something along the lines of "Holy Awesomeness" along the side.  And it is.

Elder Oaks talked about six different reasons we might choose to serve.  He said, "These scriptures make clear that in order to purify our service in the church and to our fellowmen, it is necessary to consider not only how we serve, but also why we serve."  It's a little less directly applicable to the theme this month than Elder Amado's, but great food for thought.

If you're adding armor pieces for your armor of God guy, this month's part is the Breastplate of Righteousness.  The breastplate protects our heart, which we use to serve our Lord with all our "might, mind and strength."

I've also made up some handouts for the kids to encourage them to memorize this months scripture.  As a little additional encouragement, we reward them with a smartie as they pass it off (because they've proven themselves to be smarties).  If you'd like a copy, you can click the link above.

If you'd like some extra ideas for your Sharing Time, check back each Sunday!

Have a great month,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I've loved our Math programs.

I started with Horizons two years ago and like it.  A lot of it seems fairly easy, but I've found that it builds my boys confidence.  It slowly introduces new concepts while going back to ones already learned for consistent review.

When Makenna came home last year, I looked into different curriculum again and decided to go with Teaching Textbooks.  I love that it teaches the lesson and grades each assignment AND test for me.  I get to go back through their scores as often as I'd like to see how they're doing. 

After I decided to go with Teaching Textbooks for Makenna, I had Ben take some of the placement tests (just for fun) and ended up putting him in level 3 for 2nd grade.  He loved it more than me.

So, I use Horizons for Kindergarten and 1st grade and then switch to Teaching Textbooks for 2nd grade (with Level 3). 

I try to leave myself open to changes, who knows if we'll keep liking what we use, but for now we're very happy.


If you want to check out more of our curriculum, visit our curriculum outline!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our School Day

We don't really have a schedule, more of a routine.  And our routine hasn't fully developed yet this year. 
So, I thought I'd show you what our routine is based off of and show you some of our day last Friday.
I love checklists (I've written about this before) and I love any opportunity to teach my kids to be independent...although, sometimes this love is more in theory than in reality.  Is it hard for anyone else to let go?  Hard, but good. 
Or at least that's what I tell myself. 
Anyway, to help them know what's going on in their school day and to let them have a little independence in choosing what to work on next, I make each of my kids a fairly detailed checklist.
Each checklist is for one week and each day lists all their current subjects.  Underneath each subject is a detailed list of exactly what needs to be accomplished in it each day.
James has the shortest checklist (he's the youngest).  If you look through all the checklists, you'll see that Makenna does most of her subjects on her own (only joining with us for a few activities), while Ben and James do about half their day together.

Ben has some sections marked yellow because those are the parts of his day he can do on his own.  I haven't adjusted this from last year and I need to go back through it because he can do more on his own this year.  The theory being that eventually, little by little, they do most of the school day on their own.

Makenna is the oldest, is participating in the most subjects and has the longest checklist.  Her school day is actually pretty long right now and we might end up having to shorten and adjust.  To me, this is a bonus of homeschooling, I can personalize each schedule for each of my children so they are challenged but not crushed.  Makenna's blue portions are the ones she does either with me or with all of us.

On a normal school day my boys get up at 7am (Makenna gets up at 6:30am for some quiet scripture reading time). 

I love that Josh slept while clutching a pencil.  Although that might mean there's extra writing on a wall somewhere (I haven't found any yet, but that doesn't mean a whole lot).

Breakfast is first.  Very important.
None of us function very happily while hungry.

We used to do chores for an hour after breakfast, but after reading through the schedules of a few homeschoolers online, I decided to try something new this year.

We do school directly after breakfast (well, they get dressed and brush their teeth first, but right after that) and then as they finish their school day, they work on their cleaning chores.

The thought is that if they clean after the mess of school, and then keep things picked up through the afternoon, the house will already be picked up the next morning.  And you know what?  So far it's working pretty darn great. 

Our mornings always start the same.  Ben starts with Math (he's doing Teaching Textbooks 4 this year).

Makenna practices piano.

And James heads into the school room to work through a few things he can do on his own.

Josh just hangs out and gets in the way.  Okay, only some of the time.  He loves to sit in the schoolroom and "write his letters" while everyone else works.

See?  Isn't he adorable?  He always sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating. I just missed it in this picture, but you can see how his lips are pursed in thought.

After getting through a few subjects on their own, we all come together for opening and work on any subjects we do together. 

Then Makenna heads off on her own for a while so Ben and James can get their History or Science done.

After finishing up with Ben and James I'll work with Makenna on any subjects we do together and anything she's had a question about in the morning.

A favorite of all my kids are any and every project we work on.  For the first two weeks of school (last week and this week) we're working on our very own Homeschool Coat of Arms. 

Last year Makenna did a report on what different symbols, animals and colors mean on traditional Coats of Arms and she told her brothers all about them while I wrote it on the board late last week.  I'm really excited about this project and can't wait to see the finished product!  I'll post about our experience and maybe even do up some printables so you can make your own once we get ours done.

Happy School Day,

I've posted this on iHomeschool Network as part of their "Not Back to School" blog hop, hop on over if you're looking for some inspiration (or just some good reading!).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

September Sharing Time - Week 1

Jesus is the perfect teacher.  We can learn so many things from studying His life.  Ask the kids, "What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Jesus Christ?" 

Make sure to listen to all the answers (even the ones that don't lead to the next "item of business" because they will all be good answers (well, mostly if you've got some jokesters in your primary like I do).

After hearing all the answers, either refer back to the person who mentioned service or bring it up yourself.  Jesus spent His life serving others.  He even gave His life in service.  This is such an amazing and life altering principle to learn. 

To help you talk about service and the different ways Jesus chose to serve those around him, use the pictures listed in the Sharing Time Outline.  Have the kids tell you what Jesus is doing in the picture and who he's serving.  You could even personalize it by asking one child for each picture how they would feel if they were the ones being helped by the Savior.  What if they were: the girl being brought back to life (41)?  the sick man being healed (42 and 46)?  the child being hugged (47)? or having their feet cleaned by the Savior (55)? 

I would add two additional pictures, GAB 57 and 59, illustrating Jesus greatest service, choosing to die a sinless death and His resurrection so that we can also be resurrected.

In addition to looking to Jesus life for an example of how we can serve others, we can look at His teachings.  In Matthew he tells us some ways we can serve and you can have the kids come up and act out a few of them.  The scriptures mentioned in the Sharing Time Outline have six different examples (although I'm not sure how you'd get someone to act out being in prison AND get the kids to guess they should go and visit), I've included a few more that you can use if you have extra time.  I love having at least one activity that's flexible in case I need to shorten or stretch my time a little.

Service Charades

I also love getting the kids into the scriptures (even just a little) and would take the opportunity to read Matthew 25:35-40.  As you read, you could have the kids keep track of how many acts of service are mentioned by counting on their fingers (with their hand raised in the air).  Or, you could ask them to imagine that they are talking with Heavenly Father and this is what He's saying to them  (or both). 

After you read through the first two verses, stop and ask what they might say back to Him.  Would they be surprised that Heavenly Father is thanking them for serving Him? 

Read the next two verses where the surprise is shown and then read the last verse where He explains how we can serve Him.

Talk about how when we studied about prayer last month we learned that Heavenly Father will sometimes answer prayers through us.  Or through people all around us.  That is why when we help or serve others, we are really serving God.  We are helping Him to answer prayers.  How awesome is that?!!

Last, ask them who we can give these acts of service to.  Encourage them to say anyone (literally anyone, because they should), but make them be specific also.  Who do they see everyday all around them?  Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, bus driver, teacher, mail lady, neighbor...

You can either have them come up with their own names (which is a great idea) or you can use some pictures to help you out.  If you choose to use the pictures, don't throw them out afterwards, you can print a second copy and use them later in the month to play a matching game (weeks 3 or 4).


Every commandment has blessings attached and the commandment to serve is no exception.  When we serve we are blessed in so many different ways. 

President Thomas S. Monson said, "Without exception, those compassionate souls who feed the hungry, clothe the weary, and relieve the suffering of fellow beings exclaim, I have never felt more blessed, more rewarded, or so at peace." 

Bare your testimony of any experiences you've had with service: giving it, receiving it and the blessings associated with both. 

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I love writing.  I just don't know how.  I mean, I don't know what makes good writing good (or not so good writing...not so good).

It's a good thing I've got some really great curriculum.

This will be my second year using Writing With Ease and I liked it well enough last year to start my youngest on it and continue on with Ben this year. 

One of my favorite things about homeschooling my younger kids is that I get to grow along with them.  Writing With Ease starts with the basics.  We do a lot of copy work, dictation and summarizing after reading passages from different books. 

I bought the workbooks because that way I don't have to search for my own passages (I like having it all done for me...I'm a little lazy that way), but if you'd rather pick your own passages out of your favorite books, you can buy the textbook instead.  That's another thing I love, options.

Last year I didn't do a specific writing program with Makenna (there are writing assignments in her spelling and grammar curriculum), but it's something she really likes so we decided to add one this year.

I chose to do the continuation of Writing With Ease called Writing With Skill.  Because Makenna's favorite type of writing is creative, we also added in The Creative Writer. 

Because it's a new curriculum I'm not exactly sure how it'll fit in with what she's already doing, but our current plan is to work through Writing With Skill four days a week and in The Creative Writer on the fifth day.  If that ends up being too much we'll cut back to something a little less.  I'm trying to be relaxed about it so we can go with the flow...okay, so I can go with the flow.

Do you have a writing curriculum?  I'd love to hear about how you're writing program works at your home!


If you'd like to check out some of our other curriculum choices, visit our 2013-14 Curriculum Outline.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013-14 Back to School Pictures

A few weeks ago, one of my husbands cousins posted back to school photos and I thought, "Those are cool, I should do that."

Then, while on Pinterest I saw some really cute pictures where the kids are holding signs showing what grade they're in along with the year and I thought, "That's cool, I should do that."

Unfortunately, I said it with the same conviction that I use when I pin masses of really cool things telling myself that I'm going to try them all someday.  Ummm, probably not (although I do make an effort to try some of it out).

And then I decided I'd do it (but for real this time).  iHomeschool Network is doing a "Not Back To School" month and one week is for photos.  Sometimes I need a deadline to push me in the direction I want to go.  Yay for deadlines!

Makenna is entering 7th grade.  Can I stop for a minute and say I can hardly believe it?  Okay, I feel better now.  She's smart, funny and a very good mini mom.

Ben is a lover.  He's a little on the serious side and has an amazing imagination.  He's going into 3rd grade and I've homeschooled him the longest, it's our 3rd year and he still loves it.  So do I.

James is my smiley, charismatic 1st grader.  His smile can light up any day.  When he chooses to.  Which, unfortunately for me, wasn't this picture. 

Josh isn't officially in school, but he sure likes to tag along after his brothers and do anything they're doing.  He's my "Me, too!" kid through and through.

Just in case anyone looked through this post and thought, holy cow, they dress like that for school?!!!  I wanted to make sure you know the truth.  I decided to take back to school pictures the day before our first day of school, which ended up being Sunday just before church.  I thought the actual morning might be a little hectic without throwing pictures into the mix.

Also, in case some of you are under the illusion (even after reading through some of my posts) that everything is always perfect around here, I wanted to disabuse you of that notion as well.  This is how my children are in a normal day.

(they even get help from their siblings, sort of a "how to" for craziness)
That's us.  Slightly crazy, but in such a wonderful way (I think at least). 
Have a wonderful start to your new year!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Sharing Time - Week 4

Nope, it isn't a mistake.  Just in case you didn't notice when you were looking at the outline for last week, this week is the same topic. 

I usually groan a little when I see that, although just as usually, I find there is so much information I want to share the extra week ends up being a blessing.  I'm sure that's just a coincidence.  :)

This time, though, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what to do.  I thought about it, had an idea, and then just as quickly discarded it.

Until one evening when I sat down and picked up this months Friend magazine.  Every time I do that I think, "I really need to read this more often."  There are so many wonderful ideas that go right along with our theme and so many other ideas that are so great for my family (I really love the scripture study ideas from this months Friend!). 

In the Friend there is a section called Bringing Primary Home and this months theme is Heavenly Father Hears and Answers Prayers.  In it there is a three way matching activity where you have to match a person with both their prayer and the answer they received. 

Viola!  Talk about a light bulb going off.

So that's what I did.  I used the four they had and added in another six of my own.  I found pictures for each person on lds dot org and put them together in a pdf for easier download (I actually did two sets, one with names and one without.  You can pick which ones work best for your primary.). 

Here's what it looks like.

They're pretty self explanatory, but just in case I included a cheat sheet in the beginning so you don't have any doubts who goes with which descriptions.

Matching Game
Prophet Pictures with Names
Prophet Pictures
List of Prophets

You can play this a number of different ways.  I was thinking I'd put the pictures around a board and put the prayers and answers in two different groups in the middle (all turned over so you are looking at the blank back).  Have them try to match, Memory style, one prayer (blue) with one answer (green).  When they find a match, figure out which picture it is and if you are using the pictures without names, have them name them also.

I love that each of these examples had a different experience.  As you go through you could talk about what made each one unique and what we can learn from their experiences.  For example:

1. Joseph Smith didn't just run to the grove, he went to different churches, he asked questions and he SEARCHED the scriptures.  Only then did he pray.

2. Daniel had the courage to follow God's commandments even when he knew he might die.  He prayed and was saved, but do you think he would have went into the den even if he knew he wasn't going to be saved?

3. Nephi had to listen to most of his family make fun of him.  Tell him over and over that he couldn't do what God asked, but he did it anyway.  Would that be easy or hard?  Is it worth it?

4. Esther could have been killed just for walking into the King's presence.  It took great courage and even greater faith just to walk into a room.  Where might you need courage in your life?

Try to make a connection between the children and these examples.  Maybe not for every single example (it might take too long), but pick out your favorites, the stories that touch you the most and try to show that to the kids.

Bare your testimony of how important it is to KNOW that Heavenly Father will answer your prayer every single time you pray.  It might not be right away, or the answer that you want, but if you listen hard enough, you will hear His answer. 

We are so very blessed to have this knowledge in our lives and even more blessed to get to teach it to others!

Have a wonderful Sharing Time,

If you're looking for a little more inspiration about this months theme, check out this post where I give some ideas.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I've been thinking lately about where I go to find inspiration and I've realized it's not just one place or one thing that I turn to.

1. Google

I feel so blessed to live at a time when I can "hop" on one of many different electronic devices and find answers to almost any question within only a few minutes.  It's fun to search for ideas to include in my family's day whether it's an answer to a homeschooling question, a new recipe or a fun activity to do with my kids.

2. Blog power

Sometimes I spend time perusing new blogs, reading new ideas and "meeting" new friends, but my favorite is reading a few of the same blogs every week.  It helps me to feel connected in the midst of the busyness of my life. 

3. Nature

Sometimes I just need to get out of my routine.  Take a step back, look around and remember to appreciate the beauty that's truly all around me.  For some reason, it's easier to do this when I'm outside, so I'll convince my kids we need a park day (which is never very difficult) and I'll go sit on a blanket and soak up some perspective.

4. Phone a Friend

Another way to find a new direction, to step back and view my life in a different light, is to talk with others.  More specifically, my mom and sister.  It always helps to get another view point on a hard day (or find someone who'll help you laugh about it), give advice on a problem or even just talk about someone else's day to realize the whole world doesn't revolve around my days.  I know, you're all surprised by that :), but in the bustle of everyday life it's easy to lose track.

5. Scriptures

And when everything else fails (although, hopefully I haven't waited that long) and I'm feeling blah about life in general, I know I can open up my scriptures and find peace and inspiration in God's teachings.

Where do you find inspiration?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This is one of my favorite subjects for what might seem like an embarrassing (or strange) reason.  I'm not very good at it. 

Yes, I teach my kids.  Nope, I'm not exceptionally talented (or even averagely talented) at every subject.

To me, this is one of the great blessings of teaching my children, I get to learn too.  And you know what?  It's so much fun!  Plus, I figure, by the time I get through with my fourth child, I might be exceptionally talented at grammar.  Maybe.

So far we've used two different curriculum: First Language Lessons and Rod and Staff.

I really like them both.

I've gone through First Language Lessons levels 1 and 2 with Ben and he'll be moving onto level 3 this year while James starts with level 1.  I really like how detailed (and scripted) it is.  I don't usually read it word for word, but it's got my back with extra help when I need it.  I also love the poems it has you memorize.  I was shocked at how much Ben's memory improved as we progressed through the first year (and how well he still knows them!)

Last year was my first year using Rod and Staff and we started with level 6, Progressing With Courage for Makenna's 6th grade year.  It was pretty darn great. 

Yes, there's a lot of work.  No, I didn't always have her do all of the exercises, but it covered everything so very well.  We even learned how to diagram sentences together.  I hadn't ever done it before.  Never.  Have you?  I know more about sentence structure and now than I ever have. 

On the negative side (the very small negative side in my book), there are some strange lessons, like how to appropriately make phone calls, but you can always skip past those if you'd like (and there aren't very many of them). 

Overall I've really liked them and we're continuing on with both this year.  How do you teach grammar? 


You can check out more of our curriculum choices in our 2013-14 outline.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Schoolroom

This is our 3rd year homeschooling and our 2nd year in our lovely school room. 
I never would have made a special room for school (well, maybe not never, but it wasn't at the top of my list), but it was on my husbands.  After living through our first year (with only one child) he was terrified of the potential explosion of "stuff" all over our living room, kitchen and dining room.  Really.
It was pretty justified (we moved from one at home to three), but I figured we'd live through it.  He figured he'd turn our toy room into a school room by building some custom furniture and we'd be a happier family.  He was right.

This is what you see as you walk in the door (well, the door frame, we took off the door so it wouldn't get in the way of our white board). 

In the middle of the two maps are the personal coat of arms made by each of my kids during history last year.  I've kept them up because they're kind of cool and each one really does say something about who they were when they made them. Plus, I want to replace them with our homeschool coat of arms which we haven't made yet.  But we will, it's going to be one of our first projects this year.

If you turn to the right, you see these amazing bookshelves my even more amazing husband made for me.  There are three sets of three shelves (and I'll go into more detail later about how we use them).  Late last year I also added a few cubes to each side for a little more storage.  On top we keep a few things too big for our shelves, the globe, stereo and pencil sharpener. 

Okay, the sharpener would fit on a shelf, I just like it on top. 

As you keep going around the room you'll see the closet doors (inside are all our toys, these doors are not allowed to be opened during school time) which are usually covered with posters specific to what we're studying.  There will be a periodic table poster (it's being laminated right now) and some classification labels from Confessions of  Homeschooler's Road Trip USA curriculum all ready to have animals sorted under them throughout the year.

The last wall is completely covered by a HUGE white board.  My husband was able to pick this up for nothing because an office in the same building as his was throwing these out during a remodel.  We were very, very lucky!!  During school it's usually half covered with projects and artwork that I hope to move to the top of the map wall this year. 

The other main element to my tiny schoolroom is this table (which my handy husband also made for me).  It's a little bigger than our dining room table making it very easy for all 5 of us to fit around it comfortably, even with our things spread out. 

My favorite part?  The glass on top.  EVERYTHING wipes right off: glue, marker, dirt, boogers... 

Sorry about that last one, please tell me it's not just my kids that go through phases where they wipe them all over?

The shelf section all the way to the left is full of curriculum we aren't quite to yet and things we work on together as a group.  There are also extra supplies in the bins on the bottom shelf.

The middle section has some supplies we use all the time on the top shelf, like our 3 hole punch, rulers, calculators, stapler, colored pencils... 
The middle shelf has shelves for each of the kids (the empty ones, during the school year they're full of all the papers they need to put away in their notebooks), our extra lined and blank paper and my basket of to be checked papers.
The bottom shelf has our construction paper, flash cards and science supplies.

The right shelf is full of all my kids individual subjects and their notebooks.  Makenna has the top shelf, Ben's the middle and James shares the bottom shelf with his preschool aged brother Josh.

It's not a big room, but it's been a bigger blessing than I imagined to have an out of the way place to organize all our "stuff." 

Where's your favorite place to get your school on?

Good luck to all of you in your learning adventures,

I've linked up with iHomeschool Network's 5th Annual "Not" Back to School Blog Hop.  Go check out more classroom ideas for TONS of great inspiration!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sharing Time - August Week 3

I found another fun attention getting activity while looking around over the last few weeks (I can't remember where I found it, although it was probably Mormon Share) that would work great to introduce getting answers to our prayers. 

Bring in a quarter and ask who would like to have it.  After every ones hands go up, tell them that they can (as you put it on your head) as long as they can get it without touching your head. 

We have a jar full of craft sticks with all the kids pictures and names that I'd use that to choose a few volunteers to come up and try.  Most likely, no one will think of a way to get the quarter without touching your head.

After giving a few kids a chance, tell them that you're surprised no one thought to ask you.  You would have been glad to help them get it off your head, if only they'd asked.

Compare this to the Sharing Times over the last few weeks where they've been learning how, where and when to pray.  We can NEVER get an answer to a prayer unless we ask.

Once we've asked, how do we know when we've gotten an answer?

Use the scriptures listed in the Sharing Time Outline to help the kids learn some of the most common answers to this very good question.  I thought it'd be fun to have them try to match the scripture with the answer.  Except have the answer all scrambled up.  I have scrambled words for Senior Primary and scrambled pictures for Junior Primary.  I also have the scripture strips to draw out and unscrambled versions to show once they figure out what the wordstrip or picture are supposed to show.

So, you'd call someone up to draw out a scripture (or pick one).  Next, look up and read the scripture.  Then, figure out which mixed up word strip or picture (that you have displayed up front) the scripture is talking about.  And last, discuss what the scripture teaches.

Senior Mix Up
Junior Mix Up

Give them all a chance to search the scriptures for the answer to their questions, which right there teaches one of the ways prayers are answered, THE SCRIPTURES!  I know it takes a while, even with Senior Primary, to have them look up each scripture, but it teaches an invaluable skill and tool they will need to use throughout their lives.

As you go through and match each scripture, take a moment to ask if anyone has had an answer to a prayer in this way.  Be sure to be ready to share your own testimony and love of prayer as you progress through.  They will feel your love and remember it even when they do not remember anything else!

Have a wonderful Sharing Time,

If you're searching for a little more inspiration about this month's theme, check out my August theme post!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Spelling & Vocabulary

A few days ago I posted about all the curriculum we'll be using in our upcoming school year (2013-14).  After I hit publish, I realized that I didn't answer any of the questions I'm interested in as I check out the curriculum choices of others. 

My favorite part is the review.  I want to know how the curriculum really works everyday, positive and negative, because no matter how great a curriculum is, it's never perfect.

So, I decided I'd do that.  It's much too long for one post to write about ALL our curriculum, but I can do it a little at a time and today, I thought I'd start out with Spelling & Vocabulary. 

I start my kids in Spelling when they enter 1st grade with the Spelling Workout workbook series

When I first started using it we would do a pre-test, or a cold test, on Mondays before they've even had a chance to look at the words to gauge how well they already knew them.  Then we'd work our way through the one page lesson (for the lower level workbooks), talk about the rule being taught that week and do one workbook page every day until Friday when we'd take our final test to check their progress.

Sounds easy, right?  It really is (the big plus).

But, I wanted to make sure they weren't just memorizing spelling, but learning the words so I added a little bit for Ben, my then 2nd grader (a possible negative until they reach the higher level workbooks where you do have to KNOW the meaning in order to complete the pages). 

The little bit I added I found on Homeschool Classroom (there are also some fun journaling ideas in the post) and seems simple enough that it really would go along with many different spelling curriculum like the author says.

Monday: Have your child write all their spelling words (no pre-test on unseen words).
Tuesday: Have your child write all their words again, but this time in alphabetical order.  This is one of my favorites as it was so very good for my 2nd grader to work on his alphabetizing skills.
Wednesday: Write all your words in a sentence.  Now, this doesn't mean one sentence per word, it's a call for creativity to appropriately (dictionary wise) use as many spelling words as possible per sentence.
Thursday: Pre-test
Friday: Final test for any missed words during pretest.

Makenna is entering 7th grade this year and after she finishes her last Spelling Workout workbook, she start something new, Vocabulary From Classical Roots.  We haven't used it, so I can't give a review, but I'll make sure to write about it after we've used it for a while (if you've used it, I'd love to hear about how it's working/worked in your family). 

What's your favorite Spelling curriculum?  Or do you make up your own (I'm amazed and astounded at people who take the time and effort to make their own curriculum from scratch!)?


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Curriculum 2013-14

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I have avoidance (also known as procrastination) issues.  I made myself a list of things I need to get done before school starts, in twelve days, and now I'm blogging instead of working on it. 

That's okay though, right? 


Plus, I've been wanting to do this post since I finally ordered all our curriculum a few weeks ago and thought it would be the perfect weapon of procrastination.  I'm glad we got that straight.

I wanted to give you my take or review of how each curriculum works for us (or how I hope it'll work for us if it's new this year), but that would make this post LONG, so I thought I'd write a separate post for each curriculum we use and link this post to them.  It's going to take me a little while to write about each one, so if you don't see a link on a subject, it's because I haven't gotten there yet, but I will so check back!

Makenna is entering new territory this year, she's an official middle schooler (that's 7th grade around here)!  Or at least she will be in twelve days.  Last year she did some of her subjects with her younger brothers and one of our biggest changes this year is that, while we'll be covering the same subjects, she has her own curriculum. 

This means we're trying out a few new things, so hopefully it'll go well.

Spelling: Spelling Workout - she's finishing up her last workbook and then we'll move on to vocabulary.
Vocabulary: Vocabulary From Classical Roots
Grammar: Rod and Staff, Building Securely
Writing: Writing With Skill and Creative Writer

History: History Odyssey - Early Modern

Science: Mastering the Periodic Table, CHEM C2000

Logic: Mindbenders and The Art of Argument

Math: Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra

Art: Edgenuity - Digital Arts, she'll also be doing a tour of some of the masters with her brothers as we work our way through Confessions of a Homeschooler's Greatest Artists series.

Foreign Language: Latina Christiana II

Physical Education: Family Time Fitness

Music: Piano lessons and we'll be doing another Confessions of a Homeschooler course, this time her Greatest Composers series.

About half her curriculum is new (slightly scary on its own) and although I did really good the first few years paring down so we didn't get overwhelmed, as I look over her list, I'm thinking I failed this year.  She's got a lot on her plate, so we'll see how much adjusting (and paring down, although hopefully not much of that) I end up doing after the year starts.

Ben and James are in 3rd and 1st grades and do almost all the same curriculum.  For things like Math and Language Arts, they're on different levels, but it's still the same curriculum.

Spelling: Spelling Workout
Grammar: First Language Lessons
Writing: Writing With Ease
Handwriting: Zaner-Bloser

History: Story of the World - Early Modern, we'll start a U.S. geography tour with Confessions of a Homeschooler's Road Trip USA.

Science: REAL Science Odyssey - Chemistry

Logic: Mindbenders

Math: Teaching Textbooks - Math 4 (Ben) & Horizons - Grade 1 (James)

Art: We'll be working our way through Confessions of a Homeschooler's Greatest Artists Series.

Foreign Language: Prima Latina (Ben only)

Physical Education: Family Time Fitness

Music: Piano (for Ben), Confessions of a Homeschooler's Greatest Composers series.

There's less new here, but it's an increase in curriculum and time for both of them compared to last year. I'm debating starting more slowly by adding curriculum as we go, or maybe just not having them do as much (as far as activities go) for the first while, but there's a part of me that just wants to jump in and see if we can swim. 

What do you think?  How's your curriculum planning going?  Are you all set for your new year? 

Happy planning,

I linked this up on a blog hop with i Homeschool Network, check it out for lots more curriculum ideas!

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