Monday, August 7, 2017

Keeping it real!

In the spirit of "keeping it real" and not being a roses and sunshine only kinda social media gal (don't want to be boring like that!! LOL) -- here are some truths from our first 3 weeks of school:

**I made both girls cry the first day of school. Yep, Lulu having to write two sentences did her in and she ended up in her room crying her heart out for about 30 minutes over the stress of having to write TWO. SENTENCES. Bug kept interrupting me during Science and I snapped, and she went and cried. (And then I made stuffed peppers for dinner, which just about made the hubs cry, too - 3/3!!)

**I have been plagued by self doubt about this decision. It's lessening as time goes on, but there are still nights I lay awake worrying that my kids will miss out on some important thing that I have forgotten. Or have dreams where I realize that I've made a horrible mistake and I run in and re-enroll them at school. For those who know me well, this isn't too different than other big parenting decisions I have made. But I think because I've made a "weird" and different decision for my kids, it feels scarier somehow.

**The first week I was delirious with exhaustion. Each week has gotten easier, but wow this is tiring!!!! My patience is very low some days and I'll admit it, I have yelled at the girls when they frustrate me in those moments. I'm working on it, and as they get into their grooves and know what is expected, it's getting calmer. (Classical music and lavender oil mists help us all a ton!!! ;) )

And to go along with that, here are a couple amazing heart-warming things that have also been happening:

**Bug is returning to her happier and more relaxed self day by day. Lulu still struggles with anxiety, but that is also lessening as we go (anxiety was brought on by a math placement test @ school last year) -- that was the "2 sentence" meltdown on day 1. "What if it's not okay?? What if you don't like what I write!!??" I'm working to help her realize that her best effort is more than enough - and if she makes a mistake, that's how we learn.

**The girls have bonded and are so much nicer to each other (usually). As someone said, they have no choice - they are stuck together so much!! LOL, so true -- but seriously a couple weeks before we started our school year, I was wondering if I was insane because SO MUCH FIGHTING ALL THE TIME OMG!! So truly, it could have gone either way with these two. It's wonderful watching them grow closer and become friends.

OK back to it!!! Halfway through Session 1! Most schools around us are back to school now, so it feels more exciting to be home.... I am still glad we started during the summer but yeah there were days where the girls were like "WHYYYYY!! It's SUMMER!!" :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 2 already ?!

Oh. My. Goodness. Homeschooling a middle schooler and second grader is SO DIFFERENT than homeschooling a second grader and preschooler!!!! I know, add that to the list of obvious statements, right? I am exhausted, people. But I have to say - this is kinda amazing. It's a good exhausted. Mostly. LOL :)

So far - we have ditched Oak Meadow science and I will save that for Lulu when she gets older. It was over her head and too basic for Bug. I did get 5th grade instead of 6th because I thought I could meet the 2 girls in the middle and do it with both... and yeah not so much! Bug is doing Chemistry on Khan Academy for now, and then I'll have her do Biology and Physics, and we'll go from there and see what we want to do next. I may get Oak Meadow 7th grade, or a textbook, or get the Sonlight science.... I don't know yet.

Khan Academy is kinda awesome, btw. Bug is also doing Computer Programming through them, and I'm going to have her do Personal Finance as well.

Lulu is doing unit studies for science - this week we are studying birds, since that's what we started with Oak Meadow last week. She is learning the parts of a bird, the life cycle of birds, and writing down observations about birds she sees. I think we will do frogs next. Maybe. I don't know. Lots of I don't know!! At one point there will be a unit about apples and then we will go apple picking. I have random thoughts like that about her and science...

We also ditched Rosetta Stone. They don't tell you what the words mean in English. You have to just kinda figure it out from the picture. Bug was okay-ish with it because she had 2 years of Mandarin in school already, but she didn't love it. They have a 30 day money back guarantee, so we are going to use that and check out the Tucson Cultural Center again. I am teaching Lulu Spanish for the moment. We have learned 1-10, the alphabet, and working on days of the week this week. My 8 years of Spanish classes junior high through college are coming in handy!!! I am kinda amazed at how much I remember.... thankful for it now. And also thankful for the Internet with all the cute worksheets and resources.

So those are the things that DIDN'T work... everything else? AWESOME. We loooooooooooove love love love the Sonlight World History Year 1. LOVE. The literature and lessons are all about ancient Egypt - so I read aloud the Golden Goblet, while Bug is reading another book on her own (Mara, Daughter of the Nile I think?), and I am also reading aloud an Usborne book and Story of the World Vol 1 --- and they all have same locations, language, and feel. It's amazing. Lulu has joined in the Usborne and SOTW lessons. I'm going to add in some activities I find online that correlate with SOTW. And because I'm this way, I got the test book for SOTW and am giving Bug a test every time we finish a chapter.

Also loving how Lulu's readers go right along with our American History that we are doing with Road Trip USA. It really helps hammer home the concepts of that time period when they are immersed in it like that! It was just a happy accident really, I didn't plan that for her -- just got the grade level she was at for readers.

Horizons Math is still pretty good. They are doing their worksheets and we are addressing anything they don't know, and practicing and learning.

Growing with Grammar is great -- I don't know if I will get Sonlight Language Arts again. It's OK but I think we would be ok with Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing. There is some overlap with the grammar program and Sonlight, but I'm ok with that. Just reinforces the concepts. We'll see tho - the jury is still out on Sonlight LA.

I think that's about it so far!! This is a total "brain dump" post - helps to put it all down somewhere :)  OK back to prepping for tomorrow!!! xoxo

Friday, July 7, 2017

2017-2018 Session 1

We kick off our school year in 10 days!!!! We are doing the 6 week session format we did last time we homeschooled. Our first session goes from July 17 - August 25.

This is our planned daily schedule. I'm sure some subjects will go more quickly than I expect, and others we will want to spend more time on. So this is tentative, and subject to change. :) One of the perks of school at home!

8:30 a.m.: AM Yoga
8:45 a.m.: ELA
9:30 a.m.: Math
10:00 a.m.: Science
10:45 a.m.: History/Geography/Literature (Bug) and Specials* for Lulu
11:30 a.m.: PE & Lunch
12:30 p.m.: American History & Geography (Lulu) and Specials* for Bug
1:15 p.m.: Art
1:45 p.m.: Crafting/Home Ec
2:15 p.m.: Girls clean up schoolroom, K set out schoolwork for tomorrow
2:30 p.m.: PM Yoga
2:45 p.m.: Go swimming! :)

*Specials: Spanish, Mandarin, Coding, Typing, Music

And, here is what curriculum we are using for each:

Yoga and PE
Beachbody on Demand

ELA - Lulu
Language Arts 3 - Sonlight (including Wordly Wise for Vocab)
Grade 3 Readers - Sonlight
Growing with Grammar Level 2

ELA - Bug
Language Arts G - Sonlight (including Wordly Wise for Vocab)
Growing with Grammar Level 6
Readers - included with Sonlight History/Geography/Literature package below
Spelling: Grade 6

Horizons 2 (Lulu)
Horizons Pre-Algebra (Bug)

Oak Meadows Grade 5 for both**
**I feel that Bug has had some gaps in her science education (hello 21 year old science packets last year!), so we are backing up a year and laying a solid foundation for both girls. We are going to focus a lot during this session on scientific method, observations, and gathering facts. There will be a lot of field trips - outdoor hands-on activities and observing - so Lulu will be joining in the fun. I will give her some unit studies to go along with what Bug is doing, so she can take part at her level in a fun and engaging way.**

History/Geography/Literature (Bug)
Sonlight - World History 1

Spanish and Mandarin
Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition

Hour of Code with

Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum

Piano, Recorder, Unit Studies
World's Greatest Composers

How to Teach Art to Children**
**Another subject where there are gaps - we are going to focus on the basics and lay a solid foundation in art knowledge during the first part of our school year.**

American History & Geography (Lulu)
Road Trip USA

Crafting/Home Ec
Supplemental activities that tie in with Geography/History lessons.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Afterschool Homeschool!

We're baaaack! The last two years were fun - many amazing things were learned, many amazing experiences were had. For several reasons (maybe a future blog post on all this), the girls are both attending our neighborhood public school now. They started almost 3 weeks ago, and Bug is now asking for "those fun boxes of activities you used to set out for us"! At the charter school, we weren't home until about 4:00 on regular days, later on days with after school activities. The days were long and PACKED - so we all just vegged out at night. Now - the girls are off the bus by 2:15 and full of energy!

Here's what we will be doing:

Expedition Earth

Scientists and Inventors

I'll post more about our activities as we go! :) Starting the week of Sept. 5th.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School-School!

So a nationally-recognized school opened up K-4 here, right by us!! Bug got in off the waiting list 2 days before they started!! So she is now in 3rd grade at a school. I miss her during the day, but the stuff they are doing?? I would be very hard-pressed to recreate at home. They have Mandarin every day, Kenpo 3x/week and regular PE the other 2 days, Humanities, Performing & Visual Arts, Music, Engineering & Technology (in addition to Math & Science), a cool class called Connections.... so many amazing things to learn and do. It's a challenging school, but I think as long as it's interesting-challenging, Bug will have a blast. Her first week was a success. She made friends and had fun. YAY! :)

Looking ahead, Lulu will be in Kinder there next year, so she has entered a preschool program 3 mornings a week. She is in love with it and wants to go every day. :)

So I won't be posting much on this blog... but I'll leave it here for now. :)  Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 14, 2014

School Year = DONE ???

We are on our little break between sessions, and I just realized something.... Bug is totally done with 2nd grade!!!!!!!!! We are finished with our school year, basically. Huh.

And 3rd grade is more involved than 2nd... right? Social studies and Science get bumped up a notch. Things get more in-depth..... So I am spending much time researching curriculum to add into the mix. And figuring out how to proceed from here. :) With my third grader. !!! It's a little daunting. I want to make sure we don't miss anything. Pre-K through 2nd grade is so simple and fun.  Learning about the states, our community, the basics of science, reading lots of interesting books, adding/subtracting/multiplying, spelling, grammar (nouns/verbs/etc).... but now, things are about to get real. :)

Also, the tiny one will be starting K4 (4 yr old Kindergarten) when we resume...

So we are in essence about to start a new school year.  Yikes!!

This will be a big planning week around here. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Session 2

Wow! This year is zooming by already!!! We are finishing up our second session over the next week or so.  We took a mini-break when Bug's friends were on spring break so we are going to go through Wednesday next week and just take a nice long weekend up in Phoenix.

Bug is loving her 3rd grade Language Arts books - Winning with Writing, Growing with Grammar, and Soaring with Spelling.  I am also a fan because they are about 99% self-guided. She reads the lesson and then does the work. I grade it, we discuss any issues, and that's that.

She is almost done with her 2nd grade Horizons Math book.  We will start the 3rd grade book during Session 3.  I am very impressed with this program!! Bug has learned way more than I would have expected for 2nd grade, and we are both excited to see what 3rd grade brings. :)

We also started a reading program with chapter books. Bug's goal is 50 books and then there will be a prize of some sort... no idea what yet :) I guess I should figure that out!! For each book, she writes a few sentences about it, or draws a picture -- I am using the Summer Reading Program we did last summer because I like the little banners and reward cards.

And, our big science project was --- a butterfly garden!!!  Bug wrote a report about the different stages after they were all released.  It was a fun hands-on adventure for a few weeks. :)  Here are a ton (probably way too many!) pictures of how it all went down.

Up next -- Rootvue farm, owl pellets, and Aquafarm. :)  We also joined the Desert Museum, so we will take some educational trips there.