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I'm a Christian Mom answering the call to educate our boys at home. You can also follow me at www.facebook.com/littleschoolofthewest and on Twitter @schoolofthewest

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Time is Flying

2015. Wow!

Soon after I posted about our back to homeschool interviews I found out that in May we will be blessed with another precious bundle of joy.

We can't wait! I've always wanted four kiddos, Craig wasn't so sure about a fourth until our (now) youngest was about 6 months old and he agreed that our family didn't quite seem complete.

Since my husband is the type that needs to know the sex of the baby as soon as possible he scheduled an ultra sound at our local mall the day I was 15 weeks along for a gender reveal :) Much to our surprise (I was convinced there was a 1% chance) they told us we are expecting a baby GIRL!!


The boys are excited about adding a baby sister to the family, from the moment we told the boys I was pregnant Nathan started praying that it was a baby sister :) She is going to be one loved and well protected little girl.

This pregnancy has brought about some changes in our school year.  Fortunately, I don't deal with anything too severe as far as morning sickness symptoms, etc. but there is always a time when I'm not feeling 100% and with this pregnancy the worst part of the day was actually in the morning. (With Josh it was any time I got a little hungry... no matter what time of day, with Nathan I had to snack on crackers or something small all day and with David it was mainly in the evening... couldn't eat much for dinner in the first or last trimester with him.) It has been amazing getting to "know" each of them in the womb and then in person but the fact that your body can react so differently to the pregnancy hormones each time still doesn't quite make sense to me; same hormones, same body.... should know after the first how your body is going to react, right? NOPE

Anyway, since I was dead to the world in the morning for awhile there we would have a nice slow start to our day and get our work done in the afternoon while David napped (which is when we usually do our read-alouds anyway). There were some days when we would still be finishing things up when Craig got home in the evening. All that matters is, we kept chugging along... with some adjustments.

I've been feeling like myself again for a few weeks and it's been SO nice. My energy is back and I can eat what I want when I want :) 

The beginning of our school year didn't bring a lot of crafts, unit studies or fun worksheets (they still got to do a lot of that fun stuff at Bible study and co-op)... it was mainly just checking the basics off our to-do list. Keeping that in mind I've switched things up a bit lately, especially since we only took one week off for the holidays (pushing through the holidays, I'd like to be done early for summer since baby girl will arrive in May). 

Josh has discovered lately that he enjoys word searches so I printed some out for him to do this week along with his math (a nice break from his usual phonics worksheets).

I also printed some fun Lego math worksheets that are always a hit.

For Nathan I pulled out some Read, Build and Write mats that I printed awhile back from homeschoolcreations.com and he is really enjoying them. He loves using our alphabet stamps to build the words.

As for David, he's your typical 2 year old. He has, however, started pointing out shapes in every day objects so he received Tiggly Shapes for Christmas and LOVES them. 


How has your school year been treating you?


Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014-2015 School Year

The past week has been a busy one as we slowly started to get back into our school routine. I wanted to continue our back to homeschool survey tradition so I compiled their answers a couple days ago, here they are :)

Back to Homeschool Interview:

My name is: Nathan

I am __4 1/2___ years old.

My favorite food is: Turkey Sandwich

I really, really do not like to eat: broccoli

My favorite show to watch is: Mickey Mouse

My favorite movie is: The Lorax

My favorite books are: Thomas the Train

The best thing about school is: Leap Frog workbook

The worst thing about school is: when homework gets harder

The coolest person on Earth is: Katie

I am really good at: running and swimming

My favorite color is: orange is the best!

The best place in the world to be is: California at Disneyland

When I grow up I want to: be a Fireman and a soccer player

If I could do one thing all day long it would be: play in the wading pool with Josh, Dylan, Katie, Emily and David

My best friend is: Noah

Jesus is: God

When I was little I used to: crawl

3 words that describe me: smart, caring, good

This year I hope to learn: about Jesus


Back to Homeschool Interview:

My name is: Josh

I am __7 and one month___ years old.

My favorite food is: pizza

I really, really do not like to eat: healthy foods

My favorite show to watch is: Max Steal

My favorite movie is: LEGO Movie

My favorite books are: Ninjago

The best thing about school is: Math

The worst thing about school is: Phonics

The coolest person on Earth is: Dylan

I am really good at: baseball (catcher)

My favorite color is: Green

The best place in the world to be is: with Dylan

When I grow up I want to: be a baseball coach 

If I could do one thing all day long it would be: hang out with Dylan

My best friend is: Dylan

Jesus is: God

When I was little I used to: suck on a pacifier

3 words that describe me: talkative, loud, energetic 

This year I hope to learn: lots and lots of Science! 

Looking forward to another good year!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

We are a few weeks away from starting our new school year (besides what we've continued this summer) but I thought I'd share my curriculum choices.

I'm excited that we're continuing with Sonlight this year for Bible, History/Geography and read-alouds.  The boys and I are excited to start filling in their Timeline Book with the Biblical and Historical figures we'll be learning about together.  I decided not to purchase all of the read-aloud books but that we would find those at our local library.  The boys and I really enjoy our trips to the library and this not only saves us money but space on our already full book shelves.

The boys are going to continue their Language Arts (Explode the Code) and Math (Horizons) at their own levels.

Nathan is only 4 1/2 but he is ready for Kindergarten so this year we will have a Kindergartener, First grader and toddler.

I debated for a long time whether Nathan would be considered in Kinder or Pre-K but he has demonstrated time and time again the past few months that he is ready for Kinder.  I never thought my boys that are 2 1/2 years apart in age would only be a year apart academically but we are using homeschooling to our advantage and going at their own pace :)

I had originally planned on using Sonlight Science but then discovered the Magic School Bus Young Scientists Club for half off and since the boys LOVE Magic School Bus, and receiving mail, I decided to go with that for our Science curriculum this year.  So far it's been a big hit!  I'm sure next year we'll have plenty of Science fun with Sonlight's living books and experiments.

Last year, in our Sonlight curriculum, there was an Art book with beautiful pictures we would discuss once or twice a week, this year I decided to go with ARTistic Pursuits.

In addition to the subjects we'll be learning together at home the boys will continue to memorize their verses in Awanas on Wednesday nights, Community Bible Study on Thursday mornings and subjects with their friends in our co-op on Fridays.

A lot of fun times ahead :)  What is your favorite curriculum?  




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Graduation and a Summer Update

In June our co-op had a promotion night and Josh graduated from Kindergarten.  I'm so proud of how far he's come! Feeling blessed to have been beside him along the way.
 
Although we've been on summer break since the end of May, we haven't stopped learning :)  The boys continue to practice their reading on a regular basis and we've begun our Magic School Bus Young Scientist Club activities, we are receiving packets each month with supplies for experiments on a number of different topics (more on my curriculum choices for this year later).

Our first packet contained information and supplies to discuss stars and planets, so for the past two weeks the boys have been going to swimming lessons and working on Science. They really enjoyed learning more about space and we, of course, had to watch the Magic School Bus episodes on each topic :)

Painting the inside of their constellation box.

   
One of the highlights was making this solar system!

Time is flying and before we know it we'll be starting up another school year, probably sooner rather than later since the boys have been asking to do more and more each day (especially Nathan, he's already 10 lessons into his workbooks....).  Hope you're all having a restful and blessed summer!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Button Quail

We are blessed to have a wonderful friend from our church who was willing to set us up with everything we needed to hatch some adorable little button quail.  For 15 days I turned the eggs twice a day and kept the humidity up in the box that was set at 99.5 degrees F.  On the 15th day I stopped turning them, added more water to raise the humidity and it was time to wait.  They were due to arrive on day 18 but on day 17 they quickly made their arrival (all 4 hatched in less than an hour).  The boys LOVED it (so did I :)  Here are some pictures, enjoy!











 
Warm and cozy in their box :)  We kept them almost a week and then our friend took them to a nearby farm.  It was definitely an experience we won't soon forget!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

San Diego

This past week the two older boys and I took a trip down to San Diego with our co-op.  The 75 of us boarded the Amtrak train around 8am Monday morning.  The train ride itself was a highlight for the kids (for mom, too, I got to sit back, visit and read a good book while the kids enjoyed the excitement of their first train ride with their friends).  



From the train station we walked to the USS Midway.  Such a fun place to explore with the boys!  







Part of our admission included the audio tour, Nathan took this part VERY seriously.  The kids were given instructions to listen to every one that had a green color sign and fill in the answers on a pamphlet but Nathan listened to every single one, no matter the color :)



My star student soaking up every piece of information he could get! :)


SO much to explore!


 Once they filled in their pamphlets with the information they learned they received a pin... a BIG hit with all the kids!



Beautiful sunset on our train ride home.  Such a fun, albeit exhausting, day!  Truly a field trip they won't soon forget :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Explode the Code


THIS, my friends, is one of the BEST curriculum decisions I've made since we started homeschooling!!   At the end of last year I told you about the struggle I was having with Josh over language arts and that we were switching to Explode the Code.  I am SO GLAD we did!  Josh has been making strides with his reading and our school day runs so much smoother now!

Explode the Code was actually one of the curriculums I looked into while doing research last year, but after looking through a couple of the books at the convention I figured Josh would find it too boring.  There is nothing exciting about the worksheets themselves, they have no color and some of the pictures are (as you can see from the cover) odd looking.  Since Josh liked all of the colorful, fun pictures in his Horizons books I figured these would not be a hit and decided against them.

Boy, was I wrong!

Horizons math worksheets, as well as the phonics and reading worksheets, are full of vibrant pictures.  Since math is not a problem for him the pictures are not a problem.  Phonics and reading (especially when he doesn't feel like trying) is a different story.  All of the pictures and sentences that he didn't feel he could read were a stressful distraction.  

Explode the Code is repetitive enough to ensure they learn the concepts well but not to the point of boredom and frustration.  It includes phonics, reading, handwriting and spelling... what more could you want from a language arts program?!  (For Kindergarten at least :)  



    


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