Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our new school desks and field trip to Vegas




We took a field trip to Vegas on Monday. Our first outing with baby Ember. She did fantastic. She's the best baby traveller of all the kids yet!

There are some pictures of our new school desks and the way I rearranged the school room. Looks so much more spacious without the table in here. There are pictures of how it looked with the table somewhere on here too. : )
The kids liked the desks so much, we went ahead and ordered one more set for the younger kids. Of course it will be a long while before Ember will be using hers. LOL












Thursday, July 23, 2009

Curriculum changes

Well there is a time in every homeschooling Moms life (or several LOL) that you need to make some changes. This month we are doing just that.

I've opted to let my beloved Sonlight go. It's just not something I can do at this season in our lives. However I do think it's a fantastic program!

So what are we going to be using instead? It seems I am being led in a different direction lately. A bit of Text with a bit of unschooling : ) Why? Well my 7.5 year old is doing great with CLE math (text) and she is really loving how she can work through it at her own pace. So that sort of sparked my interest into looking at a bit more at text based materials. And then as far as the unschooling goes. There are some things I personally want to cover each day but not in any formal manner. Mostly as just reading and via our daily lives.

What else have we changed? Well I'm letting go of Sonlight LA also. Though I do enjoy and love using it. I was looking for something a bit less structured per day as SL is.

Workbox wise this is still going great. The workbox forum is growing wonderfully with many great folks joining each day.
I did just get the Chrisitan Light Education teacher's planner and I'm using one per child to keep track of what I put in each workbox for them. Skylar is using 7 boxes, and Summer 6 boxes.
Some fun things we have added to our boxes recently are these neat books by Klutz. They have this set of fancy dresses the girls can create and put on hangers, too cool! So they love those. And I got some of their chicken socks books also.

Skylar 2nd grade 2009 changes:

Language Arts:
  • LLATL Red - complete program - not sure on this - might use CLE LA 1 when it comes out in October. I'm sort of on the fence here. Skylar says there is a lot of reading the lessons of LLATL are long and she wants to try CLE's LA. - Well we tried it again and she really really was unhappy. The lessons are pretty long per day and I was trying to cut them down but she still was not happy. So we are just going to use Explode the Code for Phonics and Queens Spelling Through copywork A. I didn't like the looks of the CLE learn to read that I just had in hand so will not be going to CLE LA.
  • Reading: Read each day anything of choice to self and then to me at some point.
Math:
  • Christian Light Education Math 100
  • Hot dots for math review in place of flash cards, 5 days per week.
  • Just got the hot dots time cards for this which look fun to use.
Social Studies/history/geography/world cultures
  • Rod and Staff Social Studies 2: Sweet Stories, mapping and continents -not using this - it's too boring : (
  • Abeka history really like this so far! (doing this 2 times per week)
  • in conjunction with Abeka: Scholastic Success with Maps once per week. Smart about the Fifty States, Smart About the Presidents, American Presidents Coloring Book by Dover and See Inside the White House as things come up in Abeka this will be fun for hands on.
  • Read about a family in Material World once per week and have the kids do a map page in their journals to go along with the country we read about.
Science:
  • CLP Nature Readers 1 and 2
  • Sonlight Discover and Do DVDS K and 1
  • Zoobooks unit study every friday
  • Aces paces - blech this was not what I was looking for, so we are not doing this.
  • We are going to have a science story of choice once per week where the girls can journal about the topic. But CLP nature readers are our staple for science.
  • I have a neat Science in route for the girls, but we'll see what I think of it once it gets here.
Foreign Language:
  • Sign Language: Signing time
The Arts:
  • Free Arts and crafts
  • Artistic Pursuits once per week
  • music appreciation via exposure
  • Piano for Preschoolers 5 days per week
Typing:
  • BBC dance mat typing
Communication/and LA:
  • Correspondence with family and Penpal
Manners, health, home EC, daily chores, phys ed, all during daily life.






Summer 2009 curriculum updates: 5.5 K


Language Arts:
  • Phonics and Handwriting, Explode the Code.
  • Reading - choose stories on own to read to self and to me each day.
Math:
  • Spectrum Math 1
Social Studies/history/geography/world cultures:



  • Abeka history really like this so far! (doing this 2 times per week)
  • in conjunction with Abeka: Scholastic Success with Maps once per week. Smart about the Fifty States, Smart About the Presidents, American Presidents Coloring Book by Dover and See Inside the White House as things come up in Abeka this will be fun for hands on.
  • Read about a family in Material World once per week and have the kids do a map page in their journals to go along with the country we read about.

Science:
  • CLP Nature Readers 1 and 2
  • Aces paces - blech not using this!!
  • Sonlight Discover and Do DVDS K and 1
  • Zoobooks unit study every friday (all kids together) and also weekly science topic choice for her to journal about.
Foreign Language:
  • Sign Language: Signing time
The Arts:
  • Free Arts and crafts
  • Artistic Pursuits once per week
  • music appreciation via exposure
  • singing
Manners, health, home EC, daily chores, phys ed, all during daily life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Non toxic household cleaners and other healthy ramblings LOL

About 2 years ago I went through everything in our house after stumbling across a website called www.cosmeticdatabase.com
I could not believe how many things I was using that were toxic to the health of my children/my family. So I began looking for alternative for personal care. I have been very happy with many items that can be purchased on vitacost.com. And they have a flat shipping rate of $4.99. I've even found Sun and earth, ecover and other eco friendly brands on there for easy one stop shopping. That also led me to re-examine things I was using to keep my home clean as well. I was pretty surprised to find out what was in my beloved Downy fabric softener: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Toxic-Danger-of-Fabric-Softener-and-Dryer-Sheets&id=16953

For those that can't or don't wish to make their own, country save (which can be purchased for the best price on Amazon.com) or Sun and earth (which can be purchased on www.sunandearth.com) are great as well. I use Country save for my cloth diapers.

Kim M has some great recipes on her blog: http://matlockmkj.blogspot.com/search?q=cleaning+recipes

I use her cleaning wipe recipe which is great! I put them in baggies and keep some under each bathroom sink. Makes it so easy for the kids to help clean up after themselves in the bathroom.

This is the laundry detergent I use:
Homemade liquid laundry soap:
-4 cups hot tap water
-1 fels naptha or ivory soap bar
-1 cup arm and hammer washing soda
-1/2 cup borax
-Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap disolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir wel until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, let sit overnight to thicken up.
-Stir detergent mixture. Fill a used, clean laundry soap bottle half full with soap and the rest of the way with water. Shae before each use (will gel up).
-Option: add 10 – 15 drops of your choice of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top load machines: 5/8 cup per load (Approximatley 180 loads)
-Front load machines: ¼ cup per load (Approximatley 640 loads)
I got this recipe from the Duggar family but have adapted it a bit to suit my own needs as follows: ***I've found that I prefer to not add the water to it once I fill up my smaller laundry detergent bottles. For us it cleans better that way.


Fabric Softener:

Homemade Fabric Softener:
-1 cup baking soda
-6 cups distilled white vinegar
-8 cups water
-10 – 15 drops essential oil (optional)
-1 gallon container
-Add baking soda to container.
-Add 1 cup of water to container.
-Slowly add the vinegar to the bottle as the vinegar and baking soda will start to fizz.
-Then add the rest of the water swirling around and cover venting the top a few times.
-Add the essential oils
-Add 1 cup in your final rinse, a downy ball or your fabric softener dispenser. (be sure to shake before using to stir up oils).


Other things we've done:
-We've switched to all cloth napkins which I like using a lot. We were already using all cloth diapers and wipes so this seemed pretty natural. I got 48 napkins from Sams club in a very cool green color. They look nice at the table.
-We use Ecover tablets in our dishwasher (I get that at vita cost). The homemade recipes were not working in the dishwasher. Though I did just try all vinegar to see how that worked out for us (that is just apple cider vinegar instead of detergent) so we'll see how that goes. I do use distilled white vinegar instead of other toxic type rinse agents.
-For cleaning rags I am using old cloth diapers that the babies have outgrown. I just put a huge pink x in permanent marker on them so I don't accidently grab one for baby use LOL.
-For cleaning my floors I make my own floor wipes out of rags using vinegar. And use those in my swiffer style mop.
-For dusting I use Seaside Naturals dusting spray from Vita cost.




Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We did a fun cheetah study today

We have zoobooks so used the Cheetah issue as our reading material.
Then we did the following:

-listened to cheetah sounds: http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Cheetah_Sounds.aspx
-watched an online cheetah video: http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/animalfacts-cheetah.html

-made a cheetah craft: http://www.dltk-kids.com/Crafts/cartoons/thornberrys/mcheetah.htm




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Decklin's first day of school

Today was Decklin's first day of "school" in the sense that I was able to sit with him and go through his workboxes. (he's 2.5)
In his boxes he had:

Fine Motor Skills: Box 1 - A Kumon cutting paper book, just for 2's (we did a few pages)

Shapes/colors: Box 2 - I read him the Fruit loops color fun book 2 times and his dad read it to him 3 times LOL (he kept asking for it over and over)

Story time: Box 3: Big dog, Little Dog (also math concepts of size/shapes covered here)

ABCs: Box 4: Foam ABC puzzle

123's: My first counting book


workbox planner form

I just created some workbox planner forms to use with my kids. I thought I'd upload and share the links:

For my older dd:

For my 5.5 year old:
In her schedule (LL = Queens language lessons series)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh what a week

Well it's been an interesting week. I have realized that for some reason I keep getting stuck at the same spot in our Sonlight Core. It happened last year (and I went on to use FIAR). It's happening again this year. So I'm going back to FIAR again.

I will always have a warm place in my heart for Sonlight. It is the curriculum which helped us begin our homeschool journey and I will say that Core B was so amazing and I can't wait to do that one again with my younger kids. I might even end up with Core A to use with Decklin next year.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!






We had a nice visit with my parents, the only downside was it being to short.
They were here for 4 days. We took off from school while they were here but did take some time on July 3rd to read about Independence day. I printed things from Enchanted learning and pasted those in their notebooks and they did a craft which was making a necklace.
They also moved some plants they started in old strawberry containers with my Mom in May into flower pots (that they decorated themselves with stickers).
On the 4th we set off and watched fireworks, which was fun. Decklin was cheering "go fireworks go" LOL.