Saturday, July 23, 2011

What we're doing this year

First things first, I will not be continuing my links posts. It's just too time-consuming. If there's a particular subject you'd like to check out websites for, let me know & I'll send you the folder.

What I'm going to do with this post is share with you what we'll be working on this year. I've tried to strike a balance between what Sean's interested in (it was his decision to do biology this year) and what I think should be covered (studying the 50 states was my idea). I'll let you know up front that we do lots of worksheets (because that's what he likes) and very few artsy-craftsy projects. He'll be doing more research this year (both for history and science) than before, but he's getting pretty good at navigating the interwebs. There will also be a few lapbooks thrown in (more about those later).

So, for the 2011-2012 school year, we're doing the following:

Mondays (science)

Now, I don't expect to use all of the worksheet sites (I've already printed out all the ones I'm planning to use from KBTeachers and Super Teachers Worksheets), but I bookmarked them just in case. I want to have options, depending on what Sean shows the most interest in.

Tuesdays (history/geography)

Wednesday (math)
We also have lots of manipulatives and a Pizza Fraction Fun game. 

Thursday (language arts)
Fridays are unscheduled. Sometimes they're reading or educational TV days; sometimes they're used to catch up or cover a subject that, for whatever reason, wasn't done on its scheduled day. I'm hoping to maybe add in a little art and/or music this year, but we'll see.

We'll also be doing multiplication review and reading comprehension (main idea, summarizing, etc.) every day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homeschooling links, part 3

My Favorites
ClickSchooling (I highly recommend signing up for the newsletter.)

CurrClick (Tons of stuff on here that I would've loved to have gotten.)

Home School in the Woods (Another place I had a long wish list for.)

Fact Monster

Rainbow Resource Center 

Timberdoodle Co.

IXL Math

Math Playground

Helping With Math

Let's Play Math--The Game That's Worth 1000 Worksheets (Sean actually asks to play this game.)

Hands of a Child

Pete's Power Point Station (Can't even begin to describe how much I love this site; used it mostly for math and language arts, but there's SO much more.)

Lapbook Lessons

Lapbooking (I have lots more lapbooking sites that I will be listing later on.)

Notebooking Pages (I mentioned this site in a previous post; I love the concept but it just didn't work for Sean.)

Worksheet Works

Teacher Filebox (You do have to pay to use this site--there's a free trial--but if you can afford it, I think it's well worth the cost. I had Sean do the American Revolution history pockets, and, despite his protests, he not only learned a few things, he actually enjoyed doing them.)

Enchanted Learning (This is another one that requires a paid subscription, but there are some worksheets, etc. that non-members have access to.)

Gamequarium: Math Games

Cool math 4 kids

I think that's all for now; I'll try to have the next set (possibly with pictures!) up in a day or two.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeschooling links, part 2

Before I go any further, I need to mention the book where I found a good portion of the links I'll be posting: Homeschool Your Child for Free by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. Some of the links are no longer working, but most are just fine. I only wish we'd had the chance to explore more of the websites. 

The title link above takes you to If you click to look inside the book, be sure to check out the table of contents. I used the same chapter titles, etc. to organize the links on my computer, and that's how I'll be listing them here. Not all of them, as not all of the topics applied to us. I won't be listing them in the same order as in the book; I've decided to start with the broader, more general categories and work my way down to the more specific ones (and I got VERY specific with some; we're talking sub-sub-sub-folders).

The links I'm posting today fall under the misc. tag. They either pertain to homeschooling as a whole (planning, organization, etc.) or the website covers multiple subjects. Or, for some, I couldn't really decide where to put them. ;-)

I should probably mention that we have not used all of these bookmarks--not even close. They were all bookmarked because the looked/sounded interesting to me, but I can't give personal reviews for all of them.

101 Ways to Save Money Homeschooling

Activity TV

Akamai Backyard

Alliance for Separation of School and State

Awesome Stories

BSD: Bio Maker

Creative Techs

Customizable Homeschool Planner

Discovery Education (clipart)


Google Scholar

Homeschooling for Dummy (No, that's not a typo. I hesitated to include this; do I--or you--really want to take advice from the person who bungled that title so well? But there are a lot of links that could be helpful, so I threw it in.)

How Do I Know What to Teach...

Heroes of Character


How I Create My Printables

Hunkin's Experiments

Kahn Academy

Kid Crosswords


Living the Life of a Pirate--A Scavenger Hunt

Open Culture

Our Homeschool Curriculum + Free Printable Planner


Rocks In My Dryer--LOTS of links (this technically should've been listed with the other blogs, but I didn't follow it, just bookmarked this particular page for all the links)

Schoolhouse Rocks Lyrics

Sue Palmer

The Free Dictionary

The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach

The KYVL for Kids Research Portal

Things to Buy Instead of Curriculum (even if her picks aren't to your liking, I totally agree that school doesn't have to be textbooks and worksheets and quizzes)

TV Schoolhouse--Retro Videos

Using Google Calendar for Lesson Plans (I tried this and really liked it, but prefer to use an actual planner for school. I do use Google Calendar for everything else, though.)

Visual Dictionary


Year-End Exam Week 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Homeschooling links, part 1

Since I may not be homeschooling after this year (no, I haven't called New Story yet because I procrastinate like it's my job), I'm starting to clear out my homeschooling bookmarks (I'm also hoping that'll help my tired old computer run a little faster). I don't want to just delete them (because if I do, I WILL need them again); I'd thought about adding them to my Delicious account, but decided to share them here.

I have a LOT of links to post (we're talking several hundred), so I'll be posting them a folder or two at a time.  I'm starting with links to homeschooling blogs that, until a couple days ago, I subscribed to via Google Reader.

Homeschooling Blogs

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wait, you want to do what?

A couple of weeks ago, Sean informed me that he thought he'd like to go back to school.  Say WHAT?!  He said he thought he'd like to be around other kids again...that he missed having friends.  He was very careful to make sure that I knew that it wasn't because he didn't like being home with me, that my feelings weren't hurt. (I have to say, these rare moments when he's clued in to someone else's feelings are just so precious.)

To backtrack a bit, Sean decided to do King's Kids this year for the first time ever.  (For those of you unfamiliar w/ KK, it's our church's...children's choir, for lack of a better term.  They don't just sing, but do little musicals twice a year--very cute stuff.)  Sean has never, ever, ever, been a joiner.  EVER.  We tried King's Kids when he was younger, and it DID NOT work out.  Anyhoo, this time around, it's going beautifully.  He even got a tiny little solo. :-)

I absolutely want to support this, but there's no way I will send him to Southwest/The Citadel/Reading High.  Nope, not gonna happen.  Jessica's doing well, but Sean?  The phrase "eaten alive" keeps popping into my head.  So I'm thinking about sending him to New Story.  I haven't contacted anyone yet, but I think that if Reading doesn't have appropriate accommodations for him (and I don't think they do), the school district has to pay the tuition.

I'm a little sad (I'm sure it'll get worse if this all pans out) that I won't have him home with me anymore during the day, but I'm also thrilled that he wants to do this.  It's our job as parents to give our kids wings & watch them soar--even if we wish they'd stay in the nest a little bit longer.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I'm not much of a planner to begin with, so I really hate it when I do plan something out & it doesn't work.

My homeschool style could only be described as eclectic.  I don't follow any particular method or use any one curriculum.  Last year I had two kids to teach, who both had (still do) very different feelings about school.  Jessica LOVES to learn, and Sean, well, "hate" probably isn't too strong of a word to describe how he feels about schoolwork.  Add in the different grade levels and ability to work independently (she can, he mostly can't)--and a tiny budget--and you have one overwhelmed mom.  Last year was trial and error (LOTS of errors on my part), and one of the things that was tried was notebooking.

Notebooking looked like the perfect solution because, 1) it was relatively inexpensive and 2) it was customizable.  (That's a word, right?)  Jessica could do as much research & go into as much detail as she wanted, while I could keep things simple for Sean.  (I should mention here that except for math & grammar, they were being taught together--easier for me.)  So with that in mind, I bought this (basically all of their sets on CD).  They were having a Black Friday sale, and I was given the go-ahead by He-Who-Manages-the-Finances.

I was so excited when the CD arrived and started printing off pages immediately.  Famous composers, the 50 states, American history, Bible stories, etc.  All in duplicate.  There are numerous notebooks in my house, just waiting to be used.

Then Jessica decided she wanted to go back to school.  I wasn't thrilled (we're in the worst school district in the county), but I agreed to let her give it a shot.  She has asked a couple of times to come home again, but for the most part she's happy there.

Which brings me to today.  The notebooking pages are working OK for music & Bible, but not so much for history.  It's a lot of reading & summarizing (something Sean has trouble with; the summarizing, not the reading), and it's a lot of writing.  Again, something that Sean struggles with.  Which means that *I* have to do the writing.  I don't really mind, but there are other things that I need to be doing--and I'd like for him to be  working independently more often.

So I've made the difficult decision to not continue with the notebooking for history, at least for now.  It's killing me to waste all that time (searching the CD for the pages I wanted, then printing them & assembling them in a binder) and money ($75ish for the disc plus the cost of paper & ink).  BUT I think know it will be worth it to have Sean enjoy doing history again.  It's his favorite subject & I just can't continue to suck all the fun out of it.

The big question is, what do I do now?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I wish you the best, but please don't go.

I hate saying good-bye. HATE it. Today I--and the rest of my church--said good-bye to Tim and Sarah, our wonderful youth pastor and his amazing wife.  Tim's starting a new job & this was their last Sunday with us.  I'm very happy and excited...for THEM.  At the same time, I'm very sad for me.  I think it sucks.  I love them and I don't want them to leave.

I haven't really known them very long.  I knew who they were, of course, but it's just been since Jessica started teens last year that I started to get to know them.  I thought I'd have plenty of time for that.  I was looking forward to Sean being in teens next year because I think Tim would've been a great influence on him.  It takes a lot of patience to deal with Sean, and Tim seems to be patience incarnate.

During their send-off after church, I felt really bad that I didn't say anything (a microphone was being passed around, so people could share their memories of  Tim and Sarah), but I couldn't stop crying long enough.  Had I been able to speak, this is what I would've said:

Thank you.  Thank you for being such a positive influence on my daughter.  Thank you for giving her two more adults to look up to and respect.  Thank you for giving me the chance to get to know you.

Tim, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you being there for Jess when she needed someone to talk to.  You helped both of us through a really tough time, and I will never forget it.  You and Sarah have had a tremendous impact on my family in a very short amount of time.  I hate that Jessica won't get to finish teens with you & Sarah leading things.  I hate even more that Sean won't have you at all.  But I can't fault you for following the path that God is laying out for you.  Wherever life leads you, please know that I consider myself blessed for having the chance to get to know both of you.