Here's a link to one of my favorite homeschooling helps websites, oklahomahomeschool.com. It is authored and hosted by Cindy Downes, a homeschooling expert if there ever was one. I value her thoughts, wisdom, experience, and especially the myriad of forms she makes available to ANYONE who will use them. Here are some of the topics she covers: Homeschooling Through Highschool, What is Homeschooling, Curriculum recommendations, etc.
Her curriculum recommendations I found especially interesting. She categorizes each subject by grade level and makes some of her favorite Curriculum recommendations. She has forms to print out on Field Trips, free Unit Studies , etc. While it's easy to be overloaded with forms, choosing the right ones can simplify things especially once those conventions roll around each year. I am so thankful for those like Cindy who are willing to share as much knowledge as we can handle to make this journey even more pleasurable than it already is, and as successful as possible.

If you're on Facebook, you may want to find her blog "How Do I Teach" and become a fan.

The News from Upstairs!



Our schoolroom is in story 2 of our home. The news from upstairs: " Daniel, only 3 more pages, and I'm done with my calculadder!!!", she squeals. Level 3 awaits you, my little flower.

We love Calculadder for reviewing math facts on a daily basis. Click on the link to learn more about Calculadder and the other products they have. Each page is timed, but we ditch that for the most part and just focus on review. They both love it, it's extremely repetitive, and I've never let on that it's unusual that they would like it.

Miscellaneous Monday



Have you given yourself the treat of a Miscellaneous Monday? Miscellaneous Mondays are those Mondays where you take a good hard look around you, assess the situation, as we call it, and begin to tackle what's in front of you.

Over the last 3 weeks everyone in our household has had a cold. Mine, though two weeks old, is still lingering. The wonderful grace we've experienced is being able to teach through our colds. Rather than allowing circumstances to sideline us, wouldn't Jesus prefer to teach us through the circumstances of every day life? In the teaching however, other things have been put on hold. With my body still at about 75% I feel a great need to attend this house we call our home, the nest my piloting husband will be returning to this evening.

So what IS happening? The beautiful "decor of the season when we choose to focus more intentionally on our Lord's birth" will be returned to its temporary holding place: the red and green tubs. Thank you Bethany and Daniel. Today I see your great teamwork, negotiating skills, and different organizational methods. Laundry from the children's trip to the free flowing, rain-induced river behind our home is finally tossed in the washer. (Since we live in the desert, enjoying a temporary river takes priority over quite a few things!) A loft with legos everywhere is being cleaned and organized. And I'm occupied with joyful documentation of our progress.

Today, this homeschooling mother is calling on the grace of our Lord and Saviour to relinquish the schedule, pray for continued healing, and attack what He has put before us this very special day we'll call, Miscellaneous Monday.

The Missing Link



There's a sad, missing link in bloggy world today: followers photos appear to be MIA. I have checked everything, and they're simply not there. Part of the joy of blogging is seeing the faces that make this so much fun every time I pull up my blog. SO.....I'll wait, and hopefully blogger will get this figured out. I checked my sweetie's blog, and his follower photos are missing also. Anyone else out there having this same problem?

Looking Back & Planning Ahead



Today, we have continued with our study of Farmer Boy. I am amazed at Bethany's progress in the area of (don't misunderstand) just simply answering the questions. I am going to first give the credit to the Lord, and then thank Him for the writing curriculum we're using this year: Writing With Ease, published by Peace Hill Press. Writing With Ease stresses how important it is, whether verbal or written, that students answer in complete sentences. Now about the spelling: it needs work. But because of what I saw as progress in her writing, I chose to not correct the spelling at this time. I'm happy with the spelling program we're using, and I'm going to let it do it's work. I will say that if her reply included a proper noun that was not capitalized, I did bring attention to it, and asked her to correct those accordingly. {She was happy to do so.}

Did I fail to mention how Bethany is wanting to help more with cooking because that's what Alice and Eliza Jane did in Farmer Boy?

Looking ahead: I prayerfully am listing what I am a bit behind on, but want to remedy:

1. Begin their portfolio for this school year. While I do keep a notebook of their completed work, a portfolio is more of a sampling. Within the goal of a portfolio is to go back and fill out a field trip sheet and print a photo for the various field trips we have been on so far. Looking ahead, I would have them do a brief write up on the event, but in that I am playing catch-up, I would be the one to write what we did if they happen to not remember.

2. We've started to meet with another family for an Art & Music Co-Op. My dear friend has done a wonderful job on the art side, and I am (or will be, I should say) doing the music portion. I am excited to include crafts & games as a part of the music study. We'll be casually going through a book entitled, "The Story of the Orchestra." My second goal is to finish the planning, gather the materials and be ready to teach so we can get on with the joy of loving and learning about music.

3. I have never done lap-booking, but part of my music study will be to have a lap-book the children will put together during our Orchestra Study.

4. Add Picture & Artist study sheets to student portfolios. This is another uncompleted and backlogged item that will bring joy as we all look back on the wonderful projects we've been a part of this year. I just need to fill out the study sheets, print a picture of their completed art work, and file it in their portfolio.

In Summary: none of these goals are unattainable. I don't think these are just my goals. I see it as stewardship, and a record of all the Lord is giving us to learn and enjoy this year in school. My strategy: tackle one at a time. I'll keep the updates coming as I have time.

Looking Ahead



Almanzo Wilder's boyhood home

This week:
Today we are beginning our study of Farmer Boy, using a study guide by Progeny Press. Today's activities include: Map work, Art work-Cover page for our Notebook, and reading aloud the 1st four Chapters. Progeny Press recommends reading the novel in it's entirety, which Bethany has already done,then going back and re-reading, doing about 1 page per day in the Study Guide. This could take about 10 weeks if we choose to extend it that long.

Progeny Press also has some pre-reading activities that we are doing along with the book rather than prior to reading. One of the things that will be fun is to keep a running list of Almanzo's chores! I wonder how it fares against the list Bethany has? I'd say her working conditions are much more favorable.

School's Back In Session!



Beginning Monday, we'll be back in session for school. With only about 6 "official" days of curriculum study, dare I say we learned and learned and gleaned much throughout the month. Not only that, the children were cleaning maniacs for every event and gathering we've had at our house over these last weeks. We have had so much fun sharing the mutual vision for the opportunity to enjoy family and friends.

One of my greatest blessings the last week of December was having a dear homeschooling friend come over and enjoy planning together. Dare I say we preceded our planning session with pizza, salad, and fruit which we shared with our children. I appreciate Liz's devotion to homeschooling, and more than anything I appreciate our friendship.

It's time to re-focus, plan more and look forward to fulfilling the hopeful expectation of our children: School will be back in session on Monday. They're announcing to anyone who will listen, so I know it's time! (By the way, my blessing today is hearing Bethany read "Detectives in Togas" to Danny as he rests on the couch.) What an expressive reader she is. She's a blessing and a joy. Personally, I'm looking forward to Monday myself.

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