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Archive for posts tagged with ‘School’

Halloween Party

Thoughtfully penned on November 22nd, 2011 and generally concerning School

Since Thanksgiving is Thursday I thought maybe I should go ahead and write up our Halloween festivities.

Now, if you know me, you know I’m not one to go all out with the holiday thing (with the exception of Christmas where it becomes a month long celebration). And we’ve debated over the years whether to trick-or-treat, dress up, etc for Halloween. Now our children are getting older and asking to do things like trick-or-treat, so we decided to not totally ignore Halloween (like we have in the past).

And I thought that just because they aren’t in a conventional school setting doesn’t mean they should miss out on the “school party” experience. So, I made our own…

A couple of my students came to school in costume.

(she’s wearing a fairy dress, though it’s kind of hard to tell)

And this one came as her silly self.

We made spider web snacks.

And ate them.

We did a little digital pumpkin carving.

And some pumpkin science.

(does it sink or does it float?)

Then we had lunch.

(they did eat sandwiches, too)

After Daddy got home we carved our pumpkin.

And described it with our five senses.



And then we did a little trick-or-treating.

I think the kids enjoyed it. I know I did.

Lesson Planning

Thoughtfully penned on August 11th, 2011 and generally concerning School

That title might give you the impression that I am actually making lesson plans. Don’t be fooled. While I do go into each day with a general idea of what I want to accomplish for the day, I rarely have a written plan.

Now, let me say that one reason I can get away with no “real” lesson plans is because we are doing Kindergarten. Another reason is that I’ve intentionally kept these first several weeks to minimal curriculum because I knew we would be doing school in the Summer and then with a newborn. We’ve also only been doing 3 or 4 days of school each week. As we get further into the year and add/move to new curriculum it will require more planning on my part.

School started this week around here, and although we’ve been doing school for about 9 weeks already I thought it would be a good time to make a record of our learning choices.

My main goal for this first semester was to teach E to read. Well, guess what? She was reading well about 3 weeks into our official schooling. So, we’re trying to finish out Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and then we’ll probably move on to work that is more grammar and spelling based. I haven’t decided yet what books/curriculum we’ll use.

We are also reading a lot. I read to the kids, E reads to me, E reads to Matt, E reads to J & S (for as long as they will sit and listen to her), E reads to herself. I’m using Five in a Row for some learning ideas, but mainly for the list of books. I’ve been choosing one book that we read every day of our school week and talk about the story/pictures/morals/etc. I will continue this trend although we may move off of the FIAR list and to Caldecott winners. We also read at least 2 other books during our “official” school time. I want to start chapter books with E, but I’m trying to decide what books or series to begin with.

Bible currently consists of readings from The Jesus Storybook Bible, a memory verse (some weeks. need to get better about this.), singing, and prayer. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the curriculum to accompany the book, but I’m not sure whether it will be this Fall or not until the Spring. Once Bible Study Fellowship resumes (mid-September), we will use some of the Home Training guides and questions to guide our discussions. This will allow for reinforcement of the truths they are learning while we are at BSF. We also plan to begin learning the Westminster Children’s Catechism as a family, but that will probably wait until Baby M is at least a few weeks old.

Our math curriculum is Math-U-See Primer. I feel like it’s laid out kind of funny (in the first 13 lessons we’ve covered topics ranging from geometric shapes to place value to +1 addition, and then lesson 14 is counting to 20), but E seems to be doing well with it. Matt says the layout reminds him somewhat of Saxon math which we will probably use at some point in the future. A lot of the first several lessons was review for E, so we breezed through them pretty quickly; we might or might not move into the Alpha book later in the year depending on how she does with the remaining topics.

Writing practice has focused, thus far, on lower case letters and numbers (which she has a tendency to write backward). Once we complete Teach Your Child to Read, I’ll probably move to an actual handwriting “program” since she is definitely ready to write. She has also been doing some copywork off and on.

And, last but not least, is calendar time. I have a whole “calendar time” set up that I want to use, but I haven’t had the time or motivation to get it put together yet. Right now we are using a printed calendar and a 100 days of school chart. We sing a months of the year song and a days of the week song (mainly to help J learn these, E learned them in preschool last year) and then talk about what month it is, what day it is, the full date (day, month, date, year), how many days in a week, months in a year, etc. E colors the day on her 100 days of school chart.

Art, crafts, history, geography, and other subjects/topics are added in here and there as they relate to our main subjects or as E or J inquire about things.

That’s what we’re currently up to. I have some other ideas, but at this point we’ll wait until we have more of a feel for how Baby M is going to effect our days before introducing anything new.

All in all, it’s only minimally organized at this point, but we’re still getting a feel for what we’re doing and how/what things are going to work best for us.

Happy school year 2011-2012!

School choices

Thoughtfully penned on January 19th, 2011 and generally concerning E, School

We’ve come to that point in our lives where our oldest child will be entering Kindergarten next school year. I don’t really understand how my tiny little bit of girl can be on the verge of school, but so it is.

So, the great school debate has been raging. At least in my mind, Matt might be a little less dramatic about the whole thing.

Public school was never really an option for us. We revisited this decision several months ago and still found it to be true. Now, don’t get me wrong, we are not anti public school in any kind of dogmatic way, it just isn’t the right choice for our family right now.

That being said, let me throw out a bit of the reasoning behind our decision. First, we have a complete and fundamental difference of opinion with the public school system when it comes to worldview. I know there are a lot of great Bible believing teachers in the school system, I know quite a few, but I also know that often their hands are tied by red tape. Second, I don’t like the idea of full day Kindergarten and that is all our school district offers. I could go on, but there is really no need.

I can’t fully articulate my desire to have Little in half day class, but it is one of my personal educational philosophies. And, I kind of like having her around. Think of me what you will.

So, private school? Due to financial considerations (and the full day vs. half day Kindergarten thing), a lot of the private schools in the area were out. The school where Little is currently attending two days a week has a great half day Kindergarten. That was really our only viable option other than homeschooling. On days like today, I still consider it a viable option. But we have to decide quickly, registration started today and their classes usually fill up very fast.

And here’s my biggest draw back to sending her there…I would have to get 4 kids (yep, you read that right, 4) up, ready, and in the car to get Little to school by 8. Then we would have to unload everyone to walk her into school. And then repeat the scene to pick her up at noon (there’s the downside of half day Kindergarten). Again, think of me what you will, but these are very real considerations in my life right now.

And now we come to homeschooling. Let me start off by saying that just because I’m addressing it last in no way indicates that it is our “fall back” option. I’m not so naive as to think it won’t be painfully difficult, especially in the early going. In fact, homeschooling has long been our first choice.

So I think this is where we’ve landed. I’ve been reading the laws that govern “home schools” in our state, researching curriculum, and praying that this is, indeed, the right choice for our family right now. We have been blessed with a large number of homeschooling families in our life, and the feedback, encouragement, and ideas I’m getting are wonderful! We also have a great homeschool support group in our area, and, of course, Matt’s parents who have “been there, done that, and lived to tell about it.”

I believe that there are times in life where we have to choose between the “good” and the “better” or even between the “good” and the “good”. And I believe that, for us, this is one of those times. I also believe that God equips and supplies, and we are relying on His provision as we enter this new chapter. Matt and I truly believe that this is the right choice for our family (our WHOLE family, not only Little) at this point in our lives. Your prayers, feedback, and words of encouragement are coveted.