Sunday, September 21, 2014

MFW Kindergarten- Unit 1 "S" for Sun

After 2 weeks of learning all about God's creation, we moved on to our very first unit study in our My Father's World kindergarten.  Unit 1 is all about the letter "S" and the sun.  The boys had a lot of fun with this unit.  We read books about the sun, learned about shadows, and learned all about the letter "S".  Each week I also cover either 1 safety topic, character trait, or we work on manners.  This week we talked about stranger danger. 

Here is our week in review...

Bible Memory: "Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness." John 8:12


Once again here are my boys saying this weeks scripture memory verse.  Baby "N" decided to join them and appears to be saying the verse along with them (or so he thinks).  Silly boy!


Songs for Unit 1: 
Light of the World (John 8:12), (this is from the Seeds Family Worship. Hearing this song really helped the boys memorize their scripture verse.)

Books: 
 "What Makes a Shadow" by Clyde Robert Bulla


"Who Likes the Sun" by Etta Kaner



This book is cool because each page asks a question and then the page opens up 
and reveals the scientific answer!


and
"Never EVER talk to Strangers" by Anne Marie Pace


And this is what I store the books in...


I bought XL plastic zip storage bags at the Dollar Tree and decorated one for each unit.  Took a long time to do of course, but was fun!  I love having the books for each unit nice and organized. 


Working on their "S" picture cards page.


Sun Badges with this weeks theme.



My boys have been enjoying the Cuisenaire Rods. This book and the rods came in the My Father's World God's Creation from A to Z deluxe pack.


Building an S with the cuisenaire rods. The boys build letters and pictures with the rods and then count back how many rods they used.  Fun hands on math!


J-Bug working on the "S" picture page with the rods.


To see how we schedule our day, go here.
To see a full list of the curriculum we are using for kindergarten, go here.
To see all post on this blog related to My Father's World, go here.


I would love to hear from anyone using My Father's World kindergarten with their child.  Please leave comments with any questions, tips or links to your own MFW blog post.  


*The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.  I am not being paid for this post nor am I affiliated with the My Father's World company. Simply sharing so you might be helped in your own homeschool journey
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Monday, September 15, 2014

My Father's World Kindergarten- Days of Creation, Weeks 1 & 2

Over the past year I have been debating which kindergarten curriculum to use.  In the end I decided on My Father's World "God's Creation from A to Z".  There were several reasons I chose this curriculum. For one I loved all the themes. Covering 26 units, one for every letter of the alphabet MFW kindergarten covers everything from the sun and moon to vegetables and animals.  I knew this would be a lot of fun for my boys and keep their interest peaked all year.  I also knew I would have fun adding my own extras with each theme. The second reason I chose this curriculum is because it is Charlotte Mason based. The more I learn about this method of teaching the more I like it and believe in it's principles.  Lastly, I appreciated the fact that this curriculum is so user friendly. In the teacher's manual each day is well planned out for you. I do feel it is a bit on the "easy" side, but I do not mind using it for my 6 year old kindergartner because I know I can add extras to challenge him more. It is working out great this year as I am also teaching my 4 (almost 5) year old son with his brother and considering it his Pre-K year.

With MFW Kindergarten the first 10 days are all about Creation.  For the first day of school I had put together a Creation sensory bin.  My wonderful husband whipped up this adorable sensory table in no time flat.  I really love how it all turned out.

Day 1


I found the idea for a Creation sensory bin on Pinterest.  I purchased most everything for the bin at either Dollar Tree or Walmart.  To color the rice I placed in gallon sized zip log bag, added a bit of water, some food coloring and squished and tossed around until coated.  Then the poured the rice onto a cookie sheet and let air dry.  By the way, you can buy huge bags of rice at walmart for only about $2.50.


Here is the table my husband built using scrap wood we had lying around the backyard.


 The boys LOVED it!  Such a hit.



 Some of them loved it a little to much!


Oreo Snack- "And on the first day God separated the light from the darkness."

Day 2


On day 2 of creation week we learned how God separated the waters from the sky.  Here are the boys working on page 2 of their Creation books.


At snack time they had water and clouds (popcorn).

Day 3


Day 3 we learned how God made the dry land appear and created plants of every kind.


During snack time I put on a cartoon about Creation.  You can find it on You Tube here.


For snack we had grapes to represent plants and graham crackers to represent dry land.  The boys also drank water in their apple cups.  To fun!


Watching God create man in the Creation video.

Day 4


Day 4 we learned how God created the sun, moon and stars.  For snack we had "suns".



Day 5


Then God said, "Let the water be filled with living things, and let birds fly in the air above the earth."
Genesis 1: 20 


Again, I found this cute snack idea on Pinterest.  What would we all do without Pinterest?!?  It turned out so cute and was easy to make.  The kids loved it!  I added the Goldfish crackers last minute but thought it gave it more pizzazz. I only wish I had put some blue food coloring in the dip now that I look back.

Day 6


Then God said, "Let the earth be filled with animals, each producing more of it's own kind.  Let there be tame animals and and small crawling animals and wild animals, and let each produce more of its kind. " Genesis 1:24


Snack on Day 6 was Teddy Grahams.  Looks like they produced more of their own kind too! 

Day 7


On day 7 of Creation God rested so we made blank pages for the boy's creation books.  We also cut out a blank number seven to add to the boys days of Creation timeline poster.  


Despite the looks on their faces (silly boys) they were very excited to have completed their Creation books.  They worked so hard on them each day during Creation week.


Reading through their Creation books.


At the end of the Creation unit I had the boys say their Bible verse.  Here is Little E saying Genesis 1:1 from memory.  He was so proud of himself and got to pick a prize.  I am having the boys memorize a verse that goes along with each unit.  Prizes are little toys from the dollar store and then after 4 verses are memorized they will get a special lunch out with mom.  Probably a kids meal at Chick fil'A, Pizza Hut or something like that.  I am still working out the details.

  

It was a fun first 2 weeks of school.  We covered a lot more than what you see here, but I wanted to share some of the fun things we did.  For more ideas for Creation week please visit my Creation board on Pinterest.


Creation Week Extras

Verse: Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Music: 
"This is My Father's World"
"In the Beginning" (Genesis 1:1 Song)
"The B-I-B-L-E"
"The Alphabet Song"
"B-I-N-G-O"
and 
"Old McDonald Had a Farm"

(I made cds with music to go along with every song mentioned in the MFW Creation from A to Z curriculum.  I also added any song I found that went along with each unit and bible memory verse. I owned about half the songs already but also purchased mp3 music at Amazon.  It has been so very nice to have the music to go along with the curriculum.  I highly recommend taking the time to do this. If I can find the time I will write up a separate post listing all the music I put on these cds.)

To see how we schedule our day, go here.
To see a full list of the curriculum we are using for kindergarten, go here.
To see all post on this blog related to My Father's World, go here.


I would love to hear from anyone using My Father's World kindergarten with their child.  Please leave comments with any questions, tips or links to your own MFW blog posts.  


*The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.  I am not being paid for this post nor am I affiliated with the My Father's World company. Simply sharing so you might be helped in your own homeschool journey.
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sticking to a Schedule, How I Make Homeschooling Work for our Family

Each year while preparing for the coming school year I always sit down to make a daily schedule.   Previously my schedule has been used more as a guide rather than a "must do".  However, this year I knew it had to be different.  This is the first year I have 4 children to homeschool, not to mention a very active 2 year old son to care for.  I knew I must treat my job as homeschool teacher SERIOUS! THIS IS A JOB!  We can convince ourselves our days can be fudged around and other less important things can be added to the days but in reality it never works.  It doesn't work because homeschooling like anything else takes dedication, attention to detail, and yes...ORDER. Would we send our children to a school where the teacher had her laptop open and hopped on Facebook and Pinterest throughout the day?  Would we think she is a very effective teacher if she skipped out on a lesson to talk to a friend on the phone?  But aren't we all guilty of that?  I am as guilty as anyone in this area!  This is why I am determined to be different.  I am determined to give my children the type of educational environment they deserve.  I am dedicated to the task and consider this my top priority and MY JOB!

So how is it going to be different this year?  Besides the obvious attitude and heart change, I saw a need for several things to change.  For one I am waking to an alarm clock each morning at 7am. This also means going to bed at a decent hour (usually by 10pm).  I make sure I am dressed and ready for the day (usually before the kids are awake) and also make them get dressed before breakfast.  We do all this before 8:30a.m.  I do not allow myself to get on the computer unless the kids are on lunch break or until after school.  THIS IS A MUST!  I do not answer the phone unless it is an important phone call (such as our Realtor saying someone wants to see our house).  I do not pick up my cell phone to text unless it's a break.  Cell phones go in the same category as the computer.  I also do not let myself get distracted by the house work.  It can wait!  It can wait because if I went to an actual teaching job I couldn't run home to clean and do laundry.  Why do we think we are super women and can handle both keeping house and homeschooling?  Only one can effectively be done at a time! What about appointments?  Can they be made in the afternoons so not to interrupt the school day? Do what you need to do to ensure success in your homeschool.

Do you know what I have found since implementing these few rules for myself?  PEACE.  I don't wake up angry and disgruntled thinking about school.  We stay on task so my children are also more focused on school.  They know what to expect each day so everything runs smoothly. This in turn means they finish up earlier in the day because there are less distractions.  We are usually done by 2pm or ealier each day.  This gives everyone more time to do the things they enjoy.  Everyone's happy.  Sure there are still those moments when kiddos don't cooperate or they grumble and complain about a lesson.  This is life with children.  Homeschooling does not have to be a burden though.

This brings me to our schedule. We keep the same basic schedule everyday with a few minor changes in the afternoons.  I printed each daily schedule out and laminated them. I punched a hole on each side at the top and put them on ring clasps.  The schedule hangs on the wall and is flipped around to match the current day.


*When I say C& I, I am referring to my two oldest children.  When I say E & J that is my two youngest.  N is the baby. 

Here is the basic schedule:

8:30am-  Prayer and Devotions (Bible Memory)
9:00am-  Boy’s Bible Lesson, Worship, Bible Memory
C & I- Language Lessons, Phonetic Zoo (switch)
9:30am-  Boy’s Calendar, Number Chart, MFW Lesson, Book of the Day
C & I- Write Shop, Piano Practice (switch)       
10:30am- Boy’s Snack, Outdoor Time, Sensory Play
C & I- Math
11:00am-  E's Hooked on Phonics, J's Work Page, N's Busy Bag
11:30am-  Mom Prepares Lunch
Boy’s Free Play
12:00pm-  Lunch Break
1:00pm-  N's Nap, E & J's Handwriting Without Tears (Mon.,Thur. and Fri.) KinderBach on Wed.
C & I- Chores
1:30pm-  E and J’s Yoga
C & I- History with Mom (Mon. and Thursday)
or Science (Wed. and Fri.)
2:30pm- Music Composers (Mon.) Home Economics (Wed.) Art (Thur.) and P.E. (Fri.)
3:00pm- School Ends

To see our curriculum choices for this year, go here.

Tuesdays we have homschool coop so we have a shorter day at home.  This means only the subjects scheduled before lunch are completed that day. My kids each take 2 classes at the coop and my older two take piano lessons directly after coop. It's a busy day, but I have kept all the busyness to one day a week so its not so bad.

Another thing I have done to make this school year run more smoothly is plan the entire year before school started.  This wasn't easy and was very time consuming.  However, I know myself well and know I procrastinate all the fun projects because of lack of preparation.  I knew if I had a written out plan for each day (more detailed then our schedule) that it would make things so much easier in the long run.  What I ended up doing for my older children (grades 7th and 8th) was print off a weekly schedule chart, like this one here for each week of the school year.  Ended up being over 30 schedules to print for each child.  Then I hand wrote what they need to do in each subject for each day on the charts.  Here is one of them so you can see what I am talking about.


This helps me so much because I do not have the older kids asking me all day what lesson or project they need to do.  They simply go to their chart and get to work.  They also cross out as they finish so they know what they have done so far.

I store all the weekly schedules in a thin 3 ring binder.  I have one for the older kids and one for the younger.



With my younger two I did things a bit differently.  Since they are not independent in their work, I made monthly calenders for their binder which tell me any extra things we need to do each day.  I am using My Father's World Kindergarten curriculum for them and it comes with an already written out daily plan.  However, I wanted something I could write down the snack of the day, bible verse, field trip ideas, book of the day, etc.  Here is what our monthly schedule looks like:


  I also do any shopping or extra preparation on Sundays so I am fully ready for the week ahead.

How do you keep your homeschool running smoothly?  Please share your ideas in the comments section below.  Fill free to leave the link to any blog posts you have written on the subject. I would love to see how other families stay organized.
        
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First Day of Homeschool 2014

This is our 8th year homeschooling.  I can hardly believe it has been that long!  This year I was especially excited because Little E starts Kindergarten and it is my absolute favorite grade to teach!  We actually started last Monday, August 18th but as usual I am late in posting.  Sometimes life takes priority, what can I say!  Anyway, wanted to share my children's first day of school pictures and I hope you all enjoy them.


We started the day with a hearty breakfast, breakfast burritos!  Baby N thinks he is King and likes to eat on top of the table!  Silly boy!

 East Side

Our School Room

West Side

 Baby N (age 2)
Tot School-A.K.A "Run all over the house and do whatever I please school"

 J Bug (age 4 3/4)
Pre-K

 Little E (age 6)
Kindergarten

Miss "I" (age 12)
7th Grade

 Mr. "C" (age 14)
8th Grade

Mama- The Teacher
(I actually never sit at my desk during the school day. I am always busy doing things.)

This year my children are doing a wide variety of activities and we are using a mix of curriculum.  To see what we are doing read my curriculum post, here.


My kindergartner was soooooo excited to complete his first reading lesson.  He even read a simple story and got to put a sticker on his reading chart!



For my little boy's writing we are using Handwriting Without Tears.  Here are my boys jamming out to the "Where do you start your letters" song.  They are such a hoot!  They love to dance.


More Dancing


 Here they are practicing their F's with the Wet-Dry-Try method.


 Handwriting is fun!


In the afternoons as baby naps, I teach my older children either their History or Science.  While teaching my older children, the little boys do yoga!  They think it is the best.  We have several kid's yoga videos they love to use.


Yoga Time!


That is some of what we did the first day.  It was an absolutely perfect first day of school.  The kids behaved and everything went as planned.  I was so pleased!

Do you homeschool?  I would love to read about your first day/week of school post?  Please share the direct link to your post in the comments section below.
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