Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Set up record keeping system: I found Homeschool Tracker to keep track of grades, attendance, and other school related information. It's simple to use and free. That's a great combination!
Sort books: I went through all of our school books and divided them into three categories: use this year, use in the future and sell/give away. While doing this, I also listed all of the books for this year in Homeschool Tracker.
Order books: After reviewing our library, I ordered books that we needed for our upcoming year. In addition to the Tapestry of Grace curriculum, I ordered math and supplemental language arts materials.
Learn Tapestry of Grace (my favorite step!): I spent a couple of days perusing my new materials and becoming familiar with how the system works. I wrote out lesson plans and made folders for each week and put the necessary materials in each week for each child.
Assemble supplies: My girls and I made a list of everything they wanted/needed in terms of supplies. We sorted through what we already had and then went shopping for everything else. Each child assembled her binders and put the supplies away in her drawer.
Order books (part 2): Today I ordered all of the literature we will use for the first few weeks of TOG. I had three browsers open - my local library, my almost local library and Amazon. I searched the libraries first, then ordered the book at Amazon if neither library had it.
Wait: Now that I have everything together, I will enjoy a week off before we start. We are all eager to begin!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
2. "Beside Still Waters" by Tricia Goyer
3. Well Planned Day Planner, 2011-2012
4. 1 year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Every couple of weeks, I visit the Netflix website and add movies to our queues. We have two queues, one for instant movies streamed to our computer or wii and the other for DVDs mailed to our home. We can watch the movies in the instant queue in any order so this one is easy to maintain. Any movie that offers the choice for instant queue, that is what I choose. As for the DVD queue, the movies are listed in the order they will be shipped. I am careful to rotate movies to please everyone in the family, so sometimes I have to adjust the order of these movies. There are a few types of movies that make their way into our queue. We watch a lot of documentaries about topics we are discussing, especially in social studies and science (Drive Thru History). When we have read a book and there is a movie version available, we watch those (most recently The Hiding Place and Chronicles of Narnia). Our youngest daughter likes to watch the cartoons that have a little lesson in them (her favorite is Sid the Science Kid). As for entertainment, we use Netflix rather than the theater or most other rental places. We sometimes wait longer for movies, but we don't mind. Our recent favorites have been The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry and The Ultimate Gift. We definitely get our money's worth each month.
- Check the source of the movie before showing it to your kids. You don't want to be caught off guard when a science video states something as fact that is simply theory or a history video promotes a point of view that disagrees with your beliefs. I'm not saying don't show the video because sometimes these are great discussion starters, just be prepared.
- Know that it's OK to only show parts of a movie. You pay a flat fee for Netflix, regardless of how many movies you watch. Take advantage of this and share clips with your kids. There have been several occasions when we have used bits and pieces of movies to emphasize a specific something and known that we never would watch the entire movie.
- As with anything, take caution in what you introduce. There have been occasions when we have told our kids before watching a show that we are watching a specific portion for a specific purpose and this will not be a regular part of our queue. This has helped us avoid heartache with some particular series that have a good portion here and there but are not generally on our approved list.
- This may be a no-brainer, but talk to your kids about what they have watched and train them to be discerning. We have an on-going dialogue about what is and isn't appropriate for our family. Our kids (even the young ones) are great critics and have decided without prompting to turn some things off. This is success to me because I want to raise people who can make responsible decisions for themselves, not just do what I tell them to do.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Here are some items that have been on our list: card-making, sewing, baking, reading, correspondence, art projects, music, board games, outdoor play, playing on the wii fit, playing educational games on the computer, pottery, scrapbooking, rearranging bedrooms, science experiments, water play, play-dough, dress up, dog training, coloring pages, crafts, foreign language, drama practice, sudoko, word searches, crossword puzzles, and Bible study.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Polished Cornerstones is the first of their publications that we have implemented in our homeschool curriculum. We discovered it at a conference and began using it the following Monday. The book takes the girls (and their mother) through a variety of activities as they study qualities found in a Godly woman. For each quality, there is a list of Bible verses and suggested activities for younger and older girls. Families may choose as many activities as they like before moving on to the next section.
Although I have two beginners and one intermediate, I have chosen to do intermediate activities with all of them so far. We do the discussions and activities together and greatly enjoy doing so. For example, the girls and I read Proverbs 31 together and then categorized the woman's traits according to a worksheet in the book. The next week, we read the book of Ruth. I planned to only read one chapter a day for a week, but the girls were so upset when I closed my Bible on the first day that we finished the story in one day. A couple of days later we used another worksheet to compare Ruth to the Proverbs 31 woman. Between activities, we discuss what we read and process through it a little more. Each evening, the girls are eager to tell their dad about what they learned that day and he asks questions to further their understanding.
Anything that gets my girls excited about becoming a more Godly woman is great with me (and my husband). Polished Cornerstones is a crowd pleaser in our house and I look forward to using more of Doorposts' resources in the future.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Mean Mom doesn't stop at clothing choices. Television, movies, activities, how they spend their allowance, and now even friends are subject to scrutiny. We don't usually just say no. We ask questions and encourage our children to make choices. Is that (show/movie/activity/friend) building your character? Are the characters in that show demonstrating the values you want to have? Is this really how you want to spend your money knowing that it will take you time to earn more? Is that friend encouraging you to make good choices or influencing you to make bad choices? Is this a place where people will be making choices that you want to make or a place that would be better to avoid. I am happy to say that most of the time, our girls make choices that we are happy with. Sometimes, we discuss their choices and guide them to a better choice. This often happens with activities they share with friends. Occasionally, we let them go down a wrong path and experience the consequences. Once when we were driving, the girls didn't want to drink the water we had in the car. Instead they bought sodas at the gas station. Later, we stopped for ice cream and the girls didn't have money to buy any. Cruel? Not really. Did they drink the free water next time? Yes, and they had money for ice cream at the end of the trip. Lesson learned. You must live within a budget and that means making choices. I didn't care if they used their money to buy the soda or the ice cream, I just don't want them blindly spending money as if there is no limit.
I recently overheard my oldest daughter telling the younger two that I'm not really a mean mommy. I love them and I'm teaching them to make good choices. She also said, "the neighbor's mom is nice, but those girls don't make very good choices because she lets them do things they shouldn't do." Occasionally, my daughter even tells me that she is glad that I take the time to help her make good choices. Once she asked me to help her find the perfect husband when she is ready to get married. I think by then she won't need my help as much as she thinks she does now. I also think that one day she will earn a T-shirt with "Mean Mom" written across the front.
**For the record, we have amended the dress code. Who knew that our 10-year-old would have legs so long that the only thing long enough to be modest would be Bermuda shorts?
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I have wanted a whiteboard almost as long as we have been homeschooling. I could never justify getting one because we used other items instead. The girls have small whiteboards that we would use for lessons and we have a magnetic calendar that we hang on the wall. Nevertheless, I wanted a whiteboard. That great expanse of white, begging for words to fill its blank space, called out to me as I passed it in the school supply aisle. Recently, I decided that I would get a white board to fill the drab beige space on our school wall. It would go under the alphabet cards and above the magnetic calendar. To my utter disappointment, the space at the store where my white board once waited patiently for me to claim it was vacant. Hoping a store employee could locate it, I waited patiently as she scanned the shelf tag. Her news was beyond disappointing: they were out of stock and would not be in for 2 weeks. I drug myself to the next aisle, hoping it wsa just a bad dream. As I looked up, I quickly forgot about the whiteboard because what I saw was breath-taking. Before me was a Crayola Dry Erase Poster. It had colorful lines (also begging to be filled with words), was 17 x 24" big and cost half the price of my white board. I quickly checked out and brought home my newest friend. We have kept the poster busy with discussions around the poster, all of us taking turns writing on it. The girls enjoy copying things from it, adding to it, and participating in group activities again. My wish came true!
Monday, March 28, 2011
03/28/11It didn't take the girls long to realize that the homeschool board was different. They were excited about the prospect of a special trip. I warned them to be attentive this week because other surprises will be showing up. I'm not sure what the surprises will be, but April Fool's Day will definitely be fun this year.
Today is Monday, March 28, 2011. Our character quality this week is attentiveness. I am excited about the audition today at the theater. If we get our work finished early, we will go to the museum on the way to the theater.
As usual, I referred to The Character Journal for Bible verses, songs, and more. I also went to Character First! for more activities and ideas.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Our family recently began formally studying character qualitiesas part of our homeschool day. When looking for lessons, I had two main criteria:
1. I wanted something that all of my children would benefit from
2. I wanted something that went beyond the basics and incorporated scripture.
started with comprehensive lists of character qualities found at Character First and the Duggar Family's website. I used these lists to create a list for our family. Here is the entry on our list for humility:
Humility vs. Pride
Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
Generally, we begin a new quality on Wednesday. Each child receives a worksheet and writes the quality at the top of the page. On Wednesday, we talk about the word, the dictionary definition, its synonyms and antonyms, and the operational definition. We go through the operational definition word by word, taking it down to simple terms. Then each child tells me what it means to her. Lastly, we discuss other character qualities that work with this quality. On Thursday, we review the meaning of the word and relate it to the Bible. We discuss several verses relating to the quality. We then talk about a few key Bible figures who do and do not live this quality. We also talk about how Jesus shows this quality in his life. Over the weekend, I look for ways to remind the kids about the quality in every day life. On Monday, we review what we learned the prior week and move on to the application. We talk about how we can live out this quality as individuals and as a family. This is the best part, because the kids make connections to their life choices. On Tuesday, we again review what we learned over the past few days and the kids draw pictures of themselves displaying this quality. We wrap up the quality by putting the worksheets in a book the kids are each creating.
A few tips: I found it works well to begin the quality on Wednesdays for two reasons. Wednesday is the day that we are most consistently home so I can expect to have a good chunk of time to allocate for this. Also, it works well to be in the middle of a lesson on the weekend. The kids are still focused on what we are learning rather than in between lessons. Rather than being a gap, the weekends have become an extension of our learning time. Secondly, I naturally expect our older children to do more writing and thinking in these lessons that what I expect from our younger children. As with anything, don't allow your children to burn out. When I see that my younger ones have had enough, I help with the writing or change gears. Thirdly, with all of the language lessons built into these activities, you must count this time for language arts hours or you will be cheating yourself!
To study the character qualities, I pieced several things together for our family. In addition to the lists I mentioned above, I found a good start at Home Life Ministries. In their Character Journals, you will find a wealth of information including stories, Bible verses, and my favorite, a list of five "I Wills" for each quality. We work those into each week.
Do you have another great resource for character studies? Please comment and share them here.
Friday, January 7, 2011
DD: Am I a tomboy? Me: Well, not exactly because you like to wear fancy dresses. DD: Am I a girly-girl? Me: Not exactly because you like to climb, play rough, load your pockets with rocks, and collect frogs. DD: So what am I? Me: You are you, just the way God made you.
My girls love helping their Daddy in the garage and can identify types of wrenches or screwdrivers. They have taken dance classes and played softball and basketball. They make cards with me, play piano, sew, knit, and act in plays. They like to ride in their dad's tow truck, ride quads, and help their grandpa take care of his calves and piglets. They watch NASCAR and football with their grandma and our whole family bakes cookies together at Christmas. Torn up jeans and stained shirts fill their drawers but poufy dresses fill their closets. Toy boxes hold Legos, baby dolls, dress up clothes, Tech Decks, Barbies, and science kits.
Me (to DD): Do you still want a label? It would be "just right."