Thursday, August 22, 2013

Well school is off to a good start!   For the most part things are going very well!!  The kids LOVE our science curriculum.  I am loving the English and the gentle approach it takes.  It has already spurred some great conversation!

Seth is having a rough start with reading...just because he is dealing with the "I don't wannas".   We are trying to work through that.  We will get through somehow!  (It is my life's mission right now LOL).  We are going to the library tomorrow afternoon.  I am hoping and praying to find some books that will spark his interest and light that fire for reading!  I know we can do it.  We just need the right spark!

Wee are all LOVING reading 'Mr. Popper's Penguins'! I have never heard so many giggles through the reading of a book.  I sometimes find it hard to read because I myself am too busy giggling.

Yesterday and today the kids did their watercolor penguin picture during our reading time.  They sure did enjoy that!

 (don't you love Alyssa's spiderman shirt?!?! LOL!  It's a sad thing to be a younger sister to boys sometimes! She don't care though!)

Here are their finished pictures...

 Alyssa's (she watercolored for a good 30 minutes - can't you tell! LOL)
 and Seth's!  He was so excited.  He did all his crayon work with a white crayon and was excited when it showed up through the watercolor.

I had some other pictures from the other day...well I thought I did...until I realized today that I was taking pictures without a card in the camera!  UGH!!!  Thankfully I noticed today and was able to capture them working on their watercolor pictures!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Day of School!!

Well we survived our first day of school!!  :-)  And I must say it was an AWESOME day!  I really could not have asked for any better!  The kids were well behaved and they did well on their work after being on a break!  This is one happy teacher/mommy!!!  :-)

And of course I have some pictures to share of our first day!!  :-)

Alyssa did VERY well today!!  She loved her new puzzles (today she worked on matching mommas and babies).  We did several lessons in her workbook because she just wanted to keep going and she is grasping everything so well.  She colored and read books and was quiet all morning!  GO ALYSSA!

Here is Seth working on his reading using his ipad (I found an app where I can record my voice and a white board with text, pictures, markings, etc... kind of, in a way, clones me to free me to work with another child!)  He did very well on his independent work today!!  His handwriting was good and his reading comprehension was good today.  GO SETH!!

Here is Aaron working on his reading workbook.  He was so excited today and so eager to learn.  It is fun to watch!!
 I also had to get this shot of Aaron working on his math!  He was counting pigs today! :-)

Here are all three of them ready for the science lesson to start!!  They were coloring a picture of a jaguar today while I did our reading of our lesson.

It was a fantastic day!!  Hopefully that means it is going to be a great year!

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

First of School Pictures!!

We are ready for the start of school tomorrow!!

Yesterday we went with Daddy and saw the new movie Planes!!  It was a very very cute movie!!  We also took the boys to get hair cuts!

Today we did "orientation".  We discussed the schedule that I want to try.  I explained to the boys how their checklists will work and we talked about some of the new stuff we will be doing.

We also did our first of school interviews and pictures!

Enjoy the pics!!


Until next time,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Watson Christian Academy 2013-2014 School Year Starts August 14th!!

WHOO HOO!!  I have decided that our school year will start next Wednesday, August 14th!  :-)

My mom is coming today and we are going to have a fun week with her.  We are going to hit the Half Price Books and the teacher stores and will make sure I have everything I need!!  :-)  Monday I will have one more day to get things lined out.

Tuesday we will head to the library to get our first set of books and then Wednesday we will start class!!  This will give us 2 days for our first week - 2 days to figure out our new routine!  I am excited and ready to start!! 

Aaron is ecstatic to start too!!  And I really think Seth is too, he just doesn't want to admit it LOL!!!  But he just doesn't realize how much fun we are going to have!

Oh and speaking of books - I have lists for both boys made up of books to read.  All of these books are on the AR book lists.  We don't have access to the AR quizzes of course, but we are using (put out by Sylvan Learning Center).  All the books on the lists have a quiz on that site!  I have come up with a prize list of prizes they can choose from with points they earn from their quizzes!!!  I am really determined to help my boys develop a love for reading!  I am hoping that this will help with that! 

So you should start seeing regular posts again from this blog as we share our school adventures.  I am very excited about this school year (can't you tell??)

Until next time,

Friday, August 2, 2013

Gearing up for our new school year

Hey everyone!!  It has been awhile since I have been on here since finishing out our last school year!!  I have been super busy gearing up for our next school year and I am proud to announce that I am about ready!!!  :-)

I am very excited about our next school year and I thought I would share some of that excitement with yall :-)!!!!

First I thought I would show you, through pictures, some of the things that I have done for this next school year.

Probably one of the biggest things I have done is gone through our huge library of books and color coded them according to reading level.  (Suprisingly I only have a small stack of books that I could not find a reading level for anywhere...).  I rearranged all our bookshelves in the school room and the boys room so all books are shelved by reading level.

As you can see from the picture below I also put a laminated key of what grade level each color means on each of the bookcases.

 Here is a close-up of the 1st grade reading level shelf.  The yellow tab means that it is a 1st grade reading level book.  The pink tab means that there is a quiz on for that book.  I covered all the labels with clear packing tape to help secure them to the books.

I also labeled each of the desks.  I am not assigning desks to a kid because we will be moving around during the day.  Instead I got three different colors of the new colored/patterned duct tape that is out.   I put a strip across the top of each desk.  Then I put a strip across each pencil box that will live in the desks.  I also put strips on glue, scissors, pencils, etc that will stay in each box.  Supplies are assigned to the desk, not the child.  We will see how long we can keep this organized.  :-)
 I thought I would throw in the picture of this desk - to show you we move around during the day.  This desk will be for whoever is doing their "alone" work while I am working with another one at the white board (on the opposite side of the room).

 I have made daily schedule sheets for Seth and Aaron this year.  I laminated the sheet so we can wipe off and reuse each day and got a clipboard for each to keep their sheet on.  This sheet will have their daily schedule for the day that they can check off as they go along.  I will write in page numbers, or other specific information.  Seth will be doing a lot more independent work this year so he will be able to follow this sheet to know what he needs to do next.  I am also giving Aron some independent work as well.

This sheet also includes their morning and afternoon chores.  I am really excited about this and am hoping that this works well for us.

 This is a view of the back - it lists his chores (with space for me to put extra chores) - also on Seth's there is space to write in his current spelling words that he is working on.

 I also put a whiteboard above my desk that has everyone's schedule listed.  The hardest thing about planning this school year has been figuring out how to fit in the one on one time that each child needs - and what the other two will be doing while I am having one on one with one.  I think I have a schedule that will work for us.  The good thing about using a whiteboard though - you can easily erase and redo if need be.

I got different colored magazine holders to hold each of the kids' books.  Each color represents a kid - it is where they can come and easily get the book they need (as they follow their schedule).  The black empty one on top of the other little dresser will be where they will put their work that I need to look at when they are done.

You will see on the shelf underneath the magazine holders are their notebooks - they each have a notebook for science, geography, and literature read-alouds.

Here is a look inside the read aloud notebooks I made.  Basically these are items they can do to keep busy while I read.  I learned last year that they listen so much better if they have something to do with their hands while I read.

For each story I printed off a title page - a picture from a cover of the book.

I then printed off coloring pages that they can color.
 I also tried to find fun mazes or dot-to-dot pages for each book that the kids can work on.
 I also included a watercolor page for each book.  These were printed on cardstock and I made instructions for each.  For example - for the watercolor page for Mr. Popper's Penguins I put instructions to make feather designs with crayon on the penguin and then paint the picture with watercolors.
 I also put some type of mosaic or paper cutting exercise for each book as well.  For Mr. Popper's penguins they are going to do a mosaic penguin.  I put a bag with their construction paper and then put instructions with a sample picture.  The next page is a blue piece of cardstock that they will make they mosaic picture on.
 By the way here is our list of literature books that we will be doing for read-aloud this year:

-         Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
-         The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
-         Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
-         The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
-         The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
-         Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
-         Stuart Little by E.B. White

And yes we do plan on watching the movie for each of these after we finish the book :-)  I also have a sheet in the notebook for each book that is a compare and contrast the book to the movie. (just forgot to get a picture of it).

For Science we are doing Apologia's Exploring Creation Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day.  The kids requested doing animals for science this year.  I was originally going to put my own stuff together.  I was borrowing a friend's copy of the Apologia book that I was going to use as a reference but once I got to reading it I found that I was SUPER impressed with it and decided to purchase my own copy and  just go with it for our science, but I made our own notebooks for it.  :-) 

The notebooks have coloring pages for the kids to color during the readings of the lessons.  I bought Dover coloring books (LOVE LOVE LOVE the detail in those books) and made copies for each of the kids notebooks.  The animals they will be coloring correspond with the animals discussed in the lessons.

I  printed off some of the notebook pages from Apologia that I want us to use.

I also bought the book 'The Complete Book of Animals'.  I had already purchased it when I thought I was doing my own stuff so decided to still use it in their notebooks.  It has nice colorful pages.  There are short readings and questions that go along well with the Apologia book.  I purchased a copy for each boy so I tore out pages and added them to the notebook at the point we were talking about that animal.
I also printed pages that are half lined and half blank because the kids really enjoy the Draw Write Now so I thought we would do drawings of the animals as we go along.  I have purchased all the Draw Write Now books that have animals in them.

We are also doing US Geography this year and I have made the kids notebooks for that as well.

As you can see I put some extra workbooks in the front inside pocket - these are fun workbooks that have dot-to-dot, mazes and word searches for each state.  These are just for filler the kids want to do them.

I also put a US Map in the front.

We are "loosely" following the primary trail from Geography Matters Trail Guide to US Geography.  We are following the state order that is in the book and we will be doing a few of the activities in the book.

For each state I have a print out of the state map - we will be putting the capital city, rivers, mountains, etc on this map.
Then I have a "fun" map of the state that the kids can color.  I also have the book 'Eat Your Way Through the USA' and each week we are going to strive to make some of the fun recipes in there - this will be the night that the kids can help me in the kitchen!

We will also be learning basic map skills.  I got several Scholastic e-books on map skills that I printed out and put in the books for us to work on along the way (we will be doing 2 days of state study and 2 days of map study each week).

I am proud to say that all those notebooks are put together for the ENTIRE year!!  YAY!!!   All we have to do is complete the pages that are in them!! 

For bible we are doing 'Adventures in the Bible Lands' from Ornament Publications.  I thought that it would go well with our "map study" year.  We will be going through the new testament stories as we map out where the events happened on our bible lands maps.

The boys will also be starting the 'Draw to Learn Proverbs' from Notgrass Company.

Other subjects that we will be doing:

Reading - boys will still be doing Pathways!!!  (there is nothing better in my opinion).  Aaron will be completing the 2nd half of 1st grade and then starting 2nd grade.  Seth will be doing 3rd Grade.

Math - We will still be doing Singapore Math - we love it! It works for us!  In fact Alyssa will be doing Singapore Kindergarten.

Handwriting - we are doing Simply Charlotte Mason this year!  YEA!!  Seth will be doing the Print to Cursive and Aaron will be doing the Child's Copybook Readers.

Spelling - Seth will be doing Simply Charlotte Mason's Spelling Wisdom!!  I really love the concept they use and really think it will work well with Seth!

English - we are doing Queen's Homeschool Language Lessons.  Alyss and Aaron will be doing Language Lessons for Little Ones (Alyssa will be level 1 and Aaron will be level 2) and Seth will be doing Language Lessons for the Very Young.

Alyssa will also be working on Christian Liberty Press's k workbooks as she will be learning her letter sounds and how to write letters and numbers, and by the end of the year working on sounding out short words!

I think that pretty much covers everything.  We will be sticking in nature study where we can.  Kids will be getting their art through the Learn to Draw Proverbs, along with the drawing during science and watercolor and paper cutting during read aloud time.

Oh - wanted to show you my planner I made for this year!!  Here it is set up by my desk (using the Pinterest idea of using a recipe holder to stand it up!)

I am still doing the "post-it note" style planner (but I have everything typed up and printed out on different colored paper - so I tape it to the areas).   It is a two page layout - here is the left side of week one.
I also found another neat page on pinterest  - It's a 'Peek at the Week' - where I can write priorities for the week for school and home, schedule (I will put our outings, appts, etc), and note area at bottom to list materials to prepare, emails, phone calls to make, errands to run, etc.  What I did was print it on cardstock and laminate it and will use dry erase fine tip markers to write on it - that way I can wipe off and move to the next week without using up a bunch of paper!

Oh - and I thought I would also throw in a picture of our big maps we got!!  We have a US Map (that we will use as we do US Geography) and world map (that we will use this year to show where the different animals that we are talking about live in the world).

Well I think that is all I have to share for now!!!   I am so excited to get this school year started!!  We are looking at starting Monday August 19th!!!  YAY!!!!

Until next time,