Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum and Year-at-a-Glance

One of the best and worst parts of home schooling is choosing your curriculum.  Once you get that decision made, then the excitement is allowed to creep in.  The big box comes in the mail and it's like Christmas in July!  

Sorting through the books and looking at everything the new year holds is so much fun.  Parts of it are overwhelming as you discover the responsibility before you, but ultimately there is a child-like anxiousness to get started .

I have a home school blog over at Silver Creek Academy, but I decided to put this blog post entry here on my family blog.  I'm certain that we have folks in our midst wondering what those Parkers are up to each day for school.  I know there are plenty of misconceptions about home school and I hope that some of those will be thwarted for you (if you are someone that has them) as you take a look at some photos of what our school year is going to be like.  This post is rather photo heavy - but that is just a sign of what is to come for us in our school year!

First, let me introduce you to My Father's World.  This is our curriculum choice.  It was introduced to me by my dear friend N.  This curriculum feels like a perfect fit for our family.  Feel free to go straight to their website and check it out if you like.

Then, take a look at this globe.  I'd been pricing them at Hobby Lobby and hadn't managed to catch a sale -- $30 and up.  This beauty was at Wal-Mart for $15.  Now, that's what I'm talking about!  Granted, the quality wasn't of supreme status, but with just Caleb and I using it, I don't see any reason for it not to serve it's purpose.

Yes, Math is a part of first grade.  I am the proud owner of a My Father's World First Grade Teachers manual that tells me step by step what to do each day.
The yellow pages in the manual are for everything that is Math.
And we have our trusty Complete Book of Math for grades 1-2
In addition to the math workbook we'll continue learning to count money with our coin system....
 And our daily math activity worksheet....

 We can't forget the 100 Chart.  We did this in Kindergarden as well, so Caleb will be very familiar with it.

Our curriculum does have Music.  We will follow the guide and learn about musical instruments and use the Peter and the Wolf CD as well.  I'm not sure yet what other recommendations the teacher's manual has, but we'll find them eventually!

 Science should be a lot of fun as we work our way through the three books that follow.

Art will not be forgotten as we use the Drawing with Children book and two other Come Look With Me: Enjoying Art with Children books.

What I think will be interesting with the Come Look with Me books is that we will study a picture - - and by the looks of this one they will be very beautiful.   
We'll have some questions to go over that will help us get a little deeper into the where/why of the painting's...
Followed by some snippets of the painter....looks very interesting to me.

What about Problem Solving?  Got it covered with the wooden blocks and pattern animals book.  It's not just time to be silly with the blocks, although there will be time for that too.
The book has very specific goals in mind meant to challenge little minds and help them learn to solve problems.

A big part of our home school curriculum is the Bible.  Actually it's a bible based curriculum.  He'll have his own Bible Reader....
Written for a 1st grader...

and bible notebook....
And a Psalm, Proverb, or other applicable scripture each week that he will have to transpose onto a blank page in his bible notebook.
 There is also some space on that page for drawing a picture to go with the bible story.  I'm hoping he'll step outside his box and do a bit of that drawing.  To date, it's not been his favorite thing to do.
We will also have a bible time line.  It will be placed on the wall.  Not sure which one yet.  I'll have to figure out how long it's going to be so that we put it in the right place.
 These are some of the items we'll add to the time line (there are several more pages of pictures) as Caleb learns different stories involving places and people.  I'm REALLY looking forward to this for myself!

Between the Student Workbook and Student Sheets he'll have plenty of Language Arts (reading & writing) and worksheets to complete.
The first 9 or 10 days of 1st grade is a review of what was learned in, this worksheet is a review of pictures and words he covered last year.
 Then the assignments start to get more complicated and from what I've read, 1st grade moves at a quick pace.  Here's praying Caleb is ready for that (or maybe the prayers should be for me.  ;o)  ).

 Again, an easy page....
 That quickly turns to more writing...
 There will be some fun mixed in with activities like this one.

A big part of the MFW curriculum is to always have a full Book Basket.  With Kindergarden, Caleb absolutely loved to be read to.  He would sit and listen to book after book after book!  It was usually me saying, "my throat hurts son....let's stop for today."  MFW is very good about providing lists of books that are appropriate and go along with the curriculum phases.   I can pull book titles from this resource....
Or look through the 40 pages of lists that are compiled in the back of my teacher's manual.  They are broken down by categories and are based on what we are studying at that time in science, match, etc.

Here's a picture of our book basket.  The books you see in it are from the library.  MFW recommends the library as a major resource.  Who can really afford to go out and buy ALL these books that you will use to cover the different subjects?  There are the rare folks I suppose, but that's not us.  ;o)  

The books you see in our basket in the photo are some we picked up after school was over.  These are what we call "just for fun books."  Our trips to the library are often, sometimes once or twice a week.  The cool thing about the library I use (Northwest Branch in Annaville), is that I can go on-line to their website, look up the books I need for home school, put them on "hold," and they will pull the books from the shelves for me.  All I have to do is wait for the email that says they are ready (1-2 days) and then go pick them up.  I can run in, they scan my card and the books and were gone.  It is such a blessing for a busy mom who has lots of things to get done.

Isn't it crazy to think that all of this - - and SO much more - - is available to us to teach our kids from home?   I'm amazed at the HUGE quantities of resources, free and otherwise, available for home school.

Okay - I know, there is one other thing that non-homeschoolers have a hard time with.  Socialization.  Is that an issue for you?  It was for me.  It was the first thing I thought about when home schooling came to mind.  What about peers for your kids to be around?  I still think that is important.  Only, I like to choose who those people are going to be.  

Right now Caleb is around our church family at least twice a week.  He engaged in soccer last fall and was around LOTS of kids (and many I would rather he not be permanently associated with LOL.)   He had three days of VBS this summer, and 4 weeks of swimming lessons where he was around lots of other kids that are outside his regular path in life.  

This year I am going to register him into two home school groups:  HOST and ABC Home School Group.  They will offer play dates, field trips and so many other things that remain to be seen.  Things like Science Fair competitions will be available to him when he is grade appropriate.  The options are endless and we're excited to see where and what we'll do this year.

What do we ask of you?  The one reading this - - if you're still here because I know this post was really long, we ask for your prayers.  We need your prayers.  Any child in school needs prayers whether in public or home school, so please add us to your list if we're not already there.  

Pray for open minds, wisdom and discernment.  Pray for positive attitudes and a continued love for learning.  Don't pray for know how God will answer that?  He'll give me something to be patient for.  Ha!  All kidding aside.  This is a wonderful journey and kindergarden was just the beginning.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Most of my future home school posts will be posted on our home school blog.  Feel free to check that out any time for an update on how things are going -

Love and blessings,
Pam, John, & Caleb

Friday, July 22, 2011

Girls Are A Growing!

I had a request recently for updated photo of the girls - - our twin heifers that came to live on our homestead earlier this year.   You'll have to excuse the fogginess of the photo.  I discovered my new camera needs a few minutes to adjust itself after being inside our air conditioned home before snapping photos outside.  I guess I could have told you I was messing with some of the features on my camera and trying to make the picture look all mystical or something.  But, honesty is the best policy, right?  Ha ha...

Here are the girls now....

And just for remembrance sake - here's one from when they first arrived.  It would be nice to have the trough there also to compare, but I think you can see how much they've filled out.  Even with the drought, I guess we're feeding them enough. 

Take a look at the ground in both the new and old photos.  Not much to munch on these days.  Praying God blesses us with rain...

God bless,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time for Something New

Well, it finally happened.  My three plus year old digital camera bit the dust.  I guess I should more accurately say it didn't completely die, but the LCD screen quit working.  So, with a pitch black screen, I'd take pictures and pray that I was at least getting something worth using.  It was proving to be quite complicated to use and honestly, if the screen was giving out, how much longer before the entire thing gave it up?

I'd been saving my baking money because I knew for a while now I wanted a new camera.  It wasn't a necessity until mine started acting up.  I'm not sure even that qualified it as a necessity though.  LOL Honestly, cameras are not high on the priority list of things to purchase, nor did we have money in our budget to set aside to buy Pam a camera just because she wanted one.  Luckily, I had a rush of cookie orders that aided in my endeavour and pushed me into qualified camera purchasing mode.  And because I knew I wanted something a little nicer than one I'd had for three years, it required a bit of patience on my part to get to this point.  With this blogging thing, well, nice pictures make it more worth while.

I was quite overwhelmed at the variety of cameras out there, as well as how much they cost.  So, I spent a little time researching on-line, going through Consumer Reports, and went to a couple of stores before settling on a Sony Cybershot HX100V.  My sister-in-law has a Sony and loves it.  Besides, how can you go wrong with a Sony?  My brand was new to the shelves at Best Buy and the clerk said they were having a hard time keeping them in stock so had recently ordered a large quantity of them.  Okay, so they probably tell everybody that to make a sale, but it had most of the features I wanted and was in my price range.  I did not have $1000 or more to spend on a camera, but so far I am quite happy with the results.

Here are a few photos I've taken....this isn't the best showing of the quality of picture the camera takes.  If I left them at their natural quality, I'm afraid it would take too long for my blog post to open for you to even read it.  So, I've reduced the file size a bit.

Not sure of the quality on this one since I reduced it, but Caleb put on his clown nose and I couldn't resist snapping a shot.  The library gave him the clown nose for registering for the summer reading program.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he would ever put it on, much less let me snap a photo of him wearing it!!

So, wish me luck as I practice and learn what all this camera can do.

God bless, 

Lov'n Swimming

That's my boy!  We just have to give him some time to get used to something!  This post mainly consists of pictures from swimming lessons.  I chose some of my favorites and it ended up being quite a few pictures.  So, head's up....Not a lot of words from me, just pictures of Caleb learning how to swim!

In these first few pictures the kids have a floating device around their waist.   It helps them stay up out of the water long enough to try to paddle and kick.  Caleb does pretty well with this, but he's used to swimming around with a life jacket on, so really it's not that new to him.

I just love these where his face is submerged.  He used to be so scared  (just a month ago) and now he doesn't even think about it anymore.

I just love the little smirk he has on his face.  Makes me wonder what he's up to.  Hee hee...

In these next three photos, the kids are gathering toys that float beneath the surface.  He's gotten pretty good at going under and coming back up with a prize.  Here you can see a yellow/orange ring in his hands. 
Here he's under...... 
And back up with more toys.... 

This learning experience pushed Caleb a bit outside of his comfort zone.  I used a feature on my camera so that I could take pictures quickly, one after the other.  If you look closely you can see he's slowly going under the water...the idea is that they go under further than when their feet are on the bottom of the pool.  The instructor keeps her hands on them and sorta pushes them deeper so they can grab the floating toys.  Well, Caleb was nervous so she held him and they went down together.  I don't have a picture of it, but even with his nervousness he came back up with three of the toys that were down there.  Yeah Caleb!

Here they put on life jackets and were in the deep end of the pool. 

Caleb's a pro - - floating around with the life jacket. 

I would be safe is saying that the big slide is one of his least favorite things the instructor makes him do.  He's doing it, but he's not a big fan of the experience.  The first times he went down you could hear his feet squeaking along the sides of the tube.  As you can see, he's gotten past that and is flying out the bottom of the tube this time!

It's fun when they let you go across the lily pads...Here he's climbing up.

Crossing over from #2 to #3 lily pad.

Moving from #3 to #4 lily pad.

Which brings us to the end, sliding off the lily pad back into the pool.  This was the tail end of lessons yesterday so they let the kids just have a little fun for a few minutes.

I'm so proud of my little man.  He's learned so much in such a short amount of time.  He's still very intimidated with the things that push him outside his comfort zone, but he's getting there.  I'm looking forward to next week to see how much further he'll get in this process before swimming lesson season is over.

God bless,