Some Curriculum Changes

Posted on January 15, 2011. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, Karate, kids, Money | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The end of 2010 was a time of change for the munchkin and I.  He finished his spelling program and his science program well ahead of schedule (like in 1 semester instead of 2).  At the same time, we slowed down in math to consolidate multiplication and division facts, so we haven’t finished our 1st semester of math yet.  No sweat, he started the school year 2 years ahead of grade level in math, so if he finishes it 1 2/3 years ahead…well, I think he’ll be fine.

So here’s our updated curricula:

  • Math – Singapore Math 3A, followed by flashcards/worksheets/computer games to solidify facts, then moving into 3B when he’s ready
  • Spelling – we have started Megawords 1 and will be learning rules of syllabication, this will probably last us the rest of the year
  • History – still Story of the World 3, no changes there
  • Science – we finished The Elements and are now using living books about chemistry and watching videos from The Happy Scientist website, and in the spring we’re going to do a science project
  • Language Arts – still plugging away with MCT Island level, we find it to be a great program
  • Logic – he finished the Mindbenders logic puzzles book and has moved into a Critical Thinking Academy brain teasers book

He still goes to the public school one day a week for their gifted pull-out class.  And we are still doing piano lessons, martial arts, and painting, and we have added scheduled ‘outside time’ and home ec projects as well.  Home ec has been fun – often we do a cleaning project, but sometimes we cook something, or repair something, or work in the yard or garden…mostly just whatever needs to be done around the house.  I think it is good experience for him to see what is involved with keeping a household running.  As he gets a bit older and has more of an allowance to work with, I plan to add budgeting as part of home ec as well.  Right now he only gets $2 a week for chores; it is hard to budget when he doesn’t even have enough to buy a Happy Meal each week, lol!


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Back to school!

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We started our new school year last Monday!  Yes, we started early.  One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can set our own schedule, and we like to take an extra week off for the little man’s birthday, so we start a week early too.

This is our third year homeschooling – I can hardly believe it!  We still haven’t added Latin to our curriculum (Latin is a must for any well-rounded classical education) but we did add a precursor to logic in the form of Mindbenders puzzles from the critical thinking company.  So far they are a hit.  Actually, he liked the look of them so much that he started working his way through the book over the summer.  I’m going to have to move up to the next book soon!  Anyway, for any interested parties here is our list for this year:

  • math – Singapore Math 3A and 3B
  • language arts – MCT Island level
  • spelling – Spelling City
  • science – The Elements, plus classes at the Florida Aquarium
  • history – Story of the World 3
  • music – piano lessons
  • art – painting lessons and art history
  • logic – Mindbenders logic puzzles
  • foreign language – still looking for an affordable Spanish teacher
  • PE – karate (and maybe swim team in the spring)

I have my excel spreadsheet with our schedule broken down by day, with the assignments all laid out to finish on time by the end of the year.  Of course, a lot can happen in the next 9 months – that is why I use a spreadsheet instead of a pen and paper, it is so much easier to adjust.  But back to that benefit of homeschooling – we adjust our schedule to life, rather than trying to adjust life to fit a schedule.

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More Adventures in Homeschooling

Posted on September 6, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, Karate, kids | Tags: , , , , |

We have been back to school for a full month now, and so far things are going pretty well.  We are learning about the Middle Ages in history, Earth and Space in science, parts of speech and such in grammar, phonics rules in spelling, italic style handwriting (we finished basic italic this past week and are ready to start cursive!), and multiple column addition and subtraction in math.  We are also about to start a very basic introduction to multiplication and division, which is very exciting!  On top of that, coop classes with our homeschool group are starting in a few weeks and I am going to be leading the geography class.  We aren’t sure what Jonathon is going to be taking yet as we are still waiting for the final schedule of classes, but we should know soon, I hope.  Oh, and we are trying to sign up together for a class on basic art techniques at the local technical school.  They have short (usually 6-12 weeks) classes geared for adults who want to continue their education without committing to a degree or certification program, and the professors tend to be pretty flexible, so hopefully they will allow us to take the class together.  Jonathon is still taking karate – he is now a green belt –  and is signed up to start tball in a few weeks.  Needless to say, doing all this in addition to my 2 part time jobs has kept me pretty busy!  But I think we are set up for a good year, and I’m looking forward to learning so many new things together.

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Adventures on Safari

Posted on August 7, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Field Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Yep, that’s right.  Safari.  We found a safari parkin Pine Mountain, Georgia (which is located square in the middle of nowhere) and did a weekend trip with the grandparents a few weeks ago.  We had a blast!  It is the kind of park where you drive through and the animals are roaming about, most of them coming up to cars and harassing people for food – only the approved food you buy from the park though, you don’t want to make the animals sick!  There were several different varieties of cattle, buffalo, deer, and pigs, as well as zebras, giraffes, and other more exotic animals.  The park has vans available to rent for the drive starting at about $7, which I highly recommend.  You can take your own car if you want, but the animals REALLY get up close and personal, and as the sign at the rental stand says – renting a small van is cheaper than a good car wash.  Also, the rental vans have bars across the windows (at least in the back) which can come in handy when a large smelly creature is in search of a tasty treat you are holding back for the next animal!

There is also a more zoo-like section where you can see potentially dangerous animals in pens and cages.  They had monkeys, alligators, rhinos, bears, lions, tigers, even ligers (half lion, half tiger, and absolutely huge)! 

Some of the animals look a little worse for wear, and we were disappointed with the reptile show, which consisted of one iguana on a leash.  Otherwise we had a fabulous time!  Here are some of the pics from our adventure:

safari park 130

safari park 132

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safari park 164safari park 146

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Adventures in Swimming!

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids | Tags: , , |

Here they are, pics of the first swim class this year:

Playing in the shallows.

in the shallows

Practicing with the teacher.


practicing 2

And there he goes!


I couldn’t believe it!  He swam by himself for the first time on his first day of class!  He even dove (yes, head first, arms above his head, the whole deal) off the diving board, then swam to the ladder!  Go Munchkin!

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We start swim lessons today!

Posted on June 8, 2009. Filed under: Daily life | Tags: , , , |

The little guy has had pool and water safety lessons since he was an infant – we did the water babies class through the YMCA every year.  But this is his first year to have real swim lessons.  We are going to a private teacher who does small classes at her home, and she is highly recommended by several parents of other kids we know.  I plan to take pictures, so hopefully I will have them up in the next couple of days.

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The FPEA Covention

Posted on June 7, 2009. Filed under: Homeschool | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yes, I did go.  And yes, it was several weeks ago and I’m just now getting around to posting about it.  What can I say?  It’s summer. 

Anyway, I wound up going by myself since hubby had to work and my grandmother had guests come into town unexpectedly, but the experience was certainly still worthwhile.  The convention itself was huge, with what appeared to be well over a hundred different vendor booths.  I learned about a lot of different curriculum options that are available, and a lot of local booksellers that have great prices.  I also learned about educational programs at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and the Florida Aquarium– both of which are not too far from me.  They each have monthly classes during the school year geared toward different age groups.  The aquarium (of course) has classes on various sea life topics, and MOSI has all sorts of science classes.  MOSI also has a huge science library that members can use.  ***I wanted to put  a link in for MOSI as well, but apparently they are having issues with their site – Google popped up a warning that there was malware infecting computers from parts of the site.

As Marie from All About Spellingpointed out in her reply to my previous post, they did not have a booth at the convention.  I have looked more at their materials, which seem very thorough, but for right now we are taking a different approach to spelling.  My little guy seems to be a natural speller much as he is a natural reader, so we aren’t going as in depth in spelling as we would with most spelling curriculums.  Instead we are using a website called Spelling City.  It has Dolch list words for each grade level already entered, and you can input your own spelling lists or vocabulary lists as well.  Then the student can be taught the words by the program, and can play various games with each list to reinforce the words.  I will probably take him through all the Dolch words for each grade, then start adding vocab lists based on our reading in other subjects.  Actually, he likes the site and has already started on the lists of Dolch words.

One curriculum I found at the convention that I really liked was La Clase Divertida.  It’s a Spanish language program that is geared for elementary students.  It has videos to go with the lessons, as well as a workbook, and it is designed so that the whole family can do it together if desired.  I was on a pretty tight budget and had not planned to purchase any language curriculum, but when I am ready to do so I will probably get this one.

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Home, Sweet Home

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , |

The little guy and I spent most of the month of April traveling (not necessarily together), but we are back home now for a while.  He has another trip planned with his local set of grandparents on Memorial Day weekend – they are going to Kentucky for a family reunion and to do yearly maintenance on family graveyards there.  I think it will be an interesting trip for him.  (Plus he’ll get to put another flag on his US map – he marks every city he has visited.  First time in Kentucky!)

While he is gone, I will be attending the FPEA (Florida Parent Educators Association) Annual Homeschool Convention.  My grandmother (who just turned 80 – happy birthday!) is going with me to help me navigate through the multitude of vendors who will doubtless be hawking their wares.  The convention itself should be interesting too.  They have numerous free lectures on a variety of topics.  Some are vendor workshops, to help customers better use their programs.  Others are tips from long time homeschoolers.  They even have several lectures by frugality experts about living and homeschooling on a budget.  So anyone who will be in the Orlando, Florida area on Memorial Day weekend should definitely attend!

Oh, and I know I have quite a few camera crazy relatives, especially when they are around kids, so any of you who have cute pics of the munchkin’s visit feel free to post them (or links to them) here in comments.

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A Parents-only Adventure

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: Daily life | Tags: , |

That’s right, for the first time since our son was born more than 5 years ago, hubby and I are about to go on vacation without him.  He will, of course, be having a wonderful time as well, since he is staying with family (1 week with each set of grandparents in Alabama) and will probably be spoiled rotten when I get him back.  In the meantime hubby and I will be enjoying a short cruise to the Bahamas and then a few days at a resort in Florida.  After that we will have a few peaceful days at home before the munchkin returns.  It’s kind of hard because I only left him in Alabama yesterday, and I already miss him!  On the other hand, I did get to sleep in this morning.  😉

For my son the vacation adventure won’t end when he comes home, though.  He gets to be home with us for a day or two, then he’s going to stay with the Florida grandparents for a long weekend while I help househunt for some of the Alabama grandparents!  (Yes, he has a lot of grandparents.  It can get confusing sometimes, but there’s lots of love.)

I’m sure we will have pictures of all the vacation adventures up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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Adventures with Dinosaurs

Posted on April 8, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids | Tags: , , , |

We’re visiting family in Alabama right now, and we just happened to be here during the time that a new live show called Walking with Dinosaurs was playing.  We were able to see the last show a couple of days ago.  It was amazing.  They had life-size realistic moving models of dinosaurs that put on a show describing life in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.  We saw at least 10 of the dinosaurs, maybe more.  And they were so life-like!  The smaller dinos were moved by an actual person inside the suit.  If you looked closely you could see the person’s legs.  The bigger dinos were set on specially made small hydraulic cars driven by a person entirely hidden from view.  In addition to the person moving the dino, there were 2 other people operating the robotics systems that made the dino move it’s head, tail, and any upper limbs, and make sounds.  They even blinked their eyes!  Needless to say, it was a dream come true for a 5 year old.  He had a great time!  I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to go, with or without kids.  Here are some pics from the show:




My only complaint – I wish we could have gone down to the arena floor and looked at them up close.  I think the munchkin would have gotten a kick out of seeing how they work.  We watched a PBS special that explained it the night before the show, so he would know they weren’t real and there was nothing to be scared of (a life size angry mama T-rex can be pretty scary…and loud).  But it would have been even better to see it for himself.  Ah well, you can’t have everything I guess.

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