Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeschooling. Show all posts

August 8, 2012

House of the Rising Sons Curriculum 2012-2013 {PreK - 3rd grade}

I'm really REALLY excited this year about the curriculum we'll be using for our boys! Each week a new box arrives filled with new school books and it feels like it's my birthday! A little crazy, I know. But, I love books and all things school related. And, after the difficulty we experienced with the curriculum we chose last year, we are definitely ready for something completely different. We learned that the all-in-one boxed type of curriculum just doesn't work for our family.

We are really blessed to be a part of Columbia Virtual Academy  (CVA) in WA Like most states, they offer an Alternative Learning Experience option for families who desire to homeschool. For us it's an amazing opportunity as we have guidance when needed and can take advantage of all their incredible curriculum offerings. This is our second year enrolling with CVA and we just love our Advisory Teacher. We check in with her weekly which helps me stay accountable and encouraged.

This year we are still sticking with our Unit Studies approach to homeschooling, but adding in many other different things. I suppose this makes us a bit more on the eclectic side as we pull our resources and materials from all over the place, but Unit Studies will remain the foundation for everything else we're doing. So, for instance, when we are learning about habitats in Science, we'll apply our themed approach by pulling in all kinds of resources (mostly from the library and online) to support what we're learning. And even though our boys are not doing the same grade level work (PreK, Kindergarten, First grade and Third grade), much of what they'll be learning can still be combined and adjusted for the levels they are at. (the beauty of Unit Studies...and homeschooling!)

So, after much contemplating and prayer, these are our curriculum choices for the 2012-2013 school year. There's a lot here, but some subjects won't be covered every single day.

Unit Studies
We love Homeschool Share. Most of the studies we do come from there. All of the rest are pulled together from our library and online...all free.

Plants Grown Up: Projects for Sons on the Road to Manhood
God's Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible
Seeds Family Worship: (music) Planting the Seeds of God's Word in the Hearts of Families
Grapevine Studies: Stick Figuring Through the Bible
252 Basics: CUE Boxes 
                    Connect to God's story.
                    Uncover something about life.
                    Experience something together.       
Language Arts 
Explode the Code & Handwriting Without Tears (for each grade level)

Horizons  (for each grade level)

Science Fusion (grades 1 and 3)

Social Studies 
McGraw Hill TimeLinks Social Studies Kit (grades K/1)
Supplement: Kids of Character Literature Set (grades1-2)
Cicero US History, series 1: 600 BC to 1801 (grade
Supplement: American History Readers, American Revolution, American West

Artistic Pursuits, books 1 & 2 (grades 1-3)
Supplement: Insta-Cartooner Kit 

Home Economics 
Training Your Children in Home Economics (all ages)

Foreign Languages 
American Sign Language (for all grades)
Spanish: Risa y Sonrisas

Physical Education  
Happy Feet, Healthy Food  (Healthy Exercise and Eating Journal for Kids) 
Fitness 4 Homeschool - Physical Education Curriculum  
Mt. Si Karate: classes 2x/week

Online Educational Supplements 
Time4LearningEnchanted Learning

For Mom 
Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit (workbook) & Audio CDs
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
The Prayer of Jabez: Bible Study
Educating the Wholehearted Child
Jesus Calling
The Power of a Praying Parent
Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most
Give Them Grace

Resources for Moms here at House of the Rising Sons:

DIY Homeschooling & Blogging Planner
Hope for Weary Moms
How to Teach Your Kids American Sign Language
How we homeschool with Unit Studies
How to turn each day into a fun celebration using Mini Unit Studies
How to teach biblical truth with science experiments
How we organize our school days using workboxes
10 Tips for New Homeschoolers
10 Sick Day Tricks for Mom
Loving, Parenting and Homeschooling Out of the Overflow

**This page contains some affiliate links. I do not receive anything for you clicking on them, but I do receive a small percentage of the sale if you purchase from that link!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

July 17, 2012

10 Random Homeschool Plans

Planning, preparing, organizing...
It's the mode I'm in right now.

We're really enjoying our time off from our normal routines and schedules. With a break from sports and the end of school, we decided to just BE. Our days are lazy and unstructured for the most part. The sun is out and we can't get enough of it around here. I do go back and forth, wondering if it would be better to be a little more structured during the Summer months...doing a little school work here and there. And then I realize that we need this time. We go and go and go 10 months of the year...non-stop. It's okay to take a break and rest.

With this rest comes clarity, vision, inspiration and wisdom. When I can finally take some time to stop and just breathe, my head clears a bit and the ideas and thoughts begin to flow more easily. (sometimes too easily, as in, my brain won't rest at night....working on that.)

As I was saying, this time off during the Summer is allowing our family to breathe and prepare for the next season ahead...homeschooling three boys with a very busy two year old in the mix. Last year's dynamic was much different, with a baby, a preschooler, a kindergartener and a second grader...and it was hard. We did it, but only by the grace of God and with a lot of acceptance of the place we were in at that time.

With this next season of our lives, our boys are a bit older, we're possibly a bit wiser and preparation for the next school year looks a little different this year. I can look back and clearly see what worked and what didn't work so well last year. So, with all this in mind, I wrote a post for the Homeschool Classroom sharing 10 of the things on my mind for this next year of homeschooling. 

Now that our youngest is a big boy, as with all the others, it was time for him to graduate to a new bed. A little sad for me as I see how fast our boys are growing up. Our cozy little home has three small bedrooms. Once E was out of his crib, we figured that we'd have two boys in one room and two in another. Nope. They all wanted to be in the same room. That's a lot of boys in one little room. But, three of them have shared a room for so long now that they're used to it. What's one more? So, after two consecutive nights and one previous failed attempt a week earlier, there was success. There was some getting up and down but our little guy finally settled and went to sleep, peacefully, in his own big boy bed. So happy to have made it through that move with relative ease.

Now, suddenly, we have a spare room, A.K.A blank canvas! This, of course, has thrown my brain into overdrive with ideas of how we can transform it into a study area, office, guest room and school resource room. Currently, it's a mess and I have lots of organizing to do, but the potential for something great is there.

In thinking ahead, I am realizing more and more that the number one thing that needs preparation is my heart. I can plan and plan for our school year ahead, but if my heart is left alone and not tended to, then all the plans in the world won't matter or make a difference. So, I am spending time this Summer preparing my heart by seeking God for His perfect plans and the heart change He has in mind for me. I pray that you'll join me for a 3 Day Series about this topic beginning July 23rd as I believe He has this in mind for all of us.

Linking up with:
Women Living Well

July 15, 2012

Preparing Hearts for the Homeschool Year Ahead

Summer is flying by as usual. And I'm wishing I could slow down the time because I want to make every second count. The minutes just seem to be getting away from me at lightening speed. At the end of each day, I take a mental inventory of what we did or didn't do and what got done or didn't get done. Do you ever do that? Honestly, most of the time, this isn't very helpful. I do tend to focus on circumstances and not enough on the most important things.

I'm realizing (over and over again) that when it's all said and done, our hearts are what matter most. I know it's what matters most to God. In any given moment, He is most concerned with what we are filled up with. So in thinking about our school year ahead, not only do I have curriculum, lesson planning, organization and million other school related things on my mind....but most importantly, this year, I am concerned with where my heart is and making sure that it's in the right place for the year ahead. And, I want to be sure that I am living out my faith moment by moment, no matter the circumstance, so that God can use me to speak His Truth to my boys so He can reach their hearts. 
"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, 
you will find him if you look for him with all your heart
and with all your soul." - Deuteronomy 4:29
This year, I'm really excited for the Not Back to School Blog Hop over at iHomeschool Network. If you haven't heard about it or want to learn more, do check it out! Each week during the month of August, homeschool bloggers from all over will focus on one theme per week in preparation for the start of school. I cannot wait to participate AND read about all the amazing things others are doing. It's always such an awesome resource and encouragement to me.

As I said before, Summer is flying by...and if I am going to be prepared for school, as with everything else I endeavor to do, the prep work needs to begin in my heart or it will fall flat (or I will). So I decided to write a little series on what God is doing in my heart to lay the groundwork for another school year ahead. This 3 day series will begin soon.
I would love it if you would join us here each day and link up with me on those days to share how God is preparing your heart for the journey ahead as well. Even if your school year has already begun or you school year-round....if we're seeking Him, we will find Him and because He cares so much about our hearts....He'll be busy loving us and graciously leading us closer and closer to Him. I love that about Jesus...His faithfulness to always love us unconditionally, no matter what.

Each day we'll focus on one "heart theme" during our series here. Here are our themes: 
Pray    Inspire   Grace

I look forward to preparing our hearts together as we take a look at God's Truths for preparing our hearts for the road ahead. 

Linking up with: 

July 14, 2012

Homeschool PE & Basketball with Family Time Fitness

Our 6 year old son, C, has shown some real interest recently in wanting to learn how to play basketball. So, when I had the opportunity to review a Basketball Module created by Family Time Fitness, I was so excited and so was he. Our whole review can be found at the Hip Homeschool Moms website. 

And psst...there's an awesome giveaway going on. This week TWO lucky families will be given a Fitness4Homeschool Platinum Package from Family Time Fitness – valued at $137 each! This comprehensive package for homeschoolers includes:
• Core 1 Physical Education Program
• Core 2 Physical Education Program (available in January 2013)
• All the K-5 Workbooks
• Fundamentals of Basketball Sports Module
• . . . plus a one-year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine

So hurry, head over to Hip Homeschool Moms, read our review and enter to win this great curriculum.  Giveaway ends July 21st.

July 13, 2012

Learning with Unit Studies

When our boys were little and there were only two of them, we discovered the joys of going to the library. There were imaginary worlds and interesting insects to discover. Animals we'd never heard of and stories of knights and dragons graced the pages of beautifully illustrated children's books. We fell in love with the characters of so many wonderfully written stories and discovered the joy of nonfiction. Biographies of great explorers and inventors, big colorful reference books about outer space and hundreds of books about underwater sea creatures. It was all there. Anything we wanted to learn about, we found in a book.

At that time, when our boys were only 2 and 4...we had made the decision to homeschool, but had no idea how to do it. I didn't even know there were "methods" of homeschooling your children. Words like Classical approach, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, School at Home, Unit Studies, Waldorf, Notebooking, Lapbooking and Eclectic had no meaning to me....until I did my research and realized we had already chosen our preferred method of homeschooling and didn't even know it at the time.

Whenever we went to the library, my oldest son would choose books from the children's section that interested him, like Wombat Stew by Marcia K. Vaughan and then we'd head over to the "real life" books, as my son called them. We'd browse those aisles, make our selections and come home with bags full of books. Every time I sorted through them to put them on our "library shelves" at home, I would notice that there were "real life" books related in some way with some of the story books we had chosen.

And this is how we began our Unit Study approach to homeschooling....a natural wonder and curiosity to find out more and more about one thing at a time that interested my boys.

My friend, Carlie from So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler? has an amazing Summer Series going on over at her blog called Homeschool Methods & Approaches. Each week during June and July she features different homeschoolers who use different methods to teach their own children. I am so honored to have been able to be a part of this series as I wrote a post about our Unit Study approach for her series.

You can read more about how we include unit studies in our homeschooling days by visiting Carlie's blog. 

I'd love to hear about what works for you. What method or approach to homeschooling works best for you and your kiddos?

July 2, 2012

10 Tips for New Homeschoolers

This week, I was honored and excited to be able to participate in the iHomeschool Network's 10 in 10 weeks series over at The Homeschool Classroom. I thought long and hard about my topic...10 Tips For New Homeschool Families. In some ways I still feel like a brand new homeschooler myself and on at other times, I feel like we've really come a long way in the last four years. I know that seasons will change, our boys will get older and we'll all get a little wiser and more proficient each least I hope.

But I remember that very lost and excited and overwhelmed feeling I felt when we first made the decision to homeschool our kids. The road ahead was wide open and when I say WIDE...I mean, there was a sign in front of me that had a thousand different arrows pointing in all different directions that I was free to take. I could choose any road I wanted. We could homeschool however we chose to...still can. And we love that freedom. But, because I was overwhelmed with the amount of choices and options available, I really tried to choose many different roads all at once. This only led to a road called "frustration".

I learned a lot in those first couple of years...I still am. And I am so grateful for the women who have come along side of me to love and support me along the way. I am also thankful for my online tribe that blesses me daily with their encouraging words and blog posts that really speak to my heart.

So, if you're new (or newer) to homeschooling or just in need of a bit of encouragement, I pray you'll head over to The Homeschool Classroom so I can share with you my 10 Tips for New Homeschool Families.

The Homeschool Classrom

June 19, 2012

Loving, Parenting and Homeschooling Out of the Overflow

June 20th marks the official first day of Summer! And boy am I thankful. After a long school year and outside commitments that kept our family busier than usual, I find myself already re-evaluating and planning for our next school year. So, instead of schooling through the summer, we are taking a break to enJOY this precious time.

I also want to use this time for planning and preparing for next year as we will have a Kindergartener, First grader, Third grader and a very VERY active 2 year old, along for the ride. Although I am definitely thinking about curriculum, lesson planning, managing our household and how I will organize and redecorate our school areas...I'm doing a lot more thinking about the "how" and "why" of it all. And I'm realizing that as a wife, a mom and a teacher, the wisdom I seek in planning, must first come in preparing my own heart.

Please join me over at the Hip Homeschool Moms site to read my post about preparing our hearts for loving and teaching our children and three things we do to make this happen. 

Linking up with: Women Living Well
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