Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vacation Bible School, and then...

This week is VBS at my local church.  I volunteered to help with first grade along with 2 other ladies, and it has been a full house!  The downside of high attendance in small rooms is it is really hard to get to know the kids, and in such a short period of time (3 hours a night for 4 nights)!  Only about 25 minutes is spent in our little classroom - the rest of the time is opening/closing sessions with everyone, missions, crafts, gym and snack.  I think I would be enjoying it more if it were in the morning like it used to be - I'm just not at my best past 7pm, LOL. 

(On top of my it messing with my internal clock, I'm having some physical issues that I'm trying to figure out the cause of this week.  I won't go into details, but it is painful and I am not yet sure when it will hit, so pray that I figure out the root cause and get my body "fixed".)

The bright side of VBS, of course, is that some of these children are hearing God's Word for the first time and coming to know him!!  There have been 2 boys give their hearts to Christ that I'm aware of - hopefully, tonight there will be even more!  Plus, I have 3 hours without worrying about my own kids while they get to hang and play with new friends. :)

Friday night is a VBS cookout at City Park where each class will recite a verse they learned this week, and we'll all sing a song or two that we learned and eat a "New York" hot dog, since the theme this year is The Big Apple.  I'm looking forward to that fun!

Saturday morning (EARLY), I will head to my very first homeschooling conference in Louisville!  Babysitters are lined up and I'm going to really enjoy my day - conferences and browsing the exhibit hall and hopefully meeting old and new friends.  So while my husband is helping run our game company's booth at Origins Game Fair in Ohio, I'll be at another conference, probably wondering how well our dice would sell at a Christian Educators conference, LOL.

Everybody have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My husband is going on a mission trip...

to Nicaragua in September!  This is the first time he has attempted anything like this, and we are very excited .  I'll be staying home with the kids, but have had foreign mission trips of my own in the past and have always really enjoyed them.  Please consider helping out, even if its just a little.  Thank you!  If you can't send money, send prayers :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homeschooling Resources, part 2

As I mentioned at the end of my last blog post, this list is extensive (133 items, to be exact) so I decided to split it from the learning games.  Several of the pages listed below are from the same websites, just different parts, so please forgive the seeming repetition.  Some of the sites below may want you to buy something, but since I started out looking for free ways to learn, most of them ARE free.

These are not in order by subject at all.  They are a picture-in-links of where my journey has taken me.  If you pay attention, you can see the little rabbit trails I took when researching.  The only exception is that I moved the top 2 links to their current postion, since that is where my choices led me to rest my homeschooling heart.

If you are short on time and want to see the sites I plan on visiting regularly this year, look for the asterisks, from 1-3 *.

CM Series  (curriculum)**
Ambleside Online (curriculum)***
Free Spanish Lessons - Basic Needs, Greetings, and More! (Spanish)
Livemocha: Language Learning with Livemocha | Learn a Language Online - Free! (Spanish) Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages  (Bible)
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - Homeschooling - Welcome (methods) - The #1 Homeschooling Community  (curriculum)
Starfall's Learn to Read with phonics (reading/phonics)
Super Teacher Worksheets - Printable Worksheets  (supplemental)
Education Place® for Families (curriculum, supplemental)
Charlotte Mason Method Homeschooling - Simply Charlotte Mason  (curriculum, schedules)
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - Homeschooling - Welcome (methods) - The #1 Homeschooling Community (curriculum, supplemental)
Begin Homeschooling with Confidence - A to Z Home' Cool Homeschooling  (methods, supplemental)
A to Z Homeschool Curriculum, Laws, Programs, Social Networks (laws and regulations)
CHEK - Events (local, support)
The Link Homeschool Newspaper - Resources (support)
Apologia Freebies (Bible, supplemental)
Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker  (reading/phonics, writing)*
Free - Teach Art at Home (art, curriculum)
Mark Kistler's Imagination Station Learn to Draw in 3-D (art) - Learn to draw (art) - Free resource  for K-12  (math, science)
Teaching Money Management, Part 1(math)
Aleks custom math 3-12 grades (math, curriculum)
DreamBox math curriculum  (math, curriculum)
XtraMath (math, supplemental) (supplemental)
2 Teaching Mommies (blog, support)
4Real Forums at (support)
Art&Music lessons (art, music)
Visual dictionary (library)
Music (music)
Spanish for Kids  (Spanish)
A to Z Teacher Stuff (schedules, supplemental)
AdaptedMind (math, curriculum)
Kids Do Ecology (science)
Harcourt Math and Grammar Jingles (math, reading/phonics, supplemental)
Shurley English  (curriculum, Reading/Phonics)
AAA Math (curriculum, math)
CanTeach: Elementary Resources (curriculum)
Exploring Maps and Models - National Geographic Education (history, science)
Learn And Earn | Scholastic (math, reading/phonics, supplemental)
ReadWriteThink (supplemental, reading/phonics, writing)
Super Teacher Worksheets - Printable Worksheets (curriculum, supplemental)
A Charlotte Mason Education (schedules, support) (supplemental)
Lesson Pathways: Building Paths for Online Learning (curriculum, support)**
Kids 4 Truth (Bible) (supplemental)
Have Fun Teaching (games, music, supplemental)
Donna Young's Free Homeschool Planner (schedules, supplemental, support)*
Storynory Free Audio Stories For Kids (reading/phonics, library)
Mrs. Sakamoto  (curriculum, reading/phonics)
Little Homeschool Blessings: Spanish Series Salsa  (Spanish)
The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project(library)
World Wide School Library - Main Index (library)
Instant Replay :: Anytime, Anywhere Learning (Spanish)
"Heritage History — Putting the "Story" back into History" (history)
Lesson Plans and Handouts | C-SPAN Classroom (history)
Welcome to Dover Publications!(library)
Main Page - FreeReading (reading/phonics)
PBS Teachers | Resources For The Classroom (supplemental)
Homeschooling support and encouragement | (support)
An Old-Fashioned Education  (curriculum, supplemental)
Celestia: space simulation  (science)
Scott Foresman Reading: Teacher Resources  (curriculum, reading/phonics)**
ASL - American Sign Language  (curriculum, sign language)
Khan Academy  (math, curriculum)** (supplemental)
Harcourt School Publishers -- The Learning Site (curriculum, supplemental)
English Grammar 101  (curriculum, reading/phonics, secondary school)
Head of the Class (curriculum) Join  (history, supplemental)
Dynamic Periodic Table (science)
History Education Store: Official Online Shop for History Education  (history)
Free Lesson Plans: Mosaic Introduction to World History (curriculum, history)
Hunkin's Experiments (over 200 home experiments)  (science)*
Progressive Phonics - Progressive Phonics (reading/phonics)
The Baldwin Project...Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children (curriculum, reading/phonics)
Skill in Arithmetic -- A complete course (curriculum, math, supplemental)***
Table of Contents (library)
Kentucky Home School Requirements (laws and regulations)
Spelling & Vocabulary Website: SpellingCity (reading/phonics, writing)*
Sample Spanish Lessons - El Espanol Facil! (Spanish)
Current Events, News Bites, Cool Features, and Fun Stories -- National Geographic Kids  (current events)
DOGO News - Kids news articles! Kids current events (current events)
Scholastic News Online, America's Leading News Source for Kids |  (current events)
Weekly Reader Grade 1: Reading, critical thinking, and citizenship skills for first grade (current events)
God's World News - Kids News and Current Events (current events) (geography)
EduNet - Time Machine (history)
Living Math! (math)**
Say Hello to the World  (Spanish)
The MegaPenny Project | Index Page (math)
StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers (science)
Minnesota Bound - Live Loon Cam (science)
Decorah Eagles, Ustream.TV: The Raptor Resource Project brings you the Decorah Eagles from atop their tree at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa (science)
Radio Chopin - 200 Fryderyk Chopin Stories (music)
Postcards connecting the world (reading/phonics, writing)
LibriVox  (reading/phonics)*
Charlotte Mason Help  (methods)
Recordings of Books on the Ambleside List - Librivox Wiki (reading/phonics, library)***
Johnnie's Story Page - Stories and Reading Activities for Children (reading/phonics)
Exhibition Monet 2010 (art)
Interactives . Spelling Bee (reading/phonics)
NAPPC Pollinator Curriculum (science)
Learn Spanish (Spanish) (geography, reading/phonics)**
Video bank Creator Gallery - Celebrating language (Spanish)
Answers in Genesis - Creation, Evolution, Christian Apologetics (Bible, science)
Save Nature - insect lab - Discover Insects (science)
Speekee TV  (Spanish)
nature detectives (science)
Charlotte Mason Digital Collection (methods)
Higher Up and Further In: How and When to Begin a Book of Centuries (history-book of centuries)
The Book of Centuries Revisited by Laurie Bestvater « ChildlightUSA Weblog (history-book of centuries)
The KISS Grammar Site  (grammar)*
Computer Science Unplugged | (computer skills) - Play Statetris (geography)
United States Map Quiz (geography)
USA Geography - Map Game (geography, history)
Children's Books Online: the Rosetta Project, Inc. (library)
Kids sewing projects Index (handicrafts)*
Learn to Type   (computer skills)
CSCP - Independent Learners (Latin)
Create timelines, share them on the web (history)*
Scott Foresman Reading: Teacher Resources  (grammar)**
AO Parents' Review Archives (history - book of centuries)
Welcome to KBTeachers (geography, grammar, reading/phonics, science, supplemental)**
CoachingHelp.html (writing)
Deep Space Sparkle (art)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Homeschooling Resources, part 1

I know there are several sites that specialize in listing homeschooling resources, but they are usually overwhelming in their thoroughness.  I've been compiling this list of bookmarks for the past 4 months and recently went and organized them.  Now that was a job! :)

Since hard work is meant to be shared, here are the links I thought worthy to save for my new homeschooling adventure.  (Most of them are early elementary focused, but some are preschool or older, as my own son will be in first grade this fall.)

First, the fun stuff!  I put these in a "Learning Games" folder, and tagged some of them as well (tags below in parentheses).

BBC - Schools - Dance Mat Typing - Home (computer skills)
Online Curriculum Demos - Interactive Learning Program (curriculum)
Enjoy free activities in many languages including kid's songs and games (Spanish)
Arcademic Skill Builders: Online Educational Games
Explorations 4 Kids - A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling - The Internet's #1 Education Site for K-8 Kids and Teachers
Learning Games For Kids
SAVAGE SEAS ANIMATION - The Wave MAchine (Science)
Arcade Diner
Gudli - Kids Games - Math Games - Word Games - Puzzle Games - Skill Games - Free Educational Games - Online Learning Games - Sign-up Online Now!  (library)
Cool Math Games - The world's most popular educational website! - Thinking games and puzzles for kids of all ages  (math - my DS's personal favorite)
Cool math 4 kids - math games, math puzzles, math lessons - designed for kids and fun! (math)
Math Games - Fun 4 the Brain Online math games: Addition and subtraction  (math)
Keyboarding Games for Kids - Learning to Type Games for Kids | Learning Games For Kids (computer skills)
Vocabulary Games and Resources (reading/phonics)
Join americam At Play (history) - 13000+ FREE worksheets
Word Games  (spelling/handwriting)
Learning Games For Kids

Next, I made an overflowing folder called Homeschool Resources to cover everything else, so tagging for subjects became super important.  Keep in mind that I made up tag names as I went so they don't always fit perfectly, but they should be close enough so you will know about what they are about.  However, this blog is getting too long! Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let the Summer Begin!

This is the beginning of a new week - week 6 with our new foster son (age 3 but birthday tomorrow!) and foster daughter (age 6.5), as well as the second week of summer vacation for FD and my own son.

The honeymoon period was short-lived with these 2, but it was so sugary-sweet that one can't help but fall in love with them. Constant "I love you mama! Hey mom? I love you!" combined with cheeky grins and big hugs will do anyone in. In the weeks since that began, the daily I love you's have slowed down to what I consider a more reasonable amount, and are now combined with several "I don't like my mommy! I want my daddy!" phrases during the little one's time-outs. Of course, when I'm not the one doling out the discipline, the words are reversed and Daddy's the bad guy :)

After my last blog post, it wasn't long before the phone call. We got them the evening of May 4th, and got FD into my son's school (and even in the same classroom!) on the 5th. The preschool's were all full, so FS was stuck with me. I feel like I got to know him REALLY well while the older ones were at school!

But now they are all with me, all day, every day. To preserve my sanity, we are attempting a very loose homeschooling schedule this summer. The lessons are kept short and sweet, with physical activities stuck in-between the mental activities, a la Charlotte Mason's method. Below I'm attempting to paste my interpretation of Ambleside Online's year 0.5, clipped for summer enjoyment.

Summer 2011
Homeschool Routine – Year 0 & 0.5
For DS, age 6.5, FD (foster daughter), age 6.5, FS (foster son), age 4

Breakfast 7am, Dinner between 5-7pm, Bedtime between 8-9pm
Min. Spent
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
memory verse
memory verse
memory verse
memory verse
DVD Bible story
DVD Bible story
DVD Bible story
DVD Bible story
Bible song/dance
Bible song/dance
Bible song/dance
Bible song/dance

Morning routine – dressing and chores, errands and park trips as needed
Nursery Rhyme
Nursery Rhyme
Early Readers
Early Readers

Break as needed – snack, lunch, outdoor play
< 20
Read-aloud by Mom while kids use play-dough, color or draw
Nature Study
Character building?
Artist Study

Lunch, then nap/rest time
30 ea.
Computer time for DS and FD between lunch and dinner
> 4 hrs
Free Time, indoors and out; Snacks

Additional art, handicrafts and swimming will be done in the heat of the afternoon.
Chopin will be played quietly during snacks and meals. Hang 1 Delacroix painting 2 weeks each, discuss twice.
Life skills – each child learns a new chore for a week, then they swap.
Learn all the pledges – US, Christian, Bible.
Memory verses using the method on SCM site.
Spanish – free trial from Speekee, one video a day (repeat for 2-3 days before moving to a new one)
Math – DS has 1st-2nd grade workbook, as well as The Math Page.  FD has summer math assigned from public school.  Work with FS on number recognition, counting.
Poems and Nursery rhymes from Child’s Garden of Verses and Mother Goose.
Penmanship – aim for good, neat handwriting for FD6 & DS6 – one letter a day.  Work with FS4 on his colors and letter recognition.
Early Readers – FD has suggested reading for public school; all are in library summer reading program
Read-alouds – Day 1- Beatrix Potter; Day 2- Winnie-the-Pooh; Day 3- Velveteen Rabbit and other short tales from AO year 0 list; Day 4 – Peter Pan
Nature Study – go for a walk and find something new, identify in field guide.
So there you have it - in its theoretical form. :)  Needless to say, the application of it as written hasn't actually happened yet, but the few things we are doing make for a nice routine.  Between a chiropractic visit, library summer reading program and grocery shopping tomorrow, as well as some time at the neighbors' new pool AND FS's birthday, tomorrow will be counted as this week's field trip day!  Flexibility is key.