(A few) Weeks in Review: September

If you have been following my blog for a while I hope you notice a difference! I have been displeased with my old blog platform for a while now. I took a break from posting until I was able to get things set up on this new site.

In the meantime we have finally settled into a good routine. It took until about our 5th week to get there. We usually don’t have quite such a long settling in period, but isn’t everything about this year abnormal? Lots of hugs, encouragement, and perseverance have gotten us to our week of break. We run our schooling on a 6 weeks on, 1 week off schedule. This week was very relaxed and low key. I have found that when we do this, we tend to have a better flow to your year and less tendencies to burn out.

Rose takes loves working in her bed. Usually our dog, Penny, joins her!

Rose: 10th Grade -15 years old
Rose has really taken this year seriously as we are preparing for some form of dual enrollment for her last 2 years of high school. She choose to take two maths this year, Algebra 2 and Geometry. Math is not her favorite subject, so I have been so pleased to see her persevering through both diligently. Chemistry from Master Books has been a beautiful course as well. In addition she is taking apologetics, French, American Literature (a course I wrote for Schoolhouse Teachers), and Civics (economics and government).

Beth having a little sweet treat while working on literature.

Beth: 8th Grade – 13 years old
Beth is now taking a middle school science course which comes with quite a bit more work! She took some time adjusting to the workload and how to manage her time, but is now really in a good place. She is working through Revival to Revolution from Heart of Dakota. We love this curriculum so much. It is deeply rich in historical accuracy as well as encouraging kids to research and learn for themselves. She is over half way through Algebra since we started in the summer. Academically she is moving along at a steady, rather fast pace and I’m pleased to see her push herself even when her work is beginning to get more difficult.

We love All About Spelling!

Grace: 5th Grade – 11 years old (Almost!)
Most of Grace’s work is a year ahead grade-level or more. This year her work-load really increased as she moved into Creation to Christ from Heart of Dakota. It took more time for her to adjust to the added time as well as the notebooking aspect, but now she is completely on top of things and ready to go! She is also taking a science class this year and having such a fun time. She’s also found she really enjoys painting, especially with acrylics. She has painted some beautiful art for gifts for family and friends.

We had a great time at the beach at the end of August! It was our first real “outing” since everything shut down in March.

Everyone Together
We are still working on foreign language together although I’ve been awful at consistency. It’s key to anything new and I keep pushing forward even if slowly! We use Talkbox.Mom and HIGHLY recommend this program. You can read my full review of that program here. We are also dabbling in Shakespeare and I’m looking for some field trip opportunities now that there are a few things opening up in our area. The beach was the first real field trip we’ve taken in ages.

In my free time I’ve been working on preserving some more family memories! Click here to see my most recent digital scrapbook layouts.

Now that have the new site up and running hopefully you will see more postings! I’ve struggled to get the old platform to function well and this transition was a long time coming. Comment below and tell me something fun you’ve done this past month!

School This Year… It’s Going to Take A Lot of Grace!

This is Rose in February 2012, about 3 months after we began homeschooling and right about the time we realized this was going to be more than a 1-year-commitment.

 This is Rose in February 2012, about 3 months after we began homeschooling and right about the time we realized this was going to be more than a 1-year-commitment.

There are so many schooling options for the year to come at the moment. With that is coming a lot of emotions: fear, frustration, confusion… I want to let you know that those are all feelings I understand completely. I often refer to myself as an accidental homeschooler. We began with Rose’s educational journey in the traditional classroom. In 2011, when she was in 1st grade, we chose to begin homeschooling at the end of October fully intending to return to the traditional setting the following year. After a few months we realized this was a beautiful fit for our family and never looked back.
I am praying for my many friends who are single parents or both parents are essential workers. Praise God for you! We need men and women who are willing to keep doing what needs to be done! I’m praying for my many friends who find themselves out of work because of their state or local community polices. I feel for you and am praying that communities will begin to open soon. 
On the flip side of this, know that if you are doing a virtual school option either by choice or not, it is very different from traditional homeschooling. Every homeschooler I know is happy to help and be supportive no matter what you are doing, but this is quite different from how most of us educate.

There are a lot of blog posts, videos, and meet-ups happening all over the country in response to all of this. My thoughts are not geared towards what to choose or how to begin, but here they are.



1. If you are virtual schooling with a classroom setup, give your teachers grace! They will be trying their best many times with their own children’s school to consider as well as learning how to remotely teach.
2. If you are virtual schooling without a classroom setup, give yourself and your child grace! There will be a learning curve for you both!
3. If you are traditional schooling with or without restrictions and limits, give your kids and teachers tons of grace! Things are most likely going to feel different in some regard and that brings a lot of emotions into the package. 
4. If you are opting to homeschool for the first time, give yourself and your child grace! This is a new and sometimes overwhelming journey. Reach out and ask for help. We have all be where you are at some point.
5. If you are opting to homeschool as you already have been, reach out, be supportive, and encourage a mom around you who is feeling stressed!
Above all else…Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6
Here are our homeschooling plans for the year: 


EveryoneForeign Language: Talkbox French and Spanish (Click this link to read my full review of this amazing language curriculum!)
Bible: AWANAWeekly Shakespeare Study: Usborne Shakespeare and Heart of Dakota notebooking pages

Grace – age 11, 5th GradeHistory: Hearts for Him Through Time – Creation to Christ (Heart of Dakota)
Math: Math Mammoth Grade 5
Science: Weekly class (meeting virtually until local regulations are lifted)
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Rod and Staff
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: Classics and Abridged Classics

Beth – age 13, 8th GradeHistory: Hearts for Him Through Time – Revival to Revolution (Heart of Dakota)
Math: Algebra 1 (Math Essentials)
Science: Weekly class (meeting virtually until local regulations are lifted)
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Caught Ya’!
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: Classics and Abridged Classics

Rose – age 14, 10th GradeHistory: Economics and Government (Schoolhouse Teachers)
Math: Geometry (Mr. D Math) and Algebra 2 (Teaching Textbooks)
Science: Chemistry (Master Books) and Mel Science Experiments
Spelling: All About Spelling
Grammar: Caught Ya! and Jensen’s Grammar
Writing: Writing StrandsLiterature: American Literature (Schoolhouse Teachers)
What are your plans for this school year? If you need a place to start, check out SchoolhouseTeachers
I would love to hear about your own plans for the year whether it is homeschooling, virtual school, traditional classroom, or some combination. Leave a comment below!

Peek at Our Week: September 10-14 aka Hurricane Week!

There has been quite a lot of hullabaloo around here! 

Here in central NC, we don’t see much more than a tropical storm or two. Then there was Hurricane Fran in 1996. It was stronger, bigger, and faster than it was believed to be when it made landfall and was still a hurricane when it came over our town. Lots of damage, power out for days…definitely a memorable thing! And because of that, whenever there is the threat of a storm people get concerned. 

My husband and I don’t feel quite the same way. Having lived in Florida with hurricanes where we prepared like this…

October 2005 – This is me!!! And Rose when she was 2 months old!

And have turns life upside down like this…

October 2005 – Crop Duster’s air field with a sugar cane factory in the background.
We weren’t too concerned. We know how to prepare and we did. We didn’t board up our windows or anything, but we prepared all around the house and made sure we had what supplies we might need if the power was out for a few days. The hurricane from the previous photos left us without power and a boiled water order for 11 days. 

So far, we have not had much more than a nice breeze. We shall see what else will come…

The girls started their science class on Wednesday! My first class teaching English was Monday. It’s going to be a great year for all of us! 


Week in Review: September 3-7

 This is the week before I start my job teaching at a learning center for homeschoolers. Sooooo… I’ve learned from past experience to take things easy. This does not mean no learning! We spent most of the week working with Take Time for Art! We ADORE this art curriculum! Even more wonderful is that it was created by a very dear friend. She used to teach with me at the learning center. They watched some wonderful history videos and then step-by-step art videos. Their projects were fantastic and you will get to see the finished products soon!

One of the art projects was actually more of an engineering project! The girls are trying out their catapult and had a ton of fun launching marshmallows off the front porch! 

We have a dear friend who is coming over every other week to tutor Rose in art! She is attending a local college to be an art teacher and will graduate in December. She is such a blessing to our family and such a sweet, gentle soul! She was also a homeschooler which is really cool for my daughters. She’s such an amazing role model for them all! 

What was your week like?

Phonics Museum App from Veritas Press: A TOS Crew Review

Veritas Press Teaching a child to read can feel like quite a daunting task when you first start out. I remember when Rose (now 12) came to me at 3 years old begging me to teach her how to read. I had no idea where to begin and put her off for a year. I was amazed that both Beth (now 10) and Grace (now 7) asked the same at about the same age. At the time I had no intention of homeschooling and really didn’t know what resources were available. It has been exciting for me to see how many new resources have become available in the last 9 years and the Phonics Museum App from Veritas Press is going to be my new go-to recommendation for homeschool moms for phonics! 

Veritas Press Phonics Museum

Although Grace is already a proficient reader, she is still only 7 and loves apps geared towards her age no matter the content. This was a great phonics review for her and she has enjoyed it so much. The kid-friendly interface was easy for her to use. She really liked the instructional videos with Ms. Biddle. I wasn’t sure if she would feel like it was too young for her, but I know she didn’t because I never had to request she play with the app, she just daily asked if she could have permission to play her reading app. In addition to that, when she did play I would have to make her end the game or she would have continued indefinitely!  Although this was more of a review for her, she jumped in with glee and excitement as with all of her learning experiences! 

Grace liked choosing the character at the setup of the app. Even though Grace reads well, reviewing phonics in this way has been really good for her. The games encourage her to intentionally think of starting sounds and how they work together. Her sisters, especially Beth, would often sit alongside of her and she loved that. Sometimes Beth jumped in and played as well. One of my favorite aspects was the addition of fine-art paintings in the background!  The Phonics Museum App is visually beautiful. The interface is smooth and attractive. The graphics are sweet and highly detailed, but not overly distracting during the learning process. I also like the music which is not overpowering during the games. I liked that the entire time Grace was engaged she was learning/reviewing her alphabet and sounds. The addition of handwriting takes this app to the next level. Kids are engaged with visual, auditory, and tactile activities.The handwriting was especially beneficial because Grace tends to have the habit of writing strokes in a non-traditional direction. She gets them written down, but not always quickly while printing.  

 This is a quality learning app without advertising or materialism. Its simple and sweet. The only thing I would like to see is maybe more options for what your little kid avatar looks like. Whether you are looking for a full digital reading program, a supplement to your current reading program, or a way to review phonics, take time to check this app out! You can get it on iTunes!Check out what my Crewmates have to say! Phonics Museum App {Veritas Press Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 Set fromGreek ‘n’ Stuff: A TOS Crew Review

Greek 'n' Stuff  When your grandfather is a professor who teaches Greek in seminary, it may mean you have a keen interest to know more about biblical languages at a young age. My dad has been teaching Greek for years so it did not surprise me when Rose came home having learned how to spell her name in Greek letters when she was in 2nd grade. She began writing her name this way on everything she created and for her science class as well! While she has had a keen interest in learning Greek, we have not had an opportunity to pursue it yet. She was very excited when our package with Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! – Level 3 from Greek ‘n’ Stuff arrived!  Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!  I have heard wonderful things about this curriculum and when I mentioned it to my dad he was already familiar with it. I was surprised to learn that my daughter would start in level 3, but this is because the first two levels in the series are for elementary aged students. Since Rose is in 7th grade now, this was the best fit for her.  

 

I love that the first lessons focus on Greek alphabet recognition, writing the letters, and memorizing their pronunciation. The pronunciation CD is quite helpful for beginning students and parents who do not have a base knowledge. While 1 page a day is the intended use, it is strongly encouraged to not move faster than mastery will allow. This was very important for Rose because this was her first formal instruction in biblical Greek. As she filled the practice lines with the Greek letter she was studying, Rose would also pronounce the letter to aid in memorization. This worked well for her and she found learning the alphabet less tedious. For students who have already completed the first two levels or have previously learned the Greek alphabet the beginning lessons would act as review. 

 

Rose completed 1-2 pages a day when she used studied. I really liked that the memorization of the alphabet included visual, tactile, and auditory components. I use this type of method for note memorization while teaching music and I think it is highly valuable. She did feel a little awkward speaking out loud while writing I think, but quickly noted the benefits of learning the letters this way.
I also very much appreciated the handwriting lines given for writing. This provided clear guidelines for how to correctly write the letter. Three lines of writing space were adequate for this activity. 
 

 Each lesson is expected to last about a week, but the first two lessons took her a little longer than I expected. Because she was learning the letters for the first time and it was important to master them fairly well, we took our time. I was excited to see her move into the next lessons where she began mastering specific Greek words. Some of the things I love about these lessons is that there is explanation in the student book for pronunciation and a place to draw a picture. My girl loves art and this is a wonderful component for her and her learning style.  

The teacher’s guide is an incredibly helpful tool. My dad is an expert in Greek, but I am not! I have never taken any classes or studied Greek in any way. Still, I feel completely confident in guiding Rose through this course because of the teaching guide. In addition to teaching tips and explanations, it is a full answer key with even the handwriting portions completed! I personally am intrigued for myself and am considering getting my own guide to learn biblical Greek.  

 The last portion which I absolutely love is the inclusion of flash cards and copywork from the Greek New Testament. These are two components which will help ensure mastery of the language. The flash cards are available in the back of the workbook, but may also be purchased separately for convenience. For the copywork you will need your own Greek interlinear Bible, but this is easily obtained whether in a digital format or hard-copy.  We are very pleased with this course and Rose is eager to continue as we will soon begin our traditional school-year. I’m excited for her to learn biblical Greek as a foreign language for her own benefit as she continues to study God’s Word on her own. 
Take a look at what my Crewmates have to say! Teach Me Some Greek {Greek 'n' Stuff Reviews} Crew Disclaimer