(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!

Circle Time from Preschoolers and Peace: Review

Website logo photo circletimelogo2_zps58ab71e5.jpgMy girls are only two years apart and we school all together in the same room at the same time, but for the most part their learning has been separate. With the exception of morning devotions which we have done for a while, all other subjects are separate. To be honest, it was easier this way. I could focus on teaching one while another did independent work. This has worked very well so far and I’m not anxious to change up our structure at this point, but I do see the benefit of corporate learning especially now that my youngest will be entering her k-4 year.

Circle Time Book Logo photo CircleTimeLogo_zps63dd95c9.jpg
I was quite excited to have the opportunity to review CircleTime ($4.99) by Kendra Fletcher of Preschoolers and Peace. Before I read e-book I thought it would apply mostly to Grace (rising K-4) and not so much Rose (rising 3rd grader) or Beth (rising 1st grader). After all, traditional school circle time is pretty much reserved for pre-kindergarten and sometimes kindergarten. I was pleasantly surprised to find this is intended for all of your children to learn together, no matter their ages. I love this!

It took me about 25 minutes to read the 33 page PDF eBook  which I was immediately excited to start implementing! Unfortunately we were in Tampa at General Council for the Christian and Missionary Alliance, so implementation wasn’t going to happen for a few days. Instead I spent a few hours planning out what I wanted. I followed the guidelines for planning your circle time although I did not use the included forms. I prefer to keep everything planned out on my computer for quick access. Even though I didn’t use them, the forms are a great starting point and I modeled my own plan after the. 

My list of what I wanted to include started getting long…really long. There have been several things in the back of my mind which just don’t fit in the day anywhere. They are good things, but not absolutely needed at this age. I broke down what I would like to do each day, just like the author suggests. Our Mondays and Wednesdays are different anyway because both Rose and Beth will be taking classes at Deerstream Learning Center in the fall. This means our circle time is lighter on those days and longer on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I estimated my plan to take about 15-20 minutes on Monday and Wednesday and closer to an hour on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

I made out my plan, decided what day we’d cover what subjects, and making notes of what I wanted to go over under each subject. Then I had to decide on a name for our circle time. I didn’t want to use the name circle time because I wanted to be more creative. We’ve been learning some Latin which the girls have absolutely loved, so I settled on…

phari mane conventu

…which is Latin for Lighthouse Morning Meeting. The reason for the title is our school’s name is Lighthouse Christian Academy. This is not only fun to say, but the girls won’t outgrow it as we move forward throughout the years. I put my plans, ideas, and lists into this notebook and was soon on my way!

The next step for me was to create a board I can change and use each week. I don’t have everything I want to cover each week on here, but it is a starting point and a nice visual. I am including some things like artists, North Carolina history, hymns, and composers. My girls watched me piece it together and were equally anxious to give our morning meeting a try. As with everything I plan to be flexible and see what will work best as we move forward throughout this year. This is already an excellent addition and I anticipate it will only get better! 

The Circle Time eBook is a great resource to help you plan and implement your own circle time. There are no limitations to what you can do with this! Don’t forget to check out other reviews from my Crewmates!


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