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Friday, November 30, 2007

Time to Reassess

Since we're at a crossroads anyways because of LIFE, I'm going to make good use of this time and look at where we are skill wise and what our goals are for each subject. I'm also switching to TOG for history and literature instead of waiting for 3rd grade. I need the shake up to get going again.

I will be looking at where we are in reading, handwriting, writing and math. History and science are enriching and fun but if they are standing in the way of building basic skills- then they get left behind. I'm in a take charge mood. I have let our memorization fall to the wayside, the same with French. I/we need an overhaul and it's time.

I've stopped using First Language Lessons but I'm going to pull it back out because it doesn't cover just grammar. I already know I need to beef up Camille's writing, I just don't how yet. I'm also going to pull out The Ordinary Parents Guide To Teaching Reading and go over some phonics lessons.

Back to basics- to get back on track.

Notes to self after reading "A Strong Start in Language" by Ruth Beechick
- work on the grade-level guidelines
- starting using the poem for memorization as a teaching tool like I do with copywork
- use the writing prompts from Spelling Workout C, possibly go back to SWO-A and B to use the writing prompts
- create a writing jar with prompts for daily writing (short pieces, start with a sentence and build up)
- read through Language and Thinking for Young Children by Beechick and see if there are any areas we can work on

Figure out the breakdown of language arts for the week with the new focus.
still thinking...


Advent Daily Chain Calendar

I created this for our youth group at church, just print, cut, and chainlink them together. Day 25 should be the last one, so tear off Day 1, read the scripture and have a discussion or do a good deed. This can be used with any age. The theme for the chain: Christmas is...

Day 1
Read John 3:1-21 Share God s Truth with Someone

Day 2
Read Luke 1:68-79 Remember God s Promises

Day 3
Read Luke 1:39-55 Greet others with love today

Day 4
Read Matthew 25:31-40 Give of Yourself to Another

Day 5
Read Romans 15:1-7 Encourage another

Day 6
Read John 14:1-6 Know God is with You

Day 7
Read Isaiah 55:6-11 Turn Your Heart to Jesus

Day 8
Read Galatians 3:23-4:7 You are God s Heir

Day 9
Read John 1:1-14 Are you being a light in the world?

Day 10
Read Psalm 150 Sing for the Lord

Day 11
Read John 15:1-11 Bear Fruit

Day 12
Read Luke 10:38-42 Take Time for Jesus

Day 13
Read Colossians 3:12-17 Your Heart s Gratitude

Day 14
Read Luke 1:5-80 What did Zechariah learn about family?

Day 15
Read Psalm 118:19-29 For whom are your decorations for?

Day 16
Read John 6:32-40 Give Thanks for Bread

Day 17
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 Pray for others

Day 18
Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 You are never alone

Day 19
Read Isaiah 25:6-9 Who Saved You?

Day 20
Read Matthew 11:25-30 Find your rest

Day 21
Read Hebrews 4:9-16 Enter God s Rest

Day 22
Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 Give All and Receive All

Day 23
Read Ephesians 3:14-21 Allow God to work through you

Day 24
Read Ephesians 2:4-10 What is God s gift for you?

Day 25
Read Luke 2:1-20 Good news of Great Joy



I have to say that when I first started homeschooling, I felt that I would just keep on trucking when something would happen- that teaching/learning would be what kept us going. Now, I am having a hard time with balancing life and homeschooling.

I want to do our lessons but not badly enough to crack open the lesson plans and get to work. I want to do them just enough to feel guilty about NOT doing them. Lol. The reality of it is that I've created this little synchronized system that I just don't have the desire to work right now or I'm letting life get in the way of what needs to be done.

My mom says that if I don't DO something soon, I'll give myself an ulcer. We are reading and until last week we were doing math. I have a long list of things that we were doing that I want to do again but I just can't seem to get to the point of actually doing them b/c I'd rather keep my house clean, play with my kids and bake for Christmas.

I'm stressing about things that are out of my control (isn't it all, God?) and I can't seem to stop. Preschool is going well but it's fun and easy. What's really bothering me is that almost every problem in my life right now is something I can improve by having a different attitude or by being more intentional in my actions and what I say. What irks me about that is that I'm the only one who seems to care! I've got hypocrisy all around me, "you should do what I say even though what I do seems to be the opposite of what I'm saying."

I've got a lot of things eating at me, comments made to me by the people that are supposed to be the ones I can trust and I'm having a hard time but I can't put stock in what they've said and I'm angry about it. Don't tell me that you're concerned about my children's education and then never read a book to them or engage them in any way academically. Don't tell me that you care about my children's health to the point of buying every OTC medicine in the world but feed them junk food because they like it even though I've said no.

Yeah. When do you ignore life and just get back to what you were doing (homeschooling) and when do you say- right now, this is what *I* need to do? I'm in limbo right now b/c part of me feels the need to jump back in and get going and the other part feels like it can wait until I'm in a better state of mind. But will that EVER happen? Lol.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Narrating 3yo


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Open House Menu

We are having our first Open House since starting homeschooling, which is a big thing. Our learning room is the parsonage's formal living room. GASP! Here's what I'll be serving...

Cappuccino Flats Cookie Recipe

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 C. flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 C. plus 1 1/2 T. solid vegetable shortening (divided)
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 T. instant coffee
1 t. water
1 egg
1 1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Heat unsweetened chocolate in microwave just until melted; cool slightly.

In separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon and salt. In large bowl, beat the 1/2 cup shortening and butter until softened. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. In separate bowl, dissolve coffee crystals in water.

Add coffee mixture, egg and melted chocolate to butter mixture and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Cover and chill in bowl about 1 hour. Shape into two 7-inch rolls, wrap with wax paper and chill several hours, or overnight.

Cut into 1/4-inch slices and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm. Allow cookies to cool completely on baking rack.

Over low heat, melt chocolate chips and remaining 11/2 tablespoons shortening. Dip one half of each cookie into the chocolate sauce and placed on waxed paper until the chocolate has set. Makes about 50 cookies. Can be stored in the freezer.

Peanut Butter Fingers Cookie Recipe

1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1//4 C. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
*4 small chocolate bars, melted
3/4 C. peanuts, crushed

Mix shortening, peanut butter, sugars, and egg thoroughly. Blend dry ingredients and stir in. Chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Use your cookie press star shape plate and make the cookies 2 1/2 inches long. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes.

When cool dip one end in melted chocolate and then in crushed peanuts.*Melt chocolate in a glass custard cup over hot water or in the microwave. If you keep it over the hot water while dipping cookies, the chocolate will stay melted. Yields about 6 dozen cookies

Super Simple Cranberry Sugar Cookies Recipe

1 15.6-oz. package Pillsbury Cranberry Quick Bread & Muffin Mix
3/4 C. butter, softened
3 T. sugar

Heat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, combine quick bread mix and butter; mix well. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Flatten balls to 1/8-inch thickness with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350° F. for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Nutcracker Sweets

1/3 c Shortening -- butter flavored
1/2 c Creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 c Brown sugar, packed
2 Eggs
1 1/2 c All-purpose flour
1 1/2 ts Baking powder
1/2 t Salt
1/4 c Milk
1 t Vanilla extract

Frosting and drizzle:
1/4 c Shortening -- butter flavored
2/3 c Creamy peanut butter
4 c Powdered sugar -- 1 pound
1/2 c Milk
1/2 c Semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan with butter flavored shortening. Cream the shortening and peanut butter in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed. Blend in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; beat until creamy. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately to the creamed mixture. Mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until blended. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool.

For the frosting, cream the shortening and peanut butter in a large bowl on medium speed. Add the sugar and milk; beat until fluffy. Spread over the cooled cookies. For the drizzle, melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over very low heat. Drizzle the chocolate from the end of a spoon back and forth over the frosting. Cut into squares. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until the chocolate is firm.

Brie and Cranberry Pizza Recipe

1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz. cubed brie cheese
3/4 C. whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 C. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-inch pizza pan or 9-by 13-inch baking dish.

Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Arrange in the pan with tips toward the center and lightly press together to form one crust.

Bake 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with pieces of brie. Spoon the cranberry sauce over the cheese. Top with pecans.

Bake an additional 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and cut into wedges or squares. Serves 16.

Bacon Squares Recipe

1 C. Mayonnaise
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 tsp. Garlic salt
2 c. Shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled
4 green onions, sliced
14 slices white bread

Heat over to 400° F.

Mix all ingredients together. Spread about 2 -3 Tbsp. over each slice of bread - end to end. Bake on ungreased baking sheet 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut each slice into quarters with pizza cutter. Serve hot.
Note: Can be made ahead and frozen and then baked when needed. Makes 56 appetizers.

Creamy Baked Crab Dip Recipe

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (6 oz.) crabmeat
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon finely sliced green onions, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, crabmeat, onion, milk, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
Place mixture in an ovenproof serving dish; sprinkle with a little paprika.
Bake at 375° F. for about 15 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with with sliced green onion. Makes about 2 cups.

Sweet Spiced Pecans Recipe

1 C. sugar
1 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. salt
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 egg white
1 T. cold water
1 pound large pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250° F. Butter a large jelly-roll pan. Mix together thoroughly all of the dry ingredients.
Beat egg whites with cold water until frothy but not stiff. Add spiced sugar mixture and blend well.
Add nuts; stir to coat completely.

Spread nuts onto pan; place in oven. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven when dry and toasty. Cool and store in an airtight container. Make more than one batch if you want some for yourself. (Make ahead!)

Peanut Butter Cocoa Fudge ( maybe )

1 cup plus 3 Tbsps. chunky peanut butter
1 cup butter (no substitutes)
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbsps. baking cocoa
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

In saucepan, combine peanut butter and butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until blended. Remove from heat; stir in confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Spread into a buttered 8 inch square pan.

Freeze for 30 minutes, or until firm before cutting into squares. Store at room temperature.
Makes 2 dozen pieces

Yuletide Spiced Tea Mix Recipe

1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. sweetened lemonade mix
1 C. powdered orange drink mix
1 C. dry, sweetened instant tea
4 packets (individual serving size) instant spiced cider mix
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground cloves

Blend ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. Package into gifts and give along with directions for use.
To serve: Add 3-4 teaspoons mix to 1 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve.
Makes 5 cups mix.

Glorious Christmas Punch Recipe

1 3 oz. pkg. cherry gelatin
1 C. boiling water
1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade
3 C. cold water
1 qt. Cranberry juice cocktail - chilled
1 12 oz. bottle ginger ale, - chilled

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in lemonade. Add cold water and cranberry juice. Place two trays of ice cubes in a large punch bowl; pour punch over ice. Pour in ginger-ale.

Plus the cheese ball and whatever traditional cookies we have on hand like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. My mouth is watering already...


It's Over

There are just some things in life that are not worth mentioning after they occur. This Thanksgiving is one of them. Instead of looking back, I'm looking forward, we've got a busy December ahead and the kids are ready to bake goodies. We just got home last night so we need a little transitioning time. Jack seems to have doubled in size, he DID have a great time playing with my parents' german shepherd. For that, I'm grateful.

Off to get started on our week- will post more later. I pray that everyone reading had a blessed Thanksgiving and if it was rough, count it a blessing that you lived through it.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Danny's First Day

Danny's first day of preschool using the Preparatory Curriculum (free) at

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Surprisingly, once he sat down with a little direction- he didn't want to stop so each crayon I gave him, I repeated the name of the color numerous times while he used it. I helped him with the hamburger one. On we watched, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that type and Letter A from Letter TV

We went to the library to get books about cows, counting and shapes and came home with:

  1. Shape Spotters (All Aboard Math Reader) by Megan Bryant
  2. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo: A Farmyard Counting Book by Steve Lavis
  3. The Cow Buzzed by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
  4. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  5. The Berenstain Bears: Down on the Farm by Stan & Jan Berenstain
  6. Daisy the Firecow by Viki Woodworth
  7. Sixteen Cows by Lisa Wheeler
  8. and at home we have Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
I have more activities for Danny to do this week and Camille is getting the 3R treatment- reading, handwriting/spelling and math. I'm glad we started this, Danny seems to have really taken to it. Of course, it was the first day but I think this is gentle enough to work at 3 years of age and right up our alley. Hopefully by the end of the week I can record Danny saying "Hey Diddle, Diddle".


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Danny's Official First Day

This sorry excuse of a Preschool poster which I thought was a brilliant idea will be replace with something like this.
Which will save us wall space.

Anyways I was trying to duplicate the Preschool Poster at, which Danny is starting the Preparatory Curriculum tomorrow. I'm reading to him already, trying to familiarize him with his ABC's and there's no reason NOT to do this. It will help him actually and he'll have his own time with me outside of stolen minutes during the four hours of Camille's work.

This is how it happened.
"Danny, do you want to learn about cows?" I asked.
"COWS?! Go to farm?" he asked.
"No, but we can read stories about cows." I said.
"[Singing] Old MacDonald had a farm...." he sang as he ran to his room to pull out his Little People Farm.

He played with the farm for 30 minutes!
That showed me he is ready for a little direction and I'm ready too.

We're going to do the 26 weeks of Preparatory Curriculum from Brightly Beaming Resources.
Each week as I prepared Camille's Daily Folder, I'll also prepare for Danny's week. It is free and since I have a printer, I can print out pages from online sources in addition to using the Preschool workbooks (Kumon, Early Start) and books we already have. I will also use books from our local library to keep things simple if we don't have books here at home about the subject of the week. We will still start Horizons Preschool next year and I am currently collecting classic preschool books from and other cheap resources.

Books from the library this week:
Sixteen cows by Lisa Wheeler
Daisy the firecow by Viki Woodworth
The Bernenstain Bears Down on the Farm
by Bernard Most
Cock-a-doodle-doo Farmyard Counting Book by Steve Lavis
The Cow Buzzed by Andrea Zimmerman
Click, clack, moo cows that type by Doreen Cronin
Shape spotters by Megan Bryant

Books at home: Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? Dr. Seuss

Directed learning has begun!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

It's Saturday and dh has taken the kids on an outing, Jack is taking a nap. I have a classic rock station playing in the background, laundry in the washer, the dishwasher is running, the Christmas tree is up but not decorated, the Christmas cards are ready to be signed and addressed, there are home improvement shows on tv to be watched.

I do not get time like this often where it is just me (and Jack, who needs a bath). I'm going to list all the things I want to do and then what I have to do.

1. Collect books for preschool from our library, put all the preschool books on Danny's bookshelf and create a book basket for him of board books. √
2. Pull decorations out for the tree and figure out if I want a red/white/silver tree or my beloved blue/silver/white. √ Decided on all white this year
3. Collect all our Christmas books to be read and put them in our family reading basket. √
4. Create a traveling bookbag for both kids, filled with stuff to do in the car.
5. Fill up my iPod for travel (CD player in car is broken): poetry, Danny's Classical Kids-Mozart, Tales of Desperaux, kids' songs, french

Have to
1. Wash, dry, fold, put-away laundry (urgh!) √
2. Give Jack a bath- a wet adventure- Will do on Tuesday which is the same day we leave
3. Figure out what to pack for next week after laundry is done
4. Copy recipes to take with me
5. Fill Camille's Daily Folder with reading, math and handwriting
6. Dye my hair.
7. Get a Christmas card list together and dive in- thankfully I have return address labels!

a little later...

A little bit of Christmas came in the mail, I'm getting excited! To see the actual selections in my hand knowing they will soon be in my kids' hands...yes, I am all about the kids! Dh just called and there's an arts & crafts bazaar happening in a town nearby us so after their outing, they'll swing by and pick me up. Have to's are being delayed for good reason! Have a great Saturday!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Week 14

Danny fell asleep during his independent room time, all wrapped up in his blankie.
Note the tattered edge, there's a gaping hole in it too.

Camille's Origami. She loves this stuff but she only has so many so maybe Santa will bring her a new Origami book.

We learned about the Vikings this week. It has been a week of Viking adventure! We've read Leif the Lucky and Eric the Red and we're still reading Viking Adventure by Bulla. I don't know what it is but we're all enthralled.

From our Vikings Treasure Chest
Books we've explored and read, Camille has finished Knight at Dawn and will start Viking Ships at Sunrise. I should have switched those but now she's ready to learn about knights which is soon in SOTW2.

Camille's jokes have been funny only because of her attempts.
Knock, knock...
Who's There?
Orange Who?
Knock, Knock...
Who's There?
Banana who?
Banana, aren't you glad I didn't say orange?

huh? So we got joke books for her. Nevermind the ravoli mouth she has.
This does count for reading aloud, right?

This cat is a neighbor's outside cat. It keeps coming over and Jack keeps chasing him. I think they're having fun but it has gotten into our house 2x already. The last time the cat hid underneath my bed and was in the house for 20 minutes before I could grab it. I have called the vet on it's tag and talked to his owner- it's an outside cat. What is weird about this is that Magnum had a stray cat too that still comes around every so often but this cat would stay with Magnum whenever he was outside. What is it about our dogs and cats?

He's getting big already! 10 weeks old.


Math has been going very well, Camille has finally gotten over her aversion to addition facts or maybe I've relaxed. Either way math is being done joyfully. Yay!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Preschool Next Year!?!

Danny is showing signs of starting to be ready for preschool, such as wanting to do "skool" with Camille. So I am trying to figure out what to use. I would love to do preschool all day with Danny and Camille but that's just not feasible, so I need something that is fun, easy, engaging and effective. I haven't decided yet but here's what I'm thinking.

Reading Instruction
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (we have already) with it's companion CD
Leap Frog Fridge Magnets (have)
Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD
Print outs for DNealian handwriting and coloring pages (Bible and regular) to use as a Letter of the Week activity(?)

Read Alouds
We already have a pretty good collection of books to read including titles from Before Five In A Row, Sonlight, the 1000 Good Books list from Classical Christian 1000 Good Books and Ambleside and will continue to select titles to read from these lists as well as from the book Literature for Lively Lessons (PreK-3) - The Month-by-Month, Week-by-Week, Day-by-Day Guide to Great Picture Books that will you plan your lessons.

I want to borrow Five in A Row's idea of reading the same book everyday for five days that are easy enough for him to remember and talk about and then I want other books to fit within a weekly theme. For example: a week spent on fairy tales and folk stories would lead us to read the classics for a week and I would draw out activities from that but I would also read a short book like a Dr. Seuss one each day for a week. I hope I'm explaining myself correctly. We would have a morning reading sesson of 10 min while Camille is busy accomplishing her work, hopefully an afternoon session of 10 min and also at bedtime.

I want to cover a lot of topics (intentionally) throughout PreK and K so that Danny (hopefully) will have been exposes to a lot of information about the world without formal learning. Of course, this is my intention and it sounds good. I will do an activity each day with him but I want the books we read to do most of the exposure other than his free play time outside. Science, health, social studies, community awareness, etc. will have a literature approach first, then crafts/activities. In kindergarten, we will be taking field trips to help reinforce what we learn about our community, to the fire station, post office, library, police station, and any other place that may be interesting.

I want to teach Danny to write in D'Nealian so our alphabet pages or any other writing activity we do will be in D'Nealian. I wrote a post about D'Nealian resources two posts ago. Until we're ready to write, we'll be doing finger tracing and ABC recognition with D'Nealian letters. I am not teaching him to write at 4 years old, just pre-writing skills.

General Learning
I want to make sure that I give my boy a great start and since I feel confident that we'll use Horizons Math with him, I'm seriously considering getting the Horizons Preschool Program. I want 20-30 minutes of one-on-one time with him and I feel I need a structured, planned out program and Horizons is what I've found that fits what I'm looking for the most. I could get workbooks from Walmart, but it would be random learning whereas with a preschool program that lasts all year, the progress would be evident as well as having a solid idea of what areas he needs more in. I can use the workbooks left over from Camille being preschool age to help with areas that he may need more time or practice.

Another benefit of using a program is that although my dh is on-board with homeschooling, Danny is his little boy. Camille is from a previous marriage and dh will be more anxious with Danny's progress. Using a program will provide him confidence that Danny is getting all he needs and will afford him to trust me with Danny's education. That may sound weird but there have been issues on dh's side of the family regarding doubts if I can be an effective teacher for both Camille and Danny. I will say that this has shaken my confidence too so I feel a structured program will help us in many ways.

Finally, we have many preschool books such as: Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready, 365 Days of Creative Play, Kumon workbooks, and various other preschool type books, games, activities and created many baggy-type activities for Danny to do. I have Adventures in Odyssey and other audiobooks for his independent room time (30 minutes daily), I also want to read daily from a Bible storybook.

I have to pray about this some more but I think overall that I have a plan. :)


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

D'Nealian Resources

Camille learned D'Nealian through Saxon Phonics in kindergarten, which is not the approach I want to take with Danny. I already have DNealian traceable letters that I have printed (from for free) and laminated. Right now Danny is 3 (May birthday) and all we're doing is teaching him the alphabet song, playing games with the letters and helping him pronounce his words in addition to tons of reading.

Link to alphabet DNealian pages, Bible alphabet pages, Carpenter Kids D'Nealian books, Scott Foresman DNealian books (Just search amazon) and what we used in 1st grade, Daily Handwriting Practice before we transitioned to just copywork. After copywork was consistent in correct letter formation and neatness, we started cursive with Classically Cursive from We are now doing cursive in copywork and her print work is beautiful.

DNealian is also called Modern Manuscript and there are tons of free worksheets online.


Monday, November 12, 2007

This Season

"This is the season we are in right now." I cannot say how many times I say this when others are trying to volunteer me for things or want to comment on Danny's 3 year old behavior. I think I have one more year of this 'season' where Danny is still just a little boy discovering his world and testing limits. Yes, I know he'll always do that but reasoning with a 3 year old and 4 year old is completely different. Next year he'll be ready to do preschool and my life will change.

Someone asked on a homeschooling message board when everyone would start Latin. I responded that with Camille we'd start in 6th or 7th that way Danny can start alongside her in 1st and 2nd. That was an eye-opener! I'll be doing what I'm doing now with Camille with Danny in just 4 years. There will not be a 3 year old boy testing me when he's 7, Camille will be well into her logic years. The mental aging of my children and realizing what type of homeschool we'll have when they are on the same playing field is a little mind-boggling to me!

Believe me, I'm terrified of teaching both my children with the same vigor that Camille gets now. I'm faithful though, if it is to be, it will work out. In the meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy the little boy who runs around the house laughing for no reason, who likes to test the limits of physics on the swingset, who thinks painting involves all parts of his body, who wakes at 3 or 4 in the morning to climb into bed with me to snuggle.

I'm going to enjoy the endless questions of Camille, the insatiable when/where/why that she just needs to know each waking second of the day. I'm going to bask in my children's nonsensical laughter and join in. This season will not last long even though it seems it'll be forever before Danny will stop having public temper tantrums and learn that squealing at the top of his lungs is not appropriate in the middle of a restaurant. Don't get me started on potty training.

I have them home with me and that is the biggest blessing of my life.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Gifts & Reasons

Specially for Camille (7)
Can You Find It Outside?: Search and Discover for Young Art Lovers (book)
Can You Find It Inside?: Search and Discover for Young Art Lovers (book)
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (book)
The ABC's of Origami: Paper Folding for Children (book)
Namits Original Game
Potholder Loom
Sculpey Just For Me Children’s Activity Kit
Klutz Book of Knots (book)
Moon In My Room
Black Crusader Play Set

Specially for Danny (3)
Bear Counters (6 color, 96)
View-Master 3D 3-Reel Card Horses
Crusader Play Set (Gray)
Three Bear Family Sorting Activity Cards
Animal Croquet
Pattern Blocks - Wooden (250) in jar
Table Top Building Blocks Set (87 pc)
Wedgits Junior Set (15 pc)
Wedgits Starter Design Cards
Colors and Shapes Wipe-Off Book
Adventures in Odyssey- Bible Eyewitness Audio CDs
Adventures in Odyssey- Life Lessons 1-4 Audio CDs
Adventures of Sir Bernard Audio CD
*punching bag set- hopefully from an uncle

For both or family
Four in One (Badminton, Swingball, Tailbail, Volleyball) at
Gym-Dandy Teeter-Totter (big gift)
Playmobil Castle (big gift from grands)
Blokus Game
Puzzle Roll-Up JUMBO (3000 pcs 48” x 36”)
Material World: A Global Family Portrait
Storykeepers 12 DVD set - Bible stories
Ratatouille DVD
The Jungle Book DVD
Shiloh DVD & book
Billy Blanks - Tae Bo Kicks DVD
Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection DVD

For Dh
TiVo, House DVD Seasons 1-2 (?), clothes, fabric steamer if I can find a good one for not too much

Digital Picture frame with memory cards

For my parents
Dad- Flannel shirts from LandsEnd, gift certificate to Dick's Sporting Goods or Harley Davidson
Mom- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers DVD (or find a good set of her favorite movies), Home organization book, I really don't know!

Since homeschooling I've been working towards moving away from commercial items for the kids. This has been a task within itself because other gift-bearers see no reason why Camille should have a Barbie although I know she will like receiving it but will never play with it. Dh thinks the gifts above are purely educational which translates "no fun" but in reality- the kids will appreciate these items more than glitzy commercial items, at least I think so.

Camille loves art books and has asked specially for "find it" art books. She has been doing origami ever since we did it as a project for history and I've already had to buy more paper but she's doing the same origami over and over. The Nameits game- my goodness, if you've ever been in the car with her you'd appreciate playing more than "I Spy", "What Am I" and the "Rhyming Game" over and over! She saw the potholder loom in the Rainbow Resource holiday catalog and asked if she could do it too, same with the Sculpey Just For Me activity kit. Camille is forever tying knots, tying scarves, string, and whatever else she can to things so I figured a little guidance in how to tie knots would be fun- thus the Klutz book of Knots which is self-contained (thank you very much). Moon in my Room- Camille has been ga-ga over this since seeing it a couple of months back, she keeps pointing it out to me in stores saying she wants it. And finally, the crusader play set. She is more tomboy than girly-girl and loves to pretend fight with her brother. He's getting a crusader play set too. Pippi is because I liked her as a girl and I want to share her adventures with Camille.

Danny is 3 and a huge lover of all things that have wheels so he already has over 100 Matchbox-type cars, trucks, airplanes and trains. He also has a very nice collection of Little People and a dinosaur play set so he was more of a challenge this year trying to figure out what to get him that he needs for preschool but also for fun. He is probably the more spoiled between him and Camille being the youngest and easiest to please with his passions. Camille is a hard child for grandparents to figure out, they don't want to accept that she's more tomboy than she is. There really isn't much toys that Danny has that she doesn't play with. I've discovered lately that he loves listening to 'stories' at bedtime so the audio cds are to fulfill that little niche but I wanted something worthwhile to listen to. The Three Family Bear Counters are really for preschool but I hope to make these enticing to him and fun to play with. Lately Danny has been pointing out horses more than anything else, especially in catalogs so I got him a View-master slide of them.

The animal croquet is for both of them but I want to work with Danny on patience, concentration and hand-eye coordination plus get him outside to run him down! He loves his Melissa & Doug Pattern Board so the wooden pattern blocks are for this, as well as the Wedgits which has been such a hit here. He also loves wipe-off books which doubles as preschool. Danny loves dog movies and we've rented Shiloh from the library so many times I think we've worn the video out. Both kids loved Rataouille and since we're studying French, this is a perfect addition to our DVD collection and I loved Jungle Book as a kid (good reason to get it, huh?) The table-top blocks are architectural blocks so we can attempt to build places we study about or just have more fun with the blocks we already have.

The rest is self-explanatory: exercise videos to wear out the kids, and I want the kids outside more so the game set, tetter-totter help accomplish that. I decided against a trampoline, mini or otherwise. My kids, yowsers...

I think I did pretty good even if the other family members think it's too educational to be fun. I really can't wait for them to see the Playmobil Castle, they've drooled over it since last Christmas. See, Christmas is more about fulfilling hearts' desires for me than anything. If I didn't receive anything just being able to see my kids excited (over good stuff) would be enough for me.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Perfect presents

Christmas shopping is almost done! It's weird to shop online, carefully choosing what to purchase and from where and creating wish/gift lists. With a click of a button, shopping is done and then the "when will it arrive" wait begins. It is sort of surreal and now that the kids' Christmas is on its way, I wonder...did I choose the right things? will they love what has been carefully chosen? or will what I thought would be great be a bomb in pretty wrapping? Did I get too much? Lol! I know as things arrive, these questions will fall away as I envision their surprise on Christmas morning. I'll wrap and store the treasures away and remind myself "you're done" as we go through the commercial trappings of the season.

The kids are done but now I have the adults- yuck. Why do we have to give the perfect present? Is the perfect present the unimaginative gift that the person has requested? Or is the perfect present something you know they need/want but don't realize it yet? What do you give someone who has the ability (and has) to get whatever they want, when they want?

As you can tell, I LOVE giving presents. I feel it is an expression of love, a bundle wrapped with care to show my loved ones how I think of them. I love giving surprise gifts that end up being treasures. It's not about the fact the gift came from me but that the individual received something that warmed their heart. I love Christmas morning with all its surprises and glee- it is a time that spoiling my darling children is socially acceptable! Lol.

YES. I know that Christmas is about Jesus and his gift for us all and how perfectly perfect it is. That is why the children and I pick one person from the community and buy them an anonymous "Jesus" gift.

Can you tell I'm ready to put up our tree? I am! My only reservation is Jack, our pup and how enticing the tree might be to him with the shiny, pretty ornaments and decorations. I'm ready to start Advent season and the Christmas carols. I'm ready to be with my family. This year will be very bittersweet since MIL passed away last month, I'm not looking forward to Thanksgiving which is why I set my sights on Christmas. This will be a very sad season for us all, very disorienting as the reality comes front and center that she's gone. As the heart and planner of dh's family, this will be a hard holiday season without her.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Week 11, 12, 13 Report

We've been limping along in getting back to our homeschool but instead of going backward to far, I'll just post what we've done this week and where we are in our lessons.

Books we've read this week: Camille has been reading The Knight at Dawn. I've read aloud Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky and we're currently reading A Viking Adventure. The other books are for science, math and general reading.

SOTW 2: Chapters 12 & 13 were read and this is ch 13's copywork. I allowed print this week. For grammar we identified why commas were used in this selection and what 'valiant' means which included dictionary skills.

Science copywork

The kids watching Bonjour Les Amis, both kids are reciting French. :)

Explorer's Bible Study: Finished week 10
SOTW 2: Finished Chapter 13
Music: still on Hayden
Spelling Workout: completed lesson 9
Geography: mapped Eric the Red and Leif Ericson's voyages
Math: Horizons 2, lessons 41-45 and games
Science: videos and books, experiments today & tomorrow
new Exercise: KidsWalk by Leslie Sansone each morning (big HIT!) and afternoon walks
new Jack: continued training- has learned how to come and sit. The kids have learned how to yelp when Jack mouths them. Jack is learning to walk on leash.

Jack sits on command and is working on 'down'. The kids have given up two stuffed animals to him willingly. He is 9 weeks old and has been to the vet, gotten his tag and does very well going outside to do his business. He is a natural fit for us. Teaching him to sit is how you're able to get a good look at him, lol!

Danny learned how to play Candyland this week, he was very disappointed that it didn't involve actual candy.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Curriculum that Sticks

Looking ahead at our path, I've found that picking a curriculum we'll follow for a while after tons of research and reading of reviews and possibly contacting the author of the program.

Our choices so far are: Explorer's Bible Study, Horizons Math, Story of the World, Tapestry of Grace, and Spelling Workout. We hope to add Analytical Grammar and Classical Composition to the list later.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dog Training

I just want to share a gem we're enjoying, a DVD called Train Your Dog - The Positive Gentle Method by: Nicole Wilde, Laura Bourhenne has been great! The techniques can be used for puppies and older dogs which the trainers show both and address large and smaller dogs. There are 51 reviews at Amazon regarding this DVD which is why I went with this one over other DVDs available. The kids are enjoying it too, Camille is an active participant in training Jack which is such a help!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Reciting 'True Nobility'

What a stolen moment in time, she's about to lose her two front teeth, probably before Christmas. Camille is reciting "True Nobility" by Edgar Guest, which is on the right sidebar at the bottom if you'd like the text.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

I'm Back!

I'm ready. I am ready to reclaim our life and our homeschool. It's taken a while to feel this way but I'm ready to start again. I am not thinking of what we should have already covered but thinking more of the fun we'll have as we start this coming Monday and all the adventures awaiting us. So, let me share that excitement as a way to help myself and know what I have do to be ready on Monday.

Bible- Lesson 10 of Beginnings II, Jesus, My Shepherd
"He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12

This week we'll talk about how Jesus grew up, how he was a baby, a little boy and his struggles. How perfect! We can talk about our struggles this past month and how we can honor God even in our struggles.

Music- Haydn, Symphony NO. 94, Surprise, Themes to Remember Bk1
Discuss movements of a symphony and try to identify them, learn lyrics, read biography. Review past songs 3x this week.

Poetry- True Nobility by Edgar Guest
Yes, we are still working on this but this week with concentrated effort. One stanza at a time, hopefully we can master this and move on. I'll use our tape recorder for Camille so she can hear herself and model poise and voice projection which are areas she needs help with.

Spelling- Lesson 9 of Spelling Workout C
Poetry and consonant blends are the focus of this lesson. I will make flashcards today with the blends in a different color than the rest of the word like this: spill, trip, kind, fresh and put the definitions on the back.

Books of the Bible (memory work for Children's Youth at our church)
Review Genesis -Ezra, work on Nehemiah through Proverbs.

Independent Reading- The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne and library books.
Read-Aloud: Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky then start Viking Adventure by Bulla
Other read alouds this week:

  1. Box Turtle at Long Pond
  2. Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean
  3. One Monday Morning
  4. Mary Anning Fossil Hunter
  5. The Beautiful Butterfly- Folktale from Spain
  6. Night Noises by Mem Fox
  7. One Duck Stuck
  8. At Home in the Coral Reef
  9. Dealing with Addition (game based for math)

Watch Bonjour Les Amis and ease back into French for Children. Lots of review.

History (Monday and Tuesday)
Read SOTW2, chapter 12 and 13 b/c they are short.
Reenact what we read using Halloween candy as the booty- have fun.
No art this week other than looking at key areas discussed and architecture of the time.

Spend a day (Wed) focusing on volcanoes and earthquakes with United Streaming and online games, maybe experiments. Spend (Thursday) a day on rivers and floods and on Friday cover Mountains. These subjects have been overlapping for us so we can get through them quickly. Camille will be thrilled with doing so many experiments and I'll love the incentive to get through the other stuff during the week.

Piano lessons- focus on reading notes, Camille lost some of her momentum with her private lessons b/c of my lack of focus. This is easily rectified with daily review.

grammar will be covered in copywork

For Danny and Jack (our new pup)
Focus on alphabet, continue encouraging independent room play time for 30 minutes.
Do Bible lesson outside while Jack and Danny play. Kumon coloring and folding book for Danny.
Combine nature walk with walking Jack in the early afternoons after lessons.

Okay, that's my hopes for next week. Let's see what happens.