Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

This month has flown by!! I'm sorry I've been away for awhile, but life has been moving quickly around here leaving little time for blogging.

A few updates:
  • My "simplify life" is moving along. We have made the conclusion, however, that we have quickly outgrown our current house and have begun the process of getting our home ready to go on the market. This means packing, cleaning, and repairing. We are just getting started and I'm afraid of the road ahead. With lots of prayer and faith, however, I know that we will be able to pull through this time.
  • Homeschooling is still going. We took a few days here and there for the holidays, but are working hard to stay on task. Favorite subjects around here are history, nature, and religion. History Odyssey is going great and I love that we are reading A Child's History of the World along with SOTW. For nature, we are loving doing the Handbook of Nature Study, but things have slowed down since the weather has gotten colder. Finally, we absolutely love doing religion using Mother of Divine Grace's syllabus. The saint book is a big hit!
  • Christmas went wonderful and was spent with just us. We were still able to enjoy it, even though family was far away for the first time in many years. Celebrating the birth of our Lord will always be a joyous event!!
That is the quick rundown of what going on around here. Currently, I'm still working on getting things packed and getting school done. I am also starting to browse curriculum for next year! With this many kids, I'm going to need a little extra help trying to figure out how to make our school days run smoother!

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gifting.

This year, Advent has really crept in on us! We still have yet to decorate the house and the only reminder of the season is a wreath hanging over the mantle, an advent wreath decorating the table, and a couple of lovely gingerbread houses.

We're hoping to get the Christmas tree soon and all the decorations will come down for sure once that is in place. For the time being, I keep reminding myself that it's not about the decorations around the house or the baking and crafting. It's not how ready our homes are in any of these ways, but rather how ready our hearts are.

And in that sense, I feel like this has been a wonderful time of year so far! I'm readying my spirit for the greatest gift of all while making wonderful memories with my family along the way. What a wonderful gift God has given me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Abundant Blessings.

Abundant blessings. That's the only way to describe how things have been going lately. Not that anything has really changed...I still do laundry everyday, change diapers, homeschool the kids, etc. But things seem to be a little different. Things are changing.

Miracles can happen to anyone at any time...not necessarily when we are waiting for them to happen. The difficult thing is recognizing them. And really, what might seem like a miracle to one person, might be something else entirely to someone else. Well, I believe in miracles and I firmly believe that they are happening to me every day.

Taking the time to appreciate all that we have and all that we have to do is difficult. But when we do, it's an eye opener! Even more amazing is when we recognize God is in all these things! Those are miracles. And yes...I am still struggling with prayer and daily life in general. The one thing that is changing is that I'm finally throwing my hands up and saying "God...I need help!" And He helps in the most wonderful ways! Merely a change of attitude is all we need sometimes.

Dh told me recently that sometimes we fail to see the forest. We become so focused on looking at each individual tree that we miss seeing how beautiful the big picture is. Of course, we all have damaged trees and trees that need more attention. But once we take that step back...WOW!

OK...so prayer does help! Giving up your struggles to God does work. And even though not every day is perfect, we are all a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun, Sick Day.

Today, the kids woke up sick. Some with fevers and mostly everyone with a runny nose and sore throat. So I decided to take the morning off from doing school and just let the kids have some fun. Isabella was dying to bake something, so I broke out the aprons and we got to work! The boys were not interested in baking, so I let them work with their Lego's. It was great all around!

My little girl loves to bake and all things girly!


Marco and Anthony ham it up for the camera. I love it when they work together!


By the time lunch time rolled around, we had fresh bread and homemade chicken soup with a pumpkin muffins for dessert. Not to mention a Lego dump truck!

The yummiest lunch ever for a bunch of sick kids!


So the kids were sick, but we had a great morning regardless! The rest of the day was just as good as the kids spent their time playing with Lego's and dolls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Need Help Praying.

As I went to bed last night and contemplated the day's events, I began my nightly prayer routine. I have been in the practice of sleeping with a rosary tucked into my pillow. It does a good job of reminding me to pray the rosary nightly and I found that it helps to ease my stresses when I reach into my pillow case and feel the rosary in my hand.

Not too long ago, however, my pillow rosary got misplaced and I had yet to tuck another one into the pillow case. It's simply a thing I keep putting off and forgetting. But last night I noticed a pattern; since the "disappearance" of my rosary, I have had a hard time praying. My thoughts have become randomized and I have a hard time focusing on talking to God. Not only that, but my daily spiritual life seems to be in much more disarray. Even praying in the morning with the children is no help.

My days seem so much more difficult, even though the day to day routines haven't changed. Why am I so stressed? Why are all the little things getting to me? Why does my daily routine seem to be getting harder and harder as the day progresses, when in reality it's not? Why am I failing to see God in the little things?

But I've had an epiphany. I've made the realization of what it is that I'm failing to do that is making my life so much more difficult and miserable. I'm letting the days slip by me without allowing God to help me. I'm letting the mundane in my daily life control me. I'm failing to end the day with God, Mary, and all the saints. And I need them. I need all their help and I need all their prayers.

This morning, I replaced my pillow rosary. I began doing my daily reflection. I asked for help. I devoted 20 minutes of my time to our Holy Mother. If my suffering lies in doing 20 loads of laundry, then I will offer up my suffering to God. If my misery for the day is explaining a math problem over and over, then I will offer up my misery to God. If my attitude doesn't express love and patience, then I will pray for help in attaining love and patience.

Because I am not a holy person and because my life revolves around doing daily chores, I've decided that the best people to ask for help are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Ignatius of Loyola.

All this because I lost my pillow rosary.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to God's Family!

This past Saturday, my little baby boy was baptised into the Catholic Church!! It was such a special day for all of us and we truly wish that we could have had our family attending. Our good friends accepted the role of godparents and we are happy that our Little Jimmy will have many examples of faith filled people to follow!





Our Family with Father Tri.

Little Jimmy's Godparents!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to Reading!

So busy, busy me....I finally have come back for another post and update!! Thankfully our house is on the mend and no one is officially sick anymore! With all the flu going around, it's times like this that I am thankful that my kids don't have to go to school (especially when there is a newborn in the house)!

As I had previously posted on books...I recently bought Rome Sweet Rome by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. I have a confession to make as well. Although I have owned some of Scott Hahn's books for some time now, this is the first time I have actually read one! I know...unbelievable! But I'm glad that I started with this book.



A tale of their conversion to Catholicism, I found this book to be such an easy read (I finished it in a day) and such a wonderful story! It's nice to read books that inspire you to delve deeper into your faith. Highly recommended!!

I always find that I have so much trouble suggesting Catholic books to friends. I don't know if it's because I don't want them to think I'm pushy (especially if they are non-Catholic) or because I feel like they might think that I'm too one dimensional. But one thing is true about this particular book...after reading it, I don't see how any non-Catholic can stay that way!

Pick it up and read it if you are Catholic! And if you are not, read it too!!! I dare you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let's Simplify.

We recently just got back from a trip to visit my family in Dallas. It was nice to get away from home for a week and spend it with family. Once we got back home, however, we made a huge realization. We are drowning! Drowning in too much!! Too much laundry, too much disorganization, too much stuff! My DH and I woke up and made the realization that something has to change.

This has been a tough year overall. Pregnancy was a bit rougher than usual, my mind seems to have gone on vacation, and there is so much MORE now that the baby is here (think baby swings, bouncy seats, more clothes, etc.). With all this MORE in our lives, there is one thing that we definitely have less of...time.

How can we do it all? DH works so much that I'm left alone to tackle the runnings of the house. I don't complain about it...it is, after all, my job. But while I understand that the most important thing is to raise our kids to be healthy and happy, I still have a million other things to accomplish along with that. Mainly: the kids education and a safe household.

So we have made a pact to simplify our lives. This will be a slow process, but we are determined to get back to the basics. With 5 children running around, we can't afford to let things slide. First we plan to get rid of everything we don't use. This includes household items, clothing, and toys.

Sticking to our chore list for the kids, our homeschool schedule, and menu planning have been difficult lately, and now we realize just how important they are. But sickness and traveling have made it harder than we thought.

Perhaps I'll post about our progress, but in the mean time...if you want to get started on your own life, here are some sites that you can visit for ideas.

Large Family Logistics
Life in a Shoe
Organized Home
Love @ Home
Household Organizing Tips for Large Families

Time to get to work!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saw this recently.

I thought this was a great video!!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Books.

Lately, I've been trying to build up my personal library. I'm full of children's books and really want to have some great books on hand for the adults in the house. Since I'm not going to go all out all at once, here are a few books that I got this past week.



OK...you might think that this book is only for children, but in reality it is a beautiful book with wonderful illustrations and a short biography of each saint. I think any adult would enjoy this book! More Saints Lives and Illuminations.




I've been looking for a comprehensive book of Catholic prayers and found this book. I love it because it has prayers for every occasion; from bedtime prayers to prayers when traveling. We have been using it daily at all hours of the day! Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers.





I just started reading this book, so I can't exactly give a full review. So far it seems like a great book, however! Raising Faith Filled Kids.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feast Day of St. Therese.



Today is the feast day for St. Therese of Lisieux, or St. Therese of the Little Flower, or St. Therese of the Little Way. Whichever name you decide to call her, she is still one of our favorite saints! If you decide to spend a little time with her and your children, here are a list of places where you can find some great activities to do together!

Sacrifice Beads
St. Therese Coloring Pages
A Collection of Activities related to St. Therese (wonderful site!)



Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrating the Liturgical Year.

Thanks to our wonderful liturgical wheel calendar, I have come to see that this week is packed full of wonderful feast days!! Being behind in most things lately, I'm glad that this week will not pass me by and I'm sure that there was some divine intervention involved in making me realize that this is a special week.

Tomorrow is the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Since two of our children have their middle names after archangels (actually three are named after archangels if you count the angel Uriel), it is a day we celebrate year after year! In addition to our regular religion lessons, we'll be coloring pages of the angels and saying some additional prayers. You can find coloring pages over at Waltzing Matilda. We'll also be celebrating this name day by blowing out candles on some cupcakes.

A favorite saint of ours, St. Therese's feast day is on Thursday, October 1st. We'll have fun reading about her; the kids love her story as told through the Catholic Children's Treasure Box. We are also big fans of sacrifice beads (or good deed beads) and they seem to be found all over the house. Adding to our collection, we'll be making more as well.

Two more feast days this week that I haven't planned are:
October 2nd Guardian Angel
October 4th St. Francis of Assisi

I'll make sure to post any ideas as these days approach. Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting Ready.

Today I actually feel like it's a normal Sunday! I'm busy preparing for the week and although I have lots of catching up to do, it feels like I'm finally ready to get ready! Does that make sense? For the past month I have been feeling like I just wasn't ready for anything, but had to do it anyways. So I wasn't ready to get ready...but now I am!!

I'm planning out my week, getting groceries, making lists, etc. It's good to feel a little bit more on track! The unfortunate thing is that I really am behind. With the baby having been sick, it feels like we lost another 2 weeks of regular schooling. Although we did do our main lessons, we were working off what was scheduled and now we need to get back into things...and it's almost October!

It's so important to enlist help whenever possible. Lately, I've come to realize that the only kind of help I really need comes only from God. I'm hoping that by dedicating myself to Him more, I might find more peace with all the day to day that needs to be accomplished in my little domestic church.



Father in heaven,
grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity
which you have conferred on me.
Let me realize that not even the Angels
have been blessed with such a
privilege—
to share in your creative miracle
and bring new Saints to heaven.
Make me a good mother to all my children
after the example of Mary,
the Mother of your Son.
Through the intercession of Jesu
s and Mary
I ask your continued blessings on my family.
Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth
and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday!

This week turned out to be hectic, but fun! Anthony turned 4 on Tuesday and we spent the week preparing for his birthday celebration! Not only that, but we had some dear friends visiting from Minnesota as well. It was great to see them after 5 years! Both our families have grown from just 2 kids each when we last saw each other to now having 5 kids and 6 kids!!! God is so great!

We had a great time with our friends and everyone had a buddy to play with that was their own age. It was great to finally get all the kids (and dads) together for a picture...although my little Christian was already in bed and missed being in the picture.


Of course, Anthony had a great week celebrating his birthday as well. We threw him his first official "big" party. There were 30 kids altogether, playing and jumping at CheerMania. There was food, cake, presents, and a cacophony of horns...what a great day for my little man!




















HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANTHONY!!!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Back!

It seems like I have been slacking in the blogging department lately...and I have! Having a newborn has brought some changes, but none that I was expecting! This past week my little guy had to spend the week in the hospital fighting a UTI. I'm glad that he is recovered and doing well with no other problems. But it was horrible to have him go through that experience. I am glad, however, that I was able to stay by his side every minute!

Now that we are back, we are trying to get back into the full swing of things like school, co-op, housework, and all the extra curricular stuff. It's been a bit more difficult than I expected, but it's going well overall. Lessons for today have gone well and the kids are back to their full chores as well. I'm so blessed to be able to homeschool!!

So here I am again! I hope to post pictures of all the stuff we are doing and pray there are not too many surprises in the road ahead!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Learning Spaces.

I promised to post pictures of our learning spaces long before we started our school year. I finally have uploaded the pictures to my computer and will take you on a new tour of where learning takes place in our home! Granted, it's very much the same from the previous times I've posted pictures. Organization is the only thing that changes here year to year. As a new year begins, I try to reorganize spaces to make them function better.

Our School Room.

View from one side of the room. The room itself is not as big as I would like it to be, so I have to get creative with storage and organization. I have grown to dislike plastic bins for storage, so I have been moving in the direction of getting all those replaced. In this wall area, the white board is the most used and I really like the size of the board fitting so well between the book cases.


Another snapshot of the school room. Eventually I know I will have to replace our little school table with either individual school desks or a bigger table. For now, however, it works well for all the kids.

I don't like things to look so cluttered, but I need more space! This side of the wall holds my computer desk and large bulletin board. I post our calendar, daily schedule, and random things on it.

The rolling cart has been a great way to organize papers and supplies, but I added a cubby storage next to it as well. The top shelf holds all my teacher manuals and planners. Right beneath it is our school paper supply. This includes blank books, handwriting paper, notebooking paper, etc. The last two shelves hold all my printer paper and labels, followed by all my homeschooling reference books (Cathy Duffy, WTM, etc).

As for the map, I love that the kids can get down and really look at the map, but it's not the ideal location...my 2 year old is constantly taking it off and I really would like a more permanent and toddler friendly way to display our rotating maps. Above the map is our liturgical calendar, which I really enjoy!

This bookcase holds all our curricula for the current year. The top shelf is our preschool/kindergarten/reader shelf. This has Anthony and Isabella's materials as well as our phonics readers.

The second shelf is for Marco's curricula. Since he has the majority of the books, his shelf quickly fills up...mostly with history books. I tend to always have the books organized in order all the time. This makes it easy for Marco to get whatever book he needs and he doesn't have trouble finding it; but for the most part, I'm usually the one who takes things down from the shelf.

The third shelf is for all our religion and reading books (think Alice in Wonderland, Little House on the Prairie, etc.). I try to keep this shelf open to adding more, since I'm always on the look-out for a nice book of saints or other Catholic resources.

Although you can't see inside, the bottom of the bookcase is actually a drawer and not a shelf. Inside I keep all our posters and maps. We tend to rotate maps frequently and take out educational posted often. I keep a list of all materials in the drawer so that I always know what I have. It comes in handy!



This is a new addition to our school room this year. I had some coupons for our craft store and decided to buy two of these wooden cubbies. They are great!! I have them labeled (of course!!) and it makes it easy for me to separate and find things! My labels are: Teacher Resources, Reference and Student Resources, Subject Binders, Misc. Books/Workbooks/Resources, Library Books, and Music/Arts & Crafts.

And although I don't like plastic bins, I still keep three bins in the room. They contain our MFW preschool manipulatives, our preschool activities, and another bin for more manipulatives and activities. I rotate the stuff in our preschool bin, so that's why I keep two for this reason.


The last bookcase in the room contains mostly non-school books. I was kind enough to let my DH have the top shelf for some of his medical books and journals. The bottom shelf is for my personal reading books and the bottom drawer holds empty binders, folders, and other random things. The only real "school" shelf is the middle one. I dumped our plastic containers and replaced them with nice baskets instead. In them I keep a nice stash of office supplies...rubber bands, scissors, scratch paper, pins, etc.

Of course, you can also see that I store games, art supplies, and other random things in bins above both of our bookcases, too!


Lastly in our super long tour of our school room, are some new shelves I installed before we started our year. I wanted a place to keep frequently used supplies that wouldn't be too much of an eye sore and that I could keep handy, but out of the reach of little hands. The top shelf holds scissors, Crayola crayons, Crayola markers, and glue sticks. The middle shelf holds Prisma Color water color pencils, Fibracolor markers, a 120 set of Prisma Color pencils, and Staedtler Mars brush markers. Lastly...we have erasers, pencils, paint brushes, and more PrismaColor pencils on the bottom shelf. Can you tell we are big fans of Prisma Color??

Independent Learning Center

Heading upstairs....this is our new independent learning center. This is mostly used when the kids want to work on something alone, like learning center activities, drawing, nature study, etc. I do come up and help them if they need it, but it seems like we are still developing a sense of how to use this space.


This is our small alcove on the second floor. It's not a big learning space, but it works amazingly well!


I moved one of our kid table up from the playroom in the basement and then purchased a nice shelf to hold all our learning center activities. Once again, I decided to stay away from using plastic bins.


Opposite the table and shelf, I placed this bookshelf that still seems a bit bare right now. At the bottom you can see my plastic filing case that contains liturgical activities for the year separated by month. Above that, I have drawing books and coloring books (Drawing with Children, Draw Write Now, etc.). Marco, Isabella, and Anthony also each have their own bin with a sketch pad, drawing pencils, and colored pencils (oils for now).

The last two top shelves contain our nature study books and some boxes that hold more art/drawing supplies. We've been doing our art lessons upstairs as well as our nature study readings. It's a nice change from the school room.


Looking back you see our leather book bin on the floor. This holds reading books, picture books, and library books dealing with art and nature study. It's nice to keep the books organized by subject, as it makes it easier for the kids to find what they are looking for.


Lastly is the learning center shelves. On top I keep file folder games, learning center folders, and take to your seat centers. The bin also contains books with ideas for using Cuisenaire rods, manipulatives, and for creating learning centers. The top two, dark baskets hold activities and manipulatives to use for language arts. Spelling games, Unifix letter cubes, rhyming games, and more are all contained within the baskets. The two bottom baskets hold all the math manipulatives such as our Lego number tiles, buttons, math games, and more.

The boxes to the left of the shelf hold additional supplies and also contain letter writing materials for Marco. This would be paper, writing utensils, an address book, stamps, and envelopes. Twice a month, Marco picks out someone from his address book and writes them a simple letter. I make a copy to file away in in Language Arts binder as well. I also like to keep a tray to help Anthony and Isabella learn to keep things neat and clean (their mess must stay on the tray).

Of course, I always have to keep Christian in mind when making learning spaces. Every so often, I switch out the toy on top of the shelf in order to give him something to do as well! In the end, it all works out well.

So there is my super detailed picture by picture tour of our learning spaces. Some day I will decide to post pictures of our playroom that often becomes a place where we study outdoor little critters and make our messy art projects. But for now, I think I've had enough!!!







Monday, August 31, 2009

School Adjustments.

We are entering our 4th week of school today and things are going well. Because we took a week and a half off while family was visiting, I decided to focus on reviewing some things last week and getting the kids back on schedule. I'm glad that I took the time to use the week to also reevaluate our daily routine and curriculum. Since then, I have decided to make a couple of changes.

For curriculum, things are going great and I am very happy with what we have except for a minor exception. I decided to switch Isabella's kindergarten handwriting to Handwriting Without Tears. The CHC handwriting course is very nice and I like that the lessons are short, but I have not been happy with it's instruction on letter formation. Since I have used HWT K for Marco in the past with success, I've decided to give it a try with Isabella. We will still be keeping up with work in Writing Our Catholic Faith.

For grammar, we have been using Rod and Staff English 2 for Marco, along with First Language Lessons. Both books are great...FLL has a bit more drill in terminology and R&S seems a bit more rigorous in practice. In the end, I decided to drop FLL. Marco absolutely loves doing R&S (a big surprise for me!) so this wasn't a difficult choice to make. I'm also planning on continuing with R&S for the future, so it was the most logical decision to drop FLL.

In the scheduling department, things are still being worked out. We are starting school about 30 minutes later than before the baby was born. I imagine that once the baby starts sleeping longer through the night, we should go back to starting at 8am. I have also been clumping Marco and Isabella for more lessons; this has been shortening our times and is working well. Once we get our kinks out, I plan on making a new updated schedule to post.

We are learning as we go, but things are going as I would like them to!! Baby Jimmy is doing great with out school and daily schedules. I'm hoping that things keep rolling along pleasantly.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Baby!

After praying and waiting, we finally have met the new member of the family! And he is such a blessing!!! Baby Jimmy was born on August 19th at 8:02am. After a surprisingly long labor, he was born weighing in at 7lbs and 9ozs and measuring 20.5 inches!

We are happy to be at home and getting back to our routines. I'm thankful for my mom who was such an immense help for 2 weeks. I miss her so much!! It was also good to see my sister, niece, and nephew. I'm glad we had an opportunity to have family around during this time.

Recovery is going well and we have since started back up with our daily school routine. Things are going nicely and it feels good to be back on schedule. As for baby Jimmy, he's a blessing and then some! We have him set up in a bassinet in our school room during the day and it's nice to look over and just watch him sleep. It's like he's always been a part of our family! God is so good!


Just a few minutes old.


All bundled up after a first bath at the hospital.


Taking a nap. Only 1 day old.


Grandma and the kids visiting and meeting for the first time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking Some Time.

As I wait for the arrival of our new baby, I decided to take it easy on school this week and enjoy my family who is visiting from out of town.

We are all praying for a fast and safe delivery and recovery! I will make sure to post a new baby picture as soon as the new baby makes his appearance!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our First Two Weeks.

When planning for our school days, my planner is usually filled only for 2 weeks in advance....and in pencil. I do this for so many reasons. Kids get sick, lessons don't sink in, we get unexpected visitors, doctor's appointments arise, and so on and so on. I will admit that when I planned our first week of school, I did none of the "easing into it" thing. I just scheduled a full day. Of course, our first day of school did have lots of fun incorporated into it, but there was still a bit of every subject on our schedule.

It is now the official end of our first 2 weeks of school!! How did it go? Well, I can honestly say that our first week was chaos. There were more doctor's appointments than I had planned for, more babysitting issues, and just unexpected events. But we got it all done. This week was a little more of the same. False labor, plumbing issues, and more appointments led to another week where schedules had to be tweaked.

So the key to our success was our flexibility to clump lessons together, switch schedules, work late, etc. I refused to fall behind so early in our school year!! The upside was that I realized how flexible the kids are and how resilient they can be. It's nice to look at our planners and see that everything was checked as "done!"

But I will be making adjustments to our schedule. Mainly, I'll be moving things around and clumping kids together a little more. I found that I didn't need to separate the kids as much as I thought. They worked together wonderfully! For example, I had their phonics scheduled separately because I thought they would require more one on one. It turned out that they like to work together. While I do the phonics lesson with Isabella, Marco works on his workbook pages and then reads. Then I switch over to Marco and Isabella starts on her workbook and readers.

Christian also proved to be quite the little learner. He is loving doodling alongside the kids and was able to hold a good attention span of about 15 minutes. Amazing for an almost 2 year old!!

The great thing I have discovered so far is that I have plenty of time to add in nature study and art on Fridays. I was worried about adding anything extra, but so far so good!

My only concern now is will we be able to sustain this when the baby arrives? I certainly pray so!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

St. John Mary Vianney.


As part of our religious studies, we are learning and reading more and more about saints following the lesson plans provided by Mother of Divine Grace.

Today happened to be a day where we choose a saint and read about him or her. Since it is August 4th, we decided to focus on Saint John Mary Vianney, patron of priests. And what a wonderful way to start our saint studies for the year, since this is the Year of Priests!

As I searched high and low for a good image of St. John Vianney for Marco to color, I remembered that Illuminated Ink was holding a coloring contest with the image of St. John. You can find the coloring page in their online newsletter. I was so excited about the find that we spent a good 40 minutes reading about and coloring St. John Vianney!!

Tomorrow we'll continue with our St. John study which will include a small narration. We are working on creating our own little saint book this year and this will be our first entry!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Final List. 2nd Grade & Kindergarten Curricula for 2009-2010.

I posted our tentative curricula a few months ago for Marco and Isabella. At that time, I was still waiting to peruse all the books at the homeschool conference. Since then, there have been a few changes made and I am now posting our final list. As you will notice, I'm combining several subjects for the kids.

If you are interested in viewing Anthony's preschool curricula for the 2009-2010 year, you can find that here.

Marco 2nd Grade
Math:
Saxon Math 3
Calculadders
MCP Math Level B (as an occasional supplement)

Phonics:
Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (as a review)
MCP Phonics B
Varied Readers

Spelling:
MCP Spelling Workout B

Grammar:
First Language Lessons 1 & 2
Rod and Staff English 2

Writing:
Writing With Ease 1 & 2

Religion:
Faith & Life 2
St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism (using Mother of Divine Grade lesson plans)
Books about Saints

History:
History Odyssey Middle Ages Level 1 (this program incorporates Story of the World, The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of the World, and Hillyer's Children's History of the World)
The Old World and America (Catholic history supplement)

Geography and Cartography:
Galloping the Globe
National Geographic Map Essentials 2

Science:
Real Science 4 Kids Pre-Chemistry Level 1 /R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry by Pandia Press at co-op (these two different curricula are being combined to make course last a whole year)

Music:
Piano Lessons
Bell Choir at co-op

Unit Studies:
Human Body unit study for 14 weeks in the first semester
Animal unit study in the second semester (number of weeks undetermined)

Foreign Language:
Conversational Spanish at home
Elementary Spanish on Discovery Ed. Streaming
Latin at co-op

Art and Nature Study:
Art Adventures at Home, Level 1
Weekly nature study using Handbook of Nature Study with Outdoor Hour Challenges
*Free time with art books, crafts, and art supplies in our learning center

Isabella Kindergarten
Math:
Saxon Math 1

Phonics:
Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
MCP Phonics A
Varied Readers

Spelling:
MCP Spelling Workout A (beginning in the middle of year)

Religion:
Faith & Life 1
Books about Saints

History:
History Odyssey Middle Ages Level 1 (this program incorporates Story of the World, The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of the World, and Hillyer's Children's History of the World)
The Old World and America (Catholic history supplement)

Geography and Cartography:
Galloping the Globe
National Geographic Map Essentials 1

Science:
Real Science 4 Kids Pre-Chemistry Level 1 /R.E.A.L. Science Chemistry by Pandia Press at co-op (these two different curricula are being combined to make course last a whole year)

Music:
Piano Lessons beginning in September

Unit Studies:
Human Body unit study for 14 weeks in the first semester
Animal unit study in the second semester (number of weeks undetermined)

Foreign Language:
Conversational Spanish at home
Elementary Spanish on Discovery Ed. Streaming
Latin at co-op

Art and Nature Study:
Art Adventures at Home, Level 1
Weekly nature study using Handbook of Nature Study with Outdoor Hour Challenges
*Free time with art books, crafts, and art supplies in our learning center

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hanging with the 12 Apostles.

This summer while at the IHM Conference, I purchased a really cute activity set with the 12 apostles from Jody's Hands-On Learning. I knew it was an activity that the kids would love, especially Isabella!



So I set out to get the activity kit all ready for assembly. If you are working with younger kids, this means cutting out the paper dolls and clothes ahead of time. The kit comes with everything you need...paper dolls, fabric for clothes, googly eyes, templates, etc.



It was a bit time consuming to prepare everything for the kids. I am not a fan of doing everything for them, but I knew that it would be too difficult and time consuming for them to do all the cutting necessary to complete the project. I was extremely happy once I was done getting this step out of the way, however.

We worked on this project on a Sunday and it was a nice way to spend part of the afternoon. We got to talk about the apostles and how important they were. The most gruesome part was, of course, the hanging of Judas Iscariot. But I reminded the kids that his betrayal was an important part that led to our salvation. In all, they were reminded of the importance of friendship, loyalty, and faithfulness.


Isabella loved putting the paper dolls together.


The 12 Apostles all done and lined up on our wall. Notice Judas Iscariot hanging on the side. A bit morbid, but an important part of history nonetheless.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First Day of School Success!

I know I promised to post pictures and such on Sunday evening. Much to my dismay, however, I have been suffering from a poison ivy rash that is only remedied by sleep. So in attempts to ignore the itchiness, I have been opting to take some Benadryl and get to bed early. Being pregnant with a giant rash is not fun!

But we did have our official first day of school on Monday! It was a complete success and the kids had a blast getting to "meet" their new books, open their Schultute's, take pictures, and yes...even get started on work! All around, I saw God's blessings and it turned out to be a perfect day!

I was hoping to capture the first lesson for each child, but only had the camera on hand for one shot. I did capture so many other shots, however, and I hope you like them!!


The kids' Schultute's the night before our first day.


I can't say how excited I was to have the kids see them, but what surprised me was how excited my dearest husband was at the thought of starting this new tradition. He LOVED them!

After having a special pancake breakfast the kids were allowed to go into the school room. There they found crowns with their names on them and their new grade levels on the back. The giddiness they exhibited was adorable!














On the side of their names was a little picture clue as to what the theme for their Schultute was going to be. It was fun to hear them brainstorm all about their big surprise!


Even Christian got in on the excitement with his own crown.


On the count of 3, everyone say "First Day of School Rocks!!!"


Showing off their new grade levels on their crowns.


I made the kids stand in line while I placed their Schultutes on the school table. We then made a march to the school room once more.













It was pure excitement when they saw their cones on the table!! They immediately wanted to open them to see what was inside, but they knew they had to wait. And although Christian might look a little bummed that he doesn't have his own cone, he quickly felt better after he got a little bag full of treats just for him.





My boys! That cone is almost as big as Anthony!!






Getting to open the cones was the best part of the day for the kids. I love the expression on Marco's face when he sees what's inside the Schultute! I'm glad I caught it on camera!! Surprises are the best!!












The kids finished opening their Schultutes and I let them spent part of the morning enjoying their treats. After all was put away, we hung them up on the wall where they nicely form part of the decor now.

We found a nice place on the wall to decorate with the school cones.


After all the excitement, it was time to hit the books and start a new year! It was a great day!!!