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