Sunday, August 29, 2010

Random Pictures.

I thought I'd post some random pictures of what's been going down in our house lately!

Owl Pellet Dissection.
We invited some friends over to discover what was hidden inside of some owl pellets. Bones, skulls, and even larvae!! This was fun, especially for the older kids (and us moms).




Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh.






Birthday Boys!
Little Jimmy and Christian's birthday are only 2 days apart. This year was low key, as it usually is for the little ones. We celebrated with cupcakes and presents for both, each on their own day.





Happy Birthday Christian!!!








Happy 1st Birthday Jimmy!!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

School is Great!

It's been a while since I blogged, but we've been busy with school and fun!! We are officially almost done with week 2 of school. So far I'm amazed at how our schedule is working out PERFECT so far! Does that ever happen?? Well, this is a first for me. Of course, I'm sure that as we get deeper into the school year things might change, so I'm remaining open-minded and flexible.

I personally am loving our Angelicum materials, as well as our other hand-selected curriculum. Everything is flowing wonderfully, the kids are doing well with all our materials, and school is exciting even for me! Here is a run down of what we are doing and some neat new things we are incorporating into our school year.

Religion: Before our school lessons officially begin for the day, we pray the rosary and recite some prayers chosen from our prayer wheel. Our prayer intention jar is also a big hit and they have been adding new prayer intentions every few days. To keep things fresh, I have also been alternating reading short saint stories after our prayers. We are working our way through "Once Upon a Time Saints" and the stories are perfect! Interesting for kids and short! Of course, this morning time doesn't comprise of our religion curricula, Faith & Life and the Baltimore Catechism. Faith and Life is still in the afternoon and lunch has become a learning time for us as we have been doing the Catechism questions together while I prepare lunch.

Language Arts: This year we are doing language arts mostly on our own. I decided to keep on our path as opposed to using Angelicum's suggestion of Shurley English, and so far I'm glad I'm doing what works for the kids. Rod & Staff English is such a solid program that I wanted to continue using it after Marco did so well with it last year. We are keeping Angelicum's recommendation of Hooked on Phonics and handwriting with Zaner Bloser, but I'm also adding Writing With Ease and All About Spelling.

Math: Saxon has been our math curriculum from the beginning and we are not straying from this choice! One of the reasons that we chose this program in the beginning was Angelicum's recommendation, as well as the recommendation from hundreds of other homeschoolers who have found it to be effective. Personally, I love it. It's thorough and has plenty of review!

Latin: Prima Latina for Isabella is going well so far. Marco has moved up into Latina Christiana and he is also responding well to it (aka...he's not complaining about it!). I've begun quizzing the kids on their vocabulary during lunch and it's become a fun game between them.

History: We haven't begun history yet, as I wanted to ease into our schedules the first couple of weeks. But I am looking so forward to using History Odyssey once again. My kids love "A Child's History of the World" as well as "Story of the World" and I'm glad that this program uses them both! But we are also using Angelicum's history lessons. Egypt studies are once a week and I'm anticipating a fun time!

Science: I am not planning on beginning science until our co-op starts in September. Although Angelicum's science plans are wonderful...I fully appreciate and love the science we do through co-op. It's a huge help to me as well. The kids read at home and then they do the labs at co-op!

Some neat new things I'm using this year!
  • Personal DVD player. Using Hooked on Phonics requires the use of a DVD player. Instead of having the kids use the computer or the TV, I broke out our personal DVD player. It's great and it prevents the kids from taking up the computer or having to leave the school room to use the TV. I also use it to play videos for Christian to keep him entertained from time to time.


  • Dividers. I found these nifty dividers at our local school supply store. I saw them and instantly knew they would work great for us! I don't take them out for every subject...only for those that require concentration. In our case that's phonics for the younger kids and writing for the older kids.


I'm so happy that we are off to such a good start this year! We have already done some fun stuff along with school, too. A trip to the museum one week and owl pellet dissections another week! I'm trying to keep things interesting and fun...but that's another entry for another day!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School 2010!!!!

Our first day of school was a huge success!! The kids loved it, I loved it, and my hubby loved it!! It was nice to have the whole family together! Get ready for a picture filled post!


Schultutes ready to go the night before. What's in them? Small school supplies, candy, toys, new Prismacolor pencils, backpacks, pencil cases, art supplies, love!


Christian was so happy to get his own cone!


Anthony loved it! A cone just like big brother.


Bella keeps my life in balance with all my boys.


Marco requested St. George and the Dragon for his cone.







Bella starting with math.


Anthony LOVES doing school work. "School is my favorite!"


Marco working with his Master Reader. The computer is helping everyone out.


We were really relaxed with our schedule on our first day of school, but all work still got done. This gives me so much hope that our schedule is right on target with me sharing my time with all kids and all the kids having time to finish their work. I'm sure that the next two weeks will really help me to determine if I need to make any changes.

A wonderful day all around! I love that we will always have these great memories of being together as a family....laughing, loving, learning!! I love homeschooling!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do You Know Pope Benedict XVI?

Love this video!! Please watch it and pass it on.



Friday, August 13, 2010

Choosing Our First Reads and Other Thoughts.

So we are only "3 sleeps" away from our first day of school (as my kids would say)! Today I spent the morning getting the remaining of our school supplies, as well as getting some treats for the first day of school schultutes! Want a sneak peak at one of them? Here it is!

This particular one is for Christian. Yes...it will be his first year getting a cone and he is super excited!!!

Other preparations underway are filling in our planners with assignments. As usual, I like to plan for 2-3 weeks at a time. This gives me plenty of room to adjust things if I need to. I must add that it's been nice having all the lesson plans in front of me to just add to our planners. I'm thankful we are going with Angelicum Academy again.

One thing Angelicum doesn't do, however, is tell you in what order to read their literature suggestions. This year I'm starting with The Princess and the Goblin for Marco. We will be turning in his book report for grading for this book, so I'm thinking that by starting it first, it will give Marco plenty of time to work on it.

Interested in reading a FREE, online copy of this story? Just visit The Princess and the Goblin and start reading!

As for Isabella, we are going to start with The Aesop for Children. We have actually read this book several times, but this will be the first time that we'll be doing short book report to go along with it. If you are interested in reading this book online for free as well, check out the Baldwin Project.
This weekend will be full of preparations for our first day of school traditions. I'm just as excited as the kids! I have schultutes to fill, crowns to make, and a new route to take to our school room. Check out our first day of school from last year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Chore Packs.

I am feeling more and more relieved every time I look at our new schedules! Things have been hectic ever since we made the move into our new home. I will admit that some things are still messy and unorganized, but it's a work in progress. One thing that was definitely put to the wayside was the kids' chores.

In the past (aka...before we moved), the kids did a pretty good job completing their chores. I started using Managers of Their Chores a couple of years ago and loved it. It took me a little while to train my kids as to what they were supposed to do, but once it was done, they didn't even need their chore pack to know what they were supposed to do. Well, since we moved back in April, the whole chore thing kind of went out the window.

Since moving, it has been a big obstacle in deciding what chores to have the kids do. First of all, we are in a much bigger house (6500+ sq.feet!). This means more stuff to keep clean and more rooms to clean. Second of all, we are still in move-in mode. Some boxes are still unpacked and there is lots of organizing to be accomplished. How to do it?

After spending lots of time thinking and planning, I created new chore packs for the kids. I stuck to many of the same chores they used to have, but now it's understood that instead of cleaning a small space, they'll have to help clean a big space. And it's working out great!! Granted, I'm in the process of "training" the kids on how to do things the right way; but they catch on quick.

I can't take any credit for my success, however. Managers of Their Chores has provided me a wonderful base for making this work. I would be lost in a filthy mess without that book! And I love that the kids are held accountable for their messes and their things. They are also beginning to feel a certain amount of ownership over the spaces they clean. Just the other day I hear Isabella telling Marco, "Please don't make a mess in the school room. I just cleaned it and I want it to last."

I'm thinking that after about a month or two of wearing the chore packs all over again, the kids will once again become "pros" at their chores and will eventually not need to wear them. Keep in mind that they are always responsible for the same chores. I don't switch around on them.



So YAY! for getting our schedule done and our chore packs!! We are so ready for school!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Schedules!

So I've been tweaking and working on our schedule for the past couple of weeks. It has been a huge challenge for me, since I'll have three kids doing school and one doing nursery work. As I have in the past, I use Managers of Their Homes to help me organize my day. Last night, after a few more hours working things out, I have our final daily schedule!

The first thing I must say is...it looks so full and huge!!! But I'm always willing to be flexible. My thoughts have always been that this must be the most difficult time in homeschooling....when you have a bunch of kids who are still completely dependent on your instruction. Luckily, Marco is easing into a more independent stage and I'm relishing the day when the oldest two can do more things for themselves. But at the same time, I'm enjoying the time I have to spend with them!

I am embedding a copy of our daily schedules for you to see! I put schedules because there are actually three! We run on a five-day schedule; but because we have co-op on Mondays through the year, this turns out to be a six-day schedule. Yes...we do school on Saturday mornings. This actually works out well for us, as we did that this whole past year. I also created a "Fifth Day Schedule" because we don't do our usual subjects on the fifth day.

To view my schedules, just click on the title below.

Monday Schedule



Daily Schedule (Usually Tuesday-Friday)



Fifth Day Schedule (Usually Saturday mornings)




So now you see that I haven't been completely slacking off these past couple of weeks. It's exciting to finally have some things set and ready to go. And just so you can see how our schedules are posted...here they are all together on our board!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Start Your Engines!!

I know....we are well into August and it seems that I've been ignoring this blog. But I haven't! I've been working diligently on preparing for our first day of school. August 16th is the big day and I have planners to fill in, lesson plans to organize, and funnest of all...schultuete's to make and fill!!

To say that the kids are excited is an understatement!!! But I promise a week full of updates and photos. We are inching ever closer to our start date and that leaves me scrambling to finish things both in the household department, as well as school.

Hope everyone is getting excited about a fresh, new start!!