Saturday, August 7, 2010

What We'll Be Doing All Day 2010-2011

It's so exciting for me to start my second year of homeschooling. Just like when I taught a classroom full of fifth graders (in my pre-mommy days), it feels so good to have a year behind me. The first year of trying ANYTHING new can be an adjustment. Maybe I'll elaborate someday on just how difficult it was for me to transition my kids from public school to homeschool, but for today, I'm just so thrilled to participate in the "Not Back to School" blog hop this year. This record of our days is so overdue, so without further delay...

Presenting The 201o-2011 School Year...

This year I'm going to have all three of my kiddos at home full-time. I'll be homeschooling a fourth grader, a second grader, and the youngest will be doing Pre-K at home. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous. Our youngest is hysterical and makes it very difficult for us to focus at times. Putting him back at preschool again this year, three mornings a week, just didn't feel like the right decision. I think he was starting to realize he was being left, while the rest of us were going home. Kids are smart that way... :)

Choosing curriculum is such a joy. We tried A LOT of different things last year. Some we will continue with while others are new. I love looking at it all right now, stacked neatly, just waiting for the year to begin.

Language Arts- 4th and 2nd grader will be doing Abeka. For PreK, we sort of have a hodgepodge of materials... Bob Books, Phonics Pathways, letter of the week activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler and 1+1+1=1, and lots of manipulatives! I've gotta thank those special mommies out there who share so generously the materials they have created for their own families. Their creativity blows me away!

I cannot recommend Institute for Excellence in Writing's program highly enough. This summer I have been teaching writing classes out of the schoolhouse and have been so impressed with the results, so far. My oldest two will be doing this, as well. I also love A Reason for Handwriting.

Math- We are continuing on with Horizons Math, which I believe is an incredibly strong program. I also add my own manipulatives; base 10 blocks, money, stamps, etc. to illustrate some of the concepts we encounter.

Bible- My 4th grader is doing Switched on Schoolhouse for Bible and my middle will be using Alpha Omega's Lifepacs.

Science- SO EXCITED to start Jeannie Fulbright's elementary science program from Apologia. We will be using Zoo 1 this year.

History- Ahhh, my favorite! This I will be putting together all by myself. I do like Evan Moor's History Pockets series. We used the Native Americans unit last year and the books were beautiful when we finished. The focus this year will be Colonial America, Westward Expansion and California History!

Morning "Circle" Time- I need a name for what we'll be doing first thing everyday. We're not really in a circle when we do it, so I feel a little disingenuous calling it "Circle Time". Basically, this is when I'll use my trusty hold-over from the public school overhead projector! Hey, what can I say? Old habits die hard and it may seem a bit like overkill, but it really focuses my kids! Basically we'll do scripture, prayer journals, and calendar daily together. For the second part, the focus will change daily. Mondays will be Presidents (introducing a new one each week). Tuesdays will be States (again, one per week) and geography. Wednesdays we'll continue Draw to Learn Proverbs. Thursdays are set aside for money collection (reviewing counting coins and making change). Finally, Fridays we will do Draw Write Now. Presidents and States will also be reinforced through the week with games, posters and PowerPoint presentations.

I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but I would never want to forget to share the following with you...

Sue Patrick's Workbox System is absolutely the BEST classroom management tool I have ever encountered for homeschoolers. It completely changed our learning environment and motivated our easily distracted children! The few dollars I spent to attend her Webinar, was some of the best money I have ever spent. Check it out!

Also, I'm completely addicted to It's a subscription-based site from educational publisher Evan-Moor. I think I downloaded every single language arts center for Pre-K/K, 2nd grade, and 4th grade. I laminated each of the pieces and now have probably 100 folders for reinforcement of skills. When I joined, the first three days were completely free. I love, love, love this site!

Well, I want to wish you all the very best for a successful schoolyear! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my very first blog post.

Blessings, Lins


  1. Draw to Learn Proverbs sounds interesting.

  2. Hi. Stopped by from the Not Back to School Blog Hop. Love the schoolroom, by the way.

    You caught my attention, though, from this post. I would really benefit from a post about how you came to the decision to take your kids out of school to homeschool them.

    I was a public school teacher for 7 years (2nd grade) until 3 years ago. My oldest of three is 6 and starts 1st grade on Wed. After the last two years (pre-k and K) we are seriously considering homeschooling and have been so close to just doing it. I want to do it so badly but just can't make myself commit. How did you do it? There are a million things going through my head, none of which are the normal reasons for people being worried about homeschooling. I have a feeling you probably had some of the same thoughts that I did.

    I know it's a lot to ask of you to write a post about it, but I am having a hard time finding homeschooling blogs that have moms or dads coming from a similar background. I'm desperately looking for some kind of push or encouragement or...well really, I don't know what I'm looking for. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  3. Brandy, I am going to start typing my little heart out, right now. I can't think of anything I'd rather do right now than write that post. Pretty sure I know just what you need and I know you're under a deadline...

  4. Wow! Thank you so much! I certainly didn't expect you to begin on it so quickly. I know how much you have on your plate being a wife, mom, and teacher. But know that I do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I don't know why I need to hear someone else's story for me to be able to take the plunge. I guess I just need to know if anyone else's reasons for pulling their kids out match my own or if I'm the only person with these reasons. This has just been the hardest thing ever for me and I think part of it has to do with me having been an educator. Some people think that me having been a teacher would make homeschooling easier, but I just don't feel that way in the least.

    Last night we went to back to school night at my daughter's school and had a classroom orientation with her teacher I felt okay coming out of it...better than I did going in. Of course, that was true for last year too. We've told my daughter that if 1st grade isn't working out we will not be waiting until second grade to homeschool, rather we will pull her out immediately. She seems completely fine with that.

    Her teacher sent home a list of every sight word, vocabulary word, and spelling word she will have this year. I sat down with my daughter this morning and out of every single spelling word she can already spell them all. She can read every sight word and every robust vocabulary word. In fact she reads on a 4th grade level. This is not to brag about my daughter at all (there's just no way to make it not sound like bragging), but just to say that I don't know how they are going to meet her needs. That's what makes me worry. They've never been able to.

    This teacher seems more willing than most, but I think I am a very picky mama and wonder if anything they do will ever be right for us. Could it all be me? Am I that mama that teachers dread having? Probably not...I've never been ugly to a single teacher and in fact, we've loved them so much because they've loved our child and that counts for a lot in my book. But academically, well it has stunk. We really only have a couple of other reasons besides that one for wanting to homeschool.

    Again, thank you for taking time out of your day to encourage a complete stranger.

    And just because I thought you'd like to know. I'm in Alabama. I taught in Georgia, though.

  5. One other thing...I added you to my igoogle homepage so I could keep up with your blog. I'd do a blog reader, but I can't seem to make that work for me. Have a great day!