Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In case you haven't noticed, most of my recent posts are about our K lessons and not so much about our ECC lessons.  Well, I've been so focused on Katie's reading and the whole penguin thing, that ECC has been pushed aside momentarily.  I thought it would be a great idea to do a penguin lapbook but Katie is not nearly as interested in doing it as I expected, so now I'm thinking we're going to move on.  We'll finish our penguin week this week and take our field trip to the zoo this weekend.  The lapbook will be simple, which is fine with me.

School with my oldest has been slow moving since Christmas break.  It was hard getting back into the swing of things the first week.  The second week went better, and then we started back in the activities which included gymnastics three times a week, cheerleading two times a week, co-op one day, and Bible study one morning.  My head spins just thinking about it.  I kept thinking that I should give something up, but what?

My Bible study group meets every Thursday morning and it's clear that this is not something to give up.  If I don't have my own time with God, I'm no good for anyone.  So, last Thursday, I brought my concerns to the ladies, asking for prayer since I was feeling stretched and overwhelmed.  That very night, at gymnastics, Katie broke her ankle!  This is the second break for her in almost the exact same spot!  My first thought was "oh great, here we go again."  But God settled my thoughts and opened my eyes to realize that this accident actually lightens my load.  Katie is in a hard walking cast so she's still able to participate in cheerleading for Upward but the gymnastics has to go.  (Maybe for good for her!)  She went to gymnastics two days a week, so this really is huge for us!  And she really didn't mind being pulled out of it, as long as she can still cheer!

All that being said, last week was hectic.  The entire week was full of interruptions - people stopping over, phone calls, volunteer projects, trip to hair salon (trust me, it was necessary), and Friday was spent at the doctors office.  Not much got done last week.  I'm discouraged and have little momentum.  But I'm not giving up!  I will persevere and will grow stronger through it!

I am curious to know if other homeschoolers have on-going weeks like this.??  I'd also like to know if other homeschoolers have weeks when one child's work is on the front burner and the others on the back. ?  Any thoughts you'd like to share?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


We were doing so well zipping right through Katie's Kindergarten lessons (2 full units/lessons per week)...until... PENGUINS!!!  The girls LOVES her penguins!  I saw it coming and planned for it.  I found materials to use for a lapbook, all about... you guessed it... Penguins!  Big Sis wants to do one too, so I have material at her level too.  Why not?  They both love to create and lapbooking has proven itself over and over in our family.  I think my kids have learned more from constructing their lapbooks over the years (and similar projects) than from anything else.  So we've taken a little detour from our studies in Europe (ECC) but we'll get back on track soon.  And it just happens to be Penguin Days at our local zoo, so we will be taking a field trip there soon (this week, if it stops raining!).  There is a penguin parade outside two times every day and activities on weekends through February.  We are really looking forward to going!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Trip Sparks Interest in Reading

Saturday morning, I packed up the kids and myself and headed out to see my grandma, over 350 miles away.  Hubby had work to do at home and my grandma's 98th birthday was on Saturday.  She was so surprised to see us when we got there and I'm glad we went.

On the way home today, we stopped at the Christian book store, where Emily picked out a book that she wanted to read during the drive.  I was thrilled that she wanted me to buy her a book!  You have to understand that Emily has never been too excited about reading, so when she asked for a book, I had to get her one!  After purchasing it, I realized that we could get two more for just a penny more.  So, guess what?  Yep, we got two more and she read until it got dark.  I'm curious to see what will happen now that we're home and no longer in a confined space without toys!  Will she choose to read on her own, without a reminder?  Only time will tell!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Flash Card & Story Organization

In an attempt to keep all of our Kindergarten flash cards and stories organized, I'm using this 3x5 index card file box I found at Staples for $1.49. I'll make all the cards 3x5 so they fit perfectly and once the stories are cut & stapled, they fit well also. I plan to put clear contact paper on both sides of the flash cards for durability. I set up a template on the computer that will fit 4 3x5 cards on each page. So I'll print each page (with words), trim only the outer edges, cover both sides with contact paper, and then cut apart each card. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot of work. But, this can be done while I'm watching TV at night and I enjoy doing these things, so it's not a big deal for me. If I had neater handwriting, I would just print the words on blank index cards and be done. I'm more gifted at typing! One of these days, I'll post my templates to share. Maybe I can save someone else the time making them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flash Cards for MFW Kindergarten (Part 2)

Funny how things have a way of working themselves out. Had I read ahead in our curriculum, there would not have been a need for my last post and wondering about making flash cards.  Here's the deal.

Today, Katie read her first short story - from the Kindergarten curriculum. How exciting!!! The part I wish I had read ahead is the suggestion in the TM to make flash cards (Ha!) ahead of time with all the words appearing in the story so that your child becomes familiar with them before she starts to read. Well there you go!  If any of you were wondering the same thing, there's your answer. The stories begin in WEEK 15, so prepare yourself. Please don't follow in my footsteps that lead down the road of uncertainty and poor planning!  Read ahead and make the flash cards 2-3 (or more) weeks ahead so that your child can start practicing.  Thankfully, Katie did fine.  I'm so proud of her!  However, I am working on making flash cards for all future stories so that we'll have them ready.  I'm thinking about turning them into ring cards or getting an index card binder for them so that we can easily transport them for use in the car or wherever we might have an opportunity to pull them out.  And I'm trying to decide if I should color-code the cards for each story to help me keep them organized better.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flash Cards for MFW Kindergarten

Has anyone ever come across (or made) flash cards for the short vowel words in the lessons?  I'm wondering if flash cards would help my daughter to grasp reading.  I've heard & read two schools of thought about reading.  One belief is that it is wise to have the child phonetically say words she doesn't know while reading.  The other belief is that it's best to just tell the child the word with which they are struggling.  Being that my daughter is not reading even simple stories yet, neither of these beliefs apply just yet.  However, when she struggles with sounding out the short vowel words, she becomes frustrated after getting it wrong after a few tries.  So, I'm thinking of combining the two schools of thought on reading by asking her to sound out each letter and try to blend them together.  If, after that, she is still struggling, I'll tell her the word slowly while showing her the letter of each sound that is in the word.  The last thing I want is for her to despise reading.  She wants to learn right now and I don't want to spoil that.

Does anyone have any thoughts you might share?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Teddy Graham S'mores Recipe

Yesterday was a perfect day for experimenting in the kitchen.  We had roughly 5-6 inches of  snow fall throughout the day, so a nice cuddly treat seemed appropriate!  I thought it would be fun to start with Teddy grahams and it turned into a s'more snack mix.  I'm sure I'll tweak my recipe each time I make it, but this is how it all began:

1/2 box     Honey Teddy Grahams
1/2 bag     White Chocolate Chips
1/2 bag     Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I would prefer dark chocolate, but didn't have any)
                  Micro Marshmallows (eyeball it)

Mix all ingredients together in microwavable dish.  Microwave for 15-20 seconds.  Stir & lay out on wax paper.  When chocolate is completely cooled and hardened, add more micro marshmallows to make it look pretty and more tastey!

Although this is VERY TASTEY as it is, next time I make it, I might mix the teddy grahams with 1/4 bag each of white & dark chocolate, microwave it, stir it, lay it out and after it cools add the remaining chips and marshmallows.  I'll let you know how that turns out when I do it.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Running Out of Space

Does anyone else have a space issue?  I keep thinking that I need to part with some things in our school room but what if we'll need them?  I know, I know.  Packrat, right?  I just have a hard time parting with books.  If I store them away, I'll forget that we have them.  We have a whole closet dedicated to supplies, such as paper, markers, crayons, paints, pencils, erasers, glue, clay, general art supplies, science kits, etc.  It's overflowing, and overwhelming!  The room itself houses the two school desks, tall bookcases, an 8-cubby unit, our desk for our computer, and a filing cabinet, so the least bit of clutter in the room is a big deal.  It's something that I work on almost every day.  If I don't, it would get out of control really fast.  Trust me, I know!  I've neglected it more than once and it's not pretty!

Does anyone have any suggestions for me or at least some words of encouragement???

Let the Busy Days Begin

So, I'm really behind on blogging.  Hummm, where are my priorities?  Well, Monday was our first official day back to school after our Christmas break and this week started three nights of gymnastics, and one night of cheerleading practice.  In a couple weeks, I'll start another Bible study, and the following week we start back at co-op.  We haven't gotten the game schedule yet, but those will be every Saturday morning.

Now, this may sound like a lot, and I suppose it is.  However, I can't think of a better time for home education than this!  If we had to add mounds of homework to our days, I think that the extracurricular activities would have to go!  I have many friends whose children are in public schools and they always complain about the amount of homework their children have each night.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to educate our children at home so that they are able to enjoy other activities without feeling too bogged down.  Not to mention the top-notch quality of one-on-one assistance they get!

How is your first week back going?