Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sonlight Cores 1 & 2

When we began our homeschooling journey we decided to go with Sonlight for History and Geography. And although it doesn't have all the whistles and bells that I might wish for, I do enjoy it for its simplicity. This year I will start my second go at Core B with 2nd grade readers with JJ (2nd grade) and CJ(K). And as I look through all the lesson plans and guides I am realizing how much I missed the first time around with LJ and yet I am still pleased with the knowledge LJ has grasped from me even doing the bare essentials!!!! My two favorite things about  Core B and Core C are A Child's History of the World and the Readers!!!!

A Child's History of the World is short, sweet, engaging and to the point, just what children under 8 need and I enjoy reading it aloud.

I also like how Sonlight gives you the chance to chose the Reading Level for the Readers that accompany each Core as well as the fact that the Readers compliment what is being taught.

(Because of our personal family beliefs on structured education we did not start formal lessons until LJ was in 2nd grade which is why we skipped Exploring God's World and Intro to the World: Cultures. Seeing that we lived in Japan for 6 years we decided to experience first hand the Asian cultures and this help our children understand from an early age there was a big world out there that differed greatly from our beliefs and lifestyle.)

Because we plan on using our Cores over again with our younger children I needed some flexibility with the reading aspect of our curriculum. I didn't want to have to push a child through books that were too hard to read just as I didn't want them to skim by because the reading was too easy. With Sonlight there are common readers among all the levels within that Core which means I don't have to buy a whole set if I want to change reading levels. In fact if I need to I can usually find the books at the library for the books not purchased and follow the reading level I need from the lesson plans!!!!!

The other perk I like about Sonlight is you get a 4 day or 5 day schedule. We still continue to do the 4 day schedule as we are apart of a Homeschooling Learning Group, but it would be easy to adjust to the 5 day schedule with the addition of a couple extra books and since Sonlight includes both 4 day and  day schedule, there is no extra lesson plans to order. Talk about flexibility!!!!!

The Instructors Guide can be a bit overwhelming at first but once you sort out what books are History, Readers and Read alouds the battle is half won!!!! What worked for me best with Core B & C was to group the Weekly Lesson Plans and Reader Schedules according to the weeks they were to be used. This year I decided to file the Read Aloud and History Study Guides by when they would be read instead of alphabetically. Had I done this to begin with I think I would have used them alot more!!!!

I made my own timeline using the front of A Child's History of the World along with the stickers Sonlight provides. I think this works best for my little ones but I will be doing a book style time line with Core D.

The ONLY thing that I wasn't happy with this year was the tiny page of sticker paper that came with Core D that is used to color code your books according to the Core they go with. Other than that, I am looking forward to diving into US History as well as World History with my kids using Sonlight for another year!!!!

Come back tomorrow as I review the math curriculum for Not Back to School Blog Hop!!!!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Monday, July 25, 2011

Planning in session

I am working on coordinating our lessons for the up coming school year. I found a very useful excel planner over at that has helped me greatly in putting everything together on one page; neatly!! So if you are still looking for just the right planner, this one just might be it. And if it isn't, she has many resources available to muse over!!! So the question of the week is:

What do you use to help organize/plan your lessons? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blast From the Past: Lapbooks, our beginning

Originally posted as Our Summer Lapbooks

So I am just getting around to posting the lapbooks we completed over the summer. I posted The Little Red Hen in an earlier post but I wanted to do it again as I am going to try and organize our lapbook posts. Hope you enjoy, I know we had a blast learning!!!!


This was our first lapbook and was made for JJ. He had so much fun making bread and we went over the seasons of the year and how to read a map and included the bible verse John 6:35.


We took the advantage of the Summer Olympics to start our World Geography study early and introduced the 7 continents, the 32 sports included in the Olympics this year, reviewed the flags of the medaling countries, introduced China and Bible Verse Hebrews 12:1.


This lapbook has been a labor of LOVE. I can think of nothing better than teaching my children God's Word and the AWANA clubs has greatly helped me do this with my children. This will be JJ's final year in Cubbies and I think his best year as well!! (At the request of LJ I will also be making him one for Sparks.)
I never did do one for LJ... yikes he is in his 3rd year of TNT and JJ is in his 3 year of Sparks and CJ is in her 2nd year of Cubbies, where has the time gone?!?

In our lapbook I have our A verse: Romans 3:23 All have sinned and C verse: Romans 5:8 while we were sinners.. Christ died for us. The Cubbie motto: Jesus Loves Me, and the Cubbie Key Verse 1 John 4:10 God Loved Us and Sent His Son. I also included the Cubbie song and AWANA pledge and of course we needed storage for all our bear hugs we have memorized.

I also printed out a color sheet on card stock and cut slits in the side so that Cubbie can hold the verse we are learning for that week. I really enjoy opening this lapbook with JJ each day!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blast From the Past: Pinatas

I really had to repost this!!! Mainly because at VBS this year, more to come on that, I learned that instead of glue I should have used flour. At least now I know why it was so hard to bust open. LOL

So when we first moved I decided that I wanted to make pinatas with the boys out of the moving paper, cause you always have so much!!!! Well I didn't get to it and then as I was doing research for our World Geography we came across a book that said pinata's may have orginated in China. So this whole week we have worked on these pinatas. And although they didn't break like I thought they would, I'll explain in the directions below, the boys had a great time as you can see for yourself.

To create some pinata fun of your own you will need:
white glue  please use flour and water instead, unless you want to play a trick on someone!!!
newspaper or moving paper

-Mix 1 part glue to 2 parts water. I dumped the whole bottle of glue and then filled the bottle up two times and mixed it up in a deep bowl.
-dip newspaper in glue mixture and cover balloon with one layer of paper. Wait for 45 minutes and then cover again with another thin layer.
***Do not put more than 2 layers on, even though it looks thin that extra layer makes it hard to break as you can tell, lol. I'm certain that if you use flour instead of glue you can add a couple more layers.
-I let our pinatas dry for 2 days.
-you can decorate pinata in any form you wish, we chose markers but you can use stickers or cover with crepe paper by putting a thin layer of glue on dried pinata and then sticking crepe paper to pinata and wait for it to dry.
(Oh yes, this is what I will do different the next time we try this. I will cover the whole pinata except for a small area at the bottom of the balloon, no more than 1/2 inch wide. This is so you can pop the balloon. I will cut a whole at the top of the balloon to put the candy in and make the holes to hang the pinata. This will make the string holes stronger and your pinata will be less likely to break because of the string. )
Break outside and enjoy the fun. I would love to post pictures of your pinata creations! Send me a link so I can see what you created! I never did it again but if I do, I'll use the same hole I pop the balloon in to put candy in. 

** Originally post as Recipe for Fun on L2L

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blast From the Past: School Choices 08-09

I'm slowly working on getting old homeschool posts onto this blog. Working on it as I have time, maybe one or two a week or month or however long it takes :) At any rate this is the next post that needed to be placed on here. To keep it real I'll strike through what we didn't do and comment on other parts as well. All editing will be done in italic for better identification. Hope you enjoy!!!!

This year we will be doing 6 week (quarters) with a 2 week break in between with the exception of a 3 week break for Christmas and taking the whole month of August off.

Our mission statement this year is : "Direct your child ONTO the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." Proverbs 22:6 NLT

I will be using alot of resources this year to help aid me in planning. Because I have a creative side sticking to a set curriculum is very hard for me and I want to be hands on in planning each lesson. So I have broken our year up into 3 planning blocks. 1st two quarters we will do World Geography. The second two quarters we will do Anatomy of the Body. And for the remainder of the year I have left open, for now, as a cushion to finish off the year or to let the children pick the topics they would like to do lapbooks on.
This just ended up being way to much for me to do.

Here is what our 1st semester is looking like:
Bible Study Guide for All Ages: Beginner Student Pages Still using these to date, I love them!!!
AWANA: Sparks book 2 Crazy but now LJ will be in his 3rd TNT book, time goes by so fast!!
Sunday School handouts  again was too much

Lapbook Math Office
Math Mammoth: multiplication I just ended up doing real life math

Summer Olympics Beijing China (lapbook) was so much fun!!

introducing 7 Continents and various countries

Happy Phonics
Various level readers
Circle Time: mom will pick books to read out-loud

Spark verses utilizing StartWrite to create writing worksheets

Piano lessons at Sunset Music School

For us homeschooling is more than just educating the mind but also teaching the heart. Homeschooling , like the military, is a way of life. And this year we will introduce Mettle Monday and Fitness Friday and start back with Thankful Thursdays.

Mettle Mondays will be used to help Levi put into practice habits that will help him grow in his relationship with Christ, starting with a prayer journal. Our focus with Joel is to help him see the world beyond himself and to start including Christ into his daily life by working on him putting others first. And well for Cera I think everyday will be a Mettle Monday for her over the next several years as we teach her obedience and show her the love of God with how we are as a family.

Fitness Fridays are going to be used to go explore the island,getting outside to enjoy God's creation, and a day to schedule loads of fun field trips.

Thankful Thursdays are going to be days that we focus on things we are thankful for and developing a heart of service by doing things for other people.

I will also be working on setting up a spot on my blog to keep track of my favorite or useful websites that I come across so if you have a favorite website or blog please leave a comment with a link so I can go check it out. Happy Blogging and Homeschooling!!!!

Wow this was such a busy and fun time for us!!!! I think it's good to look over those early year goals as it really helps you to refocus on why you began to homeschool in the first place!!!! I hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past, stay tuned there are more to come!!!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Final Selections

for our new school year have been made!!! We usually order the curriculum that we know we are going to be using in the next year after we get our taxes; such as  Sonlight Core, LLATL, and Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  But this year, at the last minute I'm adding more instruction into the mix. I will have a 10 year old, 7 year old and 4.5 year old.

Last year I got Sonlight's Discover & Do Bundle and quickly realized I was going to need the Instructor's Guide. (Note: I'm sure you could use the DVDs and make up your own lessons but I personally didn't want to do that,lol) So after much thought I decided to get Science A Biology, Botany, and Physics  and supplement it with Considering God's Creation(which I already have), lapbooking and notebooking for the older two.

I will be teaching 2 Cores next year!!! Core B and Core D, so I've decided to use The Story of the World Activity Book to help me with some hands on activities for the younger two. As for my 10 yr old, he will be  transitioning into a more independent learner with a focus on notebooking and good research habits.

And finally I am very excited to introduce Wordsmith Apprentice into our curriculum as well. I stumbled upon it as I was looking to order the red LLATL student book and I think it is really going to give my oldest a run for his money, in a good way!!! He has reached that point in learning where he doesn't want to just be told, by me, but wants to discover it for himself and I think this will really challenge him and he needs that!!!!

Oh and I almost forgot, we will be adding Teaching Textbooks Math 5 after the first of the year!!!!

Next week I will tell you what we are ditching in the coming year and why.

But for now, what are you planning on adding into your new school year?

><> Thanks for stopping by <><

Friday, July 8, 2011


have you heard of it before? I hadn't until I contacted StartWrite about their newest version of their handwriting program. See I love to use StartWrite however my printer uses alot of ink so I haven't been able to use it to its fullest because I don't want to print alot of worksheets at home. We have a local library that allows you 20 free copies a day, so frugal that I am email copies that I want to myself so that I can open the attachment and print it there. But with StartWrite I needed the actually program to open the worksheets and that is where Cute PDF saves the day!!!! One it is a free program and two anything you can print, it can turn into a PDF and PDF means I can email it to myself and open it at the library!!!!!!

Haven't heard of StartWrite, well if you can't wait till I do my review of what I will be using for the new year, you should head on over to their site and get a free trail.

Have you discovered anything lately, I would love to hear about it!!!!

><> Thanks for stopping by <><

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Vacation

is in full swing at our house. We are officially taking the entire month of July off!!!! Funny how we were able to fill up that "time off" with other activities!!!!!! Now that baseball season is over we are able to return to our visits at Glen Care on Tuesdays, have started volunteering on Wednesdays at the local Soup Kitchen, will be participating in our church's Kids Bible Club on Thursday, still hosting The Truth Project at our house on Fridays and will be adding a Mission theme to that for dinner time to help include the kids in that a bit more!!!!

Whew is right. But its not so bad when you get recuperation time at the beach, so don't feel too sorry for me!!! Even though the kids don't have any academic work to do, we are still working on attitudes and getting our chore routine down solid. I'm also working on menu planning, lesson planning and scoring through homeschool catalogs for any supplemental items I might want to include in the new year!!!!!

So what about you, how is your summer going?

 Are you still schooling or taking a much needed break?

Also what lessons learned are you taking with you into the new school year?

For us it will be a break during baseball season and that has caused an adjustment to our testing times as well as time off we use to take. I can see at least 6 grey hairs I rightfully earn during our first baseball/t-ball season and next year promises to be even more hectic than this year because all three kids will be in three different leagues!!!!!!! But hey, that's why we homeschool right, to be flexible, lol!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to visiting with you as well!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Early Years

Originally posted as Character Building on L2L

This week we have been talking about lying and speaking words that are pleasing to God. So in our Bible Reference yesterday we talked about Joesph and his coat of many colors. As I was going over the story, I was sure that Joel wasn't listening to me but continued as I was hoping at least I am setting the standard of doing character building. To my suprise this morning, Joel picked up our coat of many colors and asked to put it on, so I said sure thinking I would take the chance to review the story with him. As soon as he got the coat on he tells me, Okay mom now its time to throw me like yesterday. I was a bit confused and asked him to explain what he meant, well in the story yesterday they threw him down the well and now its my turn. So of course we had loads of fun throwing him into the well. Here are pics of the kids as they tried on the coat of many colors.
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