Friday, August 17, 2012

Homeschool Week 1 & 2 Recap

Well, two weeks into school and I'm feeling grrrrrrreat!

Miracle has a nurse that comes 4-5 hours a day while I school the other kids and it is amazing what I'm able to accomplish with that help!  We have gotten done with school between 1 and 2 every day!  Last year when I was bouncing between Myra's needs and homeschooling, it wasn't uncommon for us to be doing school right before I put dinner on the table.  Between multiple naps in my arms, tube feedings every three hours and her wanting to be cuddled, it was difficult to put Miracle down for a good amount of time to focus on the school kids.  I often read books from the rocking chair and did lessons with Miracle in my arms at the table.  We got through it, but I knew with teaching all four kids this year that I wanted some help.  Though I've had to train four nurses in the past 10 days, it's still obviously been extremely helpful to me.

You can read about my daily schedule HERE, but I'm finding my estimated times were more than I truly need to teach each child individually.  I gave each an hour before lunch, but they really only need 30-45 minutes.  I might be able to get all my teaching done before lunch if I actually started school at 8am like my schedule suggests!  These past two weeks with Mr. Prince still being home on summer break from school, I've been sleeping in until 7:30/8 and not starting school until closer to 9 most days.  Once he's back to school next week, I'll be up and ready by 7am when he walks out the door, so my days will get started earlier.  Oh, to have every afternoon awesome would that be!  So, needless to say, I'm not behind at all after two weeks and I even got most of Friday's lessons done on Thursday this week so we could do a longer Tapestry project!

In Tapestry of Grace Year 1 we studied ancient Egypt, Pharoahs, pyramids and the Nile River these first two weeks.  The girls made Paddle Dolls and had a blast.

 Here they are playing a self-directed time-telling game with their Paddle Dolls.  Homeschooling at it's best (PJs and all)!

Sid the Science Kid made an ancient Egypt Senet game. I still have not had a chance to play with him, but the kids have played together many times.

Princess Pea and Sid started their salt maps at the end of week 2.  We will paint these in a week or so when they are completely dry.  I'm not sure if we did them 'correctly', but they each sculpted 10 to 17 geography terms into their imaginary lands. I was very proud of their work.  I was actually shocked Princess Pea did this on her own.  I figured she would just help Sid, but she did it alone and did a fabulous job!

We are studying the 10 commandments in depth for 10 weeks and for the 1st commandment we used 24 blocks to represent what we do with our time in a 24 hour day.  We placed blocks in piles labeled sleep, God, school, reading, playing and eating.  The idea was to see how we spend our time and see what we need to give up to spend more time with our Lord.  The kids were so excited to make some changes that the next day they did it again and showed how they had changed their activities to spend more time with God!

In science we learned about plant cells and made our own version with dish soap and fruits.  Even the little ones could tell you the parts of the cell and the differences between the animal and plant kingdoms!

Boo Boo is loving All About Reading Level 1 this year!  I love seeing his little face when he sounds out a word...


I stole this off of Pinterest and I love it!  My kids tattle a lot sometimes and daily occasionally beat hurt each other.  So, this will be an easy way to get their attention without a long lecture on what they should be doing.

So, that's all I have to show for Weeks 1 & 2!  Excited for yet another week!  It says a lot if I even have time to blog at the end of a school week!  ;)

School Room....sort of....

Well, I'm back to share my 'School Room' for the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop 2012!

We don't really have a 'School Room' in our house.  Our entire house is a school! With two elementary teachers, we have more books than any one home should ever have. ;)

I wish I had a week to re-organize my entire house, but that will never happen.  So, my OCD organizational methods shall only be used in corners here and there throughout my house.  

We tried to use cute little metal buckets last year for our crayons, colored pencils and markers but it was a disaster.  Every two seconds someone was knocking the top-heavy buckets all over the table.  So, I'm trying a new idea this year.  The buckets will only have glue, scissors and dry-erase markers, which can be pulled out individually to be used.  Coloring materials are in baskets and shouldn't topple over on the table. So far I'm liking it!

I found these pencil holders at the Dollar Store.  I got them thinking of my two older kids who need a set of highlighters for their Character Quality Language Arts curriculum.  There is a side for pencils and an eraser and the other side for the highlighters.  We had major issues with pencils being lost last year.  Even with assigning everyone their own color and keeping all the pencils in the middle of the dining room table, I still had a child almost every week who had lost all three pencils I had given them.  Annoying.  So, this year they are responsible for their own and have to pay me to buy replacements.  So far, it's helping them keep track of them.  

But, we are only on week two.....

This is the drawer system I used last year for the kids' school books, right next to our dining room table where we do most of our schoolwork.  Sid the Science Kid's is missing because I still have it in the office near his school desk.  Boo Boo didn't have an official drawer, as you can see.  I didn't like the digging, so these are now their artwork boxes.  You can see their old artwork boxes to the right.  Those I'd like to pitch get rid of as soon as possible.

Here is our kids' bookshelf.  The top shelf is writing paper, folders, notebooks, their school binders from last year and some lapbooks/History Pockets that we've done. They still like to show these off to people who visit, so I keep them out.  Plus, we are covering some of the material again this year and they will be good resources!  The second shelf is for my 5th grader, third shelf for my 1st and 3rd graders and the bottom shelf is for my PreK kids, and the 1st grader still enjoys most of these books.  I have three, large, overfilled bookshelves in the office to swap books out often.  Us teachers...I know....

This is my homeschool bookshelf (also in my dining room).  The bottom shelf is where all of my teacher's manuals are for math, language arts, Tapestry, spelling, etc. These are organized by student.  The middle shelf is all my homeschool magazines, parenting/homeschooling books I am reading (or want to read), extra curriculum I'm deciding on incorporation this year or next that I need to look at when I have a moment (art, Spanish, etc.), and lots of character training resources I'd like to work through this year.  The top shelf is my Bible resources I use daily and a couple to-do piles.  I'm currently working on putting together the curriculum I created last year for my own kids for a good friend of mine.  If it's not out to remind me, I'll never do it!

This is my schooling corner.  Yeah, it's at my dining room table and it's not real pretty, I know.  But, there really isn't a good place for all this stuff if I want easy access to it.  The first basket (under the table) is my science picture books for the first 10 weeks of school.  We are using God's Design for Life: Plants and I have added a book (or two) to almost every chapter so my kids have more visuals and my younger kids can enjoy science with us without being lectured to with just the textbook.  The second basket is all my teacher texts that I teach from daily: All About Spelling/Reading, God's Design for Life: Plants, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, First Language Lessons, etc.  I'd like to eventually get these onto my top homeschool shelf when my to-do piles disappear.  The third basket is my Tapestry of Grace books that I'm using for the next month.  I have another basket in my office for future weeks.  Books, books, books!  On the table is my bucket of highlighters, markers, pencils and pens (I don't spill my bucket), my teacher binder with lesson plans and other lesson paperwork.  My stuff is ready to go all day long.  My biggest worry is spilling drinks at lunch or dinner, but I pretty much sit at my chair for meals so that no one is near my stuff.  ;)

This is Sid the Science Kid's school desk.  After getting distracted a lot last year, we made a space for him in our office to do his schoolwork.  He does much better behind a closed door.  To the right on the floor, sandwiched between Myra's medical supplies, is his red drawer of school supplies.  His incomplete work stays on top of the desk, and as he completes it, he puts it away in his drawer on the floor.  When the desk is clear, his school work is done!  On the wall you can see his name tag (for fun) and his weekly checklist.  This tells him exactly what needs completed daily and I can see exactly what he's done at any point in the school day.  He is actually a very diligent worker and I'm proud of his efficient, accurate work most days.

One of the benefits to having a husband be a public school teacher is all the fun 'school' stuff my kids get that I normally wouldn't bother to buy.  This year they all have name tags from left over years my husband taught 1st and 4th grade.  The kids thought they were fun and the math charts will come in handy.

This is the girl's school corner (1st and 3rd).  It's actually in the corner of my kitchen, right next to our piano.  LOL, our house isn't a show home by any means!  I wouldn't put the girls near each other, except they will probably never be at their desks together.  I work with Angelica Pickles between 8 and 9 and Princess Pea from 9 to 10.  So, any independent work Angelica Pickles might have will definitely be done by the time Princess Pea and I are done at 10.  We got these desks from another homeschool family and I honestly didn't think I would ever put desks in my house.  But, with two doing a lot of independent work and having a PreK and 1st grader I'm also teaching, I needed a place for my older two to do work without distraction. And if the older two have a desk, you can bet the younger two wanted one, also!  The girls each have a little space for all their school books in their desk, too.  That keeps things nice and tidy throughout the school day.  You can see on Princess Pea's desk to the right (3rd grade), her weekly checklist is adhered to her desk.

And, of course, Boo Boo had to have a desk!  He doesn't even have a chair right now.  If he wants to be at his desk while I'm schooling at the table, then he pulls a chair over from the table.  You can see our color words on the wall and on the left wall is all the kids' All About Spelling/Reading sticker charts.  I need to find a new place for these...

Our window sill in the dining room is storage for math games/manipulatives, Bob books and kid Bibles. It's usually our display shelf for projects, too.

Our dining room wall has always been a large display board.  This is the only wall you can see from our living room, and for a time I tried to keep it clear from homeschool stuff.  But, it's just too large a wall to not use!  Currently we have the names of God and the Lord's Prayer up from last year's bible lessons and we have up our Tapestry timeline, family rules, books of the bible poster, 10 commandments poster and a science project displayed from these past two weeks of the 2012-2013 year.

I think that's pretty much it.  Our poor dining room is our classroom.  No formal dining room here!  All my other school books are on five large bookshelves in the office surrounding Sid's school desk.  Wish I could create a fabulous space, but until we get some more room, that's not going to happen.  I am content with what I have.  ;)

Looking forward to drooling over other school rooms at!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Day in the Life of the Kelloggs.....

Back for the last week of the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop 2012!  Today, a day in the life of the Kelloggs!

I'm going to make this brief, otherwise it will take you all day to read it! ;)  I posted a moment-by-moment day a few years ago HERE.  Of course, this is more of an ideal schedule.

Here we go...

6:15 Mama showers and gets ready for the day.  May forfeit shower for extra sleep some days.

6:50 Personal devotions

7:20 Make Breakfast before the kids come downstairs.

7:30 Wake children, eat breakfast together.  We go over family rules and memory verses and also pull up worships songs on the iPad for family worship time over breakfast.  We try not to listen to I'm a Soldier in the Army DAILY per BooBoo's request. Then we do a formal bible study together.  This year we are following a curriculum based off THESE movies.  

7:55 Helping Habits (chores) 

8:00 Myra's nurse arrives and starts Myra's checklist of therapy, brushing teeth, stretching, massage, cloth diaper laundry, etc.  This is new to me and I will have a hard time not being very involved with her throughout the day.  But, the help is much needed because I could never get through all I need to in a day without some extra hands these days. Last school year was very difficult.  They will be here until noon.

During this time Sid and Princess Pea are working on independent work like piano, devotions, copywork and math.  Each kid has their own "independent work" checklist that they work through each day, so no one is asking me constantly what they should be doing.  BooBoo is playing alone upstairs, reading books, doing file folder activities and hopefully staying entertained.

I start working with Angelica Pickles (1st grade).  She has to be very motivated to work hard and not be difficult.  I allow her a candy treat after morning or afternoon work is completed with a good attitude.  We are working on Horizons Math 1, Language Smarts B, First Language Lessons, All About Spelling Level 1 and eventually All About Reading Level 2 when it comes out in September.  This isn't her only individual time with me, so we don't have to get through all this in an hour.

9:00 Angelica Pickles continues work we've started together and Sid continues independent work like CQLA, Wordly Wise and Drawn into the Heart of Reading.  BooBoo will have some computer or iPad time.

I start school with Princess Pea (3rd grade).  She is a fast, hard worker.  We will get through jump starting lessons in CQLA, Beginning Reasoning and Reading, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, Language Lessons for the Young Child 2 and any math that needs explained.  The rest of the work she will continue on her own in the few hours before lunch.  I have scheduled some time for reading aloud Laura Ingalls or American Girl doll stories in this hour.  Angelica Pickles and BooBoo might sit in on these stories, too.

10:00 Princess Pea continues work we've started and Angelica Pickles and BooBoo are now playing nicely together upstairs....ideally.  ;) The older kids take little breaks when they do piano practice, bathroom breaks, playing with the kitten or getting distracted by the little ones.  They aren't working constantly for 4 hours.  They have plenty of time to get their work done and still take little breaks.  Sid needs lots of redirecting but Princess Pea does a good job of not getting too distracted.

I begin jump starting lessons for Sid the Science Kid (5th grade) in Reasoning and Reading, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, CQLA and Vocabulary from Classical Roots if needed.  Most of his curricula really do a good job teaching right to the student.  I'll just be here for guidance when needed, such as for writing lessons and using graphic organizers for reading.  I also have scheduled time to read to him the Cooper Kids Series during this time. 

11:00  By this time it's possible Princess Pea is done with her morning work and is playing with BooBoo and Angelica Pickles.  Angelica Pickles will have computer or iPad time.  Sid will have some work.  He may have a longer break between 9 and 10 if he's waiting on me to explain some things and finishes his independent work before 10.

I start PreK with BooBoo (PreK4).  We are reading books together and working through All About Reading Level 1 and Horizons Math Kindergarten.  A full hour seems like a long time, but I expect to be PLAYING with him during part of it.  Games, maybe, light sabers...whatever.  I just wanted to block some time with him, otherwise he will get lost in the mess of older homeschool schedules. 

11:50 If Myra isn't happy with the nurse I'll need to make lunch quickly so I can take her at noon when she leave.  Kids will do Helping Habits to help me get lunch on the table.

12:00 We do Character Training stories over lunch time.  Thursdays we leave for Myra's therapy at noon, so those days the kids get a little less time with me in the morning.  

12:30 Helping Habits to clean up lunch and prepare for afternoon school.

Our afternoons get a little crazy.  We leave for therapy at 4:30 on Mondays, 1:30 on Tuesdays, we leave for dance at 3:30 on Wednesdays, we leave for therapy at noon on Thursdays and have swim lesson at 2, and on Fridays we have co-op from 9am through lunch for 8 weeks every Fall and Spring.  

So...our schedule is different every day.  Sigh.

But, almost every day I try to give the older three kids another 20-30 minutes with me individually to answer questions and check their daily work.  We do God's Design for Life science on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I do All About Spelling with Sid and Princess Pea on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.  And this is also our time for Tapestry of Grace.  I will have at least and hour daily to do read alouds, work on maps and work on projects.  I hope that's enough!  Some days we will do Tapestry at therapy to not waste another hour.  The kids can finish projects during their independent work times if needed.  BooBoo and Miracle will hopefully nap well!

And that's it!  Phew!  I really hope I can sustain this schedule for 36 weeks.  I have scheduled in 6 catch-up weeks throughout the year to help me from getting behind, and hopefully give us a lighter schedule for that week.  Then I have all of June if I need it.  So, I have some wiggle room.  

I look forward to reading about more schedules at Heart of the Matter!