Friday, January 30, 2015

How Workboxes Work in Our Homeschool



Last year during Big Brother's 1st grade year, it became apparent that we needed a change in our homeschool. I was experiencing a difficult pregnancy, and Big Brother was having a lot of trouble getting his work done. We were doing well to get maybe one or two subjects done in a day, and that was a struggle!

We didn't really have much of a routine in our day. Big Brother is a child who has to know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected of him. He was having meltdowns and becoming overwhelmed at never knowing how much school work he had to do. It was constantly "How much do I have to do?" or "Is this the last thing?" He would get so upset he would just lock up and we would accomplish nothing.

I knew I had to do something, so I started praying and doing some research. I discovered the workbox system, and the Lord used it to save our homeschool!

Now let me state quickly that we do not strictly follow the "official" original workbox system, but instead we have modified the idea to fit our needs.

We have a very small home, so the system using actual plastic shoe boxes would take up way too much space, and we could not afford any of the fancy drawer systems you see others use.

As you can see in the picture, we use 10 stackable letter-size desk trays from Office Depot. They are arranged in 2 stacks of 5 each on top of a small shelf that was already in our livingroom.

Each tray is labelled with a number 1-10 which is simply stuck on using double-sided tape. Obviously, Big Brother begins the day with the assignment in tray #1 and works through the boxes in order throughout the day.

When he completes an assignment, he places his finished work in a plastic drawer beside the shelf.

Once he finishes the assignment in tray #10 and all the trays are empty, he can visually see that everything is done and school is over for the day. No more asking!

As I have shown in an earlier post, we now also use the Love My Schedule charts to reenforce this system.

It only takes me a few minutes each evening for me to refill the trays for the next day. I look through each planned assignment and activity and make sure everything needed to complete it is placed in the appropriate box.

For example, in tray #5 might be an English assignment. I put in Big Brother's English textbook (with the page with the day's lesson marked with a Post-It), his English notebook(already opened to the next clean sheet and numbered for the day's assignment), and a sharpened pencil with a good eraser.

Or if Math is in box #6, I would put in all the items we will need for Math class that day (calendar, clock, workbook, dry erase board & markers, pencil, eraser, abacus, LEGOs, flashcards, money, etc.) depending on what type of lesson I have planned for the day.

Many times I will place a note in the tray to explain exactly what he needs to do, or to let him know if there is something else he might need to get that wouldn't fit in the tray.

I try to keep a good balance of independent work and activities for us to work on together. And I am always available to him. I love being Mommy and teacher, so I don't place any "help" limits on him or assign him certain "work with Mom" trays the way the original workbox system says.

Yes this system does cause me to have to plan ahead carefully, but it works so much better than "winging it" as I had been known to do before. ;) Big Brother is so proud of his accomplishments each day! He is so much more eager about learning, and when we follow our routine and system we have far fewer meltdowns due to being overwhelmed.

Do you use some version of the workbox system in your homeschool? I would love to hear about it!! If not, how do you order your homeschool day? Comment below!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Big Brother's Favorites #2 - Concord Cunningham Scripture Sleuth Books

Here is another of Big Brother's favorite series of books!

Concord Cunningham: Scripture Sleuth books by Mat Halverson

Big Brother loves a good mystery, and these books are great for our read-aloud time.

(This post contains affiliate links. By clicking and making purchases through these links, you are blessing our family with a small extra income. Thank you!)

If you are familiar with the Encyclopedia Brown series, you could think of Concord (or "the Concordance") as Encyclopedia's Christian counterpart.

Concord lives in the Northwest in the fictional town of Pine Tops. His dad is a newspaper reporter, and Concord often goes along when his dad is reporting on a story. He never goes anywhere without his Bible which he always uses to help solve mysteries!

Each chapter of each book is a separate mystery. You read the story to find out the facts of the case, and then Concord gives a clue from Scripture to help you figure out the solution. All the solutions are given separately in the back of the book to encourage you to first look up the Scripture and try to solve the case on your own.

These stories are wholesome and not scary at all. Some of the cases involve criminal activity such as theft, but the "bad guy" is always caught and brought to justice through Concord's expert Scripture sleuthing!

These stories are great for helping a child learn to use a Bible concordance. Looking up the Scriptures and thinking about the clues are great ways to build logic and reasoning skills.

Big Brother really has fun trying to solve the cases using Concord's Scripture clues before we read the solutions!

These would be perfect for an older child to read on his or her own, or they can be enjoyed by the whole family as read-alouds as well!

Get your copies of all 5 Concord Cunningham books through the links below, then grab your Bible and start solving mysteries with the Scripture Sleuth!! :)



Concord Cunningham: Scripture Sleuth Book 1




Concord Cunningham Returns: The Scripture Sleuth 2



Concord Cunningham On the Case: The Scripture Sleuth 3



Concord Cunningham Coast to Coast: The Scripture Sleuth 4




Concord Cunningham Pursues the Clues: The Scripture Sleuth 5

Share some of your family's favorite read alouds below!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

25 Homeschool Field Trip Ideas!

Sometimes I think the word "homeschooling" can be somewhat misleading. People imagine children sitting at desks at home all day long working in workbooks in a classroom-type setting. But often this is not the case, thank goodness! :)

Homeschoolers really have the freedom to take learning with them wherever they go. Life itself is a classroom, and experience is often the best teacher.

I have compiled a list of 25 field trip ideas just to perhaps give you some inspiration. Some of these are pretty obvious, and some you may have never thought of before! Any of them could be done with just your family or with a whole support group. Think about the unique places and opportunities in your area and take advantage of them!



1.) Home or birthplace of a famous person

Was a President, pioneer, war hero, or other famous person from your state? Many of these people's homes and birthplaces are open for tours.

2.) State or National Park

These are great places to learn more about nature and history! There are often educational ranger programs available as well.

3.) Factory

Many factories offer tours. It is always neat to see how things are made. Perhaps there is a product that is manufactured only in your area.

4.) Radio or TV station

Go behind the scenes and find out all that really goes on everytime you flip on the dial. Some might even offer students a chance to be on radio or TV!

5.) Fishing and/or camping trip

Give a man a fish and you can feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you can feed him for the rest of his life! This can be a fun family or group activity with lots of hands-on science involved!

6.) Restaraunt

Tour your favorite restaraunt, ice cream shop, or pizzeria! Some even give children the opportunity to make their own goodies in the kitchen! Yum! :)

7.) Paint Your Own Pottery Studio

Set up a class for your family or group. Paint pottery pieces as gifts or family keepsakes!

8.) Farm

Visit a real working farm! See where our food comes from. Milk cows, ride on a tractor, feed the animals, etc.

9.) Local Festival

Visit a local family friendly festival in your area. Many places have some sort of annual heritage festival that may have lots of learning opportunities like crafts, storytellers, demonstrations, and such.

10.) Horseriding stable

Learn to ride and help care for the horses.

11.) Fire station or police department

Visit these brave heroes who put their lives on the line for us each day. Learn about what they do, their equipment, and their vehicles. Learn important safety rules, too.

12.) Rest Home

Older folks have so much to share, and many in rest homes LOVE to see children visit! Bring some gifts, sing some songs, and perhaps interview a few residents.

13.) Train Ride

Many places have old train depots, train museums, or scenic railways.

14.) County Courthouse

Visit your local courthouse. Find out who works there and what they do, check out old county records, sit in a courtroom and watch the proceedings.

15.) City Hall

Stop by and visit the mayor or watch your city council in action.

16.) State Capitol

Tour your state's capitol building and learn its unique history and architecture. Arrange to meet with your state legislators. Watch your legislature in session and find out how laws are made.

17.) Gospel concert

Attend a local church singing or see a professional group perform. Enjoy some music appreciation while being blessed spiritually as well!

18.) Watch a play

Many local theaters and drama teams put on plays that are family friendly. Some groups put on special plays based on favorite children's books. Many homeschoolers also participate in community theaters as actors themselves!

19.) War Memorial

Most areas have some sort of war memorial to honor war veterans. Visit one nearby and learn about the many who have made sacrifices for your freedom.

20.) Zoo

The zoo is a great place for all ages to see animals you might otherwise only read about! Many offer special tours and classes too.

21.) Aquarium

Watching fish and other sea life can be so peaceful and educational as well. This can be another opportunity to get up close to animals you don't see everyday like sharks, crabs, or even penguins!

22.) Planetarium

A planetarium is a very neat way to learn about the wonders of outer space without ever having to leave the ground!

23.) Greenhouse or Garden

Get down in the dirt and learn how plants grow! Perhaps let your children try out their own green thumbs!

24.) Library

Ahh the library...a homeschool family's best friend! Take a tour and find out all your local library has to offer. Learn about the Dewey Decimal System, and get your children their own library cards. Many libraries offer special educational workshops, clubs, storytimes, and reading programs as well.

25.) Museums

There are many kinds of museums everywhere! In most places you can find various science museums, history museums, art museums, or some other type of museum. Travel to a museum that is focussed on your child's interests!

Do you have any other interesting field trip ideas to add? Post them in the comments section! I would love to hear about your family's favorite homeschool field trips!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Holding Up My Husband's Hands

In my study today in Exodus 17, I read a very familiar story. But the Lord used it to speak to my heart in a totally new way today.

The children of Israel are struggling through the wilderness. They begin to doubt whether God is really with them, and they get angry at Moses again when they have no water. Moses begs the Lord for help before the people stone him, and God gives water from a rock!

Now the people are faced with their first military battle since leaving Egypt. They are up against the army of the Amalekites.

Moses, Aaron, and Hur go up to the top of a mountain to watch the battle. Moses as the leader has the rod of God, which symbolizes God's divine help, in his hand. As long as he holds up the rod, the army of Israel is victorious, but if the rod starts to droop, the enemy begins to have the advantage.

Remember Moses is over 80 at this time. He's got a tremendous job on his hands now as leader of a stubborn, ungrateful nation of people. He's tired and weary from the weight of it all.

So in Exodus 17:12, Aaron and Hur come alongside Moses to help.

But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

As I read this account, I was reminded of my role as a wife. I need to be holding up my husband's hands the same way Aaron and Hur held up Moses'.

My husband has a lot of responsibility as leader of our home and provider for our family. He has a lot of weight on his shoulders; a lot more than I would want to take on myself! He gets up super early every morning, works long hours in a factory, and comes home exhausted but still ready and willing to do some chores and play with his boys.

As his wife, God has given me the task of being a "help meet for him." I am here to give him aid, support, and encouragement in all he does. As homeschool moms especially, I think we often focus so much on our children and we sometimes forget the needs of the man to whom we pledged our undying love. Surely homeschooling would be very difficult without my husband working so hard to support our family so that I am able to be home.

I want to be there for my husband to "lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees." (Hebrews 12:12)

I want to be there to "speak a word in season to him that is weary." (Isaiah 50:4)

I want to be there to support him when he's standing alone against a cruel world.

I want to encourage him when he hasn't heard a kind word at work all day.

I want to be there to offer him a kiss and a smile just when he was about to feel like giving up.

I want to be there with a warm meal when he comes in tired and hungry.

I want to lend him a listening ear when he needs to pour out his heart.

I want to be ready to "do him good and not evil" all the days of my life. (Proverbs 31:12)

Because of Aaron and Hur's help to their leader, the army of Israel had God's blessing and they were victorious.

My husband is so precious, and his role is so important to our family. And by finding little ways to come alongside him holding up his hands, I can help insure that our family lives victoriously under the blessing of God!

Let's talk about this! Tell me some practical ways wives can hold up their husbands hands as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. How do you encourage and support your man? Leave a comment below!!

Linked Up at: Women Living Well, Hearts for Home, Friday Fellowship

Learning All About Fossils! - Notebooking 2nd Grade Science



This week Big Brother is loving learning all about fossils in science!

(This post contains affiliate links. Making purchases by clicking on these links helps to provide our family with a small extra income. Thank you so much!)

I have posted before about how we are notebooking our way through all kinds of interesting topics this year for his 2nd grade science. Rather than just following a dry textbook and doing boring Q&A, we are finding excellent, engaging resources; looking for hands-on learning opportunities; and documenting what he discovers in his science notebook!

Some of the best resources we have used this year in science have come from the Answers in Genesis Bookstore

In our fossil study this week, we are loving the two books pictured above! They are both written by Gary and Mary Parker. On the left the green book is The Fossil Book from the Wonders of Creation Series, and it is available in [the Answers in Genesis Bookstore] for $15.99. If you have an older student who really wants to "dig deeper" into studying this book, there is a companion study guide workbook also available in the Answers in Genesis bookstore for $3.99. The book on the right is a fun one called Dry Bones and Other Fossils also available from the Answers in Genesis Bookstore for $13.99.

Big Brother has learned how fossils are formed,what different kinds of fossils there are, and where they can be found. The books above have some awesome pictures and information, and Big Brother is excitedly planning to go fossil hunting (as soon as we have some warmer weather around here!).



In the meantime, here is a fun, simple project we did while learning about a kind of fossil known as an impression(Once again, out comes the trusty Play-Doh!)



1.) Choose any color lump of Play-Doh.



2.) Find a flower or leaf. Remember, fossils come from things that were once alive. This includes plants!



3.) Press the flower or leaf carefully into the Play-Doh.



4.) You now have an impression in the shape of your flower or leaf!

5.) Allow the Play-Doh to dry, and you have made your very own "fossil!"

Big Brother was intreaged to learn that fossilized ocean animals have been found here in land-locked Kentucky! And these ocean fossils can also be found on the tops of the tallest mountains in the world! When I asked him how this might be possible, knowing what he had learned about how fossils are formed, his big blue eyes just lit up and he said, "Noah's Flood!! The Bible is TRUE!!" :)

I absolutely LOVE how these resources from Answers in Genesis not only teach fascinating science, but they actually use science to point to the Savior! We've learned that the fossil record is a reminder of God's judgement of sin during Noah's flood. But we know how God provided Noah with an ark, and for us He has provided salvation as well through His Son, Jesus Christ!

I will leave you now with a fun song about the fossil record! The song is Billions of Dead Things by Buddy Davis.

What are some of your favorite resources for studying science? What has been your child's favorite science topic to explore this year? Post a comment below and tell me about it!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken



It was a tough weekend. I had a painful infection that caused swelling in my saliva glands, my husband had the flu, and Little Brother is teething. I know we all have days where it seems like "When it rains, it pours!" Whether it be sickness, loss of a loved one, financial struggles, or some other hardship we face in life, it can be so easy to begin to question God...even when we know better!

That is just what the children of Israel did in my Bible study today in Exodus 16.

They've just been miraculously saved from Pharaoh's army by walking thru the Red Sea. They have witnessed the mighty hand of God first hand, and they've danced and sang His praises...

But now they're hungry. And they begin to fret..

"Moses, why did you bring us here to starve to death? At least we had food to eat in Egypt!"

Oh how short their memories (and ours sometimes!) seem to be! But the children of Israel are about to learn another important lesson about their great God. He is Jehovah Jireh: the God Who Provides!

They need food? God rains down bread from Heaven for His children! Not only is it filling to their hunger, but it is sweet to the taste as well. God again goes out of His way to meet the needs of His children.

Every day He meets our needs as well as providing us many of our wants. And even when we have these seasons where it seems like all the trials and burdens are all hitting us at once, even then we can still say like the Psalmist in Psalm 37:25

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Whether it involves parting a sea, raining down bread from Heaven, or simply holding us while we cry: we serve a God who NEVER FORSAKES HIS CHILDREN!

I want to close this post with a link to a song that was on my mind all weekend, and has truly strengthened my heart. The song is by Joseph Habedank and is titled Never No Never.

How about you? How has God proven Himself to be the God Who Provides in your life?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homeschool Money Matters

Many families shrug off the idea of homeschooling due to money constraints or based on the unfounded belief that it takes thousands of dollars to educate a child. In this post, I hope to break down some of those barriers and also offer some practical advice.

Money is tight for most of us these days. Jobs are often scarce, and most are having to take whatever they can get (which may or may not be the best-paying). Most people have the idea that for a family to survive, both parents have to work full-time jobs. This pretty much seems to eliminate the possibility of home education.

But there is hope!! Thousands of homeschooling families make it happen on just one income (most often Dad's). And a good number of these families have alot more children than I do!! What is the secret?? I will give you several things here to ponder.

Get on a budget!

Live within your means. I know this sounds old fashioned to some, but it works. You will be very surprised how far one income can go when it is properly managed. My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans because his plans for both spouses working together at being debt free, creating a workable written budget, saving for emergencies, and just basically having a plan for every $ that comes in is both Biblical and financially sound. If you need help getting your finances straight before making the decision to homeschool, I strongly recommend you visit Dave Ramsey for more information. I also recommend Dave's books The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace

Start a home business!

You would be surprised how much many families can actually save by Mom not working outside the home! You could save on day care/babysitting, gas, car maintenance, clothing expenses, eating out for lunch, not to mention the stress Mom would be leaving behind. But remember, the woman in Proverbs 31 did not just sit on the couch all day. No, she was actually a shrewd businesswoman! Many homeschool moms help supplement Dad's income by either helping out in the family business or starting their own. You would be surprised what you can do and still be a full-time mother and homeschooler! Here are some ideas that might inspire you:
-Teach music lessons
-Offer sewing services
-Babysit (The more the merrier, right?!)
-Sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist
-Sign up with a direct selling company (i.e. Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Thirty-One, etc.)
-Have yard/garage sales
-Open a business that is homeschool oriented (i.e. consigning used textbooks, writing and marketing your own curriculum, etc.)
-Start a blog! :)

All of these and more have been used by homeschooling mothers to help make ends meet.

Be frugal!

Who says good things have to cost alot? Here are some more practical $$-saving tips:

-Food: Buy generic brands, shop the cheaper places like Save-a-Lot or Aldi, keep an eye out for coupons for items you regularly buy, grow a garden and can/freeze your own veggies, cut down on junk food (it's not just unhealthy; it's pricey!), and of course place limits on eating out.

-Clothing: Shop Goodwill, yard sales, and eBay; learn to sew!

-School Supplies: Buy notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc. when they go on sale at the end of the summer. Swap textbooks with other homeschooling families or buy used ones. Keep an eye out for books, games, flashcards, puzzles, and other learning materials at Goodwill, yard sales, and on eBay. And, of course, USE THE LIBRARY...IT'S FREE!!!

Ultimately my point is this: If you want to homeschool, you can; no matter what your family's income. And I can assure you the benefits of homeschooling far outweigh any sacrifices! I look forward to sharing many of these benefits on this blog, so "stay tuned!"

(This post contains affiliate links. Making purchases through these links helps provide my family with a small extra income. Thank you!)

Has your family had to make financial adjustments in order to homeschool? Do you have any other advice for a family who might be overwhelmed at the thought of living on one income in order to homeschool?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

God Still Parts the Sea!

Today's Bible chapter in my Good Morning Girls Study was Exodus 14, and it contains one of my favorite Bible stories of all time!!!



Image courtesy FreeBibleImages

The children of Israel have just been miraculously freed from terrible bondage that has lasted 430 years! They look like a happy army as they leave Pharaoh and Egypt behind. They have God guiding them with a cloud by day and a fire by night. Moses is taking them from the land of Egypt to the Promised Land. It seems they are home free! Except...

Pharaoh starts having second thoughts. He has just freed his entire workforce! His slaves who had been building his monumental cities had gone free. Now that the initial shock of loosing his firstborn son had worn off, Pharaoh's stubborn pride returns, and he is determined to reclaim his lost property. He gathers up his army and chariots and takes off in hot pursuit of Moses and the Israelites.

God has lead His people into a place where they are surrounded by mountains and facing the Red Sea. Now they realize Pharaoh is behind them. They are trapped. No where to run. What should they do? Should they attempt to fight? Why has Moses brought them out of Egypt only to die here in this death trap in the wilderness?

The people begin to fear and cry out to the Lord and complain to Moses.

I love Moses' comforting words to the people:

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.


Then see the waters of the Red Sea stand up like two walls as God miraculously makes a highway right through the middle! The people are able to escape! And when Pharaoh and his men attempt to follow, God removes their chariot wheels and finally plunges the waters of the sea right down on top of them, burrying them forever. Pharaoh has finally received God's ultimate judgement, and the people are completely safe...without even having to put up a fight!

There was a situation in my own life where I felt like the people of Israel in this story. It felt like I was in an impossible situation with water all around and the enemy at my back...breathing his threats down my neck.

"Lord, why have you brought me here?! There's no way out! Did you bring me here just to have me suffer a disgraceful defeat??" Yes, I felt this way!

I had tried everything I could think of to fight tooth and nail to make things better myself. I put up a fight with the enemy...and failed. I tried to swim the water...and nearly drowned. All my efforts only made things worse. It was hopeless...I was trapped...no way out.

But then God simply says, "Stand still and see..."

And then God fought for me...

And then my Red Sea parted...

And then He led me safely to the other side...

And then I realized it was over...and I had not done a thing!

Just when I thought hope was gone, God had stepped in and made a way where there was none.

Praise God, He still parts the sea for His children!!!

God bless!

Linked Up at: Women Living Well, Fellowship Friday

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Story of the Exodus: Important Lessons for Future Generations

If the most you or your children know about the story of the Exodus comes from Cecil B. DeMille's "Ten Commandments" or Disney's "Prince of Egypt," you are really missing out! You need to go straight to the source to get the amazing true story of God's deliverance, and to see some very important lessons God intentionally placed there for us!!




In Exodus 11-13, we read about the final events leading up to God's people being freed from Egyptian bondage. God has one final plague that is sure to crack Pharaoh's hard heart wide open. This plague will touch Pharaoh in a personal way as none of the other 9 have. God sends the Angel of Death throughout all the land of Egypt to take the lives of every firstborn of both man and beast.

Again we see God making a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt. In His love for them, God outlines a plan to spare their lives if they will only obey.

They were to eat only unleavened bread (bread that could be made quicker...they would soon be leaving!), and on a certain day they were to kill their best lamb. They had to place the blood of this lamb on their doorposts. Only homes with the lamb's blood on the door would be safe from the death angel on that frightful night. Inside they were to eat the lamb, all of it, without breaking any of its bones. They were commanded to eat in a hurry with their shoes on ready to travel. All who obeyed and remained inside under the safety of the lamb's blood were spared, for He promised "When I see the blood, I will pass over you."

So why did God ask the children of Israel to follow this ritual in order to be spared from the death of the firstborn? Before He had simply made a distinction between the Israelites and Egyptians and simply exempted His people from the plagues that engulfed the rest of the land. Why the change with this final plague?

I believe the answer is simply this, God wanted to teach an imprtant lesson for future generations.

The passover story and the ritual the Israelites had to follow is a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. It is a beautiful picture of God's plan of salvation that would be fulfilled in the New Testament in Christ.

At one time every one of us was under a terrible curse of sin with the judgement of eternal death awaiting us, just like the firstborn of Egypt were about to die. Jesus is the Lamb. He was God's very best: His only Son. Nothing less would do. He stepped in and died in our place so that we don't have to.

But we have to accept His sacrifice. We have to accept His blood as payment for our sins and let Him cover the door of our hearts with it to show that we are covered, our debt is paid. As long as we stay under the protection of His blood, we need not fear death. There is perfect safety under the blood of Jesus, but just like the Israelites had to stay in the house to take advantage of the blood's protection, so we must stay in Christ. Making the choice to step outside the blood is deathly dangerous. (I know some will disagree with me here, but I am fully convinced God's Word is clear on this. I know no one can pluck me out of God's hand, but I have a freewill and can choose to remove myself from His hand and would suffer the same consequences as if I had never been covered by the blood at all.)

The Israelites were told to eat the whole lamb and not leave any behind. As Christians, we are to take Christ into our lives and make Him Lord of all. We are to take up our cross and follow after Him completely.

None of the lamb's bones were to be broken just as none of Jesus' bones were broken in His death on the cross.

So much of the Old Testament we tend to rush through or assume does not apply to us today. But God intentionally put these things in there for our learning. He wanted us to know Him better. He wanted to show us a clear picture so we could better understand and appreciate the salvation by grace that is presented to us in the New Testament.

After Pharaoh let the people go, God had Moses remind the people of Israel to always keep the passover as a special reminder of what God had done for them. And someday when their children asked "Why do we do these things?", they would have an amazing story to tell and an important lesson to teach.

What kind of job are we doing answering our children's questions about spiritual things? Are we pointing them toward salvation and eternal life in Christ? What are some ways God has moved in your life that you can share with the next generation so they will know Him better?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Ways to Make Math Fun!

Math...children either love it or hate it, and it depends a lot on how it is presented. Few children I know are particularly fond of sitting with a workbook doing seemingly endless rows of problem after problem.



Yes, Big Brother uses Rod & Staff workbooks (and I highly recommend them by the way!), but sitting through 4 pages of dry facts and problems everyday does get hard. Lately I have had him do 3 full pages and only 1/3 of one review page. This eases his burden some and leaves us more time for fun, hands-on learning time. We always spend at least 20-30 minutes daily doing hands-on math before he ever cracks open his workbook.

Children need to be actively engaged in their learning! Here are 5 easy ways to make math painless, hands-on, and most of all...FUN! :)

1.) Food

Really grab their attention with a fun snack! Grab some marshmallows, blueberries, Cheerios, M&Ms, gummy bears, cheese cubes, candy hearts, or other handy favorite!

*Count them
*Sort them (by size, color, taste)
*Practice adding & taking away
*Measure out different amounts
*Arrange them in rows to
demonstrate multiplaction
*Estimate (Guess how many
marshmallows will fit in a baby
food jar?)
*Make an edible bar graph
*Cut an apple, pizza, or pie into
slices to demonstrate fractions

Of course this won't be nearly as fun unless the child gets to eat their work after class!! :)

2.) Toys

Learning math can be child's play! Use your child's favorite toys as math manipulatives. Grab some LEGO bricks, Counting bears, blocks, toy cars, small animal toys, stuffed animals, dolls, marbles, army men, or cowboys & Indians and turn math class into playtime!

*Count them
*Sort them into groups
*Add & subtract them
*Measure and/or weigh them
*Arrange them to demonstrate
multiplication facts

3.) Dry Erase

Why does math always seem to get done faster and easier when using dry erase markers?!

* Let your child work out all their problems on the board for a change.

* Draw out pictures to help solve word problems.

* Make a graph or chart.

* Write important facts, rules, or definitions on the board for quick reference while your child is working on math.

4.) Games

Some days we just need some game time!! There are so many great games out there that children can play and painlessly practice their math skills in the process!! Here's a quick list of just a few of our family's favorites that build skills in basic math operations, logic, money sense, patterns, colors, and more:

Number Hunt

Monopoly


Monopoly Junior


Smath

The Game of LIFE


Blokus


Skip-Bo


Skip-Bo Junior


UNO


Clue


5.) Get Moving!

Did you know that movement actually helps children learn better? So much for "sit still and do your work"!

* Tape sheets of paper to the floor with numbers on them (or write them on the pavement with sidewalk chalk!). Give your child a math problem and hace thwm jump on the correct answer!

*Quiz your child or have them recite math facts while jumping rope, bouncing on an exercise ball, or jumping on a trampoline!

*Make up a game of Math Baseball (or Football, Basketball, Bowling, etc.)!

*Collect some paper towel rolls, pop cans, or water bottles from around the house. Tape numbers to them. Give your child a math problem and have them "shoot" the correct answer with a squirt gun or rubberband gun!!!

(This post contained affiliate links. By clicking and making purchases through these links you are blessing our family with a small extra income. Thank you!)

Have you found any of these tips helpful? How do you approach math in your homeschool? What are some other ways to make learning more fun?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Big Brother's Favorites #1: Farm Mystery Series!

From time to time, I will be sharing some of Big Brother's favorites with you (and perhaps some of Little Brother's favorites, too!).

Today I want to share one of his favorite series of books with you: The Farm Mystery series by Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Castleberry.



This series of mysteries is suitable for the whole family!

In this series, the Nelsons are a Christian homeschooling family living on a farm in rural Tennessee. The older boys, Jason & Andy, operate "The Great Detective Agency" from their office located underneath the stairs. The mysteries they solve are sometimes small, but always interesting and exciting!

You will find no questionable material in these books. There are no murders, ghosts, monsters, or other scary elements that might keep young ones awake at night. The children are respectful of their parents, and many good Biblical principles are woven into the stories. Homeschooling is portrayed positively and as a normal way of life.

The characters collect clues and solve their cases through research. We have learned about everything from bees to firefighting to the Underground Railroad while solving mysteries along with Jason & Andy! These books are great for peaking a child's interest in different educational topics, and could easily be used as a springboard for unit study topics.

Big Brother's absolute FAVORITE time of the homeschool day is our afternoon storytime, and the Farm Mystery Series is by far his favorite for this year!! We will be enjoying these books over and over as Little Brother gets older I'm sure.

Click the titles below to get your own Farm Mystery Series books very inexpensively from Amazon:

Footprints in the Barn

The Mysterious Message

Midnight Sky

Who, Me?

Weighty Matters

Where There's Smoke...

The History Mystery

Lights Out!

Trapped

The Case of the Missing Man


Has your family read any books from the Farm Mystery Series? Which was your favorite?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Does Your Child Struggle with Reading or Spelling? It Could be Dyslexia.



Last week our local homeschool group offered a Homeschool Parent Workshop on the topic of Reading & Spelling Difficulties and Solutions. I learned so much at this workshop that I just wanted to share some of my takeaways with you and give you some helpful resources.

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing products through the links in this post, you are helping to bless my family with a little extra income. Thank you!)

The best predictor of a child's future success or difficulties in reading and spelling is something called phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness involves a child's ability to identify, sequence, and manipulate phonemes (individual speech sounds) in words.

Before a child ever learns their ABCs and written language, they need to develop their phonemic awareness.

Here are some helpful exercises that can help develop phonemic awareness:

*Practice identifying and making rhymes (Ask the child to give you a word that rhymes with "king.")

*Phonemic deletion (Ask "What word is left if we take the /b/ sound out of the word bat?")

*Word-to-Word matching (Ask "Do cat and car begin with the same sound?")

*Blending (Ask "What word do we have if we put /h/ /a/ /t/ together?")

*Sound isolation (Ask "What is the first sound in the word 'sing'"?)

*Phoneme segmentation (Ask "What sounds do you hear in the word sat?")

*Phoneme counting (Ask "How many sounds do you hear in the word bake?")

*Deleted phomeme (Ask "What sound do you hear in 'meet' that is missing in 'eat?')

*Odd word out (Ask "What word starts with a different sound: 'sing,' 'sail,' 'nail,' or 'sat?')

*Sound to word matching (Ask "Is there a /d/ sound in 'hand?'")

If your child struggles with these seemingly simple exercises, they will also struggle with reading and spelling.

Does your child exhibit any of the following behaviors:

*Child was late talking
*Trouble making rhymes
*Mixes up sounds
*Reverses letters and numbers
*Difficulty memorizing
*Difficulty tying their shoes
*Dysgraphia (trouble with handwriting)
*Stomach aches & headaches
*Reads slowly, inaccurately, and choppy
*Leaves off suffixes when reading
*Skips little words (a, to, of, in, etc.)
*Has a hard time finding the right word
*Difficulty telling time on an analog clock
*Has trouble with directionality (top, bottom, left, right, above, beside, yesterday, tomorrow, etc.)
*Has a hard time following steps in sequence
*Terrible at spelling
*Can't sound out unknown words
*Guesses at words based on shape and/or context
*Difficulty learning math facts (such as memorizing multiplication tables)
*Difficulty putting thoughts down on paper

Any of these could be signs your child might have a neurological processing disorder called dyslexia. 1 in 5 people have dyslexia, making it the most common learning disorder.

There are a lot of common misconceptions out there about dyslexia. People with dyslexia do not "see things backwards." Dyslexia is not a vision problem. Most of all, people with dyslexia do not have lower IQs.

Studies have been done that show interesting differences in the brains of people with dyslexia. They actually have larger brains! Their brains process information differently than others. This processing difference causes the reading and spelling problems we generally see associated with dyslexia, but it also usually gives people some unique abilities and gifts as well.

Here are a few well known people who had dyslexia:

*Albert Einstein
*Thomas Edison
*Woodrow Wilson

If you suspect dyslexia might be the cause of your child's reading and spelling problems, you should get help for them as early as possible. If any of the warning signs listed above persist in your child past the 1st grade age level, you may need to consider seeking specialized tutoring (find a tutor who uses the Susan Barton System) and start purposefully helping your child overcome these struggles. I will be listing some great resources at the end of this post that I hope will be helpful.

Dyslexia is a life-long disorder. It often runs in families, and it is caused by a physical abnormality in the brain. It is not caused by bad parenting or laziness. There is no quick fix for dyslexia or any other reading and spelling problems your child might have. But with the right kind of careful, systematic, intensive help; your child can succeed.

Don't ever think that because your child is struggling either with a learning disorder or other problem that you cannot homeschool them. On the contrary, such children often thrive with the loving, one-on-one learning environment that only homeschooling provides. You as the parent are able to tailor your child's education to meet their needs. You can offer hands-on learning experiences that your child will actually enjoy.

Here are some helpful books I encourage you to get on this subject:

Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment & Intervention by Nancy Mather and Barbara J. Wendling

Overcoming Dyslexia: A New Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz

Dyslexia Toolkit for Tutors and Parents by Yvonna Graham & Dr. Alta E. Graham

The Dyslexia Help Handbook for Parents: Your Guide to Overcoming Dyslexia Including Tools You Can Use for Learning Empowerment by Sandra K. Cook

From ABC to ADHD: What Every Parent Should Know About Dyslexia by E.Q. Tridas

Basic Facts About Dyslexia and Other Reading Problems by L. C. Moats & K.E. Dakin


Here are some helpful links as well:

http://www.brightsolutions.us

http://www.interdys.org

http://www.readingrockets.org

http://www.homeschoolingwithdyslexia.com

http://www.understood.org

http://www.ldonline.org

http://www.ldamerica.org

http://www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner

Has this post been helpful to you? Please leave a comment below!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Love My Schedule Review

Today I would like to share with you a great resource that can help you get more done each day!



This is our Love My Schedule Schedule Chart!



Our Love My Schedule Chore Chart!

These awesome organizational tools were created by a dear friend of mine who is a homeschool mother of 8 children!

The Schedule and Chore Charts are color coded to help you organize each member of your family. They are both magnetic and wet erase. (A cute wet erase marker comes with your order!)

We LOVE our (Love My Schedule Charts! http://www.lovemyschedule.com] The magnets are strong yet flexible. You can get an Expansion Pack if you have more than 5 people in your family.

Big Brother is a child who needs a good routine to follow. He functions best if he knows exactly what is going to happen and what to expect. With our Love My Schedule conveniently hanging brightly on the fridge, he can easily see what is planned for his day, what Mommy will be doing, and how much time it should take. No more asking, "When is lunch?" or "When do I get a break?" or "How much longer until Free Time?" I can point him to the schedule and he knows the answer.

He got to choose what color he wanted for his schedule, and his job list on the chore chart matches!

You can see on our matching Chore Chart I have my Weekly Home Blessing Chores, Daily Chores, my Daily Health Routine, Supper Menus for the Week, my Good Morning Girls Bible Study Plan, and Big Brother's Jobs. I love being able to check all these things off each day!

Having all my reminders in one central location is such a blessing. No more wasting time figuring out what needs to be done (or worse, trying to remember whether or not I did a certain task already!!)

The Love My Schedule website has a great list of 20 Scheduling Tips Be sure to check them out!

How do you keep your familyfamily organized? What does a "normal" homeschool day look like at your house?

Making God Real to Our Children



I remember hearing a boy, maybe 10 years old at a Vacation Bible School once say, "Aww, Jesus is just like Santa Clause and Superman, he ain't real!" Oh how my heart just broke for that poor child! The adults in his life had lied to him, telling him myths and fairy tales that he had doubtless put his trust in as a small child. When he got a little bigger and learned that those things were fake, he naturally began to doubt and question when another adult began to tell him about Jesus. How very sad!



As Christians, we need to be so careful in the things we tell our little ones! Never again in their lives will that childlike faith come so easily to them. How we present God to our children is so important. In my studying in Exodus this week, I have been challenged to help my boys really see Who God is and what he has done so that they can truly know Him and begin forming their own personal relationship with Him.

I began thinking back to the certain destruction that Joseph had prevented from happening to the land of Egypt. Now this destruction was actually taking place all because there had risen a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph!

This morning, Exodus 10:1-2 really spoke to my heart.

_ And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:

And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD._

God was bringing about mighty destruction in the land of Egypt, but it was for a mighty purpose. He wanted His people to later have something to tell their children and their grandchildren about God. He wanted the children to know Him - to know He was real, to know His mighty power, to know that He delivers His people, and to know that they too can have Him in their lives!

We need to tell our children the things God has done. We need to share with them not only the things God did in days of old, but in our own lives. Tell them how God has answered your prayers. Teach them how God has blessed in your family through the years. Help them to see God's hand in their own lives!

Children need to see God, not as a fairy tale or myth, not as just another bedtime story, but as the true God Who wants so much to be their very best friend!

It only takes one generation not doing their part to teach their children to put an end to a Godly heritage in that family or nation. I pray that generation will not be mine!

How has God proven Himself real in Your life? How do you teach your children about God?

Linked Up at: Women Living Well, Fellowship Friday

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to Teach Your Child the 10 Commandments

I mentioned in my Welcome post that I want my boys to have a strong shield of faith when they graduate from our little homeschool. One of the ways we are moving toward that goal is through memorizing Scripture! Hiding God's Word in our hearts is so important for us as Christians, and what better time to start with our children than when they are young? They memorize much easier and their little hearts are still tender.

Today I want to share with you a fun unit we did to help Big Brother learn the 10 Commandments from Exodus 20. These activities will appeal to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners alike.




If you work on teaching just one new commandment every other day, in 4 weeks of school your child will know all 10 Commandments...and probably never forget them! :)

So spending 2 days on each commandment, here's the plan:

Day 1

1.) Write the commandment on the board and read it with your child. Explain to them what it means.

2.) Teach the hand signal for this commandment (I will give you those below). Review it at random times throughout the day.

3.) Get out some LEGO bricks and a dry erase marker. Write each word on a brick and ask your child to build the verse by putting the words in order as in the picture below:



The dry erase marker wipes off easily!

4.) Review the commandment (and previous commandments as you add them) throughout the day.

Day 2

1.) Review the commandments you've taught so far as well as the current one you are teaching.

2.) Write the newest commandment on the board. Have your child say it. Now erase one word. Have your child say the verse again, making sure they fill in the missing word. Keep going until the entire verse has disappeared from the board!

3.) Review your hand signals.

4.) Have your child write, copy, or trace the commandment in their notebook. For a younger child, you might write the commandment in bubble lettering and let the child color or even paint the words.

5.) Continue to review the commandments the child has learned throughout the day!

Keep following this plan as you add a new commandment every other school day. Don't forget to review throughout the day!

Hand Signals for Each of the 10 Commandments

1. Hold up 1 finger (Remember: There is only one God! "Thou shalt have no other gods before me")

2. Hold up 2 fingers (Remember: Two gods is one too many! "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image")

3. Hold up 3 fingers (Remember: Your fingers look like the letter W. Watch your Words! "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain")

4. Hold up 4 fingers (Rememeber: The thumb is resting! "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy")

5. Hold up 5 fingers (Remember: It looks like you are making a promise on your honor! "Honor thy father and thy mother")

6. Point your left index finger toward yojr open right hand (Remember: Looks like the left is pointing a gun at the right! " Thou shalt not kill")

7. Stand your first 2 fingers of your left hand on the palm of your open right hand (Remember: Your fingers look like a couple getting married! "Thou shalt not commit adultery")

8. Hold 4 fingers from each hand up in front of your face (Remember: Looks like you are behind jail bars like a thief! "Thou shalt not steal")

9.) Hold up 5 fingers on right hand and 4 on the left (Remember: Your left thumb is whispering lies about the other fingers! "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor")

10. Hold out out all 10 fingers and wiggle the tips of your fingers toward yourself. (Remember: It looks like you are greedily saying Give me, Give me! "Thou shalt not covet")

Big brother loved learning the 10 Commandments this way!

I pray you will find these activities useful in teaching your own children!

How do you help your little one's learn Scripture? Share your ideas below! Have you used some of the activities from this post? Tell me about it!!!

God bless!!

Linked Up at: Fellowship Friday

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Exodus 8 - A Separated People

Hi everybody!

Today was field trip day! Big Brother and I went to our KY State Capitol with our homeschool group for a special tour. Little Brother spent the day with Daddy :). With all that going on today, I am just now getting around to blogging.



Today our Scripture was Exodus 8. Moses and Aaron visit Pharaoh several more times asking for freedom for their people, and each time Pharaoh says no, God sends another plague upon Egypt. They have to deal with frogs, lice, and swarms of flies (yuck!)

Pharaoh plays games with Moses, each time agreeing to let the people go if the plague will just stop, but then changing his mind once the plague is over.

But the particular Scripture that stood out to me today was

*Exodus 8:22-23*



*And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.*

The Lord made a separation between His people, the children of Israel, and the people of Egypt. There was a line drawn between the two...a clear distinction.

God wants Christians as His people today to be different from the world around them . We are a separated people also. There ought to be a distinct difference that sets us apart.

Christians will be "peculiar people." We do not talk the same way the rest of the world talks. The way we behave will be different from the world around us. The things we value and hold dear will be totally different from the things the rest of the world highly esteems. We will dress differently, and we will raise our children differently.

To be a child of God is to be different in a lot of ways. But look at how God spared the children of Israel the awful plagues that troubled the Egyptians. Look how God loved and cared for His children and heard and answered their prayers.

What a blessing to be among His separated people!!

God bless!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's a Frog's Life - Notebooking 2nd Grade Science

I mentioned in an earlier post that we were notebooking our way through Big Brother's 2nd grade Science. I am nowhere near as fancy and creative with this as some others, but I thought I would share something we enjoyed!



Big Brother had fun doing the work for this page! We read and talked about the life cycle of a frog from several different sources. Then he used PlayDoh to create an example of each stage of a frog's life from egg to adult frog. We took pictures of his creations and used them to make this simple page in his notebook.

Here were his frog eggs:




Tadpoles:



Tadpoles grow back legs:




Front legs grow:




Now a froglet with a tail:



Finally we remove the tail and have a grown up frog:



So much better than just reading dry text and answering questions, don't you think?

What do you do to make learning fun and interesting in your homeschool? I would LOVE to hear your ideas!!

Linked Up at: Fellowship Fridays

Exodus 7 - I Never Want to Get in Gods Way!!

"Mommy, you're coloring in your Bible...is that even legal?!"



Those were Big Brother's words to me the other morning when he came in during my Bible time. :)

I am loving color-coding my Bible as I study God's Word each day! Here's the Bible Coloring Chart I have been using:



It helps me to slow down and really think about what I am reading. I'm finding treasures I never knew were there!

Today's chapter is Exodus 7. Here's the thought that stood out to me today:

I NEVER WANT TO GET IN GOD'S WAY!!

We read how Pharaoh's heart was hardened against God and His people. And because of his stubborness and wicked pride, his entire nation was going to suffer horrible things.

Exodus 7:3-4

And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth my people the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by great judgements.

Bottom line, God was going to do whatever it took to deliver His people from bondage.

I would not want to stand where Pharaoh stood here! God will do mighty, wondrous, miraculous things in order to help His people.

I definitely want to be on His side...don't you!!

God bless!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Test Post! :)

This is a test post! Just trying out a new blogging app to see if it will allow me to post pictures!! We shall see!

God bless! :)

Sink Reflections -Book Review

(Please note, this post contains affiliate links. I do not promote any item I do or would not use myself! By making a purchase through the link provided, you are blessing my family with a little extra income. Thank you!)

Click here to get your copy of Sink Reflections!

My sink is shiny right now! Is yours? ;)

Let me be perfectly blunt and completely honest, I am not a natural housekeeper. In fact, I've always been pretty messy!

As a child my desk was always a wreck with papers and books cascading everywhere like an avalanche. My bedroom...yikes! It always looked like a tornado had just ripped through, leaving behind a trail of clothes (clean? dirty? who knows!?), toys, CDs, stuffed animals, and more in its wake. I just always had better things to do than waste my life cleaning up the perpetual mess!

I just assumed that once I was married with a home and children of my own somehow I would transform into a blissful housekeeper with a beautiful spotless home where I would serve huge delicious meals 3 times a day all while smiling at my husband and children and looking like I just stepped off the pages of Proverbs 31.
Needless to say...it didn't happen like that...at all!!

I hated doing things like dishes and laundry. It was all going to get dirty again anyway right? And there was always so much to do and so little time to spare with homeschooling and all, how was I supposed to do it all right? How was I supposed to prioritize? I needed some kind of system for getting out of CHAOS (Can't Have Anybody Over Syndrome) and needed help figuring out what needed to be done daily, weekly, etc.

I subscribed to Fly Lady's free e-mails, and ordered her book Sink Reflections (Get your copy from my store.).

It was exactly what I needed! FLY Lady teaches you to take little babysteps toward building habits and routines for blessing your home...and it all starts with shining your sink! Who knew that with the sink clean, it makes you look for other things to clean!? And I love the way FLY Lady says to set a timer for yourself to only work 15 minutes at a time. She helps me get over my perfectionism (ouch!), and just remember that even housework done incorrectly still blesses my family!

So is my house spotless?? No! But things are definitely better! I actually enjoy doing my Weekly Home Blessing Hour. I know where my laundry is and no longer feel like I am fighting a loosing battle with Mt. Washmore!

Go shine your sink! ;)

Exodus 6 - God is Faithful!

I was so happy to get back to my Good Morning Girls study today! I did my reading before the boys got up this morning, and did my journaling while Big Brother worked on writing his Bible verse for the day. How sweet it is to be studying God's Word together! :)

This week at Good Morning Girls we are studying Exodus 6-10. We read one chapter per day, and use the SOAK method to journal and pray over what God is teaching, and we mark our Bibles with a color code. Check out Good Morning Girls for details!

Today's chapter shows us God again confirming to Moses just Who He is. He is letting Moses know that He made a covenant with His people, and He will keep it.

Exodus 6:2-8 2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers . 5 And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage ; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

Sometimes I need to be reminded of just Who God really is and all the wonderful things He has promised to me as His child. God is so faithful to keep His Word!!

Even all the names and family lines at the end of chapter 6 were interesting to me today. They are there to show that this is real history, real events involving real peoplenu and a real God!

You are more than welcome to join me in this study! We are also doing memory work together. Big Brother has been helping hold me accountable with that! If you want to memorize along with me, here are last week and this week's verses together.

 Psalm 77:11-14 11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? 14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. < I
pray you are blessed as we study God's Word together here! Be sure to subscribe to get all my posts (if you are in mobile, you might have to switch to web version to see the subscribe box on the right side of the page). And check out my new Amazon store!< God bless!! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Homeschool Curriculum 2014-2015 2nd Grade

Anytime a couple homeschool moms meet each other for the first time, what is one of the first questions they ask each other?

"What curriculum do you use?"

When my parents began homeschooling in the mid-late 90's, there weren't nearly as many options to choose from as there are today. You didn't have as many co-ops, websites, blogs, and companies that marketed to homeschoolers as we have today. Homeschooling was not nearly as commonplace, and in fact, it was a big deal to even meet another homeschooling family in your area! :) Most families I knew including ours used any of a certain few curriculum publishers like ABeka, Christian Liberty, ACE, Rod & Staff, or Bob Jones.

Today we still have all of these and SO many more to choose from!! So it is always interesting to get new ideas and find out what others are doing along their homeschooling journey.

This year Big Brother is in 2nd grade. We just started back to school Jan. 5th after a nice long, lazy Christmas break! Getting back on schedule was hard on all of us, even Little Brother, but we still accomplished a lot. :)

So for anyone who wants to know, here's what Big Brother is doing this year here at Shield of Faith Homeschool:

Bible - some notebooking/theme studies and now using 90 Devotions for Kids from Adventures in Odyssey

Spelling - Rod & Staff Grade 2

Phonics - 1992 version of Hooked on Phonics

Reading - Rod & Staff Bible Nurture & Reader series Grade 2 (We started the year using the workbooks, but they became way too much busywork for a busy 6 year old! So he reads the story and then either gives me an oral narration or acts it out. Much more fun!)

English - Rod & Staff Grade 2 (Love this!! He already knows way more about grammar than I knew when I left public school in 4th grade...and I was considered gifted.)

Math - Rod & Staff Grade 2 (Love this as well!)

Social Studies - 1st semester/ABeka Our America 2nd Grade History 2nd semester/States & Capitals & reading lots of biographies

Science - We are notebooking our way through topics like plants, animals, the Ice Age, dinosaurs, Creation, astronomy, weather, human body, and more!! Lots of projects and various resources.

Extras:

Music - Piano Course for Christians, Co-Op Handbell Choir and Recorder Band

Art - Painting, Drawing, PlayDoh, Coloring, etc. Very basic. :)

Letter Writing - Big Brother has 2 penpals near his age in other states who he writes to a few times a month. They send letters and pictures. Lots of fun and a great way to get him writing!

Cursive - Teaching this myself. I am going by the suggested teaching order from HWWT. He has a notebook and I simply demonstrate each letter, give him some letters and words to practice, and I watch to make sure he's doing it correctly. No need for a fancy curriculum here.

P.E. - Horseback Riding lessons, Speed Stacks Cup Stacking, and little boy things like bike riding and baseball with Dad :)

Literature - We have at least half an hour every day where I read to them both good wholesome literature. Big Brother also reads some just for fun independently and is a huge fan of audiobooks. (He's listened to over 20 in the past 2 months, and is currently enjoying Pilgrim's Progress!) At some point I hope to post some of our favorite series and books.

Our homeschool group also offers monthly field trips and a few co-op classes. He is really looking forward to the Learning with LEGO class that is coming up!

Of course Little Brother is learning, too! :) Just this week he has been learning to pull up, tasting new foods, learning to play Pat-a-Cake, and signing "Mommy" in ASL! He loves to hear Big Brother play our big upright piano and sometimes gets to sit on the bench and play his own little tunes! :) I look forward to posting more about him as well soon!

So, what do you think of our curriculum choices? Are they similar to or different from yours? I would love to hear your comments! And don't forget to subscribe!! Lots of neat things will be happening here soon, and you won't want to miss it!!