Homeschool Update–Or, The Longest Post Ever

Life has just been a whirlwind of activity the last few months!   I haven’t updated about homeschooling in awhile and my friend Heather has motivated me to do so (she just posted on her blog about the first 9 weeks of homeschooling her three boys this year).

Annagrace is loving homeschooling!  We have our rough days sometimes but for the most part she is enjoying her studies and we are all learning so much!  The My Father’s World curriculum takes students around the world to various countries and continents and as we travel around we learn about the climate, the land, the people and the animals of that area.  So far we have visited the United States, Mexico and Canada.  Next week we move on to Brazil.  The curriculum includes all her science, history, Bible and arts.  We supplement the study with other math and language arts curriculum.

Some of the things we have studied and some of the highlights of the last few weeks include:

Our Mexican Fiesta

Annagrace did a great job planning for our fiesta.  We decided to have chicken tacos, chips and salsa, kid friendly Sangrias, and cinnamon sugar tortillas with ice cream for dessert!  She came up with a name for her restaurant the “Hola Manana Bistro” and we came up with a printed menu and we listened to Mexican music during dinner.  I didn’t take many pictures that night…wasn’t feeling too good.  I wish I had taken some of Annagrace playing waitress.  She was so cute!

September Field Trip

Our field trip for September was to the Marbles Museum in Raleigh.  This place was A-mazing!  There was so much to do there.  We spent about 5 hours there and the girls could have kept right on going.  There is a huge area downstairs for all kinds of imaginative play–a diner, a hospital, a stage area, a post office, etc.  Then there are other areas of the museum including an indoor pirate ship, an international area, an “underwater” room, a Mr. Potato Head exhibit and a huge arts and crafts area.  The girls had a blast!  Here are some photos from the day.  My friend Jennifer and her little girl Lilley and her mom went along too.  We had such a great day!  It is totally worth the money and I think we’ll be taking the girls again one day soon.

(Having technical difficulties on the blog today with the gallery–some of these photos are not from the museum but rather are photos from later on in the post.  Grrr….wordpress burns me up sometimes!).

Madalyn’s favorite part was the ambulance.  Right before we left she climbed in and laid down on the stretcher and tucked a little black baby doll up underneath her shirt.  She kept telling me that she couldn’t leave until the baby was born–but she wouldn’t let me “deliver” it.  She said that the “doctor has to do it.”  The next thing I know there were 4 little kids in the back of the ambulance with her hooking up her “IV” and getting her ready to have her baby.  It was hilarious!  Finally little baby boy “Baker” was born!  So cute.

Spiders

One of the challenges for me has been trying to include Madalyn in our studies.  This has proven to be more difficult at times than I thought it would be.  So after the baby is born I am planning to get a preschool curriculum to use with Madalyn.  I just don’t have the time to sit down and pull together crafts and activities each week so if I hope I can find something that will put it all together for me.

We have done a few activities together though during the last few weeks.  On this day we made spider handprints.  These were so easy and were a lot of fun!

Spider-Madalyn

Spider-print-AG

PenPal Letters

Annagrace has become pen pals with some students from Florida.  Their teacher, Jennifer, and I went to college together and she was actually my sister-in-law’s roommate.  She teachers fourth and fifth graders at a private school in Florida.  Annagrace got a huge package of letters from the students including a self-drawn picture of themselves.  They asked her a lot of questions and she wrote them back and answered some of them.

AG-Pen-Pal-letter-1

For her picture, she included our heights and our ages and even drew Layla in my belly!

AG-pen-pal-letter-1-back

One of her assignments is to write a letter to someone once a week so having pen pals with encourage her to do this!

Tuesday Adventures

If there is anything the girls look forward to it is our Tuesday Adventure playgroup!  A group of homeschool moms and kids meet once a week at a local church to allow the kids to socialize and allow the moms to talk.  The group is great and I have really enjoyed getting to know the moms.  Some have been homeschooling for years and some are brand new to it just like me.  There are several girls that are close to Annagrace’s age and Madalyn has a little friend, Andre, that she just adores!  The church is right across from the library so Tuesdays usually end up being our library day too!

We took a TA field trip last month to a local community center and the girls made pottery.  They actually had to mold the clay themselves and then paint it.  The teacher put it in the kiln for us and few weeks later they got their finished pumpkins!  They did a great job and they look so cute on our mantle!

Pumpkins

Annagrace’s is on the left and Madalyn’s is on the right!

Math

Oh glorious math.  Math has been our trouble spot the last few weeks.  Annagrace is a perfectionist.  She likes to be right about everything.  She hates getting questions wrong.  She hates making mistakes.  So she has a hard time when it comes to math and she has to learn something new.  If she doesn’t “get it” right away then she gets all bent out of shape.  For the first few weeks we reviewed addition and subtraction up to 3 digit numbers.  Then we moved onto 1 digit multiplication and now she is doing 2 digit multiplication.  I have tried stressing to her the importance of memorizing her multiplication tables  but she just isn’t getting it.

So last week I finally ordered her math curriculum.

We decided on Teaching Textbooks because it is computer based and I loved that the grading was all on the computer.  I figure that when Layla arrives and needs extra attention then that can be the time that Annagrace works on her math stuff.  She tested for the 4th grade level (and I think it is even a little too easy for her!).  Well we got it on Friday and she has already done 12 of the lessons!!!  She LOVES it!  She loves the challenge and is enjoying the math drill games.  FINALLY she is enjoying math again!

Music

I did a lot of asking around trying to find a piano/music teacher for Annagrace.  I wanted her to not only learn how to play but I wanted her to learn theory as well.  What is this note called?  Why is it called that?  What is a treble clef?  Etc . . . .etc. . . etc.  I also wanted a teacher that hosted recitals so that she would learn how to perform.  What is the point of learning an instrument if you never are able to share your talents with others?  (Funny to hear that coming from me who HATED piano recitals when I was young!).  I couldn’t find anyone who really “fit”.  So I decided to suck it up . . . buy some books . . . and teach her myself.  I took piano lessons from the age of not quite 5 until I was almost 18.  I played for high school choral group, two college choral groups and many many Sundays in church.  So I guess I have the know how and the experience to do it.  I just pray for the patience.

So far we have done about 3 theory lessons and a couple of actual “sit at the piano” lessons.  Hoping to get on more of a routine and a practice schedule for Annagrace soon!

Language Arts and Spelling

We went with Alpha/Omega curriculum for Annagrace’s language arts.  It is workbook based and we complete several pages daily as we work our way through the 10 workbooks in the package.  I am not highly impressed with it and will be looking for something else next year.   The lessons are very basic and I end up skipping a lot of the lessons because Annagrace has already learned so much.  Last week was alphabetizing which she learned how to do 2 years ago.  She has learned a lot about vowels and consonants and honestly I am ready for her to move onto something else!

As far as spelling, I decided not to do a whole “curriculum” for her spelling.  She is an avid reader and a great speller so we don’t spend a lot of time on spelling.  She does have 20 words a week that she is to learn.  The words are actually the same ones her pen pals are doing (Jennifer posts them online each week and we “borrow” them).  They are from a 6th grade level book!  Some days we try to make it a little more fun.  She loves writing on the large picture window with dry erase markers (GREAT activity if your kids want something to keep them busy).  Last week we went outside and she wrote them on the driveway with sidewalk chalk!

Spelling-fun

PE

So considering the fact that baby #3 is about done baking I really haven’t had the energy to do much physical education with the girls lately!  Annagrace has a weekly Co-Op PE class that she really enjoys.  I try to allow the girls some time outside during the day and of course we have playgroup on Tuesdays.  Last month I took them ice skating one day.  And last week after our outdoor spelling lesson we–okay, THEY–played hopscotch and Madalyn rode her tricycle!  She LOVES her tricycle!

Madalyn-tricycle

Hopscotch

Co-Op

And last but not least, the girls have co-op classes once a week.  We are part of the HOME group which is a homeschool group here in Greenville.  Each Friday for 6 weeks in the Fall they offer parent led classes.  Annagrace was very upset that she didn’t get into microbiology!  She ended up in Reading Fun ( a little too easy for her and she doesn’t really like it that much because the kids are on a lower level than her), PE (she loves it and she is good at dribbling a basketball!) and My Amazing Body (they are learning about the senses and she has already learned about taste, seeing, hearing and teeth).  Madalyn is in the preschool class (which I assist in for the first hour) and she is learning new songs, doing crafts and having fun playing with new friends each week.  I found out Friday that she is really good at kicking a ball!  I’m thinking soccer may be in her future!

This week she made this adorable octopus out of a glove!

Mad-Octopus

So there is our update!  Whew.  Most of you probably haven’t even made it this far!  LOL!  Hoping to post an update on the baby and Madalyn’s and Layla’s rooms this week too.  Madalyn’s room is a beautiful shade of purple now and Layla’s room is complete (except for her alphabet–still don’t have all the letters for that yet!).

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4 Responses to “Homeschool Update–Or, The Longest Post Ever”


  1. 1 Heather Baker October 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Awesome post. Doesn’t it feel good to see all that we are accomplishing? On any given day, it may not feel like they are getting enough. But when I looked back over the nine weeks, I was overwhelmed at how much WE are learning! Carry on! You’re doing a super job! I just asked my dad for a rotting potato so we can do last week’s science experiment! Better late than never!

  2. 2 Jennifer VBK October 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Just wanted you to know that we haven’t forgotten about writing Annagrace back. We’ve been super busy and it seems that I can’t get a day with all of my students there at the same time due to vacations and sickness and I really want them there so that they can all write her. It’s on the top of my schedule for Monday! 🙂
    Something else you may want to try for spelling-My kids are learning the sign language letters and have been practicing their spelling words by signing them to each other. They ALL, even the ones who normally don’t want to do stuff, are enjoying it.

  3. 3 Lindsey October 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    What’s the deal with the preschool co-op group? Can you send me info…when you get a chance. I know you are super busy preparing for Layla!

  4. 4 lsaufley October 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Lindsey–sent you a message on FB about the co-op!


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