Monday, May 31, 2010

Redesigned Room

My wonderful husband built the shelves, and I have the boxes in place. Luk helped his daddy build it and one thing is for sure; IKEA is kid friendly. =)
Logan is sleeping through the night with no problems, and we have decided that we could officially move him into Luk's room. The room is now, "The Boys' Room." Logan's room is now ONLY the schoolroom. Here is the final project (that is until we sell the boxes of movies.)
Sweet organization, oh how I love you!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Workbox System and more...

I have bought the shelving for the workbox system that we will be using to organize Luk's school work. IKEA is my new favorite store. The Expedit unit was on sale of $99 for 16 "cubbies." I will not even begin to tell you how much a storage unit like this cost at school supply stores. I was ecstatic when I saw the price. Here is what it looks like, Luk picked the wood finish "birch effect."

We decided that we would most likely (for now) use the top row for craft display and pictures. Then we bought 6 boxes and 12 filing boxes. The boxes will have the workbooks or text needed during the day (or puzzle and games) while the filing boxes will have the copywork.
Luk picked every color! Why not? It's in a separate room that only we go into. So, it is very colorful! I also bought these round bathroom rugs.
There are times in the school time that Luk doesn't want to sit at the desk. So, we picked these round rugs for him to know that he needs to sit in one of these designated areas.
Tomorrow, we will be building the unit and putting it all together, and I will post a photo. I want to start organizing our school schedule, however we are awaiting our Math, Science, and bible curriculum to come in the mail... waiting...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Drum Roll, Please... Curriculum has purchased and here it is...

Well, we did it... all in one trip! I thought that we would come back to the hotel room talk things over, but we were just certain and pleased with our decisions. My prayer had been that when we saw something that Reson and I would just know that "we found it!" God answered my prayers, and I am grateful.

Math: Right Start K-5
Phonics: Explode the Code (Levels 1-8)
Bible: Positive Action K
Science: Real Science-4-Kids Pre-level K-3 (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
Geography: Geography Matters K-4 (Galloping the Globe Bundle) and Maps Charts Graphs (Levels A & B)
Handwriting: Handwriting without Tears Pre-K/K
Critical Thinking: The Critical Thinking Company Pre-K/K K-2 (Mind Benders)
Spanish: Hooked On Phonics

So, here is the why behind all the choices that we made today. I think that it is imperative to those that are just starting out to see why decisions are made. Especially for us, who are new to this and after doing extensive research.

Why Right Start? It is self-explanatory if you do the research on it. The approach is pretty amazing. If you have two children that learn in two different ways they give multiple approaches within the lessons so you can gear it to the way you need it be done. It focuses on your child's brain power, it is natural in the learning process to make errors (it is not a sign of failure), but natural.  Someone in the RS Yahoo forum pointed this out to me,
"In the lessons, things are well laid out, and Dr. Cotter takes the time to explain to the parent why things are being taught a certain way (or why not), with little notes throughout the lessons. For instance, in the lessons on equations we just did, we were teaching 10=9 + 1. Dr Cotter explains in a note:
*A child who sees equal signs only near the end of an equation develops a misconception that the equal sign means do something, rather than that the two sides are equal, or the same. Therefore, the emphasis here is on equations that start, for example, with "10=." Also note the use of the word equation. Do not use the term number sentence; it makes no sense mathematically or grammatically.*"
This is just one of many different approaches they use. Reson and I like this!

Why Explode the Code? A main reason for this decision was that we like the format. I cannot emphasize this enough. YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE FORMAT!!! This curriculum is so focused, and it has a great sequence of order to the way that it teaches reading.

Why Positive Action? Besides looking through the book and liking its' format, the beliefs behind the author is right where Reson and I. Check out the site that I linked above and look at their Mission Statement and what they believe. Nothing but the truth! Love it! We don't teach that worldliness is acceptable, no the Gospel is truth and is what we should practice.

Why Real Science-4-Kids? We wanted Apologia, but we felt that it would be over Luk's head at this point, however the pre-level bundles in this curriculum is fitting for Luk's age and as he gets older will work for what we already bought.

Why Geography Matters? The guy presenting this curriculum really gave us some amazing information on a booth that was not even on our list. First, it has a multiple subject approach. So, it has a bit of literature, cooking, history, Bible, and culture awareness. They have an American geography approach and we decided to save that for later. We picked to look at other countries because in the curriculum standard for a Pre-K/K, they should learn about Holidays, traditions, customs, and cultures. This curriculum does that. Each week gives you a chance to learn about a country, it's food (with a cookbook), pictures of children from that area, and missionaries in the area. As someone whose grandmother was a missionary (and my heart tugging towards this in the future), this curriculum will prepare Luk for some amazing ministry. (Goose-bumps just thinking about it). Also, the guy selling made a great point, we as adults think "teach from beginning to end, but kids think about self. So, the approach, show the kids their our kids their age everywhere that look, eat, and celebrate different. I love it!

Why Handwriting Without Tears? Hmmm... look at the title. LOL. Well, there is more to it. I like the format (you see there that phrase is again). I like seeing the two line approach and not the three line approach. I also like the way they put the letters learned in order (it is not A, B, C, but by straight lines then curved).

Why The Critical Thinking Company? It challenges the mind. We want Luk to enjoy mind challenges, puzzles, and thinking in general.

Why Hooked on Phonics? Well, everyone knows it works, and I got this on sale for $12.

**I want to make this known. He will not be doing all of these subjects everyday. He is too young for that, it would be too much.** I plan to separate it: that core things be done every other day, and more fun things to happen on "off" days. We bought multiple puzzles/games from Family Game Coach to go with days that are lax. If you know Luk, he hates not doing something for one day. Everyday he wants school, so I try to do something everyday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


One of the greatest things about having children is seeing their personalities come to live. Luk is an imaginarium. He can make a toy out of anything, or role play anything you want. Logan is an observer. He loves to just watch Luk do his thing (and laugh). I thought I would share some cute videos that show my boys' for who they are.

This video is Luk doing his thing in the car. I always find it funny because we don't watch Sesame Street, but they must be that popular that he can act like them.

Here is Luk "fighting" and being Logan's entertainer.

And finally, the Luk that dresses up ALL day long. Here is doing his daily routine of taking Logan's diapers to the trash.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Game Plan

I am a bit of an organizational freak. I can't help it. So, last night I made Reson sit with me and put together a game plan for the FPEA Conference. Now, if you live in Florida and have been there then you know that you need some type of plan before you walk into that place. There are over 1200 vendors, hundreds of curriculum, etc. I learned last year I needed to minimize my train of thought because of everything that is available. You will see things you like, things that could work, things you want to work, and much more. After printing out the vendor list, we narrowed down that we would visit whichever ones we wanted, but we will be focusing on a list of about 20. That's good right?

Here is the list:
1) Abeka - self-explanatory why we would look here. All subjects. Popular. Christian.
2) Academy of Science for Kids (ASK) - Science
3) Accountable Kids - Accountability Curriculum/Ideas
4) Apologia Educational Ministries - Science based on God's creation
5) Arts Attack - Art
6) Binding Books Beautifully - we will purchase this to bind books that we make.
7) Latin Road/Phonics Road - curious about the content
8) BJU Press - All subjects. Popular. Christian.
9) Math-U-See - Math
10) My Father's World - Bible/Science
11) Noeo Science Curriculum - Science
12) Positive Action Bible Curriculum - Bible
13) R.O.C.K. Solid - All subjects.
14) Right Start Mathematics by Activities for Learning - my top choice for math
15) Ring Around the Phonics - Phonics Board Game Supplement
16) Saxon - again popular. All subjects.
17) Easy Reasoning Curriculum - Bible
18) The Critical Thinking Company - my top choice for critical thinking
19) Handwriting Without Tears - our handwriting curriculum
20) Tobin's Lab - for lapbooking materials
21) In the Hands of a Child - for lapbooking materials/unit studies

Along with this list, we made a School Year Goals list, and this is what we came up with for right now:
Spiritual: Prayer/Scripture memorization, understanding that he has the choice from right and wrong that God commands we do right. This comes into play when he decided to ignore directions and such.
Bible: General Bible stories in terms of character unit studies. He know many stories because of the wonderful church curriculum we have at our church, but we want more character knowledge.
Home: Chores- room cleaning daily (which he does now), pet care (which he does for his new Hermit Crab), and his toy rules. He also participates in helping with emptying the dish washer, the dryer, and helps sweep and vacuum.
Community: Reson would like us to have more visits to the Nursing Home, participate in helping control litter, and general knowledge of how we should care for our community.
Reading/Phonics: Get through Set 1 of the Bob Books (1st goal), Set 2 Bob Books (2nd Goal). Once we see where he is at with his Phonics (thinking about curriculum at the moment, looking at ETC today), the goal will have more to it. We want him to be able to read the set alone.
Writing/Speech: HWT book 1 completed and get through half of book 2. Better communication through high stress levels. When he gets frustrated, scared, or sad he just stops talking. We want him to better voice his feelings when this happens. Any other time he does great.
Math: Finish Level 1 and begin level 2 on whichever Math curriculum we choose. In the Saxon Math Pretest he is at a Kindergarten level. I want to make sure we cover ALL things in preschool first.
History: Do Family History and family trees
Geography: Know address fully, phone number, church location, know diagrams/maps ability to read simple ones.
Science: Weather, Months, Time, Plants, Planets, Energy, Animals/Plants relationships (bees, ants, butterflies).
Physical Fitness/Health: Running Schedule (Sue Patrick) with me, Proper form of basic workouts (jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, etc), sprint runs.
Field Trips: Lowry Park Zoo, Florida Aquarium, Dinosaur World, MOSI

Game plan done, now to wait for Thursday night, pack up the boys and spend Friday and Saturday at the Conference, Sunday lead Youth Service with the hubs, and Monday a fun day with friends. I can't I get my husband for 4 days in a row, and it is not really a vacation!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I am Homeschooling my children and more:

Since I will be "officially" starting this Fall, Luk's schooling, I wanted to share why my husband and I decided to school our children at home. I first want to start with my selfish reasoning behind it: I want to be home with my boys. I want to spend my days with them.
 Who wouldn't want to spend everyday with these kids? Precious!

Yes, I just finished getting my Bachelor's degree in English Literature, however my dream in life has been to be a wife and stay-at-home mom. Back story on my education: My husband always knew that getting my degree was a foundation for if anything unforeseeable where to happen in our lives. However, if God blessed us with good health, a home, and a job for Reson, I would stay home with the boys. If anything were to happen to Reson in terms of health or job, I could support the family. With that being said, we never even thought about homeschooling until Luk was about a year old.

There were two main reasons that I brought it up to Reson.
1) I knew I could do it. I WANTED to do it! 2) I want my children to learn from me.
Now, what this told my husband was: 1) It was not something that I felt forced to do. 2) He knew that our boys would learn the moral/spiritual life that we wanted for them.

My response: LAME!

If you ask my mom, "What was the number one reason Aislynn got in trouble in school?" She would respond, "TALKING!" During lunch, I would get sent to the silent table because I was talking too loud, and during class I would get my stick pulled for talking to my neighbor. So, what did I tell the husband with his objective? "Are you kidding me?" I got in trouble everyday for socializing. I won!

When people use this as excuse, I laugh. It's a lazy answer. Do you not talk to your kids? Do your kids not talk to you? When you go to the market, do your kids not see what it means to hold a conversation with other people? Do you not teach the behavior, values, and norms that you want your child to learn? The term "socialization" means "a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position." Yeah... I'm pretty sure you can hit all those points at home, trips to the market, library, church... ANYWHERE. Are we confusing "socialization" with "talking." If there is one thing I learned from attending public school, they did NOT teach me the values and social skills I want my boys to learn.

Let me break this down because I think this would help any family that is thinking about homeschooling fight this ridiculous "con":
Personal Identity: In my home, my husband and myself know our boys' identity better than anyone else. Public school - A teacher that only begins to know my real son at the end of the year when he must move on to another grade and teacher. Bottom line - I can flourish their real identity better than anyone.
Learns the norms: What are "norms"? They are standards. Public school - Teach curriculum to 20+ students, make sure they pass a test, and those are the standards. Bottom line - My standards go beyond testing. I have a standard that you be a man of God. I have a standard that you love your neighbor as yourself. I have a standard that you respect ALL people. I have a standard that you learn at your own pace.
Values/Behaviors: Does this really need explanation? Public school - No teacher will teach my boys the values and behavior I expect. No PEER will teach my boys the values and behavior that our Heavenly Father expects.  Bottom line - My husband and I will teach the values and behavior expected.
Social Skills: meaning - communication/interaction. Public School: I learned that I couldn't talk without getting in trouble. I also learned that if a teacher didn't agree with me I got in trouble. In this area, my mom got called a lot from my school. By the time I got to high school, it was a good thing she worked there because I would just go to her room. =) Bottom line - My sons can speak their minds, share their thoughts, and we can talk to each other.
The next time someone says, "But what about socialization?" You can proudly say, I will be teaching my children the socialization they deserve because they will learn to socialize the way I expect them to. You may also want to make sure they know what that word means!
Bottom line - Homeschooling is the perfect environment for socialization!

This leads to our overall reasoning behind homeschooling the boys. We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our salvation. He died so that we may spend eternity with Him. God commanded that as parents, we teach our children in the way that they should go, which is to be men of God. I want my boys to learn about sex, relationships, communication, science, reading, EVERYTHING from our worldview, Christianity.
1) I am homeschooling to teach my boys the will and plan that God has for their lives. If they want want to be astronauts. GREAT! Let's discuss how God create this grand universe.  You want to be a farmer, a traveler? Let's discuss the intricate detail on how plants make this planet livable, or we can talk about how God created people of all cultures with many languages.
2) I am homeschooling because I can. God gave me the gift to be a mother and teacher. I can teach my children what they need.
3) I am homeschooling because I feel led now more than ever.  Our world is getting a little crazy. We have our priorities all mixed up.

I would like to clarify that with this I can teach my boys about the world, but in the way I feel Christ would have me to do so. Reson and I do not seclude the boys. Luk watches movies and T.V. Yes, I read Harry Potter, and he will read them, too. Yes, he watched "The Princess and the Frog" and learned that following the ways evilness leads to a life not in Heaven. Everything that this world has is a learning experience. If there is anyone I want my boys to hear the truth from, it is from my husband and me. I think this would sum up my thought processes...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Finally, The Homeschooling Convention (Mega Shopping Center for Curriculum)

Come this Thursday afternoon, my husband, the boys, and myself are heading to Orlando for the FPEA Homeschool Convention. So, I have started the task of narrow down what we be looking for in this huge room of curriculum.  I have made a chart that I am filling out as I look through the hundreds of vendors that will be attending the event. We decided that we would look at every Math curriculum and see which one will catch Luk's interest. From there, I know that we are getting Critical Thinking material for the Critical Thinking Company, and Writing is from handwriting without tears. It will be a nice family break from the regular daily living, and it will allow me to start officially organizing for the start of the Fall.
I also purchased the Workbox System ebook, and will be incorporating my purchases on how I want it to work with our school day. More to come later...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lapbook: The Letter "I"

I will be honest, I thought we were never going to finish this letter and lapbook up. Both boys, and myself were sick and I was not in the mood to have to put this book together. So, Luk had to put up with Starfall and read along books from websites for a couple of days. We did finish the letter "I," and it came along quite nicely after that. Here is our week on the letter "I."
These are the books and one movie we watched:

Now, this week seemed to have more activities than what we did in the book, so you can look at the pictures. The red spotted leg on the top is coming from the book "Insects Are My Life." The girl talks about getting 21 mosquito bites. What is a great way to count to 21 in a boys mind? Make bites on a leg of course. Luk had a BLAST doing this!

The Color Wheel activity comes from Itty Bitty Love and Mama Jenn. Our's is not as pretty as hers, but Luk did a great job doing it by himself, and he loved seeing the colors on his sheet.
These are worksheets came from KidZone, it was a great way for Luk to visually see the long and short sound that the letter "i" makes. He enjoyed seeing all the words that do not start with "i," but had the letter.
Luk has been showing struggle saying the numbers "16, 17 and 18." So, I decided to make the scoops numbers, and he is finally saying them correctly. The interesting thing is he can count to 30 even 40 and 50, but 16, 17, and 18 get thrown in as "fifsixteen."
This was a great three year Birthday present from a friend of Luk's that I was able to find insects for him to create with his pieces. He made this into all morning event. He decided that he wanted to do more than just the insects, and he did.
After this activity, we mixed the remaining water so that he could see the green, orange, and purple be thrown into the sink.
These are crafts that we did for this the letter "i." Igloo, Iguana, Inchworm, Instrument (he also did an instrument during story time at the library), the Icosahedron (20 sided shape), and Color Wheel to go with the Ice Cream scoops.

Yes, Luk ate more marshmallows than what was on the actually on the igloo (or not, LOL).
Homemade Ice Cream idea came from Crafts by Kaboose
Inchworm came from Delightful Learning

We also made instruments with Tupperware and noodles. I would have to say that was Logan's favorite craft. We quickly made the tiny one you see in the picture just for him.  The ice cream was a hit. The paper ice cream scoops did great with color mixing and counting. Also, a great resource program that put together a study on Insects. There were areas that were over Luk's head, but he gained a lot of knowledge about insects through this, which brings in the ant diagram from the folder.

It was a drawn out week, but we managed to finish this folder that started at the end of last week. Now, we move on to the letter "O."

Lapbook: The Letter "E" Update

We took the Egg out of the vinegar, and I never finished telling how much Luk enjoyed it. He was telling me that we needed to do it to all our eggs, but I was reassuring him that was not going to happen. =) He was surprised at how bouncy it was, and we decided to pop it and see the shell. He couldn't believe that the shell was still there just "invisible." Here are the pictures.
He wanted to test the bounciness of it in his hand. 
 So, there it is our eggperiment. It was fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our "New" Classroom

My husband was asking me all day Friday what I wanted for Mother's Day. He had already gotten me a present, however he wanted to give something more. That evening Logan (our youngest) gave us the worst night we have been in the seven months he has been in our room. In the middle of his 3 hour crying fit, I looked at my husband and I said, "I want to have Logan put in his own room." We want the boys s share a room, but we want Logan to sleep through the night. Well Saturday, I had to go dress shopping with a friend, and my husband went to work. I call the room "Logan's Temporary Room/Luk's Schoolroom." Let me paint the picture for... we live with my parents. We did this to help pay bills, and we all get along. My older brother still lives in the house as well. The "office" and "garage" have become huge storage rooms, and it led to Luk, my brother, and my parents in the their room, while we shared our room with Logan. The "office" was piled high in storage.
Now, we have a room that still has a small portion of storage, but mainly an area for Logan and Luk's school things. Here it is for, now. Honestly, I couldn't be happier. Next step, convert the garage and office in a grandparents suite!

Those boxes that are piled are from a video store my parents use to own. Image junk that high all over that room... progress indeed.
As for Luk's area, you can see his desk, charts, board, and maps. I am slowly trying to do a Workbox System, but I will get more indepth with it after I buy the rest of our curriculum at the FPEA Convention on the 26th. Here is a peek into the boxes:
These are the Craft box. I have a collection of paint brushes, pipe cleaners, pompoms, finger paint stamps, finger paint, glitter, markers, crayons (that I divided into six baggies), and glue.
The World Map and United States Map with the Legend at the bottom. Luk already told me where Florida is and Tennessee. Which is great because we haven't gotten indepth with this yet. I plan on doing a letter tree to the right of this.
1-100 Number Chart, Long/Short Vowels Chart, Manners Rules. On the refrigerator, Luk has charts for practicing good manners, chores, and toy rules. He receives stickers for each thing that he completes. After the week, his money earned is based on the work that he has completed. These are his jobs.
Our lot of educational board games. We love playing games in this house. There is also his Ant Hill that we will be doing starting in the fall, along with the Butterfly Garden.
This is Luk's Workbox for the Letter "I." The red box is his supplies for writing and crafts. The money tray is just misplaced for right now.

I want to end with my sweet Logan; he was hanging around, enjoying his little area for the moment.