Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Engagement Pictures

Oh, how I have wanted to share every picture with you all on FB, but did not want to drive everyone crazy.  I figured by putting many of them here, you can choose to close this right down and not look at a one.  But really, you will miss out on some gorgeous pictures, promise!

We are blessed to have a young friend in our lives that happens to be one very talented highschooler. She took the kids' pictures last fall and blew us away.  She out did herself this time and we could not be more thrilled with her work!  I love how she just captures their personalities and the joy and love that they have for each other!  We were able to have her spend a weekend with us, so not only did she take these amazing shots, but also got some of Ashton trying on dresses, which, unfortunately you do not get to see for now! ;)  Needless to say, we think The First Noelle Photography is going to do well!


OK, OK, I know that is a lot!  I just couldn't choose and wanted you to see them all.  Well, not all, because that would REALLY be obnoxious!

Thank you for sharing in the fun!  So much more to come...

Including how he proposed and a little about the ring!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Our Curriculum Choices for 2016-2017

I can hardly believe that I just graduated one child, and now only have two more left to send through the system.  Our system, of course, seeing that we homeschool.  This fall we will have a 4th grader and a 9th grader!  It is mind boggling.  Considering I have a crate full of books for each grade, K-12th, you would think that this school planning thing would get easier.

Ummmm, nope!

If nothing else, it is more complicated now than it ever has been.  For one, it seems that I have about one of everything available in my possession.  Seriously.  Add to that the fact that I review homeschool curriculum and new stuff is released every day, it gets rather confusing at times.  Oh, and there is that curriculum junkie syndrome, but that is a whole different post!

There is just not enough time in the day nor kids in our family to use all that I would like to use. Each year I have to reevaluate, pick and choose, and pray that God covers my inadequacies.  There are good things I used for the girls that are just not the best fit for the boys.  As the years go by I see more and more often that just because I love a product does not mean that it is necessarily the best fit for a child's learning style.  I have learned that the hard way in a few cases, and so am working hard to tailor what I choose to each individual child, not to me.  I am a slow learner! ;)

So, that being said here is the current plan for 2016-2017!  If they are highlighted, then they are linked to a review or post I have done in the past in case you are interested!

Salem- 9th Grade

Sonlight History
Sonlight Bible
Sonlight Literature
Teaching Textbooks Algebra
IEW- Level C
Traditional Logic 1/2 Semester
Music Appreciation 1/2 Semester
Science Shepherd Biology
Vocabulary from the Classical Roots
Wordly Wise
Dave Ramsey's Foundations

Colby- 4th Grade

Veritas Press Self Paced History, Third Year
Memoria Press Literature & Penmanship
All About Spelling
Grammar Ace
Writing- Here to Help Learning
Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids
Science Shepherd, Introductory Science
Veritas Press Bible
Music Appreciation (with Salem)
Teaching Textbooks- 4th grade

I am sure I have missed something and I am sure something will change between now and September, but at least I feel like I have a handle on most of it.  For the moment!

Linking up with friends today!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Would a Worm Go on a Walk?- Children's Book Review and Giveaway

It is not very often these days that I get to read a book geared towards younger readers.  After all, my baby just turned 9 last week.  Yes, in a blink of an eye they grow up and those sweet rhyming books that steal your heart get replaced by chapter book that are not nearly as much fun in my opinion.

That's why I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the new book, Would a Worm go on a Walk? by Hannah C. Hall, illustrated by Bill Bolton.  Talk about cute!

Would a Worm go on a Walk? is a sweet 32 page, hardback book that explores 9 different animals and asks if they would do a particular human activity, such as a worm going on a walk.  It is asked if turtles, penguins, lions, and more would do something, and then it is explained why they would NOT do that thing.  Through simple humor, kids hear that each living thing is created in a unique way by a God who loves them.

In the traditional rhyming manner found in many children's books these days, you will find humor and silliness, but also a profound Biblical truth-

They look just as he wanted,
and they act just like they should.
He made them and he loves them,
and he calls them very good.

In the end the author ends with "God's masterpiece is YOU!"

I love this sweet book.  I happen to think beautiful things happen to a child's mind when you read out loud to them.  How much better when you can read to them about the love that God has for not only the creatures He created but also for THEM!?  The rhyming phrases make it enjoyable to read and capture a child's attention.  In addition, the illustrations are bright and cheerful, making this a beautiful book that you will cherish for years to come!

I am excited to be able to add this to our growing collection for our someday grandchildren!

And yes, even the 9 year old liked it!  

If you want to have the opportunity to in a copy of Would a Worm go on a Walk? just leave me a comment here on the blog and a random winner will be chosen next Friday!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Planning Ahead

For homeschoolers it often seems that just as one year ends, you are already gearing up for the next year to begin.  Ok, for most of us, we have been planning ahead for months, but we don't admit that in public.  It is a disease, I tell you!

After all, there are always new curriculums to choose from, but also things that we used that we would rather not do again.  Just saying.

Some things work well and some things do not.  Some things are great fits for one child and not for another.  Some things are just plain boring and need to be exchanged for something more fun.

So how do you even get started with making decisions?

Here are some things that I have found work well for me to consider-

Did my child learn?  For those who keep track of grades, this is fairly easy to measure.  If they are getting A's you are probably safe.  If more C's are showing up, re-evaluate.  If you are in the no-grade camp, ask yourself - does my child grasp these concepts?  Can they explain or teach these concepts to another person?  Are they confident with that specific subject matter?

Did my child have fun? Yes, fun!  One of the things I love about homeschooling my kids is seeing the smiles on their faces when they really are enjoying learning.  For one child it may be retelling me their history lesson and for another it may be showing me their latest art project, but at the end of the day, my goal is to have seen a smile on their face and hear excitement in their voice.  At least once!

Did I enjoy teaching?  Let's face it, our kids will learn more if we enjoy teaching them.  We, as their teachers, set the tone for their day.  If we are having fun they are more likely to have fun.  And quite frankly, to get through the year, you better hope that I am having at least a little fun.

Do I already own something similar?  It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting brand new everything each year.  And I am talking about more than new pencils and notebooks.  Between the shiny catalogs and the vendors at the conventions, you can easily be convinced you need it ALL! Stop for a moment before you buy that shiny new toy and consider if you have something similar that will work as well.  Sometimes the tried and true products that have served you well for years are just as good.

Can I afford this?  Some curriculums out there are expensive and worth every penny!  But there are also a lot of free resources available if you just do some research.  If money is an issue for you, prioritize your needs and then do your research.  Homeschooling does not have to break the bank!

Can someone else teach this better?  I believe with all my heart that no one knows your child like you do and therefore no one is more qualified to teach your child than you.  But, I also believe that some are more qualified to teach certain subjects.  Each year we look at the subjects we feel need to be covered and then decide if any of those would be better off taught by someone else.  For some that may be upper level math, for others, Chemistry.  Don't be afraid to outsource subjects you are not comfortable teaching.

With a little thought and planning you can set your child and yourself up for a successful school year!

Back to the planning board for me- curriculum choices for the boys coming soon!  I can hardly believe that I will only be teaching a 4th and 9th grader this September!  Time is flying.


Monday, June 20, 2016

What Do You DO All Summer?

Have you figured it out yet?  Summer is here!

For many people, homeschoolers or not, that means kids with a lot of extra time on their hands.

Time to whine or time to have fun.
Time to get in trouble or time to be productive.
Time to regress in learning or time to learn something new.
Time to follow mom around or time to make new friends.

What time are you going to choose for your kids?

And I do mean YOU!  Because, let's face it, if left to their own accord, most of our kids would naturally choose to sit on the couch and veg or follow us around complaining they are bored.


So how can you beat the system?

Here's what we do at our house-

Give them options ahead of time.  Now is the time to be proactive.  Sit down and make a list (a L-O-N-G list) about the choices they have.

Once you have a list made, make it visually pleasing.  The more excited you are, the more excited they will be.

Yes, that bottom suggestion says "Kiss Ashton."  She is sneaky!

Then sit down as a family and discuss the list of options.  Remember, this is not a punishment.  It is a list of ideas to get them thinking.  Often times, those sweet kids of ours just go into zombie mode and forget to think.  They may just need a fresh idea or a little push in the right direction.

No, they are not limited to the list.  But in our family, you can come up with your own idea, find something on the list that interests you, or ask mom and dad what job they have for you since you cannot find anything else to do that interests you.

Works like a charm!