Back to School! (And Our Curriculum Plans)

Wow! Today is the first day of 6th grade for Andrew. I can hardly believe it. I keep telling him to stop growing up but he doesn’t listen. LOL!

First Day of 6th Grade

1st day of 6th grade!

I am really excited about this year. It is our first year going *all in* with the Mother of Divine Grace program. Andrew already had his orientation classes for the Latin, History Book Club, and Fine Arts Appreciation courses. They look like they are going to be a lot of fun.

For religion, he will work through the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism and read through the Gospels of Mark and Luke. He will also go to CCD again this year. I love the program at our church and it is a good supplement for his spiritual development. (It also gives him another opportunity to be with other kids and participate in the Living Stations of the Cross put on every year by the 6th-8th graders.)

For Math, he will continue with the Right Start Math Program. He is halfway through Level E. I love that this program is level based, rather than grade based. He can work through the program at his own pace and it has lots of manipulatives which Andrew loves.

For English, he will use the Lepano (Voyages in English) books. Most of the lessons are done orally and has a *Catholic flavor* I think I will like. He will also be diagraming sentences with this program.

He also starts Editing this year. He will use the book, The Great Editing Adventure, and for each lesson he will use a dictionary and thesaurus to edit and rewrite a paragraph or two.

For Spelling, he will continue the All About Spelling program. He is going to begin on Level 4.

For History/Geography, he will be learning about ancient Egypt. He will be constructing a timeline and using an Atlas. This class meets online once a week. He will meet online every other week. He will also be reading The Old World and America and several historical fiction books.

For Science, he will be using the Concepts and Challenges in Science books which are exclusive to Mother of Divine Grace. Because I had been doing my own thing up until now, we are using the 5th grade books so that he can get in line with their science sequence (just don’t tell Andrew!).

For Latin, he will be following the online program specific to Mother of Divine Grace and meet online once a week. I love how these books show how Latin is the basis of many of our English words and the connections between the two languages.

For Fine Arts (Art Appreciation) he will meet online once a week and they will learn about various art periods and terminology, look at and discuss pieces of art work, and listen to different music pieces. He will also be responsible for writing a short paper for this class.

For Poetry, he will spend the year memorizing three or four poems from The Harp and the Laurel Wreath focusing on one stanza a week. The first poem he will learn is “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Finally, for Typing, he will continue to practice his typing skills using typing club.

Mother of Divine Grace also encourages all 6th graders to read for at least 45 minutes a day.

Whew! I know it looks like a lot; however, several of the subjects only take 10 or 15 minutes a day, such as the poetry memorization, typing, and religion. Even the history, Latin, and editing classes should not be more than 30 minutes to complete so his work should be quite doable. 🙂

I hope these give you some ideas if you are looking to home school. Or, if you do homeschool, what books/programs do you use?

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Tweetable: Back to School! (And Our Curriculum Plans)

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Columbus Day Activities

As you know, today is Columbus Day. It is the day we commemorate Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. If you are looking for some information or activities for your homeschool (or to supplement regular school), here are some ideas:

Columbus Day Activities

Image by steinchin (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Wikipedia

The Homeschool Mom

Homeschool Journeys

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

*Please note that a couple of the links mention the controversy surrounding Columbus Day (I didn’t even know there was one!) and some critics who believe Columbus Day is associated with Knights of Columbus, thus making it “too Catholic,” so check out the links at your own risk. 🙂

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Tweetable: Columbus Day Activities

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Here is how I did this week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week. (Now that Michael is home every day, I’ve slacked with this…)

2. Stay on top of Andrew’s homeschool.

Personal Goals

3. Get up at 6:00 am.

4. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

5. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week. (I need to buckledown and make exercising a priority!)

Educational Goals

6. Finish preparing presentation and give to class. (My professor said I did well, so I will see what the grade is.)

7. Write pre-proposal for my Senior Seminar professor. (She is helping me with some ideas for my final paper.)

Blogging/Writing Goals

8. Write at least one blog post this week (besides this one).

Here are my plans for this coming week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Stay on top of Andrew’s homeschool.

3. Take car to mechanic. There is problem with the heater, we think. 🙁

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am.

5. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Read pages 108-161 of Beowulf and post to the class discussion board.

8. Write and submit proposal for Senior Seminar I final paper.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write at least one blog post this week (besides this one).

10. Write about page for the other website I am creating. More on that in a couple of days (hopefully!)!

Now it’s your turn. Share what you have going on this week in the comments, or join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Did well this week! It is the first time in a while that I feel like I did something besides school work. 🙂

1. Pray the rosary twice this week.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Keep Andrew on track with his home-school assignments.

5. Blog at least twice  this week.

6. Start reading the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link).

7. Take Andrew to CCD.

8. Take Andrew to the homeschooling Coop opening mass. (It is the mass to officially open our Homeschooling support group.) — This did not happen. We were getting ready to leave but I had car trouble and had to have the car towed. 🙁 The car is fine now, thankfully!

Here are my plans for this week:

1. Pray the rosary twice this week.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Keep Andrew on track with his home-school assignments.

5. Blog at least twice  this week.

6. Start reading the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link).

7. Take Andrew to CCD.

8. Take Andrew to the homeschooling field trip. We are going to the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory!

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Well, course work took over again this week, so didn’t get everything off my list. I am going to modify the list so I don’t put too much pressure on myself and I focus on the essentials. In any case, here’s how I did this past week.

1. Pray the rosary each day. (Only got it in twice.)

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning. (I’ve been staying up too late doing my course work so I haven’t been getting up until 8am most days this week.)

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Blog at least three times this week. (The only post I did this week was my goals last Monday…

5. Find a permanent babysitter for Andrew. (Still looking. Please pray I find one!)

6. Take Andrew to doctor’s appointment for well visit. (I’m happy to report that he is fit as a fiddle. 🙂 )

7. Read and review the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link). It’s a small booklet so I’m hoping I can fit it in between reading for class. (Didn’t even look at it again. 🙁 )

Here are my modified plans for this week:

1. Pray the rosary twice this week.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Keep Andrew on track with his home-school assignments.

5. Blog at least twice  this week.

6. Start reading the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link).

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weely Goals

Set Goals

It was a weird week. I felt like I was spinning my heels and didn’t accomplish much. I didn’t get in hardly any prayer time. That was my fault, though. I was off schedule and overslept more than not which turned my schedule upside down.I did cross a few things off my list, at least:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Read Letters to Katie and write review.

4. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop. (Well, I have several home-school printables created that I need to upload. I will be doing that today, hopefully.)

5. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

6. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

7. Revamp and prepare our homeschooling curriculum for the fall.

8. Start school with Andrew.

Here’s what’s going on this week. I hope I have a better week!

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading Letters to Katie and write review.

4. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop.

5. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

6. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Here’s what I got done this week:

1. Pray, read bible and go to daily mass at least 3 times. (Made it to church everyday, woot!)

2. Exercise 20 minutes, 3-4 times this week.

3. Pre-write as many posts for August as I can. (Didn’t happen because I spent a huge chunk of time researching and revamping my home schooling curriculum for the new school year!)

4. Line up guest posts for September through December. (Interested in guest posting? I’d LOVE to have you. Read the post here.)

5. Hide a love note in Michael’s work bag and one in Andrew’s lunch bag (so he sees it at lunch in camp).

6. Go to “Family Camp Night” on Friday. (This was canceled due to severe thunderstorms. 🙁 )

Here’s my plan for this week:

1. Pray, read bible and go to daily mass at least 3 times.

2. Exercise 20 minutes, 3-4 times this week.

3. Pre-write as many posts for August/September as I can.

4. Work on getting more guest posts for September through December. (Like I mentioned above, to find out more, go here.)

5. Finish putting together, typing and printing out our home schooling curriculum for the fall.

6. Date night with Michael. (Our 9th wedding anniversary is coming up soon!)

7. Participate in Crystal’s 3 week “Make the Most of Your Mornings” challenge.

8. Revamp my Facebook timeline header.

What are your goals for this week? Share them in the comments or head over to the Money Saving Mom link-up and join others sharing their goals for the week.

Homeschooling During the Summer: What Does it Look Like?

Homeschooling During Summer

Do you homeschool year round? I don’t know many families who homeschool through the summer months, but we do. It is a decision my husband and I made back when we first talked about homeschooling (before we were even married). If you are curious about homeschooling throughout the summer, here’s my take on why I homeschool year round and a peek into our daily schedule.

Why homeschool during the summer?

  • I don’t want Andrew to lose the skills he learned during the “normal” school year. I remember when I was a kid and returning to school after the summer months when we spent up to a month re-learning everything that was forgotten during the summer. I don’t want that for Andrew. I want our review time to no more than a week or so.
  • Structure. I want to keep our days somewhat structured, with lots of flexibility, so there’s not too much down time that he gets “bored.” Plus, having a regular schedule and routine helps with Andrew’s behavior. He knows, for the most part, going into each day what is going to happen.
  • Life skills and projects. Homeschooling during the summer allows me to focus on teaching Andrew life skills and getting to the hands-on, “fun” projects we didn’t get to during the “regular” school year.
  • To keep Andrew reading. Andrew’s a little boy who is not a big fan of reading. He loves books and loves for me to read to him; but he doesn’t want to do the work of sounding out the words himself! It can be frustrating at times, but having him do school in the summer as part of his normal routine, he is less likely to fuss when it comes to practicing his reading.
  • We can take longer breaks during other parts of the year. We take the whole month of December off from school. We also take a longer Easter break and more days off throughout the year. Homeschooling throughout the summer allows us to take those longer breaks. (We do take the month of August off as well…)

What a typical summer homeschooling day looks like.

First of all, it is much more flexible than the rest of the year. We incorporate more field trips, hands-on learning and build our schooling into regular daily activities. We only do “formal” schooling Tuesday-Thursday which leaves Mondays and Fridays free. We also take the month of August off. And, Andrew will be going to camp for the first time this year. That said, here is our plan for the summer:

  • Reading and math using online games and worksheets, as well as flashcards. (Andrew loves flashcards.)
  • Spanish using the Pimsleur Method. It is an audio program only, so Andrew can get an ear for the language without having to worry about grammar or reading and writing the language.
  • Science using some really cool YouTube videos I found and small experiments.
  • Character building and life skills (such as small sewing projects and learning to “cook” small meals).

Do you homeschool year round? What does your summer curriculum look like? Do share in the comments!

 

 

Guard Your Mouth

A couple of weeks ago, during our homeschooling co-op, Andrew’s Squire and Scroll group talked about the importance of guarding our mouths and using only kind and constructive words. It was a great reminder, for us as adults too, that our words have impact. We can either hurt or build up the people around us by our words.

As a craft, they made a lion with the words “Guard Your Mouth” around the lion’s lips. Andrew didn’t get to finish it at the co-op and we finally got around to getting getting it finished. This is how it turned out:

Guard Your Mouth

My little lion!

 

Guard Your Mouth

Guard Your Mouth

WFMW – Mom, I’m bored! Edition

works for me Wednesday

This week on Works For Me Wednesday, we are encouraged to offer tips and ideas for keeping our kids occupied and happy during the summer. I can’t wait to read what others have to say; but, in the meantime, here’s a few of the things I am going to do:

In my situation, I  home-school and also work from home; so, for me, except for the heat, there won’t be a huge difference in what I do – with some exceptions, of course! In my experience, a balance between structured time and free time works best; as does a lot of flexibility!

1. Modified Homeschooling. Andrew is learning to read and loves doing “math.” I don’t want to lose that momentum, so I plan to continue homeschooling at least three days a week. What I will probably do is alternate reading one day and math the next. I’ve also been tapping America: The Story of Us and a few shows on the Discovery Channel for him to watch once in a while.

If you don’t home-school, it might be a good idea to set apart some time each day for the children to read or practice their math skills. If I’m not mistaken, some schools now send kids home with work to do over the summer. If so, schedule time each day for them to work on it so they aren’t trying to do it all right before school starts.

2. Day trips. Obviously, the summer is the time to get outside! You can do something as simple as a day or afternoon at the park or something as extravagant as a trip to an amusement park or zoo. Day trips don’t have to be expensive either. You can often find coupons or deals online and even free ideas, like here.

3. Crafts: I plan to spend time several times a week on crafts/activities. You can find lots of craft ideas online, but I love the book “365 Ways to a Smarter Preschooler.” Andrew has a lot of fun doing the activities in this book and can stay engaged for a long while, once he’s set up. This is were I got the peanut butter play dough recipe from, that Andrew just loves!

4. Quiet Time. I am a big proponent of quiet time. Even if your child doesn’t nap, it’s a good idea to implement a rest period. Heat and humidity can wear on everyone’s nerves, and when the kids get cranky, it can wear down the best of moms!

The best time for naps would be in the early afternoon when the sun is at its most strong. It would be a good idea to do the outdoor activities earlier in the morning or later in the day. Of course, do what works best for you!

5. Don’t forget free time! Part of the fun of summer is the freedom to NOT be scheduled, so don’t forget to plan time just to “be”! Summer is the time to lay in the grass and watch the clouds go by, get an ice cream cone and catch some fireflies. In a word, take time to just enjoy your family, let kids be kids and HAVE FUN!