Sunday, July 11, 2010

Organiing all those notebooks, paper, page protectors, etc..

How do I organize all those notebooks, paper, page protectors, etc..?

Ok, so your doing the whole notebooking, lapbooking thing and loving it But what do I do with all of the paper and page protectors and folders. etc..? When you are notebooking and lapbooking you have tons of paper and folders of all colors; great but once you open the package, you can't keep all the paper in right? And all of those notebooks, what am I supposed to do with them all?
So, what can we do that doesn't cost a fortune or involve putting up shelves? Well, what I did was to get a couple of sterelite crates! Yes, they are low price, perfect size for paper, folders, page protectors, picture paper, everything!
I took some pictures to show you what I mean. I love it because I don't have to have bookends or shelves to keep all of my notebooks up and my paper doesn't get scattered around or bent or torn!
I hope this idea helps you.
Good luck!!


Have you heard of workboxes?
You know, I had not really heard about them before, but have recently heard them mentioned, or ran across them on a blog, several times.
I was thinking, OK, so you get your kids a box to hold all of their daily school stuff.  Right?
So, that's what I did!
Then, I decided, to go back to some of those blogs and see exactly how others put together their workboxes.
What I found was that you use many workboxes, not just one. HMMM...
So, what to do???
I actually decided to stick with what I have, at least for now.
So, while what I am doing may not be considered a true workbox, I think it will work for me.
What I did was to get each kid their own different colored box, that was big enough to hold all of their daily work.
I was so tired of always having to find their work, or some of  it being missing, that we couldn't even do it!
And pencils, my nemesis, where do they all keep going? Seriously, I probably have thousands of pencils "somewhere". And when we do find a pencil, there is no eraser, even though I have bought many extra pencil erasers.
Anyhow, I decided that their own box with their own bag of pencils, glue, scissors, etc., contained in the box would work well.
I really do like the idea though of the many boxes, because you wouldn't have to search through the box for each subject, but since we are to be moving soon, I will stick with this, but I may switch after we move.
What do I keep in their boxes? It is different for each child, but it is their daily stuff. Stuff that they will repeatedly use.
In My 5 year old son's box, he has:
Handwriting Without Tears
A Math Workbook ( He LOVES math)
A Bible
A Phonics Workbook
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
A Phonics CD and the accompanying chart
A bag with his own scissors, glue, glue stick, star stickers, etc..
Crayons, Colored Pencils, Pencils.

In my 13 year old daughter's box she has:
Her math books
History Book (one that we are currently using. Will usually be a living book for history)
Daily Grams
A Bible
A Notebook
A Book that she is using or Copy Work
A Geography Book
A bag with pencils, glue, glue sticks, scissors, calculator, etc..
Crayons, Colored Pencils, A Ruler
Her Timeline Figures 
Her Drawing basics Book

This is all I can think of right now, but you get the idea!
I am also going to tape their schedules to the undersides of their lids! I think this is a good idea, so that they can know what to do!
Of Course, my 5 year old's schedule would be more for me. HA
I even made a box for myself for my Teachers Guides!
Here are some pics of what I have done.

I hope this helps those of you that either don't want to, or can't use the typical work
box system.
This is also great for on the go! You can just pick up your box and take it with you!
For those of you that are interested in the typical workbox system, this is a great blog to explain it.
This is where I first saw the workbox system.
have FUN organizing YOUR homeschool!


DISCOVER OKLAHOMA! - Lake Thunderbird

OK, this is not the nicest of lakes here in Oklahoma, but we still had fun.
A little info:
Lake Thunderbird State Park Originally named Little River State Park, this 1834 acre park on the shores of Lake Thunderbird underwent an official name change in 1997 to make identification easier. Once Indian owned land, an old preserved Indian homestead complete with grave sites, chicken coop, and corn cellar remains in the Post Oak campground in the Clear Bay area and can be viewed by visitors. Another distinctive feature of the area is a great concentration of Sand Barite Rose or the Rose Rock, a unique reddish, rose-shaped formation and the official state rock of Oklahoma. These rocks can also be found in Kansas and Egypt, but nowhere is there as great a concentration as in Oklahoma. 

You know, I do have to say that while we were there, there were people listening to loud music full of nasty words, people dinking while they were swimming, and cussing coming out of their mouths. 
It was very upsetting to me. I mean, so people not care that there are little children around?
We tried to move as far away from them as possible. 
We still had fun, but we will have to be more careful if we go back to make sure that it is not too crowded with people. 
As i said earlier, this is not the nicest of lakes, but it is free, and if you can go at a time when it is not too crowded, you can have a lot of fun!
Oh, here's another little tidbit of info: This lakes nickname is  Lake Dirty Bird. it is pretty dirty looking because of all of the red dirt!!!

Discover Oklahoma

My husband loves to spontaneously take us on little mini-trips. 
Last weekend we went down to Sulpher Springs, and the weekend before last we went to Turner Falls.
They were both a blast. We will be going back to both very soon. They are tons of fun!
So, we decided that this summer we would try to "Discover Oklahoma"
We are going to try to visit the state parks, and some of the more fun things to do here.
I am going to try to bring my camera and get pics of what I can. My camera is too big to take with me everywhere, so unfortunately, I won't be able to get as many as I want to until I get a smaller, more portable
And, of course, as a homeschooling mother, I am thinking of ways to incorporate this into our homeschool.
I thought it would be so much fun to do research on the history of all of the places we visit, and maybe even scrapbook/journal the pics and info.
Here is a picture of Little Niagra in Sulpher

Here is one from Turner Falls:
I took these from their sites, but when we go back I will take more of my own and share them with you all!

Our First Time Doing read Alouds With Snacks

We tried today to have a read aloud with my two kids! I have tried before to do read alounds with both of them and it hasn't worked. I usually have to do them separate. I really want to be able to read to them at the same time. So, I took the advice of Cindy Rushton and decided to uses snacks and drinks during the time I read to them so that my little on would be quite and still during read aloud time! It worked for a short while, so that is better than nothing but I couldn't read for too long. I am hoping to be able to build up the time I can read to them. Does anyone else have any ideas of how to get little ones to cooperate during read aloud time? My littlest one is 3. Thanks!

Curriculum Verses Living Books

I am really starting to understand that some of my problems are because I am using some curriculum's instead of good Books. I am realizing that the reason why I feel like we never get anything done or it takes sooo long to get through things is because I am using a curriculum that is supposed to take a year to complete, where as I could read a book or two on the same topic and learn pretty much the same thing.
The biggest problem comes in because my daughter LOVES some of her curriculum and won't give it up. She absolutely loves Apologia, which I do to but it takes so long to read the lessons ad notebook them. Although, I guess we would be notebook anything we read.
The History takes a long time also. BUT we do like them so it is a big toss up. BUT on things like Oklahoma History, I had bought an Oklahoma History curriculum and later bought an Oklahoma History Book, and the book had everything in it that the curriculum did! And states! I bought a curriculum for states that takes a year to do! Man, it is ridiculous to have so many things that take soo long to finish. If we learned from books it would be much faster and we could get through more in a shorter period of time. If you get the right books, they learn the same amount! I think besides math you do not need any curriculum unless the ones you use, you really enjoy and they are fun!
If you are looking for a BIG way to simplify, try substituting Living Books for curriculum and see what happens! I don't know if I can pry my daughters precious apologia from her though! But I will be eliminating most of the other stuff!!!
Good luck! Let me know how this works for you!

Poem Written By My 12 Year Old Daughter

The Lonely Lighthouse

I am a lighthouse, so big , so tall.
Ships of all sizes, I've helped them all.
But now I am crumbling, about to fall.
Does anyone notice me, with my red striped wall?
"Wait, what's going on?" I say.
Tourists have come to visit today!
Now I am famous, they all adore me.
Just as much as they used to ignore me.
I am a lighthouse, so big, so tall.
Ships of all sizes, I still help them all.

The Joys of Copy Work

Does that sound like an oxymoron?
Yes, it does, but it is true!
I used to think that copy work was pointless. Even when I was reading all about Charlotte Mason, I didn't really see the point of copy work.
But as I go along in homeschooling I am seeing why this is necessary.
It is especially useful to the little ones who are just learning to write and spell. When they copy something they see it written perfectly and they will see how each word is spelled.
I have noticed with my 11 year old that she repeatedly spells some of the most simple words wrong, no matter how many times I tell her the correct way. But this is because she had seen it spelled wrong in the first place.
If she had been doing copy work from the beginning, then she would not have seen words spelled incorrectly.
It is so very hard to get over those mistakes.
Also, it is hard for children to think of things to write on their own until they get older. This is where narration really comes into play. I will write on narration another time.
When your little ones draw a picture, give them a sentence or two to copy onto the picture.
Did you know that you probably do copy work yourself?
Well, hmmm, let's see, Do you ever copy scriptures or poems or a quote that someone else has said that you found helpful? SEE??? LOL
Scripture is perfect copy work.
Start small. If you or your children want to copy a longer Scripture, just do a few sentences a day and add to it until it is completed.
The copy work will get longer as they get older.
When you do copy work though, you are not just copying. You learn grammar, spelling, punctuation, everything!
Copy work is the perfect way to learn language arts.
There is no need for grammar or writing books.
When the children get older, then you can teach all the grammar that they need to know one time. Yes, just one time. There is no need to teach grammar every day every year. Just wait until they are a little older and teach it once! teach it when they are old enough to remember it!
You can have copy work be a separate subject each day OR you can intertwine it into whatever you are already doing. If you are note booking in your history notebooks, have them copy a famous quote or speech or just something that they are learning about. Same goes for lapbooking!
We incorporate it into what we are already doing but we do also have scripture copy work daily also.
Just think how wonderful it will be when your children end up having a handwritten book of scripture?
It will be priceless.
I am doing this also. I do it along with my daughter in the mornings and add more to it in my free time.
We write on paper and then put it into page protectors and into binders.
When they get full enough, we will go and get them bound into books that we will be able to keep forever.
Make sure you store their copy work where it will be protected so that it doesn't end up ruined.
You could have them make a copy work notebook on any topic. What about a copy work book on famous speeches or quotes? What about a copy work book on any topic that they are really interested in?
make it special and make it into a book that they and you can treasure.
Let them make a handwritten book of scripture for grandparents or friends for Christmas! They will treasure it.
Copy work eliminates spelling tests and grammar workbooks and writing lessons, etc..
This really simplifies your school day.
The time for these things are when your children are older. Don't rush them. They will get it and they will be better off.
If you have any questions on copy work, just leave a comment and I will try to answer it.
Have FUN!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Journey Through Learning

A Journey Through Learning... More than just lapbooks!

If you haven't checked out A Journey Through Learning , head on over to their website now!
They are more than just lapbooks. They have lapbooks, colorful ones at that, but they also have unit studies, copywork, handwriting sheets, (A Beka and Handwriting without tears styles)
and more!
They even offer completed lapbooks for those who love lapbooks but may not have time or just don't want to assemble them! How cool is that?
All right, get over there and get to lapbooking! LOL

Presidents Day Lapbook!

Pictures of my daughters Presidents Day Lapbook!

The Presidents Day lapbook was actually FUN!

My daughter did not really want to do this one because she thought it would be boring. She was surprised when she actually found it fun!

Check out the pictures of her lapbook! It is from Hands of a Child if you want to do it also!

Combining A History Timeline with Notebooking...

I found it much easier to combine our timeline with notebooking instead of doing them separate.
We use The Mystery of History for our world History. We read the lessons and then there is an activity that follows. Then we add something to our timeline!
I then have her write about the person on the timeline and their story!
Here are some pictures so you can see what I am talking about!
You could do this with any program or timeline that you have made yourself!
I think it makes for a more informational timeline!


Do you love lapbooking???
I do too!!!
My favorite lapbooks are from hands of a Child. They have the lessons already done for you! All you have to do is pick a topic and print!
We have done several lapbooks from them and have enjoyed them all!
It makes learning some of the more boring topics fun!
I have a super membership, a lifetime membership! If you have a super membership, you get a FREE lapbook every month! This months is American Indians!!! You can get a super membership from anywhere from 2 months to lifetime!
I am not getting anything for posting about this company, I just really love it!

Getting Started in Homeschooling Part 1

So, your thinking about home schooling, or you've pulled the kids out of school suddenly, or perhaps you have been home schooling for a while now but just haven't quite got it all figured it out just yet; if this is you and you are stressed or worried about just how to do this thing called home schooling, this series will be very beneficial for you.
I have been home schooling for 8 years now if you go by grade level; 12 years if you go by the age of your child. (I believe you are teaching them from the time they are born).
I have been through probably hundreds of different curriculum's, struggled with the thoughts of "I am doing enough, will they learn all they need to know, will I leave any gaps, etc...", and I have been through criticism, ridicule, fear, doubt, pressure, and many other feelings that I am sure you are feeling right now.
This is all very normal and know that you are not alone. Know also that it takes years to gain the confidence that you may see in more experienced homeschoolers. I honestly feel that this last couple of years was when I finally started feeling more confident and less stressed.
It does take trial and error, and a lot of it, to find what works for you and your children. Take this as a learning experience and try not to get too stressed when you find that something is not working.
There are many different ways to home school, many different curriculum's, many different methods, some that use curriculum, some that don't.
If you can, take some time to just get to know what home schooling is all about.
Buy, or rent from the library, books on homeschooling, talk to other home schooling moms, join home schooling support groups and ask lot's of questions, learn about all of the different methods out there and see what you think might fit your style.
Remember though, that if you try something one way and it is not working, you are not failing at this, you just need to keep on keeping on, and you will find your way.
I recommend Cathy Duffey's book, top 100 Home School Curriculum book. It has reviews of many different things out there and it can give you an idea of the different types of curriculum out there.
You do not even have to use formal curriculum, if you choose not to. You can give your children a great education though living books.
Whatever you choose, just remember to take it slow and ease into it so that you do not get too stressed out and experience burnout

Getting Started in Homeschooling Part 2

Before you get too far into deciding just which methods work best for you, it is wise to write out your mission statement for your home school.
A mission statement will help you in deciding which method are best for you.
A mission statement will contain just what you envision for your home school.
When you are preparing your mission statement, please try to think only of what YOU want to see in your home school. Don't let others opinions effect your home school.
Included in your mission statement may be things like...What you want your children's character to be like when they graduate, what you think is most important for them to learn in the short and long run, how you would like to see your children learn, what you want to develop in your children.
A sample mission statement may go something like this.

In our home school, I see my children laughing and joyfully learning as we do our studies.
I see lot's of read alouds on the couch together, lot's of hands on experiments and free time to explore and learn on their own.
I want my children to have a good solid knowledge of our history and how we have gotten here today. I want to emphasize Christianity in history.
I want my kids to have a basic knowledge of science, but more importantly,I want them to have fun with science.
I want my children to have a really good grasp on math and stay fairly close to grade level in math.
I want my children to be able to write well to express their thoughts and make their own books and notebooks, not just to be able to write for the sake of writing.
I want my children to be able to read well, so that they can enjoy learning, and be able to learn on their own. I do not want to push them to learn to read too young if they are not ready. This should be fun and something they enjoy. I do not want to squelch their enthusiasm for reading or learning.
All in all, I want my children to have a good education tailored to their specific talents and bents and not just what everyone else is learning.
I want to remember that God created them differently than other children and that they do not need to learn everything that everyone else is because God has a purpose for them and he instilled in them what they need to succeed. I want to help them develop their God given talents and abilities.
I want my children to have fun learning.
I want my children to be able to have real life experiences that will help them as adults. I want them to have real skills, not just degrees.
I want my daughters to learn how to keep a home and to love being a mom. I want my sons to know how to take care of a family on a single income and to be a Godly husband and father.
I want my children to have enjoyed home schooling so much that they want to home school their own children.
Above all, I want my children to see God in everything we do. I want all of our learning to be Christ centered and I want them to build a strong faith in God and have a solid faith before they step out into the world.

Your mission statement may be similar to this one or not even close. Either way, once you write out your mission statement, you can use that to help you decide which methods of home schooling fit best in your hoe school.
If your mission statement has a lot of emphasis on education and college or degrees, than you may want to consider a more textbook approach.
If, on the other hand, you have more emphasis on having fun and enjoying time with your kids, you may enjoy the Charlotte Mason approach or learning with living Books.
We will get into this more later. For now, take a while to really think about what you want to see in your home school.
Talk to your husband about it also and see what he wants to see in your home school. Make sure to implement what he wants to see.
If you would like to share your mission statement with others, let me know and I will post it on my blog!
Have fun making your mission statement and I will be back soon with Part 3.

Getting Started in Homeschooling Part 3

Now that you have written out your mission statement (if you have not yet, that's OK, just keep working on it), I want you to really take a good look at it and see where you stand.
If you have a lot character training and relationship creating in your statement then you have a big focus on family and relationships and you may be able to teach more relaxed than you thought.
If you have lot of emphasis on education and degrees in your statement, then you may do better with a pre-made formal curriculum.
You may be somewhere in the middle of these two and that is OK. That is probably where most of us are.

Now I want you to list the grades that your children are in and what you want them to learn this year.
After you have your list, label them with a 1, 2, or 3 for 1st priority to third.
If an item on your list has a one by it, then you need to make sure that you do these things this year. I want you to decide how you want to teach this to your children.
For example, if you have a kindergartner and you want them to learn to recognize their letters, you may choose a phonics workbook and flashcards or you may choose to make a game out of this. You may place letters on the floor and play "Hop to the " " letter. You may place letters on the wall and play "Pin the tail on the letter". You may listen to phonics tapes out loud and sing songs. You may let them outline their numbers in macaroni and glitter; the ideas are endless, but the stress comes from NOT knowing what you want to teach and how you want to teach it.
If you have an older child, the process is still the same. List what you want them to learn this year and a few ideas of how. Especially if you have older kids, they may be able to add their input and take some initiative in their learning.
Be sure that you don't list too many things that you don't leave any room for spontaneity. Part of the fun of home schooling is having the freedom to explore what you are interested in and having more time to delve into those things interesting to you.
Pick the key things and then let the mood strike you on the rest.
This way you know you will cover the basics and the most important things, but still have the freedom to explore.
After you have all of your items listed, take a look and see if there are any things on your list that you could combine between more than one child. If you have children close in age, you could combine their lessons and take a lot of stress off of yourself.
The more you can teach them all together the better.
History and science lend themselves to this very well.
You may not be able to do this on every subject but any that you can will be helpful.
OK, so now that you have a good idea of what and how, it is time to look into some of the different methods of home schooling.
If you really prefer the textbook approach, I recommend Bob Jones for a good curriculum that you can get all of your lessons from.
If you are not afraid of mixing and matching curriculum's, you can really get a good variety of books.
I highly recommend Apologia elementary series for science, Christian Liberty press for history, A Child's Geography for geography, Easy Grammar for grammar, Writing Strands for writing, and Bob Jones for math.
I also like The Mystery of History.
Just Google all of these to find out more info on them. The reason I like most of these so well is that they take a textbook approach but use a Charlotte Mason approach as well. For example, Apologia, you would read your lesson, and ask the child to narrate back to you what they just read/heard. There would be hands on activities to go along with the lesson and your children would notebook what they learned instead of the typical Q and A approach.
If you are more relaxed or would like to be, you could do a lot of your learning from Living Books.
You can learn almost everything you want to learn through a good living book.
Just think about how you learn. Your children learn the same way.

You may want to try a Unit Study approach. To do this you would pick one topic and all of your subjects would stem from that topic.
For example, trains; if you picked trains, you would read books about trains, how they are made, how they are useful, who invented the train, what different types of trains there are, etc...You would take your spelling words and vocabulary words from your reading. Pick words that have to do with some aspect of trains. You could have your children write a report on some aspect of trains, or if your children are younger, they could draw a pictures and do some copy work about trains.
You can learn the history of trains, when they came about , who invented them, the science of how they are made, etc.. The possibilities are endless.
You would still need to supplement math, however.
There are a lot of different methods out there. I will try to go into more detail on some of these methods in the time to come, but for now, I will give you some information to research yourself.
There is too much for me to possibly cover.
Google Charlotte Mason or look up home schooling with the Charlotte Mason method. A great book for this is A Charlotte mason Companion. Cindy Rushton has a book and audio on this also.
Look up notebooking and lapbooking. Cindy Rushton also has seminars on these topics. She has been very valuable to me and my home school.
Cathy Duffeys top 100 picks home school curriculum book is very valuable for helping you decide which curriculum's you may like to try.
Try to read The Heart of Home schooling by Christopher Klicka. This is a great book. There are many good books out there on home schooling and you need to do some research to find out what suits you best.
If you are anything like me, you will be a mixture of several of these methods.
Take this time to do some research, keeping in mind your mission statement. It will help you in deciding which approach to use.
Cindy Rushton has and audio, and a book I think, on Creating Your Own Philosophy of Education.
For a little while just delve into all of the options ot there and get excited and inspired, and please try not to get overwhelmed. Remember, you do not have to do it all!
Enjoy your research time and I will be back soon!
P.S. If you want to make sure your kids are still learning during this process, just get out some good books and read away and learn to play some education games!!! You will learn more as you go.

Getting Started in Homeschooling Part 4

OK, so you have written out what you want your kids to learn this year,and are thinking about,or may have figured out how you want to teach, and are ready to go out and purchase all your new books. WAIT... First, I want you to take a look around the house. You may be surprised at what you might find. First, go through all of your children's books. See if there are any books that would be educational in any way. They do not have to be strictly fact books, they can be story books that still teach something.
There are so many out there that you may be surprised at how many you have. If not that's OK, you can start building your collection soon.
I want you to take all of your children's books that you deemed educational, and put them together on a bookshelf or a special spot in the house.
Next, go through all of your books. You may have biographies, auto-biographies, books that teach a certain skill, reference books, books on weather, gardening, astronomy, history, etc... Add these to the book shelf.
You may or may not have a lot of books already, but you can never have enough books for your childs education.
I highly recommend that you build a home library. Your child will learn so much just from reading good books. It will be such a blessing to be able to go to your own bookshelf and find a book on the topic your child is wanting to learn about. It will save you time and the effort of going out and getting all these books. You may not have every book, or a specific book that you are looking for, but as you build your library, you will likely have a different book on the same topic that will work just as well.
You will not have to worry about turning the books in on time if your child is not done with the book yet, or getting late fees because you forgot again.
Reading is fundamental to your child's education; both your child reading and you reading to your child.
Make time for Read Alouds, daily if possible. This will be a time that you read aloud to all of your children, even if they are different ages. They will treasure this time and they will be learning at the same time.
We are currently reading Liberty Letters right now for our read aloud.
I will admit that I need to work on this more myself. My children love this time and look forward to it when I am consistant.
So, how do you build your home library without breaking the budget?
I will tell you how I do it. I have obtained thousands of books over the last couple of years, and rarely, if ever, did I pay full price for a book.
I go to garage sales all the time and usually find quite a few books this way. I have found Little House on the Prarie books, tons of books on animals, books on the planets, classics such as Robin Hood, Heidi, Little Women, biographies, auto biographies, etc..I will get these books for 10 cents to 25 cents usually, so I can get quite a few this way.
I go to the thrift stores. There is a really good thift store around here that always has great books there. I just recently found Paddle to the Sea, by Holling, C. Hollings, which is on every home schoolers wish list, there for like 50 cents or something.
I also go to You can go to the home school section and then click on the side bar to "at least 90% off". They have SO MANY great books there. I have gotten books on the senses, animal habitats, Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, Sojouner Truth, etc., there. I usually pay $.75 to $1.99. They have really good shipping also, so this is not expensive and these are brand new books.
I also look at Borders in their bargain section. Here I have gotten books on weather, insects, trees, wild flowers, animals, etc. here for $3 to $5
If you put a little effort into this, which really is not much of an effort at all, you can easily and fastly build up your library. Just keep an eye open.
You can also ask for certain books for birthdays and Christmas also. Many grandparents are glad to help out. (We will talk about what to do if your family does not approve sometime in the future.)
You can take any book on your shelf and make a study out of it. Pick a book on planets, for example, you will read it to your child, or they will read it, and you take words from that book and make a spelling/vocabulary list, they could draw pictures of all the planets and write the name of the panet if they are younger, or they could notebook what they are reading if they are older. They could draw pictures of a particular planet and underneath the picture they could write all of the interesting and important facts about that planet. They will have a nice little notebook when they are done with that book. You could even lapbook a book. If you do not know what lapbooking is, just Google it and I will discuss it more in the future.
I think that you are seeing that even without a lot of money or curriculum, you can get started on your home schooling.
Just pick up a book and GO!
History and science really adapt well to this kind of learning. There are many books out there that work well to teach these topics. There is so much that can be said about books, but it would take forever. LOL
One thing I do want to add though, is to make sure your books are worth reading and that they do not portray values or character traits that you do not want to teach your children.
Before you go out and spend too much money on curriculum, really think about how you want to teach your subjects. You don't necessarily need a curriculum for every topic, but there are some great ones out there.
Ok, next time I will discuss what can be done for Grammar, Spelling, writing, Language Arts, etc.. so before you go out and buy a curriculum for each of these subjects, you may want to read the next article first.
Have fun reading to your children. (and learning at the same time.)

Getting Started in Homeschooling Part 5

OK, last time I ended by saying that we would talk about what to do for Language Arts without buying a curriculum for each particular area of LA.
If you have not heard of copy work, I am here to tell you that this may be your biggest help in the Language Arts area.
Copy work just might become your best friend.
When your children are younger and just starting to learn how to write their letters, you typically get them a handwriting workbook, and they trace their letters, and then progress to copying their letters,and then progress to copying words and sentences.
Then we typically stop the handwriting books until we want to learn cursive.
Here is what I want you to try. After your child has completed his print workbooks, I want you to basically continue what you have already been doing. Copy work is not difficult at all.
When they know how to write their letters well,have them continue to copy short sentences to keep practicing their letters and their handwriting. Copy work really becomes indispensable after a child can read.
When your child can read, have them copying something every day that is interesting to them. It could be a poem, a favorite book, a quote,a bible verse,anything.
The key is to make it interesting to them so that they want to copy it down.
The benefits your child will receive form copy work are many. Obviously, they will be continuing their handwriting practice, but they will also be learning basic grammar, spelling, sentence structure, writing and writing style. As your child copies a favorite book for example, he will see that you must capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence. They will see that you must put some kind of punctuation at the end of a sentence. They will begin to see that you put a period at the end of a statement,a question mark at the end of a question, etc..They will be copying the words,so they will be seeing the words spelled correctly, so they will be writing the words correctly. They will see how a sentence goes together,how sentences should sound,they will learn to recognize when a sentence doesn't sound right. They will learn about different writing styles from reading and writing, from different authors.
As you can see, they will learn all the basics this way and there is no need for a more formal curriculum yet.
You may eventually want to add some more formal grammar and possibly some writing exercises in the upper grades, but you can still benefit from copy work even through high school.
Remember,we do not need to push our little ones with too much work too early. This is all they need for Language Arts for quite a while.
Add some things here and there as you see fit.
I recently told my daughter, who is 12, that I was going to leave her copy work up to her, and she surprised me by wanting to copy a WHOLE book!
Let them choose some of their copy work and they will be learning all of their language arts skills plus learning something at the same time!
Dig in and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

If you have stumbled upon this blog, please be patient with me as I am trying to get it up and runing. I am in the middle of transferring posts.

The Moon, Jupiter and Venus!

Nature Study in the City

If you think you can't do nature study in the city...Check this out

If you were like me and thought you really couldn't do nature studies or a nature journal in the city, you would be wrong. I thought, hmm, there is nothing in our backyard that would be good enough for a nature study, I will have to go somehere eles, which I did not want to do. Well, I found out I was wrong, really wrong. If you think you can't do this in you own backyard, here are some photos of just some of the things we found in our front and backyard this year!

4 Full Moons in a Row!

Isn't it beautiful? I have never seen a full moon 4 days in row before; At least I have never noticed before. Just thought i would share this photo I took with you!


We have had such a terrible couple of weeks weather wise, but today, after the rain, we saw a beautiful rainbow!

Thought I would share it with you.