2014-2015 Curriculum – Preschool for Tactile Learners

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This year, I am going to make an effort to do a little school with Itty Bitty (4). She is about equally tactile/kinesthetic and auditory. Her school will be totally different from Lil Bit’s PreK year. That being said, here are the things I’m going to try this year.

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Religion/Bible

I haven’t fully figured this out yet, but I’m going to try Raising Rock Stars Preschool and Catholic ABC’s. we will probably also use some of the many books floating around our house & Tell Me About the Faith for Small Children.

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Reading/Phonics

I will (slowly) start out with Logic of English Foundations A and see if she enjoys it. If she does, we will work through a lesson a week. If not, we will try it again in the spring.

 

Math

I bought Saxon Math K. She is very hands on and I think she will love the chance to play with all the math manipulatives. My only concern is her maturity to listen and follow directions. But it’s really only twice a week, so it will be good practice.

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Literature & Such

Itty Bitty LOVES to read and so we are going to use our monthly book topic list. I also bought the Memoria Press Jr Kindergarten curriculum which has guided book discussions each week. When I bought the book for this used, they also included some of the other books and I might use some of them. We will also being doing monthly themes as part of the Poppins Book Nook.

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Clifford’s Big World

We got a few sample issues of Clifford’s Big World last school year and she was excited to have her own newspaper, so we will get this, too.

Critical Thinking

I bought several workbooks from the Critical Thinking Co that we never used & some of them are appropriate for PreK. Since nearly all use manipulatives and she loves hands on work, we might dig these out on bored days, too.

 

So that’s my loosey goosey plan for preschooling my loosey goosey girl.

You can see our other preschool year curriculum here.  And what didn’t work for us in preschool here.

 

Do you have resources for preschooling very active children?

 

Jen S.

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Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Like many women, especially homeschooling moms, I have a TON on my plate.  This season of littles & technological escapism, short temper, lack of discipline & general overwhelm had me (and my poor family) in a state of survival.  Better than before, but still spilling into survival mode.  The opportunity to review Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms (published by homeschool curriculum provider Apologia Educational Ministries) could not have come at a better time.

 

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Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms


Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms was written by Mary Jo Tate, a SINGLE mother who both homeschooled AND supported her family with an at home business.  My goodness!!  In Flourish, Ms. Tate covers every area of life that a mom could encounter, including not having a spouse, running a business and homeschooling.  There are 16 chapters covering areas like attitude, the FREEDOM toolbox, time management, goals, planning, interruptions, child training, making memories, home management, learning, and more.  Flourish retails for $15.00.

The First Pass

I graduated with a business degree.  We own a business.  I am a productivity junkie (oh the irony!).  Love GTD, 7 Habits and all those type of books.  I have read mom productivity books, homeschool productivity books and business productivity books.  A lot of times the book covers 1 or 2 of the big pieces of my life, but never all 3.  Flourish is unique because it covers ALL THREE areas.  That is fabulous!   Even more fabulous is the fact that she covers being a single mom, doing all these things.

I am not a single mom.  But!  We own our own business.  And we’ve been in a growth spurt for about 4 months and we thought we finally hired someone, but it didn’t work out.  During growth spurts, I am practically single.  He works 10-14 hour days.  We have no family that is willing to help us out.  I finally found a regular sitter a few years ago but she is leaving for college at the end of the year.

Plus, I’m a loner.  Seriously, I’d rather be alone with a book than out for a girl’s night, which pretty effectively limits getting a good support network :).  Plus, I’m not a “kid-person” and feel like I can barely relate to mine and I’m with them all day.  Reciprocating in kind would be a special kind of purgatory for me.  All that to say that I can relate to aspects of single motherhood.   It’s also a great resource for how to help people who are single.  Or like single; I have a few friends in that boat.  One friend calls herself a golf-widow in the summers because her hubs manages a golf course :).

Anyway, the first thing I did was read the first chapter & take the “pre-test” to get a baseline for where I was starting.  Then I read the whole book.  Overall, I was inspired by stories of how she managed homeschool and work.  My kids are too little to do it like her since the youngest is one and the oldest is only 6, but I’m on track to get them there some day.  I was also convicted to be better disciplined. Discipline is not my strong suit. But you cannot make progress when you sit around wasting time or avoiding things.  So I need to get better at that.

The toolbox was a new idea to me and the strategies for singles spoke to me, too.  Go figure ;).  And my last set of goals were 2 years old, repeats of previous years and obviously not good ones or I would have done them at least a few times in those 3 years.  They need to be revisited.  So how to proceed?  In order or by need?

The Action Pass

The second time around, I’ve been slowly digesting the material. While I hadn’t heard of the toolbox as it was presented, I must have heard the bits and pieces from other places because I was pretty good at many of them.  I’m always trying to improve and tend to read many books on the same topics.  I’m also a master of elimination — especially of crappy & time consuming jobs :).  Discipline is my big one to work on.

I decided to pass on the full time log for two reasons.  First, I analyzed how much time essentials REALLY take in the winter.  Second, I do too much in 30 minutes to write stuff down.  Unless, I only write down “deal with kid needs” and “laundry” or “feed children” and “second breakfast,” etc.  What I DID do was work on my time wasters, because really that was one of the points of the exercise–to see what you spend your time on and then analyze it for good, bad and just plain reality.  I know that I spend a lot of time on my phone and computer; I think most of my readers know that, too :).  I got diligent, again, about limiting them.  I also decided that I needed to make time to really connect with my kids and be available to them and so I’ve been making a lot of effort to replace tech time with kid time (and not more chore time).

I’m also percolating goals.  I know what *I* want, but it’s silly to make goals that may conflict with hubby’s goals and he has been working 16 hour days.  I’m hoping to come home refreshed & inspired and ready to dream big after a badly needed family vacation this fall.  Right now he is busy moving to a new office and trying to hire & train a new tech before we leave.  Lots of stress going on the business front :).

I’ve gotten stuck in the planning tools.  Sort of.   Big dreams & annual goals are still percolating, but I know that one is to travel more.  While I haven’t set a goal yet, I do have time scheduled for travel in September & October right now.  My monthly calendars are pretty good, but my weekly plan & daily tasks will need tweaking when the new school year starts soon.  I’m looking forward to finishing this section & revisiting the interruption and attitude chapters.  I’m sure I’ll need it when the school year starts!


Summary

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a fabulous book for homeschool moms, especially those who work for pay (in or outside the home).  Mary Jo Tate lays out all the best pieces of productivity and quality living and shares how they can make a difference in your life.  As a mom, with children of all ages, homeschooling, running businesses, and in your messy, unpredictable life.  Mary Jo doesn’t preach and doesn’t give orders but shares tips and how they have worked for her or others.  She encourages you that more & better is possible and inspires you to get off your duff & do it.  I’m so excited to be in a place of dreaming about — and taking action toward — the life I want to live.  And live NOW not when the kids are older, or we have more money, or we live somewhere else, or or or.  I’m so glad to have been able to review this inspiring read; it replaces nearly every other productivity book on my shelf because its tailored to my busy mom life.

Click here to read all reviews of the book Flourish by the other ladies in the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Jen S.

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2014-2015 Curriculum – Second Grade for Visual Learners

 

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So this year, we are doing things a little different. We are still trying to find what works and she’s old enough to work a little harder. Also, she is a proficient reader which allows her to do a lot more because she can work independently. And if you aren’t familiar with our family, she is very visual and a bit auditory, as well. All that being said, here are our curriculum choices for Lil Bit (6.5) in second grade.

All Year Subjects

Bible / Religion

For bible/religious education, we are using 3 resources:

I really like the Faith & Life series for Catholic catechesis. She adores Bible Study for All Ages and so she will do F&L three days a week & BS4AA twice, just like last year. In addition, we get a monthly SaintMail package that she really likes (link goes to my review).

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Language Arts

She is an incredibly proficient reader, practically overnight, so we are jumping straight to Logic of English Essentials. It will cover grammar, spelling, dictation and such.

We may add a few literature studies or some poetry recitation, but we’ll see how that shakes out.

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Math

We are in catch up mode due to picking the wrong Saxon curriculum (oops). She will be finishing first grade & hopefully second grade math, too, using CTC Math. Click here to see my CTC Math Review.

We are also going to play math games from a Math Games Kit we bought at the homeschool convention. We have been loving it so far! We also have a software program for math fact drills that we are reviewing this month (Ubersoft Math).   I found a Learning Wrap-Up Addition Set at a yard sale, too.  We will continue to work on them from all angles until they are mastered.

 

Geography

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Exploring the Continents

We are using this Catholic geography program from CHC. It’s very simple, gentle & hands on.

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Daily Geography 1 & 2

Why these too? We bought them & she LOVES geography. She will cruise through 2 weeks a week.

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Character

Building Good Character

Building Good Character was an add-on to the CHC grade 1 package, but because I am lousy at being consistent, I am hoping this will help us all.

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Art

Artistic Pursuits Book 1

She loves art and I hope to get her working through the Artistic Pursuits Book 1 once a week in addition to some other resources I have floating around.

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Current Events

Scholastic News 2 + Science Spin

She loves these newspapers and so we will continue to do them. They are fun & short extras and we got to them all last year. That in itself is a feat!

 

Spring & Fall Terms

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Science

Behold & See 2 & Daily Science 2

We have decided to pause on Apologia until she is older. She just isn’t interested in it and it’s so detailed that she just spaces out. Instead we will do Behold & See 2 and Daily Science 2. Both are very gentle and easy. Since she’s very interested in people, I’ve purchased DK’s Great Scientists, at her request. We also have several months of Magic School Bus lab kits to do.

 

Winter Term

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History

Veritas Press – Ancient Greece & Rome

You can see my review of the Veritas Press Self-Paced history Ancient Greece & Rome here. She is IN LOVE. We will actually work through this all year but during winter, we will step it up.

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Composer Study

We bought the Music Appreciation study from Zeezok last year and went gangbusters for a month — until the weather got nice. We will bring it out & cover a few composers and do the rest next year.

 

Do you have second grade curriculum for your visual learner that you love? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

Jen S.

 

This post is linked to The Homeschool Curriculum Choices Homeschool Share @ Chestnut Grove Academy.

 

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3 Steps To Looking Put Together by Having A Signature Style — Jewelry

Disclaimer: I received a necklace in exchange for an honest review.

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Life has changed since before I had kids. In fact, hubs just asked WHY I seem to care about fashion & clothes so much more now than before we had kids. The answer was simple.

  1.  I married an awesome guy and don’t want to be that frumpy, worn out, unhappy mom that makes childless people thankful for their contraception.
  2. We own a successful business and I can’t be caught schlepping around like a slob in case we run into clients or members of the business community while we are out.
  3. He works hard to run that business and make a good impression. I want him to be proud to introduce me to people we see.

Is it vanity? Not really. The reality is that your appearance helps make a first impression. Even the infamous Proverbs 31 woman clothed her family in purple and her husband was respected at the city gates.

One of my favorite ways to look put together is with accessories. No matter what my weight, pregnancy status or what have you, accessories like shoes, purses, scarves, hats & jewelry always fit. My favorite accessory is jewelry and my favorite jewelry is usually religious. It’s pretty and makes a statement about who I am, if you are paying attention.

 

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Nativity Stone Jewelry

Recently, the folks at Nativity Stones sent me a beautiful necklace from their Nativity Stones jewelry collection. The Church of the Nativity is built over the cave where it is believed that Jesus was born. In 1963, workers removed a portion of the wall to allow visitors to exit the manger room. Stanley Slotkin noticed this and asked if he could have the pieces being removed. Many were given to charitable organizations and sick people in hospitals, but recently, they have begun to make jewelry with small pieces of the wall inside.

I was sent a beautiful piece of this jewelry–the Classic Nativity Stones Cross. The cross itself is coated in 18k gold and is designed to be worn by either sex, making it a wonderful graduation or confirmation gift. The classic cross is generously sized at 1-3/8″ x 2-1/4″ and includes a quality 22″ rope chain. If you prefer something a little smaller, they make a petite version that is only 7/8″ x 1-3/8″. In addition, they have a simpler Carpenter’s Cross that is coated in silver. It’s stunning to look at! Each piece of jewelry comes in a gift box with a certificate of authenticity and a pamphlet sharing the story behind Nativity Stones.

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For the last few months, I have been wearing the Classic Nativity Stones Cross to Mass on Sunday’s. My baby loves to finger it while he nurses and its sturdy enough that I don’t worry about him snapping the chain. My girls love to look at it and hear the story. I’m sure that people have overheard me telling them the story because I’ve noticed people turning around to look.

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3 Steps to a Signature Style – Jewelry

The Classic Nativity Stones cross has become a part of my Sunday uniform–I put it on as a matter of habit. Determining a signature style can help you look put together every single day in a matter of minutes.

1. Survey Your Stuff.

Take a few minutes and survey your jewelry box–the stuff you could wear every day, not the fancy ones.

What do you have the most of? What do you love the most?

Chances are you already have a favorite, you just didn’t know it. Or, you keep buying items that don’t actually work for your life.

2. Pick Your Signature Item.

Pick one or two types of jewelry that fit in your lifestyle. Necklaces & bracelets work best during this season of life, but maybe you prefer rings, earrings, pins/brooches or even cool & colorful watches. I used to be known for crazy dangly earrings in a past life ;). Once you pick a statement item, it’s freeing limit any new purchases to mostly those items and not worry that they will never be worn.

3. Pick a few favorites.

Grab 3 or 4 items to choose from and put them on a valet, fun tray or pretty china saucer near where you get dressed. Everyday when you get dressed, grab something from your tray.

Voila. Instant style!

 

Do you have a signature jewelry item?

Jen S.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Fit Fun into Your Home {School} @ Only Passionate Curiosity

I wrote a guest post for Heather, a fellow crew mate at the Schoolhouse Review Crew this week.   I had to snicker when she said that my house sounded like a fun place to learn.  When I read it last night, we were in the midst of learning character, new rules and hard consequences.   It was not a fun night!

Even so, I guess, I do try to find ways to make learning fun.   Here is how I do it…

 

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So I have younger kids and if school gets too boring for two long, they start to revolt.  Really, though, who doesn’t?  Even my husband & I revolt if it has been longer than a year without traveling somewhere.  I think it’s human nature :).

Anyway, while these are tips I use to plan for “fun school” for my smaller kids, they are absolutely adaptable for older kids.

Check out all three ways that I plan to incorporate fun into our homeschool year over at Only Passionate Curiousity.   These tips are great for just incorporating fun into your home, too.

Jen S.

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