The Big Day…It’s Almost Here!

So today was our last free Friday. Our last weekday that my little baby isn’t a big “school kid” (well, not officially anyway). We celebrated by having her bff over for an afternoon of fun and playing together while they still had the chance. Monday will be here quickly, and with it comes the first day of school. ! . .

So…the first day of school! It is an emotional day. She’s my first, and thus far, my only. I’m thankful we’re homeschooling, but I also want to make this a special time for her since this is kind of a big deal, ya know?…Hubby and I took her school shopping. She needed bigger clothes–she’s outgrowing everything she owns–and we wanted her to have the experience just like we did when we were growing up. But I want to do more. I want to make family traditions and family memories that will give her some sense of peace and belonging in this crazy world.

I’ve scoured the internet and found lots of neat-o ideas of things to do to commemorate the first day of school and make it special. This is what I plan to do:

-Sometime this weekend I would like to get her a special toy. I haven’t decided yet if it will be an educational type toy, or just a stuffy who will be her designated “study buddy”. This will depend on whether or not we end up going on another shopping trip since we live in nearly the middle of nowhere. We shall see.

-When she wakes up on Monday morning, I want to have a special, yummy breakfast. I’m thinking cinnamon rolls. I know, not the healthiest, but we don’t ever really have them so it would be different and special. And yummy, which is the whole point.

-After breakfast, I’ll measure and weigh her, and record it…somewhere. I thought about a growth chart, but didn’t think about it soon enough and since–as stated above–we live in the middle of nowhere, there’s not enough time to order one.

-I’ll take a picture of my lovely new student in her brand new school duds. Can’t forget the first day of school picture, right? And at least right now my princess loves posing for the camera. Win-win.

-At some point, probably before we really get the day started, I’ll have the princess answer a first day of school interview. I’m looking forward to hearing her answers and seeing how they may change over the years, lol.

So there it is, my big plan for the first day of Kindergarten. I just really would like to get this year started and see how things go! Praying that it all goes well, that my baby learns a lot, and that we will grow closer together throughout this process. Wishing everyone else the best, as well! Here’s to a great school year!

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Kindergarten Music…

Maybe I’m stressing over this more than I should.

But this is going to be the last thing that I *tweak* before school starts. Really, it is.

My choice for our kindergarten homeschool music curriculum has been (and continues to be) Say Hello to Classical Music from My Father’s World https://www.mfwbooks.com/L0A0F3A0B816784019E42063+M50+ENG . I chose it because it was inexpensive and said that it combined listening to classical music with fun activities for the littles. Sounded great to me!

I popped the cd into my laptop and loved the music. I looked over the activities and…to be honest, I was a little disappointed.

I’m not really sure what I was hoping for. There are 26 musical selections, each with an accompanying activity. Out of those activities, 6 are repeated (one being a drawing/painting of fish but two times in a row…) I guess I was just hoping for more, I don’t know. So I have once again gone on a quest to find a music curriculum that I think my daughter will enjoy. After much searching, here’s what we’ll be doing:

-We’ll still be doing the My Father’s World Say Hello to Classical Music cd’s and activities. I really did love the music and I know that my daughter will enjoy it, too. I may spruce it up a bit by adding a picture of the composer and maybe an interesting fact about him before we start. We’ll do this every other week.

-The other choice that I had been considering before making my initial purchase was Kindergarten Music from Pfeiffer House Music http://www.lessonplansformusic.net/booklet-cd-kindergarten-music/ . After another look around, I decided to go ahead and make the purchase. The kit includes a lesson book, worksheets, flash cards, and a cd, and comes in both a Christian and secular version. You can also just buy a digital download which is less expensive, but I like to have the cd and books in my hands so I went with the booklet and cd. There are 14 lessons which we will do every other week (rotating with the MFW cd/activities, some of which we may skip since they’re duplicates.)

I think that this will give my daughter a good start with her kindergarten music curriculum. She’ll be exposed to the classics, as well as be learning about things like rhythm, pitch, and solfege.

Interestingly, my search led me to find some great curriculum that we may try in the future. SQUILT looks like a fun, comprehensive program that is very affordable. Check it out here: http://www.squiltmusic.com/p/squilt-curriculum.html . Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades http://www.zeezok.com/Music-Appreciation-Student-Activity-Book_p_58.html from zeezok.com would be a dream, but it is rather pricey. One that I’m leaning toward is The Classical Kids Collection . After searching and saving it for later I was surprised and excited when I saw that it is offered as a first grade elective at Sonlight 🙂

So there it is. Hip hip, hooray! Now to begin lesson planning……..

Kindergarten Spanish: A Change in the Plan…

So I’m already making changes to my curriculum choices…and school hasn’t even *officially* started yet. (Although we did do our first Bible lesson from our new curriculum this morning! The princess seemed so excited and interested, so I figured why wait?)

Here’s what happened:

I was doing a bit more reading on http://www.amblesideonline.org . I was mainly interested in their reading list for year 0 (kindergarten), when I noticed that they offered some council on foreign language programs.

My daughter has expressed an interest in learning Spanish. I myself am fascinated by learning languages, although (sadly) English is the only language I speak fluently. So I was very excited to add a Spanish curriculum to our homeschool agenda! Maybe I’ll learn a thing or two, too, in the process!

I had purchased a complete boxed set of La Clase Divertida (The Fun Class) from ebay a few weeks ago and was excited when it finally arrived. The website says that it’s suitable for children from PK-8th grade. Looking at it, though, I wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me that for grade K I’d have to do a lot of tweaking. So when I saw the recommendations from Ambleside, I began to reconsider my choice.

After much deliberation, I decided to purchase the Spanish Teacher’s Kit from Little Pim. I had considered Little Pim when I was looking before, but didn’t realize they had a teacher’s kit and at the time I wasn’t so sure about spending so much $$$ on something that might not keep my daughter’s attention. My daughter seemed interested and enjoyed the sample video offered on the site, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted to spend so much on the Complete Set. The teacher’s kit is less expensive (although it doesn’t include the second set of dvd’s like the complete kit does) and I figure that if we don’t like it, we can always find something else. Plus, I found a coupon! That plus free shipping on orders over $20 and I just couldn’t pass it up, lol.

So here is the plan for now:

1) Work through the Little Pim curriculum. If we like it, when the time comes we can purchase volume 2. In the meantime, my daughter will be hearing Spanish and becoming familiar with basic vocabulary.

2) When we are finished with Little Pim, we will move to Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Salsa series online. I think she’ll enjoy it more if she can understand a bit of what they’re saying (which she hopefully will because of Little Pim!).

3) After we’ve worked through both of those programs, we’ll re-evaluate how ready she may be for La Clase Divertida. The cool thing is that I already have a curriculum for the future, and it really does look like it will be “The Fun Class”!

So that’s it for now. When I get a few more things cleaned up from our big weekend I’ll start working on getting a basic schedule created for school. It’ll be here before we know it and I wanna be ready!

Homeschool Curriculum for Kindergarten…Our Choices!

After fretting over it for a few days, going back and forth, and praying that we would make the right decisions, here are our top choices for a kindergarten curriculum (for our daughter. Everyone will be different, and that’s ok 🙂 )

In our state, the following subjects are mandatory: English, math, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education. That’s a lot to pack into a day (although I know that we don’t have to do *every* subject *every* day.) I also want to make Bible studies, character building, and foreign language a part of our learning. The next step will be to figure out how to do that! For now, here are our choices and what we will be working with this school year:

http://www.timberdoodle.com/Complete_Homeschool_Core_Curriculum_Kindergarten_p/999-0050.htm Yes, we chose Timberdoodle over Sonlight. The fun, hands-on learning is something that I know my daughter is going to absolutely love, and we had to let that weigh heaviest in our decision. What is going to make her *want* to learn and *do school* every day? This curriculum seems to be one that she’ll be learning while she thinks she’s playing and having fun. Really, it would’ve been a no-brainer had my heart not been so committed to the Sonlight readers…

http://www.sonlight.com/AA5.html So I got the readers, too! I want my daughter to be hearing wonderful literature! I want her to enjoy reading good books! So I shopped around and pieced together all of the books in this read-aloud package from Sonlight. The downside is that I don’t have the instructor’s guide to go with the books so we’ll be on our own for a reading schedule and comprehension questions. But I couldn’t see spending the almost $80 dollars just for that. I did purchase a few of the read-alouds from them, as well as other items from Sonlight:
-Least of All (read-aloud)
-The Usborne book of Living Long Ago
-The Usborne Book of Wild Places: Mountains, Jungles, & Deserts
-Sing the Word from A to Z (CD)
-How Flowers Grow
-Weather
-No Children, No Pets (read-aloud)
-Five True Dog Stories (read-aloud)
-Johnny Appleseed (read-aloud)
-The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose (read-aloud)

-Art. Along with the art provided in the Timberdoodle curriculum, I purchased the Sonlight suggested book Enjoying Art With Children by Gladys S. Blizzard. I shopped it and found it cheaper elsewhere.

-Music. https://www.mfwbooks.com/L0A7F4F0686178501E152061+M50+ENG Say Hello to Classical Music from My Father’s World. This looks fun and simple. The instructor’s guide is included on the cd. I think this will be enough music to take us through the year. If not, I will also purchase the kindergarten program from lessonplansformusic.net

-Health. Are we the only state that requires a health course to be taught in kindergarten? I think I found only two major K level health programs in all of my searching. I will be using the Horizons Health set (by necessity, not choice), and adding a book I found through Sonlight: The Story of Me by Brenna and Stan Jones.

-Physical Education. My daughter participates in activities outside the home that fulfill this requirement. But if I were to *need* curriculum, we would definitely be doing the program at Familytimefitness.com http://www.familytimefitness.com/

-Bible. The most important part of the day. We will be using the Bible Study Guide for All Ages Beginner Starter Pack. http://biblestudyguide.com/shop/index.php?cPath=16_56 . I’ve let my daughter look through this and she seemed very interested. I’m so thankful that she has such an interest in the word of God and loves our time spent together reading His word. We’ll begin our days with this, and end them with the book Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings by Marian M. Schoolland. We’ll also have the Sonlight sing-along CD that I posted above to help us with our memory verses.

-Character building. https://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=202061 Homeschool Character Development Visuals from A Beka. Simple and sweet.

-Foreign Language. My daughter has a desire-just like her momma-to learn foreign languages. She has expressed a desire to learn how to speak Spanish, so we will be watching Salsa on the Georgia Public Broadcasting website, as well as going through the La Clase Divertida http://www.funclase.com/Level-1-Spanish-s/1817.htm program.

Whew! Think that’s enough! As soon as we get our package from Timberdoodle I can sit down and figure out how we will schedule our days. (Which reminds me, I chose to purchase a homeschool planner from Mardel.com rather than having the headache of trying to figure out what to include in my own–at least this first time around, lol) I’m wondering how quickly (or slowly) we’ll get through things, as my daughter is already reading and doing a great deal of the things that I’ve read are taught in kindergarten. It will be a challenge, but I’m excited and ready for it!

***I’ve tried to include links to all of the websites, but they don’t seem to be showing up. It’s late, and I’m not techno-savvy, so I’ll try to edit this and fix it later.

Homeschool Curriculum…Choices, Choices….

It has been like Christmas in July around our house this week! Packages have been arriving nearly every day containing loads of goodies for our homeschool!

I’m not a momma who has been looking into homeschool curriculum from the time I was knee-high to a jelly bean, but when someone told me about the Sonlight curriculum, I was sold. That was a year ago–maybe two–, and that was the plan should the possibility ever arise. I, like many, love the idea of a literature based curriculum. Love it. But when the time came for me to actually purchase curriculum, I wanted to see what else was out there so that I could be sure I was making the best choices for our little princess.

Wow, there are A LOT of homeschool curriculum choices out there!

Here’s what I knew:
-Because I’m new to all of this, I wanted something comprehensive. I didn’t want to have to create my own curriculum. What if I miss something important???!!! :S :S :S
-I wanted a curriculum that will help us to best schedule our days. I wanted instructor guides to tell me what to do and when to do it!
-I wanted something that would be fun! It’s really important to my husband and I that this first year of schooling for our princess is fun, engaging, and a time that is going to help foster a love of learning in our daughter.

I was nearly ready to order the Core A Kindergarten Curriculum from Sonlight when I came across a post on facebook. A mom was asking about a curriculum for her daughter that was pretty much everything I was looking for. That’s when I heard the name Timberdoodle. As soon as I saw all that it had to offer I was torn. It looked like so much FUN! I knew my daughter would love it. But my heart also longed for the read-aloud time that Sonlight offered. What to do?

I talked it over with the hubby. And what we did…I’ll tell you in the next post 😉

New Beginnings!

So……..our family is about to set off upon a new journey that I am very excited about! We’re homeschooling!

This blog is going to help serve as a record of our journey. I hope that I’m able to keep up with it.

My hubby and I have been blessed with one thoughtful, caring, beautiful, amazing, talented, spunky, full of laughter and life daughter. It wasn’t our plan to only have one child, but (try as we might), that’s just the way it is. Homeschooling my children has always been my dream. Not so much with my hubby. (You know, socialization and all…)

So how did we find ourselves here on the brink of such an undertaking???

Basically, our schools are over-crowded. Because of funding cuts, schools have recently been closed which has resulted in doubling the student population and putting a great stress on both teachers and students. There’s not enough room! Some teachers don’t have classrooms. Students are crammed in like sardines. It’s just not a good situation, so hubby agreed to let me homeschool our princess for her first year of *real* school. (“It’s only kindergarten, what could it hurt?”) He said that we’d re-evaluate next year if steps are taken to fix these problems. So here we are.

I’m excited and thankful for this opportunity! Optimistic, even 🙂 I’m praying that God will be with us and lead us every step of the way, and that He’ll help us to make the very best decisions for this precious gift that He has given us.

I have more to write, but other obligations are calling my name at the moment so I’d better scoot. Hope to write again soon!