Sunday, June 28, 2015

2ND Grade Curriculum 2015 and 2016

This year is the first year for us to teach the Squirrel at home and scouring the Web is my new moonlighting job. So, without further ado.... 

 I plan to work ELA from Explode the Code books 3, 3 1/2, 4 and 4 1/2. I also ordered the teacher guide just to ensure I know the drill with these.  After receiving them, they look fairly self-explanatory.

Story Elements and Spectrum Reading workbooks will accentuate other elements not covered in the code books.

Not pictured is Handwriting Without Tears printing book to improve her current writing abilities. Squirrel wants to learn cursive, but we agreed to improve the printing first, so that is the current summer project. This is a great book and curriculum for teaching writing.

I've ordered a variety of chapter books, such as Pippi Longstocking and The Boxcar Children, as well as utilizing the library for more books and classic literature.

For History, we are starting with A Story of the World I, book and workbook. For science, Squirell's favorite subject, Exploring Creation with Flying Animals of the Fifth Day. This one is impressive and I'm loving the reading as much as the workbook.

Mathematics is Life of Fred, the first two volumes. I plan to provide worksheets and handwritten problems for her based on the chapter. I like it, but I'm not sure it's for us yet. I'll let the Squirrel lead the way.  My 2nd choice was Teaching Textbooks. I definitely want that program for next year.

For art, I am going to teach some chalk pastel art, from Southern Hodgepodge. This looks like lots of fun for us and her.  This as well as other artsy projects that tie in with the other subjects.

Trying to stay basic, make it fun, and avoid going overboard! Let the fun begin.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Year Round School

I Google everything I can think of.
Have a question--- Google
Who's that actor? Google
I use The Google like a good little soldier.

After making the decision to home school, I wondered how I could work full time and fit it all in. Now I'm wrapping my head around the concept of year round homeschooling. And I continue to Google about it because I'm not finding my confidence strong enough... but it's coming. I put myself through grad school as a single mom with 2 kids and a full-time job. I can do this.

I have read various things about young children-elementary children-- not needing but an hour or two a day of schooling. And we don't have to do it 5 days a week M-F. We can be non-traditional. We don't have to do it the way everyone pictures it to be. I think we will certainly spend more time than that for awhile to gather momentum and a rhythm that will certainly be easy to break. But one that we can jump back on board with quickly.

It will give us time to be ill, have breaks, and get away. So that's where we start on the first Monday in August.

Otherwise, I'm overwhelmed and excited about curriculum (thanks Google). There are ridiculous amounts of options at every dollar level out there. I so much want to be the mom that makes lapbooks and monster-sized fun projects. But alas, that's not what God is granting me with time-wise. We will do fine without this being a major player in our homeschool world.

I've purchased about everything I plan to for Squirrel's 2nd Grade year (so I say).

Next time I'll post our choices for everything. It will create a nice rabbit hole to travel down throughout the next year of my thoughts on curriculum choices. Even after purchases and decisions, I continue to find more ideas I'd like to try, like unit studies.

We will see! I'm excited about so much of it, and so is Squirrel when I show her all the things we will all be learning together.

And that's what matters.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Schooling children is an ongoing process until they reach adulthood.  The options we have and provide for them change through the years. Squirrel is our 7 year old girl that we will begin homeschooling this fall.

She's been attending a Christian school for the past 3 years. For the most part, we've been satisfied with her education, with some small school glitches along the way. It almost felt like she was attending a large co-op every day. Very Sunday School in feel but learning a lot of subjects. I love that they taught daily about the Bible and God, praying and singing, and studying verses and the Word.

Kindergarten found a bully for Squirrel. A little boy who picked and teased relentlessly. We went to the teacher multiple times and found it barely improved by year's end.

This year, the same, only with a little girl who was mean. Just. Mean. Telling Squirrel she should die. She wanted her to die. Told her how she could make her die. The Good Son kind of things were happening. Squirrel was afraid.  She didn't want to "fight" back. She said that being mean in return is not what Jesus said to do. Bless her heart.

I went to teacher. Twice. I inquired on teachings about bullying. I heard in return that bullying is not something  specifically taught, as they teach to be like Jesus and treat each other well. Understandable. Only we have a bully not doing the right thing and kids need to learn to stick up for one another and recognize a bully. Just that extra step. School and parent meetings later, she finally stopped and befriended Squirrel instead. Success.

Squirrel kept asking me to put her in public school instead. That she'd rather deal with those kids. I started feeling God tug at my heart. For months now. It hasn't gone away.

So I started looking for work at home jobs, thinking maybe by 3rd grade.  I'll start her at home then. God keeps asking why wait? So, why wait. Hubby works at home. We'll do lessons in the afternoon. She can do some workbooks and reading during the day. He can help keep her on task, and I'll check on her at lunch.

Problem solved.

I'm right where I need to be. We... are right where we need to be.

So here. We. Go!

Monday, June 8, 2015

History of a sometime homeschool house

Our story is unique, like many others' stories. The more I delve and read and become obsessed with why others homeschool, I feel the tug of God in my heart that this is the choice He is showing me for our family.

We aren't strangers to homeschool, but my first dive into it was strong and fast and a crash course in the realities of how it's done. Our oldest, now 19, had difficulties in public school in high school. Trying hard to get there and finish early, she was one credit shy of graduating her Junior year. She worked with counselors to test out at the community college and take a summer course there for her 9th credit. Everyone gave wrong dates and were unsupportive, leaving my hard worker frustrated and angry with the injustice of hard work falling apart before her eyes. She turned and begged... yes, begged me to homeschool her  the last year.

"Mom, you're smart. You did college. Help me. Aunt Karen will show you." My brother and his family have done this way of home learning for over a decade-- and at first, I  scoffed at their thinking. For a long time. To myself. Now here was my beloved daughter reaching to me for hope for her own dreams and future. How could I just walk the other direction?

So, I jumped in head first. Got tons of advice from my sister-in-law. Went to a convention. Joined HSLDA. Bought books at Half Price Books. Wrote curriculum plans. Wrote letters to withdraw her from school. Learned to make a transcript.

And before I could blink it was over. I am not sure I did it right... but I did it! We did it. I feel in my heart it was the right thing. And my wise daughter says, "See, mama. It works. I have great ideas sometimes."


And now, I start again, 3 years later, as we School a Squirrel.