Ah, Now My Day Can Begin…

Lately, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed for various reasons.  I have been going to bed later.  My husband has been working the night shift so he comes home around 5 am and wakes me. Occasionally the dogs want to be let out.  You get my point.

I would still be in bed right now except for one thing and one thing only:  coffee.  In fact, I laid in bed for ten minutes before the thought of coffee drove me to my feet.

I got up, put the kettle on, turned on my computer, and awaited that sweet-sounding whistle.

I then poured the water into my french press and set the timer.

The timer beeped.  I got my coffee.

Now I’m sitting in front of my computer, telling you all about it.

Now my day can officially begin.

We are preparing for a trip back home next week so I got a ‘To Do’ list a mile long.

But it can wait.

All because my coffee is at the perfect temperature.

Scarecrow Pete

I LOVE this book by Mark Kimball Moulton!

We follow a boy who one day realizes the old scarecrow in his garden talks.  Scarecrow Pete loves to read and he asks the boy to read to him.  The boy picks out Moby Dick from a pile of old books by the Pete’s feet and begins.  The boy is immediately sucked in and this sets off a summer full of wonderful reads as the boy learns that reading is an adventure.

Told in verse, this book is great at telling kids the wonders of reading.  Scarecrow Pete has imaginary friends and explains, “Why, I can go most anywhere by reading a good book.”

Pete leaves in the autumn to be a library volunteer on his mission to encourage others to read “for it’s the first step that it takes for someone to succeed.”

I couldn’t agree more!

“You can do most anything, meet anyone you please, travel anywhere you like and do it all with ease.  Just find a place that’s comfortable–a nice, warm, cozy nook–and lose yourself among the pages of a favorite book!”

Scarecrow Pete is a great, fun encouraging read with a timeless message and fantastic illustrations!

“My Food is To Do the Will of Him Who Sent Me and To Finish His Work”

Jesus in John 4:34

Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman at the well and explains to her what his food is–what he lives off of–God’s work and God’s will.

This is a great mantra.  To do God’s will and finish what God started; His work for you.

It’s discovering this that’s the hard part.  For each of us has a different commission.

So I pray:

What is your will for me, God, and what is the work I need to finish?

And added:  Make it clear.  Hit me with it as hard as you must. Let me get it without a doubt.

Amen.

Homeschooling Curriculum 2011-2012

I have been promising to update you all on my curriculum choices and I finally got it all ordered.  I had to wait until after we moved so I wouldn’t miss anything.

Disclaimer:  I haven’t tried any of this.  It’s merely a product of my months of research.  Later in the school year, I will post individual reviews after we have tried it for a few months.

Math:  Singapore Math Level 1A & B and Level 2A & B  Plus, I bought the Home Instructor’s Teaching Manual and the first set of tests.  I’m unsure if I will use the tests but wanted to have them on-hand in case I do.

Grammar:  Shurley Grammar Homeschool Level 1 & 2

Writing:  Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Teacher/Student Combo Pack Level A

Writing with Ease: Strong Fundamentals by Susan Wise Bauer

Handwriting:  Getty-Dubai Italic Handwriting Book B, C, & D

Spelling:  The Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Writing Teacher’s Edition Level II

This is put out by the Riggs Institute (a little company out of South Dakota) and I love them!  I love everything about their program.  I did Level I with my oldest and my youngest will be doing Level I this year but everything they do is superb in my opinion.  I credit them with my kids’ ability to spell and read so well.

History:  Story of the World Volume 1:  Ancient Times and the accompanying Activity Workbook by Susan Wise Bauer.  I skipped the Test book and will in the future as I feel my kids should be tested on more important subjects such as math and grammar. Plus, I intend to have my kids do memory work from History, which will be test enough.

Science:  Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) K-2

Of all my orders, this is the one I’m taking the biggest chance on. I’m not sure how it will work but we’re going to give it a try.

We are also doing a Nature and Weather Journal this year.

Foreign Language:  Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Homeschool Edition

Song School Latin

Song School Greek

Bible/Religious Studies:  Foundations 1:  Preparation for Christ by Anne Elliott

Art:  Artistic Pursuits

Music:  The Gift of Music by Jane Stuart Smith and Betty Carlson

Guitar Lessons

Memory Work:  Select Poems and Historical References

Supplemental Material:

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

I love this book.  This is the book I first bought when I was considering homeschooling.  This book does a great job of laying the case of Classical Education.  What I don’t like about it is now that my kids are in 1st and 2nd grade, I think Susan underestimates the capabilities and abilities of students.  I read about what kids their age used to have to do in the mid-1800’s and this is peanuts in comparison.

I just finished perusing Susan’s Writing with Ease: Strong Fundaments, which I bought as I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do for writing.  I like the idea of narration, copy work, and dictation but I think it’s unnecessary to do that alone.  I think you need to do this in addition to something else (hence why I bought IEW).  Further, I think she spends way too many weeks on doing it.  All my opinion, of course.

Map Trek: The Complete Collection by Terri Johnson

What Your Third Grader Needs to Know by E D Hirsch, Jr.

This is the Core Knowledge Sequence, which I’m a fan of.  It’s a good reference book for where your child should be. It has great history sections (although not in Chronological Order.  It’s all covered.  It just jumps around–something I’m not a fan of).  I also have the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade Editions of these which I used a lot in my previous homeschool year.

Student Atlas:  I ordered a student Atlas but it was cancelled by Amazon (couldn’t get it).  I have a globe and I think I will be doing enough as it.  I think the historical maps but the study of a continent a month will be sufficient for now.

Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock

Keeping a Nature Journal by  Clare Walker Leslie

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia

The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World

Final Advice About Choosing Curriculum:  It’s funny because I went into this having an idea of what I wanted to use and then once I started delving into it, I changed virtually all of my orders/decisions.

It’s hard ordering curriculum sight unseen but “you do your best and forget the rest” as Tony Horton says.

Due to the increase in competition in homeschool curriculum, I would say there are a lot of good choices out there.  I would first choose your overall philosophy (classical, biblically-based, unschooling, unit studies, etc) and then go from there.  I think you will find there are amazing choices out there and choosing which one is the hardest part!

Good luck and happy schooling!