Friday, February 27, 2015

Homeschool Schedule Reworked

More of a General Guide than a real schedule.  I had a very crammed schedule written when Lil' Hoot first came home from public school.  It didn't work.  This schedule is closer to our natural pattern but it's so easy to slip off of it as "life happens."

until 9:00a - Breakfast, News, PBS, Chores, Get settled
[Potty Break]
9-9:30 - Calendar Time*
9:30-10 - Bible Time then Books (Grace reads one, Parent reads one)
10-11:30 - Literacy Activity, Math Activity, Skillful Play
[Potty Break around 11]
11:30-12 - Lunch
12-1 - Outside or Music time
[Potty Break]
1-2:30 - Movie/Quiet Time
2:30-3 - Something Active (Outside if possible)
3-3:30 - Snacks and Books
[Potty Break]
3:30-4:30 - iPad (Learning games first)
4:30-5 - Dinner Prep

*Calendar Time

  1. Put up new date and weather cards.
  2. Say the memory verse and the pledge of allegiance.
  3. Sing a song or two. (ABCs, Months of the Year, Days of the Week)
  4. Write name and phone number on the white board. (Say phone # together. Watch pencil grip.)

+ Park play or library once a week.
+ Field trip once a week.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Playing Skillfully in January and February - At Home Edition

We took about a week unofficially "off" this month for a convention and a visit from Grandma and Papa Hoot.  Even still we packed in a lot of activities.  In fact, I had to split up the photos in two posts because we had so many.  I guess next month I will have to post more often. How did y'all learn this month?

Making Porcupines

Sword fights.

Lego Castles

Block Castles (with Shopkins)

Newspaper Word Hunt

Play ball!

Havin a "parade"



Looking for a cool spot in the shade.

Pretend puddles & rain showers

Melting crayons into hearts

Valentine's Day paintings

Teaching Daddy Math

Making muffins

Making Valentines

Chocolate-covered marshmallows

Writing Books

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Homegrown Preschooler

While at the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth last week I had the privilege of hearing both Kathy and Lesli from The Homegrown Preschooler speak.  It felt like a breath of fresh air. Both ladies asked such great questions - "What will your preschooler remember seeing, hearing, touching, etc. from their childhood?" to "What is your end goal for homeschooling your child?" Somehow I got trapped into thinking I needed to bring school to our home, even though I knew that's now how to raise a creative, innovative leader.  Sitting with these ladies reminded me that it's not about completing 'lessons' in a curriculum.  It's about helping my children develop into well-rounded people who love learning and construct their knowledge through experience.

But that's a lofty (and sometimes overwhelming) goal, right?  I mean how do I possibly create a new learning experience every day?  I could (and still do) scour the Internet and Pinterest, but I was spending so. much. time. trying to do that.  After flipping through their binders, seeing their booth, talking with them both several times - I felt a calm wash over me.  I can't explain it in any other way.  I just felt the peace of the Holy Spirit.  My kids don't need to sit with flash cards and phonics worksheets - they need to read books and ask questions and make their own books.

Photo credit:
Their booth included two sensory tables - one with scented play dough and nature items, the other with red and white water beads and containers.  My kids were enthralled.  They played and played and played - calmly and creatively.  My three year old made water bead cupcakes and muffins and pancakes. My five year old made a "forest" with play dough, branches, and pine cones. Imagination at work!

Photo Credit:

Before I start here, let me be clear: I'm not paid in any way to say these things. I need to share the A Year of Playing Skillfully curriculum with you. They took what I know kids need - new experiences - and put it into a curriculum.  This is constructed knowledge at its finest. And I don't have to spend hours developing objectives and activities or hunting down How-to tips and coordinating recipes (and then getting behind and spending a couple of days mostly with sit-down activities and workbooks).  I saved myself SO much time.  The full curriculum covers September-May. It is comprehensive (but not overwhelming).  And reusable!  Because it's an experiential process it won't look the exact same two years in a row.  I have shared it with several other moms so far and their responses were so similar I was surprised: It's so simple but I never even thought of this stuff!

I also encourage you to take a look at their book (which I will review in full and giveaway soon) - The Homegrown Preschooler.  It isn't nearly as comprehensive as the curriculum, but I've started blending ideas from the book into our life.  So helpful!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Texas Homeschool Convention

Last week we drove up to Forth Worth for our first homeschool convention, the Great Homeschool Convention - Texas.  I was already excited but upon arrival it was clear that this was going to be a great time. The (discounted) hotel was filled with other homeschool families and kids. Everyone was so kind and the Hilton was beautiful. 

As for the convention, it was certainly difficult to manage two small children while trying to attend lectures.  However, for those lectures I wasn't able to attend I was able to visit their booths.  At first it was a little overwhelming with one expert telling me to start teaching reading at age 3 and another telling me age 8, but I am thankful that attended just the right lecture at just the right time that helped me sort it all out.  And for the good Lord above leading my heart to just the right thing for our family.

It wasn't all just info and curriculum though.  Joe explored the Constructive Playthings booth, which he was unwilling to leave. I can't wait to get some Magna-Tiles and make a light "table".  We popped into Bill of Rights Institute and Doodles Ave. for a bit of exploration on the "good citizenship" front.  I picked up several goodies for teaching high school government and a fun Lone Star coloring book for Lil' Hoot.  She loves it.  And Setria James is lovely.  Support her at Amazon!  I also had a lovely chat with the ladies at Raddish. Their boxes make great gifts!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I Spy Quilt

Finally!  It's finally done. I had forgotten how long quilting takes.  It's really more for process people.  I think I will commit myself only to quilting for dolls or pillows in the future.  (Remind me of this when I forget.)  It's certainly not perfect, but my children enjoy it and it serves its purpose.  For this entire year I made a commitment to use as much as possible from my stash.  The sashing, binding, batting, and backing all came from my stash.  Slowly but surely I am reclaiming storage space.

For the backing I used some leftover flannel and minky.  I don't think I will ever try that again.  It bunched and pulled and wiggled.  In the end it worked out fine but just wasn't as pretty as I like.

I know in my last sewing post I promised give-aways.  Between quilting and bringing our daughter home for school I haven't had as much time for stash reduction as I wanted.  Stay tuned and in the next few weeks I have many fun things to share and give away for both homeschool and crafts.