Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Fresh Start

Wow! It's been an exciting year - full of surprises, blessings, and challenges! As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided that in honor of the New Year, I am going to simplify my life. There are many things in my life, that while not all that complicated on their own merit, combined they cause me to miss out on many of the fun things in life.

So those things are being cut out. No turning back now! The first to go is my gift basket business, angelbugbaby. I love doing it, but truthfully, I don't have enough steady customers to justify going on any further. I have a few faithful customers (whom I appreciate more than they will ever know), but for the most part, my customers are sporatic. One here, one there...and it just takes up so much time and money to provide an inventory for just a few folks here and there.

I have loved being able to stretch my creative legs, and put together custom gift baskets that are usually the hit of the party. But it's time to move on to other things. And although this blog was originally designed specifically for angelbugbaby, it quickly morphed into a blog about what I love most anyway - family! So I'm not sad, just redirected! :)

To celebrate this new beginning, I have created a new blog - Six Hearts Over Texas - specifically devoted to our family of six, homeschool adventures, my random ramblings, and other things I learn along the way.

If you're a previous follower, or just browsing and interested, please join me over there!! I pray for nothing but happiness and blessings for each of you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Twas the week after Christmas...

Wow! It's been a wild month!! Whoever said that homeschoolers don't get enough socialization, were OUT OF THEIR MINDS!! We've had Christmas Parties, Park Days, Bowling Days, and Library Days. Somewhere in there, I had to fit in some Christmas shopping, tree decorating, hosting a Christmas Eve dinner with our family on my husband's side, and volunteer work. I think it's fair to say that I'm WHUPPED!

All the stress and excitement associated with Christmas always leaves me feeling sort of lost in the days after. I get very overwhelmed with birthdays and holidays, and it all comes to an end the day after Christmas. I love Christmas time! I love the decorations, the food, the music, the scenery, and sharing stories with the kiddos about the birth of Jesus and what His sacrifice means for us. I love eggnog and sugar cookies! I love getting down my Christmas China, and filling it with Brown Sugar Glazed Ham and Mom's Dressing!

The truth is, I love everything about Christmas...except the end. I hate taking down the's so depressing!! I hate storing all the decorations and the giant inflatable Santa in the front yard. I hate how bare my living room looks without all the strands of cranberry garland and glittery white lights! But most of all....I hate January. I hate the dieting, the bitter cold, and the lack of interesting homeschool arts and crafts ideas!

The only upside to January is that it's the opportunity for a new beginning - a new chance to start anew with resolutions to be better people than we've been in the past. So in an effort to avoid the feeling of hollow emptiness that surrounds me after Christmas, I have decided to JUST GET OVER IT!

I will make a pledge to get off my butt and make some resolutions that I probably won't stick to. I pledge to search the world over for the coolest January crafts (no pun intended) for our homeschool lessons. I pledge to put away the tree and the eggnog, and light a fire and make some cocoa instead. I pledge to continue sharing stories with the children about Jesus and the man he became after his birth.

In the days to come, I will sit down and come up with some things that I will resolve to either begin or end. My life has a lot of room for simplification, and I think that's where I am going to start. I want to figure out the things that I can do without first. Then I will think of some things that I need to focus more of my attention on.

Even though my beloved Christmas season is over, from the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a very Happy and Blessed New Year!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday full week in the new house, and I'm finally starting to get my new kitchen organized! Last week, we lived on Sonic, McD's, and delivered pizza. This week, I actually have groceries in my pantry! Woo Hoo!! Here's my plan for the week - Keeping it Super Simple!!

Sunday - Crockpot Beans and Cornbread

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Rosemary Chicken, Caesar Salad

Wednesday - Pizza at Church

Thursday - Spaghetti / Garlic Bread

Friday - Chili Dogs

Saturday - GAME DAY! Tailgate Fare! :) GO HOGS!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bible Curriculum / Daily Schedule

I was just reading through my last few posts and realized that I didn't post about our Bible lessons that we do every day. This is only because I use a pre-packaged Bible curriculum (Alpha Omega LifePacs) and there's no lesson-writing, planning, etc. So it doesn't go in my Lesson Planner. And when I'm posting about my Learning Objectives, I am typing directly from my Lesson Planner. I apologize! I will try to remember to include them from now on!

I thought now would be a good time to also post our Daily Class Schedule. I welcome you all to share your Class Schedules with me as well! Whether you're a school teacher, or a homeschool teacher, I welcome any and all advice - as long as it's in the spirit of being helpful - not hurtful, of course! :)

Here's what our Daily Schedule looks like:

7:00am - 8:00am: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth/hair.
8:00am - 9:00am: MORNING CHORE HOUR!!
9:00am - 9:10am: Pledge of Allegiance / Music - Patriotic Songbook
9:10am - 9:30am: Bible Lesson
9:30am - 9:40am: Math Drills
9:40am - 10:10am: Math

10:10am - 10:30am: Snack Time

10:30am - 11:15am: Science
11:15am - 1200pm: Spelling

12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch Time

1:00pm - 1:30pm Grammar / Usage / Mechanics
1:30pm - 2:15pm Social Studies
2:15pm - 3:00pm Reading / Quiet Time
3:00pm - 4:00pm Snack Time / Free Time
4:00pm - 5:00pm AFTERNOON CHORE HOUR

As you can see, we're done with school by 3pm every day. Please keep in mind though, that this schedule is a goal, but it's flexible goal. I find that by having a schedule posted on the wall in our school room, that Trey is better able to stay focused on his current lesson. He doesn't have to let his mind wander about - wondering what's coming next.

On the rare occassion that he doesn't get all his work completed in the specified time alottment, I do one of two things: I either 1) let him keep going if it looks like he just needs a little more time, or 2) if it looks like he's shutting down, I'll scratch the whole lesson and come back to it another day.

What's the point in homeschooling if he hates learning as much as he did in public school? The whole point of the decision to homeschool was to rekindle that love of learning that he started out with (as well as keeping him away from that negative socialization factor). So far, he still loves coming to our school room every morning, and he always eagerly asks, "So Mom, what are we going to learn today?!" That one little question alone, makes my heart sing!! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trey's Lesson Plans October 26 - 30

We were supposed to attend a play about the Jackie Robinson Story this morning, but I wasn't feeling well, so we ditched. I felt horrible all day about it, but thankfully Trey and Lindsay had forgotten about it and never mentioned it. I just hate to disappoint them on field trip days. :(

We also have a field trip planned at the Fire Station on Wednesday. We're really looking forward to that. It was a last minute decision to go, so I don't have any fun fire activities officially planned. But seeing as how October is Fire Safety Month, I'm sure I will be able to come up with some fun activities for our specials.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Estimating Sums and Differences using 2 different techniques - Rounding, and Front End Estimation. Practice Multiplication Facts.

Science: The Digestive and Nervous Systems, and How Our Bodies Defend Themselves. Discuss the functions of each system, main parts of each system, why they are important and how they work together with all the other systems studied thus far. Discuss how microorganisms inside our bodies called pathogens cause disease and how our immune system defends us. Discuss various ways we can help our immune system by staying healthy and making good life and food choices. EXPERIMENT: How some diseases can spread. Using flour, dark paper and a hand lens. Dip hand in flour. Shake hands with someone else. Both people press hands to dark paper to show how pathogens (like flour particles) can transfer to others.

Spelling: Focus on spelling words in which the base word drops its final e to add ed, er, or ing.

Grammar: Adjectives and Adverbs

Social Studies: Focus - Northeast Region. Land and water in the NE; Niagra Falls - a place of beauty and power; St. Albans, VT - the NE produces many products, such as maple syrup; Chesapeake Bay - crabs and shellfish help support the economy of the NE region.

Reading Skill Lesson: Drawing Conclusions (Winter of the Snowshoe Hare by Gillian Richardson)

Reading Selection Focus: Marven of the Great North Woods by Kathryn Lasky

Specials: Health/PE (Sense of Smell, Touch), Creative Writing (write your own ghost story), Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (Free Art - Halloween Theme), Cooking (Catty Cupcakes - Halloween)

Lesson Plans Trey- October 12 - October 23

Wow! Have we ever been busy for the past 2 weeks!! Field trips, bowling days, holidays, you name it - it's probably found it's way on our calendar! And we're also still in the last stages of selling our house, so we've had inspectors, realtors, insurance guys, appraisers, and I'm pretty sure someone's grandma, show up unexpectedly for various house-selling-required visits.

October 12 - 16

Monday was Colombus Day, so since the public schools were out for the day, we also took the day off. We did discuss some of the facts that we learned during the prior week's Columbus Unit Study, but for the most part, it was a FREE DAY and we love those!!

Tuesday was our field trip to the Police Department. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs, so we didn't get to do some of the things they had planned for us due to the department having to pull all boots to the streets to help fish people out of ditches.

Bowling Day was Thursday.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Review Comparing Numbers, Order Numbers, Problem Solving, Rounding Numbers. Review Multiplication Facts, and Column Addition/Subtraction.

Science: Begin Study of Human Body Systems. Discuss the Skeletal and Muscular Systems, their functions, and how they work together. Identify the difference between organs, cells, organ systems, and tissues and how they work together. Identify18 different bones in the human body. Discuss the different types of joints and their functions. Review the difference between voluntary and involuntary muscles. Discuss different types of muscles and their functions: Skeletal Muscles, Smooth Muscles, and Cardiac Muscles.

Social Studies: GOOD CITIZENSHIP UNIT: Police and Our Community.

Reading: Discuss Different Poetry Selections

Grammar: Action and Linking Verbs

Spelling: Focus on words with silent letters.

Specials: Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (word line drawing), Map Skills (directions - N,S,E,W + NE, NW, SE, SW), Health/PE (Bowling, Fingerprinting Activity / Stranger Danger - Police Unit Tie-In).

October 19 - 23

We had a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch planned with our homeschool group, however we got rained out, so we were sad we didn't get to go. We are rescheduled for November 11, but that's the day before we close on our house. So we don't know how that will go yet.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Mental Math Strategies (addition/subtraction), Review Multiplication Facts

Science: Continue Unit on Human Body Systems. Focus: Respiratory and Circulatory Systems. Discuss functions and how these systems work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout our bodies. Talk about the heart. Identify the 4 chambers of the heart and their functions. Identify the 3 main parts of the circulatory system, and explain why it is so important to move blood through the body.

Spelling: Review Lessons 7 - 11. Cumulative Test on 100 Review Words

Grammar: Main Verbs and Helping Verbs / Irregular Verbs - Present, Past, and Past Participles

Social Studies: Regions of the United States, Regional Resources, Climate

Reading Skill Lesson: Making Judgements

Reading Selection Focus: John Henryby Julius Lester

Specials: Creative Writing (If you could have any X-Men power, what would it be and why), Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (Paper Torn Pumpkins), Cooking (Making Play Dough), Map Skills (continue directional studies).

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Planning...right. With all that's been going on lately, I haven't really been posting about our menu plans. I know, I know...I was a slacker before, so what else is new? MOVING! PACKING! SELLING OUR HOME, AND BUYING A NEW ONE!! All the truly "fun" things in life, designed to drive us crazy. Quite possibly designed specifically by God to test our faith, endurance, strength, and patience. I seriously hope it's the former and not the latter, because if it is...I'm failing miserably!

Here's what we had last week.

Monday: Chili / Frito Pie

Tuesday: Pot Roast / Potatoes, etc.

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas / Salad

Thursday: Lasagna / Salad

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: GAME DAY!!! Tailgating Food: Chips, Southern Queso, Cocktail Sausages, Wings

Sunday: Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry / Rice