Saturday, July 23, 2016

New Blog Coming...

I've been working the past few weeks on getting everything switched over from Blogspot to Wordpress.  The new blog will go live on August 1st as well as a new blogging schedule!  I've been putting together some new posts/material that I'm excited to share with y'all! 
Hope your summer has been a lovely one!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2015/16 Homeschool Curriculum

I've been meaning to put this post together for quite awhile.  I want to be able to look back years from now and see what our schooling looked like each year.  And quite a few of you have asked what curriculum we used this past year as well as what our schedule looks like. we go!

This will be a pretty lengthy post, so hang in there with me! :)

When it comes to picking curriculum and figuring out your schedule, I would highly encourage you to make a list of things that are important to you and your family.  This past year I had a 2nd grader, Kindergartner, 4 year old, 2 year old and a three week old.  Yes...three weeks :)  I knew that I wouldn't have a ton of brain power or time to make detailed lesson plans.  I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.  I also knew that being outside, learning hands on and being in the kitchen together baking/cooking were also priorities in our home. 

I honestly would schedule our school days around the weather.  If it was going to be a gorgeous day, we would be outside learning.  This sometimes meant doing our reading on a quilt in the front yard or heading somewhere fun to explore.  We didn't do a science curriculum this year.  Instead I played it by ear and we would learn as we explored.  I followed the kid's lead as far as what they were interested in.  We relied heavily on the library when it came to learning about creatures the kids found or why things worked the way they do.  

One of the things that I wanted us to dig into this year was Texas History. Since I didn't grow up in Texas, I was clueless about a lot of it.  This was by FAR my favorite part of our schooling this year.  We dug deep into Texas History and the Alamo. Every time we went to the library we would pick up new books that had to do with Texas history.  I also utilized YouTube, Google and Pinterest for this.  Our generation is SO BLESSED to have so many wonderful materials right at our finger tips with the click of a button! We ended our study of Texas History/the Alamo by making a weekend trip to San Antonio to see the Alamo.  It was SO AMAZING being able to see the kid's experience a slice of history and KNOW the in depth story behind it.  

/// a few of our weekly adventures throughout the school year ///

/// bits and pieces of our study of the Alamo ///

/// three of our favorite spots this year.  In the kitchen, at the library and outside. ///

I've added the books/curriculum that we used on a daily basis below.  I didn't want to have a lot of lesson planning this year.  The following books made it SUPER simple to take at our own pace. 

Each morning we would gather around the kitchen table before our school started.  Scripture memory was a HUGE part of our schooling this year.  It is so important to our family that our children are soaking up Scripture.  A few of the passages we memorized were:

Psalm 23
Luke 2:1-12
Psalm 100

I loved memorizing bigger chunks of scripture.  I would start by reading the whole passage first.  Then we would memorize a verse at a time.  Making up hand motions were a BIG part of the memorization process for us.  It helped to make it fun!  

We would then read a story out of "the Jesus Storybook Bible" and sometimes a little lesson out of "Thoughts to make your Heart Sing".  Both of these books are written by the same author, Sally Lloyd-Jones.

We LOVE "the Jesus Storybook Bible"!  It brings Scripture to life for the kids and is SO beautifully written.

We love to read aloud in our home.  One of the series we started to work our way through this past school year was the "Little House" series.  I very loosely used "The Prairie Primer" along with our chapter reading.  We would do an activity from this about every 2 weeks or so.  The kid's favorite activity from this book was learning how to make butter like Ma Ingalls did :)
A lot of the activities in this book were for children a bit older.  I could definitely see coming back to this in a few years!

Aside from digging into Texas History this past year, I wanted to delve into something else as well.  "History Stories for Children"by Dr. John Wayland is FANTASTIC.  They are short stories of history that start at the beginning of creation.  At the end of each story there are a series of questions you can ask your kids.  I HIGHLY recommend this book if you're wanting something simple to use for your history.

Last year in the Target Dollar Aisle I found these heavy duty little notebooks called "Chubby Pads".  I found them again this year in the same spot, FYI!

We used these books to journal in throughout the year.  I would always give the kids direction on what they were supposed to journal and then I would let them take over.

Some of the ways we used them:
+printing memory verses
+printing quotes
+drawing a picture of something we had just learned about
+drawing a picture of something that they loved from a field trip

It was fun flipping back through their little notebooks to see how their handwriting/drawing improved through the year!

Because I didn't want to have to lesson plan a ton this past year, I knew workbooks were going to be the perfect fit for us.  We LOVED Horizon curriculum!  The lessons were bright and well explained.  Not too much work and not too little.  We typically did a lesson a day of each subject.
Math, Phonics, Handwriting and Spelling.

I hope this helps for those of you who were wondering what we used this past year!  I'm finishing up two other posts.  One with what my little ones did while we schooled and another that has our "schedule" written out.  And I use the word "schedule" verrrryyyy loosely ;)

If you're a homeschooler, I would love to hear what some of your favorite books or curriculum were that you used this past year!

I'm still up in the air as to what we are going to use this next year.  Because I don't have a newborn anymore, I feel like I have a bit more brain power to delve into something different!  I would LOVE to hear your recommendations!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Vacation: Part 1 of 3

We're back from our family vacation to the Texas coast.  The coast is a special place for our family.  Travis grew up going there for family vacations and to fish, my first vacation with Travis was to the Texas coast and now we take our own family there.  

A big part of our vacation is spent fishing.  Travis has passed his love of it down to our kids.  Colt, Cade and Emma LOVE fishing.  Eloise.... not so much.  She takes a bit after her mother and prefers not to touch them ;)  

Just a few pictures from the beginning of the week...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Wedding Weekend

The end of May my baby brother married his high school sweetheart.  We absolutely ADORE his new wife!  It was such a precious weekend spent with family.  Travis' family is all here in Texas which means we see them frequently.  Whereas my side of the family is spread between Missouri, Colorado and Iowa.  It was such a special time getting to soak up every minute with my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.  The older I get the more I appreciate those relationships.  There is truly nothing better than being around people who truly KNOW you.  
I grew up in a big family. Family gatherings always meant lots of noise (the fact that most of the kids were boys added to the noise factor) and laughter.  It feels normal to me to be around it, but it always makes me smile a bit because I'm sure it's a bit of a shock for all of the in-laws who are marrying into it.  I am so grateful that we have so many people that we can call our family.  It is something that I don't want to ever take for granted.

*the groom to be :)  This handsome man is the baby of our family!  I am so proud of you Timmy!

*my grandparents...  I love you both more than you know!

*the Original 5 in birth order

*the beautiful bride and groom

*I'll give myself an A for effort when it came to a photo of all 5 :)

*Each night we would all gather around my parent's fire pit.  The kids would run around in the yard while the adults visited around the fire.  Such a sweet time!
*The girls were the Flower Girls (along with their cousin Tinley) for the wedding. 

*my kid's have never had their own Coke before. We typically lean towards Sprite or Rootbeer if they're going to have the treat of a soda.  But at the wedding I allowed them to each have their own Coke.  It was the CUTEST. THING I have ever seen watching them sip their Cokes, giggle with delight, burp a little and then sip some more :)