Monday, August 15, 2016

Wow! This summer FLEW by!

Ok, I wanted to do an end of summer post, featuring all of the things we have done since our last post, but HOLY MOLY we have done SO MUCH! LOL. So I will just hit on the highlights and let you in on the changes we have made (we are SO excited to share these with you!).

We read a LOT this summer, and I do mean A LOT. It was HOT, HOT, HOT here in Kansas this summer as it is every year, so we were either in the pool, or in the house. When your in the house you have to entertain yourself and one of the best ways to do that is with a good book. This one came with a treat (Good Thinkin' Mom)!

We played math games that were really fun! Jacob won. Brandon played so many times that he had a "math" casualty LOL Get it? A MATH casualty? Ok,Ok I need to work on my jokes. 

We are always sure to keep fun in our work. Even if we can't keep every day fun and messy, we try to make sure we make at least most of the days out of the ordinary. It keeps smiles on the kids faces and they never know what to expect! 

We had plenty of swim time until our pool decided to give us a ton of trouble. We decided next year we are going to stick to the public pool once a week! We will get more use for half the price! We spent a tone of time and a LOT of money trying to keep that sucker clean. 

Oh my gosh, the kids LOVED this worksheet. I wish I could remember where I found it so I could link you all up. I really need to get better about writing this stuff down *newbie homeschooler here*, I am pretty sure we found this on Pintrest though. The boys did their math review and then checked their answers themselves using the QR code app on the phone and they LOVED LOVED LOVED it! We will be doing more of these this year! 

We managed a second camping trip in, this time at the KOA in the cabin! YAY! It was SO nice! The boys were able to bring a friend along. They spent most of the three days in the pool and ALL THREE of them learned beginner swimming!!!! YOU GO KIDS! 

4th Of July would have normally been a day of school for us as we do not usually take holidays off. We save days off for when Dad is home since he works on the truck. However this 4th of July Dad happened to be home!! YAY! The kids enjoyed spending the day doing boy stuff!

I know this looks like a ton of cuteness mixed in with fun and stuff, but this is SERIOUS Tot School! We worked a hard 30 minutes on colors. As you can see from these pictures, I run a tight ship around here. No ONE was allowed inside the learning area except me and small toddler Ricky, and we worked hard and serious *snicker*.   JUST KIDDING! Ricky and I started playing in the ball pit while I was on break from teaching the other kids. I decided it was a great teaching opportunity. I asked him, "Throw me a pink ball please" and he would try. Sometimes he got it right, sometimes he did not. If he got it right I would jump up and down and act silly, if he did not I would just throw it back, smile and say Try Again. He had a BLAST! Soon Sissy Girl climbed in and started throwing balls, and then Uncle Jake who is NINE joined in the fun *ehem, I mean LEARNING*. 

*Ok, it WAS cute AND FUN!*

We are just beginning to dip our toes into multiplication. Our boys aren't quite ready yet, and we are NOT the kind of parents to push our kids to "keep up" with their peers (as long as they are making progress), so we will keep trying, and when it comes easy and natural to them, then that is when we will keep going with it. Until then, we practice, a LOT with the little numbers. 

Speaking of cute and fun, look at this boy and his masterpiece! His love of colors AND trucks helped him to create THIS! By the way, can you tell he LOVES to paint? It is his favorite! Unless it is on his hands, then he wants it off right NOW! LOL

Oh, this one is one of my FAVORITES! We were/are still studying ancient times. This day we were studying ancient cave paintings. The assignment was to gather things from outside that people might have used back in those times to paint. (flowers, sticks, weeds, etc) No paintbrushes was the point. We also used real mud as some of our paint. We wished we had clay in our area to use like they did back then, but that is not available in our area so I mixed paints that look like clays they might have used back then.  Jacob finished the cave off with vines, that was his OWN touch. I was so very impressed with that detail. I love how this turned out!

This day we had an art assignment to make boats. The boys were given instructions and they were to try to follow the instructions and see if they could follow those instructions and get their boats to float. The instructions were purposely made so that everybody would have to adjust their boat according to the weight of clay, tin foil, etc. that was used on the boat. The boys did not give up and each of them ended up with a floating boat! 

Now that the boys are getting bigger, we are doing less of the younger kid arts and crafts, and starting to get into the "bigger kid" stuff (with the two bigger kids anyway, I still have the grandbabies for the cutsie crafts). This day we were working on a "how to draw" assignment. We were working on a "how to draw an ox (not that I nor my husband thought it looked like an ox but more like a cow)". I thought both of the boys did an excellent job. 

And here we are at August!!!

We just ordered some shirts to take our pictures for this years school pictures. They should be here in about 7 days or so and after that I will pick a nice, not too terribly hot day, to take school pictures for this year. BOY oh boy do our blog pictures need updated LOL!

And finally to share our news with you all. We DID end up trying out that curriculum that we were talking about in our last blog post which you can find HERE. I am happy to say that ALL of us LOVE it! The best part about it is it is 100% FREE of charge. It is amazing!
I love that all of the lessons kind of mix in with each other. For an example: if you are working on Ancient art, you are also working on ancient history, and ancient music. If you are working on a certain area of math, there are worksheets AND websites that work on the same areas, ALL free of charge! It is just a lot of fun. The reading and language arts lessons also work together. It is just an amazing website. I honestly cannot believe this is free of charge. There is a donation button, but that is totally up to you whether or not you donate. I believe in my heart a small donation here and there throughout the year is in order, but that is just my own opinion! 
Just in case you want to check this amazing website out it is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool

*I was NOT asked to do a review, I was not asked to post a link, nor am I affiliated with this website. I did NOT receive compensation of ANY kind for doing so!*

So there you have it! The end of summer and onto our next year of full school days again!
Have fun with YOUR school year!
If YOU have a blog, we would LOVE to follow along and see how your year goes! Just post a link to your blog in the comments!




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thinking of making some changes for this year.

I have not set anything in stone YET, however I am considering switching our curriculum from Time4Learning (which we still LOVE) to Easy Peasy All-in-one-Homeschool.

We still love Time4Learning, however we are paying $15.00 per kiddo per month, and we are only using the Math and Language Arts from the program. We are using outside resources for Science, Social Studies, Bible, History, and anything else we need to teach. We are also filling in gaps that Time4Learning isn't covering. I just can't justify spending that kind of money (not that it is an enormous amount, but for our already struggling family, every penny counts), but if we can cut costs, even just a bit, that is a huge plus, especially when we could be putting that money towards other homeschooling costs, maybe even fun days!

We did do a Math lesson from Easy Peasy today, and although the kids were sad that we were not doing the Time4Learning that they love so much, they couldn't deny that they loved the lesson we were working on. I am going to give the Easy Peasy about a month trial, and see if it fits our family before we decide if we will leave Time4Learning for this year. 

Wish us luck, we will see where this new adventure takes us!!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer School in Full Swing

We have begun Summer School here at Snowdon Homeschool Academy. We are enjoying our shorter school days, our more relaxed schedule, but at the same time, we enjoy knowing we are racking up hours that we can use in the fall and winter when we need some time off! We have done a LOT of school work so far!

We have been studying the states of our country, and in each state we learn about foods of that state. If we happen to enjoy that food, we take the recipe from the lesson plan that we use (provided in the lesson) and make, or in this case bake that food. This weeks lesson was about Maine, and the two food choices were lobster, and blueberries. We don't care for seafood, so we chose to make the Blueberry Muffin recipe. It was delicious!

Road Trip USA Lesson Plan by Confessions of a Homeschooler

We are also going to start working on our cursive writing this summer. Our print is not that great yet, however we have heard that sometimes cursive helps print to improve, so I am hoping this will be the case here. Either way, as long as my boys can write in both print and cursive somewhat legibly when they are adults, I am happy. 

We went on a Field Trip to the Kansas Wetlands. We saw a lot of  beautiful wildlife and pretty nature. We saw some scary snakes too! 

We went on a Camping Trip and took 3 days off of school! How fun! It was a great 3 days. Perfect weather too! Only downfall was we came home with two ticks! 

Working on a Language Arts Extensions Lesson from Time4Learning

Picnic Lunch and a little socialization during the school day! 

On Memorial Day we taught the boys that the Meaning of Memorial Day was not about picnics and camping but of remembering the fallen warriors that served our country. We also wrote letters to soldiers currently serving our country and made a small donation to a program that helps soldiers.

And of course there is P.E time. Right now, the boys want to do nothing but SWIM, SWIM, AND SWIM! LOL I am certain that will wear off with time, but for now, I say, have at it! We will miss the pool in the winter! 

There is lots of reading time. We read for school time, we read for family time! We love to read! 

We visited the Santa Fe Trail Wagon Ruts on our way home from a doctors appointment! Bonus! We might have missed part of the day sitting at the computer to learn, but we got to see something really REALLY cool and learn something we might not have otherwise learned that day! Oh! And we also seen an old school house too, which was VERY cool! 

And we have had lots and lots of play with Ricky while he Tot Schools, he is just REALLY hard to take pictures of because he is SO fast! 

So as you can see we have been VERY busy! If you ever need to contact us, don't hesitate to do so! We are always happy to answer questions about how we do things and what motivates us! We also have a Facebook dedicated to our homeschooling!

Our Homeschooling Journey

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

March/April Update

This is a March AND April in review! We have been quite busy over the last couple of months. Some health stuff came up (including a surgery), we had some house guests for a month, and Dad changed jobs, just to name a FEW of the very many things we have been going through the last two months.

We are loving our Time4Learning curriculum, however, now that we have been homeschooling for awhile and have grown more comfortable, we have also added in some supplements as well. We are using Science4Us for science, we have a subscription to National Geographic to use which comes in very handy for all kinds of things, we also started using Reading Eggs and Math Seeds which has been AMAZING for the kids. The kids actually ASK to do their Reading Eggs and Math Seeds lessons, and that is pretty cool to see! Grandbaby Ricky (and even the big kids but don't tell them that I told you!) use ABC mouse too.

Since we school year round we have gone ahead and cut our days down to half a day now that we are nearing summer. We can do this and still maintain our required days and hours BECAUSE we school year round, we don't take weekends off (instead we take days off when we are sick, have an appointment or when Dad, who is a truck driver, is home from work). This is going over very well with the kids. It is so funny because even though they are not "officially" doing schoolwork, they are always asking me to look something up for them on the computer (questions about bug habitats, how a flower grows, bird species questions, etc, etc,), so they are ALWAYS learning. They are both READING a lot more than they EVER did when they attended public school, and even Jacob who has had the reading delays has come a VERY VERY long way! He is reading EVERYTHING! And he is doing it happily and on his own! Just last year it would take us an hour (and a complete meltdown) to get him to read a short children's book. I am so very pleased at their progress! My ONE AND ONLY concern is math. I know they are both a little bit behind on math, but that is OK. We are going to work on that, and I know it will be fine. I refuse to stress (for more than 5 minutes a day lol) about them falling too far behind on math. In the end, they will be just fine. That I can say with 100% confidence these days.

I know I probably say this at the conclusion of every monthly update, but I will say it again anyway, I am SOOOOOO happy we made this decision to homeschool, I am SOOOOOO glad I stuck it out that first year when I thought for sure I was going to rip my hair out, their hair out and run away to a beach a million miles away (EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.). I am SO glad that I get to spend every day with my kids even if they do drive me completely bonkers on the rare occasions my husband is gone at work for extended periods and I don't get a break after almost two weeks. It did NOT start off easy, it is NOT easy every day, but it IS rewarding and it IS worth it.

My hope in writing these blog posts is that if there is a Mommy who is trying to make the decision whether or not she could homeschool, my answer is YES. YES you can!!! Your child will benefit so much! My kids spent preschool through 1st grade in Public School and I totally regret them going even that long. Had my son not been diagnosed with Autism they would have never started in the first place. I thought by putting the twins in public school it would help the twin with Autism thrive. The doctors said it would be "critical to his social development". Let me tell you, it did nothing but tear him down and make things worse! It took me a YEAR and a half to "fix" him after pulling him from public school and it is a work in progress. Kids at school bullied him and stripped what little self confidence he had. I have worked for TWO years to get that back and he has finally made friends in the neighborhood. My twins are now healthy and happy and SMART little boys, and I (a regular Mom) am teaching them all they need to know! I don't have a degree, hell, I didn't even finish college. I use spell check to write my blog posts and facebook statuses, and the only friends I have live in my computer! I make it work, and my kids are normal, noisy, loud, smart a$$. loving, sometimes spoiled kids!

I wouldn't change this adventure for the world!

Twin 1 is hugging me now, this blog post is much longer than I intended, maybe I can come back and add some pictures after night time cuddles are done and kids are tucked in bed, but for now, Mommy duties call again!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

February In Review

So here is our February In Review Blog Post at long last. February ended with me being in bed sick with a nightmare sinus infection for over a week, so I am a little late in getting this posted.

We are really starting to fully embrace homeschooling. We have found a groove that works for us, the kids have learned that schooling doesn't have to be like "school", and things have just gotten easier lately. We have found a lot of supplement websites that we like, one of our favorites being Reading Eggs. I can't believe it myself, but my kids actually ASK to do school work on the Reading Eggs website! They absolutely love it! *I am NOT being paid to review or promote this website, I am sharing our experience of our own free will and without being asked. We simply want to share what a wonderful experience we have had with this website!* My son Jacob who has a slight developmental delay due to his Autism has shown significant improvement in BOTH his reading AND his math since using this website in addition to the Time4Learning that we use for our main curriculum. We also have subscribed to monthly subscriptions of Little Passports that we use to supplement our Social Studies curriculum. We decided to subscribe to both the USA Edition and the Early Explorers Edition since we have such a wide range of learners in our home. I am really happy with all of the extras that we have added to our daily curriculum. We choose to use a little bit from each website throughout the week to keep things interesting and keep things FUN. The whole reason we brought our kids home to learn was to give them the option of having FUN while learning, I am going to do all I can to make sure I give them every opportunity as long as my financial situation allows that. We are stretching our pocketbooks pretty far, but it is well worth it. 

Here are some other things we did this month:

Tot School with Grandbaby Ricky:
He focused on learning the shape Heart as we celebrated Valentines Day. He played with heart shaped magnet sheets, and heart shape play-doh mats.  

 Ricky worked on the colors Pink and Red by sorting Pom Poms. This also worked on his Fine Motor Skills. 

More Practice with the Heart Shape. This time with Red Pom Poms.

Hedgehog Craft found on Pintrest

 Rice Bin Play. 

 Shape Match. You can find the download for these shape cards here at the Modern Preschool Website. My grandson really enjoys these! 

We Celebrated the twins 9th Birthday!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOYS!!!! 

And the Grandbaby BrayLyn celebrated 3 months! 

Lots of work on the computer, but it is OH, SO FUN! 

And we had a REALLY FUN Valentines Day Party. Complete with Cookie Making and Games!

We still do worksheets, but not nearly as many as we used to. We mostly do computer work these days. :) 

We took a fun field trip to the Space Museum. 

With a stop at the park afterwards. 

And of course, we are always doing art projects!

Going into March we are getting ready to do a storm readiness day/tornado safety day. We are also going to have a fire safety week during the month of March. We *MAY* begin growing our seeds for our flower garden toward the end of the month depending on what the weather does. So far the weather is pretty darn nice and warm. We will see.
Thank you for checking in on us. Let us know if you have any questions or comments!
I can't wait to see what the month of March brings us! See you at the end of the month!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cute Owl Labels for Home Classroom FREEBIE LABELS

Today I made these cute little owl labels for my home classroom. I left the background of the labels blank because it saves a TON on printer ink. I also like that the neutral background color of the label matches the walls of our school room.

If you would like to use these in your home classroom, please feel free to download them for your personal use. Please do not distribute these files. If you would like to share with others, please send them this way so they can download the files for themselves!

You can grab these files from my DROPBOX by clicking the bold print, or on the first image.

As always, thanks for visiting our blog, and be watching for more updates!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday Brandon and Jacob!!!

It is the twin's 9th Birthday today!!!
Happy Birthday to Brandon and Jacob! 

We are celebrating by having a NO school day today and on the 16th we will be taking a trip to the space museum, kids museum, and to a motel with a pool for TWO days!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January in Review

Holy Moly! January is over already! Say it isn't so! I swear the older I get, and the older my kids get, the faster the days go. I wish time would just SLOW DOWN!

Although my boys are definitely feeling cabin fever beginning to set in already, we are making it through the winter blues and blah's. There was definitely a lack of motivation at the end of the month of January that wasn't there at the beginning of the month LOL.

 I am going to try to make February a little bit more fun, and with their Birthday AND a Valentines Day party planned I am sure this month will be a little bit more FUN! is a peek at what we did in JANUARY!

I don't have as many pictures of the boys doing daily school work, because of the "wintery" lighting in the house, the pictures just come out crappy. We will be doing more of those in the summer time.

We got ourselves a couple of new Pen Pals that lives on the other side of the country! We are going to be sending them lots of letters back and forth! We are so excited to get to know them! 

We are working on our Virtual Road Trip Lesson! (While eating frosting) On this day we were learning about the Statue of Liberty! 

Brandon went on a real life Road Trip with Dad and even got to see some snow! Brandon loves to travel with Daddy for work, it's a lot of fun! 

While Brandon was away on a Road Trip, Mom and Jacob had bonding time making Catapults together and fighting off evil ogres together! We made quite the team! Jacob was great at following directions and was even more patient during glue drying times than I thought he would be!

 There is always time to make up school work though, and on this day, we made flags for our Virtual Road Trip Board. We are relearning the Pledge of Allegiance because we were not taught the correct way in school, a lot of very important parts were left out, the most important part "Under God" was completely taken out. Some days we like learning it again, some days not so much. 

Grandbaby/Nephew Ricky is learning to color. He is making decorations for our Valentines Day Party that we are having in February! The party was SUPPOSED to be a surprise, but I left the decorations out on accident before going to bed after shopping late at night, and Brandon found them the next morning. Darn it! Oh well! Now I will have help! 

We have had TWO warm days! One for the park......

One we spent outside having fun with Sissy and Nephew Ricky:

No significant snow yet....the forecast keeps promising, but no such luck. So far, just a dusting!

I am seeing a HUGE improvement in Reading and Writing from BOTH kids. We could use some improvement with Math, but we are going to use summertime to do some practice and to go over some of those basic skills. So far we are sticking with Time4Learning and we plan on doing so for for a long long time. We have been with Time4Learning for awhile now and we really like it. The kids are comfortable with it, and seem to know the program well. The science could use some help, but I am hoping that the upper grades will eventually team up with Science4Us as well and then that will no longer be an issue.
We are still new on our journey, we still have a LOT to learn, but man are we having a blast learning! 

Hope to see you at the end of February! :) We would love to hear from you!