A Mother's Account of Learning to Teach Her Children At Home
I am a SAHM and teacher of six beautiful daughters. I decided to create this blog because I needed somewhere to write down what I was and am going through as I learn about the wide world of homeschooling. I figured why not share that process, in case there was anyone that found it as overwhelming as I did! I hope you enjoy your stay and perhaps find something helpful in your own journey!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Devotionals


Haven't posted in a while - my real life has taken over!  Ah, the life of a SAHM homeschooling mama.  I just love it!  Anyways,  quick post today to share a PDF document I created for Christmas time.  A few years ago, my mom gave me a packet of Christmas stories with accompanying scriptures and carols.  We do these for our devotionals at the beginning of each day December 1-24.  I copied the packet my mom gave me into the pc to make it easier to share with family and friends.  It's stored in my Google drive because it's over 100 pages long.  Just follow this link to preview and/or download.  All the songs used are from the LDS Hymnal or the LDS Children's Songbook, except for "We Three Kings of Orient Are."  I have no idea where that one came from, actually, it's just the version I had on hand.  All scriptures are from the LDS standard works. Enjoy!  And have a Merry Christmas!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer School


We do school year round in our house.  But our summer schedule is much more relaxed then during the colder months of the year.  In the summer, we have a basic schedule that we are free to disregard if we decide to spend a day outside in the sun instead.  We sleep in a little longer, stay up a little later, etc.  The only thing set in stone during the summer is morning devotional.

The day starts when everyone is up.  At the latest, I let the girls sleep until 10AM, but we're usually up around 8AM.  We get breakfast and wake-up enough to do our summer devotional routine.

Summer devotional starts with prayer and a hymn.  Then I read from the scriptures to the girls for 10 minutes.  Next we do our memorization boxes.  Finally, we read from our movie book we're currently working on.  That is the only part set in stone.  From our movie book, depending on how we're feeling, we'll typically read anywhere from 10-45 minutes.

The rest of the schedule changes depending on the day, but follows this general format.

The older girls that can read do personal scripture study and from literature I have assigned them for about an hour, while the younger ones spend time reading scripture stories and picture books with me.  If we already have our math curriculum for the next year, the girls do three lessons a week so they don't lose what they've already learned and have to relearn it in the fall.

We also like to do unit studies during the summer that coincide with fieldtrips we're planning or subjects the girls want to study.  We've already done a Japan unit study this summer (I'll post about that later) and plan on an art one next.

When we decide we're done with school for the day, we work together to get chores done quickly and have lunch around noon.  Then we have the rest of the day to pursue whatever perks our interest that day.  Swimming, walks, water parks, arts & crafts, etc. 

After getting the idea from another homeschooling mom in the community, we plan to also try to let the girls have more say in our daily activities this summer.  At the beginning of devotional each day, after prayer, we want to let the girls each pick something they really want to do.  We will try our best to work it in that day or week.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Book & Movie List

List updated: 23 June 2013
During the summer months, and sometimes during the school year - we like to do what we call Movie Literature. We read literature together as a family that has been turned into movies and do book reports on them. The kids are allowed to do whatever kind of book report they want (written, oral, demonstration, etc.), as long as they can show that they paid attention and followed the story. After everyone has completed their book reports, we have a movie night and watch the movie. When it's a series of books, I change up things a bit. If it is a series of pictures books, we'll read one a day for a week before watching the movie. If it's something like Spiderwick, where the movie is based on all the books - we'll read them all first. With others that have a movie for each book, like Harry Potter, we read them in order and watch the movies as we complete the books. And then other series that are chapter books, but only have one movie made like Judy Moody, we'll just read the first book in the series. If the kids like it, they can read more in the series on their own. After we're done watching the movie, we discuss differences/similarities wtih the book, which we preferred, and why. Currently, we're working on Pinocchio.

Since I went through all the trouble of compiling a list of books that would work, I thought I'd share them here. This list is by no means comprehensive. It is made up of books/movies that I felt were appropriate for my children. All of the movies are the equivalent of G or PG ratings and available via Netflix (DVD or streaming). Please review any books or movies to make sure they fit within your family's standards before using them. The books are linked to Amazon, where you can find the author and publishing information. Also, some of the movies do not have the same name as the book. If that is the case, I've included the movie's name after the book title. For anyone that is interested, I have a PDF file available, too.  You can now download it here, instead of me having to e-mail it to everyone individually!  I'd also love to hear of any books that I might have missed! Please let me know if you discover any links are not working! Thanks!

The Adventures of Pinocchio*
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer*, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn* - The Adventures of Huck Finn
Alice - Alice Upside Down
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland*, Through the Looking Glass*
Amazing Adventures from Zoom's Academy - Zoom
Anne of Green Gables*, Anne of Avonlea*
The Ant Bully
The Apple Dumpling Gang
Aquamarine
Around the World in Eighty Days*
Arthur (series)
Arthur And the Minimoys - Arthur And the Invisibles
Babar the Elephant (series)
Baby Sitter's Club (series)
Ballet Shoes
Balloon Farm
Bambi: A Life in the Woods*
Banner in the Sky - Third Man on the Mountain
Basil of Baker Street - The Great Mouse Detective
The Bear
Beauty And the Beast*
Because of Winn-Dixie
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ*
The BFG
Biggles
The Biscuit Eater
Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses*
Black Beauty*
The Black Stallion
Blackbeard's Ghost
The Borrowers - The Secret World of Arrietty
The Brave Little Toaster
Bridge to Terabithia
By the Great Horn Spoon! - The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
Caddie Woodlawn
Call of the Wild*
The Canterville Ghost*
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlotte's Web
Chateau Bon Vivant - Snowball Express
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car
Chrissa Stands Strong: An American Girl
A Christmas Carol*
A Christmas Memory
Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Chronicles of Prydain - The Black Cauldron
Cinderella*
City of Ember
Clifford the Big Red Dog - Clifford's Really Big Movie
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court*
Curious George
The Dark is Rising Sequence
David Copperfield*
Davy Crockett*
A Day with Wilbur Robinson - Meet the Robinsons
Doctor Dolittle*
A Dog of Flanders*
Dream Days* - The Reluctant Dragon
Dumbo, the Flying Elephant
Ella Enchanted
Eloise (series)
Emma*
Eragon
Escape to Witch Mountain
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Five Children & It*
Freaky Friday
The Gnomobile
Great Expectations*
The Guardians of Childhood - Rise of the Guardians
Guardians of Ga'Hoole (series)
Gulliver's Travels*
Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland
Harriet the Spy
Harry Potter - Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban
Hatchet - A Cry in the Wild
Heidi
The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings - Cartoon Version
Holes
Hoot
Horrid Henry (series)
Hotel for Dogs
The House of Dies Drear
How to Eat Fried Worms
How to Train Your Dragon (series)
Howl's Moving Castle
The Hundred and One Dalmatians
The Incredible Journey
The Indian in the Cupboard
Inkheart
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Hugo
The Iron Man - The Iron Giant
Jacob Have I Loved
James and the Giant Peach
Johnny Tremain
A Journey to the Center of the Earth*
Judy MoodyStink (series)
Jumanji, Zathura
The Jungle Book*
Kidnapped*
The King's Damosel - Quest for Camelot
Lassie Come-Home
The Last Unicorn
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow* - The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Little House on the Prairie
Little Lord Fauntleroy*
The Little Prince
A Little Princess*
The Little White Horse - The Secret of Moonacre
Little Women*, Little Men*
The Littles
The Littlest Angel
The Lost Ones - The Island at the Top of the World
Lottie & Lisa - The Parent Trap
Madeline (series)
The Magic Bed Knob, Bonfires and Broomsticks - Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Mars Needs Moms!
Mary Poppins
Matilda
Meet Felicity: An American Girl - Felicity: An American Girl Adventure
Meet Kit: An American Girl - Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Meet Molly: An American Girl - Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front
Meet Samantha: An American Girl - Samantha: An American Girl Holiday
Millions
Miracle on 34th Street
Miss Spider (series)
Misty of Chincoteague - Misty
Monkeys, Go Home
Mother Carey's Chickens* - Summer Magic
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - The Secret of NIMH
My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead
Mulan
My Dog Skip
My Louisiana Sky
My Side of the Mountain
Nancy Drew (series)
The Neverending Story
Nicholas Nickleby*
The Night at the Museum
Nim's Island
Nurse Matilda - Nanny McPhee
The Old Curiosity Shop*
Old Yeller
Oliver Twist*
One Thousand and One Nights* - The Thief of Bagdad & 1001 Arabian Nights
Oz - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz*, The Marvelous Land of Oz* - Return to Oz, Ozma of Oz*
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Peter Pan*
The Pickwick Papers*
Pippi Longstocking
The Polar Express
Pollyanna*
Pride and Prejudice*
The Princess and the Goblin*
The Princess Diaries (series)
The Railway Children*
The Ralph Mouse Collection - The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Ramona (series)
Rapunzel* - Tangled
Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm*
Redwall (series)
The Rescuers
Robinson Crusoe*
Ruby Bridges
The Secret Garden*
A Series of Unfortunate Events (series)
Seuss - The Butter Battle Book, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham - Dr. Seuss on the Loose, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Lorax, The Sneetches & Other Stories - Dr. Seuss on the Loose
The Sheep-Pig - Babe
Shrek!
The Sign of the Beaver - Keeping the Promise
The Snow Queen* (free in ebooks of Hans Christian Anderson collections)
Skellig
Sounder
The Spiderwick Chronicles (series)
Stormbreaker
Stuart Little
Summer of the Monkeys
Swiss Family Robinson
The Sword in the Stone
The Tale of Despereaux
A Tale of Two Cities*
The Thief Lord
Thomasina: The Cat Who Thought She Was God
The Three Musketeers*
Toby Tyler*
Treasure Island*
The Treasure Seekers*
The Trumpet of the Swan
Tuck Everlasting
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea*
The Ugly Dachshund
Uncle Remus & Brer Rabbit* - The Adventures of Brer Rabbit
Undercover Cat - That Darn Cat
The Water Horse
The Water-Babies*
Watership Down
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
The Westing Game - Get a Clue
Where the Red Fern Grows
White Fang*
The Wind in the Willows*
Winnie-the-Pooh
The Witches
The Worst Witch (series)
A Wrinkle in Time
The Year of the Horse - The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit
The Yearling
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus* - Yes, Virginia
*eBook available for free through Project Gutenberg

These are books that are supposed to be released as movies in the next year or so:
Ender's Game (2013)
Ethel and Ernest (TBA 2013)
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (Epic, 2013)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters (2013)
The Phantom Tollbooth (TBA 2013)
Punk Farm (TBA 2014)
Where's Waldo?, series (Where's Waldo, TBA 2013)
Download PDF of list here.
Feel free to share the list, but please do not alter the links.  Thanks!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013-2014 Curriculum and Schedule Plan

It seems that a LOT of people are considering the jump into homeschool lately.  So I've been

getting a lot of questions about what we're planning for the next school year.  I figured, instead of typing from scratch the answer everytime, I should save it somewhere.  And why not here, where I can just refer people and others that may not know me can get ideas as well!  Our school year is much more structured then the summer, though we do school year round.  I'll post about summer school later.  In our family, we have put in order of importance - spiritual growth, worldly knowledge, and housework.


Each day we start with devotional, all of the children participate regardless of age. We start with prayer and the pledge of allegiance. Then I read aloud from the scriptures for 15 minutes. We rotate through the books (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of GreatPrice, Old Testament, and New Testament). Then we work on their memorizationboxes. To finish out our group part of devotional, I read for 10 minutes from whatever novel we're reading as a family.  Finally, the kids that can read do personal scripture study and record their thoughts in their scripture journal. 
 

Rachel is now five and so excited to officially start school.  The state considers her a Kindergartener. Currently, we're finishing up her alphabet - recognizing the letters and knowing their sounds. We just use flash cards and StarFall.com. Once she has that down, we're going to start using Learning to Read Using the Book ofMormon, Vol. 1 and The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. The BoM teaches by memorizing sight words and Ordinary teaches phonics. BoM will count as her personal scripture time each day at the end of devotional. She'll also be starting Saxon math (grade K).
Rose is ten and considered a 5th grader. This fall she'll be starting Saxon math (6/5) and Learning Language Arts Through Literature (PurpleBook). I like LLATL because it rolls all the L.A. lessons into one course. She's also supposed to take an online tech class called Mobile Apps forBeginners. But she'll only be able to take that if we stay in Utah through an online charter school called My Tech High. If we move to Kansas (waiting to hear back on Dad's application), she won't be able to take that.
Rebekah will be 13 and considered to be in the 7th grade. She will be taking Saxon math ( 8/7 w/ PreAlgebra), LLATL (Green Book), and BYU-Independent Study (US History Part 1 & 2). If we stay in Utah, she'll also be taking a Robotics LEGO course through My Tech High.
All of our school age kids do science and history together.  Science is done 3x a week and history is daily.  We're using Real Science-4-Kids(Astronomy) and Story of the World (Vol. 1, Ancient Times) next year. I really would like to try the Latter Day School's Family School program. But it's a bit spendy ($500 per year) and you still have to purchase Story of the World, math and language arts. But the idea of teaching all of my children together is very appealing. Not to mention it was put together by an LDS group that runs a private school based on gospel principles in the Provo area. And everyone that has used it raves about it.
They also study Mandarin through Rosetta Stone, are learning to play piano with the LDS church's keyboard course, and we have a family pass to the local pool that we frequent several times a week. We have an hour and 15 minutes of reading time each day. Forty-five minutes is spent reading literature that I assign (I use lists from Simply Charlotte Mason, The Well Trained Mind, and Thomas Jefferson Ed). Thirty minutes is free reading.  The girls can do their individual lessons in any order they like.  We typically do the group lessons right before or after lunch.  After lunch and group lessons, we work together to get the house in order.  We also do another quick pick-up right before bed so that everything is ready for the next day.

UPDATE:  Doesn't look like Dad got the job in Kansas, so we'll be sticking with MTH for the school year.  Yay!  We changed Rebekah's history, though.  Instead of using BYU Independent Study for American History, we're going to use a combination of two programs.  We're going to do history through literature with Beautiful Feet's Early American and World History Jr. High Pack in conjunction with lapbooks from Homeschool in the Woods' Time Travelers New World Explorers bundle.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorization Boxes

To memorize, we use memorization boxes.  I got the idea from Simply CharlotteMason.com's Scripture Memory System.  The main difference is that we do ours daily (not just Monday-Friday) and we use it for things other than scriptures.  So far, Rebekah & Rose have used it to memorize all thirteen of the Articlesof Faith.  Rebekah also memorized the Young Women's Theme using it.  While I plan to use it for scriptures like the Articles of Faith and Scripture Mastery, I also hope to use it in the future with things like the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, poetry, great literary passages, etc.

 
To put together the memory box, you need index cards, a box for the cards, and something to use as tab dividers.  I've used stick on file folder tabs before.  In this picture, I was using sticky tabs that you can find in the post it section of Wal-mart.  You're going to have four sets of tabs.  The first set is just one tab labeled "Daily."  Then you have a set of two labeled "Even" and "Odd."  The third set is the days of the week that you plan on working on memorization (Monday - Friday for most people).  And the final set is labeled 1-31.

 
Choose the first item you wish to have your child memorize and write it on a card (or have them write it on the card).  Place it in "daily."  Read the card out loud to your student every day.  As they memorize it, have them say it along with you.  Once you feel they are comfortable with it, move it back to the next set.  So, starting out, you'll only have one thing to say at a time.  As you fill it up, you will have more things to go over each day up to a total of four.


Each day, you will read four cards.  One card under daily.  A second card from even or odd, dependent on what day of the month it is.  For example, the 13th of July is an odd day and May 2nd is an even day.  The third card is the day of week and the fourth card is the day of the month (pretty self explanatory).


We do our memorization boxes each morning during devotional.