Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our 2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

I have had a lot of fun planning our school year this year.  In fact, I spent most of my summer planning.  My main reason for all the extra planning was to be as organized and prepared as possible.  You see this year I am going from having only 2 kids officially in school to 4!  I now have an 8th grader, 7th grader, Kindergartner, and a Pre-K student.

Here is what my children will be using this school year.

For my 7th and 8th grader


The past couple years I have pretty much neglected Bible time in my homeschool.  I am realizing more and more the importance of putting God first in everything and this includes our homeschool day!  I have now vamped our schedule so morning devotions and prayer are first.  I really like this devotional.  It is simple, yet powerful and geared towards older children.  Along with our daily devotion, my children will also be memorizing a different scripture verse each week.


This is our 5th year using Teaching Textbooks. I can't say enough good things about it!  My kids love it, they learn a lot and I don't have to do much.  What more can you ask for, right?

Language Arts

I have been on the look out for a simple, yet effective grammar curriculum.  I was so excited when a friend told me about Queen Homeschool's Language Lessons.  These books are based off the Charlotte Mason method of learning and cover all the basics without being overly repetitive and time consuming.  I am hoping these books will be the answer to our language arts frustration.  So far so good! 


We started the Phonetic Zoo program at the end of  last school year and I am so pleased with it.  I had researched which curriculum was best for older kids and read numerous good reviews of this program. It is yet another simple but effective curriculum and only takes minutes to complete each day!


A family member passed on her Write Shop 1 curriculum to me and I am so excited to try it out.  Both my older children have struggled in their writing.  So far it has been simple to use and seems very thorough.

History & Geography 

Last year I used Abeka's Science curriculum for my older children and was quite pleased with it.  This year I decided to give Abeka's History a try.  I visited one of Abeka's curriculum displays this spring and got to take a good look at this before I bought it.  I think my children are going to enjoy it.  Covers history from creation all the way to the early 21st century.


Again, I really enjoyed Abeka's Science last year and decided to continue with it.  It is simple to teach, covers a wide variety of topics and includes fun experiments for the kids to try. 


Piano Lessons and Meet The Composers 2

Piano-  My kids are on their 5th or 6th year of piano lessons and will continue lessons throughout this year.
Composers- We started this curriculum last year but did not finish it.  This is the 2nd book in this series.  My children finished up the first volume early last year and are eager to get through this second book.  Very interesting, easy lessons and these books each come with a musical cd with a sampling of the composer's works.

Home Economics

Each Wednesday afternoon I will be teaching my daughter a home economics lesson.  To start we will be going through a Proverbs 31 Bible study and then putting together the "Ruby Doll" kit (above left).  This will take several weeks to complete as the study is quite in depth.  Next, we will move on to the "Goldie Doll" kit which has a doll to sew as well as another in depth study on inner beauty.  Then we will also be going through the book Personal Help For Girls put out by Pearables.  Lastly, I will teach my daughter how to sew using a pattern.  I will probably have her sew a simple dress or nightgown for the project.

Extra Curricular

This year for our extra curricular activities we will continue with out homeschool coop every Tuesday afternoon.  This semester my oldest son will take a comics class and a cooking class.  My daughter will take a rag quilt making class as well as an American Girl history class.  I will be teaching a preschool class using my favorite preschool curriculum, Mother Goose Time.  My little boys will be in my class as well as a Lego building class.  Busy, Busy!

For my Pre-K and Kindergartner

Last spring I started researching Kindergarten curriculum and the pros and cons of each.  Along the way the learned so much about the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.  If you are unfamiliar with this method click on the link above to learn more.  I realized with having boys my schooling for them needed to be as hands on as possible.  Boys are natural explorers and Charlotte Mason's method is all about nature studies, art, and using living books as learning aids instead of boring textbooks.  I have heard nothing but good things about My Father's World curriculum which is also CM based.  I decided MFW would be my choice for E & J this year.  It contains 26 unit studies over the course of the school year, each teaching a different letter of the alphabet.  It also integrates math concepts, history, science, and of course language arts!  This curriculum also utilizes many fun children's books to go along with each lesson.  I am going to do my best to blog our school year using this curriculum, so stay tuned!

Years ago I taught my daughter to write using the Handwriting Without Tears program and LOVED it!  Naturally this was my first choice for teaching my little boys to write as well.  Although My Father's World covers handwriting, I wanted to supplement with this.  You see, HWOT not only teaches handwriting but also teaches the steps of properly forming each letter.  They use several hands on methods that are fun for children and really get the steps into their little brains!  It is easy to use and doesn't take a lot of time to teach. This year I am using the Pre-K book for J Bug and the Kindergarten book for Little E and both boys are using the slates, wood pieces and mats.

Once again, yes, My Father's World covers phonics, but for Little E I wanted more.  He is an older Kindergartner (turned 6 last April) and already knows all his letters and sounds.  My Father's World only touches on reading and I really felt my son needed something more aggressive.  I used the entire Hooked on Phonics program from Preschool to 3rd grade with my older children.  It worked great with them and I have had no complaints.  The books are interesting, colorful and fun and the kids loved all the games and sticker charts that came with it.  This year I am using the Kindergarten program with Little E and he already read his first story page yesterday on his first day of school!  He was so proud of himself and was beaming all day about it.

For music I am teaching my boys using KinderBach, a dvd curriculum.  My older two kids used this when they were younger.  Super fun dvd lessons teach note reading and simple piano songs to the young child. Here is a sampling of one of the lessons.


Character Badges

For discipline and behavior (good and bad) I chose to use Character Badges for my boys.  With Character Badges you have charts to track both good and bad behaviors.  Kids can earn badges for good behavior as well as prizes. They also learn some awesome character qualities along the way and scripture verses that back up those qualities.  I am excited to use this! 

Some of the extra curriculum I am using for Kindergarten this year are Rod and Staff preschool/kindergarten workbooks, Mother Goose Time leftovers (I used their curriculum all last year for preschool), Pattern Blocks, Hot Dots, Bedtime Learning Books and lots of beginning readers.

It will be a very busy, but fun filled school year for my children!  I am looking forward to it.  

Want to see how I incorporate all this into the school week while also managing a toddler?  Stay tuned as I will be blogging our school schedule soon.

*Links within this post are not affiliate links. I am not trying to sell any products.  Links are posted simply to direct you to the curriculum should you have interest.* 
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patty's Day at Our House

St. Patrick's Day is never a holiday we seem to prepare for much, but one we all seem to enjoy.  The kids get a kick out of wearing green and I always prepare the traditional corn beef and cabbage dinner.  Over the past few years, I have added the tradition of buying a leprechaun cake and ice cream for dessert.  The day started with preschool for the boys.  As you know Little E and J Bug attend a little Lutheran preschool twice a week (as well as homeschool).  At school everyone wore green, made leprechaun hats, and they got a special treat of shamrock cookies for their snack.

In the evening while they were waiting for dinner Little E decided to use his green play basket and go around finding any toys with green.  J Bug joined in and they had a fun little scavenger hunt.  

Here they are so proud of their green toys.  Even baby N had to join the picture.  I thought this was so cute, because he acted as if he were one of the big boys.  Just look at him!  I love it!

That's a whole lotta green!

After the bigger boys abandoned the basket and hat  Baby N had to try them out.  Tee Hee!

So cute!

This boy cracks me up!

My plate
We also had cream soda with our meal and my hubby had green beer.


(In case your wondering, his shirt says, "Pinch Me, you will not".)

I can't tell whether they like it or not.  

Me and my sweet baby boy

Very excited for dessert!

Our Leprechaun Cake 

Served with mint chocolate chip ice cream

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Miss "I"!

Yesterday our daughter turned 12!  I can hardly believe it myself.  We started the day with her special birthday breakfast.  This year she asked for me to surprise her and so I picked chocolate chip pancakes, heart shaped turkey sausage, cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas and chocolate milk.  My husband took the kids out in the morning to a couple yard sales while I prepared breakfast.  When they got home I had everything ready. Miss "I" was so excited! 

Birthday Breakfast

After she ate we gave her the gift from my mom and also the gift from us.  I don't think my mom realizes my daughter's age, she got her a Barbie!  Look at the shock on her face. Haha!

(And look at my son's face. He is loving it.)

Faking a smile

Oh My!  She was so excited for her new Lego Friends set.  We got her the Heartlake City Pool.  We also got her a 2 year subscription to American Girl magazine.

Going crazy!

Mr. "C" is rolling his eyes at her reaction. Haha!

Building her set....

Last night we also went to dinner at Red Robin.  I didn't bring my camera though.  I seriously need to invest in a nice small camera as my great big DSLR is not practical for carrying around to places like restaurants. Grandpa joined us and we had a nice time.  After dinner we came home and played a couple games with the kids.  My daughterl's official birthday party will be Sunday, April 6th.  We will be having a Little House on the Prairie party. Should be a lot of fun.  Stay tuned for pictures of that.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Date

Since the new year, my husband and I decided to start going on a date once a month.  This is a real treat as for the past, oh, 15 years we have only taken a couple dates per year!  Now that we have a teenage son to babysit, it works out real nice.  I guess there is some advantages to getting old!  Haha.  Tonight we went on a date to a local Irish Pub.  We had a real nice dinner.. I had prime rib, salad, and baked potato.  Our dinner came with a bottle or red wine and we also got blueberry cheesecake for dessert.  So yummy!  The only bad thing about our date was all the TV sets this restaurant has.  Three in the main dining room!  So unnecessary!  So, then towards the end of our dinner the Sports Illustrated Model 50 year anniversary special came on the TV's.  Oh brother!!! Does anyone really want to see a bunch of women in bikinis on their Valentine date???? NOT ME!!!  I was about to complain but we were almost done with our dessert and leaving anyway.  Very uncomfortable though.  After our date we rented the movie, "The Vow".  It was very good and based off a true story!  Here is the trailer in case any of you have not seen it yet.  I highly recommend it. ;-)

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Playdough Fun!

Baby N is now 19 months old and becoming more of a toddler than baby.  He currently loves to play with playdough.  You can hear him shuffling around in the kitchen looking for the playdough and then he brings out a tub and whines until you open it.  Once you open it he goes and gets the rolling pin and some cookie cutters. My little boys got a Thomas the Train up and down coaster for Christmas and "N" loves to use the end of it as his own personal table.  It actually works out perfect for his size too. 

 He is so fun to watch! I just love having a toddler in the house.  Every day is a delight.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Lilla Rose Review and Flexi Clip Giveaway!

If you spend much time at all reading mommy blogs I am sure that the name Lilla Rose is very familiar to you. Lately my girls and I have been enjoying trying new styles out with a couple of the Flexi Clips in both the large size and the mini. In addition to the Flexi-Clips they also offer hair sticks, bobby pins, and hair bands. All of the products are just as beautiful and classy as the next!

Lilla Rose has been in business since 1992 and continues to create beautiful hair accessories. They introduce a new piece each month and offer something for all hair types as their clips come in 7 different sizes. The metal parts of each clip are casted in either brass or zinc making them very strong and durable. They are one piece so there are not lost parts rendering the clip unusable. The clips come in a variety of colors and styles to match any outfit you may have!  With their 90 day sizing guarantee if you order a clip and don't like the way it fit your hair you can exchange it for a different size by simply emailing them!

As you can see Samantha's hair is long and thick (just like mine). I got a large clip for us to share and it fits great! As shown in the collage above this clip is so large it works great for updo's for us. It holds all of our hair securely throughout the day. I love how elegant the clips look and yet they are so easy to use! Even a busy mom of six can create a "fancy" hair do on even the most rushed mornings.

Little Katherine still has pretty fine "little girl" hair. I got her a mini clip so she could wear her Flexi-Clip just like the big girls. This clip is super cute and tiny. It really works well for Kate's hair but doesn't fit anyone else. This would be a great Christmas gift for the little girl in your life.

Sponsoring today's post is Lilla Rose consultant, Melody Detwiler. You can shop the Lilla Rose site with her as your personal consultant here and even register to receive occasional emails about sales and promotions. She is also on Facebook and you can follow her for some great updates, the clip of the month, and lots of style ideas!

Buy It - You can shop for a Lilla Rose clip from Melody Detwiler HERE today and take advantage of her great sale of "buy 3 get one free" just in time for Christmas.

Win it - You may win a Lilla Rose Flexi Clip here on Happily Domestic by using the Rafflecopter widget below.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
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