Sunday, November 11, 2012

Homeschooling Room Re-Do

Homeschool Room Re-Do

I am so excited to share this post with you! The first weekend in Sept (yes, I know it's November) Dan went out of town to pick up Patrick who had been spending a few weeks in IL with my parents. I asked my sister Karen to watch David and Derek for a few days so I could have a much needed break from parenting, homeschooling, being the mama taxi and meeting the needs of my husband and family. (hey, everyone needs a break now and then) I made my lists, prioritized them, started over, made more lists, made more lists and MORE lists, and before long, I had way more planned than I could get done in a MONTH alone. So I settled on one large project and made it my focus. Our school room had been needing "something" for a while. It was crowded, cluttery, disorganized and discouraging to be in for any length of time. "Something" needed to be done. So I endevoured to do that particular something. *winks*
Once all of the Man Crew was off to their adventures without me, I settled in with some music, some snacks, a new Gaither DVD, and my camera. I'm sure I annoyed everyone on my FB friends list by posting every 5 minutes for a few hours. I am not used to being alone (as in, it's been 10 years since I've been alone for more than a few hours~ seriously) so once I got the hang of that, I got down to business. I started with the pre-requisite BEFORE pictures that looks like this *cringe*

I hope this is a No Judgement Zone :) I know. Clutter clutter clutter. Anywho, after that, I just scooped up every single thing in the room and drug it to the LR. I piled all the papers, and books, and games, and manipulatives on the couch, chairs and floor and started going through every single thing. THAT took 2 full days. It was slow going but so worth doing. I pulled almost 1/2 of the things out to either be put into storage (boys old school papers and projects) sold on eBay or to homeschooling friends, or just be tossed, tossed, tossed. It felt GOOD! I cleaned the room, the furniture and the walls. I also rearranged so that the room was more open and airy. So, here is the fruit of my labors. 3 days well spent in my opinion. The boys are able to find all of their things at a moment's notice. Plenty of things went to other families to bless them. The room is clean and useable, we almost never have to LOOK for somewhere to sit down our papers these days, and that's ALWAYS a good thing!

Oh, and we even finally had room for all my encouraging posters, informative reminders and seasonal decorations.
I know, I'm a super dork to get so excited about a clean and well organized space, but I'm ok with that. :) Being able to effectively corral our homeschooling 'schtuff' has always eluded me, so it's a big deal. LOL
Blessings, ~K~

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truth in the Tinsel~ Christmas/Advent ideas

I recently found this cute little book called Truth in the Tinsel. It's an e-book for the younger set of kiddos that shares a verse and a craft for each day of Advent to bring the focus back to the birth of the Savior instead of on MORE MORE, treats, Santa. I purchased it and can not wait for the right time to start. I like that she offers either a list of supplies to make all the crafts so you can be sure to have them on hand, or a printable version of the craft for each day so even the busiest of families (or those with MANY small hands) can enjoy the book. Check it out over at   Enjoy!
     Blessings, ~K~

The Man Crew 2012-2013 Homeschooling Update

Homeschooling Overview for 2012-2013 School Year

Hi friends! Just a little update now that school is in full swing this year. While we continue to home school, we remember it's a journey, not a destination so we revise our plans a bit each year depending on work circumstances, the boys' ability to work alone or in pairs, where we need to work harder, whether a particular curriculum is meeting our needs, etc. Plus, we pray like crazy over it and ask the Lord to fill the gaps, as there are sure to be some along the way.
So let's cover a few things that are the same as last year, then we will mention a few new things for this school year.
*Same curriculum for all. D is using Blessed is the Man, an independent unit study approach that allows him much freedom in choosing his own assignments, but that keeps him focused on the Lord and his education. P is working through what will be his last year in MFW and is using the Creation to the Greeks set. DT is enjoying MFW as well and even though he's officially in second grade, we're re-doing last years 1st grade to reinforce some concepts that he's still struggling with in phonics.
*Same scheduling time blocks as last year. D and P work independently in the mornings while I work one on one with DT. Then in the afternoon, DT rests/plays quietly and I work with D and P.
*We have the same goals as well. We want our boys to have a firm foundation not only in the basics of education but to be well grounded in the Bible, character traits and loving their neighbors.
A few things that are NOT the SAME~
*We are not following the same pattern of working like crazy forever and a day, and then taking a super long break during the holidays. While we've enjoyed this routine and it was most definitely a must while I was working nights at Kohl's, I don't work at night anymore and the break was too long and allowed us to get too far off track in our studies and out of the good study habits we'd been working on so long. So this year, we are following a 6 weeks on/1 week off routine that allows us plenty of wiggle room when we need it, keeps us from getting burnt out on school before having a break, and doesn't let our good habits slip during the breaks.
*We've also returned to a 5 day school week, whether Dan is working 4 day weeks or not. The boys are old enough now to focus on school even when Dan is home :) And it gives us a little wiggle room for when we want to join our friends at the park for a picnic and some free time. DT's curriculum calls for one day of exploring nature, so he takes along his microscope and digs for bugs, leaves and such while he's playing.
*My parents will be joining us for the winter months. From early December until late April/early May, so we are really looking forward to that. My mom is already chomping at the bit to dig in and do school with the boys and has spent hours scouring books and Internet sites looking for fun learning activities. It will be such a treat for us to have them with us!
*D and P have added Apologia Science to their studies and are enjoying the experiments already. They are also working on their cooperative skills since I am asking them to work through everything together.
*DT has added tutoring to his repertoire of activities and enjoys his few hours with Aunt Jodi's office each week.
*We enjoyed our first ever home school Co-Op this fall and while P balked at the change in routine (he's such a homebody at times) I think P and DT enjoyed it. D opted out for the fall session. I have already signed up for the spring session and am looking forward to it very much.
*Last but decidedly NOT least in the new category is an actual HOME SCHOOL section in the monthly budget. Since we are nearly done buying curriculum forever (hurray for re-using curriculum) we can afford to spend a little bit each month on a new lapbook, a field trip, some new books, new manipulatives or a day of fun that's home school related instead of using a large chunk of the tax refund to buy new curriculum for all the boys. I'm pretty excited about this! This month's addition was D and P's Apologia curriculum. Next month's purchases will probably be some crafting supplies to make holiday gifts. :)
I think that sums up our school year pretty well. Things are rolling along smoothly most days and we are getting much done. Good stuff!
Blessings, ~K~

Fun Fall Activity/Snack Idea (super easy)

DT and I just came up with this one together. Take a handful of candy corn and set it up like a bowling game. Then toss a Nerf dart at it to see how many you can knock down in one pass. When you get a strike, you can eat one! How is that easy peasy and super fun! You are working on fine and gross motor skills, plus counting backwards/subtraction. Check it out. He's having a ball!
Start with a handful of candy corn and a cheesy grinning kiddo

Then, line it up with a Nerf dart (or other small non-harmful object~ like a crumpled ball of paper or a ping pong ball
Knock them all down, eat one, recount and start over!

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!!
       Blessings, ~K~

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coming soon!

Just a little warning :) Coming soon, are posts about the wonderful homeschool room re-do, the first days of school, some homeschooling silliness and our first week-long break. Soon, I promise!

First Field Trip for the MeYeR Man Crew

Next up was finding our picnic tables, a race to the top of the pumpkin colored tire pyramid and then on to the tricycles. The BIGS even love this even though it's geared for the younger set. By now the winds were picking up and poor Jodi was freezing.

We played at the ducky races for quite some time before moving on to the giant slides. We frolicked and played the day away, stopping only for lunch and a quick classroom chat about nuts local to our area, peanuts, pinons, pistachios, and of course, pecans.

The BIGS enjoyed the corn maze while the littles and I went back to the slides. We all gathered back up for a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins.

Woohoo! Once that was done, Jodi needed to scamper off to work, and I took ALL the boys home since we were all drenched and covered in mud. Just the way boys should be, right? All in all, we had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed our first field trip of the year. *sigh* Good stuff!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Turtle Lapbook Project

I bought a cute little lapbook for DT the other day from  Cute little one about turtles. Cost 50 cents I think. We put it together in about 2 hours over the course of 2 days. Fun stuff! Anywho, let's dig right in, shall we?
Front Cover is simply a picture you cut out, write your name on, and glue down. This is a great starter labook project because it's only one folder. None of that fancy, schmancy 3 folder to fold, cut, glue, staple, etc.
Derek worked hard on this and enjoyed it. I read to him from the little turtle info packet while he diligently colored, cut out and glued it all together. I even learned a few things!
Here it is with all the cut outs glued in and wide open. Some of the words I wrote the answer in for him and had him copy it. Others, he just drew a picture.
 The finished product. Oh my, did we make a paper scrap mess on the table. But we won't talk about that. Shhh! LOL, all you need is some scissors, a file folder, a glue stick and some crayons. Things everyone has laying around the house.
Here's a close up of the info that's inside. I printed one out for myself to make a 'teacher copy' and quite frankly, I enjoyed it myself!
So there ya go, a little turtle tutorial : ) Enjoy!
Here's the direct link if you are interested. Ta Da!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Homeschooling Play Day at the Park

 A fun day at the park. As one of those fun homeschooling perks, we can just cancel school and head to the park when the mood strikes. Swinging, swordplay and Sonic. Life is good! The boys had a ball!

Hmmm, some of those aren't as good as I had hoped! Well, it serves them right for not cooperating. I'm posting them anyway. Ha ha ha!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Is it Just Me?

I don't know why, but April always seems to run me over. And over. And over. I think it's just that it's the culmination of lots of things at our house. Holidays, birthdays, moving (we always seem to be moving in the spring recently, ugh) travelling with the gymnastics team, etc. Anywho, now that all those things have passed, I quit almost all of my jobs and only work 5 hours a week at the gym...and now Dan is unemployed and underfoot. (inset hysterical, maniacal laughter here) *sigh* Isn't that always the way? Suffice to say that we got one whole day of school accomplished last week, and this week isn't looking too good either. I think I'm going to wrangle Dan into giving car maintenance lessons. Change a tire, check the oil, change oil, etc. That way, 2 birds with one stone, right? ; ) At any rate, I think I've decided that instead of trying to CRAM the rest of the school year into the next few months, a feat that would include lots of crying, hysteria and gnashing of teeth, and the kids would be upset too. So I'm going to stretch the current curricula, thus saving money on next year's curriculum, and some sanity, which I can use all I can get. SO, what I'm wondering is, Is it just ME that is struggling with "I don't want to/can't manage to get school done" blues, or it is everyone?
Next week will be better. It will, right? Right. God always provides a way to make it work. <3

Friday, April 13, 2012

Have I Ever Mentioned That I LOVE Homeschooling?

Hey everyone! Just passing through on the run (as usual) and wanted to just say that I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING! We are in Co Springs for the weekend awaiting the gymnastics regionals for David. The glorious part? Homeschool can come along since we've been slacking a bit between the move and all the travelling for gym. David's math CD-Rom came along as well as some library books, puzzle books, and brain games. And, of course, one can always draw a picture and write/narrate a story about our adventures here. *sigh of contentment* Homeschooling rocks. That is all.
Kristy and the Man Crew

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back to School, Back to Posting, Back to Something....or at least I Hope!

Hi everyone. It's been a long break, a long winter, and a long travelling season for gymnastics. Add in a last minute move (so that my parents can live with us) and it's no wonder I've lost my mind, my computer's flash drive, and my lesson planner. HA! At any rate, all is not lost. David (the gymnast has been kicking some heiny at the competitions) Patrick is finding his groove again after the move (this normally takes MUCH longer then 2 weeks) and I think I found my lesson planner today. I do, however, make no promises about ever finding my sanity again ; )
As for school, we managed to get several weeks worth of school done between the middle of January and mid-March. Then we did 2 weeks of inde schooling while I packed like crazy and then got a week of almost spring break the week of the move while David's best friend spent the week with us while he was on spring break. In case you are wondering, inde school is what I call all lessons/activities that do not need adult help. So, things like CD Rom math lessons with the lectures pre-recorded, online videos about the Constitution, quiet reading time each day, educational videos, lots of games and lots of outdoor play. Also things like "how many boxes fit in the truck?" - "Where did Mama put her purse?" - "If I fill this box to the top, can I still pick it up?" These all count as life skills, quite useful in the 'real' world after school. ; )
We are now back to school, David is REALLY loving his math studies this year and is doing quite well in his pre-algebra class and has even already asked if he finishes it early, would I order him another. Why YES, yes I will! Patrick still struggles with 'wanting' to do school, but is putting forth a good effort most days. I do still need to find his math disc, and then get back to curriculum studies. We've been doing some random worksheets I've found in the move, so all is not lost : ) Derek is getting back to his studies as well, although he's got Grma snowed into believing that if he says he doesn't want to do school, he doesn't have to do anything. Oops. I haven't brought his curriculum back out yet either, just so he and Patrick can stay together in their lessons, but I have enough K-1st grade workbooks, manipulatives, games and such to fill at least one whole 5 shelf bookshelf, so he is moving right along. I'm almost worried that he will be ahead once we get back to actual My Father's World studies. But a nice little repeat never hurt anyone anyway, right?
Over all, all is well again in the MeYeR Man Crew Homeschool. I love, love, love homeschooling, even on the tough days. And hopefully, those are over for this year. Travelling is nearly over for the year, the move is over, and we are settled. Life is good.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Homeschooling Hiatus~ Winter 2011

As this Mama has gotten smarter through the years (or lazier, you decide) we've
started taking our long break in the winter months while Mama is working MORE
and LATER hours at her Kohl's job, so that she has a chance to sleep once in a
while, plus we don't end up frustrated by trying to stay on schedule while the
season gets busier and busier. So, we've been on break since the week of
Thanksgiving and we've LOVED it!
Now, before you think I've got and thrownall caution to the wind and that my children are irreparably and irrevocablydamaged, let me also add this. We've done lots of hands on learning, lots ofreading, lots of enjoying family time, and lots of projects. All interspersed
with tons of Christmas music, movies and activities. We've done puzzles and
games, played outside while the weather was nice (and even when it wasn't) we've
baked, cooked and crafted our way through the season. We've even thrown in a
random math or grammar lesson as the whim struck. And yes, at least one of my
boys ASKED for school work so he wouldn't get behind. Can I get an "AMEN"?
Soa quick update on each of the boys and I'll close. (I'm working on not being so
long winded, wish me luck) David is in the 9th grade and enjoying the
opportunity to pick his own projects. Right now he's working his way through the
Famous Men of Greece book and the Greenleaf Guide to the same. He's LOVING it!!
Next up, Famous Men of Rome. Earlier this year, he memorized the entire first
book of Genesis. I should mention that I'm loving this curriculum as well. He
gets to pick the projects, but they are all appropriate, Bible based, God
fearing choices. Patrick is working through his My Father's World Creation to
the Greeks package, but he and I had a rough start this year, so we may need to
go back and redo some of the lessons. His writing, grammar and math are
excelling, so I'm thrilled about that! Derek is coasting through his 1st grade
year, and while he LOVES to be read to, and to spend hours poring over books, he
is still showing little interest in actually learning to read for himself.
However, I am not worrying over it, he will read when he is ready. His
handwriting/scissors skills are improving recently, as if his fine motor skills
are finally catching up to his gross motor skills.
So truly, good news on all fronts and that's always a good feeling. I'll post more later about some of the projects and activities we enjoyed over the break, along with some pictures.
Thanks for your support!