Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MATH!!!! (inhale, exhale)

From the very second I started looking over my math curriculum choice I began to doubt. I didn't doubt the curriculum....I think it moves at an appropriate pace, and the kids workbooks are super colorful and engaging. I was really quite excited about all my daughter would be learning. Why was I in doubt? Well, I was actually doubting my ability to teach good math skills. My math abilities are seriously lacking. I am very nervous about not giving my littles a good foundation in math. I quickly switched from Horizons to Saxon math before we even started.

Oh Horizons.....
.....how I wanted to use your brightly colored pages.....and your fantastic paced skill learning.....
Oh wait.....ugh....I need more than this from a teacher's manual. I was pretty bummed to see that there was no instructions to tell me HOW to teach a concept. I mean, really I know that K math is pretty simple stuff. BUT I honestly do not know how to go about teaching place value properly. It truly scared me to think that I would have to figure out how to present the material by myself (seriously, I had nightmares about it!).....so I had to find a plan B.
Enter Saxon Math. I used Saxon for a time when I was homeschooled. I vastly preferred it to the BJU we were using before. I will admit that there are no colorful workbook pages (actually all I have is the teacher's manual). I am a little bored with the pace (really slow....and maybe too easy for Annabelle). BUT......
.....look at this lesson plan. See the bold print! It actually tells me what to say!! Yes, it gives me a script. It tells me exactly WHAT to say and HOW to present the material. So, I digress, I will have to trade colorful, fun workbooks for a written script in the Teacher's Manual.
I will say that we are having SO much fun with these lessons. AND it helps me with doing our calendar time. AND (again), Annabelle is now counting very well up to 30! Still mixing up a couple teens, but she is doing great! :)
Introduction to graphing....

Pattern blocks and counting bears....good times.
I have come to the conclusion that this slower pace may just be better for Annabelle (since she really dislikes numbers). Once I gain some teaching confidence I may just switch back to Horizons. As it is, I will probably use it in coordination with Saxon or we will go directly into it when we finish Saxon K (so continue it from April thru August). How is everyone else feeling about their curriculum picks? Good? Bad? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know. :) Happy blogging!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Got 'Off Days' ?

Have you ever just had an off day....shoot, I've had a whole week of off days now. lol I generally try not to complain, but this week I threw myself a royal pity party. I read a blog late last night that had an impact on me. Our Family For His Glory is a new recent favorite read of mine. So uplifting and encouraging. Anyway, in the midst of my pity party I read one of their posts which contained a scripture from Psalm 105:4 "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always"...then in verse 5 it goes on to say, "Remember the wonders He has done...." I must say I was so thankful to the Lord for reaching down and snapping me out of it. We have such a personal God. :)

Anyway, during my pity party week we had no car and no hot water. No hot water meant little to no showers, and no car meant no leaving the house to take a hot shower anywhere (I know I'm such a baby right?!) AND no car just meant no leaving the house period....so we all went a little stir crazy, and I'm still kind of irked about not being able to go garage saling (it's only the highlight of my week...not really...well, maybe sometimes). lol Top that off with some intense personal emotions I'm dealing with and it was the recipe for the perfect storm.

So what do you do with your kiddos when you don't have the motivation to do school? I set up a 'Table o' Fun'....or 'Table o' Mommy isn't feeling up to dealing with you all right now, please stay occupied with these activities while I drink a diet pepsi and wallow in my pity.' lol No, but I really do try to have some things set up for them if I know that I'm going to have an off day. Having a plan for not doing what is planned has helped me tremendously (and them too).
This particular day I set up some dot markers.....
coloring books and crayons.....
and some fun puzzles.

Really you could put anything at this table; play dough, stickers, worksheets, learning toys....seriously the possibilities are endless. I hope that everyone didn't have a self-pity week like I did. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeking His face, and remembering all the wonders He has done.....resting in the knowledge of the perfect peace that only trusting fully in Him can bring. Happy blogging.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garage Sale Treasures: Week 17

Another week down....another week closer to fall and the end of garage sale season here. :( I was talking to Zak this week and I said, "Aren't you glad we live where garage sale season is ending and not just starting to kick into high gear?" He kind of looked at me like I was weird. Alas, I am weird. :) Anyway, onto the good stuff....

This is a really cool interactive map that I found. It was never used. I thought that it would be cool/fun to use for geography purposes. $5
Some fun puzzles. These Starfall puzzles are so cool! There is one for each short vowel sound. To top it off they are made of the most heavy duty cardboard I have ever seen in my life (the boxes too). The wooden giraffe puzzle can be done in two ways: with letters and with numbers. $3.50
Closer look at the Starfall puzzles just because they are so cool!
Books. I was so bummed. One sale (at a huge you HAVE to get your kids out of the car church rummage sale) there was a teacher selling gobs and gobs and gobs of books ranging from .10-.50. Well, seeing how I had my children I couldn't dig through all her stuff (we're seriously talking crates and crates of stuff). Silas was not having it. I only managed to make it through half a crate. :( I was pretty frustrated with the kids. Funny, at a different sale I found some devotionals for me really cheap. That patience one you see...there were about 15 of them in her big box of devos....lol....the Lord must've been trying to tell me something. $4.50
Some clothes for me and Annabelle. $3.00
A huge blessing....found TONS of stuff for the boys. Everything in these pictures were .50 a piece....including the nice warm jammies....and the adorable patchwork GAP pants. 30 good quality items for $15....can't beat that at all.

AND this was an exciting find (although it just looks like a big pile of nothing in this picture). A big tote of Geotrax for $15. It has since been assembled and there is quite a bit of track, 8 vehicles (including train cars, a couple people, road signs/accessories, fire station and train station. This one is getting put up for Christmas. :)

I think that the kids Christmas is pretty much set.....just Annabelle to finish and stockings (which are my favorite part!) I'm linking up to My Life on a Taffy Pull. Stop over there to see other great finds. Happy blogging.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Tot School: Popsicles and Ice Cream

A couple weeks ago we did a quick popsicle/ice cream theme. I was a hot, busy week so it was perfect for a short, fun theme. All printable used came from 2 Teaching Mommies.

Asa did an uppercase/lowercase letter match. He did such a great job. I only had to help him with 2 letters!
I bought these ice cream erasers from a garage sale earlier this summer. Asa used them as counters in this activity.
Popsicle counting cards and clothespins.
This was a fun one for him. He's looking for the right number in this picture.
Some unrelated theme activities included this Build-A-Letter book (we LOVE this book).
His absolute favorite activity of the week was bead sorting. If you've been reading my garage sale posts you may remember that I bought a HUGE bag of beads. I've seen other blogs where littles are sorting beads by color and thought that Asa might enjoy it. Did he ever! He played with this from anywhere between 15 - 25 minutes at a time....sometimes 2-3 times a day!

This is a tray that I set up for Silas. These bowls are from the Dollar Tree. If I had to do this tray again I would use pom poms instead of beads. They were just too hard to get with the spoons.
I turned into a pouring activity instead. lol
This is a popsicle shape matching activity. The top halves have a shape on them and have a matching bottom half.
This was one of Silas' favorites.
He also played with our Creation Blocks.
He also really enjoyed the magna doodle this week.
This has been his color sorting activity for a couple weeks now. We were still working on red and blue at this point. However, every color seems to be yellow to him. :)
Don't be fooled....he's not showing you a blue ball....this is a yellow ball disguised as a blue ball. At least he doesn't have a problem putting them into the matching color bin. :)
For our conclusion of this week we made homemade cookies and cream ice cream....

Mix it.....
Smash it.....
Pour it..... (not specifically in that order)
Freeze it.....
Eat it....yummmm
I will be linking up to 1+1+1=1 and Montessori Monday. Happy blogging! :)


Tot School

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Left to Their Own Devices......

Just wanted to share a few reasons why I shouldn't clean and should constantly follow the kids around every single second of the day ....

Yes, this is every single toy that we own in one big pile!
Silas discovering my 'to put away' hamper

And the icing on the cake.....Silas' new artwork on Annabelle's wall.....

I think that about sums it up. lol Happy blogging.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Linky Parties/Memes/Blog Hops.....

I'm not sure on the correct name. I like them all (although I must admit Meme sounds a bit more sophisticated that what I am lol). I started linking up and seeing my stats raise and that excited me. Then I wondered why it was exciting me. I do not need a gazillion followers or hundreds of comments on every post. Still it is nice to know that someone is reading, and that they like what I did with my littles. It is nice to know that I can encourage and inspire just by blogging our week. There are many times when I've been having a so-so day and I receive a kind comment and it makes me smile. I finally realized just why it excited me. Not because my stats went up, but because I was connecting with others in the outside world who are in the same stage/circumstance of life I am in. For a SAHM that can be hard to do!

I have come to be acquainted with many of these bloggy moms, and would dare even call some friends. I am so glad that I have gotten to know them and would even say that they are a blessing and used by the Lord to encourage and inspire me. In turn I try to do the same for others out there (I love leaving comments!).

Enough sappiness and depth, this is mainly a post to say if you are just jumping into the blog world I encourage you to jump in with both feet and become part of this fun community. So I wanted to give a shout out to my linky parties.....AND a few of my faithful commenters/friends.

Linky Parties:

Tot School
This is where I connect with other fantastic moms of toddlers to exchange ideas
Carisa also has some incredible FREE printables!

Homeschool Creations

This is where I connect with other great moms of preschoolers/5Kers
Jolanthe hase amazing FREE printable too!

Our Country Road

This is a brand new one TODAY! Connect with others who LOVE Pinterest. :)
This is also a great blog full of homeschooling ideas and one of my favorite reads.

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Classified: Mom
I just started linking up to this one a couple weeks ago
Where I find some fun crafty ideas.

One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now
Another one I just joined a couple weeks ago.
Where I find fabulous tray activities.

My Life on a Taffy Pull
(I have never figured out where her garage sale button code is. lol)
Where I connect with people who LOVE to garage sale as much as I do
PLUS, one of my favorite reads.

Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
I haven't linked up to this yet, but will eventually. Kris hosts a Weekly Wrap Up
Great place to connect with homeschool families younger elementary - highschool.

Now a few shout outs to some of my favorite people (minus the two mentioned above).
Beth of From the Hive - super fun and so easy to read, plus I really like her!
Carolyn of Purpose Driven Home - we are pretty much the same person. :)
Charla of Hiding Away in History - a fellow Winter Promise user and really nice.
Amanda of Nursery Rhymes and Fun Times - she is always leaving me sweet comments. :)
Cassie of Engineering Mom - someone I know in real life. New to the blog world, but put together her very own state history curriculum this year, and is switching from traditional textbook teaching to a whole book style of learning (with lapbooking and notebooking).....should be fun to read about. :)

Well, that's it for now....just wanted to send out some love, and encourage others to get connected!