Grade One Favorites [A Homeschool Post]

Our little guy is turning six this week, so I thought I would focus this post on his age/grade. Today I am going to share a few of our favorite curriculums that have been a huge hit (and success I might add) with our little wiggler.

Now to say our little guy has a hard time sitting still is a gross understatement. He has to move, period. Even though I don’t have my own full size gym in our house, I try to make sure we are moving from station to station, rather than sitting at one place for all of his lesson plans. We start the day off in the family room with the other kids and begin our bible reading and devotion time (5-1o min). I then go downstairs to our school room/toy room to do his letters on the wall. I have the full alphabet set up on the wall, so we go over the letters, the sounds they make and do it again- backwards. This is also a bonus math lesson. You see, I have a secret weapon- each and every letter he gets correct (whatever we are doing that day such as long or short vowels etc.) he receives a mini M&M. When we are finished his lesson on letters he counts out his mini M&M’s in victory (honestly choc. chips and mini marshmallows from the pantry work in a pinch too, ha!)

2016-614

2016-426

If there is one thing that this kiddo needs, it is motivation and a reason why he needs to know this stuff. Logic at its finest. I am grateful rewards work in my favor…

When we are finished with that we move upstairs to the kitchen table, and begin his all-time favorite subject- Math. He is wired for numbers so I rarely need to help and am able to clean up the kitchen as he is working on his lesson. He completes 2-3 pages every day of Math-U-See’s ‘Primer’. He is halfway through so I imagine we will begin ‘Alpha’ mid-winter. You can find Math-U-See curriculum HERE for more information.

mathuseewoodbox s-l225

Ok, I know this is supposed to be “Favorites” but I didn’t say they would all be the little guy’s fav’s! The next subject we move onto is his writing. We use ‘Handwriting Without Tears’ and have been quite happy with it.

17_834_thumb

21_742_thumb

Now here comes his favorite part of the day… READING EGGS.

This is done online and covers phonics and reading lessons. We both LOVE it. The more lessons you complete, the more “eggs” you crack and unlock new games and rewards. win-win. Bonus- I can keep track of his progress and stats on the parent/teacher page.

fb-thumb reading_eggs4 screen-shot-2015-06-02-at-8_35_56-pm-wa4dyn

These sum up a few of the favorites we enjoy. I have not mentioned our  weekly science, geography and history lessons we do because there is only so much time I have to sneak away and complete one post. If you are curious about these other subjects shoot me a message or comment.

Thanks for checking in!

Amber

 

Relationship Vs. Academics {In a homeschooling environment}

One thing I love about connecting with other homeschooling parents is the reminder it brings to us on why we are choosing to educate our kids in the first place.

I have to admit, it is easy to lose sight of the end goal. When I am consumed with the day-to-day busyness of making sure I am not “failing” my kids by the public Board of Education standards, I can forget the masterpiece picture at hand.

As the new math lesson is being introduced and we go through it again and again all week- from various angles and the one child is still not grasping it and the others are…

When the child continues to struggle with reading and you have poured out hour upon hour of teaching, and trying again, which then creates a strong dislike for reading by the student…

The seemingly endless poor attitudes and whining at every subject and school assignment…

Constant bickering, fighting and horsing-around that never ceases when we all are living under the same roof and schooling under that same roof…

It is tiring. It is easy to crawl back under the covers in the morning instead of facing the day, or to just give in again because the fight has gone out of you. As homeschooling parents we also face the challenges of the inevitable “burnout” feelings. Then among the midst of these feelings a ray of sunlight creeps in-

Our oldest son graciously drops everything he is doing to teach a younger sibling a new technique…

Our oldest daughter hears of someone in need and immediately leaves to lend a helping hand. For the whole day, foregoing a previously arranged play date and her own workload. Without compliant and on her own accord with a joyful serving attitude.

Our middle son wanting to please and serve starts folding load after load of linen, and then proceeds to teach his younger sisters how to fold so they too can help.

Our youngest two selflessly (and maybe a bit miraculously ha!) share their portions and continue scooping cookie after cookie onto the pan.

Our son shares Christ’s love with another little boy who does not know God. He then reads his favorite bible story to him and gifts this little boy who so looks up to him, his very own bible.

focus-of-homeschooling-cultivating-hearts-for-the-lord-quote

It is times like these as parents we need to remember and dearly hold onto. Those glimpses and beautiful rays of light shining into the dark places sheds light on the picture as a whole. Not the here and now, but the very purpose we are put onto this earth. For this is what we were made for.

John 1:5 ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

Psalm 138:8 ‘The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.’

God is incapable of lying. He is Holy. Therefore we can be assured of His promises. Nothing we come across in our days can snuff out Gods light.

Lets thank God for those people in our lives he has placed there to lift us up and point us towards Him. Let us also be willing vessels to lift others up.

School work will always be there.

Housework will always be there.

Life’s demands will always be there.

Our children may not always be here, nor will we always be here to teach them. Lets not let a Godly learning moment pass us by…

I pray we never let academics and what’s important to society -that passes away in the end anyway- get in the way of Gods work and purpose.

As fellow believers in Christ we are ultimately reaching for the same goal, we are fallen and reaching for His grace. Let’s extend that grace to ourselves as He has already done for us.

I am cheering for you!

Amber

“Your God… will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:14-17

Story Of The World {History Curriculum}

It has seemed like forever, right? That I have blogged last that is. My hiatus was never intentional – seems to be a common theme when keeping up with these 5 kids of mine, ha! I can think of no better way to catch up so-to-speak other than to jump right in and give you a glimpse of some of our current curriculum.

 In this post I am focusing on the history curricula we have been using with our 5th, 4th and 1st graders.

Firstly, let me start off by stating I am not being reimbursed or profiting in anyway sharing my testimony; reviewing Story Of the World -a history curriculum.  I am just that impressed by it.

So, what is it?

Story Of The World {Volume One}

339004

 

For those of you that are unfamiliar with ‘Story Of The World’ I will share a bit of background information.

“Volume one covering the first 5000 years of civilization, you’ll be taken on a journey from the Fertile Crescent to the barbarian’s invasion of Rome.” Although it is not a Christian-based curriculum and is written from a secular point of view, the author herself; Susan Wise Bauer is a Christian. Everything written is historically sound with what the bible teaches and what historians have recorded. The very first chapter begins with the Nomads; people who ‘wander’ from place to place. Here is the excerpt from the first chapter in the Activity Book

339055_7_exc_dp 339055_8_exc

 

At the back of the Activity book (Excerpt pictured above) they offer reproducible student pages with correlating activity sheets, coloring pages and maps for every chapter. They also have a test booklet which includes multiple choice questions, true or false and fill in the blanks for each lesson, We switch it up with oral tests and once in awhile use the formal test. By the time we are finished narrating what we have learned, along with the maps and activity sheets I find they already have a solid understanding of the history lesson and the tests unnecessary at that point.

Let me tell you my ingenious secret to accomplishing our history lesson with all 5 kids in the house- audio. Story Of the World offers the series on audio. This is huge folks, I press play and walk away to occupy the twins. The 5th, 4th and 1st grader can then color in their maps and coloring pages while listening to the lesson. My throat doesn’t get sore from reading chapters upon chapters, and no interruptions from the little siblings. The best part is, they are completely enthralled while listening to the audio. Jim Weis does the narrating, he is good. Bonus- they are almost completely done their activities on the lesson by the time the audio chapter is over (approximately 5-7 minutes per lesson) we then go through some oral exercises and do our map work. Story Of the World can be as in depth as you like. The activity book includes a list of books your local library carries, websites and encyclopedia cross-references, and many more resources.

Here is a direct link to the Audio 7 Disc set ‘Story Of The World- Ancient Times’  Volume One –

339047

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading about our latest curriculum favorites! Stay tuned for more posts on our homeschooling journey for the 2016/2017 year!

Amber

The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge Proverbs 18:15

 

 

The {Gift} Of Giving

God sent his Son as the ultimate,

unbeatable gift of all time.

When He was crucified on that cross we were given the jackpot for all creation (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.) We now have the blessing and honor to pour out gifts and good deeds to others, as God has done for us. Take a moment to let this verse sink to the depth of your heart-

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

I recently had the pleasure of watching our 3 year olds delight in picking out a special gift for their cousin, who turned 4 this past month. As we went from store to store picking up groceries and running errands we had needed, their focus was always thinking of another. The gift was picked with thought on what their cousin may like or need. I noticed the more they thought about giving, the more happy they became. The girls were not worried about what they could get, they were excited with the anticipation of giving and sharing in the festivities.

As far back as creation goes, God has delighted in pouring out blessings and gifts. The important thing to note here is God blesses us whether we deserve it or not. He also promises to bless is abundantly more when we choose to have an open hand to others.

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. Luke 6:38

Oh how important it is to give a gift to others! Gifts come in many packages-

  • Friendship
  • Prayer
  • Pearls of Wisdom
  • Grace
  • A kind word
  • Sending a card
  • Flowers to someone who needs cheering
  • Coffee shared
  • Hospitality
  • Bringing a meal to a busy family
  • A material blessing/gift just because
  • An appreciation note or thank you gift*

The last one gave me food for thought as it came to mind, how many people bless the lives of my children and my family (myself included) and do I show my appreciation enough? I certainly feel thankful and appreciative. However, have I voiced those feelings in the right direction or physically showed it?

I will always remember my friends story- Her husband was working long hours and had no time to go out and buy flowers for a special occasion, as unconventional as it may seem he gave cash to his wife and asked her to pick out a nice bouquet of flowers for herself. In the flower shop she picked out a dozen roses, instead of going home, cutting the stems and placing them in water to be admired, she turned around and gave them away- to her sister who she felt would be even more blessed by them. The gift that kept giving. A selfless action that left a heartwarming memory for everyone involved.

A gift comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is as simple as a compliment or as costly as a pretty ornament in thought of a friend or mother. There is a time and place for either, so long as we are thinking of others. God calls us to be good stewards and wise with our money, one factor to remember also is that He calls us to give above our budgeting and tithing. It’s easy to become tunnel-visioned to the point that it hinders the Holy Spirit’s prompting to bless another when you feel called to do so. The apostle Paul was greatly blessed by others who sent gifts from afar to help him during his ministry and while imprisoned, he then credited it to their account encouraging them in their giving.

Philippians 4:15-17

And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you send a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

-Amber


 

Benevolent

How do I want to be treated? How am I treated? I have been mulling these questions over for the past few days.

To be honest, I receive much more grace than I deserve; I am loved, cherished and always forgiven. Of course there are altercations with my kids that I have been mistreated or undeservingly judged (fairness is an illusion). However, when I analyze my own actions and heart  -I don’t line up with the gracious, benevolent mother I want to be. I have been asking myself how I would react- or at least feel- if I were constantly told I am not doing it right, half listened to, and maybe sternly told to go away for awhile because I’ve had enough antics for one day (I am wincing at my own words that are so often spoken to my own children in frustration)

Then I think of how adored and loved I am by God! When I picture Jesus surrounded by the little children, the words depicted in the Bible, it gives a clear picture of what he thinks of those youngsters and all those who belong to Him. They are not unimportant or told to go away. The very opposite happened in fact and we are told to be more like those children. God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10). I want to be a benevolent mom, even when my kids’ behaviour doesn’t warrant it.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

I have read this verse many, many times, yet I have never seen it in the light that it should be applied to our children. How did I miss that? Of course it should! I practice forgiving strangers with road rage, others who may have unwittingly (or wittingly) hurt me and when reading Ephesians 4:32 I didn’t automatically think of my children. When attitudes abound and fights break loose sometimes what is needed is kindness and grace to turn around that behaviour versus stern discipline training.

With everything there needs to be a balance, and I think that is the hardest to figure out. When to be benevolent and when to stand firm and use grit. Bravely exercising justice rather than grace. Neither overreacting or under-reacting. I am in a quandary figuring that one out but, I have to start somewhere. So I have recently developed a 3-tier system,

1.) Minor Infractions- Practice grace, possibly letting them figure it out amongst themselves or with an explanation of why that may hurt someone or be unkind.

2.) Medium Infractions- Something kind said about the person or thing in question, along with an appropriate chore associated with the wrong-doing. (This may take awhile to resume whatever they happened to be doing, depending on the length of time it takes to come up something kind and sincere to say)

3.) Large Infractions- something that is harming their character and serious enough will require discipline from both parents and may take a day or so to figure out an appropriate and lengthy discipline technique to correct, taking time to think and pray on it is always the best option rather than hastily saying ‘you are grounded for 2 weeks and will have no friends or cousins over!’ Sometimes immediate discipline for larger infractions backfire because I can’t hold up my end of the punishment due to events outside my control.

The key I have found is being aware of the situation, which is easier said than done while being a busy mom to 5 young children. I have to be intentional and present while raising my kids by viewing the training up of a child as an all-important-high-paying-executive-job with benefits and bonuses. Don’t we all work diligently and harder knowing there will be a big pay-out at the end? I know I do! So I need to start putting that mindset into practice and keep looking ahead, treating my kids as the people they are (God’s child) Looking them straight in the eye and valuing who they are and what they have to say.

Happy week my friends,

Amber

I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)