Thursday, September 26, 2013


We have been "homeschooling" (preschool) since Finley was about 13 months...well technically we've been teaching her since she was a newborn. We've always done educational activities at home and when I look back at all we've done; thematic units, crafts, journals, sensory bins, tot trays, etc, I can't believe how much we've done and how quickly the years have passed.
About a year and a half ago we finally made the decision to officially homeschool. That was a hard and stressful decision to make. We prayed about it, talked to fellow homeschoolers, read, researched, prayed, prayed, and prayed! When we finally made the decision, and although scary, it was incredibly peaceful. We know this is what God has called us to and we are loving it! I love being able to be home with my lovies and teach them. We have so much fun....yes, some days I just want to scream/cry/run away, but most days I just look around and can't believe how fun this is.
Here is a breakdown of the kinds of activities we do each day. This is a look into our week. I love reading blog posts about other homeschool families and thought I would post about our experience.  We do year round school and try to school everyday, but at least 4 days a week.
Their cubbies. Each one has a basket with their journals, pencil case with scissors, glue stick, pencils, and sharpener, a binder, transparent dry erase pocket, dry erase board, Horizons math book, and clip board.
 We start our morning with our calendar work. We sing our Days of the Week & Months of the Year songs and the girls pull out their calendar from their purple binders. Finley writes the date and Rowynn traces the number.
Currently we use two different kindergarten curriculums--Investigations and Horizons. Rowynn is able to do most of it and I modify what I need for her. We also have math journals, tons of math manipulatives, and will do other math activities.

Here are two math books that Finley made. In one she counted/colored by 2's & 10's and in the other she counted by 3's & 4's

Here is Rowynn (and Dolly) working on some number identification. I had her circle all of the 6's in one color, then 7's, 8's, 9's and 10's.
Both the girls busy with their Horizons workbooks.
We used our unifix cubles to go apple picking the other day. I grabbed yellow, red, and green and divided the colors between Finley, Rowynn, and myself. We took turns counting our apples and then writing how many we had (I helped Rowynn write 9). Then we talked about who had the most apples, who had the least, we counted our apples by 2's and 3's, and practiced putting them in our basket and adding two colors at a time. We came up with several math sentences.
Measuring with craft sticks--and Investigations game.

Finding her number on a number line.

I taped off several areas of the room and the girls went around measuring and recording.

Rowynn's math game.

An example of our math journal entries.


Reading, Spelling, Phonics

Here are the girls writing and illustrating a story in their journal. Sometimes we use "story starters" to help them. Story starters can be a random collection of toys in a bag or perhaps wooden pieces like below.

We also have three great tracing/dry erase books. One for tracing numbers, one for lowercase letters, and one for uppercase letters. It's great because the girls can work on them independently while I work with the other one. And they get great writing practice in!

Rowynn tracing her numbers

My friend, Maile told me about this great book (top middle pic) and we love it. It has great stories that ask wonderful reading comprehension questions and there are several activities for all the different stories. 

We also have two subscriptions that were gifts, to kids magazines, High Five (Finley loves the hidden pictures) and Ranger Rick Jr. (a great nature/animal magazine).

Words Their Way
I used this book (Words Their Way) in one of my education courses and several months ago Maile reminded me of it. I ordered the teacher's version and we have LOVED it! It has letter sound and picture sorts (that Finley used and now Rowynn is working on) and word family sorts. I usually put up our new words in our pocket chart and Finley spends the week making the words with letter tiles, letter blocks, and magnetic letters, writing them and sorting them. At the end of the week she glues her sort and I give her a spelling test. Rowynn recently started this and all week we practice the letter sound sort and she does worksheets and tracing sheets on those letters. At the end of the week she glues her sort.

Sight Words
Sight words are words that need to be memorized in order for a child to be a more fluent reader. I ordered these dvds and flashcards from Preschool Prep several months ago and am amazed at how quickly Finley has learned her sight words. We watch the dvds after lunch or in the evening and I'll lay out the flashcards for the girls to find as the words appear on the screen. I also made a these worksheets that feature our sight words. One sheet has them find their sight words and color them a certain color and the other has them write and build their words.

I found these great sequencing cards at Mardel's and have some in a pocket chart for the girls to put in order.

 A quick activity for Rowynn who is learning her letters. She had to find the letters on the sticky notes and match them to the chart. We do a lot of letter matching activities and then later letter sound. We have a set of silk leaves with the letters on them, ping pong balls with letters, craft sticks, etc.
Bob Books
We also have Bob Books and little scholastic readers that the girls read. We have two sticker charts for the girls to keep track of their reading. Finley is working on Bob books that feature many of her sight words and word families. Rowynn enjoys reading her little scholastic readers.
They are simple stories that we read to her and she basically memorizes and then reads to us. Great first steps to reading! I also have been having Finley copy a Bob Book to practice writing and punctuation. It's a great independent, quiet activity for her to do.  


Here is Finley copying one of her books and playing a sight word find and seek game.

 We have several kid Bibles that we love to read stories out of. We also have the Read & Share Bible on DVD and the girls love watching the "Jesus movie." Both girls are in Awana and we have a verse, story, and activity that we do every week for Cubbies/Puggles. We have done a Days of Creation unit, which was a big hit and we will do again soon. We also have some felt pieces that we use to recreate bible stories.

Watching the "Jesus Movie."


Classical Conversations
Our main curriculum that we use with Finley is called Classical Conversations. Finley and I go together every Tuesday morning to our CC group and learn new material that we spend the week reviewing and practing. History, Latin, Geography, Math, English, Science, Bible, Art, and Timeline are what we learn. 
A lot of it is rote memorization which allows the kiddos to form "pegs" of knowledge that they can later build on and pull from. I compare it to kids learning to sing the "ABC" song. When you learn that as a child, you have no idea what you are learning. You don't know what letters look like, what sounds they make, or that they work together to form words. But even as an adult if someone asks you what comes before "J" you are going to at least hum part of the song in your head. Same thing with CC. The kids learn material by singing songs and with motions. Material that they can later build upon.
Every week they have to give a presentation. So far Finley given a presentation about herself, recited a favorite poem, summarized her favorite book, and talked about a famous inventor. They end each presentation with "That's the end of my presentation, do you have any questions or comments for me?" So.stinkin.cute. And she has learned to skip count 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, 6's, 7's, and 8's. She has learned Latin endings for 1st conjugation perfect and imperfect tense She can find all the continents, oceans, several European waters, Western European countries, and several European rivers. She has memorized history sentences about William the Conqueror, the Crusades, Charlemagne,  and the Magna Carter. She has learned 7 types of biomes, three types of consumers, parts of the food chain, and the natural cycles. She has learned about drawing and mirror images. She has learned 8 parts of speech, what a pronoun is, pronoun order, and nominative pronouns.
Did I mention we are only on week 4?!?! I feel like I am learning so much! And Finley is loving it! It's a lot of information but little minds are capable of so much!

Our review board.

Tracing and labeling her map.

And of course I've been doing little activities for little man!
Learning not to eat the crayons

Fill and pour!

Playing with acorn bells.

We also do a done of crafts and artwork and right now we are doing a fall unit. We still do sensory bins, the girls get in a lot of free play, they explore outside, and we read chapter books each night (Little House on the Prairie, Sarah Plain and Tall, The Magic Clubhouse, etc).











Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer Fun!

Oops, this post never got published!

Earlier in the summer we took the kids to Arbor Hills so they could climb and explore. We collected smooth river rocks and brought them home to paint.

Enjoying supper back in July at Quaker Steak & Lube. Fun experience but the food was kind of blah and pricey.

And of course what summer would be complete without several trips to the Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatic Complex!

Emerson loved the water!!!

Back in June some gals and I gave our sweet friend, Maile a baby shower for her sweet baby boy!

We had a puppy show up on our doorstep and spend the night before we found the owners. Rowynn was extremely attached!

Fun outside with sweet friends!

The girls at Grandpa & Grandpa's house!

Doc Mcstuffins is a favorite at this house...can you tell?!

This little guy has a strong love for the water table.

Playing in the sandbox. Been a big hit around here!

Drawing on the fence.

Feeding the ducks.

My girls have the best Daddy. He had a visit to their Beauty Parlor. And let me take a picture. Mighty good man.

Loves swinging!

Princess crown. Super hero cape. Yep, that's my girl.

This little one would spend hours on the swing.


This boy. He is one little mess!

 Enjoying some time with Grandpa at Uncle John's birthday bash!
Ladies night out with some pretty fantastic gals! Dinner and wine tasting!
Donuts with Kyle before hitting the downtown library.

Emerson & cousin Jason

Emerson with the baby whisperer Rob!