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Summer Homeschooling

We’ve been done with school for a while now and taking it easy. Have you completely shut down…nope. When I was a teacher all those many MANY years ago the first month of school was the hardest. It was hard because not only was I get a whole new crop of students, but trying to get back into a rhythm of learning and pulling all that knowledge out of their wee little brains from the previous year. It was hard work. I thought while teaching kindergarten to my son that summer would be a complete stop of school. BUT then we’d take a day or two off here and there during the year and trying to get him to remember what he worked on proved to be a challenge. So what’s the plan for summer?

Everyday B has a work folder,  a 1st grade workbooks, and an activity of some sort. In the folder he has a writing page and a sight word page. In the workbooks he practices math and/or language. The activity is either; coloring, cutting, folding, puzzles, or another activity of sorts. Also everyday he reads to me or his dad. Whether he is reading a book or practicing special sounds (or many call them digraphs) he has to read. It may seem like a lot, but all in all it takes maybe 30 minutes from the day if he is diligent.

Another thing I did this summer was to plan an activity almost everyday of the summer. Our little apartment gets hot and honestly we need to go explore our area. So I have this AMAZING resource and it helped me plan park days, museums, tours, etc. Some activities are free and some are not too badly priced. Talk a look at my other blog and be inspired to do more than the pool and park!



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Our Recent Visits to Other Countries

Once we are done with calendar, phonics, reading, writing, and math we learn about other countries. We began the year talking about the United States, getting familiar with the states (we have a puzzle and have been learning where each state is for a while now. We are done to learning the little ones, like Delaware and Rhode Island), oceans, continents, and the compass.

When we learn a new country there are a few things we always do:

1. Find them on the map. What continent is it in? Nearest ocean?

2. Learn a few words. Usually hello because I am not good with languages.

3. Listen to traditional music.

4. Eat some type of food from the country.

5. Do a craft of activity.

Before Christmas we learned about Jamaica, Tahiti, and Italy. I haven’t updated what we have been doing so here are some pictures and activities.

1. China

Why China? For Chinese New Year! Bailey made a Chinese dragon. He learned about the Great Wall and watched Mulan.  We took a trip to Chinatown in L.A. and ate traditional Chinese good, which he wasn’t a fan of. Note to self: don’t introduce Panda Express until they have had real chinese food.

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2. Scotland

Bailey loved the music in this country. Unfortunately, we didn’t eat anything ethnic other than pretending our homemade cookies were Scottish shortbread. One evening we took Bailey to mini golf since the Scottish love golf. We looked at books and watched Brave so he could hear their accent. For a craft we talked about tartans and kilts…so he made one hs own plaid and a kilt out of a bag!


3. Ireland

Since St. Patrick’s Day was fast approaching we had to learn about this beautiful land. We read books at St. Patrick and things that come from Ireland. My mom told me about an old Disney movie, Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Interesting movie. Bailey seemed to enjoy it. We made a crystal shamrock  with Borax and made a rainbow for the leprechaun legend of Ireland. The Bower’s Museum in Santa Ana had an Irish Festival  for free (and I LOVE FREE). Bailey got to see traditional irish dancing, a bagpipe, and folk music. They also offered free crafts!On St. Patty’s Day morning he had a breakfast of green milk, a cinnamon roll with green frosting, and a little helping of Lucky Charms. I cooked corned beef, potatoes, and had Irish soda bread for dinner, Bailey wasn’t a fan of that meal.

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4. England

Since we did the majority of the United Kingdom, I thought why not finish with England. Bailey really enjoyed learning about Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Tower Bridge. He really loved knowing the hats on the palace guards are bear skin. His daddy explained why it is bear skin and he thought that was pretty cool. We watched a Globe Trekker  episode on England and then went to an english pub in Santa Ana, The Olde Ship. Bailey let me know afterwards he enjoyed England food more than all the others so far.


5. Israel

Since it is Passover week and Easter is coming up we traveled to the Holy Land. We watched an episode of The Bible on History channel with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. I explained what Passover was and why Easter is during this time. Not sure if he understood, but he asked a lot of questions. We took a field trip to Forest Lawn cemetary in Glendale to see the Last Supper stain glass, many statues (he got a kick out of King David), and the huge panoramic painting of the Crucifixion. This weekend we are going to a seder dinner at Dave’s dad’s church. Hopefully Bailey will like their food.


For the rest of the school year we have many more countries to visit like, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil, Russia, Iran, and South Africa. I am personally looking forward to all of them!

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Pride and Panic


March rolls in and I being lesson planning for my son. I realized his work books are getting a little thin. Maybe a little too thin? Then it hits me……um…math is finished in 3 days?! I can’t believe we are done with K math already? I knew it was close, but 3 days and I only have appendix pages left. I am so proud he did it! Math was an ebb and flow subject. Sometimes it flowed easily and no issues at all. Then something new would find its way to us and we would have to stop for a day or two and just learn it slowly….like counting quarters.


WHAT DO I DO FOR THE NEXT 3 MONTH OF SCHOOL?! Do I start 1st grade level? Do I buy a supplement book to just continue to review? Do I create units that reinforce concepts he has already learned? I know Bailey, he won’t do review for very long because he will get bored and stop trying because nothing is challenging. So now it’s a mad dash to find something to fill the subject time. I know I have about a week’s worth to supplement what he is doing, but then I need something new.



Challenge your child when they need it. Slow down when new concepts get lost in translation. However, be prepared to finish early, but always have a plan for the rest of the school year!

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We are still Homeschooling!

From November until this week I feel like we have gone non-stop. We celebrated 6 birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Flag football and soccer finally ended and we kept trudging along with school. I finally threw in the towel trying to do “extra” lessons. What do I mean by extra? For the most part, children of the world, geography, science, and the weekly field trip/cooking/art project. I just couldn’t do it with everything going on. So we focused on the basics; bible, phonics, math, and writing. Our day was shorter with school, but it worked. I was not stressed out and neither was he. We were able to do more Christmas art projects, watch holiday movies, plan his birthday, and enjoy family time. We took 2 weeks off for Christmas and it was wonderful! I had to remember that our family dynamic is more important than forcing extra in and making everyone stressed out because we didn’t learn what “I” wanted. So all the birthdays will be over as of tomorrow (HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROGER….aka father in law) and we are going to be back into the swing of learning.

During this time of just the basics Bailey really found his groove with reading. I am so proud of him. He finally nailed addition and is getting the hang of simple subtraction. Everything else we learned was just easy for him. (and mommy was more patient the last 2 months.)

So come Monday (in 3 short days) we are kicking off a great 2nd semester. We will get back into a real school schedule so we have time for the extras. I hope to pick up blogging a bit more and sharing the “Extra” things we do.  I am excited to get it back to normal!  IMG_20120827_120104

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The Best Day



Why Monday was the Best Day EVER!

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Week 6 Was Filled with Kicks!

I got a kick out of this last week. We started on Sunday with a VERY early morning trip to L.A. to catch a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Endeavor as is it made its way to the L.A. Science Center. Did we catch a glimpse?! Um…YEAH! We were so close the wing went over our heads! It was a sight to be seen! My baby fell asleep literally 10 minutes before it crossed our paths so I woke her up to get a picture! (I love taking pictures for everything. Just wish I had a better camera!) My son was a trooper waiting for almost 3 hours for this shuttle he could see down the street to pass by. I am just happy we are that family that will forgo a schedule and be a bit spontaneous.

Monday was probably the BEST day of being a mommy. I will post a link to why this is the BEST day for me!

The rest of the week was just awesome. A TOTAL turn around from the previous week. I decided to challenge him with his reading and he totally amazed me! I think I may have a reader on my hands!! We are following a curriculum, but know it so well I moved on with sight words, sentence reading, and learning different forms of punctuation. His writing has slowly become really nice and almost pretty! Although he has his moments of “what? I have to stay within the lines?!”

While challenging him in phonics, I tend to keep everything else normal. Math is almost too easy, so I plan on challenging him a bit more in the next week or so.

This week though was fun because we were finishing up learning about Italy. (I plan on posting what I do for social studies and science in another post). We learn about children of the world, so this week was finishing Italy. He knows where it is on a map and what continent it is. I introduced him Christopher Columbus and to the composer Rossini (William Tell Overture and the Barber of Seville…you know Figaro Figaro Figaro), which he LOVED and he made his own song with his little keyboard. We looked at pictures online of Italy and made our own leaning Tower of Pisa with Legos. Since Italy invented cement we made a stepping stone. On Monday I plan on doing colored pasta graph and a self portrait after looking at De Vinci art. I may even convince my husband to help me make a volcano in the evening. We are also going to dinner at an Italian restaurant this coming week. Any suggestions in Orange County?

Next county is Germany! That’s right…we are gonna go to Oktoberfest (during the day time people!)

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Week 5: I just tried to keep it alive

Week 5 I was dead. It was my worst week. No patience. Not well planned. I wish I would’ve done it over. I think I even questioned if I was doing the right thing homeschooling him. I couldn’t get motivated or really get it together. I found myself in the bathroom praying…a lot. Ever feel that way??? I had to remind myself each night I had the next day to restart and try again. I don’t think Bailey noticed how much I struggled to make it work because we still did fun things, but I did have to ask him to forgive my bad attitude. So I walked away from the week with new insight:

1. If I fail…its OK! He’s 5 and he just loves being with me and spending time together. I need to remember to relax and enjoy this time with my son.

2. Admitting I was wrong teaches my son how to apologize correctly and how to admit he is wrong. More than once I had to stop and admit I was having a bad attitude, I would say sorry, and ask for forgiveness. I may not have been “wrong” per say, but my attitude was wrong. So it isn’t his fault he heard it that way, but how it was delivered was not right.

3. A few verses that I held dear during the week:

              22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
             23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.[a]

              7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Proverbs 3:5-7a


So week 6….I was praying for better


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Week 4: Art Cabinet Galore

Week 4…great week. I’ll be honest though, as much as I say how great it is going there are still mornings I am dragging and exhausted. My typical 1 coffee doesn’t cut it and I need more. I didn’t plan the weekend before going into week 4 very well. However all my “summer” planning paid off and I am thankful for having a well stocked art cabinet (or in my case; box, cabinet, drawers, baggies…) So here is what I have in my “cabinet”. There may be missing a few things, so add if you want!

Paper Goods:

*assortment of colored card stock

*construction paper

*white printer paper

*roll of art paper

*assortment of tissue paper

*paper bags

*paper plates

*paper/cardboard bowels

Writing utensils:


**sharpies, kid markers, dry erase, Mr. Sketch (I LOVE!)


**old and new, big easy to hold ones, and the normal size. Crayola is a favorite to color. RoseArt is a favorite to melt


*from the good ole #2 pencils to army design…whatever make them happy!


*for mom/dad/teacher to use for correcting and always nice to have around the house

Paint and brushes: 






**sponge, stamps, bristle, etc


*Iron (preferably an old one)



*Baking Soda


*Spray bottles

*wax paper

*Glue; white, clear, modge podge, sticks


*pom poms

*chenille sticks


*hole puncher




*ink pads

Anything else???

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Week 3 was Easy!

Ok so I love this homeschool thing! I am able to enjoy my son and know he is learning. I can push him when things are easy and I can just relax and let him take his time when things are difficult. On week 3 we finished out Creation unit and I think we had a good time. I didn’t do as much “field trip”-ing as I would have planned but fun nonetheless. So we plunged into stories from Genesis and are having a great time coloring pages together (because he colors better when I color with him) and talking about Adam and Eve or Cain and Abel.

What I love about this is being able to take a day off because we had done a great week of school and go wait to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over Huntington Beach. (ok I’ll be honest…it never flew over us…it was like a grain of rice in the sky, but we went..) I also love  knowing we are ahead in the subjects that we have a 4 day school week. Although I do plan on him doing a practice writing page on off days so he doesn’t “forget.” So all in all it was a great 3rd week!!!

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Week 2 Begin Anew

Is the title a bit odd? Well last week was a weird one. We had a great time, but there were a few times I would have to start anew in my head and heart. I always heard teaching your child took patience and I believe it. However when it involves learning how to write or coloring…it’s a whole new game.

Let me introduce my son Bailey. He is 5 and a half and such a great kid. I thoroughly enjoy him. He has a quick sense of humor and a sensitive heart. Bailey adores his sister and is an amazing big brother. He loves soccer, flag football, and baseball. Bailey has a great memory. For instance, when he was 2 we took our water turtle to a pet store to let them have it because it was gross and nasty and too much work. Well to this day (3 years later) when we drive by he will ask if we can stop and see the turtle. He’s as smart as they come, but so stubborn. He HATES to color and write. I think the reason is, he has to take his time. He wants to make things, create, explore, but I also know he needs to know how to WRITE! (and really, does he want to be “that kid” who doesn’t know how to color when he’s 9 in Sunday School?)

Most days he will take his time and do a nice job. But last week he was “on” with the stubborn lazy 5-year-old act. I will admit I lost it a few times. (I mean come on…it’s an “i”!!!) Am I the only mom who looses over something so small?!

So I found myself in the bathroom, not using for the reason most people do, but to have some quiet and to pray. I really needed to start over with my attitude, my heart, my demeanor, basically everything. So I prayed and I literally felt God’s peace wash over me. Every have a moment like that?

I returned to the table and I apologized to my beautiful boy. He accepted and I asked for us to pray together and start our day again with having patience for one another. Let me tell you…it worked. He was like a whole new child and I enjoyed teaching and watching him master the letter “i.”

God’s showers His grace to us, so we should be show it to our children as well.

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