Monday, May 24, 2010


I am so blessed to have some of the friends that I do.  But I am mostly blessed to have the direction of the Lord!  He leads me when I ask him and I am so thankful to Him for that.  

This time, my request was to please help me find the right program to use for Kyle to teach him Phonics.  As most of you know from my other entries, the A Beka program that we are currently using is not working for him.  He is not grasping the identification of letters, the sounds of letters, the blends of letters and writing the letters all at the same time.  I know that the program I used with Amanda, that I can't use with Kyle because I don't have the lessons, taught first the letters, then the sounds, then the writing, then the blending of sounds.  

So a girlfriend of mine that I went to school with told me that she was soon coming into town and would bring me the Hooked on Phonics program that she had.  So in them meantime I had printed out worksheets for Kyle to learn the letter I.  Saturday my friend came over with the said program, and yesterday I got to sit down and really check it out.  I am so excited about it!

I am going to basically start Kyle at the very beginning.  Because A Beka mixed everything up while learning it, he hasn't even learned recognition of all of the letters yet.  So today we started with that.  He knows a lot more than I thought, but not all of them.  He knows more capital letters than small letters.  So every day we will work a little bit on recognizing the letters until he knows them all.  And I will also find some other ways to mix-up and enhance this exercise.  

Since I do not even care for A Beka's phonics for 1st grade, we are currently trying to figure out where to place Amanda in the program.  I figured that each set kinda ran for each grade.  It tells you how to place your child in the program, and the first step is to read through the book at Level 1.  Well, I'm not going to waste time, so we flipped to the last page and she read all of the words with not problem.  Good.  On to level 2.  We started reading book 2 and was seeing how easy it was.  We read 2 of the books that it says to read along with the work book and she was still reading it with plenty of ease.  Once again, we skipped to the last book that it suggests to read and read that and decided that tomorrow we will start Level 3 and see how far we get.

Amanda decided against reading Charlotte's Web right now.  I am not sure why, but didn't push the subject because I think that she needs to wait a bit before trying to read this book with me.  Instead she decided to try a book that I think she will be able to read much easier with me.  It is still a chapter book so that is fine with me.  It is Barbie as The Island PrincessAmanda has this movie and it is a cute one.  I actually enjoy most of the Barbie movies that she has or that we've seen.  We did start this book today but we only read the introduction as we had a long day of school.  She read one page and did a really good job with the words.  I don't know how she learned so many words all of a sudden.  She is sounding out words that are hard and she is also just looking at some words that are long but pronouncing them correctly without any hesitation. It is amazing to me because I know these are not words that we have covered during school!  lol

I have decided that since we are going to do school during the Summer and it doesn't appear that the Hooked on Phonics program goes by grades, that I am going to stop stressing when I don't do school 5 days a week.  Actually, do you want to know the truth?  Shhhh!  You can't tell anybody......I think I have only done a full 5 day week of school maybe 10 times since I've been homeschooling!  But I don't think it's even been that many.  It might even be more like 5 times.  We are almost done with our Science for the year, Amanda has finished everything but Math and Phonics but her Math is almost done.  We have just about 2 months left of Math.  Kyle is about half way through his math program but I didn't work him as hard considering he started Kindergarten a year early.  

What will we focus on that 5th day you may ask me?  Well, I figure that is a great day for the kids to learn "life lessons" as my homeschooling friend Kristy calls them.  Included in these lessons may be housecleaning, gardening, errand running, financial learning, volunteer work, cooking, or it may even be a well needed day of rest and free time.  

 The bird pictured on the elk antlers here is the male bird that is nesting here this year I believe.  Every year we have a couple of violet-green swallows that build a nest in a bird house that my husband built me one year that hangs off our front porch.  We are out in this area all of the time, but they don't seem to mind.  When we sit on our front porch, they will come swoop  in front of us to check us out, but they have never attacked any of us.  We always have company over, and many of them sit out there also.  Our porch is covered, but it is only about 4 feet wide.  So when you are sitting at the table, the bird house is hanging just over your head about a foot away.  It also spins, so sometimes the birds have to fly under the porch to get into the bird house.  We really love having these birds visit us every year.    They are fantastic to watch!  I have taken pictures of them some of the years that I have had a camera.  The best pictures are ones that I can get of the babies.  I will share the photos that I get this year for sure!

Anyways the point to this story was our bird project that we are doing in school.  Today we started the Bird Watching for Beginners ebook.  The kids didn't enjoy the introduction to this ebook, but we're going to read it anyways.  I don't read it word for word, I read the parts that I think they should know or would like to know.  But they only have 6 more lessons that we read out of it and starting tomorrow they will be able to work on lapbooks while I read.  That is God willing I have enough ink to print stuff out for them to use for lapbooks.  I am just about out of ink an will not have money for about 3 or 4 weeks to buy more ink.  :-(

I am also watching the calendar for the weather reports so that I can try and have a day where we take a bird watching trip.  I am not going to plan it far away, we can go right down the hill to the river or something.  I even think that is a field trip that Greg will definitely want to join in.  It's also one that I don't want to forget to bring my camera!

Today we learned about  how they could attract the birds to our yard that the kids chose to do their lapbook on.  Amanda chose an American Goldfinch and Kyle chose the Violet-Green Swallow.  When we have enough money, which unfortunately will be about the same time as I can buy ink, we will buy the bird seed needed to draw in the American Goldfinch.  Unless Amanda can drop a few heavy hints to her Grandpa Jim.  lol

For the rest of the week they will be learning about bird watching each day and work on the lapbook pages for anatomy, migration, nests and babies if we do a 5 day school week.  I'm totally not going to stress that though!  Next week will be our last week of doing the bird study.  

Our Obedience Study is going good.  We only have one story left to read.  Because I have had so much to do lately, our Bible lessons have not included very much memorizing.  So the kids aren't ready to do the oral part of the test yet.  Because we only have one story left to read, I really should write that test up tonight!  Eeek!  I should also start writing our next Bible studies.  I haven't decided what that will be yet.  If I want to move on in our Bible stories to Moses, or find a topic to study like we did with obedience.  I liked that.  Oh, that makes me think of a really good idea for some reason.  I want to find a worksheet for the kids to write the word obedience out. I'll have to do some searching for that when I have time.

The rest of our week will consist of moving along in Math, and Kyle and I will keep reading War of the Worlds for young readers.  He likes it so far.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Plan is Working!

So far we have 2 stories left in our disobedience/obedience lessons from the Bible and I think the kids are starting to get my point.  As I was typing that sentence, the were being disobedient and I went in and told them since they won't mind, they need to pick up their room.  They both apologized immediately and started picking up.  NO arguing.  When they were done I told them calmly to pick up the books on my couch and they are very happily doing it.  I think we are getting somewhere!

We started memorizing their Bible verses on obedience today.  We are late in starting it but that is my fault.  We have all the time in the world.  I still need to write out their test for this, but it won't be a major one being their ages, so it should only take a moment to do.

For Science we are still learning about the birds.  Today we started reading on how to learn how to bird watch.  I think once we get to actually leave our house for some bird watching they will really enjoy it.  I will do that once we read a little more about bird watching and they get a few ideas on how they would like to do it and the supplies they want to bring with us.

On Friday I am going to a new friends house because she has a couple of birds that she is going to let us visit.  This will give the kids a chance to see a bird up close and check out some anatomy. 

I have decided to break down the phonics and letters for Kyle a little slower than what A Beka is doing.  So this week we are focusing on the letter I and the short sound for it.  Amanda is still plugging through this boring A Beka program.

Kyle is catching on to math very fast!  Amanda is like that also.  He is adding now and totally gets the concept.  Amanda is learning some fractions this week along with a lot of review on telling time, measuring, adding, subtracting and counting money. 

Amanda is moving right along with her reading.  In fact, we are going to start reading Charlotte's Web together.  There is a story behind this if you'll bear with me.  My first chapter book that I bought and owned was Charlotte's Web.  When I read that book, my mom and I read it together.  She would read one page and I would read the other.  That's a good memory.  So I told Amanda about that.  She had bought her own copy of this book the other day because she wanted it.  So we are going to read it like my mom and I did.  One page at a time....together.

For Kyle's reading he chose a condensed version for young readers of War of the Worlds.  We read 2 chapters of that today and he likes it.  I am glad to have this opportunity to introduce and share good novels with them.  I was worried that they might not be old enough for some of these books that we are reading, but they understand them for the most part and love them, so I will keep reading them.

We just finished reading Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary and they liked that book.  Although, none of it like it as much as the first book where we met the mouse Ralph.  That book is The Mouse and the Motorcycle.  We really liked that book.  I remember reading these as a kid, once.  I didn't read these ones as often as Beezus and Ramona or books about Henry Higgins.  Those were some of the best Beverly Cleary books in my opinion.

That is all we've been up to lately.  Stay tuned for more adventures in Teaching At Home in a Christian Way!  lol

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lessons on Obedience Pt. 1

Lately my children have been, shall we say, not as obedient as I would like.  So to make sure that I've covered the bases and done what I need to do, we are going to do some lessons on obedience in school.  Instead of reading through our childrens Bible each morning for their Bible study, they are going to be reading verses, memorizing verses and doing a character study on someone who is obedient or disobedient.  I am also going to make them take a test at the end.  Kyle will likely have an oral test.  I haven't decided about Amanda's test yet.

The first book that I went to for a reference to verses was Bible Truth For School Subjects Volume 1 Social Studies.  I have the whole set of 4 encyclopedias that was given to me from a good friend from high school who was homeschooling her son.  I wanted to start at the beginning so here is the first lesson.

Lesson 1: Parent's Responsibilities
A. Parents must teach their children.
       Exodus 10:1-2
       Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:6-9, 20-23; 11:18-21
       Psalm 78:5-8
       Proverbs 4:1-4, 10-11; 22:6
                                                               Ephesians 6:4
 B. Parents must provide for their children.
       1 Samuel 2:19
       Proverbs 13:22
       Luke 15:20-24
       2 Corinthians 12:14
       1 Timothy 5:8
C. Parents must control their children.
       Exodus 20:10
       Deuteronomy 5:14; 21:18-21; 32:46
       Numbers 30:3-5
       1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12
       Titus 1:6
D. Parents must correct their children.
       Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15-17
       1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

I wanted to provide this information first because I often explain to my kids that I have to punish and discipline them because God expects me to do that so they will grow up to be good people.  

Lesson 2 Children's Responsibilities
1. Children are responsible to God, especially as they come to maturity.
      Judges 6:25-27
      1 Kings 15:11-13
      2 Chronicles 7:17-22; 28:22-25; 29:2-9; 34:1-8
      2 Kings 22:2, 22-25
      Proverbs 20:11
      Ecclesiastes 12:1
2. Children must obey or submit to their parents.
      Exodus 20:12
      Deuteronomy 5:16; 21:18-21
      Judges 11:36-39
      Proverbs 1:8; 4:1; 6:20; 13:1; 23:22
      Jeremiah 35:18-19
      Matthew 15:4
      Luke 2:51-52
      Romans 1:30
      Ephesians 6:1-4
      Colossians 3:20
      1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12
      Titus 1:6

I am aware that quite a few of these verses are repeated in each lesson and heading.  But repetition is the best thing to make them remember!  Plus they are also going to choose 2 verses to memorize for their test.  

For the rest of the lessons I am going to be reading some Bible stories to them that show obedience and the reward of that and disobedience and the discipline of that.  Here are the next sequence of lessons.  I will do one story a day and I have different books that I will read these stories from.
Jonah and the Whale
Noah's Ark
Saul Disobeys God
Adam & Eve Disobey God
The Walls of Jericho coming down

After those stories have been read, I have one book on a little girl who is disobedient that I am going to throw in for a story time one day.  Then they will choose one of those people that I read them a story about and do a character profile on obedience with them.  For example: if one chooses Daniel, I have worksheets from just about every person in the Bible's name on it.  They have a place to draw a portrait of that person, lines to write description and 2 other boxes to draw a picture or put other information in.  I will give that child the sheet with Daniel.  Then it will be their job to create that profile with the disobedient/obedient act and either the rewards of obedience or the punishment of the disobedience.

The come the tests.  I want to do a test because I want them to realize I am serious about this.  I want them to know it's a BIG DEAL to me!  They must be obedient.  When  I come up with how the test is going to be done I will post that.