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Orange Lingerie

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Many of you have expressed an interest in knowing more about what a Homeschool Co-op is and what we do there! This is my second year of homeschooling and my first year of going to co-op. We’ve been going for about 5 or 6 weeks now and really like it!

I’ll do my best to share with you how it works and what we do there.

Our co-op meets in a church nearby every Friday from 9:00 am -12:30pm. There are about 60 families that are a part of this co-op. We meet at the church, have opening ceremonies,worship and prayer, and then the children all break up into age appropriate classes for the morning. Co-op is  fun way to end the school week for me.  During registration the parents got to choose what “elective” classes their kids would get to be in at co-op. I was super impressed with the choices. There were art classes, music classes, language classes, science classes, poetry, girls literature and book club, Rocketry and Physics, Chemistry and Nutrition, New England Nature, geography and journalism. There is even a Chess Lab and Sewing class. These classes are all taught by moms who are part of the co-op and are assisted by other moms.  Really neat stuff! If you’re child is  in grade 1-3 there was a list you could choose from to plan their morning. The K-1 class and under has a set schedule for the day. I chose to put Katelyn with the K-1 class because, even though she’s in 1st grade and had the choice of more advanced classes, she’s a young first grader and thought she would benefit from being with kids more her age. I couldn’t see her memorizing presidents and capitals of states with the 1-3 grade classes yet!Her class does the Five In A Row curriculum and I love it. She also gets snack and gym time as well. Orange Lingerie

It is truly a “cooperative” in the sense that every parent has a job during co-op hours each week. Most moms are given the same class or two they will work in each week but are also expected to be flexible and help cover in another classroom if someone is out that day. We also take turns cleaning up after co-op is done. I have been assigned Preschool/Pre-K class (Which is Madelyn’s class) each morning for 2 hours. I help with morning play time, story and craft. Then we have snack and gym time. Then it’s my turn to “float”. Every parent gets a “float” hour. Usually it’s your free time to do whatever you want but you’re expected to also be willing to help when needed during that time. During my float time I usually end up in the nursery  to see Jocelyn and chat with the wonderful moms working in there. Pink Lingerie

Here are some pictures I was able to take during our first week of co-op:

This is Maddy’s class. There are four kids in her class. It’s small but perfect for her since she has a hard time adjusting to new groups of kids. She is most definitely my loner! This picture was taken during free play time.

Here’s the class doing an art project with Ms. Patt. She is a really cool person and I’m glad I get to work with her for most of the morning. She does a great job with the kids.

This is the only picture I’ve been able to get of Katelyn so far. I’m not with her AT ALL during co-op days so I rarely get the chance to snap a picture of her. She’s finishing up her gym time here and playing tag.

This was Maddy’s class’s gym time. We share it with the toddler class.

We also have a support group that meets once a month where the moms can discuss different issues and borrow from the lending library. We have a yahoo group where we stay in touch and ask each other questions, post for sale or free items, ask for prayer, post interesting things pertaining to homeschooling and post field trip plans/ideas.Our co-op also plans several parties and family  events throughout the year.

I’m so glad we joined the co-op this year. It’s been a great source of support for us and helps us get to know other families who are in the same situation we are. It’s fun and interesting to see the different ways families “do” school and what curriculum they use. There are families in our co-op from all walks of life. It makes for an interesting group.

If you’re a homeschooler I highly encourage you to find a homeschool co-op near you! I hope I answered any questions you guys had. If not, ask me more questions in the comments section and I’ll answer them there.

PreSchool Parade 1/31/2011

Monday, January 31st, 2011

 

This is my first time to participate in the The Homeschool Village’s Preschool Parade held every other Monday. I thought it would be fun to do updates on how Madelyn is doing and not just updates on Katelyn and her Kindergarten work.

This is my preschooler,Madelyn.

She’s 3 years and 4 months and we’ve been officially doing Preschool at home since September.

She’s most definitely my laid back, Free Spirit. She loves to play pretty much anything. But her favorites are dress up and Barbies. She’s not really interested in anything academic.

On one hand, her willingness to play and keep herself entertained all the time without much help from me has been a huge blessing. On the other hand, it’s made keeping her interested in preschool work harder. My oldest daughter recognized all of the letters of the alphabet by the time she was 2 years old. She’s always been interested in writing, letters and numbers.I can’t take the credit for all of that. The credit goes to Elmo and Sesame Street. Printed Lingerie

Madelyn…not so much. I’ve never tried to do much academically with her because she’s always been so happy doing her own thing. I figured, why mess with that??

We started out the school year with her knowing basically nothing. (She knew her colors and shapes. How to count to 20. That was about it.) She didn’t now how to hold a pencil, crayon or marker the right way. She didn’t know how to trace anything or spell her name. She didn’t recognize any of the letters of the alphabet or any numbers.

Since September she’s made lots of progress.

~She knows how told a pencil with the proper grip. I don’t have to remind her anymore to hold her writing utensils the right way.

~ She can use scissors and cut like a pro.

~ She can trace and has now progressed to copying letters instead of just tracing them.

~ She can spell her name and usually can recognize it when she sees it.

~ She can memorize short memory verses.

~She knows the days of the week and can tell me what day it is.

~ She has come so far with her drawing! I’ve been so amazed. She draws pictures of actual things now and her pictures look like what they’re supposed to be instead of just scribbles.I just love seeing the things that she draws.

What we’re still working on:

~Recognizing the letters of  the alphabet.

This has been the most frustrating thing for me. Each week I focus on one letter and one number of the week. All of her activities center around that letter and that number. She colors, traces, makes mini books and does activity sheets. We have memory verses that focus on a specific letter. I have it posted on our Circle Time wall. We review it every day. From one day to the next she does not remember what the letter and number of the week are!! Some days from one activity to the next she doesn’t remember the letter we just talked about.  This past week I focused on reviewing all of the letters we’ve focused on from the beginning. She still doesn’t know a single.one.

I know she’s only three and still has another year of preschool to learn these things. I try not to get too frustrated but I really don’t understand why she’s not retaining this information!!

Other than that I’m happy with how my preschooler has progressed over this school year. I’m very proud of her!

In case you’re interested, here are some links to some of the activities I’ve done with her. Many of these posts also contain the stuff I’m doing with my Kindergartner as they do their schooling together and do many activities together.

A basic look at my weekly schedule with Madelyn

Our Homeschool Room

My Circle Time Routine

This Post is linked to The Homeschool Village’s Preschool Parade.

This post is also linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop hosted by Hip Homeschool Moms.

10 Memorable Moments Of 2010

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

As I was trying to think of a Top Ten Tuesday post for this week I thought what better way to “close out” 2010 than to write a post of  top ten memorable moments for me this past year. When I say “memorable moments”, it doesn’t mean that they’re all happy moments. Many of them are. But not all of them. These happy and sad moments touched my life and emotions this past year and I will never forget them.

1. Not selling our house— Last January  were spent looking at houses and getting ready to sell ours. It seemed liked everything was in place and we had found several bigger houses in better locations for us. When it came time to put the house on the market our Realtor told us that after doing a market analysis for our area we’d have to sell our house for waaay less than what we planned because of how the houses in our area were selling. So, super disappointed, we made the decision to wait. And now it’s a year later and we’re still in the same house. I learned a lot about contentment last year.

2. Financial Peace University/ Becoming Debt Free— In March we took a Financial Peace University class at our church and by the end of June were DEBT FREE. It was a HUGE achievement in our marriage. We learned so much about how to manage our finances and to really control our spending. We spent 9 years struggling with debt and having no control over our finances, despite the good salary my husband receives. We learned better communication over our finances and actually work together now. This is the first time we’ve come into the new year with NO DEBT and it is an awesome feeling. We paid cash for Christmas and have no more credit cards. Did I mention how HUGE this is for us?

HUGE.

3. Pregnancy/Miscarriage- In April of last year we found out that at after almost 2 years of trying to conceive we were finally pregnant! We were elated. I even posted this picture of the girls on Facebook and on my blog to help announce the glorious news. (I’m not one to wait….)

Six days later I miscarried. Although I hadn’t been pregnant for that long I was devastated and angry. The night I started spotting I went to one of our Financial Peace classes. I was developing a migraine and worried but didn’t want to miss a class. One of the couples in our class had  had their fourth baby a few days before I miscarried and they brought him to class that night to show everyone. I thought ” How ironic! They’re bringing in a new life and I’m losing one.”

4. Pregnancy Round Two- After much struggling and anger at God for not letting us sell our house, allowing me to get pregnant in the first place and then allowing me to lose it, I started calming down as Spring wore on. Summer came and we were all in a good place. I was settling in emotionally and in a happy place. Then, in July, to our great joy, I found out I was pregnant AGAIN!!  We had been hoping and praying it would happen again but weren’t sure how long it would take to happen this time. It could have taken another two years! But, praise the LORD, it didn’t!

We were so thrilled and thankful. And I’ll be 28 weeks this week with baby girl number 3! She’s due in March!

Oh, and a month later my sister found out she was pregnant with her second. A girl, due in April! We’re a month apart!

5. Going On Nana and Papa’s boat for the first time: We took the girls on my inlaws’ little boat for the first time this past Summer. It was so fun! I had been on it before, but they never had. It was quite the memorable and fun day. Granted, it was an overcast, cold, rainy day when we went. We didn’t let that stop us from having fun!

6. Anniversary trip to Salem,MA- I’ve always had a huge fascination with learning more about the Salem Witch Trials. So off we went this past August to spend the day in Salem, MA to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the Salem Witch trials that day and had a great, romantic little getaway with my husband. Unfortunately, my camera battery died at the very beginning so I have no pictures from that day!

7. Homeschooling- Last year was the year we decided to try our hand at homeschooling! We purchased the Kindergarten curriculum from Christian Liberty Academy and started homeschooling our daughter the second week in September. I have absolutely loved homeschooling thus far.It has been a challenging, frustrating at times and rewarding experience so far.

These were taken the very first day we started homeschooling….

I also do preschool work with my 3 year old daughter every day. She partakes in the art, Bible, science and field trip activities we do.

My husband finished our homeschool room in the basement not long after these pictures were taken. Now we do school every day in our little school room. We  love it!

8. Singing In Our Church Choir- This past September I started singing in our church choir. I hadn’t sung in a choir in ages and I had scheduling conflicts the previous year so I was unable to join. I have so enjoyed it! We’ve caroled, done  a Dessert Theater and sung almost every Sunday. I’ve had many opportunities to sing solos, duets and trios and it’s been so fun! We have a very talented bunch of people in our choir.

9. My Family’s Visit For Thanksgiving— I was so blessed to have my whole family visit for Thanksgiving week! My sister, husband, niece, brother and parents all flew up from Texas and stayed in my house for the whole week. It was a tight fit but an awesome time together! My brother in law had never been to New England so this was a new experience for him. My sister and I got to “be pregnant together” while she was here. We spent a day at  Boston Museum Of Science and had a blast. That is a memory that will live in my mind forever.

The girls are with their Geempaw in this space shuttle replica.

My parents with their three current granddaughters. Two more coming in the Spring!

10. The Passing Of My Uncle Mike— On Christmas day we received the sad news that my uncle Mike had died after a long battle with Lymphoma. He was a great, godly, man and will be greatly missed. We were all blessed by who he was. His family has also been a great testimony in  their peace and attitudes. They are sad but also filled with hope since they know where Mike is and that they will all see him again some day.  He’s in Heaven, cancer-free with Jesus!  I will certainly never forget getting the phone call about his passing.

There are so many other moments I’d love to mention but since I’m pressed to keep the list at ten these are the ones I chose.

Do you have moments that defined 2010 for you?

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday hosted by Oh Amanda.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

2 days.

TWO days until Christmas!!!  How exciting is that?

Even though we’ve had a rough few days with the stomach virus and migraines we still have the Christmas spirit.  Mike now has the stomach virus and is laid out in bed.

Hopefully we’ll be well by Friday and we can have a sick-free Christmas!!

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas around here.

I decorated for Christmas very simply this year:

Due to the lack of room I couldn’t take out of all my decorations. But, I think I like it better this way. Less for me to put away!!

This is where I hang all of the wonderful Christmas cards I get every year.

If you sent me one, can you find yours? *wink*

We’ve also continued to focus on Christmas activities during our homeschooling time. We’re taking next week off!

Our self-drawn Nativity Scenes. I loved my girls’  imaginations and creativity on this project we did.

Here is their rendition of The Nativity Scene with Barbies and Bitsy Baby playing star roles:

This week we’re trying to get school in around the sickness that’s going around our house.  We’re doing some baking and making birthday cards for Jesus.Gifts are almost all wrapped.

Christmas is coming and we’re sooo ready! It’s really looking like Christmas around here…

This post is linked to Wordful Wendnesday hosted by Parenting By Dummies.

Christmas Bible Lessons And Craft Ideas #1

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I love the Christmas season and December is the perfect time to incorporate  Christmas themed lessons and crafts into our homeschooling time.

Today we did two different crafts. One was to enhance our Bible lesson and one was specifically for our Tuesday arts and crafts time. ( I don’t do a craft every day. Usually Tuesday’s and Fridays are the days we do artsy stuff) The girls loved that they got to do two crafts today.

For our Bible lesson we did “The Legend Of The Candy Cane.” If you’ve never heard the story you can find it here. I actually like the story we used today better. This was the best link I could find in a jiffy. We got our story from a pamphlet passed out at a Live Nativity we went to this weekend. It has more detail than the link I provided. I thought it would make a perfect Bible lesson!

The candy canes I printed out are from here. Then I had the girls glue the candy cane cutout to paper and decorate the red stripes with red tissue paper. They did this as I was reading the candy cane story to them.

Then I let them eat a small candy cane as a treat. I also asked them what symbols they remembered from our story of the candy cane.  Madelyn needed a little more help with remembering…

Pardon my mess in the background. We’ve been spreading out at the dining room table since my school room still has the bed my parents slept in two weeks ago for their visit. I’m “patiently” waiting for my husband to remove it so we can continue doing school in our school room.

The craft we did for our actual craft time today was taken from this Advent lesson and craft from Impress Your Kids. Yesterday we did a lesson on how Jesus’ birth gave us HOPE and that he is the LIGHT of of the world. Today we did the craft that goes with it.

We made candle holders out of jars and dyed rice. Amanda from Impress Your Kids used beautiful colored sand, nicer candles and jelly jars. I didn’t have any of those things so I dyed the last of my brown rice with food coloring (white is preferred but I had none) and cleaned out my fridge for some jars! Wow, did I have a lot of old jarred stuff in my fridge. I used rice because Amanda mentioned that as an alternative to the colored sand.

I only had enough rice for two colors so we chose red and green.

Per a tutorial I found online ( don’t remember where!!) I put rice in ziploc baggies, threw in a few drops of food coloring in the bag with some water. I shook it all around to mix it and let it sit for a few minutes. It doesn’t need a lot of time at all. 5-7 minutes is plenty. Once you see the rice is dyed you can pour it out. Then I poured the rice through a small colander to drain the water out and laid the rice out on paper towels to let it dry. It takes a while to dry and and giving it some turns with a spoon helps it go faster. I recommend you do this the day before if you’re going to do this craft with rice.

Then I let the girls go to town layering the two colors of rice in their jars.

The finished product! I made a little label to tape onto the jar that said ” Jesus is our HOPE, the LIGHT of the world.”. Then we put tea lights at the top and lit them. This craft obviously represents that Jesus is our light and the light  of the world. If you’re really crafty and good with computers you could print a nice, decorative sticky label to apply to your jars. As you can guess, I, uh…. didn’t have printable labels.

The back, so you can see the layered effect better.

Madelyn’s jar was a little wider and I didn’t end up having enough rice to fill up her jar. But, she didn’t care!

We really enjoyed this craft and I think these jars make a wonderful addition to our Christmas decorations.

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop hosted by The Homeschool Chick and The Tuckers Take Tennessee.

Our Homeschool Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I wasn’t sure how to title this post because I didn’t want to give off the impression that it was my “official” Thanksgiving post. I’m saving that to post about my week with my family next week.

I wanted to share a little bit about what we did in our homeschooling lessons today and post the pictures of our crafts. Today is also the last day of school for us for over a week since my whole family is coming next week. So, you most likely won’t hear from me for a few days.

My girls are headed off to their Nana and Papa’s this afternoon for a sleep over. They are doing me this huge favor so I can have about 24 hours of cleaning and prepping my house time for my family’s arrival Sunday night.  This afternoon and tomorrow are going to be work, work, work!

We’re inundating my inlaws’ house with my family for Thanksgiving since that’s where we always do it. It will be a lot of fun. Tight, but fun!

So…onto what we’ve done for Thanksgiving crafts and lessons in our homeschool time.

We did two weeks of Thanksgiving crafts on our craft days. I thought they came out really cute.

These are the crafts:

Thanksgiving Turkeys

The girls listed things they’re thankful for. I had a cardboard template of a turkey I traced that we got from Trunk Or Treat. We added fake feathers for fun.

Here’s Katelyn’s finished turkey:

Cornucopias Of Thanksgiving

I printed the cornucopias and food (that were apparently hand drawn) from All Kids Network.com. They have a Thanksgiving Crafts section.

I printed ” Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” at the top.

Here’s Madelyn’s finished cornucopia:

Today we read a really cute book I got from the library. It was one of two left in the Thanksgiving books section. And it was a Christian based book! In a way it’s sad that the book that mentions God and his provisions was one the of the only ones left but also great for me since that’s the kind of book I want to read to my children.

This is the book we read:

It’s called “Thanksgiving-A Harvest Celebration” by Julie Stiegmeyer.

Happy Thanksgiving from Katelyn and Madelyn!

Hip Homeschol Hop 11/16/2010

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Today I’d like to tell you a little bit about our  morning Circle Time. I do Circle Time with both of my girls, ages 5 and 3. Being a former  preschool teacher I love Circle Time. We begin  each morning sitting on the floor in a circle and begin our school day.

This is what our Circle Time area looks like:

We, obviously, sit on the floor in front of this wall where our calendar is.

For the first couple of months we started out our day praying (in THIS school we can still pray!! Can I get an “amen”?? ) ) and then said “The Pledge of Allegiance” and ” Pledge To The Bible” so my girls would learn it. Now that it’s become a by rote activity and my girls have learned those pledges we have taken a break from saying the pledges. (Is that unpatriotic??) I want it to be meaningful to them and not boring.

Then we rotate between two “Good Morning”songs before we say our weekly Bible verse. Each week we do a Bible verse that follows the alphabet. This week we are doing the letter “I”. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. I got this idea from Impress Your Kids. org. I don’t always  use the same verses she does but it’s a jumping off point for me.

After the weekly Bible verse we have our Bible story. I’ve mentioned before that I felt that the CLASS Bible story book that comes with the Kindergarten curriculum is too hard for Kindergartners, in my opinion. I found it boring and long. I could tell my girls quickly lost interest in the Bible lesson and that’s completely not the point of Bible lesson time. So I started improvising with my own Bible lessons. Right now I do lessons from DLTK. There’s usually a short lesson I can print out and coloring pages that go with it. I use the coloring pages as a visual and let my girls color the picture while I read the story. They really seem to enjoy this and are getting a lot more out of it. I hang up their coloring pictures on a wall dedicated to Bible story pictures. They love looking at what they’ve been doing.

On a side note, if you have any other great websites to take Bible lesson ideas from I’d love for you to leave the address in my comment section.

After we’re done with our Bible story we move on to our calendar. We talk about what month it is, what day of the week it is, how many days we are. We also discuss what yesterday was and what tomorrow will be. Calendar activities are actually great pre-math activities. It definitely reinforces counting skills.

If there’s a special date we’re looking forward to (like birthdays or Christmas) I’ll put a special date square on that spot and we’ll see how many days are left before that day comes.

You can find an assortment of cute preschool calendars at teacher stores.They usually come with extra date squares for birthdays, holidays, days off etc. I make and laminate my own, sometimes, if the calendar didn’t include one I want. Then I put a Velcro dot on the back.

I like to switch up our Circle Time activities so they don’t become too predictable or boring. When the new year starts we’ll start learning the months of the year and start doing weather.  If we’re focusing on a special theme that week I try to have books on hold at the library that I can read during circle time. (Like Thanksgiving and Christmas ones). Or we might sing special songs. Circle Time is a great time to do music activities too. I just try to not make it too long. 10-15 minutes is plenty for Circle Time, in my opinion.

You can pretty much do whatever you want during Circle Time to make it fun. And it’s a great way to start your school day and make learning fun.

Do you do Circle Time?

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop hosted by The Homeschool Chick and The Tuckers Take Tennessee
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