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2014-2015 School Year

Our First Week of School in 2014

To view a larger picture click on the picture then the link.

So this is our first week of school. Whew! Exhausted! This week I started teaching 3 different children’s choirs  as well as I started singing in my adult choir and continuing my ministry of singing for Celebrate Recovery and in a few week I will start rehearsals for singing in the Praise Symphony Orchestra and teaching our homeschool art class. Busy, busy, busy!

Not to mention that my daughter contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth from a friend of ours and my husband at the same time got a cold which I now have! Errgggg! BUT….all in all it was a good week. Fri was the worst of the cold so I felt like dooo-dooo all day. I cut school just one subject short and slept most of the day. But other then all of that it really was a great first week of school.

So this year I decided to do a few thing different. To start things off right and to implement my plan we went out and purchased a laptop for the kiddos. This now sits on our school desks so we don’t have to keep going back and forth to my computer ans I can work on my computer while the kids do their thing. YEA! So what is my plan you ask? Use the INTERNET for more independent learning. Let me explain.

I have now transferred all math over to A Plus Math Tudor. We got a free 3 month trial during summer and my son, the one who struggles the most in math, loved it. My daughter watched him and asked over and over if she could do it and I said yes. Besides we got a steal of a deal on the tuition. They had a 2 day coupon and I got both of them for almost the price of 1 student. I’m happy with that. Cheaper then my Abeka math for the year.

Anyway, A+Math is completely online. They do the teaching as well as practice pages and tests. You can also print out pages if you find your child is really struggling. And it gives me a full report of how and what they are doing. We are still trying to get in the grove of it, but it is working out fantastically.

I can have both of them doing math at the same time which is a great plus and not so time consuming for me. One wears headphones and works on the kids computer while the other works on my computer across from each other and I sit and just oversee that they are understand it and not making to many mistakes on the practice pages. It is wonderful! Plus since we have 2 Windows 8 computers, I have math flash card apps on both computers. They have to do these everyday. No cheating, no complaining to me, no asking me are we done yet. The computer does it all. YEA!

I have also purchased Vocabulary and Spelling City. Now this week I just downloaded 50 of last years spelling words and had them work on those and take the test on Fri. Just wanted to get a good review until we move forward. But starting next week I will be continuing to use All About Spelling and teaching the lesson on Mondays and using the online as practice all week and test taking.

This program is wonderful. You can download spelling list from schools all over the nation if you are in public school or you can input your own spelling list, which is what I did with my AAS. Over the summer I went through the whole next level of AAS and put all the spelling words in. So the whole year is up and running.

The Vocabulary and Spelling City program allows the kids to take practice spelling tests, practice vocabulary test, yes each word you can enter a sentence to practice vocabulary, on those words as well as play many, many games and it even has a teach me button that allows you to just practice the words and vocabulary in general. My daughter even asked me this morning as I was sitting down to type this if she could go on and play some games. Hmm, let me think about that one…YES!

We have gone back to choir and piano lesson at Orange Coast Musical Arts, the place I teach 2 choirs at. But again I am using the computer apps to do flash cards for reading musical notes. Mainly for my daughter, my son has a really good handle on note reading. Not perfect but really good. She has cheated on flash cards and complained about learning to read the notes and using the computer app does not give her an out or a way to cheat. The computer does what the computer does. I am hoping to see an improvement in a very short time. This is a daily practice for them. Heck it is only 8 minutes to practice both clefs,4 min each clef.

I am continuing to have my daughter practice her penmanship. We did not finish the Rod and Staff penmanship book 3 last year so we will finish that up this year. After working really hard on it last year she can now read cursive writing. She could write it but for her to read it was a big NO! But we worked on it with the Rod and Staff Penmanship 3 all summer. But I still want her to continue to get the lettering down. See I started my son off with cursive and that is what he prefers to write. I started my daughter off with print and that is her preference. I guess over all it really does not matter which they use, but I want her to know how to do both like my son!

Speaking of Rod and Staff…We are continuing our education with them for English. We stepped up to English 4 and English 6. Nothing really to tell here. Same old same old. I have always like Rod and Staff just because they are a Christian organization and the style of learning they have is very simple but really works on a particular subject until the kids get it.

Along with English they are both learning how to write compositions. My daughter is using I’m a Writer and I didn’t Even Know It! Pirates of the Pond. It is very simple 2-4 sentences (1 paragraph) per page and even have some drawing that she can do. So far she is enjoying it. But my son is using the Apologia’s Jump In, Writing for Reluctant Writers. OMGosh, this is right up his alley. So far these first couple lessons are just about him getting to know his style of writing. A lot of personal questions for him to answer and then explanation of how this book works. I think he will be a writer by the end of this book!

Lastly with Rod and Staff I have decided since we are learning about the body this year we would throw in the Rod and Staff Health books. Yea, I know it seems a little silly but so far we have enjoyed them and it is also giving us more time learning in the Bible what God really wants for us and our bodies.

I took a totally different route with Bible this year. I actually purchase a Bible study from Lamp and Quill Devotional Studies. We are studding the Psalms, Revealing the Heart of God. This is very different then what we have done in the past. But I think it will be good. A little too early to say for sure! There is a lot of independent work for my son and even my daughter. We do the majority of it together but it is great to see my son dive into the Bible on his own. This week we worked on Psalm 1:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.

he wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

Learning that we need to seek counsel with like minded Christians not form those who are of the world. If we sit, stand and walk with those that mock we too could end up mockers etc. We need to stay firmly planted in the word of God to be able to have strong roots and produce fruit. It is a great passage. I think this will be a great Bible study.

We are going to have a ball with Science this year. We are using Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and physiology. We have used Apologia almost our entire homeschooling. It is the BEST Science curriculum out there, I believe! It is fun, informative, hands on and it reads like a friend is just talking to you. That is my kind of text book. I hate reading fact after fact and the way they write it does not feel like that!

Our first lesson was learning about some of the famous scientist who helped dive into learning about the body and how, even though a lot of their theory’s were wrong it helped leap us to where we are today. One of our first hands on “Try This” was of course  learning about the microscope and how it works which you will see in the pictures how we used water to magnify a word. This was how we explained how a magnifying glass or microscope works. That was a “Oh wow!” moment for the kiddos!

For Geography this year we are using many pages I have purchased over the years from the wonderful Internet. We are going to be working on the good old U.S.A. all year. I really want the kids to learn about their country this year. This week we worked on…can you guess? You got it! California. Shoot, why not? We live here! We are going to take a few EXTRA weeks on this one, just because it is our home. I think in the next couple of weeks we might try to go visit a mission. We live relatively close to one so why not?

One of the items we are using for Geography  Highlights “Which Way U.S.A.”. I purchased these years ago and after I bought them realized the kids were WAY too young for them. Well, now they are older and my son is Jr. High and they are perfect. They work a couple of the pages each day together. I think they are having fun with them.

We are also using by Education.com 50 States and Capitals as well as Regions of the USA. Note-booking is a great learning tool and this is the tool I chose to use this year with the children. As you can see by the pictures, they are enjoying this very much and learning very well. We are taking each region and spending a week per state per region (with the exception of Calif). I know you are doing the math. We don’t have enough time to do all the states in the school year. We will continue this through summer and if need be through next year until we cover all 50 states!

Oh my have we come to our last subject? History. Well, if you have been reading my blog all these years you know what we are using! Story of the World! We are using book 3, Early Modern Times. There is not too much to say here either except that the kids love this history, the way we do it and they way it is laid out. We use several library books to enhance the readings and this year I am doing the test pages. This is the first time I have done that. I thought I would give it a try this year.

So this week we were basically moving forward in our history studies. King Charles was our subject this week. I had no idea he was a King of 3 different countries by the age of 19. WOW. Can you imagine all that power? He was also the one who rounded up the German Fury to attack the Pope so he could be crowned Holy Roman Emperor and then denied that he even knew that they were attacking them and thennnnn…he even battled against them for the Pope. Which in turn the Pope agreed to give him Constantine’s crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. Hmm, funny how things work out.

We also read about how South America was invaded by the Spanish and how the Incas and Mayans etc. were used as slaved to do the dirty work to get the gold in the mountains. We are talking billions of dollars worth of gold and all of it squandered by the King! This was the fall of the natives from South America. Very sad, but this is how the world was shaped.

Whew, that was a long post. I promise not so long in the future. But it’s the first week. I had to get it all out there. I hope your school year is going well so far. I’ll catch you on the flip side of next week!


Just a quick FYI! I have given you links to all the curriculum I am using if you decide you want to check out some of them and the prices. No I do not get a cent form any of those links. Just trying to help my fellow homeschoolers!

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