Thursday, August 21, 2014

Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015

Well our 2014-2015 homeschool year is off to a great start. We "officially" began Monday morning and have been plugging away since. Next week we will add in our Classical Conversations community that we will attend once a week on Monday mornings. And the week after we will add in our weekly homeschool P.E. class on Thursdays. It has been nice to kind of ease in to school adding more each week.
My cute students hard at work!
I have been meaning to do a curriculum post to share what we are using this year. I love reading these posts from other homeschool moms because it gives me ideas to keep in the back of my head in case something isn't working. Hands down one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to change things up if something just isn't working and try something new. And we are doing that a bit this year with some changes to what we have used in the past! So, without further ado, here is our curriculum line up for this year...

Max (2nd Grade)
Phonics- A Beka Letters and Sounds 2
Language/Grammar- First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind 1 (finishing up from last year) and then starting level 2
Spelling- Grade 2 Rod and Staff Spelling
Reading- Various books, they do about 30 minutes of quiet reading time everyday
Math- A Beka Arithmetic 2

Sophie (1st Grade)
Phonics- A Beka Letters and Sounds 1
Language/Grammar- First Language Lessons 1
Reading- Various books, they do about 30 minutes of quiet reading time everyday
Math- A Beka Arithmetic 1

Subjects we do together
History- Classical Conversations and we will use Story of the World (Vol. 3 and 4) and books from the library to go along with our weekly history and timeline sentences
Science- Classical Conversations and books from the library to go along with science memory work. We are also using this Magic School Bus Science Kit since it also goes along with a lot of what we are learning in CC this year.
Art- Art With a Purpose Artpac 1
P.E.- homeschool co-op class, swimming lessons, and monthly homeschool gymnastics class (and ballet once a week for Sophie)
Music- Classical Conversations and piano lesson once a week

My biggest surprise this year was using A Beka for phonics AND MATH! We have been using Saxon math and have had no issues with it. However, Sophie used A Beka phonics last year at their co-op and they were both begging to do the worksheets. After looking at A Beka math at a friend's house I knew it would be a great fit for my kiddos. I had stayed away from A Beka initially because honestly I had only gotten negative reviews on it from other homeschool moms. But, the style of it just appeals to my kids and really works for our family so I am excited to give it a try this year!

I am also going to be doing some preschool work with Jack this year but I definitely am not going to push it and we will just work at his pace. I got him some little Rod and Staff workbooks and he has enjoyed working through those a bit and being like the big kids. 

I am really looking forward to this year and growing and learning with my very favorite people. I do not take for granted the opportunity to educate my children and be with them all day everyday! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Catch-up and Great Reads

Happy Saturday! I am currently listening to the sounds of my kiddos playing happily and the hubs outside power washing our swing set and deck (yay for re-staining!). I am super thankful for a weekend to relax and get things done around this casa. I just got a new shelf to organize some of our homeschool stuff so I have been working on that off and on. I am hoping to get on here soon with a post on all of our curriculum choices for next year.

We are definitely enjoying some of our favorite parts of summer; Nick and I have been to the Muny twice (Billy Elliott and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess) and I took Max to a show (Tarzan), we have gone on a few field trips with my mama (the zoo and the botanical gardens), made a trip to KC, and are gearing up to start swimming lessons next week. I go back and fourth between LOVING summer and being ready for the fall. Fall is by far my very favorite season. I love the feeling of getting back into a routine after the summer... also the cooler weather, football, and pumpkin everything!

Speaking of gearing up for fall... I have been re-reading my two very favorite parenting/homeschool books. I read A LOT of books on homeschooling, parenting, and the Christian life. But, there are two that I read again and again and come back to every year to be re-inspired and reminded of why I do what I do and why we live the way we live. They are,

Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
I feel like this is the ultimate book on home educating. I recommend it to absolutely everyone who says they are thinking of homeschooling but don't know where to start. This book goes beyond homeschooling and talks about your home and raising children in general. This book is such a breath of fresh air and Clay and Sally Clarkson could not be more encouraging. My copy is literally falling apart and I find myself grabbing it off my bookshelf on a very regular basis.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne
I actually don't own this book which I need to fix pronto. But, I check it out from the library a lot. Nick and I are actually reading it together this time. While this book isn't from a Christian viewpoint, I feel like the information in this book fits in well with our beliefs and encourages me to give my children the gift of a childhood. I am quick to say "yes" to many activities and things... this book helps me get back on track and keep my priorities in check.

If you are needing a little encouragement in your parenting I cannot recommend these books enough!

Well, I better get back to work. I hope everyone has a happy and productive weekend!

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Weekend 2014

Oh how I miss coming and blogging in this little space. I honestly really just enjoy writing, and blogging is by far my favorite way to do it. Unfortunately, it just hasn't felt like there is time lately. While summer seems to have fewer planned activities, for us, summer is always a little busier! My mom is off of school in the summer so we end up spending a lot of time with her and then when you add in swimming, the Muny, field trips, visiting family.... well, blogging just hasn't fit in. But, since I enjoy it, I do want to try to make more time for it.

We just got back yesterday from visiting my sister in Kansas City. She and her husband had their first baby on July 1st. His name is Cooper and we are totally in love. We were so blessed by getting to go spend some time with them and snuggle on him. It was also fun that it happened to be the 4th of July so we got to celebrate with them and my parents.

Here are a few pics from our trip (not in order!)

We had a nice time (even if a certain 1 year old barely slept the entire trip) and loved getting to snuggle on our new nephew!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Just had to pop in and wish a Happy Father's Day to my own wonderful father 

and to my amazing husband!

Here he is the hubs with our crazy crew this morning before church,
I had many attempts at smiling pictures but none of them turned out. So, here is the one with their "scary faces". 

I hope the fathers in your life are enjoying this day! There is not much better than celebrating men who love and lead their families well!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's day to all you mama's out there. Especially to my own wonderful mama! I always feel sorry for her on Mother's Day... she is a high school teacher and they always have their graduation on Mother's Day (how lame is that?) so she always spends her day there.

We did get to celebrate with her yesterday though. Yesterday morning I had a baby shower for my sister (more pics to come there) and then we spent the evening out at my parents with my sister and brother-in-law too. My Dad made amazing ribs and we had a really nice time.

Today we went to church and then out to lunch at Red Robin. Then it was off to Lowe's to buy plants. We have spent pretty much all day out in the yard planting. My husband has been a rockstar multrycher and I must say my flowerbeds are looking gooood! I am thinking we will just hang out tonight and have breakfast for dinner. My husband really makes Mother's Day fun and special for me and I always feel so blessed.

Photo: So blessed to be mama to these 4 :) Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mom's out there!
Me with my sweet kiddos this morning
I haven't been posting much lately because we have been dealing with some really hard tummy troubles with Sam. I will spare you the details (let's just say we have been doing a LOT of extra laundry around here) ... but on top of that he has been up a lot at night and usually has a 1-2 hour period everyday where he just screams. It has been exhausting. However, after our doctor suggested a gluten intolerance might be the culprit we have taken him off gluten for a trial. About 4 days in and he seems to be doing much better. As much as I originally did not want this to be the case (I don't know of any mom of 4 young kiddos looking to make meal planning and prep more difficult) at this point I will just be thrilled to have an answer and a solution! I just want my baby to feel better!

So, I have just been busy doing the mom thing lately and as much as I love coming here to write updates it has just taken a back seat. I am just thankful that I am able to focus on my boy and my other kiddos full time. This mom gig really is a good one.

I hope everyone had a blessed weekend!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Fun

Our past few weekends had been on the busier side and our family was just feeling like we needed to re-charge. So, on the calendar this past weekend I wrote in bold letters, "DON'T MAKE ANY PLANS". Pretty sure I need to do this a bit more often because it was glorious. 

I think my favorite part was our spur of the minute decision to go check out the farmer's market nearby on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect and we had a great time just wandering around. Our kids are now daydreaming of having their own farm and have already named their future chickens (for the record I am totally on board with this plan! If only money weren't an issue!) We founds some good stuff (not pictured is a an elk antler bone for our favorite pup) and are excited to continue going, especially when more fruits and veggies are available!

We also spent a lot of time Saturday getting some toy organization done. Toys get out of control so fast with 4 kiddos! But, I think we have paired it down and organized things so that the kiddos can enjoy their favorite toys more. I still have quite a bit of organizing to get done but it was nice to work on some bigger projects while the hubs was around to help.

We ended up spending Sunday with my parents which was really nice. We met up with them for lunch at Freddy's and then went back to their house to hang out for a bit and ended up staying for dinner. My mom had found a lot of my sister and my old American Girl stuff so Sophie was in heaven!

We are looking forward to our week and are counting down the days until school is out for the year!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

School Year Recap and looking forward to next year!

I thought I would post a little recap of homeschool Ramsey life and share our plans for next year!

I think I mentioned on here that we started off our year in September using Sonlight curriculum. But, with all of the craziness of adding a never sleeping baby to the mix, in January we decided to join a co-op where the kids would go three days a week and do their core subjects and then do homework at home two days a week.

The co-op situation has not been a great fit for our family. There are things that have been good about it but overall it has been a lot more hassle than help. I am so thankful we tried it out because now on those hard homeschool days when I am tempted to want to send my kiddos off I can remember that I did not like it at all! I have realized for me doing a co-op or university model school kind of takes away the things I love most about homeschooling and leaves me as a "homework helper" instead of my child's teacher.

But, the beauty of homeschooling is the chance to try out new things and see what works best for your individual family. This year I have realized that two of my biggest desires in my own homeschooling is the ability to teach my child as an individual (at their own pace and using materials best suited for their learning style) and to learn as a family (having my kiddos be reading a lot of the same books and studying the same things so that our home is a learning atmosphere). The co-op made those two things basically impossible.

So, next year we are going to go back to homeschooling full time and I am really excited. I have most of our curriculum bought already! We are also going to be a part of a Classical Conversations Community one morning a week. I am hopeful that this will be a good fit for our family because it allows us to be all together and all learning the same things while getting to have some fellowship and learning time with other homeschooling families. My good friend Jenn wrote a good recap post of their Classical Conversations experience this past year that you can read here (she explains things better than I do!).

So, my take away this year... don't stop trying to find what works best for my family! I know that there is no "perfect" system but sometimes a little trial and error helps! I have been able to get a better understanding of my own heart and philosophies through trying some different methods!

*And without being too mushy or annoying I just have to give a big shout out to my husband and my mom! They have both been my biggest supporters in homeschooling and finding what works best for me and my kiddos! I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system and my own personal cheerleaders.