Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Long Overdue...Week in Review!

Okay, so this is really more like 3 or 4 months in review. I got blog-discouraged back in the winter when 2 years worth of pictures just disappeared. Yup. They're gone. Hundreds upon hundreds of pictures vanished leaving my blog looking rather bare. I researched and tried to recover them, but to no avail. I became quite disheartened and so I paused blogging. What was intended to be just a couple of weeks break turned into a few months break.

In the meantime, school has been absolutely delightful! We are 12 units into Little Hearts for His Glory, 6 Units into Creation to Christ, and 24 units into Bigger Hearts for His Glory. The girls are loving school, we are in our groove, and for all the bumps over the last couple of years, it couldn't be going better. Praising God for that!

So what have we been up to? 

During my blogging pause we enjoyed some snow... 

I know this isn't a big deal to many of you, but it is to us! We got 2 really good snowfalls this year which is rare. I love that when we do get snow it is gone in about 2-3 days though! 

Took a fun vacation to Florida...

We spent some time at Disney World with my parents and then got to visit my husband's parents afterwards. So much fun and a much needed break from the cold. My girls enjoyed meeting several characters and our favorite without a doubt was Cinderella's step-mother and step-sisters.

Celebrated Passover and Easter...

Our family Passover Seder is my favorite Spring tradition! 

And Continued on with school!

So as far as school, things are going really, really well. You can see we've purchased some school desks and the girls absolutely love them. They still do school around the house in various places, but they really like having a desk that is all their own. We also bought them wiggle seats. One of my girls tends to need a lot of motion while she learns which was distracting to another daughter who needs a distraction-free learning area. This was an excellent compromise and although we only really felt like it would benefit one, they all have better focus after using them. 

Here are some more specifics about each level...

Grace: Little Hearts for His Glory

The transition into using three guides was not nearly as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Yes, it has changed some thing about our day, but Grace is so happy to have her own history reading and be challenged a little more. 

Grace finished multiple Kindergarten math workbooks and I was honestly at a loss as to what to do with her because she isn't even officially in K5 according to our state's laws until this coming September. A very dear friend of mine at church listened to my dilemma one day. She herself was homeschooled and has been a great person to talk to throughout our schooling. So what did she that helped me out? "Why don't you let her try out your 1st grade curriculum?" My genius response? "Umm...because she isn't in 1st grade?" Yeah, we both laughed and she reminded me of one of the main reasons we love homeschooling: My girls get to move at their own pace! So we have moved on. 

We started with Arithmetic Village which I highly recommend if you are looking for a "living curriculum" start to mathematics. Grace loved it! After we finished the book and several days of activities from the corresponding booklet, we have moved into Math Mammoth, 1st grade. She's doing great and loves it.

Like I said before, Grace loves history...loves history. She is reading really well and quite often asks to read a portion of her history for the day. She does really well and is always able to tell me about what she read. Since I want my girls to become independent anyway, I'm happy to let her read when she wants. 
The other major leap for Grace is that she finished the Abeka Handbook for Reading and we have therefore moved on to All About Spelling level 1. Yay! All three girls are using All About Spelling now. It's more to balance now, but I'm very happy with this move. We're still finishing up the 1st grade Abeka readers, but she'll be done with those soon too. She's moving right a long and loves all she is learning!

I've had a traditional school calendar in our room for years, but I'm horrible at keeping up with it. Grace has decided to take this task on as her own. It's perfect! She is learning her days of the week and months of the year. She loves being in charge of this and I don't have to remember anymore! 
Beth: Bigger Hearts for His Glory

Beth is really enjoying history. I know a lot of people don't like the history spines in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. Some because of the perspective, some because of the terminology. I've used it as a teaching tool and usually replace the out-of-date terms (whites with colonists, Indians/Savages with Native Americans, etc.) as I read aloud. We talk about why different names are better to use and why it may make people uncomfortable to hear the older terminology. I'm also okay with the perspective because we talk about different perspectives. I love Stories of Great Americans and can't wait to The Wright Brothers and Their Sister! 

Beth has finished our cursive curriculum book and has moved onto copywork with cursive. We take a portion of the poem and copy a bit each day. Since Beth is still getting used to cursive I use the font Learning Curve and write out what she is to copy each day. Right now we are using traditional lined handwriting paper as well. 

Math is going well as usual with Beth. She loves it and I love it and I can finally...finally...say we have hit our stride for this subject with all three of the girls! You are seeing this picture correctly...I let my daughters use white board markers on our floor! Yikes! Don't worry, I tested this the first time I tried it. It is a great way to practice measurements and it's so out of the ordinary that my girls just love it. 
It just so happened that the girls ended up on their measurement and weight unit at the same time. It isn't often that they are studying the same things at the same time, so this was fun for them both and they really enjoyed helping each other out with the various activities. They measured each other, us, toys, so many things! 
You're going to see a lot more technology in our pictures. While I am not interested in doing our studies as an online curriculum, I feel very strongly that I need to help my girls learn how to navigate technology responsibly. They each have their own e-mail addresses but are only allowed to e-mail family. Their readings are sometimes e-books. And finally we are using a homework app called Homework Helper. This is giving them more responsibility. The only glitch is getting my own checklist finished in time to get it put into the app using the Teacher version called Teacherio.

Rose: Creation to Christ

We are over half-way through level 4 of All About Spelling. I intend to finish this curriculum with each of my girls, and they are going very quickly through it. Rose started a little later than her sisters because we weren't homeschooling as young as with them.  This scripted spelling curriculum is so thorough and my girls are retaining which is great, but that's not even the best part! Rose is now automatically applying what she's learning in AAS to her written narrations and other writing. So for anyone who isn't sure if this is working, just hang in there. It will translate to their everyday stuff. We also use dictation as written in HOD for three days out of the week as well. 

Yes, that is a calculator in my daughter's hand. I know, I know...first writing with Expos on the floor, then a calculator...what is math coming to in this house!?!?! After talking with my husband (who is very mathematically minded) we decided to allow Rose to check her own math after she had completed it. This has been amazing for her! I still require her to do all of the math by hand, but in checking her own work she is somehow feeling more confident. I also attribute her confidence to Math Rider because she now knows her math facts with confidence. 

One of the cool part of CTC which is new to us is the daily quiet time built into the studies. All of the Scripture memory up to this point has been preparing Rose for her own quiet time. I love that our curriculum is solid academically, but the fact that she is growing spiritually is just spectacular. It took her some time to be okay with highlighting her Bible until I let her do it with erasable colored pencils. She feels better about this just in case she makes a mistake. My little first-born has all the classic tendencies that follow with her birth-order. Knowing and understanding this helps me know how to help her succeed and feel successful. Giving her a way to be okay with mistakes is just a small way to help our entire day go smoother. 


I'm not a super-fan of the hash tag, but this is one I've been using on Instagram. My girls are all in separate guides, different grade-levels and studying different histories...yet we still learn together. We're usually in the same room. Everyone is allowed to ask questions about what the others are learning as long as they are able to get focused again. Each is allowed to teach their sisters if they learn something new. Most importantly, they encourage one another to love learning. I don't allow complaining about school work, but I usually don't have to enforce that rule. Most often they are engaged and excited about what they are learning. Our little one-room-schoolhouse is a beautiful place to learn thanks to Heart of Dakota!

1 comment:

  1. We like and use All About Spelling as well. While our dyslexic 12yo isn't a perfect speller with it, I can slooooowly see progress in her spelling with the use of AAS.