You Won’t Finish Your Curriculum

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You’ve spent all summer planning, ordering, reading.  The calendar is perfectly filled out through May 31st.  Now the books are all lined up nicely on their shelves.  All of the supplies are bought.  Digging through the sofa cushions and looking under beds, the kids find all the missing pencils from last school year.  Sharpened, they are ready to write beautiful essays and reveal the most difficult sums.

Before you settle in that first quarter of school groove, know this, you  won’t finish every single bit of your curriculum…and that’s ok!

When I started out eight!! years ago,  I was so wrapped up in doing it all.  I researched and purchased what was of course THE BEST of all curriculum.  And we were to complete everything by the end of May.  It was written in the calendar darnit!

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As the years went on, I changed curriculum more than I changed diapers.  We’re settled now on the best curriculum FOR OUR FAMILY.  Even that may change as the little ones grow.  And you know what, many, many times we don’t finish our curriculum before we declare summer break and jump in the pool.

Did the kids suffer?  Did anyone have to repeat a grade because we didn’t finish everything on my list?  Absolutely not!  The key, I finally discovered, was that it was my list.  In the beginning, I set expectations so high because I wanted to be the perfect teacher, prove to all that I can do it!   Eventually I started becoming so interested in the things my kids were learning, I became a kid myself.  We all started learning together.  Learning turned into a 365 day affair from dawn to dusk.  Each year we spend less time at the desk and more time on field trips, at the library, reading, playing, making art, just getting out there!

So take a deep breath.  Finish what you can of IEW or All About Reading or that geography book with good effort, then put on those hiking shoes and get out there in the world!

 

Introducing…

…handmade jewelry from Humble Dwelling!  It all started with a simple question from a friend.  She asked if I made crucifixes.  Well, I still haven’t made a crucifix yet (working on it!), but I now have some beautiful solid bronze saint pendants, and cameos (with more coming soon…just waiting on molds and resin).  And of course, rosaries.

To celebrate, I’m offering free domestic shipping until Christmas.  Just visit the shop and enter the coupon code HUMBLEXMAS at checkout.

I’m often adding new items to the shop.  To keep up with what’s new, follow me on Instagram @humbledwellingelaine or like my Facebook page Facebook.com/humbledwelling  You can do both by clicking on the links in the right sidebar.

Our Homeschool Curriculum 2016-2017

Is it just me, or is it bizarre for anyone else to type 2016-2017?  We live in the future, so where are our flying cars and robot housekeepers?

Sci-fi aside, we’re two weeks into our school year already!  Since everyone wants to know what everyone else is using, here’s my annual list of homeschool goodies.  It looks daunting, but I lump together students as much as I can to keep my sanity.

6th Grade:

  1. MathSingapore Math 6A and 6B; Singapore Math Intensive Practice
  2. Grammar/Composition/Vocabulary/Poetry– Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Town Level
  3. Geography– The Story of David Livingstone; library books covering the Ambleside Online topics in geography grade 6; Spectrum Geography Grade 6; map work that coincides with history class
  4. Natural History/Science-Nature journaling; most of the books listed on Ambleside Online’s natural history and science 6th grade booklist. (I have him do oral narration after reading each chapter.) I’ll talk about experiments and lab work in a different post.
  5. Penmanship-Zaner Bloser cursive
  6. Latin-He takes Latin and our homeschool enrichment classes
  7. Religion-Following Christ from the Faith and Life series
  8. HistoryConnecting with History Volume 2
  9. ArtChild-size Masterpieces; art classes at homeschool enrichment
  10. Music-sacred choral singing at homeschool enrichment; At home we’re studying the music of St. Hildegard.
  11. Literature-The Wind in the Willows; The Black Cauldron; a book of his choosing
  12. SpellingAll About Spelling level 5

5th Grade:

  1. Math-Saxon 6/5
  2. Grammar/Composition/Vocabulary/Poetry-Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Town Level
  3. Geography-DK Eyewitness Books: Wonders of the World; topics from Ambleside Online’s 5th grade geography list; Spectrum Grade 5; map work in history class
  4. Natural History/Science-nature journaling; booklist from Ambleside Online (He’s loving Madam How and Lady Why right now!)
  5. Penmanship-Zaner Bloser cursive
  6. LatinLatina Christiana
  7. Religion-Credo: I Believe from the Faith and Life series
  8. HistoryConnecting with History Volume 2
  9. ArtChild-Size Masterpieces; art classes at homeschool enrichment
  10. Music-same as 6th grader
  11. Literature-The Wind in the Willows; The Bronze Bow; something of his choice
  12. SpellingAll About Spelling level 5

3rd Grade:

  1. Math-Saxon 5/4
  2. Grammar/Composition/Vocabulary/Poetry-Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Island Level
  3. GeographyPaddle to the Sea; Spectrum Geography Grade 3; map work with history
  4. Natural History/SciencePagoo; nature journaling; course at homeschool enrichment
  5. Penmanship-Zaner Bloser cursive
  6. LatinPrima Latina
  7. Religion-Our Life With Jesus from the Faith and Life series
  8. HistoryConnecting with History Volume 2
  9. ArtChild-Size Masterpieces; mosaics at homeschool enrichment
  10. Music-same as 6th and 5th graders
  11. Literature-Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh; Caddie Woodlawn; something of her choice (that is not Harry Potter for the billionth time)
  12. SpellingAll About Spelling level 3 (we’re halfway done, so we’ll switch to level 4 mid year)
  13. ReadingAll About Reading level 4

1st Grade

  1. Math-Saxon grade 2
  2. Grammar-slowly working through Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons just for fun
  3. GeographyPaddle to the Sea
  4. Penmanship-Zaner Bloser manuscript
  5. Religion-Our Heavenly Father from Faith and Life Series
  6. Science-nature journaling; The Burgess Bird Book for Children; lots of Magic School Bus books (with me updating information at times)
  7. Poetry-mostly Robert Louis Stevenson
  8. SpellingAll About Spelling level 1
  9. ReadingAll About Reading level 2
  10. Literature-We’re just having fun with this!  We’re reading Just So Stories, Charlotte’s Web, Aesop, The Hobbit, and tons more.  I also do little lap books on subjects like Johnny Appleseed or various Greek myths.

Pre-K Let me preface this by saying I normally don’t teach pre-k.  I think children learn plenty through play.  I don’t really get serious about school with a kid until they’re in 3rd grade.  I spend 1 hour a day tops with my k-2nd graders.  But my current pre-k kid begs and begs every day for school, so I relented a little. 🙂

  1. Math-Saxon Kindergarten
  2. ReadingAll About Reading level 1
  3. Art-drawing on my hallway wall when I’m not looking
  4. Science-getting muddy and asking approximately 1 billion questions a day
  5. Poetry-mostly Stevenson He memorized Whole Duty of Children, but does not heed it. 😉
  6. Spelling-asking me how to spell every word in the English language before I’ve even had my morning coffee

We also do a few other things such as read scripture, PE, handiworks (I usually let the kids pick what they want to learn), and I want to eventually start praying the little office.

To keep my brain from melting, I made one of the best homeschooling decisions in my life!  I now use Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  The older kids have Kindle Fires that they use to check off each assignment as they finish.  They can even see what their current grade is.  We all love it!

And that’s our homeschool this year in a nutshell…a very big, chaotic nutshell.  I could really use that robot housekeeper right about now.

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The Calm After the Storm

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My wonderful husband took care of most of the crazy kids today so I could cloister myself in our classroom to prepare for our school year starting in 1.5 weeks!  I spent the bulk of the day rearranging things, filling garbage bags, and writing lesson plans.IMG_8885

I kept looking at the mess of a room with bare walls, and with toys strewn about on the subfloor that we’ll someday cover with hardwood.  I know we’ll hit the ground running and not stop until next summer.  Most people would call this the calm before the storm.IMG_8886

But for me this is the calm after the storm.  After a hurricane of a summer…very hard third trimester, new baby, new job for the husband with a lot of travel…this is my calm.  There is such peace preparing this room and arranging things just so. There is such peace knowing I’ll get to spend so much time learning and growing with my children for yet another school year.IMG_8888

These aren’t just lesson plans I’m writing.  They’re plans to snuggle up on the sofa while we soak up C.S. Lewis’ wonderful words.  They’re plans to take a walk down by the creek to see how many different birds we can identify then sketch in our journals. And most importantly, they’re plans to sometimes just be still and know.IMG_8887

I thank God everyday for the gift of homeschooling and the time I get to spend with these seven sweet, wonderful, mighty, and loving souls.

A Few Birthdays and a Farm

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Being very pregnant during “birthday season” around here can be a tad trying.  So this year wasn’t huge themed Pinterest Perfect Parties, but small and sweet celebrations.  First up, little Max turned 4.  He was very excited and told everyone that he spoke to that he’s not3anymorethankyouverymuch!  Max is such a sweet, empathetic child.  He always makes sure to ask me how my day was or how I’m feeling.  It’s really very sweet.

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Matilda turned 8!!!  Yes, the cake doesn’t look the best, but oh my word did it taste goooood!  Matilda requested a sleepover party.  I never knew 7 and 8 year old girls could be so loud!  My suggestion is to invest in good ear plugs for any future sleepovers you may have. 🙂 Matilda is growing into a little proficient chef.  She loves helping to bake and cook and has a few solo things that she can do now.  I love watching the kids find their passions.

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Matthew turned 6.  His aging seems to go more quickly than all the others for some reason.  He’s no longer the bouncing everywhere toddler, but a (mostly) calm kid who devours books.  He’s almost ready for chapter books, which amazes me since he only started really reading last September.

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The day before Matthew’s birthday, we went on a field trip with a little Charlotte Mason homeschool co-op we attend.  I think Stella wanted to take all of the animals home.  I mean, look at this piglet!!

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A few of the kids tried their hands at milking a cow.  I didn’t.

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We also got to feed calfs.  I think it was a sweet little birthday celebration for Matthew.  It was nice to be out in the sunshine with all the animals.  Plus we got to buy some raw milk and made mozzarella cheese with it when we got home.  Best cheese evah!!

That’s it for birthday round ups!  The next group of birthdays comes in July with Jack, Stella, and Henry will finally be here!!!!!!

A Much Needed Slow Down

Lent…I had so many plans.  Stations of the cross, daily family rosaries, carefully planned out Lenten crafts for the kids, etc. Then my back gave out on me.  Not the “oh it’s a bit sore” kind of pain but the “I can’t believe walking is causing this many tears” kind of pain.  Most of my Lent plans flew out the window.

As always, God had different plans for me, and as always, He was right.  Having to be still has allowed me to take quiet time to pray, study my hobbies (obsessions) of rosary making and Iconography, and mostly to just sit down and chat with my kids.  My not being able to move much has also given my kids the opportunity to serve someone in need.  It’s amazing to see them brighten up when they have a chance to help me out by handing out snacks at snack time, or getting me a book from across the room.  I sometimes forget that they need the chance to earn graces as much as I do.

So I’m glad my Lent isn’t going the way I planned.  It’s going the way He planned, and it’s much, much better that way.

 

First things first…

Before I delve into one thousand and one posts about what and how we use our home school curriculum, I’d like to talk a little about how I keep all those balls I juggle up in the air.

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Let’s face it, teaching multiple grade levels at once is TOUGH! So to stay on top of things, I’ve come up with a few little tricks to make the school day run more smoothly.

First, assignment sheets!  Every evening I fill out an assignment sheet for the next day.  This details all of the work each child is supposed to do that day.  The kids have to finish every thing I list on the sheet before they can call the school day done.  If there are incomplete subjects done, they have to finish it on their own time.  All work is due Friday by the end of the school day.  Honestly though, the kids never have problems finishing the assigned work.  And this is for 3rd grade and up.  2nd grade down kiddos do most of their work with me. 🙂

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Second, I must be prepared!  Once a month or so, I have a copy or print out fiesta.  I copy math forms (used in Saxon), religion quizzes, and print out anything needed for crafts etc.  I made the mistake of not doing this last school year (new move, little baby to take care of, excuse, excuse, excuse!) and I found myself constantly running back and forth from the school room to the office to make copies often.  Those little minutes add up!  Not to mention if I’m out of the class room for more than 5 minutes, the giggles start and the school work stops.  Not that I mind the cute giggles!

Third, and most important, prayer!!!!  I try to start each school day with prayer time.  I’ll admit I forget more than I like (which means a lot during our busy morning routine), and those days are always hardest.  Prayer in the morning calms and centers us so well!  I also set a reminder to go off every day at noon for the Angelus.  And I found a wonderful scriptural Rosary book we’ve been using.  My goal is to say at least one decade a day.

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I hope to eventually add “circle time” in the mornings where we read a bit of scripture, pray and practice reciting some of the kids poetry memorization.  But in order to do this, I have to actually wake up before the kids do.

Yes, I realize the pictures in this post are random.  C’est la vie.