Categories
Books Writing

Reading Journals for Kids: Yes or No?

I’ve never given any thought to reading journals until I happened across them on Amazon and found that reading journals for kids is a whole thing!

So, I have to know, who does it and who doesn’t?

Do you find that it enhances your book experience?

Or did you try it and discover that it takes the joy out of the books?  (That’s my fear.)

Amazon has a few cute reading journals for kids if you want to give it a try.  I still haven’t decided…

Reading Journal [ Softback (8″ x 10″) – Child-friendly Layout – 100 Spacious Record Pages – I like this one.  If you click the link you can see how it is on the inside.  With a Table of Contents to write down all the books with corresponding page numbers for the journal pages.  So you can go back and look up specific books later.

Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log – looks like a good beginners log.

So, let me know – reading logs, yay or nay?

And I’ll let you know what I decide.

Categories
3rd Pictures

Ready for Third Grade!

thirdgrade

Categories
Homeschool Deals

Educents Homeschool Sale

educentshomeschoolsale

EDUCENTS is having a Back to Homeschool sale where you can get FREE shipping on your orders fof $49 or more.  Just use code HOMESCHOOL16 by June 24th!

Listed below are some great products to look at before you place your order.  The were all given the stamp of approval by Cathy Duffy.  If you’ve been homeschooling long you’ve probably heard of her.  Cathy Duffy is the know-all when it comes to homeschool curriculum. She has reviewed hundreds of homeschool curricula to help educators like me make an educated decision when shopping for homeschool curriculum.  Her book, 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum was a TREMENDOUS help when I was just starting you.

Here’s a handful of Cathy-approved educational picks available at Educents.com. I hope these double-recommended educational resources will relieve you from endless hours of shopping around for the best (and most cost-effective) homeschool resources.

Elementary Math & Science

Life of Fred Elementary Math

math books

If you haven’t heard of Life of Fred, you’re in for a real treat. Dr. Stanley F Schmitt is a math teacher who developed story-based math learning series that has taken homeschooling by storm! Forget rote learning that doesn’t resonate: learners follow the Fred and his pals through life and learn math concepts along the way. Kids sometimes don’t even know they’re learning math until they’re told!

Each book has a topic, like Apples, Butterflies, and Cats. I recommend supplementing math learning with science of social studies of the same topic!

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Categories
Moments Recaps

Wrap-Up: The Week with the Worst Day Ever & the Beauty of Homeschooling

Do you school on Fridays?  We do.   But this particular day we are getting a late start.  We both slept in (it was fabulous!)

One thing I love about homeschooling is that I can say “yes” to staying up late the night before Hubs has to go back to work.  He works an “on 4, off 2” schedule.  With a 45-55 minute drive depending on traffic, even on his earliest shift days he’s not home until 7pm.  So G gets precious little time with him those 4 days he’s at work.  So I don’t mind saying “yes” to an extra hour.

Because we don’t have to be up early in the morning to catch the bus or make it to car line.

Sleep is a beautiful thing.

I’m convinced after my years in the Early Childhood Education field and just observing my own child these past 7 years, that children are sleep deprived.  G slept 12 hours last night.  And I actually woke him up this morning – he might have slept longer if I had let him.  Even on a normal night with a normal bedtime after a normal day he’ll sleep a solid 10, maybe 11 hours.  If I had to get him up for school every morning he would have to go to bed at 7:00 to get enough sleep!  As it stands, bedtime is 8. And it works for us.  He has karate and training times can vary from 5-6pm, 6-7pm or 7-8pm.  We rarely go to the latest class because we have a 20 minute drive to get back home and class usually runs a few minutes over so we’re not getting home until after 8:30.  But there are kids his age that do the 6-7pm classes and the 7-8pm classes!  And they have to go home, get ready for bed and be up early the next morning!  I know they have to be tired!

When I was teaching preschool I had a class where 4 of the boys in my class were on the same baseball team.  They were all 4-5 years old and there were days they looked like zombies!  If I mentioned how tired the seemed in class to the parent, I would hear, “Oh the ballgame before theirs ran late so they didn’t take the field until almost 8:00.”   WHAT?!?!  What business do 4 and 5 year olds have being on the ball field at 8pm???  I get that the game before them ran over – but even if the game had started on time it was still too late for 4 & 5 year olds to be on a baseball field!  They should’ve been at home in their jammies having a bedtime story read to them!

I feel like we (as a society in general) are programming our children to be sleep-deprived.  For the non-homeschooled child though, it seems that the only way to get adequate sleep is to be un-involved.  If you participate in a team sport or take some sort of lessons/training as a group (karate, dance) then you are subject to these later times if you want to participate.  Why?  Because they have to set times around parent work schedules.  You can’t have a 4 or 5pm practice because there is no parent to get the child there at that time.  So the only other option is to cut into the time the child should be resting.

Ok, I really chased a rabbit there.  I said all that to say that I’m glad G can get the sleep he needs.   I don’t think a 7 year old is going to sleep in just for the heck of it or out of laziness.  If he sleeps until 9am it’s because that’s what his growing little body needed to rest and recover and be ready for the day ahead.

But this week, I learned and even more important lesson than how great sleep is.

GRACE. 

I learned the lesson of grace in homeschooling.

grace

You see, we had our worst day of homeschool EVER this week.  And you can read all about it here.

But I learned this week that homeschooling is all about grace.

The Grace God gives us, the grace I allow myself and the grace I give my son.

I screwed up this week.  God’s Grace was there.

At 2:30 in the afternoon I threw my hands up and said “We’re done!”  Not in a bad way but in a “the world won’t end if these last two assignments don’t get done” way.  That’s the grace I allow myself.

And I extended that to my son – calling it a day took a burden off his shoulders.  He was done.  There was nothing else productive going to come out of him that day.  Forcing him to finish would have been purely a power play on my part and the lessons would not have stuck.  So I gave my son grace.

So that was our week and my take-away from it.  Thank God for Grace!

Thanks to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for having a weekly wrap-up every week!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Categories
Free Stuff Homeschool Deals Resources

Educents February Freebie K-2nd Math Pack

educentsfebfreebie

Put a little love into your math lessons this month with the February FREEBIE (Addition, Subtraction, Number Bonds, Ten Frames) pack!

What’s included: This seven page FREEBIE for February includes two vertical addition pages (one to 10 and one to 20), two vertical subtraction pages (one from 10 and one from 20), one ten frame page (to 10), and two number bond pages (one to 10 and one to 20). Skills Addition to 10 – find the sum Addition to 20 – find the sum Subtraction from 10 – find the difference Subtraction from 20 – find the difference Ten Frames to 10 – write the number to match the ten frame Number Bonds to 10 – complete the number bonds Number Bonds to 20 – complete the number bonds.

Hurry to Educents for your freebie!

Categories
Co-op/Outside Activities History Unit Studies

Literature Fair Project on Tonight on the Titanic

titanicproject1

So I signed BigG up for a Literature Fair at our Co-op before I realized what it was.  HA!  To be fair, I had originally read the requirements for the age group UNDER BigG.  So I was thinking, “Oh, this is a piece a cake.”  So I signed him up.  Then when I realized what was really expected I was like, “oh dear.”

But I knew this would be good for him so we dove in.  I will say, I tried to sway his choice of books to something that I thought would still be easy.  But oh no, he would have none of it.  He was (and still is) enamored with the Titanic.  We had already read Tonight on the Titanic a while ago. And actually owned it because when we reached that book in the Magic Tree House series, our library didn’t have it!  It had been checked out and not returned like 6 months prior.  So Amazon to the rescue with 2 Day Prime shipping we had it in (almost) no time.

So anyway, I wanted him to re-read the book and he was okay with that.  As much as I wanted him to pick a different book that I thought would be easier, it was actually best that he did this one because it’s what HE wanted.  I have a feeling I got more out of him because this was HIS topic.

Here’s what was expected of him for the fair project (now mind you, he’s in the 2nd grade!):

  • Book Report on book of choice
  • Visual Aid based on book
  • Pick a research topic based on book
  • Write a research report on topic with 3 sources listed on works cited page
  • A “hands on” Research project based on report

Please tell me I’m not wrong for being daunted by that list!

So, visual aid…. “Mom, I want to make the Titanic out of paper.”

Me: Well, son…. how about part of it?

“Ok.  Can I have an iceberg?”

Me: *calls my dad and asks how we might fashion an iceberg.  He gives us Styrofoam from a box of motorcycle parts he recently ordered*  Yes, we can make an iceberg out of this Styrofoam.  I think….I really hope.

titanicproject2

I think the iceberg turned out well.  We had to cut a few pieces to shape and glue it together.  It’s very hard to glue styrofoam.  Elmer’s isn’t going to cut it and hot glue melts it.  Just so you know.  I finally had luck with tacky glue.

I broke down the writing of the book report into manageable chunks – a paragraph a day.   The guidelines had specific things it wanted in the report.  We followed those to the bare minimum. It was 5 paragraphs so it took him a school week to do it but he did it.  The last paragraph was questions about how the book made you feel.  His read:

This book was a little scary.  It made me feel sad for the people on the Titanic.  I am glad new rules were made so that it would never happen again.

Isn’t he the cutest?  Ok…

I did sway him on his research topic.  Because had I not, his report would have been 92 pages long.  He wanted to included it all.

We settled on answering these Titanic questions:

  1. Why did the Titanic hit the iceberg?
  2. What made it sink?
  3. Why weren’t more passengers rescued?
  4. Why did so many people go down with the ship?

I really tried to make 3 and 4 the same thing but he wasn’t having it.  He had an idea.

The research report was twice as long as the book report but he added every fact he wanted.  Like I said above, this was HIS topic.  I kept reminding him the more things we added to the notes the more he was going to have to write.  He said, “I know, but this is important.”  If I had made him settle for something different, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the same quality out of him.

The visual aid (aside from having the Titanic coming out of it and an iceberg in front) had the 4 questions and some bullet points (we did this on the computer) and some pictures.  We were working on this project just as this story broke about the picture they think is of the iceberg the Titanic hit.  So of course that had to be included.  And a map of the Titanic’s fateful voyage.  And people on the lifeboat.  And he wanted a picture of the Captain and a couple who’s names escape me at the moment but they went down together because she wouldn’t leave him.  The pictures are a little crooked but it’s because I let him do it – I wanted them to be able to see that he did it.  😀

Now we’re down to the last thing.  A “hands on” research project – as if the reports and the visual aids were not enough.  And to make matters worse I realized 2 nights before the fair that the visual aid and project were two separate components.

CRAP.  Pardon my French.  So I’m re-reading the forms and messaging the lady in charge just trying to clarify when G comes to me and says, “Look, I made a little Titanic out of my LEGOs.  I think I can make an iceberg too.  Want to come help me find white pieces?  Maybe I can take it with my project.”

Does this kid have any idea how awesome he is?

So off I go to help him find the write pieces to make an iceberg.  And I say, “So, do you think you can make the other two ships that were in the area that night?  They were smaller than the Titanic, remember?”

“Oh, yeah.  Here’s one I made when I was trying to make the Titanic but I didn’t like it.  It can be the Carpathia.  And I’ll make the other one.”

titanic5

And thus our “hands on” research project was born!  He demonstrated (with ridiculous accuracy) where each ship was reported being when the Titanic struck the iceberg and why the closest ship didn’t respond and the farther away ship didn’t make it.

He had to meet with the judges and “present” his project.  Oh, how he shined!  I had to watch from outside the room through a crack in the door but I could see him and his facial expressions and gestures as he was talking.  Afterwards I said, “Were you able to answer all their questions?”  And he said, “They didn’t really have any questions because I told them everything.”

Oh how I love this kid!

titanicproject3

He was over the moon about his 3rd place ribbon (and so was I!)  We had talked for a couple days leading up to this that it was okay if he didn’t get a ribbon.  That he worked hard on his project and that’s what was important.  And he learned some new things and did his best.  And that we weren’t going to be upset if he didn’t win.  I wanted to prepare him.  I hope that I didn’t scare him into thinking he wasn’t going to win but I didn’t want him to get upset.

We got his score sheet back a couple weeks later with the judges comments.  He got a 99 out of 100 – so it was close among all the participants!  Which made me even prouder.  He got a 4/5 for “visual aid neatness”.  (Those pictures glued on crooked is what cost him!  lol)  That was his only missed point.  The judges comments were “well organized, creatively presented, and very knowledgeable.”

This momma could not be more proud!

Categories
Mom Thoughts Random

This sums up my week….

1

No wonder I was STARVING at dinner time tonight. I just found my lunch right where I put it down on top of the book shelf when it was time to help G do his math. Totally forgot to finish eating it.

#homeschoolmom

#homeschoolmomlife

 #keepcalmandhomeschoolon

#cantmakethisstuffup

Categories
Free Stuff Homeschool Deals

FREE Subscription to Family Fun Magazine

familyfunWe have a subscription to this magazine.  I love reading it each month!  There are tips, activities to do with the kids and more.

Here is a completely FREE, no strings attached magazine subscription offer!  Get a FREE subscription to FamilyFun magazine!

Plus, check out some fun ideas the kids can do with old magazines when you’re done with them!

If you don’t mind jumping through a couple hoops, you can snag free subscriptions to Family Circle and Outdoor Photographer!

 Get a FREE subscription to FamilyCircle magazine!   For the job questions I just went through and selected “other” on all of them.  I declined all the other offers.  When you get to the page that asks for Credit Card information that’s JUST if you’re choosing any of the offers on THAT page.  We aren’t selecting other offers so just look for the tiny “no thanks” button and click it. Say “no” to a few more offers and you’ll get to the confirmation screen showing that your free FamilyCircle magazines will be on it’s way!

Get a FREE subscription to Outdoor Photographer magazine!   – just follow the same directions as above.

 

Categories
Books Homeschool Deals

Better World Books End of Year Sale | up to 40% off and always FREE shipping!

I absolutely LOVE Better World Books!  I’ve ordered so many books from them this year since I discovered them!  I always see lots of Sonlight and Five in a Row titles.  I’ve also purchase Magic Tree House books – we love Magic Tree House!

They specialize in used books – library discards and things like that.  But I haven’t had an issue with the condition a book is in when I get it.  Most used books are priced at $3.98.   Shipping is ALWAYS FREE and they are having a huge end of year sale!


Save on Used Books

Thru January 5th you can save 20% off 4 or more used books or 40% off 8 or more used books in the Bargain Bin that ship from Better World Books!  (The Bargain Bin just means their used book section)

No coupon code needed!  Just shop and save!

Categories
Moments

The Christmas Story as read by my 7 year old

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbVBA5CPAtY]

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and a happy and blessed new year!