Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Strawberry Season!

Today, we went to a U-Pick Strawberry Field to pick our own strawberries! The boys have been talking about going to a farm so I thought this would be good practice in seeing what farmers produce. 

B was so excited to be a "farmer" today!  He was singing "Old McB Has a Farm" instead of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and instead of animals there were strawberries! 

We picked 12 pounds of strawberries at $0.50 each pound so we spent $6 total and had a blast!  I think G ate about a pound on the field!  I had to try to keep rinsing them off before he would put them in his mouth! We also were able to get some strawberry onions before leaving.  We also saw how the bees pollinate the flowers and how the little flowers turn into strawberries from the plant.  Fun day and lots of homeschool between the math used to calculate how many strawberries and pounds we collected and how much it cost, to the nursery rhymes, science of the plants and bees, and meeting a farmer on the field :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Pictures

We got a surprise when we went to the mall with their aunt and the boys' new friend: We got to meet the Easter Bunny!  The boys were so good; we couldn't believe how well they sat and took a picture!  G actually cried when we left because he wanted to take the bunny home :)

The boys hanging out at the house being silly! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Start of Our Homeschool Journey

I wanted to have a place where I can document all of the wonderful knowledge I have gained about homeschooling in these few short months.  I brought it up with my wonderful mother-in-law and she said she had a friend who was homeschooling five of her children!  I asked if I could contact this person and she gave me great information!  I am not putting her name in here to protect her privacy.  Here is the information I gathered from her years of expertise in homeschooling: January 22, 2013
·         Teach 3R’s first (reading, writing, arithmetic)

·         Have “Quiet Time”- 1 hour after the children reach a point of not taking naps anymore that everyone is quiet whether at play or reading a book.  This gives the Homeschool Mom some “me time” to recoup or revive after studies.  She had a great idea that she has a box that comes out just during “Quiet time” that is filled with new checked out books from the library or new games/toys that the children get to play with only at Quiet Time so it is a treat for them!

·         Have time once a month to myself of a Girls Night; to get out, read, run, yoga, whatever it is to distress and unwind.

·         Teach math and studies early in the morning, which get it out of the way early in the morning when the children are most alert and then it leaves the afternoon open.

·         Incorporate only ideas I liked from classroom settings like we both like the Pledge of Allegiance.

·         Florida is open to children playing sports in the high school years on a public school high school team even if they are homeschooled!  Good to know if we decided to move to another state that does not offer this!

Recommended books by this awesome homeschool Mom:

Any book by Dr. Raymond Moore or Dorothy Moore

“The Simplicity of Homeschooling” by: Vicky Goodchild

“Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by: Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner

Five in a row books for math

Spoke with Trish from FPEA on 2/1/2013. 

  • I have to let Superintendent know child is homeschooled year the child turns six before February 1 of that year. 
  • Child can start kindergarten before five years old if ready.
  • No FCAT testing is required.  There are 5 evaluation choices at regards to parent.  We get to choose how the child is evaluated.  There is more information when you become a FPEA member, which also helps with the legalities of homeschooling in Florida.

Recommended books by FPEA:

“The Simplicity of Homeschooling” by: Vicky Goodchild

“How to Home School: A Practical Approach” by: Gayle Graham

“100 Top Picks for Curriculum” by: Cathy Duffy

“What Your Child Needs to Know When” books by: Robin Scarlata Sampson and E.D. Hirsch Jr.

“The Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling” by: Mary Pride

 The following are notes I took while reading these books, which I highly recommend!

 “The Simplicity of Homeschooling” by: Vicky Goodchild:

  • Sing, spell, read and write phonics program (teaches child to read).  Also look for Gentle Phonics by: Kathryn von Duyke
  • Learning early in morning until lunchtime, then learning by living, create, play, read, and have fun!
  • “Once a week” hands-n day (messy days-do a project)-gives a break from workbooks or phonics programs. 
  • Friday-catch up day or clean up day-spelling test, extra curricular or read educational magazines
  • After lunch-Bible or Quiet time, Chore of the Day, musical instruments (if played or learning) – Then free until dinner time
  • Evenings-family devotionals
  • Teach social studies through use of living books (biographies, documentaries) rather than textbooks.
This book also has lots of worksheets that help document homeschooling.

 How to Home School: A Practical Approach” by: Gayle Graham

  • Writing- Use “Spider Webs” to let creative thinking flow
 Subject – idea 1

              -idea 2

              -idea 3
Recommended reading by her: “Any Child Can Write” by: Harvey Wiener
  • Have fun- get costumes for what you are studying-you can incorporate this into birthday parties or a family night with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins
  • Do Not Mark up papers with Red Ink – Instead give them a day or two to come back and revise and then do it on a blackboard or art easel.  This takes the pressure off the child.
  •  History- Use big timeline on the wall to have children relate to when things happened.  They don’t necessarily need to know chronological understanding until high school.  Timeline will help with this (put pictures or characters but keep it simple)

a.       Integrate social studies with art, music and literature

b.      Reading, vocabulary, and even spelling assignments in unit you are studying

c.       Start out with telling child about family relations, find info on other children in the world and country so they can relate and show them where the country is (geography).

  • Math- make chart with 1-100 (rows of 10) to show add, subtract, divide and use objects (beans, buttons, manipulative) to show one to one correspondence (play musical chairs to teach this)
  • Later, make pizza pies out of felt to teach fractions or use measuring cups or bake to do it all together.
  • Money- play store or restaurant and show them how to use money.

 Other recommended books by Gayle Graham:

“You Can Teach Your Child Successfully” by: Ruth Beechick

“The Three R’s” by: Ruth Beechick

“Design a Study” books by: Kathryn Stout

“Any Child Can Write” by Harvey Wiener

“How to Create Your Own Unit Study” by: Valerie Bendt

“Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by: Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner

“Books Children Love” by Elizabeth Wilson (book on how to pick great children’s literature)

“Honey for a Child’s Heart” by: Gladys Hunt (book on how to pick great children’s literature)

“The Elements of Style” by: William Strump and E.B. White (for high school level writing)

Inexpensive phonics workbooks:

-MCP Phonics

-Explore the Code

-Bob books

 This book also has lots of worksheets that help document homeschooling.

         I read “Home Grown Kids” by: Dr. Raymond Moore and Dorothy Moore.  I found the book very interesting and this is where you can find out how much time children spend with peers and the effects of that and why it is a great idea to homeschool if you can.  The end of the book also goes into how children should act or know things by a certain age (ages 3-8 years old) but I personally want to experience this with my own children and learn how they want to learn and when they are ready to know something.  This book is very informative though and filled with great insight.

         I am currently reading “Homeschooling the Early Years” by: Linda Dobson.  It is a great collaboration of numerous homeschool families she interviewed and had them fill out questionnaires so it provides many perspectives from different homeschool families from unstructured homeschooling to schooling at home via textbook and everywhere in between.  The greatest thing I have found so far in this book is just to get started and dive in!  There are many people in the book who put their kids in public school first and then switched to homeschooling, which was a hard transition.  I have thought about maybe doing this by putting my oldest in VPK since it is only 3 hours a day and then supplement ting homeschool when he gets home but this has been detrimental from what I have read.  Homeschooling is different than regular schooling and it can be confusing so it seems best to teach them one way and keep it that way.

That is the hardest thing I am dealing with right now is I am so scared knowing I am putting the future of my children’s education in my hands.  But I also know I walk with the Lord and I am feeling truly called to homeschool my sons. 

I went through a lot of this back and forth last week but I prayed on it and I ended up with two offers in my email to try and out for a 30 day trial and review them at the end!  How great is it that you can try a curriculum out for free before you decide to spend the money to see if it is something your child likes?  We have used for about 3 days now and it is great!  B learned how to read “I am Sam” today and he has been saying it all day!

We also have the boys on which is amazing!  We’ve had them on it for about two months now but B has learned to use the computer at 3 ½ years old and my little G at 23 months old is right behind him wanting to do what brother is doing!  Awesome, awesome program for preschoolers and it goes up to Kindergarten and first grade so we will definitely be using this but for more of a fun, learning game and not necessarily curriculum.

In closing for this for today, I would like to thank my mother-in-law.  She not only has had the faith in me that I can do this but she also gave me so much classroom materials and workbooks and games that I definitely have preschool covered for both boys and some of Kindergarten!  She watched my niece and nephew from the time they were babies and she had all of these materials at her house and from when she a librarian at our church preschool.  My niece is in advanced classes in Kindergarten now because of how much she worked with her so I am truly honored and blessed that she was so giving with all of these materials to me. 

As I embark on this wonderful homeschool journey with my family, I just wanted to have a place to look back and say this is where I started!   

Happy St. Patrick's Day! These are two of my favorite Irish blessings:

"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you."

"May you get to heaven half hour before the devil knows you're dead."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Daddy's Knee Surgery

From my husband on his knee surgery:

I have been having issues with my knee since last May when I slipped while fishing.  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a partially torn meniscus and patellar subluxation(which means the knee cap isn't staying in place.  The Dr. told me that to surgery isn't necessary and that with physical therapy we can strengthen all the muscles around the knee to avoid surgery.  So I did 8 weeks of therapy and was only having to wear my knee brace when I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking like one of our many trips to Disney, Busch Gardens or Sea World. 

In January the pain began to come back and I started to feel like my knee was "catching" inside again.  So I went back to my primary care Doctor and he referred me back to be re-evaluated.  I saw a different Doctor who had me take x-rays(which you cant see ligament tears on a x-ray because it only shows bones!) and looked at the MRI from May 2012(and didn't take a new MRI to see what damage there is currently) and determined that I there was nothing structurally wrong with my knee but that I needed to continue to do therapy at home to again strengthen the knee.  Having been through this process and before and regressing I finally listened to dear Mom and went to get a second opinion, which is where she had her knee surgeries done.  I am SO glad I did!  I felt like at the original doctor, they were telling me I was a liar and that there was nothing wrong.  At the new doctor they also took x-rays and a new MRI and genuinely seemed concerned with the pain I have been in.  I saw them on Wednesday and they had me scheduled for surgery for a Monday in March.  What a relief that someone actually took me seriously and was going to fix it.

So I had surgery and have been pretty much stuck with my leg up, ice packs and lots of pain meds.  My wife and the boys have been doing a very good job taking care of me.  B seems to understand that he has to stay away from Daddy's leg, but G hasn't quite come to terms and Daddy is attempting to be patient.  I know I have a lot of therapy ahead but still happy the worst is over.