Friday, August 15, 2014

School Room Tour 2014-2015

Welcome to our school room, or our little school house, I should say. Yep, that's right, we have a stand-alone, one room, school house. It used to be a work-shed (from the previous owner) and my hubby converted it for us when we decided to homeschool. But before you think, "Aww, how cool is that?! A real one-room school house!!"--it definitely has it's pros and cons.

It's neat because the kids "go to school" each day, and we have a place to store all of our school books and papers. And, when my little babies are napping during our school time, they have a quiet house all to themselves. Also, my kids play in there all the time, using it as a clubhouse or jail or whatever else. However, when the cold months hit, it is a challenge for me. Going from the warm, cozy house to a little icy room to turn on heaters, well, it's not my thing. When the weather is too wet or it's just too cold, we have school at the kitchen table. That means we have to lug some of our school stuff into the house and find a temporary place for it. And then, when the winter weather breaks, it's fun again to get back to our school room because by then, we're ready for a change in pace. You see what I mean? The school room and I have a love-hate thing going on!!

This is the view from the doorway

And the view when I stand in front of the TV

To the right of the door: our calendar, small map,
a little shelf with some games and books,
pencil sharpener, hand sanitizer, and the wise owl.
Through the window, you see my house/kitchen window

Continuing to the right: where my big kids sit,
wall map of the world, some grammar posters

Now on the back wall opposite the door:
These 2 shelves are new here (they used to be in my pantry/laundry room),
Very top row: dictionary, math manipulatives, paper,
They hold our school books, each child has their own shelf,
Bottom left row: curriculum from last year, waiting to be used again.
Bottom right row: History and Science reference books,
Nice USA map from the dollar store!

Continuing along the back wall:
TV, my work space in the corner,
More dollar store posters

My work space, leading into
our preschool station

Continuing to the right:
This is where my 1 and 2 year olds will hang out
And of course, more posters. . .LOL

To the right of the little table:
Shelf with globe and clock,
Office supplies, flash cards, portfolios,
Art supplies,
Shelf in the middle has my teacher's manuals,
Bottom 2 shelves plus the crate have things for the toddlers to do
Chalkboard/white board (the only IKEA item in this school room!)

Just another shot to give you an idea of where we are in the room,
the Luvs box under the chalkboard stores our
science experiment stuff (i.e. cups, balloons, foil, etc.)

Above the door, I put up the alphabet in cursive.

And that is what the Chelmont Academy looks like! (Oh, and there's a big rug in the middle of the floor where the kids can stretch out.) Nothing too fancy. Not too much different from last year. I am wondering what we'll do in the near future as my littlest 3 get older. We'll see! But, it works okay for now.

Any advice on things I can do to make the most of our space? Do you have a designated room or does school happen anywhere?
Happy Schooling!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Taking the Leap: 8 Tips for Transitioning from Public School to Homeschool

This school year marks our 4th year of homeschooling. . . and 4 years out of public school.
Like many parents, when our oldest daughter turned five, we received paperwork from the county and registered her for kindergarten at our local elementary school. And, off to public school she went. When she was in 2nd grade, her little sister began kindergarten in the same school. But, it was during that year that my husband and I prayerfully made the decision to homeschool. . . and we're so glad we did!

Although our overall experience was generally a good one with our local school, there were quite a few things that we weren't pleased with. I could go down the line, naming each one, but that's not the point here. The point is, the Lord began to deal with our hearts concerning our responsibility in educating our children and we felt the best and most effective way to live that out was to homeschool.

So after completing 3 years of homeschooling, here's my advice to someone else who's looking to transition.

1) Prayer
Do not take this part lightly!! Prayer changes things, it allows us to tune in to our Savior who will prepare our hearts and minds for the most humbling task of homeschooling. Remember, the Holy Spirit works in our homeschools, too! So, pray for wisdom, guidance, strength, and discernment. Pray for God to bless your homeschooling, that He would be found throughout the pages of the school work. Stay connected to God.

2) Plan
My husband and I knew we wanted to homeschool by the fall of our 2nd daughter's kindergarten year. That was just a couple of months into the school year. I was just itching to pull them out the EXACT day we made our decision. But, we felt it best to wait until the entire year was over, and use that time for planning.
I read as much information as I could on homeschooling, I became familiar with my state's laws, and I got in touch with another homeschooling mom and picked her brain for information, etc. I began comparing various methods for homeschooling,did I want to do everything at home or join a co-op? Just try to think some of these things through before you begin and use their last days in public school to do it.

3) Sharing the News
You're excited about homeschooling, your children may be thrilled, too. However, not everyone will be happy for you, and that just may include some family and friends. Not everyone will understand and yes, there will be those who will try to discourage you. Be prepared for it! People will give you unwanted "advice" and will make rude comments. They may tell you horror stories about the mom who got in trouble because she didn't file her paperwork on time, or about the kid who was 15 and still couldn't read, all because of homeschooling.*SIGH* And let's not forget the famous "how will your kids be socialized?" question!

Realize that even the nicest teachers/administrators may not understand your decision and will question your choice. The way they see it, you are taking your child(ren) out of the school they're teaching in, and if they're teaching there, then it must be great, right?!? Some teachers will take your decision personally. The point is, be prepared for the naysayers and DON'T LET IT SHAKE YOU!!! Share the news when you're ready and be confident in what God has called you to do, regardless of what people say.

4) Talk with Your Child
Once you as parents have made your decision, make the child aware so they are prepared ahead of time. Don't wait until the day you begin homeschooling to let your child know that is the plan. Use your discretion about how far in advance to share this information, depending on their age and how long they've been in school. Involve your child in the planning and prepping. Consider his/her ideas and think about practical ways to include some of them. Talk to your child (if age appropriate) about #3 (above) and what the responses from you all as a family should look like.

5) Celebrate
Celebrate the decision to homeschool!! It is a new and exciting time, so make a lasting memory! Go out to lunch, pick a name  for your school together, come up with school colors if you want! Have a game day, select supplies for your school room or decorate it with balloons.

6) Keep Negativity to a Minimum
Your perspective about the public school experience may be different from that of your child's. After all, children and adults think differently. So, just because you may view it as less than favorable, your child may have some very fond memories. Respect those good things, allow your child to express the good times, too. I think a healthy discussion of anything your child(ren) struggled with is definitely appropriate, but bad-mouthing the school to the child isn't helpful. Keep the heated discussions for your spouse or a trusted friend!
Our first day ever of homeschooling. . .

7) Homeschool vs. School at Home
Do not try to recreate the school room environment at home because it will not be the same. Carving out a place to learn and instruct is different from recreating the school room environment.So, while you may want a specific space to do your schooling in, you probably don't want your kids lining up to get there, or raising their hands to ask to go to the bathroom. Some days doing history on the floor makes sense or doing jumping-jacks while going over math facts is the way to go. Don't feel you have to be in "teacher" mode, addressing your children like, "Class, today we will do this or that." You are their mom (or dad) and let learning in your home be a natural extension of parenting and home life. Remember that homeschooling is a way of life and learning can occur in a number of ways.

8) Take Time
Take time to unlearn. Let's face it, public schools and homeschools are different. Period. So relax, unwind. Get used to being together all day, read together, sing together, play together. Get used to not rushing out of the house every morning, see how it goes taking everyone grocery shopping or running an errand. Spend a day at the library. Just be together.

And when you do begin instruction, don't panic and feel like your child has to know everything there is to know in the first year! Don't try to force the learning; it will come. Try a gradual implementing of instruction. For example, in the first week, simply start with Language Arts and Math. Then in the next week add in History, then in a few days, add Science. It's okay to slow down and get used to the way it will work.

These are the things that have worked for our family. What other tips do you have for transitioning from public school to homeschool?If you are considering homeschooling your child(ren), what concerns might you have?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Curriculum Choices 2014/2015

Let me just start off by saying, I am SO grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children. My husband and I don't have all the answers, but we are honored that God has granted us this calling. We are not perfect, but we are committed to raising our children for the Lord. So, we count it a blessing to be able to do that as we educate our children each day, right here at home.

So this year, I am going to attempt to participate in the 6th Annual "Not" Back-to-School Blog Hop. This week's focus: Curriculum.
Click here for link-up

I haven't quite figured out the best way to list everything--should I go by subject or grade?? Right now, I have 3 who are school-aged; how will this look in 5 years, when I'll have 6 that are school-aged????? {Thoughts swirling in my mind!}

 Here at the "Chelmont Academy", we piece our curriculum together. We use the Well-Trained Mind as a guide, adding and/or removing curriculum as we feel is appropriate. {Just ask my kids--I've been known to remove pages from books or go through with my big, black permanent marker if the information is not in line with Scripture (i.e. evolution vs. Creation)!}
Any way, let's get started!

We have daily devotion time during/after breakfast. I usually do our Scripture memory time, and then I'll read whatever the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart, what I'm studying, or something the kids want to know more about. Right now, we are reading about wisdom from the book of Proverbs. We've also started singing a hymn or two, which has livened up our time a bit. The kids think it's fun.

This will be our first year doing some sort of Bible curriculum, using Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.* It is an online study and the lay-out is very simple. The children will read a passage of Scripture and answer a few questions about what they've read. Nothing fancy at all, which I appreciate. Sometimes finding the perfect Bible "curriculum" becomes a distraction, and we neglect just simply reading the Word. I also appreciate it because it is free, already compiled, and fits the requirement for the homeschool umbrella we've joined this year. I let my children chose what they were interested in studying:

{*Easy Peasy offers a full online, Christian education for free, or you can use it for just a few subjects like we are.}


Language Arts

We use Kid's Health, which is a free, online health curriculum, complete with lesson plans, quizzes, movies and activities. It is intended for a classroom setting, so I never use every thing, but there is a wealth of information.

For P.E., my husband has that covered. He has a minor in coaching, played college football, and loves athletics, so I let him do his thing.This fall we're covering soccer, flag football, and will continue with swimming.

  • Piano: Teaching Little Fingers to Play
  • Flute (private lessons*)
  • Viola (private lessons*)
  • Music/Art appreciation through Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool: Again, it is all online, the lessons are planned out, and it's free. This is an area where I struggle to always pull something together, so this is a blessing to me. We will coordinate it with whatever historical period we are studying.
  • Art with a Purpose/Artpac: simple, straight-forward art concepts.
{*Check your local university for music education students who are willing to offer private lessons. This has made lessons affordable for us.}

Logic and Foreign Language
  • Typing Web: A free site where I'm able to manage all of my kiddos' progress.
Well, I think that's it. That's enough, don't you think?! Any one want to help me with a schedule so I can fit everything in??? :) It is my prayer that sharing this information with you helps in some way to make homeschooling your child(ren) easier.

Happy Schooling!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our Homeschool Happenings {June/July 2014}

Well, my Friends,

My family is officially emerging from the "baby fog"! My husband and I have been clouded over and a bit sleep deprived, taking care of our baby girl. But for all the fuss, I wouldn't have life any other way. She is such a sweet heart and is a blessing to our family.
Sweet Baby K

My mamasita, little girlfriend, cuddle baby!
(We like nicknames!)
 Additionally, my youngest son had surgery in June and he has recovered well {Praise be to God!}. Oh, that was a tough time. . . my poor baby!

Baby J

He found a new spot to sit in
As always, it is in the tough times that God shows Himself strong, and He was faithful to us as we clung to His grace.
Here's what we're doing in school:

We've been focusing on love: what does God's love look like? How do we know we are loved? What does Jesus say about love? How can we love like Him? We are also beginning to read some of Proverbs.

Lots and lots of reading and the kids are loving it. They are covering some classics:
They've signed up for the summer reading program at the library. They've all completed enough free reading and other activities to receive their first prizes--tickets to the Colonial Playground again!

Story Time

Goin' fishin'
Building a log cabin

He found a drum

She said she was the town grandmother :)

Lunch time!

We're pushing forward, steady and strong in these subjects. Again, our history is just reading and discussion only and so far, so good. Math is progressing, although not as quickly as I want, it is definitely progressing.

We've sprinkled in a bit of language arts. My girls are ahead in their spelling books and they are thrilled about that. My son is almost finished with his book and is getting better at writing from dictation. One daughter is writing a friendly letter, which I find so endearing--especially when it's just easier to text or email. I love the thought she gave it.

Home Skills
My daughters are doing more in the kitchen: helping to prepare breakfast every day, putting away clean dishes, keeping the water pitcher full. They are enjoying it and, let me tell you, I am too. All 3 older children are learning the best ways to interact with their 1 and 2 year old brothers, which is teaching them patience and compassion. Toddlers have that effect!
We have some-what adopted the "buddy system" where each of the older children have specific duties they have to help the younger children with (i.e. brushing teeth, getting dressed, snack time, preparing to leave, etc). This is a tremendous help--I got the idea while watching 19 Kids& Counting--my "go-to" show when I'm up in the middle of the night nursing Baby K.
And that's all folks! Writing this all out makes me feel much more accomplished than I feel at the end of each day. Please pray for me as I focus on planning and scheduling the coming school year. I hope to share that with you soon!
What have you been up to this summer???

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July Joy Dare {Day 17: Baby K}

3 Gifts Learned
1) Sleep will come; 2) Time won't wait; 3) Sacrificial love

** Tired Mommy ** Blessed Mommy ** Always Grateful **

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July Joy Dare {Day 13--Natural Hair}

Day13: 3 Gifts Curled

 Embracing the natural curly hair God gave me!
(Pics are about 5 or 6 years old.)

** Curls ** Natural Hair ** A Gift From God **

Friday, July 11, 2014

July Joy Dare {Day 11--Candles, Pickles, Bonus}

 3 Gifts in Jars 

 Candles and homemade pickles my mother-in-law and I made.

** Smell Good ** Tastes Good ** Joy in the Every Day **
Bonus Gift:
7 years of being his mom
Happy birthday sonny-boy!
For "Joy Dare" days that I've missed here on the blog,
check out my Facebook page or Google + to catch up
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