Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homeschooling documents to share

I want to share homeschooling documents/resources that I create, to help other homeschooling families (or teachers who are looking for supplemental resources.) To see all the documents I have available, just click the "homeschool downloads" tab at the top of this post. Or you may easily view and print or download all of my documents by clicking this: cbethblog's Scribd documents.

You may use any of these documents for any purpose as long as you are not selling them or otherwise making a profit from them.

Character Trait: Respect
We will be focusing on a different character trait each week. Our first is Respect. To see all the character traits, click the "character traits" label at the bottom of this post.

Character Trait Respect

Labor Day Worksheet
We are doing a unit on Labor Day this week. Today I told the kids about the history of Labor Day in the U.S. (based on this article.) Early labor rights protestors asked for "8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of recreation." This two-page worksheet is based on that concept.

Labor Day 24 Hours Worksheet

Writing Paper

I've made several types of blank writing paper that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Daily Journaling Paper (Primary-Ruled Writing/Illustration Paper)

Primary Ruled Writing Illustration Paper

Primary-Ruled Writing Paper

Primary Ruled Writing Paper

Small Pictures Plus Wide-Ruled Lines Paper

This is the paper we used for our science project on our first day of school. Chickie taped nature items in the boxes and used the lines to describe her observations about each item.

Small Pictures Plus Wide Ruled Description Page

Wide-Ruled Writing Paper
This is not primary-ruled but is much wider than typical wide-ruled paper.

Wide Ruled Writing Paper

Our first days of homeschooling

Well, we've completed two days of homeschooling, which makes me an expert!

Or, maybe not quite an expert. Truth be told, I'm figuring this out as I go along. But I'm having fun doing it!

The kids were so excited to start their first day of homeschool!

Chickie, 1st grade

Zoodle, Pre-K

We have a daily schedule (that may be tweaked through the year!)


So yesterday morning, we had breakfast and read a Bible story/devotion from this book:
(Click the picture to see the listing on Amazon.)

The Kindle version of this book is currently $3.99, but Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free. My kids have really been responding well to it. It's interactive, with questions at the beginning and the end, and the Bible story is short--appropriate for their ages (six and four.)

We then did the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag, using a computer flag image. (We did the same with our state flag and the Christian flag.)


Then it was time to get to work! I'm having Chickie start each day with 15 minutes of free journaling. I instructed her to fill up all the lines on the page with writing, and then to draw a picture to go along with what she wrote. Zoodle wanted to get in on the action too.


Today I took a video of them explaining what they'd written and drawn.

Next I pulled out our calendar so we could review the day and date, and the kids took a quick trip outside to check out the weather, which we briefly discussed. I ordered a wall calendar that will facilitate this calendar/weather time, and I'm looking forward to its arrival.

Each week we'll be focusing on one character trait that I want the kids to incorporate into their lives. This week it's respect. We talked about how to be respectful, and reviewed a pertinent Bible verse.


Then it was time to do the work I'd planned for the day. Both kids did various worksheets. Chickie's covered reading, writing, math, and social studies. Zoodle is currently doing worksheets that help him learn to recognize and write letters, but he also watches some of what his sister does.


Next it was time for science. The kids were very excited to do this project! We went outside, where they collected various small nature items.


Back inside, Chickie taped her items to paper and wrote brief observations about each item. (The ladybug was dead before we picked it up and taped it to the paper....)


Zoodle turned his into a nature art project. (Wow, that kid can use a lot of tape!)


Finally, it was time for Chickie to do 20 minutes of quiet reading, a very important part of our daily schedule! So far she's been happy to read out loud so that Zoodle can share the stories too. I'm so glad my girl has inherited my love for reading! She really has an aptitude for it!


And that completed our first day of homeschooling. Today was similar. Chickie is really enjoying it. Zoodle told me it's boring (except the science part), and I assured him he doesn't have to sit there the whole time. He's just in pre-K, and I don't mind if he's playing during much of our "school day." So we'll try to find a good balance for him. He likes learning, but his attention span is shorter than his sister's, and that's okay.

Now that this happy mommy is a happy, homeschooling mommy, I imagine I'll be writing a lot about our adventures in home education. Whether or not you're a homeschooler, I appreciate you reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Maybe it really is more blessed to give than to receive

For Father's Day (yeah, yeah, I know, it was a couple of months ago, and this blog post is super-late...) Chickie made a coupon book for her dad, during her Sunday School class.


I looked at the first coupon.


Um, okay, maybe Daddy would like a walk too.


And, you know, maybe he really does want to watch her at the pool.


Okay, that settles it. She really didn't get the point behind this project at all.

But I'm sure she's very anxious for Daddy to "redeem" his coupons....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Big changes this school year!

We loved Chickie's kindergarten year! Her teacher was wonderful. The curriculum at her school was great. I felt safe sending her there, and really enjoyed the experience of my daughter being a student at our local public school.

So it may come as a surprise that this year, as Chickie enters first grade, we've decided to homeschool.

I thought I'd never be a homeschooling mom. I know others who homeschool, and I've told them, "It's just not for me. I'm not organized enough. God would have to make it really clear to me that he wanted me to homeschool."

Well, God didn't write any instructions across the sky for me. (I wish he would do that; it would be so much easier for me to to make decisions!) But one big thing changed--I realized I wanted to homeschool. And when I want to do something, I can be organized and creative because I have the motivation and energy I need! God didn't turn into a divine skywriter, but I do think the desire to do this came from Him.

Parents have so many different reasons for choosing homeschooling. For us, the bottom line is pretty simple:

I want more time with Chickie. And she wants more time with me.

I want more time with her so I can be the primary influence in her life. I want to encourage her to develop spiritually, to grow as a person, and to make good choices. This year, it was going to be hard for me to say goodbye to her for seven hours a day. And it turns out she wants to be with me during that time too.

There are lots of secondary reasons we're homeschooling too. We think it will be fun. Through my best friend Ann, who's also a homeschooler, we've connected with a local group that does weekly activities or field trips. That will be a great way for my kids to have social experiences with other kids. Ann's son Coqui is Chickie's age, so we're planning to do some of our academic and creative activities together, which should benefit all of us. I'm already enjoying using my own creativity as I think of fun ways to help Chickie learn what she needs to learn.

We're also really looking forward to the scheduling flexibility that's possible with homeschooling. If we want to visit my parents in the middle of the school year, and drive to Disneyland, we can! We can do school on the road. Most days, Chickie's "school day" will be shorter than it was last year, and she's thrilled about that!

Zoodle is also excited. He'll be doing some Pre-K homeschooling, but I plan to be pretty casual with it. He's only four, so we'll let his interests and motivation be our guide.

Because I was happy with the public school curriculum, I'm using the state educational guidelines to help me as I plan our own curriculum. I bought workbooks that will give the kids lots of age-appropriate work, and we'll do plenty of our own projects and activities too. We'll add in topics that are of special interest to me or the kids. They'll learn about our Christian faith. We may spend weeks focused on subjects like spiders or the human body. My goal is to make sure they're learning what they should learn at this age, plus learning about things that are important to them and to me and The Engineer.

homeschooling workbooks

Monday will be our first day. I'm really excited to start! I'll take pictures as we go, and blog about how it goes.

I don't know how long we'll homeschool. We'll take it year by year and see how it's going. But I'm entering this first year expecting it to go well, and expecting to have a lot of really wonderful experiences with my really wonderful kids!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yankee Poodle

Chickie was singing "Yankee Doodle" today, at times making up her own lyrics. Then I decided to get in on the fun.

It's probably terribly hypocritical of me to teach my kids this song when I'm always telling them, "No potty talk!" But their giggles made it all worth it...and at dinnertime I laid down the law and told them this isn't a song to be sung at the table!

Here it is:

Yankee Poodle
by C. Beth, with regrets to whatever 18th-century lyricist wrote the original

Yankee Poodle is a dog
With lots of curly hair
When he tries to eat the trash,
We say, "Get out of there!"

Yankee Poodle is a dog,
And he is really naughty--
After he eats all the trash,
He drinks out of the potty.

Friday, August 10, 2012

In the corner

Chickie's "testing phase" has greatly improved. I feel like I've got my girl back, and I love it! But I'm still really trying to be more consistent with discipline, for both kids.

We've always used a lot of time outs. "Go sit in the red chair!" was, until recently, a common command around here. Then I realized kids can have way too much fun in a chair. Somehow they'd end up hanging upside down over the back of the chair, entertaining themselves through time outs.

So recently, we've gone retro in our discipline.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Yep...my kids now stand in the corner. Just like I did as a kid. And it's clearly way more boring than the red chair.

The first day I started using the corner, Chickie decided to test my resolve. I set the timer on my phone for four minutes, and every time she talked to me, I reset it and required her to start over. I think her first "four minute" time out in the corner actually lasted around 20 minutes.

But here we are, a couple of weeks later, and I don't usually have to restart the timer for either kid. Best of all, it seems to work. Standing quietly in the corner for a few minutes usually bumps their attitudes back in line.

I don't subscribe to every form of "old fashioned" discipline. I'm not going to tell my kids to go get a switch from the tree outside for a spanking, like The Engineer had to do as a kid. (Our poor, young trees would soon be bare if I did that!) But standing in the corner...that's a retro practice that works for us.