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Friday, July 17, 2020

Curriculum Choices 2020-2021

I never did this post for last year. Oops. I like looking back to see what we did.

I thought we had everything figured out a month ago. Then we talked about it and decided to change some things. As usual, something will not be ready in time for us to start school. Maybe next year we won't be using something that is brand new and we won't have that issue!

12th Grade

Can you believe my oldest is entering her last year of high school and homeschool? It's crazy! She just took the ACT and did great! She wants to improve her science score though, so we are switching up our science plans this year so she can study chemistry and physics.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Free Schroth Bean Bags Pattern

My daughter does Schroth physical therapy to help with her scoliosis. Her therapist has taught her which size of bean bags are right for her and where to place them. 

Our favorite material to use for these is a sturdy material, something like a giant bean bag seat is made of. It has a vinyl outer and a soft back. Other less sturdy fabrics and materials don't work as well, they just don't hold their shape  which is really important for the wedge shaped bean bags. 

Schroth Bean Bags Pattern

The instructions are on each pattern. The large wedge pattern will need to be taped together.

These patterns are based off a hand drawn pattern our therapist had. We adjusted and modified and included what we found works best. Please feel free to use this pattern to make your own bean bags or to donate to your local Shriner's Hospital for Children or other facility with Schroth trained therapists.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Solar System Fact Cards now in my Etsy Shop

I've decided to open my Etsy shop again! I closed it a few years ago because I no longer made cloth diapers. Everyone grew up, and I didn't have as much time to sew while we homeschool!

Well, I have been dabbling in digital painting. In the upcoming school year, we are going to study astronomy and geology. I created a set of solar system fact cards and decided to list them online to see if anyone else is interested in my digital artwork.

Solar System Fact Cards

I realize digital products are readily available to many countries. We use the imperial system of measuring, but so many other countries use the metric system. When you purchase my new Solar System Fact Cards, you will receive both sets of cards! You can choose which one you'd like to print, or you can print both for families that use or want exposure to both systems.

These cards also include extra pages to create a three-part card set if you use the Montessori method of learning. If you don't, print multiples of these pages to create a game of Memory, or a game of Go Fish. The possibilities are endless, and your children will have fun learning with their new fact cards.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Our Language Arts Favorites

This is my eighth year homeschooling my children. Wow! Many things are different from when we started. This past week I have been trying to figure out what to do for our writing curriculum next year and beyond. I know what I want to do, but I needed to pick the appropriate levels for my children.

The younger two have the possibility of doing the same level of writing, which would be fun to do together and less expensive for me. But I just didn't feel good about that. Every time I tried to decide which level to have them do together, I got confused. So I started to consider putting them on their own level and having them work independently. That option felt so much better, and it was easy to see where to start them. They are going to start on IEW's new writing curriculum, Structure and Style for Students. N will be in 4th grade and will start at the beginning, with Year 1 Level A. E will be in the 7th grade and will start with Year 1 Level B. Year 2 of both levels seemed like a more logical place with their writing experience, but those won't be available until the end of the year. Also, starting them with Year 1 of their level leaves enough levels ahead to fill future school years!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Training Treats

This post is mostly for my own reference. I want to have a place to come back and find my thoughts on these treats.

There are a lot of training treats that are similar in size. For a puppy, I cut the treat in half so the dog can eat it quickly and be ready to pay attention to me again. All of these treats have a good amount of smell. The cat thought so too, but he wouldn't eat any of them.

The price range varies widely. Zuke's has many flavors and bag sizes and about as many prices as each choice.

Zuke's also has a small crunchy treat. They are called Zuke's Crunchy Naturals and come in three sizes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

New IEW Writing Courses

Did you hear the announcement from IEW last night? They have redone their student teaching seminars and are preparing them to be released! The new curriculum is called Structure and Style for Students. Ever since I bought TWSS (Teaching Writing, Structure, and Style) I just knew this was something they would do. I'm so glad it's finally happening!

The student writing classes used to be called Student Writing Intensive or SID/SWI, and then a second course was called Student Writing Intensive Continuation Course or SICC. Both were in three levels, approximately elementary, middle school, and high school. The new products are similar in levels but the names are easier to understand, and the content is updated.

See? That's much easier to follow! The best part about these new courses is they include "forever streaming" for the videos! No DVDs to loose or scratch, no subscriptions to maintain. For families with multiple children, that's a huge benefit.

Here is a video "trailer" for this new product.

The first course is available for preorder now. The rest will be available as they near completion, but in time for the fall 2020 school year to start. There are also options to purchase the writing course in a bundle which includes grammar, or with DVDs.

I'm hoping the rest of the samples are available soon. We're trying to decide between Year 2 Level A and Year 1 Level B .

Friday, January 25, 2019

Weekly Recap: With Come, Follow Me 2019

Oops. I wrote this in early January, and forgot to publish it. Here it is a couple of weeks late!

My kids are awesome! For months and months I've been talking about moving bedrooms so that M's room would also be her exercise room. It was her exercise room and the playroom. But there were so many toys in there that I haven't wanted to start. M asked if she could start! I said yes and she proceeded to motivate her siblings to help. It took them about a week, and they did such a great job! Their rooms are organized, M doesn't have to worry about anyone leaving a mess in her exercise area, and everyone loves the new arrangements. The best part is that I only had to give final approval and help move bed frames.

We celebrated on New Year's Eve with our traditional pigs in a blanked made with Little Smokies. We also had spinach artichoke dip with celery and cucumbers. The kids watched three movies, some fell asleep early (like me), and the three girls slept in the living room (a tradition.) J opted to sleep in his own bedroom since he doesn't share with anyone anymore!

Dad finally changed the light switch in the hall downstairs so it doesn't keep burning out light bulbs. It has a dimmer now, which is much nicer when used as a night light.

School highlights:

We only had two days of school this week. For geography we looked over our country reports to make sure we are caught up. We discovered the lessons skipped over the first section of the reports, so we'll do that next week. M is finishing up the final project for her graphic design course, and J is finishing up his coding course. He has been learning a little about 3D printing over the Christmas break.

Come, Follow Me 2019:

We're only one week into this, but I wanted to write down some notes on what's been beneficial and unnecessary so far.

Our church has created a curriculum guide to help individuals and families study the New Testament in their homes, and deepen their testimonies and conversion in the process. We'll study this through 2019, then cover another book of scripture the next year. We started the first lesson on Dec. 31st.

Since this was during the last few days of Christmas break, we spent more time on Come, Follow Me each day than we likely will be able to in the future. We finished reading the Old Testament on Dec. 29th, so we focused on the first lesson and its scripture stories this past week. We talked about the story of the rich young ruler, how we can be doers rather than just hearers, the parable of the ten virgins, the sharpen your ax story from Tad R. Callister, how to study a single topic, the parable of the sower; pretty much everything in the lesson. Some mornings we spent an hour talking before we realized how much time had passed.

I feel it was a great start. Everyone participated and enjoyed our time learning together.

I am a visual person, so I am drawn to all of the pretty teaching kits being advertised right now. But the Holy Ghost kept whispering to me that those aren't necessary, especially the ongoing expense of the subscriptions, and that the manual has everything I need if I just focus and study. As I've taught my family this week and studied for next week I can tell you that is completely true. I had a few dollars in my PayPal account and two sites I've been watching with lesson plans to purchase or subscribe to, so I tried them out just to see. Below are my notes on what I'm going to use and what I may refer to once in a while.

Necessary for me:

Come, Follow Me manual - Everything is right there. I have been reading through the lesson, then reading through the scriptures, then going over the lesson one more time with the scriptures together as I focus on each question. I've learned a lot this way and feel this is really all that is necessary.

LDS Media Library Collections - The church has put together collections of videos in the LDS Media app and site that correspond with each lesson.

Will use regularly:

The New Testament Made Easier - A book I was given, probably the last time we studied the NT at church. This is full of tips and helps and includes the JST. I have part 1 and will need to pick up parts 2 and 3 later in the year. Between this book and the Meridian podcast, I am finding all the little tips from the paid Red Headed Hostess study guides (below.)

Meridian's Come, Follow Me Podcast - A 30 minute weekly presentation on each lesson. I discovered I need to focus on what they have to say, there's a lot of helpful information that isn't found in the scriptures, such as information about Jewish culture. I sit down with a coloring page and a blank page for notes while I listen.

Helpful sites for occasional use:

Don't Miss This Weekly Study Sheets - You can sign up for this weekly email or just download the free study sheet. There is also a weekly video which I found insightful, though I discovered they taught a couple of things with a different understanding than other sources.

Cranial Hiccups - She's collecting links to Latter-day Saint resources for each lesson.

Chicken Scratch n Sniff - Also a collection of links that pertain to each lesson, as well as book suggestions, worksheets, discussion questions. Includes free resources and printables from her site.

Meridian Lesson Helps - I just learned about these today, so I'll start reading them and see how helpful I find them.

Paid helps:

Love, Pray, Teach - I bought one lesson kit. The kit is cute but smaller than I expected. The best part of it is the 7 day lesson outline. I felt there were too many coloring and journaling pages, but then again we are using our own journals and only half of my kids love to color with lessons. I feel this kit would be helpful for busy families who have less time to plan ahead about what to teach and when to teach it, or families with younger children.

The Red Headed Hostess - These kits are gorgeous and packed full of printables, images, activities, and teaching helps. Be prepared to use a lot of ink if you want to print out each kit, or parts of it. I picked a few pages I'd like to use, showed some images from my tablet, and used the study guides in my studying and little bits of them as I taught my family. I love these study guides, they give tips on looking closely at verses, marking verses, clarifying what you learn, and questions to answer as discussions or journaling guides. But considering the amount of pages in each kit that I'll actually use, the cost for these is too high.