Saturday, June 1, 2013

My curriculum picks for 2013/2014 for Middle School and Down

Phonics and Spelling: This year I am going to try All About Reading. I love All About Spelling and I have two more to teach phonics too. I have pieced together various phonics curriculums over the years. This seems to pull together all the phonics programs I love into one program. Grammar: I found and fell in love with Growing with Grammar for the under 8th grade crowd. From what I can tell from the younger grades Grammar takes 15 minutes or so while actually teaching for retention. I fully expect by high school Grammar it will be just a review “thing”. Writing: Another new pick for me this past year was Essentials in Writing. I have always been a hardcore Institute for Excellence in Writing fan for younger years and Format Writing by Jensen for high school. And while I still think they are fabulous, Essentials In Writing takes so much of the work from me. I used it just for the 1st grader but I am going full out Essentials in Writing next year! Math: I still love Math U See for my pre-Algebra crowd but I really needed to free up more of my time and so I have moved most of my herd to Teaching Textbooks. I fully intend to use Math U See with my younger kids for as long I can. Hand Writing Without Tears: The title says it all. No fuss, no muss. Not time consuming! And last but not least, Konos for everything else!!! This will include Literature, Writing Topics (using Essentials in Writing), Vocabulary, History, Science, Art, Music and more.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I yearn for order, I love order, I crave order.

Messes seem to paralyze me. You would not guess this from the state of my house. (this is our sock and laundry pile) However, I am also a low key, not a high energy person mostly due to health issues and fatigue. So... I plan. I love to plan actually. I plan meals, I plan organizational ideas, I plan school, I plan to plan. My school year starts out with me reflecting on what I didn't like and did like about the last school year. There are some years I realize that we used a method or curriculum that is diametrically opposed to our homeschool philosophy. This past year is a good example of this reflection. For our family, workbooks aren't necessarily a good tool for us to learn, neither are lapbooks. This year I picked up a workbook for everything. I even had more than one for most subjects. Just the 3 R's took hours, retention was lower than I wanted and the fun Konos stuff tended to be left out in favor for, another workbook. So armed with this information. I decided to pick curriculum that would get the job done quickly, efficiently and leave time for more natural learning experiences. I look at our planner/ calendar and mark off days I know we won't be having school days. We mark off vacations, co-op days, holidays. I then count how many days that leaves us with. This gives me an idea of how many pages or lessons we need to cover during the time period. For instance we only do school 4 days a week due to co-op. Three of those days we complete grammar, writing, spelling. We do math, phonics and reading (usually a book that goes along with our Konos unit) all four days. We also take one school day to tidy up all co-op homework. The goal is to be finished the 3R's by lunch time. This gives us two or three days to work on Konos. My unit study planning is done separately. I have used almost every planner known to man, from spiral notebooks, to Homeschool Tracker, to freebies off the internet and almost anything else you can imagine. I finally found one I am going to buy more than one year. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner. It has enough room for six children!! My high school students get their own.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Since the only thing anyone can pay attention to these days involves electronics I think it is about time to do a focused study on being attentive Konos style. I have some of my books ready.
I need to order a few more. Have my ipod and youtube ready to go with music to listen to. And last but not least a few of my favorite websites lined up to help me come up with activities.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

O is for Octopus

I love My Father's World Kindergarten curriculum.  It makes me sad that I only have one more opportunity to go through it again.  I love this age to school.  Eager, cuddly, lapsitters, wanting to please and eating up praise like M&M's.  

The trick with kindergarten is to know when to push a little further or to give up for the day and let them learn by doing their own things.

I am a big proponent of children being bored.  Some of my best childhood memories come from being bored out of my ever loving mind.

I fondly remember laying on my bed in 1000 degree plus weather reading a book in front of the window.  We didn't have air conditioning and we survived.  I remember hopping off that bed and making weird noises in the giant commercial fan that attempted to cool the upstairs bedrooms.   I also have great memories of building sheet forts with my brothers and riding my bike for hours.  No kidding hours.

Aliyah loves school. Well maybe not math.  She dislikes the number 15.  So we have started calling this poor  forgotten number five teen.   At 5 she still has not nailed down counting to 100 or all of the alphabet.  No worries she is too busy being a princess.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I am going to try again.  Spending less time on Facebook to record our funnies and more time here.

Life moves to fast not to record these precious moment in my life.

A new endeavor, combined with a not so new endeavor.   Cooking!

For a long time now, cooking has been about feeding the masses aka the herd.  Meal planning happened on the way to the grocery store.  I have not been enjoying the process or even caring what we ate as long as everyone ate it and it was relatively healthy. 

As I was surfing the internet I ran across something I just HAD to try.  It is a menu planning program that allows you to plop in recipes from the web, maintains a grocery list, you can add your own AND it has mobile capabilities!

Plan to Eat.... I have signed up for the 30 day free trial.   The beauty of this trial is I didn't have to give a credit card number and then cancel.

I'll let you know how this works.

Happy New Year!

Year 2012 Review.  Everyone grew older.

 Some highlights of the year were.....
 Rebekah's homeschool, graduation:

and Samantha's wedding

Z's third birthday

and a vacation to outer banks.

and lots of yummy food

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Orderliness - building/construction

Late spring, early summer we met with another family to show them the Konos ropes. We studied orderliness and how that translates into construction/building. We discussed the different trades needed to build a house and the difficulty and skill it takes to build a house. They were not convinced until they were challenged to build one themselves. We first started off by making the foundation of a building with Popsicle sticks and the walls. While we were waiting for the sticks to dry, we moved on to an outside project of building a compost bin out of scrap lumber. They were armed with pallets and a few other scraps. The finished project was a little shaky but it was a great experience. Leadership qualities popped up and everyone had to learn to "cooperate".

Our houses were destroyed by a hurricane named Zack (he's two). I understand they finished their houses and used marshmallows for insulation in between their walls. Impressive.

check out the link below for a description of what it was supposed to look like.

Here is where I would like to say we mastered orderliness and my kids all follow their schedule and keep things in order. The best I can say is that they know HOW to do the job and what it is supposed to look like. We are definitely a work in progress here. Organized chaos!!!!