Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two at a time.

Today when I announced to James that it was time to begin his schooling, Alexandra immediately hopped into the chair at the school table. She was eagerly awaiting her daily chalkboard & chalk activity. From there she gets a coloring book with crayons when she's bored with the chalkboard. Except that today she wanted nothing to do with crayons & instead wanted the dry erase markers in James' school box. So, I got her the leisure markers (markers we do NOT use for James' school projects, those are separate) & let her color in her "workbook" (coloring book). She loved it. Whenever I write on the dry erase board on our wall, she wants to make sounds of the letters. So I wrote each letter of the alphabet for her & told her the letter name as well as the sound the letter makes. About a quarter of them she does well. She's so cute doing it too! So I think I need to start planning out some learning activities for her. She may only be 22 months (nearly 23) but she LOVES to feel included like a big kid during school & seems to love learning (on her own terms, of course). I had my CDA at one point (Child Development Associate) for ages 3-5 but I helped to create & implement the curriculum for the two year old room I worked in for nearly three years. So I think I could come up with some age appropriate activities. It's just a matter of making the time to go online finding ideas, organizing ideas, creating a loose curriculum, on top of typical parenting obligations & housekeeping obligations. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

James' First Day of Kindergarten!

James' first day of kindergarten was Tuesday, September 6, 2011!

He did his first lesson of Phonics & Reading, Math, Health & Bible.  He did a great job & knew everything we covered in math & phonics.  So nothing new to him just yet. 
In Health we covered what the word "unique" means & how God made us all in His image so we have a lot in common with every other person on the planet & similarities but we also talked about all of the differences as well.  I also showed him pictures of various people (africans, saudi arabians, mexicans, french, indians, native americans & oriental) around the globe. 

Pictures of James' first day. 

James chart of the seven days of Creation from the Bible.
(1. Light, 2. Sky, 3. Mountains, trees, flowers, oceans. 4. Sun, moon & stars. 5. Birds, butterflies & creatures of the water.  6. All animals & people.  7. God rested.)

 James' self portrait picture for health class.  He also learned that all fingerprints are different & no two person's fingerprints are the same.  We are ALL unique, even twins. 
James' first Phonics & Reading lesson.  This is Horizons curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications.

James reading.
Happy to be finished!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Homeschool Name?

I was wanting to name our homeschool.  In some states, this is a requirement so that the state feels they can recognize you as an official "private school" entity.  This is not the case in TX.  However, I have read that when buying school supplies online or at certain places, having a name for your homeschool can have price discount advantages because they then recognize you as a private school.  Not only that, I've read how some kids feel that this gives them a sense of belonging to something.  So I will work on a "mascot" later on.  As far as school colors - blue & silver (my wedding colors too, I'm a sucker for the combo).

So I read a few articles online about naming your homeschool.  I'll share one of them here.

So I wanted something that would show that we stand for Christ.  I couldn't think of anything really.  I thought about it for a day and a half off and on.  Lying in bed last night I thought about all the suggestions listed in that article I shared.  One being to name it after your street.  We live on Shine Ave.  It actually didn't sound half bad.  Shine Academy.  Well, I thought I'd try to make an acronym out of 'shine' to give it more meaning because I know we won't be living in this house (we rent) for the rest of our school career & I don't want to change it - I want to pick a name & stick with it.  I got "Serving Him IN Education" but I couldn't think of real words for the I & N.  *sigh*  I actually got a headache lying in bed, unable to sleep trying to think of something clever & cohesive.  Then I figured heck with it! 
After a couple of minutes I realized there's the song "Shine" by the Newsboys (Christian band) & the word shine repeats in "This Little Light of Mine" christian song we all know.  So it can stand for that as well as shining as the light of Christ in this world.  So it works well even when we move.  I think anyway.  I wanted something a bit more creative & clever, but this works well also.  Then I still wanted it to be clear that we're a Christian homeschool.  So I threw in Bible.  Shine Bible Academy.  Jim thought it sounded like we ONLY studied the Bible with that title so he suggested Shine Christian Academy.  I think we're going to stick with that.  I've not decided definitively but since I can't think of much else (and I strongly wanted it to be my/our own creation) I'm pretty sure this is it. 

Welcome to "Shine Christian Academy!" 

Pictures of our "school room."

So we've pretty much got the room set up.  I'm sure as we go along I'll make small changes here & there to go along with what he's learning. 
So without further adieu, here are the pictures.  (Yes, the "school room" is in our dining/foyer area.)

The poster on the far left is an ABC poster that came with James' phonics curriculum.  Then we have the dry erase board.  Next is a shelf that was in James' nursery/room back in OH (now used to hold the eraser & marker organizer (magnetic, yes but takes up precious board space) & will be a cute place to display things related to the lessons or even display any cute projects or anything.  After that, on the adjacent wall is the bulletin board that's been there for a while now since I was home preschooling James.

Top left crate: James' phonics & reading curriculum (4 teacher's guides, 4 student books & 4 readers).
Top right crate: James' math curriculum & the blue binder is mine.
Left drawers: Teacher's stuff
Right drawers: James' supplies, health curriculum, pre-k/k seasonal science book & "just right homework" book.

School room is almost ready!

So our "schoolroom" is almost ready.  I'll have pictures up in a day or two, I hope.  Last night I bought a 22"x35" magnetic dry erase board from Target.  Jim will be installing it today after work.  I can't wait to see how it looks! 
Then in two days from now James will be starting his official days as a homeschool kindergartener! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We have a homeschool start date! *UPDATED*

Since I'll be receiving the last of James' curriculum materials for his kindergarten year sometime next week  I have received James' phonics curriculum!  The final one we were waiting on!   I can now say when we plan to start James' first day of homeschool kindergarten!

James will start his first day of kindergarten on Monday, September 12, 2011 Tuesday, September 6, 2011!

We are both excited about this. 

We decided that since Jim has Mondays & Tuesdays off, one of those days would be strictly family days.  So we'll be doing James' schooling Tuesday through Saturday.  Now, if he finishes 5 lessons of math, 5 lessons of phonics, 2 lessons of health & whatever else we add in BEFORE the 5 days are up, he gets those extra days off if he wishes.  If not, I'll just have to get to work on getting the next 5 lessons prepped & he can march on through & just finish early!  I'm going to be sure he doesn't fall behind but other than that it's his own pace. I just love the flexibility of homeschooling!

We have a health curriculum now!

So the other day we received James' health curriculum
I was unsure whether or not I wanted to do this curriculum because when I first glanced at it a couple of months ago it didn't seem impressive.  I have also read online that the first year (kindergarten anyway) you shouldn't overload a child.  So I was doing the full blown phonics & math curriculum from AOP with some supplemental science thrown in.  Then after reading more in depth about the health curriculum I figured it would be a good idea.  After receiving the books & reading the scope & sequence from K-7/8 of their curriculum (in the other books), I think it will be a great curriculum.  I hope it will be anyway.  So stay tuned to hear more of that. 

So far I think we'll school for 32 weeks (4 weeks of built in breaks there).  At which point he should be through all his curriculum.  I will then give him the option to continue on all year or take a 3 month (all of June-August) break before beginning the next level. 

So that breaks down to 5 lessons per week of math.  1 lesson a week of health for 16 weeks & 2 lessons of health per week for 16 weeks.  I have no clue what it would break down to for phonics because we haven't received it yet.  I ordered it when I ordered the health, but it was on back order & shipped almost a week later.  So I should have it as early as Saturday or as late as Wednesday.  I'm excited!