Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home School Year 1

I've had several people send me emails and/or Facebook messages asking me what kinds of things we're doing in our home school.  We've been officially schooling for 3 weeks now, (our 4th week will start on Monday) and we are cruising!  I feel like I'm ready to blog about and give you a little sneak into our days.

Let me just explain our home school name first.  We're not trying to be arrogant or haughty in the least.  I needed to come up with a home school name so I could get my teacher card and this is the first thing that came to mind.  We don't actually refer to ourselves like this and I've never even said it in front of the kids. ;)

Rylea is now 5 and is in Kindergarten and 1st grade (she excels in some areas and is on grade level at others).   To be clear, Indiana does NOT require official kindergarten instruction, and their home school laws are very lax to say the least.  Dieter is 3 (turning 4 in November), and is officially in preschool, but he completes a lot of kindergarten work with ease.  They both amaze me.  The phenomenal thing about home schooling (among a million others) is that I can pick and choose different things from different grades to challenge my kids.  They're both very intelligent and are little learning sponges (like most kids are!).  I won't detail here why  we chose to home school because that's a whole blog post in and of itself, but it is important to point out that Devin and I based our decision on prayer, scripture, and where we felt like the Lord has been leading our family.  We also do NOT have a lot of support from friends and family members, but we know this decision is the right one for us, and it is scripturally sound.

It took about 3 weeks of daily practice but this guy can now write his name on his own.  We're working on the "DeWitt" part next. 

I did a lot of research and chose NOT to buy an entire set of curriculum for either child.  Instead, we spent our home school budget on basic supplies (pencils, crayons, scissors, paper, a laminator, printer paper, glue, etc.), and I do school things with them based entirely off the equipped brain God gave me, and Christian based home schooling blogs online.  The vast majority of the Christian homeschooling community that I sought out and spoke to advised us that kindergarten and preschool are years of continuous learning, all year round, and do not require a regimented curriculum.  (I do suspect that partway through the year I'll be buying a first and second grade language curriculum for Rylea, and I plan to use BJU).

We start our day with calendar time.  We figure out what the date and the day is together, the kiddos take turn putting up the dates and then we sign songs about the days of the week and the months of the year.  It took about a week of those songs and Dieter knew then very well.  (Rylea already knew them because she did them when she went to preschool last year).

The calendar itself was a blank one that I got on Amazon here:  Trend Large Wipe-Off Blank Calendar Chart (TEPT1170)  It's a wipe-off calendar but I used some sticky velcro dots on it so we could put our days up there.  Each set of dates for each month has a pattern that we also talk about (either AB or ABBA or ABC).  I also put our letter of the week which corresponds with our ABC Verse of the week at the top so we can talk about those often, and at the bottom we've got a "today, tomorrow, yesterday" activity.  We move those cards everyday too.   We go over our spanish words, sign the letters we're learning, count the days on the calendar, skip count, do shapes (2D and 3D shapes), and write down the number of the school day we are on (we'll have a 100 days party).  Keep in mind, Dieter is a 3 year old boy with a short attention span so if he chooses not to sing during calendar time and play with cards instead, or if he's less than enthused, I just let it go.  I don't force him to engage, but I know he knows all the songs because he'll sing them at random times throughout the day on his own.  I found the FREE calendar pieces here, the today, tomorrow, yesterday pieces here, and the ABC verses are my own.

Once, calendar time is over we usually move onto writing practice.  Both kiddos practice writing together.  Currently, we're working on a letter per week.  For Rylea, this is just a review and sometimes I let her teach Dieter the letter sounds and how to write them.  It gives her good practice and Dieter learns at the same time.  Dieter recognizes most letters (he has trouble with some lowercase), and he really benefits from spending the entire week on a single letter. While Dieter practices writing individual letters, Rylea practices her sight words (writing, reading, spelling).  I'm using the You Can Read printables for Rylea.  We do one set a week and build on the previous week.  Sometimes, if she already knows the words for that week, we'll do two sets in one week. I use a bunch of other writing sheets that I can share too is anyone is interested.

Dieter practices writing the letter I for inchworm.  (We did a whole day of learning about inchworms during I week too.)

This is Dieter's letter workbook.  I got it in the dollar section of Target.

Some sight work Rylea did a couple weeks ago.  She got a little crazy with her circles, and now I'm making her write her name like Rylea instead of RYLEA. ;)
Rylea needed a little extra lowercase "e" practice and Dieter is hunting out and circling all the e's in this story.  We do a lot of things with page protectors and dry erase markers so they can use them over again.

At the end of a week of the letter, we put the letter on our coconut tree just like in the book, Chicka Chicka ABC (Chicka Chicka Book, A) You can see we've already done A, E, and I.  (We're starting with the vowel sounds to go with The Letter Factory DVD).  I got the tree here:Palm Tree Bulletin Board Set

Then onto math.  Dieter is more number minded than Rylea.  (While Rylea excels more in reading and writing).  Dieter very quickly understands numbers and adds them in his head.  He can add up to 20 very quickly so I have him and Rylea both working on addition and subtraction right now.  We're also skip counting (2s, 5s, 10s, etc).  

Candy math!  The kids LOVED this day (as I'm sure you could guess).  We did it after lunch and if they got an entire page of problems right, they got to eat one piece of candy.  I use these pages often.  We're up to adding number to 20 and Dieter will soon graduate to adding higher than that.  Rylea still needs more practice from 11-20.

Color by number
His most favorite activity of all is graphing.  This will keep him busy for 15-20 minutes and he'll focus and do it right the entire time.  After he's done we talk about the relationship between the different bars and do some adding and subtracting.

Rylea on the left is doing our "clip cards."  These are simple for both of them but they love squeezing those clips and clipping it on the right answer.  We're now doing those for time and seeing if we can beat our previous times with accuracy. (I printed, laminated, and cut these out so they can reuse them).  Dieter on the right is practicing number recognition with these puzzles.  He does them up to 100.  (Just something I printed, laminated, and cut out)

For science, social studies, and other extra subjects, I follow the kids leads!  One day, Dieter brought a cicada exoskeleton INSIDE the house without knowing what it was.  (Scared the poop out of me).  So, we did a couple days of learning about them and other animals that shed their skin.  We did a unit on inchworms during I week too.  

We also paint, color, cut, and glue a lot.  The kids both know how to use scissors and a bottle of glue well so I just give them directions and they go to town.  Usually, I have to work at keep Dieter on task (unless it's number related), but we get it done.  

Coloring her elephant for E week

Coloring his elephant for E week

she added the eyelashes on her own after she figured out they started with e and she wanted a girly elephant. :)
Dot painting (we do this every week)

I print these on cardstock and they paint them up with q tips.
All week long, I hang all their papers on the fridge for daddy to see and for us to review whenever and then at the end of the week (usually on Saturday or Sunday) I take all their papers down, file them in their folders for the year and we start new.  Whatever doesn't fit in the folder gets tossed (gasp?!).  I take pictures of everything though and I plan on making them a "yearbook" at the end of each year so they can remember all the things they did.  I hang up the new letter of the week on Monday with our new bible verse and they get excited for what's next.

We also read A LOT of books.  As much as we can, we read.  Usually we get through 2 chapter books per week.  We just finished Charlotte's Web, and right now we're reading Fantastic Mr. Fox and the kids love it.  (If I had thought ahead, I would have waiting until we got to F haha)  Sometimes I change the words in the story like "stupid" and "dumb" to "silly" or something more appropriate because there are certain words in there that we don't encourage. ;)  Just an FYI for anyone considering this book.  I also like to stop randomly throughout the book and ask Rylea what the next word is to practice her reading, or I'll have her read simple sentences throughout as well.  We'll be done with the book today (Sunday) and we'll have a little fox party with some crafts and a movie and whatever else I can think up.  

So, there's a little look into what we're doing now and how it's working for us.  I hope I left you with enough links to maybe supplement your own home education as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Scripture Printable 8

This Sunday Scripture is a doozy!  You may already know that Mr. SPC and I have decided to keep our kids home this year (namely Rylea who is in Kindergarten), and I get to be their teacher!

Dieter will be doing "preschool" but I use that term loosely since he's still only 3 and can really only focus for about 20 good minutes at a time, and then he's done.  I'm doing a letter of the week program with him and we're doing "A" right now. I'm amazed at how well he's been able to write, recognize A's all over the house and other places while we're out and how well he can name things that start with the A sound too.  I have no doubt he's a little sponge and ready for this.

Rylea will be building on last year's letter of the week program she did in a Christian preschool and she's now starting to read.  I'm doing sight words with her and also a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  We'll be doing lots of little math/counting/number lessons too and on Fridays, the kids get to pick whatever they want to learn about.  (Today is was foxes).

I'll post more about our homeschool schedule and daily activities as we progress!

One main reason why we prayerfully decided that keeping our kids home was best is because we really want a Christ-Centered educational focus for our kids, and they're obviously not going to get that in public school. I once did a Bible Study in which the teacher said that our goal, as parents, should be to form our children to become more like Jesus.  My husband and I have been convicted in that we believe our children will more than likely become less like Jesus the more they are separated from Him in public school.  That being said, I will also be going through this book with the kiddos this year, My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts.  It's already been an awesome blessing to us and I can see the fruit of the memorization in my kids throughout the day.  I wanted to be able to hang these verses up as we learn them so I created a printable (26 of them actually) to go with the verses in this book. Feel free to print, laminate and hang them in your school room too!! There are 26 verses from A-Z and they are slated to print two to a page on regular printer paper.

I hope these bless you as much as they've blessed my family!!

Sugarplum Cuties: ABC Bible Verse Printable

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Perfect Puzzle Sew-A-Long: Completing the Skirt

This is going to be the very last blog post of the sew-a-long series with Hailey Bug's Closet The Perfect Puzzle Set.  We're finishing our skirts today and then you'll need to head over to the group over the next few days and post your finished pictures to the album so you can be entered to win the fabulous prizes.  FREE patterns, FREE fabric????  Yes.  Count me in!!

Ok so grab the pieces you cut out for your flounce way back on July 14 and let's get rolling.

So, you might remember that I'm doing the pieced flounce option because I like to get a little crazy sometimes. I grab all 8 of my flounces and lay them out like this until I find a skirt pattern I like.  I move them around, trade spots, get it how I like it and take a quick cell phone pic in case I forget what I want it to look like while I'm sewing it all together.

Pick anywhere on the skirt to start, doesn't matter where, and fold one flounce over on top of the other so right sides are together.

 Paying attention to the order of your skirt, sew either the right side or the left side seam. In this case, I'll be sewing the seam on the left side of this picture.  (You can also choose to lay your panels wrong sides together and give your skirt some exposed seams for a funkier look.)

Then, grab your third panel in the series, place it over top the second one, (right sides together) and sew.

Continue this process until you have a chain of 8 panels all sewn together (leave the tails).

Now, you're going to fold the whole chain over on itself, lining up the two edges that need to be sewn together (right sides together), and finish the last seam to form your circle.

When you're done sewing all your flounces together, you will have a circle skirt!  Bravo!

Now, grab your finished top piece and fold it in half to find the center point.  Mark the front and back center with a pin.

Figure out which 4 panels of your flounce you want to show in the front and which four you want in the back. Line up the center front seam of your skirt with the center front point you marked with a pin and pin it together (right sides together).  Do the same for the side seams and the center back seam.

You'll be pinning the skirt to the shirt in quarters. (Click on any of these pictures if you need to zoom in.)

Then sew the whole skirt onto the shirt, and tuck your serger tail in.  Almost done!

You have a couple options for finishing the bottom of your skirt.  If you need more length you can always add a ruffle, or you can do a rolled hem with your serger or tuck and turn and hem it with your sewing machine.  You can also choose to just serge off the bottom like I did, and tuck your serger tail once again.  I like to add a label on the back of all my garments and DONE!

I really hope you had an awesome time sewing up your little creations!  There are so many options in this pattern I'm sure every single one of ours is all different.  Don't forget to upload a final picture of your item(s) into the album in the group, and stay tuned for the winners to be announced!!!  Thanks for following me on this little sewing adventure!  HAPPY SEWING!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Perfect Puzzle Sew-A-Long: Finishing the Top

Today is July 22!  That means we get to attach our sleeves, sew the neck binding on, and complete the top of our garment completely!

Grab the piece you cut for your neck binding, fold it in half as shown with right sides together.  Stitch together where the raw edges meet to form a circle.

Now, fold in half with right sides facing out, and match up the seam you just made and pin it right at the seam.

Then, pin the rest of your neck binding in quarters.  You should have 4 pins in all but I forgot to take a picture of that so just pretend I have four, evenly spaced pins in my neck binding at this point (instead of just two).

Now, you want to take your shirt piece and fold the back panel in half to find the center of the neckline. Mark that place with a pin.

Then, just as we did with the neck binding, mark your shirt into quarters and place pins in all those spots like in my picture here.

Match the four pins on your neck binding with your four pins on your shirt.

Remove one set of 4 pins as you pin the binding to the shirt.  You want the binding to be on the RIGHT side of your shirt with all the raw edges matching.  You will be sewing through three layers.  I find it easier if I put the neck inside the shirt like this.

You'll notice that the neck binding is smaller than the opening in your shirt.  GREAT!  It's supposed to be that way, that means you cut everything right. Now, take everything over to your machine and stitch the neck on. You're going to need to stretch the neck ONLY to make it fit the bigger circle in your shirt.  Just sew in quarters and remove your pins as you come to them.  I always sew with my neck binding on top and the shirt layer underneath.

Once your neck is securely on, we'll need to take care of that serger tail.

There are a couple ways to finish the tails of your serger (and a quick Google/YouTube search will give you some great tutorials), but I'll just quickly share how I hide mine.

I use a big needle.  It's about 2.5 inches long with a semi-big eye on it.  I thread the serger tail through that needle (which is easy because the eye is so big).

Then, I thread the tail right backwards, right through the stitches from where it came.

Then I pull the whole thing through, and un-thread the needle.

Then, grab your scissors, and snip the remaining tail off.  (Be careful not to snip any of the stitches that are holding your neck binding in place.)

When you're done, your neck binding should look nice and neat like mine!  It's super easy and quick.  Now, would be a good time to press your neck binding and topstitch it if you're one of those people that do those sorts of things. I'm usually not, so I'll just keep going.  haha

Now, sleeve time.  Grab your sleeves you made last time, fold in half to find the center and mark with a pin.

Line up the center point on your sleeve with the shoulder seam in your shirt, and pin it together, right sides togehter.

If you're a beginner with knits, you'll want to start at the center and work your way out to one side, placing pins along the way.  Match the curve in the shirt with the curve in the sleeve and place as many pins as you need.  Then, do the same on the other side.  For me, I've been sewing with knits for a long time and I just use the one center pin and line everything up as I serge.  Just do what feels comfortable for you.

Once you're done sewing your sleeve on, repeat the steps for the other sleeve.

Your top will look like this with both sleeves sewn on, and the neck binding sewn on as well.  Feel free to press and/or top stitch your sleeves right now if you feel like you need to do that).

Flip your top inside out so that right sides are facing.  Match up the sleeve binding seams, and the bodice seams on one side and pin.

Then, sew your side seams (right sides together) in an 'L' shape to catch the sleeves and the side seams all in one shot.  You'll be sewing where my red arrows are in the next picture.

Now, go ahead and take care of those tails that are sticking out from the sleeves, just like we did on the neck band.

Then, we're done!  Sit back and admire that neck band and sleeves you just put on and get ready for the skirt next!