3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Year Away from my Blog

It has been more then a year since I have sat down and committed to writing about our life with 3 little Miracles, who are now 5, 8 and 10.  It is very difficult to believe that life is flying by so quickly with children racing around us but what everyone has always told us is true . . . . life moves at a much faster pace with kids and EVERY moment is precious.

David Harkins
What has prompted me to come back into our blog and begin the process of catching up again, is that we have taken the step we felt God calling us to for a long time of homeschooling our children.  We have started only with our oldest son #DJr for now.  I felt I really needed to get the routine of school, the schedule, the curriculum, establishing my authority, etc before I add #J to the mix.  We have not decided at this time if we will ever #homeschool #R.  With #R's #downsyndrome we feel that for now she is better served by remaining in the school system and receiving the many wonderful services that are offered to her there.

On December 27th we officially began doing placement tests with DJr so we could be sure that he actually did place properly into 5th grade material.  We are using a Christian based curriculum called Switched on School House - Alpha Omega.  We selected this program not only because it was a Christian based program, but because it was a 5 subject computer program that did not require the purchase of a lot of extra books and materials.  The program does most if not all of the grading for you and at the end of the school year you can upload your end of school grades to your state if that is required, no paperwork required.  I will admit I am a bit of a organization freak and I do have a notebook that I have divided up into subjects and when DJr does not get a C or better on a quiz or test I make him go back and research and correct his answers and we keep that on file.  I have also assigned a book report on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and he has had a few other projects assigned by the program which I am keeping hard copies of.  In addition, DJr keeps a 5 subject spiral notebook by his workstation for him to take notes from his lessons, he is allowed to use this notebook for reference during open book quizes and studying for tests but obviously I do not allow him to use it during a test.

We purchased the placement tests directly from the company but we were fortunate enough that my husband had a co-worked who had recommended the program that had the 3rd grade curriculum and shared it with us and I purchased the 5th grade curriculum off ebay for 1/2 the cost ($220). I will purchase the 4th and 6th grade curriculum over the summer so long as we continue to like the program sometime over the summer months.
DJr and Crocket working hard
To make sure that I am on par with teaching, I am doing the FULL third grade curriculum myself while DJr works on our new all-in-one hp computer on his 5th grade school work.  This way I have a full knowledge for the feel of the program and how he should be taking notes to be prepared for quizes, projects, and tests.  My plan is to roll right into the 4th grade curriculum over the summer so that when J is doing it in the fall I will be a bit ahead of him and know how to assist him when he has questions.

I did a lot of research online, fortunately there are many homeschoolers that share their resources online through sources such as blogs and pintrests (your can find my collection of homeschool resouces I have found HERE on Pinterest) and I have been able to establish a great schedule which served as our base which we adjusted several times over the first few weeks until I think we now have a good rhythm for us.  I KNOW we will change things up even more because I still am not over joyed with the spelling & vocab portion of our day, but I need to figure out the best way for either DJr or myself to pull those words from his lessons so their is a clear list to be studied and tested on.  BUT back to how we established a schedule in the first place.  As I was doing my research prior to us making the decision to do homeschooling, I stumbled upon this great blog called Confessions of a Homeschooler, she is so fabulous because for me she is so transparent and really shares tools and tips about how to be successful.  One of the best resources I have gotten from her so far was the SCHEDULE, AHHHHHHH!  I of course have modified it to fit our particular needs and life.
Click on Photo and go to Confessions of a Homeschool to Download
We start our day with devotional, we are not doing it together, David does 15 minutes by himself in a personal devotional and then 15 minutes with me in study of his T&T book from Awana.  From that we transition into prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and going over our schedule or modifications of it for the day, then we press into our schedule for the day.  Bible, Math, English, Reading, Spelling & Vocab, then History and Science alternate days and Writing and Journal finish out the day.  Specials are fit into the week of PE, Art, LEGO Ed, and Library Day.  We have had to build into our schedule this year traveling in the afternoon to pick up R because she gets picked up from preschool at 2:15 and has therapy's on Thursday and Friday's (next year we won't have to deal with that). 

DJr working on his first Science project studying his skin cells
on his new microscope purchased from Amazon.com
I know that we will have many bumps along the road and many tests of my authority as teacher and mom but so far DJr says he loves that we are homeschooling.  I pray that J will be as blessed by this process.  With that next step in mind the Mr. and I are going through a class at church to try and change some of the ways we have established our authority at home and hopefully in the end bring more joy and peace to our home and place more responsibility for their joy and happiness upon the kids.  It is a challenging book to read because I really have to own my part in some of the messes we have created by trying to SOLVE the boys problems for them, but I think its is something many parents fall into trying to do.  Anyway, we have started our homeschooling journey and I hope that you might enjoy our crazy ride of finding out what does and does not work along the way.

Book by John Rosemond, The Well-Behaved Child, Discipline that REALLY Works


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