Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Find Me at Linger Pleasantly

You can now find me at Linger Pleasantly!

I will be blogging over there instead of over here...

Stop by, leave me a comment, and let me know what you think of my new blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Several Weeks in Review...

You may or may not have noticed that I've been absent from my blog for over two weeks. It wasn't an intentional absence; life has been happening. I have been in a blogging slump, I guess you could say. I'm not really sure which content appeals to my readers. I have such a wide range of children - preschool through high school - that I feel like my content is all over the place. Since my older two are also using Bob Jones with DVDs, I feel like there's nothing really blog-able about their schoolwork.

I do want to start blogging regularly. I'm guessing the break was what I needed. I kept asking myself if I really wanted to keep blogging or just give it up. I really have enjoyed blogging and I do want to keep it going. I've been thinking about scheduling my blog - Monday for preschool learning, Tuesday for elementary learning, Wednesday for middle school, Thursday for high school, and Friday for a whatever post.

Here's what has changed or been going on in the past two weeks.

Mikaela and Eli dropped Bob Jones math. It was way too hard and too way too long. Neither one of them was enjoying it, and I was having a difficult time teaching it to myself and them teaching them. The DVD teacher was not great, either, and I couldn't understand what he was trying to teach sometimes. In fact, my cousin (who is working on the same job my husband is) used to be an algebra teacher. I had him look at Mikaela's algebra when they came over to watch the Superbowl. He thought it was a ridiculous book for the 9th grade. He said it felt more like chemistry than algebra. That made my decision for me - I dropped it. Instead, I ordered Mikaela Key to Algebra and Eli Key to Decimals. I plan on Mikaela completing all 10 books in the Key to Algebra series this year, and Eli should complete the Key to Decimals and Key to Fractions. Since they've been using the Key to... series, math has gone much easier and honestly, Mikaela is learning so much more. She is more confident and happy when it comes to algebra.

Silas will begin My Father's World 1st grade tomorrow. I ordered the deluxe kit, and he is very excited to begin. Titus will begin My Father's World kindergarten next week (it won't be here until Tuesday). Mercie will also begin her 4th grade year next week (I blogged about her curriculum yesterday).

We have been going to a nice Baptist church here in Alabama. The kids enjoy Sunday School and Rod and I have really been blessed by the sermons. They have some different activities for kids on Sunday nights, but we haven't been yet. I do want to start going.

We have been to Auburn several times to the pediatric dentist. Silas has had some problems with his teeth, related to his teeth grinding, and had to have two molars pulled. He is going back in two weeks to have a spacer put in to hold the space open since those teeth won't come in for two or three years.
Mercie and Titus also have a few cavities we will be filling.

The weather has been nice - cool and windy one day, warm and sunny the next. We have fun playing on the playground here in the condo complex, throwing the football with Eli, and taking walks along the lake.

I miss home already, but this is a really nice area we are staying in.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

4th Grade Curriculum Choices

Mercie has finished her 3rd grade year. She will be taking next week off a break, although she is going to finish her math workbook - Math Lessons for a Living Education. She has mostly completed this book, but since we started it several months into her school year, she hasn't quite finished it. Most of what is left is review, so she is going to work in it every day until next week until she is through. She won't have any more work, except free reading.

I was very torn over what to order her for 4th grade. I dislike changing things up mid-year, and I'm doing my best to make sure we get curriculum that will work for us. I did lots of research and looked at lots of curriculum packages and reviews to find the "best" for her learning style and for my sanity. Here is what we placed the order for today. It is all coming from Christian Book Distributors and will be here next week. I will then fill in the lesson plan pages I created six weeks at a time.

Creation to the Resurrection, Volume 1, Second Edition: The Mystery of History Series  -     By: Linda Lacour Hobar
I chose Mystery of History Volume 1. Mercie hasn't had much exposure to the ancients, and I think it will be a fun year for her. I used this with my two oldest when they were in 4th and 2nd grade. I remember all of the fun activities we did, and I think this hands-on learning style will be great for Mercie. The review cards and timeline are two things that will help her visualize what she's learned.

Christian Kids Explore Creation Science--Book and CD-ROM  -     By: Robert W. Ridlon Jr., Elizabeth J. Ridlon
We will be using Christian Kids Explore Creation Science. I believe a firm foundation in Creation Science is so important. As a public school graduate, I can honestly say I knew nothing about creation science until I was a married woman. I believed in the Biblical Creation, but the science behind it was unknown to me. I really want Mercie to have a good grasp on the facts before we delve into something else.

Language Lessons for Today Grade 4   -
I have decided on two different books for Mercie. The first one we will be using is Language Lessons for Today, grade 4. I plan to use this book 3 times a week. I love the fact that this program includes lessons on grammar and punctuation as well as oral language skills.
Grammar Minutes Grade 4   -
I also decided to get Mercie Grammar Minutes for grade 4. There are 100 pages in this workbook, and she will use 3 a week. They are quick and easy worksheets that go over almost every grammar concept she will need to know.
Modern Curriculum Press Spelling Workout Grade 4 Homeschool Bundle (2002 Edition)  -
We are also doing Spelling Workout this year. We haven't used formal spelling much, and I think she could benefit from it.

Teaching Textbooks Math 4 Complete Kit   -     By: Greg Sabouri, Shawn Sabouri
After much deliberation, I have decided to use Teaching Textbooks 4 for her. I think she will do well with the computer-based lessons. She was excited to get to use the computer for math.

God & the History of Art Revised  -     By: Berry Stebbing
One of the curriculum I was looking at was My Father's World Creation to the Greeks. One of the biggest draws from this was God and the History of Art. I wasn't crazy about the other resources, so I decided to just get the art and schedule it in twice a week for Mercie. She is very excited about this.

Lessons in Responsibility for Girls: Home Economics for Home Schoolers, Level 2 (Ages 8 and Up)  -
I also bought her this Home-Ec book for young girls. It will teach her about nutrition and cooking skills which she is very interested in. She will use this twice a week.

I feel like this a great workload for her, and I am excited to begin!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kwik Stix Thin Stix

I have posted my glowing reviews of The Pencil Grip's Kwik Stix several times before. We love the no-mess and no water needed paint sticks. We use them for a variety of arts and crafts activities as well as for school work.

Kwik Stix sent me a package of their new Thin Stix to review, and they are just as wonderful as the original Kwik Stix. These paint sticks are thinner and longer than the original ones, with smaller tips that help with control and adding detail to artwork.

My kids are always pulling out the Kwik Stix, and now the Thin Stix, to paint with. They know I don't mind them painting when they are using Kwik Stix. There is seriously no mess to clean up! If they happen to draw a little off the paper, onto our countertops or the floors, it wipes right up. It washes off their skin easily, too. They dry in 90 seconds or less, which is a big plus when you have young children who are impatient for their creations to dry!

Kwik Stix would make a great Valentine present for the sweet little kids in your life. We made a few Valentine crafts today!
Check out Kwik Stix HERE!

D: Doodling and Drawing

It's week four of Blogging Through the Alphabet, which means the letter of the week is D, and I'm going to talk about one of my hobbies - drawing and doodling.

I've always loved drawing, painting and writing scriptures. Recently, I've decided to practice more and try to get much better at it. I've fallen in love with hand-lettering. I've purchased two books to help me, and I do plan to buy a few more. I mainly use Sharpies to hand-letter, but I just bought some calligraphy markers. I've been trying to figure out how to use them - they are a little more complicated! There is some calligraphy instruction in both of the books I have, so that has been helping some. I've also been using watercolors to give my hand-lettering prints some color.

I love to draw and doodle in the margins of my Bible, but I don't have a journaling Bible (yet). Most of my journals and notebooks are full of doodles and pretty letters and words. I have been making time each day to work on it because it's important to me.

My 9 year old daughter has also picked up the hobby! I bought her her own hand-lettering book and sketchpad for her birthday on Monday, and she has been doodling and drawing! Anytime I get mine out to work on, she gets hers out, too!

Join us for Blogging Through the Alphabet!
A Net In Time Schooling

Thursday, February 2, 2017

C: Chores

It's week 3 of Blogging Through the Alphabet, and I'm going to talk about chores. When you homeschool, and you and your kids are home all day everyday, having your kids perform chores is vital to keeping your house clean and organized. Even the youngest of your children can do chores and contribute to a clean house. Here is a list of chores that I have my children do, organized by age.

Ages 2-4

Even young toddlers can do chores. Of course, I teach my kids how to do these things and supervise them while they are doing them, but this is the perfect training age!
  • Folding small rags and kitchen towels.
  • Dusting furniture with a damp rag (no chemicals).
  • Picking up toys and putting them in a toy box.
  • Using a dust-buster or other small vacuum to clean up crumbs or couch cushions.
  • Putting a new garbage bag in the garbage can.
  • Collecting dirty laundry from bedrooms and bathrooms and bringing it to laundry room.
  • Matching clean socks.

Ages 5-7

This is another great age for training your children in more difficult chores. After this age, you shouldn't have much training left to do. Some of these chores should be supervised, but most should not.
  • Folding towels and rags.
  • Dusting furniture with cleaner and a rag.
  • Cleaning (low) windows with glass cleaner.
  • Using a Clorox wipe to clean bathroom and kitchen counters.
  • Make up their own beds.
  • Folding T-shirts and socks.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner.
  • Feed and water pets.

Ages 8-12

This is a 4 year age gap, but I find that this age group can complete most of the same chores. Of course, each child is different and only you know your child's abilities.
  • Wash and dry dishes.
  • Unload and load the dishwasher.
  • Hand clothes in closets and put clothes away in dresser drawers.
  • Clean windows.
  • Sweep and mop.
  • Clean their own rooms.
  • Clear the table after a meal.
  • Take out garbage.
  • Change bed sheets.
  • Put away groceries.
Ages 13 and up

This age group can do almost any chore or household duty. Here are some that my children are responsible for.
  • Cleaning out the refrigerator.
  • Clean out the microwave.
  • Sweep and mop.
  • Cook a meal.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Put away leftovers after a meal.
  • Wash and dry clothes.
  • Fold and put away clothes.
  • Clean toilets and showers.
  • Clean the yard.
  • Vacuum the house.
  • Wash the cars.
  • Organize closets.
  • Baby sit.
What are some chores that your children are responsible for?

Linking up with:
A Net In TimeSchooling

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mom School: Week 1

My friend, Linda, is starting a link-up for moms who are learning and doing school right along with their children called "Teach by Example - Mom School". For a while now, I've been "doing school"; rather, I've been educating myself and learning new things. One of my goals for 2017 was to learn some new skills and refresh myself on some others.

This week, I've been using my new book "Creative Handwriting and Beyond: Inspiring Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Hand Lettering Your Way to Beautiful Works of Art". Wow! What a title!

I have always loved hand-lettering and doodling, especially using scriptures. It's a way that I worship God, even if that sounds sort of far-fetched. By taking my time to write out His Words in a beautiful way and illustrate them, I am meditating on them and putting them in my head and heart. It's really very relaxing for me and lots of fun.

I have decided that this year, I will invest in myself - my hobbies, my skills, and my past-times. I don't bat an eye when I purchase something for the kid's education, so why shouldn't I be just as eager to buy things to enhance my education and my skills? And, yes, calligraphy and hand-lettering are skills.

I have also decided to dedicate a 30-minute block in the afternoons each day for my kids and I to practice our skills - whether it be hand-lettering, painting, knot-tying, sewing, cooking, baking, piano, karate, whatever! I think having a time set-apart for myself to learn something will make sure I get it done.

Plus, I've discovered that anytime, and I mean anytime, I get my sketchpads, markers, and book out to start practicing, my kids either do the same thing with paper and markers, or find something similar to do. I realized I can be such an example to them, to show them that even moms want to learn new things! I want my kids to know how learning can be fun, and I hope that they will see me enjoying myself while learning.

Here are some of the practice pages I've been working on. I am getting better, but still not "good" yet! My daughters love my pages, though, and think I'm "the best ever".




I even bought Mercie, my almost-9 year old, a hand-lettering book for children, sketchbook, and box of 100 thin markers for her birthday next week. She loves to hand-letter and doodle with me, so I know she will love having her own supplies!

I am also helping my 9th grade daughter with her algebra daily. She is not a math-y kid, and I'm not a math-y mom. I bought my own notebook in hopes that I can start doing her lessons each day on my own. I would love to be proficient and quick in algebra.

The other book I am planning to read this week is "The Signers". Eli checked this one out at the library, but I literally know nothing about anyone who signed the Declaration of Independence, so I'm hoping to read this through and take a few notes.

What are you learning, Mom? Link up:


Sunday, January 29, 2017

What We're Reading This Week (week 1)

I would love to start posting the library books my older 3 kids check out from the library each week. Their choices are usually very different from each other, and I always like wondering why they choose certain books. I always enjoy seeing what other kids with ages similar to my own are reading, so maybe you will enjoy this!

The only requirement my kids had this week was to choose one book that was on the presidents, American history, or government. I'm appalled at how little most kids know on this subject, and even how little I myself know! I told the kids they must choose one book on this subject each week for the rest of the year. They have to read the book, and then at the end of the week give an oral report to the family. That way, we can all learn something!

Mikaela - 14

  • "Whose Haunting the White House? The President's Mansion and The Ghosts Who Live There" by Jeff Belanger
  • "The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corpss, Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968" by Ellen Emerson White
  • "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Sniket
Eli - 11
  • "The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence" by Dennis Brindell Fradin
  • "Football Trivia" by Tyler Mason
  • "The Lego Play Book: Ideas to Bring Your Bricks to Lift" by Daniel Lipkowitz
  • "Really Horrible Science Facts" by Jay Wakins
Mercie - almost 9
  • "Who Was Betsy Ross?" by James Buckley Jr.
  • "The Critter Club: All About Ellie" by Callie Barkley
  • "Junie B. Jones Has A Monster Under Her Bed" by Barbara Park
  • "Stranded at Plimoth Plantation 1626" by Gary Bowen
What are your kids reading this week?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Week in Review: 1/23-1/27

This week, we got settled into our rental condo in Alabama. Rod worked almost every day this week, and the kids did school each day. We found the library on Wednesday. It's a really neat library with story time on Wednesdays and a "craft-ernoon" on Wednesday afternoon. We are right on Lake Martin, so the kids have been doing some fishing (but no catching). There's a playground on site, so the kids can get some exercise.

Silas finished Unit 3 in Little Hearts for His Glory this week. Here are a few highlights from his week:
  • He is on Chapter 5 in The Reading Lesson. He can read lots of three and four letter words and sentences. He enjoys the stories in the book because he can read them himself.
  • He learned how to add 3 and 4 (small) numbers.
  • He added The Flood and The Tower of Babel to his timeline.
  • He memorized Proverbs 20:11 "Even a child is known by actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right."

Titus finished Unit 2 in Little Hands to Heaven this week. Here are some highlights from his week:
  • He used pattern blocks to make the letters B and b.
  • He used patterns to build the Tower of Babel with his linking cubes.
  • He made a rainbow from torn paper.
  • He painted the letters B and b with our Kwik Stix.

Mercie completed Unit 20 in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. Here are some of her highlights:
  • Mercie used straws to blow paint on paper, representing the "bombs bursting in air" from the Star Spangled Banner.
  • She is getting quicker with her multiplication facts.
  • We made a 5x5 grid on the floor and I gave her coordinates to find.
  • We read in the Pioneer Sampler each day.
  • She learned about helping verbs in Rod and Staff grammar.
  • We practiced and wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mikaela and Eli both completed days 33-37 in Bob Jones Distance Learning. Here are a few of their highlights:
  • Mikaela is learning how to find percent difference, percent error, and experimental error. She has quite a few word problems to muddle through each day.
  • Eli is learning fractions, which comes easy for him.
  • Mikaela and Eli are both working on adverbs and adjective in grammar, at different levels.
  • In Life Science, Eli is learning about genes and reproduction.
  • In Physical Science, Mikaela is learning about gravity and freefall.
  • In Cultural Geography, Mikaela finished up chapter 5 and is beginning on chapter 6, which is on Canada.
  • In World Studies, Eli learned about European culture, expansion and religion.
Their days are getting much quicker with BJU. I don't know if it's just that they're used to how the program works now or what, but almost every day this week, they were both done by 12! We do begin at 8-8:30 in the morning, and they work until lunch. After lunch, they usually have another hour or two of schoolwork, but this week, they were both finished.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Doritos" - a poem by Eli

Eli, my 7th grader, had an assignment in his Writing and Grammar course today. He was to write a poem from prose. He kind of missed the mark on this one, but it was such a funny poem, I wanted to share it. I hope it brings a smile to your face today.

My favorite chip I'll speak of today
They're so delicious in a cheesy way.
They are the chips for the athletic pros,
Oh how I love you, Doritos!
My favorite flavor is nacho cheese,
Gimme, gimme, gimmie, pretty please!
And now only at Taco Bell,
you can get them like a taco, that's very swell!
You can get them at the store in three different sizes.
When you throw them in your mouth, it's like flavor prizes.
There's one little problem, and that is when
there's no more left and you scream then,
"Sme hent rocaustran mephan trouk"
Oh please don't curse!
There's more in your mama's purse!
See this is a time to keep your mouth closed
because I will say "All Hail Doritos!"
by Eli Russell

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

B: Boys

Growing up, I only had sisters. My closest friends growing up only had sisters. Now, my sister and I both have three boys! My mom, who never had a son, now has six grandsons. And, let me tell you, boys were something new to us all! My husband, on the other hand, has three brothers; plus, he's a boy, so boys were nothing new to him.

Here are a few facts about boys that I have learned over the past 11 years:

  • Boys are loud.
  • Boys are messy.
  • Boys are always hurting themselves.
  • Boys are dangerous!
  • Boys have no fear.
  • Boys give the best hugs.
  • Boys make me laugh at things I never would have thought would be funny, like farts and burps and other bodily functions.
  • Boys have imaginations.
  • Boys are competitive.
  • Boys are goofy.
My boys are Eli, who is 11; Silas, who is 6; and Titus, who is 4. These boys are always outside doing things - riding bikes and scooters, building things, exploring, and getting hurt. They are always making things with Legos, shooting each other with pretend guns, pretending to be a Jedi, and flipping off my furniture. They think SpongeBob is quality television, farting is funny, and they are Little Joe and Adam from Bonanza. They eat me out of house and home, are constantly tearing holes in their blue jeans, and want to fix anything that's broken (especially if they broke it). They are always trying to beat me in board games, races, and anything they can turn into a competition. They are always toting around tool boxes, tackle boxes, and BB guns.
These are the kinds of pictures I find on my camera - from BOYS.
Eli  and his first deer.
Dressed up for church, and not happy about it.
Eli fishing here in Alabama.
Titus and Silas goofing off in their room.
Silas and Titus working in the yard - digging holes.
Titus and his toolbox.

I love my boys! They have opened a whole new world for me - an exciting, imaginative, and colorful world. I am so thankful that God has chosen to give me 3 wonderful sons.

Join us for Blogging Through the Alphabet!

A Net In TimeSchooling

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bob Jones Distance Learning Details and Components - The VLG

I hope to start a series of posts on Bob Jones Distance Learning (BJDL) - the details and components of the program. Just a quick overview: Mikaela is using the 9th grade complete curriculum and Eli is using the 7th grade complete curriculum, both with DVDs. They completed Day 33 today, so I'm not ready to give a complete review of the program, but so far we are really loving it and I'm quite impressed. Yes, there are a few things we aren't crazy about, but isn't that true with every program?

I wanted to give a review of my favorite component of BJDL is the VLG - Video Lesson Guide. This is simply a booklet that contains the 180 daily lesson plans for each of your child's subjects.

Let's take a peek into Eli's VLG - Day 34. I'll use the Life Science subject row for the examples below. As you can see, there are 6 columns at the top of the page. These columns are "Lesson", "Content", "Materials Needed", "Work Text", "Assignment", and "Parent Responsibility".

The "Lesson" column just states the subject, along with video number your child will be watching for the day. For example, his first column says "Life Science LS-05-05". This tells Eli that for Life Science he will watch the DVD that spans these numbers, find the number on the screen, and push play.

The "Content" column explains what the lesson is about. This way, at a glance, I can see what he will be learning in his video and what he will be working on today. Today his says:
  • Chapter 5 Test
  • UNIT 2 - Heredity and the Origin of Life
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 6 - Cell Division
  • Introduction
The "Materials Needed" column lists any materials your child will need in addition to his textbook, workbook, and pencils. Today, he will need the Chapter 5 Test which is in a test booklet. I can tear out the test and hand it to him to complete. If there is a lab or investigation, it will list all of the supplies you need.

The "Work Text" column tells you which pages in your book(s) you will be using. His says "pp. 79-80".

The "Assignment" column is just that - the assignment for the day. This is really nice because I can glance at this and see exactly what they are expected to do today for homework. Today his says "Read Section 6A, pp. 79-82". Sometimes it will say things like "Answer section review questions on this page..." or "Be prepared for a quiz tomorrow".

The last column is "Parent Responsibility". This tells me exactly what I have to do each day. Today it says "Administer, grade and record Chapter 5 test." It also tells you how long the video will be each lesson. This lesson is 30 minutes, which is the standard time. Some days may be shorter, like 15-25 minutes, but it's never longer.

The reason I love the VLG so much is because it has simplified my life! Every morning after Bible time, I tell Mikaela and Eli to bring me their VLGs. We take a few minutes to read over together, discuss anything that I think they need to remember, and gather any materials. I can quickly see if I need to do anything, which subjects I need to check (because some they check in "class" on the DVD), and what they need to study for.

The kids use it as a checklist as well. Each time they finish a subject, they can put a checkmark beside it. They know what they've done and what they have left.

It is such a simple thing, but without it, BJDL would be much more complicated for me to use. The kids really like it, too, because they can quickly see what they are doing today. Some days, they don't have a video to watch and some days are "catch up days". They usually compare "days" with each other. "I don't have a video in Cultural Geography or Bible today!" and "Oh man, I have two quizzes today!" Looking ahead, on Day 35, Eli has three subjects that are "No Video" days! He has tests and assignments, but no video.

In summary, the VLG is my favorite component of BJDL because it simplifies things for myself and my children.

Week in Review, 1/16-1/20

Last week, Mercie completed Unit 19 in Bigger Hearts for His Glory, Silas completed Unit 2 in Little Hearts for His Glory, and Titus finished most of Unit 1 in Little Hands to Heaven. Mikaela and Eli completed days 29-32 in Bob Jones Distance Learning.

Silas has really taken off in The Reading Lesson. He is almost through with chapter 4. I am so impressed and encouraged, because reading has been such a struggle for my little man. He is also excited that he is reading sentences and short stories now.

Mercie has been using Times Tales to solidify her multiplication facts. She is having such trouble with them, but two days of Times Tales has helped quite a bit.

We are using The Pioneer Sampler for science now, and it is wonderful! We love the stories and the simple activities. Last week, we learned about how to make maple syrup and sugar from tapping trees. The activity was to fill two plastic cups with the same amount of water, but add two spoons of sugar to one and stir it until it dissolved. We put them in the freezer for an hour. After an hour, we took them out to discover that the one with sugar was still slushy, while the one with just water was frozen. This showed us how the maple in the trees acts as an "antifreeze" for the trees. Interesting!

We took off Friday from school because we were packing and cleaning the house. We left Saturday morning headed to Alabama, and we arrived Saturday evening. We got settled in the condo we are renting, went to the grocery store and bought food and a few things we needed, and then relaxed and watched some TV!

The condo is nice. There is a playground, a swimming pool, and it's right on Lake Martin. We went fishing today for a little while, but the wind is so cool that we couldn't stay out long.

This is a short week-in-review, but I'm exhausted from the weekend! Have a great week!