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I’m going to stop posting regular updates to this blog. I have not been able to give it attention, and now that I haven’t been making lapbooks to give away, interest has lagged. I only make materials when we need them, but there are so many resources out there all ready that I haven’t felt the need to make much recently. Most of what I make now are sheets to go along with experiments or books in the curriculum. I’m still here. The blog will remain up. If you leave a comment, I’ll see it. I may post from time to time, but I’m not going to attempt to update you weekly with what we are doing for school.
You can still see exactly what we do for school to get links or ideas. You can go to the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool and click on Math or Biology, for example. I list in bold the minor topics like Place Value or Digestive System. You can see exactly what materials we used and what activities we do. I will also post there from time to time about the things we do for school.
My focus is now on working on my curriculum, which I do daily. This blog was the first step towards the creation of the curriculum. I actually never even intended to be a blogger. I just started this blog originally to show the grandparents (on a different continent) what the kids were doing for school, but I unintentionally gained a following, getting more than a hundred visitors a day.
If you are using my curriculum or considering it, you can still scroll down and look at past posts and see what types of materials and activities the curriculum uses. The freebies will all still be here. There are some more, basically notebooking pages, listed on the Simply Lapbooks group.
Thanks everyone for your support over the last few years. I’m glad I could help and encourage some of you. I’m still trying to do that. I now get emails from families saying that they wouldn’t be able to continue homeschooling if they didn’t have my curriculum. Others write about their circumstances and how they found themselves suddenly needing to homeschool when they had planned on their children going to school. For those overseas it offers them accessible resources. For those who’ve lost jobs it offers free resources. For those who have never homeschooled, it offers knowing exactly what to do each day. Everyone has different needs and circumstances, but they all found that the curriculum is meeting the need they were faced with. I love being the Lord’s tool to bless others.
We moved from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to Ancient China and now on to the Mayas in South America.
Each day as the children read they wrote down what they found to be interesting or important. I let them choose for themselves. I also let them choose for themselves where to keep the information. My son chose to do a Power Point presentation and each day added a slide. I gave every links to clip art they could use. My daughter made a poster.
She drew the pictures and just wrote out facts to include.
We also do our music and art related to history, so we listened to Mayan music on youtube and made Mayan pottery (our version of it). You make snakes and layer circles up the pot.
This is my oldest son’s pot.
This marked 40 days into our curriculum, which means time for the portfolio. Every forty days I collect something from each subject and put it in the binder. I’ve never turned in a portfolio, but I keep one just in case we end up in the States and I need to turn something in. I have had to register my kids and turn in “objectives” and a bunch of other information that I shouldn’t have to, but we’ve never been around for portfolio time. I make it easy for myself by writing right in the kids’ assignments. “Do your work neatly and give your paper to a parent when you are finished to add to your portfolio.” Then the kids remind me, and I don’t have to remember. We are supposed to show “progress,” so I have quarterly examples. I try to vary what is in there because we are also supposed to show what materials we used. We are supposed to keep a record of every book read and every resource used. This is impossible. Do you know how many links are on my kids’ school? I give samples of the types of materials they use. We’re also supposed to have a log of what we do. That’s easy. I just print out the curriculum website and it has the assignments for every day. I think it’s all a waste of time and effort!
Here’s another sample of work. My second grader had to draw pictures of his vocab words as part of the vocab sheets I made for him. Here is “exasperated.” Do you see the smoke coming out of the ears? After he drew that he never forgot. Here’s the download vocabulary worksheet. It has a place for the word, the definition, the sentence where you found it and a picture. It has room for two words a page and has a little bit of color on it.
Here’s my daughter’s King Tut sculpture out of butter and flour and colored icing.
I’m sorry I’ve been doing a horrible job of taking pictures of what we are doing for school. Right now I’m just trying to survive nausea and the 105+ heat. Oh, did you know? I’m expecting baby 6 in February.
Today let me tell you about our computer courses. When I started building my online curriculum, several new “official” courses were born. One was computer. Each year they learn a little more about the internet and about word processing. Then each year they learn different types of programs.
First graders just do internet, word processing and typing.
Second graders add on Paint and Publisher (or similar programs).
Third graders learn Power Point (or similar program). There are free versions of these types of programs.
Fourth graders use Scratch which is computer programming for elementary school children. My boys love it.
Fifth graders make a blog.
Sixth graders learn html.
I’m considering Excel (or similar program) for eighth.
My time it up. My ESL students have arrived. I volunteer and teach some neighbor children English a few times a week. Hope you are having a great week.
Looking at the free stuff page, I realized that I had given you the art and music timeline pieces, but at the end of our school year I never posted the history timeline pieces. Each timeline piece can be used as a picture or minibook. Here is the download for the Modern History Timeline. On the Free Stuff! page you can find the decade pages if you want them. Those are just blank pages with like 1910 written at the top and a line down the middle of the page.
And while I’m on old…here is my experiment worksheet that I use all the time. It just has a place for hypothesis, materials, procedure, etc. I have a younger version too which I call the experiment book because it’s a page for each of those things. I have added all of these downloads to the Free Stuff! page.
And here’s a picture from our week past.
We just started ancient China this past week and here’s my daughter making a scroll of Confucius’ five virtues.
I hope some of you can enjoy seeing my husband’s crazy desk. We’re not perfect here!
Our official day doesn’t start until 8:30 (it’s 7:30 in the winter). Breakfast is always first and then the kids get dressed and do their chores. (The chores can change with the seasons as well.) My preschooler starts his school as soon as he and my daughter are finished their chores. They are always done first. She supervises his work. She finds the right day in his curriculum and shows him what worksheet he needs to do.
The first thing on our school day schedule is math for the two oldest at 10:00. This is so that my husband is available to supervise and help my daughter with her math and I’m available to supervise and help my son with his math. And I help my husband when he’s stuck on his math. I was actually a math major, so I don’t fear the coming years of math.
Then the older two boys (5th and 2nd) pair up to work on history and science. When that’s done, they split up to finish their work. They can finish by noon. Sometimes there are distractions…
I noticed the boys weren’t at the computer and went to find them. They had joined in an unofficial story time when they heard my daughter reading to the four year old. I didn’t tell them to get back to work.
Our wall body is starting to fill in. It’s up so high so the one year old doesn’t think he can draw on it too.
We are finishing up ancient Egypt. Last year we did a minibook timeline in a binder. This year we are just using timeline pages. Here is what the younger kids are using, putting the date on the line and then adding words and pictures off to the side. The older timeline is used on the computer. You can type right onto it and save and print.
We’ve finished week 1 of 36. It already seems to be flying by for me, which only means I’m getting old. Above is my 12-year-old daughter supervising preschool with the 4 year old. It’s nice to have her to do that.
This year we are studying biology for science and we started with the human body and skin.
While we all study the same thing at the same time, like skin, the assignments are broken into older and younger. Above is older…below is younger…That’s the outline of my second grader. They will be filling it in as we study the different body systems. I decided to let the fifth grader do the younger assignments along with the second grader, even though he’s supposed to be in the older group. They are best buds anyway, and I wanted the second grader to have a partner to work with. They are using Mr. Q’s life science textbook as a base.
For history we are studying ancient history and we started with Egypt. The younger kids are doing the lapbook from Pratical Pages. The younger kids also practiced with a BC timeline. Everyone played the pyramid game. It is not easy to get that pyramid built!
We even got a little review of physics from last year.
I mentioned before my oldest son saying, “I can’t write poems” on the first day of school. On the second day he didn’t have to. On the third day the scene repeated. On the fourth day I transformed our chore chart into a cheerful worker chart and threatened the loss of computer time if there were complaints. He asked for help with his poem. On the fifth day he wrote it quickly by himself, following all the directions and without problem. First problem solved.
We were going to wait until July, but it’s 106. What else are we going to do? We started school. We take off Thursday and Friday so Saturday’s a school day for us. And what a day. We don’t have central air, but we still felt it when the power and water went off today. The power was off twice today, the second time for a couple of hours. The water is still off.
The first thing each kid had to do (except the preschooler) was a following directions worksheet. I explain that it’s important to read all of the directions before they click on their links for school and that they need to follow all of the directions. Some of the grades have real follow direction practice worksheets, like my second grader here. Some had those trick worksheets that say to read through all the directions before starting and then the last direction is to not do the worksheet. My daughter did the whole thing. Lesson learned.
The first day was pretty easy stuff, and we finished quickly. The only sticking point was my fifth grader and poetry. I don’t like poetry myself and always put our month of poetry first to get it over with. My son is sure he cannot write poems. But with the heat on and the power out for a couple of hours there was nothing else to do. So he got it done. Little by little. Only 19 more days of poetry to go.
Today we just did some background to early history and science. Tomorrow we begin ancient Egypt and the human body. Hope you are staying cool. (Made with Scratch which is part of 4th grade in the Easy Peasy Homeschool)
My daughter just came in to say the water is back on. Now I can wash the dishes. Yeah!
I’ve been getting ready for our new school year which starts in just a few weeks! Summer came a little too early for me this year and it’s already in the 90s and we’re supposed to have our first 100 degree day this weekend. We’ll be starting our school at the end of this month, and then you’ll be hearing from me more regularly as I post what we are doing for school.
This year our history theme is ancient history. I’ve already posted lessons on ancient Egypt and China and Mesopotamia and the Mayans. For science the major theme is biology. I’ve been working on the human body so far. My seven year old boy had so much fun testing out a video on the excretory system with me today. He couldn’t wait to tell his brothers it was about peeing. I need an eyeball rolling emoticon here
My oldest son taught me how to make a video of my screen. I tried to make a video about my online curriculum (my kids’ school assignments). It’s not that great, but here it is.
My daughter, just today, had 10 pieces of artwork in her first art exhibition. It was an exhibition of local artisans. There were weavers, metal workers, embroiderers, even dancers.
Last year was the first time we didn’t school year round because I was working on writing their assignments online and wanted to get ahead of them. We are taking this summer off as well, in part.
Other than that they are doing the usual:
The Lord has provided for us in numerous ways. We even have some dramatic tales of His provision. But let me share one about homeschooling. We are in a situation different from most of you because we live overseas. There are resources (like a library!) and experiences (like homeschool coop) that we have had to give up in order to serve the Lord. You may not live overseas, but you may feel that there are resources and experiences you would like to give your children, but you can’t because of finances. I want to encourage you with this testimony.
One of the things we missed out on by being overseas was free art lessons for my daughter. I’ve talked before about her artistic abilities. I’ve shared the couple of books I’ve been able to give her. But at different times I’ve felt bad that I couldn’t help her progress. My best friend in the States had been an art teacher before being a homeschool mom and gave lessons in her home to homeschoolers. My daughter never got to take those lessons.
Less than six months ago my daughter started free art lessons here! My husband met an artist in the street one day. He is a refugee and was excited that he could speak Russian with my husband (his college major). He invited my husband to bring our then eleven-year-old daughter to the weekly lesson he taught. Everyone but us paid for lessons. (You also have to realize that our family lives in the poor neighborhood where the refugees live and not in the fancy neighborhoods the other students come from. We live simply so people see that and want to help us out, plus the artist was just excited to speak Russian!)
After a few months he asked my husband to bring our daughter as often as possible to work with him on his commissions. She now goes four times a week for a couple of hours at a time and works alongside him on drawings and paintings that people have ordered. What an amazing opportunity to be apprenticed! How unbelievable that she has worked on paintings that have sold for $500!
I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to provide art instruction. He gave her the gift and He is seeing to it that it is developed. It’s much easier now to trust that He will do the same for all of her younger brothers.
I’ve also been thrilled to get a few emails recently from families who are using my online curriculum, calling it the Lord’s provision for them. I am so happy the Lord is using me to help families continue homeschooling when they are faced with unemployment. If you know of families considering giving up homeschooling because of finances, please let them know about the curriculum.