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Bigger Hearts and Little Hearts 2017-2018 School Year

This is going to be a fun and “interesting” year for us. Each year I feel more and more justified in saying we homeschool. It gets a little more intense and the education continues to increase which is so much fun. As I began planning out this year that looked normal and free from any schedule challenges I woke up at 3 AM on the 4th of July with round ligament pain… followed by a positive pregnancy test for #6 due in February! This is what I do love about homeschool because we just go with the flow. There will be another break in our schedule where my children get to learn again and experience again the joys of childbirth and welcoming home a new addition to the family and all the care, changes and even challenges that come with it. These are all incredible things for my children to learn from a young age that they would miss out on if we all went our separate ways and away from the family all day. That’s a very positive outlook : ) I also am challenged in how to homeschool my children with a 3 year old destroying the house, a 1 year old learning to walk, myself going through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy and have a NB join in on this mess. God is trying to help me see the blessings in this challenge as well and the character growth He wants to do in my life. I am grateful for these challenges and pray that God keeps me here in this gratefulness in the midst of those days and moments where I feel like a crazy lady wondering what on earth God is doing in my life!

Back to the school planning:

  • Amelia will be 8 in October and in 2nd Grade – Bigger Hearts for His Glory and 1 day a week in the Arts program at a Homeschool Academy
  • Joshua will be 6 in October and in Kindergarten – Little Hearts for His Glory and 1 day a week in the STEM program at a Homeschool Academy
  • Lydia will be 4 1/2 and in Pre-K – Little Hearts for His Glory combined with Joshua
  • Joseph will be 3 in January and in “try not to destroy the house and whine too much while school is going on yet still feel included and loved” lessons
  • Benjamin will be 1 in November and in “hopefully sleeping for most of school hours or playing quietly and not learning to walk or crawl up the stairs too quickly” lessons
  • Baby #6 will be incubating hopefully gestational diabetes free style and due in February!

We started doing Logic of English last year after a lot of recommendations for a phonics program that taught how to read, how to spell, how to handwrite and grammar/phonics rules. It seemed all the different programs I tried was really good at one but was missing the others and I didn’t want to miss anything or require 3 different programs. LOE is all in one and it is so much fun! The kids actually really enjoy it so even though there is not a requirement to continue phonics in Bigger Hearts we are continuing to move through it to reinforce cursive handwriting as well as rules to phonogram sounds that are pretty advanced.

After a few weeks I am going to introduce some Spanish. I just picked up these Teach Them Spanish workbooks and we’ve got some other worksheets. I have a minor in Spanish (that is quickly fading) but I want the kiddos to know this language as it is so common today and I don’t know the best way to teach it but will start here. I think Rosetta Stone may be in our future but not this year.

And we are working through Piano Adventures for teaching piano as well. We started this last year and liked it so we will continue that as well.

Last year I printed all my planning sheets and spiral bound them. It worked pretty good, I liked the feel of it but just as I was afraid of we made some changes and then I couldn’t change the sheets since they were all printed. This year I am going back to my clipboard that will house the planning sheet for that week, my year long calendar sheet, my excel daily schedule plan, my daily school routine sheet and once I find a good homeschool prayer sheet or make one I will add that. I think I will like going back to this again too because I found a couple times last year I had some supplemental sheets I tucked into my spiral bound planner but they would fall out or the sides would get bent so this way I can add them to the clipboard and go with it.

Here is my planning sheet for Amelia for Bigger Hearts. I made this on Microsoft Word. I already revised it once from the first week. Tuesday is missing as she is at Homeschool Academy that day for an enrichment day. Wednesday is a little different as Joshua is at Homeschool Academy and Lydia will take the day off so it’ll just be me and Amelia doing school that day. So I’ve added in certain sections when I need to do two of a certain subject since it’s a 4 day week for a 5 day a week curriculum.

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Here’s the planning sheet for Joshua & Lydia for Little Hearts. Same set up here although Wednesday is missing because of Joshua being gone and Tuesday is different since we host a bible study in our home Tuesday mornings so their school is condensed to 1 1/2 hrs in the afternoon before we have to leave to pick up Amelia. Again there are sections where I have added when to double up on sections to make up for these lost days.

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This is sort of my brainstorm sheet for the 3 days we’re home all day. This was to help me actually decide what to do during their school time and some more details that may need to be remembered. I use this a lot at the beginning and once we get our routine and flow down then I don’t refer to it as much and mainly use the planning sheets above.

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Here is my Excel planning sheet for the semester. I have made these for years and they are so helpful. I actually wrote a whole post on weekly scheduling. I was introduced to these in college and they were super helpful when planning my classes and extracurricular activities as well as scheduling in studying time and working out and getting a big picture of how my days/weeks will actually look like so I could rearrange as needed to make it realistic! My schedule here is a little confusing as I still work one night a week so I adjusted some school times based on if I was going to be sleeping one morning a week or one afternoon a week depending on my work shift.

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And I’ve done this the past couple of years as well and have really liked a year long big picture but with room to brainstorm as well. Here I track how many days we complete school too. There are 4 months per sheet and it goes through next summer. I can plan holiday breaks, baby breaks, visitors breaks, etc.

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I didn’t make too many changes to our school room this year except I added this board to the wall to display some of their work. My husband’s grandpa was big into woodworking and after he and my husband’s grandma passed away we took some of their leftover wood pieces. Neither of us are woodworkers but I had begun seeing all the neat natural wood wall displays and decorations all over pinterest and thought maybe some day I could use some… well, 2 years later I did! I pulled out these wooden slabs which are interlocking pieces and we glued them together and screwed in 3 stabilizing boards to the back. I ordered a vinyl sticker which I’ve added to wood pieces for wall decorations before (since we rent it was my solution as opposed to putting the vinyl stickers on the wall, that way when we move I can just take the boards with us and hang them on the next house). I love this verse for homeschooling and thought it would look really good put together. Then I put some screws, string and mini clips and there you go! It is really heavy and has fallen down onto the bookshelf below just once but we stabilized it pretty good and I think it’s there to stay! There is some of our work from the first week!

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Beyond Little Hearts and FIAR 2016-2017 School Year

Every year when I plan for the upcoming homeschool year I get a little more excited. I think as my children grow older and we get more into some of the meat of homeschooling and away from the colors and shapes I find more excitement in their progress and in myself dappling in different subjects with them. I am putting together this post to help myself make sure I’ve got all my i’s dotted and t’s crossed before we make 3 road trips and are gone for all of August and start school within days of returning so I’ve got to get everything ready before those trips. Here is the rundown of ages for this year:

Now this is my first year where I really feel like I am homeschooling multiple ages. I know a lot of moms don’t do any “official” school with their 3 and 4 year olds but I have persistent children who want to be at the table with their older siblings and want to have their own “workbooks” and also want to have a little bit of mommy time to teach them. I want them to be included and not get the continual “just go find something quietly to do” phrase. A few years back I extensively planned out our first ABC themed preschool curriculum using free online resources and since all the planning is done I’ve just signed that up for Lydia this year.

I also want to mention that I would have done Little Hearts for His Glory for Joshua this year as that is the age range he falls under (5) but he sat through the last 2 years of the manual alongside Amelia. While a lot of the reading and workbooks he did not do I wanted to give him a year break from it and do FIAR this year and next year when he is 6 we will re-do the manual so he can grasp better the history/science ideas and follow along with the workbooks.

I saw this great schedule idea on Pinterest and copied it to our schoolroom wall and will also share a few of the other schedules I have printed out to try to keep everyone straight (well, me straight and the kids with the least amount of distractions as we all know what a child’s attention span holds!).

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Here is the Pinterest calendar idea… a good way to teach time! (I would link to it from Pinterest but it is just a photo link)

I have decided this year to print out all my planning sheets and schedules and have them spiral bound. This is a big step for me as our life is always in transition and I’ve been nervous about doing this since it seems so permanent but when I was using my clipboard all my papers kept flying all over the place and I’d try to keep a few weeks at a time and file the rest but sometimes would want to look at the future and I just decided to try this and see how I like it! The first page is an Excel schedule… this was based off many lovely homeschool blogs and how they schedule out for multiple kiddos.

This is just more of a summary schedule… these I made more just to help my brain really grasp what I was trying to accomplish in the color coded time blocks of the Excel sheet.

My 4 months at a time calendar to map out our actual school days and time off for holidays/baby, etc.

This is a checklist for me and Joshua with FIAR. This helps me add in the additional curriculum he will be doing and also describes in detail what we will do during his block time of the Excel schedule.

This is the detailed FIAR planning sheet to go with each book. This way I know each day of the week which activity we will be doing and what supplies/books I need to gather.

And here is the BLHFHG planning sheet. I used this sheet I created on Word last year and it was awesome! It takes the boxes in the manual and turns them into a checklist for my list personality and then there’s room for her other extracurricular activities as well as notes on what craft supplies I need for that week.

For Amelia and Joshua’s supplementals we are doing the Logic of English for our phonics program and I am going to incorporate Play and Learn Spanish as well as some possible online Spanish programs like Salsa through the Georgia Public Broadcast system (we do not live in Georgia, it is for anyone) as well as Little Pim Spanish where our library carries all the DVDs for the program. We are also going to work through some Piano Adventures lessons.

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Here is a new Ikea bookshelf I scored at a garage sale with brand new bins for $20 and a globe we got at our church rummage sale : )

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I made this bible verse display to put the weekly verses so we can always be looking at them.

 

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I also scored these mailbox holders at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale for $6 each! And the wicker bins at a garage sale for free! I plan to put the kiddos loose papers in the mailboxes at the end of the day to file at the end of the week and the wicker boxes hold all the BLHFHG books in one, Logic of Enlgish (LOE) books in another and FIAR in another

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Here is my trusty file box from Wal-Mart I’ve used for a few years now… I have big dividers into months and then color coded loose papers for each kiddos lessons for that month (Units 1-3, 3 FIAR books, 3 ABC letter sheets, etc.)

Well I think that about sums it up. I absolutely cannot wait to start! We won’t start until the first week of September due to our travels but once we do we’ll be head hard into it!

Blessings on everyone’s 2016-2017 school year!

Planning Little Hearts for His Glory – Organization and Pictures

I have been working really hard planning our upcoming school year. We will be completing Heart of Dakota‘s (HOD) 5-7 year old curriculum Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG). We planned it over 2 years so we are entering our second year with this curriculum. There will be 2 parts to this post. The first part will just be a brief schedule and curriculum plan and the second part will be a more in depth description of how I planned. Now I must post a disclaimer first. HOD’s curriculum is meant to be a pick up and go. There really is not a lot of planning involved BUT I am a planner and I have an insatiable appetite to plan and organize and make things cater to our needs so I have a hard time just opening and going. So none of this is required if you are deciding whether or not to pick HOD in your homeschool year. Just know you can just open and go and you will have a great time!!

Daily Schedule:

Kids of Integrity

Seeds Worship

LHFHG – History

Calendar Notebook

LHFHG – Rhyme

LHFHG – Alternating Activity

Snack

LHFHG – Motor Skills 

LHFHG – Math

LHFHG – Phonics

Extracurricular

LHFHG – Storytime at Lunch

After Lunch:

Amelia Read

Piano

Read Aloud

LHFHG curriculum is arranged in boxes on the page so you can really put it into practice in whatever order you want. I am a list maker and boxes don’t work for me so I created a daily schedule list so we can just work our way top to bottom and cross off as we go. If the task does not have LHFHG in front of it then those are the “add ins” I have put into our schedule to fit the needs/wants of our family.

Right now our weekly plan is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are school days at home. Tuesdays my oldest, who will turn 6 in October, will be in a homeschool enrichment day at a local school district. Thursdays every other week is our field trip day and we will go to either the zoo or museum. The Thursdays of the off week will be another regular school day at home. So we will have 3 or 4 days of LHFHG which is similar to last year and why we chose to complete the curriculum over 2 years. Side note: It was hard for my organizational brain to be okay with spreading the Unit plans over a couple of weeks. HOD is organized into 5 days per 1 Unit and now we are doing Days 1, 2 and 3 during one week and Days 4, 5 into a second week and then starting a new Unit in the middle of a week. I thought this would really bother me but it actually doesn’t!

Now for the extensive planning part:

Get some iced coffee and turn on some music (Family Life Radio is great!). Set up play doh, paints or beads for the kiddos! Prepare a few days in advance by purchasing printer ink, computer paper and any type of file folders, paper clips, etc. you may need for organizing. Mentally prepare yourself to let your house go for a few days. This took me a lot of time to think and print and organize but I know it will be worth it. For me the more organized and prepared I am then the more likely I am to follow through. Also take breaks if needed. If the kiddos are going insane because of all your attention to the computer then just take a break and go play for awhile. If you begin doubting everything you’re doing and feel like it’s not good enough or that it’s too much or that you just want to give up… then take a break! Get some fresh air, go to bed, watch a movie, anything… then start again the next day when you’re refreshed. Remember the Lord is the one directing you and He will provide.

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I use this file folder box ($3.47 at Wal Mart) and have folders for the months of the year as well as sections to put printed papers for Kids of Integrity, Seeds Family Worship, Seasonal and Holiday printable packs, etc. After we complete a week I put it into a folder with the Unit # and Name and file under the month we completed it.

1) I printed out a yearly calendar and mapped out how many days of school we’ll do as well as how many field trip days or seasonal/holiday learning weeks and how many homeschool enrichment days there will be.

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I made this on Microsoft Word. I like having 4 months to one sheet with room to take notes. I have 3 of these sheets to cover the whole school year.

2) I determined from there what to complete daily and what extracurricular subjects to include and on which days.

3) I laid out all of the homeschool supplies for the upcoming year that I have gathered and organized them into subjects and then decided what to use and what to leave out for another year/time. There are a lot of new things I want to buy for our curriculum but as finances are tight I knew the Lord would honor me digging things off our shelves that I spent money for in the past and never used!

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4) I printed out my LHFHG planning worksheet and began mapping out the weekly plan so I knew what projects/supplies to expect. I signed into my library account online and saved books I want to check out for each week under a “saved list” so I can just click and hold a few weeks before I need to pick them up. I printed the lists on the back of my planning worksheet to cross off as we read them and that way they are all right there on the same page.

This is another sheet I created on Microsoft Word as our Unit checklist.

5) I planned out our Kids of Integrity lessons. I determined how many bible stories for each virtue there are to see how many days we will study that virtue. Then I picked out crafts/activities from the lesson plan to complete each day as well as which bible verse to memorize for that virtue. I looked at the same library list maker and added books related to that virtue. I also consulted Right Now Media for any character building/virtue videos to watch on the tablet at the school table. I looked online for any coloring pages/scripture memory pages for the kiddos to color while I read the bible lesson to them.

6) I already had planned out Seeds Family Worship. It is pretty simple. We just picked which album to listen to and went to the BibleStoryPrintables website and matched up the album we picked out. I chose which handwriting worksheets and coloring pages I wanted and that’s that. So we listen to the song and color for a few minutes and practice reciting the verse.

7) BOB Books. This is what we are currently using for Phonics. I have been up and down and not sure what to do for phonics. Amelia is not really enjoying any of the programs we’ve tried (100 Easy Lessons) and she doesn’t necessarily enjoy the BOB books but we’re having more success with them than anything else. I really would like an official Phonics program and am looking into The Logic of English but will need to save up some money for that purchase. In the meantime I am continuing with the BOB books and adding in some fun activities and printables from these websites.

10) Extracurricular – US States Geography and Window on the World. We love our small geography time. We listen to the States CD. We pick an area (Easter border, Western border, etc.) and start coloring in the state on a blank US map. We color in the state for that area along with the song and then we look at our Atlas and our flashcard and just read for a few minutes about that state. That’s it! We are going to start a little into countries by working our way through the Window on the World book. We will look at the country and find it on a map and read about it in our Atlas and then pray according to the Window on the World book.

11) I then planned our field trips to the zoo and museum. I decided which exhibit to look at and looked online for printable packs, crafts, etc.  I also made library book lists online for books related to the subject. The weeks that we will go on a field trip I will substitute the printable pack papers into the motor skills, math and phonics sections of our daily plan instead of using the books that LHFHG calls for. Other than that change our week of learning will look the same but we will not cover any of the unit of the LHFHG manual.

12) I planned our seasonal/holiday learning weeks. This looks basically the same as the zoo and museum trips. I looked for printable packs online and crafts and library book lists. And again our week will look similar with substituting in the printable pack papers and not covering a unit of the LHFHG manual.

Here are some pictures of our room and our homeschooling day!

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Here is the view of our room from the kitchen. It is supposed to be a family/dining room but it is our multipurpose (school/play/office/dining room). We are so blessed to have this room! We do school at the dinner table in here.

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Here is a different view of our family room/dining room converted to a school/play/office/dining room!

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Here is the view of our “supply” room. We don’t do school at the little table but sometimes my 2 year old will sit there and play! And there’s my desk where all the planning occurs. The cubeicals to the R and L contain supplies, books and toy bins and our school box is on top of the cubeical to the L. I also have a small bulletin board with a blue and pink folder that I slip the completed work for the day into (1 for Josh and 1 for Amelia) and a small string with clothespins for any extra special papers to display. At the end of the week is when I collect the papers and file them away.

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And sometimes the baby sits and watches too!

My Favorite Free Websites for Homeschool!

Bible Story Printables – Seeds Family Worship packets that include coloring sheets, mini books, copywork

DLTK Bible

DLTK Kids

Preschool Printable Activities

Turtle Diary

Coloring Castle

TLS Books

Math Worksheet Wizard

Coloring.ws

Kids Learning Station

Homeschool Creations

3 Dinosaurs

Teachers Pay Teachers

CurrClick

123 Homeschool 4 Me

Homeschool Share

Homeschool Classifieds

Loyal Books (formerly: Books Should Be Free)

Halfway Review of Little Hearts for His Glory

This review is a little less than halfway but I am at a point of re-planning and adding in some different things so I thought it would be a good time to organize and process through my thoughts and share them here.

You can look back at my first post here if you’re interested in more info on the Kindergarten set up of LHFHG.

Here are some things I really like about LHFHG (also keep in mind my kiddos are 5 1/2 and 3 1/2 and both started right before their 5 and 3 year old birthdays).

  • I love the bible verse memorization and found a lot of great printables here. I love printing the verse on cardstock and putting it in our photo book for easy review.
  • I love the Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CD to coincide with the memory verses.
  • I love the assigned storytime. My kiddos absolutely love reading through Thornton Burgess’s stories and it’s one of our favorite times of school (we usually do it after we’ve eaten our lunch and wrap up our day with this).
  • I enjoy the Art, Science, Thinking and Dramatic Play activities… these are things I usually don’t enjoy doing with the kiddos because I don’t think I’m very creative but they force me to go outside of my comfort zone and the kiddos LOVE doing these activities.

Here are some things I’m a little disappointed with about LHFHG. Now my disappointment does not mean I wouldn’t recommend it, it just means I have found some ways to supplement because of it. I also think it can be different for each family so you have to go by what works for you and your kiddos. For my kiddos these are some things I was hoping to have more of and it might be their age and interest calls for it.

  • I am actually a little disappointed in the Bible Study section. I was hoping to go through more of the Devotions book each week but it only shows up once or twice every couple of weeks. Aside from listening to the memory verse and practicing saying it and a short Bible story each day that is it for Bible Study. I think my kiddos have gotten familiar enough with the bible stories that they need something a little extra. I went back to Big Truths for Little Kids and have been reading a section from that each day they do not have a Devotions reading. I also will throw in their Awana story for the week on one of those days.
  • I’m also a little disappointed in the Science aspect of the guide. I am not very good at science and don’t really know how to teach it and maybe that’s why they don’t lean very heavily on science in this guide is because of the age for Kindergarten. Maybe what they have is just what they need. I think I had hoped someone would push me to add something in and LHFHG definitely doesn’t do that but that might be okay. To satisfy my guilty mom feelings we are utilizing our museum membership. We go to the museum every other week and pick one exhibit to focus on (i.e. dinosaurs, mummies, gems & minerals, etc.). We read books about that exhibit the week before we go and I usually can find some cute printables and coloring sheets for the kids to work on during the “fine motor skills” section of the manual. This has been great and I feel like we get a good portion of science in.
  • We dropped the 100 Easy Lessons for our phonics as it was just not vibing with Amelia. We went on to the Bob books and she has really liked those but it was still a struggle to get her excited about doing phonics. I started wondering about the early readers books and we picked some up at the library and now do that for phonics. She gets to pick any fun book she wants (usually frozen or some disney princess) and we read 1 or 2 pages each day. I just have her sound out each letter and put it together slowly then faster and faster until she’s sounded out the word. This is what I am thankful for about the 100 Easy Lessons because it taught me as the teacher a good method for teaching reading. Now she really looks forward to phonics and has been practicing sounding out words and word recognition everywhere we go!
  • As far as the Handwriting book and the Rod & Staff books I would say you could easily find the equivalent online. A lot of it she has already been familiar with and while it is easy and nice just to go page to page through the workbook I feel like you could find some critical thinking papers that maybe catch your child’s interests better through the internet. I also am not too impressed with the Handwriting book. Amelia had a lot of practice doing the copywork pages for the Seeds Family Worship songs and I don’t think this book teaches anything real different. I am almost tempted to have her do copywork of bible verses for the weekly memory verse and maybe will switch to that here soon.

So here is a review of our daily schedule: (We do school at home right now 3 days a week and we do 1 day a homeschool enrichment school day away and 1 day a field trip day to the zoo or museum)

  • Bible and Devotions/Big Truths for Little Kids
  • Scripture Memory and Music
  • Calendar Notebook (see post here)
  • Rhyme
  • Alternating Activity
  • Snack
  • Motor Skills
  • Math
  • Phonics
  • Chapter Book (we read through Amelia Bedelia or some other big chapter book)
  • Spanish (just learning flashcards and numbers, etc.)
  • Geography (see post here)
  • Storytime at Lunch (this is the Thornton Burgess books)
  • Piano after Rest Time (we just started working through this book)
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We made this school book box out of a diaper box. I hot glued scrapbook paper to the sides. I love using it because it is nice and strong and holds a lot and even has handles on the side!

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Here is the front/side of the box. I also wanted a way to display the current bible verses we were learning and I really don’t have much wall space and thought of doing this! So there’s each of their Awana verses for the week and the LHFHG verse for the week. You can see I cut down part of the front of the box to make for a little easier access to the books. We’ve been using it now for 8 months and it’s still standing strong!

Kindergarten: Little Hearts for His Glory

I am so excited! Tomorrow we are starting our first day of Kindergarten for Amelia and first day of Tot School for Joshua! After my friend introduced me to Heart of Dakota almost 1 year ago I fell in love with it and decided shortly after that it was the route for us. I am not sure that we will stick with it for the remainder of our years as I really like My Father’s World in the older years but for Kindergarten it is exactly what I was looking for!

Now I also have to add in that we have been so blessed to receive all of our curriculum for free this year. How? Through our Credit Card : ) I know everyone has their own financial system but ours is to put all of our charges on our credit card while following our budget and paying the balance at the end of each month. This accrues fabulous points (about $20-25/month) and our credit card merged with Amazon so we are able to buy anything we want off Amazon with our credit card points. I started buying back in April or so and have got a few books at a time and now have everything set and ready… for free!

We will be doing Little Hearts for His Glory and I will be following a rough 2 year plan. We will be schooling 4 days a week + 1 co-op day. LHFHG is set up as a 5 day per unit curriculum so our unit weeks will just flow along merrily but not be week to week. I also like to do something different for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the season changes so once you count all of those in we will complete a little more than half the manual in 1 year. Here are the books included in LHFHG that we will be using this year:

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  • History: History for Little Pilgrims and History Stories for Children
  • Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting Manuscript A
  • Basic Skills: Going on Eagerly and Just Thinking and Choosing
  • Calendar: I picked and chose from these various websites for her calendar notebook this year. We did a notebook last year so I didn’t want it to be exactly the same which is why I searched so many different options: Mama’s Learning Corner , Our Aussie Homeschool , Mama Jenn , Motherhood on a Dime  and 1 + 1 + 1 = 1
  • Science: The World God Made
  • Geography: I am adding this in after seeing my kiddos interest in the States & Capitals songs and always asking where a state is. This will be a quick and easy add on. So I will have them listen to the songs from this cd and then color one state each day from this website and color in on the US map where that state is. While they’re doing all the coloring I will read to them a little about that state from our Children’s Atlas of the United States.
  • Math: Singapore Math Essential Math – Kindergarten A & B (I’m not sure that we will stick with this. I may switch her to 1st grade Singapore Math or we may just move through these books quickly for reinforcement first. The concepts in Kindergarten A are ones she already knows but they are presented a little more challenging which may be enough to stump her up a little. We’ll just see how it goes!)
  • Phonics: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (We will try this for a second go around. We tried a bit last year and she just wasn’t quite ready. I’m not sure if it was age or the presentation of the content so we’ll try again this year and if she likes it we’ll go with it but if not then I’ll continue researching other options.)
  • Bible:
    • We will either read through The Jesus Storybook Bible or The Children’s Illustrated Bible (I prefer the later but it’s a little more advanced and is not Amelia’s favorite at this point. I want her to enjoy her bible reading so we may stick with the former until she’s ready to move on.)
    • Devotions for the Children’s Hour
    • Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CD
    • Memory Verses – LHFHG has a memory verse for each week and I found some great printables here to cut out and post on our wall display as well as to cut out and put in a 4 x 6 photo album so we have a memory verse book to refer to throughout the year
    • RightNow Media – Our church has a membership to the website RightNow Media where I can access some great bible shows. Since LHFHG teaches hard the stories from the bible I am going to reinforce them probably while preparing lunch or during their snack time and have them watch a 20 min. video every few days from one of the great options on this website
  • Read Alouds: Thornton Burgess Animal Stories and Peter Rabbit

As you can see if you are familiar with LHFHG that we have a mixture of Kindergarten and 1st grade books. We’ll see what needs to be adjusted this year and next. HOD is so wonderful because they have the lesson plans for each day planned out for you so you just go to that day and they tell you what to read from each book. They have a memory verse and bible story and devotional reading that all match a specific theme for each unit. It is so wonderful to not have to plan all of this together.

But, if you’re a planner like I am then you still do a little more planning : ) So here is my planning sheet since I also like to check things off and to see things in a list format. I made it simply in Microsoft Word. As I review each unit before we start I write down the basic activities we’re doing so I can review quick and know if there’s anything I need to plan out. I also put here the RightNow Media video we will watch. We are going to do school from 9:30-11:30 in the morning (is my rough plan) and the Bible/Devotional reading I plan to do after we eat breakfast and the finishing Storytime I plan to do after we eat lunch. There is quite a bit of this curriculum that I can involve Josh in which I’m very excited for and there are a few possible independent sections I’m hoping Amelia can do so I can teach Josh his Tot School.

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For Josh’s Tot School I am following my basic structure we did with Amelia that you can read all about here. It is a letter, animal that starts with that letter, color, # and shape each week with a craft relating to the animal.

 

Here is our Calendar and Display area. We have a very small homeschool/playroom that also houses a small closet for our cat’s litter box. We have that door permanently open with a curtain covering the door entrance so we can’t see the litter box so I used the door as our display board. At the top are our all about me sheets I created and will fill out and put their picture on. There is a small section to display their hard work each day on clothespins and then our calendar section with Amelia’s princess calendar where she puts a sticker on each day that passes and we review the day of the week and the month.

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And here is a picture of the blue and white display that I will put up our bible verse for each week and our new laminated map so we can look at it and learn about the world!

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I have this file folder box divided into months, seasons and holidays. Within each month I have started copying off the consumable pages from her handwriting, math and basic skills books and put them in a folder for each unit and placed it in the tentative month we will be completing that unit. I also reviewed each unit and put in any craft materials we may need for that week.

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My Blue Boat

Before Five in a Row

My Blue Boat

by, Chris Demarest

Bible Time:

“So do not fear for I am with you,

do not be dismayed for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

  • We learned about the virtue of kindness from We Choose Virtues and used the lesson plans and bible story readings from Kids of Integrity. We especially liked the Kindness Flags they suggested to make and we put a sticker on either Joshua or Amelia’s flag if they demonstrated an act of kindness. They loved it and it really helped them recognize when you are truly acting kind and not trying to get something out of it. We put the flags in our prayer stick jar on the dinner table and got to share with daddy the stories of kindness throughout the day!

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BFIAR:

We read My Blue Boat this week which was a cute and simple book. I think the kiddos’ favorite part was all of our read alouds.

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I added in some elements of Noah’s Ark because I found a short supply of printables/ideas to go along with this book and thought this would be perfect! I went to this website  where I found some neat coloring pictures that tell the story of Noah’s Ark and printed off a plethora of Noah’s Ark printables from DLTK’s website.

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Joshie colored this one : ) He did a great job doing the yellow on the animals! I’m not sure what the brown scribbles are all about though : )

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story comprehension sheet

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And these are the printable activities from homeschool share’s lapbook

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We did this fun Noah’s Ark animal craft... behind all the blue is a picture of a boat and they painted it and then glued on different animals from our animal cracker box… can you guess whose is who?
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And this was a big hit! On our last night we made blue boats out of blue cardstock paper and ate some fish sticks! This was actually the first time the kiddos have eaten fish sticks and boy did they love them! I got the idea from a website that when I just clicked on the link now the website was removed… so I’ll just link to my pin so you can see their picture! We also made blue jello to be like water although we didn’t take a picture of it the kiddos loved eating it!

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Yay fish sticks!

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Read Alouds:

  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani
  • Harbor by Donald Crews
  • Sail Away by Donald Crews
  • Magic School Bus: The Wild Whale Watch
  • Some books about the ocean and boats from the library

Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal

by, Margaret Wise Brown

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a BFIAR post. We’ve had an interesting couple of months. I have really struggled to be consistent now that I went back to work full time (although my full time season was short and is already ended yipee!). We also had our Easter week of learning time and my mom came to visit for a couple of weeks and then I had a class I had to study for and then we found out we’re pregnant with our 4th and thus entered pregnancy fatigue! Deep breath! Again I am so thankful I don’t have to be working full time right now anymore and we can focus on finishing our BFIAR plans for June and July… take August off to plan for our upcoming year with Heart of Dakota and Joshie’s first year of ABC Preschool! I am so excited to be 100% devoted to this again and not work : ( We keep praying for God to change our financial situation and soon so I don’t have to squeeze in work again this winter especially with the baby due in January! I digress : )

Bible Time:

“God is our refuge and strength

an ever present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth give way

and the mountains fall 

into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 46:1-2

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BFIAR:

We liked reading Blueberries for Sal and we fortunately made a trip to the city and were able to buy some blueberries in bulk at Sam’s Club : ) So we ate a lot of blueberries this week!

Here is Amelia’s book report and some printables

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Fruit and Vegetable sorting game from this website

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I got the following printables from a Nutrition Unit Study from this website teachbesideme.com. I wasn’t sure what else to do with this book and liked the idea of learning about some fruits and vegetables.

Learning how much sugar is in some different things we like to eat.

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Match up the different food groups

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Putting stickers on this chart when we eat a different fruit or vegetable with the different colors of the rainbow

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Putting stickers onto this body each time you eat a fruit or vegetable

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And we went over the food guide pyramid and what different serving sizes look like for different ages

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Read Alouds:

  • Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A-Z by Lois Elhert
  • I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
  • Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
  • Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition by Lizzy Rockwell
  • Stone Soup by Marica Brown
  • The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
  • Oh the Things You Can Do That Are Good for You by Tish Rabe

St. Patrick’s Day and Spring for Preschool

Bible Time:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

  • We continued learning about the virtue of Gentleness using the bible reading suggestions from Kids of Integrity. With our churches membership to Right Now Media we were able to watch Character Builders episode on Gentleness and Theo’s episode on the Fruit of the Spirit
  • We worked on our calendar notebook from Homeschool Creations

St. Patrick’s Day:

Here is the cover of our St Patrick’s Day/Spring folder

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We did this cute riddle mini book from DLTK’s website

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I found some great ideas on the internet for how to teach about Jesus with St. Patrick’s Day. First of all the only thing I’ve ever associated St. Patrick’s Day with is to wear green so you don’t get pinched and something about the luck of the Irish. Well… turns out the true history of St. Patrick’s Day is about St. Patrick who was the first person to bring Christianity into Ireland. Of course! Our society tries to remove any thought about Jesus from EVERY holiday out there… well, I’m bring Jesus back! So I want our kiddos to know the true meaning behind these holidays and how they all point to Jesus. I thought this Shamrock and Rainbow coloring page was perfect. It teaches the shamrock as representative of the trinity which is what St. Patrick taught the Irish. And out of the Shamrock (the trinity) flow the fruit of the spirit represented by the different colors of the rainbow.

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We did a lot of learning printables from Gift of Curiosity‘s printable pack

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And a couple more printables from DLTK’s website

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We looked in our atlas book about Ireland and put a shamrock on our big wall map where Ireland is and colored in this flag

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We made this St. Patrick’s Day green cake as a spin off of this cake idea here! We just went with what we had on hand : )

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We also cooked a little Shepherd’s Pie and it was DELICIOUS! We had Corned Beef and Cabbage at my inlaws for a St. Patty’s Day party and the next night we cooked Shepherd’s Pie at home. I have never eaten this before but it was so good!

Read Alouds:

  • Tim O’Toole and the Wee Talk by Gerald McDermot
  • Little Bear Marches in St. Patrick’s Day Parade by Mariana Janice
  • Patrick Patron St of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
  • Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman

 

Spring:

 We got our printables from 3Dinosaurs

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This was a great activity that we didn’t finish but enjoyed the section we worked on. You look at the following page and count the number of objects in that box then write in the number and the word for how many of that object you counted.

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We made some handprint lilies from DLTK’s website

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Read Alouds:

  • Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer
  • Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
  • The Listening Walk by Paul Showers
  • Mud Flat April Fool and Mud Flat Spring by James Stevenson
  • Emeline at the Circus by Marjorie Priceman
  • Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie DePaola
  • My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
  • Paddington Bear in the Garden by Michael Bond
  • Enzo’s Splendid Garden by Patricia Polacco
  • Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na

The Carrot Seed

The Carrot Seed

by, Ruth Krauss

Bible Time:

“My soul finds rest in God alone

my salvation comes from Him

He alone is my rock and my salvation

He is my fortress I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2

  • We continued working on the virtue of Gentleness from We Choose Virtues and I needed a little bit extra for the teaching so I found Kids of Integrity and I am so thankful I did! They have a great multi-page lesson plan which craft ideas and readings and questions about some character traits and they had a great section on Gentleness. I loved reading through the readings and it made me realize how important it is to be reading from the actual bible with Amelia. We read through the story bibles so much but I think it’s a good practice to read through the actual bible equipped with chapters and verses. So… I am in the process of trying to find a cute one for her age. Any suggestions?

I actually didn’t purchase much from We Choose Virtues but I found some deals and I got these cute little cards

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I got a great coloring book as a pdf file

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And the song book which Amelia turned into a coloring page as well : )

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BFIAR:

We loved reading the Carrot Seed… okay, correction… I somehow missed putting this book on hold through our interlibrary loan so we loved watching someone read it on youtube… haha! Thankful for youtube! But it was a sweet and short book and I loved the tie in to the parable of the sower concept and that’s what we did most of our learning time on from the DLTK website and I did some learning stuff from the Homeschool Share lapbook

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This cute flower craft and little book that says what plants need… water, air, sun

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Here is a simplified version of the parable of the sower

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Coloring pages from the parable of the sower… there were 4 pages for each type of soil the seed was planted in

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Sower and the seed maze

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word search

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Some ordinal numbers worksheets

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Some addition worksheets

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We decided to plant some carrot seeds : ) and some other seeds… I think Josh may have licked the soil!

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Our carrot seed pots with a seed growth book where we will draw the growth progress on the pages

DSC00756Read Alouds:

  • Sunflower House by Eve Bunting – This was a great book! If we had a backyard this is what we would do!
  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  • Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington
  • The Parable of the Sower in the Bible (Matthew 13:1-23)
  • We watched the Magic School Bus: Phoebe Turns to a Beanstalk on netflix : )