Thursday, August 25, 2011

Labooking a huge success

So we did it...our first lapbook. My oldest daughter loved it! She loved the time we spent together doing it and she loved the artsy part of making it her own. She designed a beautiful cover for her lapbook, too. For vocabulary she learned about "echolation" and a "pod". For spelling, she learned words that have the "ph" sound. You can also see that she did a bar graph comparing dolphins to other whales. She did the anatomy of a dolphin and so much more this week. We've really had fun with this! Lapbooking will certainly be a family favorite. We also put a small one together for my youngest. She had fun with it as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I have discovered lapbooks!

I know what you are thinking...lapbooks have been around. Well, I had always heard about them but never knew HOW to do them and where to find what to put on the folders. WELL, I found the site and I am in heaven!! I think my oldest daughter will love doing these!!! She can't stand doing "book work". She gets bored too easily and I may have just hit the jackpot. I guess I'll let you know next week how it turns out. She's such an artsy girl, I think this will be right up her alley!

We are going on vacation in a month or guess what we are studying for science before we go. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE OCEAN!! So our unit for next week is DOLPHINS!! Do you ever get that feeling of once you found something that you can't wait to start!! I wish we'd start it today, but I told the girls they could have the day off. I know I'm a nut, but its just so exciting!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

She wrote some big checks!

My oldest daughter has been learning standard form, expanded form, and word form in math. So, I printed off some fake checks and she started writing some big fat checks to practice the word form! I love that she knows how she will be using this in real life in the future.

Our Decision

It was our decision and our choice to homeschool. I thank God everyday we have that choice. I often wonder, "WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS FROM THE BEGINNING!?" My husband and I have always thought about homeschooling, even before our kids were old enough to go to school. However, I just didn't know how to get started. It seemed overwhelming. After talking to a friend of our's and her explaining much of the process from laws to textbooks - we realized, "Hey, we can do this." It really was so much easier than I thought it would be.

The biggest surprise of it was that you can be a frugal homeschool family. I think I paid more in our "free public education" each year than I will have paid out in homeschooling for a few years. Don't ever let costs discourage you. I promise, you'll be paying more money in public schools for yearbooks, class shirts, fundraisers, book fees, school pictures, book fairs, field trips, etc. I am already saving money and my kids are getting a better education!

Now, just because I said my kids are getting a better education does not mean I am bashing teachers! We had a few teachers take our decision personally. Forget the fact that some of them told me earlier (when I was subbing in the school system), "If I could homeschool my kids I would" or some of them talked about the department of education and how their hands were being tied more and more every year. They still took it personal when we made our decision. Tennessee ranks 47th in education and I think teachers would agree there is something wrong with how we are doing things!! I won't even go into the things that didn't make since with student's grades while I was subbing in the school system. Teachers, you know what I am talking about. We won't go there. I do have a lot of respect for teachers. They take the time to teach your kids! Its a task and they earn that respect. However, you'd be surprised at how many "ex-teachers" or "Principal's wives" are homeschooling their children. Maybe its because we were in the "system" and we saw things we weren't happy with??

Besides my rant on our low rating in Tennessee. There were so many benefits I couldn't ignore with my children. The simple fact is my oldest daughter is very smart and got really bored with school and rushed through her work because she wasn't challenged enough. It wasn't the teacher's fault. The teacher had 20 kids. But with teaching her at home, I can challenge her! We can move and skip over lessons that she already knows! It's great! And my youngest one can use the "one on one" time! Other than those great benefits, there are a ton more! For example, we get more time together! Before homeschooling, the school was getting my kids for 8 hours and then I would have them for 5 before they went to bed. Now, I get them all the time and I truly love it!Second, we get to go on vacation any time of the year and our vacations can be lessons! The list could go on and on...such as little things as not having to wake up so early. He he he!

Let's not forget the little comments that anti-homeschool people make. Its the issue with the "S-word." SOCIALIZATION! AGGGHHH! Everyone don't freak...but I have little social butterflies and I think they may actually be more social now than before with all age groups even! We could actually get too involved socially if we aren't careful. So far, we have joined a local homeschool organization and are actively involved in church. So don't you worry about their social life! We have park day every week and we just finished field day last week...not to mention their church outings we have had. It's just beginning!

Last, we are so thankful to have supportive family members who support us 100% in what we are doing. My mother has expressed so much how proud she is of watching me teach my girls. My dad has also! And my husband's mom is always looking for things I can use for "school".

The best thing about this journey is thinking outside the box. It's getting OUT OF THE TEXTBOOK. I know as a little child, anything in a science book or history book usually went in one ear and out the other. It's been great just learning things from everyday experiences and taking the time to come up with ways to learn it besides a textbook. The kids learn better and they surprise both my husband and I everyday! Here's to the year and many more to come!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Field Day with other homeschoolers

Field day went great! My oldest daughter is so competitive. She won the title of 1st place 3 times with two more awards that were 2nd and 3rd. One of those being the long jump. She jumped at a whopping 6'3"! She's my athletic one. My youngest daughter had fun even with finishing with just two awards of 3rd place. But she got a lot of laughs of the day and that's what she loves to do best! They had a blast and the day was great! It was hot and I got exhausted but was glad to meet some new friends!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First field trip of the year with many more to come!

I took the girls to the Chattanooga Zoo. I plan to take them to the Knoxville or Atlanta Zoo in the future, but for now - we stayed around. I've never had so much fun learning at the zoo. Before we homeschooled, we'd been before and probably finished the zoo in 30 minutes to an hour. But this time, we took the time to stop and read everything! The girls weren't in any kind of "school class line." So they got to stop and enjoy the animals and learn. They were impressed most with the chimpanzees. I think they could have sat and watched them all day. I had to pull them away to move on to the other exhibits. At the end of the day, my daughters could tell me about so many of the animals and what they learned. I still say their favorites were the chimpanzees. They go to everyone now and let every one know that they aren't monkeys, they are apes. Monkeys have tails and apes do not! They will set you straight on that one. I also brought up the rediculous theory that some scientist believe that we evolved from "chimps". My oldest daughter said, "That's rediculous! They have 99% of our DNA...not 100%." I told her that just goes to show God made us different. That 1% is a big deal. Over all - it was a great day and a great memory in the books!