Classical Music Web-site for Kids!

I recently found what I think is a great resource for us non-musical homeschool moms who wish we could add music appreciation to our schools painlessly!  The most popular classical pieces are explained to children at the Classics For Kids website!  Complete with lessons plans (if you want to " go there") the site is so easy to use!

Maybe you have heard these broadcasts on the radio.  If not,  you are able to listen to past broadcasts right at the site – which are brought to us in a kid-friendly tone that includes commentary and snippets of music.   I think this is wonderful to put on as "background noise" while the kids are coloring or doing lego’s.  I am using it to have Jordan and Jesse listen to as they work on art. (Killing two birds with one stone!)  Of course,  you could certainly set aside 20 minutes a week and have them focus completely on the broadcast and then play one of the games on-line or do a quick work-sheet (some are provided!)

Ideal for elementary age – if you have been looking for a music appreciation web-site you have to check this one out!  Classics for Kids


Lapbooking for Science

Jordan, Jessie and I tried something new for Science this year — lapbooking!  We kept on with our favorite Science curriculum – Apologia – but added in lapbooking with some friends for a new twist.   This year our focus has been on Botany using the fabulous Exploring Creation with Botany written by Jeannie Fulbright.

Since I am a lapbooking newbie we went with a complete lapbooking kit which we ordered from Live and Learn Press.  It is specially made and sold at Live and Learn to coordinate with our botany book and they did a great job making it as easy as possible.

On Thursday afternoons we have two additional children come over and we complete our lapbooks for the week together.   I have created a little game as a review which we play this way…. Each (pre-made) mini-book has questions for the children to answer in order to complete it.  We take turns going around the table and each child has a chance to "play" or "pass" on answering the question.  If he gets it correct he gets one skittle candy but if he gets it wrong he has to give one candy back.  If he chose to pass he doesn’t lose any candy and the question goes to the next child at the table.  Usually we make up about 5 mini books each week and each little book has between 1 – 6 questions inside.  It makes for a great review of what we studied that week and, of course, you keep all the booklets in a binder so you can look back at them
whenever you wish.

The pictures above show pages inserted in Jesse’s binder with completed mini-books. 

After we have finished our lapbooking we often complete other projects/activites given at the end of the chapter.  Above is a photo of the leaves Jesse found and pressed into his binder. 

Reflecting on the first quarter.

Here I am on November 1st reflecting on our school year so far and wondering, once again, where the time has gone!  Next week I will be totaling up the grades for the first quarter and get my reports ready to mail in to the school district. I have been very pleased with how things have gone – praising the Lord for his help each day. =)

The curriculum changes I made seem to be working out quite well – although I still haven’t found a perfect fit for Language Arts.    Jordan is using Teaching Textbooks Math and enjoys working on the computer – he does Math first every morning… voluntarily!!   Even though TT has built in audio/visual instruction for every problem,  I still find I need to give assistance but it’s far less than last year.    I don’t mind showing him how to work out Math problems,  that’s part of being his mom/teacher, but last year was stressful with the amount of time we put in and him still not "getting it" using Saxon.  

I’ve been very pleased with our co-op this fall.  All 3 older children take art classes there and seem to enjoy it.   Kayla is doing great in her Spanish class — it confirms the fact having some peers to work with improves her motivation.  She likes her Spanish teacher too and I’m sure it’s nice to have someone other than mom looking over her shoulder for a change!  Plus  it’s a relief for me not to have to oversee "Spanish" because I don’t speak the language!  She will continue to  meet with the class throughout winter, even when co-op is not in session.

Jesse – he’s just Jesse.  Very easy to instruct – he seems to just pick up on new concepts easily.  We switched his piano lessons to every other week and I like it.  It saves some time and $$ but he still is making progress.  I’m very thankful that his piano teacher (a homeschooling mom and friend) was willing to do this.    Other than catching him daydreaming every now and again he’s doing great in third grade!

Finally,  we have Joshua.  Age 3!  He is soooo different from my other kids at this age.  He has some strong opinions that I need to get into check.  He also has a short fuse and does NOT like being the youngest.  He is all about being "bigger" and reminds me everyday that he is turning 4 in February.   Looking back over the past months,  I need to make more of an effort to spend one on one time with him.

Now that we are in November I’m switching into Holiday mood!  Do you all do a Thankful Tree?  Too bad I don’t have a photo of ours from last year- it’s a nice way to list and share your blessings.   If you’ve never done a Thankful Tree, Crystal has a very good description on how to implement it here:

Used Curriculum Blessings

The Lord has been blessing me the past month by helping me find used curriculum that we needed for next year at greatly reduced prices!  Always the bargain hunter,  I typically buy our school books from Rainbow Resource and/or CBD depending who has the best price.  So far I have been able to buy the following items used through on-line curriculum sale boards or at a local used curriculum sale.

Saxon Algebra 2 set Third Ed. (inc. solutions manual) – $35.00
(New: $50.00 – plus the solutions manual would have been an additional $24.00 )

Story of the World Vol 2 with activity book – $3.00  (I can hardly believe that one myself!!)
(New $43.00 )              

CLE Perspectives in Literature set – $14.00
(New:  $27.90 )

Teaching Textbooks Level 7 – $100.00

(New:  $145.00)

Saxon Math 3 – current teachers guide – $15.00
(New:  $40.00)

Spanish paperback dictionary – .50 cents!

Apologia Elementary book – Botany – $10.00
(New:  $24.00)

On my list of "wants" but I didn’t exactly NEED them:

Professor Noggins Middle Ages Card Game – $1.00
(New:  $7.50)

Artistic Pursuits Vol 1 & 2 (High School) – $30.00
(New $43.00 each!!) 

Mystery of History Vol 2. notebooking pages – Free
These were generously given to me last December by Melissa at Lilliput Station when I won her blog contest.  We’ve already began using them and they are wonderful!

A Thomas Jefferson Education book (by O. van DeMille) – $9.00
(New hardcover is $26.95!)

Total savings so far :  $257.33 !!!

Thank you, Lord, for your provision.

Seventh Grade

EDIT: This post was updated in August after I made a few adjustments.

Jordan is moving on to 7th grade this fall!  Here is the curriculum I have planned for him:

Math – Teaching Textbooks 7th grade

This will be quite a change from Saxon but he and I need it.  We spent many frustrating hours working through Saxon last year because he wasn’t getting it.  The Lord blessed me by providing a used copy of TT7 which saved us some $$. 

Language Arts  – Winston Grammar,  some CLE grade 7 booklets

OK.  In the past 8 years I have never found a Language Arts program that really clicks with us.  After hearing Dianne Craft speak in June on Right Brain Learners I searched for a LA program that was more Jordan’s style.  Someone,  it may have been Dianne, recommended Winston Grammar and, again,  the Lord provided this used for only $20.00.    There are many things I love about the Charlotte Mason methods of learning.  After listening to Dianne Craft – I  learned that Copywork is not a good idea for Right Brainers and so I can finally stop feeling guilty that I never incorporated this Charlotte Mason technique into our home school.  It would have been totally frustrating for Jordan!

Reading – He enjoys reading every night and I can’t keep up with all the books he is reading.  I look through them and read the preface and sometimes I say "no".  Other times I’ve had Kayla read the books and she will tell me if it has a lot of curse words or objectionable material.  (I’ve nixed a few this way) I need some wholesome book suggestions for his age!  I’m thinking about getting him started on the Left Behind Series for kids, our library has the entire series.  Also, has anyone read the "Crispin" books?

History – Mystery of History Vol. 2

We used MOH vol. 1 last year and this is wonderful stuff!  No dry and boring textbooks here!  We will be note booking this along the way.

Science – Apologia Young Explorer Series – Botany    We are lapbooking our way through the book along with 2 other children.  Our first try at lap booking – not sure if he’ll find all the cutting and folding a bit tedious…  I let you know!  We will continue with  narration as we read together.


Writing 8 Exercise – Part of Dianne Crafts’ Brain Integration Therapy for "right brainers".  I began this 15 min. exercise with Jordan in June and we will continue through December.  The purpose is to "open up" a "blocked writing gate" within the brain.  Dianne’s website and DVD’s are very helpful if you suspect you have a "right brain leaner".  Member’s of HSLDA can also find her information on the HSLDA web-site.

Physical Education –  Soccer with local Homeschoolers for the Fall.  Possibly continue with Archery for the school year.   Group Gym time with co-op.

Art – Jordan will be taking a 10 week art class with our co-op this year.  

Logic/Critical Thinking – I’m still praying about incorporating this into our home school – maybe one day per week.   A friend is letting us borrow "The Fallacy Detective" so we will start there.

Civil Air Patrol – It has been my desire since Jordan was little to have him participate in this when he was old enough — he finally is!  However,  the time and location of the Civil Air Patrol meetings are not meshing with our family so the Lord will have to work out the details if it’s His will for Jordan to participate.

I’d liked to hear your plans for next year — drop me a comment if you’ve posted them!



Third Grade

Can’t believe my little Jesse is a THIRD GRADER next year! He’s a joy to home school!   Here is what I ha]]><![CDATA[ve planned for him in '08-'09:

Math – Saxon Math 3

I know, I know,  some of you read "Saxon" and just cringe but Jesse has used Saxon all along and is doing very well with it.  I use this with the older kids too and can see how the curriculum really builds upon itself year after year.  

Language Arts – Christian Light Education Grade 3

It took me awhile to figure out what I should use for him.  Last year I used a free curriculum available online called "Scott Forsmann Grammar and Writing".  CLE consists of 10 booklets that the student completes throughout the year.  I used it last year with Kayla and Jordan.  It will include grammar, spelling and writing assignments.  I think Jesse will enjoy completing each booklet and moving on to the next one.

Handwriting  – He’s excited about learning cursive this year, which is integrated in the CLE books too!

History – Mystery of History Volume 2

I LOVE this curriculum and am looking forward to studying the Early Church and  Middle Ages with the boys next year.  Crusades, Castles, Kings & Queens  –  all from a biblical viewpoint.    I will be reading the lessons to Jordan and Jesse and they will do age appropriate activities as time permits.  We will continue with our timeline too.

Science – Apologia Young Explorers – Botany

This was a no brainer.   Apologia is a perfect fit for our family and I really adore all Jeannie Fulbright’s books which utilize a Charlotte Mason approach.  This will be our 4th book from the series and this time  we are doing a mini co-op with a total of 4 children.   Instead of making our usual notebooks to go along with the curriculum we are using a lap book type project from Love to Learn.   I’ll be posting more about this in the fall.

Reading – Bob Jones Reader for Grade 3

I was able to pick up the Grade 2 Readers from Bob Jones at a used curriculum sale for dirt cheap and Jesse liked the stories very much.  It’s often the first subject he does on school days.   I purchased the Grade 3 readers from a garage sale for only a dollar!  I like that I don’t have to worry about the content of the stories.  He just reads one chapter  per day.  I was thinking about getting the workbooks that go along but his reading comprehension scores are great so I’m going to skip the "busywork".

Extracurricular activities will look something like this:

Phys. Ed –  Soccor in the fall with local homeschoolers.   Archery in the winter with local homeschoolers. 

Music – Bi-Monthly Piano lessons

Art – Jesse enjoys arts and crafts so I enrolled him in a mixed medium art class at our co-op.  It sounds like a fun class – they will be studying various artists and techniques.  Sigh … sometimes I wish I could be in third grade again!

Chess – He was in the chess club at co-op this past year and I would like to continue it – but not sure if it’s going to fit in our schedule (or our budget).   If so,  we will only sign up for chess club during the winter quarter.  I found a computer game called "Learn to play Chess with Fritz & Chester" that he uses to develop his skill and I’m going to purchase a LEGO chess game for the computer that I know he’ll enjoy.