Monday, August 29, 2011

Daybook ::: End of August Version


Outside my Window ... sunny with a breeze. I'm hoping to eventually get some time out on our patio this afternoon or at least in the driveway watching the girls ride their bikes. It's beautiful today!

I am thinking ... that I am ready for fall. This summer has been wonderful - we've enjoyed lots of fun times swimming and being outside riding bikes, but I'm ready for long-sleeve shirts and cool evenings where T can light up our fire pit outside. We went swimming last Friday and it was almost chilly with the cool breeze - during the middle of the afternoon even. I love, love, love the changing of the seasons here where we live and cannot wait to see what the trees do here at our near house. I'm expecting breathtaking. : )

I am thankful for ... the sermons that my Dad has been preaching out of Ephesians lately. Good good stuff. I keep hoping I'll have time during the week to go back and ponder what he has said and go over the verses again, but I get sidetracked with other busy-ness, but there are things that stay with me. A favorite from Sunday:

We live at Jesus' disposal, at his direction, and for his display.

In the learning room ... We have three full weeks of school under our belt (with a few extra days added in because of our outings in Chattanooga). I've been pleased with how the girls have been doing on getting their work done and with (mostly) good attitudes. While I thought the boy would be the wild card in our schooling, it has been the 4yo that has been the most tricky. Not quite ready to sit and work on things with the big girls but wanting to be included so much. I'm having to be on the ball to keep her either occupied with us or otherwise, so that she doesn't feel left out. I don't want to rush into growing up too fast so that she can be included in the school mix, but she misses her previously constant and available playmate, N2. 

From the kitchen ... Working on getting back into my good eating habits that I have left slip over the last few weeks. I've gained and lost the same 1.5 pounds over the past month and I'm ready to jump over this plateau. The s'mores goldfish that I enjoyed on vacation and two batches of the Pioneer Woman's apple dumplings I have made in the last few weeks have not helped matters, but thankfully all are or have been eaten disposed of.

I am creating ... hoping to get back to my Project Life album this week. I've laid out several pages to cover our Chattanooga trip and have plenty of other pages that I need to catch up on the journaling. Shimelle's annual September class, Learn Something New Every Day, is starting soon, and I don't think I'm going to be participating this year, although I am signed up to get the prompts. (Once you take one of Shimelle's classes, you can take it again and again at no extra charge. Very cool). Lastly, I'm praying about taking part in Emily's (Chatting at the Sky) 31 days in October. (You can read more about it at that link).

I am going ... to have a fairly quiet week of going places. At some point the kids and I will venture out for groceries (if I must) but otherwise we are home all week. We have a little friend coming over for a playdate on Friday and that's it. T's schedule is a little nuts this week as he is playing in a wedding this weekend so we'll lose him to a rehearsal and (maybe) rehearsal dinner and some wedding stuff on Saturday. I'll be juggling kids and babysitter Saturday, but looking forward to celebrating this event with friends. 

I am wearing ... black capris and a grey Old Navy t-shirt. Nothing fancy.

I am reading ... The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. I have read this book before, but it's been a while and since it's a fictional story about Egyptian gods, I thought it might tie in with what we are reading for our history in Story of the World. (Note: this is something that only *I* am reading ... not with the girls. From what I remember, this book was more intense than the Percy Jackson series which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I refreshing my memory). I have several nonfictions on my want-to-read list and I can't decide what to start: Grace for the Good Girl (by Emily at Chatting at the Sky), Educating the Whole Hearted Child, Sacred Marriage, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit ... they all take their turn rotating up, but I haven't made much progress on any of them.

I am hoping ... to get some creative time this week. I'm needing it.

I am hearing ... B talking to herself during rest time. She has a constant stream of dialogue or made-up song going at. all. times.

Around the house ... the goal is to make a HUGE dent in the laundry today. Two loads washed, five loads folded (do you see how those don't add up there?) and the plan is for it all to be put away after the kids' rest time. The house is in decent shape after the weekend - T hosted some of his friends of Friday night for a cookout and I hosted a few of my friends on Sunday night for a smallish baby shower. Hoping to keep up the housework momentum as I felt behind all last week after coming home from our trip.

One of my favorite things ... shameful confession: Cornnuts. I loooooove them. I had some on Saturday while I was waiting to pick N1 up from a birthday party. I think these are one of those foods that you either love or are totally icked out by, and I, most definitely, fall into the LOVE category. I can't remember which girl it was, but during one pregnancy, I was all about cornnuts. I did have to take a little break from them after that, but they still haven't lost their charm. : )

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... school, meal planning for September in lieu of the grocery store run that must happen this week, book organization ... I've been dying to tackle our bookshelves since we moved into this house and finally get the books moved around to where I want them. I think I may work on that some this week. Wedding weekend. Then next week .... EVERYTHING starts back as far as extra activities. Deep breaths. : )

A photo ... a memory from last week. B has had to have some pretty major dental work done and so far it's hasn't gone great. Last week was round two with the addition of some medicine to reeealllly relax her and make her sleepy. A little bit more was taken care of but the next step unfortunately is to go to a pediatric dentist that specializes in sedation. We (and the girls) love our family dentist but he thinks it will be easier on B in the long run to just sleep through the dental work so that she doesn't end up scared of going to the dentist in the long run. As a mama that has her own share of dental trauma, I'm not into her being knocked out, but if we can avoid a fear of the dentist, I'm all for it.

A lot of medication for such a little munchkin.

And on that note, happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dispelling Myths a.k.a Weekly Wrap for August 22-26

I know I have given the impression that I am a fairly organized individual. : ) I love to have things mapped out as far into the future as possible and having plenty of lists so that I can get there in an orderly fashion.

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That pretty much went out the window this week as I was still in re-entry mode from our little jaunt to Chattanooga last week. As you can see from the picture above, there is a lot of white space on my lesson plans for this week. (As in, I took that picture early Thursday morning, and the Thursday column .... it 'tis BLANK.) I do not like operating in that fashion, but God was gracious and we survived the week and have pronounced it good.

Bible: Reading through our Children's Story Bible, we reacquainted ourselves with Noah, Abraham and Sarah. The story of Abraham amazes me every time. His faith to just get up and go and follow God blindly. N1 and I had a good discussion about what "it was credited to him as righteousness" meant. Good stuff for mama and child. : ) Several weeks ago, I finally got around to doing something with the straggling pieces of our timeline from the old house ... this is how that homeschooler decorates her upstairs hallway:

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We dug out our cards with the Biblical figures that we have discussed and stuck them up on the wall. (Those pictures down below are where our family fits on the timeline in comparison.)

Math: We seem to still be doing quite a bit of review from Saxon 1 for N1 ... she is still going over basic addition facts that she mastered last year (with the addition of the timed test). As much as I love Saxon, I'm hoping we pick up the pace a bit. N2 and I spent the week working on patterns and doing a little graphing with different colored manipulatives.

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Language Arts: We just did a little more of the same in these areas for all girls. N2 and I read and talked about the book Lentil this week. We talked about Ohio, where it is on the map, and what direction (N, S, E & W) it is in relation to us. I also (as we prepare pizza tonight) have plans to do a little taste test with her on bitter, salty, sour and sweet and how it relates to the story. Starting off with McCloskey books has been a great choice for this year. Next week we are going to read Time of Wonder, which is new to me, but I'm sure it won't fail to delight. We actually went back and reread Make Way for Ducklings because we missed Mr. and Mrs. Mallard after reading it so much last week. : )

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Social Studies: The girls loved our social studies reading this week. We learned about a few of the main Egyptian gods (Osiris, Ra, etc.) and how the pharaoh was also considered a god by the Egyptian people. We also discussed early forms of writing and communication and which lasted the longest of stone, clay and papyrus. I actually found the timeline piece for both the start of the Egyptian race and the Sumerian people (both discussed this week) and we put those on our timeline in the hall. Very cool to notice was that the first record of the Sumerians came right after the Tower of Babel ... no doubt as languages were garbled and men could not understand each other. I also thought it was interesting that these events (guessed to be around 3500 BC) were still about 1400 years before Abraham and Sarah arrived on the scene. Have I mentioned how much this history major is loving Story of the World this year? : )

Science: We continued reading in our Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day text ... learning some new vocabulary words such as migrate, transient, and field marks as they relate to birds. We also made a chart with terms for different parts of a bird that will help us when we do some bird watching down the road.

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I had hoped to come up with a fun activity for today (Friday), but the lack of organization (and inspiration) meant I didn't have anything up my sleeve by this morning. We ended up doing a little school this morning while the boy took a great nap and then I let the girls break out their new watercolors. I didn't give them any plan or instructions, but just let them have at it for today while I did some organizing in the school room. After lunch, and for the first time, I took all four to our neighborhood pool by myself for about an hour. I figured since it was around 1:30 pm, we could get in and out of there before any school kids arrived and it got crowded and it worked out perfectly. We all survived and the baby is currently on his second big nap of the day so I count it a success. : )

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I'm really hoping to spend some time this weekend doing a better job at mapping out next week. After Labor Day, all of our extracurricular activities start and I'll need to do a better job managing my time. After reading this post by Elizabeth Foss, a favorite homeschool mom / blogger of mine, I am most convicted of how I am spending my time during the day ... I am getting the basics done, but I can (and should) do better and aim higher. As I thought on that much this week, I am hopefully to spend some time pondering and praying over that as see how God leads.

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Hope you all had a wonderful week!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ten

Actually 10 1/2 months, because Mama's a little late. : )


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The boy cruises around on EVERYTHING. Where we used to barely be able to see over the school table, we now stand at least a half-head taller than the table and our reach is loooooong. Nothing is safe from the little guy, especially sisters' stuff.

In the last two weeks, the boy has cut two more teeth. One which resulted in a long and sleepless night for both boy and Mama and the second which showed up out of the blue, thankfully. We are getting more hair and his eyes are still blue, blue, blue. I'm really hoping that they don't change and it doesn't seem like they are going to. (T has blue eyes; I have brown, as do N1 & B. N2's are more hazel and sometimes change a bit with her mood.)

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While he didn't care so much for sand on his first tasting, he does love to eat and feed himself. Right now, fruit takes priority over anything else offered. Favorites are watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, peaches, pears, and cantaloupe (sometimes). He also loves peas and cooked carrots, yogurt and unsweetened applesauce, turkey and ham, and ice cream if anyone offers it to him. He has learned how to sign "more" and "all done" in his high chair and is quick to express his needs and wishes at mealtimes. : ) He's still nursing at least three times a day and once at night ... definitely a mama's boy in that regard.

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He is starting to look like such a boy as opposed to a baby. Gone (for the most part) are sweet little one piece rompers. Now we wear shirts with collars with our shorts and (see below) our first pair of blue jeans with a button-down shirt just like Daddy wears. Shoes are another story. He is NOT fond of shoes although we are working on changing that so that his feet don't freeze when the temperature starts to drop a bit.

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He loves any time in the water whether it be pool or bathtub - our first one that has loved it at this age. Swimming with Daddy is a highlight for him. Actually anything with Daddy is a highlight right now! Loves to wrestle in the evening before bedtime to get all that last minute energy out.

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We are loving having this busy little boy around with his easy smile and sweet personality.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homeschooling Wrap-up // Two Weeks Worth! (Aug 1-5 & 8-12)

Playing catch-up already on my weekly wrap-up posts. : ) We are back from a quick family get-away so I'm hoping my delay in posting our school news from August 8-12 isn't too choppy. I debated putting this into two posts, but I'm going to plow ahead with one and then I might flesh out some of the details of week two in further posts ... I should say I would like to do that, but we'll just have to see how time goes. : )


Bible: reading in our Catherine Vos Children's Story Bible. We managed to hit it every day the first week, and once during our week of travel. Oops. Back at it again hard this week. We have two more weeks before our Awana program starts - I'm hoping to use this time to set up a memory work binder for the girls that we can use during our circle time in the mornings. However, all this work pales into comparison of our most exciting news from Bible time - when our sweet B asked Jesus into her heart.

Math: N1 completed lessons 6-9 in her Saxon 2 book the first week. She also started timed math quizzes as part of her daily work. This has been a good thing - she knows the addition facts that we've learned so far, but having to recall them quickly and under pressure instead of dawdling through her work? I like this. : ) N2 and I completed her lessons 6-9 also this week - more work with manipulatives and familiarizing ourselves with them. We didn't do any math during our second/travel week - I just didn't want to haul the manipulatives and gear associated with it on the road and spend half my time trying to fish them out from under hotel beds.

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Language Arts: N1 worked steadily in her Explode the Code all of the first week and some the second week. Over the two weeks we also finished up lesson two in Writing with East, Lesson 1 in Wordly Wise, Lesson 2 in A Reason for Spelling, and a couple of her First Language Lessons. I did take some of this work with us out of town, but we really only ended up with one day in our hotel room where I had time to get our books out and get some work done. Better some than none, and we had LOTS of other fun school-ish activities that filled out time. N2 continues to work on her handwriting, but I've put the hold on her Explode the Code for the time being. I didn't realize that she needs a little more reading ability to really take off with Book 1, so we are spending a little extra time on our Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She is definitely moving at a slower pace with her reading that N1 did, however, that makes me so thankful for homeschooling because we can move at her pace, even if that means sitting here for a while. : )

Social Studies: We tackled chapter 1 of Story of the World learning about nomads and their lifestyle and how many eventually ended up settling in the fertile crescent in Northern Africa. We completed a map during this chapter locating the Tigris and Euphrates River. On Friday (of our first week), we spent some time in the afternoon making a cave painting. Using paper bags, we crumpled and crumpled and CRUMPLED them, making them look wrinkled and worn like an old cave wall. Then we used black, red and some reddish brown/black paint and drew our own cave paintings on the paper bags. This was our first art project of the year and I was worried that it might not be "flashy" enough for the girls but they loved it.

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Our finished art from top left going clockwise: N1, a giraffe and a tree; N2, a squirrel; mine, Mama and baby elephant (the only thing I know how to draw); and B, a road. Yes, there WAS black paint everywhere!

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Also this first week, we tracked Grandpa's travels and he and a friend drove out to the Grand Canyon for a photography trip. We marked on our US map where he was as he sent us text updates and it gave the girls a little U.S. geography in action as Grandpa was on the road.

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The photo below compliments of my Dad and copyright Dasyas Photography.

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Science: We read the next chapter in Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and started getting into a little more detail on birds. We learned the definitions for "instinct", "habitat", and "extinct." We also spent a day making field notebooks for some of our outdoor science activities.

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On Friday (the 12th) we took our first nature walk of the year and had a scavenger hunt page from our science notebook to give us some prompts. I admit - I learned some things from this first outing. The main one was for our nature walks, it is best to NOT go to a park with a playground. I thought it would be easier to go to a local park (that was close) because it had a one-mile trail loop and I was semi-familiar with it. However, the lure of the GIANT playground that was in sight at all times was a sore trial to my children, as were the exercise stations around the track. Oh well, a little more P.E. and a little less science on that outing. : )

Five-in-a-Row: N2 and I read and "rowed" Make Way for Ducklings this week using several of the lapbook elements from Homeschool Share. She loved the putting her file folder together.

Now ... if you have made it this far, this is where the fun stuff is. Over the last two weeks, we through in a boatload of extra little trips and activities!

Tuesday (Aug. 9), we joined a new-to-us homeschool field trip group and went to the Tennessee State Museum. They had a visiting Egyptian exhibit and we thoroughly enjoying seeing replicas of some artifacts as well as learning about the hyrogliphics that the Egyptians using for writing. The girls participating in a craft making their own cuneiform of their name with Egyptian symbols. This tied in perfectly with chapter 2 of Story of the World, where we are beginning to learn a little more about the early Egyptian culture.

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King Tutt's cuneiform below.

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 Wednesday: We were in Chattanooga! We left Tuesday afternoon (immediately after our field trip) and took the opportunity to tag along with Daddy on a business trip and spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday walking around downtown Chattanooga and taking it all in. Wednesday was spent walking across the largest pedestrian bridge in the world and enjoying a neat park on the other side. That was a fun and very hot activity and I confess, after that long hike with the four kids, I went back to the hotel and vegged in the a/c for the rest of the afternoon. : )

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Our big outing on Thursday was a trip to the Children's Discovery Museum, located conveniently right next door to our hotel.

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This was full of hands' on activities - a water area, a music area, electricity, inventions, pre-historic/dinosaur area, and others. We enjoyed this although it was best geared for B and N2 (preschoolers/Pre-K/K ages). N1 enjoyed it, but she was ready to move on a lot faster than the little ones.

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Friday was spent at the Tennessee Aquarium!

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We spent a good two-plus hours in the morning exploring their river (fresh water) building and an hour and a half in the afternoon at their ocean building. They have some incredibly unique exhibits - lots of different varieties of sea horses and, my favorite, the jellyfish!

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Some of their tanks are incredibly large which makes it neat to see how different fish interact in the water together - some stay near the top where the light and warmer water are and some love to stick to the bottom areas. The girls and I absolutely LOVED this and while it was a pricey activity, I think it would be neat to do this in a few years when the boy is around 4 or 5. The aquarium has volunteers located all through the buildings and they are eager and ready to volunteer information and answer questions about many of the exhibits. My inquisitive animal loving second grader made great us of these volunteers and I appreciated their obvious knowledge and training. We give two thumbs up to this as an outing if you are in the area.

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World's largest turtle shell.


I think I'm going to stop here although we did do a couple of fun outdoor activities with T on Saturday now that his conference was done. I'll leave you a little teaser of a picture and will hopefully get time in the next few days to share that outing with you as well. : )

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

By Request ::: A Look at My Planner

Tami, a long-time bloggy acquaintance, sent me an email asking me about the planner I use. This is one of those posts that have been on my to-do list for literally months. I love planner posts. In fact, whenever Dawn writes one of her great planner / organizational posts, I save it until I have time to read it and savor it. (Dawn is someone who I consider a homeschool organization mentor because of how useful her file crate system has been for me!)

Anyway, if planners aren't your thing, feel free to skip this. : ) Tami asked what kind of planner I use for my daily / weekly / monthly organization so here are some pictures and a bit of explanation as to what you are looking at. I've been using this system for about three years now, and while I always am bedazzled by the pretty planners in the store at this time of the year, I always come back to this system because it works for me. : ) (FYI, if you click any of these pictures, you can view them bigger on Flickr if needed).

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The outside is a binder from Crown Bindery. I have two or three sets of her 8 1/2 x 11 binders and change out the colors as I need something fresh to look at. I love that it uses binder rings. It's not as bulky as a three-ring binder and fits in most of my bags or totes when I need/want to take it with me.

At the beginning, I have several sheets that I refer to frequently in page protectors. For example, below: our daily summer schedule is on the left and on the right is a page of Everyday Life Journaling prompts that Ali Edwards posted on her blog. I guess I need to swap out the summer schedule for our school schedule!

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I have several of the printables from Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. Good stuff.

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Next up is my monthly and weekly planner pages. For each month, I have a two page layout that I designed in Word. I wanted to get the squares as big as possible and wanted lines in the squares. (I need lines - it must be straight!) : )

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Here's what it looks like as a whole. Now that I've been making these for a few years, it really doesn't take me took long to make new ones when I need them.

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For the weekly pages, I use a template that I purchased on Etsy here. This PDF was well worth the $8 I spent. (I see it's now gone up to $10, but I have MORE than gotten my money's worth out of it.) This template comes with a monthly and weekly layout, but their monthly layout is on one page, and I needed/wanted a bit more room so I made my own. I print their weekly page back to back with a "notes" sheet that comes in the PDF. (I will show you a little more detail on the weekly pages since they are from last month. I figure it's probably not a great idea to post my current calendar online with our daily appointments.) : )

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The right is the full week, Monday through Sunday. Love that there are full blocks for Saturday and Sunday and the weekend isn't crammed into a little space at the end. As you can see the PDF is blank so I do have to spend a little time writing in the dates, but it really doesn't take that long, especially if I do it in the evening while I'm watching a movie with T. : )

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The left side is for my notes, to do list, and my weekly meal plan. I make a space for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but rarely fill in breakfast and lunch - usually only if we are down to the bare minimum on groceries and I'm really having to figure out what to feed people, or if there is a special event. (You can see we had cinnamon rolls on Monday to celebrate our first day of school).

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The last section in my planner is for homeschooling and, I admit, this is a new system for me this year. For the last two years, with only N1, I did all my planning in a simple spiral notebook. That worked great for me, but this year, I have been trying to figure out the perfect worksheet to plan for both the girls so that there was space for both of their individual work and for the stuff that I do with them together AND include it in my planner so it's handy. The form that I am using right now (I make no guarantee that I'll stick with it all year) is, again, one I designed. It's based off one I found in the Schoolhouse Planner that I was sent to review - I believe I added an extra column and personalized it, of course. : )

Here's a shot of this week's plans. After my first attempt at a weekly wrap-up post last week, I'm trying to make notes on my planner to help me remember what we cover and little things that happen.

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Up close:

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Right now I have a row for Bible, N1 math, N2 math, N1 language arts, N2 language arts, social studies (combined), science (combined), and other. Read-alouds, I'm trying to keep track of on the paper wherever they fit in (and where I have room). I don't keep a whole year's worth of planner sheets in my notebooks. Right now, I have about 8-10 weeks ... up until we take our fall break.

I also keep an attendance form here for each of the girls. (Calendar from Donna Young's website ... an amazing richness of homeschool forms and printables if you are not familiar with her site!)

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A few idea pages for the months ahead are also tucked in here although most of those stay in my spiral notebook/composition book.

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Whew! Tami, that is probably WAY more detail than you wanted, but I really hope that helps. : ) If you (or anyone) has any questions, or if I didn't make sense about something, let me know and I can try and clarify.

Happy Thursday! : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inspired By ::: 10 Things, Vol. 3

For today ... a listy. Ten things that have caught my eye online over the past few weeks taken straight from my boards at Pinterest. (Pinterest is like a visual bulletin board online to store and catalog things you find on various websites. Genius. Totally helping me keep on track of all those links or ideas I want to save but never keep up with). I've linked my Pinterest over on the right if you are on there and interested in following. : )


1. This free printable is now hanging on my laundry room door. It makes me smile.



2. I made these for a wedding shower this past weekend. Super easy and cute. Oreos, melted white chocolate chips (with a drizzle of oil in there to make it smooth), and sprinkles.


3. I want to print this quote for the school room.


4. Another free printable that I will be putting up somewhere I can see it often.


5. Must find some way to work the cycles of the moon into our studies.


6. Dude. I will so be buying the boy one of these for this winter. Cracks. me. up.


7. I have already been making lists for Christmas. Definitely trying to get ahead of the game this year!


8. Homemade ice cream in a baggie. I want to do this with the girls soon!


9. Autumn Chopped Salad. Why, yes. I'm ready for fall!


10. Just a pretty and simple reminder that memory making and keeping doesn't have to be complicated. Just do it.



Linking up with Shimelle's 10 Things on the 10th!