Friday, August 19, 2011


This year we have changed up our curriculum a bit, as we start to figure out what works and what doesn't for each of the kids.  Luckily, I only have two children to consider.  However, I am quickly finding that what worked with one does not always work with another.  This year we have officially included Eric in our homeschooling journey.  I wasn't sure how I was going to manage both kids, at such different stages and still needing some quality time from me.  However, to my surprise it's actually been very successful and works out wonderfully!


Ella is officially of Kindergarten age, 5yrs old!

Although, we are still wrapping up a few texts from last term we are moving rather quickly.  We should be into our new curriculum by September.   We have expanded our curriculum this year, as Ella has progressed through her studies.   Here's the game plan for Ella this year....

Math: Math-U-See AlphaSaxon Math 1
Science: Apologia Exlporing Creation: Astronomy
Writing: The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease, Lvl 1
Literature: Sonlight, The Complete Writer, Unit Studies, & Read Alouds with Mom
Shurley English Level 1 
Art:  Monart

We have already been hard at work for the last couple weeks, slowly integrating our school schedule back into our daily routine.  Ella is really enjoying our new History book.  We have been learning about the difference between history and archeology.  We created our own family tree, 

Ella Marie Swift's Family Tree

In addition, she created this family history journal.  She has been interviewing us & her grandparents to learn more about their lives as well.  It has been very eye opening for her to learn that we didn't all grow up the same way and that she is part of a much larger family.

The History of Ella's Family
We often struggle to get some of our more basic subjects done; however, I have learned that if I set a timer she can work extremely fast.  I usually have to keep on her to get her math work done and it can take from 30-45 minutes; however, I set the timer for 10 minutes one day and she whizzed through it.  She picks up on new concepts fast and wants to just move on.  However, repetition and a good foundation in basic facts is key to upper level math.  So, we continue on with the basics.

Working on her Math
Ella is so excited to start her new curriculum, it's such a motivator for her to see the books sitting on the shelf just waiting to be opened.  We look forward to learning so much more this year!

Eric is 3 yrs. old  
He is a bundle of energy and enjoys being engaged, so he is very happy to be doing "school" with us this year.  The best part about homeschooling is having Ella be able to also encourage and help Eric with his activities.  We try to keep all the learning activities fun, engaging, and short (no more than 15 minutes).  Reading is the exception. When we sit and read, we will keep on reading until he decides he's done (lately, he'll sit for 30-45 minutes just reading different books from his Curriculum).  Here's what we have planned for Eric this year:

Bible/Devotional:  Positive Action Bible Curriculum, ABC Bible Verses
Phonics/Math: Sing, Spell, Read, and Write - Preschool , Letter of the Week
Reading:  SonlightBFIAR, Lots of Read-alouds with Mom & Ella

He's really enjoying the one-one attention and being included in our school day!

Eric's Learning Board from "Letter of the Week"

Ella helping Eric with Letter Recognition

Ella & Eric working on their Spanish Lesson

Little Picasso's

Dot Painting The Letter "A & a"

Coloring our 1 Red Ripe Strawberry
A typical day for us, well no day is exactly alike.  However, we do try and set a routine.  We start with our Bible Lesson/Devotional at breakfast, then after we're all ready for the day head to the school room.  We  talk about the weather, calendar, and have a time to read together.  Ella then moves on to her independent work (workboxes) and Eric and I continue reading, until he's had enough.  Eric and I move on to his guided learning activities, when Ella usually asks to help or join in.  Ella jumps back and forth between Eric and her workboxes, but eventually gets all her independent work done before lunch time.  

Once Eric goes done for nap, after lunch it's time for Ella and I to go through any remaining workboxes and new learning she has for the day.  Typically, we start at 9:30, take a two hour lunch/quiet time break, and we wrap up by 3:30.  A typical day for us is about 4 hours, half the time it would take in public school and no homework to finish at night.  This also leaves us more room for extra curricular activities.  We do have a rule though, if her school work doesn't get completed during the week, then she has to get it done on Saturday and doesn't get to enjoy her other activities.  It's great motivation for when she doesn't want to work.

This year Ella will be continuing her music studies with Piano, which she is doing very well at.  I believe her class will be picking up Guitar this year as well.  She is starting Karate two days a week to help with focus, self-control, and coordination.  She will continue Horse back riding, as the weather permits as this is truly a relaxing and rewarding activity for her.  A new Christian worship dance class every Tuesday and Homeschoolers PE Class every Friday, will keep her well exercised and provide a social outlet too.  

Eric will be doing more independent classes this year, as he turns 3 in October.  We will be enrolling him in a Gym Class and Art Class once a week.  We are contemplating a swim class for both Ella and Eric in the winter too.

We tried to workout a well rounded set of activities for the kids, knowing that we can tailor it down as needed.  School comes first, so all of Ella's activities are in the late afternoon (with the exception of PE on Fridays) to give us enough time to get things done.  Ella has been really good about getting her independent work done during Eric's morning classes, while she sometimes has to wait for us.  

I am so glad we have all this flexibility in our studies, activities, and home life.  The kids are provided with such a rich and well rounded education!