Homeschooling in Florida

My journey


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My 6th grade curriculum- Homeschool

After 3 months of researching and multiple purchases and returns, I finally have a curriculum that is perfect for my child. As a homeschool mom, I’m sure curriculums come highly recommended only to find out that it doesn’t work for you. Just because it works for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. I need order, by daughter is a HANDFUL of crazy energy – some might define her as adhd – but I say, she is who God created her , I won’t change that. I am exactly the same way so I know what works best for both of us.

This is my 3rd year homeschooling my 6th grader ( I began 5 years ago with my now college student, 3.5 years ago with my 11th grader and and finally pulled my last one out 3 years ago) I know a lot of moms are into the unschooling, but it’s not for me (yet). I need order, to-do lists, goals and planning to make life work in all aspects for me. I have my days, hours, and year planned already for this year- always allowing for a curve ball so I don’t stress out.

Here is what I have for my daughter’s 6th grade curriculum. We started 3-4 weeks ago and so far everything is moving smoothly.

Science – Abeka science and Abeka Health. I just ordered the teacher’s edition so I can follow along when we read together. I bought this used on Amazon- Abeka Science  -Observing God’s World and Abeka health for 6th grade. I like that it’s in order, easy to understand and covers all the science topics she needs to learn this year. http://www.abeka.com/ABekaOnline/BookDescription.aspx?sbn=157406

  • I originally ordered Apologia, but I couldn’t get into it. I tried both Apologia Anatomy and Apologia Botany apologia. As wonderful as it sounds, and it’s great with the 2 day workweek they had, it just wasn’t for us. I didn’t like the journal or the ‘way too many things’ I had to purchase to keep up with experiments every week- it was ridiculous. Besides that, it seems more like an elective, not a full science curriculum. Science Apologia Botany Study
  • I then tried Sonlight. I loved the idea, but a few of the health (girls) books bothered me – do we really need cartoons of naked girls and boys and the hair down there – no, didn’t like…… but I tried to get over my immaturity and move on.  The curriculum annoyed me because I like things in order. I don’t like to flip around to different books and different pages on different days. I like order and it was really out of order. Also, numerous times, we couldn’t find the answer on the pages given that day so it frustrated my child (we sampled this for a few weeks in the summer before I decided I wasn’t going to use it for the year) After I ordered from Sonlight, they came up with a 4 day plan but still I like order so that’s why it’s not for us. I do like the books so I’ve incorporated them into our yearly reading. Sonlight Science F 6th grade girl
  • Abeka Science is in order and has covers everything my child needs for Science. I like it and the Health book is decent too – so far no naked pics.

History– For History, I chose Bob Jones Heritage Studies  and activity book. You don’t really need the activity book- they have a LOT of work in it, so if you do have it, I think to do every single page in the activity book would feel like torture. I have my daughter do a few I select, and we discuss other ones together and I help with the answers. I found that the teachers editions were very helpful to me in different ways – to read with her, to ask comprehension questions after we read, along with miscellaneous facts and notes  I write.  No lie, at first it all overwhelmed me, but I started out just reading with her- not following their schedule- and slowly adding things here and there. It’s a good history book, it’s in order, but I’m doing a timeline with it and somethings in the chapter are a little scattered along the timeline, but so far so good. Bob Jones Heritage Studies History 6th grade

We also add in Story of the World because I love reading it. I didn’t like Volume 1 as much as I enjoyed the others. Call me uber conservative but I think it’s pointless to teach on the gods and their ancient a make believe stories – which are probably demons- and the bible stays not to even speak their names so I thought volume 1 had a lot of that nonsense in it.Story of the World history book and workbooks

Math– Teaching Textbooks- I love, it gives me a small break and there are no tears! tantrums or crying on the floor. Maybe once in a while if it’s a bad day, there will be a meltdown, but so far, so good. I also add in different math worksheets from workbooks and online sources. I help along side her with  long multiplication and division on a boogieboard dashboard from costco, it’s like an electric wipe off board.  I do the math problems along side her until she’s ready to fly on that topic Math grade 6 TT

Reading– We liked reading spectrum last year but decided to step it up to Abeka reading. It’s good and I have a schedule to finish them all within the year. Comprehension isn’t our ‘gift’ in this home school house so the stories really need to interest us. I’m happy with the selection and it’s challenging. (voyage of discovery, Of America, Adventures in greatness and Mountain pathways) I didn’t buy anything but the student books I listed for this.  Abeka reading 6th grade

Spelling/ Vocabulary – I go back and forth between curriculum here. We have Wordly Wise, which i think is great and I mix that with Spelling Spectrum. However,  I don’t feel that Spelling Spectrum is that challenging for 6th grade so I purchased the Abeka Spelling Vocabulary (pamphlet) book. I will do Abeka spelling-vocab one week (it’s both subjects in one small pamphlet like book) and the next week I will do Spectrum and Worldly wise. I add in missed words from previous weeks until they are spelled correctly.

Wordly Wise vocabulary
Spelling Spectrum 6th grade
Abeka Spelling and Vocabulary

  • I do find that Abeka Spelling/Vocab is not so easy. There are 35 words, only one small practice sheet for the week, so you need to plan out your week to study. 35 words and definitions was a lot for my daughter, so I only give her 20-25 words because any more is too much. We have other vocabulary in week with Science, History and Reading . Abeka just seems like overkill. However, their word list is amazing so I mix it up

Grammar– I use a few workbooks for grammar. Each week I rip out what I want completed in the week. Here are a few I use:

  • Grammar and punctuation grade 6 by Evan Moor. It goes over 25 grammar rules and practice work.
  • Paragraph editing . This is my favorite. Each day I give her 1-2 paragraphs to edit. I found this is the best way to reinforce grammar and spelling. The downside to the workbook is that the answers are on the following page so I had to make copies of the pages so she doesn’t cheat.
  • Evan Moore Daily language review. Same stuff, busy work

We did analytical grammar and we enjoyed that as well.

Writing– I’m sure I need to step it up with writing, maybe in research papers for other subjects, but for now we are using 730 Journal prompts for grades 4-6. It’s a simple workbook. It’s daily creative writing 1-4 paragraphs. We use this about 3 times a day. There are 2 journal prompts for every day of the year, I let my daughter select one to write about and it’s been very enjoyable

Bible– I originally bought Kay Arthur’s books for kids but her daily work IS TOOOO MUCH. She needs to shorten it plus a lot of fluff. What a shame because she’s a good teacher. That didn’t work for us, so I down load BSF weekly bible study sheets and we read and discuss together. We’ve been in BSF before, but not now and I’m sure they’d wag a finger at me because they think no one else can teach like they can but not so. I appreciate their work and study but their schedule conflicts with ours so I can’t join their meetings this year. I do like their weekly studies. Another good sight you might like to download studies is biblestudies4u

My favorite lesson plannerTeaching is my Superpower lesson planner

I tried to plan out a 4 day school week, giving myself one day a week to catch up, visit a museum , read a new book or discover something new. I also give my schedule a 1 week break every 6 weeks for vacations, hurricanes, interruptions, sickness, catching up, etc- so we don’t get overwhelmed. By doing this, I am able to schedule out all our work to be completed by next May/ June. We started 6th grade at the end of July because I wanted to start early knowing hurricanes intensify over this next 8 weeks and that can put a hamper on homeschooling and also we are having our floors and kitchen remodeled.  I don’t want to stress over home school while listening to jackhammers, so if I need a few days off, it’s all in the schedule.

We try to begin our school day at 9:30, take a short 15 minute break around 11, lunch at 12:30-12.45. Our school day generally takes about 4 hours give or take another hour -depending on the focus abilities for that day.

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Dear busy mom….. Is your life too busy? Time to slow down and let God take control

I recently heard a home school mom say she will never say busy again. She went on to say that being too busy means ‘burdened under satan’s yoke”.

That make me stop and think, being busy is something that has consumed my life. It wasn’t until my recent brain injury, that I realized just how busy I was. My days and hours were literally non stop.As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had 3 concussion the first week of school which put life on hold and kept me at home every single day unless I had to see the doctor.Before this happened, I had every day planned.

Bofore my school year even started, I had signed up for Awana, Spanish classes, co-ops, dance, 5 month practice schedule for the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant, soccer, spelling bees, science contests, cheer leading, youth groups, volunteering, leading bible studies , leading college prep courses, signed up for weekly workout classes with a friend not to mention meet up dates, field trips, doctor appointments ,going to the gym, keeping up with my bible blog and so much more. My calendar, like other years, was packed daily.

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When I was forced to sit home for these last 5 months, I found great value in quietness and being with my children one on one- just sitting around in our house. What was I running myself ragged ? I know there are times to step up, I know we want our children to experience everything but perhaps sometimes we should all take a time out. I kept telling myself that I needed it, but I couldn’t see a break anywhere.

It felt so freeing to say no. But wait, I don’t have a problem saying no, it was the necessary things I had problem saying no to – friend and family parties, vacations, classes, meetups, volunteer sign ups, driving places… – everything was put at a stop! a standstill. If you find yourself saying “I’m too busy” way to often, consider giving you and your family a well needed time out. Ask God for help, because if you are like me – I couldn’t imagine giving up anything.

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Although I had many painful and terrifying days while I was healing, I had more time with the Lord and more time with my family. I had to let a lot of things go, I had to trust God in all things. I was no longer in control, God was. This was especially trying with one child new to driving, she suddenly had to do all the driving on her own. I had to trust God.

A year ago, I said I can’t wait for January, I’ll be able to slow down. It didn’t happen. Then I said, I can’t wait until summer, I just want to sit on the beach and stare at the waves. It never happened. I was too busy  to meet with friends, enjoy time with the Lord and my children. What was going on?

I’ve enjoyed my time off , and occasionally when I have a good. day Ill run an errand here and there and do way too much. When I do this, I’m in bed for 2 days recovering. Maybe God is trying to slow me down. Enjoy each moment and each day, learning how to not be busy – yes, it’s something I must learn and reset my brain to do – to not be so busy.

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Dear Lord,

   Keep life from keeping me too busy to hear your leading. I don’t want to live an overburdened life, forgive me for not spending time with you when I know you were reaching out to me. Forgive me for not putting you first place with my chidren. Help me organize and balance the life you’ve given me in a way that truly honors you. I want to lead a life that you will delight in. Show me how to train my children, open my eyes to help me understand Your paths and Your leading. If there is anything in my life that is keeping me from my best, help me to break away and do what is right. Remind me to keep my thoughts on you, for give me for worrying and allowing stress to at times overwhelm me. I am reminded of your love for me, that you are always beside me. I am silenced at the magnitude of this. You, our great and Mighty God, would consider me and my family.
Keep us from being sidetracked and pulled in by  the pressures of this world. Keep our feet on the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Help me watch my words and learn to speak blessings over my children and family. Rescue us and show us the way. Thank you for your love, your kindness and the wisdom you give me. Thank you for  your Son, Jesus,

Today I am silenced and in Awe of your greatness,
In Jesus name,
Amen

 

 

 


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5th grade homeschool curriculum

I wanted to share the curriculum that worked for us this year. After many recommendation and many trials, this worked well for us this year:

  1. Math -Teaching textbooks and occasional worksheets
  2. History – Story of the World with workbook and misc. videos from library and online as well as occasional research and learning we did as we followed along with classical conversations.
  3. Bible– We went between bsf, my own home made studies and now we are doing Kay Arthur’s Lord, teach me to pray for kids
  4. Reading Comprehension – Spectrum Reading grade 5 plus miscellaneous books we enjoy reading
  5. Vocabulary -Worldly Wise book 6, you can use 5 for 5th grade, up to you. we don’t do every single activity in workbook. As long as she understands the word, I’m okay.
  6. Spelling Spectrum grade 5 – great spelling resource. I don’t stress if there are missed words, I just keep adding them in per week until she masters it.
  7. Cursive – Prescripts Cursive Medieval to Modern World – or if you are in a Classical Conversations group, use the workbook used that year
  8. Science – Library dvd, Evan Moor Daily Science grade 5, my daughter loves pinterest and we are almost daily doing new experiments. Yesterday we made homemade doggie treats and organic toothpaste for dogs.
  9. Geography – I really like the weekly geography with Classical so we try to do that often. I have a workbook “The complete book of Maps and Geography” grades 3-6. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I wonder if I’m wasting my time. Dvds from library work well too
  10. ELA – English Language Arts – Evan Moore Grammar and Punctuation grade 5, Paragraph editing by interactive learning – this is just a quick assignment daily,  Fictional Writing  by Teacher Created Recourses grades 5-8. I purchased all of these at Ace Teacher supply Store.

We also do Awana, dance, soccer and go on many field trips.

We are part a homeschool group called Classical Conversations. I like the different learning facts that we learn each week. It makes it interesting . We do a weekly science experiment, learn about famous artists and musicians as well. At home we spend extra time on one or two things that we learned in classical. This week we are focusing on World War 2 and last week we spent a lot of time on Morse Code and some of the first industrial machines. It just adds a nice touch to the the learning and I feel like we’ve covered a lot when we add in Classical conversations. I don’t worry too much about the memorizing, that’s just not our style.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Homeschool Organization

Here are some things I have that helped me stay organized

Unit shelves (I think this is best used horizontally)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80275887/

KALLAX Shelf unit IKEA Choose whether you want to place it vertically or horizontally to use it as a shelf or sideboard.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00275848/

My bookshelf was purchased at homegoods, I can’t find it online but if you search for rolling pantry 5-7 shelves, you’ll find similar items.


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Organize Homeschool lessons / Preparing Lessons

I recently suffered a concussion, 3 to be exact, on September 2, 2016. Today, 5 months later, I am still not able to do everything I could. Some days I can’t move or think and other days I am able to get out and do a few errands – Praise God!.  ( So if my sentences at time are off or a mispelling – I’m not 100% yet- but on my way)

If I hadn’t pre-planned during my summer months, nothing would have been done. I hope you will consider always preplanning your year, at least up to 6 months. You never know what circumstances might come your way. Along with preplanning, it is also important to begin teaching your children to do things independently . I know most moms might poopoo this, but my 10 year old can do her own laundry, clean her own room, knows her daily chores and can cook her own meals. When I was in bed unable to move for months, she was independent enough to make breakfast for the family, take care of her clothes, take care of the dog and her schoolwork. Of course, some things were on hold – things that required mommy like new words and other things, but being prepared and having taught independence to my 3 children helped me when life took a sudden turn.

We use a lot of workbooks, books, teaching textbooks and classical conversations. I say we use classical conversations lightly because we don’t get into the extreme memory of facts. I like to use it as a weekly nudge of new things. For instance, today I printed up pictures and maps about WW2, pics of atomic bombs and discussed the years and showed my daughter maps of Hiroshima, Midway, Germany and Poland, but no stress if it isn’t memorized.

 My yearly planning method:  

I noticed that if I planned  per day – it totally stressed me out. Sick days, Visitors and other interruptions messed up my schedule.  I tried an online schedule planner and it worked great for a while but going back and making changes because of interruptions became confusing.

This is what I did this year and it worked out great for me.

I purchased a teacher lesson planner

lessonplannerbook.jpg  I bought this because I like the layout of each week . Here’s link : Teaching is my Superpower lesson planner

I took each book or workbook by subject and divided it up by 32-37 weeks for school year. I decided how much needed to be done each week to finish by June 1- or mid May.

I split it in half and wrote per week what needed to be done between Sept 1- Dec 15

Click here for my weekly list, insert your own subjects :  dailyplanner   print out 6 copies, cut and glue one at start of each week. Go subject by subject planning through year – do not plan daily until you get to that week. (I didn’t do every single subject every day, I know my subject list is long – I did a little here and there to complete year, anything with cc was classical conversations, if you’re curious, FWriting is Fictional writng – a great workbook I purchased at ACE teacher store, and PEditing is a workbook on paragraph editing)

-Even when I was sick, my daughter could see the pages in subjects that needed to be done by Friday, so is we had an off day, no worries, she knew what had to be done in week.

Cut above link in 6 strips and glue into lesson planner, write what needs to be done weekly – not daily.

Here’s an example of one of my weeks. (Okay, I haven’t been the neatest this year…. I got a little fancy and made a border from American girl doll paper I had handy.)
lessonplannerpagedailyplanner1

To preplan the months, I only wrote what needed to be one per week. As the weeks came around I would fill in the days (when I was feeling okay). It made life so much easier. I didn’t do it on the above pics, but as time went on, I would highlight the most important subjects blue and all things classical yellow. To makes sure the most important things each week were completed.

Here’s an online planner Ive used in the past if you prefer to be more orderly :  Home School Manager online planner   , I met them at the FPEA conference all with many others. This was the only online lesson planner that seemed best and easiest to understand. It isn’t working for me, but it did in the past. My daughter especially liked it because she didn’t need to bother with my handwriting – which needs work. Here’s a sample of one of our printed weeks: lessonplanneronline.jpg FYI :There was a second page attached that isn’t shown

 

Anyways, just wanted to give you a nudge to preplan your year and your future. Even if life goes smoothly, preplanning will help you a lot.

Don’t forget to include 3-6 weeks during the year for holidays, vacations, sick days and catching up. Some weeks, it would put review and catch up for all subjects. If you don’t need that week, then save that time for when you need it. Mine always seemed to work out at the right times.

Don’t get frustrated, don’t get stressed. Ask God for help and He will always be with you.

I have more tips on how I organized my stuff and how I keep classical organized. I’ll try to post that soon.

God bless