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.

Questions?

Comments?

Recommendations?


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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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Homeschool STEM Science Technology Engineering and Math – Stemsims and Pitsco

I went to the FPEA homeschool convention last week and found two booths with the STEM projects/curriculum.

STEMSIMS

The first was Stemsims.com it is an interactive website with simulations. I thought it was really great, so did my husband and kids.  It’s is for grades 4-12, but probably best for middle school. My 3rd grader enjoyed working with it with an adult and my 12th grader absolutely loves it. Check it out, I’ve never seen anything like it before and they have a 7 day free trial. The yearly charge is only $69, which is a great price.

From their website:

    • Over 100 interactive simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design projects that draw grade 4-12 students into virtual worlds that promote inquiry.
    • STEM Sims place students in scenario-based, contextual learning environments where they use virtual tools to deeply explore STEM topics that matter.
    • It’s not just the simulations. You get lessons, methods, video walkthroughs and more. All designed to support a robust, minds-on STEM curriculum.
    • Research-based and classroom-tested, STEM Sims enable students and teachers to experience leading-edge, next-generation STEM topics in the context of real-world applications.
    • STEM Sims are available on a subscription basis for students at school and at home. Nothing to download or maintain.
    • STEM Sims are aligned with national (NGSS) and state (e.g., Florida) standards. For further information on specific state standards, contact STEMsims@STEMsims.com.

PITSCO

The other booth that I thought was interesting, but didn’t get a lot of time to look was PITSCO.
  This is more of a hands on STEM and Robotics program, rather than an online interactive. When I walked by the booth they handed out sample bags for the kids to create different things with the contents, my elementary daughter really loved it. You should check out the site, there is a lot to see and look at. Products are groups by grade, K-12. They have curriculum and activities for all ages.Check out this site for : Middle school engineering activites
  The web has many more sites for homeschoolers interested in Stem, also check your local library. I know our Nova Library in Davie, Florida has afterschool Stem activities as well.


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Good Study techniques – Study like a genius

The following notes were taken from a lecture “Study like a genius”  by Woody Robertson

 

  •   Studies have shown the best breakfast before learning (or taking a test) is a high protein breakfast – nuts, smoothies, etc
  • NO Caffeine! He said it was a drug ( I wanted to hide under my chair after I heard that)
  • Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night.  Some of history’s famous inventors and genius’ would take a short nap in the day and when they woke up (20 min) all their thoughts had sorted out and they could understand what they couldn’t before. So, if you child is drained , take a break.
  • Cardio in the morning gets the oxygen in your brain moving
  • drink water
  • use your hands as your read, you will read faster, you will have more concentration and your eyes won’t roam – which they do when your reading – you just haven’t realized it yet. You hands blocks other words and helps you keep focus
  • Always find a a quiet place – no music
  • consider learning speed reading and memorization skills. I tested myself, I read 310wpm and when I used my hand to follow along, it increased to 410wpm – pretty cool.  Drill: find something you’ve already read, reread it 2x and then another 2x and the 4th time read it normal. Take in as much info as possible. According to the speaker, if you do this drill for 3 weeks, for 16 min, 2x a day -am and pm – you will see an increased change in ability to take in more information.  I’m not convinced, but I’d love to speed read.  Maybe I’ll try it. The fastest reader today can read 50,000wpm- that’s crazy. I want to do that.
  • More tips on speed reading:  1st skim entire book, 1 page per second and run thumb down page to get an idea of what is in book. 2nd scan chapter to read 3rd – read at your pace with your hand. 4th keep your speed, if you don’t understand something, you’ll mark it with a quick pencil mark but keep going. 5th give yourself 20 minute segments of learning, take a 3-5 min change of scenery break and keep on. 6th remember! use your memory skills – what did I just read? have a mental picure -fpg file, picture and glue it in your brain – make a rhyming list to help you memorize or a story plot to help you memorize.

 

Check out the FREE audio downloads from college plus  I thought their resources were great and full of good information. Check it out , I liked the bachelors degree by 18, it gives you a lot to think about.


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Homeschool Freebies: Free Lesson downloads/ ebooks and more -History Homeschool sites and videos

Below are a few free deals I’ve seen this week and good sites to visit for more freebies. 2 expire at the end of this month- June 30, 2014

 

 

Great Deals

***ends 6-30-14  19gifts.com – 19 gifts from homeschool vendors  for $19 plus a 3 month membership to schoolhouseteachers.com***

Home School Classified Ads

Kindle edition 12 books Anne of Green Gables for $ .99

 

check out these sites for more freebies and giveaways: 

 

 

 

 


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Freezer Cooking – Quick Meals for busy Moms: 7- 14 (or more) freezer meals ready

I like to prepare the meats for meals and freeze – not the entire meal.  It’s easy to make the side dishes or noodles, so this makes it easy and stress free. The cook and freeze process usually takes about 3-4 hours of my time – or seems that way….If you decide to start, start small because sometimes preparing too much (with kids running around) can be too much. I’d start with the ground meat recipes first and next time add more – chicken and turkey.

My Cooking Plan

This recipe would prepare you for 5-9 meals (or up to 13 meals if you decide to cook chicken and turkey(or a crockpot meal) also): 2 spaghetti and meatball dinners, 2 ziti meals, taco night, meatloaf, and burgers for a family of 4-5. (If you have extra meat, you can also make meat for shepherds pie, chili and picadillo – see below sauce for picadillo and recipe for chili).  There are more recipes below if you want to try to go big- If you do, get a frozen turkey breast and enough chicken breast for 3 meals.  I  like to freeze  my foods with some kind of sauce or marinade to keep them from drying out.

Ground Meat: 

I buy about $30 worth of ground beef or one large package at Costco for $25.00 ( you will need more if you want to prepare chili, picadillo and meat for shepherds pie)

Ingredients:

Ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg, seasonings, salt, taco dry flavoring, Pam, 5 cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce (or any other kind you like) and any other ingredients you prefer in you meat. These extras are optional. MIX it up!
You will also need tin foil and freezer bags .

Tools: Pan for meatballs, pan for meatloaf, skillet to brown taco meat, spatula, colander to drain grease off of meat. Sharpie pen to label

Extra ingredients you will need later for meals

spaghetti noodles, ziti noodles, mozzarella cheese to melt on top of ziti, taco shells and all the fixings, rice, peas, mash potatoes, side dishes for meatloaf (baked potato and green beans), green, red, yellow, orange peppers, garlic, onions, sofrito sauce, Fettuccine, alfredo sauce, optional: olives, raisins, bay leaf, cubed potatoes for picadillo meat extras. If you are making chili- fat free wraps and sour cream, 4+cans of diced tomatoes, pinto beans, kidney beans- red, chili seasoning, oregano, garlic, onion (see link to ww recipe below)

 

Directions:

Turn oven on to 350

Meatballs/Ziti :, begin shaping meatballs – I usually make 13 per family night. I suggest making enough for 4 meals- 2 spaghetti nights and the other two sets can be broken up to make a delicious ziti dish. After making 52 meatballs – hopefully on one tray – doesn’t matter if they touch, pour a little tomato sauce over meatballs so they don’t dry out.

Meatloaf: Shape meat for meatloaf in a small bread pan, sometimes I only make half because we don’t eat an entire meatloaf. you can make a full pan and split it in half for two meals – freeze separately. Cook time and temperature is same as meatballs above – cover pan with tin foil.

Burgers: Set aside enough meat for tacos and if any meat is left over, shape into burgers and put into oven with the meats above. I like to put a little tomato sauce on each one, it keeps it from drying out. Always cover with tin foil.

Instructions:  Cover pan with tin foil and cook all for about 45 minutes. Sometimes Ill cook the last 5-10 minutes without the tin foil.  Cut open a meatball to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. Let fully cool and put in a freezer bag – pour sauce over meatballs, seal , date and freeze. You should have 5-6 freezer bags of food.

To cook meal after freezing: for the meatballs, I put them in a pan with sauce and warm up while I cook spaghetti noodles. For Ziti, I warm up as I cook ziti noodles and cut meatballs up into smaller pieces. I mix the meat and ziti, pour tomato sauce over dish, cover with mozarella chese and put in over at 350 until cheese is melted. Serve with garlic bread. For Meatloaf, you can take out day before and that in fridge or take out that night, pour sauce over meatloaf , cover with tin foil and warm in oven.

Tacos : Heat skillet – optional brown onions and peppers before hand for more taste- brown meat for tacos, when cooked, put in taco seasoning with water, let cool . Put in freezer bag and label.

All in all you should end with 5- 7 dinners prepped. I try, for my family of 5, to try to keep each meal under $10.


Shepherds Pie and Picadillo:
  If you have extra meat,  you can make meat with gravy for shepherds pie (brown meat on skillet – mix with gravy and freeze)- serve over mashed potatoes and peas also spanish picadillo – brown meat and put mix ( put in blender – meat sauce, sofrito, peppers, onion, garlic) pour this mix over cooked meat and freeze ( some people like to add cubed cooked potatoes, raisins, olives and bay leaf to picadillo also – serve over rice with a side of black beans.

Chili – I always try to make this if I have enough meat. My kids love it and so does my husband. It’s the Weight Watchers Chili Recipe : meat, diced tomatoes, pinto beans ( we also add red kidney beans), oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic, onion, peppers. I try to make about 4 servings, freeze 3 bags and serve chili the night I cook. We either eat it heated in a bowl or put in a fat free wrap with sour cream. Delish!

Ready to add more ???

Make (Crockpot) Turkey: Get up early and start the crock pot while you prep for your freezer cooking. I like to put in a small turkey breast with stock, gravy, cut potatoes, carrots – check online for recipe you like. The turkey can be cut in two usually for two separate meals.

BBQ chicken, Parmesan chicken, chicken fettuccine : Throw a chicken breast in the oven with the meats as well. Cover 4 with bbq sauce, another with parmesan and spices  and another 4 with peppers and orange juice. You can also cut them before cooking into cubes and use for dishes- salad, fettuccine, sandwiches, chicken salad, etc. You can make chicken Parmesan or chicken fettuccine. Delicious!

Extra Ideas:  I get a large bag of Peppers and another one of Onions. Cut in small pieces – chop or slice and put in freezer bags. They can be quickly added to any meal and it’s a great help. If your children don’t like peppers, onions and garlic, I have found putting them in a blender with meat sauce is delicious. Your children wont notice it at all.

I hope this helps. It makes life and dinner planning easy and stress free.

 

More Ideas for freezing”

  1. shredded carrots
  2. chopped cooked chicken breast – don’t overbake
  3. brown beef with onions
  4. brown beef with tomatoes and seasoning
  5. baking mixes for muffins or breads – dry mix
  6. pancake mix, roll mix
  7. cookie dough – in logs or small rolls
  8. pbj sandwiches
  9. meat and cheese sandwiches but no mayo
  10. apples – peel and put a little lemon on it  and freeze
  11. label everything!
  12. cream cheese and sour cream potatoes
  13. go to pinterest crock pot freezer cooking for ideas
  14. check out allrecipe.com and moneysavingmom.com
  15. use airtight containers or freezer bags from dollar store (use straw to take out air)
  16. plan you week’s menu

 

 

 

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