Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Girl's Fall Wardrobe

This has been my year of trying hard to simplify our life in all ways. One of the ways i am working hardest for this is by limiting clothing and picking out only what we really need. I've given away bags upon bags of clothing as it is and we still have so much more to get rid of.

As I looked into our fall/winter wardrobes for this year, I only had ton think about the older two kids because the younger ones get hand-me-downs. This makes it so much easier! Boys are kind of easy if you ask me, and I had so many hand-me-downs from friends for our boy for this season! All I had to buy him were 2 pairs of sweatpants and some new shirts for everyday use.

For our older daughter, I decided to get her a mix and match wardrobe season. She loves to pick her own outfits and does so every day, and to avoid mismatching, I made sure everything goes with everything else. In addition, i want to keep it simple and her drawers not packed full, so hence the few items.

Here is what I came up with. So maybe a few things won't go together very well, but it won't be the end of the world. I am hoping that these plus a pair of jeans, some tights, and a warm sweater or two which I still need to get, can get her through until the spring. We try to wear things a few times before washing them. There are a few items missing from this photo which are being carried over from her last year's fall and winter clothes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A New Tradition: Poetry Tea Time

It is so exciting to find ideas for homeschooling online! Bringing them to life though is sometimes overwhelming and difficult. I have tried to be very selective in what I do bring in to our little school so far because I am trying to prevent burn out for myself. Also though, there is time in the future for many ideas to become a reality.

One idea I knew I wanted to incorporate into our year from the start was poetry tea time. First of all, who doesn't love to sit down with fancy little glass teacups and enjoy some down time during the day? Add in a baked good and we're golden. Secondly, poetry... I feel that poetry is a critical part of becoming a well-rounded, cultured person. But introducing children to poetry can be a challenge. Also, if they do not get excited about it from the start, it is so much harder for them to appreciate it later. I know first-hand from my own personal experience. I was never a huge fan of poetry growing up.

So for these reasons, I decided to make each first Thursday of the month our poetry tea time in the afternoon. The first tea we had was last month, and the next one is around the corner. Let me say, we had so much fun! We chose a tablecloth for our tea, and I put out some nice teacups, plus a white teapot. Everyone got a nice piece of cake with their tea. While the kids sipped and munched, I read them poems from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. This book is wonderful not only for its poetry but for the beautiful illustrations! The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our first tea. I especially loved that a kindergarten boy could be excited about a tea party and about poetry. Boys can have class, too!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Kindergarten: Our Curriculum

We have officially survived the first week of homeschool kindergarten! I have to say, Glory to God - I was so pleased with how this week went and the kids and I all had a lot of fun together. Here's hoping that our entire year goes by as smoothly!

I wanted to share a bit of our first week with you and also give a few details on our curriculum for this year. You can see the previous post for a recap of what our classroom looks like this year.

To begin our school year, we had a prayer service with Tata - what a huge perk of being a PK! (PK = priest's kid). He even sprinkled us all with holy water, as well as our school space.

We made a real celebration out of the first day of school! Unfortunately, the baby kept me up about 15 times the night before, so it was a rough start for me. Thanks to my hubby for stepping up to the plate and making breakfast for us all!

To celebrate the first day of school, I made a little cake as a special treat. The kids loved this! Definitely something to keep up for the rest of our first days of school.

Now, about our curriculum. Basically, I used several sources to put together our materials for this year. These were the Well-Trained Mind book and 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. Both of these are wonderful and worthy of investment for a homeschool mama's library! (A new version of the Well-Trained Mind just came out, by the way). 

We are focusing on reading and writing (handwriting most specifically) for this year. We are throwing in math, too, as well as a little bit of science (once a week). We are also using the Morning Basket to start our days together and this has been proving to be a favorite time of day so far. 

Many resources can be found for putting together your own Morning Basket if you look on the internet. Since this is something new to me, and so is homeschooling in general, and because I am working with very young ages still, I wanted to keep the Morning Basket very simple for right now. I will write another post on our Morning Basket in a week or two, once I have tweaked it into exactly what I want at this time. I am still working on figuring out each resource for it. 

Here are the other books/curricula we are using this year:

Plaid Phonics Level A Workbook (basically, whatever sound we learn that day in Phonics Pathways, I find a worksheet in Plaid Phonics to go along with it and to reinforce that sound)

These were both suggestions in the Well-Trained Mind, and Phonics Pathways also was recommended in 102 Top Picks. We are taking it very slowly (one sound a day for now), and I have been pleased with it so far.



One day a week, we do a read-aloud from the series "Let's Read and Find Out Science 1", which I take out of the library.
Once we have gone through this series, we will see where things go. For now, I am trying to focus on learning reading and writing before we do anything fancy. 

-My First Classical Music Book - we do one song a week from this book/cd combo, and I play the song for them each day so that we can get better acquainted with it. This book is SO lovely! 
-The Artful Parent - I am using this absolutely wonderful book to help me come up with easy, simple art projects for the kids. I am trying to do one project a week, but the kids love art time so much that we end up doing simple painting or coloring every day 
-15 Minutes Outside - this book is wonderful for giving moms an idea of something to do with their kids outside each day for just 15 minutes - it helps me get creative rather than say "go play outside" every day a few times a day - this creates a bit of a bonding activity instead of the kids running off on their own without me (which is fine, too!)
-Piano lessons
-Swim lessons (once a week)

To guide myself in read alouds and make sure that I am using quality, classical literature for my little ones I am using Ambleside Online's recommendations for reading out loud this year. I am sure we will get through the list before the school year ends, and I have several other places to get ideas from later on for read alouds.