Wednesday, August 12, 2015

{Not} Back To School 2015

It’s time to get back into the homeschool routine in our house!  I like to start fairly early in August, even if we just fit in three days per week, so that we have a little more wiggle room (for sickness & vacation days) in our school year.  So we took off most of June and all of July, and now we’re easing our way back into routine.

There’s NO WAY I can manage a regular blog post for each individual child.  Although I love using the blog to keep a record of our schoolwork, and it’s so nice to be able to refer to each unit post when I need to remember details, I just can’t keep up with 3 posts/week!  So this year’s plan is to put everything into one post.  I’ll attempt to do it every 5 or so school days, but we’ll see how it goes.

Here are the kids with the school guides they are using this year. 


It’s a very busy kitchen table this year!


Here are some pictures from our first week.  Jensyn gets to go first…

LHTH Unit 1

Little Hands To Heaven is designed to be very simple and fun.  The lessons should take only 20 – 30 minutes per day.  LHTH has a very limited amount of worksheets.  My kids enjoy occasional worksheets, though, so I spent some time this summer collecting and printing a variety of pages for Jensyn to use along with LHTH this year.  We have Letter Mazes, Alphabet Playdough Mats, Dot Marker Alphabet Pages, etc.

We made pink playdough together.  The stove is not hot in this picture.  She measured, poured, and stirred.  Then I backed up her stool while I cooked it.

After that,  she used her pink playdough to decorate this letter A playdough mat.  She also used a craft stick to practice writing the letter A in the pile of playdough on her plate.  (Then, being the girly-girl that she is, Jensyn had to use the craft stick to draw a face, arms, and hair on her A!)

This is the Hide and Seek Letter Page, in which you read part of the weekly action rhyme and find/circle the letter of the week in the poem.  At the bottom of the page, Jensyn practices pencil-holding/pre-writing skills by following the line to connect the uppercase A to the lowercase a.


This another hands-on lesson…writing the letter of the week with glue, then covering it with cheerios.  We’ll make a letter wall on our stairway to the playroom to display all of Jensyn’s letters of the week.  (Max’s letters are still hanging in our stairway!)

Here she is drawing and counting apples…

This is a Unit 1 project in which you use white crayon to draw things that God created.  You then paint over the page to make your images magically appear.  It’s supposed to be done with watered-down black tempera paint.  This did NOT work for us when Max did LHTH, so this time, we used regular watercolor paints.  It worked MUCH better, but the paper was soaking wet by the time Jensyn was finished with it!

Find & Stamp the Aa letters.

Max is up next…

LHFHG Unit 2

We started the year with LHFHG Unit 2, as we did a trial run of LHFHG with Unit 1 last spring to see if Max was ready for it.  (He was MORE THAN ready!)

I decided to use the Rod & Staff books we had on hand, so Max is starting with Book G – Going On Eagerly.  This book has a polar animals theme, so there is a little science learning mixed in with the fine motor skills and thinking skills practice found in this book.  He really enjoyed it, so he will likely be doing a page every day and moving through books G, H, and I this year.

Ahhh, now THIS was fun!  This was the project on Noah’s Ark day.  Make a foil boat (no instructions – just a big piece of foil) and see how many counters it will float.  We chose to use teddy bear counters.  Max and I each made a boat.  His boat was the winner!  Afterwards, he hopped in the tub and finished off his school day with a bathtub full of math manipulatives.  (You know you’re a homeschooler when you do school naked in the bathtub, right?  LOL!)

Each of the projects below is 1/4 of a piece of white construction paper.  Max and I each colored a paper with all different brightly colored markers. Then we colored over it (PUSH HARD) with an broken, old black crayon.  After this, we etched a heart into the center of our page so that the color could show through the black.  This art project goes along with the lesson about Cain & Abel.

Handwriting – I’m soooo oddly particular about what I’ll use for handwriting because I really prefer a traditional handwriting.  The writing lines must be ‘just so’, and no letters can be funky looking.  .  I think we found a winner for Max this year! It’s Universal Publishing’s newest kindergarten handwriting book, and it has a simple, fun thinking skill activity in the middle of each page…sometimes it’s a maze, sometimes it’s a matching game…but it’s always something that keeps the page from becoming too boring.

We skipped Singapore Essential Kindergarten Book A, and we started with Book B.  Max is a math whiz.  Even this is too easy for him, but I didn’t want him to get overwhelmed with Singapore 1st grade, as it progresses quickly.  So we’re easing in with Kindergarten B, and then we’ll move on to Singapore 1 in January.


Last of all, here is Alex’s first unit…

Beyond Little Hearts, Unit 19

He’s starting to get annoyed about having his picture taken.  His ‘smile’ is actually the start of a smirk because he is proud of ruining the picture by hiding his work with his hands.  In this picture, Alex is illustrating his poetry book as an end of the week project.

This week’s poem was “Monday’s Child”.  We looked it up to be sure, and Alex was born on a Wednesday.  He was less than thrilled to find out that Wednesday’s child is full of woe.  By the end of the unit, we were both joking about it, though.


Math is not Alex’s strong suit.  He’s finishing up a few pages at the end of his Singapore 1B math book, and he is NOT happy about it.  We’ve had some very rough moments as he has worked through these pages.  I am giving him the two options for 2nd grade math, and right now he is seriously leaning toward Teaching Textbooks rather than moving on to Singapore 2A.

Spelling and grammar?  Language is DEFINTELY Alex’s strength!  He aced his end of the week spelling test without much effort.


He LOVES his new grammar book!  (Seriously.  What 7 year old LOVES a grammar book?  Alex, you’re awesome!)  We opted to have Alex take the CAT test in June, and he did not do well on the grammar portion.  I decided he needed a bit more than what the Beyond guide offers, so I ordered Growing With Grammar Level 2.  I had no idea he’d do it joyfully each day, though!  That’s a pleasant surprise!


This history lessons in this unit told the story of a little Puritan girl named Remember. Throughout the week, we learned of how Remember’s mother had to leave her home alone for several days while she went to care for a distant neighbor who was very ill.  We read of how Remember used her time wisely, how she made homemade soap, and how she saved herself from being kidnapped by an Indian. 

We also read of how she made a sand pattern on to decorate the kitchen floor.  Alex made his own ‘sand’ pattern using glue and cornmeal.

DSCN4446  DSCN4447

That’s about it for this week.  I’ll probably do a separate post soon to list out all of the resources each of the children are using this year.

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