Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's here!

Our very first curriculum has arrived!  It came early on a Saturday morning, and just a few days after I placed my order.  My kids couldn't wait to see what was in those boxes.  Once I let them loose, I couldn't get any of the books back (not a bad thing, I guess.)

After they went to bed that day, I was able to sort through all of our goodies.  I had a chance to go through the insturctors guide and see what this was all about.  I wasn't sure when or how I was going to start "teaching" and I have yet to decide.  I am thinking about it all of the time, but I am still enjoying what we are doing, living life.  So, as of right now, the core books sit on a shelf and are read when interest is sparked.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drum Roll Please

A decision has been made and we decided to purchase curriculum for the girls!  After much debate and endless hours of research, we decided to go with Sonlight

Sonlight was one of the first one's I looked at and it always stayed with me.  I am going to tell you why I personally think Sonlight is (hopefully) going to work with my family.

Their Tag Line

The way you wish you'd been taught.  That hit home right away.  From early on, I remember trying to memorize information for a test, then, I would forget it all while trying to memorize the next lesson.  I feel as if you can lean so much more by learning through stories and actually enjoying what you learn.

Literature Based

As you know by now, our family LOVES to read.  We sit around and cuddle up and read books for hours a day, so this one was kind of a no brainer.  So, by purchasing from Sonlight, we are just adding to our book collection and hopefully learning a little something from it.

Christian Based

We want our children learning the scripture and this is just one more way for them to see it.  We will start off each day with a Bible verse and a fun song to help them learn.

Unit Study

I will be able to teach multiple ages with the same books.  This not only cuts my reading time in half, but it also gives us the closeness and togetherness our family is looking for.

Instructors Guide is Provided

I have 3, soon to be 4 small children, so the last thing I need to do after they go to bed is "plan out" our work for the next day.  Sonlight offers a 4 or 5 day a week guide that you are able to use how you want.  I am guessing it will be a loose guide for us, enough to stay on track anyway.

One Stop Shop

Sonlight is able to provide you with everything you need.  This works great for me since I am short on time.  I was able to add a handwriting and math program for my eldest.  I am also able to mix and match read-a-longs and readers depending on their reading level.  They provide a reading assessment which Addison took (she is reading at the 4th grade level!) to ensure you are purchasing the correct books.

Now that I have given you all the reasons I think I am going to like Sonlight, we will wait and see what my kids think.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To buy or not to buy?

As I have mentioned before, one of the reasons I am writing this blog is so I can look back on it and remember what I was doing and thinking along the way.  Well, I have come to a crossroad and I haven't been able to make a decision.  Should I buy curriculum or not?

I have heard from so many people one of their biggest regrets was purchasing curriculum when their kids were little.  They either thought it was too stressful or not really necessary.  I have pretty much agreed with them...until now. 

I feel like my family (especially my oldest) needs to be challenged a little more, plus, she thrives on structure.  My feeling is, if I start the "schooling" now, they will know what will be happening on a daily basis.  Granted at this age, it only requires about 30 minutes each day, but it will be part of our morning routine. 

Pros to buying                                                       

More structure in the house
Kids will be challenged
Kids will learn something new everyday
We will have the curriculum when we are ready and will be able to go at our own pace

Cons to buying

Spending more money
1 more thing we "have" to do
They are still very young

As you can see, it is a tough decision, but hopefully I will be able to make the right decision in the next couple of days.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I got this idea from the Family Fun Magazine.  It was so easy to do and they turned out great.  The kids loved it!

Supplies Needed:

A clear dry jar
Masking tape
Orange acrylic paint
Paint Brush

You take the masking tape and cut out jack-o'-lantern pieces.  You tape them on the jar and then let the kids go.  They can put as much orange paint on the outside of the jar as they want.  When it dries, you remove the tape and put a light in.  Simple as that!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The more I think about unschooling...

That is actually all I have been doing so far!  I know my kids are still young, but I have never used a curriculum, I have just been teaching along the way. 

For example, they learned:

How to count by ones, fives and tens while playing hide and seek
The value of the coins and the president on each coin as we put them into their piggy banks. 
The months of the year by talking about birthdays and whose birthday is in each month.
The days of the week by what happens each day (Sunday is church, Monday daddy goes to work etc.)
Vowels from Old McDonalds vowel farm.  We use AEIOU instead of EIEIO.
The continents as we walk through the zoo.
Colors and shapes just by looking at and talking about the world around us.

It's amazing how quickly they learn when things are included in our daily lives.

Monday, August 29, 2011


We spent the last week in Florida with my parents and it was such a learning experience for everyone, including me.

We are fairly structured around here and the thought of unschooling has never crossed my mind until this week.  I have read about unschooling and I guess I never truly "got it."  Some of the things I read said just teach what they are into.  Well, that happened, the girls would find all sorts of different shells at the beach, then we would take them home and find out their names.  The same thing happened to different birds and fish we saw.  Luckily for me, Papa Gerry is very knowledgeable in these categories and could tell the girls what most things were on the spot.  Instead of saying look at that bird, he would say, look at that Egret, for example.  It was just amazing to me how much the girls got into it and how excited they were to learn these new things. 

Although I know in my heart we will never be a true unschooling homeschooling family, it's nice to know we will be able to pull from that philosophy from time to time and truly enjoy it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Displaying Kids Artwork

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out a cool way to hang up my kids artwork.  I've done some research on-line and basically just thought about it (my husband calls that procrastination.)  However, last week, my oldest came up and asked, "remember that heart I made, can we hang it up?"  I immediately went into panic mode.  What heart?  Did I throw it away?  If I kept it, where did I put it?  My calm response was, when you wake up from your nap, I will have it hanging.  Since my daughter doesn't forget a thing, I went on a desperate search.  Luckily for me, I liked the heart and had kept it, whew!  After that, I knew I needed to stop putting things off and actually find a way to display their masterpieces.

My first thought was to make their artwork look a little more upscale by possibly putting them in frames or scanning them and turning them into books or putting a few of the scanned pictures together to create one unique piece.  After much debate I decided a clothesline approach would work best for us.  The pictures are easy to put up and take down.  Plus, you get to see the real deal, not a picture of what they made.  The placement of where I would hang the clothesline was a debate in itself.  My original thought was to hang them in the basement with all of the other kid stuff.  Then, I decided I would hang them front and center, right by the front door for everyone to see (that is the point, right?) 

My kids love it!  They make sure to show everyone who comes over what they have made.  Plus, it's a great conversation starter if my kids decide they need a little time to warm up. 

Here are a few of the ideas I came across while trying to decide how to display my kids artwork.

1. Creating your own frames.  I love this idea, but I am not creative enough to do it.

2. Clipboard. Good looking and easy to change.

3. Dynamic Artwork Frame

4. One big canvas.  I think this is a fabulous idea!  I see myself taking the best of the best and combining them all together for a piece of art that will last a lifetime.

5. Photo book.  I have used both Snapfish and Shutterfly to make photo books in the past.  My kids are working on coloring through the ABC's.  Once finished, I will take a picture of all 26 pages then put them into a book.  Other ideas would be to group watercolors, sculptures out of clay or even Lego's, or things they have cooked in the kitchen. 

In case you were wondering, I did hang the heart up, but Addison asked if I could put it on the sliding glass door.  So, of course, I did.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reasons I Decided To Homeschool

1. I Can Decide What Is Important To Teach
- We will start each day with a bible reading
- I can choose/change the curricula at any time to fit the needs of my kids
- If one child has a deep interest in something, he/she can learn as much about that subject as they desire
- I can teach simply by living.  The kids will catch on to everyday tasks and I can use them as teachable moments.

2. Family Togetherness
- I will get the privilage of spending every day with my family.  I will be the one who gets to see their daily accomplishments.
- My kids will spend more time with me than their teacher. 
- I am hoping to create a strong family unit of loving siblings.
- Extended family will be able to share their knowledge in a variety of topics.

3.  Less "Threats"
- I don't have to worry about a school shooting or my child getting a knife pulled on them.
- Less peer pressure including sex, drugs and alcohol.
- Less of a chance of being bullied by other students.

4. More Flexible and Efficient
- We don't have to rush out the door every morning
- We can get our 180 days in anytime throughout the year.  If we need/want to take a day off, we can!
- We can schedule vacations and field trips whenever we want.
- We can always change locations of our classroom.  If it's a great day, we can go outside!
- There won't be as much wasted time (lining up for class, changing classes, waiting on others, driving to and from school) meaning we can get our school work done quicker and have plenty of time for extra-curricular activities.
- No homework!

5. Every Child Is Different
- No one has more interest in my childrens success than I do!
- Each child can go as fast or as slow as they need.
- My kids have different learning styles and I will be able to effectively handle those needs.  One needs to sit at a desk and have a schedule for the day, another learns better while jumping up and down or doing somersaults.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So many books!

I would like to start off by saying I am notorious for reading something and thinking to myself "what a great idea, I should try that" and then never do anything about it.  Well, I actually followed through this time.  I was reading a great article ( ) on how to keep track of all your books and like I mentioned before, we have a lot of books and I know it's just the beginning!

I chose to use mainly because it was free, or so I thought.  I came to find out that you can enter 200 books for free, but once I got started, I wasn't stopping!  I ended up entering over 600 books!  It only cost $25 for a lifetime membership, so I thought I would go for it.  So far, I am very happy with the site.  It is super easy to enter the books either by title or ISBN, the book/books pop up and you click on it and it is added to your collection.  My friends and family can access the site or if I am out and can't remember if we own a book or not, I can log on and see if we have it.  It also has a wish list.  If there are books out there I know we need, I can just type them in so I will remember next time I am at the bookstore.  There are other great features, I just haven't had time to explore all of them yet. 

I am thankful for this idea, and happy with myself for actually entering all of our books.  This was a great start to getting my books organized!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Classroom Time"

In an attempt to make myself feel like I was actually doing some teaching, I came up with classroom time (creative, I know)  Every morning after breakfast while my 5 month old is taking his morning nap, the girls sit up at the counter and have classroom time with mommy.  It can be as simple as coloring or cutting, or more detailed like flashcards, dot-to-dots, or working on handwriting.  I give them each a few options and they can pick what they want to work on. 

Since they are only 3 and 2, it requires my complete attention and is totally hands on.  I can stand in between them and go back and forth as needed.  So far I have had nothing but excitement, they ask for it a few times a day.  Yesterday, Addison walked downstairs and asked if we could have classroom time even before breakfast, makes me think I am doing something right.

I am not one that likes to force learning on children, but if they are having fun and learning something at the same time, I am all for it!  We typically learn by reading books.  My girls love to read to me and I love to read to them, so I hope this continues throughout their lives.  We own well over 500 books and are continually looking for more shelf space, but I know this will only get worse over time.  I hope to keep things relaxed around here, but I know some structure is needed, which is why I thought I would try out this classroom time idea.  Luckily for me, it is a success!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So I have decided to homeschool, where should I start?

It's official, I am going to homeschool my kids.  After my husband and I made that decision, I thought, now what.  I, of course, did what most people would do.  I did as much research as possible.  I have read many books, looked online, read many blogs, contacted friends and family that have or are currently homeschooling just to make sure I have a complete understanding of what I am getting myself into. 

My favorite book to date is So You're Thinking About Homeschooling by Lisa Whelchel.  It is a very easy read and it gave me a quick overview of the different styles of homeschooling out there.  One of my favorite blogs is They have a few contributors, so it is always nice to hear different perspectives.  Of all the people I have talked to, everyone just loves what they are doing.  I think you would have to, otherwise, why do it.  There are always some complaints, but nothing over the top. 

I keep asking myself, now what?  Should I purchase curriculum?  Should we just live life and see where it takes us?  Should I set up a "classroom" for the kids or just teach wherever they want to learn?  There are so many questions, none of which I know the answer, so I will work my way through them and see where we end up.

Why Blog?

That is the question I am currently asking myself, like I don't already have enough on my plate.  Did I just start this on a whim or is there an actual reason?  Well, the answer is both.  I have been reading a ton of blogs lately and I said to myself, what fun (the whim part) I would also like to record my way through this homeschooling journey so I can look back on it in a few years and probably laugh and if I can help someone else along the way, all the better!

So, what will I blog about?  Who knows!  My goal would be to blog about the steps I have taken in my homeschooling journey, how we do things, what works (and what doesn't) good resources I have come across etc.  I am guessing there may be some random posts about my family in general or even just a place to say what's on my mind.

I have never blogged before nor have I ever set up a website before, so bare with me and we will see if we can get this thing rolling. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Calling

I have been researching public and private schools in my area for about a year.  My husband and I ruled out public schools from the very beginning, so most of my research is on private schools.  We have visited a few in the area including the church it is connected to and we kept coming up short.  A few months ago we "settled" on sending our children to a Catholic school down the street.  Great school, we just don't happen to be Catholic.  I am actually a cradle Catholic, but my husband and I are very happy at the church we currently belong, it is truly our church family.  We knew by making that decision we might need to join a different church, but we were willing to do that for our children's education.

A couple of months ago, I got this crazy idea in my head that I should homeschool.  Yes, you heard me correctly, crazy idea.  I thought and prayed on this subject for a few weeks before I even mentioned it to my husband, hoping it would pass.  I mean what happened to the days ahead where I would be able to go the store while my kids were at school, cook dinner or even clean the house??  I kept saying to myself this is crazy, why I can't I convince myself to stop thinking about this. 

I sat my husband down and told him what I had been thinking (I was secretly hoping he would object) and he about jumped off the couch with excitement!  I mentioned to him that all of the negatives I thought about weren't even bothering me.  That is when he said the 4 magic words I have been waiting for my entire life, "This is Your Calling"  Oh my gosh, he's right, this is my calling and that is why everything just seems so easy.  I am 100% devoted to my family and this is the road God has chosen for me.  As much as I was trying to fight it, I couldn't.  There was an answer to every question and I was finally at peace in my life.


Quick introduction.  My husband and I were married in 2007.  We had our first baby girl in 2008, our second baby girl in 2009 and our first baby boy in 2010.  Needless to say, we have been busy!!  I feel truly blessed that I have been able to stay home with our children.  Our oldest, Addison, has blown us away from day 1.  She started reading before she turned 2.  She is now reading 100+ page chapter books.  She has known her colors, shapes, phonics, days of the week, months of the year, vowels, and most states for over a year now.  Her imagination takes her to many fun places, usually keeping her awake instead of napping.  Laney is now 2 and is not far behind.  She wants to be doing whatever it is that her big sister is doing!  About a year ago the topic kept coming up of what are they going to do when they get to school, they will be bored!  The subject of homeschooling came up and I said NO WAY!!  I can't imagine that ever happening, I would never have another free second in my life.  I will always be taking kids with me to the store and how about those leisurely lunches I used to love.  The answer was no and that was the end of it!  I have been researching schools ever since.