Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Not" Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum 2011-2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop

We've used Saxon Math for a while's what works in this house.  I'll supplement this year with Life of Fred: Fractions and Decimals and Percents.  Just because my daughter and son think it's really funny. 

Language Arts:

Our Language Arts is a hodge-podge of materials.  We have grammar, spelling and handwriting everyday.   Most ones I've picked up at thrift stores throughout the year.  We really enjoy A Reason for Handwriting. 

Assignment Books:

Every week the kids get an assignment sheet with a list of all their "independent"  work.  Most of this can be done on their own but some of it needs guidance.  It cuts out the "I'm done...what do I do next?"  They pick the order in which they complete their daily assignments. 


I'm incorporating a poetry study this year.  So 4 times a week, we do various poetry activities.  I pick one poet to focus on per month--this month it's Robert Frost.  Below are the poems, they picked to memorize with illustrations.  I found that idea at SmallWorldatHome.  Some other ideas include:  poetry lapbook, writing favorite poems in journal, poetry collages (also from Smallworld)  and internet activities. 


Social Studies: 

I'm using a lot of different resources this year for S.S.  We've divided our week into 4 subjects of S.S.-geography, TN history, government and Map Skills for Today workbook.  I'm also continuing my unit weeks this year-- where we take a break from all our regular work for an intensive study.  We'll be doing units on Feudal Japan, Renaissance, etc.  I find all these units at Lesson Pathways--I absolutely love this site. 

Lots of readers,  supplemented with various websites I've found for reading comprehension work. 


This is the first time I've bought anything for science in a while.  So for the first semester, we are using God's Design for Science.  I let the kids pick their top 3 choices for what we'd study.  Two of their three were the same so...The World of Animals and Properties of Ecosystems, it is.  The second semester, as much as I hate to say it,  will be spent making sure we cover the subject areas my daughter will tested on in April.  I want her to be prepared,  so we'll be reviewing the 7-8 various Science standards for the State of Tennessee.  I don't mind too much about doing that because I like covering a wide variety of subjects and it will only further her scientific knowledge.  (That's looking on the bright side!)


Music and Art:

This year I've decided to add music and art appreciation to our list of subjects.  These things are really important to us and our heritage.  My children come from a family of artists and musicians, some world famous. I'm a music teacher by profession, as well.  So why was this part always getting left out?   I've decided to change that this year.  We are memorizing a hymn a month--we sing it over lunch each day.  We have a monthly artist and composer to study as well.  I've always enjoyed components of Charlotte Mason so we are doing picture studies for the first time. AmblesideOnline is a great resource.  4 times a week we'll have art and music- 2 times for each.  I basically pick an artist or composer and then find various activities in our books or lessons online that I think will fit well into our study. 


Last year, we had a curriculum for Bible but this year I just didn't see anything I was all together thrilled about.  So, we are getting back to the basics...reading or listening to Scripture passages about men and women of the Bible.  Then talking about the Scripture.  I found a great website:  Bible Gateway that has different reading plans available as well as audio selections.  The kids also have a Scripture passage to memorize every couple of weeks depending upon the length of passage. 

This is my husband's area this year.  He is taking us through a French curriculum called Mission Monde.  I'm learning right along with the kids. I took two years of Spanish in high school, so this is new territory for me. 
Well, that's our curriculum for the year.  For more blog posts on curriculum, check out Heart of the Matter-"Not" Back to School Blog Hop.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reflections on the week...


  • I was scared I had planned way too much for our school day...but as it worked out everything went perfectly into my time frame.
  • Daniel went the entire week and did not shed one tear over math...this is by far the most encouraging thing that happened.  That doesn't sound like much, but it is HUGE!   He really has matured over the summer and I'm seeing the evidence clearly. 
  • Tera stayed focused with a good attitude.
  • Michael jumped right in with us for some of our subjects, especially Science.  We played animal charades one day.  He had to have his turn and then continued to have his turn the next day when he saw us pull out our Science again.
  • When we pulled out Language today and Daniel asked:  "Are we going to write?"  I replied in the affirmative, only to hear, instead of complaint and grumbling--a loud "YES!"  How awesome is that!
  • Realizing that training the kids in taking care of the household is finally paying off.  When I felt overwelmed juggling everything, it was really cool to give the kids extra jobs which they could successfully manage.  I learned that Tera is almost to the point that she could "run" (with some supervision) the house if the need ever arose.  Very exciting for her and especially for me.
  • I enjoy having my Science laid out for me this semester.  This is  one of the only times, I've bought a Science curriculum instead of doing unit studies and pulling from tons of different sources.  I like the lighter burden in this area.
  • My husband bought a red pocketed organizer that hangs on the wall for me as a Christmas gift.  I finally hung it up and it is helping me stay organized.  It is really cool!
  • I'm so glad we did a little math everyday this summer, it's made the transition a whole lot easier. 
  • I realized today that running errands in the middle of the school day does not work for my son.  He had two distracted days this week.  Wednesday, when he overslept and today.  We had to go out and he took a whole lot longer to get done than Tera.  She is a work on the go kinda girl...he likes his routine.  So unless absolutely necessary, we won't be doing that again.  There will be sometimes we just have to deal with it but hopefully not too often.
  • It is stinking hot!

Since the positives overwhelmingly outweigh the not-so-positives, I will deem the week a great success!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A song...

The Redeemer
by Sanctus Real

Sometimes I just want to start over, 'cause everything looks like a wreck
And I need the courage to carry on, 'cause I can't see what's ahead
And there are places I've wished I could be, battles I've wanted to win
Dreams that have slipped through my hands
I may never get back again

But I'm still a dreamer, a believer
Oh, I've lost my faith in so many things, but I still believe in You
'Cause You can make anything new

Sometimes I just wish we could say all the things that are easy to hear
Ignore the injustice we see and explain every unanswered prayer
But I'd rather speak honestly and wear a tattered heart on my sleeve
'Cause in the middle of my broken dreams, redemption is here

And I'm still a dreamer, a believer
Oh, I've lost my faith in so many things, but I still believe in You
'Cause You are the answer, the redeemer
Oh, I've given up on too many things, but I'm not giving up on You
'Cause You can make anything new

I don't have every answer in life
But I'm trusting You one day at a time
'Cause You can make a weak heart stay alive forever
this is where Heaven and Earth collide
I lift my hands and give my life
This is how my weary heart stays alive

Oh, I'm still a dreamer
Still a believer
Oh, You are the answer
The redeemer

'Cause You can make anything new
Yeah, You can make anything new

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
Isaiah 43:19

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back to School Treat- Froyoz

There is a new frozen yogurt place in town--Froyoz.  Our friends treated us there once before so we thought it would be a nice Back-to-School treat for the kids.  It's basically a make your own sundae place.  They have about 100 toppings from cereals to candy bar chunks, nuts, syrups, etc.  You pick your flavor of frozen yogurt- fat free, sugar free, red velvet, tropical mango breeze, cookies and cream, etc.  Then you pick your toppings.  You can have your ice cream in just a dish or in a waffle cone.  When you're finished, they weigh your sundae and you pay 49 cents an ounce.  For 5 people, this added up to some serious cash for ice cream-- averaging $5 a sundae.  There is a punch card system- buy 10 and get 1-10 oz. sundae free. They claim their yogurt is full of nutrients and lots of health benefits.  (to take some of the guilt away for such an indulgence)   The atmosphere is really nice- Christian music played and very clean right down to the restrooms.  They are open in our town at 11 AM. (M-Sat)  We got there right when they opened and were the only ones there for a while. 

I did experience sticker shock over the price.   My husband had to remind me to let go of my frugal sense and enjoy the treat!  Needless to say, the kids had a blast!

Trying to decide is the hard part...

Eating it---not so hard...

Being silly afterwards...really easy!


The View on the Inside

    Below is the view of my counter as of yesterday.  I cut up 8 bell peppers- 4 to be used and 4 to be frozen.  Then, 8 cups of diced tomatoes and tons of parsley.  I made an awesome Unstuffed Pepper Bake (from a Kroger mailing) for taste just like regular stuffed peppers. 
Unstuffed Pepper Bake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4-6 (generous servings)

Ingredients: -
1 lb Ground Beef
- 1/3 c Frozen Diced Onion
- 10 oz pkg Chopped Green Peppers or 4 of your own diced -
2 Garlic Cloves, minced or ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp  Ground Black Pepper
- 14.5 oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained or 2 cups of your own diced -
1 cup  Instant White or Brown Rice or regular rice a little under cooked -
1 tsp  Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp  Italian Seasoning or fresh herbs from your own garden -
 8 oz pkg  Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
- 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) In a large sauce pan, sauté ground beef and onions, green peppers and garlic for 5 minutes, or until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat, and season with salt and pepper.
3) Stir in the tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 cup cheese.
4) Spread mixture evenly into a 13x9 baking dish and top with tomato sauce and remaining cheese.
5) Bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.
 The italized parts were the changes I made to the original recipe. 
My new ceiling fan...yay!  We've had a small hole in our ceiling for a while now-- waiting for a ceiling fan.  We have a house that is over a hundred years old, so any renovation is a major undertaking.  My husband put this in on his own staying up very late after work last night.  I really love the look of this fan, too.  Most importantly, I'm happy to have a light in my living room again.  The breeze it generates is not too bad either! 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Budding Actors...Shine!

We had our play today...boy was it hot!  We felt sorry for our little kiddos in their costumes!  They did such a great job.  These are taken before the actual play started because I had my hands full being the narrator and trying to remember my lines.  Even though, they were typed right in front of me.  The kids received roaring applause from their dads and then we went inside the wonderfully cool house of our host for refreshments.  It was a great experience for all of us. 


For pictures of the actual play in progress...check out It's A Boy's Life

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summertime Playin'

Swimming in the rain...

Chillin' out...




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1 Dish Chicken Parmesan

1 Dish Chicken Parmesan
Cooking spray
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 envelopes yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)
2 tsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water (very warm)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups fully cooked chicken chopped (original recipe calls for breaded but I used grilled)
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup cheese
1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
Mix batter together in 8.5 x 11 inch pan (original calls for 8 x 8 but this is definitely too small).  Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
Top batter evenly with chichen and pour sauce over top.  Sprinkle with cheese and herbs.
Bake by placing in a COLD oven; set temp at 350 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes or until done. 
(I cooked for more like 45 mins.)
4 out of 5 of our taste testers enjoyed this recipe.  The 5th thought there was too much sauce...they have a problem with too much sauce in any recipe. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blueberry pickin'

Ready to get busy!

Even Michael got in on the picking action at the very end...when I couldn't keep him occupied any longer and still pick myself. 

All 21 lbs. of blueberries

I promised a treat to the best pickers of the day...I guess with 21 lbs. that would be everyone. 



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