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9th Grade Year in Review – Homeschool Curriculum Choices

9th grade homeschool year in review

As the end of this year finished up, it brought with it a lot of OH MY WORD – THIS GIRL IS NOT GOING TO BE IN SCHOOL MUCH LONGER angst. While I realize the end goal is to graduate our children and have them move on in life, the entire process is becoming more and more bittersweet. 

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This year, Laurianna matured so much. She has always been a ‘solid’ and mature girl, seeming much older and wiser than her 15 years, but she’s deepened even more this year. In addition to getting her first real job (and saving money for a car, but we won’t talk about that now, ok?), she began leading worship for our church youth group. Over the last two years, she has virtually taught herself how to play guitar and singing is her passion. It has been absolutely incredible to see her grow and develop in this way because she has such a heart for worship. 

Add into that, her sheer determination work on projects and goals with a purpose – and she has all the makings of an amazing young lady. Of course, I may be entirely biased. (grins)

Here’s a quick look at what Laurianna worked on for her 9th grade year. Overall, she earned a total of 7.5 credits. 

Several of the above classes were done in a group setting this year (a small co-op of 6 high school kids) and one class she and a friend worked on independently during the week and then together once a week. 

History

Notgrass cultural influences

Notgrass was a new program for our family this year, but we absolutely loved the layout and projects in Exploring World History. Although the program offers two additional credits that can be earned through the year (literature and Bible), we decided not to do those. Personally I didn’t feel the literature component was as strong and detailed as the program we have used in the past (and used this year) – there were not solid literature prompts or enough direction for learning about the author, period, and components of literature (my personal opinion – so please don’t send me hate mail). As for the Bible credit, well, she does her own Bible study and we didn’t feel the need to earn an additional credit (again, personal choice). 

Some projects were more involved than others and took a bit longer than a week, so we moved around projects as needed. Otherwise, Laurianna loved the creative outlets to tie in with her history lessons (illustrating a children’s book was one of her favorites). We loved it enough that we have made plans to use their American History in our upcoming year. 

Math

Well, I suppose Algebra 2 can be exciting for some, but there really isn’t much to say other than SHE SURVIVED ALGEBRA! Much happiness on that front and we are ready to move on to the next level of math. Praise Jesus. :) 

Literature

snow day high school

Our Literature and Composition class was so much fun this year since we added two additional kids to our small co-op (for a total of 6). Each of the kids has such a distinct writing style and personality, and it was so much fun to see them all grow throughout the year. 

One of the best parts of the class is the peer review time. Each book unit we worked on included writing three papers during the month – a profile of the author, a look at the historical period of the book, and then an essay topic based on one of the major ideas of the book (typically a 300-600 word essay). A week before the essay is due, the kids trade papers and take turn reading everyone else’s paper and making editing suggestions. While sometimes they get a little goofy, that time has been wonderful for them to gain five additional perspectives on their thought process and take additional criticisms. 

Not all the books were well-loved (there may have been much mocking about bean picking from the book Walden), but we did also have a chance to enjoy a live production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the end of the year (SO MUCH FUN). Grading papers for the mom isn’t near as enjoyable, but being with the kids and talking through book topics with them = very much fun. Laurianna is honestly a solid writer – which makes me very happy. 

Science
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Laurianna worked throughout the week on her science lessons and weekly met with her best friend to go through labs together. The other mom and I chose Biology from Science Shepherd for various reasons, one being the approach to evolution in the book. While we believe in a created world, we wanted the girls to have a solid understanding of the theory of evolution and be able to give a strong debate (or support of Creation). The book didn’t quite have the approach we were hoping for, but it is a solid curriculum. 

Dissection was the focus toward the end of the year, and the girls worked their way up from small creatures to a fetal pig. I may not have been present for that dissection (or been sad to have missed it for the most part (grins). 

Spanish

Spanish is probably the area that we are struggling most with – between having computers die on us and then the program we were using not having support available since it was merged with another company, Laurianna hasn’t quite finished her second year. We found another program that we are going to try beginning this year and see exactly where she is (so far she has finished about 1.5 years of Spanish). 

When the program wasn’t working for her and we were trying to figure out an alternative, she checked out books in Spanish (some of her favorite novels) and worked on reading them alongside her copies. She also has been spending time with several friends who speak Spanish which has been encouraging and helpful to her. Overall, hoping for a much better outcome in the upcoming year! 

Personal Finance

personal finance ramsey high school

While there really aren’t any exciting pictures to show from this class over the past year, our Foundations in Personal Finance class via Dave Ramsey is one I would highly recommend for any high school student. We typically worked on one unit over the process of two or three weeks and the kids completed additional assignments during the week. 

One thing I personally loved – the kids created a zero-based budget each month (granted for some kids very easy since they currently had no income), but having them consistently walk through the process was good practice. Overall, the kids learned about a huge realm of topics: creating an emergency fund, insurance, purchasing a car, paying for college (without borrowing money), and hands-on, practical topics they will use for years to come. 

For Laurianna, it was very encouraging and gave her some definitely goals for the upcoming years. She has already established her $500 emergency fund and been working hard over the summer to put aside money for her first car. 

Apologetics

This was another class Laurianna absolutely loved, and one we completed as a part of our small high school co-op. Although we had a small group of kids (only six), the discussions on current topics and issues that have shaped society were great to listen to. Overall, the Lightbearers program itself was solid, and our only complaint was the need to update video clips to more current clips (rather than from the late 80s and 90s). 

PE/Swim

Laurianna received credit for participating in a year-long swim team (she attended practices 3-4 times a week for 1.5 hours at a time). Her swimming did improve over the course of the year and she is definitely one of our more determined and focused children when it comes to practice. Her love for swimming has spilled over into her job for the summer too, and for her birthday she asked for a lifeguarding course – and now lifeguards and teaches swim lessons at a local pool.

Voice Lessons

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During the spring semester, Laurianna had the opportunity to take part in voice lessons through a local university.  We had much fun getting to know her instructor better (what is nicer than having a weekly home lesson?) and preparing for a small recital. Singing is another passion of Laurianna’s, so this was an area we were completely blessed to have work out (all thanks to one of her swim team coaches). 

This year was wonderful, a bit challenging at times, but puts us another year closer to graduation. Gulp! It’s hard to believe the year has flown by so quickly and we definitely can’t wait for the upcoming year either!

Other Year-End Reviews

 Take a peek at our 3rd grade, 5th grade, and 7th grade year end reviews too! Click on the below images to read the post.

3rd grade homeschool year in review 5th grade homeschool year in review 7th Grade Homeschool Year in Review 2016 from Homeschool Creations

9th Grade Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Review

For those of you who have followed us for a bit, you’ll know that our 9th grader, freshman, 14 year old – call her what you will, started her high school credits early in anticipation of having wiggle room to work and possibly take a few college classes (or concurrent enrollment) in her later high school years. We’ve affectionately dubbed her a ‘freshmore’ since she has earned quite a few high school credits already, and feels a bit further along in her high school journey to call herself a mere freshman. :)

And you all – she is doing AMAZINGLY well. Not that I’m bragging, but I am very proud of her dedication and commitment to the classes she is taking as well as competitive swimming and many additional outside school activities. Laurianna has been working as a mother’s helper two afternoons a week and also began serving on the worship team at church (and is teaching herself guitar). The girl is really, truly a gem of a student and child.

Overall, we’ve been really happy with our homeschool curriculum choices – and I thought you all might like to see what she is enjoying the most as well! You can also see our You can also see our 3rd grade mid-year review5th grade mid-year review, and 7th grade mid-year reviews as well.

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices


9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 7.5

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My one sadness for Laurianna is that her workload hasn’t allowed her as much free reading time. Between her course load and also extra activities (granted, these also include movie nights with friends and working to earn cash), she doesn’t have as much time to read ‘fun’ books for herself. When we were recently snowed in for the weekend, she took that time to put everything aside and devoured a three book series. Other than that, her workload truly isn’t too difficult – just typical.

Algebra 2 – Math is never her favorite subject, but she is happy she switched back to Teaching Textbooks this year for math. It was her decision to try a different curriculum last year (which wasn’t bad), but she definitely prefers the format of Teaching Textbooks.

Notgrass world history project {%{% Homeschool Creations

History – So far, this has been a fun class for her. Each week there is a some type of project for her to work on which she has really enjoyed. A few of them have been more involved for her (mainly because she wanted to do something more detailed than what was required). Overall she is enjoying it.

Biology – Until about 2 weeks ago, we were loving biology (and the lab she does with a friend). Right now she is in a chunk that we aren’t crazy about the layout, but that will hopefully get back to normal soon.

Literature and Composition – This is a class we are working on as a co-op and this year has definitely been fun. There are 2 more teens in the class this year which keeps it hopping, but definitely a fun one! As the teacher of this class it has been great seeing each of the kids grow and really put out some amazing work.

Apologetics – This is another of Laurianna’s favorite classes. Again we are working through this as a co-op (six kids total) and the conversations being generated are at time hilarious and also fun to listen to.

Personal Finance – This is one of Laurianna’s favorite subjects overall, and I’ll admit that I’m really enjoying it as well. The program from Dave Ramsey has been very thorough and generated some great discussion (and eye opening

PE/Swim – Laurianna has been working so hard with swim team. Out of all the kids swimming she has been most dedicated from the beginning, really pushing herself during practices and meets. She is practicing at least 3 times a week, sometimes 4, depending on our schedule.

Spanish 2 – For the first month and a half, this subject was a struggle because we were trying to figure out how to transfer all of her progress from one computer to a different one. Once we managed to get Laurianna’s Spanish program transferred to a different laptop (i.e. not the one her siblings are constantly using for school), lessons picked back up in wonderful time and she is back on track with her year.

 

Does High School Have You Scared?

Embark Conference 2016

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years! Might I also suggest the Embark Webinar coming up later this month?

Homeschooling in High School Middle and High School Planning How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations

Take a peek at our  7th grade, 5th grade, and 3rd grade curriculum choices for the year as well! Click on one of the images above to look over their curriculum piles.

The Past 3 Weeks of Homeschool = 5+ Weeks Down!

It’s hard to believe, but we are already getting close to finishing our first six weeks. Not because I’m looking at the calendar, mind you. A friend had to remind me of that!

The last few weeks since I share our first two weeks of homeschool update – well, we’ve been busy! In addition to our regular homeschool time, starting up with both of our co-ops, and swim team practice most weeknights, we also took a trip to Florida for the Family Forward event at Universal Studios.

Needless to say, there is a lot to share with you all, so I’ll try to highlight all the best stuff from the last (almost) four weeks. I’ve been trying to post on Instagram as often as I can, but I have a love/hate relationship with having my phone in the schoolroom. Trying NOT to get sucked in and distracted by different apps can be so very hard, but it is also fun to share what is happening as it happens.

LOTS of Family Time in Florida

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We were at Universal  from Thursday through Monday and had an absolute blast. It was partly a conference, but the kids were so excited because they were able to be with me the entire time. Workshops were geared toward the kids, we enjoyed some special perks (like a nighttime visit to Hogsmeade with a dessert smorgasboard), a special VIP tour, and we rode practically every roller coaster at both parks (again and again). I’ll admit I have a hard time with the 3D rides though. Our favorite ride was definitely the Hulk, and we spent more time in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade than anywhere else – they were both absolutely amazing. Between butterbeer (a cream soda and butterscotch flavored drink) and the candy shops, we were on a sugar high much of the weekend!

A highlight was watching the kids jump right in and make NEW friends quickly. We spent our last day at the park with two other families – the adults chatting while the kids ran around and rode their favorite rides. Just wonderful.

Extracting DNA

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Rick and Kaleb had fun working on a DNA science project while we were in Florida as well. Kaleb helped separate a strawberry’s DNA. It was funny because the actual DNA clump looked a whole lot like something that might come out of your nose.

Another Electronic Project

 

 

Finished the switch panel from @projecteeme – here’s a quick peek at how it works. Depending on which number is flipped on the switch panel, Zachary can make different numbers light up. This project used the base from our Project Genius activity last month. #projecteeme #Homeschool #hsscience #science

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Tuesday, 15 September 2015

 

Zachary has been having a BLAST building with EEME. His most recent project was a switch panel (we’ll be sharing more on it next week), but above is  a quick peek at what he did.

Dictionary Skill Learning

Growing with grammar learning how to use a dictionary {%{% Homeschool Creations

One of the things Kaleb has been working on during his grammar time is finding things in the dictionary, either by saying if a word will be on a page between two key words, or looking up the correct spelling of a word when given three choices. I have to say it’s nice using a good old-fashioned dictionary.

Learning How the Earth Rotates

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During our science time, we’ve been talking about the rotation of the earth. We pulled out our desk lamp and the globe to show how day and night work based on the earth’s rotation. Spinning it repeatedly is just a bonus.

Group Subjects…Finally

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We waited a few weeks and eased into our group subjects last. History and Bible were the last two that were added in. It’s a little strange not having Laurianna at the table with us this year though (sniff). While we work together on our group subjects (vocabulary, history, and Bible), she is working on her own schoolwork.

History Galore

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This year we are combining two programs together (Mystery of History 1 and Story of the World 1) using Biblioplan Ancients Family Guide. Several of you have asked how we are doing that – and I promise I will share soon! We did this some last year and are really enjoying this approach so far. We love both programs and each offers a different style, so it makes it more fun.

Hands-on History

Notgrass world history project {%{% Homeschool Creations

Laurianna is 100% in love with Exploring World History from Notgrass. The hands-on projects are something she is having so much fun with (and she is learning a lot history-wise as well). Above she is working on a project from unit 5 and painting a picture of how the Israelites felt after receiving the Law. She chose to make the Hebrew word for ‘joy’ and is making her paper look like parchment.

Chalk Pastels

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Kaleb is getting back into his art projects now too with Home Art Studio. The walls of our classroom are needing some color as well! His project prompted the rest of us to work on some art as well – I love that!

A Messy Desk is the Sign of…

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Typically my computer stays out of the classroom, but lately there have been a few things that needed to be transferred to Kindles for the girls or re-printed because I managed to miss something. But the above was enough to about drive me crazy. A messy desk makes me just want to stop everything and fix it and pushes me to distraction.

Mind you, after taking a picture, I had to take five minutes and just clean it off.

A Little Spielgaben Fun

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Our Spielgaben set is typically used by Kaleb for hands on math or to work on some fun projects, but McKenna is one that I find often like this – designing something fun with the manipulatives. Just makes me smile. Her final creation was so detailed!

Enjoying Co-op

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We are back in the swing of co-op now and our kids (especially McKenna and Zachary) are so excited about their two classes. This year we carved out space for a middle school group and they are working on Mad Scientists Club and a judicial class. Both have been a blast so far.

Egg-speriments

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To go along with the story, The Big Egg, they read this week from Mad Scientists’ Club, the kids tried some fun experiments with eggs. Using just half shells, they put them down to see how much weight four half shells would support.

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The managed to get three books on, but when they added the hefty Mad Scientists’ Club book, the cracking started. We have a few more experiments going on at home too that we’ll have to share with you all – we’re just having too much fun trying different things.

Fun with Life of Fred Readers

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Earlier this week I shared our thoughts on the Life of Fred beginning readers that Kaleb has been using along with his reading program. If you haven’t seen the post, don’t miss it (there’s a giveaway and an additional 10% off coupon!!). Kaleb is a hesitant reader, but every day he pulls out several of these to read to me. And the laughter begins. It has been so wonderful hearing his giggles and to see the LIFE being infused into this little boy all due to the pages of a few readers. (The readers are so silly and fun!!)

That’s the abbreviated version of the last four weeks. How is your homeschool time going?

Our family attended Family Forward at a discounted rate as a part of a family social media conference. All opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. I was not compensated for my time or post.

Home Hydroponics Experiments

Several months ago our oldest worked on a fun project to go along with one of the chapters in her  North Star Geography curriculum. We’ve mentioned several times that this class was one of her favorite classes last year, particularly because it included many hands-on activities as a part of the curriculum.

simple home hydroponics experiements using plastic bins, plastic bottles, and yarn to feed plants



The second part of the year  involved learning about agriculture and building a home hydroponics system (lesson 12). Laurianna decided to build two different types of hydroponic systems as part of her hands-on projects, one fairly simple system that used an empty soda bottle with yarn (to absorb the water from the bottom of the bottle) and another more elaborate system that involved some help for her dad to cut the lid of the bin she used. You can see the various ideas for home hydroponics systems here that she gathered while looking for systems to build.

Soda Bottle Hydroponic System

soda bottle hydroponics system using inverted soda bottle with yarn to absorb water and feed the growing plant-1

After looking through the different ideas online, Laurianna started with a simple soda bottle hydroponic system based on this pin. The pieces needed to get started were very easy to find:

  • an empty soda bottle
  • yarn
  • potting soil
  • seed or seedling
  • water

Laurianna cut the small soda bottle and inverted the top section into the lower section. She poked several holes through the cap of the bottle and threaded yarn through the holes, making sure they were long enough to be immersed in the water. The top part of the bottle was filled with potting soil and her seedling.

On the side of the bottle you may notice a blue line. This was her water gauge line to make sure the water was at a high enough level for the yarn to absorb the water. If it was below the line too much, the yarn had difficulty feeding the plant.

This was a super-easy system to implement and she was able to work on it independently and complete in a fairly short time frame as well. The hardest part for us was finding a good window with light to keep the plant growing well because many of our window sills are not quite wide enough to perch the bottle without the danger of someone knocking it off and making a huge mess.

Plastic Bin Home Hydroponic System

plastic bin hydroponics system using inverted soda bottles with yarn to absorb water and feed the growing plant-1

Based on an idea from this pin, Laurianna built a larger hydroponics system in a plastic bin using the following items:

  • a 10 gallon plastic bin with lid
  • 3 empty soda bottles (cut in half)
  • yarn
  • potting soil
  • 6 pepper plants
  • air filter our old fish tank
  • water

example of inverted soda bottle hydroponics system - bottle drops into lid of plastic bin-1

above you can see the yarn that she fed out through holes in the lid

My husband, Rick, helped Laurianna cut the holes in the plastic lid of the bin because it was a little tricky (and we also wanted to be sure all of her fingers and appendages were still in place at the end of the project. Laurianna then cut each soda bottle in half and poked holes in the caps of the tops of the bottle or holes in the bottoms of the bottles to thread yarn through (similar to this idea here). Once the yarn was threaded through, she filled the bottle half with potting soil and planted a seedling in the bottle.

plastic bin home hydroponics project - soda bottles are dropped into the top of plastic bin and fed with water from the bin-1

Water was added to the base of the bin and plant bottles were placed into the six holes of the bin lid. Laurianna measure to see how high the water needed to be in the bin so the yarn coming from the bottle bases would touch and absorb the water. At least half of the yarn needed to be in the water or it wouldn’t absorb well.

home hydroponics project using plastic bin and soda bottles - North Star Geography activity-1

The fish tank filter was added about a week after she started the experiment because the yarn wasn’t being oxygenated enough. To add the filter, she cut a small hole in the side of the bin and fed the filter through the side of the bin. That helped tremendously (she was hoping to get by without needing it).

The plastic bin hydroponics system was definitely more complicated to put together (although complicated is fine in her book), and it yielded some great a results. All six of the plants began to thrive once the water filter was added to the bin and were later transferred to our garden when they were budding and large enough to grow peppers. Since their transfer to the garden they have been producing like crazy and Laurianna is now in habanero and cayenne pepper heaven. (grins)

Hydroponic System Results

The soda bottle hydroponics system was simple to make and  overall worked well for the one plant that she grew using this method. Unfortunately someone (namely a high schooler) forgot to put water in the base of the bottle when we left for vacation, and the plant dried up and died while we were gone. The water in the bottle base needed to remain at a certain level or the yarn wouldn’t absorb the water correctly, so no water = a not happy plant that shriveled up to nothing.

The plastic bin hydroponics system was by far the favorite method of growing plants although it did require a bit more work (and cleanup – especially because salamanders seemed to think it was a fabulous place to crawl into and die). Most likely results were skewed based on the massive amounts of spicy peppers that were produced as well, but Laurianna was definitely proud of the work she put into it.

Overall the projects were both successful and now other children in the house are now anxious to have their turn at North Star Geography – and you have to love that! Quite honestly, it has me thinking about ways that we can better grow some of our favorite plants (or continue growing) through the winter months with a little less care on our part – so maybe it was good for everyone in the family.

Have you tried hydroponics at home and found a method that works well for you?

Find out more about North Star Geography HERE.

North Star Geography Online Course

We used the hardcover version of North Star Geography and are thrilled to see it is now also available as an online course from Bright Ideas Press! The new self-paced option also includes audiobook and instructor help!

”Homeschooling

North Star Geography Online Course

One of the best programs that we used last year was North Star Geography. We were just venturing into the world of homeschooling high school and hands-down it was Laurianna’s favorite class of the year. This wonderful class is now available as an online class as well, so if you have a child that needs to earn a high school geography credit, you can take advantage of this new format!

North Star Geography Online Course

 

Course Content

North Star Geography is a one-year class that offers a full high school credit upon completion. It’s more than just maps and remembering where places in the world are, but looks at how geography impacts us every day. The 16 lessons include:

  • Downloadable lessons in ebook format – students can read the lessons, and an audiobook version of the Student Reader is also included.
  • Hands-on activities and projects (this was one of our favorite parts) – each lesson has various ideas and activities to go-along with the learning. Choose what projects you would like to complete.
  • Map work, memorization, and research questions (don’t worry – they have the answers too!). We created an atlas with all of reference maps created over the course of the year.
  • Notetaking pages & graphic organizers – all the visual organizers and help you need is included in the program

    Online Course Benefits

    While the format of the physical version is wonderful, there are some added benefits to using the online course:

    • Learn at your own pace – although there is a suggested schedule for the class, you are free to work through the class at your own pace.
    • Tests and quizzes are graded for you – yes, please. It’s one less thing you have to do. Amen.
    • Support from the author – Tyler Hogan is available if you get stuck and need help. Consider him your personal helpline.
    • Immediate feedback – as soon as you take the quizzes and tests, you’ll know the results!

    If thinking of teaching a high school class scares you, the online version of North Star Geography is a wonderful way to put those fears to rest. We used the physical version of the program last year and cannot recommend it highly enough. Hands down, it is a class that your kids (and you) will enjoy because it is extremely organized and well thought out (which makes a mom like me very happy). There truly is a little something for children with different learning styles as well, from hands-on projects to auditory learners.

    Find out more HERE.

    North Star Geography Online Course

    The First Two Weeks of Homeschool 2015

    While we aren’t in full school mode (a.k.a. we are weaning into a few subjects as the weeks progress), the kids were literally ready to go and in the schoolroom BEFORE me on the first day of school. They were ready to jump in and go from day one.

    Kids Back to Homeschool pics 2015

    And these four – well, they can drive me batty some days, but seeing these pictures literally made me cry. They are growing up too fast!! In just a few short years Laurianna will be ready for college. COLLEGE!!! What in the world??! We took these pictures just a bit before school started (nope, didn’t take first day of school pictures – dropped the ball on that too!), but I absolutely adore the pictures above and am happy to consider these their school pictures for the year.

    I’ll confess. I dropped the ball and forgot to make our traditional back to school breakfast of funnel cakes. The kids still haven’t mentioned it, so maybe I can have a little grace on myself and make them as a surprise soon. (SHHH!)

    That said…here’s a look at what we’ve been up to the first two weeks of our homeschool time.

    Learning through Labs and Science

    Christian Kids Explore Chemistry-1

    Zachary is working on a separate science program this year, Christian Kids Explore Chemistry. So far it has been a great fit for him and he is enjoying the ‘lab’ part of each week. His first lab required quite a bit of writing (not his favorite thing to do) but was a pretty eye-opening look at the different ingredients in products and how many we recognize.

    First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-36

    The little boy and I are working on science all alone this year. He is rather sad that Zachary isn’t doing it along with us, but he is also excited to have some ‘mom time’ and learn more about the solar system with Nancy Larson Science 3.

    Kaleb has jumped right in completely subjects, asking to do more, and was the one who couldn’t figure out WHY IN THE WORLD we weren’t doing more the very first day of school. His desire to do school is the best part of the year so far for me – because typically he is the more whiney of the bunch and doesn’t want to work on everything.

    Learning Algebra…

    First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-6

    McKenna was more than a little worried about starting pre Algebra this year, so it has been wonderful to hear how much she is enjoying it (and asking to do extra lessons). We ended up finding a used version of Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra version 2.0 so it will automatically grade for her (and yay, I was able to sell my old version!).

    She has several new programs this year and it’s been a mess trying to get some things transferred from one laptop to the other, but she’s been a great sport in working along with me as we figure out the curve in her new subjects too.

    A Little History…

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    We made a last minute history switch for Laurianna to Exploring World History from Notgrass. It was exactly what I had been looking for, but the program didn’t release until mid-summer. SO glad that we made this switch! We’ll be sharing more throughout the year, but it has been a great mix of hands-on projects and textbook work for her and she is loving it!

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    Her first project was creating a collage of items/inventions that were specific to the country she lives in, so she made a collage shaped like the US and had a blast digging through old magazines for pictures to use. It was also very interesting to find things she thought originated in the States and where they actually were from.  Week two she had fun creating her own dough and hieroglyphics.

    In case you are wondering about the stand that is propping up her book, check out this post for 3 Tools for Your Homeschool Year (and we are loving!).

    A Little Music…

    First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-46

    One thing I am not is a guitarist – but the kids all are learning in bits and pieces from their dad. Laurianna pretty much taught herself to play with some instruction from Rick last year and is doing amazing, but that has brought out the other three in full force. Time to get a guitar that all the kids can use.

    First 2 weeks of homeschool August 2015-7

    There may also be a little puppy that is rather happy to sit at our feet all day and not have us running back and forth all the time. If only we can keep her out of the pencils!

    From Mom’s Perspective

    Overall the first two weeks have gone very well. Personally I feel more unprepared this year than in years past. All the curriculum is here and overall plans are in place, but things seem disjointed with Laurianna working on more independently and the rest of us trying to find a new groove as we settle into a different routine. There are still a few things I need to focus on getting lined up because I am teaching two classes this year for our high school co-op…so a bit more to think about and plan for on that end.

    We are working with several new-to-us pieces of curriculum this year and my patience level with myself is fairly low. I want it all figured out yesterday (sigh). Together we’ll work through the kinks, but really are loving all we are using so far.

    One of my main goals this year is to focus on the highlights and not get bogged down by the little stuff – because that is so very easy to do. There are many moments in the day that are frustrating – especially when I don’t ‘measure up’ to my own expectations. But then there is that little glimmer of hope and encouragement that reminds you of the WHY behind your efforts. Sometimes those moments seem so far and in between, but they make it incredibly worth it as both a teacher and a mom.

    A little reminder for today and sharing a highlight from our week. Crazy children in the background are just and added bonus for you. You're welcome (and know that this was the 5th video because the previous ones resulted in the boys wrestling in the background, even wackier faces than what you see in this one, and more insanity). This is my life, people. Every single day. (But I do love it).

    Posted by Homeschool Creations on Friday, 28 August 2015

    Last week I shared a quick video clip on Facebook (with both boys being goofs in the background). Mind you, it was the FIFTH ‘take’ on the video because the boys were trying to be as goofy as they could possibly be.  It’s unedited and silly, but hopefully it will encourage you all a little bit as well.

    Setting a Goal to Write Notes…

    love-notes-header

    Each week I’ve also set a goal to write an encouraging note to the kids as well. I found these super cute encouragement notes from one of my friends Mary Dean Draws (she hand draws these and they are great!!), and I’ve been printing them off and putting one on each kiddo’s desk every Friday highlighting something I am proud of them for during that week. (Yes, there have only been two so far, but I printed off a stack to remind myself!).

    That’s a quick overview of our first two weeks – what highlight can you share from your school time with us? Leave a comment and let’s encourage each other!

    weekly wrap up

    Linking up this week with Weekly Wrap-up!
     

     

     

    3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations