Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011-2012 Homeschool Curriculum

I thought I'd share what we're doing for homeschool this year, as Moses is starting kindergarten and Judah is doing some preschool stuff. Moses is 5 years 3 months and Judah is 3 1/2 exactly. Clementine is 23 months and I'm sure she'll be joining in some of the hands-on stuff!

I have a lot of Grace's curriculum left over (wasn't it just yesterday that she and I were doing kindergarten at home together!?) so I'm using a lot of that for Moses, but as I am now realizing, not all curriculum used for a prior child is a good fit for subsequent children! The great phonics/grammar program I used with Grace isn't going to work for Moses until at least next year. (I think I actually started it with Grace when she was 6, so that's perfect.  Now that I think about it, how DID Grace learn to read anyway?? I think she just kind of picked it up!)

Because we're following the Charlotte Mason method, our kindergarten/preschool days will be of a more relaxed approach. The basic principles that Charlotte Mason emphasized included short lessons, lots of nature/outside time, reading lots of "living" books, and training in good habits, so that's what we're planning to do! The habits I hope to instill in these little ones this year will hopefully carry them on to be studious, industrious, lifelong learners in the future.

A couple of great resources that have helped me plan the year include The Early Years: A Charlotte Mason Preschool Handbook and this Early Years Guide from the Simply Charlotte Mason website. Here's a summary of the early years focus:
Habits, outside play, read-alouds, and Bible are most important. If you concentrate only on them, you’ll be doing just fine. Reading, copywork, and math come next as the child is ready. (Some may not be ready until they are older than five; that’s OK!) Handicrafts, art, music, and poetry are simply add-ons that will enrich your child’s atmosphere and help him feel at home with those aspects of Charlotte Mason education when he starts “school work.”
So here's the basic rundown of our school year/curriculum:

 Moses (5 years)

Outdoors: Lots of free play and nature walks
Read Alouds: From Five in a Row, and “go-along” books
Copywork: Writing on lined paper, holding pencil correctly, copywork from FIAR books
Science: Projects to go along with FIAR books
Handicrafts: Projects to go along with FIAR books
Music: Play works of great composers in background while working
Bible: Circle Time and Fighter Verses with Mama, Bible Study with Papa

(The main way that we're organizing our Five in a Row studies is through the use of lapbooks. I get all the free resources from Homeschool Share. Here's what we'd do during our week of reading "The Story About Ping" and studying China and ducks.  I'll try to post pictures of ours once we've completed some.)

Judah (3.5 yrs)

Outdoors: Lots of free play and nature walks (Same as Moses)
Habits: Habit Training (Same as Moses)
Read Alouds: From Five in a Row, and “go-along” books (Same as Moses)
Beginning Reading: Learn letter names and sounds while Moses does reading lessons
Copywork: Trace upper-case letters with finger in sand, rice, or air, 
dry erase markers on placemat, etc.
Math: Learning along with Moses Saxon Math K
Science: Projects to go along with FIAR books (Same as Moses)
Handicrafts: Projects to go along with FIAR books (Same as Moses)
Art: (Same as Moses)
Music: Play works of great composers in background while working (Same as Moses)
Bible: Circle Time and Fighter Verses with Mama, Bible Study with Papa (Same as Moses)

I'm excited to try homeschooling 2 kids at the same time! I've only ever taught one child before, so I'm not sure how it will go to have 3 little ones all together, and 2 of them "doing school". But I'm sure we're in for a lot of fun.  =]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Reupholstering Project!

Remember my first reupholstery project? Since it's still holding up so well, I found the confidence to tackle another similar project. My sister-in-law Mary had this gorgeous number at her garage sale for $3. (She actually gave it to me for free =])  It was very musty and dusty, but I knew it had potential.

We started with some sort of velvety brocade fabric and bronzy-gold metal legs
Of course I started out by removing the nails to discard the old fabric

I discovered this even lovelier fabric under the first!

And lo and behold, a THIRD fabric beneath that!

After I had removed THREE layers of fabric, I decided there were too many nail holes in the original piece of wood and had my dad cut a new one for me. It's nice and thick and sturdy.

Here's where I wing it. I don't have any foam on hand so I used foam-backed carpet.

Handy dandy staple gun

Be sure to have a helper to hold your staples

Wrap batting over the foam (or carpet) and staple underneath

Here's what it looks like from the top

Position your fabric where you want it. I got this gorgeous piece of decorator-weight fabric at Walmart, of all places. I didn't even know Walmart sells fabric. I hadn't even been inside a Walmart for like 5 years or something. But this was a score. $3.50 for a yard.

Staple underneath

Have your helper get her cute pudgy hand in the picture

Here it is done. Doesn't have to be pretty on the underside.
Here's the finished top!
Then I had Richard remove the legs from the old top

He used his handy dandy sander thing to remove a couple spots of rust


I could have done this whole part myself but Richard likes to have an excuse to use his tools

Have your other helper hold the spray paint
Here it is primed
Yeah, it's for cars. But you use what's on hand, right?
Next comes the black paint

Then measuring to fit the top. This is where it would have been nice if I had kept the fabric closer to the edge.

It was a pain to drill through the fabric and batting, but Richard did a great job and got the legs all even and stuff.
Finished product in our living room!

I love how it turned out, and how it looks with the other red accents in the living room.

It's even comfy to use, too.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer Recap Two - August Version

Here's our August fun!

Richard's brother and sister-in-law and their twin girls came to visit! The cousins are the same age as Clementine, and it was super fun to have them over! Of course everyone packed into the pool.  =]

Grace was big sister/cousin extraordinaire, and kept all the Littles happy with bubbles

Look at those three adorable little girls! (And one sweet big girl. And a handsome boy.)

I made some wool diaper covers for Clementine out of recycled sweaters. Got a little fancy on this one.

Off to catch butterflies in a new wool soaker!

These three are just hilarious. You'll have no idea what they're talking about here unless you've ever played a computer game called Zoombinis. But it captures just how much of a little parrot Clementine is!

We spent even more time in the pool and backyard!

Clementine figured out how to push herself on the swing.

We went to church and the boys helped their little sister in a very adorable way.

BIG NEWS!! We were surprised to have this little one discovered lodging in Mama's tummy! We're expecting him or her to appear in early April 2012. 

I *love* this little clip of someone that doesn't really resemble a baby yet, but definitely has a beating heart!!  

 We had a bonfire in our fire pit and enjoyed S'mores!

Richard fanning the flames... our wood was a little damp

Clementine took charge of the marshmallows

Judah had the chocolate

Finger-lickin' good!



Not the greatest picture but don't these two look like twins in it? I usually don't see the resemblance so strongly.

Grace and I attempted to make roasted apples in the coals. Charred apples would be understating what we ended up with.

The sisters hung out by the fire

Moses pushed Judah on the swing while waiting for another S'more

Contemplating the fire

 We haven't done the State Fair since Moses was a newborn. It's just not quite our thing. (The amount of money dropped to go, the crowds, the sick tummies from eating too much fried food on a stick...) But we DID go to this Threshing Show in a more rural town northwest of us. Free to get in (thanks to a friend with an extra family voucher), a few greasy food stands but not too much, much smaller crowds, and still a lot of fun things to see and do!

This wagon is worth it's weight in gold.

Going to see the steam-powered saw mill!

This thing was powering the saw mill

They had a pioneer area where the kids got to try their hand at pioneer games and chores

Grace was really good at the hoop rolling!

Doing laundry the old-fashioned way!

Grace was quite good at it! We'll be fine if we ever have to live like pioneers.

A really cool decked-out chuck wagon.

Grinding wheat into flour

Judah took this very seriously, of course.

Pumping water

"Here Papa, wash your hands!"

We watched the steam-powered rock crusher for a while but the kids liked climbing the rock pile better.

This was their favorite - riding the miniature steam train!

This was a really fun day and I think we'll go again in the years to come!

A couple miscellaneous pictures:

I completed one of the several hundred home decorating projects I'd like to do. These pretties went into our bedroom. I got the huge embroidery/quilting hoops at Goodwill for 99¢ each and used them to frame some pretty Amy Butler fabric. I can't wait to paint our walls next!!

Moses got a tattoo and he's really tough and cool

Three little cuties with scruffy hair!!

What can I say about this girl??

She's adorable.

More playing in the backyard:

Grace was teaching the boys the art of swordplay (her words)

They killed Grace

"Sissy, are you okay?"

After a long day playing outside, it's nice to take a break and read a book with Papa.