Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Homeschool Room 2011-2012

aka   I  <3 EXPEDIT!

School Room and Work Table
Here is the room where we do school!  It used to be our formal sitting room, but since no one formally sat in there and Mommy only used it to take naps during and after pregnancy, I figured we could turn it into a school room!  So we spent most of last summer doing just that!

Rose's Shelf
Basically the room has become an EXPEDIT sanctuary.  We started out moving furniture out and I found this first bookcase at Costco and thought, hey I could use that!   So I did.  And it was great at first, but as time went on and more and more books entered my already full-o-books house, I sent out a plea to other hs moms:  HELP! What do I do with all of  these BOOKS?!?

Thankfully, my fellow h/s mom Beth turned me on to Sue Patrick's Workbox system.  I loved the workbox system because my kiddos knew how much work they had left in a day.  They could work somewhat independently and I could schedule breaks, games, music practice, etc into our days.   Then after endless googling, I found someone using the system with EXPEDITS and I was HOOKED!  And once I found out I could buy the same shaped bookcase at IKEA for a lot less, I was set!  So after aquiring 4 more EXPEDIT shelves of varying sizes, we were ready to go!  In case you can't tell, I <3 EXPEDIT! My only complaint about the EXPEDIT is that I do not <3 the boxes and inserts IKEA sells  and designs for the EXPEDITS.  (And that IKEA discontinued the walnut finish before I had a chance to buy the desk attachment for my office, but that is a different room.)

So I had the shelves, I had a system, and I definitely had the books but I needed a way to organize the system into the shelves.  I found super cute workbox tags from Mama Jenn and since they had pics, Magnolia can "read" her mini-schedule too!  (I secretly hope eventually she will recognize these as sight words too!)  We initially tried crates, but that just did not jive with my kiddos.   I had a few of the plastic colored file boxes from the Target dollar bins, but not quite enough.  Other folks had used the itso boxes from Target, but at $6 a box, and I could only find 2 at a time in the store that was way over-budget and over-hassled.  I googled like crazy for boxes, and eventually settled on smaller white sorting boxes from Akro-Mills through Amazon.  We used them all spring and they worked fairly well, but the workbooks did not fit great in the boxes so this year as the back to school stuff came out, I bought a few more of the file boxes at Target and now we are using a mix of the Akro-Mills and the file boxes.  We do not have all our new boxes tagged and ready to go yet as I have to find more velcro tape!

Mom's Shelf
So each of my girls has their own 4-5 squares in an EXPEDIT shelf.  In those squares are their everyday boxes and books and additional literature books pre-screened by me to be appropriate reading level and maturity.  There is one entire EXPEDIT that I use for my teachers guides, lesson plans, family read-alouds (so no one sneaks ahead) and teaching supplements.  The bottom 4 boxes of that shelf also include cycle 2 related science books, art books, literature books and history books.   The other 2 large EXPEDITS hold boxes for living history books from the library or home, math manipulatives and games, reference books, atlases and anthologies, practical art guides, and art supplies.

Daisy's Shelf

 We also have a 4-square EXPEDIT that we use as our home altar with religion books and supplies in the boxes.

Home Altar

Magnolia does her work in this little corner either at the table (also from IKEA) or at the vintage desk given to us by our sweet neighbor.

Magnolia's Little Space

Finally, our school table is an awesome piece. It is of custom formica table that was my parent's kitchen table for years growing up!  My favorite thing about it is just when I think we can't get it clean, a little SoftScrub and elbow grease and it is bright shining white again!

Random New Bulletin Board
So that is our space!  I know how lucky we are to have a whole dedicated room to school!  Can't wait to see what all of the other moms are doing with their spaces!

We are participating in the Heart of the Matter Blog Hop Check out the other great rooms here!
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Melding Story of the World and Old World and America

In choosing our curriculum last year, we really liked Story of the World, but as we got closer to the dawn of Christianity, I started looking for ways to incorporate more Catholic history into the program.  When I came across Old World and America, by Fr. Furlong, it seemed like an easy way to get another perspective on history, one that we would especially appreciate this year when we do cycle 2.

So I put together this chart to add Old World and AmericaThe Old World and America to Story of the World vol. 1The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor (Revised Second Edition) (Vol. 1) (Story of the World).  I also added some chapters from Our Island Story Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall since it was recommended by the Mater Amabilis curriculum.  This is not a Catholic text, but there is a nice explanation and teacher's notes on MA's site for how to use it and when to amend it here.  If I ever come across Old World's Gifts to the New, The Old World's Gifts to the New by Sr. Mary Celeste, I will add it in, but so far i have not bought it.  I also added in a column for supplemental books with a Catholic flavor and which Saints to cover during the time period studied.  We are using individual saint books and Once Upon a Time Saints and More.  Once Upon a Time Saints More Once Upon a Time Saints

Either way, this is my first attempt at adding this all together.  Let me know if there are any errors.  We are finishing Cycle 1 right now, so I will not actually be testing this plan for 3 more years :), but I am working on finishing Cycle 2 and will post it as soon as it is finished.

If you add this to your blog, please credit my blog as your source. :)

Sotw and Owaa Chart

Friday, August 5, 2011

An Online Curriculum Sale Blog Hop

Thanks to Jessica for sponsoring this blog hop!

I have a few miscellaneous things to sell.  Some duplicates, some not going to use.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the books listed, please leave a comment with your email address and I will send you your total, with shipping, along with my PayPal info. (If you'd rather not leave your email address, you can email me directly at 5ohmulls(at)gmail(dot)com.

Shipping will be $3.50 for 1-2 items and $5.00 for 3 or more, to cover the cost of packaging and media rate in the continental U.S. If you end up ordering a lot of books, or you would like the books mailed elsewhere, I will get back to you with the actual shipping costs.

Thank you for taking a look, and be sure to check the link-up for even more online used book sales!

Religion Books
Eucharist Do this in Memory of Me by RCL Benzinger Sacarament Prep $1

Science Books
The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System HBWDJ $2
The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System

History Books
Favorite Greek Myths by Osborne PB $4
Favorite Greek Myths

Thematic Unit for Medieval Times by Teacher Created Materials $3
Medieval Times Thematic Unit

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine $7
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine (Living History Library)

Scribble Art by Kohl PB $5
Scribble Art: Independent Creative Art Experiences for Children (Bright Ideas for Learning)

Mudworks by Kohl PB $5
Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences (Bright Ideas for Learning)

Art with a Purpose Artpac 2 $4
Older edition

Mapskills Level C Teachers Guide and Answer Key by Continental Press $1
Map Skills C - Teacher's Guide (3rd Grade)

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Teacher's Guide $5
older Pink edition for use with Cursive Handwriting and Cursive Success

Voyages in English 3 SET from Loyola Press but older edition  $10 ppd  Voyages in English Teacher's Edition 3
includes Teachers Edition HB
Student Edition HB
Test Booklet PB
Test Booklet Teacher's Edition PB

Great Yarns for the Close-knit Family (knitting patterns) $8
Great Yarns for the Close-Knit Family

Our Curriculum 2011-2012

Well my plan is now fairly complete and ready to go.  (Which is good since we started school on Monday!  Yes that is "started" not "start".) I found my biggest challenges last year were planning on the fly so my plan this year is pretty thorough, right down to having all my copies already made for the 1st Term.  (more on our school year calendar later...)  This year, I have a 4th grader, 3rd grader and Preschooler at home, so we are still primarily in the grammar stage.  We use a history based classical cycle and we are in cycle 2 Middle Ages and Renaissance.  In addition to using a classical method, we are also adding in Catholic Charlotte Mason resources from Mater Amabilis.  Rose said last year that she "really only likes reading books" so I took that as my cue to investigate Charlotte Mason a little more!  So this year there are LOTS of BOOKS!


Most of our subjects we do together, at least for Rose (4th) and Daisy (3rd).
We start with PRAYER and a reading from the Saints for Young Reader for Every Day. Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol. 1: January-June Saints for Young Readers for Every Day, Vol. 2: July-December
We do a quick fact test from Calculadder and a lesson from Handwriting without Tears.  This year everyone will be doing  Cursive for the first time. Handwriting Without Tears - Grade 3 Cursive Handwriting  I am considering trying to teach Magnolia cursive first, but we'll see how that goes.

Next comes Math.  We are using Saxon all the way through so Daisy is on Math 3 Saxon Math 3: An Incremental Development, Home Study Meeting Book and Rose is on Saxon 5/4.  Saxon Math 5/4: Home School I would like to take a look at Teaching Textbooks some day as my girls don't particularly LOVE Saxon, but they are learning math and doing well at it so ...  Also I was thinking of adding Life of Fred Fractions to Rose's reading this year, but that would come later.  Magnolia will be doing typical montessori math but we are going to see what happens with Math Lessons for a Living Education from Queen Homeschool! 

So after our mid morning snack (that never really happens because we took so long to get into the school room)  we move onto All About Spelling.  All About Spelling The Multisensory Program for Spelling Success Level One So we have tried CHC's spelling and loved the Catholic elements, but the girls were not really getting the spelling.  Then we tried Writing Road to Reading and Starting a Spelling Notebook, but I found it hard and boring to implement.  We then tried Sequential Spelling, which worked fairly well, but I have heard many good things about All About Spelling and since it follows more along with the Phonics rules, we will give it a try!  If no luck, we will go back to Sequential Spelling!  (Yes all of those tries were just last year.)

Our pre-lunch routine varies everyday, but here are the run downs:
Daily Geography -  quick 30 second question every day on something geography related.
Latin - Prima Latina Prima Latina Full Set(disclaimer I am a classics major, so Latin is in my background, but I will be using the course DVD's just to give my kids a break from me :)
Religion - We will be using Faith and Life 3/4 Our Life With Jesus: Book 3 Jesus Our Guide (Faith and Life Serie, Book 4) respectively for our "religion spine."  We will be doing the Holy Rosary Project in CHC's 3rd grade curriculum.  We will also be using the living books recommended for religion by Mater Amabilis.  These include:
Life of Our Lord for Children Life of Our Lord for Children, A, First Christians by Marigold Hunt The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children, The Way of the Cross A Story of Padre Pio The Way of the Cross: A Story of Padre Pio,  Way to BethlehemThe Way to Bethlehem, Life of Mary The Life of Mary , My Path to Heaven My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith,

English/Grammar- Girls will be using Primary Language Lessons Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons  by Hillside for basic stand alone work.  We have also decided to give Michael Clay Thompson a try and will be doing the Island series Grammar Island of books together this year!  We will see how it goes.  It is supposed to be a grammar, english, poetics, writing all in one.  We tried another writing program last year, but Rose is very writing averse right now, so a less writing intensive year will be good for all of us.

Reading is an easy subject in our house because everyone loves to do it!  We will read something different every day.  On Mondays and Tuesdays we use our Catholic National Readers at the appropriate level.  These are chock full of short stories rich with Catholic tradition, morality, virtues and values.  On Wednesdays they have free reading time in a book of their choice.  On Thursdays we read from Catholic Stories for Boys and Girls (and More)Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls, Rare Catholic Stories Rare Catholic Stories: A Treasured Collection and Little Apostle on Crutches and Fr. Brown ReaderThe Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton.  On Fridays we are reading from an assigned book from the Mater Amabilis in the category of History, Geography, Classics or Saints.
They are as follows:
Both Girls: St. PatrickSaint Patrick, St. FrancisSaint Francis, A Sword in the TreeThe Sword in the Tree (Trophy Chapter Book), Baby IslandBaby Island, Joan of ArcJoan of Arc, and A Lion to Guard UsA Lion to Guard Us.
Daisy: 100 DressesThe Hundred Dresses, Family Under the BridgeThe Family under the Bridge, Children of Noisy VillageThe Children of Noisy Village, Betsy-TacyBetsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books), Miss Happiness and Miss FlowerMiss Happiness and Miss Flower, Leonardo and the Flying BoyLeonardo and the Flying Boy (Anholt's Artists).
Rose: Beorn the ProudBeorn the Proud (Living History Library), Swallows and AmazonsSwallows and Amazons (Godine Storyteller), Paddle to the SeaPaddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books), Beautiful Stories from ShakespeareBeautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children: Being a Choice Collection from the World's Greatest Classic Writer Wm. Shakespeare, Son of CharlemagneSon of Charlemagne (Living History Library) SeabirdSeabird, Brendan the NavigatorBrendan the Navigator, Pedro's JournalPedro's Journal (Apple Paperbacks), Black BeautyBlack Beauty (Sterling Classics), and The Whipping BoyThe Whipping Boy.

SOOOO after all of that we get to eat LUNCH!!!!

After lunch we do specials or extras.

History is cycle 2 Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Our spine is Story of the World vol. 2 The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance (Second Revised Edition) (Vol. 2) (Story of the World) with Old World and America The Old World and America tied in (a post will follow soon with how to match them up).  I am using Paige's history plans from  We initially planned on trying Connect with History, but it seemed a little dry for me and the kids, so we went back to Story of the World, which they really enjoy and adding in Catholic supplementary books and Old World and America.

Science:  This year we are using Paige's plans for Astronomy and Earth Science from Elemental Science.  This is a first for us, but I love how Paige breaks everything down into a simple and easy plan.  We will also be members of the Cincinnati Observatory Kids astronomy group to add a hands on element to the year!

Art: We are using Option 3 of Harmony Art Plans Grade 2 Middle Ages and Renaissance  along with Artistic Pursuits Grades 1-3 Books 1 and 2.  Love these plans and they are great for my very artsy Rose!  The Harmony Arts Plan includes a plan for music appreciation that we will also be using this year!

Practical Music:  The older girls are both taking piano lessons weekly and voice when available.

Family Read Alouds take place at night before bed.  This year we will be featuring: BeowulfBeowulf, PollyannaPollyanna, 21 BalloonsTwenty-One Balloons By William Pene Du Bois, Narrated By John McDonough: Unabridged, Arabian NightsOne Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Oxford Story Collections), St. George and the DragonSaint George and the Dragon, Knights of the Round TableThe Story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table - The Original Classic Edition, Adam of the RoadAdam of the Road, Castle DiaryCastle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, The Door in the WallThe Door in the Wall (Books for Young Readers), Robin HoodThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Misty of ChincoteagueMisty of Chincoteague, Kildee HouseKildee House (The Newbery Honor Roll), Five Little Peppers and How They GrewFive Little Peppers and How They Grew (Dover Value Editions), Secret of the AndesSecret of the Andes (Puffin Book).

Physical Education:  Rose is trying volleyball this year and will do Ultimate Frisbee in the Fall and Spring.  I would like her to do Girls on the Run, but need to find a group to join.
Daisy spends 9  hours in the gym training for gymnastics every week and will take part in the homeschool Ulitimate Frisbee team.
Magnolia is also busy with gymnastics and pre-ballet.

The girls also somehow find time for American Heritage Girls and our church youth group!

So there it is!  A year in a nutshell.  I will be adding more of my little's work as I decide what that will be :) It may be crazy,  I may be crazy, but hoping to make it fun!!!

Oops I forgot, we are participating in Heart of the Matter Homeschool Curriculum Blog Hop, so check them out for more curriculum ideas!

Not Back to School Blog Hop