Sunday, July 31, 2011

Curriculum 2011-2012

Not Back to School Blog Hop

It's time again for the Heart of the Matter's "Not" Back to School Blog Hop!
Perfect timing for us because tomorrow (Monday) is the first day of our new school year.

The first week of August is always our start date because that is the day Daddy goes back to work after his summer break.  And because it is 100+ outside and we are all getting cabin fever from being cooped up and unstructured.  And because when you start that early you can take off more of the mild, pretty fall and spring days.  Or those we-have-a-new-baby-and-things-are-kind-of-crazy days.

Following are our curriculum plans for our 2011-2012 school year.
(Dale will be 8 at the end of August.  We label him 3rd grade.
Alan will be 5 in November.  This is his 2nd year of preschool.)

Bible - The Bible! We are starting over in Genesis (for the third year) and planning to cover the major people and stories from Genesis through Acts.  Dale will be mostly notebooking, with occasional activity pages from Calvary Chapel.  Alan will have coloring pages from the same site.

Math -Singapore Math
We are almost done with 2A and will pick up in a few weeks with 2B.  I love the affordability and simplicity of Singapore, along with the option of moving along at their quick pace or slowing down for reinforcement or review at any time.

Language Arts / Writing - I have scheduled 2 days a week for Dale to post to his blog (so if you are a follower be checking for those!).  The other three days he will do copywork or write in his journal.

I am searching for a spelling program, and am strongly leaning towards All About Spelling.  We will probably not add that in until January, because I don't want to add anything new until we are in a routine with the new baby.

Typing - Dale will be reviewing and continuing with Dance Mat Typing.

Social Studies - Same as last year, Dale will be reading human interest stories from newspapers.  These have been carefully selected and previewed just for this purpose.

Science/History - For now, I view science and history as 'gravy'.  The fun stuff.  There will be plenty of time ahead for sequential, detailed learning.  For now, we cover a unit here and there as we are interested or find it relevant.  This year we are starting with a unit on the deep sea, using library books and this study from currclick.  Later (per Dale's request) we will be covering the American Revolution with a focus on the Declaration of Independence, and the National Anthem.  I have several Currclick downloads for these as well.

Piano - Continuing with the Music In Me series.  

Literature - Dale will read almost anything he can get his hands on, but I will be selecting and assigning various books throughout the year that he might not find on his own.

Rod and Staff Preschool ABC series- This is our first time trying Rod and Staff.  After just looking through them I am very impressed with what I see.  So far I only ordered A,C,D, and E.  If all goes well with those I will order the rest of the set.

Alan will be joining Dale for the ocean science unit with Under the Sea and Exploring the Ocean with Hermit Crab, both from currclick, and then other resources and activities from the Library, our home, and around the web.

That's it!  That's our plan as far as curriculum goes.  I also plan on dipping into all the puzzles, learning games, and other activities that fill our cabinets and closets.

And since you are here, please do share your favorite spelling curriculum!  Have you used All About Spelling? What did you think of it?

This post contains affiliate links from and  Thanks for looking! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

In which I (sort of) catch up on a month of blogging.

I decided what better way to make up for my scarce and sporadic July posting than to offer a mini slide show of what all we've been doing.

It is partly because of all the 'doing' that I haven't been blogging.  Ironic, don'tcha think?  To be perfectly honest?  All of these pictures (plus 200-something more) were all still on the camera (and not in the computer) until an hour or so ago!

So, without further ado, the condensed version of our July 2011.

Started with a long-anticipated (ok, so June must have been pretty busy too) End of School Recital / Open House Program.  The boys took turns reciting a few of their Bible memory selections, and Dale played a couple of pieces on the piano.

We laid out all their lapbooks and some of their other work for show-and-tell.
Little did I know they would want to show-and-tell every detail for every item!

We celebrated the 4th by attending a concert and fireworks show.  Daddy played in the concert and Dale and Alan enjoyed the music to the we're-outside-and-can-run-around fullest.
We also held our own little fireworks display one evening.  Dale was thrilled to be big enough to 'help' Daddy!
We then spent the biggest chunk of the middle of July on home-improvement projects. And by 'we' I mean Greg did all the work and I stayed busy feeding us all and trying to keep boys out of the way.  That is, when they weren't helping:
Towards the end of the month we took off on a week-long trip to visit family and pack in some vacationy type stuff along the way, which included Tyler's (and Alan's!) first time in a 'real' pool.  I tried so hard to capture Tyler's unique grin - a mix of total enjoyment and cautious reservation:
The boys enjoyed lots of time playing with their cousin, including not 1, but 2 beautiful carousel rides.
And because we apparently believe in double-dipping in everything fun, we made not 1, but 2 different trips to Chuck E. Cheese.  Trip two was with my sister and her husband.
Greg and our brother-in-law in a skee ball match up while Tyler looks on:
I don't think any of us knows who won.  Not that it matters.  All the winnings went to Dale and Alan and Chuck E's fantastic-a-wondermous cheapo prize counter.  Fun times!

Grandma & Grandpa took everybody to an indoor playground extraordinaire that offered a playground maze, train rides, arcade games (triple dip on the skee ball - yay!) and the second carousel ride:

We finally arrived home to finish up the remodeling projects, and let the boys make the most of a house empty of furniture and carpet:
And that brings us to today.  With traveling done and house projects completed, Greg had his first day back at work for the 'fall'.  We'll be starting school on Monday!  Even so, there is still time for fun, games, and time with Daddy.  I'm just not sure when this sitting on the table business started. ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh say... How do you say?

For over a month now, my two big boys have been oddly obsessed with The Star Spangled Banner.  They sing it, they hum it, they pretend to play it on pretend instruments.

Dale has even asked to study it in school this year (that along with the Declaration of Independence).  A random request, but one I have obliged with a couple of downloads from currclick's recent sale.

Not knowing exactly what to call such a wordy song, Alan went through a spell of calling it "the nascar and baseball song".  Referring, obviously, to the two places he has heard that song the most.

One day he asked Dale to sing "the nascar and baseball song."

Dale put his forehead to Alan's and spelled it out for him. "It's called: The National. Lanthem."

I gently corrected with, "Actually, Dale, it starts with an 'A'."

Dale replaced his forehead against Alan's and tried again, "It's called the National Ah-lanthem."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making Sense of Senses

While looking over curriculum and lesson plans for our upcoming school year, I wanted to double check Alan's grasp on the 5 senses.

Mama: What do you do with your eyes?

Alan: See.

Mama: What do you do with your ears?

Alan: Hear.

Mama: How do you smell?

Alan: (Big Sniff).... Good!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Family Vacation, Buffalo Style

Hey, it's only been 10 days, so why not do a post, ay?

I don't usually announce on the whole-earth-web when we aren't home, but the fact of the matter is, we are on vacation.

So there.  I said it.

Our vacation this year (and most trips we take, for that matter) is a little tour to visit family.

We prepped for this several day trip by spending the entire preceding week painting our living room and hallway, and pulling up the carpet in both of those areas.  That's just sensible, right?

And by 'we' I mean 'Greg'.  But I did my part by keeping little hands and feet out of the way as much as possible.  And cooking meals.  Because even in disarray we have to eat.

So.  Yeah.  Back to today.  

In true Buffalo fashion we didn't even leave the driveway until 30 minutes after our desired time.  But we did leave at exactly the time I predicted.  I've finally gotten used to us.  There is always something to slow you down.  Today was a discipline issue that escalated at the last minute.  It all came out good though.

We stopped at a dollar store 20 minutes down the road for some last minute items.  Two of which they didn't have.

So we decided to split up and one of us (me) brave walmart while the other (Greg) took the boys and got gas.

Then there was an emergency bathroom trip (twice) and other interruptions that totally threw a monkey wrench in our smooth plans.  Finally - an hour and a half after leaving home - we were really on our way.

And hey! In all that I was able to pick up my wedding set that was in for repairs.  I have been borrowing one for over two months and am so happy to have mine back!  The repairs themselves only took 2 or 3 days.  Can we say pro-cras-ti-na-tion?

The rest of our drive went amazingly well.  We enjoyed an episode of Adventures in Odyssey, a fun cd of kids travel and camp songs, and then completely bored (I assume they were bored anyway) our kids with a cd of 65 tv tunes from the 70's and 80's.  Fun times.  We finished up with some classical piano - Bach, Beethoven, Mozart.  Because our tastes are just varied like that.

The boys were thrilled! to be at the hotel! with an elevator! and Aaron! and Uncle Scott! and a pool!  Cousin Aaron (smack in between Dale and Alan) and his dad are in a room adjoining ours.  Within 20 minutes of unloading our luggage cart, the rooms cleared out for the pool. 

Tyler and I enjoyed the peace and quiet (and internet) for a little while, then went to watch.

After a good long swim, we joined Greg's grandparents for dinner.  At a place with dimmed lights, candles on the table, cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins.  Yeah.  Whew.  High alert time.

We were hardly even seated before the race began for me to clear everything out of Tyler's reach.  Which I was not able to do before he snatched up a fork and stuck it in the candle in front of him.

Other than that, and him throwing a board book across the table at his cousin (since when does Tyler throw things??) and driving a race car across my plate, dinner was a success.  All the kiddos behaved themselves beautifully!

But that hour in the pool was catching up with them by the end.  As soon as Alan noticed everyone had finished eating he took a good look around the table and asked if he could blow out the candles, since we were all done.  

He did, however, manage to rally for a bowl of ice cream.

And now, blessedly, everyone is putting on pjs.  Hopefully sleep will find us all soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weather, Geography, or both?

The lightening flashes outside, lighting up the afternoon sky.

I start counting, first in my head, and then out loud, "... 4-mississippi... 5-mississippi.... 6-mississippi...:

The thunder rumbles in answer.

Dale: Why did you do that?

Me: You can count how long it takes to hear thunder after the lightening and know how far away it was."

Dale: So.... the lightening was in Mississippi?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Technically speaking...

As our family gathered 'round our Sunday dinner of roast chicken, mashed taters, and assorted garden veggies, we began to recap the morning's church services.

The first question was directed at Alan, to tell us about his Sunday School lesson.

For the first time, Alan launched into retelling his Bible story, in typical Alan-fashion, I might add - instead of trying to hedge with an I-don't-remember.

"Jesus told his disciples to fill up some jugs with water because they were at a wedding and there wasn't anything to drink, and so Jesus told his disciples to fill up the jugs that were there and they did fill them up with water and then so they would have something to drink at the wedding Jesus turned the water into fruit punch!"
I don't know about you, but fruit punch wasn't exactly what I was expecting at the end of that story.

Still... I don't suppose I've ever mentioned we're Baptist, have I?