I strive for this verse:

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:28-30

Friday, August 19, 2011

Homeschooling is back in session!

School is back in session!!!

My 3 kiddos that are in "school".

Josiah the 5th grader

Malachi the 3rd grader

I had to add this extra picture of him...he is too cute here!

Aliyah the Kindergartner

Judah the 18 month old

So we just finished up our second week of homeschooling here! The second week was more efficient, however, we are adding more things to our normal daily routine next week. I just wanted to begin with the basics and then add the fun things such as history, science, health, geography, art, and typing at a slower rate so that the kids don't get too overwhelmed. We will begin next week with our full "planned" schedule, although we are very flexible around here. This year we have 3 schooled children! Aliyah is officially in Kindergarten now! Josiah is in 5th grade and Malachi is in 3rd grade. It is a little more complicated for me as I have to divide my time up with 3 kids and still give time to the sweet 18 month old we have in the house :) I need to get this all figured out before adding baby #5 in Dec/Jan and then kiddo #6 in another year after that. Oh what fun it is in this household! Seriously though, I'm so blessed beyond blessed here! I would love a dozen kids or so....if my husband would only agree to it...hehe!

Anyhow, I thought that I would post what curriculum I am working on with the kids this year. I have many friends ask me what I use for curriculum and to be honest, I sort of piece together different things that I like and not use one particular company. So here is what I use below.

Reading: Total Language Plus. This is an innovative language arts curriculum focused on critical thinking and communication skills. It uses classical books and takes words from the reading and focuses on using them in spelling and vocabulary so that the child can develop a broader language. It isn't just a list of spelling words that they memorize for a week but they learn in depth how each word is used and the different meanings. It also covers comprehension by utilizing questions to help the child understand what he has read. It does have a daily grammar section as well but it isn't that extensive so I add to it. It also has enrichment writing projects and fun activities that you can incorporate if you have additional time. I used this last year with Josiah when he was in 4th grade and we covered 2 books then (The Whipping Boy and The sign of the Beaver). This year Josiah will complete 4 books/study guides consisting of Where the Red Fern Grows, Amos Fortune Free Man, The Cricket in Times Square, and My Side of the Mountain. This year, Malachi will complete 2 books/study guides consisting of The Courage of Sarah Noble and either The Sign of the Beaver or Shiloh. I have also added in a Daily Comprehension book at grade level for both boys to complete, that I picked up at a Christian bookstore, but you can find at Barnes and Nobles as well. It basically gives a short passage and a few questions to check their comprehension.

Spelling/Vocabulary: Again, this is covered in Total Language Plus.

Grammar: Easy Grammar 5 . This is the first year that I'm using this program so we will see how we like it in the end. I have heard many great reviews thus the reason I decided to try it. For 3rd Grade we are using First Language Lessons Level 3. This was a great program to teach the different parts of language and how to diagram each part of the sentence.

Math: Singapore Math. I have used this math for Josiah since he was in 1st grade and since the beginning of Malachi's school year. It has been good to us as the boys have learned many concepts and do well with it. I just add multiplication flashcards with both boys so that it helps with quick memory with the multiplication facts.

Science: Apologia Science. This is a creation based science curriculum. The past few years I have used By God's Design Science, which was good(another creation based science) but not as in depth as I would like. Apparently, By God's Design has improved their curriculum and put together a newer edition that is better, but I have the old version. So this year I decided to go with something new and am very impressed with the Science books by Apologia. We Will begin with the Flying Creatures but I also bought the Zoology and Land Animal books as well. My boys LOVE science so I am excited to start this next week and see if they love this curriculum as well.

History: In the past we have used Mystery of History, however I never felt that the kids retained much of the information nor seemed to enjoy it so much. It is a Christian based history written in chronological order including biblical stories intertwined with what we are familiar with as regular history. However, this year I have decided to try something different called Truth Quest History. This history is a literature based history in which the study guides give you numerous books that you can choose from to learn about that part of history. Again, I have not used this curriculum so I have no idea what my kids will think of it, however, considering their love of books and reading, I think that this history may be what we were lacking the past few years.

Geography: I picked up a few general books on this topic from the Christian bookstore in Colorado, however I'm sure that the same books can be bought on Amazon.

Foreign Language: Last year we studied Spanish some with Rosetta Stone, however this year I will try to find information online to learn the native language of Ethiopia. Since we are adopting from Ethiopia, I would love for us all to learn some phrases in Amharic. It would be nice to speak some of the language that Selah will be used to speaking to help her make an easier transition into our language.

Writing: So I am really stepping out on a limb with a new curriculum that seems promising in this area with high reviews. It is called Write Shop. Now that I have it in hand to look at, it is a little confusing at first but does take an easy approach to writing. I will use the younger one for Malachi and Write Shop I for Josiah. I am hoping that this will give them a more concrete idea of how to write properly at their age level. I am also using a simple cursive book for Malachi and a manuscript printing book for Aliyah.

Typing: I am still looking for some free typing programs online to help the boys learn the keyboard and type. We will be adding this to our year once I find something I like.

As for Kindergarten work, I have many different reading and math skill books. I also use Signapore math for K and this year, because of Aliyah being advanced, we will be doing some 1st grade math and reading. She is advanced due to her own desire to learn and beg her brothers to teach her things over the past 2 years. Currently she is starting in a spring semester math book and a reading book I used with the boys in 1st grade since she is reading 3-5 letter words at this point.

In addition, the kids are required to have quiet reading time and I am working on putting some art projects together to teach them. My goal this year is to teach my boys to cook more complex recipes and teach Aliyah simple cooking. I also want to teach them how to do some simple sewing as well.

I plan to write another post at a later date on the reasons why I homeschool since I have many people ask me that often.

So here is to another fun year of school.....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Update with Pictures....finally!!!

So I'm finally going to update a little about our summer! While most of this post will be pictures, I will talk a bit about what we did.

We have had a very busy summer here! The end of June, the military had some movers come in and pack up all of our things and move them to VA. At that point we then drove up to Indiana to visit Frank's family then drove south to Kentucky to do some camping and then over to Virginia to our final destination. It was a blast!! We spent time in IN camping for the 4th of July with my kindred "sister" in Christ, Ginny, and her family. Also, both of Frank's brothers, their wives, his dad and his new wife also joined us camping!!! It was the first time since we all have been married to spend so much time together! It was so great to have everyone together for the weekend. My kids also had a blast playing with Ginny's kids, as many of them were born close together. Ginny and I have been pregnant 4 times together :) I took some pics on our last day but we forgot that Matt (her oldest, an 11 yr old), had to leave early for a boyscout event. So Matt wasn't in the pictures....pooh :(

While in IN, we enjoyed visiting Frank's grandparents as well. They are such wonderful people! I met them before I met Franks' parents, when they brought him to college once. It is also cool that Frank's grandpa's dad was born at the state hospital in North Warren, when it was a regular hospital...the same place that my dad has worked all these years! Crazy!

After we left IN, we drove to KY with Dad (Frank's dad) and Andrea and camped some more. It was such a fun time as we had a chance to hike, go swimming, and just plain relax around a campfire! The kids had a blast, as they love to camp!!

We then went to VA and after about a week in a hotel, we located housing and had our household goods delivered. Since we are only here for a short few months, we left most things packed in boxes in our garage for now. We live in a cul de sac and have met most of the neighbors and found many young children here as well. God has blessed us in our move for sure!

In the past 2 weeks, Judah has had surgery to fix his hernia and has healed great. Josiah went in today for surgery to remove his tonsils and adnoids, but due to a cough, they rescheduled the surgery for October now.

We have also begun homeschooling for the year last week. However, I will put together another separate post regarding homeschooling.

So without further ado, I will post pictures below of the past 2 months.

Frank and Dena
11 yr anniversary month
15 weeks pregnant (July 2011)

Family Picture

17 month old Cutie Pie!!

He still loves his fingers!

So pretty :)

They are growing up so fast!!

Brothers on a walk.

Aliyah and Judah with Aunt Maggie.

Aliyah and Aunt Sarah.

Sarah (my sister in law) and I

Uncle Daniel and kids

Uncle Adam, Aunt Sarah, and kids

Grandma and Grandpa Carr

Married 61 years and so in love!!!

4 generations of the first born sons!!

The older men here are 6 ft tall and taller so Josiah has a few years to catch up!

Papa and his grandsons.

Great Papa, Great Grandma, Papa, Grandma Andrea and the kids altogether for a picture.

My father in law and Andrea with the kids.

Great Grandparents with their grandkids. According to Aliyah, "I know why Great grandma is called great. It is because she is so great and nice!"

Aliyah taking a picture of herself with Aunt Maggie.

My oldest and youngest....for now :)

Oh my goodness...Judah is actually smiling!!

Maggie (my sister in law) and I

A duplicate picture that I posted. I can't figure out how to delete this one.

I love this girl!! She is my sister at heart.

I was teasing Ginny about her height :) I can't say much because I'm not that tall either.

All my kids and Ginny's kids, minus Matthew. Malachi, Judah, Ella, Sarah, Aliyah, Josiah, and Sam. Josiah/Ella, Aliyah/Sam, and Judah/Sarah were all pregnancy buddies.

Papa and Judah swimming

I love my family!!! Do you notice I'm the only one with dark hair here?!