Friday, January 24, 2014

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving this year was so much fun. We celebrated with good friends and good food. Emma and Chloe were extra excited this year.  They helped me cook Thanksgiving dinner and do all the crafts.

Our Thanksgiving 2013 Menu

Antipasto Platter
Fruit Tray
Veggie Tray
Mulled Apple Cider
Smoked Turkey
Glazed Ham
Gluten free rolls
Cranberry honey butter
Green Beans and bacon 

Pumpkin and Cherry pie in mason jars


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Catch up post: Circus Summer 2013

Catch Up Post: Fourth of July 2013

Staycation 2013 Kemah Boardwalk and Schlitterbahn

We took everyone to the Kemah Boardwalk and back to our favorite Schlitterbahn.  Since it was staycation, we added all you can drink ICEEs and funnel cakes to the fun.  This worked out pretty awesome for Brian.  None of the kids could eat all of their funnel cakes, and I can't have gluten.  So he had to finish them all. 

PS they have awesome funnel cakes loaded up with ice cream and oreo cookies.  Those were hard to resist stealing a bite!!

Staycation 2013 Crabbing

Our original plan for May of 2013 was to go back to Destin, FL.  The last time we went I wound up in the hospital after day 2 having my gallbladder removed.  That was a bummer of a vacation for me, but it was fun for the kids.  So the plan was to go back and have a vacation "do-over".  But the more we planned it, the more we realized that we didn't want to travel this year.  I had been ill most of the year and we had so many things around town that we hadn't been able to go and do.  Eventually, we came to the decision that we would just enjoy the time together at home and not travel this year.  To be honest, I was glad we decided to stay home.  I was still a little nervous.  I still have an appendix and my organs seem to enjoy going crazy at the florida state line. 

So we stayed home, but decided to treat it like a vacation.  Our first trip out was to go crabbing.  None of us had ever gone, so we didn't have high expectations of catching crabs.  But we were shocked at how easy it was to catch them!  We bought a weighted line at academy for a buck or two and attached a chicken wing. 

John caught a particularly grouchy crab.  He ran after John and Brian trying to get revenge for being pulled out of the water.  Catching them from the water was easy, but dealing with them after they were on the dock was much harder!

We do still plan to head back to Destin next year for a vacation, and this year we are headed to Disney.  I am feeling a bit braver.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The homeschool teacher Binder

     Every year around June/July I start organizing for our coming school year.  I am not one of those lucky few who has a head so naturally organized that I can just "keep it all up there".  My brain is a fairly chaotic place, like a computer with too many browser windows open.  I need to get everything out and onto paper in order for things to run smoothly. But I had trouble finding an already prepared planner that had everything I wanted.  So I created a mish-mash, eclectic planner that had everything I needed from free printables online.
     Why do this?  When I take the time to plan and organize carefully, I have noticed that our homeschool doesn't seem to hit as many rough patches.  I have a chronic illness that flares up randomly.  Taking the time to plan means that school can still run smoothly even if I am not feeling well.  That is very reassuring to me.  The very first thing I created this year was my homeschool teacher binder.
I chose a binder I had around the house.  Picked up some of pocket tabs, some sheet protectors (well, actually a whole lot of sheet protectors), and post it notes.  This binder is not where I do my lesson planning.  But it is where I organize my thinking for our homeschool year.
The first page in my planner is my Daily Rhythm - The Grown up version, in a sheet protector.  It was inspired by Waldorf, and a blog post I read last year.  Having the daily rhythm offers me flexibility.  Nothing has to be timed perfectly, I can follow this regardless of when we start.
The second page in my planner is a Daily Rhythm - Kids Version in a sheet protector.  I keep a copy in my planner so I can keep everyone on task.  Each child also has a copy in their student binders (which I will share in a later post).

     My first tab in my planner is labeled "curriculum". 

I have three pages printed out, one for each child.  I listed each subject, and beside it is the curriculum I plan to use.   As I gathered the curriculum I needed at various used book sales I was able to check them off, and I highlighted what I still need to look for.  I used the printable I found  here.  I also printed out a page of all the books on each child's booklist for this year.

     The second tab in my binder is labeled "goals".
 This might be my favorite section.  I love that it has both character goals and academic goals divided by four quarters.  I printed out two pages for each child.  The first one I filled out with my goals for each of my children.  The second copy I had each child fill out their goals for themselves.  I placed their copy in their student binders.  I like the self evaluation this inspires.  I downloaded this page here.

     The third tab in my binder is labeled "yearly plans".

I have this all in one sheet that I printed out here.  I also have a yearly calendar I printed out from here.  and our local school districts calendar.  (We are home school snobs who avoid public places on school holidays).

    The third tab in my binder is "weekly/daily plans"
I made this daily schedule with post it notes and a sheet protector.  I worked out how I could schedule the kids morning so that I could work individually with each for Math and Language arts, without having the others standing around with nothing to do.
Then I added in a worksheet where I worked out what a typical week would look like for our classes, co ops, and park dates.
After that I printed out the weekly schedule worksheet from the same website I downloaded the curriculum planner from.  I used sticky notes to plan out which classes we would do on which days.  I highly recommend the sticky notes.  If things don't work out the way they are planned, you can easily adjust and move them around!
I also put this sheet in there that can be filled out each week, I downloaded it here.

     My last tab is labeled "unit studies".  I am doing KONOS with my youngest, and I needed a way to plan out those unit studies. 

I used the long range plans printout from here and sticky notes to plan out which units we would do in which month.  Of course, I used the sticky notes because the "best laid plans often go awry.."  Then from the same site I printed out a unit study planner for each month.  It allowed me to plan out all our activities, movies, books, and field trips for each unit study!

Overall, I feel very prepared for the year!  I will also be sharing my behavior management system, grade keeping,  student binders and morning meeting set up over the next few weeks!