Friday, July 31, 2015

Last Week of Home School Break

I've spent the last few weeks getting ready for the new school year, which starts on Monday.  Wow, Monday already!!  Where does the time go?!?!  I know that I'm more excited about it than Scrappy is - obviously.  The last 2 years - k-1 - I've been flying by the seat of my pants, not really having a lesson plan, no set curriculum.  We just read whatever struck Scrappy's fancy for Science, did a few workbooks, fought over doing some copy work to improve him handwriting, and didn't have any real schedule per say.

Well, 2nd grade is going to be a wake up call for him.  Especially when it comes to his "I don't wanna do it/I want a break/I'm still hungry/I did enough homework" attitude.  I checked to see what the Minnesota state regulations are for school.  There is not a set number of hours that he must complete, but they do have a few classes that are required, but they're pretty basic.

Today's summary is just about how I have everything set up for the school year.  Later on I'll post how I set up my curriculum if anyone is interested.  If anyone is reading this.  

I finally got the office mostly cleaned up since that's where the school supplies are stored.  We do some of the school work in there, but since I have Chubbermonkey to watch too, most of our work is actually done in the living room so that Chubbers has room/stuff to play with.  But this is what we find in the office:

 All of walls in the office are plaster, so my hubby had to drill into the wall to hang theses rails so we have something to hang our posters, etc on.  Currently, the only thing hanging here is our weekly class schedule.  This isn't necessarily the order of our classes, I just kept the order consistent so it was easier to see at a glance.  I still need to update that every other Thursday is also Girl Scout night for Beau, which is a factor into planning our lessons.

This bookshelf is in the corner of my office.  The top shelf is my miscellaneous books and supplies.  The second shelf is filler paper, new and used notebooks, folders, and miscellaneous school books, mostly too young for Scrappy but that I'm holding on to for Chubbers.  The third shelf is the books and supplies for this school year, including a small tote with stickers and another with pencils, erasers, and other school supplies in it.  The bottom is just overflow.

This file box is how my weekly lessons are arranged.  There is a green folder for each week and a colored file folder for each class.  If for some reason a class gets pushed back for something comes up, the file can get moved to the next folder.  The Bible Study, Music, Math, and Art folders are kept in the front of the box because they are not used every week and are only inserted when they are needed.

Having 2 children with Cystic Fibrosis and only having one steady income, I don't have an unlimited amount of money to spend on curriculum.  Plus I didn't want to go with a boxed curriculum that decides everything for us.  I was able to put together a pretty good and interesting set of plans for this year.  My biggest struggle was how to lay it out.  

Fortunately I have been following several homeschool blogs, and one helped point me to a book that, after reading through it a couple times, answered almost all my questions.  I would HIGHLY recommend reading Blueprint Homeschooling especially if you're lost on your planning!!  It gave me so many great ideas and set me on the right track.  I adapted a few things to what works for me, and voila!!  Ready to go!!  Here is what my planning looks like...

Scrappy's "English" book information - what book(s) we're doing and what pages on what days, along with what days we have field trips written in.

This is how our Science plans are written out.  I use the same method for History/Social Studies/Geography (which are all combined this year because of how the study units are being done.  More on that later.)  Each numeral is for a week.  The purple is what text/DVD is being used and the pages, red is experiments, green is worksheets.  All of this information is gathered and put into the file folder for the week with the heading on the label such as for week I) Cells.

After I have my daily plans laid out for my classes, I pull everything together in a composition notebook for my class schedule.  I use one page per day.  I list the date at the top and the classes down the sides.  All the pages that we will read are listed, worksheets and experiments and activities are listed.  At a glance we can see everything that we will do for the whole day.

Here are a couple pictures of one of my folders.  The blue index cards stapled to the top of the folder is the list of all the library books that I will need for the week for that class.  In this case, this is a History/Social Studies/Geography folder.  One card is for books I need from our local library, one is for books I need to get via inter-library loan. (Note: Check with your library if you need to do this. Our library advised that it takes approximately a week to get inter-library loan books.)  The yellow index cards on the left side of the folder is for materials I will need for the week for various projects.  This could be for recipes, craft projects, or experiments.

Since I'm not completely sure on all the field trips that we will be having this year yet, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on the scheduling.  We are running on the 6 weeks on 1 week off schedule, so I have the first 6 weeks definitely scheduled in my composition book.  I have daily plans made up for all my classes so that they are ready to go when I am.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Let's see, where are we now?


Scraps is Summer Schooling for homeschool.  It was kind of his own fault.  He has been fighting and arguing about doing homework many days.  He was told if it was going to be a problem, he would be schooling year round.  So that is exactly what we are doing.  We have eased up on the math and science since he has a good grasp on that, but he was struggling a little with his reading and writing, so that has been our summer focus.  Our library's summer reading program helps with that also.  For every 5 books that he reads, he earns a prize. 

 Our Pizza Hut closed, so there isn't a Book It! program here anymore either, so we've started our own.  For every book he reads to me or to Dad, he earns 1 point.  Every chapter book we finish (with me reading, of course) he earns 5 points.  He can cash in 10 points for a sheet of stickers or a matchbox car.  Or he can wait and cash in 25 points for a bigger prize like a Ninja Turtle action figure or a monster truck.  It seems to be working so far.  So far we've read Because of Winn-Dixie and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We are currently reading Bridge to Terabithia.  Whenever we finish a book, we watch the movie too.

Since Beau is home, we're doing something similar for her with reading too, except she has to read the chapter books on her own and I am assigning her books to get her out of her comfort zone.  She also has assigned reading from her summer book club at the library.

Cystic Fibrosis

The boys are doing well.  Scraps has gained almost 15 pounds now with his feeding tube - and he hasn't even had it for a whole year yet!!!  Since he's been eating so well, we haven't been hooking him up at night as often for feedings.  If he starts having attitude issues or saying he's always hungry, we hook him up again.  Per his doctor's request, we're on 3x per week.   Chubbermonkey just got his vest a couple days ago so now his treatments are easier to do.  He and Scraps do their treatments together so Chubbers can see his big brother modeling for him.    It doesn't always mean it's easier, but it helps.


It seems like everything is always so busy. It's almost the 1st of August already.  Summer flies by so fast.  We've been so busy with swimming lessons, baseball, a day trip to the Grotto of the Redemption, going to the pool, gardening, doctor and dentist appointments, TOPS meetings, cleaning and attempting to purge, and a million other things.  It seems like no matter hot much I try to keep up, I just can't quite do it, let alone get ahead.  So for right now, I'm going to just enjoy the ride and see where it takes me.