Week 18 – Done

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And that’s a wrap – Semester One has come and gone. We have learned so much through it all. The biggest change from last year was that we dropped violin lessons and orchestra. The kids did not feel they wanted to practice anymore than they usually did. Therefore, we did not see much progress. Why bother? Besides, orchestra would have put us back home at 10pm every Monday – not exactly ideal.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls I make from scratch – the bread machine makes the dough, so I don’t have to work that hard.

One other big change: both children take Saxon math and we love it. We have even discovered that we can work through two lessons per day. This helps with making up for co-op days or hiking days. Continue reading »

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review

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SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the best thing for homeschool since sliced bread. The yearly membership option is the way to go if you want to save money – yours for only $139 for the entire family. There are so many courses to go through. You don’t want to be limited by time as you would be if you invested in this educational opportunity only one month at a time.

If you want a co-op experience, by all means take your children to a brick-and-mortar co-op in your area. We tried it and loved it, but we had to give it up after one semester because of the drive (50 minutes one way).

My children were five and two at the time. We chose only three courses per child because it would have been too much to stay there the whole day, for five courses each. It was tough to wake them up early once a week, too. Over time, the ride wore them down. I got worn out, too.

So, needless to say, I am pretty excited about SchoolhouseTeachers.com, where I can access more than 50 courses for the same amount of money, no alarm clock and no commute. Online learning rocks.

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These courses are for all school ages, from preschoolers to highschoolers, and there is plenty in there just for mom – like convention recordings (I listened to one by Heidi St. John), planners (right there I saved at least $40 on a planner for me and one for my son who is in kindergarten) and e-books (149 of them by the end of the year).

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Since my son does math on a first grade level and reads on a third grade level, while his official grade is kindergarten, it’s nice to have a buffet of courses on different levels. This allows for a customized education – one of the main advantages of homeschooling.

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I receive a free membership for a year and let me just say this: my homeschool experience has already improved in only ten days of taking advantage of this online learning source.

We accessed preschool activities and crafts from the pre-K/elementary tab by clicking on Homegrown Preschool and Schoolhouse Preschool. I’ll be really honest and tell you that after reading through some of these activities I felt discouraged because making cinnamon-scented ornaments, glittery peppermint playdough or minty green goop seems overwhelming to me.

I would rather cuddle up with my children with a stack of books. I read to them for an hour straight and we only pause for water breaks. But then, I know they really enjoy crafts, so where is the balance?

Luckily for me, the preschool section contains lots of crafts and activities that fit my position on the arts-and-crafts spectrum, like Stained Glass Canvass or Painting Sunflowers.

As I looked through the Elementary Student Planner, I found a cute song in the geography section about the seven continents. I was not planning to teach my children the continents this year. But guess what? They know them because we sang this song a couple of times, in front of a world map, for the past few days.

Then, there’s the Charlotte Mason section – 16 weeks worth of how-to articles and free resources to implement a Charlotte Mason education in your home. I so look forward to systematically going through it starting on January 1.

I have already skimmed through it and found a great blog post from Ambleside Online about establishing the routine of tea time. Slowing down at 3:30 pm to brew herbal tea and smear jam on scones goes against most of the grains in my body, except the one that says, “Take time to enjoy your children.”

I have a strong tendency toward Classical Education, which is why I am happy to see there are courses in Classical History and Classical Archaeology. However, I love the Charlotte Mason approach, too and was looking to create a moment in the day when I do not interact with my children while keeping in mind specific goals. I think I just found it, through tea time.

Sure, we open A Year in Art and look at two or three paintings, according to their interest. And yes, we open the atlas so they know where Louveciennes or Delft are – locations mentioned in the paintings.

But other than that, we sit there and put something sweet and warm in our tummies and talk. I let them open the conversation and bring up whatever topic they want to talk about. I have already found out some things about my children of which I was not aware. And that’s the main reason I homeschool my children – to enjoy them, to get to know them, and to give them the best of me – however much or little it represents.

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