Saturday, August 24, 2013

How we do Homeschool 101

School is in session!  We decided to start on the actual start date of our local school district again this year.  I let each of the kids pick out a "first day of school" outfit for the occasion.

I am really excited about this school year for several reasons.  We have some new curriculum that I'm really looking forward to.  ALL of my kids will be "doing school" this year (preschool-5th grade).  I've updated our schoolroom some and think it will help our school day flow better.  I've come up with a basic schedule for our days that I hope will help us to stay focused (at least most days).

Here is our schoolroom.

On the left are the girls desks with a couple 10-drawer storage units between them (will be adding one more in the gap). The center one is filled with preschool activities and the other two are for the girls' work. In their desks they each have a pencil pouch with basic supplies, a notebook, and bible.

On the right is my desk where I check work. The table in the center of the room is where we do work together or where the girls can spread out if they want/need more room than their desk.

This is the other side of the school room. We have a big sectional couch, which is where we do some group activities and reading. The train table that is beside the ottoman isn't supposed to be there. It's waiting to get hauled upstairs. 

This is the bookshelf that is on the right in the picture above. It houses all of our curriculum for this year. The stack of bins/books on the left is waiting to be moved as well (it's old curriculum). 

The cabinet of the bookshelf holds extra supplies (there will be more added soon as I clean out our old closet, and it will hopefully become more organized). 

Here is our curriculum.

Belle - 5th grade
English - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Spelling - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Reading - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears - Can Do Print and Can Do Cursive

Math - Saxon 5/4

Rapunzel - 2nd grade
English - First Language Lessons - Level 2
Writing - Writing With Ease - Level 2

Phonics - Explode the Code - 5-6

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears - Printing Power and Cursive Handwriting

Math - LIFEPAC grade 2

Belle & Rapunzel (and sometimes Hercules and Aurora)
My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures, which includes history/geography, science, bible, music, and art.

Hercules - Pre-K and Aurora - Preschool
Rod & Staff - Preschool Activity Workbooks

Letter of the Week - Confessions of a Homeschooler
and other preschool activities, including games, manipulatives, workbooks, dvds, and iPad apps

Belle is also enjoying these Millers book during her free reading time. 

The kids should be awake, dressed, beds made, room picked up and downstairs by 8:00am on school days. That means I can sleep until 7:30 and still have time for a quick shower and quiet time before we start our day. The little kids are almost always up by 7:30, so that's not really a problem. If they happen to sleep in, I'll probably let them. The older girls are not consistent as to their wake time. So they are setting an alarm (they share a room) for 7:30 to give themselves plenty of time to get everything done and be downstairs by 8:00. 

Here is our schedule.  I even created an "adjusted schedule" for days when we're out of the house in the mornings for various things (MOPS, dr. appts, playdates, etc.), because in the past, those days ended up being wash days because I just didn't know where to pick up in "just" the afternoon.  Now, no excuses! 

More curious about any part of our homeschool?  Leave a comment and I'll be compiling a Homeschool FAQ. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Weekly Menu

Things around here are go go go as we wind summer down and prepare for our new school year.  I've been asked to share about our homeschool, so I'll be doing that in an upcoming post.

Rapunzel's skin has been doing pretty well lately.  She still has some small flares in her usual places (elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, neck), but they're small, and not head to toe.  We are so grateful for that!

I just thought I'd do an installment of our weekly menu, since I'm finally back to cooking again now that Eric is home.  We had friends over last Thursday night, Belle's 10th birthday party last Friday night, and more friends over on Saturday for lunch.  I always order/make/buy too much food so we're having leftover soup, bean tacos, pizza, and sub sandwiches for lunches this week.  So I only planned dinners.

Monday - Lemon Garlic Chicken, couscous, green beans
Tuesday - Picadillo tacos, spanish rice
Wednesday - Pork Roast, apples and sweet potatoes
Thursday - Tilapia, zucchini, orzo
Friday - SURPRISE!
Saturday - leftovers

As I put up groceries this weekend, I noticed that I had several things in the freezer that needed to be used.  So I declared Friday to be surprise night, where I come up with a meal from what we have on hand.  I know it sounds like no big thang.  But I am a planner.  Normally, my eye starts to twitch when I think about having to come up with a meal, without planning ahead.  But I'm going to accept the challenge this time and have a little fun with it.

And I will leave you with a few pictures from Belle's birthday party.  I can't believe I have a 10 year old!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Update

I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I've last updated. We had VBS at our church and then we went to Florida for 3 weeks. Then I sent Belle off to church camp and the rest of us went to a homeschool convention. We're finally back home and getting back into routine. 

A few things that I wanted to post about:

In my last post, I mentioned Rapunzel being put on antibiotics for her staph infection. Turns out it was a really good thing that they did a culture because she had a strain that was resistant to the original antibiotic she was put on. They called her in a new rx and she was good as new!

On our way to Florida, we stopped in Houston for her 2nd appt with the immunologist. Here's the basics of what I found out:
Her total IgE was still outrageously high, but her specific IgE for the foods she tested positive for last year, we're low.  Which means she's either outgrown her food allergies, which would be great. Or that she never had true allergies, but rather sensitivities to these foods, but treated positive on a skin test because of her eczema. 
So, when we go back in September, they are going to skin test her on those foods, and depending on how she reacts, we will attempt a food challenge on the corn.  
None of her other test results led the dr to think we needed to do any further testing. 

So I left feeling confused and overwhelmed again.

While we were in Florida, Rapunzel's skin did so great!  She didn't get a single flare while we were there. At all. We spent days at the beach, at the park, and just hanging out in the hotel room.  We continued with her daily soaks and moisturizing and her three times a week bleach baths and her skin was just beautiful. In fact, I had packed leggings to go with every outfit i packed for her, and I don't think she even wore them at all after the first few days there.  Amazing!

The room we had on base only had a shower, so here's how we pulled off bleach baths:

Then we came home.  And she started itching. And itching. And itching. And then she got another staph infection.  Then after being home only a few days, we went to Houston and spent 5 days there. She was absolutely miserable the entire time we were there. She didn't sleep well and she was so itchy. Once we got back home, her skin slowly calmed down and I'd say she's in a good place now.

We're continuing her daily skin care and she seems to be over whatever hump she had. Now we're just looking forward to starting our new school year!

Here's some photos from our travels.