Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Series from Compass Classroom

You remember my silly April Fool's Day post featuring the Compass Classroom, Dwane Thomas, and their contest for the next series? Well, the contest results are in (and the Amazon Gift Card winners!)... and Word Up! The Vocab Show won. The cool thing is, they really are releasing a new series! Watch the trailer for the new series below or click on this link to go to their website!

I am really interested in the Visual Latin series and this looks like a great addition to it! I am seriously considering investing in the Visual Latin series in the next year or two, to use along side our current Language Arts/Latin program. I think that Word Up! could work as a stand alone as well, so it may be a future purchase with or without Visual Latin.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Homeschool Update: the 4th month of 2014

April will complete the 4th month of our schooling this year. Once baby comes in May, we will be taking 4-6 weeks off from schooling. Then the plan is to start again in June/July and school through until Thanksgiving week, with another week or two off thrown in before then for vacation. Schooling year round really gives us the flexibility we need to make it all work between being pregnant, having babies, and taking vacation time! I love feeling like I am the one in charge of our schedule instead of trying to work our life around a "public school schedule". This is what works for us!

So, I decided I'd give an update on how things have been going for us, since we are kind of hitting the middle of our school year.

Josiah has his foundational subjects of math and language arts that are our main focus this year. Between the two subjects, he has only 1-2 hours of seat work each day. That may not seem like a lot, but that is total dedicated time, not counting bathroom breaks or me being busy/distracted with the babies, etc. When we are able to get started right after breakfast and keep going straight through until we are done, then we are done by 10am. Other days, we are just finishing up by noon. The rest of his day is filled with reading to himself (he reads science or history books for fun, along with biographies and fiction), me reading to him (we are almost done with the Chronicles of Narnia), or him playing with his siblings (lately they spend all afternoon outside), helping me with Abigail or the babies as needed, doing his chores (unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming the kitchen floor, emptying the garbage, etc.), or occasionally watching an educational film on Netflix. Also, Joey and Josiah installed a "weather station" (my dad gifted it to Joey several years ago, but it was never put to use) and Josiah has the base in his bedroom, so he has been reading the owners manual, setting the alarms, and learning how to use it. He is our "weather man" now and he always knows what the temp is, how many inches of rain we've had, and what the weather is expected to do for the day (get worse, improve, or be fair). Josiah has also been getting some mechanic experience, since Joey's Jeep has been having some problems, so they have been working on it... Joey even gave Josiah the owners manual to read. :)
We are using Abeka for math and he does 4 pages (2 front & back) every school day (Tuesday-Friday). He is breezing through it with very little help, since it is the 2nd grade book, which is what I had on hand for last year but never used (we decided to try Math U See and then realized it is not for us)... I guess technically that makes him "behind" in math... but I'm not worried about it. He is grasping the concepts very well and is building a solid foundation in addition/subtraction/time/measurements/fractions/shapes, etc. etc. and will be introduced to multiplication and division this year. I think it is fine at his age (9 last February) to be where he is at and taking it slow. It is important for the foundation to be solid.

In language arts, we are using The Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading Level Two... and still loving it. It covers it all... spelling, reading, grammar, writing, penmanship, and Latin. I feel like I have fully embraced it this year... and do it almost completely as she teaches and we have been in a great groove since February. I watch the DVD for the week every Tuesday morning while Josiah does his math (it is about 20-30 minutes long), taking notes as I need to, and then we do the lesson. The only changes I make are that we do it all in 4 days instead of 5, and I have Josiah do his work in a blank notebook instead of in the binder that came with the program. It takes some tweaking to get it to work in a blank notebook (since the binder has custom pages for lessons), but mostly it works fine to just label each notebook page and fill it in. Every week we have 20 words that I dictate to Josiah and he spells/writes them into his notebook (5-7 words per day) and then we work on grammar (aka "Framing Codes"... I love that everything follows a construction theme... building codes, framing codes, foundations, tools, foreman, etc. since I have been around construction work all of my life). Latin, penmanship, and writing are all mixed in without hardly knowing it. We are taught about the history of words, why they are spelled that way, where they come from (Latin being the most common), etc... and of course there are still the catchy rule and grammar tunes to sing along with. I can not say enough how much I love this program! Josiah does really well with it and this year he has been doing a ton of writing with little complaint (it was totally worth it to take a year off from writing last year). He writes several words plus several sentences every day. His penmanship (print) is quite good and he seems to enjoy filling up his notebook.

Hadassah (5) gets a devoted 15+ minutes everyday to drill the letter sounds and formation. I use flashcards or have her write the letters when I say the sounds, etc. We are really relaxed. I am using The Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading Level One as my guide, but we are still working in the "first 4 weeks" section... and are obviously spreading it out over much longer than 4 weeks. It is all about learning the letters' sounds and how to write them at this point, but Hadassah has been learning to spell out words based on the letters she has learned so far. The point of this program is to teach spelling before reading. Instead of putting words in front of her and showing her how to read it, I am saying words to her and helping her to sound it out (she either does this verbally or by writing it out). I really like this style of teaching. It makes sense to me. She is catching on great and tries (and often succeeds!) to spell out words and write them often. We are also VERY relaxed with math, and are teaching math concepts as part of life as it comes up. She can count to 100 and knows what it means to add. No textbook for math this year, though.

Marcus (4) and Cyrene (2) are both picking up a lot of the letter sounds and counting, etc. Often either Marcus or Cyrene will sit with us while I do the flashcards with Hadassah, repeating the sounds after she says them... or they watch the Phonics DVD with me and sing the rule/grammar tunes. Marcus has been asking how to write words (like "mom" or his name, etc.) and Cyrene is always pointing at letters/writing on things and saying "a, e, i.." etc. It is so fun watching my kids learn as a part of everyday life! Cyrene LOVES books, just like the older kids... and is always asking to be read to.

Homeschooling has been quite the journey and there are definitely some bad days, but I am so thankful that we get to do it! Praying we are blessed to do it always.

In all things... do your best and pray it's blessed! ~ Clarissa

Friday, April 11, 2014


HEDUA (affiliate) is having their Spring Sale going on right now!
My readers can get 20% off a 1-year subscription to the Home Educating Family Magazine!
Or, get their Organized Family Bundle and save 30%!
The Organized Family Bundle is the perfect way to organize your home and homeschool, be encouraged and SAVE!
The Organized Family Bundle includes:
- The 2014-2015 Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner
- The 2014-2015 Well Planned Day Wall Calendar
- A 1-Year Subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine

JUST $43.33!

(Retail Value: $61.90)