Celebrate the Everyday


Why Celebrate the Everyday? I always start my day by repeating to myself Psalm 118:24- "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." It's a reminder that even in the midst of the mundane and on the hardest of days, there is always something to celebrate, always something to be grateful for! Join me as I document our family's journey of homeschooling our son.

2013-2014 Curriculum

Curriculum for our 2013-2014 school year-

Zachary (7th grade)

Personal devotions
The Case for Christ: Student Edition by: Lee Strobel
The Young Peacemaker: Responding to Conflict God's Way by: Corlette Sande

All About Spelling

Junior Analytical Grammar: Mechanics
Analytical Grammar- Year 2

Cover Story: Middle School Writing Curriculum

Teaching Textbook: Pre-Algebra
Xtra Math- Online Math Fact Drills

Rosetta Stone- Latin America Spanish: Level One

Story of the World- Volume 3: Early Modern Times

Apologia General Science: 2nd Edition

Various independent reads

2011-2012 Curriculum

Curriculum for our 2011-2012
School Year:

Zachary (5th grade)

Telling God's Story
What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers
Don't Check Your Brains at the Door: Know What You Believe and Why

AVKO: Sequential Spelling 1

Junior Analytical Grammar

Lifepac Math: Grade 5

Institute for Excellence in Writing: SWI Level A

Story of the World: Vol. 1

Zoology 2: Marine Animals

We will also be working through a list of independent reading.

Reflection and The Future

I cannot believe that we are about to start our second year of homeschooling. I am proud of all that we accomplished last year and am very excited to start again. As I was cleaning and organizing our schoolroom this weekend, I had a few moments to reflect. Did I accomplish what I set out to last year? What are my goals for this year? What things will I change?

In summary, I think last year was amazing and full of discovery. We found a rhythm that worked well for us. I found that best way to teach Zachary. I learned how to make it through the struggles, and only had one meltdown. I am so thankful for understanding friends who let me cry on their shoulders and are always there to talk me down from the ledge. I am no longer afraid to push him to be all that I know he can be. This experience has solidified our family like no other. We are closer, work better together, and are making wonderful memories. It is the perfect fit for our family and for our son.
In another post I will share what we are using for curriculum this year. I've made a few changes. One thing that will not change our Friday schedule. This year's curriculum will still allow us to take the majority of that day off. However, what will change is how we spend that time. I want to fill that extra time by participating in a bi-monthly service project within our community. I am not sure exactly what that looks like yet, maybe it will be time at the city mission, or Meals On Wheels. Entitlement is something we all struggle with in some way so it is important to me for Zachary to learn to serve others graciously.

A Week in Review- March 14-20, 2011

In My Life This Week:

This week was jam packed! I know that I didn't post about the week before so I will start with Saturday, the 12th to include Lego-palooza. Shortly after Zach's basketball game we headed directly over to Impression 5 Science Center for an afternoon with Lego's. We were joined by Zachary's bff, his younger brother, and their mom. The boys had fun wandering around the different exhibits before their scheduled clinics. They were about to do the build challenge and the Lego robotics clinics. Fun was had by all! Monday was Zachary's last basketball practice of the season. He is quite bummed that the season is finished. He loved having Coach Sandy again this year and enjoyed playing on a team with all his friends. Thursday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the high 60's. We knew we couldn't spend the entire day inside so we called some friends and headed out an adventure. Our first stop was the Lansing City Market. We explored the different vendors and talked about what words like free range, organic, and to eat locally meant. We had brought along some fruit that we had brought at Meijer and using the labels were able to tell where that fruit had originated from. We had a kiwi fruit that had come all the way from Italy! The kids were able to talk about how an apple from Sparta, MI that a market vendor offered was probably better and fresher choice than say the kiwi from Italy. After eating a picnic lunch we then headed to our local nature center, which is a very short distance from our house. Zachary was able to teach his friends about how to use a compass. We then hiked the trails looking for birds (which we are all studying) and for signs of Spring. It truly was a fantastic day! The end of the week was something that Jeremy waits for each year....the Pinewood Derby. Zachary raced from his last basketball game to participate in the derby. I am proud to say that Zachary took 1st place in his age division and 3rd place in the youth championship race! Jeremy won Best of Show for his Pirates of the Caribbean themed car.

In Our Homeschool This Week:

This week was all about India. We learned a lot about Hinduism, and also the GIANT population the country of India has. In math we have been learning a lot about perimeter and area. Now that cursive and grammar are finished for the year we have started back with writing. So far so good! Everything else is plugging along!

Places We Are Going & People We Are Seeing:

Our week was filled as I said above with hikes, Lego's, and pinewood derby cars!

What's Working/Not Working For Us:

We have seen some greediness, and issues of being not thankful creep in again with Zachary. This seems to be a battle not easily won. Jeremy and I are in it for the long haul though as we are deeply committed to changing this within his character. Lots of discussions with him and gently pointing out this behavior to him in the moment have proved to be helpful.

Homeschool Questions/Thoughts I Have:

I have been really giving Zach more freedom in his schoolwork. I explain what needs to be accomplished within our day along with any commitments we have and let him take ownership. Some days it works phenomenal and some days it's not so hot but I truly think it's important to Zach. He sees that I see he is growing up. He has stepped up to the challenge of additional responsibility in all areas of his life (school, home, etc.) very well!

A Photo To Share:

I have a couple pictures to share. The first is a picture from Lego-palooza, the second collage is of our adventure to the city market and Fenner Nature Center (yes, he is holding a snake they found), and the last is collage from the Pinewood Derby.


Picnik collage

Picnik collage

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Very interesting video. I encourage you to view it and share your thoughts.

Our Week in Review- February 28-March 4,2011

In My Life This Week:
This week was good. Busy as it always is but good. We celebrated Jeremy's 36th birthday on Tuesday. Unfortunately, he had to work late that night but Zachary and I were able to make his morning special. Jeremy's love language is acts of service and I pulled out all the stops. I made his favorite breakfast, Zach and I got him balloons, I made his favorite chocolate cake, and when he came home late his favorite dinner was hot and waiting. I hope that it made him feel loved. The weekend was a welcome break. Zach and Jeremy headed off to camp with the boy scout troop Zachary will eventually transfer into and I got some ME time! I love my guys but I am an introvert so I crave alone, quiet time every once in awhile. I also was able to spend some quality time with two close friends, that was very needed too! I am refreshed and ready to start the coming week.

In Our Homeschool This Week:
This week we left Kenya and headed into Saudi Arabia. We have spent some time learning about the country as well as the Muslim faith. We will be continuing our study this coming week.

The birds have really started to make themselves known within our neighborhood which is fun since we are so intently studying them. We have enjoyed watching an eagle cam located in Virginia. The eagles are sitting on 3 eggs. They should hatch within the next week or two.

Places We Are Going & People We Are Seeing:
Since Jeremy worked late on Tuesday we took full advantage of it being National Pancake Day and headed out to IHOP were they were serving free pancakes. Zach's friends Hudson, and Kyan joined us along with their Mom (and my friend) Karri. The place was PACKED, it didn't help that it is right down the street from MSU's campus. What college student can pass up a free meal? ; )
Zachary also began gym & swim at the Westside YMCA again. Well, actually we are only doing the swim part this time. It's Zach's favorite part and then he can have an extra hour playing in the pool after his lessons. A win/win for everyone.

A Photo To Share: Here is Zach, Hudson, and Kyan waiting for their pancakes at IHOP!

Our Week in Review- February 21-25,2011

In My Life This Week-
We made it! Despite the fact that I got sick with a weird stomach virus in the beginning of the week we still managed to have a very productive week. I was unable to attend our Cub Scout pack's Blue and Gold Banquet but Jeremy and Zach had an enjoyable time. Our weekend was a relaxing one. Saturday started with Zachary's Upward basketball game. His ESPN worthy, spin move, with lay-up resulted in a basket and was the talk of the game. Jeremy and I are in awe of his improvement over last year's season. He enjoys playing on a team with 5 of his friends. The day ended with having friends over for dinner and a little work being done on our Pinewood Derby cars.

In Our Homeschool This Week-
We are currently studying Kenya. This has been a very personal country for us as we have sponsored a child there for the past 5 years. It was fantastic to learn more about where Gilbert lives, read over the letters he has sent us, and write back to him. Utilizing Google images we were able to see pictures of the slums where Gilbert and his family live. That was an eye opening experience for Zach, to say the least. We are able to send small, flat, and inexpensive gifts so Zachary made Gilbert a paper airplane, which we included in our most recent letter. This also was a great opportunity for Zachary to learn more about the Compassion International organization in general. We learned how they get mail to Gilbert, how it is translated, and how long the whole process takes.

We are well into our new science curriculum since we finished Botany in December. We are studying all creatures that fly. The first part of the textbook is all about birds. We learned about how they fly, the parts of their wings, and how they are useful, and different types of feathers. Zachary is REALLY enjoying this subject and I am having fun as well. The notebook he is creating to record what he is learning is awesome!

It is hard to believe that we are one week away from finishing our grammar and cursive curriculum. It gives us both such a great sense of accomplishment to have followed these both all the way through. The time that this will now free up in our schedule will work out very well as we will really dive back into creative writing. This is Zachary's most frustrating subject so your prayers would be appreciated. : )

Places We Are Going and People We Are Seeing This Week-
This week, like I wrote earlier, was our cub scout pack's annual Blue & Gold Banquet. This is something all cub scout packs celebrate sometime in the month of February. It recognizes the anniversary of scouting, kind of like a big birthday party. We had about 70 people attend, which was a great turn-out. Jeremy and Zach both had a lot of fun.

What's Working/Not Working For Us-
We did a little re-arranging of the schoolroom. Anyone that knows me this should come at no surprise. : ) I moved Zach's work table to the middle of the room. Zachary and I are able to both work on each side of it, across from each other. This change has been helpful in keeping Zachary on task and allows me to easily help him on his schoolwork. Eventually I would like to add another table the same size to double our workspace.

Homeschool Questions/Thoughts I Have-
February seems to be the month when everyone starts thinking about curriculum choices for next year. Due to a fantastic Groupon offer I was able to get Zachary's history curriculum at a fabulous price. Zachary thumbed through it when it arrived and he is ecstatic to begin. It might have something to do with the fact that it includes chapters on Greek Mythology. We will be studying the time period considered ancient times: the earliest nomads to the last roman emperor. I have chosen the rest of our curriculum however, I am still undecided on our math. Although, I do have it narrowed down to three.

A Photo To Share-
Here are a couple....Zach playing basketball and an experiment we did to reinforce what we learned about air pressure in regards to flight. Please excuse the blurry pictures as they were taken with my cell phone.