georgia

Our (classical) homeschool curriculum

Years ago when I had only one little toddler at home, I was surprised at how excited I was to teach him. It just came naturally, since he was a baby.  

Over the years I've realized that as a mom we teach our kids from the moment they are born. Introducing them to the world around us whether we realize it or not! 

I remember thinking back when Oliver, our firstborn, was a baby that he had never seen a leaf. I picked one up and showed him on a walk one day, delighting in the fact that there was so much more to show him!  

I think that was probably the beginning of me "teaching" him. And I loved it! I never thought I'd be a teacher of any sort, but it's been so much fun to teach Oliver in those early days and on into preschool, kindergarten, first, and now second grade. 

summer, outdoor play, sprinkler, georgia
sprinkler, boy, childhood, photography

As we get ready to gear up for another school year, (where did the summer go? oh yes, a new baby!) I wanted to share what we will be using this year for second grade (Oliver) and kindergarten (Aleksandr).

I remember when we first started homeschooling. I was overwhelmed with all the choices. Kindergarten with Oliver was an introduction into the world of curriculum choices. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least. 

Since then, I have to say the Lord has graciously led us to the classical route. We enrolled Oliver in Classical Conversations last year, and even though it wasn't my first choice at the time, I had a peace about pursuing it, trusting the Lord had opened the door for us to try it. Now, we are starting our second year with CC and I can say it's a whole lot easier this year planning for school! We love CC and it's been a really good fit for our family at this point. When I chose curriculum this year, I had the foundation of CC to springboard off of. That, as well as using some of the same choices we had last year that were winners! Here's my plan for the year. 

Binders!

I know, terribly exciting! But I am excited about these 3" binders for each boy. I am keeping their attendance, daily schedule and worksheets in each one. I know that at the end of the year I will be so happy to have it all in one place. I also won't have to look back to figure out our attendance and what we did exactly...somehow that seems to happen when you don't keep it in one place. Not that I would know that...

classical, homeschool, school year, organization

Planning

I love looking through halfahundredacrewood's website for some helps when I'm planning. She has great printable templates for record keeping (like this handy attendance log below) and daily planning. I printed some for each boy's book.

classical, homeschool, school year, organization

 

Handwriting

This year we are so excited to start cursive! Oliver has been excited about cursive since last year. After reading up on when to start, for us it seems like now is the best time. I actually wished I had started with cursive instead of manuscript (or print). I'm using Script-n-Scribe by Brandy Ferrell over at halfahundredacrewood.com I am actually using this for both boys so I'm excited to see how it goes for a brand new writer and one with a little more experience. 

classical, homeschool, school year, hand writing

Math

I've used Math-u-See for the past couple years and I love the manipulative set that comes with it. Oliver loves building with the blocks and has done so well with their workbooks. I'm using Beta for Oliver, and starting Aleksandr with Primer. 

classical, homeschool, school year,  math

Science

In Classical Conversations we cover science in 3 areas, in 12 week increments. The first 12 weeks is about the human body. I picked up this human body kit and coloring book second hand (consignment, and the coloring book was given to us). We will be building this little kit, and I'm also planning to do a lap book with both boys. Planning being the key word, as we have a newborn at home! I've never done lap books before and I found these which has an elementary and preschool level lap book, for both boys.

classical, homeschool, school year, science

Phonics

For our phonics this year for Oliver, I am trying a new curriculum. All About Reading was something I kept hearing great things about from other mama's. And since reading has been slow going, I wanted a complete phonics and reading set that would easily help me teach him. This one looks like a lot of fun, with lots of hands on magnet tiles, cards, a workbook and readers. I'm excited for us to jump in, and I plan to have Aleksandr sit in on it too, to see how much he can learn from it. 

classical, homeschool, school year, phonics, reading

History

We already cover a history timeline each week in CC, as well as history sentences and geography. Last year I added in these books to enrich our history. The four volumes of The Story of the World are wonderful to read aloud to tie into whatever history we are covering each week in CC. Plus, Half hundred Acre Woods offers daily planning pages that include the page numbers for SOTW that relate to each week! I also picked up this fun maze book for Oliver, since we are learning all the states and capitals in geography this year. He can't wait to draw in it!

classical, homeschool, school year, history

Reading (for kindergarten)

This year, along with All About Reading, I'll be taking Aleksandr through this book. It's his first year learning how to read, and I liked how easy the daily lessons were in this book when Oliver went through it. I'm excited to watch Aleksandr grow in the world of reading!

homeschool, classical, reading, phonics

Bible, Art and Music

We will also have Bible, art and some music mixed into our daily routine. CC covers a 12 week series of artists, and Oliver and Jonah will be learning guitar together. Jonah also teaches Bible to the boys, which is always fun to listen in on. He's a wonderful teacher. I'm so thankful we can homeschool! I think each year I become more excited than the boys about a new year. It always feels like a fresh start after the end of a school year and full summer. In our school space I painted some scriptures that I'd like to memorize with the boys. As we deal with heart issues like anger, mean words, selfishness ect. I am looking for scripture that can speak into specific areas. These three are a start for us to look at regularly and hide in our hearts. You can see more of my scripture paintings over at my shop here if you'd like some prints for your own home! 

homeschool, curriculum, classical
home, homeschool, scripture, watercolor, photography, georgia

I can hardly believe it's already that time of year again, for school to start! But I'm excited to watch our boys grow and learn, and to learn alongside them. Keeping this in mind as we kick off our school year (next week): Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)

classical homeschool, curriculum, classical conversations, school year, second grade, kindergarten, photography, home

 

 

strawberry picking

Country life. I grew up in upstate NY where the dairy farms are a plenty, and I was submerged in country life. I have memories of fields being sprayed with manure (yes, it smelled foul), cows escaping their fences, ice cream stands that gave you the best heaped cones of goodness for cheap, acreage to explore and neighbors that lived a bike ride away. 

When I married Jonah we started our life together near Atlanta. And we lived in the suburbs. A big adjustment from my country days. And I was okay with that!  It was exciting to build a life with Jonah (and still is!).

But as the years have gone by and we've added two little boys to our home, priorities have changed. Now I crave the open fields, and land to roam on. I look forward to having acreage to plant our own produce, and maybe even have some chickens. I love to be outdoors and I love letting our boys just be boys outside, in the dirt. 

So when we had two opportunities to pick strawberries this spring I was thrilled! I felt at home in the strawberry fields in a small way. Strawberries are a sentimental reminder to me of my late grandma. My grandparents had fields of berries that they harvested, and I remember driving with my mom and sisters to pick them. I wish I had paid more attention back then to what it took to actually grow them. I only remember the yummy berries themselves and the sweet strawberry jam my mom would make. I am so glad we were able to take our boys to do something I have childhood memories of. 

 

at home in the country!

at home in the country!

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living, northern ga
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Jonah loves strawberries. Shortcake, ice-cream, cobbler, whatever it may be. I love them too, but the taste of the strawberries in the stores are just not the same. I have told him this, probably every time we buy strawberries. Farm fresh berries are So Different. When we arrived at the fields and started picking I was almost afraid to bite into one because in my mind I had the memory of how sweet they had tasted from my grandparents farm. Would if I was wrong? 

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Let me tell you. A warm sun ripened berry picked right of the vine is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C. It really does not compare to the ones picked and shipped in the grocery store. It was a sweet (literally) reminder to me of berries from my childhood days. I'm so thankful we were able to let our boys experience this too. It was neat to see where they were grown!

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

Perhaps one day we will have a bigger patch of our own strawberries in our back yard. Right now we have a small 3'x2' patch that continues to spread each year. It was a great picking experience this year and I think we will head back next year. Or maybe we'll wait for blueberry season! 

its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living
its the everyday photography: strawberry picking and country living

wood working

This past Christmas we were able to create a few handmade gifts. There is something really rewarding about investing your time and hands into a special gift for someone. I love using my hands to create art, whether it is through story-telling (photography) or hand-lettering (my etsy shop). And looking back over our busy December (and November for that matter), I guess I found it hard to say "no" to certain projects because I love the process of creating.

Jonah and I are likeminded when it comes to being creative. I met him in college and we ended up majoring in the same creative field. I love knowing we can share ideas and critique each other's projects (when asked, ha!). And this past November, in the middle of my hand-lettering busyness of wrapping up commissioned pieces, Jonah had an idea for a Christmas gift for our parents. Wood pieces have always held our interest and I had my first experiences working with wood this year with a few lettering pieces—some I painted and some I burned. After our experience with reclaimed wood (I blogged about recently) we were fascinated with not only the look of this wood, but the stories behind it. Jonah wanted to create some wood pieces as gifts and use specific wood in them.

The backstory:

My parents live in NY in farm country (far from the city) where barns and quilts are in large supply. Growing up in NY, my mom was skilled in many areas of homemaking, including sewing. She had a special love for quilt patterns and loved to travel to see the handmade quilts of the Amish. My parents also live in an old farmhouse that has a large barn on their property. It's no longer a home to cows like it was years and years ago, but it's pretty and has been kept up through the years. There were old pieces of wood in it (over 100 years old) and, knowing this, we asked my parents if they'd bring some of it up to us when they visited over Christmas. They didn't know we'd be using it for a gift for them!  

Originally when Jonah was going to make this piece for them, we had conceptualized the design of it (with quilt patterns) and planned to use some wood we had on hand. But once we started talking through it, we realized how much more personal and meaningful it would be to use wood from their own property. If ever they were to move, they'd be able to take with them a small part of the home they lived in for so long. 

The second piece he made was also a square wood piece with a quilt pattern on it, but it was for his mom. His parents live southeast of us in Georgia, and for her wood piece we headed to his grandma's house (the house his mom grew up in) and he foraged for wood from the barn on their property (it is falling down). His mom was there and wondered what in the world Jonah was doing with old wood, but we managed to avoid actually answering what we'd use it for! This wood was even prettier because it had some original paint on it, giving it a lovely green color and as it turned out, the wood he pulled from the barn was actually wood that was used on the old porch on the house. Knowing the wood was original to the house she grew up in was definitely a special detail. 

I am always amazed at Jonah's ability to learn a new skill so quickly. It's challenging and rewarding working with wood and perhaps he will grow in this area down the road. We are thankful to learn and grow in the gifting that God has given us and this past year it seemed to be so many different creative areas poured on us, we are excited to see what is next. 

Here are the lovely finished pieces and my hard-working, creative husband. I'm so proud of the beautiful work he created! 

the one for my parents with original barn wood from their property. 

the one for my parents with original barn wood from their property. 

the one for Jonah's mom with wood from the porch of her childhood home (the pieces with the green paint).

the one for Jonah's mom with wood from the porch of her childhood home (the pieces with the green paint).