Monthly Archives: August 2012

This is Not a Homeschool Blog.

I feel the need to clarify why I’m posting two posts today. This is something I rarely do. In fact, lately I’m lucky to get out the Monday-Friday posts I aim for posting! The short reason is this: this is not a homeschool blog.

Some of you come here for LDS/homeschool goodness, and that’s great. A lot of you come here for the slacker mom realism I try to serve up, when I’m not busy napping, and that’s totally awesome too. And some of you seem to come here because you hate laundry as badly as I do and frankly, you can only pin stuff for so long. We procrastinate life together. That’s good with me. (I suspect I’d have a few more ADHD readers, but I think they’re all distracted?)

This Friday I will be launching a weekly (ha! ha ha!) series I’m calling “Friday Flashback.” (My take on this Weekly Wrap Up link up.) It will somewhat chronicle our homeschooling journey–the ups, the downs, the slacker-y, and the super. Some of you won’t get into posts like that. I just wanted to let you know…

this is not a homeschool blog. 

If you’re feeling bad about yourself for ANY REASON EVER while on my blog, tell me. If you feel like no one who homeschools could possibly be a slacker mom, . If I start magically posting about how clean my house is, or tips and tutorials on perfecting make up, or step by step tutorials on throwing the best children’s birthday party with handmade party favors and the decadent dessert table, then sweetie, you’re at the wrong blog!

This blog is, at its heart, a down to earth, real life chronicle of… well, my life. In all its disorganized chaotic messiness. I may post recipes, the rare craft, and perhaps some printables, but trust me when I say to you:

my kitchen is still a mess.
the laundry still hasn’t been done.
the kids ate cheerios for breakfast and froot loops for lunch.
and I still have no idea what’s for dinner. 

2012-2013 Curriculum: Kindergarten Lite

Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve been wanting to post about our 2012-13 curriculum choices for Kindergarten for ages now. That was difficult though because I hadn’t decided on curriculum, despite obsessively thinking about it every day for months on end. I’m going to share what I eventually came up with and am now teaching! This will also be the beginning of our ‘Friday Flashback’ series, as I chronicle what’s up in our homeschool each week.
{Hahaha, it’s not going to be weekly. Don’t fool yourself.}
So here’s our curriculum run down for the year. Hopefully someone finds this interesting…

I should note, I’m trying to keep her daily work to a minimum. She is ready for kindergarten level work, but is only 4.5, so I’ve coined this year “Kindergarten Lite.”

Gospel
This was a difficult one to figure out! I’ve come up with some fun plans for Book of Mormon Stories for Little Children. Maybe I’ll share it with you here sometime. Eventually. :) Essentially we’ll be using that in conjunction with the Children’s Songbook, scriptures, and gospel art.

Math
I struggled to choose between my two favorite curriculum choices, then I randomly ordered a third. ? No, I don’t know why I do what I do. I picked McRuffy Math K. She loves it. We are about 30 lessons in, as we worked on it over the summer, and I’m still undecided if I love it or not! It’s a spiral method, which I don’t love, as they introduce a topic then go over it several times, getting more thorough each time. It’s TONS of games though, and she really enjoys all the hands-on activities to go with the workbook. I’m very grateful that her first introduction to ‘math’ has been a good one. It’s the subject I’m the most miserable at, and the subject I’m most afraid to teach!

Reading
Most of our official “phonics” instruction comes from UPSTART, a free computer-based preschool for four year olds. She spends 15-20 minutes a day on it. It’s a ‘learning’ software to adjust to where your child is, and the program is still ‘learning’ what level Nicole is on. Nicole is pretty advanced and reading, but so far hasn’t minded the A is for alligator, B is for ball review games.

The other part of our phonics and reading program I’ve talked about on this blog post. To keep her work ‘lite,’ we are finishing up Bob Books Sight Words Kindergarten, (we use these printables!) then we will either move into the Bob Books Advanced Books or the Mormon Little Books. The Mormon Little Books are great since they span such a large range of reading abilities. We may start doing a book every other week or so, since they move at a faster pace.

Social Studies, Lang. Arts, Art, Applied Math, and Science
I’ve fallen in love with the concept of this literature-based program: Five in a Row. You read one quality picture book each day, then do an activity based on the book. On Monday, we do a social studies activity (history, geography, family relationships, etc.), on Tuesday, we do Language Arts (vocabulary, grammar, etc.) and so on. My one concern with this particular program and us is that… Nicole was literally terrified of the first book we ‘rowed.’ Seriously!

My other concern is that it really tends to make our day long. I’m trying to see where I can cut out other things so that we aren’t overwhelmed. Plus, I can only keep the toddler entertained for so long before destructive things start happening! I’m going to keep at it and see what happens when we row a more preschool-friendly book next week. This year we’ll be reading classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Katy and the Big Snow, Lentil, and more. We’ll also be weaving in a few of the wonderful books from Before Five in a Row (like Caps for Sale and Corduroy)

Calendar Time
We started out by doing this darling calendar journal I found on Homeschool Creations. Due to getting into the ‘groove’ of homeschool, combined with Nicole’s young age… it was just too much for us to get done, so I’m saving it for next year.

Now for calendar time we have three easy pages that came with our McRuffy math program. (I’ve been meaning to do a review of that particular program at some point.) The first page is a colorful list of days of the week, so she circles the day, then we sing the days to the tune of the “Addam’s Family” theme song. On the second page, we have a list of the months of the year. She circles the month, and we sing the months to the tune of Ten Little Indians. The final page is a blank calendar. She writes the date each day and we talk about how a calendar is formatted. It’s really simple and we like that.

Poetry
I actually kind of laugh at me, to do daily poetry with my child, because I’m so not that person! But a curriculum I really think highly of (Sonlight), has their kindergartners read a daily poem from this book. That seemed all well and good, but I really loved the idea of sharing my personal favorite poet with Nicole, Shel Silverstein! Her first introduction to poetry comes from a book I loved as a kid: Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Read Alouds
We are working on reading aloud a chapter book each day. Nicole has a decent attention span but still, she’s four, so we don’t always read a full chapter. I like the flexibility of not being on a specific schedule. We are currently reading Beezus and Ramona, and over the summer we read The Great Cake Mystery: A No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Book for Young Readers. (I loved the HBO series of The No. 1 Ladies Detectice Agency so I appreciated this book slightly more than Nicole, but we both liked it!)

Tot School
I can’t leave out little Abigail! Since she will be with us for every single moment of school (big long sigh here–she’s mostly outgrown naps!), I have to be pretty creative on things that will occupy her for more than ten seconds at a given time. Actually, even ten seconds is a blessing! Walk Beside Me is still too advanced for her, so we’re doing “tot school.” Basically: coloring, alphabet recognition, fine motor skills (stringing beads, cutting with safety scissors) and whatever else I can throw in there to keep her busy. For now, we’re using these fun tot school printables I found.

It’s a struggle to keep her occupied. I try to throw in a snack during our day and try to time her watching a tv show when Nicole will need me most–like during math. I often feel harried and frazzled due to constant interruptions while working with Nicole. Nicole, in turn, gets distracted and loses her patience.

That covers everything. I hope. I don’t know? I worry. I panic. I pray. I calm down. (Cycle: repeat.) I know things will continue to evolve as we hit our rhythm. It will be interesting to see where we are with this curriculum “plan” at the end of the year!

If you’re homeschooling, I’d love to hear what curriculum you chose this year!

Wanted: One Mom (Temp. Position)

Source: Shoebox Blog

Source: Shoebox Blog

WANTED: ONE MOM FOR TEMPORARY HIRE

Our fast paced company (The Family, Inc.) is currently looking to fill a temporary position for one Mom. Current Mom is seeking a Mental Health Break and would like to train temp worker prior to taking Leave. Job responsibilities include the emotional, spiritual, educational, and physical growth of current associates.

Successful applicant will be:

Trained in math and spelling up to seventh grade level, with history of working with teachers and other school support. Exp. in making doctor’s appointments and finding babysitter’s especially helpful.

Skilled in making dinner, though willing to train. Dinner must be filling, thrifty, and somewhat nutritious. Getting certain members of the the company to eat vegetables would be a plus.

Daily janitorial duties are required. Junior associates will disrupt applicant during cleaning process, so applicant should be able to multitask well. Associates will also make messes in the area previously cleaned, so patience is required.

Must have good eyesight for finding the Lego’s and misc. thumb tacks hiding in carpet. Applicant should not have a strong sense of smell, as she will need to wipe the rears of junior associates. Applicant will also need to have quick fingers to fill a sippy cup before junior associate cries, a strong voice for reading the same story over and over; physically fit is preferred but not necessary, though ability to chase after associates and company animal desired.

Must be available 24/7. Ability to sleep less than six hours a night would be a plus, as junior associate wakes several times for the potty. Drivers license required. Position unpaid, though highly rewarding.

As current mom is feeling overwhelmed and underqualified for the position, possibility to turn into long-term employment possible!

Top 10 Android Apps for LDS Families

This post is a wee bit late, and a wee bit ugly. My hard drive is dead-as-a-door-nail-dead. Most of the data is backed up but currently inaccessible. Including Photoshop, family photos, blog info, and virtually everything I’ve ever saved on this computer. Do a girl a favor, pick and image, and pin it with some alluring title like “Top 10 LDS apps for Android! This is sure a handy list!” Will ya? Perhaps my lack of cool post graphic will be save by your quick pinning hands…

Last week I shared the top ten iPad apps for LDS families. I promised the Android version because a) I’m a mom and know that everything must be fair and it better be to the exactly fair to the nth degree or else and b) because I just got a pretty new Android tablet for my birthday!

While I could easily find 10 or more LDS specific Android apps, it was a stretch to call them the top ten. Let’s just say there’s room for improvement.
{You hear me, Android developers?? Improvement. Lots of it.}

10 Top Android Apps for LDS Families

10. eTrail to Eagle - my son’s scout leaders use this to help them (and me!) track his scouting progress. $1.99

See also: Eagle Mountain App. Seriously, Eagle Mountain has an app? Anyone know why??

9. LDS Youth – I mentioned this on my iPad apps list. This is great if you teach youth or have youth in your family, or if you have a youth who has an Android. :) Free.

8. The Coatalso mentioned on my iPad apps list. Cute story, great for family home evening! Free.

7. LDS Plan - not a family app per se, but a darn nifty one. This app schedules your visiting/home teaching appointments, and reports your visits, too! Free.

See also: Mormon Tithing Calculator – does more than the standard 10%! ;) You may also like LDS Temples – a directory of temples and their phone numbers, schedules, and more. Useful when you are lucky enough to have a choice of temples to attend!

6. LDS Scripture of the Day – I’ve blogged about this particular app before. Somehow, the scriptures always seem to line up neatly with exactly what I need to hear that day! It’s a widget that sits on your home screen. We like to read this out loud at breakfast before school! Free.

See also: LDS Quotes Lite, or spring for the paid version to set quotes as your background. I’m not sure if this is optomized for tablets though, so be aware of that!

LDS Gospel Library

5. Gospel Library – an official app of the church, this truly is the app you need. Scriptures, all of the church magazines (print version only), and your manuals, throw this app on your tablet and you’re ready for church. In fact, in Relief Society on Sunday I realized I had forgotten my manual. I quickly downloaded the manual (internet connection required), and shared my tablet with the sister sitting next to me who was without her manual, too! Free.

See also: LDS Tools – have the ward directory on your phone. Great for making playdates with other primary children, too!

4. LDS Children’s Sing Along - I love this app, but here’s what I can’t figure out: it appears to be the same as the iPad version, but by a different developer… and no free version?? 5 bucks is pretty steep on the Android market, especially without a freebie. But the app is darling and my kids love it anyway. $4.99

See also: LDS Hymns Sing Along

3. Bible Videos –   I love these professionally produced videos from the church. They give so much life to the words in the Scriptures! Especially useful if you’ll be doing 24 Days of Mormon Christmas again this year!

See also: The Mormon Channel – excellent resource for streaming conference, music, talks, and more.

2. LDS Hymns with Notes - as the title suggests, this is a hymn book app. You can view the songs with their notes or just with their lyrics. You can have the app play the music for you, or you can sing right along with MoTab. Your call. Great for Family Home Evenings on your tablet! Free.

1. Book of Mormon Stories - if you use FHE Made Easy or the Walk Beside Me preschool curriculum, you know I link to the Book of Mormon Stories videos all the time! This gives you quick and easy access to the videos and you can even download them for offline viewing. How fun would that be for teaching a primary class?

See also: Book of Mormon for Kids, for the digital version of the print version. <– That’s confusing. I know.

Bonus! Other apps I’d like to recommend, but I’m too cheap to purchase: LDS Gazillionaire, LDS Tiles Puzzle, Gospel Art Book, or LDS Hangman. If you try one of these apps, please leave a note and let us know what you thought!

Question: what’s your favorite app for your Android?

FHE Made Easy: August Week 4

fhe made easy cover copy

Note: a little prep work for today’s FHE Made Easy lesson. You’ll need a moment to print off the My Testimony cards on cardstock. It’s so sweet to watch children write (or dictate) their testimonies. After teaching this special lesson on the Savior appearing to the Nephites, help your children write their testimonies on the back of the cardAugust Week 4: Savior Appears to the Nephites. You can laminate this card and keep it as a bookmark for your nightly scripture reading!

August Week 4: The Savior Appears to the Nephites

While I offer these lessons for free, there are definitely benefits to paying the $10 for the entire year of lessons. You can keep the whole year on your tablet or iPad for an instant lesson, and you can also print off the lessons and store them in a binder. This way, the lessons will truly be open and go. No remembering to print off activities beforehand! Of course, if budget is a concern, just come back each week for the newest free lesson, posted every Monday morning. (Like Confessions of a Slacker Mom on Facebook for Monday reminders!)

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