Archive for the ‘Homeschool Memoirs’ Category

This week’s Homeschool Memoirs Meme Theme is Summer Photo Essay.  We are to post pictures from our summer activities and give a brief description of them.

Our summer was very busy–it was hard to summarize it in a few pictures!  🙂  I put together a Smilebox Slideshow for this assignment.  I hope you all enjoy it!

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My Sister-in-Law, Amber, nominated my blog for an “I Love Your Blog Award.”  Thanks, Amber!  That is really nice!

Now, as a recipient of this great award, I am supposed to nominate 7 of my favorite blogs to also receive it.  Wow–I read a lot of blogs, so narrowing it down to 7 is kind of hard!  So, I looked through my bookmarks and picked out the ones that I visit most often and really enjoy.  Here they are (in no particular order):

Scraps ‘N Snaps is my Sister-In-Law Amber’s blog.  I enjoy reading it and keeping up with my wonderful nephew, Levi!  It’s kind of strange–we both live in the same town, but it seems like we keep up with each other’s news through our blogs!  Anyway, Amber is a sweetie, and her blog is very nice.

Finishing Our Family From China is my friend Shelley’s blog.  I met this wonderful family when we travelled to China to adopt Kara.  They were part of our travel group and adopted their beautiful daughter Claire from the same province.  They were very supportive friends when we needed them, and I love them dearly.  They are now in the process of adopting a little boy from China, and I can’t wait to see him in their arms!  Their daughter also has a blog called Ready or Not, Here He Comes!  It will be neat to read her blog as they adopt her little brother!

Shirley’s Adventure to Grace Elyse is another favorite!  Terrye and I have been internet buddies for quite awhile, and I enjoy seeing her wonderful pictures of her daughter who is adopted from China.  Terrye is also a Grandma of some precious kids, so it’s neat to see them playing with their Aunt Grace.  Just a note about this blog:  be ready for some smiles!  Little Grace has the cutest expressions, and Terrye knows how to use those expressions to put together cute stories about her antics!

Journey to Therese is a wonderful blog of a growing family.  I began reading this blog quite some time ago when Adele’s husband travelled to China to adopt their daughter, Therese.  Since then, they have had another biological baby, and are expecting again!  They are really a beautiful family.  I enjoy seeing pictures of Therese.  She is one of the beautiful girls that we considered when we were applying for special needs kids, and it is so wonderful to be able to see her grow up in a loving home. 

Beautiful Feet on the Mountains is a wonderful blog written by a lady whose family lives in China.  They have a lovely daughter, and I just really enjoy reading this blog.  I have never had any contact with the author–maybe I should.  Anyway, she has beautiful pictures of China in her blog, and it makes me miss that great country so much!  She also has funny entries about the strange English names that some of the Chinese people choose.

Living with a Child and Adopting a Second Child is my friend Heather’s blog.  I met her over the internet, and I feel like I really know her.  She and her husband have a wonderful little boy adopted from China, and they are in the process of adopting a beautiful girl from China.  I can’t wait for them to bring this sweet girl home–she is just lovely!

Mighty Oak Country School is a newly-discovered treasure for me!  I met the author, Violin Mom, through the Homeschool Memoirs Meme.  This family has two adopted children whom they homeschool.  They are very involved with Suzuki violin lessons, and their kids play their violins beautifully!  When I first started reading this blog, I could hardly believe how much this Mom and I have in common.  We are becoming quick internet friends.

There you have it:  my list of the newest recipients of the “I Love Your Blog” Awards.  Please check them out.  These are all wonderful people that I know that you will enjoy getting to know!

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Today’s Homeschool Memoirs assignment is entitled, “Something New.”  For it, we are to describe something new that we are using for our homeschools this year.

As far as our homeschool curriculum is concerned, we are in our 7th year of using Abeka Academy DVD program 1.  We have been very satisfied with this curriculum and have followed it closely.  Our kids have always done well academically (scoring at the 95th percentile or above on annual standardized testing) and spiritually, and we have really seen no need to supplement or change.  Of course, our organizational methods change from year to year, but overall we have seen success in consistency.

I am, however, trying a new “extracurricular” activity with my girls this year.  My boys are actively involved in Boy Scouts, and we want similar fun learning and growing activities for our girls.  We are not comfortable with Girl Scouts because of the liberal views of the national organization as well as their support of agendas with which we do not agree.

So, this year we have begun a Scouting program called Caravan with the girls.  So far this is going very well.  Like Boy Scouts, it has a series of merit badges that the girls will be earning as they explore new hobbies and areas of study, and they are really enjoying it.  The merit badges that they will be earning this year are Sports and Fitness, Personal Care, Safety, Family, Manners, Friends, Art, Pets, Money, Prayer, Our Church, My Bible, Botany, Birds, and Recycling.  There are several levels to Caravan’s program, and the badge’s topics and requirements increase in difficulty with each level.

I enjoy crafts, so I am incorporating fun crafts into Caravan.  I am using some kits from The Creative Girls Club, and I will also be using other simple crafts as I see fit.


My girls have also expressed an interest in learning to cook and do some basic sewing, so I searched around for a good resource for those activities to also incorporate into Caravan.  I found a nice series called Home Economics for Home Schoolers published by Pearables.  We have just begun these lessons, but the girls are very excited to be cooking “real” food (i.e. food to eat for supper!).  The lessons are well planned, simple, and enjoyable.  I purchased all three volumes in this series, and I know that they will be getting a lot of use!

So, I guess we are pretty traditional and consistent in our homeschooling curriculum choice, but it is accomplishing our goals:  to prepare our children academically and spiritually for whatever God may have planned for them.  Scouting and Caravan are enjoyable activities that have benefits as well.  I think we are off to a very good year!

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This week’s Homeschool Memoirs assignment is entitled Homeschool Routines.  For it, I am going to write about how we actually get through our day.

This is going to be kind of a repeat post for those of you who are my regular readers, but putting this post in this format will help me to share my schedule with the other members of Homeschool Memoirs.

In the days prior to our starting school each year, My Mom and I sit down and try to organize a “schedule” for the new year.  This is really only a guideline to get started, but it helps me to visualize how the day will go.

Our scheduling is somewhat complicated by the fact that we use the Abeka Academy DVD program.  I have to make sure that each student has viewing time and time to complete assignments, even if they are sharing a viewing station.  This year was somewhat easier because only two of my kids, Luke and Kara, are sharing a station.  BUT–Luke and Cosette also share a seat work station, so I have to try to coordinate their schedules to not conflict with that desk!  So, you can imagine how complicated that gets! 🙂

I also need to have time for me to listen to each student read aloud each day, and I also guide each one as they practice their daily music lessons, so throw the fact that there is only one of me in there, and that really puts the challenge into making up a schedule!

Really, though, once I get it all thought through onto paper, our day goes quite smoothly.  We try to get started early enough that my kids have time to help me sort the laundry before their school starts.  Then we are pretty busy with our morning activities of school, music practice, and laundry folding until lunch.  While I fix lunch, the kids do their daily household chores.

While the kids do their afternoon classes, I grade papers and get ready for the next day.  We usually are finished with school around 3:30, although the older kids often have a few assignments to finish up in the evening.

So, we have pretty full days!  We also have scouting activities on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, so that keeps things hopping too!

I have found, though, that God always gives the strength and wisdom I need to face each school year and each day.  Sometimes I look into the coming years and wonder, “How in the world is this all going to work?”  But then I remember that He is so faithful.  He always provides me the answers I need at just the right time.  So, I praise Him today.  He is good–all of the time!

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This week’s Homeschool Memoirs Assignment is entitled “Homeschool Agendas.”  We are to share what our plans our for this school year including what curriculum we are going to use and why.

This year is our 7th year of using Abeka Academy DVD program #1.  our kids are in grades 6,4,2,1, and K4.  We have loved Abeka Academy over the years.  It is comprehensive, challenging, and enjoyable.  My kids have always enjoyed their video teachers and classmates, and I appreciate the quality that the Academy provides.  I have confidence that as we follow along day-by-day through the curriculum, my kids will get all they need to be successful in school and in life.  The program is well organized, which helps me to keep up with my five kids too!  I truly appreciate the spiritual training that is integrated into all of the Abeka subjects, and some of my kids even trace their salvation stories back to their early days in Abeka Academy.  They have all grown spiritually as a result of this program.

Another important part of our school day involves music.  I have always enjoyed music and want to pass that on to my kids.  Therefore, I not only give them lessons, I participate in their daily practice to help guide them along during the week between our “official lesson” times.  Currently all of my kids are taking piano.  John is in level 6, Brock is in level 3, Cosette is in level 2b, and Luke and Kara are in level 1.  John and Brock are also learning to play the violin, and Cosette is going to start next week!  John plays level 4, and Brock plays level 1b.  I have enjoyed getting out my violin and playing with the boys.  It had remained in its case for many years, and we sure do have a lot of fun playing together.

Our family is also very involved in scouting.  Although this is technically an extra-curricular activity, I have found it to be an excellent addition to our homeschooling experience.  I plan on writing another entry later today about how we got involved in scouting and what we are gaining from it.

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Today Homeschool Memoirs posted their first assignment entitled “All About You.”  This post is an introduction telling a little about myself and our homeschool for the other members of this group hosted by The Homeschool Blog Awards.  There is still plenty of time to participate in this weekly activity.  There is a link in my sidebar that will take you to the information about this group for those who are interested.

My name is Lois, and I have been happily married to my husband Dan for almost 13 years.  We have five children:  John, who is 11 years old and is in 6th grade; Brock, who is 9 years old and is in 4th grade; Cosette who is 7 years old and is in the 2nd grade; Luke who is 6 years old and in the 1st grade, and Kara who is 4 years old and is in 4-year-old-kindergarten.  We have used the Abeka Academy DVD program 1 since my oldest was in kindergarten, so I guess that makes this our 7th year of homeschooling.  We have all really enjoyed Abeka Academy.  The kids are all doing so well in their learning and are challenged to keep improving.

We decided to homeschool because we want to pass our faith and values on to our kids.  Today’s world is just so difficult–definitely not like it was when I was growing up.  We want our kids to believe in the eternal truths found in the Bible.  We believe that giving them a strong spiritual and academic foundation now will equip them to be solid disciples of Christ in the future.

I have several hobbies.  (Does doing laundry for a family of 7 count?? 🙂 )  I enjoy playing the piano and the violin, reading, and blogging.  I used to do a lot of crafts, but these days I just don’t have much time to do very much of that!

I am posting a slideshow of our 5 kids.  Our oldest 4 kids are all biological, but our youngest daughter was adopted from Huangshan, Anhui Province, China, in September of 2006 when she was almost 3 years old.  Adopting has been one of the best things that we have ever done.  God has certainly used our beautiful Kara as a source of joy and blessing, and we praise Him every day that we have the privilege of calling her our own.  –That is true of ALL of our kids.  They are all such treasures!

Click to play The Prairie Kids 2008
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Last year I participated in a blogging group called The Blogger Friend School and enjoyed posting entries based on their current assignments.  Today I learned about a new group that has formed called Homeschool Memoirs, and I have decided to participate in this activity this school year.

Homeschool Memoirs is a group formed by the Homeschool Blog Awards that encourages homeschooling mothers to complete weekly blog themes.  These themes are then shared among the members.  In the past, I have made some pretty neat internet friends through this type of activity, and it gives me a fun entry each week to share.

Homeschool Memoirs is running from August 13, 2008 through June 3, 2009.  There is a picture link for it on my sidebar, but I will also share the link for those who are interested in participating here:  http://homeschoolblogawards.com/2008/08/blogger-class-mates/ .

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