Monday, September 29, 2008

The ABC's of Preschool

It probably seems like my little one's get left out a lot, when in fact we have been very busy with reading lots of books and learning how to count, recognizing our colors, and learning our ABC's. We have also been on field trips to the farmer's market, the library, the fire station, and Shakey's Pizza to learn and make our own pizzas. But even if we do periodically focus on the older two the younger ones are always listening and learning too.

When I first decided to homeschool last year, my older two were given the opportunity to go to Texas to stay with my sister for the summer. This is something they really needed and deserved. They got the chance to step out of their role as older brother and sister, and were allowed to just be kids and have fun.

While this was happening, I took the opportunity to focus on my little ones; fearing that when the older two got back they would be neglected. So this summer, me, the little ones, and Grammee did a thematic study on farms. We read books like The Ox-Cart Manand Stories from Treasured Tales from Beatrix Potter, and we read nursery rhymes(ALL HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). We sang songs like "Old MacDonald". I had a puzzle of a farm and all the animals in groups from one to ten. For example: one cow, two chickens, three mice, ect. And we put that together counting and making the noises of all the animals. We also discussed all the different jobs and purposes of all the animals on a farm. We did an art project making a picture of a barn yard out of beans and macaroni. After we read Beatrix Potter, we got clay out and made turtles, frogs, and other things that went along with the stories.

For food we picked blackberries from our own back yard, we made homemade bread, and we made our own butter. *This is actually very simple, you get small containers like baby food jars, buy some heavy whipping cream, add a little salt, and then shake, shake, shake, shake,shake..........until it turns into butter!!!* This was a lot of fun, plus it tasted SOOOO GOOD on our warm homemade bread! You could even drizzle some honey over it and talk about bees and the job they do. If you look at things creatively enough, every situation can turn into a moment to teach. We also made some homemade ice cream. Delicious! Ok so we used an electric ice cream maker, but it's still considered homemade in my book after all we did add all the ingredients ourselves. :-) And the kiddos thought it was cool.

I really wanted to visit a working farm, but at the time I didn't know where one was. So we settled for visiting the local farmers market and talked about how farmers plant, grow and harvest food so that we can have good food to eat. This too was a lot of fun.

Next year I plan on having a garden so that we can carry this theme even farther. I imagine that planting our own garden will be very rewarding and exciting for our family. Hope this is helpful for someone.

Love, Haben


Well, let me show everyone what we've been up to for the last couple of weeks. We've been slowly working on our dino study that we got from hss. Since we started off our year studying the creation we also looked at what day we thought the dinosaurs were created. And our guess is that they were created on the fifth and sixth days with the rest of the water, air and land creatures. Then we went on to learn about what classification dinosaurs would be in; which of course is the reptile family. After learning about what qualifies as a reptile, we went outside to see if we could find a descendant of a dinosaur. And we were in luck, we were able to find a lizard...well Chloe our dog got to it first and we had to wrangle it away from her. And before we could get it from her, she managed to kill it, which actually ended up being quite useful. Since it was dead we were able to examine it in a way that would have been nearly impossible if it were still alive. We got to turn it upside down and look at it's under belly and open it's mouth and look at that. Really very interesting! Then we went to see if we could find a live specimen and again we were able to find one. This time we caught it before Chloe could. It was the same kind of lizard as the first one we found, we have several different varieties were we are. This particular kind of lizard is able to change colors. I always thought that only chameleons could do that. Learn something new every day huh!

Later we read a couple of the books that are suggested to go along with the unit study. But you could use any books that you have on dinosaurs that your kids enjoy. *Remember to use what resource you already have first. And then try and find the ones you don't have at the library. Most libraries have their catalogs online now so you can check to see if they have the book you need before you drive all the way there. These sort of things will save you a lot of money.* Unfortunately the libraries near me don't have many of the books that I've needed. This is when I've resorted to looking for them on Amazon or Ebay. This can save you the time of tracking books down, which may be worth the money to you. Since I've become a homeschool mom I've had to decide what my time is worth. This may be helpful for you to figure out too. Here are the books that we used:

A few days later we learned what a Paleontologist was. Then we went outside and did a dinosaur dig of our own. The study recommends burying an easy to put together dino puzzle, but I found a kit that had a small skeleton of a dinosaur that you excavate and put the pieces together. So I bought 2 kits for my older two and buried some dog bones for two of my little ones. They had a blast doing this.

Here is a kit from Amazon:

I found mine from Hobby Lobby (cheaper) but the convenience of having something shipped to your door is really nice. Plus, it's like Christmas when ever I get packages! I love it!

Next we'll be researching the dinosaurs we like the best and finding out were they lived in the world. We'll also be making a dino diorama, fossils, and paper mache' eggs. So stick with us and find out how the rest of the study goes. As soon as I can figure out how to put pictures on here the way I want them I'll be adding them as well. Love, Haben

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another cool contest

Here is another really cool contest. It's at . She is giving away a Crayola digital scrapbooking kit. So check it out. Haben

The Winner of Contest is...

Congrats Pitts Family!!! You've won The World God Made set. I hope you enjoy it! And thank you everyone who participated in our little contest. We had fun and I hope you did too.

If I am unable to get in touch with the Pitts Family than we'll draw another winner tomorrow. Thanks again, Haben

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I really wanted to learn about and enjoy the Olympics with my kids but I just never got around to gathering up all the stuff and doing anything about it, so another great teaching opportunity gone. I don't feel too guilty though considering they happen twice every four years. Hopefully we will catch the next one.

But according to my sister Amber, I'm not allowed to overlook this year's Presidential election. It is a historical event either way. Either we will have our first black president or our first woman vice president. I know this is important. My brain just isn't geared up for planning and implementing lessons yet. But lucky for me and my kids, currclick is here to save the day. I was able to find a unit study that has everything all together for me. And the publishers A Journey Through Learning have gotten rave reviews on this particular unit study, nice plug huh...I should really get paid for these kinds of things, and all I had to do was download and print. Can't get much simplier than that.

So this is what we'll be doing for the next couple of weeks, along with a dinosaur lapbook, which we got for free from Homeschool Share . I'll be putting up picture of both as we do them. Well that's all I have for now folks. Love, Haben

Monday, September 8, 2008

To RV or not to RV

Well that is the topic of interest right now. You see my hubby Bryan works for the carpenter's union, but with the housing market's bottom dropping out and all those far reaching consequences; construction has come to an almost stand still in our area. So he feels that in order to make ends meet that he will have to resort to working out of town. And not just 4 hrs away like his is now, but more like... across the country!

Now we've already decided to HS so RVing isn't completely out of the question. But they (RVs) are pretty expensive, and we have 5 children. Is this even feasible? Then I started thinking about streamlining everything we have to be able to move into an RV! Wow that was mind boggling. How would I possible do it? Fit everything I have become so dependent on into an RV. Would I even survive emotionally? Being stuck in such a SMALL small small space with six other people 365 days a year! I KNOW I sound like a spoiled American who is too accustomed to her personal space and material possessions, but yeah! I am. That's all I know, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to try another way.

I know that like everything in life you have to trade for one thing for the other. Very rarely can you have both. I also know that this kind of experience/education, to be able to travel around America with our children seeing her majesty and learning her history along the way, is priceless. And that unless we were rich, thus enabling us to be able to afford the house and the vacations, we aren't going to be able to give both to our children. I think it would be worth it though, giving up the stuff for the experience.

So what do you people out in cyberspace think? Any RVers out there willing to let me pick your brain? Financially does the trade off make sense? Is the mortgage and gas for an RV, a more affordable way to travel? How do you socialize, or get your mail? :-) On average how much is lot rent? What are the most important features in an RV? Which make and models are best? Gas or Diesel? SO many question!
Curiously, Haben

Sunday, September 7, 2008

So unorganized!!!

I've really got to get this under control. We've been doing school , but very haphazardly. I keep trying to tell myself that its ok, but I know better. There has to be some kind of structure.

Next week we'll finally be finishing the seven days of creation(it only took us a month and a half) and we'll be starting on dinosaurs, which we have a lapbook for. Maybe this will help give me some of the "structure" I know we need. Honestly though, I think I'm going to have to break down and make a tinitive schedule for each week. Uhgg! I don't know why this is so hard for me. I guess it's b/c it requires planning in ahead.

Concerned friends and family : don't freak out! I'm just like this. Heavenly Father knows how stubburn I am, and how I refuse to change until I am practically forced to. So be glad that I'm finally being forced into learning how to organize my time. I love my children and I'll do what's best for them, no matter how agonizing it will be for ME! Sniff Sniff! Just trying to get alittle sympathy here! Because I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Self- justification's funny how we get defensive, even by our own words! LOL

I'm making a promise. I will try (No! No loop holes to wiggle out of) I will make a weekly schedule from now on. THERE, now it's out there and I can't take it back.

Well, thanks for the therapy, just send me the bill. Really I'm good for it! Haben

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cleaning Out My Homeschool Closet Contest

I'm participating in a HS giveaway by the wonderful folks at Christian Preschool Printables (see above banner), which has challenged us to clean out our HS closets and bless someone else with our gently used HS materials, we no longer need/use.

When I started searching around for what I would share I found this... The student manual of -God's Creation Series- The World God Made and the teacher's manual that goes along with it. This book is in like new condition and is geared toward K aged children.

All you have to do to enter is comment on this message and tell me why you need these books for your HS library. Also make sure you leave your em address. The winner will be picked from a "hat" by my kiddos the evening of Sept. 14th., announced Sept. 15th and shipped to you soon after wards. Sorry, but I can only ship to the U.S.

Here is a brief description from the back of the book:
The God's Creation Series is designed to give young students a greater understanding of and appreciation for the handiwork of Almighty God. This book has the following special features:
  • Interesting facts to engage the minds of students
  • Colorful images to stimulate a greater understanding of scientific concepts
  • Helpful review questions for each chapter
  • Hands-on experiments and activities to encourage student participation
This is sooo exciting! : ) Good luck!!! Love, Haben

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tips for new home school moms

I'm very new to this great adventure myself, but I have already made good and bad decisions. I thought maybe if I share my triumphs and mistakes, you'll be able to navigate more smoothly through this wonderful journey.

First of all I would say "RELAX"!!! You can do this!!! The statistics are greatly in your favor. I read somewhere that homeschooled kids are on average at least two grades ahead of there peers. So if you take it slow (which I strongly recommend) the first year don't sweat it. They will catch up, and probably pass kids their age, quickly!

Second (which was some of the best advice I received) if you are taking your children out of public school; they will need some time to de-stress. This may take a month, three months, or even a year. Just recongnize that this will be an adjustment for them and if you force them to "do school" before they are ready it will be very unproductive and cause alot of contention in your home.

So in the mean time I would suggest taking this time for getting to know your child again. What is he interested in? Go and do some of those things. Go for walks together, play board games together, do chores (yes I said chores) together. You'd be surprised how much closer a family can become when working together. Plus if you do them together they become more like a game then work. Ha Ha!

But most of all just have fun together. This is how children learn best anyways. There's something to learn in every situation. Don't fool yourself into believing that just because your kids aren't doing worksheets that they aren't learning. Children are ALWAYS learning. Shhh! You'll know when they are ready to start school. That's when they start asking questions again. This natural curiosity has probably just been in hibernation. The reawaking of their love of learning will be something beautiful to behold.

Trust yourself
and your ability to teach your children! This is very important!!! Heavenly Father would not have blessed you with his precious little ones without also bestowing on you all the intuition and talents, though sometimes hidden, needed to nurture and teach them. So don't listen to those who don't understand the the sacred call you've been given to serve your children.

Also don't be tricked into thinking that HSing has to be just like public school. You know... sitting in a desk all day reading boring text books and completing mindless assignments. This is one of the quickest ways to see your child's love of learning go quickly back into hibernation. I know a lot of you live in states that have strict rules and regulations on what you can and cannot do. But that doesn't me that you can't think outside the box. Do what your state asks; but make sure you add lots of color to the bland palette they have provided. Your child deserves for you to learn how to stretch your imagination.

And oh yeah turn off the TV as much as possible!!! Or what ever electronic device that may be robbing precious time away from you and your family. This has been one of my biggest temptations. I thought I was cured of my tv addiction but then I started spending way too much time on the computer. My friend told me that's not being cured. Nope that is called cross addition. Oh well, and I thought I was doing so well. Any ways... I've seen first hand through my own children how these electronic devices have hurt their ability to soak up the simpler pleasures in life. Without the distraction of constantly moving images, it's very hard for them to concentrate. I pray that in time I am able to heal this unintentional harm that I've inflicted upon my children. But in order to over come a bad habit you have to replace it with a good one. I'm striving to replace the evil, lol, devices with good books and the healing power of nature. This is my biggest goal this year. I'm sure this will be a bumpy road and that I'll fall off the wagon many, many times but I hope I'm able to keep my eyes on the prize. Ok, how did this become about me? Focus, Haben! Well I hope it helps to know that I'm working on mastering these things too.

I also hope you will take courage when mistakes are made. None of us are perfect. And we aren't asked to be. Baby steps, one foot in front of the other. Don't worry we'll all get there. And really it's not the pace that matters, but the journey along the way. WOW that was an overload of cliques!!! Sorry bout that, I'll try to be more original next time. Still stuck inside the box, Haben