Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wordly Wise A, B, and C Review

We recently completed the Wordly Wise series A, B, and C and have moved on to Wordly Wise 3000 workbooks. We first started these workbooks sometime in Builder Boy's 2nd grade year, after they took the DORA for the first time and the results showed that they were ready for a vocabulary program and would benefit from one. I asked around my online homeschooling groups and purchased the first book from Rainbow Resource online. I purchased the answer key (sold separately) as well, but it really wasn't necessary. It was pretty obvious to me what the answers were most of the time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Costume Making Season

So I'm in full blown costume making mode. And I have the spray painted fingers to prove it! We've usually gone simple for costumes but this year we're going a bit more elaborate with a Doctor Who family theme. Oh, and I also threw together a quick bat costume for Early Bird because he's currently obsessed with bats. I'll have pictures and guidelines to follow once I find my hot glue gun, but if you just can't wait to see what's going on I've been updating on the blog's facebook page.

Here's the link to all the easy costumes I've made over the years.

Here's the link to the facebook page.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Catching Up in Language Arts, Part 1: FLL3 and WWE2

The goals:
  1. Finish First Language Lessons level 3 and 4 in one year's time and be prepared to move on to 5th grade grammar at the beginning of the next school year. 
  2. Finish Writing With Ease level 2 by the middle of the school year and move on to a new curriculum, probably Brave Writer. 
The students: Builder Boy (not quite 9 years old) and Early Bird (6 1/2)

The purpose of this post: to show you how we are doing it if you ever find you want to do something similar, and a reminder that curricula is not the boss of you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Homeschool System and Schedule

We finally found our homeschooling groove! I wrote here about the general things that helped us find it. Now here are the specifics of what our groove actually turned out to be. This may be nothing like your groove, or it could have one element or two that you would like to add to yours. Whatever the reason, if it helps, here's the information.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How We Found Our Homeschooling Groove

This is our 4th year homeschooling. I have seen it said that it usually takes 3-4 years to get your homeschool groove. This has been true for us. I have also seen it said that you find your groove and then things change and you have to find it all over again. Lord, I sure hope that one doesn't apply to us!

If you are still trying to find what works for you and your family, here's what it took for us to find ours:

1. Trial and Error
2. Timing
3. Realizing My Own Limitations (again, and again)
4. Letting Go of the Ideal
5. Practice and Maturity

Monday, August 31, 2015

First Day of School 2015

Here we are at our fourth first day of school. I know it's cliche to say, but it really does seem like we just had our very first day of homeschool recently.

We started with our traditional pancake breakfast and pictures with signs. This year I also added a little present; a math concept book for Builder Boy and a Beethoven action figure for Early Bird. Lady Bug was not impressed with my signs or picture attempts this year.

This was our first year not taking a break before the start of the new school year. We have been working on vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, and math consistently starting at the same time every day for the past two months. I have to say I really think this works best for us. The no-longer-summer-schedule saw us add just two new subjects (grammar and writing) in the morning and I got the next Story of the World cds for them to listen to during quiet time.

If our current schedule and system works for us, then I will blog about it. But I don't want to count my chickens just yet.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Homeschooling and Overexcitabilities

This month's Hoagies blog hop is about Overexcitiblites, something I have mentioned several times before on my blog. Both Builder Boy and Early Bird demonstrate various overexcitabilities (here after shortened to OE's) and that has both hampered and helped our homeschooling efforts.

(I have also posted about Overexcitabilities portrayed in film here.)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Music and Art Appreciation: #1 Most Likely to Drop Subject

Part 5 (and last one!) of my series wrapping up what we learned this year in different subjects and what each experience taught me about homeschooling in general. (Part 1: History, Part 2: Science, Part 3: Math, Part 4: Language Arts.)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Language Arts: A Very Good Reason to Homeschool

Part 4 of my series wrapping up what we learned this year in different subjects and what each experience taught me about homeschooling in general. (Part 1: History, Part 2: Science, Part 3: Math.)

For the sake of this blog post, "language arts" is reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Math: Going Against Common Advice

Part 3 of my series wrapping up what we learned this year in different subjects and what each experience taught me about homeschooling in general. (Part 1: History, Part 2: Science.) It was a year of adapting and adjusting, that's for sure. Just like the year before...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Inside Out Emotions Tool Box

I grew up in households that did not talk about emotions and expected you to stop strong emotions before they became a problem. It was the exact opposite of what I needed due to my history, and as a result I grew up stuffing emotions until I couldn't take it any longer and exploded. To be fair, this it is how my grandparents were raised and was they only way they knew. But I am determined to do better for my own kids. The problem is, until very recently, never having been taught any tools I was unsure what to tell my own kids. I also lacked any confidence that what I might come up with is "right." That's where Disney's new movie, Inside Out, really helped me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Homeschooling History and the Power of Interest

As a kid (and even now as an adult) I loved history and learning about how people lived so long ago. I could hardly wait to explore history with my own children once we decided to homeschool. I loved the idea behind the Story of the World Series; teaching history chronologically in the four year cycle just made so much sense to me. So we began 1st grade with Story of the World: Ancients. I wanted to bring this awesome subject to life for the boys, so I went all out with the activities and crafts, trying to make it an immersive experience. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm and perfectionism took over before we were a third of the way though the book. If I couldn't do it the way I wanted to, I didn't do it at all. There was always something I needed to find or buy or print out that wasn't ready when I needed it. In the craziness of trying to figure out our first year of homeschooling and then becoming so sick with my pregnancy with Lady Bug and then moving to a different state, it got dropped.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gifted Babies: Where are the Resources?

Looking back, Builder Boy was my "easy" baby. I had a baby milestone book that he never deviated from. He was always "right on schedule" and I never worried about delayed or advanced. Sure, he did a few things here or there that seemed a bit unusual, and he could stack blocks higher than the milestone list said, but other than that, no signs of giftedness that were obvious enough to make oblivious me think he was anything other than perfectly average.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Friday at Sceleratus Classical Academy

I had plans for this day; plans for this blog post. I was going to do what a fellow blogger did and take a picture on the hour, every hour of one day to give a snap shot of the day. But nothing this day went according to plan....which is actually pretty representative of almost every single day here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Congratulations to Tiffani W. for winning the DORA and ADAM giveaway!! I hope it greatly blesses you and your child. Thank you everyone who participated and helped make my first ever giveaway a success! And an extra big thank you to Let's Go Learn for sponsoring the giveaway!

While the giveaway was going on, I hit the 100,000 view mark! (All views since I first went live, not that many views in two weeks.) That milestone was very exciting to make, especially as I've been blogging so sporadically lately. Thank you to all the readers who stick with me through my dry spells. Monday I have a contribution going live for the next Gifted Homeschooler's Forum blog hop, and I've got some half started drafts that I hope to finish, polish, and post soon. Early Bird's birthday and party is also coming up this weekend; it's an American Ninja Warrior theme! And if the friends who helped us make it possible are further obliging, I may have some cool building plans to share!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Housekeeping Anorexia

Does this picture make you wonder if I'm having company over or does it make you think "I would never want a picture of my couch that messy on the internet!" If your reaction is the first one and you're a parent, then you may be more normal than you think. If you're a parent and your reaction is the second one, you may just have HDD, or House Dysmorphic Disorder.

Monday, March 9, 2015

DIY Cinderella Tu-tu Dress

When I first saw the new Disney Cinderella trailer, I knew I wanted to take the kids to see it in theater; and with Lady Bug dressed up as Cinderella! My sister and I started scouring the internet for Cinderella costumes for our toddler daughters then because we knew that when the movie was coming out there would probably be a shortage. But the dresses we found were either too expensive or not very Cinderella-y. That's when I decided I was going to make a Cinderella tutu dress. And I did it for only $10!

Friday, February 27, 2015

DORA Giveaway!

Hey guys, the cool people at Let's Go Learn gave me a certificate for two free DORAs (Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment which I've written about here and here) and two free ADAMs (Adaptive, Diagnostic Assessment of Mathematics which I mentioned here) to give away to one randomly picked reader! This is my very first giveaway, so if there are any bugs I apologize ahead of time. The giveaway will run for two weeks, no purchase necessary (which, turns out, would be an illegal lottery if I attempted that. My "learn something new every day" for the day.)

February is my choice of testing month (gives me time to figure out if I need to be fixing something) but the tests are good for much longer, so there's no need to test right away if it's not the right time for you. (You will need to redeem it before April.) Two tests give you the option of doing two years in a row and seeing the difference like we just did, or you may have more than one kid that you'd like to have take the test. I have gathered valuable information from having the boys take the DORA and Builder Boy taking the ADAM, and I recommend it. (Not getting paid to say that, either!)

Hopefully I have set up the Rafflecopter correctly.

Oh, and because blog posts can be boring without any visuals, here's a cute, completely unrelated picture of Lady Bug.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The DORA the 2nd Time Around: Not What We First Thought

It has been a year since I first had the boys take the Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) from Let's Go Learn so we found a few good days recently and took it again. I remembered our experience last year and this time spread it over two days. Which was better for the kids, and worse for my nerves, as anyone who follows Sceleratus Classical Academy on facebook can attest to. But day 2 arrived and the boys finished and I eagerly/dreadingly looked at the results. Because it saves your account information and test results, I thought that being able to compare the results would give me even more information that last year's would. My biggest fear for Builder Boy was that his results would not show a year's worth of progress. My fear for Early Bird was that last year's test results were just a guessing fluke, and he'd score much lower this year.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lilo: Dabrowski's Gifted Child in Reel Life

I've mentioned Gifted Overexcitabilites before, and linked before to the SENG page outlining them and the wonderfully-easy-to-understand-even-if-you're-new-to-this Jade Ann Rivera's posts about them. I was talking to my good friend Care from Homeschooling Hatters about our topic for this blog hop, and she pointed out that most media/books/movies/etc. paint either a positive, academically strong gifted ideal with none of the downsides, or make the smart kid the butt of jokes. As a result, very few people who aren't parenting a gifted child with overexcitabilites have never heard of them, and have a very incomplete picture of what being gifted really means.

Around the time I was researching about gifted overexcitabilites I watched the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch to see if it was something that would be a good movie for the kids. As I watched it I was struck by how much this little girl was acting like the things I had been reading about. And while Disney may not have intended it that way, they were clearly portraying a gifted child with several of Dabrowski's overexcitabilites, as well as other characteristics of a gifted child. (Spoilers ahead.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

DIY Baby Princess Hat

For Lady Bug's birthday I made her a princess hat. Yes, her birthday was almost half a year ago. I thought I'd already blogged about this, but I checked and, no, I hadn't. So now I am.

Picture instructions ahead!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Skirts

Here we are at the end of the series about wearing skirts all year round. I've heard other women talk about how they'd wear skirts all the time if it weren't for winter and how it's too cold to wear skirts then. So this post is about how I manage to wear skirts all through the rain, wind, cold, and snow.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Questions Challenge

Imp over at Not A Stepford Life blog challenged me awhile back to answer some questions. (Bet you thought I forgot, Imp! Okay, I kind of did...) I'm not usually one to accept challenge trends, but since it's Imp I'm going to do it.

Here are the questions she asked, and my answers in blue.

1) What is the most surprising thing you’ve discovered since you’ve been blogging? I was at a church small group and one mother was telling another about my blog and "all the stuff [Mrs. Warde] does." I was shocked because I feel like we hardly ever get enough done! But then I looked at my blog and if you look at everything together and don't notice the dates, it does look like a lot. I try to be honest about what we get done and how often I feel like I'm letting them learn by themselves instead of actually sitting down and doing school, so it was shocking to here myself being described as a Pinterest mom.

2) What is the best advice you’ve ever been given, and who by? In life, "This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man." -William Shakespeare in Hamlet. In blogging, and I'm paraphrasing here, but it was to just write it down; it doesn't have to be perfect the first or even the second draft. Just get something down. -Pamela Price

3) If you could change ONE thing about your life, what would it be, and why? Energy levels! I feel like I am tired and slow moving all the time, and I feel like I would be such a more fun mom and more "successful" homeschooler if I could just get more done.

4) What’s your proudest accomplishment? In life, my kids. In blogging, I almost had a post go viral once; I was just a few views short of the 1,000 views in a 24 hour period. But more than that, when someone tells me they actually did an activity based on something I wrote about.
5) What are your future goals, and what are you doing to reach them? Blogging goal: to get better at actually blogging regularly. And to do enough things that are worth blogging about.

Now I'm challenging Care over at Homeschooling Hatters to answer the same questions. (Not sure if I'm supposed to be thinking of new questions or not. So, Care, if you want to challenge someone with different questions, go ahead. You're getting the ones I got asked.)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Using Home Decorating to Teach Good Bathroom Habits

This is not the first time I've used wall stickers to teach my kids something (see this post and this post.) But this is the first time they ever helped them develop better habits! The boys are independent bathroom users, and have been for a while. I've been kind of leaving them to their own devices in their bathrooms for the most part; mostly because I'm lazy about that. But when we moved we moved to a one story and all of a sudden the boys' bathroom was also the one visitors would use; and it's right off the main living area. Suddenly bathroom etiquette seemed seemed a very important thing to teach Builder Boy and Early Bird. But how was I going to overcome the years of doing it their way and the I-just-want-to-hurry-up-and-get-back-to-playing? Turns out, the answer for us was easy, and not even expensive!

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