Friday, October 12, 2012

2012-2013 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Yes, that's right, I homeschool my kids. Why? Well, I'll save that for another post. ;)

After "unschooling" Elli for the second semester of Kindergarten last year, I was determined to choose the best curriculum for her learning style and personality  for the 2012-13 school year. I spent countless hours scouring the internet and homeschool forums for the perfect curriculum(s). I literally researched and read reviews for hundreds of different options; I had no idea there was THAT much homeschool stuff out there! After several weeks I narrowed down my choices and ordered all of our supplies.

Now that we are several weeks into our school year, I feel I am comfortable enough with our curriculums to share (and review) them for you. I am constantly asked what we are using and how I feel about our choices so here you go:

BIBLE- Positive Action Bible Curriculum- Enjoying God's Gifts
I think this Bible curriculum is designed for smaller classrooms vs homeschool but we are enjoying it just the same. The workbook pages are easy to complete and Elli loves learning how stories from the Bible relate to her every day life.

MATH- RightStart Math level B:
This math curriculum is so different from the way math is traditionally taught to kids in school. RS steers clear of counting and teaches kids to recognize quantities visually. There are TONS of games and hands on activities that come w/ the kit and the teacher manual/lesson plans are seriously fool proof. Elli loves using her abacus to solve problems and I can already tell a major improvement in her math skills. Elli's favorite thing about RS math is for sure the hands on lessons.

SPELLING- All About Spelling level 1:
Alright, this one is tricky. I am going to reserve my opinion on this one for the time being. This curriculum is more than just weekly spelling words and memorization. It teaches phonics as well, which is cool, but we aren't far enough into the curriculum to get to the actual spelling portion so, we will continue and see how it goes.

WRITING- Writing Grade 1, Kelley Wingate Publications:
I found this gem by complete coincidence this summer at a yardsale. A former teacher was selling all of her personal books and this was one I picked up for $0.50. It's seriously amazing. The worksheets are easy peasy and does a great job helping me teach Elli about grammar, punctuation, and is a good intro into writing full and complete sentences. It's an older book, and from what I can find online, only upgraded versions are available.

SCIENCE- R.E.A.L Science, Life, Level 1
I'm not gonna lie, I hate science. It's so not my forte and Elli loves anything and everything science. But this curriculum was written specifically for parents like me, and no joke, you cannot mess this one up! Our science projects are definitely the highlight of Elli's week. This week we studies plant and animal cells. Elli got to crack open and egg and check out all the parts of the cell, as well as use jello and grapes to recreate plant cholorplasts. Cool, right?!

HISTORY- Story of the World - Ancient Times
I am amazed at how much Elli is absorbing just by listening to the stories in the book. We are reading a chapter a week and she is using the vocabulary words on a daily basis. Today she told her Grandma D, who travels frequently, that she is a nomad. LOL The chapters are easy reads and the activity book references other books you can check out from the library to supplement and provides several different projects and worksheets you can pick and choose to do, depending on your child's age.

READING- Hooked on Phonics - 1st Grade
I love HOP. I just love it. When we first pulled Elli out of school, she was not reading at all. She had only learned sight words in school and was guessing every.single.word. I was really worried because she was having such a hard time. We introduced HOP last year and after lots of frustration, we backed off this summer and gave her the freedom to read at her leisure. We are two months into HOP this year and Elli has made tremendous improvement and is reading like a champ now!

Extras- We have several craft and activity books I have found here and there and we pull those out whenever Elli feels like being crafty. ;) We also started a book called Little Annie's Art Book of Etiquette and Good Manners. Anybody, homeschooled or not, with a little girl 4-7 year old NEEDS this book! It's bible based and references scripture on every page and covers everything from being a good friend to how to set the dinner table and how to behave at the dinner table when you are out at a restaurant. It's so neat!

Whew! So there you have it. Our curriculum choices for Elli's 1st grade year. I'm so, so happy with every choice we made this year and am overwhelmed by how well Elli is doing and how much she is learning so far. I can't wait to see how much she improves by the end of the year! :)

Elli & her BFF, Emily, working hard this week in our HS Classroom.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Dress Project - 8 days down, 23 to go!

One week down already, can you believe it? I can't. Really. I'm shocked I haven't groaned once at the thought of wearing this pea green dress, over and over. 

Just kidding.

I really was doing well, until day 6. Day 6 was Saturday, which for me, meant an early and sweaty day at the football field cheering on my little cheerleader. All I wanted to do was pull on some shorts and my "Cheer Mom" shirt and relax! But noooo.. I had to wear this dress. Wah wah, I know, I signed up for this. 

The first 5 days, and day 7, however, went great! I loved all the outfits I put together and was pleased that I could throw it all together in a matter of minutes. I'm wearing jewelry that hasn't seen the light of day in well over 3 years!

I'm starting to worry though that I have run out of casual, weather appropriate ideas so soon. I mean, I really haven't, but all of the "no brainers" have already been used which means it is time to get creative.. This also means I will most likely be second guessing my outfits and feeling like I don't match most days. Yay. -_-

But I will persevere! Wait and see. I've got a feeling that by the last week of October I will be caring less and less about how dorky I look. 

My friend Christen and I have been keeping each other in check with our second "October Project". I am so loving my daily time w/ the big B and really should stop being surprised that the different chapters I read each day so relate to my life and situations I am dealing with. ;)

Did I already mention that my almost 7 year old decided to participate as well? She is way too cute. I'm really surprised at her creativity! She chose a light blue tank top dress and has been diligent and insistent about wearing it every day! Go Elli! 

OH, and another thing- having to take a picture of myself every day is getting OLD. Apparently my body only poses one way for pictures and I am for sure getting sick of seeing pictures of myself, as I'm sure most of my FB friends are, too. 

Ok, now for the outfits you have been so curious to see..

Day One - Dress w/ flower tank underneath & old Juicy Couture necklace
Day One - Elli and her super adorable self! 

Day 2- MOPS! Dress & light tan tank, $2 Old Navy Shawl from the thrift store, Juicy Couture jewelry (we all have a past, right?) and my favorite boots.

Day 3- Homeschool Day at the Aquarium! I wore Evan a majority of the time, BUT really I was wearing the dress, brown tank, crochet belt, indian looking flops I never wear, and Juicy jewelry.
Day Four- LOVED this look. Felt like a watermelon ;) Dress, salmon pink tank, black racerback tank, and Cookie Lee jewelry that is well over 3 years old! 
Day Five- Christen and I! Dress, brown ruffled tank, clearance belt, and random costume jewelry. Christen paired her dress with black tights and red jewelry, cute! 
Day Six- Take two. I was originally wearing a gray shirt, but my messy toddler spilled his lunch on it. Dress & black t-shirt for a super low key, casual day.
Day Seven- Date day w/ my super amazing husband. Dress & a white racerback work out shirt I got on clearance, brown belt, and brown ONeil flops that are falling apart :(

Day Eight- I spent the majority of my day in PJs. My littlest is sick and I only got dressed to go pick up something to make for dinner. Just wore my dress & a print tank top. 

I really wish our weather was more compatible with my wardrobe. It would be so much easier to layer my dress if it wasn't 90 degrees outside. Hopefully by the end of the month I can wear a cute sweater over top. ;)