Friday, June 28, 2013

Homeschooling, Curriculum and Schedules

Since we just started our year of homeschooling and I just finished buying all our curriculum for this year I thought I should write about it. Every year I have used material that I have found for free, dirt cheap, or was gifted to me. Every year my kids get burnt out about halfway through because they don't really love the curriculum that we are using. This year I decided to totally revamp what we use and I bit the bullet and bought some curriculum that was NOT cheap. Shhh!!! Don't tell my husband! I am sure he will see the bill and ask me later...but until then....

I thought I would share what our homeschool center looks like. This is where we store the basics for daily use. It is super messy right now, but I figure that if I cleaned it up and then took a picture you might think that  it was always clean! Actually it looks like this a lot of the time. 

So, for the first time ever I actually sat down and mapped out a full year for each of my kids. Maybe it's because my oldest is in 7th grade this year, or maybe it's because I realized I just needed a bit more organization than I have had in the past. Actually it was because I finally bought the book A Well Trained Mind and it made such sense that I implemented a lot of her ideas. I was already doing some of them, but she made it so much easier for me to plan and get precise about what I wanted. I highly recommend this book for all homeschooling parents out there. 

Here is a picture of our June schedule. I got this printout from

I did not put every subject on here because I didn't think there was a need. The subjects that they do on their own without help, and the subjects they do daily are NOT listed on this. I use the weekly schedule below to list everything. I found it at (I just checked and her website was down. Hopefully it will go back up!) It's back up! She has some really cool stuff on her website. You should go check it out!

This is my daughters weekly assignment sheet. I list the subjects and how much of each subject my kids are supposed to do every day. As they do them, they check them off. I grade everything at the end of the week. I used to grade every day but it became to time consuming. 

This is a list of everything we are using this year. I figure it's easier to make a list rather than explain why or how we are using each thing. That way if you don't want to read this whole post you don't have to. :) If you want to know what we have used other years or how I like what we are currently using, just ask!

Math: Math-U-See (MUS)
History: Story of the World (SOTW) and A History of US
Science: Simple Schooling, living books with notebooking, and Netflix
Writing: Wordsmith Apprentice for my oldest 2, and Writing Strands for my 8 and 9 yo
Foreign Language: Prima Latina for Latin
Art: Drawing with Children and McGraw Hills Art Connections
Grammar: Easy Grammar
Spelling: Spelling Power
Logic: Mind Benders
Reading: Whatever the book is for LLATL or personal reading 
Learning to read: McGuffey readers and the app that goes along with it
Scriptures: reading and activity sheets
Keyboarding: We use this fun BBC website but may switch to this one.

Next semester my oldest will be using this site to learn programming, and this site for foreign language.

Any questions?? I was so enthusiastic that I have already planned NEXT year too....and part of the following year. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Maps and Frames

Since I homeschool and I LOVE maps, I always have to have them hanging up somewhere in the house. The only problem with that is I can never find a frame that fits them. I don't know why I never thought of just making my own, duh! I have made so many other things these should be a walk in the park. With my new walls being gray I wasn't sure what color I wanted them so I didn't decide right away. I got out the chop saw and the scraps of wood in the garage and I measured the maps and then I cut the wood at 45 degree angles so they would fit together nicely.

Painted and put together.

I used the nail gun to secure them together, but they aren't very sturdy so I didn't want to move them very much. Then I decided that I wanted to paint them white. I don't have ANYTHING else in my house that is white, and I thought it would go nicely with the gray walls. was hotter than #@*% the day I decided to do this and I was sweating like a pig. After it was painted and put together I took it inside and hung it on my wall over the maps. It looked...weird. I left it there for a few days deciding what to do with it and why I didn't just love it. Then I realized it's because I don't have ANYTHING white in my house and it just didn't fit in with the other decor.

Painted and sanded down.

 So, I took it outside and sanded the crap out of it until I thought it looked rusitc and old enough that I was happy. The corners of one of the frames had knots close to them and when I started sanding them, they broke off. I loved the look of the missing corners! It made it that much more rustic looking. Then I got my walnut colored stain and I carefully wiped the stain onto the exposed raw wood. I quickly wiped it off the paint because I didn't want to get it on the paint just yet. After I had stained the wood (yes I techinically did the paint/stain/sanding thing a bit backwards from how you really should antique things...but who is judging?) I took the rag I had used for the stain and I ran it over the paint gently until I thought it looked antiqued and rustic.

All rustic and awesome

Check out the awesome broken corners!

Love the old feeling this gives.

 I am SOOOOOOOOOOO Much happier with this look rather than the stark white frame. I guess for now I will not be going with any more plain white furniture or decor. To hang it I just screwed this into the wall with 4 LARGE screws that I found laying around my house. My hubby said they were overkill. I said, " At least it will stay on the wall!". Of course he just ignored me. He knows I do what I want, even if it is overkill. That is why I love him though. He lets me be crazy and do all my projects without really batting an eye. Although he does roll his eyes at me from time to time. 

In the mood for change...and it's driving my hubby insane!

I tend to get crafty in spurts. It's not always a good thing either. Like when I tell my hubby that I have all these great ideas and I list them out and there are like a bajillion of them...he usually rolls his eyes and tells me to pick one.

Well, I picked one. I wanted to add board and batten to my walls in my hallway and living room. Here's the not so great part...I finished 1/3 of it and then I moved on to a different project. However, it is not my fault I didn't finish it!! You see, I have 3 large MDF boards in my garage that need cut into the boards and batten. Since these boards are so large I need help with the lifting and holding. My hubby (who thinks my idea is ridiculous and doesn't even want board and batten) agreed to help me. He wasn't even reluctant to help...I think he secretly likes all my ideas because it gives him an excuse to use power tools. Don't tell him I am on to him though or he might stop helping me! So, back to why I am not done yet...he got severe seasonal allergies and has been super miserable. He has tried every otc medicine and every prescription and NOTHING works for him. So he just has to be miserable for a few weeks. :( So until his allergies get better I have to wait to get my boards cut. BUT you can see my beautiful progress so far!

This is my hallway from my front door to the main living area. The walls were an oatmeal color that was ok, but not really my style. The tape on the walls was a guide as to where I want the board and batten to go. I actually had the height 5 inches higher and I left it like that for 2 days to see if I liked the height before I painted anything. Turns out I didn't like the height I thought I would, so I lowers it. Currently it is sitting at 38 inches off the floor. I initially spaced the boards 24 inches apart but I didn't like that either, I finally settled on 18 inches apart.

Here you can see the chair is near my front door and I had already started to paint. Look on the shelf in the bottom left corner....see my new AWESOME laser level!!! I told hubby I needed one and he gave in and let me get it! It. Is. Awesome.

Here it is with the top part of the wall done. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the gray color! I got it at Lowe's and it is called Flagstone. I got it in their Olympic ONE Satin because, well, I have kids. Lot's of them and I wanted something durable and washable. I tried it in our office first and I didn't get it in the Olympic ONE, I got it in their cheaper stuff and it is CRAP! I tried washing the walls and the paint came right off. So far, I have been able to wash the walls that I used the Olympic ONE on and it really is washable! I am one happy mommy!
This hallway is done!

And so is this one! 

I will have to post pictures later when it is all done and decorated! I can't wait to finish it! JSYK, I did ask Lowe's to cut the MDF for me and they wouldn't do it because they have a policy of no cuts under 6 inches. I begged and didn't work. So, I will wait as patient as I can for the next few weeks. It won't be that hard....remember I have a HUGE list of projects! In fact I have one I need to post about and one more I am finishing up tomorrow. I just need to start remembering to take a before picture of all my projects!

I do realize these pictures are horrible and don't do it justice. When I am done with the final project I PROMISE the pictures will be better!