Homeschool-Info and FAQS

2011-2012 School Year Highlights and Notes

1. Nature Journal - Each week, they add a sketch and description to their nature journals based on the current unit we are covering. In August and September, we are doing a unit on trees, learning about the parts of the tree, how to draw leaves and bark, and various varieties of trees.
2. Plant Kingdom - We are studying the Plant Kingdom, including seeds, pollination, parts of a flower, etc.
3. Apologia Botany - We are not using this text, but are attending co-op one day a week where they are learning about Botany. This fits in perfectly with our nature journaling and Plant Kingdom studies.

Math: August and September are review months and assessment for making certain they have mastered the required skills for 1st and 3rd grade levels. We have workbooks and worksheets, as well as hands on activities for practice and review. In October, we will begin 2a and 4a Singapore Math.

*Alex has a reading list based on a mixture of classical eduction recommended books as well as some chosen based on his interests and the grade level at which he is currently reading.
*Aerin is reading all of the books from Sonlight's reading program for

* Our primary focus this year is studying World History, covering the time period from the rise of Roman Empire to the 20th century.
*In conjuction with our History studies, we mark and study the world map to learn the countries and continents about which we are studying. We also have a country focus every few weeks that we use to learn about a particular country, its people, language, culture, etc., while we pray for the people, church, and missionaries in that country.
*This year, both big kids will learn the locations and names of all 50 U.S. states on the map, and Alex will learn the capitals.
*We will also be studying Alabama History--each week we will use one day to cover the history, geography, symbols, etc. of our state.
Read - Alouds:
I read aloud daily to them from various works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and biographies. We are currently reading George Mueller's Biography, and will be moving on to Mr. Popper's Penguins next.

Handwriting: Alex is learning cursive with A Reason for Handwriting "C". Aerin is improving her handwriting with A Reason for Handwriting "B."

Writing: Alex is doing a program I am currently developing, using a mixture of writing prompts and images to write creatively; doing copy work from great works of literature; and learning how to effectively go through the writing process (from pre-writing to outline to draft to corrected draft to final paper) in order to write a well-organized, gramatically correct, audience directed, content rich essay.

Aerin does creative writing, journaling, and copywork from poetry and scripture.

Language/Vocabulary: Reviewing Parts of Speech and Punctuation. Alex is doing Wordly Wise 3000 for his vocabulary program. We use Aerin's readers for her vocabulary.

Spelling : In October, we will begin All About Spelling at the correct level for each of the big kids. 

Foreign Language : We are learning Latin and Greek words to better understand word meanings and origins in English, but are not doing a full foreign language curriculum.

Electives/Other Important "Stuff":
Scriptures of the week:
Week 1&2 - Jeremiah 3:3
Weeks 3&4 - Phillippians 4:6-7
Week 5 - Matthew 7:7-8

Hymns of the week:
Week 2 - Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Week 3 - 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Week 4 -  Every Hour I Need Thee
Week 5 - Battle Hymn of the Republic

Artist of the Month:
August - Rembrandt
September -

Composer of the Month:
September - Handel

People/Countries of the Week (Prayer and Geography):
Week 1 - India
Week 2 - Italy
Week 3 - Egypt
Week 4 - n/a
Week 5 -

Greek and Latin Words learned (we have a goal to learn 100 this year):
1. Photos
2. Thesis
3. Graph
4. Metron
5. Tele
6. Phobos
7. Tropos
8. Philia
Guiding Principles of Our Home and Learning
1. Love
    Love God with your whole heart. Let His love live in you so that you can love others well.

       Love with actions, not just words. Love even when it is hard. Love because we were
      created to love.
2. Listen
    Listen to God's voice speaking as you study and read  His word, The Bible. Listen for    
       His voice as he speaks through your pain and in your joy. Listen to those who are your   
       teachers. Listen to the instruction of those who are wiser and more learned than you. 
       Listen to the voices of great people throughout history as you study their own words and 
       writings. Listen to beautiful music played and sung, beautiful stories told, and beautiful
       words recited and read.
3. Look
    Look for the beauty and goodness around you, and see God's glory revealed. Look for
       the answers even when it is difficult to find them. Look for the grace of each moment and
       each hour and each day, even when it is easier to see the hard things. Look for the best
       in people, even when they give you reason to see their worst. Look for the truth in the
       midst of lies. Look for opportunities to serve and love others.
4. Pray - Without Ceasing, for others, to talk to your "Abba", to walk with Christ, to know what it is to have a relationship with your Creator, for wisdom, at set aside times. A life without prayer is a life missing communion with God.
5. Serve - Every chance you get, as many people as you can, in small and big ways.
6. Work - Work with all your heart and strength, to honor God, with a thankful heart that you are able to do so, striving for excellence.
7. Laugh - Often and loudly as a joyful response to gifts in the moment, but never at the expense of others.
9. Read - Beautiful words, true words -- God's word, great stories, fairy tales, poems, letters, memoirs, and much more. Read to discover the world, past and present. Read to see God's story and how He writes you into it. Read to learn. Read for information. Read for fun! Read to find out interesting facts. Read that you might gain wisdom. Read good books over and over. Read to discover uncharted lands in your own imagination. Just read. You will never regret it.
10. Play
11. Worship - Sing, Dance, Write, Compose, Play an Instrument. Do everything as an act of worship to our Heavenly Father.

Why we homeschool...

**Coming soon

2010-2011 School Year Highlights
Aerin - 1st Grade
Alex - 3rd Grade
1st year of home school
Anderson - Preschool

*Science unit on The Animal Kingdom - We are doing R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey this year, and it focuses on Life Science. We have done an entire unit on the human body, which was really fun and had tons of labs.  As we continue our Animal Kingdom study, we studied the life cycle of butterflies by watching caterpillars eat, form a chrysalis, and hatch into beautiful painted lady butterflies. After feeding them watermelon, gatorade, and nectar (from butterfly bush flowers) for several days, we released them to enjoy our back yard and vegetable garden. We have spotted some painted ladies since their release, and believe these are the same ones who were hatched in our butterfly habitat.
Here are pics from the 2 weeks where the kiddos and I had a great time digging in the yard for worms, creating a worm habitat to keep them for few days, studying them, and then releasing them back into the soil. Aerin was a little sad to say goodbye, but she was glad they got to be outside again with their friends!
She is not smiling, because I just told her we need to let the worm go!

My big boy with his lab sheet

Returning the worms - sans shoes (as usual)

*We are studying World History 1 from Sonlight's core program (don't remember the Core number).  It is the first part of World History, from early man to the Middle Ages. So far, studying Egypt has been their favorite section of history. But I am so thankful to "catch" them reading and looking at the pictures of their History books even when school is not in session. This has been one of my favorite subjects, too, because I love getting a "refresher" on much of what I know as well as learning a few new things myself. They are both very interested in Archaeology, and we enjoyed the section at the beginning of the year that explains how much of what we know about ancient civilizations is from arifacts and archaeological finds, especially those that had no system of writing or used language mainly as a way to keep up with accounting and business or trade matters. 

*Field Trips - Our favorite part of field trips is learning with our friends. We have been to the Grand Ole Pumpkin Patch in Harpersville, to the Golden Flake factory in Birmingham, to the Water Course in Clanton, and to a marina in Huntsville where we saw full-size, working replica ships of The Nina and The Pinta, two of Christopher Columbus's ships. We have been to McWane Center a few times (just us, not with our cover school group), and we participated in our friends' neighborhood St. Patrick's Day Parade! We have enjoyed time at the park together, and as a family we have toured the wildlife rescue center at Oak Mt. State Park.

*Reading Together / Read-Alouds:
This year, we have read some of the recommended "Read-Alouds" from the Sonlight program, and we have done some of our own choosing. They really enoyed Charlotte's Web and Little Pear, but The Chronicles of Narnia books are the ones they beg me to read all of the time. When we finished the last book in the series, they were both disappointed that there were no more of them. I explained that they can go back to
Narnia for years to come as they read them over and over. We also read a chapter or two weekly from a really wonderful book called Missionary Stories with the Millers. This has been my favorite thing to read to them this year, as it tells true stories of real missionaries, past and present, and how God worked in their lives to reach people with the Gospel. It includes the story of Jim Eliot and his fellow missionaries who were killed by the Auca Indians, and many other martyred saints who gave their lives because they wanted people to know Jesus. It also includes stories of missionaries who were miraculously delivered from death or harm and who lived their entire lives on the mission field. I am so thankful to read these to my children, and to share with them that sharing the Gospel and loving God and others is what all of our lives should be about. It is humbling and awesome to share these stories with them and have God teach us together. For Summer reading, we are completing our read-alouds with the biography of George Mueller.

*Scripture Memory:
Here is a list of the scriptures we have memorized this year.

Psalm 1
Psalm 100
Jeremiah 29:11
James 1:19 (learning now)
James 1:27
Psalm 4:8
Joshua 1:9
Matthew 6:19-20
Ephesians 5:22-23

*Serving Others - We are currently working on "Cookies for Kids", which we launched in February. We make homemade cookies, take orders, and sell them one day a month to local businesses.  All proceeds go to the feeding program at the Adami Tulu Preschool built by Lifesong for Orphans. We are so grateful to God for all He has done for us, and want to show His love to others with our project! Look for a Cookies for Kids blog coming soon!
*Aerin's Updates:
Aerincompleted Book 3 (the last one) of Sonlight's I Can Read It program, and is learning new sight and spelling words. We are so proud of how far she has come this year in her reading! Her new favorite series of books from the library are the Amelia Bedelia books. She also checks out at least one Disney Princess book every time we go.

Aerin has learned how to tell time on a clock with hands this year, has learned to work with money (coins and dollar bills), and is currently working on two digit addition and subtraction. Math comes very easily to her, and is her "second favorite" subject behind History. Because her reading has improved so much, she needs much less help reading the word problems in her math workbook.

*Alex's updates:
Alex is a super reader, and he has really enjoyed the wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books he has read on Sonlight's Readers 2 Advanced series. His favorites have been Encyclopedia Brown, Ralph S. Mouse, and Henry and Ribsy. But he also enjoyed the tall tales of McBroom's Wonderful One Acre Farm and the classic Where the Red Fern Grows (this one we added-it is not part of the Sonlight program mentioned). When we go to the library, he is currently interested in Lego "how-to" books and The 39 Clues series. He also checked out a couple of books about Pearl Harbor on our last visit, and has been reading them to learn more about that historic and terrible attack.

Alex is learning multiplication tables, long division, comparisons and estimation, basic angles, area and perimeter, and countless other things in Math. He has a new "extra" workbook that he really enjoys that I bought for him to practice word problems--it is part of the "Smart Alec" series of learning books.

Anderson Update:

Our main goal with Anderson this year has been to make him feel very loved, included and affirmed in everything, as well as to get him comfortable with his surroundings and learn more of the English language. We are working on many things to improve fine motor skills and cognitive skills, as a typical preschool setting would do, including wooden puzzles with animals, shapes, automobiles; using duplo like blocks to stack and build; learning to color and draw "circle-like" figures; learning squares and circles; pointing to objects and pictures in books as we read to him; staying focused on doing the same activity for a period of time; and just having fun. We also do some physical therapy stretches through the day as we can, to strengthen his trunk and legs.

Looking at one of his favorite books, Gossie and Gertie

About Me

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I love Jesus Christ, am a seeker of beauty, and am a grateful child of God who would be lost and hopeless were it not for His grace. I am learning to walk in love, see interruptions as divine appointments, and value people and relationships above agendas and results. I pray my life is grace-filled, and brings joy and encouragement to everyone I know and meet. We are a family of 6, built by God through love, birth, and adoption, living in the beauty and the struggle that accompanies parenting kids from hard places. Got questions? Email me at

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