Thursday, August 7, 2014

A New Blog---A New School Year!

 Our Family, Easter 2014

I try to re-focus our goals at the end of December and July. Since school is starting soon, it's a good time to start a new blog as that has been one of my goals.

The summer went so fast this year… faster than most … None of us are ready for it. But, since we have to face school, we might as well talk about it.

Our school:
CHAOS Training Center—Christian Home Academy of Scholars Training Center. It seems like a strange name, but it fits perfectly. Here’s why:

My husband and I were married November 9, 2008. It turned out to be “Chaos Never Dies” day. With combining two families, we knew that it would be true. We decided that we might as well take it and run with it. When we moved to our 5 acre farm, in November 2009, we named it Chaos Acres. It did turn out to be that. The house has some very interesting issues, our family components are ever-changing and just normal life has definitely made the name fitting. I figured we might as well name the school the same, but it took a conversation with friends and a lot of thinking to make CHAOS a positive name for a school. I think I did it and so there you have it… a brief history of our school.

Our mission statement:
In our home school, lifelong learning is an adventure. We desire to create a love of lifelong learning by teaching the whole child in a compassionate, relaxed Christian setting.  After learning their skills, we strive to challenge our students to use them to minister and impact the world as Godly, intelligent children and, eventually adults. Whether home schooling or supplementing public school our goals for each child are the same.

Our philosophy:
As parents, we begin educating our children from birth. We believe in educating the whole child-cognitively, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically, so they will become well-rounded adults. Play, movement, imagination and life skills are imperative parts of learning in young children.  They learn best by using all their senses, feelings and individuality in these areas. Children of any age should be able to express themselves through art, music, writing, drama, and movement, as they desire. Older children will master the required subjects, using themes of interest, as much as possible, but with their future plans a focus.  There are opportunities for child-led learning, while, guiding them in the direction of our learning goals. The physical environment of the home should be aesthetically pleasing with easy access to a variety of books, learning activities and real-life items. We learn as much as we can by doing, reading real books and living life. Through all of this, we desire to represent peace and respect within the family and community, by serving and mentoring others.

Our curriculum:
This year we have 3 public schoolers, 2 young homeschoolers and a post-secondary homeschooler.  Ha! Kinda sounds like a song. Public school starts August 19th, college classes start August 27th and our home school start September 2.

With this combination comes A LOT of prayer and preparation! For the first time, I now have 2 different school schedules plus a co-op schedule, along with doing school at home for three of the children, homework for the other three plus instrument practice and school/extra-curricular activities. Like I said, I’ve been spending a TON of time in prayer this summer. I know I will only be able to make this a successful school year with God’s help first, my husband’s support, and my children’s cooperation.

From summer adventures to school adventures...
On the way home from Cedar Point Amusement Park

The curriculum for each level I’m teaching is in a separate post and linked underneath. This post is already too long! Beyond this, I'm going to try to post each week what we did with more specifics.

Home School High School and Public School Supplementation 2014-2015

This is the shortest post of all the since we are doing mostly free and online resources for four of the children. Public school has gotten so expensive so it's imperative to cut back where I can in our homeschooling journey.

The 4 older children

My high schooler is a junior in high school. Last year, we did an overloaded year. It was super stressful, but we got a lot of credits done. This year, to start the year, she is going to be taking some lighter classes at home: Forensic Science, logic (Foundations) class, Bible, PE/Health through Easy Peasy High School. She is also going to do some supplemental work using Life of Fred mathematics. After Christmas, she will add in another college class, Apologia Chemistry and something for Geometry. Also, we will be adding resources from Ambleside Online as time permits.

With three in public school, we do school all day and night, it seems. Our children are in grades 8, 7, and 4. They struggle with some information processing, writing and math so as we have time, we will be doing supplemental activities to help. Most of them will be online. I will update as we determine what each child will need.

Kindergarten 2014-2015

Easter 2014

The key to this year will be flexibility and easy planning! We must learn a lot, have fun and be flexible at the same time. Each week, I will post what we did (hopefully with pictures) so I can hold myself accountable. My biggest struggle will be keeping a good time management plan, and if I do fall behind, don’t give up because I’m not really behind.

We will be going to the library at least two times a month, going on field trips at least two times a month, learning with Clever Dragons, and doing a variety of other online and hands-on learning.

I’m anticipating a lot of carschooling so we will plan on reading the books while traveling, as needed, and doing the hands-on activities at home.  As I said…FLEXIBILITY!!!

Morning Work:
                This will include a notebook with a variety of pages to fill out each day like calendar, number of the day, and clock. Pages will change throughout the year as necessary. Also, copywork will be assigned, after Christmas, a couple times a week and put in this notebook. Just because it’s “morning work” doesn’t mean that it has to be in the morning. We may do it while we are at another activity or just later in the day. I need a more fun name for this section.

Bible/Devotions/Character Study:
We will do one reading/activity a day from a devotional or character study book, and work on a monthly memory verse.
            Some of the books we are using:
            Gotta Have God, Ages 2-5, Volumes 1&2
Leading Little Ones to God

We will be testing the waters to learn to read. If he’s interested, we will proceed. If he’s not, we will do lots of phonics games and continue working on letters and try again after Christmas.
The resources we are going to try:
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Easy Peasy Homeschool –Start with Getting Ready 1, Day 172 (
BOB Books

We will be reading a lot of anthologies, chapter books, picture books and poems throughout the day.
We will read a chapter a day out of a chapter book.
We will also memorize one poem a month.
Picture Books will be used to cover topics in other subjects or fun reading. I will make a list of all the books we read this year.
We will begin oral narration on some selections as the mood strikes.
The anthologies we will be using:
More Mother Stories
We will use the following resources for several years:
Selections from Rhymes for Little Hands
Selections from Mother Goose or the Old Nursery Rhymes
Selections from The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes
Selections from Nursery Rhymes
Selections from A Book of Nursery Rhymes
Selections from Shel Silverstein books and other books on our shelves
Selections from Poems for the Very Young
Selections from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Center for the Innovation of Teaching Mathematics Year 1
Lots of math manipulatives will be accessible for both guided play and free play
Math with Cuisenaire Rods class at local co-op

Our focus for the year will be a nature study throughout the seasons. We will go on nature walks at least weekly and draw pictures or post things we see in a notebook.
We will also read a portion every day from one of these books:
Mother Earth’s Children: the Frolics of the Fruits and Vegetables
The Insect Folk by Margaret Warner Morley (38 chap. 8 weeks)
The Burgess Animal Book by Thomas W. Burgess (40 chap. 8 weeks)
The Burgess Bird Book by Thomas W. Burgess (45 chap. 9 weeks)

Social Studies/Geography/History/Biography:
We will learn about the various holidays (both big and small) throughout the year.
We will study Johnny Appleseed since he went through our area.
We will also explore the world around us and how we fit in beginning with our family, street, town, state, country, continent, and world. We will also learn about maps and globes. We will do a variety of activities for each of these, including making continent boxes, taking some field trips and making a family tree.

Come Look with Me: World of Play by Gladys Blizzard
Come Look with Me: Animals by Gladys Blizzard
Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children by Gladys Blizzard
Work on cutting, drawing, and coloring within lines.  Explore some handwork like wordworking, sculpting clay, sewing, and painting.

Baby Einstein music videos
Selections from Songs with Music
Music class from local co-op

Play outside, exercise with Mom, walk the treadmill, kids’ exercise game on wii, or other planned indoor activities to get them moving.
Gym class from local co-op

Todder School for a 2 year old

Easter 2014

The 2 year old is an energetic boy, who runs from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed at night. He doesn't take much of a nap so it's important to keep him busy. He is known in our family as "The Destroyer". lol  We are setting up a lot of centers around the house so he can find lots of activities to keep him occupied.
Number 1 goal is potty training!!!!!!

BEFORE FIVE IN A ROW with kindergartener at various times throughout the year

Create an art area (for all the children) that is tot friendly so he can get a variety of items (feathers, pompoms, sequins, glitter, ribbon and yarn pieces, pasta, eyes, etc.),  to glue on various papers, felt or cloth, color and cut (using play-doh scissors then kid scissors). Get washable paint for pasta, rocks, and paper. Crayons and markers need to be available. Include the play-doh tote. (Do keep the paint and markers higher up so only the older children can get them.) 

Hang prints of famous artwork/artists on the wall and rotate out periodically. Focus the child’s attention to the wall hangings ever so often.

Set up a music center that includes a variety of instruments and recordings.

Hang posters of music notes/rest, etc. on the wall and rotate out periodically. Focus the child’s attention to the poster occasionally.

Language Arts:
Pick out 2-3 picture books for the week and read each one sometime during the day, every day. Find new, interesting places to read so it is kept exciting and fun. On a bed, under a tree, in a closet, snuzzled up in a chair, on the swings, at the picnic table, etc.

Listen and play as books are read to the kindergartener

Poems and finger plays with the kindergartener

Adults and older children tell stories about family, growing up, made up stories and anything else

Later in the year, we will read some vocabulary building books and maybe try the My Baby Can Read curriculum. A couple examples of books, we’ll use:
Child-land: Picture Pages for the Little Ones (vocabulary building)
Harry’s Ladder (vocabulary building)

I will add to my toddler book list each week as I use the books and resources.

Science/Social Studies:
Nature walks at least weekly

Attend field trips with the older children

Practical Life:
Set up stations, based on Montessori, to encourage more independence and life skills.

Tea Time with family

Sensory/Motor Skills:
Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving Sensory Table:  Corn, fake fall leaves, acorns, buckeyes. Add in some fun Halloween things like spiders, bats, etc. Take out the Halloween things and put in gourds, letters that say THANKS, etc.

Winter/Christmas/Valentine Sensory table: Various shapes of noodles. Add white pompoms for snow, white glitter, snowman, etc.  Then, use it for a Christmas table by adding green noodles, ornaments, nativity set, etc. Then, take the Christmas stuff out and add hearts, red stuff, etc.

Make a few Montessori materials that will encourage sensory growth.

Work on puzzles up to 5 pieces until mastery or boredom occurs. When this happens, switch to a new one. Review the mastered ones periodically.

Learning through Play:
Set up centers for dress up, grocery store, and medical, vet, etc. for creative play.