Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New curriculum

I am trying a hands-on curriculum for the twins. It is called My Father’s World. My sister-in-law uses it with her girls. When we went home this past July, I looked through her teacher’s manual and other visuals. I liked all the activities and science that I saw. When I saw it for sale on my favorite use curriculum site, I used the money I made at my yard sale and bought the teacher’s manual. One problem with this curriculum is they do not use the King James for the Bible verses. This is only in the teacher’s edition so I can easily look it up in the King James and read it to them. It is better for them to see me open the Bible to read it anyway.

This is little of how our day goes. I started this when Rueben was working with his dad for a month so I had time to develop a rough schedule without interfering too much with his studies.

I do our Bible lesson while the kids are finishing their breakfast. This way they are all seated and somewhat occupied. I read the Bible to them and then draw a picture to show what the story is about. This helps to hold their attention, and they can tell me the next day what we talked about already that week. Then on Sunday I use the same lesson for the 4-6 yr. old girls class that I teach.

After breakfast we finish up our morning chores, and have some free play time before starting school. During school time we start by going over our memory verses and sing a song from the hymn book. I try to pick a hymn that has something to do with the week’s theme. For example we sang “Sunshine in my Soul” when we studied the letter S and the sun.

Our first subject is math. First, we go over the calendar. We review the days of the week, mark the day we are on, and talk about up coming events – like trips, holidays, or birthdays. I just purchased a chart with the months of the year that we will soon start going over each day. Then we count. I made a chart of numbers from 1-50. Each day we go over a new number. We started at one and are going in order for the numbers. Each day we add a straw in a bag that I attached to the wall by our chart. When we reach a ten, I put a rubber band around the bundle to illustrate the idea of ones and tens. Then we search the house looking for that number. They find them on the clocks, calendars, boxes, papers, and so on. They love this activity! Next we go over how to properly write the number. We practice on the chalk board, and then with their finger in a small box with salt on the bottom. Abby loves this because she likes to lick off the salt from her finger, but I do not let her put her finger back in the salt once she has licked it, so she has learned to wait until she is all done writing before licking her finger.

Josiah joins in the fun. He runs around with them when they look for the number of the day, he scribbles on the chalkboard, and loves to “write” in the salt, too.

Since I do not have any the student book, I have made math papers to go with the weekly theme. Right now we are working on writing our numbers, counting objects, and doing simple adding with objects to count. I try to keep the pages simple and short since they are only 3 and their attention span is rather short. I have mistakenly given them long worksheets only to have them quit after the first few problems.

After math we work in our phonics workbook to continue their phonics learning. I am still using the Amish books that I got this summer. I love these books because they are very unworldly, and they remind me of where I grew up.

Then we take a break and go for a walk if the weather is nice.

After lunch we do the reading section. I usually wait until Josiah is asleep to do this part. The teacher’s manual is for teaching sounds, but since the twins already know all their sounds I am stressing the handwriting of each letter and just reviewing sounds. They have a science theme for each week that corresponds with the letter being taught. For example they learned about the sun for S and the moon for M. Now we are learning about leaves for L and apples for A. I am trying to do the two letters a week, since we don’t need to learn the sounds; we just need to practice writing them. The manual is full of fun activities to teach and review the sounds, plus they have a section on handwriting activities – like the salt in a box. One I haven’t tried that will be messy, but fun is writing in pudding on a tray.

They have an activity for each day of the week. There are also suggested books for reading and activities to go along with each book.

After we finish our work for the week I put all their papers together in a small book using construction paper for the front and back cover. Then they show dad, or anyone else who comes to visit, the book of their work. The only problem with this is it will create clutter. In the past I have thrown away most of the papers we do – when they are not looking of course. I hate clutter and I am not very sentimental and I don’t feel like I need to hold on to every thing.

So far, this new curriculum is working real well for them. I enjoy the freedom of taking the ideas in the teacher's manual and adapting them to the needs of my children.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Visit from family

I have been extra busy, but really enjoyed having my parents here for about two weeks. They did spend a few days with my sister who lives nearby as well, but since we have a larger home than her, they spent most of their time here. I moved Abby’s bed out to the living room and gave her room to my parents.
Our first project was to make bunk beds for the boys. It turned out great and the kids think it is a new jungle gym for them to climb on! We installed ceiling fans, outside lights, and fixed a few other minor electrical things. I love working with my dad. Grandma would stay inside, watch the kids, and take photos of our work. We tore apart our weed trimmer to see why it didn’t work. The parts for it cost more than getting a new one, so it is headed for the dump.

The kids are watching Grandpa cut wood for the bunk bed.
Checking out Grandpa's tools!

Abby writing on the boards for the bunk bed.
Aunt Becky works at a fire department. We went to see her at work one day.

An afternoon ride/walk around the neighborhood.
We put the bed together in the boys room while the older two were napping. :)
The finished bunk beds are in use!

We also took a day trip to Chaco Cultural National Park. The only problem with that was several of the kids and I had been sick the night before we went, but since my dad’s sister came in from California I didn’t want to disappoint them and just stay home.

My aunt spoiled them with educational toys, games, and books. She has no grandkids of her own so she has gone to spoiling mine and my brother’s kids, too. I like the educational things she bought for my kids.
Chaco ruins is full of impressive buildings built by the ancient culture.
Robert's new Lincoln logs. Rueben build the little village for him. It didn't last long before Josiah knocked it down.
Abby playing her new leapster.
Then our last few projects were putting shelves in a closet so I can use it to store my home schooling stuff and building a nest box for my hens. He also put cabinets in my sister’s kitchen for her and fixed her plumbing leaks. We did not finish everything on my list of projects for my dad, but that is okay. He gets bored if we don’t have something for him to fix or build. Maybe my husband will get some time to do a few little projects, but that is hard since he works over 50 hours a week.
They left for home Thursday morning and Saturday evening they called to say that they made it safely home to PA. Abby wanted to pray that evening that Grandpa she would make her a bunk bed, too, before Christmas! : )

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday Soul winning

We had a great day soul winning yesterday afternoon. My husband and I each had a new partner. I lead two boy to the Lord during Jr. church, and then I went right after church with a lady who just moved here from Tennessee. She wants to learn how to soul win, and was very excited that I asked her to join me. We had several good visits but no one saved. After our soul winning we met with my husband and got the kids, then he and his partner went soul winning for two hours and had four saved. We were excited and those who went out with us were excited last night at church. Hopefully the excitement catches on and more people come soul winning with us.
My parents are still in town. When they leave I will post more of what we have been doing.