10 October 2013

What we are learning this year

We finally finished Second grade a few days ago - well, we both, my son and I, decided that it is time to let go and start something new. We were both excited to call it quits and start our journey to NEW adventures.

Last year, we used the full curriculum from Abeka. It was my first time buying an entire box, because I figured with the baby I needed extra 'help' with planning, or not planning at all because it was done for me. In retrospect, we had a great year. A year that left us with a great experience, lots of things that we learned, and the knowledge that we will never buy a full box again.

Talking to other homeschooling moms and reading many blogs made me curious about what else is out there. When I started researching, I got quickly overwhelmed by the MANY choices. Wow, there are so many great curricula, it's amazing and wonderful. Yet, it makes it hard to choose.

One night last year, the Hubby and I sat down and talked about what we liked in the past year and what we didn't like. We discussed what is important to us. Then we chose curricula subject by subject. It was a great night working together. And then I started buying.....

So we have come up with the following:

* We do Abeka Math again - Coqui thrived with it last year, so we wanted to do it one more year, at least. Additionally, we supplement with Singapore Math workbooks for extra practice.

* I was not thrilled with the entire English approach last year, so I switched to Bob Jones University for English and Spelling - and so far,  we both totally love it.

* I also decided that I didn't need a Reading program, that we would just read what we came across during certain unit studies. But then the entire set of Abeka books literally fell into my lap, so we are reading those. Coqui also loves chapter books like The Magic Tree House, the Magic School Bus, Flat Stanley, and others.

*Again, we supplement with some Scholastic Grammar books.

* I liked the Cursive Writing Curriculum from Abeka, but it was very intense last year. So much, that we got maybe 25% done so far.... But when I went to a conference and held the book for Third Grade in my hands, I loved it. So we are using it, and Coqui loves it, too. 

* I really liked the idea of teaching some Latin, but I thought that he was still too young. When I saw English from the Roots Up, I knew I had the right start for a better understanding of the English language, as well as a great way to introduce a foreign language that I want him to learn later. He likes it so far.

* At the end of last year, I heard about Apologia, and when I looked into it, I knew I wanted to try it. After talking to homeschoolers that have used it, we decided to start with Astronomy. Last week was our first day and Coqui loved it.

* For History, we chose The Story of the World. Actually, we have not started this one yet, but I can't wait to see what Coqui thinks. Ancient Times are not my favorite, so I guess I am a bit procrastinating here, but I also didn't want to start everything at the same time. We both like the idea of easing into ALL of the subjects.

* Coqui is really good in Geography, so I just got him The Complete Book of Maps and Geography.  He loves doing it all by himself. We also use Geography Through Art, but only to supplement with it. It was highly recommended by a fellow homeschooler and we enjoyed it last year when we did a few pages for our Introduction to Art lapbook.

* Art kind of happens around here. We are also going to a weekly co-op to learn and experience Art there.
   I am kind of sad that we haven't found a music curriculum yet. I would love to include that, as I remember to love it in school. So if anyone knows of something good, please share.

* We are also learning Spanish and German. My personal experience has shown me that learning a foreign language from a book is not only boring but also impractical, so we are learning from native speakers. It's also more fun this way.

So there is our list. It seems like a long list, but please be assured that we are not doing this every single day. My motto is that Math and English have to be done every day. Then, depending on time and other circumstances, we are flexible with the rest. At this age, science and social studies don't have to be done every day. And still, they get in alot of playing with friends, doing field trips every week, and playing sports.

03 October 2013

A constant source of joy

When I look into her eyes,
when I feel her hug me tight,
when she calls me by my name,
when she smiles as only she can,
when she throws her head on my shoulders,
and when she falls asleep on my back,

then I know... that I have been so blessed.

With a little girl that took away all those years of grief and sadness, just as it is said in Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." God kept His promise and I am honored to be able to see it every day right in front of my eyes.

She is beautiful. She is happy. She is mine.

I don't know where to start as I am constantly amazed by her and my heart literally overflows with pride.

Munchkin has been with us for a little over a year but it sure feels like it has been forever. She completes our family. She is a little firecracker, and yet gentle and caring. Anything that she is exposed to, goes right to her brain and is applied. Clapping, High-fives, throwing a ball, climbing up the stairs and scooting back down on her bottom, pretend-reading, sorting shapes, doing puzzles, and yes, eating with a fork. 

She interacts so well that I could easily forget how old she really is. She shows so much compassion for her siblings. If one of them gets hurt, she comes over for a pat on the back and a long-lasting hug of comfort. When one of them cries, she cries, too. They play kitchen, she has to be right next to them. We go outside to play soccer, she grabs her mini soccer ball and kicks it - just like the big kids!

Her small motor skills are incredible. One of our little routines, when I want to go to the bathroom, is to give her a small piece of toilet paper (clean of course!). In hand, she runs of to the stairs and rips it into microscopic small pieces. Nope, she does not put a single one into her mouth! And then she brings them over for me to throw them in the garbage.

And none of this goes without verbal communication. I am absolutely blown away by the things coming out her of mouth. At one year old, she knew every member of her family, including the extended family of grandparents and aunts and uncles - by name. Of course, like with Peanut, I am trying to teach her baby sign language, but really, it is in vein as she signs AND says it at the same time. Signing more and saying 'mo', so Mami and Daddy really get that she wants more!

Words that I have heard her say include: 'hi', 'bye-bye', 'baby', 'water', 'waffle', 'cereal', 'shoe', 'nigh-nigh, 'go', 'peek-a-boo', 'ba' (for bath), 'wow', 'than you' and 'please', 'wau' (German for woof), 'doggie', 'meow', 'lalala' (for music), and her newest thing: 'are you?' (for where are you?).
I do not remember my other kids being that talkative at this age.

She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it by asking for it. She understands pretty much everything I ask of her. When she stands up in the bathtub or her high chair, I ask her to 'sit down' and she sits. She drops a toy (and Mami does not feel like playing the pick-up game) and I ask her to 'pick it up', she does it. It feels like with child number three, I have really gotten a hang of parenting - at least SHE makes me look like it.

Thank you God for our little Munchkin, for blessing us with her presence - it is a gift that we cherish each and every day.