Monday, November 18, 2013

First Batch In!

Well, this is going to be an exciting week for me here.

I ordered all of Anistyn's History and Science curriculum and it will all be getting here this week.

I got my first batch today!

This is the Story of the World Activity Book and the Test and Answer Key. The student's book which has all of the stories will be here later this week so I'm very excited to get it as well!

I thought the hardest part was going to be picking the curriculum out. While it was a daunting task, now I'm faced with different issues...but good ones! The major issue just being how I want teach it. I'll explain...

So Story of the World has different volumes.

Volume 1: Ancient Times (which is what we'll be learning)
Volume 2: Middle Ages
Volume 3: Early Modern Times
Volume 4: The Modern Age

Each volume is 'supposed' to be a year long, however, I've heard of some that have used  it for two years. It just depends on how you plan to teach it.

In Volume 1, there are 42 chapters, plus an introduction which can count as a 43rd. In each chapter they have different tasks which serve as just an outline. You can pick and choose what all you want to do.

For instance:
Chapter One is about the earliest people. You read about the first nomads and how the first nomads became farmers.  They have simple review questions where you basically just discuss what you read about. They give examples of questions you can ask, but of course you can think of some on your own as well.

Then they have a narration exercise where you have the child write a few sentences or a paragraph explaining the nomads. They can keep a History Journal and write all of their narrations in there. I really like this idea and will definitely be doing this.

Then there is additional history reading, which is where they have just put up some suggestions in case you want to dive a bit deeper into the subject. This can be different books, movies, etc. Its of course not mandatory, but if you're child is really interested in a particular chapter and wants to learn more, you have suggestions available. They have have corresponding literature suggestions!

There are also projects! Again, just suggestions, but who doesn't love a fun project? When learning about the nomads you can make a cave painting by using a brown paper bag, cutting it open, crumpling it up, then smoothing it flat to simulate the surface of a cave wall. Then the child can paint on it. It has two other projects listed as well.

THEN there is map work, just so the kiddo can know where exactly all of this happened. Its very simple. It shows a picture of the area we're learning about, then says to circle towns, trace rivers, etc. There are also coloring pages, but I don't know if Anistyn would be into that...unless she was maybe coloring while we review or something.

There is also the test and answer key for every chapter, but you can of course just take a casual approach and call out the questions for more review.

So, that's a LOT to do for one chapter. Of course, they are only suggestions. The thing with history is that its just so...interesting! On top of all of the resources available just in the activity book, there are even more online. I found a facebook group all about Story of the World. I think I bookmarked 15 different links from there...I had to give Story of the World its own area on my labtop! They have a list of free things to watch on youtube and netflix, books that go along with the subjects, online name it, they have it. If you just type in Story of the World into pinterest...well...don't say I didn't warn you.

We're starting halfway through the year, which just took some thinking on my part. Did I want to hurry through Volume One so she can be on track with Volume 2 by the time she starts 4th grade? Originally I thought I might be able to. BUT. Who says she HAS to be on Volume 2 by next September? This is the kind of thing where I'm just having to slow down and remind myself that I'm in charge.

I don't want to rush through this curriculum. So far it looks fantastic. I think History is amazing and I don't feel its something I should speed through. I could miss out on some really great activities and discussions all because I'm trying to keep up with some schedule I think I just have to stick to. If I really want her to take it all in and enjoy it...we have to move at our own pace.

Not that I know what that pace is though. We won't figure that out until we get started. I do know its near impossible to do everything on one chapter. There is just so much information out there. I think I'll just start with a general outline in regards to lesson plans. I'll just put on there what interests us in each chapter and if there's something that Anistyn wants to learn more about, then we can. I know some people that cover two chapters a week. There might be some weeks when that happens. Then we might get way too fascinated in one chapter and have to spend one or two weeks on it.

Now just to wait on the student book for SOTW to get here...along with her Science book. Then we'll see what Science will throw at us!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Curriculum Choices...Check!

Finally...I can scratch a highly important task off of my list. I have picked out the curriculum that I will use to teach Anistyn...and I can't wait for it to get here.

We officially have one month and a day left until we say good-bye to public school. Anistyn is doing a countdown...and now that I have decided what exactly it is I'll be teaching her...I can count down also!

In one of my previous posts, I had talked about all of the different 'types' of homeschooling. Well, let me tell you something...there are experts in every single type. These experts have made fabulous curriculum designed for so many different kinds of children. The problem? There are a ton! Not that that's a bad thing of course. Going through the first list is so overwhelming.

You just want to 'nail it.' You want to pick a curriculum that is just made for your child. A curriculum that will be EVERYTHING your child needs to learn in the way that suits him or her. At least, that's what I was trying to do. Until I drove myself crazy, took a breather, and then changed my thought process. Because unless I made the curriculum myself (which is very possible by the way, I'm just not there yet!) there wasn't going to be a curriculum that was made just with Anistyn in mind. Which was perfectly fine.

Really, I had to repeat that to myself quite often.

The worst case scenario is that I will have a curriculum that we start working on and just don't like. So we have to get something else.

Really...not the end of the world.

 (Again...this is another thing I had to repeat to myself. Can you tell I was having some sort of internal battle with all of this? It was serious.)

I really have had to let go of expecting perfection. There were so many options and I just want the best for my daughter, like any parent does. With us just beginning, I had so many fears. I just wanted things to start off well.

I have gotten into some fabulous homeschool groups, and have had many talks with some of the mothers there. I also have my professional homeschooler sister in law also! I have loved how, when I present one of them with my concerns, I often get asked "What's the worst that could happen."

This just proves another reason why I really think I will adore homeschooling. Not only will I teach Anistyn...I feel like I'm already learning things from it as well. I don't have to pick out the perfect curriculum (although I will pat myself on the back...I'm extremely excited about my choices!). This is going to be a fabulous journey for our family. There might be some bumps on the way, and we might have to try different routes. That's life.

I am really having to get out of the public school mindset. Now, some homeschoolers are vehemently against public education. I am not one of them. My daughter has loved school up to this point. Its just that now...I am seeing a plethora of possibility. I am seeing that I can be lenient in areas that I see fit, and if we want to learn about a particular subject more in depth...then we can.

Back to the curriculum. I have spent countless hours researching all of this and am very happy with my decision. This might change once we start to use it, but I have had many talks with a lot of "veteran" homeschoolers, along with reading sample lessons and even asking the makers of the curriculum questions. Yeah...I was a bit obsessed!

So, here is the curriculum that we will be using. One of my main concerns was making sure it wasn't aligned with Common Core. Then of course, I wanted something that would intrigue Anistyn! So here are for the 3rd grade.



This doesn't seem as exciting as my other choices, but from what I've learned its very consistent and most children that use it end up a year or two ahead. Math is my worst this seems like it is user friendly for me! This is a subject I think I'll have to just play with as we go along to find out what works for us. It might be this...and it might not. I've heard great things about it though, so we shall see!


R.E.A.L Science Odyssey by Pandia Press

I am very excited about this science curriculum as it seems to be very hands on. We'll be doing Level One which is Life Science. It will cover the human body, the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. Each lesson has a small amount of text, and then you learn even more about it through 2 or 3 activities. There are science experiments, arts and crafts projects, and observations. I love how involved it is. I hope this one works out!


Story of the World

This was the last one I figured out. For some reason, I had it in my head that Anistyn needed to be learning American History right now. I guess because that's what she's learning about right now. So I searched and searched...and couldn't find anything that fit. I really wanted to try Trail Guide to Learning...but that's actually a spine for other curriculum as well, so it wouldn't work. After a ton of time researching I gave up and did something I should have done all along....I asked Anistyn if she would rather learn about the world history or America. She said World History and that was that! This is a very popular history curriculum and it gets a lot of great reviews. I've read samples and it even had me interested. So I think this will be great. It didn't hurt that it was extremely easy to find it used for very reasonable prices!

Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar

Michael Clay Thompson Level One

This curriculum just looks fantastic and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about it. I'll admit when I first read samples I was wondering what the heck was going on...but once you get into it, its great. There are great stories which help kids understand sentence structure that are funny and engaging. This curriculum in mainly for a gifted language arts child, which I have. I really think this will be great for Anistyn and I'm so excited to get it!

So, those are my basics. I also think I'll do cooking with her since she loves to cook with me. I don't want to overload her with too much at first, so for now I think we'll stick to these and then once we have a good routine I might add other things she's interested in. She really hates cursive right now, so I think we might try it again in 4th grade. She also has said she wants to learn either the flute or we'll see!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Planning mode

I have a lot of goals that I am looking to set it motion very soon. Gone will be the days of spending the morning on pinterest or snuggling with Britton while watching Bubble Guppies until 11 in the morning. There are going to be so many changes and it is a bit overwhelming.

First, there's homeschooling. This in itself is going to be a full time job for me. Right now, I ship Anistyn off to school and then its just me and Britton. I can let her play while I catch up on laundry or whatever else I'm working on. Once homeschooling starts, I'll be spending a lot of time, especially in the beginning, staying on top of her and her work, teaching her things, lesson planning, and everything else that goes along with it. I'm extremely excited about starting, but it will be a big change for me.

Then, there's cooking. We haven't always been the healthiest when it comes to our eating habits. I've been doing a lot of reading and have decided that I really want us to cut out as many processed foods as possible. I want to do my best to eat as many whole foods as possible. This is going to require more time and preparation in the kitchen. Again, more time and effort on my part, but its something that I feel is best for my family.

So, I'll be juggling homeschooling and spending more time in the kitchen. What am I getting myself into?!?

On top of that...there's this housework stuff. Ugh.

Somehow, in between cooking and teaching my kids, I'm supposed to keep my house maintained? I'm not OCD about my house of course, but I'm spoiled and like clean underwear. I dunno...just a thing of mine.

I'm a fan of keeping my house maintained and at least presentable. I adore structure and I work best when everything is written and planned. It helps me keep myself accountable and remind me what I need to do next. I figure that these next couple of months are going to be my 'planning' phase. I'm getting curriculum together, collecting all of my recipes, and making a list of things that I'll need to make sure all of this goes somewhat smoothly. 

I'm extremely excited about all of this though. I know that my life is going to be a lot busier...but it will be so worth it to me. 

And if anyone knows of a REALLY good planner...send it my way!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The World of Homeschooling

Did you ever get into a new hobby or interest and discover that there is a whole new world full of information about a topic that you never knew about?

Like if you've never been into fitness and then decide one want to look into the best way to get fit. So you look into it and discover a world of diets plans, work out routines, and a whole list of things you never knew existed?

That's what I discovered when I decided to look into homeschooling.

I cannot  tell you the amount of time I have spent this week researching just about everything there is to research about homeschooling.

Did you know there are types of homeschooling methods? Yeah...I sure didn't.

It seems overwhelming at first. There's classical homeschooling, unschooling, the Charlotte Mason method, eclectic, unit studies...phew!

They all offer different methods and strategies to your approach on homeschooling. It really made a newbie like me really have to dive in and ask myself some serious questions I didn't even think about. At first, it was just a decision. I am going to homeschool. Pretty simple.

Now, I was asking myself...HOW do I want to homeschool? What point am I trying to get across to my daughter, not just about a subject, but on learning as a whole?

As I read through each method, I was thoroughly intrigued by each and every one of them. They all have such great and valuable points. I can understand why someone would teach under ANY of those methods. I like them all so much that I have put myself under the 'eclectic' group. Eclectic homeschooling is when you pretty much mix and match the different methods. I dig it.

I really had to think about what was best for Anistyn. She's been in public school ever since she's started. She's used to structure. She's used to schedule. She's used to textbooks and tests and quizzes and all of that. And...she's done extremely well in that environment.

So, does that mean I want to confine her to a chair and throw textbook after textbook at her? Not at all. But I also don't want to throw out everything that she has known the past few years and try to restructure her learning process all at once.

I do think that the core subjects are important. I also think (and have researched. Don't forget the research!) that homeschooling opens up doors to learning in ways that I never thought of! Learning should be fun, exciting, and intriguing!

I learned that on top of all of her core subjects...there's a whole world out there that I get to help her discover! How exciting and nerve wracking!

I have decided that the best way to go with Anistyn, is to start off with a schedule. Oh, its good for me believe. In the morning, we can cover all of her core subjects. Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading, etc. (time permitting of course.) Then, in the afternoon it frees us up for extra learning. The fun part? She can learn about whatever she wants! If she wants to learn about starfish...we can get into that. If she wants to learn about how clothes are made...we will! The options are limitless and exciting.

I never knew how much I would learn just by looking into homeschooling. Its not just a choice. Its a lifestyle change for our whole family. Its one that we're all on board with and I'm so incredibly blessed to have the support of my amazing husband who has dubbed himself  'The Principal.' Fitting, ha!

No matter what method someone uses to teach their child, in every forum or blog or discussion I have read about styles of homeschooling, there is one common denominator. The children. They are the core of it all. You get to decide what works best for YOUR child. Whether its unschooling, or long as your child is happy, learning, and thriving...then its the right method for them.

I am so excited to learn more and to share with anyone willing to read. I can't wait to get started, but know I have more steps to take before we finally take the plunge!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I have made a decision that I honestly never thought I would. 

Anyone that knows Anistyn, my eight year old...knows that she is very smart. Don't say she got it from her mama, because she most definitely did not! LOL.

Anistyn has loved school ever since she stepped foot through the doors. She is in the third grade right now, and has been in public school every year although she is in a charter school this year. I never had a problem with any of her schools nor did I have any complaints about her education or teachers. Especially in second grade when her teacher loved her ALMOST as much as me! 

The first point I'm trying to make is that I have never had a problem with the public school system or Anistyn's education because she simply thrived. She has excelled and is in gifted classes. She is creative and thinks outside the box and is loved by her teachers. I never had a problem with her education. Until now.

Its not the teachers. Its not the schools. Its not even really the public school system's fault. Its the government's. 

I'll spare you all of the details, but in a nutshell, after researching the Common Core curriculum I am just not comfortable with what they are pushing into public education. I've seen samples of it and I just simply can't agree with it. Its a debatable topic, however, I feel that my children are not up for debate. They, along with their education, are extremely important to me. I don't want their education to suffer because of a debate. 

It took a lot of thought, but I have decided to homeschool Anistyn. I never thought I would, not because I thought there was anything wrong with homeschooling. I just simply never had a problem with public school as far as Anistyn went. 

I am extremely fortunate to have a sister in law who homeschools her children so she has a lot of experience with it. Also, my mother in law is a retired schoolteacher and has a vast amount of knowledge! So between the two of them, I have a lot of insight to help get me started!

I am very nervous, but excited about this new venture...and Anistyn is too! So, it looks like this will become a homeschool blog as well!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Role Models

It seems like Miley Cyrus is a trending topic these days with her 'twergage' all over the internet these last couple of weeks, followed by a new video now of her on a wrecking ball dressed in, well, nothing. You can't seem to escape talk of her somewhere, even if you aren't looking for it. It seems to have sparked the concerns of parents everywhere, criticizing the star on the example she is setting for the teens and children these days.

All of the opinions that I've read seem to be one of two categories. The first, in so many words, is "Miley Cyrus is a horrible role model for kids these days." The other is "Why does everyone care so much? Let the girl do her thing!"

I'm the mother to two amazing little girls and not only is it my job, but my life's work to guide them in the right direction. I can't say I'm the best mother there ever was. I am, however, the only mother that they have and I don't take it lightly. I want my girls to grow up happy and healthy, with a strong set of morals and standards  for themselves. I want them to be independent women with compassion, kindness, and the ability to humble themselves when needed.

When it comes to the two statements above...I'm going to say...I'm more with the latter of the two.

See, I don't care what Miley Cyrus does. You do you Miley. You twerk that little booty of yours across every stage in America if that's what you want. You stick your tongue at every camera they put on you girl...if that's what makes you feel better about yourself.

I don't judge Miley. I can't put myself in her shoes. I don't condone it...but I don't condemn it either.

My oldest daughter Anistyn is 8 years old and we're getting to the point where our conversations are getting a lot more serious. Its no longer about whether the Tooth Fairy is real. Now we're talking about where babies come from, why do people cuss, and why do kids get cancer? Yeah. Not so easy topics.

I can't say that I overly shelter her from things I don't want her to see. Obviously, I didn't want her to watch the MTV Music she didn't. I won't let her watch a Miley Cyrus performance. I can't shield her from the world though. We go out. She sees magazine covers at the store. But she knows that if she has any questions, she can talk to me about it.

I don't force all of my opinions on her. I want her to have her own thoughts, while still upholding the values that we instill in her. I don't push her though. The great thing about that is...that she forms her own opinions and she asks for mine as well. This leads to great discussions that I thoroughly enjoy having. If she sees some girl dressed provocatively on a magazine, she tells me what she thinks, and I ask her why she feels that way. I love seeing where her mind is at. When she asks for my opinion, I give it to her, but not in some harsh judgmental way.

The other day I saw a picture of Sadie Robertson at New York Fashion Week. Sadie is from the show Duck Dynasty. In case you never watch TV or read the news, Duck Dynasty is a very popular show right now. Its about the lives of the Robertson family who design duck calls. Their story doesn't end there though. They're a family who, instead of using their wealth and fame to exploit their bodies or to promote worldly things, give their glory to God and are incredibly grounded in their faith and their strong family values. The show is a breath of fresh air. It promotes the bonds that a family should have, all while giving thanks to God. This is evident in Sadie, who is the granddaughter of Phil Robertson, the founder of Duck Commander.

Sadie is 16. She could be relishing in the wealth and fame that being a part of the Robertson family has brought to her. She is incredibly beautiful and I'm sure the boys are lining up for her. She could easily use her looks and go against what her family has brought her up to believe. Instead, she goes against the grain.

See, Sadie went to New York Fashion Week to promote her new prom dress line. Her goal is to market dresses that are fashionable, while being modest. She's also set up a youtube channel with her friend which talks about girls being different and not doing what the world thinks is right. In my opinion, I am first off, utterly impressed by her.

How beautiful and amazing is it that this young girl is using her fame to help other girls realize that they can be different. That they don't have to promote their bodies to feel beautiful or worthy. That we are all beautiful in our own way. She oozes confidence as she talks about about her morals, her faith, and her belief in herself.

My family already watches Duck Dynasty together. Its a great family show, which is hard to find these days. She's already noticed Sadie. We've watched her videos and talked about her. THIS is the stuff that I will encourage my daughters to notice. THIS is what you will find on at my house. Things that show my daughters that its okay to go against the grain. Its okay to not do the things the world wants. That beauty comes from within and that you can be anything you want to be in life.

My daughters number one role model The scary thing is that, believe it or not, the girl wants to be just like me. So she watches me. She wants my opinion. She wants to know what I'm watching, wearing, saying. So I want her to see things that will uplift her and inspire her. Just like they uplift me.

So go ahead Miley. You wear any kind of bear suit you want while you shake your butt around for millions of people to watch. Some people might cheer you on and good for them.

My family will be too busy watching Duck Dynasty.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm baaaaack.

Well hello there blog world. What's new?

I took a break from blogging, but as always...I am pulled back in. Its been over a year and a half since I last blogged, and so much has changed, which is why I really wanted to get back to blogging. So where to begin? How about an update?

In May of 2012 we decided to buy our first home. When Josh signed a new contract with the Army, they told him we would be stuck in Augusta for awhile. So we decided to make it a home and moved off base into a great house. It was a steal and we were so very excited!

I got Anistyn enrolled in the local school and also got her into cheerleading and she adored both! Then, I also got a great job at a new doctor's office in town. We also went to Disney World! Things were great and we were finally settled in. It was home to us. husband is in the Army.

A little while after we were all settled and happy...they decided that we should move. Gee, thanks. Normally, they're good about moving you during the summer, which is great with kids out of school. But they wanted Josh to be there at the beginning of February. It was a difficult decision because Josh and I have always had an understanding that as long as he is not deployed, we want to keep our family together as much as possible. But with a new house, my job, and Anistyn adoring her teacher...we just couldn't go. So, he packed himself up and took off to San Angelo, TX without us. 

So I stayed in GA for the next 3 months. I had my sister with me helping for about a month and a half and we attempted to sell our house. Let me tell you. I HATE having to live in a house and show it to people. I'm pretty sure its high up on my list of the most annoying things in the world. Definitely in my top 5. I was working, taking care of kids, and at the drop of a hat someone would want to see the house. But it had to be spotless. Is that ever possible with children? I don't think so. 

After three months though, school was over and we headed out to Texas to be with Josh and start our life out here. We ended up renting our house out and renting out here as well. 

We've been here since the end of May and its still an adjustment. I miss my house in Georgia. I had my best friend living 4 houses down from me who had a toddler the same age as Britton. We were inseperable. 

I haven't really had a chance to make new friends, but I'm sure that will change now that school just started back. I got Anistyn into a great school here so I'm so excited to see how that goes.

I also became a Disney Travel Agent a few months ago and am loving it so much. Its definitely more fun than work.

Britton and I are now in the process of finding friends and the local "hangouts". San Angelo doesn't have much to offer, which is a little bit of a letdown...but hopefully we'll find some fun things to do.

Josh just got promoted to Staff Sergeant and we are just so proud of him. He is so amazing and I fall in love with him a little more every day. If you read my earlier post about him being promoted to Sergeant, you'll be happy to know that I did NOT mess up when I pinned him this time. 

Well, there are a lot more things to talk about, but I think this is enough babbling for now!

Til next time,