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For those of you who didn’t get it on Facebook. . .
This is a link to a photo slide show I made with pictures from our last 18 months or so in South Carolina
I’ve had some questions from friends about what we are going to do next year. Come to think of it, one of those friends was my husband! I am having so much fun window shopping my homeschool options since this year will be Elijah’s REAL first year of preschool and his last year of preparation for Kindergarten (yipee!)
So far over the last year or two, we’ve done a little of Sound of the Week (got through all the sounds) and done the Hooked on Phonics Reading Readiness package. Elijah knows his sounds and lots of the basics, but isn’t quite ready to start any heavy duty reading program. I am wanting to wait for the right time. He LOVES being read to, and can’t wait to read, but doesn’t yet sit still long enough for a real reading lesson – he gets goofy and silly and doesn’t seem serious enough to really dig into any significant material. . .so I’m going to wait so that we ENJOY the process and he keeps his love of reading – that is something I CAN’T really teach to him in a lesson. . .the actual reading skills will come in time (he’s only JUST turned four a few days ago. . . I have to keep reminding myself of this!)
I think we’ve narrowed it down and finally decided on a literature-based sort of curriculum called “Five in a Row“ I was debating between the HIGHLY popular and wildly-praised (my friend Jessica P. LOVES it and her daughters eat it up) Sonlight curriculum, the also highly recommended Hands-On-Homeschooling and other options that will be more suited for Elijah’s Kindergarten year.
So. . . my decision for Five in a Row, came for several reasons, after reading http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/ and plugging in my last few options and reading several reviews on each.
Here are the reasons I think Five in a Row will be our curriculum of choice this year:
1. It focuses on the main things: reading (for recreation and learning), worldview/social studies, character/spiritual application, good art
2. It covers most subjects – I will only have to supplement a little math with cuisenaire rods (they cover some math, but not everything) and a little phonics/reading instruction as we go (using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.)
3. It is simple, reading every day and one different subject each day of the week – perfect for a 2 and 4 year old
4. The children love the content. I already did a mini test run by checking out about 10 books each of Sonlight and Five in a Row for recreational reading a few months ago and the children LOVED the Five in a Row books! They liked Sonlight’s also, but they didn’t seem to hold their attention as consistently and seem quite as rich as the FIAR books. We’ll just say that JEREMY AND I started getting bored when they would bring us a FIAR book for the 20th time and beg to have that one read again!
5. It gives me a chance to try the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and to test the waters of “unit studies” while my children are young. . . and since we are talking about unit studies, I HAD to put a link to this lady’s blog I stumbled on today which showed some unit studies that I can’t wait to do with Merry and Elijah: http://our-faith-filled-days.blogspot.com/search/label/Star%20Wars%20Science%20Club
6. This curriculum seems to be a popular one among people who go on to Classical Homeschooling, something we are pretty sure we would like to take a stab at as our children enter elementary education. My thought is that if they are where we want to be in a few years, how did they get there? Many of them started out with Five in a Row and liked it. . . so here we go. . .
More to be posted later (especially if my window shopping shows me something I’ve missed in my research so far)
On a totally different note, since we found out we were pregnant with each of our children, we have had a homeschool savings account for them. . .just a small amount each paycheck, but it makes it financially feasible for us to purchase the things we would like to have to homeschool now that they are old enough, and it doesn’t break our regular budget. Up until now I have spent small amounts of it on education museum memberships, educational toys, some books, but other than that, we have saved that small amount over 100 times (over a hundred paychecks since we found out we were pregnant with Elijah) and has exponentially grown as we had Merry and Micah. We figure that if saving for college is important for so many people, why not save for their education that leads up to that for our children?
Enough of my ramblings. . . for tonight at least!
Today was a good Lord’s Day. We were blessed to try Clifton Baptist Church and are debating as to where to go next week – probably Immanuel. After lunch, and after Mom and little Micah went down for naps, I had the privilege to sit in the kids room and play and take a pseudo nap myself, amidst being pounced on and “snuggled” – which sometimes turns violent (an elbow here or there). While I was lying there Elijah and Merry started quarreling over Merry’s baby doll, both determined to have it. I aroused from my “sleep” and asked the two of them to come here and to “bring the baby.”
I thought this might be a perfect time for a lesson in sharing and what better story to tell than Solomon and the two women arguing over the baby. First, in my “wisdom” I tried playing Solomon myself and asked them both if they’d like me to cut it in half so they could both have a piece of it. Elijah immediately and morbidly acquiesced, while Merry seemed hesitant, wanting it all for herself. Elijah pipes in again, “Yeah cut it,” wearing a huge grin, “let me get your knife” as he proceeds to reach into my pocket. I was somewhat horrified and asked Merry again what she wanted me to do and following Elijah’s depraved lead, she agreed that cutting it seemed best. It was at this point that I had no other choice but to … (if you think I cut it, you guessed wrong) tell them the whole story of Solomon and the two women and who the baby was actually given to – the real mother who loved her child enough to give it away.
They enjoyed the story and decided to share. Hopefully they learned something, but perhaps I may have learned more. Given the most depraved option, my kids will probably go that direction. Perhaps I shouldn’t tempt that.
Today we celebrated Elijah’s 4th birthday, and what an extra special day it was, because his FIRST boy cousin on Adina’s side was born (this makes four boy cousins so far on both the Caskey and Ahlgren side) to Roseann (and daddy Josh). He weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, 14 ounces and presented with his hand by his head, just like Elijah, giving mommy a bit of a workout getting him into the world!
Since his last birthday, Elijah has grown several inches, learned his letter sounds, has started writing some letters, can sit through half of a church service, helps with cooking and baking, understands many Bible stories and has become very interested in stories about Jesus. He welcomed his daddy home from war and his brother, Micah into this world. We pray that he continues to grow in his love for the Church and that God will continue to draw his heart toward our Savior and to ultimately love and serve God with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength.
Elijah’s birthday highlights included a little party with some friends that ended with some jumping around in the mini-bounce-house that we brought here as one of our luxury items, an all-pink strawberry cake with a Star Wars Battleground on top to “manly” it up (Emily, a friend at the party said, “Manliness is not dependent on frosting”), his favorite foods, a few gifts including waterguns from Merry, the SUPER-popular (this was his first EVER request for a birthday gift) BIBLEMAN action figures and BIBLEMAN movie “Temptation,” along with the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress, “Dangerous Journey”. Daddy read to him this afternoon for over an hour and he is half-way through the book. . . Elijah sat SO well and was quite entralled with it!
Here is a link to some pics I uploaded to Facebook including our house pictures, a visit from the Wade family earlier this week and of course Elijah’s birthday pictures.
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Here’s the big man himself. . .sitting up for a photo only a few hours after he sat all by himself for the first time!! Day before yesterday he said “dada” and now says it incessantly and has added “laja” when Elijah comes around! So proud of our little guy. . .7 months old just a few days ago!
I just came across a few neat links that I hope will save us some money and time this week. . .thought I’d pass them on to any of you who might be interested:
1. K-Mart doubling coupons THIS WEEK ONLY up to $2.00!
2. Coupon and sale ad comparison site that is FREE (some charge, but this one isn’t as extensive. . .but it’s free) http://www.couponmom.com/
3. Find recipes for under $1 a serving by using the search criteria “main dish” and putting the dollar amount in at the bottom of the page. . .I like that they have the nutrition information there too! http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/
If any of you have more links you use on a regular basis, please comment with them so they can be included!
UPDATE: More links from my good friend DEB!!!
https://www.thegrocerygame.com/index.cfm?function=login&method=default (isn’t free, but I get stuff free, or really cheap and stock up!)
Just a few of my faves! And of course craigslist!
ADDED 6/28/2009 One more site that compares coupons and stores to get you items for free or almost free. . . and lots of up-to-date deals!
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The title is a quote from Elijah a few hours ago when we arrived at the seminary campus. All went well with the trip and I sit in our empty apartment while the two youngest nap. Jeremy and Elijah went to finish a tour of the campus, see the library and pay for our housing.
Yesterday was sweet as we went to church in Charleston for the last time for a while, had lunch with friends at one of our favorite parks there and headed out around two. We stopped near Greer where my sister Naomi lives, and played at another park near there around 5PM and ate dinner. We were back on the road before 7PM, got past Knoxville last night and stopped at a nice motel around 10 PM. The children fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep for the most part while we carried them in to sleep. Everyone slept well until 7AM this morning (PRAISE GOD!) and we were back on the road to get in here around lunch time.
We thank all of you who have prayed for safe travel for us. . . God heard you all!
We got a call this morning from the driver that has our household goods and he says he will most likely drop our things off here on Wednesday. That will give us tomorrow for Jeremy to maybe come on campus to study and write for the day. He feels very behind on his studying since we have lost so many days in the moving process and his first class starts two weeks from today.