A HUGE CHANGE AROUND HERE!

Two words. Public school.

Two more words. Debt free.

We love homeschooling our kids. We have been doing it officially the last three years, and plan to continue that journey in the future. However, we also want to make a better life for us and our future. We have read Dave Ramsey‘s The Total Money Makeover many times and I listen to his podcast almost daily to help keep us on track, but something was missing. We could be out of debt (except the house) in 2-3 years with no change in our income. That’s not fast enough for me. When I get excited about something I tend to go a little crazy and want change instant. So we thought about it and the only way to pay down our debt in less than one year is for me to work more.

So that’s exactly what we plan to do.

We will send the kids to public school for this year while I help bring in extra income to get us where we want to be financially.

We are all sacrificing on some level and have discussed it to make sure everyone was on board. The kids were excited to try out a new experience for this year and understand what we are trying to do to get us to a better place. Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. That is Dave Ramsey’s motto. I repeat that to myself many times a day.

Not only are we putting the kids in school and I’ll be working more for the next 7 months like a crazy person, but we are putting everything else on hold too. There is a long list of things that I want done around the house or mini-trips we would like to take, all are hard to say no to, but we are in this 100%, so for 7 months we will buckle down and be dedicated to our new lifestyle.

We still plan on ‘homeschooling’ the kids outside of school. They will continue with their Teaching Textbooks math each day, their journals, and coding. I may even pull them out for the day if we plan an awesome field trip.

This is one small chapter of their lives and we look at it as a real-world experience, which is our main goal as parents: to give them experiences to help them grow into a well-rounded adult.

Until next time.

 

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Our year so far…

We started the school year off in July after a 3 week break. The kids were ready to get back into the swing of things and I prefer them to stay on top of what they have been doing, otherwise they tend to forget (don’t we all!) 


A few things we have been doing that I’ll mention is last year we started a point system. They are awarded points for reading or completing their work. Sometimes kids, even adults, need a little extra something to get them excited. So we tried it out. An example: 1000 points for completely their Math for the day. Then when they have enough they turn in those points for things such as a pizza party with their friends or a trip to the ice cream shop. There are different levels. This worked great. 

However! 

Over the past month I’ve seemed to neglect using it. They both have over 100,000 points right now and neither of them seem to be in a hurry to use them up (even though there are some cool things they could do, like a $40 shopping spree, etc). 

So this has been out on the back burner. It worked amazing for about 4 months tho! ūü§ď

We have 5 huge changes this year. A few are to help us gravitate towards independence, a love of learning and unschooling. 

Number 1. 

Teaching Textbooks, finally!!!!

I love our other Math programs, but they require so much time from me and my kids weren’t really digging them. I finally splurged and bought TT4. They both complete a lesson each day. It’s graded for me. It’s engaging and I haven’t heard one complaint about it. It’s been 4 weeks. Thank you Teaching Textbooks!!!!


Number two.

Daily Journals.

I remember having a journal as a kid and I’ve read different articles why they are important to keep, so I went out and bought them each a cute journal (or diary if you will.)

I let them know that this is there’s. I won’t read it unless they ask (they haven’t). There are only 3 rules:

  1. You must write in it each day
  2. You must write out the date 
  3. You must write at least three sentences. 

They really enjoy this time. I do scan through and make sure they are following the ‘rules’ and try my best not to read it. I’m glad we started this. I think it really helps them understand how to get their thoughts on paper, learn to spell the date correctly and to express themselves in a positive manner. 

Number three.

Cursive notebook. 

I also went and bought them each a cute notebook. Turners says ‘I can do anything.’ And Lilly’s says ‘I’m a Rockstar.’

These notebooks are our new cursive books. When I was a kid my mom and I use to write back and forth Ina notebook because there were many time we weren’t hole at the same time and this was a fun way to communicate. 

Everything they write (and me) HAS to be in cursive. I wanted to switch it up this year and make it more natural. Now we write notes each day back and forth. It’s been wonderful. 

Number four. 

Three week session rotation. 

We use a three week on, one week off rotation. 

But I switched it up even more this year. 

We now rotate between Geography, Art and Cooking, History and Writing, and Science. 

It has made life so much easier, more organized, and fun!

We have completed our Geography session: studying South America and are finishing up our Art and Cooking session this week. 


I really feel we get more out of each topic since we are completely focused for three weeks. Then we take a break from it until it comes back around. History is up next and we will focus on SOTW #2, Medievil Times and writing an essay (a first for them). 

For us, we will hit each rotation three times in a ‘school year’ and have a two week review at the end. 

This has been so great! 

I also try to tie them together. For our Art session they have made globes, which they will paint and label the continents (South America/Geography)!


Number five. 

Class books and cover page. 

We have always read class books together and if there is a movie we watch it afterwards. 

What is a little different, is I’m having the kids make a cover page at the end (or you could call it a review page). 

They get a blank white paper and put the title on the top then illustrate and color a scene from the book. They can pick any part they want. They have completed the books and cover papers for Sign of the Beaver and 100 Cupboards so far. We are currently reading BFG for our class book now. I try to get one in each session. We got two books in our first session (1/13) because one was an audiobook we listened to in the car. 

At the end of the year they will have a folder with all their cover sheets to look back on. I think it’s a neat reminder

Until next time!

We [love] Miquon Math

Before I started homeschooling, I, like many of you, read countless blogs and reviews for a plethora of Math programs.  It was a lot of information to go through, but I finally settled on Miquon.

It seems to be a lesser-used curriculum, I’m not sure why, because it works great!

The program consists of 6 books for 1st-3rd grade. They also sell a First Grade Diary (you don’t need this), a manual (you do need this), and rods for hands-on learning.

With the rods they are able to introduce multiplication, division and fractions more easily for little ones to understand. I just love how it pushes them in a gentle way that they understand. 

On a side note: I went through and marked each rod with the number they represent on the ends, it was such a HUGE help! 

There are 6 books in the program. <—– Check out what each book covers.

1st grade:  Orange and Red    |     2nd grade:  Blue and Green                                                     3rd grade:  Yellow and Purple

My kids do Miquon each morning for 15 minutes.  We set a timer and they work at their own pace. It seems like it takes about 1-3 months to go through an entire book, depending on how fast your child works and if they need extra help.

Lilly is finishing up her Kindergarten year with the Orange book. She should get through the first 4 books by the end of next year. Which would put her working a grade ahead.

Turner should be finished with all 6 books by the end of his 2nd grade year (next summer).  That would put him a year ahead also. He is in the Red book now.

Afterward Miquon I plan on using Beast Academy or Teaching Textbooks.

Miquon is unique and different, with a hands on approach. I really enjoy doing the books with my kids and helping them along the way. There are little games in the books too, and the kids just love them.

I highly recommend Miquon to homeschoolers that want to have their kids working a grade level ahead and for a unique, hands-on approach.

****Both kids also use Khan Academy 3-4 times a week for 15-30 minutes at a time.