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  #1  
June 20th, 2011, 01:21 PM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chilly New England
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First of all, hello! I am new to homeschooling this year...lol. I laugh because I was home schooled K-12 but this is my first year schooling my own kids. Second generation homeschoolers My name is Sara, wife to Jaysen and busy mommy to Cassidy (3.75 yrs) and Joel Peter, just 2. I am not new to Justmommies but I have been absent from my PR's for a while due to drama issues *sigh*. We are a non-denominational charismatic Christian family and, well, pretty darn old-fashioned about life.

If you don't mind me jumping in here, I have a ton of newbie questions about curriculums, books, routines, and everything else. I'm sure you've heard them all before, but your experience is exactly what I need right now as I prepare for our first school year this fall!

My daughter Cassie will be 4 this fall, and she is BEGGING to start 'big-girl school'. We have been doing small-scale things like letters, colors, numbers, etc., but she is just so excited to get to the rest of it. Her brain is just incredibly fast; I have trouble keeping up with her. Before I get done introducing one concept she's on to the next, just soaking it up. We will not be having trouble keeping her motivated, lol. But I do need help staying motivated and that's one of my first questions. I've tended to start off well but slack off after the holidays, so all our 'work' doesn't get done. Ugh. I really need to stick with this if it's going to work. Especially with a brainiac like Cassidy on my hands. So, on to the questions. Sorry to bombard you all at once

1.) Has anyone ever used the Alpha Omega Horizons Preschool curriculum (or something like it)? I am looking for a program that is simple and won't take too long every day, but also provides the lesson plans and teacher handbooks. I understand that it isn't necessary for her, but it will help me. When I was doing school we used the LifePac system, and while I didn't care for it especially I do like the looks of the Horizons preschool. What I do like about Alpha Omega is the regimentation...do this, this, and this, finish the 10 workbooks and you're done for the year, no questions asked. This works for me.

2.) I am going to start teaching her to read this year. She knows all her letters and the letter sounds, and can write most of them. The two books I'm having trouble deciding between are Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons, and Explode the Code. I know my sister used 100 Easy Lessons for both of her children and loved it, but I've also heard that it doesn't work for everyone, so I'm looking for your thoughts on both. Has anyone used both? How do they compare?

3.) Do most kids learn to write at the same time as learning to read? I thought that would come after, but she's signing her name like a pro and asking how to write words even before she can read them. Is this a good thing or will it just hold her up in the long run?

4.) What time of day do you usually do school? We've been sitting down in the morning, but that also seems like that's when she has the most energy, lol, and it's hard for her to sit and listen. I've been thinking about doing it after lunch, when her very busy little brother is in bed and she usually has her quiet time. I think it would be easier for her to focus then.

5.) What have you taught as subjects for your preschoolers? I was thinking something simple like phonics, math, and Bible. Obviously she's not going to be doing a full contingent of subjects at 4, not that she wouldn't love it Did you focus on anything else at this age?

6.) How do you find time for it all? I'm laughing as I write this, because I only have two little kids and most of you have more, but there are days when I'm lucky I can keep them reasonably well-fed, out of trouble, and alive, and still make dinner after. Do you follow a strict schedule or do you just sort of go with the flow? What helps you stay organized and motivated?

7.) A while ago I came across a beautiful book online about teaching lessons of Godly womanhood to your daughters (there was also one about sons but I was first interested in the daughter one). It seemed old-fashioned and multi-aged and I really wanted to get it but the link got deleted on my computer and I can't remember the name! If anyone can think of a book like that please shout out the name! Even if it's not the same one I would greatly appreciate it.

I'm sure I'll remember more as we go along, but Wow! This post is already really long! Thanks for any answers/advice, I really appreciate it! Also, if anyone feels to just touch on one thing or question instead of everything, please feel free!
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Hi, I'm Sara. I used to post here a lot when I was having the kids, but life got busy and it's been years since I was around. Now I'm back, and happy to be here.

Married to my best friend for a decade.
Mom to:

Cassidy, 6.5 yrs. Born 10/23/07, 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 in.

Joel, 4.75 yrs. Born 6/23/09, 9 pounds 12 ounces, 21 in.

Timothy, 2 yrs. Born 3/20/12, 9 pounds 4 ounces, 22.5 in.






































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  #2  
June 20th, 2011, 04:06 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Hello, and welcome!!

I have answers and/or experiences for all your questions and will be happy to answer them, but I want to give them the time they deserve. I need to make dinner and get laundry started. I'll be back later tonight. We're happy to have you here. Cozy up and make yourself at home!
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  #3  
June 20th, 2011, 06:59 PM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chilly New England
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Thank you! I have been reading some threads this afternoon, and realized I sound just like some of the others asking questions, so I'm sorry for the redundancy, but I'm looking forward to your responses just the same. Thanks for taking time out of your day for my questions!
__________________
Hi, I'm Sara. I used to post here a lot when I was having the kids, but life got busy and it's been years since I was around. Now I'm back, and happy to be here.

Married to my best friend for a decade.
Mom to:

Cassidy, 6.5 yrs. Born 10/23/07, 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 in.

Joel, 4.75 yrs. Born 6/23/09, 9 pounds 12 ounces, 21 in.

Timothy, 2 yrs. Born 3/20/12, 9 pounds 4 ounces, 22.5 in.






































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  #4  
June 20th, 2011, 08:00 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
My daughter Cassie will be 4 this fall, and she is BEGGING to start 'big-girl school'. ... Her brain is just incredibly fast; I have trouble keeping up with her. Before I get done introducing one concept she's on to the next, just soaking it up.
BTDT! My son started begging to do kinder when he was 3. We refused and refused, but finally gave up at 3.5, only to find out he was in 1st. (Bad mommy!) My little one is asking to start K, so we'll go ahead and let him this Fall when he turns 3. Lesson learned. Child-led education is so much more fun and rewarding than constantly saying no without just cause or dragging a reluctant child along later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
1.) Has anyone ever used the Alpha Omega Horizons Preschool curriculum (or something like it)? I am looking for a program that is simple and won't take too long every day, but also provides the lesson plans and teacher handbooks. I understand that it isn't necessary for her, but it will help me. When I was doing school we used the LifePac system, and while I didn't care for it especially I do like the looks of the Horizons preschool. What I do like about Alpha Omega is the regimentation...do this, this, and this, finish the 10 workbooks and you're done for the year, no questions asked. This works for me.
I didn't use Horizons, but I used something similar... Abeka (for K, not PreK). My personal opinion was that it was teacher-overload, but that's just me. I have an education degree and tons of teaching experience, so it seemed rediculous to me to have every.little.detail. given. I'd rather have seen an outline form so that I'd know kinda what needed to be covered, and then run with it. For someone who thrives on lots of hand-holding instruction, it was wonderful. Abeka is written with a classroom in mind (many private schools use it), so there's a ton of seat work (a.k.a. redundancy and busy work), but you can do as much or as little of that as you want.

Just so you know, usually the more "put together" a curriculum is, the more it'll cost. I think I paid around $400 or so for the Abeka K stuff without getting the Bible curriculum (which was another $200-ish). I love Abeka. Don't get me wrong. It just wasn't a good fit for Ben's learning style or my teaching style. I could TOTALLY see myself using it with other kids, though ... after going through the teacher's manual with a highlighter to bring out only the necessary points, of course.

Another (much cheaper) one I like is Rod & Staff. Their math starts off very slow (about a grade level behind), but it catches up around 4th or 5th grade. Everything else is top-notch. It's written by Mennonites, so it's extremely old-school, FULL of Biblical references and applications, and at times a little disconnected from modern life, but still... I like it. Very classic, very well done, and very high quality. They rarely have revisions, and most of their books are hard-bound, so they have high resell value later. Some of the early stuff is consumable, but after about 2nd grade or so, it's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
2.) I am going to start teaching her to read this year. She knows all her letters and the letter sounds, and can write most of them. The two books I'm having trouble deciding between are Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons, and Explode the Code. I know my sister used 100 Easy Lessons for both of her children and loved it, but I've also heard that it doesn't work for everyone, so I'm looking for your thoughts on both. Has anyone used both? How do they compare?
I'm an ETC fan. Love it! We didn't use 100EZ, but I did strongly consider it a few years ago. You'll hear loves and hates for both. It's a personal choice. (ETC can also be used for spelling and handwriting, although it's not made for that specifically.) I also like Rod & Staff (mentioned earlier).

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
3.) Do most kids learn to write at the same time as learning to read? I thought that would come after, but she's signing her name like a pro and asking how to write words even before she can read them. Is this a good thing or will it just hold her up in the long run?
Definitely go with the flow on this one. My son learned reading and spelling LOOOOOOONG before learning to write! He was playing around with spelling by taking the letters out of board puzzles and refrigerator magnet sets when he was 2-3 years old. He only started writing recently (he has physical delays). Writing will help with reading, so yes, if she's wanting to write, let her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
4.) What time of day do you usually do school? We've been sitting down in the morning, but that also seems like that's when she has the most energy, lol, and it's hard for her to sit and listen. I've been thinking about doing it after lunch, when her very busy little brother is in bed and she usually has her quiet time. I think it would be easier for her to focus then.
We do school in the morning, usually. It's just become a routine for us to do it at soon as dh leaves for work. We have a million other things going on, so it's best to get it out of the way first thing in the morning when his mind is still fresh. It's also incentive to do the parts he doesn't like so much ... so he can do fun stuff later in the day. Doing it during the little one's nap might work for you for now, but soon, you'll lose that naptime, so you'll have to adjust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
5.) What have you taught as subjects for your preschoolers? I was thinking something simple like phonics, math, and Bible. Obviously she's not going to be doing a full contingent of subjects at 4, not that she wouldn't love it Did you focus on anything else at this age?
When we finally decided to face homeschooling head-on, we started right off the bat with everything... science, social studies, health, etc. We do WAY more than what's required, but that's because we follow his lead. There are certain things you have to do no matter what (like learning to read and add), but other things, we'll do as much or as little as he wants. He's not a fan of math most of the time, but he's much more tolerant of it than he used to be. He realizes he needs to know it so he can do things like science or even playing games with his friends. (He was really embarrassed when he went to a birthday party and the other kids were keeping score of a game in their heads. He'd refused to learn how up to that point. After that, his math effort and level got much better! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
6.) How do you find time for it all? I'm laughing as I write this, because I only have two little kids and most of you have more, but there are days when I'm lucky I can keep them reasonably well-fed, out of trouble, and alive, and still make dinner after. Do you follow a strict schedule or do you just sort of go with the flow? What helps you stay organized and motivated?
I'm an organization freak-oid. Spreadsheet maniac. I have a list or spreadsheet for everything in my life. Seriously... I'm kinda sick in that way. It must be working. My house stays clean, my errands stay run, and my kids get everything done that needs to be done for the day ... most of the time. (Yes, there are days when I throw up my hands, pop some popcorn, and put in a movie. Not very often, but it happens.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by New_England_Girl View Post
7.) A while ago I came across a beautiful book online about teaching lessons of Godly womanhood to your daughters (there was also one about sons but I was first interested in the daughter one). It seemed old-fashioned and multi-aged and I really wanted to get it but the link got deleted on my computer and I can't remember the name! If anyone can think of a book like that please shout out the name! Even if it's not the same one I would greatly appreciate it.
Perhaps either "Keepers at Home" or one of the titles on this site??? Pearables Christian Character Curriculum & Materials

Last edited by BensMom; June 20th, 2011 at 08:05 PM.
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  #5  
June 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Great points Thanks for your reply. I've been thinking about a lot of it today...I have 11 weeks until the first day of school and I just want to get it right, lol. I have more questions that I'm asking in other threads right now.

Oh, and that book I was thinking of was actually 'Polished Cornerstones' from Doorposts. Anyone know about it or have it? I wanted to start some mother-daughter subjects and this one seemed old-fashioned and conservative, which suits me pretty well.
__________________
Hi, I'm Sara. I used to post here a lot when I was having the kids, but life got busy and it's been years since I was around. Now I'm back, and happy to be here.

Married to my best friend for a decade.
Mom to:

Cassidy, 6.5 yrs. Born 10/23/07, 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 in.

Joel, 4.75 yrs. Born 6/23/09, 9 pounds 12 ounces, 21 in.

Timothy, 2 yrs. Born 3/20/12, 9 pounds 4 ounces, 22.5 in.






































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  #6  
June 21st, 2011, 08:22 PM
Jill0924's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Welcome! I am Jill, mommy to twin girls who are three. I was going to wait also before beginning anything "official" but the girls were asking to learn letters so I figured I'd just roll with it. I don't know anything about the curriculum you mentioned, but I do think that whenever in your day it feels comfortable to do "school" that's when you should do it. If it feels natural and in the rhythm of your day, then you and her will be relaxed and happy. As for subjects, I plan on introducing letters and letter sounds, 1st 100 sightwords (acording to the dolch list), and number recognition and counting to 30 this year. I also add in science and social studies through explorations as the seasons change. Right now we have been talking about the american flag - reading books, making one out of paper, talking about "stripes" and "stars" that decorate the flag and counting the number of each. We have also been singing "your a grand old flag" (Arianna's favorite right now and she likes to sing it nice and loud for total strangers in the grocery store!). We also visited a local butterfly garden and then have been reading books about the butterfly life cycle and doing coloring pages about butterfly life stages. Most of the social studies and science is exploration to prepare for latter studies. It is all based on what is going on around us at the time.
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  #7  
June 22nd, 2011, 05:21 AM
New_England_Girl's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill0924 View Post
Welcome! I am Jill, mommy to twin girls who are three. I was going to wait also before beginning anything "official" but the girls were asking to learn letters so I figured I'd just roll with it.
We have also been singing "your a grand old flag" (Arianna's favorite right now and she likes to sing it nice and loud for total strangers in the grocery store!).
Thanks! It's amazing how incredibly bright these 3-year-olds are, isn't it? Your story about Arianna singing You're A Grand Old Flag in the grocery store sounds soooooooo familiar! Cassie is very much like that. She walks up to total strangers and says, "Hi! My name's Cassie." And if they don't answer her the first time, she just says it louder!
__________________
Hi, I'm Sara. I used to post here a lot when I was having the kids, but life got busy and it's been years since I was around. Now I'm back, and happy to be here.

Married to my best friend for a decade.
Mom to:

Cassidy, 6.5 yrs. Born 10/23/07, 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 in.

Joel, 4.75 yrs. Born 6/23/09, 9 pounds 12 ounces, 21 in.

Timothy, 2 yrs. Born 3/20/12, 9 pounds 4 ounces, 22.5 in.






































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  #8  
June 23rd, 2011, 07:35 AM
2Corinthians10:4's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 12,959
Hi and welcome! I am pretty new here too. I am Meagan, mommy to 3 year old Addisen (Addi). We are sort of doing school now but mostly just making sure she has her letters and numbers down (per her request).

I have a lot of the same answers as you, actually. But I will tell you that I am realizing the same thing with Addi about doing school in the morning, the only thing is we still do nap time after lunch so afternoons won't work for us. And as for subjects, I am in the process of getting FCC certified so I will have to have lessons in Math, Science, art, and language arts. But for the preschool age group it is really easy. It can be things you would probably do without thinking about it anyway, like you can take them outside for a nature walk with nature boxes and discuss with them the things they put into their box (science), when you get back you can sort them into different categories like leaves, acorns, or even types of leaves, etc. (math), and then get some glue out and glue them onto a piece of construction paper (art). It doesn't have to be all out, if that makes sense.
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