Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Back to School (Again)

Starting back to school in January is WAY harder for me than starting in September.  Summer break gives me a true break- months of it. Christmas break flies by with very little down time. Starting back, I dare say, is harder on me than it is on the kids.  Thankfully, once we get back into the groove and start learning again, it feels right.  Like with many thing, starting is the hardest part.

I barely wrote at all about school this past fall.  Time just flew by and we were so busy doing school, I didn't seem to have time to write about it.  Or rather, I thought other things were more fun to write and think about after spending my days immersed in school work.  That said, there have been several books that we've enjoyed so much that I must tell you about them.

Even if you don't homeschool, keep these in mind for bed time reading or summer learning.

If you would like a better understanding of the history of money (including why there are little ridges in some coins), inflation and what really causes recessions and depressions, read Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? I learned so very much and Sam did, too.  Sam is almost 10 years old and I would say that would be an accurate younger end to the age spectrum for this book.  The author explained concepts very simply, but it's still a lot to take in.

Understood Betsy is delightful.  It's a quaint story about an orphaned girl who lives with two different sets of relatives.  While she's loved dearly by both, one allows her to blossom and realize how much potential she has.  Both Sadie (almost 7) and Miriam (3 1/5) scurry to my sides when I begin to read this one.  I adore it, too.

Each chapter of Missionary Stories with the Millers (search for it here) tells a different adventurous story about real missionaries.  This book is not for the faint of heart- there are scary (realistic) parts to many of these stories including getting lost in deep jungles, witchcraft and even death.  That said, the providence of God to those who are obedient to His call is miraculous and the fruit of their labor and sacrifice is eternal.  Getting glimpses into cultures all over the world is enriching.  Our kids find these stories fascinating.  I love that it exposes them to another life's work choice (other than teacher, doctor, carpenter, etc.). Sorry the picture is blurry!

Sam's Core (Eastern Hemisphere) has us studying different countries, their cultures, religions, governments, and histories.  We're enjoyed going out to ethnic restaurants and trying different art forms.  Included in the China study was this Chinese Calligraphy Starter Set which involved actually grinding your own ink stone to make ink.  Very fun.  Sam's interest in this lead to him using his allowance money to buy a book on Chinese calligraphy.  Getting notes from your son in Chinese characters is pretty cool- even if you need him to interpret the messages for you.

Leading Little Ones to God: A Child's Book of Bible Teachings is included in Sadie's first grade core.  It is one of the sweetest books about God I have ever read.  Written in a easy to understand and conversational manner, it's perfect for children preschool all the way up to 3rd grade or so.  Each short chapter discusses an important trait of God and our relationship with Him as well as a scripture verse or hymn and a short prayer to pray together.  This would be a perfect bed time devotional.

When I realized Botany was next in our Science progression, I must admit I was disappointed.  Really, I just wanted to skip it and jump right to Anatomy.  Thanks to Fulbright, I have been surprised and delighted!  Did you know how many things we as humans have in common with plants?  It's amazing and is additional confirmation that we share the same Designer.  It reminds me of the analogy that Fulbright gives in one of her other books...If you saw a older model Corvette and a newer one, you'd see many similarities and many differences, but it would be clear (particularly to car enthusiasts) that they were designed by the same car company.  This is an analogy that she uses when she talks about the similarities of chimpanzees and humans, and it applies even to plant life!

Looking into the functions and characteristics of the plant world may be just as incredible as studying the human body is- time will tell!  The notebooking activities have also been very good.  Sadie uses the Junior notebook and I make copies of some of the coloring pages for Miriam to do while we work.  I continue to be so very impressed with this series.

What else happens during school time?

I never know what I'll find, but as long as they're relatively quiet (and safe), I'm a happy teacher.

Behaviorally, we still have our good days and bad.  Thankfully, the kids learn new skills with relative ease, so the frustrations occur when they don't feel like working.  And, we all know what that feels like.  Learning  perseverance, patience, hard work, and self-control is a lesson all home-schoolers and home-school parents need to learn relearn on a daily basis.

Next week I hope to share some pictures of our school room- I've been finding new ways to showcase their work and have added some new tools. Well, back to work!

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  1. Kylie has the book leading little ones to God I think it is excellent.

  2. We loved those Botany books too! We bought the whole series!:) We are on Zoology II this year!! So much fun!

  3. UNDERSTOOD BETSY sounds familiar though the cover art does not look familiar. I probably read it as a child. I put a reserve on it form the public library.

    What source do you use for you fiction books, if you buy. We don't homeschool, in fact they are all grown, but I do run our church library. I am always looking for new catalogs to order from beyond CBD.

    Annabel Lee

    1. I trust Sonlight ( completely when it comes to fiction (Christian and non-Christian) books. We almost exclusively read their books (via their curriculum and recommendations). If you have an age group/level you want to expand in your church library, just go to their website and click on the grade level and then reading lists.

    2. Ok , the catalog arrive but it doesn't seem possible to order just individual books. Looks all to be batched in a lump sum.

    3. Annabel Lee, I thought you were just looking for ideas of titles to look into. You can find any of their titles (or at least most of them) on You can also call Sonlight and just purchase select books without buying a whole set:-). Good luck!

    4. Well most of the books I see are just good, clean classics I can find anywhere. What I am looking for are other sources of Christian publishers that I can order from, like CBD. I have plenty of the classics already but always am on the lookout for newer fiction for children by contemporary Christian authors. I'm the librarian at our church.

      So the catalog did jog my memory and I will keep an eye out for some of those on Amazon used, Half Price books, Goodwill etc.

  4. OK, thanks, I put in a request for a catalog.

    Annabel Lee


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