I started reading to my firstborn before he could walk. He loved books and would literally carry arm loads of books for me to read to him, over and over and over. When he started Kindergarten, he was already a great reader. I wish he would read as much today as he did when he was younger, but Mindcraft pulls him in another direction at the moment.
I started to read chapter books at bedtime so many years ago, it is now part of our daily routine and has been for years. It is a part of the day my girls really look forward to. Over the years, I have ready hundreds of books to my children, from board books to the classics. Reading aloud happens all day at our house really, in school and at bedtime.
Reading aloud to your children everyday is a proven way to motivate your children to read on their own. Children who are read to are usually the bet readers in their class and they have large vocabularies and write well. I can say in all honestly since my son refuses to read for pleasure any longer, his writing and vocabulary have take a stand still.
I love that my girls will get lost in the spell of a beautiful book. We listen to books on CD in the car and then my girls will beg for me to read that book to them aloud. I love that they are voracious readers!
We have read so many books over the years, it really was hard to pin point our favorites, but I have complied a list of books that I have read more than once, making them favorites in our home. Obviously, this is a biased list based on what we enjoy.
The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, George's Marvelous Medicine, The Witches & James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl Phizz whizzling fun! what can I say. Many favorites in our house from Roald Dahl. We have many giggles over these delightful books!
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere -- to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett The discovery of a neglected garden transforms the life of a sullen and unloved little girl-and everyone around her, too. When the newly orphaned Mary Lennox leaves her native India and arrives at her uncle's mansion in Yorkshire, everything seems strange to her. Then Mary hears of a mysterious garden where no one has set foot in 10 years. With the help of some new friends, she plans to uncover its secrets...and make it blossom once again.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams At first a brand-new toy, now a threadbare and discarded nursery relic, the velveteen rabbit is saved from peril by a magic fairy who whisks him away to the idyllic world of Rabbitland. There, he becomes "Real," a cherished childhood companion who will be loved for eternity. Treasured for generations, here is a timeless tale about the magic of boundless love, newly available with the luminous color of the original edition.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle A Wrinkle in Time and the wonderful and unforgettable characters Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe. When the children learn that Mr. Murry has been captured by the Dark Thing, they time travel to Camazotz, where they must face the leader IT in the ultimate battle between good and evil—a journey that threatens their lives and our universe. A Newbery Award winner.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz
A Series of Unfortunate Events, 1-13 by Lemony Snicket Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odor. In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy. Read the entire series! You and your children will be hooked!
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame Generations of children have roamed the English countryside in the company of Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger, the immortal animal pals of The Wind in the Willows. From summertime picnics along the river's edge to cozy parlor firesides on crisp winter nights, the tales evoke a timeless atmosphere of friendship amid the natural world.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found... An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years. This edition presents the seven books—The Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; and The Last Battle—unabridged and arranged in C. S. Lewis's preferred order.
The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder The set includes: Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.
Okay, I know I have more than 10 books on this list. Do you have an idea how hard it is to narrow down favorite books?
What was the deciding factor to begin homeschooling?
My middle child, my oldest daughter had spent a year in preschool and did not fully embrace the whole concept of school. Then she spent a full year at all day kindergarten at the private school my son was attending. She cried almost daily and did not make one single friend the entire year. My heart broke for her everyday and I told my husband she needed to be at home with me as school was not the place for her. He did not agree with me and refused to even consider homeschooling at this point. I started homeschooling at mid-year through first grade for my amazing daughter who didn't quite fit in at a conventional school. I vetoed my husband and pulled my daughter from private school and brought her home with me and watched her blossom!
I have sent all my children to wonderful preschools. My son spent the most amount of time in private schools. He attended school for six years in a private school system before he decided to homeschool with his sisters. My little one spent one year in private preschool and has been homeschooled ever since. My children have never been sent to public school, but both my husband and I were educated in public schools.
So, I guess the deciding factor for me was my daughter was miserable at school. She cried everyday and it broke my heart to watch this. She didn't make friends and in fact the little girls in her class were quite horrid to her. A good friend of mine homeschooled her children adn she told me quite frankly, "you are homechooling and you don't even admit it". She was right, from the very beginning, I schooled my children because I didn't feel the private schools did enough, so I was always supplementing. She encouraged me to follow my heart (and my intuition) and just take a leap of faith.
It was the right decision then and still is for my daughters. The school we are a part of now is really unique and wonderful. We are in an amazing place, the core values are fantastic and I see the results in this school in the incredible students it is producing. When I had children, I never even considered homeschooling. But when it came time to make a decision as to what to do with my daughter, I knew it was the only option for her. Now, I can't imagine being away from my children all day long, all week long. I researched what was the best homeschool model for us and a classical education fits in perfectly with our family values.
While I don't love teaching at home, I love having my kids at home with me. It doesn't feel like that every single day, because some days are really hard and some day s are really great. But I am still learning after four years of homeschooling. I struggle because I want things to be easy and that is not always the case. Good things and the right decisions are sometimes hard and that is okay . . . but I forget this at times.
What is classical education?
Basically, it would take me too long to explain, so I will reference a better website. go here. I will have to say that as the years go by and I tell other families we are classically educating our children, I get more approval and understanding tha I did in the beginning.
Classical education is not new. It has been around since the time of Martin Luther. Classical Education can be described as rigorous and systematic, separating children and their learning into three rigid categories, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. The academy my two oldest attend focuses on “fostering love of the Lord, passion for learning, and strength of character in children". Additionally, they are creating critical thinkers who are logical, thoughtful, and articulate. This will be my children.
The core of Classical Education is the trivium, which simply put is a teaching model that seeks to tailor the curriculum subject matter to a child’s cognitive development. The trivium emphasizes concrete thinking and memorization of the facts of the subjects in grade school; analytical thinking and understanding of the subjects in middle school; and abstract thinking and articulation of the subjects in high school. Subjects unique to Classical Education which help accomplish the goals of the trivium are Grammar, the science of language usage; Logic, the science of right thinking; and Rhetoric, the science of verbal and written expression. Another hallmark to Classical Education is a rich exposure to great literature. We also study Omnibus in a four period cycle (each year we study a different era of Ominbus and recycle after four years). We also study Latin and the development of a Biblical worldview with Theology in its proper place as God is the foundation of ALL teaching.
How do we homeschool?
I'm at home with my children teaching them. My children attend academy 1 day a week, and are home the remainder of the week(except for my little one as the academy does not begin until grade 3). Each week we are emailed a syllabus. Each teacher specifies what we are to do for the week on the days we are home. I do not have to select all of the curriculum as it is done for me for the subjects they have at academy. No lesson planning for me for my two oldest, well, sort of. We do choose a handful of our own curriculum, like spelling, math, and grammar. But mostly, the school decides on all of our other subjects, which I personally love. The children attend classes on Monday and I follow up during the remainder of the week per the syllabus.
The classroom setting are traditional. They have six classes each Monday with six different teachers. This is not a co-op and these are real teachers. Real Teachers! the children attend school from 8:00 and to 3:45 pm. It is a long day of learning. There is no homework to bring home on Monday evenings either. We have our daily assignments and we work through them until the are completed.
Balance or Not?
This is a tough one. The first year was ever so easy and it was just my gal and me. First grade and all, super fun times we had. The next year I went from one to three and had a Kindergartner(who went to co-op), a 2nd grader (who didn't attend academy yet, but went to co-op)) and a 4th grader, (who did attend academy). My son was a first year homeschooler and thought staying at home meant all fun and games and it took him a good six months to adjust from private school to home school. Each year it gets easier and each year it gets harder.
Since I am a blogger and a contributing writer, I can work from home with them in the classroom. however, since I am in social media, I need to answer emails as they come int and that mean distractions come easily and often. I try my best to get up early, work for an hour and then give the children my full attention during homeschool time. I try to just check my email again at lunch and then at the end of the day.
The balance is hard and I always try to do better. Some days are better than others. The one issue I have is balancing work, homeschooling and being a mom. I still need to run the household, complete chores, cook, clean, laundry, shop and shuttle my three children to all their activities. Things fall by the wayside and they are usually the household chores. My home looks like bomb went off in it most days and it does get to me after a bit. I can only take a trashed house for so may days in a row. My husband is very busy with his job and does not have extra time to assist in homeschooling in any manner, so all the school related issues are 100% on me. That does get taxing at times as well.
Is it working?
This is also a tough one. I'm not sure. If you were to look at my children's standarized test results at the end of the school year, I know you would say . . . absolutely, yes, it is working. But, it is hard to homeschool. There, I said it. My son is trying to test my patience limits every single day and have tested himself right out of our classroom. This is the last year at home for him. He is such a disruption to my daughters that he can no longer remain at home with us. My son has SPD and is in need of a different atmosphere, and homeschooling is not the best fit for him. My daughters are loving homeschooling and thrive in this environment. My son does not. He will have to go back to a private school and I think it will be much better for him in some ways and not so great in other ways.
The amazing Discovery Center Museum, in Rockford, IL, is full of over 250 exciting hands-on exhibits spread over a two-floor area. Out in the museum's backyard, visitors can explore Rock River Discovery Park, a giant, multi-level science park with a hands-on twist! The museum also hosts traveling exhibits, special events and programs throughout the year.
Saturday, February 22,
11:00 am-3:30 pm
The Discovery Center Museum is kicking off National Engineers Week as dozens of professional engineers from local firms set up shop in Discovery Center spaces to give kids and adults hands-on experiences. Engage your brain and conquer fun challenges, meet high school robotics teams, erect your own edifice, make-and-take some amazing stuff, and enjoy special science demonstrations.
CURRENT PROMOTION: Buy One General Admission and Get One Free
Not valid with other offers. Offer valid up to 3 free admissions.
Check out more of their incredible exhibits!
Coming this fall will be another extraordinary exhibit. Creativity will flow in the Build It! Make It! exhibit.
Creative Sparks will fly. Magic will happen!
Monday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Only closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & Easter Sunday
$8.00/person Free - Members and children age one and younger
Discovery Center Museum
711 North Main Street
Rockford IL 61103
I am constantly moving things around in our school room here at home. Moving in a book case, moving out a book case.Changing things up a bit to try to do it better. The children's needs are forever changing and I have to keep up with the changes. I try everything to attempt to navigate the days and have the days run much more smooth.
The first year I homeschooled, it was just myself and my daughter. She and I worked at a small table together and I had all her work stacked up on a book shelf. This worked for a short time, but was not something we could continue long term. The following school year, I went from one homeschool student to three homeschool students. I needed to transition from a small table to desks and something that would work.
One thing that helped me transition from one student to three students was work boxes. The idea was created by Sue Patrick. She even wrote a book about workboxes. I don't follow her theory fully, but I do follow the idea of workboxes. The basic concept is to divide up the children's daily work into different boxes with the child moving from box to box, completing each box before moving on to the next.
I purchased wire racks with plastic containers for each of the children. The plastic containers are labeled with a small label that states what each subject is inside the container. I can see how far they have progressed by how far they are down the workbox station.
Now, three years later, the workboxes are still helping us out. I am constantly moving the workbox station around. My son decided this year he didn't need or want the workbox station, so he gave me his and I utilize it for school supplies.
The workbox works best for my youngest daughter as she is homeschooled full time with me.