A happy heart makes the face cheerful...Proverbs 15:13

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Anne Frank Lapbook

We started this Anne Frank lapbook as an assignment for Woman's History Month. The boys were not excited to learn about a girl, so I tried to find someone they could relate to. I considered Julia Childs since my oldest likes to cook. I researched some 'girls from the past' who were western villians or something boyish. In the end I decided on Anne Frank. Someone close to their age. After reading the book, we realized that Anne was a lot like my 7 year old, so he enjoyed that. I planned this lapbook out to be a 2 week project. However, we got into. Talking about Germany and Hitler and The White Rose Group. It was closer to a month of studies. Oh, and I definitely recommend the kids biography for this.

Before we start
....Our lapbooks are never extravagant. They are basic. Just a hands on tool. I just don't have the time to deck these things out like the 'true' lapbookers!

This is our front cover. We did a small window with a picture of Anne in it.

Our inside cover has some small flip books that show information on Anne Frank. We listed things she liked to do, her family, Jewish traditions, and talked about the secret annex. Also, when and where she was born and died.

The 2nd page is a time line. The 1st shows the time line of Anne's life. The second shows the time line of the world during the same time.

Our 3rd page consisted of a Hitler and WWI flap book. It hit the boys when we talked about the fact that there are people today who still have the same mindset as Hitler did. It was hard for them to grasp. That was a bible/character lesson in itself, but we only discussed it enough for them to get the point!
We also talked about our ancestors from Germany. We learned who our first ancestor to come to America was, when he came, where he settled, and where he and his wife are buried. We also discussed what our last name was before they came to America and why it was changed.
Lastly, we discussed the White Rose group. After discussing this group I decided to add a character trait into this study.

Our character trait for this lapbook was Virtue.
We talked about a few characters of the Bible to understand the trait. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego, Stephen, and Joseph in Egypt.
We discussed different definitions of the word, synonyms, antonyms, bible verses that relate, and what they can do to show this trait in their daily lives.

I love studies like this one. You start out prepared to learn a selected material only to find out you have learned above and beyond what you expected to. There was so much more we could have thrown into this study, but I figure a month was enough time and we needed to move on :)
I am thankful that we jumped into this.

What has been your favorite lapbook that you and your kids have done?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Mom of 4.

If you have been homeschooling for a while, it is very likely that you have heard these questions at one time or another. What do you do all day? When do you clean? When do you have you time to yourself? How long is your school day? What is your daily schedule like?

My favorite is, “How do you keep your sanity?” To be honest, I am not sure how or if I even do keep my sanity through out each day! However, I am able to rely on structure and a trillion prayers a day to make it work.

When I first started homeschooling I would have categorized myself in the over prepared bracket. I had our entire day laid out. I knew what time we would do each subject and for how long, what time we would play and eat, and allotted certain days for field trips and hands on learning. What I realized, very quickly I might add, is by doing this I often found to be disappointed in myself when my schedule wasn’t stuck to. When we weren’t able to move on to the next subject because we hadn’t completed the previous one or when a field trip went on a different day then our schedule allowed. This approach just was not realistic.

Now, I do not think that we could run with out a plan. Structure is very important in a chaotic household of 4 boys! So here is how our day is normally laid out. You will notice I use “between” time. This has really lowered the stress of our schedule. By leaving that leeway I do not feel rushed to finish something.

6:30- Mom time- During this time I will make coffee, throw in a load of laundry, take a run or do a quick workout, or do a Bible study and try to shower before the boys wake up.

7:30-My preschooler is normally up before everyone- So I use this time to do his flash cards for letters and letter sounds. He enjoys the one on one time with me without the going back and forth to his brothers.

Between 7:45-8:30- Boys wake up. They normally don’t sleep later then 8:45. For those women who start school at 5:30 in the morning-God bless you!

Between 7:45-9:30- Breakfast, make beds, get dressed, devotion or Bible study (I do this when they are eating so they do less talking because they have full mouths). Tidy up kitchen, living and dining areas.

No later then 10:00- Start school. Seem late? It’s rare that we actually start this late; again it gives me that leeway. We normally are full speed by 8:45ish

*Once we start school the times go away and we just go by assignments!!!!! Lunch is normally always the same time as well as dinner. So we work around that.

1st- Calendar Time, Review Bible Verse, see what subjects are for that day.

2nd- Multi-age studies

· Aplogia Astronomy(Monday/Wednesday)

· Any lap book or note booking pages we are working on together

· Lif Pac Art(Friday)

· The Story of The World History(Tuesday/Thursday)

3rd- I normally squeeze my preschoolers ‘work’ in between helping the boys in group and individual lessons. In many cases the older boys enjoy doing some of the activities with him. This is not a forced activity and sometimes we will do it before dinner. Again, he enjoys the alone time with me.

4th- Individual Studies: Everyday

· Math

· LA

· Reading- If they need to catch up. The boys enjoy reading before bed. It helps them to fall asleep.

5th- Tidy school and toy areas

Break for Lunch- Between 12:00-1:30

Between finishing lunch and 5:00-

· Finish any work or projects that were not completed.

· Outdoor time/ Physical activity

· Practice instruments

· Free Time

· Clean rooms, put laundry away

Between 5:00-5:30- Dinner

After Dinner- We normally have club meetings or sports practice

That is our day. It may seem like a full day to have everyday, but some things do give on some days. We don’t always have clubs or sports, we sometimes work ahead a couple days in certain subjects in order to enjoy a day or two of field trips, and most importantly we are flexible.

So, just remember when you are trying to create a structure in your homeschooling day, be flexible and be realistic. Work isn’t always going to be completed, cleaning isn’t always going to be finished, and dishes might still be in the sink in the morning. But that’s okay! Breathe and pray and leave yourself leeway. Being less stressed will allow you to be a more patient(God willing), and relaxed teacher for your kiddos.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Preschool Curriculum

Hooked on Phonics: Beginning Reading with Bible Stories Ages 4-6

This set was not included in my original plans for next school year. I found it brand new at a used book store for $10(Brand new runs $30 or so) and thought I’d give it a whirl. I wanted to try it out to see if I wanted to include it in our lessons.

We have being doing the flash cards with the CD and a page from the workbook a few times a week. My son, who will be 4 in May, has already started to remember all of the sounds of the letters. This has been a remarkable program and we are very excited to continue with it for this coming school year. If I can find them for a reasonable cost, I will continue with this program for kindergarten. From my research, you can find this specific program used for $10-$15 on Amazon, EBay or Half Price Books online.

Fruit of the Tender Heart ( At teachmejoy.com)

This was my original plan for my preschooler.

Teach me Joy is a self-published early learning home school curriculum that has been brought to you by a seasoned teacher and homeschooling mom. Fruit for Tender Hearts is a home school program targeting students in K3-K5.

This is an inexpensive down loadable curriculum. It is running on sale right now for $15. To save ink, I plan to print a week or 2 at a time as we do them. This curriculum includes Bible, math, science, reading and LA for the entire year.

You can get a full description of this curriculum and other teach me joy curriculum at the Teach Me Joy website.

Calendar time: We do this at the beginning of everyday to learn how to use the calendar, learn days of the week, and months of the year and special days and holidays. It also refreshes counting skills. My older kids sit in on this too; they need to know the date to put it on the work for the day. We also use this time to go over our bible verse for that week


I created a reading list for my preschooler. However, I am sure that many more books will be added on to this list. He normally raids the library every time we go. The books on our list are just some of my old favorites, some of my older kids old favorites and also ones that my preschooler has enjoyed so far. You can view our reading list here.

My one goal for myself is not to force, but encourage my preschooler to do his ‘school’. Age 4 is a great age of fun and a time of learning through experience. By forcing him to do his work, it can discourage him. He will not consider it fun anymore. In most cases he asks to do his ‘work’ because his brothers are working on theirs and he wants to be a part of whatever they are doing. I am going to try to take full advantage of that.

Not forcing him do his work doesn’t mean he will get to do whatever he wants though. We still have a structure and schedule. He will have to choose some sort of activity. Blocks, trains, coloring. That’s a whole other post! “How to entertain your preschooler while you school your older children”.

Happy Preschooling!!