Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Planning, Reflection, and my random thoughts on how to be abetter Foundations Tutor for CC

So... one of the things that I did not get the opportunity to do last year was plan my school year in advance.  Talk about stressful.  This year things are going to be different.  I am reflecting on the year we just finished and planning the year ahead!  I plan to make SURE that it is MORE fun.  My kids like FUN.  They like to learn but we all do better when it has an "Element of Fun"...Mary Poppins was so very wise!  Additionally, I am nicer when I am less stressed out!  Can I get a mutual Amen on that?  I mean seriously!  

We are a Classical Conversations family and this will be our third year!  This year I will tutor the Abecedarian's again, my son will be in Foundations, and my daughter will enter Challenge A.  Does anyone else hear the Jeopardy music planning in the background too?  Just me?  Awesome!  I hopes of having a nice stress-less year...I am planning.  Now.  Ahead of time.  In advance.  I feel so grown up.

We just completed our local Practicum and it was AMAZING!  If you are on the fence about Classical really MUST attend Practicum.  Heck, if you are headed into your third year frazzled and afraid of should definitely attend Practicum.  NOT that I know Anyone at all that fits that description.  Just listening to those children who have been there was so uplifting for me!   There is a young man that attends another Community close by that could be the CC Poster Child...he is amazing and really did help to relieve my anxious heart!

I have also been blog hopping and I found some fantastic tips for Tutoring this year.   I thought I would share some of my ideas, some of my failures, and some things I plan to continue.  Have you ever heard of the Stop, Start, Continue idea for planning?  It is pretty self explanatory, which explains why they had to explain it to me at least 3 times at Wood Badge training for Cub Scouts.  That is a whole different discussion.  Anyway, this is what I mean by Stop, Start, Continue.  Now that my first year as a Foundations Tutor is over, I need to evaluate how it went and Prayerfully answer the following questions:

1.  What do I need to STOP doing? 
2.  What do I need to START doing?
3.  What do I need to CONTINUE doing?

Stressing out.  I taught Pre-School for about 8 years before this.  I shouldn't be so stinking stressed every Community day!
Using so many hand motions with the Time Line Song.  Too many confuses the little guys and stresses out the Momma's

Memorizing the History Songs before the summer is up. 
Practice the Timeline Song with OUT the CD as a crutch.
Fine Tune the hand motions I want to use.
Planning my weeks in advance, use the SAME memory techniques for each subject!

Using the Time Line broke into weeks for memory work.
Using the carpet squares during New Grammar.
Sending out weekly Email with Reminders and tips.

I have read some fantastic ideas out in the Blogger-sphere.  I especially like an idea I found...where she suggests that we do the SAME type of activity with the ABC's for each type of New Grammar...for several weeks.  It will help teach them the routine and they will know what to expect.  I love this idea.  I am ashamed that I forgot that little gem of an idea from my Pre-K days!  What does that mean?  Well, something like this...

New Grammar:

Time Line:  Teach Hand motions and sing along, also I will show the TL Cards
Math:  use fun voices, jump and hop
English:  use a microphone (love this idea...totally high jacked it!!!)
Latin:  _____________ (I got nothing) eek
Science:  hand motions
History:  Sing and March in place. 
Geography:  Become Copy Cats!  I will show them what to mark and they will copy me


First of all, I have a great idea stolen from my daughter's public school kindergarten teacher.  I am going to have a Class Teddy Bear.  I do believe his name is going to be: Sir Lancelot.  Each week a child will take Lancelot home with him for a CC Adventure.  The first children will have Sir Lancelot and we will Journal our adventure.  We will talk about CC, our favorite thing, and something fun about our families.  I will do our first presentation and Model for the kids what that will look like with Sir Lancelot.  (note, if you decide to do this...have a stunt double in case tragedy will have a back up bear and book).  So, one child each week will have Sir Lancelot and everyone else will have a Show and Tell to do their Presentation on.  I may assign things mid year but for now I'm keeping it simple.  Each week we will draw popsicle sticks to decide our order.   I'm going to have some labeled 1-8 or however many kids we have in my class.  Last year I had them choose and that was a hassle, to be honest!

Oh, this is our Snack time too.  Hand washing before presentations and Potty Break with hand washing again after snacks!  A set potty break seems to work better. Obviously, if they have to "go"...they have to go!


Y'all, just do it.  Some of the projects are flat out over the little guys heads.  Just do them and make it fun!  Fake it till you make my motto for science!  They LOVE it.  I mean, LOVE it!  They like seeing how things work.  So just roll with it and make sure to use a Super fun voice when talking about all the little aspects of your experiments.  Oh, I sing the Scientific Method Song each time (to Pop Goes the Weasel) and make sure I point out each element.  I ask them questions!  This year I am going to tell them they are ALL Scientist and they need to help me understand it better.  (Another thing I am high jacking from someone else!)

Fine Arts:

If I can be honest...this is my FAVORITE part of Tutoring!  Yes, I mean it!   I love the arts!  Little children love it too!  Embrace the lessons.  Last year I had quite the group of little boys and surprisingly they ALL love to draw, play the tin whistle, and complete each art project that I presented.  I recommend reading a short book to them each week.  A few of my favorites are:  Ish, Dot, Zin Zin a Violin, and there are several more I can't think of this late at night.  I will need to update my list!


If I can again be honest...this part really stresses me out.  By 11:30 my little guys are typically DONE with CC.  Last year, I don't feel like I had my arsenal of review games up to par and I have really been out in the Bloggers Sphere looking for ideas!  I am excited to say that I have found some great ones! 

I have the following ideas:

Musical Chairs
Mother May I
I'm going to make a giant felt World map and let them label it with Geography memory work
I'm going to make a felt Bean bag toss game.  I'll post pictures when I get it done
Wiggly Worms
Candy Land: using the CC Connected file
I think we will have some Mapping/Blobbing/Tracing for review also
Build the Mr. Potato Head game (answer questions and each correct answer gets a piece of Mr. Potato Head)
Shape making using Tangrams (same concept as Mr. Potato Head)

So, there you have it.  My random thoughts on how to make next year more fun for my little ABC's and make me less stressed out.  I would LOVE your idea's and input.  It definitely takes a village to make the world go round!  That, some coffee, and a Whole Lot of Jesus! 

And because a little reality never hurts...all of my Pre Planning piles!  I will eventually sort these by week and subject but NOT tonight! I hope I'm not the only one with a messy office like this!

Blessings from my Nest to yours!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

a LOT has changed around here

Hey Y'all,

So, let me first say that a LOT has changed over here!  It has been a couple of years since I actually created this particular blog page.  We were going to homeschool.  We were going to do this super fun thing were I used a Harry Potter theme.  Alas, life happened and we did NOT do it.  We remained in public school for all three of my kids.  Well, that is until last September.  The Princess suffers from migraines and we finally determined that the stress of public school was one of her triggers.  The Diva is very much happy and successful in public school and she is still there.  The Pirate no longer wants to be called a Pirate.  I really don't know what he wants me to call him anymore...So, he will remain the Pirate.

September, 2015.  That is when we REALLY started homeschooling.  I fumbled around for a little while trying to figured out where I was being led.  I really have a eclectic personality.  I finally felt strongly led to enroll my kids in Classical Conversations.  They are thriving!  The Princess is relearning all the things she has skimmed through in public school and forgotten and the Pirate is FINALLY trying to read.  If you do not know what Classical Conversations is... will answer a multitude of questions.  I chose to follow their recommendations for my Princess who is a 6th grader.  We use Saxon Math, IEW for writing, and Essentials for our Grammar.  For Social Studies and Geography I am supplementing the Foundations program with books from the library.  We live in Georgia...which provides us with a LOT of opportunities for Field Studies.   The focus for History this year was American History... Well, we have a few options in that area!  

I am really loving the schedule and the flexibility of CC.  It allows me to have accountability...let me be honest and tell you that I NEED that...but it also allows me the opportunity to add in things that speak to my creative side.  I could not be happier!
Right now we are in Cycle 3.  It has certainly been a learning curve and I already know what I will different next year for Cycle 1.  I am super excited for next year.  I know that it will be amazing!

Looking forward to sharing the journey.  Oh, that super fun Harry Potter Unit?  That is my secret Summer School plan ;-)  Stay tuned for that!



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Planning My first Unit Study- Harry Potter

Well, I have decided that our very first unit is going to be FUN!  My girls have absolutely made it clear that they would would like to homeschool indefinitely.  That being said, I am much more free to pick and choose what we learn...when! This also means I am not bound to the Georgia By Grade Outline...YAY! Now I can really take it an run!  I was feeling very limited in what I could do up until now and there are so many schools of thought to choose from!  I love many of the idea's presented to me! For example:
Charlotte Mason
Nature Studies
Unit Studies
Chronological History

I also love that I can see what "ideal" works best with my kids!  I plan to use some traditional textbooks for Math, Grammar, and Handwriting.  I do not feel as confident in teaching those I think following a Textbook is best.
Teaching Textbooks for math
Handwriting without Tears
Easy Grammar

Then the FUN Stuff!!!! We are doing a Harry Potter Unit Study!!!!!!  Our classes will be the following!

Muggle Studies such as Ancient History and Medieval History  (using a borrowed Sonlight core)

History of Magic for first years including Legends and Mythology (using a borrowed Sonlight)

Astronomy including our solar system, Stars, and Star patterns

Herbology where we will grow our own Herbs and learn their important uses

Potions  where we will learn how to create our own simple chemistry (for Muggles) experiments

Care of Magical Creatures will be a study of several animals both real and magic

Defense against the Dark Arts which will include our Armor of God Bible Study

Transfiguration will include turning many Muggle items into works of Art

I found some amazing ideas on the web!  I can NOT claim credit for a lot of what I am going to list here.  I am sure I will pull together my own ideas soon...but I borrowed liberally from the following blogs and websites.  I am going to tweak it to fit my own girls and my taste but the main ideas came from:

Sorcerer's Stone Comprehension questions  This is amazing!  Just what we needed to make sure my girls really are reading the story and not trying to answer from the movies!  This is chapter by chapter will links to online tests or print activity links! 

A Term at Hogwarts  Theresa is a homeschooling mom with an Amazing blog and a lot of great ideas!  I am using here Herbology and Care and Feeding of Magical Creatures ideas for my girls!    I plan to add:  Catnip, Lavender, and Basil to her list of Herbs and the Cat, Centaur, Dragons, and Toads to her Magical creatures.  I'm not sure how but I will also tie in the Alchemy lessons as well...throughout our Astronomy and Potions classes

Scholastic Discussion Guide for the first 4 books  I plan to use this beauty of a freebie a lot.  It has some great discussion ideas for the girls.  I will play around with it for several language arts lessons, writing prompts, and other unknown plans as of yet. 

More Discussion questions

Several Good ideas here  This teacher has a lesson plan geared at older kids...but I am going to add this cool idea here of a personal dictionary.  I plan to have them do the Illustration, and choose a passage to recite from memory

Some more discussion questions and activities  This is another great list of discussion questions and has a Mind Pictures activity that I think is pretty cool

A good resource for research of those Magical and mythical creatures  Several of the animals we will study are listed here with a great link for "researching" them

A-maz-ing Lesson plan for older kids  This is an amazing free lesson plan for older kids...9th gradeish.  I plan to use a LOT of her ideas for our Transfiguration Class (Art) and tweak several of her daily writing prompts.  We will have a journal that the girls write in everyday.  I plan to use the discussion questions and writing prompts I have found throughout these links in that way. 

Online fun  Potions fun

Printable Decision making activity

Another free lesson plan I have not looked all the way through this lesson plan but I plan to use some of the ideas that I saw when I skimmed it. A great Literature Lesson plan for The Sorcerer's Stone

A Geography game here.  You need a Globe and will need to come up with your own questions

Owl studies information  This will come in useful when we study our Owl's.  There is a lesson plan and several links for Owl studies on this page

Another great page to look through  that has a lot of links for different Harry Potter themed activities!

 This is a great Art teacher's blog and I plan to use several of her projects for our Transfiguration class!

Our Armor of God Lesson's will come from, which is an amazing web site for crafts and Bible lesson's.  They have a free site and then there is a annual subscription site.  WORTH every penny!

Some fun Chemistry sites I plan to visit for our Potions class!
 A2Z Home's Schooling has a great chemistry page too!

I am really, really excited to put it all together!  I am sure I have completely overwhelmed myself with all of this info...but I hope should anyone actually stumble upon my little blog...they will be helped out! 

Blessings from our corner of the woods to yours!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Baby Steps and Getting Started

This is blog is going to be my way of sharing the our home school adventure.  Really isn't that what it will be?  An adventure... it is exciting, daunting, a little scary, overwhelming, fulfilling, and the journey is so very worth all you had to endure to get there!  

The Merriam-Webster definition of Adventure is, "a:  an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.  b:  the encountering of risks.  c:  an exciting or remarkable experience. and d:  an enterprise involving financial risk." 

Well isn't that the truth!  How this new adventure in our lives is going to unfold is certainly a unknown risk and we will certainly encounter many unknowns, I know that it will be so exciting because I plan on several remarkable experiences, and well there is that financial risk of living on one income and all that goes with it.   So, I feel that Adventure is certainly the best description!

I have wanted to home school my children since my oldest daughter the Diva was in preschool.  The thought of enrolling our little angel in public school almost made me ill at the thought.  We explored the private school option...but we had two children at that time and the Princess was just two years behind her sister.  There was NO way to afford private school for two children.  At this time I worked part time as a preschool teacher.  So we moved to another neighborhood and had a WONDERFUL school that we loved with all our hearts.  Literally.  The BEST public school experience in the world.  I still toyed with the idea of home school because I felt called to do it...and I have A LOT of great friends who home school their families.  Knowing a lot of families that home school is ready made support group.   Well, fast forward to March of 2012.  A huge amount of change in our family has happened this year.  DH got his dream job.  When I say dream job...I mean, the night we met in college he told me when I graduate this is my goal.  Well, 11 years and three kids later he has achieved his goal and I COULD NOT be more proud of him.   Yay!!!  But, that dream job was not in Texas. It is in Georgia.   So we loaded up the truck and moved to...Georgia.  (did you sing that last line in theme song?  that's ok...I did while typing it too)  Now, we LOVE the area.  Georgia is beautiful and fully wooded!  I love it! LOVE it!.  I miss my friends and miss our Beloved Snow Heights.  This schools here are well...different.  My kids have been miserable.  MISERABLE.  M. I. S. E. R. A. B. L. E!!!   SO after much discussion, a lot of prayer, and a little bit if arm twisting, my husband has agreed to have the kids home school!  YAY.    There is the possibility that they will re-integrate into the public school system so I will be kind of piecing together the curriculum for from so that it models the Georgia State Standard.  This is a lot of work.  I also want to prove to my DH that I can do this on a low I am looking for free resources or low cost resources on the Internet.   I will be homeschooling a preschooler.  I have that in the bag...I taught PreK in Texas and I kept all of my personally purchased materials.  SCORE!  I will be homeschooling a 4th grader and she will be focusing on American History  from  Native Americans to 1860, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science. along with Language arts and Math.  I will be homeschooling a 6th grader and she will be focusing on World history, Meteorology, Oceanography, Composition and structure of the earth, Energy sources, and the human impact on the earth.  I'm working on pulling that all together!  We are so excited!   Its going to be an adventure!!!!