Homeschool Year in Review

June 22nd, 2013 by Rachel

For my records (and if anyone else is curious), I am doing a review of our homeschool year. Bud just finished his first grade year, and Sugar did Pre-K. We participated in our Classical Conversations community for the third year, and I tutored Bud’s class of 6-7 year olds.

Making a binder for each child with dividers for each subject was one of the best ways I organized the kids’ schoolwork this year. I roughly followed these suggestions. Next year, I will use 3-inch binders.

We also put a large whiteboard on the wall in the kitchen near the table where we do school. This was a tremendous help for reviewing memory work at home since Bud could read it, and Thomas and I could review more often. Thomas hung some showerboard with some little mirror hangers, and I think it cost less than $20. It has helped so much this year.

I made a simple schedule that I think helped us stay on top of the memory work and helped Bud and me with Memory Master review. Each day, we reviewed the current week’s memory work. On Mondays, we reviewed every week’s worth of Latin and Grammar. On Tuesday, we reviewed all of Geography and Science, Wednesday was CC, Thursday was all of Timeline, and Fridays we reviewed all of History and Math.

History – We read through Story of the World, Level 1 this year, much of which coincided with our timeline and history sentences in CC. We did activities from the activity book, but that slowed down a lot in the spring.

Geography – To augment our memory work for CC, we would read about one of the countries in Window on the World and pray for missionaries we knew in that part of the world.

Spelling – We completed All About Spelling Level 2 and most of Level 3 with Bud. I think this is a great curriculum, and I highly recommend it. I found that it worked best for us by introducing the new lesson on Mondays and then dictating 8-10 spelling words and at least two sentences every day as a review.

Reading – Sugar finished All About Reading, pre-reading, and we have been slowly working through Level 1 this spring. She is picking it up so quickly, but it was hard to find one-on-one time to work with her while Speedy isn’t in our laps. I really like this reading curriculum. With Bud, I used The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and I think it is a great approach, but it was painfully dry for Bud. All About Reading is very multi-sensory, and it does a great job of keeping Sugar engaged in the lessons.┬áBud has been devouring books this year. He finished all the A t0 Z Mysteries, all the Magic Tree House books, and all the Geronimo Stilton books. We haven’t found as many books that he wants to sit and read for an hour like before, so he has some mandatory reading time for 30 minutes while Speedy naps and Sugar has a rest/nap time.

Grammar/Language Arts – We finished level one of First Language Lessons by Susan Wise, and this was a nice, easy integration of much of our grammar memory work with CC.

Math – Bud has been trucking through Saxon Math level 3. We have also found that spreading the lessons out over two days was the best for us. I introduce the lesson and then Bud does one of the worksheets. The next day, he completes the remaining worksheet. The lessons seem so long and take over an hour if we do it all in one day. We are most likely going to do Level 3.5 next year to help solidify concepts since he is a little young to move up to level 4/5.

Scripture Memory – We completed ABC Bible Verses. This was really great for both the kids, and we combined the scripture verses with handwriting practice. We also memorized Exodus 20 with our CC campus.

Bud also participated in a weekly art class and both kids took part in a local PE co-op.

May in Our Home

June 22nd, 2013 by Rachel

May was a nice, slow-paced month for us. Our homeschooling commitments came to a close for the school year, and we enjoyed doing just a tiny bit of schoolwork each day, while spending lots more time playing and hanging out with friends.

It was that time again, we had to clean the pool. Unfortunately it was late actually, and it turned into a job I couldn’t do on my own. I called the pros at The Florida Pools to clean it for me and they did a marvelous job. They always do. It’s like you just had a brand new pool installed, it makes that much of a difference. Even if I’m giving my pool the proper care and maintenance myself I like calling them every so often because of how well they do it. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that for another while, and I also installed a pool heater to help me keep the right temperature at the pool and that I found online, check this homepage to find more about this.

I finished up a Bradley class series with 10 wonderful couples. They were such an awesome group, and I really enjoyed teaching them. They keep hanging out without class going on, and that makes me so happy. I also got to help a friend at her hospital birth. I was so honored to be there and to serve her and her husband as she labored so beautifully. Thomas traveled twice in May for work, once to San Francisco (I was really jealous about that one).

The kids continued with their soccer season, and I was surprised that we got sunburned at 9:30 a.m. games! Bud played very hard, and scored goals at many of his games. Sugar enjoyed running around the pack of girls with the ball, digging in the dirt, and getting “bird baths” during her turn on the bench. The Lady Owls coach would sprinkle their heads with water when it was their turn to sit out. It was one of her favorite parts of her games.

With our new-found free time, we visited the splash pad and pool a few times, and I rejoined the gym that I have been missing since Micah was born. It has been so much fun going to the women’s only class and working out with such amazing ladies. I really missed the camaraderie, healthy competition that pushes you a little harder, and coaching that the gym provides.

Speedy and I both came down with a nasty cold right around the time of Sugar’s birthday celebration. I was in a bit of a fog that weekend, so after her small family-only celebration (with a special visit from her three year old cousin), Thomas took the big kids to Houston for the day for a friend’s wedding. They had a blast visiting the Water Wall and the Natural History Museum’s planetarium and new exhibit on ancient Egypt. Speedy and I hung out all day and did a lot of nothing. I rented a grown up movie and enjoyed laying around all day long. And that’s about it for May!

The air-conditioning in the van went out, so we had one car for the week, and successfully managed to squeeze all three carseats in the backseat. Bud and some of his pals caught five tadpoles which we raised into toads/frogs on the back porch in a little tadpole habitat. Somehow, all five disappeared after becoming frogs/toads. They were tiny little guys, and I’m not sure if they hopped away or were eaten by birds, but they disappeared after about a week or two.

Bluebonnet Pictures

May 14th, 2013 by Rachel

I just realized I never posted our bluebonnet pictures. We did a mini-session with the amazing Shannon Morton. My mom and Woody came and joined in, too. Sugar’s pictures are my favorites, I can’t believe how grown-up she looks.

April in Our Home

May 14th, 2013 by Rachel

Better late than never! April was a busy month of wrapping up Classical Conversations for the year. Bud (and I) worked very hard in April drilling and proofing all of the memory work for the year. He proofed with me and two other parents, reciting all of his memory work for the year. He also proofed with our campus director and received the title of Memory Master. I am so proud of him! The proofing process was difficult, and we spent a lot of time working on it. It also revealed some weaknesses, but at the same time, I was so proud of Bud for persevering through it. We both were tempted to quit several times, but I am thankful we didn’t give up.

The big kids started playing soccer this month. Sugar is quite hilarious to watch at practice and during her games. She is more interested in running and skipping around the field. We are so thankful for her coach and his gift in engaging these little girls in something new for them. Her team is the Lady Owls. One day during practice, her coach sat them all down and was telling them they need to be aggressive during their game. He asked if they knew what “aggressive” means. No one knew, so he said, “It means you really, really want to get that ball. You want to get the ball so bad… so bad because you have to…” and Sugar jumps in and yells, “Feed it to the babies!” It was hilarious, but turns out, she has made soccer into an imaginary game where her baby owls are in the nest (goal) and she has to take food to them (the ball). It hasn’t really made her aggressive in getting the ball, but it is hilarious to get a glimpse into her mind.

Bud, on the other hand, is doing well with soccer. He loves playing and has been bold and aggressive and kind to his teammates. (I just realized I don’t have any pictures of him playing, I will remedy that this week!) He also ran his first 5K with Run for Compassion this month with Thomas. He finished in 35 minutes, and I still have a hard time believing it. He has grown so much physically and emotionally the past few months.

Thomas had to travel for a few days every week in April from trips to Dallas to San Francisco. It was trying, but I’m glad he is home now. The kids all came down with a nasty stomach bug. Sugar had it the worst, and remembering it makes me thankful for our good health since then! The first day after it started, I got a Netflix subscription, which the kids have enjoyed immensely.

Thomas, Speedy and I flew to Arizona for my grandfather’s 80th birthday party. It was great to see so many of my aunts, uncles and cousins, some that I haven’t seen since high school. I enjoyed getting some one-on-one time with Speedy (who did amazingly well on the plane, thanks to my iphone and the ipad) and getting to stay with my grandparents and giving them some time with Speedy. Speedy still says, “Ride Papa tractor!” daily. His few minutes on my grandpa’s four wheeler are emblazoned in his little mind. It was also nice coming home to the kids. They had a huge “Welcome Home Mommy and Daddy” chalk sign in the driveway.

A sweet little dog–part chihuahua–found us one day. She was the sweetest little dog, so skinny and sad, but great with the kids. She enjoyed several all-beef, organic hot dogs until we took her to the animal shelter. It was a difficult decision, mostly because we worried about the kids’ reaction. When we posed it as, “Would you rather keep the dog or keep Netflix?” and they instantly answered, “Netflix”, it wasn’t as hard of a decision.

Monday Fundays!

April 5th, 2013 by Rachel

We started meeting with two other families in our Classical Conversations community for what we call Monday Fundays. We meet together to delve deeper into our science memory work. This allows time for messy activities that I may not make time for otherwise. It also allows for some fun time with friends for both moms and kids.

We were inspired to do this from this blog, and have gotten some great ideas from her.

Some things we have enjoyed doing include:
-making edible kinds of rocks (sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous)
-making models of the each continent’s highest mountain
-labeling the parts of the earth
-making volcano models and “erupting them”
-learning about ocean floor and ocean zones and the animals in each
-making our own paper mache globes

It has been a great learning experience for all of us, both in academics and learning how to get along with others.

March in Our Home

April 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

I can’t believe it is already April. This spring is flying by!

Basketball season ended, and while Bud lamented, we enjoyed free Saturdays again. He has been wearing his basketball jersey almost daily since then. It helps that it is reversible, so it gets double the wear. With the end of basketball, soccer season has started for Bud and Sugar. Sugar’s favorite part so far is picking out her outfit for practice, but her coach is really great about engaging a group of 4-5 year old girls.

We made a weekend trip to Houston to visit our friends, the Culpeppers. They are very hospitable, and we had a great time catching up. We took the kids downton on the Metro rail, which blew their little minds. They live near the museum district, so we went to the natural science museum before heading home. It was great reinforcement for our science learning this spring.

The kids were invited to several birthday parties this month, so we had a lot of fun with friends.

Uncle Jason came to town for work, so we made a trip to the hospital lobby to hang out with him for a few minutes and load him up with snacks.

I busted my shin doing 13.2, the second workout of the Crossfit Games Open, not competing, just for fun at home. It was going great, but I missed the box somehow attempting to jump on it. It felt okay, but then it was swelling like crazy and I couldn’t put weight on it. I spent a morning at the ER, but thankfully, it wasn’t broken. I got some crutches which helped me a ton for a few days. I took the rest of the month easy and sat around reading and eating bon bons all day.

We spent a lot of time outside playing basketball, which Speedy calls “shoot, ball!” He can now scale the ladder of our playground in the backyard, bypassing the barrier we put on the bottom two rungs. All the kids continued their digging exploits in the empty area of the garden.

Speedy started making “choo-choos” by lining up his cars and trains. It is so cute and nice that he is playing more on his own for longer periods of time that doesn’t involved climbing on furniture.

We invited friends to join us at the skate park during a weekday midmorning when it is normally empty. The kids loved using their scooters and bikes, but all that concrete nade me a nervous wreck.

I started a new Bradley series in a new location. It is closer to my house and accomodates a larger group of students. I had a few minutes of Bradley teacher fame, and I got to doula at a beautiful hospital birth last week.

March Books

April 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

6, 7, 8. – I read the prequels to the Wool books by Hugh Howey. These were the Silo/Shift books. I read these during my two days on the couch following my box jump injury. They were really great, and he had better hurry up and write the next one.

9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I have been taking the two little ones to play at B&N while Bud has art class. This book was advertised everywhere there, so I figured I would give it a go. It was entertaining, and I read it in a naptime and evening. This was like a Romeo and Juliette for modern day, angst-filled, though highly literary teens (minus the dueling families). I give it three out of five stars.

10. Insurgent by Victoria Roth – this was the second book after reading Divergent. It was really entertaining, but it had been too long since reading the first book so I had a hard time remembering character’s names and back stories for a bit.

I guess I am in a teen-dystopia book rut. Anyone have any recommendations for me?

The kids and I just started listening to audio books in the car. I was shocked at how many books we listened to just running errands and driving around our small, no traffic city. I’m counting these this year. I loved listening to them, and it has made for nice peaceful car rides, fun discussions, and new vocabulary words.

11. Mary Poppins
12. Winnie the Pooh and the House on Pooh Corner
13. Anne of Green Gables (I loved introducing them to this one. I didn’t think they would get so into it, but the big kids both loved it.)

January & February in Our Home

April 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

Long time, no post. Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights of January and February with the Supercinskis.

  • Bud played his first season of Upward basketball with Thomas as his team’s coach. They had a blast, and Bud loves all things basketball these days.
  • Bud turned seven and we had a little family birthday party. He got a basketball goal for the driveway. Instead of a party, he requested a family trip to The Woodlands to eat at Five Guys and go to The Woodlands Mall, which he thinks is just amazing. There is a Lego store there, so he had a blast. We enjoyed a low-key celebration.
  • We started meeting with two other families for science activities once a week. This is a nice time to delve deeper into our science memory work and to make messes all at once. The kids get to play afterward, which is their favorite part.
  • We went on a really great field trip to one of the Bryan fire stations. They put the ladder truck up all the way for us, which was really amazing.
  • The kids started digging a huge whole in the unused part of our garden. This has been a lot of fun for them, but quite a mess.
  • I finished another Bradley series and enjoyed a little break in February.
  • January & February Books

    February 27th, 2013 by Rachel

    I actually read several books this month. Granted, they were all fiction, but developing/redeveloping a habit takes baby steps. With Speedy’s frequent night-wakings, I had to keep it light or I was fast asleep. I got an iphone in January and have read several books on the kindle app. I found it was so much easier to pick up my phone and read a page here or there while waiting in the car, eating lunch, etc.

    1. Wool, all five parts, by Hugh Howey – a friend from my book club recommended this collection of short stories, and I was hooked after reading the first one. These were the first books I read on my iphone. I really didn’t get much done during the few days I was reading these. This is a similar genre to The Hunger Games, and I hope he writes more. I am waiting until I finish our tax return to read the Shift series.

    2. Divergent by Victoria Roth – another futuristic dystopian teen novel. It was pure coincidence that I read these books back-to-back. I had been on the waiting list for this book for so long that I forgot all about it. I read it in two days. It was a page turner. Not as good as The Hunger Games, but it was really entertaining. I am getting frustrated waiting for my turn with the sequel. I know it doesn’t take you three weeks to read this book, people. Hurry up and return it so the rest of us can read it!

    3. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell – I read this in bits and pieces in December and January. It was fascinating and has changed the way I think about things. Thomas has read this a few years ago, and I remembered some of it from conversations we had about it, but it was still good. I had to skim the last part because it was due back to the library.

    4. Miss Perigrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – our library had this ebook and I read it on the Kindle. It was another young adult book (I am liking this genre more and more for its PG/PG-13 ratings). It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

    5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – this book had such mixed reviews that I couldn’t decide whether or not to read it, but I ended up getting into it early on. This was a sweet, sad story of a boy who loses his father in the attack on the World Trade Center. He goes on a journey throughout New York to find the meaning behind a key he found in his dad’s closet. It helps him grieve his father’s death and he has some sweet adventures. However, this book was really depressing. I have a hard time with books that are so sad as this one, and they can often put me in a funk for a few days. The chapters about his grandparents almost made me stop reading it, they were so depressing, but I skimmed those and eventually those characters just seemed unrealistic to me. Anyway, another mixed review to add to the rest of them! I just realized this book was made into a movie recently. I will have to see it when it comes out on DVD.

    Speedy is 18 Months Old!

    February 27th, 2013 by Rachel

    I have officially abandoned the monthly update for the Speedster. I had hoped to make it to two years doing it, but this poor third child will forever bear the shame of receiving a quarterly update for awhile.

    Speedy is a very busy toddler these days. He is running now and it can take me a few seconds to catch him. He thinks it is hilarious to run away from me, and I need to stop playing chase with him because he doesn’t know when it isn’t a good time. He is proficient at climbing up playground structures and going down a slide on his belly. He thinks this step stool is a truck to sit in, not a stool. We showed him a video of a man falling from a dunk tank hire in Perth. You know, those seats hovering above a water tank where kids throw a ball at a target and “dunk” the man if they hit it. He laughed so hard, it’s clear from the reaction that he wants to try to dunk someone too.

    He is fascinated by things that go–trucks, cars, buses, tractors, trains, etc. He talks about these thinks all day long. We took a field trip to a fire station earlier this month, and Speedy was so excited, he just ran around the trucks the whole time.

    We have had a rough two months with Speedy. He got three molars through his gums (#4 is slowly working its way through now), and it has caused many fussy days and long nights. I never knew when Bud was getting a tooth until I saw it in his mouth. Sugar had a more difficult time, but it meant she woke up more frequently for a couple days during the worst of it. But Speedy takes the cake with teething issues. I tried everything I could think of, but thankfully, his daytime crabbiness is lessening and he isn’t waking as frequently at night. On top of all that, he had an ear infection earlier this month. Poor baby!

    Speedy is talking a lot these days. Some of his words include: sock, shoe, pants, hat, eye, mouth, hand, tickle (this means belly), high (this means swing), tractor, truck, backhoe, trash truck, digger, dump truck, bus, car, sit, chair, yummy (said “me” when he is hungry), mine, nana (banana), cheese, fish, hot, ouch, no, momma, da-da, Ya-Ya (brother), Eess (sister), ball, b-ball (basketball), strawberry. He has other sounds/gibberish that he says for other things like a tongue-click that means cup, and he can communicate very well by pointing and such.

    He will eat as much, if not more than his big sister at many meals. He has quite an appetite, and he snacks often throughout the day. I don’t know how I fed my other two without those baby food pouches. They are so handy when we are out and about! He still nurses 2-3 times a day.

    Speedy keeps us laughing and smiling at his cuteness. I love this age and getting to hear more of what he is thinking about. He loves to dance if there is music on and will now watch a little of a movie, especially if it is about trucks. He even started singing some songs this month. You have to know what you are listening for because he only sings two words of them, but it is so cute. We sure love our little guy!