It has been SO long since I have taken time to update my blog. A habit that I hope I fix this year going forward. When the Lord gave me the heart to start blogging all those years ago when Zanga was the go to (does that give away my age?), I may not have known him but I knew what He embedded within me, I knew what I was meant to do and writing…that has been at the top of my list my entire life.
No really. The summer before my 8th grade school year, I wrote a novel. A REALLY good novel, or so thought my 8th grade English teacher. Her words: “You were born to be a writer. This is really very good. If you are willing to put the work in to fix the items I have marked in red, I would like to help you submit this in a Young Writers contest.” It’s funny the words that still echo in your mind some 20 years later isn’t it?
That novel never got published. It never even got entered because that SAME day, just two class periods later…someone broke into my locker and stole my backpack and with it…everything inside. I would insert a huge sad face here but that doesn’t even do it justice. Not that I understood it then but I know now that was the enemy’s first attempt at taking out my calling as a writer. I never attempted another novel or finished another written piece for over 20 years because the memory of that failure, though it was not my own, lingered. I was afraid if I attempted to take that leap with my writing, it would just end in another failure.
Funny how our pasts can trip us up when really they are meant to be a stepping stone closer to our Father. The last few days as I have prepared our Home Classroom for lessons to begin next week, the Father kept bringing that novel to my mind over and over with these simple words, “Your blog IS your Novel.” As I sat in front of my computer planning away, tears rolled down my cheeks in waves as He gently continued, “It’s YOUR story. You were born to write so take time each day to do just that. Miracles will come in those moments.”
I realized a lot of things in that moment:
- I was born to write; to share things that won’t just change my life but will hopefully change the lives of others I may never even meet.
- As a lover of all things written, I realized that I have MUCH to offer my son in the area of homeschooling and teaching him to fall in love with all things written as well. If I can write…I can teach my son to READ!
- My writing doesn’t have to be extravagant. The most profound things God reveals come from the ordinary recordings of a secretly extraordinary life. (This one is my favorite!)
So, as we go into a NEW school year, a new schedule, a new curriculum…I will also go into a new commitment with my writing. I may not have something profound to say every day but I will share from the heart, I will share our lives and I will share our lessons so that just maybe…it will help you too.
Now with all that said…
MY SON IS STARTING KINDERGARTEN!!!!!
I still cannot tell you how this happened. Yesterday he was in diapers needing a bottle and today, he is a very energetic, strong willed, super hero loving, determined to learn to read 5 year old child! Oy. I blinked and it was over! While I am still holding my breath some days and I worry if I will be adequate enough to teach my son, God gives me the excitement and strength to take it one day at a time. After all, if we worry about tomorrow, we miss the beauty of today. So, today I am setting aside those worries and giving those fears to God and taking today, a moment at a time.
THIS moment just happens to be the PERFECT time for me to tell you all about your Kindergarten curriculum choice and our schedule for the year. I am going to confess right off the bat, that I am still in the process of figuring all this out. I am not sure any Homeschool Momma has it all figured out. I think it might always be a trial and error process with each new season and that’s okay because I want my son to learn at the pace that is best for HIM and I want his learning experience to be so incredible and God involved that He not only falls in love with education but that He falls in love with Christ.
With all that said, let’s talk curriculum! 🙂
Since I am still fairly new to the whole concept of homeschooling, we wanted to go with a curriculum that would help me stay focused and make the teaching concept a little more simplified and mapped out for me so to speak. We also wanted to be sure that we were using a curriculum that would truly pull out the knowledge of our child and get him excited about learning every day. Though he is only five, we already see in him a need for a bit of a challenge and for growth. So with those things in mind and MONTHS of researching we finally chose to go with A Beka and a few other supplemental curriculums to be sure he was able to handle subjects such as Math, Reading and Handwriting.
Here are Mister M’s student books:
Our A Beka curriculum comes with your Phonics, Reading and Writing subjects as well as a Numbers curriculum and a set of Phonics Reader Books and Letter Flashcards. And we love them ALL, however, we also prayed about it and had heard of many children who struggled using the A Beka handwriting curriculum so in case we struggle there, we are also adding the Handwriting without Tears curriculum. This curriculum is really neat and comes with writing books, small and large sized chalkboards, lined writing paper and some other pretty amazing things such as a music cd.
In addition, we were also concerned about Math. We wanted to be sure the curriculum captivated and caught his attention but also in depth prepared him for Math, especially since that has always been a weak subject for me. With that in mind, there was another Math curriculum that really caught my attention: Purposeful Designs Mathematics. I am in love with the pace of the work, the details they provide in my teachers manual for teaching the concepts and the colorful designs. I also LOVE that each unit comes with a Unit Scripture which focuses on helping them succeed with the next step in their learning.
For electives we are using a History curriculum called History Through the Ages: The American Revolution and we are doing Science and focusing on Weather for the first half of the year. I purchased the book for the Weather Unit from a local Teacher’s Shop that was going out of business. Got it for a steal at just 25 cents!
And finally, our Bible curriculum. I have to be honest. I was VERY nervous about a Bible Curriculum for some reason. I wanted something that would bring the Word of God ALIVE for Mister M and I wanted something that would not be too entailed and lose his attention. I spent hours online but had trouble finding anything that I just fell in love with so I reached out to our home church in Arkansas and asked if we could utilize their Timothy Team Curriculum. Now, I have to take a moment to brag on the amazing pastors I was blessed with back home. Some years back, the Lord laid it on my pastor’s wife, Allison’s heart to begin to write her own curriculum for their children’s ministry to utilize on Wednesday nights rather than utilizing Awanas or similar programs. And she did it. And she did it WELL. These curriculums are really amazing and these children as young as 3 and 4 years old can recite scriptures like nobody’s business! Their knowledge of the Bible was also really breath taking and I felt that this was best for Mister M to continue from here.
I was really blessed because they lovingly and immediately said YES and then mailed me our curriculum within just a few days time! This year’s lessons will be focused on Heroes of the Bible and we are SUPER excited! I am somewhat still hoping I can tweak it to make their once a week lessons become daily lessons for Mister M but I am not stressing about it anymore. God’s got this!
Here is an idea of what our Bible Curriculum looks like:
I am excited to embark on this new leg of our journey but am also a little nervous. This is when it ALL truly begins. That step from PreK into Kindergarten takes on a whole new level of learning. I am truly thankful that where I am weak, HE is strong!
The next thing I want to share with you is our Kindergarten Schedule for this year and some images of our Home Classroom. I got this adorable little Daily Planner free from Ed SnapShots, it was perfect for what I needed! As you can see, I only allow 15 minutes between subjects but this may be tweaked if we need longer or shorter times on certain things. Our Calender Time will consist of reviewing our Calender for the Day, Discussing the day’s Weather, The Pledge of Allegiance and our Daily Learning Notebooks. At the bottom of each day, I also have put our dinner menu on the schedule. I will be posting a separate lunch schedule that will hang in our room for each week so Mister M knows what we are having and can also help prepare it if needed.
One last thing I want to leave you with today: NEVER compare your homeschool experience or your children to others. Each of our homes and our children have very specific needs and gifts. What works for one family may not work for yours. You are extraordinary in your own ways. You were called to this journey and God WILL equip you with ALL you need to see it through. So take a deep breath. Smile and take that first step. It’s going to be a crazy, awesome, beautiful, bumpy, excellent ride.
In Christ’s Love,