Sand and Homeschool

The girls have spent a lot of time on the beach near our campsite building castles, digging like dogs, finding seashells, rolling down the dune, and anything else they can think of.  I think they secretly have a bet going of who can bring the most sand back on their bodies.  I'm not sure who's ahead right now, I just know that I'm losing - and the vacuum cleaner is getting tired.

When it's not "sand time" one of the things that we're doing is homeschool stuff.  Alexis has started her 2nd grade curriculum and is doing very well.  Kaitlyn has started her 4-year old preschool curriculum and likes it for the most part, except when she has to color something yellow - she does NOT like coloring with the yellow crayon.

What our second grade looks like:

We love this bible curriculum.  It's called Beginnings II - God's Promises and does a good job going through the Old Testament in 150 lessons.  We're about half-way through it right now and it presents the scripture very well for young readers.  Alexis either reads the lessons to herself or aloud and then answers the questions that follow. I highly recommend this curriculum.

The math curriculum that we use is from Alpha Omega Horizons curriculum. We love Horizon because it does a good job of introducing math principles and building on them, and then reviewing.  Being able to really understand something has a lot to do with repetition and occasional review.  This curriculum does that very well.  It doesn't just move on to a new subject and forget about what had been learned previously.  It all builds together.

We also use Horizons for our phonics and reading curriculum.  We had previously used LifePac for the language work in 1st grade, but it didn't really meet our needs.  This curriculum is more comprehensive and better laid out.  Also, the readers are much more interesting.

 This is not my first choice of science curriculum for Alexis.  However, it is a good overview of general topics such as: How do butterflies turn into caterpillars?, Life cycles, How is a fox different from a wolf?, How does a seed turn into a plant?, etc.  Next semester we will be digging a little deeper into topics using the Apologia curriculum.  You must check out Apologia if you have never heard of it.  It's wonderful!

This is a jewel in the land of spelling curricula.  We're working on level 2 right now (finished level 1 last month) and it explains everything so well.  The student learns why words are spelled the way they are.  They learn the rules of word structure and are drilled on phonograms.  Everything is thoroughly reviewed.  As soon as we started using this Alexis's reading level jumped up.  It's wonderful. It's multisensory with magnetic letter tiles, flashcards, word banks, writing exercises, readers, and other manipulatives. Love it!

We will be ordering this in June.  You have to check out their website and read about the program and their statement of faith.  There are different levels for different ages.  The K-3 is a three level course that makes Spanish really easy to learn.  We can't wait to start it.

We will also be purchasing this in June.  I'm really excited to finally have an excellent history curriculum that is biblically based and chocked full of resources, activities, projects, and much, much more.  You just have to go to their website to understand how amazing this program really is.

We've also started to do some typing lessons - learning the "home row" and getting comfortable typing the home row keys without looking.  I didn't purchase any curriculum for this.  All I do is bring up the notepad on the computer, type in approximately 20 3-letter "words" using the home row keys and have Alexis copy it right underneath.  It works out really well.  I'm able to keep track of the characters missed and time her progress.

One of the things that is really important to me is documentation of our schooling efforts.  I have found the ultimate tool for that and am completely in love with it.  Homeschool Tracker Plus is a lifesaver for homeschooling moms.  You just enter your schooling data each day while the kids complete their work and all the various reports, analyses, and schedules are right at your fingertips.  There are so many tools you can use in this program that a single person would probably never use absolutely everything that it offers.  But, trust me, you'll want to try.  It's awesome!

If you have any questions about the above curriculum or tracker program, don't be afraid to ask.


Off Again

I have to say that the sunset in Juneau is pretty amazing.  Of course the picture doesn't do it justice at all.  However, this is the view from the beach in front of our travel trailer.  We get to enjoy it for two more days until we leave for Hyder, AK.  It's been fun watching the cruise ships come in and out, especially the ones that run at night.  It looks like Christmas floating on the water with all their lights ablaze.

 I finalized our ferry reservations yesterday for our trip over to Hyder.  We will be ferrying over to Skagway, AK and then driving the rest of the way.  It's more cost effective to do it this way than to ferry over to Prince Rupert.  So, that's what we'll do.

This is the ferry we'll be riding on.  It's called the Matanuska.  Alexis isn't very excited about the fact that we're riding another ferry.  She keeps insisting that we need to fly to wherever it is we're going.  Poor thing gets bored out of her mind with the Alaskan scenery.  She just asked me if the ferry has a waterslide on it.  I guess you know what she's wanting to do.

Once we get to Hyder, this is going to be our first view of the town.  Isn't it just the bees-knees :).  I have been informed that there are more than 100 people there now.  Oh, and we can drive 2 miles over to Stewart, British Columbia and get some Canada tourism in.  We haven't been told where exactly we're supposed to be staying, but the superintendent from Secon told Anthony that he would be finding us something.  I guess it's one of those "come on over to the middle of nowhere and we'll figure out where to put you" kind of trips.  Woohoo!  Can't wait.  (note the slight sarcasm)