Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thirty Minute Meals...King Ranch Chicken Casserole

This week has been going so great with school!!  Part of the ease has come with knowing what my menu is going to be each morning when I wake up.  Life changing...hello!!!

Here is a must have recipe that you will love to cook and love to eat...enjoy!!!

First, boil 4 chicken breasts and save the broth.  Next, dip flour tortillas in the broth and line a greased 13x9 with them.  Then add your boiled chicken breasts that you have chopped in bite size pieces.  Top the chicken with 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of mushroom soup.  Top with lots of cheese and 1 can of drained rotel.  Make sure you put the cheese then the rotel...yummy!!!

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Once the cheese is melted and the rotel is cooked it is ready to eat..YUMMO!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lesson Ideas for all these holidays...

So, what are they trying to do??  Kill this new homeschooling mom by putting Labor Day, September 11th, and Grandparent's Day all in the same week???  And in the first month of school???  Seriously! 

Here is how we will be doing school during this week and what activities we have planned to celebrate and remember so many people this special week...

Labor Day
Well, for starters, we will be taking the day off to enjoy time with our family.  When we return to school on Tuesday morning we will talk about why we were able to have a day off of school on Monday and what exactly Labor Day means.  I have pulled some resources from here , and we'll just take a few minutes to explain how important our jobs are and how some workers aren't able to have the day off because we need them around the clock like policemen, firefighters, nurses, and doctors.  We will also talk just a little bit about how Labor Day began which can be found here and link it to Samantha:  An American Girl when Sam's friend Nellie had to work even though she was a child to help her family.  We've only seen that movie 147 times so that connection should be an easy one to make.  Finally, we will talk about what we want to be when we grow up and how that career would fit into the Labor Day holiday.

September 11th
Because September 11th falls on a Saturday this year, we will talk about the tragedy on Monday, September 13th.  Kayce, at Pastorette's Progress, reminded me yesterday that it may be a good idea to go ahead and get all of the library books for the day now because she clued me in that by the end of the week all of the public and private school teachers will have gotten them all.  Thank you Kayce my overachiever friend!!  I would so be the mom in the library on September 10th!!!  I have found some resources here and will be talking about where we were on that morning, how it felt, where my kids were {Kamryn was the only one born and she wasn't even quite 1}.  We will watch the attacks on youtube, talk about the passengers of Flight 93 and their bravery and discuss what President Bush did to try to fight back.  We may even listen to the Alan Jackson song...I do love that song!  I think it is so important for our kids to know this part of their history and we will spend some time discussing it on Monday morning.

Grandparent's Day {September 12, 2010}
I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate Grandparent's Day into our school year all summer.  The girls always had Grandparent's Day at their old school, so I want this day to be special for the grandparents, but how??  We have decided to invite each set of grandparents over separately on Friday {lunch and supper} where we will present them with the latest pictures of our family that we just had taken over the summer and invite them up to our school room to see where we learn everyday.  We will, of course, have a little show off time to prove that we do actually have school each day and that we are actually learning some good stuff over here!

I think it would be fun to include the grandparents into our day and show them around.  Hopefully it will work out nicely!!

I just wanted to share these ideas with you in case, like me, you would forget that there were so many special days in this upcoming week!!

Happy Homeschooling!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What we did this week...

This week seemed to go better once our changes had been made, but I am still battling time management and trying to get a handle on that.

Here is what we did this week:

In Bible the girls memorized Psalm 34:14 and Proverbs 20:11.  

In Math, Kamryn is whizzing along, still doing 2 lessons per day.  I am going to slow her down a bit this week because I am pretty sure the review is over and she may need to spend a little bit more time on her lessons as they are becoming more challenging.  She will be doing 1 lesson per day this week.  Karsyn is coming along.  I am learning more than she is....I think.  I am learning so much about her learning style which is very different from what I am used to.  She is very visual as well as kinesthetic (God bless her).  I am spending lots of time online looking for different ways to help her.  All suggestions welcome...please :)

Language is a very fun subject around here with First Language Lessons.  Kamryn began FLL 4 on Wednesday and thanked me uncontrollably for letting her switch over.  Karsyn is trucking right along and learned about nouns, pronouns, and state of being verbs this week.  She also memorized her first poem, something she had never been required to do in school.  And because I am a psycho, I ordered the Abeka Language workbooks, just for extra re-enforcement.  We do those during the day as needed.  

Our spelling lists began getting harder this week.  Abeka is tough on spelling, but the girls welcomed the challenge and did a great job.  

In reading Kamryn is still reading Henry and Ribsy to me.  It's cute and we are enjoying it.  Karsyn is reading the 2nd grade Abeka readers aloud to me right now in addition to her Junie B.'s because I just think she needs the practice.  We will begin our read aloud time this week after lunch.  We are starting The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.  We are HUGE Narnia fans, so we are very excited about this book.  The movie will hit theaters on December 10th so we want to be ready!!!  

Writing has been kind of squirly over here because while I am absolutely Susan Wise Bauer's biggest fan, Writing With Ease has become kind of monotonous and just not meaty enough for us.  We are moving on to Writing Strands next week.   Hopefully it will be a bit more our speed.  I am also clipping writing altogether for Karsyn because she just isn't ready.

Science has proven to remain our most favorite subject over here with lots of fun happening every time we open the book.  This week we had our scavenger hunt where we had to collect various things.  Since we live in the country, we were able to complete a good portion of the list.  Very exciting and lots of fun.  Apologia rocks, in case you didn't know :)

The girls scavenger hunting

Scavenger hunting is serious business

Butterfly with gray coloring...check!

Butterfly with orange coloring....check!


Mr. Bumblebee...check! Can you find him?

In a few weeks this entire field will be full of color with blooming wildflowers.

We have still yet to begin History, we are waiting on the books and really I don't know where I would have fit it in.  Beginning this week we are going to give 8:00am one more try.  I hate the very idea of it, but 9:00 will never work once we get our My Father's World stuff in...unless we plan to be doing school til dark.  Hope yall had a great week!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can I get a Whoop Whoop...

I have bravely gone where so many of you have already been smart enough go.

I have bit the bullet and gone against every free-spirited bone in my body.

I have changed our homeschool forever.

I have implemented the Workbox System.

And I love it!!

Well, maybe that was all a bit over dramatic, but seriously yall, it has changed my life.  You see before the other night at 11:30 when I was devouring every word of Ruthanne's workboxes here, I was the homeschooler-poser.  The faux schooler.  I was trying to be the homeschooler that I "wished" I could be...clear as mud??  Well let me explain...

When we first embarked on this journey I had these visions of fall weather {year round}, nature studies for hours on end, and my girls reading, understanding, and enjoying classic literature.  I immediately thought we would travel back to the 1800's and everyone would be calling me Ma by the week's end.  I even demanded dresses, bonnets, and aprons {well, not really, but I was almost there}. 

Then 3 weeks ago we started school, and what I had envisioned just didn't happen.  It all went down in a blaze of glory {cue the Bon Jovi} as I have begun to understand the real me and my real children.  I was just getting such a small snippet of them after school, that I am not even sure if I knew the real know, their attention spans, their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.  My kids have always made straight A's and have had the highest G.P.A. in their classes for years, so we have never really given any thought to their learning styles...we just thought everything was great.  But, it became very clear very quick that Kamryn is a speed racer and Karsyn is a snail.  I say that jokingly, but really that is an honest comparison.  Kamryn is doing 2 lessons of Math each day on the computer {Teaching it} which takes her around 15-20 minutes...AND SHE GETS EVERY PROBLEM RIGHT!  While I am teaching Karsyn math for roughly an hour.  My days have been spent exclusively with Karsyn almost, simply because it just takes her longer.  What is happening is after 15 minutes Speed Racer over here is back at the table asking me, "What can I do now, Momma?" which in turn distracts the Snail and sets us back while I try to wrangle her back in.  

Not good.  

So I came to this conclusion real fast and in a hurry...

Reading for hours on end....not this year...not until I can get Karsyn moving a little bit faster.

Nature studies outside for hours on end...are you kidding me...its still 100 degrees here.

Bonnets and dresses....say what....Im not even wearing shoes.  {Dont judge.}

Classic about lets order some phonics readers and get this party started!

I knew we had to make a change.   I think what sealed the deal for me is once I read The Well Trained Mind, I became aware of the fact that I was going about this all the wrong way.  Susan Wise Bauer says in her book that at this age math, language, and reading are the most important things with everything else being secondary.  To sum it up she basically says {because Im too lazy to go get the book} that if your child doesn't know what the function of roots on a plant is or where in the world is Carmen San Diego they will be okay because they will get science, history, geography, etc again and again each year...but if they don't know their math facts or how to pronounce words they will struggle forever.  HELLO!!!  Rocket science I tell ya...and here I was rushing through math to make sure we had time for the big experiment in science.  While the experiment is definitely important its not nearly as critical as the 3R's.  I get it now... it just takes me a little while...thats all!!

I had already chunked a bunch of curriculum that just was not working for us.  You can read about that here.  And I just returned 47 billion classics to the library that we never even opened because I couldn't even understand them.  And I switched up our schedule to try to give me more time with Kam, which it did.  Now I have just put the cherry on top.

I give you my version of the workbox system...and let me just say that I have not read the book and the author or anyone for that matter who knows anything about workboxes probably finds me offensive, but this is what works for us and my $0 remaining in my homeschool budget.

I just stuck magnet strips to the wall {they are holding up so so and will probably have to be switched out for something more permanent}, made these super cute tags, and went crazy with my 47 gagillion 15 cent Walmart folders that I have been buying since July.  

You would not believe how much time this saves us, and how much more we accomplish, and how much more I feel like my kids are learning since I put this system into gear.

Here are some of our "freebie" activites that I can put up for "the other" to do while I work one on one, which leaves me with very few interruptions and more structure to my day...I know Charlotte Mason is cringing in her grave, but I had to yall.  I had to get Karsyn doing something on her own or else I was going to have to enroll Kamryn in an online school if I wanted to give her any kind of education at all. No, this doesn't make Karsyn move any faster, but what it does do is let me visually see what is left on our list which in turn causes me to shut the lesson down and pick back up on it the next day if need be, or at the very least, keeps me on task.  It also allows Karsyn to see the "fun something" that is next on her list which encourages her to stay on task.  It also keeps us from being interrupted by the Speed Racer because she is such a great worker and just moves on to her next task.  I love that kid!!

This is our reading corner...we have ear buds and books on cd as well as the book basket here that they can choose from.  Im trying to include books that are complimentary to what we are studying, but also some that I know they will love. {And please excuse the "jambox" circa 1990...I needed something with a cassette player cuz you know all the good books are on cassette at the library}.

Frog and Toad and The Bernstein Bears are classics right???

This is addition bingo that I made up and have in a little baggie.  If their tag says "flashcards" this is one of the options they can pick from.  Today Karsyn hollered out loud while she was playing all by herself "BINGO".  Too funny!!

These are also a flashcard option...nothing fancy, just index cards that the kids can use to play "addition or subtraction memory" as I like to call it.  Turn all of the cards over face down and match the combination with the answer.  

I will also try to have a few coloring sheets a week that go with what we are learning.  Today's was to color this bird to be "camouflaged" in its natural "habitat".  We are learning all that goodness in science.  It really turned out to be a good re-enforcement and I want to keep that going.

For just a few more specifics, we take a 10 min break {that is another lifesaver that I am just discovering} about an hour and a half in...wherever we are, we just finish that tag and take a pause.  We also stop for lunch around 3 hours in and again we just stop where we are.  Speaking of lunch/quiet time I bought a bunch of quiet time toys, puzzles, and such {ahem, fazoodles} that can only be played with during quiet time and that have brought us all much joy!!  I'm telling yall that after lunch quiet time business is the best thing since sliced bread!!!

So what is slapping yall upside the head now that the school year has kicked off...or is it just me??? 

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