Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pinterest is my new BFF

This is a public service announcement....

In case you have been living under a rock as I had been and have never heard of Pinterest, please mosey on over and check out the latest social networking site just for pyscho, obsessive folks like me {and maybe you}!!!

I love the site so much because it is like a huge bookmark folder for all of the things you find online but have nowhere to put {aka my desktop is full of little images, but then you can't find the websites they came from} or you don't want to bookmark it {aka my bookmark folders are busting at the seams and who knows what in the world I found at those random sites}.  Well, Pinterest has solved the dilemma for us all!!!

Head on over and search away...you will find what everyone else is pinning and then add it to your pin board that you can categorize {recipes, decorations, school inspiration, it just goes on and on} and then voila its all there for you...websites and all!!!  I couldn't be more tickled!!!

My username is kellyej, so search me and see what I am pinning!!!!  Then just be in love!!  Here are just a few things I found this morning...

And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is just linked right on over to the site it comes from!! AUTOMATICALLY!!!!!  Aaaaaaah!!!

Start pinning!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fall is in the Air

This is our last week of summer before we begin school next week, and you can even feel it in the air.  In the mornings when I go take the dogs out it is so crisp and cool...but it quickly heats to somewhere around 285 degrees before lunch.  Please don't misunderstand.  When you live in South Louisiana, you will take what you can get and right now I will take mornings in the 70's, even if it is only for an hour or two.

We will kick in the school year with the first LSU football game {Geaux Tigers} Saturday night, then celebrate Labor Day at my parent's house and be ready for Tuesday to get into our new school room and dive into our 2nd year of homeschooling!!!  I can hardly wait.  I know that by mid-February I won't be so excited to be cooped up in a school room all day, so I am writing how excited I am now to remind me!!!  It probably won't hurt to be reminded of the warm weather either in February!!!

I hope that you are enjoying your last few days of summer too!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

**This will be a very long and boring, pour your heart out kind of post so either just X out now or grab you a cup of some strong stuff because we may be here a while.  You can't say I didn't warn you.**

Nobody likes to say goodbye!!  I hate it...especially when I'm saying goodbye to something I really don't want to say goodbye to...like Blue Bell ice cream, Housewives of New Jersey, or Institute for Excellence in Writing....

That's right.  I said it.  Hang me now!!!

We have cut IEW from our school plans for this year!!!!  I cannot believe the words are coming out of my mouth {or should I say from my fingers}.  I have sold so many people on this program its ridiculous.  I have read so much about this program its ridiculous.  I have spent so many hours on the IEW website and yahoo group its ridiculous.  And now we're aren't even going to use it.

Why???  You ask.  Why, if I am so in love with this program are we putting it aside??  

Well, I will just tell you.  

We don't need it!!!

Very complicated answer right???  And now you are thinking, okay, does she think she is raising geniuses or something??  No, I don't.  But the truth of the matter is that right now my girls are pretty good little writers for their ages.  Its not a place where we struggle nor is it a time of the day I dread.  They write every morning in their journals, they write for fun during their quiet time, and now with our new Living Books Curriculum they will be writing narration constantly!!  I just don't see where we need an hour of our day dedicated to a formal writing program right now.

You see, this homeschool thing really gets to your heart in places that you never knew existed.  You go into this thinking that your kids are supposed to do everything public school kids do, they must take the standardized tests that the other "real school kids" take and you spend an hour on every boring and monotonous subject.  Then about half way through the first year something happens.  I realized that we really didn't need to do all that we were doing.  We really didn't need to do 45 worksheets on nouns because guess what...does anybody ever write a sentence without a noun???? EVER???? Somebody answer me because I don't believe in all my years of teaching and parenting have I ever read a sentence that somebody wrote that didn't have a noun in it!!!!  So why on earth am I drilling nouns for weeks??? 

Then I find this Living Books Curriculum that nobody has ever heard of and has no reviews anywhere except for a few people that are the same people who are on their very quiet forum and I FALL IN LOVE!!!  Its all about writing constantly, testing what they do know, not what they don't know, science experiments every day, World History and American History simultaneously, all in 8 weeks of instruction and a week of review and testing.  Its exactly what I have been looking for.  And as I read all of this stuff in the teacher's guide I am learning that 20 minutes per subject is plenty and that if you rotate subjects between fun and boring, everybody will always be interested.  

So, no formal writing program for us this year.  And to boot...I have completely revamped my schedule of our day to follow what Charlotte Mason and LBC recommends and I could not be happier.  I feel like this is where we belong.  We will be done by lunch and my kids will have learned more in the 5 hours of school this year than they have learned every year up to this point combined!!!  And the best part is half the time they won't even realize they are learning because we are just reading and painting and listening to the orchestra and chasing invertebrates in the "out of doors" as Mrs. Mason would call it!!  And writing about all of it!!!  

So IEW, I must put you aside for this year.  Who knows maybe next year we will come back for you.  Or we may be unschooling by then...at the rate I'm going :) 

I hope that you are getting ready for your year and learning all kinds of things you didn't know about yourself and your school!!!!

Here is our new schedule...

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Favorite Homeschool Links

I am almost finished with school planning and am getting very excited about this upcoming year!!!  I went out on a limb and chose a spine that I had never heard of before and that had very little reviews, but WOW, it is phenomenal!!  It is totally Charlotte Mason, so it fits me perfectly and I think what what we have been looking for in our school day!!  I cannot wait to get started!!!  Living Books Curriculum I am so glad I met you!!

This year, I took the advice of Carrie and am trying to be ahead of the game with my planning.  I am working on getting everything planned through Christmas.  I am talking everything...copies made and in a folder, library books decided on and saved in a list, vocabulary words decided on and printed, EVERYTHING!!  So far so good.  As soon as I finish that, I will move on to cleaning up and moving the school room to the playroom which looks like a tornado went through it at the moment!!  We start on September 6th.  Hello!!

During this planning phase I have learned that I have several "go to" websites for resources and wanted to share them with you in case you had never been to them.  All of these websites are free and are AMAZING!!!

So here is my favorite homeschool links...
Here you can find all sorts of free lapbooks, unit studies, etc.  Did I mention it is all FREE?? Sometimes I don't go all out and do the lapbook, but I will use the information just for my lesson.  Vocabulary words, other books that compliment the subject, art to go along with topic...it can all be found here.  This is a great site!!
This is a great jewel of a website because sometimes for free and most of the time for less than $5 you can find just what you need to completely flesh out what you are teaching.  I have found so much on here like word puzzles, unit studies, book studies.  This is a great tool.  And you can sign up for their "Follow Your Favorites Mailer" and they will email you what you like every morning.  Most of it is FREE!!!  Great website!!
Awesome and FREE resource!!  You can type in your child's spelling list and she can play games, take
practice tests, and even take the real test all online!!!  We visit this site daily!!!!

I love this website when I want a little something more about a topic.  There are crossword puzzles, reading comprehension quizzes, all kinds of stuff here.  There is a membership fee but it is nominal I believe and well worth it!!!

These sites are huge helps for me as I am "fleshing out" my spine over here!!!  I would love to hear anyone else's fave sites if you have them!!

And before you go...Remember I told you that we had a wedding at our house a few weekends ago!!!  Here are a few pics...

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