Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our school room and curriculum

I thought deciding to homeschool our children was the hard part.....then came the next step!!! Rhett and I agreed that we really wanted a seperate space in our home to serve as our school room. We considered converting our playroom into a school space, but decided that we really didn't want to give up that space.  Having three children the same gender and close in age makes for a lot of little boy toys and MESS! Having a room upstairs for most of those toys and some of the mess helps me keep my sanity;)! We also thought about converting our guest room, but my parents do come and visit often, and our boys consider our guest room as Papa and Mimi's that room really wouldn't work.  I really didn't want to do any type of construction, but in the end we decided to finish one of our bonus spaces.  Rhett and my sweet Daddy did a lot of work on it! We are beyond blessed with my Daddy amd Mama and their willingness to always help out! We are very thankful they helped make such a neat space for our boys to learn.  My Dad and Rhett spent several weekends framing the room, installing the insulation, putting in the trim and painting. Rhett did an amazing job building two built in bookcases and a custom desk for the boys. I had a lot of fun shopping and putting everything together! We really are so pleased with how our room turned out! 

These are not very good pictures, because they were taken with my phone, but I wanted to get them on I won't continue being the blog slacker that I am!
Looking in from the door.  This room is upstairs along with our boys bedrooms, and play room, but thankfully it has a door that shuts it off form the rest of the upstairs.  To the right is the closet that is quickly filling up with lots of school supplies!
This is a little space for the boys to play.  The top two boards are magnets that Wesley and Davis use to spell words, and make patterns. The bottom two are magnets that are safe for Johnson!  They all love playing with these.  The floor is now filled with puzzles and different types of blocks that help entertain Johnson during school.  He also loves to look at himself in the mirrors.
I absolutely love our calendar from Lakeshore Learning.  It is one of Wesley and Davis' favorite parts of school.  This bookshelf is filled with different manipulatives.
I bought this dry erase board from Target.  Wesley and Davis worked hard on the old fence board below the dry erase board!  They stained and stained and stained it, and also put many nail holes in it.  They were so excited to be "building" something for our school room and were thrilled when I hung our little buckets with dry erase supplies on it!
This bookcase holds our curriculum and a few baby safe toys.  There is also an art display above the bookcase, just like the one that is above the other bookcase.  They are both now very full of our art from the past few weeks.
This is my desk.  We bought this almost 8 years ago, and never imagined it would be used in our homeschool!  How times change!!! The papasan type chairs are also from Target.  That is where I read aloud to them and the boys have bean bags from Wal-Mart that they bounce around on while I read!
Here is the masterpiece desk my sweet Rhett made.  We LOVE it, and it is perfect for our space. The boys love to remind me that their Daddy made it for them!  The US/World map is from Sonlight, and the other posters are all from Amazon.

Choosing a curriculum was really difficult for me!  I have had lots of people ask me about it, and I always tell them you have no idea how many different home school curriculums there are!  And so many of them seem really good!  I researched a lot of them and thought I had my mind made up before summer even started.  Although it was not my first choice, I was excited we were going with Sonlight.  I had heard many people sing its praises, so I was confident it would be great for us!  We were all excited when it came in.  But, after reading through some of it, especially several of the books in the kindergarten curriculum, I knew it wasn't right for us.  I was frustrated, because, honestly I was SICK of looking at different curriculum.  I did not want to do the" piece it together" like most homeschool families do, because it was our first year.....and I DID NOT WANT TO MESS UP!!!!  Rhett was so sweet and agreed to help me out. We spent several weeks researching different things, and actually ordered three different ones.  We looked at them all and in the end decided to use My Father's World.....which was my first choice when we originally started the curriculum search!  Should have gone with my gut the first would have saved me many head aches!!!  Oh well!!

We LOVE our curriculum!  And just as I did not want to do, I have ended up adding to it and changing things around!  It is working out great for us, and Wesley is learning lots.  Here is what we are using:

-My Father's World Kindergarten---we use this for, Bible, some of the Phonics, Science and the arts/crafts
-Horizons Kindergarten Math
-A Reason For Handwriting, Kindergarten
-Reading Made Easy--I bought the workbooks to go along with it and it is working out perfectly for Wesley.  After just 2 weeks he is reading simple sentences and spelling!!
-Critical Thinking for both boys
-Speekee Spanish
-I am teaching Wesley beginning piano
-Kumon workbooks for Davis--he is crazy about "doing school" and has almost finished one of the workbooks.
-Explode the Code
-Lots of messy art and outside playtime

Wesley and Davis are both participating in Awana at our church, as well as children's choir.  Wesley is taking an art class once a week.  While he is at art, I take Davis and Johnson to story time at the library.  They are both playing soccer and will be starting taekwando in a few weeks.  Our boys are active and busy and definitely have an active social calendar. We also spend time each week with several of our buddies that are on this homeschool journey with us! So......we are in no way worried about that silly misconception that home schooled children are not socialized ( I am guilty of having that thought----pre homeschooling, of course :)!!

We are really enjoying homeschooling!  One of the best things I have heard these past few weeks was from Wesley.... "Mommy, thank you for teaching me, you are the best teacher in the world".  It truly makes all of the fear/worry/stress over it all soooo worth it!  I would not trade this special time we have together for anything!!

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