Monthly Archives: August 2012

Flowering Baby Review/Giveaway

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I firmly believe that our children’s education begins the day we bring baby home from the hospital.  Even if you do not plan on homeschooling, every parent should take a proactive approach to their child’s education and provide various activities to encourage learning.  In my opinion, I have found the best curriculum to assist parents do just that – Flowering Baby Curriculum.  They offer the following years:

Birth to One

One to Two

Two to Three

Three to Four

Four to Five

Each year offers age-appropriate activities covering a variety of subjects.

What I like about the program:

  • Each year offers a booklist for use throughout the year.  I have enjoyed the books suggested, and so have my children!  Most books could be checked out from the library, although we had quite a few already.  I was able to purchase the others from Better World Books for a very good price (I have a problem returning library books on time and have found that I save money by just buying them).  You could also easily substitute books you already have.  For instance, one book for colors was suggested, but I already have a color book that we love.
  • Many of the suggested books are used every year!  Children love repetition and there are enough books listed to provide variety, so reusing some books from year-to-year is money-saving and fun!  I cannot tell you how many times I have read Brown Bear, Brown Bear to my babies, and I still have requests for it!
  • The activities are perfect for every family!  This program is not just for homeschoolers!!!!  Working parents will not have trouble fitting the daily activities into a busy schedule.  Everything is laid out for you and the tasks do not take too long to complete.  With our baby, I work our activities into a play time before his first morning nap, and you could easily adjust and do the activities as part of the bedtime routine.
  • The items needed for the activities can be found around my house!  In fact, the only item I had to buy was a clear plastic tube (from a tennis ball), and I barely spent anything.
  • All developmental areas are covered (art, music, language, math, etc.).  Songs/rhymes are suggested, books are read, and little art projects to help reinforce bigger concepts (like shapes and colors) are given.  I truly feel my children are learning a lot from this special time I spend with them.  I spend a lot of time schooling the older girls, and it is nice to have this special time with the little ones.

What I dislike about the program:

  • Um….nothing!!!!  I have re-read both years I have and thought about the many activities we have done, and I cannot think of any negative feedback!  I am a HUGE fan, and I think that this curriculum offers a great starting point for parents and children.  I feel my children have developed a love of learning by using this program because learning is presented in a fun way.

Are you hooked yet?!  Well, thanks to Flowering Baby‘s generosity, I have a giveaway for you!  They have offered to give away one year of YOUR choice of the Flowering Baby curriculum to one lucky reader!  Enter below for your chance to win.

Ways to Enter:

  • Visit Flowering Baby and leave a blog post comment below letting me know which year you  would like if you win.
  • Leave a comment indicating that you follow Hernandez Homeschool Blog.
  • Leave a comment indicating that you tweeted about this giveaway.
  • Leave a comment indicating that you follow @hernhomeschool on Twitter.

Winner will be drawn randomly on September 20, 2012.  Winner will need to respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn.  Winner must provide name and address so the prize can be mailed to them.

*Disclaimer – I was given one year free for giving a review.  However, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Our School Day

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I am joining iHomeschool Network’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop for the final week of blog hopping!  This week focuses on a day-in-your-life, and I am going to show you what a typical homeschool day looks like at our house!

Although I would love to claim that our days always run smoothly and that every subject is covered with time to spare, perfect days are far and few between.  We have a new little one in the house, and he does demand a lot of attention;)  Our daily schedule revolves around his nap times in order for us to get the most done.  We also don’t use set times for subjects.  We do certain tasks in the AM and certain tasks in the PM.

Our morning routine:

7am – I wake up with the baby and  we have our morning cuddle time.  He has a bottle and we just cuddle and “talk.”  Around 8am, Jasmine waltzes into my room and climbs into bed with us.  We all spend some time cuddling.  This is the best part of my day!!!

8:30am – We do our morning chores (brush teeth, get dressed, make beds) and then we have breakfast.

9am – Barbie and Sunshine arrive and school begins!  We have Circle Time (Math Meeting, Linguistic Development, Pledge, We Choose Virtues) followed by Bible.  We begin one-on-one time.  Each child has time one-on-0ne with me working on specific lessons (math, writing, reading/spelling, handwriting, history, health).  The children not working with me play or nap.  I get out “School Time” toys that they only get to play with during school.  These toys include educational games, toys (legos, etc.), and puzzles.  Snacks are given around 10am, no matter how far we have made it.

12pm – Lunch!!!!!!  I also take this time to throw something in the Crock-Pot.  We eat dinner late due to my husband’s schedule, so I do not need to start it until afternoon.

12:30pm – Literature as a group.

1pm – quiet time for all!  The little ones sleep and the older ones color quietly (they may do other things as long as it is quiet and can be done in one place).  I try to get housework done, but I am careful about spending at least 45 minutes doing something quiet.

3pm – Snack and then group time begins.  We work on Geography, Science, Art, Spanish, Music Appreciation and PE.  These are the less necessary subjects at this stage, so I do not stress if they do not get done (although they usually do).  After group work, we sit down on the sofa for our current read-aloud (we just started Magic Treehouse Dinosaurs in the Dark).

5pm – If the weather is decent, we head outside (if we were not already out there for PE).  Some nights, the girls have Girl Scouts, Horseback Riding, and Gymnastics.

The rest of day is spent eating dinner, getting ready for bed, and spending time with each other.  Each day brings something new, and I LOVE it! Our days are not always easy, and some days I feel like crying, but every moment is well-worth it.  We are all human and things don’t always go as planned.  Enjoy every moment you have with your family and appreciate the little things that happen.  We may not have finished our day, but Jasmine may have made her bed without being asked.  That is a successful day to me:)

 

Please consider subscribing to our blog.  This way, you will be able to keep up with our ever-changing lives and hopefully get some good ideas/encouragement.  Also, if you have any questions about anything on this blog, feel free to email me!

 

Student Photos!!

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The past few weeks I have been linking up with the iHomeschool Network’s Not Back-to-School Blog hop!  This week focuses on Student Photos.

Our 2012-2013 School Year has been in full-swing for 4 weeks now, and we are having so much fun!!!!  For those of you that are new to our blog, I am a private tutor full-time to two wonderful girls and a homeschooler of my own two children.  Only my children are pictured in this blog, but I do discuss the other girls, too.  As a result, Jasmine and Aladdin will be shown but Barbie (my kindergartner/first grader) and Sunshine (my tot) will not be.

Jasmine is my amazing daughter!!!  She is four, and extremely smart (I AM biased, but she really is quick).  She is doing a mixed Pre-K and Kindergarten year.  She is ready for K in math and Geography, but she is still working on pre-reading and learning to form her letters and numbers.  Our goal for her this year is to begin All About Reading Level 1.  She is a rising gymnast and great big sister!  Without further ado, here is our little star (0n a homeschool field trip to a local pizza place)…

Our little man, Aladdin, is much too young to have school, but he is still working hard to learn new things!  He is currently almost 5 months old, so he is beginning to roll over and crawl.  He is my little mommy’s boy, and LOVES to be held (especially when one of the girls needs my attention).  He brings joy to our lives in countless ways, and we are blessed to have him in our family.

Thanks for checking out our not back-to-school photos.  Please consider subscribing to keep updated with our latest adventures.  When I have more followers, we will begin hosting giveaways!!!!!!

Our School Room for 2012-2013

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Not much has changed in the school room since I updated the School Room tab, but we have made a few additions:)

 My extremely visual husband rearranged slightly to make our dining area more organized.  The workboxes were moved behind the table, and a small table is hiding in the back between the workboxes to provide a place for my teacher’s manuals.  We also added a whiteboard.  At the moment, it is mostly used for our daily schedule and our Grapevine Bible Study.  

Below is a snapshot of our revised workboxes!  I printed off the subject card from Confessions of a Homeschooler, and we are using these instead of numbers now.  Also, I am using the workboxes more as storage than a systematic system.  Each drawer houses a subject and contains everything the child will need for that week (worksheets, books, manipulatives, etc).  This set-up is working well for us so far.  We might switch back to numbers once they get a little older, but this helps us all stay organized.

Each child also has one of these storage containers on top of their workbox (I found them for a dollar in the Target dollar area).  The container holds their school supplies, supplies I need for the whiteboard, and their All About Reading/All About Spelling card boxes.

We added a “Pledge of Allegiance” chart to our calendar/circle time area.  This year is a first serious year of homeschooling, and I thought it would be fun to add the Pledge to our daily routine.

Not much has changed in this section, but I did add a white milk crate as a “library” bin.  When we check books out, the children have a specific place to put them in so they do not get lost!

I am pleased with our new additions thus far, and the school year is getting off to a wonderful start!

Curriculum Decisions for 2012-2013!

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We officially started school last monday, and we had a great week digging into the new books we will be using!  For the first week, we actually survived pretty well!  Barbie (my student) and Jasmine worked really well together, and Barbie really helps push Jasmine to do her work!  By subject, here is a look at what we will be using this year:

Bible:  We originally planned on using Explorer’s Bibe Study – Beginnings 1 …And it was Good.  Last week, we did this study during circle time.  However, I keep hearing about Grapevine Bible Studies, and decided to give them a try.  We will use EBS at night as a devotion and try the Beginning Esther study during the morning.

Math:  We are using Saxon Math K, but we are moving at a quicker pace (at least for now).  The lesson plans call for teaching three new lessons per week.  However, we are doing about 3 lessons a day.  Much of it is review for my girls, so until we hit some new material, we will move at a quicker pace.  I think we will be starting Saxon Math 1 toward the end of the year.

Reading:  Jasmine is continuing with All About Reading Pre-Level 1.  She is about half-way through it, and once she finishes she will move up to AAR Level 1.  Barbie is working on AAR Level 1, but she is picking reading up easily, so I am sure we will be completing AAR Level 2, as well.

English:  Barbie is working on WriteShop Primary A and will be beginning IEW’s PAL Writing program in September.  Once AAR Level 1 is complete, she will begin working on All About Spelling Level 1 and First Language Lessons 1.  Both girls are working on IEW’s Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.  They are on Level 1.

Handwriting:  We are using Handwriting Without Tears.  Jasmine is mostly practicing on the slate board, and Barbie is completing the Kindergarten workbook.

Science:  We are doing a lot of hands-on activities for science this year using the book Science is Simple.  Last week, we learned about magnets.  I haven’t done lesson plans yet, but I think we are learning about seasons this week:)

Geography:  We are using “Expedition Earth” by Confessions of a Homeschooler to learn about the continents!  Last week, we had an introductory week and learned about maps and globes, and began making our own Paper Mache globes.  This week we will learn about Europe and the United Kingdom.  We are going out of order, but I figured we would do the UK because of the Olympics.

Art:  We use the Artistic Pursuits books for art.  Jasmine is working through the Pre-K book and Barbie is working through Book 1 for K-3.

Literature:  We read various books throughout the year.  See my “PK4 Curriculum” tab for the books we will be reading this year.  Last week, we read The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.  I am also working through IEW’s Teaching the Classics seminar, which can be implemented with students in K-12th grade.  I haven’t even made it half-way through the first DVD, but once I finish it, I will post a review.  The program is supposed to help the teacher teach literature.  I LOVE IEW, and I am excited about using this product!

Health/PE:  We all use Horizons Physical Education PK-2nd grade, and Barbie is working on Horizons Kindergarten Health.  We do PE 3 times a week on top of Horseback riding (Barbie) and gymnastics (Jasmine).  Health is completed twice a week.

Spanish:  We use Sonrisas Spanish Level 1.  This program is fun for the kids, and fun for us!  We read a lot of books in Spanish and do some fun crafts!

Music:  Still undecided:(  I am still unsure what I want to use this year.  I am debating between Maestro Classics and a study by Bright Ideas Press.  I think we will start with Maestro Classics…I don’t plan on starting music until September, so I will let you know what we decide to use.  Feel free to offer suggestions, as well:)

So there it is…after months of agonizing over what to do, I was happy to see that the majority of my choices work well for everyone!  I am so excited for this year, because it is our first true homeschooling year!!!  I can’t wait to see how we all grow over the year!