Thursday, July 17, 2014

Organization for MFW ECC - Exploring Countries and Cultures

This year we will detour into My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures. I've been known around here to spend a little too much time in office supply stores buying supplies. It didn't take too long to organize this guide. Fortunately MFW provides student notebook pages. I did print off other things that many generous MFW moms had made. This is how I put it all together:

This is my shiny new guide, the student notebook, and my master schedule.

As folks around here know, I'm always pushing these Staples Better Binders. They are so worth the money! These things are indestructible. I've never had to throw one away. You can recycle your old binders at Staples and get $2 back for each one. That helps the cost some at least. They go on sale during back to school time, so grab them then, or you'll go broke! I bought the 1 1/2 inch size for the student notebook.

Another thing I love over at Staples is their Better Dividers. Again, these things last forever. I always recycle the ones I used from previous years. I love that there are printable labels to use. You can find that template here.

I've divided the binder into these sections:
  • Memory Verses
  • World
  • North America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Antarctica
  • Bible Copywork
  • Hero Tales
  • Geography Vocabulary
  • Geography Game
  • Fast Facts
I included the memory verses in the first section.

The next tab has all of the pre and post test world geography pages, and anything else that doesn't belong in the continent sections.

I pre-printed all A Trip Around the World Pages, and Another Trip Around the World Pages and included them in each continent section, so we won't have to do that in the future. This is the North America section.

South America






I'm so thankful for the creator of the blog Mama Jenn. She created these great Bible copywork pages.

She also made Hero Tales copywork pages. I like that there is a place to draw a picture.

Additionally she made geography vocabulary pages. All of these activities are scheduled in the MFW guide. 

The next section holds the Geography game pieces, though I may take these out to put in the binder I keep mine in.

The last section holds the Fast Facts drill sheets. We will probably not use these as much as CLE already has daily math drills.

I laminated the Geography Game instructions, boards, and game pieces. I 3 hole punched them and put them in the binder. This binder also holds the Currency Kit conversion pages.

I laminated all of the game pieces and separated them by continent.

The new Currency Kit did not come cut out. This literally took (hours.) I chose not to laminate the pieces as I will not be using this guide again in the future. Even if I were, I'm not sure I would have. It took long enough!

This is my master schedule. I like having an official record that includes all the things we do. I bound it with my fancy new ProClick Binding Machine! If you'd like a cover for your teacher resources, mine is here.

I keep attendance and field trip logs in the front.

This is our official attendance sheet for the year.

This is where we will keep a log of the field trips we take. There will be plenty of fun things we will get to do with this guide! We're going to have lots of fun!

This is a peek into our weekly schedule. I can't share this unfortunately. It would violate MFW's hard work and copywrite. I look forward to getting to know you MFW ladies. I have a whole lot to learn about this new guide. I hope to learn from your successes, and maybe I will be able to share some of mine. We start school in 4 weeks! See you soon!

Curricula 2014-2015 - 3rd Grade

My baby is in 3rd grade! I don't know how that particularly happened. It's all just going by so fast. I've struggled the past few years in choosing what programs to use with Silas. While I love Heart of Dakota, I am going to take a year off and detour into My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures. Even though Preparing is sitting all sparkly and new on my bookshelf, I want to wait on it one more year. The middle guides (CtC on up) require a maturity that I don't feel my little guy will be ready for next year, hence my choice for this year. While I love MFW, I will sorely miss HOD!

My Father's World has always been on my radar as far as choices go. HOD and MFW have some similar things about them, yet to me they are so different. I find moms on the MFW board looking longingly over at our HOD boards, and vice versa. ECC has mixed reviews, but I think we're going to have a great year. I have worked hard to put all the pieces together, so we're prepared for whatever activities will come.

With all that said, here are our 3rd grade curriculum choices:

This is the My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures Deluxe Package. I will write a post on how I've organized our student and teacher notebook and all of our materials next.

I love the heart of this particular guide. We will explore the countries of the world, and the cultures of God's people. It was hard for me to take a whole year off of history, but I think this will set the stage for world history (HOD Preparing Hearts for His Glory), and ancient history (HOD Creation to Christ) and so on that will follow in the coming years. This is the geography portion of the plans. There is also a geography game that we will play each week. By the end of the year Silas will be able to identify all the countries of the world. That's more than I can do at present! I look forward to learning along side him :)

We will learn about the cultures of the world and talk about and build character with these resources.

Now this is where my hoarder gene kicked in. The deluxe package comes with 6 missionary biographies (in book form.) I am so excited to share these missionary stories with Silas, but this is an area of the plans I struggled with. For story time we've mostly read a variety of chapter books. I didn't know how well a 3rd grader would do with these books, and I have read that some are easier to follow than others. At first I decided I would just get the picture books on the top row. Then I went to the convention and there was a special on the audio version of the books. I have listened to a few, and some of the chapters are over 20 minutes. It will save my voice (since I am also running another guide with my oldest.) I may switch back and forth between these resources depending.

I also picked up these DVDs to watch after we've read the books :)

I refrained from getting chapter books for his personal reading time, and instead will employ the MFW book basket in the plans. These are the books I could find on my bookshelf that go along with our studies or are listed in the book basket. It took me a long time, but I put all the book basket books in my library account for pre-checkout. That will save me the trouble of doing it later, and I won't miss out on all of those great books!

This is the science portion of the plans. I again refrained from adding additional science. My boys absolutely love science! There are so many great books in the book basket to add to our studies. We will also be doing a co-op on Fridays that has a science class. That will be plenty!

This is our language arts portion. I had planned already on doing R&S 3 for grammar, and Brave Writer for writing. Then I went to convention and found the new Language Lessons for Today that was just released. We will just do the picture and poetry portion of the book, and skip the grammar sections. We will switch back and forth between All About Spelling and R&S 3 Spelling. I already have AAS on my shelf, and as fussy as it is, I do believe it's one of the best things out there for spelling. We will probably not do it next year, and continue with R&S. For penmanship we will use Pentime 3. I love these affordable little workbooks!

Silas is doing really well with Christian Light Math, so we're going to stick with it!

Instead of doing the Exploring World Geography Book we will do these 2 books throughout the year. Silas loves them, and is always sad when he comes to the end of the book.

We will do many of the art projects assigned, but I'm sure I will add a few of my own!

This is the music CD that came with the package that includes songs from all over the world.
That wraps it up! Off to post about how I organized all of this!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homeschool Necessities - ProClick Binding Machine

I wish there were a phonetic spelling of a cat call. If there were, I would insert it HERE. So basically, I've been coveting a ProClick binding machine for 4 years. Each year I drag all my books that I want the binding removed to the office store, or take the e-books I've printed off to be bound. It's a pain in the apple if you ask me. Each binding removal, and spiral binding is usually about 5 bucks. Every year I tell myself to just bite the bullet and buy a binding machine. This year I came to my senses. This thing most certainly would have paid for itself after 4 years of homeschool with all the printing I do around here!

 Here is a profile shot. Yes, I do realize I'm treating my ProClick like a hunka-hunka burnin' love, but seriously I'm in love. I found the best price for the ProClick at Office Depot, but only in the store. It's $75 online, but $55 in the store.

 They say that they can tell whether a teacher will be succesful by the measure of his/her love of office supplies. I'd say I'd earn an A+++ on that merit.

Here is how she works. I of course have to have an action shot, which is awkward one handed if you ask me. But I'm here for you, o' office supply love kindred spirit. All you do is put your paper in, and zippity-do-da-day the handle right across! Sometimes I get over ambitious and put too many pieces of paper in at once. At that point I have to turn into the Hulk to get it to work. Don't do that. Be nice to your binder friend.

 Here is the result of said Hulk-ing the handle.

This is how the ProClick binding looks. It comes with a handy little key that helps you open and close the binding. You don't have to use it. It took me a while to figure out how it worked. If you never figure out what to do with this do-dah then you can open and close the binding with your pretty little fingers. I like that I can easily open and close the binding if I want to take out or add something.

 Enter cat call HERE.

Oh, you can open the binding on itself because it isn't actually spiral, but rather loops! Puuuurrrty right?

The folks at GBC lie though. When it says 45, 85 or 110 sheets they mean front and back. I don't think they make them higher than 110. I found all of these on Amazon: 45 sheet binding, 85 Sheet Binding, and 110 Navy Blue Binding. For some reason buying black 110 sheet binding will cost you the price of a liver. Don't do it. Just buy blue like I did, and get a manicure with the rest of the dough you would have spent. BTW, you can use regular spiral binding with the ProClick. There are various places you can buy those cheaper than the ProClick bindings. Unfortunately they come in boxes of 100 for the most part, and even I don't need that many!

Just think of what I can do with all those bindings! For now I'm shutting down the printer and calling it a year. I don't ever want to see my printer again (at least for now.) Happy Binding!

Organization for Heart of Dakota - Resurrection to Reformation

Welcome to my organization post for HOD Resurrection to Reformation! I will preface this post by saying that my way to organize is not the only way. I know you free spirited folks may roll your eyes at my being so fussy, but hey, this is how God made me! I just roll with it :) HOD can be open and go. You can totally just buy your guide, never look at it all summer and start! That would make this planner's heart very twitchy if any of you know what I mean. I love though that we are all made so differently, and that my strengths may not be yours, but holy moly do I love and need my free spirited and spontaneous friends in my life! So be yourself when planning your school year is what I'm saying. 
My goal is to just give you a few ideas :)

Here are most of the elements of my organization for the year. I will take shots of my bookshelves when I get my school room finished this year.

I prefer to unbind my guide. I take it to FedEx and get the binding removed. I three hole punch it at home to save the cost of them doing it, and put it in a Staples Better Binder. These are worth the money folks. I've never had to replace one in 4 years. Every time I buy a cheapy it's done-for by the end of the year. You can recycle your old binders at Staples and get $2 back for each one. That helps the cost some at least. They go on sale during back to school time, so grab them then, or you'll go broke! The 1 1/2 inch binder fits the guide perfectly.

I also love Staples Better Dividers. Again, these can be re-used over and over again. They come with printable labels. You can find the template here.

This is Aedan's student notebook for the year. I will probably buy a new one. They have fancy Better Binders that come out at back to school sales that they don't sell the rest of the year. 

I've divided the binder into these sections:

  • History Notebook
  • Shakespeare Notebook
  • Science Notebook
  • Exploring Planet Earth
  • Our Weather and Water
  • Poetry Study
  • Map Quest
  • Story Time Pages
  • HOD Dictation
  • Appendix

 I have stored the history notebook pages in the first section. I remove them for the week when he is working on them. If you don't, the holes do tear easily. The notebook is too big to work from comfortably anyway.

 The notebook pages are beautiful! This is one of my favorite part of the upper HOD guides. They make such a beautiful record of what we've learned.

At the end of the notebook pages is an Art Gallery. We will do Art Appreciation this year, and these pages will add so much to your CM style picture study!

 HOD RtR has an optional Shakespeare study. Optional? No way! I wouldn't miss it!

The Shakespeare study has these beautiful copywork pages to go along with our study. He will copy portions of each play we read.

This is the Science Notebook portion. I made and shared these pages for RtR here.

 There is a Day 1 page for bible copywork, and for science notebooking activities. Vocabulary is done every other week on Day 3.

 Written Narration rotates with Vocabulary every other week on Day 2 of the guide's plans. Science Labs are always on Day 4.

 I didn't make pages for the portion of the science plans with Exploring Planet Earth. Someone already made these and shared them on the HOD RtR Facebook group.

 There are 2 options for science. If people already used Exploring Planet Earth in Bigger Hearts for His Glory's Extension readers, you have the option of instead using Our Weather and Water. I am going to let Aedan choose which he would rather do when we get there. I went ahead and printed out the pages from the Teacher CD from Our Weather and Water in case.

 We will study the poetry of Emily Dickinson this year. A creative mom from our FB group made these wonderful pages to go along with our study. I copied the poems from the back of the guide, and bound them.

This year we will study the geography of the time period we are studying with Map Trek. I printed out the blank student and put them in the binder. I printed out the teacher maps and bound them. I had planned on buying the whole Map Trek printed book and CD instead of doing this. Maybe next year I'll save myself this step, and the gallon of ink it took to print it all!

I can't for the life of me find where I found this sheet. It might have been on the HOD Yahoo group. It tells you what maps you will need to print for Map Quest. If I find the link I will share it, but you may want to also check the FB group.

There are activities that go along with our Story Time books. I found these pages on the HOD RtR FB group as well. You will need to print at least one per book.

Aedan will continue doing HOD dictation this year.

 I left room for an extra appendix should there be anything else that comes up. I don't think there's room though!

IEW Medieval Writing lessons is scheduled in RtR. There is a free printable Student Resource book that you can print out that goes with the lessons. In the front of the HOD RtR guide it tells you what pages you will need to print. I went ahead and printed the whole thing, cuz that's just how I roll. I just figured we'd use it again in the future, so why not? I went ahead and cut out the vocabulary cards, so we're not messing with that each week. We will store them in a index card file box. I also printed out Scholastic's Banish Boring Words. I have about 4281 Scholastic E-books that I got during the dollar sales each year that I rarely use. I finally have a binding machine, so I printed that bad boy. IEW doesn't allow boring words to be used, so I thought this would be a fitting resource.

Last year I didn't have an official Common Place Book. I wish I had bought one. I used regular notebook pages. This year I went ahead and bought one that would be sturdy and last for the long haul. HOD has the kids copy poetry, scripture, and quotes from Preparing on up. A Common Place Book is a great way to keep all those memory verses and poetry that has been memorized stored in one place. This should hold most of it for years to come. Last year I bought a 5 subject binder. It had too many sections. This 3 subject will hold Grammar, Writing, and Dictation exercises. I bought both at Target (because that's where I live thank you very much.)

This year I did something different for my official teacher schedule. You may have noticed quite a few spiral bound books. I finally invested in a ProClick, and that thing is dangerous in the hands of a office supply lover. I will write a post on that soon! This thinner schedule will keep me from hauling around the teacher binder that I used last year, and be a permanent record of what we did each day in case anyone should every have to ask. Unfortunately, I can't share the actual schedule for copywrite's sake, but if you'd like to use my cover I've shared it here.

I have stored things I will refer to often in here.

 Here is my official attendance sheet. Someone shared this on the FB group as well. I edited it and added our vacation days etc. We plan to take off 4 full weeks. I have schedule 3 off, but have a 4th in reserve depending on how life goes. We will do a co-op on Fridays. I will be the science teacher for 1-3rd grade with a friend who will switch with me. This introvert is going to be on the move this year!

 This is our field trip log. One of Aedan's old school friends questioned why he would ever want to homeschool. She said that he would never get to go on field trips. He of course laughed maniacally! Muhahahaha! No field trips for homeschoolers!? Yeah right. I logged so many I stopped counting. I love this part about homeschool!

Aedan will be memorizing Philippians 1 this year. I made this so he has an easy reference for his memory verses, and copywork. I laminated his on card stock, but also made one for myself. This teacher gets to memorize right along side her students! This is in the NIV version and follows the Philippians CD that is scheduled in RtR. I've shared this sheet here.

 The last section is my master schedule. This is not for the faint of planning hearts, but like I said it's just the way God made me! It really helps ease my mind that we're not forgetting things, and I fortunately can re-use this when Silas gets to RtR. 

Here's a peak into our weekly schedule. I love HOD's detailed daily plans, but it's nice to see a week at a glance. I've added the memory verse each week, and a supply list that someone graciously shared on the HOD FB group. Well there you have it...a glimpse into my madness. I hope it helps some of you. If not, then roll your eyes and laugh at me. I won't be offended :) I laugh at myself often! I do love knowing that I've done what I can to make this year run smoothly. My knees are always knocking at the beginning of each new year, but it always seems to work out. I'm so thankful that I know that God will give me my measure of what it takes to do what he has called me to do in this season of my life. I can't wait to chat with some of you in our FB group. I sure love having you ladies to walk along side on this journey!