Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Extra Resources for Layers of Learning Unit 1-1

Playlist of Youtube videos for this entire unit.

History ~ First Civilizations

Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (Internet Linked) pages 108-113

Play the Royal Game of Ur

Geography ~ Maps and Globes

Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography with Complete World Atlas (Internet Linked) pages 248-249

How well do you know the continents?  Play this game to find out!

This would also be a good time to start playing some board games, there are some great ones out there for geography, we love the Carmen SanDiego games.

Science ~ Planets

Usborne Science Encyclopedia (Internet Linked) pages 154-157, 164-165, 168-171

The Arts ~ Cave Painting

Thursday, July 17, 2014

After a long hiatus, I'm back... with something NEW!!

At least it's new to me, and it seems like almost everyone else!

It's a curriculum called Layers of Learning. It's like nothing I have ever seen before!  It follows a 4 year cycle, but is units at the same time. It's not a booklist, it's not quite a unit study, it's just.... different!

I want to give some background on us here.... my kids are not book lovers (much to my dismay).  They are not huge fans of read-alouds unless they are fun.  They are much more visual and hands on.  Miss Frizzle would be their dream teacher.  I have spent the past few years bouncing from one thing to the next, trying to find our fit.  I finally gave up and spent the better part of June planning out our own history that contained short readings and tons of hands on crafts, songs, and videos.  I was just getting ready to work on science so we had enough for a few weeks to go on when Layers of Learning sort of fell on the ground in front of me.... or well on the screen of my laptop.  

Let me tell you, this is exactly what I have dreamed of. The guide is bright and interesting, but not overwhelming.  Basically, all the content subjects are covered.. history, geography, science and the arts, each having their own section.  The sections begin with a short intro you can read to your kids, then a list of activities (that are marked according to difficulty!!) that you can pick and choose from.  There are sidebars on each page that contain interesting facts, extra activities, names of people and places to peak your children's interest.  Best of all, it's secular!  

We will be beginning Unit 1-1 (which you can get for FREE when you sign up for their newsletter!).  My plan is to grab some books off the shelves that cover the topics of the unit to make them accessible to the kiddos.  I will look on Discovery Education Streaming and see what videos I can find (using the list of topics from the booklists at the beginning of each unit).  We will do a few activities from each section, following the Layers of Learning suggestion to cover one section each day (Monday is History, Tuesday is Geography, Wednesday is Science, Thursday is Arts and Friday is a flex day). 

I chose to print the unit.  I do better with paper in my hands.  I used cardstock for the front and back and comb bound it. I will do that for each unit.  I like to be portable and my laptop just is not portable and my tablet takes a beating when the kids get their paws on it so it hides most of the time.  I also want to be able to mark the activities we plan to do, make notes about how things went, etc. 

Oh yeah, one more thing.... it's affordable!  Each unit (which is meant to last 2 weeks but really could last longer or shorter depending on how many of the activities you choose to do) is only $4.99 in PDF form OR you can get a whole year (20 units) for $79.80.  What other curriculum out there is as well laid out, as flexable and gives you history, geography, science and art for under a hundred bucks?  

I will be reviewing the units as we go through them, so stay tuned.  I'm really excited to have found this and know I can't be the only one who has waited a long time for this.

Go check them out! Their site is fabulous!  So much wisdom and inspiration!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What are we using these days? What is in store for our upcoming year?

I have figured out our 2013-2014 curriculum for the most part, so I wanted to make a quick post sharing what is in store.  We have already started to make some changes... or well add things in because they just weren't getting done (and we have made one change with The Artist's math because she was really having a hard time with what we were using).

The Artist (3rd grade in July):
Reading: tests with books she chooses or I reccomend.
Math: Math Mammoth

The Scientist (2nd grade in July):
Reading: Hooked on Phonics, then
Math: McRuffy Math

Grammar & Writing: Free Scott Foresman Grammar and Writing Handbook
Vocabulary & Literary Elements: Free McGraw Hill On Level Practice Book
Spanish: Elementary Spanish from
Geography: The Complete Book of Maps and Geography
Civics: Citizen's Now (simple workbooks)

The Cuddler (preschool in July):
Sweet Pickles Bus and Leap Frog Bus when he asks for them.

Science: Interest lead with lots of videos and books.  Videos at their disposal: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Magic School Bus, Mr. Wizard's World, Beakman's World, Sid the Science Kid, Myth Busters, and anything else on Netflix!  We have a large and growing selection of books including a ton of Let's Read and Find Out.  We will also do some nature study and read some vintage science books as read alouds.

History:  The Complete Book of United States History with living books, videos and hands on projects.

Art:  The Complete Book of Arts and Crafts along with interest led projects.

Music: and learning to play the recorder.

PE and Health:  playing in our daily life, DVDs: Yoga Kids, Karate for Kids, Ballet for Kids along with random videos from Netflix.  Regular discussions on healthy practices as they come up in our daily lives.

They will all also be using a variety of online games and learning sites: readingeggs, clicknkids, xtramath, etc.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Countdown 1 day to go!!

Well it is here, Christmas Eve!!  Are you ready?  I am for the most part.  Hubby and I still have a pretty major gift in the works and if we don't pull it off today, it will break my heart, we have been working on it for a while now and part is done, part is not.  We still have cookies on the favorites list that we have not had time to bake yet!  Yikes!!!  I think I am going to set my 14 year old to baking cookies while I sew, sew, sew and hubby works downstairs on the secret gift.  Hubby shouldn't need much time, so I'm hoping that he can help the oldest with the cookies since he can't help me sew.Hubby has something crazy up his sleeve for me, I'm so excited.  I have no clue what it could be and he keeps giving contradicting hints.  I haven't had a good Christmas surprise in so many years.. minus each of the 3 years my 3 Christmas babies were born.  Normally we don't do Christmas for each other, the money just isnt' there for us to get gifts too.  We splurged this year and it feels good.It already looks like Christmas under our tree, the kids wrapped their gifts yesterday (we take them to 5 Below one at a time to shop for everyone else in the house) and put them under the tree.  It looks so beautiful!Well enough of my banter.  I really wanted to share this link yesterday and just wish everyone a Merry Christmas yesterday, but life got away from me and we had a crazy day.  So here it is, my kids number 1 favorite Christmas site!!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Countdown: 3 days to go!

Today enjoy over 3 hours of Christmas music.  Put it on and finish up your wrapping or finish up your baking!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Countdown: 4 days to go!

Today I want to share a link that will take a few minutes of mom or dad time to prep.  It's a personalized message from Santa!!!  My kids have delighted in this every year since I found it.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Countdown: 5 days to go!

I can't believe how fast time is flying! 

Today, go and decorate some cookies without trashing your kitchen!

Virtual Cookie Decorating!