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My girls Christmas 2017

Welcome to Magical Moments!

I created this blog in conjunction with My Magical Holiday. I’m connecting them because I will be sharing lots of travel tips, places we go, and things we do. In this section though, it will be a more personal experience, extra things we did, what made us love the destination, why we will or won’t go back, things that helped, things that didn’t, and so on.

I’ll also be sharing our goals and how we’re making them happen. I’ve been following The Mom Trotter and she has been a huge inspiration. Some of our goals are very much inspired by her and her family. One of the big goals inspired by Karen is to immerse our children in the world, gentle parenting and road schooling. I wish she was around when my older girls were younger, but I can still find ways to immerse them now. It will just look a little different than it will for my youngest.

Another topic is living more simply. This is going to take some work! We are so ready though. Our goal to travel and learn in the world starts here. We need to get rid of ‘stuff’ and make room for creating memories. I can’t even explain how excited I am for this. I started in the kitchen, a very small start, but it felt amazing! You can see that small baby step here. There’s more to come so stay tuned!

The next topic is life. I’ll be sharing things we are doing and what made us decide to do those things.

I’m so excited to begin this portion of Travel Advising and life in general!

Martin Luther King Jr Day 2022

Photo by Robert D. Barber University Archives and Special Collections Department

What better way to spend a day off from school than to learn about the reason why you get the day off. Especially a day like today.

We spent the day watching videos to learn about Dr. King and his efforts to make change. We found all kinds of resources!

We watched his “I have a dream…” speech here.

Then we watched Martin Luther King Jr. For Kids from Homeschool Pop and did a few projects!

I made a quick worksheet on Microsoft Word with just a few questions on it and her little experiment.

After watching the videos and reading about MLK, I had her list 3 facts about his life, fill in the blank, and identify the law passed because of his efforts. We talked about more facts and why it was so important to make change. We talked about what it was like in those times if you weren’t white. We even got into talking about Ruby Bridges and how brave she was.

Moving on to the experiment! We took out a brown egg and a white egg from the fridge. We talked about the differences on how they looked on the outside. Now it’s time to crack them open. So Ruby opened the eggs and dumped them into a bowl. I asked her to tell me what they look like now. She said they look the same. Both have yellow/orange yolks and clear fluid. I told her this was true for us too. Even though we look different on the outside, we are the same on the inside, and just because we look different, have different beliefs, or whatever it may be doesn’t mean one is better, good, or bad. We don’t get to treat people badly or different just because we’re not exactly the same.

After our experiment, we talked about how we can make change and help our community and our world grow and learn. We made cloud bubbles with goals for myself, my community, and my world.

These were simple to do and fun. It gave her a way to visualize why Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality. These simple steps, a few videos, and lots of conversations through the day were a great way to honor the work of Dr. King.

You can find both PDF versions of our worksheets below.

Here are some other videos we watched.

Here are some books we liked too!

After Schooling

What we’re using

Finally getting this written! My goodness, it’s taken me forever!

All our supplies are in and we’ve jumped right in! Our schedule has changed a few times and will probably change a few more! It’s an ongoing process. I got most of our items from Thriftbooks and Amazon. Saxon Math came from Rainbow Resource because the price was best for a new full set. When ordering from Thriftbooks you are ordering consigned books so be sure to read the details and information so you know the condition of the books. I had really great luck with their items. The Handwriting book had more writing in it that I expected but it was easy to just erase what was there and move on.

Math

For math, we have decided on Saxon Math 1. Ruby is in second grade but Saxon 1 teaches some skills that she hasn’t learned yet. Saxon is systematic and builds off previous lessons. It mixes old concepts with new concepts giving students lots of practice and reinforcement of skills. It’s short lessons and “back to the basics” approach is just what I’ve been looking for. K-3 lessons follow the format, The Meeting, Lessons, and Practice/Assessments. It’s very easy to follow and the lessons are scripted for the parent. Saxon offers a manipulatives kit to help lock in the math skills with hands on learning, ensuring students gain and retain math skills. While you don’t have to buy the manipulatives, we bought several from Amazon. You can easily use things you already have in your home. You can also buy a full set from Rainbow Resource. These are used for K-3 so while the kit is an extra cost, you will get several years of use out of it. So far, she is doing great and is enjoying the lessons. These first lessons are pretty much review for her, but I wanted to start at the beginning since the lessons build and review past lessons.

Order from

Rainbow Resource
Amazon (whole kit or separately)

Manipulatives

Rainbow Resource
Amazon (piece together things you don’t have at home)

Language Arts

There are several parts to language arts, grammar, spelling, literature, reading, and writing. Seems like a lot right?! Well, it is but it’s totally manageable. At least so far.
Reading
I love phonics. It is in my opinion, teaching phonics is key to making great readers. We have chosen The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sarah Buffington. It’s very thorough and heavy on phonics, while also teaching grammar and vocabulary. It’s inexpensive as well and a fantastic edition to use for extra help after school, beginning readers or even school-age for kids who didn’t learn phonics. The only extras you need are flashcards that you can buy or make yourself, and a magnetic board with alphabet letters. All the lessons are scripted and very easy to follow. Any reading material is also included in lessons. There will also be a revised version released in June of 2022.

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource
Thriftbooks – search The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

Writing
We have chosen Writing With Ease by Susan Wise Bauer. Once again, this is easy to follow and lessons are short so it’s not too overwhelming for after schooling. This is a great option for the elementary student or the older child who continues to struggle with writing. It’s a two part book with parent instruction in the first half and student workbook in the last. It is heavily scripted making it easy for parents to troubleshoot and find answers to their questions when teaching their children writing. You can follow it exactly or simply use the book as a guide and choose your own copywork and dictation.

The program follows a four day sequence every week, Copywork, Narration Exercise, Copywork, Narration Exercise. The Narration Exercises help to reinforce memory and recall. This program reinforces grammar taught in First Language Lessons. They are intentionally separated because the authors believe by lumping them together, as most do, it puts too much writing on the young student.

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource – If you buy a used book from somewhere else and need the student pages, you can so find student pages here.
Thriftbooks – Search Writing with Ease Level 1

We are also using Zaner-Bloser Handwriting for manuscript. This is a fantastic program teaching kids the correct way to form letters to move easily into cursive writing. Using this program gets kids writing in cursive in the 2nd grade. It begins the 2nd grade reinforcing manuscript then introducing cursive. I’m really excited to move forward with this program

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource
Thriftbooks – search Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Grade 1

Grammar
We are using First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise for our grammar part of language arts. It the book, The Well Trained Mind, they recommend separating grammar from writing in the early years. I like this idea as I do most in recommended by the authors. We are starting with level 1 even though my daughter is in 2nd grade so I can make sure she grasps the parts of speech it the sequential order the programs lays out.

Like most of the resource by Jessie and Susan, this program has short, quick lessons, it’s scripted, logical and very easy to use. It’s not flashy or colorful, but you don’t really need all that in a grammar program. There is lots of repetition and memory work involved in First Language Lessons. If you use this from level 1-4, your child will learn all parts of speech, sentence formation, contractions, punctuation and even diagramming!

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource
Thriftbooks – search First Language Lessons Level 1

Spelling
We are starting with the Spelling Workout program for spelling. This has essentially not lesson prep. You just follow along page by page and there is a review every 5 lessons. The other programs don’t really have spelling included. It’s taught from a phonics perspective so it goes hand in hand with the other language arts programs we have selected. We are again starting with book A simply to just follow the sequence. I expect she will move quickly through the first couple of books.

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource
Thriftbooks – Search Spelling Workout A

History

Finally, history. I have never been a history buff. I remember a lot of basketball talk in my high school history class and have really poor knowledge of the subject. Oddly though I am so excited to learn along side Ruby with this one. So far in our readings it turns out I know more than I thought, but I’m also learning so much! So is Miss Ruby! She is actually interested. We just read an age appropriate version the Odyssey and she rechecked it from the library to read again! Along side it we have read several books about the Trojan horse and stories in our encyclopedias.

The Well Trained Mind Recommends following history in chronological order, Ancients (1st, 5th, 9th grades), Medieval to Early Renaissance (2nd, 6th, 10th grades), Late Renaissance to Early Modern (3rd, 7th, 11th grades), and Modern times (4th, 8th, 12th grades). The book gives all kinds of suggestions for reading materials on each level and what to use for your teaching text.

We have decided to go with The Story of the World Vol 1-4 by Susan Wise Bauer for our first four years of history. It’s once again easy to follow and all the extra activities and suggested reading makes it more interesting. The book is divided into sections for your lessons making it very easy to plan and teach lessons. We are following the recommendation of 3 days a week.

Order from

Amazon
Rainbow Resource
Thriftbooks – Search Story of the World
The Well Trained Mind

Science

Science for us right now is extra and we do it when we can get to it. In The Well Trained Mind, it is recommend to follow science as you do with history. What you are studying in history coincides with science in a way that the areas you study are the things you would see in the those times. When studying ancients, you study biology, Medieval to Early Renaissance, you will study earth science and astronomy, Late Renaissance to Early Modern is chemistry, and in Modern years you’ll study physics. Makes sense right? Are you figuring out why I love a classical education?
We are mostly just reading through our DK Animal Encyclopedia and some other resources as our extra reading for now. We’ll add in some projects later but while we are after schooling I don’t want to overwhelm her.

Other resources we are using are Usborne Encyclopedias. I love love love Usborne. Their books are great and their encyclopedias are amazing and colorful for kids to enjoy. We are also using Kingfisher Encyclopedia, McGuffey’s Third Eclectic reader, Blackline Maps of World History, Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions, DK First Animal Encyclopedia, Kingfishers Animal Encyclopedia, and Mudpies to Magnets. All are listed below.

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource – 3rd edition only available here, new addition coming 4/12/22. We use 269th edition.

Order from

Amazon
Usborne
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title

Order from

Amazon
Usborne
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Order from

Amazon
Usborne
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource – More Mudpies to Magnets is all that is available at this time

Order from

Amazon
Usborne
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Order from

Amazon
Thriftbooks – search title
Rainbow Resource

Find a full list on amazon here!

School: What should I do?

Is that not the question of the century when you’re raising children?!

I ask myself nonstop. Do I send my kids to public school? Do go private school? Homeschool? Provide extra? As a parent who is invested in the care and future of their child, I’m sure you have asked yourself those same questions.

The great news? There’s no right or wrong answers here. Ultimately you have to do what is best, and practical, for your child and your family.

The not so great news, there are hundreds of options and its so hard to not feel like you’re screwing up your kids future.

Sound familiar?

I am struggling so hard with this now with my youngest child. My older children are grown, one in college and one a senior in high school. I sent them through public school. I did homeschool them for a year and I loved it, they loved it, but they had already been in public school prior to homeschooling and they missed their friends, so the decision was made to go to public school. I’m not saying public school is bad. I don’t think that at all. There are pros and cons to both.

Now here I am again, wandering what to do and what the best option is. After all, we have a great school system where we live. I have no problem with the school; I’m quite happy with the school to be honest. But I still have that nagging feeling, that little voice telling me it would be best to homeschool her.

I am a big fan of classical education. It’s systematic. It follows a pattern of learning that makes sense to me. I used the methods recommended by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise from The Well Trained Mind with my older girls. I have been listening to the audio book on Audible recently and drug out my old book, The Well Trained Mind. It’s really making me want to dive in and jump right in to homeschooling. I dream of days teaching my daughter from anywhere, immersing her in the world and culture, traveling and exploring local and far off experiences, and, I could go on and on.

However…

We have decided to take this slow and really consider everything before we jump in. We are wanting to really clean out everything and live more simply, travel more, possibly downsize, possibly RV full-time or most time 😉 Ruby is in second grade, in a great school, we love her teachers, and she’s a little hesitant on the topic of homeschooling. So there’s a lot for us to be thinking about and transitioning to.

So, what’s our plan?

Well, first we have to wean off the technology. I vowed to not be a high tech parent, but here I am, killing it. I didn’t see it coming. Busy life, on the go, appointments, freedom to clean the house, on a call and your kid needs something to do, yeah, it snuck up on me. Not to mention there are things she wants to play that I only allow her to play in my presence (spoiler – 95% of the apps). I put a 1 minute time limit on those (because that’s the lowest it will allow me) so she has to come ask me to play it. I have to be able to sit beside her while she plays. So there we are, both of unproductively sitting on our butts!

Goal: To get from this ———————————->
To this!

After-schooling is the answer for us right now. What is that right? Well, the plan is to start introducing “study sessions” into our days after school, some on weekends and on school breaks while also beginning our steps toward our other goals.

The big goal:

-Simplify our living.
-Warm Ruby up to idea of homeschooling and testing things out to see if it’s a good fit for our family.

What does this look like?

Here is a semi-loose schedule we will be following for the next year.

I say semi-loose because this is the trial and error phase. I don’t want to overbook my child but I also don’t want this to just become an optional thing that we may or may not do. She nor my husband and I will be able to make an informed decision if don’t test and try. So I am 100% sure this schedule will need to be tweaked and changed as we go along and figure out what works and what doesn’t but not doing anything is not an option.

I’ve begun ordering my materials for after-school, stay tuned! Once I get my materials I’ll update and provide links!