Monday, August 30, 2010

Our Curriculum

I was so nervous about this year. Starting homeschool with a repeat second grader seemed almost easy. He already knew his numbers, he knew how to read. It was just adding to the skills, reteaching some basics and behavior control with him. This kindergarten thing was a whole new ball game. I was going to be responsible for everything. I needed to be ready to teach letters, numbers and all the basics of how to put it all together. If they did not get it or there were mistakes it was all on me. No teacher to blame. For some reason it was overwhelming to me in a way remediating second grade never was. I have spent countless ours researching, reading and shopping. It is a lot of information so I am going to break it into two posts. Here is how it all came together for third grade.
For Wyatt's third grade year we are doing Sonlight . We absolutely loved Sonlight for second grade. The program consists of history textbooks followed by novels that reinforce what you have learned. Wyatt's retention went through the roof last year with the stories from the novels acting as a trigger for all the real information. I learned and remembered as much as he did and way more than I learned as a child. Jacob is 4 grades ahead of Wyatt and in a private school for junior high. Every year the two boys are studying the same time frame in history. Sonlights books are more thorough, more interesting and Wyatt's retention is better than Jake's. Jacob actually borrows our books in his spare time and complains his are boring by comparison. That is by far the best indication of a great curriculum if you ask me.

We are also using the Homeschool In The Woods Time Travelers Series, , If you have never seen her stuff you have to check it out. We did her Old Testament package last year and LOVED it! The artwork is amazing. Jacob and Sarah would come home and beg for me to print them out copies and I will confess I even printed some for myself because the lapbook was so beautiful when it was all put together. I felt like a real artist. This year we are doing the Time Travelers starting with the Explorers and working our way along with our Sonlight history. Her materials are really a stand alone product and they are serving the purpose of filling in gaps and giving us a deeper knowledge of some time periods. Wyatt is feeling like the smartest 3rd grader ever which is a real change after so many years struggling in school. I knew it would be a hit with Wyatt because it is so hands on, but I can't describe the joy in this kids heart when he is working on this material. He does the reading, completes some projects for his notebook and gets to do things like tying sailors knots and building a ship out of boxes. Here are a few shots of him in action.

Here Wyatt is tying knots and coloring maps.

I am not a huge fan of Sonlight for language arts. Wyatt needs a more solid program. I decided on Bob Jones for English with Spelling, Vocabulary and a Daily Language Review by Evan Moore. I think it is a solid routine and he has a much better grasp since we switched.

Math is Bob Jones as well and I love their books. The materials are thorough, colorful and well laid out. He was very behind in math when we started homeschool and we caught him up and he is loving math, where it was a struggle before.

Science for Wyatt is really extensive this year. I purchased Jeannie Fulbright's "Exploring Creation With Astronomy" , we have used her books before and really enjoyed the immersion approach. Then I ordered my Sonlight and it came with a biology and life science curriculum. Wyatt could not decide so he decided to do it all. Sonlight uses a lot of Usborn book which are just plain fun and this science also has a Lyrical Life book with a CD of songs, a big hit here on the farm. So we are doing biology, life and astronomy with notebooking to boot!!!

Our Bible is a group subject so we read and discuss, but then I was blog surfing my favorites and I hit the gold mine. Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has created a whole system for scripture memorization that follows Awana. We do not do Awana at church but the kids will be doing her program at home. Check it out along with her other amazing ideas and printables at, .

Our last subject will be foreign language. We were planning on doing Prima Latina for Latin but Robert was debating between Latin and Spanish. I have a week or two to decide so I will be praying on it!

So add that to some lapbooks, crafts, nature journals, field trips and centers and we will have a awesome school year! So far it is all fun and exciting. Wyatt is doing great and we are both having a blast. I tell you by the time I am done teaching him I am going to be a genius!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Boys Of Fall

Jake and Owen are playing football this season. I usually try to keep a cool facade when my kids express interest in a sport so I don't unduly influence them. When the boys came and asked me I couldn't help but start shaking my internal pom pom's and reflecting on my days as a Pop Warner cheerleader. I have to say there is just something about a boy in a football uniform! My heart be still!

We have an awesome league here. It is all about the love of the game. Pop Warner has even teamed up with The University Of Nevada Reno for a special day of training. It was so cute to watch these big boys of football get down on the ground and run plays with even the littlest guys in football (by this I mean Owen at 36 lbs and 5 years old, he is the smallest)

After practice they players all posed for photos together and even signed some autographs.

The boys are looking forward to UNR's season opener, when they get to be down on the field to cheer on the players.

This weekend was Jamboree for both boys. Owen's was first on Friday night. I do have to say that the Tiny Might teams are unfairly stacked. Our team was a last minute pull from other overly full teams. Of course the other coaches sacrificed their youngest and smallest players. Our team, Wolfpack Powder, is made of the smallest, youngest, first year players. That being said these boys are full of heart and will be a force out there on the field. After the first two scrimmages I saw the animal in Owen come out. He really started to get it and was all over his man. I was ecstatic.

Here is my little stud! All geared up!

On the sidelines with the offense. Just in case you misunderstood SMALLEST player.

Owen is number 33 and here he is blocking that huge kid in the right of the frame.

When you cant push them over backward just pull them down on top of you. This poor number 34 never knew what hit him. Owen would tackle him, the play would end and he would get up and Owen would tackle him again. He got so frustrated he started stomping his feet and crying! I was so proud!!!!!

Here is the cutest victory dance ever created on a football field. You think he likes the game?

Jake's Jamboree was this morning. His team is huge so out of three games he only got to play one.

He is number 78.

The VICTORY dance! Jake got a holding call and he was bummed but I was proud of him. This is his first year and he did awesome. I can't wait for all the games this season. I did try to kiss the boy and he said "awww..MOM", so we all know I will be kissing the heck out of him all season. I think Rob might even get in on the action.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fargo Farms Elementary: Our Classroom

I have been working day and night to revamp our classroom and get ready for the new school year. Last year we had difficulty keeping things moving. I have one little chicken that is a challenge and he could stretch one days work out for a week. This year we are trying the workbox system and loving it. It is keeping us on track and motivated.

This side of the room is the little guys. They all have their own desk and set of workboxes.

If you are not familiar with the system, each drawer gets a single assignment and all the tools needed to complete the work. I redesigned the system a bit and instead of stacking the completed boxes as they work through them, my guys remove the numbered tag on each drawer and add it to the chart above their desk as they complete the work. I searched the Internet for personalized the tags for fun. Little princess here got princess tags and Big O and Wyatt got transformers. I finally figured out how to make them on my own and so I also made holiday tags for all the kids.

Each one of them gets two help tags for work they need help with and two potty tags for extra potty breaks if needed. The little guys don't need the help tags yet because I am working with them the whole time but it does cut down on interruptions when they are working independently. If they start to interrupt Wyatt's lesson I ask if they need to use a help tag and they get very quiet (they initiated a contest to see who can keep their help tags)

Wyatt's desk is on the opposite wall so he won't be distracted by all the ruckus over in kindergarten.

His number tags are on the left and "work with mom" tags are on the right for the boxes I need to instruct him on. He uses his helps no problem, but it is keeping him going because he slaps a work with mom tag on the box and moves on instead of waiting for me.

Our bookcase holds all the books and some games for the year. We also have a cabinet there for our manipulative's and a rolling cart with our file folder centers, listening centers and nap mats.
I decided getting them up and moving would break up the monotony so I set up a center desk where they work on any projects or center work.

As we work through Kindergarten we get two letters to focus on a week. I will be reinforcing those with our favorite letter of the week curriculum. I did this curriculum last year and over the summer with Owen but it is fun and he loves it so it will be going in our boxes again this year. Emma will be doing it along with us for Pre-K. As they master each letter they will add that letter to the tree in their color, blue for Owen, Pink for Ava and yellow for Emma. If you have not seen it check it out at Erica is amazing and all her printables are free, although you can buy them for $10.00, which I did after borrowing from her for a year!

Last but not least is my desk. It is a big mess as I try to get all the worksheets organized for so many kidlets. I need a few shelves up above there I think.

So there it is our classroom 2010. I am really excited for the year and will be posting our curriculum choices this week along with some action shots of our first days. Hope everyone has a marvelous school year!

Baby Goats Are Here

This post is a long time coming. It seems with trying to squish a year of fun into a summer, running the farm, having a baby and getting ready for a new school year with seven kids, I just ran out of spare time! Anyway, we had been waiting on pins and needles for these girls to go into labor. I thought I knew when they conceived. I was wrong! So, after much back and forth between Robert and I on whether they were actually pregnant, we came out early one morning, to find this little guy. He was only minutes old. I was a combination of thrilled he was here and sad I missed it. I forgot what a brat his mama was though until I went in to check him over. She is SASSY! He is a good sturdy boy and she is just doing her job.

Sarah and I started Goat watch 2010 at that point on our second mama to be. We went out every 15 minutes to see if anything was going on. It could have been days or weeks but lucky us it was only hours. I want to send out a warning that the photos to follow are graphic birth shots.




Between pushes Delilah and her new baby would come over and Gretyl would kiss on the baby. It was the cutest thing I ever saw.

She would push and then she would look over and check to make sure I was there. She would bleat at me as if to say "HELLO...A little help"

Right about here I think I went into sympathy labor. I caught myself breathing through a few contractions. Thank God we don't have neighbors...can you imagine! Can't you just feel her determination. She was amazing.

The kids were glued to the spot. They whispered , quietly cheered her on, asked a lot of questions and were very concerned. They were so good! Ok, ok so they were slightly grossed out too!

It sounds weird but it was so amazing and beautiful to watch.

Finally after about 45 minutes of hard labor the baby was born.

Gretyl was very generous about sharing her baby and letting me check him out. He is another beauty. We were a bit disapointed we did not get a girl (boy goats are stinky and not cuddly) but then she sneezed and this fell out.

I kid you not! She just fell out onto the ground! I was completely shocked.

I looked a little like this I think!

I stepped in at this point and cleaned and dried the baby and got her nursing. Mama was a bit overwhelmed and seemed to appreciate the help. She kept giving me little kisses. She is a sweet goat by nature but this experience really was special. Baby girl's name is Cleo but the boys need names. Any ideas?