Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carder Homeschool

Wow! I can't believe it's the middle of November and Christmas is just around the corner!! cRaZy. It's been a busy and fun fall for us and I hope for you all too. I've been meaning to update with my "How homeschool is going" blog since I said last time that that was the next post coming. Soooo, this will be my update on how homeschool is going for the Carder Family. I know you are so excited! Rrriiiight. Ok, I'm giving you all a heads-up so the few of you who care about this can keep reading and the rest of you who don't can check out now. :)

Since we started school in September I've had several conversations with people asking about how homeschool is going, about our daily schedule, what curriculums we use, etc. I also SO appreciate the prayers that are being lifted up on our behalf in the area of homeschool. I know there are many sweet friends that have been and continue to pray about this with us and for us and it means so much to me! Thank you!! So I thought I would do a little post and share what our day looks like, what curriculums we chose, etc. I know I learn so much from talking to others, sharing ideas, reading books and blogs, and so on that I thought since several have asked I would share what we are doing.

First off, let me just say that what I post here is going to be what I WANT my ideal day to look like, NOT what everyday REALLY looks like for us. Some days it comes close and other days we have a long way to go. We are on a journey here just like so many of you to teach and train our children to walk confidently in who God created them to be and to know they are deeply loved by the Almighty and because He loved us first and gave us his best, we want to give our best and love others too. Not everyday do we do this well. Not everyday does it look like it should. There are a lot of days my attitude is ugly, I'm impatient with my girls, I forget what my priorities are and get distracted by things that don't matter. But His mercies are new every morning and his grace is a deep well that never runs dry. He is so patient and continues to give me strength and wisdom as there are many days I just feel overwhelmed and wonder what I'm even doing and if any of this is taking root. Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way?? All I have to say is that I pray...alot! :)

With that being said, here is what our day looks like...for now.

8:00 Girls wake up, brush teeth, brush hair, make their beds, get dressed (No, we do not do homeschool in our pj's...sure is tempting though. :) )

8:30 Eat breakfast and do our Bible study/Blessing
We read from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (the one for kids) which is a short devo for each day and then read 2-3 scriptures that relate. We also read a bible story for the day. We just went through The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm and it is so good. Many mornings I get a little choked up reading it to the girls, it is very sweet. Another good one that we just started is The Jesus Storybook Bible and it is amazing! I am loving it! After our Bible reading we do our Blessing. Each day we try to give Eva and Ella a spoken blessing. A few years ago we read a book called The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard about the importance of giving spoken blessings to people, loved ones and enemies alike and the power that the Word of God has when spoken into someone's life. It's an excellent book!  Another small but great book on this too is Mark Batterson's book Praying Circles Around your Children. So each day we give a blessing starting by holding their hand then reminding them of who they are, give a word of encouragement and then speak a promise or virtue from scripture that we want for them. Soooo sweet and one of the most important things we could possibly do each day. I'm telling you that there have been moments when I have seen immediate change come over them after receiving a blessing. It is  amazing when you speak the Word of God and the power it has to change, heal and restore. What's even sweeter is watching Eva and Ella give a blessing to each other or to one of us. We have made giving a blessing as part of their chore chart (this doesn't always happen everyday...remember I said earlier that I WANT this to happen every day :) ) and it is precious watching them hold each other's hand and say the sweetest things to each other. Think what a better world we would all live in if we were good at giving each other spoken blessings daily!

9:00 We have our worship/calendar time.
We usually learn a new worship song that goes with what we're learning for the week and do our scripture work. We learn a new memory verse every week and a character trait that goes along with our curriculum. Then we have a time of prayer and blessing for people and countries close to our heart and around the world. Ok, this is one of our favorite parts of the morning! We use a resource called Operation World. If you have never heard of this you have got to check it out! We use the website at but there is also a book, which we don't have. We use their online prayer calendar and everyday we pray for a different country and circle it on our map. Our goal is to pray for every country in the world this year! This website is amazing! It gives you prayer needs for every country in the world, the names of every unreached people group and sometimes a prayer video to watch. We love the videos, they are incredible! There are just so many things I love about Operation World, their website is a treasure if you want to learn more about our world and how to pray for it. Great resources there too with articles etc. I want my girls to know that there are people all over the world who don't know about the name of Jesus and there are many places we will never get to go and some we will BUT there is always something we can do and that is PRAY! I'm telling you there is nothing sweeter than listening to your children pray for places like Namibia, Peru and Sri Lanka and hearing them petition the Father for the churches to grow, for protection and peace over their people and that they would hear the name of Jesus. Oh my word! Many days I am in tears, at first they would look at me like I was crazy but now I think they are used to the tears. :) Their prayers are the sweetest things and I know they are to the Lord as well. I could go on and on.

The rest of this time is spent doing the calendar which involves the usual you know, days of the week, months (Macarena Months actually...we learn the months of the year dancing the Macarena, I hope no one ever gets this on video) colors, patterns, weather and graphing, counting/skip counting/number work, 100's chart, write/make the date with money, tally marks, telling time, review of sight words, phonics songs (we've got one called Who let the A out? to the tune of Who let the Dogs Out...I know, awesome right? You know me and my music. At least it's not Snoop Dog) and review of different math concepts from our math curriculum etc. Lots of fun!

9:30 Math
I am using a curriculum called Horizons and I really love it. It's easy to follow, easy to teach and the pages are colorful and fun for Eva. Fun for me too because I despise Math. I mean let's remember that I graduated high school with geometry and had a tutor. Yikes! I am not your math wizard here. Good thing it's only kindergarten! Lord help us in First Grade...kidding but not really. :/ We also cover alot of math during Calendar time so the math lesson itself usually doesn't take very long. Sometimes we do 2 lessons a day.

10:00 Language Arts

For teaching reading I'm using a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, using BOB books for some easy readers/guided reading practice as well as some other Letter books I had and phonics supplements. I use our memory verse for the week and the worship song we learn to pull sight words from or a reading skill to focus on so we usually do 3-4 sight words a week and at the end of the week I give Eva a copy of the scripture and she illustrates it, circles her sight words, practices writing them and adds it to her scripture folder for continued practice. She also colors a copy of our Letter Book, circles words she knows and adds it to her own bag of books that she has made for continued reading practice. We also just try to add in as many read-alouds as we can and some days we are better at this than others.

10:30 Curriculums and Activities

Overall, I have been very pleased with the curriculums we chose for kindergarten this year. I kind of pieced together what we are using by borrowing some, purchasing some and using some things I had from when I taught kindergarten. For our core curriculum we are using My Father's World. It is very fun and has a lot of hands-on things to do, science experiments, crafts, good book suggestions and I love the biblical base it has and the incorporation of scripture and character traits. However, I don't love the way they do their math or reading so I am using something different for those subjects as I mentioned above. So during this time we do our daily lesson from My Father's World, read books that go with our letter of the week and theme, do science experiments or crafts. Just a fun hands-on, crafty time. :)

11:00 Writing

I'll be honest, we don't always get to writing like I plan to. We incorporate it alot with other things but as far as a focused writing time I haven't been good on following through with that. So, we sometimes read a book and Eva writes a response in her journal or we may do a craft and she writes something to go with it. Hope to get better about this one. I also purchased a curriculum called A Reason for Handwriting more for handwriting practice but we have yet to use it. :) I love that they basically teach children good handwriting by having them learn to copy scripture. So sweet! We are using some other things for handwriting practice right now but I'm hoping to start using this as well.

11:30 Lunch and we're done with school!

So that's pretty much it! We are having a blast folks! Seriously, it is a very sweet time and we are really enjoying our time together, I wouldn't trade it. Right now we are not doing much outside of homeschool in the mornings. We aren't part of a co-op or any classes. I decided that this first semester we needed to really just focus on getting a rhythm and figuring out what works for us and then we can start adding some things back in like gymnastics, soccer etc. We are plenty busy as it is and have a good time going on little field trips with a group of other homeschool families, meeting up with friends, playdates and just playing around the house. Eva and Ella are doing great and it has been a good transition so far. It truly is a blessing and even though I never would've pictured that we would be doing this I can see the fruit already that comes with obedience to what the Lord has called you to. So sweet and humbling!

Anyway, there you have it. All is well at the Carder house and we're so thankful. Blessings to each of you!


Anonymous said...

I really admire your attitude to what must be at times a chore rather than a pleasure.

Susan Webb

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