Test Days

Some days are easy to get my daughter motivated for testing, others, like today, are awful. I used to let her decide the day she wanted to test but now realize that this teaches her a life lesson, as well. There are times that we as adults have to do things that we dislike doing, but we can’t opt out of them just because we want to.

Today’s test may result in a poor grade but she will learn that next time I tell her to study, I mean it. We studied clothing in Spanish and spent hours on it and this test Spanish isn’t bonus questions. She is failing this section because she wants to play and not take the test.

It is very good that I don’t set a time limit on the test or she would have only had part of it done. How do you motivate your children for tests? Do you test between sections?

I didn’t test last year but this school year, we have broken it down to sections

and I test to get her grasp on learning the materials. She has done very well, up to today. I feel horrible being so strict with her today but we need to get this test out of the way so I can move on with the new stuff. Do you ever feel like the “mean teacher/mom”? How do you cope with it?

I think maybe her December test being a project made her lazy for this test. She made a Blend poster collage using magazine words and pictures. She struggled really badly with blend words and this taught her that blends were all around her.

Maybe next month, I can make the test smaller. It’s just we covered so much this month and it’s all things she has to know for end of year testing. I want to make sure she does well for that “big” test. Although, we will review things, I just want her to move ahead in the things she needs and make it easier for her later, when the weather will be 70s and 80s and getting her to pay attention will be harder.

Any input on this subject is greatly appreciated! I’m a first time homeschool mom and love advice, comments, and strategies to keep us going! May God bless you all! ❤

BTW….with bonuses, she did well! She just finished…4 hours! Next time, I’m setting a time limit and I told her so. Our test days are normally test and rest days. 🙂

Life’s Curve Balls and Hurdles

Ever feel like life throws you more curve balls and hurdles than you think you can handle? I sure do! This month has been a huge exam for us. Our marriage has been tested along with my sanity! I know God is on my side or I’d have thrown in the towel, awhile ago!

Sometimes change isn’t easy to accept and sometimes losing something to gain in other areas is a big test that needs passing to get through the mundane of life. We were unable to get our property and I was crushed beyond what I thought I could handle. I was angry at the world, at God, at my family for weeks and wanted to just leave, but after finally opening up and talking to my husband, we worked it out. We have to downsize some and I have to find a job, at least part time, and then we can get our dream land back.

It’s not that I’m unreasonable…more like challenged in the patience area. My husband and I have never owned our own property and never had much but we always have had what we need, so this is a dream that we are determined to make happen.

Another curve ball thrown our way, and an adult child of mine is struggling and we are in the plans of moving her down here to be with us. This is going to be hard on us, but good too, we pray. We pray this will help her to make better choices, if she gets away from some undesirable people in her life. It will keep us on our toes but my littlest one is excited to have a sister closer to home.

A crashing curve ball is that we are going to have to get rid of my Baby- our truck and get a cheaper vehicle, this is just until we get two incomes and build up my credit. This is another heartbreaker but well understood one. This was easier to accept than the land. We have found a car that we can afford and even after putting some money into it, still better off than our truck.

We have overcome these hurdles through prayer and tears and more prayers and tears, but we have worked through them TOGETHER, as a team, as husband and wife should.

Marriage is not always a bowl of cherries. Some may go into it thinking that but those that stick around reap the benefits of working through the rough patches. We have been at the door of ready to say the big “D” word but with God’s help and our belief that marriage is forever, we came back. We struggle but we stay in the one thing that we love….our marriage; our love for each other keeps us going!  God gave us the gift of marriage and some treat it as a stepping stone to the next “hot” spot or something but those who truly love God and their spouse, will work through it.

The tests we get in life are NOT from God but Satan who wants to see us fail and fail miserably! Do you think he cares if we cry or if our hearts break? NAH! He just chalks us up as another notch on his belt. He lost his tests with us and he probably had us bagged as notches but found out that we are tough cookies not to play with! When Satan throws you that curve ball and you are already down….PRAY and communicate with your spouse. Don’t let Satan make you another notch on his belt!

Thanks for following my blog and in life, I hope you follow Jesus! ❤

An Update on my Geoboard and our geometry lessons

geoboard 2 Our Geoboard is 8×11 ($2.49) and was painted Gypsy Pink (AC Moores for $0.59) by my daughter (fun art project). Then I added tacks. I ran out and had to buy more (Family Dollar – tacks $0.50 for 50 tacks). All said and done this cost me roughly $7.00 to make, as the cost of 2 lbs of rubber bands cost $1.99.

Glad I made it and not bought a cheap plastic one. Oh, by the way. I used graph paper to line up the holes and I printed the graph paper off the internet and paid nothing. Then after all the tacks are in place came the annoying part of taking the graph paper off (easy but tedious).

The first night, I gave it her and she asked what to do, and off she went for a few hours of play. She said it was fun and came back with the board covered in rubber band shapes. She said it was something she was glad that we made. Yeah points for Mom!

Today we did our first Math lesson with it and she did well except with the diamond. She draws it well and recognizes it but can’t get the rubber bands to cooperate. The other shape was the hexagon. She made one but the sides weren’t even. I told her that was ok because as long as it has 6 sides, I figure she has the idea. geoboard

Have you mastered geometry and symmetry? Did you buy or make geoboards? How well did your child do learning all of the wonderful shapes around us?

Reading as a Separate Subject

We do reading as a subject all of its own and we read from chapter books, as part of our lessons. Then I have my daughter read to me from an easy reader or a newspaper, magazine or catalog. This shows me she is picking up new words as we go along. two-kids-reading-together

We usually pick either classics or harder chapter books meant for older children. Right now, we are reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My daughter loves princesses and this shows that princesses have feelings, too. So far, I, too, am enjoying the book, too!

I just recently bought magnet sentence creators and this has become a new hit! The refrigerator has so much space for creating descriptive sentences and she gets to read them, too, and more importantly show me the ones that excite her the most! What better way to learn to read and have fun? (Magnetic Wordplay- Sentence Fun, word fun magnetic learning kit)I bought it at five below for $3.00…great bargain!

What do you read? little-girl-reading-a-book Do you teach reading as a separate subject or as a part of English class? Does your child like chapter books or just children’s books?

….And then the Request to Learn Poetry….

Ah, yes, we can learn poetry and we are going to make poems about you and your body and for Valentine’s Day. You are going to write a book about you, too. Wow, Mom! I love writing books!    funky-pink-heart

I have caught an interest and this just a few hours after hearing I don’t want to do school anymore. The idea of school is scary but the break down to what we are going to do is exciting, especially when she heard we were going to learn new shapes and get a break from adding and subtracting. The number break is good for both of us. I just need to make a geoboard to practice symmetry and geometry.pink-colored-pencil

The geoboard will be fun for car rides, too and when she wants to play. Telling her that it is a tool for learning, just like our Bingo game, may take some fun out of it, but maybe not. I, often will be cleaning the bathroom and come into the kitchen to see her playing Bingo by herself. I let her play the way she wants cause it makes her happy and she is learning by play.

I try teaching by interest but she normally doesn’t give me many ideas. Our science lessons this month are going to be on the human body and caring for it. girl-scientist-with-frog  I can add fashion, gymnastics, dance, and singing to these lessons to catch her attention and still have worthy lessons that will teach her what she needs to know.

We are going to start A Little Princess as our chapter book and discuss Princesses in real life, too. There are many real life princesses and I have bookmarked a few pages to go to when we get to the research part of it. Arianna is my little Princess and usually tells many this. little-girl-reading-a-book    🙂

The poem we wrote together tonight was “Catch my heart in the sun, All day long”. Short and sweet but a good way to spend a few minutes waiting on Daddy to finish work, and to make my daughter smile! She wrote the first part and I the second and her face lit up….  Nothing better. 🙂

Has your child requested something that may have caught you off guard? Do you teach interest based learning? Why or why not?

Until next time, may God bless you!

Ancient China…….Teaching it

What do we know about China? I anticipate this answer from my daughter. I know a lot more than I did and hope to learn even more. I chose January to teach it due to the Chinese New Year coming up (this year a bit later…Feb, but great time to learn). My daughter loves animals, like her Mommy and I’m sure will try desperately to match up each year with a family member or friend. If this is the attention grabber, than even better, but I have a few planned. I LOVE Pinterest and all the ideas that you can find there!chnsdrgn

I printed templates for money envelopes, found some of our red construction paper and traced and cut…the red money envelopes. Then I printed Chinese play money to add to the envelopes ($8 is lucky but it cannot be $4+$4). This will be fun practice day to learn about printed money and printing presses.

What animal comes to mind when you mention China? panda-bear-eating-leavesPanda Bear, exactly! What a great way to learn about the Panda and China in a day or two. I found some cool readings and a worksheet on it (also learning about the Panda can be a science lesson).

China is responsible for the Decimal system math-notebookand this would be a good way to review money lessons and learn about decimals.  If you are learning fractions you could translate your fractions to decimals? Depends on how well your child grasps these concepts.

The other fun activity I have planned is designing a dragon kite. Kites are from China, too and dragons are big in their New Year’s celebrations, so combining the two will get Arianna’s attention, for sure!kites-flying

I will be using some handwriting lessons and English lessons to fill in gaps of “fun” things about China and we will use our maps to locate China and how far China is to Virginia or how far it is to Paris. We have a quilted map set (USA and world) that we use for hands on map time.

I found coloring pages of China and important monuments, sports, etc, they are in French but I translated them, as they were too amazing to turn away from. There is a temple, a ship, the Great Wall, and two more pages. Coloring is fun to my daughter and I can supplement it into a road trip learning experience, if need be.

By the way, if you want to impress the pizza lover in your family….pizza was first made in China, not Italy!

How did you teach ancient China? Or plan to teach it?

Coming in February, Ancient India!

Planning A Lesson

I wish I knew that teaching my child would be like opening up my imagination and saying “What grabs my attention? What did MY teachers do to get me to listen?” or “What could they have done to make me want to learn?” The answers all resound back to me as……Make it Fun to learn!

Ok. How do I make MATH fun? I dreaded math in school. Wait…no I liked math until I got into high school. I even remember some fun middle school classes that had my attention! I could teach fun math. I just had to figure out how. Hmmmm…..hmmmmm. I got it! Light bulbs light up on my head (I think like this, at times). Cooking uses math and it is very fun to cook when you are a child and it’s NOT a chore.  math-notebook

We added cooking and baking to our math lessons and Mom became a great math teacher, for awhile. Cooking and baking can be messy and after a few days of math in the kitchen, tiresome. Now, we use cooking and baking as fun projects to add to our learning. We have also added helping clean up to our list.

We use our big dry erase board for learning new math and doing problems together until she gets the hang of it. Then I found dry erase boards (at Michael’s on clearance) that were lap size. This we use in place of paper. Easily erases without holes or rips and can save trees. We use these for math work that needs a lot of practice or that we may need to erase a lot. Plus, there is room to doodle and erase before Mom sees (sometimes I just smile, as I remember).

Mom liked math but what about the other subjects? What did I know about animal habitats (first grade) or ancient Egypt (second grade)? I know where some animals live and I have heard about pyramids and sphinx but come on….I had no idea!

Thank God for the internet and libraries! The internet has way too much info and guess what? Most of it is FREE! That’s right, if you can figure out what it is exactly that you need, you can find it for FREE! I have yet to buy pricey curriculum! I do however know a lot on how to research our state’s standards of learning and minimum requirements, and know how to apply them and teach my daughter above that level (easier done than sounds).cute-elephant

The Bible is implemented into our history classes because it is history. God created the whole world! History and science classes can be done using the Bible. Creation can be a science and history lesson. Think like that and find other lessons throughout the Bible to incorporate into your lessons. Your child will listen if you add crafts or projects or even just coloring pages (many free printable on the Bible topics). teacher-at-smartboard

How else can I make learning fun and not so boring? Hmmmm…Well, there are times that we go on mini “road trips” or even long ones and my daughter gets bored. I can put together a road trip activity pack and she can learn while playing. These need some thought. You need fun, attention getters, some coloring pages, and some real school type work, too. I keep my major learning stuff to a minimum in the car. Color by number is fun and engaging (could be sums, products, etc), color pages of flags or countries or a country’s monuments is a way to keep your history lesson flowing, scavenger hunts (items, license plates, animals, etc), talking about Bible verses or bring music that applies to a lesson can be another way to make learning fun on the go.

Planning a lesson wasn’t rocket science but I’ve learned as much or more as my child by learning what to teach and how to teach. Could I do it again? Sure! Could I teach 20-30 kids at a time? Probably not, but if I had to, I could. Teaching is not something I ever dreamt of doing but now that I do it, everyday, I love it. mom-surrounded-by-laundry

I’m always planning that next lesson, even if my daughter doesn’t know it’s a lesson. If I can teach her without her knowing that I’m teaching her, than God really is working miracles in both of our lives and that really is a blessing!

How do you plan your lessons? Do you use curriculum? Does the Bible guide you?

Helping Us to realize our Dream

In this time of our journey of getting closer to our dream house, we have come to the conclusion that maybe selling handmade items could help to fund our way.

This is also my first time selling on ebay. I have bought many items but never sold anything on ebay, so prayers are needed here. I’m hoping to come up with my own line of items, later but for now I have the “Grab a Bag Recycler” to store and re-use those pesky plastic shopping bags.

Here is a link to my first one  http://www.ebay.com/itm/251778784516?ssPageName=STRK:MESCX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1554.l2649. It is a multi color, pastel.

I make hats, mittens, sweaters, blankets and toys, etc. If you are interested in anything or special orders, please email me kajenoar@gmail.com (subject box hand knits).