I gathered up the kids on the first day of school and took their pictures. Some were a little more willing than others. You can read about our back to school curriculum choices for the year here.
I’m finally mostly planned out for this coming school year. I usually don’t do quite so much pre-planning, but I’m having a baby late October/early November, so I figured I should plan out all I could in advance. A couple new things for us this year: First, I planned in terms instead of just all year. 5 terms total. Three 12 weeks terms, an Advent term, and then a summer term. The kids have been begging me for a more traditional summer, so I have taken their request and we made a compromise. (We usually do year round school.) They will still be completing their third term after the local schools get out. But then they get an actual summer term, which will mostly just consist of each of them having a required reading list. The other new to us thing is the Morning Basket. It is a Charlotte Mason homeschooler thing, but I have adapted it a bit for our more classical methods. More about that if you click the Morning Basket link below.
I did look into switching from The Well Trained Mind to Ambelside this year. I love a lot of things about Ambelside, but ultimately felt The Well Trained Mind is still a better fit for our family. I did look over the Ambelside reading lists for the corresponding years of history and picked a few of those suggestions that I thought might be a good fit for my crew. The Well Trained Mind is really adaptable on a child by child, family by family basis. You have a wide variety of ways the method is really done and worked out in families. We’ve used it from the beginning of our homeschool journey. (This is our 8th homeschooling year.) I’m always tempted by other things, but ultimately decide every year to stick with The Well Trained Mind. It just fits us best.
This year, I am homeschooling 5 kids. One of those is an optional one who is currently opting in. (“School” in our house is optional until you are 6 years old.) Grade levels also get a little mixed when you’re talking about homeschool, especially when you’re not just using a box curriculum. Kids tend to move at their own pace and advance quicker in some areas than others. I kind of average out their level and that is what grade the kid says they are in, since “What grade are you in?” Isn’t usually meant to be answered with, “Well, I have the vocabulary of a high school sophomore, but in math, I’m around grade 6. In literature, we read higher level books than our ages would suggest. And in Grammar, I am on grade level.” People usually expect something more like, “I’m a sixth grader.” Believe me, getting testing scores back for homeschoolers learning in non-traditional methods is quite amusing as they may very well likely place in every single grade in something. But on the average, this year I have a preschooler, a first grader, a fourth grader, and two sixth graders.
This year should prove to be a bit of a challenge for each of them as I am realizing they can do some pretty hard things. They are typically limited by the challenges, or lack there of, that I give them. We are not doing Latin this year, though that is a typical classical homeschooler subject. We are incorporating it a little in their vocabulary studies. We are also leaving out handwriting for the time being. They have a lot of writing to do, so I am not too convinced a full handwriting course is really necessary this year. If I change my mind, I can always add it in for Term 2 or 3 or even the Summer Term.
To save us from an infinitely long post, click on the links to the individual parts of our school year below.
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These two are doing most of their work outside of the Morning Basket time on their own. They are much more capable of getting things done without my help these day. I write their work to be done in their planners and they check it off as they go. They have weekly and daily assignments to complete each week.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (The Bargain Book A Treasury of Fairy Tales from Barnes and Noble does have this story included.)
For each book read, they will have to write a brief book report including information about the author and intended audience, setting information, why they think the book was written, and what they thought of the book. They will also have to write a character list for each book they read. They also have 30 minutes a day of additional reading time, but they can choose any book they like for that time and they only have to keep a list of what they have read. One will likely choose Goosebumps every day. The other will likely choose Harry Potter or Hunger Games.
In addition to the Morning Basket History and the additional history reading, each week this age group has a few tasks to complete. They have to write the significant information on their timeline. They also have to look up the appropriate section we are covering in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and write an outline for the information they read. They also have to find the locations we cover in the Atlas and then also find them in their Geography Coloring Book and color the pertinent areas. This is pretty much the way The Well Trained Mind lays out history for this age. We are using The Story of The World 3 Activity Book to help line up the Kingfisher readings with our Story of the World readings.
In addition to the Morning Basket Science and their Science reading, they have to choose a topic related to our science work that week, research it, and then write one to two pages on the topic.
We’ll be covering one chapter each week in the book Fallacy Detective.
Selected assignments in Writer’s in Residence. They used this last year and didn’t finish it, so they are working on finishing it up this year. I still don’t like it as a whole, so I’m just picking out the parts I want them to read and the assignments I want them to complete.
In addition to our group Bible study and family devotions, they are doing Walking In Peace on their own.
These two are also learning to play an instrument this year. One has chosen the violin, the other is still deciding.
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*** Most classics are cheapest on Amazon. Puffin is one of my favorite publishers. However, I love Barnes and Noble hardback classics. Take your declaration of intent or homeschool ID to your local Barnes and Noble for an Educator’s Discount Card, which will save you 20% on books!***
I just have the one forth grader this year. He will have the option of being grouped with the younger kids for Literature if he wants, but that will entirely be up to him on a day by day basis. I write his work to be done in his planner and he checks it off as he completes it. I have his broken down into daily assignments. This is all in addition to Morning Basket time.
This guy is on Teaching Textbooks 4 this year.
For each book read, he will have to write a review on the book. He also has to read an additional 30 minutes each day. He can choose his own books to read during this time and only has to keep a list of books he has read. His fun reading usually involves Choose Your Own Adventure books, Origami Yoda books, or Captain Underpants books.
In addition to his reading, he also has to find each country we mention in our Morning Basket time in the World Atlas.
Easy Grammar Grade 3. (This isn’t his strong suite, so I’m going down a level for him so he isn’t overly frustrated. The Easy Grammar program goes over the same things every level, it just dives a little deeper and is a little more difficult as you go. This will actually be his first year in a Grammar program.)
He also used Words I Use When I Write on all his writing projects. When he asks us to spell a word, he either writes it in himself right then or we write it in for him. This way he only has to ask how to spell something once.
In addition to his grammar, he will be choosing 10 spelling words each week to learn. The available words are on index cards on a ring. Each day, he’ll either write the word 3 times, write the definition of the word, or write a sentence using each spelling word- depending on what day it is. At the end of the week, he will have a quiz. The words he gets correct will move to his “mastered” ring. Words he gets incorrect move back to the ring with available words to choose from.
In addition to our group Bible study and our family devotions, he’ll be doing the Walking in Peace study on his own.
**This post contains affiliate links. It does not cost you more to use these links but it does benefit our family. Using affiliate links from your favorite bloggers is a great way to show your love!**
***For classics, Amazon typically has the cheapest prices. I love the type and feel of the Puffin books. However, I usually go with Barnes and Noble hardback classics when they are available. They are just so pretty. Take your declaration of intent or homeschool ID to your Barnes and Noble for an Educator’s Discount Card and get 20% off your books!***
There are a few things my first grader is doing that my preschooler will not be joining in on because of ability. However, I like to keep the kids grouped as much as possible because it is a better use of time and it helps the days flow more smoothly. These are in addition to the Morning Basket time.
The current plan is to use Life of Fred alternating with a few math activity boxes that we’ll rotate through. That could change depending on how these guys do with Life of Fred. Keep your eyes open for a post about those math activity boxes!
Our first term, we are studying Fairy Tales. We will be reading them daily and doing a couple activities a week based on a fairy tale from that week. We’re reading various tales from the following books:
Mary Engelbreit’s Nursery and Fairy Tales Collection (the illustrations in these are amazing)
A Treasury of Best Loved Fairy Tales (Barnes and Noble Bargain Books)
For the first two terms, we’re doing Alpha Tales and Phonics Tales the first two and we’ll see where that gets us. I expect the preschooler to stick to Alpha Tales while his brother moves through Phonics Tales. We’ll also be adding in My ABC Bible Verses whenever it isn’t backordered anymore.
This age really loves books about science. So, we’re doing science daily with them.
My first grader will be doing this one alone. He’ll be going through the Critical and Creative Thinking Activities grade 1 workbook. This is our first year using these, so we’ll see how he likes them.
**This post contains affiliate links. These links don’t cost you any extra to use, but they do help us a little! Using affiliate links on your favorite blogs is always a nice thing to do.**
***While Amazon usually has much cheaper prices for classic books, I really love the hardback Barnes and Noble classics. If you go that route, take your declaration of intent or homeschool ID to your Barnes and Noble for an Educator’s Discount Card! You’ll get 20% off your books!***
I got the idea for a Morning Basket from some Charlotte Mason homeschoolers I came across. We have used similar methods, but this is the first year we are giving it an official name and an actual basket. Morning Basket work is so ideal for large families. We do a lot of our work together. For the younger kids, it provides exposure to more complex ideas and themes. For the older kids, it can be a great jumping off place for their more individualized studies. We already try to do as much together as we can, a one room school house sort of vibe. But the Morning Basket really makes it official and gives it a more organized place in our home and our day.
Our Morning Basket consists of 7 categories. It is mostly reading and discussing. Some people call this “Couch Time” since you’re not sitting at a table pouring over workbooks.
Each morning we will begin with prayer. We have time throughout the day for spontaneous prayer, so during this morning prayer time, I wanted to focus on memorizing prayers. We will pray through each prayer daily for four weeks, then change to the next prayer. The prayers we are learning this year are:
The Lord’s Prayer
For Joy in God’s Creation from The Book of Common Prayer
For the Human Family from The Book of Common Prayer
John Wesley’s Prayer
St. Augustine’s Prayer
St. Patrick’s Prayer
St. John Vianney’s Prayer
St. Francis Prayer
John Wesley Covenant Prayer
This category includes our Bible Study, character reading, and manners study. Our older kids also do their own personal Bible study. And as a family, we also do family devotions. This morning basket Bible study is separate from both of those. During Term 1 and the beginning of Term 2, we are finishing our Herein Is Love: Genesis study. In Term 2, we are also doing The Talk. Term 3, we will be doing Herein Is Love: Exodus.
For manners, we’ll be reading through the book Modern Manners once a week.
Beauty includes art and music. During Term 1 and 2, we will be doing a different hymn each week. Term 3, we will be using a more contemporary worship song each week. For Art, we are reading about one artist each week from 50 Artists You Should Know. Here is our list of hymns and worship songs for the main three terms (Advent has its own unique schedule.):
All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
This Is My Father’s World
Praise to the Lord, The Almighty
Lead On, O King Eternal
Jesus Paid It All
I Am Thine, O Lord, I Have Heard Thy Voice
For The Beauty of The Earth
Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
And Can It Be That I Should Gain
Trust and Obey
This So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
Be Thou My Vision
He Leadeth Me
How Firm A Foundation
I Must Tell Jesus
It Is Well With My Soul
Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross
Jesus Lover of My Soul
My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less
Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us
Called Me Higher
Oh How I Need You
But For You Who Fear My Name
Lift Your Head Weary Sinner
Up On A Mountain
Burn Like A Fire
In Christ Alone
Old Church Choir
I’ll Always Love You
I Heard the Sound of Voices
Our literature selections that we are reading aloud together fall into this category, as well as our once a week poetry readings. For poetry, we’ll be reading a few poems from a Treasury of Selected Poems (Barnes and Noble Bargain Book) one day each week. We are also adding in Mad Libs Mondays just for fun. Our literature selections for the year:
I like challenging my kids to memorize things. But I don’t want them memorizing useless things. This year, we’re focusing just on Bible verses. For the first two terms, I selected random verses, one verse each week, that I felt were worth memorizing. For the third term, we’ll focus on memorizing a verse from Proverbs each week.
This isn’t usually in a Morning Basket, but since it is something we do together, I added it here. The older kids have additional work to add to this, this is simply the portion we read aloud together.
I decided to redo Story of the World Volume 3 this year. We used it last year, but we did a really poor job of it. I was tempted to just move on, but there are so many interesting parts of this particular time period, including the American Revolution, that I felt deserved more time. Once a week, we will read one chapter of Story of the World 3. I do have a few weeks with 2 chapters in order to get all the book done this school year. In addition to that, we’ll also be reading the following our loud together:
John Wesley: The World and His Parish (I would seriously love the entire collection of these Christian Heros books. I’m building a library of them.)
What Was the Gold Rush? (I would also love a collections of these “What Was” and “Who Was” books. They make it so easy for kids to read and understand.)
In addition to these, we’ll also continue our Godbold Academy Geography. The older ones have their own geography specific assignments, but we enjoyed learning about the spiritual needs of various countries and having the opportunity to pray for them. So we will continue choosing a country each week from Operation World.
Again, not a usual Morning Basket inclusion. However, it is something we do together. The little ones have their own science stuff, but they loved watching the experiments last year, so we’ll continue with that. We are continuing with Berean Builder’s: Science in the Scientific Revolution. We’re doing about a lesson per week of that and then some additional Science reading out loud. The Berean Builders series is science chronologically by discoveries made. We chose this particular year because it goes along with our history timeline. It does include experiments, which my kids love. All the ones we have done have used simple household items and haven’t needed anything complex or weird.
**This post contains affiliate links. These links do not cost you any more if you use them to purchase the item, but they do benefit our family!**
*** Amazon usually has the cheapest price on classics. However, I love the look and feel of the Barnes and Noble hardback classics. If you go the Barnes and Noble route, be sure to take you declaration of intent or homeschool ID to the store and pick up an Educator’s Discount Card that will save you 20%! Though I also really like the look and feel of Puffin Classics. Even Puffin paperbacks just have a better font and page feel than some of the other publishers.***
**** You can get a lot of the classics in e-book format for very cheaply or even free in some cases. I’m just a book lover than prefers reading an actual book.****
I realized that I haven’t talked much about this pregnancy and the plans and how things are going. I figured an update was in order.
So far, this pregnancy is completely normal and boring. Boring pregnancies are the best. Nothing is at all out of the ordinary. Daisy (that would be the baby’s name) is measuring right on track. She is usually head down now at 30 weeks, though that last day or two she’s been bugging me with trying to find a new position. I’m trying to convince her head down anterior really is the best in the world. Hopefully she believes me on that one. I have some of the common pregnancy complaints. My hips get mad easily. My legs and ankles are swelling. (90 degree heat is not kind on the extremely pregnant.) Leg cramps keep waking me up at night. Oddly enough, swelling and leg cramps were my two main complaints in my first girl pregnancy and not so much with the boys- maybe it is a girl thing.
The plan for birth this time is for a hospital delivery. We decided with the chances of the cholestasis returning being so high (90%) that we would just plan for a hospital delivery so that we wouldn’t have to really worry about that portion of it. I’ll be delivery her at Emory Midtown, which is where Emery and Ransom were both born. I’m nervous about heading back, since my last two experiences there after the babies were born were pretty bad. However, they have since become “baby friendly” and I hope to not have issues. (As in, I hope to have a baby there and actually get to keep the baby.)
Cholestasis of pregnancy recurs 90% of the time. However, since I didn’t have it with my first 5 babies, we are hoping that I will be among the 10%. We know we have great care set up if the cholestasis does recur. We’re all keeping a close eye out on symptoms and will test and treat if it becomes needed. Right now, I am symptom free. (It popped up in week 31 in my previous pregnancy.) If the cholestasis returns, I’ll have to be induced again at 37 weeks. (October 15) I am hoping and praying that my liver holds out this time and we can await natural labor.
In addition to the cholestasis concerns, there are the usual preterm labor concerns. Two thirds of the Godbold babies have been late preterm babies. I am really hoping and shooting to make it to at least 37 weeks. I’m doing the magnesium and vitamin C with bioflavonoid routine right now to hopefully get to that point. (One baby was born at 35 weeks, three at 36 weeks, 1 at 37 weeks, and 1 at 39 weeks.) Things right now are going boring and fine. So, hopefully that continues for the next 7 weeks.
The kids are really excited about having a little sister. Imogene is especially excited. They talk to Daisy and like to feel her kick. Even the older boys seem excited to be welcoming another girl to the family. Topher calls her a little lady. (And if you ask, he will officially be big the day she is born. Not a day sooner. Yes, he does have a younger sibling, but still insists that he is a little kid.)
We are getting ready to welcome our first girl in a decade. And also getting ready to welcome our first cold weather baby in a decade. We’re slowly accumulating clothes appropriate for the weather. Clearly, we have baby things- crib, car seat, stroller, wraps, bouncy seat. We also still have a full stash of newborn diapers, so yay for that. It is really just clothes and cold weather baby things we just don’t have. Over the next 7 weeks, I’m sure we’ll more or less be prepared.