Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doorposts Plants/Cornerstone Co-ed Version Part 2

In my quest to study through the Doorposts books for young ladies and young men, I have decided to try it co-ed style for now.  Here is a little more about our week with the topic of Prayer. If you missed the first 2 days on Prayer, you can find them here.

Day 3:  Read through a few more of the listed Scriptures. I printed out a picture and a short biography of a missionary.  We talked about what their needs were as well as things that weren't mentioned for which we could pray.    We, once again, worked on memorizing the Lord's Prayer several times.  Also, we created a weekly prayer rotation.  For example, praying for our government leaders on Monday, our church and its leaders on Tuesday, etc...  I think this keeps the focus on praying and loving and serving others and helps with Me Syndrome. 

Day 4: We read through a few more of the suggested Scriptures (each topic has a very generous list of Scriptures for study, copying and memorizing).  In our time, I have had one person (of reading ability) look up a Scripture and read it aloud and that verse(s) will serve as that child's copywork.
Worked further on memorizing the Lord's Prayer.   Discussion topic today is Why pray??
We prayed using the two lists we have previously created during this study.

Day 5:  Again, each child finding and reading aloud  a Scripture from the list.  Also, working on memory work for this week.  Today, we discussed praying for our future: future spouses, children, jobs, endeavors of all kinds, ministry, just our life path in general.  I had the children write a prayer for their future, targeting some of those specific areas and encouraged them to keep it handy to remind them that there is no such thing as too early to start praying about the days ahead.

This is the conclusion of our week with the topic of prayer from the Doorposts products.  We have not, by any means, completed all of the activites available.  They are intended to be presented as a "buffet" (I think that's how Mrs. Forster describes it).  We are to choose the items that most suit  us and use them.  These are the activities we have chosen but you will find many, many more in the handbooks themselves at .   This is in no way a paid review or anything even close to it.  It's just my ideas on how to best use these tools for our family and I am just sharing it as I would if you were sitting in my home.  I love the tools offered by the Doorposts company and they have been a huge blessing in our home !!!
Update:  This was a neat, tidy post with great ideas for the perfect week.  We did not accomplish everything perfectly....those were MY plans...the Lord had other plans, but they all work out for the Good, right??

Friday, July 16, 2010

Writing Strands -- Curriculum Review

This past school year was our first year using a formal writing composition curriculum. We chose Writing Strands based on suggestions in several articles I had read previously. We began using it in 4th grade for an average writer.

The Product:
Writing Strands is not a grade-specific curriculum. We began in Level 3, the first level recommended for my child's age. From the website: "It is designed to give beginning writers experience in organizing thoughts so that they can be understood easily by others. We have used it successfully even in tenth grade for students needing special help." This is a non consumable resource and can be reused.

My Thoughts
I really liked the conversational style in which this manual is written. You can almost hear the instructor chatting with the child about what the assignment will be and giving examples. Each exercise is broken down into manageable chunks. These were helpful and did not overwhelm the student. There was no feeling of burdening the child with unrealistic expectations. At the same time, I think the exercises were appropriate for a beginning writer with adequate challenge. I was very impressed with the pieces my child produced using this program. I emailed a few of her writings to various friends, family and acquaintances for input and received very good feedback. Most thought the writing was at least average. But many were highly impressed. We are using this program again for the upcoming school year.

While the manual is reusable, I am glad that I purchased the ebook because I can print out each exercise and my child can write on the pages if they so desire. I can just print more for other children later. Not all children do well transferring information from one source to another, so using the original copy is helpful.

Overall Rating: *****

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Planning for Next Year - Part 3

 Hi! My name is Christi and I love planning.  I begin planning for school long before a new year is upon me. I love planning for school in general.  This is always a huge part of my looking ahead in the Spring and my gettin'-down-to-business-cause-it's-almost-time in the Summer.  I have four children, three of which are 'school age.'  So, I began with my resources and this will give you an idea of what I have planned for my Preschooler.  Now, it's on to my First Grader.

Plan:  Stay steady on the basics.  Everything else will happen.
I have never been one to stress that my young students get a full course load in the first few years.  I really emphasize getting the basics down.  When they have basic tools, the extras will come far more easily. 

These are the No Questions Asked, Gotta Be Done daily basics:

Math:  Abeka Math Text, lots of games (some printables from here as well as some I have made myself), and nothing can take the place of a deck of flashcards while carschooling to fill in the gaps!  We also use the Math-U-See blocks and methods to help reinforce, since I used it for quite a while.

Language Arts:  Abeka Phonics and Language, A Reason for Writing and lots of reading, reading and a smidge more reading (using Abeka readers).  These readers are perfect for this age and reinforce phonics.  Children love the colorful books and illustrations, too.  We just practice with these, nothing high stress. These are subject to being put aside in favor of audio books or group read-aloud time.  Narration is common (lots of CM tendencies here). This child needs a little practice on some of his letters so, we will have to be diligent on the writing efforts. I also have several manipulatives to help with sounding and spelling words.  Copywork could, at any time, replace a day's work in the writing workbook.  I don't feel bound by much of anything.  I go with my gut most of the time.


Science and History:  I have two very simple readers for these.  Both are from Christian Liberty Press and involve just reading to the child. These will probably be used for the older children to read to the 1st grader and nothing more.  Nature is the best teacher on this one and they pick up on so much that the other children are reading regarding history, so there is no concern at all there.

Art:  As a group, I will be using How to Teach Art to Children.  I have done several of the activities with them already and they were a hit.  He is also present for music that might be playing or be being played and can enjoy a little inspiration there.

He will also jump in and participate wherever and whenever things work out that way. 
He also has household chores and is involved in devotion discussions as a family.  He is asked to find Scriptures and read (where he is able) aloud, as appropriate with help. He has his own Bible journal and draws to go along with what we're discussing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Doorposts Plants/Cornerstones Co-Ed Version

I do just love all of the Doorposts materials that I own.  For a while now, I have wondered how I will go about doing all these activities with the girls and all of the other activities with the boys.  And so,  I have put it off.  I felt a little discouraged and totally avoided these resources on my bookshelf.  Oh, I would take them off occasionally with renewed inspiration that I could do it.  It wasn't until recently that I pulled them off the shelf with a  sparkle in my eye.  I had was gonna put a twist on it..and get 'er done!  Thus, we have  (drum roll) Doorposts Co-ed edition!!  There are a few things that will be gender specific, but many things are studies that are appropriate for both ladies and gentlemen .  My idea is to take the items aimed specifically at the girls and use those ideas during our weekly 'girl date' and make suggestions to my wonderful husband on those specific things for the guys to chatter about while they do...whatever they do.

This week, we've been working on prayer.  I have noticed that many of the activities that are in both books are similar, if not the same.  There are definitely a few differences, but nothing that can't be tweaked.
So, here's what I did for:
Day 1:
(this all takes place around our table at some randomly chose, inspirational time of day)
Looked up several Scriptures and discussed prayer.  Talked about prayer as a means of building a relationship.  Deep discussions here.   And, we took to the model prayer to learn what the Bible says about it.  During this portion, children are coloring a page from here.  We practice learning the Lord's Prayer several times.  We create a prayer chart to keep track of requests and their dates as well as answers and their dates. It's not fancy..really.  When we went through a few of the things that were important to them to pray about, we posted it on the fridge.  It is easily visible so that we will not forget it.  The older children copied the Scripture that they looked up and read aloud earlier.  We prayed..for our family, the requests on the chart, and whatever came to mind at the moment.

Day 2:
(this takes place in our living room on the sofa..nothing formal...children are not necessarily sitting up straight)
We read a few more of the Scriptures listed to find out new things that the Bible says about prayer, along with their discussions about what that means. More discussion on prayer being the backbone of building a relationship with God.  It's all very lesson plans. Just going with whatever comes up and the revelation that comes at the moment through the Word and the Holy Spirit.  We read through a prayer from a book of prayers.  I used The Power of a Praying Parent to pray a prayer of protection over my children.  They were enthusiastic to hear specific things, word-for-word from the Scripture for them. During the course of this time, we reveiwed the Lord's Prayer 2 or 3 times, as that is what we are working on memorizing for our Scripture memory this week.  We did not get around to the copywork , but each child should copy the Scripture that they were assigned to look up and read aloud at the beginning.  I'm ok with not getting every single box checked off..what I'm really aiming for is understanding.  And lastly, one child prayed for the things on our list we made on day1 as well as for further prayer requests mentioned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Math

Practice and review.  Practice and review. They are my mantras around here for math.  I have children who "get" math and those who do not.  But, no one is exempt from a little practice and review.  One way I get my children to practice facts is with these foam blocks.  You can purchase them (mine were under $2.00 each at a teacher store)  with the domino-style dots already on them or, buy them completely blank.  I have done both.  On the blank blocks, I use a permanent pen/marker and label with the written numerals on all the sides.  Both ways are good practice!    Currently, I have a child who is learning addition facts.  So, he will take the blocks and toss/drop/shoot/pass (notice I said he) the blocks onto the floor.  Using the numbers facing upward, he is to add them and call out the answer.  Sometimes the child practicing will be assigned an older sibling to verify correct answers if I am helping another child.  Either way, it helps relieve a little of the sit-still-itchies for little ones who can always use a little practice and review in math.

Please, share some of the ways you make math a little more fun.