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About JoyKM

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  1. What is your favorite free printable curriculum resource--something that you have used and find good enough to completely sub for a paid for resource for that topic? I know there is a list on here of free resources, but I'm more interested in knowing specific resources that y'all find usable. I have shopped used, gotten pdfs to save on multiple printouts, rethought how I'm going to teach certain subjects and found new curriculum to meet my needs, but at this point I'm really needing to locate top quality free resources to fill in remaining gaps in what we are doing. I find this exciting!
  2. This sounds like the Book Seeds I just downloaded. I got the free one about "The Three Sunflowers." There are several others I'm interested in, but we already have a sufficient schedule for the year. I don't want to overload our week! 😅 I'm afraid that if I buy several of these Book Seeds that I would just be banking them for "when we have time," "next year," or something like that. "Next year" sure fills up quickly that way! Have you tried the Book Seeds? Also they are having a 30% off sale right now on everything!
  3. Do you have the recommended Usborne supplement? We use that a lot and, though I love having stand alone library books as much as possible, it has patched us through some places where we could find good library books. I liked the supplement so much that I snagged an Usborne Geography and Astronomy supplement at a recent used book sale to have on hand when we do those. I have also gone to reserving anything that looks like it might be on topic, then choosing the best ones from the selection over the week.
  4. Thanks for the ideas! I guess for us talking about the calendar doesn’t naturally happen in our day to day life. My children don’t always have an awareness of what day, month, and date that it is (except when my oldest was in school—she was very aware of times, dates and the flow of the year). We are especially blobby with time because our normal flow of the week is in pandemic mode—no routine activities—on top of summer mode. I’ve been writing the day and date for them in their workbooks as a way to talk about it but, honestly, that’s boring and kinda lame to them and me. We need something cute. I think I’ll get a colorful little calendar for each child and put it in our together time box. Then each day we can look at it and work on it. For us we need a reason to look at a calendar each day.
  5. What have you done to teach calendar skills? I'm looking for space saving ways to go over the date, days/months, weather, etc. My Kindergartener doesn't know that stuff yet, and I haven't found a way to kind of seamlessly put that in to the other subjects ('s only been a week). I'm thinking of getting a little flip calendar to do right before reading lessons but want to know what others have done.
  6. I was a middle school science teacher for several years, so finding a high quality science program was important to me at the start of my curriculum search a few months ago. I bought RSO level one: life science and was/am happy with the book and activities when I got it. If you are looking for something with a lot of high quality activities put together for you it’s a solid option. It will focus on only one branch of science per manual, though Then...I started putting the year together and got kind of overwhelmed. We are doing history in the fall and science in the spring. During spring our family does several nature study-type activities just for fun, and I felt like the activities in RSO, though great, would be a lot to pull off in conjunction with the nature studies. Science education is meant to be done in a concrete to abstract manner, and I would highly recommend nature studies for young children as they are concrete and easy to pull off. I decided to save RSO to do for fun whenever we feel like it. For kids in young elementary I agree with the good books concept combined with nature studies, field trips, and investigations/ experiments. What took its place: Unit studies based around Evan Moore guides and the Magic School Bus. (Not sure if tour kids will be too old for MSB or not, but they have chapter books as well or you can choose from many other books). Evan Moore has some science guides that contain experiment ideas on clearance for $3.75 each. I bought the Habitats and Space ones—they were the only two on sale. I want to add in geology for our last six weeks since we are going rockhounding then. Magic school bus has kits you can buy with activities in them, though we may not use them if I like what’s in the Evan Moore guides. There are other kits available, too. As a former science educator I would say that you can do high impact science without yet another curriculum to juggle. Just have a “theme of the month” or two weeks or however long you can stand it. Dig in to the rock cycle for three weeks, study different biomes for a week at a time, or choose themes based on the state standards for third grade if you are just planning a year at home. Get a kit and spend a few weeks exploring that theme. It will be marvelous!
  7. I really like these packets! This year I kept art appreciation simple with some "Come Look With Me" books. How do you use the packets, and what age do you think they work best for? ETA: We are doing Story of the World, so these look like they might be easy to integrate with a timeline approach. I'd also like to do composer studies but thought those lent themselves to later SOTW volumes as well. We have been doing ancient or folk music right now.
  8. It depends on the kid as to how much they actually remember and take in. It’s not required for homeschoolers to teach, so don’t stress! I’ll say that I remember a TON from Texas History. It included a lot of physical geography as well and learning about Native American cultures and notable Texans. My teachers had us make a lot of hand drawn maps with added detail and used a lot of primary source material as read alouds. We had a traveling club that would visit notable locations as field trips. Overall I’m not really a big history person, but these courses really hit me. Looking back Texas History was my favorite one in middle school!
  9. I wish that TGTB would allow people to at least put in a preorder. Then you would get autoshipped. I like the print a month at a time idea. A lot of the readers and support materials are not out of stock, so you could pick up those as a hard copy while you wait for the course book.
  10. I reentered public school after homeschooling in 4th grade in '94, and they did Texas history. I found it to be extremely fun! I vividly remember both 4th and 7th grade Texas history. I'd say for OP's special situation that you are doing this person a big favor, so don't feel bad about sticking to your plans. They can do Texas history on their own for fun--studying native American cultures, ecoregions of Texas, and general people-type history can be done in a casual, fun way. Also Texas Park and Wildlife has some free materials to do this available to print on their website. I think they could do it over the weekend if they are concerned. (Example: I do the Texas birds resource as nature studies--they are pretty nifty. For us, I'm planning to homeschool middle school for each child, so we are going to lean in to Texas history each year while they are doing it in 4th grade (weekend field trips to notable cities, etc.--the gravy), and we are going to completely skip it during middle school. The purpose for us planning homeschool for middle school in particular is so that they have more time for personal interests, so we need to cut some subjects in favor of "productive time" and covering the basics well.
  11. (Haven't read any responses--just answering your initial question) I'm sorry you're down about it taking longer than you hoped to achieve your dream home. The feeling of loss is part of grieving for what you thought you'd have, and it's important to let yourself go through it. I also spent my teen years raised in the country and by a single mom, but we were very, VERY involved in church, and I definitely did not party. 😆 We ended up living out on land because my parents wanted to homestead in the 90s. I have actually reflected about the pros and cons of raising our kids in the country in terms of my own kids. First, though, remember that what you have in your head is a dream that YOU and your husband have. Your children do not have that dream. They know nothing of it. They do not feel that they are missing anything and, if you do your best to build a magical childhood for them, they will love growing up in the suburbs. If you move to the country when they are older they will have many years to enjoy it as well as a family home to come back to. My father actually died about four years after we moved out onto the land which made things difficult. We eventually got a huge garden going and, after I moved out, my mom got chickens (which I am happy that I missed out on--chickens are gross 😅). Pros and cons: CONS: A) You are a "country person" which means you live "far away." Often my friends from church and school were not allowed to drive to our house because their parents thought it was too far/dangerous (again, as a non partier I had friends from fairly protective homes which was a factor). We always had to go to them which was tough as a teen. You also have to drive farther to any activity or meet up which is lame AND no one lives near enough to you to carpool. Some people don't mind driving but I loathe spending hours a week in my car just going to basic activities. We live within 10 minutes of everything we do now. B) The land takes over. Our only extracurricular activities (besides church) as teens involved helping my mom maintain our property and helping to watch our younger siblings. Sure, it "builds character," but it's a pretty one note way to do it. Public school was actually important for me--i was able to take quite a few cool classes, have an internship in early childhood, and be involved in clubs that took place during the day. Other than what we did at school it was all about the land. C) Loneliness is a factor for many kids. Living with an introverted single mom in the country where no one wants to come to your house and you also have to drive really far to go anywhere was lonely for me. That can be painful for your children if they are not introverts. I feel that introverted parents have a tendency to downplay the need for social time in their extroverted children--maybe it's too uncomfortable for them to do the social stuff so they try to make their children believe that it isn't important. But there is nothing wrong with an extroverted child, and they shouldn't be made to feel that way. In my family now my husband is an introvert and I am an extrovert, so we can balance that need for our kids. My mom couldn't do that which was a con. PROS: A) We had a lot of space and could do whatever we wanted around the land. B) We got to garden (well, we have a garden now, too, in our suburban backyards so...) and be outside a lot either on the land or walking down country roads. C) Honestly besides just the pastoral feel and being out in the country there really isn't anything that we had just by living in the country that we would not have living in the suburbs (except raising animals--chickens are legal to have for the city but not our HOA). Our neighborhood even has a ton of front porch people, so we can still be that. OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Old people LOVE kids. Make some stuff for the elderly people in your neighborhood. My elderly neighbors love it when we bring around treat bags and things we've made to share. Elderly neighbors are the best! Arrange your schedule to accommodate play dates with kids from your street who go to public school. You won't click with everyone, but if you make time you might find a family in your neighborhood that can become good friends. All of the amenities that are nearby sound really great, too! Ultimately the benefits of living in the country vs. the benefits of living in the suburbs come down to personality and preference. When you do move, there will be things about living in the suburbs that your children will miss. It's actually cool that they will get two different living experiences while growing up instead of just one. I know it will take time to get through a grieving process, but once you do embrace your current lifestyle for all the pros it has and make a ton of memories! This can be a good and wonderful phase. For me, as I long as I have kids in my home I do not want to live in the country. My husband and I discussed it for several years, but ultimately he liked growing up in the suburbs, and I found too many drawbacks to living in the country to want to raise my kids that way. We want fast internet and stores nearby. We want neighbors you can walk to and to have people drive to us. 😆 We want to be able to fully engage in activities instead of limiting ourselves due to the commitment of a drive. I guess for me, I've "had that" when it comes to country living and, due to personality and preference, am ready to do other things.
  12. I appreciate your perspective. To be fair to my husband, my older daughter and I butt heads quite often, and he is extremely dubious about me homeschooling that daughter even right now in 2nd grade! He has to be pretty active in dealing with her so that we can parent her in the manner we want to and has come up with some very good strategies. 😆 We have never wanted to discipline her natural confidence and independent spirit out of her, but we do work to direct it. 😅 We want her to feel good about her natural strengths and to develop them further into positives. As I said, he has to take a very active hand in doing a lot of this with her. She takes things much better from him and is very much a Daddy's Girl. I appreciate that he does this because I think long term it will make my relationship with that daughter better--we have a lot more positive interactions because of it. He was a very well behaved youth but does talk about going through a phase when he didn't care about what his mother said or see her as any sort of authority or person he wanted to listen to for direction. I think he's looking ahead to our son being older, seeing how things are going with our daughter now, and is thinking we should try something different if he acts that way. He doesn't want to set ourselves up to fail or to create a situation where we break our son's spirit for just being himself at that age. It's borrowing trouble in a way because our son is still young, but it's analyzed against stuff that's actually happening now with his sister. That's why I was wanting to see what challenges people had experienced in boys and how they had set things up to make their sons successful rather than have things turn in to an excessive discipline situation. I love coming up with routines, systems and strategies and want to get a jump on it for my son as an individual. We have a totally different set of concerns and approaches for our middle girl than the older one, too! ETA: I guess you could say these talks about my son happen in a context--and that context is working out what to do with our daughter!
  13. English only speakers: How do you homeschool Spanish for your young children? We live in a part of the country where knowing Spanish is not just nice but necessary for a lot of public facing jobs. My kids need to know it both for social reasons and to potentially help them get jobs in the future. It's not going away, and besides knowing a second language just makes it easier to talk to a lot more people. How fun! When my children were very young I heard of dual language immersion programs in my area and really, really wanted them to be a part of one. I had always wanted to homeschool middle school, so I wasn't worried about finding time to fill in gaps when they were older. The exposure to a commonly used second language was too important to me. Well, due to moves and now Covid it looks like my older two children will not be able to be a part of one which has been disappointing to say the least. You have to join by first grade or the brain won't take to the dual language environment as quickly. There is still the opportunity for my youngest child to take part in one three years from now (when hopefully everything is back to normal), and I am interested in that for him. Still--need to do something for the other two.
  14. We didn't take the financial peace course, but that's how we're different. Only recently as saving for retirement has become more of a priority has he not been interested in spending as much.
  15. I agree. I'd say the best science to do with very young kids is anything that can be concretely understood--this lends itself to a lot of nature studies, things that can be read in books, and other hands on/fun stuff.
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