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    Heart of Dixie
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    photography, blogging, scrapbooking, reading
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    Wife and homeschooling mom

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  1. I have always been a routine person, but I am seriously thinking about a schedule lately. Mystie's post and her CM quote has really been speaking to me and I am looking for that kind of peace. I figure it can't hurt to give it a try. Anyway, a blog reader asked if I would make her a schedule form, so I did and am offering it for download. I am seriously thinking of using it to make a schedule for myself.
  2. I know there was a coupon for 20% off CAP in the Flourish newsletter from Amongst Lovely Things this week. I am pretty sure she does a second email push to new subscribers within a few days so they can get all the goodies too. You can sign up using the bar at the top of her site http://amongstlovelythings.com/. She typically has a good one in each newsletter.
  3. I like to break my planning down into steps and do it in small chunks at a time. I typically do most of it in June, but am running behind with it this year. I try to do most of it at night while the kids are sleeping, but every once and a while I will ask DH for a marathon Saturday session. I have my own set of planning pages that I use (you can too if you would like). Most of our curriculum is "do the next thing," but I am creating a loop schedule this year for content area subjects. At first I was going to rip everything up and create binders for our loop subjects with the papers already in the order I wanted to do them, but instead I have decided to do a detailed loop lesson plan in a computer document and then use it during loop time each day to see where we are going next. I am going to store the printed materials in a folder for each subject or leave them in the original books. When my schedule calls for it, I will pull the needed paper from the folder or the book from each kid's shelf. For skill area subjects I keep papers and books in their own file folder and then each night load the clipboards for the next day. I like that better than tearing everything out and assigning it a week in the summer. Once those weeks get off I would be breaking out in hives. Keeping the pages together and deciding each night where we are progressing the following day in a particular subject is better on my nerves. It takes me less than 10 minutes to pull what I need. As for toddlers, I am so glad to be out of those years ;-) I found that paying extra attention to the littles first, saving the hard stuff for nap time, and planning to accomplish less during those times (not trying to stuff my three hours with three hours worth of work) really helped during those times. Good luck!
  4. I am also not a fan of block schedule for the younger years especially in math. We had multiple issues with Singapore with my daughter and so switched to something else, but even with my son who picked up math easily it was more teacher intensive than what we are currently using. I am trying to remember if there is an extra practice book for Singapore so they could practice the skills again on the alternate days without it being so mom-intensive?
  5. Thanks! We are still just in-love with our space even a year later. Sounds like you have the perfect table already! That is exactly what I would do. And then you get to shop for new dining room furniture. :D
  6. This! Both of my kids have been slower to read. My daughter has taken off just this past year at age 8. She is still not reading Shakespeare (except the Usborne version) but she has made significant progress. The 7yo is doing all of the hard work right now, and there are days it is no fun at all. I settled on AAR this past year (jumped around more with my daughter than my son) and I love it. It filled in some of the decoding gaps my daughter had. I noticed there were some words she didn't seem to have the skills to tackle and AAR gave her those skills. I think any good reading program can do that, but it is important to start with one and work through it. We hear about gaps from jumping around in math, but it can happen in reading instruction as well. AAR does a few things to liven up reading instruction, but I add a few more of my own. We play Kaboom with word cards. I have been known to place a chocolate chip at the end of a list of words to read. We do lots of choral reading together or buddy reading where we alternate long groups of lists. When it takes him a long time to decode and read through a sentence I always reread it after he is done, so he gets the meaning. It's hard, for both of you, but you will get there.
  7. We have the same issue so my plan was to start July 7 too, but my planning got derailed by another large project, and I have yet to begin. Fortunately most of our curriculum is open and go. I just need to make our loop schedule and a couple of book lists. So the start date is up in the air right now, but I am really missing that routine.
  8. I am really not sure about that circular table. I agree that the rectangle would be better. We love our big rectangular Ikea table. My biggest tip would be to go for neutral storage. Our space is out in the open, and I chose neutral wicker baskets as much as possible. When I had to do plastic it was black (magazine files) or clear (Sterilite containers). Everything is black, white, neutral, galvanized metal, clear glass jars, etc. The stuff is colorful enough, so I didn't feel the need to add extra color in the mix with the storage. You can see ours here. I am really hoping to get rid of those orange walls this summer!! Yours is a great space. Can't wait to see when it is done.
  9. Disclaimer: I am a friend of Sarah's, and I did the design on the TFR project. I have been trying to stay away from leaving reviews/comments, but I really wanted to address what momacacia said. THIS BOOK is what you need. The beauty of the book is that it does allow you to get your head and hands around all of Kern's and Perrin's lofty language and apply it practically in your home. So often I listen to these things and nod my head in agreement and then moan when it is over that now I need to know what to do next! And teaching from rest doesn't mean not having a plan. In fact, I highly recommend getting the Companion and listening to the Brandy Vencel interview first. They talk about that topic in there. Hunter, I am totally and completely biased, but the PDF version is SO much nicer than the Kindle version. (And I have already been paid -- I don't make any more if you get the PDF. ;) ) Ok, I am going back into the woodwork. I do have a printable of the aspirations from the prayer chapter available for download on my blog. Would love to share those with you. I have them taped to my mirror and am using them as a bookmark. It is already helping me to be more mindful as I go about my day. Pam
  10. I don't know the exact history, but I would guess that you are probably right, Ellie. And everyone has realized that it is probably better for everyone to just keep the can of worms closed.
  11. That is the way it is set up here in the state. We have public schools, private schools, and church schools. There is no homeschooling law. Many like it that way, because that means there are no homeschool regulations either. The church schools set their own regulations (and have their own large lobbying group to keep it that way). This gives the homeschooler the freedom to choose the cover school that fits them. Mine requires nothing except that I keep attendance records here at my home in case they are needed. Others have far more requirements, including religious ones, but I get to choose which one I join. There are a number of "church" schools throughout the state (and statewide covers) that are not very religious in nature and do not require a statement of faith. It is not an issue at all for a secular family to find a suitable cover school. So, in practice, no you do not have to be religious to homeschool. In principle, we are all part of a "church" school. There IS another option -- the private tutor option. With that option the tutor has to hold an Alabama teaching certificate and adhere to the same requirements at the public schools. If it really offends the sensibilities to have a church cover you can go that route, but then you are subject to the "religion" of progressive education, so I am not sure you better off in any way. ;) As for cost, that varies widely too. There are some free cover schools run as a ministry of the church. Other cover schools offer tons of services like co-ops and have greater costs. There is always an affordable option, and once again the price we pay each year is worth the lack of homeschooling laws and regulations in my book. Pam
  12. I would agree that 5.5 is a bit young to worry so much about breaking words into syllables. My almost seven year old isn't doing that yet, and I'm not worried at all. :) (He is in AAR Level 1.) But I do love that AAR teaches me what I need to know to do it, because like you, I really had no idea. Yes, I bought everything and it was $100. I bought both levels at once, so it was quite the feat to convince my husband that these were necessary. ;) They have been worth every penny and then some. We have used the All About Spelling program for over a year, so we did have the letter tiles already. I love that it is laid out for me -- open and go. I love that it is mastery. I love that they are so darn successful with it! I took three semesters of Russian in college. Your English is far better than my Russian would ever be!!
  13. This site should be helpful: http://www.alabamahomeschoolingrwa.com/ It is not my cover school (mine is full) but a good friend uses and recommends it. She does need a church cover -- it is the law. Then she can choose which online or offline program she wants to use to teach the material. In Alabama they are not one-and-the-same. There is a private tutor option (see the website), but that requires a certified teacher. The church school is MUCH easier. I am also in SE Alabama. Would be happy to chat with her. PM me if she needs more info.
  14. I think what you are already doing sounds great. Adding FIAR would probably add to your guilt over not getting things done. Monica's idea for SOTW might be fun to add for your oldest. You could do something similar with drawings and narrations to go with your science reading/viewing. As for the little ones, other than the basics just read all of them lots of good books - picture books, fairy tales, etc.
  15. We were having major problems with this very thing. My daughter is eight. I bit the bullet and got her All About Reading 3, though I was worried it would be too much review for her. It has made a world of difference. I posted about it on my blog including a video of her breaking a word into syllables. Part of the problem was that I didn't know what I needed to know to help her. I am feeling much better with my skills and can help her out now.
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