Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Room Pictures

So I thought that I was almost satisfied with our room...until I looked at these pictures.  It still looks so cluttered!  There is a lot to be finished in here as well--the trim to start!  
This was a porch that was closed in as an addition a long time ago.  When we moved in I used it as a craft/junk room...then it became a school room...then it became my Mom's room.  Until we evicted her recently and moved her to an upstairs room!
 There is quite a bit to be finished in here.  There used to be carpet (old carpet) that we ripped up.  I decided that I like the concrete floor even though it has paint splattered on it.  Why?  Because we're just going to be adding to that!  We won't have to worry about spilling or messing the floor up!  
 I also tried to keep the wall around the kids' desks a bit more plain.  I love posters but didn't want them to get too distracted.

This is standing at the door looking in.  The curtain to the right will be changed to match the one at the back (behind that one is a door).  The dry erase board on the desk isn't always there--it sits out of the way, ready for use!  Oh, and that's the teacher's pet on the floor ;)
 This is our "One Another" wall.  The crosses show how God wants us to treat each other and I've written some scripture references on there.  This is something the kids REALLY need to be working on so I think we'll be using this wall a LOT!

The picture on the left is where Wyatt and Natalie sit.  To the right is Mason's area.  Ben is going to do built-in bookshelves along this wall with built-in desks for each of the kids.  I. Can't. Wait.  For now the hodge podge desks will do.

 This is the computer corner.  The kids have been playing on here a lot and Wyatt will be doing his math lessons on here.
I have a closet that I won't show b/c it is just ugly--but does the trick!  I have some fun things for Mason that we will only pull out during school time, hopefully to keep him happy. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I saw the sleep-breathing specialist today and was so pleased with the appointment!  He was wonderful and really encouraged me to do something about my sleeping problems!  It was nice to hear someone who knows what he is talking about tell me that yes, there IS a problem and it needs to be fixed so that I can be better!
I go in a few days for another sleep study (just to have an updated one so that insurance can't complain) and then i'll go back for another to get me setup with a CPAP.  

I am NOT looking forward to sleeping with one of those.  I AM looking forward to having energy, being able to focus, and to finally wake up feeling refreshed.

If for some reason none of this happens, then we'll need to look into a housekeeper and a tutor for the kids.  I'm not kidding. 
I'm looking forward to reporting wonderful results!!

Cobbler Recipe

1 Cup Cobbler
1c. butter
1c. milk
1c. flour (self rising)
1c. sugar
1c. fruit 

I heat my oven to 400 and use a 9X13 stone dish.  For a metal pan you may want to only heat to 350.  
Put butter in dish and place in oven to melt.  In a bowl mix everything but fruit.  Mixture will be a bit lumpy and that's okay!
Pour into melted butter, then drop fruit in--I just scatter it around, and honestly use a bit more than 1c.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burned out...already?

That's how i'm feeling this week--and it's only Tuesday!
I am usually so excited to get started with school, and even though I am excited, I still feel dread.
Dirty clutter {i.e. hoarders
 *this isn't my school room.  looking at this picture makes me feel just a little better.
I have so much to do.  We are moving our school room and I had no idea how much STUFF I had gathered over the past 2 years.  Most of it will be going out the door but it's a long task to get that done.

Today i'm making small goals for myself since every time I think about what has to be done I feel myself shutting down.  That problem is another blog post in itself, so i'll save it for another day!
I have high hopes of showing pictures of our finished room on Friday.  But i'm not making any promises!!

Monday, August 23, 2010


I was cleaning off pictures from my old computer and came across these--aren't they so cute?  I think these were in May 2007, but I have to get things organized to figure out for sure!  Natalie would have been 3 and Wyatt 5.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Good Find!

 I came across this cute little abacus at a yard sale on Saturday!  I was so excited since I've been collecting things for Mason to have his own little school nook. He loves it!


Stepping Stones Together Review

We were recently given the opportunity to review a reading program created by Erika Burton, Ph.D, called Stepping Stones Together.  I was anxious to check this out, as reading has not come easily to my six year-old.  I had a tough time finding what worked for her last year as we schooled through Kindergarten and found that she was often frustrated with the books put in front of her.

This program is best described as:
A beginning reading program designed for parents to seamlessly help their child learn to read using high interest motivational themes in each little book, infused with daily writing, reading comprehension, and games to connect reading skills to a child’s experiences and interests.

Stepping Stones Together focuses on themes that children are interested in (animals, sports, fairies, transportation, etc) and uses a method that teaches the child to recognize high-frequency words and nouns, which are found to make up between 58-75% of all words in children’s books.  When a child is learning these words in a context that he/she enjoys, the learning happens faster and is easier for everyone involved!

This program allows you to choose the topic that interests your child, and you print the books (8-9 pages) in black and white from your computer.  I like that they can be saved in .pdf format and printed multiple times if necessary.  There are flash cards, comprehension questions, and writing prompts as well.  It is expected that you spend more than a few days on one book, allowing your child to become familiar with the pictures and high-frequency words before reading through.  Your reading time should be no more than 15-20 minutes each day.

Natalie loves cats and fairies so she chose to read about a cat who was pictured with a princess.  I allowed her to spend time coloring the pictures before we discussed anything, and I was surprised that she was able to read almost all of the book the first time through!  We have pulled aside a few of the flash cards to practice a few more times before reading again, but for the most part she got it!  It made me very happy to see the look of confidence on her face when she finished reading!  As soon as Dad walked in the door she was jumping up and down, ready to read to him.  

We are very pleased with the Stepping Stones Together reading program and will continue using the printables when we officially start our school year in a few weeks.  Below there is more information on the Stepping Stones Together Reading program, and be sure to check out the videos to see the program at work!

Stepping Stones Together will offer a very affordable ($19.99 for the 60 day program but access for 90 days) way for parents to get their child on their way to reading success. There is also a full year access to the program for $39.99.  Visit the website to preview one of the books, become a fan on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

Stepping Stones Together is a personalized beginning reading program consisting of:
  • A choice of 30 high interest themed stories from our beginning reading library, which is comprised of 3 difficulty levels.
  • Over 100 reading comprehension questions designed to build your child’s reading comprehension skills, along with thinking, reading fluency, speaking and writing abilities. (early reading benefits)
  • A daily writing program linked to your child’s daily reading to extend your child’s reading and writing abilities.
  • Extension games that encourage your child to use their newly acquired reading skills as well as explore the benefits and joys connected with being a reader.
  • A personalized behavior incentive chart for each series of stories to motivate your child to record their daily progress.
  • A personalized certificate acknowledging their achievement after completing a leveled series every 10 days. Each reading series is comprised of 5 stories at a given level read twice. E-alerts to keep you on target with the program, which are directly linked to your personalized profile.
  • Access to Blogs and Newsletters to provide you with current reading research tidbits and best practice tips to parents of new readers

Thank you to Stepping Stones Together for giving us the chance to review your product!  
Disclaimer:  This is a review for Mama Buzz.  All products were provided free of charge in exchange for this review.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our School

When I was in elementary school, I really wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.  I don't think that desire ever left me.  Maybe that's why I love the idea of teaching my kids.  I also love the 'act' of teaching them, but sometimes it's a bit more difficult to enjoy than the 'idea'! 

We're going to be working in 3rd and 1st grade this year (with Mason tagging along in Tot School).  In our first year I was so sure that everything had to be perfect and from the same curriculum.  I quickly learned that wasn't going to work and was thankful for an adviser who encouraged me to find what worked for my kids.

I have also learned just how differently kids can learn.  I expected my kids to both do and learn the exact same ways, so it was a bit difficult for me this past year when Natalie (K) was not learning things as quickly as I thought she should.  Apparently she's not the logical thinker that Wyatt is, so I had to change things up.  She's very artsy, so allowing her to incorporate this into learning helped to pick things up a bit!
We've dabbled in a few different things:
Sing, Spell, Read, and Write (I didn't love it)
Hooked on Phonics/Math (again, not for us)
Kumon (cute books for preschoolers)

This year what we'll most likely be using:
*Explode The Code (didn't like it at first, now I love it) both kids
*Misc Abeka readers for Wyatt
 *History and Social Studies--i'm still deciding.  We may go with Sonlight, but we'll start out with 2 Abeka books that I have, as well as some History Pockets (these are SO fun!).
*Science--still deciding on this one, too.  I think i'd like to try Christian Kids Explore.  I looked at these a while back at the educational store and liked them.
*Spelling--Evan Moor Spell and Write.  These are fun, short units that the kids really like. 

I also like to download unit studies and lapbooks from the web.  
One of my big goals for the year is to include more literature and outside learning.  Charlotte Mason is where i'll be finding encouragement and ideas for that!

I'm linking this post at the Not Back To School Blog Hop and Angie's blog!