Friday, August 23, 2013

Another (Home) School Year Begins with Traditions!

We eased back into our homeschool schedule this week trying to implement our 2013-2014 curriculum. It was a busy week, to say the least, as we all adjusted to the school routine and juggling a new "student" in our school who does an A+ job at sleeping, nursing, dirtying her diaper, and being oh so cute!
 My new student, Cupcake #5, who is almost 4 weeks old already, is so bored by her siblings' assignments that she sleeps alot during the day! ;-)  

One of my 4 "Teacher Assistants" for the new student :-)

As in year's past, we started our first day of our 2013-2014 school year making our "Tee-rific T-shirts" .  We talked about all our fun adventures over the summer and our favorite parts of the summer.  Then my children drew and colored on their paper t-shirts about some things that represented their summer fun.  I got my t-shirt copies from the book,  The MAILBOX: Bulletin Boards For Busy Teachers book for Fall, Winter, Spring, Anytime.
Here is a link to a free t-shirt printout that is similar to The Mailbox version that I used:  Click here for the printable t-shirt.

Another new school year tradition that we have done for the past several years now is to make and decorate a cross cake.  Since our homeschool is called Sacred Heart Academy we usually use icing to draw Jesus' Sacred Heart in the middle of the cake with the homeschool year on the cake.  Then my kids dump decorate the cake with sprinkles of all colors, their favorite part!  Here's some pics from our cross cake fun this week:

What are some of your new school year traditions, whether you homeschool or not?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013-2014 Classroom and Curriculum


I've been enjoying my "Babymoon" with the birth of our sweet Cupcake #5 almost 3 weeks ago, but I decided to ease into school mode starting this Monday, August 19th.  Before the birth of our baby, my kids were working during the summer on math, reading, and a geography through literature program from Beautiful Feet.  So we will continue with these subjects and like each year, will gradually work other subjects into our school day and at the same time juggle the "schedule" of a nursing newborn :)

Before I list our 2013-2014 curriculum, I thought I would share some pictures of our classroom space.  We are blessed with a room in our home that is the designated classroom and not much has changed through the years with the looks of the room, including many of the same art projects/decorations are still displayed from several years ago :)
This is our classroom as you walk into the door.

Behind the door in the corner are the history/science/miscellaneous picture books

Along this wall is another bookshelf where we keep our library books and you can read HERE about the system I set up to never have to pay a library fine again!  To the right of the brown bookshelf is our calendar. 

This is where we try to keep most of our religious books

In the top left corner is the basket system I use for each of my cupcakes' textbooks and workbooks.
Each child has their own basket.  The baskets sit on top of a white shelf and cubbies that my husband designed and made for the space. 

As shown in the top right corner, I have their books separated by subjects using white foam board and then I listed each subject on each board.  So my cupcakes always know where to find their textbooks and workbooks and they also use the white foam boards to keep their baskets organized.
 When I first started homeschooling in 2005, I tried using bookshelves, but things didn't stay organized then I moved into a basket system, but my cupcake's books were thrown into the baskets.  That's when I decided to organize the baskets with the subject foam boards to make books easier to find and this system was quick to set up and has been used efficiently for several years now.  

In the bottom left corner is a photo of the red basket where I keep all my teacher manuals for my cupcake's subjects. 

Then in the bottom right corner is the photo of how I organize my "Teacher Manual" red basket.  All my teacher manuals are divided by my cupcakes' names using the white foam boards and blue post it notes to label each child's manuals.  So this will help me find answer keys I need quickly and my cupcakes can also go quickly to the foam board divider with their name on it to find any manuals if I ask them to get them for me vs. looking all over for a teacher manual that may be hidden in a shelf somewhere. 

We use our desks, table, and dry erase board daily in or out of school :) The tall bookshelf on the left side of photo is where I keep alot of my resource books/idea books/catalogs/books and curriculum  I've used in the past.

In this corner of our classroom is our art area with a closet full of craft supplies, games, math manipulatives.  The art table is used daily in or out of school time and I won this table several years ago!

You can see how others organize their classroom space(s) by going to Micaela's Organization and Scheduling 2013-2014 Link Up HERE where I've also linked up this post of mine. 
This classroom post was featured at Four Little Thiiiings "Learning Space Collection"
See other learning spaces also HERE at Four Little Thiiiings  

So what have I filled my cupcakes' baskets with behind their foam board subject dividers?  Our 2013-2014 curriculum looks like this:

Cupcake #1 (daughter, age 13, 8th grade)

Religion: beginning of a 2 year Confirmation preparation program with other homeschoolers using various resources including Understanding The Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study by Scott Hahn and T3: The Teen Timeline (Catholic Teen Bible Study)

Daily Oral Language: Easy Grammar Plus

MathTeaching Textbooks, continuing with Pre-Algebra

Writing/Literature/Spelling:  our daughter is registered with a 10 week course where she will go once a week with other homeschoolers and be taught by a lady who once homeschooled her now grown children.  They will read, analyze and write after reading some popular literature books.

ScienceApologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science with a homeschool co-op group

Piano Lessons once a week
American Heritage Girls Troop

Cupcake #2 (son, age 11, 6th grade)

Religion: Christian Studies I from Memoria Press with his younger sister.  With his older sister, he will also begin a 2 year Confirmation preparation program with other homeschoolers using various resources including Understanding The Scriptures: A Complete Course on Bible Study by Scott Hahn and T3: The Teen Timeline (Catholic Teen Bible Study)

Daily Oral Language: continue Daily Grams

MathTeaching Textbooks, 5th/6th grade level

ScienceApologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology with younger sister and another homeschool family

Piano Lessons once a week
Recreation Soccer League and Flag Football League 

Cupcake #3 (daughter, age 9, 4th grade)

Religion: Christian Studies I from Memoria Press with her older brother. 

Daily Oral Language/Math/Writing/Spelling/Literature/Latin: using Memoria Press Curriculum

Science:   Apologia Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology with older brother and another homeschool family

American Heritage Girls Troop
Recreation Soccer League 

Cupcake #4 (daughter, age 5, Grade K)

Memoria Press Kindergarten Lesson Plans
American Heritage Girls Troop

Have a blessed school year! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Life of Little Leah...In Her Own Words!

Well, our sweet Leah will be 2 weeks old this Tuesday, Aug. 13 and her siblings have enjoyed our precious gift!

Some things I regularly hear from her sisters and brother about her are:
"She's so cute!"
"She makes funny faces!"
"Mom, she's hungry, she needs you!"
 "Oh gross, ANOTHER dirty (cloth) diaper!"
"She sure does sleep a lot!"
 "I like when she's awake and I can see her eyes!"

My 9 year old daughter especially loves to hold our newborn and snuggle with her.  Last week our 9 year old stated, " I wish there was a baby smelling perfume."  Yes, I agree that there is nothing like a newborn baby smell and I too want to bottle up this stage and keep the sweetness preserved :)   Our 9 year old daughter had fun with sweet little Leah in this video below when Leah was 4 days old...
I call it "The life of Little her own words" :) 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Announcing the Birth of Cupcake #5 !

 Just before going to the hospital on Tuesday, July 30...contractions regular, but I'm still smiling :) 

So much has happened this past week with the birth of the newest Smith addition! 

My labor started on Tuesday morning, July 30, and I felt a little leakage (I was thinking this was the start of my water breaking) and contractions were regular, but manageable.  I was relieved my body was going to labor on its own since I had an induction scheduled the same morning due to the estimated weight of the baby (8 lbs., 14 oz) and my gestational diabetes.

To make a long day and story short, I walked the hospital halls for most of the day with my husband (my awesome labor coach) and was gradually making progress moving from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 cm. with my cervical changes.   Eventually, when I was ready to push, Baby Smith's head was sideways, instead of face down so when I was pushing, the baby was not moving. :-(  I did not have any pain meds so this was my 5th natural birth and it was the toughest due to this little "complication."  I was so ready to push, but the labor nurse and my husband kept saying breathe through the hard contractions!  Aaaaaaa!!!!!! I was so tired, not eating since breakfast, and it was getting to be 4:00 in the afternoon.
Finally, Baby Smith turned in the correct delivery position and SHE came out to meet us at 6:04 PM!  It was an unexpected long and hard labor since I thought with baby #5 my labor would be alot shorter and quicker.  But, we are so thankful she was healthy and strong and what a wonderful blessing!      

Leah Therese (pronounced "Ter-rez" in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux) a.k.a. Cupcake #5, was born on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 6:04 PM weighing 8 lbs., 11 oz., 21 in. long.

My 4 older Cupcakes enjoying our new precious cupcake!  

First Family Photo of the Smith Seven

Thanks to our friend, R.S., our cupcake #5 was able to go home in her gift...a pink cupcake onesie with a pink bow :) 
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. - Psalm 127:3-5


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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