Tag: Homeschool Curriculum

Super Simple Homeschooling: Amy Carmichael Unit Study

Super_Simple_Homeschool_Amy.jpg

A few times in the school year, we will take a break from some of our regular homeschool lineup to do a missions related Unit Study. We love to learn about current needs around the world for ministry and we also enjoy learning about past missions and Missionaries. In this recent case, we did a Unit Study of the Missionary Amy Carmichael, using materials from YWAM.

The Materials:

HEROES FOR YOUNG READERS – Activity Guide (for books 5 – 8). This activity book actually covers 4 heroes, including Amy. We will be doing Corrie ten Boom next. The activities for the study for Amy include:

  • Coloring pages
  • Songs
  • Character studies with craft projects
  • Facts about the country she mainly ministered in (India), including map work
  • Activities to re-enforce what was read, including matching and crossword puzzle

There is also a CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW – Unit Study Curriculum Guide for Amy Carmichael. Since our children are all under 10, we used the Heroes For Young Readers Activity Guide.

HEROES FOR YOUNG READERS – Amy Carmichael: Rescuing the Children. This is the young reader book we used for suggested ages 5 – 10.

CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW – Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems. This is the reader for older readers. We did not need it for this study per say, but if you have adults or older children who want to get a more in-depth study of Amy’s life and work, this is great to have.

THE TORCHLIGHTERS DVD – The Amy Carmichael Story – She Rescued the Children One by One. This is an optional component to the study, but so brings the story to life for the children and also contains a documentary.

The Study: 

On the first day of the study, we read the Heroes For Young Readers book together, then we did two activities from the activity book. On the second day of the study, we watched the video and did a couple more activities. On the last day of the study (these were not consecutive days), we watched the documentary and did a couple more activities. We did not do all of the activities, but most.

My oldest (8) read some of the Christian Heroes Then and Now book on her own time and narrated some of it to me.

I made sure to talk to the children throughout the study about what they were learning, hearing and catching from it. We had some great discussions.

Comment on the Cost:

We have a very frugal homeschool budget of $100 per child per year (or $300 total, since some curriculum is joint). This unit study went beyond that budget. We consider learning about missions, ministry, and Missionaries an integral part of our children’s growth. Also, since our purchase of the products are through YWAM, the proceeds are going to support current, active Missionaries, and therefore, we consider the purchase also part of our tithing / charitable giving.

You can reduce the cost of the study in the following ways:

  1. Only purchase one of the books. If the majority of your group is younger (4th or 5th grade and below) get the childrens’ book. If your group is older, get the more mature book.
  2. If you have IAMFlix or similar, the Torchlighters video is available on that network so you don’t need to purchase a copy.
  3. You can check with your local library for the book(s) or ask them to order the books for the library, letting you be the first loaner. Same with the video.
  4. You can search for used copies of the book(s), videos, and/or activity books.

 

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

YWAM Affiliate: http://www.ywampublishing.com/default.aspx?affiliateid=10451

YWAM_bannerad4-5-10

 

 

What Our Super Simple (And Cheap) Homeschool Looks Like

Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!
Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!

A blogger friend of mine, thinking of homeschooling, recently asked our blogger group what we used for our homeschools. This post is for her and anyone else that would like to learn from what we are successfully using in our homeschool this year.

Our homeschool family: 3 girls – one in Kindergarten, one in 2nd grade and one in 3rd grade.

Our challenges this year: I, the homeschool mom, am having a “difficult pregnancy” and am due the end of June. I am on rest and light activity only. I have very little energy or strength.

Our philosophy: to teach our kids about God and what He created each of them to be and do with their lives, to teach them to be productive, useful, serving, and free from things like debt and entitlement. We also find it important to teach them practical skills as much as academics, including how to maintain a household and to start and run their own businesses. We teach them that they, at least to a degree, have a choice between reward and chastening, between blessing and cursing, between life and death.

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links.

Math: We are currently using A Beka for 2nd grade and 3rd grade math. To save money, I skipped purchasing the Teacher’s Guides. Other than a couple of exercise here and there, I have not found that I need them. Cost of each book was $16.95.

Language Arts: We find the simplicity of Queen Publishing’s Language Lessons for the Elementary Child and Language Lessons for the Very Young a fun way to learn the basics of grammar w/o painful stuff like diagramming sentences. Cost of each book was $22.95.

Reading: The library. We make a monthly trip to the library to get fiction and non-fiction books that the children enjoy and fits our set of criteria for acceptable reading. I review / scan everything before they read it. We also peruse thrift stores and used book stores to add some classics and such to our small home collection of books.

When we teach reading, we use phonic flash cards and Bob books to start. I used Rod and Staff 1st grade phonics curriculum last year when I had a 1st grader. I am still debating if this is what I will use next year for my kindergartener. The first year we used the Rod and Staff phonics curriculum, it was given to us as a gift. The readers and teachers guides are reusable.

Writing: Pentime Penmanship – I have the girls back one year as their writing /  printing is their weak point. So the 2nd grader is on grade 1 printing and the 3rd grader is on grade 2 transition from printing to cursive. The girls like the dot-to-dots and little saying that are on the pages with the writing practice, makes it more interesting. These only cost $5.50 each.

Spelling: Sequential Spelling Level 1 – The volumes do not correspond to years and contain more than one years worth of work. We will get halfway through the book this year for my 3rd grader and the second half next year. Its cost was about $20.00

Bible Curriculum: We use The Action Bible for morning devotionals and Christian Light Publishing’s workbook based Bible curriculum for each grade. The Action Bible was $14.95 and worth every penny. The one year, CLP Bible Curriculum was $17.00.

Art: We are using A Beka Art Project workbooks this year for the 3rd grader and the 2nd grader. Lots of fun and very colorful projects. There is some supplies to purchase, which has been a challenge for us and we don’t celebrate all the holidays they cover, so we have skipped quite a few projects, but there are so many, we couldn’t do them all anyway. They were $12.95 each.

History / Social Studies: We do a group / unit study type history called Story Of the World – Vol 1 – The Ancient World. The girls love how the book reads like a story, we use questions and narration to reinforce, there are coloring pages and map work, and finally, a choice of hands on projects to make the history come alive. We got the book and activity book used as a gift.

Science: Same as the history, we are doing group / unit study type science. We are using New Leaf Publishing’s The New Astronomy Book for the 1st 3/4 of the year and their Bug Book for the last 1/4. I did reviews of The New Astronomy Book here, along with a sample unit study and the same for the Bug Book here. These books were free to me for doing reviews.

Music: We were using Music for Little Mozarts Volume 2, but the children were fighting it and I did not have the energy to continue. So now we use YouTube for vocal warm-ups, sing alongs, and occasionally a beginning ballet or tap lesson.

Kindergarten: All three of my girls have loved their Rod and Staff A – J Kindergarten Workbook series, and the latest one is no exception. She also participates in the Science and History unit study curriculum to her ability. We get picture books from the library and I read to her. I am teaching her numbers, letters and basic phonic combos with flash cards. The Kindergarten workbooks were less than $40.00 for the 10 workbook set.

We occasionally do some special, short term unit studies, but that is for another post:-)
Language Lessons - Charlotte Mason Style Language Arts

Super Simple Homeschooling: Why We Use Story Of The World For History

I confess that I have enough complexities in my life, homeschooling doesn’t need to be one of them. I have worked and learned over the past few years to make homeschooling as simple, and as few hours as possible. Therefore, I have coined the phrase: Super Simple Homeschooling. I am sure someone else came up with this too, maybe quite a few others. But since I haven’t seen it in the mainstream yet, I can state that I wasn’t influenced by anyone else:-)

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links.

Why Story Of The World

The reason our family choose SOTW is because:

1) I can use it with the whole family.

2) The reading and writing is supportive of a younger group – my children are K, 2nd, and 3rd grades.

3) The stories are engaging, the projects are interesting and fun.

How We Do Our Homeschool History

With the exception of Math and Language Arts which we do twice a week, we do the rest of our subjects only once per week. We then divide up a chapter of Story of the World over two weeks.

1) Week 1 – Reading the story, asking the discussion and narration questions, deciding which project we want to do and making a list of supplies needed, and deciding which additional reading we want to get from the library. Sometime during the week we will get the library books, so in some ways, history is done a second day, but not formally.

2) Week 2 – We do the coloring pages, map work, and at least 1 project. The girls always have fun and talk for days about what they did and learned. Sometimes we have show and tell with family members (dad, grandparents, etc..).

The Photo Above

The photo is of two of the girls making an Assyrian Siege Tower with legos. This is from chapter 16 of SOTW V. 1 – The Ancient Times. The girls still remember that Assyria was able to conquer their enemies because Assyria was great at making these towers.

If you aren’t loving your history or if your history is too complicated, I recommend trying SOTW!

I have homeschool coupons, deals and discount codes available for you at: I’ve Got A Deal For That.

 

Moms of Master Books: Bugs! A Book Review and Unit Study


As soon as our “Bugs – Big and Small, God Made Them All” book arrived, it was in the hands of my children. They looked and read through it, then did it again the next day. They loved sharing bug facts with each other. They kept calling each other over to “see” the latest bug they had discovered. In fact, this went on for quite a few days. Finally, I got my hands on the book in time to write a review and come up with a Unit Study for the first chapter.

So Many Photos, So Little Time

I simply can not convey here the amazing amount and quality of illustrations, but I thought I would try to take a few photos of the inside so you can get a better idea of what you are in for if you get this book!

Speaking of getting the book, if you would like to purchase Bugs! it is currently available on the NLPG site for $14.99.

Who knew there were so many bugs as big or BIGGER than your hand?
Fist full of beetles, anyone?
The title of the chapter says it all!
Praying Mantises are one of my favorite bugs. I never knew there were so many varieties.

 

Unit Study For Chapter 1 – Amazing Creepy Crawlers

We decided that our Master Books’ Astronomy book will not take a full year to work through, so Bugs will be a good end-cap for our homeschool science curriculum this year.

Projects based on chapter 1:

  • Draw where bugs fit into the life-cycle of a healthy garden.
  • Research the issue of declining bee populations.
  • Find a video about bees and pollination.
  • Find a chart of the kinds of mosquitoes and which ones actually are a threat to humans.
  • Copy and memorize the Bible verses mentioned in the chapter.

Fact Cards

At the end of the book is a set of 12 insect fact cards on some of the more unique bugs in the insect kingdom.

I sincerely hope you will pick-up a copy of Bugs from Master Books this year and be amazed at God’s limitless creativity!

Moms Of Master Books: A Review and Unit Study For The New Astronomy Book

The New Astronomy Book

As soon as I received my new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, I knew it was going to become our Homeschool’s Science Curriculum for this year. The updated book is from The Wonder’s of Creation series and is called: The New Astronomy Book.

I have a brief review of the book and then I am sharing the Unit Study that I created for the first chapter of the book. We will be using the study the next two weeks for our Science classes.

Review

As soon as the book arrived, my children were pouring through it. The photos are amazing and really draw the children’s attention to wanting to know more about what is in the photo or graphic. The book then offers three levels of information – level one is for the whole family and levels two and three are for progressively older children and adults.

This book presents hard science from a Creation perspective. I really appreciated the related scripture references in each chapter to tie concepts back to our Creator.

Chapters include The Night Sky, Our Solar System, The Sun, History of Astronomy, The Expanding Universe, and more.

Lastly, there is a 24 inch pull out poster of our solar system which we can put on a wall, giving the children the opportunity to visualize and memorize the planets and their moons.

Unit Study – Chapter 1 – The Night Sky

For our homeschool, we will be reading levels one and two to the whole family, then I and our oldest child will read level three together.

For projects and further study, we will do the following:

  • Get books from the library with the constellations.
  • Go out one evening and see what constellations we can recognize. Also try to find the North Star.
  • Make our own constellations using black paper and white crayons and/or paint.
  • Memorize the scripture verse.
  • Pretend to be planets and rotate around the sun.
  • Find videos about the space race (for the section on “Rockets Race to the Red Planet”)

For the oldest child doing the 3rd level, we will also:

  • Read Job 38 and journal about it.
  • Find more information on Retrograde Motion.

I look forward to a fun school year learning about Astronomy!

If there is interest, I will post Unit Studies for future chapters.

Extreme Cheapskate Challenge 3#: What Are You Willing To Pay For?

Extreme_CheapskateChallenge_3

I have enjoyed learning through this series. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #1 and Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #2.

For the last of the Extreme Cheapskate Challenges, I ask the question:

What are you willing to pay for?

We can’t get everything for free or even cheap – and there are just somethings that are worth our money and resources.

For me, these are the things I am willing to pay full (or nearly full) price for:

  • Special occasion meals out at a Japanese / Sushi restaurant.

  • Homeschool curriculum that support ministries or missions like YWAM (affiliate), Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage, or Master Books.

  • A quality bed.

So please share this week what you are willing to pay for.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Super Simple Recipes: A Healthy, Delicious Snack for Less Than a Candy Bar

Super Simple Recipes - Peanut Butter Balls


I know that sometimes a candy bar can sound and taste so good. But what about after eating it? How do you feel? I honestly don’t remember this as a child, but as an adult, a candy bar now makes me feel ill afterwards and there is nothing of value actually in it.

That is one reason our family loves this recipe – it has a taste a bit like a candy bar – but actually has nutritional value and will not leave you feeling ill afterwards.

Once you have the ingredients, this snack can be made almost as quick as unwrapping a pack of candy (well, maybe just a tad more work) and costs less than most single servings of candy bars. 

I am referring to a classic recipe: Peanut Butter Balls. Below is our family’s favorite, easiest version of this recipe.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. 

Cost Per:

Family of 5 – $2.50

Serving – $.50

*prices are approximate and will vary by where one lives and other factors.

½ cup PB – $1.00

½ cup honey – $.60

½ cup carob (price per lb) – $.62

¼ cup coconut – $.25

Shopping List:

½ Cup Peanut Butter – You may substitute Almond, Cashew, or other Nut Butter for Peanut Butter, however they are usually more expensive. Purchase nut butter from a bulk section of a store or purchase a no-sugar added kind like Adams Peanut Butter, where you find peanut butter.

½ Cup Honey – Find local Honey if possible as it can help with local pollen and flower allergies, and usually has more flavor options than the standard clover honey.

½ Cup Carob Powder – You may use Coco Powder if you are tentative about using Carob. Carob Powder is usually found in a bulk section of a store, but may also be in the baking isle of a health food store.

¼ Cup Shredded Coconut – Purchase unsweetened shredded coconut. This can usually be found in a bulk section of a store, but may be found in the baking isle.

Supplies:

1 medium mixing bowl

1 large spoon / wooden spoon

½ cup measure

¼ cup measure

wax paper (optional)

1 plate

Instructions:

  1. Measure the ½ cup Peanut (or other Nut) Butter, the ½ cup Honey, and the ½ cup Carob (or Coco) Powder into the bowl.
  2. Stir together until smooth and creamy looking. It will start to form a big ball.
  3. Place a piece of wax paper onto plate about the size of the plate.
  4. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball, place onto wax paper on plate.
  5. Roll out the rest of the mixture into balls.
  6. Put the Shredded Coconut into a pile in an empty spot on the plate.
  7. Roll the balls through the Coconut.
  8. Place finished balls in the fridge for 1 hour or longer.

Have fun, be healthy, and learn to make good food choices!

Do you like what you see here? This is a peek into my beginning home economics curriculum for children, titled: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way .