Back to School!

We started our school year in early August… my 11th year teaching our kids.  What a journey it has been.  When Natasha was born I would have laughed at you if you told me we would be a homeschooling family.  Yet, here we are – a homeschooling family!  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Yes, it’s a challenge but to have us all together, building our relationships, studying God’s word, learning about all kinds of different subjects and able to pray together throughout the day brings me such joy and peace.  My number one job as their mother is to teach them God’s Word and consistently point them to Christ.  Math, science and the rest of the academic subjects are secondary because what good does it do to have all that knowledge if their souls are captured by the world?

For several years I have had all the kids color a page that represents the grade they are starting, even though with homeschoolers the grade doesn’t really dictate what they are learning.  So, without further delay here are the kids pictures for this school year.  Our first school year in Arkansas!

Natasha is 16 years old and is in the 11th grade.  Every year I marvel at how fast time is flying… our oldest has less then 2 years of school left!  Since moving to Arkansas we have truly been blessed to be able to join a homeschool co-op called BELIEVERS.  Also, a wonderful mom in our church has a small writing class that Natasha was able to join and their first book study is To Kill A Mockingbird.  She is also interning at a really neat bakery twice a week.  She has quite a busy schedule between academics, the bakery, piano lessons and co-op!  Lord willing, she’ll be able to get her drivers license soon as she’s met the drivers permit requirements.  The bible verse on her picture is Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight.

Natasha – August 2019

Mikayla is 14 and in the 9th grade.  Since this is her first year in high school she’s getting used to a more demanding schedule.  However, she isn’t planning on becoming a rocket scientist or an engineer so she’s not on an intense rigorous schedule.  While Natasha is in her writing class, our other 4 kids are part of group of younger students going through Pilgrim’s Progress and Mikayla helps with this class.  Mikayla’s two co-op classes are Puzzles, Logic and Games and Being Mission Minded.  She is a very diligent student and will persevere through tough subjects without giving up.  Her favorite subject this year is the Earth Science class by DIVE as it includes lots of really cool experiments.  In a couple of years, she hopes to volunteer at an animal shelter as she loves all things related to animals.  The bible verse on her pictures is Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Mikayla – August 2019

Alex is 11 and in 5th grade.  Many 11 year olds are in 6th grade, however, our umbrella school in Colorado automatically put her in the younger grade back when she started school.  It turned out to be a blessing because she had a severe speech impediment and being back a grade allowed us to really focus on her speech.  For the co-op Alex picked a class called Build-It where they will build catapults, marshmallow guns and various other fun projects and a Drama class.  She too is an excellent student and sometimes borders on being a perfectionist which we are working on with her.  She loves science and doing experiments and is focused on Astronomy this year.  The bible verse on her picture is Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  For his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Alexandra – August 2019

Our Jonathan is about to turn 9 and is in the 3rd grade.  He’s the typical active boy and he keeps me on my toes.  I keep him pretty scheduled throughout the day and rotate between desk work and more active play… too much idle time and he gets himself in trouble!  He has been my favorite kiddo to teach to read.  I have enjoyed watching his eyes light up and his smile appear as he learns new things.  His co-op classes are Human Anatomy and Marine Biology and both of his teachers go to our church and he loves both of their families – he’s very excited!  Like Alex, he loves science and is really good at math.  The bible verse on his picture is Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Jonathan – August 2019

This is Katherine’s first official year in school, is 5 years old and in Kindergarten.  I think at this point she loves all the things she is learning which is a good thing!  To be honest, some of her work is busy work to keep her focused while I’m working with the other kids but she enjoys it so I don’t feel too bad!  Like Jonathan, too much idle time causes her to whine and get in trouble.  Her co-op classes are Food Art and Rock Art.  She’ll get to bring home fun little creations each week.  The bible verse on her picture is Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Katherine – August 2019

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

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Civil War Ball

Hi Friends!  The last time I posted was six months ago!  Wow, so much has happened in the last six month but this post will tell the story of the Civil War Ball that Natasha and Mikayla got to attend with some dear friends of ours.  It was such a fun evening and such a wonderful expereince.

This Civil War Ball was started many years ago by a homeschool dad to give his teenagers an evening something like prom.  However, he didn’t really want to mimic a public school prom as they aren’t really a wholesome event… more like a cesspool of temptation to throw our teenagers.  So, he came up with the idea of Civil War Ball.  He rents out the Douglas County Fairgrounds for the entire day.  Those that register can come in the morning for dance lessons to learn period dances from that era.  Then the kids have several hours to have fun before the dance begins in the evening.  He has arranged for a handful of costume providers to be on site to rent period dresses and soldier/gentleman attire.  Many families make their own dresses and we were blessed to borrow a dress for Natasha from friends who go every year and had several extra dresses to choose from.  Mikayla’s dress was a former Elvish dress (think Lord of the Rings) that she altered a bit to fit the era.

Unfortunately, there are typically more young ladies that attend then young men so sometimes they have to dance a step or two with another gal but it’s all so much fun!  My girls had a wonderful time and are already planning for next year!  The parents can even join in on the fun with costumes and dancing!

The young men line up and the girls are announced as they enter the ball.

This beautiful dress was made by family friends.

The blue beauty was also made by family friends – the dress that is!

Hopefully, later this week I can fill you in on all the changes for the Wilson family!

A New School Year Begins

It’s that time of year already!  But really, doesn’t learning take place all the time?  For homeschoolers, we consider most of our day as school time.  Whether it’s book learning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, diaper changing, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, raking leaves or serving others, it’s all learning.

Our oldest, Natasha is starting 8th grade.  WOW!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been homeschooling her for 7 years.  I have learned so much about being a mom from being her mommy.  We love her dearly.  She’ll be busy with math, science, Spanish, geography, Bible Road Trip, spelling and history with added reading assignments throughout the year.  She is about 75% independent and is taking charge of her own schedule for her day to day lessons.  She has really taken a liking to baking and can be found in the kitchen often making her daddy’s favorite gluten free chocolate chip cookie.

N 8th Grade

Next up is our sweet Belle.  As a 6th grader she will be studying similar subjects as Natasha.  Belle’s reading ability has really taken off in the past year and she has 1 more level to complete with our All About Reading curriculum.  She continues to expand her knowledge and expertise in crafts and loves to show others how to make something.  She has such an amazing imagination and loves to share her creations with others.  She too, enjoys learning how to cook and often asks to help me with meals.

Belle 6th Grade

Next is our Alex.  Alex is starting the 2nd grade and is VERY excited to finally learn cursive.  Can you believe many public schools don’t even teach cursive any longer?  Anyway, she’s excited to learn to do something her two older sisters can do.  She’ll also be studying math, science, Spanish, geography, spelling & reading, history and Bible Road Trip.  Although she really only likes to help in the kitchen with daddy’s pizza or cookies, she loves to WATCH in the kitchen.  One of these days I would imagine her cooking skills will take off!

Alex 2nd Grade

Finally, Jonathan gets to start Kindergarten.  He has been quiet eager to start more school to be like sisters.  We will be focused on reading and math mainly.  He’ll be learning other subjects as well but not on a rigid schedule.  It’s fun to have a kindergartner again!

J K 2016

As for Katherine…. well enjoy the pictures!

Mischief!

Mischief!

Katherine's first ride in the bike trailer.

Katherine’s first ride in the bike trailer.

Sleeping angel!

Sleeping angel!

First Day of School – 2015

Wow, it’s almost November and I’m just now sitting down to post about our school year starting.  No, we aren’t just now starting but life has been crazy busy so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.

We started the 2015 school year in mid August with a reduced schedule.  After Labor Day we ramped up and added in more subjects.  We also joined a new homeschool co-op that our 2 oldest participate in every Friday.  Our co-op is so much fun and the girls look forward to it each and every week.  It does not take the place of any subject but is an enrichment program.  It’s such a blessing to find like minded families on this homeschool journey!

This year Natasha is doing her own science with Apologia.  The course is preparing her for more independent work as she moves into high school in a couple of years.  It’s been a great experience for her so far and she really enjoys all the experiments.  She can do most of them on her own and invites her siblings to join in whenever possible.  She has lab reports to complete after each experiment and this course is also helping her to get used to the amount of reading and writing that will be needed in high school.  For those wondering, yes Apologia teaches science from a creationist, young earth view.  We have no problem interpreting the days of creation in Genesis to be literal days and don’t believe that evolution is settled science.  Don’t get me started…. that could be a blog post all by itself.

The girls still do history, geography and spanish together.  With Natasha doing her own science I’m only teaching Belle and Alex the swimming creatures this year.  We didn’t get far with it last year but what I’ve learned is that they basically repeat everything in middle and high school so I’m not worried about it.

We’ve really kicked it up a notch this year and have stayed on a consistent schedule.  We’ve had fun and accomplished a bunch already.

Without further delay here is what each amazing and wonderful kid is studying!

Natasha – 7th grade… I know!  I can’t believe it either!

Natasha 1st Day of School 2015

Natasha 1st Day of School 2015

Science – Apologia General Science
Math – RightStart Level E
History – Mystery of History
Geography – Exploration Expedition
Spelling – Spell to Write and Read
Typing
Spanish – weekly class with 3 other families
Writing – Institute in Excellence in Writing
Language Arts – First Language Lessons
Co-op – they have short lessons in science, history, art, theology, peacemakers and medieval games.

Mikayla – 5th grade

Belle 1st Day of School 2015

Belle 1st Day of School 2015

Science – Apologia Swimming Creatures
Math – RightStart Level C
History – Mystery of History
Geography – Exploration Expedition
Spelling – All About Spelling
Reading – All About Reading
Typing
Spanish – weekly class with 3 other families
Writing – Institute in Excellence in Writing
Language Arts – First Language Lessons
Co-op – short lessons in science, history, art, theology, catapults

Alexandra – 1st grade

Alex 1st Day of School 2015

Alex 1st Day of School 2015

Science – Apologia Swimming Creatures
Math – RightStart Level B
History – Mystery of History
Geography – Exploration Expedition
Reading – All About Reading
Language Arts – First Language Lessons
Spanish – weekly class with 3 other families
Daily Notebook – calendar work, handwriting, math and reading practice, weather graphing, clock work

Jonathan – PreK

Jonathan 1st Day of School 2015

Jonathan 1st Day of School 2015

Daily Notebook – calendar work, handwriting, math and reading practice, weather graphing, clock work, letter sounds, art.  Jonathan also loves to sit in on the girls science, history or geography lessons.

And of course I have to include random pictures of Katherine!

1st Day of School 2015

1st Day of School 2015

Katherine did not want to take off her new Minnie Mouse robe!

Katherine did not want to take off her new Minnie Mouse robe!

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins!

Katherine riding in a shopping cart.

Katherine riding in a shopping cart.

Katherine got into the chalk!

Katherine got into the chalk!

Jonathan is working on his daily notebook.

Jonathan is working on his daily notebook.

We Are Done!

After lots of reading, math, science, history, language arts, spelling and geography we have completed the 2014 – 2015 school year.  We did our annual testing this past week and will receive the results in a couple of weeks.  I view these tests as an indication more of how I am as a teacher rather then how smart my children are.  We came across a few things we had not yet studied but I’m confident the girls were able to figure out enough to answer the question… at least with their best guess!

So, the Wilson household now has a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 1st grader officially on the books.  We will take a couple of weeks off and will then start with a light schedule which will include reading and math.  We will most likely add the rest of the subjects the 2nd week of August when we start school full time.  We are adding a couple of new curriculum this year and I’m excited to get started!

During our break we will go swimming, visit parks and playgrounds and just enjoy the summer.

What are your plans for the summer?

Katherine July 2015

Katherine July 2015

Katherine July 2015

Katherine July 2015

IMG_5691 IMG_5685

Alex, Natasha, Chris (family friend), Jonathan and Belle

Alex, Natasha, Chris (family friend), Jonathan and Belle

Jonathan June 2015

Jonathan June 2015

Mommy with Natasha and Belle at the annual family conference.

Mommy with Natasha and Belle at the annual family conference.

Homeschool Day At The Capitol and a GREAT Movie!

Today marked the 20th Annual Homeschool Day at the Capitol sponsored by Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC).  We woke up to snow and about 30 degrees but I was determined to go to the Capitol and take a stand for our rights as parents to home educate our children.  Phil was unable to get today off but Natasha, Mikayla and I headed out the door at about 8:45am to join other homeschoolers in celebrating our freedom at the Pillar of Fire Church downtown.  We were blessed to hear Bold Reflection (a young mens choir) sing a couple of songs before listening to a few speakers and watching a skit put on by fellow homeschoolers.  From there we grabbed some lunch then all gathered outside the church to begin the march around the Capitol.  By the time the march started the rain had stopped.  It was still chilly but we are Coloradoans or Denverites, not wimps!

I recorded the Bold Reflection songs today but I cannot figure out how to upload the video to this blog post.  But, here is a link to a video of a concert they did last year.  They have many songs posted on youtube if you search for their group name.

The band that starts the march.

The band that starts the march.

The band that ends the march.

The band that ends the march.

The crowd in front of us beginning the march around the Capitol.

The crowd in front of us beginning the march around the Capitol.

Out in the cold on the steps of the Capitol, April 17, 2015.

Out in the cold on the steps of the Capitol, April 17, 2015.

Anyway, after praying together on the steps of the Capitol we listened as Bold Reflection sang the National Anthem.  We listened to our featured speaker and some legislative updates on education, parent rights and social issues.

Again, I can’t figure out how to upload video but here is a link to Bold Reflection singing the National Anthem at the Rockies game a few years ago.  Personally, the anthem they sung today was better but I can’t upload the video… argh!

CHEC was hosting a special screening of a new movie called Beyond the Mask this afternoon.  This movie was made by the Burns family… a homeschooling family!  We decided to take Natasha and Mikayla to this showing and boy was it an enjoyable movie!  It had action, humor and even some romance.  But it was refreshing to watch a movie that did not have bad language, blood, gut and gore, nudity or even sexual content.  Wow, to think a movie can be entertaining while still being appropriate for the entire family to watch…. and it didn’t have cartoon characters or talking animals!  We all enjoyed it immensely and will be buying it once it comes to DVD.   Check out the Beyond The Mask website to watch the trailer!