Homeschool Info and More

On this page you will find information on homeschooling and information on various curriculums available. One in particular will be Bright Minds - Critical Thinking Co ~ at home. You can also visit my website at the following addy: http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS

Monday, July 31, 2006

First day of School, right around the corner:)

Wow!!! Where has the summer gone?? Does it seem that summer break gets shorter and shorter each year?? For example, just yesterday at our church service our pastor mentioned how summer was coming to an end. Already??? I thought summer didn't end until Labor Day?? At least that's how it was when I was growing up:)

Well, since school will be starting back up soon; it's time to think about scheduling. Although learning never really ends in our household or any for that matter, we still need to schedule time for certain classes:)

Scheduling is not easy; at least not in our household. But, I still manage to make one, even if I change it many, many times:) First I start with their morning chores. This is how we begin every morning. Get up, brush your teeth, fix your beds, empty trash, clean up kitchen, and clean up the classroom area. We then begin with our daily devotions. After some time spent with family and our heavenly father, we begin our school work. Since I have 5 children that range in age, the older ones pick independent work, so I can have individualized time with the younger ones. Then the older ones have a turn with me and the younger ones have craft time or outside playtime. When my hubby comes in from the office, he never thinks they are actually doing 'school work', because they are not sitting at their desks with their noses in their books:) But, honestly, that's the beauty of homeschooling. We don't need to have our noses in schoolbooks all time:)

I do however, put classes down on paper with times attached and I use this fantastic program called 'The Homeschool Tracker'. With this program I can have each child's information up to date with the classes they are taking, extracurricular activities as well as community service hours. I can schedule assignments and print them out for each child and they can follow along and be sure to be caught up with the required assignments. It is a fantastic program and it makes life alot easier:)

Well, I am off to start my schedule:) Until next time.........

Blessings,
Daisy

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home from vacation:)

Hi All,

We are just returning back from a wonderful vacation at the beach!!! Many may think that we don't really need vacations. Afterall aren't we always home?? Don't we have free time all the time?? Isn't homeschooling like a daily vacation? Well, the answers to the above are yes, no and no!!

Homeschooling in our case is done on a daily basis. Even when my children think they are not 'doing school', we always are. For instance, when we go grocery shopping we learn math. How you might ask? Well, for starters the grocery store is where my children learned the metric and standard system. And they also learned how to determine the correct amount of ingredients for certain recipes. Hmmmm...... I guess they learned Home Economics too:) While shopping for clothes or other incidentals, they learned percentages. My kids are whiz kids when it comes to determining the final cost of an item after a percentage is deducted!!:)

Sooooo, believe it or not we do need vacations. But wouldn't you know it that while on vacation they were still learning?:) You see, while we were at the beach, a manatee had beached itself just a few yards away from us. My kids were able to watch this manatee and watch how the Sea World officials handled the situation to keep him safe:) Pretty cool, huh?? My kids thought it was awesome. They also learned about sand fleas and even caught some of them:) And no, they could not keep them as pets. Yucky!!:)

We also enjoyed the waves:) And of course turned that into a learning experience as well. Not to mention the lightning storm we encountered and of course, you guessed it, that was also a learning experience. You see, we don't have to actually be home to be learning something new. It happens on a daily basis and even on 'vacation'. The beauty of homeschooling is that our children are always learning and don't have to wait until we reach that subject or that chapter to learn new things:)

Sooooo, yes, we had a lovely vacation and honestly can't wait until the next one!! Or should I say our next daily adventure:)

Many blessings,
Daisy

Friday, July 21, 2006

Countdown to the First Day of School:)

Well, the countdown has begun in our house:) Has it started in your home?

I always remember seeing that funny commercial on tv with the man loading the cart with school supplies and a huge smile on his face while his kids drag behind him. The music is 'It's the most wonderful time of the year':) The difference in our household is that my kids are not dragging behind me while I gather school supplies. They are actually excited!!! They love getting the new notebooks, pens, pencils, markers and crayons and even the new lunchbox and bagpack.

You might be wondering why I purchase the lunchbox and backpack- why would my homeschool kids need those things?? Well, my kids love to have lunch outside or at times we go to the park to eat and they love to be able to pack their own lunch. It is always an adventure. And the backpacks come in handy when we travel during the day to dentist and orthodontist appointments. My children carry their books everywhere. You see they do their school work everywhere including the house!:)

At one time I thought about getting them uniforms to make it easier for them to get dressed in the mornings, but that suggestion was vetoed by my kiddos:) They would much rather be in their pj's till noon.
They are still responsible for their early morning chores before beginning school work, but are still able to finish by early afternoon. It is awesome!!!

My kids have also been enjoying their summer reading books. Yes, we do that too:) My kids actually are doing school work all year long, but we only really buckle down to serious schoolwork in August and end the beginning of May.

As promised I have a great resource for reading. This site has numerous books and you can search by title, author or by grade level. The child can then take a online quiz regarding the book they chose to read. Here is the website: http://www.bookadventure.com

Another awesome resource is Bright Minds. This company is the DS division of The Critical Thinking Company. My first time reader is actually enjoying the Rocket Phonics program. This is not like your ordinary phonics program. This one is unique in that it uses a system called Initial Teaching Alphabet (ITA), where the student is taught the 36 letter sounds necessary to pronounce any word in the English language. This is a fantastic program!! My daughter is enjoying it immensley and I have tried various programs with her.

This program's activities develops reading comprehension (thinking) skills to keep students enganged and teach them the importance of reading for meaning. The kit is quit colorful, it contains color coded reading book, playing cards, bingo cards with chips and 2 treasure hunt games.
This program sells for $99.99 and is worth every penny:)
Visit my site today and view some samples from this wonderful program.
http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS

Well, this is all for now. I will return soon with much more information for you:)

Blessings,
Daisy

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Planning for the new year:)

Well, I am back again and was wondering if you have planned for this coming year. I have finally narrowed down what my children will be doing this year. Yes, I said 'finally':) The reason is because there are soooo many books, and subjects and materials to choose from. If it were up to me they would be doing school work ALL the time!!:) But that's just me, I am a little bit of a NERD:) Not that there is anything wrong with that:) Is there??

Since I have many children in all age and grade ranges it was a challenge to find materials that they would all enjoy. Remember I mentioned about different learning styles? I learned that not all will learn the same and therefore, I can not have just one set curriculum. Of course, I found this out the hard way:( I thought that I could get away with one set curriculum for all my children and that each one would use the other's hand me downs, and I wouldn't have to worry about purchasing more texts just workbooks. Boy, was I wrong!! In the perfect world this might work, but did I mention I have 5 kids with all different kinds of personalities?

Sooooo, after much research, I found different books and programs for all of them. They all love to do computer work, so that was easy:) My older two will be taking courses with the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) which is a free program for those that live in the wonderful state of Florida:) And my younger ones will be using Critical Thinking software. Oh yes, Bright Minds-Critical Thinking has wonderful software programs for all ages. They think they are playing, when in fact they are actually learning. Soooo, me being the 'smart one', decided to incorporate those into my schooling as well.

Now everyone has computer time:) Art is also a big subject in our house, so there will be lots of painting, finger painting, face painting and sketching going on our house this school year:) I will also be teaching them Spanish. Foreign language is a requirement when your child reaches the High School years, so since I speak fluent Spanish I will be teaching them. I purchased Power Glide and will be using that as supplement materials and hope to do 2 years of Spanish in 1 school year. At least that's the plan:)

I have decided to do all my planning on the computer this year since it is much easier to type up lessons plans than it is to write everything down for 5 different children. I found a wonderful program that has 2 versions. The basic version is Free!! That's right Free:) The more advanced version is $35 for a one time fee. No more hidden costs and you will get upgrades when appropriate. This program has been a life saver for me. I am able to input all my kid's information, subjects, grades, activities, schedules and so much more. I will provide the link for this program below.

I will also be providing links to sites that I have found helpful through out the years. I am always researching and find wonderful links that I would love to share with you. Be sure to visit often, because I wouldn't want you to miss anything.

Well, until tomorrow:)
Blessings,
Daisy

My site: http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS

Homeschool Tracker (planner online) http://www.tghomesoft.com/

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Very Exciting

Soooo, can I tell you how excited I am to have this blog page. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner:) I have sooooo much information to share, I hardly know where to begin.

I think I will start off with my experience in homeschooling. Ready..... here goes..... I have 5 children and have been homeschooling for 8 years and really see no end in sight for now:) When I first began the adventure of homeschooling, I thought I would be in a group of 'pioneer type' people. You know the type I'm talking about. I thought I would turn into one that would churn butter and grow organic fruits and veggies. Not that there is anything wrong with that:) But boy, was I completely wrong.

My first exposure to homeschool families was when I attended a Florida Homeschool Convention. It is held every year in Orlando during a long weekend. Wow!!! Was I amazed to see that I was not alone in this adventure called homeschooling. I saw many, many families of all sizes and none of them looked like 'The Little House on the Praire' type. (I love that show, by the way!!)

I was also shocked on how many resources were available to me!!! Actually it was a bit of sensory overload:) But nonetheless very interesting. There were many avenues to pursue in the new chapter of our lives and was unsure what to do. I was afraid that I would not pick the 'right' one.

Well, let me tell you that every year has been basically a trial and error with the various curriculums. I have tried many, Sonlight, Abeka, Alpha Omega, Saxon Math, Bob Jones, etc. The list goes on and on. One curriculum that my kids and I truly enjoy is Bright Minds.

Have you heard of them?? Well, if you haven't you must visit my site http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS

There are sample pages you can print out and give to your kids to see if they like them. I am sure they will!!!:)

Well, this is all for now. I will post more about specific items that my kids enjoy and how you can incorporate them in your daily activities. Until tomorrow:)

Blessings,
Daisy

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bright Minds-Critical Thinking Co~at home

Have you ever heard of Bright Minds-Critical Thinking? If you haven't, you have come to the right place. I will be explaining what Bright Minds has to offer and how you and your kids will love it!!! I have used Bright Minds products for 8 years and counting:) My kids love it soooo much, they don't even know that they are doing school work; they think they are playing.

That is the beauty of these products!! The more they 'play', the more they learn. Critical Thinking products uses deeper analysis for deeper understanding.

Our products have inspired better grades and higher test scores with highly effective lessons that sharpen the mind. Critical Thinking produces bright, independent, innovative children who succeed in school and in life.

Come back often to see samples of products and join in on games....................

Oh, by the way, if you have never seen Bright Minds products visit my site and look around. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask:)

Here is my site addy: http://www.brightminds.us/web/DaisyS