Tag Archive | elementary homeschool

Classical Music & Watercolors

Since our previous Art Appreciation posts received so much love, I thought I’d share another fun art class. We are learning about Classical Music and since each piece has a unique personality, it only made sense to add art.

For this experience, we used some watercolors that I snagged via Blitsy for $1.52 over the Christmas holiday season. We listened to a few classical pieces from our Music Appreciation course but during the art time we listened to other pieces.

While the music played I had the children draw and paint whatever the music made them feel. It turned out to be an enjoyable experience for Bear, Bam Bam, and Princess. Each created a wonderful masterpiece and as the art dried we discussed their thoughts about the music.

You can see our musical art adventure via this recent YouTube video.

Just in case you missed it, be sure to check out our previous art blog posts and videos.

Make this week artistic,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Our Homeschool Testimony

As November comes to a close, I wanted to take this Homeschool Wrap-Up and share another testimony about how we started on this remarkable journey.

Bear was approximately four years old and we’d been praying about where he was going to go to school for kindergarten.  He was attending a preschool co-op on and the other mothers seemed a bit confused when I didn’t know where our son would be attending school.  The neighborhood elementary was one of the least popular in the district and after visiting; we definitely didn’t want him to attend.  We heard a preacher on the radio mention homeschooling and decided to look into it.  After much prayer and adequate research I asked Kevin if I could attempt kindergarten with our only child.  He agreed and the Team KEMP Academy was subsequently created with a few books from Dollar Tree.  I’m still extremely grateful for books from Dollar Tree for all my students!

Throughout the years this journey has been full of ups and downs but even during those hard moments there is no place I’d rather be.  I am so grateful for the daily precious memories and that I am present for every child’s lightbulb moments.  I get so excited when Bear crushes a test and finds out his hypothesis is correct during a Science project.  I love hearing Bam Bam play with Princess, correctly point out 3-D shapes, and recite scripture from memory.  I adore each time Princess learns a new shape, color, or letter in the alphabet but still manages to cook a delicious plastic meal in her kitchen.  I also look forward to the days that daddy gets to hang out with us in-between conference calls, interviews, and meetings. 

Read more about the start of our homeschooling journey here

Here’s a few accomplishments from the month of November:

  1. We celebrated several family birthdays and attended quite a few parties. 
  2. Bear’s football team winning Second Place in their championships and enjoying a weekend team getaway.
  3. We are so proud of Bam Bam for saying a speech at our church homeschool co-op Thanksgiving Luncheon. 
  4. We enjoyed spontaneous Chuck E. Cheese trips and cashing in 1700 tickets.
  5. Our new dog is enjoying his home and has settled in perfectly. 
  6. Princess has expanded her vocabulary tremendously! She has a response to everything and we are enjoying her conversations.
  7. I have maintained my commitment to reading daily and have read 5 books this month.
  8. Our Fall Break was perfect and we were able to rest after a busy sports season.
  9. We used technology to bring the grandparents in on Bam Bam’s birthday celebration. Video chat with grandparents is so much fun!
  10. Bear recorded, completed the editing, and uploaded a video for our current homeschool giveaway. 

 

As 2017 comes to a close I hope that you made time to thank God for something each and every day.  He is so worthy and without His love, patience, mercy, grace, and gift of salvation through Jesus Christ I don’t know where I would be.  I honor God because he started this world with the notion to supply our every need and though life choices, from Eden and forevermore, affected our relationship with him, he still showed us grace by offering his perfect son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Let’s not forget the new mercies he offers every morning because just by waking up we are given another opportunity to grow in faith.  Who wouldn’t want to acknowledge, praise, worship, adore, and share the good news about a God that is the definition of perfect love?!?!?!

Make today astonishing,

Ta’Neisha K.

REALLY GREAT NEWS

I’m so excited to share with you all that I have been featured on The Old Schoolhouse  Homeschooling with Heart blog! This blog features daily encouragement from Christian homeschooling families across the globe.  I’m so honored to be a part of the featured writers and pray every post encourages each reader throughout their homeschool journey.

You can check out my first feature, It’s Okay to be a Dinosaur, here. This post gives tips on how to respond to those awkward questions we all get asked.

You can also find out more information about the writers here. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for continued tips, encouragement, and homeschool motivation. 

Make this week grand, 

Ta’Neisha K.

Our Adventures With Andi Carter

Is this another review? Why yes it is, thanks for asking.

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Our oldest enjoyed reading two new books from the Circle C Stepping Stones Series written by Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregal Publications.  This particular series of books is geared for children ages 8-10 and are a continuation of the stories following Andi (Andrea) Carter as she grows up on Circle C Ranch.  We enjoyed these cute stories and all the added FREE activities offered for each book.

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Andi Saddles Up is the first chapter book in the Circle C Stepping Stones Series and it depicts a newly nine year old trying to enjoy her birthday as it is filled with interruptions, land boundary battles, sheep vs. cattle, and a bit of jarring from her sibling.  But the new (birth) year isn’t all bad as she finds herself connecting instantly with a new friend, Sadie and having some fun including fishing with creative bait and some trick horse riding.  We enjoyed the history lesson at the end of the book detailing the history between sheepherders and cattlemen because it explained why the tension in the story was so important and needed to be resolved.

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This series continues with a circus sequel entitled Andi Under The Big Top wherein little Miss Carter is introduced to the glitz, sights, sounds, and excitement of the traveling circus.  She meets a new character named Henry, who reveals that though it might seem amazing to be employed with the circus, it is definitely not what he thought it would be.  In this tale we learn about bravery, honesty, and forgiveness while Andi tries to help Henry.  The historical information included in this story discusses orphans, advertisements in the late 1800s, and how the circus was started.

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While most may go on about the stories which are definitely enjoyable, my favorite part about this experience was using the study guides for each book.  You can obtain a FREE study guide (PDF download) for each book which includes a detailed reading and activities schedule that covers twenty-one days.  The lessons include language arts (poetry, vocabulary, similes, alphabetizing, reading comprehension, crosswords, etc.), history, geography, crafts, math, science, music, character building traits and scriptures.  Answer keys are also included and you can download FREE coloring pages of the illustrations used in each book.  Bear enjoyed creating stilts and the information about broken arms including the names of bones, types of fractures, and healing timeline.  The Circle C Stepping Stones lapbook packet is an optional purchase (eBook or print edition available) and includes seven additional days of activities.

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These stories were great to use as a read aloud in our homeschool and I look forward to using them with my other children as they grow up.  I love that Susan K. Marlow created a character can be shadowed throughout life, via each book series, from the age of six through her teenage years.  The various series, published by Kregal Publications, gives the readers an opportunity to grow with the character.  Even though the stories are from the late 1800s, Andi (Andrea) Carter’s adventures and life lessons relate to today’s Christian children.  She prayed when she had a need which reiterates the lessons that we teach our children.  It is important to know that you can count on God and converse with him at any age.

Make this week adventurous,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Check Out Additional Homeschool Review Crew reviews on the Circle C Stepping Stones Series, Andi Saddles Up & Andi Under The Big Top by Susan Marlow via Kregal Publications here.

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Our Journey With Eclectic Foundations

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During my annual homeschool curriculum selection and planning session we were given the opportunity to review Eclectic Foundations to see if it might be a good fit for our home academy.  This program is affordable and includes a comprehensive coverage of every part of language arts all from a biblical perspective.  We used the Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level C program and I believe your 2nd grader will be challenged in a great way to pursue educational heights in all portions of Language Arts.   Allow me to walk you through the program details, needed supplies, and how we used it in our home academy.

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Eclectic Foundations has created a program that grows with the child based on their abilities rather than age or grade level which ensures they don’t get bored with the lessons.  Each level progresses in difficulty beginning at Level A (1st grade) with a goal to achieve collegiate reading by Level I (8th – 9th grade).  This program is available to consumers via physical copy by mail or instant digital download wherewith complete instructions are provided on which pages will need to be printed on card stock and/or laminated.  Each level comes with 144 lessons, intended to be taught four per week during a thirty-six week school year; however, it can be catered to fit your family’s scholastic needs.  This program has been written to coincide with the McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers which are available for FREE via their website or Amazon Kindle.  A physical copy can be purchased as well or you can print out the reader pages at your convenience.  The best part about the program is that is completely comprehensive and includes lessons covering Phonics, Grammar, Dictation, Reading Comprehension, Handwriting, Composition, Vocabulary, Scripture Memory, Spelling, and Poetry.

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Our home academy used Level C which is geared towards advanced 2nd and 3rd grade students.  The layout of the teacher’s manual is simple and easy to navigate with one lesson per sheet explaining how to navigate the student through the reader and daily assignments.  I was happy that comprehension questions are provided to coincide with every reader lesson.  There is also a phonics practice sheet (laminated) included for your student to pen the words as you dictate them.  The McGuffey’s Word Cards are the phonics (vocabulary) review words and each type of word (i.e. adjective, noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection) has a specific color so your child can easily identify them.  Scripture memory verses are provided weekly; however, none were labeled with the version of the Bible used and some weren’t worded according to any specific version at all.  I love that memorization is encouraged, which can be great for children and adults, but I’d prefer a consistent version of the bible being used throughout the curriculum.  Simply noting the version of the Bible next to the verse would also be an appropriate solution.

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I think the Eclectic Foundations Level C would’ve been a good program for our oldest when he was in later 1st through early 2nd grade.   Even though I enjoyed the layout and variety of subjects covered, our son would have benefited more from Level D (available this spring) or possibly Level E.  A great way to narrow down your child’s level is to view the provided sample lessons on the website and look through the McGuffey Readers.  If you feel your child is on the borderline or advanced I suggest moving them up to the next level.  Bear is used to weekly spelling tests but that portion of the program isn’t available at Level C.  All in all, this entire program is good and even though it wasn’t challenging enough for Bear we will be using it with Bam Bam in the near future.  I will also look into Level D and Level E, once available, to see if one will work for our oldest.

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To read more reviews over Level A, Level B, or Level C of Ecclectic Foundations, visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog post via the awesome hyperlink.

Make today grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Florida’s Treasure Coast Here We Come!

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This month our homeschool had the grand opportunity to review a book from the By the Way Book Series collection.  Bear, our eldest, chose to read Florida’s Treasure Coast Here We Come because his aunt recently moved there and he wanted to learn about the area.  This book is one of six, currently available, that showcase the adventures of two children named Alex and Lexi.  Every book is hardcover and features a different location on the globe, fun facts, scripture references, and beautiful pictures.  To see a few pages in this book, check out our February Homeschool Wrap-up via my recent video.


First, let me say I was so excited to check out this series because it offers a biblical worldview and acknowledges God as the creator of all the amazing places the children visit.  The beautifully written parent letter on the inside cover explains how our lives are to be “one gigantic teaching classroom where faith is passed from one generation to another,” which is the basis for this series.  Throughout each page you will see your faith being shared within the scenarios as well as the science, geography, and history facts.  I also love that this book was filled with many interactions, portraying that the wisdom of God and his praises can be shared at every age.

 

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In our story, Alex and Lexi leave their snowy abode to visit grandparents in West Palm Beach, Florida. FYI: I’m 100% jealous of these fictional characters because I’d definitely trade cold air and snow for sandy beaches right about now.  While in town these two visit the beach where they (and the reader) learn about various trees, climates, sand, hurricanes, birds and how God cares for them, and the ocean. The book also gave detail about various sea creatures, the history behind Treasure Coast, and Native American Tribes from that area. Various parts of Florida’s wildlife, bugs, insects, animals, and reptiles were also discussed in detail along with local historical figures and landmarks. The tale flows seamlessly and every mention made sense and added to the story in a great way.
Here are my suggestions for reading this series in a school (homeschool) setting.

  1. Look through the book to see the variety of topics included and decide on what you want to cover.  Since it is filled with so much information, you can choose to focus on certain topics and skim over others. 
  2. Take your time reading the book with your students.  For example, we spent a week reading this book and focused mostly on the story and marine life.  The historical portions of the book can definitely be used as a separate study or to enhance a history curriculum you are already using.
  3. Create age appropriate activities based around the topics you’ve decided on so these books can be used with every grade you teach.  For 3rd grade, I had Bear summarize the pages read on the previous day and asked him questions about the facts included.  This was great practice for public speaking and reading comprehension.  He also practiced writing by sharing a schedule of his perfect day in West Palm Beach, FL.  For our preschoolers, I used the animal an marine life photos to share how God created so many amazing things.

 

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All in all, I was happy with the outcome of our experience in Treasure Coast with Alex and Lexi.  Florida’s Treasure Coast Here We Come is the first book in the By The Way Book Series.  According to the teaser on the last page, the children’s adventures continue in the Smoky Mountains wherein these two are sure to fin more of God’s wonderful creations.  As of now, there are also adventures written for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, and Colorado.  In late April, you will be able to find books about their newest journey through New York City and the first international trip by the pair to Ireland.  These books are currently only available as physical copies; however, you can expect to see news on eBook versions in the near future.

 

For reviews on the remaining books within this series be sure to check out The Homeschool Review Crew post by click this super long, yet amazing hyperlink.

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Make this week adventurous,

Ta’Neisha K.

 

 

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January 2017 Homeschool Wrap-up

January is always a fun month because we get to review what we have learned in elementary while my preschoolers get started on their new curriculum.  This month I started two new lessons with our preschoolers via SchoolhouseTeachers.com and they have been a hit.  I truly enjoy the creative play that ignites as my toddler and preschooler pretend to have whichever career we are learning about.  It has taken the phrase “use your imagination” to a whole new level of play.  We enjoyed reading the book I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton, watched several NASA launches via YouTube, and enjoyed seeing real-time footage via their live feed.

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Our oldest student at Team Kemp Academy enjoyed reviewing everything we’ve covered from August until December.  We were also able to revisit the countries we’ve visited so far via My Father’s World ECC with a focus on their government to coincide with our presidential inauguration.  To continue our presidency discussion we read the books When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz, Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio, and Arthur Meets the President by Marc Brown.  My favorite book that we read was Grandaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein.  I suggest every family borrow it from your local library or purchase it for your home library.  I also had Bear write a schedule of his perfect day with any president, dead or alive, wherewith he played soccer, went to Hollywood, and gave the weather report on the news with George Washington.  I thought he’d pick a different leader; however, he reminded me that nothing is cooler than the FIRST. Touché son, touché.

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In addition to sharing our homeschool high points for the month of January, I also included a Dollar Tree haul in a recent video.  I was able to purchase counting blocks, arts and crafts supplies, posters, and a myriad of geometry items for $1.

All in all, January was a success and we look forward to what February has to offer.  I hope you are enjoying our monthly wrap-ups because they have been great encouragement for me on those hard days.  Hold your heads up homeschoolers, every day will not be perfect, but with God (through Jesus Christ) we will see fruit of our labor from sharpening our arrows.

Make this week successful,

Ta’Neisha K.