Triple Clicks

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Abeka Curriculum

After choosing to home school, you need to choose what curriculum you are going to use.  Many parents choose to mix things up: social studies from place, math from another, phonics from yet another.  But that's one of the many beauty of homeschooling!!  If something doesn't fit, change it.  Take it slow, go a little faster.  As long as your child is learning, that's the purpose.  

We made the decision to stick with Abeka. Is it going to be easy? No, but I think the fluency by sticking to one curriculum will be best.  

I am keeping my homemade curriculum for preschool, but it's getting tweaked a bit with every kid so far.  One of the biggest warnings I had while we were choosing Abeka was the amount of seat work.  You have to keep in mind that Abeka curriculum is written for their Christian school and then utilized by home-schoolers.  So there is seat work written in to occupy kids while other children in the classroom are finishing their work.  This doesn't mean you need to do it in your home school setting!  The bottoms of the pages are labeled 'classwork, seat work, extra practice' and such along with what lesson they go along with.  After reading another warning that ended up turning a mom against Abeka-which I believe is a GREAT curriculum, I decided to take a picture comparing the amount of work Eva did versus the amount of work Andrew did in a week.  The pile on the left is Eva's.  Her preschool was a combination of one of those books you can get from Walmart and some free printables for extra practice.  Andrew's pile on the right is his worksheets and some money practice sheets off the internet because he is having some issues remembering what coins go where.  I know the picture is blurry, but I think you can tell my homemade curriculum gave Eva at least twice the work in a week as Andrew's. 

Yes, I would agree the amount of books you get when you from Abeka for the year seems very daunting.  But those 180 page workbooks are spread out over 170-175 lessons.  It's really not that bad of a load.  

One of my biggest draws toward Abeka was the ability to get the teacher's books... The guide for teachers to walk through the day to day.  We don't do every.single.thing. that's written in the guides. For example, when we would introduce the new families of math facts, the guide had it as a week to two week long process...  I quickly learned math is Andrew's forte-that wasn't needed.  I could pull out the 1 family flashcards and do a simple explanation and he was set to go.  Will the same go for Eva? We will see. For me, I use the curriculum to make sure we don't miss anything, because that's my fear.  It has been an invaluable source that I am thankful for having.

Another big decision that needs made after you choose your curriculum is whether you will homeschool, or school at home.  Yes, there is a difference!!  School at home is having a formal, 8 hour school day in the home setting.   While that may work some families, it doesn't not work for us.  Yes, for now we all sit at the dining room table and I work my way around the circle of kids and help everybody as I can.  But the kids get their worksheets for the day, then they choose what comes next.  The only time I step in is if they both pick a worksheet they need help with... Then it's "ok, if you want to do that you have to be patient and go a little slower".  I am working on teaching them to work independently until they need help, but that's a process.   Andrew is starting to understand 'ok, mom can't help me right now', so if he needs help he will tell me, then either wait patiently or move on to something he can do alone until I can come.  

On hard days-days where they just weren't in the mood do to school it took close to 2-3 hours because they fought me every step of the way.  But they quickly learned the faster they did school (and did it correctly to the best of their ability), the sooner they got to go play.  When they sit and concentrate and do it, we are there for maybe 30 minutes to an hour.  

I had started off this year with 'oh if they get testy we will stop for a few hours'.  While that might work for some, that simply does not work for us.  No play until school is done, and if that means they are sitting at the table for hours, that's what will happen.  

Eva has been learning quickly if she doesn't TRY with her handwriting, she has to do it again.  And again. And sometimes a 3rd try is needed.  We have been butting heads often.  She begs and begs to learn to read like bubba, but she has to be able to identify and write all the letters and sounds without help.  I know she can, she just has to try.  

I know I'm only in my second year of homeschooling, but one of the biggest lessons I have learned is while flexibility is an awesome thing to have because we are homeschooling...  It is possible to have TOO MUCH flexibility.  It's also different for every family, for every child.  

Be patient, learn your kid's learning style.  Any curriculum can be molded to a way to meet any child's style.  But there are times where you need to mold your child to meet the curriculum.  We are raising and teaching future adults, not future children. 

Have a great week!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Saving Money on Graduation and Prom

I was talking with my mother in law the other day..  The nieces and nephews on my husband's side of the family are old enough for proms and one is graduating.  She was conveying to us the concern of the household with how much graduation cost.  

I think I was standing there with my mouth agape.  

My parents were always transparent about the finances.  If we couldn't afford to do something, we simply couldn't afford to do it.  If it was that important to us, we had to find a way to earn the money to pay for it.  This was for everything that wasn't a basic need.  My Christmas presents were summer or Christmas break trips with my church youth group.  I couldn't be in swing choir or FFA simply because the money wasn't there... not that I could dance to be in swing choir anyway.  

When I started to want to go to the high school dances I was told I needed to come up with the parent-approved dresses.  One of these dresses came from a thrift shop.  I LOVED that dress, some brave soul had handmade a silk dress.  The rest of my dresses came from my awesome older sister-in-law.  THOSE I still have around here somewhere.   

Prom and homecoming don't have to cost a ton of money, look at thrift shops for shoes and dresses or even ask an older family member if they have something they would be willing to lend out.  (I can't comment on tuxes or suits...because I have never shopped for those lol.) 

Graduation expenses can add up quickly.  There are obviously certain things you HAVE to buy through the school.. For my high school the basics were the robe and hat.  They also had packages that included a class ring, invitations, thank yous-the works.   We just got the package with the hat and robe.  My senior pictures were done by a family friend at a fraction of the cost at parks and her house around town.   She picked the best prints, those are the ones I got. We then paid for the wallet size reproduced through Walmart-after we had shopped around for prices.  My class ring also came from Walmart, through the same company the school used (Jostens), but not with the same mark-up, so I was able to get it at about 1/3 of the cost... and sooner than the rest of my class mates.  My invitations were done at a local printing company.   I had gone in and priced the different options, decided on postcards (the postage is cheaper).  We had a few pictures plus all of the details needed-graduation party, graduation times...  

My point is, where there is a will, there is a way. Bundles aren't always the cheapest.  Taking the easy route can cost you a lot of money that you don't need to spend. 

Don't just take the 'easy' route by doing everything through one place. Yes, many places offer a package discount, do some shopping around and making sure is really is cheaper!  Take a little extra time to go around to thrift stores and find a dress your daughter likes or the tux/suit your son likes with a price you and your checkbook like.  

Have a good week! 


Friday, March 3, 2017

Ice Cream Cake

My husband's and my daughter's birthdays are in February.. February 17th and 18th. She was his birthday present. :D :D LOL 

Last year, Grace didn't like ice cream (I have weird kids)... So we did ice cream for daddy and I made a cake for Grace-everybody was happy.  This year, Grace LOVES ice cream so I thought 'Hey, let's make an ice cream cake!!!!'

So... if you ever LOSE YOUR MIND and decide this is the best course of action... Don't. Just. Don't.  Trust me. Go to Dairy Queen and spend $20 and BUY THE CAKE.  But, if you don't want to... please read on the learn from my.... failures. 

I got the recipe and Instructions from here.

I bought Blue Bunny Ice Cream, vanilla and bunny tracks.  Hot fudge, birthday cake oreos and of course whipped cream.

Now, her instructions were to get a spring form pan (I borrowed), line it somehow.  Don't. Just don't. You don't need to flip it-make it easier on yourself DON'T TRY TO FLIP THE CAKE! 

The vanilla ice cream getting soft.  I didn't let it get soft enough-give it at least 10 minutes.  It will save you headache. 

Then you spread it all out, cover and freeze for an hour.  Like I said-let the ice cream thaw more.. It's not very smooth.

Add the fudge. FUDGE. Fudgy fudge.  OOOOO YUMMY.  I did not get enough. Put more than this-you'll thank me later.   

Crush up the oreos, put them on the fudge.  Grace was not very happy I 'smushed up all HER oreos. :D It was a rough day for her, mommy smushed oreos and melted ice cream-HORRIBLE .  Freeze for an hour. 

Now that worked MUCH  better.  I let the bunny tracks ice cream layer thaw for longer.  SO MUCH EASIER!!! Cover, freeze for a day.

Now you remember when I said DON'T FLIP THE CAKE. This is why. It's stuck. Took me awhile to get all the foil off. Don't flip the cake. Just don't.

Aaahhh all 'iced'.  Two layers of whipped cream, froze in between.  Cover and freeze for a day before serving.

Have a great week!