They shall mount up with wings as eagles…

I mentioned that Zion was enjoying his Reading Eggs subscription last post, well today, a friend posted on Facebook that she found a whole bunch of coupon code for it on Retail Me Not.  I just added a few more weeks to all my kids time.  They are all over 90 days free now.  Here’s the link http://www.retailmenot.com/view/readingeggs.com.  I hope this helps someone.  I’ll definitely be checking Retail Me Not from time to time to see if they have new coupon codes.  What a steal!

Everything has seemed to slow to a crawl around here.  Now that the holidays are over, we can get back into our old routine.  Everyone was so busy in December that we didn’t do very many playdates and no field trips whatsoever.  The next couple weeks I have a couple playdates set up for the kids and even and field trip to City Hall.  That should be a lot of fun.

Coming up soon we should be receiving our tax return.  I always use a sizable amount towards our homeschooling supplies.  Since I have finally figured out how to educate our children without spending a large amount on a packaged curriculum, we are going to use the difference to enrich our education through memberships, more field trips and activities.

My plan is to set aside $2000 or $40 per week for the next 50 weeks towards homeschooling expenses.  I am hoping to use that money for all memberships, “back to school” shopping, and anything related to homeschooling expenses.  This is approximately how much I spent last year on boxed curriculum.  I feel confident that we can move away from the boxed curriculum, which is not much more than a reading list, and piecemeal our own, complete curriculum following World Book Typical Course of Study  and the book list from Sonlight’s website.  Leaving lots of time to follow more of the kid’s interests in whatever we are studying.

I am currently in the process of getting all the kids switched over from the Jump Math that they had been doing over to the MEP math, which is free (except for my print ink and paper).  I still really love Jump Math, but it is becoming harder and harder to get the workbooks when I need them.  Plus, Jump Math only goes up to grade 8, so I knew eventually we’d have to look for something more.  MEP goes through statistics, and we also can use Khan Academy for any subjects that are beyond my understanding.

We have been using an Apologia science course and plan on continuing the titles as long as the kids are still interesting in those particular books.  So far, they love them, especially the activities (which is really why I chose that publisher in the first place).  They have recently added the Jr Notebooks to the Astronomy course, so I think we will be doing that one next.  The one good thing about homeschooling, is we have no timelines on starting and stopping books.  We can just keep going until one is done, then just start-up the next one the following day.

For the rest of the subject, we are going to follow along the World Book Typical Course of Study to be sure we are not missing any important topics.  Zion has also been using Reading Eggs on the computer to learn to read.  Right now, we have a free trial for Zion, Promise and Gabriel, but we will be getting a paid subscription for at least Zion once his trial runs out.  I don’t think the cost is worth it for the older kids who already are confident readers.  We’ll see since it is a small expense.

That is my plan anyway.  Our education plans are always morphing and growing according to the needs of the kids, so just because we are starting this way, doesn’t mean this is exactly how our day to day will end up.  We add things we like and throw out the things that are not working.

I’ve known about this curriculum for sometime now, and have just not used it because the kids were happy with what we had been using.  Now that we have Zion starting out fresh and new, I thought we’d give it a try.  It is called MEP Mathematics Enhancement Programme .  It is a math curriculum developed in Hungary, and from what I have looked at, has a lot of hands on activities. (at least at the Reception level which is roughly equivalent to Kindergarten here).  The directions do not recommend starting until age 5, so don’t be tempted to start too soon.

Zion is starting his lesson one part one which is free play.  He chose Legos.  He will also be looking at a picture of a family soon, using the people to count, identify colors/size, and what they are doing.  Afterwards, he will be drawing sticks to represent numbers 1 through 5.  I like that they are doing 1 stick for the number one, rather than just teaching how to write the number 1, so that he can see that “1” means one something, not just a figure on the paper. I have a feeling that Israel will be joining in on a lot of the math activites.

Jacy thought it might be fun to build some things using some scrap wool and nails we had lying around in the garage.  Great idea I think.  Plus it is keeping him awful busy outside during the last few nice days of the season before it gets cold and nasty.

First, he build a TV and a chair.  They are solid pieces of furniture.  He did a great job.

Jacy building

After Jacy was done building for a bit, Gabriel had an idea to nail boards to the tree.  What a great way to make a ladder into the tree.   They already loved climbing the tree, but this allows them to get up there without using my deck chair.  They were even clever enough to use two nails per board so the board doesn’t spin on the trunk.  Maybe one of these days soon I can talk Daddy into teaching them how to use a saw properly.

Lincoln has been up to all kinds of growing. He has figured out how to pull himself up onto his knees in various places, like along my desk chair, holding onto a magazine rack and onto the dishwasher.

He also is cutting his first tooth. You’d hardly know it. Thank goodness for Baltic Amber Teething necklaces. Lincoln’s is from Hazelaid, but Israel wears one from Inspired by Finn. Both seem to work equally well. The only difference is that the beads on the Hazelaid are graduated larger in the front and smaller in the back. The one from Inspired by Finn, all the beads are the same larger size.

I finally put together Lincoln’s Halloween costume. He is Link, from The Legend of Zelda. Appropriate I think.

The hat is made using  The Hudson Hat! by Lindsay Baker . The yarn is Plymouth Worsted wool

His cardigan is the Seamless Infant Kimono by Carina Spencer. The yarn is a really soft acrylic I harvested from a thrift store sweater.

His pants are a pair I made for Israel a couple of years ago. The pattern I used was Perfection Pants by Pamela Grossman. The yarn is a 100% wool I harvested from another thrift store sweater.

I used a button band pulled off a sweater for his sheath belt.

Knitting!

I haven’t had a knitting post lately. I think it’s about time.  I’ve been busy knitting all kinds of fun things.

First up is a pair of gauntlets.  I only took a picture of one, but you get the idea.  The pattern is Toast by Leslie Friend.  The yarn is from one of my Stash Menagerie Club shipments from Three Irish Girls.  How I love the 3IG yarns.  The yarn that month was Glenhaven Cashmerino worsted dyed in the “Parisienne” colorway.  So soft and silky.  I will probably make more of gauntlets like this because they are cute, easy to knit and keep my arms and hands pretty warm.

With the leftovers, I made a super cute skirt for one of Promise’s dolls for Christmas.  The pattern is Lacy Flouncy Skirt by Kristen Renneker.

Once again, another yarn from 3IG: organic cotton/bamboo in “hug’o’war”.  Oh so soft.  I wish I would have ordered more because the yarn would have made a great tank top.  The pattern I used was Wedding Washcloths by Purl Soho.  I ended up being able to make 3 1/2 dishcloths.  The last one was only a 1/2 but still a good side for a dishcloth.  In hindsight, I think I should have made a bib for Lincoln.  Maybe next time.

Last up is another gift for Promise for Christmas.  This time I made a cute little dolly cape for her new doll that is coming in the mail.  Shhhhhh!  Dont tell.  The yarn is cheapy Red Heart Super Saver and the pattern is Kit’s Christmas Cape by Cathy Bird.  I think I’d like to make her another one, but in a more drape-y yarn and make it a longer length.  It would be really cute if I could make one for each of her dolls so they could be warm this winter 😉

A couple of weeks ago, Jacy requested that I make black playdoh.  I think he wanted to make some character that needed black.  We had made playdoh previously using a recipe for a Playdohrecipe.org, but had made it using colors I already had on hand.  Like pink and blue.  Our local grocery store didn’t have black food coloring, but Amazon did!

I love the way it turned out.  The black color was so rich and vibrant (for black) and we used Root Beer flavoring to give it a nice smell.  After they get bored with the plain black, my plan is to add some glitter to it so we can have some sparkly playdoh.

Izzy showing me his new playdoh

Zion making something

Jacy making some kind of monster while he talks to papa on the phone

My kids love to craft.  They have a giant box of craftable things in their toy room that they are free to use whenever they want to.  Most of the stuff is recyclable or things we’d ordinarily toss out.  I keep a small bin in the kitchen to catch smaller items like bottle caps, twist ties, bread clips, etc.  Sometimes I purchase a few goodies to toss in the box as well, like pom-poms or pipe-cleaners.  I am constantly on the look out for “treasures” at the thrift store or while out shopping.  I’d like the kids to start adding more organic materials to their box like pinecones, seeds, leaves, nuts and so on.

Gabriel showing off his airplane. Made 100% from "garbage"

Promise made some butterfly wings from paper and yarn

So they say mother is the necessity of invention.  This was one of those days.  I had two really bored, really cranky little boys in my house.  And they needed a new project.  I gave one of them a bowl of rolled oats (uncooked) and the other a bowl of white flour that we had bought for playdoh making and two spoons.  Oh they fun they had with their new “toy.”   At first, they played independently, and then they started mixing the oatmeal and the flour together.  After a while, to my dismay, Zion got the idea to add water.  Oh the mess they made, but they had a fun time and it all washed away easily the next time it rained.

Cooking!