Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brain Tumors Don't Follow the Rules

I still have big plans for rebranding and the new site is in the works. God's plan is never our own though and He's filled our lives with busyness from another path we didn't know we'd be traveling quite yet. :) Brain tumors don't follow MY rules or schedule. Who knew?!

You can click through on my picture below to read our updates. Our family could use your prayers, support, and sharing of our story!! Thanks so much!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{S}DGB is Making a Move & Rebranding!

I have a new site under construction and a totally new name and new design! This site will stay up indefinitely but there likely will be few, if any, new posts here. Look for the big relaunch to see the new direction {S}DGB will be taking and to see the new look! You'll find me on all the social media outlets soon and I'm still very active on the Facebook page found here. "Like" me there to keep up to date and find out what fun we'll be having when I relaunch!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

WiggleWorm's Little Hands to Heaven: Unit 1

Wiggle Worm. Oh my sweetness! After talking about Adam & Eve eating from the tree, we learned about the number 1  and cut out 1 tree to put on our number 1 page

Here, WiggleWorm and big brother WildMan cuddle and listen
to the Singing Bible CD. Not a huge hit just yet, but he has the
attention span of a gnat.
We also do a little outside of HOD's LHTH to work on his fine motor skills.
It also helps keep us from moving too quickly through LHTH
since he begs to do school all the time! This is a Kumon tracing workbook.
We also use the Kumon "My First...." books for cutting, sticker/paste, and coloring.
I can really see his progression as we move through these. They've also created
a huge love of scissors. That's not the best thing ever.

WiggleWorm and WildMan both doing the gross motor skills in LHTH.
Here they are jumping over the "snake".....forward, sideways, and backwards.
Feet together make it hard for little WiggleWorm! This was fun :)
I love the purposeful and connected activities planned in HOD!

Let's just say this kid, like his brother right before him, LOVES his first Bible.
This one is the younger child option planned in LHTH for 2/3yr olds.
AWESOME choice HOD! Perfect fit for this 3yo.
This is a past favorite with my previous LHTH PKers...and the current one! The tape letters! Each unit in LHTH has you put the letter on the floor with painters'/masking tape...large. Then the kids are to tiptoe, or trace with a finger, or walk the line, or drive a car (for the letter C!), walk a stuffed animal, etc., along the letter. Excellent pre-writing practice and awesome fun! After this activity, the letter A was well-imprinted on his brain because he started seeing it ev. er. y. where. He then yells out "A-A-Adam! My A mama, my A!!"

A-A-Adam is the clue for remembering the sound A makes. It is the first line or an adorable fingerplay that goes along with the Bible story for the week about creation.
LHTH plans one for each week to math the letter/sound and story! 

We are really loving this time in LHTH. We've taken a while to go through Unit 1 with our move and him being quite young still. He has really soaked it up though! We finally started Unit 2 and will continue slowly through it as well. I know preschool isn't a must have, but when you've got three older siblings with school, and a not-so-creative mama, and you want to have school too, or mama wants to do some purposeful fun with you, Little Hands to Heaven is a wonderful fit! It is fun, gentle, quick and easy to implement with no formal type schooling, while still hitting those important early learning skills. Most importantly, it helps me teach my little ones about God, and how awesome Jesus is, and gives me a chance to have some one-on-one with him before starting with the big kids. It works wonders to start our day with him :)

We'll see you in the next update!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Homeschooling Four: A Crazy Day in the Life of Me

We are finally finding our groove and have what seems to be a pretty workable routine! We are running four guides right now, all Heart of Dakota. All of which we started pretty recently and are anywhere bewteen 1 and 4 units into our new levels. I can't speak highly enough of HOD, by the way, so if you haven't heard of it or checked it out, I suggest you do now!

I've had several requests to see our schedule so I thought I'd share my master schedule here, as well as the modified one I made for my 11yo, BookWorm. She does very well having her own to follow that isn't all filled with the plan for everyone.

The run down on what we're doing iiiiissssss......

11yo is in HOD's Revival to Revolution with Rod&Staff English, Drawn Into the Heart of Reading 6/7/8, and Singapore Math SE. Also, as we get into our groove and our day is more streamlined, we will be adding back in Greek, clarinet practice, All About Spelling, and regular "tech time" to practice targeted skills.

9yo is in HOD's Preparing Hearts for His Glory with Rod&Staff English, Drawn Into the Heart of Reading 2/3, New American Cursive, and Singapore Math US. He will also be adding in Greek, trumpet practice, All About Spelling, and targeted "tech time". We are doing this half speed but I scheduled his subjects in such a way that when we move to full-speed, we will just add that in without adding time to my day. {Read this as "he takes twice as long as he should on the current assignments so when he's cut that down to normal time and we bump to full speed, it'll just fill that time right back in". }

6yo is in HOD's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, All About Reading 1, Singapore Math, Developing the Early Learner 4, New American Cursive, and gets some "tech time" each day because I need him "educationally occupied". ;) He is moving half speed in this as well. Half speed is denoted on the schedule as an either/or entry.... {A} plan or {B} plan and we alternate each day.

3yo is in HOD's Little Hands to Heaven and a variety of sticker books, Kumon books for coloring and cutting and pasting and tracing and all those fun things 3yo cuties like to do.

"I" boxes, "S" boxes, and "T" boxes written into my routine refer to Independent, Semi-Independent, and Teacher boxes. HOD plans are formatted into boxes  for each part of the day on a two-page spread and from PHFHG and up, they are labeled as I, S, or T to help guide our kiddos into working more independently very systematically until jr. high and above are working much on their own.

Family Lessons refer to a common learning time similar to circle time, but over a snack. This isnt' always the same. It may be reminding and discussing what each person's chores are, or it could encompass learning a new Greek letter, reteaching a couple virtues from our We Choose Virtues cards, and everyone getting to share their memory verses. Or usually, it's my 20-minute buffer that we can skip to play catch up when we are running behind!

School start time and naptime are the only two set times on the whole thing. I don't do exact times because I lose my whole day to stress if I'm running 5 minutes off. I'm struggling enough with the 8am start time...I am not, however, struggling with the mandatory 1:15pm stop-everything-it's-naptime-no-matter-what time for the two littles. At all. ;)

 We made this schedule up LARGE over 4 pages so it is easy to see at a glance what everyone should be doing for each block. Blocks are A-L, D is the first school block and set at 8am. My plans are highlighted dark gray and set to the left, while their plans are offset to the right in lighter alternating colors. This is visually appealing to my crazy brain and helps me sort it out much easier. On the right are our initials. 
(M is for Mom, which I suppose wins out over T for Tamara, then kids from oldest to youngest)

 This is our oldest's own schedule. It shows what Mom is doing during each block and offset to the right, with her schedule set to the left. That way my printed whereabouts doesn't interfere with her should-be-abouts. As you can see, it's half the size of mine b/c she's carrying hers around.

So, THIS is what a homeschool day with 4 kids looks like. L O N G!! and always busy. I'd love to hear how others schedule their days! Feel free to comment and link up in the comments below or on my {School}Days Gone By Facebook page!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MathMan's Unit 1 of PHFHG

The cover I designed for our PHFHG notebook

MathMan started Heart of Dakota's Preparing Hearts for His Glory recently. We are moving between quarter and full speed depending on the day. Lol. With three other guides running, that's just life! He is 9yo and in 3rd grade. He is using Rod & Staff English 3 and Singapore Math 3 with the HOD plans. 
Here are a few highlights from this first unit! 

The notebooking pages are not part of the curriculum, but pages that I designed (similar to those in the upper HOD levels though) except for the experiment page. I found those pages on the yahoo group :) 
His first science notebooking page...still working on cursive :) 
Picking out contrasting colors for his Coat of Arms/Shield of Faith
...the finished product!

Here are some of his drawings and notebooking pages using the pages I made.
The drawing lessons are from Draw & Write Through History as planned in HOD. He LOVES that book! Pardon the formatting, Blogger does not want to cooperate!
Enjoying the sunroom while doing
Draw & Write Through History

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First Things First

In the blogging world, I'm sure the fact I haven't blogged in a month is a huge "no-no". Let me tell you though, I have good reason(s)!! And those reasons, well, your prayers would help so very much! And blogging isn't the only thing getting pushed back, so is our homeschooling! We took break around Thanksgiving, then had company with us for two weeks, during those two weeks we had a birthday and a first band concert with my oldest two kiddos, then we had a family crisis {click to read about it on CaringBridge}, then daddy gone for two weeks over Christmas, and then a health scare for me that pales in comparison to the family crisis, then very sick youngest two kids including nearly 105 fever, and I'm fighting it and one kid is still getting over his!

Through all this I've learned to put first things first. REALLY put first things first. God, then husband, then kids, then others and my own self-service (blogging being one of those). Life is so short, and as the crisis nearly become a tragedy, that became so real to me. Then miraculous things happened, and God became so much more real to me. My troubles, even big health scares with the big "C word", didn't seem so big anymore. Blogging lost it's pizzazz and doesn't tug at me daily (I'm not leaving it totally! It just isn't a top priority anymore) longer am I trying to live on my phone to catch the most awesome picture ever of my kids doing their daily awesome stuff just so it can go on Facebook or my I'm more just there to watch it live, with my own eyes, instead of through the screen. I still like to get pics...that's just me! But I just live it out and participate more because one day, God might allow crisis or tragedy in our own little family. And we will need those memories and deep relationships to hang onto and keep us going.

In this already stressful time, we have felt called to add a little more to it ;) This month, we are selling everything we can (we have accumulated so. much. STUFF. and really has become obvious that it's just STUFF). Then we are moving to Arkansas for a couple months or so and will save up while we "house sit" my in-laws' home while they are tending to their daughter/hubby's sister that the whole crisis involves. Then we are moving to Texas so that we can be close enough to help her and be there for her three little cuties.

Our prayer needs:

  • That this entire situation that God is totally in the midst of would continue to change us in unimaginable ways as it's already been doing. 
  • That our faith would continue to grow as we obey His calling and prompting and witness His powers in everything going on. 
  • That we see His hand in it even when it seems so tough and that our hearts are comforted by Him as we leave family, friends, our church, our kids' friends and the classes and activities (band!) that they love so much...and the beach. We are total beach bums and love it. God has a plan though. 
  • That my own health issues will improve, that I can get the care I need, and that it won't actually be cancer. And if it is, that He will see me through just as he has my sister-in-law and do miraculous things.
  • That all this sickness while trying to start back to school and get ready to move would go AWAY. 
  • That these changes in my husband's heart and mine will overflow to our kids and hold us together stronger than ever. 
  • That all this reordering of priorities, life and perspective changing, growing, is here forever and takes root in our lives and spreads to our kids. 
  • That this move will go smoothly...and the next one, too. 
  • That my sister-in-law's long road to recovery will reflect God and His power through miraculous recovery. And that His power and her strength and faith and testimony will continue to change lives as we've been seeing this past month. 
  • Anything else obvious or not that I didn't get written down 6yo is calling for hot chocolate and board games before all the other kids get home. :) 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Cash Giveaway! 600 Bucks!!

Please visit the wonderful sponsors of this Cash Giveaway:
So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?
{School}Days Gone By
Free Homeschool DealsAbundant Life
Blessed Beyond a
Prize Details: One winner will be chosen at random to win the cash prize of $600 ~ paid via PayPal, Amazon, or Target (or another approved merchant of the winner's choice).

Enter below using the Rafflecopter. Each extra entry increases your chances of winning. To checkout other great weekly giveaways, be sure to subscribe to Homeschool Giveaways "Giveaway Blast".

a Rafflecopter giveaway


These are a few of my favorite things....2012

Here are just a {insert sing-song voice here} few of my favorite things {you know you sang it too} from 2012 in the homeschool world! Be sure to check them out to see if maybe they'll be in your list of favorite things for 2013! 

  Heart of Dakota is my most favorite core program EVER!

  Apologia Swimming Creatures and these awesome ocean/aquatic creatures drawing books have been very well-loved this year. My kids learned to draw so well with the drawing books!

 Teaching kids character and virtue explicitly is just as important as teaching via example. This has been an all time favorite character training and child rearing tool in our home for some time now...It's a MUST HAVE! We Choose Virtues

 Great, great fun and fantastic stocking stuffer is, Pick and Draw. You've got to check out this one!

 We tried out our first lapbook this year. It was from A Journey Through Learning and was is so much fun! I was so scared of the idea at first but they are the most clear and easy to understand lapbooks, which made it tons of fun!

 We are trying out new spelling and reading programs from All About Learning Press. All About Spelling (which I reviewed here) and All About Reading. My kids and I all love these programs so much. Take a look! There are freebies!

 I love to teach languages but it gets tough with all these kids and when I don't really know anything but English and a bit of Spanish... Visual Latin has made it easy on me and made learning a blast for everyone. We always get a laugh out of these guys! They also have a new program or two, including an economics program that looks awesome.

  CurrClick has been an amazing resource. They have tons, from unit studies and printables to live classes. These pages happen to be some of my favorites because, well...because I made them! I love to design notebooking and journaling pages for school and can't wait to add all the history pages I have to this collection!

 I LOVE the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op...I get a ton of awesome deals on here and they just can't be beat. They have set it up for us homeschoolers to get volume discounts just like schools do!

 These kid DVDs teach all about the Bible, are super cute, and well-loved by kids, making them an awesome addition to our DVD collection. Buck Denver rocks. :) They have a really great Christmas DVD out that is amazing!

Hearts at Home has great prices on lots of curriculum so they have been a great resource for me as well. Check to see if your favorite programs are on their site, too! Here are a few of their best deals going on right now. Be sure you don't miss the HUGE Christmas Cash Giveaway they are hosting!
Christmas Cash Giveaway of $600
I Can Read Books are 40% Off
Homestead Blessings DVDs 30% Off
Children Bibles & Bible Storybooks 50% Off
Art Instruction DVDs Set ~ buy one at 20% off get one FREE
Save 30%-50% on Gifts for Christmas
Picture Smart Bible 20% Plus FREE Shipping

Motivated Moms is a great help for staying on track with house work and involving the kids in doing so. Give it a try!

I would love to read a list telling us a few of your own favorite things! Blog it and comment with the link below!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Random Ramblings of a Mom at Midnight

Just for pure randomness, here are some blurbs and pictures of our crew from the past few weeks....Maybe you haven't noticed, I'm not "that" blogger. I don't have awesome posts and memes every day/week...or even month sometimes! But, here's my shot at catching up a bit.

For fun, I took the kids to PetCo one day. Just to see the animals. We ended up getting to see them feed the reptiles up close and personal. He took a little dragon dude out of his tank, and let us see the tarantulas and scorpions, too. Pretty fun for the boys!

We got a puppy. He's part German Shepard and part Miniature Schnauzer. He's cute. He's loud. He makes a lot of messes. He wakes me up late at night and early in the morning. Meet Shep.

Our youngest turned 3 on the 17th! We started our day with him and the rest of the kids with a trip to Petco to see all the kitties and to see the adoption weekend puppies. Then we got to leave shortly after arriving at his small little get together to celebrate in order to go to the emergency room. He was acting really weird, wouldn't walk, then ran a fever and was getting sounds typical of a virus,....unless you happen to know that a week prior to this he fell from the top bunk and hit the floor so hard he had a seizure. And then fell on our hard floor two days later and landed a nice lump on his sweet little forehead. It took 9 hours in the ER that day. 

Bday boy eating his special birthday cereal for breakfast before things got crazy.
Since he missed his birthday and was still sick a few days, later that week I took him and our puppy to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast because we saw a firetruck parked outside and he was wearing a fireman jacket. Random, eh? But the FF's were in there and invited him to come to the station! So we did :) And we took Shep with us. We also took a trip to Petco for him to pick a toy out for Shep so that crazy animal would have something he's actually allowed to chew on. Then we had lunch at McD's . It was not a healthy food day. ;)

We learned that fall in Florida can be really wonderfully awesome. There is just enough crispness in the air to smell and feel of fall, and nights get a little chilly. But the days are sunny, beautiful, and warm about 90% of the time. Great to do school on the patio! I'll admit even with this I get a chill in the shade if there's a breeze and we needed coats a couple times, but usually I can let the kids out in shorts still. Love <3 p="p">

My girl learned the we can all get the giggles over picture captured at just the right angle and moment. She's captioned her capture, "Help, I fell through!"

We went to EPCOT to see the Christmas Around the World at the World Showcase. Love that place! Always have to get desert in France. We tried to see the candlelight processional there where they read from the Bible telling the story of baby Jesus and have a full orchestra and choir. It's going to have to wait until someone can watch our crazy, cranky, cold 3yo! 

My husband's parents will be here in a few days for an almost 2week visit. We are looking forward to it and the kids can't wait to see grandma and grandpa!! It's been since February!!

We have started back with Heart of Dakota after several months of being away! 3yo WiggleWorm started Little Hands to Heaven today. Almost 9yo (Dec 11!!) is starting Preparing Hearts of His Glory Monday. The other two, 11yo and 6yo) have other things to finish still and they will start Revival to Revolution and Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory once they're done. Today was such fun with LHTH!! Even the 6yo joined in. WiggleWorm LOVED it!! {video won't post but I'll make it work soon!!}