03-16-2017

First Grade with Audrey

I previously talked about switching curriculum midyear with Sydney, and a reader commented to ask about Audrey! So, here it is. Miss Audrey Thyme is now 6 years old and she’s in the 1st grade.

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Audrey is currently taking the following classes as part of her first grade curriculum; reading, grammar, history, science, math, art, dance and piano. She does piano with a lady from church who puts together a wonderful Harry Potter themed piano curriculum and we LOVE IT. Audrey is a Hufflepuff 😉 She’s currently taking ballet and musical theatre with out beloved Teacher Annie.

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Audrey was not reading at the beginning on first grade. So our main focus was on getting her ready to read. So we focused on reading, math and art. At the beginning of the school year we were doing science with Book Shark but I didn’t love it, especially because Sydney was doing a different level and it left me feeling exhausted trying to teach two different sciences. She joined in on Story of the World history lessons, but they quickly lost her attention. Slowly, but surely she started picking up on reading. In February she completed All About Reading Level 1 and started on Level 2. Since she was starting to read we decided it was time to add in some grammar. Sydney had just started The Good and the Beautiful for Language Arts and since they offered a free download I went through the table of contents to figure out which lessons to teach Audrey. The Good and the Beautiful have their own reading curriculum and spelling involved in their Kindergarten and First Grade LA. I didn’t want to include that since she was doing well with AAR, so I combined the lessons from K and Level 1 for a modified version for Audrey. She is absolutely loving their curriculum!

Like I said, Story of the World just wasn’t holding Audrey’s attention and my brain works very similarly to Audrey’s. So it also wasn’t holding MY attention. Since I was absolutely loving G&B I decided to give their history program a try. And guess what?! It totally rocks. My girls are loving it. It’s basically my dream curriculum, I really wanted to teach history in a “family style” setting so that all my kids could go through history together and then have assignments based on their age. This is perfect for that and even has the assignments listed out by ages! Big win.

Since I wasn’t loving Book Shark with two different science curriculum I decided to give Real Science 4 Kids a try. Even though the name really bothers me, I don’t like reading bingo. But it offered the opportunity to teach multiple children at the same time so I decided to give it a go as well. What we were doing wasn’t working. So if it’s not working it’s time to figure out why and how to fix it! This curriculum is VERY different than how I’ve ever taught science before, and it’s too soon to say for sure if it’s working or not. But I am enjoying it, and it’s not leaving me as exhausted as Book Shark was.

Math-U-See is one of the few things we’ve kept the same this year! It’s also the only math curriculum we’ve ever used. No complaints, ever. Audrey loves it, she’s whizzing through Alpha this year and is amazing at her addition skills!

Home Art Studio is in the same boat as MUS. We’ve used it since the beginning of our homeschool journey, and we aren’t changing it now!

So there is Audrey’s official curriculum list. It’s a bit smaller than Sydney’s load was when she was in 1st grade, but we like to tailor everything to the needs of the child. Audrey is flourishing with this load and honestly I think I probably overloaded poor Sydney when she was in first grade. Audrey benefits being the second child 😉

08-25-2015

2015-2016 Curriculum List

Yesterday marked the first day of our 5th year of homeschooling. And this year is Audrey’s first day of Kindergarten. Every single year I wonder how I got here, how is it that my kids are even old enough to be in school?

But here we are, and here is the list of curriculum that we will be using this year!

Sydney is in the THIRD GRADE. Like Whoa.

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Math: Math-U-See Gamma

Science: Sonlight Science D (Biology, Taxonomy and Human Anatomy)

English: Writing With Ease Level 3, First Language Lessons Level 3, All About Spelling Level 3+

Reading: Ginger Pye, School Story, B is for Betsy, Enyclopedia Brown, Betsy & Tacy, Along Came a Dog, The Lightning Thief, James and the Giant Peach, Ramona Forever

Handwriting: A Reason For Handwriting Transition

Art: Home Art Studio 3rd Grade

Read Alouds: Little House in the Big Woods, Stuart Little, The Cricket in Time Square, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Prince Caspian

History: Story of the World Volume 3 (Early Modern)

Biographies: This year we are focusing on some biographies and she will read one each month from the Whoe Was…? Series.
Clara Barton, Helen Keller, Mark Twain, Sally Ride, Louis Braille, Claude Monet, Queen Elizabeth, Franklin Roosevelt, Daniel Boone, Babe Ruth.

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Math: Math-U-See Primer

Science: Sonlight Science A (Biology, Biotoany, Physics)

Reading: Bob Books Box 1+

Handwriting: A Reason For Handwriting K

Art: Home Art Studio Kindergarten

Read Alouds: Sonlight A

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Together they will be reading Old Testament Stories and doing Expedition Earth: Europe!

06-22-2015

5 Years Old | Audrey Thyme

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Just whoa.

Happy Birthday, Audrey bug! <3

My sweet girl turned FIVE. She’s getting ready for Kindergarten at the end of August.

Ready for the funnies of our amazing girl?

Daddy threw away a package of gummy bears. Audrey suddenly ran to the bathroom and locked the door (which is unusual that the door was even shut) and when she came out her mouth was bulging. When asked how many were in her mouth she could barely talk but said, “One!” as two fell out.

 We went to the Olive Garden for dinner and Audrey special requested an olive. Just one.

While at the dentist he made a comment about her lack of tonsils. So on the drive home she bursts into tears, sad about missing her tonsils. Then at Family Home Evening we asked if there was anything anyone wanted to discuss, Audrey raised her hand and starts crying, “I don’t have any tonsils!”

 Audrey was poking herself in the eye and then told us, “My eye hurts, RIGHT HERE!”

 “How about you name that baby girl so you can hurry up and have her? Deal?!” [When I was 6 months pregnant with Ruby.]

Mama had a bunch of 5 gallon water bottles in her car that Daddy forgot to take out, when she turned a corner one fell over. Audrey said, “Just ask Daddy really nicely to take them out of your car. And if he doesn’t do it then you kick him out of the house!”

Me: Do you know what that says? That says Thyme, like Audrey’s middle name and mama’s middle name!
Audrey: I didn’t know that was my middle name!
Me: why do you think we call you Audrey Thyme?
Audrey: ‘Cause you’re silly.

Sydney: Did you know the pioneers came to Utah and built the salt lake temple?
Audrey: They built it all by themselves?!

Me: Audrey don’t run with a pencil!
Audrey: How about an eraser? Can I run with an eraser?

 Audrey decided it was time to watch the first Christmas movie of the season. She choose Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, when it finished she sighed and said, “Well that was awful!”

 Audrey: Why does Sydney get a baptism towel?
Me: She’s going to be baptized in August, because she will be 8.
Audrey: Why does Sydney get to be 8?!

 Jordan: Where are you going?
Audrey: I’m leaving! Sydney won’t play with me, and Zachary is stinky and he will stink up my toys!

 Audrey: Mama, why does Zachary have cracks in his belly?
Me: Those are called veins.
Audrey: Are you sure? I think he’s cracking.

Me: First day back to school, we don’t have another break until Ruby is born!
Audrey: WE DON’T GET A BATHROOM BREAK UNTIL RUBY IS BORN?!?!?

Our little lady is still as dramatic as ever, she loves her baby sister. For the most part she and Sydney play so well together! Zachary and her are frienemies, and it changes every four seconds. She loves to sing, and is still enjoying gymnastics. She is 3’4″ tall (9th percentile) which means she grew 3 inches in a year.

05-21-2015

When You Think You’re Failing

Since I’ve spent this entire school year pregnant, and then with a newborn it’s had it’s challenges.

Especially since this is Audrey’s first year doing school with us.

And unfortunately she’s gotten the short end of the stick.

 Preschool hasn’t gotten done.

And not because she isn’t cooperative. Unfortunately it’s just the opposite, she’s been begging to do school.

The cute assignments have gotten done. Eventually.

Reading took a back burner and we just worked on flash cards.

The stories I was suppose to read to her just didn’t happen.

And our coconut tree? Yeah, it’s got the letters A and B on it. :(

In short, I was failing Audrey.

First step? Realizing it.

Second step? Make a plan.

Luckily I’m great at making a plan.

So one Sunday night I opened up that weeks folder for school, grabbed the four books for the week. I made four piles, one for each day of the school week. I stacked them on top of each other (the books being the divider) and I left it on the table. With our All About Reading book on top.

I also realized that piano practice had slipped through the cracks. So when it’s time to do school I sit down with Audrey first, while Sydney plays the piano. When it’s time to switch Audrey to reading out loud I have Sydney start her math worksheet.

Audrey and I work through her pile of things to do, finishing with a book being read her to. Often I do this while I’m feeding Ruby, but the point is that we do not leave the table. We stay right there, because if we get up it won’t get finished. After I read her book to her, she reads to me from All About Reading.

We are going back over the first book and making sure she can read each of the stories fluidly with little time spent sounding out each. and. every. word. We are going slowly to make sure the concepts are reinforced.

After a few months of using this method I can say that our school work goes a lot smoother, Audrey is happier and her reading has improved drastically!

So what do you do when you’re failing your child? Stop. Fix it. Make a plan. Start again. Make it work.

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03-07-2015

How I Organize All About Reading

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Audrey is learning to read! Yey!

For her we choose to use All About Reading, it has a ton of fun games and does an awesome job teaching phonics. All things I’m a huge fan of.

My only issue I had was I had no idea how to store this curriculum! It felt like a waste of space to put all the lessons in file folders, so I was at a loss.

To begin with, my wonderful hubby colored the entire curriculum for me. Personally, I despise coloring. I seriously am awful at coloring, how absurd is that? Jordan, on the other hand, is not only good at coloring but he actually enjoys it!

So we made a deal, he’d do the coloring and I’d teach the kid to read. Sweet, DONE.

Anyhow, the wonderful husband colored the pages and then I laminated them and cut them out. Put them all into individual baggies according to which lesson they corresponded to.

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I also put together the Word Flipper/Sliders and laminated the Fluency Practice. Then I trimmed down the lamination on the Fluency Practice so that they would fit into a page protector.

Each lesson has it’s own page protector, which holds it’s Fluency Practice and any game pieces that are needed. When I finish a lesson I take the page protector out and move it to the back.

Why did I have Jordan color the pages, and then spend the time laminating it?

Because I didn’t think that Zachary would want to play a game that Audrey colored. Plus, it probably wouldn’t survive Audrey and I like to make our curriculum last.

But, it’s in a pink binder.

Yup, and that’s Audrey’s color. After she passes off AAR Level 1 I’ll move the page protectors to a blue blinder and keep it in storage until Zachary is ready for it. And then I’ll get AAR Level 2 all put together in Audrey’s pink binder.

Anything else that might be helpful?

The front cover holds her Progress Chart, so that every day she can see the progress she’s making! The star stickers that we use are in the pocket on the inside cover, along with some lined paper. Sometimes Audrey doesn’t like the tiles, on those days we write the words on lined paper instead. Audrey is very visual and quickly notices word ending patterns (“All the words end in -an!”) and during the “switch the letters” game this is REALLY helpful for her!

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01-20-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 4

Did you think I forgot about this challenge?

Well, I didn’t :)

Last Thursday (1/15) we went to a play group that was at the same time as school, and then we had lunch, nap and did chores until it was time to go to my grandparent’s house to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday. In other words; school didn’t happen.

Which was fine, because we can make it up on Friday, right? Unless Sydney wakes up throwing up and you spend the day tending to a sick child. And then school doesn’t happen again.

That’s okay, we’ll make it up on Monday.

Unless it’s a holiday in which your husband is home and you have maternity pictures, decide to have a family swim day and then take Audrey to gymnastics.

So TODAY (Tuesday) is the first day we’ve had school in almost a week. Time for some serious catch-up! No worries though, seriously. We’ve got this.

First things first, finish up our N packet. We did this by starting with our magnet page. This is one of my kid’s favorite activities, they have a ton of fun with this one.

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Following this we did some tracing practice. I tried to do formal handwriting practice with Audrey during preschool and it was AWFUL. Poor thing was so frustrated and it often resulted in tears. So we nixed that and we just do a handwriting tracing page once a week, it goes much smoother and Audrey loves it. Most of it is shapes and different lines, with only two letters, but I figure it’s helping her with those fine motor skills required to have nice penmanship later. :)

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Next we did a Do A Dot activity, which is another favorite. Audrey loves to play with the markers. In fact she spent about 10 minutes having the markers chase each other around the table in a very exciting battle. I had to remind her to get back on task. When Sydney was in preschool I had to make the rule that it was required that they use each color at least once. Because otherwise we’d have 26 pink only letters. The other colors get jealous. 😉

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And lastly we did a cut and paste activity. Audrey cut out a nest and 3 eggs and glued them to the paper. I’m really amazed at her scissor skills and how much she enjoys these projects! She had it all planned out on how she wanted her nest to go.

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And with that we finished off the last of the N activities. Thursdays and Fridays are typically our light days, they are kind of built in catch-up days for when we need them. Tomorrow we will have to get done several activities for the letter O to catch completely up, but with preschool this is fairly simple. It’s a little harder in say 2nd grade, just ask Sydney 😉

After she finished up the Letter N, Audrey read a Bob Book. I’ve said it a few times but I’m so grateful when I have good ideas to help my children learn and grow. Taking a step back and working on reading skills that are considered “easy” has been a huge help to Audrey. Next week when we go back to All About Reading I feel like it will go a lot smoother.

01-15-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 3

Wednesday was even shorter than normal as this is the day that Sydney has her piano lessons and dance class along with Zachary’s dance class. So basically we live at the dance studio on Wednesdays.

So Audrey gets to tag along and while she complains about how long it takes we remind her that everyone waits for her on gymnastics day.

This post will also be shorter because Audrey requested I put down my camera and pay attention to her. I gladly obliged. 😀

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Preschool, for me, is just a giant juggling act between easy and difficult (or time consuming) tasks. We always try to pair an easier task with a harder one. Today we sorted our nests by size, Audrey pretty much as this one finished before I get it all the way out of the bag. She’s good at it, and it’s a favorite!

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I paired this one with a scissor activity. These usually take a little longer, and Audrey is usually frustrated half way because cutting paper is HARD. Especially since school is pretty much the only time we let the kids use scissors and making them do what you want is hard work. Lately she’s been doing great with the curved lines and is excited to try.

After this picture was taken she requested that I stop taking pictures of her. We continued with out Bob Books review today. Unlike Monday (where we read 3) and Tuesday (where we read 2) today we only read one of the Bob Books, they are getting more difficult and she’s no longer breezing through, rather she’s taking her time and becoming frustrated again. But she’s still making excellent progress and becoming a more confident reader.

One thing we often do with school work is that we make Monday and Tuesday our heavy days. Wednesday is lighter, and Thursday and Friday are short. We do this to make catch-up days easier and to make our weeks less stressful on the days we have things planned. Which is why today’s activities only took about 10 minutes total. :)

01-14-2015

Preschool Day by Day | Day 2

Ready for our Tuesday?

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We started off with the lacing activity. This is great for those fine motor skills and hand eye cordination. It’s also good at testing Audrey’s patience. 😉

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Letter sorting is probably one of Audrey’s favorite activites each week! She loves sorting through the pile of capital and lower case letters and then putting them where they belong.

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I love this cute face of befuddlement when she was looking over her pattern exercise. It was a little trickier this week, but she made it through and figured it out. But initially she wasn’t thrilled with it. Usually the patterns are things like yellow, blue, yellow, blue or yellow, yellow, blue, blue, yellow, etc. This week it was yellow, green, blue, yellow, green blue.

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And lastly we read two Bob Books, which she did awesome at! I’m really glad we are taking this week to go over the Bob Books and help build her confidence. The reading part usually takes up the most time as the other activities are short, sweet, and a lot of fun! Rarely are they challenging, which is exactly how I feel preschool should be. The main learning goal of preschool is for them to get use to sitting down at the table and doing work, as well helping them learn to be patient and it helps me to figure out what it’s going to be like next year when I have two kids I’m teaching!

Also, she asked to pose this way. Promise.

10-16-2014

The Journey to Audrey

I use this blog to record my family’s history.

I use to keep pen and paper journals, I did this faithfully from the time I was 5 until I was 16. Then sporadically until now. But blogging is a lot easier than pen and paper. So this is my family’s history.

But in writing a public blog I have made a very big mistake. You see I only write the happy things about my family on this blog, on Facebook or on Instagram. And by doing so I have given a very wrong impression. I have given other the impression that I am put together, that I am level headed, and that I am supermom with a rock solid marriage. No one ever sees the bloopers, the trials, or the tears.

I am not supermom. I am not put together. Most days I don’t even get dressed. I love being married to my best friend, but oh man do we get on each other’s nerves sometimes! We often joke that true love is when you want to kill the other person but don’t, because you’d miss them too much. 😉

I’ve eluded a few times on this blog (or other media outlets) that I have fertility issues. I’ve decided to document the journey I went through for Audrey. After all it is part of her history. Someday I might write about Zachary and baby girl’s journey, but for now I feel like sharing Audrey’s story.

This story starts actually with Sydney. I had no problems getting pregnant with Sydney. Actually, I was super fertile and got pregnant on the birth control pill, despite taking it perfectly. I was only 17 when she was born. Despite my young age Jordan and I were excited to be parents and overjoyed when she joined us and made us a family. The day after she was born I went on the shot to avoid another pregnancy so quickly. Shortly after we got married we decided to have another baby. He is close in age with his sisters and he wanted Sydney to get to experience this as well.

Then we celebrated our first anniversary, without any success. I knew pretty quickly something was wrong. I hadn’t breastfed Sydney and yet my cycles had never returned. So I talked to my OB/GYN about it and he brushed me off telling me that I was young and not to worry.

Then six more months went by and I finally convinced him that I was REALLY concerned. He rolled his eyes but prescribed a medication called Clomid. I did 3 rounds of Clomid, each month they upped my dose because it wasn’t doing anything.

Correction: it wasn’t doing anything HELPFUL. It wasn’t making me ovulate.

What it WAS doing however was giving me menopausal hot flashes from hell, kicking my insomnia into high gear, and making me super emotional. Jordan wasn’t sure if he should hug me or sleep with an eye open. I joked later that it really was birth control. No one wants to get the crazy chick pregnant.

After 3 cycles I wasn’t pregnant. And I still wasn’t ovulating. So Dr. B called me with my blood work and told me that I would never have anymore children. So I needed to get over it. I was 19 and had just been told I was never going to have anymore babies. Growing up the only thing I ever really wanted to do was have a big family. I would annoy my teachers by saying I wanted to be a mom. They acted like this wasn’t an option. So this was pretty devastating to me. In the span of two years I had gone from thinking that I was super fertile to being told I would never again have children.

So naturally, me being defiant and rebellious, I gave my middle finger to the man and said, “Watch me!”

Actually, I sobbed. And then went and bought a nice couch set and snuggled my Sydney (despite her protests.)

Then Jordan called a local fertility specialist, he wanted a second opinion. Dr. S was very convinced that I had enometrosis, and he put me on another drug called Femara. Not only did Femara not drive me crazy but it also made me ovulate! I only had to go see this doctor a few times before I got pregnant with Audrey. But something that is super cool is that I got to see Audrey when she was just an egg hanging out in my ovary. I had scheduled endometrosis surgery and cancelled it at my pre-op because my pregnancy test had come back positive.

I found out I was pregnant with her a few days before my nice couches were delivered to my apartment.

Having Audrey was one of the biggest miracles I had witnessed in my life. It was the longest two and a half years of my life waiting for that little girl, and it’s minimal compared to what many have to endure. Watching her grow the last four years has shown me even more miracles than I ever thought possible. She is such a sweet and special little girl, and I am so glad I have the privilege to be her mama.

Five years ago today, I found out that my sweet miracle was on her way. My patience and persistence had paid off. Little did I know then that the waiting had just started with Miss Audrey. And she was no where near done testing my patience.

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09-16-2014

2014-2015 Students

Something we have always done is school pictures! This year I decided to do something a little more fun, and a lot less formal. I let the girls choose whatever they wanted to wear (which is a rare thing, I’m pretty picky about picture clothes.) Then we set up a desk and some of Papa’s smart looking books and went about being silly, telling jokes and just having a great time.

I’m pretty much in love with these pictures.

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Sydney