Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trace Emory is FIVE months old!

My, how times just flies by!

Just five short months ago, we got to meet this little punkin in person.

Don't you just love sleeping baby pictures? (And, just sleeping babies in general?)

He is a little Sanchez for sure. Looks just like his brothers.

Trace can rock the faux-hawk.

What did we ever do without him?

(Of course, I say that about all my babies!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Little Punkins

Last Sunday Brennan and Trace were invited to a birthday party at a pumpkin patch. I tried to get some good pictures, and I realized something. 

I don't have the patience to be a photographer.

I was going to let Brennan pick out a pumpkin to keep, but after this picture she threw it back down into the pile, and didn't want it.

Okay then.

I could barely keep Trace's hands out of his mouth for a picture.

 Then he fell over and bonked his head on a pumpkin and we were done with that.

We went through the corn maze with some friends. Bethany came to help me (and mostly because her friend Sarah was going to be there.)

 This was our first time ever to a pumpkin patch or a corn maze.

Trace wasn't very impressed.

 Overall, we made some memories and I got a few good, and realistic (ha!) pictures!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sanchez Homeschool Kindergarten!

WELL, I had wanted to write this two years ago when Thomas was in Kindergarten, but, yeah, I didn't get to it............

So, now that I'm teaching my EIGHTH Kindergartener, and I had a recent inquiry about how to do Kindergarten, I thought I had better get up a post about it.

I practice the "Kindergarten is LOW stress" homeschool method. In most (maybe all?) states Kindergarten is not a requirement. But, of course, because schools do offer it, we moms feel that our children will be behind for their entire academic career if they aren't reading by the end of that year.

In our homeschool, if my Kindergartener wanted to do the work, then we would do work. If they didn't want to, then we wouldn't.

Since I have older kids now (who aren't given that option) the little one who is in Kindergarten usually wants to do work so they can be like big brother or sister.


Brittany (my oldest) was interested in learning to write when she was four, so we started then with phonics. We made a simple ABC book that used magazine cutout pictures for every letter of the alphabet. Now I know some programs discourage using picture/sound association, but I found it helpful if she would forget what "m" sounded like, we could open the the little book and see the picture of the moon or whatever. So, I've used this for every child.

I used to just write simple silly sentences with Brittany like "Brittany is a red man." to introduce short vowel sounds. Then I found the Bob Books which are basically the same thing. I didn't realize that there were five sets until I was teaching Tyler (my 2nd) to read and so I bought them and have used them with all the kids since then.

I was really excited to find some other moms had created activities to go along with the books!

Walking By the Way has activities for the first two sets, but not the last three.

This Reading Mama has activities for all five sets.

This Reading Mama also has lessons plans for all five sets (also included in the lessons plans are activities from several other bloggers).

She also has extra activities for set one and could maybe be adapted for other sets also.

So far, I have used the first two sets from Walking By the Way. She has simple activities that require minimal supplies. I take about one week to read the book a couple of times and do the activities for that book.

Supply list for Walking By the Way:

Basic school supplies: pencil, crayons, scissors, glue stick, computer for typing (if your child likes to type)

Extra: bingo marker, small stickers, pair of dice, "markers" for tic tac toe (I used some construction paper squares in two colors), abc tiles (I used foam and made an upper case and a lower case set) and a brown paper bag

All of these things I found at Dollar Tree. I just keep it all in a ziploc so it's together and ready when we pull out the activities.

I have not used the This Reading Mama activities yet, but just glancing through the supply lists, it looks about the same.

I keep all the printout sorted by book and paperclipped together in a folder. (Because I need to be organized like that.)

Since I have many more children that will be using these, I decided to laminate some of the sheets.

We also check books out from the library that I read aloud to them, and I use read alouds for history and science for the older kids as well, so there is plenty of opportunity for reading comprehension practice for the Kindergartners.

After the Bob Books we move onto easy readers and increase the levels until they seem pretty proficient then move to age appropriate chapter books.

**Homeschooling provides the perfect opportunity to move at your child's own pace. If your child needs more time to "take off" with reading, then you are able to do that. I hate to sound cliche, but some kids, and especially boys, may need a little extra time with reading.

As for writing, I've printed some practice sheets off of the internet or in the early days when my older ones were little I just bought a tablet and wrote a few things that they could copy.

These sheets came from Confessions of a Homeschooler.


I've been using Math U See for a long time. Instead of creating a bunch of busywork worksheets that seems to overtake everything, I laminated the some of the lessons for the Primer and put some of the cutouts on notecards, so they could be used over and over. Really, you could start the Primer for some kids at age 4, because the first half of the book is really very basic. But, if your child finishes the Primer in Kindergarten and stays on track to finish one level per year, then by 7th grade they will be completing PreAlgebra which is the average college level track.

Also, there are activity sheets for Primer if you'd like to use those. I did print off a few and laminated them.

I made these numbers for decimal street years ago. I printed off some clip art cars and numbers and just laminated them.

This is also the same decimal street I made years ago.

I also keep various puzzles, file folder games and such on hand so that my Kindergarteners can rotate through activities (which is especially helpful when I need some quiet time to work with the older kids.) It's mainly stuff I've made or picked up at the dollar tree or yard sale.

For everything else........

I think the two biggest "sit down" subjects to work on for Kindergarten are phonics/reading and math. Everything else (science, social studies, etc.) can easily be learned by reading books aloud, nature study, games, puzzles, etc. I would say, even until maybe the fourth grade, you could keep the focus that way. But, if you prefer to do things differently, then BY. ALL. MEANS. It's your choice. ;)

If you only have a Kindergartener, then you could just add things in that they are interested in, or maybe put up a calendar and go over the days of the week and months. Keeping a weather chart is great, too.

I like to use this devotion for the younger ones for Bible Study.

Devotions for the Children's Hour   -     By: Kenneth N. Taylor

And, that's about it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

At the Fair!

For the last few years I had been planning for the kids to enter something into the Tulsa State Fair. But, life always seems to get away from me and then it's one of those things that just never happens.  

But, this year I was determined that things were going to be different.

I told the girls to look on the internet and find a tote bag they wanted to make. I knew they could do a great job, considering how well the diaper bags turned out.

Bethany chose a smaller bag with a decorative ruffle and flower on the front. Brooke chose more of a "scrunchy" type bag with a belt for a strap.

Tristan and Thomas made Lego designs. There are always a ton of Lego entries at the fair. But, the boys were very creative.

Thomas and Tristan got participation awards for their Legos.

Brooke took 2nd place for her bag!

Bethany took 1st place for her bag!

David took pictures of their stuff in the display cases.

I am so proud of them. I thought it would be something neat for them to do. They are trying to convince me to enter one of my scrapbook pages for next year. We'll see!

Our fair also has a lot of neat stuff for kids. They have an entire building devoted to hands on exhibits for the younger crowd and it's FREE with the paid entrance ticket. There is a petting zoo, sand pit, science labs, ride on toys for the very littles, a ball pit, balloon animals and craft tables.

Here the kids are scaling the rock wall....

One thing I love about the fair is the food.

I mean, really. When else are you going to eat deep fried red velvet Oreos? (Every day of my life if I could.)

Or, scorpion pizza? (NO thanky.)

We also had a funnel cake, grilled corn, deep fried Reese's  (which weren't as good as the Oreos), giant corn dogs, fried green tomatoes and lemonade.

Don't worry, we burned all those calories walking and sweating back to the van.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Musings: Fascinating Edition

Travis (4) at the zoo: "Mom! Look at that gecko! It's fascinating!"

Travis also fell asleep unnoticed with half a pack of gum last week. Let's just say it took a fair amount of peanut butter and scrubbing to get it off.

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