Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How Our Homeschool is Organized - The 3 Binder System

Since everything we're doing this year is different, I might as well keep up with that trend, and change up how I've been organizing everything for the past two years, right?

In the past, I've had a very detailed teachers planner.  I loved my teachers planner, it really helped me keep on track.  The only bad part about it, is when something came up (like an unexpected playdate, a bout of the flu, or simply a day in which mama needed the day off), we'd have to set unrealistic goals to get caught up.  It was OK, but I think I've discovered something that's going to work better for us.  Now, I'll just use my regular old paper daily planner to put our field trips in.  That way, it'll always be with me. Our school work organization will be separate from our field trips. Here's what we're doing:

Each of us has a 3 ring binder.  I'll go into detail about the binders, from oldest to youngest :)

Mom's Binder:

My binder is the ultimate Two Cowgirls homeschool guide.  It has all of our lesson plans, answer sheets, reward stickers, etc inside.  This will allow me to know at a glance what independent work Millie is supposed to be doing, and so I know what to ask her about after she's finished her daily 3 R's.  I have a tab for each science and history.  

Now here is where things are really different!  Rather than putting our lessons into a calendar, with a specific due date, I have compiled the lessons into a list.  It goes in order, with an approximate due date (by week).  This way, if we get off track by a day (or a week!), we just continue down the list.  No worries.  Behind the lesson list, I have all the worksheets we'll need for the year, printed and 3 hole punched.  Everything is ready and waiting!

Millie's Binder

Millie has her binder broken into 4 sections:
  • Daily tasks
    • Chore chart
    • Chart with her Easy Peasy assignments.  Once she finishes an assignment, she'll "check" the box of the assignment she completed.  Once I've reviewed it, I'll initial it.  When she's finished all the work for the day, she can put a sticker on it.
  • Worksheets
    • All of her worksheets for english, grammar, reading, etc. are printed and ready to go
  • Completed work
    • This is where she'll put her work that is awaiting correcting from me
    • She'll also put projects worth of saving for her "portfolio" in here.
  • Scrapbook
    • This is where she'll make a little scrapbook with pictures that she takes of her friends, field trips, etc.  
Elise's Binder:

Elises's binder is very similar to Millie's binder, except that she doesn't have a chart for independent work, as she won't be doing any work independently (she's going into Kindy, after all!)

School starts in 1 week from today!!!  Want to see how other people are getting organized, and using their homeschool spaces?  Check out this Not Back To School Blog Hop!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013-14 Curriculum Week

School starts in a week and a half!  I'm not nearly as prepared as I usually am.  I guess it's all part of the new "relaxed Leslie"  ;)

The big change this year is that Elise will be doing kindergarten, which means I'll actually have to teach two kids!  Yikes!  I'm a little nervous.  I'm sure we'll get into a groove in no time, but until that happens, I'm stressing out about it a bit.

Here's what we're doing this year:

Millie - 4th Grade:

#1 Goal for Millie is to teach her independence.  I'd like her to take initiative and do things on her own.  Our curriculum choices reflect that.

Math:  Saxon 5/4.  It can be self guided, which is what I want.  I'll be completely available of course, but I really want her to start figuring things out for herself.

English, reading, spelling, computer, and writing:  Easy Peasy homeschool.  This is an entirely online curriculum.  It's much more rigorous than we've used before.  It'll be really good for Millie.

Science: Human body study though Guest Hollow.

History: American history 2 through Guest Hollow.

Elise - Kindergarten:

#1 Goal for Elise: To teach her how to read.

Math: Saxon K.

Reading and writing:  We'll start out the  year using worksheets I've printed from various sources on Pinterest.  After Christmas, I'll start her on All About Spelling.

Science:  We're going to do a bunch of really fun experiments and share them on www.ScienceAdventureClub.com.

She's going to take a weekly class at Silverwood called Doodle Bugs, where she'll separate from me for 2 hours, and join other 4-5 year olds for a ton of fun!  They'll read stories, do art, and nature study.

We're also going to do unit studies about princesses, maps, safety (phone number, address, etc), animal habitats, and she'll do an animal report.

That about sums it up!

We're already overbooked with activities for the first part of the school year.  I'm not really sure how I let that happen, but I did.  We'll just roll with it  I'm not scheduling anything between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we can take a few weeks to slow down, do service projects, and enjoy the Christmas season.

Go here to find out what other curriculum other homeschoolers are using!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blueberry Week 2013

It's that time of year again, where we're up to our eyeballs in blueberries!  We received 10 pounds this year.  The 5 pounds we received last year just didn't seem like enough ;)

This year I made cheesecake with blueberry sauce, several batches of the best blueberry muffins EVER, and of course jam.  And jam.  And jam.  Plus, I put 8 cups of blueberries in the freezer for later.  Woo hoo!  

The Most Amazing Blueberry Muffins Ever

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 c Sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c all purpose flour

    2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.  Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup.  Add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.  Mix this with flour mixture.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups right up to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To make crumb topping:

Mix together 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 c flour, and 2 T butter.  Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

I used a different recipe for the jam this year.  I purchased a different brand of pectin, and used honey instead of sugar.  It's beyond delicious.  

Our Summer in Pictures, Part 2/3

Sun kissed girls

Lots of cousin and farm time!

Out for a hike at Minnehaha Falls

Spent quality time with a good friend

Chutes and Ladders with the Maurers

Her first horseback riding lesson!

4-H judgement day (American Girl dress)