Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dancer, Turned Dance Teacher, Turned Dance Mom

It has happened...

For many years, I was a dancer.

Then after majoring in dance I became a dance teacher.

After many, many, many  years of being a dance teacher, I have become a...

DANCE MOM

When and how does something like this happen?  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a "Dance Moms"  dance mom.  I am a dance mom who tries her hardest to behave.  Honestly, I am not even sure if my daughter's dance teacher knows my background.  BUT this trying to behave, be nice, and stay quiet is SO HARD.

I often get a tad envious of the dance mom who does not have formal training or a teaching background.  This type of dance mom looks relaxed and calm.  She has such a peace about her.  It is probably how I would look if my daughter was in soccer or softball or any other activity to which I know nothing about....  Oh please, what am I saying.  You know, as well as I know, that if you know me I never look relaxed.  How is that for a relaxed sentence?! :)

This past weekend, my six year old daughter performed in her recital for the third year.  The past years have not been successful for moi, "the dance mom".  The first year I realized 3/4th's of the way through the routine that I was watching the wrong child.  WHAT?!!!!  How could I make that mistake!  I remember getting very upset with my own mom when she video-ed the wrong dancer during one of my routines.  I am so sorry Mom, now I understand that it really is an easy mistake to make.  I remember I felt robbed; robbed of her first performance (insert throwing myself on the couch with my hand over my head).  I know that sounds dramatic but if you were a dancer, turned dance teacher, turned dance mom you would understand.  The second year was just as dramatic but for different reasons.  The girls entered the stage as part of the routine.  The first little girl in line tripped and it was pretty much a slow motion domino effect from there on.  I remember saying aloud that the music needed to be stopped, they were five year olds and deserved another chance.  Forget "the show must go on", these are babies.  I was devastated.  My husband held my arm as I sat there begging (quietly) for the music to start over.  Looking back, I think he may have been holding my arm in the event I started to bolt from my seat and take over the sound booth.  He must have recognized the crazed look of determination and control in my eyes.  It was as if he knew that I had already calculated the exact number of seat and stairs I would have to vault over to get to that sound guy....  He knows me well. :)

So this year the normal thoughts went through my head.  As a dancer, turned dance teacher, turned dance mom you get these urges that feel almost unstoppable.  I will give you some examples,

I have to muster up every ounce of self control not to jump on stage and run dress rehearsal myself.  I start to sweat and fidget.  One of two things will happen:  I will get a glazed look on my face along with very rigid posture OR I will appear to have some type of twitch but really I am just trying to keep from doing the routine myself...

I also have the sudden urge to adjust costumes and fix make up of children who are not mine. 

I feel the need to grab food and drinks and throw them out of the building a safe distance from all costumes.

I have to keep all pens and notepads at home for fear of taking and then "giving notes" to unsuspecting dancers that I pass in the auditorium (probably don't know them either).

I really, really, really want to wear the head set and stand on stage right while calling lighting and music cues.

I have to bite my tongue when I feel like the routine needs to be run again, spacing needs to be adjusted, costumes need to be pinned, and maybe just maybe a mistake was made with who the teacher chose to put front and center...

And finally, on the night of the show I have to remind myself to ONLY WATCH MY CHILD.  When you are a dancer, turned dance teacher, turned dance mom you lose the ability to only watch your child.  Your eyes zoom out to watch the entire group.  Seriously, it is like an auto zoom that just naturally happens.  Then when something goes wrong, even the tiniest little mis-step or incorrect arm placement and the auto focus all of a sudden zooms in.  It is so hard!!!!

This picture will forever be a favorite. 

So, you are probably wondering by now how this year's recital went.  I am glad to report that even though I did get hot and started to sweat, I didn't have near as many dancer, turned dance teacher, turned dance mom moments.  I watched my real daughter and she did an amazing job.  I was so proud of her and her perfect little dancer self.  It has only taken three years but I have made big improvements. 

Now if anyone would like me to do their daughter's hair or make-up or even run their routines in the hall just let me know...I am more than willing to help! :)

**This was meant to poke fun at myself.  I hope it wasn't offensive in anyway.  I am pretty sure that all of my dancer, turned dance teacher, turned dance moms know every emotion I just mentioned. :)

Friday, May 13, 2016

5th Grade Curriculum

So I told myself this year that I would post our curriculum choices by grade level.  Let me tell you, I am glad I am on the last post.  This isn't exactly the most thrilling topic. :)  If you would like to see our choices for Kinder or 2nd Grade please click here and here.  Since I am ready for this series to be over, I am going to jump right in.  If you have been following along, you have probably noticed that some of the subjects are the exact same.  We cover Bible, Science, and Geography as a family.  Then the other subjects are covered individually.




5th Grade Curriculum

Bible:  This year we used a combination of daily devotions and Sunday school homework (sent home by our church).  I also love the Jesus Calling for Kids.  It was a great spring board for sharing and conversation.  I also spent quite a bit of time teaching the kids how to look up books, chapters, and verses in their Bibles.  Last year we covered the order of the books for the New Testament with a fun song.  This year, I would announce a book and they would have to tell me if it was from the Old or New Testament.  Then we would move from there, finding the specific books, chapter, and verse.

Science:  Answers in Genesis  I purchased this curriculum last year at our annual curriculum swap.  It had been previously used by two other families but was still in really great condition.  The best part about this curriculum is that it is designed to work with multiple ages at the same time.  Both of my sons were able to work side by side and my daughter was able to join in, as well.  It was fantastic and made our science time fun for everyone.

Geography:  Road Trip U.S.A.  from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  All three kids worked on this curriculum together.  It was a great "trip" across our country with fun facts, state flowers, animals, landmarks, and food.  We also covered all 50 states and capitals with a super fun song. 

Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting Level D  Like I have said in my previous posts, I really like this handwriting curriculum.  Level D was perfect for my fifth grader.  This is two levels above the transition level.  It is very important that the student have cursive experience before working in this book.

Spelling:  All About Spelling Level 1, 2, & 3  My fifth grader has always struggled with spelling.  This year I decided to switch from ABeka and try All About Spelling.  I had heard wonderful things about it from other homeschool moms and figured it might be a good fit.  It has been amazing!  With this program, the student starts with Level 1 regardless of age.  I told my son that it might seem really easy in the beginning but we needed to make sure he had a good foundation before moving to other levels.  I was really concerned that he would think it was too baby-ish; especially since his 2nd grade brother was starting at the same level.  But to my surprise, it didn't bother him.  He moved through Level 1 in 1 six week grading period.  He was super excited to move onto Level 2.  By Christmas he had completed Level 2.  I could really see his confidence with spelling grow.  It took him all of second semester to complete Level 3.  Oh. My!!!  His spelling has improved so much!!!  He will begin Level 4 in the fall.

Math:  Math U See - Gamma and Math U See - Delta  Math has also been a stressful for my oldest son.  He tends to get very overwhelmed with this subject.  Half way through 4th grade we realized he needed a switch in curriculum.  He just couldn't grasp multiplication and he was beginning to get left in the dust with his current curriculum.  I had heard that Math U See was a great curriculum for students that have a lot of anxiety with math.  We started the Gamma level (mainly multiplication) during the second half of his 4th grade year and finished the first half this year.  After completing the Gamma level, we moved onto to Delta (mainly division).  He will finish the Delta level next week.  I was concerned that taking so much time to focus only on multiplication and division may cause some delay in other math areas.  However, when I gave him the Saxon Math placement test his was actually ahead.  He will begin Saxon Level 7/6 at the start of 6th grade.

Language:  ABeka Language B  Since we started with ABeka in 2nd grade and were happy with it, I figured it was best to stay the course.  ABeka Language is extremely thorough and at times very long, however, I do feel it is giving him a great foundation.  He completed his 5th grade Language Final Exam on Thursday.  It did a fantastic job and is very relieved to have that subject finished for the summer. :)

Reading:  ABeka Readers and Timed Reading  Again, we have used this curriculum since the 2nd grade.  I have always been very pleased with the readers and timed reading assignments from ABeka.  He has always seemed to enjoy the stories, as well. 

He also chose to take Extreme Art, Ancient Egypt, and Texas History at our Friday co-op. 

Woohoo!!! I am done!  I know we cover all of this every school day for 180 days but typing it all out is just as exhausting!!!








Monday, May 9, 2016

2nd Grade Currriculum

Earlier this week, I posted the kindergarten curriculum I used with my daughter this year.  Our sons are finishing up 2nd and 5th grade.  I thought it would be helpful to list their curriculum, as well.  I love that with homeschooling you get to pick your own curriculum.  However, there is so much to chose from!  I always find it helpful when I can talk to another mom or read a blog written by a mom who has used the curriculum.  Our co-op has a curriculum swap every spring.  Everyone brings their gently used curriculum and can either swap or sell for a discounted price.  It is such a huge help financially but also just to talk to the other moms regarding the choices.  With that said, the reason for writing this post is to help other homeschool moms.  Let's face it, it takes a village!:)

**How many times can I type the work "curriculum" in one paragraph?  LOL :)


2nd Grade Curriculum

Bible:   This year we used a combination of daily devotions and Sunday school homework (sent home by our church).  I also love the Jesus Calling for Kids.  It was a great spring board for sharing and conversation.  I also spent quite a bit of time teaching the kids how to look up books, chapters, and verses in their Bibles.  Last year we worked on the order of the books for the New Testament with a fun song.  This year, I would announce a book and they would have to tell me if it was from the Old or New Testament.  Then we would move from there, finding the specific books, chapter, and verse.

Science:  Answers in Genesis: God's Design for Life  I purchased this curriculum last year at our annual curriculum swap.  It had been previously used by two other families but was still in really great condition.  The best part about this curriculum is that it is designed to work with multiple ages at the same time.  Both of my sons were able to work side by side and my daughter was able to join in, as well.  It was fantastic and made our science time fun for everyone.

Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting: Transition  I decided to use the Transition workbook because I really wanted my second grader to begin cursive handwriting.  We spent the first half of the year on his manuscript and the second half of the year on cursive.  This coming year, his handwriting assignments will be strictly cursive.

Spelling:  All About Spelling - Level 1 & 2  In years past, I have used ABeka for spelling.  However, after much frustration and talking to other homeschool moms, I decided to switch and try All About Spelling.  I have LOVED this approach to spelling and phonics.  The kids are learning the reasons behind spelling rules and how to use phonics to guide spelling decisions.  With this program, you start at Level 1 regardless of grade or age.  My second grader started with Level 1 and is almost finished with Level 2.  I have seen a huge improvement in his spelling over the course of the year.

Math:  ABeka: Arithmetic 2  My second grader really enjoys math.  Which is crazy to me because those aren't exactly my feelings about the subject. :)  BUT, he loves it so I really allow him to set his own pace; which is usually fast!  If he wants to go above and beyond the assignment I always allow it (such a benefit of homeschooling).  He completed this curriculum right after Christmas and was chomping at the bit to start multiplication.  I started him on Math U See: Gamma.  This is the multiplication level for Math U See.  It also comes with a short lesson (per chapter) which he thinks is super fun. 

Language:  ABeka: Language Arts 2  I really prefer to stick with ABeka for Language.  I have looked at other curricula but I always come back to ABeka for this particular subject.  It gives the child such a good foundation.

Letters & Sounds:  ABeka: Letters and Sounds 2  By using both ABeka and All About Spelling, I feel the kids are really understanding and applying the rules of phonics.  There is a test booklet that you can purchase but I really didn't care for it.  Since, I am checking on a daily basis for  his understanding, I decided we really didn't need to use the tests.

Reading:  ABeka: 2nd Grade Readers  With each grade level, I have used the ABeka readers.  My kids really enjoy the stories and I like the comprehension questions and vocabulary.

I have mentioned before that we belong to a Christian based homeschool co-op.  We attend the co-op on Friday's where the kids get to take various classes and enjoy time with their friends.  We absolutely love it.  The kids and I have met some of our dearest friends at co-op. :)  This year my youngest son (2nd grade) took Cooking, Texas History, and Legos. 

That is all for now.  I will post the 5th Grade choices later this week. :)






 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kindergarten Curriculum

We are rapidly coming to the end of our school year.  This is always such a fun part of the year.  The kids (and myself) get so excited with each subject that is completed.  I love brand new curriculum at the beginning of the year and finishing books at the end.  It is October through March that is hard. :)

One of the hardest parts of homeschooling (especially if you are new to it) is deciding on curriculum.  It really is through talking to other moms, researching, and reading blogs that you even begin to put a dent into what can seem like an overwhelming mountain. 

This will be the close of our fourth year homeschooling.  When we first started I was introduced to ABeka by a fellow homeschooler and friend.  She reassured me that it was a great curriculum that would definitely cover everything my kids would need.  Over the years, we have branched out but I still really like ABeka (especially for the younger elementary kiddos).  Listed below is the curriculum I used this year for my kindergartner.





Kindergarten Curriculum

**Just a reminder:  This is the curriculum that has worked for our family.  Every family and every child is different.  With that said, it is always great to see what others have used (positive and negative).

Bible:  This year we used a combination of daily devotions and Sunday school homework (sent home by our church).  I also love the Jesus Calling for Kids.  It was a great spring board for sharing and conversation.  I also spent quite a bit of time teaching the kids how to look up books, chapters, and verses in their Bibles.  Last year we learned the order of the books for the New Testament with a fun song.  This year, I would announce a book and they would have to tell me if it was from the Old or New Testament.  Then we would move from there, finding the specific books, chapter, and verse.

Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting - Level A.  This was another suggestion from a fellow homeschooling mom.  I have really enjoyed this curriculum.  Each week there are four days of handwriting (working with a Bible verse).  On the fifth day, the child writes the verse on a decorative page.  Then they have the option to color the page.  I used A Reason for Handwriting with all three of my kids (various levels for each child).

Spelling:  All About Spelling - Level 1.  As much as I liked this curriculum, we did hit a point after Christmas when it was just too much for her age.  I believe most people start Level 1 in 1st Grade.  However, it did give her a great jump start on phonograms.  We will re-do this level this coming year for 1st Grade.  For the duration of the year, we worked on blends, special sounds, and sight words.

Letters & Sounds:  ABeka Letters & Sounds K5 .  This has been a great book.  I have been extremely impressed with how it taught her to identify and mark vowels, special sounds, and blends.  It also reinforced the phonograms that she covered in All About Spelling. 

Math:  ABeka Number Skills K5She absolutely loved this math book.  Most days, she would ask to do more pages than I had originally assigned.  She breezed through this curriculum.  In Feburary, she completed the book.  Since she was so excited about math and she had mastered the Kinder curriculum, I allowed her to start the ABeka: Arithmatic Grade 1 book.

Reading:  ABeka Phonics ReadersShe really enjoyed these books.  I also thought the progression through the year was right on track.  We also spent time working on sight words each day during reading time.

Geography:  Road Trip U.S.A. from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  All three kids worked on this curriculum together.  It was a great "trip" across our country with fun facts, state flowers, animals, landmarks, and food.  She also learned all 50 states and capitals with a super fun song. 

Calendar Time: We spent a lot of time on calendar skills each day.  I bought a huge wall calendar a few years back.  It has probably been one of the most used items in our classroom.  I also incorporate a lot of activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Here is a link to a post I wrote at the beginning of the school year, show our exact calendar area:  Calendar Time.

As far as Science goes, I allowed her to chose if she wanted to sit in on the lesson I completed with my sons.  Also, if it was a topic I wanted her to hear, I would pull her in to sit with them.  She always participated in any experiments the boys were working on.

We are blessed to attend a wonderful Christian co-op on Fridays.  This year at the co-op, she was able to take three fun, elective type classes.  The classes she chose to take were Cooking, Lego Club, and Books Alive.  Co-ops are such a great experience for both kids and moms.  I am so thankful we joined two years ago. :)

So there you have it, our Kinder curriculum for this school year.  I hope you found it helpful! :)