In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Curriculum Run-Down With Pictures

In honor of James and Ben's new Explode the Code books arriving, I thought I would do a brief run-down of the curriculum that we are using this year. Since I have done an abnormal amount of picture-less posts lately, I pulled my camera out today to help document.

Before I hit the books, I would like to comment on the absurd amount of pencils that we go through. It really seems that a pencil eating monster emerges at night and consumes them. I have lost count how many days I bring out a new pile of pencils and sharpen them. My question of the day is WHY do people create pencils that refuse to sharpen evenly. This pile seems to always have a spot at the end that is wood instead of lead, know what I mean?

Back to the books... Tori is a kindergartner this year. We started the year with an old book from a phonics curriculum that I used for Gabriel that is just for teaching the sound of each letter. It simply has a big letter in the center of the page and several pictures around it, so we do A,A alligator, etc, until each child knows the sound each letter makes. Tori is the 7th child to start this way and it seems to get the job done. After that, we progress to Handwriting Without Tears, Phonics Pathways and Explode the Code A,B and C books. Tori is just starting to take off understanding that the letter sounds combine to make words.

As for Math, we started the year with Saxon 1, but she was really lost when we got into the 20s, so I ordered the K Math U See and she is progressing nicely in it.

Other than that, we just read. We throw in a little science and little history (very little actually) and that's K at our house.

I decided last year that James and Ben were going to be 3rd graders again this year and it was a good decision. They were just not ready to be pushed through 4th grade anything. Ben was struggling so hard in 3rd grade Saxon that I put him back into 1st grade Math U See in the middle of last year. James dropped the 3rd grade Saxon and repeated the Math U See when Ben hit the 2nd grade level. We just started the 3rd grade, but I still plan on finishing it this year. Once they are 4th graders next year, they should be on track with 4th grade math as well. Saxon worked great for my first four children, but I have to say that I think Math U See is much better for children that may be a bit more learning challenged!

As far as reading, Ben and James have worked through a few phonic books this year, but Explode the Code is still my favorite. James is in book 6 and Ben is in 5 1/2, so I hope we can finish book 8 by the end of the summer. We also just began Beyond the Code, which is reading comprehensiton. Other than that, they read quite a bit; generally because I make them but I still have hope that they will read more for enjoyment once it comes easier. I have seen that progression in James and Ben isn't too far behind.

For Bible, Science and History, we are/were attempting to finish the geography My Father's World. While I can really sing the praises of the curriculum, we have not always maintained it since they are all attending science and art classes at co-op. James and Ben also love Bible, History and story CDs; they generally listen to a full hour every night at bed-time. James even sits up in his bed so he won't accidentally fall asleep and miss any of them. They have learned a ton from working through several sets. Our favorites are Our Story Hour, which have been on extended loan from my friend, Wendy.

In the interest in space and attention span, I'll hit the Alyssa and Moriah list tomorrow.

I do have to show you the nice sticker that Ben blessed Elijah with at lunch. Yes, we eat our sandwiches on cheap white paper plates every day and I still run a dish-washer after each meal. I pulled out the camera to capture Elijah wearing his "big, blue sticker," but he got camera shy and immediately hid his face with his toy.

I sat and waited for him to put it down, but this is all I got -

Once he saw the camera, right back up it went.

I hope his camera shy stage is short lived!


  1. ok well you know my take on pencils. you are wasting your money if you arent buying Ticonderoga pencils -the best pencils in the whole wide world! I will not allow any other in the house! i know they are more expensive but they are worth it. and my kids have to beg, borrow & steal to get more pencils out of my stash. they waste them and it angers me! some kids dont even have pencils in the world!

    love reading about your curriculum. makes me feel guilty over what i'm not doing at the moment with mine!
    but i digress. this is your blog & not about me!
    love you

  2. We use the explode the code too. Gabe just started book 2 though. He really struggles academically and I just try to stay calm and not worry about it too much! It's hard. I know that larkspur will probably pass him next year. i just hate it for him.

  3. oh & after rereading your blog & looking at the pictures I cant help but compare your sad little marker bin to my beautiful, well organized one of sharpies! just saying.....
    Actualy this blog post has spurred me on to consider what I need to get in regards to grammar & literature for Elizabeth in the next few months. it's so hard with a kid with learning disabilities especially when i have a much younger child on the cusp of overtaking her academically. so because it's hard i just would rather not think about it...but i have to...your blog is making me. thanks a lot.

  4. Mrs. Wendy,
    I have a sharpie collection much like yours (40-50) lol. My mom is what i would say "SAD!"