Saturday, July 9, 2016

Welcome to the Dinsmore Homeschool: Year 2

 After K-4 Jonah and Silas did not know a summer break was coming, so for 3 months they told me, "I really miss my mommy who used to do school with me!" We started our second year of homeschool on August 17th and the first 2 months of K-5 were wonderful! 
Pointing at Papa's birthday.
We didn't skip anything or have any interruptions. Then Mommy got pregnant and we hit a rough patch. We may have done a couple days weeks in my bedroom... on the bed... with the air on! But we moved back into our school room by January. 
An activity they liked so much they had to show Daddy when he got home!
We switched curricula this year. We used ABeka for K-4. My boys learned how to read just fine, so it works. Different things work for different families, but I didn't feel it was a good fit for us. There were 3 reasons I started looking for something else: 1. I wanted activity ideas... they're boys, we need to move! I had to supplement games and activities each day. We continued using some this year too.
Our fishing pond of word families
2. The worksheets were super repetitive. I like review and even worksheets, but present the material in different ways and ask different types of questions. 
3. My boys didn't like the readers. I dreaded reading and really struggled with it in kindergarten and early elementary, so I am pretty sensitive to this. The readers to me have vocab that isn't very common and stories that are unrewarding to read. The font used isn't the font that is taught, so often times my boys would struggle with letter recognition for letters like g's ts' and a's when it wasn't their fault.
I really wanted a curriculum that offers all subjects and that we can stick with through high school. This year we chose Bob Jones. While we were on furlough 2 years ago I actually met with a consultant and looked inside the books. It is about 30% more expensive, but I felt I got more than 30% more worth of resources. In the photo above, Bob Jones is on the left, Abeka is on the right. I realize that K-5 should be more meatier than K-4 anyway, but it is a much richer curriculum all around.
We covered science and history topics even though they are not stand alone subjects yet. 
Our volcano
Water Cycle
The reading comprehension exercises are excellent! My boys are kind of opposite in the way that they learn and it worked for them both. In the photo below, an Abeka reader is on the left and BJUPress is on the right. My boys loved reading time this year! This may be a maturity level issue too, but the readers are more interesting.
There are lots of reproducible activities in the back of the teacher's manuals, so Eden was able to do many things with us!  
Statues of Liberty
 My mom was here during the summer last year and even this year! She helped me organize, laminate and decorate my school room. We made a Superman (although I never went back and added his fists) and a Bible timeline.
Jonah was SO sad when we took the Superman down to set up for 1st grade.

I purchased a couple extra products for our school room this year.

We used this pocket chart for sight words, but I use it at the institute when I teach too.
The curriculum suggested unifix cubes.
We used them everyday. I thought seeing what they make with them after math class highlights their personalities! Silas made a Spiderman hand, Jonah made a gun and Eden made a doggie!
I also ordered this magnetic spinner. We used this metal door and our magnetic letters a lot! I would put blends in the spinner and they would have to make words.
There isn't anything more valuable than books. While we were on furlough last August we went to a used bookstore and brought lots of good ones back!
MaG sent us a workbook for Eden. She worked on that all year and loved it! She is so sweet while we have school!
I didn't care for the BJUPress Bible curriculum. I want a clear biblical applied truth for each lesson and more activities than what the workbook offered. It hasn't been updated in a long time and just isn't at the same level as their other subjects. Towards the middle of the year I started doing my own thing, then at the end of the year we tried a sample lesson from Picture Smart Bible and really liked it. We may go with that this next year or just do our own Bible study with the resources I already have. I haven't decided yet. 
Pillar of clouds by day / Pillar of fire by night... it all eventually turns into weapons.
 With the Phonics and reading curriculum we had a very fun year!
 All 3 of my kids bring stuff up we studied all the time. They keep asking me how many days till school starts again too. That makes me so thankful!
Weather charts
Studying the seasons

I thought this was funny. This would have been Jimmy and I if we had ever been in school together. Silas is finishing his paper about the time Jonah finishes organizing his crayons to start his! I see the practical side of Jimmy in Silas, so I value it.
 There was lots of Bible in the core subjects too. We built a Bible times town.
 Homeschooling twins is a hoot! Probably easier since they have a classmate.

Jonah and Silas are so different. We don't focus on competition, but we definitely don't eliminate it completely. We try to celebrate each other's strengths... learning how to both win and lose graciously. Neither struggle too much but are quick to encourage their brother if they miss something. Silas is extremely creative with an outside of the box personality. If I don't present the point of something he won't be interested. If I don't let Jonah get sufficiently prepared for an activity, he gets frustrated. Jonah is my inside the box little perfectionist. His box is going to be organized, alphabetized and the nicest box in the room, while Silas will have cut his box up to make it into a rocket ship! Both personalities are important in this world. Here I was teasing Jonah because we couldn't start this math activity until he sorted all his circles.
We made a Kindergarten Journal. It is a creative writing prompt encouraged by the curriculum. We plan on doing one every year. The boys wanted to re-read the entire book each time we added to it!
I love that after school as I move around the house the kiddos follow me, they just like for us all to be together! I've never even hung clothes on the line without tripping over one of them. Eden was sick one day and wanted to lay down in the room with us. From then on she called the blowup mattress her hospital bed! I think we are bonded, I hope it stays like that as long as possible!
We studied about community helpers. The boys ate this up!
Jonah was fire, not a person on fire...
I made lots of slideshows for their iPads of tools fireman, policeman, dentists and mailmen use. They loved it!

Our mailbox
There were snack suggestions too.
Our marshmallow teeth
Jimmy made some things for us this year, like geoboards

and a burning house that they got to put the fire out!

Most of the days I found myself really enjoying our time together rather than just checking something off a list to complete. That's what kindergarten should be!
Sorting food groups
Who knew homeschooling by necessity would be such a blessing to our family! There are so many things I learn about them from our conversations, and values I get to share. These are many conversations I would miss otherwise.
We finished the school year the day before we left for the capital to wait on Titus' birth.
It was a school year we will cherish forever!


  1. That is precious. I love your schoolroom. They look like they have so much fun while learning. Will Eden be starting k4 this upcoming school year? I just started teaching my son preschool homeschool and he is seeing A's and B's and all kinds of letters everywhere and feels so happy and eager to learn. God bless your family and school.

  2. Wow!! That's so cool!! Amazing Job!! May God keep blessing you all through your Homeschooling!!

  3. What a great post! Your photos and header are beautiful, too.


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