Posts Tagged ‘keepers of the faith’

I am so proud of Little Miss.  In her history readers, there were stories about life in the Colonial Days.  They spent a lot of time focusing on stories from the perspective of children.  Perfect for a young child just beginning to learn history.  It has drawn her interest as she hears what life was like for children in those days.  Learning that very young girls were taught early to knit stockings for the family surprised her the most.  She had never thought of that.  She wondered why they didn’t go to the store and buy socks like we do.  This led to a long discussion about the lack of stores and the need for all girls in the home to help clothe the family as well as make their own bedding.

Ever since learning how much knitting the young Colonial girls did, Little Miss asked me to teach her to crochet last autumn.  For the Christmas holiday, she crocheted a long chain to decorate our tree.  It made a fun first project and gave her plenty of practice in that first stitch.  On Saturday, I surprised Little Miss with a new small project that will teach her the single crochet stitch.  We have a 1 year old female cat named Flower.  Little Miss loves this cat and enjoys playing with her.  So, I combined this with a crochet project.  She is making cat toys!

The toy is a very simple one.  Using a single crochet stitch, she is making a 2 inch x 4 inch swatch.  Once she gets the swatch large enough, it will be folded in half to make a 2 inch square.  We will stuff a cotton ball inside as we sew up the sides.  This will make a nice little toy for Flower to bat around the floor.  You can add a bell inside if you want, but we are making them without.  If you tie a long length of yarn to the toy and attach it to a stick, you have a toy you can use to play with the cat also.

Little Miss is doing great making the toy.  She is excited that as she makes this, she is learning a stitch that she can use to make other things.  I have already thought of a next project that she will like.  If she makes about 6 single crochet 3-inch squares, I can show her how to sew them together with yarn to make a mini blanket for her Barbie dolls.  For her, the projects are just fun.  She loves to sit beside me and crochet on her project as I am working on my own.  As she makes these little projects, she is learning a skill that she can use throughout her life.  The small Barbie blanket project will be within her abilities, yet will teach the technique for making a patchwork afghan.  The only difference being the size of the projects.

I am still trying to learn to knit.  Once I do, Little Miss is already saying that she wants me to teach her.  She wants to make a pair of socks like the little girls in her history book.  Oh my!  Guess I better get busy learning to make them myself.  Thankfully I know how to crochet a very simple sock pattern that I can teach her once she masters the single crochet stitch!

We are going to include her learning to crochet in her Keepers of the Faith projects.  She loves that program.  It has been teaching her so much.  Not just in skills but academically.  I am so glad that we chose to get the Keepers’ book for her.

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For the past week, it has been like Christmas at our home.  At least, you would think so from the excitement that Little Miss has shown.  We ended up placing the orders with Heart of Dakota and Keepers of the Faith as planned.  Both gave fast service, though HOD did arrive first.  I realised as I looked over the curriculum that as of this year, we will only need to purchase the consumable materials for Pookie as he becomes ready for each level of advancement.  Little Miss will get new materials each year, as she is older.  We will be able to store the course materials for each year until Pookie is ready to advance to each level.  This will make it really easy in the future.  I plan to buy the consumables for reading & grammar that Pookie will need ahead of time.  Math will be bought just before he is ready for it.  At this point, his math is still taught completely hands-on so I have no idea what he will be doing 2 years from now.

With each delivery, Little Miss became excited.  It doesn’t help that Momma has discovered the joys of buying everything online.  LOL   Whenever the delivery van arrives, she is very animated.  Pookie looks on with his usual nonplussed expression, but was curious about his readers.  He loves books, so was looking at the covers with great interest.

One of the purchases that I had made was books 3 & 4 in the McGuffey’s Reading (Phonics) and Writing (Grammar) workbook series for 1st grade.  It turned out to be the perfect starting point for Little Miss’ studies.  She will be using the McGuffey Curriculum in reading and writing each year from now through 8th grade.  I wanted her to have a strong foundation in the program so am starting 2nd semester books to finish out 1st grade.

I am very impressed with this McGuffey curriculum.  As one would expect, it is based upon the McGuffey readers.  Little Miss loves it and she is doing very well with it.  The lessons start of gradually, yet build upon each other at a steady pace.  She reads lessons from the McGuffey Primer & Pictorial Primer as a part of the reading & writing lessons.  Some of the words right now are more review than anything, but it is solidifying the foundations.  She reads level 1 & 2 books on her own each day also.

As I looked through the materials, I see where I will have to take it much slower with Pookie when he is ready to use them.  It is very adaptable though.  I may end up writing a portion of the lesson out on paper for him if the full lesson is too much for him to do at a time.

After calling Keepers of the Faith to let them know the curriculum arrived & thanks for the great service, I spoke to them about Pookie.  They gave me some sound ideas on how to take his hands-on lessons to the next level.  I will share those when we begin implementing them.  In the process, I found out about their penmanship curriculum.  I ended up ordering that for Pookie also.  It amazes me that I am actually buying Kindergarten materials for him.  It has to be taken slowly, but I truly believe that he will be ready for it.  He is showing that he is able to catch on to some things rather quickly.  The biggest obstacle being his level of ability to express what he knows.  By and by, he is getting there though.

Now comes the work for me to get everything organized and purchase all the extras.  (Can we say Amazon shopping time? LOL)  Little Miss will be doing a lot more notebooking for her school work next term.  I decided to buy her a separate binder for each subject.  At the end of the school year, I will transfer all the notebooking pages into 1 larger binder.  This will provide a record of her work if it should ever be needed.  There is also a year’s supply of paper, pencils, and other basic school supplies that I will be buying ahead of time.  The goal is that by late August, all school related supplies will have been purchased for both children.  I already have most of the supplies.  It feels so good to be ahead of the game with this.

I am going to make new workbox tags for each child.  The tags will be better paired with the subjects that they will be doing.  I am also getting the lesson planner book printed and bound this week.  I realize that HOD curriculum has it’s lesson planner already, but I am wanting to combine the HOD lesson plans with the Reading and Writing curriculum from Keepers of the Faith.

Another thing that I am doing differently this next term is having both kids’ lessons planned out on the same page.  On one page is a grid for lessons worked independently for both children.  On the back is a grid for all the subjects worked on together.  Of all the adaptations that I am making for next term, this one will be the most helpful to me.

Next term, the workboxes will be much easier to implement.  Little Miss will have either a workbook or a notebooking page to do for each subject.  That will be easy to organize in her work files.  The completed notebook page will be added to the binders after she completes the page.

Pookie’s workboxes will be equally as easy to use.  He will have a little more writing to do.  I plan to continue doing a lot of hands-on lessons with him as well.  The way his lessons are set up, he will have enough workbox activities to allow him to become more accustomed to the workbox system.

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We’ve are more than halfway through the school term and I am busy getting plans made for next year.  The current term has been very enlightening.  I love discovering the children’s potential and seeing what they are able to accomplish.  Both children has exceeded the expectation.  Little Miss finds a certain amount of excitement when challenged with her studies.    With that in mind, I am changing things up slightly for her.  Pookie has been the biggest surprise.  He is constantly proving that even though he is completely nonverbal, he is very bright.  He is slightly behind his typical peers in his studies, but not nearly as far behind as what people may expect.  he grasps new information rather quickly, but does need much practice to retain the things he learns.  It is truly a case of “if you don’t use it, you will lose it” where he is concerned.

We are continuing with Heart of Dakota curriculum for both children next term.  It has worked out very well for them and keeps their interest.  I love the format on how it is planned out.  There is much reading involved, which is something we enjoy as a family.  I also love the fact that you can purchase their very basic curriculum and add in the math and other programs that you choose.  This allows you to truly customize the curriculum to fit your child’s needs.

For Little Miss, she will be using the Bigger Heart for His Glory curriculum for 2nd & 3rd graders.  This will cover her studies for Bible, Art, History, Geography, and Science.

For Language Arts, we will be using the McGuffey Curriculum sold by Keepers of the Faith.  The Reading Series covers Phonics, Spelling, along with Reading Comprehension.  The Writing Series will cover Phonetics, Spelling, and Grammar.  As a part of the McGuffey Curriculum, we are including Spencerian Penmanship as her cursive writing course.  This is a beautiful script that is very easy to learn.  Seeing just how “girlie” our daughter is, she is loving the idea of learning to write using letters that are so elegant.  I am looking forward to it also.  I used to love doing calligraphy, so this is very similar.

Pookie’s will be using the Little Hearts for His Glory curriculum.  For a Math curriculum, we will be using Singapore Essentials Math for Kindergarten.  I still have a teacher’s manual for a Penmanship course from Rod & Staff that I had used with Little Miss 2 years ago.  I will be using it for Pookie’s writing practice.  I also still have the entire set of Rod & Staff’s preschool workbooks that Pookie is currently using to give him much needed writing and coloring practice.  We will be adding a page or two from those into his workboxes for additional practice as needed.

Both children are going to be continuing their work on the Keepers of the Faith programs.  Little Miss has graduated up to the Keepers at Home program.  Pookie is still working at the Little Contenders of the Faith program.  We do the Biblical character trait lessons together with both kids taking part.  At this point, Pookie simply listens to the lessons and Little Miss answers the questions.  He is still taking part and listening, obsorbing te information as we go along.

We will be doing a lot of notebooking activities for both of the children next term.  Once we got the hang of it, we have really enjoyed putting those pages together.  It is always fun to watch them sit with Daddy when he is home and show him their school notebooks.  Little Miss especially takes a lot of pride in sharing her notebook.

I have some fun trips to the zoo planned.  I found some great worksheets for the Zoo which the kids will be putting together into a notebook after our next visit.  We are blessed that the Oklahoma City Zoo has a family pass we can afford.  This will allow us to take unlimited numbers of trips to the zoo over the upcoming year.  (Note:  I will be posting the Zoo printables link list in a post tomorrow)

I hope that this overview gives you a good idea of what we are planning thus far.  I still have some adjusting to do on the actual lesson planning part of it but that will come once I have the books all in hand.


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I am so amazed with my kids.  Little Miss is loving her school work now that we have tweaked the system in how she accomplishes it.  The child who did not like to write is enjoying notebooking.  The big draw for her is that she loves showing Daddy what she has done each week while he was away on the truck.  She actually gets excited about doing History, Geography, and Science.  Math doesn’t give her the same thrill, but she is content to do it.  Overall, she has come a long way since September.

Each day, we begin with a Keepers of the Faith character trait study. Currently we are working on the trait of Charity.  We are using this part as a devotional.  Pookie listens in to the lesson & discussion as well.  Her listening skills are improving not only in her studies, but I have been seeing a more focused child when I talk to her about other things throughout the day.  She has also come away from it with a more gentle outlook towards others.

Pookie is coming along in his studies also.  Today, for example, he completed 6 workboxes.  For him, that was a great acheivement.  He is writing a bit better now that he is becoming accustomed to the Twist & Write pencil we bought earlier in the year.  Today, he practiced the letter A again as a review.  He is working on his colors also.  I was so happy to see him complete a worksheet that asked for him to look at a row of items and pick out the one that doesn’t match.  He didn’t “X” them out as directed but did mark off the ones that were different in each row.

I realized today that he doesn’t like his desk.  Up until now, he has fussed abit when doing his schoolwork.  Today, we used the coffee table and he worked without any fuss at all.  I am going to continue working at the coffee table to see how he responds to that.


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Well, homeschool convention season is about to begin.  Each year, at this time, I have been looking at ways to make the educating of my children more efficient and effective.  I take note throughout the year of what works and what doesn’t.  This is what I have learned this year.

1.  Both of the kids have very similar learning styles.  While Little Miss is able to work on her written assignments much easier on her own, Pookie needs assistance.  Other than that one major difference, they both thrive on hands-on projects and enjoy reading or being read to.

2.  Both kids are working much better when the workboxes are in use.  Anytime we step away from using a variation of the workbox system, both kids seem to flounder and have trouble staying on task.

3. Pocket chart style visual schedules for each child is critical.  I had tried the hook & loop schedule cards and strip but that was a problem  Little Miss didn’t like it as well and Pookie wouldn’t stop playing with his.  He is compulsive about textures and would peel the cards off just to touch the hook & loop tape.  It became too much of a distraction.

4. Frequent breaks are a blessing.  Each child receives a 15 minute break after completing 1/3 of their work.  Another words, Little Miss gets a break after every 4 workboxes since she does 12 workboxes a day.  Pookie is doing 9 per day, so has a break after every set of 3 workboxes.

5. I am designing a new lesson planner.  I love all of the wonderful ideas available online, but I am finding that I need to fine tune my planner to match our specific needs.  I am putting together a 2-page spread weekly planner sheet.  It will have space to record the subjects that the kids do separately with another section for the subjects that they do together.  This will cut the size of my binder in half.  I am also designing a form that will allow me to better record Pookie’s TEACCH tasks. The 3rd form that I am adding to the binder is a progress sheet for the Keepers of the Faith programs that the children are both doing.

Our curriculum choice for next year is to continue with Heart of Dakota, with the addition of a couple of subjects from Keepers of the Faith.  We have been very happy with Heart of Dakota, so want to continue with it.  I will write more about their curriculum in a future post.

Overall, the school year has gone very well.  It just needs a bit of tweaking here and there.  I am loving this journey.  Watching the kids as they learn new skills and information is a delight.  Going to a Charlotte Mason style of teaching was the best decision that we could have made for our children.  They are thriving in it and finding excitement in the act of learning.

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For about 2 years now, Little Miss had been working on the Keepers of the Faith program.  The program is based on Biblical principles.  The program is similar to scouting, but can be done as a family or as a club.  Unlike scouting, there are no dues to be paid other than your own personal expenses for materials or awards.  The cost is very minimal.

Little Miss started out in the young girls’ program, Little Keepers of the Home.  This year, Pookie has begun the young boys’ program, Little Contenders for the Faith.  At age 7, they advance to the older children’s programs of “Keepers of the Home” and “Contenders for the Faith.”

A fair portion of the program is based upon academic skills.  Young children who learn to recite, write, and the phonetics of their ABC’s can earn the “ABC’s” award.  Like in scouting, the kids earn these acheivement awards which come in the form of a pin or a charm.  I purchased fabric to make each of the children a banner on which to display their award pins.

I have always known that Little Miss loves earning the pins.  She gets so excited about it!  Her Daddy and I make a big deal out of any new awards she receives.  He gives the handing out of the award as much attention as though she were receiving an honors award.  He recognises the hard work done and praises the kids for their efforts.

Last week, I received a box from Keepers.  In it was Little Miss’ new manual.  She graduates up to the “big girls” program this year.  The box also contained a few awards that were earned over the past few months.  She was thrilled!  One special award though was a real treat to hand out.  Amazingly, Little Miss was more excited about this one than her own awards.  Pookie had completed a unit study with lapbook on the Creation story from the Bible.  Among the awards in the box was one called “Creation.”  This is Pookie’s first achievement award.  When he was handed his award, he carried it all around the room.  He kept turning it over and over as he studied it carefully.  Little Miss also got a Creation award for her unit study, but she seemed unfazed by that.  She was too busy smiling with pride at her brother.

Looking over the awards that Keepers makes available, there are many that both kids will be able to work towards over the next 8 years or so tha tthey are of age to be in that program.  The awards have suggested guidelines on what a child should do to receive it, but they are also open to your own customizing to fit your child’s ability levels.  This is what helps to make it possible for Pookie to also earn awards.

Seeing his complete enthrallment, as well as Little Miss’ joy, at receiving the awards makes it even more important to us.  Kids love working for them.  Though Pookie may not fully comprehend what the awards are all about, he sure was happy to get it.  We will be setting aside a special spot just for the displaying of their award banners.  By making them something that we hold as something to be proud of, they will continue to work towards earning them.  Not that simply getting an award should be the goal, but that they learn that we respect and take pride in the efforts that they make.

Each week, there is at least one activity in their workboxes that goes to an achievement they are working on.  By reading through the suggested activities for each award, I am able to match the requirements to whatever curriculum they are doing.  There are awards for each of the states in the USA, for example, which means that when she does a unit study on our home state she will earn that award.  She is currently learning how to crochet.  Once she makes a couple of  projects, she will earn that award.  Pookie will earn the ABC’s award as soon as he is able to write each letter.  Currently, I am teaching him the letters and their sounds.  As he is non-verbal, I am able to know if he understand phonics through use of a chart.  I say the sound and he points to the letter that makes that sound.

If you are looking for a special way to encourage and reward your children for their school efforts, take a look on the Keepers’ website.  They have a wide array of topics and skills to choose from.  Their service is fast and very courteous.  I have been pleased with each order I have received from them.  The true joy though is in seeing the pride that Little Miss has in her accomplishments and Pookie’s happiness.


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