Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Review and Giveaway


As I begin this homeschooling adventure I’ve felt the need at times for someone to take me by the hand and help me along just like I’ve done with all three of my boys when they started walking.  I need a guide.  I need information.  I need to be reminded of why I am doing this.

So I’ve been LOVING this book!  It’s full both information and inspiration for my homeschooling journey.  The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell covers ALL of my biggest questions.  From whether homeschooling is for me, to curriculum choices, to computers, and report cards.  It has become my go to book for all things homeschool.

I’d love for you to have a copy to!  So here’s how to win one.
How To Enter: 
Complete as many entries as you like.  Each is worth 1 entry.  Make sure to include a valid email address in your comment if you do not have one available in your profile.  Please write a separate comment for each entry.  The contest will close on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Open to Continental US residents only.  Winner will be chosen by an online random number generator.  Winner must respond within one week.
  1. Are you first year homeschooler, veteran, or someone considering homeschool?
  2. Follow @apologiaworld on Twitter
  3. Follow @devotionmama on Twitter
  4. Subscribe to The Sanchez School by email
  5.  Tweet this:  @devotionmama is giving away an @apologiaworld book on her NEW #homeschool blog! 
Disclaimer:  Apologia generously provided me this book for review and a copy for winner of this giveaway.  Thanks Apologia!  All opinions are my own.
Make sure to check out the Mabel’s Labels giveaway I have  over at Devotion Mama and visit Devotion Mama again next Saturday because I’ll be giving away a ticket to the Apologia Live Conference of your choice!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scaling Back and Taking It Slow

"Wondering if I'm the only mom who starts 

#homeschool assuming that my son is a genius and a 

week into it I realize he's just a 4 year old"

I tweeted and posted this on Facebook this week and apparently I'm not alone.  Starting homeschool is like getting to know your children all over again.  Before I started I looked at Pre-K curriculums and thought they looked entirely to simple for Grande.  After all, he can name just about any dinosaur you put in front of him, tell me the definition of the name, and whether it ate meat or plants!  He recites 8 Bible verses by memory each night before going to sleep!  Genius right?

I thought he'd catch on to letters, reading, and writing right away.  But after a week of showing him the letter A, tracing the letter A, discussing what words begin with the letter A, etc I showed him the letter A asked what it was and this was his answer.  "S says zzzzzz."

And he cried when he just couldn't write an A on his own.  This is not what I envisioned.  So we're scaling back, and we're going to start taking it slow.  One letter per week has been changed to one letter every two weeks.  We're going to do more of what he loves and sprinkle reading and writing in in short segments.  More science.  More social studies.  More calendar time.  More fun.  Less stress.

It is Pre-K after all.  And as a good friend has said on multiple occasions, I really don't mind if my 4 year old is reading on a 2nd grade level or not.  I'd rather him be a happy 4 year old.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Calendar Time!!!

So what has worked best out of all I've tried doing with my boys in these first weeks of Pre-K homeschool is calendar time.  They LOVE it, and I know I'm teaching them basic skills they need.  We do calendar time first thing every day.  So here it is, our calendar wall!


My husband is very handy and we are planning to homeschool for the long run, so I'm not afraid of putting holes into or sticking velcro to the walls.  If you do shy away from those things however, you could always use a bulletin board, or poster board.  I used a combination of velcro dots, push pins, and hooks.  I downloaded printables, got ideas from, and used resources from several different places for this wall, so I'm going to share one source per day.

My main inspiration for our calendar was the Confessions Of A Homeschooler blog.  You can find her awesome printables here.





The weather is my boys' favorite part of calendar time.  They just love to look out the window and look for rain.  We've recently included praying for rain while we check the weather.  For those of you who don't live in Texas we're in the middle of a big drought and there have been large wildfires that have left many Texans without homes.  Please join us in praying for rain.


This last picture is not of a printable available at Confessions Of A Homeschooler, although it is a resource of hers.  She has a list of Alphabet Bible verses.  I used that list to make these flashcard style cards. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This week's Lesson Plans

A little late, but here's this week's lesson plans.  We missed a few subjects last week so we'll see how much we can get done this week, but here we go!  We didn't get to Social Studies last week, so we'll do the Week 2 plan.  Come back tomorrow to see our calendar wall!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 2 Lesson Plans

Well, after a three day weekend where Grande asked me to do school every day, we're headed into our second week of homeschool.  I'm hoping not only to teach what's on the lesson plans this week, but also to finish our calendar wall and for my husband to finish the boy's desk area.  So here's the plan!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our First Week In Review.

Our First week (only two days actually) is over and I think it went well.  As you can see from the lesson plans in my previous post we really didn't have much to cover.  Since my boys haven't had any kind of schooling other than Sunday school at church most of the emphasis was placed on introducing a new routine to them.

We took first day pictures.  You can find the printables here.




We used scissors for the first time and I tried not to freak out.


Grande caught on to patterns right away.


And ALL THREE of my boys sat on their mats for story time!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our First Week!

We start school today! We've got a mostly done, extremely extensive, enormous Calendar wall, a semi done desk area you see pictured above, printables laid out for first day of school pictures, and weekly lesson plans written for the month of September! 

There's only 2 days this week so it'll be a short little intro to homeschooling and we'll get more into it next week.  I'll post my lesson plans and the materials I use each week and then blog about how it goes each day.

I'll start out explaining how everything will go.  I'll go over our calendar wall.  The date, weather, memory verse, etc.  I'll blog about that next week when it's finished.  I've got it 85% done right now.  We'll do some beginning evaluations from  We'll use that to choose some skill worksheets from the same website (this will be the first time any of my children are allowed to use scissors!).

We'll also be using the Answers For Preschoolers curriculum to cover several subjects.  It looks great and I'll be using it mostly with my 2 year old.  My plan is to take advantage of naptime.  My one year old takes a nap in the morning and afternoon.  My two year old takes a nap in the afternoon.  So I'll be working with both my 2 and 4 year old from the Answers For Preschoolers curriculum during the baby's morning nap and I'll work with my 4 year old on more advanced things during his brothers' afternoon nap.

What am I most worried about?  I don't have a globe.

So here's my lesson plans for week #1 (remember it's only for 2 days and doesn't include the testing and other misc. stuff I'll be doing)

Monday, August 29, 2011

FREE Spanish Printables!

I've found another great website with free Spanish printables!  My boys will be making alphabet books this year.  We'll use printables for one letter per week and bind them together with binder rings.  By the end of the year they'll have a whole book.  Now that I've found the Spanish printables they'll each have an English alphabet book and a Spanish alphabet book.  So check out the website below!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

FREE Readiness For Kindergarten Test and Worksheets

In my search for free or affordable quality curriculum resources I came across this website.  It has a little test you can take for your child to see how ready they are for kindergarten.  They also have two free books to download and tons of worksheets.

So check it out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

FREE Spanish Curriculum!

So in my search for a Spanish curriculum I was finding only curriculums to teach Spanish as a second language.  They were mostly for high school and I wasn't finding much to choose from.  Since my children are already bilingual I wanted something a little different.  So I began searching for curriculum from Mexico and came across a website that allows you to download material that is being taught in Mexico's public school system.  And it's FREE!

Flipping through it I found plenty to edit out.  Things that just wouldn't be appropriate to use in our Christian homeschool.  But even after the editing I still have what seems to be a good amount of material to use.  I will probably use more of the first grade material with my 4 year old because it's seems more appropriate.  But if you are a bilingual family looking for an affordable Spanish curriculum I'd check out the website.  They have a downloads for all grades and teacher book downloads also.

Check it out HERE

FYI  This website is a Mexican website so if you don't speak Spanish you may have difficulty using it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our September Calendar

So we'll be starting in September and I've put together a little calendar and overview to keep us on track:

Monday, August 8, 2011

My FREE Book!

Well I'm back from my first homeschool conference.  I've learned that there are two main things I need to know while getting started.

1.  How do my boys learn best?
2.  How can I teach them best?

It seemed everyone I spoke to had "the best way to teach" what ever subject their curriculum is for.  I seem to favor a more hands on / understanding concepts approach.  I found our Pre-K science curriculum!  I can't wait to share it with you.  I'll blog about it soon.

As for figuring out how my boys learn best a friend of mine recommended I read The Way They Learn.  So I picked up a copy for free!  Here's how:

I found a used copy on Amazon for $3.95.  I have free 2 day shipping with Amazon Mom (If you're not an amazon mom you should be!).  And I had a free $5 Amazon gift card I got from Swagbucks!  (If you're not searching through swagbucks you should be!  Enter the code AUGUSTBONUS during registration and you'll get an extra 50 swagbucks!)

And there you have it.  Free book!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My FREE Way To Make Sure We Are At Or Above The Level Of Public Education

One of my (and my husband's) biggest questions in beginning to homeschool is how do we know we are teaching what they need to keep up with public school education.  

Here's what I'm doing.  I searched for public school curriculums in my area.  I couldn't find our district's curriculum.  Not sure if it's available or not, but I easily found and printed out a neighboring district's kindergarden curriculum.  My only "expense" was paper ink and 4 $0.50 folders to keep them in. 

Now we are doing preschool but I'll try to loosely follow the kindergarden curriculum anyway. 

Reading through it has really helped me solidify my husband and my decision to homeschool.  They address drugs, family relationships, and several other topics with kindergardeners.  These are subjects I'd much rather address from a Biblical perspective at home than having a public school teach my children about them from a worldly perspective.  I also noticed that the entire six weeks term where halloween falls, everything is focused on halloween, especially in Science (they study pumpkins, bats, and spiders). Considering the Truth I know about halloween, I'd rather not have my son participate even for one day, much less an entire six week term!

I'd encourage you to do a little searching on the internet if your children are in public school or you're in the decision making process about their education.  Find out what they are being taught.  The information could be just a google search away.

Learning as we go! 

Thanks for joining us in this homeschool journey.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Welcome to The Sanchez School!

This will be our first year at The Sanchez School homeschool.  We'll be starting with pre-school for my 4 year old and 2 year old.  You can follow our journey here!  I'll be documenting what we are learning and how we are getting started.