Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Homeschool Conference was WONDERFUL!!!

I had been anticipating attending my first homeschool conference for MONTHS.  The first day finally arrived this past Thursday and I have to say it was even more amazing than I had dreamed. The exhibit hall had all the books I wanted to see, the sessions were presented by "famous" homeschool veterans whose writings I have long admired.  I was able to get all my nagging questions about our upcoming school year answered and to top it off, Hubby was able to get time off from work to attend with me.

There were so many great sessions that we had to play divide and conquer several times.  The Outdoor Adventure Tent ended up being our favorite.  We learned about self defense skills, survival skills, Revolutionary War Re-enactment, Project Appleseed and even aquaponics.  I definitely see greenhouse gardening in our near future.  I have a better idea of what our PE class will contain this year and I'm excited to start planning a once a month survival practice day for our family.

John Joslyn, one of the co-founders of the Titanic Museums gave a stunning presentation about the time he spent recovering artifacts in the North Atlantic Ocean.  Marissa and Melanie were as fascinated with the presentation as Hubby and I.

On top of everything else, we came home with tons of information about additional resources and of course lots and lots of secondhand books from the consignment sale.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Planning my days at the Home School Conference

The Appalachian Home Educators Conference begins in FIVE days!!! Today, I dropped off my consignment items.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to create an account, list the books online and then print and attach labels.  The drop off process was super easy too.  I've never sold anything in a consignment sale, mainly because I thought it would be difficult.  Now I have room on my shelves for new curriculum for the upcoming school year.

The next thing I need to do is figure out which sessions I most want to attend. Hubby is very excited about the Outdoor Adventure Tent, he will probably spend most of his time there with the kids.  I need to clone myself, there are so many things that I want to see and do.  I am going to TRY to plan out a schedule that allows me to hit the highlights.

We will have two high schoolers this year, so sessions on High School will be my top priority. I am also very interested in the sessions about starting a microbusiness and Encouraging Entrepreneurs. Of course, the organizational sessions need to fit in someplace too.

We are all excited to see John Joslyn and hear his Titanic Dive Presentation. We went to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge last Fall, it is awesome! It is going to be an extremely busy 3 days and I can't wait.

If you haven't registered yet, you can still use my discount code: FULLNEST to save $5 on either an individual or a family registration. Click HERE to go to the registration page.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Home School Conference Facebook Party

Thursday night will be the 3rd Facebook party for the Appalachian Home Educators Conference. They always have GREAT door prizes and even a chance to win a Family admission to the conference. This conference will be held in beautiful and FUN Pigeon Forge Tennessee, June 26th thru 28th.

Use code: FULLNEST to save $5 off on an individual or family registration.


Home School Curriculum Choices

We are considering an eclectic mix, here is what I've decided on so far:

Reading Eggs
Reading Express
Spelling City
Story of the World
Excellence in Writing
5 in a Row
Saxon Math
Apologia Science

I purchased the subscription to Reading Eggs/Express and we are very happy with it so far.  I am not sure if we will purchase a subscription to Spelling City, the free version seems to meet our needs at this point.  The little girls really like Story of the World and have requested that I buy the Kindle version so they don't have to keep track of the book.  We will be using Excellence in Writing, Apologia Science and Saxon Math through the co-op.

I will probably add more things as we get closer to the start of the new school year.  I also have a ton of supplemental workbooks for the younger girls.  I am tentatively planning to start August 20th.  Co-op starts on August 26th.

Melanie will be doing mostly 2nd grade
Marissa will be doing a mix of 3rd and 4th grade
Maggie is a high school Freshman
Morgan is a high school Junior

Monday, June 9, 2014

Knoxville Zoo

One day last week Hubby and I took the four youngest kids and my mom to the zoo for the afternoon.  It has been a couple years since our last visit.
The red panda is one of my favorite animals at the Knoxville Zoo. They look nothing like the giant black and white panda bear we usually think of when we hear the name panda. A red panda looks a lot like a raccoon.

The turtle statue is a favorite with Marissa and Melanie.  Maggie didn't want to be in the picture.

The elephant was distinctly ORANGE from rolling around in the red clay mud.

Although you can't see them in this picture, there were two female lions in the enclosure too.

The kids and I and my mom all piled into the jeep for a group photo.  Marissa and Melanie had just finished playing on the splash pad.

Much of the zoo is currently under renovation and the parts that aren't are broken up into small dead end sections.  We were a bit disappointed by our visit, but we will give it another try in the Fall. The Knoxville Zoo has a lot of potential, hopefully when the construction is completed it will be much more enjoyable.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homeschool Planning

This will be our 4th year schooling at home.  It will be our FIRST full year doing everything on our own.  There is sooooo much planning and organizing that I want to get done. We will be using an umbrella school this year mainly because we will have two high school homeschoolers. I want to be sure they have awesome transcripts. It will be our first year using a co-op.  The older kids (9th and 11th grade) will have math and science classes in co-op.  The younger kids (2nd and 3rd grade) will have language arts, speech and social science.  I am also hoping they will all have PE, but we don't have the details yet for that. If the co-op doesn't offer PE, we will meet that requirement through the teen social group for our local homeschool group.

An acquaintance through the local homeschool group (not the co-op) is starting a French playgroup and I'm hoping to fit it into our schedule.  I took 4 years of French in high school and a semester of conversational French in college, but have never really used it. We will also be attending the arts and crafts days run by the homeschool group and some of their field trips.

The high school kids are members of our county choral society and will be moving to adult choir at church.  The little girls may both be in the kids choir at church this year.  This means at least 2 days of practices to fit in each week, plus performances and special events.

Morgan will be in 11th grade and will be taking dual-enrollment courses at the local community college. I was advised by the mom of a homeschool graduate that the junior year of high school is THE best time to pack them full of math and science courses to maximize ACT scores.  Morgan did very well on his trial run of the ACT and we plan to test again next Spring. Maggie will probably take the ACT for the first time next Spring as her trial run.

I will be attending a homeschool conference for the very first time later this month. I can't wait. I.will have a chance to look at a variety of curriculum in the exhibit hall, talk with the umbrella school representative IN PERSON and attend workshops given by experts. There will also be tons of fun activities for the whole family.  Luckily for us, this conference is happening right here in the Smoky Mountains!!!  We love living here and everyone we know who has ever visited this area has thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mostly Wordless Wednesday.....First Baseball Game!

Many THANKS to the Tennessee Smokies Baseball team for their Summer Reading Incentive Program.  Melanie and Marissa attended their first ever baseball game and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In just a few weeks....

I will be attending this amazing conference!!! Use coupon code: FULLNEST when you register and receive $5 off on either an individual or a family registration!


My kids are getting so grown up!

This was taken at Thanksgiving.  Next time I manage to get them all in one room, I'd like to get a picture of them standing together.