I could not believe how much my girls (ages 6 and 4) loved this book. Every single time I read a chapter they practically begged me to keep reading. The stories are *so* sweet and simple, that I didn't think it would hold my girls' interest--but they loved it!
In each chapter, Raggedy Ann has an adventure or helps someone out. In my opinion, they're almost *too* sweet, but I'm pretty sure that's because I don't still have the sweet innocence of a child. :) The stories are engaging and short so it's a great book for a first read-aloud chapter book (perfect for my 4yr old).
We'll definitely continue reading more Raggedy Ann!
I want to share a few of my favorite podcasts with you. :) Please share yours in the comments!
Read Aloud Revival- This is my favorite right now. Love it, love it, love it. It's smart, useful, interesting and practically perfect in every way. :)
Grammar Girl- Any other Grammar Geeks out there? I'm not a true Grammar Geek; I've not had any formal schooling (other than high school classes). But I find it terribly interesting and I'm always trying to improve my grammar. Because it's fun!
James MacDonald- One of my friends turned me on to MacDonald a few years back when we were on the MOPS Steering team together. When I want some good in-your-face-with-no-frills Bible teaching, I listen to him.
Ravi Zacharias - I love apologetics. It's one of the many reasons I love C.S. Lewis. Ravi's teaching is similar to Lewis' in that it's very easy for someone like *me* to understand, even though the subject matter is deep. ;) (PS His daughter wrote an amazing book.)
Katy Says- A fellow blogger friend told me about the Katy Says blog almost 2 years ago. At the time I didn't feel like I could handle any more information but I *was* interested. The thing that piqued my interest was that Katy Says you shouldn't use a pillow. (Mr. N has gone without a pillow now for a few weeks and he likes it!)
Recently, Brandy mentioned the KatySays podcast so I've given it a listen. Pretty interesting stuff! Katy is a biomechanist and she talks about alignment among other things. Note: *I* think she takes some things a leeetle too far (she just got rid of her couch!) but eat the meat and spit out the bones, right?
The Art of Simple - These are hit or miss. But the good ones are really good. None of them are bad, just not interesting to me; like the one where she interviews an author of a cookbook. Snorrific. But that doesn't mean that you won't like it!
Happier with Gretchen Rubin - These are just fun little podcasts where Rubin (author of the Happiness Project) chats with her sister about ways to become happier. Obviously, as a Christian, I believe there is more to happiness than just making your bed every morning, but it can't hurt. ;)
This is only our first year of homeschooling so please take what I say with a grain of salt. :)
That said, I really, really think everyone should do "Sabbath Schooling." (I'm not sure who coined the term, so I don't know who to give credit to but I'm sure it's not a new concept. :) ) Sabbath Schooling is schooling for 6 weeks, then taking 1 week off. Let me tell you - I LOVE IT. Here's what I love about it:
1. I use the week off to do projects around the house. While in school, I look around at my disaster home and think of ALL the things I have to do--organize clothing (IS THAT EVER DONE!?), clean out fridge, etc. That is stressful, my friends. But if I know that I'll have a week off to do those things, I can just focus on school. It also works out well if your kids get rotavirus during your week off--no need to interrupt schooling with endless vomiting and diarrhea!
2. The school year is spread out over the calendar year. I don't like the idea of having such a long stretch of summer months off. I feel like kids lose some of the information they've learned and then the first part of the following year is spent playing catch-up. (This is all in theory, of course.)
3. School seems less daunting. It's not as hard to work up the energy to do 6 weeks of school as it is for 2 or 3 months without a break. For me and my daughter.
4. Having scheduled time off keeps me focused on the task at hand. I have a tendency to say, "Let's skip school today and go to the (park, friend's house, store, etc) instead, kids!" That is not a good thing. If I know I have a break coming, I'll wait. Of course, once in a while you just have to put the books away and go to the park, Sabbath Week or not! AmIright?
If you're curious, here's what our year looks like:
We start school the week after our church's VBS and there's a little longer of a stretch right before Christmas, but that's ok because we take several weeks off during December. And in the beginning of the year, it's not such a big deal to have a longer-than-six-week stretch. ;)
You can see that we still have two full months off during summer. This gives
us time to catch up if we need to, because I don't have to tell you,
life happens. This is how I scheduled this year's school year and
so far we're on track.
I have the weeks numbered so I can line them up with our Ambleside Online weeks. It might not work in later years to print the week numbers out, but for this year it has worked fine.
How do you schedule your school year and what do you like about it? :)