Planting Day!!!

We have not officially had our first day of school. I am still waiting for her school supplies from her charter school. Through the charter school I have funds allocated per semester to go towards school supplies and curriculum. This semester I ordered a lot of school supplies that I will be able to use for the next few years. Since the learning never really stops I am still doing fun teaching activities with the kids. 

Our family recently moved into a new home. Prior to that move I’d been buying various plants and seeds that we could put in a garden. The kids have been asking about these seeds but I kept putting it off. Well there was a loose pipe under the kitchen sink where I just so happened to store my seeds which caused my seed packets to be soaked through. So today became plant day, while daddy fixed the pipe. I’d asked my husband to put a cheap desk we’ve had for years outside. We then potted some rosemary, cilantro, dill and basil in pots. I have some pea seeds as well but I’m saving most of those for a pee tepee later on this fall. I did let the kids plant them in a baggie so we can watch it sprout. The baggies were then taped to the table to deter the kids from pouring out the seeds and dirt. 

After we planted the seeds the kids and I talked about what seeds need. I let them answer and ask me questions and found they new most of the basics. Even KJ (3) was able to answer questions about what plants need to grow and how all plants start. I’m hoping that as the kids see their seeds sprouts we can venture into photosynthesis and if we get SJ’s microscope in the next week or so we can even look at leaves on slides. This will naturally lead into the makings of a cell. I don’t want to push it to far. I want them to be able to understand some basic science terms though and science is all about exploration right?

The picture on the left is showing the sun, the run rays, and rain following onto the seed covered by the ground. That one is mine, I wanted them to use they materials in the art basket (shown on the table) to copy my picture to the best of their ability explaining what happens to a seed. 

They had fun. SJ did her own thing and put multiple seeds in her blue ground and KJ  tried to mimic exactly what I did. I love teaching these two!!

Yummy Dessert!

I LOVE to cook. I had some peaches that were on their way to being bad and decided to make a dessert out of them. I call this Caramelized Peach Puff Pastry. 

Ingredients 
2 large peaches
Frozen ready made puff pastry
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk
Caramel sauce:
  • Cover the bottom of a hard bottom pot with an even layer of sugar and let it sit over medium heat. (Watch the pot refined sugar takes about 8 minutes to 15 start to brown, raw sugar takes between 5 and 10 minutes.) At this time warm the coconut milk. 
  • Once the edges start to darken stir until you the sugar is liquefied. 
  • Add the coconut milk to the sugar and stir, but the stove top on low. (If the sugar turns into a big hard ball keep stirring trust me it will go back to liquid form…eventually)

The Pastry:

  • Cover you pan with parchment paper I used a bread loaf pan. 
  • Place peaches on the pan
  • Cover with caramel
  • Top with COLD puff pastry

I had left over peaches after the first layer so I placed more preaches (no caramel) then another cold sheet of puff pastry. It cooked at 400 degrees for 20 min and it was amazing!
I didn’t serve it right away and it had quite a bit of juice from the peaches so as it sat and soaked up the juice it tasted like a dumpling from peach cobbler. Another thing that contributed to the dumpling like texture was me letting the pastry get to warm before cooking. If you worry about this just pop the pastry back in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes it should be thawed but cold. 
Please share any alterations you make if you try this recipe at home. As I perfect it I will update it here. 
Ciao! 

Puzzle Mat!

My kids love puzzles and I love saving money. At my last dollar store trip I found these awesome letter mats. I bought two one with animals and one with letters and numbers. I had the kids assemble it then KJ removed all the animals put them in a pile and put them back. This is great not only for his fine motor skills but also for his logic development.

As you can see he was pretty proud of himself for creating and completing his own learning activity. I am a firm believer that if you include kids in planning their activities then what they learn will stick. He also picks pretty good activities for a 3 year old.

Math Games

My little people LOVE numbers they did not get that love from me but it is a love I try to foster. I happened to find some clothespins at the dollar store. It came in a pack of 50 so I will have to go back for more to make an even 100. I took out all the clothes pins and added numbers to them, the kids loved them. The ASKED to play with the stuff I got from the store. It was only fair I oblige.

KJ added clothes pins to dots I drew on a circular cardboard cut out. I just did one through 8.

SJ decided she would work on her addition. We put the clothespins on the floor randomly so she also liked having to “hunt” for the right numbers.

Lastly we put the clothespins in order on our activity rug. The three of us worked on this with occasional help from K. SJ did most of the work and was proudest when we finished. I will be writing the numbers to 100 on some additional clothespins sometime this week. This was a few hours of math activity the kids enjoyed for a buck!

Types of Homeschool

While trying to navigate this sometimes overwhelming system I have learned there are many ways to start homeschooling.

1. Online Programs – Programs like K12.com allow you to work through the traditional school system but from home.
Pros: You child is on track with the state requirements, you have a teacher who you meet with weekly and your child learns from online daily. You are provided with all the materials you will need to teach from home including lesson plans.
Cons: Rigorous schedule, basic computer programs that kids may find boring, little room to deviate from plan. State testing (for those who want to avoid it), all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.

2. Create your own school- Become a recognized charter school by the state, all you need to do is fill out a form and name yourself or whoever will be teaching the child as their teacher.
Pros: Complete control over what and when the student will learn, no testing, no vaccination records
Cons: No state testing may mean not being able to accurately track your students growth, must fund yourself, must provide own curriculum and lesson plans.

3. Public Charter Schools- Allow you to choose your curriculum as well as allowing you to choose what school materials you want to order.
Pros: Your tax dollars pay for your school supplies, the school has a per child per semester budget for you to use on approved school supplies. You pick the curriculum and design the learning environment. A teacher meets with you monthly to monitor the progress of the student.
Cons: You do have state testing, you have to fill out all forms including a record of vaccines or a religious exemption form.

We feel the public charter school is the best option for us. Its allowed us the freedom we want over or children’s education and the school supplies we may need are covered by the state. They do not cover any religious materials and the supplies are delivered to the teacher who then brings me what I need. She and I meet every 20 days for her to obtain samples and assess my oldest. SJ is the only one officially enrolled in school but since she and KJ are so close in age he tags along for most of her learning activities. This is our first year homeschooling and so far so good.

Who, What, Why?

Who: Hi!! We are the James’ and we are just starting on a homeschool journey. I (Lee) have been married to the man of my dreams (K) for 6 entertaining years.

We have three kids SJ, KJ, and AJ

Our newest addition AJ is only a few months old!

What: Christian, black, homeschooling wife, mama and entrepreneur! As you can see I have my hands full but I am loving life.

Why: Here’s the thing, I have scoured the internet for information and resources for Black home schooling families and have found very little. According to the National Center for Education Statistics approximately 3% of school ages students are homeschooled and of that number about 5% are black. This number is growing but the resources aren’t. I’ve done some research and have found that some curriculums always paint the black kid as the villain while others may be void of all melanin. Rather than bore you with that information I will be sharing and posting about what works for us. So strap in and join us on this wild ride as document our live.