Friday, May 29, 2020

2020 School Post (Super Quick Edition)

A friend asked me to jot down what we were doing for school in the coming year and so I thought it was about time to write it up here.  It looks like I forgot to do it last year!  Oops!  Maybe sometime I will get around to looking back and jotting that down as well.  For now...

Summer School

We are not taking a real summer break.  My big kids have some great work opportunities and we are building a house right now so we need more flexible time off than we need one huge chunk in the summer.  But we are doing some things that are different this summer.  Here is a quick rundown.

Bible (wrapping up Bible Road Trip Year 1 and doing misc Bible studies)
Trim Healthy You (oldest 4 kids)
Artistic Pursuits (Riley, Remy, Oliver, Olivia, and Zach in 3 different levels once or twice a week)
Cooking-- I am making it a priority to have the kids cook with me and cook meals on their own.
Exercise-- the boys are all over this :0)
Work--taking the many work opportunities that present themselves with family and neighbors.
Greek (details below)
Catechism--I wrote one based on the ideas in this book but I made it my own.
Teaching Reading to Oliver and Olivia
Story of the World with Oliver, Olivia, and Zach
School Time with the Millers Oliver, Olivia and Zach

2020 School Year

All the kids have Daddy School with Jeremy in the morning one or two mornings a week for 30 minutes or so (the older 4 in one group and the younger 3 in another group, Brooke hasn't started yet since she is only 18 months :0).  He works on Bible Drills, Theology, Catechism, and Scripture Memory.  Sometimes they just go on tangents and talk about the Bible and how it applies to life.

Aiden 12th grade
Greek (Still deciding what to use)

Alex 11th grade
Greek (Still deciding what to use)
Jerry Bridges book to be determined

Riley 9th grade
Answers in Genesis Physics I have an older version of this that has more to do with physics
Other Physics Resources (He LOVES this!)
Teaching Textbooks Algebra (I have my kids take Algebra 1 twice since it is foundational to so many other things.  TT is not my favorite since it is all on the computer, but it is easy to use and I don't mind to use it as a supplement to Math U See Algebra.)
Other Assigned Reading about science and devotional life

Remy 7th Grade

Oliver 2nd Grade
Answers in Genesis Biology I have an older edition.  We just do the small "beginner" section.

Olivia Kindergarten
Story of the World Book 1 (coloring pages and read aloud)
Answers in Genesis Biology I have an older edition.  We just do the small "beginner" section.
Misc Activites

Zach Preschool
Story of the World Book 1 (coloring pages and read aloud)
Misc Activities

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Recommendations for Kindergarten and First Grade

It's really fun to get started homeschooling!  But, there is so much out there that you have to sift through.  Here are some recommendations as you begin.

Figure out what style of curriculum you can use well (one that is written the way that you think).  For years I wanted books that had 1 lesson per day so that I would know exactly what was expected.  I could always do something different, but I knew what a normal progression would look like.  I did not like (as much :0) when a book suggested that I could spend "a week or two on a lesson."  I did not know how this would look day to day.  Find something that is laid out in a way you can understand.  A variety of options could work well for your kids if you, as the teacher, are having fun, energetic, able to know what is going on, and able to communicate it to your child with patience.

Figure out how your kids learn.  If you have an extremely energetic boy who wants to climb the walls all the time do not expect him to sit and do workbooks all day.  If you have a kid that wants to get done quickly with school don't drag it on and on with fancy games if he would rather do a black and white math sheet.  This requires insight.  I am a big fan of giving kids freedom and being fun about when and where school happens.  However, little kids need the skill of sitting still and focusing on a task.  Do some of both.  Work with them as much as you can and stretch them some to strengthen the things they are not good at.  Familiarize yourself with learning styles but don't box your kids in.  This is a helpful guide.

Establish cheerful, exact, first time obedience.  I know at this point you are looking for an actual book recommendation, but these things are truly more important as you get started.  Your older kids will set the tone for your home.  If you can cheerfully require them to do what you ask them to do, the first time with a good attitude it will make all of your homeschooling years much easier and more fun.  So, be very clear about what you are asking them to do.  Make them stop and look you in the eye.  Ask them to repeat it if you think they need that.  Then discipline them (sweetly and kindly) every time that they don't do it (when you can...sometimes life makes it hard to do EVERY time :0).  I said exact above because sometimes they will do a version of what you asked, but it is obvious to them and you that they are still trying to keep control and not do exactly what you are asking.  The discipline could be a spanking (if it is willful disobedience), or, if you have a compliant-but-spacey kid that just has trouble remembering what you say, then you could have them run a lap around the house or go to their room and sit there for 5 minutes, or clean something.  Anything to shake them out of their slumber and make them realize that they need to obey.  Praise your kids tons when they obey and do a good job!!  They need to get more attention when obeying than when disobeying.

Create a fun learning environment!  Get out paints, spend money on good books, bring the things they find outdoors in and set them on your table.  Hang up their drawings.  Draw with them.  Play scrabble with them as they sound out 3 letter words.  Go on field trips everywhere.  Just try to be fun.  This is always a challenge.  When you have all little ones it can seem like there are no big helpers and you are exhausted.  When your older ones get bigger then you have "more important things" that can't fall through the cracks so you quit fitting in the fun things with your littles.  But, making time to create a fun learning environment should be a huge priority.  Let go of decor a little and hang up maps and other cool learning things if you your kids get into it.

Now, for a few recommendations for what to use.

Bible.  It's by far the most important thing to teach them.  The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom and knowledge.  I said elsewhere that if they have read tons of great literature, but don't love the Lord, His Word, and their neighbor then we are missing the boat. Use the Bible Project animated videos (they are amazing!), Bible Story Books, and printable resources like this or like these.  Teach them anything you can about the Bible so that they know it as well as possible.  Use Proverbs a lot and use songs a lot!  We love the Harrow Family, Jamie Soles, and Randall Goodgame.  I have only heard the albums by Randall Goodgame and have not seen the videos yet.  Dance around with them and sing them.

I have used The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading for all of my kids (after trying a few other things first).  I also use the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD and skip the first 26 lessons in The Ordinary Parent's Guide.  I don't recommend lots of videos, but if you are going to do 1 a day make it something really useful that teaches phonics or Bible.  You could also use this free guide that I am using with one of mine right now.  We just needed to change it up.  This is only 52 pages and it has been fun!  I recommend focusing on one kid at a time when teaching reading.  Let the oldest get pretty solid before you start adding the next one in.  It can be very discouraging if a younger sibling passes the older one.  But also don't get stressed if it takes a while for someone to "get it".  My latest reader is one of my best readers. 

The Revised McGuffey Readers.  I don't use this to teach reading, but after they are reading a little bit these are terrific resources for copywork, narration, dictation, spelling, and drawing.  Especially when used in conjunction with these Lesson Books.  I love this system!

We have never been part of a Classical Conversations co-op, but we have used their memory work at home.  We have enjoyed the history sentences (set to a song) from cycles 1-3 and the timeline song and cards that go with it.

I have used the Ambleside Online booklist and love it though I might do things in later grades than they suggest.

My kids LOVE Storytime with the Millers and all of the others in the series.

I have used the Explode the Code series and I think it has reinforced things that I teach them in other ways.  There are also books A, B, and C that go before books 1-4 if you want to start them in something easier.  Those 3 are more pre-reading.

Math U See is great.

Read aloud as much as you can!  Read everything to them.  This really helps when they begin reading because they are used to the flow of written language and can anticipate what the next word might be.  It is also just lots of fun and a good way to educate them on a variety of topics.  Let them play with blocks or color as long as they are not too loud.  This will never look perfect and it will always be interrupted!  But just keep plugging along.  Read stuff at their level, just above, funny stuff, non-fiction, and really good literature.

Make them go outside (with you and without you) and start learning about nature together.  These are great!

I started off reading the Three R's.  You could only get this one book and have everything you needed if it was up your alley.  I wanted something a little more structured, but the ideas here are great!

You could use Montessori.  I think this is especially helpful for boys because it challenges them to sit and do an activity precisely, but they are very quick.  This book will help your kids learn to do things for themselves that will help you.

We have also used My Father's World and Sonlight at different times and enjoyed them when we did. 

Last, but not least, pray all through this process.  Ask for divine guidance and insight and He will give it to you!

Answer to a friend thinking about homeschooling...

As for whether it's a good fit and any hesitations you might have I would love to talk in person about that sometime!  There are so many considerations and each family is so unique that I think it's best to address your specific needs and challenges as a family instead of giving general info.

As for curriculum...  It sounds like you need very efficient schooling where you are able to boil it down to the basics (and add on as you are able).  It also sounds like you are looking for things that have one lesson after another instead of requiring a lot of creativity and figuring things out as you go. I'm just going to type my ideas as they come into my head.  I will give specific books to look at so you can start somewhere.  I use a little Charlotte Mason, a little classical, and a little delight directed studies.  I change things up all the time.

One thing to consider is that you really only have 2 that need lots of schooling.  The others need to be learning of course and need structure.  But as far as pressure to educate...just focus on the older two for now.  I don't start Kindergarten until my kids are 6.  So, for the younger ones you can organize some time for them to do activities (like the ones in this book), give them tons of time to play inside and outside, read aloud to them as much as you can, work on obedience (you can't homeschool very easily if your kids won't cheerfully do what you ask them to do:0), teach them to play independently and be content.  If some of them are interested in reading you can use The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  My kids all liked The Letter Factory so I skipped the first 26 lessons in the Ordinary Parent's Guide that introduce letter sounds. I don't recommend using videos too much, but if you do use 1 a day make it count to teach letter sounds or Bible truths.

Now, back to the big kids.  There are 4 areas that you can think about in education: 1. Your kids in relation to God and man (the most important area to know about). 2. Skill areas in which you have to learn how to do something (Language Arts and Math) 3. Content Areas in which you learn information(Science and History) 4. Life Skills (how to cook, balance a checkbook, have a good work ethic).

Area 1. Use the Bible and especially Proverbs.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.  Also tackle character issues as they come up and deal with them biblically.  This truly is the most important curriculum that you can teach your kids.  What good is it if they have read all the Great Books but don't love the Lord, love His Word and love their neighbor?

Area 2. For Language Arts You Could use the McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader  with this level 2 Lesson Book or if they are more advanced than that use the Third Reader and the 3rd  Lesson book.  The Beauty of this approach (that I learned from this mom of 15) is that it provides structure for Copywork, Narration, Dictation, Spelling, and Drawing using good literature that is already picked out for you.  It's accessible, but the language is elevated so that you get a lot of bang for your buck.  Easy!  If you wanted something different you could look at 
First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease (whatever level you think they are ready for).  For Math you could do Math U See.

Area 3.  You can just start off by assigning them readers.  Let them pick something they would love to learn about in Science, read a good solid book about it then tell you about the book.  They have to read 1 chapter from the book each day.  For history assign them a biography and have them read 1 chapter per day and tell you about it.  You could use the book suggestions on Ambleside Online, but you might want to use books suggested for lower grades to start off.  Or you could use Story of the World. and Apologia Young Explorers Series.

Area 4.  Just include your kids in your life.  As you need to cook, teach them how (maybe one at a time if it's easier).  When you need to fix something let them watch or help.  Talk to them about money.  Talk to them about adult decisions.

This is a lot to think about.  Write back if you have specific questions!  Homeschooling is lots of work, but I love it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

School Post 2018

I keep meaning to come back later in the year and post what we actually ended up doing!  Each year after we start we decide what is working and what is not.  We adjust and get in a groove.

This year I am doing my school post after we have been doing school for a month so I think it should be pretty accurate. 

 Aiden is in 10th grade, Alex is in 9th grade, Riley is in 7th grade, Remy is in 5th grade, Oliver is in Kindergarten, Olivia is 3 and Zach is nearly 2.  We have another little girl due in October!

This is what we are doing.

The Bible Project All of our readers are using this to read through the Bible in a year.  Everyone reads on their own in the morning and we watch the videos together now and then.  The plan to read the Bible in a Year is found when you scroll down on this main page.
What Does the Bible Say About That
School of Biblical Evangelism  We are doing this together as a family.  They allowed us to pay the $150 enrollment fee and use the curriculum for our whole family.
Read Alouds  This year we plan to work through the Great Christian Adventures (Swiss Family Robinson, Titus:A Comrade of the Cross, and The Life of Henry Martyn) as well as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Robinson Crusoe
Flash Cards I just drill one big boy per day with different kinds of flash cards.

Aiden and Alex
Video Text Algebra (Aiden only)
Teaching Textbooks Algebra (Alex only) 
Devotional Biology and labs
Great Christian Classics
Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts
Basics of Biblical Greek and workbook
Narration Telling me about what they read or writing an essay about it.
Recitation Memorizing verses from the School of Biblical Evangelism and What Does the Bible Say About That
Piano Lessons 
Record They each have to write down what they did in each subject every day.  This is not detailed, but helps us keep track of how much school we do every day.

Riley and Remy
Math U See Epsilon for Remy and Pre-Algebra for Riley
Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek
Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day (with Oliver) I am also using this simple schedule for it.  It was worth the few dollars to have things divided up neatly for me.
Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts
History's Heroes and Trial and Triumph
Auditory Processing (Riley only)
Plants Grown Up They choose things to work on from the book for about 15 minutes per day.
Narration Telling me about what they read or writing an essay about it.
Recitation Memorizing verses from the School of Biblical Evangelism and What Does the Bible Say About That
Piano Lessons 
Record They each have to write down what they did in each subject every day.  This is not detailed, but helps us keep track of how much school we do every day.

Oliver, Olivia and Zach
Read 2 picture books to them
Do activity with them (play ball, go outside, build a fort, lincoln logs, play dough, etc.)
Read 1 Bible story per day from children's Bible or ESV Bible
Mathematical Reasoning (Oliver only)
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (Oliver only)
Explode the Code A, B, and C for Oliver and Olivia when they want to

An Outline of Our Day

Our day is roughly divided up into 4 sections.

First, we are all together for Circle Time.  Around 9:00 we read 1 chapter of the Bible and pray.  Then we move on to What Does the Bible Say About That or School of Biblical Evangelism (we usually alternate weeks).  Next we go into Oliver and Olivia's room (hopefully stretching on the way). We read aloud, and I do some kind of flashcards with one kid per day.

Second, I do Preschool and Kindergarten with Oliver, Olivia and Zach while big kids do whatever they can do on their own.  We read 2 picture books, do some kind of activity, read a Bible story, practice a memory verse, I do math and reading with Oliver, and they narrate to me.

Third, I get with Riley and Remy.  We call Oliver in to do Science with us (reading a lesson or doing some activity) and then he goes to play.  I do MCT with them, read History's Heroes, do Auditory with Riley, and they recite their verses and narrate.  I also wrote a reminder to check their papers so I can touch base with them on their math grades and other things they have turned in.  I sometimes ask a big boy to keep an eye on Olivia and Zach, or put him in a pack and play and give Olivia an activity.  We are still working out the kinks!

Last, I do what is needed with Aiden and Alex.  We watch Devotional Biology videos together, read from Great Christian Classics, do MCT, watch a Kickstart video every couple of days (then they work on the workbook on their own), talk about what we are reading in Holiness about once per week, they narrate and recite their verses.  I check papers and touch base with them about math and other papers they have turned in.

I am trying to do a lot WITH them this year.  So far it has worked for me to do that during the day (especially during nap time for the little ones) and make my private reading time their school material.  However when the baby comes in October we will see how well I keep up.

New Focus

I have been very grateful for the vision from Generations about having a thoroughly Biblical Worldview saturating your curriculum all during your homeschooling years.  They have a huge focus on the Proverbs, Psalms, the growth of the Church through history, Bible knowledge and personal piety.  They tackle other worldviews, but mainly after your kids have been thoroughly taught Godly principles and beliefs.  We are raising disciples and I want my kids to know God and His Word more than anything else.  I also want them to learn everything in light of His Word.  So far I am thrilled with our curriculum for the year and the way that it is nurturing each of us in our faith.

Thanks for reading this!  If you have any questions about what we use or how we use it I would be happy to answer them.  Have a lovely week!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

School Post 2017

This post is my plan.  But, just like every other year, as we go through the year we realize what is really working and what really isn't and we cast the latter aside.

Zach's (age 1) school mainly consists of me learning some new finger plays, lap bouncing songs, and other ways to play with him (like the ones in This Little Piggy and Games Babies Play) and training him for blanket time and sitting on my lap better.

For Oliver (age 5) and Olivia (age 2 1/2) I am pulling from these resources:

A Year of Playing Skillfully

Busy Bags Kids Will Love

Montessori at Home Guide

Bible Stories (read straight from the ESV Bible or Olivia's ICB Bible or other children's Bibles)

Reading Classical Literature at their level and picture books

Recitation to help them learn memory verses.

Outside for 15 minutes (at least 15 every day)

Storytime with the Millers (and others from that series)

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (Oliver only).

Explode the code A, B, and C You don't have to have the teacher's guide.

Jamie Soles music (especially Good Advice)

For Riley (grade 6) and Remy (grade 4) I am using these things:

Proverbs workbook

Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek

Exploring Creation With Zoology 3 (with notebooking journal and Jr. notebooking journal)

Italic Handwriting

Math U See (Riley in Zeta, Remy in Delta)


Outside 15 minutes (at least 15 every day)

Help for Auditory Processing (Riley only, but Remy asks to do it too!)

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Curriculum

Explode the Code  the boys love these!

History and Literature books from 1900 to present.  I chose books from Ambleside, Sonlight, and other credible reading lists and pieced together a history and literature book list that my 4 big boys were going to use.  Then I came across something different for Aiden and Alex.  Now I am going to use World War 1 for Kids, The Great Depression for Kids, A History of US (book 9) and others to read through these things and discuss with Riley and Remy.

Recitation (Memory work from Prov workbook and 1 longer passage from Romans)

Piano lessons

For Aiden (9th grade) and Alex (8th grade) I am using these things:

Proverbs workbook

Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek with workbook, study guide , DVD lectures, and Sing and Learn New Testament Greek

Devotional Biology with Kurt Wise I'm SO excited about this!

Italic Handwriting

Type It (Alex only)

Math U See (Aiden in Algebra, Alex in Pre-algebra)


Outside 15 minutes (at least 15 every day)

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Curriculum

Discipleship Curriculum from Generations with Vision we are doing 9th grade with both Aiden and Alex

Recitation (Memory work from Prov workbook and 1 longer passage from Romans)

Piano lessons

Aiden is also finishing his One Year Adventure Novel from last year.  He is really enjoying that.

As a family we are using The Family Bible Study Series for the Psalms and Proverbs.  We all read the portion for one Psalm per week and get together to talk about it on Sunday night.  We do one lesson from the Proverbs books as a family each night during Bible Time. We are also using lots of songs to help us learn the Psalms (Jamie Soles, Sons of Korah, and Seeds Family Worship) and trying to have more of a plan and focus for our family prayer time.

Also, all together we are using Draw the USA (love it!), Laying Down the Rails, and lots of Lamplighter books!

If you have any questions about how we use things please ask!  I have loved asking others the same thing!

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Here are some helpful resources on the topic of modesty.  All of these links were extremely helpful to me in thinking through this topic and would be especially wonderful in helping your daughters have a well rounded view of modesty.

Here is the first of a 4 part series that I appreciated.  It's just the intro, but if you like to start at the beginning, here it is.

The second post in that series includes 8 terrific questions to ask yourself about modesty.

The third post in that series had some great original thoughts about modesty in worship.  Do we aid others in worship or do we detract from it with our finery or by showing too much skin.  Do we really want to steal attention that should be directed at God?

The last post focuses on how your fashion affects your worship and the worship of others and it asks hard questions about the nitty gritty.

Are you contributing to a culture of lust?  Wonderful thoughts about what our pictures say about us and how women can unknowingly imitate the form of porn in the way they pose, use make up, or photograph themselves.

The ones above were all by the same author, but this last one is from The Bible Project.  We have loved devouring these videos!

1 Timothy tells women where their beauty should come from.  The Bible Project video about 1 Timothy brings this to life and helps us see what was going on in the church that the letter is written to.  In case you are short on time you can start at the 3 minute mark and see that some of the women were using church as a fashion show.  Do you think that would distract from the worship of the Lord or bring him glory?

May we be lovely and righteous women who seek to honor our Lord!

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Grandpa

Watch video!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Back At It

We started school on the 4th of July.  Yes, we started on a holiday!  But I tried to make it festive and fun and we ended the day with ice cream and fireworks so they were happy.  When Baby Zach is born in a few weeks we will take some time off.

This year Aiden is in 8th grade, Alex is in 7th grade, Riley is in 5th grade, Remy is in 3rd grade, Oliver is 4, and Olivia is 1 1/2.  Here is a summary of what I'm using this year.

Sonlight Core E - Everyone
I used Sonlight for many years.  I love a literature-rich curriculum.  One year the core we were supposed to do next was a bit too advance for my boys so I did other things.  It was a nice break and I had a lot of fun doing my own thing.  The 2nd half of last year we came back to Sonlight and it was a great fit.  I'm very excited about this year because it is American History (1850-present) and I look forward to learning about that time period!  I'm also excited because I am having a baby this month or next and everything Sonlight related is laid out and scheduled for me.  SO helpful!  Because I'm a box checker, I really want to keep up the pace with the reading, and that keeps me motivated.  This is the first time in a long time that I have used Sonlight's Bible assignments as well.  So far we have really enjoyed that.  This book is a part of the Bible assignments, and we have gotten a lot out of it.

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
I love this curriculum.  Each level covers Grammar, Vocabulary, Writing, and Poetry, and has a Practice Book.  It is fun, simple, and very rigorous without stressing anyone out!  I now have Aiden & Alex in the same book and Riley & Remy in the same book.  That cuts down on some of the one-on-one time and actually makes for some richer conversations.  We also usually do the poetry part all together.  We are wrapping up level 2 and should begin level 3 soon.

Reader/Widely Reader - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
I'm using Sonlight (3rd grade list, 4th grade list, and this list for my two older boys), Michael Clay Thompson Literature Trilogies, and other lists to come up with Readers for each boy at their level.  The Readers are mostly classic literature and other fiction.  Last year I created the "Widely Reader."  I wanted them to read more non-fiction and so I made a spot to assign those books.  We currently have rest time from (approx. :0) 1:00-2:00 and so they have time then to read 30 minutes from each book.

Copywork/Narration - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
I'm using Spelling Wisdom as copywork right now.  It's designed to be used differently, but I liked the passages and I'm using it my own way.   They narrate to me after they do their Reader and Widely Reader.

Greek - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
We are still quite happy with Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!.  You can use this even if you don't know any Greek, but it is really handy that my husband knows and loves the language!  He does the grading for that.

Outside for 15 Minutes - Everyone
Ideally we are all outside for at least 15 minutes, but I must admit that sometimes I have the bigger kids take Oliver and Olivia out while I help another kid with some school.  I need to get better about getting myself outside!  The boys usually combine this with another subject and just do their school work outside.

Piano - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
Our 4 oldest are taking lessons.  It's part of their daily school to practice.

Math - Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy
Math-U-See continues to be a great fit for our family.

Auditory Processing - Riley
I got HELP for Auditory Processing at a used book sale.  The mom said it was very helpful in her home and it seemed to be what I was looking for.  It was in a package with these three books that I have not tried yet.  Riley loves it and it's very easy to use.  I may do this with my other kids later.

Type It - Aiden, Alex, and Riley
This is a very simple, no frills typing book, but the boys love it so far and are doing a great job increasing their typing skills.

The Art of Argument - Aiden and Alex
The boys have used some of the Bluedorn's Logic books/videos, but this is our first full year logic curriculum.  So far they are liking it.  Jeremy is doing this with them for now and it has sparked some really great conversations.  I usually try to be in the same room so I can learn along with them.  We also got the DVD's that go along with this, but we haven't begun using them yet.

Cooking Class - Aiden, Alex, Riley, Remy, and Oliver
Kids Cook Real Food has been lots of fun so far!  Highly recommended!  We will likely do a lesson each Friday.

One Year Adventure Novel - Aiden
I'm really excited about this.  Aiden loves to write all the time and devours books about writing.  I have read numerous rave reviews about this program.  I asked Aiden to look it over and he is very excited to begin it.  I just ordered it, so he will be starting this in the next week or two.

Sonlight Preschool Core - Oliver and Olivia
I used this years ago with some of my older kids.  I only have the books.  I set them all out to help me have a plan for what to read and talk about with Oliver and Olivia.  I have time with them from 8:30 to 9:00 every morning before beginning school with the older kids.  Sometimes we go outside to swing, play ball, or do a crafty activity, but we always try to read some of these books as well.

Moving - Everyone
I don't have anything fancy for this category, but the boys usually just go downstairs and I put one boy in charge of PT while I put Olivia down for her morning nap.  That person leads everyone in some exercises.  They have a repertoire from when Jeremy used to do Army drills with them :0)

A few other odds and ends.
*We use this book for some chemistry experiments.
*I'm adding in artists from the time period we are covering.  I'm using the things I got this year.
*Alex is doing this Bible Study.
*Aiden is getting ready to start this Bible Study.
*We are using this book as a family now for Bible time and totally loving it.  It even has a coloring book that goes with it!
*Later this year we hope to cover this book.  The one on the Old Testament was terrific.
*We still love our flipper system.
*I'm enjoying this planner so much!

Well, that about sums it up!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Saving Summer

Our 2nd day of summer break I realized that I needed a plan.  Wide open days with 6 young kids quickly turn into chaos.  Everyone forgets to do their chores.  There are lots of random requests to do lots of projects.  There is just a lot of time to fill with...well, I did not know what we were going to fill it with.  I just wanted everyone to get a bit of a break before jumping back into school July 1st.  I wanted some sleeping in, lying around, reading aloud, and hanging out.

So, here is my plan for our fun summer:  Summer Flippers!
I'll go through them and explain a bit.

Before 10:00- During the school year this flipper says before 9:00.  It refers to a list of things to be done by 9:00. But we are all sleeping a bit later in the summer so I moved the time.  Things to be done by 10:00 include Reading Bible, Making Bed, Cleaning Body, Praying, Morning Chore, and Resetting Flippers.

Piano- We keep lessons going in the summer so they need to practice.

Outside 15 minutes- This is a minimum of course, but it's to make sure that no matter the weather, the kids are outside every day.

Greek Tues and Thurs- Taking the summer off of Greek would set them back a good bit.  So we do it two days per week.

Read to a younger sibling for 15 minutes-self explanatory.

Read 30 minutes- I still want them making time to read during the summer.  Most of them read a LOT more than this.

Fun Activity- This is something they come up with.  We have tons of books with ideas for fun things. I just want them to make time to do something that they enjoy.  

Watch Olivia for 20 minutes- This gives me EIGHTY minutes of time knowing that Olivia is safe and being loved on.  This is in addition to a little bit of time in the pack and play with toys, and blanket time near me.  This is really helpful because she likes to climb :0).

Jurisdiction 5:00 and Before Bed- This is a part of the house that this child is responsible for.  They pick it up all the way at 5:00 and then do a quick pick up again just before bed.

Hug your Mom and Dad- This will be helpful for me.  I can get so busy doing all the work around here, but I want to make sure to give them eye contact, and loving physical touch.  Looking forward to this one!

Play with Marley- Marley is our dog and he needs some run around time with the boys.  Making it a flipper ensures that they don't forget about him!

When I told the boys that I made some summer flippers they were happy and excited!  I think they like feeling some control over their day and having some things to focus on.

Enjoy your summer break!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Now, here I'll record my neat and tidy plans for curriculum this year.  This evolves during the year as I add things and scrap others, but this is my current plan.

Aiden 7th, Alex 6th, Riley 4th, Remy 2nd, Oliver Pre-PreK :0).

*We do these things all together during Circle Time.  We don't do all of the memory work or songs everyday.  We mix things up during the week.

SINGING and MEMORY WORK--Bits of CC Memory Work and Timeline Song
Memory work from First Language Lessons CD
Scripture Memory Songs from Randall Goodgame, The Harrow Family, Jamie Soles, Steve Green, and Nathan Clark George
BIBLE--Popcorn Bible Reading from the ESV
PRAYER--Prayer Box and Answered Prayers book
BIBLE HISTORY--The Old Testament Made Simple
The New Testament Made Simple
The Picture Smart Bible--If we get the OT and NT Made Simple done we might use this).
WORK--Usually it's some kind of manual labor like cleaning baseboards for 15 minutes.
READ ALOUD--I'm using Ambleside Online some to help me choose books from our collection to focus on this year.

*We work these in weekly or monthly.

SCIENCE--Supercharged Science--I'm still figuring out how to schedule this the best way, but we have tons of terrific experiments to do, lots of videos online to watch, and lots of great info to read on the website.
ART--Aiden Alex, and Riley are taking a drawing class and we also do art projects at home some and review flashcards from our Fine Arts year a while back.
MUSIC--Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy are taking piano and we listen to tons of good music all the time, and have hymn sings at church.
COOKING--It is a major priority of mine that my boys know how to cook by the time they leave my house and that I cook ahead as much as possible.  So, it only makes sense that I would cook with the boys to get ahead!  We will try to do this once a week in addition to my helper for the day helping me with cooking prep.  We have also enjoyed watching these cooking classes.
SERVICE--Raymond and Dorothy Moore describe education as a three legged stool.  The three legs are book learning, work, and service.  I love that model and here we look for ways to be hospitable or serve others in the church and/or community.
GEOGRAPHY--I'm going to spend one month making sure that my kids have a comfortable knowledge of the continents and oceans and some major landmarks.  I'll be using The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide and Geography Flashcards that you can buy here.
FIELD TRIPS--We will shoot for one field trip per month.  It's so nice to get out together and enjoy God's creation!

*Everyone does these on their own.  

MATH--We are using Math U See.  We switched from Saxon at the end of last year and so far I've been really glad that we did.  The kids are enjoying math a LOT more.  It has been a bit complicated switching over.  I tested each boy to see what level he should begin at.  Then I backed up one level from their recommendation and then had them zip through and do one page of the lesson work per day instead taking a week and doing multiple pages.  This way they could learn how he teaches (via DVD) and how he explains things and get used to the change at a level that they were comfortable at.  It would also be great review.  Now I am just watching their scores on math and if they start missing 1 or 2 then at that point I will slow down and help them get the info.  If they are getting everything right the first try then I am still letting them move more quickly.  I help them as needed, but the video of Steve Demme gets them started off right each week.  I have been supplementing with Challenge Math, but I'm comparing that with Mathematical Reasoning and Beast Academy (at the recommendation of a Math Counts leader) to see if those might work better for us.  Also, we are doing flashcards to make sure that their math facts are as normal as breathing :0).

COPYWORK--I write a new quote on the white board each morning.  So far they have all been quotes about the Bible by famous people.  It's been really fun finding these.  Now I am moving into quotes about personal piety.

NARRATION--Each of them narrates to me by themselves in the laundry room after our read aloud time.

OUTSIDE FOR 15 MINUTES--This has been a great addition to our flippers!  They can combine this with another subject by doing their work outside or they can just go play and have some recess. It's wonderful to get some fresh air!  Even if it is raining they can just go out on our front porch. And, of course, they can stay out longer than 15 minutes.

PIANO--Our 4 big boys are taking piano so they each have to practice every day.  We have a piano upstairs and a keyboard with headphones downstairs so that helps.

READERS--I used Ambleside Online to choose some of the books we already have as readers for the boys at their appropriate reading levels.  I require them to read 30 minutes of their assigned book.  After that they are free to read other stuff.  I just told them this week that I might be changing the required reading to an hour.  After all, I am picking awesome books for them to get into and they usually end up loving them!  Some of the books are Michael Clay Thompson's Literature Trilogies.  These are terrific!  If have never heard of them...check them out!

*Aiden, Alex, and Riley are doing these things:

MICHAEL CLAY THOMPSON LANGUAGE ARTS--I finally took the plunge (after looking at it for about 5 years!) and bought this curriculum this year and I am so pleased!  It begins in 3rd grade and covers Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary, Practice and Poetics.  I just started Aiden, Alex, and Riley all on the first books and I am zipping through them with Aiden and Alex and taking it slower with Riley.  I can't say enough about how accessible he makes grammar and vocabulary.  He really boils it down and makes it so simple and thoroughly enjoyable!  The vocabulary in this program is very advanced and the end goal is to be able to write an MLA style paper so the kids will be ready for college.  This curriculum is a bit hard to explain, but do some research if you are interested.  There is quite a buzz about it around the web!

GREEK--Aiden, Alex, and Riley are all using Hey Andrew Teach Me Some Greek.  Jeremy did just find a curriculum that teaches Koine Greek by having them listen to it spoken.  He has heard some rave reviews about it and so we might be switching over to that soon.

*Aiden and Alex are doing these things:

FRIDAY ESSAYS--  This year I am having Aiden and Alex do an essay for me (due each Friday) about current events.  We get World Magazine and then we have a few sites that they can go to for research online.  This is nothing fancy, but we are working up to more sophisticated writing.

*Remy is doing these things:

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
I read picture books to him.
He is still doing Prescripts Handwriting and Explode the Code

*Oliver is doing these things:

I read picture books to him.
One fun activity every day.
Outside for 15 minutes every day.


To recap a different way, I will list the flippers we use.  These are small laminated cards that the kids and I flip over when we have completed the subject listed on the card.  I absolutely love this system!  The subjects listed here are fleshed out above.

Our Family Flippers:

Memory Work
Bible Reading
Bible History
Read Aloud

Once or Twice a Week

Aiden's Flippers--7th Grade:
Before 9:00
Challenge Math
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Outside 15 Minutes

Alex's Flippers--6th Grade:
Before 9:00
Challenge Math
Spelling (I just take misspelled words from his essay and other work, have him study and copy them and then test him on them each Friday)
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Outside 15 Minutes

Riley's Flippers--4th Grade:
Before 9:00
Challenge Math
Grammar Island (Michael Clay Thompson)
Outside 15 Minutes

Remy's Flippers--2nd Grade:
Before 9:00
Reading Book (Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading)
Challenge Math
Read to Me (I read him at least one picture book.)
Handwriting/Explode the Code
Outside 15 Minutes

Oliver's Flippers--Age3:
Outside 15 minutes
Read to Me

There you have it!