About Me

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I am a crunchy Christian mom to four boys and one girl ♥ We are a homeschooling Family. Our family can't stay still for long. We are always on the move. Our homeschool is inspired by The Well Trained Mind, Waldorf, and a bit of Charlotte Mason. Our lives are inspired by The Word of God, Jesus, Miracles, and sunshine when we can find it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

January Plans

I'm working on my January Plans.  I better hurry up.

My youngest is learning about Winter and the changes of the seasons.  The other boys join in on books and activities.  Our little girl is sitting in on everything although she is often nursing or hanging out in the Ergo.   Here are some plans and thoughts about thing other might be interested in...

Plans, Activites, books...
I've gotten a ton of books from the library (I'll try to get some of them up here or on Goodreads.  You can see our Goodreads list in the sidebar.  I haven't been good about updating it though. 
Window stars here, here, and here.  I bought the kite or transparency paper from Nova Naturals.  
pinecone bird feeders.

Fingerknitting would be good to start now. 

Making candles would be fun.

We went on a hike today. I think I'm going to take them to the beach as well. It's been really sunny here. It's been so nice, I'm not as bothered by the cold this year.

I've gotten some good ideas from Dawn.

I got this book on ILL and it has a lot of fun activities.

I think we are going to celebrate Australia Day since it's coming up in our History studies.

I got the mini-trampoline out of the storage closet.

Start watching for the first birds and blossoms.
Force bulbs or branches.
Grow seeds in glass jars or an old aquarium.  We have a year round Terrarium.  Right now P is growing a bunch of stuff in it.  He has an apple tree and avocado tree started.  The apple tree is from the seed of an apple he ate.  

Butterfly Kit (I still need to order Butterflies).
String popcorn for trees. You can put out the ones you did for Christmas, too (if you do that).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It allows our days to unfold naturally instead of forcing them open.

I was inspired by a post on GCM today. A poster mentioned how she has tried to plan and schedule. But, it doesn't seem to work. But, what they are doing is working.  

I think a lot of us struggle with this kind of thing. We see those around us or we see some awesome blog. Those mother's just seem so amazing. Everything is so creative, so beautiful OR they have the smartest children in the world. I've found our life has changed and we tend to be more of the tidal learners that Melissa speaks of.

My life has changed since I started to consider homeschooling. It isn't like anyone else's journey. It's our journey. In our journey, we have tried public school, then homeschooling, then public school, a public school homeschool program, and now we use a VA that allows us to pick our own curriculum. All through this journey we have lived different lives. We have been in the military, we have lived in the country, in California, in Washington State, My husband and I have been self-employed and College and University students and last year I was so sick I could barely get out of bed. So, your maybe your life hasn't been as erratic as ours. Perhaps you are a super planner with those super achiever children and your thinking well if you were just more stable or... But, we aren't. This is us, take it or leave it. This is our journey.

I did start out this year being a little more planny than usual. I did it because we are accountable to the VA this year. Also, our oldest is trying to work harder this year. He has new goals. He is getting older and a little more focused. And, we added another family member. So, here we are . We know what we want. The question is how do we get there? Do we look at every blog and planner out there? Do we try to replicate other people's lives? I had to come up with something that would fit our family.

Enters the chart

I had this to say about the chart we have been using lately, I needed something to keep me on track as they have gotten older. We have a chart with each day of the week on it. Then I put the subject down the sides. That way they can read their own chart. If they need my help, they just ask. It's been the best way, especially with my oldest. They have the control they need. Plus, they get up at different times and learn better at different times.  

It allows our days to unfold naturally instead of forcing them open.

I wrote up the chart when our computer was dead. I had been doing a nice weekly check-off list. If you read this blog, you will have seen it in previous weekly posts. It was a nice sheet. It did make my days easier. I recommend it for anyone who has two to three children and needs something flexible, but likes to know exactly what they are doing that week. I found that it really kept us on track. We didn't get everything done each week. But, it's the best we had ever done. I found I needed more flexibility now that our baby is needing more attention. I didn't want to have to pick out the library materials each child would use. I didn't want to have to check and see what lesson they were on, especially if someone had a hard lesson in one subject and missed the other one.  

The chart gives the kids the opportunity for control. The get out their schedule when they start. They pick what they want to do. They get me if they need help.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New to us computer

We were gifted a new to us MAC recently.  We are so thankful.  We are currently on a our break for the Winter season.  It is a much needed break, too.  This year has been fantastic so far.  There is so much work to be done with four children.  The boys are all doing well in their school work this year.  The baby is healthy, fun, and totally in love with her big brothers.  We did choose to use a VA this year.  We get to choose our own materials (non-religious of course) and they have all been good picks.

I'm working on plans for the rest of the year.  Plus, we need to order art supplies (general stuff we are running out of and blockprinting supplies) and put in a Rainbow Resource order (science, US History, logic, Spanish).  We will be adding in the YMCA, as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 14

We are borrowing a computer.  So, you get a wee update written by the boys themselves.  Hopefully over the break I can knock out a more complete update for the first half of the year.  It's been awesome.  I'm really proud of all the hard work these boys are putting in.  This has been our best year yet!

P-Grade 4
I did two math lessons. I finished Night of Ninjas.  I learned if you put a stick in the ground, if it's six inches and it's got a shadow it's pointing East.  I did my quiz on Pirates Past Noon and Night of the Ninjas on Book Adventure.  I finished Science Experiment three.  We wrote what happened to every leaf, every day until 10 days passed. 

E-Grade 1
I find colors.  I color Math paper.  I color blocks.  I am writing my name.  I looked at maps.  I saw Seattle.  I saw Gig Harbor.  I see where we one time lived.  I saw where I went on boat and I saw killer whales. 

G-Grade 7
I did two math lessons and a test in math u see. I read 15 chapters of harry potter and the order of the phoenix. I learned about the ideas of newton and locke in story of the world. I learned a new concept in grammar called interrogative sentences. I did a summary on Tom Sawyer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly Check-in


I wrote and practiced writing Gig Harbor.  I drawed catses.  I draw chopped down trees and a dead flower.  The season is fall.  I draw a h.  Me draw a helicopter.


I learned multiplying fractions by fractions.  I learned how to make a fraction of a fraction.  I did a leaf experiment on how the leaves die over a week.  We learned about Newtion and his Ideas.  How he found out about gravity and dicscovered it.  We did an experiment showing us how no matter how heavy objects are if dropped at the same height they'll hit the ground at the same time.


I did two lessons in Math.  Skip counting by nines.  We looked at leaves.  Some of them shrunk, some of them curled up, some of them are dry.  Isaac Newtion he discovered gravity.  We took a basketball and tennis ball and we let go of them from the porch.  They flew down.  They landed at the same time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our computer has passed on...

We our now completely MAC less.  I'm not sure when I'll be updating regularly again.  But, I do hope it will be soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week 8


I'm working on math lesson 6.
I did 3 pages of italics.
I did a quiz in Winston grammar.
We all did parts of our history timeline.
We all worked on chapter 15 where we read about how Metacom waged war on the English colonies.

I'm on lesson 8 in math.
I did 5 pages in italic.    
I did two stanzas of The Land of Nod poem.
We read Chapter 15 in Story of the World.  We read about the Huron.  I drew a Huron Mask.  The French gave smallpox to the Huron's.
I'm on chapter two in Science.  I'm learning about cells.

Escher  (Mom is writing this for him.  He has had a rough week.)
He worked on book 1.7 in Progressive Phonics.  He read the words did, big, bad, dad, dod, bob, dog. 
He is on Lesson 9 in Math.  He learned about place value of tens and ones. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 7

I looked at camel hair, fruit fly, and shrimp eggs.  Porter made slides.  I looked at orange juice, pond water, spit, and baby slobber.  Farmer Boy had a birthday. Him got a yoke for his cow.  Him got a sled and him play on it.  I write acorn and seeds. I write my name.  I count triangles.  I write numbers. 

I did 5 pages of handwriting. I am in lesson 7 in math. I am in chapter 8 in story of the world. We read Amistad Rising. Escher and I went down to the lake with droppers.  We got some water.  Put it in the yoghurt cup.  Put it in the slides and found living organisms. 

I did 4 pages of handwriting.
1 page of math.
chapters 6,7,8 of story of the world.
2 lessons of grammar.
2 lessons of spelling.
I read 3 chapters of harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week 6 as reported by the boys

Escher's Report
I did schoolwork.  Color a lock.  I wrote L.  I count blocks.  (In History) She sitting on a person.  She won't sit on pillow.  I colored a picture of the woman.

I did handwriting. I learned  about  adjectives  that  tells  whose.

In history, i learned about slavery. I'm in lesson 6 in math.

I worked on lesson 6 In math and I worked on history and writing. In history I learned about slavery.

Monday, October 5, 2009

week 6 Monday

I'm really enjoying the planning pages I've been making.  They work wonderful.  We have quite a bit of flexibility with them.  And, I've been allowing myself to not do every single thing.  I'm sharing this weeks plan.  First day and it's already a mess.  But, I don't feel bad. They are all such useful notes.  When this week is over, I use it to plan next week. Then file it my Mommy Notebook. 

We have been enjoying reading The Sign of the Beaver. It gives us chances to talk about the time period, stereotyping of Native Peoples, and could my boys be that brave. It's been the first thing we do for the last week and a half.  It's been quite awhile that we have all be so interested in the same read aloud.

E and I are awaiting Farmer Boy. I wasn't sure I would enjoy reading these book to the boys.  I really enjoy them as a child, so I think I remembered them being more girly than they are. Actually, so far they have been perfect for the boys.  I wish I had read them to the older, two.

Today we started an introduction to slavery. We read the first section of Chapter 7 in The Story of the World:Volume 3.   I plan on doing some part of Hands of A Child Slavery Lapbook.   But, we will just do it on paper and put it in our notebooks.

They all finished some handwriting and Math.  P did a lesson in FLL 3 and we worked on his poem he is memorizing.  E worked in his tree workbook a bit.

I wished we had gotten a bit more done today.  But, I was so busy this weekend I didn't do any planning.  I am finding it works better if I do the planning and ripping and printing on the weekend. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 5

We read the book Corn is Maize.  Then we found some things around our house that contained corn.

Gibran Week 5 Report
This week in math i learned how to use overlays to solve fraction problems.
and in history we learned about the mayflower compact and the pilgrims and we did our timelines.
in grammar i did 2 worksheets.
in spelling i did 2 spelling tests.
in science we learned about corn and the different types of corn.

The older two, starting their timelines.

Porter's Week 5 Report (typed by mom again this week)
Did my Math early.  I finished it all by Sunday.  Mostly multiplying by 3.
(In First Language Lessons) Trying to memorize The Land of Nod poem.  I'm, also, doing diagramming.
(In Science) I'm doing this tree thing.  The first page, how you can tell how old is a tree.  Counting the rings inside.  We read a book about maize. The real name of corn is maize.
I drew the Mayflower.  We did our own Mayflower Compact.  Squanto showed how to grow corn.  You fertilize the ground, and put a seed in there.  They put a fish before they put the maize seed.  Then the fish the rotted.  
We slept in the tent last night, Gibran and me.  

Escher Week 5 Report (typed by Mom)
Squanto was a person, an Indian. I learned about people names.  I learned about branches and leaves.  Putting fish in ground and bean then squash then it turn in corn.  We found chips and popcorn and babypowder and soup. Me write my name. 

Here is the link to the coloring page. I sure wish I could get him to draw more for History. He draws a lot otherwise. But, I hate coloring pages.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 4

We belong to a VA, so my boys shoot of an email once a week to their teacher.   So, here they are in their own words.  It's actually quite fun =) We are studying SOTW Vol. 3 for History this year.  They are on chapter 4. 


I make boats.  not wood boats.  I  made it with paper, tape, milk carton, and pencils.  (In the Little House in the Big Woods) they went to a city.  (Math started lesson 6) learned about circles.  (In Progressive Phonics) Bab can't see.  Her bad dog.  Her said bad, bad, dog.  Her put a bow on her top of her head. 

Porter (typed by mom this week)

Henry Hudson wanted to find the Northwest Passage.  His crew did mutiny.  They put him on a little boat with a little bit of crewmates.  The people that did mutiny sailed back with the big ship.  I did lesson 4 in Math.  I did a spelling test.  I build a ship.  I made it with milk cartons and coffee carton.  I haven't made my flag yet.

i made boats and did these lessons
1 spelling test
3 math sheets
learned about henry hudson and the northwest passage in history

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waldorf Inspiration

Here are some beautiful chalkboard drawings, as well as much, much more beauty from a waldorf school.  Hope it brings some beauty and inspiration to your upcoming week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making Butter

E and I have been reading Little House in the Big Woods. I wasn't sure if he would like it or not.  He is all boy and I always thought the series was rather girlie.  But, to my surprise (I guess it's been awhile) they start the book off will all kinds of food preparation for the winter.  He has asked all kinds of questions. Like what types of toys do they have.  He thought it rather funny that a pigs bladder was such a fun toy.

Here he is making butter for his friends.  We didn't take it out and rinse it.  But, it was still quite yummy. Kind of like whipped butter.  I usually make everyone eat Earth Balance, so it was quite a treat.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We spent today at the Zoo. Every time we go to the zoo we learn something new. How can that be? The boys thought there was a toy scorpion in the exhibit and were surprised to see it move. They had a black light on them and one was right under the light. It was a beautiful turquoise.

We fed the budgies. E screamed horribly when 5 or 6 of those guys flew into his face and landed up his arm. He was so brave.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I made a .... gasp...... gulp.....LESSON PLAN

I fight the whole lesson plan thing. This year I got some more workbook type curriculum. I'm trying to do the next thing. But, here I am at the official week 2 of our school year. I'm ending my day at midnight. But, our school day. Well, it was pretty productive. But, it seemed so haphazard. I NEED time to enjoy my baby girl. I feel like I waste a ton of time trying to remember that next thing I need to do. The kids are running around and asking what next, what next, what next...oh wait I'm hungry. Then the baby is hungry. Then a diaper change. Then a chore. It's causing me some anxiety.

So, I did it.

*disclaimer: I don't take credit for the clipart. I got it off the internet. Names shortened to initial to protect the innocent. I'm more creative than that.

Week 2

7 September-11 September







Read SOTW Chapter 2

Type a Narration with a picture

Insert card on timeline


Notebook pages

Read Encyclopedia section

Outline Encyclopedia section

Read Aloud: The New Americans

Read SOTW Chapter 2

Oral Narration to Mom.

Insert card on timeline


Notebook pages

Read Aloud: The New Americans

Listen to SOTW Ch. 2

Notebook page


Read Aloud: The New Americans


Read Chapter 2

Do Experiment 2

Finish Experiment 1

Start reading Chapter 2

Put Classification cards in order

Listen to Chapter 2

Insect Dominoes

Library Basket

Notebook pages


The Dark Frigate

Library Books

Keep track of Reading List

Magic Treehouse

Library Books

Keep Track of Reading List

Little House in the Big Woods

Progressive Phonics


Writing Strands 3: Lesson 2

Italics D M T W T F

Spelling M T W T F

First Language Lessons 3

* Lesson 5

* Lesson 6

* Lesson 7

Italics M T W T F

Spelling M T W T F

PP Worksheets



Lesson 3

Lesson 4


Lesson 2

Lesson 3


Lesson 3

Lesson 4


Friday, September 4, 2009

The Prophet
Math: He started Math U See Epsilon. He finished lessons 1-2 and is almost finished with lesson 3.

History: He read chapter 1 of The Story of the World Volume 3. He filled out the map and wrote a short summary of the chapter. Topics covered were the beginning of discovery of the Americas and treatment of the Native Peoples. He outlined the Encyclopedia section for this chapter.

Science: He read chapter 1 of Biology Level 1. He learned how to classify living things. He did the chapter experiment. He found 11 items and categorized them.

Writing: Italics Handwriting D pages 1-3. Winston Grammar Lessons 1-3. Nouns and articles. He did Lesson 1 of Writing Strands 3. He did outlining in History.

Reading: The Dark Frigate-2 chapters. Treasure Island Comic book by Marvel. Don Quixote and the Windmills by Kimmel.

The Peacemaker
Math: He started Math U See Gamma this week. He printed out a multiplication chart to keep track of his progress in memorizing the multiplication table. He finished lesson 1 and started lesson 2. He learned about multiplication and area of a square and rectangle. He learned the three different ways to write a multiplication problem. Lesson 2 covered the factors of O and 1.

History: He read chapter 1 of The Story of the World Volume 3. He filled out the map and I wrote his Narrations for the two sections we read together. Topics covered were the beginning of discovery of the Americas and treatment of the Native Peoples. He did the coloring pages. He did a project that helped him realize how much Gold was taken from the Native people's by the Spanish.

Science: He read chapter 1 of Biology Level 1. He learned how to classify living things. He did the chapter experiment. He made cards for the different classification levels. He then practiced putting these in order. He caught crickets with his younger brother. They have been feeding and observing them this week. His apple and avocado trees are growing beautifully in his terrarium.

Writing: He started First Language Lessons 3. He did 4 Lessons this week. He learned about Nouns. He did daily spelling Tests with Spelling Power. He made it to Group A List 2.

Reading: Don Quixote and the Windmills by Kimmel. Magic Treehouse 2: Knights Before Dawn.

The Warrior
Math: He started Math U See Primer. He is up to lesson 3.

History: He listened to Story of the World: Volume 1. He did the map work for Chapter 1. We read the first chapter of The House in the Big Woods. He asked me questions about the house. We discussed how they cured the meat, cooking, and refrigeration methods.

Science: He caught crickets with his older brother. They have been feeding and observing them this week. We read Bugs are Insects by Anne Rockwell. We found insects have three body parts and six legs. He picked out the insects in the pictures.

Game to play: Insect Dominoes

He had handwriting practice with his phonics letters and in Explode the Code 1. He learned the definition of a noun in Chapter 1 of First Language Lessons 1.

Reading: He finished pages in Explode the Code. He is using Progressive Phonics to learn to read. It's working very well. It's the first thing I've tried that has actually produced results. He read book 1.3 and did a few of the activity sheets that went along with it. They included some cutting and pasting of words, handwriting skills, and a memory game of the words dad, dod, and bob.

Read Alouds: Little House in the Big Woods, Bugs are Insects, and The Butterfly Jar

Friday, August 28, 2009

First week of school

This week we are easing back into a school routine. We got a brand new family journal. I've done some post-nesting and rearranging. We are waiting on curriculum to arrive & starting on what we have already. I'm cleaning up my online activities (not what you are thinking). I'm changing my email and my blog addresses. I'm getting rid of old blogs, unnecessary posts, and old email. I'm going to update the plans for this year. I'll be editing all the old stuff and thoughts from those posts, too. Clean, clean, and clean!!! Our latest addition has been amazing. She is a blessing to all the boys. She sleeps well, too!

The Warrior Grade 1

Along with the following plans, he will be very active and do lots of art projects. We plan on joining the YMCA. He might take art lessons from his Aunt.

Read Alouds

I'll probably pull read alouds from the booklist for Ambleside Online 1.
The Little House in the Big Woods
Holling C. Holling Books
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
King of the Golden River by John Ruskin
Peter Pan (or, Peter Pan and Wendy) by James M. Barrie (parents may want to read this one aloud to edit, see below)
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Pocahontas by Ingri D'Aulaire

English/Language Arts
We are following this scope and sequence from Ambleside Online
He will continue to work on phonics till he can read. We are using Explode the Code and ProgressivePhonics.com.
Oral narrations
Italics Book A
First Language Lessons 1.

Math U See Primer

Story of the World 3

Science probably won't be a huge point this year. Reading is that most important point. I know little boys love Science though. His brothers are doing Real Science 4 Kids Biology. My plan is to just order library books on the same subjects & have him do a notebook page for each subject.

The Peacemaker Grade 4

He is doing quite well this year. He needs to work on his confidence a bit. He is finally reading chapter books and I think that will help a lot with his upcoming work. I really need him to be more independent.

He will be working through Story of the World 3 (1600-1850). He will do written narrations, mapwork, and notebook pages for each chapter.

He will keep track of important dates and people in his Book of Centuries.

Supplemental library materials (i.e. books and DVDs) will be available. He will keep track of these in our family journal, Goodreads, or Bookadventure.org.

Suggested memory work for the period are Declaration of Independence, First 12 Presidents of the United States, and Major Wars for the time period.

Lots of reading from the library. I promised Hands on activities to him this year. So, I did get the SOTW activity guide.

Real Science-4-kids Biology

Language Arts

I like the methods outlined in The Well Trained Mind, but they seem to work at a slower Charlotte Mason approach with my boys. I'm using the the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online for most of our Language Arts planning. As budget permits, I will add in suggestions from The Well Trained Mind, although at lower grade levels.

He will continue with Italics Handwriting. I would like to see him to start some cursive this year. I'm waiting on purchasing writing curriculum or making further plans. I want to see hwo much work First Language Lessons 3 is for him first. I will keep a collection of good literature, as well as History books on the current topics we are covering. He has just started The Magic Treehouse Series. He will probably have some type of memory work for each month. Poetry or speeches from the time period are suggested in TWTM. He will do a short period of oral reading for a parent. We need to keep up with him and make sure he is doing well. We are going to start using Spelling Power this year, as well.

Math U See Gamma

Optional Resources
Field Trips
Critical thinking press Mind Benders: Warm Ups A1, A2, A3, A4
Typing Program

The Prophet Grade 7

I cannot believe he is going to be in Grade 7 this year. He has been doing so well this year. I'm very proud of the changes he has made. We are trying to follow The Well Trained Mind approach. But, he hasn't quite made it to Logic stage in many areas. Alas, Susan Wise Bauer does talk about this which is a confirmation of how I have felt all along. Some children won't make it past logic stage. But, they will still get an excellent education. I believe they can still be ready for college if they desire that path. There is nothing wrong with starting college and having to do Pre-Algebra or Algebra. Sure it's nice to skip ahead or not have to even take Math classes. Oh, wait I'm getting ahead of myself. Grade 7 it is.


He will be working through Story of the World 3 (1600-1850). He will do written narrations, mapwork, and notebook pages for each chapter.

He may do outlining of some topics from Usborne Encyclopedia.

He will keep track of important dates and people in his Timeline.

Supplemental library materials (i.e. books and DVDs) will be available. He will keep track of books read through our family journal, Goodreads, and/or Bookadventure.org.

Real Science 4 Kids Biology 1

Language Arts
I like the methods outlined in The Well Trained Mind, but they seem to work at a slower Charlotte Mason approach with my boys. I'm using the the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online for most of our Language Arts planning. As budget permits, I will add in suggestions from The Well Trained Mind, although at lower grade levels.
We are going to try Writing Strands 3, again. I've whittled down and re-worded the assignments. He should be able to start Writing Strands 4 by October.
He will read from a reading list, as well as books of his own choosing. I've gathered up books from various sources online. I'll have a few shelves set up from those sources, as well as suggestions from The Story of the World Activity Guide.
Grammar Winston Grammar
Spelling Spelling Power
Math Math U See Epsilon & Zeta

Optional Resources

Field Trips
Critical thinking press Mind Benders: Warm Ups A1, A2, A3, A4
Typing Program

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Handwriting tool

I wanted to note this free site. It makes different kinds of handwriting sheets in the Zaner-Bloser font. You can do manuscript or cursive. You can choose different grade levels (thus different size lines). There is a great spelling worksheet maker, too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mutant Daisy

This shows the top of the daisy.

Isn't it cute. It makes a little heart.

The boys are always outdoors and finding things. It's been a blast this year. We moved to my parents house and they have 5 acres. I hope I can photo document more of it this next year.

My mom loves daisies and the animals don't. So, they are all over the property. Yesterday they found this lovely mutant daisy. It seems to be two daises that grew together. So the top bends over. There isn't a bottom, just two sides. We tried to show the side. I know it looks like the bottom, but it isn't. It has two sides that look like that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009-2010 Printables, Plans, and Goals TAKE 1

I'm going to start making strange posts to keep track of stuff I would like to plan for the upcoming year. I would like to print off what I need before the actual year, if not just 6 weeks at a time.

I'm going to get more notebooking going this year, too. We end up with scattered papers a lot and no real method to organize them.

I'm posting plans for each child, as well. I'll update them as we go along this summer according to budget restraints mostly.

We are on the waiting list for a virtual academy. So, that will really change how I plan for the year. The VA would allow us to purchase more curriculum especially workbooks that would make things easier to open and go. It would, also, give us the allowance to do some fun stuff like field trips and the YMCA. I will need to keep better track of what we are actually doing including insuring that goal hours are met.

Planning & Goals
I'm going to give the children a 6 week planner sheet at the beginning of the Term/quarter. That way they can do a check off each day. I'm going to use the form from Ambleside Classical. It's on the right hand column of the page and is for Openoffice. It's easy to use it for my own subjects/curriculum. I think I will use the boxes in the right hand corner for keeping track of books read, character traits, or inspirational quotes. If we join the VA, I will include a spot to keep track of hours. They are going to get it printed on their favorite color. The Prophet is red, The Peacemaker is Green, and The Warrior is blue.

Character and Habit Training
I can't believe I'm even considering it. But, we started discussing a chart of character qualities that I printed up. I'm not sharing it because I don't entirely agree with some of the families methods. The boys have responded really well. We did get some character lessons in when we used KONOS, but we haven't used that in the last few years. It's nice to have the chart because I don't think I could come up with a list like that on my own.

These free cards might be helpful. I can print them up and insert what they need to work on. But, I wouldn't have them earn anything for them. I can't keep up with reward systems.
I'm pretty certain we will use at least Story of the world 3 for the upcoming year. I've never had much luck using the Activity Guides. It seems to slow us down and I end up feeling guilty for not doing activities. Activities that my children never seem to enjoy.

I'm trying to decide if I want to do a History Notebook as described in The Well Trained Mind. My oldest is not fully at the Logic Stage yet and I think it would be to confusing to keep track of.

I have a good size set of History Scribe pages. I plan on printing those out to go along with some of the chapters. If I run out, I think I will utilize the Free History printables here. I like the looks of either the second one down on the left or the top middle one with the timeline. I would like to use google images and pull up images to use for notebooking, as well. I might throw in a few packs of "real" notebooking paper to liven things up a bit.

I've been wanting to start a Book of Centuries for years. But, we start and stop and loose the pages. I like the look of this one. I should probably put it on some nicer paper to make it more durable.

There was a lot of talk on the Well Trained Mind Forums about creating History notebooks. I'm not interested in binding anything. But, I would like to have everything prepared for the 6 week period. Anything that helps with keeping me from having to recall all the steps I want to take. I'm getting way to distracted with having all these kids and now there is going to be a baby. I know Peace Hill Press offers the notebooking pages from SOTW already printed up. We tried those with SOTW 1 and they didn't go over well. But, it's one of those things that I might consider if we join the virtual academy.

I love using these Story of the World planning sheets. I use them more as a log of what we read or notebooked during the week. I don't like planning supplemental materials. We never have the budget for extras. So, we depend on the library. I never know if we will enjoy something from the library or if it will even arrive around the time of study. It, also, lines up the 42 chapters into a "real" school year. I've been using the one for SOTW 2 and it's keeping me on track and giving me some focus.

I would like to do some sort of Life Science with the boys. We did a little introduction a few years back. But, they were really young then. It really depends on my budget constraints. I have Apologia General Science and I might start doing that with my oldest. I can stretch it out over two years.

Read Alouds

I might do notebooks for some of these. Here and Here are some samples. A narration per chapter.

This Country of Ours

Language Arts
Here is the scope and sequence at Ambleside Online.

We use Italics for Handwriting.

We started some copywork this year. I will continue with that for a bit in the summer and pick it up again during the school year. It made a huge difference in handwriting. I like the Italics because the boys are doing better with it. But, there isn't much practice in the workbooks.

I would like to start some studied dictation, as well. I think I might try with the oldest and see how it goes. I think it could do a lot to help with his writing skills.

I plan to start with First Language Lessons 1 for The Warrior. He needs to be reading well before we start. I'm looking at Rod and Staff or First Language Lessons 3 or 4, for the older two. Neither have done any formal grammar yet.

Nearing the end of our year

Washington weather is becoming so beautiful. We are not entirely up to where I would like us to all be. But, then again I didn't really have any written goals this year or really any years.

This summer we are going to finish up SOTW 2. I think I'm about done notebooking at this point. I think we will just read and discuss. I'll keep up a nice basket of library supplements.

The boys will continue on in Math since they are both "behind". The youngest will continue with reading lessons. I would love for him to have some basic reading skills since I will be so busy with the baby.

So, I probably won't be posting about our learning too much more. (Not that I've been consistent on that.) But, I will be using my blog to keep track of plans and goals for the upcoming year. We did well with adding more structure into our days. So, I'm hoping I can bump it up a notch this upcoming school year.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How about a May update...

so much for posting more. When do people find the time for that anyway?

So, it's going well. The boys are half way done with their new level of MUS. The prophet should be caught up by High School! The Peacemaker will be caught up by next year. I guess they just needed some time.

Handwriting is going well for both of them. Since, they both finished their books we are finally getting in more copywork. I love copywork. They may not, but it's so useful. I really wish I had been doing more of this all along. Next year there will be copywork for everyone. And, dictation for the oldest one.

The Warrior is really getting into reading. It's given us the opportunity to continue some speech work, as well. I've been hoping he will be reading by September, although I would love if he could "get it" by the time the baby comes in July. But, I may be overly hopeful with the last bit. He is still very interested in writing things down, so I think there is some kind of learning thing going on with using his hands.

So far, the Prophet is a reader, the Peacemaker is visual and artistic learner, and I'm wondering if the Warrior will need to write things down to get it. It's interesting to see how different they are.

We are implementing more of schedule/routine to our day. I've been using the scanner my mom gave me to make little packets of Math work, so they know exactly how much work they have this week. Overall school is going a lot better and we are learning a lot more. So, although I wasn't sure if doing more schoolish type work would go over well...I think we needed some time for it to sink in and find a plan we could take on.

We made it to SOTW 2, as well. We did quite a bit of Middle Ages stuff via KONOS when they were younger. I'm borrowing the book from the library and we are going through more chapters per week than normal. I would like to get into the SOTW 3 and SOTW 4 for my oldest in middle school. So, it seems like we are rushing. But, we are spending greater chunks of time on it during the day. We try to get a History Scribe or other notebook page and some copywork or narrations done for each chapter. Plus, we are reading an eyewitness book and discussing a lot. Things seem to be sticking enough. We dragged SOTW 1 out for almost 2 years and that was way too much.

I went ahead and ordered the new copy of The Well Trained Mind. I don't have a copy, so I always make notes and send it back to the library. But, I really think if this is going so well, that it would be nice to have something to reference back to. It got here right before Mother's Day which I thought was a good sign.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An April 2009 update

I've had the most amazing Braxton Hicks this pregnancy. I feel like I need to keep my legs together at all times. Sitting at my computer desk leaves me a bit breathless.

Neverless there is school getting done!


We are just getting into chapter 18 of Story of the World:Volume 1. I've been better at getting to the library and keeping our shelves full. Even our youngest is getting to enjoy history. Since, my 12 year old has little desire to color our 6 year old has taken over coloring sheets. He especially loves the gruesome ones.


For Apologia Science we are just starting the chapter on Mars. The boys are doing narrations for each reading. I've picked up supplemental library books and DVD's for the youngest.


The boys have post finished their Italics books for the year. I'm going to wait on ordering new ones till the summer. For now I'm going to really step up the written narrations and copywork. They didn't get much of that at younger stages and I think they need it.

The Prophet is not interested in Writing Strands at all. This is the second year and it's still not going over well. I'm giving up. I've been defeated. I liked it because it was pretty short and sweet. But, he doesn't end up with much writing accomplished. So, I'm having him do typed narrations of History and Science readings. He is doing copy work from his current reading book. He just started the Eragon series. I hope this gets him a bit more interested and comfortable. Next year we are going to start Grammar and cursive Italics. So, I think it would be good to boost his Writing Esteem a bit before then.

The Peacemaker is doing oral narrations, which I write and he copies. I wish this is something I did when he was younger. But, he was in public school for much of that time. They had the children writing in journals and not correcting their work. It was funny sometimes. But, I think it was detrimental for a child who wasn't reading well yet. He is doing wonderfully with his reading, btw. His confidence has soared and he doesn't put himself down when reading aloud.

I'm learning so much about my boys this year. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the Warrior for his upcoming Grade 1 year. It's allowed me to see where we have gotten behind and had to play catch up with the other boys. I've learned to utilize different methods to combine writing and reading skills in with different subjects. I'm getting better at combining children and working with my own "classroom". All in time for a new little one to come in an demand a new schedule.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday 5 March, 2009

The boys listened to me read 2 chapters from Swiss Family Robinson. As always we encountered some news words. They actually figured out what formidable means.

A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land.
We discussed Israel, honey bees & their disappearances & importance, growing crops, pesticides, organic growing, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and Industrial Farming.

Prophet worked on Math, read more from the Popcorn book and we did some online research to see if Cheerios was still the top cereal. Polled the rest of the family about what cereal they saw as the best and what they thought would be at the top.

Peacemaker worked on MUS & ETC.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday 2 March, 2009

Everyone did some Math today. We are going to try 3 days a week with more work each day. My boys are like their parents. They don't like doing the same thing everyday.

We finished up Chapter 14 of SOTW 1. I was thinking of doing projects...but honestly where to find the time? Perhaps this weekend we can do something with chapter 15. I found the blog of a family who does the projects. So, I thought they could at least see some and see what they think. We are actually a pretty creative family, but they hate when things are disguised as school. I'm not sure how to separate that. We use to have a lot of fun with projects. I don't know what happened. I still think it's the transitions of this year.

They all did some reading. Prophet from the popcorn book and a National Geographic. While Peacemaker read aloud from Bighorn Sheep. He really needs more everyday practice to get reading more regularly. I need him to be able to read and comprehend by himself.

They all listened while I read aloud from Swiss Family Robinson. Every time I pick up the book they comment on how the movie is nothing like the book.

They all made breakfast and lunch by themselves. At least, I can be happy to know they will not starve when they grow up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Learning

Today the boys wondered...are cocoa beans fruit or vegetable? What are they?

They figured they were fruits and here is the answer. Chocolate is somehow a popular topic this week. I swear it's not because I'm pregnant.

I think they forgot about their bikes because they are off on another bike ride today. Link

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday 25 February, 2009

Prophet: Read from Why does Popcorn Pop? & worked on Lesson 2 of MUS Delta. He learned that Europeans like dark chocolate while Americans prefer milk chocolate. Mom prefers dark chocolate (they think it's because I was born in Europe) and they like milk chocolate.
Peacemaker: Worked on Lesson 5 from MUS Beta.
Warrior: Had Reading & Writing lesson with TOPGTR, flashcards, and white board.

The boys were observing the aquarium. We have just a few tadpoles left. But, the most interesting thing now is the snails. They were minuscule almost microscopic. Now they are huge. They realized the snail shells keep getting bigger and they must make their shells. So, we did some online research of that.

Here is Prophets book review:

Why Does Popcorn Pop Why Does Popcorn Pop by Don Voorhees

My review

I like the book. I like it because it tells me foods that I like. I like food a lot. It tells me what's the best chocolate to eat and how they make it.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning to Read

Here is Warrior learning to read. It started with just reading instruction, but he is very interested in writing, as well. Our older two attended public K and half of Grade 1. So, I have yet to enjoy reading and phonics instruction. Peacemaker really struggled with reading, so I figured I wouldn't even start with Warrior till maybe next year. Too my surprise he is interested and doing well. We are following The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. We use premade flashcards and he writes the letters on the white board, as well. I'm really going to use the white board and chalkboard more in our homeschooling. I can just take pictures and blog instead of trying to figure out what to do with all that paper. And, then he drew me a person and had me label the parts he called out.

Here are some of the curriculum we are using with him. This day we did get too far along in Singapore for his understanding. But, he does enjoy counting the pictures and writing his numbers on the whiteboard. I'm thinking about slowly introducing MUS Alpha to him (what we have used with his brothers), but I don't know how ready he is for that either. I think for now we will keep on counting and playing with our Pattern Blocks.

And, last of all a mozzarella string cheese stick for a snack. Because learning is hard work for boys.

Peacemaker Book Making

Peacemaker loves to make books. Here is his latest. (Sorry if pics are blurry, he took them. I had to show him how to hold the button down halfway to focus the shot. Honestly it took me a week before my husband had to show me to do the same thing.)

The book title is Attack of the Cat. It's a common theme around here as we happen to have a cat who is tiny, swift, brave, and sneaky.

August stalking something outside.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday February 16, 2009

The boys have being doing pretty well. It's a big adjustment to start doing more schoolwork around here. But, honestly they seem happier when they have regular schoolwork and routine. They are kinder to each other, too. Their imaginations actually work better. I often wonder if it's a boy thing. Boys need to move and get going.

The Prophet and the Peacemaker have both been finishing at least one lesson per week. I was finally able to get Prophet MUS Delta. I got it used and it cost me half the price since I didn't have to pay taxes and shipping on it. I actually would prefer to buy it new because I love MUS and want to support them. But, last month we barely had food to eat. God provides though and we all have food and the bills are paid for this month.

Warrior is working on some basic counting skills. We played with the Pattern blocks and Pattern Blocks Animals workbook. Pattern blocks are really fun and so useful. Every kid that visits likes them. He did some work in Singapore 1a with me, as well. We just used the textbook and he wrote the numbers on a whiteboard. I am amazed at how he wanted to work on it and would erase to fix the numbers.

We are going to actually finish Story of the World 1. Last year, we did up to chapter 11 in the activity guide and student pages. We finished the rest of the year by just listening to he DVD's, discussing them, reading a few more library books etc. We were so busy with the program we belonged to. So, I thought it wouldn't hurt to go through again. Nothing sticked with Peacemaker it seems, so I think it's a good idea. I had hoped Warrior might be interested in sitting with us, but alas it is too boring for him. I'm hoping it will be interesting in September when we start Story of the World 2.

This week will be starting Chapter 14 about Israel. Prophet starting reading National Geographic's Countries of the World:Israel. I'm going to encourage him to post his progress and reviews on Goodreads. I even wrote it down in my teacher's planner. I think it will be a nice change of pace for him. He will, also, do the SOTW student pages and about 4 sentences of written narrations for each SOTW section. I know it isn't much for his age and grade level. But, he just isn't ready yet for more (see below).

Peacemaker is listening to me read aloud SOTW. He gives me an oral narration. I write it down and he copies it. It really is helping with his retention.

Language Arts
Prophet is working through Writing Strands 3. We are compromising. He is writing for me. I am allowing him to write on amusing and non-conventional subjects such as video games and bodily functions. He is finishing up Italics C and has actually hit cursive. Yeah. It's only taken a year and half. He is on day 14 of Apples daily spelling drills. He hated this book last year, so I gave up on it. I decided to try again this month. It's not so bad now. It's been good because he didn't know when a lot of holidays were. He had to get the calendar out and look those up. I always mean to do calendar stuff with them, but never get to it...oops. I figure if I can get him doing enough writing through these workbooks and history narrations he will be more comfortable. I need him to be comfortable with his writing skills and penmanship so he can finally start Grammar this upcoming September. I think I have it whittled down to Winston Grammar for him.

Peacemaker is working on Italics B, Explode the Code 2, and First Language Lessons 1. He is whizzing through FLL and on lesson 12. I'm having him do copywork on definitions and probably will skip narration work. He has always done well with narrations and he is already doing them for History. He really struggled with reading. He went to public school for K and half of 1st. He seemed to be fine in K and had an awesome teacher. But, his 1st grade teacher was a horrible fit for him. I'm not sure he did anything but be worried and cry for 1st grade. So, it's really take him this long to get reading down. I think I'll keep him in the Explode the Code books. He is doing well with Level 2 and I think it's a good phonics reminder for him. Of what I can't in entirely figure out what he learned.

Warrior is working on the Ordinary Parents Guide to teaching reading. I like it so much better than Phonics Pathways. So, much I need to remember to sell that book. We are using flashcards we already have and our fridge magnets. We have those talking ones and I only gave him the ones he knows. That way he can play with them while we are in the kitchen. The boy has always been a music lover. So, anything with rhythm hooks him.

We are just finishing up chapter 5 on Earth in Apologia Astronomy. We aren't doing much more than reading because I haven't had the energy. We are reading Answers in Genesis magazine on alternating days. We do a lot of nature walks and canoe rides and live on 5 acres.

This last few weeks we have seen a huge sea lion (it sort of chased my husband and Peacemaker in the canoe), found a den site and two otters, a starfish, hermit crabs and snails, baby mussels, and two bald eagles. One of the eagles was at the beach. But, the other is one that flys by our house every morning. Yesterday it landed out at the edge of the pond and played in the water. It was amazing. I wish we had a zoom lens on our digital camera.

Other stuff...like being social and part of a community
Today the boys did a bit of schoolwork and then helped out my Grandma and mom. Prophet cleaned the main entrance doors with vinegar. We live in my parents duplex (they own both sections) and we have an inside hallway that leads upstairs to them. It's nice because you don't have to go outside on a cold day. It's not so nice because the huge double doors get moldy because of the cold Washington air. Prophet is does not like to get his hands dirty, so we are really proud to have him help out like that. I think it's important for the boys to do their part.

Peacemaker went shopping with my Grandma, his Great Grandma. She is in her mid-80's now and really short. So, getting stuff off the shelves and on the belt is difficult. My mom or Aunt usually does it, but my mom realized she could send Peacemaker. He love to help at the grocery store and is well behaved. So, he earned a little extra money and got a nice bonding time. I remember going shopping with my Grandma when I was little, so it's fun to think of the two of them. He brought back some apples and caramel stuff for making caramel apples.