Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A is for Alphabet Part 2 (M-Z)

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Here is the last half of the alphabet with my favorite homeschooling ideas....


M - Mystery of History - I love studying history with my kids and talking about the amazing things that have happened in time. We have used this chronological curriculum the last three years. And I am waiting patiently for the final volume to be published.....

N - Nature Readers from Christian Liberty Press - These science and nature readers are written in a no-nonsense way, starting with easy reading in book K, to more complex reading and ideas in book five.

O - On the Banks of Plum Creek, and other books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These are such classic books and my children love hearing them read and reading them.

P - Phonics Pathways - A couple of my children learned how to read fast, and a couple of others didn't. For those children who are struggling and having a hard time reading and learning writing at the same time, this book is such a help.

Q - Quarter Mile - This is a CD that you load onto the computer and has fun math racing games that go over those math facts that are so important.

R - Rainbow Resources - One of the best places online to get anything homeschooling. Their hard copy catalog is about 3 inches thick....

S - Shurley Grammar - Grammar is a hard subject for me; especially the diagramming. So depending on the different learning styles of my children, a couple of them use this grammar curriculum and learn to classify or parse sentences using jingles and questions.

T - Training Hearts, Teaching Minds - This family study through the shorter catechism is a great resource in our family. It is written in a simple yet profound way, with the basics of the faith given. I myself have learned a lot about simple theology as we have gone through it.

U - Usborne Books - These books are fantastic. We don't use textbooks in our homeschooling very much, and the wide array of books from this company are a nice addition to our studies. Our favorites are Sun, Moon and Stars, Castles, and the Big Book of Things to Draw.

V - Veritas Press - This was one of the first companies to offer a full range of classical education items; I mainly use their history and literature suggestions.

W - Writing With Ease - My younger ones have enjoyed going through this book this last year; Each week there is a different reading passage from a classic book, with pages for narrations, dictation and copywork.

X - eXplode the Code - I know it doesn't start with an X, but it is in there. These simple, phonics workbooks have been perfect for those of my children who struggled with reading and needed a little bit more practice.

Y -  david macauleY - Yes I know I am pushing it again, but there aren't many Y homeschooling resources out there, let alone Y words. These books by David Macauley are incredible. We have Cathedral, Castle, Pyramid, and Mill. The intricate details in these books make you feel as if you are standing right there, watching the cathedral being built.

Z - the Zoo - A couple of years ago the grandparents gifted us with a membership to our small, local zoo. We went at least once a month; where I would require the children to sketch a different animal, research it when we got home and write a paragraph. And if you have more that 2 kids a lot of times your one time admission fee is about the same price as a membership....

And there you have it, the homeschooling alphabet according to me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That my kids can be so cute sometimes. They are doing this thing right now where they are all pretending to be soldiers. Mr. Lego is the captain in charge and give them orders. The girls all march in order and salute one another. Hmmm, how can I get them to incorporate their schoolwork into this?

What I'm reading: I am not in the middle of anything right now....except of course my year-long Bible reading, where I am in Job and I Corinthians.

What I'm listening to: Bookworm is practicing her piano behind me right now. She is trying to play an easy version of Fanfare by Duncombe.

What we're learning: This week we are learning about Cervantes and Don Quixote, and the Australian Aborigines in history. The older children have a big geography test this week in co-op, and Nutsy is starting to really read now.

What I'm watching: We watched The Spirit of St Louis starring Jimmy Stewart with the kids over the weekend. It is amazing to me that with only a compass and his 'dead reckoning', he went from New York to Paris without stopping.

What's cooking: This week I am making Cumin-Pepper Curry, Turkey Meatball Soup, and Chicken Quesadillas.

What I'm buying: I am thinking to go out later this week and get some seeds for my garden. Gardening friends: is it too late to start seeds indoors here in CA, or should I just wait a couple weeks and start small plants outside?

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my husband's job. Things are so uncertain with the economy right now and I am grateful that even though he works long hours, he has a job.

What I'm creating: I just went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of Chocolate Berry Earl Grey Tea. So lovely on this cloudy morning.

What I'm praying: I am praying for those of my friends who are pregnant, or are desiring to be parents. That the Lord would open their wombs and give the Mommas a safe and uneventful pregnancy.

What I'm planning: Busy times are ahead. Our co-op is getting ready to wind down, and I am figuring out all the experiments for the science part. We are planning to get the goat this week which means our days will fill up with feeding and training him, showmanship practice and all that goes with having a goat. Doing 4-H means that we have a busy spring, but I love what the children are learning, and all of the many public speaking and leadership opportunities they have.

What we did this last weekend: On Saturday we went to our county's 4-H Presentation Day. Both of the older children did great; Bookworm got a gold and Mr. Lego got blue. Then that evening we had our first Supper for Six with friends. Yesterday we went to church and then came home to a relaxing afternoon with our family. Some weeks it is good for us to just come home and be together; to go to the park, talk with one another, and eat good food.

What I'm looking forward to: We have a field trip this week to the train museum, co-op, a goat meeting, the Lego class, and I think that is it. I am looking forward to another school week and just the normal stuff: laundry, washing floors, cooking dinner.

A picture to share:


~This is from the spring of 2007....Daddy reading to his cute little girls The Incredible Journey.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A is for Alphabet (Part 1 - A-L)

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I love lists.

And a dear friend pointed me to this fun list on another blog and I thought I would join in.

So these are my favorite, alphabetized, homeschooling resources.

A - A History of US  - These books are a great compliment to United States history. Fun to read, but be warned that they are from a secular perspective.

B - Big Truths for Little Kids - We used this a couple of years ago to introduce our children to the Children's Catechism. A great resource for younger ones.

C - Classical Academic Press - Right now I am reading through a logic book this company sells and I am loving it. More to come on this product in a future post.

D - Draw, Write, Now - This is a fun way to get your younger ones to start drawing with simple step by step instructions, with copywork and writing tips.

E - English From the Roots Up - We love this easy and simple way to learn Greek and Latin roots. Good for all ages.

F - First Language Lessons - I am using this for my younger two, and am loving the cumulative approach to grammar.

G - Galloping the Globe - Our family used this curriculum a few years ago and had such a fun time with it. We learned how to do origami, ate Bimibap, and mapped the whole world.

H - Hank the Cowdog - Have a reluctant reader? I do. And these hilarious books will make them not want to stop reading.

I - I Spy series - These fun books are perfect to give my youngest when I need her to sit quietly during a lesson for the older kids.

J - Jane Eyre - Okay, I guess I found a way to sneak one of my favorite books in here....this one my older two have read and someday the younger ones will enjoy it too.

K - Kingfisher History Encyclopedia - A great resource for history. Good photos, illustrations, and summaries of world history from the beginning to the present.

L - Landmark Books - Oh, how I love thee. These well written, historical fiction books written in the 50's are such a wonderful addition to our history study. We have about 45 of them, and I am always on the look out at used book sales for more. (I did link to a site that only sells the 'modern' Landmark books....I would highly recommend looking for the originals at books sales and on ebay.)

And that's all the time I have tonight! Look for the rest of my alphabet soon....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That today is a lovely day. My Sweetie is home because it is President's Day, (Which I just looked up because I wasn't sure, and it is not even the official name of the holiday. Washington's Birthday is the more appropriate term.) so we are thinking to go do something fun with the kids this afternoon. Maybe a hike, or some playing at a park.

What I'm reading: The last thing I read was my new Cooking Light magazine. I really love most of the recipes in there; they really do inspire me to cook new things.

What I'm listening to: Chattering is going on in the kitchen right now. Pages are turning behind me and the bird is giving us his normal morning serenade.

What we're learning: I had no voice for much of last week so we didn't get to any history at all. So this week we'll learn what was on the schedule for last week (flexibility is great with homeschooling), which is William Shakespeare, Tokugawa of Japan, and Sir Francis Bacon. And presentation day is this week so the kids are memorizing and practicing...

What I'm watching: Over the weekend my Sweetie and I watched The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen. A good movie overall if you like westerns.

What's cooking: This week I am making Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Wraps, Baked Potato Soup, and Vietnamese Roasted Chicken in the crock pot.

What I'm buying:  I think I got everything I needed on my monthly shopping expeditions last week; I am sure I will think of something we forgot at some point though.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for the house I live in. My kitchen, our walls for bookshelves, windows to see the sun from; thank you Lord for my home.

What I'm creating: I can't think of any projects I have right now....I am starting to think about getting some seeds into the ground out in the garden.

What I'm praying: I am praying for those Christians who live in lands where practicing their faith is persecuted. We are so blessed here to have the freedom to worship and teach our children how we want.

What I'm planning: I need to come up with a fun experiment to do in science this week....we are studying insect life cycles, camouflage, and defense.  

What we did this last weekend: We did some major organizing in the kids rooms Saturday; partly because it needed it and also partly because there is a missing library book somewhere (location is still unknown). Sunday we went to church and Sunday school, then had a family over for yummy California Rolls, Miso, and a stir fry.

What I'm looking forward to: This week is pretty normal; we have our rabbit project meeting, co-op, and Lego class. This Saturday is presentation day and even though I am not presenting of course, I'm still nervous for the kids. And that is why I judge other kids, so I don't get all worked up watching them do their presentations.

A picture to share:


~Two girlies at the park last week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What We Did Today....







The sad faces were fake...this is what they really looked like after their haircuts....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February 14th

We are not big Valentine Day celebrators, but I did see this idea here and here.



Last night I wrote each of my children a note, letting them know what I love about them.

This was truly an exercise for me.....as a mom I am constantly on them for the things I don't like in them, and to fill a whole heart with things I love about them was challenging in some ways.



An exercise in love with plenty of grace, reminding me of the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf.




Greater love has no one than this, 
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
~John 15:13

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can barely whisper this morning. I started losing my voice over the weekend and yesterday I must have talked way too much, because croaking out a whisper is all I can do today. This will make for an interesting school day.....

What I'm reading: I finished Across Five Aprils and would highly recommend it. For fun I picked up a big fat book at the library last week, Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts. I will either feel motivated to try some stuff, or feel woefully un-crafty when I'm finished looking through it.

What I'm listening to: Bookworm is sitting behind me doing her math....it's quite challenging helping her with no voice. The little girls are upstairs and Mr. Lego is reading a book about Shakespeare at the table.

What we're learning: This week in history we are learning about William Shakespeare, Tokugawa Japan, and Sir Francis Bacon. Presentation boards are finished so the older two are madly memorizing and practicing, and in science we are beginning a new section on insects.

What I'm watching: The rain come down. This little storm we are having caught me by surprise; I didn't even know that rain was in the forecast.

What's cooking: This week I am making Chinese Fried Rice, Morrocan Chicken in the crock-pot, and a Sausage and Spinach Risotto. For breakfast I have been enjoying my homemade yogurt with a tablespoon of my friend's granola on top....I am almost finished with the granola so if I have time I would like to make some of my own granola later this week.

What I'm buying: I can't think of anything I need to get this week; later this week I am doing our monthly shopping and so I'd better get scooting with my menu planning.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my friends. They are real, they encourage, laugh and cry with me....thank you Lord for my good friends.

What I'm creating: This week we are breeding the rabbits for county fair. This will be the make-it or break-it litters for our 4-H project so we really need these babies.

What I'm praying: For the future spouses of my children. Somewhere out there, there are three boys and one girl that I will welcome as my own child someday. I pray that they would remain pure, and would be drawn to the Lord, in His grace and mercy.

What I'm planning: Today we are planning to go check out a baby goat that we might be getting. And the kids have some things they need to do for our rabbit project and Presentation Day. They need to work on their geography as there is a big test coming up, and I need to go find a couple of crickets (most likely at the pet store) for our study in science this week.

What we did this last weekend: We helped to surprise one of our friends for their birthday on Saturday....he was mostly surprised and we all had a fun time. Sunday we had church and then had a couple families over for BBQ pork sandwiches and good fellowship. Then back to church for evening worship.

What I'm looking forward to: Getting my voice back....soon, I hope. Drinking the lovely cup of French Vanilla tea next to me. Seeing the sun after the rain come out later today.

A picture to share:


~I had no idea what photo to put on here this week, until Mr. Lego asked me to take on of him and his rabbit Bucky.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Birthday Quiz - Mr. Lego

My son is 15 today. 

The boy I gave birth to, my first-born; who would run into my arms for hugs and kisses without abandon. He still hugs me, but they are now from someone who is 4 inches taller than me. He is as close as you can get to being a man and seems about tall enough to be one too. 

My boy is growing up.



Today I sat him down to ask him some questions. This, from my son who doesn't talk too much.


What is your favorite food? 
Everything, except for the things below.
I do like shrimp, hamburgers and pizza.


What do you not like eating? 
Mint, mustard, and raw tomatoes.
(This has not changed in at least 10 years.)




How about your favorite color? 
Blue and black.
(When he was little he loved white)


What is your favorite subject in school right now? 
History. It's interesting.




What are you looking forward to this year?  
The fair. The rides and the food.(No offense, mom. I like your food too.) 
I am looking forward to our camping trip too.
(The boy does like to eat)


What do you enjoy doing most? 
Playing sports. Football and basketball. I like building 
Star Wars things out of Legos. Putting up 
posters in my room.
(Two walls are completely covered.)




Where is your favorite place to be?  
I like going to a park. Playing football and basketball there are great.


What is one of your favorite memories from this last year? 
I really liked getting reserve in show at the county fair last year with my rabbit.




Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (When you're 20) 
I'll still be me. Maybe in the military or in school. 
I might like to be a mechanic in the National Guard.
(When he was little he wanted to be a fireman.)


In 20 years? (When you're 35)
I'll be old. I would have my own place. Maybe having a family, 
but I'm not sure. Working at my job.
(Yup, when I was 15, 35 seemed old)




What do you like best about having three sisters?
I can tell them what to do. They play with me
 and will play basketball and football with me. 
I like playing hide and seek with them.
(They do get along pretty well.)



Happy 15th birthday, my son.

Love, 
Your Momma


Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That this morning I woke up, and am the mother of a 15 year old. Life needs to slow way down. Happy Birthday, my boy.

What I'm reading: I am starting the book Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt in my spare reading time. My reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has evolved into joining The Crew, which means I'll be using this blog more to write reviews for homeschooling products. And I am going to be reviewing a literature guide to go along with Across Five Aprils, so I need to get reading.

What I'm listening to: A couple children are listening to a book on CD upstairs, another is behind me doing school and another is waiting to get on the computer to do their language arts.

What we're learning: This week we are really focusing on our 4-H presentations. Mr. Lego had a last minute change so he is still working on his boards, while Bookworm is working on memorizing her stuff. They have 3 weeks before County Presentation Day. This week in history we are studying Sir Walter Raleigh, the Spanish Armada, and Michel de Montaigne.

What I'm watching: We celebrated Mr. Lego's birthday on Saturday with the watching of The Two Towers. The two older children have read the book so it was fun for them to finally see the movie.

What's cooking: This week we are having roast chicken, Japanese Curry, and a new crock pot recipe: Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken).

What I'm buying: I need to go out and buy more Sharpie's for our presentation boards....and some in fun colors too.

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful for the healthy body God has given me. That I can exercise, run, do fun things with the kids, and don't have any major health issues.

What I'm creating: Clean laundry. Today is one of our laundry days and I have at least 4 loads that need to go through the washer and dryer today.

What I'm praying: That God would continue to give me grace; grace as I lead and disciple my children, and grace in my role as a wife. And that I would remember Christ, the ultimate giver of grace.

What I'm planning: I have been researching different 4-H possibilities for our family and have come to the conclusion that the rabbits don't make sense for fair. Because we have to raise our market rabbits from birth and keep the parents all year, it doesn't work out with what you make at auction. So we are thinking to try goats. We would only need to own them for 2 months of the year and would at least break even at auction. And lest you think we will be keeping a goat in our backyard, I have a friend who doesn't live too far that is willing to let us keep the goats for those two months. We are thinking to do a trial run this year with one goat and see how it works. So I am off later this week to check out a few goats and see if one of them would work for us.

What we did this last weekend: We did some cleaning on Saturday, and then celebrated Mr. Lego's 15th birthday. We went to a park and played for a while, then came home to hamburgers, baked beans, coleslaw and potato chips. (Mr. Lego chose the menu) Then we all settled down and watched The Two Towers. Yesterday we went to church, our fellowship meal, and then to the assisted living center for their service. Then we went over to a friends house for yummy soup, fellowship, and the Super Bowl.

What I'm looking forward to: We have co-op this week, our 4-H officers meeting, Mr. Lego's class, and a visit to a goat farm. Along with all the other normal stuff we do every week.

A picture to share:


~My 15 year old son.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Literature Time

Reading is so important. Especially reading aloud. Even if your listeners cannot read themselves, they are learning so much by hearing language and visualizing the story in their heads. When the children were younger, we would have read aloud nights as a family, where my Sweetie would read to us as we all snuggled on the sofa.

Reading aloud is an important part of our homeschooling; so much so that I thought I would share how I do literature in our school setting.

I try to carve out a time a few afternoons a week to read to my brood. That has happened less often than I have liked, which is why I am so happy that literature is a part of our little co-op. And this last semester, I was in charge of the literature hour for the younger children. There were 6 of them, ranging in age from 6 to 10. They would gather around the school table to listen while I read; usually for at least a half hour, some days for almost an hour.

The book I chose was this:


William Pene du Bois' The Twenty-One Balloons.

Reading from the back:

"When Professor William Waterman Sherman leaves San Francisco in a hot air balloon, he intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. Instead, through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, a legendary island of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and fantastic balloon inventions. Once Professor Sherman learns the secrets of Krakatoa, he must remain there forever - unless he can find a means of escape."

Each week I would read a chapter to the children. I allowed them to color on blank paper with crayons while I was reading, but my rule was that they had to be drawing something from the story.

I also came up with a fun idea to keep them listening: Each day before we started I would write 5 or 6 vocabulary words on my chalkboard.


They were to listen for these words as I read and when they heard me read that word, do something silly - like put their hand on their head, or plug their nose. (When I gave them the words I would decide what silly action they would do that day.) When I read the word, we would stop and talk about the meaning of the word and how it was used.

After we finished our reading I asked them some questions to help them narrate the story back to me.



I also had come up with some thought questions; questions that were more open ended and encouraged discussion.


We had some great conversations about inventions, food and what they might have done differently if they were the professor. They loved it, and so did I.

Last month we finished up The Twenty-One Balloons, and now my co-teacher is going to teach the rest of the year reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.

Reading is so important, and so much fun.



And because I always love to hear about the good books others have read, I'll share some of our family favorites.


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 
    Penrod by Booth Tarkington
         The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
             Mary Poppins by PL Travers
                  The Borrowers by Mary Norton
                      Huguenot Garden by DouglasJones
                          Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
                              Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
                                  The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John
                                       Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
                                           Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand
                                                Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
                                                      The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
                                                           Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter
                                                               Ginger Pyle by Eleanor Estes
                                                                     The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
                                                                          The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong






What are your favorite books to read?