Emergent Reader Fun with one More Story {a review}

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

You may have seen me posting about One More Story over on Instagram. This has been so much fun for our family. One More Story is an app (or website, we tried both ways, but settled on the iPad app), where children and families can enjoy being read precious picture books. There are currently over 87 books to choose from, on five different book cases, with more to come!

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

After logging in, there are different ways for children to use the program. First click on the book cover to hear the title and author/illustrator. Then:

  1. Select the book you want to read, then click the green button below it
  2. Click Bendy, the bookworm site host, to have the book read to you, and pages turned automatically
  3. Click the green arrow in the bottom right corner to have the book read to you with the pages turned manually. You will continue touching/clicking the green arrow in that spot to turn each page.
  4. Click on the I can Read badge on the left to read a book on your own, with the sound track turned off. Any word can be clicked to hear it read by the narrator. Click the E in the lower left of the text post to hear the entire text read. Children can “echo” back the words.

There are also vocabulary words for each book (woo hoo!- I see a whole creative unit to be made using books from One More Story).

In both automatic and manual modes, the words are highlighted as the narrator reads, which is a proven way to help emergent readers understand text on a page- this is similar to following the words with your finger while reading to children. Pointing to/highlighting the words in a book teaches early readers that words have meaning on a page, and that we read left to right on a page. These aren’t just valuable, they are necessary pre-reading skills for children. Thank you One More Story, for adding this into your program! Emergent readers are actively learning, while reading a book, which is just what we want as teachers.

When a book is read in the I Can Read mode (number 4 above), any word the child clicks to have read to them, is added to the My Word List. This gives a young reader the opportunity to identify, review and master words that cannot easily be sight read for them. When a word is mastered, it can be dragged on My Learned Words. The My Word List badge is displayed on the last page of a book so that children can review the words they have learned from that book! This is such a great motivator, and an easy way to see how far your children have come. (Below I’ve added the word said to the My Word List.)

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

I love that the books have background noises/music to go along with them. The stories really are brought to life in this way; it makes them more real, and reminds me a lot of watching Reading Rainbow (throw back!). Maybe that is because it is original music by Sesame Street vet Robby Merkin. These stories are books we have on our shelves, or would like to- and that’s how I know they’re high quality. No twaddle here! Plus the narrators are just delightful-so much expression and easy to understand/listen to voices.

We found a new favorite book, Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root. This farm family is getting ready for a trip to the beach. But on their way, first a wheel falls off, then the floor falls out, the gas tank falls off, etc. Each time there is a catastrophe, the children have a creative way of fixing the car from their packed goods. (This is the perfect chance to make a family book club/activity and enjoy some chocolate marshmallow fudge delight. Mmmm) There are so many sound words (onomatopoeia) in this book, kids are going to love it! Mine definitely did, as did I.

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

One More Story-the best picture books read aloud any time, anywhere

We have really enjoyed using the One More Story subscription in our home. It is going to be perfect for a cross country car ride to the beach this year with young children. We are also going to enjoy adding it in as part of our summer homeschool.

Connect with One More Story

Be sure to check out the Review Crew blog to read more reviews!One More Story Online Library Reviews

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Jesus, Peace, Freedom & our Homeschool

The theme this week is Seeking Beauty: the Fine Arts, and Everything that Brings Beauty into our Homeschools.  Find other posts HERE, and visit the host Susan, HERE.

Jesus Peace & Freedom


I had no idea what I would title this post, often I have the title before the actual content comes to mind, it is how my brain works .. As I went through writing it I was still going back and forth on what to call it.

Then I saw it~

We began homeschooling for many reasons, and like most homeschoolers quickly found that what we fell in love with about homeschool was the building of relationships, the freedom to choose, and the peace.

Isn’t it funny how when you know and come to Jesus, peace and freedom follow?

OK, maybe not funny, but amazing and wonderful.

Our days are often not as ideal as I’d like, but for the most part, they are pretty enjoyable and peaceful.  Our mornings aren’t rushed, our relationships are strong and growing daily (praise the Lord), and we try to keep Jesus the center of our home and education.

Each morning I really do feel a peace about our day starting out (it may or may not stay that way depending on the 2 year old’s disposition =P) .. I wake up and I don’t dread it.  The absolute beauty in our homeschool is that we enjoy it.  It comes with Jesus, peace, and freedom.

What Brings Beauty to Our Homeschool


Truly, Jesus brings the most beauty in our home and homeschool.  From reminding me to give grace, to giving me grace, Jesus is why I am confident this homeschooling thing will work out.  I have no doubt in my mind that if we raise our 4 babies with Jesus and lead them by example that God will take care of the details.  He is going to make sure everything else falls into place; as long as we do our part we can sleep well at night.  I don’t need to worry or fret, and I especially don’t need to be concerned with what other people think of our decision.  We’ve got this, because He’s got this. His grace is enough.

The homestead.

I know people every where homeschool, and we would regardless on having the farm.  But the farm makes is so much fun.  There is so much beauty in going outside and being free of confinement.  No walls, no city streets, no city noises. Just freedom and peace.  Our family really enjoys that, and it enriches our homeschool day.


I would specifically say Sonlight here, but this year we took a break from SL for age purposes.  But I would definitely say Sonlight enriches and brings so much beauty to our homeschool.  And then books in general.  There are so many obvious reasons for this, but my favorite include the lessons, the imagination & creativity, and again, freedom, that books bring to our home and school.  I am very excited because my 2 year old is finally getting into the “I will sit still and be quiet long enough for everyone to enjoy a book,” which means we can get back to reading aloud more often.  I am already looking forward to next year when we redo Sonlight’s Core A with my then 7 and 5 year olds.  We also love the Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row books.


I keep mentioning this- maybe THAT should be my word for 2017 (ha).  One reason we homeschool is so we have time for what we love.  We school on a year round schedule, so we can take every other Friday off for co-op, and every other Wednesday off for cleaning day.  This also helps with catch up days.  I try to block off one week every 6 weeks for a week off.  So far this year they have been used when family came in town, when we went on vacation, or when we needed to catch up from a sick week.  But there is freedom in our weekly schedule.

There is also freedom in our daily routine- we can do as much or as little as needed, focus on what we want, do extra studies of interest, read any book we like (banned from public school or not), learn with books, the computer, create lapbooks.

We get to talk about Jesus, sin, death, life, babies being born, how to butcher a cow, what taxes really are (haha), what it means to serve others, and how anything works any time we want to.

We can stop what we’re doing for a video, a dance session, a board game; we can do school in our pajamas (or sans clothes if you are a certain 2year old), outside, read on the swing, under a tree, school in the morning, in the afternoon, take naps, eat nutritious home cooked meals and snacks, play in the mud before school starts, and of course have our chickens tag along.  Freedom.

And of course that freedom encompasses so much more, but I just touched on a few of the obvious choices.


We have recently found a comfortable community that is accepting and fun, loves Jesus, and is our own little comfy place.  We meet every other Friday for co-op classes that (for now at least) are fitting our schedule and needs.  The kids are doing fun things we don’t always have time for at home, and mama gets a brain break (though it is physically exhausting and takes a lot of prep on my end).
I have been craving a community & I feel like God took care of that.  I heard him telling me to just be still, and wait.  And once I finally let go, and let Him just hold us, he took care of it all.  Duh.

Then there is the online homeschool community, which mostly just rocks.  There is no limit to the questions I can ask and have help with in one of my favorite Sonlight groups.  There is also the homeschool opportunities we will get to be more involved in as my children get older.  Just 1-2 years will make a huge different in what they can participate in, in terms of activities and groups.  They are still little, and we don’t believe in a go-go-go lifestyle for our young family, but there will be a time and place to take advantage of those things.

So much goes into our homeschool, but mostly it is a lifestyle. And we really enjoy it.  Becoming lifelong learners that don’t stress over learning because it is just what we do makes this fun for all of us.

Putting Jesus front and center brings the peace and freedom that forms our homeschool.

Beauty in Our Homeschool VCF Week 5

What brings beauty to your homeschool?


Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Weekly Wrap Up: October 29

Weekly Wrap-Up (10/29/15)

writing amounts using the cents sign, reading “I Can Read It: Book2”, Mister coloring blueberries on the letter B

I am so behind on weekly wrap ups, baby updates, etc.  I am so sorry y’all!  I know many of my readers really look forward to those posts, and I have been seriously slacking since the move…. and the move was over in August, so no excuses.

This is more like a monthly wrap up.

The past month the 5 year old has been working on:

  • finishing AAR Level 1-learning new sounds for letters, open/closed syllables/
  • working through Saxon K (which she LOVES, so glad I chose not to skip it!)- telling time to the hour, and writing money using the cents sign, ordering items according to price
  • Sonlight language arts for supplementing- copywork, select grammar, I Can Read It book
  • HWOT Kindergarten book-she loves this and asks to do it all the time
  • Elemental Science (I will be honest, we haven’t been hitting this every week.. but the kids *love* science!)- we recently had a lot of fun learning about diluting using mud!
  • art lessons from Artistic Pursuits- again, a favorite!
  • Sonlight Core A- history, Bible, Read alouds, and geography- right now studying medieval times, working through Moses stories, and SL missionary stories.  Our read aloud is Here’s a Penny and IT IS SO FUN!  We love it so far; we recently finished up My Father’s Dragon which was also a favorite.
  • supplementing with Grapevine Bible lessons (review coming soon!)- Lexie *loves* history, it is her other favorite part about school
  • Lots of books- she reads to me a little, and the rest of the time I am just reading to all of the kids.

My 3 year old is working through:

  • Tagging along with big sister’s books
  • AAR Pre Reading level (just recognizing letters and their sounds, which he mostly already knows because of our ABC song)
  • ThisReadingMama’s letter of the week activities-when he feels like it
  • Before Five in a Row books- the last two weeks we have focused on the letter B and have been rowing Ask Mr. Bear.  Mister has had so much fun with this book, and has especially enjoyed the rowing activities.  He is at the age where he can listen to books and focus a bit longer on activities (especially if he gets to cut or glue!), and it is truly so much fun for us as a family!
  • identifying numbers through 10- the boy is obsessed with counting, and subtracting then recounting.  I made a number line for the back of our backdoor (where all our learning charts are) and I bet he points to the numbers and counts at least 10 times a day!
  • Supplementing with Fun Time Phonics- review coming soon
  • just having fun and learning through play- lots and lots of play for everyone!

We discuss each morning: our manners, character traits, Bible, talking about being a good friend, helping others … The most important of all this, for us, is building faith, relationships, and character.  Those are our main goals.

It looks like a lot- and it would be- but we don’t do this every day.  We don’t even hit on all of this every week!  The kids are young, I am following their lead because we can.  They LOVE our Sonlight reading and on days that we don’t have it scheduled they are pretty bummed out about it.  Mister some days doesn’t want to do school with us, and I am 100% fine with that- he is learning all day long while he plays, and while we read books.

I don’t want our days to be so consumed by “we have to get this done,” that we forget why we are homeschooling, why we are trying to live simply, why we are trying to not be consumed, or super-consumers.  So the list above is like a buffet, we take from it what we need, going slowly and having fun!

Of course Ila is only 13 months old and is just tagging along, while going through her own developments.  Those will get their own post in her 1 year update (coming soon, I hope!)

We have acted out parts of stories, built castles with “dungeons,” used compasses, played with play doh, baked, spent tons of time outdoors, gone on nature walks, and read books galore.

I hope November is as much fun and full of learning for all of us as October has been!

Elemental Science Diluting


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Sonlight Box Day Core A {2015/2016}

Last week we began our official 2015/2016 homeschool year.

By most standards but we don’t go by most standards, now do we? this is early, even for year round schooling. However, with all the chaos of moving and the uncertainty of living in a rent house, the kids needed more structure and routine than we had going.
Lexie kept telling us she didn’t like this home (I don’t blame her, it doesn’t feel like home), and wanted to go back where all our books and things were (most everything is still boxed since we will be moving again in about 36 days, with the exception of our necessities and a few toys/books).
So I felt like we needed something to make the next 2 months feel more secure and emotionally safe for the kids- so what better way than to break out Homeschool Box Day! 🙂  (you can read about our very first Box Day HERE)
Sonlight Core A Box Day!
They were over the moon excited while unboxing everything.  (Please excuse the rather sloppy photo editing, it was mostly done from my phone, since we have very limited internet usage in the rent house.)

Sonlight Core A Box Day!
They are most excited about Curious George!  We aren’t even reading that during our homeschool time; it has just become an ever.single. day. “Can we read Curious George?” time.  They especially love listening to the stories on CD.

We will take it slowly; right now we are focusing on AAR, SL LA, math, doing our daily Sonlight reading from Core A, and the Mister’s BFIAR story. He is listening along for most of the books, but the Before Five in a Row book is specifically for him.  Because I don’t have my printer, laminator, etc unboxed, he isn’t exactly “rowing” the books right now. We can always come back and do that later.

Aside from George, Boxcar Chldren is their other favorite, along with our timeline book and the big map.

Anyway, Box Day was a success and getting back to school time has completely changed the feeling of our home!  The kids are happier; you can just feel the intention in our day and it is wonderful!

Have you done box day?

2014/2015 End of Year Homeschool Overview {Pre-K and Preschool}

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

{6/21/2015-we are now done with Sonlight P4/5- yay! I am still unsure of when we will begin 2015/2016 school year}

In the past few weeks we have been finishing up our 2014/2015 school year.  We really have a few days left of reading from Sonlight P4/5, but we are traveling at the moment, and I chose not to bring the books.  So we will finish when we get back home.

But, here is what we have been doing in the last few weeks.

Lexie (4.5yo) Pre-K year:

Lexie has been finishing Sonlight’s P4/5 core (Bible, history, geography/other cultures); we have loved the bible in this core, and may sub it in next year, through Core A.  (or use it for little brother).

In math she has been working through the last of our Singapore Early Bird books.  Honestly, this has taken what seems like FOREVER because I haven’t stuck with it as much.  She can do everything in the books, but doing the assignments is good practice.  In between working through the pages, we have done hands on math using manipulatives like: blocks, counting bears, unifix cubes, and

She has been working on recreating and expanding patterns on paper and using manipulatives, skip counting (which she LOVES to do), and counting backwards.   She is now seeing patterns in everything we do, and everywhere we go, which is fun!

In science we have learned about and discussed the types of animals and what attributes make them mammals, amphibians, reptiles, bird, insects, etc.  Lexie lap booked the frog lifecycle and really enjoyed that.  We have also learned about the seasons and a bit about outer space and the planets.  Obviously none of this was very in-depth (she is 4.5, after all).  But it was all interest led by her and Max.  We used our online science program, Digital Science Online and books to read about and better understand these topics.

In reading, language arts, and handwriting Lexie has been breezing through All About Reading Level 1 and HWOT pre-writing.  We are still working through AAR; some lessons are longer and while Lexie’s ability to read is fairly advanced, her ability to sit through an incredibly long lesson isn’t there. As in most children, her abilities and development in other areas don’t all match up perfectly (hence HOMESCHOOLING bliss!).  So we still have about 10 lessons in AAR to get through.  We are going slowly to keep her confidence up and she loves it!  I hope to finish AAR Level 1 over summer, before we actually begin Core A for the next school year.

HWOT has been great!  I think we are pretty much done with needing the pre-reading level. She is ready to move on; we will use the K level for this coming school year.  Honestly, I am not sure how long we will stick with HWOT.  It has been great for her because her confidence while holding a pencil or crayon was terrible, and now she LOVES writing and drawing of all kinds.  But I am not sure how the methods will work for creating pretty, neat, legible handwriting.  (I hate my handwriting, and wish someone had made me write neater growing up.  So I hope to help encourage her neat handwriting.)  There are a few other programs out there, and after we do the K book, she should developmentally be ready for something a bit more thorough and strict.  We will use HWOT for Mister when he is ready to learn writing; I do believe it is a GREAT beginning program for little ones that need a bit of direction and encouragement.  But again, not sure how I will feel as they get older and need better handwriting.

Max (2.5yo) Preschool:

Mister has been learning to identify his letters.  He knows them now, but his first reaction when asked about a letter? … “I don’t know!” But he does in fact know …  So, again development and personality play a huge part in that.  =)  We are working on identifying his lower case letters, and he does pretty well with that also.  We will be using our book, S is for Smiling Sunrise, to help with that task (read more about that HERE) through next year.

He is still working on identifying his numbers (he knows a few), has grasped and enjoys counting with 1:1 correspondence, counting past 20, counting backwards, and sorting.  He loves to sort by size, color, etc. especially when we play with the counting/sorting bears

For science he has just tagged along with us through the year, focusing mainly on weather, seasons and animals for him.  He likes just about anything that involves him getting attention or touching things!  Typical 2 year old male.  😉

I went ahead and got Mister the AAR Pre Reading Level for next year.  I hope to do a quick lesson with him first thing each day, while Lexie does independent work, so maybe he won’t “need” me as much during her big girl school.  It will be fun for both of us, and encourage his love of learning and reading.

Recently I started back to our circle time routine.  I had taken a break from it after Ila was born, simply because I didn’t have time with nursing & pumping every two hours and I was worn out.  Max also wasn’t very interested in it before now.  Since we have started back he *loves* circle time, singing the songs, and absorbs everything we are doing.  It also helps get some of his wiggles out before we start reading our core books and learning time, which means he is less of a detraction and more cooperative!  *score*

We are also working through his Before Five in A Row, and will continue that through next year.  When that is complete he will just do literature based unit studies that go with whatever topics we are discussing in Core A, until I can decide who will team up with whom for school.

Developmentally and maturity wise, Mister is not where Lexie was at almost 3 years old.  And that is okay!  Some days it is hard, because he is all up in the terrible two’s and Lexie’s were never like this, but he is fun, active, and has a HUGE imagination.  I in no way want to discourage that or put that out by pushing him into academics too soon.  He loves to just run around, dancing and singing or playing with his trucks and tractors.

We will technically homeschool year-round with several breaks throughout; this will allow us to take off when we have illnesses, spring fever, or mama just needs a break.  We will take a few weeks off in the summer from full blown school hours; but we will continue some activities many days of the week just so we have some focus in our home during the day.  Being at home with no routine just in the last few weeks has driven ALL OF US crazy; the kids are begging for school every day, and J.Tom and I are definitely feeling the difference in their attention and behavior with no real structure. 

I will do another post on our hours/weeks of school and breaks.  Since we are in the process of moving to KS (again, love homeschooling because we can start/finish/continue/break when we need to!), I have not yet figured up our number of required hours per day and all that. 

2015/2016 will be my trial year for record keeping, so I will update you on all that soon!

Through all this year, I have reminded myself that BOTH of the older kids are still little.  They are young, and while they love school and learning, play & reading books are still the most important things!  We will end this year on a great note, play and learn all summer long, and pick back up right where we left off in the fall!

How has your homeschool year gone?  Are you ready for a break?

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015/2016 (K5 & Preschool)

Curriculum Choices K5 & Preschool 20152015 {QuieInTheChaos.com}

Wow- I can’t believe I just typed in title! This year has truly snuck up on us; but alas, I am ready! (I think ..)

I am going to break this down by child/age. It is hard with Lexie, mainly because she is 4.5 years old, 5 in the fall, and doing a mix of kindergarten and first grade work, but is still not old enough to register for school. So while she will be doing mostly first grade and K work, I am not sure what to tell you in terms of “grade” for you to compare or look at for your child. This will be her K5 year (next year will be K6 and she will start 1st when she is 7).
I would recommend looking at the curriculum’s scope and sequence for each level, and ALWAYS do their placement test (at least look over what will be taught in that level and what prerequisite skills are needed to be successful). I will say, Lexie probably didn’t HAVE to begin with AAR Level 1, but I am SO thankful we did because she got that firm foundation before moving on. I know a few parents can get overwhelmed with the school curriculum, which is totally understandable as we’re not professional teachers and have no idea how to even do this work half the time, so seeking advice or a little help can be really useful when setting work for children. Some parents choose for their child to use a tutoring Adelaide service and others choose to use online tools, like YouTube, but whatever the method is, as long as children are learning something it’s all worthwhile.

Good foundation ALWAYS trumps advancement in my opinion, no matter the subject.

Lexie (4.5/5 in the fall, working on K and 1st Grade Level)

  • Core: Sonlight Core A– (history/cultures, geography,Bible) We did P4/5 last year and Lexie just flew through it; she never skipped a beat and I swear she still talks about some of the stories which I have long forgotten … She LOVES it, and so does Max. So we will do Core A next, and Mister (and Ila, too) will sit in with us. I plan on stretching this core 18-24 months, and using it as her “Kindergarten” year curriculum (when she is 6 and we register with the state). We are adding in LOTS of sequels, and I will probably buy the Five In A Row literature pack from RRC (I already have the teacher’s book and a few of the read alouds) to add in also to help stretch it out. This core is SO exciting; we get to begin our timeline book, learn more about geography, look at maps, and expand our learning tremendously! It will be fun!

Language Arts:

  • All About Reading Level 2– Here, AAR is going to give her all the reading skills she needs
  • All About Spelling Level 1– They suggest beginning AAS when your student starts AAR Level 2. From what I have seen this will mostly just reinforce the reading rules she already knows and teach encoding. For all intents a purposes, we will say she will be 5, which is young for a spelling program; but after looking at the scope and sequence, I think she can do it and it will help with her writing. If we aren’t ready, we can shelve it til she is =)
  • Sonlight Language Arts 1- this is really just for extra practice; I like that they include spelling words, narration, comprehension questions, and copywork so I thought we would use it mainly for that. I bought some of the readers, but not all of them. We will just see how we like it. (I don’t feel like their LA’s is “enough” for us, so we will use it as a supplement)


  • Saxon Math K– we were going to use Saxon K this past year, but I just continued on with Singapore K (early bird). Because Lexie isn’t registering for school I am going to use this as a “review,”/nail in the foundation year for math. Plus Saxon will go a bit further & deeper than Singapore did. It will start very basic, but that is fine with us. Max will probably sit in on some of the more basic lessons.


  • Elemental Science– I went around and around on our science choice for over a year. Every single time I landed back on ES. So I finally said, Okay! This is it! You may have read that we enjoy the Charlotte Mason and Classical Education models. I like teaching and organizing this way, and the kids seems to thrive learning with these models (for now), so it is a win win. ES is a classical/CM combo curriculum, and I like that! I will do another post entirely on why we chose ES some other time.


  • Gymnastics at a local gym
  • Violin lessons with a local teacher
  • ARTistic Pursuits (best art curriculum EVER)

Max (2.5/3 yo in fall) Preschool

Ah, I can’t believe I just wrote my baby will be “doing” preschool. Honestly, I am not sure where to begin with him. haha

Mister is definitely a boy- he is developing much faster physically than Lexie was at this age, and isn’t quite where she was cognitively at this age. (for instance, he just started gymnastics and is MUCH better at it than Lexie was when she was 2/5, but he isn’t reading cvc words like she was at that age, either).

  • Before Five In a Row: You know I love some BFIAR! It is easy, fun, and means lots of snuggles with my baby. He *loves* the stories and I think he will really enjoy all the activities, too. My favorite resource for all things homeschool is Rainbow Resource Center- they almost always have the best prices, and here is their literature pack. Trust me when I tell you, you cannot buy all those books, even used, at that price; many of them are also out of print so to get them brand new from RRC is pretty awesome!
  • Language Arts– I know a lot can change in just a few months, but for right now I don’t think Max is ready for ThisReadingMama’s curriculum. Whenever he is, that’s what we will use as a supplement and beginning curriculum. I think maybe by fall or Christmas he will be ready to start! Until then, we will just review a letter a week or so, and continue with BFIAR. The other option is when he is to start him on AAR Pre-Reading; I never used that with Lexie, we just did our own thing to learn those skills, so I may just teach him myself without a curriculum.
  • Math: I don’t have anything in particular ready for Max and math. We have a TON of manipulatives and will just use them to learn basic math concepts and number sense- 1:1 correlation, sorting, patterns, more/less, etc. We are already playing with some of those concepts and will just continue down that path. Also, we will work on recognizing his numbers (he surprised me the other day by recognizing way more than I thought he knew!), and counting past 20.
  • Play, Play, Play, Play, Play! We will play a LOT. He is not my desk learner; he does LOVE to join us for learning time, he enjoys sitting at the counter and writing and listening in on Lexie’s lessons, but he isn’t ready for a long stretch of school yet, and that’s A-Okay! So we will play and learn through play.
  • Sitting in- Mister will sit in on our read alouds, join us for science lessons (and probably keep his own little science notebook), and anything else he shows an interest in.
  • Extracurricular- He has started gymnastics and *loves* it. He keeps asking about violin, but unlike Lexie I don’t think he will be ready at 3. So, we will see if he still shows interest as he gets older.

That’s it! That is our curriculum choices for 2015/2016.


O is for Organization {how we plan and organize our days}

O is for Organization {how we plan and organize our days}


I have talked about organization in our home and homeschool before. I keep a general routine in place, and organize our school in such a way that it makes me life easier.

Posts to how we organize:

Organizing and Schedules/Routines

Our homeschool and life routine is ever changing (though not by much) simply because we have a baby in the house whose feeding and sleeping schedule changes as she ages. Here is what we are doing now with a 4.5 yo, 2.5 yo, and 6.5 month old.

  • 6:00am Hubby and I are up emptying dishwasher, starting laundry, making breakfast, etc
  • 7:00am Wake time for all, I nurse and bottle baby while older two eat breakfast
  • 7:30-8:30am In this time I clean up the kitchen, pump after nursing Ila, and we begin our Sonlight P4/5 read alouds and circle/calendar time.
  • 8:30 Ila goes down for nap 1
  • 8:30-10:30 We continue school-this includes Bible, our SL read alouds, Max’s BFIAR, calendar and circle time song/poem/memory work, Lexie’s AAR, Math, HWOT, and a science video some days. We are also memorizing maps (which we’ve been doing informally for some time) just continuing work on: the 50 states, continents, and countries Daddy has visited and their geography (this is for fun and is NOT formal). On Fridays we do an art lesson using ARTistic Pursuits (which we LOVE-link & review coming soon!).
  • 10:30-11:30 Lexie goes downstairs for independent play, Max goes to their room for his Independent play.
  • 11:00 I get Ila up, nurse, solids, bottle then she chills while I make Lexie and Max’s lunch.
  • 11:30- L and M eat lunch, then play outside weather permitting
  • 12:15- Max down for Nap
  • 12:30 Ila down for nap 2, then hubby or I do Lexie’s nap with her and she goes down stairs to rest; some days she may quietly play dolls upstairs, or she can rest for an hour then go outside for an hour.
  • 3:00 Max up, Ila up and nurse, solids, bottle
  • 3:30 snack for Lexie and Max, then outside to play weather permitting
  • 4:30 Ila down for last cat-nap; I start dinner
  • 5:30 Ila up from cat nap
  • 5:45 we eat dinner as a family (Ila will soon get solids with us here), then baths and silly show or books with Daddy
  • 6:30 nurse and bottle Ila
  • 6:45 Lexie and Max to bed (daddy does this while I put Ila down)
  • 7pm- Mommy and Daddy begin their night! =)

The only things here set in stone are the kids’ naps and eating times. Everything else has just fallen into place naturally. I prefer getting school done in the morning so we have the afternoons to read, play outside, run errands, cook, etc. Once it is off my plate I feel like we have the rest of the day to do whatever we want, or continue learning about other things. As they get older and school takes longer, that will change but for now we can accomplish all that I feel is important in a few hours in the morning.

We clean up after each transition- so: before independent play, before naps, before daddy gets home, before bed, and always before we can go outside. This also encourages them not to ransack any one area in the house and leave it! 😉

On Tuesday night we pick up the entire house- everything goes in its place and Wednesday morning is cleaning day! The kids go down stairs after I put Ila down for her nap, and at that time I clean. They have already taken their clothes to the laundry room, picked up any toys that were out, helped clear the breakfast table, etc. I clean the house top to bottom alternating a different “deep clean” area each week (fans, blinds, baseboards, walls, etc). I try to use Tuesday night as my declutter/clean out time. I do a whole-house declutter three times a year, and I usually hire a company that does Hard rubbish removals. It’s surprising how much junk collects up over time! Fellow parents might already be aware of this, but the biggest mess in the house is usually toys that are strewn everywhere. If you’ve got the space, a playroom can take care of this problem. A friend had a nifty hack and got something like a prefab she shed to use as a playroom as they didn’t have enough rooms in their house and it works great for them.


For my homeschool planner I use the Mardel Simple Plan Homeschool Planner and I LOVE IT. I did use the Ultimate Homeschool Planner for a while and I did like it, too. I think either of these will fit most homeschooler’s needs. I just prefer the Mardel planner (and can’t link it for you because they don’t have them in stock until June or July).

For home and life in general, I use (and LIVE by) my Erin Condren Life Planner. I use it for everything not homeschool related-tracking Ila’s schedule, menu planning, to do lists, bills, purchases made, my monthly oils order, library books, husband’s travel, our travel plans, etc. basically everything NOT homeschool related. The ECLP is spiral bound, which is fine, but I chose to arc mine and will probably never turn back. I love it!

I may even arc our SL instructor’s guides; it might make it less desirable to others for resale, but we will be using the cores for all 3 children, which means I will have them for some time and I want them to be as convenient for me as possible, and that may mean arc punching them. I am still debating, but will definitely let you know what I decide and include a post!

So, that’s it! O is definitely for Organization in our home and homeschool.

How do you stay organized and on top of things in your home?

Sonlight P4/5 Read Alouds and Weekly Wrap Up (MOY 14/15)

Well, we are in our 27th week of Sonlight P4/5 and *loving* it.  Homeschool this year has been wonderful for all of us.  This is a Middle Of Year 2014/2015 Update.

We love Sonlight and have enjoyed most of the read alouds immensely.  So far our favorites (and by “our” I mean Max-2yo and Lexie’s-4yo) have been Uncle Wiggly, Milly Molly Mandy, the art book, The Berenstain Bears’ Science Book, and they both love the Bible storybook we are using this year-101 Favorite Stories from the Bible.

I will say I was a little annoyed with the Berenstain Bears book by the time we finished reading it, but the kids loves it!  And The Favorite Stories from the Bible book is very honest and straight forward, which I love.  I only chose to skip one story, about Cain and Abel, but the rest we have read and discussed openly.  Lexie has been able to answer all the questions at the end of each story, and Max has been able to answer a few, too.  But they both ask to get it off the shelf often.

MOY Summary and Weekly Wrap Up {2014/2015} Quietinthechaos.com

Lexie’s Homeschool (4yo)

Lexie is reading so much- she brings me books from downstairs that she has read all by herself, and rereads them to me.  She is learning to read th and sh words in All About Reading.  We really love this program!

Her handwriting has improved drastically- we began writing on just blank pages (which is developmentally appropriate), moved on to large lined dry erase board, and now practice on both first grade lined dry erase board and on lined paper.  Her copywork consists of practicing letters, words, and writing simple sentences at this point.  She loves to write and writes letters to everyone about everything, for every occasion.  She also enjoys drawing pictures.  HWT has definitely helped us accomplish this!

Math is still just number sense; she has been coloring graphs, working on perception, and counting backwards.  We have also introduced number lines in a very simple manner, and she understands them.  She can do simple addition using manipulatives, but we haven’t worked on number sentences yet.  She is still only 4, so while we do things she enjoys & she would probably enjoy that, I don’t think we are ready for that yet.  To me, getting a good foundation in number sense is very important before moving on.

Science is random activities, youtube videos, books from our SL core, and anything the kids show an interest in.  We will use a science curriculum next year (Elemental Science) as an intro to sciences but we won’t do it very strictly.  It will introduce nature studies more formally, and how to keep a science notebook.

Max’s “homeschool” (2yo)

Mister loves joining us for learning time.  His favorite things are definitely: sorting by color, glueing, and using scissors.

We are working on reinforcing his letter recognition and learning to identify his numbers.   I have started introducing the “little” letters along with their “big letters” when we play around with IDing letters of the alphabet.  Lexie was just so visual; You told her what a letter was one time and she knew it.  Max doesn’t seem to learn that way, so I am trying to find his learning style.

He listens in on our read alouds and enjoys that time snuggling (or running around, building with blocks ..).  I am actually amazed when he is “writing” and coloring, he holds his markers and crayons correctly, naturally.  That was not a skill that came naturally to Lexie, I still have to correct the way she holds her pencil at times.

It has been such a mild winter, compared to the previous two years in NE.  But, I think January got confused with March, because it has been colder in Feb and march than it was in January and December.  So, outside time has been a little limited this winter.  We haven’t done any nature walks or nature studies lately.  We cannot wait for spring to finally arrive (and stick around..)!

I am planning out our curriculum for next fall.  We will continue SL P4/5 through the spring/summer, taking off the month of June for vacation, and then continue with some learning time here and there until fall.  In the fall, I plan to start Sonlight Core A with Lexie, Max will sit in while also enjoying BFIAR books.  I will use my favorite free online curriculum from ThisReadingMama, for his PreK (OMG how is it possible he will be 3?!).  Together we will all do Bible, history, and read alouds, science activities, and some art.  Then they will each have their own “work” for reading and math.

That’s it!  This is our middle of the year update; I can’t wait to see how we end this year.

How is your school year going so far?

Weekly Wrap Up {January 31}

Weekly Wrap Up {Jan 20 2015}

The past few weeks of homeschool have been great! We are on week 22 of Sonlight, I think.  This week we started reading The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook.  I have been anticipating this book ALL YEAR and I am so glad we are finally reading it.  It is precious, and the kids love it.  The chapters are plenty long to have good content, but not too long for their attention.  Of course the Lady would listen to me read all day, but even at 2 Mister will sit for quite some time!

Lexie is reading “qu” words this week in AAR, so she was very excited when I told her she can read more four letter words.  =)  She has been doing really well reading short phrases fluently for practice, and is reading the AAR Level 1 readers great!  I love watching her progress; it is so fun for both of us.  She is also ALL about writing letters to friends and family.  Every day she comes to me with a letter she has written that she wants to send off to someone- this past week it was her cousin Emily, and her friends here in York.  Last week she made cards and pictures for her gymnastics teacher .. so this is a big interest for her that we are following.  She takes her time, sounding out each word and writing the sound she hears.

In math she has been introduced to simple number lines and graphing, nothing too hard.  We are still working on writing numbers; honestly we don’t focus on math a lot at this point.  But that is okay, she’s four.  We aren’t in a rush to tackle everything!

Her interests are in reading, writing, and art right now.

Max joins us for learning time each day; he usually chooses to color with markers or sort by color- which he is still obsessed with.  I am trying to do short structured activities with him a few times a week, if he is interested.  He usually is.  We also read Max’s Before Five in A Row book each day, which makes him feel pretty special.  I am not sure which book we will read through next week.  We have spent two weeks reading the Snowy Day and doing activities for it.

This past week we read a book about the universe and solar system; so for science we will be learning about the solar system and planets.  I cannot WAIT to study this; obviously we won’t be going in depth like we would if she were in 7th grade, but we will be learning lots of great things!

Our memory work is a poem from The Children’s Book of Virtues; this is a beautiful book included in our Sonlight reading, but I highly recommend it for everyone with children!  The kids LOVE this book.  Mister is joining us for memory work also and does a really great job with each poem/verse.

Weekly Wrap Up {January 31} QuietInTheChaos.com

This coming week we will be making Valentines to mail out and continuing our Sonlight books.  We have spent a lot of time outside this month (January) as it has been unseasonably warm- in the 50s and 60s almost every day for the last 3 weeks.  Then this morning, we woke up to snow!

I can’t believe it is already February- we have so much left I want to do, read, and learn with the kids before the really warm weather gets here and we are outside all day.  Better get to planning!



Weekly Wrap Up: 10/17/2014

Welcome to weekly wrap-up for the week of October 17, 2014!  (Today is actually mine and my husband’s 8 year anniversary!  woo hoo)  Anyhow- here is a little update on what we accomplished this week.

Lexie (4) worked on her sight words each morning.  I have printed out many different “sets” of sight words, which I have laminated.  I keep these on a “master” ring, and as I assign them to Lexie, I put them on her own ring.  This is something I learned while student teaching under a great Kindergarten teacher.  These are words like at, the, am, that, my, you; basically words she will see a lot while reading, but that don’t follow the typical reading/phonics rules (although some do ..).  She does great with these, and we introduce 1-2 new words as I feel she is ready.

Sight Words Ring {Quiet In The Chaos}

While he was out getting groceries, daddy grabbed us some pumpkins to play in!  He cut the tops off and we let the kids scoop out all the goop and seeds.  They put the seeds in a clean, empty bucket; later we washed and roasted them in the oven (post coming soon!).  We did this last year also, and they enjoyed it a lot.  Lexie had more fun than Max (he surprisingly doesn’t care much for “messy” play), but Charlie enjoyed eating the seeds they dropped!

Pumpkin Sensory Play {Quiet in the Chaos}

Unfortunately, both of them broke out in a rash after playing in the pumpkin (which they had smeared all over their faces and arms).  We still aren’t sure why this happened?  They ate the roasted seeds, & those didn’t bother them …

pumpkin reaction

cheeks broken out from pumpkin? =/


One thing is for sure, I’ve gotta get the kids some epi pens. J.Tom has severe reactions to wasp stings and would need to go to the ER if stung on his chest/neck/head, and although the kids have never been stung, I don’t want to risk what might happen if they were.

This week I started doing more “structured” activities with Mister.  He knows maybe 1/2 of his letters?  But isn’t interested in sitting down and learning them like Big Sister was.  I am 100% okay with that, but thought he might enjoy a quick craft to get introduced to the idea. He enjoyed it for the most part; he isn’t a fan of glue on his hands (yet), but he had fun making an “H” and hanging it on the door by Lexie’s creations.  While I did that with Max, she created a magazine collage with pictures she found in my Real Simple magazine.

For Mister I am going to focus a little on a letter or two a week and plan an activity for him to join in on while Lexie does something independently; he loves to be included, i just need to find things he enjoys.  After he gets the hang of activities I hope to incorporate Before Five In A Row after Christmas.

For his H activity I just cut out a letter H, had him help me come up with “H” words (he knows his letter sounds, just not all the correct letter names) to write on it, then he colored on it and made ovals.  I traced his hands and he glued everything together.


And you know … we do a lot of this (after every feeding, actually).  They always want to take a turn holding Baby Ila after I nurse and giver her a bottle.

5 weeks old

How was your week?  Did you do any new activites?

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