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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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.


Preparing for Next Year’s Homeschool: PreK 4/5 Curriculum Choices {2014/2015}

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

Well, for years months and months I have gone back and forth over what we will use for our curriculum next fall.  What curriculum, what style suites us best, what will keep Lexie’s fire going, her passion for learning; what will also work for Max so we can reuse some materials, etc.

I have also had to consider what will be easiest to fit into our life, with baby #3 due in September of this year.  =)

As you know I have mostly decided on a classical/Charlotte Mason education style for our family because it just fits us (and our love of the outdoors, learning, and books); but I have also been contemplating joining Classical Conversations.  There is a community not too far from us that a dear friend is also a part of.  I really enjoyed the open house I attended and Lexie did AMAZING sitting in the room with me for the 2 hours we were there.  However, I just don’t know if we are ready for it yet.

love the Charlotte Mason approach to learning.  It encompasses everything I believe about education and family uniting.  It is Biblically based, and literature rich (so is classical education).  It is truly where my passion for learning and educating my children comes full circle.

Charlotte Mason is also what I see in my children.  I see Lexie loving books- asking questions about everything we read; wanting to know more and making connections from her books to her world.  Max is beginning the same process- he didn’t love reading books at first, but at about 13 months old, he became obsessed with them, just like big sister.  When I sit on the floor, he will bring me a book and say, “boo-k,” turn around and plop into my lap.  He then proceeds to open the book and I will read.  He really likes for me to take his finger and point to everything in the picture and say its name.  He loves reading.  And that tells me he will also love learning.

I want to keep their fires burning, but I need to do that in a way that will fit our young family’s lifestyle.  As a busy mom of soon-to-be 3, there won’t be much time for the intense planning that a combined classical/Charlotte Mason style education can require.  So in the fall, (well, really in January probably) I think we will begin with Sonlight’s P4/5 curriculum.

Sonlight P 4/5 includes: read alouds and language arts, science, Bible, rediness skills, beautiful art books and studies, and introduces world cultures.  One thing I love about classical education is it begins history at the beginning.  So children not only learn there is much, much more to their world than just their immediate surroundings, but they also learn where it all began.  Sonlight does an amazing job of choosing wonderful children’s literature and living books to teach every subject, which is where the Charlotte Mason style comes in.  Another point I love is that Sonlight is fairly adaptable.  You can supplement with as many books as you’d like, whatever math you prefer (although they sell a few great curricula), and you can make it work with just about any style of education, if you really want to.  Their book list is what has driven their popularity for years, but as more and more families have used it, the more it has become known for being a wonderful core curriculum.  (no, this is not a review and I am not being paid to say any of this!).

We already have a phonics/reading program we will use, which we haven’t started yet.  I chose All About Reading because it is so child friendly and hands on, which I think will be fine for Lexie (as I am mostly sure she has a photographic memory) but I know will be great for Mister, because he is my 100% tactile learner.  We will use this with our Sonlight, along with Saxon or Horizon’s math, and a few supplemental activities in science.

I have many friends ask me about two things :1) homeschool curricula and options and 2) converting to a healthier, real food lifestyle.  #1 is mostly why I am writing this post.

I tell you, I cannot wait to get started next year.  We might begin in August, to get a head start, then take off in September-Christmas with the baby coming, holidays, etc., then start back in January.  Or we may just begin in january and go through part of the summer…  I know me, and I know Lexie, and chances are we will not want to take that much time off.  We both crave structure and our learning time together, so I imagine we will get back to it pretty quickly.

One thing I am really looking forward to is not having to plan and print every thing we do in this season of life.  Right now, I am using a printable curriculum (that we both love) and we are doing Five in A Row which is Charlotte Mason style, but requires all the planning be done by the parent. So it requires a lot of time on my part.  Sonlight has done most of the work for me, meaning I can enjoy my time teaching, learning, and snuggling, all three of my babies this fall.

So, I have to get busy filling orders in my etsy shop, since that is how I plan to pay for this curriculum!  haha  If you haven’t noticed I haven’t been writing much lately.  There is a two fold reason for this. 1) The first trimester of this pregnancy has kicked my butt!  Between the extreme nausea and exhaustion, I am just now catching up on household duties! and 2) I have been very busy making baby blankets in my etsy shop.  I keep saying I am going to slow down, finish my drapes for the kitchen, and make a few dresses for Lexie, but so far that hasn’t happened.  Hopefully soon!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Nov 3, 2013

Welcome to our weekly wrap-up!  This is for the first week of November.

This week we continued what we worked on last week:

Reading Katy No Pocket, working on sight words, writing her name and family member’s names.  She is pretty much obsessed with sight words and writing names. Shes finds sight words in every. single. book she reads, or we read together.

Lexie did a great job!  She did this while I was making their lunches…
She is obsessed with writing!

Rainy day fun- bubbles!


this week Max started coloring with crayons.  He mostly just wanted to eat them ….


Lexie’s bears were riding on the “bus”- that’s daddy bear, middle size mama bear,
and little Lexie bear hopped on next.

This week we made our blessings tree.  It looks a little bare, because J.Tom was out of town when we made it, so his hands weren’t up.  We managed to get one handprint of Max’s, but it wasn’t on yet either.  Lexie decided Max would be thankful (if he could tell us …) for: his lovey, dog dog, dada, Lexie, Mama, and  bubbles.  In that order.

We started our conversation about Thanksgiving, but will dive in more the week before thanksgiving.  We are only have 2 BFIAR books to complete, and then we will start working on Five in A Row, after Christmas.  We will spend December mostly doing Advent and learning about Jesus, like we did last year.  Then in January we will being Five in a Row, and I cannot wait!

This week I finished a peasant top that is now offered in my etsy shop.  Lexie LOVES this blouse; she thinks it is just so pretty, and had to wear it to violin Friday.  I can’t wait to make her some solid white ones to go under dresses and jumpers for the winter.  I will soon have the ruffle pants in the shop as well! 



I hope everyone had a great week!

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Before Five in A Row: The Little Rabbit

You can find all the printables we used this week at Homeschool Creations.

We had a great week this week!  We really rowed The Little Rabbit for two weeks, like we did the other books we have done.  We really enjoy taking our time.  =)  The great thing is, this is all for fun for us at this age, so there is NO need to hurry.

Lexie really enjoyed doing our activities for The Little Rabbit; later in the week when I told her it was time for activities, her table in the living room suddenly looked like this:

That’s how much she enjoys it!  At the beginning of the week, we began with the tracing sheets.

tracing the word “rabbit”

(I showed her how to trace on the first one, then she did the rest)

so serious!

 We do the tracing sheets for fine motor practice.  At 2.5 years old, I don’t expect anything we are doing to be perfect.  But I do expect her to try, and always do her best.  Here is my favorite activity we do with each book:

Beginning letter sounds.  She got the ALL this time.  I was really impressed; I said I don’t expect the things we are doing to be perfect or correct … but that’s kinda not true.  I do expect the things she has already mastered to be done correctly, or close to it since I know she can.  We all have moments we forget things, or confuse things.  (especially me!)  Anyhow, she got all the beginning letter sounds correctly on the capital sheet, and on the lower case I think she confused the letters b and d.  I have a picture, but I can’t find it anywhere… I may have lost it when I moved it from the phone to the computer.

 This is the matching game… the printables come with several different pictures from the book, some have the name under them, some do not.  They have different activities to go along with each set.  We don’t always use the sheets for their main purpose, simply because she may not be ready for that skill.  But we do use them, even if it is just for identifying the letter, etc.

Add caption

 This was a sorting sheet.  I cut the squares, she glued them in place, either under “flowers” or “animals.”  We talked about each one along the way, and where/if they were in the story.

 This activity was labeling the parts of a turtle.  So, I was really proud of this- I had cut each part out, and laid them out neatly.  Then I touched each one and read aloud what it said.  SO like, I would say “head” and point to the word head.  Then, we looked at the turtle and I asked her what part of the body I was pointing to.  She replied with the correct answer… but then I asked which label we needed and SHE ALWAYS CHOSE THE CORRECT ONE! And after she picked it up, she would say, “/h/ /h/ This one says “head!”  Shut. up.  I was so proud of her.  Some she remembered from me pointing to them, but she identified the ones she didn’t remember by sounding out the first letter and matching it to the body part with the same beginning letter sound.

We also practiced cutting this week.  She got scissors in her spring basket, so we decided to put them to some (more) use.  While getting my B.S.E in early childhood education, we were taught you always put the pencil, crayon, scissors, etc in front of the center of the child’s body.  This way they can grab the object with the hand they prefer to use, versus you putting it in their right or left hand, when that may not be the one they are naturally inclined to use.  Lexie is still on showing a hand dominance.  Looking at the pages above, you may think she is obviously right handed.  But often times she uses her left hand for things, and gets a much better result than when she uses her right.  The pictures below are from her cutting paper using her left hand.  When she used her right, she couldn’t quite get the feel of opening and closing the scissors, and her cuts were short and choppy.  When she used her left, this was the result:

I tried to get a picture of her mouth (but couldn’t)  When she opened the scissors, she opened her mouth as wide as she could, too.  Very cute.

Usually by 2 or 3 children start showing signs of hand dominance.  I am still unsure which Lexie will use.  When handing her a crayon or scissors, I always put them either on the table in front of her, or hand them to her at the center of her body.  Sometimes I even have her put her hands by her side, then take the object from me, to see which she will use.  Sometimes she uses her right, sometimes her left… and sometimes she will grab something with her right, but then move it to her left.  So we will see.  Handedness is an important part of formal writing, which isn’t a stage we are remotely close to. But before a child can be expected to write correctly, or neatly (which is required in kindergarten in public school), they need to have established consistent handedness.  We have quite sometime before she has to be ready for all that.

The book itself was a wonderful little book about a girl who gets a pet rabbit.  She names her buttercup.  Buttercup has seven baby bunnies (which are oh. so. cute) and the little girl names them after the days of the week.  Lexie and I thought this was very creative- we love the days of the week and months of the year!  What’s different about the book, is it’s all done in real photographs instead of hand or computer illustration.  For a little over $2 brand new on Amazon, it is a good addition to your library, we definitely recommend it!

Homeschool Preschool

Lexie and I have so much fun playing and learning.  As you can probably tell from my posts about our typical day, we just use everyday life for learning; reading, crafts, playing outside, outings to the library, park, museum, etc make up our learning experiences.  After the move, Lexie will be 2.5, and she is so advanced in so many areas already, I feel like maybe we could start doing more in-depth conversations about the books we read, add more structure to some of our days, more sustenance … Basically add a little more intention to how we spend our time at home.  Obviously I am not going to fill every minute of our days with stuff to do- after all, just playing is how young children learn anyway.  But I think this spring and summer we are going to do Before Five in a Row.  

Five in a Row is a small, traditional learning platform (I wont call it a curriculum, because it isn’t) that uses great, classic children’s literature for teaching children ages 5+.  It includes books like “Corduroy,” “The Carrot Seed,” and “Make Way for Ducklings.”  Each story is read for 5days and you discuss a different part of the book each day, and do a learning activity (if you want to).  The BEFORE Five in a Row (or BFIAR as it is shortened), is the same thing, with books for younger learners; both platforms include daily Bible study along with the story activities.  Here is the description from their site:

“Dedicated to protecting and nurturing the early years of childhood, Before Five in a Row opens up the world of learning through great books and creative play, and builds a solid foundation for more formal education to come.”

  It is just a great, informal way to start introducing preschool or school in general.  Although I am not sure I believe in “preschool” as it is today, I know my Lexie; I know she thrives on learning and loves reading.  Sometimes we read the same book 7 times in a row until she is satisfied she has seen everything in every picture and has asked as many questions as she can.  She just loves to learn; not all children are this way, and I am sure not all of mine will be.  But she is, so I want to encourage her love of learning and help it flourish.

I could very easily choose my own books, my own Bible verses that go with the story’s “lesson” or theme, and find my own activities to do with them …. But this requires a lot of planning and is rather time consuming.  For $35 I can buy the BFIAR book with the ideas in it, and then enrich it with our own touch.  We already have a lot of the books on the list (there are 24, but one is out of print, though I am sure we can find it used somewhere) and what we don’t have I will find on amazon used or borrow from the library if we have to.  I’d like to buy them all, so we have a good collection of classic literature to always go to on our shelf; plus we can use it with each child.  I also plan to create a lapbooking journal for each book.  Lapbooking is a whole other topic in itself, but it is basically a project based way to “assess.”  Really, you just use a file folder to glue, write and keep together all your activities for whatever topic you are learning about.  Since she is a little young for that, we will keep a binder as a “journal” or portfolio, to put all the activities.  It will also act as a memory book.  The best thing is, the children can go back through it and recall what we did and what they learned.  As a teacher, I know this is a very important part of literacy and education.  Plus, Lexie Raye will love that!

After we do BFIAR this summer, and probably through to Christmas since it will take about 6 months to complete, I would really like to do Son Light P3/4.  It is a bit more expensive at $200+, and is very similar to BFIAR.  The difference is it is a little more intense.  I really think she will enjoy it; many mamas that homeschool for preschool use both BFIAR and SonLight together.  Sonlight is $269 if you get the included story books on their list, but we have some of them, and with some serious planning ahead, we can get all the books used.  Then I will only need to get the instructors guide; it isn’t very expensive.

I have been reading and researching preschool stuff since lexie was born ;). J.Tom and I have always known that if circumstances provided, we wanted to homeschool for preschool, and beyond if we are able. I will do an entire series on reasons why, because the reasons are too numerous to list or discuss in one little paragraph here.  But we believe we can give our children a Christ and family centered education, that is much more rich than any public school can.  Education simply is not what it used to be; an older, wiser homeschooling couple made a very valid point: you send your children off to school, to be raised by someone else for 8+hours a day, submerged in a sea children that don’t share the same family values as you.  Then you get them back 18 years later and winder, “what happened to my child?”  For so long children were raised at home, with their mothers who also taught them.  The family was a unit and we did not depend on the government or anyone else to raise out children and teach them all they need to know.  Honestly, I know where education is, and where it is going and I don’t want my children in it.  We want them at home, and with other families who feel the same way.  It doesn’t mean we shelter them from the world and all it’s ugliness; on the contrary. it means we teach them everything we can about the world and how to be Godly in it.  It means WE get to do it as a family, in God’s way.  It is something that we have a lot of prayer invested in, and will continue to do so, because who knows right now where we will be or what we will be doing.  OK!  Anyway, I will stop here on this topic before I get too far off track.  I will do another post about that later.  🙂

Back to preschool.  Sonlight is supposed to be a great program that is a little more like a curriculum, and is more intense that BFIAR.  After that she will be turning 4 and I’m not sure what we will do.  If we love SonLight, we may do their P4/5 program.  If not, we will try something else.  But at least by then we will know a little more about her style and how she likes to learn.

I am looking forward to it because I think it will be fun for her.  If she weren’t showing interest like she is, I wouldn’t even consider it yet.  I think it will be a great way to build on what we already do; and it may actually not even be as much as we already do on our own … but for $35 we will find out.  =)

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