The Resolution {from a 6 year old}

The Resolution

Today, we were working in our Sonlight Language Arts, grade 2, for my oldest’s language arts.  The lesson was about the major parts of a story- plot, setting, characters, conflict, and resolution.  We talked about how all stories, from all cultures and parts of history, have each of these elements.

As her assignment, Lexie was to choose a Bible story and go through the elements of the story.

I asked her if we needed to grab the Bible for her to choose a story, and she promptly informed me that she had her story already in mind-

Adam and Eve.

So I asked her, what was the plot? She responded with the obvious, “Adam and Eve turned away from God when they listened to the serpent, or Satan, instead of God.”

The setting, she said, was the Garden of Eden.

The characters were Adam, Eve, Satan, and God.

The conflict she said, was when Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan, hide from God, and were then sent away from the Garden. <—now mind you, most people would have said that the resolution was God sending them away.

So I asked her, then what was the resolution?

She replied, “God sent Jesus.”

That’s it, y’all.

God sent Jesus.

There’s the resolution to it all.

Every tear, every doubt, every suffering we experience. Every time we battle the desires of the flesh, every time the enemy is on our backs or working actively on our family; for every single lie we believe because we are human and not perfect,

there is Jesus.

And He bears it all. He gives us grace to make new our mistakes, He hears us when we need a quiet moment before we lose our minds in the chaos of our home.  He resolved it all. His death brings meaning to everything we endure here, because we know This. Isn’t. It.  We cannot even imagine what He went through, so that we don’t have to endure everything on our own.

No matter how unbearable, how lonely, how sickly or fallen life is here, God has taken care of all that.

The resolution, is Jesus.

And thank you, Sonlight.

PS- Yes I know the resolution to the small story of Adam and Eve was probably God making them leaving the garden; but the resolution to the *whole* story, is definitely Jesus.


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!

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2016/2017

Aaaah Every homeschool mama’s dream- getting the new school year’s supplies and curriculum all planned out and organized.

homeschool choices 20162017

As you all may know, we *love* Sonlight’s curriculum as our core- Bible, history, and read alouds. We also love their readers (books children learn to read on their own).

This past school year (2015/2016) we used Sonlight Core A with the intention of stretching it out over two years- I planned to do that by reading sequels to books, adding in lapbooks and other units, while alternating weeks of SL and these other things, etc.

Yea … so we still flew through it! The kids asked all the time to read our “learning time books,” and did not like me alternating some weeks of all the great read alouds and history books from SL in an attempt to stretch it out.

Because we didn’t stretch Core A over 2 years as planned, this left me with an extra year to fill- a year known in the homeschool world as a “gap year.”

As it turns out, SL revamped their cores for 2016, which means Core A has some new books added and some old ones removed! They also separated their language arts from the core itself. This helped me create a new plan for our next few school years.

Here is what we will do for the next few years:

  • 2016/2017- Gap Year using Beautiful Feet Early American History as core (ages 4 and 6)
  • 2017/2018- Revisit Sonlight Core A (ages 5 and 7)
  • 2018/2017- Begin Sonlight Core B (ages 6 and 8)

Why is this helpful? Because it means I can keep my two oldest in a Core together, and my two youngest (who are toddlers and a soon to be born baby) will core together when they are ready to begin. Inserting a gap year here puts my two oldest at the best possible ages for the Cores; with Sonlight it is generally better to be in the top of the age range than the bottom because book content is heavier as you get to Core D and the farther in cores you go the more chapter books you encounter.

Break Down of What We Will Use for 2016/2017

Last year my 3 year old tagged along for Core A, as I have mentioned, and learned to count to 100, ID all his letters and their sounds, and just found a love for learning (slooowly but surely). My oldest, 5 years old, loved every minute of Core A, and began reading anything she could get her hands on, including books on 3rd-4th grade level. She seriously just picks up any book and read it.

They both LOVED the pioneer era, so I thought for our gap year doing an Early American History study would work out well! We chose Beautiful Feet Books Early American Primary Jumbo Literature Pack for our curriculum this year. I am truly 100% excited!

We have done 2 years of other cultures/world history so I thought this year we could take a break from that (though I think I may have a couple of future ap world history students!) while we enjoy a little bit of studying closer to home, before we jump back into world cultures/world history with Core A again.

2017 Curriculum Choices (Kindergarten age 6, Preschool age 4)

Together we will all enjoy:

  • History/Core– Beautiful Feet E.A. History- this also incorporates copywork and writing
  • Bible- Reading from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book
  • Memory work (Bible verses, poems, etc that I have chosen)
  • Science- Apologia Science Astronomy second edition (oh my goodness we are LOVING this-review to come in September) used with the Jr. Notebooking Journal for Kindergartener, the preschooler will tag along/color pictures as we read
  • Art– Artistic Pursuits- we love this program, hands down

Kindergarten (age 6)

  • Reading– AAR Level 2/3- we are about half way through Level 2 now, so we will continue on to Level 3 once we are done
  • Readers– we will continue using Sonlight’s readers, as well as other first and second grade readers from the library
  • Spelling– AAS Level 1- we did not being AAS last year as I had planned (mama was just too sick/exhausted with pregnancy to add in anything else at the time) so we will begin it this year. Lexie is very concerned about how to spell her words and because her reading level is so advanced I figured this is a good time to gently introduce spelling.
  • Math– Saxon 1/2- we will finish Saxon 1 and move on to Saxon 2 this year. Max, the preschooler, will tag along using manipulatives to understand concepts instead of writing
  • Handwriting– we will use our faithful copywork, as well as A Reason for Handwriting book B
  • Writing– copywork, journal, and modeling (I plan to introduce more formal grammar/writing at 2nd grade level)

Preschool (age 4)

  • Reading- All About Reading Level 1 (mixed with some games from the Pre Reading level because he loves them)
  • Math- tag along using manipulatives to understand concepts instead of writing, learn to write numbers
  • Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears Preschool or K book (I haven’t decided yet… he is still very much at the pre writing level, but I know Lexie flew through that stage once she got started, so we may just go to the K book first)
  • I plan to use lots of hands on and games with him; he loves puzzles and mazes, building things, and sports right now so there isn’t a ton of interest in paper and pencil learning just yet. I don’t want to burn him out or push him too young. He is excited about learning to read and write letters, but short of that it will be a lot of play.

Miss Tot (2)

Ila will tag along, get some one on one time with mama, and enjoy independent play during our school time. She is learning her shapes, colors, ABCs, and how to do puzzles right now. Really, she has mastered her puzzles and counting to 10, so we will just continue with songs, finger plays, and other tot-time learning for her. =)

In addition to our curriculum, we will do LOTS of play outside, work on the farm, and learn through nature.

So, as for now, these are our plans for homeschool this year! If things change or I add something (haven’t yet placed my last order..) I will do a part II and let you know.

What will your school year look like for 2016/2017?


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!

Pre K and Preschool Weekly Wrap Up {April 1, 2016}

This is a Weekly Wrap up from April 1-this past week. I am a bit behind  =)

It has been a very long time since I wrote a Weekly Wrap Up Post.  Wow.

Well, I can say towards the end of winter we finally found our homeschool groove, as I came out of the first trimester nausea and exhaustion.  Now we have a simple, and effective routine just like we had before, which means we are back to much smoother days!  *thank goodness*

You may remember me posting about struggling with a rut, which I don’t think was school related, but certainly affected our school time.  We (I) came out of that and whew, life is better!

Weekly Wrap UP {April 2016} What a Typical School Morning Looks Like {}

What a School Day Looks like

As we finish the school year (we will be schooling until about July 1st I think, maybe not that long if I can really bust out some chapter books!), we are finishing strong.  We have recently stopped driving 35 minutes every Tuesday for gymnastics, so that has freed up an entire morning, and makes our lives less hectic.  We will continue extra curricular activities with swim lessons, but they will be closer to us!

All that to say, we don’t have specific days we are doing school right now, with this new change.  But I think we are mostly back to Wednesdays being cleaning/no school day, and schooling 3-4 days a week.

On days we school it looks something like this:

  • 7am wake/breakfast/morning basket- morning basket includes: prayer, Bible, pledge, calendar, songs and finger plays (my son loves them), memory work verses and poems, possibly reading part of a read aloud depending on time
  • 8 Begin morning chores- Lexie empties dishwasher, Mister helps with laundry, I load dishwasher
  • 8:30-9:30 Depending on the weather the kids usually go outside for fresh air here, and then we begin school after that.  Sometimes it we go straight into school and they play outside afterward.  School begins with our Sonlight read alouds and history.
  • 9:30-10:30 Toddler joins us for as long as she can be relatively quiet, but usually goes to IP during this time so Lexie can read aloud and focus on harder material
  • 11:15 lunch
  • 12:00 toddler down for nap
  • 12:00-12:30 Lexie, Max and I wind down for nap with books
  • 12:30-3:00 everyone is resting/napping (this actually is more like 1-3 by the time everyone has had their nap time books read)
  • 3:00 up for the afternoon/nature walks/play in the woods/cook dinner/run errands
    • This is also when we go on nature walks specifically to support our science topic, read science books, cook and bake together, and

That’s a typical school day.

What we “do” During School Right Now (3.5, 5.5)

Right now school has been such a pleasure!  Lexie suddenly just started wanting to read everything.  EV * ER * Y * THING!  She picks up books and reads them-doesn’t matter the level; she asks for help when she needs it.  She reads words off the Netflix screen, she reads words off magazine covers, she asks Mister and Ila several times a day if they would like her to read them a book, and of course they do, so she does.

Our daily activities for school include:

  • Morning Basket for everyone (see above)

Lexie (5.5 yo)

  • Lexie’s All About Reading Level 1- either a lesson, reading from her readers, or reviewing fluency pages
  • Lexie’s Copywork/HWOT/Journaling-
    • To make her copy work, I simply write it out on a lined dry erase board like this one while I am sitting at the table.  Copywork usually comes from one of the books she is reading and includes lots of quotes, commas, etc.  In the future, (read: after baby comes) I am planning a bit different set up for her to do more work independently, so I will probably have copywork printed out for her to copy from.
    • Handwriting Without Tears is really just her doing the pages on her own.  I tell her what page, she completes it and I make sure it is nice and neat.  Again, my plan for fall is that this will turn into her independently working on the next page from an assignment sheet without my help.
    • Journaling is me simply giving her a topic, which she writes on freely in her own style.  I try to remind her of capitalization, punctuation, and spacing, but otherwise it is her own thoughts, spelling, etc.
    • She loves doing ALL of these things
  • Lexie’s Math- Saxon 1.  We pretty much just stopped doing the K book because it was too easy and although she still enjoyed it, I was bored (ha).  She really likes the Level 1, there are lots more sheets for her to do (which she LOVES) and she reads the directions to herself.  I check them and have her fix any mistakes or fill in any places she skipped on accident.  I feel like it is a great way for her to work independently, feel successful, and also learn about double checking work, etc.  We like it!

Max (3.5yo)

  • Max is doing All About Reading Pre Reading, mostly because he always asks to do school and he wants to have activities like Lexie.  This is a PERFECT fit for us because it isn’t time consuming, and he really enjoys the games, they’re developmentally appropriate for him (mostly rhyming and logic right now), and did I mention he enjoys it?  We only do this like 1-2 times a week, depending on what he is in the mood for.
  • More phonics- Mister knows his letter sounds, so sometimes we work on beginning letter sounds.  Yesterday, after we did a hands on activity and while Lexie worked on a few math sheets, Max sat in my lap and I drew pictures.  Beneath each picture I wrote letters- I asked him: what each picture was, what each letter was and its sound.  Then I asked what letter he heard at the beginning of the picture word (ex: what sound do you hear at the beginning of “flower?”)  He then gave me his answer and circled the letter.  He got every single one correct without any prompting from me!

Literacy Activity & Weekly Wrap Up {}


  • Math- Mister is tagging along with Lexie’s Math and so far he is doing great! He loves it, they take turns answering questions, and he loves the hands on activities.  This week he helped create a vehicle graph and answered questions about it.  While he is doing really well with his letter sounds and literacy development, math is really his thing right now!
  • Other Activities- While I am working with Lexie on a reading lesson or giving instruction for her work, Mister really enjoys doing the Kumon workbooks and a Big Preschool activity book.  He has a book of all mazes and will literally sit there the entire time we do school and just do mazes.  Some days he just goes and plays trucks or looks at books, or plays independently with something else, and I am totally fine with that.
  • Writing- some days I will write letters on a piece of paper and he traces them; other times he just doodles and tells me about his pictures.

They both love art, listening to read alouds, talking about history, and learning about the Bible.  This spring homeschool has become such a blessing again!  Somehow, we just found our groove for now … Yes, it is surely to change, but there is a season for everything. =)

What is best is that it’s all relaxed.  My word for the year began as joy And it definitely continues to be my word of the year.  😉  However, my mantra has become relax.  I can’t find the joy, or rather feel and see it in front of me, if I can’t relax.  And that’s just what we have done.

I don’t dread any part of our school time; I don’t wish that we were doing something different.  There is a peace about it, a joy in it, and we all love it!  Even Mister tells me, “Mama, I love learning time!”  And that’s just how it should be.  I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the friend that encouraged me to step back from everything, that introduced me to podcasts (I will do a WHOLE ‘nother post on those!), for my husband encouraging me to wake early in the mornings to start my day with coffee and Jesus … it has all just played into a perfect part of our day, of which the morning is school.

So.  until July when we are done with school and a newborn is in the house, I think this is going to continue working.

What does your homeschool with your littles look like?

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!

My Week in Review Link UP

Some Days Are Hard: Getting Out of A Rut {and weekly wrap up for Jan 22, 2016}

Homeschooling When mama Has The Winter Blues

I love blogging, mainly because I enjoy writing, but also because I get emails and messages asking for help, our experiences etc.  I am a transparent person, so I love sharing here!

I usually have encouraging things to say, great review info, or experiences to share.  But lately …

Well, I’ve just been in a rut.  (Haven’t I written that before?!  … oh yes!  yes, I have)

I don’t get into school ruts often, though.  And I am still not 100% sure this rut I am in is directly school related, because I really feel like it’s a lack of the house being settled the move (some curtains not done, decorations not quite right, the basement isn’t perfectly set up, etc), and winter.

Every few years I just have a really hard time with winter-I remember specifically the years I was pregnant with Lexie and Max were hard.  Not every year is this way; as a matter of fact the last 2 years in Nebraska, where it was OH-MY-GOSH so cold and windy, where I never went outside in winter time and everything was covered in snow until May, I had winters that were just fine.  No ruts or frustrations or lack of motivation.

This winter has been really tough though.  I don’t know if it is a combo of pregnancy (man, the last 7 weeks were killer), or cabin fever or what, but I haven’t been myself.

And when mama isn’t herself, things seem to fall apart little by little.  And the first attack here is on menu planning, attitudes, and school.

SO … all that to say, over the last few weeks we have been reading our Sonlight books and doing those discussions, handwriting, weekly journal writings, and math (all because Lexie asks for them), but that’s it.  We haven’t hit science thoroughly, we haven’t done art much, which we all love, and have not been notebooking through our Bible stories.

I do have to say, the kids seem mostly unaffected as far as school goes.  They beg for learning time, books, activities, workbooks … it is me that feels *blah* about everything in general right now.

Weekly Wrap Up Jan 22, 2016

A sweet friend, and wonderful homeschool mama, came over this past week and we had a wonderful visit.  She helped me come to the conclusion that I just need to relax.

  • I can do the assignments Lexie is interested in, and the rest doesn’t matter, because she is 5.
  • We can sit around and read books all day; they’re learning so much just from that (which is what we used to do, before winter got here and I slowly became consumed with everything in the house around me).  It isn’t going to end the world if we leave a mess or two, or don’t get something done.  (remind me of this first thing in the morning!)
  • I NEED to get back to a solid routine

That’s the second part of this post … what has made the last few months inside hard has also been a disruption of routine.  We had a SOLID routine in place that was pretty much no-fail this summer and fall.  That block of time outside first thing in the morning was heaven for all of us, and just set the tone for school and the rest of our day.

Today, I can’t take the kids outside in 20 degree weather first thing in the morning, and enjoy my coffee while watching them play, or go pick the garden.  And it down right sucks.

We also didn’t have a library home.  In NE we could just get out and go to the library; have a bunch of books on hold and take them home and read.  Since we moved to KS, we haven’t joined a library, so my friend also helped with that! (Isn’t it wonderful who God puts in our lives?)

We went just last week to the library and I put a bunch of books about pioneers on hold. For the next few weeks we are going to read books on pioneers, cowboys, and the west (our current Sonlight topic and a favorite of both Lexie and Max’s), discuss, learn, maybe do some easy projects, and that’s it.  I am going to enjoy these days with my babies and try to CHILL OUT. (easier said than done, but I am trying)

I know mamas with older children are thinking, “I can’t just stop everything we are doing and relax” …. But you know, I think you can.  Isn’t that one reason why we homeschool?- because we know when we need a change, a break, or to feed our souls.  It is hard to change our mentality when our eyes see everything around us and our brain says “I must get it all done.”

But what’s the most important work?  That’s what I have to ask myself right now.  And the answer is loving and nurturing my kids; building those relationships.  It is a balance and it is HARD.

What to Do About Those Struggles

So, if you’re with me- stuck in a winter rut- know that it is okay.  I am working on identifying why I am struggling and what I can do to fix that.  So far, praying over it, and encouragement from a good, experienced friend has lead me to:

  1. relax
  2. work on a new routine and stick with it!
  3. take it to the Lord
  4. did I mention, relax?
  5. Work on my word of the year, which was Joy.  Find Joy in this winter ..

(not in that order….)

So I would say identify why you’re in a rut or struggling, make a plan to change those things, and go from there.  That’s what I am trying to do!  Trial and error, it is okay to fail.  It is okay to apologize to your kids when you’re frustrated and have a bad attitude. Try, try again.  =)

Yesterday I noticed the sun set about 6:00pm- WOO HOO!  Can I get an Amen?!  In 8 or so weeks spring will be here and I will only want to be outside all the time, so now is the time to embrace these days indoors … that is my new outlook!

How do you get out of the winter doldrums?

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


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!

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 {}

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?

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}

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!



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