A quick editing note: It drives me ABSOLUTELY CRAZY, but for some reason, none of the things that I put in bold after the first subject EVER turn out bolded on the published post.  So no, I didn’t forget – this thing just doesn’t like to bold anything after the first one, apparently!


In an effort to catch the blog here up with our real life antics:



Language Arts-y Stuff

This year, Link continued with Writing With Skill and Vocabulary from Classical Roots, which he did in 7th grade, also.  He’ll finish up the final Vocabulary Book this coming fall.  This coming year I’d like for him to have a writing class online, so I’m looking into the options – right now I’m considering BraveWriter, Write at Home, Coram Deo (Lost Tools of Writing), or So Verbose‘s high school writing classes.  They range in cost and method of doing things (as well as length of classes), so right now I’m happy just settling on that and I’ll revisit and decide for sure as the semester moves along.

For Grammar this year, he is doing the Grade 8 book of Easy Grammar: Ultimate Series.  Next year he will either continue with that, move to Analytical Grammar, or maybe I’ll even let him drop grammar.  That’s doubtful though – I think I want at least a year more before I let him move past grammar.

His reading list looks surprisingly short, with a mere 23 books listed right now… which makes me feel like I’m forgetting something!  I need to go back and see if that is the case… 

Astro is about to finish Language Lessons for the Secondary Child from Queen Homeschool, probably this week – maybe next?  As usual, I’m having a hard time deciding what to use for grammar for 7th grade for him… right now I’ve narrowed it down to Easy Grammar (I believe their ‘Plus‘ book would work for 7th?) or Hake, though the latter option is not looking as good to me as it was before, having heard about the writing portion.  I wonder if we could just skip that?

OK guys, I have to say… ROD AND STAFF SPELLING.  Say wha?!  But no, really, I love it.  I started REALLY LOW and picked up like, the third grade book for him to start with last fall.  He flew through that one pretty quickly, with just a few things here and there – mostly I quizzed him on words and we just made our own lists and activities out of the ones he didn’t know.  My general rule of thumb is that if, on the pretest, he gets 5 words wrong, he does that lesson.  

So anyway, he flew through grade 3 and moved into grade 4 pretty quickly.  He’s had to do more lessons in this one, which is fine.  He just needed something because DUDE, this kid was not a very good speller!  So even if he IS doing a ‘fourth grade’ spelling book, I really don’t care BECAUSE HE’S SPELLING THINGS RIGHT.  😀  Needless to say, he will continue R&S Spelling next year.  I don’t care if ‘seventh graders don’t do spelling’.  We’re doing it. 😉

For writing, he’s going through Kilgallon this year….it’s not bad.  I will say, I don’t always make him do all the writing assignments, we will do a lot of it orally, and then maybe copy a few of the sentences but not all of them… it’s not too bad.  Next year I think we’re going to try Jump In from Apologia.  It was recommended to me for something for my kid who hates to write, and when I looked at the sample I thought it looked interesting.  We shall see!

He’ll also be starting Vocabulary from Classical Roots next year, with A and B.  And, of course, has quite the reading list… while reading is not something he loves, I still think he’d rather that than write.  Lol!

Now, for Pink: She started with QH’s Language Lessons for the Elementary Child, Volume 1 this year and will move on to Volume 2 next.  I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll have her continue handwriting practice – it had actually slipped my mind – but most likely, she will, doing the second book of New American Cursive from Memoria Press.  

This year she’s moving through Writing With Ease, but here’s the funny thing – I can’t remember if I have her sped up, going through all of WWE 1 and 2 in one year, or if she’s just doing WWE 1.  Luckily, I’ll be able to tell when I get the book out to plan for next year – I don’t buy the WWE workbooks, but have The Complete Writer book that goes through the sequence of the four levels.  I pick and choose passages for her to narrate that are actually short stories of one type or another – Fairy Tales from different countries, Aesop’s fables, etc.  Then we avoid the most problematic part of the workbook, which is all the little snippets of larger books that we may or may not be reading at the time.  Her sentences to copy are either pulled from that week’s story or are from Spelling Wisdom by Simply Charlotte Mason.  

Pink has turned out to be quite a reader as well, so plenty of books will be on her shelf next year, too.



We have continued with Apologia Science and, at least from what I can tell, will continue with it for Link through high school.  This year he’s in Physical Science; next year, he will move into Biology.

I do plan on implementing a couple extra things into Biology this coming year that Dr. Lainna Callentine spoke on last year at the homeschool convention, though.  So I’ll be using a regular school textbook alongside Apologia, as well.

Astro’s selected study this year for science has been robots.  Ok, I’ll be honest here and say this was a lot easier said than done!  There were a lot of kind of random parts listed in the shopping lists, and we did quite a few vibro-bots, which were great and all, but I’d really like to be doing more!

So I ended up purchasing this Solar Robot Kit …. and we can’t get it to work.  😦  I have no idea why, whether it’s a dud or there’s something wrong with the solar panel, or we messed up, or what… yeah.  So since getting aaallllll the tiny pieces out and separating them into bags and all that, we now have this nice little solar robot sitting there… that doesn’t work.  

So disappointing.

We plan to give it another go, and I’ve also been looking into some other electronic and/or physics type kits to get him to round out the school year.  

As for next year, he’s picked 3 modules of Science Fusion to try  – E – The Dynamic Earth, H- Matter and Energy, and J – Sound and Light.  I pulled up a few different possibilities – CPO science, NOEO science, etc – and he liked the look of these.  I’m thinking that it will go better next year with a book.

I always seem to do better with books. 🙂  Oh, well!

As for Pink, science this year has been Chemistry, doing one experiment per week out of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules, Books 1 and 2, as well as some fun kits.  We are also in the process of making a HUGE table of elements, which hangs on the wall of the hallway – we do one atom per day for that.  So 3rd grade chemistry has been a success so far!

This coming year she’ll continue the rotation, and I believe we’re going to use Starting with Science: Simple Machines as well as Solids, Liquids, and Gases.  I always like to get kits and stuff, too, so we’ll definitely get a few of those.



Link has almost finished Lial pre-algebra and will be starting Foerster’s Algebra I as soon as he wraps that up completely, which should be in the next couple of weeks.  I’m not sure how hard I’m going to push him on Algebra I – part of me would LOVE for him to finish all of it by the time he starts his freshman year, but it really just depends.  I don’t want to rush him and him not remember the concepts, either.  So we’ll take it as it comes, and maybe do some Algebra during the summer, too, so that he can (hopefully) be close to starting right on track with Algebra II or Geometry this fall.

With Astro, we are in no hurry to finish Lial’s, and I have no problem with that going on into next year.  I do think I’ll also be throwing in a few other things, even this year – Jousting Armadillos, Zaccaro’s Challenge, and I think I’d like for him to take a look at Alcumus.  If he seems to like that, we might – and I mean might – give AoPS pre-algebra a try.  We’ll see.

Pink has been continuing with Math U See and doing great with it.  We will definitely stay with it through Delta next year – after that I’ll have to wait and see.  But for these beginning stages, I really think, for these kids, it’s been great.



History has stayed the same and we’ll continue following the recommendations in The Well-Trained Mind for high school next year.  He’ll be back in the Ancients, and will be using The History of the Ancient World and accompanying study guide, as well as reading some ooooooold classics!

History is also the same for the other two!  Astro does TWTM recommendations for 6th grade and will continue that next year; Pink is doing SOTW 3 this year and we’ll move to 4 next year.  

Hey, at least some things stay the same!



This year Link also had a few one year courses – not necessarily electives, because he didn’t pick them (lol) – Bible, Japanese, and Civics.  Okay, so he did pick the first two.  He’s made his way a good bit into his Japanese I textbook and has done a couple of Bible studies from Queen Homeschool this year.  For Civics I had him do Uncle Sam and You, which has consisted mostly of reading, so he doesn’t have any complaints about that one – for a voracious reader, knocking out a few textbook pages of required reading is a walk in the park!

This is also his last year of ‘Logic’ as a subject in school – we’ve just started the fourth book in the Critical Thinking in U.S. History series (which I can NOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH!) and he’s doing the Discovery of Deduction.  

This coming year he’ll be doing another Bible Study from QH, and I believe he’s planning on continuing Japanese.  I’d like for him to, anyway!  The two electives that he’s chosen for the year online are both from Great Courses – I believe one is on inventions and the other, geology.  

As for Astro, this year was his first year of Logic and we are using James Madison Critical Thinking Course AND WE LIKE IT!!!!!  YES, we finally found a beginner’s logic course that we plan on sticking with, and that I’ll use with Pink in the future!  It’s a super-thick book, so he’s doing half this year and half next.

He also did Tending the Heart of Virtue this year, and has been reading a lot of books along with it.  I can always tell when he’s reading one of the Chronicles of Narnia because he gets in the whole spirit of it and watches the movies, too – either renting them from the library or on Netflix.

Now, I would have to say our biggest flop this year was Astro’s Bible.

I was SO excited about it, guys.  It looked SO cool.  And in a way, it WAS so cool… but it wasn’t what we wanted.

We didn’t make it very far before we dropped it.  With as many subjects as I do with each kid, I really like for Bible to be independent.  And this was NOT independent.  In fact, I have absolutely NO idea how he would have known the correct answers without me there, because it wasn’t like ‘fill in the blank about this specific Bible passage’ – it was more drawing conclusions and other stuff.  It just didn’t fit us at all.  So that was a bust.  This coming year he wants to do Apologia’s Who is God?, so he’ll be giving that a shot.  I’m not really sure what the grade level for it is – it may be a little young for him – but I think that’s okay.  With him being as reluctant of a writer as he is, I’d rather give him something like that that’s a little below his level, rather than above it.

Lastly, Astro wants to learn Mandarin… o.O … so I’m looking into that to see if there’s any way that can happen this coming year.  Fun fun!

Pink doesn’t have much in the way of electives, as much as she has just random things that I find for her to do each year!  This year I picked up a book on fractions to get her started on those, which she does about a page per day out of, as well as a book of analogies for third graders – nothing crazy.  She did also do a Bible study from QH this year, as well, on Proverbs.  As for next year, I haven’t thought much about the two little books but she will be doing the Armor of God book from QH next year.

Oh, and she’ll start Latin!  Yep, the first of her two mandatory years of Latin is next year! So that’s exciting!  We’ll use Latina Christiana because I love it.  Some people love Latin for Children (Link even did it one year), and I can see the draw, but the books, everything – it’s just way too busy for my eyes.  It feels stressful looking at those pages!  😀  So we stick with Memoria!


That pretty much sums it up – where we are now, what we’re looking toward in the future – for this kid, at least!  As always, I’m excited as I plan for the coming year – especially high school!!!  🙂




New year, new year

I have no interest in sayings like, ‘New year, new me!’

So it’s a new year.  Which is great and all.  I get it… the feeling of newness, of a blank slate of a year ahead that we can fill.

I don’t make new years resolutions, but I know why people do.  This fresh start feels like a real fresh start.  And it can be, if you stick to it.


I thought a lot the end of 2017 about what my One Word for 2018 would be.

I ‘tried on’ so many words – so many.  For some reason, none of them felt right.  None stuck.

I knew the picture in my head of what I wanted for this year.  I pictured a tree, roots deep, branches reaching out and up.  The word deep came back to me a few times, so I unsettlingly settled on it a couple days ago.

I was thinking, then, that there are specific types of deep and there are specific things that I am looking for this year.  This year I am yearning to learn, to study, to be filling my mind with things that are important to me (note that these may be anything – while yes, much of my yearning is academic and/or spiritual, there is also a fair amount that is whimsical and enjoys learning whatever strikes my fancy at the moment).

Tonight as I was sitting quietly, relaxed, I realized that yes, deep was a good word.

However.  The word that filled my mind and my heart, the one that I could feel all over was the right word, finally! – was not deep.


It was Plunge.


Merriam-Webster defines plunge a number of ways, but the ones that I’ll pay special attention to this year are the following:

  • to thrust or cast oneself into as if into water
  • to move oneself headlong forward and downward
  • to enter suddenly


I want to Plunge into this year.  To dive headfirst into the things I want to do, the things that I desire, the things that make my soul feel full and bright.

I want to throw myself into studying, into drawing nearer to God, into learning more.

I want to take on new responsibilities of my choosing.  I’ve been spending the last few years in quiet rest, contemplating, healing, and becoming more and more myself.

I’m ready to jump in.  To jump out there.  To reach out and up, and stretch my roots deeper.


Along with the word Plunge, I also feel a draw towards key words having to do with depth and diving in – Deep Soul.  Maybe this will be a focus for a month.  Maybe for a few months.  Maybe for the year.  I knew it wasn’t ‘the word’ but it’s a focus.


It’s time.  Time to go deeper, to stretch farther, to reach higher.  It’s exciting and it’s terrifying at the same time.  I may think I’m ready, but we all know that the years never go exactly as we plan but that the word always fits and no matter what, God is always faithful.


What about you?  Have you chosen a word for 2018?  Are you ready to put your One Word into action?

The end of a year

The end of the year again.


Geez, it’s been so long since I blogged.  Part of me feels kind of guilty – I should really keep up with it better.

But life has a way of happening and time has a way of flying by and everything passes and on one hand it’s all new and different but on the other it’s all the same; both are equally beautiful.  And before I know it, it is almost the very last day of the year and I haven’t gotten on here in months, for no particular reason.

Sorry about that.  😉


So what has this year been?

This year has been… fun.  It’s been new, different, exciting.  For, once again, no particular reason.

Life is enjoyable and the days go by.  Days aren’t perfect, and life isn’t always wonderful and shiny, but things are good.


My word for the year of 2017 was Bloom.

As in every year that I’ve done this (I believe this was the third?), the word I chose ended up being the perfect word for the year.  I can never see this coming or explain why, at the beginning of the year – the word just sticks out to me, it settles with me, and it feels right.

Then, at the end of the year, I can see all the ways that it really was right.


2017 was another of those years I can look back on and see a transformation of sorts.  Every year, with every passing month, I can see myself becoming more and more myself.  This year I really felt that a lot.  My soul feels at peace.

Little things, like clothing or decor, have become little pieces of happiness for me.  I’ve embraced my love for KonMari and slowly begun weeding out the things that don’t bring me joy.

I think I’ve become a more peaceful person.  I have fun.  I laugh.

This last month or so in particular, I’ve felt awake.  Like my brain is waking up more every day.



I’ve become me.  At least the me for now.


Do I sound crazy?  😀


I hope that everyone could feel this.  That they could feel all this beauty that is their life and relish the joy of it.

They would never need to think that it is perfect.  They would know that it isn’t.

They would know that it can be difficult, and it can be heavy, and that they might sometimes feel broken.

But in the end… at the end of the day… they would close their eyes, turn their face toward the sky, the sun warming their skin, and they would still love it.

They would love the feel of the warm concrete of the sidewalk contrasted with the coolness of the grass under their bare feet; they’d smile with people they love as the breeze blows; they’d admire the sun reflecting on the water; they’d laugh so hard they’d spit out their drink.

They’d give love and receive love and share love and be love.

They’d embrace every quirk – of others but most important, of their own.

They’d try new things, just to try them.  They’d dance to their favorite music.  They’d admire the flowers and the trees and the earth and all that is beautiful about it.


Maybe 2017 wasn’t very good for you and upon reading this you think I must be insane, or clueless, or have had a somehow perfect year.  But it wasn’t perfect.  There will always be bad days.

However, when I look back on the year, these words above are what come to mind.  These can encompass the whole.


So, If you decide to do this, if you get to a place in your life where this becomes you, you and I both know that it probably won’t last forever.  But let’s try, okay?  Let’s try, even in the midst of bad things happening, to embrace all that I’ve listed above and more.  Because your list wouldn’t look exactly like mine, anyway.



I haven’t picked a word for 2018 yet.  There are some that have floated through my head, but nothing has stuck yet – and I don’t have much time left!!  🙂  But every year it comes, so I know it will this year, too.

This coming year may be very different from this last.  I can’t help but feel that it will be very different.  And who knows what all the years ahead will bring.


Let’s be ourselves through all of them.

School Year, Part 3 (3rd grade)

Last one!


I just realized yesterday that I left out one book from Link’s book list – The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler.  And it was going to bug me if I didn’t mention it.   So yeah – that’s on the eighth grade reading list!!

That brings the total for Link’s reading list to 53, I think?

Astro’s is… 44.  Maybe.  Something like that.

Random, I know.

So, Pink is the last kid that I need to make this yearly entry for, and the last kid doing 3rd grade, and that’s so exciting!  I’ve never had any issues with the idea of the kids getting older lol :).

So here we go.  Third grade.  Hard to believe that in just a couple years she’ll be hitting the logic stage and I won’t have any elementary schoolers anymore!  😀


We’ll be following The Well-Trained Mind‘s recommendations for 3rd grade science and studying chemistry.  For that, we’re using Books I and II of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules and a couple fun science kits – one is ‘Kitchen Chemistry‘, I think, and the other is ‘Fizzy Foamy Science‘.  They seemed like ones that Pink would like.

For this, it’s really low key.  I’ve already gone through the books and picked out experiments – about 20 weeks worth.  We’ll do the experiment and then she’ll define any unfamiliar terms (usually underlined in the section with the experiment).  We’re going to do the science kits here and there throughout the year, and I’ve also got a few planned that I’ve found elsewhere online.  From those different things, we’ve got 36 weeks worth!  I’m also thinking about doing something fun with the periodic table – but I want to get to working on it first, to see how it goes!


Keeping with our schedule, Pink will be going through Story of the World, Vol. 3 this year, which covers 1600-1850.  I see it asked all the time, ‘How do you use Story of the World?’ and really the only answer is to use it however you see fit.  We use it for the grammar stage only, and I have the Activity Guide to go along with it, but we rarely use it, honestly.  However, I wouldn’t want to not have it, just in case.

We read the chapter and look at the map.  Much of her reading list consists of books that are historical fiction or biographies or other things related to the age.  On occasion, we’ll do an activity or project from the book – some appeal to us more than others.  If there is an animal in a picture to color, maybe she’ll color it.  Some of the art projects are fun.  We’ve done a cooking one here and there.  But really?  For us, history is very much just reading.

And I say it a lot, so I may be sounding like a broken record by this point, but just remember – the idea isn’t for a third grader to be able to tell me all sorts of details about everything in history from the early modern times.  The idea is to introduce them to these things that they will revisit again in the later years (twice), as they go through the history cycle again a little deeper each time.  It’s not about acing a quiz right now, but about providing some familiarity so that it doesn’t seem so foreign to try to introduce world history all of a sudden later on.

fullsizeoutput_355a‘Language Arts’ subjects:

Pink will be starting on Queen homeschool‘s Language Lessons this year – they start them much younger as well as going further than we use them for, which I mentioned in Astro’s post.  We use the Elementary and Secondary Child ones – 4 years worth.  I’ve found them to be a good in-between, mixing some grammar basics with picture study and copywork, etc.  We usually end up skipping some copywork lessons by the end of the year, which I’ve gone ahead and crossed out, this time.  There are lessons for a full 180 days included – with field trips and co-op days and other stuff, we don’t necessarily do all 180 days of work.

For handwriting this year, I was going to pick up a Zaner Bloser book, which is what we usually use.  Funny thing is, I really liked the 4th grade book that Astro used, but it wasn’t the current/newer editions – it was actually a much older one!  But either way, I’ve always been pleased with ZB.  Last year we skipped any handwriting curriculum because I didn’t find it necessary – we practiced handwriting and learning cursive on our own.  I just decided to get a book again this year to switch it up.

But then I stumbled across New American Cursive Penmanship at the Rainbow Resource booth at convention and I just loved the look of it.  I don’t know why, exactly.  But so that’s the one I picked up for her for this year!  🙂

As always, titles for her reading list are under the pictures.  I had to spread out some of the smaller books, as they were hard to see all standing up!


IMG_6946Pictured:  You Wouldn’t Want to be an American Colonist!; N.C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims; A Picture Book of Patrick Henry; And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?; Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography; If You Lived at the time of the American Revolution; What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?; George Washington: The Man Who Would Not Be King; Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady; John Adams Speaks for Freedom; The Story of the Constitution; Who was Marie Antoinette?; The Industrial Revolution; Sacagawea: American Pathfinder; How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark; Tecumseh; Andrew Jackson; Davy Crockett: Young RiflemanIMG_6947Pictured: The True Story of Pocahontas; Madeline Takes Command; The Three Musketeers; Robinson Crusoe; Pilgrim’s Progress; Gulliver’s Travels; Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots; Daniel Boone: Young Hunter and Tracker; Abigail Adams: Girl of Colonial Days; Betsy Ross and the Silver Thimble; Songs of Innocence; George the Drummer Boy; Sam the Minuteman; Molly Pitcher: Young Patriot; Why Not, Lafayette?; Hans Brinker; Les Miserables; Sitting Bull: Dakota BoyIMG_6949Pictured: Moby Dick; Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Buffalo Bill: Frontier Daredevil; Great Expectations; Oliver Twist; They’re Off: The Story of the Pony Express
Not pictured: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; Around the World in 80 Days; Journey to the Center of the Earth


We’re continuing with Math U See this year, moving onto Gamma – or, as she says, ‘Times’.  😛  Lol!  She’s thinking it’s going to be more difficult for some reason, but I have confidence that it won’t be so bad.  😉  I think in her head, ‘times’ is something that the boys do, because they’re older – not her!

I also picked up a little Fractions book from RR at convention to do a few times a week.  Since I’m moving away from MUS a little more in the middle years, I’m not sure exactly what she’ll do once she finishes the first 4 MUS books (the last one being Delta, and focusing on division) – whether or not she’ll move on into Epsilon and fractions will be decided when the time comes.  Either way this looked like a fun introduction!





This will be Pink’s first year with her own Bible study curriculum, so we are starting off slowly with one of Queen homeschool‘s elementary Bible studies.  It’s actually meant to be done daily over about 12 weeks (I don’t have it right here, but that sounds about right); she will be doing it 2-3 times a week over most of the school year, just to get used to it.  Astro did the one on Proverbs when he was in 3rd or 4th grade and I really liked it, and thought it was a great place to start!

Logic-ish stuff: (lol!)

I picked up this Analogies book because it just looked fun!  Sometimes my kids struggle with analogies like this, so I though going ahead and introducing them to her right now would be fun.  We’re probably only going to do it once a week or so.  Just something to break up the monotony!fullsizeoutput_355c

That sums it all up!  Let’s see… Pink’s reading list ended up being… 46?  Not surprising that she has more than Astro, if that’s the case!  Or that she’s at least right there on par with him – she’s a reader, more like Link in that aspect!

And now that all this is done, we’re ready to get started in just three and a half weeks!

But first… MORE SUMMER!!!!


Happy sun!

Wordless Wednesday: playing catch-up!

What have we been doing since I blogged last???

IMG_6257Pink received this hat from an aunt this winter, and it became her daily wear.  Seriously.  Every day.  She even wore it to bed.IMG_6266Science projectsIMG_6314Link made a table in his woodworking class at co-opIMG_6400Roughing it on a field trip to The Mariner’s MuseumIMG_6411A trip to the orchestraIMG_6445A regular favorite – archery!IMG_6489Zoo field tripIMG_6491#zooprioritiesIMG_6514Human bird feederIMG_6518Skyride at the zooIMG_6519Hoodlums 😉IMG_6610A sunny EasterIMG_6687New family member – the CUTEST BUNNY EVER, Floppy!!!IMG_6688IMG_6702Birthday time for PinkIMG_6704Yes, those are panda sheets she’s huggingIMG_6722Spring cleaning time – but for a break, ice creamIMG_6751The end of another successful soccer season for AstroIMG_6854The James River on the Blue Ridge ParkwayIMG_6857Mom/Dad–selfieIMG_6863Wading in the chilly mountain creekIMG_6865Otter CreekIMG_6866IMG_6868IMG_6870Now THAT’S sedimentary!IMG_6871IMG_6875IMG_6883Beautiful overlookIMG_6886Shenandoah ValleyIMG_6889IMG_6891IMG_6910More Floppy!!!IMG_6911Relaxing by the fireIMG_6912

Happy summer, guys!

School Year, Part 2 (6th grade)

So if you want to know the truth, the 2017-2018 school year has been planned in its entirety for a couple weeks now…

With the exception of one subject of Astro’s.

So I waited until I was done before I started blogging about any of them.  Because I’m a little obsessive like that.  And I could have gone ahead and done Pink’s but then they’d be out of order, so….

I may not be melancholy in most things, but in some…. 😀  lol

Sixth grade is still a pretty fun year to plan.  Astro has his own things that he enjoys, his own things that he wants to study (well… truthfully he doesn’t want to study anything, but there are things he’d rather have to do than others 😉 ), and his own way of learning.  So far, I haven’t felt like we’re doing ‘more of the same’ with him because he’s so much the opposite of Link.

Anyway, without further adieu, sixth grade.


Here we are again, trying another logic curriculum.  I do have to admit, I *think* I like the look of this one the best of all those we’ve tried and looked at over the last few years. James Madison Critical Thinking seems to go at things from a detective-style perspective, which should be refreshing and hopefully not too huge of a transition from all the fun things the kids do for logic in 5th grade.  Astro loved Mind Benders last year…  Then I always have to go and make things no-more-fun anymore! 🙂 😉  The plan is to go through half of the book this year, the second half next year.  Hopefully this one will be a winner!!


‘Language Arts’ subjects:

Astro will finish up with the Queen Language Lessons for the Secondary Child this year.  The series goes further, but I don’t think we’ll progress with it any farther.  It provided a good, simple, straight forward and ‘gentle’ (Charlotte Mason style!) program for these later elementary/early middle grades.  This year I’ve actually gone ahead and gone through and marked out a few lessons – I usually end up doing it at some point toward the end of the year, anyway (usually copywork ones).

And yes, that is a SPELLING program!!  I have a hate/hate relationship with spelling programs lol.  I’ve heard good things about Rod & Staff Spelling, so I figured we would give it a try this year.  Astro’s spelling is… well… horrendous.  😀  So I figured we’d go ahead and get a curriculum for it again.  His last spelling curriculum was in about 1st or 2nd grade, but it didn’t work so well, and then we spent a lot of time just tackling words as we came across them.  And yes, I bought the third grade book.  I figured we will start there and if we move through more than one in a year, great.  If not, that’s fine, too.

What I’ll probably do is start off the year seeing what words he can spell from the given list(s) and then go from there.  I’ll probably do that throughout the year so that we aren’t spending time on words he already knows, but I also wanted to go ahead and go back this far so that we wouldn’t miss anything.

Lastly, I decided to have Astro try Killgallon writing this year.  He’ll start the year with Sentence Composing for Middle School and then move to Paragraphs around 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the year.

Oh, and of course, I’ve included his reading lists.  🙂



Pictured: The Lantern Bearers, Otto of the Silver Hand, Brendan the Navigator, The Once and Future King, Augustine Came to Kent, Adam of the Road, China’s Later Dynasties, Beowulf, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Call it Courage, Inferno, The Door in the Wall, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Canterbury Tales, Leonardo DaVinci


Pictured: In Freedom’s Cause, Shakespeare Stories, I, Juan de Pareja, Hans Christian Andersen Tales, The Ugly Duckling, Where the Wild Things Are, The Selfish Giant


It’s pre-algebra time!!

I decided to go ahead and start Astro in the same pre-algebra book (Lial) as Link this year.  Now that I’ve gone through the entire elementary sequence of Math U See, I feel comfortable switching over sooner than I did with Link.

Why the switch?

First off, Astro was beginning to get bored this year with MUS.  Now, let me reiterate that we LOVE MUS in the elementary grades, and I think it provides an excellent foundation.  But this year he was beginning to just get a little tired of the format and the repetition.  Knowing what would be covered in the last two volumes of elementary MUS and how it would be similarly covered in Lial, I decided to go ahead and switch over.

Second, Astro is a little more mathematically inclined than Link, at least from what I’ve been able to tell over these last several years.  So I think he’s definitely ready to move into pre-algebra this year.

I still have plans to spend as much time as necessary on new concepts and make sure he masters things, like MUS.  As of right now my only goal is to make it through the first half of the book this year.  If he makes it all the way through, awesome.  But I don’t have any qualms about spending a couple years on pre-algebra so that I know he’s got it.



Astro picked his own science for this year – robots.

I’ve expounded on it a bit, pulling in more electronics as well as some engineering-style construction basics.  Again, since I see a bit of a leaning in that direction, I thought it would be fun to explore for this year.  I’m not saying I think he’ll have a career in any of those fields – however, science that involves building things is his favorite kind.  He had a robotics/simple machines class at co-op last year and he adored it.  It was his favorite class all year long.

So we’re going with some recommendations from the latest version of The Well-Trained Mind : The Robot Book, which we’ll spend roughly 12 weeks in, making fun little robots with brushes and hacked toys; Make: Electronics, which is quite detailed the farther you go in the book – my plan is to try to make it through about the first 10-15 experiments.  Beyond that I think it starts getting a little too involved for a 6th grader.  That said, though, I’ve left wiggle room, so if he ends up taking off with it, then he can continue.  It’s entirely possible, by the way, that the electronics section will be done with The Man in the evenings – I can handle almost everything, but as I glance through this Make: Electronics book, I literally feel like it’s all going right over my head! 🙂  But that’s ok.  The last book he’ll be using will be The Art of Construction, which he’ll spend about 8 or so weeks on, reading through it and making little models of different architecture and discovering why things work better, etc.  I’m really looking forward to his science this year!!


6th grade history:

I already went into how we ‘do’ history in the logic stage in the post on 8th grade – Astro will do it pretty much the same, only a different time period – he’s in the medieval time period this year, from 400-1600.  Here I’ve included a picture of the books that are included as a part of his history studies.


Pictured: The Measly Middle Ages, The Cut-Throat Celts, The Smashing Saxons, Vicious Vikings, The Boy Knight, Traditional Irish Fairy Tales, The Angry Aztecs, Incredible Incas, The Terrible Tudors, First Voyage To America: From the Log of the “Santa Maria”, Sir Francis Drake, The Trumpeter of Krakow, Explorers Who Got Lost

Bible/Ethics/World Religions:

Sixth grade is always a fun one because we include some books on virtue this year, as well as a simple book on world religions.

Astro will be reading through Tending the Heart of Virtue, along with several of the books that are mentioned in it ( most of them are in the picture below this one, with the exception of a couple selections from Hans Christian Andersen, as well as The Selfish Giant, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Ugly Duckling, which are all pictured with his other reading list above, as well as Prince Caspian, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and The Last Battle, which aren’t pictured).

For world religions, we make our way through A World of Faith, which is essentially a picture book that dedicates a page each to several of the world’s major religions.  We cover one per week.

We’re trying something new for Bible this year, and I’m actually really excited about this one!  Astro will be doing Route 66: Travel Through the Bible from Positive Action Bible Curriculum.

Their booth has always been at our local homeschool convention, but truthfully, the covers of their elementary-level Bible curriculum was a bit off-putting for me.  This year, however, I happened to glimpse the sign that said ‘Middle School’ above books that didn’t look nearly so cheesy!  😀  lol.  So I ended up getting this one.  It’s a survey of the entire Bible, covering the basics.  It looks like a good amount of work – not too much writing, but still in depth enough to be learning.  They have several more books, so I’m hoping this one goes well and we can stick with them for several years coming!


Pictured: Pinocchio, A Wrinkle in Time, Charlotte’s Web, The Princess and the Goblin, The Wind in the Willows, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Velveteen Rabbit

Astro will also be doing other electives at Co-op – he’ll be in the ‘Junior High’ age group this year with Link, so they’ll have the same ones.  I’m also assuming that he’ll play soccer again, as he’s our soccer guy.



School Year, Part 1 (8th grade)

8th grade, guys.

This is so fun.

But at the same time it’s a LOT, knowing that we are going into high school next year and looking at the current plans Link has for his future, which I’m not holding him to and I know probably will change… It’s looking at things and thinking ‘Okay, it’s serious now’ and planning on getting up earlier so that I can be there for some of his stuff that he probably could do alone but I’m not sure he should tackle it sans supervision, because what if he doesn’t grasp it as well as he thinks he does?

It’s looking into the future plans (which change every year) and editing to include possible online classes starting in 9th, fitting Drivers Ed in 10th, possible community college classes the last two years of high school, and EMT class because-the-kid-wants-to-be-a-doctor and why not go ahead and start there when he can?

It’s big stuff, these coming years.

It’s sitting down with him at high school prep workshops and sitting down with him and making a 4 year plan for high school (in pencil, always in pencil!)… it’s sitting down with him and talking about potential electives and grabbing college catalogs at the college fair so he can start to get some ideas.

It’s seriously, without a doubt, so. much. fun.


So, Link’s 8th grade year is planned.


First off, I have to call attention to the first picture and the fact that Link takes up those top two shelves pictured by himself.  Which is okay – there’s still room there! – but then Astro’s shelf is the third one there, and it’s PACKED.  Pink’s isn’t too bad.

So, needless to say, this was all rearranged in order to accommodate our ever-growing need for homeschool curriculum (and honestly, BOOK) space.  I used to keep teacher’s manuals and the like on the top shelf, but I moved those over to the bottom on the homeschool corner desk in the second picture (presently covered by that puzzle box).  I love the look of freshly-reorganized spaces lol.  😀

So anyway, now on to the year!

8th grade history:

We’ve stuck to doing history in the logic stage following the recommendations from The Well-Trained Mind.  8th grade marks the end of the logic stage and the end of the 2nd time through the time periods of history, restarting in 9th at the ancients.
So this year Link is on 1850-present.  I have a history encyclopedia (a couple of them, actually, but there is a specific one he uses) and he reads a section , takes notes of any events or details he thinks are important, records events on a timeline, and sometimes outlines what the section was about.

A switch for this year is that there are fewer sections in this time period of the encyclopedia, but they are much longer.  So where in 5th-7th grade, it was basically one section per week – occasionally two – this year there will be weeks spent on certain topics, with supplemental reading, primary sources, etc, to expand on the topic.  Here are just a few of the books on Link’s reading list for the year; these are specific to his history studies and he’ll be reading them as he gets to that time period in history.


Listed: The Wright Brothers: How they invented the airplane; Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929; Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After World War II Internment; Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust; Rifles for Watie; The Story of D-Day: June 6, 1944; Air Raid! Pearl Harbor; The Strength of These Arms: Life in the Slave Quarters.


We haven’t done any sort of Civics yet as of 8th grade (aside from some low-key learning about the US government in 4th), and I found Uncle Sam and You by Notgrass and decided to give it a try.  There are supplemental readings suggested; however, we will be skipping those and just doing the extra reading in The Citizen’s Handbook, instead.  Link is already a voracious reader with a huge reading list, and I don’t feel that it’s necessary to pile on more books just because.  So we’ll see how this goes this year!


8th Grade ‘Language Arts’ subjects:

First off, pardon the messy table, and the glare – I only have my phone to take pictures with, and it’s an older model (in the world of tech, that is), so the pictures aren’t awesome.

Anyway, Link will be continuing with Writing With Skill 2 this year, as we felt WWS 1 was good and thorough and wanted to continue on the same path.  I will chime in my agreement with others who have said that they would wait to do WWS until later in the logic stage than some recommend – I wouldn’t try to use WWS with a 5th grader – maybe a 6th grader if they are motivated.  7th was the perfect time for Link to start it, even if it is ‘late’ – it didn’t feel like too much work for him.  There are some kids, however (like Astro) that I doubt will ever be ready to tackle WWS.  It just doesn’t suit his style.

For Grammar, we chose to go with Easy Grammar Ultimate Series.  We’ve used Daily Grams before (made by EG as well, as a daily supplement) and I thought this may be just what we were looking for this year for Grammar – straightforward and informative.  This year, Link got a vote, too, and when I showed it to him he like the approach as much as I did.

He’ll also be continuing with Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Books C and D.  I have to say I really liked these last year (A-B).  We often do the vocabulary exercises together, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve learned a few words, too!

And of course, I’ve included his reading list.  Individual titles are beneath the pictures.  Yes, the plan is for him to read all of those books in the school year.  Yes, he will most likely finish them all.  😉


Pictured: Fields of Fury: The American Civil War; A Man for All Seasons; The Crucible; Treasure Island; The Scarlet Pimpernel; The Man Without a Country; Across Five Aprils; Gone with the Wind; An O.Henry Reader.


Pictured: The Yearling; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Favorite Father Brown Stories; The War of the Worlds; The Call of the Wild; The Jungle Book; The Importance of Being Earnest; The Dream Keeper; Pygmalion; Strong Poison; A Selection of E.E. Cummings poems; Murder on the Orient Express; Rosa Parks: My Story; The Vietnam War; The Road Not Taken.


Pictured: The Korean War; Our Living Constitution: Then and Now; Great Speeches of the 20th Century; A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9/11 and Its Aftermath; The Making of America: The History of the United States from 1492 to Present; A Kid’s Guide to America’s Bill of Rights; Great Events of the 20th Century; From Sea to Shining Sea: Virginia; Sri Lanka: War Torn Island; East Timor: Island in Turmoil; Sudan: North Against South; South Africa: Nation in Transition; Cyprus: Divided Island; Tibet: Disputed Land; Rwanda: Country Torn Apart; Quebec: Province Divided; Northern Ireland: Troubled Land; Bosnia: Fractured Region;  Kurdistan: Region Under Siege; Haiti: Land of Inequality.


We will be sticking with Apologia again this year and going with the next one in their scope and sequence – Physical Science.  From the looks of it, this one is not quite as jam packed with info as General Science (the overall book is a little shorter), and Link likes the picture on the cover.  So far Apologia has worked well in their upper level science (don’t ask me about their elementary! not our style at all!) and, unless something changes, we’ll probably be following it through the high school years with a few supplements and add-ons.

I may add in a little online learning to supplement Physical Science this year, as well.  I need to look and see.



For his main Logic text, Link will be doing The Discovery of Deduction.  I have to be honest and say that we’ve jumped around a fair bit on ‘logic curriculum’ because I just have yet to find anything that we’ve just really enjoyed.

However, I can not recommend the Critical Thinking in United States History Series ENOUGH.  We love these.  Well, I love these and Link even has to admit that they’re very informative and help you look at things from different angles.  We do them together, which helps (there can sometimes be a lot of reading involved – not that Link minds reading – but some of the sources cited are very old, so the language is older, and it’s more interesting and fun to look through these things and talk through them together anyway).  We did Book One and part of Book Two this past year.



He’ll be continuing with Lial’s Pre-Algebra, hopefully finishing it up around January.  Looking forward, Link is a little behind where we want to be just because of some curriculum switching/catching up/etc in the past.  However, I’m confident he’ll still be where he needs to be when we get there.  I haven’t decided for sure yet what he’ll be doing for Algebra second semester.


Link will continue with Irasshai Japanese this year – we didn’t do it for as long as we were intending to last year, so he’s only on about Lesson 15.  I went through already and made tons of notes and copies and plans for this so that we could really work on getting it in there lol.

For Bible, Link has been doing The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study for years – he wanted a bit of a break this year, and to be able to do something a little more low key, a little more ‘Bible-study’-ish, and I don’t blame him.  He picked out a couple of Bible studies from Queen Homeschool‘s booth at our local homeschool convention in June – An Excellent Spirit, which focuses on Daniel; and Fishers of Men (called a tool for ‘soulwinning’, but he liked the look of it and we figured it would be a good basic study either way).


Other electives, which will be done at co-op:

Life Science class
Current Events/Creative Writing

Our co-op is super low-key, only meeting 12 times through the year, so I don’t really take these classes into consideration as being any part of our curriculum – they’re just a fun aside.  We really enjoy it, though.


So that’s that!  Next year will begin a whole new set of fun, with high school – but right now we’re already noticing the difference and trying to start getting ready as much as we can.

But not til August.  😉  Happy Summer!!


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