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!!!  🙂




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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