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!


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!!


Tales of the perpetually procrastinating homeschool mom, part 3

AKA the last one.



I know this has not necessarily been the most exciting of series of posts lol, but it was the easiest way to get all caught up on all 3 kids and all the time that has passed without having something really long or wordy.  🙂

So yeah, last up is Pink.

She finished up first grade in May, and she turned 7 a few days later.IMG_4363


But let’s back up a bit.  Here she is with her favorite of our last artist of last year (Turner), Windmill and Lock.  She says she doesn’t know why it’s her favorite – my guess is that she either likes the windmill or the fact that there is an animal in it.  😉IMG_4093

As for her favorite of the entire year, she chose Monet’s La Grenouillere.  She picked this one because she likes ‘the way the water is painted and the trees look nice – so green.’IMG_4114As of last spring, all 3 of the kids could ice skate without assistance – she was just starting to try.  Of course now, months later, without practice, who knows… IMG_4142All 3 kids played soccer in the spring; here is Pink playing goalie.IMG_4210And of course I have to include pictures from that awesome glass blowing field trip I keep talking about!IMG_4246IMG_4248IMG_4277Here she is at the D-Day Memorial.  I have no idea why she looks so dirty lol.  Is it just shadows?  I can’t tell… Oh, well!IMG_4308Speaking of dirty… !!!  Here she is after our field day in May.  I actually should have done a blog post just about field day, because it ROCKED.  IMG_4579Over the summer our local art center does a free art program for kids to drop in and create things going along with a theme.  This year I took Pink – we hadn’t gone for a couple years, and the boys have outgrown it with the exception of (of course!) tie-dye.  Here she has her ‘galaxy in a bottle’ from the first week.IMG_4857Independence day – firework time!IMG_5034A couple of older cousins were surprised that she wasn’t afraid to have a sparkler, and that she’d run with the boys (Link, Astro, and a cousin Astro’s age) as much as she did.  Others speculated that it was because she’s the youngest with two brothers, which may contribute to it, but it’s also her personality.  She loves this stuff!  (and she gets it honest 😉 )IMG_5060All right, moving on, here she is on the first day of school!  Our first day was August 1 – we always start the first Monday of August.  I know that for a lot of people that’s early, but the way we run our schedule it is perfect!  It also gives us plenty of time for time off during the nice times of the school year (autumn and spring), and still has us done with school in May.  🙂IMG_5246

I had mentioned in the previous posts how the boys begin their day – Pink also begins with some copy work off the board, which I get from Queen Homeschool’s Learning to Spell through Copywork right now – we’ll probably move into Spelling Wisdom towards the end of the year.IMG_5385

Okay.  Pink’s curriculum for 2nd grade:

Phonics/Reading: finishing up the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading; Explode the Code books 3, 4, and 5; Beyond the Code books 1 and 2
Grammar: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2
Math: Math-U-See Beta
Handwriting we are doing without a book again this year, I’m going through reviewing all the manuscript letters with her right now and we’ll be starting on cursive soon.  For practice she does Draw Write Now about 1x/week, plus any other writing that comes into play through other subjects.
History: Story of the World Vol. 2   (here she is doing something out of the Activity Guide … yes, she’s wearing her swimsuit.  😀 lolol)IMG_5290
Science: TWTM 2nd grade science, using the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science, the Usborne First Encyclopedia of Space, DK/Smithsonian’s Geography: a Visual Encyclopedia, Seymour Simon’s Our Solar System, Insiders Extreme Weather, and Scholastic’s Rocks and Mineral as our core books.


Pink doesn’t have a reading list in the same sense as the boys do yet – we have several supplemental books on her shelf that we read as we get to that section in history.  Some are at a level that she can read herself; others are read-alouds.  Here are some of them:IMG_5383

Right now, she and I are reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a read-aloud at night before bed.  We started at the beginning of the school year with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and moved on to Prince Caspian this past week.  We’re not reading in the order of the numbers on the spines, but in the ‘real’ order. 😉


Pink is also playing soccer again this fall and participating in co-op.  Hers is the only age group with a music class (which I have to admit, I’m now kind of sad that I’m not helping with! 😀 ), and she’ll also have art, geography, and P.E.  Over the summer she took more swimming lessons and we’ve been trying to keep up with practicing on a regular basis, which is making her more comfortable in the water and with her abilities.  *I* think she can swim better than *she* thinks she can.  Which is fine – time in the water with me gives her lots of time to boost her confidence!


That sums up the beginning of our year!!  Today marks the end of week 5 of our school year already – hard to believe!  🙂  And it’s September… boo  :/ !  No, not really… I don’t mind autumn, I really enjoy much about this part of the year.  But winter and I don’t get on well.  At all!  So I can’t help but think that sure, fall is here and all these people are excited, but that just means that I see winter looming on the horizon!!  🙂


Happy school year!

Tales of the perpetually procrastinating homeschool mom, part 2

I was really hoping for more alliteration in that title… perpetually procrastinating had such a good ring to it.  But then I had nothing to keep it going.


Oh well.


Anyway, a few days ago I covered what Link has been doing this past few months, finishing up 6th grade, having a summer, and starting 7th.


So today it’s Astro’s turn.  🙂


All right, starting with the end of last year – Astro finished up 4th grade.  Here he is with his favorite of the Turner artist portfolio (from SCM), The burning of the houses of Lords and Commons – which he also chose as his favorite of the entire year.  His reasoning: ‘Because it looks cool because of the fire. *insert raging fire sound effects here*’IMG_4113

Here he is when we went for the archery morning.  He is also right handed, and shoots right handed lol… IMG_4189And creating his blown glass ornament (seriously.  Such a cool field trip.)IMG_4218

The kids didn’t do this part, of course – But this is what the ornaments looked like after being blown, before cooling for ~48 hours (after which we could pick them up).  IMG_4228

And the finished product:IMG_4280

We attended the homeschool day at the National D-Day Memorial in… uh… what month was that again?  April?  lol… Here he is holding a huge bullet.IMG_4295

Here it’s his turn to look at Jupiter through the enormous telescope at the observatory.  And can we all take a moment to appreciate the astronomy guy’s shirt?  😀 lololIMG_4619

And here we have an Astro in his natural habitat.  Why stand when you can sit and why sit when you can lie down?  #truephlegmatic waiting for it to be his turn to tie-dye at the art center this summer (the only time he went was to tie-dye lol).IMG_5124

First day of 5th grade!  That means we have TWO in the LOGIC STAGE this year!  Woohoo!IMG_5245

Okay!  His day looks similar to Link’s, at least for the most part.  He also starts the day with spelling words for the week.IMG_5369

And then gets started with his work for the day.

Astro’s curriculum for 5th grade:

Science: Galore Park Science Year 5
IMG_5288Math: MUS Epsilon
Grammar: Language Lessons for the Secondary Child, Vol. 2 and an Outlining workbook
Bible: An Honorable Boy (1st semester)
Latin: Latina Christiana II
Writing: Writing & Rhetoric Book 3: Narrative II and Book 4: Chreia & Proverb
Logic: Mind Benders
Music: A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
History: TWTM 5th grade history, using the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia

And again I feel like I’m forgetting something… Oh, well.

IMG_5372Astro’s Reading List (this is not in order, and he may not – probably won’t – finish all the books on the list.  I’ll be pulling them one at a time when they fit his studies, for him to read either fully or in sections) :

The Cat of Bubastes (Henty) currently reading
In Search of a Homeland (Lively)
The Silver Branch (Sutcliff)
Aesop’s Fables
The Bronze Bow (Speare)
Outcast (Sutcliff)
The Golden Goblet (McGraw)
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Sumerian Slave!
You Wouldn’t Want to be in Alexander the Great’s Army!
The Earliest Americans
The Encyclopedia of Preserved People (Prior)
Pyramid (Macaulay)
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pyramid Builder!
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt (Payne)
City (Macaulay)
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Roman Gladiator!
Caesar’s Gallic War
You Wouldn’t Want to work on the Great Wall of China!
Tales from Japan
Tales of the Greek Heroes (Green)
Tales from Africa
Tales from China
Tales from India
…and there are more that I may have him use as supplemental readings for history.


So that pretty much covers it!

Sports-wise, Astro’s doing soccer again this fall, and we’re keeping up with swimming regularly (hopefully we’ll continue to do so!) after they had lessons again this summer.  🙂  He’ll also be in co-op, obviously – his classes are art, P.E., Current Events, and Simple Machines.  He’ll be in there with several friends, which I’m sure he’ll enjoy.  Not sure how much the teacher will enjoy them all together ;), but yeah… 😀 lol


Happy Monday!  I’ll be back in a couple more days to finish this thing out! 🙂


Third Quarter – CHECK!!!



We have never, ever, EVER been this AWESOME at getting a great routine and sticking to it!!




Which is all good, of course.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can’t guarantee that our way of doing things would work for anyone else… hey, I don’t even know if it’ll work this great for us next year!

But, it’s what I’m going to stick to when planning, at least for now.  Because….




We are scheduled to finish up school the beginning of May.

May, guys.

The beginning.


*happy dance*

So what is this schedule?  I’ve probably mentioned it before, but in case I haven’t or anyone needs a refresher, I don’t schedule dates for school.  I have a starting date (the first Monday in August), and then I plan to take a week off every six weeks.

Then, when that week arrives, we take off five days if we haven’t taken off at all in the six weeks for any reason.

If we have taken off for whatever reason – field trips, sickness, just not feeling like it, whatever – then we make those days up in that week and take off whatever is left.

The fall schedule for us looked (pretty much) like this:

August 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28, 31-Sept 4, Sept 7-10 – School days
September 11 – Field trip
September 14 – Makeup day
September 15-18 – Off days
Sept 21-25, 28-Oct 2 – School days
Oct 5 – Field trip
Oct 6-9, 12-16 – School days
Oct 19-22 – Off days (family in town)
Oct 23 – Field trip
Oct 26-28 – Off days (family in town)
Oct 29-30, Nov 2-6, 9-13, 16-20 – School days
Nov 23 – Field trip
Nov 24-25 – School days
Nov 26 – Off day
Nov 27, 30-Dec 4, Dec 7-11, 14-18, 21-22 – School days

We had completely finished up a semester before Christmas.  Second semester has been similar.

So.  What have we been up to?


She’s finished up through Chapter 33 of SOTW 1.   Here she’s doing some sand art from the Activity Guide:IMG_3509

This week we were on Ancient China, so I pulled out the ‘Ancient China Treasure Chest‘.  It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to use it, and it was fun!  She tried some Chinese calligraphy:IMG_3909IMG_3911

tried our hand at Chinese chess…

and put some stickers on the map of famous places and artifacts:IMG_3906 We finished up our Artist Portfolio about Velazquez.  She chose Portrait of Philip IV as her favorite ‘because of the horse, because I like horses.’  😀IMG_3514She’s through Lesson 78 in First Language Lessons for The Well-Trained Mind.  Here she’s doing a picture and narration about a story we read.

Yes, she’s wearing her pajamas in a lot of these pictures.  She’s determined that she ‘gets dressed after lunch,’ for some reason, unless we have somewhere to go.  😛  Oh, well.  Not a hill to die on, kwim?  😉


As I already mentioned, each kid picked a favorite of the artwork in the Velazquez portfolio – Astro picked The Surrender of Breda – ‘because they have weapons and an axe’.  Is anyone surprised?
No.  No one here, anyway.  😀IMG_3515


As for this one, he picked Juan de Pareja because it ‘looks really realistic’.  He had also just finished reading a book of the same name, so..
(Oh, and I don’t know why Astro and Link both look so weird lol… facial expressions and 10-12 year olds and pictures… what can you do?)IMG_3513Here he’s doing his history.  Nothing special going on here, I think I was snapping a picture of Pink doing something and decided to get one of him working.  IMG_3781


Science is getting its own heading because, for this year anyway, the two boys do science together.  So I didn’t want to put it just under one name or the other.

We are through 4 out of 5 books in the Prentice Hall Science Explorer Earth Science series.  All we have left is Astronomy, which is what Link has been waiting for!

One day (while snow was still melting!  The yard was a SWAMP) while studying wind, we went out to try to determine the best place in our yard for a windmill (if we wanted one).  We went to all sides of the house, as well as each corner, and measured the wind in a very sophisticated way lol…

IMG_3639IMG_3636(for some strange reason, I have lost the pictures on the corner of the house with the best wind… the string was blowing out at least at a 45* angle.  Oh, well.)

We also, on another day, decided to do something completely unrelated and make this ‘lava lamp’ with salt, oil, and water (at this point, the boys had added pepper because they were curious about whether it would act the same).  It was pretty fun to do and watch!


Just this past week, each of us had a city (we didn’t know what city it was in advance) and plotted on a graph the average precipitation, high, and low temperatures for a year.  The boys had City A and City B and I did City C on the board.IMG_3885IMG_3886IMG_3887In the end, we used the data to determine which of the three cities was ours.  The choices were Reno, NV, San Francisco, CA, and Colorado Springs, CO.
We determined that Link had Colorado SpringsIMG_3889and that Astro had San Francisco.  IMG_3888

Other fun stuff:

As usual, we took a couple field trips and, as warmer days sneak their way in here and there, we went out for some fresh air.

We went ice skating the end of January.  None of the kids had ever been before (well… Link went at around age 5-6, but wouldn’t get on the ice lol), and they did surprisingly well! By the end, Link was getting pretty confident.IMG_3658Pink was even amazingly fearless!  After going around the ice once with me, Link took her around a couple times off and on, but she would also go by herself.  She even tried it without the walker-thingy once or twice.  (Sorry for the blurry photos!  I took them through the ‘glass’ at the side of the rink, so the quality is just not good!)

I couldn’t get any pictures of Astro on the ice – I took one or two, but he hugged REEEALLLLY close to that side wall, so there wasn’t much to see, and with the aforementioned blurriness, there was no need.
All three kids DID seem to really enjoy it though, despite a couple times when they insisted the opposite while we were there – Astro came off the ice more than once and was like, ‘I am NOT going back out there!’ …but then I’d turn around and he’d be gone back out again.  😉  When I asked about it later, he was like, ‘Well, there was nothing else to do.’  😀  And now all 3 are looking forward to going again!

The beginning of February, we went to a performance at the Children’s Theater of I Have a Dream, which was quite good.  It was our first show there, and it was a fun little theater with about 5 cast members for this show.  It was neat to experience a show on a smaller scale (the kids have seen a few different large-scale productions, so something smaller was a nice change of pace to see what else is out there).  I would go to the Theater again.

After the theater, we went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the Rodin exhibit.  They were thrilled to see The Thinker lol.  We also walked through some of the other permanent exhibits again – we go every once in awhile, and revisited the ancient and Asian sections again, as well as a few others that correspond with things we’ve been learning about.


We also attended a homeschool day at Agecroft Hall.  I actually had no idea what Agecroft was (lol), so when the homeschool day popped up I was like, ‘oh, why not just go and find out what it is…’
We ended up liking it!  The view was excellent.IMG_3814And we would like to go back in the spring to see the gardens.  We think they’ll be lovely!IMG_3816IMG_3822IMG_3813

Lastly, just a couple shots from our nicer days!  The top two were taken on a walk when it was still a bit muddy – okay, it was more than a bit muddy!  It was much wetter than I expected – oops!  But the day was beautiful.  The bottom shot is of Astro and Kida on a walk just last week.


So, that’s been our third semester!   I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m SO GLAD it’s March!!!  Spring is coming SOOOOONNN!!!!!!  😀

Mid Summer Check-in

4 weeks til school starts!!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m always looking forward.  Summer is such a fun, relaxing time – and honestly, this planning that I do for next year doesn’t take much time or energy.  Sometimes I hear people talk about planning like it is this much-dreaded, long, insurmountable task… and it’s really not.  Maybe they dread it (maybe you dread it? 😉 ) but really, in that case, I think it’s more in their (your?) head than reality.  No offense.

Since it’s that time of year, here’s about where I am with everything:

The shelves are almost full!  I have one final order to make and then it’ll all be bought.  🙂  After everything comes in, I’ll post a more detailed list of our reading lists for this year. 


One thing we have is a plethora of BOOKS!  As much as I enjoyed the book Simplicity Parenting, the one idea I just can’t get behind is getting rid of a bunch of books for no good reason!!

(That said, I will get rid of those that are school-specific once Pink grows out of them, and possibly some others.  But I can’t say I’ll rid our shelves of children’s books for good… ever!)

Here I’ve moved some around – these are all free reading books for the boys.


Surprise, surprise…. the most used book of all!  It’s not unusual to see this open next to me somewhere all year long! 😉


Lists, lists and more lists!  As you can see here, I’ve got everything done so far – some are printed, and there are seven more saved on Google Docs, as well as book lists and readings and materials lists.  Oh, and 21 science tests! 😉


Check out my latest acquisition!!  A friend was getting rid of this HUGE chalkboard for free and I just happened to be the lucky person who saw it on FB first!  YAY!

It currently has the boys’ summer reading lists on the right side.  Astro’s is on top, Link’s is on the bottom – as you can see, Link is much farther along in his reading list than Astro is!! They’re supposed to be finished by August 1, so A has a bit of catching up to do!
(on a side note, I was pretty impressed when both of them chose a lot of books that they didn’t get to this past school year to read this summer!)


And lastly, going along with everything else I work on this time of year, is the calendar for next school year!!  This is one of my favorite parts.  We already were pretty set on what field trips we wanted to take.  This year we’re also doing extra activities.  So we’re working on getting everything scheduled now.  So much fun!


So that’s what I’m seeing a lot of this last week or two when I work on planning.  But don’t let that deceive you – planning only takes, on average, a few hours per week.  That’s really not very much.  🙂  I’ll post tomorrow (today?) about what summer looks like for the most part for us!

Happy Summer!


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