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.



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! 🙂


What am I good at? And some jumbled ramblings.

My word for 2016 is Be.

Yes, I know you know that already.


I’ve got a few things that I’m doing this year.  52 books in 52 weeks, for example – I’m already ‘ahead of schedule’ on that one (aka I’m on my 2nd book and a full week hasn’t passed yet.  😀 ).  Focusing on a different spiritual discipline in The Celebration of Discipline (which I know, I’ve recommended on here several times) each month.  Not making an idol out of them, but just taking each month to sort of focus on one.

This is where my frustration is beginning to show.

Because I’m here, and I’m a few days into January, and my word for the year is Be and the spiritual discipline I chose for this month is meditation and I’m not being particularly meditative or still.

Yes, I made a pinterest board.  I always do!!  It’s pretty random.  I don’t know why I decided to pick colors.  I think I just like colors.  I’m the type of person who can easily relate a color to a song to a mood to a feeling to a word to… yeah.

I’m being frustrated because I’m letting things get to me that shouldn’t, and I know it.  But you know how sometimes you’re just frustrated and annoyed and angry anyway?  Even though there may be no good reason for it.

I went out on a limb and said something about SADD/depression and was offered chocolate.  I wanted to throw the chocolate at them.  Because while I’m not saying I’m depressed or have SADD, really?  These are real mental disorders, you can’t throw chocolate at them.  To do so is incredibly demeaning and insulting to all the people who really do deal with these things, day in and day out, for their lives.

People are ‘busy’ and I’m not and it makes me wonder if there are things I’m forgetting or if I just have a higher tolerance for busyness.  I am the extrovert, I am the fast paced person, I am usually the first in a group to suggest an outing or a get together.  I know that the needs and schedules of others are very different from my own.  But then sometimes no answer begins to feel like being ignored, and it begins to wear on the mind and feel like my time is not as valuable as others’.  Doing things that I think are fun become less so as I begin to wonder if people are just expecting it of me now.

So I guess I wanted to be real and I’m being real.  And not feeling very still or content or zen (don’t get religious on me – you know what I mean).

But that’s only one aspect of life.  I figure, if nothing else, I wanted to be okay with being me, including emotions, so… there’s that.  I guess?  😀  lol!!


Other things about this month, that are brighteners in my days:

I’m planning on picking up a few random ’30 day challenges’ on Pinterest – the beginning of January I decided on 30 days of lists (drawn, though my drawing skills aren’t great, and sometimes I draw them and others I just make traditional lists).

So far it’s been really fun.  There have been some things I had to put some thought into – for example, ‘Things I’m good at’.

For me, it’s always really easy to jump to the quickest conclusion here.  I know what I’m good at.  So yes, music is somewhere in the middle of the page.

But I wanted to put a little more thought into it, to dig a little deeper.  Are there other things I’m good at?  Like what?

Is it okay to say I’m good at things?

Sometimes I say that I’m good at something and it prompts a wary look.  I think the problem is honesty here – if I’m going to be honest, I can say that yes, I am good at planning things.  I’m good at budgeting for school years.  I’m good at reading music and remembering it.

But the one that shocked me as I thought of it was this one:

I’m good at teaching my kids.

It seems almost wrong to say it.  Because I say, over and over, that I’m not a teacher.  That I don’t have that something that makes me a teacher by trade, that makes me the person people turn to when they want to talk education.  Sometimes, I’ll admit, it has bummed me out a little bit that no one ever talks to me IRL about homeschooling.  Then I remind myself that I’m not the teacher.  I’m the planner.  The extracurricular activity coordinator.

But this time around, I was surprised when it occurred to me that I’m doing this teaching my kids thing well.  That’s not to say I know everything.  That’s not to say that I’m perfect or have everything figured out.

Do you know what it says?

It says that I’m actually, for the first time since the first year I homeschooled, enjoying the time we’re spending together every day.  I’m enjoying knowing my kids.  I’m enjoying that even if a concept is difficult, I’m there to help figure it out.  And again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And next week – as long as it takes.

I’m appreciating the fact that I’m here, that I made the choice to invest in their lives and spend time with them this way.

I’m appreciating the fact that I can read when things really are too much and I can adjust accordingly.

I’m appreciating that we sit and laugh over things, that we play hangman on the chalkboard at least once a week, that even though Astro hates writing we’re finding ways to do it that ‘aren’t too bad’. 😉

I’m appreciating that Pink gives me a high five when she gets all of her math problems right on the first try and that Link has finally decided to try to exercise his writing chops in ways that were, in the past, uncomfortable for him.

So it was with pleasant surprise that I wrote, that day, that I’m good at ‘teaching my kids’.


Huh.  And after typing all that out, it brings back to light the important stuff, you know?

So I’m curious – what are you good at?





Semester One – CHECK!

We are halfway through the school year.




Eighteen weeks.


Is that not crazy awesome?  🙂


An update on where we are:



Math – finished MUS Epsilon; on Lesson 10 of Zeta

Language Lessons for the Secondary Child – halfway

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study (Bible) – halfway

History (WTM 6th grade recommendations) – halfway

Heart of Virtue – almost finished

Logic – most of the way through Critical Thinking, Book 1

Next semester changes/additions:

For second semester, most everything will stay the same except he’ll be adding a Study Skills class (delayed lecture) through the Well-Trained Mind Academy and will be taking the semester off from a writing curriculum.  I want to take the semester to focus more on just writing and journaling, the process of writing, etc.  


Language Lessons for the Elementary Child, book 2 – halfway

Latin – just finished Latin Test 3 in Latina Christiana I, so halfway

Math – finished up Lesson 19

Handwriting and Typing – halfway through HW; just started the first lesson of Dance Mat Typing this week for an easy intro

Bible – just started a new book on The Armor of God

History – finished Chapter 21 of Story of the World 4

Next semester changes/additions:

Second semester, I’ve decided to start up CAP’s Narrative I with Astro.  I did Fable for a short time with Link, and while I wanted to love it, it didn’t work for us at the time.  However, the things that didn’t work then will, I think, not be an issue now.  So I decided to go for it.  I’m actually looking forward to giving it a try!!  We’ll also be reading up a little bit on the governmental structure, which he’s not gone into before.  Nothing real involved – we’ll save that for logic stage learning – but just brief overviews of the branches of government, voting, etc, etc.

Both boys:

Science – We’re in Chapter 3 of Unit 3 (Earth’s Waters) of Earth Science.  So, again, right at halfway.  Everything is lining up well!!

Below: Each of the boys had to find the best way they could to build a dam using rocks, dirt, etc, for a project at the beginning of Unit 3; more recently, not really having to do with anything we were studying, we decided to use vinegar to clean pennies.

IMG_2999 IMG_2992



Diagramming/Spelling Wisdom – these two we aren’t really doing on any schedule.  We do diagramming once a week to fill in the gaps in ELL/SLL (which doesn’t include diagramming) and we do Spelling Wisdom as either copywork or dictation once a week.  


Grammar – finished up Lesson 54 of FLL 1

Math – done with Lesson 17.  We could have moved on this last couple days but I figured we’d wait to start something new until Monday, rather than start it and then have 5 days off.  🙂  

Science – only two weeks left of the Animal Kingdom!  She’ll finish up with fish and we’ll start on the human body

History – through Chapter 24 of Story of the World 1

Here she’s doing one of the activities in the Activity Guide, ‘painting a vase’ (not the actual title of the activity, I can’t remember what it was)  And she is still wearing pajamas lol – she insists that she ‘doesn’t get dressed till after lunch’  – a self-imposed rule of hers, I guess.  😀

IMG_3179   IMG_3180


Phonics/Reading – She recently started Explode the Code Book 2.  She has an easy time with most of the stuff in there and it serves as a good review/reminder of the things that she’s already learned.  We move through the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading a little on the slower side – I want to make sure that she has fully grasped each thing before moving on.  We also spread some lessons out over 2-3 days, if there is a lot of student reading in the lesson.  At this point, her reading is pretty well on track so I’m focusing on not making OPG into something she dreads by having long lessons.  🙂  We’re working on the different vowel pairings that make the long ‘e’ sound.  Not sure the exact lesson.  

We also borrowed a basket full of books (little readers for beginners) from a friend who used to be a classroom teacher and those have been wonderful!!  She reads one new one per day and puts it in her ‘box’ of books that she can read in her free time.  Then she reads 4-5 books to herself during school time.  In the evenings, I have a separate set of books that we do a new one of each night – some of these are a little more challenging, and we may read them a few nights in a row before she adds them to her box.  Then she reads me 3 more that she’s been reading on her own and I put them up/away when she has fully mastered them to ensure that she’s still getting practice on things that are getting incrementally more advanced.  

This has made more of a difference in her reading than anything else I have ever done.  Back when Astro was learning to read, the hardest thing for him were sight words and fluency.  As a result, I wanted to be sure to have plenty of practice for Pink, so that we could hopefully avoid some of the struggles he had – though I know all kids are different, so there’s no guarantee that one or the other would have worked better for either kid, anyway!  But in any case, this has definitely not done any harm, and has made all of her reading better and better.  She picks up books on her own out of her room and reads them, too.  YAY!!!!

Second semester will be the same for her. 

Here they are today, celebrating the end of our semester with a drink from the coffee shop!  (Link has a bit of an emo look here lol)



Other fun stuff:


This kid:

… turned 10!!


We celebrated with a party at a putt-putt fun center.  Which was quite fun!


This December we tried something new: each day, we tried to do something Christmas-y, whether it was making wreaths or cards for kids in the hospital or cookies or ringing the bell in front of Wal-Mart:


That pretty much sums up our semester (or at least what we’ve done since I last posted)!!  Now we’ll enjoy a few days off for making candy and gingerbread houses, baking, and celebrating Christmas with family before we start back up again next week!!


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy halfway-through-the-year!!  Woohoo!!  🙂

Previous Older Entries

Finding Thailand

A cultural travel guide to the Kingdom of Thailand

Photography in Pearls

Photography by Gina Lambert

things understood

exploring the visual world...

this man's journey

Each journey has a story to tell. Each story has the possibility to bring about change, hope, joy, comfort, healing.


Taking Life Back to the Basics

RestFULLife Homeschool

The Art of Trusting in the Creator, not the Curriculum