Thursday, July 28, 2011

Curriculum 2011-2012

I am posting this now because I am finding that I would like to purchase more items and I have to keep reminding myself that it is DONE.  I can relax!  The crazy part is I actually like researching different school curriculum.  Don't you?

The boys want to study American History and after much thought we decided to try a new curriculum. Now don't get me wrong...we loved Story of the World and Mystery of History, both of these made history come alive! I just felt for what the boys wanted to learn we needed to switch it up.  We decided on the literature approach curriculum, Beautiful Feet

We have been doing a little bit of Geography with Beautiful Feet this summer.  When reading Mom's Mustard Seed's Blog she mentioned she was also doing the Geography this coming school year.  BUT, she had a writing resource to go with it.  I was like a kid in a candy store!  Right away I purchased the ebook and said, 'DONE'.

I also added Total Language Plus. TLP is a literature based program.  Thing 1 will start out by reading Charlotte’s Web.   While Thing 1 is doing TPL he will not be doing his other Grammar items because with TLP you are given spelling words, spelling rules, copy work, parts of speech, drills, enrichment activities, comprehension and vocabulary {hopefully I am not missing anything}.  Now, in all honesty, we did try this last year. However, this program was too hard for a child who did not have much comprehension.  After spending a year working on his comprehension, I think he can take this on and be successful at it. 

Both Boys Together
Bible~ How to Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur
History ~ Early American History (Beautiful Feet)  We will also supplement with lessons from Lesson Pathways and GuestHollow
Geography ~ (Beautiful Feet)
Writing ~ Beautiful Feet and Institute for Excellence in Writing put together a writing program to go with the Beautiful Feet Geography.
Science ~ R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey - Chemistry
                 Human Body

Art ~ Artistic Pursuits

Electives ~    Sign Language
                    English from the Roots Up
                    Music Lessons
                    Character Sketches (this is a bible/science/character study)

Thing 1 (5th grade)

Math ~ Teaching Text Books

Grammar ~ Spelling Power 
                    Total Language Plus
                    Writing with Ease
                     Language Lessons for a Well-Trained Mind 
Critical Thinking ~ Reading Detective

Thing 2 (3rd Grade)
Math ~ Teaching Text Books

Grammar ~ 
                    Language Lessons for a Well-Trained Mind 
                    Language Lessons for Little Ones {review}
                   Pictures in Cursive Primer
                    Learning to Spell Through Copywork
                    Writing with Ease

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road Trip 2011

Day 2

Well, we didn't get far.  The first day was a hard 9 hour drive so we could get half way to our destination.  Now, the motivation isn't as strong as it once was!  I really do not have to be in GA until Wednesday and it is Tuesday.  Technically, I could make it to GA no problem.  I just don't feel like driving that far today.  So, we go half way, again.

We pull into Nashville, TN.  Hey, why not go to the Grand Old Opry?  What! Sold out on a Tuesday night?   No worries...Lets go ride the Go Carts!  Thing 2 is actually tall enough this year to drive his own.  So excited.  Such a good mom, forgot the camera for this HUGE moment in his life.

Back to the hotel.  We decided to watch the finality of American Idol.  Tomorrow we will wake up early and head to GA to see my sister!

We might not be taking many pictures - but we are collecting rocks from each state.  I know, very exciting.

Stay tuned for more adventures, maybe!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Road Trip 2011

I did something I never thought I would do.  I suggested to my husband that I drive our two boys from Minnesota to Georgia for our nephew’s high school graduation.  Not sure where the idea came from but it was there and I did it!  Yahoo for me!!

The 19 hour road trip was not that bad.  Nothing like the road trips of my childhood. Both boys had saved up their allowance to purchase their own iPod Touch.  They each purchased various TV shows, movies, games and music to prepare for the trip.  My plan: when batteries needed to be re-charged or bickering started we plugged in my old simple iPod.  I had gone to the library and downloaded a few audio books I wanted to read to the kids during the school year but had not gotten too.  Time flew by.

We did have two flat travelers accompany us on our travels.  They arrived from Texas a week before we left.  In Minnesota, we were in between seasons.  No more snowmobiles, playing in the snow or ice fishing.  It wasn’t warm enough for fishing, boating or swimming.  So, we brought them with us on our seven state trip.  Here they are in the front seat ready to go!

First stop – St. Louis, MO.  Nice view driving into the city. We also had the same view from our hotel room. My sweet hubby booked the boys and I a VERY NICE room while traveling without him.  He takes such good care of us.
After arriving at our hotel we ate, walked over to the arch and then went swimming.  The next morning we ate and walked back to the arch for a ride to the top.  

 Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I am going on my third year of homeschooling.  WOW!  Has time flown by.  I still feel at times that I have no idea what I am doing but at the same time I have a level of confidence that I did not have three years ago. I, like most homeschooling parents, don't want to miss anything.  I quickly have to refocus because I know even at public or private schools something would get missed.  I know this is what God wants for our family otherwise it would not work.  It feels odd at times, homeschooling. Many of our friends and no one in either of our families have ever gone down this road.  I keep telling myself:  God put me on the path less traveled by and he put me here for a reason.  Do not fight him just keep going until he tells you to get off!  It is hard to get off when everyone keeps climbing on.  That is what happened last year.  My oldest asked to join his brother at home.  I thought maybe this year he would want to go back to public school because he would be at the Middle School, he wants to stay home.  He wants to stay on the path less traveled.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homeschool Resources

Have you ever gone to look for something and could not find it because you had too many great resources?  I have.  My 'favorites folder' is so full it is starting to stress me out!  I mean, I do not want to get rid of it because one day I might actually need it.  That is why I put it there to begin with, it was important, right?   So, to destress me a bit I decided to post some of my  free resources that I saved the past few years.  I figure as I go through this home school adventure I will keep adding to the list below.


Grammar/Language Arts
KISS Grammar - You learn to analyze sentences using classic literature.
KISS Workbook -
Intermediate Language Lessons - Google Books:  Written in 1941 for 4th through 6th graders. It has picture studies, narration, poetry, dictation, outlining, composition, memorization and grammar.
Writing Prompts
Spelling - Dolch words and worksheets
Spelling City -type in your own list for on-line games and worksheets
Handwriting practice sheets
Spelling list by grade at HomeSpellingWords
Daily Grammar for grades 4-6

American History
GuestHollow - 2nd through 6th graders.  Literature based.
Powerpoint Presentation from pppst
On-line movies at Archiving Early America

GuestHollow - Human Body 2nd to 6th grade, can be used up to 8th
Handbook of Nature Study 
Mr. Q - Elementary Life Science curriculum

Living Books
Browse books by grades at Simply Charlotte Mason
Living Math Book List
Applie's Place - Living Science book list
Penny Gardner - Living Science book list
AmblesideOnline Library
A Book in Time 
Classic Scholar- kids books
Penny Gardner
1,000 Good Books

Drawing curriculum from Five J's


Scott Foresman's Curriculum

Full Curriculum
Lesson Pathways - You can use this as a full curriculum or you can supplement it with your current studies

Tons of various Workbox downloads at The Beehive blog
Homeschool Share

Lapbooks/Unit Studies/File Folder Games
Homeschool Share
School Express - sign up for the newsletter and each week receive a FREE thematic unit every week
Bible Story Printables

Character Lessons
A variety of weekly character projects at the Doorpost blog
KIDS of Integrity  - "Suitable for ages three to ten, Kids of Integrity is designed for maximum kid appeal! Each lesson features Bible-based discussions plus crafts, games, and object lessons from science, nature and even home cooking." per the Focus on the Family site.

School House Rocks 

Homeschool Forums
Hip Homeschool Moms
Homeschool Lounge
Well Trained Mind
Simply Charlotte Mason

On-Line Magazines for Homeschool Parents
The Homeschool Handbook
Heart of the Matter

Meal Planning
Eat at Home - She gives you a weeks worth of recipes and a shopping list!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Geology ~ Resources

Books, books and more books!  Just as long as they are not dry and boring we will get along just fine.  These are the books that we have read or are reading.   I have a few more in my pile, not sure yet if they are any good or not so if they are I will update this post later in our study.  We have also watched a few DVD's but have not been impressed with any of them.  Unfortunately, most are geared to older kids not elementary school age.  I now know of a market that needs help in the homeschool world if someone out there LOVES rocks - please make something fun and entertaining for these young kids!

Life in the Great Ice Age  Product Details
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (Magic School Bus)            

Product Details  Product Details

Product Details

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Electronic Snap Circuits

 The boys love these, I mean LOVE these things.  I bought the snap circuits just because I thought they looked easy to use and fun.  It was going to be a bonus that they would obtain a hands-on learning experience in how electrical circuits run.

The kit includes snap wires and other fun stuff that you snap onto the plastic grid.   No tools needed.  It comes with 'map' type directions to follow. If you do not follow the directions correctly, it does not work.  The boys have made a light switch, door bell and the most favorite is the radio, so far.

Once they have 'mastered' this we can order an upgrade to the kit so they can move to the next level in their learning process. Create their own circuits!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Geology ~ Rock On!!!

Rocks, rocks and more rocks – UGH!  I did not have a good teacher in school with this subject.  I went from a kid who LOVED rocks to totally hating them and thinking – why do I need to know this?  I need to find my inner detective and love for rocks on this subject!

Our first examination is the earth’s crust.  Let’s get some experiments going on here.  Or just some sort of visual because this earth is huge!

For starters – let’s boil and egg.  I had the boys peel the shell off.  This is our earth’s crust.  How exciting!  Look at how thin it is from the rest of the egg.  We will come back to the egg later when we learn about the next layer.  I bet you are just on the edge of your seat about this, right?

Back to the crust {shell} is only 3 miles thick under the ocean and 45 miles thick under the mountain ranges.  Not too thick – right?

What is this crust made of?  Dirt/Soil

What is dirt /soil made of? Decaying leaves, rotting plants, grounded rock and sticks.

Next, let’s put some dirt/soil into a glass jar and cover with water.  Tightly screw on the lid and shake for a few minutes.  Leave this overnight to see what happens to your soil.  It would be neat to compare different soils from different areas but we are not going to do that.  The next morning you will find all organic matter floating at the top and the heavy mineral particles at the bottom and it may even form layers –if you’re lucky.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planting a Garden?

I would first like to point out that we try to garden. We really have no idea what we are doing.  Each year it's the same thing.  We buy some seeds, tomato and pepper plants. I call my parents and ask the same questions each year, "What way do the potatoes go into the ground again?".  We are excited, this year will be different, we will weed and care for the garden.  Yes, this year will be different.

So, here we are picking out our seeds when the love of my life suggest a science project!  Let the kids start growing the plants inside, record the growth and then we will all transplant them to the garden.  I tried to get excited, I mean he suggested a project for the kids.  I secretly wished he would do the project with the kids.  But, he is lucky enough to be out of town and the little and I mean little seeds need to be planted.  There is no way the kids can back out of this project, the seeds are to small for my hands!  

To my surprise the boys enjoyed planting the seeds.  We had a few laughs because Mom read the directions but forgot what she read!  I had to dump the cold water out and put warm water in.  I had to keep adding water because I never bothered to actually measure the water...Yep. I am so into this project! Then the lid does not seem to stay shut or latch shut.  I was told to leave it, quit messing with it, it is fine...who is the teacher here again?  Let's not forget that I cannot figure out if I need to water these things or not.  It seems to look like I don't, there is a lot of water at the bottom of the pan, moisture (green house type) and I dumped some water out.  Anyway, if it fails I am off to the store to buy some plants...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday

My little THING 1 had his birthday in March.  He specifically asked his Grandma and Grandpa for the Lego Kingdom's Jail.  He was so excited that they found it and gave it to him.  He chose to put it together a few Saturday's ago when his dad was told to stay off of his foot.  Thing 1 asked dad to sit by him while he put his creation together.  Dad sat and sat and sat...didn't need to help him one bit but Thing 1 loved that his dad was there---watching.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flat Travelers - Washington

Did you know that the state of Washington is the only state named after a President?  I bet you did, you just never thought about it!  Our flat traverler's went to visit folks in Washington.  A few of the things the travelers did while visiting in Washington were:

Lewis and Clark trail

Wild life park in Oregon

Going back to Washington

co-op carnival

The flat travelers also went to puppy training class, visited a reptile in a cage and crossed the Columbia River. Over all, our traveler had a blast on their trip. We enjoyed hearing about what they did when they were gone.

We need to sign up for the May swap over at the Facebook group:  Homeschool Swapping Adventures to continue filling our geography notebook.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday

Last year we found some fun printables for Lego’s at Lego’s Family Time fun website!  The thing I like is that they are step-by-step printable instructions! Teaching boys to follow printed directions is an art because most in the boy gender would rather use creativity to put things together {giggle}.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for using creativity but there is something to be said for following directions.

I gave Ryan the duck and Jacob the leprechaun with the pot of gold.  After much discussion the boys decided they like the store kits better than the printables.  After probing further into the reason it laid on the foundation of laziness.  They both do not like to rummage through the Lego's to find the pieces that are needed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flat Travelers - Our First Adventure!

We joined a very active facebook group called the Homeschool Swapping Adventures.  Each month our flat friends travel to a new state (or country if you choose to do so) for a new adventure.

To start this new fun adventure the boys needed to create their flat traveler.

Ryan chose to have a football player named Adrian Peterson #28 of the Vikings and Jacob decided to do a snowmobiler.  I decided to print out a picture of our dog, Kramer, so she could tag along with the flat travelers and 'watch' them for us.  We also decided to laminate the travelers so they can last for all 50 states!

We also created a journal page for the family that we visit to fill out.

Once we choose to travel overseas to other countries we will send our passport with our flat travelers.

Our first trip will be to the state of Washington.  Our travelers and our family are excited to hear about all of the fun adventures our Washington family has in store for our travelers.  We just need to brain storm what fun things to do with their traveler when they get here...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday

In our history book Story of the World we are studying the Assyrian's and their weapons of mass destruction! What did these folks in about 860 B.C. have as weapons to become a world powder?  

Lets take a look at what the Assyrian's were facing as they conquered every country in their path so they could become the largest empire.  Cities had walls around them.  Well, the walls were only about 30 feet high (some higher) and some had an open space of about 15 feet, followed by another inner wall that was 12 feet thick.  No big deal, right?

The Assyrian's used what is called a siege tower to attack the cities.   For a project, the boys built the 3-sided tower with the 'battering ram' that was used to, well, ram the wall.  Actually, the ram was shaped like an ax and was inserted between the stones of the wall.  After many stones became dislodged the wall would collapse in that section. The archers stood inside the tower shooting arrows at the cities defenders on the wall.

Do you see the little solider peeking out?

I linked up with Michele from My Blessings from Above for her Thursday Lego Creation blog hop.  Make sure you check her our if your children are interested in Lego's.