Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From the Dean of Cambridgeshire Academy....

I woke up to this on the homeschool board this morning from hubby and cried!  It was such an encouragement to me:

To the beautiful ladies of Cambridgeshire Academy,
    I am very proud of your efforts you have both displayed in this school.  Remember; this school was founded with the fullest intentions of providing an education based on the fundamental principles that our God has taught us in His word.   Take to heart the great blessing it is that we can educate our children in our home – with no watering-down of the Gospel.  We experience no assault on the foundation of Christ in this home.  Should it come to that – that foundation will not yield – nor will we.
    I cherish you both.  When I hear the laughter in this room during school time, or the simple instructions being read, or the irreplaceable bond between mother and daughter that touches my soul – I know in my heart that my home is not just my castle – but it is the focal point in which I learn what is truly important in being your provider, your father, your man.  Thank you for teaching me, without opening a book.
With Love,

What Detention Looks Like at Our Homeschool

K has seemed to have forgotten to NOT hide in stores and gave us a scare the other night, so for her detention, she had to write 3 times why we don't hide in stores:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wooden Sphinx

K and hubby worked hard on the Sphinx for 2 nights and here it is!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 2 - Skeletal System & Muscular System

Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia - pgs. 20-31

RSO Labs
Units 3 & 4 - My Skeleton Holds Me Up and Muscles Aren't Pushy

*NOTE - I haven't screened all of the videos yet, so I may delete some choices later if they have questionable content

  • Skeletal System
  • Muscular System
  • Bill Nye Bones and Muscles (Parts 1, 2, 3)
  • "Human Body for Children: All About Cells and Body Systems" by Schlessinger Science Library
  • "Human Body for Children: All About Bones and Muscles" by Schlessinger Science Library
  • "The Skeletal and Muscular Systems" by Body System Series
  • "Human Machine" by DK Eyewitness
  • Schoolhouse Rock - Bones


"My Bodyworks" - Bones, Bones, Bones & It's Your Muscles

"Young Genius: Bones" by Kate Lennard
"Under Your Skin: Your Amazing Body" by Mick Manning - pgs. 10-11
"The Skeletal System" by Scholastic
"You can't see your bones with binoculars : a guide to your 206 bones" by Harriet Ziefert
"The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body" by Joanna Cole

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 1 Human Body RSO Labs

You can read our full Week 1 plan here.  Here are photos from the RSO Labs:

Plot Study

Cells - Studying a cell we can see, a chicken egg

Animal vs. Plant Cells

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Free Book: All About Homophones

I've got a great deal for you all!  Until November 1st, you can get "All About Homophones" e-book for free!  It is normally about $28 but will be free if you buy something else.  Here is how it works:

Here's how to claim your free book with any purchase:
  1. Add any product(s) to your cart.
  2. Do not add the All About Homophones e-book to your cart quite yet.
  3. In the upper left corner of the cart, you'll see a box that says "Special Code." Type in these three letters, all in capital letters: AAH. Then click the "Apply" button.
  4. The free All About Homophones ebook will appear just above where you enter your shipping information. Click the orange "Add to Cart" button.
Head on over to All About Spelling's homepage and buy something to get your free e-book.

We use All About Spelling and love it and they now also have readers as well!  If you go through my referral links, I will be compensated for referring you and giving you access to this great deal. ;-)

    K's Drawings

    K made some drawings all on her own and I haven't taught drawing yet, so I was amazed at what her creativity thinks up!  The last one she said was a picture of her - too cute!

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Homeschool Room Redo

    We are changing up the homeschool room this month. You can click here to see what it looked like when we first started last year. We started tonight with adding another bookshelf, seeing how we needed more shelves to keep our projects and crafts coming up. I ended up putting the easel in front of the window since we aren't using the air conditioner anymore.

    We are getting 2 armchairs for the ends of the table and then one more simple black chair and we will finally have our dining table chairs lol. I've gone so long with the just 3 chairs but when we have friends over they don't have a seat and we will clean up the chairs on the patio and bring them in. I will take more pics as we finish the room. We are also changing the curtains to bright orange - the color of the paper tray on the shelf. I will do more pics when we finish the room.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    LadyBug Life Cycles - Larva:Pupa:Adult Video

    We did several video clips while our ladybugs grew up the past few weeks! They went from larva to pupa and then to adult ladybugs and they are orange. K loved it so much and she is sad to let them go outside this week. I was going to keep them over the winter but then I read that a female ladybug lays 50 eggs in one day and 1,000 in its lifetime and well.....I don't want a ladybug farm folks lol! =0 So we are letting them free when we get a warm day since they can't fly when it is below 55 degrees.

    Sorry for the bad videoing on my part - I moved the camera a a lot and my camera is 7 years old.

    Here are some pictures:

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Lady Bugs

    We bought the Lady Bug Land and then sent off for our lady bug larvae and they arrived in about 3 days in a tube.  They were so tiny!  In just a little over a week, they have grown so big.  They are still in the larvae stage and we are awaiting the pupa stage and then the final lady bug emerges and we set them free. 

    Here is a short video of them in the larvae stage and we hope to add more as they grow the next few weeks.

    Here are the life stages of a lady bug, as you can see ours are still in the larvae stage:

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Lift the Lid on Mummies Fun!

    K has been wanting the "Lift the Lid on Mummies" kit for a while and we finally got it and she loved putting it together. She had to place the 4 organs into the proper canopic jars and then wrap the mummy and place the amulets. It really helped her understand more about the mummification process and she brings it out to play with every now and then. It came with a book as well on mummies and a cat mummy that was a pain to put together! I had to use hot glue in the end to make it stick lol.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Week 1 - Living/Non-Living & Cells

    Our first week of our Human Body study is covering what is living and non-living and cells.  Here is my outline that I created for us to follow - I hope to do these each week if time permits! 

    Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia - pgs. 10-13

    RSO (Real Science Odyssey) Labs
    Units 1 & 2 - Signs of Life; Plot Study; Egg is a Cell; Plant and Animal Cells Differ


    "What's Alive?" by Kathleen Zoehfeld
    "Enjoy Your Cells" by Fran Balkwill & Mic Rolph
    "The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body" - pgs. 4-7

    1st Grade Science - Human Body

    Here is a full 6-week curriculum for the Human Body that I created.  You can click on each for that week's full outline.  Enjoy! ;-)
    1. Living/Non-Living & Cells
    2. Skeletal System & Muscular System
    3. Nervous System, Brain & Senses
    4. Circulatory System & Respiratory System
    5. Digestive System & Urinary System
    6. Skin & Hair & Nails

      Thursday, September 30, 2010

      2 Free Life Science Curriculums

      1.  If you want a plan that is all laid out for you day by day for learning about the Human Body (Anatomy), you will love this!  I'm using some of the book suggestions to tailor our 10 weeks of Human Body study:

      Little Otters Science - preschool through 1st grade
      Otters Elementary Science - 2nd through 6th grade

      2.  Next, this one is a complete Elementary Life Science curriculum.  This covers general life science - humans, animals and plants.  I haven't had time to review it and I'm not sure if it covers creation or evolution - from browsing through it, it seems as though it leaves both out, so check it out yourself before using.

      Teacher's Full Text
      Student Pages

      They also offer links for each chapter here:

      He even has a blog full of fun stuff:

      Tuesday, September 28, 2010

      Science 1st Grade Schedule

      For those not familiar to the Well Trained Mind way of doing science, I thought I would do a post to show you what the schedule looks like for 1st Grade.

      Animals - 20 weeks
      Human Body - 10 weeks
      Plants - 6 weeks

      The spines are simply encyclopedias for animals and human body and then a hands-on gardening book for the study of plants in the spring.  You should be doing narrations with your science learning as you do in history.  For each study, you simply pick a topic and learn about it and then do a narration page, read some library books on the topic and even do a craft, project or experiment if you want.  The goal is exposure to material not mastery or even covering every single topic in the above categories.

      My daughter's interest in learning about the human body is peeked at the moment, so we are going to begin with that instead of animals.

      Human Body - Anatomy Links

      I will be updating this as we go and find more links - feel free to tell us about any that you know of, thanks! ;-)

      Compilation of Lessons, Printables, etc.






      Monday, September 27, 2010

      1st Grade Science - Changing Curriculum

      Last year, we did 4 chapters of Apologia's Astronomy and loved it.  I still love it because its all Biblically sound but its very tiring for me to try and explain it while we read in terms that K can't understand.  The book is written on a 1st-6th grade level, but I'm worn out trying to summarize each section in terms K can grasp. So we are saving the Apologia sciences for 3rd grade or above.

      I decided to go back to the WTM's recommendations for science.  We are going to do Animals, Human Anatomy and Plants for 1st grade.  The spines are "DK's First Animal Encyclopedia", "Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia" and "Green Thumbs".

      I'm also adding in Pandia Press' "R.E.A.L Science Odyssey; Life" because K LOVES the labs that we have done in the Earth/Space sample.  However, we are only doing the first few lessons/labs to try it out and then decide if we want to pay the $39 for the rest.  We will be buying some live bugs, experiments and doing more hands-on learning instead of intense reading for science at this age.

      Today, while out shopping we purchased a human skeleton model, human body floor puzzle and lady bug farm.  We are sending for our live lady bugs tonight! K couldn't wait to put the floor puzzle together so she did it tonight.

      I'm also adding in free worksheets, games, interactive activities online and library books to supplement the topics each week.

      Saturday, September 25, 2010

      Home Economics - Week 2

      In week 2 today for home economics, we learned about peeling.  What peeling is, what instrument peels and why we peel.

      Then the lesson was for K to make a carrot tray but we had no big carrots, so instead, we used a potato for the lesson.  She washed/scrubbed the potato first.

      Then started peeling and she was so happy when her potato was all done!

      She said it was so fun, she wanted to peel another one lol.  Next week is learning to use the toaster.

      Ancient China - Pictograms

      We finished up chapter 10 in SOTW1 on Ancient China and the project we chose to do was making a pictogram.  K wanted to do the house pictogram in SOTW and then she made up one and had me guess - a girl pictogram:

      Wednesday, September 22, 2010

      SOTW 1 Ancient World Google Map

      Found this handy tool that someone created of the Ancient world locations in Story of the World 1:

      View Story of the World in a larger map

      Monday, September 20, 2010

      Saxon Math 1 - Store

      We are on lesson 73 in Saxon Math 1 and today we started our store. We grouped everything into categories: meat, cold, freezer, drinks, baby food, cereal, condiments, canned goods, pasta, snacks and fruits & vegetables. K had fun sorting what food goes into which category.

      Then we pulled out a shelf from storage that I was going to throw away (luckily I had saved it!) and we are using it for our store shelves.  Next, K had to come up with a name and it took us a while, but she said her favorite animals were the elephant and penguin.  So we brainstormed and came up with the name "Waddle Store" because penguins waddle and she said everyone that comes in Waddle Store will have to waddle lol.  Too funny - we had a blast!  Tomorrow we do price tags and start purchasing items from the store.

      2-Hour Quiet Time

      We started implementing "quiet time" in June and are now resuming it with the start of homeschool this year.  Quiet time for us is simply 2 hours where my daughter stays in her room doing whatever she chooses but no computer or leapster gaming is allowed.  She usually plays, does crafts, or puzzles sometimes while listening to audiobooks.  We do the quiet time after homeschool ends.  I usually bring her a snack and she has a water tower in her room so she doesn't have to keep asking for water lol.

      This works really well for us and in the future when I have more children, it will serve as their naptime.  I like to do internet things, read, and all the other many things I have to do after homeschool.  It really helps me to have those 2 hours of no interruptions.  I started this after watching the 2 videos below of what quiet time is like in Susan Wise Bauer's house with her 3 children at home.

      Monday, September 13, 2010

      1st Grade Memorization - 12 Sons of Jacob

      K's first memorization assignment due in 2 weeks is to memorize the 12 sons of Jacob:


      First Day of Homeschool - Review

      We started homeschool today and are on break right now and I just had to tell you all how amazed I am right now.  We are doing review the first few days and we did our Bible review for about 20 minutes.  I sat and listened as K told me, in detail, all the stories of the Bible all the way up until Moses.  My eyes welled up with tears as I realized that truly, God has blessed her learning!

      Her account of Abraham and the "almost" sacrifice of Isaac blew me away.  She ended her story with "God was just testing his faith."  I almost fell on the ground lol - here is a 6 year old understanding the moral of the story and some adults can't even grasp that simple lesson!

      I wanted to say all this to encourage others - you may think your children aren't listening and you may think it isn't sticking up there in the brain but just is!  One day you will be in the car on the way to the store, and all of the sudden your child will begin to tell you about something you taught and then you realize that they were really paying attention - but sometimes it takes a bit longer for it to make itself evident.

      Put God FIRST in your homeschool and keep thanking Him for all your and your child's accomplishments and you will keep the blessings flowing and your cup will surely run over!!

      Homeschool Prayer

      We start our homeschool day with a prayer and inviting God into our classroom.  I have yet to not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when we pray.  His blessing is upon His people that choose to count him RELEVANT and IMPORTANT to education for their children.  Our prayer usually goes something like this:


      We thank you for the opportunity to be able to homeschool K.  We invite you today to come into this room and be a part of our learning.  We count you the most important to K's learning.  I ask you Lord, to fill this place right now with your presence and touch K's mind to learn and absorb.  Help me Lord, to teach her to were she can understand.  Bless our homeschool today and we thank you God.


      Tuesday, September 7, 2010

      Back 2 Homeschool Celebration Day Video

      We celebrated Back 2 Homeschool by taking a family trip to Ocean Shores.  It was wonderful to have a day set aside to rejoice in the freedom we have in this country to homeschool our children!  We did a lot throughout the day - ocean fun, flying the kite, family fun center (bumper boats, mini golf & arcade), shopping and eating some fresh fish that was oh soo good! ;-)

       *Video no longer available.

      Thursday, September 2, 2010

      Goals for 1st Grade

      Here are my goals for 1st Grade for K.  This helps me realize what the overall goals are and aim to meet them by the end of the school year.

      Overall Main Goal 
      K to be reading very well.  She is almost on a 4th grade reading level but still struggles with speed.  We hope to finish the phonics and increase her speed but not to the point she loses comprehension.

      Other Goals
      Bible - Know Old Testament main characters and stories; Understands character qualities and displays them
      Reading - main goal above; narrations revealing great listening and comprehension skills with challenging books
      Math - Scope and Sequence for Saxon Math 1 accomplished
      Grammar - Understands sentence and parts
      Writing - Writing neatly with correct strokes
      Spelling - Able to spell correctly the words with concepts she has learned
      History - Understands general overview of Ancient History/Geography/Cultures
      Science - Understands general overview of Animals, Human Body and Plants
      Music - accomplished beginner piano; able to read notes/music as a beginner; general overview of composers and classical music and orchestra

      Cambridgeshire Academy School Year Calendar Schedule

      *This schedule has changed as we are schooling year-round now.

      Here is our school year calendar schedule of dates below for our 32-week school year. 

      School starts
      September 13th

      School Closed
      November 22 -26 (Thanksgiving)
      December (we took the whole month off for vacation trip)
      February 7-11 (3-month freezer cooking week)
      April 4-8 (Spring Break)

      Last Day of School
      June 3

      1st Grade Completion Planning

      *Updated Planning for 1st Grade here:

      This is my first planning draft and it will be adjusted as the school year carries on to accomadate sick days, days off, etc.  As Susan Bauer says, a schedule is a servant not a master!


      We have 97 lessons left in the OPGTR.  We can easily do 2-3 lessons a day, so I'm planning for 9 lessons a week and we may even do some on other days to just get it over with.  I plan on definitely having OPGTR finished by Christmas break but would rather have it finished earlier than that.  It is a 2-year program but we will have finished it in one year, since we didn't start it till late October last year. 

      If we take it really slow and easy doing one lesson a day, we will finish up Saxon 1 by the end of February because we only have 58 lessons left.  Then we plan on starting Saxon 2 on February 28th.  Some days we may do 2 lessons because K loves math so much.  I am giving her homework this year - the back of her math worksheet, of which she didn't do last year.

      I think we are going to finish up FLL1 and then do R&S English 2 instead of combining them.  We have 55 lessons of FLL1 to do and should finish it by the end of the year or at least by the end of January if we take our time.  Then we will start R&S English 2 in February. 

      We will pick back up where we left off at week 8 and will finish WWE1 by the end of April.  I'm not too concerned that we would finish it so early though because R&S English 2 offers so much writing, so K will not be without practice till the following fall when she starts WWE2.

      We plan on finishing AAS1 by Christmas break since we only have 13 steps left.  We will then continue on with AAS2 when we resume from our break in January.  We plan on going back to Spelling Workout after we finish up OPGTR.

      20 weeks studying Animals; 10 weeks studying the Human Body and 6 weeks studying Plants

      see history schedule here


      Music - Composers Study
      We have 12 lessons in the composer book and will finish it most likely by Christmas break and then I will choose another music-related curriculum.

      We have 30 lessons in Artistic Pursuits and plan to finish by the end of the school year doing one lesson a week. 

      Home Economics
      30 lessons here as well and doing one lesson a week and finishing by the end of the school year.

      Wednesday, September 1, 2010

      2nd Homeschool Shelf

      Here is our other small homeschool shelf:

      We say the pledge of allegiance each morning after our opening prayer.  K has already memorized the pledge but I still leave it up in case she needs it.  The top of the shelf is our globe, cd/tape player, pencil sharpener and Rory the Lion - who plays many patriotic songs such as America the Beautiful.  K insists that Rory stay there lol.

      The first shelf right now just has our bucket of audios - Story of the World, Considering God's Creation songs, Grammar and Reading cds, etc.  The second shelf is a storage tray with notebook paper and the bottom is lapbooks and file folder games we have made and some we are working on.  Then there are K's stickers for her AAS chart and books chart.  Then I have some dollar store trays that contain things we use a lot - tape, tacks, clips, etc.  The rest of our crafty stuff is in the craft closet.  The bottom shelf has file folders, cardstock paper, magazines for cutouts and some other miscellaneous stuff.

      I've decided that instead of having the craft closet in the spare bedroom, I want to purchase some bookshelves with doors and bring the craft supplies out into the homeschool room instead of having to go back and forth.  I may venture to do that this month and will blog about it if I do!!

      Sunday, August 29, 2010

      Homeschool Shelf

      I re-did our homeschool shelf and got our filing system a bit more easier to manage. 

      Here are some of the shelves up close:

      Starting from the very top, we have our Saxon Math manipulatives kit that lasts from K-3 and then our 3-hole puncher.  First shelf is some readers, AAS cards, OPGTR cards, K's piggy bank (we use the money in math) and pencils (of which I've since moved to a shelf K could actually reach lol)Second shelf is our "flimsy" books - workbooks and such and our organizer that I got at IKEA and absolutely love!  The trays slide out and in and even remove easily making it something I highly recommend for homeschoolers!  I don't file K's work every day, usually weekly or biweekly - so these trays work great for holding them till then.

      Third shelf is our books, seeing how its the most sturdy of all the shelves, save the bottom shelf........we chose it to hold the heavy books.  Fourth shelf holds some dollar store containers I purchased a few months ago.  We have one for art supplies that go with Artistic Pursuits, one for Saxon math meeting supplies and others for miscellaneous items.  I went ahead and printed out several meeting strips and have them ready for our math meetings.

      The last shelf holds the Saxon Math boxes and extra binders.  There is also some future curriculum items there and not pictured homeschool catalogs. 

      I will do another post or video on our filing system hopefully.  We have another small bookshelf that holds audios, audiobooks, lapbook materials and supplies needed often.  Then we have a closet in the spare bedroom that is full of crafts stuff - I hope to go through it this week and organize it a bit more.  Then......we have 3 5-shelf bookshelf units in the living room full of books.  We have a whole shelf reserved for library books but sometimes we check out so many (I've checked out 100 at once) that we need another shelf.  We are some serious book folks around here lol. ;-)

      Story of the World 1 - History Schedule

      Here is my plan for history.  We stopped in K at chapter 10, so we have chapters 10-42 to finish - that is 33 chapters.  I combined some very short chapters with others, as you can see below, and that gave us a plan of 27 lessons or 27 weeks.  If however, we want to spend another week on a certain chapter, we will - this isn't a "I have to do this or else" kind of plan lol - just a model to guide us!

      Chapters I'm combining
      12, 13
      14, 15
      23, 24
      32, 33
      36, 37, 38

      We plan on doing one chapter a week and here is our step-by-step guide on what we do with each chapter:
      1. Read chapter
      2. Narrations - if you don't know what this is, read this post
      3. Question & Answer
      4. Worksheets - maps, color pages, etc
      5. Test - just to see what she retained
      6. Projects/crafts
      7. Library books or encylopedia

      1st Grade Daily Schedule

      *Updated 1st Grade Daily Schedule here:

      We are doing homeschool Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Friday is our craft, projects, experiments, etc. day.  I'm scheduling for 3 hours of school time M-W but it may be shorter or longer depending on what we want to add that day.  We can always revert back to doing 1 1/2-2 hours 4-5 days a week if we want later on.  In my planning, I like having 1st hour, 2nd hour and 3rd hour.  That way we can have breaks after 1 hour or eat lunch after 2nd hour and so forth.

      Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday

      1st Hour
      Bible - 10-15m
      Reading - 20-30m
      Math - 20-30m

      2nd Hour
      Grammar - 15-20m
      Writing - 10m
      Spelling - 10-15m
      Memorization - 5-10m

      3rd Hour
      History or Science - full hour

      Projects, crafts, lapbooks, experiments
      Art, Music and/or Homemaking

      Evening Work
      30m evening reading Mon-Fri

      Nate (husband)
      Reads classics to K
      Family prayer & Bible teaching
      Teaching K piano

      K's 1st Grade Curriculum 2010-2011

      Our curriculum is pretty much the same as K because you may remember that I decided early on to stop in my tracks and hold off on pushing her ahead in grades

      Bible - Golden Children's Bible
      Reading - Finish OPGTR; books; click here for detailed post
      Writing - Writing with Ease 1
      Grammar - First Language Lessons 1 & Rod and Staff English 2
      Spelling - All About Spelling Level 1 & Spelling Workout A
      Math - Saxon Math 1
      History - Story of the World 1
      Science - Apologia Astronomy & Zoology 1 Click here for our new science

      Piano - John Thompson's beginner
      Composers/Classical Music
      Artistic Pursuits 1
      Pearables Home Economics 1

      We have already finished several lessons in most of the books, so we will be doing a review the first week or two to catch ourselves back up.  For math she finishes Saxon 1, we will go straight into Saxon 2.  With reading, we finish the OPGTR, we will replace that time with the 20-30m morning reading of 'challenging' books.   With grammar, we are finishing up FLL1 and then going to do R&S English 2. We are also merging the spelling programs to work together.  I didn't list memorization because its under my post on reading but there will be a set time to practice memory work each homeschool day. 

      For science, you can read what we are doing here.

      History is one we barely begun (only in chapter 10) because we really did a lot of extra activities, library books and so forth and had such fun with it in K!  So we are picking back up with Ancient China.

      The electives are really extras and something she will do in the evenings and/or weekends.  My husband is going to teach her piano with a self-taught program and we will see how that goes.  She is always doing art activities but I do want to try and get a formal art lesson in twice a month and then a homemaking lesson in once a week.

      I also my add in some geography and you can read a post on what I'm using here. The history already adds in geography and social studies because we find the places on the map and learn about the people.  However, I do want K to learn the oceans, countries, etc. so I will be using those materials in the post I linked to for some extra geography.

      Thursday, August 12, 2010

      C-Span Free American Presidents Timeline Poster

      This thing is so big, I had to go in the hall to get it all in the photo! Our table seats up to 8, in case you think this is small from the angle of the photo.

      K loves it and it will be very useful when we study American History in 3rd grade.  For now, its going in storage since we will still be studying Ancients this year.

      To get yours for free if you homeschool or are a teacher go here:

      Sunday, August 8, 2010

      All About Spelling Video

      Go through my referral link if you decide to buy All About Spelling and I will be compensated for referring you!  We use it and LOVE it!

      Friday, August 6, 2010

      IndoctriNation Video

      Seen this on several blogs today, very moving and I'm anxious to see the film.  Here is a summary of what IndoctriNation is about:

      “IndoctriNation” is a new documentary film that explores one of the most controversial issues in the Church today.  Told as a road movie, the film follows Scottish filmmaker Colin Gunn and his homeschooling family in a big yellow school bus across America on a quest to uncover the origins of our modern government education system.

      What he discovers is a master-plan designed to replace God’s recipe for education with a man-centered program that has fragmented the family, destroyed the social systems of our nation, and undermined the influence of the Church.

      This film is a challenge and an encouragement to millions of Christians who need to know what history, experience, and the Word of God have to say about one of the pivotal issues of our time: the discipleship and training of the next generation!

      More Videos:

      I honestly believe that one day, homeschooling will be the norm for Christians.  We may endure ridicule now and all the stinging comments from others but just stay strong and train your children up the in the way they should go because they are something we can take to Heaven with us!  They are also important enough to devote our time to training! ;-)

      Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

      2010-2011 Homeschool Weekly Schedule

      *Updated Weekly Schedule here:

      We are excited about new changes to our homeschool this year and one being our weekly schedule.  Last year we did 4 days with 1 day off for errands, etc.  However, I find that we can easily do just 3 and leave the projects for the 4th day and then have another day for errands and such.  Here it is:

      Monday - Homeschool
      Tuesday - Homeschool
      Wednesday - Homeschool
      Thursday - Errands, Library
      Friday - Projects/Crafts Day; Art; Music

      I talked it over with my daughter and she is ecstatic about the new schedule for 1st Grade! ;-)  She loves projects for history and science but really loves having a day set aside just for crafty stuff!  Also, this year she is trying to decide between Violin or Piano lessons - I'm trying to get her to go with the piano because its cheaper but I want her to choose so we will see if she can pick just one.

      I will post our full schedule, curriculum and all that when time permits.

      Tuesday, July 13, 2010

      H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Program Prizes

      We sent in the completed summer reading form to H-E-Buddy and I wasn't sure what we would receive but K was so happy to see what she got in the mail from them and it was fast too!  She got a t-shirt, certificate, bookmark, sticker and pencil!  You can read more on H-E-Buddy's summer reading program here and other summer reading here.

      Monday, July 12, 2010

      Bird Watching on Blackbird Island

      For our summer vacation we went to Leavenworth, WA.  It is a beautiful, small Bavarian/German town nestled in the mountains.  There are a lot of trails and we walked about 8 miles!  We did some bird watching on Blackbird Island and also found a nest along the trail with eggs in it!  Here are some pics:

      Thursday, July 1, 2010

      God - Is He Irrelevant to Your Child's Education?

      Beck asks how did all this happen?  I can answer that - it is when they took God OUT of the schools and began to count him IRRELEVANT to education.  He just doesn't matter between the hours of 7-2 to some parents does he?  I mean taking God out of education was not ENOUGH for some, why would taking the pledge away or the flag bother them either? 

      If you don't have much time to watch the whole video, make sure to check out at around 12 minutes to see how SAT scores went down after they took God out of schools and how premarital sex went UP afterwards as well.  

      Bird Watching Hour

      The first few days of putting our bird feeder out, we didn't spot any birds.  Then one day, I noticed the feed was almost empty.  So upon going out to inspect it had spilled on the ground and we suspected a fat bird maybe? Then later, we saw this squirrel eating under the tree - so ya, he had a guilty look but so cute with his fuzzy white chest - Nate had to remind me he is rodent.  I was afraid that he would scare the birds away but actually they aren't bothered by him because we began to see tiny birds on the ground eating right along with him.  Since then, its like an all out bird sanctuary in our yard!  The birds are singing so pretty and we wake up hearing them in the morning!  The squirrel comes every evening just about for his 5-10 minute feeding on sunflower seeds. 

      My desk is right at the window so I can look out at the feeder.  Today, we started our bird watching notations since there are so many different birds coming now - the first bird must have sent a tweet to the others. ;-)  So for one hour, looking with binoculars and the bird guide we have had these visitors:

      A large robin, an obese-about-to-pop sparrow, blackbird, crow (which we banged on the window to go away) and loads of baby sparrows and robins!  Then a small to medium sized bird came and at first glance I thought it was a robin but upon closer inspection with the binoculars I was perplexed - he had a black head, whitish breast, brown/tan back and then white stripes alongside his wings to the back.  I went through the bird guide and then finally found him - an Oregon Junco.  I found a pic online of one and you can see that on the right.

      We are going on a bird watching adventure soon and I will blog many pics of our trip sometime next week.  (hopefully if my camera doesn't die - its 7 years old)

      Monday, June 28, 2010

      Reaping the Benefits of Summer Reading

      K finished Borders and Barnes & Nobles' summer reading programs and we went today to get her free books.  At Borders she chose "Johnny Tremain" and then at B&N she was so happy to see an American Girl book on the list and got that one.

      Sunday, June 27, 2010

      Homeschoolers Outperform Private AND Public Schoolers

      Here is the average overall academic score comparison showing that homeschoolers outperform private and public schoolers.

      This chart shows you public school students scoring at 50 percent overall on the Stanford Achievement Tests and then look at the homeschool scores. 

      I think you can clearly see that as a mother, you can educate your child better than anyone can! ;-)

      Image credits: Apologia Online

      The Public School Trojan Horse - Online "Homeschool"

      "Exposing a Trojan Horse interviews leaders of Christian state homeschool organizations, researchers, and parents to uncover the hidden costs of parents participating in government-funded programs for home educators."

      Read more here.

      Many articles on these public "homeschool" programs:

      Saturday, June 26, 2010

      Independence Day/ 4th of July Lapbook

      I'm happy to say we finished our very first lapbook!  I also have to say that I'm absolutely hooked and addicted to lapbooking now and can't wait to start the next one.  We chose to do a lapbook for the 4th of July/Independence Day to use this week in our study of what Independence Day is all about since K will not get American history till 3rd grade.  We already went over a lot while making the lapbook but will read books and listen to audiobooks on the subject this week as we study it.

      I was going to use cardstock paper for the whole thing but realized you could get by with regular printer paper easily on most of the items.  I did use cardstock paper on the leader cards and revolution wheel.  For glue, we used glue sticks and a glue pen for the ones that had a paper fastener.

      It was so easy to do when I understood how it all worked and K loved it as well but gave up on the writing so I had to finish the rest.  I printed out some 4th of July worksheets, bookmarks, sun visor and coloring pages for K to do this week for fun as well and they fit nicely in the lapbook section for handouts!

      I was almost done and working on the pledge of allegiance and before I glued the cover to the booklet, I realized that the words "under God" were not in the provided pledge!  I was a bit upset but I just went ahead and cut it out and wrote it myself including UNDER GOD! 

      You can download the lapbook for free here

      Friday, June 25, 2010

      Summer Reading Programs

      Here are available summer reading programs:
      • Barnes & Noble - read 8 books and get a free book!  Download your passport here, fill it out and turn it in for your free book.
      • Borders - read 10 books and get a free book!  Download form here, fill it out and turn it in for your free book.
      • Books-A-Million - ages 7-12 ONLY; pick up or download your passport and Jack & Annie travel pals; read six (Magic Tree House) books between May 20 and August 1 and receive a free, exclusive Books-A-Million Magic Tree House tote bag
      • Half Price Books - read every day for 15 minutes and get a $3 gift card that week and every week up until July 31st; download reading log and reward certificate.
      • Chuck E. Cheese - download reading rewards calendar; read and mark your calendar and get 10 free tokens; you can also fill out the other reward calendars for free tokens. 
      • H-E-Buddy - download the reading log; read 10 books and mail in your log and you will receive your prize (I think its a tshirt) in 3-4 weeks.
      • Local library - Pick up a reading log and stamp card at the library; for every 20 minutes you read, update your log.  When you have read the required time (10 hours) turn it in for your free "special certificate and prize, including a free pass to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek, or a coupon for free pizza at Round Table";  Also, after 5 visits on your stamp card you get a free Kids pack from Subway and free ice skating.
      Make sure to check your local library for YOUR summer reading program.

      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      Treasures in Heaven File Folder Game

      We have started doing lapbooks recently and I also made a file folder game today and K loves it!  The reason I chose this one is because it teaches about being wise with our finances and not loving money.  It's a great way to teach children about handling money!

      You can download and print the materials for free here.

      Rod and Staff English 2

      Rod and Staff English 2 arrived today!  I was very pleased with it as I looked over how it was laid out and anxious to start it this fall.  Below, you can see the teacher's manual, student text and there is also a test booklet.  The teacher's manual has a small snapshot of the student's text and then the lesson.  The student text has a dictionary in the back for the introduction on dictionary skills that is learned in R&S English 2.

      I've updated our 12-year Grammar snapshot so you can see how we are going about combining FLL and R&S English:

      Apologia Zoology 1 Bird Seed Feeder Project

      This week we made a homemade bird feeder out of a juice container, pencils for the perches and a wire coat hanger to hang it from the tree! K loved this and we had fun.  My dad had built her a bird house and then mom painted and decorated it, so we also placed it in the tree.  Now, for the birds to find their goodies!

      Sunday, June 20, 2010

      Story of the World Volume 1 FREE Lapbook & Video

      Original blog has been removed, not sure what happened.  You can find the pdf download for this on another blog and she also has 2 more lapbooks for SOTW.

      Monday, June 7, 2010

      School Bus Indoctrination

      As if the indoctrination of children in the public school institutions wasn't enough, now they get more indoctrination on the ride to and from school:

      Thanks to Candy for the info.

      Saturday, June 5, 2010

      1st Grade Reading

      After we have finish "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading" we will use that time for the 20-30m morning reading:
      • 20-30 minutes of reading during school-time; books will be in relation to what we are studying in history, biographies, myths, fairy tales, poems and novels that are above K's reading level; narrations 2-4 times a week
      • 30 minutes of "fun" reading in the evenings - books at or below reading level
      K will be reading on her own for about an hour a day using the schedule above.  Then we will also be reading to her during parent-reading time.  My husband has decided to read the classics list to K this year and I will be reading the library books that are too hard for her to read; most will correlate with our history/biography studies.

      With K's assigned reading, she will also give me narrations of what she read in two to four sentences.  We plan on doing the narration 2-4 times a week for reading assignments, since we are already doing narrations for history and science. 

      For parent-read alouds, currently my husband is reading the complete, unabridged "Chronicles of Narnia" to K.  The whole series consists of 7 books.  Then they will move on to the next classic that we have on K's 1st Grade classics reading list.

      We will also be practicing reading for fluency once a week using "McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader".

      Audiobooks are playing everyday - when K cleans her room, when she plays and if she chooses, during her quiet time as well. 

      Memorization will consist of about 8 poems for the year and 2 history lists - pharaohs of Egypt and the first twenty emperors of Rome.

      Thursday, June 3, 2010

      Classical Education & Age

      It wasn't until I started homeschooling that I've learned how many people don't understand this - including myself at one time.  The public school system has set a certain age and a deadline of which the child must be at that age before being placed in a specific grade.  A lot of parents, especially homeschoolers, don't understand the importance of age vs. grade level but it needs to be understood fully in order to ensure your child's learning is not hindered now or in the future.  Most parents also do not realize they can HOLD their child back a year if they choose to do so - which has proved in many to be better for the child.

      I've been reading research, studies and also how curriculum is made and why it is important that age be taken into consideration with grade level.  What I have learned is this - most curriculum/textbooks are written and made for a certain age and mental level.  Although with history and science - some can be taught at different levels but not traditional textbooks.  With grammar and writing - it is crucial these subjects are taught at the child's level or ability.  Reading is reading - it only BENEFITS your child to advance in reading - there are no hindrances in a child who can read on a higher level!  Actually, the sooner you get your child reading, the better but ONLY when the child shows "readiness".

      Giving a child advanced material to which the child is NOT ready for - will only frustrate the child and actually hinder their learning.  If your child is gifted, you will know - trust me!  I've read about other moms whose child started talking before 2 and reading by 3. For the rest of us - children are either average, above average or below average.

      So what grade should your child be in or what curriculum should you use to match their mental ability?  It varies but the average ages are below:
      • Kindergarten - turn 6 within the school year and be 6 for most of the year
      • 1st Grade - turn 7 within the school year and be 7 for most of the year
      • 2nd Grade - turn 8 within the school year and be 8 for most of the year
      • 3rd Grade - turn 9 within the school year and be 9 for most of the year
      • 4th Grade - turn 10 within the school year and be 10 for most of the year
      And the list goes on.......ending with 12th grade were the child will turn 18 during the school year.  Ask yourself this question - Who is better equipped and would score better on the SAT?  A child who was pushed ahead or a child who was held back and had an extra year of learning?  I think you can easily see the answer.

      Asking a 1st grader, who is 6/7, to do the writing of a 2nd grader, who is 7/8 - is only going to frustrate the average child and hinder them.  If you were to push your child 1 or 2 grade levels ahead in writing and they are just average, what happens when they are doing 5th grade writing and are only 3rd grade age?  Will they be able to use logic and come up with proper creative writing?  Or would not they be better suited to excel at 3rd grade writing and spend more years perfecting their writing abilities?

      If only the parents would realize this - they might actually have honor roll children if they were placed in their proper grade level!  Instead, they have below average, struggling, frustrated children trying to be on the mental level to which their minds can't grasp just yet.  If the child turns 5 on Sept. 6th - you should wait till the next Sept to start Kindergarten.  Why put them at a disadvantage to the other children who will be turning 6?  Not only then but you MUST look at the future as well.  Unless they are gifted, most children hit a "wall" around 3-4th grade who were pushed ahead.  It is better to catch it now then regret it later.

      A lot of the research I've read proves that even just a few months in age makes a HUGE difference and I have witnessed that with my own daughter.  I look back on K 6 months ago and she was struggling on a 1st grade reading level and now - 6 months later she is on a 3rd grade reading level.  So yes - 6 months makes a HUGE difference in learning!

      With homeschooling, even in my local area - I hear moms bragging about how their child is this far ahead and doing this grade, etc.  It is the spirit of elitism that even Susan Wise Bauer has spoken about in her articles - of which convicted me a few months ago because I had succumbed to its allures. Here are some quotes from one of her articles:

      One thing classical homeschoolers really need to guard against is a devastating level of elitism: “We are doing the best homeschooling because our young children are doing such advanced work.” This kind of elitism is non-Christian, it is unloving, and it is unproductive. I was recently asked, “What do you think of third-graders doing Saxon 5/4?” I said, “I can’t think of a single thing you would gain by that. Some of them will be able to do it, but a lot of them aren’t developmentally ready for it. You are going to finish advanced mathematics by the end of high school if you keep them on the normal schedule. What’s the rush?” What do you gain by asking a seventh-grader to read the Iliad if that seventh-grader hasn’t developed the maturity to understand and appreciate what he’s reading? Nothing at all. You gain nothing in the way of emotional and mental development by pushing difficult tasks down to earlier grades.

      I am not talking about the lowering of academic standards. I don’t want them lowered; I am just talking about extending the time needed for children to meet those standards. Children move from grammar to logic stage thinking, and from logic to rhetoric stage thinking, at different times in different subjects. We should focus on this, rather than focusing on age or grade level. And I hope that classical schools will also begin to think seriously about what is being gained in the classroom if immature students are being asked to do work that continually frustrates them. Is our goal to educate as many students as possible, or to identify a small, advanced, elite core of classical scholars? I hope it’s the first, and not the second. I think there is a very high level of achievement that all children can reach, given the appropriate amount of time. Keep the standards high, but give each child the appropriate amount of time for those achievements.
      That is why I believe in the classical education model - it does coincide with age but in the best way - the grammar years, the logic years and then the rhetoric years.  This aligns curriculum and expectations with the mental period the child is in.  I encourage all to read about why these 3 tiers of classical education are so crucial.  Once you have placed your child in the proper age grade level - then place them in the proper trivium level:
      • Grammar Stage - grades 1-4 (age 7-10)
      • Logic Stage - grades 5-8 (age 11-14)
      • Rhetoric Stage - grades 9-12 (age 15-18)
      Then you buy curriculum that is suited for a child in that stage.  It can't just be any curriculum - some curriculum is so childish, it is not even "on-level" to begin with.  However, with true Classical Educational curriculum - you will find it is not only on-level but very rigorous and gentle at the same time for the child at his/her proper age.  Curriculum designed for the trivium - is systematic, organized and fits the child's mental abilities as well.  Basically, you could summarize the 3 stages as this as shown in the article above - "the mind must be first supplied with facts and images (grammar stage), then given the logical tools for organization of facts (logic stage), and finally equipped to express conclusions (rhetoric stage)."

      Tuesday, June 1, 2010

      Summer Geography K-1

      We are not doing any specific curriculum this summer for geography but rather a compilation of many different sources.  I had originally not planned a geography curriculum because I thought K would get enough with Story of the World and Bible maps but seeing how we are just dealing with ancient times, we needed something extra.  I want her to learn the continents, oceans, countries and major landmarks of the world.  I also wanted her to learn about volcanoes, hurricanes, mountains, etc - basic geography topics.  After much brainstorming, we have a plan!

      We are going to use "Usborne's Geography Encyclopedia; With a Complete World Atlas and Internet Links" as our geography spine.  It is 400 pages and full of a wealth of information.  I found many, many websites online that offer free printables, flash cards, worksheets, and videos that will give us any extras that I feel we may need. You can find many geography videos on youtube, howstuffworks and of course the library.  Information is so readily available to us now, it makes learning so much easier and right at our fingertips!

      We already have a great globe but I also wanted a wall map for K that would be fun for her to use.  We got this cute children's world map that is laminated, so we can use dry erase markers on it.  Then AFTER I had bought the map, I realized I had maps of each continent in my flip charts in storage - oops!  Oh well, who can have too many maps right?

      Continents and oceans will be our first goal to learn and then we will move on to countries.  There are some great games out there for geography and we plan on utilizing those in the future as well.

      *Update: Here are the other maps I already had that I had forgotten about.  One is a book with 50 detailed maps and the other contains 16 flip charts that are sure to come in handy!

      Monday, May 31, 2010

      Summer Science - Apologia Zoology 1

      We have decided that we are going to hold off on Astronomy (we are at chapter 6) and pick it back up in the fall.  We are going to use Apologia's Zoology 1 this summer.  Zoology 1 covers the flying creatures (birds and insects) so it is best to do it in the summer.

      The notebook is too advanced for K because of all the writing, so we are not ordering it but using free worksheets online.  We also purchased some binoculars for our bird watching outings.  We are setting up bird feeders on our deck soon to attract as many birds as we can.  My husband's aunt is an avid bird watcher and her whole backyard is FULL of different kinds of birds - it was so neat to see when we were in NY last year.  We will be using the "Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America" so when we take pictures of birds or see them on our nature walks or our porch - we can identify them.

      For the insect portions of Zoology 1, we will be using the "National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders Species of North America" to help us identify them.  There is a lot more we could do with insects but I want to see what the projects in the book suggest before we choose our own. 

      One of the lessons involves ordering live caterpillars and watching as they form their cocoons and turn into butterflies right before our very eyes - so cool huh?

      Here is a video using the butterfly kit we plan on purchasing:

      Just like with all the other subjects, there is a mass supply of books and videos from the library and videos online to use with each lesson. We are so excited to start Zoology 1 and spend this summer, not only learning, but having fun!!

      Image credits: Christianbook; Amazon

      Wednesday, May 26, 2010

      Free "America; The Story of Us" DVD - 12 Hours

      This is open to homeschoolers!  I already signed up for ours, you simply fill out the required parts of the form to get yours here:

      There is also a free teacher's packet here:

      You can see 2 full episodes online now here:

      Disclaimer: As I haven't watched it yet, I can't say how correct it is or how biased. If the intro by Obama is any indication - I'm kind of wary of it, but we will see how it tells our history.  The reviews indicate a big lean towards the leftist view and since it is seasoned with many Hollywood actors telling their thoughts, I would imagine it wouldn't be based on the REAL history of our country that began with God.  Although, I'm hoping there a few gems in the midst of it somewhere.  I will screen it most likely and then choose the parts I agree with for my daughter's viewing. 

      Thanks to Freely Educate for the info.

      Saturday, May 22, 2010

      Seattle Pacific Science Center

      We took a "field trip" to the Seattle Pacific Science Center and had a blast!  We went through all the exhibits, saw the planetarium show and watched "Hubble 3D" in the IMAX.  The Hubble 3D was our favorite part of the trip! It felt like the objects were right on your nose and then feeling like you are floating in space with the astronauts working on the Hubble telescope was so cool!  K expanded her learning of Astronomy on this visit and it was great to see her apply things she has learned.  Here is a short video of our trip with some pictures:

      Space Shuttle & Hubble Telescope Model Kit

      I wouldn't recommend anyone to buy this kit lol.  Most of the parts didn't fit right and it was a hassle to put together and didn't necessarily fit together but we made it work.  Then the stand couldn't hold it well so it is tilting to the side lol!  The important part is - K liked there.  Here is our completed model: