Thursday, December 13, 2018

Grade Levels & OPGTR

These are approximations of when you have finished each grade level phonics at what lesson in "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading".  I found these online several years ago and don't remember exactly where but sharing them on here as a reference:

  • Around Lesson 60, you have taught all of the requirements of Kindergarten
  • Start 1st grade lesson material around Lesson 61
  • Start 2nd grade lesson material around Lesson 120
  • End of the book ends with 4th grade level words

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Guide to Readers & OPGTR

Here is a PDF download on my Scribd page of the guide of when your child can read what readers while using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, enjoy!

*The Sizzy Books or Fun Phonics, are free online, see my post on that here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

When to Start Penmanship, Spelling & Grammar

Typically, you would start reading lessons first with The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  However, with my son, he was already writing letters and numbers before I could even teach him penmanship, much less reading!  Having a gifted son has taught me a lot - the rules don't always apply to him!

I did lay off teaching spelling and grammar until his reading is at a certain level, but he's already started asking how to spell certain words, as he likes to write everything now.  I will see how long I can hold him off from these next steps but here is the general "normal" starting times for these subjects along with the OPGTR.

  • By Lesson 115 of the OPGTR, you can start penmanship and spelling
  • After Lesson 181, the child is ready for copywork (and lesson 42 in FLL1)
  • You can start First Language Lessons 1 after Lesson 140 of the OPGTR, but make sure you don't start lesson 42 in FLL1 until you've reached Lesson 181 in OPGTR.

These are the guidelines that were listed in an FAQ that is on longer available online but I will be putting the PDF in a post coming soon or you can email me if you would like it now.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Free Sizzy Fun Phonics Readers!

There used to be a list of what phonics readers go along with each section in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  However, I couldn't find it online but you can download my PDF of it here.  On the list, they had Sizzy Fun Phonics readers and when I first went through the OPGTR with my daughter in 2009, we couldn't find those at our library, so we used the Modern Curriculum Press readers.  Now, with my son, we can't find the MCP readers, so I went looking for the others and that is when I found that you can download ALL of the Sizzy Fun Phonics readers for free!

You can download each book here or click this link to download ALL of the books in a zip file, enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

High School Biology - The Cell

My daughter loved this video about the cell, it really lays it out in an easy format and well worth watching a few times!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

I already posted our 9th grade plan here, but I didn't detail what we were using for each subject. Here are the choices in curriculum that we are using for each:

Core Subjects

English I - Grammar for the Well Trained Mind; Vocabulary from Classical Roots; Writing With Skill; Book list

Algebra I - Saxon Algebra I; Saxon Teacher CDs; Art Reed DVDs

Latin I - Latina Christiana I & II with DVD Teacher

Biology I - Biology; Supercharged Science, Biology 101 DVDs, Encyclopedias, books, videos, kits, etc.

American History - Notgrass American History; Encyclopedias and other books; Videos

Traditional Logic I - Memoria Press' Traditional Logic with DVD Teacher


Intro to Aviation - Flight school online & Flight hours

Information Technology - Digital Savvy (CompuScholar)

Sewing - 12-week class w/ Master Seamstress

Computer Keyboarding - Typing Instructor

Bible - MP Christian Studies III

PE/Health - Online websites about health like, exercise videos/treadmill

Total Credits - 10.5

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Standardized Test Results

We haven't done a standardized yearly test since 4th grade.  When I tested my daughter then she was several grades ahead and I just never saw the use of testing every year and it wasn't required.  I decided to go ahead and test and see how she was doing. Well, she did awesome and I don't know why I ever worried it would turn out any other way - God + Education + Love = Success!

Math was her best subject and always has been so I knew she would do well, however, I didn't know she would do THAT well LOL!  She scored 99th percentile in math and college level!  That is the highest possible score.  Saxon math is proving to be what I knew it was, an excellent math program.  I did the teaching for Saxon math 1-4 and then let the Saxon Teacher CD do the teaching for grades 5 on.  We added in Art Reed's DVDs this past year and will continue with both of these through high school.

English has always been her worst subject and I was just hoping she would actually pass.  Again, I was surprised to see she scored well above average and 11th-12th grade level!  To think she scored that well and we didn't even do past the 5th grade R&S English book.  I credit it to Susan Wise Bauer's excellent elementary programs - First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease - and her recommendations for reading.  My daughter scored at college level in reading and we followed almost all of the book lists in The Well Trained Mind.  It works!!

God makes the difference!  He WILL bless your homeschool!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Latina Christiana I & II in 9th Grade - High School

We did Prima Latina in 4th grade, I believe it was, and moved on to the first book of Latina Christiana but never made it through, it seemed to be the easiest subject to drop.  I had read that others do LC I & II in 9th grade and then move on to Henle Latin, which was our original plan of progression.  Memoria Press came out with First Form Latin and did away with LC II but I had already purchased LC II and wanted to use it.  I also didn't like that FFL would have 4 books before being able to move on to Henle 1st year.

I'm so thankful to have come across this schedule for finishing LC I in 10 weeks but I don't remember where I got it from, so I can't credit the mom who shared it.

Week 1: Lessons 1-3, First Conjugation
Week 2: Lessons 4 and 15, irregular verbs Sum and Possum
(I know these lessons are far apart in the book, but Sum and Possum are closely related and
the lessons go well together)
Week 3: Lessons 5-7, First Declension
Week 4: Lessons 8-10, Second Declension
--Insert a review week anywhere that it's necessary. Once you learn vocabulary, it should be
reviewed at *least* weekly and any problem words should be practiced daily. Once you've
covered a grammar concept, incorporate it into *daily* recitation.--
Week 5: Lessons 11 and 12, Second Declension Neuter
(a light week, good for reviewing)
Week 6: Lessons 13 and 14, Adjectives
Week 7: Lessons 16 and 17, Second Conjugation
Week 8: Lessons 18-20, Future Tense
Week 9: Lessons 21-23, Imperfect Tense
Week 10: Lessons 24 and 25, Personal Pronouns

I think the key would be doing Latin *daily* (at least five days a week, and preferably at least a
quick grammar recitation on a sixth day). LC is very gentle, and I don't think this is an
unreasonable schedule for a ninth grader. Flash cards will be a big help. We add new
flashcards and cycle out old ones as they become automatic. Each week or so, pull out the "old"
cards and go through the stack for review -- if any are missed, put them back in the daily
rotation. Post a list of grammar concepts and keywords so that daily recitation consists only of
glancing at the list and calling off the words.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Kindergarten Science - Human Body

I had bought this match-it card learning set a few years ago in preparation for when my son was ready.  I had forgot about it until he pulled it off the shelf the other day.  We separated the word cards from the picture cards and then I read each word card as he found the body part.  There were some he didn't know, like elbow, chin and heel, so it became a great beginning learning lesson the human body!  He asked some questions about the bones, specifically the ankle bones, so I got out our skeleton model and he was excited about all there is to learn! 

Homeschool Room

I updated, cleaned and organized a few things in our homeschool room.  We are ready for another year - Kindergarten and High School 😲

I organized all of our science books by category to make it easier to find a certain topic when I need it:

Monday, April 23, 2018

High School Electives

My daughter and I had a guidance counselor meeting for over an hour discussing what her interests are, plans for the future and things she would like to do and/or study.  I was shocked to learn about some of the things she wants to learn about, I had no idea!  We are both excited about the next 4 years of high school!  It looks to be an exciting time for her.

Here is the electives list, which may change as we have a meeting before each year.

Intro to Aviation
Space Technology & Engineering
Computer Courses (pretty much ALL - programming, science, IT, game/web design, etc.)
Drones & Commercial License
Outdoor Education (hiking, etc.)
Teen Entrepreneurship
Graphic Design
Business Advertising
Home Economics
Personal Finance
Driver's Ed (required course)

I had no idea she had an interest in weather!  I think that is great and will go along with getting her pilot's license. I was also surprised at the sewing choice.  She took an interest in Sociology but she wasn't sure, so we left it out.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

9th Grade High School Courses

9th Grade will be the fullest year with the most credits compared to the rest of high school.  She was just so interested in doing so many things!

Core Subjects
English I
Algebra I
Latin I
Biology I
American History I

Bible I
Information Technology
Intro to Aviation & Aeronautics
Computer Keyboarding
Physical Education

Total Credits - 10

Extracurricular Activities
Flight Lessons/Hours
Aviation Clubs
Church Youth Group
Church Devotional Reading (Public Speaking)

*Sewing, Computer Keyboarding, PE and Health are 1/2 credit each.  Every other subject is 1 full credit.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Flight Training Complete - Ready for the Skies!

Our 14yr old daughter completed her indoor flight simulation training and is ready to fly from our small airport to the next major city!  The flight instructor told us that the simulation training is actually harder than flying a real plane.  He was very impressed with how she comprehended and retained the training.  He said everything he threw at her, she picked up quickly!  He also said she flies very good.  This means a lot to me as a homeschooling mother, because it just shows that our education method worked!  He is one of many that have noticed how well educated, confident and social our daughter is.  Thanks be unto God!

This coming week she flies the plane by herself, with the flight instructor at the side if needed, but YES, she does it all herself!  Takeoff, flying, landing - the whole shebang!  We are beyond proud and ecstatic for her and that she has found her element.  I pray that God uses it for His glory and to fulfill His destiny for her.  Fly baby girl, fly!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pathway to Become an Astronaut

My daughter has wanted to be an astronaut since 1st grade and she has never lost her interest in all things space throughout the years.  Upon questioning her about what pathway to focus on through high school, it is still a lifelong dream to be the first person/astronaut on Mars to survive and come back!  She also wants to be the first astronaut in a skirt.  She also likes the idea of being a Software Engineer or programming drones or robots.  All of these really do fit together when you think about it and there are so many roads with these interests that lead to being an astronaut.

We do believe as part of our religious beliefs that women are to marry, be homemakers and bear children.  Our daughter has also said this is her main goal in life above all but wants to learn about being an astronaut, go to space camp and be a solo software engineer on her own (without college).

We have talked about the benefits for the gospel in having a pilot's license and how it could be used if she was to marry a missionary.  I blogged about the Aviation/Aeronautics course she is going to take to fulfill that there in this post:

Why be a pilot?  Well, it is something most likely required to be an Astronaut and it pays to have that background early on.  Here are the current requirements to be an Astronaut from NASA:

So, What Does It Take to Be an Astronaut?

Astronaut requirements have changed with NASA's goals and missions. A pilot's license and engineering experience is still one route a person could take to becoming an astronaut, but it’s no longer the only one. Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, U.S. citizens must meet the following qualifications:
  1. A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics.
  2. At least three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  3. The ability to pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical. Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 for each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.

Astronaut candidates must also have skills in leadership, teamwork and communications.

NASA's Astronaut Selection Board reviews the applications (a record-breaking 18,300 in 2016) and assesses each candidate's qualifications. The board then invites about 120 of the most highly qualified candidates to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for interviews. Of those interviewed, about half are invited back for a second round. Once the final astronauts are selected, they must complete a two-year training period.

With NASA's plans for the future of exploration, new astronauts will fly farther into space than ever before on lunar missions and may be the first to fly on to Mars.

High School Aviation/Aeronautics Ground School & Flying

Our daughter has decided she wants to take an Aviation/Aeronautics course, also known as Private Pilot Ground School and begin flying lessons.  In our state (probably same for others I assume), you can fly solo at age 16, and get a pilot's license at 17.  We live close to a flying school and small airport that offers this.  She will also be adding in drone lessons and get a license to operate commercial drones but first, she wants to complete the Aviation course and get some flying in.

You can find many Aviation courses online at various prices but there is also one free from NASA here:

We are paying for her course with the school because it guarantees you will pass the FAA knowledge test that is required to have before getting your license.  What she will learn in the course is:  Aerodynamics, how airplane systems work, weather to know, FAA regulations, principles of navigation, aeromedical factors, stall/spin awareness, and incident/accident reporting requirements.

My husband and I are excited she chose this because we are both veterans of the US Air Force and it only seems natural that one of our kids would have pursued aviation.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

High School Math Credits with Saxon

I'm so thankful for Art Reed and his book, Using John Saxon's Math Books.  I've owned this book and read it for the middle school years but hadn't read it for high school.  I'm glad I did because I learned that the Advanced Mathematics book, counts as 2 high school credits and will take about 2 years to complete.  I've redone our math plan for high school since learning this and cut out Calculus for 12th grade, although she may be able to start it if she finishes Advanced Mathematics early.

9th Grade - Algebra I
10th Grade - Algebra II
11th Grade - Geometry w/Advanced Algebra (1st 90 lessons of Advanced Mathematics)
12th Grade - Trigonometry & Pre-Calculus (2nd half of lessons of Advanced Mathematics)

This gives us 4 high school credits and should prepare her well for the SAT in her Senior year.  I'm hoping as she works year-round, she can finish Advanced Mathematics by the middle of 11th grade to take the PSAT.

We will continue using the Saxon Teacher CDs with each book and also adding in Art Reed's DVDs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Help for Holding Pencil Correctly - Claw Pencil Grip

My husband and I both tried for several months off and on to get my 5yr old son to hold the pencil correctly, it was a battle!  One we never won without what I'm about to tell you about.  I found out about the "Claw" pencil grips on an occupational therapy website and then was able to purchase a 6-pack for about $5 on Amazon.  Not only do they work wonderfully for Z but they are also building up the correct muscles in his hands for holding a pencil, whereas before, with his backwards fist grip, he wasn't.  He has been using them for several months now and I'm released of my constant struggle to get him to hold his pencil correctly. 

2nd Image Credit - Amazon

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grammar for the Well Trained Mind

We are DONE with Rod and Staff English, neither one of us could take it anymore and I was so glad to see that Susan Wise Bauer had come out with a new complete grammar program!  We have been doing the first book and it is great and we really enjoy the layout and ease it will be to go through 4 years of this.  Combined with writing, this grammar program counts as a full English or Language Arts credit for high school.

Rush Revere American History Books

I hadn't heard about Rush Limbaugh's books on American history for children until about 2 weeks ago.  There are five books so far and they have challenges, activities, games and more on the website.

The main website is: 

They also have a website for homeschoolers!  It has study guides and activity pages for each book that you can download for free:

We are due to the get the first book and audiobook and excited to see what everyone is talking about as many children rave about these books.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

High School Math & English Plans

*I've revised our math plan here:

It seems very surreal that I'm writing about high school.  It seems like just the other day I was writing about what we were using for 1st grade!  I decided to go ahead and show you the progression in the subjects we have already planned the progression for, math and English:

9th - Saxon Algebra 1
10th - Saxon Algebra 2
11th - Saxon Advanced Mathematics
12th - Saxon Calculus with Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry

English (Grammar + Writing)
9th - Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind 2 & Writing With Skill 2
10th - GWTM 3 & WWS 3
11th - GWTM 4 & Institute for Excellence in Writing, basic course
12th - IEW Advanced Communication Series

*We may change the last 2 years of English writing and not do IEW but rather use Thomas Kane's
The New Oxford Guide to Writing

8th Grade Curriculum

I'm a little late in this post and that is because this has been a very different sort of year in our life and homeschooling.  We made a lot of changes with curriculum and are very happy with the new changes and we are actively setting the stage for - *gasp* - HIGH SCHOOL!  😲  I can't believe it is already upon us but it isn't as scary as I once thought.  With the Lord's help, we got this!

Bible - Memoria Press Christian Studies III

Math - Saxon Algebra 1/2 with Saxon Teacher CDs

Grammar/English - Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind 1

Writing - Writing With Skill Level 1

Vocabulary - Vocabulary from Classical Roots A & B

History - Overview of World History

Reading - Our Book List

Science - Botany in 8 lessons combined with Biology to make a High School biology credit

Logic & Latin - on hold till February

We put the brakes on logic and Latin but are picking those back up in February.  K also paused the Bible studies with Memoria Press Christian Studies and did her own for a year.  We are now back to doing Christian Studies III with the New Testament.  She does her own personal devotion time and then a Bible study with dad every night before bed.

We got rid of Rod and Staff English because we had had ENOUGH!  I couldn't bear it anymore and she definitely couldn't.  Then, Susan Wise Bauer put out her new grammar program: Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind.  Oh my, this is a God-send!  It is a complete grammar course in 4 books and will count, combined with our writing curriculum, as a full English credit for all 4 years of high school!  We are loving it and extremely pleased to have made the switch.

For writing, we went to Writing With Skill and we are going to follow the progression of doing books 1-3 through high school with the last 2 years being IEW.  Here is a handy chart for writing for the middle and high school years using WWS.  As I said above, this combined with grammar, will complete our English credits for all of high school.

With science, I decided since I'm in school for becoming an herbalist, I would have my daughter also study along with me and finish her life science high school credit.  We decided to go with Botany in 8 Lessons, that, along with me teaching herbology with hands-on "experiments" can count as a full credit but we are combining it with other biology she has done to complete the full high school biology credit.

I plan on writing a post of the subjects we already know what we are using for high school hopefully in the next post.