Archives For curriculum


Looks like I know where I will be this Friday. Dolphin Tale 2 is coming out and there is a homeschool day…Friday September 12th! Honestly, I really enjoyed the first Dolphin Tale movie and my daughter thought it was the most fascinating story ever. The first movie led us to do a delight directed unit study on Dolphins and she is still begging me to take her to Clearwater Aquarium, which I really want to do someday.

While sequels usually don’t live up the original movie in my opinion, I am really hopeful this will be a good movie. In looking at the preview, I’d say it will be an upbeat, exciting movie, especially for kids but a pleasant view for adults as well. Take a look:

As I mentioned, when the first Dolphin Tale movie came out, my daughter was very interested in Winter and all Dolphins. We watched many videos and looked at everything the aquarium had uploaded, including watching Winter via a webcam. It was a neat learning opportunity.

This time around, there are even more learning resources. Take a look at Dolphin Tale 2 on the Homeschool Movie Club Site They have a page specifically designated for curriculum with videos and lesson plans. The videos are created by the Aquarium Director, who is also a homeschool Dad. He is very clear and understandable and I learned a bunch just previewing these videos! There are also printable, color PDF files with lessons, hands-on activities and worksheets.

Whether you are a homeschooling or public schooling parent, I really recommend checking these out. Even a busy child would love to watch the videos. You can access everything for free.

If you want to get super into it—or your child does—there is also a curriculum offered on the page by Classical Conversations. This PDF is over 60 pages long, and is a very in-depth study related to Winter, marine animals and the ocean. I have saved the file myself and plan to use much of it as it looks fantastic and well researched.

In honor of Dolphin Tale 2 and Homeschool Day WIN a fun pack for kids that includes a t-shirt and 1 pair of sunglasses!

dolphin tale tshirtdolphin tale glasses

To enter, just leave me a comment!

Group Resource Website:

Official Movie Website:


Twitter: @dolphintale

#DolphinTale2 #HomeschoolDay2014 & #WinterHasHope



“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”



Our Curriculum To Reflect Spring Semester Updates–2012

As I finished up our Fall Schedule and did grades for my two that I homeschool, I realized I have changed some things up, and added some curriculum I like. So, here is a list of what we are doing for the next few months:

11th Grade Curriculum, Nick

  • Bible: Deeper Roots, Discovering a Christlike Character
  • History: Illuminations, Mystery of History 2 (Renaissance) also some US Govt.
  • Geography: A mix of Illuminations Geography
  • English: Excellence in Literature, Intro to Literature, Institute for Excellence in Writing, Student Writing Intensive, C
  • Math: Geometry
  • Science: Apologia, Exploring Creation with Chemistry
  • Elective: College Prep Genius
  • Health Elective: Vintage Remedies
  • French, Easy French
  • Computer Science:
  • Physical Education: winter sports, skiing
  • Driving Course

1st Grade Curriculum, Emma

  • History: Illuminations, Mystery of History 2
  • Bible: Little Keepers of the Home
  • English: All About Spelling, level 1, First Language Lessons, Penmanship
  • Math: Math Mammoth 1-B, Life of Fred, Butterflies
  • Science: Real Science for Kids, Chemistry, Pre-level 1
  • Latin: Song School Latin, French
  • Physical Education: Soccer
  • Choir

I haven’t taken the time to link all these (as I am teaching, haha!) But, on my homeschool page I do have some linked if you are curious…and I have done some reviews on many of these (just use the search bar to the right). Otherwise, if you have a question about any of this curriculum, leave me a comment!

Also, please do let me know if you are using any of these as well for similar ages. That would be fun to see how things are working for you, too!

Vintage Remedies for Guys

Heather —  December 18, 2011

Oh, wow. If you have any interest in living a healthier, more natural, green lifestyle, you definitely should check out the website for Vintage Remedies. While this review pertains to a particular curriculum on the site, Vintage Remedies for Guys, I find the overall site to be an amazing wealth of information on the basics of creating a natural and healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family.

Vintage Remedies has online tutorials and lessons and all sorts of things! Right now, though, I want to share about their workbook lessons/curriculum for kids. They have four books specifically for children. You can get one for little ones, or one for Girls ages 7-13, Guys ages 7-13…and even a new one for Tweens in general.

Nick and I (and sometimes Em) are working through the book for Guys. This is a spiral bound 201 page worktext, geared for introducing wellness concepts to boys. Included you will find chapters on nutrition, wellness, hygiene, herbal medicine, immunity, conservation and green living.

The course is formatted more like a book, where your son (and you) can read about certain issues such as what is healthy food, or daily hygiene or colds. Then, the author proceeds to show you how to create something to help with the topic for yourself, be it trying out some recipes for food or homemade skin care items, even medicinal herb preparations.

As an organic mom, I love this book! Since we have gone organic I am always feeling rushed to hurry and find healthier options for my kids for foods and toiletries and cold meds…things like that. Being able to work on this with the kids (and having a leader, through the author) is making my life easier!

Rather than standing in the kitchen, saying, oooh, I read something about a way to make herbal candies that might help your sore throat, let me figure that out, go to the store, then create it…(you get the picture). Anyway, now we can do these things together, before they are needed and my kids get to feel like the heroes!

The book is divided into three main units, then chapters. The three main sections are, Nutrition and Culinary Skills, Health and Body and Natural Living. We went directly to Health and Body when we got this book, as Nick and I have already done a lot of work regarding culinary habits and I wanted to let him dive right into using healthier things for his own body care.

So far, we really like this. I love having so many good recipes for items at my fingertips and Nick is impressed that we can create so many things from Herbs and such. I hope he is doing more healthy selfcare. At least this book brought up some discussion with specific answers.

Vintage Remedies for Guys retails for $45. See the site for more information and other options for purchase.

Also, go to the site for free coloring sheets for little ones with healthy food pictures as well as the link to buy Kitchen Herbal (a nice little gift to get someone). I also received Kitchen Herbal as a gift and I love this little book. Again, it is such a nice resource tool.

See what my crewmates have to say about Vintage Remedies.


I received Vintage Remedies for Guys through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

Is this learning? Reading with Aunt Cait? Yes!

I first heard of Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) on a wonderful homeschooling site, Delightful Learning. Just by association, I trusted that this must be a thoughtful, engaging way to teach little ones. At the time, though, my youngest was a little older, and I had moved towards using a few classical curricula, and I never fully explored Before Five in a Row.

But, loved the idea of BFIAR, so I logged it in mentally and planned to share about it with my family and friends with little ones! Later, I realized that the original Five In A Row (FIAR), is beloved by homeschoolers. With the FIAR approach, students and teachers read a particular book aloud for five days in a row and complete specific activities together after each reading.

To some extent, BFAIR is what –in my estimation—the perfect mommy does as she takes time to explore with her little one, and teach in bits and pieces, through repetition and snuggly experiences!

Because we all know that learning through play and Mama’s attention are the building blocks of oh so much more.

When I heard that the TOS Crew might get a chance to review BFIAR, I asked for this one because I was excited to send it to my Mom and sister. My younger sister has a preschooler, a very busy preschooler, in fact, and while they do not homeschool, I know they spend lots of time reading to him and teaching him, and I thought it would be fun for them to have a guide of sorts to give them additional ideas for this busy little one. Frankly, my Mom thinks along similar lines as Jane Claire Lambert, the author of BFIAR.

How so? Well, my Mom was a teacher and worked with theme units way before those were popular. I remember when she worked on a unit for Antarctica and the kids made a cake of Antarctica and got to do an online exploration. Nowadays, that may be a bit more common, but boy were the kids happy back then! The kids worked hard, because the lessons were enjoyable and they really liked the teacher and wanted her to be proud of them. Without even realizing it, the kids were learning so much.

I enjoyed reading that Lambert also came from a family of teachers, and her daughter has followed in her footsteps. I would have guessed, they have the gift of inspiring students.

Reading The Little Engine that Could and taking a train ride with Nan!

BFIAR is geared towards preschoolers, ages two to four, so the activities are designed to work well with little ones, while developing tons of pre-learning skills.

The first section of the book has the recommended book readings, each with suggestions for ways to explore the book for the five days. You will find all sorts of ideas and it is easy to choose a few and really finish something, together, with your preschooler!

Lambert includes ideas for everything from Bible to Science to outdoor escapades and in 6 pages or so for each suggested picture book. She does this for 24 titles in BFIAR. This is so wonderful, especially for those who question their own creativity! (Yes, I mean me) I also like that you can choose from many ideas—BUT you still have a solid kind of unit lesson plan to go by. I like that, so I feel like I really finished something.

After these titles, Lambert adds a section on “Parents Treasury of Creative Ideas for Learning Readiness.” In this portion of the book, you’ll find activities and ideas to encourage reading readiness, large and small motor skills, activities for the kitchen and bathtime.

I really, really recommend getting this book if you have a preschooler, or even spend any time with a preschooler. You certainly do not need to be a homeschooler to enjoy using this book, although using this book might just turn you into a homeschooler! Just fantastic.

Read all about BFIAR on the BFIAR website. Go ahead and purchase the book at $35, through Rainbow Resource.

Visit Homeschool Creations for some extra fun ideas, printables, and even a link up for bloggers using BFIAR with their children!

See what my crewmates have to say about Before Five In A Row.


I received the Before Five in a Row book through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.



This week, I have a sort of “nesting” going on. I have a decent feel for what I want to do with the kids for curriculum and main schedule.

In many years, I have kind of “played it by ear” from there. I would know the gist of what we needed to complete that year for my kids to be well educated. But, I also like relaxing on the couch and reading good books, letting the learning come through slow and steady. Through experience.

I don’t like to be bogged down and frustrated by my own high expectations and by schedules and restrictions…so I just called myself laid back and tried to “go with the flow”.

Problem is, I’m not really that laid back. And, as the children get older and my energy wanes here and there –ha! yes, it does– and with five children and two of them being homeschooled, learning over fifteen different subjects, I need some order.

AS IN, I prayed and calmed myself…and it is what it is. I decided I NEED a schedule for survival this year!

I needed a clean bookshelf with a shelf JUST for the current semester’s books.

I needed a shelf for that day!

I needed a clean school closet.

I needed empty workboxes ready to be filled with the right curriculum.

I needed visual confirmation that this was coming together.

I really needed a hard copy schedule in MY hand. I figured I could handle figuring out 9 to 3:30. I still have some openings and may need to increase the time for some subjects, but for now, this helps.  A simple MSWord table document broken down by 30 minute blocks.

Tentative Schedule, Nick 2011

Tentative Schedule, Nick 2011 (click to view)

Tentative Schedule, Em 2011

Tentative Schedule, Em 2011 (click to view)

I decided I even needed to split up the kids classes into even and odd days to focus well on specific studies.

I needed to build in a “run errands” day.

I needed to end school at 3:30 so that emergencies would fit in…and my husband wouldn’t always come home to a room strewn with books and no dinner.

So, while I am doing a strange, laid back mix of curriculum that even includes Illuminations, I now have a tentative schedule.

I have cleared away non-essential schoolbooks. No matter how wonderful I think they are, if I’m not teaching it, it is out of my way.

I think one thing that stopped me from doing our schedule earlier was that I worried “Our” schedule wouldn’t look good enough to others. I was worried every other homeschool mom “had it all together” and our schedule would look silly.

That is NOT what I needed to believe. I have had tons of support from other homschoolers and I know that each of us choose the way for our families and we need to respect ourselves as well as each other.

My schedule works –ha, I think– for me. And that makes all the difference.

I feel GREAT. Ready to tackle actually teaching these things!

Oh, and I also picked these up for the hard days:



Good Luck!


Are you looking to complete your homeschool curriculum for this upcoming year?

I’m in the midst of figuring out exactly what we want to do…it is hard to not overwork my kids, there is so much great curriculum out here!

Anyway, I have more than I need and maybe something here is just what you need to round out your year. So, FOR SALE!

My paypal email is: Shipping is not included. I will ship media mail.

FOR SALE, High/Jr High

  • Exploring Creation with Physical Science. 2nd. edition. Fair condition. Does have some writing, highlighting. Beat up a bit. Will be heavy to ship, add media mail shipping. $65 new, asking $30 plus shipping

Text only.

Text only.

locPositive Action For Christ, The Life of Christ. Includes Teachers Manual hardback binder, Full Color Students Manual softcover, Transparency CD. Retails 42.95 for Teacher manual/binder, 18.95 for student book. Asking $30 for both. NOTE: the first 3 student lessons have been written in).

  • simply draw Simply Draw with Bob Parsons. In hardback binder, does not include dvd-that went missing:( Retails $37.50 on sale. Asking $15 in great shape, the careful child used this!
  • Set of Nine Stories From History Graphic Novels. Retails $6.99 each ($72) Asking $15
  • vocabaheadVocabAhead, SAT Vocabulary: Cartoons, Videos and Mp3s. Softcvr. Retail $12.95. Asking $5

For Elementary:

  • all togetherScott Foresman Social Studies, All Together, K-1 curriculum. Hardbk. new. Retails $43.47. Asking $15


  • Set of 4 Computer Video Games (work on pc/mac) for children– Elmo’s World, Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom, Dora’s Lost and Found Adventure, Go Diego Go’s Great Dinosaur Rescue and Safari Rescue. Retail from 16-20 each. Asking $10 for all 4.

I am also listing the curriculum I need for the upcoming year. If you have any of these and are willing to do a trade on something, I am interested, email me and maybe we can work something out:

High School:

  • Easy Grammar Plus. Nick’s testing results from this year in Grammar…necessitate this one!
  • Mystery of History Volume 2 (I’ll be using Illuminations, of course:) I have some $ saved from being an affiliate, but I really want to purchase Illuminations downloads for High School and Elementary and purchase MOH2.
  • An easy Spanish book/wkbook. Nick has done all sorts of “bits” of language, mainly online. We need to get serious without using too much of his energy on this

My Elementary One:

  • Math U See Alpha

Gosh, I need a lot to do what I’m thinking! Can you tell I’m a procrastinator? My husband and I were brainstorming today and finally…um…finalized what all I really want. So there it is:) Come September 1st, I WILL be ready, Haha!

Curriculum 2011-2012
Not Back to School Blog Hop

11th Grade Curriculum, Nick

1st Grade Curriculum, Emma

Additional Resources to include: The ADDitude magazine, The OldSchoolhouse Magazine & Resources, Nutrition 101, Keys for Kids, Educating the WholeHearted Child — Third Edition

*Subject to change and evolve:)

* I have included affiliate links when I could.

Wordy Querty Review

Heather —  May 20, 2011

Wordy Querty supports reading and writing fluency for young readers, through fun computer gaming. The software is a part of the Talking Fingers program.

Although Wordy Querty was new to us, I am familiar with the Talking Fingers website and program, as we have used Read, Write & Type, the first component of the program, for a bit over a year now. My daughter enjoys working with that program. You can read my Read, Write & Type review to find out more about that level of Talking Fingers.

As we like RW&T, I was pleased to try out Wordy Querty. We played the games (lessons) online and it was easy to just go online and login. The program picks up where RW&T ends and offers 20 lessons, with 6 activities per lesson. The lessons are based upon developing reading fluency in students ages 7-10, by understanding and using these core concepts:

  1. Some sounds can be represented in several different ways.
  2. Most words follow about 20 easy spelling rules.
  3. There are many word families, (words that sound the same, or rhyme). By changing the first letter(s), you can make hundreds of words.
  4. Some words are “outlaws”. They don’t follow the rules. They must be recognized quickly and automatically.
  5. Writing to dictation develops vocabulary, comprehension and fluency as well as spelling skills.
  6. Reading (and filling in missing words) develops vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency skills.

There are six types of games and then the overall “game” in which the kids eventually complete a music machine with the help of their friendly robots.

Take a look at the website to see the games and how each one improves reading fluency. My favorite was the Recycler, but Em likes the Pop-a-Word best.

The Recycler:

I thought the games were great, silly and useful and colorful….and I was disappointed that at times they were too challenging for my little one. However, she is not at the recommended age level, so I suppose that could have been expected.

I will definitely continue to let her play the games she enjoys as we finish up RW&T. I do think Wordy Querty is a great way to let kids play around with spelling and just become more familiar with how words work in a fun way. Parents may enjoy the fact that students can work on this completely independently.

If you have a beginning reader—whether a quick or slow learner—this may be a great way to improve their reading and spelling fluency through a bit of daily gaming! I think the price is very reasonable with Wordy Qwerty available as an online subscription of $25 for one subscription, or $35 for the Home CD version. There are other pricing options, see here.

Curious? You can try out an online demo. Also, you can save 20% by signing up for their email newsletter.

See what my crewmates have to say about Wordy Querty.

I received an online subscription to Wordy Querty through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.