Archives For Homeschool

Photo 11

We had a fun “Box” Day!!

Well, this year I have been very quiet about my curriculum choices. Really, I have been trying to slow down and focus more on our homeschooling. Here is a list of what we are doing at this point:

2nd Grade Curriculum, Emma

  • Sonlight: Core B+C (World History from Creation to the Present)
  • Sonlight: Grade 3 Readers and Language Arts
  • English: All About Spelling, level 2, First Language Lessons
  • Bible: Sonlight curriculum and Little Keepers of the Home
  • Math: Life of Fred, Butterflies
  • Science: Real Science for Kids Pre-level 1, some Apologia
  • Additional History Resources: Mystery of History 2, Veritas Press Cards
  • Physical Education: Ballet
  • Choir

Overall, the biggest change for me this year is using Sonlight. Last year, I felt that all of Emma’s courses just did not mesh together very well and my husband and I decided to look at Sonlight again. This led to me getting the core B+C, which is a one year condensed study of World History. So far, I love the Sonlight. Having everything in one spot and for her exact age is very relaxing to me.

I also ordered the language arts package from Sonlight and I like the readers. I do not like that they cover a whole different time period than the time we are working on with everything else, though. Also, I like the way Margaret Wise introduces grammar with the First Language Lessons very much. So, for now, I am continuing to use the First Language Lessons workbook for our grammar, and using the Sonlight writing program portion of the language arts, and sticking with All About Spelling for spelling because I like that as well. So, the language arts portion is all a bit random, but seems to be working for her.

12th Grade Curriculum, Nick

  • History: US Government
  • English: Wordsmith Craftsman
  • Math: Geometry/Algebra, Life of Fred
  • Science: Apologia, Exploring Creation with Chemistry
  • Elective: College Prep Genius, Prep/Take SAT and ACT. course
  • Foreign Language: Italian
  • Computer Science
  • Physical Education

For Nick, we are kind of down to the wire! He will be taking the SAT soon and he is working on preparing for that. He is doing a lot of Math and writing practice. He is at a point where he could either go onto college or take another year to get ready and take some local classes. We are thinking his SAT scores will help us make the final decision. Should be interesting.

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!

Our Schoolroom!
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Hi all! Welcome:) This week’s theme in the Not Back to School Blog Hop is Our Schoolrooms! This is a fun one for me as I love to see others schoolrooms and get ideas to use in my home.  Join In by visiting Heart of the Matter and linking up.

I hope you enjoy this peek into my home. I am usually very private but I thought this was a fun, easy way to share, using the video. (Excuse my voice, earache, sore throat going on here!)

Anyway, if you do not homeschool, come on over to our side, we often have cookies, and coffee and I am enjoying getting to know my children so much!

Honestly, homeschooling may sound odd, or at least difficult~but it is a very nice way of life for our family. I encourage you to consider it. I like passing on my world views, my love of books, my time to my kids. They are a blessing, indeed.

Now, for full disclosure {grin} I do have children in public school as well. Honestly, I wish they were home as well. I got into this homeschooling thing way after the pioneers, and I made the choice to only homeschool some of my kids (pretty much the one the public school was failing). Once I began, I then continued with my younger child.

So, its a busy place around here, with two highschoolers in public school, one homeschooled highschooler and an elementary homeschooler.

I tell you what, the time is going by so quickly!

Not Back to school hop