Oct 312009

Another week finished! The year is flying by. I can’t believe we’re through October already.

Our week started out as a fairly typical week. Everyone is making good progress in their individual studies.

My older son finished Life of Fred: Fractions this week and passed the Final Bridge on the first try! (For those unfamiliar with Life of Fred, there are tests, called bridges, approximately every 5 chapters throughout the book. The regular bridges have 10 questions and the student must get 9 right to continue in the book. There are 5 bridges, so if the student misses more than 1 on the first try, there are more chances. The final bridge has 15 questions and the student can’t miss more than 2.) He did miss 2. I had him rework the problems he missed and the next day he started with Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents. The problems that he missed were, not surprisingly, the pure computation ones. I’m still in a struggle with him over WRITING problems down. Sigh.

My older daughter is doing well on all of her subjects. I started All About Spelling with her because I received it to review. I’ve wanted to try it for a while. I thought it would be a good fit for her, but so far it’s way too easy. I need to pick up the pace even more until we get to some problem areas. Her violin lessons are going well. She sounds good (which is amazing too me, not to mention a relief!).

Younger son is reading better all the time. I should probably say decoding instead of reading. He’s getting much faster at sounding out words. This week we finished up on -er, -ir-, -ear, words and started on words ending with y. He does well with the games and with Explode the Code. Reading in books is still rather tedious. He is showing a lot of improvement in reading the silly sentences in Explode the Code and he does seem to have good comprehension so that is encouraging.

We started reading By The Shores of Silver Lake. (I should say restarted. We read a portion of it last year while I was reviewing Prairie Primer.) I meant to finish it a long time ago, but it never happened. Now we’re going to finish it and decide on some associated projects, because it’s the topic of November’s Book Club meeting.

We started reading about primates in Apologia Zoology 3. I really appreciate how the author spends the beginning of the lesson distinguishing between humans and animals. We’ve covered the 2 sub-orders of primates and talked about the "wet-nosed" primates and the "dry-nosed’ primates. The dry-nosed are divided into New World and Old World primates. We’ve studied the New World Primates.

On Friday, my husband had the day off and we had the perfect opportunity for a field trip! So we went to the N.C. Zoo. We’ve been there many times in the last 9 years since we moved back to N.C. The nice thing is they are always adding new exhibits and redoing old ones. It was great to get a look at the animals we’ve studied this year, (a few from last year), are currently studying, and will be studying.
Here are a few pictures from our trip. It’s hard to narrow it down!

Here’s a male baboon. We’ll be learning more about baboons next week.

We enjoyed watching the baby baboon especially. I wish my toddlers had a tail like this!

The gorilla, another primate.

Since we just studied reptiles, it was great to see this alligator up close and personal. We also saw lots of snakes and turtles, which for the sake of my blog’s speed I will refrain from showing!

My favorites are the otters.

This "geyser" is a new exhibit. I feel an earth science study coming on.

They also have a new honey bee exhibit with a large beehive and a quote from my favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh.

We also saw this Spider of Unusual Size!

Be sure to visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see more Weekly Wrap-ups!

Oct 232009

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Weekly Wrap Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. This week was not an ordinary week, but I’m beginning to realize that ordinary weeks don’t really exist. (I know it’s amazing that it has taken me this long to realize that!) Since I have failed to write a wrap-up for a little while, I’m going to have to include some stuff from the last couple of weeks because some of those events are too important to pass up.

First, on October 14, my baby turned 3! I don’t know where the time has gone.

She loves this way more than I expected.

Then, last Friday I went to a football game with some of my high school classmates. It was our 20 year reunion weekend. I should mention that I am certainly not that old. I was a child prodigy you know.  And I should also mention that I took a Facebook quiz that said I look 24. It must be true, right?

This is me with a good friend and her husband.

Over the weekend, we visited my parents. On Saturday we went to the Apple Festival in Waynesville, NC on the absolute coldest day in October. They told me they usually get hot. We didn’t have to worry about that! I got to show my kids what clogging is when we watched these cloggers perform.

This wasn’t the peppiest clogging team I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if it was their age, the cold, or the wet pavement that made them a little less than spectacular. But at least my kids now have a general idea what clogging is.

On our way home, our van’s transmission decided that it had seen better days. (I really must give the poor thing credit. It’s a 1996 Chrysler with 175,000 miles on it. Unless the transmission had been replaced before we bought it at 75,000 miles, it made it that long without failing. That’s pretty amazing. It definitely made it 100,000 miles.) We had to pull over on the side of the interstate. We very thankfully were able to get the van started back and limp the remaining 30 miles or so home.

The kids spent most of Monday afternoon finishing their preparations for book club on Tuesday. Even though I was without transportation, I divided the kids and we rode with 2 different families to the meeting. It’s nice to have helpful friends. This month’s topic was careers. My older son presented on graphic artists. My daughter shared about the steps in writing a book.

After book club, my father-in-law came over to babysit and loan me his car so I could take my daughter to her violin lessons. She is really enjoying the lessons, and I think she is doing well. I’m happy that we finally just decided to just do it!

We were able to get our van fixed and picked up in time for me to take the kids to Kids4Truth on Thursday afternoon. This is a kid’s program that our church is using. It is kind of like AWANA minus the games. The kids memorize the answers to catechism questions as well as accompanying scripture. They are able to earn badges. My kids really like it. It is so sweet to hear my littlest one reciting her memory work!

We also finished up some projects yesterday. We listened to the last 2 chapters of our King Arthur book for Tapestry of Grace Year 2. We also put all the reptiles and amphibians on our world map for Zoology 3. I really love our map project. It’s going to be entirely covered with animals before we finish.

This afternoon I decided to get a head start on next week, so I checked all of this week’s work and did next week’s planning while the kids watched a movie. Now I’ve got time to focus on some writing projects this weekend.

A nice bonus is that my husband just found out he gets to administer the ACT tomorrow. That’s $120 he wasn’t going to earn before, so I am praising God for his provision. We certainly need it. New transmissions don’t come cheap. They are cheaper than new vans though!

Sep 262009

It’s time for another Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and I am struggling to think of what to share.

We did start our Tapestry of Grace studies this week. The little ones and I read one book about St. Valentine and another called Brigid’s Cloak. We all began listening to an audio book on King Arthur. My bigger kids started reading in their history spines. My 6th grade son will be reading Our Island Story and my 4th grade daughter is reading The Story of the Middle Ages. We didn’t really complete week 1 to my satisfaction, so I think we’ll carry it over into next week.

My oldest son is really liking Life of Fred for math. However, I see a real weakness in his paper and pencil computation skills. (This is NOT due to Life of Fred.) I am going to have to add daily computation practice. I keep saying that. Maybe eventually I’ll do it!

We’re still working through our first unit of Write with the Best. I am liking the logical lesson plans. My children (sigh) don’t jump at the opportunity to write. My daughter did write a descriptive paragraph on a cardinal last night. It is interesting to say the least. We definitely need to work more on her spelling. My son struggles with coming up with things to write about.

I was supposed to be using the workbox system with my 2nd grade son this week. But, I didn’t do enough pre-planning to make it work. I did pre-plan all his regular work as usual, it’s just finding the extra things to put in the workboxes that I am struggling with. I can find things to put in there, but I question their value. I have never given my kids a lot of "busy work" and frankly, a lot of the worksheets seem to be that to me. Somebody enlighten me please. Most of the things that I find that I do think would be good, he needs help with. If he needs me with him, then the whole workbox idea is kind of pointless. It may be just a manner of teaching an old dog new tricks. I don’t know. I’ll give it a better try this week!

This week my daughter will be preparing her baked entries for the fair. She’s making Molasses Crinkles (cookies) and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. She’s also got a weaving project that isn’t quite finished. My older son has a digitally manipulated photograph he’s entering, and my younger son is entering a drawing of a giraffe. I am not entering anything this year. I am feeling just a little overextended already!

Sep 192009

It’s time for another Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. I’m not going to make this another listing of curriculum. That would be time consuming. (Not to mention boring for you.) So I’ll just summarize some of the things we’re learning. (And a lot of them aren’t from a book.)

First, we started our version of the Sue Patrick Workbox system with my younger son. (7) I’m trying it out to review. I’m not completely overjoyed with the system, but there are definitely some advantages that I can see. It’s also only been one week and I need to put some more work into filling the boxes. I’m still undecided about adding my other children into the mix. I think it would be a great plan for my little one (almost 3) but I don’t know what to do about space. My older two may use a folder system, but I’m meeting with much resistance to the idea from my older son (11).

I have been working with my older son on being responsible for getting himself up in the mornings. He has had an alarm clock for a couple of years now but he forgets to use it. I have to stop what I’m doing and go up and wake him up, which is difficult to do and it always gets us both in a bad mood first thing in the morning. So I think that for both of our sakes, the alarm clock is the way to go. This week after waking him up on Monday and Tuesday, I decided NOT to wake him up on Wednesday. I resolved to let him deal with the natural consequences of sleeping late which would be having to finish his school work after lunch. (which he hates.) He did not get up until after 10. But, he somehow managed to finish everything before lunch anyway! I was happy that he worked so diligently, but a little miffed that my grand scheme failed. He did get up the next 2 days and was finished with his independent assigned work by 10:30.

It is a really good thing that he’s finishing his work so quickly, because next week we are finally starting Tapestry of Grace! So hopefully, I’ll have some good pictures and projects to share on the next weekly wrap-up.

The other exciting news is that my older daughter (9) had her first violin lesson. She is very excited and eager to practice.

Sep 112009

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through one of the affiliate links, I will receive a small percentage of the price.

We’re wrapping up our third week of school and things are definitely getting better!

We’ve added a few more subjects to our day but we still haven’t added everything. (i.e. I still haven’t started Tapestry of Grace year 2!) We’ve been reading Peril and Peace from Year 1 (we didn’t finish last year) as sort of a review to get us back into history mode.

Summary of our week:

6th grade son:

Life of Fred Fractions – He really LOVES this. I am happy to hear that and will continue monitoring his progress to see how he’s doing. So far he’s completed through chapter 12. This is mostly review for him so I can’t get a great idea of how well this method actually teaches math yet.

Our Mother Tongue: A Guide to English Grammar – I like this resource and he tolerates it. He does like that the exercises are short and sweet. He’s been studying verbs this week.

Editor in Chief Level B1 – He LOVES this one even though it is challenging for him to find all the mistakes. He’s not real confident with challenges. Hopefully a full year of it and he’ll grow more confident.

Latin Alive! Book One – So far, so good with this new Latin curriculum. Everything has been review so far. (Very rapid review! I’m not sure I would recommend this to a student who had never had Latin before. I’ll have to see how long it maintains this pace.)

Introductory Logic – He has done 2 lessons so far with my husband. My husband wants to learn along with him so we’re going to try and see if this works. I’m in no hurry to get through, but my poor husband is so busy I have a feeling I may have to take over at some point.

4th grade daughter

Singapore Math: Primary Math Textbook 3B US Edition – She is finishing up with this book from last year. This week she has practiced adding and subtracting weights and distances, and started on capacity.

Rod and Staff 5 – This is our tried and true English curriculum. She does really well using this. She’s very much a read the instructions and follow them sort of child. She has completed chapter 1 and taken the chapter 1 test.

Latina Christiana 1 – She has finished her review of the first 5 lessons that she completed last year and has started lesson 6. This was an item I received to review as a member of the Homeschool Crew last year. I really like this Latin curriculum for her so much that I switched her to it. It is very straightforward and predictable. That’s how she thrives. My son would not have liked it at all! He did very well with Latin For Children.

Building Thinking Skills Level 2 – This is another review item from last year. We did very little of it then, but I started her back with it this week. This is also very sequential and straightforward, and teaches thinking skills very effectively. (I guess that’s why they named it that! LOL)

2nd grade son:

I should mention that although I call him 2nd grade, I have always assigned grades based on age. He is not working on a 2nd grade level on anything except his handwriting. (and I’m not sure about that. He is using a 2nd grade book though.) He’s more of a 1st grader.

Math Mammoth Grade 1 – Also a review item from last year, I have found this to provide the explanation that I like but with more practice than Singapore. He’s almost finished 1A and has been working on writing addition and subtraction equations this week.

Primary Phonics Storybooks Set 2 – These are great phonics readers that I discovered last year at the library. I liked them so much I bought the first two sets. For review, I’ve had my son read through them one a day. We finished the second book in set 2 today. This set has workbooks that accompany them, but I was already using and happy with Explode the Code.

Explode the Code, Book 2 – We picked up on this where he left off last year so he’s about halfway finished. He’s been working on beginning blends like st, sm, sw, and tw. I really love these books for the extra decoding practice.

Handwriting without Tears – Printing Power – When people ask my son what his favorite subject is in school, he says writing! That is pretty amazing since this is a kid who didn’t write anything until a couple of years ago. I have used HWT for all my kids and it has worked well.

First Language Lessons – I was excited to begin this with my son this week. I wrote a complete review at The Curriculum Choice.

Together we have been studying reptiles using Land Animals of the Sixth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3. Along with that, I’ve had my younger students making a reptile lapbook by Journey Through Learning. That is one of our current review products.

We also started Write with the Best by EDUDPS this week with my two older children. I will be reviewing it soon as well.

After typing this all up I am feeling really great about what we accomplished this week! Over the weekend I am going to try to figure out how to implement the Sue Patrick Workbox system in our homeschool. I’ll give an update on that next week hopefully!



Aug 282009

It’s Friday and we’re wrapping up our first week of the new school year. I’m not going to say it’s been a great week. (You can check out my big downer post here.) But, we did get started, and there are a couple of things that seem to be working for us.

I started my two older children with math, English, and Latin only.

My son is using Life of Fred for math. He has done his math without complaining. (Until today. Today I’m having him do 5 multiplication problems and 5 division problems on PAPER to prove that he can actually multiply and divide. Oh the humanity!) Wait, I was supposed to sharing positive things. I switched up his English this year and bought Our Mother Tongue for grammar and Editor-in-Chief for mechanics. The good news is he likes Editor-in-Chief.

My daughter started Latina Christiana I near the end of last year. (It was a Homeschool Crew review product.) She only got through 5 chapters. I bought Ludere Latine to accompany the program this year and she’s using it alone to review the chapters she did last year. Next week she’ll start on new material.

I’ve been reviewing reading with my younger son. For the first 2 weeks, I’ve scheduled a phonics reader a day with him as a refresher course. So far that’s going well. We didn’t do as much reading over the summer as I needed and intended to do, so I’m happy to say he didn’t forget what he had learned.

There are two other general procedural things that are working well for us. One is that I switched to spiral notebooks after reading Joy @ fivejs post about it. In the past, I’ve had a pile of papers to file in binders and I’d already be behind. Not so this year! Also, I have a box for the kids to put their work in for me to check. I know, how simple is that? I don’t know why I hadn’t done that before. They just made a stack and then it seemed that putting their stuff away became my job after I checked it. This way everything has a place and they can put everything away. Now to just make sure I check it!

So those are some good things about my week. We’ll be adding more subjects next week and working on our schedule some more.

Nov 152008

Last weekend, as I looked at the upcoming week, I began to feel a tightness in my chest and those all too familiar feelings of anxiety begin to creep in.  For starters, Tuesday was Veteran’s Day and my husband was off work.  So, I had scheduled that morning for family portraits.  On Tuesday afternoon we had our homeschool book club meeting for which the books were read, but no work had been done on the book reports. On Friday was our monthly class at the science museum.  I also am taking an on-line web design class for which I was already behind by one assignment, in addition to my participation in the Homeschool Crew with The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Those review opportunities were beginning to weigh heavily on my mind.

So, do you know what we did this week?  I celebrated my freedom in homeschooling! We took a break from all our usual morning seat work.  No English, Spelling, Math, Handwriting, Latin, or Greek. I do take these subjects seriously. We are very purposeful in our choice of curriculum for our children.  I do believe that we are teaching the subjects that, at least for right now, God wants us to teach.  However, sometimes I lose my purpose and became a list checker extraordinaire.  I don’t want that for our school.  I want my children to understand that their learning is important, not just checking things off the list because they are there.  So that is why I had such a wonderful week.  I was so much more relaxed.  We didn’t do things just to get them done.

I am not at all saying that we didn’t have school this week.  (Not that it’s not OK to take time completely off when you need to!)  My older children completed their book reports.  They did additional study on the setting of their books.  My 6 year old and 8 year old colored maps showing the location of the setting of their books, while my 10 year old completed a collage of pictures from the location of his book.  We did our Tapestry of Grace literature and Bible assignments for the week.  I had my older 2 children try out Aleks On-line Math, which also helped me prepare for my review of this curriculum.  I had daily reading lessons with my 6 year old using a wonderful program that I am reviewing called Rime to Read.  He also did a couple of weeks worth of Kinderbach music lessons, another product for review.

When I sat down to discuss the book of Judges with my older 2 children, we had a wonderful discussion.  The study was review for them because they had recently studied Judges in Sunday School, as well as hearing a sermon series on the book.   They really seemed to have retained the material, which is not always the case.  They were able to recount with quite a lot of detail both the stories of Gideon and Samson.  I do love it when our learning in different areas all comes together like that!

So, I once again am thankful for my freedom in homeschooling.  I am thankful that God gave me a week to catch up on many things. So today, I do not feel anxious about next week.

Sep 122008


This was our first week of almost full school!  I added science, spelling, Latin, and Greek to the math and Tapestry of Grace assignments we were doing.  I also resumed phonics, math, and handwriting with my younger son.  I am so shocked, because it went smoothly!


My beautiful schedule that I posted here was made and admired for over 2 months before I actually put it to use.  Part of me didn’t want to try the schedule because I knew it wouldn’t work. (I tend to be one of those glass half-empty people.) The perfectionist in me was planning for failure.  However, it actually went well.  Our days flowed smoothly.  The children got their schoolwork down.  I read books to my younger 2 children.  I did my housework.  I cooked dinner.  WOW!


To summarize our week:


5th grade son

  • Completed 5 exercises in Singapore Math 5B (Multiplying and dividing decimals by multiples of 10)
  • Reviewed first 4 chapters of LFC Primer C and began chapter 5
  • Took placement tests in Spelling Power and began Level H
  • Put the final touches on the Royal Game of Ur.


3rd grade daughter

  • Completed 10 pages in Miquon yellow.  Will finish book next week and begin Singapore 3A.
  • Started Spelling Power Level D
  • Completed LFC Primer A Chapter 1

1st grade son

  • Practiced C-V-C words with Happy Phonics
  • Learned lowercase w and a in HWT
  • Practiced writing and counting numbers 11-20 Singapore K 2A.
  • Made a model ziggurat from boxes at TOG co-op


5th and 3rd grader

  • Completed Week 1 in Elementary Greek 2. (Alphabet review and Uncial (uppercase) letters)
  • Read 6 chapters in Tirzah (TOG)
  • Completed compositions on the Tower of Babel (TOG)
  • Listened to Exodus chapters 19-30 (TOG)
  • Learned the furnishings of the tabernacle (TOG)
  • Began making a model of the tabernacle (TOG)

5th, 3rd, and 1st grader

  • Completed Lesson 1 in Elementary Zoology 3 (Predator and prey, animal careers)
  • Made M&M habitat and did an M&M camouflage experiment

  • Participated in TOG co-op
  • Attended science class at local science museum
Aug 232008


We completed Week 4 of Year 1 of Tapestry of Grace (TOG).  This week we studied creation from Genesis Chapters 1-10 which include Creation, the Fall, and the Flood.  I am really enjoying TOG and so are my children.  My oldest son even said he liked it!  (Last year he told me that he just didn’t like history and that I shouldn’t try to make him like it.)  Unfortunately, at some point I have to add in our other subjects.  (I do don’t I????)  We started TOG because our co-op was starting and we needed to be on the same schedule. It has been such a relaxing first month of school.  Absolutely the best ever and this is the beginning of our 6th year of homeschooling.


One of the assignments this week was to make a Creation book.  I allowed the children freedom to use whatever medium they desired. (Well, except the 1st grader.  Maybe I’ll write about my fun challenges with him later.) My oldest son (10) made his book entirely on the computer using editing photos.  It’s not quite finished yet, so I’ll have to post it later.  My daughter (8)used cut pieces of construction paper.  I think her book turned out cute.

studying creation
studying creation

studying creation

studying creation

studying creation
Those red things are birds.

studying creation

studying creation


For my younger son I found this mini-book. Here is his page before I cut the pages and made it into a book.

Yes, Adam is wearing pants and a shirt. Sigh.

Along with the TOG reading, I remembered that I had The Geology Book.  It has a great section on Pangaea (the theory that all the continents were one), as well as major geologic events in earth’s history including creation, the fall, and the flood.  My older son began on his own accord sketching a flip book of the continents separating!  (Did I mention that school went really well this week?)


I think we need to start math next week.  Maybe not though.  Maybe after Labor Day.  We’ll see.



Feb 292008

I have seen several people posting weekly reports on their blogs, and I finally found the source this week.  So, I am going to attempt and join the ranks of the weekly reporters.


This week was a good week for us.

For Bible we are using Veritas Bible Cards (Chronicles-Malachi).  This week we studied Card 86 about the Return of the Jews from captivity to begin rebuilding Jerusalem.  We read the details in the Vos Story Bible, but did not actually read the scripture reference this week because it was a little long to read aloud (Ezra 1-6 and Zechariah 4).


We are also  memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism and have completed through question 18.

Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.
For copywork we have been copying the Catechism questions, but this will be the last week for that because we’ve gotten so far ahead of our memory work that I’m going to switch to the 10 Commandments.

After Bible time, we go over our Greek lesson.  My two older children are using Elementary Greek Book 1.  We completed Lesson 20 this week.  I am really enjoying this program.  It breaks everything down into small, manageable steps and the workload is very light.  However, there is a lot more to it than Hey Andrew.  (Though it’s probably not a fair comparison since we only used Hey Andrew Levels 1 and 2.
The older children begin their seatwork after our Greek lesson.  My son (4th grade) started Singapore 5A this week.  He has enjoyed it because the new books always start our “easy”.  He’s been reviewing place value, multiplying and dividing by multiples of 10, and estimation.  He also read an interesting book from the library called Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone.  It was about visual estimation and lots of great pictures to practice on.  My daughter (2nd grade) is finishing up Singapore 2B.  She started the geometry section this week.  They both use Rod and Staff for English grammar (Grades 5 and 3).  Daughter had a test on Unit 3 – Using Action Verbs.  She scored well and is starting a unit on Adjectives and Adverbs.  My son has also been studying advectives and adverbs and this week had a couple of lessons on rhyme and rhythm in poetry. Older son is also studying Latin and finished Chapter 31 of Latin for Children Primer B.  He will finish the book next week, then be on to Primer C.
In history we are studying World War I and are using a project pack purchased from Hands of a Child in addition to listening to Story of the World Volume 4 (Chapter 21)
We’re using God’s Design for the Physical World for our physics spine. We finished up the Heat and Energy book this week.We did a couple of sound projects and demonstrations on light. One of the sound projects was making a “barking dog” from a milk jug and string.  Of course my older son had to turn it into a dog

That’s younger son posing as “Snoopy”.



Finally, I had a really good week with my younger son this week.  He is in K this year, but I’ve struggled to find time to work with him.  He has been very behind in fine motor skills and has never wanted to write or draw.  We’ve just finished the preschool HWT last week.  This week he was so excited to be starting the “orange book” where he got to use a pencil instead of a crayon. Instead of struggling with him to do 1 page, he has voluntarily done 2 or 3 pages of writing and math (Singapore Earlybird 2A) every day. Today he worked on the letter K and even drew a little koala at the bottom of the page.  I was so excited!




This has been a very long weekly report.  If you have actually made it this far, thank you so much