Catching up to now | 3rd Place Ribbons, Whale Videos and Math

One of new year’s resolutions is to blog more here!  (If you didn’t know, I manage two other blogs – and while I would love to blog about Homeschool all day everyday, this blog is not paying the bills.  So I have to devote a good portion of my time to Saving Toward A Better Life.  BUT if I don’t start making THIS blog relevant and interesting, then it will never start paying the…here we go!)

I figure the best way to actually getting around to getting our Week in Review posts up on Friday is to open it in my editor on Mondays and add to it all week long.  So that’s what I’ve been doing with this post.

Monday is our co-op day.  This week was our second co-op day of the spring term.  We LOVE our co-op.  I plan on writing soon about what makes a co-op great.  I truly think ours is the greatest.  I can’t think of anything that would make it better.  We have over 80 families totaling nearly 250 people.  We have great classes (BigG is taking Spanish this term!  Yes we have a Spanish class for 1st & 2nd graders!)  Two weeks of Spanish and he already knows all the colors, numbers to 10 and about a half a dozen animals.  Foreign Language is not my strong suit so I’m excited!

While I’m talking about co-op, just before Christmas break our co-op had a Literature Fair.  I was nervous about signing up for this because BigG hates writing and I knew this would require a lot of it.  But we had plenty of time to work on it so we could break it up into manageable chunks and I knew it would be good for him.


I don’t want to make this post insanely long so if you want to read about the Literature Fair Project on the Titanic – you can do so over here in a separate post.  But as you can see, it was very good for him!  I was SUPER proud of his 3rd place ribbon – he was the youngest kid to submit a project AND there were some good ones he was up against!  (He even placed ahead of the kid who did a project on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and actually made homemade chocolate candies for the judges!)

It’s been so long since I’ve written about what we’re up too.  We’re still using Sonlight and are a little over halfway through Core A.  (We started week 18 on Wednesday of this week.)

We started Apologia Swimming Creatures after Christmas (after finishing up an abbreviated run-through of Flying Creatures (which is the Zoology 1 course).  We started Zoology 1 this time last year and scratched the surface of it – BigG was only 6 so I pared it down to what was interesting and appropriate for him.  But since he LOVES ocean animals I plan to stretch Zoology 2 over the next year and a half by taking it slow (sometimes what they have listed to do in a day in the plan is a little much for him) and adding lots of extras.

I’ve made a YouTube playlist of Swimming Creature videos where I’ve been adding videos that go along with our lessons.  We’ve only been through wales and dolphins so far but I will keep adding to it so far.  We have thoroughly enjoyed using YouTube to watch these amazing creatures!


We also just started Singapore Math 2A.  Last year for 1st grade we used BJU Math 1.  We didn’t get all the way through it (the last chapter and some of the optional “going further” lessons scattered through the book).  So we spent to first part of this year doing that.  And then did Singapore Math 1B just to make sure he was on par to switch to Singapore.  He’s doing great in math.  I like how Singapore tries to keep it uncomplicated.  It seems to be just right for him at the moment.  I have 2B, 3A and 3B (I scored BIG at a book sale last summer!) so I plan to work through all those and then have him take a placement test for Teaching Textbooks.  Math is not my favorite so I know we will reach a point where I’m going to need help teaching him (and I know that point will come well before high school!) so Teaching Textbooks is definitely on my radar for that!

I think that catches us up!  Thanks to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for having a weekly wrap-up every week!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Free Stuff Homeschool Deals

FREE 2016 “Read with Me, Talk with Me” Calendar


Here’s a nice little freebie!  I can always use a wall calendar in the school room and it sounds like this one has some extra useful stuff in it!

Boost your child’s language and literacy skills all year long with the 2016 “Read with Me, Talk with Me” calendar!

Expand vocabulary and help get children ready for school with tips and resources. You can jumpstart your child’s early language and literacy skills all while having fun and spending time together.

Request yours for FREE!


Homeschool Moms’ Favorite Educents Resources

I do love Educents!  They recently asked me what current item on their site I had used and enjoyed and they included my comments in a roundup of Homeschoolers Favorite Resources!

Educents is valuable for homeschoolers and teachers alike.  You can always find deals (and sometimes freebies!) to help with your lessons!   Do you have any lessons coming up in 2016 that will be challenging?  Or that you don’t have all the resources together for yet?  Don’t forget to check out Educents for what you need!

top picks homeschoolers

No matter what may be on your lesson plan for 2016, consider the resources below. Members within the Educents community put a list together of their favorite homeschool resources. If you’d like to learn more about the resource, just click the link! If you want to get more involved in the Educents community to learn more about homeschooling and the curriculum offered on Educents, join the Educents Facebook group!


Emily of Smith Squad recommends the Life of Fred books.

“As a child, I always hated math, even though I was good at it because it was soon boring. When I heard about Fred, I knew he had to be a part of our homeschool. My kids absolutely LOVE when it’s math time, and they are learning a ton about how to apply math to every day practical situations.”

Life of Fred Buyer's Guide


Lisa Marie of The Canadian Homeschooler uses the Writecraft and Mathcraft Units.

“The writing portion of this resource was the first time EVER that my oldest son ever willing wrote anything! He was excited to write instead of hating it.”


26 Bible Verses you can Teach your Child in a Year


26 Bible Verses You Can Teach Your Child in a Year

One for every letter of the Alphabet!

I started teaching Bible Verses to BigG when he was just 3.  Working at a rate of roughly 1 verse every 2 weeks it would take a year to learn 26 – or one for every letter of the alphabet.

Here he is after learning his first two verses. ADORABLE.


I just can’t handle that cuteness!   So here are the 26 verses we learned.  On the weeks the verse was pretty simple and he picked it up quickly, we would spend a few days going back through all of them we had learned up to that point for review.  It doesn’t do any good to run through them if they don’t remember B by the time they get to Z.

I will say that, I didn’t really keep up with the translations we used.  Most are going to be NIV, some KJV and some might be NASB.  I bounced around versions to make the words easy for young children and sometimes to make the verse fit the letter (for example, Psalm 119:105 in the KJV says “Thy Word” which is great for the letter ‘T’ but in the NIV it says “Your Word” – doesn’t work for T).

So after that disclaimer, here’s the verses:

A – As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

B – Be kind to one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Unit Studies

ABCs of Homeschooling through the Holidays: Z is for Zoology


Life of a Homeschool Mom has hosted a series titled the ABCs of Homeschooling through the Holidays.  I was assigned the letter Z.  Yes, Z.  What a letter!  LOL.

But really, when it came down to it, it wasn’t hard because BigG’s passion is Zoology.  So we’re connecting Christmas and Zoology.


You can read my entire article over at Life of a Homeschool Mom!  


Mom Thoughts Moments

The Tragedy in Paris and the Conversation it Sparked with my 7 Year Old


The Tragedy in Paris and the conversation is sparked with my 7 year old son about religion, safety and fear.

I would like to preface this article with two things.  I am pro-gun (I own one, I know how to use it and I carry it – legally) and I love Jesus.  If either of these things bother you, you might not want to read this post.

BigG just turned 7.  Some days he acts like a silly 5 year old and some days his maturity amazes me.  We’ve talked about “stranger danger” and “tricky people“, fire safety, tornado safety and things like that.  But a while back I was reading an article online about schools having “active shooter” drills.  And I thought, “Thank you, Jesus, that we homeschool and my kindergartner doesn’t have to sit through an active shooter drill in school!”

But the article I was reading was talking about how an “active shooter” situation can happen anywhere – the park, the grocery store – and that’s just the world we live in now.  And I thought, you know, we need to have a conversation about this.  But I put it off.  Because BigG can be sensitive sometimes…and worry himself to death over the worse case scenario (like the time he cried for an hour after we talked about fire safety and he was afraid the house was going to catch on fire and he wouldn’t be able to save his favorite stuffed dog.)

So last night I’m reading about Paris.  And I thought, you know, we NEED to have this conversation.  Part of me wanted to just go about our day today and not say anything to BigG about it and let him live in his oblivious little bubble.  I was almost twice his age when my oblivious bubble burst – I was unaware of this level of evil in the world until the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.  I was 11.  Of course I knew of wars in the past….but that was past.  I thought the world was sunshine and rainbows now.  Until Oklahoma City.  Then there was Columbine.  And 9/11.  And then, in BigG’s lifetime, there have been so many of these “events” that I can’t even keep up with them anymore.  More in the last 1/4th of my life than in the first 3/4ths.

Curriculum Planning Resources

Educents: TONS of FREE Printables! Math, Language, Fall, Christmas + more

Check out these FREE printables from Educents

sightwordstackSight Words Stack ‘Em Ups!   Who it’s for: Pre-K to 1st Grade

Why it’s great: This activity helps beginning readers practice sight words in a way that is motivating and engaging. It is easy to make with things you probably have around the house, or can easily grab at the grocery store

Four Types of Sentences Flipbook  Who it’s for: 1st to 2nd Grade

Why it’s great: This is a simple flip book for students to create. There is one page for each type of sentence. There is also a student practice page. The flip book comes in both color and black and white. Anchor charts for each type of sentence are included.


Happy 7th Birthday and Taking a Week Off


BigG celebrated his SEVENTH birthday yesterday.  Y’all, I’m having a hard time with this one.  Seven is so…BIG.  He still looks like my sweet 6 year old boy.  He still acts and talks like my sweet 6 year old boy.  But he insists he’s 7.  I’m still not sure about this 7 business though….

Anyway, BigG gets the week of school because it’s his birthday.  He thinks he’s just that awesome but really it’s because, this was one of our scheduled weeks off anyway.  (You can see how we schedule our semi-year round schooling here.)

But, regardless if it’s a day or a whole week, isn’t that all on our list of reason why we homeschool?  So birthdays can be school holidays?

// we went to see Pan yesterday for his birthday.  It was a cute movie.  He enjoyed it very much.  And so far, it’s the quietest he’s EVER been in a movie theater, ever.  Maybe it was because the movie was just that thrilling to him…or because he’s 7.  Because apparently he is  (his words) “going to do a lot of things better now that he’s 7.”


Field Trips Recaps

LEGO Tour, Art Museum, Co-Op Trains and more | September Recap

I can’t believe I haven’t updated in a MONTH!  It’s been so BUSY around here.  I barely know where to begin.  We did a lot of field trippin’ because that’s what we do.  I love field trips.  We also took our scheduled week off.  That was nice, but starting back was HARD.

So here’s a portion of what our last month has been all about.


We made another trip to our local art museum.  We love it!  The picture in the top right corner is of BigG with his favorite painting at the museum – a Monet.  I love that he has such an appreciation for art for such a young boy.

We got to see the LEGO Americana Tour.  I found out about it almost too late but we made it.  It was fun, awesome, amazing, and some other great adjectives.  I mean, look at this.  This is the Capitol Building built out of (an insane amount) of LEGOs!  BigG is in front of it for scale (he’s 4 feet tall).


Co-op started back.  We love our co-op!  It’s moved into a bigger space this year too because enrollment has really exploded.  BigG is taking some great classes.  He’s in building projects for the second time.  (Think like woodshop but for little kids).  This has been a fantastic class for him.  He LOVES building.  He’s also in Geography and a Magic Tree House Book Club class.  In the spring I plan on us staying after lunch for more classes.  We did four classes last fall and it was just too long of a day for him.  So spring we cut down to 3.  So when fall came around again I chose 3.  He hasn’t taken afternoon naps since he was 3 but busy days tend to put him in a slump in the afternoons.  But he’s grown out of that afternoon slump he used to get in so I think 4 classes will be fine in the spring.


Ready-to-Go Geography Lessons with Mona MELisa Peel-n-Play World Map

Geography Lessons - Educents Blog
World Maps are so exciting to explore. The best way to engage a student learning about the world, is to ask them to label it. The Mini Peel & Play World Map Set on Educents provides students all the materials they need to
explore and label a world map. Better yet, the map is small enough to stick onto the car window while you’re traveling. It’s also easy to move the map from room to room in your house – the map has a safe adhesive that allows students to stick the map to a surface over and over again.

The Map In Action

Check out the Mini Peel & Play World Map in action during this video.

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!

Activity Ideas

Looking for ways to make the Mini Peel & Play World Map interactive?

Use these activities:
Label the oceans – use the labels to point out oceans around the globe.
Ask your student to match the sticker with its continent. What does
your student see in that continent? What is the  climate there? Is that
continent above or below the equator?
After your student has placed all the sticker labels on the globe, s/he can refer to the map while responding to these writing prompts:

  • Name all of the oceans in the world.
  • Locate your home on the map. If you wanted to visit Australia, which direction would you need to travel?
  • How would you travel to Europe – by foot, by boat, or by plane?
  • Which direction does a ship need to sail to travel from South America to Africa?

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!

About the Sets

Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play Sets go beyond the World Map. Learn
about all the themes and ways to use the sets in your l essons.
Peel and Play EducentsTheme options
Math, science, geography, spelling, counting

Great for: all ages, visual learners, kinesthetic learners (kids will love
touching the pieces and moving them around from place to place), auditory learners (sets can be combined with verbal instruction)
Parents: Stick your sets to a car window, on any wall at home, or on your child’s bathroom mirror to practice counting while brushing teeth.
Teachers: This tool will save you hours preparing any of your lessons. The labels are made and ready to go!
Homeschoolers: Provide hands-on lessons for your students! Visual
learners will love the colorful map, and kinesthetic learners will enjoy sticking and unsticking parts of the map.
What’s included?: The Mini Peel & Play sets are fabrics with a safe, adhesive backing. They sets measure 11 by 17 inches.

Bonus!! You can download ready-go-to lessons to accompany the Peel & Play sets. Check out the World Map Teaching Guide.

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!