Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Every Night = Family Fun Night

Five out of seven nights a week we follow pretty much the same routine. At least when other aspects in our life aren't in session, like; Cooperative, school, sports, etc. Each night you will probably find us eating together, taking a walk after dinner for exercise, then sitting down to play a game. Also any of my close friends know that I am a Nertz fanatic. Although we play with regular cards and some of the rules might be a tad different.

Our current second game of choice would be Scattergories. This is the one Grace loves the most.
Yesterday when we went to the Mall of Georgia and of course me and Scott spent about 2 hours in Barnes and Nobles we decided it was time to add another game to the arsenal. We chose another version of Scattergories called Scattergories Catergories. It was a no brainer with as much time we were spending playing games that it was time to buy a new one. There were so many to choose from that we made a decision to start buying a new game each pay period. Looking forward to cracking this one open tonight.
I enjoy sitting down to play games so much each night. It is my favorite time of the day. No worries or anxiety to creep in and time well spent with my family.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Homeschool Mom's Summer Bucket/To Do List

I don't know about the rest of the mother's out there, but most of my year revolves around my kid's education, tutoring three other students, and running a fine arts cooperative. That doesn't leave much room for me at times. I am finally at somewhat of a summer break and I intend to use it wisely.

Home repairs are high on the list for this summer. I am not very handy with a hammer so much of this list will fall on my husband. When you have an all wood cabin it seems like you are always replacing and repairing rotten wood. This weekend found us starting the process of replacing our wrap around deck with the front stairs that lead into the house.

Blogging and research. The blogging part I still do during the school year but it had fallen down to 1-2 posts a week. I would like to get back up into the 4-5 posts a week category. I guess we will see how that goes until I start running out of things to say. I am so busy during the year I have very little time for research and reading non-fiction. Last week we traveled to another city for a doctor's appointment and went to a bigger library which in turn led me to more non-fiction books to read and research for future goals.

I am a curriculum junkie! There I said it. This means I have shelves and shelves of materials that were either never used or utilized many years ago. These are the materials I really need to let go. So over the next couple of weeks I plan on selling off many materials. Many of these items have also come from my time on the TOS Review Crew.

A summer reading list. My stack of books on my bedside table keeps growing and growing and I make very little progress. In the past I could read for hours at night before bed. My life has become so busy and I am so tired that I read for a couple of minutes and then I am nodding off. With more time on my hands I plan to read more during the day to make some progress through this hefty stack before I can move on to the books I have on my shelves that need to be read as well.

Last but not least is some R & R. Rest and Relaxation. Swimming, exercise, and just plain laying around watching some television. Of course cuddled with my furry creatures.
What's on your summer Bucket and To do list?!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Curriculum for 11th Grade 2015 - 2016

This year many of Grace's classes for her 11th grade year will be outside of the home. It has come to the time that many of her more advanced high school subjects I don't have the knowledge to teach and quite frankly I also don't have the time to learn it with her. So saying all that - this is what her 11th grade year will look like:

Chemistry - Outside of the home through Faith Christian Academy.

Geometry - Outside of the home through Faith Christian Academy.

MLA Essay - Outside of the home with her favorite teacher in the world Ms. Christy at Creative Canvas.

Analytical Literature - Outside of the home with Ms. Christy.

Economics - The one lonely subject this year that will be taught at home is Economics for Everybody from Compass Classroom. Love this company. My first choice would have been to continue the American History course (the first set of DVDs we have just about finished and gets us to the end of the Civil War), but the next set of DVDs won't be ready until her senior year. We hope to finish Economics by Christmas but with her heavy load of other classes I really think it will run over into the next semester. Since Economics is a 1/2 credit course we will follow it up with a Government course next semester that will probably bleed over into the summer.

Volleyball - This is the first year that Grace will play a team sport and she is uber excited about it. We will have a very intense schedule of practices all through July and August continuing on into September and October. The games will be August, September and October.

Cooperative - Tuesday afternoons will still be fine arts days at the Cooperative. Due to her classes at Faith Christian (which is the location of the Cooperative) she will not be able to take a 2:00 class with the Cooperative. Her other chosen classes are Ballroom Dance, High School Art, and Drama.

Summer Job - In two short weeks she will start her first summer job that may continue on through the school year if we can get it all worked out. With volleyball in the picture I'm not sure how that will happen, but if she likes the work (and the money) she may try to make it happen a couple of afternoons and evenings a week.

I can't believe my little girl is growing up so much. Just call me the human taxi cab this fall because we will be in the car a lot traveling to numerous places for class and activities.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Curriculum for 6th Grade 2015 - 2016

It's that time of the year. Curriculum planning and purchasing. This year I have the task of planning for three 6th grade girls (my tutoring students) and a 11th grader. In this post I will concentrate on the 6th grade students.

Math - I am a Teaching Textbooks fan and will continue with the 6th grade edition. Sometimes we use the CDs for teaching and sometimes I just quickly teach the concept to them. This is usually scheduled for 5 days a week.

Science - Because I love all of Jeannie Fulbright's science books and we only did the first with my tutoring students this past year I decided to try and squeeze in two of her books. One per semester. I let the girls look at the titles and pick their favorite two then went with the majority with the parents approval of course. The first semester of the year will find us diving (pun intended) into Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day while the second semester we will be studying the Human Body. We will also continue nature studies while using the new journal from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Language Arts - I love Easy Grammar so this will stay on the docket for 6th grade. Adding to the mix will be Essentials in Writing and 4-5 literature study guides from Progeny Press. Again I let the girls look over the titles and come to some sort of agreement. This coming year they will be reading Island of Blue Dolphins, Anne of Green Gables, The Horse and His Boy, Redwall, Sign of the Beaver, and if time permits The Secret Garden.

History - This year we read The Story of the World Volume 2 about The Middle Ages and loved it. In the new year we will continue on to Volume 3. The girls will continue to use the Test Booklet for comprehension questions and I plan on adding map work, activities, and other books to the mix depending on the time period we are studying. The girls will also start keeping their own Book of Centuries.

Other items I will try to fit into the days will include CNN Student News, Art, Shakespeare, Poetry and Reading Comprehension books from Abeka. It is always such a blessing to be on the Review Crew to introduce you to so many different types of learning materials. This year three of the products I have chosen to use with the girls were previous review products that I loved and kept in the mix.

I'm sure some things will fall through the cracks as it does every year. Always over planning on my part. So many wonderful things to show and teach each year it is hard to narrow it down to a manageable bit.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

When You Just Want to Have Fun

My neighbor's property is a treasure trove of nature study. We only utilized it a few times this year, but in August when the girls return we are using it way more. First thing on the agenda will be a pond/creek study.
Last week with our nature study we studied all the different types of ferns that he had on the property and of course when the girls saw the creek that is all they wanted to do. He offered for us to come down this week and play in the creek. Hot sun, cold water - what a mix!

Yesterday we saw so much that there would have been enough to fill at least 20 pages of nature study material. In one day we could have studied snakes, water striders, dragonflies, damselflies, salamanders, skinks, butterflies, skippers, rocks and minerals, water, moss, fish, and so much more.

I had one student that was very intent on finding gold. Next time I will need to dig out the panning supplies and let them actually pan for gold.

We found this water snake immediately upon arrival at the creek. In the beginning the girls were all freaked out by his appearance, but he literally did not move the entire 1 and 1/2 hours we were present.

The girls love it when Grace spends time with them in any type of activity.

This is the girls spotting the snake and wondering what to do. Grace of course immediately pulled out the her phone to compare images of poisonous snakes - this one wasn't.
I think the first week we are back in August we will come down and study some nature to get us back in the swing of things school wise. It will be a great opportunity to use our new nature journal from Simply Charlotte Mason.

Monday, May 18, 2015

TOS Review - - Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story Review
Our family loves watching movies. This bleeds over into our children's education and curriculum as well. My older children were always very visual learners and I am finding that the students I tutor are as well. Anytime we can use a visual aid like DVDs to enhance a subject we do it. Through the TOS Review Crew we were blessed with the opportunity to review Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story from Review is a company dedicated to making available family friendly and faith based videos. They are also able to do this at an economical price. has thousands of titles in their catalog of DVDs that are not only offered at low prices but also with free shipping when you spend $35.00 or more. All of that means great products for awesome prices. I even noticed that one of my favorites television shows - When Calls the Heart - will be released this month and FishFlix will be carrying it at a very reasonable price. Not only do they carry Faith based movies and television series, but also DVDs about Christian living, teaching, and more. I was very impressed with their About Us page and the two Bible verses that guide their business philosophy. In this day and age it is really hard to find companies that live their faith in the business world and offer a ray of sunshine in all the murkiness that movies and television can bring into a family's home.
The video we were given to review, Torchlighters: The John Wesley Story is recommended for ages 8 - 12. I have two tutoring students (age 11) that watched the movie with me twice. I was very familiar with the Torchlighters Series highlighting the lives of heroes from Christian history. The girls were not familiar with John Wesley, so this was a great opportunity to introduce them to the man who founded the Methodist movement. The video was right on their level of understanding and enjoyable to boot.
Included on the disc is the capability to watch in English or Spanish as well as subtitles. The animated video runs about 30 minutes, but also has available a documentary about John Wesley. The leader's guide and student handouts in PDF format are great for digging deeper into the life of John Wesley. Some of the student handouts were: verse memorization charts, digging deeper into the story, creating a coat of arms, a service project, and more. The Leader's Guide includes a teaching plan scheduled out in four separate sessions, a letter to parents, and a section of supplementary materials dealing with life in the time frame of John Wesley's life, people he came in contact with, and a timeline of John Wesley's life.
Other Crew Members also reviewed: Exploring Ephesus, Privileged Species, Unbroken Legacy of Faith Edition, Flight, and Metamorphosis - all from We received ours as a physical DVD with the guides and handouts as PDFs.
If your family is looking to purchase great, wholesome entertainment - take a look at
Crew Disclaimer
Click to read Crew Reviews

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Last Days of School Fun - Nature Study

I am ashamed to admit that during that cooler months very little Nature Study goes on. I really need to get in the habit of doing it much more through the entire year. Last week we finished our math and science book which also opened up much more room to go outside and study nature.

Luckily I've got like the best neighbor with the most amazing area to do nature study. I picked a topic of fern, which I knew he had plenty of and we went with it. Of course a lot of the time they were also fascinated with the creek that runs throughout the property.

Goldfish and Koi ponds abound!

Here the girls were observing a cinnamon fern.

Trying to pet the fish.

Back behind the creek in a mucho moist environment is tons of New Yorker ferns. There is a path/trail that goes throughout all of it. Quite beautiful and breathtaking. 

By the ponds the girls discovered this unique fern , painted Japanese fern, by the ponds.

Before going on the nature walk we watched a couple of short animated videos. One of the videos pointed out to the girls how the fronds unfurl. We were lucky enough to see that in person.

The girls are totally stoked that my neighbor invited them back next week on the last day of school to play in the creek!