Topics in the Mix This Week

We have a new, beautiful week ahead to live and learn together.  There is a wide variety of topics ahead spread over the ages in my home. Want a peek?

over the  top of the world

Family Studies will include:

  • The Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew
  • Practicing the ASL for the song Love One Another (Makayla and I will be singing and signing at a meeting next Sunday).
  • Learning more about Diego Velazquez and another of his paintings, The Adoration of the Magi.
  • We’ve moved to North America for geography and this week we focus on the Arctic with Eskimo and Arctic explorers.  One great book we’ll read is Over the Top of the World.  It has photographs and journal entries from a 5 month expedition to the North Pole.
  • Art is Scrimshaw, carving on ivory, a common pastime of sailors to the northern waters.  We’re using air dry clay in place of the ivory.  ;)  But we’ll also talk about whales and walrus, two sources for ivory the sailors used.
  • KidsSuperPack-800x800
  • Money!  We will be using the children’s books Junior’s Adventures from Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace Junior kit, heavily adapted to fit our large family.

Other varying topics to be explored by one or more children this week:

  • Division, Order of Operations, Solving for an Unknown number
  • Outer space, beginning with heliocentric and geocentric models.
  • Atoms, Molecules, Mixtures, Compounds
  • The Metric System
  • Poison dart frogs
  • Greek mythology
  • Logic
  • Writing projects (to be determined by the children)

What are some of the topics on the plan in your homeschool this week?

Homeschool, Van Repairs, and Learning

IMG_9143Week two is nearly over and as usual it did not go exactly how we expected.  The unexpected began on Monday morning when Mason’s hip incision showed definite signs of infection so Mommy and Mason made the hour drive in to the surgeon to have it checked.  We came home with antibiotics and instructions for daily dressing changes.  While we were gone Daddy did most of the homeschooling with the rest of the family.  I’m eternally grateful for a husband who is supportive of homeschooling and willing to jump right in and teach as needed!  He’s such a blessing!  The oldest four children began copywork and dictation this day.  You can get an inside look at how that works in this post.

Tuesday was a quiet day at home.  School work was done without fuss.  We added two new subjects back in – picture study and logic.  Picture study is a family event and I described it more in this post.  Velazquez is our current artist and he’s from Spain, so of course we found Spain on our world map.  We have also been reading and enjoying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  The kids made me stop reading long enough to find where ‘the channel’ was in the story (the English Channel) and where the family in the story was heading.  I love that geography is spilling over into their other activities and they are choosing to look up places on maps!

8.271Wednesday was a great geography day according to my children.  Why?  Because we got out shaving cream!  We were talking about Pangea (the idea that all the land was once a single piece and the current continents are pieces of that).  We used some laminated continent pieces to try and fit the continents together into Pangea.  Then we learned about the theory of plate tectonics, how the underlying solid plates shift and along their edges as they shift we often find volcanoes and earthquakes.  In a baking dish we sprayed the shaving cream.  Then the laminated continent pieces were put on top to represent plates (though we talked about how the actual plates are under the oceans too, so very differently shaped). They pushed and shifted pieces around to see what happened when they plates meet.  Very fun!

Makayla began writing a paper today.  Last week she and I read The Giver and on Saturday we went and saw the movie.  It has been a great experience with many conversations started.  She is writing a paper comparing and contrasting the book and movie.  She also finished reading the three books that come after The Giver on this day (Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son).  She’s begging me to hurry up and read them too.  I finished Gathering Blue Thursday evening so more conversations have ensued.

Thursday was complain about math day at my house.  This year the children are doing Life of Fred books in addition to their Math U See course.  For some reason they all decided on Thursday that math should be abolished from the curriculum.  I struck down that proposal and they complained all morning long.  Do you ever have one of those days?

Pattern Block Boys I blogged on this day about several of my little boys.  Did you read that post? This is also the day we dropped the 12 passenger van off for service. We have a trusted mechanic but I knew when I dropped it off that we were going to have some work that would need done.

Friday morning I got the call with the estimate for work on the van.  After a detailed explanation (that matched what I suspected was wrong) plus the regular maintenance we needed like tire rotation and balancing, an oil change, etc, the grand total came to just over $1000.  Ouch.  I picked up the van this afternoon and handed over cash.  Double ouch!  Still, it is a blessing that we had the money available to pay for the repairs.

School was especially fun today because Grandma showed up on our doorstep around 10am.  The children were partway through their work and most of them decided they needed Grandma to help with at least one of their subjects.  Oliver even pulled out his math book to do extra pages with her – so cute!

Makayla is working on a project for Personal Progress and she took advantage of Grandma being in the house too.  Makayla is gathering both family history dates/names/places as well as family stories.  Today we got to listen to stories from grandma’s childhood, a great aunt’s childhood, and my own childhood from my mother’s perspective.

Today was our last day of general world geography information.  Next week we embark on the continent studies.  Our first continent is North America.  I’ll try to type up a post this weekend sharing some of the books and articles we’ll be reading, as well as activities and art projects that are on the possibilities list for the children to choose from over the next month.

Next Week -  We’ll be diving into science!  I’ll be using God’s Design for Heaven and Earth with the younger seven children.  I’m excited to see how this works out because we’ve not used these books before.  The first book we’ll cover is Our Universe so we’ll be all about space for a while.  At the same time Makayla will begin Apologia’s Physical Science course. She works mostly independently for science and this year will be a great one!

That’s all for us! I’m linking to Weekly Wrap-Up and Collage Friday.


Play and Learning: A Window to the Person

Pattern Block BoysSome of my little men pulled out the pattern blocks to play with today. I love seeing their personalities come out in small things like this.  Have you ever noticed what individuals young children are and how it shows up in their play and learning?

IMG_9139Here is a picture of Caleb’s work.  He was at the ‘discovery’ stage for the very first time with pattern blocks.  He has played with them before but generally just stacked them in piles.  Today he made pictures.  According to him these are a sun (yellow and orange), broken wheel (green), volcano (red), and some fish (gray and blue). He was quite serious about it all.

IMG_9144Oliver was too busy talking to do much building.  He was busy telling me about the one thing he had made.  Can you guess what it is?  A stingray.  He went into this long narration about his experiences with Stingray Bay at the zoo, what they felt like, that they smelled funny, and what he wished he could do with them (pets!).

IMG_9143Mason, too, was a classic example of personality and preferences showing in his play time.  Notice the COLOR of the only blocks he really played with?  Orange.  People often comment on his orange wheelchair and glasses, that it’s cute we chose matching colors.  What few realize is that Mason made the color decision.  The cast he’s wearing?  Orange.  His decision.  So it was no surprise to me at all when the only pattern blocks he played with were the orange squares.

How have you seen your children’s unique personality and preferences show up in their play or learning?

Adding in a Few Subjects at a Time

Do you dive right in to a full homeschool load each fall or do you add a few new things in each week?  At our house we add a few new things each week.  I thought I would share what we’re adding in this week!

IMG_9109Picture Study - Our first artist this year is Diego Velazquez.  I’ll be honest, I was totally unfamiliar with his life AND his work.  That’s why I’ve been so pleased with the Picture Study Portfolio from Simply Charlotte Mason!  Today I read part of the story in the book aloud to my children.  The story was thoughtful but along the way we learned several things about Velazquez’s childhood, apprenticeships, marriage, and his big break becoming the royal painter for King Phillip IV of Spain.  We then studied the painting he did of King Phillip on a stallion.  After everyone narrated what they remembered we measured out how big the oil painting is in real life.  The portfolio has eight paintings by Velazquez for us to enjoy over the next few months.  Then we will choose a new artist’s work to explore.

Copywork/Dictation - I have FIVE children doing copywork or dictation this year!  It’s crazy and necessitates some differences in approach based on age.

IMG_9111Oliver is brand new to copywork and each day for now he writes one letter in upper and lower case.  That’s it.  The goal is for him to do his best effort.  We also combine this with his learning to read, so he practices the sound for the letter he has written.  By the end of the week he will write one word using those letters.  Next week we will practice individual letters for three days and a word on the fourth day.

IMG_9112Daniel is familiar with copywork but too young for dictation.  He’s also a bit of a perfectionist.  I break his copywork up over the week so he gets used to not completing something in one sitting.  Each week I ask him what he wants his copywork to be about.  This week he chose submarines.  Each day he copies one line.  At the end of the week he gets to illustrate his copywork.

In case you were wondering, I got the idea for using highlighter in a composition book to create copywork pages from Sherry at Large Family Mothering.  Simple and effective!

8.27Emma, Joseph, and Makayla are doing prepared dictation with a side of copywork.  Joseph and Emma are using Spelling Wisdom book 1 while Makayla is using book 2. Spelling Wisdom is from Simply Charlotte Mason, I own the ebook version.  Right now I assign one passage weekly, that may increase to two in the second half of the year.  On day 1 they copy the passage in their best handwriting (copywork).  The next day they decide which words they need practice spelling and write those in their best handwriting, spell orally, and even write on the dry erase board.

Collages14The third day they focus on learning where the punctuation is in the passage as well as reviewing their chosen spelling words.  The fourth day is dictation day.  I read the passage aloud a phrase at a time.  They write it, spelling and punctuating appropriately.

IMG_9106Logic - This year Makayla and I will be doing a logic course together.  We are working through two books: The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox.  This is one of the things I wish I had learned in school and the approach the Bluedorns take is very fun and memorable.

That’s it for new subjects this week at my house!  Have you added in any new subjects to your week?  I would love to hear about them.

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Week in Review #1: Learning and A New Project

I’m starting over numbering my week in review posts for the 2014-2015 school year – welcome to week 1.  While we’ve done a lot of school through the summer, including an online literature class for Makayla, math, writing, and nature study, this was our first week adding subjects back in to the schedule. Next week we add in a few more subjects and then one more week and we’ll be up to full schedule.

Collages10This week has gone well!  We are getting into the habit of doing our group work first thing in our day.  Right now that is devotional, then world geography and cultures.  After that children move into their independent work and I bounce from child to child as needed to teach one to read, help with math, and enjoy my littlest boys.  If you want a fantastic look at our very first day this week check out my One Homeschool Day post.  I share the details in an uncut, honest format along with plenty of photographs.

Tuesday was a good, solid day of learning.  There were no dramatics, no unusual circumstance.  We are focusing on the world and maps in general for the first two weeks of geography so we have been learning the continents, oceans, and why latitude and longitude is helpful in navigation.  We are also learning one new geography term each day using the book Geography from A to Z.  In a month we’ll have learned most of them and we’ll have a fun activity building them with clay or salt dough in baking dishes and pouring in the water around the formations.

We took the day off school on Wednesday for our traditional NOT Back to School Day.  We always take off the first day our local public schools are in session because we love the ability we have as homeschoolers to direct our own schedule.  It ended up being an especially good day because Mason had his 2 week post-surgery checkup and he was cleared to begin sitting for half of his waking hours.  That meant he could use his wheelchair again!  If you want to see pure joy go watch the short video of him near the end of this post on my other blog, Mason’s Spina Bifida Journal.

8.21Thursday ended up being really fun because after finishing up schoolwork in the morning we got to have some homeschool friends over. Between the two of us we have 6 girls and 8 boys ages 13 years to 3 months old.  The kids were making art, crafting with toilet paper tubes, and enjoying our hermit crabs.

Friday we got working on school right at 8:00am because we knew we had people coming over mid-morning and in the early afternoon.  Morning devotional on Friday is a little different.  We still sing a hymn, pray, and practice our memory work.  Then, instead of reading from the New Testament we read a story from The Friend, New Era, or Ensign.  Today we read and talked about The 50 Mile Hike.  It was a great story and we had a good discussion.

Collages13Math by the end of the week found some children taking tests, others early in a new lesson already, and Life of Fred being enjoyed by the oldest 4.  Geography included puzzle time today.  We love GeoPuzzles and today children worked on The World in ones and twos.

IMG_8746The kids have started sneaking books off our geography shelves to read because they are so interesting.  It always makes me smile because it’s another evidence that their love of learning is alive and well.

We’re still reading a few pages in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang each day.  It is a shorter book and has a lot of great suspenseful stopping points so I’m taking advantage of them.  I have found that the kids talk more about the book when we take our time with it, so I’m trying to do that.


timc lds header copy

I’m excited to share that I’m now working on a new project – and it just may be one you could use occasionally in your homeschool writing assignments!  I’ve taken over the role of Editor for the This Is Me Challenge (LDS Version) Facebook Page.  Now, before you skip past if you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, most of this will work well regardless of your church affiliation.  Each day I’m sharing ideas and inspiration to help you begin recording your personal history and testimony The This is Me Challenge (LDS Version) blog has prompts for just about everyone, including children, youth, returned missionaries, and YOU.

An entire website can be overwhelming, which is where I come in! Each day on the Facebook page I’ll post one of the challenge ideas from the blog, a quote or scripture to ponder, even a photo or song for inspiration. You can use that as a jumping off point to add to your personal history – write, video record, blog, scrapbook – the format is up to you.

We have a sister blog called This Is Me Challenge and accompanying FB page with Editor Kristi where you can find more ideas and inspiration.  I’ve come on board to help Emily, the owner and original brains behind the challenges.  She has done an amazing amount of work and shares it all free.  I’m going to help you explore it in daily doses on FB.

That’s all for me this week!  I’m linking up with Collage Friday, Weekly Wrap-Up.

One Homeschool Day: August Edition Linky


One Homeschool Day AugustWe have already reached the 20th of August and that means it is time for another One Homeschool Day post!  This is the post where I invite you into my home to see what an unedited day really looks like homeschooling my large family.  It’s messy, it’s honest, it’s real.  This month I recorded Monday, August 18th, our first day adding a few subjects back into our homeschool and the first day easing back into school hours.  Hold on to your hats folks, it was a bumpy ride! The morning began for me at 1:25am when I woke up to catheterize Mason.  He had two surgeries two weeks ago and so cathing now involves a bit more work, unwrapping his legs, keeping casts clean, and re-wrapping his legs together in the dark.  Preferably without waking anyone else.

8.18After that I went back to sleep until 6:15am, when I popped out of bed and into the shower.  With a doctor’s appointment on the agenda we needed to get an early start to the day so most of the school would be finished early. 6:30am I started waking the rest of the house (Daddy and kids).  While they were getting up, going to the bathroom, and getting dressed I sorted the laundry from the night before and made sure the guilty parties put it away. 7:00am we were all downstairs eating breakfast except for Makayla, who was in the shower.  Bagels or cereal were eaten, chores completed, diapering done, and the family gathered at the couch at 7:30am for devotional.   This is where things started getting bumpy.  Daniel wanted to sit in a particular spot on the couch and it was already occupied.  He tried to push his way in and Daddy stopped him.  That began a very crabby morning for Daniel.  He cried, moaned, and cried some more. During devotional we have a few basic rules.  Everyone must participate in the singing, have their scriptures, and be quiet when it is not their turn to read.  Daniel refused to sing, knowing it is one of the few hard and fast rules we have.  He wanted to go play with his Legos instead of devotional.  We removed the Legos to the attic and let him know that he was welcome to have those back as soon as he sang the song, be that in 5 minutes or 5 days.

IMG_8785We began our new memory work after song and prayer.  We’re working on learning The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  It’s something some of us have learned parts of in the past but this year we’ve decided to learn the entire thing.  We recited the first part.  Then it was scripture study time. For devotional this semester we’ve decided to read the New Testament.  Reading is fairly simple.  Every person reads at least two verses aloud.  Non-readers have helpers who they repeat after.

Collages88:00am we were finished with devotional, Daniel had calmed down, and everyone moved to the table to begin our World Geography and Cultures study.  We were excited!  Today we learned about globes, read part of Maps and Globes, and looked in our new atlases.  We took a balloon and traced two paper shapes on it like continents.  Then we cut the balloon apart and stretched it out like a map.  When comparing the paper shapes we got a great look at distortion and had a quick discussion about maps vs. globes.  The younger children headed off to put together a world map floor puzzle while Makayla, Joseph, and Emma opened their geography notebooks for the first assignment.  Today each had 2 questions related to globes and continents.  They could use their atlases to find answers as needed.  Then we began map work.  Joseph and Emma labeled continents and the equator, while Makayla also added in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.  She also spent more time on the questions as she’s doing the high school level in Trail Guide to World Geography. Math was next today for most children.

Collages10Here’s what each child did:

  • Makayla did one chapter in Life of Fred Fractions and lesson 12 in Math U See PreAlgebra on the distributive property and it’s opposite, factoring.
  • Joseph did one chapter in Life of Fred Butterflies and lesson 1 in Math U See Delta about factors and products and solving for the unknown.
  • Emma did one chapter in Life of Fred Butterflies and lesson 1 in Math U See Delta about factors and products and solving for the unknown.
  • Daniel did test 21 in Math U See Alpha, subtracting 9.  He was supposed to do Life of Fred as well but didn’t at this time.  More on this later.
  • Oliver did some number recognition, coloring a set of items to match the number circled.

Collages9While I was rotating through children teaching their new Math U See lessons they would either do their Life of Fred chapter or their personal scripture reading.  Daddy and I each worked with Oliver on reading as well.  The younger boys also did puzzles. When is was Daniel’s turn to do Life of Fred he wasn’t ready.  He had decided he wanted his Legos back “NOW” and I cheerfully told him he could have them as soon as he sang our morning hymn with me.  That provoked tears.  He read through the chapter in Life of Fred eventually and Joseph and I got ready to leave. At 9:45am Joseph and I headed to the allergist for his 6 month checkup.  We’re heading in to his worst allergy season (he has quite a few environmental allergies on top of a life threatening egg allergy, and asthma).  He also had his weekly allergy shots.  All in all the appointment took an hour.

We stopped to put gas in the van on the way home and then I arrived to discover Daniel had not done his Life of Fred.  He had gone upstairs and Daddy didn’t know the work wasn’t done.  When I called him down he went back to crying about wanting his Legos. I explained that two things were going to happen.  1. He was going to sit at the table until he finished his problems in LOF.  (For perspective, he had read the 5 page chapter so all he had to do was answer 3 questions.)  If he had not finished them by noon he would miss out on eating lunch.  2.  He was not going to have his Legos back unless he sang, period, so once the math was done he would spend the day in his bed if he wanted to cry, because loud crying is only allowed in your bed.  It’s too noisy and distracting to the rest of the family.

At that point it was 11:20am.  He wasn’t happy and sat at the table for about 10 minutes before he decided I was serious.  He did his 3 math problems and went to play with his brothers.

IMG_8849Daddy made lunch while I played with Mason and Samuel and a bunch of playdoh.  Once lunch was ready everyone ate.  As soon as I finished my plate it was read aloud time!  We are reading Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it has been great fun.  We read of their first trip to the sea with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – flying, of course, and left off with the family surrounded by water on a small sandbar in the ocean that is swiftly disappearing as the tide moves in.  It was a perfect moment to introduce our new poet study.

IMG_8851We are going to be studying Walt Whitman using Poetry for Young People: Walt Whitman.  It just so happens that there is a section of poetry centered around ships, sailing, and the ocean in that book so today we read one of those poems.

IMG_8860After our poem Daniel decided he was ready to sing the morning’s hymn, I Love to See the Temple, so that he could have his Legos back.  He and I sat down on the floor by the freezer to sing and by the time we finished this was the group of little boys singing with us.

At last it was 1:00pm, quiet time at our house!  It begins with the children doing 30 minutes of reading in their beds then we turn on an audio book.  Today they finished listening to The Throne of Fire, Kane Chronicles book 2.  Samuel, Mason, and Caleb napped during this time.  I loaded some pictures onto the computer, checked email, and started writing notes for this post.

IMG_8768At 2:30pm most of the older children went outside to play while the youngest two boys continued their naps.  When Mason woke up he, Daddy, and I went to the attic to look for something Emma had been asking about.  We didn’t find it, but we did bring down our Wedgits set for the kids to enjoy.

8.19On and off throughout the rest of the evening children used the Wedgits to create.  Mason tends to call anything he makes with them a cake.  The middle boys like to make them into traps for their Legos and drop pieces down inside the Wedgits pyramids.  Emma is great at making tall towers.

8.191Pretty much the rest of the day was family time in varying combinations.  Samuel is working on a new talent – furniture rearranging.  He is also trying to figure out how to stack blocks and not knock them right over.  I caught Joseph and Oliver building space ships with Legos.  Daniel was on the stairs with a Lego creation because in this house you have to find your quiet spaces when you need them.

8.192Daddy snuggled up with Mason during part of the evening to encourage him to continue laying down.  The girls decided it was time to re-organize their bookshelves.  I caught them midway through.  This time instead of having all the books in alphabetical order by author they sorted into categories (science fiction, mystery, nonfiction, etc) and put books in alphabetical order within those categories by author’s last name.  After they finished Emma talked Makayla into playing Legos together.

We ate dinner, we did more diapers, we watched some shows on Netflix.  An hour was spent in the bathroom doing Mason’s nightly enema.  We’ve added the fun of taping trash bags over his casts for that.  Thankfully it’s working well and so the casts are nice and clean still.

Bedtime routines began at 8:15pm and before long everyone was snug in their bed with book lights, an audio book playing, and a few giggles.  It was a good day that had its difficult moments.  That’s normal when you have a house full of personalities living and growing together. We’re learning together how to be kind, consistent, and hard working.  It’s a beautiful messy process!

Another day finished and recorded!  Now it’s your turn to link up a post about One Homeschool Day at your house.  This is August’s edition.  Have you been joining me all year so far?  We’re over halfway through the year.  Take a look back and reread each post to see snapshots of your year so far, the memories are precious.  Here are each of my posts for the year, along with the other families who’ve participated:

  1. January Edition
  2. February Edition
  3. March Edition
  4. April Edition
  5. May Edition
  6. June Edition
  7. July Edition

If you’ve not participated yet, now is the time to begin!  All you do is write a post sharing an unedited look at one day for your homeschooling family.  I love seeing what is going on in your family and sharing what is going on in mine!  (If you’re reading this post by email you will need to come visit the blog to be able to see the link up.)


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Meet my Students

Time for a new school year! Our little one room schoolhouse is full of laughter, love, and a lot of personalities. Come on in and get know my students then hop over to the student photo week at iHN.

IMG_8900Samuel, age 1, content, giggly, happy. Loves eating, electronics, and Magneatos.

IMG_8876Mason, age 2, cheerful, loving, and funny. Loves Playdoh, drawing, and Curious George.

IMG_8899Caleb, Preschooler, rambunctious, eager, curious. Loves vehicles, stuffed animals, and climbing.

IMG_8908Oliver, Kindergarten, focused, quiet, friendly. Loves cooking, superheroes, and giraffes.

IMG_8928Daniel, 1st grade, intense, joker, athletic. Loves Legos, reading, acrobatics.

IMG_8892Emma, 3rd grade, spunky, imaginative, determined. Loves monsters, crafting, and Legos.

IMG_8885Joseph, 4th grader, observant, engineer, and shy. Loves Legos and Star Wars.

IMG_8877Makayla, 8th grader, inquisitive, artsy, and independent. Loves drawing, music, and books.

Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  Any purchase you make after clicking through my link gives me a small credit.  My homeschool budget thanks you!

The Subject I’m Most Excited About Teaching

It’s been quiet here but I have shared several updates since Mason’s surgery over on Mason’s Spina Bifida Journal.  Things are settling into a  ‘new normal’ that involves a lot of sitting near Mason to watch over him and keep him laying down for this 6 week recovery period.  It has gone better than I expected.  Well enough that I’ve decided to begin the transition from summer to fall learning. This involves adding in new subjects for the year like science, logic, and poetry study. We’re already doing math (both Math U See and Life of Fred).  Oliver is working on learning to read.  The older children are reading for 30 minutes a day from a literature book and narrating.

IMG_8746I’m so excited I’m practically giddy, much to my children’s amusement.  Homeschooling has been an unequivocal blessing for our family and each new year the blessings grow right alongside the fun.  I’ve decided the first subject to be added is our World Geography and Cultures study.  It has been a long time in the planning and now it’s time to work out the kinks of day to day learning.  That is one of the fun parts to creating your own curriculum! We started today and I’ll share some details of that soon. The picture above shows some of our books.  I plan to change books out as we move to different continents in our study.  Right now my plan looks like this:

Monday – Trail assignments + Mapping + Books

Trail assignments are questions from the Trail Guide to World Geography written at 3 different levels and generally answered using an atlas. Makayla will use the high school questions while Joseph and Emma use the ones for their grades, and Daniel and the younger boys will explore the atlas with Mommy to find answers.

Mapping on this day will be tracing and labeling a map for the portion of the world we are currently studying. The goal is to be able to label the region from memory by the end of the 4-6 week period we’ve been studying it.

Books will vary.  Makayla, for example, will be reading books every day to learn more about the countries and cultures of the current region.  She will have chapter books, nonfiction books like Material World and Hungry Planet, and will do current events research for each region as well. The other children will have picture books from Five in a Row set in the current region, nonfiction titles including Children Just Like Me and A Life Like Mine (which I’ve already gone through and made lists of readings for each continent), etc.  I have a list of magazine articles from The Friend that introduce you to a child and their homeland so that’s another fun read we’ll have all year.

Tuesday – Trail assignments + Books

These are the same things as Monday has because there are just so many good books to read.

Wednesday – Trail assignments + Points of Interest

Points of Interest are project and research suggestions found for each week in the Trail Guide to World Geography, though my children are welcome to dream up their own.  This is where my children can explore their interests as they relate to our study.  One child may spend the week learning about a specific country and making a notebook or poster to share what they learn.  Another may focus on the geographic features, famous landmarks, or a specific people group.  Makayla, the oldest, could decide to explore the similarities and differences of people in the same region and how the physical geography has affected the languages, migrations, and even agriculture or industries.  I expect that some projects will be more involved and take several weeks to complete while others will be done in just a few days.  My main requirements are that children have a points of interest project in the works each week and that they prepare some way of sharing what they learn.  Sharing can be in any form:  written, drawn, spoken, video recorded, create a card game, built out of Legos, or performing a skit to name a few.

Thursday – Trail assignments + Points of Interest + Art

This will be another day for each child to work on their Points of Interest project as needed but the highlight of the day will be the projects we choose from Geography Through Art. Some of these projects will take more than one day depending on how involved they are.

Friday – Points of interest + GeoPuzzle + Books

This is the only day we have no trail assignments.  It frees up time to for more reading, more working on projects, and putting together our GeoPuzzles for the current region or doing some more mapmaking.

What subject are you most excited about teaching this year?