Learning Plans this Week

IMG_8269Another week has begun and it’s the last week before Mason’s double surgery. Next week we’ll be on break. This week we have some learning plans  and I thought I would share them. They’re pretty simple!

Family Subjects

  • Devotional – We’ll read scriptures and sing hymns.
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh – this is our read aloud for Homeschool Book Club and we’re enjoying it.

Small Group Subject

  • My 4th grade and under crowd will be doing a Before Five in a Row title this week: Caps for Sale.  We have simple activities to go along like working with money, water resist painting, mimicry, dealing with frustration, and some balancing/PE challenges.

Individual Work

Makayla, 8th grade

  • Scripture study
  • Pre Algebra
  • Writing project (she’s comparing and contrasting two characters in a book she’s read)
  • 30 minutes of reading

Joseph, 4th grade

  • Scripture study
  • Life of Fred Apples and moving into Butterflies
  • 30 minutes of reading

Emma, 3rd grade

  • Scripture study
  • Life of Fred Apples and moving into Butterflies
  • 30 minutes of reading

Daniel, 1st grade

  • Scripture study
  • Life of Fred Apples and moving into Butterflies
  • 30 minutes of reading

Oliver, Kindergarten

  • Scripture stories with Mommy and the 3 younger brothers
  • Beginning reading practice

Caleb, Mason, Samuel (ages 3, 2, 1)

  • Scripture stories with Mommy and Oliver

There you have it! Do you have any lessons planned this week? 

Readers Ask, I Answer, Part Two


“How do you juggle so many kids to teach at one time?”

“How do you balance independent work and family work with the wide span of ages you have?”

Today I’m tackling these two related reader questions.  Homeschooling when you have eight children is never dull and always fascinating! The habits of orderliness, independence, and responsibility are essential for everyone’s sanity. I have learned so much from my children.  There have been babies and toddlers in my house for 13 years straight. I now have 5 children homeschooling with three little brothers tagging along.  I organize my teaching along a few principles:

IMG_8017Include everyone where it makes sense to do so.

I have choices when I plan our school year.  I can choose to do individual books for every subject for each child or I can combine children in many subjects instead.  I choose combining, usually called multi-level teaching.  Instead of five different history curricula for my 5 school age children we focus as a family on one.  We have family read alouds and activities together around the theme. Children are given individualized assignments based on their age and ability, as well as further reading on their own for the older grades. You can see our World Geography and Cultures Multi-level Plan for this year if you’re interested.

Another example shows a different grouping.  Instead of science textbooks for K, 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 8th we’ll divide into 2 groups.  The 8th grader works independently on her own lab science course (Apologia Physical Science).  The 4th and under crowd will all work together using God’s Design for Science: Heaven and Earth set.  Many of the topics cross over between the groups, which will make for some fun times together.

Many subjects can be combined in this way.  For the coming year we will have the following group subjects (with all or several children):  Scripture study, Hymn study, Geography/Cultures, Science (excluding 8th grader), Artist study, Composer study, Nature study, Poetry study, Homeschool Book Club, Five in a Row (excluding 8th grader, these titles will be chosen to correlate with our World Geography study).

Some subjects do not combine well because they are skill based, such as math, learning to read, and writing. That’s okay.  The few subjects in this category are the ones I do with each child or that I give assignments on an individual level.  As you can see from my list above, most of our work is done as a group.

5.151Table Time keeps little ones in sight for a while.

I have three little boys trailing along after my 5 school age children.  At ages 3, 2, and 1 their learning time is play time. I have found that for at least a portion of our morning it is helpful to seatbelt these three little boys in booster seats at the table.  I pull out our activity tubs and they happily play while I get some one on one lessons done with older children. If you want more details check out this post on activity tubs.  It also has links to the details of training a child for table time.

Train for independence.

After sitting with my oldest child all morning in the early years of homeschooling I realized I was in trouble.  I had several little ones.  Sitting with each one for a few hours every day to do school individually was not going to work.  I started stepping away from Makayla after she began an assignment.  In the beginning I stepped away long enough to do one thing, then two.  I helped her feel capable and achieve independence.  Now each child in school gets an assignment sheet for the week with daily work listed.  They choose what order to do their individual assignments.  The rule is you do school during school hours, not play.

This truly makes a huge difference in our day!  I am able to focus on helping individual children because I know that the others can keep working without me.

Group Subjects: First or Fastened to the Routine.

Last year we did not do group subject first in the day after devotional. The problem came when one or two children would be ready for science or another group subject when the others were in the middle of something else. Nobody finished their individual work at exactly the same time. We made it work last year but it did cause some frustrations.

This year the plan is to do most of our group learning first in our day.  We will begin with devotional and go from there into geography, science, and so on.  Then children will be dismissed to do their individual work.  We have a few family work items that won’t happen here.  Instead they are fastened to our daily routine.  For example we will do Homeschool Book Club read aloud over lunch.  Poetry study will happen during one snack time of the week.  Nature Study will be in the afternoon or on a planned excursion with Daddy.  The children’s individual subjects will not begin until later in the morning, once group work is finished.

Hopefully those ideas help someone else smooth out their day’s routine!  If you’re curious to know our curriculum plans for 2014-2015 you can check them out in this post.  Check back soon for the answer to more reader questions, including how we keep school books and supplies organized.

Five in a Row – Trees from Mike Mulligan

IMG_8187We are having a nice, relaxed week here at home with just the youngest seven children. We started our morning of lessons off with Five in a Row again, still enjoying Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Today’s theme was art so we looked through the illustrations and learned about making trees look far away or closer simply with the level of detail you add.  A simple stick and ball tree drawn small looks farther away than a tree with some branches and slightly more detailed foliage.  Want to see our pastel pictures?

IMG_8211This is Caleb’s picture.  He’s 3 and had so much fun blending his colors all over the paper and the table.  He even chose to use tree colors!

IMG_8208Oliver is 5.  He did this lovely tree at night.  Technically he did a small stick and ball tree but, as he said to me, “When it gets dark you can’t see far away mom so I covered it in black.”  Of course, son, you’re right.

IMG_8205Daniel is my 6 year old son. He placed one large tree in the center of the page and some teeny ones on the horizon.  He was the first to point out that the sun in Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has a face.  “What was that person word for it?” he asked Joseph.  “Personification,” replied big brother.  Yes,  I think I’ll let my children teach each other the rest of the week.  It’s lovely to hear.  Daniel added a smile to his sun to personify it too.

IMG_8197Emma is my 8 year old daughter and the one who loves details.  She was determined to put many of the pieces of the story into her picture.   There are trees, Mary Anne the steam shovel, the selectmen ready to choose someone to dig the hole, and the four square corners laid out showing where the cellar would be.  A smiley sun graced her page as well.

IMG_8202Joseph is 9 and the big brother of the house.  He narrated some lovely details to me about his picture.  He explained that his tree was losing it’s leaves because it was autumn.  He said the far away tree you can just see beside the sun ended up brownish orange because that’s what the red, orange, and yellow mixed into.  The sun is setting in the west and it’s getting dark on the east of his picture.

It always amazes me how one simple idea – the amount of detail in a picture can make things look closer or further away - combined with a story we’ve enjoyed and each child’s individual mind brings such a variety to their work.  We had a lot of pastel dust to clean up when we were finished!

Have you been doing any simple summer lessons?
Have you ever used Five in a Row?

One Homeschool Day July Edition

One Homeschool Day JulySometimes I forget things… like the fact that I host a monthly link up where we share a peek at a day in our life…ahem. A few days late is better than never, right?  Read all about our day and then link up your own post at the end.  This recorded day is Tuesday July 22, 2014.  It is a bit unusual because Makayla is gone for a week of Girl’s Camp for Church.  This is our first morning to wake up with her gone this week. It’s been interesting to only have 7 children ages 1-9 in the house. I’m not sure how I managed to have seven children in eight years but it’s so much fun to mother them all!

6:15am is the time my clock read when Mason started calling my name from his bedroom.  He was ready to be up for the day even if I wasn’t.  We headed downstairs and snuggled on the couch.  I even turned on a dvd of Max and Ruby, hoping I could sneak in a few minutes with my eyes shut.  No such luck!  “Wake up Mommy!  Wake up Mommy!” was his mantra.  I grabbed the Kindle Fire to check email and Facebook while we snuggled and he giggled at the antics of Max the bunny.

6:30am the children started trickling down the stairs. It was official, morning had arrived.  I grabbed the load of laundry from the dryer and carried it up to put away because I could hear Samuel was awake too.  The rest of the children used the bathroom and started making breakfast.  I’m so grateful for big kids who will help!  Joseph and Emma got everyone’s food ready just in time for Samuel and I to join them at the table.  Samuel has graduated to table food.  It’s a messy affair but so far there are very few things he doesn’t eat.  We did morning devotional at the table today too.

7:15am everyone headed upstairs to get dressed in clean clothes. I gated Samuel in the boys’ bedroom to play with Duplos while I took my own turn getting dressed, made the bed, and helped Caleb find a missing orange elephant. Then it was chore time.  Joseph fed and watered hermit crabs and cleaned the downstairs bathroom.  Emma, Caleb, and Oliver went outside to feed the cat, then came in to clean the upstairs bathroom (Emma) and pick up toys (Caleb and Oliver).  Daniel went to the basement and grabbed a list of food we would need today.  Mason and Samuel helped me shelve books that had mysteriously been spread all over the floor of one bedroom.  ;)  I also cathed Mason, a regular occurrence every 4 hours from 8am to midnight.  I’m not going to write it down each time it happens for the remainder of the post, just like I won’t write down the diaper changes for Samuel, just know that the bathroom business happened all day long.

IMG_8084As children finished their chores they were free to play for the morning.  I notified them that lessons would happen beginning at snack time and they were free until then.  Caleb and Oliver pulled out the Model Magic to make some bouncy balls. It really bounces well and you don’t need to wait for anything to dry.

IMG_8068Here’s Oliver’s bouncy ball.  He was quite proud of the design.  He made a blue ball and then layered a yellow piece over it and rolled until it stuck together.

IMG_8074Mason got into the dry erase markers and decorated his leg.  He is working on his artwork at every opportunity, as our walls and his leg will attest to.

7.211Samuel and I played one of his current favorite games.  That’s right, he’s discovered the joy of Peek A Boo.  I love his belly laughs as he plays.

7.212All my little boys abandoned me, heading upstairs again to play with the older siblings.  They had pulled out some Legos and were making microfighters, smallish Star Wars inspired space ships.  After taking a few pictures I slipped into my room to read my scriptures and soak in the serenity.  Quiet moments are rare in my day, I’ve learned to enjoy them.

7.21As it always does, 10:00am came and we gathered around the table for snack time.  I read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to the children.  It’s our second day ‘rowing’ this book. Five in a Row is a homeschool curriculum guide that has you read a book five days in a row and focus on a different subject area with each reading.  Today was language arts.  I asked the children if there were any clues in the story to tell them if it was a real story or a pretend one. Caleb piped up that it ‘has to be p-tend cause the shovel hads eyes’.  He was right, of course.  The steam shovel is named Mary Anne and has eyes, smiles, and does other things that real steam shovels don’t do.

I told them there was a special word for this trick the author and illustrator were using, it was personification.  I asked the older three to look at the word and see if it gave us any clues about what it might mean.  They found the word person and so we talked about how the steam shovel was doing things that a human might do.  She smiled, she worked harder and faster when people were watching, she was friends with Mike Mulligan.  I asked for examples from books or movies where something that wasn’t a person had human qualities.  The beginning of their list included:

  •  Mary Anne the steam shovel
  • Mr. Beaver in the Narnia books (okay, they named off most of the characters in Narnia but Mr. Beaver was first so he’s the one I wrote on the board.)
  • Dinosaurs in the Land Before Time movie.
  • The flowers in Alice in Wonderland (again, they named more, like the caterpillar, white rabbit, card soldiers, and the Cheshire cat.)

We pulled out paper and everyone drew one non-human to personify and tell a story about.  Then we took turns telling our stories. Can I just say my kids are hilarious story tellers?  Long, drawn out stories with more plot twists than you can follow.

7.213By this point it was all of 10:40am.  The older children were asked to do two things of their choice from their summer subjects.  Interestingly enough they each chose scripture study and Life of Fred math. Emma worked in her bed for it all.  I can tell she’s missing her big sister and needed a quiet, cozy place to retreat from the six brothers for a bit.

IMG_8146The four little boys spent this time doing what little boys do – playing!  Caleb and Oliver were going on an adventure so they made telescopes.  They would roam the house and ‘discover’ new places and creatures.  My favorite was when they discovered the wheel-a-saurus – that would be Mason in his wheelchair.

IMG_8151Lunch time rolled around at noon and I got fun mom points for pulling out a cookie cutter to shape their sandwiches.  Occasionally I remember to do simple things like that and because it is only occasional the kids really love it.  Everyone enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with grapes and asked for a read aloud.  While we’re currently reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and loving it, we can’t read it without Makayla.  So while she’s at camp I’m reading stories out of Heroes of Ohio by Rick Sowash.  Today we read about Johnny Chapman (Appleseed).  After lunch the kids cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher while I scrubbed jelly out of Samuel’s hair.

Caleb was thrilled to get his first bracelet in the mail for the Rainbow Loom Creation Gift Exchange I organized (thanks Ellie Fontaine!). We also got three magazines in the mail: The Ensign, The Friend, The New Era.  It was now 1:00pm and quiet time.  The three younger boys fell asleep and I read for a while, the older four children laid in their beds to read or listen to our current audio book.  They are listening to The Mysterious Benedict Society again, their request.

IMG_8160Quiet time was followed by time playing outside.  Our grass could use a trim but the kids love when we let it grow a bit because the dandelions go to seed and can be blown everywhere.  The kids got good an hot playing with sticks and dirt and all those healthy summer things.

When they came inside we pulled out popsicles and ice cream cones.  Yum.  They asked for a dvd to watch so in went Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel.  Have you ever watched Phineas and Ferb?  I have to admit my kids love it with the crazy inventions every day of the summer.  I’ve even been known to watch an episode or two.  While they enjoyed the show I sat down at the computer to type up the first half of this post.

Dinner prep began at 4:30pm and it was Emma’s day to help.  She peeled and cut cucumbers to go with the sliced strawberries and quesadillas on the menu.  We cooked and served everyone but mommy because the kids had already asked me to read aloud another story from Heroes of Ohio.  We read about Simon Kenton, a frontiersman.  In case you’ve never read this book and are considering obtaining a copy, let me warn you this book isn’t sanitized or politically correct.  Simon Kenton was a frontiersman who fought with the militia against the British and Indians.  In the story he actually stands up for the Native Americans when a drunken man gathers a group to attack the nearby village against the orders of the officers. The militia was working on a peace treaty and the British had not yet arrived in that area.  Simon Kenton was helping to keep the peace while there was peace to be had.

Remember how I mentioned at the beginning of this post that sometimes I forget things?  Well right about this point in the day I forgot to use the camera.  Oh well!  Everyone enjoyed dinner and afterward the kids cleaned up the kitchen while I cleaned up the baby.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I’m pretty sure I got the messier end of the deal.

The kids did any evening chores that needed done, like feeding the cat, picking up toys that had wandered from their places, and so on.  I swept the floors downstairs and children went off to play.  Daddy arrived home at 6:00pm and the kids mobbed him as usual.  Once he settled in it was time to do Mason’s nightly enema.  This is the part where you thank me for forgetting the camera.  ;)  I have to say, poop and bodily functions are quite the normal topic of conversation around here now.  While doing the latter half of the enema, the part where Mason is actually on the toilet, we try to be as entertaining as possible.  When he laughs a lot it helps the whole clean out.  Often one or more of the other children wanders back to that bathroom to help in the silliness.  Tonight we ended up with just about everyone in and out of the bathroom playing games, singing songs, and doing silly games to get Mason laughing.

The end of our evening was spent in our weekly viewing of Master Chef as the current season is running online.  It’s a really fun show to watch and be inspired by home cooks who can really cook.  Bedtime rounds began with Daddy at 8pm (he leaves in the wee hours of the morning to work) and the children at 8:30pm. All the little heads were dreaming by 10:00pm after enjoying booklights and an audio book.  Then my day was finished!  To bed for me…

One Homeschool Day JulyNow it’s your turn!  Write a post sharing one day at your house and come link it up.


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One Example – Affording Homeschool Materials

Wad_of_money_350Each year I get questions from people about how we afford homeschooling.  I have a great post detailing the Cost of Homeschooling from 2012.  This year I wanted to just share one example of how God continues to provide materials for our children’s education when we’re working with one income considered poverty level for a family of 10.

Last Friday the local homeschool group had their yearly Used Curriculum Sale.  I almost always pay $5 for a table to sell books and things we are finished using and do not plan to reuse.  Sometimes these are items that just didn’t fit our family and other times they are culled from our shelves to make room for more books.  This year Makayla and I headed to the sale and set up a table.  We spent the evening taking turns cruising the sale and manning our table.

By the end of the night most of our items had sold(check out this post to see what I have left if you’re in a shopping mood, or this one where I have a few items I’m selling for my sister).  We had also made a lot of purchases at wonderful prices.  I had brought cash to the sale so I had an automatic budget in place and did not tally up my purchases until the end of the night.  Yes, I’m sure some people are cringing at that thought.  Would you like to see what we bought before I tell you how much of a dent it made in my cash envelope?

IMG_7978This picture shows most of what Makayla picked out.  As you can see, she has great taste in books.

IMG_7979Closeup 1 – Makayla is my bibliophile which means that a few of these titles were already on our family shelves but she wanted them for her personal collection.  This picture shows books from Redwall, Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, and more.

IMG_7980Closeup 2 – The rest of Makayla’s books, including some great classics like Helen Keller: The Story of My Life, The Incredible Journey, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, and more.

IMG_7985Here are the books and things I bought at the sale.  Yes, all of those.  Keep reading and I’ll tell you what I spent at the end.  I promise, it is better than you think and the whole point of this post.  First let’s look at this table close up.

IMG_7987In this part of the table you can see a chess set (we love chess!), American history books, Six by Seuss, the complete Beatrix Potter tales, more horse books by Marguerite Henry and Walter Farley, etc.

IMG_7999In the middle of the table are Life of Fred Fractions and Life of Fred Decimals and Percents, two books by the D’Aulaires, Walt Whitman poetry, two Magic Tree House books, a Draw and Write Through History title we did not yet have, a world geography floor puzzle, a stack of Franklin the Turtle books, World Empires, World Missions, and World Wars book and audio cds, and a large, labeled rock collection.

IMG_7994At the far right of the table you can see more books to read.  These include A Wrinkle in Time and 4 others by L’engle, the Poppy series, Call it Courage, three books byRobert McCloskey, Blueberries for Sal, the Before Five in a Row manual, and Drawing with Children.  The silver book The Robot Zoo is probably the favorite book I brought home if you ask my sons.  It’s full of fun pictures with a ton of information about animals bodies and explains why someone would use certain parts to create a robot with similar functions.  Just up my engineering boy’s alley!

So now we come to the point of this post, the cost.  This is one example of how we make homeschooling affordable.  I spent $62 for all of this.  I made $80 at the sale from items I was selling, which means that I actually came home with $8 more dollars in my pocket than I arrived with even after all my purchases!  That envelope of money to spend wasn’t touched at all.  All those lovely books essentially free!  The greatest part is that several of those items were ones I was specifically seeking for our homeschool this year.  Some were on my list to borrow from the library for the kids’ literature lists, others, like the rock kit, were a wish to go along with our science.  God is amazing!  Here are some of the unexpected blessings I was able to cross off my list:

  • Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
  • Life of Fred: Fractions
  • the large rock collection
  • Before Five in a Row manual
  • Blueberries for Sal
  • Lentil
  • A Wrinkle in Time series
  • Poppy Series
  • Walt Whitman poetry book
  • Redwall books

Readers Ask, I Answer, Part One

I love opening up the blog for reader questions because I never know what I’m going to get! Here are a few questions I received this week with my responses.

“How do you keep up your energy?”

This is a really important question because no matter how many or few children you have energy is a precious commodity. In my life energy is a constant balancing act.  Besides the usual full life raising and homeschooling 8 children and caring for Mason’s medical needs I have hypothyroidism. One of the big side effects I face with that is lack of energy because my body isn’t making all the hormones it should.  Total exhaustion may be a more accurate description!  I can tell when my medication dose needs adjusted because I simply do not have energy for basic day to day tasks.

A few things I try to be mindful of in my quest to have as much energy as my body can make:

  • Eat regular meals and snacks to fuel my body. The blood sugar roller coaster that comes from irregular meals and snacks saps my energy.  I have been experimenting with eating low-glycemic meals (low insulin response) and that helps so much more than I thought it would.  I need this to become a deeply ingrained habit because it’s been very effective!
  • Have a daily quiet time.  This is essential for my energy level.  At 1:00pm every day our entire family rests.  For an hour and a half I can sit, lay down, nap, or even just stare at the wall!  This down time refreshes me for the afternoon and evening ahead.  I’m also a bit of an introvert so having the quiet personal space is a good thing.
  • Exercise even a little bit.  I struggle with consistency in this area but when I am active for 15-30 minutes of purposeful exercise I am usually more energetic over the course of the day.  My exercises of choice are the 15 minute T-Tapp workout dvd, a Walk Away the Pounds dvd, or going for a walk outside.
  • Sleep at least 7 interrupted hours at night.  This is one area I’ve only had minimal control over with babies and toddlers waking at night for more than a decade.  Currently I have to get up in the middle of the night every night to do some of Mason’s medical care.  It’s just a fact of my life.  What I can do is make every attempt to get in bed as soon as my children are asleep.  It is rare that I stay up more than 5 minutes past the time my last little one drifts off.  Anything I could get done in that time is not worth the exhaustion I will face the next day for staying up late.  The exception?  An occasional at home date with my hubby staying up late to watch a movie.
  • If I’m struggling with energy even after all these helps then I have my doctor check a few things, including my thyroid dose, my iron level, and my vitamin D level.  It can be surprising how having even one vitamin or mineral area ‘off’ can affect my energy level. I’ve had anemia (low iron) after more than one pregnancy.  Yuck!

If you’re homeschooling and dealing with fatigue let me encourage you to find ways to combine children in subjects (for example read aloud one history book to everyone that they can all learn from) and teach them to work independently too.  I can share more specifics on these two if someone wants, just leave me a comment!

Next question!  “What do you do when a Lego creation is destroyed, both by accident and on purpose?”

Ah, the meltdowns we’ve faced over Legos in this house! I think two things have really helped us handle this issue.  First, we remind the child whose creation was broken that we love people more than things.  This means that while we are sad our toy was taken apart we do not yell at or hit the person who broke it.  We do not go break apart one of their Legos either.  (Ahem, can you see my children’s first responses?)  We bring the issue to the child who broke it (asking for help to pick up and rebuild etc)and if needed, to the parent.

Second, we deal with the offending child.  If the destruction was truly an accident we help them think and talk through what they did this time and ways to be more careful next time. We encourage them to help their sibling fix what happened.  If the destruction was on purpose we try to find out what prompted the destruction and administer consequences as appropriate to the age of the child.

“How do you teach your beginning readers their ABCs and letter sounds?”

I love this stage, which is a good thing because I’m currently working with my 5th and 6th children on learning letters and beginning reading with the older of the two!  I’m convinced that until a child is ready to learn you can’t force the alphabet and letter sounds to stick.  However there are many ways to saturate their environment with opportunities to learn.  Some of my favorites:

  • Point out letters everywhere – in favorite books, on signs, on food packaging, on the mail that arrives, on toys, etc.  “That’s ‘A’, it says /a/ in this word.  A is in your name.”
  • Read to them often.  I like to use my library to have a variety of alphabet books with beautiful and interesting pictures.  Eating the Alphabet, Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC, AlphaOops!, B is for Buckeye, The Alphabet Room, The Icky Bug Alphabet Book, and so on.
  • We own a series of books called My First Steps to Reading by Jane Belk Moncure.  It’s been through several publishing editions, once called Sound Box Books.  Most letters of the alphabet have their own book featuring a child named for the letter on their shirt.  The child goes on an adventure with their letter’s sound box, finding things that start with their sound.  (X,Y,Z share a single book).  We read these and so far every child has loved them.  Sometimes we focus on just one for a whole week to help get a letter and sound to stick.  Sometimes we just go through them randomly.
  • Magnet letters, foam letters, dry erase board with letters – we play with the alphabet in as many forms as possible.  Here, too, I will say the letter sound or the letter name, depending on what the child is working on learning.
  • Leap Frog dvds – I’ve had children as young as 18 months learn the letter sounds with these just because their older sibling was watching the show and the songs are catchy.  Leap Frog has quite a few dvds now on letters, numbers, and reading.  We started with Letter Factory.  Others that only focus on letter names and sounds in the Leap Frog line are The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park and Phonics Farm.

As with anything, the more it becomes part of their environment through play the easier it will become for a child to learn it.

Well, I have a few more questions to answer that I’ll save for another day.  If reading this post has brought to mind any more questions you would love to ask me feel free to do so in a comment or using my Contact Me page!

Timeline CD and Kinderbach for Sale

While I’m working on responses to the questions trickling in after my last post I wanted to get these items listed for sale.  Remember, I have a few items for sale here for my sister.  Today I’m offering 3 things I’m ready to part with from my own shelves.

The Details: Prices include media mail shipping (if you want insurance I will add $3 to the price to cover it).  I accept Paypal payments only.  If there is an item you want please use my Contact Me form on this page to make your request.  Sometimes items go very quickly, I will try to get back here and delete items as they sell and will respond to all emails I receive through the Contact Me page.

IMG_8001History Through the Ages Collection of Historical Timeline Figures on CD – This comes from Homeschool in the Woods Publishing.  It is a 2 CD set with more than 1200 printable figures in several formats including with and without text summarizing that person’s place in history.  It’s a great set that NEVER goes on sale.  Ever.  We just don’t use it so I’m moving it out.  Retails for $74.95, I’m asking $50.  The case does have some sticky residue on the cover where a sticker was placed, which I’ll try to get off before sending.

7.19Kinderbach Piano Levels 1-6 – This 21 disc set has DVD lessons, audio CDs, and PDFs for printing the music books and activity pages for Kinderbach. Here’s the page for the Level 1-3 package and here is the page for the Level 4-6 package.  It’s a great piano course for 2-7 year olds who enjoy making music. At my house we’ve used it off and on depending on the interest of a particular child. My five little boys in this age group don’t seem interested and as I know the piano basics as does big sister Makayla we can simply teach them things when they ask.  Combined these two sets retail for $225, I’m asking $125.

Wanted: Reader Questions!

questions1I’m having a bit of a blogging block today.  I sat down for my set aside writing time and realized my brain is totally engaged elsewhere.   Instead of wasting this opportunity how about I open this post up for questions from YOU, the reader?  I’m sure you have those niggling questions hanging around the edges of your mind that you want to ask me.  Today’s you’re chance!  Leave a comment with any and all of your questions.  They can be related to homeschooling a particular age/subject/child, large family living, my faith, money management, raising a child with medical needs, parenting questions, or even my thoughts on the testing craze, common core, or what is the right way to eat chocolate (plain and as dark as possible!).

Have a question you would rather ask privately?  That’s fine too!  Simply click over to my Contact Me form and send it in.

Your questions and my answers just may appear in a future post (I’ll keep identities private if you use my contact form and request that).

Ready? Set? GO!

Curricula for Sale

Did you know my sister homeschools her children?  She does!  Like me, she has tried a variety of curricula over the years and found that some were a good fit and others were not.  I’m selling a few of those materials for her today on the blog.

The Details: Prices include shipping, generally media mail.  I accept Paypal payments only.  If there is an item you want please use my Contact Me form on this page to make your request.  Sometimes items go very quickly, I will try to get back here and delete items as they sell and will respond to all emails I receive through the Contact Me page.

Books Pics

Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry Level 1 with Experiment Kit from Home Science Tools
This comes with the student text, teachers manual and binder with laboratory notebook pages. All like new condition. No writing on any pages. The science kit from Home Science Tools is complete except for a missing prism. Asking $80 for all.
20140716_160421No tears or writing. Some highlighting throughout. Asking $25.
Discover Intensive Phonics at Home. This is a phonics program for children 5-10 on the computer. You can learn more about it here.  ONLY the items pictured above are for sale – 1 CD-Rom, 4 books.  CD-Rom Windows requirements: Windows 98,ME,NT,2000,Vista or Windows 7. All items in good condition. No writing or tears on pages. Asking $100.

A Random Brain Dump Day


randomnessHow about a little Wednesday randomness for today’s post?  My head is full to bursting with things and I could use a bit of a brain dump.

Funerals are hard.  Monday was my brother in law’s funeral after an unexpected accident last week.  Watching a community gather to grieve the loss was hard. He was an amazing man.

Poop has consumed far more of my mental real estate than should be legal in the last week.  Mason’s body went wonkier than usual and he ended up totally blocked despite daily enemas and miralax.  We got it all cleaned out in the end but it was a week of trouble and ultimately mess.  Motherhood is not for the weak of stomach!

My booklist is growing faster than I can read.  I keep a host of books going at one time so there is always something to read that fits my mood, but that leads to long lists sometimes.  I’m currently working through:

  • The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Chomondelay – I borrowed this out of print book from a friend and am slowly reading through.
  • Life Skills for Kids by Christine M. Field – Started this today.  It has actually been sitting by my computer for a few weeks waiting for the right mood to hit.
  • Hearthland by Chautona Havig  (this is a serial novel, I read one episode a week when it is offered free on Amazon.  She’s written a lot of serial novels and books that I LOVE.  My favorites are Confessions of a Decluttering Junkie, Past Forward, and the Aggie’s Inheritance series.)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O’Brien – Reading this one aloud to the kids for Homeschool Book Club, usually a chapter at lunch and dinner.
  • The rest of the books for my Summer Homeschool for Mom.  I’m more than halfway through but not sure I’ll finish before we start school up.

Praying for a friend who is in China right now to bring home a new daughter!  Their little Eliza is a cutie pie.  We met through Mason’s blog because sweet Eliza has Spina Bifida and they had lots of questions.  You can follow their journey here.

Rainbow Loom madness continues!  We’re mailing out our items for the Rainbow Loom Creation Gift Exchange tomorrow and that means 18 creations need to be ready to go in the mail because 6 of my children are participating (ages 3+).  While some of them are making their own item I’m helping the younger ones who have less loom-ability.  It is actually a really fun way to give my hands something to do while I’m listening to things like what I’m about to mention….

Read Aloud Revival Podcasts.  Have you wandered over to Sarah’s blog Amongst Lovely Things?  I enjoy her blog and one of my favorite things she’s got going on is a series of podcasts centered on reading aloud.  The 7th episode was just released today so I’ll be listening to it during quiet time while making a few Rainbow Loom bracelets.

Speaking of Sarah’s blog, have you read her ebook, Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace?  I followed along as she wrote the blog series originally because it went with things I had been studying and pondering in my own life.  The ebook is wonderful, including the audio companion.  It is one of those things I will reread again when I’m needing a bit of encouragement on this journey.

Our Heritage is the theme for my next Relief Society lesson I’m teaching at church.  I’m reading and pondering two talks from General Conference that we’ll discuss in that lesson.  They’re really good (of course!).  You can read, watch, or listen to them too.

Well, that’s probably enough randomness from me today!  Mason and Samuel are asking for paint so I’m going to go make a mess with them.