Our life in books

This is our eigth year of homeschooling and I finally got around to blogging about our adventures a few years ago.
I love the path that God has us on.
We get to enjoy the lightbulb moments in educating our children and have quite a few of them ourselves.

We are starting Exploration to 1850's this school year, 2012-2013 using My Father's World curriculum.
Rome to the Reformation,
Exploration to the 1850's and NOW.........

Below is the week by week of lessons for this year if you'd like to start at the beginning.
There is also a handy LABELS area that you can peek through to find a specific lesson.

Week by Week - MFW: Creation to the Greeks

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Riley's Apple Farm Field Trip

We love a good field trip and this one was made for our study of early colonial times. We learned about all the chores that had to done on a farm. We made some music with a washboard, spoons, and a metal triangle. The kids had lessons in panning for gold, archery, cider -pressing, apple tree farming, etc.

   The big boys, Jack, Everett, and Kibru donning aprons for some old- fashioned farm chores.

Mackenzie and Harper coring apples to slice

Sawing logs..........
 to build a log cabin, of course.

Pounding coffee  - she enjoyed this a little too much

Pressing apples for cider

Finally, picking some ripe ones to take home.

Owl pellets anyone?

I ordered the owl pellets here when we started our lessons on birds in the animal kingdom.
We invited our fellow homeschoolers, Olivia and Bella, to join in the fun too!

Patience and a gentle  hand are the keys to success here. It took tiny tweezers to get all the hair and yuck off the skeletons but we discovered a lot about what owls consume.  We also dissected a a perch fish. We had to do this one outside because the fish were preserved and oh so stinky!  The kids were able to identify the swim bladder, gills, stomach, intestines and even took apart the fish eyes.........Brave scientists.

Total tally:  4 mouse skeletons
1 shrew
1 bird

Getting prepped with gloves and tools.

 Mackenzie holds a skull of a mouse from her pellet.

 Everett had the pellet with the bird skeleton.

 We mounted them on paper to save them in our science folders.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saturdays from now until Thanksgiving

First, a game for the U8 boys team, the Red Dragons, where Kibru is still miffed that he can't play goalie.
 He makes up for it by playing tough defense ( near) the goal. 
Everett is a scoring machine.

We spread out the quilt, provide drinks and cheer our hearts out.
( the girls read and draw and occasionally look up for a goal)

The highlight of Kibru's first game was the appearance of his Kindergarten teacher. She's a soccer fan and came to cheer him on. 

Later in the day, Harper (U10) suits up and gets to play with her team, the IceBreakers. 
She is loving every minute of it.

LA COUNTY fair- that's right! we have farms too folks!

You heard me, it's the LA County Fair. It's not all star sightings and high heels here folks. We have a fair and farm animals to prove it. 

The BIG Red Barn is where all the baby animals are held. 
Baby pigs clamoring for a drink and baby goats only a week old held the attention of my crew. Precious. 
Here they are with their Nana and Papa.

 Here little piggy!

These are the adorable kids  (not mine)


Always a treat to get a cold draft on a hot,hot day.

Meanwhile, inside the Inventor's laboratory......... We had to learn something as we went on a school day after all!

Harper and Everett get to make electricity from wool sparks, like Benjamin Franklin.

Mackenzie flies the simulation of the Wright Bros airplane.

Everett builds a car on an assembly line like Henry Ford.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The King of Bling - Charles II

We are having way too much fun studying the 17th century.   America being colonized at a rapid fire pace, English monarchs beheaded, Puritan rule, and now Charles II - the King of Bling has come to power in the middle of the 1600's.

Here's a little ditty we found that is being hummed all around the house this week:

Gotta love the rapping King!

On a more serious note, we are in Week 7 of MFW.

:: My students enjoyed the age of exploration  - we played a game called Explorers by Lakeshore to drive home the names and places.

:: I had to find a way to help us all with memorization, so I turned to APPS for the Ipad. I love technology when I can find a great tool for school. It's called FighterVerse and it allows me to enter the verses that we need to study and then the App produces quizzes where words are left out and the kids have to come up with the correct answer.  We have used it every day and found it to be essential to our memorization of the book of James.

::We watched the movie "Desperate Crossing" about the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic to settle at Plymouth.

:: We made wigwams and LEGO replicas of Jamestown and Salem Village.

Homeschool ROCKS!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Final Curriculum for the 2012-2013 school year.

I finally got around to flagging/circling/highlighting all the materials in the myriad of catalogs I have collected and ORDERED the curriculum and supplements for this year. We can't wait to get started!

MFW Exploration to the 1850's will be our core for History, Bible, Mapwork, Science, & Read-Aloud Literature
Math is Abeka Levels 2, 4 and 6th grade
Wordly Wise
Explode the Code


-Large World Wipe Off Wall Map - Lakeshore Learning

Write & Wipe World Wall Map
3rd grade - 6th grade / 8 yrs. - 11 yrs.
Write & Wipe World Wall Map

-Veritas Press Materials:
 Flashcards for History- Explorers Homeschool Kit with CD
                                      CD for Geography Songs
                                      Prima Latina for 2-6th graders Kit and DVD lessons

George Washington Audio CD by Benge  along with additional read- alouds of other famous figures from this time period.

-GeoCards for the USA

-US Presidents Flashcards

-Explorers Game from Lakeshore Learning:

Explorers Grab & Play Game
3rd grade - 5th grade / 8 yrs. - 10 yrs

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Conventions, Hopes and Reality

Today, I attended the CHEA convention here in my hometown. Actually, I just went for one of the two days and mostly for the exhibit hall.

I know, I know,......it's not all about the resources. I also go for a bit of inspiration and to see what God has for me in the coming year with my students. I pray about attending and hearing who I need to hear and finding what I need.  By His grace, I was able to hear Voddie Baucham again and the hilarious and incomparable Jessica Hulcy . Her personal stories and words of wisdom on why we need to stay the course of homeschooling were music to my ears. After 6 years, I get the feeling I am repeating myself alot!

I did spend about 4 hours in the exhibit hall and found some great supplements; workbooks, games, online programs and readers to go along with the MFW Exploration to the 1850's curriculum.  Great day all around!

I bought
ABeka Math again - levels 6, 4,2
Abeka Grammar for Ev @ level 2

Read alouds from Heroes of History by Janet and Geoff Benge:
William Penn
Benjamin Franklin
Capt John Smith
and George Washington - True Patriot

The Light and the Glory - Book One 1492-1787

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Mr. Pipes and the The British Hymn Makers

I got a few games: Monumental, Mancala, 10 days in the USA and Ticket to Ride Europe ( to accompany our Ticket to Ride - NAmerica!

1 )  I am still considering a Latin program - I am assessing the Latin Road to English Grammar and Latina Christiana I and II.

2)  IEW writing class - Fairy Tales, Myths and Fables and Narnia - I am still evaluating the teaching available to me and the appropriate level for M and H.

REALITY:  Kibru will be attending the local PUSD Kindergarten @ Norma Coombs - (Go Lions) in the Fall after having such great success at preschool. The easy answer is that K has so much to catch up on with language and reading but there are so many reasons why this was a hard decision and why  I think that it will be to his benefit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Packing it all up!

And there you have it....
 A year (or more like 2 years) of books that we have used for MFW Creation the Greeks and Rome to the Reformation. Both were incredibly rich and loved by my students. I am planning on loaning this to a friend in the Fall so I am keeping it handy and altogether.  I usually keep the read-alouds out and add them to our bookshelves.
I really am excited about doing this curriculum again in a few years when my younger ones are ready for it again at a higher level ( 6th,  and 8th)
Until then, 
goodnight friends, Romans, countrymen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

AVIARY lessons

Backyard Bird studies

Morning Doves have roosted in my pergola beams just outside our back door.

Hummingbirds too!

They are a marvel!  This is our hummingbird's nest taken at close range. It's about the size of a hen's egg  and it has two tiny eggs inside too!
The kids are tracking the birds and watching the momma and daddy come and go with food for the hatchlings.

 It's like having an aviary in our backyard.

Two eggs turned into two babies and then we went to camp for a week and they were gone. Flew the coop!  The nest is still there but the birds are bye-bye. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Building Project - watch out PINTEREST

SO my parents from IL came to visit.  
These are hard-working, project-oriented, handy, crafty, and generous folk, my parents.

Now, just FYI, I live in southern CA so this IS a practical addition to our back patio with only a handful of rain days in a year. I suppose a tarp or rain/snow cover would be the best bet for cooler climates. It's shady under our pergola too, so there is little direct light or dust/debris ( because we have solar panels up there...more on that later)

Had a crazy dream
of a bed in my backyard
hanging swinging soft

( that was a Haiku!)

This is my mom and I staining the frame that my dad built. He used treated redwood lumber and built it to fit (with room) a twin mattress

We used MINWAX in black to stain it and it matched the pergola perfectly.
Mackenzie (10) helped with this part.

My Dad,  did I mention that he was patient - VERY patient! He taught all the kids how to drill holes and screw in the boards for the backrest.

I was the daring one up on the chair to measure ( twice) and cut the ropes for the hanging of the bed. 

Finally relaxing after two days of building


the finished project. It's beyond enticing to head out to the backyard 
with a book 
or a game 
or a glass of wine
 and just swing the evening away. 
It's, by far, the coolest thing we've ever made and it doubles as a guest bed to boot!

Thanks MOM and DAD for making another dream of mine come true!

"Pioneer"- ing with an inspirational author.

In case you are living under a rock. 

There is a new cook in town, Ree Drummond, she's a homeschooling mom living on a ranch in Oklahoma who cooks DEE - licious  food with some of the most mouth -watering photo spreads  in her 2 cookbooks. www.pioneerwoman.com

I love this woman's life and I'd like to think that we could be friends, what? 

with the 4 kids, the homeschooling, the cooking for the love it, 
minus the huge spread of land, the skills with a camera and the show on Food Network.  
We are so similar! 
A girl can dream.

Jill, my REAL  girlfriend, and I went to the book signing at Vroman's in Pasadena. My awesome hubby went to get tickets for me that morning when the store opened and we were in the first 75 people in a line that wrapped three city blocks down Colorado Blvd.  Ree was  fresh and chatty and had the most fabulous cowgirl boots on. Keepin it real! I can't imagine having to do that for 3+ hours and I like people.

We made a date of it and took our freshly signed copies straight to Chipotle for some tacos!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crazy personal bookmarks

A few minutes between subjects turns into this. 
THIS is how I know it's the end of the school year.

The kids pose in front of a plain background, making silly expressions like they are hanging, jumping, falling, etc. and we print them on heavy paper, laminate them, cutout, and tie on a tassle right at their hands. 
Viola- bookmarks that make you laugh every time you open the book. hehe

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Article on REAL Homeschooling - my style

As a homeschooling mom for the last 6 years, I am very often asked 

'How do you do it?'  or

 'How do you fit it all in?' 

Well, this article captures the essence of my 'technique', if you will.  As you all know, I follow a curriculum which definitely guides us to the best books, lessons and experiments in each subject. 

However, that's just for history, bible, and science! 

The day also can/does include creative writing, handwriting, math, vocabulary, spelling, Latin, Spanish, grammar, music, art, reading comprehension, and  literature just to name a few. 


I would love to cover each subject in perfect detail and not miss a note but the reality is that time does not allow for absolute thoroughness in every area. I have to make compromises. I have to pan for gold.  I have to make the lessons do-able in a day/week/year. It's my job to whittle it all down a bit.

I love learning along side my kids and often that becomes the light bulb moment where I realize that I am learning something for the first time at thirty-something and that learning is a life long endeavor. There will always more books that we can read, more details on every subject that we can study but do they need to learn them all by age 10? 
Not likely. 
Pan for gold.

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting it All Done

April 27, 2012
Homeschooling mothers are some of the busiest women on the planet. Not only mothers and homemakers, but they are also primarily responsible for the day-to-day workings of the homeschool. Additionally, many homeschooling moms have much more than the national average 2.2 children. Mega-families, double-digit in number, abound in homeschool circles. How can you do it all?
You may feel like the ringmaster in a three-ring circus at times. Use these three tips in your juggling act.
A Little Each Day
Many subjects can be incorporated in a day if a small amount of time is spent on each. In just fifteen minutes you can study a painting (five minutes), listen to a piece of classical music (five minutes), and read and practice reciting a poem (five minutes). A forty-five minute read aloud time can include reading short sections of many books covering different topics rather than one chapter from a longer book. Choose several books as “Monday books,” several others as “Tuesday books,” and so on. Set a timer to remind you move to the next subject. These little bits add up quickly over time.
Find the Juicy Parts
Every purchased curriculum contains core information and some fluff. Sometimes whole lessons can be skipped. Consider your goals for your child. Is the information presented important? Do you know it? Have you ever needed to know it? Go through your child’s workbooks and tear out (or, for the faint hearted, write “skip”) on pages with skills or information that your child already knows or does not need to know. For example, in a language book my daughter used, one unit was devoted to writing plays. She read the introductory pages to familiarize herself with the form and then, as she does not desire to become a playwright, we skipped the rest of the unit. Direct your child to do only the even or odd numbered problems on a page. A bonus to this approach is that if your child does not show mastery, he can go back to the page again.
Some history curriculums seem to assume that history is your only subject. From a suggested booklist, choose one book rather than three or more. After reading, allow your child to tell rather than write answers or ask him to retell (or narrate) from the reading and skip the “comprehension” questions altogether.
Accomplish Multiple Subjects with One Task
Choose a well-written passage from a classic book and copy it and/or write it from dictation. This one task encompasses reading, literature, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage, and handwriting (or typing, if typed). If your child retells the passage in his own words (or narrates) it adds oral composition. Use the same passage for all your children. Perhaps use one sentence rather than the whole passage for younger children.
Combine history and literature or science and literature by using classic books. Create nature journals—go for a walk and draw something you have seen (P. E., science, art). Practice typing Bible verses. Group your children for content subjects—Bible, history, science, literature, fine arts. Ask an older child who could use review to drill a younger sibling on math flashcards.
Balancing the many responsibilities of a homeschooling mother is a challenge. It takes hard work and creativity to keep the plates spinning. One all-purpose solution will not eliminate the challenges of managing a household full of energetic, active children, but with grace and ingenuity, you can accomplish more than you thought possible.

—Originally published in the Homeschooling Helper e-newsletter, February 2010

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Extra Book reading - Terrible Tudors

Way back last year when we took our family adventure across the 'pond' to England, Mackenzie picked up this little paperback in the Tower of London souvenir shop. Little did I know that we would study this time in England's history one year later. She enjoyed retelling us all the gory details of the practices of the time. 

This little poem stuck out as a way to remember the wives of Henry VIII:

Divorced, Beheaded, Died
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chess tourney

MFWorld came with the Starting Chess book this year to go along with Medieval History. We hadn't cracked it open yet and I was thinking it might be a good summer learning option. But lo and behold, Everett found it on the shelf, read it and then asked if we had a board. 
You mean the chess set that has been tucked up on top of the guest room armoire? Oh that?
Sure thing, down it came.
 After a little dusting, it was the center of attention for the whole afternoon.

"Life is a kind of Chess, with struggle, competition, good and ill events."
- Benjamin Franklin

A week later, it's still out on the dining room table and games are started just about every day.
They are certainly surpassing my ability to strategize more than two moves ahead. 
Guess I should brush up!