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September 2014

garden update

We didn't have much a vegetable garden this year, it all went to seed while the peacocks were nesting there.  So the update will be more about the flowers. :)


The zinnias have done well in the front garden this year. I stopped depending on the sprinkler system for watering and do this little garden by hand.


I finally have lantana growing well. This one here is in a pot, but I did plant three more plants out in the ugly rocked section of the yard and they are all doing well.


The dahlias that I had in pots out front have made a comeback the past few weeks and are starting to bloom.



The sunflowers have done well as usual. The cooler weather and rain this year have been wonderful for all the plants.

our school area


We do school everywhere- the living room, the porch, the trampoline, the hammock, everywhere. So this is more our school storage area. :)

The tanks are for observing any critters we find. Behind the tanks in the corner is our paper holder.  The top shelf holds: the microscope, magnifying glass, succulent and air plant, containers for specimens, dissecting kits, globe, chalkboard supplies, cylinders, and out fish bowl.  The middle shelf holds: the paper punch, science card games, fish model, marine life models, human head model, brain model, paper clips, tape, microscope slides, tessellation shapes, rock collection, and the fraction board.  Bottom shelf holds: map puzzles, blank main lesson books, pencil basket, anatomy puzzles, molecule kit, glue, dice games, card games, hot dot cards and pen, element card set, pencil sharpener. On the desk there is a metal sheet for working with our magnetic German set. The red cart on the right holds our paint supplies and gives our cat a place to hang out with us.  The shelf under the desk holds most of our books and manuals.  The rolling bookshelf on the left holds sketch books, math blocks, art supplies and a few reference materials for me. The cardboard box holds extra science supplies and next to it on the floor is the vintage typewriter that we sometimes use.



Next to the chalkboard above Jack's work area is this vintage school map.  It hangs above my desk area, which is a mess right now. :)  We love the map.  Jack spends lots of time studying it.



Nature study/botany curriculum


Nature Study/Botany:

Along with this we are doing nature notebooks and a group nature study that I have planned based off of these books. I will post the plans for that soon.

4th grade curriculum part 2




Language arts:

  • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive (we are do Printing Power for review)
  • Language Lessons for the Elementary Child by Queen Homeschool
  • Spelling Workout

* a few weeks in to our school year and some of our language arts plans are changing.  We will be finishing out the Explode the Code series and Handwriting Without Tears.  I think we will drop Spelling Workout. I am adding in Easy Grammar 4 and will decide once we get that if we will continue with Language Lessons. 

We will be using Partnership Writing by Bravewriter this year for writing. For copywork I am having him choose quotes to copy into his commonplace book.

History: we will be finishing Story of the World 3 and moving on to Story of the World 4.

Science: We have been using Pandia Press REAL Science Odyssey.  I like the hands on activities in this curriculum.  Science is his favorite subject and because of that he actually knows a lot of the material already.  When I can I amp up the Pandia Press curriculum by either adding new higher level info, videos or activities.  Like last year when we were going through the life science curriculum we adding in dissection.  He has fun with the activities in the book so I don't want to do away with it altogether.  * I am looking into Standard Deviants Chemistry for him right now.

Geology- He wants to learn what my freshman daughter learned last year at college. Luckily her professor sent home some books he was throwing out.  Along with those I picked up a roadside geology book.  We live in an area with a variety of geological landforms so we will be planning lots of field trips to those areas to study.

Math- we are finishing up Saxon 3 after a bad experience with Teaching Textbooks last year. Once that is finished we will be starting  Saxon 5/4.

Astronomy- We are using 365 Starry Nights along with astronomy notebooks from Imagine Childhood.

Read Alouds- We are using the Burgess books, George Washington's World, and Farmer Boy to start.


4th grade curriculum part 1

First up are some of the smaller subjects.  Jack has been very interested in the study of philosophy and wanting to learn more about it.


  Right now we are using Philosophy for Kids as our main working resource. I love Little Big Minds, but so far there is a whole lot in it about working in a group setting, not real useful for us to use at home with one child.  He is reading through A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy as he feels like it. 



For memory work this year, we are using Living Memory by Andrew Campbell. This is a great resource for memory work options. I bought the print book, although now I wish I would have gone with the download so I could print out the ones we are working on for our memory binder.

For thinking skills and logic we are using, Building Thinking Skills level 2.  This will cover about 2 years. He likes logic games. I planned on only doing 2 pages when we hit it in our rotation, but he does 6 or so each time.

4th grade homeschool planning part one

When I start to plan for our coming homeschool year, one of the main things I do is ask Jack what he wants to learn about.  He never fails to give me a lot to work with and a lot of the time we are on the same page with what should come next in his education. It makes it easy.


He also added spelling and writing on to this list. See what I mean? Easy.  Really if anything he gives me too much and I stress about the time it will all take to cover everything on his list. 


My list looked like this:

  • nature study
  • writing
  • history
  • math
  • German
  • Thinking skills
  • root words
  • Music- he chose recorder
  • language arts
  • reading

When I looked at our lists, I felt overwhelmed. It seems like a lot to cover.  I felt that both of our lists were important and we needed to at least try and accommodate them both.  After I gathered my resources, it was time to plan.  I had been reading about loop schedules on various blogs and decided that it was an interesting concept and needed to look into it more. Also I recently started doing powersheets and liked how goals were broken down into bite size pieces. I wanted to try that theory in our homeschool.

I looked at our resources and some of them worked perfectly being broken down into daily bits.  The subjects that take a bit longer were then put into a loop schedule.

Here is a list of our daily work:

  • math
  • language arts- which includes- handwriting, language lessons, - rotated throughout the week.
  • Explode the Code
  • Spelling
  • Memorization
  • Recorder
  • Astronomy
  • notebooks- common place, nature

We have two loops that we work though:

The first loop-

  • English From the Roots Up
  • German
  • Philosophy
  • thinking skills

And the second loop-

  • History
  • Science
  • Geography
  • Writing

So far this schedule is working out well. I feel good that everything is getting covered without weighing us down. I will go through our curriculum suggestions and how we use them over the next few posts.

Coming back



It's been a long time since I posted. I miss it. This is the closest I get to journaling and I miss it. So I am making an effort to come back. We have a lot of fun things in the works this year for fourth grade.  We have planned some fun outings with our homeschool group including a nature study that I put together.  I am also wanting to have more accountability for certain things and a place to share my projects.

Here we go...