language arts

Poetry tea time


One thing we are trying to make part of our routine this year, is poetry tea time.  It's been kind of hard to find a slot for it with our added co-op activities this year, but I think we finally found it's place.


We each pick a drink- tea, hot chocolate, or hot apple cider. I try to remember to have a treat on hand. I let him pick which book we will read from.


Sometimes I have something healthy ready. Cheese and crackers are his favorite.


Sometimes it is inside, but more often than not it is on a blanket outside or sitting on the front porch. And it is quickly becoming one of our favorites times!


5th grade!

Oh my goodness! I can't believe that my youngest child is in fifth grade already! Times flies! We started back to school about two weeks ago, though I hesitate saying that since we believe learning is a lifestyle and you should be learning something everyday.  I didn't have much planning to do since we are just continuing with a lot of the same books and curriculum as last year.


We will be finishing Saxon 5/4 and starting 6/5.


 Finishing up Story of the World volume 3 and starting Story of the World volume 4.  We are trying to switch over to more of a Charlotte Mason style homeschool this year. For history this means that we are focusing on narrations and starting a Book of Centuries.


Science was a hard subject to figure out for me this year.  Jack is a science geek. He loves it. One things he doesn't like is story science or little kid science as he calls it with pointless activities. He wants it to have experiments but not busy work experiments.  We decided to try Exploring Creation with Botany by Apologia.  I liked that it had note booking and made it feel like we were kind of following a Charlotte Mason approach and that it will help us along with our nature journals. He likes that the activities don't seem like busy work.


Geography:  We are doing the map work included with Story of the World.  We are also working through the Geography Coloring Book. The idea of a geography notebook intrigues me but I need to research more ideas for content.  We are also using Pin It Maps. Right now we are doing the Land and Water form map. We will also be working with the North America Map since it goes along with our history.

For our language arts studies, we will be using the following:

  • Easy Grammar- finishing up level 4.
  • Handwriting By George- right now this is handwriting and copy work. He likes George Washington and enjoyed learning about him. This was a win-win for both of us.
  • Bravewriter Partnership Writing.  We are using the method and doing the projects outlined where they fit. Right now he is working on a presentation about the Dalai Lama for a biography fair this week. Reading, taking notes, and writing cards for the presentation.


Foreign Language:

He is still working on Rosetta Stone German.


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.


Literature fair

This week we had our homeschool group literature fair. The basics are to make a project, any kind of project about a book you have read. We had a fairly good turn out this year.



Originally we were going to do a project on a different book. Something that looked more like literature. But then you see your son chase down the UPS man, grab a box out of his hand, run inside and tear it open for the new book in his favorite series and you realize you are doing things wrong. I told him he needed to do his project on one of the books from his favorite series, Dragonbreath.  He made the bat cave from his favorite scene in the book.  He did awesome.


Some of the other projects were:

  • hand dipped candles for The Witch on Blackbird Pond
  • homemade bread and butter for the Little house series
  • a early American village diorama for Almost Home
  • A poster and toy examples for Spirit Animals
  • A collage drawing for Lord of the Rings
  • A drawing of a Dragon for Eragon
  • A homemade monster, monster pumpkin and cookies for That's Not My Monster.

As you see, we even get the youngest ones involved.  The kids all did great! I wish we could do one once a month, but we have so many other fun activities planned.

Weekly wrap up

Last week was our first really busy week of our school year.  I really slacked off on taking pictures. I am going to try and be better this week.  Hopefully signing up for Ashley's phone snapshop will give me the incentive to take more pics.

Now to get on with our wrap up for the week.


  • 4 lessons


  • Finished up week 2 and started week 3. As a side note I ended up ordering the books for Latin for Children A. I originally signed him up for the online course, but he is a little young for it and it moves a little fast for him. He loves it, but he needed more support. I am hoping that using the books and having hard copies to look at will help. 



  • 4 lessons
  • 1 quiz
  • He is still loving this and we are having fun doing it together. 


  • SOTW 2 Chap 22


  • Ocean Navigation
  • Jacques Cousteau
  • Latitude and Longitude- We were supposed to make an astrolabe to help with this, but we have had cloudy nights all week. Hoping to do it this week. 

Language arts

  • Nouns
  • Proper Nouns
  • Copy work
  • Explode the Code
  • Still reading The Mystery of the Periodic Table
  • Lots of other reading

Computer programming

  • started Kidcoder


  • Goosebumps- 3 books
  • Horrible Harry


  • Bill Nye Eyeball
  • Bill Nye Friction
  • Bill Nye  Earth's Crust



  • Fencing 2 x's
  • Programming
  • Lego Robotics
  • Art



Weekly wrap up

I'm late for last week and this week has been an odd one so I decided to combine the two.



  • 5 lessons
  • percentages and fractions with cooking


  • finish lesson 1 and start lesson 2


  • SOTW 2 chapter 20 and 21
  • K12 history online lesson 1



  • world water percentage
  • salt water resources vs. fresh water
  • made an ocean pie
  • did an visual exercise with an apple to compare salt vs. sea water
  • made a drawing of an underwater environment
  • did a salt water experiment from The Mystery of the Periodic Table that we read about.


Language Arts:

  • reading The Mystery of the Periodic Table
  • copywork
  • spelling
  • Dibels testing for our online school.
  • Lots of reading after visiting the library


  • started doing German this week through powerspeak. We are enjoying this so far and picking up on it quickly. 



  • our online school had a back to school pool party that we enjoyed with friends.
  • Hiking with family- we found lots of different kinds of mushrooms and took pictures. We are taking those pictures and researching them to make our own field guide.  We also found an arrowhead and did some rock collecting.
  • Pow Wow. They had a Pow Wow in town for the opening of a local film festival.
  • Lego class. He started a Lego life science class.
  • Library trip
  • park day
  • Jack also helped me put in the stone pathway pictured below. Actually he kind of took over the project. He did good!






Our first week

Our first week homeschooling went well. Phew. Huge sigh of relief here. We are settling back in nicely. There are still some kinks and a couple of things to change or add in. So here is our wrap up for last week:


  • Pangaea- Read about continental drift in Ocean, watched a Discovery Ed video, did a experiment from Oceans for Every Kid.



  • Read Chapter 9 in SOTW 2 and did map work.
  • Read Chapter 10 in SOTW 2, did map work and painted his face like a Maori warrior.



  • 5 lessons in Teaching Textbooks 3
  • cooking
  • money



  • 4 chapters in The Mystery of the Periodic Table.


  • Lesson 1 of Latin for Children online

Language Lessons

  • a and an
  • copywork




  • We spent some time at the rec center walking the track, climbing and swimming.

Changes so far:

  • We were also doing Powerspeak Latin through our online charter. We have decided to change this to German since the two Latin programs were so different.  We are both excited about the change. 

This past week was kind of busy getting everyone settled into some sort of routine, taking care of college stuff, and running around.  Hopefully this week will be a little more organized.

weekly wrap up


Yes he is wearing a coat and barefoot. No, it wasn't that cold outside. He was practicing his spelling by writing the words on our glass door. 

We had a  really good week last week and were able to get back on track with some things. 


  • Rome splits
  • Constantine
  • Visigoths and Vandals
  • Attila the Hun


  • ponds
  • coral reefs
  • unit test


  • animals in art


  • 3 lessons


  • -oa words


  • capitals
  • review


  • 4 lessons


  • fun and fitness
  • art- Halloween scenes
  • fencing
  • acrobatics
  • hip hop- gave it another try, still ended up not feeling well.
  • park day


  • The Great Brain
  • Garfield
  • Calvin and Hobbes


  • Madagascar 3
  • Mythbusters
  • Blue Planet- Coral Reefs


  • Time with the cousins
  • picking out pumpkins
  • Halloween party with the neighbors
  • lunch with grandpa
  • legos



Weekly homeschooling wrap up


Not many pics to show this week.We ended up only working on school for two days because of the birthday.


  • Nero
  • Pompeii


  • Animals
  • Primary and Secondary colors


  • Desert ecosystem


  • 2 lessons


  • 2 lessons


  • 2 lessons


  • copywork
  • Pyramid reading exercises


  • Lots of Mythbusters
  • Lego building
  • 1st sleepover
  • art class
  • fencing
  • acrobatics
  • painting-rocks and leaves
  • park day

Tomorrow we are heading out for an exciting field trip.  We hope to see a sloth! ;)




Weekly wrap up times 2

We've been super busy this week getting ready for a super fun weekend.  By the time I have stopped for the day it is time to catch up with the hubby and put the kids to bed.  I've cleaned  the house top to bottom, cleaned the carpets, washed everything, taken Jack for his reading test, taken the boy to all the classes, picked up the girl from rugby, baked, cooked occasionally, done the laundry, watched my art lessons, tried to do my art projects, oh yeah we also homeschooled.  I haven't picked up my camera once this week. I took one photo with my phone of my son's injured arm.  The universe is a little off.

Since this is a big weekend- company coming to stay, oldest daughters 18th birthday. I am combining the past two weeks for this wrap up.  The pics are from last week. I am hoping to take tons of pics this weekend while laughing myself silly.

So here we go:


  • Caesar and Cleopatra
  • Julius Caesars death
  • Augustus Caesar
  • Pax Romana


  • Arctic Tundra
  • Boreal Forest
  • Deciduous Forest



  • 2 online classes
  • 5 pages Saxon

Language Arts:

  • 2 online classes
  • Capitalization
  • Picture study


  • ou words
  • ow words


  • Types of lines
  • drawing lessons online- ninja, butterfly, frog
  • drawing lessons- sea monsters, birds, bird cage
  • unit test


  • hip hop
  • fencing
  • acrobatics
  • drawing
  • fun and fitness


  • Horrible Histories


  • Dibels reading test


  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • Garfield
  • Zac Powers
  • Charlie Brown


  • Lego Hero sets
  • ipad games
  • working on the VW with dad
  • park day

Apparently I didn't take many pictures last week. oops!


I do have this picks which sums him up really well. He was wearing his dads ear protection while doing his chores. He can't vacuum without them.


Weekly homeschooling wrap up

This week was rather busy and I kind of slacked on taking pictures and keeping track of things. My older kids had a minimum school day on Monday and we got a late start that day, so hardly anything was done. Tuesday, we had a field trip and that was the day we had to pick up cars so once again, not much done.  Having the week start out that way was hard.

Jack built this scale and tested it with different materials.


  • TED ed math videos
  • math assessment test
  • math online class
  • addition drill
  • multiplication- he wants to save money for some toys he would like. He started figuring out how many weeks it would take him to earn enough money for each toy if he earned $5 or $10 each week. And he has been doing it all week, with everything. :)


  • 6+ lessons


  • Codes
  • Julius Caesar
  • Jim Weiss- Julius Caesar and the Story of Rome
  • 3 lessons including narrations and map work.


  • vertebrates unit test
  • Ecosystems introduction
  • Mythbusters


  • -ou- words
  • Since we weren't able to hit spelling everyday this week we will continue this list next week.

Language Arts-

  • Capitalization rules
  • assessment test for online class
  • blends and Digraphs.
  • Story settings



  • Welding field trip
  • library
  • hip hop
  • acrobatics
  • fencing
  • drawing class
  • helping his dad and brother work on the VW bug.




He was able to get a ride in the bug before the boys tore into it.


Helping with the car.


Sorry for the sideways picture, for some reason I can't get it to load right.  This is Jack's ice cream picture from drawing class. The green ice cream topping is poison, but it is poison that turns bad guys into good guys.  On the way home he made up a whole story about the Ice Cream superhero. Awesomeness.


A warm up exercise for class.

Things we need to work on:

  • read aloud. This week was a long, hard, busy week and read aloud were forgotten. Need to be sure to work these in.
  • Preparation. We have back to back classes on Tuesday. I went to pack a little snack for him and had no quick healthy snacks.  Also I need to prep for my time sitting and waiting for him. I have 4 hours a week that feel somewhat wasted.  Also need to prep better for hands on activities.



Weekly homeschooling wrap up


Language lessons-

  • 5 lessons including: narration, poems, and copywork


  • oy words


  • Rome
  • Horatius
  • Roman Republic
  • narration, coloring, and map work
  • peninsula 


  • types of lines
  • The Great Wave
  • movement in art


  • Saxon 2- 3 lessons
  • $- giving
  • math journal 2 days- I've added this in on Tues and Thurs
  • Monstermatics
  • baking- brownies, we started these late and his friend came over to play so he didn't help finish. Need to work on doing this earlier in the day.



  • Weather Forecasting
  • air pressure, wind, warm and cool fronts


  • 10 lessons in Powerspeak


  • hip-hop
  • acrobatics for dance


  • library visit
  • Doctor visit
  • park day


  • What is the worlds fastest car?



  • Lego
  • Zome creations
  • paper airplanes


  • Garfield
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • The Story of Cars
  • Basher- Physics, Oceans, Rocks and Minerals
  • Ferrari
  • Lego Ninjago


Watching and Listening to:

  • Lego Ninjago
  • The Spider and the Turtle
  • Men's team Gold Medal Fencing



The last week went really well. This week I want to work on actually getting our papers into the binders after they are done.  I also want to work on getting a project started. 


Organized for the new year

This year I have once again revamped the file folder system to hopefully work better for me.  I hope. Last years system was good, but still not quite there for me.  One thing that didn't work was the file crate.  It was too small to hold the folders they way I did them.  I had hanging folders with 5 files in each.  There wasn't enough room to do a whole year.  I didn't like having to take time to plan everything out when those folders ran out. 

I was out thrifting about a month ago and ran across this:


A file drawer on wheels...with a sliding lid. Perfect!  I could put my folders in there and hopefully it would slide right under my projects desk.  Unfortunately, it didn't slide right under my project desk, but I have a handy husband who fixed that by raising my desk  two inches.  After a coat of red paint it was ready to go.



For files I have 36 hanging file folders with 5 files in each, those are numbered 1-180.  Yes I am feeling very type a this year.  I am hoping that this keeps me from feeling like we must do more and trying to overachieve.  With the folders laid out this way, we will do each day and be done.  There always come a time of year when I feel like we aren't doing enough and must do more.  I am hoping that between laying out an attendance schedule and doing this I won't have that feeling. So far in each folder we have : spelling list, blank paper for spelling copywork, math sheet, science activity sheets, and history activity sheets.


The spelling lists are in the Monday folders. We will use the list on Monday and move it to the next day and so on.  The blank paper is to ease the handwriting issue. I have shared before that Jack has had fine motor skill issues.  The spelling paper frustrates him because he can't write that small yet. So I am trying to circumvent that problem ahead of time.  Art isn't in folders because I want to use it when it is relevant to our history studies.  Also language lessons aren't in the folders. The language lessons book has more than one lesson on a page.  The only way to split it into folders would be to copy the whole thing multiple times. See...I thought about it.  So we will just move it back through the folders. That works well for us anyways because some of the lessons are super short and we can do more than one in a day. 

The crate will be stored on the shelf underneath with our storybooks for history, art and science supplies.

Tomorrow I will share our planner for the year and links to the forms.




literature and language arts for 2nd grade

Here is our list for literature for 2nd grade this year.

Read alouds- these are books we will read from before bed :

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
  • Redwall
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Wind in the Willows

After we finish those we will pick more from the list below.

The following are books we will choose from for literature during school:

  • The Burgess Bird Book
  • The Burgess Animal Book
  • King Arthur and His Knights
  • Just So Stories
  • Famous Legends
  • Farmer Boy
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Treasure Island
  • The Story of Exploration
  • Illustrated Stories from Dickens
  • Parables From Nature

And on the Kindle:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Aesop's Fables
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • The Boxcar Children
  • The Dragon and the Raven
  • Five Children and It
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
  • Gulliver's Travels
  • In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce
  • Little Lord Faunterloy
  • Mr. Popper's Penguins
  • Otto of the Silver Hand
  • Racketty-Packetty House
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Tanglewood Tales
  • Welsh Fairy Tales
  • A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls
  • White Fang

Audio books:

  • George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
  • George's Secret Key to the Universe
  • Great Scientists and Their Discoveries
  • Our Island Story
  • Just So Stories
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Redwall
  • Wind in the Willows

We will be working on oral narrations this year and adding them to a binder to keep.  Also we do have some books on audio, on the kindle and in actual book form. That's good. Some of them like Redwall and Wind in the Willows, I will read aloud first before putting the audio on his mp3 player. That way he can revisit the story if he likes. Or we may use the audio for days when we really need them. You never know. I like the flexibility of homeschooling.

*ETA-  I printed off lists from Sonlight, Veritas Press, and Ambleside online for 2nd grade and or medieval studies.  Once I had those, I weeded out the religous ones (we don't share the same views as Sonlight or Veritas Press). Then I wrote down what books we had from previous homeschool years. Once I had that list,  I went through I local library catalog to see what they had- not much. Then I remembered I have Amazon prime and an extra kindle.  I went on Amazon and found everything I needed for free.  I'm so happy to have that option.  Also during this whole process I kept in mind what type of books Jack will like reading- he loves adventure, animals, and science.  There are a couple of my choices- i.e. Harry Potter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, etc.   

For language arts we will be using:

Language Lessons for the Very Young, from Queen Homeschool Supply.

For spelling we will be using Spelling Though Copywork B, also from Queen Homeschool supply. ETA- we also have a few lessons in book A to finish up this coming year.

That's all for language arts and literature.