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Sunday, December 30, 2007

In 2008, I resolve to...

1. Learn to communicate better with my dh.
2. Have Girls' Night out with Camille at least once a month.
3. Save money for field trips that highlight U.S. History in the Southeast.
4. Be more forgiving, more quickly.
5. Find a balance between schmoozing and being real.
6. Exercise with my kids.
7. Have a family game night every week.
8. Get out of the house once a week, without kids or dog, even if it's for 1 hour.
9. Read to Danny every day.
10. Take better care of myself- mind, body, spiritually.

What do you resolve?


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Will my children have Cordelia?

Christmas this year has been very interesting. God has given the gift of knowledge to me this year and I pray that I he will present the wisdom soon. There are a lot of areas in my life that as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother are out of my control and influence. Sometimes just the bare fact of being a woman takes a lot out of my hands.

You cannot rationally discuss a topic with an emotionally-erratic human being. It's not possible. You cannot expect others to do the right thing, you can only hope. Christmas present wise has been good to me but Christmas is so much more than that to me. If I received nothing other than hugs from my family, I'd be fine. The world keep turning and if I were upset- that would be a sign of needed improvement within me. It doesn't matter what I choose to buy my children for Christmas- no matter how educational, wholesome and good the items I select willl be- there will always be the Polly Pockets, the 140 matchbox cars, Polo shirts and numerous other items that I feel are completely useless if not harmful for our family.

At first I felt horrible that not only did I buy as if our kids only Christmas were to be with us, but other family members went overboard and beyond overboard. I felt horrible because I would rather my kids get 3 presents each (in my head) and appreciate them for all they are worth instead of getting 20 presents and treating them as if they were dispensible. I had a doll when I was 8 that was made of porcelain and played "My Favorite Things" from Sound of Music and I carried "Cordelia" everywhere. I loved that doll so! Would have I loved her as much if I had received 4 porcelain dolls? I don't think so.

Those who do not have, appreciate what they do have.
Those who have an abundance tend to take for granted what they do have.

Isn't that a fact of life? Please, tell me it is and I'm not the crazy one. It seems as if I'm the only one who understands this as well as the difference between "need" and "want" and that it IS OKAY to want something and NOT get it. It is HEALTHY! Those who get everything they want don't have aspirations, dreams and goals to work towards. Right?

I'm not as worried about Camille as I am Danny. As the firstborn and a girl, Camille is destined to be driven with goals and aspirations. Danny, however is in so much danger. I see it all around, boys/men who walk around as if they are entitled to whatever they want without any work on their part. My own brother feels as if the world "owes" him something because he dropped out of school and hasn't gotten a GED. His life is unfair he says. Why should he have to listen to his boss? Why should he have to do this and that? URGH!

I guess the biggest difference between my thinking and (others) is that I consider good things to be a stable home, healthy relationships, good friends, laughter, love. I don't consider good things to be brand name labels, commercialized products that 'everyone' owns, having all the latest gadgets or video games. What does it say about a person when all they value is more, more, more? How do you communicate with such a person? I don't know. I just want my children to have Cordelia. Not because we have to but because we choose it to be that way.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Rest of Our Year


Not too bad, math and science will be done the first week of June, I didn't schedule anything else because it is variable. I don't need to schedule out what else we'll be doing (Grammar workbook, Spelling or Explode the Code). I am going to plan out what poems we'll cover*, one poem every two weeks. I'm taking this schedule with me, I'll be gone Dec 24-Jan 4th and we'll do a week of lessons at my parents' house because it'll just be Camille and me. Hopefully I'll be able to come back and create memory cds for her for each quarter that I've planned above. Two cds- one for Monday/Wednesday and one for Tuesday/Thursday that will contain grammar songs from First Language Lessons, math skip counting songs, poems that I will need to record myself (using Audacity software), science items, french songs, history timeline (Veritas Press History songs) and anything else I'm forgetting right now.

I also hope to plan out the rest of this quarter with Tapestry of Grace, through January 25 on the schedule above. If I feel very ambitious I'll do a quick overview of the second quarter too. Before you say, "just enjoy your family time" you need to understand that I will and that is first priority but there really is just so much family time I can handle and this gives me something to do.

We are going to stop doing Spelling Workout C and start Explode the Code Book 5 to help solidify phonics. I've purchased books 5-8 and once those are finished, we'll do SWO C again. This is the time to do this and I pray it will lead to more fluency for Camille, which will make 3rd grade a year of transition into solid reading. I hope. If not, we'll do what we need to.

Poems in order:
I Heard a Bird Sing by Oliver Herford (now-Jan 11)
The Night by Myra Colm Livingston (Jan 14-25)

Once I Saw a Little Bird, an old nursery rhyme (Feb 4-29)
Time to Rise by Robert Louis Stevenson (Mar 3-Mar 14)
Singing Time by Rose Fyleman (Mar 17-Apr 4)

Rain by Robert Louis Stevenson (Apr 14-25)
Singing by Robert Louis Stevenson (Apr 28-May 16)
Happy Thought by Robert Louis Stevenson (May 19-23)
The Purple Cow by Gellett Burgess (May 26-June 6)

The Secret Song by Margaret Wise Brown (June 23-Aug 22)

Most of the poems are based on memorizing two lines each week as in The Harp & Laurel Wreath and it is how I will put the poems on Camille's memory CDs. Each sequential cd will have the new poems at the beginning of the cd and any past memorized poems at the end for review with any other items that just need review. I'm starting to think this memory CD thing is ingenious! I do the work to make the cds and the repetition is not something *I* have to worry about anymore or feeling guilty that we didn't do our memory work today. Smiling BIG!

I'll try to post while I'm gone but it may be sporadic. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Morning (for us)

It's 10:00 am. We had a wake up call at 6:00 am after going to bed at 2:00 am. We seriously misjudged the time it would take to put together the Playmobil Castle, by two hours. All the wrappings have been torn, stomachs full of candy & chocolate and soon the ham will be put in the oven.

Just 12 hours ago, Dh was looking at the Playmobil Castle box saying, "this should only take 2 hours, no problem." I finished wrapping all the gifts and had strategically placed them around the tree, yes there is a method. Lol! At 11:00 pm, I was done and ready for bed and Dh had already had words with the castle. What to do? I went to bed, you do not mess with a man and his mission which he is high-strung about. You just do not go there. At 1:00 am, Jack woke me up with barking, I guess Dh scared him so I got up and stayed up with Dh while he finished. We left the castle unwrapped in front of the tree.

This morning I realize that I have drastically changed as a person and mother because of our homeschooling journey. My kids opened presents of wooden toys, books, art kits, educational games (real ones, not mainstream commercialized toys dressed up with an educational spin), Crusader play sets (sword/helmet/shield/breastplate), a see-saw and just good wholesome toys. The surprise? THEY WERE THRILLED. Camille loves the animal croquet set, the Moon in My Room, the Storykeeper DVDs. Danny was happier with wooden toys than the Matchbox cars he has.

Before homeschooling, I didn't realize there were products out there that were educational, fun and affordable. Outside of Melissa & Doug, I was oblivious. If we weren't homeschooling I'm sure the kids would have gotten items from the favorite movies or TV shows like Barbie, Dora the Explorer, Thomas the train, etc. All commercial stuff that just breeds more "gimme-gimmes". Believe me, we were on that cycle!

I am so grateful for the blessings of homeschooling this morning- for my kids, their hearts & minds, and what the whole experience is teaching all of us. I am grateful that this Christmas is not about instant gratification and short-term thrills, it is about fostering a childhood filled with imagination, love and thoughtfulness. That has been the best gift of all (outside of Jesus, mind you)- seeing that in my children.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Post This Note on my Forehead

Today is our Christmas Eve so we will be baking cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter and sugar cookies with icing. There is still a little wrapping to do and a little assembling. All-in-all, Christmas is just about done at our house and then we'll travel to FIL's and then my parents. My mom is having surgery on the 28th so I'm going to be staying with her (and Camille, maybe Jack) to take care of her and do the things she can't do while recouperates, especially while my dad is at work. It looks like I won't be home until the closer to the 4th but DH is bringing Danny home.

I'm going to have a week free of Danny and I'm allowed to look forward to it. I will miss him like crazy by the 3rd day but right now I have full intentions of enjoying it. I pray DH will be okay, seriously. Danny has become a little poltergeist lately, whizzing through the house getting into anything he's NOT supposed to and withing seconds *POOF*, there's permanent marker on something, he's pulled the fudge from the fridge and has stuffed his mouth with two pieces....etc. I think it's "Santa Excitement" b/c every time DH sees the kids, he asks them "Are you ready for Santa?". I'm ready to leave DH alone with Danny, let him see how one sentence can mean hours of restlessness. Danny, "Santa coming?"...."Momma, Santa coming?" few minutes later, "Santa coming?"

Now to the notes on my brain that I don't want to forget after traveling.

1. Double-check activity books for 1600-1850 time period, especially the ones you'll need for this year.

Boston Tea Party Hands-On History √
grades 1-4, $6.95
Which would you rather do--read about the Boston Tea Party OR dress up like an Indian, sneak onto a boat in the middle of the night and dump a whole bunch of tea into Boston Harbor?

This exciting new series is designed not only to bring history to life for your students, these activities actually bring history into your classroom!

The changes that brought about the American Revolution are examined through role-play, active investigation and meaningful activities. Children will learn about colonial life through examining the daily routines of a child of that time. Self-government is explored in activities involving classroom rules. Children will learn to weave their own cloth, experience being 'Redcoats,' plan and act out the Boston Tea Party and discover some fascinating facts about then and now. Teachers are provided with background information, source materials and resources. So push back the desks and roll up your sleevesóhere is history in the making!

Hands-On Heritage Civil War
by Linda Milliken; Grade 3-8, $5.95
After an annotated list of recommended literature, join in the Civil War era as you create a whatnot shelf; design calling cards; make a stovepipe hat or poke bonnet; create a cameo or watch fob; create menus for one week using the normal food allowance for one slave; advertise the underground railroad; make a canteen; study Civil War uniforms; put together a housewife; make a regimental flag; prepare battlefield food; sing musical favorites of the day; write about a famous battle; learn about the generals and presidents of the North and South; and more! This book would be a great supplement to either of the Civil War unit study books we carry, helping your children to “experience” the era!

Colonial America (Easy Make & Learn Projects) √
Grades 3-5; $10.00
This series provides a hands-on way to teach students about early American history. Each book contains around 15 models for students to construct. For each project, the book provides a black and white illustration of what the finished model should look like. Then, background information on the topic is given, usually with a half to a full page of information for each model.

Easy to follow instructions with black and white illustrations show how to assemble each model, and hints for coloring and constructing them are included. The books also include a few questions to ask or activities to do after the projects are done. These questions use the models and background information for answers. Extended activities for every project are included, so students can learn more about the specific topic by reading the recommended books or visiting websites.

Models are constructed using the paper patterns included in the books, which are reproducible. The paper models are fun and easy to construct and will teach students about different tribes and settlements, histories and cultures, and how different people met their needs for shelter, clothing, food, transportation, and more. Make a 3-D Jamestown map, a fold-up book about growing corn, a longhouse you can look inside of, and so much more. The Indian books focuses mainly on the period before European contact (around 1500) while the Colonial book focuses on the early colonies. Books are reproducible, 80 pages, softcover.

** I REALLY like the sound of this, we want models to build, the coverage sounds great and I need to consider getting more like this, other titles in this series: Northeast Indians, Southwest Indians, Easy Make & Learn Projects: Plymouth And The Mayflower(*considering), The Pilgrims, Mayflower & More √

Hands-On History: American Revolution √
by Michael Gravois, Grades: 4-8, $8.50

Capture students' interest with this collection of engaging hands-on activities that help build a deeper understanding of the American Revolution, including the cause-and-effect relationships between the events that led up to it. This valuable classroom-tested resource comes complete with step-by-step directions, reproducible patterns, a read-aloud play, and much more! A great way to showcase students' creativity and tap into all learning styles.

History Pockets - Native Americans √
Grades: 1-3, $10.95

Supplement your elementary studies of history with memorable activities and a personalized book of projects and the facts they’ve learned. Each book is divided up into a series of units, each unit representing one pocket in their book. Each unit contains several parts, including an overview page for you, and then a title for the pocket, a “Fast Facts” bookmark or picture dictionary cards, an “About...” page or small booklet to read and discuss on the topic.

For example, in the Native Americans book, in the Tlingit unit, there’s a title for the pocket along with several picture dictionary cards, a fact sheet, a booklet with illustrations for the child to color, and then two craft projects - creating a potlatch mask that the Tlingits wear to special occasions, as well as a totem pole layer book.

All the pieces you need in this book are included for your use, and there are very few (if any) time-consuming projects, as most of them require only a paper pattern copied from the book and used, making this an easy way to combine some hands-on extra fun and personality into your history study, without expending a lot of time and effort on projects, for moms that are running a little short on time.

Going West!
Grades 2-8, by Carol A. Johmann; $8.75

This book brings the adventure of going west to you through stories, “pretend-it-was-you” decision making pages and activities using common materials. The reading is split between interesting historical accounts of life back then and a fictional story of one family’s decisions going west. “Try It” activities litter the book, encouraging you to do things similarly as they did on the trail, including churning butter, drying apple slices, and playing games. Ideas and directions for other activities, such as constructing your own paddleboat, creating a popsicle-stick Ft. Laramie, holding your very own frolic (complete with treats!) and other western aspects appear every few pages to add even more fun to your journey. Though the frontier is gone, and the journey would only take hours today, it’s fun to imagine yourself on the journey and experience life on the trail.
√= final decision

These are the ones I've pre-chosen but I need to consider them more, like the Easy Make & Learn items, I think the Pilgrims & Mayflower one is worth looking at more closely but I don't have the time now. Today is Christmas Eve for us.

2. Figure out how to split the rest of our studies this year into quarters (DONE!), we should have 2 quarters left (nope 3 quarters). Figure out objectives for the quarter including: poems (DONE!), memory work (DONE!), math concepts to especially focus on, composers/artists for this year, etc. Do music & art as they relate to history.

3. Plan out TOG2 history thru Week 10 with a -planned week off -(DONE!), which will signify the end of the first quarter (?) with a lower grammar focus. Start reading the books we have on hand, figure out read alouds and independent reading.

4. Create memory CDs: two with different material on them to use during the week, a Monday/Wednesday CD and Tuesday/Thursday CD. (Planned but need to create the CDs when I get home)

5. Storykeepers DVDs, plan out enough for a quarter, see #2. (DONE!)

6. Danny's preschool, plan this out too by the quarter and gather activities into baggies for each day. Yeah right, let's see if that happens! Lol, I can dream.

See, my brain isn't working properly, I can't remember what else I was going to remind myself not to forget. Oh bother. Since posting this, I've edited it 4x already b/c I did remember!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Using TOG Year 2

This is the planning/weekly overview page I created for myself using TOG. Is this needed? No, but it's me so this is what *I* do. I've decided to make one of these for each week, planning one unit at a time. We're having a ball this week and I can say that I'm enjoying this much more than just using SOTW, I think it's the teacher preparation part or maybe it's the long break we've taken. Whatever it is, I'm all geared up again, including getting ready for next year (third grade).

Monday we read SOTW2 about feudalism and focused only on that-we compared serfs and lords and what type of lives they led. We discussed how the feudal system works and watched United Streaming videos. Discussing fedualism first provided an excellent introduction to castles which we studied on Tuesday (yesterday).

We're making this castle model and hope to be finished with it today after we study about knights so we can PLAY! Both of the kids are loving this and with Saturday being our Christmas day here at home, it will be a perfect time for them to receive their Playmobil castle as a Christmas gift.

Camille is reading Stephanie Turnbull's book on Knights aloud, and our days are going very well. The only thing we've neglected is french. Sigh.

I'm enjoying The Story of the Middle Ages by Harding as well as Famous Men of the Middle Ages which is scheduled in TOG but I decided to keep this week light so I'm not reading them to Camille just yet. I'm still working out what we will do within TOG's framework, what topics I feel Camille is ready for and how to approach them. The Veritas Press history cards are providing great little summaries on the people we may not be meeting in-depth at this point.

All in all, I'm very happy with the switch to TOG, I think it is EXACTLY what I needed. Another thing different we've done is use Dover and Bellerophon coloring books instead of SOTW2's student pages, it seems to bring the topics alive more for my visual learner. ***If you want a blank version of the planner page, here's the PDF file.

Pictures I've promised....


And the Winner Is...

ImageChef Custom Images

The Jeffery Family's entry

On the twelfth day of homeschool, my mother gave to me....

12 Spanish phrases, 11 missed in spelling, 1o Prima pencils, 9 Chem I projects, 8 grammar pages,
7 Trig equations,
6 memory verses, 5 MAPS OF GREECE!

4 Latin verbs, 3 field trips, 2 ABeka books and an essay on Robert E. Lee.


We sang all of the entries songs to see which one would fit the best and the Jeffery Family's entry won.
Camille said, "FIVE maps of Greece? Why five? I only need one." We want to thank everyone for participating, this was a lot of fun. Happy Holidays from our home to yours.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12 Days Of Homeschool Entries

The Twelve Days of Homeschool (Lapbook Style)
by Ami's Family

On the twelfth day of homeschool, my momma gave to me
twelve extensions for learning
eleven wheels a turning
ten flips a flapping
nine brads a fastening
eight adhesives holding
seven shutters folding
six flags a waving
five cards in a pocket
four file folders
three tri-folds
two velcro dots
and a book in the shape of a tree

Jeffery Family's entry

On the first day of homeschool, my mother gave to
1) an essay on Robert E. Lee
2) two ABeka books
3) three field trips
4) four Latin verbs
5) five maps of Greece!

6) six memory verses
7) seven Trig equations
8) eight grammar pages
9) nine Chem I projects
10) ten Prima pencils
11) eleven missed in spelling
12) twelve Spanish phrases


Mumford family's entry

On the first day of Home school my mother gave to me A Stack of Home school Books
On the second day of Home school my mother gave to me 2 bathroom breaks
On the third day of Home school my mother gave to me 3 art assignments
On the fourth day of Home school my mother gave to me 4 healthy snacks
On the fifth day of Home school my mother gave to me 5 Golden Hugs

On the sixth day of Home school my mother gave to me 6 music lessons
On the seventh day of Home school my mother gave to me 7 swats a coming
On the eight day of Home school my mother gave to me 8 science projects
On the ninth day of Home school my mother gave to me 9 field trips
On the tenth day of Home school my mother gave to me 10 spelling tests
On the eleventh day of Home school my mother gave to me 11 hours reading
On the twelfth day of Home school my mother gave to me 12 time outs
And that is why we love Home school

Deuteronomy 6's Entry

On the first day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me a page of copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the second day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 2 books on turtles, a page of copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the third day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the fourth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the fifth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the sixth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the seventh day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 7 grammar questions, 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the eighth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me an 8 word dictation sentence, 7 grammar questions, 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the ninth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me a 9-minute lecture on dawdling, an 8 word dictation sentence, 7 grammar questions, 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the tenth day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me a 10 week schedule projection, a 9 minute lecture on dawdling, an 8 word dictation sentence, 7 grammar questions, 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the eleventh day of homeschooling, my mother gave to me 11 library books to return, a 10 week schedule projection, a 9 minute lecture on dawdling, an 8 word dictation sentence, 7 grammar questions, 6 time line figures, 5 co-op classes... 4 trees to ID, 3 French verbs, 2 books on turtles, some copywork and a chore chart for me to complete...

On the twelfth day of homeschooling, my mother and I went out... We went to lunch and a movie.... We enjoyed our time together... We talked and laughed and shopped for gifts.... And I was grateful for a mom who'd homeschool me!

Coventant Home School's Entry

On the twelfth day of homeschool, my mother said to me, I'm so proud of you all! Who is my prep chef, let's have a p-j day, good job finishin' your math, let's have Bible and History time, give me that Gameboy! Practice your piano, Dad said, "OBEY YOUR MOTHER!" Where'd the baby's diapers go, what are you doing up again, where's your science book, and here are your new pencils."

Are We There Yet? (Paula)'s entry

On the twelfth day of homeschool, my mother gave to me, twelve years of learning, eleven dry erase markers, ten 3 ring binders, nine planets (or is it), eight vocabulary words, seven volumes of Narnia, six dvd's playing, five books to read, four years of history, 3A Singapore Math, two #2's, and a cartridge of new black ink

Academy of Holy Angels' entry

On the first day of home school my mother gave to me a caterpillar in a cocoon
On the second day of home school my mother gave to me twin sisters full of love
On the third day of home school my mother gave to me three fountain pens
On the fourth day of home school my mother gave to me four spelling words
On the fifth day of home school my mother gave to me five homemade slings (to market on EBay)

On the sixth day of home school my mother gave to me six copywork sayings
On the seventh day of home school my mother gave to me seven tadpoles swimming
On the eighth day of home school my mother gave to me eight crocheted stockings
On the ninth day of home school my mother gave to me nine lessons dancing
On the tenth day of home school my mother gave to me ten gourds for painting
On the eleventh day of home school my mother gave to me eleven minutes on Dance Mat Typing
On the twelfth day of home school my mother gave to me twelve months for studying

MomofMany's Family entry

On the twelth day of Grace Christian Academy my mother gave to me the miracle of Christian education, love everlasting, the gift of giving, joy of sharing, understanding of those less fortunate, the experience of God's word in church, exploration of God's wilderness, mathematic magic, miracle of science, history behind His words, and the ability to read and write the words Christ gave to us.


Okay, leave a comment for your favorite if you wish! The winner will be posted tomorrow with their winning entry.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Last Call for Contest Submissions

See this post about how you can win $50 at

Tomorrow all the entries will be posted and Wednesday (the 19th) a winner will be declared.
Last call for the 10 Days of Homeschool contest!
Good luck.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rearranging Our Day

Beginnings II: Jesus, My Shepherd
Music Appreciation
Spelling Workout C
First Language Lessons
FLL replaced with Mechanics, Grammar & Usage
Handwriting & Copywork
Poetry Memorization
Our French
Horizons Math 2
Daily Mental Math Gr2
SOTW 2 Tailored Lessons
Earth | Space | Geography Science
Independent Reading
Private Piano Lessons

We've been doing our lessons in the order listed and I'm changing it to refresh our days and see how things go. Certain items I'm either integrating or eliminating to lighten our days to focus on the 3 R's.

6:30-7:30 Chores, Breakfast & Exercise
8:00 Math
~ break if work is done efficiently ~
9:00 History (Danny's room time)
9:30 Science
~ 30 min recess ~

10:30 Recite Poem (10 min), Spelling Workout (30 min), Grammar (20 min)
11:30 French
12:00 Lunch & Bible
12:30 Preschool with Danny
12:30 Memory CD for Camille and 30 min of independent reading
*15-20 minutes of piano practice daily

Music appreciation will be on her memory cd and I'm going to play the composer she is listening to throughout the day. Explorer's Bible study is being replaced with Storykeeper DVDs after Christmas, we will be using this resource for the week so that we watch the DVD at the end of the week. I feel this is the best way to include Danny for Bible because he doesn't show any interest in Bible story books right now and I don't want to split time with them. I prefer they understand that the Storykeeper DVDs have a lesson and Bible story behind them, they are not just cartoon movies to enjoy mindlessly.

I'm also experimenting with having history and science each day instead of breaking it up- I'll probably go back to alternating days but I want to see how our morning flows having both. If we take it out then that frees up 30 minutes each day.

After church today I'll be planning out our week as well as planning the week after Christmas because I need to gather items to take with us. My mom is having surgery on Dec. 28th and Camille & I are staying to help my parents while she heals. Danny will be spending time with dh at home, school doesn't start back for him until Jan 14th.

I'm so ready to get back to school!


Open House

Pictures I promised, the top one is of the Christmas punch, not pictured is a carafe of Russian Tea.
In the 2nd photo top-left to right circling around the table:
Oatmeal Cherry Cookies
Cappuccino Flats cookies
2 Types of Cranberry cookies (yes, I experimented)
Pimento cheese sandwiches (from church member)
Cranberry Brie
Bacon Squares
Creamy Crab Dip
Nutcracker Sweets
Sweet Spiced Pecans
and the middle platter is a cheese ball/crackers and 2 types of fudge:
Chocolate Walnut and Peanut Butter Cocoa

It was a HIT! The house looked great, the food was fabulous and well worth the effort.
It was from 2-4 pm but people came at 2 and stayed till 3, there were no stragglers this year.

In order to get ready for Open House this year, I shampooed the one remaining room's carpet 5x with a rented Rug Doctor, painted the hallway, attempted to frame one bathroom's mirror only to create a Gorilla Glue mess, and cleaned the parsonage as if we were moving. There will not be an Open House next year, I think every other year is good enough.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Swirling in my Head

We've had a looooong break from formal lessons and it's about to drive me bonkers. I want structure, Camille wants structure and Danny needs it even though he doesn't know it yet. I want to read about the knights, the feudal system and construct a castle together.

What has been keeping me from formal lessons? In one word: L-I-F-E. Another factor has been my flat-out refusal to do things the same way I was. Foolish? Maybe. I've learned a good lesson though, I need something to keep driving me forward other than guilt that I'm not, I need something to plan. It's who I am. I love grand plans, fabulous out-of-the-box ideas that yield fantastic results. What I've learned is that I need to give myself room to do that within a year.

So, one idea I've been contemplating is to split our year up into quarters. Using Tapestry of Grace will help with this since it is divided up into 4 units each year. Another helpful tactic is to use dh's college terms to help frame our studies so that when he's off, we're off and we can do something together. I haven't thought of this before until others shared with me how they break up their year and lo and behold- other moms use their dh's schedule. Slapping my forehead moment.

I'm also integrating even more than I've already done. Although I love Themes to Remember as a music appreciation program, I need to focus on what is most important which is reading, writing and math. Camille is currently in piano lessons so I feel I have already developed a love of music in her and Danny by osmosis. He was strumming a table today saying, "Mommy, Mommy look! Pee-no!" Themes to Remember is now going to be a resource within history to use, when a composer comes along in our timeline of history, we'll take time to read about him/her and learn about their music. I'm still wondering if I should drop it all together or find a way to work it in. This is why I haven't posted much because I have all these thoughts swirling around my brain and I need to work them out.

I want more focus on language arts, especially writing. We are starting to use the writing prompts in Spelling Workout C, as well as Teacher Created Resources' Writing Prompts and Models from These are on-level for Camille and I feel her confidence will grow once she figures out how to put her voice on paper. We will continue copywork with TOG although TOG does not provide it- I will continue with the copywork I created for her but I'm not feeling confident that she's actually getting much from it other than writing practice.

Another resource I want to use is Poetry Writing by Teacher Created Resources but I cannot figure out when to use it. We both enjoy poetry and Camille loves to rhyme words, we have already talked about the term stanza and how to find rhyming patterns. I think I might split up the rest of our time into two quarters, January - March and April - June and focus one quarter on writing prompts and models and the other on poetry.

Using quarters will also allow me to use 4 memory cds instead of just one for the year. I've already decided to create two cds for her: one with french, grammar and math songs, another with history, poetry and whatever else. I will figure out what will work best for her- either Monday & Tuesday for 1 cd or to alternate them each day so she doesn't become too bored. What I'm thinking is that the memory cds will increase during the year, the first quarter cd will contain all I want her to memorize just for the first quarter; the second quarter will build upon the first, etc. What I love is that once I make them, review is so easy! Having audio files will make us more mobile, even if it means borrowing my iPod (oh she would be thrilled to do something so BIG!) and it will help develop her auditory skills.

This is our choices for 3rd grade, only because it's been on my mind lately. I'm going stir-crazy! I want to do our lessons- how crazy does that sound??? When I shampooed our carpet in the learning room, I rearranged it so I'll take new pictures. Danny has his little reading nook and it's cute to see him sit and read (in his way).

Discovery: In the Beginning (Bible), Teaching the Classics, Writing Tales 1, Spelling Workout D, French

MATH- Horizons 3 Math

Tapestry of Grace Redesign Yr 3 (literature, geography, history, music & art appreciation)

SCIENCE- Living Learning Chemistry

Drawing with Children
Dandy Lion-Logic Safari 1
Private piano (2nd year)

Okay that's all I can think to write about right now. Tomorrow is Open House and then I have to focus on getting ready for lessons next week. I'll have new pictures up soon of Open House and our newly arranged learning room.


A Year With Frog and Toad

Tonight, I took Camille to see "A Year with Frog and Toad" at a theatre in a nearby town. We arrived an hour early (not recommended) and were the first ones seated so we spent time talking about the set, the stage lights and what would happen to indicate the show was about to start.

We had so much fun, the play was great and even though Camille is not an adult- it was a treat to have some time away from Danny in public. I do not feel guilty for saying that at all, by the way. Lol! If you have an opportunity to see this play, do so. I am very happy that Camille loves the theatre, "even more than movies Mom!", because I can use her as my excuse to see more.

Camille and I have a permanent date once a month to have a "Girls Night Out" and she is just brimming with ideas all the things we could do without Danny. Things like going bowling, seeing a movie, miniature golf, and I can't wait to share a symphony experience with her although I doubt it will compare to seeing a play. I'm sure Danny enjoyed having alone time with Daddy so we all win.

I desperately want to do school, so next week we will be jumping back in- then we'll take a week off for Christmas and jump back in again. I have more to say about what we're doing but I'll save that for another post.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Her First Piano Recital

She was the first one to perform, in her first recital. We're all very proud of her!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

3rd/4th Grade Chemistry Reading


Robert Boyle: Trailblazer of Science (Sowers) - John Tiner
Antoine Lavoisier and the revolution in chemistry (Immoratals of science) - Rebecca B Marcus
Louis Pasteur by Francene Sabin
Marie Curie Brave Scientist by Keith Brandt
Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium - Carla Killough McClafferty
There are also the old Value Tales books that feature individuals but they are OOP but are great biographies.


The Ogre Downstairs - Diana Wynne Jones
Casper, Johnny, and Gwinny are sure they'll never be happy again when their mother marries Jack, who is as mean as an ogre. To make matters worse, two obnoxious stepbrothers, Malcolm and Douglas, move in as well. No one -- except the parents -- seems happy. But when Jack gives a chemistry set to each group of kids, bigger problems take over. These are, it turns out, not your average chemicals. In one hilarious experiment after another, the kids discover they can fly, switch bodies with one another, and even disappear. If only they could figure out how to undo all of this! Are one combustible stepfamily and two explosive chemistry sets a formula for disaster?

The Lemonade Trick by Scott Corbett
From a review on Amazon: The book is mildly entertaining, but the characters are flat and -- with a few exceptions -- the action is relatively predictable. Written for boys (although not inaccessible to girls), the book's only female characters are all adults. Our Hero, Kerby, is a Boy's Boy of 1960. He makes messes, resists doing his chores and stays out playing too late, but he isn't really a bad boy, and in fact, his parents worry about him when he behaves like a perfect angel. Naturally, Kerby has a faithful dog, who like him, gets into trouble but isn't really truly bad. Bumps Burton is the typical Misunderstood Bully, with standard bully name. Fenton Claypool is the Good Boy who is not so good as to be (in the author's words) "prissy"; Fenton's goodness allows the author to add one of the few truly surprising plot twists to the book. The adults also fit neat stereotypes, such as The Nosy Neighbor Lady and the Frazzled but Hyper-Organized Pagent Director.

The basic plot is: Kerby does a good deed for an Eccentric Old Lady in Distress. The old lady gives Kerby a magic chemistry set. Strange things begin to happen. Is the set really magic? Who is the old lady? And how will Kerby avoid getting his nose twisted by Bumps?

The Chemy Called Al by Wendy Isdell
Back by popular request! Newly revised and expanded, this is the second edition of the popular sequel to the fiction title, "A Gebra Named Al" by Wendy Isdell. Julie finds herself lost once more in the land of Science, which borders Mathematics. With the help of some scientific horses and a mysterious lion, she learns about the roots of chemistry, the history of alchemy, and the four states of matter. Fiction, educational. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
I'm going to read this first but it seems like a lot of fun

TJ and the Rockets by (Hazel) H.J. Hutchins
TJ's grandmother gives him a rocket kit, perfect for his science project, if only he can get it off the ground. Ms. K's class is determined to have science fair projects that are as good as Mr. Wilson's class. Seymour, as usual is working on something extra special. There have been some mysterious thefts at TJ's parents' hardware store that are occurring when TJ and Seymour are at the store. Concerned about being wrongfully accused, TJ and Seymour set out to catch the thief. As always, there is lots of fun and excitement when TJ and Seymour get together. Fans of this series will enjoy reading the latest installment. Readers who are meeting TJ and Seymour for the first time will be looking for their other adventures. Andrea Gordon Not sure about the chemistry element to this story but it is a good chapter book about a child liking science

The Elemental Tooth Fairy - Elaine Kuracina Brehm
This children's book is full-page color illustrations about what the tooth fairy does with all the teeth she collects. It is written to create curiosity about science. For example,the Calcium in the tooth goes to make eggshells and seashells. The Magnesium makes the white light in fireworks. The child can create a tooth fairy picture on the last page.

The Crimecracker Kids and the Bake Shop Break-in by John Hill and Marilyn D. Duerst
a children’s mystery book in which the reader is directed to perform simple, safe experiments in the kitchen, as the mystery unfolds. Not until the final chapters is the reader sure of the identity of the kitchen powders stolen from the Bake Shop, and the field of suspects narrowed. You’ll have to read the book and do the experiments in order to find out how the neighborhood kids dream up a plan to nail the thief at their small town’s summer festival!

The Last Alchemist by Colin Thompson


Oxygen and the Group 16 Elements (The Periodic Table) - Nigel Saunders
Carbon and the Group 14 Elements (The Periodic Table) - Nigel Saunders there are quite a few of these btw
Atoms (Simply Science) - Melissa Stewart
What Is Matter? (Rookie Read-About Science) - Don L. Curry
What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) - Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Hydrogen And The Noble Gases (True Books) - Salvatore Tocci quite a few of these too
The Periodic Table (True Books) - Salvatore Tocci
How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method - Stephen P. Kramer
What's Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? - Robert E. Wells

The Magic School Bus Ups And Downs: A Book About Floating And Sinking by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degan
The Magic School Bus Baked in a Cake by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus Gets Ready, Set, Dough by Joanna Cole (Kitchen chemistry)

Lakeshore Elementary ( has a Learning Science Library for matter (grades 1-3) that is 30.50, (Item GG-867) and activity tubs For Grades 4-6, Matter library EE-190 for $35.

Another cool thing I found was at ETA. Periodic Table Connecting Tiles Great for Hands-on!
and of course other bookmarked sites I have for Chemistry Chemistry Bookmarks

More books: Children's Chemistry Literature

If you have any that you have enjoyed with your young chemists, please share!


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mid-Year Shake up

Bible- We have been using Explorer's Bible Study but for December we're reading Advent instead. I fully believe in Explorer's and want to use it for creating a good foundation but we're enjoying reading real-life stories right now. I'm in prayerful consideration what direction would be best after Advent, reading Bible stories or using Explorer's for the rest of the year. I want to make sure that the decision is based on something concrete other than my antsy-ness right now. I'm considering using the Storykeepers DVDs that the kids are getting for Christmas and reading out of Egermeier's Bible Storybook or Beautiful Bible Stories the scripture that relates to the Storykeepers episode. I think it would be a great way to focus on both Danny and Camille for Bible.

Exercise- This is a new addition to our daily routine. We have YogaKids, Tae Bo Kicks (for kids) and Leslie Sansone's KidsWalk which we will be interchanging so that we don't get bored. We are also taking Jack, our 3 month old pup, on afternoon (nature) walks.

Preschool- Danny needs his own time for reading other than bedtime, so I'm going to be experimenting when it would be best to have "Danny" time within Camille's lesson time. We're using 's Preparatory Curriculum which involves a theme for the week.

Memory CD- This is still in an experimental stage, I've put math skip counting songs, grammar songs from FLL, songs from Themes to Remember, French, poetry for memorization and Books of the Bible songs on a CD for Camille to listen to everyday. I think I need to break up the CD, create one for math and grammar, and the other for poetry, music and French and alternate the CDs each day. I am thinking about only doing Themes to Remember one day a week since she'll be listening to it on her memory cd. I'm also thinking about letting her choose a poem to remember and have her present it on Friday. I really want to simplify as much as possible so I am trying to figure out how I can use the Memory CD to lighten our 1-on-1 time.

Math- nothing is changing here, I'm happy with math fact copywork and Horizons 2.

LA and Spelling- Camille has requested doing an activity in her Spelling Workout once a day, this will be combined with her new grammar workbook, Mailbox's Mechanics, Grammar and Usage Grades 2-3. LA is going to take a good bit of our time daily from now on including writing and narrations. I'm considering picking a few poems with Camille and putting the titles in a jar for her to pick to remember each week. I don't know, I just want it to be something that she yearns to do moreso than something I lead.

History- We're switching to TOG for our history while still using SOTW. We will continue mapwork SOTW style with a salt map every 4 weeks, I am considering taking out coloring pages but that is dependent on Camille. She loves art. I think an art project once a week may satisfy her though.

Science- Lots of reading here with 1 experiment a week. I'm no longer concerned with notebooking in science right now. It bogs us down. Copywork and possibly illustrating what we're studying will be extent of items for the notebook.

French- Games, listening to audiobooks and practice, practice, practice.

A proposed daily routine

6:30- Wake up, chores, breakfast
7:00 - Curious George (aka Mom's shower time), clean up breakfast
7:30 - Circle Prayer time and Exercise
8:00 - Bible
8:30 - Math
9:15 (?)- Snack Break

9:30 Camille - LA (Spelling, Writing, Poetry, Reading aloud)
----- Danny- while Camille is doing independent work Danny gets his time
10:30 - History / Science (good time for Danny's independent room play time)
11:30 - French
12:00 - Lunch/ Tidy-up

12:30 - Danny Preschool
-------- Camille's independent room time w/ memory cd
1:00 - Piano practice 15 minutes
1:30 - Walk Jack (nature walk)
2:00 - Run errands if needed, free play for the rest of the afternoon

Bedtime Reading: 3 books for Danny and 30 minutes for Camille


Friday, December 7, 2007

Life Report

We're doing light school right now and preschool, I haven't had time (translation: I haven't wanted to) sit down and organize our homeschooling stuff, I have ideas of what I want to do but the actual organization of it hasn't happened. Meanwhile, we're doing what we feel led to do each do in combination of cleaning house, baking, reading Advent/Christmas books and watching Christmas movies.

This weekend alone: Camille has her first piano recital, we have two Christmas parties to attend plus regular church services. Then next week, Camille and I are having a "Girls' Night Out" and we're going to see The Year with Frog and Toad at a semi-local theatre. Next weekend is our Open House which I'm baking and cleaning for. I can't wait to take Camille to see the play, I really want to do something like that with her once a month, just her and I.

Jack, our puppy, is doing fine but I think I'm going to put him in the kennel for Christmas instead of dragging him all over creation with all the hoopla. My mom has to have surgery right after Christmas, plus their house is about to undergo construction, stress-stress-stress. I don't think we'll be visiting for very long.

I'm done with Christmas shopping. Now, there's the lull between being done and waiting for everything to happen. Can I just take a nap until then? The weatherman said we're headed for a warm weekend, meanwhile I'm reading about others having snow. I love snow. I miss the North.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Beautiful Sights

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies; Cappuccino Flats Cookies; Sweetly Spiced Pecans
What's not pictured: the chocolate chips cookies that have been baked and eaten

I love these moments!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Preschool Busy Board Idea

My next project is a busy board. I need the piece of wood but then I'm going to staple items to it. I'm going to use discarded clothes of ours for the materials.

Materials needed: Staple gun, Gorilla Glue, a piece of wood, clothing items and a little imagination

- the area of a button up shirt (3-4 holes worth)
- the cuff of a shirt (one button hole)
- two types of belts- lace through and button-hole. If the belt is thick I'm going to try gorilla glue
- a zipper
- a zipper and button combo
- snaps, hopefully on a pocket
- shoe laces with partial shoes

In areas where I can, I'm going to put something underneath what he's going to open up, such as the shirt area. I'm trying to figure out how I can put pockets there so I can exchange what is "underneath". Maybe photo pockets or some sort?

I will post pictures once I have this project done.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

12 Days of Homeschool Contest!


Can you create lyrics for a song that reflects
12 Days of Homeschool?

On the first day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the second day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the third day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the fourth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the fifth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the sixth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,

On the seventh day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the eighth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the ninth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the tenth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the eleventh day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,
On the twelfth day of {enter your homeschool name or just put 'homeschool'}, my mother (or father) said/gave to me,

The contest is sponsored by and is providing a $50 coupon code to the winner. This means that employees and families cannot participate in the contest. AND since is sponsoring contests on 12 different blogs this year, you're only able to participate in TWO of the 12 different contests. They are calling it the "HomeschoolEstore's 12 Blogs of Christmas".

To participate
leave a comment under THIS post linking to your post that features your submission. If you do not have a blog, email your submission to me triviumacademy at hotmail dot com. DEADLINE for submission is December 17th. I will then post all of the submissions under one post for all to see and declare a winner on December 19th.


Monday, December 3, 2007

A Memory CD

Danny gets time alone in his room everyday but I haven't been doing the same for Camille. Having Camille take independent time will help me be able to focus on Danny for a period of time so I will stagger their "room" time to make one-on-one time possible. When I give Camille schoolwork to do she needs me still so this interrupts the time with Danny, which isn't helpful in keeping him on task for longer than 30 seconds.

My solution? A memory CD that Camille is to listen to each day in her room. Once the CD is done, her independent time is over and if it ends too soon, I'll have her read a chapter of the book she is currently reading after the CD.

What is on the CD?

  1. Grammar songs/chants from First Language Lessons audio CD
  2. Poems she has memorized from First Language Lessons
  3. -I need record other poems that she's memorized that aren't available as audio-
  4. Skip counting songs for 6's, 7's, 8's and 9's
  5. Themes to Remember songs with lyrics and without
  6. Books of the Bible memory songs (Old Testament and New Testament)
  7. French ABCs and counting to 20

She's not an audiobook child unless she's able to read along with the audio. Other items I want to add are memorization pieces I've chosen for the year for science and history. I need to record the Veritas Press History card titles for the Medieval period because we cannot stand the way it is sung on the VP cd.

I think this will be a great tool to help me accomplish our goals while teaching two children. Listening everyday will soak in, right??? Lol. I need to make one for Danny as well with Bible songs, ABCs and other preschool songs about colors, shapes, etc.

Check out Mindy's memory cd post:
And more on digital voice recorders, you WILL be tempted.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Conversations about LArts

I'm copying over what I've post at the WTM Boards lately regarding my concerns about language arts. Sometimes in a conversation with another, I find more help with my thinking process. I'm copying it here so I can refer back to it instead of trying to find a needle in a haystack at the boards.

First post: I'm a little confused- question about delayed grammar, copywork and dictation.

Dd7 is in 2nd grade. I stopped using FLL b/c I decided to wait for grammar but dd liked the lessons and I'm confused now. I'm reassessing where we are and I know I want to build her reading/writing skills but I'm unsure how to go about it.

I've been using our history copywork for informal grammar lessons. For example:

Charlemagne was known as the "Emperor of the Romans" because his empire grew from his valiant efforts. He started schools, built new roads and bridges, and fought wars to build his empire. Charlemagne also desired everyone to become a Christian."

Highlighted for informal grammar:
- special title in quotation marks
- capitalization of proper nouns
- vocabulary word lookup: valiant
- comma useage in listing items

Another example:
"Since tonight the wind is high
The sea's white mane a fury
I need not fear the hordes of Hell
Coursing the Irish Channel."

-On the Viking Raids, Anonymous

Highlight for informal grammar:
- capitalization of each first word in a poem
- capitalization of proper nouns
- vocabulary word lookup: fury
- quotation usage when using an excerpt

Of course it's not systematic and I guess that is what is worrying me, whether I'm providing enough for her at this stage by doing it this way. This way is easier for me to blend it into our day without making grammar a subject on its own. I plan to use Junior Analytical Grammar in 4th grade and we're using Writing Tales 1 next year in 3rd.

Dictation though is supposed to enforce proper sentence formation, spelling and punctuation, isn't it? So if I'm not formally, systematically teaching these items, how do I approach dictation? Or do I?

If jumping back into FLL will benefit dd more, I'll do it. I just need help figuring out what would be best to do.

Second Post: Regarding grammar, final thoughts.
At first I was starting to get confused by all the different responses to my question b/c I wasn't trying to do anything the Beechick, Bluedorn, WTM, FLL way. I was just trying to create a natural learning situation instead of feeling like a robot reading a scripted lesson.

It is so hard to believe in the value of formal grammar at 2nd grade outside of memorization. Getting her to pay attention to a read-aloud or to think about what she's going to say BEFORE she says it! Lol.

Yesterday I got out FLL and Ruth Beechick's A Strong Start in Language. This is what I came up with but I haven't finalized yet.

- Read story/picture narrations from FLL
- Use the grade level guidelines from Strong Start
- Use writing prompts like from Spelling Workout to have dd write each day, using a "topic" jar.
- teach punctuation/capitalization, I don't see a reason to change what we're doing already
- continue using higher vocabulary words with dd with dictionary skills
- continue using Spelling Workout
- continue memorizing poetry
- continue book reports

What I need to do is find a system of doing all of this and make it happen. The reason I'm questioning what I'm doing is b/c we've taken 2 months off from everything but reading. I feel very convicted to get dd writing even just a sentence of her own a day.

I'm going to look again at Writing Tales and see if dictation is covered. I don't think we're there yet but of course I see dictation as something to do after you've provided a child with punctuation/capitalization instruction. I want to set her up to succeed or at least be as successful as she's able. I'm not in a rush, if we neglect to learn something, we'll realize it later and learn it then.

I have a hard time believing that grammar needs to be taught from 1-12. Even with teaching French, we're learning more vocabulary than grammar in the younger ages. Speaking is much more important.

I did get a little confused yesterday but I went back like someone suggested and realized how I came to the decision of delayed grammar. I feel much better now.
In response to another hsler on second post:
The book reports we are doing are easy-peasy. It's Evan-Moor's How To Report on Books Grades 1-2. Veritas Press uses it and OhElizabeth suggested it when I asked if there was a way to gently introduce literary elements.

From the books she reads in a week, I pick one that will fit the book report theme. An example:

Describe the Main Character

Main Character:
Circle the words that tell about the character:
[list of adjectives]

There are book suggestions to read and teaching tips.
Sometimes she needs to draw something or write a sentence. I think it's great and helps accomplish talking about literary elements at her level.

One thing I am going to be focusing more on is to talk with her about the sequence of a story we read. I haven't been utilizing our read alouds as much as I could and getting all that we can out of them at her stage. We read 2-3 chapters of a longer read aloud at a time and I make sure to summarize the story that we previously read before we read a new chapter and I talk with her about predictions and any moral dilemmas I feel are appropriate to talk about but that's it.

I'm feeling the need to beef it up a little more, talk about the sequence of events, cause and effect, etc. This can be done simply with even a short picture book. Writing Tales has inspired me by the way Amy incorporated games and activities that really help teach. Writing down on index cards the sequence of events of a story in sentences and having a child put them in order is not hard to do.

I'm also getting Teaching the Classics as a part of 3rd grade's curriculum to help me.

The more experience I gain, the more I realize it truly is quality, not quantity in just about everything we do. If we read one book and talk about the elements instead of trying to just plow through 3 books in the same amount of time- which is better?

If I spend more time teaching a concept than throwing a multitude of review at her for practice for a short teaching session, isn't that better?

I'm at the point that
1. I realized comparing us to public school or other homeschoolers really doesn't help. I look for inspiration instead, I'll steal your ideas in a heartbeat if I think it'll work for us! :)

2. Teaching takes time and effort, finding an efficient way to teach helps me be more effective in a shorter time.

3. It's really not a race, we WILL learn and relearn just about everything we're doing. It's why I chose classical education over other models, building blocks of the trivium is what sold me. I want a spiral education for my children that will result in mastery, the main goal of each subject we take on is mastery eventually.

4. To trust myself more- I have a great instinct when it comes to my kids, I know when an approach is wrong or something is awry. I know when *I'm* not being effective. I have developed a strong sense of what will work for me as a teacher and what will work for dd as a learner and it changes all the time. The last two years I've been pulled by peer pressure, enthusiasm of others' goals & accomplishments and I'm finally getting to a place of being okay, "we won't do that or at least not in that way".

Is there anything better than getting the help you need, when you need it? I have been blessed greatly by other homeschoolers online and it has been a saving grace. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.