Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 15, 2018

Update on my girls:

16 yo - Still homeschooling; still attending early morning seminary.  

19 yo - Worked for over a year as a CNA.  Now working as a Starbucks barista and expecting her first baby in the summer.

22 yo - Serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Colorado Denver South Mission

31 yo - Being a mama to six children ages 10 years to 10 months.

Honestly, every subject has suffered a bit since we dove into the more challenging literature works.

Morning Basket - Finally!  After several false starts we are doing it!  What made it finally jell?  Middle Ages Morning Time Plans.  Yes, 16yo is "too old," but ... can I just say what a treat it is to step back from the academic challenge of high school level subjects and be able to simply enjoy poetry, picture study, music appreciation, and art?

Current Events - CNN 10 and Newsademics. 

Latin - working in Lively Latin's Big Book 2 lesson 12.  

Greek - She finished Elementary Greek: Year 1.  I'm not sure I'll have her continue as we've hit a real time crunch. 

Math - Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1.  We took another detour (Algebra Survival Guide and workbook) so she still hasn't completed Alg. 1.   We are trying to build a firm foundation.

Grammar - Daily Grammar Practice 8.

Spelling - After she finished Phonetic Zoo B, we dropped spelling for the remainder of this school year. 

Composition - crickets chirping ...

Literature - The first half of the school year she read elementary fiction books with Medieval settings: Adam of the Road, The Door in the Wall, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, The Adventures of Robin Hood.  After the new year we read Beowulf and then Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We are currently reading The Canterbury Tales.  Not sure we'll get to Henry V this year.

Geography - She was reviewing the African continent using maps from Memoria Press and Online Seterra.  We are now including map review of Europe every morning during Morning Time.  

World History - We are reading about the Middle Ages using:  K-12's The Human Odyssey, World History Detective, Famous Men of the Middle Ages, and Dorothy Mills' The Book of the Middle Ages.  We are now also watching "The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest" from the Great Courses.  I LOVE it!

Christian Studies - Early morning seminary (public school schedule 6:45 - 7:35 a.m.)  Book of Mormon.  I am NOT a morning person.  I am exhausted!

Classical Studies - We read The Iliad along with the DVDs and study guide from Memoria Press in the fall.  I'm thinking of possibly doing The Odyssey over the summer.  We just didn't have time to do Middle Ages literature and The Odyssey both.

Science - Limping through Exploring Creation Through Biology.  Love this book but we are swamped and tired.

Art - We have gone through the Core Knowledge art prints for K-3.  Since we read the background information from the Teacher Handbooks, we were able to adapt it for an older learner.  Combined with what we have found on Kahnacademy, we've also been using the Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason (Giotto, Botticelli, and Fra Angelico).  

Hands-on art?  Middle Ages video art lessons from

Music - music appreciation is included in the Middle Ages Morning Time plans from . 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 08, 2017 Planning

After all these years of homeschooling (17?) and with only one child left, I'm making the most serious attempt I've ever made to plan and organize before the school year starts.

What am I using?  Plan Your Year:  Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace by Pam Barnhill
The Plan Your Year Guide breaks down the planning process into 10 doable steps.   After  reading a step/chapter and then watching the accompanying video, I worked on that particular step myself.  When I felt I had completed that step as well as I could, I moved on.  There are a few steps I will continue working on (tweaking), but I felt it was important to move forward rather than getting stuck on perfection.  For example, one of the later steps is to organize your homeschool space.  After all my years of homeschooling with no dedicated homeschool room, I have an abundance of materials stashed all over my house.  I continued to the next step in the guide and made a note to myself to work every day on different areas of my house where homeschool supplies are stored.

For me personally, the most important step was writing a vision for my student.   What an eye opening experience.  I realized that quite a bit of what we have focused on in our homeschool journey has not always matched the vision for this kiddo.  As I kept going through the guide, looking back at the vision helped reign me in and helped me to refocus on what we need to do for her future self.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the journey has been to work with other homeschool parents traveling along the same path.  There is a Facebook page dedicated to users of Plan Your Year.  It has kept me motivated as I've received help and been able to see how other folks work through the same steps in the process.

Because of Plan Your Year, I see a much more productive school year ahead of us.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

Another school year has come and gone....

Having a commitment outside the home every day, early morning seminary, guaranteed the most consistent school year we've probably ever had.   We started strong and we finished strong.  It's a good feeling.  Yes, there are definitely subjects we need to work toward greater consistency with, but overall it was a good year.

Update on my girls:

30yo - Baby #6 arrived recently.  He's a cutie!  Postpartum depression is rearing its ugly head, but mama is fighting hard to find a balance.

21yo - She finished her associates degree in child and family studies and is preparing to serve a mission for the church.

19yo - She's still working weekend nights as a CNA and recently finished her first term as a full time student at the local community college.  Burning the candle at both ends.

15yo - Volleyball is her new passion.  Oh, and she is a great cook  😋 which is greatly appreciated by me.  

This was a testing year!  I don't base my curriculum choices off the scores, but the girls have always been interested in whether or not they have improved.  15yo improved by 20+ points in all categories.  A sizable increase in scores between 5th - 8th grade has been the pattern for all my girls.

Let's start with early morning seminary (6:45 - 7:35 a.m.) since it is the way we start every school day.  I am not going to lie.  I am NOT a morning person.   Rolling out no later than 6 a.m. was killing me.  The last two months were particularly hard.  There are students who spend most of their time hiding out in the girls' bathroom to avoid attending class.  15 yo has been warned that she had better not disrespect me in that way.  If she decides she no longer wants to attend seminary then she needs to tell me.  I'm sleep deprived and tired.

So how did seminary go?  She was excited at the beginning, however that did wane once she realized that the other kids didn't appreciate the time and effort the teacher was investing in them.  The novelty wore off.  But, she feels attending seminary is the right thing to do.  Every morning on the drive home I asked her two questions: 1)"What was the drama today?" and 2)"What did you learn?"  Her knowledge of gospel doctrine did increase which ultimately was the goal.    The focus for the year was the New Testament.

Here's the kind of sad part.  At the beginning of the year, because she enjoyed being in a "high school" class with peers, she was considering taking future classes at the high school.  After witnessing the behavior of her seminary classmates, she decided public school is not for her.  She would like to participate in high school sports but currently has no desire to attend academic classes.

Current Events:  Still fans of CNN 10 (previously titled CNN Student News)

Latin:  She finished the first half (lessons 1-8) of Lively Latin's BigBook 2:  direct objects, 2nd conjugation, the genitive of possession, dative of the indirect object, personal pronouns (ouch!), 3rd declension nouns, 3rd declension i-stem nouns, declining proper nouns, the irregular verb "eo," ablative  of place from which, accusative of place to which, plus lots of new vocabulary and history too.   She became more and more independent as the year progressed.  I was just the answer checker at the end.

Greek:  What possessed me, I don't know.   Probably her love of all things Rick Riordan which started out with Percy Jackson.  Since I felt First Form Greek would probably move too quickly for her, she has started with The Greek Alphabet and  Elementary Greek: Year 1 (Koine Greek).  We've referenced pronunciation through The Great Courses' Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language.  We are continuing Elementary Greek through the summer since we started in February.

Math: Testing year.  She did Math Minutes every morning to help keep basic math fresh in her mind.  We were able to make it through about half of Algebra 1 before I decided to really focus on basic math skills for the standardized test.  Now that the test is over, she is doing a quick Algebra 1 review using the Straight Forward math series at Garlic Press.  Once the review is over, she'll go back to Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1.

Grammar:  Words cannot express how thankful I was to finish R&S English 7.  We only did the grammar lessons but even then, it was a challenge to get it done before standardized testing.  And, let me tell you that at times I had a particularly hard time wrapping my brain around some of the learning.  Yes, friends, I am not smarter than a 7th grader.  We're going to take a break from R&S next year and save it for the next testing year (2019).

We found an excellent way to practice what we've learned - Daily Grammar Practice.  This past year she finished DGP 6 and 7.  We'll be using DGP 8 and possibly DGP 9 this next year in lieu of R&S Staff English 8.

Spelling:  She finished Phonetic Zoo A and is halfway through B.  She is breezing through the lists.

Composition:  Once again, it was shoved to the back burner.

Literature:  Again, it was dropped.

Geography: We finished Geography III.  She also practiced using Seterra Online quizzes.

World History:  We finished Ancients!  We used all of the lessons in History Detective that fit Ancients and we read through the Romans in K12's The Human Odyssey.

Classical Studies:  We are still covering Roman history in Lively Latin.  We reviewed and then continued all of Famous Men of Greece (MP) and Mills' Book of the Ancient Greeks.

Christian Studies:  We finished MP Christian Studies lV along with What the Bible Is All About for Young Explorers as a resource.  The future plan is to rely on seminary from this point forward.

Science:  There is part of me that feels guilty about this and there is the other part of me that knows we're on the right track.  Hands on has proven to be superior to merely reading a textbook.  So yes, we  have used Dr. Wile's elementary science series as our spine even though my student is older.  We finally finished Science in the Beginning and we are 1/3 of the way through Science in the Ancient World.

This summer the plan is to continue working through Science in the Ancient World.  I had planned for us to start Dr. Wile's high school biology course in the fall but decided to get a slow start this summer.  I looked through some of the experiments and found that the supplies would be easier to locate/find in the summer (ex: pond water, dry grass, sunshine lol!).

Morning Time, Art, and Music:  These all fell by the wayside as test prep became more of the focus.  Yes, she did some art projects and art appreciation, but the others were dropped completely.

In the end I see how much I still need to work towards matching the Vision with  reality and follow through.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016

Update on my girls:

14 yo - my only homeschooler.  She's had a huge adjustment this school year - early morning seminary.  Up at 5:45 a.m. every school morning and on the road before 6:30 a.m.  She had argued with me about attending seminary, so it has been nice to see her want to be there.  Every morning.  Ten minutes early.
It's been good for our school day too.  We start school as soon as we get home about 8 a.m.  With a regular start time, we are more consistent than we've ever been.

18 yo - life has been a struggle for the past couple of years (darn depression!).  She was an excellent student at the public school and a cheerleader, but the depression finally kicked her behind last autumn and she switched to legally homeschooling again.  There were lots of doctor's and counseling appointments along with medication adjustments.  She pretty much has spent the past year trying to heal - sleeping, television, and reading.
The very end of August of this year, with the opportunity of moving to a different state, she decided to test for her GED.  She passed!  Moving fell through but it got the ball rolling.  In September she started training at a local care facility to become a nursing assistant.  She finished the training in a few weeks and was hired at the facility.  After a few weeks of working nights she passed the certification test and is now officially a CNA1.
Life is not perfect but she now has goals and she is alive.

21 yo - finishing up her two year degree in child and family studies.  She has been student teaching in a special needs preschool class and loves it!

29 yo - cooking grandbaby #6 and keeping the other five grandchildren alive.

14yo has always been all over the map, but she is always moving forward.  I try not to worry.

The BIG change - I've been disappointed that we never seem to get to the joy of learning.  I get so focused on trying to get through curriculum that homeschool turns into a check list marathon.  So ... we added Morning Basket.  I know.  How does adding something help you do more?  At first it was pretty stressful and I almost gave up.  I've found that if we get our 3r's type subjects done first in the day, then I'm able to do MB and enjoy it.  In the morning we do math, grammar, spelling, and Latin.  Near lunch we pull out our MB notebooks and work on Latin prayer, poetry memorization, preposition memorization (pesky prepositions!) and map review.  Next, 14yo reads to me from a book of Aesop's Fables after which I read to her from a read aloud (recently it was a retelling of The Iliad).  We have a ton of books I want to read to her before I donate them, so I have a never ending supply.  MB has been a good addition.  I feels like we are finally getting to dessert!

Current Events - still hanging with CNN Student News.

Latin - working in Lively Latin's Big Book 2 lesson 4.  Learning to use the accusative case (direct objects), genitive case (possession), and dative case (indirect objects).  Thank goodness she is already familiar with these noun jobs from English grammar.

Math - she finished R&S Math 8 last year.  We are currently working through Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1.   It was moving a little fast for her, so we've been taking side routes to give her more practice.  She just spent a week working through the second book of Key to Algebra.  Of course, this means she probably won't complete the Algebra 1 textbook this year.  I keep reminding myself that mastery and being fluent are more important.

Grammar - believe it or not, we are using Rod & Staff 7 English.   We made it through the first couple of chapters last school year but then we fizzled.  This year we started over from the beginning and it has gone much better.  If she starts to struggle, we'll slow down and finish it next year.  We have covered sentences, nouns, verbs, and verb usage.  We are currently reviewing and learning about pronouns.

Spelling - Phonetic Zoo A.  I really liked the independent aspect of this spelling program, but 14yo complained.  We've dropped using the CD's and I call out the words for her.  Spelling is not a struggle, so it usually takes her 2-3 days with one card/list.

Composition - Writing and Rhetoric.  I am terrible when it comes to teaching writing because I have never been a confident writer myself.  IEW was working well as long as I DID it.  However, writing was always one of the first things to get shoved to the back burner.  W&R was just too good to pass up.  I had to give it a try.  We were about 1/2 through Fable (level 1) last year.  Again, I've struggled with being consistent, but we are trying.  We are currently working in Narrative II (level 3) and hope to finish in January.  I realize these levels are for much younger students, but I feel this is a good fit for becoming a confident writer.  It is gentle and fun while building up important skills.

Literature - Oh, boy.  This has definitely been a "back burner" subject this year.  We've been reading Anne of Green Gables off and on for months.

Geography - Memoria Press Geography III without drawing the world.  I like the reading and map work but I finally had to admit that drawing the world wasn't going to happen.  It's more important to me that she can find the countries and land forms and have a general idea of what the countries are like than have an ability to draw a Robinson map.

World History - mish mash.  I guess our main spine is K12's The Human Odyssey along with World History Detective as a close second.  Right now we are also including The Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions.  We've been learning about Confucianism and Taoism and we are about to start reading about Hinduism and Buddhism.

American History - dropped for now.  We just don't have the time for world history, classical studies, christian studies, and American history.

Christian Studies - honestly, I didn't plan to cover this at home this year since 14yo is attending a religion class (New Testament) every morning.  But... the class at church seems to focus more on teachings than historical background.  I think historical background is important to understanding the scriptures/Bible.  I was going to have her do just MP's Christian Studies lV, but it was a little too bare bones.  We are combining CS lV with What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers.  I have to admit that I love the YE book.  Between studying the ancients and this little book, I feel like I have a much better understanding of the Bible and the people mentioned in it.

Classical Studies - in the past, we made it about 2/3 of the way through Famous Men of Greece, so I'm having 14yo read through one lesson each week independently.   We were reading Dorothy Mills The Ancient Greeks together but it has become independent too.  It is easy to assign whenever life happens and I have her work alone.
We recently read Kingfisher Epics The Iliad during Morning Basket.

Science - Science in the Beginning.  Again, this is elementary level but we like it!  We try for a lesson a day.  The goal is to finish Science in the Beginning and Science in the Ancient World this school year.

Art - mish mash.  Using Home Arts Studio and art prints from different programs.  We are trying to do 1-2 art projects every week.  She finished the first level.  These are for young children but I think the hands on aspect is better than just an art appreciation course.

Music - learning to play the piano while playing Christmas music duets with me.

Finished this year:

  • Get Oregonized (Oregon state history and natural resources)
  • Dorothy Mills The Ancient World (cultures from the Old Testament)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 6, 2015

Productivity?  What's that?   Yeah, school's out for summer.

edit - The BIG news?  13yo is finished with swimming lessons until the fall.  She started out as a non-swimmer and finished up as a level 6.  So proud of her!

CNN Student News ended yesterday.  Boo hoo!  See you in August, Carl Azuz.

Latin - We finished lesson 15 and the 2nd Punic war.  : )

Math - 59-62 multiplying and dividing with decimals.

The Hobbit - finished chapters 15 & 16.  Reading chapter 17.  Dain has arrived.

Insects - 30 Helpful and Harmful Insects

A History of US, Volume 2:  Making Thirteen Colonies
  • Virginia's Capital
  • Pretend Some More
  • South Carolina: Riches, Rice, Slaves
  • North Carolina: Dissenters and Pirates
  • Royal Colonies and a No Blood Revolution

Famous Men of Greece - 25 Epaminondas & Pelopidas, Review 5

Animal Encyclopedia 
  • Senses
  • Behavior
  • Invertebrates
  • Kangaroos, Opposums

Friday, May 29, 2015

May 29, 2015

We aren't finished, but I'm done.  Somehow I totally lost my oomph over the Memorial Day weekend.

I plan to do math daily over the summer.
I hope to do bird and tree studies.
Anything else that occurs will be a miracle.

Latin - So close to the end of lesson 15 in Lively Latin 1.   We are diagramming attributive adjectives and predicate adjectives.  Scippo has landed in Africa.

Math - decimal fractions

Spelling - LOE high frequency words list #5

Literature - The Hobbit - working on chapter 15.

Insects - 28 & 29 Bees

Geography - Finland

American History - A History of US: Making Thirteen Colonies
Benjamin Franklin
Maryland's Form of Toleration
Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny
The Good Life

Famous Men of Greece - Xenophon

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015

We were productive while at the community college; not so much the other days.  Thursday 17yo was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended.  I spent the afternoon trying to determine if she needed to see a doctor and then taking her to the doctor.

Here's a more interesting write-up:
Today we followed Bilbo into the Lonely Mountain, made our first brief visit to Sweden, scaled the walls of New Carthage with Cornelius Scipio, watched the Spartan Lysander lay siege to Athens, cringed when Charles II was beheaded and then Cromwell was exhumed and beheaded too, met a new religious leader - Zoroaster, and learned about the external structure of trees. Math, grammar, and spelling were thrown in for good measure.
And this is why my brain feels like it has had a whisk taken to it.
Love learning! Just hope it doesn't fall out of my head overnight... or in the next few seconds.

Working in Lesson 15 - adjectives.  The 2nd Punic War with Cornelius Scipio in Spain.

40-45  Common Fractions

The END!  We have finished Rod & Staff 6.  Who knows if she will retain the information, but we are done!

continuing LOE high frequency world list level 4

Literature - The Hobbit
Ch. 10 workbook
Ch. 11

22 Butterflies II
23 Unit IV Review
24 Wasps

2 The Root System
3 The External Structure of a Stem

Review Europe I, Norway, Sweden

American History
Memoria Press
20. The Beginning of New York
21. William Penn

A History of US
West to Jersey
Cromwell and Charles
William the Wise

World History
The People of Ancient Persia (Mills)

Classical Studies
Famous Men of Greece
Review 4

Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015

Well, it was nice while it lasted.   Normal life has descended upon me again.  In other words, we couldn't seem to get in gear this week.  It is true that I had a cold but it should NOT have slowed us down that much.  I might not have felt great, but I was putting in the same hours.  How could we have accomplished so little?

13yo started another session of swimming lessons this week.  We've been going twice a week since September.  We are both ready for a break (summer).

We finished Christian Studies II this week.  I flipped through the workbook and realized that I had forgotten almost everything.  And if I did?  I imagine 13yo doesn't remember much either.  It looks like it is time for a "slow but steady" long-term review.

Lesson 14 in Lively Latin Big Book 1 has been completed and we'll start lesson 15 next week.

Only one more chapter in English 6.  I'm wondering how much has been retained.  I keep telling myself that exposure will help her when her brain is ready.

The loser this week? Ancient History.  There never seemed to be enough time.  We did do a little with The Hobbit, but it suffered also.

I let 13yo go to a sleepover Thursday night, so Friday was a complete bust.  Her brain wasn't functioning at all.

English derivatives and more 2nd Punic War (Cannae)

Distance, rate, and time word problems, line graphs, prime factors, greatest common factors, lowest common multiples.

Misplaced phrases and clauses, courtesy in conversation, interjections, parts of speech review.


The Hobbit Ch. 9
Ch. 10 - read only

Science - insects
19 Moths 1
20 Moths II
21 Butterflies I

Trees - 1 Systems

Birds - 1 Feathers

UK, Ireland

American History
A History of US
The Pueblos Win - At Least for Now
What's a Colony?
Silver Nails and Big Tub

World History
Nothing :/

Classical Studies
Famous Men of Greece

Christian Studies II
Psalms of Joy
Jonah; Vision of Days to Come

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

Another amazing week.  : )

Current Events - CNN Student News

Vocabulary H - adjectives
2nd Punic War - Hannibal Outwits Fabius (The Fabian Policy, cattle with burning fagots on horns)

Lessons 27-32.  Capacity, area, time, time zones, mental conversions of English units, d=r x t.

English Grammar
115 - 119  Prepositions, Using Prepositions Correctly, Making an Introduction, Coordinating Conjunctions, Subordinating Conjunctions


The Hobbit
Ch. 6 - Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire
Ch. 7 - Queer Lodgings
Ch. 8 - Flies and Spiders

Science - Insects
15 Coleoptera I  (Beetles)
16 Coleoptera II
17 Coleopter III
18 Unit III Review (Diptera - flies, Coleoptera - beetles)

Netherlands, Belgium

American History
A History of Us: Making Thirteen Colonies
Statues on the Common (Mary Dyer, 1660)
Of Witches and Dinosaurs (Salem Witch Trials, 1692)
Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine (1636)
King Philip's War (1675-1678)

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic
19 King Philip's War

World History
The Book of the Ancient World (Dorothy Mills)
21 The Land of the Hittites; The Hittite People and Their Cities
22 The Hittites and Their Neighbors
Review 4

Small blurbs about Hittites from our various history encyclopedias.

History Year by Year
2500 - 2000 BCE
The First Writing
2000 - 1500 BCE
The Metal Ages
1500 - 1000 BCE

Classical Studies
Famous Men of Greece
17 Themistocles
18 Aristides the Just

Christian Studies
23 Return to Jerusalem

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 2015

The most productive week I think we've ever had!

We've been starting with CNN Student News first thing in the morning to help our brains wake up.  Neither one of us is a morning person.

2nd Punic War - battles at Ticinus, Trebia, and Trasimene.
Practice using the future tense of sum (to be).

Lessons 20-23, 25-26 Solving division problems mentally, picture graphs, reading problems: picking out the correct operation, chapter review, linear measures, units of weight.

English Grammar
110-114  Adverb clauses; diagramming adverb clauses; simple, compound, and complex sentences; chapter review

List four words are getting more challenging.  A few mistakes here and there.

Using Memoria Press literature guide for The Hobbit.  Finished lessons for Ch. 4 and Ch.5.  Read pgs. 79-110.

Science - Insects
13 Diptera I - house fly, bluebottle, horse fly
14 Diptera II - mosquito, crane fly

Austria, Germany, review

American History
A History of US: Making Thirteen Colonies
Puritans, Puritans, and More Puritans
Of Towns and Schools and Sermons
Roger Williams
Woman, Hold Your Tongue (Anne Hutchinson)

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic
17 The Beginning of Boston (1630)
18 Roger Williams (Providence, 1636)

World History
Mills 12 The Gods of Ancient Babylon
Mills Review 2
Encyclopedia of the Ancient World - Neo-Babylonian Empire
History of the World (DK) - Nebuchadnezzar II, Babylonian Captivity, Falls to Persia (Cyrus the Great)
History Year by Year (DK/Smithsonian) - pgs. 20-27  3000-2500 BCE, Battle Standard of Ur, Gods and Temples

Classical Studies
Famous Men of Greece
15 Miltiades, the Hero of Marathon
Review 3
16 Leonidas at Thermopylae

Christian Studies
22 Daniel and the Lion's Den; Prophets of the Exile