Our Family

Our Family

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies Made With Coconut Oil

We love chocolate chip cookies.  I had bought some coconut oil to use in some different recipes and thought I would try it in chocolate chip cookies.  They were delicious!

3/4 cup coconut oil at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups of flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt in a small bowl. Cream coconut oil and sugars.  Add in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.  Then stir in your chocolate chips.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 9-11 minutes.

We ended up getting 40 cookies out of one batch.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 15

Another week finished in our homeschool!  I have to admit that nothing very exciting happened this week in our homeschool at all!  We had no field trips, did no special projects, and didn't even have art class.  It was a bit boring I guess just plugging on through our regular school work.

We have been reading through The Great Turkey Walk, which is a great read a loud for elementary age children.  The story is about a 15 year old boy named Simon Green who after completing the third grade for the 4th time is told by his teacher he needs to find his way in the world.  While Simon isn't at all book smart, he has a lot of other great qualities.  He comes up with a plan to herd 1,000 turkeys from Missouri to Denver.  To help him on his way he hires a man named Bidwell Peece who the town has considered a worthless no good drunk.  Simon sees good in Mr. Peece and after sobering him up he agrees to undertake the journey with him.  Along their way they encounter a runaway starving slave named Jabeth who has no talent for turkeys, but also hidden talents as well.  They have quite an adventure getting their turkeys on to Denver.

The book is written from Simon's perspective, and it is hilarious.  Sometimes when I am reading I have to wait until I stop laughing before I can move on.  Chelsea was even cracking up from the other room one day as I was reading.  There are times when it is a little sad also, and times it is suspenseful.   The story has a good message and is very touching.  One of my many favorite lines is, " Just wish I could put a finger on his talent.  Miss Rogers always said how there's a place for every soul in this world.  Only needs to be found."

In history we read about Lewis and Clark's expedition.  Science had us reading about Feliforms.  In spelling the little boys are learning words with final consonant blends and Alex is learning about dropping the "e" before adding ing, er, ed to the end of words (we will be repeating that lesson!)  Nick and Alex finished their Princess and the Pea final copies and Nick finished lesson 20 of Latin (just in time for the Compass Classroom 30% sale!!)   Everyone finished their next lessons in Math with no problems.

Chelsea has her dress for the Sew With Cotton contest almost finished.  She went to the 4 H office all day on Friday to try and get it finished up.  It is looking good!

Art classes are cancelled until after the new year.  We will be doing some projects at home for the next several weeks.

I am hoping to visit the museum in Hot Springs soon.  We haven't been since this summer since our passes had expired.  Friday there was a deal on a radio website to purchase passes for half off!  Now we just need to wait until the certificate comes in the mail.  I may decide one day after they do to cancel school and head to the museum.

Since this is Thanksgiving week and my hubby is off we will not be having school this week.  We are supposed to have a 4 H Holiday Craft workshop on Monday (as long as the weather cooperates) and the children are off to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned on Wednesday.

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Black Friday 2013 Homeschool Sales: Bright Ideas Press, Compass Classroom, A Journey Through Learning and IEW and More!

Black Friday through Cyber Monday are great Christmas shopping days.  What many homeschoolers don't know is that they are also great days to snag some great homeschool deals!  Many companies offer discounts or specials during these days and throughout the holiday season.  I wanted to share a few of these deals that I know about.  I do not use every product from every company, so if you want to keep updated on your favorite homeschool companies, I suggest you like their Facebook pages or if you are not on Facebook sign up for their email newsletters so you will be updated on sales and specials.

Bright Ideas Press Starting at 12:01 on Friday November 29th and running through 11:59 pm on Monday Dec 2 you can save 20% everything (except AAH bundles) using coupon code "fantasticday."  Save on WonderMaps, Illuminations, All American History individual items, Christian Kids Explore, Young Scholar's Guide to Composers, and Mystery of History.

A Journey Through Learning- Not only did they just lower their prices on instant downloads to only $4.50, they are also having a Black Friday-Cyber Monday Nov 28th-Dec 2nd deal.  20% off instant downloads using code "20download"

Compass Classroom- November 29th-December 2nd-  30% off of anything.  This includes Visual Latin, Economics for Everybody, Modern Parables, Dave Raymond's American History, Filmmaking and more.

Compass Classroom Black Friday Sale

IEW- IEW is offering half off of their clearance items (items that are not in perfect condition but completely usable) starting on Cyber Monday Dec 2nd and running through Dec 6th.  Go here  after Monday the 2nd at 9 am to find the coupon code to use.

Knowledge Quest is having a Cyber Monday sale.  Book prices start at $5 and there are $10, $20 and $35 specials too.  Click here for more details.

Great Products which has some nice homeschool t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, mouse pads, and more is having a Black Friday sale.  30% off everything in the store.

Classical Academic Press is offering free shipping on Black Friday.

APlusTutorSoft is having a Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale.

Christianbook.com is having a Black Friday sale and offering free shipping on orders of $35 or more with code 418245.

If I see more sales I will update this post.  Happy Shopping!

*links to Compass Classroom, Bright Ideas Press, A Journey Through Learning are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards!

Every year when the Crew year ends, we have an opportunity to vote for all of our favorite vendors.  This year there were 86 vendors and 38 different categories.  Voting is not easy!  You can see who won The Crew's favorite choices by going to the Crew Blog here.

These is a list of our choices for products we reviewed this year.  I reviewed products in every single category, and some of the choices were very difficult!  I was happy to see several of our favorites won! Congrats to all of the winners!  I am linking to my review of our favorites.  If we chose them for more than one category, I did not link to them again.

Favorite Reading Instructions- Logic of English
Favorite Handwriting-Handwriting Without Tears
Favorite Writing Curriculum- IEW
Favorite Language Arts Curriculum-Moving Beyond the Page
Favorite Language Arts Resource-Fundanoodle

Favorite Social Studies Curriculum-Notgrass Company
Favorite History Resource-Home School In the Woods
Favorite Social Studies Resource- God's World News

Favorite Science Curriculum-Apologia Elementary Science
Favorite Science Resource-A Journey Through Learning
Favorite Technology Curriculum-Homeschool Programming

Favorite Math Curriculum-Math U See
Favorite Math Resource-Math Rider
Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum-French Essentials
Favorite Fine Arts Curriculum-Adventus
Favorite Fine Arts Resource-See the Light
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum-Bible Study Guide For All Ages
Favorite Christian Education Resource-God's World News

Favorite Preschool Resource- Gryphon House
Favorite Elementary Resource- Moving Beyond the Page
Favorite Middle School Resource-Notgrass Company
Favorite High School Resource- IEW
Favorite College or College Prep Resource-College Prep Genius 
Favorite Parent Resource- IEW

Best Online Resource-Time4Learning
Best E Product-A Journey Through Learning
Best App-Logic of English

Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed-Moving Beyond the Page
Best General Homeschool Resource-Zondervan
Best Book, Novel, or Magazine-God's World News
Best Children's Book-Susan K.Marlow
Best Game or Toy-Chess House
Best Hands on Resource-Touch Math
Most Adaptable Resource-Home School In the Woods
Most Family Oriented Resource-Bible Study Guide For All Ages

Kid's Choice- 1 vote for Moving Beyond the Page, 2 for HWOT, 1 for YWAM, 1 for Time4Learning
Teen's Choice-IEW
All Around Crew Favorite-Moving Beyond the Page

A Day in the Homeschool Life of My Sixth Grader

I finally had a chance to take some pictures of Nick and his homeschool day.  Last week, I completely forgot!  I am doing a series called " A Day in the Homeschool Life" of each of my children and even myself. This week was my sixth graders turn.  After Thanksgiving will be my 12th grader.  If you are interested in seeing my other posts here is the one on my 4th grader and here is the post on my 1st and 2nd graders.

Nick is my late sleeper.  He didn't used to be until the last year or so.  He is the only one of my children that I have to wake up almost every day.  He has to have himself ready for his school day and chickens fed by 9:30 in the morning.

We start with Bible.  Nick is using the Advanced pages of Bible Study Guide For All Ages.  Even though we all get started together, he usually finishes before the others because he can do all of his own Bible readings and complete the worksheet while the others need me to read theirs aloud.  It  takes him around 10-15 minutes to complete his Bible assignment.

Next up is our read aloud.  This week we started reading The Great Turkey Walk because we do not have a book assigned to us for History for the next several lessons. Even though Nick is almost 12, you are never too old to be read to.  Listening to people read aloud is great for vocabulary and pronunciation.  I usually read aloud for 15-20 minutes, but today's chapters took a little bit longer.

After that is history.  We are using America the Beautiful from Notgrass. I read aloud from the text.  Then Nick completes the mapping assignment, student review page, and completes the timeline entry.  We spend around 30 minutes on history.

Mondays and Wednesdays we are done for the morning after history.  Tuesdays and Thursdays we add in Science.  We are using Apologia Land Animals.  I read aloud from the text.  Nick uses a regular notebooking journal and completes whatever assignments he has for the day. Any experiments we all do together.  Science takes 30-45 minutes to complete.

Lunch and recess is up next.  Nick loves sports especially football, hockey, and soccer.  During recess he and Alex were playing a little football.
Emmie needed Nick to get something for her so he stopped the game to go and get it.  She is a little spoiled by her big brothers!

After lunch is Math.  Nick uses Math U See Zeta.  Mondays he watches the video, and then completes one page per day.  Math usually takes around 15 minutes to complete, unless it is a video day then it takes a little bit longer.

IEW SWI A is up next.  If there is a video assignment, Nick, Alex, and I all watch it together.  If not Nick works independently on whatever his assignment is.  I read over his final draft of his paragraph when he is finished.  The amount of time varies greatly on the assignment.  Non video days take around 30 minutes to complete.

Last is Latin.  We LOVE Visual Latin!  It is the most fun out of any Latin program I have ever seen, and Nick really likes the teacher and his sense of humor.  We are working through it nice and easy completing one section of each lesson per day.  Nick can watch and complete the assignments independently and even check his own work with the answer key if he needs to.  Nick is on Lesson 20 (he has finished 10 lessons so far this year) and he will complete all of Latin One by the end of the school year.  Latin only takes 10-15 minutes.

Nick has always been a naturally good speller, so he does not do spelling.  He loves to read and reads every night before bed so reading is not part of his school day.  Nick is usually finished with his day before some of my younger children.  I was teasing him the other day asking if he thought he needed more work because some days he is finished before 1 o clock!

That's a glimpse into " A Day in the Homeschool Life of My Sixth Grader.  He spends and hour-an hour in a half in the mornings and an hour or so in the afternoons.

* link to Visual Latin is my affiliate link.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why The Happy Homeschool Mom?

I started this blog back in 2008.  I had a friend recommend a blog to me that had a lot of good money saving/homemaking tips and advice.  Before that I never heard of a blog before.  On that blog, there was a series of posts about starting your own blog.  I thought that it would be a fun way to record our homeschooling journey, connect with other homeschooling moms, and encourage anyone that might happen to stumble upon my blog that may be interested in homeschooling.  Starting up the blog was very easy, the hardest part was choosing a name.

When I first made the decision to homeschool, I had very little support.  My husband, and three friends (two  already homeschooled and one who was interested in it) with the only ones who offered any encouragement.  The rest of my friends thought I was crazy and were opposed to the idea with some being very vocal about their opinions.  One of the many negative things I was told was how unhappy I would be having the children home with me all day long.  I would never have any peace or time for myself.  It would end up being too much for me and I would end up putting her back in school where she belonged.  That is what made me choose the name The Happy Homeschool Mom as a way to show yes you can homeschool and not be miserable or unhappy, you can be a happy homeschooler!

That does NOT mean that every moment in our homeschool is happy.  I actually think it is funny that anyone would assume that or think that is what I am trying to show on this blog. I am one person homeschooling seven children.  Some days go very smoothly.  And then there is the rest of the time.  Children throw tantrums, fight, argue over toys.  Some days all seven of them need something from me all at the same time. I hear the word "mom" constantly.  I am often interrupted.  I am rarely anywhere in the house by myself.  I get tired, loose my patience, and even have those moments when I would love to run and lock myself in the bathroom for a long time!

But truly, I couldn't imagine it any other way.  I LOVE being at home with my children.  I LOVE being the one that teaches them.  I LOVE spending time with them every day. Homeschooling was the best decision I ever made. While every moment is not happy, and it sure isn't easy, it is so worth every moment.  We only have a few short years to prepare them for eternity.  And after 9 years of homeschooling I am still "The Happy Homeschool Mom!"

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Winner of the Sparkle Box Giveaway Is.....

Krissy McLean!!!

Congrats Krissy!

Thanks to all who entered.  I chose the winner using random.org.  If I could, I would give one to everyone that entered.  There are other bloggers who are hosting a giveaway for this book.  Here are two that I know of, but there are many others.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 14

14 weeks of the school year finished.  It was a fast week, and I don't really know why.  We had no outside activities until art class on Friday.  This was a very good thing as I think the children are all almost over whatever we have had going around for the last several weeks.

We got quite a bit accomplished this week.  We finished chapter three in Apologia Land Animals.  Nick and Alex did their notebook assignments and Christian, Anthony, and Lily completed their lapbook folder for lesson 3.  One of the animals we learned about were raccoons.  Christian found a raccoon mask in one of our craft books.  He made it and acted like a raccoon bandit by swiping things from his siblings.

In that same craft book, Christian, Anthony, and Lily found several different kinds of animals to cut and glue. They have kept themselves quite busy making their own little zoo.  They have been very creative!  They created different houses for each kind of animal: fish, birds, reptiles, small mammals, large mammals, and even dinosaurs.

We finished Amos Fortune Free Man.  Next week there is no read aloud assigned, so I am going to start reading one of my favorite read alouds The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr, just because it is a great story and it's close to Thanksgiving and time to eat turkey.  If we do not finish it in time for our next read loud, Brady by Jean Fritz, then we can finish The Great Turkey Walk in the evening.

I think it is just so cute when Emelia climbs up to the table to do her schoolwork like the big kids.  One day last week she climbed up there during spelling with Christian and Anthony so I just had to snap a picture.

Nick and Alex put the finishing touches on The Princess and the Pea.  I am so impressed with their creative stories!  We will not be starting the next IEW lesson until the last week of Thanksgiving.

I completely forgot to take any pictures of Nick for my "Homeschool Day in the Life" post this week.  So I will not be able to post that until next week.  I am hoping to get it posted by Wednesday.

I confess that since the children have been sick, I have done no afternoon school work with Lily at all.  Honesty I never did with the boys at this age, but Lily is different and always wanted to do school, so we did.  But Lily and Emmie have been taking naps in the afternoon for the last couple of weeks so we have not done anything.  She has done her Bible and some science in the morning, but that is all.  And that is completely ok!  If she is not sleepy in the afternoon this week, we will get back to some of the things we were doing before.  If she is, I will have them lay down to nap.  It just depends.  Love homeschooling flexibility!

Hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

Review: The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall

Sadie has a broken heart.  The man that she planned on marrying lied to her right before the wedding.  To add to her misery, her community doesn't believe that he lied.  She breaks off the engagement and buries herself in mission work and working at a store away from her family.

Levi doesn't believe that love lasts forever.  His heart is broken when his brother's wife leaves his brother and their young son forcing Andy to be alone for the rest of his life and Tobias to be without a mother.  Levi has no interest in courting or ever getting married. That way his heart will never be broken.

Sadie and Levi meet when Levi is thrown from his horse and Sadie stumbles upon him and stays with him until help arrives.  A friendship between the two develop as they have a lot in common including the desire to never marry.  But soon gossip starts circulating that the two of them are courting.  They devise a plan to make their friends and family believe they are so that they will stop pressuring them to find a suitable mate.  After a set amount of time they will break it off and Sadie will leave on another mission trip to Peru.  Along the way they truly start to care for.  Can they set aside past hurts and take a chance on love?

Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors of Amish Fiction.  I love a good holiday Amish romance, and this one did not disappoint.  I really liked Sadie's character.  She stuck to what she believed was true even when nobody believed her and it caused her heartbreak (although marrying a liar who have caused her more in the long run.)  She has a spunk and a spirit and stuck to what she believed God was leading her to.  She could also admit when she had been wrong.  I was happy to to be able to catch up with the other members of the Apple Ridge community especially Gideon and Mattie and Jonah and Beth  that I have read about in some of Cindy Woodsmall's other books.  I loved the ending!  It was a quick read at only 170 pages.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of The Dawn of Christmas from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own and I received no other compensation.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homeschool Art Class Week 11

Today was our last class before Thanksgiving.  First we did a review on what we learned so far.  I was quite impressed that my children remembered the names of the artists we studied each month and were able to answer the questions they were asked.

Their first project was a drawing that showed a Matisse, an O'Keeffe, and a Picasso.  Then they colored them in.

Our second project was making turkeys using toilet paper rolls, paper, feathers, and googley eyes.

Our last project was to do a drawing following the teacher's instructions.

Emmie drew one picture but the rest of the time kept herself busy with a snack, her little buddy, and some toys.

Another great art class!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Would Homeschool If I Were Independently Wealthy....

I was out at the soccer field one day with all of the children and struck up a conversation with another "soccer mom."  She wanted to know where the children went to school so I told her we homeschooled.  She started talking about homeschooling and that she really liked the idea of it but she knew they would never be able to afford it.  She said, "I would homeschool if I were independently wealthy."

I have to admit I really had to stop myself from laughing at this comment.  I don't know why think that you have to have a lot of money in order to homeschool your children.  But, I have heard similar comments through the years from many other people.  So I thought I would talk about it a little bit today.

We (and every other homeschool family I know) are no where near independently wealthy.  In fact, many homeschool families (like ours) are single income families living on modest incomes.  Going from a 2 income family to a one income family was a big adjustment for us (and there were only 4 of us then!)  But by making some changes like buying a less expensive house, not having a car payment, working to pay down our debt, doing without some extras and keeping a budget it was doable.  That is not to say that you have to be a one income family to homeschool.  I know several homeschool families that both parents work and they are still able to homeschool.

But homeschooling costs a lot of money right?  How much you spend on homeschooling really depends on a lot of different circumstances.  While the public school system spends between $8,000 and $10,000 dollars per child per year, in a homeschool you will spend a faction of that cost (unless of course you are taking field trips to Europe or outfitting your homeschool with expensive lab equipment and computers.)   In 9 years of homeschooling I have not even approached the amount of money that schools spend for one child for one year.

Cost depends on so many different things.  You can homeschool to fit your budget.  You can homeschool for free or close to free by using free internet resources, your local library, and free field trips.  This approach takes a bit of work and planning, but it is completely doable especially in the younger ages.  It may get more challenging as your child gets older, but if you are determined enough to do something, there are lots of ways it can be worked out.

The opposite of homeschooling for free would be using an online school, online classes, or what I call "curriculum in a box."  "Curriculum in a box" is when you buy a prepackaged currciculum that contains everything you need (except for basic supplies like pens, paper, crayons) for the whole year. These are the most expensive ways to homeschool.  But even if you chose this route, you wouldn't need to be independently wealthy.  Curriculum in a box will cost you around $1000 from a company like Sonlight for one year, and if you are using with multiple students you do not have to purchase everything twice, just the consumables.  Online classes will vary depending on the course, but a well known example like Abeka Academy will cost around $750 per child per year.

Most people will fall between the two extremes.  I have a monthly homeschool budget to cover things like field trips, art classes, supplies, and the rest goes towards curriculum.  If after making my wish list for the next year (which I start in Jan/Feb) if I do not have money for things that I need, I will start selling things that I have that we do not use.  My biggest expense is Math.  I think it is important to have a really good Math curriculum and we love using Math U See.  The teacher's materials can be reused every year, but I have to purchase new student books each year.  So far I only have to buy for 5 of my 7 children, but it does add up, especially when you start getting into the higher levels.  But I know it is money well spent.  I try to purchase curriculum that can be used for more than one child.  A few years ago, I thought $30 was a lot to spend on a spelling curriculum that would only last for one year, but that book can be used with multiple children, so really it only cost me $6 per child for one level.  E materials that allow for copying within families is another way I save on materials.  I can print out as many copies of something as I need for our family.  I buy used when I can (I have found some great deals on homeschoolclassifieds.) I spent around $500 this year on curriculum for 5 children.

I am greatly blessed to part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and other companies that provide homeschool materials.  It helps out the homeschool budget quite a bit.  There will always be some things that we review that end up not being a good fit or we just prefer something else, but a huge chunk of our homeschool materials are something that we reviewed, or a continuation of something we reviewed.

I have also been in a position when I had next to no money to spend on homeschool materials.  We had several extra expenses that we were not expecting including an ER visit and a surgery.  I was first pregnant with Lily and we had those medical expenses as well.  Things broke that were not supposed to.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I knew something would work out.  I had enough money to buy an inexpensive Math curriculum for the children and nothing else.  A friend called me and offered to loan me an entire curriculum that was perfect for Chelsea (and she had no idea I had no money to buy curriculum) and also offered me something for the boys.  She had gone into a thrift store and picked up two sets of a full curriculum for $5 each and only needed one set so I could have the other for $5. A few weeks later, another lady called me because she was no longer homeschooling and had to get rid of her supplies and I could have them for free if I came that day to pick them up.  I had everything I needed and more for $5!

I have told that story before on my blog, but it bears mentioning here because my whole point to this post is that money should not be what determines your decision to homeschool or not.  If you think it is something that would benefit your children and family, if you feel like God is calling you to homeschool, the financial aspect shouldn't be something you worry about.  It will work out.  God promises that what he calls you to, he will equip you for and that includes providing for your homeschool.  It may not always be what you thought you wanted or needed, but He will provide.  You do not have to be independently wealthy in order to homeschool!  You can do it and do it well whatever your budget may be.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 13

Another week finished!  It has been a busy one.  We still have had sick children.  I thought everyone was better and they were Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday something else started with Lily and Christian. They are both better, but still not 100%.

This week in our homeschool we started the next set of Bible Study Guide For All Ages lessons.  There are 26 lessons in each pack, so this set will take us into the new year.  We continued in our reading of Amos Fortune Free Man and the corresponding lessons in America the Beautiful.  Each child started the next set of lessons in Math U See.  The older boys finished their final drafts of The Princess and the Pea and the little boys are continuing with their IEW PAL copywork.  Nick is almost finished with the second set of lessons for Visual Latin, so I will have to order the next DVD for him soon.  In All About Spelling Alex started a new lesson in book 3 and Christian and Anthony started a new lesson in book one, but the little boys will need to repeat their lesson again next week because they had not mastered the words by the end of the week.

Chelsea is moving along through all of her courses, and will be completing them all as scheduled.  She has until January to finish Government so she can take Economics next semester.  She also wanted to finish Algebra 2 as well so she can take Stewardship next semester.  She has almost completed SWI C and Science For High School Physical Science.  She signed up to take the ACT in December.  She has taken it once before, but wanted to try and improve her Math score.

For science, we made the decision to go back to Apologia Land Animals.  We had reviewed it back in February and only worked on it during the review period because we had not yet finished Swimming Creatures.  I had planned on starting Land Animals in September, but then we had the opportunity to review Chemistry and Physics.   Even though we loved Chemistry and Physics, we really wanted to go back and finish Land Animals, so we started up where we left off at the end of the review period.  Nick is working in a regular notebooking journal, Alex is working in a junior notebooking journal, and Lily, Anthony, and Christian are working together on a lapbook from A Journey Through Learning.  These lapboks are great for the younger children that are using Apologia Science. We started working on the folder for lesson 3 this week and should finish it next week.

This week I wrote my last review for 2013 for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I completed 56 reviews for the Crew this year and have completed 188 reviews since I joined The Crew in 2010.  Wow!  That's a lot! The Crew goes on a break for the rest of November and December and starts up again in January with reviews beginning to post again in February.

We also had a great time at Grandview this week learning about the Caddo Indians.

In Art Class on Friday we continued our lessons on Georgia O' Keeffe.

I hope you had a great week in your homeschool!

*links to All About Learning, the Compass Classroom, and A Journey Through Learning are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!

The Sparkle Box Review and Giveaway!!

The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie is a 32 page hardcover book that retails for $19.99.  It is not just a book for children, but for whole families to enjoy and learn from.  The story is about a little boy named Sam who just cannot wait for Christmas: yummy food, parties, and  presents!  A sparkling silver box on the shelf catches his attention but his parents only tell him that it is a special gift they will all open together after it is filled.  In the meantime, as Sam as his family give to people in need throughout the season he sees how fortunate he is and even gives a candy bar away that he worked hard to buy himself.  On Christmas day Sam finally gets to find out what the special gift is inside the sparkle box.  They open it up and inside are pieces of paper with all of the things they had done for others written down on it.  Sam's mother explains that the Sparkle Box is their gift to Jesus on Christmas day because Jesus taught us whatever we do for others we also do for him.

In addition to the book, your own Sparkle Box is also included.

The Sparkle Box is a beautiful book!  I loved the story and the illustrations.  But, most of all I really like the whole idea of the Sparkle Box.  Christmas is fun and exciting for children (and adults), and I think it can be hard to find a balance between that excitement of presents, food, and parties and the true reason for the season.  The idea of the Sparkle Box gift for Jesus by doing for others is something whole families can do together and open on Christmas morning.  Read the book, fill your Sparkle Box and open Jesus's gift on Christmas morning.

You can find out more about The Sparkle Box here:


Giveaway!!   Giveaway is now closed.

I am hosting a giveaway for a copy of The Sparkle Box!!  I am keeping it simple and just asking that those who want to enter to leave me a comment and include a way for me to contact you such as an email address.  The giveaway is open to those in the US and Canada.  Giveaway will close on 11/17/13 at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Good Luck!!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Day in the Homeschool Life of My 4th Grader

I am trying to show more in detail what a day looks like for each of my children and myself.  Last week I started with my 1st and 2nd graders together because they do everything the same with the exception of being at different levels in math.  Today I am focusing on my 4th grader.

Our day starts with breakfast, TV if they wake up early enough to watch something, and morning chores.  In addition to getting his breakfast stuff cleaned up and himself ready to start the day, Alex is responsible for taking care of the rabbit and helping with the chickens.

Our school day starts precisely at 9:30.  We start with our Bible lesson.  We are using Bible Study Guide For All Ages, and Alex is working on the advanced pages.  He sits beside me in case he needs help with some of the reading.  In addition to the worksheets, we are memorizing a simple Bible time line, and Bible Summary Cards.  We also memorize a Bible verse every week.  Our Bible lesson lasts around 20 minutes.

After that the children listen to me read aloud from a chapter book that corresponds with our history lesson in America the Beautiful.  The read aloud time varies depending on the length of the chapter, but it usually takes 15-20 minutes.  Next I read the chapter assigned in America the Beautiful aloud and the boys complete the map assignment, timeline assignment, and student review pages.  This usually takes around 30 minutes. Oh and just pretend you don't see the toy baskets Emmie dumped out behind him and the toys she scattered all over, but welcome to our reality!

Mondays and Wednesdays school is over for the morning.  Tuesdays and Thursdays we also do Science.  When we did Mystery of History for history, I could split it up and do history on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Science on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I prefer this schedule, but it just isn't possible with America the Beautiful unless we take 2 years to complete it but we would rather get it completed in a year.  If it is a science day, science takes about 30 minutes or so to complete.  We just finished reviewing Apologia Chemistry and Physics and decided to go back and finish up Land Animals.  I read aloud from the text, and the boys complete their journal assignments.  If their is a hands on experiment we all complete them together.

After that is lunch and recess.  We try to get outside everyday unless it is raining.  The day I was taking pictures it was raining but he went out to play anyway because it was a light rain.

Then he still had some time so he went to the shop to work on his engine.

After recess it is time for math.  Alex is working through Math U See Gamma.  Mondays he watches the video for the new lesson and then completes one lesson per day 4 days a week.  Math takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

Next is Student Writing Intensive A with IEW.  The amount of time it takes to complete really varies depending on the assignment.  Video days are longer, but we usually spend around 30 minutes on non video days. I work with Alex on his paragraphs to help with his writing and his spelling.  It can be really hard for him to get his creative thoughts down on paper because he has to concentrate so hard on writing the words (making sure his letters aren't backwards) and remembering how to spell them that he loses a lot of what he wants to say.  When that happens I write the paragraph for him as he dictates the words to me.  The day I took this picture he was doing his final draft of the Princess and the Pea.

Next up is spelling.  We are working through All About Spelling Level 3.  Spelling takes around 15 minutes.

Emmie climbed up into his lap to do spelling too.

After spelling Alex reads aloud to me.  I have selected his read alouds from the American History Sonlight reading list.  The book he is reading now is the Matchlock Gun.  He reads one chapter per day taking 10-15 minutes.

Last is French with French Essentials.  French takes around 15-20 minutes to complete.

That's a glimpse into a "Day in the Homeschool Life of my 4th grader."  Right around 3 hours of school per day.  An hour in a half in the morning (less on non science days) and an hour and a half in the afternoon.  Our school day is finished by 2:00.

*link to All About Spelling is my affiliate link.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Journey Through Learning New Lower Prices and November Special

Love lapbooking?  Have you heard that A Journey Through Learning just lowered their prices on their instant download lapbooks to $4.50?  This low price is not a special but new, permanent pricing.  Don't forget they still have express lapbooks for $1 too!

November Special

The Thanksgiving Lapbook with study guide, American Indians lapbook with study guide, and American Indian Unit Study $4.50 each, or purchase the Thanksgiving Mega Bundle for $10.

*links in this post to A Journey Through Learning are my affiliate links.  I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend!!

Homeschool Art Class Week 10

Just when you think all the children are well.....one starts feeling bad again.  Yesterday Lily started running a low grade fever again and complaining of a sore throat.  Then last night Christian started complaining that his throat hurt when he swallowed.  So this morning we went to art class minus a few of the children.

We are leaning about Georgia O' Keeffe this month.  Our first assignment was to draw a really big flower and color it in using three different colors.

For our second project we made flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

Emmie and her little buddy kept busy.

She did draw and color some.

Our last project was to draw a mountain, a tree, and some clouds.  They were supposed to color with marker, crayon, and colored pencils in layers.  We did not finish those pictures because we ran out of time, but they are supposed to finish them and take them back next week.

Lily was so sad she didn't get to go to art class that I brought home the supplies for her to be able to make a flower.  She made it after she ate lunch, she was quite happy she got to make one too!  She fell asleep on the couch holding onto her flower.

Another great art class!