Homeschool Plans for 2014/2015 School Year

School started this week! 😉 And so far so good! We usually start the 2nd week in September and did exactly that again this year! It’s been nice to be back on a schedule, but at the same time it makes me feel so busy and so much to do that I’m not giving us a lot of freedom to scrap school and do something fun! But… just wait… keep reading and see what our schedule looks like! It’s super busy, but at the same time we aren’t sitting at desks all week long! Continue reading “Homeschool Plans for 2014/2015 School Year”

Curriculum Sale

This is atypical for me, but I’m TRYING to off load these books and make some mullah for my school needs for next year. I’m also in PURGE mode and having these boxes of books sitting in my living room is MAKING ME CRAZY!!!!! I’m not counting these in my purge numbers since they didn’t really originate in my home…I organized the homeschool curriculum book sale for our church this year, and there was a table of donated books that didn’t sell and were on their way to the thrift store for a donation…. I couldn’t let it happen!!! Continue reading “Curriculum Sale”

2013/2014 Homeschool Year in Review {1st Grade}

We made it through first grade and it was a great year! Tonchi did a great job and it was so much fun to see him grow and learn throughout the year! We worked hard and tried to stay on schedule, but there were some days we skipped school and had catch up days on Saturday or just skipped all together.

We did actually finish all that I felt was really important to complete. We will have some carry over into next year, but I’m really not worried about it. Since I posted what we were planning on doing, I wanted to come back and post what we did and how it worked out for us. So read on and hopefully you will find some of it helpful!

Tonchi: First Grade Curriculum


[amazon_link id=”1621940063″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Engaging God's Word: Hebrews[/amazon_link]

Community Bible Study on Thursdays – We attended every week in which classes were held! With all the snow we had this year a few of the classes were cancelled, but most Thursdays we were there. Both of us learned a lot and grew spiritually and together memorized ___ verses. Now hopefully we will be diligent to review them and not forget them after all the hard work we did!


[amazon_link id=”1608260038″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Alpha: Single-Digit Addition and Subtraction Instruction Manual[/amazon_link]

Math U See: Alpha – I am still in love with this curriculum! I just love the way Mr Steve Demme teaches concepts instead of just memorizing facts. Tonchi has really done well with it and completed the entire book. He has even done division and multiplication based on the concepts he has learned.


[amazon_link id=”160499178X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazon Exclusive Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Kindergarten Complete with BONU[/amazon_link]

We read through all of the Hooked on Phonics easy readers set 1 and 2. We also read some other easy readers that were handed down to us and then started on some of the Cat in the Hat books. Go Dog Go is still one of his favorites! I think we are getting over the hump and he is starting to pick up simple things to read on his own.

[amazon_link id=”0838814603″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Explode the Code 1[/amazon_link]
Explode the Code: Tonchi completed book 1 this year and it was easy for him, but re-enforced reading skills and also helped him realize he can read and he is able to spell. It was very empowering and encouraging to him.

[amazon_link id=”B00FDX1YCW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, 1986 Fireside Edition, ISBN 0671631985[/amazon_link]
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – We didn’t use it at all and I don’t think we will use it for the other kids. I have another book that I think will be more effective. So I will probably look to sell this one in the coming year.


[amazon_link id=”1933339004″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition[/amazon_link][amazon_link id=”1933339055″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Story of the World, Activity Book 1: Ancient Times - From the Earliest Nomad to the Last Roman Emperor[/amazon_link]

Story of the World: Book 1: Ancient Times Civilizations – We LOVED this! We didn’t come near to completing all of the activities or extra reading, but it isn’t designed to be completed, just used as a resource. There were LOTS of fun activities and hands on learning ideas to go with each lesson and we had so much fun with them. We also enjoyed reading each chapter, which were only a few pages and perfect for short attention spans. There are 40 chapters and we only made it to chapter 25, so we will just start next school year where we left off.

[amazon_link id=”1932012613″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day -- Young Explorers Series (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries))[/amazon_link][amazon_link id=”1935495607″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Zoology 1 Junior Notebooking Journal: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series)[/amazon_link]

Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 – We completed this book as well and we also used the Junior Notebooking journal. I really liked the lesson planning and all the extra ideas of projects and experiments to do. I think this book would be better for a 2nd or 3rd grader as it had a lot of terminology over his head and A LOT of information… however, the exposure was good and I didn’t stress memorizing all the info. I hope to use it to continue learning more about insects and birds this summer as we see them in their habitat while we are out and about!


[amazon_link id=”0963930710″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Draw Write Now, Book 1: On the Farm-Kids and Critters-Storybook Characters (Draw-Write-Now)[/amazon_link]

Draw.Write.Now: Book 1: I do really like this book a lot. Tonchi used it a lot at the beginning of the year, but hasn’t done too much with it since. I hope to do a better job of having it scheduled out instead of just for fun. I like how it helped him learn to do simple drawings and also encouraged hime to write about what he drew.

[amazon_link id=”B004R3AAIS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Write About Me Student and Teacher[/amazon_link][amazon_link id=”B004R38QQG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Write About My World Student and Teacher[/amazon_link]

Write About Me/Write about My World – I still have this and am going to keep it but we didn’t use it at all. Since Tonchi was just learning to read this wasn’t a good fit for him. We will start working more on writing next year.


[amazon_link id=”B005P3LOCU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Handwriting Without Tears My Printing Book - Grade 1[/amazon_link]

Handwriting without Tears for 1st grade – We completed this books as well. It didn’t take us long to complete. I really like the way each letter is taught with a way to remember how to write each one. He did well with it and I think it helped him remember how to write each letter with conformity. The only thing I didn’t like about it, was the fact that each page only had one line of practice. I’m sure that has a lot to do with the “no tears” part of the title of this book, but we needed more room to practice. We still need practice!!!


We didn’t do anything with this really. I found some free online piano videos and we did one of them. He really liked it and still frequently plays what he learned, so maybe he is interested. I definitely want to keep music fun and enjoyable and not a chore, although I do feel it is important. I hope to do more with this in 2nd grade.


[amazon_link id=”1608293017″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Rosetta Stone Homeschool Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set including Audio Companion[/amazon_link]

Rosetta Stone – I didn’t purchase it and we didn’t do anything. Another subject I hope to pick up with in this coming year, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do. We don’t do much “screen time” as I don’t want the kids in front of the TV/computer/ipad, etc, but I know they also really enjoy it, so I want to use it to my advantage. I think a computer program for spanish may work well and they may be motivated to use it since they will be allowed to use the computer. I just have to figure out what I’m going to do!

Extracurriculars: I also planned in a field trip once a month and we also went to the library once a month to get new fun books to read and also to pick up some books that went with our history lessons. We also had a homeschool playgroup that met once a month and usually had something to do with a celebration that would occur during that month, like a Valentines Day party. All the kids really enjoyed these!

I tried to make time for people and relationships instead of hunkering down to all books and work. I think I did an OK job. We accomplished what I felt was necessary and we also had fun doing it. So there you have it! What we’ve done in the last year and how it worked for us!

I’d love to know what you’ve done and what you thought about it!


Summer Schedule 2014

Many of you already know that I’m a detailed planner. I plan EVERYTHING, or at least attempt to… but that is also my downfall too. Sometimes I can’t just relax and not have a plan and just let things play out, and sometimes that makes for the best day, week, vacation, weekend, etc. I’m working on letting go a little and not getting to stressed when things don’t go according to MY plan. Continue reading “Summer Schedule 2014”

Finding a Deal {Homeschooling Addendum}

Late last year I posted a series on how to find good deals to support and bless your family, especially when finances are tight. The purse strings are still pretty tight around here and as summer approaches I start to think about what curriculum I’m going to start accumulating for school next year. Continue reading “Finding a Deal {Homeschooling Addendum}”

Common Core Documentary

There has been a lot of talk these days about the Common Core and what that is. I was alerted by HSLDA that a short documentary was recently completed and is free to view online to help bring some light to the topic. The video is a little less than 40 minutes and offers a lot of information as well as some insight added from those who helped develop and fund them.

I found this short documentary informative. Whether you agree with the new standards or disagree I thought it was well written and put together. I highly recommend that as many people as possible view this so that we can all be informed and act on the information we’ve obtained.

Here is a link to the Common Core Standards which are made public for anyone to view.

There were 4 main problems that stood out to me. There were other topics addresses, but these four were what caught my attention.

  1. This seems to be an attempt to industrialize education when there is so much more to factor in than just standards and trying to get all children to achieve the same goal. These are little people we are teaching. They all learn differently, at different rates and with different cultural filters. These need to be taken into consideration by state and county and even each community.
  2.  These standards are government mandated. Why is the government even involved in creating a nationwide standard and then offering money to the states that adopt them? Doesn’t money alter perceptions and incentivize something that maybe should be looked at more critically? Why is there money being given in the first place if this is something that is going to improve public education?
  3.  By 2011 – 45% of states had adopted the standards and by 2013 65% of the public had never heard of the common core. This is a big problem in my book. If this is going to affect all of the children in public schools, then parents should know about this. Shouldn’t they have a say? How do they not even know what is going to change in their own schools for their own children!
  4. How do we know these are better? They may improve some areas and some schools standards, but it also lower others. Apparently, these standards state that each child who graduates highschool will be college ready… but this does not mean it will be enough to get into selective universities. In fact, SAT and ACT testing has been simplified to match the common core standards.

Our constitution is based on people governing themselves. The common core is or the people, but is it by the people? The Common Core, to me, seems to be a way for the government to systematize education making it easier to manage, but not necessarily better for the children.
I do think this is worth taking the 40 minutes to watch, and I’d love to know your thoughs and opinions. I will end with my favorite quote of the whole moving from Ze’ev Wurman, who was a 2010 Member of CA Academic Content Standards Commission and Former US Dept of Education Official.

“Is it the government’s right to teach the child what the government thinks the child should know or is it my child and I should have some say in it?”

Parental Rights Amendment

I was reading a notice sent out by HSLDA about the increasing loss of parental rights and how easily our children can be removed from our homes.  It is so sad to see that it doesn’t take much.  Just a neighbor, in some cases stating that “the parents are involved in questionable activities” is enough.  No proof there is any harm to the children, nothing illegal, no neglect, nothing… Continue reading “Parental Rights Amendment”

Kids Reading from 2013

As you can tell from my reading lists, current and past, reading is super important to us. Especially for the kids. Tonchi LOVES being read to and will often spend hours just looking at books! He is just starting to learn to read and picks out words here and there, but is usually content with just looking at the pictures.1 Feb 11 Continue reading “Kids Reading from 2013”

The Start of First Grade!


So today was our first day of first grade for Tonchi! I know everyone says your children grow up so fast, and I am a firm believer! I can’t believe he is already 6 and that he now has 3 younger siblings. I love them all dearly and can’t imagine life with out them, but how did it happen so fast? Continue reading “The Start of First Grade!”

Dessert for Dinner

This post is a little late coming out, but a week and a half ago we had our last day of school for this year!  Since we are homeschooling, we weren’t going to have a graduation, but I still wanted to do something special. Continue reading “Dessert for Dinner”