Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Riley and I recently started our block on Native Americans in Northern Nevada. It was slow going for a bit as we non-Nevadans tried to find information. We got excited that there was an exhibit in the airport but that was not as fruitful as hoped. But just today we found some wonderful student guides put out by the state!

This area is home to the Northern Paiute, Western Shoshone, & Washoe Tribes.
What Native Americans live in your area?

Friday, November 18, 2011

How was your week? Was it productive? Oh it's Friday again... errr... Then it has been a full two weeks that we have not gotten any schooling in... Oh the sicknesses that have plagued our house these last two weeks! Oh yea and my partner in crime has been out of town the whole time! Times like this, it is hard to not freak out a little on myself. But seriously between a 10 year old who is THE WORST sick person, a babe who needed to nurse non-stop, two super kids who just sleep through sickness, and an uber sick mama well what can I expect of myself! I am still not 100% my house is still disaster-ish and now I am looking at a holiday week where we are traveling! But do you know what came out of it? We are all over our toast out (not full burn out just toasted a little), and we are all ready to dive back in! I hope it lasts though our week of traveling!!
Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be back after the holiday (and unpacking)!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I love seasons, I love all four for their unique beauty. I also love the different activities that come with each season, flowers and vegetable planting in the spring, swimming, and camping in the summer, apple picking and canning in the fall, and the slowness and coziness of winter's cold!

What about the seasons of a homeschool? For me that is a little harder. Letting go of a routine that is no longer working, reading the kids to see if they need more or less rigor in our studies, and just the change. I'm not a big one for handling change well it's hard on me, sometimes really hard. Sometimes I am not graceful about it.

This year I am trying to grow in the flexibility department. This is a must in our house, Dan travels often with just a moments notice. I am trying to learn to give us lighter flowing days when Dan comes and goes, and more studies to fill our weeks when he is gone. One thing I have not given into yet, but have really had a wonderful epiphany about this week is letting go of my public school history and realizing that we do not need to start our week on a Monday and end on a Friday. It could be a Thursday to Wednesday! Just because we don't get a good start on Monday because Dan left and we're all off or the baby is sick and I sit and nurse her all day does not mean that we have to throw out the whole week!

Learning all the time that is what I'm doing! And that is a good thing!

What are you enjoying this season (of the year, of life, or of your learning)?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Well you all know we have lived in a few states, and they all have fun and weird things we have enjoyed. But I have to say Nevada has one I have never even considered but is actually a really cool thing EVERY state should do in my simple opinion!


What is Nevada day you ask? Well it is the day that Nevada was accepted into the Union. It is a state holiday, technically is is on Oct. 31 but they choose to have Friday off this year so we went on an adventure!

A homeschool group here planned a fun Nevada Day field trip to the Capitol. So the kids and I drove down to Carson City, it's about a 45 min drive through beautiful Washoe Valley!
We had a fun picnic, getting to know new homeschoolers and then one of the parents planned a little Nevada art project (I'll share that soon). The sun was warm and the kids ran until they could run no farther! Then we went into the Capitol building.

Leili was fast expiring, but we pressed on...

The first and second floor were open to walk through, we saw the Assembly room, Senate room, everything was just beautiful!

This is what is painted all around the ceiling of the first floor, and there are paintings of all the past governors (even the "Territorial" governors!

And my cuties (and unhappy babe) on the front steps of the capitol. It was great to learn a little bit more about this state that is our current home!!

And a couple of great articles to share! HERE and HERE!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

There are many activities we do as a family that I am sometimes not sure where to post them, family blog or schooling blog! But I have to say that is one of my FAVORITE things about being a homeschooling family! I see it as our own little homeschooling family culture.

I recently took the plunge and bought the book All Year Round, I have wanted a book to learn more about and incorperate festivals in our home but I have always been afraid of picking the wrong one. Silly right! So I bought this book and got a couple ideas for Michalmas! It was a fun evening, I made this dragon out of beeswax on the candle and then at dinner we read about the war in heaven and talked about the plan of salvation and of course what Michael did. We then lit the candle and have each night for dinner since, the kids love to think about Michaels sword being the flame as it vanquishes our dragon. We also talked brefly about vanquishing our own dragons, it was a fun evening!

I have been thinking a bit about this quote from Mark Twain, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education". And also, "... they didn’t have to wait for me to be ready to teach them something." from a recent post at Simple Homeschooling.

What thoughts do these give you?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Today I bought a Children's encyclopedia. The catalyst today was Riley's interest in this crazy way mom use to have to look something up (because I did not have the internet)! The funny thing is that he has had his nose in it quite a bit of this evening, or in Encyclopedia Brown. I mentioned this to my mom and she asked if I had the old children's encyclopedia set out, I don't but I was instantly taken back to caring around the blue one. It was about gems and minerals... I love rocks.

It seemed a little funny to be a homeschooling mom of this long and to not have a current encyclopedia, but really up to now my kids were not that curious. My answer to their questions was sufficient. Now that Riley is getting the hang (and enjoyment) of reading I can see that he may really enjoy getting an answer for himself!


Last week was a review and relax week for us, Riley needed to finish a project after reading Stuart Little. I also saw the week coming, schooling has been good this year so far but it is much more intense for two reasons. 1. Riley's studies have jumped up a notch and 2. I have 3 kids with school work (that is not kindergarten)! And because of that we have gotten behind on life! Winter clothing needed to be gone through and supplemented, drawers needed rotating, and then their is the canning... It was a good week and now we are jumping back into our studies refreshed and more warmly clothed!

This week Riley has started his new book (Encyclopedia Brown), and likes it so much that he read an extra chapter tonight just because he wanted to! Stuart Little was just a tad bit too challenging for him to finish in 3 week, Encyclopedia Brown is a good reading level for him but he likes it so much I am not sure it will last 3 weeks! :) What a nice problem to have! When I was trying yo decide on a couple book choices for Riley I pulled out the book, Great Books for Boys by Kathleen Odean. My friend Cherish scored a copy for me at a library book sale a few years back and since I have no experience as a boy or what boys like to read this has been great. The funny thing about this time while looking through it was I discovered that it has a whole chapter named, encouraging your son to read. I have used this as an excellent reference but I think I may need to read the rest of it!!

I also mentioned, Home Learning Year by Year before. Well I finally bought a copy to have for myself which is especially nice since I no longer live next to a library who has it! It is another great reference for books, although it is categorized by grade level and subject.


Have a great week!

Friday, September 16, 2011


And a good artical from Simple Homeschool, I know I have been traped in the "grass is always greener" thoughts! This artical really put a great spin on the subject!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today as all the kids were working on various projects during school time I thought that it would be fun to show what a *good* morning looks like! ;) We are really enjoying our new Oak Meadow materials!

Fern has a goal in mind for all this red finger knitting! We found THIS great you tube video on how to use it to make a flower, but Fern has decided that we will attach our flowers to barrettes as gifts for some of her friends! Hopefully we will make the jump to regular knitting in the next couple months!
Riley is snacking on our zucchini muffins while writing out his nouns and verbs on colored cards for grammar review. Riley has really made the jump this year in his school work. It has been a tremendous blessing for him to be able to be self directing in a few subjects as I have 3 to keep up studies with this year!

Jacob our adventurer is enjoying our ant study this week for science, we saw an ant caring an oat!! Jake is a go-go-er so it is hard to get him to sit long enough to draw what we has seen. But he is a great observationist!

And sweet Leili is just doing a great job being our little one! She has been playing plenty in our little kitchen or coloring like in the last post, she is happy as long as she is with us! Today she even started repeating our morning verse with us, and she is the best candle blower-outer!!


So all in all the beginning of our year is going quite well, everyone is enjoying our learning together (for the most part) and we are settling nicely back into our rhythm! We love the crazy summer but there is something so comforting to the fall and our family rhythm!


And I have been pouring over the new Autumn Rhythm of the Home!!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Whew! We made it through the first week of school and we all survived and had some fun too! :)

After school one day we went to the lake and ended up with an impromptu science class! Jake caught this crawdad! We had some great observation, and then a little "nature" lesson... the kids caught a minnow and put it in with the crawdad... they now know how a crawdad searches, finds, and eats his dinner!
We found a random inch-worm on the beach, the little ones enjoyed watching him inch around my hand.

Today before school we learned about heat rising and wind patterns at the balloon races. It was great to get so up close and to talk to the balloonists!

And in regular schooling news we got our nature table set up and added a few new things to it!


Yeah for on the fly learning and learning at home! And yeah for our first week being great!!!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy First Day of School!!!

It all went well and the boys blew me away with their reading! :) Happy mama!!!
And Leili was such a great helper! Seriously one of the best toddler days I've ever had!!!!
What a lovely way to start the year!

To see our fun school is starting celebration/adventure hop over to our family blog!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Well it is that time of year! I finalized my planning, printed it all out, and took it over to Staples yesterday! I am such a geek, "playing school" to me as a kid was all about the planning, class was never the highlight. :) But my kids are alot more fun to learn with then Mr. Bear, my Cabbage Patch, and assorted animals were!

So whats in it this year? The first page after my lovely cover up there is THIS fun map of Nevada I found on the Nevada Tourism website, next is our weekly schedule. I have found this helps tremendously in getting through the harder times.

Next up is our family study plans for the year, this is stuff that is what we do instead of the regular "circle time".

Riley this year will be challenges but I think he is up for it!

Jake is going to love all of this!

I teetered a bit on whether Fern was ready for this content, but I think she will really dive in. And I am looking forward to doing some of these things with her that I have enjoyed before with the boys! :)

And I like to include this as cooking and food prep is a great learning opportunity that we enjoy as a family.

After all this is my weekly sheets for planning out what we will strive to accomplish!


You may have noticed I have not attached grade levels, I have never felt overly comfortable with it. One of the joys of homeschooling is being able to tailor to each child. They may be "ahead" in one subject or "behind" in another and that is OK!! Anyway I found this great article just a little bit back and thought I'd share it here!

We are using Oak Meadow again this year and are really looking forward to cracking open our new books, but there is the bit of Charlotte Mason & Thomas Jefferson Education packed in too!!

Happy First Day of Schooling!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Are you enjoying the summer sun? We are! It has been a fun but crazy summer and even though we are still enjoying it we can feel the change. The winding down. You can feel it in the early morning air, and in the anticipation of our routine. Personally I am a summer baby I really enjoy the lack of rigidity in what we have to do, but even I yearn and look forward to the return of fall and all the comfortable familiarity our routine brings.

I have spent the last few days really tweaking and fine tuning our learning plan for the year, I have been working on my new book, and searching (and finding) many of our needed books on the Goodwill shelf! I will post my pages soon, just a little more tweaking to do and then I'll print them out and have it bound!

How is your planning going?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh my addiction to books, it is a good thing we homeschool it gives me more excuses to buy (like I needed one)!! I found a good load of books while down at my moms last week, most from a garage sale but some at the Deseret Industries. This should help fuel our summer reading craze!!
Our Oak Meadow books arrived but I have not even gotten them out of the box, mostly because of the crazy busyness of this summer, partly because it's not time to think of that stuff yet, and some lingering doubt as I find my brain thinking about curriculum and trying to listen to the spirit! :)

I've also been thinking about making another planning book, this is really a great help to me through the school year. And as dorky as I am I get all excited about what photo to choose for the new book! :) Yea total dork...


This summer we have done something we have never done before... workbooks. Yea crazy, we have never been a workbook kind of homeschool but the kids are enjoying the books and I think they are getting reinforcement where it is needed and will then hopefully not forget the skills they have gained but not be overwhelmed and burnt out for school to start. :)

We were thinking of ether starting school officially at the beginning of August because Dan *was* going to have September off so we were going to travel and camp and have some MUCH needed Dad time. But he's a pilot and the only constant is change and it looks like our September plans are out the door. We'll see, but I guess that is part of the reason we homeschool... flexibility! :)

I found this this week and thought it might be fun to do with the kids after the boys get home from scout camp. Plus we have a couple new mysteries up there in my book pile that would go along nicely!!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The new Rhythm of the Home Summer Edition is up! Hooray! I have read nearly all of it as I have been spending extra time with Leili nursing through an ear infection. There is so much great stuff, I even went to the craft store and got a couple supplies to dive into new projects! There are quite a few things we will be using for summer learning! We have already enjoyed THIS (link at the end of the article) and next week Riley and I will be working on THIS (you sign up for the newsletter and get a free copy of the ezine on dandelions)!

And as you can see I was inspired by ROTH's article HERE and made the girls play-dough. I used our favorite recipe from Aunt Donna but theirs is very similar! What a fun project!

Enjoy, enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The big picture of the littlest big town.

So here is a question for you, how do you keep the "big picture" when in the daily trenches of homeschooling?

There are good days and there are bad days. There are days we are excited about learning, and days we just want to make a nest and forget about it. There are times I feel good about the educational path we have chosen, and times when I question. Overall homeschooling is good, I feel like this is what we are suppose to do as a family, what my kids need. I wish I had all the answers and alot more patience. I like to make plans but I also know plans are made to be broken in the name of doing what our family and our kids need. I long for stability, I pray for it.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to step back, look at the big picture and breath in the awe of it!

I thought THIS was an excellent article and THIS too!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

While I am not a big fan of all the moving around we've been doing it does lend to some great field trips we would have otherwise never seen!

Riley was recently learning about fresh water biomes, now we have a house full of beach babies with the exception of transplant Dan and our Connecticut babe so we headed over to Lake Tahoe! It is relatively close, we had to buy chains which was a little crazy (after living in New England and never needing them)! It was beautiful, the kids tasted the water to prove it was indeed "fresh" (I am hoping they did not get some weird twitching disease). We learned that most of the pines up there are Jeffery pines, but there are also Ponderosa pines! We are looking forward to going again when it is warm!


We are finishing up our Oak Meadow books with the boys (Fern still has a bit more), and then the boys and I will be working on a few things that they need extra work on, things we did not get to, and things we just plain want to do! Since getting here and s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking I threw up my hands and simplified things. If you remember when we started this year I had grand ideas for Family Studies along with our Oak Meadow, I also choose not to do a couple subjects from Oak Meadow but to incorporate those in our family time. Well I have just stuck with our Oak Meadow and so we have been actually doing and enjoying our school time as I am not so stressed and busy (aka: overwhelmed). :) When pondering about this I recently thought of the Conference talk by Elder Oaks, Good, Better, Best. All the things I want my kids to learn are good, but sanity is even better!


Oak Meadow is having their Spring Sale through the end of the month, every year I procrastinate and think I'll get a better deal on Amazon or Ebay. But really it's not that much better and lately it seems that there is less and less to find. I really do prefer to buy used books for many reasons, but with the new editions being near the same price of the old and the thought of less run around for me... I think the sale will win out for the first time. It is also nice to think of having the new books all summer to become familiar with, and just yesterday I found some of the chapter books on Riley's reading list at Goodwill for .65 cents each! 3 more to watch for!! Oh and we found this AWESOME book store this week (scroll down to the photos-just the store)!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Well we are officially official!

Now just to remember to be official with Fern in a couple years! :) ~ I have never been a real structured P.E. curriculum kind of gal, I don't plan any. There always seems to be a little built into our other learning activities and if you know my kids they are plenty active! Up until our move here Riley was taking Jui -Jitsu and loving it too bad there is not a studio here. :( We also enjoy hiking as a family or even just going for a walk around the neighborhood. But this week we have an all new kind of P.E., the gas-is-really-expensive kind! In our effort to reduce our gas consumption and therefor cost the boys and I rode our bikes to the co-op 2 miles away and back to get a few odds and ends we needed. And then today the kids and I (and our trusty wagon) made our way to the grocery store on the corner, 1 mile away to do a little shopping, poor Fern had to walk all the way home as there was no room for her, Leili, and the groceries!! :) That is my kind of exercising, puts $ in our pocket, we get something done, & it wares out my kids!!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I have all my paper work for this new state all completed and sealed in an envelope. Now to go to the post office and send it registered. Whew! Glad it will be done soon, although I will have to do more once Fern is 7.

I also figured we should get back to it, and since I had everything out doing my paperwork I started planning to get back to regular schooling Monday.

But I found a funny thing when I opened our Oak Meadow books. When I was planning last August I knew we could not buy new curriculum books, and we still had lessons to do from our last curriculum books so I just went with what I had. Well I found yesterday that we only have 4 lessons left for each of the boys! A few more for Fern as I started from the beginning of her book. So I guess the plan is to finish in the next four weeks and then to fill in and do a little extra fun learning and finish Fern up as well. Now yes that means that Riley never got to do the "4th grade" book this year but I think that I will just plan on buying the 4th grade curriculum for the fall (OH HOW NICE TO BE ABLE TO BUY THINGS WE NEED AGAIN!!), but continue to consider him in 4th this year and 5th next year. Because really does it matter?

It is encouraging and exciting to think of being finished before too long! The light at the end of the tunnel is MOST WELCOMED! And it is so exciting to think of buying school supplies!! I am such a nerd!! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well we have not gotten quite back to regular schooling yet, but we have been finding a little time to do a little formal learning! Riley has grumbly been working on his cursive, yes we live in a digital age why would kids need to learn cursive?? Some schools have stopped teaching it, but sorry babes in our family your not getting out of it!! I think it is still a valuable talent and so I continue to annoy my kids! :)

Jake has been VERY interested in watches and telling time lately, so the other day when I got a lovely quiet hour with Jake we sat down and he learned how to tell time! He did AMAZING and we had tons of fun together. Today we bought the coveted first watch! It helped that he LOVES to count by 5's, now he has a reason to do it all the time!

*cool clock stamp from Lakeshore, I bought it way back before Riley learned to tell time! I TOTALLY scored at Goodwill last week in the book department! I went to get some good books to donate to a kids shelter in town, but I found a few that needed to come home with me too! :) I found this set of Beatrix Potter books, they are not all there, but there are plenty of good ones! Today we read Mr. Jeremy Fisher! I love that one!! I also found The Twits by Roald Dahl, I love his writing. The boys and I finished The Twits last night, they loved it. I also found old copies of Cricket Magazine from the 70's, I think I may go back for more! Talk about making modern kids reading look like "twaddle", "twaddle", "twaddle"!! ~ Did I type "LOVE" too much today or what!? Better than hate I guess!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Just a quick post! We are on hiatus from school due to moving and settling, new state, new laws, new, new, new! I'll be back!
And the SPRING Rhythm of the Home is up! Hooray!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

(Jake making a cloud)
This can be a hard time for most homeschoolers, cabin fever, spring fever, burn out... It is funny for me I usually feel a renewed desire to read about homeschooling and asses how things are going, whats working whats not. Then I pin Dan down for the "how's schooling going" talk, he has alluded me so far... I'll get him soon!
So things are working pretty well, Riley (always the one who has been more of a challenge to school) is getting older and I am wondering if he is needing things a little different. It is also difficult with him because he is getting older and needs more Independence and more interesting (deeper?) material, but although he reads just fine he does not enjoy it. He is also not a big fan of much writing. I know these things will come, and I am ok with letting him develop on his own terms. But how do I meet his needs in the mean time? He has no patience for me to read his assignments to him, but needs something.
Jake is awesome, he loves "reading"! And most of his assignments are fun for him to spend time with me and feel good about what he's accomplished. But boy is he a wiggly guy! It is a good thing he is not confined to a desk and chair for hours everyday!!!
Fern is SO opinionated! We have always started our school time together doing some rhymes/fingerplay/singing, but lately she has refused to do this. Not bad or anything just weird. She has also taught herself most of the lowercase alphabet, I have not introduced it and usually don't until first grade. She has her own way! :)
Leili, well she is lots of fun, but we have mostly started doing a good amount of our school work when she is sleeping! I'm sure you can imagine why. She just LOVES to do anything the big kids are doing, and they just LOVE her (except when she is stilling on their drawing stealing their crayons).
This got a little long winded, so I'll end with a couple links!
Two great articles from the Thomas Jefferson Newsletter this week too!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Riley painted these pictures when we were learning about our area's natural resources. He chose to paint an orange tree (he is LOVING all the local citrus), and the beach (who does not want to visit San Diego Beaches)!