3 Years Ago | Throwback Thursday

It's Throwback Thursday {Blog Style} via Google Photos because I'm currently loving the "Rediscover this day" feature. Here are this week's moments:

Preschool with Bo Little Hands to Heaven Unit 1: Letter A, Adam & Eve, Alligator and Ant
& Eliana at Rim Busters Basketball 

Homeschool Mid-Year Update | Malachi & Eliana

We're half way through the school year and as it is for many homeschoolers, it's a good time to reflect on how our year is going.

Today, I'll focus on school with Malachi and Eliana both because I have homeschooled them together since the beginning.

Malachi will turn 12 in February and is in the 6th grade. Eliana will turn 10 within a week and is in the 4th grade. Oh my how these two are growing up so fast! I'm so thankful that I get to be just a mom to them and be here to experience them growing up.


Malachi read #1-#11 in the Nancy Drew series, four Hardy Boys books, and many non-ficiton books from a wide variety of topics - like gardening, self-sufficiency, rocks, birds, animals, drawing, history and more.

Eliana is on Lesson 38 out of 63, so a little over half way through All About Reading Level 4. I plan to finish up the last 25 lessons and then start All About Spelling 4. I originally thought I would do both at the same time, but we decided to finish AAR4 first since it is the last level of reading instruction. In her free time, she loves to read stories about animals.


We started out with BJU English Writing and Grammar but felt a pull towards IEW early in the year, so I decided to at least watch the Teaching Writing Structure and Style (TWSS) videos. I did and fell in love! We started Student Writing Intensive A (SWI A) and finished Lesson 10 today with 4 lessons to go. Since we are doing IEW for writing, the kids have just been doing the grammar chapters (every other chapter) in BJU English, but eventually I will drop BJU for good. They are learning how to apply grammar more effectively with IEW, and I will add Fix It! Grammar (link to my review) next school year for a fun way to practice grammar.

They are both where they need to be in their G&D Italic Handwriting, too.


Malachi - Malachi graduated Math Lessons for a Living Education (MLLE) last year, so I placed him in MUS Epsilon. I'm so glad I took a chance with Math U See for him! I'm amazed all that time at what I am learning myself, let alone what he is learning. I really think it will give him a solid foundation as he gets ready for pre-algebra, but I will confess I panic at times when I look at other math curricula and see things he "should" be learning and is not since MUS is an immersion approach. When I mapped it all out, he will take Pre-Algebra in the 8th grade and Algebra in the 9th if I continue with MUS. That's perfectly fine with me. Though, I go back and forth about whether or not I want to do MUS or Teaching Textbooks for Algebra and beyond.

Eliana - I had Math Lessons for a Living Education 4 planned, but bought Math U See Gamma at the last minute. I had her start with Gamma, and so far she has worked through 23 out of 30 lessons. She said it was getting too hard so I let her take a break and start MLLE, and she's happy with it so far. Hopefully, we'll finish Gamma before the end of the year since we are so close.

Veritas Press Self Paced History

Malachi begged me last spring to let him start as soon as I purchased 1815 to Present. I hesitated knowing he would want to take time off in the summer, but he promised me he would finish it before his subscription expired. Well, here we are and it expires March 8th, and he is only half way through. He has finished 82 of 160 lessons. He is doing 2 lessons a day and is confident that he'll finish with time to spare at that pace, but I calculated that he would need to do 2 lessons a day 6 days a week to finish in time. We'll see how that goes.

Prairie Primer

The Prairie Primer which consists of nine units - one corresponding to each of the nine "Little House" books, is our core curriculum this year. We started late spring last year, so we have completed 7 out of 9 books. Topics range from Bible, to History, to Music, and Science. See a complete list of topics here. I added extra science, but I mentioned in My Homeschool Journal that it was too much, so I dropped that early fall, and we are just doing the science in PP.

We have some hands on activities to complete for our last unit and plan to do that this week before moving on to The First Four Years, saving Farmer Boy for last since this unit has us cooking and doing a lot of extra projects. I'm hoping I'll have a little more energy by the time we get there! I'm ready to be done with PP, but I want to finish strong.

That said, we will likely be done with Prairie Primer by the end of February or early March. I will reflect more when we finish, but can say with certainty that we will NOT start a whole year long curriculum in the spring again this year - I need a break!

Homeschool Mid-Year Update | Dylan


Dylan is my bright, charming 16 year old Junior who can make me smile even if I'm beside myself with worry or anger. He started homeschooling again this year after 2 years of public high school (after being homeschooled from Pre-K through 8th grade). He loved the social aspect of public school, but he was barely getting by academically because he wasn't doing the work. I was constantly bombarded by emails and phone calls from teachers and counselors about Dylan's poor performance, not using class time wisely, failing grades, constant cell phone infractions, tardies, threats of summer school, and threats of In School Suspension. Ugh! He was written up so many times, I lost count. 

Knowing he was capable of so much more, and tired of what was going on, I unregistered him and dropped off my letter of intent to homeschool him. He didn't fight it, so here we are. 

You can see his Home High School Curriculum, but I'll tell you that none of it worked. He thought the writing and literature was below him for starters, and he wasn't consistently doing his Algebra II. He said he was working through the Logic and Economics DVDs, but I'm not sure how far he got. I'm pretty sure he spent most of the first half of his Junior year writing lyrics, composing music, and SnapChatting. 

We had a break through though which made me realize that Dylan needs to take ownership of his education. So, I stopped nagging him to do his school and started praying. An answer to prayer came when I was inspired to have Dylan take the college entrance exams. He did and passed with flying colors. He tested into English 1010 (English 1) and Math 1400 (Pre-Calculus). Yay!

Still knowing he needed ownership, I tried not to nag him into registering for dual enrollment. December passed and the community college closed, and still he had not registered. I only mentioned that if he waited too long, he might not get the class times he wanted. He put it off until the last moment, but I'm happy to say that he finally registered this week as a college-high school student!!! I rented his textbooks from Amazon - they will be here Friday, and he starts classes next week! 

He's taking 6 credits - English 1010 and Public Speaking which both transfer well. Even though he tested into Pre-Calc Algebra, he wants to finish Algebra II and take Pre-Calc during his Senior year.

Yee hoo! Woo hoo! 😄

Another 9 second video because these make my heart happy

SchoolhouseTeachers.com | A Review

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is dynamic online resource - like a homeschool co-op with teachers, lessons, and classes. If you are eclectic and love online based learning, you will love the Yearly Membership!

At SchoolhouseTeachers.com, teaching:
  • is online based
  • consists of video, printable materials and eBooks
  • requires internet access and a yearly membership
  • can be used on any device with an internet browser
  • consists of a wide variety of material from core classes to electives

My Homeschool Journal | January 2017

In my life this month…

I set one goal for this year which is also my word of the year: healing.

In choosing my goal, I kept the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting principle in mind so that it is:
  • Specific: First, my body through nutrition - GAPS to heal and seal my gut and whole food supplements from Standard Process that feed my body.
  • Measurable: How will I know I've healed? I will have energy and feel good. I want to feel as good as I did when I was 18!
  • Attainable: I think this is attainable if I am diligent to care about myself and spend the money (real whole food supplements and real whole organic food is not cheap).
  • Realistic: I think this is realistic if I follow my nutrition protocols - even the feeling like I'm 18 again!
  • Timely: I want to give myself a 3 year time period for my body to heal itself. This may seem like a long time, but what's 3 years? Especially if I will feel great at the end! The Forbidden Doctor helped me see this. This year will simply be the first step to healing. 
My marriage needs healing, too. I had no idea when I married my husband that he was a minimalist. I didn't even know what a minimalist was 13 years ago. I am very practical about the stuff I bring into our home and generally only buy things that are useful, but we have too much stuff. I cannot write out the specifics of this goal yet, because my first healing goal is critical to this one - I need energy to clean and declutter, and I need his understanding.

In our homeschool this month…

We are reading These Happy Golden Years (aff) and doing the lessons in Prairie Primer.

We finished Lesson 8 in IEW Student Writing Intensive A (working in Unit 3). I have finished through Unit 4 in the Teaching Writing Structure and Style (TWSS) series.

We are plugging along and where we need to be in all our other subjects - except Science.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Eliana has a birthday this month. She will turn 10 so to celebrate double digits I am planning to take her to get her ears pierced.

My favorite thing this month…

Laura and Almanzo get married in These Happy Golden Years, so we are planning to make a wedding cake! I hope to teach the kids some cake decorating skills, too.

What’s not working for us…

Over planning - adding extra science to Prairie Primer has proved to be too much.

Math for Bo? He is half way through MUS Beta and while it's working, he's ready for a break (or something different?).

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I'm pondering curriculum choices for next year. It's a good thing I don't have the money to buy anything yet - I fall in love with one thing one day and something totally different the next, ha!

I thought about using Simply Charlotte Mason's Free Curriculum Guide to plan my year - I have several delightful living books in my cart right now, but then I am reminded of all the wonderful benefits of having something planned out for me with a boxed curriculum and start to doubt. I am more focused when my energy can go into implementing curriculum, rather than planning and scheduling it.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

I took this photo for my most recent review, but I wanted to say how much I love this photo. Bo's beautiful long eye lashes, his warm pink cheeks from just waking up from a nap, his willing smile, and him all cozy on my bedroom chair all remind me of the two days he slept cuddled by my side with a fever. Both boys were sick in bed for two days with a mild flu - just a fever and body aches and no throwing up, thankfully. But, I miss him snuggling me all day!

On my blog in case you missed it…

MyWinter Bucket List | 52 Lists
Little Town on the Prairie | Prairie Primer
A Blogging Year in Review | 52 Lists
Currently | December 2016
Throwback Thursday | Blog Style
The Beginner's Bible | A Review

The Beginner's Bible | A Review


The Beginner's Bible by Zonderkidz has been a favorite children's Bible in our home since our first year of homeschooling. My kids have loved this Bible and completely wore out our first copy. They carried it around and "read" the Bible stories before they could even read, and now my youngest, Boaz, will have a chance to read Bible stories with his own copy of The Beginner's Bible.

The Beginner's Bible, with full-color illustrations and all-new 3D artwork, contains 94 Bible stories from Scripture with simple, easy to understand text. The illustrations are on every page and are bright, colorful, and appealing to children. The stories are familiar, well-known stories from the Bible.

At 512 pages long, it includes a table of contents as well as a dictionary at the end of the book. The stories follow the chronology of the Bible and are divided up into Old Testament and New Testament. Each story includes a title in bold print with the Scripture reference printed below the title. The stories are mostly short stories, ranging in size from 3-6 pages in length, in large print, and easy to read. I read the first 91 pages to Bo in one sitting, and he wanted me to keep reading!

It is a hardback book with a high gloss cover, sturdy, glossy pages, and a flexible spine. It seems very sturdy, but I did mention that my kids wore our first one out. Our first copy actually came with the first boxed curriculum we ever bought, but was so well loved that at one point, it was falling apart. In fact, I remember that I had to have another copy knowing how beloved the book was to my children, and didn't hesitate to buy another to replace the one that was falling apart.

Designed for ages 4-8, The Beginner's Bible is meant to be read aloud. The first page of the book says "My name is ______. Will you please read to me? Thank you."

While we do read it aloud in our homeschool, it is also a part of our early reader collection. Because it is at a 2nd grade reading level, we first used The Beginner's Bible as a part of our 2nd grade Language Arts curriculum which involved reading the story, comprehension questions, and copy-work and/or dictation directly from the book. It gave my children a sense of accomplishment to be writing from and reading Bible stories on their own.

My youngest just turned 6 years old, so he is not quite ready to read this on his own yet, but he likes to "read" it himself by looking at the pictures. The colorful illustrations are hard to resist - eye candy for little ones, for sure. It will definitely continue to be a part of our reading time together, too.

Would I recommend it? 

Well, considering I've purchased this book more than once on my own, yes! I recommend it for a friendly, easy to read first story Bible for young children. I personally am not against reading to my children from a story Bible - at least until they are able to read the Bible on their own. I like that my children are more familiar with Bible stories at the age of 7 than I was out of high-school, and I don't mind that they learned the stories from a story Bible, rather than from Scripture itself - as long as I am there to talk about it with them! It's a great way to introduce young children to the people and stories of the Bible in a way that is appealing and understanding to them.

Have you already included The Beginner's Bible as a part of your Bible story time or early reader collection? If not, check it out, or visit my Crew mates to read their reviews.

Crew Disclaimer

Connect with Zonderkidz on Facebook Twitter YouTube Pinterest Instagram

Currently | December 2016


Currently, I am...

reading aloud These Happy Golden Years

loving Throwback Thursday for an easy weekly post

listening to the Forbidden Doctor podcasts

watching a lot of Netflix

slowing from housework - a forced slow

doing only what I must until I have my strength and energy back

teaching from bedrest

learning all I can about adrenal fatigue

ordering an adrenal stress index test

feeling anxious and depressed but hopeful towards the end of the month

happy about the whole food supplements I am taking from Standard Process via The Forbidden Doctor 

celebrating Bo's 6th birthday with a fireman theme and Playmobil

connecting with Nathan via FaceTime to sing happy birthday to Bo

baked a yummy cherry cake for Bo's birthday and can't stay out of it

trying to avoid sugar so it doesn't feed the pathogenic bacteria in my gut

taking probiotics on an empty stomach twice a day - starting off slow

cooking grassfed steak or eggs fried in coconut oil every morning

eating healthy fats, avocados, grassfed beef, free range eggs, fermented cod liver oil, cooked veggies, and bone broth

craving donuts, french fries, and a french dip on a toasted sourdough hoagie

needing to make a batch of cultured veggies but it will have to wait

thinking about what we will do for school next year

reflecting on what a challenging year 2016 has been

pondering the future but trying to stay present

waiting for something to happen

ready for change, a fresh start, and a new year

3 and 5 years ago {Throwback Thursday}

It's Throwback Thursday {Blog Style} via Google Photos because I'm currently loving the "Rediscover this day" feature. Here are this week's moments:

This one's a personal trip down memory lane - a day in the life of Bo at 1 year old to include his first hair cut. 

Have you discovered Google Photos yet? and the "Rediscover this day" feature in the Assistant tab?

I now send all my photos from my big camera directly to my phone, edit them using the Photos app and/or PicTapGo on my phone which both automatically back up to Google Photos. Then, when I open a post in Blogger, I can instantly add photos to my post from my phone. This has saved me an incredible amount of time and made blogging so much easier.
Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design