2015-2016 Coming to a Close

I'm ready for a fresh new start! Spring is just around the corner and I already feel a renewed sense of energy and excitement in my homeschool. Sunshine and shiny new curriculum and books do that to me!

Before moving on, I want to update with a quick wrap-up of our "school year." (Just so you know, our "school year" technically started a year ago, so it's time).

Bo 4K

The heart of Bo's 2015-2016 curriculum was All About Reading Pre-reading, Sonlight P4/5, and rowing a few Before FIAR books left to row (and I snuck in a winter row from Volume 1).  (Also, I'll include summer school in our wrap up, since we school year round.)

What we rowed this past school year: 




Sonlight  P 4/5: We are still reading away and will be for at least a month or so. At about Week 23, I was tired of skipping around so we stopped reading a week at a time and started finishing up books. So we are still at week 23, but have read all the way to week 36 for several books. We have Mother Goose and Children's Book of Virtues, Tales of Peter Rabbit, and Milly Molly Mandy left for storybooks and a few science books left to read. I'm not starting a new core with Bo this coming school year (we'll save Core A for the following year), so I'm not in a big hurry to finish. We also added in the Thornton Burgess nature books and will continue those this coming school year.

All About Reading Pre-readingBo started AAR when he was 3 years, 7 months and finished when he was 5 years, 2 months. So it took him about 18 months to complete it. By the time we got to letter sounds, he had a good grasp of all 5 pre-reading skills and flew through letter sounds in 2 months. (In truth though, he knew all the letters and most of the sounds by age 3 from completing Tot School. You can see what we did under my "Early Learning" tab and then "Tot School with Bo").

To celebrate, I bought him a Dilly Bar. :)

Eliana (3rd) & Malachi (4th)

Their 2015-2016 curriculum is listed here for reference.

This was a really "off" year for us. I started Eliana off with Bigger Hearts for His Glory from Heart of Dakota - my 2nd attempt to use HOD, and the 2nd time I dropped a guide mid year.

I loved several of the books, though. John Audubon was our favorite. I sold everything to buy new curriculum, but ended up keeping A Pioneer Sampler and a 2nd copy of Thomas Edison, and we will read those this coming year.

We picked up Sonlight D&E - one year American History to replace HOD. We made it through half of D&E. We are up to the Civil War - Across Five Aprils is our next read-aloud and we are on Book 2 of the Landmark Book of American History. We will continue with American History this coming school year with a few additions.

I suppose Veritas Press Online Self Paced History is the source of my discontentment with other American History programs. Malachi did Explorers to 1815. He learned so much that I felt like we weren't learning anything at all. This is such a great program! Since American History is spread out over two years, this helped me decide to spread it out for Eliana as well. I then was on the hunt to find  another American History spine for Eliana (and Malachi who sits in on History with Eliana). If you decide to buy this, please use my referral link - it is half priced until the 21st and so worth it if you have a student that loves fun video learning with games and challenges!

We finished the Sign of the Beaver unit of Blessed Assurance. We did a few more hands on activities, but not many. Malachi whittled fish hooks, made a pair of moccasins, and drank dandelion tea, but we mostly read and did the comprehension questions and discussion. Before that we rowed The Hatmaker's Sign to tie in with our study of Benjamin Franklin, Colonial Times, and the American Revolution.

Eliana finished her Math Lessons 3, handwriting, and BJU English. She has 6 lessons left in All About Reading and is on Step 11 in AAS. I decided to finish reading first and then do the spelling. She'll finish reading this month and then we'll plug away on spelling.

Malachi finished his AAS 5, Math Lessons 4, handwriting, and BJU English. He is 11 weeks into Math Lessons 5 and will hopefully complete that before summer and then take a break from math. He learned 32 Greek/Latin roots from English from the Roots Up and should continue that this coming year at much the same pace (1-2 roots per week). 

Since we did Botany over the summer, I didn't feel much pressure to do Science over the winter, but we will make up for it this coming year for sure. :)

Even though we have a few things that we will finish up, this brings our school year officially to a close.

Until next time... at which time I hope to share what we are doing next. :)

Prayer for a Child {B4FI♥AR}

~Bo is 5 years~

Prayer for a Child is a simple poem that asks God to bless all the important things in a child's life.


Bless this milk and bless this bread...

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you." Deut. 8:10

We talked about how we are to bless God and not the food, so I read it this way: "Bless YHVH for this milk and bless YHVH for this bread."

As a family, we pray after a meal because of Deut. 8:10. Though, I confess: it is much harder to remember to do this AFTER a meal when we are full, so I can see the significance in this command.

Make bread ---> daily bread ---> the word of God

I had friendship on my mind from our row of If Jesus Came to My House, so we made Amish Cinnamon Bread (friendship bread without the starter). I doubt I will make this again because it is mostly sugar and white flour, but if I did, I'd quadruple the cinnamon.

Geography & Cultures lesson from the manual (p. 74)

Bless other children, far and near... 

We also sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and read Jesus Loves Children - Mark 10:13-16 (My First Hands-On Bible).

We read People, New Toes for Tia, and The Gods Must Be Angry (the last two are stories from Thailand and all three are from Sonlight P 4/5). All three are wonderful books.

While I was planning this row, I asked Bo if he had ever been to the United States of America and he said he didn't know. I told him he lives there!

I asked him if he knew what continent we lived on and he said George Washington, haha. I told him George Washington commanded the "Continental" Army. :)

I had planned to do a Me on the Map activity with Bo, but instead we later talked about it. I asked him what country he lived in and he said America (he remembered from our earlier conversation). Then I asked him what state, what town, and what street he lived on and he knew them all. And then he did this lesson from Science4Us...

(lesson from the manual)

We also read and enjoyed Poems and Prayers for the Very Young (a reread from Sonlight P 3/4). 

(lesson from the manual)

B4FIAR Quilt

Since my post has so few pictures, I'll share our quilt square for this row. :)

I have one full set of squares for B4 and need two more, so I signed up for 2 sets in the next swap so I can make a quilt for each child that I rowed with. Eliana is quilting with 4H this year so we will start on her quilt first.

There are several spots open on the B4 swap if you are interested in participating. To participate, you will need to join the FIAR Quilt Swap Yahoo Group, then click on the database to add you name to a book that is available. Participation requires a purchase of 1.5 - 2 yards of fabric, from which you will cut twelve 10.5 inch squares for each book you sign up for. You need not be experienced to participate! If you join, be sure to select a book from List 1 AND List 2 so you get a complete set. I'd love to see this swap fill up, so please don't hesitate to join!


A simple easy row and maybe our last from Before Five in a Row. We don't celebrate Easter, so I'm not sure yet if we will row The Little Rabbit. It would be easy to leave that part out so we may still down the road. It's the only book we haven't rowed from Before Five in a Row, so I'm tempted. A study of rabbits would be fun, but I may just pull it out when we row The Story of Peter Rabbit and include it as a go-along for that row.

Bittersweet that Bo is 5 and that we will be moving on. I've so enjoyed rowing through B4 a second time with him. I'm holding a little tighter to him these days knowing that he is growing up and that it won't be long before he stops climbing into my lap to be held and snuggled. I want to embrace and enjoy each child I have right where they are, but having three teenagers - one about to turn 20, I know that it goes by way too fast. So I will take the advice I was given when Jordan (my first) was born - revel in the moment.

Prayer for a Child is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥

If Jesus Came to My House {B4FI♥AR}

If Jesus Came to My House is a timeless treasure. It's the sweet story of a young boy and his visit with Jesus as he imagines him.

I can't tell you how many times I've looked up at a particular point in a book because I knew I had three sets of eyes waiting expectantly for me to break out in tears at any moment. I've cried my way through many read-alouds and my older boys always knew when I was on the brink of tears. I don't even think that they would have seen this one coming, but when I got to the point when the little boys realizes that he could do all the special things he did for Jesus for other people, I was moved. And yes, I cried. The words of Jesus in Matthew sprang quickly to my heart and came alive like no other time in my life.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Of course this had a wonderful impact on our row, and one day we were walking to the library and I saw Mr. E, an elderly neighbor, picking up broken glass one piece at a time as he clung to his cane to support him. A strong wind blew off an upper level storm window. I had seen it on our way home from the Y the day after it happened and meant to come back to pick it up for him, but I forgot. So when I saw him out there trying to pick it up, I rushed over with Malachi and Bo to help. I had Malachi go get a box to put the glass in, and I started picking it up. I didn't want the boys to help for obvious reasons, but Mr. E wasn't about to let me do it alone. When he got up from the stump that he had been resting on, I let the boys help with the bigger pieces showing them how to carefully pick the glass up. Mr. E. sighed and said he'd better get out of our way. :) He is an amazing man who at 95 years old lives on his own and cares for himself, and he doesn't accept help readily. I know - I offer every time I see him out working. The hard work must be what keeps him going. But it is simply too much to pick up such tiny pieces of glass while relying on a cane to keep you from falling. We got it all picked up and I said, "I think we got it all, but I wouldn't go barefoot in the grass for awhile." Haha. He laughed and thanked us.

When we got back to the house to dispose of the glass, I asked Bo who we just helped and he said Mr. E. I said no, who did we really help? The little lightbulb clicked on and he said Jesus. ♥

There were many teachable moments like this throughout the week. Except once day, one of the lessons was for me. Luke washed the eggs one day at lunch and asked me if he could give a dozen eggs to a friend. My eggs?!!? Our hens were laying regularly again, but I was still traumatized by actually having to buy eggs this winter that I wasn't about to part with a whole dozen. Of course, I was immediatly convicted for telling him no and asked him to take the eggs that I set back out on the counter. I thought he took them but he had put them in the fridge when I wasn't looking (not like he would take my eggs now, lol). So I asked Eliana to go put them in his fridge in his office and tell them they are for Jesus. He was not in his office, so she put a sticky note on them that said, "For Jesus."

I didn't want to part with my eggs for that guy, but I would have willingly given them for Jesus. Oh how that changed this week.

Books we read this week:

~Bo is 5 years old~
Golden Rule

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

We sang Matt 7:12 this week (Sing the Word A-Z), and it went like this: "Do to others and you would have them do to you. For this sums up the law and the prophets, and this is Matthew 7:12..."

This is why we keep God's law - His whole law is summed up in the two greatest commands - love God and love others. During our Sabbath study this week, we studied Deuteronomy - the second giving or summary of God's law, and one of the questions for the kids study was "Can we sum up the law in one word?" And the answer was yes... LOVE!

We also read the story of Zacheus. I read this story online, but Zacheus Climbs a Tree p 248 is coming up in the Family Time Bible  (Sonlight P 4/5 reading) soon. Luke reads this to him, so I asked him to see what he remembers about Zacheus' change of heart when he does.

We also read "Living in a Bible-Time House" from the Family Time Bible to tie into Zacheus. 

There was lots of play with Eliana's Playmobil doll house this week, too.

And lots of reminders that what we do unto others, we do unto Jesus. 


Science4Us: Bo logged 47 hours in just over a month on Science4Us.com (or what he calls Super4). I needed a way to make his iPad time more educational and productive and this has been amazing. You can read my review with Eliana to learn more. Bo will have nearly completed the program by the end of our 2nd month subscription so I will be canceling it at the end of March, but it was so worth it. 

Shadows and Light Energy 
What is light?
What is a shadow?
What makes a shadow?

For our row, Bo did the Light Energy unit. This unit covered natural and manmade sources of light, transparent/opaque, properties of light energy, light energy sources, shadows, reflecting light and more.  

It is very interactive and engaging, and it makes learning so easy - even graphing data from a virtual experiment. :)

We also observed how light passes differently through different liquids. We used corn syrup, water, and olive oil and placed a glass object (another glass) inside the glass jar. Some liquids will make the glass object in the jar "disappear" as it reflects the light. It didn't make it disappear but the glass object in the jar was more visible through the olive oil.

Shadow Play

We read Robert Louis Stevenson's poem and My Shadow (we found these at our library) and played with Animal Shadow Puppets.


Bo said that he wouldn't have been afraid by the shadows on the wall, so we didn't need to talk about fears. :) 


We so enjoyed reading Tea Rex and Tea Party Rules. (So adorable!)

We talked about how to greet someone at the door, invite them in, serve refreshments, invite them to come back, etc. but that all went out the window, and we just had tea and cookies. :) 

I made edible tea cups and cold raspberry white hot chocolate and served them with boxed cookies.

What makes a home cozy?

What gives Bo warm and cozy feelings?
  • hot cocoa
  • snuggle in a blanket
  • being warm and cozy
  • reading books together 
  • nice clean home 

If Jesus Came to Bo's House...

"I would give him gummy snacks.
I'd give him the bestest toys that I have.
I would give him anything he wants, like an apple juice or a Snapple."

by Bo


B4 Quilt

If Jesus Came to My House quilt square:

If Jesus Came to My House is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥


Bo is plugging along at a hare's pace in his All About Reading. He finished up to letter sound /t by the end of February. 

All math this month was natural learning (he did not work in his Math Lessons book). 

Until next time... 

The Red Carpet {Before FI♥AR}

It is always a joy to read a beloved book for the very first time to a child, so when I saw that Elli pulled The Red Carpet off the shelf to read to Bo, I almost stopped her - I wanted to be the one to first read it to him! But, I didn't. I let her enjoy reading it to him for the first time.  I rowed The Red Carpet with Eliana when she was five, and she had fun helping me row it with Bo now that he is five. 

To plan our row, we pulled out my Project Life album and Bo told me what he wanted to do, which was everything. :) 

-Bo is 5 years old-

We made plans to find all natural fruit roll ups, get pretzels at the mall (which was the first thing we did), print the police officer printables and Red Carpet printables from Homeschool Creations, and of course, roll the "red carpet" through the town! 

Day 1 - Planning, Shopping, Pretzels at the Mall

We got everything printed and ready to go (and by we, I do mean "we" - Bo told me what to print and ran to the printer each time I printed something). :) Then we were on the hunt for natural fruit roll ups, which we could not find anywhere. I thought about making them homemade but quickly put that thought out of my mind, haha, and thankfully, we found a box of Fruit Roll Ups at Costco with NO FOOD COLORING! Yay! :) Which was not only perfect for some Red Carpet memory making, but also our snack for All About Reading Pre-reading - "the sound of f." 

Day 2 - Pre-reading, Red Carpet Printables & Memory Making 

Day 3 - Happy Birthday "telegram" for Eliana, Stop Lights, Street Signs (Memory Game), & Stop Light Fruit Pizzas (just like we made for The Snowy Day, but with chocolate!).

Day 4: Directions - North/South/East/West, Left/Right, & Street Signs

Day 5: Red Carpet Memory Making and Narration 

The Red Carpet Narration by Bo

"The duke is coming to visit. He rolled out the red carpet and cleaned and mopped the floor and rolled the red carpet. (What happened then?) It just keeped going and keeped going... through the streets. Everybody honked their horns, and it keeped going on and on. The dogs barked with their masters and followed the red carpet. When the stop light was done turning red, the red carpet just keeped going. And the pretzel guy upset all his pretzels and the ice cream guy said "huh?" The guy said arrest that carpet right now, so they did. And it go past route 22 and to the barn and over - and that will stop it, but it just keeped on going. It rolled over the car and it keeped on going to the ferry. The police officers keeped going. The red carpet go all the way to the ferry. The police officers were at the ferry and they go all the way back again."

The Red Carpet is a Before Five in a Row selection. There are a lot of Fun Things to do with B4FIAR, but the most important thing is to cultivate a love for learning. ♥


Winter is usually when I am able to slow down enough to get into a good routine with the 3 Rs and we have gotten into a good routine with the help of a bullet journal. 

I can see that we started our row on a Friday (our trip to the city to grocery shop, buy the fruit rolls ups and get pretzels at the mall). We also read from Sonlight Core P 4/5, Reddy Fox and Bobby Coon, and worked on our Sign of the Beaver unit study with Malachi and Eliana.

(Note to self: I am finishing up this post March 2nd, but since this blog is a record of our learning, I'll back date this to the end of January).

Pre-Reading with Bo

Bo started Part 3 of All About Reading Pre-reading just after he turned five and has been working consistently through letter sounds this month. 

With each letter sound, we have a "tasty" alphabet treat. So far we've had:
  • animal cracker apple merry-go-rounds
  • bear pancakes with peanut butter and blueberries
  • cookie dough 
  • earth milk (a THM sipper that I'm addicted to)
  • fruit by the foot
  • grapes
  • hearts (vegan gummies)
  • ice cream 
  • juice
  • kiwi
That takes us through the end of January. I'll share more next time. 

A few pictures: 

Bo also started his K math program this winter: Math Lessons for a Living Education Book 1 (Link to the new edition. I am using the first edition that I print at home). 

In order to hold his attention, I don't read the story. I just explain the concepts to him. I avoid having him write too much in the book too. And instead of copywork, I make him number pages for him to trace using the Getty-Dubay style font.  

Bo has completed numbers to 30 and understands place value to one hundred. 

He counted with Fruit Nuggets, which were perfect because you can press 10 of them together to make a "ten." :) 

Until next time... 
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