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Homeschool Mom's Journal

For Today...

Wednesday October 28, 2015
54 degrees, sunny, breezy, cool

Outside my window...

merry little breezes dancing with orange and yellow leaves
hungry birds in the bird feeder
chickens treasure hunting
children nature journaling

On my mind...

slowing down
tending to the needs of my family
nurturing friendships

I am wearing...

blue jeans
orange t-shirt
cream sweater
black socks

I am creating...

a love for learning

I am looking forward...

to making soap! 

In my kitchen... 

golden chana dahl soup*
fresh baked sprouted and fermented artisan bread
balsamic reduction fail
peas sprouting
pintos soaking  
decaf coffee brewing

My Trim Healthy Mama affiliate link! :) 

On my shopping list...

cottage cheese, apples and walnuts for waldorf cottage cheese salad
garam marsala
red curry paste
 not-naughty noodles
integral collagen
mineral salt

In the homeschool room... 

tricorne hat cookies for The Hatmaker's Sign
revolutionary war books
recipes for revolutionary minds
a cobblestone street
a tree study

Around our one-hundred year old house...

a one-hundred year old couch
two one-hundred year old chairs
a treadle sewing machine
laundry that is done
an upstairs bathroom that is clean
a new to us king-sized bed that is made
a living room that is, well, lived in
a library overflowing with books
dishes in the sink
a snuggly cat

A peek into one of my days...


A few of my favorite things...

sunshine pouring through the windows
peace and quiet
my family
a trim healthy mama treat
a trim healthy mama friend
an oily friend
a homeschool friend
a friend after God's heart
coffee and tea
lily's chocolate 

A few of my favorite essential oils...

geranium and frankincense for skin support
essential beauty serum to moisturize my face
citrus fresh and bergamot to lift my spirits
en-r-gee for adrenal support
endoflex for thyroid support
lady sclareol and progessence + for hormonal support
thieves, lemon, lemongrass, frankincense, clove, and oregano and for immune support
peppermint and di-gize for digestive support
valor for confidence 
envision for planning
frankincense for calming
lavender for anything support
purification for the laundry
stress away for away with stress
lavender, cedarwood, orange, and peace & calming II for restful sleep

Post Script 

It's that time of year again when our immune systems can use a little boost. Please join us for a Winter Wellness Essential Oils class next Monday and Tuesday.  

Essential oils are powerful advocates for each of our body systems. In this class we will learn how to support our digestive, respiratory and immune systems.

Oily goodness in my October ER order...

Everyday Oils ER Kit
(Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Joy, Thieves, 
PanAway, Purification, StressAway and Aroma Glide Roller Fitments)
Golden Touch Kit
(Di-Gize, EndoFlex, JuvaFlex, Melrose, Raven, R.C., Thieves)
Peace & Calming II
Essential Beauty Serum
Thieves Spray
Thieves Hand Purifier
Thieves Floss  
15 ml Thieves*
5 ml Clove*
Home diffuser*

IEW Resource Set Review

IEW Phonetic Zoo
Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) has wonderful resources for use in your home or private school. We received a set that includes: Timeline of ClassicsTeaching with Games Set, and A Word Write Now. I'll share a little about each one, how we used them in our homeschool, and what I thought of them.

Homeschool Mom's Journal

For Today... 

evening of October 22nd, 2015

Outside my window...

the night sky is lit up by street lamps.

I am thinking...

how quickly this week went by and that I missed my weekly post that was due yesterday!

I am thankful...

for such an understanding and supportive husband.

I am wearing...

pajamas because I should be in bed. 

I am creating...

memories with my children. 

I am going...

to an American Heritage presentation in the morning and then a friend's house to work on a homeschool project and then I'd be happy to not go anywhere for a week. 

I am wondering...

if I will be able to keep track of what we do in our homeschool without blogging! Maybe the regular stuff that's scheduled out for me, but the fun stuff? I think I will miss documenting our homeschool. 

I am reading... 

15 Laws of Invaluable Growth, by John Maxwell. I'm moving through this turtle slow because growth... well, it is hard. 

I am hoping...

to get some work done that needs done in the house and to finish tidying soon, and also for good friends to come spend Thanksgiving with us. 

I am learning...

that slow and steady wins the race. 

In my kitchen... 

dinner tonight was mama's famous meatloaf (p. 157) with buttered broccoli sprinkled with nutritional yeast, and while waiting for the meatloaf to cook, I browned burger for cheeseburger pie (p. 149) and made homemade spaghetti sauce for lazy lasagna (p. 140) for tomorrow and Sabbath. 

dessert tonight (and all day) was pay off day candies (p. 381)

All from the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, which I looove!
If you order from THM, I'd so appreciate it if you used my THM affiliate link. :) 

In the homeschool room... 

the Landmark Books I ordered finally came yesterday, so today we jumped in where we are at in History and read chapter 9 (The British Take a Collision Course) and chapter 10 (Americans Declare Their Independence). We also finished the last five chapters of Toliver's Secret and read The Winter at Valley Forge. That takes us up through Week 8 or so in Core D&E. Malachi read The Journal of Willian Thomas Emerson: A Revolutionary War Patriot (from the Dear America series). 

We are rowing The Hatmaker's Sign... we did printmaking for art this week and each made a sign for our colonial shop. Tomorrow, we will start a project from the Heroes of History study guide for Ben Franklin. We are making a diorama (of sorts) of a home that Ben Franklin improved. 

We've also been rowing I Am an Artist. Today, Bo took apart the seed pods that we collected from a nature walk and counted the beans inside the pods. I'd like to do a nature study with the older kids on the tree they came from as soon as I figure what the tree is called. Earlier this week, we did an art project on texture. I think we should either make cloud cookies or do a whipped cream sensory tub for a fun edible tie-in. 

We also read Week 7 in Sonlight P4/5 and Bo finished his Developing the Early Learner (DEL) Book 1 (ahead of schedule) and we did lowercase j and k this week in All About Reading Pre-reading

Bo initiates school now, knowing that he needs to do his school before he can play chess on the iPad. In fact, he will even look at the logbook to see what he has to do now. :) Luke had him play in the 4th-5th grade tournament and he made it quite a ways before he was eliminated. Malachi and Eliana are both still in and play tomorrow to wrap up the tournament.   

I bought Bo a colorful abacus from Rainbow Resource and it arrived yesterday. He loves it so much! He carries it around with him, sets it beside him while he plays, and uses it frequently to count on. One time it had 98 and the next time it had 102. I showed him how to count by tens on it and that it always has 100. :) I need ideas on how to use it while he's still excited about it! 

We are plugging along nicely in all other subjects. 

A peek into one of my days...

a fro-yo date with Malachi. We loved the color-changing spoon. :) 

We shared so I could sneak a few bites - I loved the Mango Tango sorbet with Bottlecaps, but shhh. 

One of my favorite things...

School Photos 2015

Our Family - Fall 2015

Boaz, age 4 3/4 - Preschool/4K 

Eliana, age 8 1/2 - 3rd grade

Malachi, age 10 1/2 - 5th grade 

Dylan, age 15 years - 10th grade 

Nathan, almost 17 - 11th grade

Jordan, 19 1/2, Sophomore in College

Michelle ♥ Luke 

Photos taken in Big Fork, MT

2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum {3rd & 5th grade}

We are on our 6th week of the new school year. This week is our first full week of school and Monday was our first Monday of the school year. We had a very full day and didn't finish school until 4:00, but we did everything I "scheduled" in my logbook. Mondays and Wednesdays are our full days, Tuesdays and Thursdays are our light days (great days for projects), and Friday is a very light day for a few subjects, catch up, field trips, nature walks, and/or co-op. It's also my prep day, but I have to start tidying the house, do the shopping, and plan our meals on Thursday to get that part in if we plan to be outside the home that day.

It's taken me awhile to share what we are using this year because I didn't feel our line-up was complete. I have one box on the way and that will hopefully complete our homeschool line-up.

Here's what I am using for...

History with Eliana

I started Bigger this past spring and took a break from the history at unit 10 - I felt like something was missing. It was all going too fast and my little homeschool love tank wasn't getting filled. So, I ordered the read-alouds and readers from Sonlight as a supplement. I was missing the living history books - real books that make learning history fun! 

Since I have the Core D&E guide, I went ahead and ordered the Landmark History of the American People (2 volume set) to make the most of our time in American History. I originally avoided this core because I didn't love the old Landmark book when we did this core with the older boys, but the new books are supposed to be easier to read and are in color, so I'm anxious to see if that is true.

History with Malachi

Malachi continues to do well with Veritas Press Online Self-Paced History. He is currently working on Exploration to 1815. He uses the history cards daily, and I pulled out one of the most common resources (that I own) for him to use as a reference along with the program (which really is enough in itself). (My review of Veritas Online Self-Paced History).  He is also sitting in with us for our Sonlight read-alouds and is reading the D&E readers.

I'm a visual person, so I fell in love with the "Visual Dictionary" series when I first saw them, so we will read those for a visual of each time period. (I ordered these from Amazon - affiliate link).

I do plan to row a few FIAR books! 

The first one up is The Hatmaker's Sign from Volume 4. I may or may not row Paul Revere, but we will read it as a go-along for sure. 

Language Arts with Eliana

  • All About Spelling 3
  • All About Reading 3
  • BJU English 2
  • Italic C
All About Reading Level 3 Review
Why I love teaching with All About Spelling
All About Learning Press (Affiliate Link)

Language Arts with Malachi 

  • Italic C, then D
  • BJU English 4
  • All About Spelling 5
  • English From the Roots Up


I am going to relax and enjoy nature study with the children this year. Our Botany studies over the summer laid a nice foundation and Pocketful of Pinecones inspired me to use more of Ms. Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study, so we will likely follow up with Lessons at Blackberry Inn. Science will likely include documentaries and books from the library on areas of interest. We will likely continue this through the winter and start something new in the spring. 

We are up to A Pioneer Sampler in Bigger science and will pick that back up when we catch up with the history. Excited for this one! 

(Links to Amazon are affiliate links.) 


We are using Math Lessons for a Living Education. Eliana will do Book 3. Malachi will finish Book 4 and Book 5 this year so I can start him on Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals & Percents next year for 6th.  

Homeschool Co-op

Eliana and Malachi took classes at our local co-op this quarter: art, chess, and music for both, and also sewing for Eliana. They both also played soccer and with such a busy first quarter, I'm really looking forward to settling into our school year. Slow won't come easy, but focusing on what's important will hopefully be easier. 

I may be interested in helping with a Wyoming History class next semester and/or a Science Fair or projects class. We'll see!

Next year

Here's my plan: I want to dig deep and enjoy one year of American History so we can start Prairie Primer in the spring or early summer. I've been wanting to do PP for a few years, but wanted to wait until Eliana was old enough to get the most out of it. I'm excited that we are so close! Malachi will continue with VP 1815 to Modern times during that time as well. I plan to do Young Explorers Human Anatomy and/or Nutrition 101 for Science to tie into Prairie Primer.

The future

After Prairie Primer, the plan is to do one year of Cultural & Physical Geography with MFW or North Star Geography (or both) or something entirely different (who knows what will come up by then) and tie in Five in a Row (by country) with Bo plus do Core A: Intro to World Cultures.

Then the plan is to start over with the history cycle - Cores G and H with Malachi and Eliana and Cores B&C with Bo, then Core 100 and Core D&E again!

Then I would love to do Where the Brook and the River Meet with Eliana. But, I'm getting way ahead of myself here. :)

I do plan to homeschool all three younger children through high school. While my two teen boys are loving public high school, it's on my heart to have them home again. I don't think it would be easy or even fun, but it would have to be their decision.

I am, however, preparing my heart (and theirs) for the long run with the younger kids. I especially need a hobby for Malachi. He plays soccer and chess, but needs some good boy hobbies until he is old enough to work. Luke just finished reading Created for Work to him (required reading in high school) and I'm anxious to keep his time filled with productive pursuits. We tried whittling and I recently bought him a metal detector and a tool for digging and will be looking for fun ways to use that. I even had the thought to find a way to move to our off-grid property to give him valuable work to do, but I'm afraid we'd be too isolated and the work too hard. It's easy to romanticize the Little House on the Prairie days, but it is hard work to live that way.

Wouldn't it be valuable work to teach the children, though? It was wonderful for teaching the older boys the value of work as they helped build the house, clear the land, and chop firewood. We are planning a trip next month to work (we need to replace firewood that was stolen), but it's hard to take the time and money to get up there regularly. Prairie Primer will be great for inspiring projects and I may sneak a survival course in there for Malachi (the sequel to Prepare and Pray) for more projects.

I almost included this in our line-up, but I took it out thinking it would be too much. Perhaps since I am slowing down, this would be a valuable tool to give Malachi some meaningful work to do.

Above all, I pray for God's guidance to do everything heartily as unto Him.

When Calls the Heart {FishFlix Movie Review}

FishFlix.com Review no 2

As seen on the Hallmark Channel, When Calls the Heart, Heart of the Family DVD is an episode in the Heart of the Family series. The episode is inspired by the novel by Janette Oak, author of the Love Comes Softly series. We loved the Love Comes Softly series so I was looking forward to this new-to-me series from FishFlix.com.

FishFlix.com Review no 2

Embracing Slow, Crew Applications are Open, & EO 101

Our way to co-op this past Friday, I found myself behind a slow moving line of cars trailing behind a tractor. I was tempted to take a side street to go faster, but decided to embrace slow. After all, it was a beautiful fall day, and I wasn't in a hurry. One by one the cars passed the tractor until it was my turn. The driver pulled over to the edge of the road so I could safely pass, but I almost didn't want to. I was enjoying slow.

I normally don't embrace slow, especially in traffic. I love using side streets to get where I'm going quicker and will avoid waiting for the train if possible. But after a busy start to fall with soccer, chess, co-op, and the Feast of Tabernacles, I'm about to enter a season of slow and I'm ready to embrace it.

The Crew year is winding down, which means Crew applications are open for the 2016 Crew year. If you think you might be a good fit for the Crew, I encourage you to apply. While I will not be reapplying for the 2016 Crew year, I have served three years on the Crew (the last two consecutive years) and it has been a wonderful experience. The curriculum, friendships, and homeschool community support have been amazing, and I will miss it very much.

Schoolhouse Review Crew 2016 Applications

I will not be reapplying because I need a break from weekly blogging. Many weeks, I have been hard pressed to get a post up and didn't enjoy the process. I put my heart into blogging this summer so I could make the decision to quit on a good note. As I've gotten closer to the end, I'm very much relieved with my decision and feel that the end of the Crew year will be a good time to take a break. I'm not quitting the blog, but will take some time to figure out how this blog still fits into my life. I do think I will write a bit, but I have no idea what that will look like. I just know that I am overwhelmed with relief to be pressing pause. 

As always, I appreciate you checking in and reading, and I so appreciate your comments. ♥

I am still building a business with Young Living. I'm so thankful for these oils, so I'm excited once again to be able to invite you to our Everyday Essentials class. <--- Click that link to join if you are new to Young Living and want to learn more or have already/are willing to allow me to sponsor you as a member. Would love to have you! Look for a special giveaway if you invite a friend.

I have lots of information up on Oily Seedlings if you want to see why I'm excited about oils. I'm 
planning to post a 101 class for sure (I've already started it). After I get my 101 class up, I will be focusing on home classes - 101s and make-and-takes (homemade products using the oils). I'm excited to reach out locally to share the oily love.  

I have a curriculum post coming up for Malachi (5th) and Eliana (3rd), and then who knows - I may have a row to share, or a homeschool mother's journal, or whatever I feel like to get me through the end of my Crew year which will end with my last review on November 6th. One thing I know - if I want to embrace slow, I have to make time for what is important and I'm excited for the changing seasons in life. ♥

Blueberries for Sal {B4FI♥AR}

~Boaz is 4 years, 8 months~ 

Blueberries for Sal is a sweet, old fashioned story about little Sal and her mother, little bear and her mother, and how they get mixed up on blueberry hill.

I am teaching a little learners class at a local homeschool co-op this quarter. My focus is literature based studies and slated first was Blueberries for Sal. My Tuesday class theme is pretend or imaginary play (not my specialty, but there was a need for a teacher that hour) so I planned to make pretend blueberry muffins. I made Berry Koolaid playdough for the blueberry dough and vanilla scented playdough for the batter (using the same recipe but omitting the Koolaid and adding vanilla and a drop of lemon essential oil). The kids really loved it and had a great time measuring, mixing, and rolling and shaping blueberries for their "muffins." And I made tissue paper chef hats for the kids. I snapped this picture of Bo when he came to show me his muffins. :)

The sound of the blueberries hitting the bottom of the metal pail is an example of onomatopoeia, so I taught my little Bo and his friends how to kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk. I used three different sized tin cans to drop the berries in to make the kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk sound - I thought it was a pretty neat discovery! :)

Then we went blueberry picking with homemade tin can pails and blue pony beads in my Friday class.

I saved tin cans from the recycle bin - lids removed with a safety can opener (affiliate) that leaves a smooth edge, drilled two holes for the handle and smoothed the metal with a grinder (at least I think that it what it is called) on the outside, and used a Dremmel tool to smooth the inside where I drilled so little hands can play safe. Then I attached a pipe cleaner handle. 

Then we planted hundreds of pony bead blueberries for the children to find.

I think it was a lot of fun. This was week one of co-op and Bo and I rowed this book at home the next week. At co-op, our theme was apples the 2nd week, so this tied in well with our lessons. (I read The Apple Pie Tree and made felt apple pies for pretend play and I read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and did an apple taste test in my Friday class).

Health & Nutrition

We used worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets (link to my review).

Food Groups

Healthy/Not Healthy

Fruits & Veggie Collage

Make a Fruit Salad

Bo counted 141 blueberries:

I started filming in the nineties. He got stuck at 109, but once past 110 he made it to 141 on his own. He sometimes skipped a number and I think it's because he dropped two in the bowl at one time.  Super good job counting Bo!

Jam Fun

One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry... 
Jamberry, Bread and Jam for Francis, Peanut Butter & Jelly (affiliate) - all fun books
What I am... is tired of jam. ~Francis
I kind of was too. I did think I would make freezer jam, but didn't feel like it in the end.

Safety & Bears

Lesson from the manual (p. 29)

In the Path of Great Bear was a really great book about bear safety that I found at our library. 


Bo drew the bear on a notebook page on hibernation and we read the bear book.

McCloskey, Maine & Then & Now

We read One Morning in Maine (a Sonlight P 3/4 selection) and...

Then and Now In the kitchen (also a Sonlight P 4/5 selection) to compare an old fashioned kitchen to a modern kitchen.

We also read First Thousand Words - Food, The Store,The Kitchen to compare kitchens, and maybe The Zoo for the bear.

More blueberry fun:

Blueberries for Sal with Mali and Elli
Blueberries for Sal Tot School activities {when Bo was 29 months old}

Blueberries for Sal 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. ♥

The Before FI♥AR Link-Up is currently closed, 
but you are welcome to visit to see what others did with Blueberries for Sal.
Thank you to those who have linked up over the years!