Homeschool Journal | March 2017

In my life this month…

My currently post sums up my life this past month.

This month brings spring soccer which is my husband's busiest work season. On top of programming, referring games, and managing coaches, refs, and volunteers, he will also be coaching Eliana's team. Bo is doing Little Kickers on Fridays, and Malachi is doing the Jr. High league.

In our homeschool this month…

In short, school is going well, our days are productive, and I feel good about what we are accomplishing.

At length, 

I pulled out Core A for Bo for 1st grade this coming school year, and Luke read Boxcar Children and Dolphin Adventure to him. Dolphin Treasure is in progress.

Eliana is reading The Betsy-Tacy Treasury. Malachi is reading Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer (for review).

We finished The First Four Years, and since we are delaying Farmer Boy until summer, we are done with The Prairie Primer for now. So I'm reading Little Britches for our read-aloud and picked up where we left off in American History with A Child's First Book of American History.

Malachi has been working like crazy to finish Veritas Press 1815 to Present, and he wrapped it up this week. I sat in on a few lessons, and he learned (and remembered) so much more than I would have expected. I've never required my kids to memorize names and dates (something I am terrible at), but I love that he knows so much more than I do. He finished with what I thought was a week to spare, but came to find out that he had another month. Oops.

We are currently working in Student Writing Intensive Level A, wrote our first report, and then completed Lesson 13 this week where we reviewed style techniques, banned a few more words, introduced Sentence Opener #2, and practiced report writing a little more by writing a paragraph about loons.

We have 3 lessons left, so we will take one more week practicing summarizing from multiple references by using the Dolphins Mini-Books from TWSS (Teaching Writing Structure and Style). This means we will choose a topic and find interesting or important information from three sources, take notes in a keyword outline format for each source, and then create one fused outline to write a paragraph from, adding in the style techniques we have learned so far.

We are really loving this program, so I applied to become an affiliate for IEW and was accepted. I waited this long to apply because I really wanted to make sure I loved it enough to stick with it, and I'm thrilled to say that I do.

Eliana and Bo both completed Times Tables the Fun Way this past month and both have improved their speed since. I will have them review once a week until our subscription runs out.

Malachi finished LOF Fractions and started LOF Decimals and Percents. I am reading the chapters to him, working through the OYOs together, and then he is doing the Bridges on his own. I'll be honest - I forgot what I loved about Fred. I used it exclusively from Fractions to Geometry with my oldest, and we never did math again. We did Fred. I'm still considering TT though because I promised myself I would consider it when we got to Pre-Algebra. I wouldn't mind doing both at this point.

Eliana is happily plugging along in MLLE 4. She has completed 12 lessons in All About Spelling 4 and graduated from All About Reading this week by finishing Level 4. (Good job, Elli!)

Bo had no interest in finishing MUS Beta, so I pulled up Math Lessons for a Living Education (MLLE) and printed from where we left off in Beta which was about half way through MLLE Book 2. We reviewed simple subtraction and addition with carrying to the ten's place, and introduced subtraction with borrowing from the ten's place. Then we reviewed time, writing money, shapes, true fractions, and place value to thousands. Finally, we worked on adding and subtracting double digits, time to minutes, and reading temperature which wraps up Book 2. (I didn't print all the pages - just what I felt Bo needed, and I paid him one Lily's Milk Chocolate Square - stevia sweetened so no sugar, per page to motivate him.) What's cool though, is that when we started subtraction again, the MUS method of adding up to subtract clicked with him and he has been using it since. I'm not sure what I will do with him next, but I'm considering MLLE3 or TT3.

We are reviewing Creating a Masterpiece and having fun with it.

Bo is also working in Eclectic Foundations Level B (review coming soon) and plugging along in All About Reading 1.

My favorite thing this month…

Spring is coming and Jordan turns 21. I'm excited for sunshine and fresh air, and Jordan's birthday is always a reminder of how long I've been a mom. ♥

What’s working for us…

The kids and I have been regularly making omelettes. We usually make veggie omelettes with fermented salsa, organic green olives, organic sautéed kale, and shredded colby jack or pepper jack cheese, but we often add in beef bacon or grilled chicken or steak. Since we are not eating grains, omelettes have been a wonderful and inexpensive filler with the incredible, edible, and very nutritious egg. We also make dessert crepes with homemade fruit compote made with stevia instead of sugar. Eliana is just as good as I am at making them now!

Since we've been off sugar, Bo is eating so much better. Before, all he wanted was toast and cereal, and would occasionally eat an egg, but he wouldn't eat meat. Now, he'll eat steak and veggies like kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, and peas, and he eats eggs daily.

We are trying to eat more veggies than fruits, but we really love homemade "Orange Julius" smoothies made with oranges, frozen bananas, raw milk, and raw egg. We were using kefir which gave it a tart flavor, but I let my last batch culture too long and it molded, so I had to pitch it. To limit the fruit in the smoothie, I add Young Living orange essential oil (Vitality oils are edible) and a sprinkle of organic citric acid to make it tart, and then I sweeten it with a doonk or two of stevia. So good!

Homeschool thoughts I have…

I have given Morning Basket much thought and consideration. I've read blog posts, listened to the podcasts, and poured over other's morning time plans, but have decided that Morning Basket or Morning Time is not for me because the focus on ritual, liturgy, and recitation ultimately does not appeal to me.

We will still read poetry, sing hymns, study art, do handicrafts, study nature, have tea, and read aloud in our homeschool, and they will be included in my planning - but as I am inspired or led by the Spirit.

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

One Second Everyday in February (I forgot the whole week of Malachi's birthday, so I used photos instead of video).

On my blog in case you missed it…

Currently | February 2017
Katy and the Big Snow | FI♥AR with Bo
Times Alive | Review

What's going on in your homeschool this month?


  1. Our busy, busy season is right around the corner. It sounds like yours is well underway. I look forward to hearing about creating a masterpiece.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. In our homeschool we have been learning about WWI, exploring chemistry with lots of fun science experiments (apologia's exploring creation chemistry), working on IEW A lesson 8-9, having some fun rowing "we're going on a bear hunt" and loving all about reading 2 and pre-reading levels.

    And not to convince you about morning time or anything, but I don't have liturgy or recitation in our morning basket time. :) we do a quick devotional type story that teaches about character or loving others, a prayer to start the day and then do our read alouds (life of Fred, literature, science or history). Not sure if there is a set way to do morning basket, but that is what we do. I never researched it before hand, I just put all our read alouds in a basket and called it "morning basket time" :)

    Thanks for the post. I always enjoy reading your updates.

  3. Natalie, that all sounds wonderful! So neat that you are doing SWI A, too. The Chemistry book is the only one we haven't done from Apologia - do you love it? What are you using for History?
    Perhaps I am overthinking Morning Basket? Or did too much research, lol. I loved the idea before that. :D Do you always have morning basket time in the morning? While we have a natural rhythm to our day, I have a harder time with schedules and routines (the ritual part). But your way seems simple and appeals to me. :)

    Dawn, it is right around the corner - I will enjoy the slow for another 3 weeks. :) Prayers for a productive season for you!

  4. We do like the Chemistry/Physics book so far (only 3 chapters in). There are LOTS of experiments and a huge supply list. I am trying to do as many of the experiments as possible because it seems in this book they are more part of the learning than in the other Apologia elem. science books. However, my five kids are ages 0-10, so I think some of the info may go a little over their heads and we may have to skip a few sections to keep it a little simpler.

    I used to use Story of the World for history. We did volumes 1-3, but I found that vol. 4 was not as well written as the others. This year for modern history era study (Civil War to present day) we have taken more of a unit study/literature study approach. I broke it up into sections: Civil War, 2nd Industrial Rev., WW1, Depression era, WWI --- and that will probably take us to the end of the year. :) I am really enjoying the approach of just finding great read alouds and discovering history through "living books."

    Yes, morning basket is usually in the morning. We do breakfast, chores and then open our school day with "morning basket". I'm not much of schedule person, more of a rhythm/flow. I find that if I follow a regular flow to the morning, things go more smoothly. But of course, I reevaluate things constantly to figure out what works!

    Sorry for the long response! :)

  5. Michelle, Morning Basket can be whatever YOU want it to be. It is basically a time when you all come together to do something together. We have always called ours Group Bible, because we come together (about 10:30 or 11:00) to do some Bible study or character study or something of the sort. When we are done, I dismiss the high schoolers. Then I work with the younger ones on their Bible memory verses. This year we have also been memorizing some poems from IEW's Linguistic Develpment through Poetry Memorization. My 3, 6, and 8 year olds have been just loving that! I have also been working with my younger children on memory things like their address, continents, oceans--basic things that often get overlooked in homeschool-- books of the Bible, etc. Some days we sing a hymn, some days not. Then we move into our current read aloud or read something for our history topic. So, it's just basically stuff we do together. It's that easy. If you are already doing a lot of things together with your kids, you might not have a need for official "Morning Basket" in your homeschool. But if there is something that you just never get around to doing, it is a good time to work it into your day.

  6. We are reading Little Britches as well!... Sort of. We started it a month ago and then stalled out for a couple weeks and need to finish the second half.
    We are finishing rowing Grass Sandals and A Pair of Red Clogs together as we have friends in Japan right now.
    This week we also started reading Flat Stanley for light fun reading and our 3 big boys are getting ready to send off a Stanley on global adventures.
    We are about 2/3 of the way through MLLE #1 and #2. Ezra is nearly finished with his phonics and Jubal is showing signs of needing a mental break from reading to process all the rules for a while.
    Gideon is giving me the "I'm bored" line constantly if he isnt getting direct attention and I am not sure how to combat that during school time. We are playing with preschool file folder games to see if that buys me a few minutes to whip through lessons with the big boys.
    My Boaz is finally on the move and getting into everything; making any focused reading time nearly impossible if he is awake.

    I am sitting around daydreaming about Spring and some color other than white outside my windows.

  7. Sounds awesome. Morning time has been a blessing to us. You can do it minus those things very easily. This year we are doing a devotion, singing the doxology, scripture memory, poetry reading, and then rotating (1 per day of week) between poetry memory work, art study, music and composer study, and hymn study. Its very simple and flows with our typical spirit and way of homeschooling... :) it's about 10 to 15 minutes at most.

  8. I LOVE the Little Britches series. Man of the Family has been my favorite so far. It's just a really fascinating glimpse into Ralph Moody's life. We're huge IEW fans over here as well!

  9. I'm so glad IEW is working out for you! We learned so much in our time in it. I will I'm sure bring it out and continue to use it throughout the years. What we learned in IEW really helps with our written narrations every week. All the food you've been making sounds really delicious. I bet you feel great :)

  10. You're such a super awesome mama Michelle! I check in and read this often and it's exciting to see all you're able to accomplishare as a mom.. it would be so neat to do it like this, God sure has gifted you!