“Some manner and some words.  That’s what we need to teach Ollie.” — William


“Addy go put the cheese on the table.” — Me, trying to get dinner ready
“Why do I have to do everything?” — Adelaide, protesting
“You don’t. You didn’t cook any of the food.” — Me
“When I grow up I’m having a servant.” — Addy, said in defiance


“Oliver just wants to be a fashion baby.” — Adelaide, defending Oliver for putting on my mascara


“Why is everything not-safe?” — Henry grumbling, after I shut down his third attempt at a death defying stunt in the house


“Some day I want to be a cat.” — Adelaide

“Oh, you do?” — Me

“Do you want to know why I want to be a cat?” — Adelaide

“Yes…” — Me

“Cats go on lots of adventures.” — Adelaide



Fall has arrived and with it the rain (welcome) and the spiders (unwelcome).  I like wearing sweaters and listening to the rain fall early in the morning when all the children are still snug in their beds.  I do not appreciate finding giant behemoth spiders in our schoolroom and am very thankful for my Henry’s bravery in killing them for me.  This was the fourth nasty spider that we watched Henry engage in a David and Goliath style battle this week.  I owe that boy my heart and my life.  Spiders aren’t the only creatures trying to come inside and we’ve had to hire someone to come and double seal up our crawl space and eaves to keep out unwanted critters.  One of the many reasons we need a cat.

This first month of homeschooling (well, 2nd if you count August) has been everything I could have hoped for.  We’ve kept up the dedication to our new schedule and it has really paid off.  The kids love starting our day with P.E. and reading.  We do school 5 days a week, though Fridays are lighter with only math and one or two other things.  Each year I divide up our curriculum and set monthly goals to make sure we keep on track and we have met or exceeded all the education goals I had for this month.  Hooray us!

Things are working better for so many reasons.  First, it’s nice to have Oliver be a little older because homeschooling with a baby is extremely tricky.  Second, every Saturday I plan out our meals for the week and do the shopping which means that I can spend less time trying to figure out dinner in the afternoon and more time doing school.  Third, I’m making sure to take time for myself by waking up before the kids and getting in a workout, shower, writing time, and scripture study.  That little cocktail of activities helps center me and keeps me focused.

I’m feeling confident and empowered and I really hope that our success continues.  When homeschooling works, it is a beautiful thing.

2014-2015 Homeschooling Curriculum

I know I’m late on this, but I thought I’d better document what we’re doing this year.  I didn’t have to order a ton of new books since we are still finishing up some from last year <ahem> so I ordered a few extra history books for William.  He has read my entire set of U.S. History encyclopedias and has a huge interest in the world wars so I picked up some new books for him to read on his own.  He has already finished the biggest one within a few days and finished the book of war stories just today.


~~~Adelaide (4) Preschool~~~

Journal – one entry a week.  She draws a picture and then tells me about it so I can write down a description.

Handwriting Without Tears – These books are so great for teaching handwriting and the kids love them.  This is one of two books I had to purchase new for Adelaide.

First Language Lessons Level 1 – I’ve used this basic grammar/language book with each of the kids and I like the variety of things it covers.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – We gave up on this book last year because Oliver was demanding too much of my time.  We’ve started it again and are on lesson 40 so we’ll finish well before the end of the year.  Adelaide will be the 4th child I’ve taught to read using this program.

Saxon Math Level 1 - Adelaide is loving having a real math program this year.  Each lesson has two worksheets so I do the lesson and one of the worksheets on the first day and then save the second worksheet for the next day.  She would happily do everything in one day but I don’t want to move through the material too fast.  She is only in preschool after all.  I had all the materials and only had to purchase new workbooks.  We’ve definitely gotten our money’s worth out of this program.


~~~Henry (6) First Grade~~~

Journal – one entry a week.  He writes two sentences and then draws a pictures.  I help him with spelling any words he wants to use.

Spelling Workout Level B – I’ve used these books since we started homeschooling on the advice of my sister-in-law Sandy.  We’ve been really happy with them.  Spelling is tricky for Henry, but he does a lot better if we do the final tests orally.  He gets all tricked up when he goes to write them down.

Handwriting Without Tears Character – I thought it would be fun to try one of the themed handwriting books since Henry can make most of the letters nicely.  It’s been nice to have something to write about instead of random words.

First Language Lessons Level 2 – We didn’t finish this one last year so we are just continuing on this year.  We’ll finish well before the end of the year and that’s okay.

Writing With Ease Level 1 – I’ve never found a writing program that I love. This one is fine.  We are continuing on with what we didn’t finish last year. Its fine, but the kids get bored with it. If we are homeschooling next year I’ll probably look for something different.

Saxon Math Level 2 – He’ll finish this up mid year and then we’ll move on to level 3.  It’s a little easy for him right now, but I don’t want to move him too quickly.

Mind Benders Book 3 - The kids love these books.  I’m sure he’ll have the whole book done in a few months and when he does, I’ll look for some other sort of critical thinking book to exercise his brain.

Piano – Henry started piano lessons this summer.  He has a 30 minute lesson once a week and I have him practice everyday as part of our schoolwork.  He practices for about 15 to 20 minutes at this point.

Mavis Beacon Typing – Just a little bit each day.


~~~William (8) 3rd Grade~~~

Journal – one entry a week.  He writes half of a page and can write about anything he wants.  Sometimes he tells a story and other times he writes about whats happening or what he wants.

Spelling Workout Level D - He is still learning to read cursive so I usually print the words in his book next the cursive list words.

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive – William is loving learning cursive.  I got him a cursive president book to use when he finishes the basics.

First Language Lessons Level 3 – Finishing it up from last year.  It’s a good grammar program though he thinks grammar is pointless.  I’ll probably move to Winston Grammar next year.

Writing With Ease Level 2 – Finishing this one up too.  I cut out some of the dictation because I think it’s overkill.  I’ll look for something different next year.

Saxon Math Level 5/4 –  William was so bored with level 3 last year. I started covering 5 lessons at a time and he was still bored.  We ended the year with some left to finish in level 3, but I gave him the Saxon placement test and then moved him up to level 5/4.  I’m so glad I did.  He’s liking the format better and is able to grasp the concepts without getting too bored.  I’ll have to see how it goes throughout the year when the concepts get more advanced.

Mind Benders Book 4 – He loves these puzzles.

Piano – William also started piano.  Weekly lesson and daily practice and already I can see the improvement.  He went from not liking music to enjoying piano within a few weeks which is wonderful.

Mavis Beacon Typing – Just a little bit each day.




Story of the World Book 4 – Great history books!  The maps and activities are too old for the kids this year (we didn’t have a problem with the first 3 books) so I read the chapter aloud to them and then quiz them on review questions.

Co-op – We’re doing the co-op again this year.  We had a good experience last year and have doubled the classes for this year.  Our first class starts next week.

Reading Aloud – I’ve been reading aloud to the kids while they have a snack (after P.E.) and it’s been a good way to get us ready for the day.  We’re reading The Five Little Peppers And How They Grew right now.

Daddy – William Hike

On Saturday morning, Ben and William made their annual hike together.  They hit of Lake Serene and had a beautiful time of it.  They counted 387 man-made stairs on the trail (one way) and William was proud of himself for not stopping to take a break on the way down.



In addition to the beautiful glacier lake, they saw three waterfalls.  William loves anything to do with water so this was a great hike for him.

I love these boys of mine!

Seventh Third First

Molly got up at the crack of dawn this morning to get ready for her first official day of junior high.  I forgot to snap a picture of her and thought about running to the bus stop to humiliate her, but decided to snap one after school instead.  She said she had a great first day of 7th grade and that she has lots of friends in her classes.  Today was filled with orientation type stuff and tomorrow will be the first day of real school work.  Henry was totally jealous when he saw her prepping all her school supplies tonight.

Even though I started our homeschooling year two weeks ago, I snapped first day pictures of the other kids today too.  William is looking super grown up to me lately.  It’s 3rd grade for him this year.

I can’t believe that Henry is nearly seven.  He’s our first grader this year.  He wants to be a professional athlete when he grows up.

Adelaide still has another year of preschool before she’s eligible for kindergarten.  (Darn that January birthday!) I started her on kindergarten work anyway to keep her from getting bored and she’s doing great.


First Day of School Eve

Today was the last day of the summer break.  It was filled with cleaning, summer reading assignments, errands and hunts for last minute school supplies.  While I was busy making sure Molly had everything she needed for junior high tomorrow, Ben and the boys were putting our fire pit together.  The fire pit has been a labor of love this whole summer and it was absolutely perfect that Ben was able to finish it tonight.  After dinner, our little family gathered around the fire and roasted marshmallows.  It was such a happy moment and it made me all teary-eyed.  I love this little family of mine.

After the kids were washed up and ready for bed, we had our family scripture study and then Ben gave each of the kids a father’s blessing for the new school year.  It was a wonderful ending to a beautifully busy day.

The Evergreen State Fair

We took a family trip up to visit the Evergreen State Fair today.  It was our first time at this particular fair and it was really fun.  It had most of the same stuff as we usually see at the Puyallup Fair but it was a whole lot closer to us and it has the added bonus of being held during the summer so none of the kids have to miss school.  We may still pull the little ones out for one last hurrah at the Puyallup Fair in a few weeks, but it’s too hard for Molly to miss school and soccer.

I loved all the animals that we were able to see.  There were the cutest, tiniest baby goats, deer and a wallaby (or two?) in the petting zoo.  One of the goats tried to eat Molly’s sweater, my shirt and Ben’s belly in the petting zoo.





We looked at lots of animals, watched horse races, ate some yummy fair food, walked through the vendor booths and admired the exhibitions.  It was a great and exhausting day.