2014-2015 Curriculum Updates

We have had a fantastic school year. As always, there were some things that worked and some that didn’t work, but that is the exciting part of starting a new year, right?

I thought it would be fun to share my three favorite curriculum choices for this past year (and these are not in any particular order).

First, Khan Academy has been a huge help for my children this year.

We have taken biology, math, natural selection/evolution (yes, we do encourage reading about these theories), and some history classes. I’m sure I’m leaving a few out.

It’s free. It’s self-grading. It allows the parent to set the pace and direction for learning should they choose to do so.

It does contain some “politically correct” view points regarding over-population and religion, so do use this link with caution and oversight.

Second, we tried Teaching Textbooks for the first time last year with our children for math.

I’ve avoided this curriculum for years since I thought it was too expensive for our budget.

I’m realizing now it is actually incredibly affordable, re-usable for each of our children, self-graded, and self-paced.

It is my favorite find of 2014.

I can’t imagine homeschooling without it now.

We purchased the disk/book combination package. My children can watch the lectures, work through practice problems, and test through new concepts. If they have issues or if we are on the road for the day, they can go back and look through the lesson in the companion book.

It is a perfect fit for our family.

Hoffman Academy was also a great find for this last school year.

It is on You Tube and completely free. You can purchase optional books and flashcards to go along with your lessons from the Hoffman Piano site.

My children have been taking piano for several weeks using these lessons. Though I don’t think it replaces an actual teacher, I’m not in a position to have private piano lessons for all of my children and this was a great option.

There you have it- my 2014-2015 top three favorites.

What about you? Did you use something you loved this last year?

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations, Sara!

You won a copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones.

I’ve sent you an email explaining how to claim your book. I hope you enjoy reading it with your little ones.

Happy 6th Birthday!

Time passes so quickly.

It seems like yesterday we were welcoming this baby girl and now she is turning six.

It’s just unbelievable.

Here are some quick pics from her birthday:

…that was the best bicycle hat EVER.

I’m praying the Lord will bless her in big ways this year. May she have a good year and grow healthy and strong.

I love you, my very precious girl. <3

ETHAN Project- Week 4- Enjoy the Water

It has been scorching this past week, in the deep south.

We’ve planned most of our activities around the rising temps and while we’ve worked and played outside in the early morning and late hours (like our early morning blueberry picking), the middle of the day has been a good time to focus on inside projects.

This week’s Ethan Project assignment was to enjoy the water.

I have so many good memories as a child of summer fun with water.

My two favorite were summer visits with family to Point Mallard, a huge wave pool in our state, and this:

I would love to know exactly how many kids broke arms playing on this slide. (…and if you weren’t careful to move all the rocks in your yard- YOUCH.)

I’m sure there has to be a statistic some place. You never slid like the commercial shows. It was disappointing at the time but something about the water, the heat, and being a kid made me want to keep sliding (or scooting….). I spent entire summers covered in bruises from that thing.

How in the world has it become a favorite, nostalgic memory for me?
There is not enough Dawn dish soap in the world to make me want to ever do it again, but those summers were just So. Much. Fun.

Sweet memories- they actually make me miss my mom. She was always trying to do things to make summer fun each year. She worked full-time so she didn’t have a lot of free time, but she always managed to fit in things that made good memories.

Yesterday, was Meredith’s birthday.

I was busy cake making and spending a little time with Courtney but after nap time, we worked on our ETHAN Project assignment for the week.

A few weeks back, I mixed a little food coloring with water and froze it into ice cube trays.

We used them to water color paint on paper.

I didn’t even think about putting aprons on the children (Mommy fail!), but they had a fantastic time and made beautiful water-colored pictures (and their hands were fun colors for the rest of the day, lol!).

It was a great afternoon and I hope they made a new memory just like the memories I have from childhood summers when I was a girl.

We have had a great summer, so far.

I think my favorite memory has been taking the boys to the place their papa proposed to me (Share the View!), but we certainly enjoyed the pizza and new crust (Enjoy the Flavor!), last week, and the time I spent with just my dear husband was priceless (Enjoy Friendship!).

It’s not too late to join along with the ladies over at Grounded and Surrounded if you would like to participate! The summer program is almost half over but there are still opportunities to make some great memories with your children.

Next week’s assignment, “Enjoy the Sky”, is perfect since we’ll be celebrating July 4th.

So how about you?

Did you do something exciting with your family this week to make a special memory??

Book Review: Jesus Calling for Little Ones

Some of the sweetest family time takes place during evening devotions each day.

The day is winding down, everyone is just a little more quiet, less busy, and more relaxed. My children are extra-snuggly. :)

It’s a perfect time to grab a book and share some peaceful moments with your children.

This month, Tommy Nelson sent me a copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones.
It’s a nice book to share with little ones during that time just before sleep (or any other time).

Jesus Calling for Little Ones is a board book written by Sarah Young and Illustrated by Antonia Woodward.

It’s part of the Jesus Calling series.

Jesus Calling for Little Ones is 26, rounded edged pages.

Each page has a truth from God’s word with an accompanying Scripture verse.

The book is illustrated with soft, friendly illustrations. It would be a sweet bedtime story and frankly, many of these verses are sweet reminders of God’s love and faithfulness for me as an adult!

Would you like to win a copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones?

I’m giving away a copy on June 30th. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their book or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to win, please sign up through Rafflecopter AND leave me a comment to say what you would do with your new book.

This giveaway is only open to US residents. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my review. My opinons are absolutely my own! 

We have a winner!

Congratulations, Kimberly!

You won a copy of Noah’s Noisy Zoo: A Feel-and-Fit Shapes Book.

I’m thrilled for you- I hope you enjoy your book as much as we have

An email to you explaining how to claim your book.

If you didn’t win, try again! Another giveaway beginning today.

ETHAN Project- Week 3- Enjoy the Flavor

Are you enjoying your summer?

We have been having a blast!

Last week’s Ethan Project challenge to Share the View was very special for our family. I took two of my boys to the place where Paul proposed to me so many years ago.

Thinking back to that time has been good for my marriage. It was a special memory to share with those children and my husband asked if I would return with him tomorrow for a few minutes.

I can safely say we have made some very good memories!

How about you? Did you share a special view with your children? Did you find something beautiful to appreciate with them? Maybe you took the time to try and see something special through their eyes.

Tell me about your week!

This week’s challenge from Grounded and Surrounded was as delicious, as it was fun.

The theme this week was “Share the Flavor”.

I had been thinking and thinking- scouring my huge Pinterest boards trying to find some food related thing to share with my kiddos.

Earlier this week, I decided to try and tackle homemade pizza with my crew again. It’s not as simple as it sounds.

We used to have pizza every Friday night. It seemed like I could never find the right crust. They were too dry, too flat, just generally tasteless.

Frankly, I just gave up– until yesterday.

I found a pin I had pinned quite some time ago that boasted “the perfect homemade crust”. I had been skeptical but I though this week, we would take the time to try it out.

I have to say, it WAS the perfect homemade crust. It was everything you want in a pizza crust- a little crispy, some fluff, tender, chewy- but not too much. It WAS PERFECT.

My young ones gathered round to help make it- I had one child feeding the mixer. (I made enough dough that we were able to have some for the freezer.)

Others gathered around to help chop pepperoni, peppers, and onions. They spread the sauce and sprinkled the cheese.

There was some snacking going on but I pretended not to see. ;D

It was just plain fun.

We swapped stories and I taught some how to use the cutting board and why brushing olive oil helps to improve the crust.

It was a perfect evening.

In the end, they told me it was the best pizza they have ever eaten.

You just can’t top that one, folks!

So tell me, what flavors would you like to share with your little ones? They are only little for such a short time (wow, how much I know this!).

Take the time this week to share a special food related memory or recipe with your children. Try something new with them. Enjoy the time. Enjoy the mess. Soak in your children.

They are so worth every single minute.

If you are taking the challenges with me, please write and tell me what you are making with your children this week.
I can’t wait to hear what yummy ideas you come up with for your family!

Unexpected Excitement

Paul heard the cats hissing from his office window a few weeks back.

Look what we found in the driveway! (Well, technically the cats found him first.)

The unexpected things make for the best homeschooling days, ever!

Happy 4th Birthday, Darby!

Darby’s 4th birthday was actually last week. I’m just now finding time to post these photos! :D

We had an Olivia birthday party for Darby this year. It was full of giggles and pink, girly things..LOTS and LOTS of pink and all things feminine.

We made her a cake with strawberry filling.

We had piggy pancakes for breakfast and piggies in the blanket for lunch.

She got new ponies and a new t-shirt to match her “awesome sister”.

It was such a sweet celebration of a precious little girl. She is a sweetheart and I love her dearly. I can’t wait to see how 4 looks on her!

Community Fellowship Reminder- July 14th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Each year I’m astonished by how much Matthew changes.

He was a gift to our family during a time when there was much sadness. Paul’s mom had passed unexpectedly.

Matthew’s birth was joyful. It was sweet to watch those who were so sad, looking at his tiny hands and feet, and into his tiny face and smiling once again.

We celebrated his 16th year this past week.

I themed it “Mattnum” since he had a small obsession with Magnum PI this year (which I’m thankful is over, lol!). :)

A gifted Hawaiian shirt, a mustache cake, and of course everyone wearing a mustache. He laughed. We all laughed. It was a joyful day!

We took Paul to the airport and then ate breakfast out that morning. Then we visited with my grandmother.

I took he and Ben to a playground where I would visit as a girl. I had hoped we could slide down the huge metal slides they used to have, but they were gone. :( Truthfully, Matt was wondering why I would take him to slide on his birthday, anyway (him being 16, and all). We did visit the place where Paul asked me to marry him and then we went to the dmv where we waited in line for FIVE HOURS for him to take his permit test.

Paul and I gifted him a new Bible and case. Inside was a dedication card that showed where we had bought and donated a Bible to be distributed in China in Matthew’s name. He said it was one of the best gifts he had ever gotten.

He also got a new harmonica (this one in “D”), and an instruction book (the boy can play harmonica!).

It was a *perfect* birthday. (Well, except for having to put Papa on a plane, but we did enjoy our time with him that morning!)

I’m so thankful for this young man!

Book Review: Noah’s Noisy Zoo

My little ones adore new books.

We look at thrift stores and yard sales. Occasionally, I will find one in a store I want to buy for the littles, but generally, we find them used.

I love to find books that inspire their imaginations and feed their curiosity.

They need to have a wholesome message and I love when they provide an opportunity to share The Word with my children.

This month’s books included Noah’s Noisy Zoo: A Feel-and-Fit Shapes Book.

This is the most adorable board book I have ever seen- and I’ve never seen anything like it before! Unlike my normal board books, I would actually be willing to purchase this one new and it will definitely be on my list of possibilities for upcoming baby gifts.

It has 10 delightful, bright pages and it’s rounded corners are perfect for toddlers.

Each page features an animal cut out that fits with the Noah story. My littles have loved running their fingers over the pages.

Roaring lions, croaking frogs, and squawking birds- this little book is just fun to browse.

Would you like to have your own copy of Noah’s Noisy Zoo? It would make a perfect gift for a baby, a new mom, or a nice addition to your own home library. I’m stashing mine for Christmas.

I would love for you to have one for your home. I’m giving away a copy on June 20th!!

If you would like to win, be sure to sign up through Rafflecopter and leave me a comment telling me what you would do with your new book.

This giveaway is only open to US residents. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email before I draw a new winner.

I was provided a copy of this book for review by the publisher. My opinions are my own!! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway