Monday, August 21, 2017

Make way for Ducklings

Although we are mostly done with Five in a Row I had plans to be in Boston the other day.  We never rowed Make way for Ducklings.  So we rowed it and went to Boston Public Gardens.
If you plan on going there plan for time to drive around looking for a parking space. I drove for over a half hour and still didn't find a spot. I ended up in the expensive parking garage.  $24 for 3 hours of parking.  It was a real fun day.  We road the Swan Boat, then visited the Duckling statue, walked all around that park, Went over to Frog Pond and Samantha cooled off in the wading pool.  Then at the end of this part of the adventure we drove over to Sumerville to go to the Taza Chocolate Factory for a tour.  It was a very yummy tour. Many samples to taste.

Taza Chocolate Factory

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thinking Planning Ahead.

So I haven't officially started planning for the fall yet. But I do know what we will be using.  There are a few things I want to add in this year and need to work out how to do it.

Curriculum Line up for the fall of 2017

Math- Teaching Textbooks
Grammar- Fix it Grammar and the story Grammar-land
Spelling- copy work
History- Beyond Five in a Row & living books
Science- Beyond Five in a Row & living books

Tea Time Poetry and Art Tuesday- I plan on having Tea Time for lunch and we will read poetry and read from the Art History Book.

Nature Time- Weekly nature walks

Outside classes- Thursday Art and Nature Class with Daniel,  Coop with Kim that subject is still up in the air, Nature class

Outside activities- homeschool Ice Skating, Baton, Choir, Theater and other activities that become available.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Works of Art

One of the great things about homeschooling is my daughter has time to explore many of her passions.  She is a very creative person.  She does all kinds of arts. Homeschooling gives her the time each day to practice and get better at what she enjoys.  Some of the things she enjoys are drawing, needle felting, painting, using clay, sewing and really anything creative she can do with her hands.  She found a new enjoyment in woodworking. She enjoys writing poems & short stories.  I have read some of her writing and she can get deep with it or very light hearted. When I have her permission I will post some of her writing here.  
 Here is just a sample of her work.

a page from her nature journal 

when we learned about the  Aurora Borealis. This picture doesn't show the colors as vivid as she used.

 Chalk Art A looking Glass

Needle Felting A Sunset in Fall

A vase she made me 

The Scrabble words Mathias in woodworking class

Our Family as the look at the setting sun

This was a joint effort

A cat toy she sewed.  The cat loves it

another page out of her nature journal 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Five in a Row Arabella


This was a fun book about a boy who visits his Grandpa who lives on an island.  There was a lot to learn from this row. From how to treat people with disabilities to sailing in bad weather.

We did all the discussions from the manual.  Here are a bunch of links we used for the extras. 
islands around the world  Sea Lore  history of storytelling labeling a ship   history of ships  The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner 

We watched the Reading Rainbow episode of Keep the Lights Burning Abbie  In this episode it also shows the child how they build those ships in a bottle.  It was very interesting.

I bought a rope tying kit to teach Samantha about tying different kinds of knots. It was fun.

This is the kit I bought it comes with 2 ropes and an instructions booklet.

We did origami and made a paper boat to go into a bottle.
origami boat instructions  youtube video easier to follow

Sunday, July 9, 2017

too much or too little???

I thought about writing this post for a while. I go back and forth on this subject. But lately I see so many mom's thinking they are not doing enough school with their children.  Or thinking they have to cram so much in so they learn more.  One mom I know was upset with some testing scores and is adding more schooling to their children's day thinking they don't do enough.  Another friend I have has her kids in all kinds of classes.  Multiple classes of the same subject.  We all tend to get in that trap from time to time.... either thinking we are not doing enough or thinking we need to do a ton of classes outside the home or teach all day long so they absorb all there is to learn.

So here is my own thoughts.  Sometimes less is best.  Sometimes cramming too much makes them learn nothing at all.  

My own learning experiences... in college I had many tests to take on the material learned during class.  I crammed all that information into my brain.  Where did it go?  I will tell you most of it went into short term memory never to be thought of again after the testing. I remember doing that when studying for finals in middle and high school.  When I was in a class that wasn't a heavy testing class I learned so much more and most of it is still with me 20 years after college.  

My own experience teaching Samantha.... One school year we did a complete all in one curriculum, every day was laid out for us.  Along with that we did our favorite curriculum Five in a Row,  We also did Co-op classes I believe 2 of them weekly, we did once a month lessons at the museum, I think there might have been a few other classes thrown in there.  That one school year my daughter didn't retain hardly anything at all.  Our school days were long and frustrating.  Our lives were blah.  LOL it was the same thing day after day.  No fun in our learning.  The crafts in the curriculum were scripted.  The fun was not there.  I was teaching my daughter in a way I hated how its done in public school.  I can honestly say the only thing my daughter learned that school year was the lessons from the book One Small Square the beach.  It was because instead of following the curriculum exactly we took the book to the beach to show it in person and very hands on.  

What I learned from all this.  Learning is not a race.  A child learns so much more when they are not being crammed with information.  If a child isn't ready for something today there is always tomorrow.  The more we try make them learn the less they will retain.  

So if your at a point in your learning journey and your finding no joy in it at all. If your trying to figure out what to change how about making a change to 
less is more.  

Our days flow like this no more then 15-  20 minutes per subject.  Less is more.  We get our days done all subjects taught but its not a race.  We discuss the material, we enjoy the time reading together, we take many rabbit trails on our material if something really caught Samantha's attention.  She is learning and retaining it well most of it.  

******Now I do have to state this is the real world so its all not perfect.  There are still days when I hear do I have to do school today?  UGH math again I did it yesterday.  I love the one where my daughter wants to pay me $10 so I don't make her do math.  LOL  On a daily basis math can bring my daughter to tears... she is very sensitive.  There are days like in grammar when I know I taught her something and she acts like I am speaking a foreign language when I ask her to tell me what the preposition is in that sentence. But overall this approach to teaching my daughter has made our  learning journey so much better******

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Five in a Row- Paper Lanterns

We rowed the book Paper Lanterns.  It was a fun little book.  Its one of the digital downloads from the Five in a Row website.

We covered many topics in this row.  From some of the Chinese inventions to their wildlife and explorers.  We talked about missionaries to traveled to China to share the gospel.  We talked about China's history, geography and important landmarks.  We talked art and literature.  The most fun that we had was sending the paper lanterns we bought up into the sky.

In art we looked at how the artist rarely used the full body of a person often leaving off body part. He also used lots of bold colors and shapes.  Samantha found one of the only full body pictures.

I have the book Global art and we learned a few facts about Chinese art. We didn't do any of the art projects besides making the signature stamp.  They are the first to use stencils and an example is on the walls at The Thousand Buddha Cave in Western China

I also have the book Children Just Like Me. Samantha read about 2 siblings in China and how they live their lives.  

Another book we used this time along with Paper Lanterns is part of our history readers... On An American Day Volume 1.  She read the story The Last Rail about the Chinese Laborers were brought here from China to work the railroad.  

If your a FIAR rower this download was an amazing one to do.  So much learning happening with this one.

How to made rice paper

Marco Polo's Life in 3 minutes

Marco Polo

Marco Polo

Bamboo the Miracle Plant

We also watched on Amazon Prime- Travel with kids episode of when they go to China and  Torchlighters: Gladys Aylward Story.
 On Pureflix we watched Wow, I never knew that episode on how fortune cookies became about and the documentary on China/ Peoples Republic.  

We found this article on fashion trends in China interesting and disturbing at the same time... Fashion Trends in China

We always try and cook at least one meal but this time we did take out 2 different times. First we had chow main sandwiches and egg rolls then we had beef with Chinese vegetables and egg rolls. We in my city and the surrounding towns have a different chow main.  And putting it on a hamburger bun is a local meal.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mail time happiness

I like when people suggest things they use that they like, that has worked for them. 

I  will check it out usually Amazon has good samples of book pages to get an idea if its something I want to use.  I kept eyeballing this book Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories:  A Children's History of Art.  What I could see looked good.  But still I had to spend the money if it turns out to be a flop.

Well it arrived today and I love it.  I will wait until the fall to start using it but I get so excited when new stuff comes in and its something I really like.  It looks like a great way to introduce art to children.  

Here is a description from Amazon.  An enthralling journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in 68 exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work. 

Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and beautifully illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art.

a typical schedule of our rows...

I have been asked how did I row the books for 2 weeks so I am going to attempt to put together a schedule.  Understand that each row is unique.  I also add to our rows as my daughter is older.   I also only have one child to row with and my daughter loves to go on rabbit trails for ever most books.  I love that she loves to learn.  I row for only 4 days a week.  We have a day of coop so we don't do other school work on that day

Example book we did a long time ago.  Paul Revere's Ride

Week 1
Monday- Read the book-  
  • Social Studies:History- Beginning of the American Revolution lesson from the manual
  • Language Arts: Reading Poetry Aloud- lesson from the manual-  Get additional book on patriotic poetry and read some through out the row.
  • Language Arts: Vocabulary- review some of the vocabulary, its a long list so break it up and do multiple days
  • Art: Light as a Main Theme 
  • Math: Subtracting Dates- Solving a Riddle
Tuesday- Read the book
  • Social Studies: Geography- Boston lesson from manual  
  • Social Studies: Beginning of the American Revolution- Paul Reveres Ride information 
  • Language Arts: Italics- Names of Ships lesson from manual
  • Art: Use of Light and Contrast for Dramatic Effect lesson from the Manual- Have your child try and create a picture using light for contrast.  
  • Find the Poem from the art lesson and read it
  • Watch the DVD Liberty kids on Paul Revers Midnight ride.  These videos are great to watch about American History you can even have your child watch the series.  
  • Science- Rabbit Trail- do a study on horses if you haven't done one from other FIAR books.  ( this was my daughters idea when we did the book. )  If your able see if you can have your child go on a horse. 
Wednesday- Watch a recording of the book on youtube or read the book.  

  • Social Studies: History- The use of Signals - lesson from the manual- make up your own signals with your child.  Even a simple sign language sing I love you to do with your child 
  • Read some more of the poetry from the book you took out from the library 
  • Language Arts: Vocabulary- review more of the vocabulary words
  • Art- make your own lantern here is a blog with directions on how to make one out of an orange juice container lantern to make  a different lantern to make 
  • Art- One of the Lanterns used to signal
Thursday - Read the book
  • Social Studies: History- read some go along books about Paul Reveres Ride.  A good one that my daughter really liked was the Rush Revere book Rush Revere and the American Revolution This book will take a couple weeks to read so you might want to start reading it at the beginning of the week. Or read any book on the American Revolution and the Boston Tea Party
  • Language Arts- have your child try to create their own Patriotic Poem.
  • Art- Let your child draw anything they want to from the book.  
  • Have your child act out the book as you read it.  
Week 2

Monday- Have your child read the book

  • Social Studies: Research Paul Revere either on the computer or from books from the library.  
  • Language Arts: Poet- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- lesson from the book
  • Art: Architecture- Colonial- lesson from the book-  drive around your area and see if you can find any examples of Colonial Architecture.  Take pictures if you want. Look at page 116 in the manual.  Try drawing pictures of Colonial Architecture either from the houses you found or from the book.
  • Art- painting of Paul Revere
  • Continue to read the go along books about  the ride, Paul Revere and the American Revolution.
Tuesday- Read the book or watch it on a youtube video 

  • Social Studies- learn about Sybil Ludington and her midnight ride.  
  • Language arts- review the vocabulary words
  • Art: Reflections in Water- from the manual - in the manual say to find a pond to see this.  Draw what you see   My daughter likes it when I draw with her.  
  • Science: Fog Over Rivers from the manual.  make your own fog in a bottle 
  • science: Fog- either use read along books on fog or a website.  the science of Fog
Wednesday- Read the book 

  • Social Studies: History- make a time line of the American Revolution
  • Language Arts- read some more poems either from Henry Longfellow or the Patriotic Poems
  • Art- Review any of the art your child wants or look up Works of Art from that time period
  • Science- Continue with any of the science topics-  Magic School Bus episode on the water cycle. 

Thursday- Read the book- this is our wrap it up day.  Do anything your child wants on any of the subjects.  Read go along books, watch documentaries,  watch shows, 

My daughter is really good about taking it further.  She loves Rabbit Trails.  This is the night we had my daughter recite the poem to her dad at supper.

We try to cook a meal with each book.    I didn't buy the cook book so I usually look up recipes online.  During the 2 weeks we rowed this book I made Shepards pie, Colonial Stew,  and oatmeal for breakfast as our porridge.  ColonialRecipes  I always have my daughter help me prepare the meal.

I don't remember everything from this row it been a while.  Usually if I am not prepared for the day We will do a few lessons from the manual and find a documentary or a Magic school bus episode on the science topic.

I want to add in there is nothing wrong with doing the manual as is.  Total discussion method works amazing and for many books that is all I have done.  But there have been books that my daughter takes off on the topics and wants more so I add more.  What is listed here might seem like a lot of time or work.  But its not really.

Oh I forgot to add my daughter loves to draw maps.  She drew a map of his ride.

How I plan on a Sunday Night-  I read over the manual, I read the book,  I look to see what is the science topics, I look to see if there are any documentaries or shows on the subject.  Some books have dvd's for them.  On average I plan for only 1 hour.  I don't plan out what we will do each day.  Just a list of all we will do and need for the rows.  Monday is usually just the manual and then later in the day we go out and find things that we will need for the row from books at the library or craft supplies.  I also have found some great places to go on a field trip to go along.  1 hour planning and I am done for it.  I take each day as it comes.  Some days we just read the book and do a lesson or 2 other times my daughter keeps asking for more.   I learned a long time ago to be flexible.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Looking ahead

I am a planner.  I like to know what is coming up.  I also like to be prepared.

I think I now have every thing I am going to use in the fall for homeschooling Samantha.  I just purchased the last of it...So here is the run down

Math- just won at an amazing price Teaching Textbooks!!!
Grammar- Fix it Grammar & Grammar Land
History & Science- Beyond Five in a Row, science kits and living books
Literature, Spelling, Copy work, Narration- Beyond Five in a Row

I feel like I am forgetting something.  Everything has been purchased.  I do need to send the student pdf file for Fix it Grammar to Staples to be printed out.  But what I am I forgetting???

Music- choir
Art- art class with friends
Gym- baton & Gymnastics at the rec center

I like to do more poetry this year.  We do it every year but not each week.  I have a few books I plan on using with it.

We are planning to do the coop again but Allicia wont be joining us.  I am not sure what Kim wants to teach, Danielle might be joining us.  I am also not sure what her plans are.  I do want to do a newspaper.  I think it will be fun.  I have it all planned out.  

Field trip

Who doesn't love a field trip???
We took one to Water Wizz the other day.  
It was so much fun.  Too bad Samantha got a horrible sunburn.
My Step Mother in Law joined us. We all had fun.
It was fun doing the slides with Grandma!!!
Samantha was thrilled Grandma joined us.

I didn't get pictures I left my phone in the rented locker.  But I did take one before we even left our house.

waiting for the pictures my friends took.  I was have fun just enjoying the moment I didn't want my phone out.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Five in a Row, Miss Rumphius

Its a cute tale of a story about a girl following in her grandfather's footsteps, Miss Rumphius succeeds in her mission and stirs the hears of the next generation.

many subjects were touched including:
living by the sea, doing special work, the good and the bad about nicknames, Geography of the areas the book covered, story telling, library skills of yesteryear (the lost skills) We looked at the type of art the books uses, The architecture of the buildings in the different countries she visits, How to use art techniques to show wind or breezes and shadows,science in gardening, seeds, birds, shells, health and determining directions by the sea. We talked about ways to make the world better and what we each can do. We talked about family values.
Samantha enjoyed this book.  Here are some links to things we watched....

One of the art project Samantha did was to paint Lupines on the windows.

We took a nature walk with the class nature in the city and saw some Lupines along the way

the setting was in a coastal town more then likely in Maine.  They are known for their lobster.  So we had a meal of lobster rolls and blueberry pie, We also added some coconut water she went to an island and they most likely had coconuts.  

Five in a Row Lentil

Lentil- Five in a Row

We rowed Lentil recently.  It was a cute story of a boy who couldn't sing. He couldn't pucker his lips to whistle.  He eventually found the harmonica and could play that.  Its a story set in small town America. We followed the manual. Then added in some other things:

Some of the hands on fun we did with Lentil:
Taste testing challenge
making a lemon clock
trying a lemon straight
playing the harmonica
hosted a of old time end year picnic with games of old: game of graces, darts, hoop rolling, hula hoop, hopscotch  
Samantha whittled as stick for her wooden bow

 She looks a little evil in this picture lol

Here are some links to things that I used to go along with the row

We also drank lemon aid and ate lemon candy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


It's funny how you have these plans before the school year starts and then things change.  Something is not working.  Of you find something much better.  So you switch it up.  

So we are ending this school year with some different things for curriculum. 

Math- teaching textbooks.  
Grammar- we switched very quickly from Rod and Staff and went with Fix it Grammar
Spelling- We used Spelling you See 
History-  We used living books We read many good books along with the Rush Revere Books
Science- Science kits, Living books and Science class with Coop
Five in a Row is in a class of its own. as it can be applied to grammar, history, science and much more.  

I am busy planning next year and  I think we will stick with teaching textbooks, copy work for spelling.  I haven't decided if we will use Grammar Land or the next issue in Fix it grammar.  Or maybe use both together.  History and Science will be with Beyond Five in a Row.  

  Over the summer we will be doing math and finishing up the grammar book. Also finishing up any of the Five in a Row books we didn't finish.  
Samantha will be taking 3 classes at the highschool.  Cosmetology, Theater and Engineering.

Note there is nothing wrong with Rod and Staff. Its an amazing curriculum, but after years of diagramming sentences I felt we needed a change.  

Five in a Row- Another Celebrated Dancing Bear.

I loved this story.  We rowed it when my daughter was taking a homeschool ballet class.

For Social Studies we talked about  Geography and Culture.  I have a book called Children Just like Me.  Its a fun way for your child to see what life is like for other children around the world and the country your studying in FIAR.  She learned about Russian Ballet, music, and authors.  She learned the country of Russia and about some of their history,  We watched a story on the Czar Nicholas and the fate of his family.  We watched the story about people thinking his daughter  Anastasia  escaped.  We talked about Occupations, Hospitality, and relationships.

We moved onto the Language and learned some new vocabulary, descriptive language, characterization, drama in writing and titles of books. How good titles will bring a person to want to read the book.  

We talked about Art and how the artist illustrated the book.  They used a method called Etchings. It makes for a very unique picture.  Here is how they use this method....  In traditional pure etching, a metal (usually copper, zinc or steel) plate is covered with a waxy ground which is resistant to acid. The artist then scratches off the ground with a point etching needle where he or she wants a line to appear in the finshed piece, so exposing the bare metal.
We also discussed the colors the artist used to create the warm feelings through out the book.

We moved onto Architecture.  What the Russian skyline looked like.  How the tops of their buildings were called onion turrets.  Here is Samantha's drawing of it...

We did some science about boiling point and freezing point. My daughter dug deeper and researched bears.  

We had fun with this row.  We watched a few documentaries and shows on Russia, Here are some links to different things we learned about throughout this row...

We listened to Russian music, we watched Russian dancers and we looked at Russian Art.  

We didn't do much for cooking for this row. I found some tea cakes and we drank tea.  

Our attempt at artwork
our very own Nesting Dolls.  Daddy even got into the action and painted one.  

Five in a Row sad times

I am so sad to say our time rowing Five In a Row is coming to an end.  My daughter has done 
almost every book in FIAR.  Plus she is getting much older.  
Its time to move onto Beyond Five in a Row. 
 I am excited to start a new chapter in our homeschooling but at the same time
 sad to leave our treasured memories behind.  I have purchased the ones we really loved and some of the other books as week. So they wont be forgotten. 

So coming in the Fall a whole new chapter to our learning.  BEYOND FIVE IN A ROW

If you are looking for an amazing way to teach your child look into Five in a Row.  Its an amazing curriculum.  It teaches the child how to learn and to love books.  I can't say enough good about it.  I recommend this to everyone who questions me about homeschooling. 
 It is one of the best investments you can make in your homeschool journey.

I will still be posting about some of our FIAR rows.  I have been very behind on blogging about it.  So for a little while enjoy the rest of our FIAR journey  

Extra Fun, Classes, get together and so much more

although the majority of Samantha's learning happens with me at home here are some of the fun things she did outside of our classroom this school year....

  • choir
  • homeschool ballet and creative dance class
  • once a month class at Oak Knowl Sanctuary
  • Book club/ creative writing class
  • coop science class
  • She was in a play with the Calvary Bible Homeschoolers
  • States and Presidents class
  • The muscle class (how are muscles work and what we need to to keep them healthy)
  • Art Class with friends
  • Artsy Smartsy
  • Stem classes
  • Green Light for Girls (one day stem classes)
  • baton classes
  • Plays at the Ziterian Theater 
  • She visits with her great great Aunt in the nursing home a couple times a month
  • nature walks
  • homeschool ice skating.  
  • zoo trips
  • visiting down south to be with Mike and his kids
  • water obstacle course with friends
  • cake decorating contest with a friend
  • sledding during school time
  • homeschool park meet ups
  • she even helped the local public school with their car wash 
  • we went to a Christian Concert right here in my city together along with out church
  • making jewelry with a friend and her mom
  • and so much more
There is so much more we do.  Many question us on socializing.  Yet seems to me many homeschoolers get out in public a lot. 

Enjoy the pictures of all she does....