Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Nature Study Plans

I had Nature Study listed in our Morning Basket Plans, but didn't do any explaining. I missed it because I don't really consider it as part of our Morning Basket, but I listed it in Morning Basket because it is together work for the boys.

I assigned a nature read aloud, By Pond and River by Arabella Buckley (we have it on our Nook from Yesterday's Classics). I think this will be finished by the end of the term and we will read another after that. I have Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton (free on Kindle!) picked to read in term 2 & 3, but we may wait as I have some more Buckley books on our Nook and the boys are out-growing them (mostly Caleb), so we may read those instead and save Seton for next year.

I wanted to be more intentional with our nature study this year and decided to select a theme for the year. Our theme this year, at the family farm, will be a pond study (or lake study as we tend to call the pond at the farm a lake). I can't tell you anything about that because Scott is in charge. This is his type of thing and I thought it would be silly for me to teach it when he knows everything there is to know on this topic. I'm sure we will have post as the nature study gets underway.

We typically go out once a month for a nature hike (weather permitting, nice weather we go out more and cold weather not so much). We are looking forward to doing this since it's been since May! Chiggers were bad this year at the farm and I haven't been back since Tyler's birthday since they got me good! We should be back out later in August.

We are also hoping to learn six each of native trees, birds, and flowers. This will mostly be done in our yard. We will have to do the flowers out at the family farm though. Probably some trees too because it feels like the ones in our yard they already know. 

Last Friday we went out and looked at the River Birch and discussed all it's features and pulled out a guide and read through the birch section. We had a good discussion about it and it only took about ten minutes to do. We will review it next time we do nature study in the yard. I'm hoping to find some of the trees we have in our yard out at the family farm and see if they can recognize them in a different environment. 

We are excited about our Nature Study this year.

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday {July 25, 2014}

This 7 Quick Takes Friday is subtitled, Our First Week of School Quick Takes.

Tyler hiding behind his desk.

1) Starting a new year on a Monday is a big no-no . . . . . I know that and still did it. We survived though barely! I did have to make a quick trip to the nearest store for some caffeine. It didn't help though and I blame my lack of energy and headache to allergies.

2) We are suppose to get into a new routine for the day that I need to work (a few hours). School in the morning and run into town in the afternoon. Well, we went in the morning. Tyler did start school earlier and got a lot done before we left. Both boys did some work while in town and we did get some stuff done when we returned (but not everything that was on my list). School wasn't put first as I had planned. I did get to enjoy a less busy grocery store at 9 am and this is why I struggle with this afternoon thing!  

Caleb with his "back to school" gift.

3) Eight weeks is too long to take off from math! I had hoped for some informal math during the summer break and that didn't happen. This is the main reason we have a short summer break and it's still not short enough for math loss. Thankful I planned some review for our first week.

4) Morning Basket is going great! I do need to rearrange some of it. Some days we couldn't get it all done in 90 minutes and one day (Tuesday) we were done in 60 minutes. I have this on my to-do list for the weekend.

5) Tyler's favorite book (so far) for the year is his planner and he has already asked to have it every year. Caleb really enjoyed his Logic lesson and wanted to know why it wasn't on the list to do every day. I was reading ahead in it and wonder if he is going to like it when he figures out how illogical his thinking has been. I was laughing out loud as I read it thinking how it relates to him!  

Even the cat likes read aloud time! (Don't let the picture fool you! This is not an indoor cat!)

6) Tyler is still getting done with his school work early. This was a problem last year and I thought I added in enough to keep him busier. He is getting up early and starting before breakfast and then he is done first and he is interrupting Caleb's school time. I'm hoping a little habit training will fix this.

Tyler mentioned many times this week, "That's not the kind of book I can give you a narration from." I asked him to just tell me the facts of the book or what he read about in general. Yep! Worked every time! This got his narrations started and they came out perfectly after that. ; )

7) I do have some things to think about and make some changes for next week. Caleb struggled with Augustus Caesar's World and I have yet to pick it up and read it myself. That is on the to-do list to determine if I need to read it to him or if we need to cut back how much reading he is doing. 

The Logic of English lessons are not going smoothly. I need to do it separately with each boy, but who has time for that? They interact with each other and forget about the lesson or they try to be the first one to answer (and we usually just go back and forth with answering questions). This has happened before. I told them today if they couldn't get it under control we would do it separately and they both didn't like that idea. I need to read through some of the lessons before next week and have a better game plan.

I need to rearrange the Language Arts plan too. Just some shuffling in the schedule should do the trick. 

Tyler with his "back to school" gift.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our Plans { 2014-2015 Term 1 }

Honestly, this has been a tough year to plan! Maybe that is because I had to plan for an eighth grader!(Oh, this is tough on a mama's heart!)

I'm listing just our first term books. Most of these will be used the whole year though. I'll have a new post at each new term with additional books we will be adding each term.

Our education philosophy is inspired by the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education and follows our Catholic faith.

All of our Morning Basket plans are listed here. Those are not included below. 

This year I will have a 10 years old (5th grade) and a 13 years old (8th grade).

For math we will continue using Math-U-See and Life of Fred. LOF is more for review and fun math reading.

For geography we are using the Map Skills Series and Visits to North America

Tyler (the 5th grader) will be reading for Ancient history The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by G.H. Henty and a few Usborne books: Time TravelerAncient Egypt, and Ancient World. For American History he will read (I have two books picked out for him to choose from, which he still needs to do) either Four Great Americans or America First 100 Stories from Our History by Lawton B. Evans.

Tyler, for science will be reading The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting, The Story Book of Science and Health 5 from Seton. He will also be conducting his own experiments from Usborne 100 Science Experiments.

For religion, Tyler will be reading from the following: Faith and Life 5, The Book of Saints and Heroes by Andrew Lang (I'm not sure if this is the one I have, mine looks different), A Life of Our Lord for Children by HuntSaint Therese of Lisieux: The Way of Love by Glavich, and Old Testament stories from a Children's Bible.

In Language Arts, Tyler will be using IEW Fix It! Book 1 The Nose Tree and Intermediate Language Lessons. In writing Tyler will be working on written narrations in addition to oral narrations. And reading to mom using The Book of Gratitude (Faith and Freedom Reader) from Seton. (I'm not 100% on LA yet, so there may be some changes.)

Caleb (the 8th grader) will be reading for Ancient history Augustus Caeser's World by FosterHittite Warrior by Williamson, and the Usborne Ancient World book. For American History he will be reading American Gun: A History of the US in Ten Firearms by Kyle.

Caleb, for science, will be doing Memoria Press Book of Trees for Botany science.

For religion, Caleb will be reading Witness to the Faith from Seton (for Church history), Faith and Life 8 (for Catechism), Ablaze, Stories of Daring Teen Saints, The Virtue Tree Program written by Sandra Grant from CHC, and Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Book of Genesis.

Caleb's big focus this year is Language Arts (some last minute instruction to have him ready for high school). There is a lot to cover, but I have a good plan in place and hope it all works out!
IEW Fix It! Robin Hood Book 2
Memoria Press Classical Composition I Fable Stage (see Afterthoughts on how to CM this program)
Literature reading The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
Finish up Keyboarding Skill
Our Mother Tongue for grammar
Increase to two written narrations a week and daily oral narrations.

In math we will add in some Key To Series in addition to MUS.

Electives for Caleb include: The Fallacy Detective (Logic) and Roots of English (the closest I will get to teaching this boy Latin).

Zebra, who is unknown years old and whatever grade he chooses will be studying anything that moves this term! He is one curious cat!

Please share your plans for the upcoming year in the comments or link to your blog post in the comments!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Morning Basket Plans

My favorite part of homeschooling is our Morning Basket. I finally got our Morning Basket organized and put into daily use after I read about it at Jen's Wildflowers and Marbles (this is her most recent post, be sure to check out all her post on this topic!) a few years ago. It was something we did from day one of homeschooling, but it wasn't very organized until the last few years.

Other places to learn about Morning Basket (aka Morning Time, Circle Time, Together Work, Family Work) include Sarah @ Amongst Lovely Things and Cindy @ Ordo Amoris along with Mystie @ Simply Convivial. Please share in the comments any bloggers who inspire your Morning Basket!

I started a wonderful list of ideas for Morning Basket and as I was planning, my original plans got pushed aside and my Morning Basket plan ended up not looking like what I intended. 

I was getting pretty anxious about it and knew I had to start over. I went back to Jen's most recent post and noticed my original list looked very similiar to her's. Jen had done all the work for me! So, I printed off her list and went through and crossed off some titles and changed them to the books I had on hand. I followed her weekly plan for Morning Basket and made changes to fit our schedule. I'm very pleased! I finally got things on the list that I've been wanting to do a long time.

Our Morning Basket last around 60-90 minutes. I have two boys (ages 13 & 10) who don't sit still! We take a break, if needed, and they also fiddle with thinking putty, fold laundry, or draw, if needed. Our goal is to get done anything that we plan to do together (family work) and the rest of the day is for independent work or work alone with mom. We may meet back up in the afternoon (very end of the day) for an elective (like PE).

I don't loop* our Morning Basket. I plan what I want to do each day. If we get behind in one area I'm fine with switching up the schedule as needed. I will make some changes each term and switch out books as we finish them.

Here is the plan for term 1:

Art Appreciation using Art Through Faith 

Read aloud for Literature: Swallowdale and Canadian Summer 

Read aloud for history: A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Story of the World Volume 1

Poetry: reading from Lewis CarrollAround the year, and The Harp and Laurel Wreath  

Shakespeare: we will read A Midsummer Night's Dream and memorizing a passage using How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Geography: Tree in the Trail using the Beautiful Feet Guide.

Character Training on kindness using Simply Charlotte Mason Laying Down the Rails.

Music Appreciation: Listen to The Piano Guys (you can find them on youtube or listen free if you have Amazon Prime)

Art: Drawing Together (set timer for 20 minutes and draw using our Ed Emberly books) or any other art project I run across that looks fun. I have some chalk pastels from Hodgepodge that I would like to use too.

Music: we will be learning some Hymns and Folk songs from Our Musical Year (a resource I've had on hand since our first year, but haven't used in a long time).

Memory Work: we will be making sure we remember all the prayers we already (should) know and will be learning a new one each term. Also, will be memorizing bible verses which I took directly from Jen's plans which came out of the Harp & Laurel book.

Civics:  How the US Government Works (I have an older edition) and some books about Missouri checked out from the library.

We will be doing Logic of English everyday too (for twenty minutes)during Morning Basket, assuming that we can do this together. We may have to move this if I need to work separately with each boy. I noticed some gaps in their phonics (and especially spelling)that needs some attention. I've put it off for a long time because they "test" highly in reading (and spelling too and one of them can't spell much of anything), but I'm catching mistakes during narration and when they read to me. (An example to show that standardized testing is not reliable.)

What are your Morning Basket plans?

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday {July 18, 2014}

1) Update from the last Quick Takes takes #1-6 are completed and I'm working on #7.

2) I had to be realistic and know that there was no way we could start school this week. It would have been a good week for independent work, but that's not possible during the first week. I adjusted the schedule and included an extra week of school in December to make it up. Making notes for next year to avoid this happening again!

3) I had this wonderful garden project for summer and well . . . . 

the weeds took over! I weeded it earlier and decided it needed new weed barrier put down (there was a lot of soil on top of it). I set the metal wash tub and planted my flowers and brought in some rock. I don't think it's going to get done (neither does the cat). I need someone to buy the weed barrier and put it down for me . . . . I dislike that job the most! 

4) I decided I needed a school office. This will be useful in some new things we want to implement with the new school routine. Looks like I will be sharing my office with Hammy! And you ask, "Where do you locate an office in a small house?" That would be the entryway! I really would like to get rid of the lamp and get a light attached to the wall or hung from the ceiling. The table is my grandparents' first dining room table. It has two drop down sides. I just have one out at the moment. 

5) I'm working on making some plans for some little trips. Next month we are going to Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri area for a day trip. We are hoping to see some sites and visit our new niece or nephew (who is apparently planning a late arrival-hang in there mama!) all in one day! No budget for an overnight stay, so we will be up and going earlier and in late. I'm thinking late August to avoid the summer crowd and during the week to avoid the weekend crowd.

Scott and I are also planning a getaway for our 15th anniversary and Scott's 40th birthday. As always, we will go to our favorite bed and breakfast, Bass & Baskets.

6) I found this picture on my camera. Looks like a Lego creation from Tyler. All I see is that the door frame needs to be cleaned, lol!

7) Guess what I get to do this weekend! Yes, that would be some scrapbooking!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

{ pretty, funny, happy, real } July 17, 2014

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

I was hearing a Cardinal while getting the mail the other day. I found him at the very top of our white pine tree that I could see from the front of the house. I went around to the back for some pictures, but he was just to high in the tree for my camera.


We made a little weekend trip to Bennett Spring State Park for some trout fishing.  

{ funny }


Our little garden is still producing a ton of produce (way more than usual)! The weather has been perfect for gardens this year. Still no tomatoes though! We have an orange one, so hopefully not much longer. We picked the harvest (second picture below) before leaving and picked almost the same amount on Tuesday. Peppers anyone?

A quick storm blew through Monday. The cloud development was amazing to watch! No pictures as I couldn't stop watching to get the camera. The wind was unbelievable! I thought for sure our neighbor's pear tree and our walnut tree were going to be ripped apart, but they survived.

round button chicken

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just a Little Break

Things are a little busy around here and I don't plan to do any blogging this week or next. I'm hoping to have some posts ready starting late next week. Including some school planning posts!

I'm sorry! Yet, another picture of the cat! I didn't have time to take pictures off my camera and this was the only recent picture I had that hadn't been used yet on the blog. And you can't have a blog post without a picture! ; )

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July {2014}

We celebrated the Fourth with a family celebration at my parents' house. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors joined the party.

Getting excited to set off some fireworks!

Love the fireworks setting on the camera.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday {July 4&5, 2014}

A day late! I intended to get this up first thing this morning, but I was interrupted with house cleaning and weed pulling.  

This 7 Quick Takes Friday is titled "To-do list before school starts on the 15th".

My flower garden weeding buddy!
1) A trip to the library. My list is getting really long for a library trip. It's a good thing there is a teenage boy in the house to carry the books! On my list include numerous Shakespeare books (see take #3 below). Some history books, including Usborne Encylopedia of the Ancient World to see if this is a book the boys want to use in history this year. If yes, we will use the library book until I get one ordered. Look for some classical music CDs. I thought we would see what the library has before purchasing any. (I'm hoping to not purchase any!) I also have books on the painter John Singer Sargent on my list to check out. I received a little postcard painting of his in my last Simply Charlotte Mason order and absolutely loved it!

2) Set up a weather notebook (or science notebook). Tyler is studying weather this year which was inspired by Mater Amabilis Weather Lessons

3) Deciding how to teach Shakespeare this year. Last year, Shakespeare went over well with the boys. I need to visit the library (see take #1) and I also plan to read a new book I received just today How To Teach Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. Hoping to have a plan ready by the first day!

4) Put all the books away and everything in it's place. Right now the books are in bins (so I had them at hand for planning) and they need to find their homes. I also have a large stack of books that didn't make the cut. I'm a little worried about finding a place to put those away!!

Books that didn't make this year's cut!

This year's books that need to be put away.

5)Plan pictures taking for the first day of school and special treats. I thinking about taking our old student desk outside under a tree to take pictures. Last year I tried to put the boys against our concrete retaining wall and use some chalk to date it, but the chalk didn't show up very well. I'm thinking about how to fix that. I always like to put together special treat bags for the boys for the first day. I have one thing for Caleb and that is it. I will need to do a little shopping this week. Note to self: make sure the boys realize you expect them to wear something nice for the pictures!

6) Morning Basket plans still need some ironing out, finish those. I'll have a post of our plans before long!

7) Work on a blog post about our plans for the upcoming year. Also, be on the look out for other blogger's post about the same! I enjoying seeing how everyone else plans for their upcoming year and the books that made their cut.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} July 3, 2014

I thought I would try a new link-up today!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!


I'm loving the flower gardens this year! The colors are vibrant and the blooms are prolific. Perhaps the garden elf would do better under funny but today he is pretty! 


Zebra is a wonderful pet. I think he thinks we are good pets too! He makes us all happy, which I guess is his purpose.

The weather is much cooler this week (below average) and this reminded the boys to get their bows out for some practice.

The boys are really enjoying running. Caleb runs through our small town with a running club while Tyler runs on the school track. Tyler can run two miles, but not at the pace with the bigger boys (and girl) so he stays on the track for now.


The cat sure thought bow practice was play time! He wouldn't follow any of the safety rules (he is not behind the shooter) and kept trying to get Tyler's arrows. Tyler was getting upset! I didn't get a picture of it, but Zebra was jumping up trying to get the arrow while Tyler was trying to shoot. I told you that cat wouldn't follow the rules!


School is starting soon (July 15th)! I'm still not done planning. The end is in sight though and today I plan on writing in assignments into the boys planners and working on a schedule (and making sure we have enough time for all that I have planned). This weekend I will put everything away and get all ready for the first day (like sharpen the pencils!). I plan to do nothing school related next week!

The garden has also been vibrant and prolific which has left us with a plentiful crop. We've had fresh green beans twice this week and there is enough for another meal. Tyler and I ate a total of 2-3 cucumbers daily last week. We are happy that Scott and Caleb are home to bring that number down. Scott made pickles this week, which was a first for us. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all these peppers. I may share them at the family Fourth of July celebration, tomorrow. There are a few more in the frig! No tomatoes yet! Family has been sharing Zucchini with us and I have a few loaves of bread in the freezer from that and I have a new recipe I want to try. I'm sure I'll be able to get some more Zucchini tomorrow or at church on Sunday (one family always brings their extra produce!).

round button chicken
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