Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010-2011 Schedule

Last year I was new to homeschooling, and I am just now starting to feel like I am getting comfortable with it all.
I have decided to plan out more of a schedule this year, I hope I have weeded out some of the things that don’t work for us. 

Tentative plan starting August 2nd is 6 weeks of “regular” schooling, and 2 weeks of “easier” schooling.

During the 2 weeks off for the kids, will probably be my busiest time.  That is when I will plan and shop for the next 6 weeks of school, and also give my house a good thorough cleaning.  

This chunk of 6 weeks feels more manageable to  plan and knowing that my house will once again be cleaned every 6 weeks feel so good to me.  It really lifts that overwhelming feeling.   Also it makes homeschooling more affordable for me, as I will NOT be purchasing all of their curriculum at the beginning of the school year.  I will purchase it as they finish up something.

About curriculum:  That is something that I have not completely decided on.  So here is the list that I know.

Tommy- finish up Math U See Epsilion.
Emily – continue to learn multiplication facts 1-12, begin division. 
Katey- continue to recognize numbers and how many each number stands for.
(I hope to purchase Teaching Textbooks for Tommy.  I am still looking for Emily something, she may stick with Math U See)

Tommy and Emily will continue in Botany, and then I plan to move on to Flying Creatures.  Katey will continue to do the science experiments out of botany with us.
Plus she is having tons of fun exploring nature with a magnifying glass.
Another fun science book we have been doing experiments out of is Nature in a Nutshell.  (I highly recommend this book, it is simple experiments with things you probably already have on hand, and the experiments are all pretty quick)

This is one I am still deciding on.  We have just finished up Ancients History Odyssey.  I did like that one, I am looking at my other options.  I may choose to go back to them but then I am undecided at which one, Middle Ages, or Modern (Pioneers), Middle Ages comes next, but my children are really interested in Pioneers right now.

I am also leaving room for any review items that I get as being a part of TOS Crew.  I also do not feel like this is all I will teach.  I will be willing to add to our load once we get going and see what others are doing,, and how they work.

This post is linked up to Heart Of The Matter's Not Back to School Blog Hop and Latter-day Homeschooling Back to Homeschooling Blog Hop!

Friday, July 30, 2010

How workboxes work for me.

Ok, let me start out with the way things used to be..

In the very beginning of my homeschooling journey, I hadn’t even heard of workboxes.  I knew however that I needed to plan ahead, after all,  to fail to plan, is to plan to fail.  So I started with a list.  Each week I would sit down and make a list of what needed to get done.  I would then break it down into days, and give each kid their weekly list, if they chose to do Monday and Tuesday things on Monday, that was fine, but everything for that day had to be done before they could play. 

Now, that left me no room to plan fun things into the day.  They worked slowly until the afternoon, and then kicked it into high gear to get stuff done.  By the time they were done and I wanted to do something fun and educational (play a game, do a craft, watch a movie, etc) they were just done for the day.

So that just wasn’t working for me, I didn’t want them to dread school, and think learning couldn’t be fun.  So I looked for new ideas.  I decided to begin having morning meetings, we would get together at 9am and meet, discuss the day, do group activities, and then go on with the school day.  That way I could let them know I had something planned at such and such a time, and they would know to fit that in.

Now, Emily is NOT a morning person (neither am I), so the meetings were hard for her, she would get up and be physically there but not be mentally there.  So I had to find something else.  Meeting later in the day was sort of an option, but Tommy is very much a morning person, and he did not want to wait to start schoolwork.  So I had to find a new plan….

I decided to get a white board and write out the plans for the day so everyone could see them when they got up.  That worked, as long as I remembered to erase the day before and put up the new day before I went to bed.  But it was still hard, I liked the group time.  So I kept looking for what would work for us.

It was then that I attended The Old Schoolhouse Expo in the spring of 2010.  I made every effort I could to attend Sue Patrick’s Workshop.  I was able to attend, but our money was tight and I didn’t feel it was something that I could afford then, the book, the boxes, the printing, the laminating.  However, I felt it was something that I definitely wanted to try.  I really thought it would work for my family.  

I waited and searched blogs, hoping to get a better feel for the changes you can make to it.  I really liked the drawers, since I have a fairly smaller house, with a fairly large family in it.    So I began saving and watching ads for sales. 

Finally I was ready to begin my workbox journey…..

I would like to let everyone know that I have not yet purchased Sue Patrick’s book, it is still on the list, and it is something that I would really like to purchase this year!  I hear it comes with some amazing downloads. 

I got my drawers.  Now came the time to find where to put them.  My wants were, accessible to everyone, and close to where I store school “stuff” , and close to where we usually do school, which is the kitchen. 

So here is my first set up.


Katey’s are the bottom ones, next to the blue one.  Mom’s storage are the six drawers above Katey’s and the 2 baskets as well.  Tommy’s are closest to the microwave and Emily’s are in between.  On top of Emily’s are 3 more drawers where I store their schedule sheets and misc paperwork.  On top of those drawers are their snack baskets. Next to Katey’s and mine is a black bookshelf where I store the books such as teachers manuals, etc.   The big blue drawers is where I put work that won’t fit in the smaller drawers, as well as I use them to store misc items as well. 

Tommy and Emily do some of the same things, such as their writing prompts are the same.  Their Botany and History lessons are the same.  So what I would do is write out on a Post It Note what to do, and if Tommy had it in his box 3 and Emily needed it in her box 5, then there would just be a note on it to put in Emily’s box 5.  This worked nicely unless Emily was ready for box 5 and Tommy hadn’t put in there yet.  So I needed to find a solution to that.  As much as I loved this and THEY WERE WORKING I did not like how cluttered it felt in my kitchen.  So I came up with a solution to both problems. 


First I rearranged the kitchen.  And moved the workboxes to their very own corner.  They are much better over here. 


And for the dual work, I decided to put two Velcro dots on some boxes, and number each child’s with a different color.  As shown in the picture below they both start with writing prompts as number 1.  Then they will both move on to box 2, and so on.  When it is something that they will need to spend some time on, I schedule them further apart, as shown on Emily’s box 2 and Tommy’s box 6. 


I have to say that this system is the current one we use, and it is working wonderfully for us.  I have a hard time filling them.  And the kids do not like having to wait for me in the mornings.  In order to motivate me, I told them if I don’t have them filled when they wake up, that they can skip work that day.  So far that is working for us.  It really only takes me a small time to fill them.  It’s just that I got to do it.  Planning them takes more time, and I have no problem doing that. 

For the summer time I only have them do about 6 boxes each, and that seems to be plenty.  I anticipate when we go back to fuller days we will be doing about 9 each per day for the older kids, and 4-6 for Katey. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where have I been?


 Tommy 2nd Place State Qualifier Katey 1st place State Qualifier

Emily 3rd Place State Qualifier Tyler sneaking into cookies while I pack for camping

Summer is definitely our busiest season.  We just love the outdoors and can’t get enough.  Between camping, boating, picnicking, swimming, BMX, and just enjoying ourselves, I just can’t get ahead of the game.   

Emily getting dropped off at Horse Camp

Emily has been at Horse Camp this past week.  She is such a big help to me.  She is really good at doing what I ask her to, and she is such a help with Katey and Tyler.  I really missed her this week, and it just went to show me how much I actually rely on her. 


On top of all this stuff, I have been doing a total revamp of our household.  I have been deep cleaning one room a day, and noting all the daily, weekly, etc, chores.  Hopefully this will help us keep up on household things.  


I have made a “mommy book”, a planner, and all things that I need at a glance.  Basically a big personalized planner.  I used The Old Schoolhouse Planner 2010-2011 for that.  Which I love by the way. 


I have revamped my filing crate.  Which is an extension of my “mommy book”. 


I have rearranged our workboxes. (which will be coming up in another post) 


I have decided on a school schedule. (also in an upcoming post)


As you can see, I have let some things go in order to accomplish these things, mainly blogging, and we have lightened our schoolwork load during this.   


I really feel as if this will help our school and household run much more smoothly this coming school year.  I am so excited that I am beginning to feel under control.   So watch for my upcoming posts on how I organized it all.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits Review


Are you (or better yet someone you know) planning a trip this Summer?  If so, you need this book.  This book is full of amazing ideas while traveling. 

What would you say if I told you that you could go on a road trip (or any trip) with your kids and have an enjoyable ride in the car, and no, the magic answer is not electronics.  The magic answer is Travel Kits, A Simple Way To Bless Others.  With a little planning ahead your next trip can be your best yet!

The idea behind this book is to bless others by making these “Travel Kits” and presenting them to them before their trip, but the entire time I was reading this book I was thinking to myself, “That would work for me.”  We travel often, not really to far, but 2 hours or so each way.  I do have a TV in my van, which I do take advantage of.  I often make my kids pack activity bags, too.  However the next time we travel I will be presenting my family with a Travel Kit.

Some of the ideas are so simple, but I would have never thought of them.  For example bring along a bottle of bubbles and stop at a rest stop along the way, and blow them for your kids while they run around chasing them.  That will get the wiggles out!   Another game I can see us playing is the Twizzler game.  I just love my licorice. The scavenger hunt will be a great game for my Kindergartner too.    I can see our next trip being so much fun and educational too.  This book talks about enjoying the entire trip, not just the destination.

I am even trying to think of families that I know who might be traveling, that we could make “Travel Kits” for.  That would be a great way to teach my children to have a heart of service. 


This book includes close to 100 pages of ideas, (and color photos for you visual learners).  To view a sample of this book click here. There is even a trip resource list of internet links.  And a list of tourism websites by state. There is a bonus section with recipes and tips from veteran travelers.

All of these ideas are very creative quick and easily affordable.  You could even just use stuff you already have at home instead of buying new if you were making these for your family. 

My overall opinion: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who travels with children, or anyone that knows someone that travels with children.  This is such a good book, full of great ideas.  I love it that you can teach your children to have a heart of service through this book.

This book is only $12.45 from The Old Schoolhouse

The Old Schoolhouse Store has so many products, there is something for everyone, feel free to sit back and take a look around.  Plus, their shipping is always FREE!


{Disclaimer:  I received this item for free for review purposes.  All opinions expressed herein are my own and I received no other compensation.  Your experience may be different.}

Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS June 2010 Planner Module Travel The World Review

Travel the World
Are you wanting to teach your kids about maps and globes, continents and just the Earth in general?

Are you interested in Traveling the World for $7.95?

If so, this quick easy lesson plan (over 50 pages) from The Old Schoolhouse, June 2010 Planner Module, Travel The World, It includes reading material, worksheets and puzzles such as word searches, cross words, copy work for both manuscript and cursive, rebus puzzles, fill in the blanks plus internet links, a High School Expansion Pack and more is for you. There are even coloring pages for younger kids. 

One fun thing we did was, I had Katey (5K) color the continents and then the other kids had to guess which one it was. 

This seriously took me about 10 minutes to look at and print out the worksheets we were going to use before I was ready to teach it.  I choose to teach it to my kids, but I could easily see them being able to read this and do the worksheets on their own.  Oh, and I almost forgot there are lapbook pieces for you lapbookers out there. 
June Module spread
I have to admit, at first I was a little confused about what being a monthly module meant.  Well, it is not included in the purchase of the planner (it is an add on).  However, it does follow along the theme for the months in the planner.  It not being included is really a good thing, because you can still purchase ones from previous months.   And you do not need the planner to be able to use these. (Although, I have the planner, and love it.)

This is a little smaller than Download and Go, so it wouldn’t take the week commitment  that those take.  We did it in about 2 hours total.  The kids enjoyed the change of pace, and it really wasn’t to hard for them.  It was well written and easy for the kids to understand.

This was a good way to do a non in depth study of  the Earth.  While this was a good review for my 4th and 6th graders this was a great way to just touch on the subject for my 5K.   There are tons of internet links included. As I mentioned above there is a High School Expansion Pack included, so really you could take this as far as you would like.

They learned about the different continents, oceans, maps, why we have seasons, and all about geography.  My children did enjoy this unit, however I do think that Emily and Katey’s favorite part was the cute song to help them remember all the continents.  Tommy enjoyed the puzzles best.

My overall opinion of this is that it’s a good product for a reasonable price.  When I am in need of something to teach that I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing for or teaching then I will definitely look at other planner modules.  I love E-books like this one, because I can store them on a disk, and only print what I need, but I can also print as many as I would like.

Price: $7.95 each

You can buy it here!

The Old Schoolhouse Store has so many products, there is something for everyone, feel free to sit back and take a look around.  Plus, their shipping is always FREE!

{I received this item for free for review purposes, this however is my honest opinion. As with everything in life, your experience may differ.}

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I got a what………

My blog got an award.  The Versatile Blogger Awardtheversatileblogger[1][2]

Thanks to Beach Schooling for this award!


Now the three rules to this are

1. Thank the person that gave it to you.
2. Share 7 Things about your self.
3. Pass the Award along. :)


So 7 things about myself

  1. I am so happily married, and I have 4 great children.
  2. I am LDS, and proud of it.
  3. I love homeschooling, I love the amazing relationship it gives me with my children.
  4. I love all things outdoors, boating, camping, ATV riding, gardening, everything.
  5. I am NOT a neat freak.
  6. I am NOT a morning person.
  7. I love to sew, cook, scrapbook, blog, and occasionally clean (see #5).

Now to pass this award along.

Here are a few of my favorite blogs that I will be giving the award to.

Giving up on a Clean House

Our Busy Homeschool

Guiding Light Homeschool

Thanks again for the award Beach Schooling!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Katey gave her first talk in church!

The theme this month is “Trying to be like Jesus”


This was her talk:

Some of the ways we can be like Jesus are:

  • Be friendly
  • Do things for others
  • Help others
  • Be honest
  • Take the Sacrament
  • Pay Tithing
  • Read the Scriptures
  • Pray
  • Make Good Choices

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


I was so proud of her, before church when I asked her if she was nervous, her response was “A little"

Monday, July 12, 2010

What’s for lunch?

Today we had homemade nachos and watermelon. 
This is such an easy lunch, and it’s something different than the everyday normal, mac & cheese, sandwiches, etc.
I take tortilla chips and spread a layer on my pan, then I add shredded cheese and I sprinkle on some black beans, then repeat.  I then bake it in the oven  on 400 degrees for about 10 min and pull it out.  I give everyone a plate with some salsa and sour cream.  Then we just pick them off from the pan. (I always warn the kids first that the pan is hot as to be extremely careful)

Friday, July 9, 2010

S’mores ~ Part 7


It’s amazing to me what I take for granite.   I love camping and the outdoors, and everything about it.  We make S’mores all the time. 

My cousin has 3 Japanese students living with her while they are going to college.  They came up and spent the weekend with us.  Camping and four wheeling were all new to them, and they have never even heard of S’mores.  They were so excited to cook them and even more excited to eat them.  It was so cute to watch the joy they had in this simple family tradition. 

Take joy in S’mores! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Afternoon Trip ~ Part 6

With so much time on our hands we decided to go on a little ATV adventure trip.

We saw some amazing views. 



The weather was perfect and the scenery was amazing.  We saw lots of wildlife, including a deer and a BEAR!  Yikes! (I was focused on getting out, instead of taking pics.)

Thanks mom for babysitting!

Day Trip ~ Part 5


We took a Sunday drive around to see the beautiful county we are living in.   We saw our old camping grounds, (before the cabin) at Gooseberry.  It was so much fun. And sure did bring back some old memories.  Such as playing in the spillway.  That’s right when I younger I was allowed to do much more than I allow my kids to do.  We used to play and swim in the creek and I won’t even let my kids play in the little ditch out near the cabin. 

Katey and her cousin fought fought fought so much.  But they just couldn’t stay away from each other.  They always wanted to be together even if it was arguing. DSC02728

We all came home and took a much needed nap!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fireworks ~ Part 4

In the little town we were in they have a fireworks show.  They light the fireworks from an island on the lake.  In years past we have all lined our chairs up in the middle of the road out in front of the cabin and watched.  This year my cousin brought up her boat.  So we decided to go and watch them from the lake. 

This was the sunset we saw when we got to the lake. It was a beautiful purple.


We saw lots of people fishing for crawfish! They were catching some big ones as well.


We got loaded on the boat and set out toward the island. 


I decided to play with my camera while we were waiting for the show.  I slowed down the shutter speed in order to take pictures of the fireworks.

I practiced with it on the light on the back of the boat.  I moved the camera while it was taking the picture.  After I realized just how cool this was I decided I would try to write letters in the air.  This was supposed to be an a.  It looks more like a p to me.


My next try at an a.


Trying it out with a star.


So I just know that this would make some amazing firework pictures if only I hadn’t played with my camera until the battery died.  UGHHH!  Oh well. 

I know they were spectacular!

Independence Day Part 3

DSC02690 We went to the festivities at the park.  There was plenty to do.  Tons of shopping and playthings for the kids. 

Usually every year our family puts a booth in.  This was our first year not doing that.  (with my Grandfather being sick, we didn’t want to commit).  It was so much more relaxing without the booth.  Don’t get me wrong the booth is alot of fun.  But this was nice for a change. 

With all the extra time on our hands we were able to do lots of fun things.  We took the kids to the old town jail. 

DSC02693Katey and her cousin


Daddy had lots of time to play around. DSC02694 

We were able to fit in lots and lots of four wheeling.

We rode up to the old town school and learned about The Winter Quarters Mine Disaster.


We took plenty of walks as well. (I don’t know that we were all happy about that)DSC02696

Normally our weekend would have been spent rotating shifts in the booth.  But this was so much fun and so much more relaxing.  We all really enjoyed ourselves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We were in an Independence Day Parade. (part 2)

Every year we head down to my families cabin to celebrate Independence Day over the 4th of July.  There are lots of festivities that go on in this small little town.  One of them being a parade. 

Our family has 2 floats.  One of them is a truck we decorate and throw candy (and novelty toys) from.  This is known as “the little kids float”.

The next one is a trailer pulled by a four wheeler.  We decorate that and fill up garbage cans with water.  We have these giant water guns made out of PVC pipe.  We squirt cool people off during the parade.  This is known as “the big kids float”

We have been doing this for so long that the parade watchers have come to expect it and they are usually ready and waiting with buckets of water and hoses to get us back!  You could say it turns into a town water fight.   They do position us toward the end of the parade (whether it’s got to do with the water or us not being able to get to the line up early enough is yet to be determined)

For the last 2 years we have also had Katey and her cousin in a Hummer decorated and throwing candy. 

If you have never entered a float in a parade, I highly recommend it.  It is so fun to be able to be in the parade.  It is a lot of work, we are lucky enough to have a big extended family that helps out with the work and expense of it. 

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This policy is valid from 06 July 2010

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Independence Day Weekend part 1


Our holiday weekend was so packed full of fun I am going to spread it out over a couple of posts.


It has been a tradition in our family for many years to go up to the family cabin in a very small town over the Independence Day weekend.  The town has a small festival along with a parade and fireworks. 


Our extended family is so big that we could not possibly all fit in the cabin.  It’s a good thing a few of us have trailers.  We also set up tents in the front yard.  We gather and spend most of our time outside enjoying the weather and each other. 

When I say extended family, I mean extended.  The owners of the cabin are my Grandfather and 2 of his brothers.  So all of each of their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids come.  It’s a crazy place of getting to know people all over again.  This is usually the only time of year we see most of them, aside from the occasional wedding or funeral. 

We do all of our meals potluck style with one of the “main owners” families in charge of the main dish.  This year, that was not us.  I brought a potluck apple salad. 

Apple Salad

cube up a bunch of apples

add in some cool whip and nutmeg and/or cinnamon

cut up some of your favorite candy bars and mix in.  (my favorite is Reese’s PB cups, some people like Snickers)

This salad is so good, people will be asking you for the recipe. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tyler 1st Birthday Party

Tyler turned ONE on July 1st!  We celebrated his birthday the weekend before. 


We had Sanpete BBQ Turkey.  It is a family favorite. 

The recipe is:

3-5lbs of boneless turkey pieces.

1 part soy sauce

1 part Sprite (or any lemon lime flavored soda)

1/4 part oil

Horseradish to taste

Garlic to taste

Let it marinate overnight and the next day.

BBQ it up for dinner! 





We spent time with family opening presents.  He got a new swimsuit and floating toy.


He got lots of new clothes and toy trucks.


He got a new ride on toy.  A Radio Flyer Retro Rocket.

This is his cake. 


I made some cupcakes and put pieces of yarn under them then Tyler’s own cake was the white one at the bottom.  We also had ice cream sandwiches.

I prefer cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches at my birthday parties as opposed to the more traditional cake and ice cream, because I don’t want to have to worry about cutting cake and dishing up.  Plus, it cuts down on the amount of dishes we use.  Call me lazy, but it works for me.


Here is the picture you have all been waiting for…


Tyler eating his first cake!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My baby is 1!

One year ago I was in the hospital.  Ready to meet my little one. 

I have to admit I was so ready.  I was so done being pregnant.  I am so glad that he is happy and healthy. 

TylerMy little 6lb 8oz baby is now a 23lb boy!

It’s amazing how long a year is when your trying to have a baby, and how quickly it flies by once you do.

We are so grateful to have Tyler as a part of our family.  I THINK that he completes our family.  Saying that makes me happy and sad.  Time will tell.


Happy Birthday Tyler!

Mother Daughter Date

Alyson & Emily

Emily and I went on a date.  Just us.  We went shopping and got this cute matching sunglasses.  Then we hit a few more stores for some window shopping.  Lastly we went out to eat.  She ordered off of the “adult” menu and ate it all.  We took our time and just enjoyed each other.  We even got a little silly sometimes.  We were able to talk about anything we wanted, and we did. 

I really feel that this is important to do for my children right now in our lives.  They need to know that they are special as individuals. 

I sometimes rely on Emily too much.  She is an amazing help.  She helps with Tyler with everything.  She reads to Katey.  She helps with housework, and cooking.  She helps with anything I ask her to.  I worry that it’s taking away from her “childhood”.  After tonight I know that she is happy with it.  She still has plenty of time to do what she wishes.

I just want her to know how much I truly love her!  She is a very important part of our family!

Emily, I love you!


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