Friday, June 29, 2012

Cleaning out and starting fresh!



For the past two weeks I have been on a real deep clean around my house. 

I have gone through cupboards, drawers, closets, under beds.  The whole shebang.  We even deep cleaned out the garage and our cars.  I got rid of quite a bit, I also reorganized things around how I was actually using them.  Storing a thing of floss in the silverware drawer and the toaster near the bread, that sort of thing. 

I feel like I have a fresh start.   For the next week or two I am going to be in MEGA Planning Mode.  I have purchased some of our next years curriculum and am going to be more organized this year than ever before.  I am really hoping that this will allow us for some more hands on experiences.

So this blog is definitely taking a backseat while I get through all this.  I can’t wait to come back and share all that we get done. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Copy Work for Future Heroes.



Ami over at Walking by the Way has created a great new resource.  She has a great reputation of creating amazing FREE resources over at Homeschool Share.  Yep, she’s the owner.  While Homeschool Share is an amazing resource, everything over there is free. 

She has created yet another great resource.  Copy Work for Future Heroes.  She is charging for this, just $5.

Tommy has been working on copy work lately.  He has really enjoyed it.  I have never had Tommy do copy work before.  I always felt, maybe he was too old for it, or that is appealed more to girls.  Copy Work for Future Heroes has solved all those problems.  It appeals specifically to boys and it also did not seem to young for him. 

Copy work has so many benefits:

  • Handwriting
  • Memorization
  • Grammar
  • Spelling

And in Copy Work for Future Heroes add in:

  • Values
  • True, Noble and Excellent things to think about
  • Scriptures (NIV) and Quotes

This has been a great resource for my son.  He has been doing it first thing in the morning to help start his day.  It has helped him start the day with a fresh thought.  It also enabled him to take time and pay close attention to the way he formed letters, and to the grammar in the piece.   There are some quite long passages, those are broken up into multiple days. 

I highly recommend Copy Work for Future Heroes for your boys.


Thursday, June 21, 2012




IXL math has been a hit in our house lately.  It has been a great way to keep up on previously learned concepts as well as learn a few new ones.   IXL is a website that reviews all math concepts from the very beginning math up to Algebra with more advanced topics coming soon. 


IXL 7th GradeIXL Algebra

IXL is not a teacher.  However if your student gets the answer wrong, they can get helps, which are step by step directions of how to do the problem. 

The thing that is fun for my family about IXL is that there are goals to meet, awards to be earned and they all come on this neat little screen.  A different set of goals for each grade level.  These awards can be earned virtually as well as printed out.  My kids were perfectly happy with the virtual awards. It was neat that each one was a surprise.  Each one being different. 

IXL is currently being used in over 150 countries and is set to meet many state standards.


The parent chart areas are very easy to read.  I like being able to see if there are certain things my children are excelling in and the ones they need extra help in as well.  This helps me know right where they are.

IXL Family Reports

This program lets you move around levels too.  That has been great for me.  My 7 year old was still struggling with coin recognition, but on the first grade level everywhere else. I was able to have her do the Kindergarten version of coins and the rest of the things at the first grade level.

IXL is free each day for the first 10 problems.  And I actually have done that with my children on occasion in the past.

For me though the full membership is worth it.   You get so much more.  The reporting, a weekly email of progress, the ability to do as many problems as you wish, the fact that progress is kept track of so the student knows what has already been done.

These prices are for one student, however additional students can be added for just $2 per month or $20 per year.


To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Field Trips on the Cheap.


I live in a very small town.  Our population is less than 10,000.   We have three actual museums.  One is a dinosaur museum, one is a Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum and one is a Heritage museum about the history of our town.



That being said.  There is honestly not much in our town.  With very little research you can find a gold mine of information on where to field trip in your area.  Here are some ways to find out what is near you.

Pretend like you are going to be a tourist in your own town/county.  Research on the internet on your state. county or cities websites.  Request a tourist catalog if one is available. 

Visit your local tourism office.  The Chamber of Commerce is where I was able to get most of my information.



Check out local hotels ask the front desk or concierge what they recommend.  They often have shelves with tons of those flyers showing what to do.  Some even have discounts available. 



I keep all the things I collect in a manila envelope.


We fit in rodeos, the county fairs and hiking as well. 


There is plenty to do right in your own backyard.  


Click the graphic below to get plenty more field trip ideas. 



Friday, June 15, 2012

Pearson myWorld Social Studies

Pearson Education has been known to create public school curriculum.  They are venturing into the world of homeschool curriculum.  This mean remaking some of their resources to appeal more to individualized learning. 

I am familiar with some of Pearson’s public school materials.  Our local elementary uses them with great success. 

I received the My World Social Studies (History, to us) 5th grade edition. $69.99

*The heart and soul of myWorld Social Studies is the myStory System. We began with the world’s oldest educational technique—storytelling—and applied the latest educational research to create a ground-breaking approach to Social Studies instruction.
It comes with
  • The work/text book
Which is full of color pictures, bold and highlighted words as well as simple questions that make the reader think about what they are reading. These things all make the book interactive.  Each new chapter corresponds with the myStory DVD (see below)

  • The Parent/Teacher Resource CD.
  • This CD has proven very easy to navigate. Which is sometimes not the case of online teacher helps. *The Teacher Resource Library is a one-stop resource for the myWorld Social Studies Teacher’s Guide, lesson plans, and instruction resources. Each chapter will provide:
    • A Teacher’s Guide for each chapter
    • Lesson plans
    • An audio podcast on chapter subjects
    • Hands-on activities to engage your child
    • Editable tests for each chapter and separate answer keys
    These carefully planned resources will guide you with planning, supporting activities, and testing to ensure learning is personalized to fit your child.

  • The myStory DVD
The DVD is like a ton of mini educational video field trips.  *The myStory Video DVD features engaging videos with actual students that explore the Big Question of each chapter. Video icons within the student book indicate that a corresponding video is available on this DVD. These videos allow your child to see children of his or her own age explore the Big Question and the key ideas in each chapter, to go on video field trips, and to watch a character from the chapter come to life. Through these video features, your child will make a personal connection to the lesson, building long-term understanding and knowledge.

I would like to make it clear that history is my 5th graders least favorite subject.  She also despises text book learning.  This has proven to be a challenge for me to even get her to use it.  However, once she begins she does enjoy it.  She said it is an okay way to learn history.  We are going to stick with this for now and help her get over her phobia of textbooks. 

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.  *was taken directly from the website.

Our week~ Pioneer experience, babysitter class and more!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 

In my life this week…


This week has been busy with final preparations for Tommy as he got ready for Trek.  Trek is a pioneer experience where he will be hiking approximately six miles a day with handcart for 3 days.  He had to look up an ancestor that traveled in the actual Trek.  That will be his name while he is on Trek.  He had to have full pioneer attire.  He was allowed no modern day technologies.  He was only allowed to take 17lbs worth of things, which had to include a change of clothes and shoes, a rain poncho a coat, amongst other things.  They packed all their items in a five gallon bucket and that bucket will be their seat while on the trail as well as around the campfires.  This is a huge part of how our family came to Utah and is a great historical as well as personal experience for Tommy.  I can’t wait till he comes home on Saturday to hear all about it.


Emily and I have been sewing.  We both wanted neck camera straps for our cameras.  We don’t own a nice fancy expensive camera that comes with a neck strap so we made our own.  We  made 3 straps all together.   One for my camera, one for her camera and one for her cell phone.


Emily also started Babysitter Training this week.  She is so excited to be able to put Red Cross trained on her resume`.  They have been teaching her so many other great things, such as how to write an ad, and resume.  How to play simple games with kids of all ages.  Some discipline techniques and more.  


We have spent five out of the past seven days with at least some time running through the sprinklers.  It has been okay, since my lawn needs to be badly watered.

One of the most exciting things going on is that Katey is in the middle of softball tournaments.  After a sad season they have been taking the tournaments by storm.   She plays the championship game tonight and could end up having to play up to 3 games in one night.  This could prove to be a disadvantage for us.  We sure are having fun watching and she is having fun playing too.

In our homeschool this week…


Tyler has been spending some time on Starfall.  Yes, in a beanie, in the middle of summer. 


Katey has been flying through her reading books.  I am so proud of how much she has read.   She has also been working on some copywork from  She has also continued some math practice, mostly on IXL this week.  She loves earning the rewards.

Tommy kept up on his copywork, math and reading before he left.

Emily has kept up on her math, typing and reading.

My favorite thing this week was…

Writing Tommy a letter from my heart for him to open up while he is on Trek.  I think I may try to write my children letters more often and at random times.  Maybe each year for their birthday and one at their 1/2 birthday.

What’s working/not working for us…

Our relaxed summer schedule has still been working for us.  We really enjoy that it is not to much pressure and we can still do many extra curricular activities as well as enjoy a spontaneous summer.

Things I’m working on…

Being realistic as far as how much we can actually accomplish, in life, in homeschool, in general.  I continue to think that things will take less time than they actually do.

I’m reading…

I finished Mockingjay    Now I am reading some potty training books.  I have plans to start potty training Tyler either the last week in June or the second week in July,  both my older kids will be gone.  I think I will have more time to devote the time and attention that it will require. 

I’m cooking… 

Not very much.  I have been doing fairly simple meals, Chicken and pasta, Steak and salad, Baked Potato bar.  These are the usual summer meals around here.

I’m grateful for…

Change.  I am grateful that if things aren’t working out, I can change it. 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


Emily loves to climb trees.  I got this great picture of her climbing high in a tree. 

This post has been linked up to Homeschool Mothers Journal and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Genesis Code Movie GIVEAWAY!

the genesis code
Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent fa├žade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry's suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry — who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front — sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true!

You can learn more about this movie the following ways:
Dove Foundation Review:

Watching this movie may cause you (or your children) to question some things.  It is a good movie to watch in order to trigger conversations about The Bible vs Science.  This movie shows how science and The Bible can be in sync.  It would be a good movie for those questioning Christianity. 

I am giving away a copy of this family friendly DVD to one lucky winner.

Check out the Rafflecopter to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Go Ahead, Turn a Moment into a Memory.





It’s so easy to get lost in today’s world.   So easy to find yourself bored and pick up your smart phone or a magazine.  It is so easy to get into a TV show or movie that you tune things around you out.  It’s not just electronics either.  I find myself getting lost in a book, or even just thinking about something other than the moment I am in.  There are times when this is perfectly okay and sometimes much needed down time.

Recently I had read an article (I can’t remember where) about this very thing.  A mother was at her child’s awards ceremony for something, and the mother sitting next to her was checking things out on her phone.  The mother who was not paying attention practically missed her own child being recognized.  She began to clap as her child walked off the stage.  Now the child will probably never know any of this, and will not be affected by this one incident.


After reading that article I decided that I would need to make a conscious decision to be in the moment with my children. 

Often times my daughter would like for me to go outside and practice softball with her.  I decided I needed to prioritize my time.  If I wasn’t doing something important I would go out with her and practice.  


My son recently had a belt graduation ceremony for MMA.  I chose to leave myself nothing else to do but pay attention to him.  I noticed how many times he looked up at me, which was often.  Sure there were times when he was waiting and it wasn’t necessarily important that I be watching him the entire time.  However, I didn’t want him to look at me and see me reading a book, or on my phone, or anything else.


Not only do I want my children to have memories of me caring and being there for them. I want these memories for me too. 

Take the time to be present with your children.  Before you know it they will be grown.  Imagine all the things that will be pulling at them, and know that you were a good example of being in the moment with them. IMG_7335

I know it isn’t easy, even though it should be.  I am making a real effort to put down what I am doing and be there with my kids. 

I have felt much more joy and much more at peace with myself and my family.   I have also had so much fun.  So much more fun than keeping up on other things, FB, Twitter, etc. 

This doesn’t mean that I have completely stopped checking Facebook, blogs, my email, and the internet in general.  I have just decided not to check those things out while my children are doing an activity I should be paying attention to. 


I don’t want these moments to be gone before they are a memory for my children and I.

Go ahead turn simple moment into a memory, if not for your child, for yourself.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Discovery Scope

Discovery Scope is such a neat thing.  It really has opened the door to discover for my family.  We have seen things we never would have seen before. 
Bird Poop
A flower’s petal
We have even taken it to the beach and on hikes.  At the beach we caught a lady bug and looked at it.  We saw how the entire neck (Pronotum, yea we looked it up once we got home) moves around.  We have looked at the sand on the beach.  Even the lake water!  We were able to see some of the larger micro-organisms.  I don’t recommend checking out the lake water until you are done swimming.  Winking smile 

I mean look how portable it is.
In fact my kids were mad at me the one time I forgot it.
It is so durable even my two year old takes a peek. And I am not nervous when he is holding it all by himself.

Okay, Okay now that I have shown you what a great tool this is for discovery.  Let’s talk details.
The Discovery Scope is a handheld-wide field microscope.  Which magnifies things to 25X.
It comes in two kits. Both provide the accessories needed to view live, liquid, or solid objects.  I received the basic kit.
Basic Kit: $40.00. Includes one Discovery Scope, one mini-clamp, one multi-use chamber holder, two 1”x3/4”clear view chambers, one water dropper.
Naturalist Kit: $55.00 Packaged in custom bag. Includes one scope, one mini-clamp, one multi-use chamber holder, two 1”x3/4” clear view chambers, and one water dropper.
Check out the many advantages of Discovery Scope.
The Discovery Scope is a fairly simple, yet complex tool.

I wholeheartedly recommend this. Get your kids out there discovering everything nature has to offer and then watch them come inside to research it.  Truly a neat experience and worth it’s weight in gold around here.

Discover something today!

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Disclosure: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion. 


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