Friday, August 31, 2012

Prairie Primer- Planning stages.

I have been planning and gearing up to begin Prairie Primer with my 11 year old daughter. 
Since we are officially beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day, I will share with you some things I have done to help me in planning it. I joined two Yahoo groups for Prairie Primer.  They are full of resources in the files section.
Prairie Primer Pluses Yahoo Group
Prairie Primer Today Yahoo Group
I went through the Prairie Primer book and made a weekly schedule of what she is to do each day as well as at the bottom of the schedule it shows me what supplies and library books I will need to have ready for her.  My goal is to work 1 week ahead of her in gathering the things.  The page I use to plan is from the Schoolhouse Planner, which is available from Schoolhouse Teachers.

Another thing I have done is preprinted a bunch of notebooking pages from Notebooking Pages. I have also preprinted the lap book pieces from Homeschool Share. I get my meat from a local butcher, so I put in a request for him to get me a hogs bladder.  I am hoping it gets here soon.   I have also ordered owl pellets for dissection. Emily and I are both very excited for her to begin.   Here are the resources that she will be using for her first week.

Follow me for our updates of how Prairie Primer is going for us. Also see my other planning post.  (Which does include PP)

This is linked up to Little House Link Up.

The Usual Mayhem
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Uncover Exciting History


Uncover Exciting History: Revealing America’s Christian Heritage in short, easy to read nuggets is a book that truly lives up to it’s name. 

This is an e-book that I put on my Kindle and then used as a read aloud to all my kids at night. 

This book is an American history book written in chronological order, beginning with the voyage of Christopher Columbus and ending with The Navajo Code Talkers of WWII. 

Each chapter is fairly short (the nuggets) and gives a brief overview of an event/ time period in history. 

Each chapter is also written in a way that makes you want to learn more about what you read. The book even provides opportunity for that, at the end of each chapter.  There are discussion questions and/or simple things to do, such as look at a place on a map, etc. 

While the kids never begged me to read another chapter each night (they were more interested in researching more about what we had just read), we all have really been enjoying this book. 

We have absolutely loved learning history like this.

This book could also be used as a reader for a middle school age child and up.  However, as I mentioned above, I did use it as a read aloud with all my children.  You could go through this book quickly and use it as an overview or you could go more slowly and use each chapter as a jumping off point for each time period, studying more in depth. 

This book written by Amy Puetz at Golden Prairie Press comes in 3 more formats:

Paperback $28.95

E-book (which I received) $14.95

Audio book $25.00

Golden Prairie Press offers many great history resources.  The Schoolhouse Crew reviewed a variety of them.

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. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers


Christian Liberty Press is the publishing side of Christian Liberty Academy

They have published a series of books about Mr. Pipes.  I was able to review the first book, in e-book format.   Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers.

This book is 242 pages in length and contains a story about two children, Annie and Drew they go through Christian history to learn about hymns.  Annie and Drew are kids from today’s time period and that makes this book relate-able to today’s kids. 

While this book is fictional. It uses real places as the backdrop and describes them true to form.  The history described in the book is real. 

I really enjoyed how this book leaves you feeling as if you just read a fascinating story, (which you did!)  You also feel a closer connection to worshiping Him while learning all about the lives of famous hymn writers.

This book is written with about the 7th grade and up age range in mind.  I thoroughly enjoyed the few black and white, very detailed, illustrations throughout the book.   


The e-book can be purchased for $8.79 as well as paperback for $9.89.  There are four books in the Mr. Pipes set.  You can get the entire set for $38.99 

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. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Our Week {Is it hunting season, yet?}



On Monday we took a day trip to Jarvie Ranch, we went across a swinging bridge, had a picnic, played in the creek, and more.  I was going to blog about our trip, but I haven’t had time yet.  Maybe next week. 

Archery season starts here tomorrow morning.  My husband is out right now getting ready. 

We have mostly spent this week helping him get ready, besides Monday.   Lots of shopping, lots of shooting practice.  Tommy even got to practice some. 


Tyler had an awful lot of fun driving around our yard. 


In other news Tommy and I took Hunter Education every night this week for 3 hours. 


We spent two days at the range practicing for our shooting test.


We were so glad that we BOTH PASSED!!!!



We then went to a friends birthday party and had tons of fun checking out the horses.


And practicing some more shooting.



In school news we have been working through our three subjects each.

Tommy has been trucking along through Math Essentials.  He had gotten slightly stuck on adding integers, a concept he has been taught a few times.  I had him take some time off from Math Essentials and spend the last 3 days on IXL reviewing integers.   My whole point in having him repeat pre-algebra is that he gets the concepts down pact. 

We have been having our own special read aloud time. We are currently reading The Hardy Boys.  He has also been continuing his copy work from Copy Work For Future Heroes. This has been such a great resource.

Emily has been continuing to read Mocking Jay. She worked on IXL as well as her typing.

Katey has been sitting in on our read aloud. She has been spending quite a bit of time on Jumpstart and IXL.

We have spent the past two weeks using a new chore system, and while I thought I was really happy with our old way.  This new system has proven to be so much better.  Watch for my complete review on this system coming soon.

We are starting actual school in a few weeks and we are very ready for it to begin. 

See what we are using here.

This post is linked up to Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschools



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do You Know What Happened “This Week In History”?

Have you ever struggled with getting your kids excited to want to learn something?
Rachel DeMille with A Thomas Jefferson Education has solved that problem with This Week In History.

This Week In History is a once a week email that comes chock full of ideas, lesson plans activities and more for each day of the week that revolves around what happened in the past each day in history.
Even if you don’t have time each day to do all the activities, just reading about each day’s previous events is very interesting as well as educational. 

A subscription to This Week In History includes more than just the weekly emails.  You get access to the entire years archives.  That makes planning ahead easy.  My favorite part is that you are able to make sure you don’t miss a fun important day that you find interesting.

This week in History is $9.99 each month and the value it offers being a history resource that covers so much more; art, math, geography, language arts, science and more.

Check out this sample week to see what I am talking about.

I enjoy having the email as I can check it on the go (on my phone) and open up valuable conversations with my children anywhere.  While waiting for food at a restaurant, while waiting at the doctors office, anytime we have 15 minutes or so to spare.

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. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Homeschooling with 4 children.


There are all types of homeschoolers out there.  Those that just educate themselves, to those that educate anywhere from 1 to who knows how many children. 


I have 4 children and while I don’t feel that I have a large family, I know that there are some people who do think that 4 children is large family. 

So whether you think a family of six is large or not, I will share with you some tips and tricks I use to keep my family on track and most of all keep myself sane.


  • I go to bed with a clean house.  We do a quick family clean of our main living areas right before we send the kids upstairs to do their bedtime stuff.  It usually only takes 15-20 minutes to complete with everyone’s help and that includes getting the dishes from dinner loaded in the dishwasher.  I also start the dishwasher right before I head to bed. 

  • I like to pair them up.  I usually have Tommy reading to Tyler while I work with Katey on something, or have Emily set Katey up on the computer for a lesson while I am working with Tommy. 


I do not feel like I am taking away from their education by having them help me out.  They are learning valuable life skills like how to have patience, how to be of service, how to enjoy sibling time, how to teach others, etc.

Those are all life skills that are important to have in my opinion. 

One of my goals in home educating is that my children learn to teach themselves.  I want them to want to learn. 

Much of what I do is help the older children learn:

  • To help them find the answers if they need help. 
  • To provide them with an environment and the resources to be able to learn.
  • To help them discover the vast majority of things there is to learn about out there.

A few of my favorite large family homeschooling blogs are:

Our Busy Homeschool

Large Family Logistics

Click on the graphic to see what other’s are saying about Large Family Homeschooling.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Extra, Extra, Read all about it.

In my life this past week…

{1} I have been potty training.  This is the latest I have ever waited to potty train.  Tyler is 3.  I have usually begun potty training right when they turn 2.  With Tyler I just wasn’t ready.  He is my baby, most likely my last.  I wasn’t ready for that phase to be over.  However, now I am.  He has been so easy to train.  I am so grateful for this. 

{2} Planning for the upcoming school year has been a huge part of my summer.  Huge.  Check out my planning post here.


{3} Traveling and good times have been going on P1020535also.  We traveled down to the city for a birthday party and to move a piano.  (Well, to watch a piano moving company move a piano for us, but that’s just a minor detail, right?)  We took a scenic route instead of the normal highway.

We stopped for ice cream at a little store.


We were able to visit quite a few family members that we haven’t seen in awhile.


We spent some time at the lake with some friends, too.  The kids were able to catch tadpoles and just generally have a ton of fun enjoying nature and catching up with friends.


{4} My husband and I decided on a new form for communicating “Honey Do” items.  I used to just tell him and he would forget, then I would remind him and he would forget.  Mind you, he works CRAZY hours, as in 100 hours per week, easy.  He works 2 weeks on, one week off.  So we get plenty of time with him on his week off.  Anyway, I am now going to tell him once and then write it down on a list that will hang on the fridge.  When he gets to them, he gets to them.  I still have to figure out some way to prioritize them on the list for him.  I am grateful that we came to this agreement, as it was creating friction for both of us.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Enjoy the good times.  There will be plenty of not-so-good times. 

Things I’m working on…

I am working on really gearing up for finishing our summer strong.  Oh yes, and hunting season is sneaking right up on us. 

I’m reading…

I am pre-reading some of the books my children will read next year.  Currently I am reading A Cricket In Times Square.   Next I will read Little House in the Big Woods.   Our current read-aloud is Uncover Exciting History- review coming soon. 

I’m cooking…

We are grilling garlic burgers – known as The Big Stinky.   You mix an insane amount of garlic in your meat, a few tablespoons for each patty.  Form it into a burger and grill.  Serve on a bun.  Smell like garlic for the next few days. So worth it!

I’m grateful for…

My mother.  She remains strong in the toughest of times. 

I’m praying for…

My brother.  He is going through a very difficult time right now. 

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


This post is linked up to:


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Math Made Easy–Offline Addition Facts Mastery


Truly mastering math facts has been made easy.  Math Made Easy has actually been around for quite some time.

I was able to review Addition Teaching and Learning Made Easy.

The philosophy behind this teaching is a simple one.  Here are a few paraphrases from it:

  • Mastery of the facts will be evident within a few short weeks.  The child can then move on to higher levels of math successfully.
  • As a child how much time did you spend on memorizing the multiplication facts?  How much time on the addition facts?  Most kids spend hardly any time at all on memorizing the addition facts. 
  • Take away addends of 0 and 1 and any duplicate facts, (3+2, 2+3 {commutative property}) that leaves only 36 facts to be learned in single digit addition.  Learning 6 facts per week in in a random order forces a child to rely on memory, not quick addition by counting on their fingers.
  • This program is all about memorizing the addition facts.

How the program works:

Begin by teaching your child the facts with 0 and/or 1 as an addend.  Drill using the included flashcards.  There are worksheets included also. 

Take the included addition pretest.

Follow the instructions on the daily activity pages.  They are laid out so you just follow each day: Week 1, Monday, etc. 

Do your own daily reviews, using included flashcards or make up your own.

Give additional weekly reviews found in the back of the book. 

Once your child can answer each fact in 8 seconds or less, not counting on their fingers, they will have achieved mastery.

Now don’t think this program is all boring worksheets, that is certainly not the case.  This program is definitely geared toward a younger crowd.  The daily activities include things like riddles, puzzles, color by answer, and story problem solvers.  The weekly reviews are game style. 

My thoughts:

I wish there was more variety in the daily activities, they seemed to repeat themselves each week.  Monday’s activities are always color by answer, Wednesday is always a puzzle, and so on.  This can be a good thing, as by week 2 your child will most likely be able to know what to do. 

I really like that the games and flashcards are printed on cardstock as to be more sturdy. I love that this book was thought out to be just grab-and-go teaching. 

I LOVE that this is offline math fact learning.  Often math fact drill games are online.  This is so refreshing to see an offline product.


Did you know that they also have multiplication, too, which some of The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed as well.

To see what others thought of this program and the multiplication one 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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