Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Schedule



While our town does have many homeschool families, even some that live on our street, my kids still want that “schools out, it’s summer” feeling. 

Here is how I give them that without taking the summer off learning.

About a month before Memorial Day, I begin looking at where we are in all our books and projects. 

Then I decide how far I think we can get in that month. 

If they are close to finishing a math book, and I think they can do it.  Then I say when you are done with that math book you can be done with math for the year.  

If they had just started a new curriculum, then I plan out about 4 weeks worth of work and say when they get that far they can be done with that subject. 

After I give them there end of year schedules, with everything written out on it, I am always amazed at how quickly they get through it.  Usually in about 3 weeks they are completely done with everything. 

They all must read every day for those final 4 weeks.  - There is no exception to the reading. 

From Memorial Weekend until about June 15th I let them be.  No schoolwork, not even reading has to be done.   They can still do it if they would like, but I do not require it.

Other things change at our house at this time too.

Mostly the chore schedule

During the school year we rotate who does dishes and who does laundry and then everyone helps with all general cleaning twice a day, usually right before lunch and again at about 3 pm.  These each only take about 15 minutes.  We also do one heavy cleaning day usually on Fridays With all of us working we can get it done in about one hour.

Our Summer Chore Schedule gets completely assigned out. I do this because our schedules in the summer don’t always match each others, whereas during the school year, I can assign times for family cleaning, I cannot do that in the summer. 

Check out this post to see the details on our Summer Chore Schedule.


Sometime around the middle of June we slowly start back up schooling.  We begin the first week by just adding in 20 minutes of reading (their choice) each day. The second week we add in two subjects, one is their choice, one is my choice.   I usually have them do a every other day type of schedule for my choice.

  For Example, Katey gets reading with me every day and her subject choice is space camp (I will share that in a later post).  She does that every day.  My subject choice for her is writing and math.  So every other day she does writing and the opposite day she does math. 

We spend an hour to two hours a day on these 3 subjects combined.  Then about 30 minutes on chores each day.  That still leaves many many hours to just play and explore.


This definitely does not mean this is all the learning she gets in during the day.  She is still a little budding entomologist and often times through out the day has questions about bugs that we look up or talk about.  I even got this DVD, The Fascinating World of Insects for review, that she can watch if it’s really hot outside, or just for some down time.

She also has shown some natural interest in reading things at the grocery store, so I take her with me and let her read the grocery list.  Her grandparents have been writing her letters, so I have been encouraging her to write them back.  

I have also been using the summer to have some good one on one time with each of my children. 


What do you do to make your summer special?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Summer Chore Schedule


I use the summer months to take advantage of activities my community has made available.  The kids to various things from swimming lessons, to volleyball camp, piano lessons, cooking classes, book clubs at the library, movie nights at the park, camping with friends and family and just general playing with friends. 


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This makes it hard to keep everyone together majority of the day like I can during the school year. 

This means that our Chore Schedule must change.



Our Summer Schedule looks like this:



I make a table on the computer and assign out boxes. 

My boxes going across are the days of the week Sunday to Saturday.

My boxes going down are:

  • Alyson (me)
  • Tyler (3)
  • Katey School
  • Katey Chores
  • Emily School
  • Emily Chores
  • Tommy School
  • Tommy Chores

I fill out the boxes once a week.  My goal is to have them filled out by Thursday of the previous week.  That gives me leeway in case I don’t get it done.   - Can we say “procrastinator!’ 


I take notes on the edge of the pages of jobs that I see that need to be done, such as wash the sliding door, or wipe the light switches, basically jobs that aren’t on my rotation- you know the as needed jobs. 

I use those notes as I am assigning out the next weeks chores. 

We rotate 3 different things amongst us.

  • Kitchen/Dishes
  • Frontroom/Laundry
  • Bathrooms/Stairs and Hall

If you are not on a rotation chore, you get a different assigned chore, such as the ones I take notes from on my previous weeks, or other things I have on a rotation schedule, such as yard work, mopping all floors, cleaning out the car, etc. 

The rotation chores also get an additional job, along with general cleaning.  The kitchen person may have to help with dinner, the bathroom person usually has to deep clean something, and The laundry person may have to vacuum or dust a room. P9011858

We still do the occasional quick clean, where everyone helps with everything.  They just don’t happen at a prescheduled time.  They happen when I can’t stand the mess anymore.  LOL.

I am able to x out exemption days, if you have a pre-scheduled, pre-approved all day activity, then you can be exempt from an assigned chore.  If you happen to be home when I get overwhelmed with the house, you are still expected to help do a quick clean. 

I love the independence this gives the kids.  They have to have them done before they leave to do anything else, unless of course it is pre-approved.

I also do not let them play or neighbors over before noon.  That gives us time to wake up leisurely,  eat breakfast, do our daily work, and eat lunch. 

This gives everyone plenty of time to do all their daily’s and have a relaxing morning. 


Do you change around your families chore schedule with the seasons?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where oh where have I been?

I am sure you have all been thinking about me and wondering what in the world has been going on and where I have been.

Just humor me and say "Why, yes, I have!"  

Here is what happened.  

I felt out of control with my life.  It has all slowly been coming to a head.  I couldn't find things, we were missing/forgetting plans.  Every night dinner was fly by the seat of my pants. Laundry was never caught up.  My house was just a disaster. 

 The kids were running wild so to speak. 
By that I mean they were not helping with chores around the house as much as they should.  They were not obeying rules as much as they should.  They were not going to bed or waking up at reasonable times.  

Notice how all that was in past tense.  

I did it, I got it changed around!!!  

I am pretty proud of myself. 

Here was the process I went through:

•Get rid of everything unnecessary!  This is the biggest one.  I dejunked my house.  I went through every drawer, cupboard, shelf, space.  I mean everywhere. I got rid of everything that I don't think I will use in the next 2 years.  This process is the longest and hardest.  

We had a huge yard sale. 

Get rid on all unnecessary commitments.  If they are not uplifting to you or your family then bye, bye. I consolidated our activities to one day.  Even if only temporary.  I took a blogging break. We dropped cheer leading for the summer.  Debate class is over for the summer.  So 2 were gone right off the bat.  I decided we would have one out of the house day each week.  I try to schedule what I can on Thursdays.  That way in know Thursdays are going to be crazy and I know nothing will get cleaned in the house.  I also know to plan something simple for dinner or start a crockpot meal early. Which brings me to my next step.

Menu Plan. I like to have much flexibility in my menu plan.  I plan out 6 meals at a time on assigned days, we often switch it up as the week goes on. I have an ongoing list of lunches that we just pull from for lunches. Most days we keep breakfast easy, cereal or eggs and toast. One book that has worked for me is Simplified Pantry. 

Assign out tasks.  I began making a simple chore list on the computer which I will share about in a near future post. I assign out chores weekly and daily.  I take away privileges if they are not completed.  

With less stuff I feel like I have less to keep up on and I have more time to enjoy my family and the stuff that I want to enjoy.   

So plan on seeing more of me around here!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Memoria Press Geography I


Geography has always been something I wanted all my kids to touch on.  I struggled when looking for what I wanted. 

I decided to give Geography I a try from Memoria Press when it came up for review with The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Geography I teaches The Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.

The main goal of this curriculum (text, teacher guide, and workbook) is to master identification of each country on a map, as well as capital cities.  You also learn/research facts about each country.

The way you get to mastery is by learning and review.  Every section has a review and then a quiz.

It is suggested that you study at the rate of 2 or 3 countries a week. 

You read the text book, fill out the worksheet in the workbook, label the country and capital, discuss the country.

Emily used this just like it was suggested and it easily fit into her days.  She has future dreams to travel to Europe, so I let her study Europe first.  She has had such fun learning about the different countries over there. 

I had to supplement with her in order to actually have memorization down.  There are a lot of countries to memorize.  This was easy to do with free games found online, and once she had learned the countries, she actually enjoyed challenging herself.

Check out a sample for yourself.  


Memoria Press Geography I did have many things I was looking for in a geography curriculum. 

  • The lessons are short
  • It can be done independently
  • It teaches more than just location
  • It is easy and interesting
  • It is broken down into chunks making it so it is not overwhelming

Emily did mention to me that she wishes the workbook and text were one book.  I happen to like the fact that they were two separate books, that way it was a little harder for her to go back and check the countries when she was struggling to remember them.

The use of Geography I is suggested to come after learning The United States and it’s capitals (using Memoria Press States and Capitals)  There for while using Geography I, you can use Memoria Press States and Capitals Review.  However this is not necessary to have done.  We did our states and capitals a few years ago and many of them are much harder to recall than they once were.  This review book was great to be able to freshen up on those. 

Memoria Press Geography I sales for $48 which includes

  • Geography I Text
  • Geography I Workbook
  • Geography I Teacher Guide
  • United States Review Student Book
  • United States Review Key, Quizzes and Tests

It is suggested for grades 4 and up.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew was invited to review both this, Geography I as well as Prima Latina from Memoria Press. 

Check  this post out to see reviews of both products.

To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let’s Make A Webpage {A review}

Motherboard Books offers a quick project book, Let’s Make A Web Page.  Written by Phyllis Wheeler.

In this 60 page ebook are 9 lessons.  We did one lesson every 3 days or so.

The lessons are:

  • An Interview  -  This lesson helps you decide and think through what your webpage is going to be about.
  • Download and set up the program – You download and set up a free program, Coffee Cup.  (not for Macs unless you have Parallels installed.)
  • Add text
  • Add photos- where to find them and how to add them
  • Add animations – This lessons shows you how and where to find and upload free animations to add to your webpage.  - I appreciated how in this lesson before she has you search the internet, she has you make sure you have safe search on and explains how to do that.
  • Browser checking, backgrounds and photos – In this lesson you find free backgrounds.  She takes you to a website that is completely full of ads.  This becomes an opportunity to learn about being internet wise.  Which is also all discussed throughout this book.
  • Sound – Here you get to learn about different types of files (such as .Wav, etc.)
  • Links – How to add hyperlinks
  • Posting your work


This book is suggested for ages 8 and up. 

My 8 year old was able to do this with quite a bit of help.  (The reading for this was way above her level.) I read the book to her from my iPad and worked on the webpage with her.  She didn’t understand many of the terms used.  I had to take the time to explain them to her.  Most things I ended up doing first with her watching and choosing, and then I let her try it on her own. 

My 8 year old is not advanced, if anything she is behind the average child her age.  I am glad she got to give this a try and get a feel for web design.  I do plan on pulling this back out again in a few years when she is at a higher level of understanding and reading. 

Overall, I feel like computers are our future and kids now days need to be able to navigate the internet well and have ample computer knowledge.  This is a great short term starter project.  I love that it is not a huge time commitment to learn from this book.  I even learned things I didn’t know.  I also like how it shows how easy it is to create a webpage and all the safety advice it gives throughout the lessons.

The price for Let’s Make A Webpage is $19.95. 

The short time frame of this project makes summer a perfect time to take it on.

To see what others think of this and another product they offer, Logo Adventures a bigger project, check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.



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