Posted in Home School How-Tos, Spirited Blessings

Week 2 Home School log


Days Completed: 4 (We covered everything I’d planned by day four and we were happy to call Friday a lazy day.)

Morning Basket Content This Week:

Subjects Covered This Week

  • Bible: We studied Palm Sunday using our Family Faith Treasury and correlating Bible story, we studied Psalm 23 and related it to Jesus being the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of John, we read the parable of the ten virgins and honed in on the “context” (which flowed nicely into our study in “The Parables of Jesus”)
  • Science: We watched an introductory video on ecology from Khan Academy and they wrote down the definition of the word.
  • Math: They practiced counting money on ABC Ya, Blue practiced measurements and estimation on worksheets, he did the first two lessons in fractions on Khan Academy.
  • Fact Fluency: Timed tests, Red did practice subtraction worksheets.
  • Reading: Red alternated between “If Wishes Were Horses” and “Runt“. Blue completed his “Magic Tree House” book.
  • Writing: Note taking (see history), they wrote a few short sentences each on what kind of animal they would be if they could choose.
  • Art: They watched how to draw videos for each of their animal choices. Red used Art for Kids Hub and Blue used How 2 Draw Animals. We also played Pictionary together.
  • Vocabulary: Blue took a new placement test on Moby Max and completed the first lesson. He said he enjoyed it and learned new words. Yay!
  • Geography: They drew South America (where Alexander Van Humboldt explored) and filled in the states and capitols. Red needed extra help with the precision and it took them both some time, but they had fun.
  • Typing:
  • Programming: They both started at square one on Khan Academy. They love it so far. It’s something I need to make an effort to keep in our loop. So valuable and fun! They’ve even been helping each other learn it.
  • Cursive: I’ve started them both at the beginning. It’s been over a year since Blue has practiced (he learned cursive in Kindergarten, and Raspberry Bug is still learning the basics anyway). I gave them two letters to practice and build upon in words.
  • Exercise: I took Red for a walk (more on our adventures below). It will be Blue’s turn for special time with mom next week. They both had some time at the park.
  • History: We finished reading about Alexander Van Humboldt (in Brave Companions) last week so this week we watched a biography video on him while they practiced taking notes for the first time.
  • Music: Voice lessons from You Tube

Fun Activities This Week:

  • I took their Pokemon card tins and made stencils to fit the size. This way, they can make their own Pokemon cards to match or they can create some using their imaginations. This activity was made to fit into their art supplies so they can enjoy them whenever they like (I don’t have to tell them their practicing copy work, handwriting, art, math, etc. etc.’ that will be my little secret.).
  • We played Pictionary. Even mom got to enjoy that.
  • I went on a walk with Red. We picked wild flowers, found some crystallized rocks, and even saw some deer. So fun!

Toddler “School” This Week

I put all of his “school items” in an accessible basket. It helped him a lot knowing he could grab something from his basket instead of bugging brother and sister.
  • Books with mom:
  • linky toys helped him to improve his fine motor skills. He hasn’t figured out how to put them back together yet, but can certainly take them apart.
  • We went over some animal sounds while he worked on his animal peg puzzle. It’s so cute. He knows what a cow, horse, sheep, dog, cat, and monkey all say. He’s actually turning the pieces of his puzzle now to try to fit them in. His patience is still low with it, but he’s using hand-eye coordination much better.
  • He used clothes pins on his surf boards. the boards are pretty thick so he found a hack of just turning them backward to use the wide side. HAHA. No fine motor skills needed here. I think I’ll use a lid next time.

Life Skills This Week

  • We did more work on vacuuming. Blueberry Ball does very well on his own now and Raspberry Bug only needs a couple of pointers here and there. They’ve gone from not wanting to touch the thing to that being their first choice (above the broom).
  • They helped fold the towels and rags. Red still needs a lot of work in this area. But she practices with a cheerful heart.
  • With Baby we worked more on how to hold his utensils properly and eat over his bowl. He also practiced brushing his own teeth (with me right there of course)

Three Goals to Improve Next Week’s Lessons:

  1. I want to focus on our writing skills a little heavier. We took notes on Humboldt this week. We may take a few more, but I want them to start a research paper before we move on to our next historical figure. If we do some writing after each chapter, their skills should definitely improve by the end of the year.
  2. Add some fun math games. Since they will be a bit heavier on the writing side this coming week, I’m going to trade off and do some of our more exciting selections for math. Maybe I’ll look up some ways to utilize their playing cards or board games.
  3. I think we will have some new books in by the next log! I want to introduce just a couple new ones at a time for each of them. My goal this year is to avoid the overwhelm for everyone. The books we have coming will supplement (not replace or add to) the existing loose structure we have going. We not trying to rock the boat. Just learn on it.

We will probably be taking the very next week off for some family time, but follow along. We will be right back on track very soon.

You can check out last week’s lesson here.

Advertisements
Posted in Home School How-Tos, Spirited Blessings

Week 1 Home School Log


I’ve decided once a week I will share with you what we are doing in our home school day. It has helped me so much to keep a home school log. Not just writing down what I plan on doing, but what we actually accomplished.

Maybe it will spark some inspiration for another home school parent.

FYI: As you can see below, I try to build my lessons as much around the books we read (see Our Morning Basket) as possible. I’m not 100% Charlotte Mason, but I do agree with her view points on living books.

Days completed: 5

What’s in the Morning Basket This Week?

Subjects Covered This Week:

  • Bible: We generally picked a few verses or a parable that was mentioned in that day’s reading of “Tell Me Your Story:The Parables of Jesus”
  • Copy work: was pulled from memory verses and from Zoo Doings by Jack Prelutsky. We also took a day to review number formation (if I don’t do this occasionally, they revert to writing their numbers backwards again).
  • Science: We read “The Osborne Book of Scientists: From Archimedes to Einstein” and “Brave Companions”. We also watched nature shows and an episode of Brain Games about magnetism and gravity.
  • Place Value: Raspberry Bug completed two 2-digit subtraction worksheets while Blueberry ball did one on rounding to the nearest place value.
  • Logic and Reasoning: Blue did a worksheet that required him to find the pattern of equations given in each number set.
  • Multiplication: We used a deck of playing cards to reinforce the overall concept of multiplication.
  • Fact Fluency: subtraction and multiplication facts. We did flashcard games and timed tests. They aren’t very quick at the timed tests yet, but they like the challenge of trying to beat their own scores. Blueberry Ball played “Math Man” on ABC Ya to review both subtraction and addition facts.
  • Independent Reading: Raspberry Bug is reading “Runt” and for her personal Bible reading she is in John. Blueberry Ball is reading from “The Magic Tree House” series and for his personal Bible time he has chosen to go through Revelation.
  • Art: They love making detailed drawings of their copy work. We also used watercolor paints on a large thick coloring sheet together while the baby napped. And Raspberry bug made cute little “ice cream cups” with play doh. Blue created his own original Pokemon using colored pencils.
  • Art History/ Appreciation: We looked at some art done by the famous Albrecht Durer while we read some facts about his life’s work.
  • Writing:
  • Knot tying:
  • Geography:
  • Typing: ABC YA
  • Programming:
  • Cursive:
  • Exercise: We all went to the park. They played ball, tag, and Frisbee with their friends. And Blueberry Ball has been practicing how to do push ups the proper way.
  • History: The current Magic Tree House book is about the Revolutionary War, so I put on some You Tube videos about that. The book about George Washington and the General’s dog was about the same era. We also did the Osborne Scientist book which tells us about different scientists in History. And, in Brave Companions we are learning about scientist and explorer Alexander Van Humboldt. We watched nature shows that highlighted some of the areas he explored.
He’s by far the most interested in learning to play the ukulele. He sits by daddy and “practices” every day.
  • Music: Voice lessons and breathing exercises. So far we are only tested a couple five minute practice warm-ups from You Tube. Blue picked up the ukulele twice this week. Music is something I’d love to make a regular habit of, but it just isn’t on our priorities just yet.

Fun Activities This Week:

  • We took our morning basket to the park. It’s always nice to have a change of scenery and sunshine.
  • Raspberry Bug did some Play Doh art.
  • They were both getting into the Lego world this week. They’ve been taking their time and focusing well on more detailed projects. It’s been fun to see their skills rise through play.

Toddler “School” This Week

  • Books: Baby Einstein’s First Alphabet“, “My Very First Learn and Know Animal Book” by Brenda Apsley, and “I Love to Learn About Counting” by Nina Filipek. Both the “Learn and Know” set and the “I Love to Learn About” set are perfect for his intentional reading time. They are larger and have bold colors and engaging art. At the same time, they aren’t so busy he doesn’t know what to look at. I like to grab his pointer finger to go over each picture as we cover it in the book. So far, he doesn’t quite sit all the way through, but it is exposure. We also have an assortment of board books that we all love reading to him and they are constantly available for him to play with and “read” on his own.
  • He sorted the colors of Pokemon miniatures with tongs. He isn’t very accurate with it yet, but it gives him exposure and allows me to focus on the older two sometimes. He’s getting good with the tongs, an activity that helps him with his fine motor skills.
  • He has started to really enjoy coloring. He wants his own colored pencils and paper now when brother and sister are doing worksheets. His favorite happen to be the gel pens I use in my planner. What can I say, the boy has good taste. His pencil grasp is wonderful despite the fact that he’s only a year and a half.

Life Skills This Week

  • I’ve made it a point this week to help Baby better understand how to use his eating utensils. He’s just recently gotten to the point of allowing me to help show him. Before he didn’t want me touching his hands too much, but now I can guide him a lot easier.
  • They all three got to help with cracking eggs for breakfast. The older two are quite capable. In fact, they may be doing it by themselves very soon. Mulberry Boy “helped me” stir. I only had to tell him a couple of times that we don’t eat them til they’re cooked.
  • Both the older kids learned how to use the vacuum. It’s been such a sanity saver already! I still have to show them how to be thorough, but that will come with practice.

Three Goals to Improve Next Week’s Lessons:

  1. Pick a day I intend to jump right into computer work. A lot of what we didn’t complete was down to the activities they do online. Maybe we can focus more on that every Friday?
  2. Have some ready-to-go writing activities. I had quite a few ideas floating in my head for some creative writing assignments. But because it wasn’t ready to grab like the rest of our resources are, it kind of fell through the cracks.
  3. Have ready-made cursive practice for them to complete on their own in their notebooks. Again, because I didn’t have it ready, we didn’t make the time for this subject.

I tried to link as many resources as I could find. A lot of our books come second hand so, I did what I could.

Thanks for stopping by! I plan on doing one of these each weekend so keep your eyes opened for more. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Posted in Home School How-Tos, Spirited Blessings

Our Morning Basket


What is the Morning Basket?

I thought I’d explain what I mean when I reference “morning basket”. Morning routines look different to every family. In our home we are currently trying to find our new rhythm so I’ve chosen a relatively easy approach.

Making the Morning Basket part of our daily routine has been such a stress reliever for me! The idea is to have a basket of living books that we have set aside specifically for our morning read aloud time. I read a short segment of each book each day. They are allowed to stop at any point to discuss what we are reading. And I occasionally will stop and ask them a question or point something out. Sometimes, I will have them dictate what they heard. That has been a wonderful trick to ensure they are actually paying attention. It also builds pre-writing and public speaking skills.

We use our Morning Basket to Spark Interest and to Cover Ground.

I’ve been surprised (by keeping our log of achievements) at how many different subjects we cover by simply reading together as a group. It eases my mind to know that because we are reading, a lot of our extra subjects are at least getting touched on.

My nine year old has been eating up the morning basket lately. He gets interested in something covered in one of the books and starts asking questions. This is where I’ve gotten some of our activity ideas from recently. I can rest in shifting our schedule occasionally to learn about something he has a genuine literary interest in. Part of my goal as a parent and as a home school mom is to raise my children to feed their curiosities about the world around them in healthy ways. Exposing them to timeless classic literature is a wonderful way to spark an interest.

Whenever possible, I try to keep real books around for the morning basket. It seems to hold their attention more. But I have been known to add a couple here and there from free sources online. I’m SO thankful that we are docked at a marina that has it’s own used book drop off! We’ve come across some real gems. “On a Dime” right?

What is in Our Morning Basket?

I have a list of morning basket book categories that I only look at when it’s time to rotate something new into the mix. This is a rough idea of the content I aim to keep in the morning basket during this season of life. My list will inevitably change. In fact, as my children’s tastes and maturity level grow and change, the goal is to have it grow and change with them. This is what my rotation list currently looks like:

Morning Basket Book Rotation:

We finish one book completely before starting another. This keeps the list short and manageable. It also allows us more time for each subject.

I also purposely choose books that are above the level they would normally be reading independently. That’s why we read together. We will add picture books or shorter stories occasionally that fit what we are studying well, but I want the majority of what is covered in our morning basket to be rich and inspiring high-level content.

The Toddler Morning Basket

For the sake of easy organizing, and to help me to remember to intentionally read with Baby (now 19 mo old), I also add two to three different fact books to the morning basket. These, while above his level are a lot simpler topics and are really only meant for him. As my older two start on independent work Baby starts to get more tired and ready for a nap. I find that this is the time of day he is most likely to sit on mommy’s lap for his “morning basket”. This list will rapidly change as he progresses in knowledge, attention span, and verbal skills. Subjects may include but are not limited to:

  • Colors
  • Numbers & Counting
  • Letters & Sounds
  • Parts of the body
  • Animals
  • Vehicles
  • Bible Picture Books

This is not just to distract him while the kids get some work done. This is building his love of reading with each turn of the page. He may not want to sit through a whole book (he often doesn’t), but the offer is always there in this home, and when he does want to read, we are making memories with him that are sweeter than any academic achievements.

Our Morning Basket Has Cultivated the Right Mindset for Learning

This plan for a solid morning routine has drastically changed the way we all view reading and “doing school”. It has become something of a fun way to start the day instead of a subject to mark off the list.

It also keeps me at peace knowing that the books we are reading are enriching their minds and are cross-curricular. Despite the fact that the rest of the day may not go as planned, I’m still creating in them a lasting foundation for learning and for self-education.

Eventually, I’d like to get a solid book bag with all of our morning content in it. That way we can change the scenery with our mood. This would make it much easier to incorporate both realistic art and nature studies. Those are just goals for the future, however. I intend to keep these basics running smoothly for a while before adding more.

Keep reading to find out how we incorporate the morning basket into our day.

Do you have a home school Morning Basket?

Leave a comment below describing your home school morning routine. I love hearing from my readers!

Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Fellowship With My Children


I turned the camera on while we were doing our morning basket today at the park in our marina. The sea gulls were really loud. I couldn’t hear everything in the footage. It didn’t matter. I watched all three pieces.

When I watched the recordings this evening I was able to cherish the events of today that much more. It’s one of the benefits I suppose of owning a family You Tube Channel. It did a few good things for me. I will name a few:

  • It made me realized how much the Lord is blessing our little family. The picture I had before me was magnificent! Filled with joy laughter, freedom. Filled with His love, mercy and grace. How thankful I am to be able to fulfill my promises to God to raise them unto the Lord!


“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. “

1 John 3:4
  • Watching the footage also showed me some of my children’s own quirks from a new lens. I got to see how they were holding their pencils, how their posture was, what distracted them during read aloud times, and more.

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
           Even when he is old he will not depart from it. “

Proverbs 22:6
  • It also made me realize how smooth school can run with just a simple change of scenery. We all need that sometimes. And I’m so happy winter hibernation is over! The sun was out and it was a beautiful hot day. It lifted my mood for the whole rest of the day. I think I was even more productive due to my change in mood. Sunshine, fresh air, chasing toddlers in the breeze. It’s all so needed. And sometimes it can be hard to come by in the winter.


“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?”

Job 12:7-9
  • Watching today’s most important events made me realize how much I need to keep doing this with my children. It has forced be to see how important it is that I put it high on our list of priorities. We weren’t just making family memories, spending time outside, or homeschooling. Most importantly, we were dwelling in God’s word as a family. In the future, I hope to intentionally add more moments like these to our home school day.

The highest priority we parents have is to raise our children to love the Lord. I want the experience of diving into the Word to be among their favorites. May they think back this time of fellowship with fondness and joy as they reflect on how their relationship with the Savior began!

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3: 14-15
Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Family Priorities


I really enjoyed reading the Bible with Dad today.

My son, age nine

It wasn’t planned. My husband and I were discussing the Something in the Bible (as we often do) and he decided to open up the passage and take a closer look. I don’t really remember what exactly we were reading (I think we were somewhere in Isaiah). I don’t think it mattered to my son.

I can remember the room getting quiet as Daddy read the sweet words of God from those beloved pages. I can remember my son’s argumentative demeanor transforming. What began as a simple explanation to me about something in the text had turned into a family study. He listened, asked questions, and absorbed. He was soaking up the Living Word like a sponge.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

And Those Words, Hours Later, Were Proof of Something Profound.

Those words should bring one joy. But him saying that sweet little sentence was sting to my heart. I had let our morning devotions slide. I was still reading with them as we always had, but nothing was planned. I was doing the minimum to check it off the list. We were more and more frequently passing over this “task”. Sometimes I would have them read the Bible for themselves “instead”.

What led me here? How did I stray so seemingly easily from something I know to be truth and have even seen fruit from?

Family Bible Time is So Much More!

As I thought about my son’s words that evening I began to realize I had let my priorities shift. I knew the importance of studying the Bible with my children. To some degree I could even say it was subconscious. I let time and other worries get the better of me.

“God has called you to a more profound task than being a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking, or resting, you must be involved in helping your child understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective.

Tedd Tripp, author of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”

But it Was Also Conscious.

I had used my children’s attitudes on harder mornings to justify skipping this time for the sake of ease. What I hadn’t recognized, is that the small amount of grumbling usually goes away once the passages have been read and discussed. If there was no family Bible time however, there was no telling when the end of the “bad day” was. Bickering had increased, selfishness, and lying had increased. I was suddenly able to point it all back to one root cause.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted [hthe kindness of the Lord.

1 Peter 2:1-3

I had also used my children’s growing reading and comprehension abilities as an excuse to exclude us all from a quality communion with God. Don’t get me wrong, they should be reading on their own, but not at the expense of reading with Mom and Dad. This time teaches them how to have a relationship with God on their own. It also builds our relationship with each other on more than just an intellectual level. When we get to know each other in Christ, we grow to love each other as He would love.

My son has always craved structure. He has always needed something he could hold onto and count on. I hadn’t realized until these words were said that he had gotten most of the foundation he needed from being consistently, regularly, and heavily filled with the passages of scripture.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Moving forward, I had a few things to address God with in prayer:

  1. I had to thank Him for showing me in such a low- priced way. Had the light bulb not come on til later, the price tag may have been way higher.
  2. I had to thank Him for my son’s recognition of what was going on. He may fold his arms in a huff every now and then when he’s tempted away, but he knows on some level that it is good for him and that he is feeding his soul.
  3. I had to thank Him that I have such a strong leader for our family. One who challenges me daily to learn new things from the Bible. Things to share with my children, and even things for my children to overhear.
  4. I had to repent. I knew letting this precious time slide was no solution, but I had allowed my justifications of the situation to cloud my knowledge of God’s calling and will for our family.

I want better for my children.

I want them to understand that no matter what gets added to the schedule, no matter what changes in our day to day lives that meditation on God’s word is our first priority. I want them to know that no matter how old they are or how many ups and downs there are, that Mom and Dad are always willing and happy to open the Bible and rejoice increasingly with them in His character, His love, and His life. I long to see their relationship with God blossom into something that spreads through every relationship that they have.

Posted in Spirited Blessings

Pressure Cooker Vegan Monkey Bread


Family Sailboat

No pics this time. The family loved it that much!

I used the Farberware 7 in 1 pressure cooker for this recipe. It would be the same for an instant pot; just substitute the “soup” setting for a “time cook high heat”.

This recipe is fairly basic, but i could see adding other grains to the dough(maybe wheat berries, chia seeds, or sunflower seeds?)or you could add ingredients to your cinnamon mixture (perhaps some apples, raisins, or pecans?).

Pressure Cooker Vegan Monkey Bread

INGREDIENTS For Dough:

4 cups All Purpose Flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup+ 4 tablespoons cold water
6 tablespoons cold coconut broken into thinner pieces

INGREDIENTS for Cinnamon Mixture:
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 generous teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Cup white sugar

PREPARATION DIRECTIONS:
Mix dough ingredients in order listed. Then knead the dough until…

View original post 105 more words

Posted in Home School How-Tos, sight words, Spirited Blessings

Phonics and Spelling Improv


We’ve been in transition mode. This means not that home schooling has stopped, but that it has changed and adapted to the current needs of our life. I’ve improvised in many areas of my children’s education. I plan on sharing more with you, but the following is just one example of such improvising.

We have a variety of flashcards ready to grab whenever we feel the itch. More on how I organize it all on our boat is soon to come.

Raspberry Bug picked the letter tiles up so I gave her the special blend flashcards from A Becka. I believe these go all the way up to a third grade reading level. Though we aren’t doing the full ABecka curriculum for first or third grade, the flashcards are still being used regularly.

We began by sorting the letters so we could find them easier than in a baggy.

I gave her a tray to work on ( my fancy broiler pan to be precise).

She drew a card and proceeded to sound out the word. Then she spelled the word in tile form.

Blueberry ball took interest soon after. He was able to make sentences with the words he drew.

This was a great way to review! It was even great for Raspberry Bug to learn some new blends.

What do you do when your children are in transition? I’d love to hear your ideas!