Fifty Family-Friendly Netflix Ideas

We have had what I call “old-fashioned Netflix” for many, many years. Yes, we still get actual DVD’s in the mail, watch them, and send them back neatly re-sealed in their envelopes when we’re finished with them. We don’t have high-speed internet (yet!), so streaming is not an option. Eventually it will be, but I think I will miss getting those cheerful red envelopes in the mail.

I thought it might be fun to pick out fifty movies/documentaries we have watched with the kids over the years and make a giant list of them. Did you know you can look back and see your entire Netflix history?

Here goes (in no particular order):

Fifty Family-Friendly Netflix Movies and Documentaries

  1. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  2. Ratouille
  3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
  4. Beauty and the Beast ( the new remake)
  5. Chicken Run
  6. The 33
  7. The Finest Hours
  8. The BFG
  9. Moana
  10. The Secret Life of Pets
  11. The Martian
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy
  13. The Addams Family
  14. Zootopia
  15. The Walk
  16. The Incredibles
  17. Despicable Me
  18. Biography: Ben and Jerry
  19. The Last Man on the Moon
  20. Chasing Ice
  21. Maleficent
  22. Hotel Transylvania
  23. Deli Man
  24. Ramona and Beezus
  25. Inside Out
  26. The Book Thief (would use a little caution with younger kiddos)
  27. Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
  28. A Lego Brickumentary
  29. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  30. Paddington
  31. City of Ember
  32. Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
  33. Mary Poppins
  34. The Boxtrolls
  35. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  36. The Story of India
  37. Apollo 13
  38. Wild China
  39. Mankind: The Story of All of Us
  40. Modern Marvels: The Great Wall of China
  41. National Geographic: Creepy Creatures
  42. The Haunted History of Halloween
  43. How to Train Your Dragon
  44. The Muppet Movie
  45. WALL-E
  46. Benji
  47. The Black Stallion
  48. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  49. Up
  50. The Wizard of Oz

Homeschool Round-Up

A weekly round-up of things we’ve been doing lately in our homeschool!

Making Mexican wedding cookies for lesson 6 of La Clase Divertida Level 1  ~ my 9 year old and I are having so much fun with this program! It is a very gentle, engaging introduction to Spanish and I plan to do a little review of it in the upcoming weeks.


Growing amaryllis bulbs ~ we start these every year around Christmas-time and it is fun to watch them grow each day. We grew two pink and two red bulbs this year. They staggered themselves very nicely, one opening up as another faded, so we’ve had several weeks of color.


Trying out new magazines ~ I subscribed to a couple of new magazines for the kids and the first issues came this week. We have loved Muse for years; Faces and Cricket are new to us. All are available from Cricket Media.

Rowing books ~ Rose and I are finishing up our last book of Five in a Row Volume 3. I asked her if she wanted to stop there, since I thought she might be outgrowing it….her answer was a very emphatic “no!”, so volume 4 and the first three books we need are on the way.

Starting new read-alouds ~ I am reading aloud from two levels of BookShark this year. For BookShark World History 1, I am reading A Single Shard. And from BookShark American History 1, I am reading Johnny Tremain.

Playing games ~ We played the Escape the Room game I got the kids for Christmas. It was so much fun, I am planning to order another. If you haven’t tried these, I highly recommend them. They are a one-time game ~ you get a set time limit to solve the puzzle. Once you “escape the room” you can’t play again because you know all the answers.


A few other things we did:

  • Watched The 33 with the kids ~ this is a great movie. It’s rated PG-13 but my 9 year old had no problems with it and the ending is a happy one. Highly recommend. We also went to see The Last Jedi and Coco and loved both.
  • Attended two virtual field trips (geology and astronomy) through Field Trip Zoom
  • Started preparing for the National Mythology Exam

Thanks so much for stopping by my new space! To celebrate, and because Escape the Room is a “play it once” type game, I am planning to give away our copy to a reader of the blog in a few days. Stay tuned!

The IKEA Raskog Cart for Homeschooling

I picked up a Raskog cart on one of last year’s IKEA jaunts. I am pretty much in love with this little cart! For the first few months it lived in our laundry room holding detergent and bleach and other not-so-exciting-but-necessary-stuff. One day I was dragging books out of our home library to start our homeschool day, and it occurred to me that  wheels would make the job a heck of a lot easier and more fun. So the little cart moved into our library and now I use it to store the books I need to work with the kids each day.

Every morning I wheel this baby out to the kitchen, where it is central to everything we are doing. We are very much a “homeschool all over the place family” but I tend to center operations in the kitchen. I originally thought I would store supplies like pencils, erasers, scissors and such plus books on this cart, but we have a lot of books so there is not enough space. On my next trip to IKEA, I am planning to get my Raskog a sibling and use her to store those sorts of things.

I use this cart for the books I need most days and the contents switch up as we finish books and start others. Each kiddo also has a crate of independent materials. So the cart is really for the subjects I do with them. I arrange the contents in roughly the order we work each day. I start the day with my youngest and the top shelf holds:


Going down a shelf, my older kiddos do much more work independently, so their shelves are shared.

On the middle shelf, I have:


Then, on the bottom shelf I have:


I honestly could not do without my little cart….and as a plus, it is just too cute. The only thing I am sad about is that I really wanted to get a blue one, but they were out of stock and it seems they don’t make a blue Raskog anymore. This color is the red/brown and I like it, but I have my fingers crossed there will be another fun and different color by the time I make it back to IKEA.

First Form Latin: A Little Review

We have been studying Latin in our homeschool this year, which I am so excited about! I am really enjoying learning this language along with my kids. Quite possibly, I am enjoying it much more than they are;). But they are humoring me and going along with it, so all is good. Today, I want to share a bit about First Form Latin, which I am using this year with my ninth and seventh graders.

First of all, I am a huge fan of this program! I only wish I had found it earlier in our homeschool journey. We have been using First Form Latin for about ten weeks now and it is going so well. This program is very understandable and teacher-friendly even to me, someone with very little Latin experience! The lessons are clearly laid out and we were able to quickly develop a good routine for going through them, which I will share below.

For First Form Latin, I purchased the “complete set”, plus duplicates for some items.
This includes the following:

  • Teacher’s manual
  • Student texts for each of my boys
  • Student workbooks ~ one for each of my boys, plus one for me to work in alongside them
  • Teacher key with answers to the exercises and quizzes
  • DVD
  • Audio CD 
  • A booklet of reproducible quizzes
  • Flashcards
  • In addition to the above I purchased:
    • The First Form Latin schedule from Memoria Press – I love having a daily schedule; this one keeps me on track and tells me what exercises to do each day ~ and it has boxes I can check!
    • Desk charts (not shown) ~ I will confess I have not used these grammar helps yet, but writing this post reminded me that I should get them out!
    • Lingua Angelica set ~ I loved the idea of listening to Latin hymns as part of our learning so I also purchased this set, which includes an audio CD, teacher’s manual, student workbook, and songbook.  We have not been using the workbooks at all, so in retrospect, I could have done without them. We just listen and follow along with the lyrics in the songbook.
    So how do we do all this?
    On Mondays (typically) we watch the lecture for our assigned lesson. I feel like this time gives me a little break and really, we could not do this program without “our” Latin teacher. Hearing someone else explain something really helps those words on the page sink in!

    After we watch the DVD lessons (about 20 minutes) we head to the kitchen table and get out our textbooks. Each lesson contains assigned Latin grammar questions for us to go over, and Monday is typically the day we do this. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Next, it’s on to the heart of the lesson.

    Each FFL lesson contains several  components and I try to review each component each day we do Latin. We typically start with a recitation, then review the Latin saying and vocabulary for the week. Next we have “chalk talk” where we learn about conjugating various forms of the verbs and other grammar points.  We are usually told to conjugate a couple of the new verbs on a white board.  Then, on subsequent days we slowly work on conjugating the rest of the verbs on the white board.  Teaching the lesson takes about 10-15 minutes, on average, usually a bit more the first day.
    Next, we do the assigned exercises (from the MP schedule). As I mentioned above, I purchased a student workbook for myself and I do the exercises right along with my boys. This has made a HUGE difference to me  in learning and teaching Latin! The exercises usually take 15-20 minutes to complete, after which we all check our answers together. I am not sure why one of my kiddos is working with a sock on his hand, but whatever works, right?


    After we check our answers, we listen to our assigned Lingua Angelica song for that lesson – we usually listen to it twice.

    On subsequent days, we review each lesson for about 15 minutes, then do our exercises. Typical exercise include filling in tense ending charts, working with derivatives, writing out the saying, and working on translations. And each day we listen to our assigned hymn. On Wednesdays (or the third day of our lesson) we use the audio CD to review. I try to do Latin five days a week, though we don’t always get to it.

    On Fridays, we do the oral drill from the lesson and go over flashcards. Then, we all take the quiz for that lesson, and we are ready to move on to the next lesson.

    I honestly cannot think of anything negative to say about this program – it is well-laid out and organized and makes Latin so much easier for me to understand and teach than other programs I have tried. My hope is that we will be able to continue on with Second Form Latin next year.

    You Are an Artist Chalk Pastels: A Little Review

    Last week I shared a bit about the woodworking my boys are doing for their homeschool art this year. This week, I want to share about what my youngest Rose is doing. (In case you were wondering, my oldest daughter is planning to use Oak Meadow’s photography program for her art course this year, but with one thing and another she hasn’t quite started it yet).

    Okay, on to the pastels! Rose (9) specifically requested to work with pastels this year and I was fortunate enough to stumble across an absolutely wonderful resource ~ Hodgepodge’s You Are An Artist. This site offers video art tutorials and art e-books. I chose to go with the e-books both for my budget and my sometimes spotty internet connection. Both of us have been so thrilled with this resource! So far, Rose has completed A Seasonal Start in Fall Chalk Pastels and has been working through Chalk Pastels Art At the Beach. Tomorrow she will begin A Simple Start in Christmas Chalk Pastels and she is very excited to get started creating some fun holiday art!

    What’s included ~ When you order a chalk pastels e-book you receive a link to download your e-book, which you can either print out or use right from your device.  I save all of our e-books to a folder set aside specifically for our homeschool downloads so they are easy to find later. I print out each e-book, because pastels are messy and I think it’s easier to work from a printed page.  I print out just the cover and the project pages. To save ink, I don’t print the introductory material about how to work with pastels, though I definitely recommend reading through these, especially if you are new to working with pastels. There is a lot of good information in there.

    What you’ll need ~ To use the chalk pastel e-books you’ll need pastel paper, pastels, and baby wipes. I order pastel paper from Amazon; it’s much cheaper than at the craft store.  For pastels, Rose uses the Prismacolor brand, which we have been happy with. FYI, if you are new to pastels, they will break and look all messy like ours do ~ but they still work just fine! Using baby wipes for clean-up is a trick I learned from the e-books and boy does it work well! I just bought a tub of inexpensive baby wipes and keep them right with our supplies. They clean up both hands and any lingering dust on the table easily.

    How to do it ~ Rose usually does her pastels on Friday morning. I have her spread some newspaper over her work-surface before she begins. I keep all of her supplies together in a basket so she can  grab it and cart it out to the kitchen table. For reference, Rose is 9, and she can do these projects entirely on her own. The directions are written to the artist and have a lovely, chatty style that she really responds to and understands. There are plenty of illustrations as well, making it easy to follow along. I spray each finished pastel work lightly with hairspray to keep the pastels from smudging. After it’s dry Rose either hangs it up in her room – she has quite the gallery – or gives it away to a lucky recipient.

    You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels are a huge hit in our homeschool this year! If you want to try it out,  there are free sample lessons at the website.

    Monday Musings

    For the week of November 28th….

    A few plans for the week
    Our usual roundup of sports and outside classes :: adding a second ballet class and a contemporary dance class to Rose’s dance schedule ~ plus she has her first performance this weekend ~ so much excitement! :: a trip to the vet for a cat check-up :: going to see The Underwater Bubble Show with my girls
    Noticing the season ~ some things I’d like to do this week
    Watch The Rockefeller Tree Lighting on television :: get our Christmas tree :: make a batch of Christmas cookies :: set up the Christmas book basket :: listen to Christmas music in the car on our way here and there :: have cranberry orange pancakes on the weekend :: light the first Advent candle :: start our Advent calendars :: decorate the house :: start amaryllis bulbs
    Homeschool notes
    We’ve been on a light schedule the past couple of weeks, this week we’re back to our regular routine ~ at least for a couple of weeks. I’m starting a new read-aloud with Rose, The Secret of the Sealed Room, and continuing to read The Silver Branch with James. Grace is hard at work finishing up her first dual enrollment class ~ she has just a few weeks left. Dual enrollment has been a great experience for her and she’ll be taking two classes in the spring. I plan to row The Salamander Room with Rose ~ this may be our last Five in a Row book! We have done all the books we could from the first three volumes and I am not sure if we will continue on with Volume 4, mainly because we don’t own it and it’s expensive.  We “rowed” several books from Volume 3 recently that I never got around to taking pictures of….mostly because our rows lately have been very simple. We’ve  just focused on enjoying each book and discussing things from the FIAR manual. So we haven’t been doing as many of the hands-on things that lend themselves to photographs! But I do plan to do a post about our row of The Salamander Room when we finish in a couple of weeks.
    Out of doors
    We spent time winterizing the yard this past weekend ~ things like taking in the outdoor furniture, storing the grill, taking apart the trampoline…so we’re ready for snow now! But, I won’t be disappointed if it waits a bit.
    In the kitchen
    My two girls are vegetarian as of a few months ago and we are finally finding a new weekday kitchen groove. Once a week we do a vegetarian chili night,  but I do it different ways. Sometimes we have it straight up, with black olives, cheese, and avocado on top. Other times we serve it over corn chips (my boys favorite) or on top of spaghetti. Another night is “quick pasta” night ~ this recipe for broccoli fettucine alfredo is a current fave!
    Watching & reading
    We started off our Christmas movie watching season with A Christmas Story and continue to watch Lost Season Two with our older three. I’m currently reading The Child after finishing The River at Night (which was a quick read for me, but I didn’t love in the end).  I am really, really looking forward to reading Christmas picture books this week!
    I have posts in the works about our fourth–grade art program and First Form Latin, so I’ll be back soon…. have a wonderful week!

    2017 Advent plans

    Here are our 2017 plans for Advent ~ my goal is to have one (sometimes more) seasonal activity to do each day, starting right after Thanksgiving. My aim with all of this is not to check boxes, but to make sure we are noticing and enjoying the season each day. Naturally, we will have days where the chosen activity just doesn’t happen, or has to be rescheduled, and that is okay! Even though it rarely happens just as laid out, I still love going into the season with a plan and any necessary supplies at the ready.

    • November 24th ~ Put together our gratitude chain and hang it up; start making a centerpiece for our dining table to include our Advent candle ~ I’ll share a photo once we have it together!
    • November 25th ~ Get out the Christmas CD’s and start playing them around the house and car
    • November 26th ~ Go see a local production of A Christmas Carol
    • November 27th ~ Set up the Christmas book basket
    • November 28th ~ Plant amaryllis bulbs to bloom around, or shortly after, Christmas time
    • November 29th ~ Watch the Rockefeller tree lighting on NBC tonight
    • November 30th ~ Take down any remaining Thanksgiving decorations
    • December 1st ~ Start chocolate and Lego Advent calendars; start reading Christmas picture books with Rose each day; make jam thumbprint cookies
    • December 2nd & 3rd ~ This is a busy dance weekend, but I hope to get a Christmas tree, put it up, and start decorating the house. We’ll also plan to have cranberry-orange pancakes one morning for breakfast and light our first Advent candle on the 3rd!
    • December 4th ~ Decorate a tree for the sunporch
    • December 5th ~ Set out shoes for St. Nicholas morning; make cherry cookies
    • December 6th ~ Happy St. Nicholas Day! We started celebrating this day years ago when doing a “Christmas Around the World” unit study and it stuck with us. The kids will find a few treats and surprises tucked inside their sneakers this morning.
    • December 10th ~ Light the second Advent candle; have eggnog pancakes for dinner (because it’s a horse show day and there won’t be time at breakfast!); hopefully make gingerbread houses
    • December 11thOrder calendars for the new year; the kids each pick one, but when they come I put them away until New Year’s Day)
    • December 12thDo the Christmas cards & mail them out
    • December 13th ~ A day off from Christmas preparations to celebrate Grace’s 17th birthday!
    • December 14thPeppermint Day! We plan to make peppermint cookies, peppermint bark, homemade marshmallows, and hot chocolate. Then, we’ll spend the afternoon watching a Christmas movie if we can and go see a local lights display
    • December 15thMake eggcup topiaries – a little piece of floral foam in the bottom of an eggcup can hold little holly and pine springs, or any other found greenery
    • December 16thBake fruitcake (I love the fruitcake kit from King Arthur Flour)
    • December 17th ~ Light the third Advent candle; have gingerbread pancakes for dinner (another horse show morning!)
    • December 18th ~ Go gift shopping for the pets
    • December 19thField Trip Zoom’s Christmas Traditions program; leave a gift out for our mail carrier
    • December 21st ~ Happy winter solstice! Make birdseed ornaments and drive around to look at Christmas lights
    • December 22ndMake pomanders with whole cloves and oranges
    • December 23rd ~ Set aside the day to watch Christmas movies and wrap gifts; catch up on any activities we didn’t get to
    • December 24thChristmas Eve ~ Prep a nice breakfast for tomorrow; bake & decorate sugar cookies; order Chinese food for dinner; kids get new pjs before bed:); light the 4th Advent candle
    • December 25th ~ Merry Christmas!
    • December 26th ~ Boxing Day ~ We hide a small gift box in the house for each kiddo to find. Inside: a big chocolate marshmallow, a package of special hot chocolate mix, and a small surprise
    • December 27th-30th ~ Spend time planning some fun food and activities for New Year’s Eve, and generally just try to relax as much as possible 
    • December 31st ~ New Year’s Eve ~ We’ll do a big appetizer spread and watch a movie or two, decorate “champagne” glasses, make a banner to welcome the new year, and countdown to midnight by popping one balloon each hour. This year, Rose is dancing in a local New Year’s event, so we’ll squeeze in our usual traditions around that
    • January 1st ~ Happy New Year! Everyone gets their new calendar today to hang in their bedroom (I like to wrap them up & put them at their place at breakfast) and we always eat red beans and rice, collard greens, and black-eyed peas (all supposed to bring good luck for the new year).
    We’ll be trying to keep to a regular homeschool schedule until the week of December 18th ~ with our Christmas activity always taking priority each day. Then, from the 18th through New Year’s we’ll be on break. I hope to pop in often during Advent to share photos and thoughts about all of our doings. 

    Monday Musings

    For the week of November 20th….Happy Thanksgiving week to you!

    A few plans for the week

    Our last farm share pickup of the season:: our usual round-up of activities which currently includes archery, rock climbing team, dance, Spanish at the community college, and riding lessons:: Thanksgiving dinner:: going to see A Christmas Carol performed at a local theater. 
    Homeschool notes
    My youngers will mostly have this week off, my olders have some catch-up to do, especially in math and science. I plan to do virtual field trips of Plimoth Plantation and the Wampanoag homesite with Rose and whoever else is interested. And, speaking of virtual field trips, I just signed up for a free 2-week trial of Field Trip Zoom.  I wasn’t sure if live, virtual field trips would work with our internet, but so far so good! We watched one pre-recorded field trip about rocket launches and one live one about the siege of Vicksburg and both worked well. I’m super excited about this resource and will share more about it after we’ve used it for a bit. 
    Out of doors
    It’s chilly and occasionally raining. It snowed (lightly) for the first time last week which had everyone super excited. Rose has been putting our decorative pumpkins out in the neglected vegetable garden as they get squishy, hoping to grow a volunteer pumpkin patch next spring. 
    In the kitchen
     We made cranberry bread ~ my favorite recipe from Cranberry Thanksgiving, of course. I ordered my fruitcake mix from King Arthur Flour and while I was at it I picked up a couple  tea loaf pans. I used them the first time for the cranberry bread and I just adore them. The bread came out cleanly and I think the slices are just the right size. 

    Watching, reading, crafting
    Our current without-the-kids show is Wolf Hall. With the kids, we have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies (we try to watch one each weekend) and Rose watched The Nutcracker and Mathtacular while she was sick…we have had a mild, strange virus come through this week. I am currently reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events with James and it is so much fun (if a bit dark)! Rose is loving the book Rump and she has also taken up cross-stitching, which she adores. 

    Have a wonderful week!

    Woodworking for Homeschoolers

    My boys (ages 14 and 12) requested woodworking for their art program this year. They are pretty handy with tools and loved the idea of building things for schoolwork. We researched several books and they eventually settled on The All-New Woodworking for Kids.

    This book is the only resource ~ besides tools and wood ~ we need for this year’s woodworking. It lays out step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions with plenty of photos, and my two have had no trouble completing their projects independently. I love that they can do this totally on their own!
     The book begins with a section covering different types of tools, safety measures to take, and technique. I had each of my boys read through this section before they started their first project. Here are a couple of the projects they have already completed:
    A miter box

    A toolbox (they each made their own)
    They are currently working on making their own workbench ~ that one’s taking a while because it’s a bigger project and we’ve had a couple of Fridays off. Typically, they devote 2-3 hours on Fridays to their current project, which has been working well. We have a lighter day on Fridays, so the sawing and hammering aren’t as disruptive to the girls. They handle these projects mostly by themselves, with occasional input from their Dad. I failed woodshop (seriously) so I told them upfront I was not going to be much help. They have really taken off on their own with this, which has been nice to see.
    We turned a corner of the basement over to them for their projects. I would post a photo of their work area, but our basement isn’t terribly photogenic;). They have an old workbench down there, plus a large folding table to lay out their tools. My rule for them after finishing each project is that they look ahead to the next one, decide what materials need to be purchased, and text their Dad a list. He picks up the supplies when he gets a chance, and they are ready to go for the following Friday.
    Woodworking is a huge hit in our homeschool this year and I am looking forward to the other projects they will build this year! As for my other kiddos, Rose isn’t quite ready for woodworking and Grace had no interest, otherwise I would have loved to get them involved too. I’ll share what my girls are doing for art in a future post.

    Till next time!

    Fourth Grade Homeschool History Memory Work

    I shared last month about how we are doing poetry in our homeschool this year. One important piece of our poetry study is our poem memory work ~ basically I just ask the kids to memorize a handful of poems over the course of our school year. This is something they have pretty universally loved doing. Rose especially enjoys memorizing things, so this year I took a cue from The Well-Trained Mind and asked her to do some history memory work each day as well. She is using BookShark’s American History 1, so her memory work is also American history focused.

    First of all, she is currently working on memorizing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, using thiswonderful picture book copy! She just reads the book to herself each day and she’s nearly got it. She loves the challenge.

    Once that’s complete, it’s on to the states and their capitals, through song! We used the Geography Songs kit last year and she loved it, so I think she’ll enjoy this resource as well. The kit doesn’t seem to be available through Amazon, but Rainbow Resource carries it.
    States and Capitals Songs Kit w/ CD | Main photo (Cover)
    Next up will be memorizing the presidents in order with a fun set of flashcards (tip ~ the company Christian Book carries the most up-to-date set).
    I keep the process of memorization pretty simple. I let her choose what to work on next and then I just make a note in her planner to “read the Gettysburg Address” (or whatever it is) each day. She usually works on her history memory work four days a week, for about 10 minutes each day. When she’s done, we’ll move onto the next thing.

    And that’s how we’re doing history memory work in our homeschool this year!