Weekly Wrap-Up Weeks 2 & 3

I’m combining Week 2 and Week 3 for this wrap-up. Here are a few highlights from the last two weeks ~ I hope to take more photos in future weeks, if nothing else because they help jog my memory!

  • We started a Shakespeare study, centering around the ten-week introductory Shakespeare course from Music in Our Homeschool. It’s so much fun!

If you want more details on how we are doing this, see my post here:

 Shakespeare in the Homeschool

  • My 5th grader is using Apologia’s Swimming Creatures this year because she very much wanted to study marine biology. We are a secular homeschooling family, but this program still works for us: we just omit the religious comments. It is a very well done program, with lots of colorful pictures, experiments, and a science notebook to record everything in. We use the notebook a bit loosely — she just fills out whatever sections inspire her.


As part of the program, she is making an ocean box. Right now, it just has the ocean floor (saltdough!) and a few deep sea dwellers. But by the end of the year, it will be full!


For his lab last week, his siblings set up a mock crime scene for him, complete with a body outline, overturned chair, and a few select clues. His job was to come in and figure out what had happened. They had an awesome time with this one!

A few other things we did this week and last (off the top of my head!):


  • Dissected a frog for biology (10th) — and it actually wasn’t as intimidating as I remembered from high school! He has completed all of the dissections now for Apologia Biology. He started the program last year, but we’re going to take a little over a year to finish.



  • Got ourselves a trial subscription to Curiosity Stream, which I am so excited to try this coming week!


  • Played Perspective: the Timeline Game — this game is an awesome one to help cement the overall history timeline for high schoolers! I hope to review it fully in future (it’s available from Rainbow Resource if you are interested).


Have a wonderful weekend!

Homeschool Wrap-Up Week 1(continued)

We spread our first homeschool week over two weeks, to ease into things — so here are a few highlights from the second half of week 1!

We started Logic to the Rescue — a fun introduction to logic written like a fantasy/fairy tale and a new Life of Fred book. We’re using both for 5th grade.

Did a few experiments from Swimming Creatures from Apologia. We are a secular homeschool family, but I have really enjoyed the ease and layout of Apologia’s curriculum, even if we skip over some things. In one experiment, we put a slightly inflated balloon inside a soda bottle and then stepped on the bottle to see what happened with the balloon — a firsthand look at how pressure underwater can affect diver’s lungs! We’re using Swimming Creatures for 5th grade science this year.

Continued setting up stores with Simply Charlotte Mason’s Your Business Math. This week’s task was to decide on how much inventory to order and what it would all cost. We had planned to do this program once a week, but everyone enjoys it so much that we may increase that! We’re using SCM Business Math for 10th, 8th, and 5th grade.

Here’s a look at one of the inventory sheets… it was quite a challenge for them to figure out how much of each item to order!


My 8th grader wanted to study forensic science this year. His first lab of the year was a forged check lab. He had family members write out checks using their own names, then forge a “victim’s” signature. I chose one of the family to be the forger and handed him the check that person had signed, plus all the other checks. His task was to discover the criminal by comparing the handwriting! This lab is from Crime Scene Investigations, the book we are using as his lab book this year.

I’ll share some highlights from week 2 next week!

Homeschool Wrap-Up Week 1

We officially started back to homeschool this week — although we really only did Thursday and Friday, so it wasn’t a full week. Things went pretty well! We definitely did not finish everything on my rather ambitious list, but we made a solid start on things. The kids aren’t terribly thrilled, but I think it’s nice to be back in a routine — and we tend to spend more time together when we are actively homeschooling.

I’m hoping to post a weekly wrap-up most weeks to share a few highlights of the week — so here we go with Week 1!

2018-2019 Homeschool Year Week One

I’ve missed reading aloud all summer! I have to build up my throat muscles again though —they got a little weak from their summer off! Our first two read-alouds for BookShark American History 2 (which my 5th grader is using) are Moccasin Trail and William Wilberforce. She’s reading By the Great Horn Spoon on her own, and she’s almost finished with it already. She’s my bookworm!

And here are our first two read-alouds for BookShark World History 2 (which my 8th grader is using).  Secret of the Andes I have read several times aloud already, but it’s a good one! And then he was going to read Kingfisher, plus Story of the World Vol. 3, and The King’s Fifth to himself this week — but he is finding Kingfisher a bit of a slog, so I’m going to read that one with him too.


Our foreign language studies got off to a slow start, but we got going on Latina Christiana (5th) and First Start French (5th & 8th). I’m sure I’ve said this before, but man do I love Memoria Press for foreign language! Everything is so easy to use and so streamlined. It really makes it doable for me, since I definitely have no talent in this area!

Latina is super easy for my 5th grader right now, because she already knows the whole first lesson from doing Prima Latina last year. We had fun with the French program today, too. My 8th grader was set on learning French instead of Spanish like my other two, and I hesitantly decided to go ahead with that. Then my 5th grader wanted in too, because she does ballet and wants to understand all the French words….so here we are with lots of language study going on!

Other things we did in our homeschool this week:

  • Dissected a perch for Apologia Biology (10th) — he’s working on finishing up this program from last year. I have been truly amazed at how much less “icky” dissection is to me now than it was in high school. I’m guessing it’s a result of having kids and all the gross aspects that can and do go along with that??


  • Began The History of the Ancient World (10th) and the study guide that goes with it. I think it’s going to be a good fit for him, and the study and teaching guide makes it so do-able — I even have the answers to use when we discuss! We aren’t using the guide as written, but tweaking it a bit. More on that after we’ve gotten used to it for a few weeks!


  • Spent many hours trying to figure out how to trap and remove a red squirrel that has decided that the space above our garage is an excellent winter home. We got a trap, which apparently he is too smart for. Then the kids spent several hours over the week trying to design their own trap/modify the existing one to make it work. No luck, but I’m counting all that experimentation as science! And we have a new trap on the way to us.


  • Started Your Business Math — possibly the curriculum I am most excited about using this year! The basic idea is to have each kid set up and run a pretend business. Today, they worked on coming up with names and logos for their stores. I have one doing the Pet Store and two doing the Sports Store version.


  • Started art — Friday is going to be art day this year. Two kids (8th & 10th) are doing woodworking, and my youngest (5th) requested calligraphy. For that, she is using Calligraphy for Kids by Eleanor Winters, and so far, it’s a hit!

I’ll be back next week with highlights from the rest of Week 1 —since I’ve decided that we are going to spread our Week 1 work over two weeks to help us ease into things. Thanks for stopping by!

Homeschool Photo Journal Part 2

A few photos and memories captured from our last week of homeschool life…

We are slowly wrapping up TOPS Radishes (a science selection from BookShark 3). It has been so much fun! I highly recommend this resource if you are looking for a hands-on way to learn about plants and don’t mind committing to around 30-45 minutes of work each day for three weeks. Here are the results of our “toxic stress” experiment. Rose put some seeds in vinegar, some in salt water, and some in freshwater. She correctly predicted that the freshwater ones would grow best, but was a bit surprised that the others didn’t grow at all. This experiment really brought home the hazards of acid rain and too much salt in soil!


She also did a neat experiment on phototropism by creating a foil “radish” and bending its leaves the way she thought a radish seedling would react to light. Sure enough, both seedlings were tipped towards the sunlight coming in through the windows within just a few hours.

Here’s another neat experiment where she placed a little seedling on the inside of a damp cup and traced over it with marker. Within a day, we could see how the seedling had moved, the roots slowly tipping down and the unfolding cotyledons, or seed leaves, slowly starting to unfold.

And now our radish experiments are done! I just need to figure out some way for her to store all of her lab papers and little notes ~ we may hole punch them and create a little booklet. She didn’t want to get rid of any of her fledgling seedlings, so we spent the morning planting them in various containers because it isn’t quite warm enough for them to be outdoors. Here is our laundry room radish garden in all its glory….

Hopefully we will get at least radish or two for salad! We are scheduled to do TOPS Corn and Beans next, but we’ve decided to hold off for a few weeks so that we can hopefully plant those seedlings outdoors afterwards.

In other news, my boys build this awesome squirrel lounger. I think we may need to get some proper yellow corn for it and move it a bit lower because we haven’t had any squirrel visitors yet. But isn’t it cute? This is a project from The All-New Woodworking for Kids, which they are using for their art curriculum this year (little review here).

Nothing to do with homeschooling, just a cute dog picture….

Three of my four took the National Mythology Exam. They report that it went well. This is something we have been doing for years and that I hope we will do for many more.

My boys and I started Unit 3 of First Form Latin, which I was super excited about, because I get excited about things like that. We are focusing on nouns, which is nice for a change. I reviewed this program here. I still love it.

We’ve been making maple syrup, too! This is our first batch and we’ve been adding to it all week. We usually get about 2 gallons of syrup from 10-12 maple trees. Sadly, two jars from our first batch got broken in the freezer and I am not sure we will be able to make up for it. The weather has been unseasonably warm so I’m expecting a short season.

Finally, some pretty hyacinths and a read-aloud James and I are finishing up, one of my favorites from BookShark 6!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a wonderful homeschool week!

Homeschool Photo Journal

Just a few photos from our last week of homeschool life…

An easy jelly roll, a.ka. “Lincoln log”, for Lincoln’s birthday! We also attended a wonderful virtual field trip about Lincoln with Field Trip Zoom. I highly recommend this resource! This month we have also done virtual field trips focusing on the American Revolution and Mars, and I am looking forward to sitting down sometime this week and picking a few to do for March.

One of our read-alouds right now is The Hidden Treasure of Glaston ,one of my favorite read-alouds from BookShark World History 1.

For fourth grade memory work…Rose memorized (most of!) the Gettysburg Address and is quite proud. I got her an illustrated picture book version and she just read it to herself once a day until she had it down. She loves memorizing things and I have been using The Well-Trained Mind suggestions for history memory work for her this year. Now she is working on memorizing the American presidents with a set of flashcards (these are available from Rainbow Resource, but Christian Book has the most up-to-date set).

Also with my fourth-grader, we just started using Maestro Classics. She had listened to all of the Classical Kids CD’s several times so we needed something new. I have been listening with her and these are great! We chose to start with Swan Lake. I will hopefully do a little review of these soon, maybe after we finish our next one, Peter and the Wolf.

She and I are also working our way through TOPS Radishes. This is my second (or maybe third?) time through this curriculum and it is a family favorite. You do need to commit to doing it every day for nearly a month (they give you a schedule to follow) but it is so engaging for the kids and well worth the time. We have radishes growing everywhere and we’re both learning so much! She started by sprouting 20 radish seeds in a juice carton. She used those to track growth rates and learn about the different stages of the sprouts.

She’s also been doing experiments such as finding out what happens when some plants get more light than others….the yellow plants sprouted under foil while the green had exposure to sunlight – quite a difference!

This week, we also made some easy paper lanterns. We made these for Chinese New Year, but they’d make a fun decoration any time.


Thanks so much for stopping by!