Thursday, October 31, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/Living Books/Hands-on History Curriculum: Early American History Term two of three

Below you'll find my rewrite of term two of Early American History. This term uses History of US book 3 alongside George Washington's World.  You can click the link below to get the full term:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/Living Books/Hands-on History Curriculum: Year One, Term Three

I'm finally done with Ancient Rome! Keep in mind that I've not actually gone through this with my kidlets yet, so there may be some things that will get changed in the future.  There are also not as many activities in this term as I'd like.  I'll add more as I have time and as I find them.

The link:

Let me know if you have any trouble or comments, or even any suggestions! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Math-U-See Curriculum Review!

Up until a few years ago, my older boys were in public school.  I always thought I'd homeschool when my oldest was under five years old but when I tried to teach him his letters and numbers, we struggled.  It scared me and so I put him in school figuring I could bring him home later if I still felt like I should homeschool. For many reasons I think public school was a mistake for him but either way it's what happened.

When he came home, he was confused and behind in math.  We tried other curricula after one failed for him in public school, including Life of Fred (which is still fun to him but doesn't make enough sense for him to use it exclusively) and some others.  He was still not getting fractions.  By seventh grade, he was really behind in math and I got him evaluated.  Dyscalculia was his diagnosis (which is a math learning disability). So now what?

I decided to try Math-U-See because I'd heard so many great things about it. It started out easy and slow which was perfect for him.  He slowly picked up the fractions concepts and continued to progress as the school year went on.  In fact, after starting Epsilon in December of last year, he was finished with it and UNDERSTOOD IT by May of this year! It was amazing! After trying and failing with at least three other programs, he was really "getting" fractions.

I've heard complaints about the MUS videos but I have to say, Mr. Demme makes sense to all of my kids! We typically watch together and I'll clear up or review anything they didn't understand.

This year I have a fifth grader who is amazing at math in Epsilon, a second grader who's hesitant with math in Beta, and an eighth grader who had always struggled with math who's already halfway through Zeta in the middle of October. At this point I've used each level (except Gamma) with at least one of my kids from Primer through Zeta.

Here's a summary of my thoughts on it:

The negatives:

- Math-U-See doesn't progress in the typical public school way.  They usually focus on one major concept and introduce some other things slowly.  If you stick with it from Primer through Zeta though, you'll have covered the same things as others using a different program by the time you reach Pre-Algebra.
- MUS introduces some algebraic concepts throughout each level which was sometimes confusing to my more math-challenged children.  However it was also helpful to start it very slowly with a problem here and there.
- Sometimes using the manipulatives makes the concept harder to teach, such as in long division in the Delta level. However, to get the most out of the program, you really need to have their manipulatives.
- MUS has updated to include some Common Core pages since I bought these items last year.  But I understand that the new student books still work with the older teacher's guides and DVDs (I haven't tried it to know for sure).

The positives:

- Each lesson in each level is worked on until the student masters the concept.  If you use the "systematic review" pages, these concepts get reviewed repeatedly even across levels (there were fraction problems in an early Zeta level lesson a few weeks ago for example).
- The manipulatives are awesome for hands-on, kinesthetic learners.
- The same concept can be explained in multiple ways so that your student can understand.  Mr. Demme often gives several methods to do the same thing (such as the three different methods he uses for adding fractions in lesson eight of Epsilon).
- You can adjust the speed at which new concepts are introduced according to your own individual student's needs.
- A DVD is available for each level that includes each lesson. You can decide to use it or not. The same lesson is also explained in the teacher's guide if you prefer teaching the new concepts yourself.
- All lesson pages and test pages have the answers given in the back of the teacher's guide.
- The MUS website has activity pages and drill pages available for free.  Plus you can make extra practice pages for many levels and many lessons on their site for free as well.

Hopefully some of you find this helpful! I plan to continue using Math-U-See for all of my children for the foreseeable future.  We're very happy with it overall and have found it very effective.  If you use MUS, tell me what you think in the comments below! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Mommy Writer's REVISED Early American History Plans! Term one of three

We're a few weeks into our new year here at our house and I've started up with our year 3 plans.  And I am not thrilled with them so they are under revision!  The original plans will stay in place for now on posts from April 16-18th of this year.  However, I will be replacing the quick links on the right side with the new plans as I finish them.

Today, I'm posting the revised plans for year 3, term 1.  I have decided to remove Story of the World as one of the planned family readings and focus instead on History of US with LOTS of projects and videos and extra readings.  It was just too much to try to study all at the same time and I want these plans to have an American History focus.

Here's the new link for term 1 of Early American History:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Baby Love

I don't know if many of you are aware of this, but I have a novel published through SynergEbooks.  It's available on their website as well as several others, including, of course, Amazon.

Here's a link to those who are interested in checking it out:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spider Unit Study

Well, it's July and that means that at our house, we get some fun school days in while it's too hot to do anything else! We always take our vacation at a place with lots of spiders so it only made sense to study them before leaving, right?

Spiders are absolutely not my favorite thing to study, but they were very interesting and my kids enjoyed learning about them...mostly.  Here's a link to the unit study pages we used.  It includes the links for the sites we visited along with some book and video ideas.

Have fun!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year One, Term Two

Term two of my Ancient History is ready and it focuses on Ancient Greece.  Here's a link for it:

As before, while the focus is on Ancient Greece, all chapters between 15 and 26 of Story of the World volume 1 are included which means there will be times that your child is studying things that happened at the same time but aren't necessarily about Ancient Greece. For example, chapter 26 is entitled "Peoples of the Americas." For additional reading, I've included Famous Men of Greece as a second spine in this plan.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Enjoy term 2 of Ancients!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ancient Egypt Notebooking Pages!

Notebooking is a great way to have your kids review what they've learned and show that they're absorbing the lessons, plus the pages look great in your child's portfolio (if you have need of one, that is!)!  The following pages are all made by me and can be used in conjunction with my Ancient Egypt plans.

Here's the link:

Enjoy and Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year One, Term One

It's finally here! I've finished the first of three terms for the study of Ancient History! :)

This particular term is focused primarily on Ancient Egypt.  There are several chapters scheduled in Story of the World 1 which are not directly related to this topic though.  I have kept them in there and scheduled other Ancient Egypt readings, activities, and videos.

Here's the link for that:

I also have an Artistic Mapping of Ancient Egypt scheduled in there.  This is my own map creation...hopefully you all like it.  If not, simply disregard it.  You don't have to feel pressed to use it. ;) I thought it'd be a fun way to reinforce some of the concepts for the younger crowd. You can add more to it if you wish.  I'd add some cities, of course. I don't have a picture of those in there.

Here's the link for that:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shakespeare to go with Early American History

As I've been reading through the books my kids will read this coming school year, something has stood out to me.  In both "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and "A Lion to Guard Us" Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is mentioned.  This got my thinking about our coming school year and what we would read for the Shakespeare portion of our year. And "The Tempest" is our winner!

"The Tempest" is a story of about a shipwreck on an enchanted island and was based loosely around the stories of the Sea Adventure crashing 600 miles south of the Jamestown colony.  The stories were circulating at the time and Shakespeare wrote a play about it. At least, that's the tale I'm reading in the Historical Facts section of "A Lion to Guard Us."

There are lots of good modern translations of "The Tempest" available out there.  "Tales from Shakespeare" by Marcia Williams looks fun! It not only has the play we're reading this year but also several others.  No Fear Shakespeare is available at the Spark Notes website (but there IS some potty talk in there!).  And one final suggestion, Charles and Mary Lamb have a free version of their "Tales from Shakespeare" available on the Kindle or Kindle app (which if you don't have on your phone, tablet, or home computer, you should really get; it's free and easy to use!).

Even if the stories of how "The Tempest" came to be are not true, this is still a fitting story for the times.  There was a LOT of ship travel during Early American times.  Ships went back and forth between America and Europe bringing supplies and sometimes people. Travelling by ship was dangerous.  There were storms, choppy waters, pirates, was tough being a new colonist travelling to a new world.

So what do you think? Are you reading along with us this year? ;) Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Total Language Plus AND My History Plans

Today, I wanted to make a suggestion of a great way to add Language Arts to my History Plans.  Total Language Plus.  You can see their website here:  They have books for third through twelfth grades.

Here's some ideas for breaking them up by time period:


1. The Bronze Bow

Middle Ages:

1. The Whipping Boy
2. Adam of the Road
3. The Door in the Wall
4. Crispin: The Cross of Lead
5. The Trumpeter of Krakow

Early American History (with some world history suggestions from the same period):

1. The Courage of Sarah Noble
2. The Witch at Blackbird Pond
3. Johnny Tremain
4. Amos Fortune, Free Man
5. The Sign of the Beaver
6. Ben and Me
7. Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
8. The Light in the Forest
9. The Call of the Wild
10. Treasure Island
11. Jane Eyre
12. The Scarlet Letter
13. Pride and Prejudice
14. Oliver Twist

Modern History:

1. Shiloh
2. Charlotte's Web
3. Caddie Woodlawn
4. The Cricket in Times Square
5. My Side of the Mountain
6. Where the Red Fern Grows
7. Rifles for Watie
8. Words by Heart
9. The Hiding Place
10. Lord of the Flies

This is not ALL of the TLP selections but it is many of them.  I have not read all of their selections at this point, so some were left out because I was unsure where to put them.  There are also many that would be fun to read during a Geography year such as Around the World in 80 Days.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Two, Term Three

Here it is! The last of the three terms for year two! Check back often because I am always tweaking these plans!! When I update them, I will add the word "updated" with a date in red print at the top of the post. :)

The link:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Maia of Thebes: the rest of the notebooking pages

I'm pretty sure these never made it up! Sorry!!  I believe these are for chapters 13 through the end of the book but it's been awhile since I put them together and since I actually READ this book! Here are the rest of the pages that I have:

Biography Review: Childhood of Famous Americans: Benjamin Franklin Young Printer Week Four Questions

Here are the final week's questions for chapters 13 through 15, which is the last chapter in this biography. Have a great weekend everyone!

Chapter Thirteen

1. Why is James "cross and glum" in the beginning of this chapter?
2. Why does Ben decide to run away?
3. Who helps him run away and how?
4. How old was Ben when he ran away?
5. Where did Ben find a job as a printer?

Chapter Fourteen

1. What kind of book did Ben Franklin publish every year for 25 years?
2. Who did he marry?
3. As Ben became prosperous, what kinds of things did he start up in Philadelphia? Where did he give money?
4. What kinds of things did Ben invent?  List them.
5. What scientific achievement is described involving a kite and a key?  Explain what he did.

Chapter Fifteen

1. Where had Ben been when he returned to America at the beginning of the chapter?
2. To whom is the crowd comparing Ben?
3. Why is it said that Ben is "the best loved citizen in the United States of America?"
4. What date did Ben die?
5. Ben Franklin had many different descriptions. But what did Ben prefer to be called?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Biography Review: Childhood of Famous Americans: Benjamin Franklin Young Printer Week Three Questions

Here's the week three questions for chapters 9-12:

Chapter Nine

1. Who is looking for Josiah Franklin's candle and soap shop at the start of the chapter?
2. Where is Ben's brother's new candle and soap shop located?
3. Why is the woman in the candle shop angry?
4. What is Ben doing in the candle shop?
5. What does Ben think of the woman from the candle shop?

Chapter Ten

1. How does Ben feel about the candle business?
2. What is his father afraid Ben will do?
3. Where does he take him in town to try to spark an interest in Ben?
4. What do the other apprentices want to do?
5. What do the constables say happened to the other 15 missing boys?

Chapter Eleven

1. What is James Franklin's job?
2. Where is he from and what does he want from his father?
3. What did he see at the home of Cotton Mather that he wished he could have himself?
4. What did John Collins allow Ben to do?
5. How did Ben get the money to buy his own books?

Chapter Twelve

1. What was the name of James Franklin's newspaper?
2. What does Ben want to do that he fears his brother wouldn't allow?
3. How does he end up getting his way?
4. Who is Silence Dogood?
5. What kinds of things does Mrs. Dogood make fun of? Give examples from the chapter.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Biography Review: Childhood of Famous Americans: Benjamin Franklin Young Printer Week Two Questions

Good morning! Here are the week two reading questions for Benjamin Franklin.

Chapter Five

1. What professions were held by the three grand gentlemen?
2. Why are the three grand gentlemen there and what do they agree to do?
3. Where does Ben go to school in this chapter and what does he think should be the name of the school? Why?
4. What happens on visitation day?
5. When Ben switches schools, with what subject does he struggle?

Chapter Six

1. What did Ben teach the boys to do in the writing school?
2. How old was he in this chapter?
3. What did the sailor say he wanted from Ben?
4. What happened to Ben's brother, Josiah?
5. After reading this chapter, what did the sailor really want to do with Ben?

Chapter Seven

1. What was Ben's experiment at the start of the chapter?
2. Why did Ben choose the big pond in Green's meadow?
3. Did his invention work?
4. What was his next invention?
5. Did his next invention work?

Chapter Eight

1. What did Ben and Nathan buy and fix up together?
2. What did they name it?
3. What did people start calling Ben as a nickname and why?
4. When Ben went sailing with his friend, Jonathan and the squall came, what did he and Nathan have to do?
5. What did Jonathan's father say about the way they handled the situation?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Biography Review: Childhood of Famous Americans: Benjamin Franklin Young Printer Week One Questions

During year 3, some of my kids will be reading about Benjamin Franklin.  In order to confirm reading comprehension and show that they've read the chapters, I have questions prepared for each chapter.  The following questions are for chapters one through four and are intended for the first week of this reading.

Chapter One

1. How old is Ben in this chapter?
2. What are his parents' names?
3. What is his father's job?
4. What does his father wish he could do for Ben?
5. What did Ben promise he would not do?

Chapter Two

1. Whose turn is it to tell a story on story night?
2. What was the name of Ben's story character?
3. what is "the rule" they refer to?
4. How did Ben break "the rule" in the chapter?
5. What happened when he broke it?

Chapter Three

1. Where does Ben go to school?
2. Who are his teachers?
3. Which guest doesn't give the children any lessons?
4. What does he talk about instead?
5. What lesson does father give the children after their guest leaves?

Chapter Four

1. About whom does Abiah tell the children?
2. What are some of the jobs he did?
3. What does Ben want to do when he is grown?
4. What happened to Ben's grandpa in the woods?
5. What was he paid with in the end?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Updates to year 3, all 3 terms!

Just in case anyone missed it, I have updated all 3 terms of year 3.  I've added a few more books to the lists and also added Hands of a Child Early US History to the plans as I have it available here.  If you have never checked out Hands of a Child, I'd suggest doing so! They have some amazing units with lapbooking and notebooking components.  Their website is here:

Here are the update links:

Term 1:

Term 2:

Term 3:

Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time Lines: Story of the World 3

When I posted my History plans, I included a link to the time line I plan to use with my kids next year.  That is here:

Now, I recognize that this may be more work than many of you are willing to do and that leaves us with somewhat of a dilemma.  What kind of time line should you use if not the one I suggested?

I'm including a list here of other free time lines I like and/or have found that would work well for year 3.


For my younger kids, we will likely use time line figures.  Guesthollow has some, but I will likely make our own using Google images.  To do it, we'll just google the character name, choose a picture, and print it to the size to fit our time line with a label of who it is and what year it is.

I hope this helps some of you! Have a great day! :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Notebooking Pages Out of Lapbooking Components!

Throughout this past year, there have been times that I have wanted to do some lapbooking components with my kids but felt that it may be too young or too bulky for the notebooks to do it that way each time.  That's when I decided this: Just because it SAYS it's for a lapbook, doesn't mean you have to USE it in a lapbook.

Here's an example from my first grader so that you know what I'm talking about:

I am adding a working list of lapbooking components that could be used with my History Plans for year 2. I'll put up another one for year 3 later.

Year 2, Term 1:

1. Ancient Rome (for review):
2. Paris in the Middle Ages:
3. Vikings:

Year 2, Term 2:

1. Middle Ages, including knights, etc:
2. Robin Hood:
3. The Plague:
4. Japanese culture (may be interesting during chapter 17 on Samurai):
5. Knights and Castles:
6. Explorer unit (including Marco Polo):

Year 2, Term 3:

1. Christopher Columbus:
2. Reformation:
3. Renaissance and reformation:
4. Mary, Queen of Scots:
5. Gutenberg:
6. Shakespeare:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Two, Term Two

**Updated May 8, 2013**

Here's the link for the second term in year two:

I have lots of things scheduled in here.  Some things we did, others we didn't.  Many of the main readings were done only by my oldest son as he was the one that needed a little more meat to his History.  The middle two were in fourth and first grade and so did mostly just Story of the World (with the older reading aloud to the younger).

Again, I am offering this as an option for anyone who is looking to do things for free and/or low cost.  Please take what you want from it and disregard the things that don't work for your family.  This is what worked best for our family at the time.  We will likely do this again when we get back around to the Middle Ages again. It was a fun year!

Generally speaking, we try to keep up with the time line.  I like to do it once a week.  We did a family time line this year so there was just one main one.  We also did some occasional notebook time lining so that we could put that in the portfolios.

If you'd like to do any map work, an easy way to add that in is to map whatever region/area of the world that you are working on for that week.  We did that a lot this past year.

Enjoy the second term! :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Portfolio Time!

It's that time of year again and this year, I have three portfolios to assemble! We're in Pennsylvania, so I have to follow their rules.  If you need some PA help, check out this site:

These are our portfolios this year.  Nothing fancy, just three three-ring binders from Walmart in my kids' favorite colors to help me keep track of which one belongs to which kid.

Inside, I have a calendar that I printed out keeping track of the days they attended, followed by our "permission paper" from the school to remind them that they approved us for this already, and then I added an evaluation of Lily's year done by me.  I'll add a list of our field trips to this front section. There's also space for the evaluator's form(s).

After that, we have a section for each subject taught this year with summaries of that subject and a resource list for each one.  They include Language Arts, Social Studies (this includes History, PA History, People and Cultures, and Geography), Science, Math, Art and Music, Health and Safety. They look like this:

And each of those sections also has examples of their work.  Because we are in PA, and my daughter attended a cyber school for kindergarten, we have to submit a portfolio for her as well in first grade.  These examples are from her portfolio:

Hopefully this helps you all out in your own portfolio assembly! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

History Folders: Marco Polo and the Mongols

Have you seen History Pockets?  Check them out here:,%20Grades%201-3%22

I don't know about you, but I thought these looked like lots of fun and like something my kids would all love doing.  The problem? Well, there were two actually. Number one, there weren't any History Pockets for the time we were studying that I could find. And number two, the most important reason, I was out of money to spend on curriculum for the year! :O

So I came up with a variation of the idea that I like to call my History Folders.  In it, we put a map of the area we were studying at the time (China) with the Mongol Empire colored in, a Chinese flag, a timeline of Marco Polo's adventure, a map of his route, and a notebooking page that included information about Genghis Khan.

You can see the timeline notebooking page here:

I made the Mongol and Genghis Khan covers and notebooking pages:

Homeschool Share has a complete explorers unit (which includes Marco Polo) here:

And the Chinese flag can be viewed here:

Here is our finished product:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Two, Term One

All right, here it is! The long-awaited year two of my free History Curriculum! :)  This is mostly just things we've done this year, though it also includes some items that I wish we'd done and that we WILL do when we get back around to this year plan again! For example, I found a used copy of The Usborne Time Traveler, which I love, and want to use later. :)

Keep in mind that you can substitute your own activities and/or books where you'd like to.  I have scheduled a couple of GA Henty books in here and I know not everyone loves them.  So if you have a better alternative that you'd like to share, please comment! I'd love to hear them!

Here's the link to the term:

I'll make updates as necessary and will share some related items listed in this term later in the week. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pretzel Unit Study

Pretzels are yummy.  There's no doubt about it and as I was looking for some more fun things to do with my kids at the end of this year, I discovered that pretzels play a part in Pennsylvania's history.  I love a good soft pretzel so it seemed pretty obvious to me! We needed to spend some time learning about the history of the soft pretzel.




1. Auntie Anne: My Story by Anne Beiler
2. Pretzels by the Dozen: Truth and Inspiration with a Heart-Shaped Twist by Angela Elwell Hunt
3. Walter the Baker by Eric Carle
4. Pretzel Vending Book, pages 8 to 10 (free to look inside at these pages on Amazon):

Pretzel Kits:

1. Auntie Anne's:
2. Fun Pack Foods:


1. How It's Made Pretzels:
2. Pretzels Unwrapped:

Pretzel Recipes:

1. Food Network:
2. All Recipes:
3. Another All Recipes:
4. CD Kitchen:

A pretzel notebooking page for you to use:

If you have a Pretzel Factory or Bakery in your area, then you should also go there for a tour! They often give samples and a great history lesson with pretzel-making lesson as well.  We had a lot of fun on our tour a few weeks ago! Some pics:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Three, Term Three of Three

**Updated 5/21/13**

Here it is! The final of the three terms! :)

I wanted to let you all know though, this one is three weeks longer than the others.  Try as I might, I could not get those chapters squeezed into 12 weeks in a comfortable way for me and my kidlets.  You all can move things around any way that you wish.  You'll notice that I also dropped chapter 41 from SOTW3.  You can add it back in if you wish, but I had to cut something and that was what I chose. :)

As far as the book list goes, there are TONS of great books out there for this time period.  I had a very hard time choosing just a few! But in the end, I chose the ones that I had easy access to and that my kids would most likely enjoy.

Here is the link:

In the next few days I plan to get the first part of History in the Middle Ages up as well.  That is what we are finishing up this year. Have a great day!

ETA: I have updated the above link to include the rest of the George Washington's World schedule! I forgot to add it last week, sorry!

**Updated on 5/1/13

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Three, Term Two of Three

**Updated 5/21/13**

Good morning!

Below you'll find the link for the second of the three terms for the History plans I intend to use next year with my kids.  This one begins in 1675 during King Philip's War and goes through the American Constitution.  As before, I've used lots of different free resources to put this together including book lists from Sonlight, My Father's World, the SOTW/HOTUS list on Redshift, and others.

The Hands-on History books referenced in this document are constantly on sale at the Scholastic Teacher Express site during the Dollar Days so if you don't already own them, watch for another sale and grab them! They are awesome!

I've also included Liberty's Kids in this plan.  Liberty's Kids is a cartoon available on You Tube.  They actually have a channel that you can subscribe to and watch the episodes (broken up into 2 10-minute parts). They are all great episodes, but I've only included a handful of them here.  If your kids love them, feel free to watch them all!

Finally, I've linked you to the timeline we'll be using and making here at our house.  There are TONS of free ones all over the internet so if you don't like this one, try out a different one! I know the notebooking fairy (here: ) has some great notebooking pages that serve as timelines.  Simply Charlotte Mason has a free Book of Centuries here:

If you see any issues or have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  :)  I'll try to get the third term up tomorrow, possibly as late as next week, but it's coming! Have a great day everyone!

ETA: One other note, if you have access to Schoolhouse Rock (and there are some videos on You Tube), those are excellent for this as well! "The shot heard round the world" and "The Great American Melting Pot" are a couple that come to mind!

Also, I thought you all might be interested in some of the videos from the History Channel on the revolution:

**Updated link on 5/1/13

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Free Charlotte Mason/living books/hands-on History Curriculum: Year Three, Term One of Three

**Updated 5/21/13**

For the past several months, I've been searching and searching for the perfect-for-our-family History curriculum.  There are a TON available out there that I would LOVE to try out too! But they are a bit expensive for our family and I already have lots of awesome stuff here at my house or available through my local library.

And that's when this curriculum guide was born.  Inside, you'll see that I've broken the term down into 12 weeks and scheduled books that I already own or can easily get for free.  I used many different resources to put this together, all of them free, including some books from the Simply Charlotte Mason site, some that Sonlight and My Father's World use, and the Story of the World/History of US list on I chose the ones that I thought my kids would like and that I thought I would like teaching.  I also added some fun activities, video links, and broke down the Hands-on History series ($1 during the Dollar Days through Scholastic Teacher Express) to fit in with our lessons each week.

I hope you enjoy it! :)

The link:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Free Science Text Books for Middle Grades!

I thought a few of you might be interested in these:

1. Holt Physical Science Text:

2. Holt Life Science Text:

3. Holt Earth Science Text:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Ever wonder what goes on day to day in a homeschooling house?  Well, I don't know about everyone else's house but this is the way things went at our house today (at least, for the school hours). So for all those of you who might be tempted to ask, "what DO you do all day?" here you go! :)

7:30am: All 4 kids are awake and watching tv.
8:00: Oldest kid starts looking at his email to see where he should start for the day
8:30am: I'm printing out worksheets for all 3 big kids while Lily works on her phonics paper and the 2 older boys are doing art on their tablets. Ian watches TV
8:35am: Lily is doodling on her phonics sheet and when asked what she is doing, she cries that she doesn't get it.  Mommy to the rescue!
9:00am: Andrew is emailing me his art project, Lukas is working on spanish, and Lily is working on Science by watching an informative episode of Wild Kratts or Nature, sometimes Magic School Bus
9:30am: Her science episode is over and she is orally narrating what she learned while I write it for her to copy (onto a notebooking sheet) on a white board.  She starts copying that and Ian starts playing his letter matching game at the table. Lukas is working on a math worksheet while Andrew reads.

9:45am: Ian is tired of his letter game and wants something else.  I give him a pile of farm animals to sort by color. Lily fills in her math paper (very speedily I might add!) and asks what's next.
10am: Lily takes a break to watch some Labyrinth with Ian and they have a snack of hummus and crackers. Andrew is still reading and Lukas needs redirecting.

10:15am: Lily studies pronouns for grammar, Lukas continues his math worksheet, Andrew is still reading.

10:30am: Lily listens as I read a chapter of Charlotte's Web to her, then she gives me an oral narration which I write down for her.  She adds a picture of what happened at the bottom of the page.  Lukas is still working on his math sheet and Andrew is just about finished with his chapter.
10:45am: Andrew's oral narration while Lukas continues that math paper and Lily plays Noah's ark with Ian (we have this old pop-up book with animals)

10:50am: Andrew types his own written narration
11am: Lily reads a chapter of Mr. Putter and Tabby to me, Lukas is STILL doing math (which is odd, he usually zips through it), and Andrew is now reading his Science chapter.
11:15am: I check on Lukas AGAIN and discover that he is feeding his "fish" on his tablet, not doing math.  Mystery solved.  When confronted about this (and tablet taken), he turns on the tears and says he doesn't get his math.  I put on a video on long division to give him a different perspective on it. Magically, he is able to finish the worksheet.
11:40am: Break for lunch for Lily and Ian while Andrew continues reading his Science chapter and Lukas does his last few math problems.
12:10pm: Break for lunch for Andrew and Lukas

12:15pm: Lily and I go through a chapter or two of "Tree in the Trail" for geography. She marks her map that goes with it.  I notice that Ian is watching too much TV today.
12:30pm: Lukas and Lily listen as I read their chapter from our history book.  We go over some questions at the end and then do some mapwork. Ian sits up to play with Playdoh.

12:50pm: Lily is done with school for the day and goes off to play with Ian.  Andrew finishes up his Science chapter while Lukas works on reading the right Science chapter today (since I gave him the wrong page numbers yesterday).

1:00pm: Andrew works on reading his chapter for history and doing his mapwork. Lily and Ian go up to my bed for Ian's quiet time so they can watch "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (the creepy version, it's Ian's favorite). When I get there, I discover my bed has been ripped apart for the 2nd time in 12 hours. I get annoyed and fix the bed. Again.
1:15pm: I notice that the older boys are still in pajamas so I send them up to get dressed. Lukas returns and sets to work reading Farmer Boy while Andrew gets to work on his English assignments from co-op. I'm pretty sure Ian is already passed out for his nap, er, I mean quiet time. ;)
2:00pm: Lukas gives me an oral summary of his chapter and then types his own written summary. Andrew moves on to math.
2:40pm: Everyone is finally done with school for the day! Ian is awake and ready to go with the rest of his day!

The rest of the afternoon will be spent doing chores, playing on tablets (for those who haven't lost that privilege, figuring out dinner, playing with Ian, etc. until Daddy gets home and then it will be more playing together and spending time together with the extra fun parent! Lol. ;)