Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Pile ~ Spooky Reading

Lately we have had trouble getting to the library on a regular basis. I miss the days when a weekly library trip was part of the regular routine! We still go when we can, but we're lucky to make it once every month or two. I am hoping we will be able to make library trips a priority in the near future, but for now I am planning to pick up a few new books each month to have on hand. I don't normally buy many books outside of "school" books, but I had so much fun picking these out that I am determined to make it a tradition, every few weeks or so. It's amazing how much fun a stack of shiny new books is! 

Here are my picks for October....all spooky books!


  • Demon Dentist - This one has been on my list ever since I heard the author compared to Roald Dahl. James has volunteered to preview it and let me know if it's too scary for his younger sister. 
  • The Witch Family - This one is for Rose (9) - she has already read it and told me it was "awesome". 
  • Through the Woods - A very spooky graphic novel... James (12) read it in one day and said it's pretty scary. I would definitely not recommend this title to anyone under 12, having read one of the stories myself!
  • It - This one is for me.  I remember reading it as a young teen (my parents weren't too big on policing our reading!) and I have always wanted to re-read it. Usually around this time of year I read The Haunting of Hill House, which is my all-time favorite ghost story, but this year I decided to switch things up. 

So that's our "fun" book pile for October. I'll let you know what we come up with for our November pile!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Memory Making

Some fun things to notice and do this month...I'm a bit late with this, so we've already done some of the things, but we have a lot more to look forward to. October and November are my favorite months of the year!


Special Dates to Celebrate

*October 5th ~ The Full Harvest Moon*

There is just something so special about that October full moon, and I always make a point of noticing it and trying to point it out to the kids. 

*October 31st ~ Halloween*

Our Halloween traditions are changing a bit as the kids get older, but we still have one trick-or-treater this year, which I am grateful for! The older three enjoy handing out candy and I gift them with a little treat basket of their own when we are done making the rounds. I like to plan a fun activity or two for this day and keep it light school-wise. This year, we plan to make monster slime and spooky lava lamps. I like to have something Halloween-themed for dinner on the big night ~ this year I am thinking about spider pizza. On the Sunday after Halloween, we make monster pancakes (pancakes decorated with candy faces) to use up some of that candy.


Things to Notice & Do This Month

  • Dry cornstalks in fields along the roads ~ with so many crows 
  • Pumpkins everywhere 
  • Chrysanthemums for the front porch, to go with the pumpkins
  • Stock up on cranberries when they appear at the grocery store
  • Watch for the first birds to return ~ although we can't hang the feeders till well into next month due to bears!
  • Watch for woolly bear caterpillars
  • Enjoy the foliage
  • Watch for that first frost 
  • Pumpkin everything ~ especially quick bread and muffins
  • Go apple picking and make an apple crisp
  • Make Halloween treats all month long ~ my picks for this month are linked below!
  • Make caramel apples 
  • Switch to flannel sheets on the beds
  • Get the fall clothes out; pack summer outfits away
  • Put up storm windows and doors
  • Rake
  • Get out the Halloween books
  • Start Christmas shopping
  • Purchase & stack firewood
  • Watch Halloween-ish movies, like The Addams Family, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and Hotel Transylvania
  • Carve pumpkins
  • Go trick or treating
  • Make pumpkin croissants ~ we made this recipe last week and they were fabulous! 
Crafts and Treats to Make
A few things I'd love to do with the kids this month
I probably won't get around to doing all of these things, but we'll have fun trying... Happy October!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Poetry in Our Homeschool This Year

I have a whole bunch of  things I want to share about how we are doing things this homeschool year. Last week I shared our math picture book list. Today, I'd like to share what we are doing for poetry this year. We do two things for poetry: read it and memorize it. Our poetry reading this year is as follows...

My fourth grader is reading through A Child's Introduction to Poetry with me, like all of her siblings before her. I love this book! A Child's Introduction to Poetry is a selection from BookShark's American History 1.  Each day we read a few pages about a certain form of poetry and the poets who wrote it...so far we have learned about nursery rhymes, nonsense verse, and limericks, among others . After we read, we pop in the accompanying CD and listen to a narrator read several poems in that style aloud. If you are looking for an easy-to-use, engaging introduction to poetry, I highly recommend this resource!


My seventh grader is reading through Favorite Poems Old and New with me. This is a selection from BookShark's World History 1. But we owned the book long before that...in fact we are on our second copy because our first one literally fell apart from use. We are usually assigned to read a few poems each day, which I read aloud right before we do our literature read-aloud. If you could only  have one poem book in your homeschool, this would definitely be the one I recommend!


My ninth grader is reading A Treasury of Poetry for Young People, a selection from BookShark American History 100. He is doing all of his own reading this year, except for poetry, because I think it "goes" much better read aloud and discussed, just a bit. This book is unique because it focuses on just six poets. Each poet has their own section, which includes a biography followed by several poems. It's an all-in-one poet study and I enjoy the focus on just one poet at a time. Note: this book is out of print on Amazon, but BookShark carries it. It is a bit spendy though, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying it outside of the program since there are so many other great poetry books out there.


My eleventh grader is reading Heart to Heart this year, a selection from Sonlight's Core 300 20th Century World History. It's a pretty light poetry year for her; I believe she is typically only assigned a poem or two a week to read. Still, the book is a nice addition to this core and quite unique.  Each page depicts a painting, sculpture or other artwork, and then an accompanying poem that was inspired by that artwork. Such a neat idea! She prefers to do most of her work independently at this point, so I don't read this one aloud with her, but I look forward to doing so with Christopher when he starts this Core later this year. 


The second piece of our poetry study, besides reading, is memory work. My three younger kids are memorizing several poems this year. They choose their own poems from any of the poetry resources we have, though Favorite Poems Old and New is their favorite resource by far. Each day, they read their poem to themselves several times.  Once they have it down, they recite it to me, then type the poem up (I type Rose's) and file it in their binder. I usually ask them to memorize around five poems a year, depending on length. Memorizing poetry is one of the few things I remember from high school - I can still recite Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" from junior year English class.

So that's this year's poetry study in a nutshell.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Math with Picture Books

For several years now I have been determined to gather a collection of math picture books and use them to add interest to our math studies. I have failed to accomplish this each year, but this year I actually did it! I'm going to share our reading list in a minute, but first I'll tell you how we're using math picture books in our homeschool.

 We read a picture book each week.

 That's it. Everyone reads a math picture book each week, from the 14 year old down to my 9 year old (my 16 year old is trying to finish up Algebra 2 while doing Geometry, so she's excused).   Some will be overly simple for my older kids, or go over the head of my younger one.  Others may give a little food for thought, or explain a concept in a way that finally makes something click.

Our Math Picture Book List

1. Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book



2. Shape Up! Fun with Triangles and Other Polygons



3. Multiplying Menace



4. Multiplying Menace Divides



5. Full House: An Invitation to Fractions



6. What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?



7. Actual Size



 8. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Early Mathematics



9. Mummy Math



10. Apple Fractions



11. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat



12. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci



13. A Remainder of One



14. On Beyond a Million



15. Math Potatoes



16. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All



17. Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra



18. Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi



19. Math Curse



20. One Grain of Rice



21. Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone



22. Cut Down to Size at High Noon

23. If You Made a Million



24. The King's Chessboard



25. How Big is a Foot?


So far, this is a great success! I have my youngest choose a book for me to  read aloud to her each week. That way I get to experience them all too. Math with picture books is one of my very favorite things about our new homeschool year.

Till next time!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

It's been awhile since I've been on the blog...summer just kind of got away from me somehow. I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule this fall. We start our new school year tomorrow and I just realized that I never shared our full plans for this year! So, without further ado...

Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Rose ~ Fourth Grade

*Language Arts*
*Math*
*History & Literature*
*Science*
*Electives*
James ~ 7th Grade

*Language Arts*
  • Advanced Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind)
  • Writing Strands 5
  • Spelling Workout G
  • Memorize 3-5 poems
  • Follow The Well-Trained Mind logic-stage suggestions for learning 3-level outlines and literary essays
*Math*
*Logic*
*History & Literature*
*Science*
*Electives*
Christopher ~ 9th Grade

*Language Arts*
  • Advanced Language Lessons (Well-Trained Mind)
  • Writing Strands 5
  • Wordly Wise 9
  • Memorize 3-5 poems
  • Follow The Well-Trained Mind logic/rhetoric stage suggestions for literary essays and outlining work
*Math*
*Logic*
*History and Literature*
*Science*
*Electives*
  • All-New Woodworking for Kids
  • The Annotated Mona Lisa
  • What to Listen for in Music
  • First Form Latin
  • Fluenz Spanish, supplemented with Duolingo Spanish
  • What Color is Your Parachute for Teens

  • Grace ~ 11th Grade

    *Language Arts*
    *Math*
    *Logic*
    *History & Literature*
    • Sonlight Core 300 (starting with week 12, going into Sonlight's Economic & Goverment Core after)
    *Science*
    *Electives*
    She also plans to take the SAT next spring so she'll prepare for that over this year, using Kahn Academy. And hopefully we'll get some driver's ed in the mix as well!

    Then, with everyone, I plan to do:

    In addition, everyone is continuing with their busy sports schedules, so I think we'll have plenty to keep ourselves busy! I'll be sharing more on just how we're using all of this curriculum, and some thoughts on it, as we go about our year.

    Thanks for stopping by!