Saturday, July 27, 2013

School room tour

 We currently have our school room in our dining room. It also happens to be the first room you walk into in the house. We have really used it and enjoy it. And since it's front and center, it's kept cleaner :) Here is a picture tour:

This is a big table for bigger kids and me. Montessori shelves next to table, couch for read aloud in lower left of picture. Workboxes/Montessori trays on bookshelf on far wall. Mom's supplies behind door.

Timeline and kiddos tables against the double fireplace/chimney. You can see the couch peeks out behind it.

Another view. Little table in far lower left, kitchen door is to the right, just in front of the book shelves

Kids using the space and a picture of the couch. This is before it was exactly like it is now. (there are different tables in the left picture)

 Our eat in Kitchen where our morning starts and we do Scripture memory, songs and picture study during breakfast.
We really enjoy the space and have fun using it. Because it is also our front room, it doubles well as a "sitting room" and it works!

And because I was asked here is where these items are found. I got about half from Craigslist and half from the stores. :)

The short shelves under the window are ANTOK Kitchen cabinets from Ikea. I bought extra shelves. The table is from Sam's Club and goes up and done from 22 inch to counter as well as regular table height. It was $35 last year, but has gone up quite a bit!
The book shelves are Billy from Ikea. Two full width and one half size. There are extension tops on each of them. The doors are OLSBO. The ones we have are white. They have gone up to and are now $40.

Little kid chairs are from Walmart and the big  chairs are Stefan chairs from Ikea
The colorful trays on for the Workboxes and Montessori trays are from Target. They were $2.50 and are found in the dollar spot at back to school time.

I'd love to see your school room!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book review: Do over by Shannon Guymon

Do over by Shannon Guymon. I have one this to day: LOVED IT! This was SUCH a fun book. I loved this entire series. I really enjoyed how Iris took on a tough persona to get over a failed relationship. I enjoyed the cast of characters from the rest of the series. There were a few things the characters did that seemed a bit out of character, but over all it was a fun filled happy read with lots of twists to keep the reader on there toes.
 I can usually predict a plot line  pretty well by a few chapters into a book. And while I did guess the end result, there were a few twists I didn't expect and I really love that. I gave it 5 stars.

Have you read this? What did you think? Do you have any other good book you have read that you would like to recommend? I am always up for a good clean book recommendation!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: An Unlikely Love by Brianna Kesler

I am an avid reader and just finished "An Unlikely Love"by Brianna Kesler for the second time. First time I picked it for pleasure and an less than $10 LDS fiction book. I really enjoyed it. It was fun flirty and held some deep thoughts. The second time I read it I read it as part of the
2013 Summer Book Trek Reading Challenge held by .
I loved it even more. I really enjoyed the characters. They are deep and brought a lot of thought. There is an element of truth and unabashed honesty to the characters that endeared me to them. Vanessa is a smart honest witty sarcastic girl who has hidden pain, while Xander is a fresh faced smart, though somewhat naive, guy who is trying to keep his job wile wanting true love at the same time submitting to the contract he signed to be married by age 25.
I laughed out loud so much that i couldn't read it unless my husband was completely asleep- otherwise he would want to know what was so funny and I would have to STOP READING and tell him. It was better to wait until he was completely asleep and then I could keep reading ;)

I was pleasantly surprised when I read the authors bio at the end and realized that this was written by a young mom and recently married gal who had been homeschooled. I hope that at the same age my girls that I homeschool can be so well spoken and understand the workings of the marriage!
I would definitely recommend this book as a fun, and thought provoking summer read.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Book Trek Reading Challenge

I was on the search for a good LDS fiction book and found the Summer Book trek! It is put on by

Quite simply for the rest of July, read LDS books :) There are prizes for reading and commenting on others blogs.
 I am always up for reading, and a challenge that just helps me do one of my favorite things is always welcome! So heres my reading list:

Read in July:
Winter Fire  Rachel Nunes
Framed for Love Rachel Nunes
An Unlikely Love  Brianna Kesler
Do Over by Shannon Guymon
Tangled Hearts by Roseanne Wilkins
Millstone City by S.P. Bailey
Above Rubies by Jaclyn Hawkes
The Frozen trail by Lisa Dyley
Royal Target  Traci Abramson

To Read:
Glimmer of Hope — Sarah Eden
Orchard, The — Krista Lynne Jensen 
Of Grace and Chocolate — Krista Lynne Jensen 
Longing for Home: A Proper Romance — Sarah Eden 
Edenbrooke  Julianne Donaldson
Penumbras  by Braden Bell
Drops of Gold: A Regency Romance — Sarah Eden
The Kiss of a Stranger: A Regency Romance — Sarah Eden
The Road to Grace Richard Paul Evans
Step of Faith  Richard Paul Evans

I am hoping to add some more, but considering I have about 12 days I will see what time I REALLY have ;) I have been enjoying gardening and cleaning while listening to books, so perhaps I'll be able to read this list!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The 5 R's and Homeschooling

At our house lately we have incorporated the 5Rs. It's a take off of the traditional 3 R's from the 1800s. The following are our "5Rs "
This is what it looks like for us. Right now we have 8 , 6 and 4 year olds.  

Breakfast- while the kids eat we do Religion:
Religion: Scripture memory, Songs and Article of Faith memorization. 
Directly after handing the plates to the sink/dishwasher we do a Zoom   Get ready to write and do handwriting.
wRiting: A hand writing page I make with  StartWrite I pick the same topic/sentence for all the kids, but have each page be age appropriate.
This is what we did today. 
Left, 4 year old. Middle 6 year old (before she colored). Right 8 year old.
Seeing their handwriting skills again, this is what I would have done (and will do tomorrow with a different topic):

The changes: 4 yr old- less words (she's a perfectionist), All Capitals for the 6 year old and a choice of cursive or print for the 8 year old.  I leave the top blank so they can color the top. They love to do handwriting if they get to draw and color after. :)

We either do a Living math book, Mental Math with Mama (I give them math story problems and they answer them. We have also tried (worked for about 2 weeks) and currently using a trial from  They enjoy that one quite a bit and I sit with them, so it's instruction and one on one time, not just a child spending computer time.

For reading we cover phonics and reading books. We have a read aloud or audio book we listen to/read daily.
Then for phonics and individual reading this is what we do:
Oldest (age)  has a chapter book she's working on- one assigned and one free pick. Right now she's working her way through the Anne of Green Gables Series and Her assigned books are From a series of Landmark Biographies that we have collected from used book sales.

She will also do a green series Montessori work about every third day.

The 6 year old with do a phonic work from the advanced Pink or Blue Language Montessori and read a reader to me. We have many we have found over the years. We  use the Bob series as well as Sing read and right and many other readers.

Each of the older two read the youngest a book while I work with the other on something (usually Math)

The 4 year old works on the Letter sounds with the sand paper letters and Pink Montessori series.

 These fall into two categories- daily responsibilities and a family chore.
Daily responsibilities are the things they have learned to do and can do on their own (most of the time)- making the bed, getting dressed, clothes in laundry.
 Then there are the family chores that I am teaching them. So right now we are working on emptying the dishwasher and picking up regularly. I don't do well with chore charts- after a week or two I forget. However this way everyone is learning the same chore and getting good at it. My oldest can empty the dishwasher herself, but dislikes it strongly, but when we are all doing it together, she sees how fast it goes. So far the Responsibilities we've worked on for my 8 year old that she now has the ability to do and will do willing is: empty garbage and take it to our garbage can, switch laundry, fold towels and wash clothes, make scrambled eggs, pancakes and pasta/noodles, vacuum and clean a bathroom floor. My 6 year old will vacuum, take clothes out of the dryer, empty smaller garbage's into kitchen garbage sweep and wash sinks and windows/cabinets/appliance. My 4 year old pretty much does what her 6 yr old sister does, but also loves to vacuum and scrub the bathroom floor. All the kids will wash the kitchen floor Cinderella style (hands and knees)
I focus on one chore a week to teach all three of them and we do it as a group. Then I take kids aside one on one and shoe them how to do something and then that is their job for a while with mommy teaching. I don't have a set schedule. It's sort of on the fly really. But since I incorporated the 5th R of responsibility, I am remembering to teach the job and do it with them much more than before. 


This has made such a difference if my ability to feel like I can get school done and not have it be overwhelming or a burden on me. It may seem like a lot all written out, but when I have everything ready and grab and go, it's an hour with cooperative children and sometimes 2-3 if we spend more time on something because we are enjoying it. But generally, we get our hour in and then "play"   and learn the rest of the day. We work in nature study and science and language as well. But this way if we don't get the others in, I know we have our basics done!

Daily Songs

Every morning during breakfast the kids and I do scriptures and songs as our morning devotional.routine I have a flip chart that I put together that has some new songs. I found them a long time ago. "The here still PHEW! I've been trying to find newer black and white outline flip charts for the new song. Those have been hard to find.So instead I have printed out simple ones with pictures from the friend in gray scale. That has worked well. Here are the sources I have used for my flip charts:

Primary to Go"website is closed, but the files can be found
 Idea door

LDS organists

In the Leafy treetops the birds sing "Good morning"

Every year I pick out the scriptures and Primary songs we will memorize for the year and then I print them out and use it all year. It makes our devotional time a breeze. I just pick up the scripture notebook and the song notebook and we are ready to go. When it's a new song and we don't know the tune, I grab the song on YouTube on the iPod. It's low enough it doesn't drown us out, but we can still hear it :)


Memorizing scripture

My husband and I feel memorization is important. It's a skill that is needed through out school and it's important to have certain passages memorized. In our homeschool, we do scripture memory and other school memory. So far the scripture memory has gone well and the other, not quite in the groove yet. But we will take our wins where we get them! :)I found a neat idea for scripture memory on one of my favorite blogs over on Our Busy Homeschool. There are more details on Simply Charlotte Mason.

As I do with most things I tweak them a bit to make them work for us. In comes our "Scripture Memory Notebook" instead of a set of index cards.We generally do this at breakfast and sometimes the other meals too. That's the goal, but it doesn't always happen!
 So we review scriptures in the following way:
Daily scripture
Odd or even day (of the month)
Day of the week
Date of the month (1-31) You put scriptures in each of the spot. Start with one you have memorized. Once you memorize it for a week it goes tot he next spot (Odd/Even) and so forth.
We have a notebook that we use landscape and it works as an easel.

For today Monday July 1st this is what our  memorization looks like:
First we recite/review our motto:
Then review the daily scripture (new) 

 Next up- the Odd scripture (it's the 1st of July)
This is what they are studying in Primary this month. I usually put the Primary scripture in odd/even so they get exposure to it, but it doesn't become the scripture of the week. They usually have it done about halfway through the month.

 It's Monday so this is where we have our Articles of Faith generally (during the Week days). You may not have them memorized, but the kids have heard them enough, so you could pop in 5 familiar ones in the week even if you don't have them memorized yet.

It's July first, so here's the first of the month, one we had on the wall at our old house, that the kids had memorized simply because they saw it every time they brushed there teeth :)

So that's how we do our scriptures :)
Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Mental Math with Mama

Daily we do Mathtime with Mama, I sit with them and do math. Depending on the other writing tasks of the day, it can be a handwritten page(about once a week), online math ( or are the current ones) or Mental Math with Mama.
This is how we do Mental Math with Mama:

Typically we have counters or fingers at the use. I will tailor the math to the child's interests.
This morning the 6 year old and I were working on 5's and adding and subtracting 2s and 3s . This leads to problems like:
There are 5 dogs playing and 2 more join them. How many dogs are playing? If she gets it we do the next. If she doesn't I use my fingers and state it again. Or I will use manipulatives(commercially purchased, acorns, rocks, counting bears, blocks, buttons etc). Generally though my fingers are handiest :)  

(I have no problems borrowing  the child's or a siblings' fingers if the problem gets bigger )

 This child has a LOVE of animals especially dogs. That means we do math using dogs, puppies, dalmatians, goldfish, catfish, etc. With the oldest it's horses, foals and cats. The youngest likes whatever she hears her sisters using. It makes it fun and keeps them engaged on the math- which is the focus, but we are also keeping learning fun- which is the other point :)

I will do math problems until they get tired and they have to finish the last one. This tends to be   2x their age minus one problem is enough. But I go farther until they get antsy. Once that happens we celebrate what they did and they go back tot he table or go play or read to sister- what ever is next.

We are working on building confidence in themselves :)
So while the Math skill is important, so is their ability to end on a positive note!

Thanks for reading! What do you do for daily math?