Scripture Mastery Clothesline


Every year in seminary, there are 25 scripture mastery verses the kids are encouraged to memorize. This year, the boys are going to try to memorize those scriptures along with their older sister. I decided we needed a way to keep track of who has memorized what and came up with our scripture mastery clothesline now hanging on the dining room (aka place where all the school stuff is) wall.

Scripture Mastery Clothesline

I googled and found an outline of a t-shirt. Then I opened it in PhotoShop Elements and added a list of the kids names and added squares next to their names check off when they have the passage memorized. I made 25 t-shirts, each with a different scripture mastery verse written at the top.

Scripture Mastery Clothesline

I printed them out, cut them out, and used little alligator clips to attach the t-shirts to string like they are hanging on a clothesline.

School Books by Me


Two projects I’ve worked on this summer have been books for Cameron and Fritz for language arts this year. I had them printed using Lulu.
School Books by Me

First I did Fritz’s Dictionary. I read the seven books Fritz will be reading this year. As I read them, I came up with comprehension and discussion questions and also wrote down all the (many, many, many) vocabulary words I want him to look up. I came up with a vocabulary program for him using those words.

He will look up the assigned words in his dictionary before he does the assigned reading each day. I made the dictionary with those specific words because then I could have the exact information I wanted him to learn in there. Each definition has the part of speech and definition (as used in the book he’s reading) and also the language of origin. He will write down the part of speech and then write a sentence that shows that he clearly understands the definition. I decided to skip copying the definition because he’ll be doing copywork through Writing With Ease, plus some of the days have quite a few words to look up. He will also make a tally mark for the language of origin. At the end of the year, he’ll use that information to make a bar graph showing the language of origin frequency for all his words (#1 will be Latin and #2 will be French).

School Books by Me

Additionally, I made him some 3-part Montessori cards for most of his vocabulary words. He’ll be matching the original word with its language and what the original word meant with the current vocabulary word(s). I want him to see a little bit how words evolve.

For Cameron, I made Cameron’s English Book. I found a free font called OpenDyslexic that is supposed to make it easier for dyslexics to read. I used it throughout his book. We’ll see if it helps.

The first section of his book is 25 2-3 page author biographies that I wrote. The authors range from the early 1600s to the mid 1800s (we’re doing Renaissance to Early Modern this year). Each one is just basic information such as when they were born and died, major works, and anything interesting that happened during their life. He’ll be reading novels and poems by some of the authors. The rest of the book is some of the out of copyright poems and fairy tales he’ll read during the year.

School Books by Me

I made 3-part Montessori cards for Cameron as well. His are Latin and Greek roots. He’ll be matching roots and the language they are from with what the root means. He’ll be keeping a list of words that use each root he studies. Fritz may work through some of the roots matching cards as well.

Getting There


Our first day of school for the 2014-15 school year has been moved to the 27th so we have exactly 2 weeks to go. And I am slowly getting to the point of being completely ready!

I’ve never printed out everything before the start of the year before and decided this would be a great year to start. Lots of paper, ink, toner, and time later and everything is printed, sorted, and, if necessary, hole punched.

Getting There

Side note: I now have hole punch muscle soreness. That is a lot of hole punching.

My next project is to do a bunch of laminating and cutting. I already know I’ll have to order more laminating sleeves. I wish I could remember where I ordered them from last time (a few years ago) since I got them incredibly super cheap.

I still need to move the bookcase downstairs and organize the papers into whatever they will go in to be used during the year and finish my lesson plans. And order a couple chemicals for the big kids’ chemistry set. And see what (if anything) I need to add to history for Cameron. And pre-read at least Cameron’s first book of the year. And probably some other things I haven’t thought of yet but will need to do before the first day of school.

Meanwhile, Ani has been working on her lesson plans. They are looking great. She’ll have a fabulous year!

2 1/2 Weeks to Go


All week I’ve been thinking that we only have one more full week before school starts. Imagine my excitement when I realized this morning that we actually have two full weeks left of summer.

I’ve been printing (and printing and printing) this week. That’s on hold for now until Amazon delivers my new toner cartridge tomorrow. I do have some color stuff I can print in the meantime using the other printer.

I gave Cameron the placement test for Spelling Power today. No surprises. I expected he would test into Level C. He tested into Level C. He’s at the upper end, though, so the first few weeks shouldn’t be too difficult for him. Fritz is also in Level C. Halfway through since that’s where he started back in January. Cameron is awesome, though, and isn’t the least bit upset to be starting spelling behind his much younger brother. He said he knows why so it’s no big deal.

I made a dictionary (on for Fritz using just the vocabulary words I pulled out of his seven reading books. It arrived today. I love it! I also made a book for Cameron with the 25 author bios I wrote and then some of the poems and fairy tales he’ll be reading this year all printed in the free dyslexic font I found (that one hasn’t arrived yet). I don’t know if the font will help him in his reading, but it’s worth a try.

Fritz finished the Life of Fred Language Arts series this summer and he’s been learning to write in cursive. He’s learning the capital letters now. He’s my first kid to really take to writing in cursive.

Last week I sent in the letters to withdraw the older two from school. We got the certified mail return receipt from the high school. The one from the middle school hasn’t arrived yet.

So I’m down to 2 1/2 more weeks (but that’s better than 1 1/2!) to finish getting ready for the school year. I need to print more, do some laminating, put together notebooks, move a bookcase downstairs… Start date: August 26th.

Educational Table


A long time ago I saw the idea on a blog somewhere to make a changeable educational table. I filed it away in the back of my mind to use someday. I finally got around to doing it last week.

Educational Table

We have a really big table (seats 8) so we had lots of space available to fill. I got a tablecloth that matches the walls in the dining room for the bottom and a hemmed plastic table cover about the same size as the tablecloth for the top.

Educational Table

On one end is a world map. It fit the end of the table perfectly.

Educational Table

In the middle are two periodic tables (since we’re doing chemistry this year) facing opposite directions so whichever side of the table you are on you can read them. We’re still waiting for them to finish uncurling since they came rolled up.

Educational Table

On the other end is a US map. I searched for one the size of the world map, but couldn’t find one the same size. This was the best I could find without being too wide.

Already we’ve had conversations sparked by what’s on the maps and periodic tables. I figure we can change what is under the plastic (at least in the middle – the maps may just stay forever) depending on what we are learning in school.

Literature Selections


I previously wrote about the books I selected for Fritz for next year. So far I’ve read The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit. I’m currently reading Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting. Then I still have The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum and Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Deborah Howe. I’ve kind of figured out in my mind how I’m going to handle vocabulary and word roots and derivatives. I’ve still got to figure out exactly how to do what I want to do, but I’m getting there.

For Cameron, the books/poems will be as follows:

  • Adventures of Don Quixote (abridged)
  • The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault (Little Red Riding-Hood, The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, The
  • Master Cat; Or, Puss in Boots, Cinderilla; Or, The Little Glass Slipper)
  • From Gulliver’s Travels, A Voyage to Lilliput and A Voyage to Brobdingnag*
  • Robinson Crusoe*
  • William Wordsworth (We Are Seven, Lines Written in Early Spring, Lines Composed upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802, I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow*
  • Robert Browning – The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin)
  • Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth
  • Christina Rosetti (A Birthday, No, Thank You, John)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland*
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer*
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea*
  • A Christmas Carol*
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson – The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Edgar Allan Poe – The Raven
  • Peter Christen Asbjrnsen, Norwegian Folk Tales (Why the Sea is Salt, East o’ the Sun and West o’ the Moon, The Three Billy-Goats Gruff, Thumbikin, Little Annie the Goose-Girl)
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass*

The *’d books he will be reading using the Kindle Fire and immersion reading with the audiobook and ebook at the same time.

In addition, I’m going to put together a couple pages each of biographies about the following authors so he can learn a little background about them:
Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, John Bunyan, Alexander Pope, John Milton, William Blake, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, William Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Edward Lear, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, Herman Melville, Victor Hugo, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman

And then there’s Ani. She helped me pick a bunch of books that will no doubt challenge her.

  • Iliad, Homer
  • Odyssey, Homer
  • Agamemnon, Aeschylus
  • Medea, Euripides
  • The Birds, Aristophanes
  • History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
  • The Republic, Plato
  • Symposium, Plato
  • Rhetoric, Artistotle
  • Aeneid, Virgil
  • Confessions of St. Augustine
  • The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius
  • The Inferno, Dante
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
  • Le Morte d’Arthur, Malory
  • The Prince, Machiavelli
  • Utopia, Thomas More
  • The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe
  • The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost, William Shakespeare

Is there really only a month left of summer vacation?


Okay, it’s a little more than a month for us, really. The first day of public school for the local kids is August 25th. So that means we go back the 26th. And that means I’m busy planning our next school year. Mostly we’re all planned. Now I’m doing a lot of pre-reading of the books on three of the kids’ reading lists (which will be another post, hopefully later this week).

One slight change: Cameron is not going to do the virtual school after all. Once Ani decided to be homeschooled again, it really didn’t make sense to be tied to a school calendar for just one kid. So, once again, all four will be home and homeschooled.

The plans… I always start with the oldest and work my way down to the youngest so this time I’m going to start with the little one.

Adrian – age 6, 1st grade
Math: MathSeeds and some math workbooks a friend gave me
Language Arts/Reading: Reading Eggs, PAL: Reading and Writing, Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, First Language Lessons 1
Science: REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry (along with the other three)
History: History Odyssey Level 1, Year 3 (along with the rest of the boys)
Religion: Hands-on Church History and Discover the Latter-day Prophets (along with the other two boys)
Art: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists (along with the rest of the boys)
Music: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Composers (along with the rest of the boys)
PE: Taekwondo… when he does it

Fritz – age 8, 3rd grade
Math: Beast Academy 3, Life of Fred
Language Arts/Reading: Reading Eggspress (maybe), Spelling Power, First Language Lessons 3, Writing With Ease 2, Oral Reading Practice using the McGuffey Readers, Literature Selections, Writing Class Taught by Ani
Science: REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry (along with the other three)
History: History Odyssey Level 1, Year 3 (along with the rest of the boys)
Religion: Hands-on Church History and Discover the Latter-day Prophets (along with the rest of the boys)
Art: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists (along with the rest of the boys)
Music: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Composers (along with the rest of the boys)
PE: Taekwondo

Cameron – age 13 (in October), 7th grade
Math: Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra
Language Arts/Reading: Spelling Power (maybe), Writing With Style 1, Literature Selections, Hands-on Grammar Activities, Oral Reading Practice using the McGuffey Readers
Science: REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry (along with the other three), Chem C3000 chemistry kit (along with Ani)
History: History Odyssey Level 1, Year 3 (along with the rest of the boys)
Religion: Hands-on Church History and Discover the Latter-day Prophets (along with the rest of the boys)
Art: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Artists (along with the rest of the boys)
Music: Confessions of a Homeschooler World’s Greatest Composers (along with the rest of the boys)
Critical Thinking: Complete Critical Thinker (along with Ani)
PE: Taekwondo and Kickboxing (he does more hours than any of the rest of us)

Ani – age 14 1/2, 10th grade
Math: Life of Fred Geometry
Language Arts/Reading: Literature Selections, Lots and Lots (and lots) of Writing, Teaching a Writing Class to late elementary age kids, Writing group with other homeschooled high schoolers
Science: REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry (along with the other three), Chem C3000 chemistry kit (along with Cameron), Life of Fred Chemistry
History: World History (we put together quite a course using books, Student Handouts workbooks, notebooking, and Crash Course World History videos)
Intro to Psychology – Using MIT OpenCourseWare and Crash Course Psychology Videos
Religion: Seminary(early morning, at the church): Doctrine and Covenants
Critical Thinking: Complete Critical Thinker (along with Cameron)
PE: Taekwondo
Volunteering: Most likely at the library and hospital