Tag Archives: history cycle 2

Wrapping Up Week 33 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Change is in the air.  Between finishing up with the curriculum we’ve been working through this year, review products we’ve added in, and looking ahead to the coming school year, this week has felt like we’ve entered a transitional period.  I’m excited about the direction we’re heading, and I look forward to sharing more about it after we officially close this year.

We kicked off the week with a choir festival, in which Ian got to both sing and and his first performance with handchimes.  It was a wonderful experience and fun reward for the last couple years of work he’s put in in our Friday music classes.

Choir Festival Collage


Book of AstronomyWe’ve got a few science-related reviews coming up, but this week our main focus was the Book of Astronomy Set from Memoria Press.  I was really excited about this product, and so far it’s living up to my expectations.  This week we memorized the fifteen brightest stars and began learning about the constellations.  One night Ian came in from playing announcing that he’d found Orion’s belt, so we grabbed our book and headed outside to see how our picture of the constellation matched up with the real thing.  Another night we were out late and as we walked in from the car, Elijah said, “That looks like something to scoop up soup!”  Sure enough, he’d found the Big Dipper.

We’ve haven’t learned about Orion or the Big Dipper yet, so that was as far as our stargazing went those nights, but I’m thrilled to see the boys looking to the sky and recognizing the pictures that have captured man’s attention for thousands of years.  When I lived in rural Kenya back before I got married, I was so familiar with the stars in the night sky and always aware of the current phase of the moon, but now being back in busy, light-polluted Southern California I rarely look up or sense the rhythm of the heavenly bodies as the months pass by.  I am enjoying learning alongside my children as we “listen” to the heavens declaring the glory God.


Computer Learning

We have grown so dependent on our computers this year, and when I cracked the screen on one of them a couple weeks ago it really disrupted our rhythm.  Thankfully, I was able to replace it this week (thank you, YouTube!), and so both boys are able to work at the same time.

Language Arts

Both boys spent quite a bit of time on Read, Write, and Type.  I love the extra spelling practice it is giving them.  Elijah seems determined to complete all ten levels, and I’m going to have both of them keep working toward that goal.  Ian has to work harder on spelling than his brother, and this will be a fun way to practice through the summer.  He also got started exploring Essential Skills Advantage.


Ian only as two lessons left in his Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation!  This has been one of our favorite things about this school year.  He’s always eager to get his history done, and it’s been a great introduction to the Classical method has he’s memorized the timeline and worked through the lessons.


Ian is just a few lessons away from completing Teaching Textbooks Math 3.  I’ll give him the summer off before we continue onto Math 4.  For now, he’ll finish up his A+Interactive Math Mini-Course on time, since he’s still struggling to master reading a clock, and then just keep up with facts practice.  The boys have had a break from xtramath.org while the extra computer was down.  I’m dreading to see their scores next week.  For Elijah, summer math will consist of facts practice and completing the A+Interactive Math Mini-Course on money, but he’s still got a few weeks worth of MEP lessons left.

A few final thoughts

This week should see us finishing up most of our year’s curriculum, as well as the final choir performance for all three kids in the music program, but the boys still have several weeks left in their IEW class, plus working on our review products, so while things will be changing, we’re not quite looking at a full break just yet.

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 32 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 I love that my younger children have the benefit of learning alongside their older brothers, but sometimes I feel a little sad that they don’t get to do all the fun preschool activities I did with Ian (and a little with Elijah).  So when Daddy and the older boys headed off to a retreat together, I decided to work in some special preschool time with Arianna and Nicholas.

Arianna always wants to have a tea party when the boys are gone, and I find those are great times to pull out special books to read.  This time I pulled out three Before Five in a Row books: Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?Ask Mr. Bear, and Blueberries for Sal.  We got out the Wooden Bear Family Dress Up Puzzle I bought back when I first “rowed” Jesse Bear with Ian, and we made our craisins go “kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk” in the tin buckets I collected when I first “rowed” Blueberries for Sal” (no blueberries in the house, so cranberries had to do).  Then we had fun dancing around while watching Jana Alayra videos on YouTube.  It was so sweet to have time with just these two little ones for a while.

B4FIAR Teatime


We’re about to start a review of a new science program, so I decided to finish up Our Planet Earth, completing the God’s Design for Heaven and Earth for the year.  (Woohoo!)  We finished learning about the planets (the gas giants, plus the two dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris), watching the rest of Wonders of God’s Creation: The Milky Way and our Solar System as well as The Solar System: Outer Gas Planets.

Then we really enjoyed learning about NASA and America’s exploration of space.  Lots and Lots of Roaring Rockets-Soaring Spacecraft is a wonderful video for kids about the history of the space program.  The boys saw it a couple years ago, but they both enjoyed watching it again.  (We have the DVD, which for some reason doesn’t work in our DVD player but works fine on the computer, so I recommend the streaming video.)

The boys and Daddy also kept up a continuing game of Solarquest: The Space-Age Real Estate Game all week.  They’ve gotten so familiar with the names of the moons of various planets through this game, and they loved it when they’d recognize them in the videos we watched.


Ian is down to the last three weeks of the Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.  This week he studied Calvin and the Institute of Religion.  John CalvinIt wasn’t assigned in the course, but I had him read John Calvin: What is the truth? by Catherine Mackenzie to go along with the lesson.  I really like Mackenzie’s whole “Little Lights” series.  They are picture books about important people in Christian history.  Arianna has brought me several of them to read to her, and I love that she’s getting familiar with people like Corrie ten Boom and Amy Carmichael at four-years old.  Yet they’re not so simple that Ian can’t learn from them as well at eight.  (Plus he can easily read them on his own, which is always something I try to encourage in my reluctant reader.)  I’m glad I was able to add the whole series (14 books) to our family library.

Upcoming Reviews

I’ve published several reviews lately, but we’ve still got lots we’ll be sharing about in the weeks and months to come:


Wrapping Up Week 31 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 It’s all downhill from here!  I told Ian that as soon as he finishes up everything scheduled for history, science, and math (about four weeks’ worth of work), we’ll lighten up school for the summer.  (We never really stop completely, and I do have a few things planned, but they won’t be quite as intense as our regular school year.)  He was really motivated at the beginning of the week, flying through his entire week of lessons for the Veritas Press self-paced history course in one day, but then he never got back to it, so he didn’t really get ahead at all.

20160329_103951xI’m definitely ready for the break myself.  After posting my review of Essentials earlier this week, we’re taking a break from the intensity of its daily lessons.  I also dropped handwriting and read alouds this week.  We spent a day at the Natural History Museum (and was tempted to give in when Ian begged to go back the next day).  The weather has been beautiful and I loved that the kids wanted to spend hours and hours outside.  So I feel like I’m already kicking into summer mode.


One thing we did accomplish was getting caught up in Our Planet Earth, our final book for the year in God’s Design for Heaven and Earth.  We read/discussed the moon and half of the planets in our solar system.  That inspired the boys to pull out Solarquest: The Space-Age Real Estate Game, (somewhat similar to Monopoly), a fun way to learn more about the planets and their moons.

We also watched a few videos:



I wish I had enjoyed math as much as Elijah does!

Math is the one subject I just can’t let go of during the summer, at least not completely.  We’re still in the thick of things as we try to finish up our curriculum for the year.  (Ian’s doing really well working independently with Teaching Textbooks Math 3 and Elijah’s still loving the challenge of MEP).  They’re both working through subtraction fact drills on xtramath.org (though Ian has almost mastered them and will be moving on to multiplication in the next week or so).

Actually, because the boys are also going through mini-courses from A+Interactive Math (Ian’s getting extra practice on Time, and Elijah’s doing Money), they both did a LOT of math this week.


 We’re having fun working on our first lapbook ever!  I’ve known about lapbooks since we first started homeschooling, but they’re not really my style (just seem really wasteful).  However, it’s part of our Beethoven unit in the review we’re doing on Zeezok Publishing’s Music Appreciation Book 1 Collection.  I’m curious to see how the boys like it when we have the whole thing finished.  Maybe I’ll have to overcome my reluctance.

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 30 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 We made it to spring break!  We’ve all got a bout of spring fever around here, so we’re looking forward to a lighter week coming up (just a few reviews we’re working on that we’ll be keeping up with or getting started).  Here are a few highlights from this past week.

Day With the Grandparents

The kids started off enjoying the flexibility of homeschooling by spending Sunday night at my parents’ house.  They had so much fun working with Grandma in the kitchen to make special treats.  Elijah and Arianna explored outside, and Ian got to shoot a BB gun for the first time.  He and Grandpa had a wonderful time making targets and shooting out on the property.  I love that they have opportunities like this, and it was better than any lessons we could have gotten in that morning.

Target practice

Approaching Holy Week

We’ve really enjoyed our daily reading in A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin all through this Lenten season.  This week we read the story of the Triumphal Entry (a little early, but it got the kids excited for Sunday).  Elijah and Arianna had colored paper palm leaves, coats, a donkey, and Jesus at church, and everyone had fun acting out the story as I read.  It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet it really made the story come alive for the kids.  Every week they’ve been getting something that helps them tell the story like this, and I absolutely love it.  The Bible is working its way deep into their hearts as they relive the stories over and over.

Palm Sunday
We followed up by reading The Donkey Who Carried a King by R.C. Sproul.  (Did you check out my list of Christ-Centered Books for Easter?  We actually read several of them through this week.)

Easter books

Thinking Ahead… Veritas Press Self-Paced Courses on Sale!

Veritas Middle AgesIan has absolutely loved going through the Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation this year.  All the self-paced courses on sale until tomorrow, ($100 off!), so now’s a great time to buy!  You don’t have to start right away (we bought at this time last year and deferred the start date for our new school year in July), so if you think this would be a good option for your family for next year I’d encourage you to look into it.  This course was one of the best decisions I made for this school year.

Elijah has been asking all year,”When do I get to do history?”  I’m really excited about studying the Explorers and beginning American history next year though, so I decided to teach history myself rather than using a Veritas Press course.  Instead, I decided to sign Elijah up for one of their Bible courses (on sale for $79 right now).  He was pretty young when we started going through the Old Testament with Ian, so I think he’ll really benefit from an in depth study of Genesis through Joshua.  I know he’s going to love it, and I’m excited that he’s going to build such a solid foundation for a lifetime of Bible learning.  I’ll have Ian follow along as well, but this will be Elijah’s course officially.

Veritas Press has multiple course options for both history and Bible, so check them out before the sale ends tomorrow night!

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 29 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
Somewhere in my counting of “weeks” of school I got ahead of myself last week, so this will be the second time I post about Week 29, but this time it really is.  Not that the count is at all important aside from turning in paperwork. My children’s education is such a natural part of our lifestyle that it seems rather silly to count certain days over other days and then stop counting at some magical number even though very little changes when they’re not “doing school.”  I think the main difference is that I try to get through a year-long curriculum during our official 36 weeks for certain topics.  After that it’s all just fun enrichment and continued practice.


This week we covered the lessons on the sun in Our Planet Earth (from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth).  The boys especially liked learning about solar eclipses and were so glad there was a whole page about when and where they could see the next one.  They’re planning a road trip for August 2017 to find an optimal viewing position.  For now they had to settle for creating their own model.

eclipse demo


I’m really impressed with how much the boys have learned this year in their IEW class going through Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales: Writing Lessons in Structure & Style.  This week they were finishing up their versions of The Ugly Duckling, and I was amazed at what a smooth process their writing assignments have become.  Last year it was like pulling teeth to get more than a sentence or two out of Ian, but the IEW program has made such a difference.  Now he not only knows what to write about, he knows how to put together an interesting story with varied stylistic techniques, and it’s a relatively painless process.

As a Kindergartner Elijah is really young for the class, but even he has learned so much and takes delight in finding just the right words to put his stories together.  I want this whole process to be a positive one for both boys, so I let them dictate their stories to me for now.  They follow the outlines they’ve created in class, and I type (or write, if we’re doing it during Arianna’s ballet class as often happens) their paragraphs as they dictate to me.  Then we come back to it another day and put in any “dress-ups” that didn’t already naturally come into their narration.  Both boys love sharing the stories with the other kids in the class.


Ian’s still plugging away at his Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation.  This week he covered Martin Luther, so in addition to his daily computer work I read aloud Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier.

On his own, Ian read Martin Luther: What Should I Do? from a series by Catherine MacKenzie.  I’ve never read any of the Little Lights books before, but I was impressed with this book and decided to buy more in the series.  They’re all biographies of famous Christians, and they’re easy enough books that I didn’t hear any complaints from Ian when I asked him to read.  There are several that will easily go along with our history studies over the next couple years, and I might have him read others just for the exposure to great missionary stories.

Luther Maier   Luther MacKenzie 


One thing we spent a lot of time on this week was a Stopmotion Explosion project that Ian’s hoping to share with the IEW class in a few weeks.  We’re making a short film telling the story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” of the the legends about King Arthur’s knights.  The whole process of taking the pictures, adding the sound, choosing music, and editing it all together has been educational for all of us, especially Ian.  I have a feeling this will just be the first of many such projects.

Stopmotion Explosion Review

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Wrapping Up Week 28 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Last week continued our trend of sickness and field trips tweaking our regular school schedule, but we managed to stay on top of things.  Thankfully the boys can get through their math independently (Ian in Teaching Textbooks Math 3, Elijah in Year 1 of MEP, with both doing drills on xtramath.org every day that we’re home).  Ian’s also really good about doing his Veritas Press Self-Paced History course on his own, studying the Inquisition this past week.

Field Trips

Compassion ExperienceOn Monday we visited the Compassion Experience along with some other friends from our homeschool group.  The kids really liked learning about what life was like for two sponsor children in Kenya and the Philippines.  Even Nicholas (2) did better than I expected, though he had a little trouble keeping the headphones on his head.

Then on Thursday we visited the Huntington Library and Gardens to see their complete vellum copy of the Gutenberg Bible (one of only five left in the world). It was pretty impressive to think that we were looking at something actually created by Johann Gutenberg over 500 years ago!  The kids also had a wonderful time exploring the Children’s Garden.

Huntington Library 1 Huntington Library 2 Huntington Library 3 Huntington Library 4

A few final thoughts

We’re being stretched (in a good way) by Essentials from Logic of English.  It’s a very detailed curriculum, more structured than anything else we do, but I’m already seeing some very positive results.  It’s also created a new dynamic for us, teaching Ian and Elijah the same thing simultaneously.  It’s spurring both of them on, and so far I like what I’m seeing from them.  I think we accomplish more when they’re working together than we would if Ian were going through the program alone.  The little ones have also loved having time to play on Starfall (we’ve had the “more Starfall” subscription for several years and LOVE it) and Reading Eggs while we do our Essentials work.

We also had fun getting started with Stopmotion Explosion.  Both boys have made short little movies to learn the basic process, and we’re getting ready to tackle something a little bigger. Out of all the things we’ve reviewed, I think the boys will remember this one the most!

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


The Dragon and The Raven Audio Adventure (Crew Review)

Dragon and the Raven Review
What do you know about Alfred the Great?  This early king of England not only helped defeat the raiding Vikings, but was also was a man of deep faith who helped bring his enemies to Christ.  Now Heirloom Audio Productions has brought his inspiring story back to life in their newest adventure, The Dragon and the Raven, based on the historical novel by G.A. Henty.  We were blessed by their generosity in allowing us to review not only the audio drama, but also several bonuses materials that helped us get even more about of the story.

About Heirloom Audio Productions

HeirloomAudio-Logo_zpsnjxedqzzHeirloom Audio Productions is passionate about bringing history to life.  Through their dramatic audio adventures they are introducing a new generation to “The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty,” a 19th century author whose historical, character-building novels enjoyed great popularity more than a hundred years ago.  Each story features virtuous characters who must learn how to walk out their faith in the midst of the trials they face.

Heirloom Audio Productions strives for excellence in every aspect of what they do.  From their talented actors to the beautiful soundtracks, these two-hour plus dramas are quality productions that both children and adults can appreciate.  Our family has eagerly added all their audio adventures to our library:

and now, The Dragon and the Raven!

Heirloom Audio Collage

About The Dragon and the Raven

Like the others in this series, the adventure begins with two boys, Ned and Gerald, meeting up with “Mr. George,” (G.A. Henty), who sets the stage for the story he’s about to tell.  This time the boys will take on the more common 9th century names of “Edmund” and “Harold” as the live out the adventure.

After the death of his father, young Edmund becomes a close ally of King Alfred and joins him in battling the invading Danes.  Through the course of the story we see many examples of courage, honor, and what it looks like to love one’s enemies.  There’s even a bit of romance as Edmund falls in love with (and must later come to the rescue of) Freya, the daughter of one of the Danes.  As in all of Henty’s stories, virtue is held in high esteem, and the characters model qualities we hope our children will emulate.

Our Experience

As members of the Review Crew we received the 2-CD set as well as several downloadable bonuses that come with the purchase of a “Family Four-Pack” Package:

  • The Dragon and the Raven audio adventure (MP3)
  • eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter (pdf)
  • ebook of G.A. Henty’s original story with colorful graphics (pdf)
  • A beautiful printable pdf poster of Proverbs 21: 31 (King Alfred’s Hope)
  • cast poster (pdf)
  • soundtrack (mp3)
  • “Behind the Scenes of The Dragon and the Raven (mp4 video download)

DSCN1205xThe eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter is a great tool for homeschool families.  In addition to providing some background information about G.A. Henty and Alfred the Great, it breaks the recording into 4-10 minute chunks, then provides questions to help make sure young children understood what they heard. (These could also be used as written assignments for older children.)

  • Listening Well (questions about what happened in the story)
  • Thinking Further (questions for further research or to think more deeply about things that happened in the story)
  • Defining Words (vocabulary used in the story)

At the end there are suggestions for further reading about Alfred the Great, three short Bible studies to help students explore biblical themes from the narrative (“God’s Law and the Nations,” “Love Your Enemy,” and “Literacy”), and a brief history of Britain and England.

We especially enjoyed the “Behind the Scenes” video, which showed the actors in the recording studio and gave a fascinating look at the process of creating the whole production.  It delved deeper into the history behind the story and helped us get more out of it the next time we listened to the audio adventure.

DTR Actor Collage
The Dragon and the Raven was a wonderful supplement for our history studies on the Middle Ages.  It is also my favorite drama so far from Heirloom Audio Productions.  I have a special affinity for British history, and it opened up a window into a period I knew very little about.  Whether as a homeschool supplement or just for entertainment, we highly recommend The Dragon and the Raven.

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Wrapping Up Week 27 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 Between two field trips, and a cold that just won’t go away, this was kind of a crazy week.  I decided to spread some of our lesson plans over the next two weeks so I wouldn’t feel behind (especially because we also have another two field trips coming up this week).


The one subject we did get to was science.  I was battling a sore throat, so I had the boys switch off reading the “Beginners” sections up through lesson 10 in Our Planet Earth (from God’s Design for Heaven and Earth).  It ended up leading to some good discussion between the three of us, so I think I might do that more often.  Then I let them watch three episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy: “Outer Space,” “Comets & Meteors,” and “The Planets.”

Field Trips

first flightThe boys (and Daddy) had a great time at the First Flight field trip sponsored by the Mighty Ducks hockey team.  They learned a lot about electricity and had a blast exploring the different exhibits and watching the demonstration on the ice.

Our other field trip was to a restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, with a group of homeschool friends.  The kids got to tour the kitchen and make their own pizzas, and it was definitely a hit.  It’s one of those things I would never have thought to arrange, but I’m so thankful for the community with which God has surrounded us.  Having other moms around who come up with fun ideas broadens our horizons.

Upcoming Reviews

We’ve got a lot on our plate right now!  Watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:

Wrapping Up Week 26 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 We had busy, busy week as far as school is concerned.  Whether it was the fact that we were coming off a break, or looking at next week with a couple field trips, or whatever, I found that we were putting in a lot more school hours than normal.


Arianna (4) is at that beautiful stage where she’s just discovering the wonder of learning.  In addition to continuing her lessons on Reading Eggs, we’ve been reviewing the Primer level of Math-U-See, and she’s absolutely loving it.  She even begged to bring it along to our music classes on Friday so she could work through a few pages during a break.  I love seeing the delight in her eyes and her smile as she figures things out.


LOE Essentials 2Another product we’re currently reviewing is Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English.  I don’t normally go for such formal curriculum, but this was a review I really wanted to get on.  I’ve taken a pretty relaxed approach when it comes to writing and spelling with the the boys, hoping they would fall into it naturally since they’re both such a strong readers.  Elijah seems to have an intuitive grasp of spelling, but it just hasn’t clicked for Ian as much as I had hoped.  We’ve spent some time with Spelling You See, but never as consistently as we probably needed to in order to see results.  Ian just was never enthusiastic about it and other things always took priority.

LOE Essentials 1However, realizing that he’s almost through second grade and still is struggling with spelling (at least when he’s writing in context–he does great with lists in the “Skills Bank” on Reading Eggs), I found myself starting to feel some concern that he needed a more direct, analytical approach to spelling, something that would help him make sense of the crazy rules that make up the English language.

I think we’ve found that in the Logic of English program.  Last week we went through all the Essentials “pre-lessons” (I bribed Ian with screen time in exchange for doing school work on our week off), and this week I dived into Lesson 1 with both boys.  I can tell already that this program is going to be beneficial for us.  Each day has some sort of game and hands on activities, so they have really enjoyed our time and are working hard without even realizing it.  I’m looking forward to getting through the first few weeks of it and sharing my full review.


Voyages With The VikingsI really want to start having the boys get in the habit of having a chapter book they can read and take with us.  We tried to start in on that this week, though we didn’t get as far as I would have liked.  Elijah started Voyage with the Vikings from the Imagination Station series. We were just trying to kill some time waiting for Ian and he got through a couple chapters reading out loud to me.

Scripture SleuthIan has been a reluctant reader.  He is an auditory learner, amazing me with what he picks up just by listening, but that has made him prefer audio books and being read to rather than actually reading himself.  I’ve often tried to encourage him but trading chapters (or pages), but I really want to start having him read independently more.  This week I introduced him to Concord Cunningham the Scripture Sleuth.  I intended it as a read aloud, but he was so into it he actually chose to read a chapter all on his own (which I’ve suggested with other read alouds he loves, but he has NEVER once been willing to try).  If his interest holds, I’ll definitely be getting the next book in the series.


This week in Ian’s Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course he learned about Gutenberg’s printing press.  We’ve talked about it a little bit before, but he enjoyed going into more depth on the subject.  He’s looking forward to our field trip in a couple weeks to the Huntington Library to see an actual Gutenberg Bible.  (If you want to know where to find the nearest copy to you, check out Where to see a Gutenberg Bible for copies in the USA.  Wikipedia has a list of all surviving copies in the world.)

A few final thoughts

Family JourneyThe kids and I are really enjoying A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin.  The daily readings are just the right length to keep everyone’s attention (especially when they’re captivated by the candle burning on our wooden wreath).  I especially like the “Jesus, Speak to Me” section each day, which is similar to the devotional we had been using but is tied in with the stories.  The short prayers are also perfect prompts for the kids to guide them away from the generic prayers into which they tend to fall.  It’s written from a Catholic perspective but is very usable for families from any Christian tradition with a few minor edits.

Upcoming Reviews

We’ve got a whole bunch of products we’re in the process of checking out, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:

Wrapping Up Week 25 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 This week my goal was to get a solid start on our third term . . . before we head into a break. Our IEW class was cancelled, so we had to get through the lesson on our own. In some ways I liked walking through it with my boys, but in other ways it made me extremely thankful for the accountability given by being a part of a class.  I love the material (we’re using Fables, Myths and Fairy Tales: Writing Lessons in Structure & Style), and this week gave me a little taste of what it would be like to try to work through it on our own, which may be a path we take in the future.


This week Arianna got to start trying out Math-U-See‘s Primer level.  She’s already whipped through 32 pages of the workbook, and all the kids have had fun getting familiar with the integer blocks, both the physical set and the “digital pack.”

MathUSee Collage

Read Alouds

My little ones were down with colds, so we spent a lot of time just reading at home this week.  We finished up Storytime With the Millers and moved onto Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children.

It was Ian’s turn to pick a chapter book, so we read Tree House Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #14) by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  I remember loving the Boxcar Children series as a child, but I’m not wild about some of the newer additions.  Thankfully, this was one of the books written by the original author, and we both enjoyed it.

For history, we got a jump on Johann Gutenberg (whom we’ll learn about when we come back from our break) with Fine Print by Joann Johansen Burch.  Ian was more interested than I had thought he would be, and we had no problem getting through the book in three days.

Finally, we started reading Matilda by Roald Dahl.  I’ve actually never read it before, but I enjoyed many of Dahl’s other books growing up, and after a friend mentioned this one I thought we’d give it a shot.

Wisdom Millers Tree House Mystery Fine Print Matilda

 A few final thoughts

Of course the boys kept working through their other subjects as well, but we didn’t do anything too exciting so I won’t bore you with the details.  Now we’re off to enjoy our break!

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:

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