That’s how our school year began.
We are going into our 16th year of homeschooling, and my youngest child decides to have an attitude.  Clearly it is a disorder of some sort because just the mention of said word “school” creates a strange reaction of moaning, whining, and flopping down to the ground like a slug.


How can the child not like school?  He loves learning, exploring, and frankly, learns easily.
Well, apparently it’s the word… “SCHOOL”

You see, I could of fussed back at him,
got frustrated at his lack of willingness to do school,
disciplined him for poor behavior,
but instead I looked at the pathetic behaving child
and had him cuddle up to me and we talked about the planets,
pondered some outdoor activities, and discussed his feelings.
Then I prayed.

The Answer… don’t call it “school”.
After all, LIFE is the Lesson,
and just about anything we do
is applicable to learning something.
It’s kind of why I picked L.I.F.E. Academy
as the name of our “school”.

I can easily say “hey, let’s go up and lay on my bed and you can read a book to me” and viola, 30 min of reading.  (Reading-check)
I can then say it’s time for Math, and poof he does it (math-check)

Then the real magic comes in the evenings…
tons of fun family time and no one knows it’s still “school”.

We are watching a Math-U-See video for some fun review,
but this child LOVES seeing it and then working with the manipulatives used for the lessons.
We then watch one episode of “What’s in the Bible” which is packed with facts, vocabulary, theology in a fun way.


Next we pull out these chalkboards to review our penmanship.
It’s been quite the hit.  Write the letter mom says,
then draw a word to compliment the letter, and spell it.
Dad joins in, Sissy joins in (the highschooler).
I will slowly begin doing phonics review,
and eventually spelling games with these boards.
The creativity is endless…
for the letter “i” my youngest came up with “imagination”,
not your typical ice cream or igloo answer, lol.


We end our evenings by reading our Jesus Freaks Devotional,
finding on the map the country that was the read about,
and pray for that country.

FRIDAYS are also open for some fun.
It’s the one day during the school week that I don’t do childcare,
and I take advantage of that time to spend more intentional with my kids.


Because we are entering into Medieval Times for History,
I opened the era with the Byzantine period.
We read about Constatine,
while listening to Beethoven in the background,

then we attempted Byzantine mosaic art,
each of us doing our own masterpiece.


I also threw in a science project for fun.  Used food coloring (yellow and blue), paper towels to wick the color into the empty center cup, and obviously, we made green.  The cool part was to see the water travel through the paper towels and actually begin to fill the empty cup.

All in all, that was a fun afternoon!

And then there’s my highschooler,
who has been fabulously working at her own pace independently,
while still participating in the things I want her to join us for! 


Her garden got attacked by moles; it’s a sad affair.
But she still got some harvest.  Those carrots though?


Oh, and we can’t forget the preschoolers…


The 3 yr olds are loving preschool time,
and that sweet little photo bomber in the background is just about ready to join the table at almost 15 months of age.  She loves seeing what’s going on with our Discovery Time lessons!!

And That my friends is a random look at how our school year has started so far…

It’s a bit crazy to be a homeschooler.  *smile*

I’ll just be candid here and say that our “first” day of school was a bust.
Mistake #1 was trying to begin school the day after our fabulous 4 day camping trip.
So I put off the first day (Monday) to Tuesday, in which moods were off and we barely got our teacher-student conference cleared (you know, to explain expectations for the year) this day.  Then along comes Wednesday, and I am a huge proponent that Mom’s mood can really set the tone for the house.  Well, my mood was fine (ba ha ha), but my kids were still like in vacation hang over mode.  So, for those that don’t know, I always try to be creative and think of something fun to do on the first day, and this year wasn’t any different.  So, I came up with an Olympic theme since the Summer Olympics is under way.  I thought it was an awesome idea.  I was already to have Family Olympic games right in our backyard.  I even thought up some cool crafts and a snack idea.  However, my youngest child was on a rant.  He was NOT amused at all, thought the whole thing was “stupid”, and grumbled most the day.  Well, there ya go, homeschool reality at its finest.  So do I hang the ungrateful kid in the closet by his toes?  Or maybe just hug the child, rest together, chat about God, nature, and the planets… and ponder a new plan.


Thursday began with some camoflauge…
and then “boot camp” began!


Needless to say, moods were improved…


and Monday, August 8th, our official book work will begin!

August Goals

Bible– Genesis

Bryson (3rd grade)- Family Under the Bridge
Andrew (5th grade)- Pinocchio (RC)
Katie (Freshman)- Trixie Beldon series, Mildred Elsie series (RC)
Read Aloud- Bambi (classic 1939 version)

Language Arts
Back to basics- review sentence structure;
Capital beginnings, end marks.!?
Introduce prepositional phrases.
Boys- review penmanship skills/do copywork
Katie- daily essays

The boys- review basic math facts.
focus on +, x (0-6)
Katie- review, all about fractions (+, -, x ,/)

Bryson- All about Crabs
Andrew- All about Ants
Katie- All about the animal kingdom;
introduction to arthropods and crustaceans
*will also begin her seedlings for her fall garden.
Family Read aloud
Burgess Animal Book for Children;
rats, mice, & shrews.

The boys- Muhammad and the early years of Islam,
and details of the Arabian days.
Katie- Life of Saint Patrick

Personal safety- stranger danger

American Sign Language/Spanish
family, food, animals

Fine Arts
Composer- Beethoven, Ode to Joy (Olympic march)
Art- Byzantine Mosaics
Poetry- To Laugh Often and Much by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others; 

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed easier 

because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded.

The Robinson Curriculum
We choose the belief that the core foundation of education is to read, write, and do math.
If a student can build up on these 3 skills, learning becomes limitless.

Here’s our outline of what we do…



3rd & 5th graders-
1st semester- to solidify all four basic math facts (+, -, x, /)
2nd semester- begin Saxon 5/4

9th grader-
review Saxon 7/6, begin pre-algebra


3rd & 5th graders-
improve penmanship via copywork
build and enhance good quality paragraphs.
Daily science summaries.
*end of the year goal: 3 paragraph essay

9th grader-
3 essays per week via Book of Knowledge resource
Daily science summaries
Book reviews as literature books are completed

Language Arts

3rd & 5th graders-
McGuffey 2nd Reader for;
grammar, punctuation, vocabulary.
Prof “K” spelling

9th grader-
will use writing assignments as a tool for punctuation, grammar, spelling, & vocabulary.
RC English grammar -review as necessary


Will list specific books in our monthly goal posts.
The students will read many classic books from the RC reading list,
as well as other good quality resources.


3rd grader- Christian Liberty 2nd Nature Reader,
Animal Pride series by Dave and Pat Sargent
5th grader- Christian Liberty 3rd Nature Reader
Books from the authors, Arthur Scott Bailey and Thorton Burgess
9th grader- Biology
A Child’s Story of the Animal World
The Motion of the Heart and Blood of Animals (RC)
**continue her agriculture project from the spring, introducing a fall garden to her current crop.


3rd & 5th graders-
A Child’s History of the World
9th grader-
Medieval History book resources from;
Robinson Curriculum, G. A. Henty, & the Landmark series


Bible– Old Testament (with preschoolers too)
Devotions– Jesus Freaks by Voice of the Martyrs
*we will mark the stories locations on a map for world geography,
as well as pray for that specific country for the day.

Foreign Language

American Sign Language/Spanish-
Preschoolers/3rd & 5th grader-
Signing Time and Flip Flop Spanish (whole family Spanish)
9th grader/mom- Duolingo and Pimsleur Spanish Gold Edition I, II, & III

Fine Arts

Monday- Geography
Tuesday- Composer (of the month)
Wednesday- Artist (of the month)
Thursday- Poetry (of the month)
Friday- Nature walks

Daily read aloud List
(for the year)

The Burgess Animal Book for Children
Song of Roland (poetry)
Jungle Book
Robin Hood
Cantebury Tales
Uncle Remus

Woodworking/S.T.E.M. projects

I invested in some hands-on building kits from
Hands4Building; Their products are phenomenal
My kids will be using real (albeit miniature) tools for architectural use;
saws, blue prints, etc… My hope is that after they build the
house, furniture, bridge, windmill, fence, and wagon,
they will continue their interest onto bigger projects!

Let the fun begin….



Homeschool Science

Better yet, high school homeschool science.

Is that possible to teach from home?
Yes!  yes it is.
Yet oddly enough, that is the one subject that many folks hesitate with.  So I thought I’d share one of the many ways for your (homeschool) student to earn (science) credits towards their transcripts for their (much earned) future diploma.

My 4th child (3rd homeschooler) is
entering 9th grade in less than two weeks.
We opted to let her jump start her science “class”.


She began with a lesson in shop class with dad teaching her how to use power tools.
At the same time she began reading these assigned books:


And began this part of the project:


Trays of seedlings… can you see the sprout?


Next, soil was hauled in as Katie and Dad began setting up the netting  to protect the garden because our backyard is backed up to some beautiful woods where critters, birds, and deer roam quite freely.


Not too bad of a start…

Meanwhile, the littles are enjoying their own garden project…



Further along there is continued progress…


and although we have more time to enjoy a modest harvest,
August will include starting seedlings for the fall crop.

Katie will continue to care for her garden until November.
She will journal her garden plans,
explain her theory on how it will progress,
continue to write weekly updates on the results,
and write a comparative analysis between the summer and fall garden process.

When the garden is harvested and cleaned up,
and the paperwork is in,
she will have earned her Agriculture credit w/ labs.

This is not to forget that her biology study will begin in August also,
which we will share in more detail later in the school year.
Regardless, by May she will have wrapped up two sciences to list on her high school transcripts.

One question I often get is…
How does one grade such a process?
Well, for us, attitude and effort is 50% of the grade,
the work required is the other 50%.

In other words, if I had to remind her to water her garden,
or if she were to complain about the process,
her grade would get deducted.
Gratefully, she is a hard worker who chose this task,
but we will see how she feels by November.  *smile*

See?  Science isn’t so scary, eh?
If you are (or were to homeschool),
what is the one subject that you would be hesitant to offer?

~It takes growth to be a homeschooler~

We’re having some fun!

Our days are full,
and there are adventures to be had!

Introducing Camp Gonnahaveablast!

Each week we will have a theme to explore.

June 13th-17th           Picnic Play
June 20th-24th         Backyard Bugs
June 27th-July 1st    Patriot Power
July 5th-8th               Creative Construction
July 1th-15th              Vacation Bible School
July 18th-22nd          Icky Sticky Ooey Gooey
July 25th-29th           Going Camping (for real)

The kids will pick camp names to use,
as well as group assigned names:
Babies- are the “Sparklers
Preschoolers- are the “Firecrackers
Primary Kids- are the “Bottle Rockets


Monday through Wednesday is full of friends;
where most of our themed activities will take place.
Thursdays are only an extra friend or two,
so our rhythm those days will be a bit different.
I’m trying to keep Fridays open for family fun.

Our Daily Rhythm

6:30   Childcare begins to arrive
8:00   Breakfast/clean up
9:00   Indoor/Outdoor Play
10:00 Themed activities
11:30  Nature shows/or nature walk
12:00  LUNCH/clean up
1:00   Quiet time (for littles)
D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read)
Board games- mass variety
History Videos-
3:00   Snack
3:30   Creative Corner (writing supplies)
4:00   FREE play
6:00-7:00  is when childcare goes home.

Our evenings will consist of intentional family bonding, from chores to read alouds to prayer time, and yes, even watching Bob Ross, because we all become memorized at the apparently simple (not) art of nature.

How are your days flowing? 
Scheduled routines?  (our Monday-Wednesday)
Flexible and free?  (our Thursday-Saturday)
or maybe something a little in between?

Summer is here,
and conference time is around the corner!

If you homeschool, or are thinking about homeschooling,
or maybe just want to support someone who does homeschool,
you really ought to check out your local area
for a homeschool convention!


Ours will be July 22 & 23, 2016

Because I am already set with my curriculum choices,
the style of homeschooling I like to implement,

I already have a stock of books that will supply just about every need from preschool to college prep…

I have to admit I am not going to the Conference to
*learn about curriculum
*purchase good deals
*sell my used books/buy more books
*compare products

Speakers are my highlight this year! 

I’ll just be candid here….

I mentor a whole lot of moms.  Many (but certainly not all) are homeschool mamas.  I share what works for us, and what hasn’t.  I mostly try to come along side moms and encourage them where they are.   It’s totally (basically) a one on one thing.  Yes, there are a few facebook groups that I tend to have a voice on, but I try to ignore that a few thousand people are reading what I have to share and simply focus on that one mom who asked for ideas or for help.   I am probably the most introverted extrovert you will meet.    I love people! I do not love attention.  All THAT to say….kudos to the ones who are willing to teach and reach a crowd!  I’m all in, and all ears!

Conference Speakers

I don’t care how long one has homeschooled,
we can always learn from each other!

Like with me, with one on one guidance
like with a guest speaker at a large event
whose wisdom it there for the sharing!

I’m excited about the Featured Guests of the
Oregon Christian Home Education Conference.

All of them have been an essential part of my homeschool journey.
It’s a bit weird in a way because I feel like I know them,
even though they have no clue who I am
from anyone else in the world that they may be encouraging and helping.

Todd Wilson

The guy who keeps it real from a dad’s viewpoint.
I love that he keeps God in the forefront of his topics.
Although dads would benefit greatly from his ministry,
I have found that I glean much from his male perspective.

Steve Demme

After all the videos that me and the kids have watched him teach math on… it will be enjoyable to hear what he has to say in person to us parents.  I’m looking forward to it.  Maybe I’ll even brave a question or two?  Who knows?

Lee Binz

From our very own Pacific Northwest.
She’s the one that eased my mind to embrace the high school years.  And guess what?  The highschool years have been the very best of our homeschool experience!  I’ve got two homeschool graduates so far, as my daughter begins her 9th grade year this August!  Need direction for high school?  A peace of mind maybe?  Lee is the one to go to.

Vicki Bentley

Can I just be honest and say her life experiences intimidate me.  Just the idea of 8 daughters was enough to impress me, much less that she has fostered 50+ children through the years.  She has a great heart to help moms (this is where I can totally relate to her), and I feel she has a great benefit to offer guidance to parents of young children.  I, as a veteran homeschooler and older mom, will enjoy hearing (and observing) her interaction with the crowd.

Additional guest speakers include:

Copper Web

2nd generation homeschooler-
a homeschool graduate who now home-educates her own kids.
Her speaking topic appears to be preschool and kindergarten.
After endless years of teaching preschool ages myself,
I love hearing what others have to share about it!

Bruce Isham

Well be still my heart, apparently he is a historic storyteller!
I’m going to have to check this guy’s stories out.

Come join me for some fun fellowship

If you are anywhere near Portland OR
the week end of July 22 &23…
Come join me…
and we can learn and glean ideas together!


Homeschool Planning

Step 1:  Creating a school year calendar.

9 week quarters = 18 weeks per semester
2 semesters = 1 full school year

Our school days will consist of …
9 weeks on, 1 week off…
except at the end of the 1st semester,
where we will enjoy 3 weeks off for Christmas.

First Day of School:  August 1st

Fall Break: Oct 3rd- 7th

Winter Break:  Dec 10th- Jan 1st

Spring Break:  March 6th – 10th

Last Day of School:  May 12th

Note:  we do not, in general, take typical school holidays off….
such as Veterans Day, Martin Luther King, President’s Day, etc…
instead we choose to spend that day to reflect on it’s purpose.
The exception being Thanksgiving week end.

Pretty easy peasy huh?

What type of school year would you choose?
Follow the public school calendar?
School year round?
Start later (like when colleges do)?
or like us, begin early, end early?