Enjoying the Classics

We’ve had an ongoing theme for the year…

Read a classic; watch a movie


Here are some of our picks that were from our Robinson Curriculum reading list;
others are simply good ole classics we have on hand. 

It takes us about a month per book to read, discuss, and then watch a correlated movie of each one. 

Homeschooling does not have to be difficult to be educational.  We didn’t have to use a study guide or workbook or a complicated scope and sequence to learn from these classic treasures.  Frankly, you don’t even need to own these… simply check your local library (or even with older relatives if you get the privilege of doing that).  I do highly recommend to avoid abridged versions (not.a.fan of the “Great illustrated classic” books).

Benefits I’ve observed from reading classic books with my children:

An increase in vocabulary

Improves their ability to comprehend

Strengthens ethics (good vs bad)

Understands history and culture in context

Recognizes to learn from past mistakes

Creates a natural desire to learn more….
which leads to rabbit trails of self-led interests.

The high quality literary content of these classic books are a treasure to explore!

It’s ingenious to be a homeschooler!

Our Curriculum 2016-2017

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….



End of the School Year Wrap up…

sort of…

It’s coming to a close…

our School Year AND a Homeschool Grad

I haven’t had a chance to post much this past month on our schooling because, well, I am preparing for another homeschool graduate!

I have had a public school graduate (2007)
and a public school switched to homeschool (in 4th grade) graduate (2011)
and now my next graduate will be my first child who has mainly homeschooled through the whole process.

It’s been an amazing process… all 3 of them!

Here is my crazy homeschool crew this year:


TJ, my senior student, has been my responsible, reliable, right hand man.
I have embraced and enjoyed my days with this child of mine.
No longer really a child but a man equipped to face the world.

We technically have 4 weeks of homeschool left.
I have kept things simple; read, write, do some math.
Why?  Well, because that is the core of why we do the Robinson Curriculum,
to keep our foundation strong when life ebbs and flows.
The rushing activities of preparing to wrap things up for my homeschooler
allows for us to also do some “free range” playing, in my presence of course.

Our Back Yard~ yes, it is the woods.



The Park



The River


They play, and explore, and build relationships…
that will last a life time.

Meanwhile, I am wrapping up final lessons for said senior, creating his transcripts, planning his graduation activities, guiding him on building a resume, praying alongside him on selecting his future job of choice, and honestly, absolutely treasuring these last few weeks of spending my days with him.  The calm…caring…confident…character that he is.

It’s a blessed journey to be a homeschooler!

 Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6


A Homeschool Life~ “In Our Free Time”

One of the common questions I receive when people find out that my kids use the Robinson Curriculum style,
which is to do their core studies of reading, writing, and arithmetic independently,
is “Does your family do any activities together?”
Obviously, this is a question from folks who don’t know us,
but none-the-less folks are often referred to this blog.

My favorite answer… Life IS Learning.
Although we get a well-rounded education utilizing RC doesn’t mean learning stops there, right?
After all, most our hands-on activities we simply consider to be family time,
but could easily be deemed “school”.

Here is an example of just the past couple of weeks…


A study on Binary Planets, as well as as doing an experiment using centripetal force vs centrifugal force.
We flung around a bucket of water, a bucket of rocks, and a bucket of carbon dioxide (baking soda and vinegar) to observe how the forces changed based on content.


We continued our Solar Physics interest by studying Mars.
The experiment this day was to observe how rust is created by using steel wool, salt, and vinegar.



Kinect if it’s raining…


Playing outside if it’s dry out;
which includes backyard baseball, running in the woods,


going for walks in the hills, or strolling the riverside.

The last couple of topics of our Biome study:

We had this cutie over to join us for our POND study!
He is my cousin Cassandra’s boy, Eli.  I just love that sweet lil face!


Our Pond


coffee filter butterfly, handprint cattails, lots of finger painting, cut out lily pads and dragonfly stickers… not bad for a late morning of fun!

Our Ocean study:


Our 4 ft wall mural


Some Sea-Foam


This was suppose to be Sea-dough, however it was more like snot… sea snot?

and our Sea-Slime!

In Our Down Time


siblings hang out…


enjoy some quiet time… with nature (see the turtle?)




do a 2nd lesson of math while watching a old TV show,
or practicing her photography,
or writing for her blog,


playing board games with one another; battleship, sum swamp, and yahtzee.
enjoy active games; such as ‘ball tag’, hide-n-go-seek in the dark, and Wii Sports.
observe nature; explore the woods, bird watch, identify animal sounds and tracks


discussing politics; with such topics as Ferguson, ISIS, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah
studying scripture; such as reading about lent, forgiveness, and communion.
watching documentaries; such as Planet Ocean, Men Who Built America, and Wings of Life
do read alouds; such as Up From Slavery, Lincoln’s Letter and Speeches, and Wind in the Willows.

Learning really is limitless don’t ya think?

What do you do as a family?
What hobbies do you enjoy?


November catch up~

Well, hello there.
How’s it been going?
Me?  Well, a bit busy with all our activities. 
Admittedly, I miss my time to drop in ideas, share my thoughts, and give our random family updates.

So this is just a simple recap of the past several weeks:


such as Hay Rides.


Enjoying our leaf study.


Appreciating our stunning fall weather!


Our November craft board as we studied leaves, weather, and turkeys;
along with our study of Pilgrims.  It was a fun month!


Being blessed by a fellow Robinson Curriculum homeschool mama as this was all gifted to me.  Thank you so very much, Cynthia Albright!  I think she provided a little bit of something for each of my children.  And may I just share that I have enjoyed her Memory Gems (for copywork) and Primary Language Lessons for my kids for several years now.  Essentially since beginning RC a few years back.  The products only cost a few bucks and are beyond worth the value (*no affiliate link, just my opinion).  *smile*


This would be why I haven’t had much time on my bloggy space.
Look at my house full of little blessings!


Katie-girl turned 12.  We had a mother/daughter overnight get-away!
We had gourmet desserts, went hot tubing, and did make overs.   Fun stuff!


Our 22nd Anniversary


Wayyyy too many days here since my washer died almost 3 months ago!  Atleast I have good helpers!


My first Christmas date of the year!
Black Friday with Katie, and then breakfast by 6 a.m.


Andrew turns 9.

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and a little bit of family fun to wrap up our fall season!

What did your November look like?

L.I.F.E. Academy~ Week 5


Andrew (8) after several years struggling with reading is finally moving forward!  Yay!
The most precious moment is when he began to read to me from the Bible on our way to church a couple of weeks ago.
It is still a slow process, but it is a relief to see progress, and hey, if he can read the Word of God, life is good!

Younger Kids:

We only got a couple of Learning Hours in for Shelbee (4) and Bryson (5).
Still working with Shelbee (neighbor girl) on her letter sounds.
We are continuing our vowel study while practicing our penmanship.
Our Goop manner lessons were on neatness, courtesy, and generosity.

Andrew and Bryson are doing very well staying consistent with their reading lessons and copywork.

So here is a confession I stated on the Robinson Curriculum Facebook page:

We developed the bad habit of cartoon mornings during the summer.
I finally began a new approach this week to break this distracting habit…
I prep the kitchen table with a fresh activity each day that the younger kids can play with after eating breakfast;
on this day (pictured below) they colored and played Alphabet Dominoes.
Another day was a large bowl of popcorn kernels with spoons and measuring cups;
That was a big hit!  Yay!  for creativity!


ps… I am so happy to see Andrew finally hold his crayon (pencils, markers) correctly.
We have struggled with trying to avoid the “monkey grip” for a very long time.

Older Kids:

Their morning work is coming along, but we aren’t solid on our afternoon studies.

We learned there is such a thing as “Isolation Booths” aka Solitary Confinement in our schools state wide,
and not so uncommon in other states also.

We had the opportunity to watch the tail end of Ted Cruz’ 21 hr speech (watching the last 3 hours),
which in turn let us open up studies on Obamacare, er, “Affordable Care Act”.
The A.C.A. became more affordable for us by limiting our options…
We now have limited preferred providers in our area,
which includes hospital authorization in a whole different state
while NOT accepting the 3 convenient hospitals in our own area.
I suspect our rates will rise when they make us pay additional cost as they require more coverage” to provide us with better care”…
“care”, I might add that I specifically don’t want nor need. ~  ok, rant over.
And because the opposition to Ted Cruz speech kept mentioning the Tea Party,
I felt the need to explore that party’s political stand so my kids would understand it better.

Another topic we covered this past week was Common Core Educational Initiative.
We found the resource IndoctiNation to be quite eye opening, but not surprising in lieu of C.C.’s standards.

Soccer Season

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Bryson (in the left picture, on right) and TJ (right picture) have the same stance at soccer…
it’s quite amusing.  Funny enough, they both play the same positions too- striker, midfield, sweeper.  =)

Overall we have had a great week!  and Autumn has definitely began in our little area of the world.



The Self Propelled Advantage


Independent student

Once upon a time I had a struggling learner.  He was getting lost in the public school system.  Giving 100% in the classroom while being shuffled from this class to that.  This student missed just about every 1st recess for 3 yrs because he could not work fast enough to finish seatwork.  By 4th grade, all the extra effort was taking a toll.  Picture a boy prepared to focus and do his best at school for 6 hrs.  He is removed from his regular class for special part of the day to give extra work to where he struggles.  (reading comprehension btw).  He receives extra homework for this said special class.  Then he returns to regular class only to be handed not only the “regular” homework, but also the extra work from missing time in the class.  SOooo, how do you think this child feels when he has completely focused all these hours into the school day, then has to come home to 2/3 more homework that an average child? (remember, regular homework, then extra special work and extra missed class work).  His brain is tired by this point.  Giving more work to a student does not make him any smarter, just overwhelmed.   and in this case, being overwhelmed leads to feeling stupid.  end of story.

Fresh start:  homeschooling.
no more distractions, no more comparing, no more shuffling, no more….labeling.

The Self-Propelled Advantage lines up with my parenting style.

The early years you nurture (infant-5ish)
The middle years you guide (6-12)
The older years you mentor (13 +)

Now admittedly, with self-teaching, you may have a child prepared and ready as early as 7, when maturity and fluent reading skills are available.  Others may not be ready until they are 11.

What is self-teaching?
One who reads and does their work for themselves.

Question (to other homeschool moms or parents who help with homework):

How often to we read information to turn around and explain the lesson to the child.
Like adjectives?  or the Civil War?  or Sea Turtles?  (just examples mind you)
If the child can read, why can they not read the same information and learn straight from the source?
Why do we feel the need to be the go-between?

When I began homeschooling, I helped spoon-feed information to my kids.  I dug up the information, printed off lessons, highlighted things I thought were important, etc…

Guess what I found out?
The child only learns as much as you offer.

The year I let my first homeschooler (note above story) loose to self teach…

I was nervous.

We chose the Robinson Curriculum due to the quality content of proper grammar and the advance vocabulary program it provided.

… and he flourished.  He was no longer reluctant, but willing to do the work.

I left my fluent readers to get the independent studies done for the mornings at their own pace.  They far exceeded what I was requiring them to do originally.  When I use to assign a text book, the typical assignment would be to read a chapter, then answer the questions.  My daughter, not aware of those type of limits, randomly chose a textbook to read (for fun, in 2nd grade) and devoured the whole book in a few days.  It was intended for a semester worth of lessons.  She didn’t know that.  She has learned that if there is something she wants to learn about, she is free to explore the knowledge… not wait for me to find lesson plans for her.  (honestly, I couldn’t keep up with her if I tried).

When does self-learning begin?

It is a slow transition… but most kids can be fully self-learning when they can read fluently.

What does the transition look like?

When did you child begin to dress him/herself?   feed themselves?  brush their own teeth?  These are all processes of self-learning… a way of becoming independent.  With education the transition begins when they begin to pull out their schoolwork to prepare for lessons… then you catch them starting the lessons w/o you… then you simply follow up on the lesson when they have completed it to reassure them… then finally let them look back and check their own work.


I still LOVE group studies.  To gather together as a family;  to learn and explore. 

All our independent studies are done in the mornings.
This would be our core studies which are mandatory on a daily basis;
reading, writing, and arithmetic.

This frees our afternoons to explore our interests; nature walks, foreign languages, baking cookies, board games, growing gardens (or not).

My goal is to let my kids know there is no limit to educating oneself…

and this is where learning becomes a lifestyle.

Joanne Calderwood is the one who changed my approach to homeschooling.  She has been a wonderful mentor over many years.  If you are looking for motivation, I encourage you to check out her books at URtheMOM dot com

and of course, feel free to contact me also with any questions or ideas that you are pondering.  *smile*  sherihollinger@yahoo.com

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Joanne w/ her four youngest daughters, me and my daughter, Carole, and Barbara Besaw (an RC mentor)
at the Oregon SPA conference.

**no affiliate links in this post.