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!


Gardening… a.k.a. highschool agriculture credit with labs

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~

Winter is Blowing by… part 2


February began with a wind storm;
a 90 min wind storm that created a bit of local havoc.
Fences were crushed, a few cars smashed, roofs of some were demolished.

In turn, all our beautiful old growth behind our house was taken down.  A whole row of fir trees that lined around the backside of our neighborhood.  Kind of sad, but we are still fortunate to still get a great nature view!

My last post Winter is Blowing by… part 1
was about some fun daily activities
we do with mostly my preschool/childcare kids.
This post is more sharing about our homeschool activities.

In the morning:


While I am doing our Preschool lesson hour,
my boys are in my (the parents) room doing their math.
By themselves?  Mostly, yes.  They are working hard on math facts, along with a few other things, and they know if they have any questions they will have to wait until until the hour is up.  Quite frankly, they rarely need assistance, and work quite fabulous together.


My daughter also opts to do math in the parents room also.
I’m pretty sure they enjoy the view that I mentioned at the top of this post.

After lunch:


We read books to the littles before settling them for a nap.

Then the afternoon is set for reading time (literature),


followed by our writing time.
This day we worked on synonyms for the word peace.
We have been emphasizing stronger verbs to use,
and are still going over adjectives.

Writing consists of penmanship practice, copywork, writing to penpals, and working on essay skills.  It’s coming along nicely, partly because Katie sits in on the lessons with the boys and participates, thus they learn by peer example.  Katie is also working through a writing program called Advanced Writing Resources, on her own time.

Followed by:

self-led interests… such as…

Katie (14)- French, crocheting, blogging
Andrew (11)- comic books (charlie brown style) to read, often draws his own stories.
Bryson (7)- geography.  Using our GeoSafari learning games, our interactive globe, and my phone (he is fascinated with maps).


We have also enjoyed a few nature walks this month…


as we continued our evergreen study.


Admittedly, it’s been quite wet here in the pacific northwest
so we haven’t been out venturing as often as we like.

In the evenings:


Our time to explore interests together.
I use to call this time our “morning time”
when we use to open our days doing this…
now that we have implemented childcare into our schedule,
I have found the evenings to be a perfect fit for this.
We call it Table time,
which instills some quality time with the kids
so they still feel they have their mom’s attention,
and also a fabulous way to decrease media habits,
and the bonus is that it has created
a more mellow transition to bed time.


Table Time consists of:

a read aloud-
Often a history biography, although currently enjoying
The Burgess Animal Book for Children,
in which I often pull up sounds and real videos
of the animals we are reading about (on my phone).
Kind of cool really.

Timelines/map work is easily implemented with history reads
Classification charts for the animal kingdom
is what I am currently beginning with my kids
to compliment the book we are reading.
Hoping they begin a diorama soon.

We read scripture, as well as discuss character traits, and ponder on the prayer needs around us.

doodle art, sketches, journaling, clay sculpting, crafts;
with the intent of classical music in the background.

It usually take an hour before bedtime.
I’m enjoying the calmness of it all.

“Winter comes to you, quietly. It arrives at that one precise moment when the atmosphere turns an almost indescribable shade of blue-gray and is at its best in the Indiana countryside. It shows itself to you in a snowy, late afternoon and can be seen best while gazing across a tree lined field or a meadow where everything the snow touches becomes a new piece of God’s handiwork. When time has found exactly the right moment, from every direction there comes an amazing crescendo of silence and, in that silence, nature whispers in your ear to tell you just how right things can sometimes be. Winter smells like marshmallows melting in hot chocolate. It sounds like embers popping inside the fireplace and looks like an old stone hearth where the cat sleeps and basks itself beside the smoky warmth of burning hickory. And the best part of winter comes to you, quietly. ”    -F.C. Wade


An unplanned Friday of Fun!

We, as homeschool parents,  had good intention
of Fridays being SO creative, clever, cunning;
a day to explore nature, share projects, experiment ideas…

cept life happens, right?


Thankfully our homeschool buddy’s mom is as flexible as I am.
So when her baby is feeling under the weather or I am struggling to breathe,
we commit to being understanding of each other…

so some days get called off at the last moment,
and other days are fine detailed in educational entertainment,
and this day, we simply winged it, and had fun anyways.


Having hands on projects make everyone happy!


Our homeschool buddy is definitely enjoying it.


The dear daughter took it another step and created some…


Flubber fun!!

Who wouldn’t have a ball with this much excitement?


A Fresh Start to Nature Walks

Fun Friday is our Nature Study
which includes a nature walk…


It is always fun to explore a new area,
and since we recently moved,
our neighborhood, as well as our very own backyard,
is an excellent place to begin again.

Our Neighborhood

Week 1


Andrew and Bryson lead the way while Adelaide and her mommy joined us.


We found bees, grasshoppers, snakes, butterflies,
as well as some lovely flowers, lots of plum trees,
and some pretty cool succulents.

Week 2


Daddy and the puppy are joining us this time!


we observed some random plants…


and the weather has been delightful thus far…


which makes for a good outing.

Week 3

Some weeks are just plain busy, and you forget pics, right?

Last week was a bit of a crazy nature walk.
I have a friend who has begun to bring her homeschooled son (and infant daughter) over on Friday afternoons for some fun science activities, a speech presentation, and our nature walks.  On this day I tried to mulit-task by going for our nature walk at the same time as heading down to pick up one child for afterschool care (I do not have the 3 sibling on Fridays, so this was a random drop in care).  As this one child got off the bus, another child joined us as we ventured through the neighborhood.  This round of adventure was about our local deciduous trees, so we took samplings of leaves, seeds, and bark as the opportunities allowed.

Week 4


This round of a nature walk was in our very own backyard.


We, again, took samplings of the trees;
a piece of bark, a seed, and a leaf.


…then explored our findings!

Next month we will start our nature journals to our fun list as well.

Does your family stop to take a look at nature within the busyness of life?
Do you see the ever so small changes that take place around you?
Autumn is an excellent time to see God’s beautiful artwork!




L.I.F.E. Academy~ Our students, 2015-16

Students; a learner, one who studies

Each year I am blessed to have children in my life.
Both my own kids, and other people’s children.
Each year is different; in ages, needs, and ability.


Our Daily Students:

Katie-girl– 8th grade- A natural born autodidactic- devours all things learning.
Creative, logical, inventive; she has always been my precocious child.

Andrew– 4th grade- a free spirited learner-
he has his own unique vision of life and learning.
Caring, compassionate, sensible; our peace-maker of reason.

Bryson– 2nd grade- a thoughtful thinker.
Also rambunctious and charming wrapped together.
Bright, energetic, determined; our adventurous one.

Adelaide– childcare/preschool student- a cheery sweet thing.
Eager to learn, play, explore…

Picture Day is a funny thing ’round here:


~My Other Students~

My Homeschool/Tutor Student:

Shane– 11th grade- The laid-back learner.
Creative writer, inquisitive, and a self-led techie guy.
Shane homeschool’s, and I just line up his lessons and guide his learning.

My in-home Preschool Co op:

Until I get further permission, this will be vague.
Mon/Wed will be our Little Friends Discovery Place,
where young mom’s join me for some preschool fun!
Who will join us?
A momma with twin 2 yr old girls, plus a infant boy.
A momma of a 3 yr old boy (big brother goes to 1st grade)
A momma of a 3 yr old boy (big brothers go to Kinder and 2nd grade)

After-school Fun-care:
3 Siblings; 7 yr old boy, 9 yr old girl, 10 yr old boy

My days will be busy but joyous!!
Here’s to a new adventurous year!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1st Thessalonians 5:16-18





Traveling down the narrow road once again…

We like our tiny town.  It’s peaceful.


Our view up the hill…


on our road…


and what our view is at the bottom of the hill.

Every time we go down our hill we get to view the beautiful Columbia River.

Our backyard is the woods


where we enjoy so much of nature.

However, we still spend much of our time in our old small town;
co ops, dance lessons, church, etc..
Honestly, I travel to the small town pretty much twice a day.
It’s close enough to do that, but far away enough that it’s getting old.

So we prayed. 
We prayed that either we get plugged into our wee li’l community,
or seriously think about moving back to our small town again.

And we are moving.
A decision handed to us by God.
We will move, not to the small town we are originally from,
but it’s neighboring town between tiny town and small town.
I guess we will call it the in-between town (?).

We can continue to serve at our church.
Play sports, take lessons, and participate in community events.

The house is in a friendly neighborhood,
with great neighbors, some of whom we already know.
Our backyard is pretty big and backs up to some woods.
The house is beautiful and fits all of our needs.

Along with the move, comes another big decision.


Oh, I am so excited for the opportunity to add some little people to my days again.  I have done childcare before for many years, and although, officially, I quite my business back in 2008, I really haven’t ever quit being with kids.  I still teach preschool ages for wednesday night church and teacher assistant for Sunday school, plus I’ve taught the preschool ages at co op for the past 3 yrs.  It just is my calling really.  I just love them.  Little people are such a treasure.

So we prayed, and with the move comes the opportunity to choose to do childcare again.  We will be in a great location.  So now I am praying for the child(ren) that may come my way, that we can love on the child and bless the parents all at the same time.   Working parents is tough stuff, and knowing your child(ren) are taking care of is so important.

What about homeschooling?  Is anyone wondering that?  We will still homeschool.
Honestly, with us down to only 3 homeschoolers this upcoming year,
and with them all having a self-led learning style, it will fit our days just fine.
In actuality, I homeschooled when I did childcare before.  The day routines flow smoothly.
I love that my own kids love to participate with the littles.
Katie (13) will help with crafts
Andrew (10) will help with story time.
and Bryson (7) will help with floor time (leggos, lincoln logs, cars, bristle blocks, etc).

I’m pretty much loving these ch-ch-ch-changes!