June {Daybook}

Outside My Window......
untouched photo from where I am typing (so glad the dirty window didn't show up in the picture)
Giving Thanks.....
Good health. Not in the typical trite way, in the truly thanksgiving way. I am at that stage in life where friends are battling cancer, I'm having gallbladder issues etc. Yes siree, I have stopped complaining about the physical things that plague young people (read vanity) and am grateful for a body that is still functioning.

I Am Thinking About....
Writing. God has been gently nudging me to write. Not writing  for an audience but self reflection. Writing is hard for me. Self reflection is even harder.  The kind of writing I need to do will require quiet for an extended period of time and I'm thinking of ways to accomplish this. 

In the Schoolroom....

Everyone seems to be enjoying summer break right now but we are still plugging along,  at the moment we are listening to Robinson Crusoe. We have tabled our science curriculum in favor of Nature Study for the time being.
releasing a tree frog after observation
In the Kitchen....
My poor refrigerator desperately needs a good scrubbing so I am not planning on any cooking today. Instead, I will be forcing serving as many leftovers as possible for dinner tonight. 

I Am Creating....

I am helping Belle create a Science Space in her room. I am not entirely sure what that means but she recently removed all girly decor from her walls and had me hang the solar system she was given for her birthday from the ceiling. She is waiting for me to hang a shelf so she can display "cool science stuff on it." (BTW, don't buy the one in the picture if you care about accuracy or that it does not actually glow in the dark.)
I Don't Ever Want to Forget....
How tender and affectionate my girlies can be to one another.

I Am Working On...

Combining my third and fourth graders more so we can enjoy what Charlotte Mason coined The Grand Conversation!

I Am Reading....

The Living Page

I Am Praying For....

Health conditions mentioned above.

I Am Struggling....

Same as last time, staying up too late at night!

I Am Hearing....

Birds, birds, birds........

Clicking Around....
I am really enjoying Christopher Perrin's audio's.
I keep visiting Miss Mustard Seed for our bathroom remodel inspiration. I am loving the blue and white.

Around the House....
The flower beds need weeded and hubby is diligently working towards a new bathroom!

One of My Favorite Things...

Laying on top of the trampoline with my peeps reading The Secret Garden. They BEG me not to stop!

A Few Plans for Next Week.....

A visit to  Compassion International's Change the Story event, school, Father's Day, a Wedding that the girls are both in, and my favorite.....a Used Homeschool Book Sale!

I am linking up with The Simple Woman's Daybook Editions 


Because of the Brave

Because of the Brave, I've never known a life void of liberty. 

Thank you doesn't seem to suffice.

This Memorial Day please take a moment to pray for the families that have lost a loved one in the Armed Forces. Better yet, look them in the eye and tell them "Thank You".

So often, we don't know what to say, so we say nothing. Our silence is devastating to those grieving the loss of a loved one that gave the ultimate sacrifice. You don't have to wait until you can find the right words because chances are, you won't. A sincere thank you, even if, especially if, bumbled will mean more than you know. So will admitting that you don't know what to say, but you are grateful for their service and won't take it for granted. 

Another easy thing we can all do is to stop complaining about our country. Just for today, we can do that, can't we? Shouldn't we? 

Want to do more? If you are looking for meaningful ways to help your children understand and honor this special day, visit Alea Milham's post on Activities to Teach your Child about Memorial Day. Check out Allison Hendrix's post 10 Ways to say thank you on Memorial Day for more great ideas. 

Our family has always enjoyed attending parades that honor our Armed Forces. This year we went to the Civil War Reenactment shown in the first photo. Both activities offer concrete ways to display honor, respect and service to our children.

Thank you to all that have sacrificed so that we may enjoy a life of liberty! 


How to Teach Grammar with No Busy Work {Part One}

Shurley English, Sing, Spell Read & Write, Simply Grammar, English for the Thoughtful Child, Queens Language Lessons, Serl's Primary Language Lessons, Spelling Wisdom, and Easy Grammar, what do these have in common?

They all currently grace my bookshelves. *hanging head in shame.*

To be completely forthcoming about my dirty little secret, I purged four large boxes of curriculum, including grammar workbooks a few months ago and yet somehow these were still on the shelf.

There is one thing you should know about me: I'm tight. My daughter and father call me cheap.

I picked up most of them at thrift stores or used curriculum sales, so if you think I am shamelessly throwing money out the window, you're wrong.

That sounded a bit defensive didn't it?

Hello, my name is Kelly and I am a curriculum junkie.

Is intervention necessary if I don't actually use the curriculum? Hmm...that seems almost worse.

Hello, my name is Kelly and I am a curriculum hoarder.

This is where a good blogger would delete and begin anew. Not me. It stays. Somewhere out there is a kindred spirit that feels like she just might be ruining her children's education and therefore picks stuff up here and there,  just in case. There must be! I can't be the only one, can I?

Okay, now let us dig into what we actually use for Grammar....

We use the Shurley English Introductory Jingles to easily memorize the definition of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, article adjectives, sentences and prepositions. You can see video of the girls singing them last year in this post (scroll down below the Language Art section). They enjoy memorizing anything put to music and it really does seem practically effortless. 

Obviously it isn't enough to simply memorize the jingles so I spend some time explaining the definitions and playing a game we call 'I Spy (insert parts of speech)'. We play this in waiting rooms, in the car, while washing dishes, you get the idea. Someone makes up a sentence and the first one to name the current part of speech wins. The winner makes up the next sentence and the game continues. Easy peasy, and effective.

Another activity we do is to write simple sentences on a dry erase board and then we work through them by identifying the verb, noun and so on. It takes less than five minutes tops. We do not diagram sentences in the traditional way and this and this explains why.

At this point in their education they don't need to diagram complex sentences, that will come later, after they are writing complex sentences.   ;)

If I am in a good mood, I allow them to play teacher and "teach" us how to properly diagram the sentence. They love standing in front of the dry erase board with marker in hand and take it quite seriously.  In the words of Peter Drucker
“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” 

Once that's mastered we use Easy Grammar to learn prepositional phrases. In the beginning it takes a total of 10 minutes, tops. Once they get the hang of that, and are feeling fairly confident, we go back to them "teaching" a couple of sentences every other day on the dry erase board.

Check back soon for Part Two!


Branding and Such

Some photos from a recent branding........

calves just separated from their mamma's
Ru and her cousin herding them into the pen

getting vaccinations to keep them healthy

This article explains why cattle are branded. I remember when it was done like this..............

Once, my brother was doing his best to hold the calf down like the one in the photo, and my father slipped with the branding iron and branded my brother. 

The squeeze chute (think Temple Grandin) definitely makes it easier and safer on everyone including the calf.

It just wouldn't be any fun without an Uncle pretending to put a kid in the squeeze chute.

But don't worry, that's pretty standard around these parts, and she wouldn't really want it any other way. 


posted. Best Post on Someone Else's Blog

Today I am joining Sarah to share some of my favorite posts in the blogosphere. 

The first one comes from the one person that really held my hand in the early years of homeschooling. Her practical advice is worth its weight in gold. Sometimes I wonder, if it weren't for her, if I would  have had the courage to homeschool. Does it matter that she doesn't even know I exist? Nope. Does it matter that she has stopped blogging? Nope. Her blog is filled with wisdom that I still reference often.

This post was particularly helpful to me when trying to implement Nature Study using Anna Botsford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study.

Her post What's So Great About Shakespeare? gave me the confidence to give the Bard a whirl. 

Amy, at Crossing the Brandywine, has pretty much already gathered most of my favorite homeschooling posts already in These are a Few of my Favorite things....

The last one comes to us from Edie at Life in Grace. You're going to love her!

Enjoy more at Amongst Lovely Things.


Fourth Grade Planning

We school year round for several reasons. Someday I'll post about that...

For now, I need to hustle and get the new school year planned. It has helped to blog through it in the past so here goes..........

Ru's Tentative Fourth Grade Schedule

Social Studies
  • I am planning to continue using Ambleside Online Year Four History. It covers the French and American Revolutions. She will continue to narrate (learn more by Carroll Smith) after every reading and find new locations on a world map or globe.
  • In her free time, the American Girl's series will no doubt be read over and over and over again. We will continue to watch Liberty's Kids (they fold laundry in order to watch it!!)
  • This will be our third year utilizing RightStart Math. It  is a mathematics program that incorporates visualization, the AL Abacus, and math card games.
  • She will use  Wrap-up Keys to help reinforce math facts.
  • Xtra Math will be scheduled alternating with the Math Wrap Ups.
  • My Math will be used as a supplement to the Right Start Program.

If you have tried Science In the Beginning, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Fine Arts
Language Arts
Memory Work
  • Please go here to see how we approach memory work. This term the focus will be memorizing Ephesians 2
  • She will finish up Typing Web sometime over the summer, I think.
  • Ballet twice once per week*
  • Pottery Class once per week*
  • Folksong: Turkey in the Straw (first term)
  • Hymn: I Stand Amazed (first term)
  • Irish Dance once per week*
  • Jazz and Hip Hop once per week*



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