For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Middle School Junction - Our Curriculum Choices

So my oldest has been in middle school for over a year now. I have been meaning to write more about the middle school years, and time seems to always evades me. Another reason for my not writing so much about the Middle School years is that, my son is very independent so it feels like I would not have much to share. That said, it would seems that there is not that much out there written about the Middle School years, so I will endeavor to join  Megan over at My Full Heart to bring you a weekly post on our Middle School Homeschool journey.

To start things off this week let me share with you what we are using  for his 7th grade year.

Last summer I wrote a plan of what I was hoping to use this year, so you can refer to it and compare to see what we dropped and what we kept.

  • Unlock Math. Zach really likes working with Unlock Math. It is an online program with a live teacher, lots of exercises and test. You can check my review from last year.
  • Worksheets from the pre-algebra Kumon books for extra practice twice a week.
  • Life of Fred Pre-Algebra - Physics book./

Language Arts:
  • For spelling we are using Phonetic Zoo which we got for review last year. Spelling had never been Zach's strong point. After using the Logic of English a couple of years ago, he had started to improve, and I was really happy to be able to review Phonetic Zoo last year because of IEW's reputation. I have not been disappointed. His improvements are steady.
  • For Writing, we are using Writing and Rhetoric, and have been using it for the last couple of years. He does not particularly likes to pick up a pen or pencil to write, so this has been working well for him because of the incremental requirement to actually write a lot. You can check my review of it here.
  • For Literature we follow the Literature track of Tapestry of Grace.
  • For Grammar we are using Analytical Grammar.

The Art of Argument from Classical Academic Press, which we just started in January.


Tapestry of Grace. This is our 6th year using TOG. We are on our second round through of Year 2: Between Ancient and Modern. This year I had him joined a co-op to help me be more intentional about the Accountability and Thinking questions. This is working out really well so far. Both he and I are enjoying it. I was assigned to teach 12 sessions out of the 72 sessions (it is shared teaching).

Our official curriculum right now is Visual System Learning, which we got to review last year. We took a break the last few months to review The earth Science unit from Standard Deviants Accelerate, which the boys really love (review here and here). They just finished it last week, and we are going back this week to Visual System Learning to continue studying Physical Science.

This is in a nutshell Zach's Curriculum line up right now. Next week we will talk schedule.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Homeschool Monthly Wrap-up: #1

It has been a while since I have done any kind of school wrap up on here. With the new year I have decided to try to have a monthly wrap up of our homechooling. I will be doing these in the form of a random 5 post.

Weekly Wrap-Up

1. We have been back in a school routine for the past 4 weeks. The boys' schedule consists of:
  • Math:  daily CTC for Johann and Unlock Math for Zach, as well as Life of Fred twice a week and Kumon workbooks twice a week.
  • Science: they have just completed the Earth Science unit from Standard Deviants which we got to review last year. (check the review)
  • Spelling: Spelling Zoo from IEW which we got from the TOS crew as well. 
  • Logic: Johann, The Basics of Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Co., and for Zach, the Art of Argument from Classical Academic Press..
  • Grammar: Johann is using a new book from Classical Academic Press (Well Ordered Language), which is not even out yet, and Zach is using Analytical Grammar.
  • Writing: we are in book 4 of Writing and Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press, learning how to write Chreia.
  • Tapestry of Grace. We we in week 21, at the beginning of Colonial Times. Zach has been thoroughly enjoying his co-op class. I am the one teaching these days and I, myself, actually have been enjoying it too. The kids are really interesting.
  • Bible
  • French: Duolingo for both right now

2. Zach has just finished the trilogy of The Hunger Games and was pretty happy with the way it is written. His dad has been reading it too. They love racing with each other.

3. The boys have been pretty active in sports this January with the annual Volleyball electives going on right now as well as a new endeavor at our church to gather kids to play Ping-pong. They have really enjoyed both and it happens to be on the same day too.

4. I was super excited to receive my copy of the annual print of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine this week.

5. In his free time Zach has been working on Lego movies and creating his own minifigures.

On the blog this month:

Organizing Your Homeschool Space
6 Apps my Boys Love to Use
Mom's Book List for 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Organizing Our Homeschool Space

It is January, and usually this mean organizing time for many. I love organizing. I am not necessarily the most organized or neat person, but nonetheless I like to organize stuff. Way back when  I came across this logo and it stayed with me: " A place for everything." Living by this rule is really life saving. Keeping items organized in your homeschool and home is an important aspect of your homeschool day. It does help you from being frazzled and wasting time looking for things.

This month I am joining the Canadian BloggingTeam in talking about our organizing Tips.

This month, I also participated in the Organization Your Homeschool in 20ish Days Challenge sponsored by The Canadian Homeschooler and

In this post I will be sharing with you how things are organized in our homeschool.

Books and curriculum:

We live in an apartment so space is limited in my house. I use bookcases and crates to store our books and homeschool material. I do not buy and store curriculum in advance, and I only buy things that I know I will use. Also once I am done with something I look to sell it as soon as possible so that i have money to buy the next thing (we live on one income and there is not much money to go around). So our curriculum stash is not very large. Here is how all of our material and resources are organized:

  • One bookshelf spot has all our resource books
  • One spot has all our library items
  • Another bookshelf spot has our curriculum, flashcards and such.
  • Each boy has his own crate which contains their current curriculum and notebooks.
  • All our manipulative, science stuff included, are also kept on a shelf or two in one of our bookcases.


When it comes to supplies, again I try to be minimalist, so we do not have tons of stuff. Our supplies consist of: pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, markers, colored pencils, highlighters, dry-erase markers, permanent markers, glue, paint, stickers, labels, paper, transparent sheets, manila folders, thumbtacks, hole puncher, staplers and staplers, paper clips, andpost-it. All of these are kept in containers of various size and shapes

Mom's corner:

When it comes to my stuff, I keep my supplies around my computer desk. A lot of the stuff I share with the boys so they are kept in a different spot. My teacher's books, of which I do not have many of, are kept in the curriculum spot mentioned earlier. I also have a binder that contains my lesson planner pages, blogger planner pages and finance sheets as well.


When it comes to toys, I give them the same treatment as curriculum: if they are not being used, they get sold. So every so often I go through with the boys and sort. Most of the toys and games are kept in bins.

We recently acquired a bookcase to store their Lego pieces, and display their creations. I totally forgot to take a before picture and really wish I had, because man there has been a major change in space and tidiness.  Most of their Lego pieces are in mix and match boxes and stored on the shelves neatly. I also used that same bookcase to store our board games.

My tips:

  1. Only buy if you know you need it and/or you know you're going to use it.
  2. Every year assess and purge your stuff, from supplies to curriculum to books.
  3. Train your children to put away at the end of the school day.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

6 Apps My Boys Love to Use

With the prevalence of technology in our everyday lives, it is really hard to keep technology out of school. Why would we anyway? Technology offers us so many more options to help teach our kids. So, today I am joining the crew blog in sharing with you the top 6 apps my boys love to use, and they do almost on a daily basis.

Reading with Overdrive: we live on a one income budget and we can't buy all the books we would want to have around the house. I am so thankful for the library system. One way we make use of it is by using their overdrive app where you can borrow books and audiobooks online, and enjoy them for 3 weeks. The boys listen to an audiobook on overdrive every single night.

French with Duolingo: my boys need to learn French and it has been a struggle to find something that they enjoy. Here comes Duolingo, both the boys use this app daily for their French.

Social Studies with Brain Pop: this app gives you access to the free video that the wonderful Brain Pop website offers every day, for kids to enjoy without having to be subscribed. My boys thoroughly enjoy watching these videos.

Hobbies: iMovie and Stop Motion: my boys, like a lot of boys, love Legos. They have taken into the whole thing of making up their own animated Lego movies and to help them in their efforts they found these two app that allows them to do so and they have been enjoying using them. They've done quite a few neat things and it has helped them spur their imagination.

Pages: Any device needs to have a word processing  and for the boys' iPad, pages is the one they use. This is where my oldest prepares his assignments, whether it is writing an essay or answering his TOG questions for his online co-op.

Bonus app:  They do not use these a lot (although when we first got it my oldest spent a lot of his time on the timeline builder), but they do love the apps from Knowledge Quest History, especially:

Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A few months ago I went to this Worship seminar, and the group leading the worship time sang this song based on the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism. I was truly blessed by it and want to share it with you today.

I am not my Own

This my only comfort in my life and in my death 
You have fully paid for all my sins and all my debts 
With your precious blood you set me free 
With your precious blood you set me free 

I am not my own
 But belong, body and soul 
In my life and in death 
To You, Lord Christ my Lord 

You preserve my life in such a way that without you 
Not a hair can fall from me unless you will it to 
All things work together for my salvation 
All things work together for my salvation 

Therefore by your Holy Spirit you assure me 
Of eternal life, and make me willing and ready 
From now on to always live for you 
From now on to always live for you 

Body and Soul Collective
If you love these words I would invite you to go and check them out!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mom's Book List for 2016

Our Must Read Books for 2016 {Dad & Mum's Book Stand}

It is 2016 and a new year has started. A year of new beginnings and new resolutions. Among these new resolutions is reading more books. So for this second post of the year I will share with you my list of must read for this year. I will aim at 2 books/month.

Homeschooling and housewife related:

January : Love the Journey (finish) - Marcia Sommerville

February: Age of Opportunity (finish) - Paul Tripp

March: Simply Homeschool - Karen Debeus

April: When a Woman Inspires her Husband Cindi McMenamin

May: Marriage Matters - Winston Smith

June: Homeschooling at the speed of Life 

July-August: How to Homeschool 9th and 10th - Lee Binz

September: Choosing Gratitude - Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Christian living and theology related:

January - February: Awe - Paul Tripp

March - April : Ordinary - Michael Horton

May - June: Fool's Talk - Os Guiness

July-August: Counter Culture - David Platt

September - October: How People Change - Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp

November-December: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine and Doxology - Various authors

What' on your book stand?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Word for 2016

Happy New Year to all!

It has been my custom for the past few years to blog a word of the year post at the beginning of every year. Why? because as every new year dawns, like a lot of people, I want to refocus and start anew. Learning from the previous year, and moving forward I want to redirect my effort towards what is important. To help me do so I pick a word that will help me on track and focussed.

So, here we go for 2016:

One thing I have come to realize and appreciate a lot during 2015 is my need to abide in Christ. I tend to be too independent and ungodly. Ungodly in that I live everyday life seldom mindful of God and his ways in my life. This needs to change.

A couple of weeks ago I came across this very familiar passage from John 15, and verse 8 struck me anew:

" This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples."

If I want to bear fruit, and this is what God wants for me, my fist task is to remain in Him. How can I expect to bear fruit if I do not remain and abide in the Word, abide and constantly feed of Christ? Christ is our only and true source of strength,and motivation, as we are told earlier in John 15:5: "without Me you can do nothing."

By making sure I keep myself abiding in Christ, not only will I bear fruit, but be a better and evident disciple of Christ. What Christian does not want that?

So, with that in mind my goal for this year is to truly be someone who abides in Christ:
  • through prayer
  • through the reading of His Word and of godly books
  • through dependent obedience 
Do you have a word for this year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Schoolhouse Review Crew

So I am back for another year as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Ever wonder who else make up this team? Here are a few of them for you to check out their blog. Have fun visiting over the school break and get inspired!

Every Bed of Roses Footprints in the Butter Double O Farms Family Faith & Fridays Circling Through This Life At Home: where life happens Homeschooling for His Glory The Mc Clanahan 7 Finch n Wren Our Life ~ Home and School Unexpected Homeschool Home Sweet Life Carter Chaos Mom's Heart Grace Christian Homeschool Greatly Blessed Counting Pinecones Through the Open Window Dear Homeschooler Through the Calm and Through the Storm Counting Change Again ABC's and Sweet Tea Chickens, Bunnies, and Homeschool Angelic Scalliwags Chestnut Grove Academy Farm Fresh Adventures Homeschool Coffee Break Our Worldwide Classroom Be The One Creative Madness Mama Guiding Light Homeschool Biblical Womanhood My Full Heart A Net in Time West Word Blog Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Puddle Jumping Pea of Sweetness Teacher Mom of 3 Ladybug Daydreams A Learning Journey The Home:Work Diaries Bear Creek Felting Schoolhouse Review Crew

Now don't forget the Schoolhouse Review Crew is just a branch of the Old Schoolhouse long lasting homeschool company. Don't forget to check out their website which offers a wide variety of courses for kids K-12, as well as their annual print magazine coming out shortly!

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