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Sometimes I take for granted the fact that we are homeschooling. It is just a normal way of life for us.

But for many, it isn't.

And when I read about the struggles of families such as the Romeike family, THEN I remember to take a moment to be thankful for the freedom to homeschool.

Although it is our right as parents, a God-given right in fact, we could be homeschooling with persecution at our door or in hiding.

So, I am taking this time to say Thank you to God and country for the opportunity to homeschool my precious children.

And I continue to pray for this freedom that we have.

I am thankful for homeschooling because it allows us to be our children's sole teacher. I know there are and will be many teachers in their life, but my husband and I will be their first and sole teachers.

I am thankful that we can choose what to teach the kids and when. They aren't at the mercy of grade levels.

I am thankful that we can work on their weaknesses and build on their strengths.

I am thankful that we are able to instill our values and principles in them. As a family, what we believe is important to us. We believe parents have that right to teach their children morals, character, and love of country how they see fit.

I am thankful for Christian companies that put God first and whose purpose it is to strengthen and encourage homeschooling families.

This thankful list can go on and on...


Homeschool Enrichment Magazine Subscription One year subscriptions are on sale now for Homeschool Enrichment Magazine. This is a great deal for a homeschool magazine that will encourage you as you homeschool. It will also make a great gift. 😉

So, why are YOU thankful for homeschooling?


The Mother's Prayer

"I come to thee, O Lord, for strength and patience
           To do thy will.
Help me, O Father, in this world of duty
           My place to fill.
I may not go and labor in the vineyard
           Where through long hours
Brave men and women toil, and from thy presses
           The red wine pours.

"I may not in the woods and in the mountains
           Seek thy lost sheep;
At home a tender little flock of lambkins
           'Tis mine to keep.
Thou givest us, thy servants, each his life-work.
           No trumpet tone
Shall tell the nation in triumphant pealing
           How mine was done.

"But 'twill be much if when the task is ended,
           Through grace from Thee
I give thee back unharmed the precious treasures
           Thou gavest me."

— Selected



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Well, this was our first week back doing a full day of studies. How did it go? I would give it a 7. Even though I know the kids didn't want to begin again, they did without any problems.

alarm clockThe first 3 days went well with all subjects being covered, except one day of reading. On the 4th day, we ended up doing half a day. We got started later because my husband went into work earlier. Sounds weird I know. 😉 Let's see how day 5 goes.

I had grace this week with the kids not getting up at a decent time. I wanted us all to get up at 7am. I was the only one who did. I didn't have the heart to wake them up. But next week I will. Plus this week we were getting our sleep cycle in a routine. During our break, they were going to bed past 11pm, sometimes midnight. Now I want them to get to bed by 9:30pm. So, this week it tapered off...11pm one day, 10:30pm the next, 10pm the last two days. We will get there. And yes, their alarm went off, but they smacked it and went back to sleep with intentions to get up 'in a little.'

ChecklistOne thing that I want to do is establish more routines. My days feel mumble-jumble and sometimes I feel like I didn't accomplish anything. I do write out a To Do list everyday, but I don't usually get it all done. Checking off boxes is one thing I like because it makes me feel like I AM getting things done. Just between you, me, and the fence post, I sometimes add something that I already did just so I can check it off. Am I bad or what?! 🙂

Anyway, usually I give the kids a study schedule with what needs to be done in each subject, but it seems like they always get done so late that they haven't any time for other interests. It isn't that they have a lot to do. I believe it has to do with managing our time. Usually, we don't start studies until 10am and then there are interruptions and breaks. It is my opinion that we have too many breaks. So now I want a lunch break and that is it. Really, they will study for 3 hours before lunch and about 3 hours after lunch.

They are that age where they need to be responsible with their time. I haven't been a good teacher in that area, either by coaching or by example. Aack!

Typing seems to never get done and I really want them to learn to type this year.

Besides cleaning the kitchen after dinner and laundry, other chores aren't getting done either unless we have a day to really clean the house.

So, I am going to make a schedule. I have been bad with schedules for years now. When the kids were little, I had a schedule for myself and was way more organized. I need to become that person again, especially now that I need to begin to hand over the reigns in some areas to the kids. They need to know how to manage their time.

I know I am rambling, but I guess the whole point is that I am resolving to make some routines around here. Not all at once, but one thing at a time. The first is getting to bed earlier so that we can get up earlier.

How are you with routines?





Cynce's Place Week In Review: Week 1-4

I had planned on doing weekly reviews this year, but our days seem so alike. I feel like I will just be repeating myself.

I guess with the Robinson Curriculum, the days pretty much look the same.

  • Math
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Science, a more textbook approach which I added this year.

So that I don't neglect my blog any further, I shall record some of what the kids have done the past few weeks.

MaryEllen has been doing well in Saxon Algebra 1/2. I did buy the DVD's from Mr. Reed for future reference or if she gets in a bind. For some reason, the word 'algebra' is intimidating her.

I try to let her know that algebra isn't hard if you understand what you have been taught up until that point. As long as you continue to understand and master your lessons, it shouldn't be hard. So far, she hasn't struggled in any areas. She has been completely self taught since we began Saxon about 3 years ago.

Donnie is almost done with Saxon Math 7/6; I think he has less than ten lessons. He has also been self taught these last 3 years and is doing wonderful. He still dawdles some, but that is getting better as time goes on.

Right now I have them doing writing together. They pretty much do the same thing. First they do a short lesson in Fix It. They find the errors and rewrite the passage. This is working out great.

IEW Fix It - Donnie
Donnie's IEW Fix It
IEW Fix It - MaryEllen
MaryEllen's IEW Fix It - After correcting, they copy the selection with corrections, each day adding to the previous days selection. This helps them identify when a new paragraph is starting.

After Fix It, they do a few pages in their Building Skills. I bought this to further their critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 2 & 3

Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 3
MaryEllen does two pages a day in her Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 3
Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 3
Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 3
Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 2
Donnie also does two pages a day in his Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 2
Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills
Critical Thinking Building Thinking Skills Level 2

Then they spend a few minutes going over their roots for the week which comes from English from the Roots Up. I have them read the derivatives and sometimes we will read the page from the book which is very informative. We just finished Book 1 and the kids are now studying for their 100 roots test, which is at the end of next week.

Then they do some copywork in cursive. Right now they are finishing up The Ten Commandments. Next they will begin copying various chapters from the Psalms.

Ten Commandments Copywork - MaryEllen
MaryEllen's Ten Commandment's Copywork
Ten Commandments Copywork - Donnie
Donnie's Ten Commandments Copywork

Next comes writing. They just finished The Writing Course last week. This week they are working on an oral report per their dad. Next week we will begin IEW SICC-B.

Once writing is done, they will disappear into their room to read for an hour and a half. (Sometimes they do this first after breakfast) They read two chapters from their Bible, and the rest of the time they read from a history type book and from a literature book. Right now MaryEllen is reading 'The Story of Liberty' and 'Oliver Twist'; Donnie is reading 'A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett' and Robinson Crusoe'.

Lastly, they do science. This year, it being MaryEllen's 7th grade year, I added Apologia's General Science to her list. It has been working out great. She wasn't too excited about the extra reading and work, but after 8 weeks, she has adapted wonderfully. Here are her first three test scores. She is getting better as she goes.

General Science-Tests for Modules 1-3

I type up the study guide and summary module for her to do before she takes the test. Similar to Saxon, she goes over the ones she misses, sometimes reading the explanation from the answer book.

Apologia General Science Module Summary

Apologia General Science Study Guide 2

Apologia General Science On Your Own

Donnie is doing E-Science which is working out great also. A few weeks ago, he made a hover craft, which I need to blog about, and next week, we will have fun growing crystals.

Sadly, typing hasn't been done the last week and a half. We have been starting studies late, and haven't made it a priority. This week, we haven't done a drawing lesson either. MaryEllen draws everyday, but she is also learning from the course.

That pretty sums up our days. It looks the same everyday, so I don't blog about it daily.


Cynces Place Disclosure Policy



Cynce's Place Week In Review: Week 1-4

Wow, we are beginning week four already. So far everything is going smoothly. I did make a few changes to what we will be doing. I don't plan on omitting anything, but more like postponing it.

One thing that will be postponed is the Simply Charlotte Mason (SCM) history. I have the kids reading about US history during reading time right now, and I didn't want to mix the different time eras. So, we will pick up SCM after they finish; maybe around November.

I have MaryEllen reading Charles Coffin's, The Story of Liberty. She will then continue with Sweet Land of Liberty.

Donnie is reading Mara L. Pratt's, The Foundations of the Republic and I might have him continue with The American Citizen.

These were not on their original book lists, but after going through our shelves, I decided to add them.

In January, I will be adding Notgrass' Exploring World History to MaryEllen's schedule. She wants to begin earning high school credit so that she can graduate early and pursue her other interests, mainly her drawing.

So, I think Donnie and I will go ahead with SCM History while MaryEllen branches off.

MaryEllen is finishing up her first Module in General Science. She will take her first test on Thursday or Friday.

I prepared a schedule for her, similar to the one I made for Donnie, so she knows what to do each day.

General Science Schedule

She writes out her On Your Own questions and makes flash cards for the vocabulary.

General Science Vocab

I typed up the Study Guide for her so it was more like the test she will be taking, plus I enjoy doing it; weird I know.
General Science Study Guide Module 1

The Module Summaries are optional and can be used if the student needs more help before taking the test, but I decided to have her do them anyway. I was going to have her copy these and supply the answers as she goes as recommended in the book, but I copied one as a trial and it took me over an hour to get through them. I understand the importance of writing it out so that it sticks, but it will take too long. I decided to just have her fill in the blank, but really read it as she goes. It might be a good idea to have her read it aloud to herself too.

We started typing a little late, last week to be exact. But, they are enjoying TypingWeb and are just about finished with the home row keys.

Math and writing are moving right along.

During read aloud time, we have enjoyed Star of Light and The Sugar Creek Gang. I enjoy reading The Sugar Creek Gang, the boys are fun and I enjoy their adventures. Of course I like how the Lord and living for Him is intertwined throughout the book.

All in all, I am pleased with what the children have gotten done.

So, have you started studies yet?





Last week, we bought all the candy needed to make the edible cell. Donnie helped me make the jello.

Edible Cell Project

Edible Cell Project

Edible Cell Project

They came out nice. Some of the candies, I think the m&m's and skittles, color ran, but no biggie.

Kids Making Edible Cell

Kids Making Edible Cell

We used a Riesen for the center, because we didn't have a gum ball. We always have Riesens lying around. 🙂 They are just so good.

Donnie's Edible Cell

MaryEllen's Edible Cell

After, the kids ate their cells. They couldn't finish them because they were so sweet; too much in one sitting.

Here they are after we flipped them over. Silly and unforgettable me, I forgot to grease the bowls, so it was a little tough getting them out. LOL!

Donnie's Finished Cell

MaryEllen's Finished Cell

Here is a link to make your own edible cell.

All in all, the kids had fun creating their cells.



Week 4
Our week was cut short for a few reasons...

  1. Don has an extra day off this week 🙂
  2. Sunbeam, our adopted cat, brought us her kittens

You can guess how excited the kids were to have the kittens around! You can read about it on this post.

Math Drills
Saxon 76 Math Drills

For math, Donnie did two lessons this week and MaryEllen did a lesson and a test. They each did two speed drills.

They each did two lessons in their Writing Course.

English From The Roots Up
English From The Roots Up

They copied two out of three roots from English From The Roots Up.

Exploring Creation With Human Anatomy & Physiology
Exploring Creation With Human Anatomy & Physiology

They continued to read in their Exploring Creation With Human Anatomy and MaryEllen did the notebooking pages for chapters 6 & 7.

We also watched Part 1 of the Skeletal System from The Body Of Evidence.

They also did two days of their Bible Studies.

They did their hour and a half reading. Donnie is reading Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and MaryEllen finished Frontier Living and is now reading Gladys Aylward.

Well, I guess that wraps up our week. Today, we are heading north to visit the kids' grandma. We are taking her Don's homemade chili this week. 🙂


The kids are on week four of their roots for English From The Roots Up, so we decided to play a few games.

The kids tried all the games on the list and even added Go Fish.

I played a few with them. They did better than I did!

We changed the 'Cross the River' game a little bit. We rolled a dice and went that many spaces. If we missed, we had to go back that many spaces.

This one below, The Bean Bag Toss, we used a Beanie Baby as the bean bag.

English From The Roots Up Game
English From The Roots Up Game: Bean Bag Toss





Here are a few samples of the kids work for this week.

Vocab 12MaryEllen finished vocabulary list 12. We have the kids do the vocabulary in order, and not by book. They take an average of 10 words a week. They study the words and do word finds and crosswords and then when they are ready, they take the quiz. I use this sheet for the quiz. It says, 'Matching Game,' but I keep it out of their packet and give it to them when they are ready to test.

Here is Donnie's.

Vocab 8They both have been doing real well with their vocabulary. They go at their own pace. Usually, they will do a list every 2 weeks unless it is a short one like Lesson 8, which they both did in a week.

Book ReportMaryEllen finished Summer of the Lost Limb last week, so she wrote a short summary. She is now reading Alice In Wonderland.

Alice In WonderlandHere is MaryEllen's current read, Alice In Wonderland. She also reads the Bible (currently Leviticus). She reads for an hour and a half with the other half for vocabulary study. This is her assigned reading. I have the books I want her to read in a basket, and she chooses which book she will read, so there is no particular order.

Tiger and TomDonnie reads a story from Tiger and Tom along with his Bible (Exodus currently) and he just finished Winter's Folly. He, too, has a basket of books.

Winter's FollyDonnie just finished this book on Tuesday. Now he can pick another book from his basket.

Donn'es CopyworkDonnie is doing copywork right now to work on his neatness, spacing and bringing tails under the line. He has come a long way and I am proud of his accomplishments. I was having him do Intermediate Language Lessons, but I decided to stop and concentrate on copywork. He will do similar sheets each week until August. Then I will determine if he could begin The Writing Course.

This week, he is copying Psalms 1, a short poem and the first stanza of the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Each week I will make up something similar, gradually making them longer. (I am making these available to my newsletter subscribers in the download area. If you aren't a subscriber, you can be by joining using the form at the top of this web page. )

I forgot to take a picture of MaryEllen's writing assignments from The Writing Course. 🙁 She watches a video every 2-3 lessons and then writes.

They both have continued to do well in their math. MaryEllen is doing great in Saxon76 and Donnie in Saxon 65.

That is pretty much it for their academics.

MaryEllen is beginning her typing which we planned for her to do 3x a week.


Make it a great week,

I just put the finishing touches on Intermediate Language Lessons, part 3. So now all three parts are ready for download.

You can order them individually or as a set. Each is only $8.95, the set (all 3) is $21.50 ... a 20% discount!

Each book is over 200 pages and includes the full text of the original early 1900 book. Some images in the picture studies have been updated if I was able to find it in color.

Part 1, the writing lines are double spaced.

Part 2 & 3 the lines are 1.5 spaced.

All books include spaces to write answers, even for the picture studies and conversation lessons.

The language lessons also have a place to record a students answer.

These books were created to be more independent work. In other words, I don't have to 'teach' the lesson and then have my children to the activities. They read the lesson themselves, and then answer the questions. Of course I go over them and give my feedback. I also have them rewrite it there are a lot of errors or it is sloppy.

Use coupon code: ILLP3 and get an additional 15% off! This code applies to anything in the store.

Hurry, it will expire on Jan 31st, 2011

Part 3 is geared for the 6th grade level.

Click Here For More Details

Here are a few pages from my children's work...

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook

Intermediate Language Lessons Workbook