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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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Book Binding
Going on four years with the RC curriculum, I haven't tried binding a book yet until this week.

And you know what? It is F-U-N! I only did two, but I am looking forward to doing more.

Usually I try to find the book at used bookstores, thrift stores, etc. If I can't find it that way, I will print it and put it in a small binder.

I like the binding SO much better.

Robinson Curriculum Book Binding

The first two I did were Do and Dare, and Bob, Son of Battle. I followed the instructions at this website.

I made the spines and covers and reinforced them with packing tape.

Robinson Curriculum Book Binding

Yip, I am proud of my work. Now to bind some more!

Book Binding





Donnie's ReadingList

Donnie will, like MaryEllen, read down the list this year, one book at a time. I am not sure if this will work for him because his attention span is shorter. He might like reading about a few different topics. We will try it and see how he likes it.

I just noticed that Donnie's pattern is textbook, literature, biography instead of textbook, biography, literature like I did MaryEllen's booklist. 🙂

I found some nice biographies at our local used bookshop. They are easy reads, but I wanted them more for the Godly example in these men and women.

Donnie's 7th Grade Reading List



The Story of Liberty - Finish Charles Coffin
Robin Hood J. Walker McSpadden
The Pilgrim Who Made Progress William Deal
Sweet Land of Liberty Charles Coffin
The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
A Man Sent of God Merle McClurkan Heath
A Beka Geography
The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain
Air Adventures Graeme Cook
Notgrass World History Volume 1
The Case For Christ For Teens Strobel
The Case For a Creator For Teens Strobel
The Case For Faith For Teens Strobel
White Fang Jack London
Frontier of the Heart Reverend Ralph W. Beiting
God Can Move Mountains Reverend Ralph W. Beiting
Notgrass World History Volume 2
The Impossible Journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton William Bixby
A Beka Biology
Carry On Mr. Bowditch Jean Lee Latham
The Call of the Wild Jack London
Harriet Beecher Stowe Jean Fritz

Donnie's list is also long, but whatever he doesn't finish will also be rolled over either to the summer or next years booklist.

What is your 7th grader reading?



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MaryEllen's Reading List

For the last two years I have been posting the kids' reading lists. Now, during the year, this list changes as the kids add books they want to read that I find okay. It will usually bump another book off the list.

This year I am going to have them use the reading list differently. In the past, they chose a book from the list regardless of where it fell. This year they will read down the reading list.

I tried to create a pattern: textbook, biography, literature, textbook, biography, literature, etc. Once the three textbooks that I want them to read this year are read, then it will continue, biography, literature, biography, literature, etc., but the pattern gets lost towards the end. 🙂

MaryEllen's 8th Grade Reading List



Sweet Land of Liberty - finish  
Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne
A Beka Geography  
The Pilgrim Who Made Progress William Deal
Robin Hood J. Walker McSpadden
Notgrass World History Volume 1  
In the Footprints of Pioneers Barbara Jones/Pauline Spray
The Grapes of  Wrath John Steinbeck
Notgrass World History Volume 2  
Stepping Heavenward Mrs. E Prentiss
Animal Farm George Orwell
A Beka Biology  
The Case For Christ For Teens Strobel
The Case For a Creator For Teens Strobel
The Case For Faith For Teens Strobel
The Shaping of a Christian Family Elisabeth Elliot
Exploring The History of Medicine  
In His Steps Charles Sheldon
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther Roland H. Bainton
Cleopatra Emil Ludwig
Exploring The World of Mathematics  
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Exploring The World of Chemistry  
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It's a long list, but whatever she doesn't get done this year will rollover to next year. This year instead of the kids reading two books at a time plus the Bible, they will only read one book at a time. Looking back, I have at one time had them reading three books at one time.

MaryEllen hinted that she would rather read one book at a time. Three books plus her free reading book was too much. She doesn't like having so many books going at once. Unlike her mamma who has too many going at once that I sometimes forget I am reading one. I find it later in my pile and think, 'I need to finish that book.' 😉

Do you post your kids' reading lists? I'd love to see them. If you do, post a link in the comments. 🙂


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Well, it is that time of year once again, planning the next years curriculum. Here is a breakdown of what we will be doing.

Our style is the Robinson Curriculum (RC). I love the RC because of its simplicity, the 3r's.

I will start with Bible. Bible isn't part of RC, but most users add it in. This year we will use Student of the Word (SOW) for Bible. Like many others, I like how SOW has the student do different types of studies each day. They start by writing a prayer letter. Then each day they either do an outline, a topical study, character study, vocabulary or word study, setting, and commentary. This is actually the Language Arts of the SOW curriculum.


That isn't to say that we will not do other Bible Studies. We will actually begin the year with Because You Are Strong by Daniel Forster. I plan on doing Beauty and the Pig by Pam Forster too.

Because You Are Strong Bible Study

Next comes math. The kids have been having success with Saxon, so they will continue using Saxon. They will continue with Saxon Algebra 1/2.

After math, comes writing. Along with writing, we include vocabulary. The kids will continue with English From the Roots Up Volume 2 and also begin SAT: And College Preparation Course for the Christian Student, one lesson a week. I like this because it has it all. In the beginning, it gives a list of vocabulary words, but then it has the student build their vocabulary by the books they read, noting words that they do not know the meaning of. It also has them defining words in context. There are also writing and essay assignments. They start out simple and get harder as the student progresses through the book. There are also reading comprehension assignments. Each lesson starts out with Scripture reading and applying it to everyday life. The author recommends doing a daily devotional, which he provides an outline for and Scripture selections to get you started. Even if my kids aren't college bound, I think this book will benefit them.


SOW has a nice creative writing section, so I am going to include the assignments for the kids daily writing along with their Bible and SAT.

This year they will begin writing a current events paper every two weeks. We subscribe to World, Answers by Answers In Genesis, the local newspaper, Top Story from World, and other news magazines that they can utilize for their current events.

Book summaries will also be required during writing time. After they finish a book, not including a textbook, they will write up a book summary.

During writing, they will also answer the chapter Bible questions from Notgrass World History, answer the SOW Bible related science questions for A Beka Biology, and do the mapping from A Beka World Geography.

Reading follows writing. They will read for 1 1/2 hours. Within that time, they will read history, science, geography, (auto)biographies, and literature. They are also working their way through the Bible, so they read a couple chapters of that too.

History will be Nograss World History, Science will be A Beka Biology, and geography will be A Beka's World Geography.

They never did get much typing in last year, so this year NEEDS to be the year. I am planning on giving incentives when they reach certain speeds. $$ always works. 🙂

We will continue with our evening story hour. During this time, I am hoping to implement Getting Started With Latin. This will be our second attempt at a Latin program, so I am hoping we have success with this one. I know that once we finish, we will need to find another program that will go further, but at least we will have a foot in the door so to speak and we can decide if we want to pursue it further. I do think it would be beneficial, I guess I am not very confident that we will get to it. I should change my outlook, okay, my attitude, and give us more credit.

Getting Started With Latin

I think that about covers the basics with academics. June has been hit or miss with studies. They got a few lessons of math in and some reading, but not much else. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine. I say routine loosely, because it seems like we are always trying to get into a routine. lol!

So how is your yearly planning going? Are you trying something new this year or sticking with what you are use to or what is working? For us, RC works. I tried adding things or going another route, but we always come back to RC, so it is where we are staying. It is not a comfort zone, just what is working.

Happy planning,




Tissue BoxThe bug hit us this week. 🙁 We all had sore throats, stuffy noses, and coughs. With all the coughing, came a headache. Of course this made us all tired and not really in the mood to study.

I couldn't even read aloud because too much talking put me in a coughing fit. But, today I decided to look for our current book as a download so that we can at least get some reading in. We are reading The Cat of Bubastes
so I was going to order the mp3 from Jim Hodges, but then I found the one from Librovox. I listened to a bit of it and found it sufficient, so tonight we will listen to a few chapters of that. 🙂

When I felt my sore throat coming on, I made me some of this Spiced Honey Tea and it helped prevent my sore throat from becoming anything more. It never got unbearable and was better the next day.

The first sip of this tea was like...WOW! The cayenne made it strong. I sipped it throughout the day and once I got half-way through, I added more water. 😀 Not sure if that was cheating. The sore throat didn't end up like last time.

teaSpiced Honey Tea
from Honey Fanatic
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a cup and mix with hot water.

The kids didn't want to try it, and their throats would hurt when they coughed. I should have made them, but they saw how my throat felt better the next day and never really hurt. I drank it when I first felt it coming on. So, maybe next time they will try it, although I will put a little less cayenne for them...maybe a little less cinnamon too because it was really like WOW!

I also made us some cough syrup which helped with the coughing. I took it whenever I noticed myself coughing more or after a cough attack. I also used Ricola cough drops. The kids didn't like the syrup, but they took it. Luckily, they never got cough attacks like I did.

For our stuffy noses I was going to try making a vapor rub, but I didn't have any beeswax...maybe next time. Hopefully it isn't for a long time. 🙂

Instead, we tried this breathing technique which worked, but the stuffiness would come back, so we would do it every so often. I am guessing it came back because our noses are stuffed from being sick and not allergies or sinus issues, the kids anyway. I always have sinus issues, so when I get better, I will try this again for my sinus problem.

I just checked Donnie, and he has a small fever. We'll let it ride unless it gets too high. I think I'll make some chicken soup tomorrow.

Oh and the down side to all this is Don was also sick, but he still had to go to work. He didn't get it as bad thankfully. 🙂

We have two more school days in this week, so I'm going to just call it a week and start fresh on Monday.

Can you tell I am having fun with this homemade, natural, diy stuff? 😀

Oh, and don't forget to enter my Trail Guide to U.S. Geography giveaway if you haven't already.



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?




Don has been on vacation all week. He goes back to work today. It was great to have him home 24/7. During his vacation, he and Donnie got to spend time working together on the car, outside and putting together this target for the knives his Uncle & Auntie got him for his birthday.

First, they took a drive around the nearby woods to find a stump that would be suitable. Once they found it, they brought it home and Don sawed it into a few pieces.

Sawing Wood


Next, they took a drive to Lowes to buy a couple more boards to add to the ones we already had to make the backdrop. Donnie screwed it together making sure it was nice and tight.

Knife Throwing - Connecting Boards

Knife Throwing - Connecting Boards

 I helped carry it to the tree. Boy was it heavy! It didn't look heavy...I guess looks can be deceiving. Once at the tree, they leveled and stabilized it. Next came the attaching of the tree stump pieces.

Knife Throwing - Leveling

KnifeThrowing - Attaching Cut Pieces of Wood

KnifeThrowing - Almost Done

It was a great project for them, one they have been wanting to do, but with Don working so much they haven't had the time to dedicate to it.

KnifeThrowing - All Finished

After they were all finished, we tried it out. After throwing a few, it became apparent that we are going to have to cut the lower branch. We've only hit once or twice. 🙂

KnifeThrowing - Trying The New Target Out

KnifeThrowing - Trying Out The New Target

Knife Throwing - Having Fun

It wasn't as easy as it looked on the DVD we bought. Practice, practice, practice. We did make a few. Heck, I was happy if we hit the backboard for now, only a few went pass.

Knife Throwing - Pretty Good

KnifeThrowing - Good Shot

This one was mine, a little low. LOL!

KnifeThrowing  - Knife on Backboard

Knife Throwing - Good Job

We will definitely be using this. Don also wants to use it with a bow and arrow. His sister bought Donnie a bow for Christmas/birthday, we just need to get some arrows. MaryEllen wants to learn to shoot the bow, so we need to research it a bit. Too much fun. 🙂




MaryEllen has developed an interest in the Vikings, Saxons, dragons, etc. While rediscovering these Perler Beads, she creatively constructed a fleet of viking ships. I thought it was ingenious how she designed them to stand and how she devised a way for the sail to be placed.

Viking Ships

Viking Ships

Viking Ships - Perler Beads

Viking Ships - Perler Beads

She has made two more since I took these pictures and she is still creating. I think it was her intent to make a fleet.







The other day the Dover catalog came in the mail. On the back, they had a paper doll of a cat that you can cut out. The kids decided they wanted to cut them out. We actually had another magazine from the previous week that had the same cat. So the kids cut them out.

Cat Paper Doll

Shortly after, MaryEllen decided to make their cats new clothes. I thought it was very creative of her. She drew the dresses, colored them, cut them out and then reinforced them with packing tape.

Cat Paper Dolls

Cat Paper Doll Clothes

She then decided to make her own paper doll, a horse. She also made some clothes for the horse. 🙂 I thought it was cute how she made the horse in underclothes.

Horse Paper Doll

Horse Paper Doll Clothes

Horse Paper Doll

She also made Donnie a little boy and he made it some pajamas, slippers, shoes, and an outfit. He didn't want me to share. If he decides to later, I will add them. I think they came out nice.

Do any of you remember playing with paper dolls?

I don't. I think I might have, but the memory is so vague that it might not even be a memory if that makes sense.