2013 – 2014 Curriculum Plan (So far)

Next year will be Haden’s second grade year! All my researching seems to be paying off because I’m feeling pretty solid about the choices I’ve narrowed down to so far, and I only have a couple things I still need to make a decision on. So, here is the list that I promised!


We will continue doing mostly Living Math, and will be using a variety of resources throughout the year. So, I’ve just listed some of the things I want to add to our collection of living math tools. 

Miquon Math – This will be the core of our math. We have already started using the Orange & Red Books, but will continue on throughout the rest of the series.
I Love Math Books
Logic Links
Usborne First Maths Dictionary
Learning Resources Creative Color Cubes
Citi Blocks

Plus, living math books that we will borrow from the library. 🙂 You can find book lists here, here and here.

Language Arts

I have had the hardest time making a decision here! I’ve thought that I had it all figured out a couple of times, only to change my mind again. I think this is it though. Hopefully….

I linked to the main website for all the Brave Writer materials below, but you can buy them at a really great discount on the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op.

Brave Writer’s The Writer’s Jungle
Brave Writer’s The Wand
Brave Writer’s Jot It Down

Handwriting Without Tears

And of course, reading TONS of books. 😛


Elemental Science: Elementary Biology

Required books for Biology:

Kingfisher First Encyclopedia of Animals
DK First Human Body Encyclopedia
Plant Parts
Janice VanCleave’s Science Around the World
Janice VanCleave’s Biology for Every Kid

Intellego Unit – Evolution


Classical House of Learning – Grammar Stage Ancients (FREE literature-based program.) Although, this curriculum offers a reading schedule that includes Story of the World, I’ve decided to skip that, and use the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History as a supplement to the program. I may do Ancient Civilizations History Pockets with it too.

I will be borrowing most of the Required Books for the course from the library, as well as the Optional Books.

Also, we will be doing American History read-alouds throughout the year to go ahead and dip our toes into our history a bit better, until I’m ready to do a more thorough study. 🙂


Intellego Unit – Maps
Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary
World GeoPuzzle 

We will probably do misc. country studies as Haden shows interest too.

Social Studies

Intellego Unit – Goods and Services
Intellego Unit – Choices and Resources


We will continue using our Usborne Art Coloring Book and Draw.Write. Now.


BLAM by Roy Lichtenstein


I’d really like to start doing Spanish next year, but I am still undecided on what to use. I am considering using the book, Getting Started with Spanish. Maybe Mango if I can budget it in… I’m really not sure yet…


I will be adding to our collections of field guides for Nature Study. We really like the Peterson Guides. 🙂 I’m getting Peterson First Guide Rocks and Minerals & Peterson First Guide Caterpillars, plus maybe a couple others.

The Kids’ Book of Questions – This book was recommended in the book, Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, which is a really awesome book, BTW. I will be using it as a starting point towards having  more thought provoking discussions with Haden and to encourage moral reasoning.

Usborne Encyclopedia of  World Religions

And (of course) we will be taking classes through our co-op next year too.


All about chickens in Life on the Farm class.


These are all websites that we love and utilize now. Just thought I would share the love. 😉

Education Unboxed – Oh, the amazing things you can do with Cuisenaire Rods.
Cool Math Games – Cool math games. 😛
Math Playground – More cool math games.
Living Math – The place to check out for living math resources.
Handbook of Nature Study Blog – I love their monthly newsletters because they include fun outdoor challenge grids and free notebooking pages to go with them.
Notebooking Fairy – Lots of free notebooking pages.
Homeschool Share – FREE lapbooks!


Addison will be 3 1/2 in the fall, so I will most likely start making a more concentrated effort to plan activities to do with her. She already tags along with Haden during school sometimes, especially science. She likes to sit at the table with us and work on puzzles or pages from her cut and paste book when we are working. I’ll keep it simple, but do want to start forming a habit of thinking about her more than I currently do when it comes to our plans for the day. I’m thinking about buying her some sand paper letters and numbers… I’ve started a preschool Pintrest board to pull ideas from, and I will likely try to take a literature-based unit study style approach with her for Pre-K, and see how that goes. The last two classes of this term at co-op she actually attended class on her own, so I’m hoping she will do that in the Fall too!

[box] So, what are your plans for next year? You know I want hear about them! :)[/box]


Our Next School Year: The Plan

This past weekend was our local Homeschool Expo; I wrapped up the majority of my shopping for the upcoming school year while I was there! I still have a few miscellaneous books that I need to buy off of Amazon, but we are otherwise set for the year. I am pretty pleased with the way everything has come together, although there was a few moments there when I was planning and researching that my head was seriously hurting. 😛

We are doing year-round homeschooling, so although we have  taken a couple of short breaks this summer, we have not had an extended one that would clearly mark when we “go back to school.” I am going to consider the beginning of September as our new year, since Haden is two weeks away from being finished with this year’s Math, although he won’t finish his Language Arts until around October. But whatever.

So here it is! A summary of everything we will be using this year. 🙂

Language Arts & Math

We will still be using Time4Learning, because we love it so much! I really feel like it is the best fit for Haden (& me!), especially because he is a pre-reader, and the online lessons are a great way to introduce new concepts to him without me having to walk him through everything. Then, using the Teacher’s Guide for each unit, I plan activities to enforce the things he has been learning and to make sure that he isn’t confused about anything.  We use the recommended books list for each unit, and we have especially been enjoying some of the living math books.

Plus, I’ll be using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book: Problem Solving A to Z that I bought last year, since we never got around to really using it.


I’m moving AWAY from so much classical literature this year. This past year I used a book list of classical literature for his grade level and many of the ones we read, we just didn’t like all that much.We are going to continue pulling books from our Time4Learning lists, as well as other lists. Probably some of the ones I have pinned on Pintrest.

We did enjoy our Mr. Popper’s Penguins Literature Unit from Confessions of a Homeschooler, so I am planning to work in her units on Little House in the Big Woods, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Stuart Little.


We are picking up where co-op left off and doing Handwriting Without Tears at home this year. I actually sat in on their workshop at the Expo this past weekend (the only one I actually attended!), and listening to them talk more about the method behind the curriculum really solidified my choice for me. Their curriculum goes up through 5th grade and I highly doubt I will be using anything else. Along with the 1st Grade Teacher’s Guide & the My Printing Book, we will be using the Rock, Tap and Learn CD & the Slate Chalkboard during lessons. I also bought a big stack of their double lined paper for Haden to use on anything else that he does, so that he won’t have different paper line sizes confusing him and making writing harder.

If I had known that I might score freebies, I totally would have went to more workshops. 😛 I got some Pencils for Little Hands and a sample pack of FLIP crayons. Haden really loves the little pencils, they seem much easier to write with and hold.


I’m pretty excited about starting this one – Road Trip USA! Road Trip USA is a U.S. Geography/History notebooking curriculum, that uses National Geographic’s United States Atlas for Young Explorers as it’s core resource. The curriculum is broken down by state and includes state facts and history, famous people, fun projects that tie in, and cooking projects. I’ll keep you posted on this one! I really wanted to give it a try because it looked fun and it is very affordable, but I do expect to have to do some tweaking to it. I’m just hoping that it will be minimal. I plan to do this over a 2-year period. I bought a new wall map, a magnetic USA puzzle, Color and Learn: Colonial America & Wee Sing America to go along with it.


I pieced together our science this year after deciding that we wanted to focus on Nature Study, Astronomy, and Plants/Gardening.

The Handbook of Nature Study Blog has a bunch of great curriculum and if you sign up for updates, you will get tons of ideas and freebie notebooking pages. We will be working through her Outdoor Challenges, using the Handbook of Nature Study, by Anne Botsford Comstock and a bunch of Peterson First Guides.

Along with utilizing internet resources, especially Pintrest, we will be using these books in Science …

Gardening with Children

The Kids of the Night Sky: Official Book on Skywatching

National Geographic: 13 Planets

We will also be doing more Animal Classification this year as a tie in with our Road Trip U.S.A. Each state has animal cards that will be classified and sorted onto our “Animal Wall.”

Physical Education

Even though we are breaking from our yoga at the moment, I suspect that we will be doing it off and on throughout the next year. I really don’t worry too much about my kids getting enough exercise, because they are so active anyways! I have started doing workout videos most mornings and the kids have been happy to join in with me, so we will continue to keep doing that. So far it seems to go a long way towards making me feel better, even if I can’t make it through a whole workout! Skinny does not = fit. Just so you know.

Also, I printed out these P.E. cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler, which seem like an easy way to throw in extra exercise.


Draw Write Now: Book One (On the Farm – Kids and Critters – Storybook Characters) – Haden really wants to be able to draw things, but gets frustrated that his pictures don’t turn out as he would like them. The Draw Write Now books break down how to draw things in such an easy and simple way! I’ll be learning how to draw chickens and whatnot with him. 😉 If he enjoys working through this book, I’ll likely continue buying more. There are 8 total in the series.

The Usborne Art Coloring Book – This book is full of pictures based on famous works of art that Haden can color. I thought this seems like an easy way to dip our toes into art appreciation without doing serious studies on it, because he just seems to young for it.

We will be doing cooking projects of some sort once a weekish. Some weeks I will be using Road Trip U.S.A. for this, but on the weeks that we don’t have one from our Geography, I will probably rely on finding something on Pintrest.

Tot School

Since Addison has been getting more involved in school, I decided to put together a little bit for her this year. Nothing extravagant, and mostly just to entertain and distract her. She has really enjoyed keeping her Yoga notebook, so when I recently stumbled upon these printouts for toddlers on the 1+1+1=1 blog, I thought making her a Tot Time Notebook would be fun! So I did. 😛



I’m also adding Do-a-Dot pages, which are so easy to find for free on the net. Addison loves do-a-dot pages. And FYI, you can save money and skip spending $12 on a pack of 6 Do-a-Dot markers and buy Bingo Markers at the Dollar Tree instead. At the expo I bought I Can Paste! and some new lacing cards for her, so I think her workboxes are pretty well set with things to occupy her when she needs it.


[box] So what are your plans for this year? I always love reading about what other people are doing![/box]

Not Back to School Blog Hop

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I am detoxing.

What is it about the summer, that seems to leech all your motivation for the practical straight out of you?

When I set my goals for this summer in my I Have a Confession… post, I didn’t quite expect to hit them so thouroughly. I have literally been in a book daze for the past couple weeks, and any of my serial reader friends will know exactly what I am talking about. Those periods of time where you churn through one book, then go straight into another. Where EVERY spare moment is spent trying to see what will happen next, and you begin to blow off  your to-do list for the opportunity to have more reading time. Yeah, that is where I am am at… Right now.

I can’t even remember what all I have read since I started this! OMG. I am literally, at this moment, forcing myself to write this, instead of finding a new book to begin. My brian feels slightly foggy and it is hard for me to focus.

I am detoxing. Yeah, this isn’t my first time either.

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SEEING the Ocean: Our Ocean Unit Study

2 days left and we will be SEEING the ocean! Smelling it. Hearing it. To build up the suspense and excitement of our upcoming trip to Key West and the Bahamas, we have been doing a Ocean Themed Unit for the past 2 weeks. It has been tons of fun, and with summer right around the corner, I figured someone might find this interesting!

Our Book List:

Hello Ocean, by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts, by Grame Base

The Little Island, by Margaret Wise Brown

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor, by Joanna Cole


This was our very first time doing a lapbook. Honestly, although I had heard people mention them before, I didn’t really know what the hell a lapbook was until someone posted an Ocean themed one from Homeschoolshare on Pintrest. Homeschoolshare is actually a pretty cool website, with tons of freebies, and you know I LOVE freebies! Haden really loved the project. That boy seriously has a thing for notebooks, so making the lapbook was slightly thrilling for him. We also made the suggested “wave in a bottle,” using mineral oil and blue water.



It was a pain to have to do all the cutting for the lapbook, making my preparation for school more time consuming, but I think that Haden’s overall enjoyment of the process made it worth it, and I wouldn’t mind doing them every once in a while.

I won’t likely be creating my own lapbooks from scratch any time soon, but for those that might be interested Homeschoolshare has 100 lapbook templates you can type on that are downloadable for FREE, in case the mood strikes you, and you want to get creative. 😉

We did THIS Ocean Animals Movement Activity, which my kids actually enjoyed way more than I thought they would. They were so funny and cute, while being ocean animals.



We declared a Project Day! and used our time to create an ocean aquarium using a 2-liter bottle, which was a project we just stumbled upon while reading about fish in our Natural World book from the Explore and Learn Series. It totally seemed like a Curious George style project, and I have a sneaking suspicion that is why it appealed to Haden so much.

Have Fun Learning has some free Ocean Activities for download. We only used the word problems for ours, but I thought the writing pack looked pretty cool.

Throw in some ocean documentaries on Netflix, and call it a fun 2 weeks. 🙂

Just for the record, this is the power of Pintrest and other bloggers at work here. I feel that I must be clear that I rarely have any overtly creative ideas all on my own. I love the internet for being such an amazing resource for learning.

Hey! Did I mention we leave in 2 days??!!