Our Curriculum this School year.

This year I was able to attend a homeschool convention and at the Geography Matters vendor booth I found our treasure for this year!

I really like the idea of unit studies in home education as it eases my workload with multiple students and keeps us all on the same learning path together.  I have tried other unit studies and they overwhelmed me with too many options of exploring the subject matter. An overwhelmed or confused mind says no, so we ended up searching for new ways of learning and that was expensive and frustrating for me. I was looking for SIMPLE and FUN in our learning path this year, and yet something that would still CHALLENGE their minds and grow their character.

Here’s what we ended up with:

For 5th grade:

  • Our core unit study- Cantering the Country,  encompasses everything we need except for math. Find it at www.geomatters.com.  This has each of the 50 states in it, an overview of their history and important facts, a list of resources for the state in general and then suggested significant people in history from that state to study, science of their state bird, tree, rock, flower; and character of their state motto or pledge.
  • We are weak in our language arts so I also have Learning Language Arts Through Literature- the Purple book, to enhance this part of our studies.
  • The Word of Life Quiet Time will be our family Bible core, even John and I have one and no matter what age, we all read the same passage. Our church is starting Word of Life Clubs this year too so it will help the kids with that program as well and we’ll have more accountability in our verse memorization too. I’m really excited about this part of our program!
  • Go Science is a 6 pack DVD set I bought from Vision Forum ministries. It has high energy science demonstrations that also have spiritual applications to point to our Creator. My 5th grader has a major hunger for experiments that I can never seem to satisfy so I am hoping that watching these will excite all of us to try them ourselves when possible or be happy some days, just watching his demonstration.
  • Math is going back to A Beka Arithmetic. We tried Teaching textbooks last year, and while he loved the computer aspect of it and many days voluntarily did more than one lesson, I felt it was leaving gaps in his math program that had been so strong with A Beka since preschool. We are actually finishing a 4th grade book before I even purchase 5th grade because I feel like he had too much fluff math and not enough of the clues and foundation that he will need in the coming years.
  • Eat your Way Through the USA is a cookbook that can also be found at www.geomatters.com. Our kids love to help in the kitchen and this adds to the sensory learning aspect of going through each state in our unit study!

1st Grade:

  • Cantering the Country unit study.
  • A Beka Arithmetic 1
  • Learning Language Arts Through Literature, the Blue Book.
  • Word of Life Quiet Time.


  • Cantering the Country Unit Study, this is for 1st-5th grade but she is very capable of learning with us.
  • Word of Life Quiet Time – Gopher Buddies.
  • A Beka Arithmetic K

That’s it! That is our core curriculum. I am looking into electives like Spanish and Art for them as well and have my eye on two in particular. (I’ll share later)

We’ll be doing lap books for each state each week (some states may take more time, some less) and I am hoping to have the kids do presentations each week on Skype for family members to:  1. help solidify what they’ve learned by sharing it, and 2. help them grow in being confident presenters.

We are doing school at the kitchen table and anywhere else we are led this year too, we tried a school room but I think we all felt suffocated in there so it is pretty much empty now. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed a peek inside our school cabinet! It also has fun preschool activities inside for our 2-year-old, but she is so little that the most important thing for her is beneficial busy-ness like coloring, puzzles, starting with scissors, glue sticks, and singing songs that teach too. 🙂

No matter what, I want to instill a desire to learn in our children. I want them to love discovery and look at each turn of the page as an exciting adventure. I know not all school is fun for every learner, and we definitely have areas to improve in, such as writing, spelling, and even reading, but the important thing for me is to keep trying to find the style that will click with them and pursue it. I think we found it this year and I am so thankful for that.


Today I pray that the Lord helps me to remember that our children are the most pressing ministry at hand and all my other lists of things are the distraction, not them.

First day of school!

We were going to start last week but I still wasn’t feeling 100% so I gave myself grace and the kids didn’t mind at all. 😉

So today we start and I have to be honest, I’m still not 100% ready or prepared with all that I’d like to have but it is enough and the focus needs to be on what we do have and we will learn together how to fill in the missing pieces.

My biggest obstacle with educating our children at home is my own discipline. I have different lists for different responsibilities that I have and sometimes I put those other things… even if it’s housework, above training our children in wisdom and knowledge both of God and the world we live in. That would be an epic fail if that path continually is not maintained and I am purposing this school year to make my ministry to my children more effective and closer to God’s heart and desires for their growth.

Tomorrow I will share what we are using this year for our three students and toddler.

In the meantime, despite my restless night, God grace is enough and He will enable me to accomplish great things today! I pray the same for you.

Todays stand out verse in my quiet time:

Ephesians 3:12 NIV

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Be confident today in His purpose for you!


Monday ponderings

We have been praying about what God has for our future. Some of the possibilities out there would mean a big change for us financially and of course another move.  This has led to well-meaning onlookers to warn us of the hardships of stepping down in pay and quality of life.

I have been thinking about our “stuff” and what we do with our current finances and how we long for them to be used to God’s glory. We have devoted a portion to supporting missionaries so I definitely keep that in our need to sustain side of decision-making.

Today I started my morning in Ephesians 1:7-14 and especially love verses 11-12

Ephesians 1:11-12 (NIV)

In Him you were also predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,

in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.

Since I was a teenager I have been taught by wise youth leaders to use each and every situation or obstacle, good or bad, to bring glory to God. To make the time in those moments not about me and how hard things are for me, or how I wish for different or better, but to look to God and be willing to see what He has already planned out so that I might give Him glory in return. Sometimes it isn’t something seen immediately, but God will always use our experiences in conformity with the purpose of HIS will, so I might as well make His will my heart’s desire.

The benefits of changing our “quality of life” in financial realms are actually a massive improvement to our quality of life. Maybe not to everyone, but for the purpose of serving God more fully and storing our treasures in Heaven instead of earth, benefits far outweigh any sacrifices we may have to make.

All this said, we still aren’t even sure what God will do and if doors that we are knocking on will open, but we are standing ready and willing in excited anticipation on this side of the door. I have a sticker in the front of my Bible that I got the weekend that I made God the LORD of my life and not just my insurance for after-life… it says:

ALL I am…

ALL I have…

ALL I ever hope to be…

I now and forever dedicate to the Lord Jesus Christ for His use and glory, absolutely, unconditionally, now and forever.

Now LORD JESUS, Hold me to it.

I signed this January 12, 1992. I will never forget that amazing weekend and how God grabbed my heart and jump started it again to live and truly live passionately in love with HIM.

If God is the one in control of my life, and He is, I have nothing to fear. He cares for each detail and has proved that to me time and time again in little and big ways.

This morning I listened to a song I haven’t heard in a while. I had it in my heart when I woke so looked it up online to refresh all the words. Listen and watch He Is No Fool, by Twila Paris.

May you have a day of knowing God is in control and finding peace within that knowledge and courage and strength to seek out what He has planned for you to do in order for whatever is happening to bring Him glory according to HIS will at work in you.


National Zoo trip, Washington DC

I briefly mentioned in a past post that we recently got to go to the DC zoo! It was a beautiful day, although a hot one too and that makes for hiding animals that are keeping cool out of sight. We did get to see some great animals though and the kids got to stand right next to a beautiful peacock that enjoyed his doting fans.

The lions were out too…

Look at those paws! There were about 6 or 7 lioness there that we saw, and three lions. We love big cats!

The kids were able to stop for a lesson on bird feathers and eggs as well, I loved watching them interact and show their excitement as the animal lovers that they are.

Here they are “unzipping and zipping” a feather that was dark on one side and colored on the other. God is an awesome designer.

Here is the dark side of the feather….

and then the colorful flip side! …

It was a hot day and we were definately tired by the end of it. I have to say my favorite parts were my oldest and I seeing flamingo’s fight, and the big cats.

There is also a building called the think tank that houses many brains! It was fun to see the different sizes of brains… but I still like the living animals better. 😉

If you go…

1. Take plenty of water, it’s a lot of walking and somewhat hilly.

2. Print a map before your trip, they charge $2 for a map there.

3. Check online or call ahead if there is something specific you want to see, they are doing a lot of construction and many exhibits were closed in our visit because of it.