First Day of {Home}School 2015-2016

First Day of School 2015-2016

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for full details. These action figures are made by Accoutrements and you can find a selection available on Amazon.

I realize my posts have been pretty non-existent for awhile; but I wanted to update you to say that- Yes, we are still homeschooling, and Yes, this year all three girls are officially school-aged.  Mira is entering 4th grade, Stella 1st, and Lyra is beginning her official journey with Kindergarten.

Baby Tycho is 4 months old and therefore he’ll just be tagging along for the ride.

We began our school day today with our latest tradition of “A Book and a History Figure”.  I started this last year with the purchase of the action figures of Alexander the Great, Jane Austen, and Annie Oakley.  My girls love their figures and I tie them to a corresponding picture book in order to make it as educational as possible.  My girls love reading and learning about “their” history figure and incorporate so much of what they read together into the ways they play.

This year they were surprised with Albert Einstein, Beethoven, and Shakespeare.

Today’s funniest moment goes to Lyra for repeatedly asking her sisters, “What?  What? Whhhhhhat?” and then saying “You have to talk louder.  Beethoven is going deaf!”

Curriculum, resources, extra-curriculars, and co-op information will be shared with you (hopefully) soon.  Right now I have a crying baby boy to attend to.

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Famous Homeschoolers and Self-Educators

Famous Homeschoolers and Self-Educators

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And Then There Were 4


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Coming Soon . . .

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My Cowgirl

“Oh my darlin’ cowgirl, 

keep your head up

and your heart strong.”

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All the World’s a Stage . . .

Blogging has taken a definite back seat to life recently.  I realized that in trying to maintain my blog by publishing a few posts a week I was spreading myself too thin.  I’m honestly not sure what the future holds for my blog but for now it’ll be intermittent at best.

That being said, I did want to update you.  Life has been busy.  Good, but busy.  We’re schooling through the summer (partly because we’re switching to year-round schooling and partly because we took a ridiculously long Christmas break.)

Summer will be a lighter load than normal though.  I’m hoping to get to a lot of the fun supplements that I didn’t have time for during the school year.

I picked up this little gem at the Florida homeschool convention last month.  It’s the Greek Alphabet Code Cracker by the folks at Classical Academic Press.  I had originally toyed with the idea of teaching Greek but eventually opted for following through with Latin. This workbook caught my eye because I like the thought that we can learn the letters and phonetic pronunciation of the Greek alphabet without having to commit to a full language curriculum.

I figure all I have to do it show my girls this fun video and they’ll be begging to learn Greek.

Shakespeare In Bits

Another fun summer extracurricular for us is Shakespeare In Bits. This software allows you to watch animated reenactments of the plays while following along with the unabridged text.  It’s currently available at a substantial discount through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op.  You have the option to choose their complete package which includes 5 Shakespearean plays: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  Or you can purchase the plays individually.  Mira has such an interest in Julius Caesar that I thought this would be a neat way for us to experience Shakespeare together.

Shakespeare . . . plays . . . stages . . .

Oh! Speaking of stages- my girls had their first recitals last month.  (Warning -proud momma moment.)

Ironically enough Mira’s and Stella’s first ever piano recital happened to fall on the exact same day as Stella’s first ballet performance.  It was a chaotic month leading up to the big day; and recital day in particular required a lot of running around but somehow it all went off without a hitch.

Mira performed “When You Wish Upon a Star” beautifully and I was so proud to see my shy girl perform so beautifully and confidently on stage.  Stella performed “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and handled a mistake so naturally by simply going back a few notes to replay the measure correctly.  No panic, no despair, just a perfect smooth recovery.  Oh, and did I mention she sung aloud as she played?  So freaking cute.  My youngest, Lyra, didn’t perform this year but was given a special little trophy for being her teacher’s youngest student.

Mira and Stella had worked so hard practicing their pieces, and I know that Mira in particular was a bit nervous about getting up in front of people, so I really wanted to surprise them with special gifts to mark the occasion.

I had Mira’s necklace specially-made from this beautiful Etsy shop, The Green Daisy. We’re big Disney fans here, which was a big part of the reason why Mira chose “When You Wish Upon a Star”.  I found Stella’s necklace on Ebay.  It literally came in the most adorable box with the words to Twinkle, Twinkle inside it.  And as Stella aptly pointed out, it even looks like piano keys on the box.

After their big piano recital, we had Stella’s big ballet performance at the local Opera House.  She was Little Red Riding Hood in the production of Sleeping Beauty.

Recitals are quite the thing though, huh?  I feel like I just tackled a beast and hit a new phase with my girls.  Mira is already contemplating which song she wants to learn for next year’s recital and Stella literally came off the ballet stage asking when she can get in front of an audience again.  Turns out Stella loves the sound of applause.  Who’d of thunk it?

What about you?  What fun extra-curricular resources will you be utilizing over the summer?

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And the Stars Look Upon Her

♪ ♫  And her soul walks beside her

An army stands behind her

Lyra, Lyra

And her face full of grace ♪ ♫

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Booking Across the USA and Create Your Own Search and Find State Map

Booking Across the USA Trip 2 created by

I’m happy to be participating in this year’s Booking Across the USA project hosted by Jody from Growing Book by Book.  Last year’s event was a huge success and showcased many amazing picture books based on the individual states of the USA.  This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for full details.

This year I had the pleasure of reviewing a book from the Travels with Charlie series by Miles Backer and illustrated by Chuck Nitzberg.  Blue Apple Books published this four book series about a dog named Charlie and his travels across the states:


Since my family lives in the warm and sunny state of Florida we reviewed Travels With Charlie Down South.  My daughters were immediately drawn into the colorful illustrations filled with fun details, history, and trivia facts.  

As a homeschooling mom, I really appreciated the book’s layout.  The playful illustrations are engaging and draw children’s eyes.  The main text of the page is simple enough for young readers to enjoy and its search and find format combines a fun blend of looking and learning.  Additionally,  the “Did You Know” section in the margins of the pages are perfect for older children or for parents to read and relay to younger children for adding a deeper layer of information on each state.

While enjoying our book together, my oldest daughter Mira made a request.  She asked if we could draw our own map of Florida.  I can only assume her passion in maps is stemming from our attempt at learning how to free-hand draw a world map. (You can see my short how-to video tutorials here.)  We’ve made some strides on that front and have recently moved from “blobbing” the continents to actually trying to draw accurate depictions of the world’s large landmasses.

Create Your Own “Search & Find” State Map

So when Mira asked about drawing a map of our state, I was only too happy to comply.  I grabbed our copy of The Shaping of a Nation by Terri Johnson over at Knowledge Quest in order to pull a reliable map of Florida. You could also do an internet search on your state to find a map that works for you.

Next I used our Light Up Tracing Pad which allowed Mira to easily trace Florida.

Then she created her own Search and Find map by adding the landmarks of places she loves.  (After taking this picture, we added our home and Nanny and Grandpa’s house. Because those are our favorite places!)  You could easily add favorite parks, museums, and even stores and restaurants.  Personalize your map as uniquely as you can for your family.  Another fun way to add to this lesson would be to add the places you hope to visit one day.  We added the Everglades to our map even though we haven’t been there yet.

We enjoyed this book so much that I’m determined to pick up the rest of the books in this series to complete our set.

Travels With Charlie is definitely parent, child, AND dog approved!

Enter for your chance to win the WHOLE set of 4 Travels With Charlie Search and Find Books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Homeschooler’s Guide to the Galaxy

Space.  The final frontier.  Are you getting ready to tackle astronomy and study space in your homeschool?

Don’t Panic!

I bring you the Ultimate Guide To Studying Space!  I’ve compiled some of the most commonly referenced and recommended astronomy resources from a variety of homeschool circles.  I hope this list of resources and links helps inspire your imagination and ignite your journey into the cosmos.

**Please note-although I have tried to include as many resources as possible, my own knowledge of materials stem from a secular perspective.  However, in the course of our homeschooling journey I have personally found that I’m able to utilize many Christian resources by tweaking them to work for my family.  It is my belief that some of the secular resources in this list can be utilized by those with a biblical perspective by catering it to their needs as well.  As with all resources, preview it before sharing with your children.

In trying to compile a listing of both secular and biblical perspectives I have reached out to Christian friends to ask for their personal recommendations.  I would like to thank Jay Ryan from Classical AstronomyDr. Wile from Science in the Beginning, and John Wilkerson from The Wired Homeschool for taking the time to share with me some of their favorites. 

**If you have suggestions for a curriculum that you feel should be included in this list, please leave a comment.  

When applicable I will note whether the listed resource is secular or from a Christian perspective. However, those hoping to know which resources are from a Young Earth viewpoint will need to do further research into the individual Christian resources for clarification.

Homeschool Astronomy Curriculum

 Astronomy Reference Books for use with younger students

Astronomy Related Picture Books

Astronomical Reference Books for older students/adults

Astronomy Documentaries

 Astronomy-Related Websites

Online Astronomy Courses

Planetarium Software for real-time 3D visualization of Space

Telescope and Binocular Sellers

Dark-Sky Observing Site Directories

Astronomy Apps

You Tube Channels

Astronomy Related Music

*Please keep in mind this guide in no way way reflects EVERY resource that’s out there.  Feel free to email me or leave a note in the comments if you have a favorite you’d like to see added. 

The universe is immense and so are subjects that the ladies over at the iHomeschoolNetwork have compiled into Ultimate Guides.  Be sure to check out the {almost}infinite assortment of topics available for this year’s iHN Ultimate Guide collection.


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Homeschool Show and Tell Link-Up #1

Welcome to the first week of Homeschool Show and Tell.  Here you can share the fabulous finds and fun resources that you utilize in your homeschool.  Sure, you can share curriculum if something is truly rocking your world, but I’m envisioning the primary focus of the Show and Tell to be on those little items and resources that you stumble upon that make the educator in you squeal with delight.

If you blog, feel free to grab this image for your post.  It’s not necessary in order to link-up but it’s available for those that want to link back.  If you don’t blog I’d love for you to share your resources in the comments section or by using the hashtag #HomeschoolShowAndTell on your favorite social media outlet.

 My Show and Tell item:

Laura and Grandpa – Discovering Science Together books

You don’t have to adhere to a Charlotte Mason educational approach in order to appreciate living books.  Homeschoolers just love living books— books that are written by someone with a passion for a certain subject; books that grab your attention with their narrative storytelling versus the traditional dry text-book style of other resources; books that educate AND entertain.

Recently my girls and I attended a Family Night at a local museum and met the author of one such living book.  Dr. Robert H. Krupp has centered his life around his passion as he strives to instill a love of science and a sense of awe for the marvel of our universe into those he meets.

His series of children’s books, Laura and Grandpa Discovering Science Together, are his attempt to foster in children the desire to ask and ponder the whys, hows, and whats that surround them.


By using a story telling format and adding in easy experiments that families can do together, Dr. Krupp has creating fun and engaging science books for young children.

My girls and I were lucky to be introduced to his books at the museum where stations had already been set up so we could complete some of the experiments outlined in the books.

But perhaps the greatest perk of this particular series is that it gives us a chance to make our own grandpa the central figure to our day’s learning.

Now It’s Your Turn!

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