buy Flovent,buy Ventolin online,buy Symbicort online,Buy Combivent online,Buy Advair diskus online,buy atrovent online

8 Must-Have Grammar Books

As you all know, I don’t have girls, but I was the Chairman of the Board for our local Montessori School for several years and learned a lot from just being around all the Montessori teachers and consultants!  One of the series the Montessori Consultant from Houston Montessori Center recommended was by Ruth Heller. It is FABULOUS!  The pictures in the books are so bright and beautiful and the language so vivid that it really does spark an interest with the children.  This series is fantastic for girls and boys, especially in the elementary years … but my boys, being a bit older, prefer a little bit more boyish series now. I will write an article about their favorite grammar books soon. In the meantime, let’s get to the 8 Must- Have Grammar Books for Girls!

8 Must Have Grammar Books for Girls b

Kites Sail High.  A Book About Verbs by Ruth Heller.

Amazon: “Kindergarten-Grade 5 Heller gives beautiful treatment toKites Sail High verbs in singing verse with vibrant illustrations which fairly leap from the pages in double-page spreads. While verbs do not lend themselves easily to two-dimensional illustrations, and many of the concepts here are too advanced and abstract for the usual picture book age child, these illustrations and the design of the book have such appeal that even children to whom the words seem mostly gibberish will enjoy the rhythm and visual impact of the book. Older children will find it a painless and concise grammar lesson as well as a visual treat. Most of the verse flows smoothly, and the meanings are clear. This book should be a boon to language arts teachers in the upper elementary grades as well as fun for all children and adults who love to play with language!”

A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns by Ruth Heller.

A Cache of JewelsAmazon: “In light verse and brightly colored pictures, Heller provides an introduction to a specialized part of speech, the collective noun. She lists and depicts more than 25, including such familiar terms as “batch of bread” and “bunch of bananas,” as well as more unusual phrases: “gam of whales,” “muster of peacocks” and “parcel of penguins.” The concept will stimulate the curiosity and imaginations of children with an ear for language. The illustrations, containing large, bold objects in simple yet striking compositions, ensure a visually inspiring exploration as well. Ages 4-8.”

Merry-Go-Round A Book About Nouns by Ruth Heller

Amazon: “Kindergarten-Grade 6– Nouns of all kinds are the subject of Heller’s latest in her series of books onMerry go round parts of speech. Common, proper, abstract, concrete, compound, and collective nouns are all defined and shown by example in usually lilting verse. Singular, plural, and possessive forms of nouns are also thoroughly covered, and determiners are explained and demonstrated. The rhyme form is used with amazing skill but now and then seems forced as in, “Nouns are highly effective./ The last kind of NOUN is . . . COLLECTIVE.” How and why they work are not explained. Striking graphic design with large clear objects in bold colors overflowing each double-page spread make the book a visual treat. The use of bold type for all the nouns is particularly pleasing and will make for easy reading aloud. Heller’s language books challenge users’ creativity since the concepts are difficult for the picture-book format. Conversely, the verse and illustrations can delight very young children while older readers are sure to find the concise definitions clearer and certainly more entertaining than any grammar text.”


Many Luscious Lollipops A Book About Adjectives by Ruth Heller

Many Luscious LollipopsAmazon: “To further a child’s grasp of the meaning and function of adjectives, this gorgeous picture book provides enrichment and depth of understanding. As in her other pictorial explorations of parts of speech, Kites Sail High (verbs) and A Cache of Jewels (collective nouns), Heller uses a rhymed text in juxtaposition with bold, brilliant, double-page spreads. These books are a visual and auditory feast, designed to make language discovery appealing and rewarding. Young readers will certainly enjoy–and benefit from–Heller’s elegant elucidations, and perhaps all should heed her parting advice: “Whenever you find yourself in doubt / be cautious and be wary. / It’s often very helpful / to consult your dictionary.” Ages 6-8.”

Behind the Mask A Book About Prepositions by Ruth Heller

Amazon: “Grades 2-4. this volume explores yet another part of speech: prepositions. It provides many Behind the Maskexamples of prepositions (printed in large, blue type) as well as some rules of usage. Large, colorful drawings illustrate the words imaginatively. While a child alone might find the text confusing, the many teachers who use the series will probably enjoy reading this book aloud to introduce or illustrate prepositions in their classrooms.”  And another “Heller’s survey of prepositions provides early learners with basic grammar insights, using rhyming text and colorful illustrations to define prepositions and how they’re used. Parental intervention will assist in the process of a child’s understanding of the ideas; but the color and rhyme goes a long way towards solidifying a somewhat challenging concept.”

Fantastic! Wow! And Unreal! A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions by Ruth Heller

Fantastic Wow and UnrealAmazon: “Grade 2-5.   This title is a must-have for school media centers as it provides sheer enjoyment and stimulating instruction for both students and teachers. Learning about interjections and conjunctions is fun with this dazzlingly illustrated book from Ruth Heller’s World of Language series. The spare yet information-packed text is brought to life by eye-popping artwork. Colorful dragons, mysterious sea creatures, and rainbow-striped zebras leap from the pages. Simple yet clever, this inventive book will have readers saying “Yippee! Whoopee! And Hallelujah!” “Youngsters will delight in the rhyming text, which artistically weaves information through vibrant illustrations.”

Mine, All Mine A Book About Pronouns by Ruth Heller

Amazon: “Grade 1-6. Once again, Heller has taken a part of speech and made its function perfectly andMine all Mine entertainingly clear. This time it’s pronouns?personal, possessive, demonstrative, indefinite, reflexive, intensive, interrogative, and relative. From cover to cover, the stylishly drawn, brilliantly colored, double-paged illustrations grab readers and don’t let go. The exceptionally fluent, rhythmic text is printed in an unobtrusive font with pronouns highlighted in bright blue. Mine, All Mine is at its very best when read aloud. “Demonstrative pronouns make it clear. Those are far. These are near. They point out decisively. This is she and that is he.” While younger readers are an obvious audience, be sure to introduce this title and its counterparts to elementary-grade language-arts teachers and their students. Who would have thought pronouns could be such fun?”

Up, Up and Away A Book About Adverbs by Ruth Heller

Up Up and AwayAmazon: “Grade 2-4.  Lively…The playfully rhymed text flows effortlessly as it discusses superlatives, irregular adverbs, and double negatives….Informative and fun.”– School Library Journal “Using expansive color drawings and catchy rhymes, Heller writes about words frequently and vividly and with an unmistakable flourish….A clever introduction.  This eye-catching book explains its perplexing subject well and clearly, and more memorably than could any grammar textbook. Teachers and children will find the clever presentation informative and fun.”

If you are enjoying this post and want to see more, please sign up for our newsletter, join us on Facebook and Google+, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest or sign up on the right to follow our blog.

I have been in a “simplifying, downsizing and purging” mode in our house and homeschool for the last six months, but these books are still here. That is my kitchen table in the picture above 🙂  And they will be here for a while longer… we still reference them regularly!  I hope you enjoy these books as much as we have!

Thank you so much for being a part of our community!  Until next time….


Almost Montessori Sentence Building

I just love the way Montessori teaches children! It is such an amazing experience to watch a child have an aha moment! I’m addicted to them!  I’m sure that is why teachers want to teach 🙂 When teaching abstract concepts to children, those aha moments can be elusive… but with Montessori’s principle of using concrete material to teach abstract ideas, you will see those “aha”s regularly! I’m going to be presenting items this year that follow the Montessori foundation and pedagogy of teaching, but are not traditional Montessori Works… I’m going to be calling this series “Almost Montessori” so be watching for these posts! This is another way to make Montessori more affordable to homeschoolers.  So I will have two series this year.  One is Montessori Made Affordable, where I’m going to present traditional Montessori works that I find that are on sale and then Almost Montessori that follows the principles but are not Montessori works.  Today’s items that is in the “Almost Montessori” category is: Almost Montessori Sentence Building.

Almost Montessori Sentence Building

Sentence Buildings are so Montessori, yet not Montessori.  Sentence Buildings Create sentence cities with 9 durable parts-of-speech buildings and over 300 double-sided cards. Parts of speech include: noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, conjunction, article, preposition, adverb, and punctuation. Use many or just a few buildings to differentiate instruction.

If you are enjoying this post and want to see more, please sign up for our newsletter, join us on Facebook and Google+, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest or sign up on the right to follow our blog.

I love this!  It is very similar to the Grammar Boxes but at a fraction of the price!  Grammar Boxes are a set of eight grammar boxes in colors of the grammar symbols. These boxes are color coded with different parts of speech. These activities aid the child in analysis of grammar and development of interpretive reading.


So, you can see differences, yet the underlying principles are the same. To see how Montessori Grammar Boxes are presented, I found the following presentation from Island Video:

Here is a free language album to read how to give Grammar lessons.

While you are thinking about grammar, be sure to visit my article on 8 MUST Have Grammar Books.  These were recommended to us at the Montessori School I was involved in prior to homeschooling.  It is a FANTASTIC series!

I hope these will be a blessing to your homeschool!  Please share and pin these articles if they are beneficial to help us get the word out about our blog and series!


Henty Books in Chronological Order for History Immersion

Don’t miss a post! Receive all our blog posts in your inbox by Subscribing to our Newsletter.  We regularly update our FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest, and would love to connect if you are on those networks!  Thank you for reading our posts and being a part of our community!  If you have time, leave us a comment below and let us know how you found us!  My boys LOVE making new friends and meeting you all (and so do I)!!


With three boys who are voracious readers, we have the ultimate challenge of finding wholesome books that they want to read. One set of books that we found and both the boys and I love are G.A. Henty books. Even Henty Books in Orderthough his books are fiction, they are historical fiction and provide a great vision of the era he was writing about. His books are historically accurate and are full of noble character traits… traits we want to instill in our boys such as: honesty, chivalry, integrity, courage, loyalty, honor, hard work, charity, justice, and the list goes on and on. Henty was masterful at weaving action and adventure throughout his novels!  Putting the Henty Books in chronological order has helped me organize his books into our schedule to be more useful in our homeschool.

Here is a brief bio of GA Henty from Wikipedia:

George Alfred Henty, was a prolific English novelist and a special correspondent. He is best known for his historical adventure stories that were popular in the late 19th century.  His children’s novels typically revolved around a boy or young man living in troubled times. These ranged from the Punic War to more recent conflicts such as the Napoleonic Wars or the American Civil War. Henty’s heroes – which occasionally included young ladies – are uniformly intelligent, courageous, honest and resourceful with plenty of ‘pluck’ yet are also modest.  These virtues have made Henty’s novels popular today among many Christians and homeschoolers.

Reasons you might want to include Henty as part of your children’s reading goes directly to character!  Quote from the Henty site:  

G. A. Henty lived during a time in which honesty, integrity, hard work, courage, diligence, perseverance, personal honor and a strong Christian faith were greatly valued. This was especially true of members of the British armed forces, of which Henty was a part. As a consequence, Henty’s heroes are models of these virtues of personal character – and always owe their successes to these characteristics.  The young reader identifies with Henty’s heroes while he is vicariously reliving their experiences as he reads. These heroes become, for the duration of the story, his peers and examples – and, children learn, almost entirely, by example.  American and British educators a century ago were as much concerned in building good character in their students as they were in imparting to them academic knowledge. This accounts for the great popularity of Henty’s works during that golden period of education.

My oldest son, Chase, has started reviewing the books he has read and the first Henty book was Cat of Bubastes. You can read his review here. Read for yourself what a teen thinks of the Henty books! We are using the Henty books as an immersion in our historical studies… to better understand the culture and time. I hope this list will be beneficial to you and your homeschool as well!! I will be creating many lists over the course of our homeschooling years to help you find books that instill honor and character in our boy’s reading experiences.  


Bk# Title Subject Location ~Year
1. Those Other Animals Animals n/a n/a
2. The Cat of Bubastes Ancient Egypt; Egyptian religion Egypt 1250 BC
3. The Young Carthaginian Hannibal’s Campaigns, Punic wars North Africa 220 BC
4. Beric the Briton Roman Invasion, Gladiators, Burning of Rome, Nero  Great Britain 61
5. For the Temple Fall of Jerusalem, 1st Century Jewish Revolt, Vespasian, Josephus and Titus Palestine 70
6. The Dragon and the Raven The Days of King Alfred Great Britain 870
7. Wulf the Saxon Norman Conquest,  Viking invaders, Battle of Hastings Great Britain 1066
8. Winning His Spurs
The Crusades, Holy Wars, Holy Land, the Saxons, the Normans Palestine 1190
9. In Freedom’s Cause Wallace and Bruce, Scots Scotland 1314
10. St. George for England Crecy & Poitiers, English and French  France 1340
11. The Lion of St. Mark War of Venice and Genoa Italy 1380
12. A March on London Wat Tyler’s Insurrection England 1381
13. Both Sides the Border Glendower & Hotspur Great Britain 1400
14. At Agincourt Hundred Year War, Henry V, French, English France 1415
15. A Knight of the White Cross Siege of Rhodes, War of the Roses, Moorish corsair pirates, Moslems Greece 1480
16. By Pike and Dyke Spanish-Dutch War, Spanish Inquisition Holland, etc. 1579
17. St. Bartholomew’s Eve Huguenot Wars, Protestants, Catholics France 1580
18. Under Drake’s Flag Circumnavigating the Globe, Search for North West Passage, High Seas Worldwide 1580
19. By England’s Aid Fall of Spanish Armada, Freeing of the Netherlands, Corsairs Holland 1588
20. By Right of Conquest Conquest of Mexico, Cortez, Aztecs Mexico 1595
21. The Lion of the North Thirty Year War,  Sweden, Scotland, Gustav II Adolf Germany 1630
22. Won by the Sword Thirty Year War, Richelieu, France Europe 1640
23. Friends Though Divided England’s Civil War, the Cavaliers, the Roundheads, Charles II England 1650
24. When London Burned Anglo-Dutch Wars, Great Plague, the Great Fire Great Britain 1666
25. John Hawke’s Fortune Monmouth Rebellion, Duke of Monmouth, Battle of Sedgemoor Great Britain 1685
26. Orange and Green Battle of Boyne Ireland 1690
27. A Jacobite Exile Swedish-Russian War, King Charles the XII of Sweden, Jacobite: a political movement dedicated to restoring the Stuart kings to the throne of England and Scotland Europe 1695
28. The Cornet of Horse War of Spanish Succession, Holland, Hapsburg, Hanover and Prussia against the French and Spanish Belgium 1703
29. The Bravest of the Brave War of Spanish Succession, Spain and France, and the British and her allies,  Earl Charles Mordaunt III of Peterborough Spain 1705
30. In the Irish Brigade War of Spanish Succession, King Louis XVI of France, War in Flanders and Spain France 1710
31. Bonnie Prince Charlie Fontenoy and Battle of Culloden Europe 1745
32. With Wolfe in Canada Fall of Quebec, Battle of Britain and France for supremacy in the North American continent. Canada 1759
33. True to the Old Flag American Revolution written from a British point of view US 1760
34. With Frederick the Great Seven Years War,  Battles of Rossbach, Leuthen, Prague, Zorndorf, Hochkirch, and Torgan Prussia 1760
35. Held Fast for England Siege of Gibraltar, Tangiers, Gibraltar and the Spanish Coast, the Straights Gibraltar 1780
36. Colonel Thorndyke’s Secret or The Brahmin ‘s Treasure English Society / Adventure, Pre-industrialization England 1783
37. With Clive in India Battle of Plassey,  English influence at the point of extinction in India India 1786
38. In the Reign of Terror French Revolution, French marquis France 1793
39. By Conduct and Courage Napoleonic Wars Europe 1795
40. No Surrender! French Revolution, The revolt of La Vendde France 1795
41. A Roving Commission Great Revolt in Hayti, Story of the Sea West Indies 1795
42. The Tiger of Mysore Mysore War, India India 1795
43. At Aboukir and Acre Napoleonic Wars, Alexandria, Napoleon’s Invasion of Egypt Egypt 1798
44. At the Point of the Bayonet Mahratta War, India, British India 1800
45. With Moore at Corunna Peninsular War, Napoleon, Britain  Europe 1808
46. A Final Reckoning Bush Life in Australia Australia 1810
47. The Plague Ship Adventure on the Ocean, Malay Pirates The Ocean 1810
48. Under Wellington’s Command Peninsular War, NOTE:  Really a sequel to “With Moore at Corunna”, “Minho” Portuguese,  Europe 1810
49. The Young Buglers Peninsular War Spain 1810
50. Through the Fray Luddite Riots England 1811
51. Through Russian Snows Napoleonic Wars Russia 1812
52. One of the 28th Battle of Waterloo Europe 1815
53. With Cochrane the Dauntless South American Revolution S. America 1820
54. On the Irrawaddy First Burmese War Burma 1824
55. In Greek Waters Greek Independence Greece 1825
56. In the Hands of the Cave Dwellers Southwestern Adventure, Mexican, American US 1833
57. With the British Legion Carlist Wars Spain 1835
58. Queen Victoria Biography (complete) Great Britain 1837
59. The Sovereign Reader  Biography (incomplete) Great Britain 1837
60. The Curse of Carne’s Hold Kaffir War South Africa 1840
61. To Herat and Cabul First Afghan War Middle East 1840
62. The Treasure of the Incas Adventure Very Indiana Jones-ish Peru 1844
63. The Lost Heir Adventure, lip reading, deaf, death,  India 1846
64. All But Lost Volume I British Society Great Britain 1848
65. All But Lost Volume II British Society Great Britain 1850
66. Captain Bayley’s Heir California Gold Fields US 1850
67. Through the Sikh War Conquest of Punjab India 1850
68. All But Lost Volume III British Society Great Britain 1851
69. Out On the Pampas Mexican-American War S. America 1851
70. Redskin and Cow-Boy Western Adventure US 1851
71. Gabriel Allen, M.P. Adventure England 1854
72. Jack Archer Crimean War Russia 1854
73. Facing Death Coal Mines Great Britain 1855
74. In Times of Peril Indian Mutiny India 1856
75. The Queen’s Cup Yachting Adventure England 1856
76. Rujub, the Juggler
Indian Mutiny India 1856
77. A Search for a Secret Adventure, Search for a Will England 1856
78. In the Heart of the Rockies Western Life US 1860
79. With Lee in Virginia American Civil War US 1860
80. A Hidden Foe Adventure, Proving Inheritance England 1862
81. Out with Garibaldi Liberation of Italy Italy 1865
82. The March to Magdala Abyssinian Campaign Ethiopia 1867
83. Dorothy’s Double Franco-Prussian War Great Britain 1870
84. Maori and Settler Second Maori Rebellion New Zealand 1870
85. Sturdy and Strong English Society / Classes England 1870
86. A Woman of the Commune 
Franco-Prussian War France 1870
87. The Young Franc-Tireurs Franco-Prussian War France 1870
88. By Sheer Pluck Ashanti War Africa 1873
89. The March to Coomassie Ashanti War Africa 1873
90. For Name and Fame Second Afghan War Middle East 1879
91. Condemned as a Nihilist Escape from Siberia Europe 1880
92. The Young Colonists Zulu and Boer War South Africa 1880
93. The Young Midshipman Bombardment of Alexandria Egypt 1882
94. The Dash for Khartoum Nile Expedition Sudan 1885
95. Through Three Campaigns Tirah, Chitral, Ashanti India/Africa 1896
96. With Kitchener in the Soudan Battle of Atbara and Omdurman       Sudan 1898
97. With Buller in Natal Breaking out of the Second Boer War South Africa 1899
98. With Roberts to Pretoria South African War South Africa 1900
99. With the Allies to Pekin Boxer Rebellion China 1900



Homeschool Curriculum, Schedule and Checklist 2013 – 2014

Homeschool Schedules, Curriculum and Daily Checklists 8th, 8th and 4th Grades


We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for four years, headed into our fifth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklist for 2013 -2014. Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes so we are now using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!

So many people think Montessori homeschooling is akin to chaos or unschooling without structure… But that is just not accurate, as you will see with the boys’ curriculum and schedule! It is FAR from unschooling and nothing remotely close to chaos! I have included with each of my sons’ curriculum section, their schedules and their daily checklists (which includes their home chores). Montessori focuses on independence in education and the realization that we are life long learners. The tools we are using (schedules and daily checklists) are very effective at keeping them on track, holding them accountable and giving them freedom within their daily schedule. You will notice lots of study halls on their schedules. With the exception of those virtual or co-op classes that have specific times that the boys must attend at a specific time, we allow them to do their work at any time each day, as long as it is done that day. Thus the study halls sprinkled throughout the day allow for that flexibility.  

Another aspect of a Montesori education is a particular focus on life skills. You will see on the boys’ daily checklist a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And we regularly swap out chore lists to allow for the boys to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship. We realize our children will be part of the next generations’ leaders. We believe they will be the generation that gets America back on the right track, from a spiritual, economic, moral, government and academic perspective. So we are teaching them the skills they will need to achieve that goal! Each of our sons has their own business.  Their businesses focus on agriculture simply because we live on a farm (and it is a great, wholesome and healthy place to raise boys). So, it is natural for all of their businesses to be farm-based… thus we call it “farmschooling”. However, if we urban, they might not have these same businesses, but they would have some sort of business to teach them about capitalism!  

We have gotten a bit creative in how we encourage the boys to grow their writing skills… we allow them to blog about their businesses and our homeschool on our homeschool blog. All comments on our blog are moderated by me and all of their emails forward to me, so it is very controlled and protected (as much as they can be in this fallen world). The boys are really loving this new avenue of communication with the outside world called social media! It will be a part of their world when they are grown, so we might as well teach them how to use it responsibly now!  

All of our boys have a focus and desire to go to college, so you will notice they are pretty aggressive in their workload. This is primarily based on what they are capable of. Do not use our classes or our schedule as a model of a typical child in these grades. Children all learn at different levels and at different paces. Don’t ever prevent your children from running ahead if they want to. My yougest son wanted to do algebra in 3rd grade because he was chasing his older brothers.  So we let him. He has since just completed the Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra curriculum (in third grade) and has started the Teaching Textbooks Algebra before entering 4th grade. Let them run and only slow them down if they are setting themselves up for a huge failure that you know they would not recover from. Don’t forget what our founding fathers were by the time they were sixteen years old. Be sure your children research them and know their character!  We have got to realize, as a society, we have failed miserably in preparing the next generation. It’s up to us to turn this around!  

I can assure you, we don’t have homeschooling or child-rearing figured out, but we are in a pretty good place right now.  We are so very blessed and realize where this peace and prosperity originates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!  

Chase 8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English H (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action H (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Biology (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Photoshop via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing: Blogs at and Teen Book Reviews (Psalm onenineTEEN Reviews)

8th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grades

Gage 7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English G (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action G (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Physial Science (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Illustrator via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at and chronicals his business and homeschool at Deluxe Clucks

7th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade


Blake 4th Grade Curriculum

4th Grade 

Algebra 1 (Teaching Textbooks)

Exercises in English D/E (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action D/E (Loyola Press)

Handwriting without Tears Cursive

All About Spelling

Study of Classics 

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Exploring Creation Physics and Chemistry (Apologia) 

Spanish (K-6) via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW) NOT REQUIRED

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at 

4th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

Curriculum spreadsheet for all three boys that we use as a GUIDE to keep us on track.  

Homeschool Daily Checklists

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2

Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2



As you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  As we have discussed many times, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  Our plan is to do the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer and early fall!  This post is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 2.  If you missed lesson 1, part 1, you can find it here

Section A:  Copywork/Dictation.  Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  As in the Lesson 1, it is from the original poem, A Journey of Adventure, written by the late Debbie Strayer.  We are enjoying this work and we are finding more vocabulary words to add to our list.  We work on these vocabulary words between classes.  

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills” skills.  More reading from our required books. 

Section C: Read-Aloud and Narration. Focuses on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”.  Today the boys had to retell specific passages of portions I read in their own words.  Again, There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus and the other is Christopher Columbus.  

Section D: Word Study. Focuses on “Spelling and Phonics”.  The words in Part 2 are the same vocabulary words in Part 1 and are too easy for even my nine year old. The boys “tested” (I asked them to spell each of these words individually and they all could) out of these and moved into more challenging words.  We did the new part of the section which provided the definition and you had to pick the word that best fit.  But, really it is still too easy.  Here are the words I added, if you would like to put some challenge in.  Unfortunately, they do not come from the reading… but we have used each of these words in our homeschool this past year.    

  1. frighten
  2. airtight
  3. birthright
  4. blight
  5. brighten
  6. delight
  7. enlighten
  8. insight
  9. knight
  10. nightfall
  11. plights
  12. weeknight

Another new part of Section D Word Study was to study the past tense of words. We were given words that we had to find the past tense from the read-aloud books from Section C.  This is still terribly basic, for middle schoolers especially.  Here is a hands-on work that could be used for a more advanced study of the tenses of verbs for the older students and a more well-rounded, hands-on lower elementary work can be found here.  We also did a study of the word “strange” and how it was used in the reading. The boys provided synonyms for the word according to how it was used in the different texts.  They all got it and used the word “strange” and its synonyms appropriately.  This section may end up being skipped altogether.  

Also in this section we discussed various cities and if they are situated on the Mediterranean Sea.  Again, I have no idea why this is in Section D when Section E is Geography.  But the boys absolutely love the geography aspect, so I’m not complaining!  

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “Thinking Skills”.  We studied what a bazaar is.  There are some discussion questions, but again, they are not terribly thought provoking.  We decided to take this section deeper.  We discussed what we might encounter at a middle eastern bazaar, the things you might see, hear, and smell.  We talked about the fact that they are usually open-air markets and what weather elements they might encounter and wondered aloud how they would protect the items they were selling… such as spices.  Speaking of spices, we wanted to experience what it might be like to walk into the spice tent at a bazaar.  Research shows the more senses you engage when learning new material, the more likely it will be remembered.  We made it a game, “Name that Spice Game“.  Be sure to check out that post.  It was fun (but there is a warning in that)!  

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Native shop in a Calcutta Bazaar, 1867, William Simpson

Section F:  Art. In this section we discussed how many of the items at a bazaar are handmade.  The text showed some rugs and discussed their patterns and where you might find them.  Then the boys were to draw their own.  This was fun.  We looked at many google images of African rugs!  They are so beautiful and vibrant!  



Hula Hoop Rug by ChaseBut, again, we like to take it deeper so we creating some of our woven products. We made a Hula Hoop Woven Rug!  You can find that post here.  We will be making an art hanging.  Be sure to check those posts out as well, I will come back and link them to this post as well.  

If you are looking for something a little less bulky, here is another weaving using a paper plate and yarn.  The blogger’s three year old daughter was able to do this one!  It is so precious!  






Eat Your Way around the WorldOne final piece of the Geography study that will always go over extremely well in my house is the cooking piece.  Remember Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini is one of the required books.  We are to experiment with making dishes from Egypt and Morocco this week.  I will do another post or two about them!  

Section G:  Independent Reading.  As we discussed in Part 1, we modified this a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. I wrote a post to share what our library resources are, you can find it here.  

Thoughts thus far… there seems to be a lot of inconsistency.  I expected the sections to stay the same throughout the Unit… they don’t. I’m not sure this is a big deal, but it is not what I would have expected.  Also, I don’t understand why there is a section called geography, but some geography work is listed in other sections. Again, it just makes it inconsistent and a bit confusing… but NOTHING that you can’t work around or overcome. Thus far I can say I’m pleased with this product.  We will continue to augment the lessons with a more hands-on approach, but I am pleased and am really liking the idea of an all-inclusive curriculum.  I’ll give you more detailed feedback as we get further into the curriculum… but I’ll sum it with “so far, so good”.  

I hope the additional hands-on lessons are a blessing to you and your children!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking of this series… and if you decide to purchase it and use it… let me know!  I’ll be creating a blog roll for all of us with posts about Paths of Exploration sometime this summer!  

Until next time…


Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1

Columbus Study



Launch Day!  We started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning today!  As most of you know, we homeschool with a very hands-on (Montessori-ish) approach to education, so we are using lots of  supplemental resources to augment this course.  We are doing the entire Paths of Exploration as an intensive study over the summer, so there will be lots of territory covered in my posts!   As I post these articles, I will also be giving reviews of their product in a real-world, running review of this curriculum. This article is about Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 1.


Steps for thinking


We decided to do the upper elementary section for all of Columbus first and then circle back and do the Middle School supplement curriculum after we finish Columbus Upper Elementary curriculum.  That way, all of the boys have the foundation that the Upper Elementary curriculum lays first before we jump into a more extensive Columbus Middle School study.  Besides, we are just figuring out the style of this curriculum and I’m already seeing areas that need to be refined and cleaned up! But we are going to do Columbus Unit pretty much as it is presented in both the Upper Elementary and the Middle School texts with a few minor modifications. After we have completed both texts, we may decide to modify our approach.   

Section A is Copywork/Dictation with “Language Skills” being the area mentioned as the target for this section.  I really thought I would skip this section before we started, but I decided to teach ColumbusHandwriting without Tears pretty much as it is presented and I am glad I did (at least for this section).  It is good for them to hear poetry and to try to transcribe it from my dictation. Any missed words become part of their vocabulary words for that week. It was fun and it is a great way for me to keep their handwriting skills up. All of the boys are excellent at writing (Thank you Handwriting without Tears!)… and yes, they learned how to write cursive!!  The dictation was from an original poem by Debbie Strayer (one of the authors).  

Section B is Reader with “Language Skills, Thinking Skills, and History” listed as the areas targeted by this work area. This is where everything was terribly mixed up!  There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus Meet Christopher Columbusand the other is Christopher Columbus.  Since the names are so close, it would have been helpful if they explained which one to read from (maybe giving the author each time).  

Section C is Read-Aloud and Discussion and the targeted areas for this section are “Language Skills, Thinking Skills and Writing”.  I have no idea why there are two sections both with a focus on reading aloud.  This is why it was confusing.  In Section B it says “read one or two pages aloud” but in Section C it states “listen as your teacher reads pages 1-6 aloud”.  The boys JUST read pages 1-2 aloud and now I’m reading these same pages again? I thought maybe I had the boys read the wrong book aloud, but no, it’s the same book Christopher Columbus.  So, this was confusing.  We have two hard copies of both these books for us to use but I also purchased a Kindle version of Meet Christopher Columbus and the boys all downloaded it onto their Kindles for Christopher Columbustheir read aloud sections.  I had all three boys take turns reading paragraphs.  The Bennie Rhodes book was not available as a Kindle download.  Anyway, they really enjoyed being able to read it from their own Kindles (and even figured out how to have their kindles read to them… LOL)!  The discussion question was terribly basic for this age group (What do you think Christopher Columbus’ dream was when he was a young boy?”.  Both books we read aloud provided the answer.  If you were paying half a second of attention, you would have this question answered.  Maybe that was the point for the first Lesson, but the boys could have handled a much more thought-provoking question!  

Section D is Word Study. The areas focused on with this section are “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”. For this one the authors discuss “long I” words from the original poem that were part of the copy/dictation work from Section A.  This was very basic also for upper elementary students.  We did it but we will augment the next lesson to add more challenging words!  There was also a discussion here about the prefix “un” and how it was used in the reading from Sections B and C.  They provide an area for the students to list 6 words that start with “un” and define them.  This was pretty fun for them, but still very basic. 

un equals not


Also as part of Section D we located cities in Italy on the globe. We loved this part and the boys did great… just one thing, the next section (section E) is Geography.  Why did they put this under Section D, Word Study?  I have to assume it was a mistake.  They also had to identify port cities in the US after defining what a “port” is.  With the help of the globe, they listed out several from both coasts.  That was a fun activity as well.  

Like I just mentioned, Section E is Geography with the area targeted being listed as “Science”.  Here we are learning about a compass.  We did the worksheets for the CompassRose-MPScompass but we also printed out this great compass work from Montessori Print Shop. Since we love hands-on learning, we decided to create our own compass. Here is that post.    

Section F is Writing with “Thinking Skills” being listed as the area being targeted. The boys were to list the details of Columbus’ birthday as described in the text.  Then list the details from a typical birthday for them.  In the student notebook is a Venn diagram where they would list the individual traits for each and the common traits.  Great exercise!  

Finally, Section G is Independent Reading.  At the beginning of the provided student notebook is a reading list. The independent reading section is meant to be just thirty minutes of fun reading. However, this is exactly what they do every night already, so we have modified this a little bit so they can read anything about Christopher Columbus for thirty minutes on Wednesdays and Sundays. We have quite a few Columbus books in our library from coloring books and picture books to exhaustive studies … so they should not run out of material to read for a while. I wrote a post to share our library resources, you can find it here.  One other modification I have made is I added in an art component.  All of my boys took Drawing this past year as an elective, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are going to spend thirty minutes each day drawing something that is applicable to the subject we are studying.  They do not have to complete their drawings the same day or even the same week. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  

We are year-round homeschoolers, however most of the curriculum the boys were working on during the year they have completed.  So this curriculum is a great way to keep many of the skills the boys have acquired over the year fresh and to dive into a new subject.  In addition to this curriculum, the boys are keeping their math going all year.  So their workload is dramatically reduced during the summer.  I know some may be wondering why we do this.  Well, we quickly realized after that first summer off from homeschooling that it was quite hard to get back into the routine.  We decided (with the boys) that we would have a dramatically reduced schedule, but would keep going during the summer months.  For me, this curriculum is an experiment.  I have been toying with the idea of using an all-inclusive curriculum for a couple of years;  one where all the subjects (with the exception of Science and Math) are covered and are integrated.  This curriculum may or may not be the right one for an all-inclusive, but this was a great one to test the concept with.  I’ll give you more feedback on that as we work through this curriculum.  I hope these posts will be a blessing to you and your family!  If so, leave me a note!  

Until next time…. 

We are connecting this week with the Ultimate Homeschool Link-up.  Be sure to visit them and the other bloggers linked there, they all have GREAT posts!  I especially love the Firefly one!

 The Homeschool Village

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum


We have homeschooled now for four years.  This is our 2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum.  Prior to homeschooling, our boys attended a small local private Montessori school, where I was on the board for the school. Our boys have reached the point of thinking and working abstractly, so most of the Montessori materials are no longer used in our curriculum. So what do we now?  Come & see!!

I am very thankful that we stumbled blindly into a Montessori school! It has been a complete blessing to our family and continues to be … it is how we approach learning, education and life in general. So, although we have very traditional homeschool material now, our approach is still firmly grounded in the Montessori pedagogy.


#1 (oldest son) 7th Grade:

Exercises in English G
Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English G
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action GVocabulary in Action G
Algebra: Video Text Algebra II (CLEP when complete!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia Physical ScienceApologia Physical Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name




(Middle Son) 6th Grade:

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English FExercises in English F
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study Guide Cat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action EVocabulary in Action E
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Algebra: Video Text Algebra I (CLEP when completes II!)VideoText Algebra
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Civics: God and Government Volume 1God and Government 1
Science: Apologia General ScienceGeneral Science
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name



#3 (Youngest Son) 3rd Grade

Grammar / English: Loyola Press Exercises in English DExercises in English D
Writing:IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
IEW Beutiful Feet Geography Literature
Literature: GA Henty Books (Cat of Bubastes) and Jim Hodges Study GuideCat of Bubastes
Spelling: All About Spelling 3-5All About Spelling 3
Vocabulary: Loyola Press Vocabulary in Action DVocabulary in Action D
Creative Writing: IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Study
Teaching Textbooks Pre-AlgebraTeaching Textbooks Pre Algebra Montessori Measurement (EDUTC)Edutc Measurement    Montessori Area and Volume from Houston Montessori Center
World History / Geography: Mystery of History IIMOH 2
American History / Geography: Paths of Exploration /Trail Guide to LearningPOE TGTL
Science: Apologia Exploring Creation Zoology 3Exploring Creation Zoology 3
Logic: Fallacy DetectiveFallacy Detective
Foreign Language: Croghan Language Academy SpanishCroghan Language Academy
Economics: Starting a Micro Business for Teensmicrobus-workbk
Physical Education: Soccer, Karate
Scripture Studies: Torah, Writings, Prophets, NT
Electives: Art, PhotographyVirtual homeschool group name


Note:  Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Photos are shared from Amazon.

%d bloggers like this: