They shall mount up with wings as eagles…

Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

Reading Eggs Coupon Codes

I mentioned that Zion was enjoying his Reading Eggs subscription last post, well today, a friend posted on Facebook that she found a whole bunch of coupon code for it on Retail Me Not.  I just added a few more weeks to all my kids time.  They are all over 90 days free now.  Here’s the link  I hope this helps someone.  I’ll definitely be checking Retail Me Not from time to time to see if they have new coupon codes.  What a steal!

New Year, New Ideas

Everything has seemed to slow to a crawl around here.  Now that the holidays are over, we can get back into our old routine.  Everyone was so busy in December that we didn’t do very many playdates and no field trips whatsoever.  The next couple weeks I have a couple playdates set up for the kids and even and field trip to City Hall.  That should be a lot of fun.

Coming up soon we should be receiving our tax return.  I always use a sizable amount towards our homeschooling supplies.  Since I have finally figured out how to educate our children without spending a large amount on a packaged curriculum, we are going to use the difference to enrich our education through memberships, more field trips and activities.

My plan is to set aside $2000 or $40 per week for the next 50 weeks towards homeschooling expenses.  I am hoping to use that money for all memberships, “back to school” shopping, and anything related to homeschooling expenses.  This is approximately how much I spent last year on boxed curriculum.  I feel confident that we can move away from the boxed curriculum, which is not much more than a reading list, and piecemeal our own, complete curriculum following World Book Typical Course of Study  and the book list from Sonlight’s website.  Leaving lots of time to follow more of the kid’s interests in whatever we are studying.

I am currently in the process of getting all the kids switched over from the Jump Math that they had been doing over to the MEP math, which is free (except for my print ink and paper).  I still really love Jump Math, but it is becoming harder and harder to get the workbooks when I need them.  Plus, Jump Math only goes up to grade 8, so I knew eventually we’d have to look for something more.  MEP goes through statistics, and we also can use Khan Academy for any subjects that are beyond my understanding.

We have been using an Apologia science course and plan on continuing the titles as long as the kids are still interesting in those particular books.  So far, they love them, especially the activities (which is really why I chose that publisher in the first place).  They have recently added the Jr Notebooks to the Astronomy course, so I think we will be doing that one next.  The one good thing about homeschooling, is we have no timelines on starting and stopping books.  We can just keep going until one is done, then just start-up the next one the following day.

For the rest of the subject, we are going to follow along the World Book Typical Course of Study to be sure we are not missing any important topics.  Zion has also been using Reading Eggs on the computer to learn to read.  Right now, we have a free trial for Zion, Promise and Gabriel, but we will be getting a paid subscription for at least Zion once his trial runs out.  I don’t think the cost is worth it for the older kids who already are confident readers.  We’ll see since it is a small expense.

That is my plan anyway.  Our education plans are always morphing and growing according to the needs of the kids, so just because we are starting this way, doesn’t mean this is exactly how our day to day will end up.  We add things we like and throw out the things that are not working.

Free Math Curriculum

I’ve known about this curriculum for sometime now, and have just not used it because the kids were happy with what we had been using.  Now that we have Zion starting out fresh and new, I thought we’d give it a try.  It is called MEP Mathematics Enhancement Programme .  It is a math curriculum developed in Hungary, and from what I have looked at, has a lot of hands on activities. (at least at the Reception level which is roughly equivalent to Kindergarten here).  The directions do not recommend starting until age 5, so don’t be tempted to start too soon.

Zion is starting his lesson one part one which is free play.  He chose Legos.  He will also be looking at a picture of a family soon, using the people to count, identify colors/size, and what they are doing.  Afterwards, he will be drawing sticks to represent numbers 1 through 5.  I like that they are doing 1 stick for the number one, rather than just teaching how to write the number 1, so that he can see that “1” means one something, not just a figure on the paper. I have a feeling that Israel will be joining in on a lot of the math activites.

The Beginnings of Woodworking

Jacy thought it might be fun to build some things using some scrap wool and nails we had lying around in the garage.  Great idea I think.  Plus it is keeping him awful busy outside during the last few nice days of the season before it gets cold and nasty.

First, he build a TV and a chair.  They are solid pieces of furniture.  He did a great job.

Jacy building

After Jacy was done building for a bit, Gabriel had an idea to nail boards to the tree.  What a great way to make a ladder into the tree.   They already loved climbing the tree, but this allows them to get up there without using my deck chair.  They were even clever enough to use two nails per board so the board doesn’t spin on the trunk.  Maybe one of these days soon I can talk Daddy into teaching them how to use a saw properly.

Some Things That Keep Us Occupied

A couple of weeks ago, Jacy requested that I make black playdoh.  I think he wanted to make some character that needed black.  We had made playdoh previously using a recipe for a, but had made it using colors I already had on hand.  Like pink and blue.  Our local grocery store didn’t have black food coloring, but Amazon did!

I love the way it turned out.  The black color was so rich and vibrant (for black) and we used Root Beer flavoring to give it a nice smell.  After they get bored with the plain black, my plan is to add some glitter to it so we can have some sparkly playdoh.

Izzy showing me his new playdoh

Zion making something

Jacy making some kind of monster while he talks to papa on the phone

My kids love to craft.  They have a giant box of craftable things in their toy room that they are free to use whenever they want to.  Most of the stuff is recyclable or things we’d ordinarily toss out.  I keep a small bin in the kitchen to catch smaller items like bottle caps, twist ties, bread clips, etc.  Sometimes I purchase a few goodies to toss in the box as well, like pom-poms or pipe-cleaners.  I am constantly on the look out for “treasures” at the thrift store or while out shopping.  I’d like the kids to start adding more organic materials to their box like pinecones, seeds, leaves, nuts and so on.

Gabriel showing off his airplane. Made 100% from "garbage"

Promise made some butterfly wings from paper and yarn

So they say mother is the necessity of invention.  This was one of those days.  I had two really bored, really cranky little boys in my house.  And they needed a new project.  I gave one of them a bowl of rolled oats (uncooked) and the other a bowl of white flour that we had bought for playdoh making and two spoons.  Oh they fun they had with their new “toy.”   At first, they played independently, and then they started mixing the oatmeal and the flour together.  After a while, to my dismay, Zion got the idea to add water.  Oh the mess they made, but they had a fun time and it all washed away easily the next time it rained.



Fizzy Art

Boredom had set upon us and we needed something fun to do.  Thank goodness for the Play At Home Mom blog.  I love their ideas.  If you have kids ages 3 months and older.  Moms like the activities too.  Recently, they had posted on their site about Fizzy Paint.  I knew sooner or later we needed to do this fun idea and that day had come.  The basic recipe is baking soda, cornstarch, water and food coloring.  Then fill a spray bottle with vinegar to make the paintings fizz.

Here is the fizzy paint set up.  The spray bottle has the vinegar in it.  I didn’t tell them what it was, other than sidewalk paint and let them have at it.

Zion made his pink paint fizz

This was a whole lot of fun and got us outside in the sunshine for nearly an hour without any complaints.  I even needed to refill their paints once.  They probably would have painted long had I made more paint and if they wouldn’t have filled the whole drive way with paint.

Promise paint dancing

After being sprayed with the vinegar.  Fizzy fun.

More Fall Bucket List


I have no idea where I saw this idea.  If I remember, I will give proper credit to the idea maker.  The idea is simple:  Dip scraps of yarn in school glue and paste on a bowl sort of like making a pinata.  After the bowl is covered well, set out to dry.  You can put them in a low oven to dry the glue faster, but I wasn’t sure if our bowl was oven safe.  After the glue is all dry, peel the yarn bowl away from the cereal bowl.  It hold its shape pretty good.  Promise has hers setting on her dresser holding some knickknacks.

Making her yarn bowl

Promise has been very interested in completing everything from our Fall Bucket List, so she decided she needed to make “leaf art.”  I didn’t give her any instruction on how to do leaf art.  She decided on gluing pretty leaves to paper.  Leaf art completed!

Leaf art

We also made applesauce in the crock pot.  Super duper easy.  This is my “recipe”:

  • Peel, core and slice some apples, put them into crock pot
  • add some water and cinnamon
  • cook on high for a bit.  stirring occasionally.  I think it took about 1 – 2 hours for the apples to get soft.  I really wasn’t paying much attention.
  • use immersion blender until consistency of your choice
  • add a splash of vanilla and serve hot or cold.

You can add a bit of lemon juice at the beginning to help it from browning too much.  I prefer my applesauce hot right out of the crock pot, but it’s just as good cold.  It makes the house smell like autumn while it is cooking.

Promise and Zion peeling the apples

More peeling

So Far Behind


I am shamelessly behind in my blogging.  We’ve just been so busy with life lately.  Anyhow, on to the blogging…

Earlier in the fall I came across this really cute Fall Bucket List on Pinterest.  I backtracked it to its creator and found that here Loves of Life.   We’ve been checking stuff off one by one slowly throughout the season.  So far we have done :

*Apple Picking

*Leaf Art


*Corn Maze

*Pumpkin Patch (times 2)

Most recently, we made caramel apples.  Yum yum!  Next year I am going to try to make our own caramel because the store-bought stuff is always too sticky and just falls right off the apple.  Must be that milkmaid brand.

Our yummy, super unhealthy toppings

Promise's finished apple


Israel preferred the toppings over the actual apples

Here are some of our pictures from our apple picking.  This was so much fun.  I cannot wait to go back again.  The apples were delicious.  We went to the TS&M Apple Orchard here in Bellevue, NE.  If you are close by, I highly recommend the Jon-a-red apples.  So good.  Even Zion, my non-fruit/veg eating child, loved these.

After we picked our 3 apples apiece, we got to watch a cider press demonstration.  Unfortunately, cider has to be pasteurized before it is sold, but all the adults got to sneak a sip of the yummy fresh cider.  The kids got to try some pre-bottled pasteurized cider.  I need to get us a press so we can make real, unpasteurized cider.  It was amazingly fresh and tasty.

Cider press

Gabriel at the orchard

The trees were really neat.  They were all dwarf varieties so they won’t get much taller.  I think they said these trees were either 5 or 6 years old already.  Their short size makes it easy for people to pick on their own without trucks.  I think I want a grove for our front yard.

Still Life

Today has been a busy day.  We were supposed to go to a play group, but my eye is bothering me so we stayed home.  I am really glad we did because we have done all kinds of fun things today.

The weather has been just gorgeous so the little boys and I took the bikes into the front yard to ride on the driveway for an hour or so.  Lincoln sure liked playing on a blanket in the grass.  Jacy and Gabriel made some Mario Lego Stop Motion movies again.  This seems to be one of the favorite activities lately.

After rest time, I found the inspiration to draw still life with the kids.  I can’t even remember what made me think of it.  Promise and I looked up the definition from Wiki:

A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).

Then we set up our still life.  I think it turned out really cute.  Promise liked that it had real and fake fruit and other non-fruity items.

From one side

And from the other side

Everyone said that it was a fun activity, except Israel who fussed from under the table.  He’s been rather grumpy today.  I taped everyone’s paper to the table so we’d all have a different perspective of our still life.

Artwork in progress

Our finished drawings.  I really need to get different art supplies so we can try out more mediums than just plain crayons.  We also read a couple of books afterwards that I had picked up from our last trip to the library: Chasing Degas by Eva Montanari and What Makes a Degas a Degas? by Richard Muhlberger.

Jacy's. I love how he drew everything he saw; including the table and background

Promise's - She also drew the still life as she saw it. Very detailed.

Zion - He didn't want to draw the still life at all, but instead chose to draw himself playing upstairs.

Gabriel drew his favorite parts; the pumpkin and the pumpkin leaf.

Mine. The yarn was my favorite part.

Before I forget.  Last night we had a game night.  I found a Trivial Pursuit Jr game at the thrift store the other day.  This was the first time we played it all together as a family…even Lincoln 😉  It was a lot of fun and some of the questions were hard for even mommy and daddy.

Game Night!

*Post contains some Amazon Affiliate links because I just love Amazon.


The Craziness

This last week has been crazy.  The kids went camping over the weekend with grandma.  They went to the drive-in for the first time.  They  thought it was super cool.  What an experience!  It got really cold over night, so they all came home with a case of the sniffles.  They’ll survive.

Yesterday, they had a playdate at another homeschooling family’s house.  Ten kids in one house is very loud and very fun.    It is funny how full their social calendar is.  Pretty much everyday on in my date book has something written on it.  If not a homeschooling meetup, it’ll be a play group, or a trip to the library, or a weekend away with Grandma and Grandpa.  They are much busier than I am, that’s for sure.

While the kids were away, Jason and I talked about the kid’s school work.  We decided to let them have a little more say in their education, like what they are learning about.  So rather than stuffing their heads full of things they aren’t interested in yet, we are going to follow their interests a bit more.  At the very least, keeping in mind what they like when I am finalizing lesson plans.  This all came to mind because last week, Jason did a fun side lesson with them about the origins of Martial Arts.  The big boys really liked it and retained a lot of the things they learned.  Not only are they remembering nearly everything Jason is teaching them (and discovering right along with them) it is leading them to be interested in other things.  Jacy already expressed some interest in learning about how swords are made so we are going to spend some time learning about that.  Hopefully I can find a couple of videos and/or books about it.  If the Renaissance Faire is coming up, we could go watch swords being made.

Onto my knitting 😀  I finished the super secret object for Jacy.  You can see a close up shot of the color, but that’s it until the pattern is published.

Now I am making a pair of longies for Lincoln.  He desperately needs more pants since he isn’t quite grown into Israel’s hand-me-down pairs.  The yarn is Lindon Merino in the Jack colorway from Three Irish Girls.  I had been dying to get a my hands on some.  A good friend of mine gifted me two skeins just because.  I love it.

Speaking of Lincoln, he learned a new trick.  He can sit up now.  He does timber over every now and again, but he does pretty good.  Sitting up to play is so much more fun that rolling around on the floor.

Since the kids were on their mini-vacation, we put the photo challenge on hold for a couple days.  We’ll try to start up again tomorrow.

ETA: I don’t know what the deal is with the pictures.  I am trying to fix them.  Grrrr

Well, if you click the pictures, it shows the correct picture