Picture of the Week: 8 months old


This is actually 10 days late; baby Dragonfly had his 8-month “birthday” on the 13th.

He currently weighs 19 pounds.

He’s wearing size 9-month clothes.

He wears cloth diapers (flats with covers) during the day – he fits well in the one-size ones. He wears a size 3 disposable at night. (I wrote a few months ago about how we’d found a solution that prevented leaks even at night, and that’s still the case – the flats and covers keep his clothes and bed dry all night. Unfortunately, however, a couple of weeks after that post, he developed a nasty diaper rash from the prolonged exposure of not having the moisture wick away from his skin all night long, so we made the decision to run disposables at night to keep his skin healthy.)

He’s about 27 inches long.

He currently has no teeth. This makes him my latest teether. (Seahawk had teeth at 4 months, Munchkin at 7 months, and Small Fry at 5 months.)

He nurses 5-6 times during the day and once or twice at night. He also eats 2-3 jars of baby food and a bit of baby cereal each day.

He’s down to a single nap most days, and it lasts 2-3 hours. He sleeps 10-12 hours at night with minimal wakings (more this week thanks to a summer cold).

He crawls well and has even started cruising (walking while holding onto people or furniture).

So basically, he’s a happy, healthy, perfectly developing baby 🙂


ladybug-signature-3 copy

Listening to History (Heirloom Audio Review)

Throughout my years on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I’ve heard only good things about Heirloom Audio Productions. This vendor has come back time and again, having all of their audio dramas reviewed by the Crew. I’ve read several of these reviews over the years, and they’re always positive. Until now, I’ve never had the privilege of listening to one of these dramas; because I know they’re high-demand products for Crew members, I volunteer to sit out so people who are passionate about them can get the opportunity to review them. This time, even though I volunteered once again to sit out, I was chosen to review Beric the Briton – and I’m glad I was.

Beric the Briton review at Ladybug Daydreams

Beric the Briton is based on the novel of the same name by G.A. Henty, a 19th century novelist and war correspondent. During the course of his 30-year (approximately) writing career, he penned over 80 novels (according to his Wikipedia page). Several of these have already been turned into audio dramas by Heirloom Audio, and one (A Final Reckoning) was made into a movie in 1929, over 25 years after the death of Henty.

The original novel of Beric was published in 1893 and tells the story of the Roman invasion of England. Beric and his friend Bodouc are British citizens who get captured by Rome during the invasion and are forced to become gladiators who are given to the emperor Nero as servants. They hear rumors surrounding a man called Christus, and as they hear and learn more about this mysterious man, they find themselves confronting their own pagan pasts. They’re forced to make some serious decisions: should they continue to seek revenge on their captors, or offer the forgiveness of Christus?

For this review, I received a physical copy of the two-disc CD set containing the story as well as large variety of digital components, including:

  • A study guide
  • The audio drama on mp3
  • An e-book version of Henty’s original novel
  • The soundtrack for the drama on mp3
  • 2 printable posters
  • Unlimited access to the Live the Adventure e-newsletter
  • A behind-the-scenes video documentary with the cast and crew

Of these bonuses, we’ve so far just used the mp3 audio drama (we don’t have a CD player, so even though I received a physical CD, we didn’t use it), but I did spend a bit of time looking through the other items, especially the study guide. Heirloom put a lot of time into creating this study guide, and it’s really wonderful. It opens with biographies of the historical figures from the story (Emperor Nero and Queen Boadicea), and then for each track of the CD (roughly 5-7 minutes of content), there are comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, and vocabulary. Sprinkled throughout the guide are also other activities, such as recipes, interesting facts (types of gladiators, for instance), links to further learning, and more. Looking back at the study guide after having heard the drama, I wish I’d had the boys use it while we listened. But no matter – we’ll listen to this again in the fall and do the study guide “right” when we do.

When we first received the set, Munchkin, Small Fry, and I listened to the first half of the part I (the equivalent of the first CD – there are two in the set). (Seahawk was busy doing something with Will.) It became obvious to me at that point that it wasn’t going to be their cup of tea. It was difficult to focus for them, and we honestly just had a lot of things going on at the time. They were drawing while they listened, and I was using the computer to create birthday party invitations for Small Fry. It wasn’t the right time to have tried to listen to something so complicated as this, so I put it away for a while.

A couple of weeks later, I tried again, this time with all the boys. This was definitely the right answer! We still did other things while we listened, but they were things that didn’t require quite so much brain energy. The boys were still drawing and coloring, but I worked on knitting instead of thinking through party details. Doing “monotonous” things helped a lot with the ability to listen to the story. Seahawk, who I figured would be the least interested in this, ended up being the one who loved it the most. When the first part ended, he was chomping at the bit for the next part; now that we’ve heard the whole thing, he’s anxious to hear more of these audio dramas.

Even though Munchkin didn’t really resonate with the audio drama, I’m going to have him read the e-book of the novel that came with our bonuses. The story is good enough that I want him to know it; he’s just more of a reader than a listener – like his mama. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll have it printed and bound for him, or put it on my Kindle and let him borrow it.

In conclusion, we’re Heirloom Audio Productions converts. We absolutely loved this audio drama, and will be among those requesting more of them to review in the future.

You can purchase Beric the Briton on CD for $29.97, and this price includes the mp3 version, study guide, one printable poster, and soundtrack mp3. For $19.97, you can get the drama on mp3 (no CDs) with the study guide and printable poster.

This is Heirloom Audio’s fifth installment in their series of Henty-inspired dramas. They also have Under Drake’s Flag, In Freedom’s Cause, With Lee in Virginia, and The Dragon and the Raven.

There are 100 Crew members reviewing Beric the Briton this week. Make sure to hit the Crew blog to find out what they all thought about it, too.


ladybug-signature-3 copy




ladybug review crew disclaimer copy

52 Lists: Things and Places that Make Me Feel Safe

After the difficult list of last week, I’m happy to think over something a bit “easier” for this week’s list.

feel safe

  • At home, usually snuggling with my children or husband
  • Under a homemade quilt, whether on my bed or outside for an activity
  • The library
  • The yarn store
  • At church
  • Knitting

Thanks again to Chasing Slow for hosting this linkup.


52 lists with Chasing Slow

What makes you feel safe?


ladybug-signature-3 copy

52 Lists: Life’s Trials that Made Me Better

Many of the blogs on the list of blogs that I read (fairly) regularly are other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. One blog in particular, Mom’s Heart, has been writing along with the 52 Lists linkup created and hosted by Chasing Slow. I didn’t realize until recently that it was a “public” linkup, but now that I know, I’m going to work on including one of these posts each week. (I don’t know exactly what I thought it was. Some sort of by-invitation-only thing, I guess.)

52 lists with Chasing Slow

This week is quite an emotional one to start with; maybe that’s a good thing. This is an especially difficult list for a couple of reasons. First of all, most of the time, I feel like I live a pretty charmed life. There’s not that much that’s “bad enough” to be considered one of life’s trials. The other reason that makes this such a hard list for me is that one of the things I want to talk about is incredibly sensitive. This item is extremely personal – something I haven’t really talked to anyone about outside of one friend via email. This item in particular might even be considered “controversial,” especially if it’s something you’ve never experienced. Knowing that there are some people I know in real life (including my husband) who read these pages makes it all the harder. Part of me is concerned over potential backlash for some of my feelings. But as hard as it will be to get it all out there, I’m confident it’ll be okay in the long run.

So, here are my Life’s Trials that Made Me Better.

Many Broke Years

We spent many of the early years in our marriage completely broke. For about four or five years, we lived in government subsidized housing, and for one of those years we were literally so poor that our landlord paid us each month. It wasn’t fun at the time, but now I can look back on those days and understand that going through it made me appreciate the more comfortable lifestyle we now lead.

My First C-Section

When I was in the hospital for Munchkin’s birth, I expected nothing less than to have a fairly uncomplicated, medicated, vaginal birth like I’d had with Seahawk. Things fell apart about 8 hours into my (induced) labor, though, and I ended up with an emergency c-section. This event nearly 10 years ago has set the stage for all of my successive births to follow suit. I’ve had two c-sections since this one, and I embrace the idea of them a little more each time.

Gender Disappointment During Pregnancy

This is the one that I mentioned might be controversial. It’s a difficult thing to bring up, but it’s something I’ve been living for quite some time (despite the fact that my most recent pregnancy ended nearly 8 months ago). First, please understand that my feelings and emotions regarding this particular “trial” have absolutely no bearing on my children; I love them more than I can even express. But the fact remains that I never in a million years envisioned or expected to have children of only one gender. For the first half of my pregnancies with both Small Fry and Dragonfly, I’d convinced myself that after two (and then three) boys, I was finally going to have a girl. At the same time, I told myself over and over again that I’d be okay with another boy, but then when the doctor said the “magic” words, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion (not in a good way). I don’t despair over my children, but sometimes I do despair over the daughter I may never have.

So. Maybe that last one isn’t something that “makes me better,” especially since it’s not something I’ve allowed myself to get over, but it is a pretty huge trial. If you’ve never experienced it, you’re lucky. If you have, then you understand where I’m coming from…

Thanks again to Chasing Slow for hosting this linkup.


ladybug-signature-3 copy


Book Club: Courage and Defiance

Book Club with Lori

In June, I read Courage and Defiance by Deborah Hopkinson. This was a fascinating book about the Danish resistance during WWII. It was an easy read (found in the teen section of the library, if that’s any indication), and very understandable. I even read part of it to the boys; at ages 9 and 12, they didn’t have any issues with comprehension.

Lori, my book club partner, chose this book. I want to thank her for finding it. I enjoyed the stories of these heroes. Additionally, because we were unable to find “official” book club questions for this book, Lori wrote these. I think she did a phenomenal job with them. I’m not sure I would have been able to write questions this good; I tend to get bogged down in comprehension questions when I do things like this.

Please make sure to visit Lori’s blog, and especially her Book Club post today.


1. When you think of the Holocaust, what do you think about? Does this book fit with those thoughts? In what ways does it fit or diverge?
When I think of the Holocaust, I think primarily of the Jewish extermination, not the whole of WWII. This book was more the “generic” part of WWII than the Holocaust, I think, so it didn’t really fit with my thoughts very much at all. I’m not going to go into super specifics of where it diverges from my idea of the Holocaust because it’s more that it doesn’t line up at all, rather than simply diverging sometimes.

2. Much of what drove these people was emotion and response to what was going on around them. How does emotion drive action?

I think emotion absolutely drives action in almost every way. Think about yourself. How much of what you do is because of the way you feel at a given moment, especially the big things? I mean, obviously not everything is driven by emotions (otherwise almost no one would ever scrub toilets, for example), but the things that “matter” most definitely are. If we don’t care about what we’re doing (discounting the mundane things of everyday life), then we wouldn’t be doing them. On the other hand, if we care very much, we do them wholeheartedly. I’m not sure people can easily separate the way they feel from the way the react to the things going on around them.
3. Considering the smallness of the acts by individuals in the grand scheme of things, why do you think they continued?
This is directly tied to the previous question, and the answer is simple: they cared. The continued because they were driven by their emotions to do so. They continued because even though what they were doing was small in the grand scheme of the world, it was big to them. It was all they could do, and it was important to them that they do it. I think it’s incredibly honorable that they cared enough to keep going when a lot of people may have gotten overwhelmed or frustrated and quit long before they did.
4. The bravery these men and women displayed is hard to understand. In what ways do we display bravery or courage?
This one’s hard for me because I don’t personally feel like a brave person most of the time. I see myself as quiet and meek. There are decisions that have to be made requiring bravery, though. The example I can think of in my own life is the birth experience of my children, particularly Dragonfly. There were a lot of decisions and thought processes I had to go through building up to that moment, and I had to explore my inner bravery in order to make the right decision for me. (Slightly unrelated, but if you’re interested in reading about the decision I made and why I made it, it’s here on the blog. And then there’s his birth story, which took an interesting turn at the last minute.)
As a more generic answer to this question, I think this can once again go back to the previous question about emotions. People show their courage by following their passions, especially in stressful situations like war. The easy answer is to simply quit; the brave solution is to keep going, no matter the cost.
5. Were you in the shoes of these young folks, would you prefer to act alone, as Niels Skov did, or would you rather be a part of a larger, organized group, as Jorgen Kieler was? Why?
Knowing my personality, I’d probably act alone. (For those who haven’t read this book, Niels Skov showed his bravery and resistance to the Nazi occupation of his homeland by setting fire to German military vehicles.) In a situation like this, it’s difficult to trust other people; you never know when one of them will be a double agent – or worse, flip on you. When you work alone, you have more control over what you’re doing. You may not be making as big a splash, but you’re still doing something that you feel is making a difference, and that’s just as important.
6. Have you read other books set in World War II? Which ones and would you recommend them?
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. This book is about a young Japanese girl who develops leukemia after the atom bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. She remembers a story from her childhood about how if a sick person can fold 1000 origami cranes, their wish of healing will be granted. This book is an easy read and one I definitely recommend for children.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This book covers the same area as Courage and Defiance: the Danish resistance, but it’s a fictionalized account from the point of view of a young girl. It’s a must-read for elementary students.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is a novel for adults, and in the vain of full exposure, I haven’t read it. I have seen the movie, though. The story tells about young Liesel Meminger, a foster child in 1939 Germany. She finds the one thing she can’t resist taking whenever she sees one: a book. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her books with the people around her, including a Jewish refugee hidden in their basement.
  • Night by Elie Wiesel. This is tough book to get through, just a fair warning. It’s short at just about 80 pages, but every single word is incredibly potent. It’s the true story of the author’s time in a death camp when he was a teenager. Right now is an especially appropriate time to read it, too – the author just passed away earlier this week.
7. Which of these Danish resistance fighters do you most admire?
Hands down, Tommy Sneum. The others in the book went through a lot of stuff, and I’m not discounting their works or sacrifice, but Tommy’s story seemed much “worse.” Because he traveled internationally, he seemed to be doing a lot more for his country. I know that sounds insane – how could he be doing more if he wasn’t even there for a lot of the time? But he did. He was working with the other allies (primarily Britain) to develop a plan of action to fight the Nazis. And he did so at great personal risk, including taking a plane that he’d practically built himself on the harrowing flight from Denmark to England. I loved reading the chapters that focused on his story.
8. p. 120 “Only a drop in the ocean, that what they say. Well now, the ocean consists of drops.” – Morgan Fog on the use/effectiveness of Danish resistance. 
    What was his purpose in this statement? Do you agree? Why or why not?
It’s only upon further reflection of this quote that I understand it. When I was reading it in the context of the book, I found it a little confusing. Now, looking at it on its own, I can see that what he’s saying is each person is “just a drop.” Put all those people together, though, and you get a whole ocean. And which is better at doing its job of getting things wet: a single drop or an ocean? An ocean, of course. So by having a huge swath of people all working together (though separately, too), they were able to create an “ocean” in Denmark and soak the Nazis.
I absolutely agree with this statement. Though I stated earlier that I’d be more like Niels Skov and work alone (as a single drop), I can understand why groups of people working together (as an ocean) can accomplish more, faster.
Thanks again to Lori for finding this book and encouraging me to read it, and also for writing such compelling book club questions.
If you read Courage and Defiance with us, please let us know in the comments of one or both of our blogs. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it! If you’ve blogged about Courage and Defiance in our virtual Book Club, please share our button on your post.
Ladybug Daydreams Book Club

This month, we’re reading My Life in France by Julia Child. This is a memoir of her time in late-1940s France, when she went from being “just a housewife” to “The French Chef.” Will read this book recently, and it inspired him to purchase for our home Julia’s famous Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We’ve tried a couple of the recipes from that book, and they’re delicious. I look forward to cooking more of them. Questions are on LitLovers. Our posts will go live on August 4th.


As a followup to My Life in France, we’ll be reading Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell in August for a book club post on September 1. This book started out as a blog in 2002, when Julie Powell decided to take on the monumental task of cooking every single recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (524 of them!) in a span of just one year. Her blog developed quite a following back then, and it was eventually turned into this book. In 2009, a movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell was made that took parts of both memoirs and combined them into a pleasant film. Questions for Julie and Julia are also on LitLovers.

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Picture of the Week: Iron Man


The big boys worked together to make this Iron Mask for Small Fry. He’s taken to wearing it everywhere he goes. My favorite part is the way he says “Iron Man.” He says it with a short i sound (like in “it”). ir-on man. Love it!

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

I hope everyone, regardless of where you live, has a great weekend!


ladybug-signature-3 copy

Would a Worm Go on a Walk? (book review and giveaway)


A photo posted by Wendy (@ladybugdaydreams) on

I have a lovely book to share with you guys today. Would a Worm Go on a Walk? is written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Bill Bolton. The story is told through a series of short poems about animals, asking if each one would do a “human” activity.

Would a worm go on a walk?

Would a lion become a lifeguard?

Would a ladybug wear lipstick?

A lot of children’s books would try to come up with reasons as to why the animals would do these specific activities, but not this one. Would a Worm Go on a Walk? gives a fun reason that the animal in question doesn’t do the funny thing, but they all come down to the same core reason: because God didn’t make them that way.

After reading about nine animals and why they don’t exhibit human behaviors, the book culminates with the idea that people are “God’s masterpieces.”

But God’s designs weren’t finished.

His special plans weren’t through.

The animals were just a start.

God’s masterpiece is YOU!

I’d told Small Fry that we’d get to review this book several days before it arrived, and he asked every day if it was here yet. He was so excited about it! The day it showed up, we read it twice (practically before the mail truck even had a chance to leave!). Once he moved on to other things, I took a good look at it, and saw just how beautiful the illustrations were. They’re lovely on a quick pass; they’re positively gorgeous when you look at them carefully.

Overall, this is a wonderfully done book. The message is beautiful, the illustrations are amazing. The two parts work together perfectly to make the book a delight. Flyby Promotions has graciously donated another copy of this book for me to offer as a giveaway. Fill out the Giveaway Tools widget below for your chance to win. The giveaway will end on Tuesday, July 5th at 5 a.m. PST.


ladybug-signature-3 copy



Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Turning Busy Work into to Memorable Work (NotebookingPages.com review)

The idea of doing our homeschooling in a “notebooking way” really appeals to me, but I’ve never really known how to implement the method. When the Schoolhouse Review Crew members were offered the chance to review a Lifetime Membership from NotebookingPages.com, I knew right away that I wanted to a part of it. I’ve explored the free side of the website before, but never really used it all that much. Doing a review was the perfect opportunity to explore the site fully and figure out exactly what notebooking would look like in our homeschool.


Click to enlarge

We received access in the middle of May, so the first thing I did was look at the resources for holidays – specifically Memorial Day. Using some of the pages found on NotebookingPages.com alongside other resources I found online, I put together a Memorial Day unit study for the boys. Besides Memorial Day, NotebookingPages.com has printable pages for just a wide variety of (American) holidays from Martin Luther King Day in January to Christmas in December.

When we’d finished studying Memorial Day, I needed a new topic for us to study. We’ve been on a big classical music kick recently, so I decided to see what was available for composer studies. I was not disappointed with the selection – there are 28 composers to choose from! I looked through our record collection and the NotebookingPages.com options, put some books on hold through the library online catalog, and was able to put together a study on several of our favorite composers. We learned about Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Sousa. Our very favorite composer (Rossini) doesn’t have any NotebookingPages, though. But no problem – my NotebookingPages.com Lifetime Membership came with a one-year subscription to their web-app, which allows you to create your own worksheets either from scratch or based on any of theirs. (The web-app doesn’t always come with the Lifetime Membership; if this is a feature you’re interested in, double check before buying.) Using the publisher web-app, I was able to adjust the other composer notebooking pages to swap in Rossini’s name and picture, and we had exactly what we needed.

During this review period, I’ve also been reading Courage and Defiance (my June book club book) to the boys. It’s all about the Danish resistance during WWII, so I once again headed to NotebookingPages.com. They have a series of WWII pages in the “modern history” section, so I printed those out and had the boys summarize each chapter of the book in their own words.

In our six weeks of use, I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of what NotebookingPages.com has to offer. Allow me to touch briefly on the different categories.

  • There’s a huge variety of categories under the “famous people” umbrella, not just composers. This includes artists, American presidents and first ladies, missionaries, church history figures, scientists, and explorers.
  • There are pages for 54 Biblical studies (mostly individual characters, but Jesus gets two, the rest of the New Testament is all on one, and some other are buddied up), as well as “Quiet Time Journaling pages.” I am looking forward to having the boys do some of these; in fact, I’ll probably print some out as soon as I finish writing this review!
  • The Geography tab includes pages for when you study the US or do a countries of the world study. There are also maps you can print.
  • Under history, you can choose pages that cover ancient times, middle ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and modern times. There are loads of different categories under each broad category, and multiple pages under each of these.
  • There is a wide variety of copywork pages under the Language Arts category, as well as plain lined papers for things like spelling lists.
  • Science and Nature covers things like animals, astronomy, anatomy, plants and trees, and experiment recording pages.
  • A-Z pages for the youngest learners to practice their alphabet in preparation for reading and writing. We did just one of these with Small Fry – the first letter of his name. I’m really excited to do a whole alphabet notebook with him this fall. He’ll be a bit young for formal Kindergarten (he turns 4 in two weeks), but definitely old enough for preschool-type work.

Even this huge list feels like it doesn’t even come close to doing NotebookingPages.com the justice it deserves. There are thousands and thousands of different options for notebooking, copywork, and blank pages to choose from. You really have to explore the site yourself for the “full effect.” If you sign up for a free account, there are several notebooking pages you can access for no charge.

notebookingpages sample

This page was downloaded page directly from NotebookingPages.com

Now I need to discuss what these pages look like, because it may not be what you’re expecting as you imagine what “notebooking pages” look like.

They’re not worksheets. This is not a curriculum.

These pages are essentially decorative journal pages for your child to record what he’s learned. If you’re looking for something other than “blank” pages, then NotebookingPages.com isn’t it. This doesn’t mean that it’s not an amazing resource for homeschooling, though. It’s important for children to record their own thoughts on things rather than just regurgitate answers based on worksheets, especially as they get older. For this use, NotebookingPages.com is exactly the right answer.

Rossini notebooking page

This page was created using the NotebookingPages.com web-app.

Each subject has a variety of different pages to choose from. Some have room for a lot of writing, some have room for some writing and a large drawing area, and some have room for a fair amount of writing and smaller drawing areas. Also, each style of page comes in “big kid” or “little kid” styles – plain lines or training lines with the dashes for learning letter placement. There really, truly is something for every family who wants to notebook on this site.

In addition to the actual pages you can print, there are video tutorials on what notebooking is and how to implement it in your homeschool. There are ideas for how to bind your child’s notebooks. (During the review period, I just purchased inexpensive folders with metal clasps. When school supplies go on super sales next month, I’ll stock up on other better options.)

I have just one issue with the program, and it’s fairly minor considering all the good things. I wish the PDFs would open in my web browser for me to review before I downloaded. Currently, they automatically download when you click on them. If I decide it’s not quite what I wanted, I have to delete it from my computer. This isn’t a deal breaker, but having it open in the web instead would be a huge plus.

The NotebookingPages.com Lifetime Membership currently sells for $97. Included in this is access to every single page on their website for life. There’s no limit to how many you can print, so it’s great for all of your children, even if you have large age gaps where you’ll go without using the site for a long time.

There are 100 reviews of NotebookingPages.com on the Crew blog this week. Make sure to click over and read about how this resource worked in other families!


ladybug-signature-3 copy


ladybug review crew disclaimer copy

Homeschool Year in Review (2015-16)

The time of year to reflect on the last year in our homeschool is upon us once again. There were some things that were really good for us, and others where I wish we’d done better. Here’s what we accomplished.

We (almost) made it through the entire Fix It! Grammar (from IEW) level 2. If I’d gone through with printing the pages of the student book instead of hand-writing them, I think we would’ve done better. As it stands, I’m pretty happy with the work we got done here. The kids learned a lot of new grammar concepts, and they continue to apply them to their own writing.

We read a lot of books, and we have quite a few literature guides ready to use next year. As read-alouds, we did:

  • Tuck Everlasting
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Give Me Liberty

Independently, Munchkin read the entire Harry Potter series. Seahawk is working his way through The Lord of the Rings. That one’s incredibly difficult, so I’m giving him a lot of leeway as far as the time it takes to read it.

KIMG0411We studied a lot of science concepts using multiple curricula (such is the life of a reviewing family). With Visual Learning Systems, we worked through loads of different life science units including animal classification, the human nervous system, and all about plants. There were several other units that we did before our subscription to VLS ran out, too. We also talked about Dinosaurs and the Bible using a curriculum from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. And finally, Munchkin and I worked through several weeks’ worth of Science Shepherd Introductory Science, focusing mostly on Creation. We’ll finish this curriculum next fall.

We studied World War II (though not as thoroughly as the topic deserves). Each of the boys wrote a report on a famous WWII leader. Seahawk chose Winston Churchill and Munchkin chose Adolf Hitler. To go along with that, we’re currently reading aloud Courage and Defiance by Deborah Hopkinson. This is a true life account about the Danish resistance, and it will be my Book Club entry for July.

Logic of English flashcardsUsing Logic of English, we learned several phonemes and spelling rules (especially important for Seahawk). This was an easy to implement, yet still very thorough English curriculum. We made it through a few weeks’ worth of lessons, and we will definitely be using it in the fall as well.

The boys are still working on their novels that they started when we reviewed the writing curriculum Here to Help Learning. I’ve given them the task of finishing those up by the end of the summer.

For math this year, we’ve been using textbooks (circa 2002, but math doesn’t really change all that much) that I purchased from Amazon. The boys are each about half to two-thirds done, and they’re working all summer long to finish those up in preparation of moving to the next grade level at the end of the summer. Additionally, we used A+ Interactive Math Mini Lessons. Seahawk mastered decimals while Munchkin learned to read an analog clock more easily. Thanks to Times Tales, the boys also finally really mastered the times tables. They’re still a little slower than I’d like, but at least they know them now.times tales collage

Seahawk has been practicing his drawing skills using ARTistic Pursuits. He’s really enjoying this book and plans to finish it on his own (it’s designed to be student-independent). In a couple of years, Munchkin will get to use it.

I think that’s about it. As you’re working through all the different months, sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing much, but then when the year-end post comes around, it easy to see that quite a bit actually did get done. This is especially true doing homeschool the way we do, without a boxed curriculum. (The idea of one of those is very tempting to me, but with two school-age kids, and another one coming up quickly behind them, it’s out of the question budget-wise. I’m so thankful for the Schoolhouse Review Crew for giving us the opportunity to use so many things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to!)

This week, several other members of the Review Crew are reflecting on their own homeschool years. Click the banner below to be taken to the roundup post on the crew blog.


ladybug-signature-3 copy