Streamlining Our Homeschool – Switching Curriculum

I’ve always been what I would consider an eclectic homeschooler.  Maybe it’s because I have such a hard time making up my mind about things.

There are things I love from Classical Homeschooling and other aspects I love from the Charlotte Mason Method.  We also tend to do a lot of unschooling around here especially in the early years, but I throw in a workbook or 2 every now & then as well.

Yes I’ve used curriculum like My Father’s World(Love it), Rod & Staff(Love it), and Heart of Dakota(also..Love it).  But…I always tweak, do different things for different kids, etc.

This method(or unmethod) has worked well for us up to this point.  My kids are enjoying school and increasing their knowledge at the same time.

However…I am ready for some more structure in our homeschool.  Here’s Why:

  • I’d like to get started with the a chronological history cycle.
  • I want to teach them Latin(and learn it myself)
  • I want to simplify our homeschool – I need a schedule right now that someone else made.  I want to be told what to do and when to do it (for now anyway;)
  • My kids are excited about something new.

With all that said I am doing something that I’ve never done before in our family’s homeschool history.  With much prayer and Bryan’s approval we are going with a certain company’s curriculum, using their lesson plans along with ALL of their recommendations for each subject.  

I know..I don’t have to do that to start the history cycle & teach latin, but I NEED this right now!

I have admired Veritas Press for years, and have used many of their books so when we decided to go with their curriculum it was actually a no-brainer and quite a relief.  Their scholars lesson plans will tell me what to do & when do do it including Latin and the 4 year history cycle. Another HUGE plus is that they recommend Institute for Excellence in Writing products with their scholar lessons.  The ONLY thing I will be adding is Apologia Zoology science since they don’t include it in their lesson plans.

My kids are so excited to get started and so am I!

Photo Credit

Easy Onion Bagel Pizza

A while back I got a great deal on bagels. I think it was like a quarter per pack or something like that.  I went ahead & stocked up on several different kinds like plain, blueberry, whole wheat, etc.  I also decided to grab a couple of packs of Onion Bagels.  I had not tried them before but thought they might be good for something.

I was working on my meal plan for the week & decided I’d try to make bagel pizza with the onion bagels.  It turned out really well, and my kiddos liked them alot so I wanted to share my recipe with you today.

What You’ll Need:

  • Shredded Cheese(I used cheddar because that’s what I had on hand, but any kind will work)
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cans Water(use the tomato paste can to measure)
  • Bagels


  • Preheat the oven to 350 °
  • Pour the Tomato Paste, Brown Sugar, Italian Seasoning, and Water into a saucepan.
  • Stir.
  • Cook until warm.
  • Spread the bagels(halved) onto a baking sheet
  • Spread the sauce onto the bagels (tip: If the sauce is too runny just add 1 tsp of cornstarch at a time to thicken it up)
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top(I left the cheese off on 2 of them for my kiddo with a milk allergy)
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

And that’s it!  You could add more toppings if you’d like, but this was just perfect for a quick weekday lunch. Another bonus:  I had half the sauce still leftover so I just stuck it in a freezer bag & put it in the freezer to use another day:)

Easy & Frugal Mod Podge Mosaic Candleholders

Mosaic Candleholders

I saw this really cute idea in the latest Taste Of Home, and decided to try it myself. They used jars for theirs, but I decided to try it with some tealight holders from the Dollar Tree.  My kids had a blast making these, and they were super frugal!

What you’ll need:

  • Glass Candle Holders from the Dollar Tree($2.00)
  • Ribbon – You can use 2 different kinds like I did or just one.  I got these when Hobby Lobby had a half off sale so total cost for all 4 was $4.00.
  • Mod Podge – This was the biggest expense at $6.99.  I didn’t have a coupon with me, but this would be a good thing to use the frequent 40% off coupons from Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Etc.  There was PLENTY left for other projects though!
  • Tissue Paper & Streamers- The red & yellow came in a multi colored pack from The Dollar Tree, but I also wanted orange & black which they didn’t have tissue papers in.  I ended up getting streamers for those colors which worked beautifully!  Total cost $3.00
  • Paintbrush(free, already had one at home

The only thing I used up was the candleholders.  There was plenty of supplies left to make many more.


  • Cut up the tissue paper and/or streamers into smaller pieces.  We kinda ripped the paper for the Autumn one to make it look more like leaves, but used scissors & cut squares for the Black & Orange one for a different effect.

  • Spread Mod Podge with the paint brush all over the outside of the candleholder.

For some reason I didn’t have any photos of the rest of the steps, but it’s really easy:)

  • Stick the paper onto the glue.  Just stick it all over & make sure to distribute the colors evenly & fill in all the clear spots.
  • Paint another layer of Mod Podge over the paper.  Cover it Completely!
  • Cut the ribbon to fit & place it around the holder.  I used 2 different kinds, but you can just use 1 or none — be creative:)
  • Paint another layer of Mod Podge over the ribbon
  • Let it dry.
  • Enjoy!

Funny Story: When The Bad News is Disgusting

Ok, so I just had to share this conversation I had with my 5 yr old this morning.

Just a little history first — Last night right before bed he found a keychain with a verse on it & asked if he could have it. My answer was “yes, if you go to bed good”(I know, bad grammar, sorry).

Here’s how it went this morning when he woke up and came to me in the kitchen.

Him: Here, Mom(handing me the keychain). I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.

Me(mom): What is it? (As I’m taking the keychain from his hand into mine)

Him: Well, The Good News is that I went to bed good last night

Me: What’s the bad news?

Him: The Bad news is that I dropped that keychain in the toilet.

Me: (Now noticing that the keychain that I now have in my hand is dripping a little)


Lego Math Drills

This little exercise came about one day when I asked my legomaniac son to work on his math drills. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: You need to go write your 1, 2 & 3 addition families.

Him: Mom, I really wanted to play legos.

Me: No, you need to practice your math.

Him: Mom, What if I use my legos to practice my math?

Me: What do you have in mind?  Show me.

This is what he came up with……

That’s the 2 family, notice that he used singles for the one & doubles for 2 rather than 2 actual pieces.

I know there are math manipulatives aplenty that use this same idea, but I was very please that he used his creative thinking skills to come up with this on his own.

Mom Approved!

Photo Credit

Nothing is too big for God to handle

I got a major punch in the gut yesterday. Yesterday we found out that my sweet 4 yr old has severe hearing loss in his left ear.

At this point we don’t know the cause, and we don’t know what lies ahead on this journey.  Of course I pray that it’s something easy to fix, but what if it’s not?

I’m not sure, but what I do know is that God has a plan for this special little guy.  He’s being prepared for something big, I just know it!

Whatever it is, Bring it on!  No, I can’t handle it myself….But My God Can!!

Labor Day Learning Ideas

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September of each year. It was established as a tribute to all the hard workers that make up our nation.  As one of the first holidays of the school year I’m planning to set aside a couple of hours this week to teach my kiddos about this important holiday.

Here are a few ideas if you’re planning a  Labor day lesson for your Homeschool or classroom.

Review Labor Day Facts:

  • The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City
  • Labor Day is a holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
  • It wasn’t until 2 years later in 1884 that the first Monday in September was chosen as the holiday
  • 10 Years Later in 1894 Congress made Labor Day official in all states.

Scripture Application

Go over 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 & Discuss.  This scripture warns about the dangers of laziness & idleness, and shows the importance of hard work.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching.  For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” you received from us. — 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10

Make it Personal

This is a good chance to ask the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Depending on the age and choices you can discuss/research their chosen professions. Discuss certain aspects of the jobs.

  • Here are a few discussion questions to get you started:
  1. What type of uniform or clothing would a person in that job wear?  Why?
  2. What are the basic duties of someone in that position?
  3. Why do you want to be one when you grow up?
  • Have them draw a  picture of somone working in their chosen jobs.

I’m sure I’ll have a wide range of choices to discuss like Inventor, Scientist, Firefighter, Policeman, Daddy, and not to forget the little girl who wants to be a princess & a mommy when she grows up.

Do an Activity

Photo Credit

Buying Used Homeschool Curriculum

I’ve been asked this several times lately so I thought I’d write a little post about it. One of the biggest costs when homeschooling is purchasing curriculum.  It’s very disappointing when you find the perfect curriculum, but just can’t quite swing it.

I have several resources I go to to try to find what I’m looking for used.  You can usually get a great deal while also helping another homeschooling family purchase for the next year.  Here are a few of the places I use:

Yahoo Message Groups also has several groups dedicated to certain curriculums:

Check out the My Father’s World Swap Group.  Looking for Sonlight?  There’s a Sonlight Group Too!

Neither of those interest you? Go to the Yahoo Groups Main Page & search for your curriculum to find a group.

I do feel that I should add this one little warning.  I’ve ordered tons of curriculum through these sites & have mostly never had any problems.  Most homeschoolers are very honest, but due to one bad transaction I always ask for shipping insurance just to be safe if you’re making a big purchase.  It’s not much, but worth it IMO.

I’m sure that’s not all.  Do you have any to add?  Please leave it in the comments!

Photo Credit

Pink Clouds

My 5 yr old(aka Little Speedy) came running into the kitchen this evening very excitedly.  “Mom, Come look at this!”  As I asked him what it was he said “There are some pretty pink clouds in the sky, come look!”

I followed him to the window he had been sitting at only to see the most beautiful sunset.  It made me smile to see the excitement of a little one who had just noticed his first sunset!

It made me smile even more to know that the 1st person he wanted to share it with was me!

Photo Credit