Studying Thanksgiving In Your Homeschool!

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My boys love to read about the pilgrims all year long, but when November comes we like to stop as a family and study Thanksgiving during our homeschool days! I’ve learned from experience that if you wait until November to start requesting books at your library, it is really hard to get them to come in time! So now is the time to log onto your library website, or visit your library and get the books you need!

Here are the resources I’m going to use for studying the history of Thanksgiving and the lessons we learn during this time.

A Thanksgiving Unit Study For Little Ones!


Last year I put together this free unit study on Thanksgiving! It says Kindergarten, but from all the feedback I got it really is good for K-2nd grade!

Count Your Blessings Ebook

This is a brand new resource that I’m really excited about! I love hymns. I grew up singing them and now my children are as well. I was surprised with how in-depth this Count Your Blessings unit study is.   You will study 3 beloved hymns: Count Your Blessings, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and The Doxology in this unit study. The study is written for older elementary students to do on their own if you wish. Or, you could work through it as a family. Copywork of the hymn lyrics is provided for older children as well as younger children. If you work 20-30 minutes a day, the flexible schedule will span about 3 weeks. I can’t wait for us to get started!

My boys need more writing practice, and this will be a very easy way to get them to 1). Stop and think through all they have to be grateful for.  2). Receive more writing practice! This 29 page journaling notebook will be the perfect thing for them to use in November, plus it will be special to keep! You can save 50% off in price with the code: ModestMom at the checkout! They also have a a younger journal option for K-2nd grade.

Stories of the Pilgrims

Every year we read Stories of the Pilgrims together. It is such a good book, and our children love it!

Pilgrim Paper Dolls

This year I plan on using these Pilgrim Paper dolls with my girls. They love paper dolls, so this will be a special time of acting out the pilgrim story though paper dolls!

Every year my husband and children put together a skit on Thanksgiving day for extended family. Normally I’m dragged into the skit as well. :) This year my husband told our children they are doing it all on their own, and they are excited to put something together! It will be cute to see what they come up with.

So there’s our family plan for the month of November! It is hard to believe it’s just about a week away!

The Logic Of English Review

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Logic of English Curriculum Review! |

When my boys were younger I followed the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching grammar. Basically for grades 1-3 you  read to them constantly and have them learn through narrations, copywork and books.

The Logic of English

I personally regret that decision. My boys don’t have a firm grasp on grammar and this is the year we are working to fix that. Since the boys are close enough in grades it is easiest to do grammar together. I discovered The Logic of English a few months back, and as soon as I found it I knew I wanted to try it.

This curriculum is not for moms who want to hand something to their child and let them do it on their own. It very much requires teacher/student involvement. You can’t use this curriculum without the teacher’s guide as it guides you through every step and even tells you what to say. I really appreciate that part of it!

The Logic of English Curriculum

The first day we started The Logic of English it took us 2 hours to get through a lesson! That seemed a little overwhelming, until I realized you don’t have to get through 1 lesson a day! The lessons are broken up into different sections. This program covers reading, spelling and writing. We don’t need any help with reading; both boys read really well. But we want to use the grammar and spelling sections.

One day we might do the spelling part of the lesson. I purchased the spelling rules flashcards (I love all the flashcards – high quality items!). We learn a new rule on the flashcard and spell out the words. They learn how many syllables are in a word, and we clap, say, and spell a word out. Then we might go through and figure out if the spelling word is a noun, adjective, etc.

I’m very impressed with the curriculum. The target age of the curriculum is around 8. I’m using it with an 8 and 10 year old. I’ve seen a lot of older children using this, and it is especially good for dyslexic children.

I actually was so impressed with the style of teaching that I ordered the student books for the younger grades, and I’m using them (slowly!) with my girls. My 6 year old is reading out loud to me from a beginner reader book every day. We don’t always get to the lesson and work page but my goal is to do it 3 times a week.

There are also fun games that go along with The Logic of English. I highly recommend getting the Phonogram Game Cards. Every time we pull these out my boys cheer! They love playing the different games!

The Essentials Teacher’s Manual is $95.00 and you can use it over and over again! The student workbook is $25.00. So far my oldest has a workbook and my 8 year old is using a plain spiral bound notebook. If you have the money I would suggest the workbook, but if it comes down to it I think you could make a plain notebook work, though not as well.

If you feel insecure about teaching writing, spelling, grammar, or reading, this is an excellent curriculum to consider using. I love how the curriculum takes the teacher by the hand, guiding them through the lesson. It really helps you stay in command of the lesson, even if you’ve forgotten a rule!

*Some of these items were sent to me to review free of charge. I was not paid for the review and all thoughts are strictly my own*


Learn Math Fast – A Supplemental Math Program!

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Learn Math Fast! My new favorite math supplemental program!

We struggle with math in our homeschool. It is the subject that gets the mosts groans and tears with my boys, especially with one of them. I know for sure it is the subject that gives me the most grief, trying to be patient as we work through problem after problem, explaining yet again the same principles for the same child. :)

When I saw the Learn Math Fast series I was really intrigued. It looked like what I was looking for – something that could supplement their current math program and would make them stop and think through math more deeply.

The Learn Math Fast series was written by a homeschooling mom who used these methods on her own son, and he was in college level math at age 16. Don’t let that scare you though; the books are extremely simple to use!

We started with the level 1 book, which is supposed to be for 1-3 grade math. I’m using it with my 3rd and 5th grader. So far my 1st grader is doing really good with her Horizons math, and this mama only has so much time each day so I haven’t added her in yet.

The concepts starting out seem so simple. My 5th grader was shocked how simple the first lesson was. You use 5 pennies, and work your way through all the different ways to add and subtract through 5. But then you have to be able to answer a list of problems in 30 seconds. The first few lessons were fine, but once we got higher up in the numbers you have to stop and think a little longer before blurting out the answer. Racing against the clock is a good motivation, and one my boys especially like.

Learn Math Fast!

They have a lot of helpful information on the website, including a page that explains how the math program works. You can also see sample pages here.

Whether you have a child that struggles in math or not, I think these books are an excellent supplement to teaching math as it teaches tricks and tips to make math easier. My only regret is that I didn’t find these books sooner. We haven’t been able to work through the books as quickly as I would have liked, simply because of my pregnancy, but now that I’m doing better we are back at them and I hope to get through the first book as quickly as possible. Some days we have done two lessons a day. Other days one lesson is enough.

They really don’t take long to go through. About 10-15 minutes a lesson is all it takes. The worksheets are optional. So far we haven’t done them as my boys only needed the mental reminder, but as we get further along we will use them.

Each book is $49.00, which admittedly is an investment, but you can reuse each book with all your children. They give you a password where you can print the worksheets off online instead of copying them out of the book. That is definitely proof that a homeschooling mom created this system – I was so happy to discover that fact!

Through the end of the year you can save $5.00 of your order with the code:

MODESTMOM at the checkout! This does not work with Paypal, but if you contact them they will take it off for you!

*I was not paid for this review, but was sent the books free of charge to review. All thoughts are strictly my own!*

Our Homeschool Curriculum for the 2014-2015 School Year!

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Our Homeschool Curriculum for the 2014-2015 School Year!

I know I’m sharing our curriculum choices late, but I just haven’t felt like typing out this list before now. :) Our school year changed dramatically right when we started, due to my pregnancy. I feel like I’ve spent more money this school year on curriculum then any other year, but I have needed to get what will work for our family and not stress about it.

We started out our school year in July doing Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ with the oldest two boys (5th and 3rd). We have not studied the ancient time period and I really liked how it was introduced in Heart of Dakota. I prefer a gentle, very biblical approach to the ancient time period with elementary grades. However there is a lot of reading out loud with Heart of Dakota. After I got pregnant and became sick I just couldn’t keep up. I knew the boys couldn’t do it all on their own either, so I put it all on the shelf and looked at other options. I’m still looking for more history options for my 3rd grader, but I’ll share what we are doing right now.

5th Grade Boy

Math-We have really struggled this year with math. I’ve been using Christian Light math for several years now, and I really like it. However, I talked to three different moms (two former math teachers) over our church retreat last weekend and was sharing about our struggles in math. It does not come easily for my son, and we have worked hard to get to where we are at. When I checked his work recently I realized he just isn’t getting enough of the concepts, and several of the concepts he struggled with was more unique problems because of it being a mennonite math curriculum. We totally stopped CLE a week ago and have been doing multiplication war flashcard games, and went back to Teaching Textbook. So far it’s going much better. We are still behind his grade level, but I feel confident we will catch up with a lot of hard work this year.

Science – He is reading through the BJU 5th grade science book, and also using the apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day book and Notebook.

History – I had purchased America the Beautiful set by Charlene Notgrass at our local homeschool curriculum fair this year. I’m so thankful I did, as we started this once I got sick. It has been an amazing curriculum, I haven’t found one thing I don’t like about it yet. It requires very little teacher involvement, he just comes and reads to me things he has written for the day. I also purchased the Student Notebook to go along with it and he loves it! History is one of our favorite subjects in this house, and I’m thrilled to have found such a great resource. I only wish there were more options like this for younger grades. I know we will continue to use more books from this author in the years to come.

Spelling – A Reason for Spelling. This is something new we are trying. I love All About Spelling, but we just didn’t do it enough last year. I thought I would try more of a workbook approach and see how he does.

Grammar – We are using Easy Grammar and Language Lessons by Sandi Queen.

Handwriting – Italic Handwriting Series

Bible Time – Walking in Truth (He does this after our devotions together).

Reading – This child goes through books so fast I can hardly keep up with him. I don’t use a separate reading program for him, but just encourage him to read history, science, and good literature books that we provide. When I’m feeling better we try to have a book that we enjoy as a family in the afternoon, but it will still be awhile before I start that back up again.

Logic of English – A review is coming on this later, but we are using this curriculum to help our grammar and spelling skills. It is really intense, but I’m super impressed with it.

3rd Grade Boy

Math – Christian Light math and Teaching Textbooks. This child gets through his school quickly, and enjoys doing things on the computer so I didn’t figure it would hurt him to do both. :) So far I haven’t had any complaints about it.

History – I’m still really struggling with this one. When I got sick, I looked on my bookshelves and pulled out the three Children’s books of the Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea,  and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. I also got the children’s activity books that go with each book. He has worked his way really quickly through these, and is on the last book. Ideas would be helpful! I thought about using Mystery of History and reading it out loud to my 3rd and 1st grader, but I have never seen the actives that go along with it and I don’t know how teacher intense it is. I’m trying to save my strength for the subjects the children struggle with, and history is just not one they need a lot of my help with right now.

Science – Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day, plus the Junior Notebook to go with it. He doesn’t like to do a lot of writing yet, so I didn’t feel the older notebook was a good fit. I’m not exactly sure why we are in two separate Apologia books this year, the boys just read it to themselves, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal. :) I had both of them, and the boys seemed interested in different topics this year. He is also reading through Machines and Motion, and loving it.

Spelling – A Reason for Spelling.

Grammer – Easy Grammar and Language Lessons.

Bible Time – Bible Light Units by Christian Light.

Reading – Again, this child loves to read as well so I just let him do a lot of reading on his own.

1st Grade Girl

Math – Horizons (we are finishing up the last few pages of her K book and are about ready to start the 1st grade book). She loves math and it comes easily to her. I’ve been so happy with the Horizons Kindergarten books, and hope I like the 1st grade just as well!

Reading – We have been using All About Reading, Level 1 and have made it through the first reader. Reading has not come as easily to her as I would have expected, I’m still waiting for the lightbulb moment where it just all clicks and makes total sense to her. We are sounding out a lot of works still, which takes a lot of patience on my part to sit next to a fidgeting child who is slowly sounding out every single word. :)  We are going to still use All About Reading, but I just purchased the Logic of English Foundations program to teach reading and handwriting together, and my goal is to do both. So far the Logic of English isn’t taking a huge amount of time to do each day. This is where a large amount of my energy goes each day, but it’s very important to get her reading skills improved this year.

Science – We have been slowly working through the BJU 1st grade science curriculum. She loves it, I honestly find it so extremely easy for her I have a hard time doing it. She loves work pages, which I think is why she likes this curriculum so much.

History – History for Little Pilgrims – I have been reading this out loud to both my girls (1st and PK).

Literature – The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton Burgess Both the the girls love this book!

Handwriting – Italic Handwriting Series. She loves handwriting, and begs to do more then one lesson a day so she is already at the end of this book! I guess we will cover a lot of handwriting this year!

Spelling – We are about ready to start A Reason for Spelling book A.

Preschool Girl 

I don’t think I’ve ever done as much preschool work as I have with Olivia! She begs to do school and has cried when we haven’t gotten to her workbooks that day. So I try hard to make sure she has her school time.

We are using Horizons Preschool books with her. The cutting and pasting, and working on forming her letters are good, plus she likes the coloring in it. But the math is super easy for her, so we started the Horizons K math a few weeks ago and it’s going great! I’m also doing Logic of English, foundations book A with her. I wouldn’t have started her yet, but it made sense to have her do this along with her older sister. So far it’s going ok. She will be 5 in December, so it makes sense she is doing some Preschool, some Kindergarten work. That is the beauty of homeschooling, just adjust to where they are at!

I’d love to hear what is working out great for you this school year! Chatting about curriculum is one of my favorite topics. :)