Wandering in the Woods!

After doing our normal routine this morning; journals, reading and Liam working on his research paper, Luke and I browsing through his new Pathway Readers and did some Polar bear Unit work, I couldn’t wait to get outside!! It was over 40 degrees and sunny! Spring Fever!!!! Get me outside!

We headed over to our local Refuge in Charlestown and hit the trails. The sun felt great, there is still a lot of snow but the trail was pretty packed down.  It felt great to be outside and not freezing. I warned the boys that if they were somewhat quiet today we’d probably be lucky to see some wildlife.

The trail was only a mile round trip so, on our way back the boys took off their coats and laid back basking in the sun and listening to the birds. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by a bunch of black- capped chickadees and saw two different woodpeckers working, and a tuft titmouse who was busy flying from branch to branch. They were in awe and loved every minute of it.

I think we all just laid there on our coats for about an half an hour just observing and listening. They met a snowman along the way and played various games, marvelled at how soft the birch trees were and kept repeating we need to do this more often and when are we coming back?! (I always have to drag them out for hikes, then they have a blast)

We noticed trees are budding!!

We noticed trees are budding!!


Quick photo op of the black -capped chickadee



Found a snowman friend along the trail. Boys added a nose and Luke checked on him and said good-bye



Happy Days are here: Making note of Milestones!

With our new routine and plan under way, I’m seeing smoother days, more relaxed and engaged! The boys are loving the installation of the daily morning journals! Each morning I write a prompt on the white board and hang it on the fridge- they are always eager to see what it’s going to ask and keep saying how fun it is!

Luke’s been learning to read now that we’ve gone through all the letters, and has been practicing the “at” family and a couple of sight words. Today….-drum roll- he read two BOB books! I was very proud! He was not as impressed, he shrugged and said, “ya, but they’re just short books…” Good grief! I reminded him how far he’s come since this summer when he hardly knew all his letters yet! BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!!! You just turned 5!


He also played a card game of word pairs with me and then made up a sequence story using the cards. The story: 0211151002Mrs. Boots put on her boots and got into her car. She drove over to her garden to check on it and headed over to the chickens to feed them and put the eggs in the basket. Then she went to the train station, got a ticket and took a train ride to the field of sheeps. Then she took a hot air balloon ride back home. The End.

He’s also doing fantastic with math, especially mental math! He can add or subtract easily and is just starting to multiply and divide using picture stories!

He started being able to swim underwater this week and is super creative in all areas!

Liam as I said wrote in his journal every day this week and today he also worked on writing a stanza in ABABCC order. He had to choose a mood (silly) and then create a poem using that order. Now, this is progress for him! He hated writing at the beginning of this year and now I hear no complaints and see a proud smile when he’s done! He’s started a Blog and it’s really helping him to be confident in spelling and story telling.  If you would’ve asked me 5 months ago what he likes to write, I would’ve said not much unless it’s related to video games! Very proud of his progress!!

0211151005 The other thing that has helped this year was discovering the Key to..Series for math. He’s completed 3 workbooks so far and is at the end of his decimals book now. Then it’s just a review of all concepts thus far and we’ll continue on from there. Today he added/ subtracted decimals to find length, width and the negative space where the window or doors are in the picture problem.

0211151020He’s loving his Spanish course as well, this week is relating words, comparing and distinguishing what words mean and how they are related in Latin, English, French and Spanish languages. He’s viewed A Tale of Two Princesses a few times to begin relating the origin of the Latin words heard in the story.


Both boys are learning about Biology- today they read and played a game about the muscular system. They had to “poke” the muscles that were told to them! They thought it was hilarious 😉


They had to speed up the recognition time – started at 10 and ended up at 85! Great job!

We ended the day looking at more Birds of America by John James Audubon and now they are outside playing an ancient treasure game they made up!

Great milestones noted and Happy homeschools days are back in action! phew!! 😉

Winter Boost!

This weekend I worked on giving our homeschool days a boost, change, overhaul..whatever you want to call it! The past few weeks we were all dragging our feet, just not feeling it (even with our new books, they helped but, eh)

So, I put together a new outline to finish out the year, same subjects as before but more organized! I also put together a new daily routine for us.

Today went more smoothly, more fun and felt more”put together” if you will.. we really are almost to the end of our year- we tend to do “school” Aug. 1 through May, so not much longer really, and I wanted this year to flow into next and so on as my oldest hits middle school. Let’s end the year on a high note and complete what we’ve been focusing on all year!

Our Focus:


Through Easy Peasy all in one Homeschool: Learn To Read & Getting Ready 2,

Math: Picture Stories, First Grade Math Book

Music: Geography and Cultures

Art: Artist Study

Grade 5:

Math- Decimals and Fractions, Review of all concepts thus far, Getting Ready for Middle School Step 1

History: Ancients

Health: Nutrition and Swimming/Par Core Class

Language Arts 5 and Middle Grades Language Arts Book

Science: Biology

Spanish: 6th Level

Music: Geography and Cultures

Art: Artist Study

Computer: Start and Maintain Blog

Health: Nutrition/ Spin Class/Swimming

Daily School Routine:

Read Together

Luke- 1st Lesson (LTR)/ Liam -Journal Prompt

Liam 1st Lessons (L.A., M) Luke-Journal prompt

Break for 45 min- free play and snack

Lessons together- (Music, Health, Art)


Luke 2nd Lesson (G.R. 2) Liam Math

Liam 2nd Lessons (H. Sc. & Sp.) Luke-Math

Outside/Games/Swim/Free time etc.

Monday- Music and Computer

Tuesday- Health

Wednesday- Artist Study

Thursday-Workbooks and Nature

Friday- Wrap up/Field Trip/Family Day

Today Luke reviewed his new “at” family words and played a “at” family game on Starfall. He then watched and listened to 5 new words being introduced for this week.

His Journal Prompt for today was – What do you like best about being a kid? A:”I like being small and fitting into small places! Like Cabinets!”

He played an Orchestra game learning about the woodwind section and had fun controlling the pitch and seeing each instrument play!

We also did Art today, due to a field trip later this week, I moved things around. We are studying John James Audubon this month.  Today we all viewed his American Robin piece and discussed how his art pieces were to educate others. I asked each of them- What would you do as an artist to educate others?

Liam said he would draw pictures of sea animals and the pollution problem- referring back to our recent trip to the aquarium and the “trash models” they had on display.

Seal made from trash found in the ocean

Seal made from trash found in the ocean

Luke said his would be about Ice Cream and how the different flavors are made, and how you don’t want the ice cream to fall off onto your foot!! 😉

We have many bird reference books, so each looked through and found a bird of choice to draw!


“Snowy Owl outside the Audubon Door”


“A Turkey that is a Male”

Liam started with reading a stanza excerpt and copying it down.

His Journal prompt for today was- If you could invite someone famous over for dinner who would it be and why?

Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons, because he makes awesome music! He’s my favorite person in the band.

Math was figuring our word problems- not so much fun 😉

Music he learned about the Violin and “playing it” using the mouse and keyboard! Observing the notes and sounds as well as creating his own song.

Spanish looking at Latin words and related words. He watched a short video that had Latin words throughout the story and tomorrow he will write them down and figure out what he thinks they mean, by relating them to English words that sound similar!

Plans are finally, Finalized! Next years Curriculum….

For Luke: Preschool-image

Preschool Montessori Yr 1 Plan

This year – 2013/2014

Following the Montessori approach! Specifically this site:





lots of literature and hands-on life learning!

Letters: Recognition, Sounds and Copy work in My First School Book from Handwriting Without Tears


Art and Music– Lots of exploration/ all hands on!!

Math: Numbers 1-10 then 1-20

Counting , Recognizing numbers in and out of order, Patterns and Puzzles, Shapes and Board Games

Literature Topics: Nursery Rhymes, Friendship, and Self- Help/Character builders

Pre-K 1Book List

They are categorized by topic, but like all good literature many contain multiple subject areas.

Self- Help/ Character Builders:

I can be anything!    Jerry Spinilli

I can be a real boy    Guido van Genechten

I can count    Bobbie Kalman

I can do it! A first look at not giving up    Peg Thomas

I can do it myself!    Stephen Krensky

I can fly super high!    Zuma Ayriyan

I can help    David Hyde

I can help    Liz Lennon

I’m 3! Look what I can do    Maria Carluccio


Family and Friends    Honor Head

Friends    Meg Greve

Frog and Friend: Outdoor Surprises     Eve Bunting

Very Special Friends    John Seven

Nursery Rhymes:

28 Best Nursery Rhymes Ever –Sound Recording

100 Best-loved Nursery Rhymes – no author

Clare Beaton’s Nursery rhymes read-along book and CD- no author

Favorite nursery rhymes from Mother Goose    Scott Gustafson

Three Little Kittens and other favorite nursery rhymes    Tony Ross

Wee Sing nursery rhymes and lullabies    Pamela Beall


Colors and Shapes     Ruth Owen

Dear Dragon’s fun with Shapes     Margaret Hillert

Dinosaur Shapes    Ava Saviola

I see shapes    No Author

Play with Shapes!    Joyce Markovics

Shapes Around Us     Daniel Nunn

Shapes in Animals    Sebastiano Ranchetti

Shapes in Art      Rebecca Ressman

Shapes that Roll     Karen Nagel

Three dimensional shapes: Cones    Luana k. Mitten

123   Anne Gedes

123 Chicago   Puck

123 favorite kids songs

123 I can make prints!     Irene Luxbacher

Animals 123: one to ten and back again   Kate Sheppard

Thomas’ 123 book     Richard Courtney

ABCs in Nature   Daniel Nunn

Biscuit’s ABCs    Alyssa Satin

Dinosaur ABC’s    Ava Saviola

Little Critter ABC’s     Mercer Mayer

For Liam, Year 4:

Year 4

Lessons for this year; 2013/2014

Modern Time period: History, Arts and Music. Zoology, Language arts and Math.

An Eclectic Combination with use of:

Easy Peasy all in one Homeschool yr.5-8

Math Lessons: Easy Peasy and My Business Math: Pet Store- Simply Charlotte Mason

Language Arts : 6 genres of literature, The Grammar Ace and School House Rocks DVD

Music: Pop Music, Iconic Stage, Movie Compositions

Art: Imitating the Classics, Study edges, outlines, repetition and perspective. Natural and Arbitrary Colors

Year 4/5 Book List

Modern History: Post Civil War to Current Day         E.P. yr 5-8


A picture book of John Washington Carver     David A. Alder

The Transcontinental Railroad   John Perritano

Born to Fly     Michael Ferrari

Ground Attack Planes    David Baker

Animal Farm   George Orwall

Captured off guard; the attack on Perl Harbor   Donald Lemke

Women in the Civil Rights Movement   Judy L. Hasday

John F. Kennedy   Wil Mara

Science: Zoology      E.P.   yr. 5-8

Main branches in the animal kingdom, habitats, behaviors, diets and adaptations. Endangered species and classification. Food webs, ecosystems. Nature walks and hikes.


Amazing Fish   Honor Head

Shark Wars   E.J Altbacker

Sharks, the super fish   Helen Sattler

Bees   Debbie and Brendan Gallagher

These Bees Count!   Alison Fermento

What if there were no bees?: a look at the grassland ecosystem   Suzanne Slade

Animal and plant mimicry   Dorothy Patent

Hide and Seek: creatures in camouflage   Phyllis Perry

Jungle bugs: masters of camouflage and mimicry   Bruce Percer

About Birds; A guide for children   Cathryn Sill

Whistling Wings   Laura Goering

A bird’s life   Ellen Lawrence

Amphibians: water to land    Laura Perdie

The complete guide to reptiles and  amphibians    JinnyJohnson

The life cycle of amphibians    Darlene Stille

City Food Chains   Julia Vogal

Deciduous forest food chain   Julia Vogal

Desert Food chains    Julia Vogal

Art and Music:  E.P 

Music: Pop Music, Iconic Stage, Movie Compositions

Art: Imitating the Classics, Study edges, outlines, repetition and perspective. Natural and Arbitrary Colors

Read Aloud Book List Covering 6 Genres:

Fairy Tales: Random House Book of Fairy Tales

Animals: James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

Tall Tales and Fantasy: The Swiss Family Robinson

Fiction: Follow My Leader

Science Fiction: A Wrinkle in Time

Mystery: Encylopedia Brown: Boy Detective

Free Educational Resources

Here are some free sites for books and other online educational freebies! I use most of these, some more than others.  A few are geared toward homeschooling, but can be enjoyed by anyone just the same! If you have   favorite that needs to be added, let me know! Check back often as I will update and add to the list as I come across new sites/resources!

Elementary Math:

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching- (MEP)

Fun for the brain-mulitplication

Math Fact Cafe

Mothmatic Math-online game

Book and Language:

International Children’s Digital Library

Magic Tree House

Shel Silverstein

Dr. Suessville
We Give Books

Kids Literature

Links and Living Books-lists


Shakespeare for kids

Online Mad Libs- Wacky Web Tales


Scholastic-colonial times

History for Kids

British Culture

Lego Castle

Civil War

The Middle Ages


50 Birds and more

Animals Myths and Legends

Nature Detectives

Kids Biology

National Geographic for kids

Space Place-NASA kids

Biology for Kids

Bats for Kids


Olga’s Gallery

Classics for Kids Music

National Gallery of Art for Kids

Norman Rockwell Museum

Getty Games-Art Museum

Social Studies and Geography:

Heifer International-build a better world

Connecticut Kids

Social Studies for Kids

Foreign Language:

Spanish for Children

Foreign Language printable worksheets

Online Educational Game Sites:


Brainpop jr



Covers all Subjects!:

Some of these are not free, but can be used for ideas, resource and finding supplies. Easy Peasy is totally free and a complete curriculum.

Easy Peasy-  

Simply Charlotte Mason

Queen Homeschool Supply

The Tanglewood School Supply

An Old Fashion Education

Head of the Class

Oak Meadow

Documentary Tube


neok12-site that has videos on all subjects

Discovery Kids