Jul 312015

Math Lessons for a Living Education Book 1

Yippee, I am not crazy.  It was not all a figment of my imagination.  I really had come across a website with an awesome free math and art curriculum earlier this summer.

After so much searching for it on Wednesday, and not finding anything, I began to doubt myself.  I decided to try it once more tonight (Thursday night) before completely giving up.  It is that awesome and I really wanted to share it with you all.

After changing the search parameters just a bit, I came across a Facebook page that lead me to a website.  A comment left by a random poster on the FB page held the exact question I was thinking of –  “Not sure if this has been answered or not, but just wondering if you are still offering the math and art series for free.”  The answer to said question held what I was looking for “What’s Happening?!”  To summarize, Angela O’dell had a blessing drop into her lap.  

What started out as a seemingly bad thing turned out well,

As most of you know, I regained publishing rights to my books in March of this year.  …  Also, as most of you know, I decided to offer the math series for free for an undetermined length of time. That website has had so many hits, that the server has notified me that they can not be responsible for any issues downloading files. At one point, the website URL had been shared nearly 20,000 times in one month! …Last month, I received a message from a curriculum acquisition officer at a major publishing company, asking me to allow them to discuss the possibility of letting them publish my history and math……Also wonderful about this arrangement is the fact that I am going to be able to get out around the country and meet you wonderful people face to face, because Master Books will be arranging speaking opportunities at homeschool conventions. This is something that God has been laying on my heart to step out in faith and do, and now He has made the way.  ~summary of explanation from website.

While the math books (affiliate link) are no longer available for free, I am really glad I was able to see it when I did.  It opened my eyes to a new way of doing math and helped me seek out something past the standard math text books to help my kids learn.

(photo from Facebook page)

It also turns out that the art series will be coming back out in print, this summer if all goes as planned.

This may all seem silly, but I truly was starting to question myself and wondered if I had been trying to do so much that I was starting to make up things.  At least now we both know that was not true AND we both have links to find these resources.

As the school year progresses you will be seeing some of Jack’s art work, as well as hearing about how the math series goes.  It is such a fun math book that I will bring it out on days where we are wanting to do something a bit different, perhaps during a school break or a weekend day.  Who says learning is just for ‘school’ or the ‘classroom’?

Jul 282015

school supplies 2013

With 3 weeks left before George starts school at the local public school, I figured I should start getting plans finalized for homeschooling Jack. Finalize being the key word.  Up till now I have had a general plan in mind, but nothing ordered, printed or put into binders.

My goal is to have a better laid out schedule for Jack this year, something he can take ownership of and succeed at, without feeling that I am a task master trying to drive him where he does not want to go.  This needs to be fun, short and to the point, relevant, challenging, and fun.  Did I mention fun?

Last year the focus was to be on our relationship more than academics.  While I did not always get there, I tried and learned to let things go. Jack is doing a lot better, even compared to this time last year.  Seems it worked, though we are still working towards better progress.

“Relationship” is still at the top of the list this year and has formed a lot of what I have chosen to do and the method in which we will do it.

Today was the first step – I registered for some classes at a local nature center.  We attended one last Spring and I was happy to see how much he enjoyed it.  I was concerned about his activity level, but they seemed to handle it fairly well.  The fact that part of the class was outside helped a lot.

After an internal debate, I signed him up for all the classes this semester.  Even if there are one or two classes he says he won’t like, by the time they come around I am pretty sure he will be up for going.  At least that is what I am hoping.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars

The first item on my To-Do list is to create a binder to keep all the curriculum, materials and details straight.  I found several different links that will help me compile what I am hoping to use.

This week I will go through these links, figure out what I want to actually have printed.  Add that to going through electronic versions of some materials I am planning to use, and I will be ready to get these printed out in the next week or two.  I may print some initial ones out from my home computer, to help with planning, but will take the rest to a printer in Big Town.  The price is comparable to me printing at home, about $.10 a page, but I will not have to worry about finding an ink cartridge if I run out half way through.

Homeschool binder


So how have we decided what to use this year?  There were a variety of ways.  Some are things we have used previously, some were recommended and some came about through research and ‘discussion’.  Here is an example of how we chose the math curriculum to use:

I looked through various curriculum, narrowed it down to two, then asked my husband if he wanted to have a say in the choice of what I used.

Husband: Just choose something.  (He has other things using his brain cells lately, so I am usually the one to research things around home.)

Me: I have narrowed it down to two. One spirals and is more hands on.  The other works on mastering a topic before moving on and has fewer practice problems.

After explaining what ‘spirals’ meant his answer was quick.

Husband: The other one. He thinks linearly, that one sounds more like him.

And that folks was the extent of our ‘discussion’, 3 whole sentences plus a few more explanatory ones.  Thankfully, he chose the one I really wanted, but was questioning myself on.

When I initially looked through curriculum, I came upon this program and it seemed to fit what I was looking for.  I took time to look over materials several times and read reviews.  This is how I decided to that Math Mammoth would be a great candidate for our math curriculum this year.  The following review from The Old Schoolhouse says very well some of my reasons for making this decision:

Short lessons without a lot of talking (from Mom), not having a lot of review problems, working on mastery versus spiraling, and a simple layout are the main reasons we chose this curriculum.  

I see us working our other math resources into this, to reinforce the topic being covered or to just keep it fun.

I am also curious if it would work well with George. Though he needs lots of review before his long term memory kicks in, I think he gets confused by all the jumping around they do at (the public) school.

Curriculum (somewhat in order of focus)

Bible TimeFoundations 1: Preparations for Christ (Old Testament) – this is something I picked up in an ebook bundle sale a few years ago.  At the time my kids were too young, but I knew they would get here one day.  I am planning to work this into our morning pre-school routine.  I did not do so well with it last year and felt like I was letting my kids down by putting other things ahead of our Bible Time.

Copy work – Kirsten Joy Awake’s Bible Writer – this is again something I picked up from an ebook bundle sale, but can no longer seem to find online.

MathMy Calendar Book, Math Mammoth (our main curriculum book), books from library, Math Lessons for a Living Education from Queen Homeschool (is the free ebook from the author no longer available? You can get a hardcopy here), flash cards, and Mathseeds

Reading/Phonics – Reading Eggs, AO book list, Library story time, audio books/dramas

Art – Learn. Imaine. Create! Book 1 by Queen Homeschool (no longer available?), books from library, Home Depot monthly kid’s craft

Science – homeschool day at local nature center, walks, Youtube videos, science/children’s museum

Music – listen to CDs, play variety of instruments

P.E. – bowling (free), roller skating (free), indoor playground, outdoor playground, soccer, bike riding

Geography – from public domain  Home Geography for Primary Grades by C. C. Long

HistoryStory of The World, Volume 1 – we started this last Spring and made it several chapters into it.  This summer I was able to pick up an audio version.  This means he can listen while doing something else or while in the car.  We can then do the activity pages another time.

Wow, I did not realize how many of the resources I plan to use are no longer available.  It is sad really, as I was looking forward to sharing them with you. Not only did I like them, but they were also free at the beginning of summer. That would have been helpful for those of you who are looking to keep spending low.

Also sad because that means I only have access to the ones I downloaded … unless someone knows of another source for these.  I am thinking mainly about the art and math ones from O’dell.


Even the act of getting the above list filled out and put in order makes me feel so much better about this upcoming year.  As a Lover of Lists, it feels like my thoughts have been put into order and chaos is on its way out the door.  That is something I really need to happen right now, there are too many loose ends right now.

There are two things I still need to purchase, but I am not in a rush.  I am going to be patient and see if any sales come up in the next few weeks.  For now, the focus will be on getting pages printed, into binders and a general time frame of what I want to accomplish each month put together.

goodwill map poster music triangle finger puppet

 This post contains some affiliate links, though most are not.  Just wanted you to know.  ;)





Jul 252015

painting car art childSo what have I been up to all week?  (cue music and fade out)

Visiting our nation’s capital with my family and visiting some old friends.   Old as in how long I have known them, not their ages.  How we are blessed to have people we can call friends, who after 4+ years of not seeing them still open their home to us or invite us to come visit.  These are the types of friends I want, the ones who do not view the passage of time as diminishing our friendship.

We left last Friday, drove through the night (time passes quicker for the kids that way) and arrived on the East Coast in time for breakfast.  Hey, once in college … maybe a bad way to start the sentence :) … when I was younger a group of guys drove all night from school to Florida.  It was a surprise destination for them over a weekend, down and back with about 30 minutes spent in the water.  If they can do it, so can we.

In preparation for the trip, I picked up a few new to us DVDs two weeks ago from garage sales and a consignment store  They cost about $2 each and should give us 4 or 5 hours of ‘quiet’ video watching time on the way home.  I also stopped by the dollar store and let them pick out stickers, activity books, and a toy.  I grabbed a few surprise items as well.  To round it off, I gathered up all the small, car friendly crafts from our Art box and put them into a bag for the car.  These are for the trip down and back, as well as during the week if we need a few calmer evening activities.

George was just slightly vibrating with anticipation when he learned that he will get to see where the ‘real’ President lives.  I remember the first time I got to see the White House.  My age had a few extra digits than George’s, but it was still exciting.  A tour will have to wait, as I am not sure I could handle taking Jack through there.  Maybe in another five 10 years.

In addition to visiting friends and seeing the sites I have been trying to catch up on some reading.  As of late I feel a bit unmotivated to sit down with a book and read.  It may have something to do with being kept busy with other areas of life – can we say home remodel, homeschooling, feeding and clothing my family?  So I took this opportunity to down load a few more books.  I will let you know how they turn out.

Garden Party: A Guide to Throwing an Awesome Party in Your Garden is one of the books I am hoping to read.  I have always envisioned having a garden party, though I’m not sure this is the year for it.  Hoping to get the motivation and inspiration to host one next Spring/early Summer.

Staining the deck, reseeding the grass, painting the shed, and finding some patio furniture and lights are at the top of my list of things to do in preparation for next year.  Beyond that, I’m not sure exactly what to plan.  Hence I am reading this book.  I will let you know if it turns out as beneficial as I hope.

Carrots Celery Potatoes in Basket

For now, we are finishing up our trip.  The immediate plans, once we get home, will be laundry and perhaps some grocery shopping.  I tried to use up most of the food in the fridge.  We have a great selection of condiments, but I am not sure what you can make with cordial cherries, soy sauce, carrots and blackberry jam.  Any ideas?


Jul 172015
Produce Auction - Pennsylvania

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA and Canada.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section. Pennsylvania seems to be in the heart of [...]