Homeschool

The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum

I cannot say enough about how this curriculum has changed our home school time. That and advice and encouragement from a few books I have read lately:

Awakening Wonder-Sally Clarkson

The Call of the Wild + Free-Ainsley Arment

You can access TGTB Language Arts curriculum, levels 1-5 for free. You can choose to print it yourself or order it for a very reasonable rate.

We chose to order the course books because printing them was too expensive and love what we received. The girls are so much happier with our school days. It feels like we are just spending time together learning which is what I’m pretty sure homeschooling was meant to feel like.

We are currently using their language arts, history, handwriting, and typing. We are also using their Multiplication Math program while we wait for their new Math curriculum to be released. From there we will decide whether to use TGTB or Teaching Textbooks for math.

For History I did print the course books myself because they are in black and white. I also purchased a ProClick to bind the course books when I do choose to print them. I bought this one because you can open the spiral and add papers to it if needed which will help cut down on extra folders with loose papers or loose papers stuck inside our course books.

For science we are using Answers In Genesis. We are studying animals this year and just plan to use this curriculum that we already had, books from our own collection, and the library. As we have gone on nature hikes we have seen certain animals or the homes, tracks, or evidence they’ve left behind. We use whatever animal we see and get as many books off our shelves or from our library to study and learn about that animal. So far we have read about moles, porcupines, and muskrats. Not to mention the study of farm animals they receive daily just from our lifestyle.

We have also ordered a few of their books from their library. So far the girls have read:

Melissa Across the Fence

Ann and the Island Storm

and

Jade Dragons

They also have a free book list I highly recommend. It rates not only the books in TGTB Library, but also other books as well. It rates them by moral merit, literary merit, educational value, and gives a review of the book. It is so helpful for me when I can’t keep up with one of my daughter’s incredible appetite for reading. There are so many children’s books out there that we have found inappropriate for our children that it is nice to have a little insight into a book before we even begin.

They have already finished the three books above. I do question if they were maybe a little below their reading level, but we did use TGTB reading level assessment. From here we are moving onto Lamplighter books. These are the most beautiful books not only to fill our bookshelves with, but to fill our hearts with Godly character. These will forever be a part of not only our homeschool, but our lives as we pass them on to the next generation.

All three of us love this curriculum. It has made our days so peaceful and interesting. We start our morning with devotions, Bible reading, character, and then our read aloud (currently The Green Ember). We didn’t have to spend a lot of money on curriculum. TGTB is inexpensive or in some cases free. We utilize our local libraries for books or just spend time reading the Bible together. I’m so glad we found this curriculum and am thankful for Sally Clarkson and Ainsley Arment’s books to quiet the doubt that creeps into the minds of homeschool moms….”am I doing enough?”

Around the Homestead

A Simple Winter Rhythm

We are just enjoying the slower season of life we are in right now. On the cold days we nestle up with books and warm drinks. On the warmer days we play outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. These are just a few pictures from our lives taken this past week.

a day at the park
after church snack
things I am loving
Ready for the girls to wake up
morning devotions
for the tree
The girl’s fort, built all on their own.
Willie Nelson inside the girl’s fort

I love every season. I think living a lifestyle that adjusts with the seasons adds an appreciation for each one I never had before. Our mornings are slower and later, are school days longer. Our days are dictated by the weather. On the nice days we head outdoors to play and work. On the cold days we snuggle up with a stack of books and something warm to drink. It’s a time to recover from the work of summer and prepare for the coming spring. It’s a time of creating art and learning new skills. Winter is what we make of it and for us we seldom grumble about the cold, but use it as a time to rest. A nice day is sure to come along eventually and the work will still be there waiting.

Around the Homestead

Early Winter…

Nearby Christmas tree farm
Cooking off turkey stock on our wood cookstove
The fruits of our labor
We left our carrots in our raised beds and seem to be storing well there.
Saving okra seed
Preparing for snow

Dad set a round straw bale in our sheep shed that we rolled out and used in our chicken coop for everyone to nestle down in when the snow came.

The next day

We have had more snow this year than usual which has been really nice.

But everyone stayed warm and dry inside
Yes, it is a baby mole saved from our cats.

We used this experience to learn and read all about moles. There was actually an entire nonfiction book about moles out our local library. Who knew!

Around the Homestead

Meat Birds, the last of the garden, and anticipating winter…

post for rebuilding our sheep chute and feed for our Cornish Rock Slow Growers
Good help
The last of the jalapenos for the freezer.
Maria
Willie Nelson
Jing Orange Okra-Seed Saving

And that concludes fall at our homestead. I still have some carrots in a raised bed waiting to be pulled. Other than that everything is pretty much ready for winter. Soon I will have to start filling the raised beds with manure and compost to breakdown over the winter and be ready again come spring.

Now, it’s time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book (First We Have Coffee is my favorite). When work follows the seasons you gain a new appreciation for winter and the downtime that accompanies it.

In The Kitchen

Drinking Chocolate and Hot Carob

We are in the midst of an ice storm here. The perfect day for a cup of something hot. Randy and I like to make drinking chocolate and the girls drink hot carob (no caffeine, no refined sugar).

Drinking Chocolate

2 servings

2 cups milk

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (we use Ghirardelli 100% Cacao)

6 T. coconut sugar

Dash of cayenne (optional)

Warm on stove top. Whisk and serve.

Hot Carob

2 servings

2 T. carob powder

2 cups milk

2 T. mesquite powder (you could also use 2 T. coconut sugar or vanilla stevia drops)

Warm on stove top. Whisk and serve.

Our girls get minimal to no sugar or caffeine, so this is plenty sweet for them.

Around the Homestead

Firewood season is upon us

We love to cut firewood and try to make it a fun experience for the girls also. We grilled out and had a makeshift campsite before cutting and loading up a tree the guys had taken down by the pond.

We forgot our chairs and had to improvise.
We actually liked the stumps so much we left them behind to use again.
Taking a snack break

Then all three of the little ones took a swim in the pond to cool off. It was a fun relaxing day with a little work and the reward of a truckload of firewood.

Around the Homestead

Another day at the pond

We try to go to the pond at least one day during the weekend to hang out if not more.

Canyon kayaking

Laila loves it too. She likes to run and wade in the water. She’s not much of a swimmer, but still loves the freedom she has there.

Laila
And then needs to rest from her adventures.
And then gets nervous from the camera clicking.
Laila
Canyon
Aspen

It’s just such a fun place where we can get away, get dirty, and enjoy nature. There are no cars, no cell phone reception, and no demands. Just us and about 10, 000 frogs!

Around the Homestead

Girl’s First Kayaking Experience

We are in the process of having a pond dug, so we thought even though it isn’t finished, we could take the girls out on the kayaks they got for Christmas.

Because goggles are essential when you kayak…to know Canyon is to love her

The girls had a great time. The frogs were all over the pond, so they got to see them up close. We had a little picnic lunch when we were finished kayaking before heading home.

The pond in progress

We still have a long way to go, but hopefully by next spring it will be complete.

Around the Homestead

Baby Goats…A Real Birth Day

We went to my parents on Sunday for my birthday dinner.

The girls frosted my cake.

While we were there three of the goats decided to have babies. While Canyon was less interested and went upstairs to play with magnet blocks and read, Aspen was right in the middle of the whole thing. She was so excited to actually see a baby animal being born. She has seen lambs before, but was so little she doesn’t remember it.

She had her camera out taking pictures, asking a bazillion questions, and was glued to the scene the entire time.

Aspen and Dad checking on the new mamas and babies.

It was a pretty exciting day for her. It is so nice when all of us just take a day to spend together when we aren’t working on a farm related project. Kidding doesn’t count!