Friday, July 29, 2016

Weekly Recap #9

This week flew by, and I can't believe we have completed 3 weeks of school for Mikaela and Eli, and 6 weeks for Mercie, Silas and Titus! Crazy.

We started using Apologia Exploring Astronomy with Mercie and Silas, and they love it! We had a fun week learning about the universe, NASA, and satellites. We made a sundial with a paper plate and a wooden dowel {no pictures, sorry}. We also made a model solar system using balloons and index cards. It's hanging above our couch in the trailer! They thought that was a lot of fun, and Mercie can now name the planets in order.

Titus learned the letter "D" this week, and we had a dinosaur theme! He painted dinosaur prints all over a letter "D" using plastic dinosaurs, "traced" a "D" with plastic dinosaurs, reviewed the numbers 1, 2, and 3 by putting the correct number of dinosaurs on each card, and read several fun dinosaur books. We also played a game called "Dino Count". We took turns rolling the dice, counting the dots, and taking that many dinosaurs from the pile. When the dinosaurs were gone, we counted to see who won! {I bought a plastic tub of 72 small dinosaurs for this week.}

Silas completed 5 lessons in phonics, and is now reading words with the letters S, T, A, N, M, C, K, CK, I, H, and P. I am so proud of him! He is still learning his addition facts to 10, and is getting pretty quick at some of them! He worked on Reading Eggs several times this week, and is now on Map 3.

Mercie learned how to write a friendly letter in LLATL and wrote and mailed one to her friend back home. She also learned how to combine two sentences using "and" and reviewed contractions. In math, she is adding with two "carrying" digits {798+459}. She read some Junie B. Jones books this week, worked on her typing, and did a few lessons in Spanish.

Eli has completed over 24% of the 6th grade level on Khan Academy for math. In science, he read about weather and climate and the different climate zones in the world. In history, he learned about Indians, specifically Pocahontas and John Smith, and is making a Pocahontas museum this weekend. In LLATL, he worked on making a bubble graph to organize his writing and wrote a paragraph about his favorite holiday. He also reviewed contractions, adverbs and adjectives. He is on Module 3 in Writers in Residence, worked on his typing and on Rosetta Stone.

Mikaela completed 5 lessons in Principals of Mathematics. She is reading about the deep ocean in science and had to research one branch of oceanography and write a paper on it. In history, she read about the Breadbasket of America {among other things}. She finished 5 lessons in LLATL and is on Module 11 in Writers in Residence. She completed the Typing Instructor program and is on Lesson 3 in Rosetta Stone.

The kids got to ride horses Sunday after church at one of the church member's home. Mikaela loves to ride horses, so she was very happy for the opportunity.

 How was your week?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Middle School Checklists {Junior High Junction}

With two kids now in middle school - one in 8th grade, and the other in 6th grade - I have decided to do a few things differently. Having a schedule for them to follow each day is one thing I have implemented this school year. They each have a 3-prong folder with 36 weekly schedules inside.

By schedule, I don't mean a strict, to-the-minute itinerary each day. I have created each of them a weekly checklist to use. This weekly checklist includes each subject they must complete each day, along with a checklist for things like personal hygiene, quiet time, and chores. {I find my middle school age kids need reminders to put on deodorant and brush their teeth without being embarrassed when I mention it.}
On their weekly schedule, I have included the following subjects:
  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • History
  • Science
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Spanish
  • Typing

They don't do every subject every day - for example, science is 3 times a week - but they just put an X in the box if they don't have to complete it that day. A check goes in the box when they do complete it.

I have also included the following under the category of habits:
  • Quiet Time
  • Memory
  • Personal Care
  • Clean Room
  • Chores
Also on the checklist is a reading log with room for the book title, number of pages and date completed. I have this because my kids read so many books that I can't keep track of them all! This way, at the end of the year, I can compile a list of every book they read in a year.

There  is also space for their memory verse, which we are using from Foundations 2: Christ our Messiah Bible curriculum. Having them write their memory verse on this page insures that when they see the Memory row to check off, they will study their verse for a few minutes. It makes it easier than hunting for an index card or searching in the Bible. Plus, I want us all to memorize the verse in the New Living Translation {my absolute favorite Bible translation} so we can play games and help each other memorize it.

Having the kids use this Weekly Checklist has been so helpful. There is no more "What do I do next?" or "I forgot to do Spanish today!" Until they have checked off every item from that list, they can't watch TV or go outside or do anything.

This gives me plenty of time to work with my little ones, who really need my focus this year. {This is why I have moved my two older children to independent school work instead of the family learning we have done in the past.}

How do you make sure your middle-schooler gets all of his work completed each day?

My Full Heart: Junior High Junction

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekly Recap #8

We completed week 2 of school for Mikaela and Eli, and week 4 of school for Mercie, Silas and Titus this week. We had quite a busy week, though! Mikaela, Eli and Mercie had swimming lessons from 11:00-11:30 each day this week, and we went to the pool several times in the afternoon. Silas and I both got haircuts, and Titus and Silas made a trip to the dentist for a cleaning. We also made a trip to the library and several trips to the grocery store!


In Story of the World, Mercie and Silas learned about Sargon and his kingdom, Abraham and Joseph. They did several mapping activities, coloring pages and colored a comic book {all from the Activity Book}. We were supposed to make a Sumerian Seal from air-dry clay, but we didn't get around to it with all of the busy-ness!

In Foundations, we read chapters 3 and 4 in Matthew, had some great discussion, and played Bible drills.

Mikaela {8th grade}:
  • She completed a poetry unit in Learning Language Arts Through Literature. She had to write several different types of poems, and she did a great job!
  • In Writers in Residence, she is still working on her Investigation unit. She is asking all sorts of questions about my childhood, my parents and grandparents. It should be an interesting final project!
  • She completed 5 lessons in Principals of Mathematics.
  • In America the Beautiful, she read about Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, Thomas Edison, Chicago and more. She completed mapping exercises and timeline entries, as well as working in her Student Workbook. We didn't do the Family Activity this week.
  • In Science, she read about the main branches of oceanography and completed the worksheets in the PLP {Masterbooks, Intro to Oceanography and Ecology}.
  • She worked on Rosetta Stone and is on Lesson 2.
  • She practiced typing on Typing Instructor.
  • She cooked chicken enchiladas for dinner one night this week and baked brownie cookie bars.
  • She has been cleaning our neighbor's trailer for $25 a week.

Eli {6th grade};
  • He completed Lesson 5 in Learning Language Arts Through Literature - adverbs, compound words, and how to write and punctuate a letter.
  • In Writers in Residence, he is working on his memories unit.
  • On Khan Academy, he has completed 20% of the 6th grade level.
  • In Science, he learned the main components of weather and completed the worksheet in his PLP {Masterbooks, Intro to Meteorology and Astronomy}.
  • In America the Beautiful, he read about Leif Erikson, Christopher Columbus, Native Americans, and St. Augustine, as well as completing timeline entries and mapping activities.
  • In Rosetta Stone, he finishing Lesson 1.
  • He worked on his typing on Typing Instructor.
  • He cleaned out three cars this week and earned $55.

Mercie {3rd grade}:
  • She completed Lesson 8 in Learning Language Arts Through Literature.
  • She did 3 lessons in WriteShop and wrote a story titled "Going to Church on Sunday".
  • In math, she worked on numbers into the hundred thousands, greater than and less than with numbers in the hundreds, and reviewed several concepts.
  • She worked on Typing Instructor.
  • She read for 10 minutes a day.
Silas {1st grade}:
  • Silas started a new program {a review item} called Jolly Phonics, and he is loving it. We completed 6 lessons this week, and now he is blending words such as "tip, tap, tin, pat, sip" and more.
  • He worked on addition facts in math up to 5.
  • We played a memory game with the numbers 1-10.
  • He worked on Reading Eggs, even though he started a new phonics program. He loves Reading Eggs and completed 3 lessons this week.

Titus {preschool}:
  • We took a review week. We played games with the numbers 1-3 and A,B, and C.
  • He practiced patterns with counting bears.
  • He worked in his Counting with Numbers workbook, reviewing 1, 2, and 3.
  • He colored and played around with paper and scissors.

Next week, the younger kids will be adding Apologia Astronomy {a review item} for science, which I am really excited about.

How was your week?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Middle Schoolers Making Money {Junior High Junction}

If your middle-school aged kids are anything like mine, they are always looking for ways to make money! I think it's a great thing that my two oldest kids are so interested in earning money - not because I want to raise greedy little adults who think money is the most important thing ever, but because it takes money to live. Earning money will hopefully be something that motivates them to do their best work, to learn how to save and budget for things they want, and to teach them that earning money is hard work!
Mikaela, 13, and Eli, 11, have found a few jobs they can do this summer to make some money right here in our park. Mikaela has been cleaning our neighbor's trailer once a week while he is working for about $25 a week. She washes dishes, sweeps, cleans cabinets and tidies up. Cleaning bathrooms and refrigerators are extra. She is hoping to pick up a few more trailers a week. Eli has decided to start cleaning out people's vehicles for $20. We have a Shop-Vac, so he will vacuum the carpets, wipe down the windows and seats, and wash off the mats. He has already done one vehicle, has another one to do today, and is hoping to have several more in the coming weeks. They are also going to watch the kids in the trailer park while the moms have a Bible study. The moms have offered to pay a little bit, and that is motivating for them! Mikaela has made money in the past walking dogs and baby-sitting, and they have both sold items on eBay.

Here is a list of jobs your pre-teen and teens may be able to earn money doing:
  • washing cars
  • cleaning cars out
  • baby-sitting
  • mowing the yard
  • cleaning houses
  • walking dogs
  • weeding a garden
  • laundry
  • baking and selling brownies or cookies
  • helping a mom grocery shop
  • selling hand-made goods {jewelry, crocheted items, paintings, or wood-work}
  • being a mother's helper
  • organizing
  • garage sales
  • selling on eBay
  • power-washing houses or porches
How have your teens made money?

My Full Heart: Junior High Junction

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Our Favorite Preschool Curriculum and Resources

I am by no means an expert on teaching preschool, but I have taught four children preschool and am working on my fifth! I am going to list our favorite resources and curriculum choices, as well as a few helpful tips, for teaching 3-5 year old children.

{Before I begin, I will say that having a well-stocked arts and crafts cabinet is a must for this age! Paper plates, glue, construction paper, scissors, googly eyes, stickers, and markers are a few of the things I try not to run out of. Preschoolers can create so many wonderful things, learning about colors and shapes, perfecting their fine motor skills, and using their imagination - all at the same time! If you have nothing except arts and crafts supplies, you can still teach preschoolers!}

Image result for rod and staf preschool workbooks

    These Rod and Staff workbooks for the preschool-age are wonderful! They teach colors, numbers, shapes, Bible stories, patterns, and sequencing - all of the pre-reading and pre-writing skills your preschooler needs to learn. Titus does a page or two a day and is learning so much! They are very inexpensive, yet very high quality workbooks.
    Several years ago, I printed off and laminated these alphabet pattern block cards for my then-preschooler, Silas. Now, Titus is using these with his letter-of-the-week curriculum I wrote for him. Along with learning how to properly form the alphabet letters, he is practicing fine motor skills, problem-solving, colors, and shapes - a win/win!

    Another great hands-on activity for learning the alphabet {among other things} is Cuisenaire Rods! I've had this Alphabet Book for years, and Titus has had a blast creating letters and pictures with the colorful, multi-length rods. It's also great for fine motor skills and problem-solving; it's such fun even my 11 year old enjoys using it.

    Counting bears are such a classic homeschool math manipulative, and for a good reason. They are so versatile and can be used for much more than counting! I purchased some pattern cards that Titus uses {patterns are such a hard concept for him to understand! ugh!} with his counting bears. He also sorts the bears by color and size, and we play games with them! I lay out flashcards with the numbers he is learning {currently 1-3} and he puts the correct amount of bears by each number.

    All About Reading, Pre-Reading, was such a fun curriculum for Silas to use in Kindergarten. When Titus completes the letter-of-the-week curriculum we are using, we are going to use this! I already purchased the extra student kit {since Silas used the first one!} and can't wait to use it with Titus. It's a fun, hands-on curriculum, and who doesn't love Ziggy?

    Before Five in a Row is a gentle, literature based preschool guide. I wouldn't call it a curriculum, but you could definitely use it as such! Using classic children's books, you will guide your child as he learns about numbers, shapes, colors, art, and literary analysis {at a preschool level}. Many of these books have become our favorites! Here is a link to the BFIAR blog posts I have written.

    We have two sets of these animal magnets from Melissa and Doug. They are great for classifying, learning animals sounds, and just playing around! We use a cookie sheet for a magnetic board.

    What are some of your favorite curriculum choices for preschool?

Monday, July 18, 2016

One Year Blogiversary - $20 Amazon giftcard and Missional Motherhood Bible study giveaway

I wrote my first blog post on My Full Heart on July 15, 2015. It's hard to believe I've been blogging for an entire year! Here are a few interesting tidbits on my little corner of the internet:

  • I have had 34,377 pageviews since I started blogging.
  • My most popular post was "Review of Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling Journal and Delight-Directed Learning Handbook", which posted on December 2, 2015 with 9 comments and 487 pageviews.
  • My first-ever post was titled, "Homeschooling with Heart of Dakota {getting prepared for Bigger Hearts for His Glory}", which has had 287 pageviews.
  • The post with the most comments was "D is for Delight-Directed Learning: Review and Giveaway" which had 38 comments and 344  pageviews.
  • I have published 223 posts, including this one, since July 15, 2015.
  • My top traffic sources are Google and Facebook {which is weird because I don't have Facebook...}.
To celebrate my one year blogiversary, I want to have a giveaway! I love doing giveaways! I am going to give away a Bible study workbook titled "Missional Motherhood" by Gloria Furman along with a $20 giftcard from Amazon. The giveaway will run today, July 18th, 2016 until Saturday, July 23, 2016. I will ship your prize on Monday, July 25, 2016.
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekly Recap #7

This week was Mikaela and Eli's first week back homeschooling and Mercie, Silas and Titus's third week. We got a lot accomplished, and I'm very happy with our curriculum choices. I am really going to stick with the curriculum we have chosen and started instead of skipping around when things don't go just as I expected or if the kids get bored.

This week, we started our Bible curriculum "Foundations 2: Christ Our Messiah". I bought the pdf, printed the entire thing out and put it in a 1/2 inch binder. I bought each of the kids a 1/2 inch binder {and made cute binder covers for them} so they can keep all of their papers and projects in one place.

We read Matthew 1 and 2 this week, created posters that gave information on the book of Matthew, memorized Galatians 4:4-5, illustrated the memory verse, had Bible drills, found and listed the names and titles given to Jesus in the first two chapters, and looked up the prophecies from the first 2 chapters of Matthew in the Old Testament.

In the Story of the World, Mercie and Silas learned about mummies and pyramids. We read "Mummies" and "You Wouldn't Want to be a Pyramid Builder!" as well as some pages in the Usborne Internet Linked World History Encyclopedia. They made pyramids with sugar cubes and painted them in browns and golds, and we are in the process of making a mummy from a kit I bought from Amazon. We found Egypt on a map and colored a picture of a mummy and some pyramids. This was a very interesting topic for them, and I'm glad they had a fun week!

Individually, here is what they each accomplished:

Mikaela {8th grade}:

  • She worked 5 lessons in Principals of Mathematics, working on adding and subtracting negative numbers, finding percents, and temperatures with negative numbers.
  • She worked a poetry unit in Learning Language Arts Through Literature, learning the differences between metaphors and similes, what personification is, and reading poetry.
  • In Writers in Residence, she is investigating her ancestors for the "My Family Hall of Fame" module.
  • She completed Unit 16 in "America the Beautiful" {lessons 76-80} and created a "Homestead Map".
  • She completed the Introduction {the first 3 days} in "Intro to Oceanography and Ecology".
  • She worked on her Spanish with Rosetta Stone 4 days this week and is learning quite a bit already.
  • She is sharpening her typing skills with Typing Instructor.
  • She read an entire book by Beverly Lewis and is working on the sequel.
Eli {6th grade}:

  • Eli is back on Khan Academy for a while, and he has completed 6% of the 6th grade level. He is learning nets of polyhedra and other geometrical concepts.
  • In Learning Language Arts Through Literature, he also had a poetry unit. He learned how to write a triplet and some different literary techniques.
  • He completed 4 lessons in Writers in Residence on the first unit, "When I Was Young".
  • He finished Unit 1 in "America the Beautiful" and made a longhouse with gumdrops and toothpicks.
  • In science, he learned how weather affects our daily life in "Introduction to Meteorology and Astronomy".
  • He worked on Spanish with Rosetta Stone and his typing with Typing Instructor.
  • He read several chapters in "Carry On Mr. Bowditch" and some Animorphosis books.
Mercie {3rd grade}:

  • In math, she learned how to round numbers to the hundreds and tens, and she reviewed counting dollars and coins.
  • In Learning Language Arts Through Literature, she worked on contractions and alphabetical order. 
  • She finished 3 lessons in "WriteShop", learning the elements of a story and writing a story herself.
  • She worked on "Reading Eggspress" to improve her reading comprehension skills.
  • She also worked on Spanish with Rosetta Stone and typing with Typing Instructor.
  • She read a Goosebumps book.
  • She finished one week of a two week swimming lesson class.
Silas {1st grade}:

  • In math, he learned how to count pennies and reviewed writing his numbers 1-10. He started Chapter 2 where he is learning how to add.
  • He worked 5 lessons on Reading Eggs this week, and he can read short words like "bat, hat, fit, sit, map, lap, and tap".
  • He practiced his handwriting in Patriotic Penmanship.
  • He worked a few pages in "Finding the Answers" by Rod and Staff.
Titus {Preschool}:

  • He learned the letter "C" this week.
  • He used a pencil eraser to stamp "chocolate chips" on a "C".
  • He used Cuisenaire rods and pattern blocks to make the letter "C".
  • He made a "C" collage with stickers.
  • He stamped circles on a paper and made cookies out of them.
  • We read the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie".
  • We made cookies!
  • We reviewed the numbers 1-3 and played a counting game with bears.
We went to the pool several times this week, rode bikes and took walks, Mikaela and Eli played Frisbee golf a few times, and we went to the ice-cream shop once.

How was your week?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tickle My Tummy Tuesday: Breakfast Roll-Ups

I'm hoping to get back into the routine of Tickle My Tummy Tuesday. I enjoy trying new recipes, especially kid-friendly recipes.

I cooked these Breakfast Roll-Ups Sunday evening. The plan was to make them for, well, breakfast, but that didn't happen! So we had them for an early dinner on Sunday!

These are super-easy and so delicious. We made 16, and there weren't any leftover!

Ingredients {for 8}:

1 can Pillsbury Cresent Rolls
6 eggs, scrambled
8 fully-cooked sausage links
4 slices of American cheese, cut in half {so, 8 halves}
1 egg, uncooked

Step One:

Scramble your eggs!

Step Two:

Unroll Cresent Rolls on a baking pan.

Step Three:

Layer the cheese, a spoon of eggs, and a breakfast sausage on the cresent roll.

Step Four:

Roll the Cresent Rolls up!

Step Five:

Spoon or use a brush to rub the cresent rolls with the uncooked egg. Add salt and pepper.

Step Six:

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown!

I hope you try these yummy Breakfast Roll-Ups. If you do, let me know in the comments. I would love for you to link up your kid-friendly recipes! I'm always looking for something new to try.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Art Achieve {TOS Review}

Art is a subject that has been neglected most in our homeschool days. It's not that I don't love or enjoy art, but I find it hard for me to teach art as I'm not an artistic person. I was intrigued when we were chosen to review the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve!
WHAT IS ArtAchieve?

ArtAchieve is an online art curriculum that will teach your child to draw and paint. Your child will watch a video presented by John Hofland which gives them instructions and guidelines to draw and color or paint a picture. The art your child will be creating is art inspired from around the world - for example, Hungarian Insects or The Sheep from Wales. You need absolutely no artistic background to use this program - your child will learn from the author everything he or she needs to know to complete the art project. The supplies are simple - a black, fine tip marker, colored markers, colored pencils, acrylic paint, and oil pastels are the supplies used the most.


We received the Entire Level I from ArtAchieve. My 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son were the primary users of this program, although my 11 year old and 3 year old sons joined in sometimes. Each lesson takes from 30-45 minutes to complete, including watching the video and finishing your project. I will walk you through a lesson - The Czech Cat - to show you how it works.

First, I print off the Warm-Up Exercise paper and the Worksheet. I make sure I have all of the supplies we need ready. For this project, we need black markers and colored markers and printer paper.

We start the video. First up is relaxation exercises - you rub your palms together until they are warm and place them over your eyes. Then you take deep breathes. My kids like doing this!

Next is the warm up. You use the print-out and copy the lines in the boxes below. This is actually quite challenging and gets your children ready to draw.

Finally, the project begins. John walks your child through each step of drawing. He even 'makes mistakes' sometimes, which I really like. This shows my kids that not even artist's work is perfect, and that it's okay to mess up!

When your child is through drawing, he will color in his project.


We really love ArtAchieve! Here are the things I like about this program:
  • Your child will make real art projects - not a craft, but actual art.
  • Your child will make his project his own - he will be able to design and decorate his art project with whatever colors and patterns he wishes.
  • John, the author of the videos, makes mistakes. He has taught my kids that's it's okay if your project isn't turning out the way you want it to. He has also shown my kids how to take a "mess up" and make it work with the picture by changing lines and adding things.
  • The lessons aren't too short, but they aren't too long, either. A half hour or so is about all my kids can handle and this is about the time the lessons take.
  • You don't need a ton of expensive supplies. Markers, paper, and Sharpies are the main things we have used.
  • Each project is unique - I would never think to have my kids drawing and painting some of the projects they have!
  • There is relaxing music playing in the background.
  • There are cross-curricular activities for each project if you want to expand on each project.

HOW TO BUY ArtAchieve?

You can buy individual lessons from ArtAchieve for a very small fee. The Level I lessons are each $4.00. You can buy a bundle of 3 lessons for $10.00 or the Entire Level I bundle with 9 lessons for $27.00. {Each level has different pricing.}

Art Achieve has 5 levels, all with different and unique lessons. There are free lessons available for download, if you want to try out ArtAchieve. I highly recommend this art program for all homeschoolers!
Read reviews from the rest of the Crew members on Levels I, II, and III!

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review