Monday, June 1, 2015

How to make homemade Biscuits

alright, we love our biscuits.  So I thought it would be fun to make a video to show you how I do it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wonderful Archived Language Arts Resources

What I have found is when it comes to homeschooling, the skills is what to focus on.  This is a struggle for me.  I want to buy a boxed complete curriculum and go step by step, like a check off list.  for some reason, life happens and we can not complete the curriculum. BUT! you have to finish it to start the next one or you will miss something and will forever be doomed!

Now this doesn't work well if you are in the pursuit of creating independent learners. Inevitably, these curriculum require a teacher. Teachers required is the opposite of independent learner, my child needs a mentor and guide, not a teacher.  There is much to be said, if you did an essay of the one room school house.  By mandatory requirements of just logistics, you had to be an independent learner. Thus, there must be something even more amazing about any of the resources that were used to facilitate the education of those children.

I have been doing some great in depth research on textbooks from the beginning 1900s.  I have found some amazing resources.

These are by Alonzo Reed

I would consider this to be started in 4th grade and worked until completed.  At times, I would take breaks from this text to allow time for academic maturity, as needed.
Word lessons. A complete speller adapted for use in the higher primary, intermediate, and grammar grades

We use this starting about third or fourth grade and work it to its completion, doing about 2-3 lessons a week, taking about 1-2 years to complete.
Introductory language work : a simple, varied, and pleasing, but methodical, series of exercises in English to precede the study of technical grammar

We have not started this, but plan to incorporate it some time in middle to high school years.
Word-building. Fifty lessons, combining Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon roots, prefixes, and suffixes, into about fifty-five hundred common derivative words in English, with a brief history of the English language

An elementary English Grammar consisting of one hundred practical lessons.

Higher Lessons in English. English Grammar and Composition: In which the Science of the Language is made Tributary to the art of expression.

***********High School Level****************************

Kellogg's Rhetoric - composition at high school level.

**********High School composition by Edwin Miller**********************
This set is a book a year for 4 years.  I am still tracking down the third book.

if you find any others that a free domain textbooks of superior quality, please let me know.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The curriculum sampler. What I have walked through so far this year 2013-2014

I feel like for some reason it is my job to try every curriculum out there and it is costing me a fortune. Well, comparatively we have yet to a cumulatively spend as much as one child's tuition at a private school. See perspective is everything. As homeschool parents, this is what we do, we try everything until we find a fit.  My local homeschool friends always ask me what are we using now. They love it, because I will get rid of it cheap. Nice for them.

So here we are 7 months in and I have an exhausting list of things we have tried. Her is the list and the pros and cons of each we used. Maybe you can glean some experience from this and not have to go to the trial and errors.

Easy Peasy Homeschool
This is a free program put together by an amazing woman. She has created an independent curriculum that just requires your child to work through each day's work. The site uses videos from you tube, free domain books on, along with other free resources she has found. She has amazing resources.

We used this for a month in the summer to see how it would fit.

Pros: My kids could work pretty much independently of me, especially for my child that can easily read. A lot of times,  my daughter would get up at 5am and would work for 4-5 hours to have most of her day free. The children enjoyed the time on the computer.

Cons: I had a difficult time keeping up with my kids to insure that the work was done and done correctly. I will admit that this could be the fact that I have 5 kids under 9 years old. I also could not insure that my little to no reading son did not just click through the work, I caught him. 

So this was just not a fit for us.

AOP lifepac
So with the start of September, I decided that we were going to finish those workbooks that I paid so much for. I made them suffer through three more weeks of it. Before I knew it was time to stop.

Pros: easy to follow teacher manual that went with the workbooks. As the children could read, they became more independent of me. The years worth of work is broken up into 10 small workbooks. This is nice because it doesn't get the children overwhelmed to see how much they have to do.

Cons: The workbooks are broken up into 3 sections and it is assumed you would take three weeks to complete. Well, there is not a start and finish to the day. They break the section into a list of activities, so spelling will show up five times, but in a random order. We had a hard time with knowing when enough was enough for the day. Sometimes the day would end in the middle of the page. This just made it difficult.
Also, my daughter found that the pages got busy and distracting with the images and she would often times get lost on what is the purpose to this exercise.

Sonlight - Core B & PK/K
So next I found sonlight and loved the reading, especially since my daughter consumes books like a bag of potato chips. I enjoyed the idea just a relaxed reading atmosphere. We easily submerged ourselves in this for about 5 weeks. 

Pros: everything is laid out for you. You get an amazing instructors guide and a forum that is not comparable to anything I have discovered. 

My favorite part that I will not part from is the science that they use in the beginning. It is a Usborne science activity do book that they paired up with a sonlight made DVD to walk you through each activity, that you can get a box with every tool you need for the experiments. I can't say enough about it.

I love the book selection also. Also, I was introduced to explore the code for my son that ended up being a great fit for him, but not for his sister.

Cons: you better have nothing else to do. The required reading of a few pages from several books a day times 2 became daunting for me. I would prefer a max of just 3 books at one time. Most times they would forget what we read from the day before. Some days I would read short excerpts from up to 16 books!

The instructors guide is through, but huge and overwhelming. Most times I would get lost in it, even after pulling out that weeks instruction into a smaller binder for my ease.

We had no success with the grammar, within 3 weeks I was asking a fellow homeschooled doing sonlight, what she used. 

This program is a video instruction on DVD with the use of manipulative and a very simple workbook to reinforce. We used about 16 lessons of this.
Pros: they can work on this independently, are you seeing a trend on what fits with us. It uses pretty blocks and is simple enough.
Cons: I live in a world of distractions and most times they did not watch the instruction carefully. There was such a distance between the video and the practice my children were not retaining the building blocks to the lesson.

I know of another family that this works well with. We used it from the end of September to the first of December.

Explode the code
Great black and white drilling of phonetic principles with spelling. My son was able to work independent through the lessons with little oversight. Is a great fit for him. My daughter's attention was not held and she would lose sight of the intent on the page. We could not use this as a stand alone phonetic curriculum, we have completed 1 & 2, we have book 3. He wil finish book 3 and then we will not continue with explode the code, for now.

Christian light education,
This was brought to our attention from another home schooler. This is one of my favorites. We started it at the end of October and we still use it today in some areas. It is much like lifepac with the best qualities and some even better ones. We use the reading/learning to read and the language arts. We gave the math a try. But it was not a fit.
Pros: budget and user friendly with no fluff or frills that has helped my kids immediately learn. I can't say enough about it, my son's reading has drastically improved with this strong phonetic based program.  The 10 workbooks are laid out with a lesson a day, so it is clear and obvious where to start and end. The lessons maintain the same format so my children know what to expect and after a few lesson the instruction becomes strictly about the skill and not the technicalities on how you are to practice it. 
The phonetics are excellent and spelling training begins right away. Also another awesome way to reinforce reading.
Cons: in some ways it is a con, cle so effectively teaches the principles from the start, that as a consequence I had to have my third grader go back to the second grade reading and language so she would not miss the skills. So as a con, you almost have to work through every lesson to pick up the skills needed.

I love cle and plan for everyone of children to work through the kindergarten and first grade work.

Robinson curriculum
So I actually found this last year and tried to implement it and we were just not ready yet. Well as we approached December, I realized it was time to see if it was a fit again. Sure enough it is a good fit now. A bit of background, I actually heard Art Robinson on Moody radio a few years back, he and his wife homeschooled their 6 kids. She got sick and died within 24 hours. He decided to continue homeschooling them but did not have time to teach them. So he did an experiment that worked. He first liked the math they had, so he had them do 2 hours of math, if that ment 1 lesson or 2 or even half a lesson, this is what they did. They used Saxon 5/4 and up only. Next, he required his kids to write every day. When they were young, this was in the form of copy work, as they got older it was an essay. Next he put good books in front of them.  He packaged his curriculum up with the course of study that has stand alone value in its self. Then he has a collection of the enough books to give a 12 year education that you can convert to an e-reader pr print. He has a 2 hour video where he fully explains on his website. He is no nonsense or frills.
Pros: this is cheap with a mastery of the three Rs, arithmetic, reading and writing. Although the focus is just this and not social studies, science and everything else, it is enough. You have a wonderful experience in nature and experiments from the literature and an amazing basis of history. The vocabulary is amazing. You essentially do the parenting of teaching your child to learn and then be responsible for their own education.
Cons: although it is a k-12 program, you are required to teach reading before setting them off on their own. Reading is not included, but you are pointed to use a strong phonetic program. You better have a laser printer and a cheap toner source.  
I find my children do best when the books are on paper, I keep an electronic reader for when I am in a pinch and need new books now. So I print and bind a months books at a time and it takes me a day. So,entires I am just not in the the mood to do it. You must purchase math separately.

Ultimately, this is what my kids will use with minor supplementing. The rest of my children are in the pursuit to begin program. I tantalize my younger ones by reading them a page from a cool book. For instance, my son was in love with the letter from the author of Josephine Pollards book U.S. grant that states girls will not like this and she wrote it just for the interest of girls. Wow, did my son light up. I read with him the first page and then stopped, telling him he could read this himself as he masters phonetics. It keeps him motivated.

Saxon math 5/4 and higher
my daughter just hated math. It was a useless process as far as she was concern. Well, using art robinson recommendations I started saxon 54. I am using the third and second editions because they are cheap and easy to get on eBay. I purchased initially the textbook, answer keys, and test book. There is so much mastery in the textbook, I feel that the testing is unnesseccary and I will not require it from my kids.
Pros: it is easily purchased for around $40 for everything you need, it is not consumable, so it will be used by all 5 of my kids, making it an $8 investment per child. Since it is out of print, I will more than likely sell it  in 9 yrs for $40.
The lessons are laid out with a short warm up of about 4 problems to get the mind warmed up. My daughter usually needs to talk it out with me for the last problem, but gets it on her own with a bit of discussion. She then reads a 2 page lesson with example. Then works 5 problems on what she has learned. Then she works 25 problems from what she has already learned. 
The nice part about the 25 problem review is it gives her the practice to master it. And she is given a note to tell her what lesson the problem is from, so she can review the skill.
Cons: you need to have your math facts for at least addition and subtraction when starting and then simultaneously learn multiplication and division. My daughter resented matering the facts. It started catching up with her at lesson 10, by becoming very slow at her work. I made her take a week off to master her facts, it has helped tremendously. Since my son can not read by himself, he has mastered the facts better than her.
Also, your reading comprehension will become obvious. For me this is a blessing to find the weakness of other subjects, so you can correct it. For others I know, this has become an extreme stumbling block that has them disliking their saxon textbook. With discussion with my friend's kid, she quickly concluded it was not the math skills that made it difficult, but the reading.

So as I always say, hopefully we have found our fit and will not be changing anytime soon. I have also found some great supplements that keeps us on course with our Robinson Curriculum (RC), but I will save this for another discussion.

Hope this helps you,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Curriculum I buy: Horizon Readers

So I know I haven't written much.  I would hate to say that I am busy, well, but I am. To the point that things are being over looked and I am getting nasty grams.  But hey, I was gifting my time, and my gifts ran out. When confronted I just smile and nod, I will have to start chronicling those events too. On with the story!

So for those who know me in person, there is a running joke about how I like to buy things.  I would hate to say I am indecisive, I think it is just trying to find our fit with the energy I have available. See that is a very limited resource now days. I would hate to just walk around and use, "well, I DO have 5 kids under 8 and I homeschool them!"; but I feel as though it would be a cop out. I would really like to say some elaborate story, but really I would just be makin it up and it would be a lie.  So since, I feel like a cop out for the truth, I just smile and nod.  

So, again, on with the story.  I buy curriculum like crazy!  I buy it all, whole kit and cubuttle.  I want it all, because I jumps in like this is going to save my homeschool momma life!  Guess what, (this is where my friends begin to laugh), it doesn't always work! So I decided to start reviewing the things I buy, since, well I have a lot. I plan to only review what we use.  So as you might have guessed it, we are no longer using LIFEPAC. I will later tell you why.

So in the midst of the more than I really need stash of stuff, I have purchased the AOP Horizon Readers.  Now I picked these up last April. I know kind of soon to think I didn't want them and soon shelved them, but I did.

Now I purchased them, because I felt like I needed more reading time or the ability to assign reading to my children to go along with LIFEPAC. Well, in the last 5 months we never used them. I looked at them, reviewed them and then just could not figure out where or how to fit them in.  Side note, this to some is a no brainer, but at this time in my life, my days feel like a whirl wind.

So, I placed them on our reading bookcase and hoped by some chance that my kids would for some reason decide to read them. Yah, laughing with you, when has a child decided to read a textbook like literature fore fun!

Welp, I figure out how to use them!  first let me begin with the Ws!


WHO: my struggling 2nd grader reading at more like a beginning first grader (Rooster) and my brand new kindergarten (Sweet Potato)

WHY: I decided to pull on these, because, although we really already have readers, we need more practice.  I could easily take Rooster's curriculum reader and run right through the whole book, especially since we are repeating the first grade for language arts, but it feel like we already did that and it did not stick.

So I figured, why not use an appropriate leveld reader to give practice  and experience with. Now what we are using now, is really just building his fluency. I have no doubt that he will finish the year in about 120 days of work, but I am not in a hurry to rush him through. If I was sending him back to a school system, I would probably push him hard through the review, but we have no intentions of that. My need is for him to come to love to read and write, not just develop the skill. For him, he needs to feel ahead of the work, not constantly grabbing to keep out up.

Now for the Sweet Potato, I have her using the K readers so that I can introduce sight words.  So today, we did the first story and as I read, I had her repeat after me and read the words: the, is, and. Nice and easy.

Where: anywhere, really, but mostly on the couch together.

When: at the end of our school day, it is our quiet snuggle time.

How: well, we read! The one thing I will note, is Horizon Readers for each grade is a bit higher level than our current curriculum and LIFEPAC. Now LIFEPAC I pretty much expected, since it is very much a go at their own pace, can't wait for you to read, here teach yourself. By the way, I still love that about LIFEPAC!

So for my remedial reader, Rooster, it is not such a stretch to have him read first, because he has some experience. The reality, though, is if I had expected him to read these in April, the whole house would have melted down, because it would have been frustrating.  So we are making progress! (SMILES) 

See the first lesson of First Grade!

Now the Sweet Potatoe is really not ready for these to sound out each word, but I feel that it is great practice to see the words being deciphered and there is just an appropriate amount of sight words.

Here is her first lesson, 

Now I am not sure how long I will use these, but I will say if we can finish out each grade for each reader, I will be thankful that I purchased them. Now if I don't, it will be again another thing I bought and didn't need after I made myself silly being so sure I had to have them.

Also, we are just beginning to add this into our days.  We are really just finishing our second week of our new curriculum.  I would like to get a couple more weeks in, before I review that one.

On another side note, the older readers begin pulling out stories from classic literature, I found this to be a very exciting prospect, you know in April. I also love the artwork in the books, very colorful and intriguing but not distracting.

Do you have experience in using AOP HORIZONS READERS or another reader that you use along side your actual reading curriculum? Please share with me! Because like it or not, I will probably want to try it too! Smiles.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

canning from the groceries store: 7/14 - 7/23

so I have decided to begin a series of canning ideas based on grocery store sales.  I used to never think to can from the grocery store.  I thought i had to spend a ton of time getting the food at the produce stand and then go through the chore of prepping it.  thankfully, time with my pressure canner and great blogs like and, my canning mentality has changed.

Now if you coupon, this will free a lot of your freeze space.

Here are some safety guidelines:

So I have publix and winn dixie near me that I can shop from.

This week at Winn Dixie, I might pick up these upcoming deals.

  • Ball Park Franks, 14-16 oz, at $3.29 ($1.64)
    • -$1 off Ball Park lean franks (regional), RP 6/16
  •  Eckrich Sausage, Franks, Bologna or Salmai, 8.3-16 oz, at $3.99 ($1.99)
    • -.55/ 1 Eckrich rope or links smoked sausage , RP 6/30
Here are some references about canning them:

note: I have previewed these videos.  I do not endorse or can guarantee any of these instructions.  I do use these methods personally, but you must use your own best judgement and take personal responsibility. thats about all i can come up with as a dis clamor, so folks use some common sense when you do anything.

Monday, June 17, 2013

DIY with the dirty dozen veggie wash

So this is the beginning of a ton of post.  That is your only warning.  I will be coming back later that I had to get on my frugal tightwad ship and set sail to be efficient with my single income, five children home. Hate to admit, I have been shopping with an attitude of entitlement.

First off, let's clean some stuff.  So we know with all the Monsanto and organic arguments, oh and also e-coli outbreaks that washing veggies is a necessity.  And our store has all kinds of things to buy and spend our precious resources on.

There are a ton of veggie/fruit wash recipes.  Here is the one I like at allrecipes.

So I prefer the soak method. I can fill and walk away until later. So I fill my washtub with cold water and add an estimated quarter cup of white 
 Vinegar with about 2 tablespoons of salt.  And let soak for 15 minutes.

Now the thing to realize is there is a pretty list of dirty food and good ones.  I have spent years ignoring it, but I must arm myself with its knowledge.

12 Most Contaminated
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

12 Least Contaminated

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

As, always wanting to feed my family well, without debt.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Binding My Blog Planner

I want to do a better job at posting new post to myblog.  I want toshare more with everyone.  I also need to keep my thoughts together.  Hmm, what was I saying.  Oh, yes.  So I wanted to make a blog planner forever now and just got to it.

I am using a free blog planner printable from here, She did a wonderful job and made a video on it too.

So I wanted to make one.  I decided to make one using my binding system I got at the FPEA convention.  I was so excited to find this, that I had to take it home.  You can find it here,

I would love to call this a tutorial, but I think it is more of just a show how it went together.

So I got it all printed out, again I am making it just like Infarrantlycreative did her planner.  Except she went to the store to bind it and i did mine at home.

Then I got my binding things.

Next I got my covers.  I used craft card stock from just stampin up.  I like it because it is pretty sturdy.  
So here is where I just go my own way.  I love all the creations made by Lisa Cannon. If you go to her website you can see the fabric covers and man they are WOW!  For this project I really don't need a cover like that.  I am very happy to just have a good soft cover.  In the future, you will probably see a lot of soft style covers versus a hard covered fabric cover.  This is purely my preference.  I bind a lot of free books off google books.
The file folder is to create the divider for the month calendar just as she did in the video.  next I trimmed the file folder to fit the cover.

so first order of binding was the monthly calendar on the file folder.

to make it stay I used the big clips from staples.

To make sure I got the holes where i wanted them, I drew a line across the top.

I forgot to take a picture of lining it up.  In order to fit it in the bracket vise, I folded the file folder back.
here it is out and then I stitched it together.

here is the file folder altogether.  see the holes on the otherside?  that is because I had to fold it over to get it to fit in the vise

Next, I am assembling the rest of the book.  If you look close you can see that I have notebook paper at the front and back.  I like to take notes.  Now the file folder part with the monthly calendar is flipped out and the rest of the file folder is in to be bound. 
here is another view.

Then I stick it in the vise.

now i got it in and got the nails set, now take it apart.Now this is not how it is supposed to come apart.  My little engineering brain has concluded that I gripped the paper too tight and paper being wood held onto those nails pretty good. (if you want to know about this phonemina watch How stuff Works?  On Netflix about wood.).  But with some work it came apart.

Here are all my holes to stitch.
Then, I stitched and was finished.
Turned out great, have a look.
see, the monthly page can be teared off for the following month and the pad can flip out to hide the weekly pages, just as in the blog tutorial for the planner.

I like it!
I usually bind with hot glue and vices and the Your Story from Provo craft.  i like this better.  My fingers were not burned from the hot glue.  I had more control and not near the mess.  I plan to be stitching my binding from here on.

This little system runs $35 at

Now let see if my planner gets me to do my work!  Just a hint, I now plan to bind the kids portfolio for school this year, well, if I get those portfolios done in time.

fyI - if you ever wonder why my caps are all squirrel-ly.  the monkey broke my shift key and i am still training my brain to use the shift on the right.