Afterschooling Update Feb 2016

I just finished listening to the Ed Snapshots podcast where Melissa Wiley talks about Tidal Homeschooling.   This philosophy really resonated with me and right now we are in a low time with organized Afterschooling.  The boys are doing more of their own learning.  I thought I would post a quick update as to what Afterschooling PS Kindergarten looks like in our house right now.


My boys are still under the misconception that they are required to do the reading for the BookIt program.   Grandma is very good at making sure that they read every day.  So far they have read every single day since October.   Conor is really enjoying reading Skylander Comic books.  Owen is enjoying reading the Billy & Blaze series.

For read-alouds we are slowly working through Pinocchio and just started Betsy-Tacy.

We just finished listening to Peter Pan which we all loved!  We started up with Sparkle Stories again.  There is a new set of stories where Martin & Sylvia are going to Nature School.  The boys are loving it.

Math & Engineering:

A bit of Life of Fred and we also have been playing the game Shut the Box.  I upgraded our rules for a game with the Cribbage board to be addition and subtraction.  I am also adding the game Snap Circuits, they are obsessed with it.

Nature Studies & Outdoor life:

We have not been out much.   The temperatures have been dipping to below zero so we are primarily indoors.  The boys have been enjoying some Burgess Bird stories though.  Currently a favorite game that we are all enjoying is Wild Craft, it was a Christmas gift from Grandma Jenny.

Ambleside Online:

We have slowed down quite a bit here.   Truthfully I needed a bit of a break and we have been pretty sick for the last few weeks.  I’m hoping to pick back up this week and keep working through our ‘Sections’.

Video Games:

I decided to add this section because this time of year we spend a lot of time playing video games.   The boys have been enjoying time with Reading Rainbow and PBS Kids on the computer.   We set up an older iMac so that they can start getting used to using a mouse and keyboard.  They have also been playing a lot of Skylanders.  The skills I see them improving while playing games are reading, spatial reasoning, hand eye coordination, and working cooperatively.

Public School:

School seems to be going really well.  The boys missed quite a bit of school recently due to illness but it didn’t seem to affect them at all.   Their teachers are both trying to give them more challenging work.  I don’t feel like either one is truly being challenged academically in the classroom.  Socially though they are both enjoying time with their friends and classmates.



Booklet of Book lists

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I am working hard to raise boys who love to read and are good at it.  This means that I get to spend time reading aloud to them all the children’s books that I loved, as well as those that I’ve never read.  I’ve been searching for suggestions and keep finding fantastic book lists everywhere.  I’ve been searching for a way to keep them handy when I am at the library or book shopping.  I finally stumbled across the perfect way!  I now have my own book of book lists!

Here is how I put it together. Warning, these instructions require Microsoft Word.  There may be another way to do it but I haven’t tried any.

Create your master list:

  1. Open up all your favorite book lists.  Some of mine are The Read-Aloud Revival, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online Year 0 – 1, 20 Classic Chapter Books for 5-8 year olds, and the Mensa K-3 list.
  2. Start a single Microsoft Word file and copy each list in.
  3. Title each section with the name of the booklist that you took it from.
  4. Take the time to format each list so that it is roughly in “Book Title – Author Name” format.

Create your booklet:

  1. Select all the text in the file and set the font to roughly 8pt.  I know, it’s small, but I wanted to keep down the total number of pages.
  2. You don’t have to, but I also added two little squares at the front of each row using the WingDings font.  They are for checking off books as I either buy them or as we read them.
  3. Follow the instructions on this website to use Word to create your booklet.  I suggest making sure that there are a few blank pages at the end for writing on.
  4. Print it up!

Make it pretty!

  1. I wanted mine to be pretty and to fit in my Composition Notebook Day Planner
  2. I found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that I liked and a piece of cardstock that matched.
  3. Then I followed the instructions from the Damask Love – Book Binding University series to create a cute little notebook that fits in my dayplanner 🙂

From start to finish it took me a few hours to figure it all out but I love the results.  The best part is that I will digitally keep the master file updated, removing books that we have read and adding new ones that are recommended.  Every few months I can print it up again and have an up-to-date list to carry with me!

‘Mom on the Go’ Planner

14833180251_db3897ccf2_zThis is the time of year to start thinking about heading off to school.  Luckily I have the option to take this year off from all that craziness.  For now we have decided to not send our boys to preschool.  But that means that I have to try to keep them busy and learning for the next year so that they are ready when Kindergarten hits.  I’ve been doing a lot of research into preschool homeschooling ideas and have a few things that I would like to do with them.  This means planning though.  When I was doing some of my research I came across a day planner that looked awesome.  I was in a splurging kind of mood that day and decided to go for it.  Then I spent the next week not so patiently waiting for it.  I haven’t been this excited for something in quite a while.

The planner is published by a company called “In the Leafy Treetops” that makes day planners specifically for Mormon mothers.  I found out that they make a non-Mormon version of their ‘Mom on the Go’ planner for everyone else.  I like that they left in some very light weight religious references.  Things like daily Prayer and Scripture readings.  While I don’t plan to read the Bible anytime soon I will use them to pick up my Yoga readings again and try to spend more time on my Spiritual studies.  I will let you know what I think of the planner after I’ve been using it for a while, but so far it’s a pretty nice one.  I love the way the pages are all laid out and the extra sections at the back for longer term planning are really nice.

Wheat Berries.


My new obsessions. I grew them on a lark the other day when it was way to far below zero for humans to be outdoors. My boys discovered they like them too and asked me to record the video above. Here is what I did:

– I washed out a mason jar in really hot water to make sure it was good and clean.
– Put about 1/3 cup of wheat berries in the jar. I got them in a bulk bin at the local food co-opm, Bobs Red Mill sells them in most regular grocery stores.
– Add water until they are covered.
– Cover with a mason jar ring and a small piece of cloth.
– Change the water every 10 – 12 hours or so for 24 hours, or until I saw little sprout tails starting to grow.
– To drain them I just put the cloth over the top and turn the jar over in the drain until all the water is gone.
– Once the tails are showing rinse them but this time drain all the water out and don’t replace it. Keep rinsing a couple times a day.
– Once they started to grow roots I planted a few of them in a pot I have on the window sill. The rest I left in the jar.
– After a few days they started to grow leaves. I then put them in the fridge.

I started eating them as soon as they were growing tails.

– I put them in my oatmeal, at all stages of growth, they add a nice crunch. The bonus is that I don’t need to cook them!
– I put them on a sandwich after they started growing leaves
– I ate them raw when I was craving candy the other night.

The adventure will continue. I may switch to another type of seed next. Hmm. we will see.

Travel Sleep Kit

I have children, this means that traveling can be a huge pain.  This weekend we are going to visit the grandparents.  To prepare I decided to create a travel sleep kit.


First, I found a tote with a nice lid that snaps shut.  We usually travel in our pickup truck so I didn’t have to worry about size but it should also fit in my car if absolutely necessary.


Then I found this great pattern on Pinterest for sleeping mats made out of pillows and pillowcases.  I had everything in my cart to make them.  Then I ran into a friend who pointed me to these really neat inflatable toddler beds.  They are perfect and required no sewing.  I also added an electric inflator.


I HATE sleeping on air mattresses.  They get really cold at night and slip and slide around.  So I picked up a set of knit sheets.  My eventual goal is to make slipcovers for the mattresses that are made with fleece.  For now I am going to layer the knit sheets over a crocheted afghan.  With their fleece footy PJs they should be warm enough.


For fun I picked up some cute pillow cases.  Add on their favorite blankets and stuffed animals and we have the perfect travel sleep system.