It’s a new school year! Okay, we never really stop our school year, but we spent the summer focused on reading and otherwise solely learning through living. Hippy much?

When Zack heads back to teaching art at our public school, we get back to more of a schedule or at least a guided system of learning. I love the back to school season and the structure of it all. Well, as structured as a hippy can be…

The girls have been back at it for almost a month now. Here is what we have been up to!

The girls have (at least) two big projects for this school year. The first is one on ecosystems. We’re following along with Properties of Ecosystems. So far we’ve done a lesson a week – on our own habitat, food chains, etc. – and we made our own worm farm – an idea from the book – and charted its progression. When we are done, we’ll dump the worms into Mae’s large compost she has going on in the backyard.

We are also working our way through Fun and Easy Nature and Science Investigations. It is small lessons that always involve a hands-on approach to the subject – from an easy task of filling in rain record sheets to something just as easy, but more complex, like watching mold ‘bloom’ on food. This we will do here and there and won’t be scheduled unless it directly relates to something else from the book above – or, you know, if it happens to be raining a lot ( hello next seven months! )

Their second large project is a catechism study. Why we believe what we believe. We are using the New City Catechism app as a guide on where to ‘go’ next. They will spend until November studying the Holy Spirit and will spend that entire time memorizing the verse above – John 14:16-17.

We recite the verse as well as add a discussion onto our morning devotion. We still use Indescribable for our devotion – because, science! 

This fall, the girls’ biography studies will go along with our colonial time-period research.

We read through If You Lived in Colonial Times and If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days while they painted their portraits as if they were chapter books. We didn’t plan on breezing through them.

We also read related portions from The Story of the World – Early Modern Times (My all-time favorite history ‘textbooks.’ I read through all of them as though they were novels. So, if you like history, you may like them on their own)

The girls have slowing begun getting back to writing their penpals. Hopefully, we can keep it a once a month deal – and once a week for Grandma since e-mail does not require stamps.

We do a lot of “narration.’ I will read them a story or passage from something and they tell it back to me in their own words (I separate them for this part). As they talk, I write it down word for word – recalling the story to help them really think about what they’ve heard. Then they spend time writing it down for handwriting practice and illustrating it to practice their drawing skills.

For this, so far, we’ve read some Aesop’s Fables for Kids, and short stories by Beatrix Potter.

The girls also do ‘poem paintings’ – this month, and possibly this entire semester because we have so many – we’re concentrating on poems about animals. Our entries come from Over in the Meadow and Eric Carle’s Animals Animals.

For grammar, Rae is working through sight words. Something I never did with Mae but they learn differently and I think she’ll learn better this way. We’re using some flashcards, a list of words I wrote myself, and a Paw Patrol wipe-away book. She is also reading through some BOB Books (which we love!) and some Dick and Jane level books. I’m also using methods from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons without digging the actual book out.

Mae s working through English Lessons Through Literature Level 2, Learning Grammar Through Writing, and Primary Language Lessons.

Geography! My favorite subject!

The girls are still getting skilled at reading maps. For this, we’re working through Sucess with Maps and simply pulling out a map and observing it. Also this year for the girls’ birthdays, Grandma got them a subscription to Little Passports. They’ll get stuff from a new country every month! I’ll try and dedicate extra time to diving deeper into each country, such as eating the food they eat (both meals and treats) and listening to their music while we work.


Group Read AloudMeet Felicity | Magic Tree House – Viking Ships at Sunrise (Basically the movie Secret of Kells) |Smith of Wootton Major | Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot – Uranium Unicorns | The Black Star of Kingston | The Mouse and the Motorcycle  | Eerie Elementary – Recess is a Jungle

*Smith of Wootton Major is very expensive. We got it from our library. There is a free online PDF of the entire book (It’s short) here.

*The Black Star of Kingston is a prequel to the Green Ember Series by S.D. Smith – which is fantastic.

Audiobooks | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – We listen to audiobooks in the car and while doing ‘handiwork’ – Legos, sewing, crocheting, clay, etc.

Mae’s Self-readingThe Princess in Black | Penny and Her Doll | Amelia Bedelia |Helicopters and Gingerbread (her favorite!) | Sounds of Numbers

She has also read several short story books to herself and the other kids ^ those are just the ones her and I sat together and read.

Foreign Language | Mae wants to learn French and Mandarin – Zack thinks she should learn Spanish, ’cause, America – or Mandarin. For now, she uses a Little Pim app for French and wants to start watching all of our movies in French. Once we decide on a language, she’ll likely use Duolingo. Hopefully by the time she graduates she will know a few languages. One or two fluently and a few basics for others.


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