These past two months have been SO incredible, especially in regards to our schooling. I have been enjoying this year (the first two months of it) more than any other time in our homeschooling past, which gives me so much hope for every year beyond this one.

Not that they are accomplishing any more or less than before. We have found a good rhythm, and we are enjoying being together – and somehow have avoided becoming overwhelmed (by design).

Mae practicing her spelling words.
Wearing Momma’s glasses while she fills in her Thankful journal.

The results of drawing with Momma’s notsogreat vision were adorable and made her laugh so hard she couldn’t breathe.

We started the school year with Zack teaching (as he learned along side her) how to build a motherboard. She was in her element. She’ll take any excuse to take something apart and put something together. She’s a tinker like her daddy.

Poetry is still their favorite copy work. We haven’t had any biographies yet, but they will in October.

Cardboard Parthenon with extraordinary Adventure Time detailing.

We spent a full month (or more?) studying Greece. They did a lot of art studies, crafts, larger-scale projects – like the Parthenon, above – they studied how the Greeks began as a nation as well as how their discoveries have helped us today. We read about some of their myths, gods, about the Odyssey, Illiad, Troy, and Alexander the Great.

Here are some of the short videos they watched to tied certain lessons together:

What did the Greeks do for us?

How Can I Recognize Ancient Greek Architecture?

Listening to The Horse and His Boy.

We enjoyed reading several books, including The Horse and His Boy as we continue weaving the Narnia series among our other read alouds. While that is one of my top three Narnia books, we didn’t do a large project to go with it as we did with previous books.

Mae teaching Rae

The girls each picked a skill they want to focus on daily (Monday through Friday).

Mae picked archery and Rae picked drawing techniques. Right now, Mae practices an hour a day and Rae is working with me on drawing faces. We have done the face as a whole and are now focusing on the eyes.

Completed Ninjago dragon.

Rae has really increased her interest in Legos over the past couple of months. You’ll often find her building as we do lessons that only require listening and verbal narration.

We have always done some form of art every day, but this year we have begun studying famous artists and their work as well as How to Study Art.

We have been posing for portraits and taking ourselves out into the world for landscapes.

On this particular day, we go to witness a bald eagle fly overhead, swoop down, catch a fish and observed it as it landed and ate the fish! Amelia even included the bird in her painting (you can see it there in the final image.).

Out to lunch after seeing the play, Miss Nelson Has a Field Day.

The girls also went on two field trips – one with Mom to the zoo and one with Mom AND Dad to see a play and we took them out to lunch.


A week or so ago, I had a book club meeting and had to bring the girls to Saint Louis with me, so we -in our usual fashion- tried to make the most of our required travel. We left that morning and drove the two hours north to the zoo.

We left at lunchtime for my mom’s house (an hour west of the zoo) and spent the afternoon with my parents before I had to drop them off with Zack’s mom and head to bookclub. It was a big day! We also spent the night, since Zack was busy with something all day Saturday and we wouldn’t see him anyway.

It was a perfect day to walk around the zoo! It was just us, a few older couples, and two classes on a field trip. Even the parking lots were empty when we arrived. So quiet!

You may notice in some photos that Rae is not wearing shoes…welp, she wore the wrong shoes and developed a blister before we made it into the zoo. oye.

So, she walked barefoot like the ferrel homeschooled child she very well may actually be…

Rae took most of the photos I decided to post of the animals. She really liked that blue-black bird. It posed quite nicely for her until she began to walk up to it.

The orangutans ( mom and her child) walked over to the window as we showed up and played hide-and-seek with each other! The animals were on their a-game for us that day!

The cheetahs and hyenas were even out! A once every ten years occurrence, in my experience!

The cheetah walked out just for us (or so I think) and was gone again before anyone else turned the corner.

The hyenas just stared us down and thoroughly looked as though they desired to eat each and every onlooker.

Rae found a little seat within a rock ledge and decided it needed to be scaled for a posed photograph.

Rae’s favorite animal was not out and about, so here she is next to the sign.

She sure is cute.

Can you spot the sea lion? It just bobbed like that for so long!! Maybe it was sleeping?

We didn’t get to visit as much as we would’ve liked too, but we did see a ton of flamingoes really close and the girls didn’t have to wait for other kids to finish using the giant misting fans. Ha.


Our state is full of places that hold “homeschool days” and places that give cheaper tickets/better seats to homeschool kids. I’ve always wanted to live a million other places, (not that anything is wrong with our state, it’s just in my nature to want to be anywhere but where I am), but I have yet to find a place better suited for the way we homeschool than here.

The Daniel Boone home was having a homeschoolers-only day last week! We planned this a month in advance so that Zack could make sure he was able to go with us. So, the four of us took the drive and made a day out of it (and it didn’t rain!).

The first thing we did when we arrived, was a garden scavenger hunt/nature drawing. Zack joined in, too!

Afterward, they got to color their sketches and we got to guess the names of unique vegetables (we did pretty good!).

Zack was enthralled with this old kiln. It stood next to a potter’s house (an actual house no one used, of course).

Our favorite part was the woodshop! The three guys presenting in the shop were all funny and very informative. We could’ve spent an afternoon hanging out there.

The church was so beautifully restored. Zack could’ve spent a good deal of time exploring the little details – even the clock was incredible!

The church station involved music. The group before us played a different song, and we could tell the lady took time to make her lesson historical and interesting. We all learned what a limberjack is and the girls got to ‘play’ one along with the song. She sang a rhyme from the late 1700s while playing the dulcimer. She was such a happy and fun lady.

The girls got to make Indian cakes (old fashioned donuts, basically) and learn about open hearth cooking and watch their food being fried in front of them, in a really old cabin! The ladies at this station were a lot of fun, also – and so patient with the kids!

Mae’s face! Zack’s face!

The girls put honey and cinnamon sugar on their Indian cakes. Most kids stayed and ate their donut at the table, but a new group of kids had just walked over, so we took ours to the house that was paired with the cabin. It was breezy and quiet and just about the loveliest snack time there ever was.

Next stop for us (it was a go where you want when you want situation) was the Inn. They had a display of rifles from the era, a lesson on different guns and their purposes back then, and a demonstration (just powder, no bullet) of the loading and firing of the rifle which I’m sure Zack remembers the name of, but I don’t, sorry. It was loud!

The man said they also bring out the canon sometimes! That would’ve been cool, too.

Rae was hot, so the girls ate their lunch on the porch and then we took a tour of the two-room Inn. Also very interesting! Particularly, the beds/bedroom. The dining area (one of the two rooms) was cool, too, but Rae wanted to go sit down again, so I left with her. I hear Mae liked it.

At the General Store, we learned about the traveling of the wooden shoe from Holland to France and then to the states. The original steel-toed boot. (The Dutch brought them over too, they just pretty well stayed in and around Pennsylvania).

We also learned about currency in those days. He lived in the time when the treasury was being established but it would be a while until it spread out this far west, anyway. He supplied paper money from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and other areas in various amounts- which led to a talk about bartering versus trading.

The girls got to learn about grinding up corn and wheat to make flour and they each got a turn grinding up corn for cornmeal and learned where grits come from!

I didn’t take any photos of the candle dipping station, ’cause it was packed with tons of kids, but the girls each got to dip their own candles (which we’ll either keep for memories or use this fall)!

After that, we were pretty exhausted, but we walked next door to the final place, Daniel Boone’s home (He only lived in Missouri the last twenty years of his life – which I learned from Google, not the tour). We couldn’t miss seeing the big ol’ house.

This girl was also tops at her engaging storytelling and questioning skills!

We bailed at the kitchen tour. We let the girls spend some of their money at the gift shop before taking the long drive home.

– There was also a dressmaking station where they learned about wool, making yarn from it, and they got to make a craft. It was crowded, so we skipped it. Mae was bummed, but maybe we’ll go there first next year.


We completed nearly every lesson outside this month! It felt like summer school. A welcomed change from the typical rainy April (though, we got plenty of that, too).

Rae, fine-tuning her chopping skills.
Me, holding my breath pretending I don’t doubt her abilities one ‘tweensy” bit.
Frodo, tossing a worried glance my way.

We are still trying to catch up on our Little Passports packages. We began our month studying Australia, so, we had to use up an afternoon just tossing Mae’s (authentically Australian) boomerang Rae got her for Christmas.

Along with boomerang practice, we had a picnic and studied lichen on headstones and trees, to go along with our study on symbiosis.

After finding a small book of phrases in Hebrew among our book collection. Mae has taken it upon herself to learn it and greets nearly everyone with a “Shalom!”

Their new devotional, I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God, goes over forty of God’s names while also highlighting major stories from the Bible, and discusses how it applies to our lives in this current time (simply, for younger kids. Mae often adds her own elaborated examples).

We finished Luke last month, and have begun back at Genesis. Unless I decide otherwise at some point, we will just read on through the Old Testament (skipping Psalms, as we read those last fall)

One of our many days spent at the river. On our days outside, away from home, we keep it simple. I will bring along a Bible, the devotional, a chapter book or a few short stories for Mae to read aloud for her independent reading, a chapter book for me to read aloud (This will be one of the Narnia books for the next few months), and workbooks – – generic all subject worksheet types, our history reading and workbook, or one of science hands-on books)

Some poem painting to go along with our Australia lessons. (The beans are to add a bit of aboriginal design)

Mae is in a baseball phase, so we did a study on “Babe” Ruth.

^ She grew roots just by leaving it in a cup of water for a good while.

The girls also practiced reading, cooking, math, and piano each morning.



For chapters six and seven we added a study on beavers.

The girls made shields and practiced some archery for chapter eleven.

We still have a few more chapters to go. We will end with a tea party just as we began with one.

We are really loving these book studies!

Zack has three or four weeks left before the summer break, but we will, of course, keep going. I’m scheming of some fun things we can do and ways he can join in, while trying not to neglect May.


For most of February and March, I was really depressed. Not in a scary way, just in the way that people get when it has been winter and gross for too long. I, of course, try and make the best of the gross weather and make it fun for the girls and myself, but I need HEAT.

My beautiful husband said one day, “You should get in the car and go somewhere warm for a week or two.” (Yes, please!) I took this idea seriously. I obsessively weather dot-commed the locations of everyone I knew. Some were warmer, but for at least a month, it was raining nearly every day, everywhere, just as it was here.

Public school spring break here in the north happens early. My niece and nephew had it before spring even began and Zack’s began the first day of spring. Boo.

I took advantage of our do-whatever-we-want homeschooling lifestyle and waited until our town was gifted a full week of warmth.

We needed it.

Below is what we did with that time…

Day one, we put together a pioneer kitchen – complete with every kitchen necessity, a clothesline, homemade detergent, dish soap and pan for a sink. We stayed outside always, enjoyed beans from a can and cornbread for lunch. We ate most of our meals out here during that week!

Day two we grabbed muffins from “the Amish place” for breakfast, old-timey treats from the General Store and a picnic at the river (as well as hours of play)

We also licensed the vehicles, which was actually fun because of the ladies who work at that particular office.

Once we arrived back home, Mae set up a general store next to her kitchen, we ate supper in her kitchen, and they played and played some more.

This photo was taken on day three. ^ It is of Rae telling me a story. She had complained about bugs every minute for the entire day, so I told her to sit next to me and tell me a story that had nothing to do with bugs. She told me such a great, creative store about a giraffe who lived on a mountain.

Maybe was sitting on the other side – as close to me as she can get.

Day three, we ate more meals pioneer style, handed out lawn mower rides, spent plenty of time on the porch telling stories and time in the hammock reading stories.

We topped it off with a picnic and kite flying with Daddy.

We went out for milkshakes and cheese fries on day four. They had been asking for cheese fries for a while. They ended up just digging through for the cheese-less fries. We made a stop by the library where they picked out every book the library had on baseball – and they got to stamp every book with the return date!

We made paper mache birds! We painted them a couple of days later. That night we held a movie night – Sandlot, complete with grilled hotdogs, Cracker Jacks, and sunflower seeds *with shell*.

We packed so much into those four days (and the weekend before it, that by Friday, we just wanted to sit. We grocery shopped and cleaned the house (boo), but basically just lounged in and around the house.

I began planning the following week’s lessons and that afternoon, our friend, Nick, arrived. He spent the night and went canoeing with Zack on Saturday!



We love having something to stretch our creativity and give us a goal to reach. Whether that is in regards to school studies or designing and building their bedrooms, mastering the correct ratio of water to flour in a loaf of bread or simply sorting and organizing the next season’s clothes. The girls have built up a healthy habit of doing.

Each season I try and have a large project for us to mull over and accomplish.

With our geography method this year (Little Passports), we have a large scale project each month (because we want to make it one). But they have so many requests for what we should learn, that our project to general subjects ratio has become very uneven and we spend most of our time each week fussing over crafts and Biblical metaphors and immersing ourselves into the cultures of others.

Well. This semester, we are beginning (again, more slowly this time) to read through The Chronicles of Narnia series – my favorite series / stories. – and we’re lovin’ it!

Another portion of our month involved Saint Pat’s / a study of Ireland. We usually study the country and occasionally mention Patrick. (One year we studied it for three months! ‘Cause we really like Ireland.)

The girls illustrated a few Irish Proverbs. Clearly, someone stole the other’s idea on that last one. Ha. I like the bear addition…and the dog in the attic? They cute.

They trapped a Leprechaun by enticing it with honey and a dirty penny.

Mae immediately declared we needed to try to catch more so that he could have a family. Model Magic and Momma’s free time don’t grow on trees, so I let her know they prefer to be alone.

They danced to Irish folk and rock music a lot. They jigged to all genres I supplied. Many an ankle were harmed during this activity.

I tried to create one on one time with Rae. That usually involved listening to her read me stories. And. Girl. Can. Read. If we weren’t reading she always chose either worksheets or to draw next to one another – sitting as close as possible.

A few times each week, the girls both would practice following a recipe all by themselves. The only issues they had was allowing the butter to get too warm while making cookies (I should remember to refrigerate their dough before baking it) and they aren’t the strongest mixers, so I had to help them finish up their mixing (we don’t have an electric mixer of any kind).

I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and watching them, shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversations.

For a side project, the girls made a soda bottle ecosystem. We let them get some fish and a snail for it (the reason for the larger juice bottle instead of a second soda bottle) and they planted poppies in the top bottle. The poppies already have little sprouts!

Zack is on spring break this week. The girls and I are saving our spring break for a week that is fully warm, but, while in St. Louis for a few days, we visited the zoo – ’cause the sun was out and we can’t help ourselves. I gave the girls a map and they led the way. My favorite part was watching two hippos walking above their pool and then witnessing them jumping (as much of a jump as they can accomplish) into the water.

More on our time outside this month, back here in my last post.

I am so eager for April! We have several new curriculum books to crack open and many fun lessons planned. AND! our spring break!


Spring weather waited until the official equinox date this year and when it finally began to appear we took every opportunity to enjoy the sun the season was supplying. It is still incredibly windy (typical of here) so I didn’t enjoy it as much as the girls – but – for their sake, I kept most of the whining to myself. Below are a few moments we took our school work outside and some detours we took from book work to accomplish some play….work.

We got to witness a caterpillar making its cocoon – while climbing the wall!! Definitely the highlight of our month.

The girls went shamrock hunting so they could pin some to their jackets for Saint Pat’s Day.

One of my favorite days was one in which we drove to the lake. We sat in the car and polished off some simple workbooks and read our read aloud assignments while sitting comfortably in the car’s greenhouse-like warmth. We finished off the afternoon with two hours of exploring, collecting, watching, and tossing rocks and sticks into the lake.

I am so ready for warmth, even if it only means more rain!

A post on our structured lessons will be up tomorrow.


I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone who knows us, but our days are typically on the quiet side, save for loud laughter and the occasional thunder of rollerskate strides. Five years of formal, daily homeschooling and I am over the moon with how our life together is unfolding. I can’t imagine a better childhood for them.

A benefit from our homeschooling I can’t capture in an image?

Their love for one another.

It is incredible (At this age. It may be more of a struggle in the teen years. Struggle that will be no less beautiful and necessary.). Their constant encouragement for one another is stunning. I am so grateful they have this time to get to know each other and form knowledge of what it means to love a peer/sibling/possible future spouse unconditionally and develop a habit of lifting one another up at such a young age.

Alright – let’s get on to more formal lessons, yeah?

^ Photo by Mae ^

We were able to have school outside on occasion and chicken chores became a thing again!

The girls and I haven’t paid much mind to these new hens. Zack has pretty well been their sole caregiver. Switching roles wasn’t planned, I just really dislike the cold this year and have enough responsibilities as it is (not that he doesn’t, they are just “his girls”). I am hoping we have a warm spring and my interest in the ladies is rekindled. For now, the few and far between not-so-cold winter mornings will have to do.

The cold days really dragged on, though, and we spent more time than usual learning via computer and educational television…sometimes while wearing aprons or scarves…

We did read an awful lot as well which was also a great way to fill our days stuck inside.

Computer lessons consisted of –

ABC Mouse

Khan Academy math, art history, and Pixar in a Box – storytelling lessons

Typing through

Supplemental piano lessons using Hoffman Academy on YouTube

Worksheets! Rae really likes those. I really need to find some fresh books. With all of the time indoors lately, we’ve worked through all! of our multi-subject workbooks.

Mae has been asking to paint a portrait of me for two months now, and we finally found a good time to make that happen.

She was really generous with my eyelashes – so luscious! – and my shoulders…and what she calls my ‘skinny nose’ and ‘wild hair.’

Both girls spent most of their time reading (anytime, anywhere, and everywhere). Mae has a stack of books she’d like to read through soon (by that, I mean, RIGHT NOW!) and has even taken over our Bible and devotion time (the only thing she wasn’t reading before…reading me right out of a job…).

Rae tends to stick with her favorites and read them over and over and over. In true Rae fashion. She finds something she likes and loves it fully until the life is sucked right out of it (See: Star Wars, portrait drawing, and the beloved tiny figurine phase.) At the moment she is into Elephant & Piggie and the Pigeon books. She can read one of them in about two minutes, but she reads them appropriately. No exclamation points printed in vain on her watch. No sir.

^ Drawing Luke 7:11-17 ^ Love her little homes.

Playing with Mad Matter while I read aloud.

^ Mae’s are on the left, Rae’s on the right ^

The final two weeks will be spent, mostly, reading through The Magician’s Nephew and working on a project for it as we go (and will continue into March). Once we finish the book, I’ll put up a post all about our time reading through it. (It’s so fun already!!!)

During that time, they will also practice the piano and their weekly spelling words, and we will hold our normal Bible lessons each morning.

We took a small field trip to Pet Smart. Ha. Very small field trip. It was a kind of fun way to start off the new month.

This chameleon stole the day and nearly came home with us. We could use another class pet, right??

We are taking a larger (our largest!) field trip next weekend, which will be written about in its own post in March.



As I wrote the monthly school post, I noticed it was way too long – twice as long as my normal posts! Can you imagine?!

SO. I am going to break it up this month into two posts – for myself, and anyone else who cares to keep up with this sort of thing.

This one is solely about geography, and for geography, we began learning about Egypt through our Little Passports subscription! It has always been one of Penelope’s favorite places.

Below are some lessons we tied into our study.

A poem from Eric Carle’s Animals Animals.

“Penelope’s Room in hieroglyphics. She plans on hanging this in her completed new room – when that day comes.

Model Magic made an appearance. Mae created a Great Sphinx of Giza replica (*with nose*).

It turned into a good color mixing lesson as well. We color the white with Crayola washable markers – Zack’s instructions – and blend it in by squishing and kneading, adding more color to make it darker if needed. She used brown, which has a lot of red in it, so she knew to add green to balance it out and make it more tan than pink. She also used a bit of yellow.

Little Passports also sent an excavation kit (shaped like a pyramid) that housed a mummy toy and a tiny bust of a pharaoh.

With LP, came a recipe for Aish Baladi – tiny whole wheat bread loaves – which they compared to pita bread. We learned Aish means life in Egyptian Arabic. They forgot to flatten them before they let them rise – well, I suppose another version is I forgot to remind them…but they baked perfectly.

Our Story of the World history lessons just so happened to line up with our LP kit this month, and we relearned in greater detail about pharaohs, mummies, pyramids, and Joseph.

Next month, we’ll learn about Australia through Little Passports and Ireland, on our own, for St. Pat’s Day.


We started out our semester buying a new chair for each of them (and more Lego storage)

We have quite a bit of time to make up for after last semester – at least where Penelope’s logged hours are concerned – so we wasted no time jumping right on in.

The girls both completed an hour a week of piano lessons. I hope to get that up to at least two hours a week soon.

Katie (our cat) left a Blue Jay for us so, naturally, we spent the better part of an afternoon studying about them. We used various books we have here at the house, as well as hearing their call and reading John Audubon’s journal here.

…and we buried it in a sunny spot, as we do to all dead animals our cats leave for us.

We all enjoy world history, so within the last year / year and a half, the girls and I have read through the Story of the World series (Vol. 1-3) as chapter books, popping in on topics as they pertain to our lessons. Now that the girls are older (mind you, they are six and eight., not ‘old’ by any means), we are starting at the beginning once again, this time we will include projects and expand our reading using other resources along the way.

Our first topic was the first nomads and the first farmers. They’ve always been one of Mae’s favorite people to learn about.

We watched Primitive Technology on many lunch breaks. We also watched Season 3, episodes 5 & 6 of Tales by Light on Netflix about the Australian aboriginal culture. The girls practiced building a tiny primitive hut (based on one built by the Primitive Technology guy) and built a model of the first farmer’s irrigation situation – minus a shaduf. They plan on building a slightly larger model of that.

(Snow and rain have stopped construction, but she will finish the hut when the weather allows.)

Mae set up a campfire scene after watching Tales by Light. They “cooked” apples, danced, and pretended to nap when the fire died out.

Sunset by the beach, by Mae

The night sky through a crack in a canyon, by Rae

Last month’s Little Passports country was France. We didn’t have time to study it much, so we extended it over into January.

We’ve begun cooking our way through In the French Kitchen with Kids cookbook – and boy is it delicious! Crepes so far are their favorite. I hope to cook every item in there before the semester is over.

The girls each did a report and portrait of Oscar-Claude Monet. They also did their own painting in his painting style. They chose landscape images from the internet they liked and spent the entire month painting it – typically for three or more hours at a time. – BUT- the girls were completely annoyed with the technique, so when they had nearly given up (having one week left to finish them) I told Mae she could paint hers in her own style.

They’re now seeing Monet everywhere – like in this sunset, spotted by Mae.

During read-aloud time (where they listen to me read to them or an audiobook) they chose to play with Mad Matter sand, playdough, Legos, weave on the lap loom or worked on their Monet paintings.

On not very blustery days we spent as much time as we could outside. On a whim one morning we went fishing at the lake (those shorts are a lie – it was pretty unbearable) and on a separate whim, we drove down the road to the river just to walk around and skip rocks.

Now that both girls are reading, we spent, I would say, the majority of our school days reading. I need to focus on spelling, but for now, they are becoming incredible readers, so I’m going to see how their writing improves through reading.

And finally, in their eagerness for spring (always trying to savor each season while impatiently dreaming of the next one), they are beginning to get things moving in the garden department. Sprouting onions, scouting out where the strawberries should go and choosing which flowers they will plant this year. I’m still trying to figure out which lessons we should study in regards to plant life when the time comes. We’ve studied worms, plant companions, and decomposition in past years.