• Games in our Homeschool and some of our favorites
    games,  language arts,  math,  music,  science

    Using Games in our Homeschool

    My husband has always loved games, he even has a group of friends that get together every month to play games. So it comes as no surprise to me that both my kids ask to play games often.

    The only games I played when I was younger were pretty much Clue with my brother and endless rounds of Monopoly with one of my cousins (we did not play by the rules).

    We don’t have a huge selection of games but we are slowly building it over birthdays and Christmases, games are such a great gift to give kids.

    Thankfully almost every game out there has some kind of educational benefit to it so I can feel good with incorporating them into our homeschool day, the kids are still learning skills but they don’t even know it.

    Some of the skills kids learn when playing games include:

    • developing fine motor skills
    • social skills
    • learning how to win or lose graciously
    • cooperation
    • following directions
    • math skills
    • deductive reasoning
    • strategy
    • and lots more!

    I thought I would share a few of our current favorite games.

    [mybooktable book=”outfoxed” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    [mybooktable book=”circuit-maze” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    [mybooktable book=”sushi-go” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    [mybooktable book=”robot-turtles” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    [mybooktable book=”scrabble-junior” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    What are your favorite games to use in your homeschool?

  • Our Free Homeschool Grade 1 Language Arts Curriculum - lots of reading and a bit of writing.
    curriculum,  language arts

    Our (Practically Free) Grade 1 Language Arts Curriculum

    Over the next few weeks I will be sharing how I am planning our practically free grade one curriculum. Today I’m on to our language arts curriculum.

    You can check out the rest of the series here:

    If you are looking for ways to save money in your homeschool without skimping on education make sure to come back and check out the other posts in the next few weeks!

    Our Free Homeschool Grade 1 Language Arts Curriculum - lots of reading and a bit of writing.

    Our only expenses for our language arts curriculum have been books, some paper and pencils, there is currently nothing we bought just because we are homeschooling.



    Raeca is already reading and just starting into chapter books. My main reading goal is just for her to continue to read and increase her skill. As she continues to read her speed should increase and I’m assuming she will soon learn to read inside her head.

    We will be doing a number of read alouds this year as well, tons of picture books (as always) and a number of chapter books. I’m currently gathering a list of chapter books I’d like for us to read/listen to on audio book for this year, that will be Friday’s book list. (UPDATE: here’s our grade one read aloud book list)

    For those that are curious on how we taught her to read in the first place, we mainly used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. You can check out my post, Teach Reading the Simple Way for full details on how we used the book and how we supplemented her reading.


    We will also be doing a few in-depth picture book studies throughout the year, starting with Chrysanthemum. With the picture book studies we will work most of our subjects in with the book we are studying and focus on that for a few days or a week.


    We are working on printing by using the Handwriting Without Tears Grade 1 book a bit as well as practicing printing through copywork.

    We are taking copywork fairly slow and introducing it through notebook a variety of subjects (mainly science, history and geography), in addition she will be copying a verse out each week. As grade 1 progresses the writing will increase as her speed and stamina increase.

    Raeca also does a lot of writing on her own time, stories or notes to people, they are pretty cute to read and try to decipher.


    Dear Ephraim,
    I am really, really sorry.
    Do you forgive me? I forgive you.
    By Raeca

    And that sums up our grade 1 language arts! It will involve a lot of books but be pretty relaxed at the same time.


    [mybooktable book=”teach-child-read-100-easy-lessons” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    [mybooktable book=”chrysanthemum” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

  • Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.
    art,  curriculum,  geography,  history,  language arts,  math,  music,  preschool,  science,  spanish

    An Overview of Our Homemade Grade 1 & Preschool Curriculums

    Today is our official start to our first year homeschooling!

    I have been waiting for this day for about 3 years and I’m kind of nervous that it will all blow up in our faces, I don’t think it will but that fear is definitely there.

    When I started thinking about what I all wanted the kids to learn this year part of me got overwhelmed and just wanted to buy a full pre-made curriculum. BUT one of the reasons we are homeschooling is to have more flexibility in our days and our learning and I knew that wouldn’t be the best way for us.

    So, I decided to hack together a bit of a curriculum (have you watched the hackschooling Tedx talk, so good!). I definitely have a bit of an unschoolers heart but at the same time I want to be able to have a bit of an idea of what we have learned. Plus, at this point my daughter really want to know when we are “doing school” so we are taking a bit of a Charlotte Mason/Unschooling/not sure what else approach. Over all our curriculum is very literature (and notebooking) heavy, we love books here and it’s the perfect way for us to learn about subjects we are interested in.

    Below I’ve shared an overview of our curriculum and many of these subjects I have full posts on (or will soon) so you can follow those links as well.

    Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.



    We will be following the Ambleside Online weekly Bible reading schedule for Year 1. Later in the year we will also be reading some missionary biographies.


    READING – Our language arts will mostly be a lot of reading, including me reading aloud, audio books and a lot of reading practice for Raeca (I plan on sharing my list of read alouds for this year soon and you can always find out which books we did read in our monthly books we read posts). I also plan on incorporating poetry through a weekly poetry tea time.

    WRITING – we will do some work in a Handwriting Without Tears workbook to work on technique and then we will be notebooking for most of our other subjects.


    We have a grade 1 math workbook we will be going through because my daughter loves workbooks but we will also be incorporating a lot of math into real life. You can read our full math plan here.


    I am following the grade 1 science plan from The Well-Trained Mind. For grade 1 that means we will study animals, the human body and plants. Here’s our science overview!


    For history, every 2-3 months we will learn about a different time periods in history; Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Early Modern Era and Modern Era. We will be reading a number of books in each time period, putting them on a timeline and doing a lot of notebooking. I am working on a full post for this that will be coming soon, for now you can check out our elementary ancient times book list.


    Geography was something that I was never really taught in school, it was my personal interest in travel (and reading) that lead me to learn where countries are in the world. My enthusiasm has affected my children because I am always showing them where places are on the map, every time we read or hear about a place.

    We are keeping geography super simple this year by focusing on a different country or city each month and reading lots of books about them. We will also learn about landmarks, some of the different foods, special holidays and more. We have actually started to read/learn about Paris so that’s our first city for the year, I’ll have a list of Paris picture books up on Friday and I hope to have a full post to share about our Paris studies soon!


    I was tempted to make art very formal and complicated but decided to take it easy, it’s grade 1 after all. I plan on purchasing a good art book where we can talk about a few artists and pieces of artwork and maybe try to copy a few here and there. We also plan on utilizing Art Hub for Kids’ free YouTube videos. I will share a post with more details in a few weeks.


    For music we are focusing on three things: theory study, composer study and piano. You can see the detailed music post here.


    Spanish is something we will just be doing a little bit. I’ve been learning it a bit on my own (via Duolingo) and because of that Raeca has been picking up on a few things and wanting to learn more. Our full Spanish plan is here.


    I don’t have a actual plan for physical education but we hope to put Raeca into gymnastics this fall, we have a family swim pass and plan on just generally spending time outdoors playing in nature and riding bikes.

    As for a schedule, my plan right now is to do Bible, language arts and math each day. Then Monday and Wednesday we will also add in science, Tuesday will be geography and Thursday will be history. Friday will be more of a fun day and we will work on music and art and then possibly learn through some computer games or videos. I still don’t have time slots for our Spanish or poetry tea time, I’m going to see after the first week or two where it fits in best.

    Our curriculum plans for homeschooling grade one and preschool.


    Ephraim is 3 years old and definitely different than Raeca was at 3. He doesn’t like to sit still for long, has little interest in coloring and even less interest in writing, so I don’t have huge expectations for the year but I do have a few goals.

    For most of the reading I do with Raeca he will be sitting with us and probably doing something with his hands like playing with Lego or Playdough. I also want a bit of a learning plan for him so that he can be busy doing something while Rae is working on her work because as a highly sensitive child she needs it to be fairly quiet when she is working.

    Originally my plan was to use one of the free curriculums I found online for preschool but they were all so much more intensive than I wanted. Since he doesn’t enjoy sitting for very long and doesn’t have the hand muscles to write yet, the last thing I want to do is try to do too much with him and turn him off. All I was looking for was something that would tell me one thing to do with him each day and I just couldn’t find something like that, so I did what I always do in that situation: DIY.

    I’ve started to create a nice simple three-year-old curriculum with one thing for us to do together each day. Since I’m making this up for myself I decided to share it for anyone else that wants to use it as well. So far I have the first month planned out but I’m hoping to sit down and plan out till Christmas soon.

    The curriculum (using that term very loosely) that I am creating will follow the goals that I have for Ephraim for this preschool year:

    • know uppercase and lowercase letters
    • count and recognize numbers to 20
    • correctly hold and use scissors
    • be able to correctly count objects
    • draw basic shapes
    • learn nursery rhymes (I’ve been slacking with him!)
    • recognize and print his name
    • begin learning letter sounds

    Check out the free preschool curriculum here! (I am actually kind of tempted to write out our grade 1 curriculum in this way as well, if that would be helpful for you let me know!)

    And that’s the gist of our plans for grade 1 & preschool!
    Here’s to the first day of the school year!

    Linking up with the Homeschool Nook

  • Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!
    language arts

    Literature Based Learning with Chrysanthemum

    Since we love books so much in this house (in case you couldn’t tell) our first homeschool year is going to be largely literature based.

    As of right now I think our actual language arts program will be fairly unstructured since the goal for grade one language arts is to pretty much teach children how to read and Raeca is already reading a few grade levels above where she should be at. That being said I thought it might be fun for us to do a few picture book studies with some structured activities here and there.

    To be honest, my initial inspiration for this idea was the Five in a Row curriculum, I really like a lot about FIAR, but do you know the one thing I don’t like?

    The book selection.

    It almost seems sacrilegious to say (write) it but it’s true. A Story About Ping and Blueberries for Sal are two books I just can’t stand (I realize I’m pretty much alone in this). So I got to thinking, maybe I could create something similar with more modern books that we really love.

    So I started with one of our favorite authors, Kevin Henkes, and one of our favorite books of his: Chrysanthemum.

    Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!

    Chrysanthemum, a sweet little mouse, loves her name, until she goes to school and the other children make fun of her for having a name that is thirteen letters long.

    I just love this story, the truth is, children can be mean and this book is a great introduction to teaching kindness and respect and I find it a great way to start up our first homeschool year.

    Even though this book is set in a school I find it just as applicable to us as homeschoolers, take this past weekend for example, Raeca is really excited to be homeschooled but one of her friends told her this weekend that “homeschooling is boring” (said by a kid that has never been homeschooled) and we were able to have a good conversation about it afterwards. Chrysanthemum is a great way to start out the school year and teach kids about kindness and respect, homeschooling or not.

    Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!

    I wanted to start our study out by learning about character traits (positive and negative) and did an activity with Raeca where she drew a picture of herself and she picked out and wrote down ten of her character traits. I found it was a helpful activity for me as well, now that I know what words she associates with herself I find myself trying to praise and encourage her when I see her using them.

    Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!

    In addition to character traits I’ve added in lessons for math, art, social studies, music, language arts, physical education as well as Bible verses and a Bible story. We’ve worked on one of the math lessons together already but I’m planning on saving the rest for when we officially start our school year in a week and a half.

    As a teacher I didn’t really enjoy creating lesson plans, probably because I felt restricted to curriculum and lessons I didn’t really enjoy but I absolutely loved putting this picture book study together. I thought this study may be useful to others as well so the Chrysanthemum unit is up in my shop.

    Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!

    Since I enjoyed putting this picture book study together so much I am sure I will be doing more in the future (got any great books to request?)!


    [mybooktable book=”chrysanthemum” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

    Teach multiple subjects with this literature based unit, including character traits like kindness and respect! Also included are different ways to incorporate lessons for art, math, social studies, music and more!

  • language arts

    Teach Reading the Simple Way

    I thought it would be so hard to teach reading. I mean, how does one actually do it? I admit, I even entertained the idea of sending my kids to school for the first few years and then homeschooling after they already knew how to read.

    Thankfully, even though we did send our daughter to school for kindergarten she learned to read at home, making me realize how simple it really can be. (Although simple does not always mean easy.)


    Teach reading to kindergarteners the easy way


    Reading, just like potty training isn’t a one-size-fits-all job, what works perfectly for some kids will be the dread of the next. I wanted to share how I taught my daughter to read, not because I think this is the way that everyone should do it (or even how I’ll do it when my son is older), but just to throw this out there as an option for those who are looking for one.




    Teach reading the simple way, an easy to follow and cheap method that worked for us and may be a good fit for your child.


    Finding a basic text to work off of for teaching reading was an easy choice for me, a number of the mom’s I followed on social media used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and the fact that it was only about $15 had me sold.

    TYCTR has such an easy to follow format for everyone. They give you the exact script to read to your children and help you teach them every step of the way.

    When looking up some reviews on TYCTR I kept reading two main complaints, both of them are fairly minor but I’ll share them and how we got over them:


    This is a totally justified response but repetition is also what helps it to stick in a child’s mind. If I found certain sounds or words being repeated too often after my daughter already knew them, we would skip those particular words or sounds for awhile. Sometimes we wouldn’t go over the entire set of words to sound out, we did what we could do learn the new content and have it stick without feeling overwhelmed or bogged down.


    The truth is, often kids will be able to sound out letters before they are able to print them properly, we always skipped the entire printing part of the lesson, printing was something we worked on completely aside from reading. That way it kept the lessons shorter and less frustrating.


    Teach Reading the Easy Way




    So other than skipping the writing and not always reading the full lesson we started to follow the Teach Your Child to Read book. I love that it came with a script so I had no planning to do whatsoever other than just decide how often we would do lessons.


    Once we were a ways into our lessons we started supplementing with some extra reading. We used the Usborne First Reading box set, we have the 16 book set but there is also now a 50 book set. The first books in both sets are unique in the fact that the adult reads one page and the new reader reads the other side, that way you still can still be reading a good story and have the child’s part limited to the sounds and words they know.


    Then once we were at about lesson 80 we were feeling quite done with the book, so we did a few lessons a day, just reading the story at the end and if there was a new sound blend we quickly went over that. And just kept supplementing with other easy readers (I’m in the middle of working on a book list of our favorite easy readers).

    All in all, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons took a job that I thought nearly impossible to one that was really quite simple, it’s definitely a book I’d recommend to anyone looking for an inexpensive and easy resource for their family.

    Note: Because I am sure some are curious, I started to use TYCTR when my daughter was about 4 and we went through lessons very slowly and finished the book a few months after she turned 5. If I remember correctly the book says you can start with an advanced 4 year old or the average 5 year old. I liked how we could progress at our own pace, there were weeks where my daughter hit a wall and we didn’t do any lessons and then there were times where she was getting it and we did a few a week. In the end we were doing a few lessons a week consistently. The nice thing is, you can totally customize your schedule for your family.

    What are some methods you’ve used to teach reading?




    Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

    each Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a complete, step-by-step program that shows parents simply and clearly how to teach their children to read. Twenty minutes a day is all you need, and within 100 teaching days your child will be reading on a solid second-grade reading level. It’s a sensible, easy-to-follow, and enjoyable way to help your child gain the essential skills of reading. Everything you need is here — no paste, no scissors, no flash cards, no complicated directions — just you and your child learning together.



    Usborne Very First Reading Program

    We used this set of books when our daughter was first reading. It is unique in the fact that the adult reads one page and the new reader reads the other side, that way you still can get a good story and have the child’s part limited to the sounds and words they know.