Halfway Point

I’ve been terrible at keeping this blog updated with our schoolwork. We did two 6 week terms during the Fall and a short three week Holiday term after Thanksgiving. We have just begun our first Winter six week Term and here’s what we’ve been up to:

Bible: We finished Part 1 of The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos (which went through Genesis). In our short Holiday term we did some advent readings using our Jesse Tree ornaments and reading through The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Missions: We are continuing to read through I Heard Good News Today. Both children really like the short missionary stories.

Character: We focused on conflict resolution using the Brother Offended study made by Doorposts. It is very helpful to refer the kids back to our lessons when they are in conflict with one another. This term we have begun using Our 24 Family Ways.

Awana: Awana has been going very well. Jonathan finished his WingRunner book and all of his frequent flyer cards before Christmas. Now he’s working through a book of “Extra Extra Credit” verses. Grace finished her HangGlider book and is now working on her frequent flyer cards. I’ve lost count of how many verses they have memorized now.

History: We have been learning about the early American colonies. In the Fall we focused on the pilgrims and Plymouth plantation and have moved on to learning about some of the other early colonies. We just finished learning about New Amsterdam. We’ve read:

The House on Stink Alley by F.N. Monjo

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. J. Hennessy

Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh

Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters

Samuel Eaton’s Day by Kate Waters

If You Sailed on the Mayflower (parts) by Ann McGovern

Pilgrim Cat by Carol Peacock

Young Squanto by Andrew Woods

Squanto and the Pilgrims by A.M. Anderson (audiobook)

Wooden Shoes in America by Alice Dalgliesh

Geography: We learned about the geography of each of the colonies we studied– Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York using the WhichWay USA puzzle books put out by Highlights. I love that it is helping Jonathan develop his map reading and logic skills. Each book has 13 puzzles and we will do about one or two a day. The puzzles are still a little too challenging for Grace.

Science: We continued our study of the human body and focused on the digestive system, circulatory system, and respiratory system before Christmas break. We have started back up with the nervous system and our five senses this month. We read:

What Happens to a Hamburger? by Paul Showers

Usborne Flip Flap Body Book

A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers

Hear Your Heart by Paul Showers

Oxygen Keeps You Alive by Franklyn Branley

A Tour of Your Respiratory System by Mary Reina

Nature Study:  We continued reading Outdoor Secrets and using the guide Outdoor Secrets Companion. We read about the century plant and cacti and desert plants.


Kaitlyn was sick this fall and has needed daily nebulizer treatments for asthma. Consequently, we’ve watched a lot of Signing Time as Kaitlyn loves this show and it keeps her still while she’s having a treatment. The big kids have picked up on many signs– but not as much as Kaitlyn!

We’ve continued with Muzzy for Spanish and the kids still seem to enjoy it.


Reading- As of this post, Jonathan has done over 40 lessons in All About Reading Level 3. He will most likely finish the program this term. I’m debating whether or not to purchase Level 4. He’s reading quite fluently and is finely feeling confident enough to pick up chapter books. His first chapter books were Boxcar Children books (which he has heard over and over again as they are his favorite audiobooks). He’s slowly trying other books. We are trying to have him read at least 15 minutes a day from a book of his choice. Right now he is reading Socks by Beverly Cleary.

Handwriting- We are almost finished with Handwriting Without Tears- First Grade. Jonathan has developed his confidence in writing longer sentences and paragraphs as well as writing in lowercase. We began copywork this term with sentences from the books we are reading for Language Arts. I’m thinking of switching to Getty-Dubay writing as we move towards cursive.

Spelling- We are halfway through All About Spelling 1. He spells CVC words comfortably and we are working on using some of the common consonant diagraphs.

Language Arts- We began the program English Lessons Through Literature Level 1. This is a gentle introduction to language and grammar. Mostly we are reading quality literature and poetry and recognizing some initial grammar rules such as capitalization and punctuation.

Math- Jonathan has mostly finished Singapore 1A. He easily grasps the concepts of addition and subtraction, yet fact memorization has not come easy to him. I recently acquired the programs Math-It and Pre-Math-It and we have started using Pre-Math It (with double-9 dominoes- his favorite) to work on memorizing our addition table. We have also tried Xtra-Math online, but the timed tests seem to cause a lot of anxiety even if we try to emphasize that it’s just a game!

I’m hesitating on moving into 1B simply because I want him to get the facts down before we move into more advanced (double digit) addition and subtraction. Also, looking at state standards, first graders are supposed to be comfortable adding and subtracting within 20, which is what 1A covers. So it’s fine if we dwell here for a bit.

Co-Op: Jonathan’s been doing music, gym, and art in co-op. His favorite by far is gym. He is an active kid!


Reading: Grace has made big strides in learning to read! We are over halfway done with All About Reading 1 and she has finished two (out of three) readers.

Handwriting: Grace is fairly comfortable writing capital letters, but still struggles with lowercase letters. We are going to begin Handwriting Without Tears- First Grade  and go slowly through all of the lowercase letters again. She completed the kindergarten level last year, but I didn’t feel like she was ready for the first grade program until now.

Math: Grace finished Singapore EarlyBird A. Now… I’m not sure. We’ve made it several chapters into EarlyBird B, but the concepts are getting more advanced (number bonds, addition, subtraction). I’m thinking of moving her into playing math games such as Pre-Math-It to work on number facts.

Co-Op: Grace is in art and Spanish at co-op. She performed a Spanish song for Christmas with her class. She loves art and is always drawing at home.

So that’s our school year so far!

From My Commonplace- On Docility and Authority

I recently started reading School Education by Charlotte Mason, and wanted to reflect on what I’m reading. They probably will be of no interest to anyone but myself, however…

Chapter 1:

“Truer educational thought must of necessity result in an output of more worthy character.” (p. 4)

Education shapes our character. Ideally, we focus our educational efforts on what is true, beautiful, and good. I think the utilitarian education of the 21st century is not producing men and women of character.

“You cannot be quite frank and easy with beings who are obviously of a higher and of another order than yourself; at least you cannot when you are a little boy.” (p 4)

Charlotte is speaking here about the dangers of autocratic parenting. This hits home a bit to me– I want my children to feel at ease with me, yet it is so easy to drift into authoritarian parenting: “because I said so!” There must be a balance, because parents are in a position of authority. But authority does not mean authoritarian.

Authority- person in command, in charge, with the right to make decisions.

Authoritarian-  expecting or requiring people to obey rules or laws; not allowing personal freedom.

My goal is to be authoritative, but not authoritarian. Charlotte talks much elsewhere of respecting the child as a person. Keeping that in mind, I think will help me to be more sympathetic to my little ones.

“It is much to a child to know that he may question, may talk of the thing that perplexes him, and that there is comprehension for his perplexities. Effustive sympathy is a mistake, and bores a child when it does not make him silly. But just to know that you can ask and tell is a great outlet and means, to the parent, the power of direction, and to the child, free and natural development.” (p 5)

This, too, is a goal.

Charlotte warns, however, against the doctrine of the infallible reason, promulgated by John Locke:

“That doctrine accepted, individual reason becomes the aultimate authority, and every man is free to do that which is right in his own eyes. Provided, Locke would have added, that the reason be fully trained, and the mind instructed as to the merits of the particular case; but such proviso was readily lost sight of, and the broad principle remained.” (p. 5)

It’s hard to imagine that she is writing this in 1904!

She warns against the implications of Herbert Spencer‘s rationalistic philosophy:

“[Spencer} sees that the principle of infallible reason is directly antagonistic to the idea of authority… So long as men acknowledge a God, they of necessity acknowledge authority, supreme and deputed. But, says Mr. Spencer, in effect, every man finds his own final authority in his own reason.” (p. 6)

“From the dethronement of the divine, follows the dethronement of all human authority, whether it be of kings and their deputies over nations, or of parents over families. Every act of authority is, we are taught, an infrigement of the rights of man or of child…” (p. 6)

Mr Spencer’s work on education is so valuable a contribution to educational thought that many parents read it amd embrace it, as a whole, without perceiving that it is a part, and a carefully worked out part, of a scheme of philosophy with which perhaps they are little in sympathy… It is the labor of the author’s life to eliminate the idea of authority from the universe, that he repudiates the authority of parents because it is a link in the chain which binds the universe to God.” (p. 7)

She agrees that

“None of us has a right to exercise authority, in things great or small, except as we are, and acknowledge ourselves to be, deputed by one supreme and ultimate Authority”. (p. 7)

But Mason is operating from a strongly theistic, Christian worldview, and it is from this her philosophy of education is based:

“Nothing less than the Infinite will satisfy the spirit of a man. We again recognize that we are made for God, and have no rest until we find Him.” (p. 7)

Mason views authority and docility as fundamental principles on which the world exists. In short, someone always has to be in charge, whether it’s a football team, a corporation, or a family. Someone has to be the final decision maker. The rationalistic philosophers, she argues, have served to show us the dangers of authoritarianism.

“We know now that authority is vested in the office and not in the person; that the moment it is treated as a personal attribute it is forfeited. We know that a person in authority is a person authorizied; and that he who is authorized is under authority. The person under authority holds and fulfills a trust; in so far as he asserts himself, governs upon the impulse of his own will, he ceases to be authoritative and authorised, and becomes arbitrary and autocratic.” (p. 12)

For my own life, when I discipline my children, I need to be carefully considering why I am disciplining. Believing that I am under God’s authority– I need to consider whether their behavior is an affront to God’s laws (loving Him, loving others), or simply a matter of my inconvenience or against my personal preference. If they are being noisy and I am irritated, I have no right to snap at them or discipline for that infraction. They are people, and I am called to love them. If, on the otherhand, one hurts or injures the other, then a consequence is necessary, as they were not loving their neighbor as themselves.

Just my midafternoon musings, as I seek to work this this out in my mind…

Fall Term 1 in Review

We just completed our first six weeks of school, and so far things have been going well! Here is a belated update:

Bible: I changed my Bible plans last minute, after hearing rave reviews about The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. This term we read 16 chapters, roughly corresponding to Genesis 1-22. We read from this Bible four times a week at breakfast.

Missions: We finished reading Stories from Africa and began I Heard Good News Today, both recommended by Sonlight curriculum. We also read two biographies from the Little Lights series: Can Brown Eyes Be Made Blue? (Amy Carmichael)  and Could Somebody Please Pass the Salt? (Hudson Taylor).  We generally read missions stories on Fridays and both kids have really enjoyed this time. The Little Lights books were a big hit, so I hope to get more in this series.

Character: We focused on respect this term, using Laying Down the Rails for Children and some resources from Character First Education. We emphasized on respecting God, respecting other people, and respecting ourselves. It’s hard to measure success in character development, but we had some great conversations and opportunities for growth!

Awana: We use our Awana verses for Bible memory. This term Grace earned her HangGlider rank and three (almost four) jewels. She’s memorized 14 verses so far. Jonathan earned his WingRunner rank and memorized or reviewed 28 verses! He only has one more section to go before completing his handbook.

History: We are covered early American history this term from explorers to the founding of Jamestown. The books we have read include:

The Carving on the Tree by Elizabeth Campbell

Virginia Dare, Mystery Girl by Augusta Stevenson

Jamestown: New World Adventure by James Knight

John Smith, Jamestown Boy by Thomas Frank Barton

Geography: We have read the book Legends and Leagues several times and done several exercises on mapping from the accompanying workbook. We usually do this about once a week.

Science: We began our study of the human body, focusing on the Reproductive System (scary topic to begin with!) and the Skeletal System. Books we read included:

The Story of Me

How Are Babies Made?

God Made All of Me

The Skeleton Inside of You

A Book About Your Skeleton

Nature Study: We have been reading Outdoor Secrets as well as the Outdoor Secrets Companion. We started this late in the term, but we’ve learned about apples and went on a field trip apple picking! We have also spent lots of time outside exploring our yard as well as going to some local forest preserves.

Extras: We’ve dabbled with music study using the Classics for Kids podcast. We’ve dabbled with art appreciation using the ebook What Do You See? and poetry using Mother Goose and the fun poetry book The Llama Who Had No Pajama. For Spanish the kids have enjoyed watching Muzzy. They’ve also seen a lot of Signing Time because Kaitlyn loves Signing Time. Grace especially has shown a talent for picking up languages.


Reading– Jonathan has completed 12 lessons in All About Reading Level 3. He’s becoming a very fluent reader. I have him read to me every day and he’s read through most of Arnold Lobel’s books like the Frog and Toad series, Owl at Home, and Mouse Tales. These are fairly easy for him, but he hasn’t felt confident enough to branch out into chapter books.

Handwriting- We reviewed capital letters and numbers and have gone on to reviewing lowercase letters. This has been good practice for him, as he’s still comfortable writing in all caps. We’ve worked on copying words and sentences and his handwriting is pretty normal for a 6.5 year old boy. We are still using Handwriting without Tears First Grade.

Math- I have added Miquon math into our Singapore math studies and this has gone really well. Jonathan has covered addition within 10, subtraction within 10, shapes and length.

Spelling- We have branched into spelling with All About Spelling 1. Jonathan moved faster than I anticipated. We mostly worked on recognizing phonograms, segmenting words into phonograms, and isolating sounds in words.

Co-Op: Jonathan has enjoyed co-op so far. He has a class called Cartoons, Classical Music, and Composers. They have watched several Bugs Bunny cartoons utilizing classical music and also Peter and the Wolf. He was already familiar with Peter and the Wolf, but he has learned more about the orchestra and he loves and gives extensive narrations on the cartoons he sees. He is involved in a gym class which has focused on typical gym class activities: exercises, races, and kickball. Finally, he is in an art class in which they learn about an artist and attempt to learn about their techniques. He has worked with chalk, figure drawing, clay pottery, and watercolors. Jonathan is easily frustrated with art because what he pictures in his mind isn’t the same as what he is able to produce. But he’s hanging in there…


Reading- Grace has learned and reviewed the 26 basic phonograms and we’ve practiced building and reading words. She is easily reading CVC words and several common sight words. She really desires to read as well as Jonathan and we are slowly working towards it.

Math- Grace learned about measuring weight and capacity this term as well as comparing numbers (more than/less than). She finished the Singapore EarlyBird A kindergarten math book.

Handwriting- We are practicing letter formation using Kumon’s lowercase writing book. Grace loves to write and tries to write stories. However, she still reverses her letters, so we need to keep practicing proper letter formation.

Co-Op: Grace participates in art and Spanish at co-op. The kindergarten art class focuses more on exploring art. They have experimented with different mediums like chalk and watercolor as well as learned color mixing. Grace’s favorite is Spanish class. She has learned Spanish letters, numbers, and colors so far and always wants to practice!

Kaitlyn:  Kaitlyn doesn’t do school, but she’s always learning! She loves Signing Time and has picked up a lot of vocabulary (both verbal and signed). She’s speaking in short sentences, making her desires known. She’s even been dry at night and used the potty in the morning! Now if only she would do so during the day… I spent one day trying to potty train and decided to wait until she was a little older and we were also on break. It’s too much to homeschool and potty train!

So that’s what we’ve been up to the past 6 weeks!

First Week of School

First week of school is on the books! Here are my adorable students:

2015-08-26 15.38.00
2015-08-26 15.38.26


We started reading from The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. This week we read about Creation.

We practiced and reviewed verses for Awana, which starts next week.

We read about missions in Africa in SIM’s Stories from Africa.

We read a true story about respecting people who we may not think deserve respect in Laying Down the Rails

History & Geography:

We made a map of explorers and noted where the Spanish and French were exploring and claiming.

We read about the founding of St. Augustine, Florida.

We read a geography story titled Legends and Leagues and made puppets of Mr. Longitude and Mr. Latitude.

Science & Nature Study:

We finished learning about amphibians. We read about toads, frogs and salamanders and listened to an audiobook of The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad.

Jonathan (1st Grade):

Handwriting- Jonathan reviewed capital letter formation this week. We practiced writing on lined paper.

Math- We are continuing to practice subtraction and addition in Miquon math. He completed 7 pages of problems, using cuisenaire rods as needed. We also began Singapore’s shape unit.

Reading/Phonics- We reviewed the rules for silent E and syllable division rules. We began to explore words which use the AI or AY phonograms, most of which he already knew.

Spelling- We have been reviewing phonograms and the sounds they represent. We have practiced alphabetizing and isolating sounds within words.

Grace (Kindergarten):

Handwriting- we have been practicing lowercase letters that use curves.

Math- We have been learning about weight using non-standard measurement. We have pulled out our balance scale and discussed how to tell which item is heavier and which item is lighter.

Reading/Phonics- We have started slow, reviewing the sounds of the phonograms as we have been practicing writing them.

Homeschool Plans 2015-2016

I can’t believe I have two school-aged kiddos this year! Last year Grace would tag along on our learning adventures, but I never forced her to listen or participate in an activity. This year, with her being officially kindergarten, it will be different! The pressure is on… 🙂

Jonathan- 1st grade

Discipleship Studies-

* Bible: Continue with Long Story Short & Old Story New Devotionals (family). Read the Gospel Story Bible (family). Jonathan has been reading daily in his Adventure Bible (NIrV), and I hope to keep encouraging this habit!

* Bible Memory:  Awana Wing Runner handbook & music

Character/Habit Training:  I hope to go through Laying Down the Rails for Children as a family. Doing projects from Plants Grown Up during weekly “Mug Time”.

Disciplined Studies-

Reading- All About Reading 3 and continued practice reading books! Right now I use this Leveled Book List to help select books for J. at the library. He will comfortably read “Henry & Mudge” type books. He still mostly reads aloud, not to himself. We will see if his confidence grows this year.

Math- Singapore 1A and 1BMiquon Orange/Red. We started Singapore 1A last year and J. grasps the concepts of addition and subtraction fairly well. He doesn’t have his facts memorized yet, so this summer we have been doing math games and experimenting with Miquon math. My sister in law gifted me with a set of cuisinaire rods when Jonathan was little and I found the Miquon books that go with the rods. Miquon and Singapore are very complimentary programs. There is even a chart which correlates the two, so I plan to use them together.

Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears 1st Grade. I’m not a huge fan of the font that HWoT produces, but the program has worked well so far for Jonathan. He still needs practice in correctly forming letters.

Spelling- All About Spelling 1. We are venturing into spelling this year! Now that Jonathan is able to write all of his letters, it’s time to build words. This program complements our reading program. We shall see how it goes!

Grammar- English Lessons Through Literature 1 (plan to start in January once we have more copywork practice). This teaches grammar and sentence structure through observing and copying sentences from classic works. It also introduces narration and picture study.

Discussion Studies-

History- Truth Quest American History for Young Students 1 and relevant read alouds. I’ve developed a tentative plan which takes us from Explorers through the American Revolution this year. I will highlight the books we read along the way!

Geography- Legends and Leagues– We reviewed world geography last year, this will be a fun weekly review of maps and cartography.

Read Alouds- I pull read alouds from different book lists. We usually have at least one fun read aloud going!

Music- Cartoons, Classical Music & Composers- Jonathan is taking this class through our local co-op. This is our first year in this co-op, we shall see how it goes!

Discovery Studies-

Science- human anatomy & physiology using 106 Days of Creation Studies– We have used this book slowly over the past two years to guide our nature study. We will be diving into health & human anatomy this year and supplementing with read alouds.

Nature Study- drawing what we see outside in our nature journals. Read Outdoor Secrets and perhaps Christian Liberty Nature Reader 1

Art- J. is taking a co-op class in art, we will see how that goes. The children and I are also doing exercises in Drawing with Children.

Extra Curricular-

Trail Life Scouting

Gym co-op class

A sport of some type- In the past we have done swimming, soccer, gymnastics.

Grace- K

Grace is a young K student, so this is a basic plan. My thoughts are not to emphasize formal academics until she is 6, but to gradually increase our consistency in the 3Rs [reading/math/writing]. She generally wants to do what her big brother is doing, but I will let most of the rest be optional this year. Next year when she is 6, she will be required to do academic work. 

Discipleship Studies-

Bible: Continue with family devotional & Bible reading.

Awana- Hang Glider handbook

Character/Habit Training– Laying Down the Rails for Children, Polished Cornerstones project at weekly “Tea Time”.

Disciplined Studies-

Reading- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and possibly All About Reading 1– Grace wants to read, but needs lots of practice. We started with AAR1, but she was struggling with letter reversals and reading sentences. I felt like 100 Easy Lessons offered a more gentle start and then we will transition back to AAR1. She also loves to write, so I’ve toyed with the idea of starting her with All About Spelling as well, so she can write her stories down.

Math- Singapore EarlyBird B– This has been a fun PreK and K series for my kids.

Handwriting- Kumon Workbooks– Grace already completed Handwriting without Tears K, and I felt like she needed additional practice before moving on to the next level. I think the Kumon workbooks will fill the gap. I’m toying with the idea of getting Delightful Handwriting.

Discussion Studies- together with Jonathan

History- Truth Quest American History for Young Students 1 and relevant read alouds. I’ve developed a tentative plan which takes us from Explorers through the American Revolution this year. I will highlight the books we read along the way!

Geography- Legends and Leagues– We reviewed world geography last year, this will be a fun weekly review of maps and cartography.

Read Alouds- I pull read alouds from different book lists. We usually have at least one fun read aloud going!

Discovery Studies- together with Jonathan

Science- human anatomy & physiology using 106 Days of Creation Studies– We have used this book slowly over the past two years to guide our nature study. We will be diving into health & human anatomy this year and supplementing with read alouds. Grace is really excited and curious to know how the human body works!

Nature Study- drawing what we see outside in our nature journals. Read Outdoor Secrets and perhaps Christian Liberty Nature Reader 1

Art- Draw, Write Now 1. The children and I are also doing exercises in Drawing with Children.  Grace is currently first on the waiting list for art in our co-op. I hope she gets in!

Extra Curricular-

American Heritage Girls Scouting

Spanish Co-Op Class

A sport of some type- In the past we have done swimming, soccer, gymnastics. She is very interested in dance.

Summer Reading

All 3 kids (and momma) have signed up for our local library’s summer reading plan. The rules are to read 30 min a day, at least 30 times over June and July. Here’s some of the things we have been reading:

– Henry and Mudge– Jonathan is currently going through this series about a little boy and his 180-pound dog Mudge. It’s a cute little set of books about the typical adventures one would expect from a boy and his dog. These are right at Jonathan’s comfort level right now. Since there are over twenty books in the series, I think we will be set for the summer!

– The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe– This was a read aloud we recently finished. I’ve been waiting to read this to my kids for a long time. Both Jonathan and Grace really enjoyed it. Jonathan picked up on many of the underlying spiritual themes and we had some fruitful discussions.

– The Light at Tern Rock– This was a read aloud that I picked up based off of Sonlight’s Core A list. It is about a little boy and his aunt who get asked to tend a lighthouse over Christmas break. The lighthouse keeper promises to return by December 15, but is nowhere in sight on Christmas Eve. This was a harder one for the kids– they weren’t begging to read the next chapter. However, we persevered, and had a good discussion on forgiveness and hearing both sides of a story.

Now the kids are getting up from rest time, so I’ll have to share what I’m reading in a future post.

First Exposure to Homeschooling

I first heard of homeschooling as I was growing up. I participated in Suzuki violin lessons and came across a couple families who were homeschooling. (These were pioneer homeschooling families in the ’80s!). Then, when I was a teenager, my cousin started homeschooling her 4 girls using Sonlight curriculum. I thought everything that they were doing was pretty neat. I’d always been a reader and my cousin was getting to read all these great books with her girls! That was when the seed was planted– I started thinking about the possibility of homeschooling my own children.

During college and after working with youth ministry for a while, I met several students who had been homeschooled and overall I was impressed with the depth and quality of their faith. For the most part, these students were intelligent, articulate, and confident. They got along well and conversed with people of all ages and abilities and seemed to be the well-rounded adjusted young adults that I hoped my children would turn into.

After Jonathan was born in 2009, I started reading and learning more about homeschooling. We read, and read, and read together and pursued various early learning activities. Grace joined us in 2010 and Kaitlyn in 2013. Now I’m getting ready to begin teaching 1st grade and Kindergarten next Fall!

Homeschooling Year in Review

We are wrapping up our first official year of homeschooling. Jonathan was officially in Kindergarten this year and Grace enjoyed tagging along on with her brother on most things.

This year:

– Jonathan completed Level 1 of All About Reading and is almost (75%) done with Level 2. He is motivated, so I expect him to be done before the summer.
– Jonathan and Grace completed Kindergarten Handwriting Without Tears
– Jonathan made diligent progress in Singapore Math- 1st Grade Book A. He has mastered the concepts of addition and subtraction, we are working on memorizing the addition and subtraction facts. I worry that we haven’t finished the book, but the program is mastery-based, so we are trying to ensure that he knows these facts before we move on to higher concepts. It’s also a first grade book, so I probably shouldn’t worry too much.

– For social studies, we have learned world geography. We have covered the basics of map reading, and then virtually traveled and identified all the countries of Asia, Europe, and are completing Africa. We’ve read folk tales and nonfiction works about each country and watched a series of movies which have shown daily life for a child in different countries. This summer we will be studying Latin and South America.

– For science we have been doing zoology- we have studied bugs, birds, and ocean creatures with 106 Days of Creation Studies. We are currently doing mammals and will cover reptiles and amphibians this summer.

– Grace has been developing her reading skills, reading basic CVC words this year. We are currently working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She is motivated to learn to read but lacks some confidence.
– Grace is almost done with Singapore EarlyBird (Kindergarten) Math Book A. We have covered counting, patterns, shapes, and nonstandard measurement. She has done really well with this program!

– Kaitlyn has done a good job of learning to walk and talk. She loves baby dolls and animals of every kind.

We have studied the Pentateuch this year in our devotions. Both Jonathan and Grace completed their books in a local AWANA program. We also participated in swimming, gymnastics, and soccer. Jonathan did a semester of scouting with the Trail Life scouting program.

It’s been an exhausting year and sometimes it feels as though progress has been slow. But when I write it all down, we have accomplished a lot!

I want to get back into blogging, so I hope to be updating more regularly with the kids’ progress in school. Both to keep grandparents and family informed, as well as to have a record for myself of the progress we made.

– Amanda

File Server and Hard Drives

I bought awhile back a stand alone file server.  My desire is get a standalone file server that I can upgrade the hard drives without doing a whole bunch of work to keep it up and maintain it.  This is what I bought, and I’ve been very happy with it.

First, I wanted a File Server that I could connect to our MS Server 2008 Active Directory users so that I didn’t need to recreate all of the users again.

Second, I wanted to know that if I needed an extra 2 TB hard drive that it wouldn’t be hard to add it in. This setup is perfect. You can pull out the Bays and add new ones in.

Some of the surprise benefits that I have found is that they do regular updates, and are adding new functionality on-demand (so, if I don’t want the functionality, I don’t have to download it).

I bought this Synology File Server:


The Hard drives I bought to go with the File Server:



One of the networks that I have been working on, I have been adding some switches and firewalls together. So far, it has been a really good setup. Here is what I have: