Friday, July 15, 2016

First Grade Curriculum Choices 2016-2017

We are starting school in a couple of weeks, and I have literally been researching what curriculum we would use since last November.  Ridiculous.  But, I am a planner, and that's what I do.  However, hopefully I have learned from my mistakes and will not start obsessing planning quite so early in the future.

I bounced back and forth between different all-in-one curricula, being attracted to the idea of making my own plans, but a little afraid of it.  I was also drawn to the pretty catalogues and all they had to offer.  So, in March, I bought an all-in-one package, along with Cheerful Cursive and All About Reading 1, with the plans of beginning immediately, but going at half-speed through the rest of Kindergarten and into First Grade.  Well, after two weeks, I decided it was too much for what I had in mind for Kindergarten.  I wanted a more laid-back year for both of us.  So, I put my pretty curriculum away, and we continued working on cursive and AAR a little bit every day.  That worked really well for us.  It was very laid-back and flexible, which made it more enjoyable.  Now that we have finished, M has about 15ish lessons to go in AAR and is doing SO well reading!  She's also doing very well with her cursive.  I'm very proud of her.  :)

Right after I purchased my curriculum, I started reading about the Charlotte Mason method.  I'd read things here and there and liked what I had read, but it seemed very overwhelming to me, so I never really considered going all out with it.  But, as I read about it, I became very drawn to it, and over time decided that was the route I wanted to go.  I think the Lord led me to read about this method, and I feel like it will be a good fit our family.

So, without further ado, here are our curriculum choices for First Grade!

Mama bought me a gift card to Mardel, where I purchased a beautiful planner, A Simple Plan, for our year!  I've already written down some plans in it, and because I've loved planners for years, I'm very excited about using it.  Also, I think it'll be really helpful as far as keeping records of our school year.

We will be doing some things together as a family, so L can join in the fun.  :)

Bible - I wanted to do something more involved with this, but every time I consider it, I go back to the simplicity of 'just' reading the Bible to them.  A couple of months ago we purchased "The Complete Illustrated Children's Bible" and I really like it.  The pictures are beautiful, and I really like that there are so many stories in it.  In our other children's Bibles, they stop after Jesus' resurrection, but this one goes on through the New Testament, and I like that.  :)  I'm not going to make them memorize scripture, though I plan to continue listening to kids music on Pandora that will help teach them scripture.

Literature - I want to really enjoy reading together!  We just finished A Bear Called Paddington a few weeks ago, and the girls enjoyed that.  I don't have all of our chapter books planned out, but I have three lined up.
I also purchased The Llama Who Had No Pajama for some poetry reading.

Science/Nature Study -
I plan to focus heavily on Nature Study this year.  The girls are so interested in nature, so why not explore it and learn as much as we can?  This summer we have been able to watch different moths and butterflies go through metamorphosis which has been incredible.  We'll be using the Nature Reader to go along with Outdoor Secrets, and I also hope to do some nature journaling, but we'll see how interested they are!

Artist Study/Art - 
For our first 12 weeks, we'll be studying Norman Rockwell.  We'll read a biography about him, and look at one painting each week in a book I purchased at Half Price Books.  On Fridays, we'll do one project out of the Art Lab book.

Composer Study -
We plan to study "Peter and the Wolf" and Prokofiev for our first 12 weeks.  We'll learn about different instruments, and read Prokofiev's biography.  After the first six weeks, we'll listen to some of his other work on youtube.

M's Individual Subjects

Phonics -
M is close to being done with AAR Level 1, and though she's done really well with it, she isn't always enthusiastic about it, so I decided to follow it up with ETC to reinforce what she has learned and change it up.  She likes workbooks, so I think she'll enjoy it!  After that, I PLAN to move forward with AAR Level 2, but that's months away and things could change, so we'll see.

Handwriting -
M has completed maybe 20-30 pages of this so far, so we'll continue with doing a page or so a day.  She is doing very well with it!  On Wednesdays, we'll switch it up and do a drawing/copywork from Draw Write Now.

Math -
  • Math-U-See Alpha
  • Rod and Staff: Learning More and More
I've been so excited to try MUS for months!  I was looking for something we could use long-term, because ideally, I'd like to avoid switching Math curriculum down the road, unless it just isn't working, of course.   On Fridays, I plan to have her work in the Rod and Staff workbook to switch it up.  (I really think she and I like some variety!)

L's Pre-K
  • Adventures with Books - Rod and Staff
  • Counting with Numbers - Rod and Staff
L will turn four just a few weeks after we start, so I really don't expect anything from her.  I bought her two workbooks so she can feel included and be proud of her own 'school stuff'.  :)  I plan to just let her work in them to the extent she shows interest. 

That's it!  On Fridays, I plan to take it easy with the R&S workbooks, reading for fun, and doing an art project.  I want it to be a fun end to our week.  Of course, all of this is my ideal plan.  I'm sure it won't be as beautiful as I'm envisioning.  There will no doubt be whining and lots of interruptions by baby girl.  ;)  But, we'll do our best to roll with it, and hopefully we'll have a fun year of learning together!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016


 Animal Alphabet Friends Flashcards

We actually started a year ago with a little bit of pre-k.  This wasn't necessary in my opinion, but I was excited about doing something organized with my little ones, and my oldest was enthusiastic about it as well.  So, I started doing a Letter of the Week type of curriculum that I pieced together.  The main resources I used for this was Animal Alphabet Friends flashcards by Abeka, with the CD of songs to teach letter sounds.  This was actually a gift for the girls at Christmas, and they LOVED it.  My oldest was four at the time, and learned all of her letter sounds super fast because of the songs.  :)  I'll definitely use those again!  The flashcards are a little expensive in my opinion, and my oldest may have learned quickly with the CD alone, but they did enjoy the pictures with the songs.

I printed a ton of stuff from Confessions of a Homeschooler for free.  She actually has a Letter of the Week curriculum all put together that you can purchase for $15, but she offers a lot of the printables for free.

We did several printables and tried to do a craft at the end of the week.  My favorite was "E is for Elephant" hats, found here.  It was hilarious!

We actually only made it to letter K before we dwindled off, because I was in my third trimester with baby #3.  I considered picking it up again, but we never did.  We went ahead and moved on to Kindergarten in the fall.  I'll write about that in a separate post.  :)


Well, we have pretty much abandoned this blog as life happened, but I (Jennifer) am back, at least for this post.  We'll see if I keep it up.  ;)

My oldest is in Kindergarten this year, and when she was 2 years old, the idea of homeschooling popped into my head.  I rejected the idea for the most part, and don't even know why it came to mind.  Well, clearly it was the Lord.  Even as I rejected it, I was drawn to the idea and was curious about it.  However, my oldest was only two at the time, so, that wasn't a pressing issue!

Over the next couple of years I toyed with the idea.  I eventually got to where I planned on it, and then I decided against it, and then, I planned on it once again.

So, here we are.  Homeschooling.

I'm not interested in going into our reasons for doing homeschooling in this post.  It's a personal decision for every family, and one that should be God-lead.  This is what we feel is best for our family at this time.  :)

If you don't homeschool, then this is likely boring for you to read, but if you do, well, it still may be boring to read, ha!  However, I really enjoy reading other homeschooling blogs, especially as I research curriculum.  So, perhaps this will help somebody in some way down the road.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tinkerbell Clothespin Doll

I have recently opened an Etsy shop - FairyTinkBoutique.

I also have printables on there from my Home Management Notebook.  Right now, I have a code for 50% off every item in the store.  The code is GRANDOPENING.

Is anyone out there??

Clearly, we haven't written on here in forever!  We both have been busy with little ones.  :)

Speaking of little ones, my oldest is three years old, and loves Tinkerbell.  I have never been a Tinkerbell fan, in all honesty.  She had a little too much attitude for me in "Peter Pan".  However, after watching the new Tinkerbell movies, I just think she's adorable.  I seriously don't mind watching them over and over, which is a definite plus when it comes to kids' movies.  ;)


My oldest daughter and I made a fairy house out of an oatmeal box one day, but we didn't have any fairies to go in it.  I looked around the stores, but they were all too big for the fairy house.  So, I decided it would be more fun to just make our own fairies!

Enter clothespin Tink!

This was only the beginning.  I also made Periwinkle, Silvermist, Rosetta, Vidia, Fawn, Terrance, and Iridessa.  We have a kingdom of fairies at our house now.

I decided to open an Etsy shop, and just listed this for sale.  I'm going to see how it goes, and then I may add other fairies as well.  If you're interested, here is the link to my shop:  FairyTinkBoutique

Y'all have a great weekend!!  :)

- Jennifer

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Free Printable December Calendar :)

A humble reminder... I put up this calendar a while ago, and quickly realized that I hadn't changed the dates from last month!  I'm glad I saw that before all of y'all did.  Now you know, of course, but hopefully there aren't any more silly mistakes like that!  ;)

Hope y'all enjoy it!  (click, save, print)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oreo Ice Cream Cake :)

Do yourself a favor, and make this cake.  Whoever came up with this recipe is a genius.

J's birthday was last week and he requested an ice cream cake.  This one was SUPER easy, and SO yummy.  In the words of my beloved mom, "I think I gained five pounds just listening to you describe it."

I made a couple of changes that I think made this even more awesome.  I only made two layers of ice cream sandwiches, instead of three.  I wanted the cake to be longer and not as tall.  I just added all of the fudge/cool whip mixture between the two layers.  Also, I added some more crushed Oreos to the top of the cake, as well as some Chocolate syrup, as if we didn't have enough calories already.  ;)

  • 1/2 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
  • 1 pkg. (4 serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
  • 8 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, chopped
  • 12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped


  1. Pour fudge topping into medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the whipped topping; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in chopped cookies; set aside.
  2. Arrange 4 of the ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half of the whipped topping mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 4 ice cream sandwiches. Frost top and sides of dessert with remaining whipped topping. Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.
  3. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Store leftover dessert in freezer.

Seriously, go make this.  Just make sure you walk up a few flights of stairs for the next month or two instead of taking the elevator.  ;)

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Linking up to Not Just a Housewife, Something Swanky

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Starting Over

I realized last night that neither of us have lived in any house/apartment more than two years since we left home for college.  J has lived in nine different apartments/houses, in five different towns.  I've lived in seven places, in five different towns.

That's a little exhausting.

You'd think we'd be experts with moving by now, and that I would be used to starting over again.  It's still difficult.  J adjusts much more easily than I do, or at least as far as I can tell.  I have a harder time, usually.

This move hasn't been very difficult as far as adjusting, and I think that is because the Lord gave us time to prepare ourselves, and when J had his accident, everything else seemed pretty insignificant.

The Lord is really taking care of us.

I've been feeling frustrated about starting over in some ways, because it's difficult to get things set up again.  I won't elaborate on that, because it's small and silly things.  Yet, it's discouraging to me.  I know it's the devil trying to get me down.

I  have to fight, and have faith.

Sometimes it's easier for me to have faith in the bigger things, than it is in the smaller things.  I'm not sure why. If I trust the Lord to take care of all of the big things, such as moving us to a new home, giving J a good job, etc, then I should trust Him to take care of the little details, shouldn't I?  Silly Jennifer.

I even heard before that when we complain, it's because we aren't trusting the Lord to take care of whatever we're upset about.  Deep down I know He will take care of things, but I do complain.  If I really believe He is in control of even the smallest things, then I need to push away those complaints and know His ways and timing are best.  It's really hard, though.

Before we moved, we were excited about selling the house, and paying off some things.  That all changed of course, when J had his accident.  We knew medical bills would come rolling in.  We may have to replace broken furniture, pay for the truck damage, etc.  We tried to push those fears away though, because we knew we were doing what the Lord wanted.  He would take care of us.  He always does.  It was still difficult for me, emotionally, but I always knew the Lord would provide.

A couple of weeks ago, the bills began to roll in.  Would you believe that the very same day we received a large bill, we also received a large check to cover our damaged items??  If that check had arrived a day earlier, it might have been a little disappointing to see it all leave when the bill arrived.  If the check had arrived a day later, it would have been harder to see the large bill.  His timing is perfect.

He's provided SO much for us in every way.  Yet, I still get angry when things don't work out the way I think they should.  We can't see everything that He's doing, but we can trust that He knows what is best, and will take care of things.

I remember reading an illustration of how we see things, compared to how the Lord sees things.  I think of this example often, because it makes sense.

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side." I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view.

A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Son, come and sit on my knee." This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, "My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing."
Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?" He has answered, "I am embroidering your life." I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can't they all be bright?" The Father seems to tell me, "'My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side."
Author Unknown

Something to keep in mind.  He's taking care of us.