The Sacred Sprouts Schoolhouse

First Day of School!

It was rather fun to see the neighborhood all abuzz with the first day of school this morning while we lounged about in our pajamas.  We are also beginning today, and I thought I’d share our first day pictures- the usual dance party in pajamas.

It’s kind of an uneventful first day, to be honest.  We’re missing about half of our materials, but with the Internet and the library, I’ve put together a good five weeks of school that will feel full and will get us back in the swing of things.  Part of these first few weeks will include some basic life skills for Abigail.  For example, this week she’ll be writing thank you notes and learning to make scrambled eggs.   I’m hoping that I’ll be able to purchase more of our necessary materials at the beginning of October, as the month of September is going to be extremely tight, and has been declared a no-spend month.

Be back soon with more specific notes about what we’re studying!  Enjoy the pictures!

posted by Erika in Just For Fun and have Comments Off on First Day of School!

Gathering Thoughts For The New School Year

I have little notes all over the place here at home, so it’s time to start gathering them and start making our plans for the coming school year.  Our start date is still to be determined, but will likely be the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Abigail is doing her 7th grade year, and this is what I am looking at for her:

Math: Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, LOF: Pre-Algebra with Biology AND LOF: Physics (combines math and science, I love this!)

Science: It’s a Chemistry year for sure, and maybe Physics the second half of the year.  I’ll be using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry as my spine, adding in some Real Science 4 Kids and plenty of library books.  I’m hoping to find a few DVD’s at the library too.

Language Arts:  Lightning Literature, Grade 7, also she will continue with Word Roots to help improve her spelling.

Reading and Social Studies: Sonlight Core G, World History part 1

Health: Dance.  I’m trying to put together something to help her study dance nutrition and physiology.  I’m unsure if I’ll be successful, as I’m having a hard time finding appropriate books.

Electives are completely up in the air.  Abigail is up to 12 hours a week of dance, plus she’ll likely be doing some student teaching as well.  I’m hesitant to overwhelm with any formal electives, though we’d really like to get the ball rolling with our French studies.

Zander is going into his 3rd grade year.  Which is not much more than a number, to be honest.  The only truly 3rd grade material we’ll be using is his grammar/English.  Everything else is fourth grade and beyond.

Math: Teaching Textbooks 4, LOF:Dogs, Edgewood and Farming, and the remainder of the Singapore that we didn’t finish last year.

Science: Also Chemistry and Physics.  Zander’s spine will be Real Science 4 Kids, but will also get a bit of Abigail’s as well.  I’m hoping to be able to combine the two, sort of.

Language Arts: BJU English 3, Spectrum Spelling 4, Word Roots, A Reason For Handwriting “C”- we move into cursive this year.  This is very, very scary to me.

Social Studies: Sonlight Core C, Intro to World History part 2

Reading: Sigh.  More work for me this year as I comb the library and the internet looking for age appropriate advanced readers for this boy- that he hasn’t already read or will be reading in the future.  I’m really, really looking forward to 4th grade for him when we can use the Sonlight readers.

Health: Who knows.  If I can find some good materials on dance nutrition, he’ll totally be doing this with his sister.

Electives for Zander are also up in the air.  He is up to dancing 8 hours a week.  I’m considering picking up a U-Draw tablet for the Wii and doing a fun art something or another.

So those are my thoughts.  The Great Gathering has begun.  I have some of these materials on hand already, so that’s great.  I have many, many to get yet and am researching my best options as funds are not there to buy everything brand new.  But it will all work out, it does every year, and I expect this year to work out exactly the same.   God is good to us, and I’m starting to look forward to the year to come.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments Off on Gathering Thoughts For The New School Year


Well, so much for blogging the last school year! Yikes, that sure did fly by quickly.  The school year went well, although by the end we were all really ready to be done.  We’re enjoying our lazy mornings and the summer break, and I have no idea at this point when we’ll start tackling the next school year.

As I do every year, I asked the kids what their favorite books of the year were.  It seems that every year, this gets more and more difficult for them to do.  When I asked Zander what read-aloud of his was his favorite he looked at me in horror, and then looked at the pile of books.  Honestly, and truly, he could not pick.  And it wasn’t even down to 2 or 3.  There was only one read-aloud last year that did not make his list of favorites, and that was the book Little Pear.  He couldn’t tell me why that didn’t make the cut, but he loved all the rest so much, that he just couldn’t choose from them.

I call that a qualified success!

I asked him then about his readers, which was more difficult to do since most of the books he read were from the library and we didn’ t have them on hand.  He thought his favorite was probably Henry and Beezus, and since then has gone on to read the rest of the Henry books for fun.

His favorite History book was our missionary book, George Mueller.  Zander always loves the missionary stories the best, and this pick did not surprise me in the least.

Abigail also had troubles narrowing down her favorites this year.  Her favorite read-alouds were at least narrowed down to three: Shadow Spinner, Daughter of The Mountains, and The Hobbit.   Her favorite readers were Rascal, and Ali & The Golden Eagle.  For History books she couldn’t decide between Mary Slessor, a missionary biography from Africa, or Theresa of Calcutta.   She also said she really enjoyed Whatever Happened To Penny Candy, which surprised me because it was our little dip into Economics this year.

Overall it was a highly successful year.  The kids have excelled in all areas, and even Abigail’s spelling has improved.   Abigail especially enjoyed learning about all the cultures in the Eastern Hemisphere, and for a last little project, I had her write a short paper on which culture she’d like to visit most and why.  She didn’t think too long and hard before sharing that she’d like to visit China the most, and when asked why, it was to eat.  Is she my daughter or what?  She’d love to take a culinary vacation to China.

So now we’re in the full throes of summer.  Summer dance has just gotten underway, and in two weeks we’ll find out the kids placements for competition.  They’re really excited to find out what classes they are in for the year ahead.  I would honestly just like to know so that I can get our schedule cemented for the year ahead.

And of course the great curriculum hunt is underway as I try to make plans for the coming year and purchase what is needed.  I’ll probably start rolling things in after our July camping vacation.  I have general ideas where we want to go, I just need to figure out how best to get there.

posted by Erika in Uncategorized and have Comments Off on Summertime

More of Zander’s Readers

Before I forget, I wanted to get down some more books that I’ve had Zander read this year. Since I’m unsure what direction I want to go with his readers for next year, I figure I better keep track. One, I want to keep track of his reading level, which is way higher than I’d thought. And two, I don’t want to accidentally hand him a repeat and then not have a back-up.

So in addition to the books listed previously, he’s also been handed:

  • Aesop’s Fables by Anna Millbourne
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • The Land of The Dead AND The One-Eyed Giant by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • The Search For Delicious by Natalie Babbit
  • The Magic School Bus, The Search For The Missing Bones
  • Geronimo Stilton, The Kingdom of Fantasy
  • Louis Braille by Margaret Davidson
  • One Of The Third Grade Thonkers by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Owls In The Family by Farley Mowat
  • Jack Plank Tells Tales by Natalie Babbit
  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  • White Bird by Clyde Robert Bulla
  • The White Elephant by Sid Fleischman
  • Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary


We finally clicked on something with him. He’s read every book I’ve handed him without complaint, but a vast majority of them he would say “it’s not my favorite” when I asked what he thought at the end. He had asked me to read The Borrowers after he decided he didn’t care for The Littles. The Borrowers was not at all what he expected, and he said he wouldn’t read it again, and also wasn’t interested in seeing the new movie out.

The two Mary Pope Osborne books are adaptations of pieces of The Odyssey. Zander really enjoyed reading about Greek Myths, and sort of enjoyed these books, but as with anything else by this author, they really were fluff and twaddle, and he asked me not to get the remaining four from the series. I still have an eye out for more books from this genre though- I keep eyeing The Black Ships Before Troy (or something like that) and wondering if it would be too much.

Then I picked up The Search For Delicious from the libary and read it myself. I thought it was great, but definitely more difficult than anything he’d read before, and I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t lose interest. Well, not having anything else on hand, I handed it to him and he LOVED it. Loved it completely!

So now he’s reading Louis Braille this week, which is actually one of Abigail’s readers this year, and he’s already told me how awesome this book is. This week when we head to the library I’ll be taking along some book lists I’ve printed off with the reading level much more difficult than what I’ve been getting. I hope we can keep the hot streak going, because I think he’s finally reading for enjoyment, and not just because I tell him he has to read.


posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments (3)

Time For An Update: Going With The Flow

If I’ve mentioned it a dozen times since we’ve started homeschooling, I’ll mention it again.  I just love how homeschooling enables us to be flexible.  I love how something can come up and we can decide to just do a piece of school for that day, or how a busy week can be coming up, so we decide to simply focus on the four R’s and call it good.  Or like Thanksgiving week, we’d planned to do a three day school week, but illness for both Zander and I made it just two days that week.  Which actually worked in our favor then, because last week was Nutcracker week, so we were able to adjust again, and between the two short weeks we managed a full weeks worth of work, plus a little bit extra.

Now we’re working hard this week and next as both kids have come to an excellent point within their cores to take a little break for Christmas.  Abigail is wrapping up a study of China and Mongolia, and Zander will be wrapping up a study of Egypt. That will make a clean break, so when we come back in January we’re starting with something fresh and exciting for both of them.

I’d originally planned on taking most of the month of December off of school.  But then we started our school year later than I’d wanted, and we also really don’t have anything else to do, so we’ll be schooling this week and next, and then it’s two weeks off… and maybe an extra day or two.  We’ll see on that.

Another way that we’ve been flexible is with changing up the curriculum.  If you’ll remember, I was going back and forth on what to do for Zander for spelling this year.  I don’t really think he needs it, as he’s a natural speller.  But, he could use help with his handwriting, and since I can’t really ask him to do a second handwriting project every day, doing a spelling lesson is fitting the bill perfectly.  But about a month ago, Zander came to me and told me that he thought his spelling was way too easy and he was bored with it.  We were just using an inexpensive book I’d bought at Barnes & Noble, so I looked it up online and looked at the 3rd and 4th grade one with Zander.  He looked at the different word lists and we decided to go with the 3rd grade level- but if he decides it’s too easy again, I actually already have some 4th grade spelling on the shelf from when Abigail was there.

Zander’s also loving his math.  All of his math.  Call him crazy, but he’s actually doing three different curriculums this year- and he loves them all.  He’s really enjoying the Teaching Textbooks 3, though he’s really anxious to get to the multiplication and it seems to be taking forever for him to get there.  He’s also started the 3A books for Singapore math after we finished up 2B.  Singapore is just a completely different way of doing math- it’s a lot of mental arithmetic, and her really enjoys that.  And just for something different, we’ve also added in some Life of Fred.  He quickly worked through the Apples book and is almost all the way through Butterflies.  I’m not sure if I’ll order Cats, or just let him focus on two maths for now.

Both kids are really enjoying Life of Fred math.  It’s yet another completely different way of doing math.  The elementary series that Zander is doing is definitely supplemental- it would never work to use just that book for math.  But it introduces math in a story form, and shows the integration of math into everyday activities.  Abigail’s Life of Fred, on the other hand, is working great for her as a stand-alone math.  She began this year with the Fractions book and now is working her way through Decimals and Percents.  We had originally intended on her doing Teaching Textbooks 7 for her math this year, but school began and the funds just weren’t there to buy it for her.  Instead we went with Fred, and she really, really enjoys doing it.  I find it quite thorough, and it’s really helping her cement these topics that have really only gotten a brief overview so far.  I’m very impressed with it, and when Abigail nears the completion of Decimals and Percents, we’ll have some thinking to do, as I think she’ll actually be ready to move on to Pre-Algebra.  Whether we stick with Fred or swing back to Teaching Textbooks remains to be seen.  But Pre-Algebra is definitely already on the radar for her.

Zander’s book list is going well.  He’s enjoyed the Beverly Cleary books a lot, but we really haven’t struck on any one book yet that he just loves.  He reads because I tell him to read.  He was kind of grossed out by How To Eat Fried Worms, and was not a fan of Paddington either.  He’s reading Pee-Wee’s Tale this week, and I keep getting rolling eyeballs from him when he picks it up.  I think for next week I’ll throw in a Christmas Geronimo Stilton before he takes his Christmas break.   I’m thinking after Christmas I’ll hand him The Littles.  Maybe that will be the magic book?

During our two week break we’ll also be reading aloud together The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis.  We finally managed to finish reading the Dawn Treader, and we want to move on, as Abigail has The Horse And His Boy coming up as a scheduled read-aloud, and I want to have the right books read before we get there.

I think that’s about all there is to update.  School keeps us busy, and we’re all still enjoying our time together, but I, for one, am looking forward to a couple of relaxing weeks ahead.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments Off on Time For An Update: Going With The Flow

A Portion Of Zander’s Reading List

Last year I did not keep track at all as to which books Zander read during his reading time.  He read so many, and I do wish I’d kept track.

So here’s his reading list so far for this year.  Many, many more will be added to it.  But at least I’ve got a portion down for my sake.

  • Geronimo Stilton: The Curse Of The Cheese Pyramid by Geronimo Stilton
  • The Adventures of Sam X: The Boomerang Wakes Up by Hubert Ben Kemoun
  • Mercy Watson To The Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
  • A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
  • Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
  • The Mayor of Central Park by Avi
  • Pee-Wee’s Tale by Johanna Hurwitz
  • How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • The Mouse And The Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly
  • Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
  • A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith
  • The Littles by John Peterson
posted by Erika in Curriculum Choices and have Comments Off on A Portion Of Zander’s Reading List

Spontaneous Hands-On

Yet another of the many reasons I love homeschooling.  Zander and I were reading in his Peoples Around The World book today and came to the section on food and cooking.  He was really fascinated by the different foods eaten- and how they are prepared.  In particular he was really taken aback by the woman from Africa who’s “kitchen” was simply outside of the home.   We read about how they would take millet and pound it to make flour, and then turn that into a porridge for meals.  After we read about the millet, we read about couscous, and it occurred to me that I had both millet and couscous in the house, I should show Zander what they look like.

So we looked and touched, and then I saw my mortar and pestle, and we just had to try making our own millet flour with it.  I dumped about a tablespoon of millet into the mortar, and the kids took turns trying to pound it into flour (because, of course, Abigail was not going to sit aside and watch us have fun with this experiment).

It took more work than they expected.  Honestly, it took more than I expected, and in the process we ended up with millet all over the carpet too.   We finally had something that resembled flour and decided to add water and cook it up into a little cake to sample.  We had to add a little whole wheat flour because Zander dumped in too much water at first, but it worked, and it fried up quickly.

It was not tasty, though the millet definitely added a sweetness to the cake, as well as a nice texture.  I, of course, couldn’t help but begin thinking of a million ways to improve upon the flavor of this cake.  Abigail thought it reminded her of a soft cracker- but it was bland and needed seasoning.  Zander didn’t even finish his small bite, and declared that he couldn’t believe people in the world ate such bland food.

That led into a delightful discussion about what we would actually eat if our choice was to eat something we didn’t care for, or die of starvation.  It was a great life lesson, and I am very happy that we found something fun to wrap up our first school week with.  It’s been a long week for me, and I hope next week will go much better.

posted by Erika in Just For Fun,Supplements and have Comment (1)

The First Day!

Here are our “official” First Day of School pictures.  Just before starting, we cued up a really fun dance song and had a dance party to welcome in the school year properly.

I tried to make a special breakfast by toasting up a cinnamon bagel and adding sprinkles to the smear, but Zander doesn’t care for bagels, really, and the sprinkles on his peanut butter did not entice him.  Oh well, he ate the fresh fruit salad that went with it.

I was delighted yesterday to come home from our weekend away and find that my package of materials for Zander arrived while we were gone.  Thankfully our neighbors retrieved the package from the rain for me, so all was intact and in great condition.   I will still need to order a few missing books, but otherwise, we got to begin our school year as I desired- with Both Cores going at full blast.

And I’m tired.  Really tired.  Our school day went so much longer.  I know we have a few kinks to iron out, but I’m afraid that my Middle Schooler has extended our day by a lot.  In years past our Fridays were the light day of the week -I’m now eyeing it up as our most jam-packed day of the week.  That’s just the way it’s going to have to be in order to get everything in that I want to get in.

But it was still good.  I’m looking forward to getting used to this new normal. though I expect that will take several weeks, as there is a whole lot to get used to.  :)

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments Off on The First Day!

We Start On Tuesday!

So everyone I know in real life has gotten a good chuckle at my expense, because I keep changing my mind about our official back to school date.

But it’s finally, really, almost here.  We have one last weekend fling here, and then it’s back to the books come Tuesday morning.

I will certainly be sharing the first day of school pictures, but I also wanted to share today a little picture to show that miracles really do happen.

That’s Sonlight’s core F sitting on my shelf, ready and waiting.  It’s been there for about a week now, and I still keep looking at it as though I’m expecting it to vanish sometime soon.   I’ve started reading Abigail’s readers, and boy, is it going to be an amazing year.  I think she’s really going to love it.

I don’t think Zander’s core materials will be here in time for Tuesday’s start.  They might show up over the weekend, but I expect them sometime next week.  So he’ll begin his week with the basics, and we’ll go from there.

In the last month there has been such a range of emotions regarding our schooling.  I was honestly and truly looking for alternatives for our school year, because Sonlight is costly, though worth every penny.  But when you don’t have those pennies…

Well, a few unexpected monies showed up, and at the same time, some incredible unexpected opportunities showed up to really get the most out of those monies, and our school year is now full steam ahead with Sonlight Cores B and F.

I’m really looking forward to it.

posted by Erika in Curriculum Choices,Random Thoughts and have Comments (2)

Post Sharing

I was visiting one of my favorite blogs to pop in on when I found a wonderfully encouraging post called “Do You Have Time To Home School?” And I just had to share.  I’ve had so many conversations about homeschooling lately with people IRL, and this post really expressed a lot of what I’ve been saying in one nice little package.

I also happen to love the pictures of the kids scattered about the house doing their schoolwork, because that’s very much how a day looks in our house!

Do You Have Time To Homeschool?

posted by Erika in Just For Fun and have Comments Off on Post Sharing