Tag archives for homeschooling


It’s been so long since I’ve written here, that I don’t remember what my blog was even about. *head scratch*

I’ve had this blog for so long that it’s a mash-up of so many different versions of me. So many emotions, thoughts, and random ideas, so it probably doesn’t matter much.

I guess an update is in order?

  • NK is 4. RS is 13. SA is 15. SM is 17. Wow.
  • Their grade levels for the upcoming year are kindergarten (although she is currently working her way through this and should be done by November), 8th, 10th and 12th.
  • Colleges are on the radar. One in particular.
  • Thinking of ways to celebrate graduation. 🙂
  • I won’t be keeping much homeschool information here since I also have a homeschool site.
  • In the process of publishing first children’s book.
  • In the process of creating toys to go with the book.
  • Spending more time writing.
  • Still working for a homeschool company part-time.

I think that’s about it. Haven’t figured out what we’ll be doing for next year’s curricula, but I can share what we’re doing for kindergarten. Now, we only spend about an hour or two working on kindergarten lessons. The rest of the time is really following interests and hands-on play. If she ever gets tired of a lesson, we move on to something else. She turned 4 in March and picks things up very easily and quickly. We didn’t push for early kindergarten at all. She just loves learning and was bored with the pre-school work. We “school” 4 days per week.


Phonics & Reading
Reading Eggs
All About Reading 1
Get Ready for the Code, Get Set for the Code, & Go For the Code *
Bob Books**
Keeping a journal***

Selections from Ambleside Online (e.g. Winnie the Pooh, The Tale of Peter Rabbit)

Rod & Staff Math 1
Khan Academy

Social Studies/Geography
A Beka Social Studies K5****
DK Workbook

DK Workbook (used as a spine)


Keyboarding Without Tears
Dance, Karate, Hiking
Arts & craft projects (practice cutting, pasting, painting, etc.)


*Get Ready for the Code, Get Set for the Code, & Go For the Code: She started this series (a, b & c) in preschool. They are a little easy for her, but she wants to finish them. We will go on to Explode the Code as soon as she finishes up.

**Bob Books: We started these, but them on the back-burner for a bit. They are great readers and work well, but for some reason, a few of the characters make her upset. I wanted to pick it up and try again later, but we may not get a chance.

***Keeping a journal: This is very casual. She likes to write words that she knows. Sometimes I will have her draw freely or make up a story with pictures. She can write, draw, scribble, paste pictures, etc. You could use this or just a regular journal/notebook.

****A Beka Social Studies K5: We skip anything dealing with church or school. Mainly use it as a spine. For instance, we used the pages on police and safety to go further into what policemen do. We also used it to talk about calling emergency numbers. How to use the phone. Learning address and phone number.

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The Raven – Edgar A. Poe

We are studying The Raven in literature, so I thought I’d share a few resources.

The Raven study guide

Edgar A. Poe biography

Edgar A. Poe – The Mystery biography video

The Raven animation

Edgar Allan Poe Society

Tiny Toons version of The Raven

The Simpsons version of The Raven

Funny review of milk. Yes…milk.

Trippy tribute video.

The Raven. (song by The Raven)




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World History: The Human Odyssey & The History of the Ancient World – Ancient History Daily Lesson Plans (Schedule)

We are using Spielvogel’s World History: The Human Odyssey – ISBN: 0314205624 (HO) and Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World – ISBN: 0393059748 (HOAW) for ancient history this year.

I am going to make an attempt to keep track of what we do each day. I say attempt, because I already keep track in our homeschool planner/grade keeper, so this will be double the work. I do know that many people look for plans, so thought sharing mine might be helpful, even if I only get partially through. I searched high and low for plans to go with this book and found nothing useful.

We are using this for 5-9th grades. Really for middle school and high school. My 5th grader is actually a little advanced, and does a lot of 7th grade work. My 9th grader will be supplementing with more difficult material, and readings and this will give her one credit for history.

Modifications or assignments for all will be in bold black text. Work for my 7th and 9th grader will be in blue. Work exclusively for my 9th grader will be in red. Unless otherwise stated, assignments are due the following day.

This will be an ongoing project, so if you think you’ll find it useful, bookmark to check on updates. (Or to push me along). If I link to an outside source and you find that it’s no longer available, please let me know.

These plans are posted after they are already done by us. If you have suggestions on how to make a lesson better, please share with me and I’ll add to the daily plan. 

Please feel free to use this whole plan or skip and choose as you please. Don’t repost or make any of the information, including downloads, available elsewhere. Instead, direct others back to this blog. 

Note: I have not listed any detailed plans for HOAW because we are basically just reading a few chapters per week. We aren’t adding any vocabulary, review questions or tests based off of HOAW. Many of the readings will NOT go with what we are doing in HO. If that’s an issue for you, you may want to skip HOAW or try to match the readings with HO yourself.I may rearrange the HOAW readings in the future, but for now we are just reading in order. 

HO UNIT 1, CHAPTER 1 (The vocabulary for this chapter is available here)

Day 1

Read Unit One introduction (The First Humans – Prehistory to 3500 B.C.). Discuss statue, timeline and unit outline.

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Lesson 1
Prehistory: How Do We Know Its Story?

Read the entire lesson and discuss (we discuss while reading).

Section review: Use a section of notebook to define words in the section review. Answer the remaining questions as a group.

Assignment: Select one “artifact” from modern life (book, shoes, credit card, video game) and write an essay describing what that artifact says about present American civilization.

Day 2

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Lesson 2
The First Humans: The Old Stone Age (The Earliest Humans)

Read page 7 & 8. View Prehistoric Stone Tools. Discuss. Answer questions in the Tools section.

Read pages 9 & 10 (up to The Hunter-Gatherers of the Old Stone Age). Watch. Discuss.

Assignment: Examine illustration on page 10. Write a one-page, imaginary first-hand account of this hunt from the point of view of one of the three hunters.

(Day notes: We had some great discussions from this lesson. The kids talked a lot about what life would have been like during this time, and how life would have been if the Neanderthals had become the dominant species. SM came across this book and thought it might be an interesting read.)

Day 3

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Lesson 2
The First Humans: The Old Stone Age (The Hunter-Gatherers of the Old Stone Age)

Read pages10-12. Watch. Discuss. Answer questions in the Fire section.

Read page 13. Visit. Discuss. Answer Cave Paintings questions.

Section Review: Use globe to find Africa. Print map. Label Africa. Define words in notebook. Answer the remaining questions as a group.

Day 4

Watch. Story of Human Evolution (History Channel). This video is an hour and a half, and will make up the entire class time. (There is mild nudity. I believe some of the homo erectus or homo sapiens may have bare bottoms — may or may not be a costume. Should preview if you are cautious about this sort of thing.)

Day 5

Discuss the video from Day 4. (if time allows)

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Lesson 3
The Agricultural Revolution: 10,000 to 4.000 BC

Read pages 14-17. Discuss.

Return to page 15. Study the map in 1.2. Ask students: Did agriculture develop in the US before or after A.D. 1? (after) Where did agriculture first develop? (Middle East) What are the principal foodstuffs of North America, Asia, and Africa. What factors account for the differences? (NA: beans, corn squash; Asia: rice; Africa: barley, wheat, tubers such as yams, and bananas. Climate, native vegetation, & geography account for the major differences.)

Section Review: Define vocabulary in notebook. Answer the remaining questions as a group.

Assignment: Ask students to make a list of the foods they eat each week and the source for the foodstuffs. Make another list of foods they would eat if they had to forage or depend on the local supply of animals for their diets.

Day 6

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Lesson 4
The Emergence of Civilization

Read pages 17-19. Watch (The Dawn of History — sex is mentioned briefly). Read conclusion on page 19. Discuss reading and video.

Section Review: Define words in notebook. Complete review as a group.

Day 7

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 1 – Chapter Review

Go through the chapter review alone or together.
(I provide answers for Using Key Terms and Reviewing the Facts. The other sections have answers that may vary. Contact me for help if needed. — We don’t do all of the questions on page 21)

Assignment: Study for test

Day 8

Test time! My husband made this test. We just used the chapter review to make it. Worked well enough for us. You can test anyway you’d like. Some people like narrations (which we do a lot of the time — oral or written), some like written tests, projects. Whatever you want to use to gauge how well they’ve learned the material is okay. The test hubs made is available to download below.

For my 5th grader, I removed some of the questions. It’s up to you to determine if the test would be too much for your student.

You can refer to the review answers for grading. If you need help, just contact me.


Day 9

Read & discuss introduction.

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 1
Civilization Begins in Mesopotamia (The Impact of Geography, The City-States of Ancient Mesopotamia)

Read pages 23 – 26 and discuss (make sure to discuss the map on pg. 24). Also read and discuss The Use of Metals.

Day 10

HOAW: Chapter One. Discuss.

Day 11

Watch, Legacy: The Origins of Civilization – Iraq: Cradle of Civilization. You can rent this from Amazon for 2.99, or purchase the entire season for around $12. If you have Amazon Prime (which I highly recommend), you can view it for free.

Discuss or answer questions about viewing (as time permits).

Day 12

HOAW: Chapter Two. The Earliest Story. Discuss.

Further reading about the great flood: Was There Really a Great Flood, Flood Myth

Day 13

Watch, Mesopotamia. Discuss.

Assignment: Create a salt map of the fertile crescent area at that time. Use flags to mark cities, rivers & oceans. Due in 7 days.

Day 14

HOAW: Chapter Three. The Rise of Aristocracy. Discuss.

Day 15 

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 1
(Empires in Ancient Mesopotamia, The Code of Hammurabi, The Importance of Religion)

Read pages 27 – 30 and discuss. Ask students to speculate about reasons why empires are easier to create than maintain (groups may not want to be maintained by outside parties and will continue to rebel, difficult to communicate throughout the empire in ancient times, empire builders often continue to stretch the boundaries of their empires which weakens abilities to control existing territories). Discuss American laws that may have originated in Hammurabi’s law code. Were Hammurabi’s laws fair, or were the prescribed punishments unusually cruel? Also read Justice in Mesopotamia on page 29. Answer questions.

Activity: Have students work in groups. Ask them to rewrite, in modern English, the four laws printed in the text. Then have students write the comparable modern-day, American laws.

Day 16

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 1
(The “Cradle of Civilization”: The Creativity of the Sumerians)

Read pages 30-33, including Sumerian Schools for Scribes (answer questions) and The Story of the Great Flood (answer questions). Discuss.

Section Review: We will use our Map Trek blank map of Mesopotamia to label/locate the areas in number 1. If you don’t have Map Trek, you can use this. Define words in notebook. Identify people in a small section of your notebook. Answer the rest of the questions aloud as a group.

Notes: We start to read The Epic of Gilgamesh around this time. For the lower levels, we use Gilgamesh the Hero. For the high school level, we have decided to use Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse. The Epic of Gilgamesh contains mature content, so should be previewed to make sure it’s right for your family. We are currently using the Beautiful Feet Study Guide, found here

Day 17

Watch, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. If you have Amazon Prime, this is currently free. Study the 7 wonders here. (As of today 12/12/12, this is not available on Amazon Prime. I don’t know if it will become available in the future. You can find it on YouTube. Part 1 & Part 2. We generally watch YouTube from the computer, but also beam videos to our Roku through Twonky).

Day 18

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 2
(Egyptian Civilization: “The Gift of the Nile”, The Importance of Geography, The Importance of Religion, The Course of Egyptian History: The Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms)

Read pages 33-35. Discuss.

Assignment: Have each student create illustrated symbols for each of the Egyptian gods in this section. They should also explain the illustrations made for these gods.

Day 19

HOAW: Chapter Four. The Creation of Empire. Discuss.

Day 20

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 2
(The Old Kingdom, The Middle Kingdom, Chaos and a New Order: The New Kingdom)

Read pages 36-39, including Hatshepsut-The First Female Ruler in History (answer question). Discuss.

More on Hatshepsut:
The Story of Hatshepsut

Assignment: Refer to page 34. Where do you think a canal between the Nile and the Red Sea would have been built? Discuss the advantages of this waterway and its importance to Egyptian trade.

Day 21

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 2 – Lesson 2
(Society and Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, Writing and Education)

Read pages 40-42, Including YOU ARE HERE: An Egyptian Father’s Advice to His Son. Discuss and answer questions.

Complete Section Review alone or as a group. Locate areas on map. Define words in notebook.

Day 22

HO: Unit 1 – Chapter 3 – Lesson 1
(The Minoan Civilization)

Read pages 43-44, The Minoan Civilization. Print map of ancient Greece (you could also use this version). Locate Crete on map (we color it and write the word Minoan under the Crete label). It would be helpful to have an atlas or globe to show Greece in relation to other areas of study. We find this online version helpful. (direct link to atlas showing Greece/Crete)

Watch, Ancient Apocalypse Mystery of the Minoans. Discuss.

Assignment: Examine the fresco of the acrobats and bull and list 5 assumptions that could be made about Minoan civilization based on this art.


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Once a month I’ll be taking my kids to a local library for Otaku Anime Club. My daughters (mostly the oldest) are obsessed with anime, mangas and Japanese culture. I thought it would be a great club for them to join. It would also take care of some of that pesky socializing that non-homeschooling people tend to worry about.

Their first meeting was Saturday. It was to last an hour and a half and I figured I’d get some work done for ABH and let the boy and little one mingle with the kids in the children’s section. When we arrived, there were only two people there. Two teen boys that were very otaku anime typical. I mean, I couldn’t have pictured them any other way. SM even told me they argued over what was better…Netflix or Hulu and other geeky stuffz. Anyway, they started introductions and the little ones and I went about our way.


I really wanted to go medieval on a few of the little kids that were playing in the children’s section. Their parents dropped them off and they were acting as if they were at the playground. Outdoors. In some underdeveloped country. Uh. The librarian came over a few times to quiet them down. I gave her a look to let her know that they definitely weren’t with me. RS read a few books, and NK gave the stink eye to a kid for 20 minutes before deciding to try to play with her.

I got no work done. Figures. After an hour and a half, I went to see if the girls were ready. The lights were out in the room and they were watching some anime that I couldn’t recognize because they all look the same to me. I know. Blasphemy. I figured they started a bit late and may have needed more time, so I went back to the Hell’s Angels in the children’s section. After 5 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore, and moved the Littles close to a table of boys playing a Dungeons and Dragons card game. They were less rambunctious and my tension eased.

20 more minutes passed and the fact that food was calling my name sent me to check on the girls again. Still watching?? I had enough and risked embarrassing them. When I opened the door, there were 3 boys near the front of the room and my girls sitting in the WAY back together. WHAT? This is NOT socializing. I waved them over and they said goodbye to the club supervisor and kids. Once outside I complained that they could have done THAT at home. I mean, they were watching a show that we could have watched on Netflix, and they were sitting together. =/

They said they still enjoyed themselves and want to go back next month. Not sure what for? Maybe they’ll open up next month. Geez.

Stay tuned for our adventures in bowling. I’m putting together a bowling league for the homeschoolers in our area. So far there are 15 kids interested. This could get messy.

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Beautiful Feet.

I love Beautiful Feet Books. And I love giveaways. I happen to have a very lovely literature guide that I will be giving away in my next entry. The Ancient History literature guide includes lessons for your middle schooler and high schooler.

From their site:

Revised, expanded and improved! Our popular one-year study of the ancient world is now TWO study guides in one! Featuring separate notes for intermediate (5th-8th grade) and high school level students, this guide leads you through the fascinating civilizations of ancient Sumeria, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Biblical history is combined with the writings of Shakespeare, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Padraic Colum, Genevieve Foster and others.  Detailed study notes, vocabulary lists, maps, lesson plans and tests with answer keys all combine to make this an exciting study that reveals the relevancy of the ancient world to ours today!

Includes references, a listing of relevant websites, vocabulary lists, historical notes, comprehension questions and answer key, and much more. Everything you need to teach ancient history using the best literature available! The Intermediate section of the study guide contains 71 lessons (complete 2-3 per week) and the Senior High section contains 91 lessons (complete 3 per week).

Stay tuned!

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