Homeschooling, fall 2017, age 8.5


She continues to read for enjoyment and with ease. Her co-op class utilizes Jr. Great Books, and while she’s grouped with the lower elementary kids once again, I think it is great practice for that sort of reading/comprehension/analysis/discussion type of work.


Reading and spelling are closely related, and I can tell that she just *sees* words. She often misspells but has all the correct letters, just the wrong order. I don’t see the need for a formal spelling curriculum as her ability is at or above average for her age.



The writing class at the co-op has weekly homework assignments–creative writing where anything goes, and formal writing utilizing an outline and constructing a paragraph. The classwork includes topics like metaphors and alliteration and idioms, and they share their writing with their small groups and get feedback.



I’ve been continuing to simply use Prodigy Math, an online game that I know a lot of families use as a supplement. But I’m comfortable using it exclusively for now since she likes it and doesn’t cry or complain (which I’ve received as a response to other maths).

She has worked through multiplication and has maybe half of her facts memorized, and can skip count or manipulate the numbers mentally to figure out the rest. I’m hoping memorization will come with practice organically. She’s been working through fractions, geometry, converting metric units, and it even threw some scatter plots at her recently which was fun.

We also continue to play math games such as Math Dice Jr., Balance Beans, Clumsy Thief, 4-Way Count Down, and Mobi Max.



We’ve been dabbling in Real Science Odyssey’s Chemistry, but it’s been a busy summer and we’ve yet to fall into a good routine with it this fall. She has lots of natural science in her life though! She continues attending nature class with our homeschool group, as well as participating in the local nature center’s Jr. Naturalist program.



An art class is also included in our weekly co-op at the library, and the classes vary from painting to drawing to repurposing recyclables. She also enjoys crafting a lot of miniatures for her dolls for play, as well as drawing along with the Art Hub for Kids YouTube videos.



She still has Story of the World Volume 1 and 2 (ancient times through middle ages) on her little iPod and listens to them randomly. She has also started covering more geography and social studies at GLC.



Lily continues to play violin and is working on the first bits of the second Suzuki book. She’ll also be joining a Chicago Children’s Choir this school year!


Physical Education

Musical and physical–ballet class! 3rd grade seems to mean really ramped up practice at ballet, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much she learns this year. She also takes gymnastics classes through the park district. On top of that she loves to go wall climbing at the indoor gym as a family. It’s been a great hobby for all of us!



Another year of Girl Scouts! She just began her second year of being a Brownie and really enjoys the monthly meetings and field trips her the local girls.


Triangle baby quilt from 5 fat quarters

I have a dear friend whose sister is due with a baby this summer, and since no other babies are getting born that are close enough to me, I am totally sewing for this new baby.

I didn’t have a lot to go on for colors and fabrics from the mom-to-be, but then the genius idea struck to stalk her registry, and as it turns out she likes greys and blues. Then I hemmed and hawed for FOREVER picking these 5 fat quarters out, and I knew I couldn’t possibly add a single other fabric into the fold, so 5 fat quarters it is.

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Finished size: Approximately 31″ x 43″

To make this quilt…

5 unique fat quarters
1/4 inch foot
ruler with 60 degree mark
rotary cutter and mat

Lay out one fat quarter and mark 4 lines going the length (20″ side) spaced 5 7/8″ apart.

Mark the diagonal lines using your 60 degree mark on your ruler making the sides of each triangle measure 6 3/4″.

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There is very little wiggle room on a fat quarter, but measure and mark carefully and you will get a total of 15 whole triangles and 6 half triangles.

Carefully stack all 5 fat quarters (putting your marked one on top) and cut out all the pieces using a rotary cutter and a fresh blade.

Lay out the triangles in 8 rows. Each row will have 9 whole triangles and 2 half triangles (at each end).

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Play with the arrangement until you like the look!


Sew together each row, pressing seams open, and being careful to line up points as you go. Use the pin trick from See Kate Sew to line up your points!


I haven’t finished piecing mine yet, but I needed to get all these numbers out of my head and somewhere to stay for reference 🙂

LEGO Snapology gator giveaway

As a homeschooling mom I’m always looking for more ways to make learning fun. That was such a cheesy sentence. Let me try again. As a homeschooling mom I’m always looking for more ways to consider the fun stuff in life as educationally valuable. Now that’s better! Kids are learning all the time. Really!

I used to think that was only true when Lily was little and she so obviously absorbed everything in the world around her simply through playing. But now as an 8 year old (OMG EIGHT) I still see how amazing play is for her every day. Sure we do some academic stuff during our homeschooling weeks, but there is so much more to learning in life than curriculum. Playing that board game? Writing in that diary? Playing with those LEGOS? All count toward “schooling?” Heck yes!

I love laying down a strong STEM base for her. We all know how important it is to encourage science and math in our girls, and LEGO sets like this one certainly help. And now I’m so exciting to learn that places like Snapology are popping up all over to offer hands-on learning experiences for kids!

I am also so lucky to be able to give away a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology mascot Sebastian Gator!


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Note: this set is recommended for ages 6+. This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal.

Want to win a LEGO gator?

To enter this giveaway simply comment on this blog post!

Want an extra entry? Share on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (and come back here and comment with a link of proof) to gain additional entries!

I will choose a winner at random on April 10th!

Homeschooling, spring 2017, age 8



I don’t do anything official for this at home beyond encouraging her to read for pleasure, which she does (quite happily). Her interests are mostly nonfiction, books about friendships, gentle mysteries, and animal stories, though she has a good interest in historical fiction too. I don’t put much stock in Lexile numbers, but I’ve found that ~700 she breezes through very comfortably, but she can stretch above that easily too (when the book is interesting enough).

I, once again, briefly used this “reading level assessment” and she could once get through the 6th grade words but got hung up on the 7th grade list.

The local co-op has a literature class that she participates in which uses classics and other books. They’re encouraged to read them at home before class, though the teacher reads them aloud as well, and then they discuss and go through some basic comprehension. While she’s grouped in the lower elementary and the reading level is well below what she is capable of, I think it’s a great practice for this sort of work, and next year she’ll likely be in with the older kids at the co-op based on age/grade.



There is also a writing class at the weekly co-op where they cover different topics like types of words, haiku poems, how to count syllables. They have free writing in class, and two homework assignments each week–creative writing (literally anything goes), and formal writing where she writes a paragraph from an outline that she makes.


We’ve been pretty much just using Prodigy Math, an online game that I know a lot of families use as a supplement, but I’m comfortable using it exclusively for now. It automatically assesses her math level (which the home screen is currently telling me is 4th grade). She’s proficient in any-digit addition/subtraction, conceptually understands multiplication/division and is beginning to memorize those facts naturally (I allow her to use a multiplication chart instead of being limited by lack of rote memorization), basic metric conversion, fractions, and more that I’m just not remembering.

I love the reports that are available from Prodigy, and even just quickly logging in shows me how many questions she’s answered each day this week, and what topics have been covered. I’ve created my own account and play at the highest level of math and we “battle” each other, which she enjoys. She mostly loves all the extras in the game–pets, clothes, decorating her home–but she tolerates the math that’s involved, so I’ll take it.

We also continue to play math games such as Math Dice Jr., Balance Beans, and Mobi Max. I’m hoping she gets confident enough for Sumoku soon, and regular Math Dice.



We’ve continued to slowly work through REAL Science Odyssey – Earth and Space as a formal curriculum, and have made it mostly through all of the planets, and after that it’s stars and the book is done. I really like the pick-up-and-go aspect of this curriculum…there’s very little that I have to prep in advance. Typically when I know our schedule will allow for science I look at the book the day before, make sure we have any supplies required, and that’s it. I plan to do their Chemistry book next, and likely Physics after that. In my head the idea of cycling through those three for elementary school makes sense, but we’ll see what actually plays out.


Other science-y stuff continues to happen informally and with much curiosity. We continue attending nature class with our homeschool group, and though we took a break over winter from the Jr. Naturalist program, we just signed up for spring again at our local nature center.



An art class is also included in our weekly gatherings at the library, and they vary from painting to drawing to repurposing recyclables. She also enjoys crafting a lot of miniatures for her dolls for play, as well as drawing along with the Art Hub for Kids YouTube videos.


She still has Story of the World Volume 1 and 2 (ancient times through middle ages) on her little iPod and listens to them mostly while she relaxes in the bathtub (LOL). She likes historical fiction books such as Little House on the Prairie, and has started reading a new series, Goddess Girls. I’m unsure of that series’ educational value, but it’s making Greek mythology relatable, and for an 8 year old that’s good enough for me.


Lily continues to play violin and is working on completing the final song in the first Suzuki book. The goal is for this song to be her recital piece in a few weeks!

Physical Education

Also tied in with music is her ballet class. They’re currently preparing for the spring recital which she LOVES. She also takes gymnastics classes through the park district. We’ve recently started wall climbing indoors at a gym together and she excels at that with all of her monkey-bar-upper-body strength!



Her Girl Scout troop at the local grade school is having fun being Brownies this year. They meet at least monthly and her troop leader is kind and creative with their activities.


She has also started attending an independent learning center for ~4 hours a week. Now, this place is difficult to describe. The director is trained in Montessori and gifted education, as well as child psychotherapist, who decided to create this amazing space for homeschooled kids. We use it as an enrichment activity, like how kids in public school would have pull-out gifted services, but some use it as a bridge to eventually enroll in a brick and mortar school again. It’s a magical place that collaborates between director-led and child-led goals in a small community setting, and we are so lucky to have found it and for Lily to be able to participate.


We just wrapped up Lily’s 8th birthday week of celebrations and I am so incredible proud of the kid she’s growing into. She seems to be shedding most of her little-kid qualities and I just absolutely love parenting her.

Year-long knitting

As the new year approaches I find myself thinking of year-long projects to start and (hope) to finish throughout the whole year of 2017. In my searching I happened across the Year in Temperatures and Knit the Sky projects. I thought (and over thought) about how to do these. I just love the conceptual idea of knitting the sky, one row a day, and adding a rainbow in when I see a real-life rainbow. But that would require also having an entire rainbow of compatible yarn on hand. And if I was going to have an entire rainbow anyway I might as well knit the weather as well!

So, I am!

Rebecca and I have decided to knit the weather together–her in Colorado after her January move and me in Illinois. It should be a neat way to compare the differences. I’ve purchased my yarn from Knit Picks and am eagerly await its arrival.

Here are the colors for the temperatures…


And here are the colors I chose for the sky…


Both projects will require just one row per day. So far I’ve been picturing a simple stockinette tube with the strands run up the middle and then likely kitchener joining it to be round like a super-sized cowl. That way I won’t have to weave in 365 loose ends, which I would very much like to avoid.

For the sky I will simply observe during my day and pick what I deem the best choice. For the temperature I’ve organized the colors in 10F degree  increments. If you’re joining, please feel free to adjust to your area’s climate!


I also anticipate falling behind, because that’s easy to have happen, especially on a long term project such as this. So I have created a one-page print out of a whole year calendar that can be used to document one or both projects in order to more easily play catch-up.

One project, row per date:


Both projects, two rows per date:


We would love it if you joined us on this knit-a-long! Or get creative! I’ve seen blankets done with this concept, even cross-stitch! I love that there can be so many variations of the same theme–observing and documenting the year.

Camper got a little make-over

The little pop-up camper looked like it could use some customizing, so it got some valances and pillowcases. There’s a quilt top ready and waiting to be quilted before the next season, too!