Homeschooling, fall 2016, age 7.5



I still don’t touch this formally as she is an avid reader. She enjoys a variety of reading levels, from “too easy” for her ability to well beyond what I would ever imagine her reading and comprehending.

Once again we briefly used this “reading level assessment” and she could get through the 6th grade words easily and hung up in the 7th grade lists. Her compressension has tested around mid-3rd grade.



I’m trying to get better at adopting the Bravewriter lifestyle again for our family. Tuesday Teatime is difficult to remember; maybe we’ll do it as a family after dinner instead. Her handwriting is still tediously slow which means she prefers to dictate to me which I’m trying to feel more positive about because I’m pretty sure the more confident independent writing will come with time. Lily will also attend weekly homeschool classes again held by a group of families at our local library. This includes a writing class where she completes assignments in class and at home each week. She did well with this class last year!



We have found that Math in Focus is a good fit for her! It is Singapore-style math workbooks and we completed 2A and a lot of 2B over summer. Conceptually she’s ready to advance more but the computations and memorization aren’t quite there, so we’re going to circle around with some review and introducing concepts through stories like Sir Cumference and activities like Family Math. We also play math games such as Clumsy Thief and Mobi Max. I’m trying to convince her that memorizing her math facts will make those games easier 🙂



Science-y stuff continues to happen informally and happily. Nature class with our homeschool group is a great exposure to a lot of things, as well as being a part of the Jr. Naturalist program at our local nature center. We have also begun to slowly work through REAL Science Odyssey, Life as a more formal curriculum.




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.



Story of the World Volume 1 on audiobooks is still a hit, and I have also added volume 2 on her little iPod. We’ve begun to do some activities from the Story of the World 1 activity book. She’s still into reading historical fiction for pleasure, so I will continue to encourage that. Over summer we began reading the entire Little House series and she is a HUGE fan. We will also once again attend a monthly class at our local history center which touches on various topics from Abraham Lincoln to Frida Kahlo.




Lily is still playing her violin. She started in October of 2014 and has continued to practice just about every day since then. I’m continually amazed by how much she keeps improving at (what I consider) a difficult instrument. So many strings and a bow and fingers!

Physical Education

Also tied in with music is her ballet classes at the local park district. She has also chosen to begin gymnastics classes again. Oh, and monkey bars are a pretty consistent favorite pastime 🙂


Lily is also once again involved in Girl Scouts at the local grade school with friends that live on our street (amongst others who attend that school). The troop is bridging to Brownies this year! We make sure to schedule playdates with friends at least weekly. Im confident life will has hit a good weekly groove again once fall really gets going.


My little Laura Ingalls

Lily and I have been reading the Little House series (in order…we’re currently on The Long Winter) and she is IN LOVE. So much so that she requested a “prairie photo shoot” and I was happy to oblige!



We’re scheming up ideas of a Laura Ingalls road trip. Perhaps we’ll do Pepin, WI to Walnut Grove, MN to De Smet, SD. It’s fun to plan and daydream!

I love to-do lists

I’m not sure if my love for to-do lists is being transferred to my daughter or not, but they sure do keep me on task and make me feel accomplished when I get to cross off the completed items.

I keep a Google Tasks to-do list (several, actually) on-going with long term and short term items to take care of. And I’ve found that when I have a lot planned for our day it does us best to write it all on our wipe board out so nothing gets forgotten about.

Some of the things on the checklist in the photo are pretty standard for our days, but occasionally they need a little gentle reminding (i.e. not me nagging)…drink water, practice violin, do a chapter of math. Other things we’ve been meaning to do but they keep getting pushed back…read another chapter of Harry Potter together, take a bath (I know, ew, LOL), pick projects for the Junior Naturalist program. And then there were all the things that were just relevant and needed to get done today and I didn’t want to forget because there were so many little things.

A bath is planned, the weather is a little too warm to want to be out tonight so a family board game is in order…and we’ll see if we get around to reading another chapter of Harry Potter or not. We like the book, don’t get me wrong, but it just hasn’t sucked us in like some others have.

There was plenty of time for her to read (a lot), play with toys (a lot), run to Target, go to the library, I sewed a little bit, dinner’s going in the crock pot…I’m calling today a success!

Oh, and Lily’s blog was sparked by her request for a “Laura Ingalls prairie photo shoot” in an overgrown field near my parents’ house. She then told me she wants to write a blog using the photos. We’ll see how far her project goes:

Li’l Purse for Lily

Lily and I agreed to enter the Sew Mama Sew Learn to Sew challenge and make a project together from BlueFig’s Learn to Sew kits! Lily has fancied herself a seamstress at all of 7 years of age, though her skill level is pretty beginner-ish (obviously). She understands a lot of sewing concepts–I can talk binding fabric choices with this kid, LOL–but execution still needs some practice. Her dolls have lots and lots (and LOTS) of tiny pillows and “quilts” that she has lovingly made.

We received the Li’l Purse Class 100 in the mail and Lily insisted on sewing the bag OMGRIGHTNOW. Who am I to stand in the way of enthusiasm for sewing? So we jumped straight into it.


Lily had picked out the Peacock Blue color, which was a beautiful choice, and they send a surprise little adornment in with each kit. She got a bird! A hummingbird, to be exact, and she squealed “it’s like they know me!” Couldn’t have asked for a better surprise in the box 🙂


To start, the instructions were super clear and she was able to begin all on her own. She needed a little help with pinning since she’s never done that in her sewing before, but then she got right into zig-zag stitching down the BlueFig emblem.




The problem with using pins is…you stab yourself with pins, LOL. And, well, she stabbed herself with the pin while sewing. I switched it up to my favorite sewing clips instead (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree around here, I much prefer my safe not-stabby clips while sewing, too).


The strap placement was a nice little lesson in 1/2″ measurement for her–always a learning opportunity around here. After sewing on the strap she got to lining up and clipping the sides of the bag, another task she was able to tackle all on her own.

She was definitely excited with how much she was able to do independently for this project. Sometimes that ideas she dreams up of sewing involves a lot of me taking over.


We flipped the bag right side out, opted to use permanent fabric glue for the pink bird, and ta-da!

Li'l Purse


That is one happy kid! Once the glue was dry she immediately used the bag to bring some little treasures with her to Grandma’s house for dinner. The fabric is sturdy, but was easy to sew through, and looks great with no finishing the edges whatsoever–perfect for a young seamstress.

See the other completed challenge projects! (Links coming soon!)

LiEr of ikatbag
Alicia Brown of Felt With Love Designs
Cheri Paxton of Living DIY Style
Rae Ann Kelly
Vanessa Lynch of Punkin Patterns

Who would’ve thought

Sometimes homeschool lessons are a struggle–a whiny, grumbling, slumpy, flopping over struggle. And we just had a major ah-ha moment over here. Because who would have thought? When something (math) is too easy, the level of grumping/flopping/whining is the same as if that something (math) is too hard. WHAT. And sometimes you have the type of kid that is just prone to careless errors, and no amount of repeating addition facts within a sum of 20 is going to change that, and it turns out that kid is totally ready to do triple digit addition and subtraction with regrouping within 1,000. And suddenly the grumbling has decreased, though 7+2 sometimes still equals 10 (except it totally doesn’t), but 674-325=349. Who would’ve thought.

A Monday in May

Had a rather feel-good day…plenty to do and accomplished a balanced amount of homeschooling (something I’ve been striving to do). I always wish I could look back on more glimpses of “a day in the life” for what our days looked like at any given time, so here was today, a Monday in May.

8:00am – Out of bed, me drinking coffee, Lily eats cereal and reads a book from the Mallory series by Laurie Friedman, one of her most recent favorite finds at the library.

9:00am – Reading together and “school work”…We read Your Fantastic Elastic Brain; What Do You Do With An Idea; and Billions of Years, Amazing Changes (a book about evolution). We wrote her writing assignments together for tomorrow’s homeschool co-op classes (formal paragraph from a 5-finger outline, and creative writing where she’s doing some Little House on the Prairie fanfic). She dictates, I write…her hand doesn’t keep up with her brain and I’m aiming to separate “writing” from “handwriting” to ease frustration and increase creativity. We worked on math (Math in Focus 2A, chapter 4 on bar models with addition within 1,000).

10:00am – Lily plays with Play-Doh, I go take a shower. She moves onto playing with dominoes which then quickly become building blocks with cars added in.

11:30am – We meet her violin teacher for a sushi lunch date (teacher is my cousin’s wife), and head to her house afterward for Lily’s violin lesson.

1:30pm – Lily rides her bike up and down the block while I open all the windows in the house and sew a quick project. She joins me in sewing and sews a mini quilt for her dolls.

2:30pm – We try a guided mediation on Youtube…something I’ve been meaning to try but have never carved out the time to do with her. She thought it was pretty boring 😉

3:00pm – We walk to the Girl Scout troop meeting at the neighborhood grade school.

5:00pm – Dinner

5:30pm – Walk to the park

7:30pm -Time for family board games! We’ve recently picked up a ton and now enjoy Hive, Quirkle, and so many more. We played Roll For It and Mobi Max tonight.

8:30pm – Bed time…we read a chapter from The Shores of Silver Lake and then it’s lights out until tomorrow.