A little About Us

I have been blogging over at for almost a year. I may double blog for awhile before I decide which I like better.....

But for an introduction......

I am Sarah, a homeschooling mom to 4 boys. Rylan-7, Cale, 5, Cohen, 3 and Lakin 1. We are a houseful with 6 people, 7 cats, 3 dogs, 2 bunnies and 23 chickens- no the chickens aren't actually in our house. I guess you could say we are eclectic homeschoolers. I pull things from almost all schools of thought based only on how I think my children will learn best.

That is my little family in a very small nutshell....for more...go here:

To see our Lapbooks
To see some of our Homeschool
To see our Family

I may add some of my previous posts to this one over the next few weeks to fill up all of the empty space!


New Additions

I mentioned last week that I have a new interest in the Montessori way of teaching. I love the preschool ideas and the practical life instruction. I have found in the past week that information on the elementary- or 6-12 class- is hard to find. There is a wealth of information on setting up a 3-6 classroom, but not so much on the older kids. So I have been adding things to our "classroom" and rearraging our existing items in more appealing ways.

One thing I have been making is this:

The beads are a major mathematics manipulative. And if you buy the ones through the Montessori stores they are ridiculously expensive. We actually don't really have much in the way of manipulatives. My kids have never used them much for counting. They just learned by counting things; while building, reading etc. I like it that way. Rylan was a natural when it came to addition and didn't take long to go counting objects to abstract problems. We own cuisenaire rods, but they aren't marked so it makes it hard to know which rod is 8 and which is 6. I can see a lot of uses for these beads. Montessori uses them for everything from counting to understanding higher numbers, to mulitplication and square root. So I went to Hobby Lobby- lucky for me the beading section was in the flyer last week and plastic beads were all 50% off. So I bought a bunch and used some wire left over from the chicken coop and started stringing. I made 10 sets of the bead stair (above) and I also am working on long chains- about 10 long- of each number for use in skip counting. Rylan need some work with that- esp since he will be coming into multiplication before too long. I set the beads out and they have loved "play" with them so far.

And Cohen has taken to these changes like a moth to a flame. He is at the perfect age for this. He's pouring and counting and scooping. I made him a salt tray to write in. He has actually been trying to write some letters- can do a c, o and i. He was so excited and ran to find his dad after each letter, yelling "Daddy, come see my "o"!!" Today I made this sorting set and he wanted to use it immediately. (excuse the smile, he's at the stage where he puts this grin on when he hears the camera...I tried to get one of him actually working but he would here the focus and look up with this smile)

Once he was done, I asked him to roll up the mat and put it away, which he did, but then he wanted to use the red mat. So I found an old counting game we made last year. An egg carton, numbered to 12 and enough beads to fill each with the appropriate number. I think for a not quite 3 yr old he is an excellent counter. He did all of them. A little help near the end keeping his 1:1 correspondance straight but overall he did it alone, counting the beads one at a time to put them in the right spot.


All About Me Lapbooks

I picked something sort of easy for our first project. Something they would find fun, but incorporated some of the information they need to know: full name, address, phone numbers etc. Most of this was review for my 2nd grader but not quite memorized for my Kindergartener. I also wanted to introduce the concept of history in thier own lives before we jump into the history of everything else.

The minibooks/parts included:

  • A self portrait

  • My Time Line, downloaded from somewhere but I can't remember where
  • a family tree- I c/p a clipart tree and drew the boxes I needed in Word

  • Likes and Dislikes

  • My Family

  • Measurements accordian book

  • graph of the above measurements
  • a person shape book taken from an Evan Moor Theme Pocket book, downloaded from Googlebooks. Name, age, height, right/left handed, boy/girl, etc

Most of the books were made by me. It was pretty simple. But they enjoyed working on it.


A new year begins....

We started our school year today...I am now officially homeschooling 2....2nd grade and Kindergarten. I have days 1-20 planned; completely planned. Which books they will read, which chapter book I will read, pages in workbooks, games, activities. And today went really well. They both sat down and didn't complain at all this morning. Cohen colored and worked with is Cars tot-book, which he loves to read through, plus it helps him feel a little more involved in general. Lakin is finally old enough to sit at the table so coloring holds his attention a lot longer....he was using stamp markers this morning and he ended up with a perfect star stamped on his face. They we did it all, the LArts book work , reading their readers, me reading 2 chapters, math activity and their address/phone/DOB/Name minibook. They were done before 10:00 am. So we all went out to play soccer, collect tomatoes and raspberries, exercise the rabbits and collect eggs. It was a very stress free morning.

Cale has been asking to start school all weekend. And we did cut out all our "All About Me" lapbook pieces yesterday. He is a good student and that really encourages Rylan to be a good student too. Hopefully they will use their brotherly competitivness for a good use. Rylan also has his incentive to be good: we finshed reading the first Harry Potter book on Saturday and on Friday if he has a good week he gets to stay up late and watch the movie.