September 30, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-op: Introductions

I am so excited to have found the Virtual Homeschool Co-op this year after watching one of the YouTube video introductions! It is nice that I can do it as a blog post because there is never a quiet moment around here to do a video! So, I am just going to jump write in with answers to all the introduction questions:
Introduce yourself to the community and who you are.

If I haven't said it all ready...Hi, I'm Gina and I am a stay-at-home mamma.I love books, homeschooling, homemaking and cooking. I have been married to my husband Brandon for 13 yrs. We are pretty much homebodies unless we are out and about with the kiddos. 

How long you have been homeschooling?

We have been homeschooling for 7 yrs. 

How many and how old are your homeschool children?

We have four kiddos. We have Hannah 14, Haedon 12, Hudson 5 and Hadlyn 3. All of our oldest kiddos have special needs. Our oldest daughter has bipolar disorder,ocd and some cognitive delay related both to medicine and bipolar itself; our oldest son has high functioning autism, ocd, adhd, global delay and reading disability; our youngest son has moderate autism, sensory processing disorder and global delay (also stating to see some ocd); our youngest daughter appears to be gifted and shows some signs of adhd and ocd. 

What is your Homeschool Mission Statement?

We do not have a written down mission statement, but I believe we are pretty clear on what we feel our mission is. We want to raise our children to serve the Lord, be the best that they can be and meet their needs on a level and in a way that works for them.
What is your homeschool approach?

We are really Eclectic homeschoolers! We are always changing what doesn't work for something that does and we use bits and pieces of everything. All of my children are on different levels, have different learning styles and varying needs so we pick and choose what will be a good tool for our family. 

Where are you located on this planet?

We are located in Southern Illinois! 

How has the social media platforms helped you with your homeschool?

Social media has really been a blessing! We are not able to get out much and using social media has allowed me to connect with others that I can glean wisdom from or just have someone who understands what we are going through. I love the ability to see what others are doing and adapt things that may work for us. Reading other homeschool blogs also gives me lots of encouragement!

What are you excited about getting out of the VHC this year?

I am excited to see what everyone else is up to, get some new ideas and make some new friends along the way!

This blog post is my part of the Virtual Homeschool Coop Channel Collaboration. You can find out more about it at  The goal of the Virtual Homeschool Coop is to build the homeschool community of knowledge with collaborations to give voice to all experiences in homeschooling.

September 13, 2016

How I Schedule My Son's Weekly Work

Here is an overview of our weekly schedule using all the curriculum that I mentioned in my previous post. It looked overwhelming but it really isn't. It is just a list of what I pull out to use when we reach a certain page in the journal. 

Monday: Comic Book Math 2 pgs.
                Learn Math Fast 1 Lesson
                Explode the Code 2 pgs.
                Thinking Skills 1 pg.
                Minecraft Journal 5 pgs.
                Science (usually one lesson)

Tuesday: Comic Book Math 2 pgs.
                Learn Math Fast 1 Lesson
                Spelling 2 pgs.
               Grammar Reading (1 Lesson)
               Thinking Skills 1 pg.
                Minecraft Journal 5 pgs.
                Story of the World (1/2 Chapter)

Wednesday: Comic Book Math 2 pgs.
                     Learn Math Fast 1 Lesson
                    Explode the Code 2 pgs.
                    Thinking Skills 1 pg.
                   Minecraft Journal 5 pgs.
                   Science (finish up any we didn't get complete on Monday)

Thursday: Comic Book Math 2 pgs.
                 Learn Math Fast 1 Lesson
                 Spelling 2 pgs.
                Grammar Reading (finish up any of the lesson we didn't get complete on Tuesday)
                Thinking Skills 1 pg.
                Minecraft Journal 5 pgs.
                Story of the World (1/2 Chapter)

Friday: Co-op Day (we go to a lighter co-op that does more fun based things)

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we do group work with his older sister (14). On Tuesday, we play the Mad Libs game together, watch the Wordup! DVD, read a devotional story and go over a Usborne Art card. On Wednesday, we complete our Kidz Doctrinal Training that covers our Apostolic Pentecostal faith.

I hope that this is helpful for you! Happy Homeschooling!
Using Fun-Schooling Books to Develop a Complete Curriculum

I would like to share with you how I am using the Fun-Schooling books by Sarah Janisse Brown to create a complete curriculum for my 5th grade (working at a 3-5th grade level) son. 

I first purchased the Do-It-Yourself Curriculum Fun-Schooling with Minecraft journal. Then I just took each section and figured out what I wanted to use to cover it. My son needs a little more structure with his learning so not everything is just him choosing what he wants to use. I let him choose topics and extra books but the core is chosen by me. Then, we added in items to cover Math and Language Arts. 

Here is a list of what we do:

For the Geography pages we use: The Children's Atlas of God's World and The Not-For-Parents Travel Book

For the Design Your Own Animal pages we use: Nat Geo Wild Animal Atlas

For Reading Time and Core Subject Pages, he has decided to study Chemistry and Middle Ages: Amish Pathway readers, The Story of the World Vol. 2 (we also do the color pages associated with this book), Usborne Look Inside a Castle, Fizz, Bubble & Flash, God's Design For Chemistry and Ecology: Properties of Atoms and Molecules, Usborne Medieval World. We are also reading Robin Hood and The Knights of the Round Table. 

News, Movie Time and Nature Study are not planned out I  just help him find good quality things to cover these areas that we find online or outside! Some we like are the Wordup! DVD, Drive Through History and Horrible History.

For the Math Time pages we will use the Bedtime Math App. because we have a separate Math program

For the Copywork pages, I decided to use Draw-Write-Now and let him choose which book he wanted to use.  

For Listening Time we are going through the Usborne Famous Composers Reference Book. (It has QR links to listen to music from the composers!)

Then for the Vocabulary pages we are using English from the Roots Up Vol. 1. We write the word root at the top of the page and I let him select from the included words which ones he wants to write down and define. 

For our remaining subjects we use the following:
     Math: Comic Book Math and Learn Math Fast Books
     Spelling/Phonics: Explode the Code and Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write,Spell and Draw
     Thinking Skills: Thinking Skills from
     Grammar: we are reading Simply Grammar, Usborne Illustrated Grammar and Punctuation and we use the Mad Libs Game. 

I hope this helps give you an idea of what we are doing in our homeschool using the Fun-Schooling books. In my next post I will show you how we break it down during the week. 

September 10, 2016

Usborne Books and More

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have recently joined Usborne Books and More as an independent consultant. I love to grow my at home library and read to my kiddos! I hope that I can share that love with you! Usborne Books are very beautiful and engaging. We use them in our homeschool and our free time. Please head over and check out my website and browse through these great books here.  

September 6, 2016

Review: My First Fun-Schooling Journal for Princesses & Ballerinas

I was sent a copy of Sarah and Anna's new book to review. Don't forget to check out her site here and download you free Mom's Fun-Schooling Journal! This book is recommend for ages 6-9 and covers reading, writing, spelling, math, art and logic. It is very similar to the Horse Dreams Journal in format and the themes are the main difference between the two. It is printed on the thicker cream colored paper and uses the dyslexia font. I did notice that this journal does not include the cursive writing or clock pages that are in the Horse Dream Journal. I was having issues with creating a video for this post (mostly my toddler decided to scream every time she heard the camera turn on), so I took a bunch of pictures instead. I did not take pictures of every page as a lot of the pages repeat. I think it is great to have repeated pages so that your children can have consistent school days and there are always a variety of pages thrown in the mix to change things up a bit. Hope you all enjoy and get a good idea of how super cute and educational this book is and if you would like to purchase this particular book please check it out here.











September 4, 2016

Freezer Cooking Sundays

 After doing a lot of research, I have decided that freezer cooking could really help in preparing meals for my family. Cooking for six people when homeschooling, trying to keep the house clean, and just living a busy life can seem like a daunting task. However, adding freezer cooking to my weekly schedule has really helped give me a little more time. I have mostly used it for breakfast foods and a few crock-pot meals. 

Now, I am not one of those wonderful freezer cooking mamas who can do a marathon cooking session for an entire day. We would just never be able to manage the amount of time required to do that. My solution to this is to choose one or two items to prepare for the freezer and only prepare those items on my designated day (Sunday evenings). Two Weeks ago, I made muffins, sandwiches and smoothie mix for the freezer. Last week was breakfast burritos and a crock pot soup. 

This week I fried a 10 lb. roll of hamburger separated into two different pans. Once they were finished we drained the grease and then seasoned one pan for spaghetti and one for tacos. As part of menu planning we are alternating tacos and spaghetti every Friday for the month, this batch will cover those meals for two months. 

The next item on my list was whole wheat pumpkin pancakes. These turned into waffles as my wonderful husband decided to warm up the waffle maker and waffle all the batter for me to place in baggies and freeze. If you would rather have pancakes, I just heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray. Pour the batter in the sheet pan and bake about 10 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you prefer them browned you can kick on your broiler for a few minutes but keep a close eye on them. I then let them cool and cut in squares with a pizza cutter. It really saves having to flip and fry over the hot stove. If you want to make these here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes/Waffles

Mix dry in a large bowl:
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax
1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt ground (or plain salt)
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix wet in separate bowl:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 eggs
4 1/4 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin

Combine wet into bowl of dry and stir until mixed.

September 2, 2016

Review: Horse Dreams Fun-Schooling Journal 

 I recently received a copy for review of the Horse Dreams Fun-Schooling Journal by Sarah Janisse Brown. You can check out her website here. Don't forget to download the sampler of the Mom's Fun-Schooling Book at the top! These books are just super cute and engaging. They are such a wonderful way to get your kids to enjoy learning. It is so wonderful to see their excitement and enthusiasm blossom when they are truly engaged with a topic that they have chosen to learn about. This particular journal is recommended for ages 6-9. I am letting my 14 yr old daughter use it as part of her school day. I chose to use it with her because she loves horses, coloring and wanted to practice her cursive handwriting. She has quite a full work load already and I thought this book would be just a fun addition for her. Here is a video review:

To purchase your own copy of the Horse Dreams Fun-Schooling Journal