The Mystery of History is Now Available on Kindle!

Affiliate links included. See my disclosure here.

Hey, my fellow The Mystery of History fans! Did you know you can now get Volumes I and II on Kindle? Yes! So now we can take our favorite history book everywhere we go.

I hope that's one more tool in your arsenal! Now go forth and enjoy summer ;)

Need more Mystery of History help? I have posts, videos, and downloads on how to organize your Mystery of History year once so that you won't have to do it again in four years when you go back to that year in the 4-year cycle. See parts one and two below.

I also have book lists - read-alouds and imdependent reading - for Volumes I-III. I'm working on the Volume IV list!





Two Homeschooling Resources We Loved This Year

This year two resources that were new to our homeschool stood out amongst the rest and really shined as our favorite things. I've written a lot on the subject of curriculum and resources, reviewing and relaying what has worked and what hasn't been great for us, so today I'm just going to focus on telling you about the cream of the crop in our home from the 2014/2015 school year.

Deep Space Sparkle

Have you been over to Patty Palmer's beautiful art blog, Deep Space Sparkle yet? Patty is an art teacher here in California and she is producing some stunning projects to do with students in any setting. Take a look at her homeschool starter kit.

Since Annesley was in 5th grade and Christian in 2nd, I thought I could use the projects from 50-Minute Art Projects for the two of them. It was perfect!

Black and White Tree Study

Black and White Tree Study

Easy to download and work from a computer.

Easy to download and work from a computer.

Southwest Watercolor Landscape

Southwest Watercolor Landscape

Try a freebie from Deep Space Sparkle. The project Christian is working on in the above photo is the Southwest Watercolor Landscape.


Who is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me?

Our second favorite of the year is Who is My Neighbor and Why Does He Need Me? from Apologia. The third in the What We Believe series, I chose it because I felt we could all use a brush-up on serving our neighbors, both outside of our home and in (if you know what I mean ;) )

I already wrote about Who is My Neighbor over on the HomeschoolingIRL blog, so I'm going to be a bit summer lazy and send you there for more info. 

What have been your favorite resources this year?

How to Plan an Easy-Going Preschool Year at Home

I originally wrote this post in 2007, when our 6th of 8 was a preschooler. She definitely had the benefit of birth order, getting a solid but realistic preschool year that fully prepared her to start kindergarten in our homeschool. Today she is a 6th grader, a strong math student, and a lover of Nancy Drew books.

And that 9th grader? He's 22. It goes ridiculously fast.

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I'm a bit late on the preschool planning this year. The 9th grader is taking the bulk of my planning time, but the beauty is that once I've planned his, the others will be easier to plan as they hit the grades he's already finished because the skeleton will have been built. I tweak each year to fit the child, so things change a bit; still, the framework tends to remain the same.

Our preschooler this year will be four in December. She's our Beach Babe.

Beach Babe.jpg

She knows her basic phonics sounds, thanks to Leap Frog Letter Factory, but as I prefer the vertical approach to teaching and learning phonics, we still have phonics to learn. What's a vertical approach to phonics? In a nutshell, it means that all the phonics sounds are taught for each letter as you go, as opposed to a horizontal approach wherein the child learns just the short vowel sounds and one sound per letter, going back to learn a letter's other sounds later. If you want to know more, you can read about it at

By way of example, though, the child using the vertical phonics method would learn that the sounds the letter "A" makes are "a" as in "cat", "ay" as in "plate", and "ah" as in "talk".

Our current preschooler is a girl, which tailors some of our choices. Dolls come to mind - my boys weren't much interested in those. 

Here are our choices for this year, and in a future post I'll share our daily routine, as well:

Preschool Workbooks

Craft bags, made for her by her big brother

Nursery Rhyme Pockets

DK Children's Illustrated Bible

Lauri Puzzles

Arts and crafts and table activities get rotated every two weeks or little ones get easily bored:

Monday - Clay

Tuesday - Fingerpaints

Wednesday - Wikki Stix

Thursday - Stamps

Friday - Coloring pages or Paper Craft

Monday - Trains

Tuesday - Wedgits

Wednesday - Dolls

Thursday - Duplo

Friday - Preschooler's choice: weaving loom, pegs, or lacing cards

What's going on in your preschool this year?