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Homeschooling Pictures (Week 3)

Brent and Caleb doing their Bible study with me and Ethan looking up words in the dictionary. Please excuse our mess in the background. For some reason the rotating cupboard thing always stays open and makes for a messy look. I miss lots of picture taking because of the cluttered look but decided on this day to just take the picture. I miss school pics of my kiddos.
 Below Caleb is working on Bible.
 Brent completing school. I think he's working on Travel Dreams from The Thinking Tree.
 Below is a page from Brent's Biology book: Discovering Nature Series ~ Summer by the Sea

 This year Ethan will use How to Make Money by The Thinking Tree. Some weeks he'll complete four pages ~other weeks one or two. He also completes one or two journal pages a day. Right now he's working his way through the Library Based Boys Journal.

 Lance working through his phonics/reading program: Blast of to Reading

 Brent and Caleb making pizza for lunch. This is just for them two! Growing boys they are.
Brent watched a guy make pizza on YouTube and is showing Caleb how to form the dough.

Back-to-school Picture

My friend gave me this idea. Caleb and I came home from the post office. We mailed a package to Joshua.

I noticed our shadows and thought how my friend took pictures of their shadows and I thought they came out pretty neat.

I'm only sad that Joshua wasn't here to be in it (and that rascal Lance was asleep).
First it was Caleb and I, then I went in the house and told the rest of the kiddos what I wanted to do. Lance was still sleeping at almost 9:00!!! Unfortunately he's not in the pictures below.
 In order from left to right: Annette, Caleb, Mom, Ethan, and Brent.
In the one above Ethan is being silly and has his blanket on his head.

 This one would have been nice if the sun wasn't in Caleb's face.

The Basics of Critical Thinking (Review)

I received The Basics of Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Co. to use with Ethan (and plan to purchase one for Lance too!).
The target age/grade is for children in 4th-9th grade. I think it's a great Jr. High course. I plan to have Ethan complete a few pages a week. We are going to take our time with it. Now that he's in 8th grade his homeschooling load is increasing and I don't want to overwhelm him.

The Basics of Critical Thinking is full color and the original owner has permission to copy for their use ONLY. I love how generous The Critical Thinking Co. is with allowing families to make copies. With that said though I pan to purchase another for Lance. It just makes things easier for me.
The Critical Thinking Co.

My two boys don't like school. They'd rather be climbing trees, playing with LEGO blocks, or playing Minecraft so I really, really, appreciate that The Basics of Critical Thinking minimizes the "lecture" time. The lessons are easy-to-understand using diagrams and engaging in short activities.

My kiddos will be introduced to common argument forms and fallacies but won't be bogged down with all the technical names. This gives them the chance to learn how to evaluate claims and arguments (so they know in real life situations) without the stress of formal terminology which they can learn when they are older when they can handle it. I want my kids to enjoy learning because what they enjoy they will remember.

The course starts with having your child do a pretest. Note: it doesn't look like a test. It's only one page, is colorful, and looks fun. And at the end a posttest.
The Critical Thinking Co.

There are 20 lesson, each lesson is between 3-6 pages long. Your child will learn:

  • What is Critical Thinking?
  • Decisions & Conclusions
  • Beliefs and Claims
  • Finding Evidence
  • Evaluating Evidence
  • Inferring and Inferences
  • Facts and Opinions
  • Facts and Probable Truths
  • False and Probably False
  • Facts, Probably True, or Probably False
  • Venn Diagrams
  • Logical Connectives
  • Advertising (can't wait for my boys to get to this one)
  • Agreements and Contracts
  • Common Errors in Reasoning
  • Arguments
  • Valid and Invalid Arguments
  • Fallacies
  • Analogy Arguments
  • Using Critical Thinking to Make Better Decisions
Whew! That's a lot of learning.

Also included in this consumable, 145 page, full color, paperback book is the answer key which I'm so thankful a separate answer book is not needed. Not only does it make the course more affordable but less books to keep track of.

This is a great precursor to Practical Critical Thinking for grades 7-12. You can read my review, currently Caleb my 10th grade son is working through that one. I hope to have him use the James Madison Critical Thinking Course as well or You Decide!

As you may know if you are a regular reader of Homeschooling6. I absolutely love The Critical Thinking Co. curriculum. They have some amazing products. We have used them of-and-on throughout our homeschooling years.
The Critical Thinking Co.
My final thoughts on The Basics of Critical Thinking: I love that it's in color. For most kids color is always fun. At the same time it's not overly colorful so it's not distracting. 

For the younger child, I'd take my time and work through it slowly. Have the child work through the course over a few years. For most Jr.High kiddos I think they can wrap it up in a year. My boys have struggled with reading in the past and are now doing a lot better. They struggle with pencil phobia so we plan to take it slow. 

Lance will start half way into his 6th grade year or maybe at the beginning of his 7th. Ethan is using it now and will hopefully complete it before he starts high school (yikes, where has time gone!).

Some Days are Just Like That

  This is what homeschooling days looks like at our house at times.

Letter to Josh

Dear Joshua, 

I got your letter!!! I was super excited and couldn't wait to rip the envelope open. I'm so glad to hear you are doing well and they are feeding you wholesome food. You know how I am with wanting you to eat healthy. 
Land Navigation Training
Guess what, today (Tuesday) the ALERT Facebook page posted pictures of your first week. It was nice to see what you've been up to.  I heard you all had your first PT test, had three days of Catalyst, and started your Land Navigation training. I'm so excited for you. Praying that you will understand and do well with all that navigation learning. I know it can be a lot with having to be accurate with your calculations and all. You'll do well. I know it!
Physical Training Test- Josh front row on the right
As for us, we've been busy. Dad with the house, screens, work, AWANA, ALERT Cadet, and so forth. Me with homeschooling, reviews, making homemade goodies, and dinners. I actually made a dinner menu, made a shopping list too, and bought all the ingredients 😁. It's nice having all the stuff and knowing what we will eat. 

The weather has been hot but I think it's hotter in Big Sandy. We've been praying for you all about that. I don't know how long you all are outside but I can imagine it's a lot and with the temperature being close to 100* well I can only imagine. 
I've been keeping your little Unit in prayer as well as the whole Unit 56. I noticed one guy by the name of J., he has a pack that looks a bit uncomfortable, so I've been praying for him daily. I know if the pack doesn't fit right it can affect the whole hike, just like a blister on your foot can. If I could I'd send him a backpack myself.  

Annette will have her first soccer game this coming Saturday. She was suppose to play last Saturday but the game was canceled. ⚽

Know that we are praying for you. Every push-up is for a purpose, a purpose to make you stronger not only physically but mentally. 

Love you lots,
God will meet all your needs Joshua, it says so in Phil. 4:9

Fun Monday

I had planned to take the kiddos to the coffee shop last Friday but it didn't happen. Annette ended up being with my dad and we wanted her with us, so we went today.

It was a sort of back-to-homeschool end-of-the week type splurge.

And guess what? Later like around 9:00 P.M. we went to Braum's. The kiddos were happy about that. It's not everyday we splurge twice!

Annette had a soccer game tonight. When we arrived at the part where she as to play it wan canceled because of a lightening storm, so we decided to go to Braum's.

I even let Ethan order a banana split. He was so excited. Awe, it's the little things.

I  have been splurging a lot these days. Like yesterday I had a burger and fries, so today I started back strict on my "diet". No ice cream for me. Thankfully I had packed a few low-carb cookies I made last night. I stayed up making a few goodies so I'd stay on plan.

School is going great. I haven't had the kids start all subjects yet. We are adding things in slowly. For instance with Caleb and Brent they started their health course. The two younger boys we added in some history.

I found this picture of Lance on my phone. That silly guy.

My friend made the image below. Not sure how, I think it's a facebook thing.

Lance likes to add more to the picture. On the one above I think he meant "Eat more Chicken" not "Eat more cow", he made me laugh.

Here are some more. These pages are from the Asperger's Journal.

Bible Bunny Learns to Read by The Thinking Tree (Review)

This post may contain affiliate links.
please read my disclosure.
The Thinking Tree has a new journal out. It's super adorable: Bible Bunny. It's a wonderful companion book to Teach Your Child to Read, Write, & Spell: 100 Easy Bible Verses.

This is a 6x8 journal ~perfect for little hands to carry and so much more fun to work in because the children will think of it as just their size!

Your little one can learn to read 30 Bible verses with Bible Bunny and all the siblings!

Each Bible verse is centered around a word like: trust, fear, hope, needs, confidence, and so forth. There are six activities per verse. Each page has a different activity. All fun and adorable. Your child will:

  • Color a picture
  • Read a verse (mom can help if needed)
  • Dot-to-dots
  • Color words
  • Complete logic puzzles
  • Trace and color a picture
  • Draw a picture about the verse
  • Copy the Bible verse
  • Thank God or write a prayer

 I love the dot-to-dots that are included in this journal:Bible Bunny. 

The verse correlates with the "main" word ~used for the week (a week if your child is doing 1 page a day). For beginning readers, can read the verse several times first. Point to each word as you say it. Everyday before starting a new page, I'd suggest to go over the verse with your child again.

A fun way to remember and memorize the verse is to copy each word on a separate piece of paper. Then have the child hop on each paper with the word you called out. Depending on the child's age you can put the words in order to memorize the verse and then mix them up to help remember the word. You'll have your little bunnies hopping all over the place.

Use index cards to put the verse in order on the table. The possibility are endless with using the verse as a springboard with teaching your child to read.

Again depending on the age of your child use magnets to spell words like 'trouble' for older kids and words like 'not' for younger ones. If you don't have magnets write the words on paper or index cards and cut the up. Use cubes with letters on them too!
 Tracing the bunny helps with fine motor skills related to writing. Coloring gives your child time to be calm and in a more relaxed state which can help a child remember what he's learning.

 Drawing a picture about the verse is another way to retain what the child is learning and grasp the meaning of the verse. I have a friend who has her child draw pictures in order of the verse to help her child memorize it.

I love the little logic puzzles too. They are non stressful but has a purpose too, working those little minds.
Google copywork and you'll find many articles and blog post of the benefits of copywork. It's amazing that a simple concept can be so powerful with learning how to put words together, spell, read, and write. You can even go over a few grammar and/or punctuation rules (keeping it fun of course). Say, "Why do you think that comma is there?" let your child think about, encourage, and explain it always ending with, "Great job!" or some other words of affirmation.

Thank you God for, what a great way to end a set of activity pages !

Another wonderful journal by The Thinking Tree. These books are amazing. I love the non stressful way the Thinking Tree helps children learn to read, write, & spell.


I've been stalking the ALERT site daily for this picture to show up. My glimpse to see how he looks now.

Week 1 of 2016/2017

We started homeschool this week. Monday I was up at 6:30, Tuesday at 6:45, and today (Wed.) 7:00, hehe, I guess tomorrow it'll be 7:15, ack! Nope, I won't let that happen. I need to get up and start waking the kids.

One thing that helps us get started is me NOT getting on the computer first thing (so sad I know). Now I wait (except this morning because I really needed to blog about Josh and needed some alone time).

I am having the kids start off with a half load. This way I am not stressed. I want to spend some time with each of the kiddos.

 This was what the table looked like a few days ago. I'm still putting schoolwork together. Yes, I STILL don't have our school year planned out. Two weeks before school started my Mother-in-law arrived and at the same time we were in limbo with Josh. We didn't know if he was going to be able to go because of a medical issue. We didn't get the go ahead till the day before he had to leave!!! So yeah, it was a bit hectic and homeschool planning took a back seat.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
 Below is all of Ethan's work. Some in the tub and on top. He won't be using everything daily or even weekly. I'm still figuring out how to schedule his weeks.
 Below is how our table looked the first day of school. That little can of Dole Pineapple was turned into a single upside down pineapple cake. Yum. It was my lunch.
 It was so deliciously  yummy. Today I made a lemon cake (single serve).
Here are some pictures of our school work. Most is from The Thinking Tree. The boys worked in other school books too but since I had fun coloring with them those are the things I took pictures of.
I know Lance is a little bit old for this book: Teach Your Child to Read 100 Words, but it's great practice and a fun way to review words like clouds, worms, and high. He did know the other words. 
 These pages are from the Asperger's Journal. Lance completed the logic puzzle and I had fun coloring it.
While I colored Lance worked on his Intermediate Language Lessons.
He had to rewrite the story about two seeds. He mainly copied parts but that's okay. We'll work on his written narrations.
I interrupt this blog post to insert two pictures just because they are of my cute kids: Caleb and Lance.
I don't think Lance understood what he was suppose to do on the page below, haha. 
Asperger's Journal by The Thinking Tree
I enjoy completing some of their pages in the journals. One because it's fun and two because I want them to see what I expect. Not that they have to do it exactly like I do but what kind of "work" as in caring and doing their best.
Library Based Journal for Boys by The Thinking Tree
 Ethan is working through the Library Journal for Boys.
How to Make Money by The Thinking Tree
Ethan will work his way through the How to Make Money journal.This week (because he is not doing history) I have scheduled the How to Make Money journal 4 time.
How to Make Money by The Thinking Tree
Ethan and I completed these pages together. While he completed the Thinking Questions I sat beside him and colored. This really was a neat way to spend time with Ethan AND get some school done. I think it made it more relaxing for him too.
Ethan's pages from the Library Based Journal for Boys.

Brent started the Travel Dreams Journal. Here is a page (he still needs to finish labeling).

During homeschool hours the kids are NOT allowed any computer time (unless it's for school) and ALL their devices are put into a basket. At 4:00 P.M. they are allowed to play for an hour to an hour and a half (this is when their cousins come over). At 8:00 P.M. all the devices go back in the basket.

Things were getting out of control over the summer. I mean like the kids were playing ALL DAY!

Next week I hope to add in history and explain a bit more with how we are using The Thinking Tree journals and scheduling other curricula in (but we'll see). 

How is your homeschooling going?