Monthly Homeschool Wrap-Up ~ Aug. and Sept. 2015 {1st, 4th, 8th}

Homeschool Wrap-Up The First 6 Weeks with 1st, 4th and 8th Grade

You can see our detailed curriculum posts by clicking on the graphics below.

1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used}

All Together Learning


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We do 3 subjects all together and really enjoy our time with our kids all together {most of the time}.

Daddy has begun teaching Mystery of History which is awesome.  We are still finishing the 1st book and will move on to part 2 when we are done. My kids use the notebooking pages, and my daughter colors the coloring page.  Daddy teaches and I write notes on our board to help guide the kids with their note taking.

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We still love our Heroes of History books.  We have extended our learning with the Liberty’s Kids DVDs, to help deepen our American Revolution knowledge, and the kids love it.  My oldest doesn’t sit with us to watch these but the younger 2 love them and learn a lot!  We finished up reading Ben Franklin and really took our time, discussing so many different aspects of history together.  I absolutely love this time with my kids.

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You can see our entire World Geography plan here.  We are LOVING this so far.  We have been focusing on South America and have had fun learning about Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile and Venezuela so far.

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We have several Little Passports packages that we haven’t opened {I save them for when we study the country}.  I pulled Argentina and we had a blast!  The little 2 loved the dinosaur fossil!

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1st & 4th Together Learning

Ladybug and Krash do 2 subjects together and it is working well!  We do Picture Smart Bible {K-3 Old Testament} and US Geography twice a week.

They absolutely love US Geography and I think it’s because they both really love coloring and they love birds.  Seeing the bird for each state is very exciting for them! We have completed states through Georgia and they each have a beautiful notebook for review!

8th Grade

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Pac is by far my least photographed child because a majority of his schooling is done independently or with his Dad.  All of my photos of his are usually taken during his science experiments, since that’s the most exciting thing to photograph of an 8th grader’s homeschooling! As you can see, he often has little faces watching him as he works on his experiments.

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He is a pretty easy student and we are thankful.  Sure, we have issues, but overall he does what he is supposed to do. His dad oversees his math, spelling and science completely.  I oversee everything else.  Writing is the only subject I am still teaching directly.

One of my favorite portions of his homeschooling is his reading.  So far this year he has read more books than he read during the entire year last year!  His favorites are in bold, with Peace Child being the absolute favorite so far.

Here’s his completed list…

All of his other subjects are going well, we are pleased with our choices for him this year.

4th Grade

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This young man continues to amaze me with his dedication to his love in life – gymnastics.  He has homeschool practice days that occupy him 3 days of the week, leaving him only 2 full days at home with us.  In order to stay committed to his sport he doubles up on his schoolwork on those 2 days so he can be free to practice the other 3 days. This is not a schedule we ever thought we would have but it is working, thanks to his determination to make it work. 

He does have a couple of subjects he does 5 days a week, getting them done in the morning hours before heading to practice.  He is moving along with Teaching Textbooks 5, which is his main 5 day a week subject. He also does history with us in the mornings before practice.

On his intense 2 school days, he works with both Daddy and me.  Daddy teaches him science and Life of Fred math {a supplemental review for him to help work on auditory processing skills}. He is loving science and we are both happy with our choice of Evan Moor for him. Below they were learning about muscles and made an arm model.

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I teach all of his other subjects, below you can see him working on Write Shop D, and First Language Lessons 2. He is using the Poem PowerPoint to work on memorizing his poem, The Goops.

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Growing with Grammar is a great fit for us.  He does well with the format and is learning a lot.  He has taken 2 tests so far and did very well. 

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We are almost done reading our first novel together, Robinson Crusoe.  He loves this book!  We rotate me reading to him, him reading aloud to me, and him reading on his own. 

He also reads books on his own at night and currently really enjoyed 2 books from the I Survived series {The Shark Attacks of 1916 and The Sinking of the Titanic 1912}

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1st Grade

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I continue to use Lessontrek for her weekly planning and then build her daily work grid from my lesson plan.  She chooses the order of her subjects each day.

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In no particular order, here’s a recap of her past month.  You can see her very first week of 1st grade in our post here.

First Week of 1st Grade Homeschool FB


    We have been enjoying her science together.  On a whim I decided to use an Evan-Moor science book and I love it!  It is simple, and has a project at the end of each chapter.  She particularly loved the shadow picture she made recently! You can see a video of her telling you about her project here!

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After reviewing The Curious Kid’s Science Book we decided to add it into our curriculum.  She chooses one project to do with Daddy per week.  Here she was exploring how different liquids reacted with baking soda. Here is a video clip of her working on this project with her Daddy.

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I have been letting her choose an animal to study which has been really fun.  We completed our OWL unit and are now almost done with FROGS.  I will share a full post with all of our frog fun soon!

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Surprisingly handwriting has become a joy!  She struggled to get the hang of things early on but with the addition of the Handiwriter grip helper, she has now finally corrected her grip and holds her pencil correctly.  She was holding ALL of her fingers on the pencil at one time and I had tried many things.  I ordered this as a last try and it worked!  Within less than 2 weeks of using it, she is grip-corrector free and naturally holds her pencil better!

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We are using Logic of English Cursive.  We begin by introducing each letter in the salt tray, she loves this!

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We use our own handwriting paper now instead of the papers that come with LOE {some we have left over from a friend who gave it to us years ago}. I use a highlighter for her to trace a few samples.

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Here’s a little video from Instagram showing her writing and making a joke. Winking smile

A video posted by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on


My favorite part is an idea she came up with all on her own!  She makes a little card after we learn each letter by turning the letter into some sort of shape!

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Here’s her collection so far!

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We do a few different things for math and our combination is working beautifully for her.  She LOVES Life of Fred and is one chapter away from completing the first book!

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Mathseeds has been a great fit for her, she has advanced beyond what I ever expected!

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I don’t always follow along with what she does in Mathseeds but when she struggles I bring in some hands on help, like these 3D shapes we had!

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Spielgaben rounds out our math resources, and we do about 2-3 lessons per week, mostly using the worksheets.  See our recent posts here…

Exploring 3D Shapes with Spielgaben  Playful Learning with Spielgaben September 2015


Growing with Grammar has been a great fit for her and she is breezing through. We do one simple lesson a day and I like the easy workbook approach. There is also a cyclical review included which I also love.  I had a sappy mom moment the day my baby learned subjects and predicates.  Such big words. Such a big girl.

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First Language Lessons is also a great fit for her.  We use both because they are different, yet similar.  Both are very short lessons and I think compliment each other really well.

Here’s a video clip of her reciting her first poem she memorized, The Caterpillar {she’s using our Poem PowerPoint}.

A video posted by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on



All About Reading is a great fit for her and have completed through lesson 14. She is moving along as a reader at a pretty rapid pace now, it’s exciting!

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Here’s a video peek at how we have been making the fluency sheets more fun!  I choose a secret drawing and draw a tiny portion for every word she reads correctly. The drawing grows as she reads and she loves this!

Ways we supplement reading development…

She has an easy reader Bible that she is reading independently and loving! 

We go to the library at least twice a month, sometimes more! Her library books are read daily both independently and aloud!

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We are reading the My Father’s Dragon series aloud together and she loves it!  We are just starting the 3rd book in the series. Below she is working on a knapsack craft to go along with the book.

Below you can also see her reading aloud to her Daddy.  She reads aloud to one of us almost every day.  She struggled at first reading aloud to Dad since she was only comfortable with me.  We want our kids to be comfortable reading aloud so we encouraged her through her fear and now she reads with him too!

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She is breezing through All About Spelling Level 1, we probably should have started this sooner!  She is up to lesson 15 and most of it has been a review for her so far.  I don’t even have any pictures of her working!


She is enjoying Home Art Studio and recently completed her weaving project

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We Choose Virtues has been a hit!  We add one virtue per week and focus on discussing the meaning and story as she colors.  We also use the songs {see on my iPad below}. She talks about these a lot and they have really helped her grasp some concepts!

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Whew!  I think that’s it! It takes me forever to write these posts but they are my favorite to look back on!

You can also see much of our everyday homeschool life on Instagram!


Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up

Weaving with Home Art Studio and a Giveaway!

We have been using Home Art Studio for a long time now.  You can see all of the projects I have blogged about here! Home Art Studio sent us curriculum to review years ago and has been a blog sponsor ever since.  We love working with them and sharing Home Art Studio with you!

Home Art Studio 1st Grade Project ~ Weaving

Ladybug loved her next art project from the Home Art Studio 1st Grade DVD, weaving!  We watched the DVD lesson together and she got to work painting!

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On another day we watched part 2 of the lesson and did the weaving.  She tried to cut the paper on her own but ended up needing me to help. Love the tongue.

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She was thrilled with her final project!!

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For a look back, here’s our post from when my boys did this same project! As you can see below, she joined us on the painting day, but at age 3 the weaving part was a bit much for her!

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Home Art Studio Giveaway

Home Art Studio is an award winning DVD/ROM based art education program, taught by Lindsey Volin,  designed for homeschooling families. Every fun art project teaches students experience, but who want to ensure that their children receive a well-rounded arts education.

Here are some helpful direct links:

Home Art Studio Giveaway 3 DVDs Winner Choice ends 10.5.15

I am thrilled to be able to give one of our readers 3 Home Art Studio DVDs, winner chooses grade levels!  use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends 10/5/15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Science IS Fun!

We have added something new to my daughter’s 1st grade curriculum thanks to an awesome book we were sent to review!  I loved Asia’s first book, which we shared here and jumped at the chance to receive an advance copy of her next book, The Curious Kid’s Science Book.

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My husband is now the homeschool science teacher around here so I handed him the book and told him to look through it and tell me what he thought.  I also told him to pick any activity to do with our daughter so I could feature it in this post.

He loved the book, and she did too.  She was begging to do it all as she flipped through with him.  The photos alone are enough to draw anyone in! They ended up choosing an experiment that involved seeing which soap would produce the most bubbles. You can find all of the details in the book.

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He set up all of the supplies, all we had around the house.  I get asked about our big blue mat a lot, it’s called a MessMatz and I got it on Zulily.

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Then they got to work!  Watching her throughout the experiment was such a joy.  She absolutely loved every minute and begged for more!

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I took a little video clip of her in action and shared on Instagram here. You can see her BIG smile!

A video posted by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on


We have decided to add this book to Ladybug’s curriculum this year.  They are planning to freely choose experiments together based on her interests. I definitely recommend this book for a unique and refreshing twist on science for kids.  It isn’t your normal textbook style, but more of a launching pad for great ideas all in one place.  It focuses on discovery and exploration and is very child-led.  I love this style of learning and it is honestly very freeing!  The book is geared towards 4-8 year olds, my daughter is 6 so it’s just perfect!

The book is available worldwide. You can get a copy here on Amazon!

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Daily Work Grid ~ A Visual Schoolwork Plan for Homeschoolers

Daily Work Grid Schoolwork Plan for Homeschoolers VIDEO Tutorial included in post!


This idea has been brewing in my mind for years, I just never took the time to create it until now.  It is similar to methods we have used in the past and resembles methods other homeschoolers use.  It isn’t a totally new idea, just a new twist on methods I have both used and seen, adapted to suit our current needs.

Many of you saw my photo on Instagram several months ago when I created the cards and grid. There were tons of questions about it and I promised a blog post!

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It did take some time to set up and I explain how I did it in the video below…

Daily Work Grid

Many have asked about our Daily Work Grid that I am using with our 1st grader and I finally got a video together for you! See how we use it and a tutorial for how I made the grid and the subject cards in PowerPoint.Blog post coming soon!**See more VIDEOS on our YOUTUBE Channel ~**SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts ~

Posted by 1+1+1=1 on Sunday, August 30, 2015


I shared this photo the night before we began 1st grade, which shows our Lessontrek plan and our Daily Work Grid ready to go for her first day of school.

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We have now been using this method for over 3 week and it is working very well for us!  She loves the visual choices she has, and also seeing how much she has left each day.

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Having a visual daily grid like this for a young child helps us in many ways. The biggest help for us is the fact that expectations for the homeschool day are crystal clear.  There are many ways to do this, a simple list on the board or in a notebook works well for many families. 

For our 1st grader, this is a visual intro to following a daily homeschool plan. For us Kindergarten and below is much more play-based and child-led so the lesson plans are really only for me up until now.  With an end goal of more independence in homeschooling, this visual daily grid eases her into this.

By showing her clearly what is to be done that day, she knows what to expect.  The cards coming off give her a feeling of accomplishment and also help squash the “how much more do I have to do today” questions {and sometimes attitude problems}.

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Using a daily work grid like this may be beneficial for you if you…

  • have a child who likes to know what is expected each day.
  • have a child who needs a visual rather than written version.
  • have a child who whines or complains about how much is left to do.
  • have a young child who is easing into following a daily homeschool routine {usually beginning in K-2}.
  • like creating things on your own and have the time {this takes time to prepare}.

I would not recommend this method if you…

  • have an older child who can easily read a written list and doesn’t really need visuals. No need to go backwards.
  • have many children and would struggle to keep up with the consistent routine of this.
  • don’t have time to even put this together.
  • have a young tot or preschooler who is more play-based and child-led, they don’t necessarily need a grid like this.  I don’t recommend being this planned out in the early years.  Having freedom to go with the flow during those early years is more important that following the daily plan.  This is exactly why I never give lesson plans for any of my tot programs {Tot School Printables, Animal ABCs, etc.}  I believe in a more flexible plan during those years. Every child is different and the pressure of a daily plan doesn’t allow for this as much. I personally would not have used something like this until Kindergarten.  It would have been great last year I just didn’t have time to create it.

Here’s the video sharing how we use our daily grid and how I created the grids and subject cards in PowerPoint.  I am sorry fi you don’t have PP, this is just what I use mostly to create my printables and I can only share how I do it.  Many aspects will be similar in another program, hopefully you can get the general idea!

Exploring 3 Dimensional Shapes with Spielgaben

Playful Learning with Spielgaben is our monthly post sharing Spielgaben in action!  If you missed the introduction to this series, you can see it here. We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.

Exploring 3D Shapes with Spielgaben


Lessons We Enjoyed

We are using Spielgaben as a portion of her 1st grade math curriculum.  For now, I am choosing lessons based on her needs.  She has mastered many 1st grade level skills so I knew she didn’t need a full 1st grade curriculum.  Spielgaben is a great fit for her right now!

Each week I choose lessons or worksheets for her and write them into our lesson plans.  Yes, this takes a bit more time than following a pre-written math curriculum, but I want her working on what she needs. I wouldn’t have been as confident in doing this years ago, but now I am after homeschooling 2 other kids at this grade level!

Below you can see her lesson which is from Worksheet Set 2, Level 3, Activity 1 {in case you own Spielgaben and are looking for these specific worksheets, I will label them like this so you can easily find them}.

This worksheet introduced Sphere, Cylinder and Cube, which she loved!

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On another day she worked on Worksheet Set 2, Level 3,  Activity 3. Another way to explore these new shapes.

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Much fun was had the day we used Worksheet Set 2, Level 3, Activity 4!

We explored 3D shapes by exploring the side, edge and apex with paint!

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Note- we should have used a brown paint, or put tape over our blocks before stamping with them.  They did absorb the purple paint she chose.  We don’t mind but I figure many of you might!  So, if you do this, be sure to add some tape to the parts of the block that will go in the paint and then peel off when finished.  Also use a color closer to the block itself just in case!

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She loved this so much, she asked to get more shapes out and make mystery pictures.

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When the paint was dry we went back to the worksheet that inspired this lesson and drew in our findings.

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Another recent lesson was from Worksheet Set 2, Level 3, Activity 2.

We used one of the soft yarn spheres and one of the wooden spheres to discuss similarities and differences. 

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This was pretty easy for her so I decided to take the opportunity to introduce her to Venn Diagrams and drew a quick one for her.

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I am so pleased with her interest and learning so far.  I was a bit hesitant to take this route {the more random week to week style} for her math, but so far, so good!  I am enjoying her enthusiasm, she loves her Spielgaben lessons!


See version 4.0 here!

I can’t say enough about the new storage system, it is AWESOME!


Spielgaben offers a special discount to my readers, just send an email to [email protected] mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon!