Curriculum for 2014/2015

Well here it is—another school year is upon us. Last year I managed to hardly spend any money on school supplies, this year caught me by surprise by the expense. The really expensive part is that my daughter will be taking Biology this year. Hopefully we can use some of this stuff three more times for all the younger people.

We have decided to take a slightly different approach to some things this year. My oldest starts high school this year and my youngest is now four and I’m getting pulled a lot of directions. We have purchased some prepackaged curriculums that were put together by homeschool families. We are not going to be combining everybody into one unit study. This is partly because my kids are taking interests in different directions and also because I decided that studying the ancients with my 7 year old last year didn’t go as well as I liked. This means that we will have two different history time periods being studied and two different sciences being studied. We will continue to do our Bible class together.

Here it is.

Zippy — age 14

  1. Bible: Desire of Ages
  2. History: Beautiful Feet Ancient History (starting in the middle as we did part of the Beginnings/Ancients by Truth Quest History last year) then Beautiful Feet Medieval History
  3. Mathematics: Saxon Algebra 1, third edition, probably with a tutor
  4. Science: Apologia Biology with the new DVD course
  5. Language Arts: Student Writing Intensive Level C in conjunction with history
    also Spelling Power for spelling.
  6. Music: Piano and violin lessons
  7. Other electives to be determined by real life!

JD — age 11

  1. Bible: Desire of Ages
  2. History: Beautiful Feet Ancient History (starting in the middle as we did part of the Beginnings/Ancients by Truth Quest History last year) then Beautiful Feet Medieval History
  3. Mathematics: Saxon Math 8/7
  4. Science: Noeo Physics 2
  5. Language Arts: Student Writing Intensive Level B in conjunction with history
    also Spelling Power for spelling
    and Italic Handwriting Book F for penmanship
  6. Music: Piano and violin lessons
  7. Etc.

Ace — age 8

  1. Bible: Desire of Ages
  2. History: Beautiful Feet Early American History for Primary Grades
  3. Mathematics: Math 3 by Teaching Textbooks
  4. Science: Noeo Physics 1
  5. Language Arts: Rod & Staff and Christian Light Readers
    and Italic Handwriting Book C for penmanship
  6. Music: Piano and cello lessons
  7. Lots of nature study

So there you have it. That doesn’t count everything, I guess. It counts everything that I had to spend a lot of time and money on. If you looked at our curriculum choices last year, you will notice a few changes—Saxon math from Teaching Textbooks, Beautiful Feet History from Truth Quest History and Noeo Science from Apologia Elementary Science. It’s not that we disliked our choices last year. We were happy with all of the things we used last year, but for various reasons, we decided to do something different.

The reason that we chose Saxon is because my oldest is in high school and we had always intended on using Saxon for high school. You’ll notice that my 8 year old will still be using Teaching Textbooks. From the reviews we’ve read, it seems that Saxon is a bit more thorough than Teaching Textbooks, and better prepares kids for college and hopefully scholarships.

The reason we went with Beautiful Feet History is because, I needed something that my older two could more easily follow on their own so that I could spend more time with the younger ones on American History. I will be doing history with the older two, but they will need to be somewhat independent. Beautiful Feet just lends itself more to that for several reasons—it has a schedule; the specific books are chosen; the activities are already planned out. The reason that I have used Truth Quest History for so long is that it made it easy to not use fiction. I will still be substituting non-fiction for the fiction books assigned in the Beautiful Feet program.

The reason that we switched to Noeo science is that we were ready to read some other authors. We have enjoyed the Apologia Elementary books that we’ve done, but I like variety. Also last year, we read a lot from the book The Way Things Work, and my boys wanted to do  more physics and learn more about electricity. Noeo is a bit for Science like Beautiful Feet is for History. They gather up books from several different publishers and authors, which we hope will add to the interest.


Injured Pine Siskin

We had a special visitor to our home–an injured Pine Siskin. He hid under a bushes for several days, and my boys would feed him out of their hands. Then one day he flew away. All is well, that ends well.

Feeding a Pine Siskin

JD Feeding a Pine Siskin

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.

Mexico Fun

We always love it when we get to take our almost annual trip to Mexico. This year, we were able to do it again, after missing a few years. The sunshine and Vitamin D are a welcome additive to our lives, so is the time with extended family, and also the minimal access to email and phone.

It’s a real treat when we get to see the whales from Mom & Pop’s house.

Whale Watching

It’s hard to keep us out of the water, as we don’t much have access to warm water near our home.

Playing in the Water

Sliding off of this natural slide has become a favorite activity of nearly the whole family. The younger ones are still braving up for it.
Going off the rock Water Slide

Can’t beat playing in the sand.

Playing in the Sand

Playing in the Sand

And it’s always fun to take a walk on the malecon at night and stop and have an argument with Poncho Villa.

Arguing with Poncho Villa

Summer Grilling

We got a new appliance at our house this year, and we have been having lots of fun. We held off for a long time on one of these, because we are vegetarian, and we weren’t sure that we’d really use it as vegetarians, but we were wrong. The kids and the dad, especially love using it. And the grilled vegetables taste absolutely amazing. Our favorite foods to grill are green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, tofu, apples, and marinated portobello mushrooms. Oh my, my mouth is watering right now. Anyway, if you come over to our place this summer, we’ll grill you up some veges, so hurry over.

Summer Grilling

Zippy is the one who came up with grilling fruit. We’ve tried pineapple, apples and strawberries. All are quite tasty, but I have to admit the grilled apples are the ones that steal the day, in my opinion. Yum, yum!

Lego Organization

Legos can be the bane of a mother’s life. (If you don’t believe me, go buy some Legos for your husband to play with!) Well, my boys have been given gallons of Legos that were second hand and they love playing with them, but we were all tired of dumping them out and digging through them for the perfect Lego and then having to put them away each evening. So, thanks to the recommendation of a friend, we purchased some plastic drawers and the boys and the toddler organized them all. It was a great experience for the toddler to practice sorting colors–pre-school at it’s best.

Here are a couple of pictures of the work in process.

Lego sorting

Lego sorting




High Desert Museum

We love the High Desert Museum. There is so much to see in natural history, native history and pioneer history there and sometimes other types exhibits too. We have a lot of fun learning about all three of the permanent subjects exhibited there. You’ll probably guess by the snow in the picture, that this was not from yesterday, but it was from a fun day. (Actually we did visit there just a couple of weeks ago, but I still need to get those photos off of my camera. So that post will have to be some other day, maybe for Christmas.)

High Desert Museum Sign

Snow at the High Desert Museum


When we made this visit several months back, we were fortunate that they had a temporary butterfly house in the museum. We had so much fun watching the butterflies. A butterfly landed on JD’s finger. That was quite a treat. It sat there for several minutes and we enjoyed it immensely.



Butterfly on His Hand


There are a few more pictures in my Flickr album from that day at the High Desert Museum, that you can look at if you’d like. Just click here.


“Origins” Lapbook by Ace (Age 8)

Here is the third and last lapbook on Origins. This one is by Ace.

If you’d like to see the sources that we used for these mini-books please see my previous post. All of the writing in this lapbook was dictated to me by Ace, but he did all the fancy designing and coloring in his lapbook. He also completely designed his Creation Days Wheel.

The cover:

Cover of "Origins" Lapbook


The spread:

Inside of "Origins" Lapbook #1

Inside of "Origins" Lapbook #2


Vocabulary Book

Vocabulary Book

The Flood:

The flood

The Fall:

"The Fall" Tabbed Book #1

"The Fall" Tabbed Book #2

"The Fall" Tabbed Book #3

Why history is important:

"Why History?" Hamburger Fold Book #1

"Why History?" Hamburger Fold Book #2

Tower of Babel

"Babel" Slider Book #1

"Babel" Slider Book #2

Science Hoaxes:

"Evolution Hoaxes" Pocket Book #1

"Evolution Hoaxes" Pocket Book 2

Mt. St. Helens for a Young Earth:

Mt. St. Helens" Shape Book #1

Mt. St. Helens" Shape Book #2

Mt. St. Helens" Shape Book #3

Mt. St. Helens" Shape Book #4

Why Creation:

"Why Creation" Hamburger Fold Book #1

"Why Creation" Hamburger Fold Book #2

Ice Age:

"Ice Age" Accordion Fold Book #1

"Ice Age" Accordion Fold Book #2


Dinosaur Shape Book #1

Dinosaur Shape Book #2

Evidence of a Young Earth:

"Young Earth" Fan Fold Book #1

"Young Earth" Fan Fold Book #2

Creation Days Circle:

Creation Wheel Book

If you’d like to see the other posts on this topic, here are the links:
How it All Began Unit
Zippy’s “Origins” Lapbook
JD’s “Origins” Lapbook