Christ, Coffee, and Chaos

Striving to capture our homeschool adventure as we endeavor to walk the narrow path.

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School: What We’re Doing Now

For us school consists of reading, math and memory work. Other than that I have this smorgasbord of educational materials and toys that we can use during school, not during school, in the car, or take to church while I’m working. I wanted to share my smorgasbord. I recommend everything I’m including in this post.


Reading Lessons Through Literature: phonogram review everyday, 3 spelling words a week, copywork of his choice on non spelling days, 5 minutes a day.

Math: Miquon, Rays or playing with the rods: his choice, at least 3 times a week, 5-15 minutes.

Memory work: Bible verses, everyday, 2ish minutes.

Our Favorite Things

Bible: Bible For Kids app from You Version is great for retention while The Jesus Storybook Bible sparks great conversations. My ABC Bible Versus is my personal favorite for application of scripture.

Reading: The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury, Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics and Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes are our personal favorites from Sonlight 3/4. is an excellent free resource for early learning.

Math & Logic: A huge recommendation for Cuisenaire Rods and Developing The Early Learner.

History: Classical Conversations Timeline Song is an amazing resource!

Geography: Geopuzzles. Everyone should own this. My son’s political geography knowledge is beyond that of most adults.

Science: The Magic School Bus, which is available on YouTube in English & Spanish, and Snap Circuits.

Foreign Language: Salsa and our favorite books in Spanish.

Music: Since I’m our church secretary I know what songs we’re going to sing in church and I teach him those with a YouTube playlist. Daddy teaches piano on demand with the oooooooold version of Step by Step.

Art: Art For Kids Hub and Arttango are both free, and The Big Yellow Drawing Book has been a huge hit.

Toys: Lincoln Logs, Magnatiles (they have played with these everyday for over a year!), wooden train tracks,  and Playsilk.

How I Do Once A Month Cooking

Once a month cooking. It’s actually more like once a month prep work. I like my meals fresh. Our menu plan is based on the purchase of meat because it is the most expensive and we purchase it in bulk at discount pricing, usually from New Seasons and Costco.

Day One

1. Decide on meat purchase.

2. Find recipes, usually a combination of old favorites and new ones I found on Pinterest.

3. Decide on menu plan. We plan 4 meals a week that I cook, one of which is vegetarian, and live on leftovers the rest of the week. We always have taco soup and burgers on standby. We do not eat this on Monday, this on Tuesday, and this on Wednesday, we eat this, then this, then this. The food runs out when it runs out.

4. Create the shopping list. Buy EVERYTHING except for fresh fruits and veggies. We go to Costco once a month and get apples, oranges, salad stuff, carrots, etc. To make the shopping list I have 2 pieces of paper, one for Winco and one for Costco, divided by a giant cross. The 4 areas represent the 4 areas of the store. Add things by recipe so you buy as much in bulk as possible.

Day Two

5. Go shopping. Because we’re out of everything!

Day Three

6. Prepare food. I do not cook anything except for casseroles I plan to freeze, and meat for certain soups. All of my meat, veggies, soup etc. goes in freezer bags or Pyrex dishes uncooked so that it is as freshly made as possible. Everything that is reserved for a recipe, but was not opened gets a sticker on it to show that it’s off limits. If we bought an 8 pack of cream of mushroom soup but only need six then only six get stickers and the other two are available for days when my husband wants to do something creative. This way we always have what we need and never need to run to the store.

It’s easier than most people make it. You don’t have to cook everything twice, you don’t have to go to 7 different stores and you don’t have to have it all down to a science. We’ve made mistakes and had chicken for 2 weeks. Matt’s had to stop at the store for a can of tomato paste. It’s OK. It’s still a much better lifestyle than cooking everyday, unless you love cooking. We eat better and cheaper than most, with less effort.

I Suppose It’s Time For a PreK Update

I mentioned our plans in my last post, but things have evolved and I wanted to share what we actually do on a daily basis.

First we pray and read a Bible story from Beloved Bible Stories, The Jesus Storybook Bible, or The Family-Time Bible in Pictures. This takes no more than 5 minutes.

Then we do our memory work which takes about 5 minutes:

His Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting takes about 2 minutes.

We are using Education Unboxed which is free, and the RightStart Activities for AL Abacus for math concepts. This takes as long as he likes.

Casually we watch The Magic School Bus, Salsa or El Mickey Mouse, and do Pinterest style art. I also plan to soon implement Drawing With Children. We read for about an hour a day, and Daddy’s teaching him piano on demand. Our favorite things are Cuisienaire Rods, Sketchbooks (so they can watch their progression and build upon old ideas), Reading Lessons Through Literature phonogram cards, and almost every book mentioned on the AO list, in Sonlight 3/4, or by Dr. Seuss. We also love our Appletters and plan to purchase Spanish Banana Grams.

So, We’ve Decided to Have a Formal PreK Year…

I am not really an advocate for beginning school at the age of 4. I am actually a bigger fan of the idea of beginning formal education later rather than earlier, but we need more structure in our day and John really enjoys what little school we do and is asking for more so we are taking the plunge and will officially be homeschoolers soon! I have been so exited all this time, and now I am tremendously nervous.

Anyway, without further ado, this is our curriculum plan for our 4 year old boy for the year of 2015:


Beloved Bible Stories, by Rhonda Davies.

Language Arts

Reading Lessons Through Literature will eventually cover Spelling, and Reading for the elementary ages, but for now we are just beginning the phonogram cards and some light writing. I said originally that I was going to use Logic of English, but after spending time with both programs I feel that Spell to Write & Read is a better fit for our family.


I found Education Unboxed while looking for something fun for a child so young. Next year I intend to start Ray’s Arithmetic, possibly paired with RightStart, but for now I do not believe that a twenty minute math program is a great idea for John.


We are not really using a curriculum for this yet. We are using flash cards and I am teaching him some basic conversational skills.


Matt has been teaching John using the Step by Step course which is how he learned. I imagine that they will work their way through the entire program in the next six years or so.

Memory Work

This year we are just concentrating on songs we sing at church and Bible verses. Simply Charlotte Mason has a great free resource for scripture memory.

Read Alouds

So far we have used Ambleside Online Year 0  to select most of our books, and will continue to do so.

I am intentionally trying to keep things light, so that we are not doing everything that caught my attention, but I will recommend a few things for you to check out that I heavily contemplated for us this year. I would not be surprised if they they all make the list next year.

Sonlight PreK

RightStart A

Beginning Thinking Skills

Linguistic Development Through Poetry

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

The Need For A Creator

“The fact that we have a universe tells us that we need a creator. Because, you see, the universe has a beginning and therefore requires a cause. The energy in the universe has a beginning and therefore requires a cause. And people say, well ok fine, God made the universe, but then who made God? But you see, God is eternal. God doesn’t have a beginning and therefore doesn’t require a cause, and that may be a little hard to grasp, but there’s nothing irrational about an eternal being. Their is something irrational about something popping into existance from nothing, because that violates causality.” -Jason Lisle, God of Wonders

My Thoughts On P90X

P90X is a 90 day fitness program which Beach Body categorizes under  their “Extreme Results” section. During the 90 days you do various exercises, including weight training, yoga, plyometrics, and martial arts. I’ve been through the program twice, but the second time I discontinued so that I could begin P90X3, which only takes 30 minutes a day. The full P90X program includes diet, exercise, and supplements.

I only did the exercise, as I was borrowing the program from a friend. These are my findings:


It’s easy to modify. I started with 5 pound weights, and quickly worked my way up. I was able to down-scale many of the exercises, and near the end, I was able to up-scale many of them.

Fast results. Within one week, I could see my body tightening, and every week I noticed drastic improvement in the way I looked and felt.

I had an increased desire for water. I was always someone who had a hard time drinking a lot of water, but with this program I found myself chronically thirsty. My water bottle turned out to be  a good investment. I advise you get one too.


P90X is time-consuming! You can plan on spending an hour to an hour and a half a day on the workouts. I had a hard time fitting my workouts in every day, which is why I have since switched to P90X3.

It requires supplies. In order to do the program, you need free weights, a pull-up bar or bands, a yoga mat, and maybe a yoga block.


This program completely transformed my body, and I would recommend it to absolutely anybody. My fat loss was intense, my energy level increased, and I feel amazing.

You can pick up the P90X base kit here.


Don’t watch the scale. My first time through the program, I lost 1 shirt size, 2 pants sizes, and had a more sculpted body, but I gained 20 lbs. As a woman, I had a hard time with the weight gain, but I am very satisfied with the results.

Free & Cheap Spanish Resources

Getting Started With Spanish by William E. Linney and Antonio L. Orta is a fantastic resource of 177 lessons of mostly grammar that take less than five minutes per day. It’s mastery based, and I believe could be appropriate for children as young as kindergarten. The author provides free pronunciation resources at

Learn Spanish Vocabulary 101, by Innovative Language is free and comes with a free audio download from

You can typically buy very inexpensive flash cards to develop vocabulary at your local educational store, and I personally am interested in The Complete Book of Starter Spanish and The Complete Book of Spanish for my young children.

Free Spanish Readers For Kindle:

An Elementary Spanish Reader, by Earl Stanley Harrison

Heath’s Modern Language Series:  The Spanish American Reader, by Ernesto Nelson, and Spanish Short Stories

A First Spanish Reader, by Alfred Remy

And most importantly:

The Library!

Grade School Plans

I know it’s considered foolish to call anything “finalized” within your school, but I like having a picture of what I want in my head. So, here’s my picture.

Content Subjects

I’ve decided to use My Father’s World for content subjects because I really like their philosophy, I can group my kids together, and it comes with a nice little planner that tells you what to do every day. They cover Bible, History, Geography, Science, Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, and Art. They focus  on raising your kids to be citizens of the world (but not in a creepy UN way), so they incorporate World Geography and Missionary Studies into every year. Their stuff is a little light so we’re doing each course a year early; 1st in K, 2nd in 1st…

  • K-Bible History, Water & Plants, Instrument Study, Art
  • 1st-US History & Geography, Nature Study, Patriotic Songs & The Nutcracker, Art
  • 2nd-World Geography & Cultures including Music, Art, and Cuisine around the world with Zoology and Ecology
  • 3rd-Creation to the Greeks with Creation Science, Geography, Vivaldi, Bach & Handel, Art
  • 4th-Rome to Reformation with Astronomy & Anatomy, Geography, Haydn, Beethoven & Mozart, Art
  • 5th-Exploration to 1850 with Botany & Zoology, Geography, Schubert, Mendelssohn & Chopin, Art
  • 6th-1850 to Modern Times with Chemistry & Physics, Geography, Foster, Sousa & Gershwin, Art
Language Arts

I like the method of teaching Latin alongside English because Latin teaches English better than English does in some cases. Plus, it’s more fun. For phonics I intend to use Reading Lessons Through Literature and English Lessons Through Literature for Writing followed by some sort of formal Rhetoric course, Technical Writing, Research Papers and other high school things that have yet to be determined. Latin from Classical Academic Press and literature selections will be taken from Ambleside Online because their compilation looks FANTASTIC. I will start formal Literature courses in 7thish grade, depending on which program I choose. I like A Beka, For Such A Time As This, and Memoria Press’ Omnibus.


Ray’s Arithmetic series. These have a huge focus on mental math which nothing today can compare to. I’m not picking a higher math program for them until I know their learning styles.


Piano with Dad, P.E as a family, and Greek.


Isaiah & The Bible

There are some parallels that have been noted between Isaiah and the entire cannon of Scripture that I thought were worth sharing.

Isaiah contains 66 chapters. The Bible contains 66 books.

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are about Israel’s need for a savior. The first 39 books in the Bible are about the world’s need for a savior.

The last 27 chapters of Isaiah are about redemption for Israel. The last 27 books in the Bible are about redemption for the world.

There is approximately a 40 year gap between the first 39 chapters and the last 27 chapters of Isaiah. There is approximately a 400 year gap between the first 39 books and the last 27 books of the Bible.


My Favorite Philosophies of Education

All Subjects:

Short lessons & Narration.

Students are to design their own books about what they’ve learned.

A biblical worldview taught throughout all subject areas.


Not to be dumbed down or skipped through.

Memorize and recite regularly.


Teach with living books & in chronological order.

History & Geography taught simultaneously with Art & Music Appreciation taught within historical timelines.

An understanding of History, its effects, and the reasons behind it takes precedence over the memorization of historical data.


Nature Study with notebooking & art journaling.

Living books are a must.

Language Arts:

A focus on Greek & Latin.

Poetry, Shakespeare & great literature to be read and memorized.

Utilizing classic texts to teach a biblical worldview.


A firm understanding of why.

Manipulatives, games & living books.

A combination of the mastery and spiral approach.

An emphasis on mental math.

The Arts:

Handicrafts over macaroni art.

Multiple instruments should be taught.

Drama & Dance should also be emphasized.

Allow for the freedom of expression.


Multiple languages should be taught.

Regularly listen to & read other languages.


A focus on Logic & Socratic Discussion.

No electronics, internet, computers, calculators etc. for younger students.

These ideas are taken from Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Waldorf, as well as some of my own ramblings.

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