Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Workbox Wednesday #10–Third Grade Boxes

Chestnut Grove Academy

Welcome to Workbox Wednesday!  If you use workboxes, tot trays, or anything similar, feel free to post a link to your blog post or a picture (pictures can be from facebook, but please make sure they are PUBLIC so we can see them, or use a host like to get a URL for your photo) that shows WHAT IS IN YOUR BOXES!

This week in our Third Grade boxes:

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I made a new task board for assignments that are on the computer/iPad.  This way they don’t take up workboxes, I will still put some of the core subjects in the workboxes even if electronic if there is room.  This year we have a lot more media supplements due to reviews we are doing and things we have continued with after review. So on the left is his media task board, he has Mathletics (review item), News-O-Matic, Essential Skills Advantage (review item) and Skrafy Minecraft Astronomy (review item).  After completing tasks he moves the button to the blue book that is hanging on the left (this goes for workbox tasks too). 

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Draw, Write, Now Pilgrim Page and Lightning Literature & Composition (review item, stay tuned!)  We picked the first grade level of this curriculum, the reading is easy for C, but we are focusing on the writing and composition part.  Stay tuned for the review.

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Church History Storied Scriptures, All About Spelling, The box above spelling is media for math – Ubbersmart Math Facts (review item).  We are focusing on memorizing facts right now before moving on with Math U See.

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Read to Self – Pilgrims Fact Tracker and Read Aloud with Mom – Pilgrim Stories

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Apologia–Flourish (TOS Review)

Flourish Book Review

Flourish Book Review

We just finished the awesome book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational Ministries as a review!  Those of us who are moms know that being a mom is hard work.  Being a homeschooling mom is EVEN harder!  There is always so much to do and it never seems like there is enough time to do it all!

This book has been really great to help better plan and time manage.  It is filled with lots of great tips, great quotes and scripture too!

The book is written to help you put into action the concepts being taught.  When you purchase this book you also receive free downloadable pages for taking notes, implementing lessons and keep track of goals!

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At first it may seem like not all of the chapters apply to you (Mary Jo Tate, the author, talks about home business for example), but everything in this book can by applied.  Whether you homeschool, work, or do it all and more!
She talks about the need for Organization, Routine, Accountability, Goals, Planning, Good Attitudes, Balance, Priorities, Family, and more.  She has great ideas and examples to help add all these things to your life!
You start this book with a self evaluation questionnaire:  (see picture above).  This book gives you a lot of time to reflect as part of the learning process.  There are many days I feel as if I have run around like a chicken with my head cut off and accomplished NOTHING!  (Please tell me we all have days like that!).
It was great to be able to see what I HAVE accomplished, what I could have fit in if I had planned a little better, and more!
One of my favorite quotes from the book is:
“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end.  It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”  - Margaret Thatcher
That is especially true for me, a to do list, DONE gives a great feeling of satisfaction to me.  This is what I am striving for, yet…this book helps to keep that TO DO list realistic, manageable and achievable! 
Flourish Book Review
author Mary Jo Tate
One awesome strategy introduced in this book is the STOP DOING LIST – deciding what you spend time doing that is NOT worth your time!  I thought this was great, how many times do we fill our time with menial tasks, things that don’t really matter in the long run?  Things that we don’t want to say NO to, because well, we are too nice to say no?!  Sometimes we have to say NO, sometimes we need to put less important (but good) things to the side to make room for the better and the best.
Another important bits – Establishing boundaries, letting go of guilt, having a positive attitude. 
Each chapter ends with a section titled TAKE ACTION! 
This is definitely more than a book you read idly.  You’ll need pen and paper to get the full use of this excellent read!  A self-help book that requires immediate action!

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Jelly Thumbprint Cookies–Dad and Kids in the Kitchen

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My husband has far more patience when it comes to cooking with the kids!  Honestly I try to avoid it, he does it on a fairly normal basis.  This was the first time (in awhile) that he had all 3 helping hands involved.  Currently only my 3yo is interested whenever he is in baking mode, but he was successful in roping all of them in this time around. 


2/3 c butter
1/2 c sugar
2 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 c chopped pecans
strawberry (or other flavor) preserves

Preheat oven to 375

Beat butter, add sugar and continue to beat until combined.
Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.  Combine.
Add flour and beat until too thick, then stir in remaining by hand.
Cover and chill dough about 1 hour in fridge (or we tossed in the freezer for about 10min)

Grease cookie sheet; set aside

Roll into 1 inch balls (they used the 1 t scoop from Pampered Chef, but I think it made them big b/c the original recipe said makes ~42, but we got about half of that).  Roll each ball in the egg whites and then coat with pecans.  (They had an assembly line going).  Press thumb into the center of each ball.  Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are light brown.  Let cool on a wire rack, then fill center with jam.

My aunt said these cookies tasted like Pecan Sandys with Jam.  They were not very sweet like a sugar cookie, but had the same sort of texture (not including the nuts).  They were quite tasty!

We used homemade jam that was made from our strawberry picking Open-mouthed smile

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Picks for 2014-2015 (3rd Grade, Kinder and Preschool) with Link Up to Share your Picks!

You may find that a lot of what we are using this coming year is what was listed for last year….we ended up doing a lot of our own stuff to be on an even more flexible schedule due to pregnancy sickness, pregnancy loss, pregnancy sickness AGAIN, new baby, and moving 6,000 miles away!  The benefit of homeschooling.  So we dove into our actual curriculum plans REALLY late in the game, and we have added a few new things to the mix too.

We are VERY ECCLECTIC homeschoolers.  You can read more about our homeschooling styles and why I supplement curriculums by reading my guest post over at Tolivers to Texas Blog.

Third Grade

US HistoryVeritas Press – Self Paced History – Explorers to 1815, with suggested literature, (This was a recently reviewed product that we absolutely loved and will be continuing), as well as literature from Beautiful Feet Books and some Golden Prairie Press.  Follow my History posts to see what we do with each subject (books read, movies watched, field trips, as well as activities done). 

us history series

Language Arts/Writing - Essentials of Writing – Level 2 (We will be finishing up Level 1 very shortly) and Grammaropolis

Math - Math U See – We are finishing up Gamma and starting Delta.  We will supplement some with some computer games – right now we are using (and liking)  UbberSmart Math and Mathletics (stay tuned for reviews on both!)

ScienceElemental Science – Earth Science/Astronomy – I’ll be supplementing some on this program too, so stay tuned for posts about it.  I have also designed the Preschool/Kindergarten weekly workbox curriculum around this topic.  We have been in and out of this curriculum for awhile with reviews and stuff going on in between.  We started out with Astronomy, and then moved to Earth Science and will revisit Astronomy at the end. 

Spelling - All About Spelling – We are finishing up level 1 and moving onto level 2

Reading – wide variety of literature based on topics of history and science, we will be starting Essential Skills Advantage for a review (stay tuned!)

ChineseRosetta Stone

Handwriting – I opted not to have an official handwriting curriculum this year, we may finish off the 2nd grade Handwriting without Tears book…but, I don’t think he is ready for cursive yet (may try that in 4th), and with the increase in writing he is doing we will just focus on handwriting on those assignments (especially spelling) instead of adding another thing to the list.

Skrafty Minecraft Homeschool Classes– Right now he is doing Astronomy, we are looking at Geology and Mine Through Time US History for the fall.

*Programs used for supplementing Science and History – Streaming TV (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime), Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr, Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett, In the Hands of a Child Lapbooks, Moving Beyond the Page Units, and more.


Math Seeds & Reading Eggs

Handwriting without Tears – Kindergarten

Touch Math K

I plan to incorporate All About Reading Level 1 at some point during the year, based on his readiness.  We tried it already and decided it wasn’t the right time yet.

Weekly Workboxes



All About Reading Prelevel

Touch Math PreK

Handwriting without Tears – Preschool

Weekly Workboxes

Extra Curricular

I’ll admit these are the FIRST things to get left off when we run behind or are burned out or otherwise tired.  I’m trying really hard to work them in this year,they are actually requirements this year since we moved to MD…so my goal is PE/Health (formal lesson) 1-2 times a week, Music and Art 2-4 times a month (so either once a week or once every other week rotating, though if we do a piano program I would like them to practice several times a week).

Health/PEFitness for Families, Homeschool Swimming, Soccer, Trampoline, Gracie Bully Proof (my husband does this with them 1-2 times a week), Variety of books and videos. 

Music – I’m torn and still trying to decide between KinderBach and Adventus – both programs we loved and didn’t get to take full advantage of after the reviews due to the reasons mentioned in the opening paragraph.  I think Kinderbach is a bit young for my oldest, but the younger two like it.  My 5yo falls in line with either program age wise, but it’s pricey to do both.  Decisions, Decisions!! We will also use Maestros Classics and Beethoven's Wig for composer studies.

ArtHome Art Studio as well as artist studies.

Nature Study/Journal – Magic Tree House Journal


Co-op – Every other Thursday

Wide variety of apps for Kindle and iPad as well!  We follow Smartappsforkids and SmartappsforAndroid and load up on the free ones! 

*Plus whatever review products come our way – some we keep, some we don’t, some we save for next year!   We constantly change things around based on what is working or not working.  I wish we could do EVERYTHING!  There are so many great choices and we review so many great products, but we only have so much time to do ‘school’ a day. 

Circle Time

Circle Time will consist of Prayer, Scriptures, Spiritual/Inspirational song, Calendar, Pledge of Allegiance (on Monday) and I would like to incorporate a daily journal page for my oldest – but we may hold off on that for a bit.

We have gotten out of habit with Circle Time with all the changes; I want to get back into it, but shorten it up a bit. 

{Some links are affiliate links}

Link up your curriculum choices here, please indicate which grades!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Share it Saturday

Chestnut Grove Academy Share It Saturday Blog Hop

new share it saturday hosts
Please visit my co-hosts:

Karyn from Teach Beside Me
Colleen & Leann from Sugar Aunts
Mary Catherine from Fun-a-Day
Kate from Laughing Kids Learn
and Tiffany from Life & Lessons From a Country Road



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