Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekly Highlights ~ Changing Spelling Programs, a Butterfly's Wing, Drums, a Birthday...


 Our week began with a fun discovery by our seven year old, Ryan. He found a tiger swallowtail's bottom wing on our deck. He asked to look at it under the microscope! We all took turns looking at its scales and were in agreement that it reminded us of snake skin. God's creation is amazing!

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We've had our microscope for almost two years. It was a Christmas present. I researched so many and finally decided on this BARSKA Monocular Compound Microscope. It's super easy to use, and we've been pleased. I especially like the 360 head rotation. It's makes taking turns looking at the specimen super easy between the four of us. I looked just now on Amazon and it's selling for a much better price than what we paid two years ago!

To take the pic on the right, I just put my iPhone camera over the eye piece and moved it around until the specimen was clearly in view.
Later in the day, Ryan found this awesome dancing rainbow on our whiteboard - our fish tank is directly above with a window behind it! He snapped this amazing (non-filtered) picture.

Jonathan found a walking stick on our front porch. He discovered its feet can attach to nearly any surface - including human skin! Don't worry, it doesn't hurt.

Another Reason I Love Homeschooling - Flexibility

My dad stopped by this week, and we ate breakfast with him at Cracker Barrel! His job involves a lot of travel. So even though he lives in another state, we still get to see him once every month or two as he passes through. Thankfully, our schedule is flexible.

What I am Reading  

During Caraline's piano lessons, I began re-reading The Ministry of Motherhood. I love all of Sally Clarkson's books. I am grateful she shares her wisdom with us!

Compassion International

Those who know me well, know that my heart is with children in poverty. I've been checking our Compassion International site daily for the moment we would be come correspondent sponsors for a a new friend.  When we logged in Wednesday morning, fourteen year old Mesfin from Ethiopia was on our sponsorship page!!! We wrote to him immediately using Compassion's email letter writing tool. We included a couple of family photos - dogs, too! We spent the rest of the morning researching Ethiopia in depth and the school Mesfin is attending through Compassion. Our hearts are filled with complete joy to be Mesfin's new friends!
Caraline's Favorite Book this Week
Caraline decided to re-read How to Train Your Dragon. She began reading it around 5 one evening and finished the next morning before 10. Yes, I let her finish her book before beginning formal lessons.

And, The Presidential Game arrived in the mail this week! ~ review to follow in a few weeks.
We love to play board and games like Chess, Checkers, Uno, and Sum Swamp just to name a few.


We have a drummer in the family! Ryan loves drum lessons and his teacher, Phil. (Phil is the drummer for Makeshift Jukebox - check them out!) Ryan needed to get a big boy set of drums. When he was four or five, he got a junior drum set for Christmas. He's out grown it now, but this used set we found will last him until college or even after! ~ Little brother now has the junior set in his room.

Later that night, I found my sweet boy polishing his new-to-him drums. I didn't even ask him, too. I just smiled when I walked into his room. Ryan didn't know I was behind him. He's certainly growing up.

Switching Spelling Programs for Ryan

What we had been using for Spelling just wasn't working for my little guy. He was thriving, but it wasn't as easy as I'd have liked for it be. It worked beautifully for his older sister. She's a fabulous speller, but what works for one isn't always going to work for another.

Don't be afraid to try something else.

We'll I'm happy to announce we've found our fit -  All About Spelling. I love it, but most importantly Ryan LOVES it! We've been using AAS for a couple of weeks now, and we are already on lesson 18 in Level 1. We'll be done with the whole book in just a few more weeks. I can tell he is a better reader because of it, too! It's Orton-Gillingham based, (You already know I'm a big fan of this method!) which is a multisensory approach for dyslexic children. I don't think Ryan is dyslexic, but the multisensory approach with rules explained is absolutely his cup of tea. I chatted with another homeschool mommy today, and she ordered this set for her struggling speller, too. I am anxiously awaiting her thoughts!

 I have a banner on my sidebar that takes you to a couple of fabulous FREE spelling (and reading) teaching tips downloads.


Whole Wheat Brownies!!! We made this super easy recipe that Caraline picked out this week. It was Deeelicious!! Thanks to our sweet friends at Lara's Place and a Cup of Grace for giving us the cookbook (years ago!) with this yummy recipe!

Birthday Girl!
Sandy turned one on August 29!! You can read her rescue story here. We took her to PetSmart and bought a few birthday surprises, including a "birthday" Pup Pie.

The day we met..

Big difference from the day we took her home, isn't it. This vet office had been her home since she was six weeks old.

Guppy Babies!
Can you see them? They are mostly in the top right hand corner of the nursery. There are seven!

And the kids began Awana Wednesday night - one of their favorite things to do! And they had their first Jiu-Jitsu lesson. They loved Coach Jorge and throughout the week I would find little ones practicing "the alligator" - so cute!!

And our review for one of our favorite homeschool resources went live this week!

OK, that's the major highlights from this week. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here!

~ Hope

We are linking our Weekly Highlights with our friends at Homegrown Learners' Collage Friday and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-Up.
Homegrown Learners.


  1. Yeah I had to make a change on 2 of our curriculum choices for the year, but it's been for the better. Now my daughter suggested another change. I personally don't do well with change so this flexible homeschooling life is keeping me wired, lol!

    1. Ha! I completely understand! The sacrifices we make... ;-)

  2. Hope, I think my favorite thing from your week is the look on Ryan's face with his drums. That is just priceless!!! :-)

    You know I appreciate you always linking!

    1. Thanks, Mary =) He appreciates those drums so much! Thanks for noticing =) I've enjoyed watching your instagram feed this weekend - love how much Grant love bb and how the whole family supports him! That's what family's all about!

  3. Love hearing about your week! Love you guys!

    1. Aww! Thanks sweet girl! Love you all, too!! =)

  4. What a great week! Sounds like lots of fun!

  5. Looks like a busy, busy week! We are having a great time with the Presidential game, too!

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