M – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

After missing last week due to a case of the “blahs”, we are back on today. This week’s letter is “M”. There were quite a few really good options for this one.

Mrs Piggle Wiggle

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Oh my, oh my, are the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books hilarious! We absolutely adore them, all of them. There are several. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a way with children and she is capable of curing the most difficult of cases. Her cures work every single time. From the “Won’t-Pick-Up-Toys” cure to the “Fighters-Quarrelers” cure, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle saves the day. And what makes it even better is that the kids all love her, too.

These books are from the 1940s and 1950s but are ever so much fun to read. These are some of those “don’t miss” books, in our family’s opinion. As a side note for you adults reading, Betty MacDonald has also written several biographies about her own life – as a chicken farmer, with two daughers, and being sent away to a hospital for tuberculosis. Fascinating books!

Magic by the Lake

Magic By The Lake by Edgar Eager

Another of his fun reads about magic, so if magic isn’t your thing or you don’t want your kiddos reading about it, just skip this one. Magic By The Lake is a story about the children (Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha) who wish for magic without thinking about how much magic is too much. The wording is everything is wishing for magic and well, that is where the children made their mistake – by the lake, specifically. Find out what hilarious adventures away them as they try to escape the magic by the lake.

Mistakes the Worked

Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones

This is a fun science read about how some inventors and scientists made mistakes that ended up being of benefit to someone. From potato chips to silly putty to aspirin and more, these little bits of surprise have become useful, helpful, and fun products that we all use. Miss L enjoys checking this book out from the library ever so often and browsing through it over and over. Inspiring ideas about not giving up just because something didn’t work the way you expected.

Mr Poppers Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Mr. Popper is a house painter, nothing elaborate, nothing fancy. When he is given a penguin, life begins to take on some changes. Eventually, he ends up with a whole flock of penguins and has to do something. What should he do? Take the show on the road, of course. Join Mr. Popper and his penguin troupe as they have some fun and funny adventures. Published in 1938, this is a classic for many reasons but most of all, it is a good read to enjoy with the family. We used this one as a read aloud when I first heard of it and we have enjoyed it a couple of other times since.

That’s it for today but don’t forget to visit the other ABC bloggers to find out all that they are writing about this week.

At Home.


The ABC linkup is not up for this week yet but when it is you can find it hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago



Fairest Lord Jesus ~ hymn

Calming, beautiful, peaceful – these are all emotions that come with this hymn when I think of, hear, or sing it. This is a gentle hymn that brings us to the basics of our relationship with God.

The second phrase says “ruler of all nature.” That is who Jesus is – the ruler of all. Not just a portion. Not just a piece. But all. You and I are part of that all. When we recognize this, there is nothing to be done except to cherish and honor this ruler of all.

We see the meadows mentioned, the woodlands. These are lovely and beautiful but Jesus is fairer, purer. Even when they are covered with the beautiful, gorgeous colors of springtime. Jesus is more beautiful and we should recognize that. He offers us so much more than this world ever could. Jesus’ beauty is not in color or something physical we can touch. It is in the beauty of the freedom we have from sin when we are in Him.

Even the sunshine and moonlight, which are mentioned in Genesis as being placed in the heavens by God to rule over the day and the night, are not as bright or as pure as Jesus. No matter what has been created, Jesus is the fairest, the most beautiful, the brighter, and the most pure of all.

Of All Nature. Nothing is above Jesus. And so we honor him. We cherish him. We share his love with others and wait until we are blessed to see him in heaven with the angels.

At Home.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus

text: anonymous (Germany), 1662
music: unknown

1 Fairest Lord Jesus,
ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

2 Fair are the meadows,
fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.

3 Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.


Learning for Life ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair

Learning for Life

Our philosophy – Learning for Life

We desire that our children love learning. Not just schooling but learning. This idea is what directs many of our choices for the girls, alongside our belief in God and his infallible word. We want the girls to be excited about always learning more. We want them to seek out exciting and interesting things because they are drawn to them, not because it is required for a grade or a job.

This philosophy leads us to an eclectic style of learning. While I truly admire those who are solidly in one camp or another (Classical or Charlotte Mason or Unit study, etc.), it just isn’t me and it isn’t our family. Eclectic learning allows us to pick and choose or create what will fit our girls and their needs/interests best.

This is one reason we love being a part of Homeschool Review Crew. We have access to tons of products that tailor our girls’ education to who they are and where their path is leading. The variety of products we review gives our girls an introduction to a lot of ideas and activities that we would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. This “Crew School” as we affectionately call it gives our girls a varied and unique education.

What does Learning for Life look like? We’ll cover our current specifics, what we are currently using and doing, next week. But for this week, let’s take a little look at what Learning for Life means.

We spend time talking with the girls about what their interests are and what they want to study. We then look for or create a unit to go along with that. For this year, that means a special science study for Miss J and Miss L. There is also a special history study and literature study for Miss L.

Goals and ideas get explored that are of interest to the girls and that creates a learning cycle that builds on itself. More information brings more ideas which brings more learning.

I want to encourage you to talk with your students. Ask them what is of interest to them and work forward from there. What is interesting? What do they want to know? What do they already know? What information will pique your interest? Where do we look for that? What types of learning do you want to do (books, computer, videos, activity)?

This is where we start each time we finish a unit or curriculum. We talk through what we want to do and move forward from there. Sometimes, our ideas don’t work and we have to either rework or go looking for something else. That’s okay – it’s part of Learning for Life. Learning to reassess and recreate and reattack is all part of life.

This post is part of the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will update this part of the post with the listing of all the others who are posting on the topic of their method of homeschooling.

At Home.

2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair button

What do my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about their Homeschool Method? Go visit them to find out!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 15th.

How Our Academic Co-op Completes Our Eclectic Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

A Method to Our Madness by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Finding Our Homeschool Method by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

How We Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

Give Us…. by Annette @ A Net in Time

A day in our Home by Sarah@DeliveringGrace

Lit-Based Education: How We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Overhauling Our Homeschool – Adjusting our “How” to fit our “Why” by Sabrina Scheerer @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler: Expectation Vs. Reality by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

How Charlotte Mason Transformed Our Homeschool by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Captain’s Log, Supplemental – Our Homeschool Days by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

How we get it done. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

How to Organize Daily Curriculum with the School Cart by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Learning For LIfe by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Eclectic Homeschooling: When It All Comes Together by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

A Typical Day? by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

This is the Way We Do Our School, So Early in the Morning by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Little of This and a Little of That: Eclectic Homeschooling by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World

Still Classically Educating After All These Years by True North Homeschool Academy

So what exactly is Life Led Homeschooling? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

The way we learn ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

Our Homeschool Routine by Joelle @Homeschooling For His Glory

Homeschool Methods � 8 Tips for the Journey by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset


God’s Law series ~ week off

God's Law

You know, life happens and sometimes we get drained. Sometimes we lose focus and have trouble finding drive and enthusiasm. That is this week. We have struggled finding our way back into routine and have had some extra bumps in the week. So, I am not going to fight it, trying to create a blog post for the God’s Law series for today that is just not very good and done half-heartedly. I’m going to spend today reading Psalm 119 and thinking about some of my favorite verses in it.

That is one thing that has been really good about reading and rereading this chapter of God’s word – I have found several verses that have really spoken to me, set in my heart and encouraged me over and over. These verses are some that I have probably skipped over time after time over the years. But now, they are sticking with me a bit. I do plan to share them with you at the end of the study.

For today, though, I’m just reading and meditating. No writing or hyperfocused word studies. Just God’s word talking to my heart. I hope you will join me in this as a way end an off-kilter week.

At Home.

Viking Ship creation

Viking Ship activity

Today, we were talking about Norway in our Let’s Go Geography lesson. (Read our review of Let’s Go Geography.) We are still really liking these easy but informative geography/history lessons. The embedded links to interesting videos coupled with map work, some history, national anthems, and some animals keep Miss J interested. The map work is just enough to challenge and it includes enough review to help retain the information.

A large part of Norway’s background is Viking and they are pretty proud of it. The activity today was to create a Viking ship on the ocean. Miss J had lots of fun with it and it was simple to do. These types of conclusion activities are right up her alley and seem to tie it all together for her.

Let’s Go Geography is one we are definitely keeping in our rotation of lessons.

At Home

Linked up with the Homeschool Review Crew and the Virtual Refrigerator.

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up


sale on SchoolhouseTeachers.com & what we use ~ a Crew review

As you probably know by now, we really like the resources we find on SchoolhouseTeachers.comWe are so blessed to receive a Yearly Membership to this wonderful resource for sharing about all the learning this site makes possible for our family. It is awesome!

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}

At the beginning of December we had an international feast night. In order to prepare, we accessed a large number of resources on SchoolhouseTeachers. From the video titled India Unveiled in a series titled Trek to the Holy Land to a history study titled A Splash of Geography with a section on India, we had access to lots of good information and images. There are lapbooking sets on the rhino and the Bengal Tiger. By far, the best resource on this site was Asia: Trade Route Safari by Bonnie Rose Hudson. This is just one example of how SchoolhouseTeachers can aid a family in unit studies. We could have completed an entire study on India just from this one source.

Of course, that didn’t even include looking up India on World Book Online, another resource available through SchoolhouseTeachers. World Book Online is full encyclopedia plus many other helps. When you access World Book through SchoolhouseTeachers, you have access to ten different libraries. These include

  • Early World
  • Kids
  • Student
  • Advanced
  • eBooks
  • Timeline
  • Social Studies Power
  • Science Power
  • Discover
  • Spanish Library

This is a very powerful resource and we have used it often over the past few months researching topics like Stalin, snowflakes, holidays around the world, and birds.

Another fantastic resource that seems to be growing ever richer in content is the Video Library. This set of videos is accessed from the SchoolhouseTeachers site and includes access to hundreds of streaming videos from companies such as Drive Thru History, Right Now Media, Creation.com, City on a Hill, and much more. There are videos to support just about anything you are doing and some are complete courses. Our family has used a number of these through the years, though Drive Thru History is probably our absolute favorite. The girls even ask to watch from the video library when they have video free time. Quality videos for free time? Sure!


We are using a couple of different courses this year in full from SchoolhouseTeachers. Friendly Chemistry is a complete course, worth 1/2 credit at the high school level. My 8th grader decided she wanted to study chemistry this year and so this is the course we went with. We are using it on a relaxed basis, twice a week. We have PDFs to print out or read online. We are printing so she can have a “textbook” afterwards to refer to later on if needed. It also have a video component, where the course is taught by a teacher. It is a video lecture but does a great job of explaining the concepts. There are also links to an external site to help me learn about the suggested activities, showing videos of them. Well, since this is a class of one and many of the activities are designed for multiple students, we are watching these videos so she can learn the information as though a part of a group. It has been fantastic!

Another class that we just finished using was the People and Places of WWII. This is a printable resource but it does have clickable links if you are accessing it online. It takes you through many of the important moments and time of the war and gives a richer understanding of what people went through in different parts of the world and the war. My younger middle school student used it last year and my upper elementary student is using parts of it to go along with her study of the American Girl book Molly. This resource has really enriched our readings.

Schoolhouse Teachers 2018 Fresh Start New Years Speical

From the Parent Resources to Planning (with complete printable planners for homeschool parents and for students) to complete classes and more, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a wonderful resource that I cannot imagine schooling without. And right now there is a sale you really don’t want to miss. You can get the Yearly Membership for only $90 (regularly $179). And even better is that for as long as you are an active member, this price will not increase at yearly renewal. Lock it in now. Before the end of the month!

Not sure if this is right for your family? Do a short trial for just $5. It is a quick way to access the site and find out if this is for you. Just don’t forget that the above mentioned special ends in just a couple of short weeks and then it goes back to regular price. Want to pay monthly? You can do that, too.

We love having this resource at our fingertips. Many other Homeschool Review Crew families do to. Click the banner below to read about their experiences and the classes/resource they checked out recently.


At Home

Homeschool Curriculum for Everybody - {SchoolhouseTeachers.com Reviews}

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Because Life is Precious ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair

Because Life is Precious

Life is precious. And important. And God-given.

God gave us our three sweet children to raise to follow Him. They are His children first and we are to point them towards Him.

That would be reason number one in our “why did you choose to homeschool” list. But not the only reason and not the only important one, either.

You see, we want relationships to come first. And the public school system wasn’t letting that happen. Too much focus on schoolwork, tests, and reading that wasn’t really benefiting the girls at all. Stress was beginning to creep into our children’s lives over something that wasn’t important at all. It was affecting our home and it was too early for them to deal with these things.

And right on the heels of that: we want our girls to love to learn. Their love of learning, their curiosity, was dying. Whether it was from doing boring things or from stifling their natural creativity, the girls were losing their interest, their drive, and their enjoyment of life and learning.

At Home Dad works a non-traditional schedule. This came into play very strongly in our decisions. Every other month, he barely saw the girls and we could feel that affecting that all important daddy-daughter relationship.

When we looked at these and a few additional issues, there was no other choice. God had shown us very clearly what we should do. And we knew it individually. When At Home Dad and I sat down one day, I just asked “what do you think about homeschooling the girls next year?” His answer? “I was going to ask you the same thing today.”

Asked and answered.

We talked to a couple who we value that homeschooled their children and asked questions of them. We read a few things and decided where we would begin at. And then we told the girls. They were excited! They had never really heard of homeschooling but they were pleased to try this new thing out.

And you know what? It has been a blessing time after time. All of these things here, and more, have benefited from us starting this pathway, this journey. But most of all, we have found freedom for life.

Life is precious. Don’t take the moments of it for granted. God gave us our children to bring us in his steps, his path, his way. I want my children to be pointed towards heaven, towards God, in all we do. This is our “why” for homeschooling.

At Home.
2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair button


Now, let’s see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST, Monday, January 8, 2018..

5 Reasons to Homeschool High School by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Weird Homeschoolers by Kim R. @ Good Sweet Love

How We Make Homeschooling a Lifestyle by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Our Ever Evolving Homeschool Story by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

5 Reasons You Will Want to Homeschool by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

How Our Homeschool Came To Be (and why we continue) by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Home Education – 10 Reasons we keep going…even when it’s hard by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

So… Tell Me Again Why You Homeschool? by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Virtual Homeschool Fair 2018 – Week 1 – Why do I Homeschool  by Joelle@Homeschooling For His Glory

Homeschool Reasons: Bullies, Faith and More by Annette @ A Net In Time

In Pursuit of Purpose by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Long Time Ago . . . Why We Decided To Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Why Behind Hopkins Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

5 Reasons We Love Homeschooling by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Why We Homeschool – It’s What We Do by Kristen H @ Sunrise to Sunset

Why we Home Educate and Extra Benefits by Sarah@Delivering Grace

Homeschooling: The Big WHY? by Lisa @ True North Homeschool Academy at Golden Grasses

Regaining Your Homeschool Focus by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

Why do we homeschool? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our �Homeschool� Why by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

It’s Worth it! Why We Homeschool, Even After All These Years by Hillary @ Walking Fruitfully

Because Life is Precious by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

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