Category Archives: J


I am writing this after the girls have gone to bed, at least one of whom probably is dreaming of snow. I just loved the look of magic and wonder on Miss J’s face this evening as she gazed at the snow. She is hoping it is not too icy tomorrow to be able to have her long-hoped-for snowball fight. We didn’t quite get the white Christmas that the movies all show but she is getting to have some of her magical snow. A wonderful and magical moment.

J looking at snow

To get to play in the snow was her holiday wish. And it is coming true.

What about you and your family? Did you have holiday wishes? Here’s hoping they came true for you all.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lori, At Home.

Birds Unit Study


I know I have hinted and outright mentioned the birds study that Miss J was doing. She just finished it up. It came about because of her fascination with birds and wanting to learn more about different birds. She has been interested in birds since we did a birds book a few years ago. Since we read Look Up!, we have kept our binoculars on or near the kitchen table, which is where we can easily view the birds in the trees out back. We often grab them and study the birds that we can see and we really enjoy watching the cardinal family that comes back every year. This really factored into the decision to create a study, just for Miss J, the focused on birds. She has loved it.

birds unit study

My first resource is a bird study from Memoria Press titled “What’s That Bird?” When a local education store was cleaning out a couple years ago, I was able to get the old version of the teacher guide for this for a buck-fifty. I grabbed it. We used it to help us study the feathers, wings, migration, and more. It was a good overview of birds. We did not use the additional information in this study as it was geared quite a bit higher than 3rd grade.

We also watched Flight: The Genius of Birds, a video from Illustra Media. This video focuses on the dynamics of flight, what is required for birds to be able to fly, and how God’s design is perfect. The videography is just stunning in this video and we enjoy watching it. We learn quite a bit each time we rewatch.

We also checked out a bundle of bird books from the library and spent some time, early in the study, focused on nests, parts of the birds, feathers, and more. We used most of these books in conjunction with the pages from the Memoria Press guide we had.

The website All About Birds was a daily use. It has a good search engine on it so Miss J could easily search the type of bird she needed for that day. The information was thorough, yet accessible for one her age. It included identification, habitat, and food information, along with nest and egg details. There are bird calls to listen to and videos of the birds. This was a really good site for our study.

two page layout

I have a file from Homeschool Copywork that has coloring pages of birds. We printed these full-size and placed them in a three-prong folder. Each bird is identified. As she studied each bird, she colored it according to the images on the web site.

We also have a membership to This resource had a blank notebooking page for birds. I downloaded it and printed it out with four copies of it per page. Miss J would fill in one for each bird and then tape it to the back of the picture of the bird that she colored. There are several other page types on birds available in their science section. This resource is invaluable when creating your own unit studies.

The last thing I included in her study was copywork from John James Audobon. She studied a biography of him early on last fall and so including some of his most famous statements is a great way to keep him and his contributions in mind while benefitting her cursive work. These came from Homeschool Copywork.

bird quotes

This was a simple study that has given her lots of information. It has also been really easy to tie in with other work that we are doing, such as a study of the book “Bears on Hemlock Mountain.” It is not uncommon for us to be out and about somewhere and for her to state “I see a (whatever kind of bird).” We talk about it and she enjoys telling us how she knew what it was.

This is just one way in which we strive to encourage our girls’ in their learning and an example of what I wrote about for the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair week 3.

At Home.

Giraffe Party – Blogging Through the Alphabet


Miss J just turned 8! I can hardly believe how fast the years are going, but I know every parent must feel that way. She invited her friends over for an animal party, though her focus was on giraffes. This is her favorite animal and has been for several years now.

She asked her friends to dress as their favorite animal, so, of course, she dressed as a giraffe. This was the easiest costume. Ever! I got a brown shirt that she had and turned it inside out. Using making tape, I just stuck pieces of different lengths on at different angles until the whole shirt was covered. I did the same with a pair of brown leggings that she had. We added to this a headband that I taped ears and horns (not what they are really called) onto. After putting her hair in a bun, she was the cutest giraffe I have ever seen.

We played pin the tail on the giraffe. For this, I gave each child a small piece of paper and had them draw their own giraffe tail. We had printed off a coloring page of a giraffe that I found through a search engine. We printed it on multiple pages and taped them together. Easy – peasy. Bonus? It is now a poster in Miss J’s room!


We ordered pizza because salad, the food of giraffes, is just not the favorite thing for this 8 year old. We put her newest addition to her toys, Squinkie animals, onto the cake for decorations. We had blue kool-aid since giraffes drink water. Truly, easy party, y’all!

We had lots of fun and enjoyed our time with friends a lot. And now, I have an 8 year old.


At Home.

Join the ABC blogging group hosted by A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

A Net In Time Schooling
My ABC Posts:

Electrical Circuits – Blogging Through the Alphabet


A while back, my dad pulled out a couple of electrical circuitry boards that he had used to teach my brothers some things about electricity when we were all younger. He gave them to us and I set them aside for another time. Well, that time came last week when we were all feeling a bit under the weather but we still wanted to accomplish something. You know that place, right?


Well, electrical circuits to the rescue. The day was saved. At least for Miss J. She was terribly excited to see these and to try them out, now that we had bought the right batteries to run them. We have to boards. Both of them are by Science Fair. One is 60 In One Electronic Project Kit. The other is 160 In One Electronic Project Kit. We started with the smaller one.

Turns out, these were WAYYYY easier to use than I had expected. The booklets that come with them explain how to hook them up, the order in which to hook the wires up, and what each setup is supposed to do. Then, it explains why it works (or it should – we did have a couple not work correctly).


We worked on a basic on/off switch. We tried out hand at traffic lights (something didn’t work there). We used a reed switch to turn on and off a light. We did two or three other small projects and then we put it away for the time being. It won’t be put away for long and it is much closer at hand now than it was before.


There is probably a good reason to work through the projects from the start of the book but we just picked a chose. It was an exploration project at the time. I imagine we will take this up a bit more regimented at some point in the not too distant future because Miss J was so interested in it.


At Home.

Join the ABC blogging group hosted by A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

A Net In Time Schooling
My ABC Posts:

Blaze Books


One thing that always thrills me is when I stumble upon a book that Miss J loves. This happened a couple of months ago when I somehow came upon the titles for a series of books about a horse named Blaze. These books were originally written back in the 1930s and are just wonderful! The drawings are imaginative and simple and the writing is superb.

These are early chapter books but they are not too hard for Miss J. In fact, they were the perfect fit. The branch of the library we normally go to did not have any of these books so I had to request the first one.

blaze-booksI got it home and had Miss J begin reading. She was hooked. She requested and read every single one our library system had.

The premise of the story is a friendship between a little boy named Billy and a horse named Blaze. They have adventures and get into some tight situations together. Through it all, the friendship grows stronger and stronger. These books are fun and simple and just right for a young reader.

The series by C. W. Anderson includes:

  • Billy and Blaze
  • Blaze and the Mountain Lion
  • Blaze and the Forest Fire
  • Blaze and Thunderbolt
  • Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony
  • Blaze and the Lost Quarry
  • Blaze Shows the Way
  • Blaze Finds the Trail

I think there are a few more but this gives you a pretty good idea of the extent of the series. Each one is about 50 pages long with stunning drawings. Each story is a thrill with a happy ending. Just what I want my younger child exposed to for now. The other stuff will come along soon enough.

At Home.

This post is included in the Homeschool Review Crew Homeschool Collection. Click the image below to see all of the posts included for March 2019.


Review and Giveaway: Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers

I received a copy of this book from Family Christian in return for honest feedback and this post.


“I like that it talks about God and that it doesn’t sound sassy when you read it.” According to a six year old, that is all it takes. J loves this book on prayer!

Prayer Treasury

Prayer. It is such a beautiful thing. We are shown the perfect model of a prayer in Matthew 6 when Jesus is speaking to his disciples, teaching them to pray. We should follow his example and teach our children. Teaching our children about prayer is one of the best things we can do because it opens up their own personal conversations with God. Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers is a sweet collection of prayers that children can relate to every day and in all parts of their day.

The contents tell it all. With chapter titles like “Good Morning, God”, “In My Play and Through My Day”, and “Good Night, God”, from sun-up to sundown, there are prayers to fill your child’s day. To help him see that God is always there to hear him and to talk with him.

One of my favorite things about this collection is the use of Bible verses as prayer. There are a good number of prayers that are praying a Psalm. But it is not just Psalms. You will find Judges, Luke, Revelation, II Chronicles, Philippians, and more.

Along with God’s word, you will find examples of verses you might remember from your childhood.

p 85 excerptp 78 excerpt

You will also come across excerpts and verses and prayers from a number of well-known authors, including St. Francis of Assisi, Isaac Watts, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Louis Stevenson, among others.

illustrations 2aaThroughout this collection, your child will be thrilled with the bright, colorful, playful illustrations. The illustrations capture the child’s imagination and propel her forward with the desire to keep reading and revisiting the book often. I often found J sitting with the book, mesmerized with the lovely pictures.




A beautiful way to teach children to pray is to pray with them and illustrations 1aashow them examples of prayer. This collection is done is such a loving way that even beginning readers can read from it. J and I would sit together and she would practice her reading by reading prayers from this collection. (She is in Kindergarten and has about 100 sight words under her belt. That should help you see just how accessible this book is for children.)

We have really enjoyed getting review the >Lucado Treasury of Bedtime Prayers by Max & Denalyn Lucado, illustrated by Lisa Anderson. You can purchase a copy through Family Christian.

We are also excited to be announcing our first ever giveaway, sponsored by Family Christian. Family Christian will send one winner a $10 gift certificate to be used on their site or in one of their stores. Click on the link below to be taken to the Rafflecopter. Good luck. At Home.


Connect with Family Christian on social media: Twitter   Pinterest     Tumblr     Instagram     Facebook

Rafflecopter Giveaway for $10 Family Christian Gift Certificate

FIAR: The Story About Ping

FIAR Story About Ping

As we are working through some new Five In A Row material, I started looking back on posts. As I did that, it hit me that there was not yet a post on Ping. So, this will catch us up.

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack, illustrated by Kurt Wiese

Geography: We studied a map of China to learn more about the size of the country and looked up the Yangtze River on the map. We discussed the meaning of the word Yangtze (yellow) and why the river might have been named that. We used an internet search to come up with images of the river and the people that use the river. We discussed what might happen to commerce in China, or an area of China, if the river didn’t exist or changed in various ways.  We put the image disk on a world map, showing that Ping’s story took place in China.

Asia book


Geography: We also read the material in the book Asia: It’s Peoples and History by Bonnie Rose Hudson. This book gives a really good background to all the turmoil that China has experienced and the people that live there. This is a wonderful resource that I highly suggest getting your hands on for various studies or to do a study of Asia. The material is easily accessible for all ages and is adaptable for your needs.

Geography: We talked about the culture of China and what the girls ideas were. We then looked through the book and found examples of the culture of China, the people, their clothing, their foods, their practices, and more. We then looked at a few modern day pictures we found on the internet and compared.

Literature: Fiction is something that the girls know pretty well but we did take a few minutes to make sure that J knew the difference between fact and fiction. She gave some examples of books that are fiction and compared them to books that are fact.

Art: We used the discussions from the FIAR book to guide our art discussions. We talked about the medium used and how you could tell. Each girl had to give some examples of why she thought her answer was correct and then we talked about how the pictures were illustrated. We talked about the use of water as a repetitive element and how it pulled the whole story together. We talked about unity of the subject and how it was all put together. We also had a discussion about using the whole page and balancing your subject to show it off the way you want. The girls then created a composition that included Ping from their choice of viewpoint, as long as it showed water and used the techniques that we had discussed.

Ping drawing 3 Ping drawing Ping drawing 4 Ping drawing 2

Math: The FIAR book talks about using counting skills to count up the members of Ping’s family. We used the opportunity to talk about grouping, using counting crystals one day and counting disks another. We had the girls do different things with the numbers we could create – division for the oldest, multiplication for the middle, and adding or subtracting for the youngest. We also talked about even and odd with the different groups created. We also talked a little bit about pattern and repetition, as the family members are group in a repeating pattern.Ping buoyancy

Science: We talked about the type of animal Ping is and how you could tell. We discussed the various characteristics of birds and how Ping and his family fit all of these. We looked up what they eat, where they live in the wild, how they have young, and more.

Science: The girls learned the word buoyancy and what it means in context. They then created a science experiment. They chose several objects each and made a hypothesis about each one’s buoyancy, supporting their choice with details. They then tested their hypothesis to find out if they were correct. This one was a big hit!

Ping music


Music: We studied a bit about the music that is traditional for the Far East. We looked at instrument images and listened to excepts featuring those instruments. While the girls were working on their drawings, we put on a CD titled “Sakura: A Musical Celebration of the Cherry Blossoms.”





Hopefully our FIAR study of The Story About Ping will give you some ideas for your own unit with this book or ideas for how to cull interesting learning from other books that your children enjoy. At Home.



Be A Star! Reading Chart

Here is the next installment of reading charts. I have this set for 10 books a week because that is what the goal is for J. Please leave me a comment if you would like for these to not designate a length of time in which to read the books and I’ll leave it off of the next one so it is more useable for you.

Be A Star!

Be a Star Reading chart by At Home: where life happensBe A Star reading chart PDF
(click above for a printable PDF file of the chart)

At Home.

%d bloggers like this: