While you are waiting for me to post more on homeschooling, I thought I'd give you an overview of what the little guy is doing.....

So I took a picture of my planning area today where I spent time writing in plans for next week (using plans from the Ambleside Week 8 to guide me)

2015-09-10 15.29.35 HDR


and  my lesson plan book.

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Here are the materials we will be using next week if all goes well!

Bible, Religious Studies and Habit Training
Bible, Religious Studies and Habit Training
Nature Study
Nature Study
Language: Reading and Writing
Language: Reading and Writing
Artist/Picture Study
Artist/Picture Study


There it is! Most of the materials we will be using during week 8 of Year One using Ambleside as a guide.  If you have any questions from the photos as you wait for more homeschooling posts to come, drop by and let me know in the comment section!  Have a great week!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about going to the CHAP conference all alone - how I actually did NOT like being there alone - and the things I purchased for next year's homeschool year.  I mentioned that I would post about the speakers I heard at a later date so I figured it's about time I keep true to that!

Every year CHAP has a number of wonderful speakers.  Now that I am more sure of the curriculum I like to use I don't have to spend as much time shopping and now have more time to sit, relax and listen to the knowledge, wisdom and great ideas of these inspirational homeschoolers share their own experiences. There were several speakers I heard in person this year: Blogger and author Heidi St. John, Travis Zimmerman, Andrew Pudewa and Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason.  All of these speakers were amazing!!!

Heidi was the first speaker that I heard.  Heidi is also known as The Busy Mom over at

The Busy Homeschool Mom (Heidi St. John)

Heidistjohn.com.  The link will take you to her author page but you can also find her bog through the link as well (She's also on Facebook as The Busy Mom). Heidi spoke on romance during homeschooling in addition to the distracted mom and other topics.  I think her talk on romance/marriage was the best.  She emphasized that we must put our marriage as first priority only after God and yes, BEFORE the kids.  So many of us forget to do that.  I bought her book and finished it in less than two days.  It's full of good information - nothing necessarily mind-blowing - but a really well-organized gathering of information that while is mostly common sense, reminds us of essentials married couples often forget.

Travis Zimmerman of Speak My Word Ministries also spoke on marriage and homeschooling.  It blew my mind away how devoted and highly he spoke of his wife.  Every man and woman should be able to talk about their spouse that way and it makes me want to make more of an effort in my marriage to get us back on track and speaking words of encouragement and praise of one another as much as we did early on in our relationship.

The best book, in my opinion, on habit training. I like the companion books that go with this as well thus far!

Sonja Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason spoke on habit training and the Charlotte Mason method. Sonja is the person speaking in the videos that I mentioned in my "Catching Up" post a few weeks ago. It was great to see her in person.  Sonja really made habit training come alive for me as something of high importance and made the concept much clearer on how to go about the training and which ones were of highest significance.

I also enjoyed listening to Andrew Pudewa from IEW speak on language arts.  Andrew shared some of his own experiences with his son who was not a 'reader'. He totally convinced me that when I allow my son to do some of his reading through the use of Audio Books or  read aloud with me, this is most definitely a GOOD thing!

In addition to the speakers I saw in person, I also bought several of the talks on CD.  Well, okay, a LOT of them.  We do this every year.  I tell myself I'm only buying a few and I walk out with over 20.  Yes, seriously - over 20.  But I really do listen to them.  Sometimes more than once.  Of course now, after 8 years of attendance, I have a really big stack of CHAP conference CDs that I have no idea what to do with!

I'm still listening to the ones I bought this year.  The one that I have been most impressed with is Carol Barnier. Carol spoke on "A Prodigal Speaks Out".  She had some amazing insight to children who doubt their faith or simply are the 'rebellious' type. She has published a book on this very topic.  Carol spoke on quite a number of other homeschool topics including learning styles.  I don't believe I am done listening to them all just yet!

If you live in Pennsylvania and haven't been to a CHAP conference yet, I would strongly recommend it. What I have commented on here about the conference and speakers is just a tip of the iceberg!  I know there are some people from the surrounding states that come as well.  The number of hands on resources through speakers and vendors is absolutely amazing and worth the money to support the CHAP mission.







This year was not at all typical. I was all by myself!!! This has never happened in our 9 years of attending the conference. We started out going all together (at that time, my husband and I and the two kids) and even went the year our littlest was born just a few weeks before the conference. Last year was the first we weren't ALL there...our oldest had no need to go as she was headed off to college...and it was a hard adjustment for me. This year that same child was coming home from college, so my husband had to go get her the same Friday as the conference began. My oldest wanted to catch up on some school work so he can be done by the end of May, so he came to Harrisburg with me but stayed in the hotel room and did LOTS of Algebra! The littlest stayed home with Dad. So it was just me. I have to say, in years past I might have thought it would have been nice, but really, I missed having the partner to talk about the decisions I was making, someone to stand in lines for me (he's a sweetheart that way), someone to talk with at the speaker sessions, and someone to just share thoughts and ideas with. It just wasn't the same.

Still, I did make some purchases and was able to attend more speaker sessions than I usually do.

The Purchases:

Around The World in 180 Days - This is what we've determined to make my son's Social Studies requirement for tenth grade. We've already started a Charlotte Mason approach to learning the names/locations of the countries throughout the world this year starting with North America and now we are learning Africa. My son will complete this multi-level curriculum with continuation of this CM approach and a few additional requirements to make it a full high school course.

Exploring Creation with Chemistry - We have been using Apologia's curriculum for science for several years.  I strongly feel it is wonderful comprehensive program that covers the material well in a very understandable fashion.  This year is the year for chemistry as the local co-op sponsors a lab at a camp nearby.

Geometry - I am an avid fan of Teaching Textbooks.  I really wouldn't consider anything else at this point in time.  Obviously I'll be using something else for the little guy since TT doesn't start their programs until 3rd grade... and I'll be exploring the Charlotte Mason approach to math which is pretty laid back, but for my older kids, TT was a must!!

Typing Instructor Platinum

SOS Physical Education - My son participates in a physical education class with the local co-op but it only meets ten times per semester and while he does other physical activity, it's not something we keep track of.  Since he absolutely loves sports, I thought the new Physical Education program put out by Alpha Omega's Switched On Schoolhouse looked like it might be somewhat interesting to him and would be an informative addendum to the activity part of his physical education and will help towards hours to grant him a half credit course in physical education this year.  I like SOS in that the parents can easily modify it, so he can do the interesting parts, leave out anything he's not interested in, add on the co-op gym class hours and get at least a half credit course out of it.

Barron's Grammar Workbook for the SAT, ACT and more - Another purchase I made through Rainbow Resources.  I wanted to pick up a basic review book for my son.  He doesn't need much grammar instruction, per se, as he already completed an extensive program (Analytical Grammar) and has always been rather good at it.  I just wanted a review so he would recall what he needed to know for the SATs when it is time.  I was tempted by Easy Grammar's 180 Daily Teaching Lessons as it's a simple daily review and was debating on which grade to get as I was going to extend it over two or more years when I saw the Barron's Grammar Workbook and decided this was the way to go since it was also specific to the SAT which is the cause of my wanting him to review in the first place.

That pretty much sums up what I bought for my older son since we haven't decided yet on his reading books for English 10 and he'll be taking a writing course online.  Russian also will be covered online.

The part of this year's convention that was a bit more fun was for my youngest.  I got to see Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason speak at the conference and of course, made several purchases at the Simply Charlotte Mason booth!  I am eager to really understand and begin the Charlotte Mason method so I bought what I thought to be essential which is the Laying Down the Rails for Children companion books to the Laying Down the Rails book I already have.  I also attended Sonya's talk about habit training. The hardest part about this, I think, will be staying focused on just one at a time!

I also bought the Delightful Reading Kit that is geared for preschool through 2nd grade.  My son is certainly in the beginning stages of reading and I like the CM method because it allows for me to have instruction methods at my fingertips but is a very laid back approach that doesn't drive a parent mad thinking we need to have specific lessons every day or make reading tedious at all like so many curriculums and public school approaches do!

In addition, I bought Letters and Numbers for me which is the kindergarten level book to Handwriting Without Tears, a program I used when I taught in the public schools which I feel to be a very nice approach to formation of letters.  It is not something I intend to approach vigorously either, but wanted to have something on hand to pull out once in a while to introduce this aspect of language arts.  I also  to write bought a pad of kindergarten lined paper to write sentences and stories so that I have it when I feel we are ready for that.

For fun, I bought the Usborne Playtime I Can Draw Animals book.  I really want to incorporate the CM method of nature journaling and drawing is such an integral part of that - so maybe we can start with simple things and make it fun.  This book struck me as a very very simple way to do that.

The only book I bought for him to read (it was soooooooo tempting to buy hundreds!) was the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K - a book in a series designed to improve reading and comprehension skills and delight in God's creation!

I also bought several books for me 🙂 I'll save those for another day.

I hope you enjoy my sharing of my purchases and find the links useful.  I'll save my thoughts on the speakers as well  for another post on another day!  Have a blessed day and a blessed evening!