Category Archives: home school

Homeschool Co-op

ED9A4046I have been home schooling since Caleb was 5… and hes now 11. So around 6 years. In all that time I have yet to join a co-op type group. Although one year we did participate in something called Classical Conversations… and while I liked parts of it, it just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t like feeling bound to a specific curriculum’s “time schedule…” sounds weird, but I like the freedom of controlling things… and CC for me, hindered that. It also was very expensive… The one year we did it, it was a shock the final cost. Still, one of the things I did miss about CC, was the social interaction. So when we moved to SC. I knew, being new, we needed to find some sort of home school group to join.

I am thankful that I found one that has been a great fit.

It is located about 12 minutes from our home. It actually meets at the sister church to ours. The church we meet at, planted our church. So I thought that was kind of cool. The cost was minimal compared to some co-ops I had debated joining back in Atlanta… but just could not afford. For the whole semester, supplies included and even child care for Reed was under $100.00. You just can’t beat that! That is so cheap for three boys, 4 classes each. I am so thankful that this co-op was affordable… seems like many co-ops forget that larger families can’t afford to pay $75.00 a class… or 100’s per kid. At least I can’t. While I realize expenses and time goes into putting all of it together, I sometimes think things are way over priced… I never want our home school to be a financial burden. Ever. So we’ve def. had to pick and choose what we do, depending on cost. Thankful this one is within our means.

The boys are taking classes like Architecture using Minecraft. Reptiles by the River. Art Creations. Fun with Letters. PE. Music. etc.etc. Basically elective type classes. It is also a time for them to be independent. Navigating the hall ways to their different classes. We also have a gym devotional time where the kids can spot and sit with their new friends… have snack… and so forth.

After co-op (it ends around 12:30) many of the families do a picnic style lunch at a nearby park too.

I am on the year book team and snagged a few photos this week. Thought Id share a few favorites here on the blog. :)

Here is Caleb in his Reptile class. I help in this one.

1st Period class I am with middle schoolers, teaching some fun art skills. Right up my ally.



Owen (who is 5) has done great learning the ropes. (he’s the one in yellow here)


How adorable is this baby turtle!


& of course, any class that involves lego’s – its awesome.


The Co-op has over 100 families involved. Pretty massive :) & encouraging to see so many home schoolers.


To end…

A few things I have learned this year home schooling.

1. Teaching 5th grade English is horrible. I almost wanted to throw in the towel. Call it quiets… give up. I am awful at english. Beyond awful. I do not comprehend it fully myself and therefore to teach it, was even harder. My blog is evidence of how bad I am at english (with proper grammar, spelling and so forth). It just is not my thing… and the curriculum we had did not offer any dvd lessons and walk throughs, like Caleb’s math offered. We use Saxon with Teacher DVDS for his Math and that has been a life saver for me! Having a curriculum that explains things well to my child, is huge… I need that help. So when we would do english lessons and struggle badly… I lost it. I am so thankful my husband has been willing to help… and so he is taking charge and does English with Caleb. I thankfully am able to understand 3rd grade English haha… so I do teach Taite his english just fine. I know as my kids age though and get into higher grades… if the curriculum does not offer dvd help, I will not be able to teach them well. Call that a lack in confidence in myself… or just pure honesty. “I am not smarter than a 5th grader” holds some truth. It just creates in me a push to find ways to make it work… as I do feel home schooling our boys is important.

2. Kindergarten should be done slowly… if schooling your 5 year old is resulting in insults… or fuming tempers… you need to step back. Preaching to myself here… Owen who is a new 5, just like my other boys is having trouble with phonics. Math, writing, no problem. Phonics… its rough. I remember facing this same situation with all my boys and realizing that around age 6-7 something just clicked in them… and what use to take them hours to retain, took minutes. So I am reminded from that but also encouragement from friends… to take it slow. Give grace… and dont fall to the temptation of social pressure to get a kid reading by age 5. I think its nuts that schools expect ALL boys (esp) to understand and grasp reading well by age 5… I for one, wont belittle or make reading so unenjoyable that they hate it, just so they can say they read by a certain age. My older boys are evidence that learning to read later, will in no way slow them down. They are doing fantastic :)

3. School in shifts. With four kids, all different ages. You cannot school everyone at once. At least I can’t. So we school in shifts. Most mornings I try to get the older two to do math 1st… they can for the most part do this without my help. I sometimes have to do a lesson with our 3rd grader… but Caleb who is 5th grade, does every bit of it on his own using his laptop program and work book. It takes him a solid hour though. Saxon is hardcore :) but solid. While they do math, I may work on Owen with his workbooks. Reed may play iPad. While I work on Taite with english, Owen may play with Reed. While we do Science/History together (I do this with my older two, both at the same time). Owen may play something alone and Reed may nap. Its all about balance and finding time to focus on one thing… if I tried to do everything at once, I would loose my mind! I even try to add in a 20 minute time span where I can workout… and focus for just a few moments on MYSELF. We moms are worth that 20 minutes… and our children should be able to leave us be for at least that amount of time.

4. Offer incentives and rewards. I created a new chore chart system. Each chore gives the kids “screen time.” If they complete certain chores, they get a certain amount of time… one of those chores I added was “Do your school well and quick.” If they do this, they get an additional 35 min. screen time! A huge amount compared to their 5 minute screen time chores :) – I also have a treasure box. filled with goodies. At the end of a week. If they ace their spelling/math test, etc… they get to get a toy or goodie from the treasure box. This has always worked well for us… and its very inexpensive. Dollar Tree has lots of great options.

and… I think thats it. Each year I learn more and more ways to make schooling work… each year brings its own challenges… and at times doubts. Its a year to year thing… and we make it work. Thankful for the ability to home school… It is a blessing.

New Home School Room

ED9A3746One thing that we made sure to look for when we began house hunting months ago, was a school room. This could possibly be a 5th bedroom or a den. In the case of our home, it is a den. This honestly isn’t my “first option.” Only because the room is open to one side of the house and can’t be closed off. This isn’t a big deal as far as “looks” goes… but when you have four boys in a home, while schooling an older kid, your house may be a bit to loud at times. I have debated putting in a sliding “barn style” door to close it off to the hall way that connects to our living room space… but for now its open. This room does open up to the kitchen as well, but has french doors to close it off from the kitchen if need be.

The room features beautiful bay windows. I love them. Its a tad smaller than our other house school room, but its still a great size.

Today we had our first “FULL” day of school. With the move, we kind of dabbled some here and there with some of the boys school… but held off starting officially until this week.

Next week our home school co-op group begins meeting too. So it seemed like good timing.

The day went relatively smooth. The boys are excited I think for some new curriculum. Caleb especially is stoked that we get to learn about dinosaurs this year in science using Apologia. In case you miss my post earlier this summer, here is a look at our choice of curriculum.

Below are a few more photos. A small glimpse into our day schooling.





Toby (our cat) often hovers during school hours. Not sure why but he loves being with us, right at our feet.


My view from the school room, looking back towards the kitchen.



This small desk is new. I got it from Aldi for like 24 bucks. I couldn’t use our longer BLUE school table in this room. It just wouldn’t fit… so I intend to donate that table (cause it was a nice one!) to our church nursery room. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as we did.


Its funny, when I look at what Caleb (age 11 – 5th grade) is doing, I am like “wow… my baby is so grown, his books look so complicated now… ” Thank the Lord for DVDS that help to teach 5th grade and up… cause Lord knows I need that haha.. I can teach Owens age (grade K) with almost no guidance now. After doing it with two other kids, you almost have the lessons memorized. :) Funny how when you first start home schooling it scares you to death… I was always so fearful I was going to screw up my kindergartner… and that he would never learn to read. Thankful I stuck with it, I surprised myself and doubted for no reason.


Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2015 – 2016

Update at bottom:

We got our Wifi turned on yesterday… and it didn’t take me long to begin the process of figuring out what we will do for school this coming school year. I knew we’d home school this year… The thought to public school wasn’t even a question for me. The last few years, it has been on my mind. This year though, hasn’t even crossed it. I guess it may show my own personal confidence in myself building… where as former years I doubted myself a lot. Still do some days… but I think all moms struggle with those insecurities… I am debating and praying about the possibility of putting our oldest in Public School once he hits high school. We have a good many years before that though. So for now, ill enjoy these elementary school years while I still can.

Before getting started… let me first off encourage the moms who desire to home school but doubts their abilities. I for one never imagined I would ever home school. I struggled in my later years of school. I was not an A/B Student. I was more of a C/B student… and a few years in high school I actually failed a few classes. Math mostly… I just didn’t grasp math well for some reason. Some have told me its because im “Artistic” but whatever the reason, I hated math in high school and struggled throughout each year. From Algebra to Geometry. It just was not my forte. I also really stunk at Grammar and spelling. My blog is evidence of this!! I managed and passed, graduated… and so forth, but it wasn’t with flying colors. The only areas of school I ever remember liking, without a doubt were the arts. Photography, music, art class. I also really enjoyed science. History was “so so” for me. While it wasn’t my favorite, I enjoyed that much more than English or Math.

Still. I knew when we began to have kids, that the thought to “school them” at home, scared the heck out of me. I did not feel smart enough.. and to be honest I probably am not smart enough. Thanks to amazing curriculum options though, even this “C” student, has the ability to home school…

I am thankful that I stuck with it, despite the early year struggles especially. I am thankful for friends encouraging me throughout my many many many MANY MANY bumps. I’m thankful for my boys ability to bounce back during a hard year and skipped lessons. The year I was pregnant and had our 4th baby was a doozie for our home schooling. We missed almost an entire year it seemed… and yet these boys are right on schedule and doing great.

Its the beauty of home schooling!

… but to the mom who just doesn’t want to home school. Skim this post knowing that your choice is perfectly fine and no one can judge it.
I am learning we as mothers really need to begin to support other moms out there. Regardless of our differences in opinions… methods… thoughts…. choices. We each have to come to these decisions on our own. Prayer and personal conviction come into play big time… and who am I to judge any other mom for her choice “not” to home school. No two mothers convictions are the same and that does not mean they love their child any less.

So cheers to all the mamas out there. Home school. Public. Private. Charter. Know my post is here to encourage and help. Hopefully my processing of this years curriculum choices will be helpful to someone out there reading.

Here is what I have in mind so far.

This is not set in stone. I have not ordered anything yet. I am making my list, checking it twice… and seeking mentor-ship from friends with older kids, who have been there, done that… :)

So this list may be changing before its all said and done, but its what I have so far. :)
Home School Options for Boys

Caleb: (5th Grade) – age 10

Literature/Language: BJU English – I have actually always done ABEKA Language… but I have never been super keen on their teacher books. They tend to confuse me and overhwelm me at times.. The BJU Literature/English kit looks a little less complicated and its also cheaper. So this is what I am leaning towards for this year.

I may also do an Abeka writing for Caleb as well.. but haven’t decided yet…

Math – Saxon 4/5 – with Teacher DVDS – I cannot speak enough about this set. I got mine used on ebay for $65.00 – for everything. New its much more… but its well worth the cost even if you can’t find it used. It has been super helpful for Caleb… and since Im horrible at Math, its been great for me to have that to fall on.
Typing – – free! great lessons
Bible – Champion Devotionals – I am possibly going to do some sort of BIBLE study story series with all the boys, but haven’t decided what to get just yet.



Taite: (3rd grade) – age 8

Language/Literature – Also considering BJU this time instead of Abeka Language
Abeka Spelling
Hand writing without Tears – I’ve always done Abeka writing… but Taite really struggle with it. So I am switching it up and trying this instead. My friend Luci who is a home school mom of 5 loves it. Shes used it for all her kids (minus her youngest whos Reeds age). So thought it be worth trying. Can’t really screw up writing IMO. Either way I think you’d be fine. I am just mixing it up this year.
Typing –
Bible – Thought about doing the Champion Bible for him too.

Owen: (He will be in K5) – age 5


Abeka Language K – I have all the readers already, so very cheap for us to just repeat abeka language K with Owen, since it is what we used with Caleb and Taite.
Abeka Number Skills  – Debated doing Math U see with Owen too… but Im leaning towards Abeka since its more engaging and colorful. I haven’t decided for sure though. If I did Math U See, I have the Math U See books up through 3rd grade.. so it probably would be cheaper to go that route. Gotta look into it more before I decide… but as of today, leaning towards Abeka.

Think & Learn Activity Book

Reed – Age 2 – Grade Messy

I do not intend to do a thing with Reed but give him activities that will keep him out of our way. Some moms I know do school stuff at age 2… but, well. I don’t have the time to teach a 2 year old how to hold a crayon. He can learn that when hes 5 :) – for now I will try my best to keep him from eating them or shoving them into dvd players.

For Art I am leaning towards THIS BOOK. I am a great artist ;-) – sorta… I can draw, lets put it that way. So I thought this book looked fun to go through. Update: We are doing a co-op this year for our art.

For Science and History : Im on the fence still… I would do Science and History together with all the boys. I may let Owen skip this though.. He is only 5… so I’m going to be lucky to get in the basics with him. So Science and History will be more so for the older two…

Im leaning towards… Time Travelers of America for History – its cheaper than most History programs I have seen… You print what you want to use.  The study on the 19th Century – its $29.00 roughly. I really want the boys to study something having to do with The Presidents… Christopher Columbus… etc… we’ve done previous history studies, such as Story of the World Vol 1… I liked it.. but I think those books would be great for my boys to go through as readers on their own time too. So im actually getting Caleb the Story of the World Vol 2 to read on his own this year. I’m not sure I like the idea of printing stuff so often though. I feel like we do that enough as is… so if you have any good history options, do tell :) *see update below to see what we ended up going for*

Science I was leaning toward sonlight but its just so over priced. Would be like $265.00 for everything… I’m not sure that is worth it. I used Sonlight last year for Science though and did enjoy it. Just not sure im willing to fork out the cash again.

So yea! that is it so far. Other Home School moms chime in if you can. Let me know some thoughts on History and Science options.
Also if you have any good NOVELS or books I can have Caleb read this year (hes 5th grade) list those too. I think ill skip Abeka Readers this year (their boring IMO)… and let him just read a few good novels throughout the year and do book reports on those. To me the love of reading is the goal… more so than little check marks in readers.
So “good boy book suggestions” appreciated :)
I am super super super excited to get into our new house come August. Our close date is August 14th.. but we are secretly hoping the loan comes through early and we can close sooner. We do know the home owners at the house will be moving out July 27th (they close on their new house then). So if they are gone and our loan goes through earlier than expected, then we may be able to move in sooner. Fingers crossed.
The home school room in our new house is off the kitchen. It has a french door dividing it from the kitchen though, so I can shut that off if need be for quiet. It has really nice window light and hard wood floors. I don’t think its as big as the other school room in our Atlanta home… but its not far off. I look forward to making it our own. Also the living room that is across the hall has BUILT INS on one wall. TONS of great book space and storage.
To end… thought this was a fun photo to look back on. My first year really schooling my boys. Time goes so fast….


Update: I ended up getting APOLOGIA for Science and Mystery of History for our History this year :)

We are also doing a co-op this year. So the boys will have art, music and PE through that. Along with a few other classes… Should be fun :)

Little Hands and the journey Homeschooling

Little Hands and the journey Homeschooling

why i homeschoolSee those little hands? Those messy adorable hands belong to my two older boys. Who are now 10 and 8. Those two little hands I have watched day after day grow and grow, every moment of every day. I had a friend at church sunday ask me how home schooling was going this year. A friend who I look up to and admire greatly. One that I value her advice and opinion and will always and forever remember. She was a wealth of help when we first moved here and for her, I will always be thankful.

When she asked me that question though I couldn’t help but think back to the moment we shared in a ladies group, where I cried and cried about the struggle with home schooling my boys.

I was pregnant with our 4th at the time… Travis was in the police academy… and life was completely different than what I had been use to the last 10 years of our marriage. I once was married to a Pastor whos schedule although busy was very flexible… I once had the ability to rely on him to take off when I had a bad day… or at least be close by if I needed him. All of that was gone when we moved to Georgia… and I now was married to a cop… whos schedule was far from flexible… always changing and very demanding. When I became pregnant with Reed, Travis was brand new into the police academy. He had to go through 6 mo. of training while I was pregnant… which meant he could not miss any days. It was “school” and a job. To miss would mean to repeat the mandate and that was out of the question.

So when the pregnancy got hard… I was put on modified bed rest due to low fluid and pre-term contracting. Something I experienced with my 3rd as well… the task to home school our boys flew out the window… and ate me up with guilt and doubt.

I didn’t know what to do…. I just knew I did not have a peace about sending my boys to public school… Public school is not the enemy. It is not evil. It does not mean a mother or father loves their child any less… but the calling to home school my children is a deep deep deep conviction and desire of mine. I truly feel CALLED to do it… and so when I was faced with this hard time in my life… and had to weigh the pros and cons, it was gut wrenching for me.

I am thankful for grace and for wisdom during those moments. From other moms on both sides. Home school moms who encouraged me to press on and shared similar experiences and struggles throughout their years… but also Public School moms who shared with me their heart and burden for their children as well.

Being a mom is hard…. it only makes it harder to feel as if it is a competition between mothers on what is best.

It isn’t and should never be that.

As we finish up my 5th year home schooling my boys I am filled with joy at the ability God has given me to do so. This journey home schooling has not been filled with painless days… and constant joy. There have been lots of sorrow and heaviness throughout.

Our Pastor sunday morning started his sermon with this line…

God empowers us with an ability beyond ourselves. We will never know we are capable until we do it.

I know he was probably referring to more “spiritual” matters in-regards to the sermon itself… but that simple line he preached sunday struck a cord in me… and just encouraged me so much.

Had you asked me 5 years ago if I would still be home schooling my children. I would have probably told you no. I felt unqualified… I didn’t feel smart enough. I felt overwhelmed at the responsibility… knowing that my children’s education was in my hands… I struggled with doubt daily.

… yet God has empowered me and given me the ability to do something I never thought was possible…

I expected to fail…

… but I am so thankful I stuck it through… and God truly has blessed our family because of it.

home schooling and why its worth it

So as my friend asked me Sunday, “How is home schooling going?“, I was so thankful that despite the bad year we had the last time she asked me that… I could look at her and honestly say “It has been great.” Peace filled me at that moment and I was so thankful she asked… and ended with encouragement and praise.

So to end… I just want to encourage the home school mom who may be struggling today… who may be where I was while pregnant with Reed… battling fear, tears, doubt… know you are not alone in that…. If you home school a year… or 5… know that you are amazing.

Regardless if you home school or public school. Love your children well and be involved. There is reward in both journeys and nothing trumps a mothers desire to do her best for her babies.

Reorganized Home School Room 2015

Reorganized Home School Room 2015

One thing that often happens when you home school. Is that things can get sloppy. At least I find that true for me. The every day task of motherhood, house keeping, school room responsibility and everything else that goes along with what I do daily, piles up. I have been in this weird “purging and reorganizing” mood for weeks now. I have no idea why. No, I’m not pregnant. So I cant blame hormones. :) I think it may be the pre-spring cleaning fix? or something.

Whatever the culprit my husband I know is probably a bit annoyed with my moving of furniture and purging of stuff.

Then again, he can’t complain. At least I’m not going out and buying a bunch of stuff we don’t need. If anything I am selling and making money along the way as I purge our things.

THIS POST will give you an idea of what the room looked like prior to my changing things around.

Here goes…

Great Homeschool room

I originally had a rectangle table in this room. The old table was nice and solid oak. It was my childhood table. I decided to put this in our breakfast nook area instead though, because the circle table made it easier to teach from. It also took up less room. Although glancing back at the before photos it may not seem so. It does though, trust me.

The round table I got for free via our neighborhood facebook page. Score! It actually has a leaf you can put into the center to make it bigger if you choose to do so. This table only came with three chairs (the white one shown was one of the the three it came with). In order to have some unity in the breakfast nook area of our home, I took two white chairs and two darker wood chairs and alternated them in the kitchen nook. So it makes more sense. So in the school room I have the other two brown chairs for my older boys and the white chair is my throne… hah :)

I have found since the beginning of ever schooling my boys, that having a large table for all of us to use together works best. While having desk in their room is handy during independent study times and what not… having a center place where we come to sit and do school, functions well for our family. Eventually once I am schooling all 4 boys ill have to expand and add the leaf and extra chairs. For now the little boys sit at the smaller table picture. This table has been with us since the beginning too. A friend gave me it. It may not be much to look at but its perfect for young kids under age 5. It also is solid oak and can withstand lots of beatings.



The book shelf to the right of the white cabinet is where I keep extra books we aren’t currently using. So 1st grade books, kindergarten, 3rd grade… or curriculum we may use in the future. It is also where we keep our kids money jars (we use a 3 jar system. Savings, giving and spending). I also have a big black treasure chest full of special treats for when the kids do well. If they do well during a week of school they get to go to the treasure box… or if they get A’s on their test… that sorta thing. The black cabinet drawer thing on top of that shelf has stickers, laminating sheets, readers we currently dont use and so forth.

The small table in front of our white board has our essential oil diffuser.

As well as an organizer with all the supplies we’d need to get through a school day (roughly).

The white board we got at an office max that was closing. I saved 80% of it and only paid $30.00 for that! Such a steal!! It is also magnetic and cleans up so much easier than our former chalk board and cheap white board alternative we tried using for a while.

I highly recommend every home school mom invest in a good white board.

Great Homeschool room

Great Homeschool room

The white cabinet my dad made for me years back too out of an old TV console. It is what I put all of our craft materials… puzzles, board games, misc. school things. Its great at hiding things. Its extra special to me too since my dad helped paint it and put it together.

The dark blue school table with color chairs was given to me by a friend when we moved to GA. Its adjustable and solid! Easy to clean off too. The computer my dad gave us… although I do think we will upgrade to a nicer one this summer. On that desk we also have a copier that prints color/black and white. I use it to make copies of seat work and student pages. The other printer is a laser black and white. I use that to print most papers that dont involve color. Laser printers are hands down the way to go if you want to save on ink. They last forever!! I have had that same ink cartridge for like 4 years now! Eventually Id love to get a laser copier… but my budget doesn’t allow for that just yet.

That table is used for our computer work. Switched on School house. Spanish and typing. Also any videos we have to watch we use that as well.

The book shelf to the left contains all of our current school books and reading material. At the very bottom of that book shelf is the tot shelt. With board books, play do, kenetic sand and so forth.

I used bricks to help keep books together for different students… much cheaper than expensive book ends. :)

On top of that book shelf is our hamster Daisy in her bin cage. Shes a great addition to our classroom.

The little colored shelf unit to the left is now organized with all of our boys legos! Color coded. I use to keep extra paper and pencils in that. That shelf unit though did not do well when holding heavier items… so it works much better for legos.

That is pretty much it! :)

Our school room in a nutshell.

I love it!

We spend a lot of time there… so keeping it organized in a way that makes the day go smoother is really important.

Comment letting me know if you want to know what curriculum we enjoyed this year and why… what we plan to do next year… etc… I have already begun to do some new curriculum with the boys even though its close to the end of this years school year. Im a bit unusual in that aspect. I add things in as we go sometimes and you know what, that is the beauty of home school! We arent boxed in and we can change things mid year if we want and make it work. Hard to believe that this year ill have a 5th grader! Seems unbelievable really…

Homeschooling. Means far more than just academics

Homeschooling. Means far more than just academics

After about 3 solid days of sunshine here in Georgia. We are faced with a very dreary and wet day. I suppose after 60’s for 3 days, it was only due time for the temps to drop and us to get back to the reality of what Winter should be like.

Today was one of those days we had very little school work to do. So despite being stuck inside all day, besides a few spelling test, seat work and a dab of computer work. My boys were free to do as they pleased.

Homeschool is far more than academicsMid morning they began to get a bit antsy unable to go out, so I thought it was the perfect day to let them jump on our pillows. This is something I have allowed my children to do for years now. It is a bit messs but way easier to clean up than a floor full of legos.

So they jumped.




… and for a good while, had such fun being silly and listening to worship music in the background.

I decided as they played that I would set up my video camera and record them playing. I knew it be fun to look back on. As they played I couldn’t help but think how awesome it was that they were even home to do this.

[I’ll place the video at the end]

I have had my share of days… months… years, where I questioned our home schooling the boys.

I had many moments of non-escapable thoughts of “is this worth it?” “am I doing more harm than good?” “would I be a better mom if they were gone some…” “public school would probably do them good…” and so forth.

I battled those thoughts and more, yearly. Especially my first few years of home schooling. Especially those years I added a new child to the mix… or we moved. Or I had to adjust to my husbands horrible job hours. There are to many times to count, where I felt defeated and lonely. Days where I would be surrounded by cranky kids who didn’t want to do their school work and a tired me, who wanted nothing more than to be done with it.

Homeschooling was exhausting!

I remember resenting moms who were able to just put their kids in public school and be done with it. I envied the alone time.

It seems like in the last year or so though. I have hit a new season in home schooling.

A season of thankfulness.


Humbling moments…

and feelings of such blessing, as I sit and watch my boys learn.

Homeschool is far more than academicsI will be the first to raise my hand and bow to the awesomeness and hard work public school teachers put in. I have many friends who are public school teachers and I know the blood, sweat and tears they pour into their jobs. They like cops are very under appreciated. I for one would never want to teach a classroom full of kids that were not my own. At least I have the authority to discipline mine. :) So those new to my blog, must know. I am never ever downing public schools on this blog and I am never ever unappreciative of the work that goes into being a public school teacher. Nor do I think less of any parent who chooses differently. Homeschooling IS NOT a fit for every family and that is completely okay and right.

… but can I just say.

Home Schooling my boys has been nothing but a blessing.

We’ve had our bumps… but compared to the good we’ve experienced, its been worth ever single trial along the way.

My initial reason to home school back in the day was because I felt I needed to as a Pastors wife. My husband believed in home schooling after he had some very bad life changing experiences in public school as a young boy… I did it, because I wanted to not only please Travis but because I truly wasn’t ready to ship off my kids to a school for a good majority of the day. Caleb was so little still to me… I just didn’t want him to go… and selfishly I knew if I homeschooled him, he’d be with me more.

As my oldest son is now 10… in the 4th grade. Growing and maturing into an amazing young man. I am realizing in a new way, the importance in our family for home schooling.

I get so tired of hearing from people downing on home schoolings…

Saying they will be unsocial.



Unable to adapt to society.

Far from true.

My boys are amazingly social.


Out going.

Nerdy at times :) – but who isn’t!

Well rounded.

Independent thinkers.

Homeschool is far more than academics… and they do all of it without the peer pressure daily from kids around them.

I love their desire to please their mother/father.

… rather than their peer.

I find peace in knowing what they are being exposed. I don’t have to worry about the kid on the back of the school busy showing my 8 year old pornography or learning the latest inappropriate jokes and lingo from the lunch room. While this may not happen… my husband experienced this at age 9 back in the early 80s… if he experienced it then, pre-smart phones, I guarantee the chances of our children seeing it by that age is very high… and while I believe we should never live in fear… this is an area that affects so many young men… I want to do everything in my power to guard those boys eyes and hearts in this area, for as long as possible. Teaching them the importance of purity. One they they will see this. Hopefully not but its almost inevitable these days… but I hope that when they do, their foundation will be solid and their faith strong.

I can find moments of Praise in being able to speak truth into my boys on what scripture teaches… and what the Bible says… without worrying about offending someone or breaking a religious rule.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Freedom in creating our own schedule and learning as we go. May it be in our school room, on the road or with friends.

Home schooling is SO MUCH MORE than just Academics.

In 8 years. Caleb will be an adult.


I will be 38 years old… (Same age as my husband is today)… and I will then send my son off to college (hopefully).

8 years.

Thats it.

I hear so often the dread of teen years… and while I am not there… but oh so close. My prayer is to break that mold too… and to enjoy my boys for all they are. In the brokeness and in the praise.

So in the moments of silly games.

Choosing to Home school?

Jumping on pillows.



Tickles and Play.

I can cherish each moment, knowing all my boys see. All my boys do… and praying for them daily, to become all that God desires them to be.

No one can tell you what to do in regards to schooling your children.

… but can I encourage you. From one tired mom to another :) – that its worth it. If you’ve ever though about it… and wondered if you could do it. Try it. There is no harm in trying… and if it doesnt work out, send them back to school.

Why Homeschool?

Best Kindle Apps for Kids

Best Kindle Apps for Kids

The Amazon Kindle was one of those items that we debated on getting for some time now… All that ill get into in just a second. I wanted to write this post to show you all some of my kids favorite games for kindle that they use as well as some good apps for parents to control permissions.

This is Post #1 in my series on the best apps for kids. So for today I will show you the top Apps for Amazon Kindle according to the Wood Boys.

Little history before we get started:

List of Best Amazon Kindle Apps for KidsWe have had an iPad since 2011. Travis purchased one using our miles card points. We are big believers in no debt, but we use a credit card to buy things like gas… or groceries. By doing this building up good credit and earning some fun points or miles along the way. So our iPad 2 was completely free :) – yay! Originally that iPad was mine… but Id say about 2 years after I got it, my kids really got into playing it and my iPad as of a year or so ago became more my kids than mine. Which is ok… I guess :)

After a while of this, one thing that got old was constantly dividing usage time between 4 children.

During school hours my two younger boys would constantly interrupt me and the older two during schooling… and even though they had some toys, sometimes it was just nice to set them in front of an iPad and let them play to their hearts content. This ended up causing issues however when I would need the iPad for certain “Educational Apps” it had on it… and then Owen and Reed would have no tablet to use. Which I guess, yes, you could make do. Give them legos… or blocks.. or whatever, but you know, im all for easy distractions on hard monday mornings while im teaching history and science… and if a tablet can fix those stressful days, Praise God we have tablets :)

So for Christmas this year we splurged and purchased our older children Kindle Fires.

We got a black friday deal on them and even though I swore I would never be “that mom” who bought their kids tablets before age 12… I will say honestly, it has been the best Christmas purchase ever!

I do believe wisdom needs to be used with tablets… minimizing time spent in front of it, is smart.

Also making sure your parental settings are set well to protect your kids from questionable things is also very wise.

If you do plan to purchase your young child a tablet, be sure that your first priority is to protect them and set things up smart.

The reason we ended up going with KINDLES for the boys vs. iPads was strictly money.

The iPad I love but for an iPad mini or regular iPad Air, we just could not justify the price difference. A Kindle Fire was much more in our price range (esp with the black friday price). Also with the Kindle Fire you can set up one amazon account to use your kindles under. So all of our boys kindles are under “1” account. With this set up our boys can all share apps… so lets say you buy an app that cost $5.00 – that app and that cost will only ever have to be spent once. It works great.

So while I still prefer my iPad as far as “app choices” goes… the Kindle has been great to have and fun to learn more about.

All that being said.

The use of our boys kindles is mainly for pleasure and fun. Not educational purposes. So on this list I probably wont be listing “a ton” of educational apps. Some are… but the majority of “educational” apps I use for homeschool, are on my iPad. (that post is soon to come)

Below is a video introducing the Kindle Fire. I attempted to show the use of some of the “PARENTAL” Apps… but my lack of video savy know how failed me… and the video is super washed out during the “close up” use of the kindle on screen. Still, figured I would post it since I took the time to film it. Hopefully even without the best visual quality you can make out what I was trying to explain. Enjoy! I hope the list of apps below is helpful.

List of Amazon Kindle Apps for Kids


Best Kindle Apps for Kids (full list)


Endless Alphabet Amazon Kindle AppEndless Alphabet ($2.99) – This app is wonderful. Probably one of my favorite educational apps. My youngest who is 2 years old has learned how to match the letters and their sounds using this app, even at his young age. My older kids, as old as 10 love this app as well. The videos it has with each word are adorable and fun to watch.

Interactive Telling TimeInteractive Telling Time (Free) – Great simple app for teaching a child how to tell time. We used this in line with our home schooling. Gave my kids something a little bit different than traditional work sheets to do.

Scribblenauts RemixScribblenauts Remix (Free) – This is not only an educational app that teaches children to learn to spell, solve problems and so forth, it is also so much fun! My boys LOVE THIS app and will spend forever on it creating new things using words. A must for sure.

Learn Piano AppLearn Piano (Free) – If your kid is into music they’ll love this app. My son Taite is our musically interested child :) – and while none of our kids have had musical lessons of any kind, this app gives him a little glimpse as to what can be created using a few keys. One day we hope to enroll them in some musical classes.

Brain Pop Featured MovieBrain Pop Featured Movie (Free) – Great app a lot of schools use to teach the kids about science, history and more. There is even a Brain Pop Jr. available.

Bible for KidsBible for Kids (Free) – A great bible app for children. Interactive and full of classic Bible Stories.

PBS Kids Video
PBS Kids Video (Free) – I am going to include this one in the educational… even though it is borderline just fun entertainment. For all those whos kiddos love PBS TV shows, they’ll really enjoy this app. Its a safe place for kids to enjoy their favorite PBS shows and episodes.

Functional APPS (for parent use):

Kids Place App to set timer on kids kindle
Kids Place (Free) – This is the APP I mention in the video I posted onto this post. We use this at night to limit our children’s use on the kindles. Its free and works great.

Blue Light Filter
Blue Light Filter (Free) – One thing that they say can hinder a persons rest is if they use devices that have blue light in them. This is an APP that filters that blue light out. It works very well at night. I use it any time we “allow” the kids “night time” kindle use. It works well teamed with the above app too.

Game Apps For TOTS and up:

Buzz Me Kid Phone App
Buzz Me (FREE) – This is one of Reed’s favorite APPS. It is like a pretend phone but also has some fun interactive games in the app as well. Reed is always wanting to call people using my iPhone, so this is a great one to download to your cell phones too :)

Toca Boca Kitchen
Toca Kitchen ($2.99) – Let me go ahead and say that the Toca Boca APPS are all great. We have almost all of them. I have never been disappointed with one yet. So while they usually are not free, they are worth the few dollars you pay. This one is probably a favorite – but really, they are all great.

Toca Boca Train
Toca Train ($2.99) – Again great app for young kids especially. We use this one a lot with Reed who is just over 2. Especially great even without sound. Which some apps aren’t good without sound, this one is good with or without.

Toca Boca Boo
Toca Boo ($2.99) – I will admit, this one has me puzzled as to why the kids like it so much… but they use it constantly. You would think after a while it get old but we’ve had this one for many many months now (even before we got the kindles – they used it on the iPad) and they love it.

Toca Boca Hair Salon
Toca Hair Salon ($2.99) – Even though we have boys, our boys still love this app. I even like playing it :) – it would be especially entertaining for little girls who love all things hair. Really cute!

Lego Juniors Create
Lego Juniors Create (Free) – Any Lego game here is almost always a hit. This one is probably one of the best we’ve found. Works very well and is easy enough for even our youngest (age 2) to play without help.

Sago Mini Ocean SwimmerSago Mini Ocean Swimmer (Free) – Great interactive App for all ages. Our youngest enjoys this a lot but my older boys do as well – I would say as old as 8 would enjoy this app.

Older Kid APPS Ages 4+

Amazing Alex FreeAmazing Alex Free (Free) – Great app for teaching kids to be creative and solve problems. This one can be a little harder and I would say its best for ages 7+ – although younger kids can play it, it just may be a bit harder for them.

TarrariaTarraria ($4.99/although sometimes free) – We got this particular APP Free. I saw it listed on amazon one day while browsing and decided to download it for the boys. Because it was free it was a no brainer. It looked similar to minecraft… so I figured they would like it. I was right, total hit with the dudes :) – they love this app! (Note: Those who are against swords, light violence, may not like this app)

Minecraft Pocket EditionMinecraft ($6.99) – Anyone with boys or kids really who has not yet discovered minecraft… a bit of warning. If you download this for your kids, plan for them to become obsessed with it. My boys love this app and its probably what consumes 80% of their Kindle use. I have even enjoyed playing it with them. As long as you have wifi your children can interact and play with each other. So it can be a lot of fun.

Where's my Water?Where’s my Water? (Free) – This APP is addicting to play. Fun and encourages problem solving. I do believe there is an upgraded version that does cost a dollar or two… but to try it out, its totally free. My husband even enjoys this one.

Kiwi WonderlandKiwi Wonderland (Free) – Probably one of the “cutest background music” games we have. I love listening to the music that plays in this. Its fun to play and even adults will enjoy this one.

LepsworldLepsworld (Free) – I found this game while searching “Mario” – it is super similar to the classic Mario Brothers Game. Instead of Mario you play a little Leprechaun named Lep. Has lots of levels and gets challenging as you go. Lots of fun for all ages.

CrocsworldCrocsworld – This one is similar to Lep’s World. Only difference is its a cute lil crocodile. My 4 and 8 year old enjoy this one. My oldest who is 10 prefers Lep’s World.

Doodle JumpDoodle Jump (.99cent) – This is one of those addicting ones that will drive you nuts :) – but is fun. My husband plays this probably more than the boys. Him and my 8 year old have a competition often on who can beat whos score. Its a lot of fun and pretty simple to learn to play.

Subway SurferSubway Surfer (Free) – This one is similar to the popular Temple Run Game. Instead of a guy running from scary monkey’s though, its a kid who apparently is in trouble and running from the cops. Yea… probably not the best influence as far as that goes haha.. DO NOT RUN FROM COPS :) – thats a no no, but the game is a lot of fun to play and my boys enjoy it.

CheckersCheckers (Free) – A classic! Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of checkers? Our boys play against each other on this and its a nice quiet app they can play without much bickering :)

That concludes my list of Kindle Apps :) – there are TONS out there to choose from… and I am sure our list will grow each passing month… but these are just a few we have enjoyed for some time, even before we had Kindles. Most of the above are also available on the iPad.

I do plan to do a “Favorite iPad” post very soon too! One post at a time :) – Be sure to follow me on facebook or Instagram, so you know when the iPad post is live.