…with two sets of sweet friends who have both received glorious news about their adoption referrals within the last two weeks. What a beautiful picture it is of our own adoption as children of God, to see people welcoming babies who were once orphaned, into their hearts and home, resulting in a family. We cannot wait to see these three baby girls brought home, and are praying “Soon, Lord Jesus, soon!!”  Jana and Michael, Jami and Shawn we are so happy with you.

Our Home School Plan

Several friends have asked me recently what exactly we are going to use for material in this home schooling adventure we are embarking upon. And while I joked in my previous entry about pretending to be prepared for our year, the truth is that I have been researching like a mad woman since April.

For the past five months I have eaten, slept and breathed home school curriculum, pored over catalogs, read countless reviews, asked every home schooler I know about their personal curriculum choices, compared and contrasted this and that program, and have really, really loved the entire process.  Those of you who know me well are aware that I live to research – it is glorious fun to me. Surely someday I will figure out how to market this ability to obsess on something so singularly, but for now hopefully my family will enjoy the benefits of my having peeked down every curriculum rabbit hole I could possibly find in an effort to put together the best plan (that I could create) for our particular family’s schooling needs this year.

I will ask my hunk of a webmaster to post fancy links and permanent pics of our various choices over to the right so that anyone who might be interested can see info about our curriculum choices long after this particular post is gone from this front page. And while it sounds rather arrogant to presume folks might be even the littlest bit interested in such granular information, well, the fact is, I have answered this question several times already, so surely there are more people out there who maybe will benefit from being able to access that.

That said, here’s the rundown of our current choices in no particular order. It should be stated up front that much, but not all, of what we are using was guided by suggestions and curriculum structure outlined in Susan Wise Bauer’s (for those of you who are wondering, no – I don’t think she’s related to Jack at all) text, The Well-Trained Mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about Classical Education.

Bible: The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos

Math: Singapore Math

Grammar: Rod and Staff, 4th and 2nd grades; Language Lessons for Little Ones, Volume 3 by Queen Homeschool, K

Spelling: Modern Curriculum Press’ Spelling Workout

Vocabulary: Wordly Wise, 4th and 2nd grades

History: beginning the year with a short study of Texas History from various sources including State History from a Christian Perspective ; spending the majority of the year completing Year 4 of our Classical History Cycle “1850 to Modern Times via Biblioplan. Biblioplan is a literature-based history program which allows you to tailor your material to the ages you are teaching, and provides a huge list of “living” books at all levels to choose from. Our “spine” will be Joy Hakim’s History of Us, Volumes 6-10.

Latin: Mars Hill’s Latin Primer, 4th grade

Composition: Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing With Ease

Science: outsourced via the Heard Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

Poetry: Dickinson, 4th grade; Milne, 2nd grade; Stevenson, K

Art: outsourced via a local Co-op: Drawing I, 4th and 2nd grade; Young Children’s Art, K (I won’t provide links here, but email me for more information if you are local, and interested.)

Handwriting: Universal Publishing’s Manuscript Enrichment and Manuscript/Cursive, 2nd grade; Universal Publishing’s My Letter Book, K

Copywork: Copywork for Girls, 4th grade; Copywork for Little Boys, 2nd grade

Phonics/Reading for Nicolas: finish up 100 Lessons, begin Explode the Code, Reading Pathways, and ongoing memorization of all his phonograms to hopefully provide him a secure foundation for lifelong reading.

Literature: this is a vast subject so I will only skim the surface. and admittedly, I have not selected books for the entire year yet. Abigail (4th grader) and Jonathan (2nd grader) will study the same texts for the practical reasons of both time, and because Jonathan’s reading level and comprehension are almost equal to hers anyway. We will start with Five Children and It, follow that with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and also enjoy Dickens’ A Christmas Carol before Christmas.

Nicolas, while welcome to listen to these above selections read aloud, will enjoy literature on a much younger level, and I am choosing to concentrate on Hans Christian Anderson, Kipling, and Aesop with him.

I have not included every last piece of material we will use this year, but if anyone has more questions I will gladly answer those. Truly, we are all so excited about this year at home. The older two children have worked hard on summer math since beginning of July, and Nicolas has progressed amazingly in his reading level/awareness in that time as well.  Aside from their scholastic improvements, we have already had countless opportunities to learn about how to better live together and love each other.

Though we have currently begun about half of what is listed above, the plan is to be at “full school” by Tuesday following Labor Day.  I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.

Blissful Beach

We have just returned from a week in what we considered almost paradise, better known as Gulf Shores. What a great time we had swimming and sunning, visiting with good friends, and eating lots of yummy food (and drinking lots of yummy wine!).  Don’t we look relaxed and happy?


Maybe I will find time to post more pics and some details from our trip later.

But for now it’s back to planning mode: I returned with my laundry done, only to realize sports and “extra-curricular” activities begin next week, and honestly, so should Horne Elementary (hat tip to Angie). So I am scrambling to finish pulling together the final pieces of our schedule and pretend that I am really, really organized and ready to jump into this home schooling thing. Heheh.

I leave you with a pic of what I think are the cutest set of kids in the world, but I’m probably a little biased:


Edited to add: pics are posted. I only uploaded 90 of the 188 shots we took. Don’t worry, you can thank me later.

Further Edited to add: I hope all our readers know, I was not the person who made the comment about the fat guy. No sirree!!

Look out folks!

I am pleased to announce that there is now a Wii in the house.  Not because we decided to buy one for the kids; no, they patiently saved week after week after month after month of allowances, pooled them and got this thing on their own.  Bravo. That is patience.

Now, not being a huge fan of computer games in general, I was dubious when I heard about the new Wii. The Hornes have never owned any gaming systems, and I was pretty happy with that state of affairs, not wanting our household to be in any way contributing to the general trend lately of sedentary, couch potato, eyes-glazed-over while fingers move at rapid speeds, zoned out kids our culture seems so apt at producing.

But after seeing our children play Wii with friends’ kids in our church home group I realized this newest system is pretty innovative and cannot be categorized as a mere computer game. It is interactive, our kids always play standing up (and moving around quite a bit to boot), those waiting their turns cheer on the competitors, the whole family gets into it, the games are really different, and it is just a whole lotta fun. Everyone, from the 3 year old to the 83 year old in the family can play, and often, kids have the advantage over the parents. (Much to Daddy’s dismay!)

So….all that to say, we are enjoying our new toy. Especially the kids. Or at least they will be if we can convince Grammy and Grandy to stop their fierce competition for a few moments, and give the kids a turn!