The Nuts and Bolts of Education.

So. Yesterday in my tiny moment of impressedness with myself for a change, I had a fantastic fail – caught by the first commenter (and then everyone else all day long.) I snickered about it over and over. Did you catch it?


Yeah. It’s 2016-2017, Rachel.

Clearly I’m qualified to teach children.

So on that note, shall we talk about what Kindergarten and Fourth Grade will look like this year?

Noah’s Curriculum:

For Kindergarten, let’s admit that unless you’re either super Classical, super hands-on, or super crunchy, all books are pretty much the same. And, since I’m none of those and very much a workbook kind of mom, I set out to find ones he would be interested in. And oh, boy, did I succeed in my endeavors.


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My little Darth Vader (he wears his Darth costume at least five times a day, and I do mean five times a day because he has to take it off every time he has to pee – thanks, Party City costume engineers) could NOT have been happier about his Star Wars Curriculum. He literally squealed when he saw his workbooks.


They’re made by the BrainQuest people, and I love their work. They currently make preschool through second grade (maybe they’ll have high school books by the time we get there), and they’re the best thing that’s ever happened to motivate stubborn little boys.

On his first day, Noah happily did several pages, then stopped abruptly and said, “OH – I need to stretch!”

Stretching During School

I always encourage good stretching habits. Even in the middle of Phonics.

I also found a bunch of free printable math worksheets in his other interests, Lego and Minecraft, and he was a pretty big fan of these, too – especially the Lego ones.


There were only a couple of these printables, so we quickly moved on to making our own.


He liked this better, because after he finished, he could make something out of the Lego.

For instance, the above math sheet, once finished, was built into a duck…


In the middle of the act of pooping. Beige Lego-Brick Turds.


EDUCATION, PEOPLE. It isn’t always pretty.

Since he enjoyed the Lego format of math so much, I bought him a storage clipboard to keep a special reserve of math Lego in.


I put some in the pencil holder and more in the body of the clipboard. He was so excited about this new asset that he made himself a math sheet first thing Saturday morning.

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Another thing I’m doing with him is finally trying to teach him his states in the same manner that I taught Ali when she was two:

This is my most viewed YouTube Video, and although Ali is ADORABLE and totally deserves the views, I feel ever-so-slightly guilty about it since I now know that her level of focus and memorization is not attainable by every kid at the age of two – including the subject’s own brother (we tried. Really.)

So, for any mothers out there that felt less-than when they couldn’t produce the same results, please know that Noah is five and a half and didn’t know the state of Alabama when we looked at this map last week. So yeah. Sorry about that.

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But even so, he enjoyed learning, and enjoyed the marshmallows even more, so maybe by the time he’s six, he’ll be up to speed with his sister when she was two.

For handwriting, we’ll be using the Star Wars Writing Book along with Handwriting Without Tears. He especially likes their chalkboard – who cares if he’s using the lines all wrong? It’s without tears – that’s the important part.


And for reading, I’ve got half a dozen different curriculums. I’m going to try them all until one sticks – because I don’t know what will motivate him – yet.

Ali’s Curriculum:

Ali is using several new books this year, and a few continued publishers from prior years. We’re still doing BJU English and Reading, but dropped BJU Math and will be attempting to transition to Saxon Math.

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We used Apologia for science last year (Astronomy) and she really enjoyed it, so we’re using their Botany series this year. Ali loves our hikes and adventures, so Botany should be a really fun study for her.

Exploring Creation with Botany

(After our first lesson we were inspired to make our Sam’s shopping list using taxonomy and binomial nomenclature, so I am giving it an early A+.)

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I’m also trying Apologia Bible. I’ve failed in the past at actually using a curriculum for Bible, so we’ll see how I do this year.

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(The coloring book is Noah’s – coloring books always help with attention span.)

We’re nearly through book one of Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga for read-aloud (continued from last year), and it is so fantastic.

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And our super all-encompassing subject this year is Alabama History – but since I’m creating it from scratch, it’ll be another post on its own (or series of posts.)


You are invited to follow along with us this year, or if you want to wait until after we actually complete it, I hope to be able to share an organized and easy-to-follow hands-on curriculum. But more about that in my next post…and then I swear, I’ll stop it with the homeschool posts for a minute.