Choosing Home School Books = Stress

For those of you who don’t home school ~ or don’t have kids  ~ or your kids are grown

you might find this the worlds most boring post

or you might stay and read ~ taking a peek into my world ~

home schooling a child with 20/200 vision!  =)

In either case ~

How about a picture to put us all in  a happy place!

and then those of you who are NOT interested in curriculum can just exit

after viewing my happy picture leaving me a note to say Hi ~

telling me you love me anyway ~even if I do bore you

write about things that don’t apply to your life at all!  =)

Happy monkeys !

Aren’t they funny!

Hear no evil.  Speak no evil. See no evil.

Which order do those phrases go in anyway??  =)

it is a quiz!

See hear speak?  Speak see hear?  Hear speak see?  see ?


OK OK ~ Enough monkey business…

Choosing Curriculum.

For those of you who DO home school ~ does it freak you out A LOT little

that your child’s intellectual future lies in the pages of the books you choose?  =)

A couple hours a week Sammy attends a public school program for home school kids ~

a variety of fun art, PE, music, science, language, math classes…

Right now he takes 3  one hour classes ~

Tumbling, continental creatures and Famous US Places

Olympia Regional Learning Academy  (ORLA)

It is our local public school program to support home school families IF they want it.

I love it.  I LOVE the variety of classes, that I am welcome to stay and listen help,  the teachers give me advise when I need it, they provide testing if I want it,  they offer COOL classes,  Sammy made friends, I absorb ideas,  the halls are full of inspiring school work, they have an endless supply of curriculum in the library…

And ~ AND

they give us a budget to buy our curriculum ~  they GIVE us money!!

well not exactly…=)

The program funds DO  pay for most of my home school curriculum!

But ~ it goes into the Fabulous supply of curriculum

in the ORLA library when you are done with it!

As long as you keeping church separated from State

you can choose your own curriculum!!

I know this kind of program does not work for everyone ~   I love it!


So the last couple weeks I have been crazy busy FREAKING out combing through curriculum choices for next year.  Sammy is heading into 2nd grade.

He has a few challenges ~ but for the most part is right on grade level.


Here are a billion pictures of Wonderful materials I think are going to be Fabulous

for the future President’s my little mans Second Grade Education!

you never know.

I am teaching History / Social Studies

back wards according to the public school system The right way!

Family, God, Neighbors, Community, City, State, Country, World ~

Don’t you think that how kids naturally learn anyway?

I know God comes before family ~ but kids learn family from infancy until you teach them about God ~ right? ~ just saying that is the teaching order =)

As you may know ~ This year in 1st Grade ~  The 50 States are being introduced

So I figured it would be Fun to introduce our Presidents next year

since they are all over our money ~ OK maybe not.

Since Sammy is learning about our country right now

The leaders seemed like a good next step.. or fun step?

I am excited to use these books about the Presidents next year!

They are wonderful!  Great one page biographies?

Each of the 3 books paints a different picture of the Presidents

I think Sammy will like this one best ~ just a hunch!

this last one is more of a description of the job itself ~ in kid language =)

As for the Basics of Education – The fundamentals –

THIS  company ~ has become my new found love affair!

Thank you Lord for Evan Moor!!

I am SO excited ~ like a kid in a candy store ~ with this series of materials!!

They are Wonderful workbooks with SIMPLE teacher instructions ~

Very eye friendly for my little man with Low vision!

not too busy, clear easy to read print, covering complete concepts


History, Science, Spelling, Grammar, Language Arts, Math, Art, yada yada yada!

I ordered about a dozen of them I think?!!

I found a few (above) in the ORLA library and checked them out for next year

bonus books without using my “budget” =)

Online At I found at least 2 books per subject. nice.

The Evan Moor website lets you look inside the books ~100’s of them!!

you can see the wonderful pages your child will use

( and you will fall in love with the materials!)  win win.

I promptly put them on order for next year through ORLA

and then… oh yea baby…

I found 4 of the above Evan Moor books at the DOLLAR store!! ??

ok ~ another mom found them and told me they had them there! =)

$16.99 book for a buck! nice. go figure?

They even have some useful materials for our study of the Presidents

Gotta love it when things fall  into place ~ right into your lap!

those 2 pages from the Social Studies workbook were worth the $1.00 alone!

never mind it has many other helpful  lists

of famous US people, Explorers, Women, Native American tribes, etc. etc.

and guides for styles on writing reports. nice.  That is just the Social Studies one!

Love    love    I tell ya!

The Language Arts workbooks are simple yet through. complete. full coverage.

and eye friendly for Sammy~ love love ~ I may not need to enlarge??!!

Want a peek at a few pages ??



more spelling

Evan Moor materials work on a weekly basis ~ a page a day

using the same words, concepts or area of study laid out differently each day.

in all the subject areas. nice. I like it.  love love!

Super Sentence Building skills

Abby might even crack this one open over the summer

She loves to read and write  and she loves Math ~ proud mommy!  =)

Abby goes to public school ~ She is thriving ~ she has a great group of peers ~

From the beginning she and her peers have been in high leveled Math and Reading.

Though I would enjoy home schooling her ~ she is happy and doing GREAT!

I can’t mess with a good thing ~ I just can’t.

Sammy is not so in love with learning ~ he enjoys is when it is simple, no fuss and fun.

One of his teachers at ORLA uses the  Evan Moor Pocket books ~ thus the new found love.

History pockets, Story pockets, Famous People, Famous US Places =)

Sammy enjoys learning in her classes! and He seems to like the materials a lot.

So ~ I am  thinkin  he will enjoy the Evan Moor basic subject books as well!

Peace is starting to set in.

I have been using Critical Thinking This year ~ which I also love ~

We have been using this one slowly ~

it will serve us again next year along side the Evan Moor curriculum!

my kid will be a work sheet KING

its ok ~ he LOVEs learning with hands on materials!

look they even talk about the USA and Presidents =)

I like the colorful but clean pages ~ simple ~ easy ~ through.

God Bless Evan Moor and Critical thinking!!


Then there is MATH

5 + 4 = 9

4 + 5 = 9

9 – 4 = 5

9 – 5 = 4

Right?  =)

Math is a tough one for Sammy.  It is NOT his best subject ~

and it is STINKING hard to find perfect Math curriculum!

expecting perfection for a future President isn’t too much to ask is it?  =)

One with simple, clean pages, eye friendly, covering all concepts for his grade level.

I am not sure if Math does not come easy to Sammy because

He is a visual learner and his vision is compromised?

Abby is a quick learner ~ it is so hard not to freak out about the second one

when the first one is a high achiever and she is your ‘base line’ ~ sort of!! =)

Anyway ~ Sammy has a hard time with keeping facts in his head.

Did I mention we did 1st grade twice?

He is a June birthday ~ so we started early intending to repeat 1st ~

making him the oldest in his grade level and giving him a strong base!

yet ~ when it comes to Math (and spelling) ~ Slowly we plug along.

I am currently Using my own mish-mash of  $5-$10 workbooks.

Basic adding and subtracting work sheets.  Which in theory would be great.

if he could grasp the fact families easier.  ??   =)  Are you sensing my insecurities here!?

We also use

Math Minutes (he loves) by Creative Teaching Press

and we have used number lines, manipulatives and charts.

counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and we used fact family houses.

I am praying that it just clicks next year ~ that the light bulb will just turn on!??

next year

We will use a mish-mash of workbooks again…including Math Minutes for Grade 2.

and I think we will add this daily Evan Moor Math workbook too.

Literally these half pages are ONE minute Math pages ~ covering all concepts.

Thank you Evan Moor.

The Creative Teaching Press  Math Minutes is a whole page of basic grade level concepts.

Thank you Creative Teaching Press.

(I genuinely love those companies and their products ~ I am sharing at my own free will)


I really wanted a complete Math curriculum ~

we have looked at Saxon (TOO small and busy)

Math U See ~ on the fence with that one??

Touch Math worked OK for first grade.  expensive!!  =)

Harcourt? Trailblazers?  Marshall? blah blah blah…

Anyone have any ideas on a wonderful,

SIMPLE clean paged Complete Math Curriculum??

OK folks ~ long ~ boring ~ post ~ about School work.

now you know what has consumed all the days of my LIFE my free time this week .

along with my daughters play practice and field trips.  busy week.

Who plans a school play on the FRIDAY night of Memorial Day weekend?

My daughters school.  yep. nice. thanks.

Once again ~ this is my excuse  for the lack of blogging this week!

Some days it is hard to fit in blogging. But it is MY thing.  I love it.

I love all you wonderful ladies I have met ~ sorry I am boring you today!

and half way through the day at that ~ ugh!!

I need summer.  I heart summer break.

Lazier days. Sweet brewed ice tea. sun. flowers. kids playing.

beach trips. hikes. parks. friends. pop cycles.

wake up Jenn wake up


If you made it this far ~ You deserve a prize!!

Wish I had a giveaway planned.  too busy this week/month! sorry!

I would love to hear from you…

IF you home school ~ what curriculum do you use?  why??

Does it freak you out or give you stress to pick the curriculum you use?

Are you planning to home school in the future?  Do tell!

because I am so done talking… really.

Does anyone else want a Blackberry Margarita

at lunch time on a Thursday?

10 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Lemonade Makin' Mama yazmış:

    Sweet Jenn.
    You and I… I swear we are peas in a pod.

    I feel the EXACT same way about homeschooling. Big responsibility. AND we just got evaluated (since JJ is 3rd grade) and he did great! Be encouraged. Also, we do the same type of program with the partnering with Public Schools. It is AWESOME… we couldn’t do any of the things we do if it weren’t for that!

    And lastly… we just decided to do the presidents for history next year! Seriously… we JUST decided it about two weeks ago. Can you send me a book list of the books you pictured? You got some amazing ones it looks like!! I can hardly wait.

    Oh… and are you going to the WHO curriculum conference in June in Puallup? Adrain and I are going. It would be so fun to bump into you!! 🙂


  • 2 Amber yazmış:

    Have you tried the Complete Book of Math? We used that and Houghton Mifflin Math.

    One class that had rocked our world in regards to math is Abacus. Not the traditional beads from left to right sort, but, Japanese Abacus. If your son is a visual learner he will LOVE and I repeat LOVE this class!

    I too am choosing next year’s curriculum. Just when I thought I had next year all figured out, I find something I like better.

    Good Luck

  • 3 Jen Gacek yazmış:

    Love the monkeys! Sorry I don’t have any home schooling inspiration to offer since my kids aren’t in school yet! Best of luck. That margartia sounds good!

  • 4 Lori yazmış:

    I’m so encouraged to hear from another mom who goes thru the public school like we do! This was our first year and it went so well. I’m so thankful for the funds because I think our year would have been drastically different on our own. Next year I think I’m changing to a different district where my daughter will get to take classes, but we’ll get less money. Fingers crossed that it will go well!

    My faves this year (for K) have been McRuffy math & the Explode the Code books. I love reading about what works for others, so thanks for asking! Have a great day. 🙂

  • 5 Cindy yazmış:

    Not a home schooler, but remember loving Evan-Moor when I was in the classroom!
    I would love a Blackberry Margarita on Thursday!!!:)
    Enjoy the day!

  • 6 Amy yazmış:

    looks like you are on your way to a great time with all of your lessons.

    Have a great weekend.

  • 7 Pennie at Mom Thoughts yazmış:

    Not a home schooling mom. It’s great to see the enthusiasm you have for your curriculum, though! You go, girl! Your kids are so lucky to have you heading up their schooling! 😉

  • 8 arizonamamma yazmış:

    Hats off to you home schooling moms. Truly. My sister in law is mom to six, and four of them are school age. She home schools, and I just don’t know how.

  • 9 tricia yazmış:

    I’m not currently homeschooling the kids (only bella is in K) – but we have looked at the Vertias press curriculum – I get the catalogue and we even use is as a guide of lit. that we should be encouraging and bringing home… check it out! it is all based on classical education which is a little different than main stream. Hugs to you!!!!

  • 10 blueviolet yazmış:

    Of course I love you!

    I’ve never homeschooled, but I’ve always been one to do extra things with the kids during summer, etc. And it took me forever in the school supply stores to find just what was right for me and my kids!