Wordless Wednesday: Many Hands

make light work.


Caught the tree dwellers cleaning their bathroom in the tree house,



Globe Trotting Girls: Latitude, Longitude, Hemispheres, and Food Chains

Week Two

Items Needed:
  • Maps and Globes by Harriet Barton
  • Earth lapbook from Expedition Earth
  • Notebooks
  • The Complete Book of Animals
  • Home Art Studio First Grade
  • White construction paper, markers, small pieces of cardboard (about 1 inch square)
  • Our Father’s World
  • How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World
  • Read Aloud: The Secret Garden
Day One:

Review: continents and oceans (names and location on map)

Read p. 1-24 in Maps and Globes. Discuss equator, hemispheres, and map scales.
Complete Lesson 1 and 2 of the Earth lapbook lessons from Expedition Earth.

Choose a room in your house and draw a map of it to scale on paper. Place in notebook. (We didn’t have time to actual complete this activity since I have four kids to teach, but I might assign it for Chipette and Magpie to do together sometime soon.)

Complete pages 310-311 in The Complete Book of Animals and discuss food chains.

Play this game from Sheppard Software.

Finish your Mission to Mars project (make a rocket) from Home Art Studio Grade One. Place in notebook.

For “homework” my third graders did p. 100-102 in Our Father’s World and p. 312 from The Complete Book of Animals.

Day Two:

Review continents, oceans, equator, and hemispheres.

Read p. 27-42 in Maps and Globes. Discuss latitude, longitude, and map key.

Complete Lesson 3 and 4 of the Earth lapbook lessons from Expedition Earth. Assemble lapbook and place in your notebook.

Using your continent and ocean maps that you colored in Week 1, make a map key of the continents and oceans.

Read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.

Make an apple pie or your favorite apple dish. We made apple dumplings.

While apple pie is baking, draw or use pictures to make your own food chain. Don’t forget to include the sun (at the beginning) and decomposers (at the end).

For homework my third graders read p. 76-78 in Our Father’s World and p.306-309 in The Complete Book of Animals.

Read chapters 7-10 in The Secret Garden this week.

Up next is Week Three: Russia...

Tasty Tuesday: Super Bowl Snacking

In case you were not aware there is a big sporting event occurring this Sunday. J

It’s Super Bowl time again and that means party food.

While this recipe is not difficult (only four ingredients and no cooking), every time I bring it somewhere I never have any left. It is super tasty and super easy.

Just what you want on Super Bowl Sunday!

Here is what you need for Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip:

16 oz sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package real bacon bits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Put all ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Mix well.

Serve with Ritz crackers, wheat thins, veggies, or all three!

The perfect party food for when you have more important things to do than be in the kitchen….like watch football!

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip
16 oz. sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package real bacon bits
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Serve with Ritz crackers, wheat thins, veggies, or all three.

Quick and easy means more time to party in the tree house,



Summary Saturday: Tree House World Tour 2013

So many exciting things have happened in our homeschool since the New Year!

The biggest change has been starting our world geography study. We are having two students join us for our trip around the world. One of my best friends, just happens to have two daughters the exact same ages and grades as Chipette and Magpie. Back in the fall, we met up for a playdate at the local park and I was sharing our plans for world geography. A few months later she mentioned that she was really busy with her new business venture so homeschooling her girls had become just the basics. Well, I couldn’t let those sweet girls only study math, reading, and handwriting, so I offered to let them come over twice a week and join us for our world geography study. It has been a lot of fun having two extra students and, of course, my girls have been thrilled because two of their best friends are in our house on a regular basis!

Since you’ll be seeing quite a bit of our new students in these Summary Saturday posts, I’ll be calling them Miss Jane and Miss Elizabeth because of the mutual love their mom and I have for all things P&P.

World Geography

We started out the first week learning the continents and oceans. We learned their names and are working on learning where they are on the map. Well, the kindergarteners are working on it. My big girls, Chipette and Miss Jane, already know it.

We made this paper plate craft that I found on Pinterest to show our position from the universe to our bedroom. The order goes: Universe glued on plate, Milky Way, Solar System, Earth, North America, United States, our state, our town, our house, bedroom.

We got a little messy…

But the end product turned out really nice.

I bought sketch pads to use as our notebooks and gave one notebook to each set of girls to share.

Our first entries were vocabulary pages about continents and oceans.

For our second week we learned about maps and globes, specifically latitude, longitude, equator, hemispheres, and prime meridian.

We finished up our art project called Mission to Mars.

And on our final class of the week, we made apple dumplings (recipe coming soon!)

And read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.

Next week, we’re heading to Russia!

If you would like to see my lesson plans as I post them just click on world geography or Globe Trotting Girls labels, or it’s also located under the curriculum and homeschool tabs.


I tied science into our world geography study by working animals and their habitats from each country/continent we study.

We worked on animal classification our first week by studying the characteristics that determine if a vertebrate is a fish, mammal, amphibian, reptile, or bird. Then we played a classification game where I had six pictures for each of the above categories and the girls had to sort them correctly.

Miss Jane doing a wonderful job!
They did a really good job, and by the end the little girls, Magpie and Miss Elizabeth, had figured it out and were helping out quite a bit.

The second week we learned about food chains using my pathetic drawing skills to explain how they work. Think marker board and very sad looking animals.
For our activity I had each set of sisters make their own food chain using pictures from a workbook I got from the Target dollar aisle.

Then we practiced food chains on the computer using this game from Sheppard Software. 

They really liked that!


We started a new writing program for third grade, Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Student Writing Intensive A. Chipette adores this program! She asks me every day if she gets to watch her writing class.

Here she is rewriting her very first paragraph using key words.

I think the main thing she likes is being told she HAS to write in pen and Mr. Pudewa’s teaching style. After watching the first lesson, she asked me if that man taught any other subjects so she could take them as well.


Magpie is continuing on with her schooling like a champ! She loves doing school and begs to have school time even once she’s finished for the day. Probably because we do things like Cheerio math:

And study really awesome kid books like Corduroy. Here she is having to tell and draw something she has always wanted.

 Her answer: I have always wanted God. That is her picture of God with wings, very large hands, and orange shoes.


After Magpie had finished playing a math game, I looked over and saw that Monkey had decided to try his chances at it.

He’s definitely going to win!

Looking forward to another busy, but fun week in the tree house,


Globe Trotting Girls: Continents, Oceans, and Classification

This blog contains affiliate links. Review my full disclosure policy here.

To view all the resources I'm using for the year, see here.

Week One

Items Needed:
  • Where Do I Live? by Neil Chesanow or Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
  • Paper plates, construction paper, and brass fasteners
  • Oil pastels, black construction paper
  • Home Art Studio First Grade
  • The Seven Continents and The Four Oceans by Wil Mara (other books on continents and oceans your library might have will work as well)
  • 8.5” x 11” World map with continents and oceans labeled
  • Vocabulary sheets for continent and ocean from Mama Jenn's blog. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the free Geography A to Z printables.
  • One blank notebook per student or per family. 
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • Sassafras Science Adventures Volume 1: Zoology 
  • Pictures of animals from the following classification groups: birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and fish. I had six pictures for each group. You can use these free printables for your animal classification cards and also download the habitat game for fun while you study this year.
  • Read Aloud: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (I love the version illustrated by Inga Moore.)
Geography Day One:

Read Where Do I Live? or Me on the Map.

Make paper plate with construction paper circles from universe to bedroom to show relation between you and the world. Put in your notebook.

Begin "Mission to Mars" project on Home Art Studio First Grade. Stop DVD after completing the background.

Science Day One:

Geography Day Two:

Read The Seven Continents by Wil Mara.

Begin learning this song for the continents or search YouTube for some you prefer to learn. Sing this song twice and point to the continents on a labeled world map.

Fill out a geography vocabulary sheet for continent. Let younger students draw a picture to represent it and have older students copy the definition on the lines below. Put in notebook. I also used the blank world map linked above and had the kids color each continent a different color and glue it on the page opposite the definition. You will use these maps next week.

Geography Day Three:

Read The Four Oceans by Wil Mara

Begin learning this song for oceans or search YouTube for some you prefer to learn. Sing this song twice and point to the oceans on a labeled world map.

Fill out a geography vocabulary sheet for ocean. Let younger students draw a picture to represent it and have older students copy the definition on the lines below. Put in notebook. I also used the blank world map linked above and had the kids color each ocean a different shade of blue and glue it on the page opposite the definition. You will use these maps next week.

Talk quickly about classification (sorting things into groups by common traits). Have older students tell younger students the traits of each of these groups: birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and fish.

Using the animals pictures have students sort the pictures into the five groups above. Let younger students help too. 

Read Miss Rumphius and talk about how we will be learning about lots of places and traveling to them through books, videos, art, and stories.

Read chapters 1-6 of The Secret Garden this week.

Up next is Week 2.

Globe-Trotting Girls: Have Books, Will Travel!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

I’ve had some people interested in what we are doing for our World Geography and Animals and Their Habitats study for this year, so I decided to share my lesson plans for each continent as we finish.

Here are the resources I used. The starred ones are what you would need to buy if you wanted to do this in your home:

World Geography:
  • Home Art Studio Grade 1*: I actually won a copy of this during a blog giveaway, but it ties in perfectly with world geography so I’m using it for some of the art projects.
  • Geography Through Art*: I bought the pdf version of this book at half price in the fall. I will be using it for the other art projects not found on Home Art Studio.
  • Sassafras Science Adventures Zoology*: This product came on the market right as I was finalizing our plans and it looked too awesome to pass up and it is! The one thing that my girls beg for me to do with them. Chipette has already asked if we can do volume two next year. This program is meant to be used for only half a year, but I’m stretching it out for an entire year to stick with geography. This book is where I got the order to travel the world.
  • Various picture books set in or about the country we are studying. Definitely used our local libraries for these.
  • Various fairy tales and fables from each country using library books. I will list these under each week’s plans since there are quite a few. We especially focuses on Cinderella stories from various countries and compared them to the French version of the story that with which most people are familiar.
  • Read Alouds scheduled for each country. I’m getting these books through the library and inter-library loan:
    • Journey to Jo’Burg (South Africa)
    • A Long Walk to Water (Sudan)
    • The Incredible Journey (Canada)
    • Walk the World’s Rim (Mexico)
    • Secret of the Andes (Peru)
    • Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa (Argentina)
    • Quicksand Pony (Australia)
    • Daughter of the Mountains (India)
    • The Master Puppeteer (Japan)
    • I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade (China)
    • Julie of the Wolves (Arctic)
    • The Secret Garden (England)
    • The Family Under the Bridge (France)
    • Wheel on the School (The Netherlands)
For Fun:
I added in various movies and documentaries to round out our geography and science studies. I will list those under each continent as appropriate. I also discovered these cute paperdoll printables that the girls loved using to decorate their notebooks.

As with anything, you do NOT have to do everything I chose to do with my kids. We do this study five days a week. Two days we focus on the science part of our study and the other three days we focus on the country study. Read alouds are done all week long. I do not force my Kindergartener to listen to the read aloud books. I chose those based on my third grader. The picture books are more for my Kindy kid.

Go to Week One and get started!


Final Analysis Friday: Week of 1/20/12

Around the House
So this week I’ve been working on establishing a morning routine. Things are actually going pretty well. I’ve been getting to bed on time which means that I can get up when the alarm goes off without hitting snooze until my iPod finally gives up on me a few times.

I’ve been following the Taking Control of Your Time series over at Look at What You Are Seeing! to help me make things a little more manageable around the tree house. I like how she puts things in very teeny, tiny bite size chunks. Some of these home organization blogs I’ve read will say, “This week we’re going to organize your closet.” I want to say, “You haven’t seen my closet if you think it can be finished in a week!”

From the Kitchen
This week I made a crockpot tortellini and sausage dish that was DIVINE! So good! Chipette and I chowed down because tortellini is our favorite kind of pasta. We also made apple dumplings as part of our geography study and I will share that recipe in a couple of weeks on the blog. It’s too good not to share!

We wrapped up the introduction stuff to world geography this week, so next week we will begin our “travels,” so I’m getting passports prepped for all the girls to hand out on Monday.

I’m also working on changing up Chipette’s extra subjects to a loop schedule. I think we’ll try it out for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. We also dropped one of her math programs which makes me sad, but we needed the time in our day back.

On the Blog
My first Summary Saturday post of 2013 should be up sometime tomorrow and along with it I will be sharing my geography lesson plans for the first two weeks. Also, I’m doing one more post this next week for the Virtual Curriculum Fair about our new art program, Home Art Studio. I might squeeze in a post about what looping is and different ways you can use it in your homeschool. We’ll see how much of this actually makes it to completion though!

So the “S” diet is going really well. I don’t feel deprived, and I’m noticing some eating habits that I didn’t realize I had. For example, the no snacks rule is more difficult than I thought it would be. I’ve never considered myself a snacker, but now that I’m thinking about it I’ve realized that there are quite a few times during the day when I would absentmindedly grab something off the kids plate or a bite of something out of the fridge or pantry. But the diet is working…looser jeans are happening around here!

I’m still working on Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. It’s definitely inspiring me to get the kids outside more! I remember all the fun I had growing up in the country with forests, hills, and creeks to explore. My poor children have a small backyard, so we’ll definitely have to make some time to get out in the country soon!

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest using the button in the sidebar. I wanted to share some of my favorite finds this past week:

Homeschool: I stumbled across this awesome Lego board game which goes right along with the girls’ new found love of Legos. Plus I can work in a little math practice with Magpie!

Home: I’m loving these diaper boxes turned storage boxes I found. I’m only using fabric on the biggest boxes and scrapbook paper on some smaller boxes. It’s a LOT cheaper than buying those cute storage bins plus diaper boxes can hold quite a bit more too!

Cooking: I’m looking forward to making this dessert for our small group Bible study Sunday night. Two of my favorite things in the world: pineapple and cream cheese. Yummo!

Plans and Schemes
Well, Chipette and Mapgie are out the dance studio sleepover tonight so I will have some sugar coma exhausted kids tomorrow. This is Magpie’s first year to participate so I hope she has a good time.

Chipette got asked to come to another dance class on Tuesdays because her ballet teacher has “plans” for her, aka sees a lot of potential. I left the decision up to her and she wanted to do it, so we will be adding another night away from home. Preacher Man and I still have to figure out the logistics since that is my Ladies’ Bible Class night, but we’ll make it work.

Next Friday, the girls are going on a field trip with our homeschool group to see a play. The group is studying drama this quarter and putting on their own play about a pirate, so this will give them to chance to see how it’s really done! Monkey and I will find something else to do because a two year old in a theatre will not last long.

A Memory
I love when my kids help me shuck corn. It reminds me of many a hot summer afternoon sitting under the tree at my grandmother’s house. It was always a gamble when you grabbed an ear of corn because you just might have a nice, big, juicy worm chewing on the cob. *shiver* With store bought corn, you don’t run that much of a risk!

Looking forward to a new week of routines, loving, learning, laughing and cooking in the tree house,



Thoughtful Thursday: Why We Do What We Do

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now, mainly to show our family’s journey to the homeschooling lifestyle, because homeschooling definitely becomes a way of life.

The first time homeschooling even entered my radar was when I was a 10th grader in my local high school. A girl appeared in our grade (there were less than 90 of us so a new person kind of stuck out!) and the rumor quickly spread that she had been homeschooled. She was in my Spanish class, and when the teacher called on her, she burst into tears and put her head on her desk. Apparently this was her reaction in all of her classes and by the end of the week her parents had pulled her out to homeschool her again. Of course, in all of our sophomoric wisdom, we concluded that she had so much trouble because she was homeschooled.

Next, when I was student teaching (yes, I have a secondary education degree) I taught a boy who had been homeschooled until his senior year and wanted to be put in public school so he could graduate with all of his friends from church. He was a great student, delightful person, and had lots of friends, so within a decade I’d witnessed two very different examples of homeschoolers both within the public school system.

So far, though, the idea of ever homeschooling my own children wasn’t even an option, but that was about to change. The first time I considered the idea was while Preacher Man was in preaching school. I met and fell in love with two families who homeschooled while we were there. They had the most wonderful children, kind, respectful, godly, and mature. There was such a notable difference between these families and their children than what I’d seen during my years in the public school. A really great difference. I remarked to Preacher Man that if our children turned out half as well as these children I would be the most proud of mothers. So he says, “Well, let’s homeschool our children.”  Hmmmm…  

After preaching school, we moved back to a small town in the South where I fully expected to put Chipette in our local school when she turned five. However, while I was pregnant with Magpie, I did some substitute teaching in our area schools. After a few weeks, I went to Preacher Man and said, “I can’t put her in our local school.” Things had changed so much from the last time I was in classroom from the academics, to the students, to government requirements. It wasn’t where I wanted MY children to be if I could help it, so I started homeschooling Chipette for preschool before it “counted” to kind of get my feet wet. Then I continued homeschooling her for Kindergarten since students aren’t required to begin school until first grade in our state. By the end of Kindergarten I really felt that I could do this, so we kept at it and it has become part of who we are as a family. We are homeschoolers.

I can provide academic personalization for each child. Every time I plan our school year I take into account my child’s strengths and weaknesses. I work into that what type of learner they are and what I want them to learn. Whether they are “ahead” or “behind”, I can meet them where they are, one on one, every day. They also get to learn and study things that they are interested in from a unit study on ballet or mythological creatures to a trip around the world. Instead of trying to fit my children into a curriculum, I have the freedom to fit the curriculum to my children.

I can infuse our learning with our Christian faith. While not every subject I use comes from religious publishers quite a few do because I feel since God has given me these gifts He expects and commands me to teach them about Him, through history, science, art, music, literature, and, of course, Bible study. If I send my children out into the world without a thorough knowledge of God and the Bible, then I will feel like a failure. This would be true whether I homeschooled them or not. Homeschooling just gives me more hours in the day to achieve it since I can see their spiritual strengths to encourage and their spiritual weaknesses to help strengthen.

I can enjoy the flexibility. My children don’t have to wake up by a certain time. We start school once breakfast is eaten and morning chores are finished. Whatever we don’t complete we pick up the next day. If the weather is really nice, we might spend the day in the backyard. If Preacher Man wants to go to a minister’s convention, then we can pack up and go with him. If family wants to come and visit, we can drop everything to spend time with them. I love the fact that we aren’t rushed during our day with plenty of time to play and imagine!

I can shelter their hearts and minds. The connotation of sheltering children gets a bad rap a lot of times, but I adore the fact that my kids are sheltered. The concept of sheltering in the Bible is a good thing, a precious thing, something to be strived for. I have no problem that my children don’t know about mean girls or cliques. They don’t know about bad language or bullies. They still have their childhood innocence and feel no need to fit in. They are who they are without being made fun of for their interests, what they wear, or anything else. None of this means that my children will never learn about the “real world”, but it does mean that I get to control their introduction to it and how it is introduced.  

I can instill them with a love of learning. Whether my children love every subject is not necessary, but I do want them to love the process of figuring things out on their own. The joy of getting lost in great literature. The fun of learning something new. The magic of putting your words on paper and creating something wonderful. The beauty that is found in science, math, and language.

While I don’t know how long our homeschool life will last, I do know that for the foreseeable future it is here to stay. And I’m happy about that. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for us, but I do know that I am enjoying the memories I’m making with my children. I’m blessed to be here with them.

A long, wonderful journey has led me to homeschool in the tree house,


P. S. And in case you are curious, because I get asked this a lot when people find out I was a teacher, my teaching degree has helped very little, if any, in homeschooling. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.