Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kindergarten Curriculum Plans

Stray papers and well-used workbooks, hand drawn maps and piles of literature.  The school desks are in need of a serious going over.  Even though, I just received our first 2017-18 curriculum order from Teaching Textbooks.  That was all I needed to start thinking about posting our full homeschool curriculum plan for this coming school year.

Peter turned 5 in December and showed a number of reading readiness signs so we began with All About Reading Level 1 in January.  He's been watching his older siblings "do school" for years and is always asking to "do school".  That's how it is with homeschool, the kids' natural curiosity leads to learning and then all of a sudden we're "doing school".

Kindergarten is NOT a big deal in our homeschool.  There's no hoopla about the first day of school.  Buying glue sticks and markers doesn't mark any special day for us.  

Although the learning process is natural and Peter's been doing plenty of Kindergarten work already, he will officially be in Kindergarten this year.  Over the years I've found that assigning our children to a grade makes it much easier for them when people ask them about school.  

I never assigned grades to our oldest three children when they were in elementary school, but that made for many condescending glares by onlookers.  I remember one time in particular; we were at a grocery store mid-morning when the cashier asked, "Aren't you kids supposed to be in school?"  I quickly remarked, "We homeschool."  Looking at Emily, Nick, and Amber she said, "Oh, what grades are you kids in?"  They all gave her a blank stare, shifted back and forth and then looked at me.  I stuttered and stammered through an attempt to explain in 30 seconds or less why I felt grading was unnecessary and how a child's natural curiosity will always keep them moving forward on the learning curve.  Blah, blah, blah!  

I still agree with my old self and I'm rarely one to comply with the norm, but for my children's sake, I make a big deal about what grade they are in so we never have to experience that again.

That was a long intro for a simple run down of the plans I have for Peter this year.  First off, Joseph, Peter and Maria often do school together.  Or at least I attempt to have them all together.  Life gets crazy, kids get crazy and sometimes my perfectly scripted plans go awry.

Kindergarten Curriculum Plans {affiliate links included}

All About Reading Level 1 - Peter is currently on lesson 16.  The plan is to complete level 1 and continue with level 2.  We'll also use the Margaret Hillert sight word books.

Nancy Larson Homeschool Science - Level 1 - We'll keep working through this level, Peter and Joseph together, picking up where we left off last year.  I also supplement with the Dr. Seuss Learning Library books and appropriate free printables I find online.

Math IXL - Kindergarten and grade 1 skills

Reading Road Maps - read all  Kinder level books and discuss plot and type of conflict.

What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know - read through all chapters with Peter and supplement with suggested books and music CDs.

Historical DVDs and books will be added according to topics in What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know

Tell Me About the Catholic Faith - we used this two years ago, but then didn't touch it at all this last year.  I really like the free printables that Lacey from Catholic Icing has available.  We'll pick up where we left off with plans to complete the full book this year.

That will make for a full Kindergarten year.  Up next, I'll be detailing Joseph's 3rd grade plans.

Be sure to like Camp Homeschool on Facebook or Follow me at Instagram to stay in the loop with all things homeschool, Down syndrome, cranberries, and of course.....SUMMER!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up :: Full On Summer Edition

It's been a glorious week.  Nice and hot.  Lots of humidity.  A thunderstorm or two.  Bluebird skies.  A foggy morning.  It's the best of summer weather all wrapped up in one week.  Gotta love that.

This weekly wrap-up is going to take on the look of a diary.  It's going to answer that never ending question of:  What do you do all day?  I get asked this often.  And I'm not sure why.  My life feels so normal.  This week was just another normal week and here are the details.


We were a tired bunch.  The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters baseball game, the night before, lasted 5 hours and 6 minutes, then kids ran the bases, then fireworks.  It was midnight before the little ones were in bed.  Crazy, I know, but.  It's.  Summer.

From Instagram

 The older kids had to serve and lector at Mass.  After church Amber worked at the drive-in and Sam had a BMX race.  He came in 2nd place.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, outdoor

 Emily, Nick, and Amber started preparing for their July Boundary Waters canoe trip.  They needed to set up the tent to get a feel if 5 guys could manage in this 4-man tent.  They had a meeting with the rest of the group to plan out food and other supplies.


Warren and Sam had a fishing trip planned for Sunday, however, the looming storms pushed their fishing to Monday.  They met up with a friend Up North for a day of Musky fishing.

Emily worked at the Deli; Nick and Amber worked on the marsh.  The rest of us picked strawberries from our home patch, ate most of them and then made a yummy Fresh Summer Berry Torte with the few that were left.

From Instagram

We spent some time in the water right off our campout spot.  The kids were having a ball until a 4 ft. pine snake showed up.

A little inappropriate sunbathing from the Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  #notanlines
 From Instagram

False Lily of the Valley

Orange Hawkweed


Warren was up at 3:30 a.m. He had to pick up his brother and take him to a doctor appt. in Madison.  Emily worked at the Deli; Nick and Sam worked on the marsh.  We had morning rain so BMX practice ended up being canceled.  But the day still turned out to be hot so our Wazee Lake play date was still a go.  My friend Dawn and I took 7 of our 13 children to the beach for a day of fun.


Warren and Nick worked on the marsh.  Emily was at the Deli and Sam attended a College Camp.  Early week storms brought gusty winds and lots of branches and trees down.  Looks like we have the start of one big bonfire from our yard clean-up.

Cleaning up the back road.
 The Bumblebees came and morning rain caused Gymkhana to be cancelled.  We ended up going for an evening bike ride with the deer flies.


Warren and Nick worked on the marsh; Emily was at the Deli.  Joseph and Maria had well child check-ups which took up the entire morning.  I spent the afternoon doing laundry and baking Cranberry Cowboy cookies.

From Instagram

Sam raced BMX and took 1st place.  He has 4 intermediate wins under his belt and is really getting fast.  Every time that starting gate drops my heart just about jumps out of my chest.


Warren worked on the marsh leveling the ditchings.  Emily worked at the Deli.  I made it well known that we (anyone else at home) would be working in the gardens.  No questions asked.  These 25 year old bad boys were begging to get into the garden.  How can it be possible that I'm old enough to have a pair of shoes that fit for 25 years?  Anyway.....

Well a question was asked:

Nick:  Mom, what if I took the little kids on the boat and you could garden all by yourself?

Me:  Done!  (Sam still tilled one of the gardens, while I fertilized flowers, which was a huge help.)

I took a minute break from tilling to snap a few pictures of all the Friday fun.

In the garden my breakfast zucchini is on its way.

Then after a late lunch of homemade pizza, I announced we would be cleaning the entire house.  I bribed them with homemade ice cream and it worked.  What a treat to start the weekend with a clean house.

Nick and Amber both headed off to work for the night.  I made a quick supper of tater tot casserole and salad and then we played Sorry Sliders before tuckering out from a full week of full on summer.

That was just a snapshot of our very summery week.  What's your favorite summer activity?  I'd love to hear.

Linking up with

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fresh Berry Torte :: Super Easy Summer Dessert

It is summer!  Really and truly summer, the kind where temps soar into the 90's and thunderstorms make their way through in the evening.  And we're loving every minute of it, well not so much the storm destruction, but I do love watching a good thunderstorm move in.  The clouds rolling around the sky, the forceful sound of high winds, the darkening sky at 5 p.m.  It's hard to express just how much I love watching storms, not because I don't have the words for it, but we are cranberry farmers and weather impacts our crop immensely, and we only get one chance each year for a crop.

Hail = Destruction = Devastation

Anyway, I haven't posted a recipe since Black Bean Quesadillas back in May and I want to share this super easy summer dessert right now because it's strawberry season.

From instagram

This dessert is perfect for summer because the oven only needs to be on for 15 minutes and it's served cold so it's super refreshing and light.

Fresh Berry Torte

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
3/4 c. oatmeal

Place flour, sugar and butter in food processor and pulse until crumbly (or fork by hand).  Add oatmeal and pulse a few more times.  Press into ungreased jelly roll (10x15) pan.  Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.  Mine were in for 12 minutes yesterday.  Cool completely.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool whip, thawed

Cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread over cooled crust.

1 qt. berries, washed and stemmed

The berry choice is the fun part.  This time I only had strawberries (fresh from the front yard) and not many of them because the kids were snitching all day before I made the dessert.

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.

I sliced my strawberries so they would stretch over the full pan, but halved would work nicely.  I've also mixed up the berries and used strawberries and blueberries.  Raspberries are yummy, too.  Sadly, I've never used cranberries because they are quite tart and, although Warren and I would like that, especially if they were mixed with blueberries and strawberries, the kids wouldn't go for that and would end up picking them off.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May :: A Month in Review :: Large Family Style

Aargh!  It's already time for a May month in review.  Finishing off the school year strong was my top priority along with preparing for Nick's graduation party along with getting the garden planted along with, along with.  Doesn't it seem like there are so many along withs?  Most days my head is just spinning with all the to do right nows.  My notebook system to do list wasn't working - the notebook was always getting buried in the paper mess that is my life and the to do list became a never do list.  I needed something more in my face than a notebook so I bought a magnetic white board for the fridge door similar to this:

And it's always in my face because #1 I like to eat and #2 My family likes to eat so I'm always reading the list and working at shrinking it.  It's been a good thing and I still use the notebook for shopping lists and menus.

In my April month in review I shared a picture from Nick's turkey season.  He's a huge protein nut and cooks plenty of his own food.  Well, the day he shot the turkey I was with Amber at the hospital while she recovered from her appendectomy.  He breasted out the turkey and baked it just as he would for chicken breast.  It was so tough, basically inedible for those of us with average jaw strength.  Hah!  I suggested he turn it into crockpot turkey and rice soup.  I walked him through the process, but he did all the work of chopping vegetables, etc.  The turkey tenderized pretty well in the crockpot and the soup was delicious.

The season changeover called for a great big shoe cabinet clean out.  With a family of 9 we have a ton of shoes, not because we believe in excess, but we all have a number of interests and many of those interests call for certain shoes.  And country life requires a good stash of junk shoes so we tend to keep shoes for gardening, lawn mowing, cranberry planting, and all sorts of outdoor activities until they fall apart.  I know, that's very green of us.  Below you can see what we took from the cabinet; we sent seven pair off to Goodwill, 10 pair went into the trash, and the rest were placed neatly back in the cabinet.

Maria and I baked a giant 2.5 pound of whole wheat bread in a very old pan found in my Grandma's basement.  I wish I knew the story of the pan - where she got it, if she used it, why it was in the basement and not in her kitchen cupboard.  I suppose I'll never know; even though, using it still brings out stories.  Stories I share with my littles who never knew their Great-Grandma.

Mother's Day flowers - we spied three huge Bumblebees pollinating this day.

One of Joseph's favorite games is jumping on the trampoline with toys.  This day he grabbed his horse, but he's also jumped with balls and sand pile trucks (that one I put a stop to, I don't want him to fall on a metal truck - that'd probably hurt).

Amber loves finding paintings on Pinterest for inspiration and painting them with her own style.  She uses this fold-able easel and a variety of supplies to create some really fun paintings.

It is rhubarb season; I've been baking with rhubarb and juicing it.  This weekend I put up 15 quarts of rhubarb juice.  I'll share a post on how I do that soon.  This little number, though, is so good.  I doubled the recipe and reduced the sugar.  That way there was enough to go around and it still tasted like rhubarb should - sour and puckery.

The virtual homeschool program end of year field trip took us to Circus World Museum.  See Maria clinging to Dad; she was nearly scared to death of all the newness.  She warmed up a bit for a carousel ride.

107 year old carousel

Circus snacks:  popcorn and ice cream

 Apparently we raised a little lady.

Fishing....always fishing around here and an endless supply of cheesy smiles.

He's not riding yet.  Matter of fact, a couple weeks back he actually punched me when I lifted his foot onto the pedal.  I'll give it some time before I try again.  Until then, though, he walks the bike around the yard every chance he gets.  And in the background was my Memorial Day treat, a tilled garden ready to plant.
That's a wrap for May.  Another blink of an eye and it'll be the end of June; all our much anticipated events of early summer will be over.  Enjoy every day, each is indeed a gift from God.