I didn’t start teaching Brooklyn to read until the last few months because she just wasn’t ready before that. Now though, she really loves it and begs to read every day. As if she has to ask, right?

What I started with her with was this book:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is really, really awesome. It tells you exactly what to say to your child while you go through the book. At first Brooklyn hated it. I mean seriously hated it and refused to do anything in the book.
So we moved straight onto readers for a while.

I can’t suggest readers enough. They have funny little stories, silly pictures and they’re right on level with what your child should be able to read, moving up in skill level as you go from book to book.

1. Scholastic at-home phonics reading program readers (my mom gave me these and I couldn’t find a link)
2. Ready to Read Starter Set
3. Fun Tales
4 and 5. Bob Books
6. Itty Bitty Phonics Readers
7. Hampton Brown Phonics and Friends (my mother-in-law gave me these and I couldn’t find a link)

I don’t know which one I’d suggest. Probably Bob Books or the scholastic set. I have no idea where you can buy the scholastic set though, sorry! And I’ve heard it’s expensive. So just go with the Bob Books! lol

After doing readers only for about a month or so we started the 100 Easy Lessons book again and Brooklyn loves it and is breezing through. I think the 100 easy lessons book is crucial because it teaches the reading concepts slowly and thoroughly. I really love that book. I really love the combination of that book with readers.

Sierra does lessons in the book along with Brooklyn. She is re-learning her letters and sounds and putting together two or three letter words. She has sounded out maybe five or ten simple words by herself but it’s not something she does regularly. Sometimes she can read a few words in a row and sometimes she acts like she doesn’t even remember a letter’s sound. I think it depends on how much and what kind of attention she’s wanting that day. lol

His name’s Trouble

The girls leave doors open. Payson gets into things he’s not supposed to.
He eats garbage, throws things in the toilets, rips books, grabs dishes off the table- spilling their contents everywhere, pulls of his pants and diaper, screams, cries, steals toys, gets stuck after climbing in/on/under things, and lots of other exciting things!

I’m constantly on my toes with this kid. He can reach the table, the school room tables, and both my desks and that just causes all kinds of problems.
He tries desperately to reach the counter but thankfully he’s still to short!

The girls were coloring today..

Payson saw that Brooklyn had set her baby aside to color and he tried to grab it.

Brooklyn noticed and pulled it away and Payson walked away sadly.

Very sadly.

I gave the girls a snack and started Payson’s bottle. Every single day, every single bottle, Payson sees me rinsing it out and immediately starts screaming. He’s just fine before he notices me washing the bottle, but as soon as he sets sights on it he has to have a meltdown. You know, to hurry me along, or something.

He will scream louder and louder and louder until the bottle is in his mouth. Nothing in the world will calm him down until he’s drinking that bottle.

If it takes me long enough (like a minute, maybe) he’ll even cry so hard he doesn’t breathe. Isn’t that neat?

This and That

My mother and father in law came back from Utah this weekend and came over after church. It was SO good seeing them again. We’d really missed them.
I talked with my mother in law (who is the best mother in law in the entire world) and Allan talked with his dad (who is the best father in law in the entire world).
I made pot roast. I don’t like pot roast.
Allan’s dad did all my dishes and there were a lot! ALL Saturday morning I’d deep cleaned the house and the dishes (and laundry) were the only things I had left to do. Now that my dishes are done I feel so so so happy. So so so happy.
I really love Allan’s family.

I finally started taking mealtime pictures again. This morning we had granola, yogurt and blueberries. Yum. (The next “real” food post will be sometime early next week)

After breakfast the girls played.

And Payson played.

They built a couple tents out of their blankets.

And Payson pulled the leftover granola off the table.

And we’re about to go out, I can’t believe it’s 4pm already!

Fleeting Moments

Sometimes I find myself surprised at the realization that these moments we have every day are my children’s childhood memories.

Right now, playing together at the table with animal crackers, those are their memories- being made by the second. Ticking by faster than I want them to.

Sierra came up to me today while I fed Payson a bottle and asked, “Mommy, can you put puppets in tummies? I need to twirl.”

Animation done using Gickr.

Payson successfully got ahold of my cell phone. He was none too pleased when I took it away.

“Jim gathered the seaweed and made a weedy little house”

“Mom, is there seaweed on the couch?”
“Why do you ask?”
“This looks like seaweed”
“No, that’s Payson’s broccoli. Can you throw it away since I’m changing him?”

I dislike it when Brooklyn leaves books on the floor. I dislike it when Payson tears books.

Payson made a mess in the school room yesterday.

While cleaning the mess I overhear, “This is going to take forever. Isn’t it Seece?”
(It took one minute)


Little hands moving little players.

Have I mentioned I really like long hair on girls? I really do.

I also really like thumb suckers.

Sierra. Rarely called Sierra.

It’s Seesee.

Or Seece.

Today marked the first time Sierra’s ever lost a game.

I was surprised that she was so upset.

Pretty mellow day so far. I’m about to start cleaning up the kitchen. Joy.

I have 3 very silly children

This afternoon Brooklyn put a CD (Vitamin C) in the DVD player and she and Sierra danced.

Then they found a CD slideshow of all the fairy pictures I’d taken of Addy (their cousin) in 2007.
Brooklyn played it three times and after she pushed play the third time she tells Sierra, “I turned it on again, I just LOVE Addy!”
Sierre responds, “and I love Elena!” (Elena’s Addy’s older sister)

Then they brought their microphones (lincoln log blocks) into the front room and performed for me.

As I snapped this she was singing, “I am so beautiful. I am so beauuuuutiful.”

Payson was dancing along with them the entire time. When I turned the camera on him, though, it’s all seriousness.

Until I start tickling his leg.

He’s very ticklish.

Brooklyn wrote my name. Who’s that child’s spelling teacher?? *cough*notme*cough*

What We’ve Done for Math

For Kindergarten we used a Horizons Math K book and a Hands-On Standards book with manipulatives (links below). Sierra is currently starting with both those books and I’m about to buy the first grade levels.

Hands-On Standards preK-K was the first math book I bought for Brooklyn. I also bought a bunch of manipulatives.
I keep all the math stuff in this cute ottoman in the school room. ($20 ottoman at WalMart)

Manipulatives are the funnest thing ever. Both girls could play with manipulatives all day.

I bought all those manipulatives (and the Hands-On Standards book) at a teacher store in Texas. It was probably $100 for everything but worth every single penny.
This site sells everything together.
(I haven’t personally ordered from that site, but it’s rated ‘A’ on the BBB)

Here’s a peek into the Hands-On Standard book.
Number and Operations

Number and Operations




Data Analysis and Probability

The other thing we use for math is Horizons Math. This is a workbook approach to math.
You can buy manipulatives and use them with the book if you want to (which obviously I do!). I don’t think the teacher’s manual has any information for adding manipulatives, though, so you’d have to just figure that out yourself.
And on that subject, I didn’t buy the teacher’s manual but I’ve heard it isn’t helpful at all.

The pages are colorful and fun. Brooklyn really loved this book.

Pictures from yesterday while the girls worked.


Brooklyn played around with growing patterns.

Next time I post will be about reading and handwriting.


We have a lot of workbooks. Probably too many. When we go and do school stuff we mostly do hands on stuff and read a ton of books. As an after thought (and by request) we pull out the workbooks.

I took some pictures this morning of the ones we’re currently using.
Developing the Early Learner isn’t one I’d rebuy. Sierra’s using it right now (Brooklyn used it last year)
It came with Sonlight and I just don’t like it much. I think it’s probably just because it seems like a waste of money. There’s not enough content to justify $10 for this one book (personal opinion, of course)

In the first book there is a lot about rhyming.

Sierra’s favorite pages are the ones where you color the objects if they’re the same. She loves doing same/different activities.

I really, really love these Kumon books. We have four of them and they’re really great for early learners. Sierra’s the one using these this year.

For Sierra, since she’s so little and doesn’t have as much control, I LOVE that the letters are inside a box. It really helps her stay on the path. Her writing has improved this week since using these workbooks.

They work up to tracing letters without the use of a box.

I don’t have pictures of the inside of Brooklyn’s new first grade workbooks because holding them open while trying to take a picture was too hard.

Speaking of holding them open- I buy a workbook and HAVE to pull the pages out, hole punch them, and put them into a binder. It’s SO much easier to grab a paper out of the binder than tear it out of the workbook. It may seem like a small thing, but small chunks of time are invaluable when you’re trying to school two kids and keep up with the third!
Plus, and this is huge for me, I like to keep the worksheets after my kids complete them. Since they’re already hole punched I immediately pop them into a seperate binder (one for each girl). Easy, huh!

Oh, here are the links to the workbooks I have for Brooklyn.
I buy ALL my workbooks at Barnes and Noble. If you’re homeschooling make sure to get an educator’s card there right away, you get 20% of all books!!
Total Reading Grade 1
Flash Forward Reading Grade 1
Language Arts Grade 1

Worksheets in action..

Air and Water Kindergarten Experiment

I’m going to try to do more homeschool posts from now on. I’ve been horrible at taking pictures of the funnest stuff we do, probably because I’m ‘in the moment’ so much.

Today after lunch we did a little science experiment. It’s super easy and the girls both thought it was cool.
You put a napkin in the bottom of a cup. Then you put the cup upside down into a bucket or bowl of water.

When you pull the cup out the napkin is dry.

A repairman came in during the middle of this and asks what we were all up to and Brooklyn says, “I’m doing magic tricks!”

Homeschooling can be so cheap and easy in the elementary years. The library and google are awesome resources for homeschooling, especially kindergarten!

I did a one minute google search with “kindergarten science experiments” and there were tons of sites that popped up. Two that I looked into already, and look cool, are:

After doing the experiment a couple times with different objects taped to the bottom of the cup, I let Brooklyn and Sierra play with the water in the bowl. Brooklyn was having her toy ducks play in there and she started singing, “The rain came down and the floods came up”.

And not related, but happened at the same time- Sierra had to go potty while they were playing and so she went to the bathroom and I came in to wipe her and she tells me, “you wipe peepees and you wipe bums!”
So if you’re wondering what kind of skill set you need to be a mom you already have one item to check off if you can wipe peepees and bums.

And totally unrelated, Payson has started saying a couple words and it’s the cutest thing ever. He says “ball”, “no no”, “peekaboo” and “what’s that?” (and he has said dada and baba for a while now)

Speaking of Payson.. he is such a wiggly madman while being changed. A few days ago he was twisting as usual and I said, “no no” and shook my head and put him back onto his back.
Ever since, anytime he starts to twist and turn I just say “no no” and he stops!
And then today while changing him I laid him down and he didn’t move at all, he laid there shaking his head no and saying, “nah nah”. It was adorable.

The girls were still playing with the water while I blogged this. Brooklyn came up to me and says, “is my face wet?” and I said yeah, why? She says, “I plugged my nose and closed my eyes and put my whole face under water!”
And now I hear splashing… I think water time is over.

Sunset + Me

Last night Allan and I watched the sunset together. It was so bright. Like the sky was on fire.

It was a great way to end the day.

I asked Allan to take a picture of me. I didn’t do my hair or makeup yesterday and I’ve been thinking I should do that more often. I don’t feel very pretty or glamorous, but this is what I look like. No mascara, no eyeliner, no gloss, just me, the way God intended.

I have big hair.