Curriculum Day!

I got Ember and Everett’s curriculum from the school today and then went home and went through all our home school books to make piles to use this year.

Honestly I’m not feeling it a bit. I’ve been dreading school starting back up. I despise the public school curriculum, despise being chained by it and it’s killed every last bit of love for teaching I had. I am going to put Ember in regular public school next year and I’ll still home school Everett but that’s it. I hate this.

LOVE my kiddos and will try my best but it’s just nothing that fits in with my personality or strengths. I really miss homeschooling where it was really homeschooling and not teaching my kids with public school books 🙁

You might ask why we go this route and simply: we live in a state where I’m not allowed to home school freely but there are other benefits to living here. So yes this schooling part of it is very sad but I’ve gained something else. There are costs to every choice we make and homeschooling was the cost I paid for our location. I’m thankful to live where I live and I’m sad to not be able to home school how I want to home school… there are room for mixed emotions in life.AF9I7284e3blogshareAF9I7292efbblogshare


Oooooh my gosh! One of my favorite, favorite, favorite parts of homeschooling or just… having children… is finding the best manipulatives for them. First, let’s go back to the year 1988, 5 year old Ariana in my kindergarten classroom, sitting in a circle on a colorful carpet with my classmates and my teacher brings out a huge bucket of pattern blocks and pattern cards at the end of the school day. My eyes widened in excitement! They were such unique shapes! The feel of the wood in my little hands was soothing! They fit into pretty pictures on the cards supplied! It was my favorite part of school! I never wanted pattern-block time to end. One of the very first “manipulatives” I bought when I became a mother was… you guessed it! Pattern blocks!

Since then I’ve acquired a large, very large, collection of manipulatives. I’ve had 5 children since Brooklyn… 6 different personalities, learning styles, and preferences. We’ve had dinosaur counters, animal counters, family counters, base ten blocks, Math U See blocks, dominoes, playing cards, cuisenare rods, ALWAYS pattern blocks!, foam letters, balances, abacuses, and on and on. We’ve used them on their own and we’ve used them along with a dozen different math curriculums.

Here are my and my kids’ long-term favorites. Items we frequently use, that are very educational, fun, and have longevity. For some reason half the pictures I took didn’t show up on my computer (I’ve had crazy computer problems this year!) but I’m including photos of most things and I showed most things in the video at the end of this post!

These links are all affiliate links!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

First up: Counters! I have listed our favorite five but we’ve had more than the ones below!

Classic Counting Bears with Dice and Tongs
Mini Muffin Counters
Family Counters (Ember’s Favorite!)
Pet Counters (Lyla’s Favorite!)
Dinosaur Counters (Everett’s Favorite!)

Magnetic letters and numbers:

Foam Magnetic Letters, Upper/Lower with red vowels
Foam Magnetic Numbers

I don’t have images for, but use, these two items:

Craft Ink Pads

4,000+ Stickers for $9.99!

Magnetic ten frames and fraction sets:

Magnetic Ten Frame

Magnetic Fraction Tiles

Counting items:

Centimeter Cubes

1 inch Square Color Tiles (Set of 400 is what we get)

Great for small motor skills or color and shape learning, lacing buttons!

Lacing Buttons (don’t tangle easily!)

Geo Boards! LOVE geo boards!

Mini Geo Boards (set of 5)
Two Sided GeoBoard

Cuisenaire Rods (we prefer plastic to wood in these!)

Unifix Cubes
Linking Cubes

Montessori Colored Pegs and Peg Board

Pattern Blocks, 250 piece set

There are pattern cards available to purchase at that link but you can also print your own. I have these:
Free Uppercase Letters Pattern Block Cards
Free Number Pattern Block Cards
Free Upper and Lower Case Letter Pattern Block Cards

Base Ten/Math U See block kits, I’ve included a few because I’ve used literally at least five types of these!

Math U See Integer Block Kit

Base Ten Blocks

I like this set of Base Ten Blocks from better! (available in Jan. 2020)

Learning Resources Base Ten Blocks – kinda pricey though

A number line:

Magnetic Number Line (This is amazing for Everett during math)

Flash Cards!
Sight Words

Or use pocket chart numbers and letters instead!
Numbers (with hanging pocket chart)
And a Stand-Alone Pocket Chart We Like

Some random fun things:

Dice! (This is a Tenzi game which we adore AND you get dice!) 4 Player
Dice! (This is a Tenzi game which we adore AND you get dice!) 6 Player

And the video where I show just a few ways I use each item:

School Picnic and Performance!

Today was Sierra, Payson, and Ember’s bring your own picnic and watch the kids perform event. They passed out awards, had all the grade levels perform songs, dances, poems, and play instruments, and also passed out the kids’ yearbooks to sign.


The school passed out popsicles.


I snapped a few pictures during the performances, they’re weird on the blog just because I blurred out everyone else’s faces. But my kiddos show. haha

After all the school kids performed it was time to get yearbooks and just hang out. The kids had fun playing around the school grounds.


Sierra and Ember showed me where their part of the school art projects were.


And then Sierra, Payson, and Ember showed me their art work in the building.


It was such a fun time. I had wished it was after school so Brooklyn could have been there but she didn’t mind missing it anyway she said. I missed her being there, though.

Here was a group shot I took before we went home. I love that the three kids who went to the school this last year have their yearbooks in hand 🙂



Blog Struggles and Complaints.

I’m having a really hard time dealing with the formatting on my blog lately. I don’t know if wordpress did some updates or something but one day I noticed that two years of my blog photos are just not showing up at all. I spent a little time searching for solutions but quickly gave up. I don’t have time to mess around with a blog. I used to, but I don’t anymore. I have zero patience and desire to fight with something.

It used to work, JUST WORK! Ugh.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging. I get massive motivation to, I feel like it again, I have hundreds of photos edited and resized and ready to go and I open my wordpress site and start adding photos and trying to type and it’s just a total MESS. I HATE it. And being busy and having this JUST be a hobby means that the second there is a struggle and it looks like total crap after the effort of uploading and writing… it takes the wind totally out of my sails and I angrily shut the web window and tell myself, “Forget it, just go make chatbooks and social books from your other social media accounts.” And that’s exactly what I do and it works fine, I have our life documented in books in our apartment for us to flip through, yay for that, BUT I genuinely like looking through photos and stories on my blog. My old blogging is entertaining to me. I LOVE being able to go to the search bar and type in a keyword I’m looking for and find the photos and stories in literally two seconds! “Ember’s birth…” boom, Ember’s birth. “Sierra’s first foot doctor appointment…” boom, first doctor visit to look at Sierra’s toe walking.

I’m mad at my blog. I wish I had time to invest in figuring out code better but I can’t and I’m just plain old sad about it.

(Here are some random photos, just so this isn’t 100% complaining. haha)

We used dots and toothpicks to make things, just like we did in 2016. (That link perfectly shows how some of my photos just disappeared. Grr)


These were for school when we were learning about colonial times. Hornbooks. Colonial children used them to learn from.009efbblog

I thought I already posted these next photos, if I did, sorry. I traced the kids’ bodies on a large roll of paper and they’re drawing and coloring their organs and body parts for science.011efbblog017efbblog020efbblog026efbblog

Library Trip!

We went to the library to load up on books! I follow Sarah Mackenzie at Read Aloud Revival mostly because she’s so cheerful I feel inspired with positivity any time she posts, and I finally got around to printing out one of her book lists to bring to the library and we’ve read the books already and LOVED them so I’m an even bigger fan now and highly suggest following her and checking out her book lists! Even if you aren’t obsessed with books, she’s just so fun to follow on instagram, so cheerful!

We love the library so much!












These were the first ones we read. So fun! (We’ve already owned/read I Want My Hat Back, Rosie’s Walk, and Turtle Splash but checked them out anyway!) 

Remember when I was such an organized blogger?

I would have a complete list (with links!) for you about all the plans I have for Everett’s preschool this year. I’d have a schedule and so many feelings to share and maybe encourage with.

Now I’m like… hey, I did a boatload of research for Everett’s preschool and found a perfect fit and I love it so much but all I can muster to share is this picture of maybe 1/4 of the books and say, maybe you’d like these? Maybe google the titles and buy them? Or not, money’s tight. But they’re great books!

BUT I did link ALL of the foundation of what I’m using in the curriculum tab at the top of my blog!! Maybe I’m not light years away from my old blogging self after all?

But seriously… if you can find these books you and your kids would probably love them. Me and my kids love them 🙂