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I'm a Christian Mom answering the call to educate our boys at home. You can also follow me at www.facebook.com/littleschoolofthewest and on Twitter @schoolofthewest

Monday, May 26, 2014

Button Quail

We are blessed to have a wonderful friend from our church who was willing to set us up with everything we needed to hatch some adorable little button quail.  For 15 days I turned the eggs twice a day and kept the humidity up in the box that was set at 99.5 degrees F.  On the 15th day I stopped turning them, added more water to raise the humidity and it was time to wait.  They were due to arrive on day 18 but on day 17 they quickly made their arrival (all 4 hatched in less than an hour).  The boys LOVED it (so did I :)  Here are some pictures, enjoy!

Warm and cozy in their box :)  We kept them almost a week and then our friend took them to a nearby farm.  It was definitely an experience we won't soon forget!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

San Diego

This past week the two older boys and I took a trip down to San Diego with our co-op.  The 75 of us boarded the Amtrak train around 8am Monday morning.  The train ride itself was a highlight for the kids (for mom, too, I got to sit back, visit and read a good book while the kids enjoyed the excitement of their first train ride with their friends).  

From the train station we walked to the USS Midway.  Such a fun place to explore with the boys!  

Part of our admission included the audio tour, Nathan took this part VERY seriously.  The kids were given instructions to listen to every one that had a green color sign and fill in the answers on a pamphlet but Nathan listened to every single one, no matter the color :)

My star student soaking up every piece of information he could get! :)

SO much to explore!

 Once they filled in their pamphlets with the information they learned they received a pin... a BIG hit with all the kids!

Beautiful sunset on our train ride home.  Such a fun, albeit exhausting, day!  Truly a field trip they won't soon forget :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Explode the Code

THIS, my friends, is one of the BEST curriculum decisions I've made since we started homeschooling!!   At the end of last year I told you about the struggle I was having with Josh over language arts and that we were switching to Explode the Code.  I am SO GLAD we did!  Josh has been making strides with his reading and our school day runs so much smoother now!

Explode the Code was actually one of the curriculums I looked into while doing research last year, but after looking through a couple of the books at the convention I figured Josh would find it too boring.  There is nothing exciting about the worksheets themselves, they have no color and some of the pictures are (as you can see from the cover) odd looking.  Since Josh liked all of the colorful, fun pictures in his Horizons books I figured these would not be a hit and decided against them.

Boy, was I wrong!

Horizons math worksheets, as well as the phonics and reading worksheets, are full of vibrant pictures.  Since math is not a problem for him the pictures are not a problem.  Phonics and reading (especially when he doesn't feel like trying) is a different story.  All of the pictures and sentences that he didn't feel he could read were a stressful distraction.  

Explode the Code is repetitive enough to ensure they learn the concepts well but not to the point of boredom and frustration.  It includes phonics, reading, handwriting and spelling... what more could you want from a language arts program?!  (For Kindergarten at least :)  



Friday, February 14, 2014

Dad's Day

The year that Josh attended preschool they had a Dad's day where they got to do special things with their Dad.  We decided last year that we would continue that tradition and Craig set out to find something fun they could do together.  He ended up taking Josh to a monster truck rally and it was all I heard about for months!  Since then Nathan has been anxious to go as well so this year Craig took both Josh and Nathan.

So much fun!  Can't wait to see what they come up with next :)

Friday, January 31, 2014


Last week my husband and I decided to take advantage of one of the perks of Homeschooling and go on a mini vacation.  We discussed it the week before and headed up to Mammoth the following Monday.  The boys were so excited and we had a great time playing games, enjoying the jacuzzi and (my personal favorite) reading in front of the fire :)

The best part was, we didn't even skip a beat with their school work.  I brought their phonics and math worksheets along as well as some read-alouds and we would set up a space in front of the fire place each morning.  We all enjoyed the change of scenery!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Updates for the New Year

Last year I shared how I had the boys make a list of things they wanted to accomplish in 2013.  They really enjoyed having the visual of things we had done and still wanted to do by the end of the year so the first week after our Christmas and New Years break I had them make these and I think they turned out pretty cute :)

Since Josh started addition, and especially since he started double digit addition, I've slowly introduced him to Touch Math.  His worksheets encourage using the number line but I also want him to be able to stray from the number line since he won't always have one at his disposal.  Since I wasn't going to purchase a full curriculum with this method, I did a search for free printables on pinterest and found this blog with these adorable pages:

Over Christmas break Craig and I discussed having the boys do more chores around the house.  I wanted them to have a visual so I, once again, did a search on pinterest to get ideas and found this printable.  For every approved chore (in other words, they aren't going to get a sticker for EVERYTHING they do) they complete around the house they get a sticker, each sticker is worth 5 cents.  So far this has proven to be very affective :)

I also found a free character reading chart for the boys to fill up as they practice reading.  When I was in elementary school my grandma started a chart with me and once I filled it up she would take me to the Hello Kitty store to choose something.  Since Josh is improving so much with his reading, I really wanted to encourage him to practice more.  I sat him down and showed him the chart and asked him what he would like as an incentive for filling it up, he said he'd love more Legos :)  I had initially just printed one for Josh but only about a week later Nathan started reading more and more of the Bob books himself and requested a chart.

So far I'm loving this new year, hope yours is going just as well!

Friday, January 10, 2014


A mentor friend of mine gave me a lot of wonderful advice while we were discussing the decision to Homeschool last year but one thing in particular was that I have a supportive husband.

Since Craig was the one who told me he'd be behind me all the way when we made the final decision, I knew I had the support I was going to need.  

At the time I didn't know how vital he would be in this road we are traveling.  He is my backbone.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't encourage what I'm doing with the boys.  He doesn't even get upset or frustrated when I tell him I think we need to switch a bit of our curriculum!  (Do I have a keeper or what?!?!) 

He will come home on random days during the week and tell me I have the night off to do what I want/need to do.

I have spent half of my life with this man and I wouldn't know what to do without him!  The Lord has blessed me with him and I will be eternally grateful for the husband he is to me and the father he is to our boys.