This year we added an Easter Unit from the Gentle Classical Press, and we have thoroughly enjoyed spending some extra time digging into the Easter Story—spoiler: He did not stay in the tomb!
We made our Resurrection garden, and the kids enjoyed the learning experience! The unit was a gentle way of teaching our children about the events leading to Christ’s death, His resurrection and our gift of salvation. Inside our garden is the empty tomb with the rolled away stone and flower seeds. Our tomb may be empty, but it will soon come to life! The kids continue to learn from the garden when they observe changes happening around the tomb, which allows our family to stay committed to focus on growing our faith.
The teacher in me could not resist using my childhood chalkboard. One of my fondest childhood memories was awakening to this amazing gift on Christmas morning in 1984. Pretending I was a school teacher, I would play for hours, and low and behold, nineteen years later, I became a high school teacher.
The chalkboard and all the fun I spent as a kid playing school have come full circle now as we use it to homeschool our children. We updated the chalkboard using chalkboard paint and are very happy with the result.
We made a felt board a couple of weeks ago, and my kids are loving all the imaginative play! Felt boards are great for teaching math concepts, shapes, color sorting, and just all-around fun imaginative play. We recently added a few fun finds from Amazon focusing on community helpers and modes of transportation. It took me around 30 minutes to create the board, and another 30 minutes to cut out all the weather shapes (which is still a work in progress) and has now turned into hours of fun, especially this morning when it rained until noon.
Nothing says comfort food like Salisbury steaks! This is my family favorite version of the ever-popular TV Dinner classic from the Hungry Man, and putting my homemade twist on a bland and boring dish. My recipe leaves out store bought soup mixes but includes a yummy gravy that is delicious served over mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash. This is the perfect easy winter meal that is inexpensive, tasty, family and kid-approved.
1 lb Lean Grass-Fed Ground Beef
1/3 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Ketchup
1 tsp Mustard (I use yellow mustard)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dried Minced Onion
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or avocado oil
2 tbsp of Brown Gravy Mix
2 cups hot Water
1 tsp Ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Optional: I also recommend sautéing onions in butter before cooking the patties for a nice addition to this meal.
Brrrrrrr! The weather here in Georgia is getting chilly, and starting homeschool after a long break can be difficult. Winter doesn’t stop us from diving into fun activities that are full of learning opportunities. Snow for us does not happen often, but we see our fair share of temperatures in the teens - yikes! What does continue every season is how much our trees change. My kids loved learning about the leaves changing colors and watching them fall to the ground this past autumn. Now they can continue studying the trees by creating winter tree art. The best part about this winter art activity is getting your kids outside to collect the materials!
We are heading to my parents' house for dinner on Christmas night. The menu and shopping list are made and thank goodness I have the easy meals to prepare this year! The menu typically does not change a whole lot each year. My dad prepares the prime rib roast, mom handles the gravy and green beans, my sister brings the salad and desserts, and I prepare the mashed potatoes. This year was a little different because I usually buy the store bought frozen dinner yeast rolls, but I wanted to make homemade yeast rolls for the first time and also incorporate my oldest child into the fun for a little home economics lesson.
This past week we learned about our senses and how different things feel, smell, and touch. So what better way to incorporate all of our senses than to make homemade yeast rolls which were already needed for our Christmas dinner. We made the dough together once we got all of the ingredients out and measured each. She helped knead the dough as well. It rolled so many activities into one, science, motor skills, and sensory to name a few. She has always said she's the baker, I'm the mixer and daddy is the fixer. I highly recommend making this with your children and as a little added tip - clean up as you go!
Here are some of the learning activities involved in this activity:
If you make this recipe a head of time and your dough balls are frozen, simply pull them out the day of and they will thaw and rise while the last minute stuff gets done.
1 cup boiling water
2 TBSP oil (avocado or canola)
1/4 cup of unsalted butter plus melted butter or brushing the tops of rolls before baking
3 TBSP granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast (not instant or rapid rise)
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
When I left the classroom five years ago, I was expecting our first child, and I knew I never wanted to set foot in a public school classroom again. Knowing our family is taking the road less traveled warms my heart. The whole cookie-cutter, hustle everywhere lifestyle is not a suitable life for our growing family. We are focusing on learning through play, and it is a joy to watch my little ones learn so much through real-world practical applications. They are learning to navigate and thrive in this journey, and I couldn’t be happier
Curriculum for 2-4 Year Olds - Learning Through Play
For our toddlers, play is learning from 2-4 years of age, and we do not stress over a strict curriculum giving small snippets here and there to observe how they learn. In the state of Georgia, children do not have to complete kindergarten therefore we are free to allow our children to be just that - children and learn through play! We start out waking up naturally (no alarm clocks needed), eat breakfast, and while Mommy finishes her first cup of coffee, our children are playing together with magnets, tractors, puzzles, etc. We read together, talk about everything, play games and focus heavily on building their imaginative skills and creativity with arts and crafts. When we are outside the kids like to write with chalk on the driveway, ride their bikes, play in the dirt, and of course explore our backyard.
I use a flexible monthly "schedule" to guide us through the year in case we have a day that may need more of a structured approach. Our children are introduced to educational programs like StarFall (which is where I introduce Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool) or ABC Mouse at around three years of age, but we do not stress over not completing it every day. They initiate the "book" learning for the most part and as a former teacher it is fantastic to experience child-led learning! We also belong to a local homeschool co-op that allows mommy to put on her teacher hat for students and that always brings me so much joy.
Curriculum and Enrichment 5 Years Old and Up
We use Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool to start out at Preschool level because it allows us to teach the curriculum on different days and easy to keep organized. It is a mix of traditional and Charlotte Mason approaches utilizing narration and focusing on living books. It is a complete, free online Christian homeschool curriculum. It covers reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Spanish, Bible, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic.
We like Easy Peasy for many reasons. It aligns with our philosophy of what learning should look like; kids need hours of unstructured play each day to develop creativity and to pursue their passions/interests. When using Easy Peasy, we finish by lunchtime each day. The Easy Peasy curriculum provides a Christian-based world-view, and it focuses on reading. If a child can read well with comprehension, all learning will be easier! Easy Peasy might come off as being easy or lacking in content, but I believe it allows time for your child to dig deeper into what they find interesting.
Masterbooks is an easy all in one curriculum. Until our children reach the age of six, their focus is on reading/phonics, handwriting, crafts, and physical fitness. I like that Master Books is not a lot of busy work, and it covers precisely what we need. You have the freedom to use the placement test to find the proper level your child is on, in whatever manner you need, which is one of many perks of homeschooling. Master Books is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum and is not meant to take hours upon hours to complete. Many mistake the gentleness of the curriculum for being easy, but it is so rich in content. As a former high school teacher, if you are concerned whether or not the curriculum is "enough" the answer is yes.
My mother-in-law is raising monarch butterflies. Her caterpillars are feeding on milkweed leaves, soon they will form a chrysalis, also known as a cocoon. My children love butterflies, and raising them is a wonderful way to learn about their lifecycle. I decided to find a lesson plan to complement what they have been learning. Luckily I found a short, simple lesson plan online called the Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly created by Jolanthe at www.homeschoolcreations.net.
Our first day of homeschool, for our K and Pre-K littles, began this week. My children are excited and I am equally motivated as we continue dabbling in the ready-to-go curriculum from Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool while also focusing on just learning-through play.
This is an exciting time where not only am I excited but comfortable and confident in my homeschool routine. As a former public school teacher, being able to adjust to what works was not always possible. When I left the classroom six years ago, I was expecting our first child, and I knew I would never set foot in another public school classroom again. Knowing we are taking the road less traveled warms my heart. The whole cookie-cutter, hustle everywhere lifestyle is not a suitable life for our growing family. We are focusing on learning-through-play and is a joy to watch my little ones learn so much through real-world practical applications. They are learning to navigate and thrive in this journey, and I couldn’t be happier. This is my second year of homeschooling but my first educating two of my littles and our toddler running through the house as well. Just know that it is possible to homeschool. It is something that will take time and many changes to your routine. It is a long road but it is worth every moment.
Soaring Pine Private Academy nurtures awareness of Christian faith, ethics, and integrity creating a firm foundation in the Word of God. We nurture our children and encourage them to strive for excellence. They are taught that success is the product of effort, good habits, and self-motivation. Our hope is to create a love of learning that will inspire our children to become leaders!
We understand the basic responsibility of Christian parents is to obey Biblical instruction, which gives us the ultimate responsibility for the education of our children (Deuteronomy 6: 7, 8; Proverbs 22:6).
Soaring Pine Private Academy allows us to embrace the task of teaching and guiding our children in the knowledge of God and the Christian way of life.
I'm a former high school teacher now homemaker and Principal of Soaring Pine Private Academy. I am so very thankful for each day that God blesses me with my sweet family. I hope you enjoy my blog where I'm happy to share our homeschool journey from our home nestled in the woods, recipes and more!