Triple Clicks

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

All The Updates

 Well.... There's good news, and bad news. 

So let's start with the bad news.  We killed our tomatoes our 5 year old named Bob.  We forgot to water them.  

And our elderberries are apparently infested with some sort of worm....  So we'll be trimming those back once winter hits and watch them carefully next spring. 

That's all the bad news. 

So now for the fun part-the good news. 

We had some awesome help from people at church getting a lot of the yard cleaned up.  It was a huge blessing and I am grateful for all the help we received.  

The kids and I started taking the fence apart to make shelves.. Then the heat hit and we haven't been able to do much outside.  I just don't do well in the heat.   Thankfully it's been fairly easy to take apart the fence as the screws aren't stripped-just rusted.  So we can just use the drill to take most of the screws out.  

We've been doing a lot of cleaning and sorting inside.  I need to go back to Dollar Tree and get more containers.  I was able to get about halfway through the kitchen cupboards before I ran out-but that part of the kitchen is much more functional now.  I'm also putting fresh shelf liner down as I go through cupboards, that's a nice addition to appeal to the "pretty part"... especially since I'm missing a lot of doors. 😂

We are 3 weeks into our school year.. We've tweaked a few things, but are loving our modified Robinson Curriculum method.   I took out the Grammar and Writing-and just put the older two kids into older Grammar books so we can learn the basics... Then as they read more they will learn the writing, a long with practicing writing.   The Write Bonnie Rose history is a little more involved that I thought it would be-but then I looked on her website and realized she wrote it for teenagers-not elementary.  Oops.  But the kids are *mostly* having fun with it..  It requires me to stay close by and monitor computer usage as our encyclopedias are too old to answer the questions.  We also have to use Google Earth for the geography as we don't have paper maps or a globe that is detailed enough.  I took Eva out of the homemade math books and put her in Everyday Number Stories.. It's an old math book that was used in conjunction with the McGuffey readers.  She is excelling at that and when she gets through the book we'll start her on Saxon.   We'll just use my homemade books for extra review or practice as needed.  

I was extremely excited to find the Robinson Phonics Flashcards on the CDs.  I'm horrible at phonics, these cards (to me, at least) are worth their weight in gold.   They have the letter or blend on one side, then all the sounds that makes on the other.  They are now printed and laminated.  Andrew told me we need a bookshelf just for flashcards.  😂

On the shopping front.. Things are getting interesting again.. Our local stores are having problems getting shipments in.. The city stores are starting to enact mask policies again... Now, I can do many things.... But I CANNOT breath in a mask, I CANNOT get my grocery list taken care of and make sure the kids are not only behaving by staying near me, but are also keeping masks on "correctly".   I just can't do it all.    Not to mention-where are all the tortillas going?!?!?!   

Dennis ordered me a tortilla press.  I learned to make tortillas last year, and am getting back into it.  We love homemade tortillas but I struggle to keep them round when using just a rolling pin.   

I'm also making homemade noodles again.. Homemade are so much better than store bought.  We started making bread again-I pulled down my bread maker and put it back in action yesterday.  The kids loved the homemade bread with almond butter and strawberry jelly.  

We go shopping again Thursday, so I guess we'll see how things go.  


Friday, July 2, 2021

Simplifying Homeschool... Step... 3?

So this is the first true step we have in our simplifying (and making sustainable) our homeschool. 

Now, if you haven't been reading my blog, you should go back and read at least the past one.  

Do I have you back now?  Ok.  

So honestly, this journey started when I realized what price we would have to pay for 3 kids in the ACE PACE Program..  I love the PACEs, they are so simple for me as mom and the kid LOVE them.. but it's simply not sustainable for a big family on a very limited income.  

So we sort of looked into making our homeschool more sustainable last year, but really hadn't found great solutions.  When I did the figuring for how much things would cost for the coming school year, it just wasn't going to happen.  So we looked for different solutions.  

Now, I knew it was possible to homeschool for free-and not use the public school books and curricula to do so.   But I didn't want every class online, I didn't want my kids sitting in front of a screen for hours on end to do their school.  I know they will have to learn the computer, but I do think it's a skill they can master once they are older.   

My original plans had me caving on that for more classes than I wanted.. Now, I'm still caving on that a bit, but not as much.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm learning how to do the Robinson Curriculum correctly.  It's not just reading and Saxon math, there's a method and it's a very sustainable and affordable way to homeschool.  

But, since I spent 4 months searching, printing and binding, then we're going to use most of what I did.  

So let's start with the oldest...and work our way down. Settle in with some coffee, this is going to be a long post. 

My biggest worry with piecing together was grammar..  I can write well, but don't ask me to identify parts of speech.  I've also come to the realization...  WHEN have I EVER used parts of speech in real life?  Now, honestly.  Somebody tell me when, because I haven't.    The next obstacle was math..  We were just going to put the oldest in Khan Academy, but since learning about Robinson, we're going back to Saxon.  

Ok.. So onto Andrew's school.  Andrew is going into 5th grade and like any boy his age is extremely interested in how things work.  
Math-Saxon 5/4 and flashcards.. Part of the Robinson Curriculum is having ALL math facts memorized before they started Saxon 5/4... Now, I have been a horrible teacher and haven't required them to memorize math facts-so we're fixing that.  Andrew is going to do both simultaneously because for some reason he's great at division and subtraction (somebody explain that to me).  You don't see Saxon 5/4 because as of right now, I cannot afford the physical textbook, but I was able to get a PDF file for free, I do plan on buying the physical edition as soon as I'm financially able. 
Grammar-this will come from a Scott Foresman Grammar book and reading. 
Spelling-again, reading.  Whatever words he doesn't know along with whatever words are the in the vocabulary list for the book he is currently on.. He will not only learn spelling, but how to use it and what it means.
Modern History (1900 to 2020)- This is coming from Write Bonnie Rose.  She put some awesome work into her workbooks and I am grateful she puts the entire thing on freebies for her subscribers.   
Geography- Again, coming from Write Bonnie Rose... It looks like fun.  lol
Science- I made a workbook from the Institute For Creation Research books we purchased last year.  These are great books, full of great information-but I would not recommend them for elementary science.   But.... it's information Andrew needs and since we couldn't replace them as I wanted, he is using them. 
Reading- Tuttle Twins, Rifles for Watie and Robinson Curriculum.   My husband found the Tuttle Twins Books and purchased them.  They came with a study guide.. I have yet to look through them, though I need to.   They teach government through fun stories for children.  Rifles for Watie is a book I read many times throughout my youth, it's about the Civil War so I thought Andrew would enjoy it.  After he's done with these, he will start on the Robinson book list.  
Writing- copy work, vocabulary, and essay writing.  The essay writing we'll start with a paragraph, teach him sentence structure, then move onto paragraph structure and we'll move on from there...  The topic? It's going to depend on the day.. Anything from what we learned during service at something they see out the window or something from their imagination.  The purpose is to get them writing to teach them HOW to write correctly. 
One day out of the week he will do typing, one day he will do Spanish.  Both of these are done online. 
That's my plans, then I'm starting to incorporate Robinson Curriculum.  2 hours of math, then move on to everything else..  The end goal is going to be 2 hours of reading per day of school books.  We'll work up to that.  

Second oldest, Eva, is going into 4th.  She struggles a bit with the English language, but we'll work on it. 
Math-work pages and flashcards.. I had already printed off at least a semester worth of math for Eva, so we might as well use it.  Other than that, it's flashcards.  Once she's done with the worksheets, she goes into Saxon 5/4.  
Grammar- another Scott Foreman book
World Geography-the same one Andrew has from Write Bonnie Rose.
Modern History-again, the same one Andrew has from Write Bonnie Rose. 
History-state history... This is the one I wrote last year for Andrew, I tweaked a few things so it should be a bit better this year. 
Anatomy-Eva REALLY wants to learn how the human body works, so I found I had a coloring book on my shelf-but it was partly colored... So then I found it online (sorry I went to find the link for you and it's gone). But it's close to this one.  There's a simple explanation of what a few certain parts do, then you color the part. I took out the sections she's not old enough for. 
Writing-copy work, essay and spelling words. 
Spelling-just like Andrew, vocabulary words from books.
Reading- Eva is actually going to start with the Robinson list and then move on to the Tuttle Books once Andrew is done. 
Eva also gets typing and Spanish on the computer

Grace-the third oldest, she is going into 2nd. Grace is still trying to find her place.  I am starting Grace more in the Robinson than anyone else, simply because I didn't gather so much for her yet. 
Math-I did print off a full year of math worksheets-though I wasn't too happy with what I did have.  But she will do worksheets and flashcards. 
Grammar-again, a Scott Foresman book
History-I believe my husband found the website called Miniature Masterminds, it has A LOT of great things on there.  One of my friends has been using it to keep her 5 year old's mind busy while he anxiously awaits school this fall.   But they had a history on there that was already planned out (day 1, day 2 etc).  So I printed that off and that's what Grace is getting. 
Geography-This is from Write Bonnie Rose, it's more of a copy work kind of book, but I think she'll have some fun with it. 
Science-honestly, Grace's science is what I'm excited for (I'm a geek).  Through a giveaway at one point, I received the workbook for Science Shepherd's Introductory Science.   After looking through it, I realized it was not only young earth creation based, but I also needed the DVDs to be able to do it. This is the one thing  we spent money on this year.  So this is Grace's one class on the computer, she needs to get a bit older for typing and Spanish. 
Reading-Grace is starting at the beginning of the Robinson list, will she blow through some of the books? I'm sure.  But that's ok. 
Spelling-again, anything she has to look up the meaning to and words from the Robinson books.
Writing-she's going to improve her cursive with copy work from books and from the Bible. 

Hannah. Hannah is in Kindergarten.  The original plan was Abeka-because we have Abeka...   Then I realized how abysmal the Abeka phonics was...  They teach the spelling....and that's it.  So we're using the Abeka math, the Abeka phonics ladders.  She's going to read using McGuffeys then take off on the Robinson list.  Hannah is also learning cursive this year.   Once Hannah gets going on her math, we'll start the flashcards with her. 

Elijah has some "coloring books" to keep him busy, along with a box of fun toys that he only gets during school.  His coloring books are the collection of misprinted papers I gathered.  Somebody might as well use them.  

The baby, Dinah.. She's the wild card.  We'll see what happens with Dinah. lol 

Well, are you still awake?  Told ya it was long!! Thanks for sticking with me, let me know if you have any questions.



Saturday, May 15, 2021

Simplifying HomeSchool Even More

 I realized this week that I have been very foolish with my curriculum choices for next year. 

You see, I have spent the last 4 months planning and scouring looking for what I think we need.... when I have an entire curriculum-I just have no idea how to use it.

Let me rewind. 

When I was homeschooled (back in the day😂😂), my mom tried the Robinson Curriculum. 

This is very much a self teaching curriculum.. In the ideal setting, you teach your child to read, the math facts.... and then pretty much let them loose within given boundaries.  When you buy the CDs (or, apparently now, they have an online version), you get the how tos, and this HUGE book list.  The idea is that the child learns by simply reading.   Instead of reading the very much flawed, rewritten history books, they are reading about the life of the person or the event by people who lived through it-or told their story to somebody else.  You are also encouraged to use Saxon Math (not newer than 2nd edition ideally).. The website explains it all-I'm still learning.  The child does math first, a set number of problems a day and then moves on to reading.  Once they get past the basics of learning math facts and learning to read, they are essentially on their own. 

I've been watching videos on YouTube from Our House.  She does an awesome job at explaining exactly what to do with the curriculum.  

Now, since I've spent SO MUCH time getting curriculum together for next year-and I'm mostly done with it... we're are going to go ahead with my plans-next time I get a chance, I'll give you a run down and the plans.   A few things I'm going to implement is the reading list from Robinson and the method of doing math... We do not have the Saxon but we can use basically the same way... Give them the tools to learn it and let them figure it out.. As long they have the basic tools, they are good to go-let their minds figure it out.. They can do this!!! And, quite frankly, I'm going a bit insane with the messy house and having to repeat a math word problem 10 times until it "clicks".  I love my kids, I love homeschooling, but there's only so many different ways you can explain something, sometimes they just have to work through it. 

Now, Robinson is very much a reading-heavy curriculum.  All of the books on the list are open source, meaning their copyright is expired so they are public domain... Meaning you can print them (explained on RC website and Our House linked above), or if you are lucky you can find them at a thrift store in good condition.  Or if you are ok with your kids using Kindles, Amazon has a lot of classics as free Kindle books.  I pulled out my Robinson set when I realized I didn't have reading comprehension for Grace...  Now, they do have some books with reading comprehension and end of book test questions, but really the easiest way to know they learned is to have them write a book report.. So we're learning that next year as well.  

I can easily say right now we can't do everything as Dr. Robinson created his curriculum (no TV, no sugar, school 6 days a week)...  BUT I can say we'll do most of it.  Winter might be different...but we'll see... Next year will be sort of our transition year...  Getting the older kids especially used to doing everything on their own.  I grade papers for grammar, spelling and grade math.   They learn grammar and spelling through reading because they will be reading the classics, which have correct grammar and spelling.  RC does have spelling list and vocab words-I'm still learning... 

Well... That's everything for now.. 


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Summer Project Number 2

 I have a few summer projects on the list for this summer, I just have to wait for summer.

Number 1 is the garden.  Well out of the 20 something  tomatoes we planted-9 have survived so far...  We'll see if they make it another month.

Number 2 is the girl's room.  

This is the biggest project I think-even with the mess in the backyard.

When Dinah was born last year, we knew we would have some major rearranging done within the next 12 or so months.  

Honestly the first project is getting the toys out of the room.  Hubby is working on that-cleaning out an unused office room.  

I'm working on organizing the girl's room.  We've gone through toys a few times.  Now it's time for clothes... I've been reading blogs, watching vlogs, working my way through Pinterest.  Trying to get ideas. I finally decided to buy cube shelves-4 for each girl-that would hold everything but their dresses. I bought some for the boys and they are working great.


Plans are great-those plans did not work out. 

I should have bought the shelves before the lockdowns.  Because apparently being stuck in your house makes you organize... The price has not only shot up, but they are actually hard to find.

So now we have moved to plan number two...  I bought two wire utility shelves.  They are coming.  So here's my plan.  I'm going to make cardboard cube boxes from our excess boxes and make them pretty with excess fabric.  They will all be labeled and be able to be used as drawers to help keep them organized.

The shelves will be here next week, the second bunk bed will be down the road this summer.  But hubby and I sat down with a room plan to figure out where the new bunk bed will go-because I don't want to move the shelves if I don't have to. 😆

Now that I've gotten my plan laid out... that's all for now.

Have a great Easter!


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Learning To Garden


We're at it again. We are learning to garden.  

I've been researching on the best way to start seeds..  Two years ago when I planted a garden we almost lost half our tomatoes because of frost (I was able to salvage and finish ripening in the house.  So seedlings it is...  I also figure if I kill these-then I can sew straight in the ground.  Back up plans ya know. 

I have no idea what I'm doing.  So the kids are experimenting with me.  

We have 18 Eva Bell Tomatoes (like beefsteak, I get my seeds from Seed Saver), 18 cherry tomatoes and hopefully 18 bell peppers.  

Now.. I think I may have thinned out too soon-but I did it for two reasons.. From watching YouTube videos, it seemed that using toilet paper tubes were a great option.   Ummm no.. ours found mold... so I took them out, thinned and just replanted.. So hopefully I didn't shock the young seedlings-or seeds..   

I also found the past few days that once they sprout, I need to take the greenhouse part off.... So I took it off.  The plastic wrap is over the bell peppers that haven't sprouted-not sure why, but they haven't (this is week 3).  

So my little greenhouse thingy...  I wasn't thinking when I thinned out the tomatoes... and completely mixed up my Eva Bells and my cherries.  *face palm*. 

I also realized this morning that we are going to have issues if all of these survive because this year I have very little space in my one little raised garden bed....  If they all survive, I have to give some away... I can't tell anybody what they are getting lol.  Oops.  But we overplanted because my seeds are old.. like I don't remember when I bought them old.. 

On top of this experiment, we will be working with the yard to build up the soil into something useful this summer.  

I found this  really awesome book on my shelf by Better Homes and Gardens.  All about gardening... ok, more so about "pretty gardening" than "useful gardening" (veggies and the like).  But it had some useful tips-like how to revive your soil..  While my arthritis and back much agree with the raised gardening idea.... my budget is laughing at me-so we are going to work all year to revive our back yard soil.  Our back yard used to be a driveway... so from the top down we have crabgrass, top soil, rocks, more top soil and clay under that.  But I am determined and that's the best way to be when trying something new, right?  Plus, when I planted elderberry bushed last year 22 out of 25 survived and we were able to harvest.  So there's good there!

So here's the plan (I'd take a picture and show you...but it's all snow out there....)  Till up soil a foot down, let the kids have fun and get out as many rocks as they can, till it up again-probably two or three more times with the same process.   After we get out at least the majority of the rocks we are going to start fertilizing.  While we don't have fresh cow/chicken poop (and I've no desire to go find nor spread...), we do have a ton of kitchen compost, leaves and sticks to wood chip..and a dog.  So that's how we're are going to build up our soil... Apparently you make your garden patch your dumping ground for compost for a year-till it up every month or so and just let God do his job in fertilizing. 

So that's the plan...  Guess we'll see how it works.  Because I have no idea what I'm doing.  

This year, we'll be using my raised garden bed and probably a few food grade five gallon buckets-mostly for potatoes.   I'll keep you updated.  

Have a great week! (month? lol)


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Simplifying Homeschool

 Our homeschool journey the last 5 years has been an interesting one.  

I started off thinking I could completely school our children through high school for free.   

                    I still mostly agree with that,  but you have to accept whatever curriculum is out there for                             free.   There are some things I'm not willing to compromise on (like science).   

Then we heard a sermon that convinced us we needed to invest what we could in our kid's school.  Pick a curriculum and make it work for us.  

                        Again,  yes-partially,  The more we invest in their education the better it will be.  But not                         just monetarily-we (more me, because I'm mom and teacher, but hubby has been a                                     HUGE help this year with fractions and science).  We stopped Abeka after 1st grade                                 because the math drove our older son crazy with the spiral method.  We stopped Abeka                         with our oldest daughter in the middle of first grade because she wasn't understanding                           phonics and English.  They have both thrived in A.C.E. PACES for the past years.  

Last year I let our two oldest pick their sciences.. both of which subjects got us away from PACES a little bit.  Our son chose anatomy.. I went through Answers in Genesis and found an awesome study published by Master Books he is absolutely enjoying.  Our daughter chose animals.... Now, we wanted her to get a good foundation in animals, as Christians that means she needs to learn what evolution is and says and why God says it's wrong.  We went through Institute for Creation Research.  Now, these are awesome books, with great information-but they are definitely not written for any kind of textbook style-more like a parent read to children, or for teenagers or adults.   But that's ok, because we are making she understands it.  

Throughout the year, I have been blessed with mommas (and other homeschool parents) who take their hard work making workbooks for their kids and giving them away whether through their websites or as part of massive giveaways that happen a few times throughout the year.  

I have been realizing this year with the financial hardships that have come with the rest of the craziness, that we need to have school TEXTBOOKS that are more sustainable that the common workbooks.  Yes, workbooks are SO MUCH EASIER.  They can just write in them and be done.  I'm going to miss that.  But, we have 6 children.  Only 4 of which are in school... There are still two more that will need school.  We need something sustainable.  So, we are getting more sustainable school resources.  Whether it's through a digital file we can then reprint, through a textbook we can reuse, or through a workbook used as a textbook (yes, I understand it's frowned upon in the publisher world, I'm doing the best I can).  

So how are we simplifying?  

English.  McGuffey's Readers for English/Literature/Spelling/Cursive/Phonics-everything under the English label can be found in those wonderful old books.  We also have other novels and books we can use for literature and if we need help with reading comprehension, then I can read the book and make a study guide if there isn't one available.  I'm also saving ALL of the rules from the English PACES my son is doing so I have them-English rules are not my strong point.  

Math. We already have a ton of math books (what can I say? my husband and I are a bit on the nerdy side).   We just have to bridge a few gaps with awesome worksheets from Math Drills.  It's also great if somebody is having problems grasping a concept, then we can stop, print off some extra work until it's mastered.  

Science.  Honestly,  this was one of the hardest.  We have a ton of books-but they are all evolution based.. And while these books will be awesome once they get established in why God says evolution is wrong... For now, we can't use them.  But, we have an awesome basic anatomy study I have pieced together through so many different giveaways, I also have a coloring book I can print off to teach them the different organs and bones and such.  We now have a bit more advanced anatomy book that teaches in depth in the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.  I have discovered Science Shepherd this past year thanks to their generosity through a giveaway.   This can replace the books I purchased from ICR.  Also, if we like them (which I think we will), they have courses all the way through high school for a very affordable price.  

Bible Reading... For the kids (and me), I have been enjoying the PACE Bible workbooks.  My husband reminded me we have the ability to teach them the same thing-we just have to trust God to give us the words.... I don't know if I can do this-BUT GOD CAN!!!! 

Social Studies.... Alright... so Social Studies/history..  WHAT is it called now?  Well, for the older kids, we were, again, blessed with an entire 120 year span of modern history curriculum through a giveaway and the hard work of Bonnie Rose at Write Bonnie Rose.   Our 2nd grader will get state history and geography through worksheets and a book we have the shelf (garage sales are awesome).  I'm still debating a world geography study for the bigger kids.   Again-we have a book-and a globe for that!  And workbooks I can piece together through different giveaways.

Cursive.. This is one of those subjects we were adamant our kids would learn. We've been using Abeka..  but this year, I'm making my own worksheets and teaching our will be 5 year old.  (Pray for me).  I know there are a ton of cursive generators on the web and I might just end up doing that.  I haven't really decided.  But she is adamant she will learn to read and to write cursive next year.  😂😂  

I would ABSOLUTELY love to get fun books to go along with some of these from Dover Pulications or Critical Thinking Co..  But that honestly depends on the funds available.  (Critical Thinking does actually have their own curriculum sets if you are interested.) 

While that doesn't sound like much simplifying-especially since the majority of it means I get to print, laminate covers, and then bind... Not to mention come up with a way to keep track of grades and so on and so forth...  It will be simplifying for our budget.  And from what I've seen from what I bound today (some math, the history from Write Bonnie Rose and Introductory Science from Science Shepherd), the kids should be able to do the majority on their own...  The McGuffeys readers, to move on the next lesson, they need to master spelling and the reading of the lesson... in older grades part of the mastery is correct inflection and voice so all of that work is read aloud. They will all learn and be reinforced in taking turns. 

Again, I don't know if I can do this-but God can!!! 

So.. here's looking to next school year (2021-2022) with a 5th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader, K5er, 3 year old and 1 year old along for ride!!! 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

HomeSchool Organization

 With all the remote learning happening this year, there are a lot of seasoned homeschoolers posting what they do, to help the newbies and the parents thrown into remote learning figure it out.  

So I figured I'd throw in my two cents.  

First off, we don't have a homeschool room... We don't have a homeschool corner.  We have a homeschool shelf.  

Yep. That's it.  That's our home school stuff.  4 Kids learning, my teacher books and a few office things for my hubby and I.  

The kids have fold-able chairs that have desks on them (Think college chairs with the tiny desk... but the desks are a tiny bit bigger).  Or they can grab a clipboard and go sit on their beds or on the couch as long as I can read their writing-though they usually don't because the 2 year old thinks that's an invitation for help. 😁😂

So let's start at the bottom-a good place to start since that's the picture that loaded. LOL  Please keep your eyes focused on the shelf-not mess all around it.   

Years ago when we started with Abeka, I took to Pinterest and found this really awesome organizing idea for Abeka.  Now, Abeka writes their curriculum for their school in Florida-it's the same curriculum that homeschoolers utilize. It has 170 lessons.. Figuring you do one lesson a day-that's 170 days of school.  Pretty typical for at school study..Not so typical for homeschool unless you are in a state that requires a certain number of days or hours-thank the good Lord, we are not.   You see those two black crates?  The one on the left holds 1st grade Abeka for Grace, our 6 year old.  The one on the right holds preschool papers for our 4 year old who is insistent on learning to read just like everybody else.  (and I just realized I didn't proofread my last post. Oy vey.) So Abeka organization.  Each girl has their own milk crate (that's what we called them in the olden days lol).  Each crate has a bunch of hanging folders, no I don't know how many somewhere around 40.  With Grace's, each hanging folder holds enough for one week of work.  In Grace's case, we are starting the year off with two lessons a day of phonics and math.  She reads 3-4 stories in the readers a day (we'll get to that shelf in a minute), along with a page of cursive and reading with mom about community helpers, basic history and basic health.  Sometimes Hannah joins us for the reading, sometimes she doesn't-she doesn't have to at this point.  So when we start the morning all I have to do is grab two folders, take the papers out and get her started.  Hannah's preschool papers are in the other milk crate.  Like Grace's, each hanging folder has one week of work, in each folder, I already have days presorted so all I have to do is grab a paperclip full and I get Hannah started.  At the end of the day, I record any grades needed for Grace then the papers go in the back of one of the milk crates-we'll clean those out when we are done next year.   We keep tests, or any fun pictures they drew, the rest either go to the burn barrel, recycle bin.. or if the pages are blank on the back, they go to the color box and get colored on the back side.  Grandparents love seeing the pictures and the school work.

The second shelf up.  Starting on the left we have Elijah's coloring books-he knows which box is his and can get out his own coloring books.  He's getting used to losing his playmates almost all day right now-it's a rough adjustment for a two year old.  The rest of our boxes are extra PACEs for Andrew and Eva.  We have the whole year worth of school at home and ready to go.   The test and next PACE are easy to grab and Andrew and Eva know where to go if they have to get something without me available.   My sorters are cereal boxes.. I asked some friends to gather cereal boxes all summer for me to be able to organize everything and I'm short just a few, but we have a few cereal boxes we are working through..  I'm finding the family size boxes are a must, they fit the PACEs just perfect without needing to bend them at all.  That idea came from Andrea Mills-she uses plastic bins from Dollar Tree, but cereal boxes work great.  We've gotten fancy with boxes that have survived 4 or 5 years and covered them with shelf paper... But honestly, that's a luxury right now and needed-but it is fun. 

Ok, so we're going to focus on the top shelf in this picture-only halfway up the bookshelf right now.  On the left we have Grace's books.  If we are missing something in her box down below, we figure out what it is from these books.   This box also has her cursive book and the readers she does with me.  The next box is the readers she reads to me.   The next two "spots" are Eva's.  It has her PACEs, readers for literature, cursive, planner and her science workbook.  She knows where everything is and can get to everything herself.  The rest of the shelf is Andrew's.  His readers, PACEs, textbooks (science and math) and binders with worksheets (state study, math and science). He also managed to stuff his planner in there somewhere.   

As I'm sitting here looking at this arrangement I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to fit more PACEs on this shelf along with Elijah's preschool next year...  But, let's do one year at a time. 

Ok, Here's the last of the organization.  The top two shelves...that I'm going to show you anyway, we'll discuss the very top of the bookshelf...but I can't reach up there without a ladder.. because I'm short lol.  

All right, let's start on the bottom shelf in this picture.  On the left is a box that holds electronics... This is up a little higher because Andrew and Eva aren't allowed on their Kindles without permission... So that box keeps them hidden from sight, and in plain view of mom and dad so we can make sure everyone is behaving.  We have a little writing board that we keep track of memory verses on.  Flash card sets we use every day (more on that in a bit), the oatmeal box holds pencils (mechanical and normal), extra un-sharpened pencils, erasers, handheld pencil sharpeners (we have an electric one hidden from the two year old on a back part of the desk-he keeps trying to sharpen the super hero legs....).  On the right is an Osmo Kindle system... The kids got it last year for Christmas... I can't figure the fool thing out so there it sits.  In the gray case is a Robinson Curriculum set.  Back when I was homeschooled (late '90s), Robinson Curriculum came on CDs.  Well-that's the WHOLE set.   So if we ever need a 1828 dictionary or literature books to print off instead of buying, there it is.  Robinson is a very reading heavy curriculum, the CDs hold McGuffey Readers, cursive and hundreds of out of copyright books you can read on your computer or print off.  We didn't have that when we first started or we probably would have started with that stuff honestly.  Robinson also recommends using Saxon math from the beginning-so the CDs don't hold math.   That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  We have printed some books off the CDs before, but not many.  

The top shelf hold my stuff.  My teacher book-with Answer Key for Andrew's science.  The next binder over holds all of the first grade Abeka teacher things.. Honestly, I don't touch the teacher books unless I can't explain something using the papers... But when I bought the first grade readers second hand the lady had all the teacher's books there too.  So we have them.  The box (again, a cereal box) holds the teacher version of the first grade readers-they mostly have extra reading comprehension questions in them.  Then we have more answer keys.  The next binder is mom's planner.... Ummm more first grade teacher keys ( many teachers books do they need why can't they just put it ALL IN ONE PLACE?!!?).  Now, you see those juice containers? Well, those are what you buy frozen juice concentrate in-they make GREAT pencil holders.  The rest of that shelf is office things for hubby and I. 

Now the very top of our bookshelf is a little messy.  It's holding a broken laptop (loooooong story), extra spiral bound notebooks,  a big box holding a ton of flashcards we may or may not need, and a microscope.  

We pull down two things every school morning, the oatmeal box with pencils and the milk container with colored pencils-it's home is somewhere else. 

Honestly, this is working awesome.  All the kids know where to go for what they need.  Andrew and Eva had to get out tests and the next PACEs today and could find them easily.  It's easy for them to get to my books I need if I need them to get it for me.. I am loving this setup.  We might have to add another shelf next year-but we are definitely going to stick with this set up.  I can completely understand why Andrea Mills used this set up.  The only thing I'm missing is a certain box to put in that day's papers until I can sort them.  But we'll get that when I can clean some more-which depends on what needs baked/cooked and how Dinah is doing.  She is still having many grumpy days at 2 months old-but doing awesome.   

Thanks for reading!! I hope this helped if you needed the help.

Any questions?  Go ahead and ask. I'll answer as soon as I'm able!  Thanks for reading!