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Showing posts from 2015

Our Favorite Phonics Program

Reading. Without a great foundation of reading the remainder of a child's education will be a struggle, and for me, that was incredibly daunting. So, how do you teach it? Phonics? Sight words? Whole language? Some combination of the above? There are advocates for all sides, research for and against them all, but through the research I have done, we chose to utilize phonics.

Now, I could bore you and go on and on about the why, but there are already great resources out there for that. Instead I'm going to share my struggle with teaching reading (fun!) and some resources we used along the way.

Our Favorite book series for the emerging reader

So...I've been thinking of writing a series for you guys. Teaching reading was very emotional for me over the last two years and I want to share the incredible resources we utilized. So, over the next few weeks I'm going to be writing about reading. I hope you'll join me.

Today I want to focus on the emerging reader stage because we LIVED here for what seemed like the FOR-EV-ER. My working definition of emerging reader is that reader that can read chapter books but doesn't want to. They are finally emerging from the pitiful world of early readers but aren't fully ready to plunge into the vast realm of chapter books. It is a painful place to be because there are so very few good options at this level.

The last two years I have felt as though O's reading progress has been how I measured our homeschooling success, and ultimately, my own success. Because isn't that exactly what we mamas do?

Poetry tea time with boys

In our home we can easily fill our days with busyness. With two little boys, life IS busyness. But the chaos that is the modern life can easily push that busyness into chaos. We have sports and activities on top of a educational plan that challenges each of the boys. It's easy to get lost in the challenge and tally up your successes. It's harder to slow down and find beauty and just savor a moment. In my heart I desperately want the boys to remember more than just their multiplication tables from our journey together. I want them to have wonderful memories of our time. So, I'm very diligent about making sure we have those opportunities. We take hikes, we ride bikes, we do science experiments, we build legos. Have you notieced a theme? We DO. In case you missed it earlier, boys are BUSY! (Disclaimer: I'm sure girls are too. I just have no frame of reference. Sorry)

So, I have my hands full with these two little boys and then I read these lovely, I mean, Lovely, did you …

It's dizzy time!

You spin me right round, baby right round. Like a record player blah blah blah blah.

 This song has been stuck on repeat in my head all morning. Now maybe it will be stuck in your head too! You're welcome! Right now, my boys are gathering the mountain of books that need to be returned to the library and I'm taking hiding in the school room to take a quick break. From what you say? From the spin cycle.

Back to School Celebration plus a FREE Printable!

I know a lot of homeschoolers people choose to not go all out for the back to school hullabaloo. That's awesome and I totally get it.  But me? Well I love this time of year...mostly**.  I like to clean out the school room, buy the needed (or not so needed) school supplies, organize the books,  sharpen the pencils and launch into another year. It helps me to feel re-invigorated and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, because, let's be honest, there will be challenges! But still, this makes me feel happy!


I remember being so excited before the first day of school, and even though our look a little different, I want my boys to be excited about starting school back too. So, every year we do a couple of fun things for the 1st day back.

Opening a door to the past

PUBLIC WARNING: This post is really just a giant loving mush fest about my husband, our life, and a HUGE public thank you to his mama for taking such beautiful photos of my family. Most of you won't care about this post. But for me, it's beautiful.


There is a simple door is that transports me to a different time. Different times in fact. There is a door in a small town that has seen my family grow, change, love. There is a door in a small town that has been witness to snapshots of my family's life. I'm thankful to have a door captured in film by a woman that loves her family enough to start such a visual tradition, one that I cherish.. I want to show you the story of my life as told by the door. Step through the door with me and visit some of my story.

Encouraging chidren to read

Reading is something Ihave always hoped to be part of our family culture.  There is something magical that happens when children get lost in the world of books. They not only expand their minds but their hearts as well. This phenomenon doesn't simply disappear when you become an adult, we just have to be more intentional as the pace of a busy life can render reading nearly obsolete. My mama set a great example by always reading when I was growing up and I followed in her footsteps. I read, my husband reads (currently audiobooks), we read out loud to our children and now our oldest, O, reads.

My hope is that this family culturewill encourage my children to explore the new worlds waitingbetween the pages. So, I've been thinking about what things we have done or could do to help foster that in our home. 

Tips for developing a reading culture and encouraging children to readLet your children see you read. Children model behavior and if they don't ever see you

Summer is here

So as we embark on the summer, what are your plans? Are you a go go go mama? Scheduling camps and fun activities for every day? Like, Monday is park day, Tuesday is craft day, etc. I've been that mom. Or maybe you are more of a relaxed and chill mama? Encouraging your kids to just play outside and relax, scheduling nothing? I'm striving for somewhere in the middle this year. If we get too relaxed around here I'll turn into the third kind of mama, the crazy one trying to stop to energetic boys from engaging in some fiasco or another.  For us, summer is a time for baseball, books, berries,  boredom and good old boy fun. Sorry I got carried away with the B words.

But really, what does this blissful middle of the road summer look like? The summer where we do "school lite", have fun activities, but still enough down time to recharge and enjoy ourselves?

Give your voice a break, listen to an audiobook!

We read out loud a LOT in our family. We read out loud for school but also just for pleasure-snuggle time or bed time or while the boys play legos. Pictured above are the books we have on the agenda for today. This picture does not include the  multiple picture books that C will ask me to read at some point today. Sometimes this mama's voice just needs a break. So, one of our favorite ways to experience a story together is by using audiobooks. We use several different sources and I wanted to share a few of them with you today, in case your voice needs a break too.

A man in the making

I'm sitting with curriculum catalogs, books, and the internet as my companion today. And coffee, please don't forget the coffee.  My boys are running around acting out a new adventure inside since it is cold and rainy today. I breathe in and out and in this moment, I know that I am exactly where I need to be. Life is good.






 I'm mapping out some plans for next school year and fine tuning some plans already made. I enjoy this part of our homeschooling journey. And then I nonchalantly wrote "2nd grade" and froze. I literally just sat there for minutes staring at those words. 
When did that happen? When did my baby grow up?

My name is what?

Hello. My name is Cassie. And I'm apparently trying to be a blogger. Again. This poor blog has been resurrected from it's painful death in 2012 after a whopping 2 posts. I'm awesome like that.

Welcome to my world. I don't have a specific direction for this yet, which probably means that noone whatsoever is going to enjoy it. And that's ok. Eventually I will figure it out, or not. Either way, you're still reading, so ha.

Hello again. My name is Mommy.

I always wanted to be a mom. It defines me. It shapes me. It has changed and grown me.