Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace, Year 1

When DD (C20) was still homeschooling, we used Tapestry of Grace Classic. At the time it wasn’t called Classic because it was the only version. But I really enjoyed teaching with it, and planned on using it when G6 was old enough. Since then, TOG has come out with their Redesigned version, available in print and digital download.

I agonized a bit over which I should purchase, and finally with the the Print/Digital package. I love the convenience of being able to access updates and content via computer, which is more portable than my giant TOG binder. But I’m also in love with print, and actually use my binder WAY more than the digital version. However, since I plan on using TOG for all 12 years of his schooling, I like knowing that I’ll have all the updated page through out G6’s schooling.

Since we’re starting with year one (Creation), and G6 is Lower Grammer, I decided that we would go in chronological order. That means we actually start with weeks 4, 5 and 6, then go to 1, 2 and 3. Sticking to a linear timeline makes more sense for him at this age.

First Grade

We officially started first grade Sept. 7th this year. Later than the public schools, but perfect for us. Last year I used Before Five in a Row for our kindergarten, but since we were making lapbooks for each book we burned out early. I have a wee bitty problem with the “less is more” concept.

Even though this year is more formal (something about first grade feels more like real school than kinder), I’m trying really hard to NOT do every project, lapbook, experiment, or other “cool” thing I run across on the interwebs. So far so good, we’re getting all our work (and fun stuff too!) done in two hours or less every day.

First Grade for G6:

I’ll be going into more detail about our curriculum choices in the next few posts.

Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel! (Boy, am I dating myself or what?!??! *lol*)


I’ve been thinking about changing our homeschool name. Because you know, it’s more crucial to have a cool homeschool name rather than lesson plans for the first few weeks of school. Um…yeah.

In Texas we are considered private schools, and don’t have to file any kinds of papers. (Unless you are pulling your kids out of public school, then you have to file something. The kids never attended TX schools so I don’t really know what’s required.) I thought KY was a pretty easy place to homeschool, but TX is even easier. We don’t have to have an Official School Name, but way every once in a while I’ll need to fill out a form that says “school name.” I really don’t mind filling in the blank with “Homeschool,” but it sounds bland and dreary.

We’ve unofficially used “Discovery School” but it never sounded quite right to me. So today I set out on a quest to gather ideas and come up with a new name. Here are just a few names I considered:

P(lastname) School for Wayward Boys

P____ Academy for the Highly Energetic

The School of Infinite Questioning

Streetname Road Insane Asylum

The School of Barely Controlled Chaos

And my personal favorite: Our Lady of Perpetual Yelling

The name I actually settled on is “Ambleside Liberal Arts Academy”. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it represents my goals for our homeschool. I’ve followed Charlotte Mason education philosophies (mostly) since I started homeschooling C, low these many years ago. I also have been making art, music and poetry a significant part of G’s education, *especially* because he’s a boy.

I also didn’t want anything cutesy because I’d like for him to (potentially) be able to use the name for all 12 years. I can’t imagine he’d be thrilled having a name like “Lego Hero School” on his high school diploma. (Then again, it does sound kinda cool!) So now that I have that emergency handled, I can get back to finishing my lesson plans.

How about you? Do you have a name for your homeschool?

Random Monday

There are all kinds of thoughts, plans and ideas swirling around in my head. Random is the best I can do right now.

1. It’s 105 degrees outside, and I am HOT. We’ve decided to go ahead and try to sell our home, which means we need to fix some things around the house that have been put off for far too long. Number one on the list, repairing some siding and our back door. That means I now have a gaping hole where my door used to be. I think I should have thought this out a little more…like a different season other than it’s-so-hot-my-brain-is-melting-summer.

2. How do you depersonalize a house and homeschool at the same time? There are lots of books I can pack away, but the average homeschool year does require a certain amount of STUFF, even for just one student. Unless I send G off to public school, I can’t see any way of completely eliminating the homeschool “look.” Even then I’m not sure I could totally erase it since it’s very much a part of who we are.

3. Did I mention that I’m hot? You can’t exactly leave the house and escape to the frozen wastelands when you have a gaping hole in the side of your house. Besides it would give my DH a stroke if I did.  Especially since he practically has a panic attack if a door is ever left unlocked. 😉

4. I luuuurve IKEA catalogs. Do they have people who will come out and IKEA-ize your home? Their model rooms are always stuffed with books, children’s spaces, and look so comfortable and *lived in.* Their 400 sq ft display “home” at the store has more room and storage than my 1000 sq ft house!

5. I’m hot.


In just a few weeks I’m going to begin homeschooling one small person (G6yrs, 1st grade), at a small table, in a small kitchen in a very small house. I’ve been doing things this week to help (re)organize our homeschool supplies and books to make things more streamlined, but I’m still looking for more ideas.

I’m trying to find a balance between visual learning (posters on the wall mostly) and dealing with our small space. Our home is only 1K sq feet, and everything happens in about half of that; everything else is bedrooms. Our living room and dining room (really just an eat in kitchen) are basically one room, and absolutely everything happens here; paying bills, watching tv, computer, school, arts & crafts, and even playing w/toys since my 6yo refuses to play in his room alone.

I just bought an Expedit bookshelf (those things hold a TON!) and it acts as a room divider of sorts, which is nice. I’m thinking of using a picture rail over the kitchen table to swap between white/corkboards for school and framed artwork so my tiny house doesn’t *always* look like a school room. I’m also thinking about moving towards using binders for things that are usually on the wall., ike the pledge, calendar work, alphabet, etc.

I’m already a binder queen (lol!) but am curious to see if anyone else already does something like this? I’ve been looking at homeschool rooms on the ‘net today, and it seems like lots of folks have dedicated rooms, or larger houses than I do, and their walls are plaster with wonderful posters and visual aids. I just can’t do it; I don’t have the room and don’t really want to live like that any more. (I’ve been homeschooling for 10+ yrs.) But I’m also wondering if having most of those “aids” in a binder would be a help or a hindrance to my 6yr old. I see the advantages of just being able to glance up to see what he needs, but the binder would be portable and compact.

What ideas have you discovered that work for you, especially in the areas of organization? If you live in a small space, how do you keep it from looking like a schoolroom all the time?

Please use the comment section, or link us up to your blog! 🙂


The first of a new month has an exciting feel to me, similar to the first day of a new year. It’s a time to start again, for new plans, new lists, new beginnings. I still have “old” stuff left over that needs to be taken care of, but somehow it becomes “new” all over again.

New things I’ll be doing this month include planning for our new homeschool year (yay!), buying new school supplies, working on new photography skills, and learning to become a handy-ma’am.

We’ve been thinking about putting our house on the market, and because of that I’ve been looking at things around our house with new eyes. I’ve been making a list of projects that NEED to be done, along with “dream” projects that I’d like to do if money & time were no object. I’ve become obsessed with renovation blogs. Obsessed I say!  I love ones that take something old and ugly, and turn it into something beautiful and useful. My Delicious bookmarks are stuffed full of new ideas for each room of the house.

There’s also something rewarding about finding a new use or purpose for things I already own. I’m a thrifty person at heart, so I’ve been finding it really fun to think about how I can use the things I already have to give each room a face lift. Sometimes I’ve needed to buy a little something, and so I’ve just *had* to make a few stops at the thrift stores around me to see what I treasures I can find. I really love shopping at thrift stores not only because I sometimes score some fabulous deals, but often I can find unique, quality items that you just can’t find in stores today.

Sometimes there’s no substitute for NEW, however. Like our old, nasty bathroom faucets. They’re probably the original fixtures from when they built the house. We had to replace the one in the hall bath because it was leaking, and decided to go ahead and replace all of them. They’re a lovely brushed nickle, look fabulous, and were less than $30 each! It’s amazing how something so small can make a room feel better. My wonderful husband has spent all weekend putting them in. (Normally new faucets are an easy install, but we’ve discovered that when the house was built they cut a lot of corners that has caused many “simple” changes to take 2 or 3 times longer than necessary.)

Your turn! Which do you prefer, new-new or new-to-you?

FIAR How to Make an Apple Pie

My FIAR pages are a work in progress. Check back often for updates.

get ready to travel!

Lapbook Resource: Homeschool Share, Apple Lapbook, another Apple Lapbook,

Social Studies:

Language Arts/Character Traits:

Art/Music (Our CreativiTea Party Day!):



Food/Snack Ideas (Have any? Please share!):

Extra Resources:

Thanksgiving Ideas and Resources

Time to gear up and get ready for MY favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving to me is the ultimate holiday because it’s not commercialized (except for grocery store sales), so it’s easy to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday; being thankful for our many blessings.

Here are some resources around the internets to help you and your family celebrate this wonderful season. Enjoy!

(Be sure to check back often, as I will be updating this page during Nov. as I find cool new links and resources.)

Pumpkin Patch: 30 Days Of Thanks & Giving. The Pumpkin Patch as an free download for 30 days worth of crafts, games, & learning.

Thanksgiving Thankful Countdown. SugarDoodle has a cute countdown to thanksgiving printable activity.

Thanks and Giving Trees.  Chocolate on my Brain has printable trees to record your blessings and things you do to bless others.

Thanksgiving Trees can be made many different ways – on doors, walls, bulletin boards, etc. Some families add one leaf (blessing) per day per family member. Other families brainstorm and fill up their tree with leaves all at once. Either way you do it, it’s a great visual reminder of our many blessings.

Thanksgiving Lapbooks:

Jimmie has a fabulous page of resources to make your own Thanksgiving lapbook and unit study. I love Jimmie’s stuff, she rawks!

Thanksgiving Interactive Notebook by Lilliput Station.

Christian Preschool Printables has three pages of Thanksgiving ideas and crafts. I say they can be used by kids PreK – 3rd with some tweaking.

Free Thanksgiving activities and ideas from Homeschool Helper.

Thanksgiving ABC Lapbook for beginning readers

Activity and Theme Pages:

Enchanted Learning has a whole page of K – 3 Thanksgiving printables and activities

ABC Teach also has a big page of printable worksheets, coloring pages, writing prompts and more.

Family Fun magazine has lots of fun ideas, crafts, recipes, printables and more.

Audry’s Thanksgiving Page of links to lots of ideas and printables.

The First Thanksgiving activities and ideas from Hubbard’s Cupboard.

Thanksgiving Activities at Kaboose – activities, printables, games and more!

To Purchase:

Amanda Bennett has a Thanksgiving Unit Study available at CurrClick. I’ve not used it, but her studies are very popular.

She also has her Thanksgiving Adventure Pack bundle available too.