Columbus Day Activities

As you know, today is Columbus Day. It is the day we commemorate Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. If you are looking for some information or activities for your homeschool (or to supplement regular school), here are some ideas:

Columbus Day Activities

Image by steinchin (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain


The Homeschool Mom

Homeschool Journeys

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

*Please note that a couple of the links mention the controversy surrounding Columbus Day (I didn’t even know there was one!) and some critics who believe Columbus Day is associated with Knights of Columbus, thus making it “too Catholic,” so check out the links at your own risk. 🙂


Tweetable: Columbus Day Activities

Our Home Education Curriculum for 2015-2016

I can’t believe that Andrew is officially in fifth grade. How did that happen?! In any case, in honor of his first day of school, I thought I would share what we will be doing this year.


Over the last few years we tried several different things: including Catholic Heritage, and a mix-up of several sources. Personally, I loved Catholic Heritage but it was too workbook heavy for Andrew. He is all boy – very physical and needs to be actively involved with learning. I also needed to supplement the program a bit too much for our needs. Therefore, I stopped using this program after first grade and started to put my own classical curriculum together for a few years.

Now that Andrew is in fifth grade, I feel like I need to settle down and get more “academic.” I want to make sure that I do all I can to help him success in high school and beyond. I also feel like what we have been doing needs some tweaking again. Of course, all plans are subject to change, but here are our initial plans:

1. Our curriculum will be centered on Mother of Divine Grace. I am behind in getting him registered, but will be doing so this week. In particular, I will be signing Andrew up for some of the video classes which I hope he will love.

2. For math, we will continue with the Right Start Math program. We have been using it for a couple of years now and Andrew does really well with it. It is loaded with manipulatives and minimal with the worksheets. (Although, Andrew still moans and complains when he has to do them!)

3. For spelling, we are using All About Spelling. Andrew is behind and struggles with spelling. I’ve tried just about everything I can think of and I am so glad we found this program. We worked through level one in May and June and by the end, Andrew had already improved quite a bit. After we get through level two, I think I will do an in-depth review of the program.

4. For grammar, we may be continuing with Kiss Grammar. It is a free, all-inclusive, and in-depth grammar program. Andrew isn’t a huge fan of grammar in general and particularly thrilled with this program, but we are either going to stick with it for another year or use the grammar course through Mother of Divine Grace.

5. To supplement, and for extra help, we will be using There are a ton of free and paid clubs, classes, etc. that I plan to have Andrew participate it. This website comes highly recommended my one of my homeschooling co-op friends so I can’t wait to give it a try.

As for physical education, Andrew has “gym” for an hour once a week with our homeschool co-op, he also does hockey 3x week, and basketball 2x week. There will also be activities, classes and field trips with the co-op.

That’s about it! Looking at it, it looks like a lot, but most of the classes are only 15-20 minutes, so I am expecting it to be doable. If not, I will tweak/change as necessary.

If you are looking to homeschool or looking to tweak your current program, I hope posting my curriculum gives you some ideas.


A Peek Into Our Summer Homeschooling Schedule 2015

Yes, we are one of those who homeschool year-round. However, we do a shortened schedule, and we do take the whole month of August off.


Here are our plans:

Reading: Andrew is required to read for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, and I read out loud to him regularly.

Right Start Mathematics: Andrew loves this program because it is very hands-on and the worksheets are minimal.

All About Spelling: Andrew has been struggling with spelling, and I am so happy I found this program through the All About Learning Press. The website suggests starting with level one for new participants and I am glad that we did. Level One has been mostly a review and an introduction into the program, and has been going wonderfully. Andrew LOVES this program. He is gaining confidence in his spelling, and loves the hands-on approach this program has, just like with the math program. There are a variety of programs offered through this site, ranging from free clubs to more expensive (and intensive) programs. We are going to do a variety of these programs according to Andrew’s interests.

How about you? Do you homeschool year-round? If so, what are your plans? Let us know in the comments!


Just FYI: These are NOT affiliate links (meaning I am not compensated for sharing these links).

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Another week come and gone. Did okay with the goals but they need some tweaking – especially with me making the effort to get up on time! Here’s how it went:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Read Five Children and It to Andrew.

3. Clean out homeschooling area. (Will get to this. I know I will!)

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00. (Got up between 6:30-6:45 most mornings.)

5. Read a chapter of Proverbs a day and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Work on paper for class and keep up with the reading.

Blogging/Writing Goals

8. Spend at least 30 minutes per day on my writing projects.

9. Write 2 blog posts and work on e-book (will be free).

10. Work on project for Red Cross.

Here are my plans for this coming week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Finish reading Five Children and It to Andrew.

3. Clean out homeschooling area.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00.

5. Read a chapter of Proverbs a day and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Finish paper for class and keep up with the reading.

Blogging/Writing Goals

8. Write two blog posts.

9. Finish book (It is on the Mass and will be free) and upload to website.

10. Continue project for Red Cross.

What are your goals for this week?


Linked to Money Saving Mom.

Top 10 Scripture Verses to Memorize with Your Children

Memorize scripture with children

(This post, first published in 2010, continues to be very popular. I’ve added a pdf version so that you can print out the verses to use with your family. The link is at the end.)

One of the things we are doing is trying to memorize scripture with Andrew.  We want him to develop a love of scripture, encourage character development and promote growth of virtue. Normally, we make it part of our home-schooling day, but I’ve slacked off a bit over the summer. 🙂

It is a lot of fun learning scripture with Andrew! We make a game of it and we take turns testing each other. He gets a real kick out of “being the “teacher”. lol!

With our home-school starting up again, we are getting back on track. Here some of the scripture verses that we will be working on memorizing over this school year:

1. Colossians 3:20 “Children obey your parents in everything for this is pleasing to the Lord.”

2. Exodus 24:7 “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

3. Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

4. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.”

5. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

6. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

7. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, as it is the wellspring of life.”

8. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten Son; so that anyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life.”

9. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

10. Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever.”

What about you? What are your favorite scripture verses? What favorite scripture verses are you memorizing with your family? Do share in the comments!

(This is linked to Top 10 Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

UPDATE: I made a PDF out of these scripture verses in case you wanted to memorize some (or all) of them with your family. Rather than writing each one out, feel free to print out the PDF here: Scripture Verses to Memorize with Children No opt-in required.

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Well, it turned out to be a weird week. I felt like I ran around in circles, did a lot but didn’t accomplish much. Oh, well! Here’s how it went down:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of Luke per day. (Finished! Now I’m on to reading the gospel of John.)

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading “Secrets to a happy Life” and write review. (Didn’t get hardly any reading time this week. Hopefully will get it finished this week.)

4. Have nephew over for a sleepover. I can’t wait. He is visiting from Florida and I haven’t had much time with him at all! It was so much fun spending time with him!

5. Continue unpacking and  organizing our stuff. (Well, I put maybe three things away, but I’m counting it anyway!)

6. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop. (Put two new items to the shop)

7. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

8. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day. (We spent time together but not specifically playing.)

Here’s my plans for this week:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading “Secrets to a happy Life” and write review.

4. Finish unpacking and  organizing our bedroom.

5. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop.

6. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

7. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

8. Revamp and prepare our homeschooling curriculum for the fall.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Our Home Education Curriculum 2012-2013

Our Home Education 2012-2013

For kindergarten and first grade with used the complete Catholic Heritage Curricula. As I mentioned in my review of the program, I was very pleased with the program and was going to continue with Catholic Heritage for a few more years at least. I’ve changed my mind.

Oh, I’m still pleased with the program. I would still recommend Catholic Heritage to others. I kind of wish I could use the program again. The more I’ve prayed over it and reflected about our home education experience up until recently, though, I realized that I needed to make a change. A big change. The thing is, as much as I loved the program, it didn’t fit our needs, or Andrew’s way of learning or even Andrew’s personality.

So this year, I’ve put together my own home education program based on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. I chose this method because I like the gentle, hands-on method of teaching, the short time periods for each lesson and the emphasis on living books and narration. I think this method will work well with Andrew. As a matter of fact, when I started showing Andrew what he will be doing for school he was so excited he wanted to skip camp and start school right away!

To put my curriculum together, I relied heavily on the inspiration and suggestions of the following websites: Simple Charlotte Mason,
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Scheduling, and Simply Convivial’s Homeschooling Planning, A year at a time series. I also used FiveJs year-at-a-glance calendar to get an overview of the whole school year. I am also adapting my own version of Amongst Lovely Things color-coded progress list, however, I am using last year’s version which I think will work better for me.

So, without further ado, Here is our plan for Andrew’s second grade curriculum:


Religious Education:

Bible Memorization (5 minutes)

Bible Reading (5-10 Minutes)

Little Acts of Grace (10-15 minutes)

Memorize the Apostle’s Creed (5-10 Minutes)


Right-Start Mathematics (20 minutes)

Chore payment counting and sorting (save, give, spend)

Language Arts:

“Delightful Reading” and spelling using my adapted method (15 minutes) – I am planning on getting the full curriculum for this soon. It just isn’t in our budget quite yet.

Handwriting practice by doing copy work (10 minutes)

Composition: (Writing a sentence or paragraph on a subject of choice. 5-10 minutes)

Narration: Reading a chapter from a book and having Andrew explain it back in his own words. (20-30 minutes)

Literature: Read-alouds as per our compiled list (done as part as our night-time routine. (Here’s the pdf if you want to print it to use for your family)


Pimsleur Spanish DVDs (30 minutes)

Physical Education:

Free play and/or directed play + weekly karate and weekly Co-op gym class


Drawing, sculpting, coloring, etc. (30 minutes)

Trice Weekly


Guest Hollow’s Little Otter’s home-school curriculum (30 minutes)


American History:

From Sea to Shining Sea for Children (30 minutes)

Supplemental videos and DVDs


Scrambled States of America the book and the board game.

Art Appreciation/biographies of artists:

Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir (30 minutes)

Music/Music Appreciation:

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven (30 minutes)


CCD and First Communion Prep on Tuesdays 4-5 pm

Home-school co-op on Fridays 1-3pm

In case you want to print out this schedule in order to adapt for yourself, here’s a pdf copy of the curriculum in list form and a pdf copy in chart form.

I haven’t completely fleshed out all the books I will be using, especially for handwriting, composition and narration, but I have some idea. I will probably add these as we go along.

My next step is going to be putting together a daily schedule so I can figure out how I am going to fit in our home education with me going to back to college full time. It is going to be tight, but with God’s help it will work out! When I have the daily schedule finished I’ll put it up for you.

How about you? Is your home education curriculum solidified yet? What programs or curriculum are you using? Do share in the comments.


Getting Boys to Read Advice Update

Two months ago I asked for some advice on how to get my son to practice his reading. All the support and suggestions that I got from so many people in the comments, emails and calls were so helpful and overwhelming. I can’t tell  you how much that support meant to me. I was so relieved that I wasn’t alone in my struggles and gleaned so many useful tips. so THANK YOU to everyone for reaching out!

To update: Things have been SO MUCH BETTER!! First of all, I took a few days off of school just to regroup and take a break. A few days later, my son came to me and said, “Mama, can we use a different book for reading instead of the school books?” I said sure, and he picked out the book he wanted to read and the reading practice was like a miracle in action! He read through the book with no problems and when he came to words he didn’t understand, he tried his best to sound it out. WOW! I almost hit the floor! 🙂 From then on, I’ve let him pick the books he wants to read and we use them for reading practice. He still has his moments, mind you, but things are so much better than they were.

As for me, I’ve been able to relax a lot more and enjoy the process of teaching/reading my son. That’s made a big difference in both of us. Before, I was so concerned about making sure he was learning what he “supposed to” and being at the level I thought he should be – especially since he is more advanced in the math. I’m  not so worried about that any more. He will learn what he needs to in due time and that’s enough for me now. 🙂

10 Ways to Make Time for Prayer

clockAs Christian women, we know the importance of making time for prayer. We want to foster our relationship with Jesus and spending time with Him is the only real way to do that. As busy moms, we also know that finding time for prayer can be a challenge. We make excuses. We get caught up in all the details of homeschooling, running our homes and (sometimes) playing chauffeur for our children.

If you want to make prayer a priority but can’t seem to find the time, the trick might be to sneak it in! Here are some tips that have helped me fit prayer into my day:

1. Get up early. Yeah, that can be hard, I know; especially if your young ones are early birds. Until recently, my son would be up between 5:30-6:00am and getting up at 5:00am was HARD. Still, if you can get up even 20 minutes before your children and spend just 15 minutes or so with the Lord in prayer or reading the Bible, you will be amazed at how it can set your day right. You’ll be more focused and prepared for the day and have that extra boost to keep the Lord in your heart during the day.*

2. Make a prayer appointment. We make hair appointments, doctor appointments and all kinds of appointments so why not make a prayer appointment? When you are calendaring your other appointments, blot out a time for prayer each day or at least once a week. If you can leave your child/children with grandparents or mother’s helper for a while even better. Take that time for adoration before our Lord in the Eucharist if your church offers it. **

3. Pray as a family. Praying with your children is an awesome way to not only find time for yourself to pray, but also instill a habit of prayer in your children. It doesn’t have to be long. You can do five minutes of morning devotions before starting school or pray a decade of the rosary after dinner. Let each child take turns leading the prayers each day so that they feel involved.

4. Hide some aspirations around the house. Okay, this might sound silly, but it does help! Write little aspirations (such as “Jesus I trust in You.” or “Sweet Jesus, be my salvation.”) or scripture verses down on sticky notes and post them on the inside of your kitchen cabinets or doors, mirrors or any where around the house where you will see them frequently.

5. Pray while you work. Throw on a rosary DVD while you clean the house or tackle a household project. Or, put on some worship music so you can sing out your prayer to the Lord. (A fun homeschooling project would be to have each kid write his or her own “prayer song” to sing during devotional time.)

6. Exercise. Again, put on some worship music and dance before the Lord! You’ll get in a good workout and pray at the same time. Going for a run or bike ride? Don’t be so quick to put on those headphones. Use that time to pray and chat with our Lord, Our Lady and/or the saints. Lifting weights? Say an aspiration with each repetition.

7. Pray in the car. Going on a long trip? Listen to the Bible on tape for a while. Throw on a DVD of the Divine Mercy Chaplet or worship music while on your way to or from the store, appointments or activities. Dropping the littles off somewhere? Spend a couple of minutes in the car before driving off to your next destination. Picking them up? Get there a few minutes early and sit in silence before the Lord before it’s time to get them.

8. Turn off the TV. Believe me, I know how tempting it can be to plop down in front of the television after a busy day. You want to get off your feet and relax. Why not put off turning the TV on for 30 minutes and work on a bible study or read the Catechism or pray the rosary first? You may change your mind about turning the TV on at all. 🙂

9. Pray in bed. If he’s willing, take a few minutes to pray with your husband before drifting off to sleep. Having trouble getting to sleep? The cadence of the rosary or divine mercy chaplet is very soothing and easily can put your body and spirit to rest.

10. Join (or form) a mom’s prayer group. Getting together with other moms to pray for and support each other in your journey with the Lord can be an awesome blessing. If there isn’t a group already formed, get a few of your mom friends and see if they are interested. Each mom can take turns hosting or meet at a local park (weather permitting). The kids can play while the moms can pray!

BONUS! 11. Head for the restroom. Hey, sometimes you’ve got to get creative! 🙂 If all else fails and you’ve been too busy to even think, head for the restroom for a minute or two (even if you don’t have to “go”). Use that time to re-group and re-center In the Lord.

Obviously you can’t (nor should you, necessarily) do all these all day everyday. What’s important is to take time to strengthen your relationship with the Lord so take it slow and experiment with the different suggestions until you find the ones that work for you.

Do you have any creative ways for incorporating prayer into your every day? Do share! I’d love to find new suggestions for growing in my relationship with the Lord.

*If you are  having difficulty getting up in the morning, you may have to re-think your evenings! Are you going to bed too late? Can you re-arrange things so you can get to bed earlier? Of course, if You are a night person, praying at night instead of the morning will work for you instead. 🙂

**Another idea would be to do a “kid’s swap” with another mom. You take her kids for an hour or two one day a week and she takes your kids on another day of the week. This is a great way to give both moms a break. (Just try not to cheat and run errands or do other things when you could be praying!)

(This post is linked to WFMW and Top 10 Tuesday.)

(Photo Credit: Dennis Hill and Friends)

Saint Philip Neri – A Day Late :)

I love learning about the saints. Do you? In raising my son, and wanting him to know and love the traditions of the Church, I’ve been getting to know more about the Saints then I ever have!

St. Philip Neri is case in point. (Yes, I know this is a day late!) I never knew anything about him until now. According to my daily missal, he is called the “saint of joy.” Who knew?! If you want to get to know him -and you should!- you can go here or here.

Let me just share with you the beautiful opening prayer from yesterday’s liturgy:

you continually raise up your faithful to the glory of holiness.
In  your love, kindle in us the fire of the Holy Spirit who so filled
the heart of Philip Neri.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who
lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.