Planning for the 2018-2019 Homeschool Year

Here we go again, embarking on a summer planning for the 2018-2019 homeschool year. After each school year, my husband and I sit down and over coffee discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what changes we need to make.

What worked last year… A year round homeschooling schedule fits well with our family. We were able to schedule multiple breaks for observance of Biblical Holidays, and three weeks for Summer break.  The bonus was that the kiddos loved the structure.

What didn’t work… We both felt that last school year we had lost our focus on why we started homeschooling. We started homeschooling because it was our desire for our children to be like the great warriors of our faith whose faith defined and separated them from others because they knew to whom they belonged and whose blood redeemed them. We want Christ as the cornerstone upon which we will build our plans for next year’s homeschool program.

Therefore, we want to focus our time on developing our children as warriors for Christ. We have chosen Zechariah 10:5 as our guiding verse for the 2018-2019 school year, “They will be like mighty warriors in the battle, trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet. Since the LORD is with them as they fight, they will overthrow even the enemy’s horsemen.” (TLV)  We also reaffirmed that our basic mission as a family is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ by being His hands and feet on earth.

So, we have decided to make significant changes to our homeschool program for the next school year, which are as follows:

  1. Scripture memorization will be a number one priority. (Psalms 119:11)
  2. Biblical character studies will take center stage in our homeschool program. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
  3. Block Scheduling (Mayer Family Schedule) to help teach time management skills to our children.
  4. Each child will have responsibilities for which they are accountable for that will include daily morning, afternoon and evening chores. (Chore Chart)
  5. Health and wellness will be priority for my family and myself. I will seek to develop nutritious and healthy menu plans (Generic Family Menu Plan) and exercise schedules that help all members of our family. (Proverbs 31)
  6. Morning basket and afternoon tea basket materials that we will read together as a family will encourage us spiritually in our relationship with G-d.
  7. Evening family worship, in our house our daily Parashah readings, will be made a priority.
  8. My primary responsibility as a keeper of the home is to make my home a healing and calming space where my children can grow first and foremost spiritually and then academically. (Titus 2:5)
  9. All home management systems will be reviewed for efficiency.
  10. Melodious hymn music will continually play throughout our home. (Psalm 95:1)
  11. Friday Fun Days for the elementary aged children within our homeschool will focus upon our electives and offer independent directed learning opportunities for the children. Thereby, allowing for the focus of our Friday’s to return to Sabbath preparation. Sabbath preparation is vital for welcoming our rest in L-rd each week within our home.  We were designed by G-d for weekly rest in Him in order to rejuvenate us both spiritually and  physically.

My husband and I believe by making these changes back to our basic mission as a family make a significant change in the environment of our home.

Curriculum Choices for Our Rising 10th Grader:

  • Biblical Studies – Life of Christ by ACE
  • Literature – British Literature by Learning Language Arts Through Literature
  • English – Intermediate Composition by Jensen’s Format Writing and for daily grammar practice, Easy Grammar
  • Math – Algebra 1 by ACE
  • Science – Biology by Master Books
  • Social Studies – British History by Master Books
  • Art – Fundamentals of Drawing by EasyPeasy
  • Music – Church Choir and Individual Performances
  • Health – Health 2 (Sex Education from a Biblical Perspective) by Abeka
  • Electives – Etymology by ACE, Evangelism (Soulwinning) by ACE, and Biblical Hebrew by Kim McKay

Curriculum Choices for Our Rising 5th Grader:

  • English – Learning Language Arts Through Literature Purple Book, Writing Strands, and Word Building by ACE
  • Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education by Master Books and Flash Kids Workbook
  • Science – ACE
  • Social Studies – ACE
  • Elective – Getting Started with Engineering by Camille McCue, PhD

Curriculum Choices for Our Rising 4th Grader:

  • English – Learning Language Arts Through Literature Yellow Book, Writing Strands, and Word Building by ACE
  • Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education by Master Books and Flash Kids Workbook
  • Science – ACE
  • Social Studies – ACE
  • Elective – Coding Games in Scratch by Jon Woodcock

Curriculum Choices for Our Rising 1st Grader:

  • English – All About Reading Level 1, Writing Strands, and Spelling with Flash Kids
  • Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education
  • Science – A Lego Adventure in the Real Word: Lego Science
  • Social Studies – Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason

Corporate Subjects for Our Elementary Aged Students:

  • Biblical Studies – Foundations: Creation to Christ by Foundations Press and Biblical Character Studies by IBLP
  • Art – Modern Artists Study utilizing the Who Was Book Series
  • Music – Hymn Study within Biblical Character Studies by IBLP
  • Physical Education – Physical Activity Log and Baseball Legends through Who Was Books Series
  • Health – Prudence and the Millers by Green Pastures Press and My First Human Body Coloring Book by Dover Publishers

Morning Basket Materials:

The plan is to cycle through these books during the course of the homeschool year.

  • Polite Moments by Gary and Cathy Maldaner
  • Lessons in Practical Christianity for Children Volume 1 by Keepers of the Faith
  • Wisdom and the Millers:  Proverbs for Children by Mildred A. Martin
  • The Bible Promise Book:  One Thousand Promises from G-d’s word by Barbour Books
  • 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning From Spiritual Giants of Faith by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • The Great Bible Question and Answer Book:  From the Old and New Testaments by Claudia Vurnakes

Afternoon Basket Materials:

The plan is to cycle through these books during the course of the homeschool year.

  • Prudence and the Millers
  • Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children
  • Missionary Stories with the Millers
  • The Building of Our Nation by Eugene Barker
  • G-d’s Appointed Times: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays by Barney Kasdan
  • Live Like a Jesus Freak by DC Talk
  • The Physical Death and Resurrection: A Surgeons View by Dr. Joseph J. Norberto
  • YWAM Heroes for Young Readers Books 1-6

Friday Fun Days

After morning basket and Bible study, the elementary aged children can choose from these activities:

    • Nature Study
    • Flash Kids Workbooks for Math Practice and Review
    • Interest Lead Reading
    • Cap Stone Art Projects
    • Engineering Projects
    • Coding Projects
    • Educational Play Such as Puzzles, Games, Legos, or Playing Store to Practice Money


I hope that this post encourages you as you contemplate your role as the Keeper of the Home, contemplate homeschooling or seeking to change up your homeschool routine.




Parashah Lech Lecha “Go Forth”

Please join our family in reading Scriptures for Parashah Lech Lecha, which means “Go Forth”.


Scripture Readings:

  • Torah:  Genesis 12:1-17:27
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
  • B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant)
    • Bestort HaGe’ulah (Gospels):  Matthew 1:1-17
    • Iggerot (Letters): 1 Peter3:18-22 and Romans 4:1-25

Parashah in a Nutshell: 

In this week’s Parashah, G‑d calls Abram commanding him, “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” G‑d tells him he will be made into a great nation. Abram, his wife, Sarai, and his nephew Lot, journey to the land of Canaan.  Abram builds an altar and continues to spread the message of a one G‑d.

A famine forces them depart Canaan for Egypt. Before entering Egypt, Abram tells his wife because of her beauty they will kill him and let her live. He tells his wife to tell everyone that she is his sister. The princes saw her and they thought she was very beautiful and she was taken into Pharaoh’s palace. Abram escapes death because they present themselves as brother and sister. A plague prevents the Egyptian king from touching her, and convinces him to return her to Abram and to compensate the brother-revealed-as-husband with gold, silver and cattle, as if Pharaoh was paying a bride’s price. This same type of pattern will be repeated during the Exodus with Moses.

They travel back in the land of Canaan and Lot separates from Abram and settles in the evil city of Sodom where he falls captive when the mighty armies of Chedorlaomer and his three allies conquer the five cities of the Sodom Valley. Abram sets out with a small band to rescue his nephew, defeats the four kings, and is blessed by Malki-Zedek the king of Salem (Jerusalem). Abram gave the king a tenth of everything.

G‑d seals the Covenant Between the Parts with Abram, in which the exile and persecution of the people of Israel is foretold, and the Holy Land is bequeathed to them as their eternal heritage.

Still childless ten years after their arrival in the Land, Sarai tells Abram to marry her maidservant Hagar. Hagar conceives, becomes insolent toward her mistress, and then flees when Sarai treats her harshly. An angel convinces her to return, and tells her that her son will father a populous nation. Ishmael is born in Abram’s eighty-sixth year.

Thirteen years later, G‑d changes Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of multitudes”, and Sarai’s to Sarah, which means “princess”, and promises that a son will be born to them.  This child is named Isaac, which means “will laugh”, will stem the great nation with which G‑d will establish His special bond. Abraham is commanded to circumcise himself and his descendants as a “sign of the covenant between Me and you.” Abraham immediately complies, circumcising himself and all the males of his household.

Study helps, Children’s Activities, Projects, and Homeschool Connections:

  1. Audio of Torah Readings with Summary and Commentaries
  2. Quick Study
  3. Adult Study Outline
  4. Children’s Study Outline
  5. Torah Class Studies on Genesis – Ch. 12, Ch. 13, Ch. 13 part 2, Ch. 14, Ch. 15, Ch. 16, and Ch. 17
  6. The Parsha Experiment – Lech Lecha (Video)
  7. Lech Lecha for Kids (Video)
  8. Torah Tots: Lech Lecha (Video)
  9. Craft & Treat Ideas:
  10. Hebrew Lesson: Gimmel
  11. Homeschool Extension Activities: These are suggestions on how to incorporate the Torah Parashah into your homeschool curriculum.



SY 2017/2018: Fine Arts Second Semester (Art)

The Second Semester of Fine Arts for the SY 2017/2018 consists of an 18 week art history study of Winslow Homer and watercolor techniques. The First Semester of Fine Arts (Music) is also an 18 week study and thus together make a year’s study of Fine Arts.

Winslow Homer
February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910

Winslow Homer, an American landscape painter and printmaker is best known for his marine subjects,  he is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-centuryWinslow_Homer_by_Sarony America.  His genre of art is called pastoralism and realism. He is self-taught and began his career working as a commercial illustrator. He began oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by weight and density. He then moved onto working extensively in watercolor. Homer was very private about his personal life and his methods, but he clearly had independence of style and a devotion to American subjects. His impact in the art world was revolutionary.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1836 and is the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer and Henrietta Benson Homer.  He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He had a happy childhood and was an average student in school; however, his art talent was very evident.

After his graduation from high school graduation, his father arranged for an apprenticeship to J. H. Bufford, a Boston commercial lithographer where he worked on sheet music covers and other commercial work. In 1857, he began a freelance career contributing illustrations of Boston life and rural New England life to magazines such as Ballou’s Pictorial and Harper’s Weekly.

His early work consisted of commercial engravings of urban and country social scenes. These pieces were characterized by clean outlines, simplified forms, dramatic contrast of light and dark, and lively figure groupings.  These were the qualities that remained important throughout his career.  His quick success was mostly due to his strong understanding of graphic design and also to the adaptability of his designs to wood engraving.

In 1859, he opened a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City, which was considered the artistic and publishing capital of the United States. Until 1863, he attended classes at the National Academy of Design, and studied briefly with Frédéric Rondel, who taught him the basics of painting. In only about a year of self-training, Homer was producing excellent oil work.

The American Civil War had a tremendous impact on Homer’s artistic style.  Harper’s sent Homer to the front lines of the American Civil War (1861–1865) to sketch battle scenes and camp life. His initial sketches were of the camp, commanders, and army.  He turned a few of his military sketches into paintings.

After the war, Homer refocuses his artist vision. Homer turned his attention primarily to scenes of childhood and young women, reflecting nostalgia for simpler times.  Homer was also interested in postwar subject matter that conveyed the silent tension between two communities seeking to understand their future. He demonstrates a maturity of feeling, depth of perception, and mastery of technique which was immediately recognized. His realism was objective, true to nature, and emotionally controlled.

Before exhibiting at the National Academy of Design, Homer traveled to Paris, France, in 1867 where he remained for a year. His most praised early painting, Prisoners from the Front, was on exhibit at the Exposition Universelle in Paris at the same time. This was a tremendous honor.  While he did not study formally when in Paris, he practiced landscape painting  and focused on depicting scenes from Parisian life. He also continuing to work for Harper’s during this time period.

Homer became a member of The Tile Club, a group of artists and writers who met frequently to exchange ideas and organize outings for painting, as well as foster the creation of decorative tiles. For a short time, he designed tiles for fireplaces.

When he returned to the United States, Homer started painting with watercolors during his 1873  summer stay in Gloucester, Massachusetts. From the beginning, his technique was natural, fluid and confident, demonstrating his talent for a difficult medium.   Homer spent two years (1881–1882) in the English coastal village of Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear. Many of the paintings at Cullercoats took as their subjects working men and women and their daily activities.

By 1900, Homer reached financial stability.  His paintings fetched good prices from museums and he began to receive rents from real estate properties. Homer continued producing excellent watercolors, mostly on trips to Canada and the Caribbean. His late seascapes are especially valued for their dramatic and forceful expression of natures powers, and for their beauty and intensity.

Homer died in 1910 at the age of 74 in his Prouts Neck studio and was interred in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His painting, Shooting the Rapids, Saguenay River, remains unfinished.

In 1962, the U.S. Post Office released a commemorative stamp honoring Winslow Homer. Homer’s famous oil painting “Breezing Up”  was chosen as the image for the design of this issue. On August 12, 2010, The Postal Service issued a 44-cent commemorative stamp featuring Homer’s “Boys in a Pasture” at the APS Stamp Show in Richmond, Virginia.

Works To Be Studied

We will utilize the Charlotte Mason method of picture study.  This Semester in Fine Arts we will study the following seven works by Homer:

  1. Prisoners from the Front
  2. Home Sweet Home
  3. Snap the Whip
  4. The Fog Warning
  5. Deer in the Adirondacks
  6. The Fox Hunt
  7. The Turtle Pond

First introduce Winslow Homer to your children by reading the narrative above.  There is a documentary style movie made about Winslow Homer’s life, Winslow Homer: An American Original, you may want to check your local library, Amazon or Ebay to see if you can find it.  It is difficult to find because it is out of print.  Also, discuss the historical events that unfolded during the artist’s life. In the case of Homer, the American Civil War. Discuss the type of  personality Winslow Homer had and if it had any impact upon the subject of his works or the medium he used.

For each piece of work ask the children to find the artists signature.  Discuss what the work shows and why they think the artists choose to create the work. Discuss the background information, if available of each piece.  Discuss the medium used to make the work — watercolor, oil pastel, pencil, etc. Discuss the color palette of the work. Be sure to place the work in a prominent place in your house where they can see it each day.  (In our house it’s hung on the refrigerator.) Allow your children to view the work until they can see it in their mind’s eye and describe it to you without looking at it. Display and discuss one work per week of the semester. At a minimum, the picture study component of this semester of Fine Arts should take seven weeks.


These resources should be completed prior to the end of this semester of Fine Arts. My children will complete one activity per week. Thus, taking ten weeks to complete.

  1. Video:  Winslow Homer: An American Artist
  2. Video:  Winslow Homer’s America
  3. Video:  Winslow Homer Art History Lectures Part 1, Part 2
  4. Activity (with Video):  How to Clean Watercolor Brushes
  5. Activity (with Video):  Watercolor Techniques
  6. Activity (with Video): Painting Like Homer
  7. Activity (with Video:  How to Paint a Simple Landscape in Watercolor
  8. Vocabulary for Fine Arts Second Semester (Art)
  9. Homer Notebooking Page
  10. Quizlet to Study Vocabulary and Works

Second Semester Fine Arts (Art) Examination & Grading

In order to issue a grade for my children for the second semester of fine arts in art, I evaluate and issue a grade for the notebooking page completed. I will also give my children the Fine Arts Second Semester Examination (Art) on the last week of the course. Alternatively , the Quizlet can be used to generate an examination which is automatically graded. The final grade of this semester is determined by averaging the notebooking grade with the examination.

Art Study: Final Project


A final project on an artist of  your choice is the capstone to our art study.  I encourage you to  select an artist whose work you like for your final project. You should choose three pieces of the artist’s work to highlight.

Let your creativity guide you.  Your report can be any format that you choose. The choices are endless.  If you prefer to use a template, one is provided below.

A grading rubric is provided too.

Art Study Final Project Template

Grading Rubric:

writing rubric














Art Study: Pop Art

Pop Art is an abbreviation for “popular art”,  which is a style of art that emerge as a direct response to abstract expressionism. The style emerged in the U.K. and the U.S. during the 1950s and was inspired by everyday objects and bright colors, so that everyone could appreciate and enjoy the art.



Andy Warhol was an American artist who lead this visual art movement. His works explore the relationship between artistic express, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished in the 1960s. He used a variety of media, including painting, silk screening, photography, film, and sculpture. One of his best know works includes silk screen paintings of Campbell Soup Cans.




Jasper Johns was an artist that came onto the scene in the late 1950s. Much of he created led the American public away from the expressionism form, and towards an art movement or form known as the concrete. He would depict many flags and maps, and this created a more distinct style with the work that was being done during this period in American art history. He was also one of the leading forces to the pop form known as minimalism. Many of his pieces that are sold at auction still bring extremely high prices and sell for record amounts.


One of his more famous paints is Three Flags. As an iconic image John realized that the flag was “seen and not looked at, not examined.”  The execution and composition of Three Flags require close inspection by the view.  The painting draws attention to the process of its making through His use of encaustic and its structural arrangement adds to its complexity.


We will utilize the Charlotte Mason method of picture study.  We will study the following pieces of art:  Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans and John’s Three Flags.


  • A video on Andy Warhol for children.
  • A video on Jasper Johns.
  • A video on pop art.

Pop Art Notebooking Page

Vocabulary 4