Saturday, December 9, 2017

Homeschool Update

   This past week has been a stressful but fruitful week.  My 10 year old daughter who has always been in public school finally convinced her father that she really did want to homeschool.  After fighting with the school for the past month over their pushing religious readings and music on her class, we decided that it was time to bring her home.  Next week all three of my children will be homeschooling.  My oldest, who is 17 has made some decisions of his own too.  Next week he will turn 18 and he can make those decisions and I can't really stop him.  Sigh.

   Now I need to pull together a 5th grade curriculum.  The difficult part will be finding where she was academically in school and find that point in materials.  The great part is that its almost Christmas break so I will have time to pull it all together. 

   Let me ask this to you parents, do you think that the public school material goes faster through curriculum than the home school books.  I'm finding that 5th grade homeschool materials are things she has already covered.  I handed her a 6th grade math workbook to see if she could find something she was currently working on or hadn't done.  She handed it back after looking.  Nope, went over all that.  So I hand her a middle school book, there she finally found a couple things she hadn't covered. 
I realize it could just be the books I have.  But do you think that the grade level on homeschool books versus public school books are the same?  Let me know in the comments what you think.  Also I'm mainly referring to math in this instance. 

  Off to go through some more homeschool books to see what we have and what we will need.
Hope you all are having a wonderful Yule or Christmas or whatever you celebrate. 

Happy Yule!

Cozy Mystery Shelf Tour

So... I did a run through of all the books on my cozy mystery book shelf.  This doesn't include any the mystery/thriller books.  That's a whole 'nother shelf. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Homeschool Haul

Here is the break down of what I bought on  What have you purchased from bookoutlet for your homeschool?  I love looking through all their nonfiction kids and young adult books.   I also love their fiction books too.  Okay, I love bookoutlet period.  And now that they have free shipping, I love it even more.  Wait for the sales, though.  That makes it even better!

Also here in the link to Evan Moor if you want to check them out too.  You get $5 when you use my referral link.  If it doesn't work and you want the code, let me know and I will get it to you. :)


  • 100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know  $2.99
  • Finding Audrey $2.49
  • Extreme Biology (Basher Science)  $3.49
  • Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)  $5.99
  • Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide  $5.99
  • Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook (The Complete Middle School Study Guide)  $5.99
  • So, You Want to Be a Writer?: How to Write, Get Published, and Maybe Even Make It Big!  $2.49
  • The Children's Interactive Story of Art: The Essential Guide to the World's Most Famous Artists and Paintings  $7.99

Homeschool Mom Tag

Tag... you're it! I thought it would be fun to do a Homeschool Mom Tag especially since everyone is planning and thinking about next year

Homeschool Mom Tag Questions:

Do you have a set budget for your homeschool?

1. Were you homeschooled?

2. Did you always know you'd homeschool your children?

3. What are your 3 favorite books in your homeschool library?

4. Are you the only "teacher"? Does your spouse help, outsource help, tutors, etc.

5. Where is your favorite place to buy homeschool curriculum?

6. Do you have a set budget for your homeschool?

7. What are 2 must have homeschool supplies?

8. What's your favorite/least favorite subject to teach?

9. Are you involved in coops or homeschool groups? What has your experience been in these groups?

10. What is your approach? ( charlotte mason, eclectic, classical, etc)

Rachel -

Books I mention:

Homeschool resources I mention:

Also you check out for really good used prices.  They also ship free on orders of $10 or more!  They are one of my favorite used sites.

You can find me:



My blog:




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

TN Ready Testing for the Homeschooler

Find this test prep on Amazon.

My middle child is in 5th grade and this week she started her TN Ready state testing (TCAP) at a local public school.  
As an independent homeschooler in the state of Tennessee, we are required to have her tested in 5th, 7th, and 9th.  

"In grades 5 and 7, same state board approved secure standardized tests required of public school students In grade 9 same state board approved secure standardized tests required of public school students but NOT the high school proficiency test."

This came straight from's Website.  Of course, each state is different so if you are in another state you would google your state's homeschool laws to see if you should expect a call from the local school district. 

As for the testing itself, we had trouble finding practice tests online.  Most places we looked said free for teachers and gave only online questions.  We wanted a bit more to prepare our daughter.  She is very anxious about testing and doesn't do well under pressure.  After many days looking we found a website that had downloadable pdf files that we printed.  They gave a sample of what type of questions were on the test.  

You can find them HERE on East Middle Library's page.

Now that you have access to a printable test prep, here are my thoughts on state testing.  I know the reason why they test homeschool children.  They think it will help them keep track of parents that don't teach their children or children with learning disabilities.  I'm sure there are more reasons than this but I'm not going into that rant.  

That being said I don't agree with it.  Not at all.  Yesterday's testing was social studies.  My daughter said the test was made up of questions about wars and revolutions.  That's fine.  Only we haven't studied American History in depth yet.  We've been exploring Ancient Times.  We've been working our way slowly through Story of the World.  We are taking our time and going in depth in areas where she is interested.  Supplementing with documentaries and living history books as we go.  If she were testing on what she has studied then she would do better than being tested on what the public school children are currently learning.  We teach our children different things at different times but they learn the same thing in the end.   

Now my youngest daughter is in 4th grade in public school and she is taking the TN Ready test also.  She said that that the social studies test they took in class tested on things she doesn't remember them even learning.  What does that tell you about the testing?
See my problem with testing the independent homeschooler?  
They have only completed the first two days of testing.  It will be spread out over two full weeks.  So we have to go in for an hour each day.  Here is the schedule if you would like a peek at what they have planned.   Hopefully, you will be able to see it.  So we shall see what my full thoughts are after all the testing is completed. 

I am aware that in TN if you are enrolled in an umbrella school then you may be exempt from this testing and wouldn't even have to worry about it.  And that may be the path we take in 7th grade.  But I would rather spend that $100 that the umbrella school would charge us on books and learning material for her.  Or even on a field trip where she can learn something hands-on.  

Hope the link will help someone and that my mini-rant wasn't too off-putting. 

Hope you all have a blessed day.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trying Japanese Snacks and Candies

As part of our Easter, I purchased a box of 30 different snack and candy treats from Japan off of Amazon.

The girls and I opened and tasted them all.  From gross to great, these are what was in the snack box.

Check it out.   Also.. this is my daughter's youtube channel!  Subscribe if you want to see more. :)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Outlet Haul with prices

I made an order on book outlet and thought I would share it with you all.  If you aren't familiar, book outlet is a discount new book site.  They run promotions where you can get hardbacks for as little as $1 to $3 dollars.  Normally I wait until holidays because they offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount and a percentage off.  Also when you order they will (sometimes) slip in a coupon for $5 off a purchase.  It's great.

Here is a list of what books I bought and what I paid:

Swept Away By a Kiss  $0.991
Allegiant (Divergent Series, Bk. 3)  $3.39
On the Island  $5.09
Infinity (Chronicles of Nick, Book 1)  $3.39
Academy Street  $3.39
The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education  $4.24
The Boleyn Inheritance $3.8
Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon  $0.99
Truthwitch (The Witchlands, Bk 1)  $3.39
Illusion (Chronicles of Nick)  $1.26
The Accidental Countess  $2.54
Altered (Crewel World, Bk. 2)  $0.69
Best Friends Forever (You're Invited to a Creepover, Bk#6)  $2.54
What a Doll! (You're Invited to a Creepover, Bk 12)  $2.54
Home, Sweet Haunt (You're Invited to a Creepover Book # 15)  $2.54
Lock and Mori  $2.96
Don't Move a Muscle! (Creepover, Bk.21)  $1.26

SubTotal  $45.01

Here are the books that I didn't include in the video.

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Friday Reads and Book Hangover

My newest booktube video is up.  Its a what I'm reading video.  Also includes the book Grip by Kennedy Ryan which was sooooo good that it put me into a book hangover for around two weeks.  Have you read it?  Let me know if you loved it as much as I did.  Grip was drool-worthy.  I can't wait for the next book in the series!

If you are thinking that it might sound good.  You can download the prequel free on amazon.

And if you like that then definitely buy the full length book Grip.

You can find the author:

So many good books lately!

**My amazon links are affiliate links.**

Review: Pushing the Boundaries

Pushing the Boundaries Pushing the Boundaries by Stacey Trombley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. It wasn't nearly long enough. I want more of Myra and Elias. Such a sweet story.

Its the story of a young American/Pakistani girl who's mother is a doctor and really wants her to be one too. She goes on a mission trip to Haiti with her mother to volunteer at a free clinic. While her mother wants her to be a doctor, Myra wants to enter art school and needs the perfect picture to try to win a scholarship. There she meets a Haitian boy that has been hired as a translator for the volunteers and the locals. He isn't supposed to do anything other than translate. He isn't supposed to spend time with them or get to know them. She isn't supposed to spend time with him either. But Myra wants to find that perfect picture and needs to get away from the clinic to do that.

I thought the message of the book was beautiful. Simplicity. Honesty. Beauty. Young Love.
The scene that plays out on pages 108-109 with the children was lovely. The ending was perfection.
I had tears in my eyes as I finished reading this book.


I won this book in a giveaway on facebook and was sent it by the author.  There was no promise of a review.  As always this review is my own thoughts.

View all my reviews

The author even signed the book for me.


If you are interested in this book you can find it here:

If you are interested in this author, you can find her at these places.

Have you read it?
Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Letting your child lead in homeschool

Letting your child lead can be scary.

What if they fall behind? What if they don't know what other kids in their grade know?  It gets even scarier when you know your child wants to re-enter the public school system.  Even with those thoughts in your mind, there comes a time when you have to let your child lead.   You have to let your child have some choices on what they learn.  They know what interests them and what doesn't.

I had a really hard time with this concept.

My son has always been the type who just wants all his work laid out so he can complete it and go do what he wants to do.  He doesn't want to have mom teaching him.  He wants a textbook that he can read with clear expectations about what is required.  As a high schooler, we can do that.  I use Khan Academy, an online resource, for his math.  He does choose (from a list) his own reading for literature which we both read, then discuss and sometimes have questions to go with.  And the other subjects he has his textbooks.  He is happy with this.

Now my daughter is a completely different story.  She doesn't want textbooks.  She hates repetition and using workbooks.  She wants to learn what she wants.  Last year we focused heavily on English.  This year we've done minimum English and focused on Math and handwriting.  Her other lessons she picked her topics and I use them to build lessons around.  For science, I had purchased a textbook.  She didn't want the textbook.  She really wanted to learn about the brain and how it works.  So now we are doing a unit on the parts of the brain, what they do, why they do it, how it affects people, what happens when something doesn't work right.

Was this what I had planned for our science?
 No, but we are rolling with it and learning plenty.  She has developed a passion for psychology.  It's led to many interesting conversations, trips to the library and new movies.  One of those movies was a movie from 1944 called Gaslight which I had never seen or heard of.  It is a psychological movie about a man who marries a woman and convinces her she is crazy so he can find her aunt's hidden diamonds.  That led to a short story called The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson which you can download free here:

So sometimes you have to let go of your preconceived ideas of what you should be doing while homeschooling and allow your children the freedom to chose what they want to learn.

Happy Homeschooling and Blessed Be.