The High King Lives

Crafty Monday: An Elvish Door, Yarn Butterfly, & Earth Day Celebration April 23, 2013

In this post: Earth Day & Spring crafts, Lego math, and what curriculum we use.

Hello dear ones and happy Earth Day! Praise God for creating the world. He truly is an amazing artist. I’ve got a couple crafts to share with you today but first check out what we did last year at these links:


  • An Elvish Door~ found this idea on Pinterest. We used Popsicle sticks, old jewelry, moss, sticks found outside, and the hot glue gun.

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I glued it to the bottom of a tree. This reminds me of the moss cottages I used to make for squirrels when I was a kid.

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Cooking ~ I taught Michael how to cook  rice.  I want him to master the basics of listening to directions, cleaning after himself, and cleaning his hands before cooking.

Science & Creation Studies

Michael helped Chris plant seeds in our vegetable garden.

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Michael read about butterflies and we caught a caterpillar. Sadly it perished but it was going to be a moth anyways.

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I’ve been trying to get the guys to eat healthier snacks. I got these great plastic trays with dividers at Family Dollar. I cleaned the fruit and veggies with vinegar water then sliced them. We’ve done this before with mason jars but these divider trays are easier.  Now the good stuff is just as accessible as the junk food. Yaaa to healthy snacking!

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Michael’s in second grade but we played around with Legos and easy addition. I’ll have to figure out Lego games with multiplication.  I need to sort through the Legos again. I can never find what I need. You could easily switch the pieces around for subtraction.

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We finished our library books. “I Wonder Why I Blink” was a neat book about the body.

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Earth Day Celebrations with our Homeschool Group

Kathryn was a great host for an early Earth Day.  Here’s the table decorations.Middle April 2013 014

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She read a couple of books to the kiddos.Middle April 2013 016

They each got an Earth Day packet to color. It has ideas inside on how to be good stewards of God’s creation.

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Kathryn taught the kids how to look for the “recycle” symbol on products. She also told them ways they could recycle.

We reuse bottles etc to make crafts.Middle April 2013 017

Then the kids made bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, and bird seed. I didn’t get a pic but we hung ours in a tree above a branch (so the birdies would have a perch while they ate).

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Look at this sweet picture Olivia made for Michael. She’s always giving him gifts.

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Next, the kiddos painted pots and planted flowers in them.

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Now I’ve had a few people ask me about our curriculum. I did a post at the beginning of the year with our plan.

But often we start the year one way and end it another. It’s a learning process and I want to go at Michael’s pace. Sometimes that means forging ahead and other times that means slowing down.

Example: I decided not to go ahead with 3rd grade math until this coming school year. After doing a couple 2nd grade books we took a break and focused on hands on math. Then I decided to use Horizons again and since the second workbook is a grade ahead we’re just finishing Horizons 2nd grade workbook one. We will do workbook 2 for Third Grade math since it’s technically a grade ahead.


We are still using Bob Jones 2nd grade devotional and love it!


We quit using “Our Christian Heritage” for Geography and History. Instead we’re doing hands on studies. Maybe we will go back to that workbook in the future. I bought a couple books about the states and “Around the World” ideas.

Email Subscribers please come to my blog to see the links :).

Geography & History on Pinterest

We slowed down with the language arts curriculum and only do it once a week. Now Michael does typing once a week and focuses on hand writing practice. We took a break from cursive but the new handwriting book transitions into cursive at the end (A Reason For Handwriting). I’ve decided not to focus on cursive til third grade. I want Michael’s handwriting to be a bit neater first.


We also started a series of spelling workbooks by Christian Liberty Press (they have verses in them). We began at first grade level just in case we’ve missed words. I didn’t want to wing it anymore. Michael will be able to finish the 2nd grade spelling book the first half of the year and the 3rd grade spelling the last half. We homeschool year round with breaks here and there. So the spelling books don’t stretch the whole year. I LOVE these spelling books!


We basically finished Read and Understand Science grades 2-3. I decided to buy 3 Lifepac Science work books for 2nd grade on plants, animals, and colors. They’re super simple and colorful. So I went ahead and bought the whole 3rd grade curriculum too. We do hands on Science project with the work books.

Life Pac

Pinterest link for Science

Michael’s reading on a 4th grade level though he can read harder books just at a slower pace. I’m trying to balance what types of books he reads. Michael breezes through fiction but I’m throwing in more nonfiction. We’ve got a big collection of books but still take a trip to the library twice a month. I usually get enough books to last two weeks.

Music and art are basically the same but we don’t do as much. I’ve limited crafts to once a week unless they go along with another subject like Science or Geography. Michael practices piano every day but we’ve been focusing more on musical theory and games. I’m not too concerned with how much he can play at this age. I just want him to understand the music and to enjoy it.

Music Pinterest Link

I mentioned in this post:

that I want to slow down and enjoy school more. I’m already eclectic but I’m leaning more towards unschooling…just a bit. Work books are definitely the bones of our day and it works. Still, I’m open to simplifying and to plenty of hands on learning. So I decided to break things up a bit and choose one day each to focus on certain subjects. It’s been so much easier than trying to do it all every day.

Mondays~ Regular schedule plus art & cooking (really basic cooking)

Tuesdays~ Regular Schedule plus Typing and Science projects

Wednesdays~ Regular Schedule plus Math and Music games/projects

Thursdays~ Regular Schedule plus geography/history/social studies or reduced schedule plus field trips/ group time

Fridays~ Regular Schedule or reduced schedule (depending if we have group Thursday) plus Creation studies and or health and or language arts projects

Creation Studies Pinterest Link

Our Regular Schedule

  • Bob Jones Devotions (1-2  work book pages and Bible reading)
  • Spelling lesson in workbook
  • Math book (2 pages)
  • Handwriting book (2 pages)
  • Science book (twice a week)
  • Reading – 2-5 chapters depending on the type of book
  • Tests on Fridays
  • No math or handwriting on Fridays (sometimes Thursdays if there’s a field trip or group time)
  • Language arts books on Fridays.

We also do themes and that will determine our art and science projects. Our themes can be anything from Holidays (Christmas, Easter, Purim, Pentecost etc..) to what peeks Michael’s curiosity (Dinosaurs, reptiles, bugs, plants). We’ve did a study on the body and community helpers. Also on safety. We did a month long study in January on the 20th century and called it the time machine. Sometimes the studies are seasonal (snowflakes or falling leaves). You can see all the previous thematic studies on my blog Pinterest link. Check out the  Time Machine Study. It’s unique to this blog :).

Pinterest of my Blog posts

Well, God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

PS: Lord willing, I’ll post my 3rd grade plans later this summer ;).


My Family Rocks! Sunday: Curriculum & Smores Cookie Date Night Food Fight August 5, 2012

In this post: Our Curriculum choices, Smores Cookies, and a food fight for date night

Hello dear ones :). I hope you’ve had a good week. Michael started 2nd grade/ some 3rd grade this past week. This is a bit of a lengthy post so if you’re not interested in Homeschool stuff please skip down to the bottom for the Smores Cookie recipe. It’s worth the scroll 😉

I found these great wipe offs at Wal-Mart for only 88 cent each: a weather chart that has a place for temps and weekly forecast, a chore chart, and a school schedule chart

Look what Michael added to his schedule at the end  lol 🙂


For those considering Homeschool or just curious, here is my curriculum choices from Pre-K to Second/Third Grade.
I always knew I wanted to Homeschool. I knew several homeschool families and loved how well-rounded the children were socially & academically. I just didn’t know when I would start homeschooling. When Michael was itty bitty I realized he was a curious sort. I knew from my time working at an Early Learning Center that kids are smarter than we give them credit and many of them are capable of learning more at a young age. I saw one year olds that truly understood the meaning of “No” and I met 3 year olds who acted like Kindergarteners. Every child is different of course and that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You can meet every child’s individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

It didn’t take long for me to realize Michael was ready to learn. It all started when he began destroying things lol…. garlic all on the couch because he wanted to cook, crayon on forbidden walls (yes we actually did allow him to draw on one wall in his playroom. We let it be his corner), and his boredom with regular toys. Going to “My Gym wasn’t enough.  I realized he needed structure and guidance. So I began reading several books on homeschooling. The Summer after Michael turned 3 we began Pre-K.

PRE-K: I wasn’t sure where to start. Thankfully a good friend (my 7th grade teacher who homeschooled her kids) guided me to a curriculum. I was not ready to go eclectic. So we used Horizon’s Pre-K by Alpha Omega. It was great because it had all the subjects in one book with lots of planning info. I just basically had to get the materials together…the book did the rest. The main point of the book was to teach about Creation through story, crafts, and song. It also taught introductory elements of reading, math, science, history, writing, and science. I bought the whole kit which was a bit costly but worth every penny. It came with workbooks, teacher’s guide, and dvds/cds. I kept the books in good shape and sold them later. This also included 3 computer games: Rev up for reading, Rev up for writing, & Rev up for arithmetic.
Pic below

P.E. & extracurricular: My Gym & hanging with kids at the Family Theatre. I was in a couple of  plays at that time. I tried to get Michael to try clogging with me but he’d rather watch.

Kindergarten: I had hoped to find an all in one curriculum again but Horizons only had three main subjects for K: Math, Phonics, and Health. I love crafts and I missed the diversity of subjects from the Pre-K curriculum. So I found substitutes with LifePac first Grade. I found out that Horizons is advanced so Lifepac 1st grade was the same level as Horizons K.

I used LifePac History and Geography which was super simple. It had basics like understanding a family unit. I also used LifePac Bible lessons. I liked the simple pictures. Horizons math wasn’t as enjoyable but we made it through.

We did not like Horizons Phonics at all and only completed the first of four books. Then I had to find other methods of teaching Michael to read. We went a bit eclectic and combined  old school Hooked on Phonics (on cassette tapes too), the free website, and Bob Books (which really helped with sight words). Things really clicked when we began the Bob books. I believe Phonics gave the proper foundation. There are so many aspects to reading… comprehension. I don’t really care for the programs that teach babies to read.

I enjoyed the Health lessons for Horizons. They can be used for many grades. I went online to find craft ideas. Before I found the amazing Pinterest I loved (and still do) This is where I found amazing ideas from thatartistwoman and PinkandGreenMama. The links are on my blogroll.

P.E. & extracurricular: Worship music and dance for exercise, Flag Football for a bit, and we got involved with a Homeschool group.

1st grade/ 2nd grade: This past year has been great. We went eclectic and thrifty. I used a bit of curriculum passed down from buddies and I found books on I also got books from Barnes & Noble during the middle of the year (teachers get a discount). My best buddy Julie introduced me to Pinterest. Oh how I love my Pinterest (and my buddy). I have been even craftier this year than before he he he. I don’t have pics of all the curriculum but here’s a list.

I noticed Michael had a love for drawing. So I got the Draw Write Now series which combines simple drawings and writing lessons. We used the lessons according to seasons and the themes of each month.

Draw Write Now Series- link has pics

Seeds Family Worship– Musical memory verses…also found free print outs with the words for writing practice.

The ABC’s of Handling Money God’s Way: cute, simple, and short

Music in Me books 1 & first part of book 2: We began Piano lessons. It was a challenge at first and we had to take things super slow. Now with a rewards system and computer games & worksheets piano is a joy.

People Together (Social Studies etc): We got this from a friend and didn’t know what level it was for awhile. I found out it was a 2nd grade book. It was super simple and worked anyways. We did this once a week for part of the year. Short book.

ABC teach & Enchanted Learning websites: for math worksheets, basic spelling words, science, and themed work sheets.

Pinterest: crafts and science ideas mainly…other subjects as well. Michael got a microscope and a “chemistry” set for Christmas. We tinkered with those for several months. It was so gross looking at Nana’s blood on the microscope…yuck.

Explorer’s Bible Studies: this wasn’t the best kid’s devotional I’ve seen but it took us through the old and new testament (the main stories). Michael reads the devotion then answers questions. He also has a primary Bible that he reads a little of each morning.

Drums, Trumpets, Parades, and Carousels reading books: I used these as a kid in first grade. My mom in law gave them to me. Michael read the stories in these quickly.

Spectrum Math grade 2: I looked through this book and realized Michael’s Horizon math for Kindergarten was really on a 1st grade level. Michael was ready for second grade math. He got this half way so we will finish it up in October.

Scholastic Math grade 1: I got this short book to keep Michael brushed up on the basics he had already learned. Finished it.

Other Refreshers: Flash Kids Time & Money, 10 days to Addition Mastery, & 10 days to Subtraction Mastery (wrap ups). Finished these as well.

Spectrum Reading grade 1: We got this midway and have already finished it.

Letters and Sounds 1st grade (Abekka): This was given to us. It was a great refresher for the most part.

Spectrum Grade 1 Language Arts: started Midway will finish in October.

Read and Understand Science 1st-2nd grade: still working on this one. It’s simple and so far no evolution stuff.

P.E. & extracurricular: Karate, church choir,  & our homeschool group. I don’t know what I’d do without my homeschool buddies. We have had some wonderful field trips, crafts, and experiments. Michael has done many things that I never got to do until I was in middle school. We got to know our best friends Hannah and her family (also met Michael’s future wife! ha!).

We try to split up seat-work with snacks, reading, field trips, and playtime. We have on occasion had school at a variety of places…the park, the trampoline, the library….McDonald’s lol. Sometimes we play learning games (on the computer and Hands On). We’ve done a few plays with Nana & Chris. Sometimes we experiment with cooking but not too often. Friday is usually movie day. We are flexible. The most rewarding experience has been playing Bingo with the Seniors at the Nursing Home. Their faces light up when they see Michael & he’s learning to be a great hugger. Character is way more important than academics.

The craziest places we’ve worked on school: the car dealership & the doctor’s office. A nurse helped Michael with his math lol. We’ve also done work in the car and while visiting family members.

2nd-3rd grade: I’m so excited about the themes I’ve picked for this year. I know at least three of them aside from the usual seasonal/ holiday themes. I’ve spent many hours lesson planning. I’ll give you a few ideas: Health & Safety (Community helpers, fire/stranger safety, Just say no to drugs) for August, The Human Body for September, & Time Machine for January. January is going to be so awesome, Lord willing! 🙂

We are still eclectic this year and loving it.

Bob Jones Devotion: Bible Truths: A Servant’s Heart second grade. I have taken Bible courses with Bob Jones and know them to be a good conservative school. I am so excited about this devotion. Not only does it have colorful illustrations with the Bible stories, it also has lessons on famous preachers/theologians, and has lessons on Christian chapter books (2 and they are bought separately). I am using the units at different times depending on seasons/holidays. For example: the unit on Forgiveness for Passover, the Christmas unit for Christmas time, and the Generosity unit for Thanksgiving. Michael will have already read through his primary Bible. It will be time to get him his own big Bible. I have one in mind.

History, Geography, Social Studies: Our Christian Heritage Grade 2

I’m excited about this one too. It teaches children about the Bible and History etc. I love the Christian World View in the book and will probably use this series every year. These lessons will be twice a week.

Language Arts, Writing, & Reading: Michael begged me to teach him cursive so we will attempt that this year.  We have Spectrum Reading and Flash Kids Writing for 2nd grade. Also Grade 2 Flash Forward Language Arts. The Dry Erase Cursive Letters came from Wal-Mart. Some of these are long and some short so they will overlap over the year.

Spelling: I get the spelling words from I didn’t print all the worksheets but I do have some. Mainly he copies the words off the board for the week. Then he write them two times the next day. The day after that he fills in the blanks and puts the right words with the right sentences. Thursday we study a lot and Friday he has his test.

Math: Spectrum Math grade 3 & Scholastic Math 2nd grade. The latter book is a refresher. Also Jumpstart/ Math blaster are great sites for online math games. I’ll probably use Pinterest for hands on math games.

Other:  Read & Understand Science grades 2-3 (we will probably switch to a creation science book next year)

You Can Draw book with tabs for different sections

Of course, more Pinterest inspirations for crafts. The more I pin the more I fall in love. I’m a bit OCD…

Reading: Occasionally I’ll buy Michael a book to read but for the most part we go to the Library. Our favorite chapter books are The Magic Tree House series & Nate the Great. We like leveled readers too. We read Biscuit books in the early days but now Michael reads level 3 and  4. We also have this great book series from the 60’s on History, bugs, birds etc…They were my Dad’s when he was a kid. Michael will read a couple chapters a day from those when needed.

Music:  Piano three times a week but he practices on his own daily. We are still using Music in Me (book 2). Also Michael practices a scale & intervals for 5 minutes. He has the Theory book that goes with Music in Me. We do that once a week along with computer games. I did a post about how we do lessons:

Craft Staples: I built my craft supply up over the years. This is a list of what I regularly keep in supply.

  • crayons, markers, pens (including dry erase), pencils(colored too), and chalk
  • paper of all kinds (Construction paper, freezer paper for painting, posters, & tissue paper)
  • glue (sticks, white glue, hot glue sticks with hot glue gun, and Modge Podge etc)
  • tape
  • Paint (water colors, washable, face paint, glow in the dark paint, and acrylic)
  • feathers, pom poms, stickers, yarn, string, glitter, and wiggly eyes
  • pipe cleaners of many colors, craft sticks, tooth pics, & ribbon
  • felt of many colors, foam of many colors, paper clips, & brads
  • Necessities: stapler, hole puncher, & scissors
  • Cardboard (cereal boxes etc), toilet paper rolls, and bottle caps
  • magnet strips, sequins, stamps, ink pads, & folders (for lapbooks)

I think that’s it. You may not agree with this list but I have used these things in so many crafts. I haven’t had to refill my supply much over the past  3 years.


Date Night Food Fight

The Hubby planned our date night a couple weeks ago. Well, he planned the main ideas of it: Food Fight and a movie. I filled in the details: Smores cookies & home movies. We didn’t have a sitter so little man hung with us. It became family night which worked out good. Chris wasn’t feeling well so Michael and I ended up doing most of the food fighting.

The Stage is Set….

Let the flour fly!

Chris did help with the cooking even though he felt bad.

Here’s the recipe for these awesome Smores cookies. You’ve got to try these!

Oh, and Michael thought making a super sized cookie was just awesome lol! 🙂

Then we watched home movies while we waited for then ate our cookies.

Well, God bless & remember the High King lives!~Amber Dover

PS: If you get a chance to try these amazing cookies give me some comment love. I want to know how it turns out 🙂