On The Trail

Homeschool Hiking


Schooltime Knitting

knitting1My projects from last night!

While Maddie is at camp I am getting ready fro 7th grade. Last night I counted the articles relating to our history time period for the year in the National Geographic Almanac of World History, and also checked out The Industrial Revolution for Kids and Voices from Primary Sources. I’m re-reading Deconstructing Penguins slowly and deliberately taking notes this time around! The Well Trained Mind is always at hand while I plan too.

I decided that my last ripping out of the Moody sweater was the last one and changed gears to Sedona. I think that Moody was just too much for me at the moment! Maybe another time when things are quieter all around in life and I have time to think. Sedona is going much smoother and I am enjoying it more which is, after all, the point to a hobby! Maddie loves the colors and will be excited to see the progress I’ve made. My mom gave Maddie quite a bit of costume jewelry pins and we think one of those will look great as the closure rather than buttons and a chain.

Joining Small Things for the Yarn Along today!


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7th Grade Here we come!

school2At the end of last week the school books started to arrive! We are, as always, excited to see the new books. I am slowly going through them all to get down to the nuts and bolts of how we will approach each subject. Things like how often, which days of the week and are there other supplies we might need are all questions that I started answering today. I already have another book on the list! A supplementary one for Chemistry. So I thought I would run through each subject and explain what we are using.

First I ordered Maddie and I these beautiful new planners. They are customized to fit our needs which I thought was wonderful! We both got to pick a favorite quote to go at the bottom of each day. Maddie’s quote: “The mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir” and mine is “If the good lord intended us to walk he wouldn’t have invented roller skates. from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory movie”. I think we both picked ones that fit us quite nicely! Each book has lots of planning pages, calendar pages, to do lists, book lists and spots for notes. I know it will work well for me and I am hoping Maddie will get something out of hers too! She is still learning how to take control of her own day but has come very far. Now if only she can remember to check the list she makes before telling me she is done we will be 99% of the way there!

school4For Math we are continuing on with Teaching Textbooks. It works for Maddie so we are sticking to it! Maddie will also continue with Life of Fred as a supplement. This year she will work on Decimals and Percents. We are going to look into maybe adding in Khan Academy here and there. Maddie and I have used the lectures on several occasions when she needs help and my memory needs jogging. Perhaps we can look through and find some of those before she needs help!

For Science we will be using Elemental Science Chemistry for the Logic Stage. We have used Elemental Science for many years and really like the program. We will be using the DK Encyclopedia of Science and Eyewitness Chemistry books along with that program.

school5Brian also found this program for our Junior Naturalist this year. Its called Nature’s Beautiful Order and has writings from naturalists like John James Audubon and Jean-Henri Fabre. Maddie’s eyes lit up at that and she did sneak the book off for a minute!

Our history time period this year is from 1600-1850 which is late medieval times through the Renaissance. We had to get another history encyclopedia because Maddie’s reading level keeps rising (which obviously is good!). The one we chose is the National Geographic Almanac of World History. This has good long articles for Maddie to read and take notes on. She writes weekly history essays so it helps to have good information. In American History we will be reading about and doing projects related to the Industrial Revolution. The main book we will be using is The Industrial Revolution for Kids. This has articles to read and projects to complete. We will also be using this book from the library.

We will be using G.U.M. drops for grammar review, Analytical grammar for in depth grammar work, and All about Spelling for spelling. We will be working through levels 4-6 this year for spelling! Writing will continue with Writing with Skill level 3. We have been so impressed with Maddie’s writing ability and how much she has grown in her writing.


We have a long list of reading from the same historical period. I think its time for Maddie to try to get more in depth but I am not all that great at doing that myself. So we ordered Deconstructing Penguins and Teaching the Classics. Work for Momma! I’ve already started. Books this year are these: adapted version of Don Quixote, Perrault’s and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, adapted version of The Pilgrim’s Progress, Poems by Wordsworth, Coolridge, Rosetti, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, parts of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, Alice in Wonderland, Pride & Prejudice, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe and Frederick Douglass’ autobiography. A long and ambitious list!

Maddie will be continuing with the same Logic, Latin and Spanish programs we had last year.

Maddie asked if she could learn sign language! Brian located a website with free resources for her to try. You never know, as a ranger it might be a handy skill to have.

For art we will be using Maddie’s 4H Photography curriculum and anything else that comes our way and we like! Maddie will be continuing guitar next year as well.



A Nest for Celeste

IMG_1119This spring I found out that all 3 of my “graduates” from day care were coming back for the summer! We are so excited. All 3 of them have spring birthdays so I thought we would have an un-birthday party for them the first day they are all here together. I decided I would give each one a cup cozy with a toy pocket. I will have to make the pocket a bit bigger than the pattern directions give however! I was hoping to put a lego minfigure into the pockets like Maddie’s but the summer minifigures are all based on the Simpsons. So I had to find other things which will not be so small…. The pattern is called Fairy Cup Cozy.

Since Maddie and I finished Harry Potter we are reading A Nest for Celeste. We saw it at the library and when we read that Audubon’s assistant was part of the story we decided we had to read it. The illustrations are beautiful. We are not too sure yet how the author feels about Audubon though, its show a decidedly negative side to what he was doing. I am hoping that we can figure this out before we get to the end!

I am listening to Christy. I have not read this story in quite a long time and am really enjoying it! Kellie Martin is reading the story which is nice because she played Christy in the miniseries. Maddie has slid in to listen to parts along with me which has been fun too. I am still reading the Outlander series although I am nearing the end finally! This is my second time reading them! When I read the latest one I realized I had forgotten quite a bit so decided to go back to the beginning and read them one after the other.

What are you knitting and reading? I’ve seen some other people mention knitting podcasts. Can anyone recommend a good one? Joining Ginny at Small Things.

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And we finished…..

We finished the last Harry Potter book this week-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So that meant we watched the movie tonight! Well, part 1 any way. We will watch part 2 on Friday. So we had the same dinner we ate for the first movie. Sausage and peppers and fries or as we like to think of it, an Americanized bangers and mash.

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Lego Harry was enjoying the movie and checked out dinner too!

Since tomorrow is Father’s Day we got Brian an English beer to enjoy along with dinner and dessert was ice cream pops. Chocolate to keep the Dementors at bay, Peanut Butter for Father’s Day.


And now Maddie and I will have to search for a new series to read! Maddie enjoyed this one so much as I knew she would! Currently we picked up A Nest for Celeste and are really enjoying it. The format is very interesting. It is a chapter book but there are lovely illustrations as well. It will be fun to find something new to read.

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Sixth Grade Wrap Up!

IMG_0828 IMG_0829 IMG_0830May 15 was the last day of Sixth Grade for Maddie and yes, she did “totally rock it” as her sign says! We finished all our curriculum by that date and wrapped up some bits and pieces. Brian and I are exceptionally proud of the job she did this year. Maddie completed all her work on her own each day with little supervision and while I had the flu in February she continued to work without prompting, pestering or supervising from Brian or me!

Maddie completed level 6 of Teaching Textbooks for math. This is her main math program and is completed on the computer which gives her immediate feedback on each problem. She finished the year with 87% average on all her quizzes. She also worked through Life of Fred Fractions. This series of books follow Fred, a 5 year old college professor. Yes, they are very silly but they really do pay off. Maddie’s score on the fractions section of her PASS test (standardized test for homeschoolers) came back as high average. She also pulled all the other areas up to average. So Fred, Daddy and Momma are all working to get Maddie really comfortable with math!

We also completed Analytical Grammar year 1. This was not easy. It included sentence diagramming and other concepts we had only brushed on in earlier years. Maddie finished Writing with Skill Level 2 by completing a 1250 word essay on Walt Disney, the topic of her choice. We also finished most of GUM drops for Grade 6. This is more grammar and spelling practice! We zipped through levels 1-3 of All About Spelling. Maddie was having such a hard time with spelling that we went right back to the beginning! We will be working on levels 4-6 in the coming year because we have seen great improvement!

We read some Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales this year. Maddie enjoyed both of them.

In history we were in the Medieval times and so talked a lot about kings, queens and the church. Maddie read sections in a history encyclopedia and made notes in her history book. She also wrote a weekly essay on the topic being covered that week. Maddie worked on learning more about the Civil War. She knows her Revolutionary American History really well and its time to move on a bit!

Astronomy and Earth Science were the topics for Science. We really enjoyed some of the weekly topics and experiments. Maddie did quite well here as well and continues to apply her learning when we are “out in the field” (meaning the woods, camping, national parks and forestry camp!).

Maddie has done really well with guitar and enjoys her time with Miss.Lisa each week. She is learning chords and finger picking, both are challenging!

So I think that’s it! We’ve taken time off for vacation and are planning some fun things this summer. We will be starting 7th grade the third week of July and trying out a year round schedule to see how we like that!

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Knitting in the woods

IMG_0999We had so much fun last week in Virginia! You can read all about our visits to Monticello, Appomattox Court House, The Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Vernon here. One of the fun parts of our stay was the cabin we rented at Bear Creek Lake State Park. It was so lovely! My favorite part was the wrap around porch which is where I went with my knitting whenever I had a minute! Mostly that was in the early morning before Brian and Maddie were up. I worked on another hexipuff and got quite a lot done on my shawl (in the picture above). We also did a lot of nature journaling, especially with trees since we had just been to forestry camp! The leaf is from a tulip tree. I was reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes in addition to all the field guides! Our last day we added to the Cabin Journal. We had so much fun reading everyone’s comments and reasons for being there. So many good stories! Now we are back at work although Maddie is done with school and enjoying more free time! What have you been reading or knitting?

Joining Small Things for the Knit A Long


Yarning Along at Forestry Camp


We spent the last weekend at 4H Forestry camp (more about that here). I brought along yarn to try making a hexipuff for the Beekeeper’s Quilt Pattern. I thought it would be a good way to use up my leftover sock yarn and it would be great fun to have a blanket made up of all my leftover yarn! The knitting was quite easy. I haven’t completed it yet because I need some fiberfill and to locate the right size crochet hook! The library called the day we left to say they had What the Robin Knows for me. Some of the moms in a book club for kids nature books were recommending it. I didn’t get very far along yet but what I’ve read has been interesting! I mostly sat to knit and read in the early morning before most parents and kids were up. I also did some during the day when I needed to give Maddie some space to make friends or work on her test.

The tag on the tree had answers to how big and how much volume the tree had so the kids could practice with Biltmore sticks.

IMG_0782We came home on Mother’s Day. Maddie and Brian had sent pictures to Knit Girl in Idaho which she then made into stitch markers for me! One is Maddie’s photo that I took and the other is from our trip to the Christman Sanctuary. I love them and put them right onto my shawl that I showed last week.

IMG_0793Joining Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along.