In our house, we are all about reading.  I have always been a reader and monkey see monkey do….the girls are turning into BIG readers as well (and it makes my heart so happy to see).

I tried different phonics curriculums when I was first beginning to teach Avery to read but I really didn’t like any of them.  So I went rogue and just taught her to read in the most basic way…we did what we always did and we just kept reading.  It worked.  She can read.  She just got a booklight for her 8th birthday and when I walk past her room at night, I just smile when I see her snuggled up with her stack of books.

But learning to read and becoming more fluent in reading has made her HUNGRY!  She is voracious, she wants more.  I didn’t jive with those first reading curriculums I tried so I was very happy to find All About Reading now.  Avery loves it and I love it!

AAR blog

All About Reading is such a great curriculum that comes with everything that you need!  Seriously, so much BANG for your buck! Avery is in 2nd/3rd grade and the level 3 set is included in the Timberdoodle Second Grade Curriculum Kit.  If you aren’t sure what level your child needs (because us homeschoolers are never sure what grade they are in, lol), they have a placement test and plenty of PDF samples of the materials so you can find the level best for your kiddo.  The level 3 set includes a student activity book, a teacher’s manual, 2 readers (collections of short stories), a reading review box, phonogram cards, word cards, and letter tiles.  Of course, momma’s favorite part of the set is the carry all tote!  We frequently take our work outside or even to the park so I love having the tote to keep all of our AAR stuff together and ready to go wherever we take our school!

AAR1 blog


The tiles and the cards are great manipulatives to make the concepts more concrete.  Even though the name says All About READING, this program is much more than that.  In addition to reading, the program also teaches decoding, fluency, comprehension, and more.

AAR3 blog

Avery is loving it.  As I said before, now that she can read, she is hungry for more.  She loves learning new rules and finding words that break the rules.  The readers are great for her…easy enough that she doesn’t get frustrated but enough new words and material that she is working and learning.  There is an activity page in each lesson that keeps them engaged and using their hands while they use their brains.  We are only on lesson 5 but already, Avery has mastered new skills and is learning new rules.  Before, she might have known how to pronounce certain words but now she knows WHY they are pronounced that way.

Momma loves that this is an open and go curriculum.  Everything is laid out for me lesson by lesson.  I don’t have to prepare or plan.  This is so helpful because many of our other subjects do require a lot of prepping…it is great to have something that is done for me.

In a family of readers, it was hard for me to find a reading curriculum that kept the love alive and didn’t dull down reading into a boring requirement.  I have now found it!  All About Reading teaches in a way that keeps kids engaged and excited about reading.

On Timberdoodle’s website, you can buy All About Reading-Level 3 on its own or you can get it in the Second Grade Curriculum Kit.

AAR2 blog

*Timberdoodle Review: Timberdoodle sent me this product in exchange for a review.  All opinions are honest and my own.


No First Day Jitters Here!

We are off on another school year! This year, Avery is in 2nd/3rd grade and Kaylee is officially in kindergarten.

We like to celebrate our homeschool freedom with a not-back-to-school field trip.

Last year, we went to Legoland Discovery and an aquarium. This year, we took the girls to the American Girl store! Kaylee had been saving her money to buy a WellieWisher but the store is a couple of hours away so it required a special trip. Both the girls are AG obsessed so it worked well for their special day. If you have never been to an American Girl store, it is an experience. Full salon and ear piercing for the dolls. Restaurants or snack bars to dine with your doll. The girls loved it, dad might have been overwhelmed. But it was a fun daytrip to celebrate the path we have chosen and embrace the fact that we don’t answer to anybody!

What grades are you teaching this year? Do you do anything special to celebrate the start of a new school year?

Say Yes

Lately, Avery has been dreading her math. She’s good at it but she just doesn’t like it. Fair enough but sorry girl, you still have to do it.

Last week, she decided that she wanted to have a painted rock sale. She has been talking about this for awhile but this particular day, she was mostly trying to get out of math. But I went with it that day. I don’t know why but instead of arguing that she had to finish math first, I just said yes. And what a great choice that turned out to be!

They designed and painted their rocks.

Art: ✔

They made a sign.

Copywork, spelling, writing: ✔✔✔

Avery priced the rocks and calculated how much money they could make.


They waved at the cars and sat outside for hours.

Perseverance: ✔

They got along✔, worked together✔, and had a ton of fun✔.

Maybe we can’t throw the lessons out the window every day for a rock sale but when you can say yes, SAY YES!!

Draw + Learn: Faces

Draw + Learn: Faces

I think I’ve mentioned before that my artistic skills are lacking.  My level is stick people.  I can draw a decent stick person.  More than that is pushing it.  I remember one time when Avery was 3 or 4 and we were drawing.  I drew a shark and she asked me what it was.  I told her and she thought about it for a minute.  She said “Well, if you tell me that it’s an airplane, I’ll say it’s really good.”  Apparently, it was a pretty bad shark but my sweet lady didn’t want to say that.  So, that pretty much says it all about my artistic capabilities.

So when I find a step by step book that helps my little ladies (and maybe me too) learn drawing basics, I am all in with it!  Timberdoodle’s Draw + Learn Faces was a definite hit with us!  Recommended ages are 3-6.  I used it with my 7 and 4 year olds.


This book is included in the Preschool Curriculum Kit but I have it on good authority that it is helpful to anyone who needs a step by step drawing guide (ages up to….uh, 32 at least).  The book starts with pages focusing on each facial feature and different ways to draw them.  The kiddos get to practice each of those individually before combining them later on in the book.  My girls loved the silly aspect of drawing faces on flowers, potatoes, ice cream cones, etc.  I loved that it added to their imagination and creativity.  Reminded them that they could make any inanimate object into a character.


There are several pages towards the end with blank frames for them to combine what they have learned and draw their own faces (theirs or just their own creations).  Before using this book, my girls each had one way that they tended to always draw certain facial features (whether that was my own poor art direction or just habit).  I loved how this helped them to branch out and gave several different examples of how to draw each feature.  Eyes with eyebrows. Eyes with lashes. With glasses.  Full lips.  Smiles with teeth and without.  My other favorite thing about this book is the doodle aspect.  How intimidating would it be to learn to draw in a professionally illustrated book?  I love that the pictures in this book are drawn in a doodle format.  Simple lines and shapes put together to make faces.  Bright, bold colors but not too much intricate detail.  I think that really helped the girls own the drawings.



Draw + Learn: Faces was another Timberdoodle win for this family! There are others in the series including places, animals, and people.  I am planning on getting those too….maybe for an upcoming birthday or Easter baskets.  Paired with a new set of colored pencils and it would make a super cute gift!

We received a copy of this book from Timberdoodle to review.  All opinions are my own.


Are you taking a holiday break or playing catch up?  We are trying to catch up and I am trying to keep reminding myself that we aren’t on anybody else’s schedule. With Kaylee’s health issues at the beginning of our school year and everyone in the house catching the plague earlier in the month, I feel like we’ve been trying to catch up all year long.  But we’re giving ourselves grace and going at our own pace….

I Can Doodle, Can You?

We love doodling in this house.  I doodle when I’m making phone calls, I doodle when the girls are doing school work, the girls doodle when I read to them.  We have gotten dedicated doodle books before to guide our doodling and we love those books.

So when we got the chance to try out I Can Doodle Rhymes from Timberdoodle, I knew it would be right up our alley!


I was right! The girls totally loved this.  Avery is older than the target age for this book but she still enjoyed it.  She is at that point in reading where her confidence is growing and she is just THRILLED whenever she can read something herself.  She was able to read all of these rhymes and that made it so much more fun for her.  Bonus for mom was that she could do it 100% independently!


Kaylee has just gotten a good grasp on rhyming so she was having fun using these rhymes as a starting point and then thinking of anything else to go along with that particular word set.  The format was perfect for her age/ability too!  As everyone knows by now, we follow a Brave Writer Lifestyle so the copywork aspect fit right into our realm.



Disclaimer: She does her own lipstick and she’s in a “loving leftover Halloween lipstick” stage.


This doodle book is included in Timberdoodle’s Kindergarten Curriculum Kit and I think that is the perfect place for it.  My girls are on either end of that (Pre-K and 1st) and this was a big WIN for both of them.  I am a big believer that learning should be fun and that the more fun you have, the more you will be learning.  That kinder age is such a special time when kids have voracious appetites for learning and it is so important to foster that and continue to make it fun.  I Can Doodle Rhymes does just that!

In her own words, Avery’s review is: “Great! I really like drawing and writing and I got to do both.”

In her own words, Kaylee says “That one is funny! And fun!”


*I received a free copy of this product from Timberdoodle for the purpose of an honest review.  All opinions are my own.