Life. Daily.

What our daily life looks like in our village home.

Ezra and Jude wake up before the chickens. Literally. We sit Ezra in his high chair in front of the open door. He watches the dawn, and the chickens flying down out of their tree.

Jude reads cartoons in his bed until six. OCCASIONALLY he will fall asleep again.

Then it is time for Breakfast. On this morning we eat a sailors’ breakfast of “hardtack”, salted meat, and cheese. We are studying explorers in History. Ezra enjoys papaya, sweet potato, oatmeal, or rice.

Next it’s time to get ready for school. Which mostly just means brushing teeth, clearing off their desks, and folding their blankets. Then school. Dad teaches Bible and then Science. 

Then it is mom’s turn. If Ezra is napping, it is relatively easy to read through history, help Jude with his daily five, and oversee Grey. If he is not, it gets more complicated. 

Michael begins language study around eight. He might walk to the village, or he might have a friend come by to study with him. His schedule is another post for another day.

We usually finish school by eleven. I will either quickly prepare something, or if I have help, the ladies will. They will wash dishes, wash clothes (and the cloth diapers), mop, and cook. It is SO much nicer when they are around. 
After lunch the boys will often go swimming.

I might be able to get some language study in. Sometimes I rest while Ezra is napping. When it’s dry season we would probably go visiting. But, since its slippery, slick rainy season, we hang around the house. 

Our house becomes the play zone for all of the kids coming home from school.

It gets dark at six, we turn on the generator, eat dinner, and watch a movie. At eight we turn off the generator, and go to bed. Bed comes early in the dark jungle after a full day.

Mr. Robot

Our ‘recycling’ bins are overflowing.
We don’t have a recycling truck that drives up to our house, and takes care of our trash. So, we have to get creative and try to re-use thing. We do have friends who love our bottles, and some of our cans. But, we often have more cans then we can deal with. That’s where Mr. Robot comes in.

We gathered up miscellaneous cans, wire, spray paint, paint pens, and some old wire.

G and a friend spray painted the body of the robot. Then they pulled off the labels on the tuna, and tomato paste cans. When the spray paint was dry I drew a face, hands, and legs on the cans.

Michael made holes in the cans with a large nail, and then fitted the cans together with a piece of red wire.

Mr. Robot has been loved and played with for the last few days. He has a amazing range of emotions that he can show with his tin face and limbs, but mostly it’s just melancholy. We are thinking of adding wires, and a frame to turn him into a puppet, and then we can teach him to dance.

Maybe that would cheer him up.

homeschooling: science

I mentioned before that Michael teaches the boys Science. Excuse me for a second while I praise my husband: Michael’s an excellent teacher that really knows how to make the lessons extra special. I like the Answers in Genesis curriculum because it has fun experiments planned out, but Michael has a knack for making them even better. In the book, God’s Design for the Heaven & Earth: Our Planet Earth, the boys learned about volcanoes; the different parts, vocabulary words, and famous volcanoes. The plan was to make the classic baking soda volcano.

So Michael took the original idea, and made it look awesome.

Which turned out to be a good thing because either our baking soda is too old, or our vinegar is too weak…so the exploding part was mostly a flop.

Here are the volcano bottle wrap files that the boys made for you.


At our house drawings, plans, inventions, creations, and “junk sculptures” all threaten to take over.

Which is cool, it shows the kids’ creativity. But, we live in a really small place; no space for too much clutter. I’ve found that the first step in trying to tame clutter is having a place for everything to go. Every few days or so I sort through the boys’ drawings, and painting. The special ones get dated, and put in their folder. If the drawings are “specially” for Michael and I, they get scanned or hung on the wall. The rest gets thrown…sneakily…when the boys aren’t looking.

At the end of the year their drawings get bound into a book. It’s relatively inexpensive to take the whole set to a printshop and have it bound. It’s a fun keepsake for the kids to flip through, and see how much they’ve grown.

Peter and the Wolf

For music class we have been reading through Story of the Orchestra
It’s a fun overview of composers, and instruments.

We’ve also been listening to classical music. It’s not something I used to enjoy very much, but with the kids I’ve taken a renewed interest. It helps that Leondard Bernstein
did so many great things for kids, one of them being Peter and the Wolf.

When we studied about Greek theater masks in The Mystery of History, I decided that we should try our hand at making some masks. At first I wanted to try papermache, but decided to simplify my life and make masks out of old cereal boxes.

The first thing we did is to cut out oval face shapes. Then I cut out the eyes. For the duck and bird, I cut out beaks. For Peter and his grandfather, I cut out noses and mouths. For the wolf I cut out a long snout shape. Finally, for the cat I cut out a mouth shape. I taped the various noses and beaks on with masking tape, and gave the masks to the boys to paint.

Once the base coat was dry we added details.

The duck and bird were given feathers.

I sketched noses and fur on the wolf and cat.

The wolf looks mean doesn’t he?

For the grandfather I used a brown, tan, white, and peach crayon to add wrinkles and details. We also cut out a frowny mouth since he’s not a very happy character.

Last but not least, I sketched a bit of detail on Peter, and we glued curly yarn hair on him.

The Timeline

*sorry for the bad pictures…they were last minute + bad lighting

We have been studying through Mystery of History, and have been trying to develop a timeline that works for us.

We have very limited space to hang a huge timeline in our tight house. So, at first I was just planning on doing timeline work in a notebook.

But, since G is still young, and very tactile, I realized that we needed something hanging up that he could look at every day. If we had ceilings, I would have hung it over his bed.

Finally, I decided to follow the advice in Mystery of History, and make the timeline vertical instead of horizontal. Also, because I can’t just run to the store whenever I need supplies, and I didn’t have any poster board on hand, I decided to make our timeline out of fabric. We will be able to roll it up, and put it away when it’s not in use. On our first run through, I used multi colored duct tape for the lines, but it didn’t take long for it all to fall off. Next, I sewed ribbons. It was a bear to keep from going very crooked, but I just try to pretend not to see the really crooked parts.

The way the Mystery of History timeline is laid out is pretty rigid, to keep from having a messy timeline. But, it works for me. We are doing our own timeline figures…and I think they are turning out really cute…G is doing a great job. I’m thinking of scanning them and offering them if anyone is interested.

So, that’s how we made our timeline.

The Universe

As I mentioned we are studying The Universe in our curriculum from Answers in Genesis. Since, it is an advanced curriculum (though it does have a section for beginners), we also do some supplementing with other books, ipad apps, and projects.

Books: The Magic School Bus: Lost In The Solar System, The Stars by H.A. Rey (excellent guide to the stars), On the Moon by Anna Milbourn, The Air We Breathe (a free download book by NASA), etc

Ipad apps: We have Starwalk which is a highly rated, powerful app that no one gets bored off. AND right now it’s only $.99. We also have There’s No Place Like Space by Dr. Seuss. It’s a fun app that also teaches a lot about the planets, but it’s pricey at $5.99.

Audio/Video: We enjoyed listening to free vintage records that have been made into mp3’s on


Printables: Constellation 3 part cards by Montessori for Everyone (FREE PRINTABLE, though I wish there was one that followed H.A. Rey’s way of tracing the constellations)
A is for astronaut unit by SpellOutloud and totally tots.
Space unit by Thoughts of Me. Totally cute, but no longer free.
Astronaut Preschool Pack by (that’s the one we printed out).

I don’t always like cutesy things like the units that I’ve listed above, and find that real pictures (see Montessori for Everyone or Montessori Printshop) are much more intriguing to the kids, and a better teaching tool. But, I still have a real weakness for most anything that comes from mr. printables (see below). The graphic design is fantastic. All that to say, the kids of course loved the Astronaut Preschool Pack from

Pretty things: summer stargazing (unfortunately they don’t have one for the southern hemisphere), and doodle on the moon by mr. printables (FREE!)

pizza club

It seems like every homeschooling family has the same idea: bribe your kid with pizza to get them to read. Maybe it’s because we remember the Pizza Hut program when we were kids, maybe it’s because we want pizza, I don’t know.

Anyways, that’s what we did with G. And guess what? It works. Not as well as making a rule that he has to read a bit of a chapter book every night…that rule really works. But, the pizza thing also works great.

G is turning into a reader, not as fast as I expected, probably because he can get us to read books to him so easily. But, its exciting to see him jump from slowly, painfully, angrily (angry because he hates it that a lot of words don’t “follow the rules”) sounding things out, to reading semi-fast and comprehending. It’s very exciting to see a reader in the making!

J says juh.

After reading Mommy Teach Me to Read I became convinced that it was time to start teaching my three year old to read. With his brother I had waited until he was five (sure he knew his alphabet and the shapes of the letters, and how to read and write his name), but we didn’t get into the sounds until last year. I was maybe right in thinking that there is so much to do in readin,g that it would just unnecessarily frustrate him if we started earlier.

I probably would have done the same thing with J, but after reading Mommy Teach Me to Read I started noticing a real sensitivity to learning. J wanted to “do school”, and was already starting to pick things up on his own. So I stripped down the “program” that we used with G to its most basic parts, and started to work with J. It didn’t take long before he could read simple words, and recently he read several short sentences.

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