Tag Archives: homeschool resources

Kirby’s Kids Grade by Grade Homeschool Reading List

**This post may contain affiliate links to some of the products and resources that we have used. These are provided at no extra charge to you and help to support our blog and family if a purchase is made through these links. -Thank you!

Here is a list of books that we will be reading with our homeschool. I will update the list as we go through this journey. Many of these books can be found at your local library for FREE but I have provided Amazon links where you can find most of them ‘used’ for cheap.

You should keep a record of the books read. You can do this in a notebook or using this printable HERE. (My kids like the plain ones so they can doodle around the margins but I may try to come up with a ‘prettier’ one later.)


First Grade:

Second Grade:

Third Grade:

Fourth Grade:

Fifth Grade:

To be updated!

Sixth Grade:

To be updated!

Seventh Grade:

To be updated!

Eighth Grade:

To be updated!

Ninth Grade:

To be updated!

Tenth Grade:

To be updated!

Eleventh Grade:

To be updated!

Twelfth Grade:

To be updated!


New School Year, New ABCmouse: ABC Mouse Upgrades!

**This post does contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

A few days ago I posted about why I (temporarily) quit homeschooling my kiddos. Things have been more than a little crazy here and we are still working on getting the house, and our lives, back in order. Progress has been slow but steady and I look forward to getting back into the whole ‘school routine’ shortly.

One of the many programs that we use in our school routine, and almost every day in between, is ABC Mouse. I’m sure that you’ve seen numerous commercials on TV about the program and while I once thought that this was only something that ‘rich’ people could afford I was wrong.

The price is actually quite affordable and often times you can find special deals like the one you can get when you click this referral link below. They also send out deals via email for previous/current customers.



Benefits Are Priceless

I couldn’t see the benefits that the program had to offer because I was looking for something FREE. Yes, there are plenty of FREE programs but nothing quite compares to ABC Mouse and my kids love it. My special needs children need a lot of extra attention and sometimes they just ‘don’t get it’ when I try to explain things. When they use ABC Mouse it helps to fill in those gaps of misunderstandings and often they bring me their tablets to show me something that they’ve mastered and the look on their face is PRICELESS.


Not Just For Pre-K and Kindergarten

I also once believed that ABC Mouse was only for younger kids but actually they have lessons for Pre-K through 2nd grade. In fact they have a full online curriculum for kids ages 2-8 which includes Reading, Math, Art, Music & Science!

My older girls (9 & 11) love playing on there too and use it for review. While many of the lessons are a bit easy they do enjoy learning new facts and information. This is perfect for my special needs son (15) as the lessons are so interesting and they keep him engaged longer than I usually can.ABC4.jpg

I can hear some of you thinking that you really just can’t afford this right now and I know how you feel because I’ve been there and often find myself needing to cut costs wherever I can. Earlier this year I let our subscription expire but quickly renewed it on a monthly basis, as that is the only way I could afford it for now, because I saw how much the kids missed it and how much it had been helping them in certain areas. 

I know I want to teach my kids so many things but  trying to spread myself between five kids everyday can be tiring so this is just a tool that I use to help me with my goals so I will try to do whatever I need to so I can make sure to keep this subscription going for at least a couple of more years.

Kids Love It

With over 8500 learning activities and lessons which also include many games and puzzles the kids are always begging to ‘do ABC Mouse‘. They really love the section where they have their own virtual pets (hamsters and fish). They are eager to complete lessons and activities so they can earn tokens to buy food and toys for their pets as well.

Not to mention that they can also buy clothes for their avatar and change their looks as they please. Joey was eager to add glasses to his avatar when he got his new specs. He and his avatar are looking quite sharp!


I also love that they kids can use this on their tablets or computer and I can send some of them to work on ABC Mouse while I work one on one with someone else. This is also handy when the younger kids get bored with a lesson that the older kids are doing as a group activity. ABC Mouse has also prevented many a melt-down when William has gotten ‘full of school’ for the day and provides a much-needed distraction. I love that he can learn while not realizing that he is learning… Mommas need to have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Did I mention that we can take this on-the-go too? So many places are now offering Free Wi-Fi which makes this the perfect app to have on your tablet.

Easy To Use

The new homepage looks great and I’m so excited to check out the new features that they have added. It was fairly easy to navigate before but now it looks even easier.


Not only is the program easy to use they also offer a number of videos and support systems to help you get the most out of the program. You can easily assign activities for group lessons or independent work so that your kids are learning while having fun.

ABC Mouse is also adding more new features like an adaptive math program, Mastering Math, which is an award-winning program that teaches fundamental math concepts for preschool through kindergarten. I’m really excited to check out this program and see how the kids like it.

They are also adding collections of learning activities which will be aligned to Common Core State Standards for Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade math and ELA. While I don’t always stick to Common Core State Standards it is nice to have that option available.

While we aren’t technically ‘homeschooling’ at the moment my kids are still learning. Heck, I’m learning too because they are always coming to me with new and interesting facts that they have learned from their lessons. Even if your kids are in school they could benefit from the extra review and practice no matter what their age.

Why don’t you give it a try and let me know what your kids think about it? You can also buy gift subscriptions if you happen to have a friend or family member who could benefit from it.

Happy Homeschooling!

Please note that I think I did sign up for a ‘Teacher Account’ as I have more than 3 children on my account so my screen shots for the teacher/parent pages may look slightly different from yours. 🙂


Is Your HomeSchool Area ‘School Ready’?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

If this is your first year homeschooling this is an important step to making sure you get your year off on a good start.

You don’t need a huge Pinterest perfect school area as I’ve talked about in this post but you do need it to be organized if you want to be successful. Having stuff here and there is a surefire way to get overwhelmed in a hurry. Trust me, I know this from experience.

Our main area is our dining table. We have some bookshelves which hold the majority of our books plus I have another shelf with the books I am using that are specific to our curriculum for this year. Continue reading Is Your HomeSchool Area ‘School Ready’?

Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve bought the majority of our school supplies for the upcoming year. I know from experience that this is something best done sooner rather than waiting to the last minute.

Not sure what to buy? Check out my post here with our Free Printable Back to school list. I’ll try to start planning for our next year’s school choices about midyear. This gives me plenty of time to research and make lists for supplies that we’ll need.

Not homeschooling? Check with your child’s school and/or teacher for supply list. Many times the local Walmart will have a handy checklist available when you walk in. Continue reading Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

Kirby’s Kids: Our 2018-2019 Homeschool Curriculum Reveal

*This post does contain some affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

Ohhhh! I am so excited to be sharing this post with you. The kids are pretty excited about it too! My fingers are going faster than my brain as I am typing and somehow or another they are managing to put into words what I want to say. I did show a sneak peak of some of the items we’ve received in this post here but now I am going to show you everything we have right now.

If you haven’t seen my latest posts about homeschooling check out the links here but if you are only interested in what we have planned for this year, please keep scrolling.

I’ve been talking about how excited I am for our next homeschool year and I just can’t wait to get started. I have actually talked about this curriculum before but its been awhile. My kids are finally at the age that I think this will work out really well for everyone. Continue reading Kirby’s Kids: Our 2018-2019 Homeschool Curriculum Reveal

Kirby’s Kids: The Who, How, Where, and When of Your Homeschool

In the post Homeschool: Making the Decision to Homeschool we addressed the Why’s and the What’s of Homeschooling and if you are reading this post I’m guessing that you are still interested in this idea so we will get in a little bit deeper. But first I want to welcome you the ever growing Homeschool community!

You are probably chomping at the bit to find the right curriculum and resources but we have a little homework to do first.

Who will you Homeschool?

This question might seem a little silly because we know that you plan to homeschool your kids but have you given a lot of thought into this? What does he/she like to do? How do they learn best? What interests them? Do they have any special needs or concerns?

You really need to think about these questions and figure out what type of learner you have. If you have multiple children there may be a variety of different learning styles present.

There are some people who may be homeschooling grandchildren, step children, or other relatives so you probably need to check into the laws about this as well. Now would be a good time to research learning styles and teaching approaches so you can be prepared for any future challenges they may hold.

How will you Homeshool?

Another silly question, right? Not really as there are many different methods of homeschooling. The top methods include:

  • Charlotte Mason
  • Montessori
  • Ecletic/Relaxed
  • Classical
  • School At Home
  • Waldorf
  • Free Schooling
  • Unschooling

Confused yet? Don’t be just do your research and don’t be afraid to choose the wrong style because you can always change or use a mixture like we do. We use/have used a variety of all of these methods at some point in time. Do what works for you and your family. A boxed curriculum (School At Home)  may work best for one child while another may be better suited for a Montessori approach.

Each child’s needs will change as they grow and their learning style may adapt as well. Knowing a little about each of these methods could help with future planning and decisions.

Check out the internet and Pinterest for ideas and information.

Where will you Homeschool?

Yet another crazy question, I know. It is called Homeschool so you probably intend to school at home, right? Well, not everyone schools at home. Some people school on the road or on vacation. Sometimes kids travel back and forth between houses and school at both so this might not be as straightforward as it seems.

When I first started homeschooling I imagined it would look like school but at home. I tried to set up a little school area with a nice work area and a computer. Plus I had my desk where I could sit and watch the kids work. That didn’t last long.

I mean part of the reason I chose to homeschool was to make it a better environment for my kids. Making them sit still at a hard table wasn’t better. They weren’t happy and they complained, a lot. Just take a look around your house and decide where the best place might be. It probably needs to be as distraction free as possible but easily accessible too. Remember that you can always change your mind later.

As we became more comfortable with homeschooling my idea of how our homeschool should look relaxed, a lot. Most days we are found learning around the big dining table but sometimes we are piled on the bed, or the couch, or maybe sitting outside on the porch, and even the kitchen island has served as our homeschool area a time or two.

If you and your family need a structured learning space then by all means go for it, if you have the space to spare. If you are in a smaller space, like we currently are, then use the space you have. We use headphones to help drown out noises and sometimes we use cardboard dividers between the computers to provide a more personal space. It all depends on the day and what we are doing at the moment.

When will you Homeschool?

Whoa! What do I mean by when? Most people assume that homeschoolers get up early and start schoolwork. They also assume that they work for 5-6 hours or more a day on school work. This is not always the case.

When we first started I felt like we had to work several hours in order to accomplish what we should. The first program we used we would work 8-10 hours a day and still be behind. As time went on I realized that wasn’t the right program for us and we found another one to use.

Now on most days we are finished with our work in 3-4 hours a day. Some days may take longer while some may be even shorter. We also cut back our school week to 4 days a week. Gasp! I know… it felt like we were cheating at first but we found a schedule that worked for us and hopefully I’ll be able to share it with you soon.

You don’t have to homeschool like they do at school. If your kids learn better at night then homeschool in the evening. My older daughter did the majority of her work at night as she is a night owl and hated getting up early. (She now gets up early for work though.)

If your family’s schedule doesn’t work with a Monday-Friday schedule then find a schedule that works. Just keep in mind that some states have a requirements for how many days/hours that you must attend school.

Another thing to consider is that you don’t necessarily need to start school in August/September and end in May/June. You can start whenever you like and stop whenever you like. You can also plan breaks to coordinate with your schedules and vacations. Many families even school all year round to allow for longer breaks in between quarters. Do your research and try out a few ideas.

Note: Many first time homeschooling families will often do a test run during the summer to see if this is something they really want to do.

I do try to write down a tentative start/finish date so that I can keep myself accountable. I also try to pencil in important dates and events so we can plan around them.

That’s a lot of information for now and a lot to work on. If you have your notebook from the last post then use it to jot down some more notes and ideas that have come to you. Be sure to stayed tuned for the next post where I hope to cover the following:

  • Researching and Buying Homeschool Supplies
  • Setting Up a System for Organizing the Supplies
  • Finding a Planner or System for Your Homeschool

Here are a couple of books that cover these topics and more:

You can also check out my Kirby’s Kids page for some old posts and links that we have used in our homeschool.

How To Start Homeschool With 10 Easy Resources

**This post does contain affiliate links with which I may earn a small commission if a purchase is made.

Has the thought of homeschooling entered your mind? Maybe you’ve bounced the idea around but you just aren’t sure it is right for you and your family? I know I thought about it when my oldest kids were in school but at the time it just wouldn’t work for us. I thought it was going to be too difficult but I was wrong and I’ll share some of our favorite resources with you. You can read more about our homeschool journey here. Continue reading How To Start Homeschool With 10 Easy Resources

Dollar Tree Finds: 10/20/2017

Its took me a few days to get this post written but I wanted to share a few neat things I found at my last trip to Dollar Tree.

My littlest ones are still really into dinosaurs and all of them are so artistic it’s complete craziness here sometimes. Right now we have crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, and paper all over the table and floor from their latest projects. I probably have enough artwork to fill a museum… some of these masterpieces will eventually make it to friends and family.

I try my best to restrain myself when I walk down the ‘teacher’ section but I was super excited when I spotted these iDRAW dinosaur books with step by step instructions on how to draw so many different dinosaurs. Then I was almost doing a little happy dance to see that they had a few other versions like sea life, jungle animals, horses, and such. The kids are going to love these and I am hoping to incorporate them into some of their art classes while we homeschool.

There was also a Learn to Recycle kit that I picked up. I think this will work well as we are learning about the earth right now. If I don’t incorporate it into the Science lessons I’m sure I will find a place to use it as a teaching tool and they will have tons of fun doing this activity.

I found a few stickers to use on their projects as well as some jewel toned stickers. These stickers will, hopefully, be used to mark the countries and places we are ‘visiting’ in Social Studies. You can see more about this here. The kids are having a blast with this study so far. We have visited Great Britain and Spain with plans to visit France next week. (Our trip to Greece has been delayed as I haven’t received the Highlights kit yet.)

I’ll keep checking back and bringing you new items that I find to use in our homeschool.

Happy Homeschooling!


Start Date: Jul 5 , 2013
End Date: Ongoing
Type: Evergreen
Categories: Office Products

Homeschool: Freebie Finds 7/2/17

Here are a few of the Homeschool Freebies that I found this past week and printed off to use here at our house. Maybe you will find them helpful at your home too.

(I have a ton of things saved on my computer that I am currently sorting through so be prepared.)  🙂 🙂 🙂

Curriculum Map for Preschool by Pocket of Preschool


Homeschool Freebie Finds

FREE Download: 5 Paleo Snacks Your Kids Can Make

Groovy Lab in a Box and Ford STEAM Experience

Homeschool: Mystery Science Free Subscription

Pizza Hut Book It Program

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Homeschool: Freebie Finds 7/2/17

Homeschool: Freebie Finds 6/22/17



Homeschool: Freebie Finds 6/22/17

Here are a few of the Homeschool Freebies that I found this past week and printed off to use here at our house. Maybe you will find them helpful at your home too.


FREE e-book: 52 Weeks of Homeschool Group Activities

This is packed full of fun ideas, some of which I will be using to change things up around here a bit.

FREE Ten Commandments Copywork

These are available with the option of print or cursive. Such a great way to reinforce memorization and to improve handwriting skills.

Free Learning State Capitals Printables

These will come in so handy for reinforcing the work we have been doing. There are also other links for even more worksheets and activities that I will print out as well.


Also check out: (copy and paste the links)



Character Training Starts at Home

One of the benefits of homeschooling my children has been that I can focus more on character training. I will use this page to link to various resources that I have found and/or used in our homeschool.

Please feel free to add links to your favorite resources in the comments.


Other Links:

Large Families on Purpose: Character Training For Children

Doorposts – Biblical Character Training

Teaching Character to Your Kids | Focus on the Family

Kids of Integrity: Free parenting resources for teaching kids Godly …

What Is Character? – Thoughts On The Importance of Good Character

Character Traits Kids Can Develop | DiscipleBlog.com

Christian Character Traits for Kids | Parenting Like Hannah

Joyful Heart Character Overview — Hubbard’s Cupboard

Teaching Character Qualities | – Preparing the Soil

49 Godly Character Qualities | Grace Online Library

100 Kids Activities To Build Character – Moments A Day

Character Building Activities for Kids – Kids lovetoknow

Character Building Activities for Kids: Ready-to-Use Character …

Also check out:

Homeschool: Character Training on Pinterest