What’s New In Your Summer Curriculum? 2015 Summer Curriculum

Every summer I still school my children . . . I know . . . I am the worst parent on the planet! We school part-time, meaning we school for about an hour three days a week. We cover the basics during the summer. Math and Literature. I also throw in whatever we may not have finished up during our regular school year OR whatever the kids may need a bit of extra attention with.

What’s New In Your Summer Curriculum? 2015 Summer Curriculum

This past school year, we didn't really focus on Spelling, but only because it is not an area that my children do not already excel in. However, this summer we are going to focus on Spelling to keep the girls completely on course and aide them in their continued success with Spelling.

My son attended a private school this year and I don't feel their curriculum was on par with what we were completing at home. His grades have progressively slide down the ladder from first trimester to third trimester. He will be working on Algebra  and Literature with me as well. I have completed an AP Literature curriculum just for him. He will be reading quite a bit for me this summer and writing a lot more. He only wrote two papers this entire year for his teachers. I can not even fathom this as I was having him write 2-5 papers a week for me - in sixth grade! He is not happy with me, but I told him he either accepts this deal with me or he will not be returning to this private school in the fall. I even made him sign a contract!

Each August I write a post on what curriculum we will use for the coming school year. Here is my 2014-2015 home school curriculum2013-2014 home school curriculm2012-2013 school curriculum and  2011-2012 school curriculum posts. 

Math: Saxon Math (Level 5/4 and 6/5 and 1/2 Algebra)
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it for summer? Yes.

We are heavy on Math in this house! I refuse to allow my children to fall behind in this subject.  We did not get through our books this year, so we will be finishing up on Saxon Math levels for the girls. My son will be working on Algebra 1/2. He actually finished this book two years ago, but we are going back and revisiting concepts that I don't feel he did well on this year in Algebra.

Spelling: The Grammar of Spelling
Does it work? We will see
Will I continue to use it?  Unsure

This is new curriculum for the summer. I had used Spelling Power in the past and it just didn't work for us. My youngest daughter is a great speller and my oldest daughter is an average speller.I have Grade 4 and Grade 5 for the girls and so far they really like it.

Handwriting/Penmanship: Classically Cursive
Does it work? Yes
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

My daughters have wonderful fine motor skills, but is a bit off.  I think they struggle more with where to place their paper in relation to their writing utensil. My 3rd grader will work with Book IV The Attributes of God and my 5th grader will work on Book III Shorter Catechism. 

Literature/Composition: Various Books with Comprehension Guides
Does it work? YES
Will I continue to use it?  Yes

Grade 3 & Grade 5Dangerous Journey From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler and Misty of Chincoteague

Grade 7th: Uncle Tom's Cabin, A Tale of Two Cities and Moby Dick

Field Trips/Extra Activities: Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, State Fairs

We have many, many field trips since we live in a great city with numerous museums. Field Trip days will always be the favorite. My son is going to Tennessee with his father for a week while I am away at sleep-away camp with the girls. They have numerous activities planned whilst there.

About Tiaras & Tantrums: Rese is a mom of three. She enjoys home educating her kiddos, taking photos, and traveling the globe. Rese is a family photographer and home educator. Connect with Rese on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Sign up via email for the latest updates from Tiaras & Tantrums.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

 A couple of weeks ago I was looking through out books shelves as I had run out of room . . . yet again . . . to add new books. I have had to move books around from room to room in our house to make room for newer books as my kids grow. As my children grow, their tastes in books evolve and I need to freshen up the books shelves.

My youngest daughter needed to make room in her bedroom for some new books that she is reading. She is reading long chapter books now and asked me if I could move all the "baby" books out of her bedroom. (secretly, I almost cried at this, I was so sad)

I lovingly went through all her shelves and removed all the books that I had read to her, to her older sister and even to her older bother  . . . for some many nights, for so many years. I can not part with these books and have moved them to the basement in a box, safely stored away for another time they will be shared. Because believe me, I will be reading these very same books to my grandbabies some day.

Here are some of my favorite books that I am saving for later. I would suggest investing in the hardback versions of these, because you’ll read them again and again  . . . and again. Obviously this is a biased list and I really could go on and on because I had a huge box to pack up. But here are some of our favorite favorites.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: When my son was born, this is one of the books I received from a dear friend who told me her son loved it when he was small. It quickly because a favorite and stayed that way for at least a decade in my home. It was so well loved, that I actually had to purchase another books to save the first one from disappearing completely. I now have both stored away. Goodnight Moon is one of the most beloved bedtime stories of all time. This classic bedtime story walks your child through a young child’s bedtime ritual, as he says good night to everything around.  I had this book memorized and I actually could probably still recite it if pressed. Best if read in a hushed voice! This is one story that will soon become a family favorite.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Guess How Much I Love You: This book was likely my favorite to read to my kids. I bought it and I adored reading it to my babies. They loved hearing it and still to this day will ask me how much I love them.  Little Nutbrown Hare wants his daddy, Big Nutbrown Hare, to know just how much he really loves him. So he keeps coming up with more and more reasons to love his father and they try to outdo each other. It is a fun read and something that will always bring smiles straight to your hearts.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: This charming and delightful book is still a favorite and I moved it from my youngest daughter's room o my oldest daughter's room, by request to not store it away. An alphabet story that is funny and with a bit of a twist that will keep you all giggling. It is so great, we are still reading it, 12 years later.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt Written by Michael and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury:  A father and his four children set out on a fine day to go on a bear hunt through the grass, through a stream, and into the wild. As they reach the end of the hunt, they come upon a bear who chases them all the way home. Was the bear real or did they pretend it into existence? This story is always super fun to read and your kids will ask you to read it again as soon as you turn the last page. Mine always did.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

The Napping House By Audrey Wood and Don Wood : Everyone in the house is napping. Everyone, that is, except one little flea who decides to cause all sorts of chaos.  Fun and  silly,  there is no way this won't become a family favorite to share over and over. . 

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle This whimsical story with Carle’s iconic collage illustrations of the hungry caterpillar and the beautiful butterfly is all about teaching the days of the week and counting.  The book unfolds the life of a caterpillar from the moment it is in an egg to the transformation it makes into a beautiful butterfly.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: A touching story of a young boy and his favorite tree. Over the years, the tree gives the boy what he wants–and as the boy gets older, he wants more and more from the tree, until the tree has nothing left to give. Well, almost nothing. This book is all about love, real love.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: In this classic story, Max dons his wolf suit to make mischief–and ends up being sent to bed without supper. While stuck in his room, he sets out on an imaginative journey to the land of the Wild Things, where they make him King. He rules over the Wild Rumpus, but then returns home to his very own room, where his dinner is waiting for him–and it’s still warm. This was a favorite of my son.

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Judy and Ron Barrett: Here is another favorite of my son. My girls didn't enjoy it as much until a movie was made based on this book. Hilarity rules, as this mighty storm with orange juice rain, hamburger hail and mashed potato snow makes life messy. Just watch out for the giant falling pancakes. 

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Willems:  This book is hilarious! It must e read really loud and with great character! When the bus driver has to leave the bus for a few minutes, he cautions those who are left behind not to let the pigeon drive the bus. The Pigeon will stop at nothing to get his chance to drive the bus. Great lesson here!

10 Best Children's Books of all Time | Books on our Shelves

BONUS: Blueberries for Sal Robert McCloskey: A highlight of any summer in the midwest is picking blueberries.  When little Sal and her mother go out to pick blueberries to can for winter, they run into a little problem. Sal loves picking the berries, but she loves eating them even more. Sal gets a bit lost and follows the wrong momma. It is always fun to find out what happens to Sal. .

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show #‎MoochieKalala‬

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show #‎MoochieKalala‬

This past Sunday, the first episode of the new, Chicago kids' TV series, Moochie Kalala Detectives Club, started. Moochie Kalala inspires Chicagoland kids to discover science. Starring Tim Kazurinsky as the fun grandpa telling his grandchildren, Evelyn Alumbreros and Gregory Vasquez, amazing stories that lead them a search in Chicago's museums. 

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show #‎MoochieKalala‬

Each episode inspires Chicagoland children to discover science, and features a Chicago museum and its scientist! The first episode showed the grandchildren visiting the Adler Planetarium to learn what scientists know about the planet Mars. The Moochie Kalala detectives give the viewers a taste of what locals get to see all year long--our great city of Chicago. During each episoide they visit an area classroom to perform a basic science experiment related to that week's episode and museum visit.

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show #‎MoochieKalala‬

The remaining five episodes visit the Museum of Science and Industry to learn about tornadoes; the Lincoln Park Zoo to learn about big primates; the Field Museum  to see Sue, the T. Rex; the Robie House to discover Chicago's great architecture and the last episode will be at the Shedd Aquarium to learn about the beautiful beluga whales.

Moochie Kalala: A New Chicago-Based WTTW Show #‎MoochieKalala‬

This Sunday during Episode #2: The Grabinators vs. the Hoagies of Skunksville, featuring the Museum of Science and Industry Did you know that tornadoes are made from grabinators & hoagies? Either did the grandchildren, Kyle and Mandy, until Grandpa told his story. To check the facts, the detectives head to Museum of Science & Industry and meet with physicist Olivia Castellini.

Awesome Experiment #1 - Make a Tornado!!


  • Two 2-Liter clear plastic bottles (they should be empty bottles!)
  • Duct tape
  • 1 washer Water
  • Food coloring(any color)

Instructions for Experiment:

1. Fill one of the bottles two-thirds full with water.

2. Add food coloring to the water.

3. Take the metal washer and place it on top of the bottle opening.

4. Take the second bottle and place it upside down on top of the first one

5. Match the openings perfectly and tape with duct tape (tape tightly so no water leaks out).

6. Turn the bottles upside down so that the bottle with water is on top. Swirl thebottle in a circular counter-clockwise motion.

7. What shape does the water takeas it moves from the upper bottle to the lower one?

8. Now, change it up! Tip bottles slightly. Move faster or slower

What happens to the tornado? Does the Tornado get wider or narrower?

TV Air Times

Episode Names and Broadcast Dates

  • Episode 1 – Featuring the Adler Planetarium, “Space Dragon of Oceanic Mars”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 18
  • Episode 2 – Featuring Museum of Science and Industry, “The Grabinators & Hoagies of Skunksville”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 25
  • Episode 3 – Featuring Lincoln Park Zoo, “We’re All Good at Something”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 1
  • Episode 4 – Featuring The Field Museum, “Cave Girl & The T-Rex”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 8
  • Episode 5 – Featuring Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, “Magic Blocks of Creation”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 15
  • Episode 6 – Featuring Shedd Aquarium, “A Whale of a Tale”; launches 11 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 22

Moochie Kalala Detectives Club airs on WTTW Kids, Channel 11 in Chicago on Sundays at 11am, and on Saturdays at 7am. The shows are also available on Comcast VOD and will run March-June 2015 on WTTW Kids