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We're using this program right now, level 1. My daughter loves it so far.

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Easy Streusel Topped Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of our favorite sweets.  The majority of the time I have made it with a streusel topping which makes it even yummier!

The recipe that I have been using lately is from Taste of Home, one of my favorite recipe sites.


Banana Bread
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The original recipes calls for an optional 1 cup of walnuts to be folded in after everything is mixed, but a few of my kids experience side effects from some nuts so I don't put them in.

Streusel Topping
The original recipe does not call for a streusel topping but we love it! Works well on other quick breads such as zucchini bread, coffee cakes, etc)

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

What to Do

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 
  2. In another bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. 
  3. Mix up your streusel: Mix together brown sugar, flour, oats and butter until about pea-sized crumbles form. Set aside. (You can find the recipe for this again in my Streusel Topping for Quickbreads post)
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. 
  5. Sprinkle streusel topping over the batter.
  6. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. 

Yield: 1 loaf 


I hardly ever ever buy buttermilk so I make a substitution by combining lemon juice (or white vinegar) with regular milk.

Here is the substitution I've been using:

For each cup of buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. (Source: Taste of Home)

Why use buttermilk?
I wondered the same thing so I googled and found out that the reason why buttermilk is great to use in cakes and baking is that it combines with the baking soda to produce bubble of carbon dioxide gas. These bubbles are what gives your cake more volume. In addition, I read that this acid interferes with gluten formation to help keep your cake tender and light (Why Use Buttermilk - LifeMadeSweet)

TW Consonant Blend

TW Word list:
 twig, twin, twit, tweed, tweet, twelve, twenty, twice, twine, twirl, twist

We ended up studying this blend by itself and it was a bit hard to find resources for just this blend, but I stumbled upon a few which were very helpful.


TW Blend activities pack from CarlsCorner - includes a "tw" word slide. cut and paste activity, cloze activity, crossword puzze, word search and more.

TW Worksheet from Study Ladder

Our TW phonics notebook entry with resources from CarlsCorner (see link above)

Grade 6 Social Studies

Sixth Grade Math


6th grade Social Studies book (PDF) - Ancient Civilizations and Discovering Our Past Civilizations. You have to download each chapter separately but it looks like a pretty good book. (You can use a browser extension like DownThemAll (Firefox) to download them all quickly.)
The page also includes links to related social studies ebooks for specific social studies topics. 

Lessons - 6th and 7th grade downloadable lessons


MacMillanMH Social Studies - Grade 6 (these are made to accompany their textbooks, but you might still be able to use them on their own along with other resources on the internet.

Sites -I used this site years ago with my oldest daughter. It has loads of kid friendly reading material, powerpoints and activities/projects. Suitable for multiple elementary grades.

R Blends

br, cr, dr, fr, pr, tr, gr


Word Warehouse- R Blends


Beginning R Blends Tic Tac Toe

Beginning R Blends Stairs Game

Beginning R Blends Picture CardsBeginning R Blends Picture Cards

Sample 2 Day Lesson Plan for R Blends

Day 1:

  1. Go over Review flashcard deck
  2. Introduce new blends:
    1. Show flashcards and give sound of each new blend; (you might glue a picture of a word that starts with the blend on the back--see my matching cards) have student repeat sounds after you. 
    2. Do online interactive: Word Warehouse- R Blends
    3. Play Stair Step Game
    4. Have student read words and sentences with the R Blends (do reading drills, stair step game with words instead of the blends, tic tac toe, bingo, etc).
    5. Dictate words (or show picture cards) of words that start with the blends, have student write the blend that makes the sound found in the word (if you feel student can write the actual words, you can alternatively have them write the words)
  3. Wrap up by reviewing R blend flashcards having student reproduce the sound of each blend and/or make a visual for student's phonics notebook.

Day 2:

  1. Go over Review flashcard deck
  2. Practice R Blends
    1. Go over R blends flashcards (or use student's visual in notebook, if you made one the previous lesson, to review the sounds)
    2. Practice reading words and sentences with the R blends (game format is preferred, if not, just read lists and sentences)
    3. Clue game - give clues for words that start with the R blends and have student write the blend or word to match.
    4. Hop a Blend - my daughter likes this game. I call out words that start with the blends, she hops near the flashcard with that blend (or you could take it outside and draw the blends with chalk in circles or squares).
  3. Wrap up by reviewing R blend flashcards.

Our phonics notebook entries for R blends:

Beginning L Blends

bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl


Word Lists

Quick beginning reader lists:

bl - blab, blog, blob, blot, black, block, blast, bleed
cl - clan, clam, clap, clad, clod, clog, clot, club, clip
fl - flag, flap, fled, flip, flab, flat, flop
gl - glass, glad, glum, flob
pl - plan, plum, plot, plus, plop, plug
sl - sled, slab, slap, slid, slip, slam, slim, slit, slat




TJ Homeschooling's SL Blends Learning Pack (FREE) - Flashcards, tic tac toe boards, reading drill board (words, sentences), handwriting practice

    Pillars of Eemaan (Belief)

    There are 6 pillars (articles of faith) that a Muslim must believe in:

    • Allah
    • Allah's Angels
    • Allah's Books
    • Allah's Messengers
    • The Last Day
    • Allah's Decree, the good and bad of it
    “Iman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Qadar and what it brings of good or bad.” (Saheeh Muslim)

    Treatises/Book Links's Imaan Links - Salaf us Saalilh/ is my first go-to site for Islamic studies reference/reading material, alhamdulillah. Its "Imaan and Its Pillars page" has oodles of resources that you can use, in shaa Allah, to build Islamic Studies lessons on the pillar of eemaan. It has general works on eemaan (belief), links to works on the increase and decrease of eemaan, as well as works on each of the six pillars of eemaan.

    Explaining The Fundamentals Of Faith : Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen - nice, concise work, seems great as a base for making your own lessons.

    Articles of Faith - Dr. Mahmood Murad

    Basics of Belief - various short PDFs pertaining to some of the pillars of Eemaan.

    Anchor Charts/Posters

    Two posters of the Pillars of Eemaan that I made eons ago. Among the first of my resources that I made on the computer.........



    "Explaining Faith: The Beliefs of a Muslim"
    An excellent PDF for younger readers on the subject of the pillars of eemaan. It is very nicely organized and contains review questions throughout.

    Pillars of Eemaan Test/Worksheet
    A nice, simple clean test/worksheet on the pillars of eemaan from UmmMaimoonahRecords, 20 questions.

    Activity Pages/Notebooking

    Pillars of Eeemaan Notebooking ChartVersion 1: This individual page allows student to enumerate the pillars. It also includes pictures of the pillars that can be glued on. 

    Pillars of Eeemaan Notebooking Chart
    Version 2: This individual page allows student to enumerate the pillars, in a slightly different format. Also includes pictures so student can glue the pillar names on instead of writing. Download Version 2

    A coloring book that I made up for my kids. 9 pages.

    Pillars of Eemaan Coloring BookPillars of Eemaan Coloring Book


    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards

    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards

    Pillars of Eemaan Flashcards

    "Tastes Like A Restaurant" Orange Chicken

    Last week I was in the mood for something different and I was walking down the store aisles trying to think of something to do with this chicken that I had just put in my basket.  In the frozen section I saw some orange chicken. I love Asian food so that settled it and I googled an Orange Chicken recipe right there on the spot and came up with this one at

    There were many versions of orange chicken, some baked, some fried. This one fries the chicken in a batter.

    Ingredients (Amended)

    The original recipe called for rice wine in the sauce; I omitted that because its alcohol.

    • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • white pepper
    • oil ( for frying)
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup flour

    Orange Sauce:

    • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
    • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
    • 5 tablespoons sugar
    • 5 tablespoons white vinegar*
    • Zest from 1 orange**

    *In some comments, reviewers said they used brown sugar instead of the vinegar, so I did too.
    **Could use orange juice as well

    A few notes about this recipe:

    • Several people in the comments said that this amount of orange sauce was not enough, so some even quadrupled it (which I did).
    • Many complained about the directions being confusing.  I amended the directions below to reflect what I did, but you can see the original recipe here.

    What to Do

    Cooking the Chicken:
    1. Place chicken pieces in large bowl, set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl stir egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well, set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup of the cornstarch and all the flour.
    4. Fold the cornstarch/flour mixture into the egg mixture to form a batter. (This is what I did differently).
    5. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
    6. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp. 
    7. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.

    This was my chicken after frying! So happy with the results because I generally am no good at deep frying things.  This time deep frying, I used our candy thermometer that came with our candy making kit to get the temperature just right and I think that made all the difference.  I set the microwave timer and cooked the pieces for 3 minutes, sometimes a skosh longer.  It was hard to keep everyone from eating the chicken at this point and I got a lot of "yums" and this is "awesome."

    Making the Orange Sauce

    Now the instructions were also unclear here about the orange sauce because at one point it said "add the orange sauce" but didn't say previously how to make it.  So this is what I did:

    1. In a tablespoon or so of oil, I stir fried/sauteed the green onion, garlic, and gingerroot in a saucepan. (I put in the garlic last because I know it can burn quickly). At this point you could add the red chili pepper flakes, but I, unlike my kids, do not like spicy, hot foods, so I omitted it.
    2. Then I added the water, sesame oil (my new favorite thing), soy sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar (I just used the same amount as I would have for the vinegar--but I did make more than one batch worth so I adjusted it accordingly) and I added the orange zest (some reviewers said they used orange juice. I can't remember, I may have added some orange juice as well).  I stirred and let simmer for a few minutes. 
    3. Next, I mixed the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with some water to form a liquidy mix, and I added that to the sauce and let it simmer until it thickened up.
    4. Add the chicken to the sauce in a skillet and let simmer for a few minutes.
    Chicken simmering in the pan

    1. Serve over rice (the recipe said jasmine rice, but I just used regular white rice and threw in some steamed carrots and broccoli, along with canned corn.)
    The final product!

    This was such a hit. One of my high schoolers came home from football practice and ate some and he said he thought it was from a restaurant at first.

    I encourage you to view the original recipe as well as the comments below it as they were very helpful for me.