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Hamburger Essay Outline – Free Writing Printable

Hamburger essay outline for literature

This year we’ve been working on essay writing in one of our co-op classes. A lot. The kids are at different points with their writing skills: a few of them are all about writing out a detailed outline, complete with color coded paragraphs, while a few others need a more visual approach to grasping the concept of outlining.

Just for fun, I asked Laurianna to help me create a visual outline that would give everyone a little start on writing  and completing a five paragraph essay. Their essays and the outline needed to include:

  • a thesis
  • three key points/paragraphs
  • a conclusion

One of the things that I continually stress to our kids is the importance of being able to write a strong thesis and/or introduction, make valid points that support and prove their thesis, and then end with a strong concluding paragraph to tie it all together. Sometimes a simple visual can help them map their thoughts, make sure things flow together properly, and ensure they aren’t getting off topic.

The kids can start with the hamburger essay outline to map out their initial thoughts, and eventually they build a more detailed essay outline like below:

  • Thesis and ‘hook’ sentence
  • Main paragraph idea #1: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Main paragraph idea #2: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Main paragraph idea #3: sub-points 1, 2, and 3
  • Conclusion

The hamburger essay outline is just a simple pencil/pen sketch that we had fun coloring in, but it has been a help to several of our kids and the kids in co-op – and we wanted to share it with you all as well!

Feel free to download a copy here – and please feel free to share with friends!


p.s. on a completely unrelated note to anything, it just makes me giggle saying ‘hamburger’ because then I picture Steve Martin as the Pink Panther trying to say the word hamburger… and I get completely sidetracked.

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Homeschool Made Simple – Learning Through Literature

Some of the most enjoyable and memorable times in the years of our homeschooling have revolved around reading together and learning through literature. When Compass Classroom asked me to take a peek at a new video series, Homeschool Made Simple with Carole Joy Seid, well – let’s just say I was excited. Literature-based learning is something that speaks to my heart and we’ve seen such great results in our own family because of it.

The Homeschool Made Simple Video Series

In the Homeschool Made Simple video series, Carole Joy Seid’s heart comes through as she speaks to parents on how to focus their learning on great books and keep reading as the core of their learning. Through literature, whether a biography, classic literature of a period, or books about a historical period, we can learn a variety of subjects – and learning can be as uncomplicated as we make it.
For families new to homeschooling or seasoned homeschoolers, there is something for everyone in the series. Think of it as a seminar that comes right to your home to refresh you. There are many different methods of homeschooling available to us as families (and I am so very grateful for that!), and many of us will agree that books and stories are the base of so much that we learn together. This series from Carol Joy Seid is so much more than showing how literature can be the core of all we do; it is also a huge encouragement to parents and a model of how homeschooling can be done simply, be enjoyable to everyone, and also affordable.
Homeschool Made Simple

Workshops in Homeschool Made Simple:

There are six workshops in the Homeschool Made Simple series, available in either DVD format or as a download, and an included book list. You can watch when you have time, take notes, and revisit later through the months and years if you need encouragement or a refresher.


1. Children & Reading
2. Choosing Books
3. Building Character in Children
4a. Math, Writing, Science, Art & Music
4b. Bible & A Typical Day
5. Children & Media
6. Teaching History Using Literature

I love that the setting of the series is ‘intimate’ – not videos taken at a large conference, but rather in someone’s living room and almost in a more 1:1 format – you feel like Carole is talking and encouraging you personally. Watching these videos (and I’m still finishing up the series!) has been a great reminder to me to slow down and re-evaluate plans – and simplify in a few areas.
Take a few minutes and watch a trailer of Homeschool Made Simple with Carole Joy Seid and get a feel for the class. You can also view a one of the workshops, Children and Reading, for free.



I would SO encourage you to watch the Children and Reading workshop today and rediscover the love of reading and learning through literature! How have you integrated reading into your curriculum for learning?

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Middle and High School Planner Printables for Homeschool

Middle and high school planning printables

Now I don’t know about you, but despite my best intentions, I seem to always forget something that has already been purchased, curriculum ideas for upcoming years, or what may already be on our bookshelves to use for our younger children. Sticky notes and random sheets of paper just don’t cut it, so the Middle and High School Planner pages were put together to make life a little easier for myself overall. (And let’s face it, these are a lot prettier than the random sheets of notebook paper that were accumulating in my binder).

I’m printing off a copy for each of our children and it gives me a central location to jot down notes, ideas, and what we’re doing as we go along. Overall, there are sixteen pages in the Middle and High School Planner pages (plus one that you don’t have to print at the end), and two different versions – a blue/green color-themed set and a rainbow color-themed set. Laurianna saw me working on them and said she thought hers should have more color, so I had to readjust them. (grins)

If you’d like to see what we’ve been planning for homeschool high school so far, don’t miss our Homeschool High School Plan post that was shared earlier. In addition to walking through our overall plans I share how overwhelmed I was to begin with and some tips on laying the foundation for the upcoming years. There is also a link to a simple overview printable that you may prefer to this more in-depth one.

A Quick Look & Overview Planning

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

Use the first two pages to plan out subjects and curriculum for each year. In the left side column there is room to track the subjects and then plan out what you will use from 6th grade through 12th grade. Be sure to keep track of what you already have on hand – and don’t need to purchase!

High School Outline, Requirements, and Schedules

high school daily schedule and requirements

This section allows you to plug in all the information that your state may require for graduation, AP placement, decide your grading scale, and brainstorm elective ideas for your child. There is also a sheet that can be printed off yearly to create a weekly schedule for your child.

Tracking High School Credits

credit and class tracking for high school

Keep track of the credits your child is earning, books read, extra curricular activities and other important information you might need for high school transcripts. There are five pages for this section: one for early credits (prior to 9th grade if your state allows it) and four pages, one for each year of high school.

Course Descriptions

Early and high school course description tracking

This section allows you write a short course description of each class that your child takes for credit (may come in handy for college admission later).

–> Download the Middle School and High School Class Planning (blue/green)  <–

–> Download the Middle and High School Planning Pages (rainbow)  <–

Questions about Homeschooling in High School?

Homeschooling in High School

There’s nothing that can strike fear in the heart of a veteran homeschooling parent like the thought of homeschooling high school. Despite what may be years of successful homeschooling, thinking of high school can bring all the fears and doubts of the early years resurging in a homeschool parent’s heart. Read the post Homeschooling in High School for tips and resources from a veteran homeschool mom who has homeschooled and graduated a high schooler.

If you would like to share, please share a link to my blog or to the page that hosts these files. Please do not link directly to just the PDF files, but directly to this post. Please feel free to print this pdf file for your own personal use. They were created for private and non-profit use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

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Settlers of Catan – Family Game Night

settlers of catan board game

The girls and I have a new game that we are in love with – Settlers of Catan. It’s been one that was recommended to us for ages, has been sitting in my Amazon cart, and two weeks I found it at a scratch-and-dent sale of sorts for an amazing price. To help you understand how much we are enjoying it, the game sits out and has been played nearly every single day since it came through the door of the house.

How to Play Settlers of Catan

The game board is built in a hexagonal shape and there are two sides to choose from to give players a variety when replaying. Each small hexagon on the board represents a different resources: forest, sheep, rock, grain, and brick. There are four different colors that can be used (up to four players) to build ‘settlements’ on the game board.

During the game, players collect resources based on where their first settlements are built, expand their territory by building roads and cities, and try to strategically ‘take over’ the island. The first person to reach 10 points earned by building road, settlements, and collecting special cards wins the game.

There is a great overview on the Catan website and even a game assistant app you can download to help learn the rules (love this!).

Once you really start getting into the game, there are additional extension packs that build on the main board so you can grow and expand on the base game: seafarers, cities & knights, traders & barbarians, explorers & pirates – and so much more!

Skills Catan Works On

There are a few things that Catan has been great in working on with the kids (and me too!)

  • Thinking strategically – while you want to get settlements and roads on the board, you definitely have to plan and think ahead on where you place your pieces so you are able to collect resources. You earn resources based on the number that is rolled (there are numbers in the center of each hexagon). If you have a settlement on that number, you earn that resource. Resources are then traded in to build roads, cities, and armies.

  • Probability – you never know how the die is going to roll. While each number on the board shows the likelihood of that number being rolled, you may have a game full of different numbers.

  • Negotiation – It’s frustrating to not have the resources you need to build something and players are allowed to trade/barter with each other. You can be stingy or kind (and I think we all can use a little kindness, right). Players need to think strategically in terms of trading, but it’s been neat to watch how relationships play into the game and are being built.

  • Decision-making – during the game players have to make various strategic decisions on how they will build their settlements and take over, based on their resources. Is it wiser to build a larger army or put up more settlements?

  • Value/Risk – As we play the game more and we begin to get used to how the game is played, there are more things I am noticing. Based on how you are doing, you can choose to sabotage another players settlements to prevent them from winning (by using the robber or stealing resources), block them from growing their territory – you need to weigh what is most important to you and if it will help you out in the long run.

      Recommended Ages

    Settlers of Catan is recommended for ages 10 and up. So far we have only played it with our 12 and older crew because the younger two discovered Battleship and have been playing that constantly. The game is built for four players, but you can add a 5 and 6 player extension, as well as multiple variants of the base board to make the game last longer. There is also a junior Catan version targeted toward younger children.

    The game typically takes us between 30 minutes to an hour and a half to play, depending on how strategically pieces are placed, how ruthless players are with each other, and often just by chance! Overall we have LOVED it.

    That’s what we’ve been busy playing lately.

    What games have you been playing and would you recommend – should we ever peel ourselves away from Catan?

A Few Other Games We Love

  • Farkle – a simple game of dice
  • Blokus – strategy game full of colors and shapes


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Homeschool Planner End of the Year Sale – Only $10!!

Homeschool Planner Sale 2014

With Christmas presents all unwrapped and messes (somewhat) cleaned up, my focus is turning back to the remainder of the school year and getting things in order to start school again next week. If you are looking for a way to get your homeschool organized in 2015, you won’t want to miss this HUGE sale on the Weekly Homeschool Planner!

The Weekly Homeschool Planner is on sale for $10 {that’s an 50% savings!} until January 5, 2015.  Click the “Add to Cart” button at the end of this post and use the code ORGANIZE15 at checkout. Be sure to click ‘update cart’ before checkout too!

An Editable pdf Homeschool Planner!

The Weekly Homeschool Planner is an editable pdf document, meaning each of the pdf pages can be typed in, edited, and saved to your own computer every time you use it. Type lesson plans into the page and print them off or simply save them to your computer ~ the choice is up to you!

Planner snapshot

Edit plans any time and save the planner to your computer to have a digital copy each year. Organize your school day, record your daily learning, track testing results and more! Personalize it to fit your family! You can also print off an 8.5” x 11” paper copy and store it in a binder.

Homeschool Planner 2013 copy

Grab the pdf Weekly Homeschool Planner for $10!

Add to Cart

The Weekly Homeschool Planner includes daily attendance tracking, 40 weeks of customizable planning and journal sheets, yearly curriculum planning pages, evaluation sheets, field trip planning, standardized testing and assessment result tracking, daily to-do lists, menu planners and more! View a sample peek of the Weekly Homeschool Planner.

  • 138 planning pages ~ 8.5″ x 11″ sized
  • 12 blank month-at-a-glance pages
  • 40 weeks of weekly planning and journal sheets: each page can be customized to the subjects that your family studies and can be saved to your
  • Preschool planning sheets
  • Field trip/Event plan sheets
  • Yearly curriculum planning sheets
  • Yearly planning and evaluation sheets
  • Yearly attendance tracking sheets
  • Field trip/Event plan sheets
  • Daily to-do lists
  • Main dish menu planner
  • Customizable chore charts
  • Important contacts info
  • Additional note space
  • Standardized testing and yearly assessment result tracking
  • Homeschooling requirement planning

Grab the Weekly Homeschool Planner Today!

Homeschool Planner coiled

Grab the pdf editable Weekly Homeschool Planner for $10!

Hurry! The sale ends at midnight on Monday, January 5, 2015!

Add to Cart


Already purchased the Weekly Homeschool Planner? Then become an affiliate so you get a 25% commission using your affiliate link when you share the planner with others! {Note: if you purchased the planner in the last week, send me an email and I will refund you the difference!}.

* This is an editable pdf file that you can save to your computer and use year after year. To learn more about the Weekly Homeschool Planner, click HERE. MAC and LINUX users, please be sure to open the document in Adobe, not your MAC viewer or other pdf viewer. You can download a free copy of Adobe reader here.

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