Weekly Wrap-up: Getting Back to Normal and Other Delusions

angel on rolled stone at Jesus's former tomb

angel on rolled stone at Jesus’s former tomb

Life is slowly getting back to normal. The kids are nearly through with their process of Grandma detoxification…as I call it. We still have tons of treats to eat and I will be glad when they are all gone…four large boxes of chocolate pop-tarts, three boxes of chocolate cereal and other goodies that I never purchase. After the grandma detox will come the sugar detox and then everything will be back to normal. Yeah normal!!!

This week is Holy Week. It is the one time of year I miss the Catholic Church. During this week I long for the traditions, pageantry, and solemnity of Holy Week. I’ve been a Christian for almost twenty years now…half of those years in the Catholic Church and half as a…non-denominational Christian…some sort of Protestant I guess. Every Sunday when I go to church (currently Baptist) I always wonder why there is no Crucifix…why do Protestants shun the Crucifix. Maybe I should ask about it one of these days. Tomorrow is Good Friday…and I will miss walking the Way of the Cross.

art lessons

art lessons

Speaking of the Catholic Church…guess where I will be this time next week…My friend Mrs. Cuddle-me and I are going to the homeschool convention in Cincinnati. We will be staying in the guest room at the Monastery where I was once a member. The last time I stayed in that room was in the summer of 1999…hoping and praying to be accepted into the community. Standing in that room again might be an…odd moment for me. I am looking forward to seeing my Sisters and Mother again, going to my first convention, and sharing this strange and beautiful moment with my friend. This time next week I will be encountering a memory of myself…should be weird.

Littlest sleeping during science lessons

My husband and I decided to spend Resurrection Sunday at home this year. I am on nursery rotation at church this month and will be tired after taking care of a class full of two years olds. A day at home with just my family sounds peaceful.

We started our summer semester this week in the homeschool. We have a few chapters of Story of the World to finish and about twenty lessons from Primary Early American History (Beautiful Feet Book) to finish up from the school year. This week we added a weather and climate study and we started Geography through Literature from Beautiful Feet Books. We have only completed four lessons in the geography study so far but the crew absolutely loves the course. I can already tell our summer studies are going to be great fun! We’ve also been working our way through the See The Light The Crossmaker art DVD lessons this week…the crew is loving it.

geography lessons

geography lessons

We got our IOWA test results back this week and I was very happy with the crew’s performance…mostly. I am still concerned about math. We are using MathUSee and I am wondering if we should switch to Christian Light Education math. Most of their lower scores (lower but still average) were in math. Should I switch or not…undecided at the moment.

If anyone has some tips about attending a homeschool convention I am very open to advise…

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Late Edition

 

the spoiling by Grandma

the spoiling by Grandma

My mother stayed with us this past week so I am late getting the weekly wrap-up posted. She takes the kids shopping for toys and buys them a bunch of junk food and then spends the rest of the week sleeping on the couch or reading. She usually drives Oldest nuts with her constant praising and coddling and ignores the rest of the kids. These visits are stressful for me…for all of us.

I usually have a few nightmares during visits. Most of these dreams center around my dad kidnaping my daughter while my mother does nothing to stop him. I am always too late to save her from the raping. I’ve had these dreams for years and only when she visits. I dreaded the dream and the waking panic that would drive me out of bed in the middle of the night to check on my sleeping children…

This time it was different. I…woke up in the nightmare…knowing exactly what was going to happen. I told my daughter to stand behind me and cover her face and I waited where I could see the front door. He opened the door and I told him to leave and not enter my home. He laughed at me and said I could not stop him and stepped across the threshold. I turned him into hamburger meat with an M-14 (haven’t fired one of those since my ROTC days in college!). I couldn’t go back to sleep for a while and I’m not really sure what to think of it. I told Jesus about the dream and later my husband. But, the nightmare never returned for the duration of her stay.

the tulips bloomed this week

the tulips bloomed this week

I updated my cell to a smart phone last week and have joined the modern world. After transferring files to the new phone I found Christmas pictures from five years ago…when we first moved out here. My babies have grown too much!

Last weekend Sparkles went to a Frozen themed birthday party for her little cousin. A young lady was dressed up as Elsa and Sparkles couldn’t stop talking about meeting the “real Elsa”! Afterward we all went out for a late lunch. We decided to take the kids somewhere new and different (no more chicken nuggets and kid food!). We took them to a Chinese buffet. They actually enjoyed the experience and asked to go again sometime. My husband and I even talked Middle Boy into eating Oldest’s dessert when he wasn’t looking! I managed to get a blurry picture of his reaction…fun times.

Littlest and his first order

Littlest and his first order

Over the weekend the kids enjoyed an Easter Egg Hunt at my husband’s workplace. To our astonishment, Littlest hopped up in the Easter Bunny’s lap with hugs and enthusiasm. For some reason he wanted to give the plastic eggs back to the bunny. Littlest also got to order his very first meal at a restaurant. Usually he just eats off of my plate but he has been grumbling about it lately. He wants to have his own plate like a big boy. He ordered the smiley face chocolate chip pancake at IHOP. He was ecstatic and too excited to eat for a while. The rest of the patrons around us were rather amused.

This week we are back to school. We have some history to finish and we are beginning our weather and climate study and a geography through literature study through Beautiful Feet Books. We all missed school last week and desperately need our routine back…

Here’s a few pictures from this week and a few of the lost pictures from my old phone…

Weekly Wrap-up: Ten Years Blessed

our wedding day
our wedding day

We reached a milestone this week. On Tuesday (yes, April Fool’s Day) we celebrated ten years of marriage…well kinda. The day came and went like any other day, much like our wedding day. We were married at the courthouse then took Oldest to the doctor because we thought he may have an ear infection and then my husband went back to work. He was getting ready to leave on a business trip to China. He ended up coming home from that trip early because his dad took a turn for the worse. My Father-in-law was blessed to be surrounded by his family when he passed on to encounter Jesus. We didn’t have time for a honeymoon.

first butterfly of the year

first butterfly of the year

I used to think about our tenth anniversary and maybe planning a trip together or something special. Ten years arrives rather quickly. We spent our tenth anniversary together much like the day we married. I taught the kids and he went to work. I spent a very ordinary day feeling incredibly blessed. Ten years ago I would have never believed that I could be so happy. I live in joy every day…a messy with kids kind of joy. I’ve spent the week counting my many blessings…gratitude filled is a wonderful way to be. I think an ordinary day was the best way for us to celebrate ten years together. These past ten years have been the best and happiest years of my life…and honestly anything but ordinary.

Forsythia bush

Forsythia bush

This week went by in a blur. I spent last Friday evening with my friends chatting and working on my scrapbook. I didn’t get home until four in the morning! After four hours sleep we took the kids skating. Today the kids will take their final tests for this school year! We’re done…ish. We still have a few history lessons to finish up but we enjoy our studies so much it hardly seems like school work. My mother arrives this Sunday so we will take a break next week. Then we will dive into our summer studies and finish up our history lessons. This summer we are going to build a weather station and study climate and forecasting. We are also going to study geography through Beautiful Feet Books. Fun!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: Weekly Wrap-up

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Exams and Bye-Bye Training Wheels

purple crocus

purple crocus

Last Friday my friends Mama Quilts and Mrs. Cuddle-me visited while our kids played outside. The day was really nice and we spent most of it outside while Oldest was out with Mrs. Cuddle-me and boys to see Macbeth. He enjoyed the play and especially the Weird Sisters. Mama Quilts also stopped by on Monday to show sparkles some fabric for a dress she plans to make. Sparkles really wants to learn to sew but I am not very skilled at sewing. I made a skirt and vest once in high school but that was over twenty years ago. However, Mama Quilts is going to spend two weeks with Sparkles and give her sewing lessons while Oldest and Middle Boy are at Lego Camp. She is super excited. I’ll be spending those two weeks working on the 2014-2015 lesson plans…

Littlest and BB

Littlest and BB

The weekend was kinda quiet. I made it to church on Sunday and managed to stay awake during the sermon…sad, but true. Our pastor just started a new sermon series showing how every book of the Bible points to the Gospel message. This week’s message was from Genesis so it will take us another 65 weeks to get through the entire series. I decided to re-read Heather Kendall’s A Tale of Two Kingdoms as we go through this series since the book closely relates to Brother Ricky’s sermon series. Oldest asked during Sunday School (yes he goes to adult Bible study with me) about the size of Noah’s ark in class. So our teacher assigned him to report on the size of the ark in inches and feet for next Sunday. I’ll need to make sure he writes that up today…

Middle Boy and his hero Big E

Middle Boy and his hero Big E

On Monday we visited with a neighbor. Oldest needed to talk to someone from an older generation about how they heated their home when he was a boy. Oldest is writing his first research paper from an interview. Writing is his least favorite subject and the one I have the hardest time teaching. He’ll write the paper next week since we are enduring the IOWA exams this week. UGH! Standardized testing is no fun. I test for two reasons: to give the crew experience at testing and to learn what subject needs to be emphasized the following year. Their education is in my hands and I take it very seriously. Standardized testing is just one tool I can use to grade myself more than

playing outside

playing outside

to grade them.

Middle Boy decided it was time to remove the training wheels from his bike over the weekend. He’s only had a few scrapes and crashes but nothing too bad. He is already flying down hills and scaring me with every other stunt. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit the kids have enjoyed their bikes every chance they get.

Tonight I’m headed out for another Ladies night with friends. I made syllabubs for dessert and plan to get last year’s scrap book done. I’m looking forward to an evening out with friends.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Colonial Studies and American Revolution Part One

Beautiful Feet Books Primary Early American History

Beautiful Feet Books Primary Early American History

We recently finished part of our colonial era studies in early American history with our Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. I simply chose to split this study for the blog write-up before we studied George Washington and the American Revolution. We covered several books and watched a few documentaries for this section. I added a couple of books to this section and some hands on projects. We also enjoyed a few recipes mentioned in a couple of the books.

from Oldest's notebook

from Oldest’s notebook

The first two books (The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and The Matchlock gun by Walter D. Edmonds) are about the early colonial years and the French and Indian War. We enjoyed the story of Sarah Noble and her bravery. Instead of using coloring pages the kids drew their own pictures of events from the story. I felt so sad for Tall John when he returned Sarah to her family that Oldest had to take over reading for me. I never read any of these books as a child and I enjoy them just as much as my crew. Sparkles loved this book and has read it twice since we finished with it.

IMG_6094My crew also drew their own pictures for The Matchlock Gun. We also googled (is that a word yet?) matchlock guns on the internet and studied them in Edwin Tunis’ Weapons. This story was a bit intense and we finished it in two sessions. The kids (and mom)refused to wait over several lessons to find out what happened.

Next we read Benjamin Franklin by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. The kids really enjoyed this study. We watched a few episodes of Drive Thru History (episodes 5, 6, and 7). I also added Jean Fritz’s What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin and we looked up several of his inventions including the Glass Armonica. Since Franklin’s father was a candle maker and he worked in his father’s shop we made our own beeswax dipped candles.

Dipped Candles

making candles

making candles

We purchased some beeswax beads and wicks at a hobby store. You will also need two empty cans (we used green bean cans). Fill one of the tin cans half full with beeswax and then almost to the top with water. The wax beads will float to the top. Place the tin can in a pot and fill the pot with water a little over half full with water and heat on stove until the wax melts. Add cold water to the other tin…maybe an ice cube or two to keep the water cold. Tie the wick to a chop stick (or any stick) and dip it into the wax once it is melted. Then dip the wick into the cold water and repeat. You may have to

shave off some crayon to change the color of the candles

shave off some crayon to change the color of the candles

straighten the candle out a few times at first. We also discovered that food coloring does not work to change the color of the candles. You can change the color of the candles by melting some crayon shavings into the beeswax.

The guide suggested during this study they memorize America The Beautiful. I had them copy the poem into their notebooks and requested they learn the song during piano lessons. Our wonderful piano teacher found a version of the song they could play and they all spent several weeks learning to play the song.

Benjamin Franklin notebook page

Benjamin Franklin notebook page

Coloring pages for the notebook were provided for the Benjamin Franklin study. When we got to the part when Franklin was invited to speak to the king of France, Oldest remembered when Leif Ericson also stood before a king. He also connected  the Proverbs verse from the previous study to Benjamin Franklin. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

Our next book was A More Perfect Union by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. This book was about the founders of our country getting together to write the Constitution. The kids enjoyed Benjamin Franklin’s observations about George Washington’s chair. We had to look up the chair on the internet and they made drawings of the chair’s design in their notebooks. I also had them copy the Preamble into their notebooks. I found a free copywork page at Copycat Books.

IMG_6095Our next book in the guide was Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry. I just loved this book! Oldest had to take over reading for me at the emotional parts until I could get myself together. You can read a fantastic review of the book at StoryWarren. I really could not write a better review so go read theirs! I gave the kids a Native American bead project to work on while I read the story to them. I wish I had known about Benjamin West or I would have found an art project. He is considered the Father of American Painting!!! We should have made our own paints and paint brush like he did in the story. (Littlest will go through this study in a few years…) One of the foods mentioned in this book is called a syllabub. You can read about this dessert at Historic Foods. Traditionally syllabubs are made with wine, port, or sherry but I used cranberry grape juice to make a kid friendly version. They can also traditionally be made with apple cider. These are delicious and easy to make.

yummy syllabubsSyllabub

This recipe will make about four servings. You need pretty parfait type glasses but I used wine glasses since I did not have any fancy dessert dishes. I enjoyed this dessert so much that I am making the port version for our ladies night out tomorrow! Dissolve one cup sugar into one cup juice (or wine, cider, etc.) Stir in the juice from one lemon. Most of the recipes I read also added lemon zest but I omitted the zest since I do not enjoy eating it in foods. Whisk in two cups of cream for a couple of minutes. But do not whisk too much or you will have butter! Pour equal amounts of liquid into your glasses and leave on the counter for several hours…do not refrigerate. Best to make then the night before eating for supper the next day. Yummy!

IMG_6031Our next book was George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz and is a really cute book. It is a story about a boy who wanted to know what George Washington ate for breakfast. Eventually the boy learns that he ate Indian hoecakes with honey and butter for breakfast with three cups of tea. Naturally, we had to make hoecakes for lunch. You can find some recipes at Eatocracy.

We are loving our studies with Beautiful Feet Books’ Primary Early American History. They have each already asked to “help” Littlest when it is his turn to read through these books! Well, I may just keep that joy for myself…they can help him with math or something else.

Weekly Wrap-up: Flat Tires, Torture and a Recipe

my husband and Mrs. Cuddle-me prepping the turkey feast

my husband and Mrs. Cuddle-me prepping the turkey feast

Saturday started out well enough but the middle part of the day wasn’t so great. My husband ended up with a flat tire on his trailer which was loaded with fire wood. He called just as it was time to put my herb bread in the oven and fold a load of laundry. We drove out to him and I stayed with the truck while he and the kids went back to the house to get a tire and supplies and baked my bread loaf. While sitting in the truck I thanked the Lord that the weather was beautiful…neither too hot nor too cold…just right. I also noticed that most drivers on the highway did not pull over into the

braided herb bread

braided herb bread

far lane when passing! Whether out of ignorance or for a lack of caring I cannot say…Anyway, we did make it back home and the trailer has a new tire. My braided bread turned out fine even if it did rise a little longer than usual.

Later that evening night we feasted on turkey at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s. She brined the turkey for a couple of days and then cooked it in the deep-fryer. Yum!!! I brought my braided herb bread (recipe at end of post) and we all ate well. I enjoyed playing my first poker game and lost terribly. I’ve got a lot to learn. Saturday started out rough but the evening with friends was great. We got home just before midnight. Oldest begged to watched the clock change over to Sunday. I forgot how big a moment that is when you’re a kid! We let him see midnight and then tucked him into bed.

Miracle Worker workshop

Miracle Worker workshop

We endured a busy schedule this week. Oldest enjoyed two days out with friend to see the plays The Miracle Worker and Macbeth and participate in workshops with the actors. He also went to the first 4-H Sharp Shooters meeting for the new season this week.

I took Sparkles to her torture session dental appointment on Tuesday. She had two cavities filled which is usually not a big deal. She cried through nearly the entire appointment. By the end of the day her lower jaw was swollen and terribly bruised. She didn’t want to go to church Wednesday night because she didn’t want anyone to see her. I think she was afraid a certain mean little bully would pick on her. I decided not to push it and we all stayed home and watched Frozen. Her face is still bruised and swollen!

Sparkles helping in the kitchen

Sparkles helping in the kitchen

This week we finished the book Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry for our early American History studies (Beautiful Feet Books). The kids loved the book and it may even be their favorite at this point in our studies. You can find a great review of the book at StoryWarren that Beautiful Feet Books recently shared on their Facebook page. The book influenced me to wonder about my own children…do I recognize the word God’s fingertip wrote upon their souls? Later this weekend we will make a meal from the book and I will try my hand at making a dessert called syllabub (a non-alcoholic version). We also read Jean Fritz’s George Washington’s Breakfast. This book was a fun read about a young boy trying to discover what George Washington ate

George Washington's breakfast for lunch

George Washington’s breakfast for lunch

for breakfast. He ate Indian Hoe Cakes with butter and honey and three cups of tea…my grandmother called them Johnny Cakes. We finished the book just before lunch so…naturally…we had Johnny Cakes with butter and honey for lunch but without the tea.

I ordered a few things this week for the following school year. I went ahead and ordered the ancient history set from Beautiful Feet Books. The guide will have a list of optional books and I need the extra time to search for them. I also contacted Art In History to ask a few questions. We’ll be using a few of their projects with our ancient history studies next year. They responded promptly and sent me a promo code for 10% off my purchase. Since they would not be at any of the homeschool conventions this spring (they will be at some conventions in the fall) I went ahead and ordered. I didn’t notice the promo code did not go through when I made my order…my three year old was

napping

napping

“helping” me. However, the good people at Art In History did notice and gave me a 10% refund on my order. I was really impressed with their service.

Our IOWA tests arrived this week from BJU so the kids will be testing soon. I promised to take them out for ice cream when we finished up.

 

silliness

silliness

Braided Herb Bread

I originally found this recipe in a magazine but could not get the recipe to work…this is my modified recipe. To a bread machine add in this order:

3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 egg, 4&1/2 cups flour (I use Con-Agra unbleached occident flour), 3 tablespoons sugar, I&1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon each dried marjoram, thyme, sage, parsley, cilantro, and basil, 1/4 cup butter, 3 teaspoons yeast

Make sure your dough is forming properly. Sometimes with this recipe I’ve had to add a little extra flour if the dough is too moist and sometimes extra water if the dough is too dry.

After the dough is risen punch it down and knead. Let the dough rest for about ten minutes. Divide the dough into three equal section and form into long strips…about 15 inches in length or so. Place the dough on a greased baking pan and braid. Start the braid from the center and work to end and tuck under and then repeat on the other side. I’ve had better luck getting a braid to form properly working from the center. Cover and let rise until doubles which should be about 20 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Brush the top with melted butter mix: melt 3 tablespoons of butter and mix in 1/8 teaspoon of Dried marjoram, thyme, basil, and parsley.

You can also use other herbs that you prefer. I’ve even though about adding some shredded cheddar…

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: Weekly Wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up: Spring Dreams and Turkey Dinner

Littlest examining the daffodils

Littlest examining the daffodils

Warm spring-like weather arrived this week beckoning us to wander outside, ride bikes, and search for emerging blooms. Once again, due to nice weather and a few other interruptions our week did not go as planned. Not really a big deal…we’ve only got about four weeks left of school work to finish up for our academic year.

I pulled out my flip-flops on Sunday. It was fifty degrees and warm enough in my opinion. Several people at church questioned my choice of footwear. Snow was still on the ground but it was fifty degrees and that is warm enough for flip-flops. I simply refuse to acknowledge winter’s presence. I’m tired of wearing shoes and am looking forward to barefoot weather. I think a few of my Sunday School classmates question my sanity.

with my dear friend

with my dear friend

On Tuesday I got a call from my sweet friend (and homeschooling mentor). She and her youngest spend a good part of the day with us. Normally, we homeschooling moms try not to call or visit each other during “school” hours. So when she asked to come over I knew she needed a friend. We cancelled school for the day and spent our day with friends. Anytime someone needs to talk it usually isn’t good and this was no exception. She moved to the top of my prayer request list by the end of the afternoon. If you are the praying sort please pray for my friend…she needs prayers.

Wednesday the colder temperatures returned and I refused to abandon my flip-flops…confirming my tentative hold on reality. Thursday the weather was warm enough for the kids to ride their bikes and have their first crashes of the season. Sparkles skinned her arm up when she collided with Oldest. Middle Boy gave me visions of the ER room when he dumped his bike and completed a spectacular flip landing on his side. He quickly jumped up and declared the moment “Awesome!” I would not be surprised if he decided on some sort of life threatening career someday…

Sparkles and BB

Sparkles and BB

I’ve spent my little free time this week either planning for the upcoming school year or researching speakers for the homeschool convention in Cincinnati. I’ve never been to a convention before and most likely will not attend again for a few years. I’ve already got a good idea of the vendors to visit and have a price list made up. Now I am just working out which speakers to attend. I will definitely see Susan Wise Bauer but I am not sure who else to see yet. In order to help figure out who to listen to I decided to cross out all of the political speakers. My main purpose for going to the convention is to learn to be a better teacher and parent. I then marked out anyone talking about creation and evolution (I just can’t listen to these arguments anymore). Surprisingly, once I marked these two categories out there wasn’t an overwhelming number of session descriptions to read through.

enjoying the warm weather

enjoying the warm weather

Our education plans are coming together for the year. Working out a skeleton plan for the logic (5th-8th) and rhetoric (9th-12th) years helped to solidify the plans for the next academic year. (Tonia at The Sunny Patch here’s my plans for the logic stage…subject to change.) My current plans are:

Fifth grade: We will return to ancient history and use Beautiful Feet Books intermediate collection. When we return to ancient history in the rhetoric years I will use Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World as our spine book (that means main history textbook for my many non-homeschool readers). Oldest will also assemble his own timeline and keep a narrative notebook and draw out his own maps. My middle two will follow along with The Story of the World: Ancient Times (also by Susan Wise Bauer) and will keep a simple written narration. Our art projects will parallel our history studies and we will do a few projects from Art in History.

spring flowers

spring flowers

Our language arts, reading and Bible curriculum will continue with Christian Light Education. Math will continue with MathUSee and Math Mammoth. I really, really wish we had went with Christian Light Education for our math curriculum but the kids love MathUSee and since they are doing well I see no reason to change. We’ll also continue with our current writing curriculum also from Susan Wise Bauer (now you know why I plan to see her at the convention!). The middle two will continue with Writing with Ease and the oldest is moving up to Writing With Skill.

sweet nap time

sweet nap time

Our science will change for this year. I’ve never been able to find a science that I am happy with. We’ve used REAL Science Odyssey and found it too easy. Our past two books from Apologia have been really good. This year, for a change of pace, we are going to use Beautiful Feet Books: History of Science. I’ve added several scientists to the study and the Thames and Kosmos’ Milestones in Science experiment kit. I’ve started collecting the books for this study and several times have already caught the kids reading the books. We are all excited about this study.

I also plan to use Zeezok’s Music Appreciation set this year. I’ve read many good reviews and I think my crew will really enjoy the study and hopefully deepen their enjoyment of their current music studies.

Penmanship and spelling continue to be a struggle for some of my crew. I am considering several penmanship books and plan to make a final decision at the convention. Oldest is the only one struggling with spelling. We discovered through the IOWA tests he has gaps in his early phonics education (thanks to you government schools!) Oldest is begging for the new spelling curriculum from the MathUSee company. I really wanted to go with Sequential Spelling but since he is begging for this other program…how can I say no.

Since we will finish up our current studies in a few weeks we will study geography and weather science until our regular year starts up in July. I plan to switch to a four-day school week next year so we do not have this large three month gap between the academic years. My husband is going to help us build a weather station so we can study forecasting for the next year. I think that will be a fun and informative year long project.

Today, we are looking forward to a yummy turkey dinner at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s home. Her turkeys are rude and I am looking forward to feasting on one of them!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-up: Snow Birds

DSC03683Old Man Winter blustered all day Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday burying us in freezing rain, sleet and snow. I never watched the news to check the final amount totals but it was enough to shut the area schools down all week. We did not get all of our studies done this week but we’ll get caught up over the weekend. I chose to let the kids enjoy the snow.

DSC03673 (2)I’m trying to plan for school over the next year. Oldest is moving into the logic stage which puts him in a separate history and science. (I quit following the science schedule since I had a hard time finding homeschool science material…and I’m not ready to write my own.) Most people advise me to have the younger ones follow along with my older one in history because once they reach the logic stage the schedules are easier to manage. I quizzed my crew yesterday on ancient history and they actually remembered more than I had expected. I asked them about doing it again so they could at least stay in the same time period with the oldest and they were very enthusiastic. Which kinda surprised me.

DSC03674I ordered the IOWA tests from BJU. The kids will test next month. The very idea of testing gives Oldest a headache since he went through several years of it in government school. Sparkles tested some in Kindergarten and Middle Boy has never sat for an exam. We do not have to test but I feel it is good thing to do. At least when they have to sit for college entrance exams they will know what to do with a page of bubbles. Today the kids are taking the math placement exams from Christian Light Education…just to compare with MathUSee.

kris_weekly-wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up: Suicidal Possums and Lost Kisses

Sparkles at Valentine's Day party...is that Santa?

Sparkles at Valentine’s Day party

I didn’t post last week so this is more like a bi-weekly wrap-up this time. Last Thursday night (when I usually write this) I watched the Daytona qualifiers with my husband. We haven’t watched much racing the past couple of years but it was pretty cool to see the number three car on the track again. Usually I will write-up my post on Friday mornings if Thursday night is too busy. Well, I spend last Friday morning baking a mocha cake for a mom’s night out while the kids worked at the dining room table. I got to spend an evening with friends and work on my scrapbook. I stayed out until 2:00 in the morning…which is crazy for me. We are hoping to repeat our night out in March too…just depends on how our schedules will work out.

IMG_5959In the last post I was looking forward to a Valentine’s party with a local homeschool group. We ended up leaving early and deciding that we would no longer participate in activities with this group. We’ve been involved with this group for almost two years and the kids nor I have made any friends. Only one lady talks to me (our husband’s work together) and if I do try to talk to someone else the conversations feel forced. Everyone there just already knows each other and there isn’t much room for someone who does not live in their town. I’m not really mad at the group but it really isn’t worth our time to participate in anything with them. So we are done. The kids were not heartbroken…at all. Did you notice the guy in the background in the first picture? Littlest though he was Santa Clause and kept hiding behind me.

Littlest enjoying time with Daddy

Littlest enjoying time with Daddy

I was a bit of a sleepy zombie on Saturday but managed to get a little housework in while my husband took the older three skating. I wish the skating rink was closer…we would go more often. Sparkles won the limbo game again. She loves to skate and I like to watch her skate…especially when she is just dancing to the music in her own little world. She just looks so happy and free…in those moments my heart feels so light and joyful. I love watching her skate. Later that day we all went out to the dam for a walk. The day and sunshine was nice but the wind was a bit cool. The kids played outside after we arrived back home. They went to play in the creek…their favorite place these days. They watched a possum muddle along the edge of the creek. Then the animal “splashed and played in the water” until it went under and then never came back DSC03646up. After hearing the kids story about the possum my husband went to the creek’s edge to find the playful possum…only to discover the unfortunate creature had drowned. How weird! I had just been reading about nature journaling and was tinkering around with the idea in our homeschool…maybe not.

Earlier this week I got a call from my estranged brother. I didn’t answer the call…he called six time in a row. I do not answer my phone during school hours. I guard the time I spend educating my kids…you just have to. It would be all too easy to waste time on the computer or chatting on the phone and loose precious time and opportunity with my children. He finally left a message but he was so drunk I had trouble understanding what was said. Later, I played the message for my husband. Turns out my brother was threatening me not to change my number. Naturally, I want to change

Littlest did not enjoy the Valentine's Day party.

Littlest did not enjoy the Valentine’s Day party.

my number. Am I the only one who gets threatening phone calls from alcoholic brothers? Probably not, but all this drunken silliness only strengthens my belief that the only family I really have is my husband and our children…not really anyone else.

Our family was struck with the sudden tragedy of suicide this week. I did not personally know the young man, but my husband was (and still is) heartbroken for his cousin who must now bury his son. There are no words to offer…no promises of prayer will bring comfort. I could offer nothing to my husband in his sorrow and feelings of helplessness.

I felt angry. So much anger rose out of me and I know I must have sounded calloused. My high school boyfriend committed suicide the summer before my senior year. My parents kept it a secret until after the funeral…the same day my senior picture for the year book was taken. I hate my senior picture. I hated everyone who came to talk to me about his suicide. They meant well but I didn’t want to talk. So I locked all those feeling in some dark recess of my soul and turned the key. Well, the door unlocked with this sorrowful event and all this anger and pain just poured out of me. I’m still pissed at him after all these years. And so sad. I apologetically told my husband my feelings and even confessed my sorrow for never having kissed the boy.

If you are so inclined please say a prayer today for the parents who bury their children.

Last night I got a call from Mrs. V, wonderful lady who runs the preschool program at our local high school. She called to let me know that Littlest was accepted into the program and to give me some details…when to expect paperwork and such. Classes start sometime in September. Middle Boy loved their program and still thinks Mrs. V is the most fabulous woman ever.

Today, the kids will finish their MathUSee text books. Our school year is wrapping up quickly. Within in the month they will finish up all of their current studies! We will be going through Beautiful Feet Books’ Geography Through Literature during the interim before our next school year starts up. We are ready to wrap up this school year and enjoy a relaxed break period with this geography study. The kids will keep their math skills sharp with Math Mammoth unit studies too. Seems like we just started fourth and second grade and now they are nearly over…

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Weekly Wrap-up: Bandits, Broken Hearted Boys and Common Core Wars

Sparkles and Middle Boy

Sparkles and Middle Boy

The past ten days have been a little too crazy for me. A few days ago I shared an article on my Facebook page about the Common Core, specifically the history and literature standards. Well, someone didn’t like the article I shared (and even admitted to not opening it). That’s fine. We all have our own opinions. Our discussion was civil but we never discussed anything about the Common Core…just her distaste of adjectives for the Common Core by homeschoolers and the classical community. I was left with the feeling that because I choose to home educate I have no right to comment on anything related to public education. Those of us who homeschool or pay for private school should just shut-up and hand over our tax dollars. Exactly when did I surrender my status as a citizen of the United States?! Are only those who attend public school considered true American now? While this discussion was happening on Facebook, a former high school class mate messaged me to ask about homeschooling her children. She was frustrated with the public school system and needed help getting started researching homeschooling. What a crazy afternoon!

Catch that sled!

Catch that sled!

Over the weekend some family friends stopped by to talk to us about homeschooling! Wow!! I am really humbled that some families over the past several months have talked to me about homeschooling their children…but…I still feel like an amateur myself. I just feel like I do not have that much to offer anyone. If you ask me I will pass on any wisdom shared from veteran homeschooling families, handover piles of catalogues, encourage you to surround yourself with long time homeschooling moms, share my favorite homeschool blogs, and encourage you to join HSLDA.

snow swinging

snow swinging

The rest of the weekend was full of sledding and playing out in the snow. Monday morning, however, stopped my heart in my chest. Around 7:30 or so in the morning my doorbell rang. I’m still in my jammies, my hair is still knotted and I see a police officer at the door! I completely freaked out…why is he here? Who accused me of truancy? Is there a social worker with him? No, there was not a social worker with him and he wasn’t at our door because of home education. Turns out, our neighborhood and several others were hit by “bandits” (my daughter’s term). The very nice officer wanted me to check our vehicles to see if anything was missing (just some coins and the Mustang’s ash tray…really…who steals an ash tray?!) I find it sadly funny to feel relief the police officer was at my door because we were burglarized. I was so relieved that I burst out laughing in my living room floor after the officer left. Fear is powerful…overwhelming.

Oldest and Littlest

Oldest and Littlest

The rest of the week was nice. I let the kids go sledding and play in the snow so we are a bit behind in our school work this week. Our homeschool friends came over to sled in the yard and have hot chocolate. We do not get snow worth sledding in around here very often so I let the kids go out to play any time they wanted. Next week we will have temperatures in the sixties so the snow will be gone. I hope they will look back and remember this winter fondly.

Thursday we went to the local humane society to see about adopting a very lovely White Shepherd. I had already asked about meeting her on their Facebook page earlier in the week and they responded with the times they would be open. The kids were so excited and we just loved the sweet and excited dog very much. Then they let us know she was already adopted!!! Oldest was just broken-hearted and burst into sobbing tears…Littlest was crying too and Sparkles wanted to bring all of the animals home (especially the cats). I was (still am) mad and tried not to cry myself. Why let a family play with a dog and then tell us someone else adopted her?! I cancelled school for the rest of the day…due to broken hearts.

making Valentines

making Valentines

Today, we are off to a Valentine’s Day party with one of the local homeschool groups. We made 160 homemade Valentine’s (we made these) to give out and six dozen chocolate chip cookies. We are going to enjoy this party. We’ve had quite a week.

I hope next week’s wrap-up is rather dull and uneventful…

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