You Know You’re a Homeschooler…

You know you’re a homeschooler when one of your children says…

“John Dalton! He’s my favorite Quaker scientist!”

I had to share this rather humorous moment before it was lost in my memories while trying to figure out what we’ll be having for dinner.

If you would like to attempt to replicate this humdinger in your own school then for read-aloud time chose Michael Faraday by C. Ludwig and follow up with The Mystery of the Periodic Table by B. Wiker.

Weekly Wrap-up: Gratitude for the Routine

at the park

at the park

Our week was slightly less than ordinary. Nothing grand or spectacular. Our schooling schedule endured constant daily interruptions…but nothing unexpected. Little things like a trip to the store for needed groceries, an outing to the park and, a book we couldn’t manage waiting any longer to finish. We were supposed to finish reading The Bronze Bow (Elizabeth George Speare) next week. We finished it today and I wept at the very last line. Why wasn’t I introduced to books like this as a child? The book is part of Oldest’s ancient history curriculum from Beautiful Feet Books.

Littlest

Littlest

I discovered something new about myself this week. Truly, not something a woman in her forties can say often. After completing four guides from Beautiful Feet Books I am suddenly able to pull assignments from a literature book for my crew. We’ve wrapped up BFB’s History of Science but I decided to tack on The Mystery of the Periodic Table (B. D. Wiker) at the end. We have been reading two to three chapters a day and I have given several assignments and notes for them to put in their science notebooks (even an art project!). We are truly enjoying this wonderful introduction to all things chemistry. A few of the scientists mentioned are old favorites from the Michael Faraday biography (C. Ludwig). Somehow this year, I managed to move from terrified “I’m going to ruin my children’s future” to a newly realized trust in my ability to do this enormous task God has asked of me. I really can homeschool and I won’t destroy my children’s future. I must add this is a humbling revelation and not a jubilant one. The responsibility is far more enormous than I initially understood but one I have the grace through Jesus to accomplish.

puppy pile

puppy pile

I am deeply grateful for ordinary days this week. Not because our schooling experienced interruptions this week. I’ve learned over these three years that interruptions are actually…rather ordinary occurrences. My husband travelled to Lexington last Friday. Usually, his leaving is an occasion for wailing on the children’s part (and mine too!). This time they all looked forward to piling into the big king sized bed with me. They slept well like a pile of puppies. I don’t rest well sleeping like a puppy on the bottom of the pile. We were all delighted to see him Saturday evening and I especially loved tucking them all into their own beds. For the most part this week was about Littlest and his preschool class. Today, I sat in conference with two high-school girls about Littlest. I expected the conference to last about fifteen

Steve from Animal Tales with Monty the python, Middle Boy and Oldest

Steve from Animal Tales with Monty the python, Middle Boy and Oldest

minutes…it took an hour. They had a lot to say about Littlest and his unwillingness to participate in the generally accepted preschool activities. The beat he follows is his own…he is neither a follower nor a leader. I often tease my husband that Littlest is his little doppelgänger. But I think he is more like me than his father sometimes. I too, couldn’t care what anyone thinks of me…well…that isn’t entirely true. I deeply care about my husband’s opinion…and his alone. I understand my youngest child’s independence and the price he will pay for it and the freedom such solitude brings.

sweet, ornery  Littlest

sweet, ornery Littlest

The conference with the two high-school girls was long today and not because they needed to tell me about Littlest. They are grieving. Their teacher has been absent for a while and we all learned last night that she has lost her husband. She is beloved in this small community and we all grieve for her and with her. So I let the girls talk about Littlest and his antics and the teacher we all missed. At the moment, I am grateful for ordinary days…when all is as it should be and all of my loved ones are here with me. Tonight, dear reader, I pray all of your loved ones are safely tucked in for the night. Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Sophrosyne

Sophrosyne [suh-fros-uh-nee] is my new word for the year (with fandabbydosy coming in a close second…love the feel of those syllables!)  I know it is March…nearly April and I should have chosen my word for the year in January. For the past few months I have toyed with the word “nourished” because I thought it filled my current need for seeking spiritual and physical…want or need. I can’t find the right word for this…loss of true harmony. Turns out there is an amazing ancient Greek word that embodies all I lack and seek…sophrosyne.

I found this word while skimming some of the works of Plato (Charmides if you want to read for yourself). In my little spare time I am reading about the influence of humanism from the ancient Greek philosophers on Thomas Aquinas and how this affected the course of the Christian church and Western history (yeah, I need a hobby). Since I am not all that clever I have to look up many words I stumble on in my readings…Anyway, one of the words I encountered was sophrosyne. A word with no clear equivalent English translation. In my quest for physical, spiritual, and mental (that one may be a lost cause!) health this word…sophrosyne…is what I seek!

Sophrosyne is expressed by an abiding awareness of one’s true worth, a healthy and state of being dominated by orderly behavior leading to harmony within one’s self and with the Divine. Isn’t that an amazing word! I want to be healthy both within my spirit and within my physical being. I truly believe there is a connection in how I care for this earthy home of the Hold Spirit and my relationship with Christ. I cherish this gift of life and I believe that if I honor this gift then I will find a deeper connection with my Lord. This word expresses my belief in how to achieve this harmony.  It is a continuous process of self-knowledge and self-restraint leading to spiritual harmony.

It means eating healthy foods in healthy proportions is something to rejoice in not feel miserable about. Overindulgence (in food or things) leads to guilt and bondage (a lack of health from over-eating and an unhealthy life-style) and self-discipline (proper and healthy food and activity) points to freedom and joy. If I quit abusing this body and seek the Lord with all my heart then sophrosyne is my way of life…true harmony is mine. Perusing a healthy lifestyle is part of achieving sophrosyne.

My wibbly-wobbly posts about achieving fitness and a healthy lifestyle are now under the name of sophrosyne.

Weekly Wrap-up: Wait…I Know This Story!

Nacho night at church...our favorite!

Nacho night at church…our favorite!

This weeks title is a quote from Oldest while I was reading about Napoleon. Oldest had just finished reading Genevieve Foster’s marvelous Augusts Caesar’s World. The previous week we had discussed the unofficial First Triumvirate of which Julius Caesar was a member and the official Second Triumvirate. The Roman Republic never recovered from the Second Triumvirate and instead formed into an Empire. Sparkles and Middle Boy are currently learning about Napoleon Bonaparte and the First French Empire. Oldest still likes to listen while I read to the younger ones from The Story of the World. While reading about Napoleon’s coronation with a laurel leaf crown and that he was called First Consul, Oldest startled us by saying, “Wait…I know this story!” Oldest then taught his

Sparkles in sewing class

Sparkles in sewing class

siblings all he knew about the origins of the Roman Empire and why he made his statement. Middle Boy then wondered if the saying about history repeating itself was really true. We then finished up our reading by learning about the Louisiana Purchase. The crew was interested to learn this little spot of land we currently call home was purchased by our country from Napoleon. Littlest then hit me in the face with a stuffed Angry Bird and our history studies were finished for the day…

Over the weekend I enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon painting with the ladies group from church. I invited Mrs. Cuddle-me to the outing and we had a lovely time painting our crosses. I haven’t painted since I was in junior high school and that is truly a shame. I really had an enjoyable time doing something creative. My painting isn’t a grand masterpiece or anything but my family thinks it is beautiful and that is plenty good enough for

my painting projects

my painting projects

me. I should try to do something creative more often…it was really nice letting go of my responsibilities for an afternoon and engrossing myself in something that took all my concentration.

The rest of the week has been rather quiet. Even Littlest has behaved himself…which is really unsettling.  Several times this week he has even asked to do some school work after getting home from preschool!!! I ordered him some fun education activities and games this week and he had a fun time exploring them this afternoon. He informed me today that he would like his own science set and geometrical shapes!  He then told me he would also like to learn all about clocks. Last week in the homeschool we finished up our History of Science study from Beautiful Feet Books. However, before moving onto our next science curriculum I decided to add one last book…Benjamin D. Wiker’s The Mystery of the Periodic Table. We love this book!!! Nearly every chapter has a simple experiment or two and the book is a wonderful introduction to the science and history of Chemistry. Great book and I highly recommend it!

Littlest and sorting game

Littlest and sorting game

I’ve spent most of my spare time deciding on our next academic year’s curriculum…some of it we have already started. Out last book for our new Bible curriculum came in today and we are all excited to begin. We just couldn’t finish the Who Is God? from Apologia. My crew hated it and I decided not to make them finish the book. I’m not saying the series is bad but it just isn’t for us. I kept having this nagging feeling that we should just read the Bible together but I feel so inadequate to teach directly from Scripture. The more quality literature (or living books) we read the harder time we have putting up with dry text books.

Anyway, that is our week. Sometime in the coming week I’ll write-up our curriculum choices for the next academic year.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocailized Homeschoolers

Wibbly Wobbly: Just Plodding Along

I think it might be easier to understand theoretical particle physics than to lose weight. I’m not giving up but simply acknowledging this process is going to take a wee bit longer to see measurable progress. I was down about hitting this plateau a couple of weeks ago. Instead of turning to a box or two of chocolate I’ve kept trudging along. No fun, but I know if I just persevere I will succeed. So, oddly enough, I was rather amused to discover this week’s chapter (Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese by Ellie Marrandette) was all about persevering!

So the scale and body measurements haven’t moved much. Once I quit beating myself up I realized that I am not in a race to lose weight. It is okay for this process to take time. Also, I do feel better. Since I started exercising my hip doesn’t hurt as much. My aching hip no longer wakes me up at night (wish I could say the same about my four-year old!). Turns out I am making progress…just not the measurements I considered to be successful. Honestly, I’ll take less pain and better sleep over pounds lost any day.

I’ll just keep plodding along at my slow pace. Eventually the progress I want will manifest.

I need to get past this plateau so I need to change a few things. I’ve added some weight lifting to my workout. I’ve only gone through the routine twice but I plan to use weights three times per week. I also plan to increase my workouts to six times a week instead of just four. Now that the weather is getting better I will most likely walk in the evenings outside with my husband. So some days I will get two workout sessions. Maybe I’ll even be able to keep up with him one of these days! I’ve added a few dances and workouts to my YouTube page. I always start out with Good Morning, Do Life Big, and Gerinomo from Refit Revolution. After those three songs I am ready to grab life by the horns and win! Sometimes I even repeat! Toward the bottom of my list is a Jessica Smith walking workout with weights that I like and plan to use three times a week for now.

The next change I plan to make is with my diet. I think I will do better fighting cravings throughout the day if I begin with a big breakfast. I like my smoothies but I do not love them. So I am going to have a yummy big breakfast, my premade soups for lunch and a very small dinner. I have always envisioned that we should have a huge yummy dinner in the evenings but really I think a small supper would be better. So I am going to try out the old saying of eating like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for supper. I’ll let you know how that goes the next week…

Weekly Wrap-up: Exhausted Homeschool

swinging in snow

swinging in snow

We are tired homeschoolers, an exhausted family this week. The past five evenings Oldest (and sometimes the rest of us) has had to be somewhere other than home. Throw in the time change and a weekend of playing hard outside before the snow melted and we are just one tired bunch of homebodies. Some people thrive on a busy lifestyle. We do not. The kids are bickering a bit more than usual with each other, bursting into tears for seemingly no reason and acting out. My younger two (who must have a set schedule) are unruly. All this hurried moving about is…spiritually depleting. Once I get in a rushed mindset it seems I can’t turn it off. The past two mornings I’ve woke up from rushed and busy dreams and hours earlier than necessary. So I am tired too. I’ve also been reading curriculum reviews and trying to make decisions about the direction our little

building snowmen

building snowmen

homeschool will be taking in the fall. Oldest is transitioning to middle school and the decisions I make now will affect the options available to him for high school. Yikes!!!

No wonder I’ve had a headache for nearly two days now…

Yesterday, while Littlest was at preschool the rest of us had a morning meeting. I told them to put their school books away and get out their art supplies. I spoke with each one quietly about feelings, their art pieces, what we are learning and what they each wanted to learn. I finished reading our book about Albert Einstein and with that book we finished our science curriculum for the year. They have a little write up to

yours truly sledding with Littlest

yours truly sledding with Littlest

do about him but we are done. The science guide has a few more lessons about weather but we did all those experiments last summer. Our homemade barometer is still working. The experiment kit still has a few undone projects so we may do those today. I have a book about the periodic table for us to read together and then I guess we’ll start our next science curriculum. At this rate we are completing one and a half science curriculums per academic year…and I still have not found a science curriculum we just love. I’m going to look at a few science curriculums at the convention next month. At the very least I now know what we do not like in a science curriculum…

yellow discussion

yellow discussion

Littlest only attended preschool twice this week. He missed his extended day because of another bomb threat and I just didn’t want to drive him back a second time once the high school was reopened. I learned yesterday he has been learning about safety procedures at school. When I picked him up yesterday he let me know that he did not behave very well. He was supposed to  do the “stop, drop, and roll” routine with his classmates but refused to do so. Instead of getting frustrated with him (because it isn’t very productive with him) I asked him why he wouldn’t do as asked. His answer “…because I wasn’t on fire.”  Well, he does have a point. I do understand now why he has been asking me about fire and tornadoes this week. We even had to have a discussion

a sign of spring

a sign of spring

about what fire actually is! When I told him it was something hot that would burn him he was not satisfied. He wanted to know what is fire, why is it hot and etcetera. After doing my best to answer his twenty billion questions about the nature and chemistry of fire, I am only beginning to realize the amazing (and mentally exhausting) journey it will be to homeschool him. He even asked me this week why the letter A is shaped like it is?!?!

After discussing the nature of fire over lunch with Littlest I decided we needed some outside time. The day was just too beautiful to spend indoors with books. Oldest was so tired he took a pillow and just napped in the sun. He first chose the driveway for his sunny nap and I made him move to the sidewalk. He eventually lost his pillow to our grumpy cat Zee or the Contemptuous Empress of All She Surveys as I like to name her. We also found a snake living near the butterfly bush. While the others rode their bikes or napped in the sunshine Littlest and I took a walk to look for signs of spring. We found some flowers and learned that he does not like the colors yellow or red because they are too “noisy” (no, I’m not sure what he means). However, he did decide that yellow was nice on flowers but only on flowers. He then asked me to throw away all of his yellow crayons.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

What I’m reading this week:

I’m so guilty this week…The Stupidest Sin of Them All

So amazing…And the Brain Itself Testifies

Piano practice tips…The Creativity Post

I found this moving and beautiful but it broke my heart too…from just{extra}ordinary

Loved this read about the early days of our favorite curriculum…from Beautiful Feet Books

No words for this…

One of the things I’ve worried over this week…

A part of my childhood died this week

Weekly Wrap-up: Snow and Anxiety

Middle Boy playing in snow

Middle Boy playing in snow

Today has been the longest day. I was awake hours before my alarm officially woke me at five. I awoke several times from terrible dreams. I never sleep well when my husband is away. Early this morning I laid in bed wondering if he was going to make it home today. I wasn’t out of bed yet and already felt the anxiety eating away at me. My husband left for Pella (Iowa) on Tuesday on a business trip. Yesterday it rained nearly all day. Then sleet fell for a few hours. I’m not really fond of sleet but it does make this sweet tinkling sound as it falls. Just before we turned in for the night the snow started falling. By morning there was just over fifteen inches of snow.

Sparkles clearing vehicles

Sparkles clearing vehicles

I decided to cancel school for the day before getting out of bed…before looking out the window. I was anxious. If I tried to homeschool today the kids would notice my anxiety and they would be anxious too.  Then we would all start snipping at each other and that would be followed by punishments that would really be all my fault. I told the kids we were taking a snow day but it was really a mental health day. I shoveled lots of snow. The kids played outside some (except for Littlest…Oldest and I took turns staying inside with him). They also helped to make paths and clear the vehicles. Shoveling snow helped disperse my anxiety. My husband called to let us know he was in St. Louis. He decided to continue driving home today instead of staying the night there. I went out and shoveled more snow. He made it home before dark. We are all delighted to have him back home!

Oldest and Visual Latin

Oldest and Visual Latin

Everyone is chugging along nicely in the homeschool. Oldest completed his paper on ancient Greece this week. I was very happy with his progress and to see how much he has improved since his ancient Egypt paper. All of his paragraphs have more than one or two sentences! He has one more paper to write on ancient Rome and I’ll let him combine that with his final paper for writing. I let him dump the critical thinking curriculum. He’s never missed a single question and is bored to tears with it. He’s also been begging me to start Visual Latin since it came in last week. I really wanted to wait until we started our next academic year…but was that really a good reason? I couldn’t justify not letting him learn and handed the DVD’s over. He has only completed the first week of lessons but loves the course so far. Littlest completed another week of Kindergarten material. He is getting better with the scissors. I was able to give him a small task to complete and then help someone else with an assignment without a major breakdown out of Littlest. I need to research some busy bags for him to do. Maybe I’ll find some fun things for him at the convention next month.

Littlest getting a much needed haircut

Littlest getting a much-needed haircut

Over the weekend the older three enjoyed a movie, crafts, and snacks with their friends at church. While they had fun my husband and I took Littlest for a much-needed haircut. I also made a masala chai concentrate. I noticed many of the ingredients in the tea is good for fighting inflammation. I researched a few recipes to try and now know lots of history on the origins of the spiced tea blend. I combined a few recipes and am rather happy with my first attempt. Once I make a few tweaks and master the technique I’ll share.

Articles I enjoyed this week:

Floordeboor’s Three Degrees of Contagion  Getting fit and choosing a healthy lifestyle is good for the people around us too!!!

Rebecca at Beautiful Feet Books Blog shared several great links about education.

Hoping Pistachio finds a forever home this weekend!

The Beautiful Ordinary’s letter to her daughter…tears…I had to go hug my Sparkles.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers