Weekly Wrap-up: Beatersville and Crazy Daydreams

my crew

my crew

Last Friday we went out to Kentucky Dam for a walk. We hadn’t been out to the dam since sometime last fall so it was nice to have a different but familiar place to walk. Littlest walked the entire three miles at a pretty quick clip with the rest of us! We watched a crane, ducks and a few boats. Our most exciting moment was witnessing a hawk dive and catch a large fish and fly off with its catch. The moment happened so quickly that I didn’t get a picture. I find it amazing that we were all looking at the water and witnessed the hawk’s fishing expedition. We always see something amazing when we go to the dam for a family walk.

On Sunday we went to the Beatersville Car and Bike Show in Louisville. We always enjoy walking around and gazing at the assortment of classic cars. Next year is the tenth anniversary of Beatersville so it should be a good show. Oldest wanted his picture with nearly every car! This was also the first year he noticed how some of the ladies were dressed (or lack there of) and commented about it to me. We both agreed that some people really should choose some material other than spandex. I was personally quite impressed with the biker fella sporting a plaited beard right out of Middle Earth!!! His beard totally made the entire journey worth while for me. Guys with beards…I like’em…moving on now.

I was glad we had somewhere to go on Sunday. Our church’s youth and children’s ministers said goodbye to the congregation that morning. I knew that if we were there the kids and I would have cried all morning. So I am glad we were distracted with the trip but I still cried my eyes out that morning before breakfast. By breakfast’s end my crew had me in stitches. Littlest decided he was not going to be left out on speaking in Latin! I’m amazed by how much learning he picks up during school time! He told us “Angry birds are great” in Latin!!! But he

walk at the dam

walk at the dam

didn’t like the word for “great” in Latin and wanted to know how to say “cool” in Latin. We didn’t know…so he got mad at us and went off to pout. At the moment, my crew enjoys insulting each other in Latin. Of course they are creative with their insults since they do not know any “bad words” in Latin. The funny part is that sometimes Littlest will sometimes substitute Latin words for English words in his every day speech.

Tomorrow is out last day of the 2014-15 academic year. Tomorrow is Oldest’s last day as an elementary student. I have a Middle Schooler now! Wow!!! We have a big day planned for tomorrow. My husband decided we would all go out to breakfast together. We will also prepare our ancient history feast tomorrow for lunch(we will enjoy…hopefully…dishes from ancient Egypt, Israel and Rome). Oldest is writing his final paper for his writing (and history) curriculum. I let him combine his writing papers with his history curriculum this year (Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate Ancient History and Writing With Skill volume one from Susan Wise Bauer). He is in the process of writing his final paper on the life of Julius Caesar. I’m really proud of how hard he is working on this paper. He managed to finish this writing curriculum in one school year when Peace Hill Press recommends most students take two years to finish the course. I’m totally stoked!

Since we school year round the kids do not get a break from school this summer. So next Monday we will finish up some subjects while enjoying summer time activities and camps. We have Lego Camp and American Girl Camp coming up this summer and a trip to Lexington. Before I know it the summer will be over and our first official day of the next

on the way to Beatersville

on the way to Beatersville

academic year will be here…July 13th. As of tomorrow we are finished with three years of homeschooling!!!! I feel like we just started but we will begin our fourth year very soon. When we begin our next school year we will have a middle schooler, two upper elementary children, and one Kindergartener!!! I just want to bottle up time and stop it for just a little while.

This week my husband and I dreamed about hitting the road with a fifth wheel. Just us and the kids and the open road. The nomad in my soul just went crazy dreaming of living such an amazing lifestyle. Of course I am romanticizing it all right now!!! In my entire life I have never lived in one house as long as I have now…seven years. My previous record for living in one spot was six years and that was with my husband before we moved to our current home. Before my marriage I never lived anywhere more than two consecutive years…ever. I had to tell my husband that in all honesty if he was looking to me to talk him out of such a crazy idea…then he could not turn to me. I would only encourage him to break out from the norm and do something crazy. Personally, I would love for my kids to say, “Do you remember when our parents sold everything and we lived on the road for a whole year?!”  My poor kids have a crazy mother…thank God their father is sane and stable.( Look up Fulltime Families if you are curious.)

My post last week was very personal and I poured my heart out. I was saddened to learn that so many of you could relate to my pain. I just want you to know that how deeply appreciated are your words of encouragement. I am truly humbled and grateful to all of you who left comments here or on other social media, emailed, texted and even called to check on me. Your words left a beautiful balm over my hurt. Thank you.

Articles and posts I liked:

If only I could go to Rea’s Soiree. This is the lady behind Beautiful Feet Books…you know…our favorite curriculum!!! I actually got to meet her in April and was so tongue tied and in awe that I couldn’t ask her a single question!!! Total face-palm moment…massive epic fail on my part.

My husband and I were just talking the other day and wondering why Sparkles rereads her favorite books. I need to get her some better books…post from Sarah Seltzer.

Oldest is entering this stage of independent learning. Post from Lea Ann Garfias

I’m starting to realize this too…from Joy Shannon.

This was fascinating! Hopefully I can provide a better education for my crew than Latvia.

just dreaming of this and this.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


Weekly Wrap-up: Bowties and Bunnies

at the Hymn Fest

at the Hymn Fest

We’ve had something of a hectic schedule this past week. Saturday morning the older three played piano in the Hymn Fest. This was their first experience performing in a formal setting before a judge. For the most part they got good remarks. I thought all of the children participating in the fest played well. My boys looked so grown up in their nice shirts and bowties. But, of course, I felt a little sad because they didn’t seem so little anymore. We lunched in town afterward and then went to an Easter party at church for the afternoon. Over the rest of the weekend we finished watching Ben-Hur with the kids. I thought the movie would go nicely with Oldest’s ancient history studies. The movie along with the book we finished last week (The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare) immersed the kids so well into first century times they have been fighting with the Romans all week in imaginative play. Oldest also

making the roman road dessert

making the roman road dessert

made a Roman road dessert this week. I saw it at one of my favorite blogs All Things Beautiful. He also made a drawing of the road layers for his notebook. Oldest chose to make a Lego stop motion movie on the life of Julius Caesar this week. He was supposed to write a paper on a Roman emperor this week but I decided to accept his movie in place of the paper. I think the same amount of work went into the movie project as a written paper. He only has about ten weeks left with his current writing curriculum before he can begin Cover Story. He is really excited to dive into something more creative in nature. On Monday we didn’t have to go anywhere and the day was perfect. We didn’t feel rushed to get school work done before having to be somewhere at a certain time. I was even able to get out for a mid-day walk! We are looking forward to a calmer schedule beginning in May. I will be more discerning in the future before committing to anything in the future. Tuesday we went to a birthday party. Wednesday the kids performed in the Easter play at church. It was also our eleventh wedding anniversary. Today was just crazy! We set up a temporary home for our new bunnies in the lower kitchen this morning. Then went to Mrs. Cuddle-me’s to pick up a transport cage. We then drove to a nearby town to pick up our new bunnies. After bringing them home and getting them settled we then went to piano practice.

Polly and Monty

Polly and Monty

The older three are just in love with their new pets! Littlest looked at them once from a distance and declared that bunnies are cute. He left and never returned to visit the little rabbits.  The boy is named Monty and the girl is now named Polly. She was originally named Cocoa but since she is more of a mottled gray than brown they decided she needed a new name. I’m not sure how the name Polly came about…even though I was in the room during the conversation. Tomorrow I am going shopping with Sparkles and Mrs. Cuddle-me. I do not enjoy clothes shopping but I need a few pieces to update my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to having fun with my girl and friend though. I’m not too hopeful on finding something I’ll agree to wear since current fashions run way outside of my comfort zone these days. Next week I will be at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati so there will not be a wrap-up. I will be working at the Beautiful Feet Books booth so come by and say hello if you are also attending. I’d love to say hello! Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Some web wanderings I enjoyed this week:

Homeschool Made Difficult too funny!

Momastery have the tissues handy

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.



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

Weekly Wrap-up: Curriculum Edition

fun with friends

fun with friends

For a July in Kentucky we’ve enjoyed some near perfect weather…though we could do with a bit of rain. Despite it being our second week of school we’ve spent some time outside this week enjoying the mild weather and friends. So, naturally, we are not exactly on schedule. This time last year I would have been flipping out over the schedule. Not now though. I’ve learned to relax over the almighty schedule (sort of). Actually, I (hopefully) worked out a way to keep us on track by making allowances in the schedule for unexpected (and planned) interruptions. This year I am only planning for a

Sparkles and friend...they are nonconformist in their table usage

Sparkles and friend…they are nonconformist in their table usage

four-day school week with one light work day (usually Friday) reserved for enrichment projects, outings, or getting caught up.

Today, after a half day of school we joined some friends at the playground for birthday cupcakes and fun. We’ve also went swimming twice this week! Oldest has also gone blackberry picking a couple of times this week but the harvest is starting to slow without any rain. Blackberry season is about over.

"Catch me, Big E!"

“Catch me, Big E!”

On a sad note, Oldest learned this week his guitar teacher is moving away. His last lesson will be this coming Wednesday. My poor boy is truly heartbroken. I’m sad for my son and grateful for the time and mentoring his teacher invested in him.

Here are our curriculum choices for the 2014-15 year…

Group Subjects:

my convention purchases...note the pile of receipts in the corner!!!

my convention purchases…note the pile of receipts in the corner!!!

Music Appreciation from Zeezok Publishing. Wow! We are loving this curriculum. The kids especially enjoy the lapbooks and the music CD’s. This week we made German brown bread and started an oxidation experiment while learning about Bach.

Science: This year we are working through A History of Science from Beautiful Feet Books. We’ve only completed the first few lessons but I’ve already caught a couple of the kids looking through the books. Right now we are learning about Archimedes and will work through some buoyance and water displacement experiments tomorrow. This year will also be the first time they will keep proper scientific journals and will learn about the scientific method by performing the steps. To this study I added: Thames and Kosmos’s Milestones in Science kit, Isaac Newton by J. H. Tiner, A Piece of the Mountain by J. MacPherson, The Mystery of the Periodic Table by B. D. Walker, and Michael Faraday by C. Ludwig. Once a week we are watching the BBC six-week series called The Story of Science (on YouTube). I also found a program about Tesla on Netflix and am looking for a few other shows to add.

Bible: Right now we are working our way through Christian Light Education’s Bible 400. This is a continuation of the Gospels from last year. We’ll finish up by Christmas and will then begin Apologia’s Who Is God course and notebooking journals (I won this set on a blog giveaway last year!).

Spelling: The crew is using level 3 of the new SpellingYouSee curriculum. Oldest is a fantastic reader but his spelling is terrible. They all love the curriculum and never complain about spelling work anymore. I’ll love it if I see progress!

Art: We still have several Bible Stories DVD’s to work through from last year and they have ceramics from Art In History that ties in with their History studies. We are not doing much with art this year since we are working through music appreciation. Next year we will have a proper art curriculum.

Music: My crew will continue piano lessons with the fabulous Mrs. Melody!!!

Math: We will be working through the first four books of Life of Fred.

Geography: We did not finish our geography study from Beautiful Feet Books over the summer break (life got kinda busy) so we will work through the rest of it on Friday’s until finished. We should be done before Christmas break.

Curriculum for third grade:

working oh history notebooks

working on history notebooks

History and Writing: The Story of the World Volume 3.   Sparkles and Middle Boy are using notebooks for keeping their maps and coloring images. I reduced the size of the images to fit in their notebooks. For writing I just combined the techniques from Writing With Ease 3 into their history work. Right now they are narrating (they dictate their narrations to me) one section of the chapter each week. After our second term they will begin narrating all of the sections in the chapter each week. During our last two terms I will transition them to writing their own narrations into the notebook. They also have to read through some history encyclopedias and write down interesting facts.

Math, Language Arts and Reading are all from Christian Light Education. The kids love these workbooks. We switched to their math over the summer. I just wasn’t happy with MathUSee. It just wasn’t challenging enough for them. I had to drop everyone a grade level in their math but they should be caught up by Christmas time. By the end of the school year they will have completed two years worth of math! They will also be keeping reading response journals that I mentioned two weeks ago.

Curriculum for fifth grade:

working on ancient history

working on ancient history

History: Oldest is using the Intermediate Ancients guide from Beautiful Feet Books. He absolutely loves this study but it is currently kicking his behind! He is a lesson behind at the moment. He isn’t crazy about the Streams of Civilization history book and chose to add The Story of the World to his reading schedule. I also tracked down every extra book mentioned in the guide that I could find. I plan to get the Drive Thru History DVD’s on ancient history to go with this study and watch some old movies like Ben Hur. He is also starting a timeline this year and is using the beautiful book from Homeschool in the Woods.

Writing: He is working through the first level of Writing With Skill by Susan Wise Bauer. Writing is his least favorite subject and I can tell after these first two weeks that I am going to have to really work with him. I learned at the convention that some consider this book a bit too tough for fifth grade and to only expect him to get through half of the text. Well, I didn’t tell Oldest that or he would use it as an excuse to slack off. I know I will need to coach and push him through the work. He did flip through the book and learn that if he completes the course he can receive a signed certificate from Dr. Bauer. For some reason Oldest really wants that certificate…I call it motivation!

Language Arts, Reading, and Math: All of these subjects are from Christian Light Education.

Pre-Logic: Building Thinking Skills from The Critical Thinking Co. This book was recommended in The Well Trained Mind. He thinks it is fun.

Typing: He is using Typing Master Typing Tutor. I found it on Amazon.

I think that is everything…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

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…

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.

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.

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.