The Road Ahead: Curriculum for 2016-17 Year

20160815_080425 (640x480)Choosing curriculum is time-consuming, sometimes fun and always hard. I usually end up doubting myself and wondering if something would work better. This year was a little different . I didn’t have the big “What have I done?” moment this time around and feel happy with the choices the kids and I made together. I guess that is the difference this year…the kids helped pick their books. Grade level gets harder to pinpoint each year too. The longer we homeschool the wonkier our grade levels turn out and I’m not sure the distinction is necessary in home education. But for those who need to know– Oldest is in seventh and Sparkles is in fifth. The younger two are straddling grade levels with Middle Boy a fourth-ish fifth grader and Littlest a Kinder-first grader.

BFB guides

BFB guides

Naturally, we chose to stick with Beautiful Feet Books for our history, literature selections and writing projects. We love BFB and the family behind the company. The guides and the books always lead to “big juicy conversations” (a Brave Writer term). We may be discussing history but we also talk about choices, morals, character, religion, politics and the struggles within human nature. The guides and the chosen books always inspire me to come up with projects. I build plenty of margin space for these history inspired

lots of BFB books

lots of BFB books

projects into the yearly calendar. Littlest will use Primary Early American History and the middle two will work through Intermediate Early American History. Oldest is using Early American and World History and next summer the older three will study through the Western Expansion guide. Littlest will take a couple of years to complete the primary guides for American History and Character.

some of our history projects for this year

some of our history projects for this year

Language Arts was absolute drudgery last year. This year they will all begin IEW’s Fix It for grammar. The kids all approved of this curriculum and since we started at the beginning we could fly through the first few books…if we wanted to. But we do not and there really isn’t a need to do so. On occasion we’ll pick up an Arrow or Boomerang from Brave Writer during the year for fun and a little

first day of school

first day of school

change of pace. We’ll continue with Poetry Tea Time and freewriting from Brave Writer as well and I plan to enroll them in another online class in January. This year Littlest joined in with the freewriting topics by dictating his thoughts to me. He loves to see his own words on paper. The older three are continuing the poetry and composition courses from Blackbird and Company. Littlest is using Foundations from Logic of English to learn to read. I could not be happier with this curriculum for reading instruction. The crew is also working through MENSA’s Year of Living Poetically. This was started last month and they are already memorizing their second poem.

first day candy bars

first day candy bars

Everyone has their own math. Littlest is still working through MUS’s Primer. He also has geo boards, tangrams and other geometric manipulatives to keep his hands busy during read aloud time. Middle Boy is using Christian Light Education and supplementing with Beast Academy. Sparkles is using Math Mammoth and Oldest is finishing up Christian Light Education sixth grade math. He is ready for pre-algebra and is trying to decide between MUS or Math Mammoth. I’m considering Math Without Boarders for the high school years. Everyone will need a new level of math by December.

20160815_183139 (640x480)I had a hard time finding science curriculum. I just wasn’t happy with most of the available selections. I do like Dr. Wile and ended up sticking with his books. The younger crew love his elementary science books and Oldest started with General Science. We’ll also watch a ton of science documentaries and I plan to get Curiosity Stream on ROKU too.

For Christian studies we are working through Pilgrim’s Progress but I haven’t decided what we should do after we finish toward the end of September…

20160815_183000 (640x480)We added art and music appreciation studies from Simply Charlotte Mason. We’re listening to Bach and studying the art work of Botticelli, Giotto and Van Gogh. We’re still working through Barry Stebbing’s Nature Drawing and Journaling course but will finish it up soon and move onto ArtAchieve.

projects

projects

At certain points during the year we will set all academics aside and work through projects together. Oldest is going to make a stop motion movie and possibly move on to robotics afterward. Middle Boy found a Minecraft STEM and art project book that he plans to use and Sparkles is going to learn to sew. Our group project is knitting and we will all be making hats, scarves and socks this year. I’ve

art

art

been on YouTube learning all of the various knitting stitches by making coffee cozies. That way I’ll already have a clue when the kids pick up knitting needles for the first time.

Everyone will work on their keyboarding skills and Littlest will be introduced to the computer. The older three are still taking piano lessons and Littlest is showing a bit of interest in learning piano too. He’s working on a little song right now and trying to remember the location of middle C. Once he does that he’ll be way ahead of me…

That’s our year in a nutshell. I’ve left white space in our schedule for bunny trails and whispered moments of inspiration from the homeschooling muses.

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Journal: Road Trip with Bill, Homeschooling Regrets and Chocolate Gravy

working on scrapbooks

working on scrapbooks

This past week was our only week of summer break from school…after two days I remembered quite well why we do not take an extended vacation from formal schooling. They get into a fair amount of trouble with too much free time. They did have fun spending a few hours each day working on their own photo albums from our Disney trip last year. I’ve never allowed them to use my scrapbooking supplies in the past so they were really excited to touch all the forbidden paper, stickers, and sharp cutting tools! My husband and I just loved how their scrapbooks turned out. I enjoyed learning about the trip from each of their view points. I plan to let them make more scrapbooks in the future.

friends

friends

I think Littlest has struggled the most with the break from school. Nearly every day he begged to do his school work. He is very proud to be a Kindergartener. He really wants to learn to read and loves math. I just want him to enjoy being a little boy. He is only four and there is plenty of time to learn to read. In the past, I was so excited that Middle Boy was such a quick study that I pushed him too early to learn to read (and he is doing just fine now). Four years later I feel guilty about pushing Middle Boy into academics too soon…even though he was and still is perfectly capable. I think I felt the pressure to prove that we were not crazy to homeschool and I pushed all of my children too

schoolhouse in Bardstown

schoolhouse in Bardstown

hard. I regret that now. A few years ago I felt I had to prove to family that we were making the right decision. Today…well…it does not matter so much how others view us.

I used to have romantic notions of what it meant to be a part of an extended family. I used to dream of having nieces and nephews. I wanted to make biscuits and chocolate gravy like my Aunt Opal used to make and tell bedtime stories like my Aunt Pauline (but not about ghosts…why did she tell us scary ghost stories?!).  I’ll never be an aunt…an awesome auntie like the ones I had. And that is okay…it is now anyway. I’ve cried my tears and let it all fade. During my years of dreaming I never dreamed about being a mother. I desperately wanted

Littlest and host taking a nap

Littlest and host taking a nap

to be a mother but never thought God would allow me to possess such reality. I always believed that I did not deserve my deepest desire and never allowed myself to openly acknowledge such yearnings.

Right now…the dreams I feared to acknowledge are my daily life…

I’ve never made my Aunt Opal’s chocolate gravy (she taught me how to make it). I guess I’ve been waiting for those nieces and nephews that will never be. I think I will surprise my own children one morning and make it for them…yes…I will do that soon.

competitive game of Apples to Apples

competitive game of Apples to Apples

We went on a little road trip this week to Lexington and stayed with friends. Our travel time ended up coinciding with Tropical Storm Bill. It rained everywhere we went! On the way to Lexington we stopped in Bardstown and went to the Civil War Museum. The museum is fabulous and if you are nearby sometime you should consider visiting. They also have several buildings on the grounds from the colonial time period. I think it was once a living museum but has not been active for the past few years. There is also a Women’s Civil War Museum nearby and a Mid-America War Memorial. Bardstown is a really beautiful town and I hope to explore it a little more someday. My two favorite items on display were General Robert E Lee’s amnesty oath signature and a Colt

Sparkles and Sisters

Sparkles and Sisters

42 belonging to Sargent York.

In Lexington we had a blast staying with dear friends. (Thank you for hosting us!!!)

On our way home we stopped to visit my former home at the monastery. I had the most wonderful visit with the sisters. I love then so much and I am the mother and wife I am meant to be because of my time with them. They gave Sparkles a lovely sewing machine! Tomorrow she will write the best thank you note of her life!!! I am blessed to call them my sisters and doubly blessed they are still a part of my life today.

Sparkles learning her new machine

Sparkles learning her new machine

My sweet friend Mama Quilts came over and spent the morning teaching Sparkles how to use her new sewing machine. Afterward, I took my sparkly girl to the store to pick out some fabric for a small quilt. She is so excited!

Tomorrow we will begin our summer session of school…

My Aunt Opal’s Chocolate Gravy

Sift 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 2 tablespoons of flour into a bowl with one cup of sugar. Add I&1/2 cups of milk, just a bit at a time until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into a cast iron skillet on a hot stove. Cook and stir until the mixture is smooth adding some water to keep it from getting too thick if necessary. Serve over hot biscuits. Yum!!! Kids will love you…guaranteed!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Clearing the Soul Clutter

my favorite ornamnent

my favorite ornament

Seems like forever since I sat down for some blogging therapy. Generally, half of the words that pour from my head never make it to the published page…but it is healing to clear such clutter from my mind and soul.  This tiny spot on the internet was the place I used to exorcise my daemons. A place to expose all of the raw nerves of pain that do not heal when it is kept inside. For me, the act of typing it all out was freeing. I could just let things go…or leave them on the page…making room for the peace and healing that only Jesus can sooth. Anyway, once I started writing homeschool product reviews on this page I deleted most of those posts. All of this is to say that I missed writing my wrap-up last week because of Thanksgiving. My head has felt too full and rattled this week. Even though Christmas and New Year’s falls on Thursday nights this year I’ll be on here writing my wrap-ups. This is my therapy…I need to get this clutter out of my head…otherwise I’ll have another discombobulated week like this one where my head feels too stuffed. Enough of that…on to the past two weeks.

handprints

handprints

My sweet crew was very excited about Thanksgiving this year (me too). We spent 13 months studying Early American History. This year we were ready for Thanksgiving! Not just for the food but in our hearts. The kids really wanted to participate in the holiday and to help prepare the food and meaningful decorations. Well, they really couldn’t do that with the extended family because everything is already sorted out. So we decided to have a family Thanksgiving on Friday. We made a special tablecloth with our handprints and everyone participated in preparing all of the dishes. Oldest made a hash brown casserole and helped with the special braided herb bread. Sparkles wanted to make deviled eggs. Middle Boy made some fun turkey cookies. Littlest enjoyed being underfoot!!! My husband smoked the turkey and made the cornbread dressing. I had my hand in everything but especially enjoyed the pitcher of Sangria I made just for me (I drank the entire pitcher over two days)!!! The crew’s writing assignment for the week was to tell who they wish they could have Thanksgiving dinner with and why. I loved their answers!!!!

Littlest and turkey decorations

Littlest and turkey decorations

Oldest chose Sir Isaac Newton: “…because of how he had thanksgiving almost every day in his heart. He loved God and was super smart.”

Sparkles chose Jesus: “…because he is special and I love him.”

Middle Boy chose Mrs. V (his pre-school teacher): “…because she was one of my favorite teachers and I really love her.”

I just loved their Thanksgiving papers!!! Can you tell?

Over the weekend we put up the Christmas tree and the rest of the decorations. This is the first year we put up the Christmas Village our neighbor gave us. Oldest put it up on the piano and he just loves it! We figured out the cathedral is an MP3 player!! How cool is that!!!!

snap circuit fun

snap circuit fun

Home education this week was really hard. We are all ready for a break (just two more weeks!) We are on our last Light Unit of math and will finally be at grade level in January. As we finish up our units this month we will not begin new ones until January. In science we started a book about Michael Faraday. The kids love this biography! After studying Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and now Michael Faraday they are all ready to dedicate their lived to science!!! We are loving Beautiful Feet Books science curriculum this year!!!

Speaking of science, we participated in one of the Supercharged Science online classes yesterday on electricity. My crew loved it and ended up playing with their snap-circuit set the

cuteness

cuteness

rest of the evening. I liked the webcast for the most part. I did not enjoy that half of it was a sales pitch…boo! I have not been happy with any homeschool based science so far…I wish I could find a science curriculum that I loved…I am open to suggestions.

We’ve also spent the past couple of weeks trying out art curriculums. We like ArtAtelier and SeeTheLight. I have a few more free samples to try out before we make our choice for next year. Any suggestions?

This weekend is a huge for the crew!!! They will be playing piano for the first time for an audience. I am so excited and nervous for them. Oldest is also I the Christmas play at church and I can hardly wait to see him!!! There will be lots of pictures next week!!!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: New Endeavors and Endings

summer fun

summer fun

My husband and I enjoyed a nice weekend. Mrs. Melody came over Saturday afternoon to stay with the kids so my husband and I could go to a company cookout on the lake. I was certain we would not be able to go since he daughter was past her due date with her first child and I just knew labor would begin on Saturday. Well, I was quite wrong and the stubborn fellow didn’t arrive until late last night. I saw the most beautiful picture of them on Facebook this morning… Mrs. Melody was holding the hand of her daughter as she labored. I wept…the captured moment was so very…lovely and painful to witness. I am struggling to find the proper word that captures the tearful

the lake

the lake

emotions that overwhelmed me as I gazed upon the dramatic tableau vivant.

I love birth stories…I really do.

On Sunday I happened to see an amazing ant before heading to church. This creature was stealing a piece of cat food from our grumpy feline. I found the strength of the ant captivating and I really wanted to skip church and watch this stunning creatures. How far was he going to drag this morsel? The crew gathered

the hard working ant

the hard-working ant

around and we all watched him drag his prize for a bit then we left for church. I’ll never know how far he dragged that bit of cat food…I was humbled by that ant. Then my Sunday School teacher’s lesson had me wondering if I take my faith for granted…do I even realize and fully cherish my faith in Jesus. So I left class in tears and humbled again…

I’m a failure as a Christian. My Oldest is trying so hard to be a follower of Christ. He asked our teacher (he goes to

Oldest watering the flowers

Oldest watering the flowers

adult Sunday School with me) about how to forgive the boy who tormented and bullied him when he attended public school…the same boy who drove us away from our former church family. Oldest wanted to know how to forgive this boy. I must confess that I still want to stomp this mean-hearted kid into the dirt. I am humbled by my son…he is a finer Christian than I shall ever be. I am humbled and convicted but couldn’t be more proud.

028 (640x479)

yours truly and Middle Boy

After church Middle boy and I went out for lunch…just the two of us. He chose to go to McDonald’s because he wanted to play in the “play place”. He had the play area to himself that Sunday afternoon and I enjoyed watching him have a good time. I should take each kid out with me more often. I have very little one-on-one time with my children.

my crew with their pile of work

my crew with their pile of work

On Monday we cleaned up the downstairs and started cleaning out the school room. I set up our science and art supplies in the downstairs kitchen…yep…two full kitchens in this house. We spent the entire day cleaning the downstairs. I took the crew’s picture by the final stack of schoolwork for the year. We ended up throwing away six garbage bags of academic work. The crew picked through some of it and we filed favorite pieces into their portfolios. I worked on weekly folders for the upcoming year while they finished up their final papers for Early American History. We officially wrap-up the school year tomorrow. I just want to cry. Oldest begins the logic years next week…and I don’t want to let go…

Sparkles watering flowers

Sparkles watering flowers

This week I joined with Claire and friends on an adventure to begin a healthier lifestyle. I’m really excited about this new endeavor. I’m not letting the momentum slip away this time. I need to take care of this old body…to appreciate and celebrate being alive…I’m so blessed.

Our Promotion Party is next week and I have some fun planned for my crew next week. We’ll make tie-dye t-shirts and decorate some folders and composition books. We’ll take pictures

Littlest watering

Littlest watering

and get the school room all prepared. They will write-up their final copies of their essay’s for Early American History…and then they will be all ready for third and fifth grade. Littlest will be leaving us for preschool with Mrs. Vivian soon ( in September).

But mama’s heart isn’t ready. Not at all…

Friday morning we will enjoy pool time with Mrs. Cuddle-me and friends. I need the time with my friends. I need to hold onto today…it is slipping away too quickly…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Lego Camp, Plans and Treasure’s Past

Oldest explaining his Lego Mindstorm projest

Oldest explaining his Lego Mindstorm project

Not much happened so there are not many pictures to share. Oldest took his turn at Extreme Lego Camp…so we spent a bit of time (too much for me) on the road. I am glad summer camps are over for us. Most of the week I let the crew listen to the Frozen soundtrack during the long drives. The fist couple of days we listened to “Your Story Hour” CD’s that went with our Primary Early American History. We listened to the story behind Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the frightening tale of Pvt. Billy Scott during the Civil War. The nineteen year old Pvt. Scott had the great misfortune to fall asleep during sentinel duty and was ordered to be executed. His fellow soldiers rushed to the Capitol to obtain a Presidential pardon for him. After listening to

Oldest and partner

Oldest and partner

the soldiers plead for Pvt. Scott’s life the President went to the military encampment and personally pardoned him. I was fighting back tears as we listened to the story and Sparkles’ tears were free-flowing. Later, I learned that Pvt. Scott died seven months later at the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862 and is buried at Yorktown National Cemetery. Yorktown is also the place of the last major Revolutionary War land battle where Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis surrendered. Someday, I’d love visit these hallowed places of American history.

Oldest getting into programming

Oldest getting into programming

While Oldest enjoyed camp, I worked on plans for next school year which begins very soon…in about two weeks!!! I finalized the yearly overview and made weekly lesson plans for nearly all of our courses. I’ve learned the past two years that I do not need to make a daily lesson plan. This year I will use the lesson planner (A Simple Plan which I purchased from Mardel) as a journal. I’ll simply write-up what we do each day. First I made up a calendar page and marked off all breaks and days off. Our school year is five sets (or terms) of nine weeks beginning the first Monday in July.  For my yearly subject overview I made up a page in Excel with five sets of nine weeks. I then

planning mess

planning mess

printed off a page for each subject and planned out the weekly lessons, labs, and projects. No details, just lesson numbers and chapters. I’ll write in the details in the lesson planner as we do the work. I’ve always written these up ahead of time each year and then got discouraged when we ended up off schedule…and we always end up off schedule. This way I won’t get so upset and have to rework my lesson planner but will still have the yearly overview pages to keep us on track. I also made up my grade and attendance keeping pages.

homeschool mess

homeschool mess

Now that all of my planning for the school year is done I can work on the school room. The place is a disaster at the moment. We will spend this week cleaning up the room and organizing for our upcoming school year. We need to clean out the workboxes, complete portfolios and throw out all of the old work. We’ll also spend the next couple of weeks finishing up our weather science kit and working on our Geography Through Literature course. I doubt we will finish the geography work in the next two weeks so I will add that into our schedule for our academic year…most likely just one lesson a week. The crew loves this study and we’ve slowed the pace down to savor every book. I’ve hunted down most of the extra books (there are always extra book recommendations in the Beautiful Feet Books’ guides) and we will continue to read these wonderful books.

Grandma's Bible and notes

Grandma’s Bible and notes

Today I cleaned out my desk and threw away several bags of papers and junk. In the back of the desk I found my Grandma’s Bible and spent some time rummaging through the pages. My mother purchased the Bible for her before I was born. I remember my Grandma taking her beloved Bible to church and marking in it every Sunday. I would look at the pictures sometimes when the church service was especially long. After she died I was stunned to learn that no one asked for her Bible. My mom didn’t want the Bible either and handed it over to me without a second thought. Grandma’s Bible is so worn it is taped together. I must have spent the better part of an

Oldest at Archery

Oldest at Archery

hour looking through the pages and reading her notes. She marked sermon notes, dates, names and listed passages for healing prayers. I found little papers with food she was supposed to bring to potlucks and Old Fashioned Days (a day for wearing bonnets and homemade dresses from the 1800’s). I cried when I saw her handwriting and a bookmark I made for her during my monastery years. The pages still smell like her home…

I also found my old Rosary and case that I carried for many years. My Rosary is made of rose petals from Israel. I was surprised by the strength of the roses when I opened

Sparkles loved the guitar at Lego Camp

Sparkles loved the guitar at Lego Camp

the little box. I remember buying the Rosary. I really wanted a very pretty crystal and silver one but could not afford to spend so much. Instead I purchased the rose scented one on clearance at the bottom of a basket in the shop. Over time the metal has darkened but the beads still smell like roses. I always thought I would save up for a pretty Rosary but I never did…I miss the Catholic Church sometimes…the rituals that brought me comfort. I always felt connected to the Christian past in the Catholic Church…a connection that I cannot find in Protestant churches these days…

Well…guess I’m feeling a bit melancholy this evening…goodbye last day of Spring…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Beatersville, Armageddon, and the Return of the Twitch

I’m not sure I remember everything that happened this week and some I wish I could forget. I had some sweet tea several times this weekend and my lovely twitch returned to my thumb this time spreading further up my arm. I think I will have to stick with water and lemon even when eating at a restaurant…I was also a little stressed earlier this week which was the main culprit for the return of the twitch. I really thought it would take drinking a pot of coffee a day to bring the twitch back but it only takes a little caffeine coupled with stress to resurrect the twitch. Or if I could find a way to live serene like the Buddha then I could have all the coffee I want ’cause nothing would get to me…well a girl can dream! I do have this fear that eventually the twitch will return without the fuel of caffeine. I’m still working through the stressor and not yet ready to write through the turmoil of rejection…the words are still locked by emotion.

Friday night I went to a homeschool graduation. That was really cool and gave me a lot to think (and dream) about.

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day to take our annual walk around Hematite Lake. The day was mostly overcast so it didn’t get too hot and there were fewer mosquitos this year. Littlest managed to walk most of the trail this year which surprised us. Even though it was a holiday weekend I had the kids complete four lessons of math. They have no fought me at all on this change in math curriculum and have stepped up to the hard work of completing two years worth of math in one year. They embraced the challenge without complaining. I’m really proud of their hard work and determination…but don’t tell them!!

Sunday we skipped church and headed to Beatersville! We left early and drove to Louisville to walk through the old neighborhood that hosts the Phoenix Hill Tavern and Beatersville car show. The place was crammed full of cars and characters…more than I could post on here. The cars were a little nicer and cleaner this year…not as many chopped up weird gothic art pieces as last year. The crowd was full of more car enthusiasts (like us) than Beaters too. Still, not a single Mustang. After strolling through Beatersville we traveled to Bardstown and stopped at My Old Kentucky Home and then found a Mexican restaurant for a

late lunch. Our lunch was a little strange in that Oldest could not eat all of his food (he’s usually still hungry), Sparkles finished first (we always have to wait for her), Middle Boy was calm (he usually bounces around everywhere…even under the table), and Littlest was happy the entire time (he always finds something to cry about). The arrival of Armageddon would not have surprised me at that moment!

After lunch we decided to drive home by the back road. A detour brought us near one of my brother-in-laws’ so we stopped for a visit. The kids had a wonderful time running around his farm, playing with kittens, and listening to coyotes. We ended up getting home very late.

The rest of the week went by in a blur of schoolwork…math, math, and more math. WE also worked through several weather science labs building a barometer (that really worked), experimenting with heat absorption, and making rain in a petri dish. We’ve moved on in our American History studies to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. This kind of history is hard for me to get through when the kids are still so little. I really have to gloss over so much…history is a brutal, math is easy. I cannot believe we will finish Beautiful Feet Book’s Primary Early American History next week…wow! I did discover Supercharged Science this week and I am so excited…maybe…just maybe this is the hard core fun science I have been looking for…I hope.

This week two families made the decision to contact us about homeschooling. I’ve invited both to “come and see”. Some things you just have to talk about in person. Homeschooling isn’t just another task you add to your list…this is a way of life. For me this lifestyle is a precious and sacred calling. Once I embraced this calling I no longer felt lost and adrift in life…I am where I belong, performing the task God has blessed me for. For most of my life (until I met my husband) I have felt like I was watching through a window on life…never a part of life but separated…outcast in a way. This way of life with my husband and children is home…no matter where we roam and I would not trade it for the world.

I’m at a decision point for my blog. I’ve nearly used up my storage space. So, do I delete a bunch of pictures and posts or pay for my own space? I’m not sure where to go from here…any thoughts?

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Tea Party Revolt

Sparkles and friend at baby shower

Sparkles and friend at baby shower

This past week flew by in a rush of business. I had a hard time keeping up and even forgot to get my wrap-up written and posted on Thursday night. I am so looking forward to putting the busy summer behind me and it has barely begun! Saturday, Sparkles and I attended a baby shower. She loves to go and chat with just about anyone that will listen. Sparkles also looked over all of the baby gifts approvingly and told me how useful all of the items would be. She wasn’t impressed with the superhero dolls and thought those were “less than useful” gifts for a baby. I did my best to keep a serious face and nod accordingly.

science experiment

science experiment

We managed to finally get back into school this week for the first time after returning from the convention. Oldest loved the Life of Fred (math) book that he finished the entire book in one day. Yikes!!! I only bought the first four books…maybe I should have sprung for more volumes. He enjoyed it so much he asked to read it again. Of course I told him yes. You are never going to hear me complain about reading a math book. We also covered several science experiments in our weather study this week. Their favorite for this week was trying to find out if they are stronger than air. They all thought before the experiment that they were stronger than air…turns out they were wrong! Next week we will study the water cycle and make clouds in the kitchen.

We spent more time at the hospital this week. My husband’s stent was removed and hopefully this will be the end of the kidney stone chapter for a long, long while.

tea party

tea party

In American history we are starting to finish up the Colonial era and American Revolution. The crew really enjoys the books by Jean Fritz. We also found a history show called American Ride. The show follows a biker named Stan Ellsworth who rides around the country and talks history. I plan for us to start watching these shows through the summer. My husband found the series on Roku…some sort of internet TV service.  This week we read about Samuel Adams and the Boston Tea Party. So on Friday we invited

making tea

making tea

some friends over for tea…Colonial style. We used an old fashioned tea brick (available on Amazon) to make our beverage. We scraped about a teaspoon of tea into the cups and then poured hot water over and let it steep. The crew and guests then passed the cream and sugar and enjoyed…or didn’t enjoy their tea. We also had some little cakes and bread with strawberry butter spread. I really wanted to make a traditional Election Day Cake to go with the tea but…sometimes life gets too busy. I’m sure I can find another lesson to make the cake. The boys thought the tea was so awful they decided to throw it into the creek…in honor of the famous Boston Tea Party! One of the party goes said the tea was very good and she would have gladly paid the tax to enjoy her tea! We may have hosted a Loyalist at our soirée!

swimming lessons

swimming lessons

The crew made progress in their swimming lessons this week and are looking forward to a race with the swim coach next week. I also promised to take them out for milkshakes afterward.

The last of my orders from the homeschool convention came in this week. So today this kids started their new math with Christian Light Education. Oldest happily completed two math lessons (he really likes math these days!!!) while the middle two only completed one lesson each. I am hoping we can complete these lesson and get them into their grade

checking out the ants

checking out the ants

level math by Christmas break. Changing math curriculum is not easy but I can tell the change will be good and worth the foreseeable hiccups. MathUSee is a good curriculum but it was just too easy and not challenging at all for my crew. My favorite part of the Christian Light math so far is the daily speed drills and flash card practice that is built into the daily work. I knocked them down a grade to help them cope with the change and build up their confidence in the new program and themselves. The Christian Light math is also more involved than their previous curriculum. They are changing over from mastery style learning to spiral based learning and I am sure we will experience a few kinks.

My crew is asking me to go outside and see the snake they found…oh yeah!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.