Today, Littlest said goodbye to preschool. Every morning for the past three weeks he has been counting down the remaining days. He’s been a pretty happy boy today…unless you try to take his picture…then not so much. The moment he received his certificate he cheerfully announced, “No more school forever!” Once the ceremony was over he sat in my lap and repeated several times “only Mommy school for me”. Mommy school…I love the sound of those words in his voice. So sweet. Maybe I should change the name of our homeschool to Mommy School…no…not really. Wouldn’t that be funny on a transcript!!!
After the ceremony we went to lunch together. The only thing Littlest wanted for graduating preschool was a trip to the donut store. He wanted to pick out his own donut and enjoy it in the shop (we usually get everything to go when I am by myself with the crew). I let everyone pick out two donuts. Littlest loves the strawberry glazed variety. I decided to walk on the wild side and picked out a maple glazed donut with bacon crumbles! Those are really tasty! I thought about getting at least a couple of hours of school in but since today is National Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Day (I learned about it on Facebook this morning), I decided we could take the day off. We
love my boy
played outside, cleaned out the bunny cage and I managed to take a little nap while cuddling Littlest and watching Wild Kratts.
Our homeschool ran fairly smoothly this week. We love our new Bible study so far. I think this Bible Road Trip is going to be a good fit for us. Sunday morning I sought out our pastor for advise on reading material. I know my kids are going to ask tough questions…they always do. There are days I wish I had a theologian on speed-dial! I needed a good seminary level survey of the Old Testament…just a little something to help me understand our study better. I came away from his office with an amazing list of books. I really love that the list he shared with me come from many denominations. He
Oldest and Middle Boy playing with bunnies
even shared a few books for my own personal use and spiritual growth. I’ve already found most of these online and will make my order next month. We decided to start a Scripture memory box with this study. I love this easy to assemble system from Simply Charlotte Mason. We start our homeschool day with our Scripture box.
We’ve enjoyed out first week of Sonlight’s human anatomy course this week too. The instructor guide suggested I ask the kids about what they want to learn this year. So, naïvely, I asked my crew.
science books gift
Oi! Why! I knew better than to ask such a question!!! I will spare you their requests and speculations on the answers to their questions. It was one of those few moments in my life when I laid my head on my lesson planner and asked God…”Why? Why am I here? Why are you doing this to me?” I kinda wanted to cry so I laughed instead.
Speaking of science. This week a friend gave us a huge bin full of science books!!! Several of these books were on my wish list! The box included a few experiment kits and everything you would need to put together an elementary science program. A few of the books are ideal for middle school. Wow! What a gift!!! Thank you
Only Mommy school, only Mommy school!
my sweet friend!!! As much as the kids and I treasure these books we would gladly give them back if you did not have to move away. I pulled several of the books for Littlest for his Kindergarten year. He is so excited to begin. Today he went through his new science books and put them in the order he wished to work through. He based the order of the books from favorite to least favorite color.
This past weekend was the first Top Gun Classic Car Cruise In of the year. So it finally felt like spring to me!
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.
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
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
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
Last Friday the boys busied themselves with building a rather poor model of The Spirit of St. Louis. Despite the poor quality of the kit we did finally manage to get the little plane to fly. However, every landing turned out to be a cataclysmic crash and the poor plane had to be reassembled. Oldest remarked that he was glad the Wright brothers didn’t have as many terrible landings with their planes. After working on our science labs Sparkles begged to make a cake. She enjoyed getting to use a hand mixer for the first time. She called it a “girly power tool” and asked if she could have her own in pink. As she carefully followed the directions for making her cake I told her a few ways she could make it extra special by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract, using milk instead of water, adding colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. While I took Littlest to the potty she added all of the extra special ingredients! Her cake was indeed quite flavorful!
We did not do anything for Valentine’s Day. My husband did bring me a lovely Azalea bush that I’ll plant in the spring (actually…he’ll be the one to plant it). He then made us lunch and his first batch of homemade potato chips. The chips were very tasty! It took him about a month to perfect fried chicken so I’m sure he will soon master the potato chip. His spaghetti, smoked ribs and fried chicken are so good I won’t eat or order anyone else’s. I doubt I’ll be purchasing chips much longer…which is really a good thing. In the mean time the kids and I will enjoy his many potato chip experiments.
Auntie Two and her husband stopped by to deliver Valentine’s to the kids. They were so thrilled with their cards and visit. The older three instructed me to put their valentine’s in their “baby boxes” or keepsake boxes. They happened to stop by during the potato chip experiment and enjoyed a few chips.
We awoke to snow on Monday morning. It snowed all morning and into the early afternoon…nearly nine inches!!! We got a couple more inches of snow later in the week and then bitterly cold temperatures. We are expecting freezing rain tomorrow. Yuck! This is not the sort of weather we are accustomed to in Kentucky especially this late in the season! The current weather is such an anomaly that the Harlan Police Department issued an APB for Queen Elsa! No, I’m not kidding.
The kids enjoyed sledding in the snow this week. They stayed motivated and got their school work done quickly each day so they could go sledding after lunch. All of our outside activities were cancelled for the week. We managed to get our school work and some extra projects done since we didn’t have to go anywhere. Littlest
Kindergarten is better than preschool!
worked in his Kindergarten workbooks all week since he didn’t have to go to preschool. It was a nice little preview of what teaching three grade levels of school is going to be like. A few challenges need to be worked out. I also plotted the rest of my lessons for this academic year and noticed we are going to finish up earlier than I had planned. I’m not too worried about it. We just need to decide if we want to add some interim coursework or just move on to the next level?
I’ve also spent a few hours this week considering our next year’s courses. We are all very happy with most of the current curriculum and will simply carry on with the next level. We will move on with Christian Light Education (math, language arts, reading and Bible), Beautiful Feet Books (history and includes great
boys with The Spirit of St. Louis
literature and writing assignments as well as geography), The Story of the World (history, geography and writing) and Writing with Skill. I no longer need Writing With Ease as I’ve learned how to fold it into The Story of the World. We will continue with piano and guitar lessons because we love, love, love our teachers and my kids would wither without their music. Music is so important to my crew we have our practice sessions early in the morning. Even Littlest has to have his “compiano time”. I have no idea why he calls it “compiano”.
We are going to start Latin next school term and we will be using Visual Latin. The main reason (other than Mr. Dwane is hilarious!) is that I will not have to be the primary teacher. My Eastern Kentucky accent is awful when trying to teach a foreign language! My horrid little accent seems
our unhappy cat in the snow
to triple when I try to pronounce something foreign. I worked so hard in my younger years to get rid of my accent but it all comes back with foreign language. My husband was highly amused by my accent when we reviewed a Spanish curriculum a couple of years ago when I worked for Mosaic Reviews. My accent was so bad he took over the teaching for the review period! We might even add Mr. Dwane’s vocabulary curriculum since my crew loves studying Latin and Greek root words.
Oldest is begging for Cover Story. He really wants to start this writing curriculum once he finishes Writing with Skill volume One. I already have volume two of Writing with Skill so I am not sure. If I decide to get it for him we will not start it until I’m sure he is ready for such a big project. But maybe I should let his enthusiasm lead the way? I have flip-flopped over this all week.
Some favorite articles this week:
Beautiful Feet Books Blog: Rebecca is referring to another article about the 10 best things we are not doing for our homeschools’. Because of Beautiful Feet Books I read to my kids. My Oldest is crushed when I tell him he has to read a book by himself. I will not give up read aloud time for our entire homeschool years…not ever. I would like to add poetry tea time…think my boys would like it?
Hope By Design: I loved this tongue-in-cheek description of homeschooling methods! I started out classical but embrace more Charlotte Mason methodology every year. I believe my method is…Method? What Method?!
Simple Homeschool: Curriculum is life! I’m on my way to arriving. I wanted to jump up and say “Amen!” but was afraid my kids might think I had gone daft.
Creekside Learning: I have a “reluctant reader”. This article totally shifted my viewpoint! I no longer have a reluctant reader…I just need to honor who he is..where he is…right now.
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: What can I say? When I grow up to be the best homeschool mom I can be I want to be just like Kris of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!
Steam Powered Classroom: I have to quote her here because she says it best, “If we wish to promote innovation and new discoveries, as educators we must devote ourselves to cultivating quiet spaces and unhurried stretches of time for our learners. We must squelch our impatience and instead applaud childhood tendencies to dawdle.” This has been on my heart the past few months. I am the guardian of my crew’s time and I really believe they need time to play and explore and not have every moment of their time taken up by activities, tv, and video games.
I think I will go on strike if next December is as busy as this one…
Last Friday was my birthday…forty-two years. Our older three went to a program at church that evening leaving just Littlest with us. I almost had my husband to myself! He took Littlest and me out to a hibachi restaurant for dinner. Littlest was very entertained by all of the fire and theatrics of our chef!!! I enjoyed my birthday dinner out very much.
Littlest and one of his big girls
The weekend was busy and went by in a blur. On Saturday my husband took Oldest to observe a Lego Robotics competition with the technology club. They will be involved in the Lego Robotics League and competitions beginning in the spring. As soon as they returned home we headed to my husband’s workplace for a Christmas party for the kids. Mrs. Clause told Sparkles that Santa would prefer we leave out my homemade applesauce in place of cookies on Christmas Eve. Sparkles couldn’t believe she knew all about our vanilla applesauce. I get the feeling we’ll be doing this every year now. I also happen to know that Mrs. Clause makes some really tasty jams and jellies! On Sunday we enjoyed the Christmas Cantata
best fried chicken ever!!!!
at church and then I went to lunch with the ladies group. I was nervous going out with the group because I am not very good at small talk. I do not mind listening but participating is sometimes tiring. I admire people who have the skill to converse. Eventually someone asked about homeschooling and then I talked too much…because my kids are my passion. I love homeschooling them! (I’m also passionate about my husband, my faith, and green smoothies…that’s about it these days.) I try not to talk about homeschooling in-depth because I know most people are only superficially interested. Hopefully, I didn’t bore the ladies too much. I got home just in time for my husband to start making dinner. This week he finally perfected his fried chicken recipe. I thought he had accomplished it the previous week…but no.
my birthday dinner
We went caroling with our church family on Wednesday night (after I had fasted for most of the day for a doctor’s appointment). I really wasn’t in the mood to go at first but the older three really wanted (begged with sweet smiles and I just could not disappoint them) to participate. I’m glad we went. All that Christmas cheer dissipated my grumpiness. The last time I went caroling was twenty years ago at a hospital in Alton. We sang Silent Night in German…my ability to pronounce German is far worse than my singing voice. That is saying something y’all!!!
Littlest’s preschool class with Santa Clause. He is in the white vest.
Today, we went to Littlest’s preschool Christmas party. He must be a bit of a cut-up in class. He made silly faces for all of the pictures and his teacher said she would not be surprised if he ended up on Saturday Night Live. We were also told he likes to hang upside down while watching programs. Nice…
In school this week we wrapped up our studies for break. We are not schooling much the next couple of weeks. The crew will be working on some art and writing projects. I will be evaluating the first half of the school year and planning out our year-long nature study of the back yard. I also decided to give Littlest a Kindergarten readiness exam. He thought the test was fun and wanted to do another. He scored an 82 (out of
100) and only needed 58 points to be considered ready for Kindergarten. I called the homeschool department at Christian Light Education to talk to an advisor. She asked me several questions about his abilities and discussed the readiness test results with me. She thought it best that he start Kindergarten right away instead of waiting until preschool let out. I was prepared to order their entire Kindergarten program but she said he didn’t need all the books based on what he already knows. Every time I talk to representatives of this company my respect grows. They were more concerned with providing what we needed than making a sale.
The only reason I chose that title for the wrap-up is because the silly Sonny and Cher song adhered itself to my brain. I loathe getting a song stuck in my head…makes me a little nutters.
Last weekend we went to the park for some outdoor fun and a picnic before the autumn rains set in (supposedly in just a few hours from now). Several homeshooling families said they would play too…but only a couple of families ended up at the park with us. The kids still had a great time. Sparkles invited one of her friends over for a sleepover for this Friday night. We’ve never entertained the privilege of hosting a sleepover before…see how tomorrow night goes. Sparkles is so very excited and has been counting down the days. She’s also attending another sleepover next weekend. All wonderful things for a social butterfly!
Sparkles and Middle Boy
Last week I joined a learning community called Future Learn. I am currently enrolled in a six-week course on Hadrian’s Wall and a ten week course called Shakespeare and His World. The first course is offered through Newcastle University and the second is through the University of Warwick. So far I am really loving these classes. I’ve learned about identifying ancient landmarks through aerial photography, life on the Roman frontier, and tons about Shakespeare. Oldest will study Shakespeare next
year with the Lamb’s text primarily and then one of the easier plays if he is ready. He saw Macbeth earlier this year and loved it. I’m hoping another play will be available to see locally again. I’ve passed all of my quizzes perfectly so far. On the quiz I took earlier today I had to read Roman military headstone inscriptions and answer questions about the individuals the headstones described. I had to understand Roman military ranking, Roman numbers, and military positions. Fascinating! I think this would be a great resource for homeschoolers with highschoolers or topically very interested upper middleschoolers.
The crew and I also made a huge change in our life by visiting another church. Oldest would have nothing to do with the kids in his age group at the church we were attending. I want him to make friends but it just wasn’t happening. I’ve been praying over this for so long…leave or stay. I asked the crew about it Sunday morning and they all wanted to visit anywhere else…Nobody argued, nobody wanted to stay. So I picked a church nearby and we went. The kids loved it, even Oldest liked his age group (a near miracle!). I asked them about visiting somewhere else and was shut down. If they are happy then I am happy. Maybe we have finally found a place to be…or maybe my children have inherited their mother’s bothersome restlessness…
All things homeschool are going quite well…except we lost our science lab books. I’ve looked everywhere for these two books all week…nothing. Frustrating…hopefully I can get a replacement manual from Thames and Cosmos. Oldest is working very hard on his ancient Egypt paper. I gave him time off from his writing curriculum while he works on his first major writing assignment. Tomorrow he will also begin an art project and plan out his edible Nile River mapping project. I’ll share his work on the next wrap-up.
Littlest and his favorite book
Littlest loves preschool and wants to share his upcoming birthday with his pre-school class. My little man is about to turn four before the end of the month. He loved his class but keeps asking me for “school work”. He wants to learn to write numbers now. I had originally planned to work with him after his first yearish of preschool was over…Littlest doesn’t agree. Why are little ones in such a hurry to grow up?
We surprised the kids with a trip to Walt Disney World. I’ve been planning the trip since April and never expected to pull off the vacation without getting found out. We told the kids we were going with Daddy on a business trip to Florida. I told them we would check out some old Spanish and Civil War forts in the area while my husband worked. We told the kids if they were good during the long drive we would stop by one of the resort gift shops. While the crew and I looked around the shop my husband went and checked us into our room. I was sure the crew would see through our ruse but they really believed we were tagging just along on a business trip. When my husband finally told them we were staying at Walt Disney World for vacation we received incredulous stares. They finally got excited once they actually believed we were not kidding them and the shock wore off.
Oldest and Sparkles
Oldest and Sparkles both celebrated birthdays while vacationing. For his eleventh birthday Oldest enjoyed his favorite rides and shows at both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Sparkles birthday treat (as if being at WDW wasn’t enough!) was going to the boutique at Cinderella Castle and getting made up to look like a princess. We let her pick out a dress this time since it will most likely be the last time she goes to the boutique. She chose the princess Anna dress from Frozen. I was a bit surprised by her choice since she loves Sleeping Beauty but the green dress is very lovely on her.
Middle Boy enjoyed most of the trip but he wasn’t fond of the crowds or most roller coasters. He loved traveling by the monorail or train. Most of the time he lived up to his old toddler nick name of “Velcro boy”. He was always by Daddy’s side or holding my hand. Littlest was a handful the first couple of days (well…he’s always a handful but was particularly grumpy at first). Once he adjusted to all the activity he had a blast. He loved the rides and enjoyed meeting the princesses. I didn’t expect him to want to
Sleeping Beauty doesn’t know what to say…
meet any of the Disney characters and thought he would hide from them. Wrong!!! He would sing and dance for them, taught a couple of them yoga poses, and pretended to be a little Dalek (from Doctor Who) and “exterminate” everything. On our last evening one of the Disney employees asked Littlest who was his favorite character. He answered, “I like myself.”
hangin’ with Ramone
Walt Disney World is a lot of fun and we all had a great time together. My husband and I could use another couple of days to just sleep and recover. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about making dinner the day we arrived home. My awesome friend Mama Quilts made us a homemade pot of chicken and dumplings! I am blessed with a few great friends! The same day we also had to take Littlest to his preschool open house at the high school. The following day was his first day of preschool. He was very excited about his first day and couldn’t wait to learn all about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. I explained that he would mostly likely learn about the routines and rules of the school. Littlest wasn’t impressed at all and told me, “They are going to teach me all about what I want to learn! Or I am going to fuss. And nobody wants that!!” He must be happy with their instruction. So far he hasn’t fussed. Today was show-and-tell day. He took his new book “Frozen” (from the movie) to show everyone.
One of my favorite experiences at Walt Disney World is the “Wishes” firework show. I always marvel at how well the music and dialogue match up with the fireworks. One part brought tears to my eyes this time…the voice of the genie. The voice belonged to the late Robin Williams. I prayed for his soul and for his family and forgot all about the rain (it was very rainy that evening), my dreadful cold, and the fireworks. I thanked God in that moment because I was surrounded by my family…the people I love the most. Honestly, what more could I ever wish for?
We had a bit of drama over the weekend. Sparkles fell into the creek behind our home into freezing water and mud. I happened to be shopping at Wallyworld at the time so was spared the dramatic aftermath of the incident. My husband gave her a nice warm bath, shampooed her hair twice, and had her all wrapped up in nice warm blankets by the time I arrived back home. But before he did all that he snapped a picture so I wouldn’t miss out on the spectacle. Love that guy!!! She retold me the entire story complete with tears for full dramatic impact. Thankfully she is fine…bruised her pride just a bit.
My husband painted more of the walls in the living room area. He plans to move things around and will be crawling around in the attic to get all of the wires in place for the speakers. We finally put some curtains up…we’ve only lived here for five years. Which means I am ready to move. Kinda sad in a way but I grew up a military kid and it was always time to move by the time you felt “moved in”. Five years are a long time for me to live anywhere…one more year and it will be a record for stationary living.
Littlest talks in his sleep and says “I’m Batman”.
I’m now hooked on the show Alaska: The Last Frontier. I get a little over excited when watching and totally amused myself (and likely annoyed my husband) by talking to the tv screen. I think the family is fascinating and I admire how they live. This weekend the third series of Sherlock will finally air here in the US and I can finally find out how Sherlock faked his suicide. I could read about it online but I do not want the surprise to be spoiled.
Oldest at Odyssey workshop
We enjoyed a good week at school. The new schedule keeps us on track even on a slightly interrupted week as this one went. We were out part of the day on Wednesday running errands. The kids received treats nearly everywhere we went. Banks hand out suckers, the Post Office gave them candy canes and glow in the dark bracelets, and they received more suckers at the hair salon. Needless to say, my crew loves errand day! Our schedule took another hit when Oldest went to Paducah with Mrs. Cuddle-me and boys to see The Odyssey. He also participated in a workshop with the actors and learned a bit of stage fighting. My friend took some video for me to see. I think Littlest will be old enough next year and we can all go to see the shows at the Carson Center…hopefully. Littlest is not great at church and ever since he started telling people at church to quit singing I’ve been reluctant to take him to any stage shows. Life with toddlers…
Middle Boy built another Fort Homeschool
The only subject we are behind on is history and we will get caught up today. Right now we are reading through the Courage of Sarah Nobel…when the area of Connecticut was considered wild territory. I think we might do some candle dipping this weekend or make a pomander ball. I need to research an activity to go along with the time in history for us to do.
Littlest started some preschool activities this week. He loves doing school work and having someone color with him. He really loves dot-to-dot activities and I found a few on the internet to help him count to ten. He wrote his name on one of the sheets and couldn’t wait for his Daddy to get home so he could show off his work.