Weekly Wrap-up: Exhausted Homeschool

swinging in snow

swinging in snow

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

building snowmen

building snowmen

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

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

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

yours truly sledding with Littlest

yours truly sledding with Littlest

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

yellow discussion

yellow discussion

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

a sign of spring

a sign of spring

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

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

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

What I’m reading this week:

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

So amazing…And the Brain Itself Testifies

Piano practice tips…The Creativity Post

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

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

No words for this…

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

A part of my childhood died this week

Weekly Wrap-up: Snow and Anxiety

Middle Boy playing in snow

Middle Boy playing in snow

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

Sparkles clearing vehicles

Sparkles clearing vehicles

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

Oldest and Visual Latin

Oldest and Visual Latin

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

Littlest getting a much needed haircut

Littlest getting a much-needed haircut

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

Articles I enjoyed this week:

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

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

Hoping Pistachio finds a forever home this weekend!

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

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Never-Ending February

dueling Cardinals

dueling Cardinals

More snow. On my way to record our week I noticed that it was snowing. I am ready for winter to flutter away and welcome spring. These last two weeks of February seem to be lasting forever (okay…maybe a little exaggeration but only slight). Yesterday was the first time I went anywhere in over a week and that was for church services. I tried to take Littlest to pre-school yesterday morning but the battery in the van died…the bitter cold and my lack of understanding for most things mechanical completely depleted the battery.

Littlest

Littlest

Thanks to all of this wintery weather, Littlest has completed nearly two weeks of Kindergarten material. Yesterday, he had to do some cutting and pasting, listen to a Bible story and answer question, do some matching and find differences in pictures. He debated with me on how to properly hold a pencil and scissors. I had to ask him seventeen times (yes, I counted) if he actually knew what a rainbow looked like. He finally admitted that he did not really know since he had only seen cartoon rainbows. So we looked up pictures of rainbows on the internet. Every book I read to him had to be read twice or he would not cooperate. So, I read them all twice. (We will not read any Dr. Seuss books until he is out of this phase…they are like verbal land mines for me!) He also thought that Noah should have built two boats so he would not have to “float around with all those spiders in the same boat.” To finish up he did a few tangram puzzles and decided they were too easy (and they are) for him. He informed me that he “gradumated tangrams” and he was done with them forever. He then cleaned up all of his school things and put them properly into his basket and went off to play.

Middle Boy and Sparkles

Middle Boy and Sparkles

I didn’t spend quite an hour with Littlest but I was mentally done for. The older three were just staring at me looking rather horrified. Middle Boy asked “will everyday be like that?” I let them know this was actually a good and productive day. I’m not sure they believed me. Maybe it was because I told them they needed to work in complete silence for a few minutes while I just laid on the floor.

The crew enjoyed a wonderful weekend playing outside and sledding in the snow. They found a pigeon frozen to the back porch. He (or she) couldn’t move because their little foot was frozen to the railing. The bird was still alive so my husband managed to free it. He then put the bird in a bucket with some seed and brought it into my kitchen to warm up a bit. I told him that whatever mess that bird made he

My husband tending to the pigeon

My husband tending to the pigeon

was responsible for cleaning. After the bird had warmed up a little my husband held it a gave it water from a medicine dropper. Then with some gentle coaxing the pigeon drank from the dropper. My husband amazes me in moments like this. The bird lived and later we saw it sitting with its mate near the feeder. My husband saved a little life that day. Every night, before going to sleep I thank Jesus for the privilege of being married to such a wonderful man. I’m so incredibly blessed.

This week the crew and I discussed their curriculum for the following academic year. We talked about what they enjoyed and wanted to learn as well as what they really disliked. I was completely surprised they wanted to change their

Oldest

Oldest

Bible curriculum. We all like the curriculum from Christian Light but none of us want to continue with it. They also do not want to finish out the Apologia series we are reading now. They were fine with finishing the book since we are about half-way through but wanted something else. When I asked for clarification Oldest said, “a curriculum that actually lets us read the Bible”. I could hardly believe the words he said and that the middle two actually agreed with him. The past month or so I’ve been having the same thoughts. I told them I’d have to think a few thoughts on how to go about it together.

Batman at the keys

Batman at the keys

They are delighted (well…as delighted as one can get with grammar and mathematics) with the rest of their curriculum. Middle Boy would like a few more crafts and hands on projects. Oldest wanted creative writing and Latin. Sparkles just wants to learn to sew. Otherwise they are completely satisfied with their books. We are all very happy with this past school year’s progress. I already have our Latin curriculum (Visual Latin) picked out for next year as well as Oldest’s creative writing curriculum (Cover Story). This is the first time since beginning homeschooling that choosing our curriculum for the following year hasn’t been so difficult.

The academic week went by quickly. We studied Marie Curie in science. Oldest made Lego creations of his Ancient Roman studies on the death of Julius Caesar and the take over of the Triumvirate of the Roman Republic. He even added the detail of the soldier bringing the head and hand of Cicero to Antony. Sparkles and Middle Boy have finally managed to deliver pretty good oral narrations for history. It may be time for them to move onto written narrations and possibly some outlining exercises. Middle Boy finally found a book he likes to read! He loves the Nature Readers from Christian Liberty. He also made a painting today after school because “some girl at church” asked him to make one for her. I may need to meet this girl.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Snow Birds

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

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

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

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Weekly Wrap-up: The Exile of the Cat

Birthday part with friends

Birthday part with friends

Last Friday we wrapped up our art project over at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s and celebrated Moon Eyes’ thirteenth birthday. His cake was an amazing chocolate fudge three layer cake from Parcell’s Bakery…thick and very rich. The kind of cake that deserves a hot cup of dark coffee…this was the first time I really craved a cup of coffee in a long time. I settled for a tall cold glass of milk…sigh. The birthday party was also notable because Littlest chose to be a big boy that afternoon and drank from a cup all by himself and fed himself!! Which made me happy and sad at the same time…

big boy

big boy

The weekend was quiet and uneventful. The weather experts put us under a winter storm watch or something but I didn’t believe them. They’ve been wrong nearly all winter so far so I ignored their warnings. At one point the winter storm warning was cancelled but then the warning was reinstated. We ended up with rain, sleet, snow and some ice throughout the week. The public schools were closed all week and since they are calling for more snow tonight and really cold temperatures all weekend they may be out part of next week too. In contrast last winter was very mild…my petunias bloomed all winter long!

sledding

sledding

The kids enjoyed sledding this week. We have a great yard for it. Littlest enjoyed his first sledding experience with Oldest. He also just enjoyed playing in the snow. I felt a little bad because I didn’t take him out until the second day because I do not enjoy cold weather. We ended up with a layer of freezing rain and ice over the snow the next day. So the sledding was a bit faster. Middle Boy couldn’t bail out fast enough and ended up in the creek! I didn’t take a picture of the event…my husband really is the better spouse. Sparkles managed to crash into the same tree every day…she’s really mad about it so DSC03499don’t bring it up around her. It really doesn’t help matters that I find it hilarious…Anyway, we played outside every day this week, drank lots of hot chocolate, and got most of our schooling done too. Not a bad week at all even with the playful antics of old man winter.

I did end up exiling our cat back outside for a few nights. She jumped onto the dining room table knocking over a glass of water onto some books. Not just any books…but curriculum! It gets worse! The books were not mine but belonged to a friend who was letting me try them out with my crew. (So I’ll purchase them from her now.) Zee was

Middle Boy enjoying the ice

Middle Boy enjoying the ice

exiled for a few days but I let her back in yesterday morning. She was begging for her breakfast at the door and with every “meow” I could see her breath. Well played kitty! The curriculum (All About Spelling) wasn’t too well received by my school crew so I am still looking for a spelling curriculum (any suggestions?). Littlest, on the other hand, just loves it and has nearly completed the first lesson! He knows all of the consonant sounds and just needs to work on some of the vowel sounds. Littlest used to beg for someone to play with him during school time…now he begs for someone to “do school” with him. Now I feel sad again. I’m going to blame it all on the cat!

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