Week 18: Oh How I love a Good Routine

Our sweet Kaya, lying so quietly and patiently under my chair.

I love when we get into a good rhythm. Our time flows smoothly. We have time for all the things. Everyone feels good about our day. A good routine just makes life easier, right? I don’t mean a schedule. I am not a strict scheduling kind of girl. I like margin. White space. Time to just be. I feel like when I try to schedule our day, I always over schedule, never include enough time, and most always set myself up for failure. I end up rushing our read aloud time and boys’ creative activities. I feel like I must plan every single minute. And we never have free time to just be. I feel like a drill sergeant. Schedules aren’t bad! Some people thrive on a schedule. I prefer a routine. If we don’t get started right at 8am, that’s ok. We can still do the same things…just a little later in the morning. If we need to shift to the afternoon, we still have our routine…just later in the day. If everyone gets up early….you see what I mean. We simply follow our daily routine regardless when we begin. And when we get into our groove….it’s magical.

We had such a great week. A couple bumps in the road but mostly just a lovely week of learning. We began a moon study in anticipation of the coming lunar eclipse. The boys and I each did watercolor painting of a full moon, we read various books, and watched a wonderful documentary about the Apollo 11 landing. If you’re interested in reading more, I shared about our moon week in a separate post.

We had a few frustrations on Tuesday so instead of giving up the day (still remembering the wise words of Bob Schultz), we headed to a local lake for a quick nature walk. I wanted to see if the waterfall at the lake had any water flowing. It did not disappoint. In all we only walked about a mile, but it was pretty cold and muddy. We took time to pick individual trees for the new year. While we are relatively new to tree study, I like that some of the trees at the lake are labeled. We will continue our tree study into this week after we finish up our moon study.

I have to say…the rest of the week was pretty uneventful. My husband had to borrow my truck on Wednesday so it was just a full day of school and relaxing for us. The same for Thursday. That routine, you guys! On Friday, I took my teenager for his first sports physical. That was quite the experience for him!

Thanks to routine and a slow calendar, we had an awesome (but maybe a little boring?) week. Truth be told….I hope we have many, many more!

2018-19 School Year: Our First Week

As usual, my first week report is before my curriculum post. Ha! Why change things up at this point right? It’s almost like my own annual tradition. Also….we’ll see how long the blogging about school lasts this year.  I think I barely even started last year before I stopped. I’ll get back into the habit one of these years, right?!

So week one:

First of all, something new for our school year….I’m watching my little grand toddlers every day for the months of August and September. And I’m also watching my little grand baby 1-3 days a week. Just call my house Mimi’s Grandcare. Ha! The boys and I love having them, and we actually managed to have a pretty decent week while adjusting to the changes. There are challenges but we’re a pretty patient lot and it helps that they are so stinkin’ cute!! We will definitely miss having them around when this time comes to an end.

Another challenge….I decided to outsource our printing needs this year.  Our summer was full of all the things so I was quickly running out of time to do my once a year planning/printing. I ordered all of our PDFs to be printed back in the middle of July. We should have received it by early August but here we are….working toward the end of August and nothing has been printed yet. Sigh. Trying to show patience. That’s a good chunk of our schoolwork. Patience. Patience. Patience. If I repeat it over and over, will it help? Or only further annoy me?!

The highlights of our week…

Monday:

You know when the Bob Schultz book you’re reading to your kids….so they will become good upstanding adults…ends up convicting you instead of them? The book clearly says it’s for boys but there I was……totally convicted. So we spent the morning after our group work deep cleaning our bedrooms and bathrooms. Ha! Thanks, Bob. But keep in mind that your job is to teach my boys….not me. For real, man. Then math, reading, copywork, etc.  All the things that the boys did NOT miss over the summer. We’re sticking with American history until our ancient history shows up.  Digging a little deeper into WWI and WWII. Kaleb, the history buff, is in heaven. I feel like I’m crying every day. If you need a good resource for American history though, check out America: The Story of Us. So good! We watch on Prime.

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Tuesday:

So how do you get restless boys to settle down and work? Homeschool PE. YES! A little running, some jumping jacks, sit ups, push ups, and of course planks. Burn that extra energy! And I learned that if the baby of the family works harder and does better than his older brothers, those olders work harder themselves to show they are stronger/faster/better. Homeschool PE = some healthy, brotherly competition = extra burn. I like it. One of our new daily habits!

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Wednesday:

Finally the mom of this house got it together long enough to give the boys some fun NB2S gifts.  Of course she didn’t have it together enough beforehand to actually finish anything….so Dad saved the day! After a day of schoolwork, we all jumped into the truck and headed to a fun amateur hunting film fest.  First, Dad bought us dinner at a fave restaurant. Then we made our way to the event.  We watched several hunting videos (I’m not a fan usually but they were well done and fun to watch.) and caught some cool prizes. The boys each came home with either a hat or shirt and a dvd. We got home around midnight so I let the boys sleep in just a bit the next day.

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Thursday:

The homeschool mom is tired, ya’ll. It’s been a long week. A great week. But long. And I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in like some people in my house. This one cup of coffee girl had two cups. Ha! We managed most of our schoolwork but not much else beyond that. The grands LOVE playing outside so the boys spent a lot of time in the yard with them.

Friday:

Happy FriYAY!!! We did it! Our first week of the school year is DONE!! We’ll get a little but of school work done and then…..it’s time to celebrate those birthday twins!!! Technically, their birthday is tomorrow but someone convinced me it was today, even though I knew I was right. Ha! So we did some fun things with them. It’s not everyday a grand is in your house on (or around) their birthday, right?! We definitely took advantage.

Hear that big ole happy sigh?! As much as I miss our summer break, it’s good to be back into our school routine. Settling my mind. Calming my heart. I love the spontaneity of summer, but oh that school routine….like a soothing balm to my soul. And the things we will learn this year. I can’t wait. So many books waiting to be read. So many adventures waiting to be taken. So many memories waiting to be made. My happy place.

Happy Not Back to School, my homeschool friends! Here’s to an AH-mazing year!!

The End of Our First Term

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We did it! We survived our first full term of a Charlotte Mason education. Whew! We are currently finishing up a week long break with Dad.

Such a great term. We learned SO MUCH good stuff.

Stuff we would have missed out on if not for a friend posting about her favorite CM podcasts last December.  I can’t believe the richness of our mornings.  It wasn’t all perfect, but I learned what works, what doesn’t, what needs work, and what needs more of my attention.

So here is the truth, the goodness, and the beauty of our first term.

All the field trips! My goal this year was the same as last….go on as many field trips as possible. Educational field trips. Fun field trips. Messy field trips. Loud field trips. Friend field trips. A few of our faves in no particular order:

We went to a free performance by a local orchestra. The boys always say they won’t like it, but end up loving it.

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Our local Charlotte Mason group took a road trip to a Cherokee event in Oklahoma. The boys visited a small village, heard a Native American story, and tried their hand (and foot) at a few Cherokee games, crafts, and activities. At the end of the day, they each earned an arrowhead by completing several of those tasks. The favorites of the day were learning how to use blowguns and all of the games. And as many wild and free kiddos, ours found a small stream to stomp in and explore.

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One of best things to come from starting a Charlotte Mason group in my area is all of the moms coming together to share their ideas for our group. One amazing mama suggested (and organized) a literary club for our group. We read one book each quarter as a family and then meet up as a group for an activity and group discussion.  Charlotte’s Web was the fall selection and we had such a great time with this book! The boys LOVED the book and the movie. Then we met with our friends at the local state fair to check out all of the farm animals, eat fair food, and of course ride the fair rides!

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We met up with our Charlotte Mason group at a local state park for the solar eclipse. The park rangers put together an informative event for all ages. We watched the eclipse through our glasses as well as the homemade viewers provided by the park. While waiting for the full eclipse (or as full as it was going to get in our area), we of course went down to the little creek and splashed around. After the eclipse event, we went on a small nature walk to the dam. The kids had so much fun climbing around on the rocks and on top of the dam.  I’ll admit….I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it but I did let the older boys roam around for a bit. Ha!

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Of course we had to visit a local pumpkin patch! We met up with another local homeschool group for some fall fun….hayride, lunch under the trees, corn maze, and a lot of fun activities on the farm. Each of the boys brought home a small pumpkin that they carved as soon as we finished up our pumpkin unit.

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Aaaand that isn’t even all of our field trips. Ha! We averaged about one a week! So many fun memories! We have several more coming up that I know the boys are going to love. Maybe I’ll get my act together and post more regularly so we can share all of our fun with you all.

Fall means football and soccer around here.  One of our boys played football this year. This is Gabriel’s last year of Little League so I’m interested to see if he plays with the school next year.  He enjoyed his team and of course had a lot of fun.  He said he made more tackles this year than last…improvement! He thought it was fun to be in the local high school homecoming parade with his team AND his team place 2nd in the league. Now that the season has ended, we will celebrate next week at their party!

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Two of our boys played soccer this year.  Drake has played before and loves soccer, but this was Joshua’s first year to play.  Both did well with their teams.  Poor Drake’s team was always short-handed due to illness, family vacations, and other issues but they played their hearts out.  Soccer is definitely Drake’s favorite sport and it shows! Joshua enjoyed his team.  He ended up being the only boy on the team but he didn’t mind! They had so much fun and his coaches were the sweetest mamas who loved on all the kids.

We also participated in a local homeschool’s 8 week co-op. We don’t use co-op for educational purposes but they always do learn so much.  Mostly, though, co-op is a social outlet for us, an additional opportunity for the boys to spend time with their friends. The boys had some great classes!

Kaleb took a class on criticism and propaganda, a games class, and a puppet ministry class. I think his favorite was the puppet ministry class! He found a love of puppeteering in that class and has even been offered an opportunity to share his skill with our church in the kids’ ministry! The class performed a hilarious skit at our presentation night.

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Gabriel took a fine arts class and found a love of drawing. He also took a diy class along with Drake and made some pretty amazing things including a few gifts for their mama!

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Along with the diy class, Drake took one of my classes on odd creatures. We had SO much fun in that class! He declared my class his fave! He also took a games class.

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This was Joshua’s first year to move out of the preschool block and into the “big kid” classes.  He took a games class and has fallen in love with Uno! He also took a class on rabbits and learned SO much. Then his 3rd class was with me in a younger odd creatures class.

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The other class I taught was a Story + Art class. I have five little ones and had so much fun with them.  My other two classes were fairly large so it was nice to have such a small group in between the two big classes.

So in the middle of co-op, sports, and all the field trips…..we did get some schooling done! Ha! It wasn’t as full as I would have liked but it was good. I am SO looking forward to term two with fewer interruptions and slower days.

What did we love?

  • All the read alouds! I am reading almost all of our morning time books out loud and we just love it. The boys are doing SO well with narrations. Even my boy who was struggling to narrate even a sentence at the beginning of the year is easily and confidently narrating chapter after chapter AND recalling the previous days’ reading. That in itself makes my heart smile SO big that my eyes leak every time I think about it.  Narrating has been such a blessing to this guy who struggles with any kind of reading.
  • History! Again all those read alouds.  Real books! We aren’t tied to a textbook but enjoying personal stories of famous people from the past, digging deeper into events that interest us, and linking all of that with geography. So fun.
  • Bible study. The boys remind me every morning that we must begin with our devotional reading and Bible story.
  • And, surprisingly, our memory work. We’ve memorized so many things this term! Poems, songs, Bible passages, and so much more.

What didn’t go well?

  • Science, although it’s all my fault. I just failed. Didn’t have the materials needed. Forgot about it, even though it’s on my schedule! This is an area that will definitely improve in our 2nd term.
  • Handicrafts. I think only because we were so busy with other activities that we just didn’t get to the handicrafts I had planned. However, I must remind myself that all four boys took handicraft classes in co-op! Even though my plan didn’t happen, they still succeeded with handicrafts. Most of term two will consist of many Christmas gifts being made by the boys so we’ll certainly get our fill soon.
  • Art and composer study. Again, I think just the lack of time. This is another area I will work to improve in the next term.
  • Nature Study. Same as above. Just not enough time but will improve next term.

Our greatest success? I am thrilled to pieces that Drake’s phonics program is working brilliantly for him. We’re using All About Reading….and the kid is READING! He was diagnosed with dyslexia this past May and we immediately switched to AAR. It’s worked wonders. His confidence has soared! We’re working hard on fluency right now. I see him just continuing to improve and grow his love of books. I have to credit this amazing Charlotte Mason education.  Our short lessons, read alouds, and hands-on time have absolutely contributed to his success.

Whew! If you stuck with me through all of that, give yourself a high five! This is why I need to update more often. Ha!

All in all, we have had the most amazing start to our school year.  I see where we need improvement. I see what we’ve done well. And I see all of the learning that has taken place. It’s been fun and real and exhausting….and I’ve loved every single second. So thankful for our Charlotte Mason education. Looking forward to term two and all the good stuff to come.

I am off to enjoy the last few days of our “staycation” with the hubs. I will miss having all this free time when we start back to school and work next week. Mostly, I’ll miss hanging out with this guy.

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Please comment with a link to your blog. I would love to read about your Charlotte Mason home! Also please join me on Instagram. I post waaaay too many pictures over there about our school and daily life.

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Week 4: The One with NB2S Fun

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Happy Not Back To School Day!!!  Our local public school started back on Monday so, as per our tradition, we had a FUN day.  Just a day to celebrate being homeschoolers, not getting up to catch the bus, being able to schedule our day the way we like it, having fun with friends, and, well, being lazy if we want!

Our day started off with sleeping in as late as we want. Well, that didn’t work out quite as well as it has in previous years. Knowing that I traditionally have some NB2S goodies waiting for them in the kitchen on NB2S day, Gabriel was actually up at around 5am. He thoughtfully stayed in bed until the sun rose, thankfully.  I didn’t bother getting up with them…I knew they would eventually find their new things and have fun pouring over them without me.

Their goodies include a new fun shirt (for NB2S pictures of course!), some yummy snacks, school supplies, and whatever other little trinkety things I might find. Since fidget spinners are all the rage this year, they each received one in their school color. Well poor Drake got a black one. There just isn’t much in the way of orange school supplies/trinkets this year.

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So then our day continued with our traditional late breakfast.  All the stares from people as we walk into a restaurant around 9am on the first day of school. Ha! Everyone wondering what these schoolers are doing out of school. The boys love to tell people that it is our NB2S day because we’re homeschoolers!!!

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We spend the rest of the morning doing whatever we want….playing video games, watching tv, playing outside, doing laundry (well, me anyway). Just killing time until our NB2S party with one of our homeschool groups. I loved that one year when two of our groups planned their NB2S parties on the same day but different times. We spent the whole day with friends!!

Off to grab a bite for lunch before heading to the skating rink!  A local skating rink not only has the rink but also a whole other area with bouncy things, in-floor trampolines, and a place area similar to those McDonalds play areas. Fun for all ages!! I especially loved that I could skate this year since my youngest is now old enough to play on his own with his friends. He doesn’t need his mommy right with him anymore! Kind of a sad happy about that. In this case, happy…I skated for two hours!!! Some moms always “guard” the door to make sure no kids get outside and we all watch over each others kiddos. I declared myself the rink police/emt….”go the other way!” “Are you ok?” “Let me see that boo-boo.” “Watch out for littles!” …..as I went around and around and around. So. Fun.

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As usual, we left the skate party 30 minutes early….using, of course, my secret weapon. Happy Hour at Sonic!!  All of our skate parties end at 4pm.  The Sonic is just a few miles down the road so years ago I told the boys we could stop for happy hour drinks if we left the rink a little early.  We avoid the “I don’t want to leave my friends” breakdowns, the crowds leaving the building, the wait in the parking lot to pull onto the street, and we get a cool drink for half price! Win-win!! We’ve kept that tradition!!

That’s the end of our totally awesome NB2S day!!  Now on to the rest of our week…..

Tuesday was a terrible no good very bad day. I’m just going to be real with you all.  It was baaaad. Like everyone crying on their beds bad…including Mom.  Ugh. We just got off to a bad start and carried the theme all the way to lunch when I decided enough was enough and ended our day.  I laid (re: pouted) on my bed until the hubs came home.  It was a mess but we did have good conversations about it on Wednesday and came to an agreement. According to the “On this day” on facebook, we have a history of bad days after NB2S day so obviously I need to adjust my expectations and maybe ease back into school a little slower.

We had a great day of school on Wednesday. We had fun and accomplished a lot of work. Not a lot to say. Ha! We just worked.  I did re-arrange my “mom” chair area.  I have a wooden crate that holds most of our group work or “morning time basket”.  It holds our history, science, Bible study, current read alouds, etc.  All of the books that don’t fit into the crate (like the Brave Writer binder) go into a little shelving table that sits on the other side of my chair.  Neat, organized, and ready to go.

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Speaking of Bravewriter…we are LOVING The Writer’s Jungle.  I’ve gently added some of the suggestions from the first chapter. So far they’ve happily gone along with the additions. Then Wednesday we played the communication game. They LOVED it. Asked again and again if we could keep playing.

After a morning of schoolwork on Thursday, we ventured off to a local lake for our nature study.  We use Exploring Nature with Children as one of our nature resources and this week was all about pond life.  Our small pond gets quite nasty about this time of year along with many other available ponds in our area so a small lake was the perfect choice for us.  We took a picnic lunch….because food always tastes better outdoors, and I read to them from our nature books while they ate.

We took a little walk down the walking trail, out of the way of all the fishermen who were at the lake.  On our way, we saw a dragonfly lying on its back on the trail.  I thought it was dead and was kind of excited about taking it home.  Gabriel flipped him over with a finger and it flew off.  We went to where it landed….and it crawled right up on Gabriel’s outstretched hand!  It sat on his hand long enough for all five of us to get a good look at it and for pictures.  It must have been so thankful to have Gabriel flip him right side up!

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We found a little path down to the edge of the lake and each one took turns scooping some water from the lake into a mason jar.  We were hoping to catch some tiny lake creatures!

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We did in fact catch some kind of creature. I hoped it was a fairy shrimp but those are pretty rare in our area and it was a little too small anyway.  We brought it home and studied it under a magnifying glass. After a couple of pictures, we released it and added an entry to our nature journals.

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Friday was spent in town. I did have plans to do a little bit of schoolwork in the morning. Unfortunately, I developed a migraine over night so I did not want to look at tiny print on paper. My 8th grader had a student council event at the mall. They had a FUN photo scavenger hunt!  The rest of us did a little grocery shopping, stopped to visit a friend, and then met back up at the mall….in front of The Cookie Co.  Ha! We had a sweet treat and then headed out for the rest of our grocery shopping.  I was miserable after all of that and went straight to bed when we got home. So thankful for kiddos who know how to put away groceries and entertain themselves while Mama rests.

I am SO looking forward to week 5. Many fun things coming up.  I hope to take even more pictures as we get into a groove with our school days.  Our co-op classes start on week 6. Then we’ll have our first break during the week of Labor Day. I can’t believe we are that close to our first week off! I wonder if they’ll want to continue on…and if they do, should we go for it?! Ha!  The hubs is taking a vacation week at the end of October which falls on the end of our next 6 weeks AND the end of Term 1. Wow. I can see how this year is going to fly by with our new schedule!

I hope you all had great weeks as well.  If you blogged your week, please comment below and share the link! I would love to read about your school week!

Happy Not Back To School!

Week 1: The one with zero pictures

So week one. Success! But yeah…no pictures.  We were just trying to get stuff done. Ha!

We started off slowly with about a half schedule, finding a groove with our morning work. I’ll admit, I’m still a little unsure about dictation, recitation, etc.  I need to get a better grip on it before Monday. Also need to redo my afternoon loop schedule since I forgot to add typing and Spanish….I didn’t even realize until Wednesday. I did keep thinking that I was forgetting something so there’s that.

We rocked at history, science, math, and Drake’s phonics!  We’re actually finishing up last year’s history.  We’ll start our brand new exciting history next week!!  I can’t wait!

The boys LOVE their new science program from Sabbath Mood Homeschool.  Kaleb is especially excited about it.  He enjoyed tracking the weather this week, although he did say he was hoping one day would be different that “clear skies and super hot”.

I can see we need to work a little bit on our habit of attention with math.  We were doing so well in the spring! Too much time off. I know we’ll get back to it soon, though.  We covered some multiplication, scientific notation, and a LOT of graphs.

We finished up My Side of the Mountain….finally.  We just haven’t been reading together that much this summer.  Back to school routine means more read aloud time. I’ve missed it.  We also are still reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress. We are about half way through that book.  We will add On the Far Side of the Mountain and some living history books next week.

I finished the week with the monthly mom’s meeting of our local Charlotte Mason group.  We are going to work our though Charlotte Mason’s book one Home Education.  We discussed Out of Doors this month.  I love her description of a “typical” afternoon of nature study.  I can’t wait to implement many of her ideas into our nature study.

Boy quotes on week one:

  • “I really liked the weather science.” Kaleb
  • “I just like My Side of the Mountain.” Gabriel
  • “I kind of like my reading program.” Drake
  • “I don’t like school. Is it over yet?” Joshua

I am incredibly pleased with our first week.  It feels great to be getting back into a routine. Our days felt productive and peaceful.  I hope the following days, weeks, and months continue in the same manner.

I promise pictures next week!  We have some fun activities coming up and the boys will be starting their handicrafts soon. So many good things! See you next time!

 

 

Homeschool Co-op Day & Weekly Review

We had SO much fun with our first vlog.  The boys really got into it.  I wish we could have taken the camera into our co-op classes but I didn’t want to be disruptive or have other children on our video.  We did take a couple pictures!

Last week’s homeschool review:

Can I just say how much I love the Charlotte Mason method?  Every day that we get closer and closer to a full CM schedule, I love homeschooling even more.  I love our schedule right now.  It isn’t perfect…or even near but it is fun and SO educational.  My boys have commented on how much they love school now.  They love all the extra book reading, especially the read-alouds. They are thriving with the shorter work times. Our days are pleasant and organized and lovely.

Monday-Thursday:  Like I said, our schedule is still a work in progress.  As I get an aspect of the CM method down, I add it to our schedule.

Right now, we begin with Bible devo and study.  Then we break into some individual work.  We added a new spelling program, and while I don’t know how CM it is, it is working so well with my boys.  My oldest two at home do that while Drake starts his math.  Then we switch…older boys do math and Drake sits with me for his reading/phonics.  He has some reading disabilities but he is working hard and doing a great job!

Next is the bulk of our group work.  Our schedule rotates some within this group work.  By summer,  I will have the loop schedule figured out and we’ll be flying! After a bit more individual work, we take a break for lunch.  I love that most of our school day is finished by lunch!

After lunch, we do some chores and then enjoy some free time….boys outside, Mom in her craft area. We come back together for snack and literature time.  Then our day is done.  Boys usually back outside until Dad comes home. Or some time on the xbox if the weather is bad.

I still have several things to add.  I’m exploring options for handicrafts, drawing, and music lessons.

Friday:  Right now, we have two hours of co-op in the middle of our morning.  We end at lunch and then do all of our grocery shopping.  Once co-op ends in April, we will add subjects from home again. I’m  not sure how it will look yet though.

I can’t wait to share a more permanent schedule later on.

I hope you enjoy our first Day in the Life video.  We are definitely excited to do more in the future.

See you soon!
Chrsitie 💙

February Recap

Oh man.  February was a tough month.  I feel like we were sick the whole month. Were we?! I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember is that we didn’t get a lot accomplished.

On the home front:  I caught a cold or some kind of virus and got very sick.  So. Sick. For three weeks. Then, in the middle of that, Joshua became ill.  When his fever wouldn’t break, I took the two of us to the doctor.  Thankfully, he tested negative for strep and flu.  The doctor didn’t test me because he said I had bronchitis and  pneumonia and would need the same meds anyway. He put me on a Z-pack which was awesome. I felt better in about a week, but that cough hung on for a couple more weeks.

The hubs and boys did manage to surprised me with fun Valentine’s gifts.

Then, as I was finally feeling well, Kaleb got sick. He just felt weak and tired, and had a fever.  Same as me.  After a few days of that, he came to me one afternoon and said he was having trouble breathing so we headed to the walk-in clinic.  The one Joshua and I went to was closed so we went to a different one.  Kaleb had two chest x-rays done. The doctor told me that he had a partially collapsed lung and that we needed to head to the ER!  He kept talking about chest tubes and maybe a transfer to Children’s Hospital!!  The ER doctor, however, disagreed and said it was simply a bad case of pneumonia. So a Z-pack for him too!

Needless to say, none of the projects I had planned actually got done in February. Really nothing got done.  The hubs, poor man…came home from 10-12 hour work days to cook dinner and clean house while I was sick.  I literally spent a month, just laying on the couch. Occasionally, I would get up and do things but I’d just wind up back on the couch.  Then the same with Kaleb for two weeks.

However, everyone was well enough to attend the much anticipated Newsboys concert at the end of the month!  Kaleb’s 2nd concert and a first for Gabriel and Drake.  Joshua spent the evening with his grandpa.  They had a great time and so did we. It was an awesome concert.  All that my boys were hoping it would be and, as a bonus, we received three meet-and-great tickets. Plus a gift card for two free t-shirts.  Drake decided he would be too shy to meet the band so he stayed back with Dad while I took Kaleb and Gabriel to get autographs.

Homeschool: While I was sick, we did nothing.  I couldn’t read aloud without coughing and couldn’t sit at the kitchen table.  The boys did an occasional math lesson….if they understood it on their own, but that is about it.  We watched some educational stuff of TV but mostly the boys just played and had a fun home-bound school break.

I did spend a lot of my sick time reading on my own.  I want to switch our homeschool approach to Charlotte Mason.  I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about her.  I started listening to The Delectable Education podcast which I love.  Between the podcast and books, I am SOLD! We tried it a little bit before I got sick and our school day did go a lot smoother.  I also realized a lot of our group work aligns well with Charlotte Mason’s philosophies so we’re not too far off base anyway. I’m excited to dive in deeper this month.

So that’s about it. Hoping and praying that March is much nicer to us.  We have baseball sign-ups, Drake’s birthday, and some fun field trips coming up.  Also our local homeschool co-op has started. Should be a fun and busy month!

Christie 💙

Oh, Charlotte Mason…I think I love you.

First, a little back story:
We have been homeschooling since 2008 when we pulled my oldest son, Nathan, out of public school.  Now, I have to admit that I love public school.  I loved my own school days and, up until this point in 2008, I had planned on being a public school teacher. I had no plans of homeschooling. Unfortunately, the school system didn’t want to work with us, concerning my son’s ADHD. His teacher actually told me that she would just rather I give him medication and not worry about the rest.  The rest…being a 30 lb weight loss in a few month’s time, depression, anger, and many other troubling side effects.  I decided that maybe I could just teach him myself and see how it goes. After all, I had planned on teaching a room full of students….how hard could one be?
I quickly realized that I knew nothing about homeschooling and turned to the experts….my local homeschool mama friends. We stumbled around with curriculum and schedule and life, really, for the first year.  However, I did my research and our second year was much better. Since Nathan was so used to public school, a mostly school-at-home approach worked best for him. By the second year, we added in Kaleb and just had fun. A lot of books. A lot of worksheets. A lot of crafts. A LOT of library time!
Soon after, I discovered The Well-Trained Mind forum board and was hooked! This approach worked well and was similar enough to our school-at-home that the boys never missed a beat.  We had a few GREAT years!
However, I began to notice a discontentment in myself over time.  I would drop this curriculum, add that one. Changed our schedule around. Nothing seemed to get us back to the joy that we had experience those first few years. I just became frustrated with all of it.  My oldest spent his 9th grade year in public school and I was kind of relieved.  Homeschool wasn’t fun anymore. Or even enjoyable. Or tolerable.  It was actually pretty terrible.  My youngers and I kept at it though.  I had a 3rd grader, 1st grader, and preschooler so I kept it pretty light that year. I combined all of the subjects that I could. We sat on the couch and read as much as we could. And I didn’t stress about the rest.  We found a little bit of our joy.  Nathan came back home in the 10th grade and we tried again. The joy didn’t last and we found ourselves once again miserable. I decided that maybe I just couldn’t teach upper grades, and my boys should probably go into public school once they reached a certain grade.
Fast forward to January of last year:
My oldest graduated with his GED. He just began to refuse to do schoolwork so I told him he needed to work on getting his GED before he turned 18.  On his 18th birthday, he passed the last test.  It took that smartypants only two weeks to take all of the required tests to receive his GED!!  That made me feel so much better about our homeschool. Even in the midst of struggle, he was still learning.
With a new school year beginning in the fall and the pressure of high school temporarily out of the picture, I declared Fall 2016-Spring 2017 the year of Fun School.  If it was fun and even remotely educational, we were going to do it.  And really we have. Three different sports in the fall. So many field trips. Fun days. Play dates. Parties. All the fun things.
I also declared this the year that I would figure out how to joyfully teach upper grades because my youngers were begging to stay home through high school. If they really want to stay home, I decided to find a way to make it happen for them.
Quite by accident, I found The Delectable Education podcast in December. A new homeschool mom had posted a question about Charlotte Mason. She mentioned that she had been listening to this podcast. I didn’t even consider it at first.  Honestly, I believed that it wouldn’t be a good fit for us.  I had looked at it before and discarded the idea….for some reason I can’t remember now. It wasn’t until last week (Jan 19th) that I finally remembered that podcast and decided to check it out.
After that first episode, I was hooked. I quickly realized that the parts of our homeschool that I loved and cherished actually followed the CM method.  Our morning time. All those books. And simple narration. I didn’t know that this was an actual method. I was just trying to simplify our homeschool.  The parts that I didn’t like, well, every one of them went against Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.  During the second episode, I listened while I pulled every living book on American history that I could find from our bookcases and stacked them in our living room.
We are only in our first week, but oh the joy. I’ve added a little to our morning time. I’ve lessened the time we spent on individual work. No more dawdling at the table for hours over math. We’ve spent less time on schoolwork but already covered more than we did in previous weeks. Isn’t that crazy?  No tears. No fussing. No homework.
I’m working on a more permanent schedule for us and would love to share it with you as soon as I have it finished. If you love the Charlotte Mason method, please comment with advice or maybe a book suggestion. I do plan on ordering The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, and of course I will continue with The Delectable Education podcast.
I am so excited to share the next few weeks in our homeschool.  Thank you for *listening* to my ramblings.
Christie ❤

Arts/crafts, history, and geography WILL get done this year!

Yes, that’s right.  We WILL do at least one craft a week, including the cool crafts in history and holiday/seasonal crafts, this year.  We WILL stay on top of our history and geography programs this year.  We WILL be prepared.  We WILL have a fun year {or at least more fun than last year}. You know how I know?  It’s all right here…planned, printed, and ready to go….waiting on us. 
All of the printables, book lists, and material lists needed for history and geography, all of the craft details, AND all of the paper materials needed for every craft in a nice, pretty weekly schedule. I LOVE it.
BUT.  It doesn’t stop there.  I also have all of the other printables, book lists, and material lists for other subjects in their appropriate binder placed in the appropriate drawer of their workboxes.  Everything printed and ready…waiting on us {instead of the other way around}.
Now I just have to get started gathering the materials.  I have a storage tub just waiting to be filled with ziplock bags full of materials needed for each week’s science experiments, crafts, history projects, and more.
My mid-school year self is really going to appreciate my summer self.  I’m excited.  Bring on the school year!!!

Summer planning and printing PROGRESS!

I am SO excited that I am getting EVERYTHING planned and printed for the new school year.  Here’s what I have so far:



Kaleb’s Math




The first 8 weeks of GtG and several chapters in SOTW.  Also I have printed lapbook/notebook materials for science section in GtG, as well as the Draw Write Now animal pages for each animal we’ll study.




The Famous Artist curriculum (so excited about this!), an 8 week character study, and the first half of Gabriel’s math.



I don’t know why this is sideways.  No matter what I did, it stayed this way.  These are the poems from FLL1 that Kaleb will memorize this year.

Not pictured {because I just realized I forgot to take a picture} are some number handwriting pages that I plan to laminate for Gabriel. 

I have so much more to print before I’m finished but I’m sure I’ll get it all done.  I’m taking the maths to be spiral-bound with a hard backing and a see-through hard cover.  Everything else will go into a binder or the hanging files in the 2nd picture.  I am almost finished with the book and materials lists.  Super excited about that!

Hopefully all of this summer organizing will help make our school year run a lot smoother AND we’ll actually get a lot more accomplished.  No more dropping art/crafts and all the other fun extras just because I don’t have time to find materials and print pages!!

Tomorrow….I’m finishing up Gabriel’s math, and working on history and GtG.