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!

The Plan: 2017-18 School Year

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I think I’m finally settled on a plan for the new school year.  I’ve only been back and forth on so many different things.  Starting something new is exciting and fun…but also a little scary.  I have doubted my choices all summer long.

This will be my 9th year of homeschooling…and we are trying something we’ve never done before: Charlotte Mason’s streams of science, using Sabbath Mood Homeschool’s science curriculum. Since 13-year-old is going into the 8th grade, I would like to see how this works this year before we need to start his transcript. IF it goes well this year, we will carry on through his high school years. More on that later….

Right now, lets talk curriculum for the year. We are about 85% Charlotte Mason this year. I can’t quite let go of a couple of non-CM things just let…or maybe ever.  That’s ok, though.  I think we are going to have a great year regardless, thanks to Miss Mason.

First up…our morning group work:

Bible

  • Apologia’s What on Earth Can I Do? Book 4 of the four book series.
  • Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System
  • SCM Bible reading suggestions from Modern Times guide

History/Geography

  • SCM Modern Times guide and resources
  • Usborne Encyclopedia of History
  • Usborne Encyclopedia of Geography

Science (Kaleb will move up to his own science this year. This will be for Gabriel and Drake. Joshua is welcome to listen in when interested.)

  • Sabbath Mood Homeschool Science Form II
    • Term 1 Weather
    • Term 2 Astronomy
    • Term 3 Physics
  • Usborne Encyclopedia of Science
  • Nature Study
    • various books on Nature Lore
    • Exploring Nature with Children
    • Backyard Nature

Boyhood/Character building

  • Created to Work
  • The Ultimate Guys’ Body Book (first half)

Foreign Language

  • Cherrydale Press Spanish
  • Instant Immersion Spanish
  • A couple Usborne books

Shakespeare

  • Tales of Shakespeare
  • various Usborne books

Plutarch– I know I want to add this but not sure yet on a resource.

Now for individual studies:

Math

  • Kaleb: Saxon Pre-Algebra
  • Gabriel: Saxon 76
  • Drake: Math Mammoth 4

Language Arts (each at their own level)

  • Painless Grammar and Our Mother Tongue
  • Spelling Power
  • Drake: All About Reading  and Explode the Code (working on his dyslexia)
  • dictation/copywork/ from our literature reading

Science (Kaleb)

  • Sabbath Mood Homeschool science guides Form III
    • Botany (all year)
    • Term 1 Weather
    • Term 2 Astronomy
    • Term 3 Physics
  • Usborne Encyclopedia of Science

And all those enrichment studies aka afternoon occupations: We are using various materials for our enrichment studies and I will share more about the specific resources as we use them throughout the year.

Picture Study- Three artists this year.  I’m excited about the Native American artist! We are close enough to a couple of museums to see his actual work in person!

  • Mary Cassatt
  • Ernest Spybuck
  • Jackson Pollock

Composer Study- Three composers this year but I will admit…I’m not sure who yet.  I want to find three American composers. That is one of my goals for this week.

Hymn Study- We will be memorizing/reciting/singing at least three hymns this year. I have resources for five so we might squeeze in a couple more if we have time.  If not, I’ll be two ahead for the next school year!

  • Amazing Grace
  • Anywhere With Jesus
  • All Creatures
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • O Love

Handicrafts-We won’t follow a curriculum but I found a few fun crafts that I think the boys will enjoy….paper crafting (origami), wood working, and string art.

Poetry Tea Time-we will be memorizing poems from and learning about three poets this year, but we will read from other authors as well.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Maya Angelou

I feel like that is everything. Maybe. Ha! I’m super excited for our year.  I think we’ll have a lot of fun and learn SO much. Week one was a blast and it should only get better and better as we get back into a routine.

How in the world are we going to fit all this in? Loop scheduling!! I’ll be back next time to share our daily and weekly schedules.

Happy Not Back to School, homeschoolers!!  Hope you are as excited as we are about the new school year.

 

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!

 

 

Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned.

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Hey you!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  It’s been a rough one but we’re hopeful that we’ve turned a corner.  Our summer will be better than our spring…and winter. 2017 has been full of illness and bad news.

This has been the sickest winter/spring we’ve ever had.  We have faced pneumonia x 3, a stomach bug x 6 (everyone at home got this!! It was terrible!), a flu-like virus x 5, two kidney stones, and strep x 1. We have seen a doctor for illness more times already this year than in the past seventeen years!! We had THREE ER trips! It’s been insane and a little unbelievable.

Literally nothing has gone as planned. We had to take so much time off from school that we are finishing up this month.  The boys don’t seem to mind though. They have decided that our “new school” is so much easier than our “old school”. We finished co-op at the end of April and that created some much needed free time.

I went with my adult son to urgent care in May.  He was having trouble breathing along with other symptoms.  The doctor said they found a nodule in his right lung. He needs a CT scan to find out if it needs further investigation.  Sometimes those young adult children can feel a little invincible.  He has yet to schedule that CT scan which worries me. He still has all the same symptoms so I’m hopefully that he’ll get tired of feeling so bad and finally make that appointment.

The worst news for the spring is the death of a young teen in our homeschool group.  He was my 12 year old’s friend.  Such a joy to be around.  So caring and thoughtful.  Witty and funny. Smart. He died suddenly from unknown causes. One day he was fine and the next he wasn’t.  Kaleb has had such a hard time this past month.  We last saw him on the last day of co-op.  He was in my survival class.  He and Kaleb joked about how, for one day, they are the same age since their birthdays are only one year and one day apart. They had a great day together and, then four days later, he died. The funeral was amazing, definitely a celebration of his short life. His parents are amazing people.  They spoke of faith and peace that passes understanding.  His mom repeatedly said, “…but I trust you, Lord.” Their faith blew me away. Kaleb is doing a little better each day. He has a great support system of family, friends, and youth leaders.  I’m thankful for them.

Baseball started at the first of April and we’re winding down that season.  One of my boys was chosen for the All-Star team for his age group.  We will have two weekends of tournaments this month.

We were suppose to have our house on the market by the summer but we’re behind on that as well.  We have made some progress on the new house site.  I applied for the 911 address last week.  We’ve mapped out where the house, shop, and animal pens will go.  I’m still in shock that the hubs agreed to chickens, goats, and a cow.  He even added ducks to the animal list!

My June plans:

  • Finish 2016-17 school year
  • Once a Year School Planning for 2017-18
  • Paint all the rooms!!
  • Electric on the new house site
  • Plant a small container garden
  • Purchase two goats and three chickens
  • Monthly game night with the adult children and grands  (done…yay!)
  • Backyard cook out with the adult children and grands

Easy peasy, right? I’m actually already working on the OAYP….printing, printing, printing. I hope to share with you our curriculum line up for next year.  It is so different from our usual line up, and I’m excited for another year of fun school. I have paint for a couple of the rooms in the house. Just no time yet to paint!

I’m looking ahead to July…nice, easy, boring July. Ha! I’m praying for a health and happy summer. More time to blog. More time to read. More time to have fun. That’s my prayer.

Hope you are having an awesome start to the month of June.

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 💙

Meal Plan & Grocery Haul

Hello! I hope you all had a great weekend.  Ours was busy and SO fun.  We had co-op classes Friday morning and then the afternoon was spent grocery shopping. Then a lot of catch-up/cleaning on Saturday along with an evening of games with my oldest stepson and his family.  Then we lost an hour on Sunday! Ha! Church and an afternoon with my mom. We were just worn out from the activities and time change. I really didn’t want to do much today but rest and recover.

 I did have to finalize my meal plan and thought I would share with you. I have the grocery haul video at the bottom of this post.  I plan from Friday to Thursday since I always grocery shop on Fridays.  So let’s get right to it….

Friday: We had pizza. The boys had one from Aldi and I made a low-carb pizza for Bo and me
Saturday: We had a lot of yummy appetizer-type foods for our game night.
Sunday: We really didn’t have dinner. We kind of just snacked around and everyone fended for themselves.
Monday: Bruschetta Chicken on the grill with a side and veggie side.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!!
Wednesday: Fish and salad
Thursday: Grilled chicken/veggie kabobs

That’s it! Nothing inspiring.  I didn’t plan well last week before grocery shopping so our meal plan isn’t exciting at all. Ha!  I hope you all have a fabulous week! I hope your Monday hasn’t been terribly difficult with the time change.  I’ll see you later!

Below is my YouTube video of the grocery haul. I’ve just started on YouTube so be kind. Ha! It’s harder than it looks!!!

Christie 💙

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 💙

Have Faith & Remember His Love

My grandpa passed away this week.  He had been sick for many years with Alzheimer’s.  I hadn’t seen him in a very long time.  He was the best grandpa.  I have enjoyed spending time reliving old memories.

I was thinking of him when I came across a Documented Faith devotion on 2 Corinthians 4:18.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

As soon as I saw the little prayer printable, I knew I wanted to add it to my bible.  And the idea for the page just flowed from there.  As I sat at the table, staring at the little prayer printable, I thought about Grandpa and how unfair it was that such a terrible disease overtook him.  What would the last years of his life had been like if he hadn’t been sick?  How many more years would he have had to enjoy his grandchildren and great-grandchildren? And I thought about the toll this disease has taken on my grandma. She went to the nursing home every day to feed him lunch.  All of the heartache she must have felt over these years, watching her husband fade away.

As I sat there, I realized that we may never know why Grandpa had Alzheimer’s and it may never make sense to us on this side of Heaven.  BUT! That’s ok.  We don’t have to understand.  We just have to believe that God is a good, good God. He loves us so very much and he can use even this for His good. I also know that Grandpa is rejoicing in Heaven right now.  He is with Jesus and his baby girl.  He is in no pain. He has fully recovered his mind. He is at peace. 

Last night as I painted and stamped and prayed, the words to journal just would not come to me.  I left the bottom blank because I just couldn’t find the words that I wanted to write. 
Then, at Grandpa’s funeral this morning, one of the pastors mentioned this very verse and said that when we have faith, we live differently.  We live eternally.  We know that God (and His plan) is right and good. Our lives reflect that faith when we care for others.  Grandpa was a giver and a doer.  He was most happy when he was helping someone else.  He lived out his faith. He did it because he remembered God’s love and shared it with others.  Those are the words.  
I grabbed an extra program from the funeral home today.  I want to add it to the back of the prayer in my bible as a reminder that faith is living differently, giving and doing, sharing God’s love. I’ll always have Grandpa’s life as a reminder of what living a faithful life looks like. 
I’m so thankful for the years that I had with Grandpa. I’m reminded this week that life is fleeting.  We have a limited number of days to love others.  One day, I hope people say the same about me, that I lived out my faith, remembered God’s love, and shared it with others. 
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 ❤