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!

Nature Study: The Moon

We have not kept up well with our nature studies this school year so one of my New Year’s Eve goals is to get back in the nature study habit. The boys love it. I love it. We need it! Getting back to nature study in January means not waiting for good (read: warm) weather. Ha! This was our first full week of nature study since the new year.

A FAVORITE nature study resource is Lynn Sheldon’s Exploring Nature with Children. It is simple and so easy to implement. We have been loosely following along for two years now. I also love using The Handbook of Nature as well. So much information in that book!

I also browsed our home library to find other books on the moon. I had so much fun with all these books and materials that it was tough putting them all away this week.

One of my favorite projects was using watercolor to create our own moons. The boys, surprisingly enough, loved it as well. We watched a quick YouTube tutorial and then I turned them loose on their own creations. I even created my own watercolor moon.

We read every day from the Handbook of Nature and several other books from our home library. We studied moon phases and learned about solar and lunar ecplises. The boys were shocked to learn that we always see the same side of the moon! We watched Journey to the Moon on Prime, a documentary about Apollo 11 and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. It was fabulous and I definitely recommend it!

Of course, I think the boys’ most favorite activity was creating moon phases with Oreos! As we waited for the eclipse, I read to them The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons and we used the illustrations to create our own moon phases.

Lastly, we watched the lunar eclipse. We armed ourselves with coats and hats and binoculars and our phone cameras. We did not stand out in the cold the whole time. It was SO cold! We went out in 15 minutes intervals, taking turns with the binoculars. We also looked at many amazing photos online the next morning.

This was such a fun nature study week! It really set us up well for the rest of our school year. I’m looking forward to learning about trees this week and probably next. We went on a little nature walk last week to find trees for each of the boys, and now they are ready to learn all about the trees they picked out. I hope we can keep up the nature study. They enjoy being outdoors much more than I do but I’m having a lot more fun with it than I thought. See you next time!

2019 New Year Homeschool Goals

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season! We had so much fun during our holiday break. We baked so many cookies, attended some awesome Christmas parties, and had fun with Dad who took off the week of Christmas. So many great Christmas memories!

I have to admit, though…I’m kind of happy to see 2018 go far, far away. Between three broken bones, an emergency surgery, a sprain, a brown recluse bite, (and that was just between two of us!) in addition to so.many.family.problems, it was a rough one.

There were some super great highlights though: a short but sweet girls only trip to the beach, a couple months of watching the cutest grand toddlers and grandbaby, a few good field trips, plenty of baseball and soccer, fun concerts, many game nights with friends and family, and of course our awesome holiday season. The good completely outweighed the bad….when I take the time to actually think about it.

One area in 2018 where I feel I failed more often than not was our homeschool. We never got off to a good start this school year. Too many commitments. Too many outside activities. Too many HUGE expectations on my part. And not near enough planning. We had fun and we’ve learned a lot, but we could have (should have) done so much more. We already started back this week after a long holiday break. However, I’m still working on a plan for finishing out this school year. So here is my short but hopefully effective goals list for 2019:

  1. No more outside commitments. We already have commitments with church, one of our homeschool co-ops as well as Little League sports, and of course family commitments which I wouldn’t change for the world. And we have one BIG new commitment beginning this semester: Kaleb will be joining a local high school’s baseball team. He will be required to attend 7th period every school day as well as the after school practice and games. He’s actually attending our neighboring school district as ours doesn’t have a baseball team so I will be responsible for driving him to and from practice each day. Thankfully, a neighbor’s son who is also homeschooling attends the same hour as Kaleb so we will be able to car pool a little. So the goal is to not add any additional commitments. Along with that, I am only going to teach one class during co-op. Well…the same class x 3. I will be teaching all three hours BUT it will basically be the same subject.
  2. Monthly, weekly, daily routines. We did SO well with this…until about Thanksgiving. Then the holiday madness kicked in and we let it all fall away. We completed more of our schoolwork AND household chores once we got on a good routine though. It just made life so much easier to know exactly what was coming up next. Even on days when we started late, we still knew exactly what we needed to do and got it done. So. Much. Productivity. I want to get back to this and even dig in a little deeper. It just works that well for us.
  3. Weekly prep. This is a must. And I have failed miserably at it this school year. I usually do a big once a year planning weekend during the summer where I get every subject planned out, all the printables printed, all the supplies bought and organized, all the things done so that I could just grab the file of our current week…and get to work. I didn’t do any of that. I wasn’t prepared properly when we started school….and I’ve been playing catch up ever since. The only thing left for me to do this late in the game is to use the weekend to fully prep for the upcoming week. Maybe I can do some catch up in the next month or so while we have some downtime from most of our outside activities, but really I just need to commit to that weekly prep. Our homeschool would run so much smoother.
  4. Blog and YouTube. I’ll be honest: we get more done when I’m held accountable. And blogging about our weeks does that for me. Knowing that I will be publicly recording our homeschool is so motivating. And let’s be honest….my attempts at blogging the last few years have been pitiful. I love looking back on those years when I regularly blogged about our homeschool. I wish I had a better record of the last few. I can do better. And I will. I also want to get back to posting YouTube videos. I enjoy watching and reading about other homeschools and the community is such a blessing to a mama who spends a lot of her time at home. I decided last month that we would give YouTube a retry so I deleted all the videos I had previously posted in preparation….I just couldn’t look at them. Ha! The boys and I will start over some time this month. Slowly but surely! I’m committing for sure to weekly blog posts and possible bi-weekly YouTube videos. We’ll see how it goes. I have a teenager who would LOVE to edit my videos for me so that is a HUGE bonus.
  5. Be more intentional. This really is the sum of the four previous goals but I feel it needs its own space. I have to see it to believe it. Out of sight, out of mind. Or something like that. More intentional with my time, my boys’ time, our family time, our outside commitments. All of it really. Make it count. You know when you fix an amazing dinner and have leftovers? You put them in the fridge with the intention of having all that yummy for lunch the next day. Then you forget. And it sits there in the fridge. You might see it later and think you’ll have it the next day. No worries! Right? But then you forget again. And eventually you have to throw the whole thing….container and all…into the trash because it’s become a science experiment gone wrong. That’s kind of how I feel the first half of our school year turned out. I kept forgetting/putting off the good stuff. The things that make our homeschool fun. And eventually we got sucked into a super busy (but so fun) holiday season. None of the good stuff I wanted to do actually got done. I think the biggest reason for that was my lack of intention. I just didn’t make time for those things to happen. I spent a lot of the last few months thinking we would eventually get to it but we never did. So I am going to work on being more intentional. Use my time wisely by making sure I don’t over-commit our family, reestablishing those routines that work so well for us, planning ahead with good solid prep time on the weekends, and holding myself accountable through this blog and social media.

I fully believe that, if I stick to these goals, we will accomplish so much more in our homeschool and finish out the year with a BANG! And part of making that happen is accountability so thank you, WWW, for holding me accountable! Ha! I look forward to the next few months and learning alongside my boys. It’s a new year. A new start. And I’m more excited about this last part of our school year than I was when we started it. Better late than never, I guess. Hope you all are off to a great start on your new year. If you’ve made some new homeschool goals for 2019, I would love to read about them. Happy 2019!!

2018-19 Week 2: Composer/Artist Study

So I was crazy inspired by this set of videos by Sonya Shafer.  She pretty much broke down the Charlotte Mason education into five succinct points.

A little tangent:

Genius! I wish someone had done this for me back when I started reading about Miss Mason. I was incredibly lost when I visited Ambleside Online. I love and appreciate AO…but I froze when I saw ALL THE THINGS and wondered how in the world I could possible do it all with my boys.  Thankfully, I found other resources that made better sense to me. Oh, to have these videos though. If you’re curious about CM or wondering how to get started…where to start, you should seriously consider watching these five short videos. Don’t even watch them on the same day. Give yourself some time to digest each one individually.  And suddenly…..it won’t seem so intimidating.

Ok, back to my inspiration. Our composer and artist studies were found lacking this past year. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t organized. It wasn’t encouraging or inspiring or really anything but a burden for me. I kind of gave up on both. Then I watched the video on adding five things to your weekly schedule. BOOM! It made perfect sense to me. Super easy. Don’t overthink it. And here we are.

This trimester’s composer is going to be Scott Joplin. I chose him for a few reasons. For one, he fits the time frame we are currently in (American history) while waiting for our ancient history materials to arrive. I think the boys will enjoy his music. They weren’t super impressed with last year’s selections. And I was inspired by my daugher-in-law’s American Literature high class. She’s making a great effort to share more than just the typical “dead white guys” with her class. I love it. I also want the boys to have a broader experience with American history and music. Plus when we do start the ancients, there won’t be a list of composers for us so we’ll just stick with modern composers for most of the year.

Same with our artist study. We are going to start the year with Jackson Pollock because who can pass up splatter paint art?! Seriously. I think this will be a much better introduction into art than some of my previous choices. We will have fun with it for sure.

We also added back a poetry study this year. We are going to stick with one of last year’s poets since we didn’t get far….Edgar Allen Poe. We watched a fun little video of The Raven as well as a short bio on video before listening to another video of Christopher Lee read the whole poem aloud. One of my boys immediately came up with a few lines of his own for a Minecraft parody of the poem. I can’t wait to share his completed work!

We used YouTube videos for much of our learning in these three areas. I’ll link a few of the videos we loved below.

Jackson Pollock:

Scott Joplin:

Edgar Allen Poe:

On to our weekly report….

You know when we’re getting back into our school routine? When I don’t have many pictures to share because we were just on a roll! Ha! I didn’t take many but we did have a fun field trip at a local pizza place on Thursday. The kiddos were able to make their own pizza…and while those baked, we had a little pizza dough fun. Then, of course, the kids ate their creations.

Other than that, it was business as usual.  Our busy season is starting up again…a lot of baseball and soccer and co-op classes. Summer has officially ended for us!

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!