Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ice Storm 2010

We lost power last night. My husband had to leave for work about 9pm last night and around 9:30 the electricity went out. We were fine and lit candles and the fireplace. The kids made a pallet on the floor. We actually did a little school work and read a chapter of one of Tyler's books, Charlemagne.

Before we settled down by the fire, Tyler and I had to take care of the pool. We don't winterize it but leave it open year round. So when the electricity went out I was comcerned that the pipes might freeze up. So like little utility works we headed outside with flashlights and started wrapping the pipes with towels and packing tape. Then we found some plastic and covered the whole thing up. While we were outside we could hear and see large limbs snapping off our neighbors tree. Thankfully the pool is fine and the electricity came back on around 4:45 am.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up:It Snowed!

This week has been good. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened except that we got snow today!! Well, it was more sleet than snow but it was still exciting for us since it is something we usually don't see a lot of around here. The kids wanted to just take the day off since all their non-homeschooling friends had off but I stuck to my guns and they got their work record time I might add. Snow is definitely a motivator! (I did suspend spelling and grammar.) We are supposed to get some more snow/sleet tonight.

Not much to say about this week. I guess I will talk about my 1st grader and language arts. I am so amazed at how well she reads. Right now we are using a Christian Liberty reader called Meeting New Friends. We have an older edition we got for free. The book has phonics charts (which I really like) and vocabulary words plus short stories. We also read our scheduled book from the Beyond Little Hearts for his Glory schedule. Currently, we are making our way through the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book One. It is a great book because not only does Ashley get to practice reading but she is also getting to learn about the world around her. We also have comprehension questions with this reader or sometimes she will just narrate back what she has read. I will definitely be incorporating book 2 into our curriculum next year. We are almost done with Explode the Code book 4. I like these books but I am not sure she is really getting it so I am going to change things up a little. I am going to order Christian Liberty's Phonics book for 1 st grade. I will start it next month and continue with it throught the summer. If we like it then I will use their 2nd grade book next year. We also started using First Language Lessons back in December. This book is awesome! It is such a simple approach to introducing grammar. The lessons are short but to the point. I can really see the learning taking place as Ashley works each day. We started out the year with Language Lessons for the Very Young and I am continuing with this book as well. We use this book twice a week but I am skipping over the copywork since I feel she is getting enough of this through handwriting and First Language Lessons.

I am looking forward to next week, getting my haircut and getting back to normal temps.
For more weekly wrap-ups please visit Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Except Mine are Usually Monthly!

Okay, I am pretty much the worst blogger. I haven't posted in over a month. But, I guess it probably doesn't matter too much since I'm pretty sure no one really reads my posts anyways. :D I actually wrote a post in December but I wrote it in Word thinking I would copy and paste it into Blogger. But when I tried to do that I couldn't find how to paste what I had written and just gave up. I really didn't feel like writing it all over again either. I will just consider it the "Lost Post".

So I guess this is really a mid-month update. We celebrated two birthdays. Tyler turned 13 (uh-oh teenager in da' house) and Ashley turned 7. We didn't start back to school until Jan 7. Tyler's b-day is on the 6th so we just decided to stay on break until then. Oh, the joys of homeschooling!

The first week went great but this past week things slowly fell apart. Things run much better around here when we go to bed early and get up early, starting school by at least 8:30. The problem is that the girls of the household (me included) are late night owls who enjoy staying up until we can no longer keep our lids open. Then come morning we prefer to stay huddled up under our covers way too long. Result: we feel like our whole day is shot.

I have changed a few things since we started back. Tyler hated Wordsmith. It just wasn't working for him. I also needed to work with him on it quite a bit. Because of this we would just skip doing it which isn't good because this boy needs to learn to write. I looked around and decided on Jump In which is sold by the Apologia people. So far it has been going well. He says he likes it better and there is minimal work for me to do with him excep t check his work and provide feedback when necessary. I also dropped the Apples Spelling books and Ashley's Horizon's Spelling. Apples just seemed too redundant for us. And Ashley's book was too hard for her. Ashley reads wonderfully but she is a terrible speller. So, I have started Spelling Power with them and again so far so good.

Some friends and I have started a once a month co-op. We started it mainly for celebrating the holidays but on months where there isn't a huge holiday we will still meet or have a field trip. Right now, we have 7 moms involved and 13 kids. We want to grow it slowly inviting those we know to join in each time we get together. I'm really excited about it and hope that it will bring some fun and fellowship to our children. Here is 2 pics from our very first co-op meeting, the big kids and the little kids. It was a Christmas breakfast. We had a couple of games, exchanged $1 store gifts and made mini gingerbread houses (glued together graham crackers).

For more weekly wrap-ups please visit Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up: Smooth Sailing

I haven't done a weekly wrap up in a long while. I guess I was bogged down with getting our taxes done for the year ('08) - and then we had house guests, and then we had a wonderful wedding to attend in New Orleans and then it was Thanksgiving.

My kids with their cousins enjoying New Orleans

My brother and his beautiful bride

Well, finally things have calmed down and are a little bit back to normal or at least normal for us. Anyways, this school week started on Tuesday. I decided to give the kids an extra day off. This is definitely a wonderful perk of homeschooling. We stuck with the basics this week and all went pretty smooth. I decided to rearrange our schedule (a never-ending endeavor!). We are now doing math, science, grammar and reading (for Ashley, my 1st grader) first thing in the morning. They are the most important subjects and if we can get them accomplished first thing then the rest of the day is cake. Doing things this way made the week run much smoother and we accomplished a lot each day before noon. It also helped that we all got up fairly early (for us) and began school by 8:30.

We were able to get in a nature study this week. I really love the challenges posted on the Handbook of Nature Study blog. We are way behind on our challenges. We completed the Autumn Series: Weather Study. We took a nature walk around our neighborhood but I would really like to find a place close by that is more wooded and more condusive to seeing more nature.

We have been trying to play a game about 3x's a week called Rummy Roots. This is a card game that introduces Latin/Greek roots. It is a fun and fast-paced, challenging game that is a great way to build vocabulary, and alphabetical skills by exploring the Greek and Latin roots of our English language. Not sure why but we have such a riot playing it. We are all pretty goofy so maybe that is why we are having fun but it was definitely a highlight of our week. We are only just beginning (we started the week before Thanksgiving) so we have only been playing with one deck but we have been keeping a running total of our points. When one person reaches one hundred which will be next week then we will add a new deck. By the way, I was in the lead but Tyler pulled ahead today and Samantha doesn't have a chance!

This week Tyler has just finished studying about the Vikings, Samantha is in the midsts of the early 1800's studyiong the growth of America and Ashley just read about the very first Thanksgiving. I will be so thankful when we start doing history together next year because this year has been pretty crazy. If anyone out there has a recommendation for a history curriculum that I can use for a 13, 11 and 7 year old please let me know all about it!

We got our tree up this week and our nativity but I have a few things still to do. This weekend I hope to set out our Christmas village and put out my snowman collection (something a yankee girl living in the south cannot do without! lol). Plus, I want to put away all the plastic tubs that hold all the decorations back up in the attic. We have a second tree we usually put out but I am just not in the mood this year so I've decide not to. Also, I have been going through my decorations and getting rid of the items I really do not care for.

Tonight, Jeff and I were able to go to our favorite Chinese restaurant and enjoy an evening out together. Our church had a parent's night out and I am very grateful to our pastor and his wife for this wonderful gift. We rarely get a night out together. Tyler is almost 13 so he is old enough to babysit but my next kid is 10 and they fight like a cat and dog. So parent's night out at church was definitely peace of mind. Plus I have an unnatural fear that someone might choke and so they are not allowed to eat while we are gone. I know, I am crazy. I will probably have Tyler go to a babysitting course sometime this year even though he thinks it is just for girls.

Also, good news, Jeff got a night job working at a local grocery store. It definitely is not replacing the income he normaly makes building houses but it will help slow the drain on our savings and since it is a night job he can still be available during the day when some jobs (praying) come in next year.

Please visit Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to view more weekly wrap-ups.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekly Wrap-up: Nature Study Kick-Off

This week was a little more exciting then last week. We started a few new things this week.

Tyler joined the local Homeschool Association's bowling league. He will be playing on a junior varsity team. They play every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm. This is a great opportunity for him to mingle with some other homeschoolers and take a mid-week break from his studies. He bowled okay but said he had a great time. There will be tournaments at the end of the season. If he continues to play through high school he can earn a letter and can earn scholarship money in the tournaments.

Samantha and Ashley started Awana this week. Awana is a church program. The kids learn bible verses, play games and have fun. Awana helps kids to know, love and serve Christ. The girls had a great time and are looking forward to next week.

Tyler also started soccer this week. Practice was Wednesday but games don't start for another week or so. The first practice was in the rain but that really is no problem for my son...usually the muddier the better!

So now our Wednesdays are very full. Ashley has a morning dance class, Tyler has to leave the house by 12:45 to get to bowling and then in the evening Tyler has soccer practice at 5:30 pm and Samantha and Ashley need to be at Awana at 6:30 pm. We did pretty good this Wednesday, getting pretty much everything done. We got the basics done in the morning. Tyler did bring a couple of things to do in the car on the ride to the alley. So our day is definitely doable. Although I felt like I spent very little time at home except to eat lunch and dinner.

At the academic level...Tyler continued with his studies of the Middle Ages. This week we read about Attila the Hun. We also have a History channel movie to watch about the Huns this weekend. Samantha started reading Johnny Tremain and we are both enjoying this book so far. In science, Ashley learned about amphibians and about bird migration which worked out perfectly with the kick off of our nature studies. This Friday we took a field trip to Holly Springs, MS to attend the Annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration. It was great! Not only did we learn about the hummingbirds, we also got to see them get banded. Then individuals were allowed to hold them until they took off to continue their migration to Mexico. Samantha wanted to release a hummingbird but she never got the chance. There were a lot of people vying for that. Besides the hummingbirds we also attended an awesome lecture on bats and learned a whole lot. I am now seriously considering a bat house for our backyard to help control the bugs. I'm thinking green - less pesticides sprayed on the grass and in the garden! We saw a presentation on snakes, visited booths with animal pelts, live snakes, spiders and hissing cockroaches. Learned to identify animal tracks and animal scat (eww!) Two kids got face paint. It was really a great festival and we will definitely return again next year.

Check out more weekly wrap-ups with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekly Wrap-up

This week was pretty uneventful. We did get to use our new schoolroom this week and it went pretty good. It was nice having everything we needed all in one place. Tyler went to his room a couple of times to read but for the most part we all spent the day together. We also have a reading area in the dining room so they can go there or up to their rooms or outside.

We did add in music and typing this week. Our music curriculum is very simple. We use a book/cd called Stories of the Great Composers. For each composer you learn some facts and read a story to help reveal his character. Finally there is a puzzle or short question and answer page. The cd has a composition for each composer. I have also been trying to put on classical music throughout the day. Our typing program is Typing Instructor Deluxe. The kids enjoy this.

I hope to start our nature studies next week. I think we will be kicking them off with a field trip to the 10th Annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration in MS on Friday.

I signed up for our area homeschool association. They seem to have a lot to offer including sports teams, debate, spelling bees etc. Tyler decided to join the bowling team so starting next week we will be headed to the bowling alley every Wednesday afternoon.

Tyler has been reading a fun book: Archers, Alchemists, and 98 Other Medieval Jobs You Might Have Loved or Loathed and his assignment last week was to list some jobs from the Middle Ages that interested him and tell why he thought they were interesting. After that he went here and took a short quiz to find out what career would have been his medieval "dream job". He got Shepard and wasn't very happy about that. Then he was completely appalled when I took the quiz and got Black Knight! Hahaha! The quiz is really for adults so some questions weren't really fair for a child to answer but it was fun none the less.

Check out more Weekly Wrap-ups at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I now have a schoolroom! Last year, when we started homeschooling, I had set up a schoolroom in the playroom upstairs. After a couple of weeks, of spending the day upstairs, we felt really confined. There is only one window in the playroom and the ceiling is low so we felt like we were spending our day in a cave. We made the decision to move downstairs. I have a second walk-in pantry in our kitchen so we used that to store all our books and supplies and basically did school at the kitchen table or in the livingroom. It worked out ok but invariable come dinner time the kitchen table would be piled high with books and stuff. Also, since the kids were working everywhere including their bedrooms, books and papers would become misplaced and we would end up spending precious time looking for things and becoming frustrated.

We are beginning our 5th week of school come Monday. Yesterday we finished up school and there were books, papers and projects from one end of the house to the other. I decided it was time to take over the front room and turn it into our new schoolroom. First I had to convince my husband since the front room had become his "man cave". He, along with the kids, used that room to play the PS3 too. He said he didn't care as long as he didn't have to move anything. That was fine with me and I got to work... 7 hours later and I have it pretty much put together. I still need to organize 2 of the bookshelves, put up the USA map and hang a couple of cork boards for displaying work.

I wish I could move that couch up to the playroom and get rid of the one up there but this one has a hide-a-bed and is heavy and Jeff said no way would we be bringing it upstairs. I still need to bring the kids desk chairs in,

I copied this calendar idea from a friend.

blog design by