Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just One More Story, Mamma

Many people do it no matter if their children are homeschooled or not. We sit down and we jot out schedules. Blocks of time we intend to do things. Trying to keep ourselves, our lives, and our things all organized. But, life is messy and schedules get messed up. Things get left undone in favor of other things that must be done. So, why do we continue to do it? It sooths us to think that we can map out our days, weeks, months, or years into organized slots. We make lists, fill calenders, and vow this time we'll do it all.

Well, I'm always making lists and schedules. Most of the time I even stick with them. Sometimes life gets in the way and I work the schedule around until it works again. That is how I deal with it. I used to stress out like nobodies business when things didn't get done... Now, I shrug and let it roll off of my shoulders.

So here is what our schedule "should" look like starting September 8th (our official start to the new school year).

7 AM - Wake up, morning chores, breakfast, daily Bible reading and morning prayers
8 AM- Change clothing, brush hair and teeth, get our daily binders
8:30 AM - Begin lessons in following order -
            Spelling and the rest of language arts
            History/state work
11:30 AM - Half an hour outside time, lunch, and music
1 PM - Science/nature walk
2 PM - Health, Art, or read along
3 PM - Independent study or quiet time
4 PM - Afternoon chores
5 PM - Supper time
7 PM - Medicine, showers, pajamas
7:30 PM - Bible stories, bedtime story (Peanut, though sometimes YCJ listens in), and snuggles
8 PM - Bedtime for the girls and silent reading time for ECJ
9:30 PM - Bedtime for ECJ (Sun. - Thurs.)
11 PM - Mom gets to go to sleep

OK, so that's how I'm hoping it will go. Chances are it won't go anything like that at all. We probably won't wake up until closer to 9, other that YCJ who wakes up with the sun. Lessons probably won't start until almost 11, lunch will most likely end up around 2 'o clock again, and we'll probably end up eating closer to 6 or 7 PM most nights. It's rare that I ever go to sleep before midnight and most often it's even later. Does that mean that I have to rewrite the schedule completely? Nope, and here's why...

We've kept the same basic schedule for over a year now no matter what time we wake up. Our lessons are always in the same order. We've found that doing language arts first works best for us (though many families do math first) and that history, science, art, health, and music are easier to handle if we work on them after math. Sometimes we get every subject done every day. Sometimes we alternate science and history, music and art, and sometimes we only do health once a week. 

Once catechism starts we'll have a late night on either Monday or Tuesday which always leads to a later start in the morning the next day. If we add in swim, ballet, and/or gymnastics we run into the same situation. We're contemplating adding co-op for the kids this year (at least for the field trips) and we all know that will wreck the schedule sometimes as well. Throw in doctor appointments, illness, allergies, and any other number of things and we're all out of whack.

We do somehow manage to get it all in each and every day and usually with plenty of time to spare, plenty of outdoor time, and little whining (I'm including myself in that whining part). I've learned that while I'll always write down my "perfect" time oriented schedule it doesn't matter if I stick to it or not. I'm goal oriented. So, if I write out our lessons and decide that things need to happen in A, B, C order then that's usually how they happen.

Chores get done, lessons get finished, everyone gets clean and fed, and there's always time for "Just one more story, Mamma."

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Average Week, Though We're Not

All in all it's been a pretty average week. Which is completely at odds with our family in general since we're anything BUT average...

Over the weekend we had some interesting things happen... Science happened with the children creating their own habitat "competition":
ECJ's arctic habitat... the polar bear mysteriously vanished...

1 of the girl's habitat's this one is a waterfall, stream in the middle of a forest

2nd of the girls habitats which is a field with a nice sized pond
The best thing about this competition is that they came up with it on their own, YCJ spending several hours teaching Peanut all about habitats and what needs to be in one for animals to survive. They may not have depicted everything but they narrated what was there but unseen for the animals!

Peanut quietly made a mess while "fixing" her dolls hair (with permission from Mommy) with scissors, I
turned around a few minutes later and this is what I saw :-)

YCJ's solution to being unable to find the doll's clothing ... "No one walks around nekkid in this house!" she said.
And we had a wonderful field trip on Monday which you can read all about here .

Tuesday morning we relaxed around the house and played outside before Peanut's doctor appointment to check up on how her ear infection was doing. There's a scab over her ear drum which requires drops in her ear and we go back again next week. She seems to be doing just fine though. While she was at her doctor I ran next door to the hospital and had my blood work done for the surgery I have coming up. They had me in and out of there very quickly and I was able to catch the tail end of Peanut's appointment. Right after we got home the children went back outside to play. That night they decided to have a raspberry war in my kitchen, living room, and hallway! Needless to say there were 3 campers who learned the value of cleaning up your own messes.

Wednesday was a normal day of summer lessons for us. We began shortly before noon and ended well before 2:30 and threw in some history read alouds afterwards. The temperature had dropped almost 20* overnight and the children actually got chilled! It was a fight but I did end up getting them outside for a few hours while I worked on filling out more of my Teacher's Planner (not an affiliate link though I am affiliated with this product and am very happy with it!). Cotton in the ear kept the wind out of Peanut's ear infection. And that night my internet went pft... We tried tech support over the phone and then had them agree to send a tech the next day...

Thursday we did some more lessons and spent a good deal of time outside. I spent several hours waiting for the tech to show up and he never did. Nor did he ever call. By the time I was put through the right channels on the phone they had to make me another appointment for Friday evening!!

Friday showed up and due to the fact that the tech wasn't due until sometime between 4 and 6 PM we were able to go up to the library for the last Freaky Science Friday at 1 PM. We decided to take the day off of lessons and do them sometime over the weekend because it's supposed to rain all weekend pretty much. There were balloon races during the science show, refraction and reflection with water and drawings, and cork bottle rockets (which were done outside). The children enjoyed it all as well as the pop cycles that were passed out. To do the cork bottle rockets you need a pop bottle filled about halfway with vinegar, baking soda wrapped in some toilet paper, and a cork. You drop your baking soda package into the bottle, cap it with the cork, give it a little shake, and stand way back when you put it down quickly. It's pretty cool actually. The tech did show up (though a little late) and was able to restore the internet at the house this evening.

And so now it's Saturday and though the morning was filled with rain this afternoon it's nice and sunny. So, the children are once again outside having chosen to do their lessons from Friday tomorrow afternoon sometime. This is perfectly fine with me as it's given me a chance to finish up this post.

Posts you may have missed this week: The only one written this week is the one for Monday which has the link provided above.

Linking up with:    
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Faithful Mom of 9

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In the Fields

Another month has gone by and it's time to join in with Our Busy Homeschool for another day in the life post. There will be one each month this year. You can find my posts for Jan. - June at the bottom of this post.

I chose July 21st to highlight this month because we spent almost the entire day at a local business picking berries!!

8:25 AM The house is quiet as I lie in bed and doze in and out. Noni just text to let me know she'd be at our house by 10:30. Peanut had actually slept most of the night, even YCJ wasn't out of bed yet. I spent the next hour or so dozing in and out and listening for the children to awake.

9:30 AM I get out of bed, dress, and do all the other things one does when they wake up to start their day. I go and wake up the children who are blessedly still asleep. The next 45 minutes is a bustle of activity as children do their chores, eat their breakfast, dress, and we say our morning prayers.

10:25 AM The children have been outside for about ten minutes when Noni pulls up in her big truck, having left the car home because the air conditioning in the truck works better. Within just a few minutes we're off!!

11 AM We arrive! Noni asks the attendant at the front entrance for ten pint buckets for picking. We find out there's no peaches thanks to the Polar Vortex and all of the apples are either late or stunted... this does not bode well for the fall. But, we're excited that there's tons of raspberries and black raspberries to pick!

We spend a little over two hours picking berries. There's a lot of the old "one for the bucket and one to eat" method going on and some of the campers get really into the picking process. I have to stick to the berries that I can see because early on I have a bee skitter down the length of my arm from my elbow to wrist on the inside. I have my epi-pen on me but prefer not to be stung if I can help it.
 I take opportunities to snap pictures as they come up. Noni and I are dressed almost identically only my shorts are a tad longer and the style of our tops is not the same. We hadn't planned it but it sure made for an interesting conversation. We both have a lot of the same style clothing actually. Also, we'd both thought about wearing a long skirt that day but decided against it for the same reasons... Long skirts and bees do not truly mix in a berry field ;-)

1:30 PM Having filled and paid for our buckets of berries we head into the shop that's part of the business. The children eyed the candy but were told they couldn't pick any out until after lunch. We stopped for a while to watch a gentleman fill some gallons of apple cider from the new cider press, the old one being in the building that is currently under construction...

2 PM We go into the restaurant that is part of the newer building that was finished up last winter for lunch. There's only one other customer in the entire place and he's more intent on working on something for the construction, he's one of the workers, than he's interested in what we're doing. The campers do almost as much dancing and singing as they do sitting and eating. I'm very pleased with how the restaurant turned out and find it very comfortable. I cannot wait to go back when we go to cut down our Christmas tree in December and sit near the fire in the center!

The children play outside for a little while and then we're off! One quick stop at the store on the way home and we're home at almost 4 PM. Grandma and Papa are there! We all visit for about half an hour before they have to leave, and of course we send them off with some fresh raspberries! Noni stays while the children ride their bikes outside but too soon she has to leave as well.

The campers played outside until nearly 6 PM. Only coming in with the promise of supper. Tonight we have soup, salad, crackers, and fresh raspberries.

Afterwards the children do their evening chores and Peanut gets the evening doses of her medicines. Tonight these include her migraine medicine, her antibiotics (for her ear infection), some allergy medicine (since her pollen allergies are acting up), and half a dose of Melatonin (to try to help her sleep).

They spend a few minutes goofing off and then Peanut gets a quick wash down with cotton in her ear so as not to allow water in. YCJ and ECJ take showers in the two bathrooms and then they're off to bed. YCJ spends a few minutes before her shower attempting to work through a page of one of the Boxcar Children books. I help Peanut through her evening prayers, listen at both ECJ and YCJ's door to make sure they are saying their prayers, and turn out the big lights in the main part of the house... I make sure that the nightlights are on in the hall and the kitchen and head into my room

By 9 PM all of the campers are settled in bed and two of them are asleep. ECJ spends about an hour reading and then falls asleep with his book in his hand, which I then move to his desk and cover him up while I'm checking to make sure that they're all asleep.

By 10 PM I've finished last week's square for a stitch along I belong to and am working in the bed on some squares for a competition I've entered for crochet. I'm not worried about winning anything, just glad for the inspiration for a Christmas gift for a family member.

Daddy and I both fall asleep sometime around midnight. Our day has come to an end and both of us have said our nightly prayers and gone to sleep hoping that Peanut sleeps through the night.

Follow the links below to see other days this year...      
Just Another Day (Jan.)
One Day in February
Project Days (March)
When the Order is Reversed (April)
A Day at the Zoo (May)
A Day of Summer School (June)

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bleeding Ears and Reading

What a title for a weekly wrap up eh? Here's the thing, we planned on doctors and library time... We did NOT plan for a bleeding ear!

Monday was Daddy and mine 7th wedding anniversary. We'd gone out to dinner last week to celebrate so we were happy to be low key all day long. Well, Daddy fixed a strap holding up the gas tank on the vehicle and I fought my funk all day since I didn't feel like doing much of anything. We ended up with a late supper of breakfast and while I was making it Peanut began screaming and crying that her ear hurt. Tylenol, cuddles, supper, and then some of her prescription Naproxin and she settled down very well (she'd also had her regular migraine medicine). We didn't see any evidence of an ear infection but we planned on calling the doctor in the morning. Daddy had promised her we'd watch Netflix during the worst of her pain and so we did after supper. She was pretty relaxed during the half hour show and when I went to smooth her hair back it stuck to her face. Curious I looked at the side of her head only to find her ear was bleeding! Quickly we dropped the Cracker Jack's off at the neighbors house and raced to the hospital. They had us in and out of there within an hour with a verdict of a bad inner ear infection that we weren't aware of because she hadn't been complaining of pain. The entire time we were there she was comparing her visit to Curious George's visit to the hospital and was a real trooper. So now she's on antibiotics and pain medicine to clear it up. The blood had come from the pressure behind the eardrum perforating the eardrum slightly at the top and releasing a bloody discharge. Completely freaked us out but we're glad it wasn't something far worse.

Tuesday we were all still attempting to get back to normal. With Peanut under doctor's orders not to be outside if it was too windy we decided to stay inside and do some quiet reading for our library reading summer challenges and watch some Netflix together while Daddy took our other neighbor on some errands that had to be run. Once Daddy was home the children watched some movies from the neighbor the Cracker Jack's had hung out with and relaxed the rest of the evening. As you can tell it was a pajama day in our house as I really wanted everyone to relax the whole day long. I also scheduled a follow up visit with the doctor for Peanut next Tuesday.

Wednesday started out pretty well. We woke up, I made some fresh chocolate chip muffins for breakfast, we drank some juice. Then... the water shut off! Seems as though a water main break near where we live busted and they're attempting to get it fixed today. Meanwhile somewhere around 100 houses around us were without water! Plus, I needed a shower before my doctor appointment at 3 PM. I sat and prayed that the water would be on before 2 PM so that I could squeeze that shower in right before I left. Well, that didn't happen. But the water was back on by the time we got home after 5 PM and we were able to make supper. I did finally get my shower. ECJ also spent the night at the neighbor's house with one of the grandson's who's a friend.

Thursday we hung around the house pretty much the whole day. Daddy ran the neighbor on an errand and his grandson visited with us for a time. I spent the majority of the time this week while inside crocheting bits and bobs for either orders or stitch alongs and competitions. There's some more orders to get finished while more are coming in and of course I keep coming up with more ideas to do other things for the craft fairs and such. Peanut's ear is much on the mend now and she's running around telling us all what to do. 

As for today (Friday) I expect we'll be doing pretty much the same as we did most of the week. The weather has been unseasonably cool all week long and with Peanut's ear infection we didn't want to chance the mix of cool and wind outside too much. We will be making our way up to the library sometime today. More crochet will happen. 

As you can tell it was a completely relaxed week. I was at loose ends for most of the week with no lessons to be done. Sometime over the weekend I'll plan out the next two weeks worth of lessons and then we'll have another week off. We may actually end up with more like two weeks off. I've had my surgery scheduled for my partial hysterectomy for the 5th of next month. I'll have lesson plans ready but they're sure to be pretty light. The Cracker Jack's will be reviewing for their end of the year test and Peanut will be finishing up her alphabet review and spending most of next month on phonics, sight words, and math.

I didn't take many pictures this week as really there wasn't much to document in photos. I did finish one of my orders up completely and will include a shot and short explanation of it here...

It's a baby cocoon and beanie for a baby due in October. The extra flower (not on the beanie) was one I'd made that was too big and so I added a pin onto the back in case Mommy wants to add it to the diaper bag or some such. The small pink headband was something I was fiddling around with and decided to toss. The woman who ordered it was thrilled with it and it will be shipped out in short order.

Posts you may have missed this week:
Lesson Planning a re-post from last week about a wonderful Homeschool Teacher Planner!

Who we're linked up to this week:
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Faithful Mom of 9

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

Friday, July 11, 2014

VBS and Always on the Go

This week we actually stayed on schedule, despite a few surprises thrown our way.

Monday was the first day of Vacation Bible School! YCJ and Peanut were nervous but ended up having a blast (of course). While they were over doing that ECJ and I were hanging out at the library next door. We'd spent the morning doing lessons and playing a bit outside, then up to VBS and back... Late suppers were the rule not the exception the first four weekdays this week. Monday was also the day I passed out a few new school supplies, nothing fabulous just things we'd run out of or low on. But, the reaction of the kids was priceless when they got new dry erase markers, crayons, and pencils. ECJ was also given a new compass and protractor since his other one had broken.

Tuesday looked a whole lot like Monday. Lessons in the morning, then play time, then Vacation Bible School. The girls were having a blast learning new songs, dance moves, signs, and learning more about God. ECJ was pleased as punch to be relaxing with me in the library. The above pictures were snapped on our walk up at about 4:45 PM.

On Wednesday morning we went down to Grandma and Papa's house to welcome Grandma back from Texas. To our surprise and delight our two seldom seen campers were also at Grandma's house! The children enjoyed playing with their brother and sister while the adults enjoyed a nice visit. We left in time to get back for VBS and ECJ joined in with the girls! Daddy and I took the opportunity to eat out as an early celebration of our 7th wedding anniversary coming up on Monday. Afterwards we grabbed some fast food for the campers and went out scrapping. The children have always enjoyed going along while Daddy scraps and so they got to stay up pretty late that night. Daddy was also pretty creative when it came to getting that first load of scrap back to the house before we went back out. Yes, that is a BBQ on top of the truck and another strapped to the back resting on our hitch!

Thursday we pretty much repeated Monday and Tuesday. Peanut finally finished her beginning books for Sesame Street and got her certificate. She wanted to begin right away on the next books so we pulled out Curious George. She's still working through McGuffey's Primer as well. Before VBS all three campers took some computer time and during VBS Daddy and I did a quick scrap run.

And so now it is Friday and we spent a good deal of the day outside simply walking back and forth to the library and a few other stops. It was Freaky Science Friday at our library today (there will be two more of those this month) and the children had a blast learning more about static electricity, vibrations, charges, and centrifugal force! It was a fun packed half an hour! Daddy is down at Grandma and Papa's house visiting with Buddy and Baby Girl before they go home tomorrow morning, so Daddy won't be home until later tomorrow. We'll be spending the rest of the evening having a water balloon fight, eating TV dinners (another treat around here), watching NetFlix and just plain hanging out!

We'll be duplicating a few of the science experiments that we did at the library again next month as the children really enjoyed them. So, look for a post about mid-August on simple science experiments that costs little to do and are fun for all ages.

Can anyone identify these fungi?  These were found growing in our yard and I attempted to take the best pictures possible but cannot identify these fungi.
Trying to show the underside of the mushrooms

Top down picture

You may have missed my review post earlier this week:     
Lesson Planning

Who we're linked up with this week:    
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Faithful Mom of 9
Squishable Baby

And for those of you who have yet to look us up on Facebook you can find us there by following this link . As yet it is the only social media account we can be found at.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lesson Planning

*This post contains an affiliate link through a third party site where you can purchase products.*

A few weeks ago I won a free copy of a homeschool planner made by Renee over at Great Peace Academy and I've been in love with it ever since! As a matter of fact if you click that link I provided it will take you right to the planner's order page! 

I printed off the first several pages, minus a few of the note pages simply because I don't need that many right now, through the end of July the very minute I got it. I'd have printed more off at the time except for the fact that the campers seem to think that my printer paper is the perfect paper to draw on and I ran out of paper!! I'd also recently bought a nice 3" binder full of page protectors at a local garage sale for a dollar and figured that it would be perfect to use for the planner. This way I could shuffle things around, keep the pages clean, and if I needed to reprint a sheet or two due to some total mess up on my part I'd be able to do so without feeling as though I'd really messed up (which happens when I have spiral bound books and I have more white out on the page than ink). The blue pocket binder folder was also inside of the binder when I bought it. I use it to store our grade book and some extra pages I have made out for each child.
As you can see I do not write every little thing down on the pages within the teacher's
planner that I plan for the children to do each day. I put that information on their own
lesson sheets (not in this planner).
OK... so... we all know that a planner is pretty much a must if you are going to be doing any type of lesson planning. No matter if you buy one at the store, buy the one from Great Peace Academy , print off separate sheets each week for the children, or any other way you choose to do it. Most homeschool parents I know like to keep a record of their lesson plans, they like them to be appealing to the eye, and they like them to encompass as many of their needs as possible.

This planner does that.

I'll be printing off more pages going into July (at the moment I have paper but no color ink and this planner is too pretty not to be in color). Now, to stop rambling...

Let's see how I've laid this all out shall we?
Right behind the blue binder pocket folder I have the year calender and the Title page...

then I spread out the calender for the month of July so that I could check it at a glance...
and behind that are the weekly lesson plans (this one is before I filled it all out for this week).
Every page of this planner is beautiful, even the pages for your extra notes. There's pages for advanced classes, field trips, reading logs, you name it and this planner has it. Everything that a homeschool (and possibly other school) teacher would ever need is right there at your finger tips! It's colorful and makes you want to put that pen to paper.

I wouldn't be an affiliate with this if I didn't like it and think that others would like it as well. When I won this planner it wasn't with the assumption from Renee that I'd join her affiliate program, she didn't ask that I write a review, I just did it. Why? Look at the planner! The price is a steal and it is a pleasure to use! You could put it in a three ring binder or go ahead and get it bound at your local office store. Either way you're sure to enjoy using it.

Read my testimonial, and those of others, on this planner by following this link (this link goes straight to her page and is NOT my affiliate link to her product). Buy it from either place, going through the affiliate links at the top of this post will allow you to help fund my growing spending on curriculum and supplies. Buying directly from her link in this paragraph bypasses me entirely. It's up to you! But, at less than $4 for a beautiful product you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not purchasing this planner.

Also, just a quick apology for those of you who were awaiting this post on Wednesday. We went to welcome Grandma home from Texas and were surprised to find out the two campers we don't see very often were at her house. So, this post is a day late ... But, this Mamma is still very happy. :-)

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