Friday, September 26, 2014

Whew! What a Week!!

It always surprises me when I go through the pictures at the end of the week just how much stuff we've actually done throughout the week! I think when you see them all you'll be surprised as well!

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday we did lessons (2 days worth on Thursday) and spent a TON of time outside. Wednesday we spent the entire day with Noni!!! Here's pictures from those four days, some of them I'll even caption ;-) hehe!

This was Peanut Sunday/Monday night :-)

Monday's nature study begins :-)

Mommy running up the hill to catch Peanut!

Us standing at the top of the hill

That's one big hill! Same picture as above only Daddy didn't zoom in!

This stump was holding water...

View that Peanut was looking
down on

ECJ showing Peanut Daddy's "find"

Nature journals and drawing/labeling going on as a group!

Recess time Tuesday

Peanut (and later I) slept on the couch most of Tuesday night because
she wasn't feeling very well (she was better by morning).
Peanut "grooming" the dogs Wed. morning

Posing in her new outfit from and auntie :-)

He's posing on top
of that lion drinking fountain!

She wasn't sure she liked the chipmunk "ride"

Sitting side saddle due to her skirt (her idea at that :-) ... makes me one proud Mamma)

Even though it wasn't near hot enough for the splash pad at the park with Noni
ECJ found the button to turn it all on...
they ran around "avoiding" (kinda) the water for about an hour!!

Thursday afternoon we did two days worth of lessons and this
is how the girls did them (side by side)
most of the time!

 Whew! See what I mean? So, now it's Thursday afternoon and we've got a bunch to do around here. We're showing the house twice this afternoon, we have to make (and eat) supper, then drive about an hour away to pick up the trailer we'll own which we'll be moving with! Obviously I won't have time this evening to write anything else and I'll be super busy tomorrow too as that's the day we begin to pack and we'll be doing our final lessons for 2 whole weeks!! So, for now there's no update for Friday.

Things I crocheted this past week: (though I've worked on more that's not done lol)
First ever "big" bear... stands about ten inches tall toe to head
I did mess the leg positioning up a bit but since I'm keeping it (was practicing the head for a lovey
I'm making and decided to make the bear for myself) the legs don't bother me...
She'll eventually have a face lol

YCJ's cat ear headband for her Halloween costume this year...
she wants to be a black cat with one white ear and a white tipped tail
so sometime tomorrow I'm working on her tail!!

 Posts you may have missed this week:
Knowing When to Take a Break
Good News! (explains about the move)
Spelling You See. Review Before the Review
Camper Q & A

 Who we're linking up with this week:
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Faithful Mom of 9
Squishable Baby
Homegrown Learners
Our 4 Kiddos

 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.

** We'll be trying to do Pinterest, G+, and Twitter after the move! Be on the lookout for updates! But in the meantime you'll always find us here and on Facebook **

*** Also, after next week's wrap up (so one more after this one) I'm pretty much only going to be on Facebook until I can get to the library while I'm waiting on internet to be installed at the new house. ***

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Camper Q and A

I've decided to do a little Q and A session for today's post. And for those of you who like me on Facebook you've given me some great questions to answer (if you can't find me on Facebook there is a link in the tiny print at the bottom of each of my posts). The rest of you who weren't given that opportunity can now ask me questions in the comments here, or send me a message if it's too personal to express in general public, and I'll write up another post answering those questions. 

I did get 6 questions total over the course of this last week and I'll answer 5 of them here, leaving the sixth a special post of it's own next Wednesday!

Question one: Did you always intend to homeschool or what led you to homeschool? Honestly, we'd considered it on and off for several years. All preschool years were taught at home (who wants to pay $1200 a year for preschool classes, just to learn colors/ABC's/123's?). When YCJ was in Kindergarten she'd come home from school in tears most days having been teased so badly and bullied and she'd asked to be homeschooled (to this day I don't know where she learned about homeschooling to begin with as we'd never used the term). ECJ was also badly bullied in public school, for being smart and short... Well, we tried private Catholic school (talk about expensive!) thinking the smaller class sizes and the zero tolerance for bullying would help... Nope. We sent them back to a different public school as this was the middle of the school year and we prayed and talked, and talked and prayed...

A few months later I found out that Daddy had been hiding some bad news from me that he was seriously ill. We contacted several doctors who wouldn't help and finally found one in another state that would. We talked, we prayed, and we cried. Finally we decided to homeschool, live in our camper in a much warmer climate (either long term or short term we hadn't decided), and spend as much time together as God granted us...
Learning in the camper...

Daddy's been in remission for 18 months now!

Question two: What qualifies you to teach your children? (This one was asked of me by another homeschool mother also named Crystal who had had this question directed at her and wondered how I'd handle the situation.) Answer? I AM THEIR MOTHER. I taught them (of course with Daddy's help) to walk, talk, use the potty, tie their shoes, ABC's, 123's, manners, prayers, how to clean up after themselves (most of the time), etc... THE BIBLE TELLS ME TO. Yup, that's right it sure does and there's several references to it throughout the Bible (you can click on this link to find some of them to site if you need to). I know my children best and can therefore teach them the easiest, we have a smaller student - teacher ratio, and there is no better comfort than that of a parent when you "just can't get it" when you're trying sooo hard! Also, it's legal for me to do so therefore you can't do much about it.

Question three: What about socialization? (Also asked by Crystal to find out my response, she's been asked this several times and only just started homeschooling this year!) Honestly folks? I HATE when people ask me this. Close your eyes (after you read the next sentence or two) and think back to when you were in school... Remember the teacher saying all the time, "You're not here to socialize, you're here to learn!" YUP... because putting 30+ eight year olds in desks in the same room and not allowing them to talk to each other is teaching them to socialize.... 

Imagine if you would a office environment where there were lots of cubicles all grouped together by what age the people who worked in those cubicles were. And NO ONE was allowed to talk while you were supposed to be working. Older people were frowned on for talking to the younger people. Everyone having to take lunch by age group... This is just NOT the real world and why should we teach our children that this will ever happen outside of a brick and mortar school house?

My children socialize by talking to each other, their friends, our neighbors, members of our church, their Catechism teachers, our extended family, people they chance to meet at the playground (zoo, park, etc..), and so many others. They're learning to socialize with all ages and not just their peers! We know this, and logically so does the person asking you these questions. The average elementary recess time is about 10 - 15 minutes where children are let outside to run around and "socialize" ... My children spend over half their day socializing with everyone they know that they come across that day. 
This is NOT our classroom!!

'Nuff said.

Question four: Which subject do you dislike teaching the most? Which is your favorite subject to teach? OK... total honesty? I despise math and spelling!!! I never have been the best speller in the world and math confounds me when you get to certain levels... But, I'm learning along with the kids and finding that I enjoy them more now that I'm older (and have the Teacher's Manuals lol).

As for which subject is my favorite to teach that's a SUPER hard question to answer! I love teaching all the other subjects at different times. Fall is my favorite for science, winter my favorite is history and writing, spring I love music and art, and during the summer I love all things physical! BUT, if I had to pick just one ... just one all time favorite mind you... I'd have to say reading! I am a bookworm. I am such a bookworm that I collect books on my hobbies so that I can read the instructions on how to make new things even if I never make a thing out of that book! I have over 50 different Star Trek novels that I've read a million times just because!!


Question five: What homeschool method would YOU want to learn with, and is that the same as what works best for your family? If I were to have been homeschooled I would have loved a classical but eclectic approach. Good old fashioned, timeless books to learn from and the ability to follow my interests at whim...

No, it's not exactly what we do as a family. It wouldn't work for many of the campers. They do best with text books for many subjects, sprinkle in a dash of nature walks and science experiments, add a dash of crafting, two shakes of the newest music we're listening to, and a pinch of recreating history. That's the recipe that works best for ALL of my children. They do many interest led things as well but this is because they have TIME to do so along with the rest of their lessons and they've discovered that LEARNING IS FUN!

And so now you have some of my answers and you can tell that although we didn't mean to take this journey from the beginning we're loving every step of it now!!

Don't forget if you have any questions to ask them in the comments! 

(Special thanks to Tristan for supplying such wonderfully thoughtful (and thought provoking) questions not asked by Crystal.)

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spelling You See, Review Before the Review

We were very lucky this year to not only be allowed to use ECJ as a guinea pig for a new level of Spelling You See ... but also to be given two free copies of the Jack and Jill level to review for my girls!!

** Although I was given these products for free that in no way turns my head in one direction or the other. My opinion is my own honest opinion. If it works for us I'll let you know. If it doesn't work for us, again I'll let you know. Other than receiving the materials I have been in no way compensated for these reviews. **

We received ECJ's materials during the summer time and it was the first time ever that he's been excited about spelling!! I mean this boy does his spelling with absolutely no issue and first thing in the morning without having to be reminded. I cannot show the actual pages of it since it's just a trial version and they haven't finished it all up yet and I signed some legal documents stating such. But, we can say that he's really enjoying it still, is actually learning, AND has even picked up the dictionary several times on his own to look up new words!!! Having tried this out with him got me even more interested in the other levels.
That's him working on it there. We set it all in a red binder (remember these are not pre packaged books since this is still in the beginning stages) and he knows that only his spelling goes in there.

As for the girls we are using the Jack and Jill level for both girls. I wanted to start YCJ out with something that wouldn't intimidate her with her dyslexia. This level is working perfectly for both of them at the moment. We do it together first thing and yes YCJ finishes before Peanut since she's got more practice writing but I'm noticing a marked improvement in her spelling even though we're only in the third week with the program with the girls. YCJ may even be able to do another level at the end of this school year and through the summer at this rate... But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
This is the page they were working on Tuesday morning...
they do both pages each day.
 And while neither girl shows as much enthusiasm for it as their older brother, they both do it without complaint and have yet to make a mistake on any of the pages (unless you count Peanut's tendencies to sometimes write a letter backwards but since I'm watching and know what word she's writing I know that she's got the right answer). 

Sometimes it's better to do school as a princess...

YCJ is thrilled with the fact that there are no tests with this spelling program. She says that it takes all the worry right out of the work!

So far this program is working for all three campers! I'll update you in a month to let you know how things are going!

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

Good News!

Well, we have some good news around here! Some of y'all might not think so considering all of the remodeling we've done to this house we're in and some of you may hate the very idea of moving...

But, we're moving to Kentucky!!!!

Here are a few good reasons this is good news to us:

1. The house has 5 bedrooms and 2 baths. 3 of those bedrooms are downstairs with a full bath and 2 are upstairs with another full bath!

2. It has a 4 car garage!!! This will be split up into several spaces including garage space, man cave/or school room!!

3. It sits on 2 acres of land which means the campers and dogs will have plenty of area to run in!

4. We'll have it paid off in under 5 years!!

5. The temperature is better down there and so we'll get more hours in easier for the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge !!!!

I just had to pop this little bit of good news at you today!!!!

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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Knowing When to Take a Break

We're only going into our 3rd week of fall lessons so we don't need a huge break yet...

But there's days when we do need that moment to take a break from the books and do something hands on, outside, or just plain different!

The other day this became abundantly apparent to me as all three campers were getting frustrated with their book work, giving me attitudes, and generally being unhappy campers. I glanced outside, checked the forecast, and decided our nature walk (scheduled for the next day) could happen right then before it began to rain. Just a short walk, with nature journals to happen during lunch, and then back to work we'd go!

And you know what? 

It worked like a charm!

It was chilly outside but no one minded. They all wanted a longer walk but it was threatening to rain. We did pause to visit with the neighbor behind us who has a brand new puppy. When we came in ECJ made lunch, all three drew and labeled their findings (most of which was leftover hay from the farm field), and when we got back to our book work it was finished in no time flat!!

We did take another nature walk the next day for a bit longer and during our scheduled time... I also threw in some videos about how hay is grown, fed to animals, and hay bales are used for growing gardens now.

My point is, homeschool mama, YOU know your children and yourself best!!!! Need a break to switch those attitudes around? Take one! Go for a walk, do a science experiment, do a craft or art project, turn on the radio and dance .... Whatever it takes get that break done!!!

Sometimes you just need to know when to take a break. ;-)

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.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just Another Week in ....

This week had it's ups and downs ... they're not ones the children really knew about and we'll be sharing a lot about them next week so you'll just have to wait in suspense! Other than that this was "Just Another Week in Paradise" (though paradise is not what I call it around here lol).

Monday and Tuesday we had regular scheduled programming around here! Here's some photos of what our lessons looked like:
YCJ saying her rosary while ECJ reads from his prayer book (YCJ has several rosaries,
currently her bracelet that holds one decade is her favorite to use.)

ECJ reading a Bible story to the girls by the sunshine coming through our side window!
Wednesday we took an impromptu trip to Gaga and Papa's house where Daddy and the campers toiled in the soil pulling weeds and replanting shrubs (Papa was nice enough to pay the campers for their work). Meanwhile Gaga and I were busy inside trading family gossip and working on a gift for my mother (Gaga has much finer hand sewn stitches than I and helped me with some finishing touches.) Later we had neighbors over for BBQ.
It's a catch all bag she can use at work in the hospital and wash as needed.

Thursday we did both Wednesday and Thursday's lessons. Plus we managed to get a nature walk, journal, and drawing session in as well!!
Cracker Jacks watching CNN Student news together.

Gathering hay bits on our nature walk

The ever camera shy Daddy :-)

Snail we found on nature walk
that Peanut spotted first.

Other side of snail.

So, that brings us to Friday... And as I'm finishing writing this up Thursday evening Friday hasn't happened yet. But, we have a full day of lessons planned including some work with our musical instruments and some videos on the production and uses of hay. And of course we plan to get outside one heck of a lot more again tomorrow!!! (And I have about a billion things to work on crochet wise alone one of which is repairing a 75 year old afghan for a family/friend *gulp*.)

Posts you may have missed this week:    
Peanut Turns 6!
A Look Back at our Year Outside (TONS of pictures)

Who we're linking up to this week:     
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Faithful Mom of 9
Squishable Baby
Our 4 Kiddos
Homegrown Learners

*If you first see this and the links to the other blogs where the link ups are just know that their link ups have not become available at the time you view it and as they do become available I'll be adding their link in. Thank you.*

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.