Monday, August 17, 2015

Blogging Attempt Take Five-ish

Another school year, another attempt at this blogging thing.

The 2015/2016 school year brings me to a new season of life.

For one, my youngest child, my baby girl, is kindergarten age. No longer a preschooler, no longer one who can fit comfortably on my hip, no longer my last grasp at being able to attend MOPS legitimately, she has joined the ranks of her school aged siblings. I'm half excited that we are well into the season of no naps, no diaper bags, not as much crying tantrums, but I'm also half heart broken that my littles are not so little anymore. I miss holding sleeping children, watching clumsy toddling, having baby toys from my first born being played with still. Thus is life...children grow up, my husband and I grow older. I'm so blessed to have spent as many years, days, hours, being able to be right here with my children, watching them learn, grow, and slowly emerge more into who they are.


Another big change is my oldest starting high school. And not at home, but at public school. We had talked about him taking JROTC and playing football at the local school. Then we thought maybe Algebra 2 and Spanish 2. Then he got mad at me one day and said he just wanted to go full time. And that stuck in his head even when he wasn't mad anymore. My husband thought he's old enough to give input into the decision so we discussed it and came to this decision for now. We entered him in a lottery to attend a smaller charter high school in our district and he got in, and that was my deal, so here we are. With the year round schooling here, he's been going to school for three weeks now. It's an adjustment because his days are super long and then he comes home with one to two hours of homework, but he claims that he likes it. He gave up football, which he was looking forward to, but after a week of his crazy schedule, then adding 2 1/2 hour practices in, he decided he couldn't handle it for the next three months of football season. I miss not having him home. No exciting back to school songs and dances being performed here. But I feel at peace with the decision right now.

My middle ones...these poor kids get the tail end of the updates. These ones are in grades two, four and six. I love teaching these guys (and gal). Even though they don't like to admit it, school is fun and exciting and we learn some pretty cool things. We are starting week four tomorrow. Because of my lack of decision making on some of their curriculum, but still wanting to keep their school year lined up with my public schooled child (who has pretty nice breaks due to year round schooling), I have staggered their start weeks for each subject based on when the UPS man delivered my packages.
Oh yah, mountains. So we moved again. Arizona this time. Beautiful state!

Our curriculum line up...

6th grader:
Bible/History: MFW Creation to the Greeks, AWANA
Science: Science in the Beginning
Math: Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra, Beast Academy 5 (when it's released)
Language Arts: All in One English, Editor in Chief, Progeny Press Guides, Rod & Staff Spelling 6, Writing with Ease 3
Logic: Perplexors
Foreign Language: English from the Roots Up, Getting Started with Latin, Getting Started with Spanish
Music: Vivaldi, Bach & Handel Biography & Music CDs, Piano Lessons
Art: Home Art Studio, God and the Creation of Art, Drawing with Children

4th grader:
Bible/History: MFW Creation to the Greeks, AWANA
Science: Science in the Beginning
Math: Singapore Math 4B/5A, Beast Academy 3
Language Arts: Language Lessons for Today 4, Rod & Staff Spelling 5, Writing with Ease 1 & 2
Logic: Perplexors
Foreign Language: English from the Roots Up, Getting Started with Latin, Getting Started with Spanish
Music: Vivaldi, Bach, Handel CDs, Piano Lessons
Art: Home Art Studio, God and the Creation of Art, Drawing with Children

2nd grader:
Bible/History: MFW Creation to the Greeks, AWANA
Science: Science in the Beginning
Math: Singapore Math 2A/2B, Miquon Math Orange/Red
Language Arts: Language Lessons for Today 2, Rod & Staff Spelling 2, Writing with Ease 1
Foreign Language: English from the Roots Up, Getting Started with Latin, Getting Started with Spanish, Song School Spanish
Music: Vivaldi, Bach, Handel CDs, Piano Lessons
Art: Home Art Studio, God and the Creation of Art, Drawing with Children

Kinder Girl:
MFW Kindergarten
Tag-Along whenever she wants

Our schedule looks something like this:

After my personal morning routine (devotion, walk our dog, shower, etc.) we get anywhere between 8:30 and 10:00. My kids get breakfast on their own (bigs help the littles), do chores, and then have free time until we start school. My oldest is on his way out super early and my goal is to wake up right before he leaves to say good-bye and all that.

We don't do each subject everyday, so I just skip whatever we don't have for the day (composer study is only on Tuesdays, art history is only two days a week, etc.)

*Together Time (on the couch):
Prayer, Psalm reading (one per day), Hymn singing (one per week), MFW Bible, poetry read aloud (currently A Child's Garden of Verses), novel read aloud (currently The Tanglewood Secrets), Greek & Latin, art history, composer study, history, science text & experiments (our transition off the couch)

*Table Time (grab a quick snack and then go to the dining table):
Science written work, history written work and activities, art

*Independent Time (kids at counter):
Kids work on math, English, writing, spelling, logic, keyboarding (yet to begin) & Awana study (Awana starts next week) at their work areas, which is a very long bar/counter area with stools that our kitchen has.
I call my kids over to the dining table one at a time to do subjects that need my teaching. Computer learning (Teaching Textbooks) takes place in the living room so as not to disturb anyone.


*Afternoon Time:
Kids finish up anything they didn't finish.
Kindergarten with my youngest daughter.
Song School Spanish with my 2nd grader & Kinder girl (because my 2nd grader pleads for it with all of her heart).

*Free Time & Extra Activities

We have little to no school work on Fridays. We will start our homeschool group PE class in a few weeks and that is on Friday mornings. If we do a fiend trip during the week with our homeschool group (they like to schedule them on Thursdays), then we'll do school on Friday if we can't fit it in that day.  Ideally I would schedule dental cleanings, doctor check-ups, etc. on Fridays. But I don't ever remember to do that. Tomorrow we have dental cleanings in the morning and I have a doctor appointment for a possible broken nose in the afternoon. (Something fell on my nose a week ago and now that the swelling is down, I feel a small lump on it. It's not crooked so I don't think they'll do anything for it, but I thought I'd get it checked biggie.)

I've given up on assigned times to tasks. I just can't follow them. An order to our day seems to work much better.
Anna plays, watches a movie, does crafts, etc. while the big kids do school. She joins us for the beginning of together time and then again if something looks interesting to her.

So, here we are! Our eighth year homeschooling and blogging. I'm really gonna try to keep up with the blogging part this time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Florida History Field Trip

Well that didn't work out so well (coming back to post more often).  Whoops.

We're in the midst of summer vacation...whoo-hoo!  We finished up our school work a couple of weeks ago and have been busy having fun Florida style...pool, beach...well, that's pretty much it.  Ha!

We took a mini vacation the week after we finished school, a sort of history field trip of northern Florida.

The planned itinerary: two nights of tent camping in Ocala National Forest with a trip to the history museum at the University of Florida and a trip to Silver Springs in Ocala, one night in a hotel in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, and one night in a hotel in Tallahassee, the state capital, with lots of stops at important historical places along the way.

What happened in real life?  Rain, mosquitoes, a vomiting child, exhausted parents and a vacation cut one day short.  Somehow we still had a good time.

We drove down to Ocala in good weather but it started raining as soon as we got there.  Hoping it would blow over, we went and checked in at the campground and went right away to check out the fresh water springs that had drawn us to that particular campground.  Before we even saw the signs, the kids spotted the alligator in the swimming area.  Cool to look at, not to swim with.

The beauty of the spring was not disappointing however.

Between the rain and the swimming area closed until sometime the next day, we gave up and headed to the closest hotel that could fit our family (well, six of us anyways...we consider Anna a bonus since hotels that fit a family of seven are pretty much nonexistent).

The next morning it stopped raining long enough for the kids to get some swimming in before we headed to Silver Springs.

My dad met us there and the rain held off all morning so we had a good time.  They are slowly turning Silver Springs into a state park, so there wasn't as much to do as I remembered from nine years ago when we went but there was enough to fill up a couple hours.

Glass bottom boat fun!

Animal safari jeep ride

Shortly after, it started pouring rain.  We tried to drive to the east side of the national park to see if maybe we could past the storm that was moving west, but it was useless.  After grabbing some ice cream in a tiny central Florida town, we decided to just go on to St. Augustine and camp at a state park there.

We did and it was terrible.  LOL

If you look closely, you'll notice a theme to the scratching.  Apparently that rain that went through hatched a ton of mosquito eggs because they were everywhere.  And they were hungry.  Bug spray didn't help, they swarmed around the citronella candle and as soon as the smores were eaten, we spent the rest of the night in our van watching a movie and in our tent.  No relaxing by the fire while the kids run around having fun.  No visiting with nearby campers or enjoying the stars at night.  We zipped ourselves into our tent, swatted any mosquitoes that had sneaked inside, applied Benadryl cream to bug bites, and I read a book aloud to keep five kids from going crazy inside 65 square feet of space.

See the bag of trash in the picture below (top left corner)?  When we made a mad dash for the van to escape the crazy mosquitoes, we failed to take that bag with us.  When we returned after a short drive, a raccoon had ripped it down and dragged trash into the woods behind our tent that Chris had to go and collect in the dark for (my) fear that raccoons would be surrounding our tent all night to finish it off.

Makes you want to go camping, right?

And a couple hours after everyone had fallen asleep, I woke up to my three year old vomiting next to my head.  Several times throughout the night.

We packed up as the sun came up and left as fast as we could.

The problem?  We couldn't check into our hotel until that afternoon.  We had a sick child, tickets for a city trolley tour and museums and were two days into our vacation and just not having much fun.  We loaded a roll of paper towels and a pack of wipes into our backpack, a couple changes of clothes for Anna, and started our tour of the city.

Anna was very worn out that day, but only got sick once.  However, since she does't use a stroller much anymore, we didn't bring one and we ended up holding her all day.  So she's not in many pictures.  And PS: Holding a sick child and taking photos of our vacation in not easy.

Old Jail Tour

Fort San Marcos

Fountain of Youth...they gave out paper cups full of it and it was pretty gross, worse than tap water. My kids wouldn't drink more than a sip.

The next day we took the trolley tour all the way through the city and had a great guide.  Anna felt a little better and the kids were happy we didn't get on and off all day to walk everywhere. We really would like to go back and spend a few days so we can see everything without being in a hurry.

The very spot where Ponce de Leon landed.

Below, "The Old Senator", a 600 year old live oak tree in the middle of the Howard Johnson hotel grounds.  Live oak trees usually only live a couple hundred years.  We didn't realize it when we booked a hotel here (it was one of two that could fit six people) but the trolley tour stops at that tree, making it very convenient for hotel guests.

It really is a great city to visit, full of history and beautiful as well.

We left late that morning for the next stop on our "North Florida Field Trip", the state capital, Tallahassee.  We had a few history tours/museums planned there but decided that morning that we would only tour the Old Capital and then go home, skipping our hotel stay.

It was also a very good museum and the kids enjoyed the scavenger hunt they have for the kids to do as they look at everything.

The problem ballot from the 2000 election.  Confusing?  It would seem not, if you can read and know what an arrow means.

The "new" Capital in the background. 

And that was the end of our history field trip of north Florida.  Not the smoothest vacation, but we get to add it to our bank of memories.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Excuse the Absence!

Soooo...April already?  And I haven't blogged since last November?  Yikes.

Well, Chris has been home for four months now, yay!  He got home on January 5th, the day after our baby turned three and we've been enjoying snuggling with him ever since.

Those four plus months he was deployed got kind of hard and by the end I guess I just didn't feel much up to blogging.  But I'm hoping to go through my pictures, post some updates on our school year and a couple of birthdays we've celebrated.  We have just over three weeks of our school year left and then plans for a relaxing summer of the beach and pool, pool and beach, and a little more beach and pool.

Friday, November 9, 2012

An Angry Birthday (Angry Birds, That Is)

My sweet, energetic, dramatic, loving and smart third son turned seven this month!

We started the day with birthday donuts with Daddy and opening the gift that Daddy sent from the middle east...a stuffed camel and some Qatari Riyals (as well as some American dollars).  I'm again, so thankful for technology and that Chris can be here with us while being so far away.

Soon it was time to party!

Pig cake using marshmallow fondant.

Pin the Crown on King Pig

The life size Angy Birds game was a big hit.  We didn't have anything for a slingshot so they just threw the ball.

The King Pig pinata was not that fun to make.  I made it with a round punch balloon, flour, water, and newspaper strips and then painted it.  I used a hanger to hang it with, but we put too many goodies inside and the hanger broke through, so I resorted to using duct tape to fix it.  It worked!  The kids had a lot of fun with it.  I did three layers but the first big kid to hit it broke it, so I'll do four or five layers for big kids in the future.  Which, thinking about how long it took, there probably won't be a homemade pinata in my future!

The party turned out great...the weather was nice, the boys helped a lot with preparations, and hosting a party with 22 kids?  No problem.  Maybe not quite 'no problem', but Gabe loved it and I didn't go insane, so I call it a success.

I got lots of ideas from Pinterest websites for this party...paper mache pinata, fondant icing made of marshmallows, life size Angry Birds game, decorations, names for the themed food, and the Pig cake.