Friday, August 11, 2017

5 Weeks In!

We just finished our first 5 weeks of school.  


Chemistry math is hard, folks!  The second "module" in our curriculum was all math.  I made sure to schedule an extra week for all that math to sink into everyone's brain.  I'm happy to say that they both made 87 % on the exam!  High fives all around!

Daniel is really excelling in the new math program we are using this year.  It's an online version of Saxon Algebra 2.  He has the textbook to read the lesson, then an instructor goes through lectures and practice on the material.  He completes all the homework and exams online.  And it's FREE!!!  (Virtual Homeschool Group, just in case you were wondering.) 

We are also using this website for our chemistry as well.  It's basically supplemental to the textbook based curriculum.  We go over the material, review questions, extra practice problems, labs.  They listen to the lectures, complete quizzes and exams all online.   It has made chemistry doable for us with LESS tears.  I'm definitely not saying chemistry will be totally tear-free.  

Michael and I have a great daily schedule this year.  It's flexible, but we know what we should do every day and are fairly consistent.  Fridays are more relaxed. 

Dual Enrollment aka "My baby is growing up"

Tera and I visited the community college she will be attending for dual enrollment to look around and purchase her textbook for College Algebra.

  • Everyone we met was so nice!
  • Walking around before the first day is a great idea.  You have an idea where you are going and you will feel more comfortable.  And you can easily find the restroom without asking! 
  • Books are expensive!  I looked into buying used, but it wasn't really an option with this math course.  I still feel like it's a great investment and she feels good about having a textbook she can reference during the course (and for the next two weeks, before it even starts). 
  • I cannot believe my daughter just got a college student ID!  

Opportunities Galore 

I've been reminding myself to breath and not go into shut-down mode about the new things we have going on this year.  

Daniel is still doing Silver Winds, but may be adding a community band into his schedule.  He will also be starting one hour flute lessons.  Twice a week, he is still enjoying the Tai Chi classes at our gym.  He was in heaven last weekend when I took him to the library for the Geek Club, a club of high schoolers started by two teens to learn computer programming.  It meets once a week for an hour.  I cannot believe Daniel turns 15 in just a couple of weeks! 

Tera is competing in her first fencing tournament this month.  We are so excited for her!  Tera's ACT score qualifies her to be a member of the local chapter of the homeschool honor society, Eta Sigma Alpha. She is practicing driving with JP.  In addition to school, she is painting rocks and training like crazy.  Less than two months, she will be 17?!    Lots of exciting things happen as kids get older.  I'm trying to focus on the exciting,  and trying not to think about how they are growing up too fast! 

Michael has karate twice a week and has no trouble making friends wherever he goes!  Michael's VBS leader, Lauren is getting married on Tera's birthday and has asked Michael to be her ring bearer.  He is so happy!!!  

Since we are studying American history this year, I can't wait to add in some field trips to our studies.   We are hoping to make it to Washington, DC in the spring!  First trip for all of us. 

We are in the path of the total solar eclipse and have a fun day planned at the community college!  A local eye center in our area distributed free glasses, so now we are all set.  

Family and life

JP's job has been quite challenging lately.  In addition to praying about it, we've also started going out for dinner together once a week.  Nothing really fancy, but time alone to talk and focus on each other a bit.  It's important to make that time, whatever it may look like for you.  

The kids have a daily upstairs cleaning schedule now in addition to their after-dinner jobs (loading dishwasher, wiping table, sweeping and taking out the trash).  It looks something like this:

Monday:  Daniel/Michael sheets washed; De-clutter one area in your room. 
Tuesday: Clean around your bed and put things away. (Around, under, in--and any other preposition that fits.)
Wednesday: Clean off desk
Thursday: Pick up floors in middle area and room.
Friday:  Vacuum room and middle area.  Tera sheets washed. 

I'm still tweaking a specific daily cleaning schedule for the entire house.  I tried this one last week and fell into bed so tired every night.  With homeschooling and my need for sanity, this schedule is not for this season of my life.  It's certainly not doable on a weekly basis, but with some tweaking it might work somewhat on a monthly basis.   We shall see!  
Our family just started a weekly Bible study on the book of Romans.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to write all this out, but one day I will look back and be glad for the memories.  Now to get back to some American history planning, which is what I'm really supposed to be doing right now.  Maybe I understand why I decided to write all this out...procrastination at its finest! 


Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Ramblings

1.  Another week is in the books!  I have to say this has been the hardest start we have had to a year so far.  Why?  Probably because I feel like I'm top of everything.  I printed out my version of a "syllabus" for every class Tera and Daniel are taking--Chemistry, American History,  American Literature and Research, and French 2 (plus Algebra 2 for Daniel).  With those expectations clearly presented there is no room for "putting off for tomorrow"  what you should be doing today!  Even with Michael I have a mental list of everything we should do on a daily basis.  That's not easy!  BUT I know it is important for each of the kids to have that constant routine.  One child thrives on knowing their expectations in advance, so they are so happy.  Another child struggles with procrastination and time management.  That child is not as happy, but they WILL BE prepared for college.  Little changes every step at a time.

2.  I just finished reading Uncle Tom's Cabin.  What an amazing book!  You think it's going to be a simplistic abolitionist pamphlet, but you find a multi-faceted study of humankind with a kaleidoscope of views.  Stowe caused me to despise some characters as much as I loved others!   If you have never read it, DO IT...with a box of tissues nearby!   Next up on the American literature reading list...Ben Hur. 

3.  What a blessing that the car only needed an oil change instead of the hundreds of dollars we were expecting.

4.  We've spent a lot of time lately hunting and re-hiding the painted rocks that seem to be popping up all over the country.   Hopefully, we are getting a new batch of rocks this weekend sometime and painting them for hiding.  

I took Michael and a friend out on the trail to look for rocks twice this week and then once more with Tera and Daniel.  What a great trend that promotes family time and a healthy lifestyle.  

 A few of our finds that the kids decided to hold onto for a while before re-hiding. 

5.  I have gained about 5 pounds this summer.  For some reason that always happens to me.  I never gain weight in the winter, probably because I'm so cold and don't eat as much ice cream.  Anyway, I'm improving my eating habits and working out everyday, so I'm not stressing too much.  

6.  JP has been really occupied with work lately--long hours, stressful days, early mornings and to bed before 7 most nights.  It's hard sometimes to find times to talk.  But the last couple of weeks, we've made it a point to go on a weeknight dinner date.  It's usually less than a couple of hours, but a chance to talk uninterrupted.  

7.  Since we started our curbside recycling, we have cut our trash to less than 2 bags a week for a family of 5.  That is an accomplishment for us! 

8.  After spending the morning in the car place, I came home to chores to be done and school to finish with the kids.  I feel so behind and it's on days like this that it is hard to stay focused on your to-do list.  Instead I'm rambling on my blog.

9. My favorite soft serve ice cream:  Sonic and Chic-fil-A.    The best! (Revisit #5)

10.  One of my favorite pieces of music is Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Let your mind drift away to a peaceful place as you listen. 

11.  Tera and I had a girl's day out last weekend.  Shoe shopping, a movie and snacks with friends and dinner out at a new-to-us sub place.  Not economical for our whole family to visit there often, but Tera and I loved the subs! 

12.  "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail. 
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week in Review--July 11-18th

Our garbage service just added a recycling route!  Woo Hoo!  Michael has been appointed the recycling deputy and takes out our recycling on a daily basis.  Just a way to give the youngest a bit more responsibility and his own unique "job".   For my birthday, Michael put took us on an "imaginary aquarium" tour complete with detailed descriptions and pictures of various sea animals. 

 School is definitely in full swing.  I will work on a curriculum post in the next week or so.   

We still go to the gym twice a week first thing in the morning.  Michael has a little friend there and they have started working on a book together.  Michael will be so sad when public school starts back.  I suggested he and his friend could be pen pals during the school year and he seemed to enjoy that idea.  

Daniel got sick at the later part of last week with the sinus crud that has taken out a different person each week for the past month.  Michael is the last man standing.  Since the doctor mentioned his blood work showed some "viral indicators" over two weeks ago, his immune system may have fought it off.  Or so we are hoping!

Even though he wasn't feeling well, Daniel had a great time painting rocks with Michael and I on Saturday.  We will go hide them in the community tomorrow evening sometime.   Painting and hiding rocks is big in our community right now as an act of showing kindness to others and having fun as a family.  What a great fad! 

I will leave you with this picture by Michael.   It makes my heart smile. 

Movin' on Up---Orange Belt

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First Day of School 2017-2018

First Day of School

What I want to be when I grow up:   


 I've been taking this same picture since Daniel was in kindergarten.

I can't believe how these kids have grown.











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