Category Archives: Homeschool

Time flies when you’re having fun…

40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

Unfortunately, this summer has been really, really long!

No, it hasn’t been that bad. It certainly hasn’t been our best summer (remember when I did summer school that one time?) but it could be worse (remember last summer when I didn’t have a car or the internet?) I guess you could sum it up neatly by saying this is your run-of-the-mill, average summer. Four kids sure take a lot of time and all of your energy.

Here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to, since I obviously haven’t been blogging about it.

  1. Keeping the house cleanish. Really! The kids and I did an intense panic clean (for a home inspection) and we’ve done a moderate job at keeping it up. Kind of a miracle. I’m slowly seeing the piles start, well, piling up again. Sigh.
  2. Quilting. I made a quilt! It’s the kind of quilt that really deserves its own post, but here’s a sneak peek:

    40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

    40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

  3. Feeding four kids. This deserves its own spot on the list because hello, that’s hard work. Especially when you take into consideration that grocery shopping often involves four children.
  4. Homeschool obsessing. I’m gearing up for the new year, and I’m hoping this next year will be far more successful than last. I should really do a “wrap up” post on the previous year. We’ll see.
  5. Homeschool shopping. Online shopping mostly because a) I like to buy used when I can, b) I don’t have any homeschool stores here and c) retail shopping involves four children.
  6. Quilt obsessing. I’m constantly designing quilts in my head, though most days I don’t even break out the sewing machine. Most days, my dining room table isn’t clean enough to break out the sewing machine, let alone put fabric on it. I have high hopes for a sewing room one day.
  7. Fabric shopping. Or at least a lot of fabric window shopping online.
  8. There seems to be a strong “shopping” theme in this list, did you notice?
  9. House shopping. (Yes, more shopping! I get bored, okay?) And yes, I said house shopping. Nothing official yet, but we’re hoping to move soon, and it is looking like that might actually happen.
  10. Raised caterpillars and released butterflies! (We used this awesome kit!–affiliate link)
  11. Going to Seven Peaks, parks, a splash pad, and other kid-fun type activities. Not too much of that, I wouldn’t want my kids expecting fun on a regular basis!

What have you been up to this summer? Has your summer flown by, or is it dragging just a leeeetle bit now that it’s August?

Psst… it’s almost my birthday! Come back soon for a freebie!

Our 2013-2014 Read Alouds

2013 read alouds

Our homeschooling journey this year has been far from perfect. One thing that I have managed to do consistently is to read our nightly read aloud selection. This is huge for me as I’ve never been very good at doing bedtime stories. We ended up doing more read alouds than I had originally planned!

Initially I had planned on doing these at the ‘close’ of our school day. However, my ten year old kept asking to be included. We switched to a bedtime reading and couldn’t be happier. It’s a sweet and simple end to the day and has become a favorite tradition. Another benefit is that it doesn’t feel schoolish. It’s just for fun!

2013 read alouds

Between August 2012 and June 2013, we’ve read the following books:

(The following links are affiliate links; I get paid a tiny percentage if you order after clicking through the links.)

Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder – I never thought I’d get my 5 year old to sit through this, and it wasn’t our first chapter book. We started with some shorter ones, and my girls loved it. Even my husband got sucked in at a couple of parts.

Book of Mormon Stories for Little Children, Marjorie G. Johnson – This book we did read during school as a gentle “Gospel lesson.”

Beezus and Ramona, Beverly Clearly – my girls loved this!

The Trumpet of the Swan, E. B. White – we are actually still reading this but should finish it by the end of the month. I wasn’t sure if my girly girls would like it, but they are enamored by the baby swans.

The Great Cake Mystery, Alexander McCall Smith – if you’ve read any of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, or enjoyed the series on HBO, you’ll love this. My kids loved the silly monkey antics.

The Boxcar Children, Gertrude Chandler Warner – after reading this, my oldest daughter, a reluctant reader, requested we follow up with the second in the series. I’m excited to suck her into a fun series like this.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Betty MacDonald – okay, who doesn’t love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle? My kids thought this was hilarious, and it was easy to sneak in a few lessons in there too.

Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth, and Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer, Jane O’ Conner – admittedly these books are “fluff,” but we have loved Fancy Nancy since the original book came out, thanks to Nana! The chapter books are easy to read with the vocabulary stretching words that we have come to except from Nancy Clancy!

My Father’s Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett – A classic! My kids ate this exotic adventure story up!

We’ve also worked through Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein 1-2 poems at a time. We’re not done yet, but I plan to read a handful each week until the end of the summer. These are so silly and ridiculous; it has been a gentle introduction to poetry!

Check out my sponsor! I was offered compensation to check this post for grammar and spelling flaws with Grammarly. What can I say, it’s been a long time since school!

A Few Questions for YOU!

Question

Question

Would you do me just a quick little favor? Would you mind just filling out this quick little form? I’m contemplating some changes in the future for this little blog of mine, and I’d love your input.

Since my blog “niche” is just a wee bit scattered (uh, ADHD anyone??), I want to know why you are here reading this blog. Are you skipping every few posts, just waiting for the posts you’re most interested in? Or are you loving every single word I write? (Ha ha.)

Filling this out should take you two minutes, max. Unless your kids interrupt you every twenty seven seconds while reading it, then I can’t guarantee anything!

Homeschooling… Or sleeping?

This past week or so has been full of challenges. Motivation, or a lack thereof, challenges. I think I’ve been avoiding my blog because I don’t like to admit defeat. More importantly; I don’t want to be defeated. I’d very much prefer to be regular feated, thank you very much!

This week we did two rather lazy days of homeschool. Then on Wednesday we… Well frankly we didn’t do much of anything. Thursday, I cleaned my room. It was pretty much an all day project. Today looks like it will be a repeat of Wednesday’s schedule.

The homeschool bubble has deflated. The fresh smell of new curriculum is worn off. The excitement of planning days has waned, knowing that my plans will surely be replaced by the desire to do nothing. Playing Where’s My Water* on my tablet is looking better than attempting to get my four year old to do a craft without a meltdown. Except sleep. Sleeping is looking pretty great these days. We do a lot of that. Or more accurately, I ask my kids, “Don’t you want to watch a show on Mommy’s bed while Mommy takes a rest?”

I know my mom will read this, and the therapist in her will ask if I am depressed. No, I don’t think so. I am ADHD still, and that’s depressing! Life is boring, and boring is super boring. (Almost like a super power. I’m Super Bored!)

What do you do when you don’t have motivation to do much of anything? 

Homeschooling by the Seat of my Pants + a Halloween Countdown Chain

Homeschooling by the Seat of my Pants

As of right now, I have no idea what we’re doing as far as ‘homeschool.‘ I’m switching up some of my curriculum plans and trying some new things out. For now, we’re just sort of homeschooling by the seat of my pants.


What’s that mean? It means I’m making it up as I go, naturally. Take this Halloween Countdown Chain activity:

On a whim, we made a Halloween countdown chain. I loved to do this as a child. You simply count how many days left until something exciting–Halloween in this case–and make a paper chain. Cut strips of colored construction paper into 1 inch strips. Staple, or glue, on strip of paper into a circle. Loop your next circle through the previous circle, and staple that. Then continue until you have the number of days remaining until your holiday or vacation. Each day, tear off one strip and count again!

To qualify this as a ‘learning’ activity, just look at the following. We:

  • increased calendar awareness by counting how many days until Halloween
  • practiced counting numbers above twenty
  • did basic division by figuring out how many of each color we needed to cut (I needed 13 strips of each color for our 26 days)
  • could have practiced scissor skills but Mommy used a paper cutter instead :)
  • reinforced counting by counting our paper strips to ensure we had enough
  • used motor skills to work the stapler
  • discussed geometry by creating circles and discussed (uh, something) by making a chain
  • used team work to share the stapler and help a younger sibling
  • talked about cultural awareness by discussing Halloween colors
  • used math by counting down each day
  • practiced patience and forgiveness when sibling tore five circles off the next day and we put them back together
  • recognized sharing and taking turns while we switched off who got to tear off the circle for the day
Look at all those skills we worked on! With very little forethought or effort, we completed an entire math lesson in a single activity. Some days, that’s okay. Some days, a little craft activity with the slightest effort towards making it ‘educational’… some days, that’s enough.

 

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