Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday~January 31, 2014

1) Since we took Caleb out for pictures on Sunday we tried to get some family pictures too. I'm not too happy with them.  Here are the two "best".

2) Busy here with Caleb's birthday celebrations. Being blessed with a small house means we have multiply birthday celebrations to prevent the seams from bursting. I made dinner for family last night and again tonight. Going with easy Mexican food. Saturday night Caleb is having two friends over. He has requested pizza, chips, soda, and cupcakes. I got frozen pizza to avoid having to run the errand of getting pizza on Saturday. I feel guilty feeding those teenage boys junk food while staying at my house! I wonder if I can get them to have a salad with the pizza?

3) Tyler demanded to get on the ice and have his pictures taken last Sunday. Scott called it safe and I surprisingly agreed since the water was only about a foot deep where they were standing.

4) We are suppose to get some winter weather today and tomorrow. I'm wondering if it will interfere with our birthday celebrations or Scout Sunday.

5)I've been enjoying using Google+! I really just keep up with my online fellow homeschoolers. Come and join me if you use it or are thinking about it. I really don't know how to use it, but I'm slowly figuring it out.

6) I have enjoyed the Cranberryport books (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and bought the Valentines Day one this week. I had enough Amazon reward points to get it for $3.15! It should be arriving today.

7) Planning next year's school books has been weighing heavy on me lately. I'm still in the beginning stages of planning. I started a Pinterest Board and I also have a wishlist on Amazon going too. As you can see I'm not getting very far. We are doing Ancient history (starting in Genesis and through Ancient Egypt). I'm thinking for science we will do weather and maybe Geology. Perhaps a bird study if we don't get to that this year. I really want to do botany again, but I need to decide how much of that Caleb would cover in 9th grade (biology)before making that decision. We will continue using Math-U-See. Slowly making list!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Celebration of 13!

It's hard to believe my first baby is thirteen! This poor baby teenager never gets many pictures taken on his birthday, so this year we had a photo shoot to make sure we document the milestone birthday. Pictures were taken on an old bridge on the road that my parents live (and I grew up) and at the family farm. I've been eying this bridge for pictures for a long time now and when I noticed the 13 on the sign a few days before, I knew it was time to visit the bridge for pictures. This is the first time we took pictures at the family farm when there was ice on the lake. The boys insisted to get on the ice for some pictures! We took the pictures ourselves so that explains the quality.  ; )


Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Snapshots @ Everyday Snapshots

I'm linking up with Pam at Everyday Snapshots for her Project Snapshot Mondays. She encourages us "to share a moment from your week that you do not wish to forget".

Project Snapshot Week 3 Logo | Everyday Snapshots 

While in the car on our way home from our bi-monthly visit to get fresh bread and eggs from our local bread lady . . . .

Tyler hollers from the back seat, "Put the speed thing to the ground Mom!"

I believe he meant "put the pedal to the metal" as he was in a hurry to get home to play a new game. LOL! I love that boy's sense of humor! And, no I didn't race home!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Keeping the Company of Saints {The Boy's Current Saint Books}

I'm linking up at Sweetness and Light with the Keeping the Company of the Saints series.

My boys just started reading new saint books that go along with the history period we are currently studying (Middle ages-Renaissance).

Caleb is reading Francis and Clare: Saints of Assisi and this is his favorite saint book this year. We have read many books on Saint Francis so he is a favorite in our home.

Tyler is reading Saint Ignatius of Loyola: For the Greater Glory of God and loving it! There is a lot of adventure, action, and danger which is what most boys like to read about. I'm getting unrequested narrations from him, so I know he is enjoying this book. The chapters are short (3-4 pages)which makes it a quick read which also appeals to Tyler (who doesn't like to sit and read for long periods). He is reading one chapter twice a week in this book.

My current saint reading is The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux. I have this on my Nook and I've been reading it for almost a year now. I usually read on my Nook when I'm out and about and this is hard to read because it brings me to tears which makes reading in public tough. I hope to be done with it soon. It is a very touching story and I hope to do more reading about St. Therese after I finish this book! Any suggestions?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Daybook {Late January}

Outside my window
It's cold out there! That's all I have to say about that.

I’m thankful for
a chiropractor! I went last week for the first time and I'm amazed at how much better I feel. Now it has been a little up and down, but I my aches and pains were all down the two weeks before I went, so this is an improvement and I'm looking forward to complete recovery!

I’m thinking about
high school . . . . just a year and a half away. It's time to make some plans. I find this terrifying! I do have a game plan and it's time to start working on it.

In the schoolroom
I'm afraid to say too much. It's going very well at the moment! I'm hoping this last as the upcoming month is usually burnout time. I keep the idea that I need to make list for next year and come up with a budget rattling around in the back of my mind. 

From the kitchen
I really need to go grocery shopping!

I am working on
organizing my online time better . . . . it's not going well.

I am reading
I purchased Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson
for my Nook. I'm not too far in the book yet, but I'm enjoying it and looking forward to reading more. At the moment I can't relate to her at all, but I know I will enjoy it. 
I also started a book that I got for Christmas, today called The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell . I'm reading this one for some high school at home encouragement. (I hope it works!) I've been reading Swallowdale! Have you read any books in this series? If not, I highly recommend you get them and read them to your children. They are amazing!! For my local friends and family, our library has the books and the first book on CD.
I have a big stack of other books I want to start (and finish!) so I need to work in some more reading time during the day. 

I am hearing
recorders! Caleb is getting there and Tyler is just a few steps behind. I really thought I would have to learn to play again, but they can teach themselves!

Clicking around
The Extraordinary Ordinary is a short writing about the meaning of ordinary . . . . which I have completely misunderstood.

I truly expect Amongst Lovely Things: Teaching From a State of Rest to be inspiring!

I enjoyed this series from Everyday Snapshots on building your own homeschooling tribe.

Around the house
I don't have any big projects planned for around the house. Really just survival mood. Just do the littlest needed to keep the house clean! I'm comfortable doing this because we did lots of deep cleaning in December. My carpets need to be cleaned though . . . . I've been talking about getting that done since this summer.

A few plans for next week
Thirteen birthday plans! And yes, it was hard to type that!

A picture
from a Harlem Globetrotters game that we went to this week. This is what Caleb wanted to do for his birthday. I was disappointed in the seats that we got (see the benches and not real seats!) and my back wasn't too happy with me either! The weird thing is there was plenty of open "real" seats. I also didn't take any pictures that I had planned. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Gifts!

We started a new Christmas tradition this year. The boys received a new book for each of the days of Christmas. The first day they received two books, but the remaining days they received a book to share. On the last day the got a pile of CDs from Holy Heroes that I had been collecting thanks to their Deal of the Day specials.

Someone had asked what books they received and here is the list. Sorry for being so late to answering this question! (I'm not going to list the Holy Heroes unless someone is interested.)

The Nativity by Ruth Sanderson
Saints: Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson
House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan
Adventures According to Humphrey by Betty Birney 
The Ruins of Gorland (The Ranger's Apprentice series) by John Flanagan 
Extreme Dot to Dot Legends and Lore by Mind Ware 
Friendly Gables by Hilda Von Stockum 
Canadian Summer by Hilda Von Stockum 
Note-Note Recorder Method by Penny Gardner 
Marcy Watson: Princess in Disguise by Kati DiCamillo (Tyler loved this series a couple of years ago and we never bought him the whole collection. This was the book missing from his collection and he requested to have all the books for the past couple of years. I finally got around to ordering it. He was a little surprised to find it a "princess" books!)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney 
Saint Felix and the Spider by Dessi Jackson

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Homeschool Path {Year Round Schooling}

It's about that time of year for homeschool moms when our thoughts turn toward the next school year. Each year I get later and later in the time I start making my list. I seem to always research items as I come across them. Using Pinterest makes this a little easier. I seem to save books to my Amazon wishlist throughout the year too. I haven't gone beyond these means yet in my planning for the upcoming year.

One thing that I have been rolling around in my head and pondering is a year around school schedule. We have been using a modified version of this for a few years now. This really has more benefits to us and it's something we want to continue to use. Although, we make adjustments every year as we haven't found the perfect school schedule or at least one that works from one year to the next. 

What is going to work for us in the 2014-2015 school year? That is my biggest dilemma in my planning at the moment. Our biggest (and I think only) obstacle to schooling in the summer is the fact that the boy's friends have the traditional three months off. It's hard to do school when you know your friends are at the pool or playing video games. I do know that we started back to school towards the end of July last year and that was too early. We had to take an unplanned week off in August to have some end of summer fun and a last chance to meet up with friends before they started back to school. Which was completely fine and turned out to be a wonderful last minute decision.

I also know that we have to be done with the school year mid-May. We've tried many times to make it through May and it's an impossible task. I won't try it again . . .  I know our limits.

Right now I'm looking at being done with our fourth term on May 16th and being off the rest of the month of May. I plan to start our summer term on June 2 and do three weeks of school. Half days is all I see us doing. The last week of June is already scheduled so we will have that week off and all of July off. I see us starting the new school year on August 4th. This gives us a total of 8 weeks off during the summer. Another idea that is floating around is doing some school in July and taking a couple of weeks off in August.

I really want to see what other homeschools are doing in this area. Please share with me. I would love to have a big discussion about this topic! What works for you, what doesn't, any ideas you want to try out?

Weekend Musings

It was an exciting week here. The boys enjoyed roller skating with their fellow Cub and Boy Scouts. Of course, I didn't think to take a camera. School went surprisingly well (more on that later). I also went and saw a chiropractor for the first time. I'm very much looking forward to my visits this week and getting some shoulder pain relieved. It seems all my problems are due to a moderately curved spine.

Our third term of school is going marvelous! I think a new routine was the key. School work is getting done and somewhat cheerfully. I'll take it while I get it and pray to stay on this track. 

Some of the new things the boys are enjoying include Paddle-to-the-Sea and using the Beautiful Feet guide for some US geography. We read this book when Caleb was third or fourth grade. This time we are reading it for Tyler. I didn't have the Beautiful Feet guide last time so the boys are enjoying the map work with the book this time. They remember reading the story years before, but they don't remember the details of the story. I plan to get two Holing books read this year and save two for next year.

Caleb started his new history book, The World's Story
and I think we may have found the first history book that he enjoys! I sat down and read two chapter of it yesterday and I'm impressed too! It gave the information in a readable way and even though it's full of facts (like a text) it is somewhat of a living book. Caleb said it was the first history book that he actually understood and could follow. Seeing that I have acquired a stack of history books (living and text) this is an important discovery! It also gave a pretty round account of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation which is what I was mainly looking for to study the Renaissance time. 

As I mentioned last week, the boys were wanting to make coon skin hats and were working on their sewing skills and learning to trap. They had success with their first trapping and rounded up three raccoons. And if you are wondering, I do find this slightly disturbing, but I seem to be getting use to it. ; )

The big boys (Scott and Caleb) had a Boy Scout camp out this weekend. It was very windy here which made their Saturday troublesome, but they did manage to stay warm at night. Tyler and I camped out in the living room with Hammy. Surprisingly, I only had to tell Hammy to settle it down once! She some how pushed her food bowl under her wheel and woke me up as she was trying to get it out.  Notice Tyler's rug burn on his nose! He fell off his bed and nose-dived to the floor. The sound it made when he hit the floor made me surprised he didn't break it (his nose and the floor)!

How was your week?

Friday, January 10, 2014

This Week . . . .

I've not been in the mood to blog all week . . . . which is weird and I haven't figured out why. But, I didn't want a week to go by without a post, so here is a quick run down of our week in pictures and words. I had to add the "and words" as I didn't intend to sit down and write, but it happened anyway!

Snow! My local friends and family know all about it, but for those elsewhere, we had snow Saturday night/Sunday morning. We did make it to Mass Sunday morning. When you live less than a mile from church it's hard to make snow a reason to miss. The roads were horrible, but we made it along with about 12 others, lol! Monday was extremely cold! Low -10F with a high of 0 and thanks to God our heating system was the Little Engine That Could! It was too cold to go out but the boys went out a little Sunday and Monday and spent a lot of time outside on Tuesday. But, I don't have any picture, except for one taken from inside! I think we had seven inches but who knows with all the blowing. At least it blew off our driveway. We did have to shovel a drift in front of the garage to get out to church and again to get back in after.

I really need to be taking more pictures. I have been working on this and I have officially taken more pictures this January than I did last January! (If you remember from my 13 for 13 post I only took one picture last January.)

Here are pictures of the boys hard at school work this week.

I think we adjusted back to the school routine well. There were almost tears Monday morning (not mine), but we pushed through and got started.  Friday afternoon about brought tears (these may have been mine) but it was really just a sign that we needed to be done. We did about 90% of our work load, so hopefully next week will go smoothly at 100%. I'm excited about changes we made and I will let you know how those go sometime.

Scott made himself a coon skin hat and now Tyler wants to learn how to sew to make one of his own. Of course, this doesn't just require sewing skill, but an actually raccoon. That means the boys are out learning how to trap this afternoon. I did pull out a sewing book that I've had on hand just for this occasion (sewing, not the raccoon part!) and we started learning how to sew this week. My sewing skills are hardly what you would call skill, so I'm pretty much learning along side them. Tyler spent part of his Hobby Lobby gift card (thanks Uncle Zack and Aunt Deanna!) buying a sewing kit and some fabric. Thanks goodness you can get a sewing kit in boy colors! Caleb decided to sit down and join us in the lesson too. I wasn't allowed to take pictures of our first lesson, but hopefully I'll have some pictures of finished products in the future.

The boys received recorders in their stockings at Christmas. Surprisingly, this were a big hit! They received a Penny Gardner book as one of their 12 Day of Christmas gifts and they have been teaching themselves how to play.

I mentioned I was hoping to replace my shabby (and not chic)table that housed our Nativity set. I used a gift card that I got from Target to purchase a new one. I'm also glad to report that we have gone from 5 baskets of books (and magazines) laying around the living room to just two thanks because of this new piece of furniture. Plus, one of those baskets isn't filled yet! This makes me pretty happy!

I went back to Target yesterday to buy something for myself or new towels (all our towels are falling apart), but instead come home with flannel sheets (on clearance) for the boys. I got a set from my parents for Christmas and they are the warmest and softest flannel sheets ever. The boys were jealous, so I couldn't resist to spend my gift card on them. We will just cut the strings off the towels and make them last a little longer. Target didn't have any colors that matched the bathroom anyway.  ; ) Print selection was zero, but Tyler says it is an outdoor theme and that goes with his camo blanket. Plus the birds were red, his favorite color.

This weekend brings a chili supper and silent auction fundraiser for our cub scout pack. This will take almost all day and evening on Saturday. I'm sure to be exhausted! I'm hoping for a little energy to take the Christmas tree down on Sunday after Mass.

How was your week?

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday~Homeschool Edition~1/3/2014

Happy New Year!

As our Christmas Break is coming to an end, I thought I would do a Quick Take Friday with changes to term 3 of our school year, which will start next week.

1) The schedule is one thing that HAD to change. We had too many brain draining subjects in the morning which really was messing up the whole day. Turns out that Caleb does better with math right after lunch. I've also decided that we need to do a better job of starting on time. I think getting myself going earlier in the morning will help with this too. Pray for me as I'm not much of a morning person!

2)I'm having Caleb go back to doing IEW Writing Intensive B that we got about six lessons through and put on hold around Thanksgiving. I like this program and Caleb likes the DVD, but we need to rework how we do it. I've got a plan now!

3) I'm going back to the original plans for Language Arts for Tyler. Dictation, copywork, freewriting (and other Brave Writer inspired writing), oral narrations, literature, and Intermediate Language Lessons. I'm stopping Winston Grammar with Tyler and will continue that next year. He got about 13 lessons into this book and hit a wall. We will work on the concepts learned so far through dictation and ILL.


4)We got some new books for science! Originally I had Tyler doing a bird study and Caleb continuing along with Behold & See 6. Caleb will be doing Focus on Middle School Astronomy alone. Tyler will be using Sassafras Science Adventures Anatomy. Behold & See 4 was really boring for Tyler and retention was low. Both the boys did a physic unit (with books I already had and DVDs from the library) last term when the original science books weren't working for them. I still see us doing that bird unit in the fourth term. 

5) Latin . . . . well . . . . I see this being put off until term four. Honestly, Latina Christiana is just too hard much. I looked at Prima Latina and the amount of work is just more reasonable. It's completely understandable for Tyler not to be ready for LC, but I was stressing about Caleb not being able to handle it. But, I thought about it and he really isn't too interested in learning Latin and LC can be challenging. I'm sure he was just becoming overwhelmed with it. I know I was and it was something that went undone when time was short. I'm hoping a less intense introduction will be the answer to this. I'm waiting to start this new program until I have the money to purchase it. I did purchase a few new things for this term, but this was on the end of the list and money ran out before getting that far.

6) Term 3 will be all about training Caleb to work independently. He is very social so he prefers to work with someone most of the time. This will be a tough one! I've researched a great deal and got some wonderful advice from seasoned homeschool moms and I feel like we have a good plan to make this work. 

On the other hand, Tyler is all about wanting to work alone. I will be training him to do it properly. He is all about speed! This is one reason our routine must change. I needed the time to work on both of these task during the day and not feel rushed.

Hammy, the family pet and must adorable hamster ever, lol!

7) I made some small changed in history. I know I wrote about history not too long ago here. But, as in the subtitle of "what is working now" this isn't working for us anymore. I get bored with history very easily. I needed a change. Using living books is the best method for us, so that won't change. Caleb will continue along into the Renaissance era using The World's Story as recommended by Mater Amabilis. He will start in the book where we left off in history and not start from the beginning. I see us using this book next year too. I don't have this book yet, but I'm hoping it ships any day now. Caleb will read from this book twice a week. Once a week he will read about church history from The Story of the Church. I really don't know much about this book or even remember where I got the recommendation, but I hope to read a little ahead of Caleb. He is also reading from Ridge Runner Rescue which isn't that much history. It is more natural history, but we are marking it as US history. I bought two of these books in the series last summer and the boys enjoyed them. I'm having the boys now read the one they didn't last summer.

Tyler will be reading Eye of the Grizzly once a week; Don't Know Much About the 50 States twice a week; Stories of America Volume 2 once a week. No Renaissance books planned for Tyler, but I may add some to his reading basket and if I decided to read The World's Story out-loud to Caleb then Tyler will pick it up there. A state study and US history is what I originally had planned for Tyler anyway. I do have another book on hand that I may have him read instead of Stories of American and the 50 States books. I was going to let him pick and I've been putting that off because I'm afraid the reading level is just a little high for him to read alone and I really want him doing his history reading alone this term. We will see!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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