Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekend Ramblings

I wanted to encourage a better blogging routine and have decided to try to do a regular weekend post. (As usual, I got this idea from other bloggers.) I'm hoping to get it posted on Friday or Saturday but it was tough getting it done this weekend.

Lots of unusual clouds during Saturday's sunset.

School News

I decided we needed to make some decisions on books for next year. Caleb has some samples he is suppose to be reading over . . . . they are still sitting where I left them. . . . . no comment after reading them.

Tyler did preview some books picked up from the library. Abraham Lincoln's World and George Washington's World both by Genevieve Foster. Tyler started reading and wanted to know what the Napoleon guy was doing in Lincoln's book. I explained that the book is similiar to a world history book and is telling about everything that was going on in the world during Lincoln's life time. Tyler accused the book of having a false title and lying (I'm not kidding). He thought it was a biography and only a biography of our 16th president. He has asked not to use those books next year. I'm not sure what to say to that. It was hilarious yet I think those books are good. I'll have to work on him to take a second look.

It was a rough week for school. Allergies were bothering me which left me exhausted and with a headache that made me grumpy. Caleb was the hero for the week and made sure he got his math done every day. We made it through and looking back at the week it wasn't too bad.

We have three days next week and then we are taking off for a week for Easter Break. Nature study is planned for one afternoon too. We didn't get to enjoy that this past week.

Clicking Around-Some of my favorite blog post, videos, etc. that I have enjoyed lately.

I highly recommend Andrew Kern's Ask Andrew-Is Classical Education a method or is it about materials Part 1 and Part 2.

Jen @ Forever, For Always No Matter What blog post Mid Year Thoughts on Homeschool Planning 

Pam @ Ed Snapshots blog post How You Are Reading All Wrong 

Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas blog post Charity Has Power and How Disney Didn't Ruin Cinderella

I've been checking the Kansas City Catholic Homeschool Conference regularly and see that they have some information up for the June conference. I'm about three hours away but I have family in the area so it's a good one for me to attend. If I can get free lodging, I will probably go this year. 

Random Happenings
I had new living room furniture on my list of wants. It was at the bottom of the list because other things seemed to be more important. Yet, the couch was failing apart before my eyes. I really had no desire to look for a new one right now either. We were blessed with a hand-me-down sofa and recliner from my parents. This is an improvement from what we had and will be fine for about two years when I think we will purchase some new pieces. The only problem is that the recliner is a fishing theme (my parents had a wilderness theme in the basement). My dad did say he wanted it back though. Hopefully the boys won't tear it up. They seem to be hard on furniture as they have gotten older bigger.

In related news, Lucy got a new bed to nap on.

We had one of those beautiful spring snows Saturday morning. I love snow on fresh green grass. No pictures of that since it wasn't sticking to the ground very well.

X marks the spot for Saturday's sunset.

Even though I have yet to figure out how to work this camera (besides in auto mode) I'm really enjoying the zoom. When I see something I can't make out I just zoom in and snap. I don't think I have ever noticed seeds on a Sycamore tree before (too high up). This camera is a great tool for nature study!

After church, Sunday morning, Scott and I needed to hit a few stores to look at refrigerators, doors, windows, and few other improvement project items. I think Kenmore brand won the refrigerator debate. That is the brand we are replacing and it's been good to us. The price was comparable to the other brands. Maytag has a 10 year warranty though which is better than Kenmore (only 1 year). We did forget to look into delivery cost though. That may seal the deal.

We finally bought Caleb's birthday present (late January birthday). He saw a kayak in the Menard's ad and decided he would like that. We will probably take it out Tuesday for it's first maiden voyage.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Homeschool Conference in St. Louis

Sunset from two weeks ago that has nothing to do with the post but my rule is all posts need a picture.  : )

I attended the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo this past weekend. This was a completely last minute decision. My friend Lynne always invites me to attend with her every year and I usually decline due to the expense (hotel and travel cost).

I was most looking forward to hearing Andrew Pudewa. I got to hear 3 of his 6 talks. I had planned to hear 4 of those but I was on sensory overload and my brain was shutting down by the last one. Andrew did not disappoint!

I also listened to talks from Ethan and Steve Demme (Math-U-See and Demme Learning). These were also some of my favorites. 

Ethan Demme's talks gave great support to parents and reminded me that parents really do know best. My favorite from him was How Awkward Online Parents Can Save the World.

Steve Demme was a great speaker also. I only wished I had listen to his math talk instead of his communication talk. I am very glad I got to listen to him!

Jay Wile was also at this convention. Although I didn't get to hear him speak, I did purchase one of his talks (teaching science to middle and high school students) and listened to that once I got home. I loved to hear him say that no formal science program was needed before 7th grade. He also gave me ideas for how to go about science for both boys. I have more confidence in this area and will be pondering on that before it's time to make final decisions for next year. He mentioned that notes from his talk were on his website.

I also listened to Karen Holinga (author of Spelling You See with Demme Learning). She mentioned her talk would be like getting a drink from a fire hose and she wasn't kidding. I'm still pondering over this one. Karen's talked was very informative and included research about spelling and the brain. The research she presented was a little different and more recent than I had previously heard. At the end of the talk she quickly went through the workings of her spelling program. To me it looks like an updated version of dictation. However, it was different in regards to how dictation has been taught to me by Charlotte Mason experts. I think the newer research would justify a few changes to dictation in a Charlotte Mason education. This was an aha moment for me.

I controlled myself and didn't ask for autographs and pictures from any of them. Or ask if I could eat breakfast with them at the hotel. Of course, I realized this is what I should have done over at the Demme Learning booth since this was a way to be entered into a drawing. I wish I had realized that!

This was just some highlights of the convention. I copied down some lovely thoughts and quotes and have been sharing them with uninterested ears since getting home.  ; ) Because of that, I thought I should share some highlights with those who would appreciate.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

{Almost} Spring Nature Study

The weather was nice this past week and above average temperatures. We got out two afternoons and headed to our favorite nature study place.

We were looking for signs of spring. Honestly, we didn't see any signs besides mud. We did hear the signs. The birds were singing songs of spring and you could hear the ground thawing out and water trickling along.

We went on trail hikes each afternoon. The boys did a second hike while I read by the lake. Each trail was one that we have never walked before but had ridden them in the past. It looked like all new scenery to me. Lucy tagged along too.

Here is our nature study hikes in pictures.

Lucy really wanted the turtle shell.

Can you see it? Armadillo trail through the leaves.

Can you see it? Looks like an animal head to me . . . maybe a dragon head.

One of the trails we hiked. Where's spring?

We couldn't figure out what this was on the other side of the lake, so we zoomed in with the camera. I thought it was a turtle on a log but Caleb took a look said it was a turtle on a turtle. After getting home and zooming in more on the computer we determined there were three turtles and Scott thinks they were Painted turtles.

Large dead trees are always fun to play on.

Lucy loves swimming. She does wish the water would warm up though. Tyler was jealous he couldn't jump in too.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

A March Daybook

I know it's been a while since I last posted. I'm still here. No excuses for not posting. Just the end of winter and motivation is all gone.

Boys and puppy working on a snowman earlier this week. Lucy had to be on leash or otherwise there was no chance of getting the snowman made.

Outside my window . . .
It's still winter here and cold but expecting warmer temperatures over the weekend and next week. We actually saw the sun today and I think it will stick around for the next week. It's been a bit of a winter roller coaster ride here in central Missouri.

I am reading . . . .
~Meredith's Homeschooling Highschool: It's Not As Hard As You Think Go buy it!

~Start Here by Brandy Vencel which I'm enjoying and wish I had more time to go through and read all the suggested readings. I'm especially savoring For The Children's Sake which Brandy has you reading.

~Currently on book 5 of the Harry Potter series. I wish Tyler would slow down! He has finished it and I'm not that far along in it and I'm not sure where Caleb is in it.

~Also, trying to keep up with the boys school readings and previewing some books for next year . . . . this is hard for me to do!

I am thankful for . . . .
my husband who has been doing some of the cooking lately. That has allowed me to finally get a blog post done and some school planning.

Boys who are a joy to be with during the day. I wish I could show my gratitude more for that instead of just telling them about the things they have done wrong during the day.

The online homeschool community who have provided much needed support during this last month. The end of winter can be a trying time and everyone has seemed to encouraging and giving during this time.

Clicking around . . . .
~I'm really enjoying the Refresh Conference from Homeschool Connections.

~The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast have been awesome too.

~See Me Homeschool Blog Hop which was interesting to see inside fellow homeschoolers day-to-day life.

~I've admired Erin @ Seven Little Australians & Counting and appreciated her Aussie Not Back to School Blog Hop. She recently had a reader survey and I asked for more homeschooling post and she provided.  : )

I had some more thing I wanted to share and can't remember at the moment . . . ugh!

Celebrating the liturgical year . . . . 
Bringing Home Lent with Saint Therese  is being used and enjoyed this Lent. The boys and I start off with this in the morning (during Morning Basket) along with the daily gospel reading. There are a few other books in this series so we will be able to continue this in following Lent seasons.

I've been enjoying Sweetness & Light Spirit of Lent emails. (I couldn't find a link to sign up, sorry!

Sweetness & Light along with Harrington Harmonies and Forever, For Always, No Matter What are hosting Walk With The Saints Link Up.

It's time to start thinking ahead to Easter! 

Around the house . . . .
Just the same day-to-day stuff. But, I have been dreaming up some home improvement projects though. ; ) I need to budget out the tax refund and see how realistic my plans are going to be. Those windows, doors, and paint that has been on the list for awhile MUST get done. I'm dreaming about new flooring and new living room furniture too. I think the furniture will be put off . . . . remember we have a new puppy. She likes to chew on the couch, so that dream is on hold. Even with being strict with the puppy it is surprising how many things have been torn up! If we can figure out how to put the flooring down ourselves then that dream may happen. (Whispering-I also dream of a few kitchen updates, but that most likely won't happen since it's not a necessity and everything is in working order and I think the budget it maxed out at the moment. But, I like to dream when the Menard's weekly ad comes out!)

I'm also working to improve the bread recipe I use for the new bread machine we received at Christmas. The recipe in the owner's manual is simple but the bread is too dense and bland. I got some ideas from Mary @ Better Than Eden and can't wait to make the next loaf. I'm switching out half of my flour for the whole wheat white and some of the water for coconut oil. The last loaf I made I did use oil but I didn't have the flour yet. I'm not a big bread eater, so I'm really doing this for the family (healthier bread options). I'll see how it goes.

A peak at my day . . . .
I have been enjoying our winter hibernation! Not getting out too much and not too many activities has kept stress levels down during winter.  I think this is a must for winter survival.

I did completely reschedule our school days. Caleb asked for a change and I don't blame him. This is nice during the seemingly long winter months. A nice change of pace. Tyler wasn't too thrilled but that is just his personality as he isn't up much on change. He did just fine and he was happy with it, as long as Keyboarding was first on his schedule. I made sure of that!

I'm enjoying this season of not needing to work with someone constantly through out the day. I have some breaks or should we call it opportunities to get other domestic duties done! The boys have greatly matured since July and are able to handle more independent work. I never thought this day would come!

Planning ahead . . . .
Lots of school planning is going on here. I had to go to great lengths to hide in the bedroom and spend a few uninterrupted hours making subject and book list for Tyler. I'm happy with this list and hoping not many changes will be made. I do want to make a separate book list to keep an eye out for used books and good deals. I don't think I will do my shopping until May/June, but I want to be on the look out for savings.

I still need to sit down and do this for Caleb and work up a potential 4-year plan for high school. I actually sat down to do it now, but I realized my blog needed some attention!

In the school room  . . . .
I mentioned a lot above. I'm hoping to put together a What's working Now post in the next week. Things are going well. A month ago I could not see a happy end in sight and now I can see it. (Just look down your road and you can see the end of May waving at you!)

I am working on . . . .
focusing my attention and trying to stay on task. An hour long task will take me all day. There are so many interruptions (laundry, cooking, puppy, text, emails, etc.) and I can't seem to focus. I've had some improvement and I admit it was tough! I was constantly telling myself not to get up. It also helped to get all the "other" stuff that needed to be completed in the day done early which gave me free afternoons. Then moving to the bedroom and closing the door helped greatly too.

Upcoming plans . . . .
Nature hike tomorrow if the weather is twenty degrees warmer than today and I can find my rubber boots (there is going to be a ton of mud!). Otherwise early next week since it's suppose to be in the 50s. Hoping for two walks in the next week.

Tyler crosses over to Boy Scouts on Saturday. This was reschedule from last weekend (snowed out).

I MUST read through the owner's manual of the camera and get it figured out! I want to take pictures and those that I do take need some help. Just need to figure out all the settings!

A picture . . . . 
The boys had a scout camp out two weeks ago that was very close by. Scott came home and picked up Lucy. She ran with them on a 2 mile hike. She came home covered in mud. After a bath she was cold and exhausted. I wrapped her in a blanket to warm her up*.

 *It should be noted that I'm not a dog lover and the blanket was washed afterwards and I also have stopped sitting in the recliner since she has claimed it. Also, just because I turned the heat up to warm her, searched every store in town for made in the USA raw hides, and bought her a new toy today, we are still not friends. I made sure she understood that before giving her the new toy.  ; )
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