Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FIAR :: Make Way for Ducklings

Back in Week One the boys and I started our 2013-14 school adventure with a sweet book, 
Make Way for Ducklings. I had never read this book before. It is a sweet story and was fun to read all week.

We talked about Boston Mass. and found it on our map. I printed out little ducks; we colored them, labeled them with the names from the book, then put them in alphabetical order. We also colored Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. #4 had free play with all of our ducks, acting out the story, putting them in order, etc.  I made an -uck word can and we practiced that word family. We also talked about our address and worked on memorizing it (we moved and so everyone needed to work on this new one). We mapped out the mallards path and also mapped our route to church.

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We used cashews (we didn't have any peanuts) and worked on counting and grouping.

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And we found all the ways to make eight by adding (printable here from Rulin' The Roost). 

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As a special treat we followed this recipe from The Country Cook and made Boston Cream Cake as our treat/after school snack on Friday.

It was a great way to start the year!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013-14 School Plans

I started this post months ago...for prosperity's sake I'm going to finish it up and hit publish.

The goal is to write up weekly "look what we did" posts. It's a work in progress.

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It's that time of year again! I was talking to my cousin this morning which brought me down reality that this fall is going to be quite a marathon in logistics. But I thought I'd join in the online sharing this year's curriculum plans.

I just read Jessica's post and like how she introduced her kid's ages before telling about their school choices so I'll take a page from her book and introduce my little students...

#1 is 12 and will be in public school again this year as a 7th grader.
#2 is 9, turning 10 this October, and would be in 4th grade in public school but will be doing 5th grade work at home.
#3 is 7, not 8 until February, and would be in 2nd grade in public school and in our homeschool.
#4 is 5, turning 6 in October. He is in Kindergarten, both in home and public school.
#5 is 3. We'll be doing some preschool stuff.
#6 is 1, almost 18 months - my favorite age!

I will be "teaching" three while keeping the little two happy and engaged and loved.

So let's start with the little ones...{affiliate links are coming your way}
I'll be doing some preschool with #5. I got God's Little Explorers. I've downloaded and printed out (I purchased the program so I could have everything at once and since it was inexpensive and went to a great cause) and bound myself a great little book of the plans and ideas for all year. It shouldn't be too much but just enough of a sweet time with my boy...something I think I was missing last year.

Morning Meeting :: years ago we called this circle time like everyone else but when #1 was still at homeschool she thought she was too old for "circle time" so we changed the name and it stuck. We do calendar, counting, corporate alphabet reciting, and Latin. We will also use our Kid Life (our churches version of Awanas) materials to work on memory verses, journaling and devotionals.  We started with some SQUILT lessons last year and I would like to continue them once a week this year. I love this simple way of bringing music education into our school.

History :: We are finishing up The Story of the World Vol 3 then we'll be going right into Volume 4 . I have loved SOTW and the activity book . I am especially excited that #2 will have a complete cycle of history when we finish this year. I have gone through the books we will be using and have cut chapters so that we stay focused and finish the year with the end of the book. I've also given us the month of November to do History Pockets :: The American Civil War . We did the American Revolution pockets last year and when I've brought it up this year the boys remember that project fondly and are looking forward to the Civil War ones.

Science :: I am determined to do science this year. At the beginning that will be "easy" since our nanny is doing it for me... she is here on Tuesdays and covers school that day with the kids. I tried to separate topics so that the kids weren't having two different people trying to understand what needed covered or having different expectations. So H gets science. We are using the book I didn't stick with last year, Adventures With Atoms and Molecules . I think everyone is enjoying the experiments and I've enjoyed looking through their work and seeing that they are doing a good job with it.

Independent Work :: The idea is we do the above parts of school before lunch, then break for lunch and a little bit of running around. After that while I lay #5 and #6 down for their afternoon nap the boys can come down to the school room and work through their independent work. For #2 that is SOAP journaling, handwriting , logic and math drill (if there is one that day). #3 also has handwriting and a possible math drill. He is also writing a journal entry in a spiral notebook. #4 does a page of handwriting too. For handwriting I'm trying Getty-Dubay this year. I've always used Handwriting Without Tears and I thought it was fine but I'd seen a few blogs around who were using GD and their handwriting was so nice so I thought I'd give it a try. Already I can see some of the letter shaping from GD carry over into other handwriting and I like what I see.

RRSK :: #4 is doing Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten from 1plus1plus1equals1. I am doing the alphabetical order that God's Little Explorers follows so that #5 and #4 are working on the same letter. It is nice to have the memory verses each week and so far I'm happy we went with this program. #4 is also still working through Rod and Staff's ABC series. We picked up books G and I when were getting math books this summer. He has a love/hate relationship to these...I think they are nice books and they give him a good base of doing tidy work and concentrating and some basic skills practice. I like them...I'll use them again for #5 and #6.

FIAR :: Volume 2 :: I bought the manual and the literature set last year but it just didn't fit in. So far we have rowed two or three books and I think the way I have them laid out through the year will be nice. It will definitely work better to do two or so books a month with weeks off when we don't have anything extra.

Grammar :: #2 and #3 work on grammar everyday. #3 is finishing First Language Lessons Level 1 and will move right into Level 2 . I love how this program has built in copy work and memorization work and covers all the parts of speech so throughly. #2 did through level 3 of FLL and last year we used Rod and Staff's English program. He hated the text book style of R&S so I went on a search of something new. I found Grow with Grammar from Jessica's blog. After looking at the sample lessons and checking with what #2 thought I went with it. So far so good. Just the right balance between text book and work book.

Math :: This is our second year using Rod and Staff for math. #2 does fine with the textbook style of math. We don't do every problem...but when/if he needs more work we keep working through the problems until he is doing well with the concept. #3 got his own R&S math this year. For the younger grades it is all in workbook format which is good for him...maybe a little too much repetition, my boys really get math and the whole page of problems really gets to them. I'm working on hands-on math stuff with #4, I've got a whole lot of ideas on my Pinterest board.

Extras :: I took a lot of time with our schedule this year. I tried really hard to work through it all in my mind. We moved last spring to a larger home, something our family needed desperately. Unfortunately, I am not the best housekeeper. I knew I would need to really think through our days so the house didn't take over. Once I got our basic school day down on paper I realized if I moved everything down some and utilized the afternoon nap time I would have an easier time at school (no crayon eater, #6, or destroyer of all that is good and evil, #5) and I could use the morning hours before school to get chores done around the house. But, what to do with the kids while I'm getting my stuff done? Other than their morning chores? Then I read an article about talent building. And I downloaded the free ebook (I think I had to subscribe to get it). I'm still reading through the ebook...but, the idea that I could encourage a talent in my kids that they could develop and use later in life? I started to think on that a bit more and tried to process how that could be incorporated into our morning.

#2 has always had an interest in computers and games and all of that. Last year I had tried to find a way to work with that interest. With this new talent idea I went back to the internet to find a way to develop #2's interest in computers in a way that, if he continued, could lead him into something more in the future. I found Homeschool Programming. We have started with the Web Page design. It is right on target as far as abilities go. He gets a little "lost" or hits a bump and tries to back off of it for awhile but we talk about problem solving and keeping at it.

#3 is all about work. Real work. Work that he preferably can do alone and actually matters. And he loves animals. I really think he is going to own a large working farm sometime. So,with that in mind, I gave him the responsibility of the animals. Feeding and watering the chickens each morning and the cats too.

The idea is they work on these two areas in the morning between getting ready for the day and the start of school. I also have a selection of activities in the school room that are open for everyone but #6 to work with. Playdough, ABC Find It!, Sensory tubs, alphabet projects, cutting practice, painting, blocks, puzzles, etc. So far, so good. Except a little incident with rice being outside the rice bin and possibly a raised voice or two the mornings are running pretty smoothly.

Ugh. If you made it through that post you deserve a cookie.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

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It's been so long since I've posted a Yarn Along. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post about a finished project later this week...

On the needles :: I'm working on crocheting balls for Operation Christmas Child boxes. I got the idea while finishing my last project and thought this would be a good way to use up stash yarn I have in a bunch of fun, bright colors and I even have a bag of stuffing stitting here not being used...I found this pattern by searching pinterest but there were about a million. I'm using the instructions for the smallest ball and I still think they are a good size. I'm hoping to make 3 for each box we'll be making...we'll see if I can find that many once it's actually time to put the boxes together.

On the nightstand :: I've been wishing lately I had more time to read...I'm really enjoying both of my books and I've pinned a few reading lists that I'd love to look into more. I'm reading Radical for a book club and I'm reading The House of Hades because I've read all the other books in the series (and they are SOOO good). I wish I had read ahead of #2 in his readers...maybe if I order the next set I'll have time to get ahead of him a little bit.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Um, yeah...


I'm not sure if this managing a bigger home, homeschooling, working for our company, wife-ing and mothering and crafting is going to mesh so well with the blogging-thing.

I want it to.

I really want it to.


Who knows, I'll try. Because I really do have some fun stuff to show off. We are doing good in school. Some of the stuff we are working on is share-able (meaning you the reader might actually be interested in it). I'm knitting some fun things. Some actual finished projects! The kids are growing (I tried getting them to stop but they like it too much) and we are generally just having an awesome time...I'd like to share that with you.

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I'll write up some ideas and see if I can squeeze some time to type and embed photos and the like into my day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer {waning}

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Ahhhhh. I bet anyone that has checked back in here in the past 4 months (!) has gotten real tired of looking at that yarn along picture. Here's a cute baby playing at the water's edge to look at instead. 

We spent a couple of nights last week camping with my extended family. So fun! Such good memory building. 19 cousins to play in the water all day with. Shared dinners and running around during a wind storm trying to save camp. Good times.

But it is good to be back. Good to get the last of summer wrapped up. Our list of "before the rain starts" just seems to get longer even when we are able to get a project done from it. My school preparations are going good. I'm still needing to get some of my books (I'm so jealous of moms who know what they're going to use and have it ready in the spring - I'm still trying to survive the current year in the spring...I never know what I'm going to do or use for the next year yet!). I now know what I want to use and where to get it and I'm starting to get a look for how our days are going to go. This prep stuff is my favorite, wish I had days of uninterrupted time to get it done.

I'm hoping for more hands-on this year. Pull out the activity book for history more often, make some great arts or crafts, read good books and enjoy them with each other. And I'm hoping to record it on the blog again this year.

So here's to the last weeks of summer. To getting those "before it rains" projects marked off the list and to keeping the fun in school prep.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

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On the needles :: #1's sweater will only be on the needles for some part of today! I'm casting off!!! I'm thinking this thing is going to take FOREVER to block so I'll have plenty of time to find a zipper before setting in the sleeves, sewing up the seams and sewing in that zipper...I read and watched some tutorials and I think doing the zipper won't be too big of a deal (how did people learn to knit before you tube!). Next up is Mr. Wiedz's sweater. I'm going to set a goal of finishing it this summer. Since the sleeves knit flat I'm thinking the two at a time advice would be perfect here. #4 has also been waiting patiently for his turn so I think I'll start a sweater for him since I need some car/easy pick up-put down knitting (Mr. Wiedz's sweater is not that).

On the nightstand (kindle) :: Book Three of the Mortal Instruments series. When I started book one and book two I told myself I would only read that one...sometimes a series gets a little too predictable. But wow! good books. Into number 3 and really enjoying them!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

{this post contains affiliate links to the amazon books I'm currently reading, if you click through my link I'll get a little something-something, thank you.}

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I haven't been here in so long!!! But I've missed it. What better way to jump back in than with Yarn Along with Ginny.

On the needles :: I've been working on a sweater for #1 for the past couple of months. Its a really nice pattern worked on biggish needles with chucky yarn...LOVE! The Quince & Co yarn is so nice to work with. I'd heard all about Quince & Co but had never tried it. The sweater is going to be so nice and dense and soft. I'm on the second sleeve already and it's totally knitting up quickly and without all those awful second-sleeve-I've-already-done-this-don't-want-to-do-it-again issues. Next is the hood and band then in my effort to learn something new when I knit, a zipper! Yikes!

On the nightstand :: Another mom at baseball was carrying around a book a few weeks back. When I asked her about it I was interested and looked into Amazon. I got the first Mortal Instruments book, City of Bones, that night. I'm on book two, City of Ashes, now. Good books.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

History is Alive :: Sumo Wrestling and Wind Poems

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Since my planning for more history projects we've actually been able to accomplish the more hands-on learning that the boys LOVE into our days. In our lesson time we learned about the Warlords of Japan. Once Japan had a Tokugawa Shogunate, the leader wanted to find a way for the samurai to fight and compete without killing each other and continuing to start wars. So he introduced Sumo.

The activity book gave great descriptions of the symbols and traditions of sumo wrestling and we turn our living room into a dojo to have our own tournament.

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We also wrote wind poems, though the boys just couldn't come up with actual poems to write...note to work on poetry later. We wrote wishes on our streamers and hung them out in the wind.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

History is Alive :: Eye of Newt Soup

After my post last week I implemented my new plan and I think it's going to work. The boys were all so happy when we had not one but TWO projects to go with our lessons last week. Now that I'm actually doing history "projects", I guess calling them hands-on learning would be better, I feel the need to catch up and actually blog about the projects we did do towards the beginning of the year.

Eye of Newt Soup




I LOVED this idea when I came upon it in the activity book. The ingredients went along with a reading from MacBeth. The boys talked about it for weeks.

This whole MacBeth reading and Eye of Newt Soup came from our lesson on Shakespeare and his contribution to history in his poetry and plays. It was a fun lesson with a few extras from the library, there are so many retellings of Shakespeare's plays written for children. I was really excited to find so many that brought the poetry down to the boys' level.

We also made up baggies of all the ingredients and took them to #1 and her friends when we picked them up from school. I read the girls the same selection from the activty book and the boys shared how each part fit in the story. It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::

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On the needles :: Really the only thing I've worked on all week is Mr. Wiedz's sweater. Oh, wait, that's not true. My car and Bible study knitting are two hats that I'm working on for the children. I've got one for #3 with left over yarn from his sweater, I'm going to have to change to a different color for the top since I ran out. I'm also working on a hat for #6. Back to Mr. Wiedz's sweater...I had a breakthrough! I've had two issues with this sweater. 1) the yarn color on newer skeins was different than what I had been using. 2) I wanted to work the back in garter or seed stitch instead of pattern. Last week I had Mr. Wiedz lay down and I laid the sweater on his chest so he could feel how lovely and heavy and warm it was getting. I realized that it was time to split for the neck, so the next time I worked on it I got out the directions and read up on doing find out I need to add a skein of yarn at this point so I can work both sides of the neck going up to the shoulders. Of course, I don't have another skein right now. But I got to thinking this problem could actually solve my other two problems. I'll use this as the back. I'll be motivated to cast back on for the front, much more so than I was to cast back on for the back. The color problem (it really isn't as noticeable as I was worried about) will be on the back and will therefore bother me less. AND I'll know how much yarn it takes and will be able to buy it all at once eliminating the color problem from happening again. Wins all around!!!

On the nightstand :: nothing. I haven't picked up a book all week. Not even on the Kindle.

Yarning Along with Ginny.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Handmade Christmas :: H's Milanese

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My last handmade Christmas took a bit to photograph since I gave it to our wonderful babysitter before Christmas without taking any pictures of it. I had to ask her to bring it back so I could take a picture of her with it. We remembered this weekend. 

I have been so blessed to find H as our babysitter. I had asked and asked for friends to recommend a babysitter or share one that they use but I got nothing. So I finally joined and found H. Best decision EVER. H is a perfect fit for our family for babysitting. She's adorable and fun and young enough to be cool but is so good at her job that the kids know when she means business, listen and respect her and she has my kitchen clean and more laundry done while she's here than I do all week. LOVE her!

So when Christmas was on the way I really wanted to do something to show her how much she means to our family. I knitted up the Milanese cowl with my favorite yarn. It turned out great, even with my mistakes. The drape is really great. It is warm and cozy for our winter days and she seems to like it. Win.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

History is Alive :: Elizabethan Buildings


Catching up here with a history lesson we did at the beginning of the year...look how beautiful and sunny it is outside! Though it must have been October since that's when #2 covered nearly every surface with drawings of super heros and Halloween costume ideas.


We covered Queen Elizabeth in our history lessons and talked about how much her people loved her. One way they showed their love of their queen was to design buildings in the shape of an E. The boys each drew their own E building. They didn't turn out the way I had envisioned but the boys got into it for a little bit and enjoyed their own hand at building design.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

:: Yarn Along ::


On the needles :: Still stitching away on Mr. Wiedz's Sweater. I did use the skein of yarn that doesn't quite match (see it up there? It's yellow-er. My Stella Light makes the colors so true!!!...he says that's what homemade sweaters are like. I am alternating rows right now to ease the color change in hoping it is less noticeable, so far so good. I'm also working on a hat for #6. I had started a sweater for her but realized I would run out of yarn so ripped it all out and cast on the Vintage Hat from this favorite book of mine. I think I'll have enough yarn to make matching leg warmers too.

On the nightstand :: I finished The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile, oh my it was good. Such an interesting history and I think the author did a great job taking something we on this side of history criticize so quickly and easily and show her internal struggle with it. I love it. I'm still working on One Thousand Gifts and I'm trying to stay ahead of #2 with his history read-alouds, we are on Robert Fulton Boy Craftsman.

Yarning Along with Ginny.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 months


Well, the little miss is 10 months old now (and that was only yesterday so look how on top of things I am!!)! She is so adorable and so loved in this house! She's cruising around and has mastered getting back down after she's been standing for awhile. She has started chattering which is adorable!...I could listen to her all day. She's interested in toys and hates being left alone in a room (even if I am coming right back). She still takes 2 naps most days but has become a pretty sensitive sleeper, I've got a fan going all the time now for some white noise and hope that helps. She does not sleep through the night...sigh. She got croup before Christmas and cut two teeth right afterward. Our family went through round after round of passing sickies around, #6 ended up with an ear infection and pnemonia. Poor thing.


It was somewhat of a challenge to get a picture of her this month. Between the brother's feet in the picture, the blanket falling down (it's no longer big enough to stay draped up behind her) and her complete interest in the it was night-time (right before bath-time I remembered) so the pictures were either too bright from the flash or blurry from not using the flash. Oh well, she's too stinkin' cute to worry about such things!