Monday, August 29, 2011

First day of public school

Today was the first day back to school for the local public school.  It was very bittersweet.  C & E were happy to go back but I was sad to see them go.  Here is my adorable Princess Em in the outfit that she picked out herself.  Cute as always!

C was in the middle of playing football with his friends when I pulled him away for this picture.  Football is the morning routine at the bus stop.  Luckily he gave me a quick smile before he ran back into the game.

B was outside for the morning football game and then we started day 10 of our school right when the bus left.  If you saw my previous post, you may notice the huge difference in mood!  B was very happy to not be getting on the bus this year!  :-)

Happy schooling! 


Thursday, August 25, 2011

If I could only freeze time ...

Over the past week I have had this thought many times.  I have had several things happen that made we want to stop time and stop my kids from getting bigger.   Maybe not a screeching halt (although that would be OK too).  But at least a slow down.  I know we all think this way.  It is just what has been on my mind a lot recently. 

I took my daughter shopping for school clothes.   I had some really great ideas about what would be adorable for the first day of school.  Unfortunately for me, E had some ideas of her own.  She is 6 1/2 years old now.  She has her own sense of style.  Last year I picked out a cute little dress with puppies on it for her first day of school.  She loves (still does) puppies.  It was so cute with a matching barrettes, socks and dog purse. 

I figured out pretty quick that I won't be getting away with this this year.  I thought that a cute jean dress would be nice.  E did not agree.  She told me that she is the only one that wears dresses. Don't get me wrong.  I don't dress her in uncomfortable dressy things to go to school.  They are usually cotton dresses with leggings underneath.  Pretty comfortable stuff.  Just not her style.

I still got the jean dress.  I know that it won't be picked the first day but I am sure that she can wear it day 2 or 3, right?  I will put up pictures Monday of her first outfit.  Spoiler alert - it is jean shorts with a t-shirt and vest.  The t-shirt is sparkly and has bright pink butterflies bows.  Betcha can't wait to see it now! 

I am trying not to squelch her creativity or personality.  As long as what she wants to wear is modest, I have learned to let her go.  Even if it is jean shorts with a bright pink sparkly butterflies bow t-shirt and vest on the first day of school.  Oh, I can't wait until next year when all this stuff doesn't matter!!  :-)

My son C also broke my heart a little today.   By that I mean that he made me gasp and think "oh no, please, stop growing up!" as I fanned my eyes to stop from crying.   He needed to get a folder for school.  He had a plain blue one picked out when I happened to see what I thought was a cool Star Wars folder.  He said, "Nah, I'll just go with the blue one."  Which we all know meant ... "Of course not mom!  I am waaaay to old for a Star Wars folder!  Geesh, I am 8 1/2!!"

So, once again I am so thankful that we will be homeschooling all 3 kiddos next year.  I don't want to miss a minute!!  And I won't have to see the look in this picture again!  Isn't it heartbreaking.  Thankfully, no one took a picture of the sad momma on the other end of the camera lens.  Even worse.

(This picture was taken last year on the first day of school.  B is now homeschooled!!  Much happier face on our first day this year!! )


Monday, August 22, 2011

Our School Day - A work in progress ...

Not Back to School Blog Hop

This is the last week of the Heart of the Matter's Not Back-to-School blog hop.  It has been so much fun that I am sad to see it finish!! :-)  The last week is a Day-in-the-Life week.

We have only been officially homeschooling for 5 days ... so this is more like what I want our days to be like than an actual schedule! 

Our first week was good.  We started at around 8:30 everyday and finished about noon.  The first thing that we do is Bible then Math.  After that, we just finish what else in on the list.  I try to spread out everything to keep it interesting.  B is not too fond of reading so I make sure that we don't do all the reading at once.  He gets less frustrated when it is in small spurts. 

My youngest two (C & E) are still in public school for one more year.  I can't wait until they are home with us, but that is a different story!  They don't start school until next Monday.  It makes it interesting trying to do school while they are still here.  I have to say that they have been remarkably good so far!    We have been working quickly to get done by noon because we usually get 1-2 knocks on our door by then and B really wants to get out and play with his buddies. 

Things should change next week when public school is back in session.  What I hope our schedule looks like starting next week:

7am - Get up (For those that don't know me ... this is really tough for me.  I am not a morning person at all!  In fact, my husband is probably laughing at this while he reads it!)
7:45 - Bible together as a family and breakfast
8:30 - C & E get picked up for school and B gets started with Math.
8:30 until 12 - Most subjects done (Not sure of the order yet.  We are still working that out.)
12-12:30 - Lunch
12:30 until ?- Finish up with Art and any other subjects that we haven't completed.
2:00 - Piano on Tuesdays
3:45 - C & E get back from school and the chaos begins ...

Because I still have two kids in public school ... we still have to contend with all the homework.  Have I told you that I can't wait until next year???  After 3:45 we will be rushing to complete homework before we run out the door to soccer, guitar, youth group or hockey.   The barrage of homework is one of the reasons that I chose to homeschool.  Unfortunately I have to wait one more year to completely be done with all of it... 

Love the flexibility of homeschool!  Love that I don't really have a set schedule yet!  Love that we can find out what works best for us and then tweak it when needed! 


Friday, August 19, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal - 1st week of school

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…  It was our first week of homeschool!  Yea!!  It went well.  We are starting to get into the swing of things.  We also took Wednesday off to go to Hersheypark... The freedom of homeschool!
In our homeschool this week…  We are learning about what schedule works for us.  We have been done around noon each day (starting at about 8:30).  I think that it will be longer once the public school starts.  Right now we aren't taking any breaks so that B can get done and go outside to play with his friends. 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…  After school today we will be packing up for a weekend camping trip.  The kids are sooo excited!!  We will be swimming, making smores, and fishing.  Lots of fun with some family! 
My favorite thing this week was…  Going to Hersheypark!  We live really close to the park and used to get season passes.  This year we didn't, so it was the only day that we were going.  All the kids in our school district get a free pass to Hersheypark at the end of the year.  I guess that is one thing I will miss about public school!  The weather was perfect at the park but it did get really crowded in the afternoon.  It was still a fun day ... even with the crowds and lines.
I’m grateful for…  After this week I can officially say that I am grateful for homeschool.  I know that we will have tough times but it has been such a blessing already!!
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…  I made this as a reminder to B.  We sometimes have issues with our attitude about school and hard work...  I printed it out and put it above his desk.  Now when he starts to grumble or argue I can *gently* remind him to look at these verses.   


Monday, August 15, 2011

Student Photo - First Day!!

Not Back to School Blog Hop
I am linking up with the Heart of the Matter's Not Back-to-School Blog Hop!  This week is student photo week which is perfect because today was our official first day!! :-) 

Everything went well ... not smoothly ... but that will take time.  I know that it will take us some time to really get into the swing of things.  Like which subjects to do when and in what order.  Today we just went down the list.   We were done by noon (we started at 8:30) and B still had plenty of time to play with his friends so he was happy about that.

Last night I realized that we won't have to deal with the night before the first day of school anymore.  B used to get really nervous and upset to the point of tears.  He had trouble sleeping and it lasted about the first week.  No more!!  Last night was fine and this morning he was ready to go! 

So here are some pictures of B on his first day:

Doing math ...
Doing grammar ...

Reading/history ...

And the dreaded first day picture.  He was thrilled!  Can you tell how much he LOVES to have his picture taken? 

Lastly, we decided to make cupcakes for lunch as a first day celebration.  They got to decorate them with sprinkles and gummi worms too!  Yum!  The public school doesn't start for another 2 weeks, so C & E could help out with the festivities.  I can't wait until they are all home next year!!

Day 2 tomorrow!  Now that we have the first one under belt (plus the cupcakes), I think we both feel much better.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pictures, Quotes & Verses

Some fun last minute preparations for the big school day!  First, I added a favorite quote to a picture that I took at my great Uncle's farm and printed it out.  Then I framed it and put it above B's desk.  I think it is a perfect quote for him to look at every day.  Here is the picture:

Then I added some of his favorite pictures to his weekly job binder:

Lastly, I thought, what about my weekly IG binder?  I wanted to have something that would inspire me when things got hard.  Maybe some quotes and verses that would remind me why we are homeschooling?  Here is what I came up with.  I printed it out and slid it in the front of my binder.  Can you tell that I love sunflowers?

The first verse is too small to read here but it is Deuteronomy 6:5-9.  I love math (I know I am a wierdo!)so the Galileo quote is a favorite of mine.  The last quote is also a favorite of mine and I think it works perfectly with homeschooling!

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teaching Textbooks

As I have said before, we are starting school on Monday.  I am trying to get the last minute prep done so that we are all ready to go.  I just put the Teaching Textbook 5 on B's computer so that it was ready for him to get started.  I was planning on having him do 2 lessons a day plus Singapore math 5A because I had a feeling that the Teaching Textbooks would be easy for him (more like review).  I was showing him how to get into the lessons (by the way, it was so easy to get started) and he wanted to try it out.  I obviously was not going to stop him! 

He LOVED it!!  He finished 2 lessons and almost finished a third.  The only reason he stopped was he had to go to hockey practice.  I asked him, "Do you like it?"  and he said, "yes, I really do.  It's fun.  I like the sounds."  YEAH!!  Hopefully this will last! :-)

Positive:  He really loves Teaching Textbooks.  I think they really make it fun with the sounds and the characters on the screen.  It is engaging and keeps his attention. 

Negative:  It definitely is too easy for him.  I am thinking we should be able to get through level 5 by January (or earlier).  Then start level 6.  Sadly, I can't say that he will actually learn anything new in the process!  I am so glad that I purchased Singapore 5 as a back-up!!!  I really wish that they made TT true to grade level and more of a challenge!!!  It is such a great concept but more of an extra review tool than actual complete math program. 

Now his brother and sister really want to do it too!!   The sad thing is I think C, who is entering 3rd grade, would be able to do TT level 5 easily.  That is how easy this math program is!! 

On a totally unrelated note ... here is a picture that I thought was fun that I made on  It is a picture of B playing hockey using the neon effect.  Have I mentioned that I love that website??

So, now I am off to redo B's math schedule for the week.  Seeing how he already finished day 1 and half of day 2!  He might even want to do more before Monday.  Not such a bad problem to have!  :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Am I ready? ... Part 2

So, I took part in a blog hop by Heart of the Matter called the Not Back-to-School blog hop.  It has been awesome!  The first week was curriculum and it was interesting to see what everyone was using.  I was really excited about week 2 - Schoolroom.  I thought it would be really fun to see everyone's schoolroom.  I was partially right.  It is fun to take a peek at everyone's schoolroom and see how they are decorated and what they use for storage.  But what I wasn't expecting was seeing all kinds of things that I don't have and wondering if I should... 

Should I have a workbox system? 

Should I have a morning board?  (I didn't even know what a morning board was!)

Should I have a designated art area?

Well, after hyperventilating and getting myself worked up, I realized that it will be OK.  Who knows what kind of organization will work for us?  It is really too early to tell.  Should I have a morning board?  With B in 5th grade ... probably not?  But if I change my mind, I know where to find some great examples of some!  Should I have a designated art area?  Probably not necessary for us, but B loves art so it could be a good idea.  The wheels are turning ... with ideas of where to put it ... and how to organize it... Better go find the hubby to let him know that I have a honey-do list starting!  He will be SO excited!  :-)

Countdown to Day #1 - 6 days!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
I'm linking up for the first time with The Homeschool Mother's Journal this week!  Here it goes! 

In my life this week...  This week has been pretty calm.  It has probably been on the calmest all summer.  I say this while my boys are upstairs loudly playing knee hockey with two of their buddies from their hockey team.  I didn't say it was quiet ... we just haven't had as much running around as we usually do.  It has been nice but definitely not quiet.  :-)

My favorite thing this week was... Playing Minute To Win It games with the family.  We had a fun night of games, finger food for dinner and watched Rio at night in a comfy spot on our bedroom floor.  The games were a little tough at times because C is VERY competitive.  But it ended hilariously with a game of "Junk in the Trunk" - loads of fun and belly laughs!

Things I'm working on... I recently found my new favorite website.  It is my newest addiction.  I LOVE !!!  I can't tell you how many pictures I have played around with in the last two days.  If you haven't checked it out, try it.  It is awesome.  If you have seen my blog before, you may notice all the changes.  I made a lot of new buttons and things on my new favorite website.

I'm reading... I am currently waiting PATIENTLY (sorry, did I yell that ?)  for my books to get here.  They are supposed to come tomorrow!!  I can't wait to get started on them!   I am going to be reading...
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God     Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness

I’m grateful for…  All the amazing support and information that I have found from other homeschooling moms online.  What amazing women!! 
A photo, video, link, or quote to share:
Here is a picture of my daughter that I worked on at    They have all different special effects.  You can make pictures B&W, Sepia, soft focus even pencil drawing.  I am probably the last one to hear about this website ... just like (BTW - I am not affiliated with this website at all, in any way.  My excitement about it is just because I think it's tons of fun!)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Am I ready?

Did you ever have that feeling that you are missing something?  I usually get it every Thanksgiving.  At about 9am when I am watching the Macy's parade. I get the anxious "you forgot something" feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Then I look over my list for the 20th time that morning to see that everything is OK.  The turkey is cooking.  The stuffing is ready to go in the Nesco.  The potatoes are ready to be mashed. Tables were set the night before.  Everything is on schedule.  Yet, I still get the feeling in the pit of my stomach ... every hour.  I guess that is what is happening with my first year of homeschooling.  I keep getting that feeling.  What if I forgot something?? 

As the big day gets closer .... 12 days away (but who's counting) ... am I ready? 

Thankfully, I have read some great blogs from encouraging homeschool veterans with helpful advice.  I now realize that if when I forget something, there is another day.  If we don't start on the 15th, it's OK.  There will be bad days where I feel like I didn't accomplish anything.  But, there will also be wonderful days.  And hopefully the good days outweigh the bad. 

We did not make the decision to homeschool quickly or come to it easily.  It took a lot of discussion with my husband and a lot of prayer.  God changed my heart about homeschooling.  I never would have thought I would be doing this 5 years ago.  But here I am ... and I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year and throughout our homeschooling journey!!

So, I can't say that I'm not nervous.  But it is a good nervous.  It's an excited, anticipation nervous.  Like the nervous before your wedding, nervous.   Am I ready?  Yes. Absolutely.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
- Matthew 19:26

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- Philippians 4:13