Friday, October 28, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…  Here in Central PA we do things a little differently.  Trick-or-Treat is always on the Thursday before Halloween.  Strange ... I know.  I grew up here so it is normal to me but I have come to realize that it is abnormal.  So, we had trick-or-treat last night.  It was cold but it did stop raining, so that was a plus.  I actually sent my hubby out with the kids and I stayed to hand out candy.  It was much warmer in the house!  I'm not sure if I believe the news but they say it supposed to snow tomorrow!  Snow in October!!  Should be an interesting soccer game tomorrow.  Hoping that it's cancelled ...
In our homeschool this week… Things are going well.  We did several Science experiments and ended with a test today.  B got an A!  He was very excited!!  We still have trouble with word problems but I love to see the happiness when he gets one right.  When he gets one right on his own, it lifts him up and he wants to try more.  It is awesome! 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…  I am a newbie so it feels strange to give advice.  But one thing that I have learned is to be flexible.  Everything doesn't have to be done in one day and things can change monthly daily.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…  We have two hockey games out near Philly this weekend so we are staying overnight.  My daughters birthday is next week and she has been asking to get her ears pierced for the past year.  In between hockey games we are going to the King of Prussia mall for ear piercing and of course we have to hit the Hello Kitty store.  E loves Hello Kitty. 
I’m reading…  I read Sign of the Beaver (B is reading it now) and loved it.  I am having as much fun reading all the great books as B is!  Now we are reading Carry on, Mr. Bowditch and loving it as well.  Sonlight really chooses awesome books!
I’m grateful for…  Homeschooling ... I am amazed at the change in B.  Not only in his personality, he seems much happier, but also in his feelings about reading.  He is reading White Fang on his own right now and likes it so much that he got Call of The Wild at the library yesterday.  I was looking at some books online and I showed him Where the Red Fern Grows.  He got excited and asked if we could get it!  This is such an amazing transformation from before homeschooling!!!  If you would have told me that B would be devouring books 6 months ago, I would have thought you were crazy. 
I’m praying for…  Our country.  Family members that are going through loss.  A dear friend that is pregnant (for a healthy pregnancy). 
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
My two hockey players and baseball player.  And yes, both the hockey players wanted black eyes ... a little make up magic.
Just so everyone knew that she was still a princess ... just one that you don't want to mess with ... E including fun knee socks and a Hello Kitty bag with her hockey costume.

This was the same girl that was a fairy princess last year.  Complete with ankle length pink tutu and crown.  She hasn't changed ... it's just her.  A girlie girl that will get down in the dirt to play with sparkly shoes on.  And I wouldn't change her for the world!! :-)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hockey fights, peace and puppy dogs ...

I just finished taking pictures of the kids.  They were so happy that I not only made them sit for pictures but I also included a wardrobe change.  This face says it all ...

Luckily, I was able to get some smiles and it was not a wasted day ...
This was about 5 minutes later ...

Two of E's favorite things are peace signs and puppy dogs ...

One of the best pictures that I took of all three kids was what I like to call "The Hockey Fight".  It really shows that 'special' relationship between brothers and sisters!

B has gotten pretty good with pictures.  He can have a good smile or a good 'tough guy look'.  Check out the hockey hair. 

C usually has a look like he's up to something.  This is not only in pictures but his normal facial expression. 

My tough hockey players ...

Overall it was a successfull picture day.  Definitely better than any school pictures that we have had taken in the past ... and free! 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Carving Pumpkins

Yesterday we went to pick out pumpkins.  Each one of the kids picked out their perfect pumpkin and we started to carve when we got home.

C definitely looked like he was up to something.  Although, he usually looks like he's up to something ...

Check out this smile!

And here is Princess E.  Why is that the messiest things are always the most fun?

And the completed pumpkins ....

Now it's time to roast some pumpkin seeds ... yum!

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Things That I Love About Homeschooling This Week - Link Up!

Savannah from Hammock Tracks and I decided to start a blog hop!!  We will be doing it every Friday and it is about the 5 things that you love about homeschooling ... this week.  Please go to the  to the bottom of this post to link up.  We just ask that you:
Link up to your 5 things that you love about homeschooling this week post (not your home page).
Check out the other links, and leave some comments!  
Please link back to one of us so other homeschooling moms know where to link up!!! 
If you like the link up please consider following us! 
We can also be found at Hammock Tracks Community.  Just click on the link in the right hand column of my blog.  Thanks for joining us and have fun!! :-)

Hockey CD - B and I put together a hockey CD for his team.  One of the dad's will play it over the speaker during the game, like they do in the professional games.  We had so much fun doing this.  At one point I was dancing to the music ... yep dancing ... and B said, "Mom, we need to get you out of the house!"  Let me just add that the music we put on the hockey CD is not dancing music.  I guess it's funny to see your mom dance around to Pillar, Skillet and Twisted Sister.  We were looking up hockey songs on iTunes and laughing at some of the funny ones so hard that we were crying.  It is homeschooling that gives us this time together!  Here is one of the kids favorites ...

Constitution - I decided that I really want B to learn about the Constitution.  I don't mean the superficial quick learning.  I want him to really dive into it.  Not just the who, what, and where but also the why and how.  I am looking into some great resources and hope to start it in the second semester!  Love that these decisions can be made on a whim!  Any good resources for the Constitution that you have used?

Library -  B loves the trips to the library!  He loves to go and pick out books, not only for himself but also for his brother and sister.  I'm not sure why but I am not complaining.  He was never a strong reader and used to hate reading but I have not heard him complain about any reading since we started homeschooling.  It is a strange phenomenon that I am so happy about!  Maybe it was just reading in the rigid school setting that he hated? 

School Pictures -  My youngest just had their school pictures taken.  I hate school pictures.  They cost a small fortune and are never good.  C had such a bad picture taken two years ago that it was comical.  It will be one that we pull out for years to come.  He is an adorable kid that they made turn his head into such an unnatural position that it was ridiculous. They also do them twice a year!  The first time the pictures are done you have to pay for them before you see them.  The second time you don't have to prepurchase but they send you all the pictures and you choose what you want.  You have to send back what you don't want.  It seems like such a waste and I hate the idea of giving them back pictures of my kids.  Either way it is ridiculous.  I like homeschool pictures.  They always turn out better and they are much cheaper free!

B's submission - Art -   At first when I asked him what his favorite thing about homeschool was this week, he said, "Everything!"  I asked him to be more specific and he said that he really liked the art this week.  This week we made a shadow box and worked on pencil shading.  Right now he is doing a pencil drawing of a bowl of fruit (plus some peppers for more color - I used what I had).  He has been really enjoying it.

Thanks for reading and please link up below.  Happy homeschooling!!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top 5 Things That I Love About Homeschooling This Week

Hammock Tracks Home School Blog Hop
I am linking up to Hammock Tracks Blog Hop again this week.  Hop on over and see what the other homeschool blogs have going on.  :-) 

Cooking Together -  The other day B helped me plan a dessert and helped me make it.  We had to double the recipe for the fudge that we were putting on top of Rice Krispie treats.  Little did he know that he was getting a math lesson.  And we had a great time doing it!  Fractions are fun when you add chocolate!  OK ... anything is fun when you add chocolate.
Science Experiments -  B has really enjoyed our Science, especially the experiments.  He always gets excited when he has a blue box in his book that says Try This.  the picture below is where he had one egg in Tupperware with water and another without water.  It was to show why God placed that special fluid between our skull and our brain.  He got to shake it up and run around the room.  As you can tell by the picture, he had a blast doing it.

Rainy Days -After having perfect fall weather last week, yesterday and today have been cloudy and rainy.  Perfect days to not have to wait at the bus stop.  I love the seasons but I am really sick of the rain ...
Time Together -  We spend lots of time together.  There is never a night that B goes to sleep and I think ... I wish we had more time together.  No regrets of lost childhood.  It goes way to fast.  This is evident by the fact that I have a 10 year old who I swear was just 2 last week.
Going Over Every Mistake - Math work has some incorrect problems?  Go over each one together and do them again.  Book review was too short with choppy sentence?  Redo it.  Handwriting was sloppy?  Redo it.  B may not appreciate this ... it was too easy to get lost in the public school system.  There is no way that he is going to get lost in the shuffle and fly under the radar in homeschool.  I will make sure of that! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday hodgepodge - #1

This is my first time linking up to the Wednesday Hodgepodge over at From This Side of the Pond.  Every week she posts 7 questions and it is fun to see everyones answers!  Click on the link above to check out what other people are saying ...

1. Have you ever been 'asked' to report for jury duty? Were you chosen to serve? If not, were you happy or disappointed?  I was asked a couple times when I was in college but not since then.  It was easy to get out of it because I was an out of state student.  Strange that I was asked twice in four years but have been looked over every year since ...

2. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very), how mechanically inclined are you? Give an example to back up your answer.  I guess that I would say a 2?  I don't know how to change a battery or a tire.  But I can recognize when I have a flat tire.  That's gotta count for something, right? 

3. Beets-cabbage-cauliflower-butternut squash....of the four, which is your favorite fall vegetable?  This is a tough one.  I like all of the above except cabbage.  I love beets pickled or fresh cooked.  Cauliflower is good raw or cooked.  Butternut squash is yummy too.  I would have to say it is a three way tie!

4. What do you recommend to overcome self-pity?  Definitely the Bible.  Realizing that God has a plan for your life and it is good

5. Do you enjoy classical music?  I won't put a classical CD on in the car but I enjoy listening to my son and his teacher play the piano.  I do appreciate classical music;  it just isn't my music of choice.
6. October is National Book Month...what's on your reading list this month?  I am reading Holy Cows & Hog Heaven by Joel Salatin right now.  It is one that I read before but wanted to read again.  I also ordered a free copy of  God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours by Max Lucado on my phone. Unfortunately it isn't free anymore.  It has been good so far ... I'm only on chapter 3. 

7. What is your idea of 'cute'?   Like most ... I think dogs and kids are adorable.  Here are some of my favorite cuties.   :-)

8. Insert your own random thought here.   Birthday parties are on my mind.  My daughter is having a birthday next month and I just got done planning it.  We went with a place that wasn't too expensive but not as cheap as having kids here for cake.  I remember having birthday parties growing up, usually sleepovers.  Cake and ice cream.  Now kids want their parties at laser factory, Build-a-bear, Bounce houses, bowling alleys, gymnastics places ... I could go on.  Our neighborhood pool offers cheap parties but unfortunately I didn't have any babies in the summer. :-( A pool party in November ... not a good idea.  Last year I decided to let both my boys have sleepovers.  5 kids each and their parties were 2 weeks apart.  My oldest's birthday was first and he was turning 10.  His party was calm but it was hard to get them to sleep.  Not too bad.  After the 10 year old sleepover party I thought, ok, I can do this.  Well ... 8 year olds are a different story.  It was exhausting!  The nerf battles were loud and lastest forever.  Injuries ensued.  I realized very quickly that there is a little big difference between 5 eight year olds and 5 ten year olds!  So, this year there will be no sleepovers and  I will pay for the party away from the house.  No clean up.  Activites planned for me.  Sounds like a perfect party.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Thoughts - Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween!  Ok, it's not Halloween yet but the weather here has been perfect!  After getting ready to build an ark two weeks ago, it's nice to feel the crisp, cool dry fall air.  I can do without seeing rain for a while.  My favorite weather ... wearing jeans and sweatshirts.  Love it!!
My youngest two have off school today for Columbus Day, so B and I took off too.  I'm glad that we have the beautiful weather to enjoy!

I was sweeping in the garage yesterday and had to take a picture of this.  Can you believe that we are a family of 5?  None of the hockey sticks are mine and my daughter probably has one or two (that the boys outgrew).  They are mostly roller hockey sticks for playing in the street.  Some are broken.  Some are old ice hockey sticks.  At least we have extras for the kids in the neighborhood to borrow??  Maybe I can get creative when they are older and make something out of all of them?  Ideas??

Speaking of hockey ... we are officially back in hockey season!  So far the boys team is undefeated!   It should be a great season!
E is knee deep in soccer for another month and then she starts her ice hockey season. 

Game face?
I hope that everyone is enjoying their long weekend ... if you have off today.  My favorite quote from the weekend ... 
B came running into the family room looking surprised and concerned. 
B - "Mom, you need to start homeschooling C!"  
Me - "Why?" 
 B - "He doesn't know who Paul Revere is or what he is known for!!" 
I'm glad that B has such confidence in homeschooling.  Maybe he is learning something after all! :-) 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal -

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…  B drew a picture (homeschool art project) and we entered it into a contest for the USA Hockey Magazine.  After many, many votes and much pestering of family and friends on FB and email, he got second place.  His picture is going to be in the November issue!  We can't wait to see it!
In our homeschool this week…  We fit a 5 day week into 4 days because my youngest two have off on Friday (today).  Instead of taking today off, I decided that we would spread the work out so that we had a very light day Friday.  It worked and now we can check 5 days on the attendance sheet!  :-) 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…  A soccer game and a hockey game on Saturday, church on Sunday and then relaxing on Columbus Day.  That is the plan.
My favorite thing this week was…  We are really enjoying reading Johnny Tremain!  I keep wanting to read more but I have stopped myself.  I don't want to get ahead of B.  I also got an email that our new Learn Our History DVD will soon be on it's way and it is about .... the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere!  I couldn't have planned it better myself!  I love it when things work out perfectly.  It so rarely happens. 
What’s working/not working for us…  I cut down on the math this week and it worked really well.  I am still doing 2 curriculums ... I just slowed down the Teaching Textbooks to 1 lesson a day.  Now we are doing Singapore Math 5a on a regular schedule and Teaching Textbooks is one lesson a day for review.  I'm glad that I started out doing a lot because now we are still doing a lot of math but it feels like a breeze.  Just don't tell B.
Things I’m working on…  Already looking forward to next year!  I think I know what curriculum I will be getting ...
I’m reading…  Holy Cows & Hog Heaven by Joel Salatin.  Read it before and I wanted to read it again.  It is about the food industry and why we should get back to local farms.  Definitely recommend it.
I’m cooking…  Nothing tonight ... pizza night!  And yes, I realize that I am reading a book about the perils of the food industry and eating store bought pizza at the same time.  Baby steps.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share… 
Here is B's picture.  It is a drawing of one of his favorite hockey players, Alexander Semin.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The New Kid

Yep ... this is our happy school face! 

I knew that homeschooling would be great for my son.  I knew that he would be happier.  But I didn't realize how much of a change and how quickly I would see it. 

At the beginning of the school year we were happy that B didn't have the upset Sunday nights that used to plague us.  He wasn't anxious about school anymore.  He was a much happier and relaxed kid.  The times that we used to spend together were rushed and stressed, trying to get homework done in the short time before evening activities started.  Tension was high and tempers would flare ... I am not proud to say it was usually my temper.  Weekends would be rushed too.  Even when we didn't have a lot of things going on, there was always the anxious "I have to go back to school on Monday" feeling that affected B.  He wasn't a sullen, unhappy kid but he also was not what we have seen emerge over the past 6 weeks.

B and I have fun.  The other day my husband told me that he could see us growing closer.  I can see it too.  Our worst day of homeschooling (so far) is still  far better than any day when he was in the public school.  We have a special relationship.  I wouldn't give it up for anything!