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Homeschool Life and Happenings – I’m Not Ready for School

This week a lot of things are starting to wrap up and time is beginning to open up a bit. That’s a great thing, but on the other hand, it made me realize how close we are to the end of our summer and OH MY GOODNESS – a new school year. 

 

Midweek I shared a video peek at the current state of my homeschool planning and our homeschool room. In short, other than having the bulk of our curriculum ordered, I have a bit fat zero done on my end. Next week will involve a lot of printing, sorting, and nitty-gritty to make sure we have all we need to get started mid-August. If you’re interested, you can hop over to Facebook for a look at my rambling and maybe a cute dog who is a little nutso. 

Sidenote – I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed in my planning (or lack thereof) and the state of our schoolroom. The fact that we had a paper wasp infestation in the ceiling of the schoolroom hasn’t helped. There are dead wasps everywhere. 

The BIG news of our week: Laurianna took placement tests for our local community college so she can take a few classes this year. I’ll be sharing our plans for her in the next week or two, but this was a big deal for both of us. Honestly, I was scared to death.

First – she’s my baby!! How we are at the point of her taking college classes is beyond me. Second – these tests count! While I know she “knows” the stuff, there is a part of me that was nervous about how she would test and how the test would reflect her knowledge. I’m sure you all understand that. She passed both the math and English tests with flying colors (YAY!!) and we meet with a placement advisor in about a week to line up her classes for the fall. 

Life related – our Bichon mix dog, Addie, got her first haircut from me this week. I love our groomer, but I have a) a hard time paying more for a dog’s haircut than I do for my own and b) driving close to 1/2 hour away to have her groomed. I decided it couldn’t be too bad to cut her hair myself (incidentally, I cut our kids’ hair and if I can do that, who honestly cares if my dog’s hair is perfect??).

YouTube had a video (or three) that made me feel comfortable enough, so we ordered a grooming kit off Amazon and got to work. I still have to tweak a few things, but she is definitely much happier with less hair. It’s great having a hypoallergenic dog, but haircuts are a wee bit of a pain. I suppose that’s the tradeoff in not having to sweep/vacuum her hair off everything, right? 

In random news, it’s signs like the above (and my children noticing the glaring punctuation errors) that make my day. Be sure to try the ONE NEW STRAWBERRY. By the way, they have mango salad too. Don’t get the old strawberries though….

After one late night, I went to wake up the boys for morning practice and had to take a picture. They both were so cute and sleeping in exactly the same position. Our kids don’t normally sleep in, but summer night swim practices and late meets sometimes help them stay in bed past the 7am hour. :) 

With our swim season wrapping up, the week has held some reflection for me on the past 6-8 weeks. Our kids have had a blast with their friends – and making new friends – and that has been so much fun to see. This last meet I had a chance to finally be poolside and really watch all of our kids swim – and about cheered myself voiceless as they bettered their times. It was a GREAT meet. :)

Rick and I also celebrated our 19th anniversary this past week as well. We haven’t done anything exciting like going out to dinner (we may have been standing in monsoon rain and hail and stayed up late helping reschedule a swim meet – ah, wedded bliss!). We figured we’ve made it 19 years and the actual date we celebrate together doesn’t matter as much, right? 

That’s it in a nutshell for us – how was YOUR week? 

The Crazy Orchid Plant and Parenting Insight

Sometimes there are things right under our noses that can speak to our hearts. Take this crazy orchid plant as an example. It sits on my bathroom counter and each morning is something I see as I get ready for the day. 

I have N.E.V.E.R. been able to keep an orchid alive. Ever. It has been a bit of a frustration to me, because despite following all of the “rules” they end up deader than dead. 

My last birthday, as in 2016, I received not one, but TWO orchids for my birthday. It was a wee bit of irony and hilarious all rolled into one. The joke was I would kill them for certain.

The blossoms that were on the plant when I received them fell off. Part of me wanted to pitch the plants and be done with it. This time though, I ignored all the rules and cared for them my own way. I added in new stakes for each of the stems to help protect and strengthen them.

After months and months of nothing (literally 11 months), a few little buds began to push their way through on one of the plants. New growth was coming. 

I haven’t always done everything perfectly as a parent. Let’s put that in the 90% range of imperfection. I make mistakes. A lot. 

But it’s the daily tending that produces results. There’s not a one time fix. As much as I sometimes wish there were, it takes a whole heap of patience and grace on my part. And more patience.  

Sometimes an approach needs to change and different support needs to be given. Each of our kids is different and needs different help and care – different stages require various approaches as well

It may not be on my timetable either, but changes are happening, things are being absorbed, and little by little we see the fruits of our time.

There is probably definitely a lot more I can unpack from this crazy plant, but every morning this one orchid is a reminder to me of patience and perseverance in the parenting journey. 

And that’s something I definitely need a daily reminder for. 

July 2017 Personal Planning Pages – Free Printable

July personal planner pages from Homeschool Creations 

How oh how can it already be ready for July?? This summer is flying by far too fast for me already – and I want it to slow down!! 

June has been crazy busy for our family with swim team moving along at full speed. Helping out at the annual volunteer camp for our teens also made the month fly by. Honestly it feels as though I spend the bulk of the time shuttling kids between one activity to the next and as well as work and doctor’s visits. Having two of our kids gone one week and then one gone another week – it definitely makes the time fly by!

July means more swim team (lots more!), the wedding of a family friend, and a week of VBS, so I have a feeling that month will go by quickly as well. 

Top of the agenda for the month: blocking out time to sit down and P-L-A-N for the upcoming school year! Laurianna will likely be taking classes at a local community college and needs to take entrance tests in the next few weeks so she can enroll in those classes. Like I said – more shuttling and busy! 

Needless to say, my planner is being put to good use. 

If you’d like to get organized along with me, you can download the July 2017 Personal Planner Pages and try them out this month. I truly hope they are a help to you in the upcoming days.  

A Peek Inside My Planner

If you’d like to take a look at how I’ve set up my yearly planner, I’ve explained it more in this post here, as well as given links to my favorite binder and colorful tabs (because pretty makes life fun too, right?).

Yearly Planner example from Homeschool Creations-5

This year I’ve done a little something different and pulled my planner out of the binder and had it spiral bound at Staples. It has worked wonderfully and I love it this way!!

July 2017 Personal Planner Pages

You can download the July 2017 Personal Planner Pages by clicking the green download button below. There are 12 pages included as a part of the download: the month at a glance and then weekly planning pages as well, with a page that finishes up the month of April and another that goes a bit into August as well. Each month I’ll be offering a free download for that month’s planning pages, so you can check back and download them as they become available.

Download button

 

Purchase the Yearly Planner

Otherwise, if you like the layout and want to start planning out the rest of your year now (and 2018 as well), purchase the full Yearly Planner for $4.99. The calendar includes month-at-a-glance pages and dated weekly pages through December 2018. There is also a link to bonus pages and additional covers for the planner. 

Don’t miss my student planner and weekly homeschool planner – available as well!

Don’t Miss The Daily To-Do List

Daily to do list free printable

 
My Daily To-Do List is pretty basic, but hopefully it will work for you too. There is an area to make a list of things to accomplish, household goals, appointment, meals for the day, and even a space to record exercise and water intake. Each page in the document is identical so you can print them off, cut the page in half, and have two lists. If you print them front to back, you’ll have four to-do lists and save a little paper.

Hope you all have a wonderful month!! I’d love to hear your plans!

 

A Beanbag Your Family Will LOVE!

In our home I’m not much for clutter, knick-knacks, or items that do not have a specific purpose (or dual purpose). If it’s something that will just take up space, it’s likely that item will find another home quickly.

More recently something was introduced into our home, and while it takes up a little more space, it has become so very well loved – dare I even say, coveted. Every time I turn around, it has moved because one of the kids has claimed it for the day or week. 

We have been thrilled to have a CordaRoy’s convertible bean bag in our house the last two months. Not only has it provided much comfort all over (it’s been dragged from the basement to the schoolroom and everywhere in between), but it serves a dual purpose – a queen-sized guest bed! It may also hold a special place in my heart since it is the perfect place for a certain 10 year old and me to curl up and read together. 

You all – the people who put this beanbag together are genius. It has been such a wonderful addition to our house and I have been telling everyone how much I love it, especially because you can use it in multiple ways. 

Before we received our CordaRoy’s bean bag, we had purchased a trundle bed to slide under our boys bed when friends came over. Let’s just say, the next morning I found the kiddo sleeping on the floor because the trundle was so uncomfortable. To be fair, we invited this same boy over again to test out our convertible bean bag – he was thrilled to test it out and LOVED it. :) 

Needless to say, that trundle bed is now considered taking up unneeded space and is leaving the house. We have a much better alternative with our bean bag! 

Here’s Why We Love Our CordaRoy’s

It can be used multiple ways – beanbag or bed. I mentioned that I’m not one for clutter. The fact that the bean bag is easy to move around the house and be used as a bean bag some days or opened up to make into a bed, makes it so worth it to us. Our kids are getting bigger, so having the queen-sized option is great, especially for visiting guests. We were able to use a standard set of queen sheets without any issue (bed side is 60 x 80 x 10”). Check out their size comparison chart for a visual: youth, full, queen, and king.

Additionally, there are multiple cover options. We have the charcoal chenille queen sleeper and the color blends in all over the house and is also a soft, plush fabric. Corduroy, velour, faux cowhide and other cover choices are also available. 

It is super comfortable.  Our kids don’t quite fight over the bean bag (other than they each want it in their own room), but this is a bean bag you just sink into and don’t want to get out of. Don’t worry adults – I promise you will be able to get up. Trust me. I’ve done it.

Packed full of memory foam, it envelops you and you will love it. We’ve recently switched to memory foam pillows and the comfort of both together is fabulous. There’s also another member of our house who loves it and won’t stay out – our pup, Addie. She’s rather hilarious in it, curling up whenever she has the chance.

It will LAST. We’ve had other beanbags in the past and hands-down this one feels different and doesn’t compact after a lot of sitting, jumping, or sleeping. Besides that, it has a LIFETIME Guarantee. This may seem insignificant, but after many a flat bean bag, this is a big deal for us. 

Setup is super-easy. When you want to convert the beanbag to a bed or vice versa, it will take only a few minutes (we may have timed ourselves at just over two minutes). One of the kids and I were easily able to do it together (their demo on folding it like a taco is very helpful). Take a quick 30 second peek at the video below to see how easy it is. 

A Special Discount for You!!

CordaRoy’s has offered my readers a 10% discount on any purchase they make. Use the code PXQU during checkout and you’ll save. 

Right now bean bags start at just $99 (youth size), so it’s the perfect time to shop. Additionally, any order over $250 receives free shipping – so double savings for you!

Truly you all – this is something your family (and friends) will use and enjoy for years and something our entire family recommends to yours. I am beyond thrilled with this beanbag and know you will be as well! 

Click HERE to learn more. 

To Finish or Not to Finish?

credit: Todd Wilson

The other day on Facebook I shared a graphic from Todd Wilson (the Family Man) and really truly loved the variety of comments from you all! (No really – I do!)

With the end of the year looming SO very close, there are days that we just want to be done. Finished. We are squeezing in testing along with wrapping up a few of the remaining subjects, but I will admit that it’s tempting to put one thing aside sometimes and call it good. 

And the truth is, we have done that in the past. (and our kids have survived). 

Despite there being 180 days of lesson plans or boxes to check off, there have been a few that we didn’t do every single lesson. Last year, a mere ten lessons from the end, one child asked if they could take the final test in the class and if they received a 94 or above – stop. Guess what? They scored a 100. Class over. (I’ll admit though, this is hard because I’m a girl who loves to check off boxes!)

The beauty of working 1:1 with our kids is we know when they have mastered something or need to focus in a bit more until they have. If it’s been mastered – it’s okay to move along. There is the aspect of high school classes to take into consideration (we have a level of commitment there we definitely need to hit in order to earn a high school credit), but if my 4th grader has mastered all the prepositions and can diagram and break down a sentence, I may not need to finish the last chunk of lessons when he already has the rest mastered. 

One mom mentioned: 

… most curricula was designed to include more in it than the average classroom/family could possibly do in a school year. In fact, some texts have directions for using a single textbook for at least two years of study. There are times we’ve taken two years to finish something, but there are times when we say that we’ve done enough and move on. (thanks Cheryl!)

Coming from the public school setting, that is so very true. No matter how much I may try to fit everything in, there is always more than enough to do. There are also days that we go off on rabbit trails and extend the learning in other ways. 

But on the other hand…

On the flip side of that, I love this comment too from another mom (Elizabeth): 

I see it as being a good steward of our finances and teaching the kids to be perseverant. I have done the hundreds of hours of research to determine which curriculum is best for the learning styles of my very different children. Then spent the hundreds of dollars that my husband has earned by sacrificing his time and talent away from our family…

The truth is – that resonates a lot with me as well! If the curriculum has been a great fit for our family, we need to remember that many of us have invested both time and money into our year – and it is important to follow through. I do think too that it is important to teach our kids the value of following through with commitments we have made. Sometime we don’t always like to do something, but it can be a matter of establishing good habits. 

My overall thoughts are this (and I’d love to hear yours too!) –  if you are feeling stressed out and about at your wits end, maybe even feeling like this year has been a flop and you are failing at this homeschooling thing… well, it ok to give yourself a little grace. I may just be time to put that history book aside and focus on getting the core stuff done. Or looking at the bigger picture – can you put the rest aside and pick up later? Or start fresh next year. Different states do require various things to complete the year, so take that into consideration as well. 

Maybe you need to take a day break and jump back in with a fresh focus to finish up the last bit with gusto. If one more worksheet might push you over the edge, maybe there is a creative way to finish out your year that both you and your kiddos can get on board with! Take that field trip and have fun together videotaping your kid’s thoughts on what they learned. Let THEM teach a lesson to you. (Check out this post for some ways to mix things up at the end of the homeschool year). 

The most important thing to remember is this: YOU know where your child is academically and what s/he does or doesn’t need to complete. Take the time to look back over the past year and honestly evaluate if you are good to go. Allow yourself grace if you are heaping guilt on yourself. 

It’s all about perspective and remembering what matters in the long run. :) ENJOY your time together with your kiddos! 

What are YOUR thoughts – every box checked or do you roll with it? 

 

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5 Things to ADD to the end of your homeschool year

After Five Years…

One thing we have been wanting to do for many years is have a family picture updated. It’s been five years since the last time, but something always seems to get in the way and take up our time. A few weeks back we FINALLY nailed down a date and got it done. 

You all – FIVE YEARS!!

Mind you, the last time we had them taken turned into a hilarious comedy of errors with us taking a trip to the ER and pushing off pictures because one child split open his head literally minutes before the photographer arrived. And then it took me two more years to get the pictures framed and hung once we finally had them printed. 

Because perfection and getting things just right get in my way every single time

But they are done and I am determined not to wait as long for the next set because – wow.FIVE YEARS!! The years have flown by – literally. (Look how much they have grown!!)

Here’s to not waiting so long the next round. Especially since the older two will be heading to (or in) college if we wait another five years. (I cannot even go there in my mind right now). 

Deep breaths. 

Savoring every moment in the “now” – one day at a time.