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Homeschool and Life Happenings – Back to School!!

We did it! We survived the first week of our new school year! :) Over the last few years one things I’ve learned is easing-in works so much better than trying to start every single subject right off the bat. For us that means keeping it simple with math and grammar. If you haven’t had a chance yet, here’s a peek at what we are using this year at each grade level. 

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017


Technically Laurianna hasn’t started yet. This week she spent the week at the beach with her best friend’s family. Just before she left we took a trip to the community college she will be attending and picked up her parking passes and had her student ID made. It’s getting real, people! 

If it’s any consolation to you all, I completely forgot until Sunday night to load math software onto laptops. Since we’ve been playing the laptop shuffle and had a new laptop in the last year, we had to call in and reactivate our code for Teaching Textbooks (head up – you can’t do that Sunday night if you are procrastinating), so that was something we had to do Monday morning. That said, math is going well – all five lessons in. 😜

One thing I really want to focus on this year with all the kids is games. Zachary and Kaleb both celebrate birthdays late in the year which makes it a little hard to have parties at the pool, so this year we had an early birthday for both of them. One of the families gave Kaleb a game called Puck! (from Target). The kids and I have been having a blast playing it together. Essentially you try to bounce your wooden pucks into your opponents cups and be the first one to get it in all their cups. 

Our county fair is this week and Tuesday night marked a first for our kids – they went to the fair ALONE (well, ok…with friends). McKenna and Kaleb hung out with one of McKenna’s friends and Zachary had a group of his friends from swim team that decided to go together. It worked out rather nicely since I had a whopper of a migraine and it was a rather yucky night for me.

I have to say, this is a wonderfully freeing stage of life and oddly strange at the same time! It likely won’t hit me in full until next week when Laurianna buys a vehicle and drives off to her classes at the community college though. 

This week we’ve had a little company in the form of another puppy. Our friends that are at the beach have a dog similar to Addie and she has been staying with us. It doesn’t really impact anyone else in the house other than me because both of them need to be near or ON me every waking moment. One misses her family and loves me and ours then feels the need to prove I AM HERS AND SHE IS MINE. It’s honestly a miracle I haven’t tripped over one of them at some point this week, although it hasn’t been for lack of trying!

That’s it for this week. :) I’ll be back next week with what we’re up to this next week as we add in a little more work for each of the kids. We are starting back up with our high school co-op next Tuesday and can’t wait (well, at least I can’t!). 

The Week Before We Start School

We’re in the final countdown! Books are (mostly) sorted. School supplies have been purchased and are ready to go. The school room has been cleaned, purged, and organized. 

Needless to say, the kids have been relishing their last bit of “freedom” this week by spending as much time at the pool as possible. I haven’t reminded them that it’s really going to be more of an easing into school than a full on attack. (They’ll be fine!)

This week we had a few FUN things happen at home. On Tuesday, Laurianna officially finished her behind the wheel training and BECAME A LICENSED DRIVER!! She has already happily driven off on her own (oh how wonderful) and we’re now on the hunt for a car for her. This is going to be such a HUGE help this fall with her taking classes at the community college (a 25 minute drive one way). 

All of her college textbooks for the fall semester showed up on Monday – another YAY!!! I am so thankful that Amazon carried everything she needed and we were able to get them at an amazing price too. Several people had recommended Chegg, but both rental prices and brand new books were less via Amazon. Here’s a peek at what we have on deck for this semester for her..

McKenna has already started one of her classes for this semester and it’s one I am so excited about for her. She has a beautiful voice and the local community college is offering a drama class for junior and high school students. She will be working every Saturday (and many, many hours in between) toward performing Les Miserables in November. Auditions for singing roles are in a few weeks and she is currently preparing her pieces for that. 

While the older three kids were working on Friday, Kaleb decided to do a little creating in the kitchen. I managed to talk him out of a few recipes that would have involved a whole heap of work (we had a very short time frame for him to bake), and he settled on some oatmeal cookies. The best part about the cooking – we get to sneak in a little reading time. In order to bake it, he had to figure out all the ingredients and how to do it. :) They turned out great! 

That’s it for this week. Next week – some back to school pictures and the fun of the new school year begins!

Homeschool and Life Happenings – The One with ALL THE EMOTIONS

When I say the week was full of emotions, it was a literal roller coaster in so many ways. We started off the week meeting with an advisor from the local community college to register Laurianna for two classes this fall. 


I’m happy. I’m scared. I’m not sure what to feel. (Granted the tuition and book bill may snap me back to reality rather quickly). MY BABY is taking college classes. Lord, please help me! 

Laurianna is registered for a human anatomy class and lab (this will fulfill her remaining science credit for high school) and also an English class. The first shock came in seeing the RIDICULOUS amount bookstores charge for textbooks. Good grief! Fortunately Amazon offered the book brand spankin’ new at about 25% of the cost the bookstore did. We could have rented the book as well for $20, but decided to get her the text to keep since it’s one she will likely refer to quite a bit with a nursing major. 

So classes are registered for, we still have a tuition bill to pay (and are hoping we can dip into the state college savings plan we’ve had going on for her). She is a junior in high school this year and we are trying to get her into classes that will go along with classes she needs for her major at the colleges she will apply to. 

But can we return to the textbook rental for a moment?? Why did no one have this when we were in college?? Crazy to think that a book they wanted $340 at the bookstore can be rented for $20. YOU CAN RENT TEXTBOOKS FROM AMAZON. If it wasn’t my favorite place to shop before, it has now officially become my #1 love. 

That also meant we dipped into our budget a little more and bought Laurianna a smaller laptop (this one had GREAT reviews) along with all of her remaining texts. I’ll be sharing a post next week with her class schedule and our plans for the rest of the year. 

The kids and I may have taken advantage of the free ice cream our orthodontist offered all week. Every summer she has a local ice cream company set up their trailer in her parking lot and all patients can stop by for free ice cream. So we did. For breakfast one morning, a pre-lunch snack a second day, and a mid-afternoon snack on yet another. With two kids braces paid for and one on the way, I am determined our kids can enjoy it whenever.  I may have obtained mom of the day status the morning we had it for breakfast. I justify it by the fact that I had a mix of Java Chip (morning coffee), coconut nut (fruit and nuts are always good for you, right), and then a side of waffle cone “toast”. It works. No judging. :) 

I’ve also been busy printing our Student Planners for the upcoming year and took them to Staples for binding. This year we also have several other e-workbooks that need to be printed for the kids (Visual Latin, WriteShop, etc…), so I am trying out a website a friend referred (thanks, Mo!) – The Homeschool Printing Company (if you send them an email with a request for a quote and mention I referred you, you’ll get 10% off your first order!! Woot! And their prices are AMAZING!).

I still need to finish printing my new Homeschool Planner. I promise I will be sharing it soon, but there have been some major issues with my website that I am trying to get fixed (thanks to those of you that are emailing and letting me know what files are being impacted!). (p.s. hang tight – there may be a special offer coming soon where you can get it free!!) 

Last Saturday we officially ended our summer swim season with a day of swimming against the other five teams in our league. All the kids did amazing. Kaleb ended up placing first in all of his individual events, and the other kiddos all placed in the top of their events as well (woohoo!). A great end to the season and much fun!

We ended the week with Laurianna starting the final leg of her drivers ed with behind the wheel training. Seven hours from now she will be an official licensed driver! We also had a visit with yet another specialist on Thursday, and a girl that really was having a super rough day. There’s a point as a mom when you want to just have a good cry, but can’t do it around your child because you don’t want to discourage her any further. The sum-up of it: essentially no official diagnosis from the geneticist, another referral to the pediatric neurologist, and some intensive PT. And we wait still again. 

Our classroom as a whole is coming together (finally). The last of our missing curriculum has been ordered and downloaded (thank goodness Compass Classroom has a lovely sale happening to help me out!). Tomorrow I’m pulling together all of the books and making sure everything is in the classroom, will finish printing my planner, and start the planning. Start date goal is August 14th! 

I’ll end this with a song that I’ve been listening to on repeat this week (along with King of My Heart). It’s just something I’ve needed in my heart so very, very much, especially in light of all the stuff happening with Laurianna. While I can’t put this all into in-depth and flowery terms, the basic is this: it’s been tough, but NONE of this is taking God by surprise. Even when it’s hard and we don’t understand we will keep pressing into Him – not away. One thing I know for sure is that He loves my girl so deeply and will never fail her – or us. 

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? 

Homeschool and Life Happenings – The Week of VBS

Before the week even began we knew it was going to be full – but a GOOD full! Our church is running VBS this week and four of us volunteered to help (the youngest, by default, gets to attend until he’s old enough to help). It has really been fun even though it means early mornings and some late nights when swim team gets thrown in the mix.

Laurianna has been leading worship for the kids and it really is amazingly fun to watch her interact with the kids and be a part of VBS in a way that fits her. She did a lot with the skits during the opening and closing sessions (which were hilarious).

My spot has been working with the elementary kids for the Bible lesson each day. I’ll tell ya, each time I do this I go in feeling so under equipped so it is 100x amazing when God shows up and you see things click with the kids. It’s fun, it’s super-crazy (and highly energetic) every day, but as much as I’m a bit afraid going into the week, I absolutely miss it at the end. 

I realize my friend might smack me later, but one lady who does an amazing job is Joann (she blogs at LastingThumbprints – go say ‘hi’). She unabashedly throws herself fully into all she does and cracks the kids (and me) up every.single.time. Makes me want to be a crazier mom. :) 

McKenna has also been helping out with worship team and leading a preschool group. She honestly is great with the little ones even though she prefers the elementary age group. 

Earlier this week I started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan – I’m only about 15% through it now, but L-O-V-E it. It’s one book that makes me want to carve out time to sit down and read, which I will promptly do as soon as VBS is over. Likely around 2:03pm on Friday. 

Addie hasn’t been getting much attention with all of us gone this week, so when our new Cordaroy’s bean bag chair showed up – well, we let her enjoy it. As soon as it came out of the box, she jumped right in it and stayed put. 

And you all – your advice on what bed to look into has been SO helpful. We haven’t taken the plunge on anything yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. My husband remembered yesterday that a few weeks ago he rotated our mattress (we have a Serta memory foam that we are having issues with) – that rotation may be part of the cause of the problems we’ve been having, but meanwhile we are still looking for a replacement. It’s crazy how much your bed makes a difference in so much of life. 

Finally (this may seem silly, but hey – it’s LIFE PEOPLE), I’m having fun playing with my makeup. I started using Savvy Minerals makeup this past week. It’s a bit of a learning curve for me, but so far, so good. 

My house and all the other stuff is out the window this week. That’s honesty for you all. By the time we get out the door in the morning, get home, do a few odds and ends, it’s usually time to leave again for a swim meet or practice…and then sleep. Repeat. I am very much looking forward to Saturday. 

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

Homeschool and Life Happenings – The One Where I Lost Track of the Days

Whenever my hubby takes time off from work it throws everything out of whack. I’m so used to having him home only on the weekends, so when he’s here and it’s not a weekend – well, time goes a bit wacky. When you add in a holiday in the middle of the week, it’s even worse. Hence, no blogging this week because until Wednesday it all felt like Saturday. 

The above just cracked me up this week. I’m all about deals and paying a low price, but somehow I don’t think there is any deal to be had above. 

I may also I feel like I’m losing my ever-loving mind with all the back and forth driving for work (Laurianna), swim team, and all the other random stuff life is throwing at us. Last Friday I had a haircut scheduled and got so sidetracked with all the driving THAT I COMPLETELY FORGOT until my phone rang and they wanted to know where I was. I felt absolutely horrible. They were super gracious and put me on a cancelation list for this week.

I’m making myself feel better and reminding myself that I have about 90% of our curriculum ordered for next year and even started gutting the school room. Granted, that’s not huge progress, but every little bit helps right? 

The big news in our family this week was the purchase of a (new to us) camper. We’ve had a pull-behind camper for the last four years and we found a great deal on one that is a tiny step up from what we have and offers a bit more room for our growing kiddos. The fact that we will not have to sleep sideways on our bed now is also a huge plus. Rick and I have been going back and forth on the entire thing for a bit and when we found some good friends who wanted to buy our other one the next day, we said ‘yes’! 

I promise you, we purchased it on what seemed like the hottest day of the year. My shirt was practically soaked with perspiration after we spent a few hours with the guy who was selling it and then moving things from the old camper to the new one. It was plain ridiculous. And made me so very thankful for air conditioning and showers. Blech. 

We did zero fireworks this year, unless you count lighting bottle rockets in our front yard and watching the three that went off in the neighbor’s yard. Unfortunately the resort near our house moved their fireworks to a location where it cannot be viewed from our front yard anymore, or our local pool. Sad, but we did get to bed at a decent hour. Saying that makes me feel like I’ve passed the age of having fun. 

We are plugging along in our swim season as well. This week was a little touch and go with a huge storm system moving through, but the weather literally went around our area and we were able to finish the entire meet (YAY!). Granted we got a little wet at the beginning and the end, but we didn’t have to make it up. Only two more evening meets and then the area Champs meet! 

Other than that, we’ve celebrated with friends for the 4th, had a party to say goodbye to friends that are moving across the country, and are gearing up for a week of VBS next week. I am praying for bucketloads of energy. 

That’s it for our week – what have you been up to?