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Warm Weather, Starfish Dissection, and a Rough Week

We started the week out with snow and ended with 70+ degrees. Woohoo!!! Finally some warm weather seems to be nosing its way to us! 

Overall, this week has been a bit exhausting both physically and emotionally. It started out with McKenna and I traveling home from Teach Them Diligently in Atlanta (which was fabulous!! – notice our unsocialized kiddos interacting with others). She hung out mainly at the Skrafty booth all weekend and spent time with kids she met last year and has been talking to since – I love that!

It’s always wonderful to connect with other families and share heart-to-hearts with them. (sidenote: I’ll definitely be speaking at several of their venues next year – where is your favorite one??)

After Monday though, the kids had some things come up, but I have to tell you. As hard as it is sometimes as a parent (and as much as you think you have messed up time after time), seeing your kids pull together when they have been disappointed and support each other – well, that’s just enough to make you cry happy tears along with those tears of disappointment. 

You all – it’s hard to see your kids hearts hurting and not being able to fix what’s wrong. 

BUT – the week ended with our house full of laughter and friends, which was a bit of much needed medicine for all the stuff happening earlier in the week. 

Co-op on Tuesday ended up being fairly low-key. Zachary’s group took a field trip to one of those one-hour clue houses where you have to solve a problem in order to escape. His group did it in one minute over – which considering it was three thirteen year olds, it wasn’t too bad at all! 

Meanwhile, the younger class spent the last bit of their time playing games (chess is one of Kaleb’s favorites). Confession – all my kids know how to play chess and I don’t. I really think I need to fix that!

Both boys started working on Teaching Textbooks 3.0 (the online version) this week. We had a blast picking new backgrounds and buddies for the boys and seeing how it worked – you all are going to LOVE it! 

We started a new read aloud this week, The Hiding Place, one I really wanted to squeeze in before we visit the Netherlands and Corrie ten Boom’s home there. During our reading time, the kids have all been working on Paint by Sticker books. They were something I picked up on a whim recently, and they LOVE them. 

Can I tell you a little secret? I’m especially loving them because they are q.u.i.e.t. While I love LEGOs and other hand-on manipulatives, sometimes quiet is my friend. Especially when we are reading together. So, these new books = win-win in my book. I’m especially loving the Masterpieces version because Kaleb and I have been looking at the artwork and artists after he finishes them. 

We wrapped up the week with a MUCH better dissection this week of a starfish. So far this has been our favorite one! 

While it wasn’t officially on the lab list for the year, the starfish was a specimen we had already purchased and it went along with the chapter we were studying this week. The girls are so close to the end of their book – only two more dissections and a few more chapters before we wrap up the year! 

Both girls each had two job interviews this week as well, getting prepped for the summer season. Laurianna is planning to continue lifeguarding but splitting her time between two different pools. McKenna will be lifeguarding for the first time as well and would like to help with the younger kids on swim team. 

That’s it for this week! Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

Traveling, Scout Promotions, and Curriculum Shopping – Homeschool and Life Happenings

This was an ordinary (and not so ordinary) week. We started off the first few days with our typical routine. McKenna is on a bit of a lighter week since she worked ahead on several of her subjects because she knew we would be traveling at the end of the week. 

Kaleb has been working hard on all of his remaining subjects: keyboarding, science, math (almost done!), reading, spelling, and history. 

He has also been playing with Q the Robot quite a bit (speaking of which, if you haven’t entered THIS giveaway, go do it now!). I’ll be sharing a full review of our time with Q soon, but it was a really fun STEM project for him and we are looking forward to the add-ons with Q. 

On Sunday we brought our Wii upstairs from the basement. The last bit it hasn’t been getting a lot of use, but the last few days have been hilarious fun with all the kids. For the record, my feet haven’t been on the Wii Fit for over eight years (that’s what happens when you move and it is sent to the basement). I’m happy to say that in those eight years I’ve managed to keep many of my records and set new ones this week. With it in the living room we’ve been taking short breaks throughout the day and enjoying a little active rest. :)

Both boys took place in our Boy Scout troop’s Court of Honor. Kaleb received the rank of Scout. Over the last few months he has been working on several of his merit badges, but didn’t have all of the steps completed, so next time will be rewarding for him. 

Zachary received the rank of Star. He has REALLY been working hard the last several months as well. By his calculations he could rank to Eagle Scout by age 15 (possibly earlier), but he sat down with me recently and said he wanted to wait a bit and focus on the different badges and helping out some of the younger kids (like Kaleb) in his troop – and be an example for them.

(and this mom’s heart was so proud.)

He received seven merit badges (he says he has a few more he should have gotten as well – but oh well!!) and his leader reminded us all of his very first camping trip where he lost his brand new Scout shirt on the trail. Fortunately for him, a hiker later found it (and since I had actually sewn his troop number patches on) and mailed it back to our troop! 

McKenna and I left late Wednesday afternoon to head to Teach Them Diligently in Atlanta. We made a pit stop at Carisa’s house to pick her up, so we could drive down together. 

And the handy thing about homeschooling? It can become car-schooling just as easily. Although McKenna had finished up a good chunk of her schoolwork, she spent some time in the car taking a biology exam and also a quiz. Next week we’ll be back to dissections!

One thing we have been SO EXCITED ABOUT in our house – Teaching Textbooks now has an online version (version 3.0). We’ve been using it for about a month now with Laurianna and it’s been fabulous!! With her going back and forth to the community college each week, we bought her a Chromebook at the beginning of the year, and that meant she had to work on math on the few days she was home…and it was just getting to be a pain. 

The online version – YOU ALL!! Look at the cute background. New buddies. And it stores all the info online for me. It’s been a complete win-win for us and I can’t wait to share more with you soon. Just suffice it to say, it rocks. :)

Other than that, I’ve been filling out my curriculum shopping list (hint: free printable) and working on what we’ll be using next year for the kiddos and deciding what areas need some changing up. I *think* I have McKenna’s year nailed down, but she and I will be talking more about a few things this weekend when she can see the books in person. 

I’ve already ordered a few things for next year (getting a jump on things), but making sure I have all the subjects covered on paper is always a huge help. 

That’s it for this week! Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

Giveaway Time – Q the Robot!

You may remember when Zachary built EEME’s Q the Robot about two years ago. He loved the project then and recently Kaleb had the chance to build his very own Q as well! 

I’ll soon be sharing more about Kaleb’s time with Q the Robot, but before that you definitely want to head over to Instagram and enter to win your own robot kit! I have to tell you, that little tongue in the picture below was cracking me up because it was out practically every step of the way in the building process (and it just makes me smile). 


Ready? ——-> GO ENTER NOW!! 


Giveaway open via Instagram. Ends Monday 4/9/18. 

The Week That Went Off Track – Homeschool and Life Happenings

You’d think by now I wouldn’t get as frustrated with myself when things go off-track during the week. One day it will really get through my head. 

Part of it this week is we just have a LOT going on. Rick has been busy (and stressed) about work. With Easter coming, he has also been at church every night for a drama that is happening, and we have some other stuff we are volunteering for this weekend as well. 

It’s just been overflowing full. (And sometimes that is really hard for me.)

Anyway, here’s a quick video look at our week. 

But the nutshell version: 

  • Monday the kids slept in late. Our kids NEVER used to sleep in late, so this is new territory for us. On the other hand, it’s hard because the time adjustment has kids moving s.l.o.w. and there is one kiddo in our family who is under the impression that regardless of how much school is done, if the hands on the clock say _______, school is done! 

  • Tuesday – thought we’d be back on track, but then I got a call that my grandmother had fallen and was at the ER. After many hours, a whole lot of swelling, and a few x-rays later, she was sent home with a fractured ankle and a walking boot. To put it mildly, my grandmother is a very stubborn woman, and her boot stayed on for less than 12 hours. Somehow she feels that’s all well and good. So….I’ll be with her at the orthopedist on Friday to keep her in line with the doctor. There are SO many stories I could tell. You all – these are the moments you just have to smile and nod. Smile and nod. And bite your tongue….

  • Wednesday – fairly normal. But games. Games are good. Very good. There was so much laughing around the Headbanz game. Laughter is even better. 

  • Thursday – another normal day, but co-op in the afternoon where we had some dissection fun with a clam. Quite honestly, the clam was disappointing. And we had THREE to work on. 
  • Friday – we are volunteering at church and making/bagging cotton candy. This is the day that I am literally covered from head to toe with spun sugar. It’s a sweet sticky mess to say the least. 

Next week is going to involve some traveling as McKenna and I head to Atlanta (with Carisa and her oldest) to speak at Teach Them Diligently. This is the only chance I had to speak this year – and I am so excited to meet some of you all and to spend some time with the various friends I’ve made over the years. :) If you’re going, I’d love to see you, so please say hi!!

That’s it for our week – HOW WAS YOURS??

More SNOW – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Did you all get snow too? 

As far as our entire year goes, this week we had our largest snowfall – on the first day of spring! Welcome, Spring! For us though, that has meant a lot of cozying up inside together, playing games, playing out in the snow, and spending time together. A warm blanket and a cold day also means some reading time for me! I’m finally putting a dent in a few books. :) 

A snow day early in the week meant that McKenna and I missed out on co-op this week. Although the storm hadn’t hit, it was supposed to get nasty out mid-afternoon and we opted to cancel our literature and finance classes. And since we had snow – obligatory snow pictures, right? 

Another added benefit: having Laurianna home. The community college also closed early and she didn’t have to work, so she had an additional two days off from her classes. Unfortunately for her, one of her classes was scheduled to end this week, so it will likely be postponed a bit. 

Her classes are going really well this semester. We are really glad that she dropped her English class early on, because her Human Anatomy class and her psychology class have both kept her busy. She is doing very well in both of them – and most importantly, LOVING them. (And really, that’s what matters the most!)

Zachary has been spending more time on the WordUp Vocabulary program from Compass Classroom and it cracks me up listening to him work through the lessons. If you’ve ever heard the instructor, he cracks the worst jokes – which are right on the level Zachary rather enjoys. 

He is pausing and replaying sections of each lesson and then relaying the humor to me. Just cracks me up. 

Kaleb is also moving along in his All About Reading 4 program and now that the end of the year is in sight, it’s been motivation for him to continue pushing through (even if there are other things he’d rather do). He has made such huge strides the last bit! 

Cold days = time for soup. Believe it or not, until this fall, I’d never made chicken noodle soup before. I have zero idea why, but lately it’s been something the kids have all been enjoying, and I rather like making, especially in the instant pot because it’s really rather simple. 

One *new* and fun thing for me this week – being a part of a Facebook event with two of my friends and doing a LIVE video. Live scares me to death, people. Horribly so. Especially when there are four kids in our house, which typically can translate to a recipe for disaster. :) We are holding a three week event (you can still join us!!) called Oily Kids and sharing different ways we use essential oils with our families. This week we’ve already talked about helping the kiddos (and ourselves) focus and there are some more great topics coming up. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we are going live at 1pm EST – and did I mention there are giveaways too? I’ll be sharing on chores and cleaning on Monday – come sit in with me

And last is another book I’ve been enjoying, Just Open the Door. Completely not on my reading list for the year, but hospitality has been so much more on my heart the past year or so, and this book is so in line with all those thoughts. So to the top of the pile it goes! 

That’s it for our week – HOW WAS YOURS??

A Snow Day and Worm Dissection – Homeschool and Life Happenings

How was your week? 

Last week I posted from Washington, DC and we wrapped up a SUPER chilly visit by seeing the Lincoln Memorial. The wind was ridiculous. The monuments amazing. 

We walked over to the Vietnam Memorial after. Kaleb was really interested in all the names and finally mustered up the courage to ask questions to one of the park rangers on duty. We learned about the different symbols next to people’s names, how names can be added – and it may not seem like a huge thing, but for Kaleb to interact with people he doesn’t know and speak up – well, it was pretty encouraging to see. :) 

Monday morning we woke up to snow coming down and continuing throughout the day. We decided to call it a “light” day and focused on the basics: math, reading, and some game playing with a (new to us game) Ticket to Ride: Europe. The boys and I have played it together quite a few times now and are really enjoying it (Kaleb especially when he beat me after our fourth time playing). 

McKenna and I spent some time working on a few geometry problems that she was stuck on. Every now and then Geometry becomes her nemesis and she gets a thought in her head that she can’t do it (but she can). It didn’t take us long to work through the problems at all – and she is ALMOST done with her entire book!! 

(Like that crack on her computer screen – yeah, that’s what happen when a computer isn’t taken care of and mom refuses to fix it…sigh). 

Co-op on Tuesday was fun for the youngers (the middle school teacher was sick). They worked on a water density experiment and also building a raft that would support weight (Kaleb got his up to 13 pennies). 

But on to the worm dissection…

McKenna and Emily were hilarious. McKenna really wasn’t keen on working through this one because a) it was stinky and b) disgusting. 

She managed to muddle through it all. Her worm wasn’t as “full” as Emily’s though, so we had a much better view of various organs using Emily’s specimen. McKenna’s had a lot of dirt.

Emily’s though – so cool to look at the internal parts and see them up close. 

That’s it for our week – HOW WAS YOURS??