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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??

The Week of Catching Up and Visiting D.C. – Homeschool and Life Happenings


With the kiddos a bit under the weather last week, this week (although intended to be our spring break) we spent some time catching up on some missed lessons.

For me that meant wrapping up a few things that I’ve been putting off: taxes, grading papers, and lining up some of the classes that we will be focusing on next year for McKenna for 10th grade. Our kids each have different personalities, and McKenna will require some different study areas because her interests differ from Laurianna’s. While there are a few that will overlap (math, literature, history), it’s looking at her other interests and tailoring classes to her that is going to be fun. 

On the bright side, getting Laurianna’s classes figured out took us under twenty minutes. We met with her advisor at the community college and registered her for fall classes – WOOT! It looks like she will be taking a philosophy class, a second English class (112), a sociology class, and microbiology. She is really excited and I am THRILLED that’s one thing done for fall planning. :) 

But the big fun in our week was spending a few days visiting Washington, D.C. with another family. Both of our husbands had to work, so it was just the mom and kids, and we made it a two day trip.

We started out with a self-guided tour of the White House. Last week we thought the tour had been canceled, but found out a few days ago it was back on. 

My hubby was cracking me up – tracking us all day and asking how each visit was. :) We recently downloaded the Life360 app to use with the kids since they are all over the place and it has been rather handy being able to check in. Right now we’re just trying the free version to see how we like it, and Rick is obviously enjoying it. 

The kids have visited years DC ago, but the White House tour was a first. Green Room is my favorite, even though each of the rooms have so many fun facts to learn on the things that happened in that room: presidents being sworn in, weddings, and everything in between. 

I honestly could have spent much more time there but will admit that it’s a little hard with a few kids who are a bit more indifferent to all they are seeing. Yep. A room. Done. (Maybe it’s just my kids). I may also have a phobia of setting an alarm off after the incident several years ago at Mount Vernon (We set off THREE, people. THREE!)

But I will say, it’s rather enjoyable to spend the day with a friend too. We met this particular family several years ago while camping and since then have spent several holidays together, continue to camp together, and now we are taking field trips together. I love that. 

We spent a few hours at the Museum of Natural History and Kaleb’s favorite exhibit was the one dedicated to gems and minerals. He had to visit the museum store after to look for something (this boy and his rocks!) and I’m pretty sure we spent equally as much time in the store looking for the perfect thing to get as we did in the exhibit itself. 

The wind started picking up and it was SO COLD after, but we stopped by the Washington Monument (unfortunately going through renovations again – last time we were up was right after the earthquake that closed it down for a bit), so more of a photo op for the kids. 

And some time to mess around together. 

And be silly. 

And that’s something I love more than anything. Seeing these pictures makes my heart happy. Day in and day out the kids may have their disagreements, but I when they are having fun and cracking each other up – well, that makes a mom’s heart happy. 

And this one – just for me to prove I’m there, because inevitably I forget to take pictures that include myself in them, so time for a selfie (or two!). 

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

A Long Swim Meet and Some Quiet Time – Homeschool and Life Happenings

So while we have been doing schoolwork at home, it’s been one of those “laying low” weeks overall. The kids started out with a long weekend swim meet. 

For all of the kids it was an encouraging meet since they dropped times in almost all of their events. The facility they competed at is crazy. Rick took the three youngest to the meet and I stayed home with Laurianna since we had some things to do here. 

Unfortunately Rick started feeling sick (not sure if it was the flu or not), but he has still been really run down and coughing like a champ. Zachary and Kaleb both started in with coughing (and lots of sleeping) this week as well, so overall it’s been a lay-low sort of week and hang out doing work on the couch or sprawled in a bean bag. 

One of the FUN things that came out of the meet – Zachary qualified for nationals in several of his events, so now we have to make the decision on having him travel to that meet (in Florida) in the next bit. 

With a few of the kids gone, Laurianna and I were able to spend some time together since she had a light work schedule. The two of us love sushi, so we took a lunch trip to an all you can eat sushi place. My personal favorite are the ones that are deep fried. So good! 

Laurianna has been working on mid-terms this week at the community college. One stinky thing is she has been feeling really drained again lately (thankfully just before spring break), so hopefully this next week will give her a little time to relax and unwind. Her classes have been going great so far. She was really encouraged last week to have the highest score on her lab test in human anatomy (and as a mom, I was thrilled!). She has been working so hard!

Kaleb had some fun this week too in our group co-op. My friend Cindy is working with a group of boys his age and they have been using a few of the activities from the How to Do Science Experiments book. The first one they worked on was water attraction and trying to pull a drop of water with a toothpick along a maze on waxed paper. 

They also learned about cohesion of water molecules by dropping pennies into a cup almost filled with water. The short of it: cohesion allows the water level in the cup to rise a bit above the edge of the top of the cup, making a bit of a dome and “bulging” before it spills. 

Midweek Laurianna and I had a little fun together as part of a commercial shoot locally. We have a friend that works for an advertising company, so the two of us were “students” in a class. Don’t I look attentive – ha! 

And these two girls – love seeing them together and the fact that they have the chance to do several of their high school classes together. We are almost ready to work on dissections in our biology class, but they have learned much together on studying, time budgeting, and life in general (and that makes my heart happy). 

Other than that, we’ve been learning about Pompeii (which someone got us sidetracked and learning about Mt. St. Helens and that eruption), reading together, and well…learning. :)

That’s about it for this week with us – how was your week? 

Camping in the Snow and Other Fun – Homeschool and Life Happenings

How was your week? Here it’s been feeling like a whole lotta spring, but also the weather has been fickle. 

And by fickle, I mean snow, ice, and freezing rain one day, and then two days later a balmy 75 degrees with the windows wide open and kids going nuts outside. 

Need proof? 

Zachary and Kaleb went camping with their Boy Scout troop over the weekend and hiked about 3 miles into their spot just before the snow started. Those lovely hammocks covered with tarps you see on the left? That’s where my two crazy boys slept while I was snug as could be in my bed at home. 

They did have a blast, stayed (mostly) warm until one of them stepped into the stream, but otherwise it was definitely a memory-making trip. 

While the boys were camping, the girls went out with us to go see The Greatest Showman. We’ve been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify for what seems like forever, and a discount theatre started showing it this past week, so we took advantage of the $3 tickets. 

McKenna has since been belting out the tracks, and the poor dog isn’t too fond of her choreography that goes along. (But I promise, the movie is so good!!!!!)

Although we are moving into All About Reading 4, we are still reviewing the word and phonogram cards for Level 3. That’s one thing I want to make sure of is that Kaleb has a SOLID understanding of the words and phonograms he has been learning (and remembers them). 

Kaleb has really been enjoying Keyboarding Without Tears as well and works through several stages of each lesson daily. He has been working through the lower levels since we bought a bundle to go along with Handwriting Without Tears, and at the rate he is going through the levels, we may end up purchasing the next level for him to finish out the year. 

I know the cat has nothing much to do with school, but this was pretty much our mid-week: outside and enjoying the weather. I have a gazillion pictures on my camera at the moment of said cat because the kids kept taking him outside and snapping pictures while he meandered around enjoying a bit of freedom. 

Wednesday night the three youngest and I helped out with childcare at an indoor inflatable playground. During the month of February I’ve been teaching the kids (ages 3-11) in a mini Bible-school of sorts while their parents have a chance to join a Bible study at our church nearby. 

All the kids have been coming home exhausted (mom too) – just one more week to go and we’ll be back to quiet Wednesday nights… :) 

Laurianna and I had a rather quiet evening on Thursday, so she had the opportunity to catch up on her Pre-Calculus lessons and ask questions when she would get a little stuck. Initially the year started out a little rough for her (much in part to me not having the correct scientific calculator – guess who didn’t read all the way through the required components). Since that’s been straightened out, the class is going much more smoothly for her and she is about halfway through her book – so a little behind, but she has been working hard to catch up. 

That’s about it for our week! Hope you all have had a great one and would love to hear what you’ve been up to!

The Week That About Wore Me Out – Homeschool and Life Happenings

This past week was rather full both school-wise and with life in general. Or at least felt that way. Not only did we have something going on almost every day, practically every evening was full too. 

I may have almost cried when I realized that there was an unexpected meeting on Tuesday night I hadn’t factored into my schedule. Classic overcommitting and life in general.

Monday we started off the week babysitting our friend’s sweet little son. This is the same little one we watched a few weeks ago and overall it was a fairly easy day school-wise. 

Kaleb has finished up his handwriting program for the year, so he started on Keyboarding without Tears. So far it’s been rather easy for him, but it’s been a great way to ease him into learning how to type (and I have a feeling he will enjoy this much more than actual handwriting). 

Laurianna has been having fun doodling what she has learned in her human anatomy class too. I love her creativity and the fun that she is having in her learning. 

Tuesday we had co-op with our friends and the boys had much fun with quite a few challenges, above they made a box out of paper and decorated it for Valentine’s Day. Then it was filled with candies and  they had to attach something to make it go down a zip line. 

Hands-on for the win!

Wednesday the boys and I wrapped up volume 1 of Mystery of History and pulled out the second book. The first volume covers from the beginning of time through about 33 AD. It has been a lot of fun re-learning things along with the boys, especially about all of the Caesars and how the Roman Empire was growing. We’re moving right on into volume 2 now and now learning about Nero.

Kaleb wrapped up Level 3 of All About Reading this week and will be moving on to All About Reading 4  next Monday. 

You all. I could seriously cry. The last year or two have been tough in the arena of reading. There has been a lot of pushing through and reviewing things (sometimes it feels like over and over….). But the last few weeks, something is clicking with him and he is doing amazing. YAY!!!!!!

This girl has been glowing the last bit of the week since she was able to get her own cell phone this week. She has been saving her money to purchase a phone and pay for the first few months of her service (yep, we’re the parents who ask make our kids cover their own cell phone bill. 

The Foundations in Personal Finance class has been a great fit for her this year, especially in learning more about budgeting, saving, and planning for the future. Over the next few months, McKenna is also participating in the H&R Block budget challenge along with the other kids in our homeschool co-op. 

We had a gorgeous day weather-wise (almost 80!!), which also warranted some outdoor school time via the porch. Yay for homeschooling! 

And last thing – Laurianna has been working through her Teaching Textbooks Pre-Calculus. A HUGE shout-out for a program that walks you through what in the world you are doing wrong. 

I didn’t have a fancy schmancy calculator like this when I was in school, so figuring out how to use it can be a pain in the rear (just being honest). So, super wonderful when the program literally walks you through and shows you what you need to look for on the screen when you are using it. Apparently we didn’t have it set to degrees, so we came up with the wrong answer. (Can I just say – hallelujah for a hand-holding sometimes?)


That’s about it for our week – how have you been and what was a great part of your week? 

An Ice Festival, More Reading, and Co-op – Homeschool and Life Happenings

This week has been fairly boring (to say the least). Not much out of the ordinary, but another week finished – and that’s always something to celebrate. On the bright side, we were home a bit more this week and didn’t have quite as many errands or appointments. And that is a wonderful thing. 

Last Saturday we took a trip to Maryland to visit with friends for the day. Frederick, MD has a cute downtown and on the first Saturday in February they have a Fire & Ice Festival with ice sculptures all over the town. It was FREEZING (understatement). Good for the ice, but for people, not as much. :)

The BEST part about this trip though was hanging out with friends. Hope (the mom) has been one of my best friends since our senior year of college, and we have vacationed together over the years and even though we live quite a bit apart, we try to meet up once or twice a year to spend time together – and I love that our kids can have fun together too. Just makes my heart happy. 

5th Grade Happenings

Reading is moving along. I cannot stress how much attitude truly plays into how this area of our day goes. Kaleb isn’t always thrilled about reading, but when he is prepped and willing, the reading itself runs smoothly. 

Kaleb’s day at private school last week was much fun. His biggest disappointment was not being able to finish all 50 of the questions on the math quiz they took. It was a timed test (which we haven’t done at home), and he was only able to get 48/50 answered in the time frame, but managed to get them all correct. He was just mad he didn’t get all 50 done. We have been cracking up about that all week. 

7th Grade Happenings

Zachary has been working hard this week too. He has worked ahead and finished both science and the Who is God? series, so his focus over the remainder of the year is his math, reading, vocabulary, writing, history, grammar, and whatever other fun things we add in over the weeks. 

9th Grade Happenings

McKenna’s laptop is having a bit of a screen issue. She and I may have differing opinions on how and why that happened, especially since she has a newer laptop (cough), but we going to have to deal with it at this point. 

Our co-op class on Tuesdays (literature and personal finance) has been moving along. We’re reading Julius Caesar right now, which is fun since the boys and I have been learning about him and the Roman government during his time this past week. And bonus for co-ops at home – you can wear your sloth pajamas and have fun with that. 

This is the other aspect of homeschooling that can be rather hilarious at times. :) On Thursdays we hang out at a friend’s house for biology, and often we have furry company that feels anywhere is acceptable to relax. 

11th Grade Happenings

The weather this week (ice and a little snow) meant that Laurianna had one of her classes cancelled, but otherwise she has been working at a nearby pool lifeguarding and also prepping for a youth worship night at church this coming Sunday. 

Mom Stuff

Every Wednesday in February our church is hosting a Bible study night and providing childcare which I am helping head up this month. The kids and I helped with this last year and it was a lot of fun (and crazy), but this year while Rick takes a class, the younger three and I are helping again (Laurianna has class). 

I haven’t had as much time for reading this week but am really hoping to have some time this weekend to sit down and focus. The book I’m currently reading, Godspeed, is one I’m loving, but it’s one that requires more of my attention because I am gleaning quite a bit from it and don’t want to miss anything. 

That’s about it for our week – how have you been and what was a great part of your week?