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Our Adventure to the Netherlands Begins – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Last weekend was a flurry of last minute errand-running and making sure we had everything together for our upcoming trip. I’m so very thankful that we had some time on Monday morning to relax, recheck our packing, and clean up the house a little before we left. 

Our dog, Addie, was all over the place (especially our luggage) and in the middle of everything while we were getting ready. We have a friend staying at our house with her while we are gone, and apparently she is rather out of sorts and not very happy at the moment.

We brought lots of fun gifts to share with my cousin. She and her family are hosting us for the entire time we are staying in the Netherlands. So plenty in our suitcases on the way there! Two of ous weighed in just shy of the 50 pound limit. 

The big “discussion” on the way over was who would get to sit at the window seat, mainly because the girls wanted to take pictures out the window. The boys said they could care less, so Laurianna and McKenna switched off. 

Just as we were getting in line for takeoff on the runway, storms started rolling in. The line of clouds was crazy and within just ten minutes we could barely see out the window of the plane. Our plane ended up taking off about two hours later than expected. 

We found out later that the above is a shelf cloud – and there were some severe storms and a tornado warning in our area. This is where I will say I am thankful for the wonderful on-board entertainment KLM offers (we were on one of their newer planes) and the distraction that provided in the delay. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the trip – the boys slept ZERO minutes, so they arrived rather exhausted and konked out about 15 minutes into the two-hour car ride from Amsterdam. :) 

The first few days we spent relaxing with the kids riding bikes into town for ice cream. On Thursday we got together with one of my uncles and some of his family for lunch and then to visit a few places nearby. 

Our first stop was to visit a wooden clog (klompen) maker, Klompenmakerij ten Hagen in Winterswijk. His family has been making wooden shoes for four generations. (He told us he has three sons, so another generation can continue. :) 

We were able to watch the process from their start as a round of wood to the unfinished shoe. At this point they have to dry for several weeks. The shoes were made of either willow or poplar and damp when you touch them. 

A fun fact we learned: each klompen maker has their own pattern they add to their shoes. This is the pattern you will find on their shoes. The kids had fun trying on pairs but decided not to buy any for themselves. 

We later took a walk through a swamp area near the German border, not a common part of the Netherlands, but it was a nice walk to see some of the nature and different plants in their area. 

In a few areas there were border markers between the Netherlands and Germany, so Zachary took a quick trip to Germany while we stayed in the Netherlands. :) 

This next week we will be heading to France and Belgium with my cousin for a few days, and all the kids are looking forward to the trip. 

I hope you all are having an amazing week as well and would love to hear what you have been up to! 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

The Week of Running Here and There (and Everywhere)

In some ways it feels as though my bum has spent a good portion of the week in the van. We are trying to get as much as we can D.O.N.E. before we leave for the Netherlands in a few short days. You all – I made a five page list of all the things I wanted to do before we left (I only wish I was kidding). 

  • Pick up suitcases from friends  ✔
  • Get all the swim team stuff lined up before we leave – (mostly) ✔
  • Run to various appointments ✔
  • Finish up a few subjects with McKenna ✔

The bulk of it will get done, but I’m a little over-zealous to say the least. Just call me crazy. 

Meanwhile I’ve been busy sorting curriculum too since the Build Your Bundle sale is happening and I wanted to snag a few things for next year

We started off the week with a sleepover. One of the upsides to homeschooling – your friends can sleep over whenever the moms say YES. 

These two are hilarious together and one would think the world is coming to an end because they won’t see each other for a little over two weeks. So movie night and a fun day together after should hopefully be enough to hold them over until we see them again in June. :) 

McKenna and I have been working on wrapping up a few of her classes. She took her last biology exam and I helped her with a few geometry problems she hadn’t finished – so two more things checked off the list! She is *this* close to finishing history and Latin, but will likely have to wrap those up when we return from our trip. Meanwhile, McKenna is chomping on the bit to get her permit. Saturday is the earliest she can take her test, so guess what we’ll be doing bright and early in the morning? 

Kaleb finally had a chance to work on a model we gave him for Christmas, mainly because we didn’t realize we needed to buy practically every paint color the store had to work on it. Let’s just let it sink in for a moment that it’s been FIVE MONTHS since he received it, and we finally bought the supplies for it (because a certain mom kept forgetting). 

Laurianna has been reveling in the fact that she doesn’t have to drive anywhere this week. She has been trying to finish up her final two classes, Latin and Pre-Calculus. We’ve been using the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 version (which we love), and it was great when she was at the community college or at a friend’s house. Our internet at home lately has been horrible, so it’s difficult for her to work on the online portion. BUT – in early June we should have high-speed internet installed and we are beyond excited for that! 

Zachary only has a few more math lessons to go and he will be done, and Kaleb is almost done with All About Reading 4, which will finish up his year (YAY!!). I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming weeks with a year-end wrap-up for each of the kids, so stay tuned for those. 

Other than that, the kids and I have been stopping over at my parent’s house a few times over the week since they have the most adorable kitten. Now the kids want us to get another cat too (not going to happen). There are now approximately 1, 562 pictures of this kitten on my camera thanks to the kids. 

Be sure to stop by WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers.com and hang out with some other moms who are sharing their day-to-day happenings. 

Slowly Winding Down the Year – Homeschool and Life Happenings

Each day we are one step closer to the end of our school year. Our overall goal was to be fully completed by May 11th – and for the most part, that’s still in place. 

We started off the week with a trip to the dentist for Kaleb. Somehow on Sunday he managed to crack a tooth (fortunately a baby tooth) while eating a bagel. The tooth was already loose and then part of it broke off, so off to the dentist we went to have the rest of the tooth pulled out. His treat was a Chick-fil-a Frosted Lemonade (and some time with mom). Really not a bad trade. 

Laurianna finished her classes at the community college this week. Three finals finished up and grades are already returned on two of them, so she is breathing a BIG sigh of relief! At home she is still working on Pre-Calculus, but have the 3.0 online version from Teaching Textbooks has been a huge help for us on that front. 

But the above is the ridiculously happy girl who knows that she essentially has a summer break ahead of her and no more driving back and forth to school multiple days each week. 

This week McKenna also finished up the last of her biology, with the exception of her final exam. We crammed in two different dissections which turned out to be rather interesting. 

Our first, the fish, was really quite nasty and our LEAST favorite of all dissections (odor-wise). McKenna typically doesn’t have many issues with the dissection part of lab, but this one really made her rather queasy and she opted to sit back and watch her friend, Emily, finish up hers. This was one we did outside, which I am SO thankful for, because the smell – just yuck. 

This week has seen me with the beginnings of piles in the schoolroom, sorting curriculum for the upcoming year. The overall framework is in place, but it’s been fun having a few new things in place as well. One of our new pieces for next year will be the History & Geography Lifepac for Kaleb. 

Another things we’ve been working through with Kaleb (and new for him this late in the year) are reading and comprehension guides. Typically during his reading time, he reads aloud to me, but with these he is reading a short bit and answering the questions to check his comprehension. It’s something little, but helps me make sure he really is grasping concepts especially when he has to sort out words on his own. 

The tears this week from me were rather crazy. The boys and I finished up the last few chapters of The Hiding Place and – you all – such a great book. For us, this will make visiting her home in the Netherlands even more special. 

Thursday, we finished up our last lab with a fetal pig dissection. We weren’t quite sure what the girls would think of this lab, but they both jumped in with no problem and once we were finished with the basic dissection, they wanted to examine even more. 

As far as all of our dissections have gone, this was really one of the most amazing ones, especially because you can see the various organs (both of ours were female) and really get a great look at the overall anatomy. The fish was ok, but this was the best one. :) 

That’s it for this week! We are a little over one week away from our big trip to the Netherlands!!  Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

A Prom, a Subject Down, and a Play – Homeschool and Life Happening

First off – PROM! The weekend was a flurry of getting Laurianna ready for prom: hair, pictures, and ALL THE FUN. 

You all. I know I’m her mom and biased, but she was simply stunning. 

Her dress was the icing on the cake, especially since she found it at Goodwill for $4. Yep. Her shoes cost five times that. Rather fun. 

She went with one of her friends to a nearby homeschool prom (who says homeschoolers don’t socialize or have fun?). I have to say I find it amusing that my daughter has gone to prom – and I never did. :) 

This week Kaleb started feeling better on Tuesday, after spending much of the weekend sleeping and laying on furniture somewhere around the house. We’d find him curled up in bed, a beanbag, the couch…and Tuesday it finally changed. With that he wrapped up his last lesson of Teaching Textbooks Math 6. 

We’ve been using the 3.0 version, which is their newest *and much fun* update to their already great math program. Everything is online, so no more books or lost disks!! (And all the mothers rejoice.)

We celebrated with cake. Because finishing a subject warrants having cake, right? Granted it was a leftover piece of birthday cake from a party on Sunday, but that’s ok. It was an occasion to be happy about. Another subject finished for the year! 

Our high school homeschool co-op wrapped up the year by taking a trip to see The Taming of the Shrew at a local theatre. We are SO thankful to the amazing staff for year after year letting our small group come along with the larger schools for their education days. The productions are AMAZING and it’s always so much fun to see Shakespeare in action. 

Our group co-op wrapped up this week and next week we will finish up our science co-op as well with our last dissections. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been working like crazy to get things ready for our trip to the Netherlands! This week we booked a place to stay in both Paris, France and also Belgium for a short 3-day trip during out time there. We’re trying to squeeze in as much as we can and still make time to relax and visit family since we haven’t seen the bulk of my mom’s family in almost 17 years. 

That’s about it for this week for our family – how are things going in your house? I’d love to hear!! 


A Party, a Doctor, and a Quiet Week…Mostly – Homeschool and Life Happenings

First off – the WEATHER MAY DRIVE ME NUTS. Saturday was a beautiful 88 degrees. Monday? SNOW, people. 

I just don’t even know what to think any more.

But on to our week. 

We celebrated Laurianna’s 17th birthday with our family and a few friends. My brother’s family lives nearby, so cousins were able to be with us too. They love hanging out with our kids and even though there is an age difference, I love seeing our kids interact and grow up together, especially since we didn’t have any cousins nearby while we were growing up. 

The main thing Laurianna wanted was a journaling Bible from Altar’d State. She was so excited and it is so beautiful. :) Other fun things that she loves right now: plants and succulents. Her final paper for her English class last semester was on the benefits of house plants, so my mom gave her several small plants to add to her growing collection. 

I spent a mind-numbing amount of time at the orthopedic doctor this week with my grandmother. You all – the stories I could tell (but don’t) about her – well, they would definitely make you laugh (or cry in sympathy) with me. 

Her ankle is healing well. This week’s hilarity – choosing a new cast color. For those of you who don’t know, my grandmother is legally blind, rather stubborn, and very indecisive. She was rather irritated they didn’t have GLITTER to put on her cast and it took her about 20 minutes to decide on a new cast color. (I wish I were kidding). 

Meanwhile, across town, McKenna waited for me patiently at the orthodontist and received the ALL CLEAR after her braces along with her new retainer. Two kiddos are now finished with braces and (hopefully) only one more to go. 

The fact that we could have purchased a very lovely vehicle with the money we have put into our children’s mouths does not escape me. On the other hand, I do realize our kiddos mouths were in pretty rough shape.

McKenna also had another job interview this week and found out that she received both of the jobs she applied for – yay!! Summer work is on the way and savings for a car will begin! 

Zachary – well, he has a few subjects to still wrap up and at times this past few weeks his motivation has been … lacking … shall we say? We have been consistent in five areas: grammar, writing, math, reading, and history (he has already finished science). He and I have been having fun this week playing with Snapchat and Instagram filters. 

Our current read-aloud, The Hiding Place – well, let’s just say we are about 1/2 way through and already I am getting choked up in parts. Personally I cannot wait until we can visit Corrie ten Boom’s home and shop in the Netherlands in a little less than a month, especially since our family has a history with her. For me, that makes this trip even more special. 

We ended the week with a little boy feeling not quite himself. The boys are gearing up for a camping trip this weekend and at swim practice last night, Kaleb wasn’t feeling great. He decided to stay home from practice and just lay low – and ended up falling asleep about 20 minutes after everyone left. Definitely a rarity.

That’s it for this week! We are gearing up for a homeschool prom for Laurianna this weekend and she is rather excited about that. Hope you all have had a great week – would love to hear how it’s going for you! 

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!