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Our Vacation and Week 7 of Homeschool

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Typically we follow a schedule of school for six weeks and then a week of vacation. Silly me is taking another look at the calendar and might be revamping some of that, but overall that’s the goal for our year. The break at the end of six weeks is a chance for all of us to take a little step back and play!

Our First Week Break

The week off from school turned out to be a wonderful respite for everyone, but we were all ready to get back to work! We still had our co-op classes during our break so we weren’t completely on vacation, but a little break does a family good! It also gave me a chance to tweak a few things in our classroom, transfer everything over to a new laptop for the kids (after we fried the power source on the kid’s old laptop), clean up the school room, and play catch up on some grading (that’s the area I keep pushing aside).

Learning About Rocks and Minerals (Science for Grades 2 and 4)

Nancy Larson science for homeschool

Our boys have been working on Nancy Larson Science 2 together (the program is age banded, not based on grade levels). We just started a unit on rocks and minerals and spent some time outside finding the different sizes of rocks: sand, pebble, cobble, and boulder. The boys rather liked the time we spent outdoors (shocking, eh?).

Reading, Reading, Reading (and Writing)!!


In our first yearly sum-up post, I shared that Zachary had finished his first official chapter book (The Boxcar Children). Since then, I cannot tell you the change that has come over this boy. It really, truly makes me almost cry thinking about it because he CAN read, it’s just that he has had no desire to read (believing he can’t) and the more he wouldn’t read, the further ‘behind’ he would get compared to his peers. The peer aspect was hugely frustrating/humiliating for him and broke my heart over and over.

Once that first book was finished though, it was like a switch was flipped in him and he has been picking up books to read by choice! Above he is reading a book on Wilbur and Orville Wright for our language class, but he also has a copy of Billy Graham: America’s Pastor from YWAM publishing that he chose to read independently – he discovered he likes biographies! He’s also started on All About Reading 4 and is making great progress through those lessons as well.

Going along with his reading has been his desire to write. While past years have been SO hard to get him to write more than one or two sentences without complaining, this week I found TWO typed papers on his desk. Papers that I did not ask him to write, but we’re talking the entire page was typed full. He has been journaling every day as well as a part of his Learning Language Arts Through Literature program – and it has been so fun reading his thoughts. He can talk a mile a minute and has so many ideas in his head, so it’s great to see them on paper now – in his own hand! (I’ll be sharing some more about this later!)

Learning with Spielgaben

Spielgaben learning

During our second six week block I’m intentionally adding in some learning time with Spielgaben for Kaleb (a few of the other kids want in on the fun too). This week he worked on creating the Eiffel Tower, since we were talking about France during one of our lessons together. We used the manuals that come along for this project, but he also spent time creating a few other fun things as well.

When Kids Don’t Complete Assignments


Going through some of McKenna’s papers to grade this past week, this is a note that I came across on her paper. The assignment in grammar was to write five sentences – and she didn’t do it, claiming it “Takes forever.” The wheels in my brain have been coming up with different ways that I can pay back that sentiment – like an empty dinner plate with a sticky note that says the same. (cough) I wouldn’t do that, but believe me – I’m tempted, just to prove a point. Have a creative suggestion for this one?

When the Kids Need a Break


One of the things that I love about homeschooling is the fact that our kids can take a break from schoolwork when needed (or maybe if they are waiting to use the computer while another kiddo finished up a subject). During the day, it’s not uncommon for me to hear a ‘thwack’ outside the school window as Laurianna takes a ten minute break for target practice.

In anticipation of deer hunting this fall, Laurianna spent quite a bit of time taking a hunter safety class online – and then a lot of target practice time too. After an all-day classroom course as well, she is now officially a licensed bow hunter. Now to see how this all plays out.

A Field Trip to the Caverns

cavern field trip

This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit some nearby caverns. The kids and I toured them several years ago, but this time my hubby was able to visit with us. Walking through and seeing all the different stalagmites, stalactites, shields, and other amazing formations never ceases to amaze me – and make me wonder what we could be walking or driving over each and every day.

Phew! That’s a little peek at some of the things that we did the past two weeks. What have you been doing with your kids – and what has been the best moment for you?


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  1. For a very young child with a lot of writing to do, I’ve used a light box and allowed him to trace the answer in five-minute sessions. But for five sentences? Sounds like drama – and deserves a dramatic response ;)
    Prep for this assignment like you’re going on an epic endurance trek through the desert. “I know it’s hard, sweetie, but I’ll be with you every step of the way. Somehow, we’ll survive this together… Go use the bathroom first, there’s no telling how long this will take… Alright, neither of us will budge from our seats until these five sentences are written!” Ask what her sentences are – generally you can reword the question to a statement and make that the topic sentence, and after that you just need four sentences of supporting details – commit those to memory, and get your own pen and paper ready. Then, just to make things interesting, put a piece of candy on the desk and declare that she who writes the assignment first – correctly and to standard – gets the candy. Your child now has a dilemma – either it takes forever for her and you get the prize, or it’s done in no time and she gets the prize but admits she was wrong.

    • Oh she is 6th grade and just being plain lazy. :) There’s no getting around that. There are some things that I will often let her bypass because she is also taking a writing class and doing a lot of creative writing as well. It isn’t that it’s difficult for her, she just didn’t bother to ask about that particular assignment and just decided to skip a bunch of things on her own. Gotta love it! She won’t be making that mistake again. :)

  2. markntiff777 says

    Love it – takes forever. Seems like a conversation I just had with my 6 year old daughter crying about her baby brother messing up all the toys she had just put away and I told her to pick it up. “But mom!! I didn’t do it so I shouldn’t have to clean it.” Ummm… story of my life kid! ;) Love the cave pictures. Caves are so much fun to see. I’m hoping to visit a cave with the kids when we go and visit family in PA over Christmas break.

  3. Takes forever. I think I hear that once a day. My son has not decided to write it yet. I have no suggestions.

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