Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Costumes!!

We had a great time at our Cub Scout Halloween Campfire last night.  Here's a few pictures of our costumes.  Hopefully, I can get a shot of Adam in his tomorrow night! :)

Adisson is V, Zander is a pirate, and Jaxon is a pirate bird.  :)

My little birdie and me as a mechanic.  :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Awesomeness of Homeschooling


A few weeks ago, a very nice lady from the Associated Press contacted me and asked if I could answer some questions regarding Homeschooling in the Military and I gladly obliged.  I know how those AP articles can take off like wildfire once they are out there and that has definitely been the case this weekend!  Since I'm quoted in the article, I've had several people ask me about getting started homeschooling.  It's been exciting to talk to so many people and share my love of homeschooling!

So if you have found my blog thanks to the article, welcome!  It's nice of you to stop by and check out our homeschool!

News of the Homeschool Kind

Speaking of, last week was a pretty good one!  That's always a nice way to describe a week of schooling the kiddos.  This week, we did not have any polycrystal accidents.  And in case you don't know the story, here's the scoop.  We were working on a science experiment on incredibly awesome polycrystals and how they absorb liquid.  We set up the hall bathroom as our lab with our polycrystal experiment and a celery/food coloring experiment.  Enter Jaxon.  After seeing the crystals grow tremendously in size (now we could plant some seeds in the cups), Jaxon knocks over a cup.  Zander tried to be helpful by (secretly) clearing away the mess...and washing crystals down the drain (just so ya know, the instructions are very clear on one thing about polycrystals: DO NOT WASH POLYCRYSTALS DOWN THE DRAIN!).  Adam had to take the pipes apart under the sink to ensure there weren't polycrystals blocking them.  And that was the end of the bathroom science lab.  This week, we'll try again with the plant lesson...IN THE KITCHEN!

I mentioned we'd spend last week working on sight words and syllables with Zander and we did just that. He's struggling with a few sight words so we'll continue to keep those on his spelling list.  Syllables were easier and coincidentally, Adisson had a lesson reviewing syllables so they worked together.  We've found that clapping out the syllables is the most fun way to learn!  We also continued learning about electrical energy as part of Adisson's science lessons and James Monroe for social studies.

Time for Cub Scouts

Last week was our Pack meeting.  It was exciting because my little guy earned his Bobcat Badge!  Since I'm a Tiger Cub Den Leader, it was extra special because all of "my boys" earned their Bobcat badge!  We do a really neat face painting ceremony that the kids all love.  I don't have a photo of me painting Zander's face (because there are other kids in it and I don't post other kids on my blog) but I do have a picture of him painting mine!  After I finished painting his, he got to paint a white strip down my nose...every kid's favorite part of the ceremony!

Mom's turn!

And as promised, albeit late, here's a photo of my middle guy with his impressive Leave No Trace poster.  Adisson took the photos of Zander depicting each part of the Leave No Trace promise.  In my opinion, he has the coolest poster!

Look closely, you can see his face paint!

And so as not to leave out any of my boys, here's a shot of the three of them.  I apologize for the quality of the photos but my camera skills with a cell phone are clearly lacking. 

My Webelos Scout, my Tiger Cub, and my sweet little monster.

This weekend we were VERY busy getting ready for an exciting trip and putting together Halloween costumes.  I promise there will be photos in the future!  Here's a hint: Adam will finally have a beard!

These kids make me crazy, run me ragged, and wear me out, but this parenting thing is the best part of my life.  :)  Love it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post: Homeschooling and Working, How Those Two Words Can Go Together

This week, I'm featuring an awesome guest post by my pal over at In Training for HIM.  Here's Lil' Momma who is a very happy Mom to three and a busy preschool/homeschool teacher.  She's been blogging for several years but now you can find her at In Training for HIM.  Today, we're going to read about how she combines homeschooling and working.

I would like to thank Nicole for letting me guest blog on her beautiful blog. I am very honored to have this opportunity.  When Nicole and I were trying to choose a topic on what I would blog about the subject that seemed to come up was...

How do you homeschool AND work?

That is a common question asked of me.  We have been homeschooling since 2003.  I have always had a part time job.  But have been working outside the home part time since 2005. I have been very blessed to have an opportunity to bring my child (when I started only had one child) or children to work with me.

In 2003 we started homeschooling with Pre-K.  For the next 2 years I did home daycare. In 2005 I stopped doing home daycare and went to work outside the home. I started to work for a small family business that had the "office" inside the families home.

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When I started I worked 4 days a week from noon to 5pm. On Wednesdays I would teach co-op and make dinner at our church for about 60 people.   But the key word there is HOME.  I was able to bring Biggun to work with me and he had toys and books to play, the ability to go outside, watch tv or nap.

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Nap time at "work"

I would school in the morning before we went to work using and other hands on activities. At work there was an additional computer (boss's son) and if Biggun did not get his school done he could do it at work.  

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Playing outside at "work"

When I first started I only had the one child. That changed in 2007 and again in 2008.  I grew closer with this family that I called my boss and they became the God Parents to all three of my children. Their house became more child proofed then my own home. I could not ask for a better job.

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God Parents

After typed that last sentence I am reminded that I am VERY Blessed. I do have a second part time job. I am an independent contractor for the curriculum that we loved so much,  Not only am I able to bring my children to work with me but I am able to choose my own hours (I am a night owl) doing something I love, writing blogs and more.

My kids have only ever known homeschooling and me working. As my children age I am loving that I can school my oldest in the morning, one on one and then my littles (6yr and 4yr) I can school in the evening after dinner. Everyone loves the ability to do things on "OUR" time.  For our family homeschooling and working are two words that go together.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013


Well, this past week was definitely better than the week before but not by much.  After a monthlong construction hiatus, we had contractors in the house for most of last week.  No matter how hard I try, we don't seem to get much done when there is work going on downstairs.  At this point, I'm just happy anything manages to get done, for school and in the house.

School News

Adisson is really enjoying his science unit of electrical energy.  At one point, similarities of a battery and a magnet were discussed and that prompted the retrieval of our magnet kit and Snap Circuit set.  Adisson and his dad spent a lot of time building various circuits but our favorite was the one that became a radio with music coming out of the speaker.  Zander was more interested in the magnets so we'll be working on magnet lessons this week.  

Zander is getting better at his reading each week.  He gets really excited when we are out in public and he finds a sign that he can read by himself or part of the menu that he's able to understand.  I'm happy that his confidence in reading is growing.  This week we will continue our ongoing review of sight words and add in some discussion of syllables.  

Scout News

We've been very very very busy with Scouts over the last few weeks.  The boys are busy with projects: Adisson working on his Craftsman activity badge and Zander working on his Leave No Trace Award.  The Webelos Craftsman badge is one of the hardest to earn as it's the most time-consuming.  This week, Adisson will be working on two projects that involve the use of a saw.   Zander had to make a poster for his Leave No Trace Awareness project and it turned out amazing!!  I don't have a picture but I'll snap on this week to include here.

The Week Ahead

This week, school will likely be about the same as last week.  I'm hoping that construction here continues as I really want the house to get done soon.  We're all tired of the unfinished look and I'm ready for it to be done so our lives can get back to whatever normal that doesn't include construction.  We will also be working diligently on Halloween costumes!  I'm not sure if everyone has decided on their costume yet, but I'm pretty sure Zander is going to be a "pirate captain" and Jax is going to be a "pirate bird."  I'm pretty excited about both of those costumes because it means I get to make them.  

Stay tuned this week for an awesome guest blog post by my friend Brandy on how to juggle homeschooling with working.  It can be done!  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

One Good Week Followed by the Opposite

Well, that was short lived.

I shouldn't have been so excited about an awesome school week.  This past week was a MESS!  I had my treatment on Wednesday, Adam was off on Friday and we spent time getting ready for this weekend's big Cub Scout Camporee.  It was just not a productive school week and that makes me feel sad and defeated.

This weekend was so very busy.  Sometimes, being a large part of a leadership team is stressful and overwhelming.  I don't want to rant here as it will serve no purpose.  Instead, I can talk about my sons and how proud I am of them.  In the busy-ness of our day to day, it can be easy to forget that we have such awesome kids.  The daily arguments with little brothers or heavy sighs about chores can take a toll on a Mom.  But then, you see them as others see them.  And you're so thankful.

Adisson is a Cub Scout, through and through.  He embraces Scouts wholeheartedly and with sincerity.  He sets goals and goes about achieving them.  He's proud of his uniform and ensure he wears it correctly.  He takes his leadership role within our Pack, and inside his den, very seriously.  In fact, he gets upset when the boys in his den (the oldest kids in Cub Scouts) don't approach situations with the same amount of tact and dedication.

Adisson enjoying some kickball.

Zander, on the other hand, is a little different.  He often tries to wear his uniform the way he likes.  He's ready to participate and pay attention, but like most 6 year olds, he's not going to last for long.  He wants to hike....for a minute....then it's time to rest.  He'll play outside, but he'll ask when he's allowed to come back inside.  He argues about wearing his hat to a meeting, but then wants to wear it when we're out to run errands.  :)  But I love him and I love how so perfectly he is my Zander.

Zander catching some air while jumping rope.

Jax was pretty well behaved this weekend.  Sadly, I didn't get to spend much time with him.  He was often busy playing with the other little siblings while I took my Tigers around to each station and when I wasn't doing that, I was helping our Camp Chef cook four meals for 100 people on a $350 budget (and we did so rather fabulously!).

So how was school last week?

Well, it reminded me of those new to homeschooling days.  Days when you have great plans and nearly nothing goes the way you intended.  Days when you wonder if you made the right choice by keeping them home.

But even the days that aren't so great are still days I was home with my sons.  Having never sent them to public school, I can't imagine what it would be like if they weren't here.  So, even the weeks when few things went according to plan are still good weeks.

How I'm going to change it this week:

We're going to get it done.  :)

Adisson will be starting his science unit on electricity, finally.  He's also looking for a new book to read as he'll be finishing up Hatchet.  We're selecting from a list of books by homeschoolers.  There's several that look really good so we're having a hard time narrowing it down.  That's a good problem to have.

Zander will be working more on reading skills and math.  He's been rushing through his work too much so we also have to work on slowing down.  His handwriting is still a work in progress so we're concentrating on that as well with some printable worksheets.

It will be a better week.  It has to be.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I love it when things get done!

Ohhhhh, yeah!!

Some weeks aren't so great, some weeks are just ok, some weeks are a mess!

And sometimes....they are AWESOME!  

Nothing exceptional happened for us last week.  The house is still in disrepair.  We still have a rental van.  In fact, the upstairs HVAC unit is broken and Jaxon has had a fever for the last 24 hours.  So things are chaotic and messy.  But last week in our homeschool, every.single.task was completed.  I made a plan before school started on Monday, we worked on it everyday, and got everything done.  It feels amazing!

I have most of this week planned already but I'm not quite finished.  I would have liked to have completed lesson plans this evening, but Jax still needed some Mama time.  I'll get our plans finished up tomorrow before school gets underway.  I'm hoping my littlest guy starts feeling even better in the morning.  Due to no cool air upstairs and the threat of an overnight storm (which would mean closing the windows upstairs), we're all camping out in the living room tonight.  The boys are THRILLED!

Now for School News

Adisson's pretty excited to get science started this week.  We'll be talking about electricity and there are a few experiments that will be really fun for him.  We spent last week discussing the periodic table.  It was interesting for both of us but he was ready to finish it up because it was a little difficult.  We'll also continue learning about the War of 1812 this week.  It will be a good week for him.

Zander is really making some progress as he's learning to read.  He loves his Time4Learning lessons and cartoons and I think they are really helping him grasp phonics.  We've been working on Hooked on Phonics and BOB books after we're done with Time4Learning and he's doing much better with them than he has in the past.  He also had his first T4L science lesson last week.  He was excited because it was lesson on is it living or nonliving and mostly discussed ocean animals.  We spent a lot of time discussing ocean life on vacation so he was ready to answer all of the questions.

I Promise to Do My Best

This week is another busy week.  Cub Scouts keeps us incredibly busy.  Adisson's "homework" for his next meeting is to make something.  It just so happens that we purchased some Minecraft-like fleece last week for small throws for each of the boys.  We're hoping to get at least Adisson's done tomorrow.  And this weekend is our Fall Camporee!  We haven't been camping in several months so the boys are anxious to get out there...and as much as camping and I dislike each other, I'm excited, too!

In the meantime, I'm still living on my homeschool cloud of completion.  I know not every week will be like last week and that's definitely ok.  But every once in awhile, it sure is nice when it all gets done.