Thursday, August 31, 2006

Medieval Studies/Kings and Queens.

We're getting ready to do a medieval feast for our kings/queens middle ages unit and the preparations are under way. The kids are making tapestries and crowns and we'll get with my mom this weekend to make costumes. We are trying to plan a menu of foods that people really ate in the middle ages. The kids are going to hand write invitations on paper that we've tried to make look aged by dying it with coffee. We found a CD of medieval music at the library. I hope it turns out to be an event that they remember for a long time and enjoy. I'll try to post pictures if the person who took my camera cord from my computer ever brings it back. (Hint. Hint.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Today we got quite a bit accomplished in school. We are working in KONOS in the kings and queens/middle ages section under the obedience unit. We've been learning quite a bit. I went ahead and started my 3rd grader in Sequential Spelling which I hope will help his reading. It's funny how the youngest is the opposite of my 2 older kids. His reading is a bit behind and his math reasoning is out of this world. The other two kids are good readers but struggle a little bit with math. I'm getting a lot of good stuff for notebooking the middle ages unit here at Highland Heritage Forms. This is a great web site!

For lunch, I made beans and brown rice, which I haven't made for a long time and apparently it was quite interesting to the younger two kids. My youngest kept running into where his 13-year-old brother was reading and reporting things like "The rice is brown when it comes out of the package. You don't have to cook it for it to be brown." and "The beans are white." (They were great northern beans.) My older son takes this all in stride and makes remarks like "That's cool." and "That's interesting." He's going to be a great Dad some day. ;-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Winner?

My youngest son entered a contest run by a TV network to win an XBox. He actually won and it arrived today. An XBox 360 with 3 games. Unfortunately, only one of the games would play on the XBox 360 and it was one he does not like, some kind of basketball game. The other 2 were compatible only with the old XBox. We've had a very frustrated 8 year old around here this afternoon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Day Off.

The kids get a day off school today. DH and I are off work today and have some errands to run. (One of them is picking up our completed homestudy!) Mondays are like that though. It's my day off work and sometimes we get twice as much schoolwork done, it seems like, and sometimes we get nothing done, like today. Homeschool life is just like that, I guess. As long as we get our 180 days of school done this year, it will be fine. That's one thing I really like about homeschooling, the flexibility. So far, this year, we've done 11 days of school.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Purple Toes.

Friday, I was moving my younger son's bed and dropped a large part of it on my right big toe. The previous day my older son had been playing badminton and decided to move the big pole that held the net and dropped that on his right pinky toe (We don't use the dinky little net poles that come with it). Now each of us has a purple and very painful toe. We've been limping around and feeling sorry for ourselves. I don't think either of our toes are broken, just bruised. We decided in a very silly moment the other night that we would form a purple toe club and all you had to do to join it was drop a heavy object on your foot. So far, we've had no takers.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New schedule, day one.

It went pretty well, actually. There was a tiny bit of whining, but they did it. By 3:30, school was completely done. It was much, much better than the day before, when school was dragging on into the evening hours. I've also found a threat that works well, 10 extra chores. I told my youngest that he could whine about his work if he wanted to, but I was going to be making a list of the 10 extra chores I wanted done. He decided to quit whining and get it done.

We'll see how it goes next week.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A solution, maybe?

I decided that the kids needed a schedule, rather than just a list of things to do, to help them have an order to do them in and a time limit to have them done by, with consequences if they don't have them done in time. They have a scheduled time for breakfast and lunch, a scheduled time for PE, math, reading and KONOS and the consequences for not doing them on time will be either extra chores or loss of privileges. I just don't want my 8 year old doing his math at 9:00 p.m. again like he was last night. I want it done during the daylight hours!

Of course if you've been reading this blog, you know I'm always scheduling and listing and so far, we haven't been too good about getting things done on time. This schedule is simple and hopefully, that will help. I'll give you all an update in a week or two.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is it too soon?

Okay, it'll be 2 weeks tomorrow and I'm starting to get a case of burnout. Can that be possible? I'm already getting irritated at the kids for not doing what they need to do when I need for them to do it. I seem to be getting a lot of "I'll do that later." and while a lot of the things that they are doing are not bad things, they are just not the things that I need them to do so I can check them off as done. I'm getting frustrated with everyone Grrr. Actually, this sounds like just plain old frustration instead of burnout. I'm frustrated at the kids, at DH and at myself for procrastinating. We all need that procrastination book I procrastinated about getting last week.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Field Trip!!!

Here in Kentucky, going to the state fair is an excused absence from school, since school starts at least a week before the fair starts, these days, and school groups can get reduced price fair tickets. We got some from our homeschool group and made a trek to the fair yesterday. I hadn't been since I was a teenager. It is really something. We had a good time and at least the 2 younger kids want to go back today. My official position on that is "not unless your Dad takes you."

Here's a partial list of the things we did and saw: a rock climbing wall, an obstacle course, tropical fish (Nemo!), a giant kalidoscope, a giant world map, a giant globe hanging from the ceiling, a demonstration of extreme biking, several bands including 1 big name free concert, rides, fishing pond (for a prize), up close and personal to a police car, a helicopter, a city bus, army trucks and tanks and a tractor, pigs, goats, sheep, hatching baby chicks, pedal car racing and toured a portable history museum. We also saw a display of armor, swords and chain mail and the kids got to try them all on. The swords are surprisingly heavy.

Overall, it was very educational and very fun. I think we saw maybe 1/20 of the available things to see.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A little bit better.

I did a little bit of organizing today. Our kitchen table, where we do school, gets to be a mess very, very quickly. So today I got it a bit more organized. I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I went to the library on Friday and they have so many good books on the middle ages and I got tons of them. I also went online and found some really good printables for this week. While I was sick, I kind of felt like I just couldn't do it this year, but now that things are coming together a little bit and I'm feeling better physically, I'm feeling better about school as well.

I have an entry in this week's Carnival of Homeschooling. Check it out.

Friday, August 18, 2006

One Week!

We finished our first week of school and it was pretty good, mostly painless. We did have one hissy fit yesterday by a child who shall remain nameless and should know better ... but overall not too bad. Dad made the "do you want to go back to public school?" speech one time and hopefully that will be the only time we need to that this year. They don't want to go back to public school. I went through the whole range of emotions this week, feeling encouraged that we had gotten started and were learning some things one day, then feeling like I'm not doing enough the next day but that's normal, for me anyway. I do feel the need to add more grammar/language arts for my daughter and I will work on getting that done. Overall though, a pretty good start to our third (??) year of homeschooling.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Finally, we started school. Actually, we started Friday, but I didn't want to say anything since we were having such a difficult time getting started this year. I was afraid I'd jinx it. After much difficult decision making, I ordered A/O Lifepacs as the curriculum for my oldest son. He's starting high school this year and has outgrown the KONOS curriculum (officially, it's K-8). I didn't start him in the KONOS high school curriculum because he wanted some workbooks. He enjoys workbooks. He'll also be sitting in on our KONOS sessions in the afternoons with the younger kids. With that decision made, I feel much better.

I also didn't do the big house cleanup before school started like I planned because I wasn't feeling well. I've been to the doctor now and as soon as the antibiotic kicks in, maybe I'll start on that... Actually, I've added several chores to the kids daily lists and having them back on chore duty, which we neglected during the summer, will help. It feels good to be back into the routine.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mechanical Pencils.

I picked up some mechanical pencils at the grocery tonight. The kids love them. Personally, I don't. I'm always breaking the leads. Give me real pencils any day. Anyway, there were 24 pencils in the package. The kids figured out that they'd each get 8 pencils. The only problem was that some of the pencils were purple and our daughter is not crazy about the color people and our sons didn't want to look unmasculine. So, the boys opened the package and discussed this, then they went into the room where my daughter was and said "You are going to HAVE to take the purple ones, because we're boys and you're not."


Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Best Laid Plans ...

Well, we planned to, but we didn't start school yesterday. Things happened. Life got in the way. Today we already ahd a kind of a field trip planned ... well, actually, we were going to the pool, but we already had it planned and we didn't change it. So, school has not started here at our house. There's always tomorrow, I guess. I did go to the library and get a ton of really good looking books and we might even start reading one of them tonight.

I talked to one homeschool mom who said that she doesn't plan in advance, she just writes educational things down after they do them and I might just have to start doing that. We didn't do school yesterday, but the kids got out a giant box of legos and built things, built castles with the Klutz castle building cards and my daughter read a bunch of Shel Silverstein poetry to the boys while they were building. I'm not counting it as school time, but I don't think it was wasted time either. There was some learning going on.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"You'll Only Make Him Worse"

That was the comment we got from my youngest son's first grade teacher, the day we pulled him out to homeschool. We had started homeschooling our oldest that August and it was going well. We weren't really planning on homeschooling the younger two kids until they were ready for middle school. I had read an article about a family that had homeschooled just during the middle school years and really, that was our plan at first. It just snowballed from there.

My husband went to an odd work shift and was barely seeing the younger kids; homeschooling with the oldest was going well, and then the youngest started to hate first grade and started crying every day. Middle girl said she was doing okay, but she was in a split class 3/4 grades and I could see that she was starting to get lost in the shuffle there.

Things just seemed to be pointing towards homeschooling for everybody.

We told the kids that Friday would be their last day at school. Younger son told his teacher and she called me to tell me that pulling him out, as shy as he was, would only make his shyness worse and he'd never get over it. I had some sleepless nights over her comments, because she is a very good school teacher and I respect her a lot.

Turns out though, she was wrong. Last week, at VBS commencement, the leader asked if anyone wanted to come up and tell what they had learned. Youngest son's hand was the first one up. He got up, took the microphone, faced the audience without even the tiniest hint of shyness and explained to everyone what he had learned about ice worms, using words like "Fahrenheit" and "disintegrate". (They are interesting critters!)

This one incident probably doesn't prove the teacher wrong, but this has been just one in a continuing process of this child coming out of his shell, gaining confidence, speaking up and feeling proud of himself.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Starting School.

Tomorrow. That's the date we're starting school. We're a week later than the public schools in our area, but we needed a few extra days. We're ready now, at least for the younger 2 kids. We'll start together with my older son doing a review until we decide for sure what he's going to be doing. I ordered him a math curriculum book set from Alpha Omega Lifepacs and we'll start him on that. Then, we'll see. As you can tell, I'm intimidated a bit about him starting high school, but we'll get through it.

Now I just need to make a trip to the library for books on medieval times and just jump on in there and get started.

Wish me luck.

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Social Calendar.

My social calendar was a bit too full this weekend. A wedding, a baby shower and a birthday party in 1 weekend were just too much. The birthday party was very small, just "cake at grandmas" which is what my kids almost always choose now that they've been given a birthday budget, as it is the cheapest option. Grandma bakes cakes for free!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a few days of not dressing up and not doing too much of anything. We're going to the pool today, but I intend to lounge around and not do much.

I have been looking at my KONOS book and doing some planning, which for me includes jotting down library books to look for and materials to gather, but not too much else. I tend to just check things off in the book as we do them so that will be pretty easy. I will take some time later to type up an elaborate schedule that we'll follow faithfully for about 2 days and then forget about... okay, maybe we'll last a couple of weeks this time.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Yesterday, I was shopping on Amazon for some school supplies to go with our Kings and Queens unit. I have found the quickest way to shop is when I see something I like, I go ahead and put it in the shopping cart and then when I get ready to check out, I make final decisions about what stays in the cart, what I save for later and what I delete. Yesterday, while looking at books for school, I saw a book on procrastination. Boy do DH and I need that! I put it in the cart and went on shopping. Then, when it was time for the final sort, guess what I did with the procrastination book? I saved it for later, LoL. I realized what I had done as soon as I did it and got a laugh out of it. It shows that I really, really need that book!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is it Wednesday already?

We did not start school today. The county school kids did but we didn't. I worked and did some errands and the kids did their own thing, which included going out and playing badminton until they were very, very hot and then coming in to cool off. As soon as they cooled off, they were back out there again. I'm probably going to go out and play a game with them sometime soon, after the temperature drops a tiny bit. We're really in a heat wave here. (DH, if you're reading this, I would still like to put the pool up this year. Hint. Hint.)

The kids have really been on a badminton kick since they played at a friend's house a while back and they are getting pretty good. It's a good game that's cheap and easy to set up and it's good exercise, so I'm all in favor of it.

I am now thinking that we will start school next week. I really do want to get the house cleaned up and get the homeschool shelves a bit more organized before we start. We can catch up with the public school kids by not taking as long of a fall break or spring break. They take 2 1/2 weeks. I think it's a bit long anyway. We'll take a week and catch up with them. Contrary to what a lot of people believe about homeschooled kids, my kids have a lot of friends that they like to get together with during the breaks.

I'm trying to make a decision about the joining the local co-op classes. We did them last year, but it was a little stressful for me and I'm not sure I want to have that stress along with all of the other stress that I have? I can't decide.

Anyway, that's news from here. Summer is winding to a close and we are getting ready to start a Konos unit on Kings and Queens. Should be fun!


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