Sunday, September 30, 2007

Something tells me

my daughter has been using my digital camera again. Remember how I said she likes to take extreme close-ups of our pets?

I think this is Zoey's nostril.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Plans for today.

Today's plans involve cleaning up this messy house, doing school and work. Gosh that sounds fun. Our study of American History has brought us as far as the war of 1812, so we'll be studying that today. I'm off to find free printables on the internet.

My youngest is coping with being grounded fairly well, I guess. I suspect that the older two kids are taking pity on him and playing with him more. He's a little desperate for entertainment I think, because I'm pretty sure he was playing Barbies with my daughter the other day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday!

My oldest is turning 15 today. I am in complete denial. How could this have happened so quickly? It doesn't seem that long ago that he couldn't say his "Y" sounds and told me "My father is not listening to lou" and "I love lou". So cute.

I love lou too. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


We went to the park with our homeschool group, a group of people that I have truly grown to love. The only problem was, we were plagued by yellowjackets a little bit. They attacked my lemonade pitcher and finally, I just put it on another table and let them have it. We homeschool moms had a really good time discussing our struggles with schooling our children to people who really understand. We concluded that although it's not always easy, it is worth it. And, having had my kids in public school, I know that really it's not much more work than that. Sometimes my kids would have 4 hours of homework in public school (which probably would have only been 1 hour if you subtracted the 3 hours of whining, but I digress).

Anyway, we had a good time and at the end of the playground time, one other family and our family went on our first Letterboxing adventure. A letterbox is a plastic box with a notebook and a rubber stamp in it. The person who hides the box puts clues on the letterboxing web site so that others can come and find the box. They are supposed to bring a compass and their own rubber stamp. They follow the clues (like a treasure hunt) and find the box (hopefully) then sign it and put their rubber stamp in it. They take the box hiders rubber stamp and stamp their own letterboxing notebook, which is a record of all the letterboxes they've found.

Our first experience with this was very fun. We didn't have either a compass or a rubber stamp (I left it at home) but we set off anyway. We followed clues in the park past some silos, past a deer enclosure, up a trail to a sign that said 'shortcut' and then walked 16 paces and looked to the left for a teepee of trees and then followed the rest of the clues to the box. We had to dig it up from under a log! We all signed it and carefully hid it back where it was, then we updated the letterboxing website that this box has been found and is still there. A treasure hunt that I didn't have to make up and hide the clues for. How cool is that?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Doing what you say you'll do.

This is a hard one for both the parents and the kids. My youngest has had 'take a shower' on his list of things to do and always says "I'll do it later". Last night I got thoroughly fed up with his procrastinating and saying I'll do it later and I said "okay. I'll leave you alone, but if it is not done by bedtime, you're grounded for 2 weeks." Guess what. It was not done by bedtime. That kid gets to watch TV and play video games again in on October 9. I'm not sure what we're going to do about Saturday morning cartoons, since he lives for those and it is the new season. I might let him watch those and then get off of grounding say on October 10? The constitution does protect us from cruel and unusual punishment, after all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nothing to write home about.

We did do school today, but it was not all that exciting. We read a little about Lewis and Clark, did a little activity on Sacajawea and then did the usual math, reading, and all that, but for notebooking, we just did a coloring page. I just felt kind of blah all day. I was tired from working all weekend I guess. Hopefully, the rest of the week will go a little bit better.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Notebooking. (Can you tell I'm proud of them?)

I've got work downloading from my job, but I'm taking this little break to share some more notebooking pages. These are all my daughter's more recent ones. I'm not sure what my youngest has done with his notebook at the moment; (I worked from morning to night yesterday and the house is upside down) but here are hers. She's doing such a good job on them. The bonus with notebooking is that they are neat enough to get shown to people and every time they get shown to someone, it ends up being a review. I heard my daughter telling her dad all the battles of the Revolutionary War when she was showing him her pages earlier and he was quizing her about what the stamp act and the intolerable acts were. Cool.

The top one is the word Revolutionary and she's made a kind of a crossword with the battles of the war going across the word Revolutionary. The second one is a lift the flap page about the constitution. The third one is an illustration of the 3 branches of government, judicial, executive and legislative with drawings of the white house, the capital and the supreme court. If you click them, they'll enlarge. I'll try to get some better pictures.

* These are supposed to go in a 3 ring binder but my daughter doesn't like that they are "bumpy" and so, keeps hers in a drawer in the little plastic homeschool organizer thingy we got this year. My son's are in a binder. I can't comment in the regular comments section for some reason.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Zoey and Sammy's bad day.

Zoey and Sammy (our kittens) were both neutered the day before yesterday. Today, they seem fine, although they are both sleeping a lot. Zoey has decided that she wants to sleep on top of our cat carrier that my daughter left outside on the deck, once she had smashed it flat. Her little belly looks pitiful, but she's still cute as can be. One of the ladies at the vet's office just fell in love with our little Zoey and kept talking about how cute she is.

As for me, I'll be working all weekend, as long as there is work. Blah!

Friday, September 21, 2007


For the third day in a row there's hardly any work in any of my transcription accounts. This is not the first time this has happened, but it is the longest stretch. The bad part is that this also happened last week and the week before. There will probably be work this weekend, but it's very difficult to do a week's worth of work on a weekend.

I wrote a resume this morning.


I wish I didn't have to, that I could just take a break for a while. But I can't.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A report about the beginning of our country.

This is a report that youngest son did on the beginnings of our country today.

"George Washington was the first president. Before that, he was a general in the revolutionary war. Before that, he was a spy and a delegate.

Napoleon was the emperor in France. The Indians were getting kicked out of their own land. People could still have slaves. The presidents were not completely in control. Oh yeah, and the letter J was not a letter

We went on a field trip to Locust Grove this week (an old house) and the guide told the kids that the letter J was not in a sampler hanging on the wall because it didn't exist yet. I told him I don't think that's true, but he is determined that it is because the guide told him. I need to look that up.

A few more notebooking pages.

What's cool about notebooking is that you have this book to look through and that works as kind of a review. My youngest is trying to make each page pop up or otherwise be 3 dimensional, so his notebook is a pop-up book.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How we do our unit studies.

When we started homeschooling, it didn't take long for me to decide that I wanted to do unit studies. All 3 kids can work together on the same project for at least part of the day. That helps when you have 3 different ages. I started with Konos and we did love it. Some of our best memories of homeschooling will be from Konos. I still have the books, although I'm not using them right now, I will probably use them again, maybe after Christmas. I have also been a fan of the Homeschool Estore for a while now and I have gotten some free units from there that I have enjoyed very much. I downloaded a unit from Christian Cottage on the ocean last January and we had a great time with that. Then, I ordered the units on the Americas. We had a great time with South America and Central America but it kind of leaves off after the Revolutionary War. So, what I'm doing this year is using my son's 9th grade American History textbook as a spine and using other activities with it sometimes.

For example, I read the chapters on the American Revolutionary War and the forming of the new government (my kids actually like me to read stuff like this to them). We've watched Johnny Tremain on video. We read The Magic Treehouse Revolutionary War on Wednesday and now we're listening to a book about George Washington as a spy. We've used a map page out of the Christian Cottage unit, we've done coloring pages from and other sites. I searched for and found a lesson plan and song about the Bill of Rights, we've done notebook pages on the 3 branches of government, a crossword puzzle about the constitution, a word search about Benjamin Franklin - all of which I've found on-line, a coloring page of George Washington. We did quilling which is a form of paper art from the colonial period and drew our silhouettes on black paper (see pictures further down the page) which was also a colonial art form.

With the book as the spine, I read a bit, take a few little notes and do an internet search such as 'coloring page George Washington" or "lesson plan George Washington" or "George Washington printable" or "George Washington worksheet" or "art colonial america" or "music colonial america". You get the idea.

I usually plan in the morning for the afternoon, I'm THAT organized, LoL.


We are notebooking American History this year. We use a variety of sources, some are from this site, Notebooking Pages, and some are from the homeschool estore. A lot of times, we just write and draw what we've learned about. I say "we" because it seems to go better if I just join in and make one too. They don't copy mine, but my doing something instead of just sitting there watching them, seems to get them started. Older son doesn't do the notebooking. He's never liked it, so he goes off and answers the questions at the end of each chapter in the book.

More notebooking pages.

Notebooking pages.

What we do and how we do it.

One of my wonderful commenters asked about what we do and how we do it.

We've tried everything in our 3 years of homeschooling and this year, we seemed to have settled into something that works for us reasonably well. It's not perfect. Flexibility is the key. I'd like to get up every morning, gently clean my already spotless home, fix a nutitrious breakfast for my eager-to-learn, whine-free children and begin studies, during which we learn 3 foreign languages, make great works of art and advance science 100 years into the future, but that's not what happens.

On Mondays I print lists for everyone for the week. Youngest son's is something like this.
1. Eat breakfast/breakfast dishes to sink.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Exercise. (30 push ups, 30 sit ups, 30 leg lifts etc.)
4. Shower.
5. Chores.

1. Unit study/notebooking (all 4 of us together. We're working from my oldest son's 9th grade American History textbook and supplementing it a lot. That way he gets a credit for the work and we get something to all do together which we enjoy.)
2. Math. (younger 2 kids and me together. At this point oldest son goes off to do the rest of his high school work.)
3. Spelling.
4. Writing.
5. Reading. (At this point, my daughter goes off to do her own reading and extra assignments while I work on reading with the youngest.)

In the mornings, I work on medical transcription, exercise (hopefully), clean the house (what little it gets), shower, do my blog and get printouts and things ready for the unit study and afternoon activities while the kids do their lists on their own. (Dad is usually home in the mornings and can oversee them a bit.) I don't cook breakfast. The kids are on their own. They generally have cereal or toast. We do lunch between the morning and the afternoon lists. I sometimes cook lunch and sometimes we have sandwiches or leftovers. The two younger kids are in the same spelling curriculum and the same math curriculum. They're at different levels in the spelling, but the same level in the math. It makes it easier.

When school is over, that's when we run errands, usually about 4:00 p.m., although occasionally, we do stay home during this time. The kids participate in our homeschool group for field trips and park day (usually on Mondays), Awana, skate nights and game night at the library.

So anyway, this is what we do and how we do it. I started with easier lists for the kids in August and this month, I've added some more chores. I plan to add to the list a little through the year and get in more art and more science. I use the internet a lot for printables and notebooking (more on that in another post) and use Netflix sometimes for DVDs that are related to our studies. We also use a lot of library books and do read-alouds every night before bed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A couple of things.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up. I always find this interesting to read.

As for us, we're getting back into routine after the weekend. I've printed new worklists for everyone and we are, hopefully, going to get those done. Can't you just feel my enthusiasm? It's palpable isn't it?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Listening to something wonderful.

My older 2 kids are watching something 'scary' on TV, an old episode of McGyver. Youngest son is hanging out in my office/bedroom with me and reading to me from a book, Ricky Ricotta Vs. Voodoo Vultures From Venus. It's so nice to hear him reading and enjoying a book.

Not a plague of locusts ... but

We went to the historic house Locust Grove, in Louisville. It was a mildly interesting tour. The gardens were lovely. The day was breathtakingly beautiful, not too hot. We sat down for a potluck picnic under the shade trees. The kids finished eating and ran off to play and the parents were still eating and enjoying ourselves very much. Then suddenly several of the kids started screaming and crying. They had gotten into a yellow jacket nest, I guess. 5 or 6 of the kids were stung, one poor little guy had a yellow jacket in his ear! It was pretty awful. We packed up everything and left and that was the end of that field trip. Locust Grove has a Revolutionary War reenactment in October that sounds like fun and I had thought we might go. Maybe the yellowjackets will be hibernating (or whatever they do in winter) by then?

To all my readers ...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments on my post yesterday. I feel so encouraged! Now I'll probably blog so much you might wish I'd stop! I've got to hurry this morning because we're going on a field trip to Locust Grove in Louisville. We were just talking about George Rogers Clark the other day in our studies, so hopefully a trip to his sister's house will make history 'come alive'. I didn't plan this trip, it's with our homeschool group and it's a substitute trip because the other trip we had planned today fell through, but it wouldn't have fitted our study and this one does. Cool, huh?

Anyway, I've got to get in the shower, but thanks again for helping me know I'm not 'talking' to myself. ;-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A few things.

I tell you, I've kind of lost my spirit for blogging now that I've lost my best reader/commenter. I miss Henny Penny and all her other aliases. It's difficult to feel that one is talking to oneself, but here goes anyway.

Earlier today one of our kittens was playing with 'half a mouse' as my daughter described it. I asked which half and she said "the back half" in other words,
"a mouse butt." This was funny to us at the time.

Later on, my oldest son was complaining about his socks. He's very picky about socks. I guess this was an older pair, washed many times and maybe we hadn't used enough fabric softener. He said that they felt rough and kind of "crunchy". My youngest, on hearing part of this conversation said "You gotta wash your socks Dude!" LoL. He's just recently started throwing the word Dude into a lot of conversations. It's funny!

Tomorrow we have a field trip so I don't really have to do any planning for that, other than picking up peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches, which I've already done, but maybe I'd better do some planning for Tuesday? Then again, maybe not. It's my day off and maybe I should just enjoy it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Studying American HIstory

These are some web sites I have found useful in our American History study so far.

Fun book about space, not related to our unit, but might be good for someone else.

We've progressed up to the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution in our study.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I can't believe it's Thursday already. The days are just zooming by. September's almost half over. How does this happen? We're plugging right along with American History. We just finished studying the battles of the American revolution and will start on the formation of the new government.

I'm still not doing very well with my lists and my motivation. I did exercise yesterday, but it's been kind of hit and miss. Maybe today will be the day I jump back up on the bandwagon. Don't hold your breath though.

Yesterday, my youngest son stubbed his toe, not too long after he had scraped his leg on the exercise bike. He said "My lower half is not having a good day today."
Hopefully, his upper half was. LoL.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sleeping Late

I didn't sleep well last night and ended up sleeping later than usual this morning. My youngest son and I were discussing this and he said "I sleep until my dream goes off and then I wake up."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

It seems like not that long ago ...

My youngest nephew was born, but today we celebrated his first birthday. He's a cutie. Here's a picture we took of his chubby little hand on Easter weekend. Is that cute or what?

blog picks 002

I cannot even think about the fact that my oldest nephew is going to be 16 on his next birthday. That does not seem possible.

Cranberry Apple Juice.

My daughter asked her Dad to pick up some of this juice at the grocery last night. He shopped late and when we got up this morning, the cran/apple juice was in the fridge, but you could tell it had been opened and a little bit taken out. My daughter said "I think Daddy tasted the juice last night. I hope he didn't like it."


Saturday, September 08, 2007

What we're reading.

It has nothing to do with our unit study, but it's laugh-out-loud funny.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Getting back into the routine.

This week was kind of divided by our trip. We were in Cincy on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, I was so tired I declared it a "snow day" although really it was our labor day holiday because Monday and Tuesday we were doing educational things and those days counted as field trips; 2 of the 10 noninstructional days Kentucky allows

Anyway, these 2 days we've been back doing school have been good quality days. We've been studying the pre-Revolutionary War period of American history. We read the Magic Tree House book about Thanksgiving. We also did a mini-unit study called Rose of the Mayflower that I got from the Homeschool Estore, which included a discussion about why salt water is not good to bathe in. We're doing a science experiment to grow salt crystals. Our daughter has been enjoying writing in cursive this year and has been doing a lot of copywork by her choice. She hated cursive last year, so this is a nice change. Youngest son has finally had something click in reading and read his first chapter book yesterday - one of ones in the Ricky Ricotta series.

Oldest son is still plodding through the 2 subjects from Alpha Omega he didn't finish last year; Language Arts and Science. Honestly, I don't think it is his fault he's so slow at these. The Language Arts book, when I open it and start reading, just makes my brain numb. It's confusing and annoying. Still, he's on book 5 of 10 and he's going to have to finish it. His other subjects, Algebra from Key Curriculum Press, Computer Basics from Christian Light and American History are going well.

The picture is from a park near Cincinnati that is a farm with a petting zoo and playground. We were there Tuesday.

The Menu.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Getting back to real life post vacay.

Vacation is over and now we need to get back to real life. We took our Labor Day holiday yesterday, since Monday we were at the Renaissance Faire learning all kinds of things. That counted as our first field trip of the year. Tuesday, we visited a farm and petting zoo. That was our second field trip day of the year. Yesterday, we just needed some down time so we took it. Today, we'll start school again. I need to print out everyone's checklists and get going on mine.

The Renaissance Faire resembled the Kentucky State Fair in a few ways. There were rides but at the Renaissance Faire, they were human powered. There were demonstrations and shows. We saw a very funny sword fighting show and a glass blowing demonstration. They also have a lot of foods on a stick, just like the Kentucky State Fair's Pork Butt on a stick, except the Renaissance Faire had Steak on a Stake and Cheesecake on a stick, which I didn't get because I was stuffed from breakfast at IHOP, but I would have liked to have seen that.

I have tried to post a picture of the sign that said "cheesecake on a stick" about 100 times and blogger will not let me post it. Probably my internet connection is too slow and it's timing out. I'll try one more time and if it doesn't work, then you'll just have to imagine it, I guess.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We're back!

We took a mini-vacation or vacay as the kids call it, to Cincinnati. We got back last night. It was fun. We went to the renaissance fair in Harveysburg.

I can't seem to put my thoughts together on the trip and therefore, this blog entry is starting to sound like a report from a fourth grader on 'What I did this summer." Here's a lovely picture of me and the kids, since I seem to put 2 words together this morning.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Step on a crack ...

We went to the grocery store today to get some distilled water for the lizards. My youngest was not stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk and saying "step on a crack, break your mother's back". Then he said, "I guess if she stepped in a big enough crack, she'd break it herself." Do you think he's implying that I'm a klutz?

I thought we had a pretty nice day. We went to see the new house our friend bought. We packed and cleaned for a little mini-trip we're taking tomorrow and I worked. Later on this afternoon though, the same son said "This has been the most boring Saturday. It's been as boring as a Tuesday." I never thought that Tuesdays were all that bad?

Bubble Gum.

Yesterday, we were at Wal-mart (pretty much an every other day event) and my youngest decided to spend some of his allowance/snack money on a huge gumball. It was so big, he couldn't close his mouth when he had it in his mouth. As I may have mentioned before, the boy is quite a talker. Sometimes when he's talking for about half an hour straight, with no pauses, about Yu-Gi-Oh cards or something like that, it gets a little tiring for the listener. My oldest son has experienced this too.(He used to be the same way when he was little!)

Anyway, yesterday, my youngest put that gumball in his mouth, then took it back out and said "I'm not going to be able to talk for a while, while I'm chewing this up." My oldest son and I looked at each other meaningfully, knowing we were thinking exactly the same thing. We're going to have to stock up on those giant gumballs.


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