Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A little stressed.

I'm a little stressed today.  Some things are going on that I don't particularly want to talk about, so I won't.  In other news, school is going well.  Yesterday, the kids had to notebook sponges and echinoderms.  They did pretty well with it, my son still writing only the minimum but making some complicated flap books out of the printouts that he had looked up and printed.  He also copied and pasted the information into Microsoft word so that he could format it better.  So hey, science and computer covered for the day.     His spelling is also going well.  I'm doing Dianne Craft's method of having him look at the word with his eyes positioned up and to the left, take a mental picture of the word and then spell it forwards and backwards.  With the words we started with a couple of weeks ago, he remembers them pretty much perfectly now that he has taken a mental picture of them, so I'm hopeful that maybe I can teach this boy to spell.   We are starting to move onto some different words this week, while still reviewing the first list each day.   And, of course, my daughter is doing fine with all of her school work.  For writing, I'm going to dig out an essay book I bought last year and have her write her first long essay.  She's going to be so thrilled.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nothing much.

We don't have a lot going on around here.  It's kind of nice, for a change.  Yesterday, after church, we had breakfast for dinner and got in the pool for quite a while and it would have been great if I hadn't had one of those accident prone days I sometimes have.  I burned my arm while cooking the bacon and then dropped a full gallon pitcher of tea on my left next-to-big toe.  It's purple now.  My youngest son remarked that my toe now matches my purple toenail polish.  Hey, that's something I suppose.  Today, we did school and work and then spent some time trying to get the house presentable as we've got someone coming over tomorrow for a visit.  We really haven't had anyone over lately because we were doing that remodel and we had the laundry shelves in the living room, but when my friend said her husband could use some fallen wood to make furniture with and we have all those fallen trees from the ice storm, I just told her to come on over.  Today, we moved the laundry shelves back into the unfinished laundry room.  I've pretty much given up hope that it will ever be done anyway, so we might as well try and get back to normal as much as we can. 

The younger kids were funny tonight doing their math, trying to memorize the multiplication facts.  There was a lot of singing of the Schoolhouse Rock number songs, but unfortunately, they tend to remember the tune, but not too much of the lyrics.  Personally, the only part of the 9 song I can remember is the words "naughty, number nine."  which really does not help much when I'm trying to actually think what 9 x 7 is.  (I really have no idea where the kids get this!)  

So anyway, that's what's is going on at our homeschool, not too much, for a change.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More on Notebooking.

Amy asked for more about notebooking.  As far as these links that I have shared, I'm just using the freebies on each site.  I haven't purchased anything.  My youngest son is very resistant to any kind of structure, although (knock on wood) he seems to be getting over it somewhat, so I haven't been giving the kids anything but the topic.  Everything else is up to them.  The other day, I gave them the name of a person, George Washington Carver.  They wanted to know what to put on the page about him and I said "who, what, where and when", in other words, who he was, when he lived, where he lived and what he is famous for.  I want these pages to be very open ended, very much the kid's creation.  We've had to talk a little bit about quotes, documenting the source, etc., because I don't want them to get into any plagiarism.   Take a look at these notebooking pages on Pinterest and they should give you some ideas.  If your kids haven't done it before, you may want to print things out and later you may want to just give them a topic and see what they do with it.  Or not.  It depends on what you are trying to teach through the technique of notebooking.  A couple of years ago when we did it, I would read the science book we were doing and they would take a few notes, then when I was done reading, they'd do the notebooking page on what I had read about.  Now I want to focus on finding out things on their own, so I give them the topic and they can research it on the internet or they can use our books we have here at the house or we can use library books.

I'm thinking about adding challenges like giving them printables of different types of notebooking mini-books like these and getting them to make these.  I think notebooks are more fun when they have flaps to lift and little books to open to read more about the topic.  My kids have gotten into it a little bit this year and made some pop-up letters.  I hope as we go on, they will get into it more.  I think that the more I try to impose my ideas of how they should do it, the more they will resist, so I'm trying not to do to much of that. 

The pictures above are from several years ago.  I've lost my camera cord.  Again.  When I find it, I'll share some of this years notebooking pictures. 

I would like to add that whenever I assign a notebooking page, even if I give very detailed instructions, it never, ever looks the way I imagined it would look.  It looks the way the child wants it to look and other than asking about documentation, making sure it is factual, or correcting (very minimally) grammar and spelling, I leave their work alone. 

One last thing, if you are searching for notebooking, also look up lapbooking as it is similar. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Trying to get back into our rhythm.

We hadn't really established our rhythm with this year's homeschooling schedule and then we went to the state fair, which disrupted what little momentum we had.  Yesterday, we just could not get started and so both the kids and I took the day off.  I had some errands to do in town and so we all went together and did them and that's pretty much all we accomplished.  Some days are just like that and we always have trouble getting back into our work routines after a break.  It's a beautiful day, but I feel kind of blah.  Maybe I'll perk up when I get done working?  Let's hope so. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tiring but fun.

We went back to the fair yesterday, but we didn't last as long before we just got tuckered out.  I think the fact that yesterday was so much hotter had a lot to do with it.  We spent about 40 minutes walking around the midway with no shade and it just sapped our strength.  We looked at a few things, had dinner with my brother and met some of his co-workers and soon after that, we were ready to come back home.  So to recap our week, Monday we went to the fair for 9 hours and walked over 4 miles. Tuesday, we did work and school. Wednesday we went to the fair and walked more than 3 miles in the hot, hot sun and today, I don't know.  I am officially off work but I may go in to make up the lines (I am paid by the line of type, not the hour) that  I've missed this week or I may focus on the stuff I need to do at home and just type an extra hundred lines each day for the rest of the pay period.  As I sit here, already tired before I start today, that option seems better and better. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

State Fair!

We went to the state fair yesterday.  We were there for 9 hours and of course, didn't see even half of the things that were there to see.    It was so much fun!    I've gotten a little smarter over the years about moving the car at strategic times during the course of the day so we won't have to walk as much, but we still walked
12,963 steps according to my daughter's pedometer.  Luckily my new shoes did well.  I was a little worried that I hadn't had enough time to break them in before the fair.  I found a good snack idea online somewhere that I will share.  We put hot dogs in a thermos and after we'd been at the fair for about 6 hours we opened the thermos and checked the temperature of the hot dogs and they were 190 degrees, so some of us had a hot meal.  When I asked the kids what they learned at the fair they said that they learned that butterflies are cool, fair t-shirts are expensive and bunnies are really soft.  :-P   Hopefully, they learned a few other things as well. 

Monday, August 22, 2011


I've decided to change the 'science notebooking" to a kind of everything notebooking.  I'm going to throw biographies and history in there and possibly even vocabulary words and language arts, if I can figure out how.
Here's a good resource for biography notebooking pages.  Notebooking Pages   There is an extensive list of notebooking pages at this site.  They seem to be for younger kids because they have those handwriting lines, if you know what I mean, the ones with the dashed line to let you know how to form the letters. Here's a link to a page with some language arts pages.  I don't know if I'll use these.  I may just continue to give them a topic and let them create whatever they want but I might use these to give them a framework to build on. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Notebooking update.

School definitely went better the second week.  The science notebooking is going well.  I started them out with some things I knew that they already knew, kind of to make them feel smart and ease into it.  I also did not make my youngest dysgraphic son write.  I asked them to make pages of the classifications of animals, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, etc.  They had no guidelines other than the topic and they had to look it up and do a page on it.   My youngest was thrilled when I said that he could look things up, print them out and glue them to his page, because what I was concerned about was the ability to find information.  He seemed to enjoy his pages and kept showing people and reading off the main facts to them, thereby reviewing the information over and over.  :-)  I love notebooking for that very reason.  You don't often see a child who is proud of a worksheet.  "Hey look, I filled in this blank with the word phylum", but sometimes they do get excited over notebooking pages. We'll get more complicated with these as the year goes on.

Here's a kind of a how-to notebooking blog.  Science Notebooking.

Friday, August 19, 2011


We've finished our second week of school.   The "grounding" or whatever it is, is still working.  My youngest set his alarm and got up early today, finished his school work in record time and was able to go to work with me.  Since I work at my mom's house, he likes to go to grandmas with me, watch her TV and eat all her junk food at least once a week.  In the summer, it's not an issue, but once we start school, he usually doesn't get to go because he's not done.  I think it's cool that he planned ahead and got to come today.

Next week is state fair week and we are going to go at least once, maybe twice.  I'm excited, but I am a little worried about walking that much with the tendinitis in my foot.  I've got tickets to the fair, advance purchase ride tickets and I have printed out an itinerary.  Today at the grocery, I'm going to pick up some snacks to keep in the car so we won't have to spend a fortune on fair food.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shhh! Maybe I shouldn't say this ....

but the grounding seems to be working.   It's my day off so I'm home in the a.m. for the first time since I implemented the new grounded-till-you-are-done-with-school plan.    It's 11:40 a.m.   My youngest is a little more than halfway done with school and my daughter has gotten a good start.  Yesterday, afternoon, I kept asking them, "Isn't it nice to be done with school?" and they agreed that it was.  My job implemented a more strict schedule a few months ago and though I complain about it, I'm glad that it makes me get up, get there and get done earlier than I used to, so that I have the rest of the day to do as a choose.  Sometimes some imposed structure can be a good thing. 

It's actually a very silly grounding list, if you go back and look at it.  It includes things like "no mouth noises" and "no having fun' and "no looking at anyone who is having fun"  and "no talking".  They are actually doing their school while teasing and joking about it the whole time, as in "hey, stop looking at me because I'm having fun and you're not done with school yet!"  Nobody's upset about it at all.  Nobody's mad.  My youngest has found a loophole and informed me this morning that the list says "no mouth noises", but it neglects to mention "nose noises"  and so he's been happily nasal humming (that's the only way I can think to describe it!) the tune from Zelda all morning while he does his work. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grounding level 47 revisited.

Last night at around 10:00 p.m. when my youngest was finishing his schoolwork, I decided that I had had enough and I remembered the grounding level 47 post from a couple of years ago.  (Yes, it's quite silly, but they get the point!)  I made the decision that the kids are going to be considered grounded to this level every morning when they wake up and can't do anything basically until they get their school work done, other than eat breakfast.  The girl, who was not still working last night at 10, nonetheless, doesn't get started until usually 2 in the afternoon and finishes in the early evening, so she's included too.  If they aren't done with school in the afternoon when I run errands, they can't go with me so it frustrates me when I want to do something fun along with the errands and they can't.  The girl and I are still working on the presidential active lifestyle award and we need to do an hour of exercise every day.  Sometimes we like to go walking other places than our own street or go to a tennis court or something and since we started school back, scheduling this has been very difficult.  We'll see how this works.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My oldest son got his driver's license today!  I was afraid it wasn't going to go well because when we got there, there was no one else in line and no cones were set up. We thought maybe we'd written down the appointment time wrong.  We pulled into a parking space and waited and finally after what seemed like a long time but was probably only a couple of minutes, a young girl and a man with a clipboard drove up.  He handed her a paper and got out and came over to us and asked for our license and registration.  Whew.  They were doing the tests today but just with a different instructor than the one we met last time.  All went well, although my son had a little bit of difficulty parallel parking the Suburban (who wouldn't, right?) the instructor gave him a break and he passed.  My son gave me the thumbs up sign when I came around the car and I was so thrilled.  Now the next hurdle, job applications.  :-P

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week Two.

Let's hope that week two goes better than week one.   I reworked the schedule a bit, of course and over the weekend, I found a couple more resources that  we might use.  My husband was able to recover the documents from my laptop so I'll be able to use some things I've downloaded over the past year.  I still need to sort through those.   I found these French notebook pages, which I am aware are not an in-depth study of French, but they will get her started.  Here are the brain gym exercises we are doing.   It's kind of a slow, rocky beginning, but we'll get there.  One thing that is interesting, is that after whining extensively about notebooking, my youngest made a notebook and even decorated it with a drawing of a sword, so my thinking is that he doesn't hate it as much as he says that he does.  A mom can hope anyway. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of the week.

We survived the week.  I had what seemed like a million things to do today but I managed to get them done and now I'm just going to take it easy the rest of the day.  Refuel.  Recharge.  Rest.

Regarding what we are doing for notebooking and other things .. I don't know what decision my husband has made about the math, Teaching Textbooks versus Life of Fred.  I will let you all know, dear readers, when I know.  (Oooh, it's like a cliffhanger, only, not as interesting. :-)  I haven't spent any money on curriculum at all.  For writing for my daughter, I'm using an old college textbook of my husbands and things off the internet.  I'm going to take her through every kind of writing I can think of or look up and she's going to save them for a notebook/portfolio.  She's got a beginning French program that I checked out of the library and I'll take it back in a couple of weeks and get her something else.  She's going to be continuing the guitar course on DVD from last year.  For my youngest, we're doing brain gym exercises to hopefully help his left and right brains connect better because he seems, from everything I've read, to be really right-brained.  I've printed out spelling lists off the internet and for now, he's visualizing them, trying to commit them to memory and spelling them verbally.  He also needs to work on cursive handwriting.  We'll do grammar together, recycling the Grammar with a Giggle book from last year.  Together, we are going to do science notebooking to start and then history.  For science notebooking this week, I've just told them to make notebook pages for mammals, amphibians and reptiles.  As for how they do it, I'm not picky and I'm not helpful.  I'm not going to research for them or print anything out for them.  They can look things up on the computer and print, cut and paste, they can draw, they can copy things out of books as long as they name their sources ... I'm leaving it up to them.  So far, I've been pleased with their efforts. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Running on Empty.

It's not really been a good first week of school.  After my aunt's funeral this weekend and then my daughter's birthday celebrations, I think I started the school week with an empty tank.  I should've waited a bit, but I didn't want to get too far behind the public schools and then have to play catch-up all year.  So anyway, we started and it's been a bit stressful.  It's also been a busy week for chauffering people back and forth to things and tomorrow's going to be no exception.  I have to take my youngest to the doctor and I'll have to run my daughter's 4H entries up to the 4H office in another town.  I'll probably have to do one before work and one after work, just to get them both in.

Sorry about the whining today, but hey, just keeping it real.  I'm going to relax this evening and try to get myself rejuvinated for tomorrow. 

Amy, I'll share my notebooking ideas in another post, after I've managed to do them a few days with the kids and I can see how it goes over.  We've had such a week with math, spelling, brain gym and writing that we haven't even gotten to the science notebooking yet and tomorrow's not looking all that good either.  :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day three.

Well, day three wasn't a lot better than day two because the kids had another math assessment and that puts some of the children in a grouchy mood.  They got through it though.  I canceled pretty much all of the other things I had on my list because the math test took so long.  Soon, they will be sailing along smoothly (I hope) in the chosen math curriculum and I can start on some of the other things I want to do this year but there's no hurry.  It's not like my plans are very well solidified.  I can already tell that the schedule I typed up the other morning before coffee is going to need to be changed.  It would have helped if I could have looked at last year's schedule, but my laptop has recently died and last years schedule is one of the many things that is lost, along with some of the things I had downloaded from Currclick and planned to use this year.  Oh well.  That's the way things usually go it seems.  Still, I've been doing this long enough to realize that a rocky start doesn't doom the rest of the year.  We'll find our rhythm.  Probably right before Christmas break.  :-P 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Worst. Ever.

My youngest said that yesterday was the worst second day of school ever.  The math test.  The spelling.  It was awful.  Of course, if he had started on it early instead of playing 3 games of HeroScape and then inventing his own board game and going outside and listening to an audio book, among other things, he might not have been finishing school at 10:30 last night and missing screen time.  I'm just saying ...  I hope today is better. 

So since I had not done any planning or purchasing or much discussing of what we are going to do this year, let me fill you all in on what we are doing.  Okay, I'm not totally sure myself, but what we are starting with is writing for the girl, which will include all the types of writing, paragraphs, essays, journalistic writing, letter writing and all that.  She also will be taking French and for that I'm going to just check various French language resources out of the library for now.  She'll be doing guitar, with the DVD that we purchased last year.  She's about halfway through it so that works out.  We'll also be doing science notebooking together. 

For the youngest, the boy has got to learn to spell and to write legibly.  That will be the focus.  We are doing some brain gym exercises and working on the Dolch spelling words, practicing handwriting and working a bit on grammar, oh yes, and also on typing in case the handwriting thing doesn't work out.   We'll see how it goes and add things in from there. 

Monday, August 08, 2011


We're starting school today.  I was talking to the other moms on the field trip the other day and several of them were making that their first day back to school.  It breaks our rule of not starting back until after my daughter's birthday, but since it was a fun and educational field trip, my daughter didn't mind.  My husband was planning to do some math assessments to see what he needs to order anyway, so we decided to just go ahead and actually start school today, beginning the math curriculum with the tests to see how much they retained from last year.  My husband is looking at 2 different math curriculum possibilities, Life of Fred, which the kids did last year and really liked (you know, as far as math goes) and Teaching Textbooks, which seems to be more thorough to the adult eye, but you never know.  Anyway, he's going to test them and as my youngest son says "If we do good, we get Fred and if we do bad, we get Teaching Textbooks".  I'm really not as prepared as I usually would be, but I think we'll be okay.  I wrote a checklist for the kids today and put it on the wall and we'll see how it goes.  If it doesn't go well, of course we'll change it. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

An interesting conversation.

At the funeral the other day, I talked to my next door neighbor.  I don't really see him that often to get to talk.  He walks on the road a lot and I wave at him when I go by.  Our driveways are close and we share the same garbage container box but we both have really long driveways and our houses aren't actually very close.  Anyway, apparently he has been curious about the fact that we homeschool and his question was this, "When it snows, do you make them keep working or do you give them the day off?".  I think it's kind of a cute question and I told him that since we only get maybe 1 or 2 really good sleighriding days a year, I give them the day off and we make it up the last of May or the first of June.  He apparently thought that this was a good policy and volunteered the hill beside his house for the kids to sleighride on.  It looks like it would be very good for this and he said they were welcome to come over any time.  I think it's interesting that we are the only homeschooling family that the people around here know.  I don't know anyone else in our neighborhood or church who is homeschooling.   I guess we're kind of homeschool ambassadors here?

A day of rest.

I am taking the day off from most things today.  I slept in.  I'm piddling around on the internet, looking at my email and blogging.  :-p   I have been so many places and done so many things for the past 2 days and although I'm not really all that physically tired (thanks to going gluten free and working out for 2 hours every day for the past month,) I am emotionally tired or something like that.  I am going to go out later to my mom's to share some birthday cake and then to take my niece home, but that's pretty much it for the day.  I'm even going to make my daughter and niece make the birthday cake.  My daughter wants a chocolate cherry cheesecake trifle so that is what she is going to have.  To make this, bake a chocolate cake (in our case, gluten free so mom can have some), and layer it in a trifle bowl (or any bowl) with Philidelphia's premade cheesecake filling and a can of chocolate covered cherries.  It's yummy. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011


I survived the funeral today, but I feel as if my life force or blood or something has just been drained out of me.   I've still got to work today and go pick up my niece to come for my daughter's birthday sleepover.  I'm trying to work and I keep getting the worst doctors and physical therapists to type for.  It's really stressing me out even more.  I will be glad when this weekend is over.  Even though the rest of the things I have to do should be fun and festive, I just don't feel like doing anything.  I hope my daughter manages to have a good 15th birthday despite me.


Friday, August 05, 2011


I was browsing the internet while having my coffee this morning and found a couple of interesting things.  Spelling game. (although this is a link from Great Britain and there may be some words that are spelled differently.)  I also found a free homeschool spelling course.  Basic Cozy Spelling Course.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to use with my youngest.  I'll probably throw a bunch of things at him and see if any of them work.  :-)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Some bad news.

My aunt passed away yesterday, very suddenly and ironically of exactly the same thing that took her husband 5 years ago, an abdominal aortic anersym.   So this weekend, we're going to be trying to figure out how to balance visitation, the funeral and my daughter's 15th birthday celebration.  My emotions are going to be all over the place.  There's no visitation today, so we are going to go to the skating rink as usual. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Time In!

My youngest son got in trouble on Friday.  My oldest son was gone to his cousin's and my daughter and I went to the grocery, leaving him home.  When we came back, we found him on my oldest son's computer playing a video game.  Now it wasn't an unapproved game or anything, but it also was not screen time.  He expected to lose the equivalent amount of screen time that evening, but I threw him a curve and gave him a month of Time In, which basically means that he's lost his home alone privileges and now has to go everywhere I do, no matter how boring, for a month.  He also can't take his Nintendo DS anywhere we go because it's grounded too (although, really, it wasn't doing anything wrong :-P).  This has been interesting so far as he's had to go chauffeuring with me several times for the older kids and he's starting to realize just how much of that I do.  It's going to be a long month for him as his sister and I have planned some trips to fabric stores and craft stores.  :-)

Monday, August 01, 2011

What a day.

It's not even noon yet and I have had such an eventful day.  I took my son for his driver's license testing.  We waited for almost an hour and finally, when it was our turn, we found out that the proof of insurance we had in the car was out of date.  We had to leave our place in line and go to the insurance office and get a current proof of insurance.  Then, when we got back, we found that 3 other cars had gotten in front of us, so we had to wait again.  Then, my son didn't pass because of something called the turnabout maneuver, which he hadn't remembered from his book and I really don't think I've ever heard of, so we had to reschedule in 2 weeks.  Very frustrating, but our own fault.  :-(


Related Posts with Thumbnails