Friday, April 20, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 34 - Just the Highlights

Saturday's highlights started with a library book sale. Who doesn't love browsing books and coming away with an entire paper grocery bag full for just $5? We find a lot of fun books this way. Mid-morning was the weekly grocery shopping trip. It's always amazing to me just how much food I need to get to feed my family for a week.

Makayla and Colton
If you ask Makayla what Saturday's highlight was, she would say going to prom.

She found a great dress, a cute date, and they had dinner with friends and went dancing. How is my daughter already old enough for this?!

Sunday we started the day with church. That evening was the family birthday party for April. This month happens to be my husband and my birthdays. He turned 40 this week and at the end of the month I will be 37. We had chocolate ├ęclair, lemon ├ęclair and no bake cookies.

Monday the weather moved back to cold and snow. We hit the homeschool week hard and then had lunch a little early. Then we surprised the kids with a trip to the bowling alley at noon for Family Home Evening.

Today was the first day of their Kids Bowl Free program in our area. Every day between now and September our kids can bowl 2 games for free. We also paid for the family pass ($30) so that Jason and I, as well as Makayla, who is too old for the program, can bowl 2 games every day with the kids. The only cost is shoe rental, but we find it is much cheaper to just buy bowling shoes online and pass them down to younger kids as feet grow.

The day only got better because a surprise science kit arrived. It has been years since we have raised caterpillars and watched them change into butterflies. We've got 10 little caterpillars in the house now from Insect Lore.

Tuesday it was still cold and snowing off and on. It was a perfect day for a slow start to homeschool, lots of reading aloud (Esperanza Rising), and playing all sorts of board and card games.

Wednesday we rocked through homeschool before the kids insisted we open up our Art for Kids Hub membership and do some drawing tutorials. We had kids draw Black Panther, a scorpion, and pea shooter from Plants vs. Zombies. In the evening was the usual Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and youth group.

Oliver's current reading book.

Thursday I didn't get any notes written down. I know we had a pretty typical homeschool day. Mason had physical therapy. Oliver was telling me about the book he is currently reading while I made dinner. That's really all I remember!

Friday kicked off with a few kids sleeping in and others diving into school right away. Mason is working hard on his handwriting. He's had a lot of challenges with fine motor control that relate to his spina bifida and other diagnoses. When we started this school year he couldn't draw a circle or a straight line. Really. Everything was super wobbly and difficult. While he still has a ways to go, I was so proud of him today. This week he has been doing some drawing one on one with me, because it is another way to work on his fine motor control that doesn't feel like "we're doing handwriting' to him.

He's been fascinated with the circus ever since we say The Greatest Showman so today he requested we do a circus drawing. One thing I've learned is that you can't give him the option to erase! He needs to write or draw with pen, marker, or a pencil with no eraser. If erasing is an option he will erase over and over to get things just right. When he knows he can't erase, like with the markers he drew this tent with, he just does his best and accepts it.

Late in the morning Joseph started packing for his campout. He packed his food, including making 40 cinnamon rolls from scratch. We ate part of those for lunch today, he packed some for breakfast on the campout tomorrow, and the rest will be eaten as a snack by the family. Grandma came too visit in the afternoon. We had a lot of fun talking and laughing.

It is now nearly bedtime. Joseph is off to his campout. Makayla is out watching another play that two of her friends are in. We're heading into the weekend and it's time for some relaxing!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 33

I haven't been great at getting pictures but I'll sprinkle a few in with captions.

Mason peeling oranges as a lunch
helper one day this week.

We started the week out with Monday off of school. #perksofhomeschooling Jason had an appointment in the morning. Before he returned home Mason and I left Makayla in charge of the siblings and headed into the big city to visit the wheelchair vendor. We picked up a seat cover (warranty replacement) and he had the technician do a couple adjustments to his chair, including lowering the seat back.

In the afternoon we did some family projects organizing things (closets, laundry, a bit of the attic). For Family Home Evening we did round 2 of the General Conference Jeopardy game. This time I had Emma as my accomplice. She was tasked with passing out candy whenever an entire column/category was finished. We didn't explain to the rest of the family the key to getting candy passed out. It was a fun evening!

Rebekah is smiling and laughing now.

Tuesday I was up and exercising with my Fit2Be membership - I love their Roku channel. It makes my life easy. As kids got up and moving we did our homeschool work. Caleb was excited today to draw a porcupine. He really enjoys using Draw Write Now for his copywork. Each week he draws a picture from one of the books. Then on a different day or two he writes the four lines of copywork that go with that picture.

While the kids did piano lessons I baked our extra large pizza pan full of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough. It made the house smell delicious. It became our movie snack because today our dvd of The Greatest Showman arrived. We turned out the lights, closed the curtains, and dove in to the music and story.

My oldest daughter and oldest son.

Wednesday was a pretty typical day. Exercise at 6am. Homeschool all morning. Makayla worked 8 hours. People sang and danced along to The Greatest Showman - because it is that good. Food was prepared, eaten, and cleaned up. There was Cub Scouts and youth group.

When I have lots to do as a mom
I love bringing Rebekah along
in my Ergo baby carrier.
Thursday started at 4:45am when Rebekah woke up and decided it was a great time to poop, the silly baby. Once she was back to sleep at 5:30am I headed downstairs for some quiet exercise time. Makayla was on her way to Seminary already and it wasn't quite 6am when the other kids started waking up and trickling down the stairs for the day. Homeschool was off and running after breakfast. Makayla took Joseph to his orthodontist appointment instead of babysitting the rest of the kids, then they went to the grocery store and picked up a few things. This having teens and a teen with a driver's license is interesting and pretty great sometimes!

By lunch time it was heating up outside and by evening the temperatures were upper 70s inside and outside of the house. We set up fans and spent some time in the attic pulling out shorts and short sleeve shirts for everyone. The kids played outside after dinner.  Of course, we didn't put away all our winter clothes because it is supposed to snow again in a few days.

Friday the house was warm when we woke up and it just got hotter. Because of a medication Mason has to take for his neurogenic bladder his body doesn't sweat like it should and he can overheat easily. That means we had to turn the a/c on in the house today to cool it down a bit. (It also makes for a lot of challenges outside during spring/summer/fall when temperatures rise... )

Homeschool was pretty straightforward as usual. Makayla had an interesting chemistry experiment today. She's been learning stoichiometry (expressing the quantitative relationship between reactants and products in a chemical equation). Today she took copper sulfate, a vibrant blue crystalline compound, and heated it on her lab burner. It began to crackle and pop as water evaporated from the copper sulfate and turned white. She compared the mass in grams from before and after the heating to find out how many molecules of water were attached to the copper sulfate. Just before cleaning up her experiment she added drops of water back into the beaker and we watched as the white compound turned bright blue again.

Over the last few days the kids have been pulling out a lot of games to play again. They go in phases and this week they have played:
  •  Othello
  • Clue
  • Life
  • Labyrinth
  • Hi Ho Cherry O
  • Harry Potter Triwizard Maze
  • Life Junior
It is a lot of fun seeing them play and watching as they teach younger siblings how to play or let them be buddies to 'help' them play when a game is too old for them.

One last picture because this shows one thing I love doing every day: snuggling my baby!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Week 32 Homeschool Notes

Monday was full as usual. There were homeschool lessons to do. Daddy and Makayla had a visit to the dentist. Mommy had blood drawn for thyroid labs (everything looks good, no medication dose changes) and renewed her driver's license - between those two tasks I was gone for 3 hours because both places were very busy. Meals were done. Chores and car repairs happened. The list just keeps going.

Family Home Evening was General Conference Jeopardy. I think the absolute best part was hearing my children during our game. Children who I was pretty sure were listening as little as possible during the 8 hours of General Conference and were so excited to share answers. One child had spent the entire weekend saying Conference was boring as we watched each session. I knew they only stayed with the family because of the candy (anyone who is in the room for the talks can grab a piece of candy at the end of every talk from a large bin we fill up just for General Conference). When Jeopardy started this child looked at me and said, "This is boring. I'm not playing. I'll sit here but I don't want to play." I have been working a lot to have positive interactions with this particular child who tends to butt heads with me, so I just welcomed that child to stay on my team and we started playing. When it would be their turn to choose a category I always offered the turn, and for a while it was declined. About 1/3 of the way into our Jeopardy game we hit a question for our team that this child knew the answer to and cared enough about to speak up. From that point on they were in the game and it was obvious that they really had been listening to General Conference and thinking about the things they had heard. (happy mom sigh!)

Tuesday there was no running around to do. We had a great morning of homeschooling. We got back into reading Esperanza Rising aloud for book club. There were our usual piano lessons. Dinner. And then the tornado sirens started going off. We had a major storm come through with tornado warnings for almost an hour. That makes some of my kids very edgy and unhappy, but we got through it.

Wednesday and Thursday the only notes I have say school, Cub Scouts, physical therapy, and hives. Samuel is still getting a few hives randomly. Bodies are just weird.

Friday I giggled at my life a few times. I was sitting between Caleb and Mason, who were both reading aloud to me from their All About Reading lessons at the same time (different lessons, so I was listening to different stories simultaneously). At the same time I was helping Oliver, Joseph, and Emma with math problems when they had questions. There are days where it would really help to have three of me! The other big thing to note is that Rebekah is now 2 months old. She's adorable and I'll try to get a post up with pictures soon.

Saturday was prom dress shopping with Makayla, grocery shopping, going through clothing and taking a load of things to Goodwill, chores, family time, and lots of school work for Daddy. I had a very long to do list and there is still a lot on it that needs done. I'm hoping to tackle a lot of that on Monday after a 3 hour trip to the wheelchair vendor to get some adjustments on Mason's chair.

That's it for this week. It's Sunday evening and I have a sweet baby girl who is ready to snuggle.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Random notes from Week 30 and 31

Life in a large family is more fulfilling than I can express. It is also very full. I've not had time the last two weeks for daily notes but there are some things I want to record on the blog. Let the randomness commence!

Homeschooling trots right along. Nothing unexpected, no major struggles. We're in the home stretch of the school year with spring arriving and that means our goal is simply consistency. We keep moving forward. 

With spring also comes homeschool planning for fall. I will have 8 official students: Grade 12, 8, 7, 5, 4, 2, 1, K, plus a preschooler and a baby. With planning comes shopping and the first of our curriculum packages is due to arrive in the next week. I still have planning to finish so I won't share anything else about this until that is complete. 

Rebekah is 7 weeks old. She is smiling often, chubby, snuggly, and sleeps 7-8 hours in a row at night. She's awake more during the daytime. We have started pulling out 3-6 month size clothing and putting away most of her 0-3 month clothing. 

My 6 week postpartum checkup happened last week. My uterine prolapse has healed pretty well and I won't need surgery. This is a wonderful blessing. I'm not dealing with postpartum depression (which I have had with some babies and not with others). I do have low iron again. It isn't critically low and in need of iron infusions like I had in December. This time I'm trying something different. Instead of iron pills I'm taking 4 dessicated liver pills along with vitamin c each day. My doctor thinks my body will respond better to the iron in the liver because the fats and other vitamins/minerals in the liver help my body too. I hope he's right because these pills smell and taste like liver - disgusting. We will check things in 3 months. Next week I get a thyroid panel done for my endocrinologist to check my hypothyroidism and see if adjustments need made in that medication as well. 

Samuel got hives this week randomly. Several days of Benadryl around the clock have gotten them under control and currently they are gone. I know they can come back on and off for a while yet, but I hope that we're done with them.  

Mason had his physical therapy evaluation to get things started back up post-surgery and recovery. It's been 5 months since he has been able to do PT, get in his HKAFO braces, use his walker. Today he went right back to it like he had never stopped. It's crazy that he still has the upper body strength. There has been some weakening in his core again - but that is a never-ending battle. We are going to do PT weekly for a while to work on a couple goals.

This weekend is Easter and General Conference. It's the best possible combination of favorites and we have been counting down the days. You can watch General Conference online free. In preparation for Easter our Family Home Evening this week was Resurrection Eggs. We don't do the Easter Bunny (or Santa, or Halloween for that matter). Our plastic eggs were numbered 1-12. Inside were items and scriptures related to the last week of Christ's life, his Atonement, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

Pack meeting for my Cub Scouts was this week. It's the big meeting of the month where all the dens meet together for activities. After flag ceremony and awards a couple dens performed skits on stage. Then we did several acting games. It was a lot of fun to see the boys step out of their comfort zone and just enjoy trying something new.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 29

Monday, oh Monday, it felt like things were off all day. Three kids had dental cleanings, which Daddy was in charge of, while I was homeschooling the other kids. Then there were phone calls to make. I had to pick up a regular prescription for one child at the pharmacy, which turned into a mini-grocery trip. I got home in time to make lunch. Then I took a nap because Rebekah was up from 4:30am-6:30am. By the time she was back to sleep I had to be up getting kids ready for the dentist and missing that 2 hours of sleep. I can't wait to find out what is going on with my body (hypothyrodism and anemia)in the next couple weeks so that can hopefully be addressed. Who has time for naps?

Then I went to the tax preparer's office only to find out the appointment I schedule online (and had an email confirmation for) had been recorded as an hour later in their office. I handed over paperwork and rescheduled to come back 2 hours later with my husband in tow - because they also hadn't told me ahead of time that he needs to be there too. Back home I went for a while before hubby and I went back to the tax office.

We finally came home and I was so glad I had prepared Family Home Evening ahead of time so we could get right to that. I pulled several things from the Peer Pressure lesson at A Year of FHE. I adjusted one of the games (the yes/no signs game). I printed one of each sign and hung them up on opposite sides of the room. When each situation was read the family ran to stand by the sign they thought was the best answer of what to do.

Tuesday I took advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling. Two kids had dental cleanings in the morning. I took them and brought Rebekah along with me while Makayla watched the kids left behind. Nobody did school until I returned home. They started the morning with a movie together instead. School found me doing math with a couple kids, reading lessons with three, discussing the Latin plan and working on balancing chemical equations with Makayla, and chatting about writing ideas with a few others. One child worked on manga drawings of a current favorite superhero. Our piano teacher arrived and there were many lessons.

In the evening I worked my mommy magic on Rebekah. A few minutes walking around with her in the Ergo carrier and she went from grumpy to sleeping. A sweet friend gave me this Ergo several years and several babies ago and I love it! It is comfortable for me to carry babies from tiny to 40 lbs. I can still carry Mason, Samuel, and Tobias on my back with it.

Wednesday we had no appointments. I was so glad! I started my morning by doing something new for me - exercise. I'm 5 weeks postpartum and starting super extra light. I actually bought a year membership to Fit2Be. It's an online website with more than 200 workout videos and more added each month. The exciting part is their focus on "Tummy Safe Workouts" for people who are healing diastasis recti (split abdominals - that would be what I have!). They offer classes you can buy individually that have a series of videos with a common focus, or membership options. I chose to do the premium membership because it includes everything. In other words, I have options galore from just barely postpartum to beginner to more advanced workouts. There are even a couple videos for kids (great way to get energy out when weather is yucky) and a few yoga for tweens/teens videos. I started a class series today (Foundational 5 Plus). My goal is to make time 6 days a week for a Fit2Be workout. They even have a Roku channel with most of their videos uploaded (new ones appear every few weeks) that is included in my membership. I had a coupon code and got $53 off my year membership. Breaking down my cost, it works out to about $10.50 a month, from the comfort and convenience of home. I'm excited to get my body strengthened after all these sweet babies.

Wednesday was also Pi day (3.14 - March 14th). We made a peanut butter pie to celebrate. Homeschool happened as usual - the first day this week that every did school because there were not dentist appointments.

Thursday we were back to the dentist grind. It takes so many visits to get cleanings done in a large family and then there are the follow ups for cavities or loose fillings. It takes over our schedule for a couple weeks. I took 4 boys to the dentist.

Everyone else did school and hung out at home with big sister Makayla, who loves getting paid and generally doesn't mind babysitting. How can she be turning 17 this summer? It seems like not very long ago she was the tiny baby I was carrying around... sigh. Our day was pretty normal after the dentist. Just following routines. Daddy got home late in the afternoon and right after dinner I headed to bed for a nap because I was so tired.

One thing that made me smile today was Emma. She has fallen head over heels into the superhero multiverse in the last two months. She draws superheroes, she watches superhero shows, she takes notes on the characters, she talks superheroes, and most recently she writes fan fiction. She is writing nonstop. Her obsession with superheroes is driving Makayla crazy but I love that she's dived in and it's pulling her to do so much learning and creating for fun.

Rebekah is smiling a lot
but it is really hard to 
catch it on camera. 
Oh well!

Friday the morning was homeschool work until about 11am, when we were back to the dentist for two kids who had a cavity on the exact same tooth. Weird, but true. In the afternoon I started watching my first class from the Teaching Saints Virtual Summit. It is a free summit (sign up here) but you only have access to the videos from each day for about 24 hours, then new ones appear on the website for the next day. It started yesterday (the 15th) and goes through March 24th. There is an all access pass you can buy where you can keep access to the videos plus get the audio download, slides, and written transcripts, and a private Facebook group. I was able to earn an all access pass free when a couple people signed up for the free option with the link I shared and I'm so glad! There is no way I could watch these each day in the 24 hours they are free without feeling like I'm being flooded with ideas and information.

Rebekah is sleeping at the moment so I'm going to take advantage of that to finish preparations for next week's Family Home Evening. We'll be using a lot of paperclips. The kids saw me put them in a bin and are dying to know what we're going to do with paperclips.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 28

Saturday started with Rebekah waking up at 6:00am. She slept 7 hours. Best.Newborn.Ever. Several kids were already awake for the day. Saturday morning at our house is for breakfast, doing chores early, and then playing their 30 minutes of video game time for the week after getting the xbox and wii from the basement and plugging them in to our tv. Daddy and I did some chores too - cleaning out the coat closet, cleaning out one cabinet, both refrigerators/freezers, and handling bills/paperwork. I picked up a prescription at Walmart and some items for upcoming chemistry experiments for Makayla. When I returned it was time for lunch (rolls, roasted chickens, etc), then picking Joseph up from his campout. The rest of the day was family time. Just the way we like it!

Sunday we kept close to home. We baked cookies and that evening were finally able to get together with some extended family to celebrate Oliver's birthday.

Monday was school as usual. Daddy is home on Mondays and that really helps make for a smooth re-entry into the week because I have backup when the baby needs something, the toddler is getting into things, and the preschooler is too - all while seven other children need math lessons and help with latin and chemistry and grammar and so on.

We had some trouble with our furnace today too, which comes in to play again on Friday...

For Family Home Evening this week we used part of this FHE idea on A Year of FHE about strengthening our family. We did the demonstration with one child breaking a single pencil, then trying to break a bundle of pencils (one pencil to represent each family member, so 12 for us). We read a quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the world:

"Successful...families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

Then we used the free printable from that lesson and chose 5 of the principles to talk about together and brainstorm ways we can strengthen our own family. The 5 the kids chose were: Love, Respect, Compassion, Prayer, and Work. We finished with sugar cookies Emma had baked earlier in the day.

Tuesday the kids had the day off from school. Mason and I were out the door before 7am and heading to the hospital for a couple appointments. He had a DEXA x-ray to check on his bone density (he has osteopenia, the childhood version of osteoporosis), an appointment with the nephrologist who treats his osteopenia, and then an IV infusion of his medication to help with his bone density. We got good news! After several years of IV infusions ever 3 and then every 6 months Mason's bone density is finally a positive number. Still not normal, but improving. That means we will now space out his infusions to once a year for a while.

Wednesday's favorite lesson: the kids learned more about the postal system and Benjamin Franklin who was appointed Postmaster General by the Continental Congress in 1775. My favorite was listening to Oliver read aloud. He has come so far this school year, from sounding out every single word to reading much more fluently and having the skills to tackle unfamiliar words.

Thursday we woke to a thin layer of snow coating the world again. There were many groans. We are ready for spring so of course it snowed more all day. It really didn't build up, just looked pretty and melted off. I looked around mid-morning from my perch on the couch. Rebekah was in my arms drinking a bottle. Makayla and Caleb were to my left doing math and reading aloud to mommy respectively. To my right was Emma, Joseph, Oliver, and Daniel doing math, math, reading, and grammar. Mason, Samuel, and Tobias were playing with dinosaurs in front of us on the floor - something about being a vet and taking care of sick dinosaurs. Ten children in one room learning, playing, and growing. Children wandered in and out all morning as they pulled different subjects from the shelf to do. I moved to the table when Rebekah fell asleep and worked with Mason on math, reading, and handwriting.

Friday my teaching morning started with reading lessons with Oliver, Caleb, and then Mason. Next was helping with math and grammar for various children as needed. I remembered it is time to print more grammar pages for the next several weeks (Joseph, Emma, and Daniel are all using Fix It Grammar) and set my printer to work doing that. I love that our new printer does duplex printing. No more having to print one side of all the pages and then the other on my own.

Our furnace was having trouble again today. For some reason it just didn't come one and the house got down to 63 degrees even though the thermostat is set to 67. We tried a couple things and it worked fine eventually. Since this was the second day this week with the same problem we put a call in to our furnace repair company that installed everything 10 years ago. They came out Friday afternoon to check things out, cleaned and did general maintenance, and we think it is fixed. We had a condenser line that was mostly clogged and so that would account for the intermittent shutoff and why it would work again later after the condensation drained slowly past the clog. There is one possible part we may need to replace, we'll see if this takes care of things first though.

Saturday I did grocery shopping first thing - without a list. Not the best idea but I simply hadn't made time to meal plan and make a list. A bit after 11am we loaded up the family and went to visit our dear friends. It was so sweet to get together again after 5+months. They had baby # 6 very prematurely 5 months ago and were in the NICU and then pretty much in isolation at home during flu season. We've missed our get togethers!

Sunday is here already. I really had planned to publish this post earlier but just never did. And I don't have time to add pictures (not sure I took any either!). I have about two minutes until I need to get little boys to bed, so here's todays highlight:

Rebekah was blessed at church!

It was a good day.

One thing I have noticed this week is I'm tired, even though I'm getting good sleep. I'm starting to feel like I need a nap again in the afternoons or early evenings. That could be my hypothyroidism (medication changes are probably needed, bloodwork happens in 3 more weeks). It could be that between birth and postpartum bleeding I'm severely anemic again (bloodwork for that happens in 1 week). For now I'm just trying to protect my energy for the things that matter most, nap when I need it, and keep moving forward.

Here's to another week recorded!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 27ish

Mommy and Rebekah

I have lost track of what homeschool notes week this should count for. Things got wacky over the last month or so of my pregnancy. We'll call this week 27. 

Saturday started off with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa, always a good way to start the day. The kids did their weekly 30 minutes of game time, pulling the xbox and wii out of the basement to hook up and play after they did their chores. Makayla and I stopped in at the local library book sale at noon. I worked on preparations for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet that is next Wednesday. Some of the kids played with Cosmo, a robot they were given by another set of grandparents recently. I'll be honest, I do my best not to learn how to use these technology toys. I love that my kids can figure things out together without me and I just don't have time or energy to use on keeping up with all their interests. I'm the same way with crafty skills, I often hand a child the materials they've asked for and turn them loose. Some of my kids have learned to sew, do stop motion animation, wool felt animals, create with sculpey clay, quilt, and so on. My other secret is that sometimes I do the opposite - I spend time trying out something new without inviting the kids. They get curious and take it out of my hands, then go much further than I.

By early afternoon Saturday took a crazy turn - the power went out and stayed out for hours on end. It was a gray and rainy day so it wasn't very bright in the house. The kids thought it was so much fun as the house got darker and darker (yes, we have lanterns and candles, but we were waiting around for them to request light). We gathered in a circle for one of the group games Makayla taught us last year - Mafia. We played and laughed and had a great time. The power came back on just a bit before bedtime and then went out again for a couple hours overnight.

Sunday I sent Daddy and eight of the kids off to church. I'm just not ready to take Rebekah, who isn't even 3 weeks old. I also kept Tobias home as he's in the nursery class and it's just a cesspool of germs. Toddlers! I did need to be there after church for the "It's Great to Be Eight" celebration of kids who are turning eight this year. It is an opportunity for the 7 year olds to learn about important things they will be able to choose to do this year, including baptism, participating in Cub Scouts or Activity Days, and so on. Caleb turns 8 this year and is so excited he can finally get baptized! I got myself, Rebekah, and Tobias ready and to the church at 1pm when church ends and we had lunch and enjoyed the activity with other families of soon to be 8 year olds. Then it was home and family time until Daddy and Joseph headed back to the church for the Boy Scout Court of Honor. I got the rest of the kids to bed before they returned home.

Rebekah was up until about 11pm and then slept until 5am Monday morning. Yes, she's not quite 3 weeks old and just slept 6 hours at night. It felt pretty great to get a solid night's sleep. I was up at 5am and finishing preparation for school because I still needed to prepare and print assignment sheets, something I had not been able to do during the power outage.

The kids started trickling downstairs at 5:30am because I have some early risers. Others slept in closer to 6:30am, 7:00am, or even 8:00am. I don't plan to wake kids on school days until 9am, not that generally there will be anyone left to wake by then. It also happened to be Oliver's birthday, so he happily opened gifts. Daddy and Makayla dropped the car off to get a tire repaired. It's really nice to have a teen with a license - she was happy to follow Daddy and give him a ride home instead of watching siblings - and I was happy to stay home.

I reminded kids that they had assignment sheets ready and were welcome to start school any time, but that no electronics would happen this afternoon (Kindle time) unless their work was complete before then. I also made myself available all morning for teaching new math lessons, grammar lessons, beginning reading lessons, and so on.

It was so nice to get back to the learning routine! Kids worked on school on and off all morning. I got to be the chocolate fairy and drop mini reese cups on children's laps as they did school work. Makayla was a bit slower to start (perk of homeschooling) we were doing a math lesson in her new book - Consumer Mathematics by Abeka at noon after eating some pizza. That was the last lesson of the day. Here are some of today's lessons:
Oliver doing All About Reading 3

  • Makayla: Latin Alive 1 vocab review and dvd lesson review, Consumer Mathematics, finish reading Fahrenheit 451, Discovering Design with Chemistry lesson. 
  • Joseph: Math U See PreAlgebra lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 25, read a chapter in 100 Cupboards, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids (Second Continental Convention).
  • Emma: Math U See PreAlgebra lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 25, read a chapter in Harriet the Spy, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Daniel: Math U See Epsilon lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 17, read a chapter in The Indian in the Cupboard, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Oliver: Math U See Gamma lesson 17, All About Reading level 3 lesson, read 3 pages in Winter of the Ice Wizard, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Caleb: Math U See Beta lesson 1, All About Reading level 1 lesson, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids.
  • Mason: Do a puzzle, All About Reading level 1 lesson, Handwriting without Tears, Cutting page in Kumon book, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 

All About Reading Level 3
from Oliver's lesson this week.

I went with a favorite for dinner - tacos. Daddy spent a lot of the day working on school -- he just fits it in around the kids as much as he can during the day on Mondays and continues clear into the evening. The rest of the week he has to juggle school with work, so Monday it is important for him to get a lot of school done.

We also did Family Home Evening tonight. It was so much fun I wanted to share what we did. We started by reading 40 Years of Funny. We gave our own tips we would share with someone who wants to be an artist before reading the tips Val Bagley gave in the article. One of his tips was to always be on the lookout for new ideas and to even ask family and friends what they think is funny. Then we did the 'dad jokes water challenge'. Have you watched one of those videos yet? We sat around the table, which we had covered with towels. Each person got a glass of water. We put a mouthful of water in our mouths. Daddy told jokes and we tried not to laugh and spew water everywhere. Daddy had three minutes... it was hysterical!

Tuesday Daddy was off to work before dawn as usual. I was up at 5am with Rebekah and Makayla was up then for Seminary. Rebekah went back to sleep at 6am. The kids and I spent our morning solidly in our routine: wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for the day, homeschool. I am being purposeful about staying available to the kids (keeping all electronics off for everyone) and cheerfully working with them as needed. Rebekah currently is in a habit of waking once a night and then sleeping in until at least 8:30am, often until nearly 10am. That gives me a nice chunk of time to work with kids before I have a baby in arms. I sit at the table for that block of time. Once Rebekah wakes up I move to the couch and kids join me there if they need help.

After our morning school work we had lunch and did our usual afternoon medical care. Then our teacher arrived for piano lessons and music filled the house for a while. When that was finished it was time to make dinner (monkey bread tonight with Joseph cooking). Daniel and Oliver baked cakes for tomorrow's Blue and Gold Banquet so they will be cooled for decorating.

Wednesday was homeschool in the morning and final preparations for the Blue and Gold Banquet in the afternoon. Oliver and Daniel decorated their cakes to fit the space theme.

Oliver made the earth and Daniel put the big dipper constellation on his cake. Mason, Samuel, and Tobias worked together to decorate an extra cake we made for at home.

Thursday started with homeschooling, of course. I sometimes feel these posts get repetitive but that is just the reality of our week, morning hours are for learning. I plopped myself down at the table as usual and helped kids as needed. That meant reading lessons with 3, math with 7, overseeing playdoh for three younger boys, puzzles, checking grammar with two, answering one teen's Latin questions, and writing with 5. Plus whatever they did completely independent of me like reading a chapter in their current literature book. It may sound crazy, and sometimes it is, but when we are on our game things go smoothly.

I had an unexpected trip out mid-morning to pick up my mom from work and drive her home, she was feeling too sick to drive. Makayla drove Joseph to the orthodontist when I got home, he had a bracket come off a tooth.

Everyone's school work was finished by lunch. It is amazing how much you can get done when you aren't waiting around for 29 other students in your class to be ready to move to the next subject. Really, homeschooling is so much more efficient and leaves hours for the kids to pursue their individual interests. For example during the afternoon there were kids practicing piano, drawing, writing out complicated research and theories for a show series we are watching on Netflix, more drawing, building cars out of Legos, pet care for three reptiles, a roach colony, two hermit crabs, and a cat, reading more books, history that trickled over into their play (American revolution and the surrounding events), preparations for a campout by the Boy Scout. You get the idea.

Friday we finished up the homeschool week. Everyone was proud of their work and I was proud of their willingness to get right back into our familiar routines. So far Makayla likes her new math curriculum. She wanted something practical so she's doing Consumer Mathematics from Abeka. It is laid out very differently than Math U See, which is all she has used since 3rd grade, but anything is better than doing more Algebra 2.

We had a surprise visit from grandma at lunchtime and enjoyed our time with her. Then it was afternoon medical care and convincing Rebekah to nap after being awake for several hours. She was getting a week bit grumpy and every time she settled down to nap someone would shriek or make an unusually loud noise, waking her up again. I finally took her upstairs and she was able to settle quickly and sleep.

That's the highlights for the week. Dinner is almost finished (spaghetti and meatballs), Joseph is ready to head out on his campout with the scouts, and Daddy is on his way home from work. I'm going to hit publish on this post. Happy Friday everyone!