Friday, December 14, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Week 18 - A Half Week and Vomit Everywhere

Saturday and Sunday Notes:
This was Christmas party weekend. We had two Christmas parties to attend as a family which means the kids ate more cookies and candy in two days than should be legal, and loved every minute of it! Joseph got home from a winter campout in time to attend both parties, and on Sunday evening had a Court of Honor where he got 7 merit badges from his summer scout camp work.

I knew going into the week that we would only have three days of school. The other two days were going to be full of doctor and specialist appointments - 13 to be exact. In the end 11 of those appointments were cancelled due to vomit.

Monday Notes:
Kids woke on their own schedules, ate breakfast, and got busy with school work. I sat at the table to help whoever needed me. It was new math lesson day so I taught things like adding doubles, skip counting by 5, using tally marks, and division with remainders. Reading lessons happened with four kids. Makayla and I translated a couple of Latin paragraphs. Emma worked on physical science. It was just a normal Monday morning.

Tuesday Notes:
I think my favorite thing today was reading: kids reading aloud to me, kids reading on their own and telling me about their books, me reading aloud to kids, and people listening to audio books. Winter weather always makes me want to curl up and read and I'm thankful that many of my kids have the same inclination. I'm also thankful for audio books so those who would rather keep their hands busy can still 'read' great books at the same time.

Wednesday Notes:
My morning started with my 3 year old Tobias coming down stairs and throwing up before 7:00am. Never a good way to start the day, but everyone else seemed fine so we just plugged along with our last day of school for the week. That afternoon Emma headed to the orthodontist to get the first half of her braces (upper teeth). When we got home things started going downhill. Kids started throwing up, feeling sick, and laying around with bowls just in case. The average number of times vomit happened per child today was 5, though Tobias escaped with just once and Oliver had the record high of 7. Mason busted almost every blood vessel in his face during his several turns throwing up, so he looks like he has a lot of pink/red freckles now over his entire face. I called and cancelled Mason's 11 doctor appointment that were on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday Notes:
Almost everyone still felt yucky but nobody threw up. That is really the only thing that matters. There was very little done besides manage symptoms and keep people as comfortable as possible. Joseph had an orthodontist appointment and ended up with power chains and bands, so he's joining Emma in the miserable, sore mouth club. Emma turned 13 today, thankfully we celebrated earlier this month because she didn't feel up to any celebrating today.

Friday Notes:
Most were feeling 'not worse' and some even 'a bit better' today. I called for a totally lazy tv day when we discovered new seasons and episodes of various shows, as well as some old favorites. The shows people were most excited about today:
  • Doctor Who current season (watching on Amazon) - 2 episodes
  • Lego Ninjago season 9 (watching on Amazon Prime) - 2 episodes
  • Miraculous (newest season, released today on Netflix) - 13 episodes 
Yes, you can see the one people were most excited about, can't you? We spread those 25 minute Miraculous episodes out over the day. There was much laughing, shrieking, sighing, celebrating, and guessing as we went through the episodes. It was fantastic and I suspect much drawing, story writing, and discussing will result.

Other than a lazy tv day, I fed people when they felt up to eating, did diaper changes, and held a generally fussy Rebekah  

It is Friday evening. I'm beat. Little ones have napped on an off today since they don't feel well. That means they aren't ready for bed even though it is bedtime. I'm hoping they get sleepy soon because I'm ready for bed! Daddy is home and we're tag teaming the rest of the night.

Friday, December 7, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Week 17 Notes and Reading

Saturday Notes:
We started the day with Caleb's baptismal service. There were a few hiccups and we actually weren't sure even 15 minutes before the start if we would be cancelling his baptism and rescheduling for another day, but it all worked out and was wonderful! We got a quick family picture and I shared it in my last post but here it is again.

After that we were able to pick up our van from the shop with only a minor car repair bill ($202). Makayla was my partner in crime for grocery shopping this week, in the rain for all 3 stops (Kroger to use a gift card, Aldi for the bulk of our grocery shopping, and Wal  Mart for a few specific items). In the evening we had a fun family home evening and decorated our Christmas tree. With Rebekah being 9 months old and walking we really couldn't use any ornaments  with hooks for her to choke on. Instead we used flower picks and glittery gold tulle. I think my entire family and home will be glittery for the next three months, but the tree was simple and beautiful. The kids love having the tree up!

Sunday Notes:
Today felt like spring in December. The weather was sunny and 60F. Church was great; it was Fast Sunday and testimony meeting. The afternoon at home afterwards was quiet and relaxing with windows open everywhere. In the evening family came by to celebrate Emma's upcoming birthday. She's a huge Marvel fan and her gifts often reflected that.

Monday Notes:
This was the first Monday in over 2 months that did not have a single doctor appointment scheduled. It was glorious! The morning was filled with homeschooling. New math lessons abounded, spelling happened, writing, science, and more. Right after lunch we finished up the day with history. By this point the house smelled delicious from the chili in the crock pot and I baked a pan of cornbread to go along with the soup for our dinner. The rest of the day was family time and projects.

Tuesday Notes:
My morning started with Rebekah waking up at 5am. I convinced her to go back to sleep just in time for Tobias to wake up at 5:30am. At that point I gave up on sleeping. My favorite part of the morning was watching kids help one another with homeschool lessons. Several kids had new writing projects in The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts. Makayla worked on a nature poem a la Emily Dickenson, Joseph wrote about the things he learned about work from a book he read, Daniel wrote the introductory paragraph for an essay on Asia.

In history today we were talking about the Second Continental Congress. We went from room to room finding papers that told some of the events between  1774 and 1776. We found John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence. We read a letter George Washington wrote to his wife upon being chosen as the commander of the army. We read some of the Declaration of Independence itself.

The afternoon held our weekly piano lessons.

Wednesday Notes:
School, working teen, more school after work, trigonometry that may drive us batty yet, spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and Cub Scouts.

Thursday Notes:
It was a laid back, hang out around the house, do the schooling, and a bit of food shopping kind of day. Nothing exciting, nothing terribly difficult. We tried a new cookie bar recipe that was simple and yummy:
  • 1 box cake mix (we used chocolate)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Mix it all and  bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. I did need to add a bit of water to mine when mixing, it was just way too dry. I probably put in 1/2 cup of water. 
Friday Notes:
I finished reading the Book of Mormon again today! It was such a neat experience reading and looking for all the verses that talk about Christ. I wrote my own notes for every single chapter as I went, something I've never done before. I liked it so much I'm going to do the same thing for the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants, starting tomorrow with the New Testament. 

Everyone was enthusiastic for the weekend, which holds two Christmas parties, and got right to work on school. At one point I was helping three kids with math while parsing Latin sentences with Makayla and listening to another child reading from their All About Reading lesson. It's always fun!

The rest of our day includes cousins visiting, Joseph heading out for a winter campout with the Boy Scouts, baking cookie bars for tomorrow's Christmas party, and a family movie. 

All About Reading Update

I have four kids using All About Reading and it's a great example of one reason I love homeschooling. My kids have all learned to read fluently at different ages, from as young as age 3 (picked up chapter  books on their own, no teaching from me) to reaching fluency around age 9/10. So here are the updates on where my current learning to read kids are at.

I realized yesterday that my Fourth grader Oliver, age 9.5, is nearing the end of All About Reading level 3 with only 3 lessons to go. He can read easy chapter books slowly. He just finished the third My Fathers Dragon book and picked up Bunnicula as his next literature book. We looked at the things taught in All About Reading level 4, which we don't own yet, and decided that he would benefit from it. That means I need to order level 4. It's $120 and completely reusable for the younger kids. He will continue reading books for fun outside his AAR materials, but will do the AAR lessons to fill in the gaps for phonograms he has not mastered yet, like ui, ough, and gn. 

My Second grader Caleb, just turned age 8, is in All About Reading level 2. He is not reading fluently at all. He sounds out most words still, but is comprehending the stories as he does. He is on lesson 29 and will just keep moving along at his pace with lots of practice. I have no idea when his fluency will kick in yet. He doesn't have to hurry ahead, we can go at his pace.  

My First grader Mason, age 6/turning 7 next month, hit fluency a month or so ago. He is sounding out few words in his level, reading from books outside of school time, and things are clicking. He is now on the exact same lesson as Caleb, All About Reading level 2 lesson 29, and will pass him up next week. We will fly through the level at his pace. He doesn't have to slow down and wait for others to be ready to move ahead.

My Kindergartener Samuel, age 5, is in All About Reading level 1 lesson 18. He is a wiggly boy who loves the games/activities of All About Reading. He is picking up the phonics at his own pace and would rather play than sit for lessons. I'm able to keep lessons short, sprinkle them through the morning, and emphasize the active reading games he loves. 

These are my 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th children. Each is going at the pace right for them. All of them love books and stories. They read, have people read to them, listen to audio books, and just enjoy it. My goal is to come out the other side of the learning to read journey with kids who love reading and who are adults who still love reading years later. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Week 16: Van Trouble and A Good Week

Mason  and Caleb building towers together
with the Citi Blocs. These two are only 13 months apart and 
lately they have been playing together more. It is sweet to see.

Monday Notes:
The first day back to school after Thanksgiving break went well, despite having appointments and other things on the calendar. The kids were all up and doing school pretty early. They wrote their own schedules out for the week and I sat down at the table to do a lot of math lessons. In between I would give spelling lists, help with little kid lessons, and encourage kids to talk less and work more.

At 8am Jason headed to the dentist to get a filling fixed that fell out last week. He dropped off paperwork at the surgeon's office and got home at 10am. In those two hours the kids and I got done all the subjects they needed my help with. Then Mason and I were out the door to get his dental work done while Daddy held down the fort and handled homeschool questions. By the time I was home again everyone was done with their work.

At lunch time I took four kids on a date. Makayla, Joseph, Emma, Oliver, and I went to see Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We liked and hated it. It's a great dip into the Harry Potter universe but there were heart squeezing parts and unresolved things because there will be 3 more movies in the series. We will spend the next few days discussing bits and pieces, make theories about what is going to happen next, and just relive the movie.
Tobias is very 3 year old right now. He is opinionated,
sweet, and sassy by turns. He loves being right in the 
middle of things.

We got back at snack time. There were a couple loads of laundry to sort and put away. I think laundry is the worst when we are in the cold winter months because jeans take up so much space in the wash! Clothing for 12 people for just one day is more than 1 load of laundry.

Samuel having fun smiling for the camera.
It was soup night for dinner. Then we had a fun Family Home Evening with 'hink pinks' and learning about some of the women leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Wait, you don't know what a hink pink is? Let me give you a few examples:

  • What is an after dinner treat alarm?  Dessert Alert.
  • What is a squash magician? Zucchini Houdini
You can find free hink pinks online, but we pulled ours from the November issue of The Friend Magazine. (Also free online)

After Family Home Evening I spent an hour in my bedroom wrapping gifts. We've finished all our Christmas shopping. We do 98% of it online so as packages arrive my goal is to check them off my list and wrap them. 
Emma working on science and 
waiting for me and my camera to 
go away.

Tuesday Notes:
We woke to a snowy day with tiny flurries swirling around. Kids woke on their own schedules and ate breakfast. Makayla and I did some Latin translation early. I remembered to charge my camera battery so I took a few pictures of kids randomly. Around homeschool lessons I baked four dozen muffins so that we would have a yummy lunch. I also wrapped a few more gifts. Caleb asked two of his brothers to speak at his baptism this Saturday. He was so excited when they agreed. One will speak about baptism and the covenants we make with our Heavenly Father and the other will speak about confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In the early afternoon I spent a bit of time creating some peg dolls. I got the following peg dolls done today:
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Wolf
  • Grandmother
  • The Woodcutter
  • Three Little Pigs
  • The Big Bad Wolf

Rebekah is walking! She is 9 months old and 
lights up a  room with her smile.
Wednesday Notes:
Chaos. After school I drove Makayla to work so I could take Emma to the orthodontist. Joseph babysat for part of that and then my sister and nieces dropped in for the rest. It was a good thing, because when Emma and I left the parking lot of the orthodontist our van died in the middle of a 5 lane road (2 lanes of traffic going one way, 2 lanes going the other, and the shared turn lane in the middle which is where I guided the van to when it died). We called grandpa and roadside assistance. Got the van towed to the mechanic and us dropped off at home. The plan was to have my sister pick Makayla up from work later as Jason wouldn't be home. Then the mechanic called. After pushing the van into their garage it started just fine. Nothing is wrong with it that they can find. My mom and her husband ran to the mechanic to pick up the van for me before they closed. They dropped it off about 5 minutes after Makayla texted me to come pick her up, so I did that. Now I worry every time my teen driver takes the van somewhere that it will die when she is the one behind the wheel.

Makayla is so busy! Between school, working, 
church activities, writing a novel, pet care
for her reptiles, and life in general
she's on the go and busy!
In the evening while the oldest three kids went to activities the rest of the kids made slime.

Joseph caught at the table doing some school work while snuggled under a blanket.
Perks of homeschooling for sure!

Thursday Notes:
Beautiful falling snow accompanied our morning of school work. We had no grumpy children, and no grumpy mommy. The afternoon was pretty relaxed. In the evening I wrapped the last Christmas present. This is the first time I can think of where I have no wrapping to do in December.
Daniel looking serious. 

Friday Notes:
The check engine light came on in the van so we decided to get it checked out again. Unfortunately by the end of the workday the mechanic still hadn't gotten to our van, so we now have just 1 car that doesn't fit our family in it and 12 people needing to be at the church tomorrow for Caleb's baptism, and back at church on Sunday of course. We're going to drive some of the family to o the church and then have one adult drive home to pick up the rest of the family and come back to the church. We'll repeat that in reverse to get everyone home. LOL! Joseph and Daniel also wrote their talks for at Caleb's baptismal service.
Oliver waiting patiently with his box of
Pokémon cards for a sibling to be
available to play a game.

We decided it was a perfect evening to watch a Christmas show and found Bah Hum Duck on Hulu. It is a retelling of Dicken's A Christmas Carol with the Looney Toons. We've read A Christmas Carol before and the kids like Looney Toons, so it was a hit!

Caleb is so excited to be baptized!

Scripture Reading Update
I'm in Third Nephi chapter 22 in The Book of Mormon and still journaling in a notebook about every chapter. It has been an amazing way to read and study this time!

I was hoping to get an  updated header made for the blog but it just didn't happen this week. I sprinkled pictures of all the kids throughout this post, for those who have been asking for pictures!

Monday, November 26, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Week 14 and 15

Saturday the 10th was date day at the temple with my husband. I love the peace I feel there. Being able to enjoy a long drive there and back talking with just my husband is another big perk. No kids to interrupt us!

Sometimes it is the little things that make a homeschool week special. For my kids in week 14 that was waking up Monday to the announcement that there would be no math this week. I really didn't want to take a complete school break this week, so dropping everyone's least favorite subject was the next best choice. Everything else went on as usual. Makayla spent the week writing a bunch of college essays for applications while also keeping up on her NaNoWriMo project (National Novel Writing Month).

We had our first winter storm on Thursday. Overnight everything was coated in 1/4" of ice. Then it rained for 8 hours or so. In the evening the rain switched over to snow, but didn't really do more than a dusting.

Friday there was much celebrating because once school was done for the day we were on Thanksgiving break. Week 15 was an entire week off! The weekend was a blur of family time and church. The week had more dentist appointments, finishing two college applications for Makayla, helping friends who are moving clean their new house, decorating with friends for a wedding reception, making turkey artwork with the several of the kids, cooking and hosting Thanksgiving, going to see the courthouse lights turned on for Christmas, visiting Makayla's work for treats at the lighting, and attending a wedding reception (and getting to be cleanup help after).

Painted paper gratitude feathers
made into a turkey

Somewhere in there I was supposed to print and prep things for the next 6 weeks of school. My printer decided to spend it's Thanksgiving break not speaking to my computer, so printing didn't happen until Sunday evening, but it did happen.

Rebekah also decided this week to start walking 4-5 steps at a time. She may only be 9 months old but she is in a hurry to master some of these milestones. I don't have a good picture of that because I'm trying to just enjoy every moment! I will see if I can remember to pull out my camera this week to snap some pictures of her walking.

Friday, November 9, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Week 13

Another week has flown past! Sunday we celebrated November family birthdays. Monday we had 7 dental appointments, ran errands, and were on the go most of the day.

Tuesday Tobias turned 3 years old. He's such a sweet, spunky, fun little man. He talks more than Samuel did at this age but has a long way to go still. He likes dinosaurs, Paw Patrol, and PJ Masks. He giggles, runs, hides, and chases. He is a pretty non-picky eater and will try almost everything. He loves salsa and hummus and anything you can dip in those.

Rebekah turned 9 months old on the same day. Her second  tooth came in this week. She cruises the furniture all the time and will let go and stand there for a few seconds before grabbing on again. She is generally happy and has favorites among her siblings depending on the day.

School on Tuesday was an exercise in patience. It felt like dragging certain children through the morning. I can tell it is time for a solid break soon. We are going to take the week of Thanksgiving off, which leaves us this week and next to get through.

Wednesday was a much smoother day. People trekked right through their work in a cheery mood. There was reading and history and math and all the usual subjects with no grumps. The evening had our usual church youth activities and Cub Scouts.

Thursday one grump surfaced. It is just a fact of life in a large family - there are so many personalities and so many feelings swirling around. Rarely will we go through an entire day without someone being out of sorts for a bit, and that is okay.

My husband and I had a budget update meeting together in the evening. It isn't the most exciting thing to do together but I love that we stay on the same page with our money.

Related to that, we also got my husband's official surgery dates. Yes, plural. He will be having knee surgery January 2nd and shoulder surgery January 30th. The surgeon expects him to be off work for 4 months. For one-third of the year we will have no income. That is a very overwhelming idea for a family of 12. It isn't the best news in the world, but we are doing all we can to prepare for this adventure. For most of that 4 months he won't be able to lift the little kids, including all the lifting we do multiple times a day with Mason. It limits a lot of things, like me taking a short term job while he is off work, because he won't be able to take care of the kids. We are looking on the bright side and plan to enjoy the extra family time this winter with Daddy home!

It is Friday afternoon as I type this. One child is practicing piano, three are playing Legos, two are drawing, one is at work, one is cruising the furniture, and two are discussing a favorite show. Dinner is in the crock pot and it is time to hit publish on this post. I'm going to turn on some Christmas music and gather some helpers to put away the laundry.

Happy November everyone!

Friday, November 2, 2018

2018-2019 Homeschool Weeks 10, 11, 12

Three weeks have passed since I last checked in here and it is all a bit of a blur. We started with a trip to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. It is always a fun adventure with lots of people in costume, a live joust, acrobatics, sword fighting shows, a village, shops, and games. The kids all had spending money and came home with a variety of items from handmade leather notebooks to wooden swords and shields. We have had a host of bruises, bumps, and bandages since!

The blur comes because in 3 weeks we managed to have TWENTY doctors appointments. We have at least seven more appointments next week.

We did all our school work, the house was relatively tidy, and everyone was fed each day. It is hard to imagine but we are done with 3 months of school work already. We have had a few adjustments here and there, but overall we are still using the curriculum we started the year with. I absolutely love The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts and History. From my perspective the Language Arts is much more streamlined in hitting all the different things we want without hopping between different curricula for writing, literature, grammar, etc. The History is a great mix of reading, audio stories, notebooking, activities, and research. I like that there are extensions for different grade levels in the notebooks to take things deeper but that we can still have a group lesson for topics. We have also learned a few interesting things, like the fact that Makayla does much better with Trigonometry than she did with Algebra 2, that Emma loves writing and hates writing assignments, and that noise cancelling headphones like you would wear at a gun range are a great tool for Daniel when it's time for school.

The biggest event in  the last three weeks for us was that Joseph passed his baked egg food challenge at the allergist. After 13 years of a total egg ban in our home we are now introducing eggs into our family's diet in a limited way. Joseph and Mason both have passed the baked egg challenge so they need to eat something with eggs in it at least 3 days per week for the next 6 months. Baked egg means some foods are still restricted: eggs cooked on the stove top like scrambled eggs, omlets, French toast, pancakes, waffles, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, fresh pasta, etc. Most everything else is fair game. So far we have tried doughnuts, meatloaf, snickers and milky way candy bars, corn dogs, and Hawaiian rolls. Cookies is next. In six months Joseph and Mason will each be eligible to try a soft cooked egg food challenge at the allergist's office.

I panic every time we eat something new, checking frequently that each child is not having a reaction over the 3 hours following consumption. I think after everyone has eaten a food item once and survived I won't worry about that food item the next time. It is going to take a while to get there.

Happy November everyone!