Monday, November 20, 2017

A Milestone and a Quick Note

This week we reached a milestone. We realized it was time to move Tobias out of the crib we'll need for baby sister in 10 weeks or possibly less. On Saturday we set up a toddler bed in the 'big boys' room. All 7 sons now share the master bedroom by using two triple bunk beds and a toddler bed.

Of course, Tobias won't really fall asleep in his new bed well right away. I've been through this transition 8 times before and I know we will need every bit of those 10 weeks before baby to make the transition. Saturday night was our first night. We simply followed our 'usual' routine of holding him while he drifts off to sleep, but did it beside the toddler bed instead of beside the crib. The goal is to spend a week doing this and then start laying him down awake in the toddler bed and staying beside the bed to encourage him to lay down until he falls asleep.

As I type this it is Monday afternoon. Tobias is taking the bed and bedroom change without a fuss for stage one. Hooray! One thing we've been doing to help that is shorten his afternoon nap. Tobias is still a good napper and will sleep 3 hours most afternoons. To be sure he's feeling tired at bedtime we're waking him up a bit early from nap.

Also, a quick note: We're enjoying the week off for Thanksgiving, some doctors appointments, baking day with grandma, and so on. No homeschooling this week!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Homeschool Week 16 Notes

Monday morning school work started with Mason reading to me from his All About Reading book. Next I read Beep Beep Vroom Vroom to Mason and Samuel. It's a book from the MathStart series about patterning. We pulled out red, yellow, and blue bear counters to work on making patterns after we read the book. Other kids worked on independent subjects like reading for literature and history, grammar, etc. Then I was surrounded by those needing math lessons, beginning readers wanting to read to me, a teen ready for Latin, and so on. We worked through everything in a slightly chaotic mass.


Science for the 7th grade and under crowd happened around the table after morning snack. Today we learned about using columns in architecture for strength and support of a building.

We made paper columns in two heights (tall (11") and short (3")) and began stacking books on top. We used the tall columns first and kept adding books until the columns buckled and collapsed. Then the kids predicted if they thought the shorter columns would be weaker or stronger than the tall columns.

We stacked the exact same books in the exact same order onto the short columns. When we ran out of books we grabbed even more. The short columns won! We kept piling on books until those buckled and collapsed as well.

After that I read a page about floor plans from Architect Academy and passed out a copy of a small floor plan for the kids to complete. The basic outline was a four room apartment. They were to decide where to place doors, which room was bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, as well as any features like sink, tub, and toilet. Kids rearranged windows and some went so far as to add furniture.

We got lots of other small projects done around the house today, daddy had a doctor's appointment and physical therapy, and we fixed my computer, which decided to have two different blue screen errors at once. There was laundry washed and dried. Makayla got the final element for her new snake habitat and set it up for Olympia her Ball Python. I started reading Renegades by Marissa Meyer because my library was able to get me a copy today.

Tuesday the first school I was a part of was listening to Oliver read about wombats in his All About Reading level 3 book. I also helped a couple kids with math and played with miniature trains with Tobias. Writing projects were started for the week (written narrations of any recently read history book). Latin translation happened with Makayla. The day was just a nice, normal Tuesday, including Makayla's usual shadowing at the veterinary office.

Wednesday the kids were willing enough to do school. I just wanted to read a book. It all got done in the end and the kids didn't mind a distracted mom one bit.

Thursday the kids had a day off of school. Mason and I headed out at 8:45am for Children's Hospital and didn't get home until 2:00pm. He had his yearly checkup with his developmental opthomologist (the one who did Mason's double eye surgery).

Both eyes are stable. Mason picked out new glasses, which will be ready sometime in the next month. Then he had blood work for his upcoming surgery. Thursday afternoon and evening were just quiet at home time as a family, my favorite!

Friday is here and as I type this the only thing left for school is some science with the younger kids. We've been busy this morning doing lessons. I've made phone calls to doctors and specialists. We have had lunch. Kids have been playing piano, drawing, painting, and reveling in their interests. It is a good day.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Homeschool Weeks 14 and 15

Week 14 was break week. This Sabbath schedule is lovely. We school for 6 weeks and take the 7th as a rest week. I know we won't be able to stick exactly to the 6 weeks on 1 week off schedule for the rest of the school year because of Christmas break and having a baby in late January or early February. I will just play that by ear.

The week was full of visiting family, doctor's appointments, and life in general. The only big thing of note is that we scheduled Mason for his 19th surgery. He'll be having a hamstring release on his left knee in early December because his knee contracture continues to get worse. Then he will be in a cast for 6 weeks, which brings its own challenges because of his lack of sensation and weak bones. The last time he was in a long leg cast he ended up with multiple broken bones in both legs, including one femur all from the casts themselves, not the surgeries. And we made the long drive every few days for a new cast because his kept slipping due to no muscle tone. It will be an interesting way to spend December and January. If all goes well we will be finished with the cast before this sweet baby girl is born in late January.

Week 15

Monday was our first day back to homeschool after break. I had taken the time over break to prepare so all I needed to do Monday morning was sit at the table and help kids as they needed me. I taught a bunch of new math lessons including multiplying by 6, subtracting 5, using the multiplicative inverse to simplify equations, conjugating numbers to remove radicals and imaginary numbers from the denominator of a fraction, and prime factorization.

This 6 weeks the oldest 4 kids (independent readers) each chose a literature book. Makayla is reading Fahrenheit 451, Joseph is reading 100 Cupboards, Emma is reading Five Kingdoms book 1, Daniel is reading Socks. The 3 beginning readers are working on their All About Reading books.

While most lessons just continue from where we left off one that doesn't is science for the 7th grade and under group. For this six weeks we are studying building and architecture. Here are the books we have on the shelf for this:
  • Architect Academy from Usborne books
  • Building Structures and Towers by Tammy Enz
  • Build It: Structures, Systems, and You by Adrienne Mason
  • The Story of Architecture by Johnathan Glancey
  • Peeking Under the City by Esther Porter
  • Curious Constructions by Michael Hearst
  • Building Big by David Macaulay
  • Earth-Friendly Buildings, Bridges, and More by Etta Kaner
The six weeks will be a mix of reading, hands on activities, and creative work. Today is a simple example. We read about footings and foundations today and then used materials to explore how a foundation helps support a building. We learned a bit about 6 historical buildings and 6 modern buildings. Then we learned that an architect makes a 'program' first. This is a list of wishes their client has for the building and it's surrounding's functionality and use. The kids each made a program (wish list) for a home. 

Makayla is continuing with chemistry and finished up her review of unit 4 today with me. Next up is chapter 5: Covalent Compounds and their Molecular Geometry. Other lessons that happened today include Latin, grammar, writing, handwriting/copywork, art.

Midafternoon found Mason and I at the physical therapist. Because of the upcoming surgery and time in a cast we are taking a break from PT starting now. We can work on his core strength and upper body strength at home. We came home to the smell of meatballs in the crock pot and just had to make a pot of pasta for dinner. Yum!

Tuesday school work was slow and steady. Kids did writing, reading, math, and more. Makayla was off to work for 5 hours in the morning so she did most of her work before she left. We had construction vehicles working on our street today and my little boys were thrilled to sit at windows and observe. We have no idea what is happening but there is digging going on and my boys couldn't be happier. Our dinner was polish sausage stir fry and fruit. Just keeping it easy.

Wednesday morning kids ate breakfast, got dressed, and started their day. Some did chores early, others dived into school work. Makayla had work again this morning. Dinner went into the crock pot (a beef roast for shredded beef sandwiches). I spent some extra time with Joseph and Emma on math today because this week's lesson just isn't sticking. It has a lot of steps for a single problem and they're not slowing down and writing out every step, which makes for more mistakes. Today we ditched the workbook pages and did each problem on the wall dry erase boards. They were required to write big (another issue, they try to cram things into a small space, which then jumbles letters and numbers together).

Caleb got to choose a writing prompt today. My younger kids do not often do writing beyond copywork, so when they get to they love it. We sat at the computer and he talked while I typed his words. He talked all about what zoo animal he would love for a pet, what he would need for that pet, how to feed it, what he would name it, etc. His animal of choice: a stingray. Oliver is excited for his turn tomorrow.

Thursday - I pretty much want a do-over. A long visit at the allergist with a teen who didn't want to be there. Doing homeschool in a scattered way after that with the rest of the kids. A husband who got home from work in time to turn around and go to his 3 times a week physical therapy (work related injuries) that went an HOUR over, two kids at each other all.day.long, a husband who has to be in bed an hour before the kids because of his 1am wake up for work, and me - a too tired, cranky, needing a break mama. I finally laid down in the living room and napped in the middle of the chaos while kids played around me.

Friday was a nice, normal day. Kids were motivated to get school work done because it was the end of the week. I snuggled up on the couch early on with Mason, Samuel, and Tobias to read stacks of books. We moved through our day. Baked bread for lunch. Played games. Then we started a Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Marathon. We don't actually watch even an entire movie in one sitting, but for us it just means when the whole family is looking for some movie time together that is the set we are working through. My younger ones don't really watch, they're usually busy playing away from the tv but still in view of the family in our long front two rooms. It is always interesting to see which kids watch, who notices something new, asks a question about something in the movie, etc. Lots of interesting points for discussion when you watch a sweeping saga of good versus evil!

Saturday was grocery shopping day again. Joseph was my helper and we got all the food and nonfood items on our list and were home just a little bit after Daddy got back from dropping Makayla at work. Other things we did today:
  • Showed Mason how to use Lego instructions to build something step by step.
  • Removed all but one pair of shorts for each person and most of their short sleeve shirts from dresser drawers. Waking up to 22 degree F temps will make you admit winter is fast approaching. 
  • Completed 85% of the Christmas shopping online. Two kids left to finish up, which we plan to have done before the end of the weekend. Yay! I love having our shopping done before December so we can simply enjoy the season.
  • Cleaned the house. You just can't get away from cleaning with a large family.
  • Sorted clean laundry and sent it off with various kids to put away. 
The evening is winding down and it's time to get kids ready for bed so that's the end of my report for the week. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Looking Back at the Second Six Weeks


    This six weeks has been pretty smooth. Our routines are solidly in place to carry us through our days. Kids have gotten acquainted with each subject and how it works this year. One thing that has been really helpful this six weeks is that I try to sit down at the table for an hour or two in the morning so that I am ready to help any child who needs me during their individual work. When I'm up and doing other things it takes time to track me down, get my attention, have my help, and then to move on. When I am at the table for an hour or two in the morning kids can sit in a chair near me when they need help. They know where to find me. I am ready to help.

Is it hard to do? Yes. Some days I simply can't put off all the things I need to be doing to sit at the table and wait for someone to need me. But individual work goes much more smoothly when I commit to this simple habit. And when nobody needs me I'm reading or writing or playing with my younger (non-school age) children at or beside the table.

Books We've Read as Individuals or Together
This list does not include the many picture books read to my younger three boys. I don't keep track of that because there are too many. Also: Please remember that not all books are for all ages or families. And on my list are even a couple books that were just my own reading. Pre-read books to be sure they fit your family's reading guidelines for a child. An example from my list: We are cautiously allowing some of our children to read the Magnus Chase series, depending on maturity. There are some issues we discuss along the way, including a character who, due to their godly parent Loki, is gender-fluid. This means at different points in the books they are more female or male. I feel like the issue has been tastefully handled. One thing I have appreciated is that the entire series lacks the 'bedroom romance that shouldn't be in a teen book' for the characters. Yes, there has been an occasional kiss (maybe 2 per book). That's it. So, as always, preview books before handing them to your kids!
  • Who's Your Hero? Volume 2
  • Across Five Aprils
  • Kids on Strike
  • Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin
  • If You Lived in Colonial Times
  • If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
  • How Do Birds Find Their Way?
  • A Nest Full of Eggs
  • Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll
  • What Will the Weather Be?
  • The Cloud Book
  • Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean
  • Awesome Autumn 
  • Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
  • The Pumpkin Book
  • Pumpkin Circle
  • Pumpkin Cat
  • Why Do Leaves Change Color?
  • Max and Ruby Collection
  • Cobblestone Magazine (several issues on history related topics)
  • Rocks
  • Let's Go Rock Collecting
  • Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead 
  • Slayers
  • Slayers: Friends and Traitors
  • Slayers: Playing with Fire
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mary Poppins Comes Back
  • Mary Poppins Opens the Door
  • Mary Poppins in the Park
  • Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane
  • Gregor the Overlander
  • Gregor and the Prophesy of Bane
  • Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
  • Gregor and the Marks of Secret
  • Gregor and the Code of Claw
  • A Meeting with the Principle: An Education to Usher in the Millennium
  • Five Kingdoms
  • How to Train Your Dragon series (several books)
  • Mathemagic
  • Fablehaven

We did not get through as many books in history as I thought we might this six weeks. I'm okay with that. Everyone enjoyed the books they had, they just wanted to keep choosing books without moving on to new events in the time period. We will pick up where we left off for the next six weeks. There will always be more good books to read than we have time for, so the task is deciding when to linger and read just one more, and when to move on.

One thing we simply did not do, that I had planned to begin this six weeks, was our Shakespeare study of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We had many different things going on and it just never fit in. I suspect this will happen during our slower winter days instead. I'm fine with getting to it when we get to it.

Other things we did:
  • Consistent progress in math by all children. Even in Algebra 2, hallelujah. 
  • Consistent writing or handwriting practice depending on age. 
  • Art! We did a big painted paper project, have done some drawing, and various kids have started projects filling up notebooks with their art. One child worked on stop motion animation as well.
  • Beginning reading progress by all 3 beginning readers. They still each love All About Reading and so do I! 
  • Latin. We are keeping a slow but steady pace. I was surprised to hear Makayla tell someone the other day that her favorite subject this year is Latin.
  • Chemistry is still going well. It has been a balance of independent work and working with me when there are concepts she doesn't quite understand. 
That covers our second six weeks of the school year. We have been on break this week and looking forward to the next six weeks. I'm off to gather books for that!

Read about our first six weeks here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Pregnancy Update #10: Weeks 26-28

It has been a quiet three weeks. I'm growing, baby is growing. She likes to turn head up or sideways pretty often. My sciatic nerve has been decently good for the last three weeks which I am very grateful for. I'm still tired and hoping for a nap each day. My bladder is feeling crunched and I visit the bathroom frequently. Way too frequently. Heartburn is a daily companion. Yuck.

I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday. I'm 28 weeks pregnant. I weighed 215 lbs for a gain of 5 pounds since my last visit. My appointments will now happen every 2 weeks for a while, then we're at weekly appointments until this sweet girl arrives. It's flying past so quickly! At my appointment I also did the gestational diabetes test, which I passed for the 10th time. I got a Rhogam shot because of my RH negative blood type. I also found out my iron is low, so I'm starting treatment for that in the hopes of getting my iron level higher before delivery.

This Saturday a sweet friend from church is throwing me a baby shower, with help from my mom and sister. I'm feeling pretty blessed just that she thought of it! It has been twelve years next month since I had a little girl baby. We have long since passed along baby girl clothes to others, and worn out the rest of the baby clothes with all those boys. The best part will just be visiting with others who love me and want to celebrate this sweet little baby joining our family.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Homeschool Notes Week 13 - A Bit Late

We kicked the week off with Monday mayhem. There was seminary, homeschooling, Makayla's orientation for her first job, an endocrinology appointment for me, a work related injury evaluation for my husband, and more. Oh, and there are still a couple sick kids. Despite the list of things to do the kids were able to do their school work cheerfully and well. I think it helped to remind them that next week is break week. :) I know it helped me.

Our Tuesday was cold and rainy, a beautiful quiet morning. Kids worked steadily through their subjects with me. I took a mid-morning break to make a fruit salad. Today that meant cutting up:
  • 3 apples
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 3 kiwi
  • 1 pineapple
  • 3 oranges
Yum!

Makayla shadowed the veterinarians as usual for several hours. Kids played, created, crafted, and relaxed. 

Wednesday we had more rain and cold. It's wonderful! The kids did schoolwork. We baked 48 muffins. I prepared the last bits for Cub Scouts Pack Meeting. Our theme was slingshots and catapults and it went great tonight! We had three stations for kids to work through:
  • Long Range Slingshot - Kids got into teams of three to use a waterballoon launcher with little plastic balls from a kiddie ball pit to knock over a wall of boxes.
  • Medium Range Slingshot - This had kids knocking over towering stacks of plastic cups. Their slingshots were made this way: Lay a chair on it's back. String two rubber bands, one milk jug ring, and two rubber bands together and slip around two legs of the chair. Add marshmallow to the ring, pull back, aim, and fire.
  • Short Range Catapult - Kids built their own mini catapults with craft sticks and rubber bands. Then they shot cotton balls through football goal posts made from craft sticks, standing up in balls of playdough.
Thursday morning I had to scrape ice off the van window before I could take Makayla to Seminary. Brr! The kids knew that Grandma K from Utah was in town so they got school done early to be ready for a visit. She came and spent the afternoon and evening visiting. She even taught the kids a new game (Farkle). We had an early Thanksgiving style dinner with a turkey I had in the freezer.

Friday morning was the last day of school for our 6 weeks. Hooray! I think this Sabbath schedule is lovely so far (6 weeks of work and 1 week of rest). I know it will break down a bit over the holidays and birth of baby, but I will be sure to err on the side of more breaks than fewer. We attacked our school work and got it all done. We spent a little time pulling papers out of binders for portfolios, I will finish that during our break week. Then is was just waiting for Grandma to arrive again.

*** So, life got away from me a bit and I'm just now posting this a few days after my last update. Such is life! ***

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Homeschool Notes Week 12

Monday was a bit more scattered than I prefer. I had a grocery pick up at 8am and bloodwork at 10:30am. In between those and after I helped kids with their new week of learning. I really prefer just being able to stay at home and do the school work uninterrupted. Daddy was home and so some of the kids just went to him for help when I was gone, while others waited for my return for things like a new math lesson.

In the afternoon Mason had physical therapy. I remembered to put dinner in the crock pot in the morning (shredded beef sandwiches) so it was pretty easy to come home from PT and finish up dinner prep. Right after dinner we spent some time outside just enjoying the chilly weather. Then it was inside to settle down before bed.

Tuesday we woke up to a gloriously chilly morning that was almost cold enough for snow. Hot chocolate, pumpkin bread, and banana bread were a popular breakfast. Unfortunately a couple of my kids are getting a cough/cold. In a large family that also deals with a lot of allergies it's a rare month when we don't have someone sick or at least miserable from allergies. Right now Makayla is still dealing with allergies but they are morphing into something respiratory. It seems Caleb and Tobias at least are getting sick with a cough. We've got essential oils helping to manage symptoms while we see where this goes. So far no fevers and no loss of appetite.

We still managed school work. Several of the kids did an art project using some of the painted paper we made two weeks ago resulting in new art for our art line. We also had piano lessons in the afternoon. Then we surprised the kids with dinner in the backyard with the fire pit. It was really simple - just hot dogs, tortilla chips, and smores. For about 3.2 seconds I considered adding a fruit and vegetable. Then I decided the kids would be just as happy to skip them.

Wednesday I sat down to pay bills (oh the fun of adulting) and Oliver sat beside me and plowed right through his school work. Other kids were busy in various parts of the house doing school work or playing. It was a predictable, quiet day. I even got a nap!

Dinner was homemade pizza. Now before you think this was a lot of work, remember I'm pregnant. We used garlic toast and English muffins as the crusts and everyone got to add sauce, cheese, pepperoni, etc. Easy.

Thursday was a nice uncomplicated day. School work happened all morning. I'm getting excited because I can see our next break week on the horizon. We just have one more week of school to go. In the afternoon my sister and her four kids came over. While kids visited and played we talked budgets and figuring it all out when you've just moved internationally, changed jobs, and are still waiting to get important information like just what the paycheck and bills will look like now. Yeah, I don't envy her right now. Talk about complicated!

During dinner prep I decided to work ahead. While I was browning up a couple pounds of ground beef and black beans for tacos (tonight's dinner) I mixed up another couple pounds of ground beef with some ground sausage and other ingredients and filled a pan with a meatloaf. That got foil on top and was tossed in the second refrigerator. It will be dinner tomorrow night. Two dinners (plus leftovers!) with just one time touching raw meat and getting a messy kitchen. Yay! The taco meat leftovers tonight can go in quesadillas tomorrow for lunch. The meatloaf leftovers will be lunch for the next day.

Friday the local schools were out so Makayla didn't have seminary. Sleeping in was the order of the morning - except most of my kids don't know how to sleep in, so I was still up at 6am. Oh well. We did do school work to finish off the week strong. Then Joseph cooked a bunch of different things for his campout tonight. By afternoon it was time to pick up two teen cousins and drop off my two teens and cousins for a youth activity at a pumpkin patch with a huge fun zone. Then it was back home for me to do afternoon medical care for Mason. My sister (mom of the cousins) was on pick up duty for the teens. I tossed the meatloaf in the oven to cook, fed most of the family dinner, then it was time to take Joseph and one cousin to their Boy Scout campout.

Saturday was filled with a library book sale, cleaning the house, cooking, meal planning, picking up the scout campers, grocery shopping, and realizing that Tobias, who has been coughing for a couple days, was not going to be well enough to go to church on Sunday. Saturday had a lot of other things in it like a trip to the bank, games, school for daddy, rearranging one bedroom, and laundry. It was just a full day.

That brings me to this morning. It is Sunday and most of my crew is off to church. I'm going to go snuggle Tobias for a bit and take it easy.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Homeschool Notes Week 11

The kids were excited to learn that this week is only a 3 day school week. We're taking Thursday and Friday off for various reasons (doctor's appointments, friends visiting from out of state, just because we can). We got the week started right with a good solid Monday.

Kids had new math lessons or math review. This looked as follows:
  • Algebra 2 - Review for Makayla and I doing lesson 6 review pages. 
  • Pre-Algebra - Joseph and Emma had a new lesson. They met Pythagoras and were introduced to the Pythagorean theorem, which quickly made clear just why they had been practicing squaring and square rooting a number. 
  • Epsilon - Daniel's new fraction lesson was his first introduction to dividing fractions using the rule of 4. We'll cover dividing by multiplying by the reciprocal later on.
  • Gamma - Oliver's next lesson uses the skip counting by 9's he learned last week as a stepping stone to learning the 9's multiplication facts. 
  • Alpha - Caleb is on the last few subtraction facts: 7-3 or 7-4, 8-3 or 8-5. 
  • Hands on math - Mason is still not using a formal curriculum, just learning math concepts in a hands on way.
There were writing prompts to choose or writing from last week to continue if you were really engaged in what you had been working on. Caleb and Oliver had the drawing portion of Draw Write Now today. One drew a sheep while the other chose a squirrel. Mason and Samuel had fun with dry erase boards writing letters as Daddy called them out. Mason's handwriting is becoming legible and his fine motor control is definitely improving from where he was at the beginning of the school year.

Makayla and I finished Unit 1 in Latin Alive 1. That means we spent time translating the story of the Trojan War (a very simplified version) and reached the Unit Review. In the Unit Review we begin translating stories from the history of Rome, which we will start this week. In Chemistry she was looking at light spectrums using a feather - crazy interesting what our eyes can see when we give it the right kind of filter!

Kids did their history reading. Beginning reading lessons happened for three boys with a fourth boy tagging along. Fix-It Grammar lessons were new topics for Joseph, Emma, and Daniel today. As I said, it was a solid school day.

I made tacos for lunch and we sat down as a family (remember, daddy is home on Mondays too! He switches between joining in with homeschooling and doing his own college class work). As we finished eating we sat around the table and did our reading in the Book of Mormon. Dinner was pancakes tonight.

Tuesday morning I was a bit grumpy and the kids were a bit loud and chaotic so we had a bumpy start. I really needed some more sleep but the 5am seminary wake up call couldn't be ignored. After a while things settled down and we got through all our school work. Momma also got a better attitude going after some snuggles and laughs with the littlest boys.

Lunch was leftovers - kids could add taco meat to a quesadilla or just stick with tacos. It was easy and everyone could adjust it to what they liked best.

Every afternoon I spend about an hour and a half doing medical care for Mason. During this time kids are allowed to use their Kindles and Tobias naps. It is a quiet time in our day. We decided today that at least once a week during this quiet time we will listen to the Book of Mormon on audiobook. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I have several who LOVE audiobooks and listening. Second, I'm generally the one doing the reading aloud during our regular scripture reading time, which is great, but I'm getting short of breath as baby gets bigger. The audiobook can go much longer than I can in the read aloud department right now! We live in a time with technology like audiobooks so I'm going to take advantage of it!

We had piano lessons in the afternoon. We are really blessed because our piano teacher comes to our house. The kids adore her.

A rainy Wednesday started off our last day of school for the week. The kids got things moving, worked hard, and reminded me to get to the music store to pick up the next level of piano books for those who need them. One fun thing we did today was get out water beads. I soaked them overnight so they were ready to play with once school was over.

Wednesday evening was youth activities, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts. I'm doing preparations for this month's Pack Meeting. We're having a slingshots and catapults night.

Thursday was a no school day. It was great! I spent part of the morning at a checkup with my obstetrician and shared a pregnancy update on the blog. Everyone enjoyed the day off. There was a lot of playing, building, and reading going on. Makayla had her first day driving with a driving instructor (it's a mandatory 8 hours in Ohio, in addition to the 50 you drive with your parents while you have a permit).

Friday we were thrilled to host a homeschool get together with friends who are back for a short visit from out of state. They were part of our book club and art class last year before moving and we've missed them. We had a houseful (20 kids and not even all the kids in our families were able to come) and one mom was missing - but she had a really good reason. She had a baby yesterday, 9 weeks early, so she's still recovering and baby is stable in the NICU.

Saturday started out with the whole family attending a baptism for two children we know. Then it was home for a bit before the teens (because Joseph turned 13 today!) and two cousin teens heading out to a youth fall activity at a state park. I placed my first online grocery order today. Our local Wal-Mart just started offering free grocery pick up. I decided that because walking long enough to grocery shop gives me contractions every week that we should try the pick up service. We'll see how it goes! I pick up our order Monday morning and I'll report about it in next week's post.

Now I need to get into the kitchen again because Joseph (birthday today) and Daniel (birthday in 4 days) requested that I make sugar cookies for their combined birthday party tomorrow. I'm making one batch of sugar cookies and they requested one batch with andes mint pieces, so I'll do a separate batch with that. We keep birthday parties really simple. Generally we just invite family over for dessert. Occasionally a child requests a birthday party with friends, but most of the time we're just as happy to keep it a small family party.

That's it for our week! I'm off to bake!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pregnancy Update #9 - Weeks 21 through 25

21 weeks - Lots of tailbone pain this week. I've had a broken tailbone a couple times in the past so tailbone pain during pregnancy isn't unexpected for me, this is just starting earlier than usual. It makes it hard to walk much, sit for long, or lift and carry Mason. I've had the occasional bout of heartburn. They're pretty much my own fault - I'll eat and then forget that laying down is a bad idea until things digest. The laying down is happening fairly often again because I'm tired. I need regular naps! They're hard to come by but I'm making an effort.

22 weeks - Tailbone pain has been better this week but heartburn has been a more frequent visitor. I'm trying to remember to eat smaller amounts and spread my drinking liquids out over the day instead of guzzling a lot at a time. Baby girl is moving around often.

Something new I haven't mentioned yet - my feet have changed sizes! I noticed over the last month or so that when I wear my tennis shoes they're too tight, even in the morning when I haven't been on my feet all day. I finally gave in a used a coupon at Payless shoes to buy a new pair of tennis shoes. I have no idea if my feet will go back to their old size after this pregnancy, we'll see.

Weeks 23 and 24 - Heartburn is a regular visitor when I lay down at night. Or for a nap during the day. I'm having some aches and pains with my sciatic nerve, pubic bone, and tailbone. It's all part and parcel of pregnancy, just showing up earlier than usual. Baby is active and growing.

Today I had my second doctor's appointment. I am 25 weeks along in this pregnancy. I had an ultrasound to do measurements of baby and check to see what is going on with my partial placenta previa. Happily everything looks good. Baby girl is measuring about 1 pound 13 ounces, all organs look good. My placenta has moved up and out of the way, so I am cleared to have a vaginal birth. This will be my 3rd VBAC. I'm measuring on target and gained 7 lbs since my last appointment. Baby was breech today, with her head up behind my belly button and her hands, arms, and feet up by her face.

The crazy thing is I've already reached the point where my appointments start getting closer together! I go back in 3 weeks, then will go back every 2 weeks for 4 appointments, then it is every week until baby arrives.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Homeschool Week 10 Notes

Saturday and Sunday my family enjoyed watching General Conference. There were so many wonderful things about it that I'm going to try to get a separate post up about that. So let's move on.

Monday morning school was helping one child after another with new math lessons, listening to them read aloud, or helping them choose a writing project. Because Daddy is home on Mondays we were able to do our family reading in the Book of Mormon at snack time.

For science with the 7th grade and under crowd we talked about migration today. I started by asking them what migration means. We brainstormed different animals that migrate including some birds, butterflies, salmon, and whales. We read a book about how birds know where to go when they are migrating. I loved that in the end the book admitted that scientists don't really understand how birds know where to go. They have some ideas, have done some studies, know some possibilities, but they haven't figured it all out yet.

After school was finished 7 of the kids decided they wanted to paint. We pulled out oil pastels and tempera paint and they set to work. A couple boys created dinosaurs, others made pumpkins or bats, and one child made a pumpkin coach like Cinderella had.

Tuesday - A lovely cold morning (41 degrees F) started off with taking Makayla to seminary at 5:40am as usual. Most of the kids were awake before 6:45am. People ate breakfast and did chores. I convinced a few reluctant ones to get dressed instead of staying in pajamas all day. Then I settled into a seat at the table and did school with Mason. Samuel joined us for some of the fun. Before long the table was filled with kids doing writing, math, and grammar.

After lunch Mason and I spent 2 1/2 hours doing a bracing appointment. We'll go back in a few weeks when the orthotist is finished adjusting the braces to do a final fitting and bring them home. Makayla babysat, much to her delight, because she earned money she's planning to put toward a new tank for Olympia, her ball python.

Wednesday - I had an extremely long night with not much sleep thanks to a cranky Tobias. I think he's feeling a bit under the weather. When I got a text at 5am (after about 3 hours of interrupted sleep) cancelling seminary for the day I cheerfully went back to bed. Of course, Tobias woke up again so I really didn't get back to sleep until about 6am and slept until 7:30am. Still not a full night of sleep, but enough to get by on.

Here is part of Joseph's Secret Codes writing project.
He used Pigpen code to write a note (and I replied in kind).
He also used pictograms one day and created a cipher another day.
The wonderful thing is that we're solidly in a routine for school. Even when my energy is low or I'm busy taking care of someone who isn't feeling well our days roll ahead smoothly. Routine and habit sees us through. This is one reason why I'm so protective of our mornings. I remember early in my homeschool years that I was more likely let others infringe on our morning hours. Now, unless it is a medical appointment I have no other options on, I do my best to keep mornings set apart for homeschooling.

Everyone did their school work with a minimal of groaning. Makayla and I worked together to review her chemistry chapter. She is less than impressed that chemistry involves so much math...lol. I remember feeling the same way in high school.

Thursday - There was a lot of math today. It just boggles my mind sometimes jumping between all the levels. We got it done and everyone is pretty comfortable right now, including the high schooler doing Algebra 2. Slowing down the course has been the best idea ever!

There was a fair amount of finishing happening today. History reading books were finished. Writing projects were finished. Beginning readers were finished. To celebrate I played a game of Settlers of Catan with most of the kids.

In the afternoon while Tobias was napping I pulled out paint and set the kids to work making up a stack of painted paper. We'll be doing some art projects that use painted paper in the near future. To make this doable I used just a couple of supplies:
  • Plastic roll of tablecloth - Clean up was a breeze because my table was covered. Just throw it away! This was the best investment ever. I found mine on Amazon of course (aff). It is 300 feet long and 40 inches wide. We use just over 8 feet of it to cover our table so it should cover my table about 35 times. I got it on sale for under $14 so that's 40 cents per tablecloth. You can't even beat that at the dollar store. 
  • Food services bowls with lids - These are great paint containers! We poured in some tempera paint and water, then added a nice fat paint brush. The base of the bowl is wide enough that they don't tip over with a big paintbrush and little hands messing around them. When we are done you just pop the lid on and the paint doesn't dry out. We can use it for projects on another day. Again, found these on Amazon (aff). They are 16 oz bowls with lids and I found 50 for $14. 
  • Cake scrapers - Once the papers had been painted and were rather wet the kids used these to add texture and interest to their designs. Amazon to the rescue (aff). This set had 10 scrapers for $8.
  • Pacon sulphite paper - I get this at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon when we need it. Our painted paper is 12"x24".
  • Tempera paint - We have bottles of tempera paint from Hobby Lobby, again, purchased with 40% off coupons. These have lasted a LONG time (we're in year 2 of using them). We will run out this year some time.
Friday - Yes, we made it to the end of the week! I challenged the kids to get school done early. Most of them got to work before 8am. Everyone loves that feeling of finishing a good week of work.

Oliver's most recent copywork.
I noticed today just how much Oliver's handwriting is improving by using Draw Write Now - and made sure to mention it to him today.

Joseph helped me bake 48 muffins for lunch today. We went with pumpkin chocolate chip for half and banana chocolate chip for the other half. Mmm.

MOM FUN:

This week and last I have been working on my Project Life album. I'm not a scrapbooker - at all. I just don't have time for that. For Christmas almost 2 years ago I bought the basic materials to do a Project Life album. Basically, all you do is print 4x6 pictures and slip them into page protector pockets that are just the right size and already in a 'scrapbook layout'. The smaller pockets on the page fit little cards where you can journal about what is going on in the pictures. I had done some pages in my album but then ran out of printed photos. I'm not super consistent at taking pictures, much less getting them printed, so this put a halt to my Project Life work just a few months in.

Last month Shutterfly had a quick one day deal where you could print as many 4x6 pictures as you wanted for free, all you had to do was pay shipping. Well, that and survive the abysmally slow website because everyone was trying to do the same thing. I printed off several stacks from the last year and sat around waiting for them to arrive.

Over the last two weeks I have tried to take 10 minutes most days to sort pictures, slip them into pages, and then journal about them on the little cards. The kids have been fascinated to flip through photos of themselves and reminisce about things they may or may not remember doing.

That's all my notes for this week! I'm linking with Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Homeschool Week 9 Notes

Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon were all about clothing shopping. It's exhausting buying clothing for 9 children! I was very ready to recharge my batteries by Saturday evening. It was perfect timing - it was the first session of General Conference, which happens to be the Women's session (for girls and women age 8+). My girls and I snuggled up on the couch with bowls of ice cream and paper for taking notes that evening and streamed it live to the tv. It was so encouraging and uplifting!

Sunday we packed in 3 hours of church followed by a double birthday party at my house for a niece and a nephew. The Bishop was one of our speakers in Sacrament meeting. He challenged us to use these last few months of the year to read the Book of Mormon again. There is just over 90 days until the end of the year. We're taking the challenge as a family. I love the Spirit I feel as I read the scriptures and talk about them with my family. For anyone who wants to read along, here are a couple ways you can break the reading down to finish in 90 days:

  • 531 pages = 5.9 pages per day
  • 239 chapters = 2.6 chapters per day
  • The audiobook version (free online or with the free Gospel Library app) is 26 hours and 29 minutes long = 17.7 minutes per day
Monday morning was a bit wacky. I had some running to do to prepare for Pack Meeting this Wednesday (I'm our pack's Cubmaster), as well as grocery shopping. I helped kids do school until about 10am, then spent 2 hours doing the running, and came home to help kids finish up what they had left of school. (Many had finished while I was gone.) In the afternoon Daddy took 7 of the kids to see the new Lego Ninjago movie at the theater. I finished up grocery shopping at one last store and Makayla kept an eye on Tobias while I did so. We did our family reading in the Book of Mormon over dinner.

Tuesday the kids got my attention when they needed help with school. The rest of the morning I was reading a book. Yes, really. I finished it too! The kids didn't seem to mind, I sat at the table and read. They worked at the table and sat beside me when they needed help. I promised I would give them an oral narration about what I read if they wanted me to... so I could call reading a book 'school' for me. I'm sure that is going to come back to haunt me when they realize I'll probably let them do the same thing sometimes.

Wednesday after school was finished the kids and I headed to the church. Tonight is Cub Scout Pack Meeting and I needed to do some setup. We pulled the crossover bridge out of the shed and brought it in to the stage, set up chairs and tables, brought in the flag materials for flag ceremony, and just made sure everything was ready. That made our meeting in the evening easy. We had awards for a number of boys, a crossover ceremony for one who has finished Cubs, and then it was on to the activity. All month our Cubs have been learning about germs, food, and cooking. We decided a fun way to celebrate that would be to do an Iron Chef themed Nachos and Sundaes night. Everyone brought ingredients to share and got to put together their own unique creations. Yum!

Thursday the kids only had history to do, then our book club friends came over. We had fun visiting and eating together. I was even extra productive in the morning before friends came over and put dinner in the crock pot. It's my own version of an Olive Garden soup I love, so here's my recipe:
  1. 1 lb ground sausage, browned
    4 cups chicken broth
    15 oz can tomato sauce
    15 oz can diced tomatoes...15 oz can kidney beanstwo 15 oz cans Great Northern beans3 carrots, sliced into coins3 celery ribs, sliced1 onion, diced1 T. minced garlic2 tsp. Italian seasoning1 tsp. oregano
  2. Dump all ingredients into a large crock pot and cook on low all day (8+ hours).
  3. Optional: Cook 1 cup of a small pasta like ditalini on the stove top an hour before dinner. Drain and stir into crock pot.
Friday was just a regular school day. The weather finally cooled back down from the upper 80s so all the windows were open and the morning started with blankets because it was only 44 degrees F outside. My favorite school moment today was hearing Daniel ask, "Mom, can I keep writing this story next week too? I'm not ready to move on yet." Yes, of course you can!

By early afternoon everyone was discussing what preparations still need done for General Conference this weekend. Where we live (Eastern time zone) the sessions go from 12pm-2pm and 4pm-6pm each day. That is right across lunch and dinner. We plan meals that are easy to prepare, like cinnamon rolls in the oven or something in a crock pot. As of right now I think the meals are going to be cinnamon rolls, chicken bacon ranch tacos, French dip sandwiches, and homemade pizzas. The pizza is still up for debate. The kids also decide if they want coloring pages, blank pages, or lined pages in a notebook to have with them during conference for any doodling or note taking they want to do. We print or gather those items today. Everyone also puts in a request for their favorite candy.

That's really our week in a nutshell. Now I'm off to make a shopping list.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Budgets and Clothing Shopping for Nine Children

We're a homeschool family so we get to skip the back to school shopping craze. We wait until it's time for fall clothing to come out of storage and do our shopping then. Living in Ohio where we get 4 full seasons of different weather we often get half a year of use out of long sleeves and pants. We aim for about 6 shirts and 6 pants for each child, though it varies some as they reach the age where they spend their budget or as they have specific needs. For example Mason tears through the knees in pants more often than most of my boys because he still crawls when playing out of his wheelchair.

We went through our bins of stored clothing in the attic earlier in the month. While we're good at saving clothing for use by future children things just don't last through 7 sons. Then there is buying for the oldest of each gender too. This year kids needed a variety of items, some just a few pieces, others nearly everything.

Paying for Things:

We set aside money in the months leading up to our shopping. Then we do our large shopping trip at one time. Money left over in the budget is used on an as-needed basis when a child has an unexpected growth spurt or ends up with holes in all their pants at the knees for the next several months. If the money isn't used it just becomes part of the next big seasonal shopping trip's savings.

Shopping trip details:

Pre-Trip Online Ordering: I had some Super Cash from my maternity shopping online at Old Navy so I ordered pajamas for the three littlest boys online using that (saving $40 off the cost of pjs that were also already on sale).

Trip #1 on Friday night: Me, Makayla (age 16), Emma (age 11). We went to a local Target and WalMart. They did their own shopping, I was along for the ride. It is so much fun to see their different clothing likes and dislikes and shopping styles. Emma had a list, tried on a variety of things, and found everything she needed except pajamas. She was done trying on clothing and didn't want to try on pjs. Makayla found a couple items, two of which she bought as 'maybes'. She said if she didn't find anything she loved more somewhere else she would keep these items, but if she loved something else more she would return them.

Trip #2 on Saturday morning: Me, Makayla (age 16). Resale shop day! Our first stop was Plato's Closet for Makayla, then Once Upon a Child (for Tobias, Samuel, Mason, Caleb, Oliver, Daniel). Makayla had a list she had been working from of needs and wants. She tried on a stack of things and made her choices. She compared a price with something at another store using my phone. Then she helped me shop for all the clothing for the 6 younger boys. It's so nice to have a good, helpful teen.

Trip #3 on Saturday afternoon: Me, Makayla (age 16), Joseph (age 12, or as he tells me now, 13 in less than a month). We went to WalMart for one exchange for Makayla, clothes for Joseph, and pjs for Emma and Caleb (because I didn't find their size earlier in the day). Joseph's shopping personality was agonizing for me. It was along these lines: Umm, what do I need mom? Will these work? Do I have to try them on? Are you sure?

Budgets--smudgets:

Clothing budgets are a very personal and variable thing. Our general goal was to save $900, which works out to $100 per child. In reality, we then use that money based on each child's needs. We didn't need $100 to get the clothing Tobias needed (we didn't even need $50 for him this season). At the same time, we needed closer to $150 for the oldest two children, who are the first of each gender, and whose clothes cost more per piece than a toddler's, even at a resale shop like Plato's Closet.

What we bought:

Long sleeve shirts (tee shirts, sweaters, cardigans): 36
Pants (jeans, leggings, cotton pants, etc): 18 pair
Dresses: 1
Pajamas (long sleeve top and pants): 20 pair
Shoes: 2 pair

Total: 77 items

What we spent:

Between all 9 children we spent $567 for everything. We were $333 under our budget. That leftover money will be used over the next several months if needed or will roll into the next season's savings for clothing shopping.

Phew! That's our process. Do you have any questions? How do you handle clothes shopping for kids around the back to school or seasonal switch?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Homeschool Week 7 and 8 Notes

 Week 7 was our lovely break week which brings us to week 8 already. Here's how it went:

Monday was the first day back after a break. It's often hit or miss on how that will go, trying to get back into routine, facing math again, and so on. This was a pretty successful Monday! Over the course of the morning I gave six new math lessons. Makayla and I conquered the portion of lesson 5 in Algebra 2 that had us stumped before break. I spent an hour figuring it out myself over break so we were able to walk through it together today. We will practice lesson 5 all week to solidify things.

Joseph, Emma, and Daniel all started a new history read - Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin. I had offered them all four different books and let them each choose which one they wanted to read. Everyone chose the same book, so they're taking turns with our copy until the library gets us an extra copy. I also read aloud to everyone a chapter about Leif Ericson from A Child's First Book of American History.

I did Latin with Makayla. I went over writing options with Joseph, Emma, and Daniel. Each chose a writing prompt to work on this week. There was reading with Caleb and Oliver.

In the early afternoon I went for more thyroid bloodwork (things still look great). Mason and I headed to physical therapy in the middle of the afternoon. By the time we came home dinner was ready. I love crock pots! We put green beans and ham in the crock pot this morning so all we needed to add at dinner was some biscuits.

After dinner the girls and I made a quick trip to the grocery store for thing we are running low on (milk, bread, lettuce, etc).

Tuesday was a lovely morning working with my kids on their learning goals. Usually a day has at least a few complaints or a child who is less than chipper about getting their work done. Today was one of those rare won't-happen-again-for-months days when everyone peacefully worked through their assignments without grumps. I helped when needed, cycling through listening to beginning readers and doing math with each child as well as some chemistry review with the oldest.

Makayla did her usual shadowing at the veterinary office. The rest of the kids and I baked magic cookie bars with some changes just for fun. The basic idea: graham cracker and butter crust, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, coconut. Our version today had a graham cracker and butter crust, chocolate chips and Andes mints pieces, sweetened condensed milk, and crushed pretzel topping.

Right before bed Mason and Samuel decided they wanted to do some more reading practice with our All About Reading level 1 activities. Mason is sounding out CVC words pretty well and Samuel can identify letters and sounds but isn't blending yet. Samuel is also not doing ANY formal lessons but he likes to take a turn sometimes.

Wednesday was another writing day for Joseph, Emma, and Daniel. Joseph and Daniel each chose the same writing prompt on Monday, where they tell about an experience from the point of view of an appliance. Emma's choice was to write and illustrate a 4 frame comic and today she finished up two frames. Meanwhile Mason practiced writing capital letters and reading, Oliver and Caleb read to me, and all the usual subjects happened. It was a straightforward day. Nothing terribly memorable, good or bad.

Thursday had me wishing for Friday. Math with two children had me biting my tongue to keep from sharing my frustrations with their forgetting past learning or repeated mistakes due to not writing out their work in a readable way. Ugh. Once math was finished for the morning I celebrated by baking two loaves of banana bread and two loaves of pumpkin bread. We demolished over half of those for lunch. Yum!

Friday we got off to a good start, got derailed by a visit from grandma, and then picked up the pieces when grandma left. We had a great visit and then finished out the school week with a solid effort. Our afternoon was quiet, with a movie and snacks in the living room. Daddy was home in time for dinner tonight (yay!) and then the girls and I headed out to the stores to get started on fall clothing shopping. That was exhausting! I'm not a fan of clothes shopping but it must be done. This year the kids over age 9 have a budget and after going through their clothing are given the reins on their shopping. They get to make the hard choices about what to buy and where to save money. It's interesting watching their shopping processes.

That's it for our week!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Peek Ahead: Our Studies for the Next Six Weeks

I thought others might be curious what is coming up for our homeschool in the next 6 weeks. I'll try to share it here, with links to make it convenient for you to learn more about anything you may be interested in. None of the links are affiliate links.

Math - Each child just keeps moving forward in their Math U See curriculum. We've got everything from addition, subtraction, and multiplication to fractions, prealgebra, and algebra 2.

Grammar - For those using Fix It Grammar I've printed the next 6 weeks of work. Joseph and Emma are on weeks 15-20 while Daniel is on weeks 7-12.

All About Reading - Oliver is moving right along in level 3, currently on lesson 7 out of 54. Most lessons are taking him a week to master. Caleb is in level 1 at lesson 27 out of 49. His lessons take 1-2 weeks each. Mason is in level 1 but not in a specific lesson. Up to now he's simply been doing activities from the binder from lessons 1-18. We are going to begin more methodically going through the lessons this six weeks, starting around lesson 4. I know that some of these lessons will be quick (just a day) while others will take longer, depending on how well he has already mastered the topic.

Latin - Makayla is at chapter 4 of Latin Alive 1. We are doing this together and slowly getting in a good routine.

Writing - Makayla is in chapter 4 of 13 in Writing Fiction in High School. She stays independent in this. Joseph, Emma, and Daniel are doing some creative writing with Spin A Story (I got when it was free) and a writing prompt calendar from Write Shop. Oliver and Caleb are continuing copywork with Draw Write Now. Mason is still enjoying Handwriting Without Tears.

History - Makayla is finishing up her last book on the Civil War. Next up is reading Kids on Strike, a book or two about the Wright Brothers, a book on the Titanic, and then on to World War One. The rest of the kids are moving into reading about exploration and the American colonial days. We will meet people like Pocohontas, John Smith, and William Penn. There will be Puritans and Quakers and Pilgrims. We're not using a formal curriculum for anyone for history this year, just reading and narration.

Science - Makayla is almost finished with chapter 2 of Discovering Design with Chemistry. Each chapter takes about 2 weeks time. The rest of the kids will choose from a variety of books I've gathered on harvest, pumpkins, animals, why leaves change colors, and so on. We'll be watching our birdfeeder as fall sets in and we see flocks traveling south for winter.

Shakespeare - For this six weeks we are going to dive into one of the bard's comedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream. Shakespeare was alive during the time period most of my kids will cover in history this six weeks. We will learn about the man himself, the Globe theater, and then use Shakespeare in Three Steps from Simply Charlotte Mason to study this play. I like the setup of this. You read a story version of the play first (in this case one written by E. Nesbit around 1907). Then you work through each act of the play reading along to an audiobook performance (we are doing one from Arkangel productions that is available on Audible). Finally, you watch a performance of the play (live or dvd) and the SCM book has reviews and suggestions for versions to watch based on ages in your family.

Phew! We will also do some art projects, look at art, listen to music, sing hymns, study scriptures, and more. Nature study will happen. Books will be read and discussed. Games will be played. It's a wonderful learning adventure!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Looking Back at the First Six Weeks

If you are reading this post we are on our Sabbath week break. That means we've finished the first 6 weeks of the school year. We will take a week to rest, store away papers for our portfolios, and change out the books on the shelves to reflect the topics of the next 6 weeks of school. I thought this would be a good time to look back and evaluate how our first six weeks have gone. There are so many ways to do this. I could talk about how each child's work has gone or their progress toward their big goals for the school year. How our schedule has worked. If we got through the books I planned or if we changed any curriculum plans.

Books we've read as individuals or together for school during this 6 weeks (not counting reading for fun):
  • Across Five Aprils
  • Indian Captive
  • The Sign of the Beaver
  • Paddle to the Sea
  • Stonewall
  • Tuesdays at the Castle
  • Henry and the Chalk Dragon
  • If You Lived with the Sioux Indians
  • If You Lived with the Iroquois
  • If You Lived with the Hopi
  • If You Lived with the Cherokee
  • If You Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast
  • The Indian Book (Childcraft annual)
  • The International Space Station
  • Mission to Mars
  • Floating in Space
  • Glow in the Dark Constellations
  • What the Moon is Like
  • Zoo in the Sky
  • Once Upon a Starry Night
  • Meet the Planets
  • Beyond the Solar System
  • Earthquake
  • If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
  • Sections of several books on bald eagles
  • There was also a host of picture books read to Mason and the younger boys. I didn't keep a list because we tend to read 4-6 at a time and repeat some over and over. 
Let's hit some highlights for each child. We'll start with the youngest school age.

Mason - He is working on his fine motor control and getting started with handwriting. He adores Handwriting Without Tears. He likes working on beginning reading with All About Reading level 1. He is using a lot of math manipulatives, has a cutting book he likes, and an Usborne first coloring book he works on a little bit each week. He likes being read to and would say science is his favorite. He loved the eclipse and enjoys all things space right now.

Caleb - He is trotting right along in Math U See Alpha and doing well with subtraction. He likes the drawing part of Draw Write Now but isn't up for the four lines of copywork. We made a deal that he could work up to it. This 6 weeks he's doing 1 line of copywork. The next 6 weeks he will do 2 lines, and so on. He enjoys All About Reading and is making steady progress. He likes science more than history.

Oliver - He has been doing great with beginning multiplication. He likes Draw Write Now but would be happy to skip the copywork portion. He does it anyway and has taken to using his drawings as the front and back cover of his binder, so he's proud of his work. All About Reading level 3 is going great. He liked learning about the different Native American tribes and how their homes/food/clothes/live were similar or different from each other and from us. He likes science too.

Daniel - His introduction to Fix It Grammar has been great! He's getting grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and copywork in one swoop. He completed two writing projects this 6 weeks. The first was his letter box, where he sent and received letters for several weeks. The second was an animal report on bald eagles that he researched and wrote. Math has been easy going, he's picking up fractions well. He adores science and is always asking for more. He has enjoyed his history reading.

Emma - She has had a good first 6 weeks with no math meltdowns in PreAlgebra. She has really loved her big writing project because she could create any creatures/cultures/histories she wanted for each island in her imaginary island chain - including artwork of them. She doesn't mind Fix It Grammar. She has liked her history reading and our science topics but has burned out a bit on space, so I know she'll be happy when we move on for the next 6 weeks to a new area of science.

Joseph - He has been my steady worker as usual. He just plows through the school work so he can move on with his day. He's doing okay with PreAlgebra and Fix It Grammar. He liked the book he chose for history, liked science, and liked the topic he chose for writing (Great San Francisco Earthquake) while not really enjoying the writing process. You win some, you lose some!

Makayla - Her first 6 weeks has had it's bumps. She is doing fine in each subject but doesn't necessarily want to do each one. Chemistry has had some interesting hands on things and we both like Discovering Design with Chemistry by Jay Wile. I'm not sure if she likes Latin Alive or just tolerates it, but we do it together and that is fun. She has kept true to form with Writing Fiction In High School and stayed as independent as possible, not wanting me to participate in the writing lessons. I'm fine with that. History reading has been good. She did say she doesn't like one of the books she's reading for the Civil War (Across Five Aprils) but I reminded her that we don't have to like every book we read to learn from it, so it is good practice for college.

The biggest problem subject has been math. The Math U See Algebra 2 lessons seem to have a TON of parts in a single lesson. They all build on each other but in past books this would have been done over several lessons. Makayla and I are not fans of this compression. We have decided that our brains have a limit of how many new math things we can cram into them each week, so we're slowing these extra full lessons down and taking longer than a week. We'll just plan for Algebra 2 to last more than a single school year. Better to slow down and learn it well than to rush ahead half-understood just to maintain some artificial schedule. #perksofhomeschooling

Other Thoughts

Overall our first six weeks has been great. We've done a later start time and while I still don't love it, it works really well for some of the kids. The kids who prefer getting started earlier just go ahead and do that.

We are all getting better at remembering that mommy can only help so many people at one time. Kids are noticing more often if I'm already busy with a sibling and just moving on to other independent work instead of interrupting. I'm remembering to ask if anyone needs me when I finish helping one child.

We really haven't done a morning basket this 6 weeks. I've added things in to our days a bit more free-form while we really focused on getting a handle on the main subjects. For the next 6 weeks I will be trying to put one or two morning basket type items into each day. We're going to study a Shakespeare play in the coming six weeks as well.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pregnancy Update #8 - The Halfway Mark and Ultrasound

18 weeks. Tired. I'm wondering if my iron is low and plan to have my doctor check it when I see them in a couple weeks. In the mean time I am eating iron rich foods and making sure to keep my calcium rich foods at separate meals (inhibits body's absorption of iron) while having vitamin c rich foods with the iron foods (aids in the body's absorption of iron).

All food aversions are gone. I'm happy to eat just about anything. I'm sure you know where this is going, right? The scale has finally moved. I've gained a couple pounds in the last 3 weeks. I went 17 weeks without gaining any weight, which was a really interesting experience in pregnancy.

In week 19 I started feeling the baby move every day. I love that. I have been dealing with tailbone pain. I have broken my tailbone a couple times in the past, so late pregnancy tends to make that hurt again.

Week 20 started last Thursday. It is hit or miss how much my tailbone hurts when walking. Longer days on my feet tend to make it worse. For example we walked all over the zoo last Saturday and by the late afternoon I was hobbling around.

As of today I am 20 weeks 5 days pregnant. I had my very first doctor's appointment for the pregnancy today. Their scales put me at 203 lbs, matching my own scale this morning.

I can officially say that I am pregnant with one little girl! We had a quick ultrasound today, we'll do a more extensive anatomy scan in 4 weeks. Baby is measuring right where expected. She's a feisty little girl currently laying transverse (sideways).

One minor issue is that I have a partial placenta previa. I had this with Tobias as well. Basically, the placenta is covering part of my cervix - baby's exit route. It should move out of the way over time, but until it does we will have ultrasounds every month to check. It moved out of the way in Tobias' pregnancy. If the placenta does not move out of the way I will be having a C-section, there are major risks to baby and I both in a vaginal delivery with a partial placenta previa.

We are thrilled to have gotten a peek at our precious little baby today!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Homeschool Week 6: Phew!


Sunday was a nice, normal day with family and church. I did have a meeting for Cub Scouts right after church to plan the coming month's meetings. Back at home we spent the evening outside with the kids (gaining mosquito bites) to use the big bubble wands and solution we picked up at the Renaissance Festival the day before.

Monday was Labor Day, no school for us. It worked out well because Saturday we were at the Renaissance Festival and I needed to grocery shop today. Emma and I did a really big shopping trip, stocking up on a lot of things. Our usual weekly budget is $200 and this week we spent $352.79. That means we won't need to buy the following things for a while because I stocked up (amounts noted):
  • 12 cans corn
  • 24 cans green beans
  • 12 cans pears 
  • 12 cans peaches
  • 24 cans pumpkin
  • 1 mustard
  • 3 ketchup
  • 10 lbs. sugar
  • 10 lbs. ground beef
  • 3 lbs. ground sausage
  • 4 bags chocolate chips
  • seasonings(garlic, steak seasoning)
  • sauces for stir fry (three flavors)
  • 1 large peanut butter
  • 2 large beef broth
  • 24 tomato paste
  • 2 large cans hot chocolate
  • 2 large jars dill pickles
  • 2 family packs sausage patties
  • 3 lbs bacon
The rest of the month our weekly budget will be adjusted to reflect what we spent this week. So we'll use $150 per week instead of $200. 

Monday afternoon the cousins, aunt, and uncle came over to visit. They just moved back to Ohio from Germany a few days ago and we're so happy to have them nearby! We visited, the kids played, and everyone just relaxed.

That evening I spent a little bit of time updating the kids' homeschool assignment sheets for the week. I can't believe we're finishing our first 6 weeks and about to take our Sabbath week break! Next week off will give us rest time and time for real life. We have 12 medical appointments scheduled, mainly dental cleanings. We plan to make a trip to the zoo if we get a good weather day too.

Tuesday was what I call 'typical'. We did school. Makayla spent a couple hours at the vet office shadowing. We cooked dinner and did family time. I did spend time on the phone tracking down doctors to refill prescriptions, called the pharmacy to see if one backordered prescription is available yet, etc. After dinner I was able to pick up several of the prescriptions.

Wednesday morning started extra early for me when the car Jason is driving wouldn't start. I drove him to work at 4am. Then there was driving Makayla to and from seminary and the day was off and running. By 9am kids were well into their school work and I had a load of laundry going. We got all the school work done.

Wednesday evening is our activities night so we picked up one of the cousins and headed to the church for the following: Iron Chef night for Joseph, Makayla, and cousin. Activity day girls for Emma. Cub Scouts for me, Oliver, and Daniel. Daddy and the rest of the crew were at home together.

Thursday we woke to 48 degrees Fahrenheit outside - deliciously cool - and because the windows were open a bit during the night the house was about 64 degrees. I loved it! The kids reminded me we need to pull some fall clothing out of the attic as they curled up under blankets. Sigh. Just thinking about it makes me tired!

Our process goes something like this: We go to the attic and pull down bins of clothing (sorted by size). Each child will find the size clothing they need and we'll try on the stored items. I'll make a list of things that we don't have enough of (with child's size included). Then it will be fall clothes shopping time. At the same time we pack away some of the warmer weather clothes, making space in the dressers for some fall clothing.

The school day was straightforward. We dug in, worked steadily, and got it all done. I think every child commented that they are excited for break next week, that it doesn't feel like we've been doing school long enough for a week off, but they'll take it.

Friday, O how I love thee! Then end of the week means motivated kids diving into school early and working steadily to get it done. I think everyone was finished by lunch time - including the high schooler. It was super satisfying to close the books and tidy the shelf.

We spent part of our evening beginning the fall clothing switch. We made it through 5 boys and the teen girl before bedtime. I'm hoping we get the last three kids done this weekend. Then it will be time to go clothes shopping. We've decided that once we know what we have each child will get a budgeted amount to fill in gaps - and the older kids will also have the responsibility to make their own choices on what gaps to fill. For example, they may choose to spend more on a couple items they want and not get everything on their list. But then they have to make do without anything they chose not to buy. It should be interesting!

Saturday (today!) we started our break week with a trip to the zoo. The weather was perfect. We saw so many animals being playful in the cooler morning. The only sad blip of the trip was Oliver getting stung on the lip by a bee. I keep Benadryl on hand along with the epi-pens we carry for various kids allergies so we gave him some Benadryl and visited a couple more animals before we headed home for the afternoon.

That's a wrap! I have a post coming in the next week looking back at our first 6 weeks, sharing how we're liking various materials, what we plan to study for the next 6 weeks, and an update on goals. I'll also have a pregnancy update post sometime next week.

Linking to Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Homeschool Week 5: Laundry and Learning and a Festival

Saturday we had one big project - washing and changing bedding on all 10 beds. Usually I try to spread this out over more than one day but this week I decided to tackle it all at the same time. It started early and took all day. After switching the first load to the dryer and starting the second load Emma and I left at 7:30am for grocery shopping. When we got back we helped Daddy pack everyone up for a field trip. An airport in a nearby city was having a big World War II day. They had planes from WWII flying in, vehicles, the traveling WWII Memorial Wall, and many things to explore. It was a lot of fun!

In the afternoon Makayla and I ran to the library to return books and pick up a few more. She also needed to run to the farm store for heat lamps for the bearded dragons (she's trying a different set up). Grilled hot dogs were dinner. Then it was time to put the bedding back on all those beds. What a workout! I made sure I wasn't the one climbing up on the triple bunk beds to do the top bunks.

After beds were made I sat at the computer to update our homeschool assignment sheets for the coming week. It took about 10 minutes to figure out who needed to do what assignments on which days, taking into account 4 eye checkups, on hospital clinic visit for Mason, an orthodontist appointment for Joseph, and Makayla's regular Tuesday shadowing at the veterinary office. Thankfully 5 of the appointments are on one single day when Daddy is home too.

Sunday was a nice day at church with encouraging messages and great discussion. Dinner was put in the crock pot in the morning (green beans and ham) so I decided to bake in the afternoon. I made a batch of chocolate cookies that taste a lot like brownies. It's a recipe the kids made for the first time with my husband's mom (Grandma K) on her last visit. We spent the evening playing card games with the kids. Uno was up first and is crazy with that many people! Then we did Guillotine, followed by Capture: A Book of Mormon Game.

Monday morning began with oatmeal and my usual scripture study. Then I helped various kids with school work before packing up Mason and I for his long appointment at dermatology clinic an hour away at the hospital. Daddy held down the fort and made sure the rest of the homeschool day was finished while I was gone. Mason's appointment went pretty well, with only 1 new prescription added. We got home in time for Daddy and 3 other kids to head to the eye doctor for their yearly checkup.

While Daddy cleaned up the after dinner dishes I mixed up a double batch of homemade granola bars. This time it's chocolate chip raisin cranberry bars. Yum! The games came out again - this time Gubs. I love that the kids enjoy playing games. Really, I do. But there are some days when I just don't want to play with them. Today was one of those days. I smiled and said, "This is one of the reasons you have siblings. Ask them to play this time." Just keeping it real!

Tuesday's chilly morning was glorious, though the day warmed up eventually. It was a smooth start to the day with math, reading, history, writing, Latin, and so on. Last night we started another history book read aloud - Paddle to the Sea. My kids were fascinated and it was the first thing they asked to read this morning. The illustrations are beautiful works of art and every bit as engaging as the story itself.

Makayla headed off to the veterinary office mid-morning to shadow as usual. The rest of the kids finished up their school work and enjoyed the early afternoon. The rest of our day was pretty relaxed, family time, playing, and watching a movie together (The Spy Next Door).

Wednesday was a foggy morning on the drive to Seminary. I love fog, though riding along with my teen as they drive in it makes me love it just a smidge less. We saw a skunk on the way.

The morning was a slow pace for me, playing with my younger boys for a bit after breakfast. They don't always include me in their play so when they ask, "Mommy, do you want to play hide and seek?" I say yes. Then remember that my pregnant self is really limited on hiding spots. Ahem. But they had fun and that's really all that matters. We also played with a couple doll babies we pulled out of the attic recently and talked again about the baby growing in mommy's belly.

The older kids did their school work around us, interrupted when they had a question, and just generally got things done. Or distracted each other for a bit and then got things done. Whatever works, right? We read two chapters in Henry and the Chalk Dragon today because we just hadn't gotten to it yesterday.

We finished off the day with most of the family going to Cub Scout Pack Meeting (we were minus Makayla and Joseph, who had youth activities). Our pack meeting was a tour of one of the local fire stations. It was really interesting!

Thursday began with school. I helped kids as needed, which today meant several things with my teen (chemistry, Latin, algebra 2). She doesn't always need me so I try to enjoy the times when she does. It's not so easy to enjoy algebra 2. I love doing Latin with her - I love languages.

Daniel and I used the hands on fraction overlays with his Math U See to see how to make different fractions into the same kind of fractions so we can add or subtract them. Ex: how do we add 1/3 and 2/5? Change them to the same kind... 15ths. That would be 5/15+6/15=11/15.

I had All About Reading with Mason, Caleb, and Oliver. Each are at a different point so it was one after the other, sounding out words or listening them to read a story. They are each doing well at their place in the levels.

In the early afternoon Joseph had yet another orthodontist appointment. This every other week appointment for his palate expander is getting old fast! We are hopeful that we are close to the end of the every other week appointments. Grandma stopped in for a quick visit and dropped off lots of bananas and a bin full of apples from Great Grandma and Grandpa's tree.

The kids then spent an hour playing at the table together. The Spirograph sets came out for some of the kids. I joined in this group. Other kids grabbed our bucket of thinking putty containers. This is a popular activity for my hands on kids! We have a variety of Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty (aff). We even bring this stuff along on doctor's visits.

In the evening I spent some time working on Cub Scouts. I'm the new Cubmaster for our pack and there is lots to learn and some areas that need some tweaking to get working better.

Friday was gloriously chilly all day. We had all the windows open to enjoy it. Kids got right to work on school - even the teen. She had us finishing Algebra 2 before 9am. Oliver and Caleb each finished the lesson they were on in All About Reading. Joseph, Emma, and Daniel finished reading their independent read chapter books for history this 6 weeks.

I reminded kids the washer was available if they need to do laundry(some children took advantage of that), cleaned out the upstairs closet (holds medical supplies, extra bedding, and I would love to fit towels in here), and then Emma came to me asking for ideas of something to do. I suggested she cook lunch. I didn't have any specific plans and she decided that I should help her make cinnamon rolls. So that is what we did!

Saturday we spent the entire day a couple hours away at the Ohio Renaissance Festival with our 9 children, 2 nephews, and grandma. 11 kids age 16 and under. It was such a fun day! We saw several shows including a sword fighting show, a real joust, and a human chess match. We wandered in and out of shops. We went out to the van to eat the lunch we packed (no food or drinks can be brought into the festival, though they sell a lot of options of course). We talked to people. We bought things. We came home exhausted but with many wonderful memories.

Linking with the Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Homeschool Week 4: Feeling Like Fall

Saturday daddy had a driver's meeting at work. The kids did chores and then their Saturday game time. Makayla and Mommy went to the reptile show to pick up bugs and rats for Makayla's reptiles - and Makayla drove the hour to get there in the big city! Grocery shopping was done in the hot afternoon. A thunderstorm rumbled and poured later in the afternoon and into the evening. We met another family with a child who has spina bifida like Mason and were able to pass his outgrown dynamic stander on to them in the evening. Everyone played and relaxed the evening away and then it was up to bed for some sleep before Sunday.

Sunday is always my favorite day of the week. Why? It's my day of rest! Now, as a mother to nine children my definition of rest isn't quite the same as it was when I had no children. There are still mouths to feed - but we try to keep preparations simple and work together in the kitchen. But the regular chores don't happen beyond keeping up with dishes. We wake up and everyone gets ready to be out the door at 9:30am for church. Church is from 10am-1pm.

The first hour and 10 minutes of church isn't as restful with children - it is Sacrament meeting, where the entire congregation sits as families to partake of the sacrament, sing hymns, and listen to the speakers. Today, for example, we had 3 speakers, a youth, a missionary serving in our ward, and the father of one family in our ward. (A ward is a local congregation.) Keeping all the children in Sacrament meeting makes a little more noise but less than you would think. The second and third hour are classes.

Hour two is Sunday School. There are classes for adults, youth, and children. The youth are divided into classes with two ages together in a class (12/13, 14/15, 16/17). Joseph is in one of these, Makayla in another. The children's classes have just one age per class, so those turning 4, or those turning 7, or those turning 11. Samuel, Mason, Caleb, Oliver, Daniel, and Emma are each in one of these. There is also an optional nursery class for children ages 18 months to 3 years old. Tobias enjoys this because they have toys, lesson, snack, music time, and lots of fun.

Hour three all the children meet for Primary where they have a sharing time lesson and singing time. The youth meet separately as young men or as young women, ages 12-17. The adults meet separately as well, women in Relief Society with men in their own class.

After church we come home, make lunch as a family, and spend time together. We take care of the usual afternoon medical care for Mason (takes about 1 1/2 hours) and Tobias naps. We often will play games as a family on Sunday afternoon. We talk and laugh and rest. Today we also made no bake cookies. Yum! On this particular Sunday there was also a Stake fireside for youth ages 12-17 with their parents. (A stake is a collection of congregations in a larger area.) I attended with Joseph and Makayla.

Monday started extra early for some of us because it was the first day of early morning seminary for Makayla. Up at 5:00am, out the door at 5:40am, Monday through Friday for the entire school year. At the moment she doesn't have her driver's license (she's got her permit) so we're still driving her. We share rides home with another family right now, until their daughter or ours get their license. Makayla is home around 7:10am from seminary.

Monday was also eclipse day of course. It was a school morning as usual for us. Kids got their work done and then we spent the afternoon in the backyard to view the eclipse and eat popsicles. It was really neat to watch the progress of the moon over the sun. It made me grateful again for a God who has set in motion the planets and planned every tiny detail to work together. Amazing!

In the late afternoon I went to the hospital for blood work. The doctors are monitoring my thyroid every 4 weeks through the pregnancy. Things look great so far, my medication dose is doing it's job.

Tuesday most of the kids got to work early. As in, Oliver was doing school at 6:30am! Three of us had eye checkups scheduled for mid-morning. I really don't like having our school morning broken up by appointments but sometimes it just can't be avoided.

Makayla decided to tackle chemistry early today so this is what was going on in our kitchen. Any time there is a fire the kids are drawn to it like a moth. I think almost every child stopped in to see what was going on.

I made a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for lunch today and we listened to Tuesdays at the Castle (aff). The day went on as usual and we finished off our evening listening to the last two chapters of Tuesdays at the Castle with Daddy. Hooray for finishing the book!

Wednesday morning was chilly and held the promise of cooler fall weather. It made me so happy that I baked biscuits and made two soups for lunch. We spent our morning doing school work as usual. Latin, math, history, writing, astronomy, reading, chemistry, art, grammar -- we worked through it all. I will go through it by child:
  • Makayla and I are almost finished with chapter 2 of Latin Alive 1. We've started conjugating verbs. We're making our way through lesson 4 in Algebra 2 and surviving. She's reading history on her own. For writing today we discussed motifs and things appearing in 3s in fairy tales, as well as discussing those things in the movie The Princess Bride. She did chemistry on her own today. 
  • Joseph read his history chapter book. He's doing well in PreAlgebra and Fix It Grammar. He's started typing his report on the San Francisco earthquake in preparation to do edits. In science he created a piece of art related to our theme of space.
  • Emma is also doing well in PreAlgebra and Fix It Grammar. She's on country 3 or 4 in her writing about an imaginary island chain. She was thrilled to have art included in science today - and couldn't resist adding a small starship Enterprise and a Borg ship to her space scene. She's still reading her history chapter book too.
  • Daniel moved on to a new writing project this week. He finished up the letter writing last week and now he's researching bald eagles and writing a report about them. He has decided he likes Fix It Grammar, which doesn't surprise me. He's in Epsilon for math so this week has been learning about equivalent fractions. He read another chapter in his history book and did an art piece for science today too.
  • Oliver is working with oa and ow words this week in All About Reading level 3. He is multiplying by 2s and converting quarts to pints because there are 2 pints in every quart. He did a drawing of a cactus today from Draw Write Now and tomorrow will add the copywork to the page. His art project for science was the solar eclipse seen through the glasses we bought. 
  • Caleb did two pictures of the solar eclipse for science. His reading is working on beginning blends in words. He's on subtracting nines, lesson 22 in Math U See Alpha. He also drew a cactus today from Draw Write Now and will do the copywork sentences for it tomorrow. 
  • Mason chose to use a dry erase book today as part of his handwriting/fine motor skills work. He used pattern blocks for math. He also worked on naming the sounds different letters of the alphabet make. Each letter was covered by a chocolate chip and so he would pick a chip, move it, say the letter sound, and eat the chocolate. He drew the solar eclipse as well today. 

I remembered a dvd we have called Your Backyard: Identifying 18 Common Feeder Birds (aff) and we watched about half of that today. It's all about identifying birds by sight and by their calls. What surprised me the most was that Tobias, Samuel, and Mason loved it. There is another dvd in that series about Monarch butterflies. We've not seen that one. We have noticed a number of butterflies lately though.

Thursday started with a doctor's appointment for two kids before gathering up everyone to head to book club. We made it there and the kids played, had fun, and talked about Tuesdays at the Castle. Some decided they would like living in Castle Glower, while others thought it would be weird.

Our afternoon and evening are kind of a blur in my memory... I was so tired. 18 weeks pregnant on this day and growing a baby is hard work.

Friday schoolwork was finished by lunch time. I tell you, the kids are super motivated on Fridays, and I love it! We started reading our next title for Homeschool Book Club over morning snack. We're doing Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton (aff). So far it has some fun word play and hints at favorite books we've read in the past.

As I type this I hear several kids playing upstairs together - that means Legos. I also hear Joseph and Daniel debating over a game of Gubs. Tobias is laying on the floor chewing on a Duplo vine.

I'm going to go read a book just for myself until it is time to make lunch. What book? Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors(aff). I'm so excited because my launch team copy just came in the mail this week and I've been counting down the days for it to arrive. The book officially releases on October 3rd (and you can already pre-order it on Amazon). This is by the author of the wonderful book Kisses from Katie (aff), a book I reread every year.


That's it for us this week!

Linking to Weekly Wrap Up.