Friday, January 6, 2017

Rookie Homeschool Mom Fail and Getting Back on Track

Me, all cheery, positive, and ready for January.

It's January! I love the fresh, open horizons of a new year! This week started off just like a typical year for us. Monday we had a solid day of homeschool work. We kicked off the day with our Morning Basket time. Today that consisted of:
  • Singing a hymn - Choose the Right
  • Reading aloud and discussing a scripture verse we will be reciting for a few weeks (memory work) - Helaman 5:12
  • Reading a few notes from the book This Day in History
  • Reading a bit about our new poet - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Wait, you don't know who that is? Well, he also wrote under the name Lewis Carroll, of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland fame. We are using Poetry for Young People: Lewis Carroll. Each poetry day we read a bit about his life and then a couple of his poems.
  • Discussed what we know about bats and then looked at the pages on bats in Nature Anatomy.
This layered liquids experiment was a fun density exploration on Thursday.
This semester is our science focus for my 6th grade and under crowd. We began this next, while my 10th grader headed to her bedroom for some individual studies. For science we are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. Today's lesson had us playing 20 questions to learn about properties and then experimenting with water, a graduated cylander, and a bullet to understand the property of volume (the space an object takes up). We also got into a discussion of density because the kids commented on how much heavier the bullet was than they expected. We pulled out a ping pong ball and a golf ball to show how they have nearly the same volume (size) but are very different weights because one has a greater density.

Other assignments today included math lessons, Oliver reading aloud half of Green Eggs and Ham to me, independent literature reading, scripture study, notebooking about something from their learning today, and listening to Little Women during lunch. My high schooler had geometry, writing, biology, literature, and art as well.

My husband's next semester of school also started today so he was on the computer navigating three new classes. He's studying to become a software engineer through BYU-Idaho. It's great for the kids to see Daddy working hard to study and learn for his classes!

Mason with the IV of medication for his osteoporosis.
Tuesday Mom and Mason spent half the day at Children's Hospital doing appointments for his osteoporosis, including a DEXA bone scan, checkup, and IV infusion of his medication. It was a no school day, which is always nice, to break the kids in gently to the every day school routine.

Tobias - look at that expression! It sums up Wednesday perfectly.
Wednesday the real 'back to school' attitudes hit. It wasn't pretty. Everyone realized that this wake up on time, do chores, do school, be productive and media-free until afternoon routine was back in place and nobody was quite ready for it. Whining, complaining, and dragging out work took up a lot of the morning.

We did do more science done involving density. Water, salt, and a grape tomato were ingredients to see if we could change the density of the water enough to make the tomato float. Then we colored four cups of water and put increasing amounts of salt in them. We used a straw to pick up each color/density of water, beginning with the least dense, and watching it stay in layers without mixing. Fascinating!

We got through school and by afternoon I recognized I had made a rookie homeschool mom fail - I was trying to herd everyone through their work, hovering, nagging, and not leaving the responsibility and consequences in their court. I apologized and told them I would not do that anymore. Instead, we will operate on the following rules:
  1. Breakfast and chores are to be done before 8am, when mom calls everyone together for Morning Basket.
  2. For the 6th grade and under crowd science will follow morning time, led by mom.
  3. After this everyone is responsible for doing the rest of their day's work. Mom will give each person a daily list of assignments. If you need mom's help you are responsible to go to her with your materials. (For example, Oliver needs me to do reading lessons with him, but is independent in scripture study because he can use his kindle to listen to and look at the scripture readers.) You can work on things in any order.
  4. When the alarm rings at 1pm anyone who has not completed their list of assignments (and their chore room) forfeits their personal media time for that day.
Caleb and Samuel were playing together and wanted their picture taken.
Thursday we began again. The kids understood that mom meant business, I was not responsible for dragging them through learning. I am happy to help them, team up with them, or stay out of their way. Everyone finished their work before the 1pm alarm. Some worked mostly independently on everything. Oliver grabbed me to read aloud to me from The Cat in the Hat for 15 minutes. Caleb brought me his alphabet game to play and asked me to sit with him for math. Daniel asked me to do scripture study with him. I helped older kids with math questions, and one biology question as needed. It was so much more peaceful! Nobody felt pushed, rushed, or dragged through the school day. Will it always go this smoothly? Of course not! Will someone miss the deadline? Yes, probably more than once. But that is their choice, and the consequence is attached.

In the afternoon Samuel was supposed to do speech therapy. He was not okay with that. He started crying when it was time to go to therapy. He sat in the chair crying or hiding his eyes and ignoring both his speech therapist and I, which he has never done before. Miss Sarah and I did the activities and played with the toys instead. He didn't care. We'll go back next week and hopefully he will be on board with it. However, I'm not too worried about it. He has been making some great progress at home over our Christmas break. If he truly refuses to resume speech therapy we will just carry on at home like we're doing anyway.
Emma's turn loading her boat. The boys were leaning over to see below the water surface.

Friday was cold and snowy. We had another uneventful day. The property of the day was buoyancy so we made aluminum foil boats to see how much weight they could carry depending on their design. One thing I want to remember - Oliver grabbed a set of actual scriptures to 'see if I can read them yet Mom'. Yes, son, yes you can. He made it through about 3 verses with some help on names and unusual words. He told me now he is going to read from them every day too, at least a few verses. Then listen to the scripture reader stories too.

Books this Week - Here are books that were read or listened to this week:

  • Little Women - Yes, we're still working away at this one.
  • Fire of the Covenant - I'm reading this one for my 2017 Reading Challenge.
  • Magic by the Lake
  • Eragon
  • Inheritance
  • The Ranger's Apprentice Book 2
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Snow
  • Three Little Dinosaurs
  • Winter Poems
  • Snow Globe Family
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Looking Ahead:

Next week is relatively quiet on the appointment front. We get to celebrate a certain little boy turning 5. We will be doing art class with friends. I'm excited for our projects but need to do a shopping trip to Hobby Lobby for a few supplies this weekend.

That's all for me this week! I'm linking up at Weekly Wrap Up , Homeschool Blog and Tell, and Homeschool Highlights.


  1. What a sweet family you have! Your book list makes me wistful for the days of read-alouds!

    1. Thank you Sarah! It is a sweet stage.

  2. We had a not so fun day of back to school attitudes on Tuesday but it just took another day or two for everyone to fall back into our normal routine.

    1. I don't know why it always surprises me when it happens, but it does!

  3. 'I was trying to herd everyone through their work, hovering, nagging, and not leaving the responsibility and consequences in their court' - wise woman that you recognised this! We're back to work in 2 days time after having a few weeks break over Christmas. Have a blessed 2017.

    1. Thank you Carol. I wish I was better at remembering this before we start back! You would think after doing this for over a decade I would have this part figured out (smooth re-entry to school work) but I forget the things I've learned pretty easily.

  4. I really try to make school a privilege and not force kids through it. It's a challenge, though. 😊 Kudos to you for putting the ball in the kids' court!

    1. It is such a privilege! They won't recognize that until much later though.

  5. Visiting from #HSBAT. Sounds like a productive week with lots of learning. Thanks for sharing!

  6. A lovely productive week. I love the science experiments.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. The kids love them too! Me, I just wish I had a room dedicated to space for setting up experiments so the little ones couldn't get to them so easy. ;)

  7. What a great hymn and scripture to start the year, that's one of our favorite scriptures too! I hope your school days continue to go smoothly, it sounds like you've got a great plan in place.

  8. All that science looks great. Hope the new system continues to work.

  9. Sounds like, despite the back to school attitudes, that you had an awesome week filled with learning and some fun! I love the science experiments!

  10. Your reading list reminds me that we need to get back in the habit of going to the library. I miss my kids having their noses in books. It's been a lot of screen time around here since Christmas break started, and I'd like to get things going in the right direction again.

  11. Smart mom! I'd call that a pro mom success for recognizing it so quickly! :)

  12. Sorry you had some attitude interruptions during the week, but it looks like you all got back on track quickly - good job! (Love the picture of Mason's sweet smile even while getting an IV - darling!)


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