Archive for the ‘homeschool’ Category

Wanna have fun with your little ones? Our six-and-under set has been loving this no-spill bubble tub:

I used the bubble recipe on this page and it’s worked great. It’s been fun to see the three of them sharing and getting along so well – and no tears over spilled bubbles!

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We had our first day of (home)school on September 2, 2014. After a two week break due to the pukeys (so fun with such a big family!!) and getting our “old” house on the market, we’re back at it. I will try to update with a homeschool curriculum post soon, but for now, here’s a pic of my students for this year – our first year on the front steps of our new house. Sniff. Bittersweet!

From L-R: Silas (2), Ellery (9 - 4th grade), Callan (4 - preK), Maya (11 - 6th grade), Lyra (six weeks!), Asher (6 - 1st grade)

From L-R: Silas (2), Ellery (9 – 4th grade), Callan (4 – preK), Maya (11 – 6th grade), Lyra (six weeks!), Asher (6 – 1st grade)

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The first-day-of-school picture I chose for the front of my binder. Thanks for the input!

Here is a simple list of our curriculum choices for this year. We have switched things up quite a bit, and I’m going to wait a few months before I really evaluate how well our new choices are working for us. The girls seem to enjoy what they’re doing, and Asher loves “doing school” with me. We also started workboxes this year, and that will have to be a whole different post.


Maya (4th Grade)

Ellery (2nd Grade)*

Asher (Pre-K)

Callan (Tornado)

  • Experiments in Chaos

Silas (Wee One)

  • Rolling
  • Sitting Up
  • Grabbing Stuff

In addition to the above, we all go to homeschool co-op twice a month, where they have gym and art classes. The girls also take piano and ballet weekly.

*Maya had completed the first four books of both First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease prior to this school year, and Ellery was nearly done with books 1 of both. I may yet pull out book 2 of both for Ellery this year, as Maya is an excellent grammarian and writer, and I want to make sure Ellery has every opportunity to do just as well. I’m not sure how much of Maya’s success is nature vs. nurture, so that’s why we’re skipping it for now to see how everyone does. Some say that Latin can be a replacement or supplement for grammar, as well. First Language Lessons ends after year 4, or we would certainly still be using it. Maya is ahead in writing, so she can pick up with Writing With Skill in fifth grade, if we so choose.

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We started school yesterday! Yes, learning is always happening, but it helps for us to have an official back-to-school day each fall. This year, I have a 4th grader (Maya – 9), a 2nd grader (Ellery – 7), a pre-K-er (Asher – 4), a vibrant-energetic-house-tearer-upper (Callan – 2), and a little (big!) bundle of sweetness (Silas – 3 months).

(Curriculum post forthcoming! Feel free to bug me about it. It’s the best way to motivate me – knowing people are waiting for something for which I am solely responsible.)

Will you help me pick the one that goes on the front of my homeschooling binder? None of them are awesome, because getting five kids to all cooperate for just ONE nice picture is like nailing Jell-O to the wall. Also, the light was bad, so there’s sun glare on faces. But here are the okay ones for you to choose from (unedited, SOOC, and not-yet-cropped):






Hm. Maybe I’ll re-take these tomorrow, at a different time of day, and with a tripod…

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Little bit of a lull, eh? Sorry. Life, four children, homeschool, tomatoes, poultry, blah blah blah.

Oh yes, and yesterday, we started a gut-to-the-studs remodel of our lower level bathroom. The one we were not planning on remodeling (beyond paint). This is what happens when WORMS CRAWL OUT OF YOUR ROTTEN WALLS. You can bet I ran straight for the crowbar and cancelled any fun plans for the holiday weekend. (And to be honest, I handed the crowbar right over to Jason, who donned his super special hazmat mask, taped off the downstairs with blue tape and polyethylene sheeting, and got to work. Thanks, honey. We miss you.)

It’s complicated, but essentially, the bathroom shares a wall with an under-the-stairs utility space that houses the well tank, water softener tanks (three, it’s kind of a complicated system), and lots of copper pipes. This area was drenched, all the tanks and pipes were sweating, and the water was seeping under to the bathroom. That part is all condensation. We bought a dehumdifier, pipe wrap insulation, and bubble foil (for the tanks) and plan to go to town with the duct tape to cut the condensation. We have fans blasting, too, and the water issue is greatly reduced now.

But like I said, it’s complicated, so there’s more. The previous owners of our house did some very terrible things in the name of DIY (and are the perfect example of what DIY should NOT be), and basically this whole bathroom was shoddy from the start. The prefab shower was leaking, and everything around and underneath it ended up moldy (which we discovered after we started yanking things out). Some of the studs are moldy, not much, but we might have to replace/sister in something to get rid of the mold there. Everything else that was moldy is yanked out. The drywall in half the bathroom and the entire ceiling is gone, too.

The new plan: clean up the water and mold, clean it some more, run the dehumidifier and fans non-stop for a while, and take a deep breath. We did not budget for this, so there really isn’t any extra money for a new bathroom, but with a family our size, a second bathroom is very handy. So we’ll see what we can scrap together. We may use the pedestal sink we bought for our upstairs bathroom remodel (*sniff*), re-use the toilet, and buy an old cast iron clawfoot tub and have it re-finished.

The first thing we will do, however, after cleaning up all the water and mold, is INSTALL A VENT FAN. The previous owners never did, and we put it off because we don’t use that bathroom very often. It will have to vent out the front of the house, which is not exactly in line with my exterior decor plan, but whatever.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to this merry Labor Day weekend! How about you?

(School is fine. Great, even. We’ve been at it for two weeks, in preparation for a vacation that is coming up, and the girls are loving it. The boys are…challenging. Especially that “baby” of mine, who is nearly 20 months old and is SO MUCH TROUBLE. I feel like I say that a lot about Cal, but gosh it’s true. So mischievous, that one.)

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Homeschool 2011-12

Here’s a basic list of what we’re learning this year. If you have questions/want details, go ahead and comment.

Maya (8) – 3rd Grade

Ellery (6) – 1st Grade

Asher (3)

Cal (18 mos.)

  • Climbing things
  • Getting into trouble
  • Hitting people with books
  • Climbing other things
  • Playing with toilet water
  • Tracking toilet water all over the house
  • Generally being a handful
  • Being cute and lovey so we forget about everything else
  • (Seriously, this kid is SO MUCH WORK!)

Whew. Okay, if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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Hi! Merry Christmas! (A little late, but it is still the Christmas season on the church calendar, after all.) We had a wonderful one, and I hope you did, too.

We hit the jackpot with our Christmas gifts for the kids this year. I will do a summary post in the coming days, but for today, I wanted to tell you about two gifts that were a big hit with the girls. We bought Maya (age eight) one of these (crafted by a local artist):

And Ellery (age five) some of these:

And used this tutorial to make recycled t-shirt yarn for both. Jason and I had a blast making yarn, and the girls have had so much fun crafting with their new gifts. Maya’s already made (and gifted) four potholders, and Ellery has knit two doll hats. People around my house better be watching their t-shirts, because if they’re not nailed down, I’m turning them into yarn. It’s completely addicting! I hope to use their gifts myself, as they look so fun. I’m also going to make a few rugs out of recycled t-shirt yarn, either crocheted or braided. Maybe both?

A few tips on the t-shirt yarn: 1 1/4″ wide t-shirt strips (prior to stretching and curling) make the best potholder yarn, but for the Knifty Knitter, thinner is better. I’m thinking 1″ or less for my next batch for Ellery. Too thin, though, and the yarn will break when you stretch to curl. If you’d rather buy recycled t-shirt yarn, try Etsy. Lots of good stuff there, including inspiration for other projects that can be made from this yarn.

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