Saturday, September 26, 2009

Busy and mostly fun

It was a busy week to follow a busy weekend. Monday was the relaxing day promised by the empty box on the calendar. We did go out and buy the Girl Scout uniforms and patches for Mary and Katie so that I could spend Monday afternoon figuring out how to use the iron again ;).

Tuesday was the first day of scouts for Mary and my first day leading a troop. It went well, considering only three girls made it to this meeting. The next meeting most of the girls should be there. Working with a bunch of 9 year old girls wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It was pouring down rain, so Mary's soccer practice was canceled and she didn't actually miss anything - bonus.

Tuesday, Katie also had her drama class. This session they got their scripts for the end-of-session play. The theme for this session is Aesop's Fables and Katie's group is doing "Belling the Cat". Katie was assigned the Cat role. She is so excited and has already memorized her lines, now she is working on everyone else's lines.

Wednesday we met a friend of mine from high school at Marble Museum so that the kids could blow off some energy. It was nice catching up with her, even though the two of us had to keep chasing after our youngest. We will have to do it again soon.

Thursday, Emily had Kindergym and Mary had soccer practice in the evening. DH had a pool to close for the season, so I had to take Mary to practice and stay after for the parent's meeting. I think he just wanted to miss the parent meeting. I don't blame him...

Friday I had another dentist appointment where I found out that I will have to have a crown completed next year. They stabilized the tooth for now since my dental insurance is totally used up for the year and there is no extra for a $1000+ crown out of pocket. Mary had a skill training practice for soccer in the evening and DH worked late.

And, yes in between all that there was time for lessons, reading, and general silliness. Schooling is still going better than I imagined for this year. We still struggle with everyone wanting my attention at the same time, but everyone seems to be enjoying their books this year (at least compared to other years). The History Pockets are a huge hit!!

This weekend is not as busy as last. DH is working today and I have errands. We still need to take Katie to the mall to get her ears pierced for her birthday. Tomorrow Mary is playing in a tournament about an hour away. Which means that we will only make the children's choir practice at church before heading out of town.

This morning I woke up to a flat tire on the van, which DH changed and put on the full-size spare. I just hope it isn't an omen for the rest of the weekend.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Pictures

Katie had her "kid" birthday party on Saturday. Complete with the pinata (a shark) that she "had to have". She did not need a party, just a pinata. She and Mary worked together and made the invites on the computer. We bought cupcakes and pre-made 'kool-aid' because I was feeling lazy that way. I set the kids up outside on a sheet in the front yard and they had a blast.

Sunday was a long day. We had children's choir followed by Sunday School at church. I had to wake the girls and get them moving a bit earlier than normal and post-sugar rush. It worked out, but later in the day at Mary's soccer game all of us were dragging.

The game was a tough one. All the girls on the other team were large - tall and broad. It was physical on both sides, but our girls are looked half asleep and unsure of themselves. A complete 180 from last Sunday's game. I hope they wake up before this coming weekend as we have an all-day tournament.

Outside of all that...DH took Mary and a friend to a semi-pro soccer game Friday night, My SIL took Katie & Emily to the State football game on Saturday after her birthday party, DH then took Mary & Robbie to the Legion baseball tournament our nephew was playing in Sat. night while I stayed home and worked on Girl Scout stuff. After church my other SIL came by and picked up Katie for her birthday "afternoon out" while the rest of us went to the soccer game. I have to say both DH and I are thrilled there is nothing on the calendar for tonight.



Friday, September 18, 2009

The week that wasn't

Everyone woke up under the weather on Monday. Wednesday we had the day off for Katie's birthday. Thursday my mom was still here for the morning so it made sense to use that time to go shopping for church shoes for the three girls when I didn't have to chase Robbie. Today, we have a long list of errands including the library to look for books and get Katie her own library card, party shop for Katie's pinata (for her birthday party tomorrow) and is payday after all. While we are already out I should probably get the van inspected since it was due in August and I need it for my registration renewal at the end of the month.

So, we had one "school" day this week. It is all good. The kids have been spending their downtime reading, counting Katie's birthday money and figuring out what they can buy, my mom brought new puzzles she had found for the little ones, and I have been trying to to finish up plans for next Tuesday's scout meeting and trying to make sure we have all the supplies. We have almost finished reading Thurton Burgess' "Whitefoot the Woodmouse", which was good timing since my Dover order arrived yesterday afternoon. In addition to some Christmas presents it included three more Burgess books.

The one good thing about being "unproductive" this week is that I don't have to spend much time lesson planning this weekend. We will just recycle last week's plan.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seven it is

Today is Katie's birthday, so she got to decide what we do today.

Do they make t-shirts that say I survived Monkey Joe's with 4 kids.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Homeschool Hymn

I am more spiritual than religious. My main beef with religion is what organized religion has done to the spirit of God. So many separate God and religion from the real world or in fact try to create a world vision that is at odds with Jesus' teachings. But, sometimes I will come across something during service that just really speaks me. This Sunday I had that experience.

During our Education Liturgy, yes a church service focused on educators, students and all those who continually learn throughout life, we sang the following song:


God of wisdom, truth and beauty, God of spirit, fire and soul.
God of order, love and duty, God of purpose plan and goal:
grant us visions ever growing, breath of life, eternal strength,
mystic spirit moving flowing, filling height and depth and length.

God of drama, music, dancing, God of story, sculpture, art,
God of wit, all life enhancing, God of ev ’ry yearning heart:
challenge us with quests of spirit, truth revealed in myriad ways.
word or song for hearts that hear it, sketch and model forms of praise.

God of science, his t’ry, teaching, God of futures yet unknown,
God of holding, God of reaching, God of pow’r beyond each throne:
take the fragments of our living. Fit us to your finest scheme.
Now forgiven and forgiving, make us free to dare and dream.

It is sung to the tune of "Ode to Joy".

As we sung it the song just spoke to me. I knew that this song needed to become a part of our homeschool.



Week 4 begins

We had another busy weekend around here. Saturday I went shopping with Mary for Katie's birthday presents. She doesn't have much on her list, which has made it a bit difficult. Katie wants her ears pierced. Mary had hers done on her 7th birthday, so that is Katie's big gift from us. But, I needed to find something for her sisters and brother to give her also. And, to have something to actually open with her cake on Wednesday. In the end Mary decided to give her some earrings for when she can change her earrings, and some pretty headbands. I found some more "Fancy Nancy" books for the little ones to give her.

Saturday night DH was given free tickets to the State football game and took Mary with him. I stayed home with the others and let them have friends hang out at the house and eat dinner with us.

Sunday morning we actually went to church. I *knew* it was Education Sunday, and that the 2nd graders were receiving their Bibles...but I totally flaked on it being the first day of Sunday School. But, we made it too church. For the rest of the fall we will probably only make it to Children's choir and Sunday School since Mary's soccer games are so early Sunday afternoon and we will have to travel 30+ minutes for most of them.

Katie received her Bible and with it the "privilege" of sitting through an entire service. Let's just say that Katie really didn't perceive it as much of a privilege. She really enjoyed Children's Church. Emily also officially moved from the rolls of church nursery to Children's Church. As Emily normally is, she wasn't very sure of this new change in her life. But, when we picked her up afterwards, she loved it.

The soccer game this week was a late one, 4:00pm. Which gave us time to come home, have some lunch and relax for an hour before packing the cooler, rounding up the children and driving out to the fields so Mary could be there by 3:15 for warm-ups.

The game went really well. The girls looked so much more together and team-like than even two weeks ago at the tournament. They moved the ball well and backed each other up. Their goalie was out-of-town visiting family, so Mary played the first half in the goal. She only let one really hard shot past her...not many goalies in her age group would have been able to do much more with that shot. In the second half Mary played front wing and took all that energy she had been saving up in the first half out on the field. They pressured all of the second half and took a 1-1 tie at half time to a 5-3 win. Mary did score once, although most of her job is to get the ball into the attack and pass.

Sunday night I realized I had printed off materials for school this week, but never gotten around to doing the weekly plan for Mary & Katie. I got it done, but I still do not feel ready for today. I need another weekend day. On top of that Robbie woke up with a runny nose and fever this morning, so I am on febrile seizure watch.

Off to finish organizing...



Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm sitting at my computer where I have a clear view of the kitchen counter which is cluttered with dishes from lunch and this afternoon. It is waiting for me to empty the dishwasher for a second time today...and I just cannot get motivated to do it. My house is still cluttered from our school day as I have been on the run since 3:30 when we finally finished. Where oh where are my little household elves?

**Updated while I am writing this the children have volunteered to empty & reload the dishwasher so they can have some ice cream. Wow!**

We had a good school day, just prolonged thanks to the link someone sent me regarding the "Time for School" documentary on from Wide Angle/PBS. Once we watched one episode we had to watch the others. What an eye-opening experience for my children to see other cultures and their educational systems.

I did get to meet with the new co-leader for the Junior troop this evening. I think she will be a good co-leader and seems very with it when it comes to kids. She did say she has a tendency to take-over...but I doubt I will be complaining too much about that. She has done scouts before and that will be great for a newbie like me.

Tomorrow is Friday!!! Yeah this week will finally be over. It is also test day for several subjects. Chapter tests are new to Mary, so this will be a good learning experience.



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wobbly Wednesday

We all woke up this morning feeling a little shell-shocked from our first chaotic Tuesday evening. We survived it with me only forgetting one thing, Katie's t-shirt to paint at Brownies. Thankfully, the meeting place was only a couple of miles from the house so I could run back and get it before they started the project. I did manage to remember to bring something for Katie to eat in the car between Theater class and Brownies - so some mommy points for that.

Being a little draggy today, I decided some morning exercise was called for and we took a bike ride. Can you tell I am still excited about Emily being able to ride her bike. It is up there with only having one in diapers still, and only one I have to buckle in the car seat. We took the greenway to the little neighborhood park to play for a little while. On the way home we stopped by the library and dropped of some books I forgot to take on Saturday.

It was lunch time when we finally rolled back into the driveway and everybody was feeling a bit more refreshed. I set Mary and Katie up at the computer to watch President Obama's indoctrination speech school speech. They weren't real excited about it, but after reading the text, I really thought Mary would benefit from hearing it and it gave us something to talk about over lunch.

Then Mary watched a video on Jamestown on the computer while I worked with Katie on Math. And after that it was the normal shuffle back and forth between the two, while they reminded me numerous times that today was early release for their friends and I reminded them that I could give a flip about when the public schools let out. Our day wasn't helped by some sort of competition between those two over who could drop their pencil most often or lose their book (which was sitting right in front of them 2 seconds ago) most often.

Sometime in the afternoon we finally finished. I was dragging and a little blurry-minded by this time, so I'm not sure when we actually closed the books and called it a day. Mary quickly hurried out with a pile of books to show her friends a new game she had created last night. You know, when she was studying her spelling and science for tests on Friday.

I promised her that I would download "The Marvelous Land of Oz" to her mp3 player, and while messing around on the computer found the Adobe Book Reader and then spent a long while perusing free books from Project Gutenberg now that there is a decent way to read them. What a way to blow an entire afternoon.

Speaking of books, I think our evening read-alouds have gotten a little crazy. We currently have three read-alouds going...and I find myself reading from all three each night. The first is "Homer Price" by Robert McCloskey. It was to be our lunch time reading, but that never seemed to work out and the kids really like it. Of course they like everything we have ever read by McCloskey. The second one is Thornton Burgess' "Whitefoot the Wood Mouse". This is a Katie choice. Mary never got into the Burgess animal books as part of our curriculum, but Katie loves them. Thankfully the chapters are super short and easy to read. Finally, we are finishing up the Little House on the Prarie series. I was going to skip "The First Four Years" since the writing is a little different - more raw and un-prettied since Laura never actually edited the story. But, once Mary heard there was a last book she insisted we read that. We are almost done with Homer Price, but it makes me want to pull back out our McCloskey collection and introduce Emily and Robbie to all those wonderful stories.

Our evening read-alouds are on-top of the school day reading which includes picture books for Emily & Robbie, Katie's science and Mary's history. Is it any wonder that by evening my throat is so sore.

The noise level is telling me that it is time to settle everyone down and start reading...I'll be done about midnight.



Monday, September 07, 2009

Why I write on my calendar in pencil

After finally getting all these plans together at the end of last week to move Katie to a new Brownie troop, meet with my new co-leader, get Mary to soccer...and so forth, I get an email from Katie's troop leader that they will be having a meeting tomorrow night. Arrrgh! I cannot meet with my co-leader and also be at a Brownie meeting where I need to drop off multiple checks and the registration. Yes we will need to take out a loan just to get the girls going in their troops.

Another flurry of emails today, and I have not heard back from my co-leader about moving our meeting back a couple of days. Fingers crossed it will all work out. Meanwhile, I feel so behind the 8-ball when it comes to this troop. All the troops are already signing up for troop activities in the Fall, and we probably won't even be starting until October at this rate.

Our plans for today ended up being rained out. We didn't get out for the bike ride. Instead DH headed west, away from the rain and took Mary to play some golf with him. I stayed home to watched the others play in the rain puddles and clean up the house some before another week begins. Maybe later this week we can sneak away for another bike ride.

Let's just say we are all learning how to be more flexible.



Sunday, September 06, 2009

Family Bike Ride

This afternoon while I was working on the computer trying to print off all the various worksheets for next week, Katie came running inside telling me that I needed to come out and see something. That something being Emily riding her bike...really riding her bike. No more push and glide, but pedaling and braking.

I hugged her and congratulated her for sticking with it and learning all by herself. And, in Emily's own way, she told me that she was proud of herself too. Then she asked me to go on a bike ride with her. The weather was great, the computer could why not. I pulled out my bike and found helmets for Robbie and I. Then Emily, Katie, Robbie and I headed off for what I thought would be a quick spin around the block.

As we headed back home we saw that DH had unburied his bike and pumped up the tires. He and Mary were riding out to meet us for a family bike ride. Off through the neighborhood, to the greenway and all the way up to the library and back home. Well over a mile. Emily was awesome!!! None of the other girls have done so well on their first rides. She rode the whole way except for the really big hill that I got off and pushed my bike up also. And, she did all this on the tiny 12-inch bike. Tomorrow I am going to encourage her to give her 16-inch bike a try...

We have been so busy for so long, that when we have down time...we have down time. No energy normally to hop on a bike or drive somewhere for a hike. We've missed these fun, family times. Somehow we have to recapture these times, especially as the kids keep getting older.

When we got home DH grilled the steaks for his birthday dinner and we had a wonderful dinner, followed by very chocolaty brownies. He loved the Orioles baseball cap the children picked out for him.

Tomorrow is his actual birthday and I don't know what his plans are yet. If the weather isn't too bad maybe we will take the bikes down to one of the paved trails to ride. One way or another I am going to take advantage of one last family day before all the kids activities begin and we start going in four different directions.



"B" is for Brownies

Tomorrow is DH's birthday, he is lucky this year because he gets his birthday off and no extracurricular activities are planned for the day!!! Still, we decided to have his birthday dinner tonight. Mainly, because the girls cannot stand waiting any longer to give him his birthday present.

DH doesn't like cake, which is a good thing since "C" week doesn't begin until next week. Emily helped me make his "B"irthday "B"rownies. Properly informing me that both those words begin with a "B".

She was very helpful...especially when it came to cleaning the bowl.


Friday, September 04, 2009

"B" Week

Emily is doing a Letter of the Week curriculum this year as part of her K4 year. So isn't it just dandy that she decided to give riding a two-wheel bike a go this week. Emily is my "I do it myself" child to the extreme...which means the standard way of teaching how to ride a bike (hold onto the back until they build up speed and let go) was meet with glares and a loud no. Probably a bunch of stomping and screams too, but I am slowly learning to tune those out and only remember the good things. Anyway, I remember reading somewhere that someone's child learned to ride by using a too small bike that the child could firmly touch the ground with their feet. By learning to push with their feet and glide they quickly moved to peddling, all without someone else having to help.


She is slowly getting it...on her own. Although there have been a few meltdowns. The best was when the postwoman stopped and told Emily to never give up and that she was doing a good job. It gave Emily the biggest smile to hear that from someone other than me.

Now to just find a self-teaching curriculum for Emily to use for the next 13 years.



Thursday, September 03, 2009

Glad it is the end of the week

It has been a good week, just really busy...and it is just getting started. We've been doing our lessons with a good amount of calmness. I added Latin back into our day and both Mary & Katie are getting a kick out of doing Latin. I think it is mainly because we have been doing it in the car while running around. They don't have to do anything but listen and recite back...and it entertains them while being held hostage.

I think the whining is going to kick my butt sooner or later. I've put my foot down about it and Emily & Katie are getting whiplash from going back and forth to their bedroom so often. I am just not going to deal with it this year. Nip this attitude in the bud.

Mainly, this week it has been organizing activities that has gotten to me. Still trying to get the Girl Scout troop up and running. My co-leader moved away in the middle of the summer so I have been waiting for a new one. Got an email at the beginning of the week that they found a co-leader. Then trying to find a day other than Tuesday or Thursday to hold the meeting...which didn't work. So, then in contact with Mary's soccer coach to find a way for her to make-up the 2 practices a month she will be missing to attend scouts.

Then find out that Katie has been assigned to a Brownie troop that will be meeting on the same Tuesdays at a different church...across the same exact time. Which meant more emails to move her to the Brownie meeting at the same church Mary's is, just on the different weeks from Mary's.

Now, I've actually got to meet with the co-leader and plan our troop and get it going. And, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Katie had a Daisy scout meeting to finish up a project from last year this week and Emily started her Kindergym class today. Mary has a birthday party to go to this weekend and we also have to plan and shop for DH's birthday on Monday. At least he gets the day off for his birthday.

I have to say our diet has been horrendous this week and I am paying for it. I'm not sleeping and my stomach is all upset. I have to do some planning and figure out how we will eat healthily for the next 7 months.

So, that is my wrap-up. Life is crazier and going to get crazier. Eventually I will get used to it...I hope.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.