Sunday, May 31, 2009

What time is it? Summertime! It's our vacation!

We finished our lessons for the year before Memorial Day, but I realized I never posted an "end-of-the-year" post here. I consider my kids "done" with the "school year" at this point, but the learning never stops. lol

David has a few things to finish before fall and I need to make him a list. He will have completed a year of high school American history by then, so he'll already have one credit under his belt. He'll be partly done with Algebra 1 by then too.

We will continue doing math and reading throughout the summer, mostly on days that are grey and lonely. If there's a chance to go anywhere and do anything and the weather is decent, we take the opportunity! I expect that the lessons to days-off ratio will be somewhere around 2:3 throughout the summer, maybe 3:2 for the older kids.

Bible study will continue - a great way to begin our days! I also plan to assign each child a map study packet and we'll repeat our Child Survival Skills unit since James and Suzy were quite a bit younger when we did that the first time.

I'm going to take a cue from my friend Jennifer and have the kids earn points to turn in for rewards. The details of that are sketchy at this point, but I'll share them once I have them nailed down. Maybe I can do that yet today.

So, the kids have completed their school years - David finished 8th grade, Emily completed 6th grade, and Suzy finished 1st grade. James is partway through 4th; his is an odd situation and I have a blog post about him started.

So, bring on the sunshine and warmth! We're ready for Beach Days and camping!

What time is it?
School's out, scream and shout!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dino Dig Photos

James went to a Dino Dig yesterday. It was really good! The program is 3-1/2 hours long and is good for all elementary ages. James was put in a small group and they worked together to uncover six bones from a box of sand. Beforehand they were given instruction on what they were looking for and how to work like a paleontologist. Afterwards, there was a long but engaging presentation on how the bones fit together, the anatomy of the dinosaur, and how a paleontologist can use the clues from the bones to discover how the dinosaur died.

And the phrase we never ever heard? "Millions and millions of years ago" Way cool! The woman who did our program goes to the church where the program was held

If you can't see the slideshow (connection issues), click on it and you can view the pictures (and captions) in my web albums at Picasa.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Fill-in #126

ffi we go!

1. It's cold and rainy somewhere, but not here!

2. I think we should grow lots of tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is Avon Moisture Therapy (intensive) hand cream.

4. I am looking forward to a nice long ride this afternoon with my son on the way to the Dino Dig.

5. Well, first of all, I am tired of never finding anything where I left it!

6. Me, my belly button and a spoon; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was very freaky.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe scrapbooking with a friend, tomorrow my plans include going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sunday, I want to see it again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Co-op Class Planning

Spent the afternoon with my two co-coordinators going over the co-op class proposals and trying to make some semblance of a class schedule for next year.

This was our second meeting going over this. So we are going on about four hours of finagling it between the 3 of us. I've typed it up into a spreadsheet as well. We're going to make sure we don't have any big errors in the schedule (already found one!) and also make sure we have all the teachers lined up to fit the age group needs.

We hope to have this finalized soon!

If you are interested in our co-op procedures, check out the e-book I've self-published. The link is on the left sidebar. The book covers everything you need to know!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 25

For Today... May 25, 2009

Outside my window... 2 of my kids on their bikes, the neighbor mowing his yard, our really long and lush green grass, a black pickup truck driving by, trash cans waiting for tomorrow's pickup

I am thinking... about this darn broken tooth half-hanging there. I knew it would happen eventually because I couldn't afford the crown, but break OFF already. Don't just HANG there!

From the learning rooms... this is our first week of "vacation". I need to compile and unveil our summer learning plans, but I think this week will just be Bible and finishing up David's leftover lessons.

I am thankful for... lovely weather!

From the kitchen... a strawberry Dream Pie for Bob's birthday today! The pie in the picture is not the one I made. I did take some photos but I haven't uploaded them yet.

I am wearing... my too-big (!) jeans, red tee that says "America" and a blue hoodie, white socks, white tennies, blew my hair straight today and put on makeup.

I am reading... Ready to start re-reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (the first in his Space Trilogy). Finishing The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus (recommended by my pastor) and Senior High: A Home-Designed Form-U-La by Barbara Edtl Shelton.

I've been watching... Singin' in the Rain (love it!), the Left Behind movies with David (since he's reading the books), half of the Benjamin Button movie (finding it dull, reminds me of Forrest Gump somehow), also Lady in the Water, although I only halfway paid attention to it.

I am hoping... to get a good amount of editing done this week on Mystery Valley Ranch, to send out a few query letters and get Bob to apply to at least 5 jobs. There were at least 5 in the newspaper classifieds this weekend that he could do!

I am creating... a large pile of clothing for the clothing swap on Thursday

I am hearing... People talking faintly outside, the keyboard tapping, Suzy calling her dad. The mower next door just went off and it seems really quiet.

Around the house... Some clothes I bought half-off at the thrift store today! Nice haul! No one did chores today since it was a holiday so it's looking a little grubby 'round here.

One of my favorite things... my MP3 player and the doo-hickey that lets it play through the cassette player in my van.

A few plans for the rest of the week... James' last two soccer games, meetings with the homeschool leadership team and the current soccer registrar, a thrift store sale, a free clothing swap, and lots of work on editing and writing.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
My girls had their Keepers at Home dessert "banquet" at an Elks Club in a nearby town. Emily has on the black jacket and Suzy is under the Elk. They are with my friend's son and daughter.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill-in #125

ffi we go!

1. Moving to a new house is one of my goals.

2. Cheap or free: that's my motto!

3. My best quality is not my patience.

4. I am usually quite good with organizing the details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I have not weighed as little as I weigh right now. Actually, make that more than 12 years.

6. Exercise and sleep are what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to absolutely nothing (but I wish I had something to DO), tomorrow my plans include coaching my last soccer game and hopefully hitting some garage sales and Sunday, I want to prepare a pie for my husband's birthday on Monday!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paper Airplanes!

My parents sent James a stack of paper airplane sheets from a daily calendar they have. He was THRILLED to receive them and folded up EVERY SINGLE ONE. Here he is working on one of them and then with the bin full of the cute little planes.

And yes, he is wearing a cape. That's the norm around here.

From 05-19-2009

From 05-19-2009

From 05-19-2009

I think this is the calendar.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


James SCORED a goal last night in his soccer game.

I missed that game due to an event the girls had last night. I was BUMMED that I missed it!

I asked him to tell me about it and he drew me a picture of it so I thought I'd share that with all of you.

I believe this is his third goal with this team. He's been playing better and better as the spring progresses. He has two more games - Saturday and Tuesday. I hope he'll be able to score again so I can see it!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Curriculum Sale Not All That

A nearby homeschool group hosted a used curriculum sale today boasting over 50 vendors and only $1 admission. I have a list of things I need for next year, so I thought I'd give it a go. Even though it was my youngest daughter's birthday! She came along with me for a special mother-daughter time. The others stayed home with their dad.

Sadly, I didn't get anything on my list. Mostly I need Math-U-See (several different things), but I also need IEW SICC-B and some kind of Japanese curriculum (maybe Rosetta Stone). No luck at all. Not much MUS in evidence for sale. A friend with a table at the sale was selling her SICC-A, but I really want (need!) level B.

I came home with a few odds and ends - mostly some enrichment books, a box of fraction manipulatives that I hope will help Emily, a large butterfly coloring book that Suzy just HAD to have (really large, like 2x3 FEET), and some stuff from the free table.

A nice sale, especially if you just need some extra stuff, but not what I was hoping for. And no, there were NOT 50 vendors there. My rough estimate would be around 30 sellers.

So, my search for used curriculum continues. Please comment with your favorite websites for buying used curriculum. I have a few favorites, but am always looking for new places to search!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 18

For Today... May 18, 2009

Outside my window... The neighbors have made some progress on their huge up-in-the-air playhouse, our grass needs to be mowed, a basketball is sitting on the sidewalk, and the trash cans are waiting to be hauled back from the curb.

I am thinking... about comment spam. I'm getting a TON of it on my Wordpress blog - Any ideas for prevention? Thankfully I have all comments moderated, so they don't publish automatically.

From the learning rooms... Winding down and getting ready for our transition into summer learning. Thursday is our last day of the regular "school year". But the learning never stops!

I am thankful for... a new library to visit! I got a library card at yet another library on Friday. This makes a total of FOUR libraries where I have borrowing privileges!

From the kitchen... a completed weekly menu (well, mostly) and a full pantry and fridge. Today a cake will be created for my daughter.

I am wearing... Jeans, pink tee, grey pull over sweatshirt (it was 59 in the house this AM!), white socks, black slippers.

I am reading... The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus (recommended by my pastor) and Senior High: A Home-Designed Form-U-La by Barbara Edtl Shelton. No fiction right now, except what I am reading aloud to the kids (and the two audiobooks I'm (not) listening to).

I've been watching...
a LOT. Oklahoma (1999 version), Hairspray (2007 version), The Librarian (Judas Chalice one, you know with Noah Wyle) and High School Musical 3. I'm not reading fiction right now, so I guess the fiction part of my brain is available for movies - musicals, no less. lol

I am hoping... that the missing library DVD turns up. It was here, and then.... it wasn't! Did it grow legs? Did a thief sneak in and take JUST THAT ONE DVD? Perhaps it merely morphed into some other object? Maybe THAT's where that teeny tiny orc sword came from?
[UPDATE 4:30PM - found it! YAY!]

I am creating... another to-do list. There's a lot to do!

I am hearing... Someone mowing in the neighborhood, "Everybody dance now!" (David), people talking about their lessons.

Around the house... Hanging laundry on the line at every opportunity. Bob is working on the back porch and repairing the fridge that I so naively thought was fixed. Tearing everything apart looking for that missing DVD. Trying to get back into couponing.

One of my favorite things... Writing. I need to get back to it.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Other than lessons, we have three soccer games, a dessert 'banquet' for the girls club, a book sale to shop at, helping with soccer registration, and book club. But, best of all? Suzy's seventh birthday is this week!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
Lost a tooth! And another is ready to go!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill-in #124

ffiThis week, I chose quotes having to do with always when I do this, feel free to fill-in whatever you'd like; it's more fun that way! Of course, if you know the quote, feel free to fill that in, too! The quotes will be on my blog, should anyone want to see what they are. we go!

1. If we had no winter, I wouldn't complain! I wouldn't even miss it!

2. Life is a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over, there are definitely a few things I would change.

4. We all live inside of four and twenty hours.

5. If you've never been thrilled, then are you really living?

6. To be interested in the changing seasons is to live in Michigan.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dropping Emily off at a birthday party, tomorrow my plans include coaching and watching soccer and Sunday, I want to relax!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Emily's Curriculum - 7th grade

MATH - Math is Emily's most challenging subject. She should have Math-U-See Delta completed by fall, so she'll be doing Epsilon during her 7th grade year. That puts her a couple years "behind" but I'll be more than satisfied if she masters the math at her own pace. I worked with a number of adult GED students who had real math phobias created by their elementary or junior high math curriculum. I really think Emily deals with dyscalculia, which is a math form of dyslexia.

LANGUAGE ARTS - Emily will do SICC-B for composition along with David. She'll continue with Spelling Power. For her literature, I'll choose selections I want her to read. She'll answer questions on some of the selections and journal about the others.

SCIENCE - Emily will be doing Apologia General Science. Hopefully this will coordinate with co-op classes!

SOCIAL STUDIES - We'll continue with Mystery of History 2 and hopefully move into volume 3 before the year is out. We'll be resuming our chronological study somewhere around the year 1000.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH - Our toughest subject to work on for the older children since they stopped participating in soccer. I want Emily to find something active to participate in - gymnastics, dance, something! Hopefully she'll be able to do PE at co-op too.

VISUAL, PERFORMING & APPLIED ARTS - I hope she'll be able to continue Choir at co-op next year, as well as do art class with Mr. West. Other than that, we'll continue with our home art projects and crafts.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE - Probably none, but maybe I'll get brave and start doing Spanish again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 11

For Today... May 11, 2009

Outside my window... the kitty-corner neighbor is building some kind of huge play structure out of wood, Sun is shining, grass is growing (long), and the sky is blue.

I am thinking... about camping! I made reservations for us to attend our church's Family Camp for 8 days at the end of June. We went three years ago and I'm looking forward to it again. Plus we'll do homeschool camping at the end of August and hopefully at least one other camping trip mid-summer.

From the learning rooms... lots of procrastination on the students' parts today. Even some crying. And foolish giggling. And time wasting. It's too bad they didn't buckle down and work so they could go out this afternoon.

I am thankful for... God's promise to strengthen me and fill me with joy.

From the kitchen... The kitchen fridge has stopped cooling. It's a good thing we have the other (newer) fridge as a back-up. I had to empty the kitchen one into the other one (in the back room) and we are hoping that defrosting the inoperable one will repair it. If not? Then Bob has to redo the cabinets to bring the taller fridge into the kitchen.

I am wearing... Pink "Life is good" t-shirt, jeans, white socks, white house shoes, hair blown dry, no makeup.

I am reading... Sex God by Rob Bell about the relationship between spirituality and sexuality. I'm about halfway and there's nothing earth-shaking in there so far.

I've been watching... Lost in Austen, a BBC series that puts a time-traveling twist on Pride and Prejudice. Also, a DVD viewing of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which I saw in the theater.

I am hoping... Emily can mow the yard this afternoon. Bob is teaching her. And I guess David gets to learn to weed whack.

I am creating... a stack of class proposals for our next co-op year. (If you have a proposal, please get it to me soon! I need more!) Also a weekly menu. Life runs so much more smoothly when I have that planned out.

I am hearing... Bob explaining something to James.

Around the house... the above-mentioned fridge issue, clothes hanging on the clothesline, the leftover sale stuff stacked in the back room

One of my favorite things... Going to the movies. I'm sure you had no idea about that, did you? LOL

A few plans for the rest of the week... Lessons Monday-Friday, Writing when I can fit it in, Soccer Tu/Th/Sat, Chess Club Tuesday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
Here are a couple pix of a card I made at a friend's craft night. One shows all the pieces separated and the other shows it put together.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Fill-in #123

ffi we go!

1. Apples are to oranges as the Audi R8 is to the Lamborghini Gallardo.

2. The kids are in BED and that's all I have to say about that.

3. I think I hear my husband shaving.

4. My porch has a pole for a flag.

5. Do what you want to do, but I'm not responsible for the results.

6. At the yard sale sat a little freckle-faced boy, and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with painted rocks.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to setting up for a curriculum sale and probably taking my son to a movie afterward, tomorrow my plans include coaching soccer and tearing down a curriculum sale and Sunday, I want to turn in my Sunday School curriculum because my teaching assignment is FINISHED!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ninth Grade Planning Lunch

Today I took David to lunch at McDonald's (his choice) to discuss his high school curriculum. I thought it wise to include him in the planning rather than just telling him what I want him to do.

So, here's what we ended up deciding for his 9th grade year and some ideas beyond that.

MATH - He is doing Algebra I already and should finish before the end of his first semester of 9th grade. He will begin Geometry in the fall and will do two math courses in his ninth grade year. As soon as he finishes Algebra I, he'll begin Algebra II. He should finish Alg2 by December of his 10th grade year, giving him 3 math credits in those two years. I want him to have as much time as possible to do Trigonometry and Calculus. He likes Math-U-See and so we'll continue with that curriculum at least through Algebra 2. Four credits are required.

LANGUAGE ARTS - He likes IEW well enough and so he'll do SICC-B for the composition segment of his 9th Grade English. We'll also get an ACT/SAT prep book and choose vocabulary out of that. For literature, he wants to read The Silmarillion and I suggested Beowulf as a companion piece of literature, since Tolkien wrote the Sil and translated Beowulf. We'll fill in this study with short stories and poetry if necessary. (I was impressed he picked The Silmarillion, even though he knows it is challenging!) We'll plan the rest of his Language Arts at a later time. Four credits are required.

SCIENCE - David was quite satisfied to follow the suggested course of study from Apologia. He likes the Apologia textbook he is using now and so he'll be doing Biology in the fall. 10th grade will be Chemistry, 11th grade Physics, and 12th grade Advanced Physics, since he likes to understand how things work and move and this will help him in his career goals, possibly computer programming or engineering. Three credits are required, but we'll do four.

SOCIAL STUDIES - David is completing a 9th grade level survey of American history right now (Sonlight 100). He'll finish that up next fall, thus earning his 1 required American history credit. He plans to take a World War II class at co-op next year and we'll flesh that out into a half-credit study. A Career Explorations class is also planned for co-op and we'll also work that into a half-credit for social studies. In 10th grade, he'll do World History (required) and in either 11th or 12th, he'll do Civics and Economics (also required). History is one of his least favorite subjects, but he will end up with four credits rather than the required three.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HEALTH - This is the sticking point. David is going to give it some thought and come up with a plan. He thinks he could run several days a week and come up with some other activities to include in a PE class to equal the necessary 150 hours for his one required credit. I've asked him to have that planned by the end of the month.

VISUAL, PERFORMING & APPLIED ARTS - David has already planned to learn stop-motion animation, so he will plan out a year-long course in this. I'm looking at a couple different resources to buy. He won't be taking the monthly drawing class next year, so I'll use that money to invest in what he needs. He will be keeping a log of what he does to earn his credit and will have one or more stop-motion videos at the end of the class. 1 credit is required and this will fulfill it. However, I'd like him to continue studying visual and applied arts since his career path will likely go that direction.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE - We are deciding between Japanese and Danish, with Spanish as a back-up plan. Japanese because it is one of the top 10 languages in the world and with David's interest in computer programming and animation, it could come in handy. Danish would be a possibility since he'd love to work for Lego and all Lego development happens in Denmark. Spanish is the second most widely-spoken language in the world (far behind Mandarin Chinese) and thus another wise choice. He considered Chinese and also thought briefly about German. We are going to do a short exploration of Japanese using a resource at our library, to see how it clicks with him. We'll probably buy Rosetta Stone. Two credits are required. (Well, they will be eventually.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Reader in the Making?

Yesterday morning James (age 9-1/2) came downstairs into our bedroom reading a chapter book.

I always thought my kids would be readers, since I've always been a voracious lover of books of all sorts. Now, our kids all like books. They browse through books daily, enjoy library visits, don't mind books as gifts, and do their assigned reading without (much) complaining.

However, only Emily (age 12) has been reading novels for pleasure. David (age 14) prefers listening to audiobooks since he can work with Legos or other hands-on things at the same time, and he listens to something just about every day. He has read a few novels, but it isn't something he does regularly.

So, when James came sauntering in with a book in front of his face, I was cautiously hopeful. As the day progressed, he was reading just about every spare moment. He even took the book to a party we went to and finished reading it there. A whole chapter book in one day! By choice! Wheee!

And this morning? He's reading the second one in the series! I am overjoyed!

So, what's the magic series he's found? Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson. He got the first two for Christmas. Happily there are bunches and bunches more for him to read! A big THANK YOU to whomever it was that mentioned these books to me. I'd like to give you a big HUG.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 4

For Today... May 4, 2009

Outside my window... Freshly cut grass (Emily's first lawn cutting day was this weekend!)

I am thinking... about how to fit the puzzle pieces of this day together.

From the learning rooms... Three more weeks worth of lesson plans are ready to hand out. As of the Friday before Memorial Day, we'll have our 36 weeks in and we'll be "done for the year".

I am thankful for... Challenging messages at church

From the kitchen... Bare cupboards and empty fridge - I need to get to the store!

I am wearing... Jeans, pastel sparkly tee, moss green zipper hoodie, white socks.

I am reading... Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist.

I am hoping... to find enough time to exercise four times this week.

I am creating... a pile of stuff to sell at the booksale this weekend.

I am hearing... High School Musical 3 soundtrack. (Favorite songs? I Want It All, Just Wanna Be With You (both versions),and Scream)

Around the house... Putting away winter coats, boots, mittens, etc... Getting spring clothes out. Weeding out clothes that don't fit.

One of my favorite things... Inter-library loan!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Lessons & Writing Monday-Friday, Soccer M/Th/Sat, Homeschool meeting Monday night, a neighbor's birthday party Tuesday, Art class and a leadership meeting Wednesday, Book Sale Fri/Sat.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
My girls at their Keepers at Home meeting. They were working on their cake decorating badges.