Day in the Life 2013

Date: January 30, 2013

Players: Henry (7), Samuel (6), Kate (4), Becca (4)

The conundrum: It’s been a rough month getting back into the groove after the fun of the holidays. Kind of like trudging through the mud. I’ve been realizing lately that my children excel in the Art of Leisure (a.k.a. dilly-dallying) and that when we do school well, it’s to the exclusion of everything else. But we have to eat. We’re nicer to be around when we wear clean clothes. I’m more positive and patient when clutter is picked up. So what’s a mom to do?

The solution: Ha! Of course it’s not as simple as that. I think we’re probably only on version 1.6 on our way to success. But we’ll get there.

No, seriously, I spent last weekend brooding over this conundrum and woke in the middle of the night with a brilliant plan in my head. We had a Homeschooling Huddle on Sunday to talk about the new plan and get the kiddos on board. It was simply this: each child is assigned an hour slot in the morning to work with Mom one-on-one. When their tutoring session is over, they finish their assigned work independently before they’re free for the day. Simple enough.

So this is how the plan went down on Wednesday, January 30th.

I (surprisingly) popped out of bed at 5:20 a.m. ready and rarin’ to go. I read a chapter in the New Testament before double layering my usual walking attire and heading out into the 45-degree-plus-a-stiff-headwind  morning to meet my walking buddy.

I returned at 6:30 with a cold, red nose, and after stretching, bundled up in a cozy blanket and downed a couple of chapters in Don Quixote. The house still quiet, I took advantage of the extra minutes to enjoy  a quick, but nice warm shower. By the time I got out and dressed, the sleepy kiddos were starting to stagger into our room bleary-eyed, looking for a cuddle to help them wake up.

By 8: 15 a.m., the day’s normal volume had been attained and pop-up pancakes were baking in the oven. I fixed a bowl of greek yogurt and granola for the son with the egg allergy. Dad headed off to work for the day.

Now, the new schedule mandates that I begin school with Child #1 at 9:00. This has been a lot harder than I thought it would be but today, I knew the schedule needed to bend a little. Why? Double-ad Wednesdays at Sprouts. The kids and I have this worked out to a science. We try to be out the door by 9:30 at the latest so we can skip morning commute traffic but also avoid the lunchtime crowd at the grocery store. The kids are all actually very good at selecting the produce for the week and we can usually get all of the groceries we need (mainly produce, dairy, and bulk items) and be back in the car heading home in around 30 minutes.

We returned home by 10:15 a.m. and by 10:30, the cold-sensitive groceries now residing in the refrigerator, Samuel and I were in the middle of a math lesson on adding double digits to double digits (RightStart B). He kind of had a case of the dilly-dallies so I decided to cut the lesson a little short and push the math game for the day to Thursday. He read a chapter of The Littles to me while we cuddled on the bed together. I helped him work through a page in Explode the Code Book 5. Then we called Henry to join us for grammar (First Language Lessons Book 2) and writing (Writing with Ease Book 1). Then Sam was off for some independent reading while I did math with Henry (determining perimeter, also RightStart B).

By now it was 11:40 a.m. I felt panic starting to well up, but reminded myself that we were making forward progress, so I forged ahead. Henry and I cuddled up with his National Geographic’s Rocks and Minerals book and worked through reading a page together. This book is a reading level or two above his reading ability but the topic is one he’s passionate about now, so it’s worth it to me to take a team approach to reading it. He then happily did his Explode the Code Book 5 page by himself and went to the front room to do his independent reading while I started math with the girls. (Dizzy, yet?)

I forget what our math lesson was on (RightStart A) but feel fairly confident it involved both abacuses and giving out a chocolate chip for each correct answer. Becca and Kate worked in tandem on their handwriting pages (Getty and Dubay Italic Handwriting Book A) and then took turns on the couch with me, working on their reading, which right now equates to a page in The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, followed by practicing their mad skills on a BOB book.

1:12 p.m. Phew. Made it to lunch time! The kids were happy for some play time while I prepared lunch. We ate, and then they headed outside to play in the backyard while I hurriedly cleaned up the kitchen. I now had exactly one hour to get a batch of bread in the oven and the kitchen ready so a friend could come over and use my wheat grinder to grind her wheat.

3:00, friend comes over, grinds wheat. 3:10, two neighbor boys come over to play for the afternoon until their mom gets home. 3:30, new piano student shows up for a lesson. 4:00, piano lesson #2. 4:30, piano lesson #3. Thankfully (oh, so thankfully!) the weather had warmed up from the morning and all six kids (my four plus the neighbor’s two) were happy as clams playing outside.

5:00: Sent neighbor boys home. Started dinner.

6:00: Dinner while everyone caught Dad up on the news of the day.

7:00: Showers for four dirty children (how do they get so dirty playing outside???), all got ready for bed, stories, etc.

8:00: Lights out for the kiddos.

8:30: Drove to the church to meet a student for an organ lesson.

9:15: Back home and got ready for bed.

9:50: Lights out and ready for a good night’s rest!

Considering all of the external intrusions on the day’s schedule (grocery shopping, bread making, piano lessons), I felt pretty good about the work we completed. Looking back on our week overall on our new schedule, I think it has its merits. At least it was a great jumpstart to get us back in the groove. I just need to figure out how to get history and science back into the schedule and we’ll be 100% back on track.

I was actually talking to a friend about the “homeschooling to the exclusion of everything else” problem today. Does anyone else have this problem, too? I love being up to my eyeballs in schoolwork and discovery and learning with my kids, but sometimes think it would be nice to find a few hours to batch cook some freezer meals. Providing, of course, I am able to find an hour to actually plan said meals!

Hope you enjoyed the snapshot of our life right now.


The Artistic Side of Photography

As I continue with Photo 101, I’m feeling a leetle more comfortable with my settings and am glad that my assignments this week are helping me focus on the artistic elements of photography. It’s more rewarding to think about what I want an image to include and then make it happen than I had supposed. For example, in the crayon picture below, it was fun to set the picture up, get a good exposure, and then realize that even though it’s more “artistic” than I usually shoot, it still tells the story about what we were doing at the table that afternoon.

I still prefer taking pictures of my kids over still lifes, though.

Compared to last week’s homework, I felt like this week’s came much more naturally. Hooray for that!


Beginning again with photography

Sometimes Mom needs a turn to be a learner in this school gig.

For the past two years, I’ve wanted to improve the photographic evidence of our lives but haven’t been in a season where I could do much more than read an occasional blog about it. I started being more mindful about light as a result, and even chose a light gray as the new wall color when we repainted over the tan so that light could be more reflective when taking pictures indoors. As I’m learning now, the gray walls are challenging me to find the right white balance setting to use, but they are a lot (LOT!) better than the brown.

And then…

Amazon announced that they were going to start charging sales tax on all purchases. I’d had my eye on a Canon Rebel, so I used the impending deadline as an impetus for the purchase. Call me crazy, but sales tax is a hefty chunk of change on a purchase like a DSLR.

Once in my hands, I promised myself I wouldn’t shoot on auto and spent the next 4-5 months in trial and lots of error. It was kind of getting old, actually. So I started asking people whose photography I admired about their method of learning. My cousin tipped me off to Nicole’s Classes.

I signed up for Photo 101 and began my transformative journey.

Week One has found me watching the online tutorial videos several times in an attempt to absorb all of the information. I vaguely remember learning about aperture and shutter speed in a college photography class, but it turns out there’s a lot more to a good picture and I wanted to really understand the equation that would yield a good exposure. Thinking this much about what a picture needs for good exposure is much harder than blindly pointing and shooting, hoping for a good picture. It makes my head hurt, but the results are looking better.

One of my big peeves this year has been how many pictures are on our hard drive that aren’t worth keeping or printing. My blogging and picture sharing/uploading has come to a near stand-still because it’s overwhelming and time-consuming to sift through the 300-500 images we record each month. So even if the quality of my pictures don’t improve, I’m grateful for this class because it’s helping me be more mindful and deliberate about what I shoot. I’m hopeful that 2013 will be a better year for pictures, though, both in quality and quantity.

Thankfully, I have four more-or-less willing subjects who understand that I’m trying to learn how to use my camera and need their help for my class. It was fun to spend a couple of hours in the backyard with them, trying to get things right. Here are some of my favorites (although not all are what I submitted as homework):

(Sam spotted a swallowtail butterfly just as I clicked this one)

(Ever my man-in-motion, Henry didn’t stop for me to take a picture of him. Good thing one of our assignments was to test fast and slow shutter speeds!)


Diversion: Art Project

We needed a little break from our normal school routine today, so I pulled good ol’ Storybook Art off the shelf and found an easy project for us to do.

The book was The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. A beautiful classic.

The project was to divide a large piece of paper into fourths, draw the same picture in each of the four quarters, and then detail each picture with what the child imagined their picture would look like in each of the four seasons.

As usual, I loved watching how each child created and what they came up with, each creation as individual as the creator.

Here they are during the creation process. So focused!

And here are each of them with their finished (or near-finished) products:

It’s good to have a creative outlet now and then. :)


Easter Craft

What do you do on a rainy afternoon when everyone is itching for something different to do?

You dig through the archives of your memory bank and produce a spontaneous craft project!

I honestly don’t know why this jumped into my head this morning, but it worked. I remember doing this on several different occasions during my elementary school years. It’s pretty simple.

You will need:

  1. Tissue paper, in whichever array of colors work for you
  2. Scissors, to cut tissue paper into 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ squares
  3. Cardstock, to draw or copy a black-line image onto
  4. Glue, the drippy kind, not the stick kind
  5. Pencils with fairly new erasers (the flat top makes things a little easier somehow)
  6. Paper plates (optional), should you have preschoolers who get frustrated with glue. Squirt a little puddle of glue on their plate and let them dip.

Here’s a quick tutorial:

Start with one of your pieces of tissue paper, cut into a small square. We used 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ but you could do smaller or larger, depending on the look you want. The squares don’t have to be exactly square, by the way, but it helps if they look squarish. How many you need to cut will depend on how big your image is. But you’ll need a lot. :)

Place the pencil eraser in the middle of the tissue paper.

And gather up the ends so that you are holding the edges of the tissue paper against the pencil, like so.

Either squeeze a little drop of glue onto the tip of the tissue paper as you keep holding it to the pencil, or dip the tip of the tissue paper into the glue on the paper plate. Either works, just make sure you’re still holding onto the tissue paper.

Gently press the tissue paper onto the cardstock in the location of your choice. This is Henry’s. He chose to keep each of his tissue papers pretty close together for a fuller look.

Each of my kids approached this project differently and I loved seeing what they came up with. Here is Sam’s:

Kate caught the vision of this project and exhibited some amazing manual dexterity for a 3-year old!

Becca could have cared less about trying to make it look like everyone else’s:

Still cool, though!

Also, on Becca’s, you can see how I quickly free-handed an Easter egg with the Sharpie. Forgot to take a picture of that step!

Rinse and repeat until your image is filled in to your liking.

The beauty of this project is that you could easily adapt it to any holiday, any occasion, any shape, any size. The other beautiful thing is that these are materials most households would have on hand (assuming you stock tissue paper in your gift wrap box). I love a pick-up craft that is easy to execute.

Have fun creating!


Our Day in the Life 2012

Date: February 2, 2012.

Players: Henry, age 6; Samuel, age 5; Kate, age 3; Becca, age 3

No disclaimers. It is what it is.

I woke up at 6:42 a.m. feeling more rested than usual. Joe forgot to set our 5:00 a.m. alarm, but neither of us were complaining. Our early mornings tend to take a toll later in the week, especially if we haven’t been very diligent about getting to bed at a decent hour. Yes, it’s been one of those weeks.

I had time to pray and read my scriptures before the kids started filtering into our bedroom. We piled on the bed for our family scripture study before the kids ran into the kitchen for breakfast. It’s oatmeal for the kids, and since I was up late last night, I decided to try Aimee’s Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oats in the slow cooker. My 4-cup Pyrex wouldn’t fit in our slow cooker, so I had to cut the recipe in half. I know the kids would like this recipe, so for the moment, I was very happy that there wasn’t enough to share! It was delicious and Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We got Daddy off to work and then aliens descended and abducted my children while I was getting dressed (no shower today! Ah, sweet slumber…).

A little back story might be helpful here.

My four kids are three years apart. I’ve been in survival mode for the last three years. I feel like I’ve gotten my footing as a mom, but there are lots of things that I have to let go. Cleaning frequently is one of those things. I’ve made feeble attempts to teach my children how to clean the toilet and unload the dishwasher, etc., but what happens is that all four of my kids are eager to help at the same time. It’s just plain HARD to put shoes away, pick up books, wipe down a bathroom counter, and make a bed simultaneously, with helpers. So most of the time, I end up doing it myself because it’s faster.

A few months ago, in a moment of brilliant brainstorming, I came up with the idea to write various small chores on a little foam stars glued onto tongue depressors. There are eight for the morning and eight for the evening. Each child draws two stars at random and they have the option to put one of them back if they’re not feeling it for both chores. As we inaugurated this program, we drew one star at a time and I showed all four of them how to complete that task, and then we moved on to the next one. It worked well for a while, and then the holidays rolled around, and well, we haven’t gotten back into the groove yet.

Enter the aliens. My kids, of their own accord and smiles on their faces, divvied up the morning stars and with little assistance from me, completed their tasks. Cue heavenly chorus. Two of the four even made their own beds without any prompting!

Home Economics = A+

I was so inspired by their industry that I started sweeping the kitchen floor. Samuel, in his exuberance to take the recycled items to the outside bin, chose the low road after a rain and tracked mud all through the kitchen when he reentered the house. I needed to mop anyway, so I just thanked him for seeing that he was making muddy footprints and for taking his shoes off before he got to the carpet.

While I mopped (and perhaps hummed a little as I did so), I listened to the joyous sounds of the kids entertaining educating themselves. For Sam and Henry, it was Engineering and Architecture (a.k.a. Legos). For Becca and Kate, it was Interpretive Dance and Drama (a.k.a. playing Dance Class and re-enacting their favorite scenes from The Parent Trap. Hailey Mills version, of course.). My, this morning is shaping up to be just heavenly.

I took advantage of the relative quiet to prep the day’s school work, and had time to work one-on-one with each of the girls before lunch. For Becca, it was the numbers 7-10 via a dinky dollar store workbook. For Kate, it was the same numbers from an identical dinky dollar store workbook, plus six pages of her Explode the Code primer. She’s in Book Two (Get Set for the Code). Becca hasn’t shown any interest in her primers, so I’ve been playing math games and doing occasional workbook pages with her. She’s cool with that.

During lunch, I directed the boys’ attention to our school wall so they could see what was on the docket for the day:

Yes, I know the chart says “What are we doing this morning?” But I am not crazy. My kids did their chores PLUS now I had a sparkling clean kitchen floor. There was no way I was about to give all of that up for grammar.

Besides, it’s the idea. The boys know that they can’t take the word strip off the chart until they’ve completed it. Time is irrelevant.

Samuel and Henry each got a private math lesson (we use RightStart A and B, respectively) before I called them both back to the table for grammar and handwriting together. We’re using First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind for grammar. Today’s lesson was on aunts, uncles, and cousins (common nouns) and the special names for their aunts, uncles, and cousins (proper nouns). Samuel is using the Getty and Dubay Italic Book B for handwriting and is about halfway through; Henry finished Book B last month and now copies a sentence or two from the Narnia books for his handwriting.

We finished with enough time for me to do the girls’ hair and get them dressed in leotards and tights for their afternoon dance class before we were out the door. The boys decided ahead of time that they wanted to find a quiet corner at the rec center and read aloud to me so they could log some time on their Read to Succeed charts; they both have about two hours left before they qualify for those Six Flags tickets!

Daddy beat us home by a few minutes, so he heard all about the kids’ day while I heated up leftovers for dinner.

After dinner, it was jammie time (no baths because we just re-caulked the tub and it needed to cure) and as a reward for obeying quickly, the kids chose to watch an episode of Star Wars: the Clone Wars (or something like that!). I checked email while Joe caught up with his Wired magazine subscription. When Star Wars was over, we all piled on the couch and read stories together before brushing teeth, going potty, and getting tucked into bed for the night.

When all was quiet in the house, Joe and I worked our way through the five loads of laundry I’d managed to run through the washer and dryer during the day. We caught up and got some needed face time in while we folded, and Joe had me listen to his latest podcast so I could critique it before he sent it to iTunes. Then we got ready for bed ourselves and made sure the alarm was set for 5:00 a.m.

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep smiling. 12 hours later, and I still couldn’t get over the fact that my kids had cleaned the house and that I had a clean kitchen floor.


Flipping the switch

One of the things I feel like I’ve constantly struggled with in terms of teaching the boys to read has been in making the transition from easy (EASY) readers to real book reading. We’ve been hovering in this no-man’s land for a year. I’ve been at a loss. We keep plugging away at The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and using Explode the Code to reinforce the concepts learned, but I haven’t been able to get away from the feeling that it should somehow be easier than this.

I don’t know what happened, but something flipped the switch in Henry’s mind. He wants to read now.

We were cuddling in a chair one night and were about to start reading a library book. A quick glance at the first page told me that he knew all of the words but one. So I encouraged him, saying, “I’ll bet you can read most of the words on this page!” I try that tactic every now and then, usually unsuccessfully. But this night he took the bait. And read that page. And turned the page and read the next one. And on and on until he finished the book. He was beaming. He’d just read a real, live book! It was an awesome moment for both of us.

But it didn’t stop there. The next night he brought me another book and sat down and read it to me.

Lately, it’s been a mad quest to see how many books we have on our shelves that he can read. The librarian congratulated me this week for checking out the most books of anyone that day (47).

But it hasn’t stopped there. Me-Too (a.k.a. Samuel) has entered the competitive arena and is keeping pace with his brother. On a good day, I’ll be on the couch with each of them for an hour at a time. AND I’M NOT THE ONE DOING THE READING.

Literally like flipping a switch. It’s so exciting for me to watch.

And speaking of switch flipping…let’s talk about Kate for a minute. I’ve been working with her and with Becca separately, and have discovered that Kate is anxious to move past the dinky dollar store workbooks and really start learning. I’ve been using the Explode the Code primer series with her and she is eating it up. She’s 3, people. And she’s doing 12 workbook pages a day. 5-6 days a week. Crazy awesome.

And this is why I home school. Readiness. I have the ability to teach my kids when they’re ready for it, rather than slip them in to a prescribed public school time line. For Henry, (and Becca, I suspect) readiness comes in it’s own time, perhaps a little past what their peers are doing. For Sam and Kate, it’s about being able to give it to them when they’re ready for it, instead of putting it off because they’re not “old enough.”

It all makes for a great balance, really. I get the full spectrum, from encouraging, teaching, re-teaching, and finding new things to try, to not being able to teach it fast enough. From practicing hard things a little bit every day, to watching the switch flip. Love it.


Ah, the well laid plans…

In 2004, Joe and I were teaching early morning seminary to a class full of 28 teenage students, ages 14-18, whom we knew next to nothing about. We flubbed our way along, one “learning experience” after another. After one of our lessons went disastrously in a different direction than we intended, I ended up calling our area supervisor for advice (and to let him hear our side of the story before it got to him some other way). He laughed and told me, “Every day’s the first day of seminary!” We got the point. If something wasn’t working, we were under no obligation to continue. Make a change! Get the train back on course!

I find myself thinking about that quote a lot. It was good to learn that lesson nearly eight years before I needed it.

We’ll be making changes to our homeschool days when we get back to it in January. We’re taking a break for a few weeks and will be lying low while I get things ready for Christmas, out of town guests, and finish up some painting and organization projects in our home.

What I wanted to have happen:

  1. Reading, ETC, Handwriting = 4 days a week
  2. Grammar = 3 days a week
  3. Math = 4 days a week
  4. History = 3 days a week
  5. Science = 2 days a week
  6. Piano = 5 days a week
Ambitious? Yes. But realistic. Handwriting, Grammar, and Piano only required 10 minutes or less a day.

What was happening in reality:

  1. It took about two weeks to turn into drudgery
  2. Mom spent most of every day encouraging, prodding, and cajoling to get the day’s work done, literally spending between 5-7 hours taking turns helping Henry and Sam one-on-one (so much for the teaching in tandem idea)
  3. Incentive charts were pulled out. Incentives seldom reached.
  4. Not a lot of time for play and decompressing
  5. The 10-minute timer was employed, with better results (each subject got timed for ten minutes and we’d just put it away when the timer dinged)
  6. Becca and Kate spent hours watching PBS every day so I could work with the boys
  7. All reading for fun disappeared

It really hasn’t taken me long to cry uncle.

I really liked “The Well-Trained Mind” theory. I thought it was a beautiful plan all laid out. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that my kids are just that–kids. A 6- and 5-year old in whom I was squelching the joy of learning in favor of academic rigor. They didn’t need that. I wasn’t finding much joy in learning, either. I wasn’t finding time to work with my girls. I hated that we weren’t cuddling on the couch and reading together for hours on end. I was constantly stressed out because I had no time for meal planning or preparation. Not cool any way you sliced it.

Curtain down. Intermission.

So here’s what I want to do going forward: all of it, just scaled back. Instead of history three times a week, we’ll do one. Instead of handwriting four times a week, we’ll do two. And etc. Two or three subjects each day before lunch. Afternoons will be dedicated to reading, aloud, together, one-on-one, boys practicing their reading…piles of books everywhere.

I feel much more at peace with the new plan. Besides, I think back to my reflection on our first year, and even as erratic as it all seemed to me, we managed to get a lot accomplished just by baby stepping. So that’s my new focus: just do a little bit every day. We’ll get there!

I love that every day is the first day of seminary.


Getting Ready for Year #2

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been grateful that I can consider homeschooling a hobby. I’ve had no end of fun getting things in order for our upcoming school year to start. The plan is to teach Henry and Samuel in tandem, with separate math classes. We’ll be following the recommendations outlined in “The Well-Trained Mind.”

The only curve ball I’ve had to learn to hit is that of my darling daughters letting it be known that they want in on this school thing, too. I finally decided to NOT participate in the preschool co-op that I’ve had Henry and Samuel do, mostly so I don’t overextend myself. I really want to focus on consistency with the boys. Besides, there will be a few standing play date appointments every week and the girls will be in a weekly dance class so they’ll be getting all the preschool socialization they need. So I’ve spent some extra time getting their preschool year put together, including amassing busy bags filled with learning activities that can keep them busy on their own when I need to spend time with the boys.

Things are almost ready and I am so excited for our October 1st start date!


Year One in Review (July 2010-July 2011)

Trite as it sounds, I can hardly believe it was a year ago that I sat down at the kitchen table and began teaching Henry how to read, which was the advent of our home schooling. All things considered, we’ve had a wonderful ride on the home schooling roller coaster this year. All of us have learned much!

Perspective is a wonderful thing, really. When I take into consideration the fact that none of my kids knew the sounds the letters in the alphabet make a mere 365 days ago, it is a marvelous feeling of accomplishment to know that today, all four of them can tell me the sound any letter makes. Not only that, but Henry—and Samuel—and even Kate and Becca (if you count the capital letter magnets) can read. A lot can happen in a year.

What began as Henry’s Kindergarten year in July found us adding the start of Samuel’s Kindergarten year in January, and Kate and Becca’s preschool in April. We’ve gone from putting the girls down for afternoon naps and having two hours to quietly work on school to having Mom tutor each child in turn for most of the morning. We’ve gone from two kids with library cards to four kids with library cards…at two different libraries.

So yes, looking back, the feeling of achievement is terrific. Did we accomplish anything in a year? Here’s the list, in brief:

Henry:

  • Completed “Hooked on Phonics,” Kindergarten level
  • Is nearly done with RightStart Math Level A (will finish before we start our next school year in October)
  • Completed Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting Book A; is making good headway in Book B
  • Completed “Explode the Code” Book 1 and 2; is halfway through Book 3
  • On Lesson 62 (of 231) in “Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading”
  • Completed numerous science and art projects
  • Completed “Hooked on Spanish”
  • Nearly finished our social studies book (“Children Just Like Me”)
  • Memorized three poems and several Articles of Faith
  • Logged HOURS of reading time, including 8 classic read-alouds
  • Began piano lessons

Samuel:

  • Learned his alphabet and the sounds the letters make
  • Read through the first set of BOB books
  • On Lesson 51 (of 231) in “Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading”
  • Completed “Explode the Code” Book 1; is halfway through Book 2
  • Halfway through Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting Book A
  • Completed “Hooked on Spanish”
  • Completed numerous science and art projects
  • Nearly finished our social studies book (“Children Just Like Me”)
  • Memorized three poems and several Articles of Faith
  • Logged HOURS of reading time, including 8 classic read-alouds
  • Is begging to start math and piano lessons

Kate and Becca:

  • Learned their alphabet and the sounds the letters make
  • Completed a workbook on shapes
  • Completed a few art projects
  • Memorized two poems
  • Logged HOURS of reading time

I’ve learned a few things along the way, as well, no surprise. Mostly, I’ve been pleased to discover that the reasons we gravitated toward the home education option are better in reality than in theory. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility home schooling gives us. Flexibility to start and stop as needed. Flexibility to try new curriculae or approaches or even put something away until the time is right for that student. We love being able to do school in the morning or the afternoon as the day requires. We love traveling in the off-season, and schooling during the blasted hot summer. I’ve loved discovering how much I enjoy teaching things to my kids and am excited to keep learning things right along with them. I’ve been surprised at how frequently questions or problems I’ve encountered have taken me to my knees. And I’ve been really grateful for the answers I’m led to. I’m grateful for growth.

All in all, I’ll call our first year a grand success. It’s been a good one. Sign us up for another year!