Sunday, September 29, 2013


I love reading to my children.  I love reading simple books, chapter books, nonfiction, fiction.  I also love to listen to audio books.  I am sure I have mentioned on my blog before how I consider audio books to be one of the greatest inventions of all time.

As soon as we get in the car I turn on the current book and the kids are instantly quiet and engaged. It is also a bonus to get read alouds done while driving - I love multi-tasking!

On any typical day I read  a handful of younger kids books for the little ones and then 1-2 chapters from 2 books that we have going simultaneously.  And then of course, the audio books.

This is the list of books I plan to read to them or listen to over the next 10 months- mostly books from the 1st, 2nd and 4th grade Sonlight lists ( this list does not include short chapter books we pick up at the library):

1.Caddie Woodlawn
2.Cheaper By the Dozen
3.The Great Turkey Walk
4.The Great Wheel
5.In Search of the Source
6.Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
7.Rules of the Road
8.Across Five Aprils
9.Oh My Godmother: The Glitter Trap
10.The Tale of Despereaux
11.All Sail Set: A Romance of the Flying Cloud
12.The One and Only Ivan
13.Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers
14.Miracle on Maple Hill
15.Moccasin Trail
16.The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems
17.The Winged Watchman
18.The Kitchen Madonna
19.Thee, Hannah!
20.Understood Betsy
21.Dragon Howl
22.Detectives in Togas
23.Follow My Leader
24.Gooney Bird Greene
25.Greek Myths for Young Children
26.Henry Huggins
27.The Year of Miss Agnes
28.The Family Under the Bridge
29.A Little Princess
30.The Cricket in Times Square
31.Kildee House
32.Red Sails to Capri
33.The School Story
34.The Apprentice
35.Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess (Platt)
36.The Child's Garden of Verses (Stevenson)
37.The Door in the Wall (de Angeli)
38.The Little Riders
39.The Minstril in the Tower
40.Tales of Robin Hood
41.The 21 Balloons
42.White Stallion of Lipizza
43.Captain Nobody
44.The Adventure of Sir Lancelot the Great
45.Sticks Across the Chimney: The Story of Denmark
46.Charlotte's Web
47. Rainy Day Poems
48.Homer Price
 49.Mr. Popper's Penguins
50.The Wheel on the School
51.Little Pear
52.Mrs Piggle-Wiggle

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ready for Preschool!

Berean is going to preschool at our homeschool group one morning a week.  She loves it, especially all of the friends that she has to play with.  She is also in Cubbies at Awana and a dance class.  Friends, crafts and talking are all very important to her!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We are finally coming into a sort of a rhythm for the school year, it fluctuates a little, but for the most part we have found peace with the situation.

I don't feel the same anxiety about schooling this year as I have in the past.  Maybe I just have other things to be anxious about this fall, and so school has dropped off the stress radar.

Maybe I am just comfortable with our decision and am just settling in for the long haul.  I am no longer taken aback when people say, "well, of course your kids know all of their AWANA verses- you can work on them all day since you homeschool!", as if I am some sort of AWANA-cheater parent.  I just go ahead and tell them that is the beauty of homeschool and one of the very reasons we do it, so we can learn Bible verses when their minds are fresh and so we can take a walk or a bike ride in the middle of the day to clear our heads.

I feel like I have come to a place where I am very in-tune with my kids learning needs, learning styles and strengths and weaknesses.  Deacon is a fabulous auditory learning.  I can read anything to him and he can be walking around the room, reading a comic book and throwing a ball up in the air and will still be able to answer any question about what I am reading that I can come up with.  He learns well on the computer when he can hear a lesson as well as read it.  He is quick at math and perceptive at science and history.  He loves fiction and nonfiction and draws conclusions easily.  His struggles are reading, writing his thoughts done on paper and spelling.  We are spending a lot of time on those things this year and I am trying different approaches, specifically right brain phonics kind of stuff and styles that work more easily for kids with dyslexia.  He is improving, it is just taking more time.

Roman is a quick learner in most subjects.  Math is a little bit of a challenge, I think mostly because he actually has to put a little effort in.  He reads well and has good listening comprehension as well.  He prefers to get his work done as quickly as possible so that he can go play.  When I give him his spelling words I tell him that if he can just teach himself to spell them and can get them all right on his test, then he doesn't have to do all of the spelling "learning activities" in his book.  So that is what he does.  He really prefers to learn in a more natural, unschooling environment.

Lincoln is very quick at math.  He is a good reader and strong with phonics.  He likes workbooks and doing school with me on a 1:1 basis.  He is a poor auditory learner, however, and I am not sure if that  is somehow related to his speech difficulties or if he often just lets his mind wander and tunes me out.  I am planning to discuss that further with his speech pathologist.  He is improving with his speech, and is now working on his "th" and "r" sounds.  He likes science but could care less about social studies.

We are still doing our co-op and we also do gym classes at the YMCA.  I am planning to try to do some more field trips this year- but I have a hard time forcing myself to fit them in, because I am pretty legalistic about not missing school days, even for field trips.  I think a nice compromise is fitting the field trips in on Saturdays :)

I myself could use a few more hours in a week with which to clean and take care of domestic tasks, but I make do.  Noah has graciously taken over meal planning and also does part of the grocery shopping.  He is auditing a class this fall, however, which is taking up a great deal of his time.

All and all, things are going well and I am pleased with what the kids and I are learning.  Just gotta keep on keeping on... :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crazy Girl, Crazy Life

It has been a whirlwind around here.  I thought that things were crazy when the kids were younger- but they seemed much easier to keep track of back then.  Now they have friends and places to go- lots of places to go.

Responsibilities at both of our jobs, volunteer stuff, fall activities, exercising, homeschooling, parenting- we are feeling a little exhausted and having a hard time getting back into the fall routine.
A couple extra stressors are coming up this week, and that is enough to make me all introspective and...for some weird reason they are making me get all panicked about my wardrobe.

I know, I am in a totally bizarre mental place right now, so I think I am just going to move on from all the cray-cray and show you pictures of my sweet baby.
Ever still likes her naps.  She also likes water, boats and laundry baskets.  She has no problem being alone, and likes to explore.

Bre is very concerned about Ever's lack of hair, but it does seem to be growing a little bit.

Evie still has an amazing smile and says a few words.  She seems to have the same protruding tongue situation that Lincoln has, and so I am keeping an eye (and ear!) on that. 
She says significantly more words and makes more sounds than Lincoln ever did, so I am hopeful that her speech issues (which I am pretty sure she will have) will be less severe than his.

Ever has gotten really tall and has thinned out a lot.  She can now open almost all of the doors leading to the outside in our house.  She can't get out of her bed yet or open interior doors, which is a blessing. 

She really likes to lick things like the chains on disc golf holes.  I think it is an attention seeking behavior, much like her frequent walking around with her eyes closed and her fingers in her mouth. 

She is definitely the baby of the family- she has all the symptoms of the classic youngest child "clown" thing going on.  She can do nothing wrong in the eyes of her brothers, although her sister may see things differently.  She is also a popular figure amongst the neighborhood kids that spend a lot of time in our yard.

Some days I feel like she is much more difficult to keep track of then the other kids (except Roman!), but I am not sure that is true.  I think it feels harder because everybody else is independent, so her not being independent feels more like a glaring difference.  But it is just her age, and I don't want her to grow up too fast :) Oh, one more thing about Ever...that girl loves her daddy...

Friday, September 6, 2013


Everyn, Gma Pam, Great Gma Joyce, Roman, Deacon, Lincoln, Berean

Maybe this week I can get Noah to take a picture so that I can be in it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Over

 Summer is officially over.  Tomorrow morning Moms and Dads will be taking bus stop pictures and doing a mixture of crying and dancing as their children head back to school.

But not me.  Tomorrow morning we will get up, eat breakfast and start the great juggling- helping Lincoln with his reading, while answering Deacon's constant "how do you spell ______?" I will also be keeping a sharp look out for baby, who requires a 1:1 safety assistant.
 Roman will try my patience, alternately requesting for my help so he can get "everything done right away" and insisting that his work is too hard.

Berean will want to be in the mix, working on her letters, adding her books to the large stack of texts that must be read from everyday.

We will read about sea creatures and review fire safety, The Reformation and community helpers.  3 levels of math, 3 levels of science, 3 levels of history.  Who remembers the 11th president?  How about the names of all the oceans?
 I will try to change out the laundry in between subjects, try to avoid phone calls and distractions all the while keeping a list of the emails, yard work, housework and errands that are piling up.

For I cannot stop to take care of those things during the day.  "The Cricket in Times Square" awaits being read, "God's Great Covenant" remains to be explored.
 And spelling, oh how much spelling must be learned, taught and wrestled with.

But when the day is over, the kids are outside playing and I am tidying up and getting supper prepared, I will be thankful.

I will be thankful that I got to spend the whole day learning.  Learning about the world, learning about my kids, learning about myself. 

And I am sure I will also learn a lot about the importance of the Fruit of the Spirit.
 For no one but God himself knows these 5 kids better than I do.  No one loves them more and has a greater passion for their education.

I care about their academic course, but more than that I care about their spiritual health, their emotional health and their moral compasses.
 That is why I take the time to do what I do. 

I am going to be busy this fall and I am trying to prioritize what I can and give grace to myself when I struggle.

That is the hardest part- letting go of all the possibilities and focusing on the goals I have chosen.
 But for the first time the boys have expressed thankfulness that they will be home with me and acceptance of the fact that school is a part of life.

I hope that continues.
 Noah is taking over a small portion of the boys school this fall and a large portion of the meal planning and grocery shopping.

 My girls will complicate our school, but they also will add a really fun, lively element.

It won't be long until their carefree preschool days are over, and for now we all are going to enjoy them.
Summer is over, but the fun is just beginning!