Saturday, September 24, 2016

13 years!

It's our anniversary tomorrow.  We celebrate 13 years of marriage.  I think this story sums up how my marriage is:  This morning I came home from walking two miles to find Mike on the couch.  He had finished doing his push ups and sit-ups to discover that standing up straight was hurting his back (he regularly has back issues).  He said he was going out to mow the lawn and promised to follow my advice of taking some ibuprofen first.  I told him that if he started mowing and discovered that his back was hurting too much he had to promise he would stop and come get me to finish mowing.  We continued to get in an "argument" over who was in the better position to mow the lawn.  I argued that his back was hurt.  He argued that I was six months pregnant.

There are all kinds of marriages and all kinds of trials that people go through and in our 13 years of marriage we have experienced various trials but a contentious marriage is not a trial that I have had to deal with.  We do not do everything in our marriage perfectly.  Sometimes we say things to each other that are hurtful.  Sometimes we don't always understand each other's perspective or reason for feeling the way we do.  Sometimes we have real arguments about real things that matter.  For the most part though, our marriage is contentious free.  We argue about who is in the better position to serve the other person.  My marriage is a blessing that I thank God for daily.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Family pictures 2016

On a whim I decided that I wanted to take some family pictures.  I didn't want to pack up the tripod so I didn't get any pictures of all of us together but a friend offered to take those for us so I think we might make one more trip out to take a few of all of us.  I wanted it to be as painless as possible so I didn't go buy outfits or take very many of the boys.  They don't really like their picture taken and they were anxious to go play with their friends so I just took a few of them.  It was fast, under an hour and I was really happy with what I got.  I don't like to have my picture taken when I am pregnant but I'm trying to change that mindset and want to capture my life with the family at all seasons of life, not just when I am happy with the way I look.  So, I got in the pictures too and I'm happy I did.













































Saturday, September 10, 2016

A long Homeschool post

Our homeschool year is off to a good start.  So far we have done about 26 days, which leaves us with about 150 left!  I mentioned in another post that I was nervous about adding additional things to our school year and so far I can tell that it does make our day longer and makes things a little more involved than last year but so far I think it is helping make a better learning experience.  I am positive that we will have to make adjustments as the baby gets here and that's ok.  I figure some of a good thing is better than nothing.  

Our day looks something like this:  

My day:  

Wake up at 6:30 to go walking, do yoga, or other exercise
Get home at 7:30
Make breakfast
Morning family prayer before Mike leaves
Get started with "Morning Meeting" around 8:30 or 9
Conduct Morning Meeting until about 10:30
Get in the shower and get ready for the day
Do dishes, throw in a load of laundry
Spend some time with Piper
Make lunch
Do another chore (mop, vacuum, sweep, wash walls, whatever needs to be done)
Fold laundry or run errands
Work on business stuff (art or clean products or post something to social media)
Start dinner (between 4 and 4:30)
Eat with the fam around 6
Do dishes again
Scriptures, prayer, bedtime 8:30

The boys:

Wake up between 7 and 7:15
Take turns taking a shower
Read personal scriptures
Read whatever book they are working on
Piano
Spanish
Breakfast
Family prayer
Clean bonus room
Morning Meeting around 8:30 or 9
10:30 get started on all their other work
Snack break and Recess 
Play with Piper
Lunch around 12 or 1
Get done with work between 1 and 2
Clean room 
Free time
Dinner around 6
Scriptures, family prayer, bedtime 8:30

Our Morning Meeting consists of working on memorizing The Living Christ, writing our days work in our planners, reading a book together out loud (currently Frindle), History, Writing, and discussing anything the boys had a hard time with the day before.  I use this time to spend extra time helping them understand concepts they were confused on from the day before or to go over their tests with them.  We also use this time to share book reports or do a group science project or art project. 

This won't mean much to anyone not familiar with school curriculum but our curriculum for the year is:
Shirley English
IEW (Medieval times) for writing
Saxon Math
Alfred's Basic Piano
Rosetta Stone for Spanish
Story of the World 2 for History
Harcourt Science for the younger two boys and Physics for Will
Scriptures (we let them read The Friend or New Era too)
Reading book (whatever book they want to read)
Art

At the beginning of the year I had the boys start their Math by taking their tests until they missed more than two in a test and then at that point I made them start their daily work.  They were able to get through five tests before they needed to start doing their daily work which was great because Saxon Math can get pretty intense and by doing this we were able to skip about 25 lessons.  I like to do History with the boys because I really like History.  We read a portion a day and then review and on Thursday we do a big review and take the test leaving them with no History on Friday.  They also work really hard on writing all week and on Friday don't have writing.  Both their writing and their English curriculum have vocab so I decided to use the vocab from the writing and not the English.  When they take their English test and get to the vocab I give them bonus points if they get the vocab right on their English test and then test them for a grade on their writing vocab.  Will was tired of learning the same thing in Science every year so he requested to learn physics this year.  Isaac started his science curriculum and then discovered that he really liked learning about the body so he asked Mike if he could spend more time on a body unit and Mike found him an Anatomy book that was at his level and he is going to work through that book until he wants to go back to the other science book.  I make the older two boys do a Math assignment and then the following day they have to grade their previous math assignment before they move on to the next one.  I think it helps them see what concepts they are not understanding and it frees my time up to do other things.  I grade their Math tests though as well as their English tests.  We do Art mainly on Fridays but I am not great at doing art with them.  I'm hoping to get more prepared so we can do some more art projects.  For P.E we haven't done a lot yet because it's just too hot outside still.  I'm hoping in the next few weeks the temperatures will lower a bit so we can get outside but in the meantime we go swimming a couple of times a week and call that P.E.  When our Morning Meeting is done I do my own things around the house and make myself available to keep them on task or to help with any assignments they have questions with (this is mostly for Eli because he often needs help with Math, English, and Science).  I try to fit in my chores and other things around this time and then by 2 I am usually free to run errands or do other chores uninterrupted.  

Some days it just seems like so much and I especially struggle to find the time to really focus on Piper.  She gets shuffled and ignored sometimes and I don't like that.  I still require the boys to spend some one on one time with her each day so she is getting time to play with them and I try to do some reading and writing or a craft with her but she isn't getting what I think she should.  

What I like about our school year is the ability to be fluid.  We stick to our schedule for the most part but if I have errands or visiting teaching or something that has to happen in the middle of our school day I can adjust our schedule.  It's also nice to say, "We are going on a field trip today so we aren't doing x, y, or z today."  

I am hopeful that our school year will continue to be smooth and that the boys will enjoy learning in this environment.  I frequently worry that I am not doing a good job but then I just have to take a step back and remind myself that they are getting a good education with some really great curriculum to learn from and that I can really focus on areas that interest them.  

We made shark bookmarks for an art project

The first week of school we made Muddy Buddies for snack/cooking time

I took Piper to Hobby Lobby to help choose crafts she would like to do with me.  She made a sun catcher owl

Eli made a puppet show for his book report

puppet show

Too many donuts in one day

Monday as Labor Day and even though the kids really wanted a day off of school we decided that since we didn't have any plans for the holiday we would still make them do some school.  We slept in and then as soon as we were all ready Mike drove us to Krispe Kreme.  We each got to choose donuts and then we spent about a half hour watching the donuts being made.  The kids never get tired of that.  Later that day we started making our own donuts.  The kids helped make the dough (they did a large portion of it) and then they helped glaze the donuts as well.  After the donuts were all consumed Mike told them they had to write a report on their donut day.  They didn't seem to mind because the report was in place of their normal writing and I let them have all week to do it.  I also didn't make them use correct spelling or have a nice double-spaced report.  The boys get annoyed with us when we make their holidays be a school day but hopefully fun activities will kind of make up for it.