Friday, December 17, 2010

A little update

Poor little homeschool blog. So neglected...

As Christmas gets closer, I am so grateful for homeschooling. We have been doing some basic review of math, just to stay on top of things. Evan's been reading about people from the Revolutionary War era and Justin's been doing a study on the history of classic American toys. I got the book at the TAGIE awards and was absolutely serious when I said I was going to do a study with the kids through it. Justin is making a timeline and all sorts of things to go with it. It's pretty interesting stuff.

Corinne is just a reading phenom. Dick and Jane is almost too easy for her, but we've got several other phonic-type books that she likes to read on her own that are filling in the spaces until I can find another progressive type of reading series. I have never been solely responsible for teaching any of them to read! Justin knew how by kindergarten but I guess I figured that preschool had something to do with it. Evan struggled until first grade and I assumed that it was my fault. I think I am really REALLY accepting that each child will learn at their own pace, regardless of what their parent tries to force down their throats. That said, I need to keep up with Corinne so that she remains INTERESTED In reading!

We have paper snowflakes everywhere right now. It's crazy how involved Corinne can become in an art project. For a while it was beading, beading, beading. Now it's cutting intricate designs. I wonder what's next?

Well, the kids have a h/s friend over right now and they're playing some sort of top-spinning game that involves a lot of laughing and smack-talking. I am going to browse the internet while it's still peaceful in the house. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Braggity brag

Corinne's counting by 12's. Holy shit. She's really DOING it and I don't really know how to stop her...

Also? Evan is a geography genius. I'll have to record him with his cards. It's amazing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Evan's reading Beowulf.

At age 8.

After needing special reading help in first grade.

I am happy and content.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random pics of what's been up...

Game day of Life, Rummikub and Apples to Apples...
Working on her new PictureIt books.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good Stuff

We were walking through the Field Museum yesterday and every other exhibit heralded a remark from one of the boys on something they'd just read in Story of the World. "I just read about that!"

Justin had to stop walking near the jade exhibiti to explain to me the differences between the dynasties of China and how long each one was, etc... It took him over 10 minutes! I nearly cried.

When Evan finally got to see the Lions of Tsavo and explained to me why they were maneless, I smiled with pride.

We spent over 5 hours at the Field Museum and never even got to do my favorite sections on the Americas and Native Americans. THAT'S how long it takes for my kids to read every plaque, investigate every diorama, discuss every cool exhibit, and watch every interactive movie. I told the kids we'd have to go back again soon so that we could go through those sections. Justin remarked,

"Really? But I practically have the entire museum memorized!"

HA. If that truly were the case, I'd be sending him to college today. But it is somewhat true that he knows much of the museum's information. And THAT? That is why I love homeschooling. Having the chance to become familiar with the educational information at top-notch museum sounds like a pretty damn good way to learn, don't you think?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chicago Free Days!

One of the BEST parts of homeschooling are the free days at museums!! We went to the Museum of Science and Industry yesterday (it was free all week) and had a BLAST. Hardly anyone there, and we used the parking lot off of the Space Center which has hourly parking so we saved a ton on parking $. The kids loved the Coal Mine exhibit which we hadn't been to before. I forgot how neat it was! And they never tire of the Idea Factory for children.

The new Weather exhibit was also really cool. Justin especially enjoyed the interactive choice stations where he had to put out forest fires and create avalanches and such. Corinne just loved all of the buttons and knobs that made stuff react. DON'T miss the light box room!! We spent a good 10 minutes in that tiny booth listening to the speaker and watching the world change around us with the absence of certain lights.

The best thing for me at Science and Industry is that there aren't a whole lot of extra charges once you enter. Other museums charge an arm and a leg for all of their shows and such which are what make the museums interesting to begin with! It's frustrating with 3 kids to see everything we can't do when there are additional charges of 5 or 10 bucks a person just to see a movie...

ANYWAY. Hope you can take advantage of some of the empty spaces at the museums this September. It really is the best time to go!!

Free Days in September 2010:

Museum of Science and Industry:
September 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28

Adler Planetarium:
September 13-17, 21 & 28

Field Museum:
September 15, 16, 21, 22 (We're thinking about going on the 16th!)

Shedd Aquarium:
(free general admission only)
September 13,14, 20, 21, 27,28

Friday, September 3, 2010

First week in Photos...

Grade 3 and eating bacon. He's apparently on the Atkins diet. Doesn't he look thrilled to be starting school?!?
Bedheaded preschooler who just couldn't figure out the "P" in sign language for this pic and opted to do her age instead...
6th grade! How did THAT happen?
Quietly reading a new Avatar the Airbender chapter book.
Exploring our new Math U See blocks. Looking forward to actually doing some MUS work soon!
No photo collection would be complete without one of my kids mock-stabbing someone/thing. Such sweet children...
Sigh. What is up with the silly faces?!??
Evan's been doing really well this week! I am so impressed with all that he's retained.
Little Miss Unschooler. She likes to work when no one asks her and wherever the mood may strike. It's nice that she can just do page after page of reading and math work, with very little instruction, and get it CORRECT!
Some new modeling clay led to an impromptu art break. 1 hour of art for Justin is like 3 months for other kids. I was AMAZED and was definitely not going to stop him so that he could start on his math! Go Art!
Evan's Blue Man Group. Only it's a solo act.
Justin's art is.... a ball of death! Fabulous.
Corinne's clay creations included hearts, food, people, a frog and a princess with long, green and yellow hair.

One of the best things she's been doing this summer has been beadwork. She makes necklaces, bracelets, "dream catchers" (I use that term loosely. Think outside of the box, here), etc. She's gotten really good at making complex patterns, threading the beads, and tying knots.
We now need more beads, though. We're running low!
Each of her babydolls got a teeny, tiny bracelet, too.
Oooh La La!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First day!

First day...

First official day today. We attended a science class last week and did the IMAX movie, too. That totally counts as education.

I'm making bacon and eggs with toast to celebrate (yay...) and then we'll be doing some review work together and then, hopefully, finishing before noon.

PLEASE let them go with the flow and not fight the process!

I'm off to cook and teach. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deep breaths...

Had a moment of chest-clutching anxiety this morning when I remembered that I am responsible for their education! Holy shit. That's like, deep.

Then I relaxed and recalled the line from the IMAX* Hubble movie we watched with hundreds of other kids yesterday: "...Billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars within them..."

Suddenly, wondering whether or not my kids are exactly matched with other kids their age wasn't so pertinent. The grand scheme of life and the universe can have that affect on you...

On that note, we are going to the zoo today to enjoy the empty exhibits (public school is in full swing in Illinois) and mid-seventies weather. I can guarantee that all 3 kids will learn something new, see something interesting, get exercise in the fresh air, bond with family, learn the value of a dollar, and endless other life experiences. We'll bring some papers I put aside for a lovely day such as today and maybe even cover a couple of scout requirements. It's a good day to be a homeschool family...

*Randall 15 IMAX theater in Batavia, IL ROCKS. Highly recommend it to all homeschooling families to contact them and get on their educator list for discounts to their brilliant movies. Email me if you need help finding their contact.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where we are beginning from... and our plans for the year.

I was starting to freak out a bit regarding the upcoming school yera. I mean, it was AUGUST and I didn't have ANYthing planned yet! So I sat my butt down yesterday and got the first week done for both boys. Yay! Corinne is SUPER easy (she's 4, for crying out loud) but I will have a plan book for her, too. I don't want her to feel left out so we'll have things like "reading time" and "math cubes" and such on a sheet for her to check off. She's just a happy little unschooler, anyway. She reads the digraph words I have on the fridge without any effort, picks up Dick and Jane and the Phonics books we have without any issues... It's quite fun to teach her, actually!

This year our curriculum and plans include:


Story of the World I, II, III. We will be using #2 for the IEW group effort through our homeschooling group. We'll be focusing on the Middle Ages for arts and activities. Hopefully a Renaissance Faire or two will be fun field trips!

Life of Fred I, II. Good word problems for math. Some of it is below him, some of it is above. We'll just have to fit it into what works for him. But I'm liking the layout of the chapters so far.

Painless American History. I haven't actually purchased this one yet. It's on my list! We loved Painless Life Science and Painless Algebra (which we are also going to be continuing this year, at a verrrry slow pace!)

He picked out some Grade 6 workbooks from Barnes and Noble that have decent worksheets for the filler time...

Rereading Painless Life Science (just to get a better grip on it)

I want to have him start off by studying the Revolutionary War because there is a reenactment at Cantigny Park in Winfield 2 weeks into our school year. I know he loves those!

A better focus on classic works of literature (which he may have issues with... Ugh.)

I want him to accomplish several merit badges for Boy Scouts and so many of them have great ideas that will work well with a school curriculum!

For Evan:

Focus on SPELLING and handwriting. Big time. His reading is finally closer to that of kids in his age but his spelling leaves a lot to be desired.

Math U See. I have several levels for both him and Corinne to browse through and figure out where each one falls.

He will be fishing in Canada with Pat and grandpa for the second week of school so we will be starting off with the leftover curriculum from second grade as a refresher. I will send a workbook or two that can be done in the car and traded in for a treat if completed before he gets home. He'll be doing some reading and writing on Canada the week before he leaves (I have the spelling list with things like "grandpa, walleye, adventure, etc.") to help him understand that all of life is educational!

I need more ideas for Evan... This year is more difficult for me for him and I'm not sure why...

For Corinne:

Math U See. We have all of the levels up to Delta. She has to fit into one of them!

Piles and piles of letter and number work.

I've made some of the magnetic cards that we are sticking onto the fridge for word recognition. Right now we have digraphs. Soon we'll do rhyming words and then the sight words that just don't fit into any category. I then plan on making a pocket board thingy to make sentences and stories out of. Should be fun!

We will be doing a lot of the same stuff we did last year. Lots of hands-on math, learning to read, tons of art projects and just enjoying preschool education.

For all of us:

I HAVE to get the ants for the ant farm. Geesh.

Field trips to Springfield (with Grandma!), Science and Industry, Field Museum, Renaissance Faire, Zoos, Cantigny Park, several war reenactments, Naper Settlement, etc.

I see a year of better cooperation between kids and teacher. Without Patrick sleeping during the school day, the stress level of getting things done by noon won't be there and the pressure of keeping them quiet will be GONE. Thank you God for the new job!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Poor little blog...

Poor little neglected homeschooling blog. I'm sorry. You just wanted a LITTLE bit of attention, didn't you? Well, I've been BUSY, damnit. Busy reorganizing the shelves and desks. Busy trying to find the Math U See programs for Evan and Corinne for less than an arm and a leg. Busy, busy, busy! And I don't need you giving me flack!

Sorry. That was uncalled for.

Here's what the schoolroom/office looks like after 2 days of cleaning:

And the black shelves are beautiful too. Everyone has their own shelves and curriculum all lined up and now no one is allowed to touch ANYTHING because I just want it to be organized and pretty for a few weeks, for crying out loud.


I managed to buy the Life of Fred for Justin and the manipulatives for Math U See for Evan and Corinne but am having a hard time finding their booklets for a cheap price. So I am spending a ridiculous amount of time searching for books on the internet and by the time I actually find the stuff I want, I'll be sick of it. Maybe I should look for curriculum I DON'T want? That could have a better result...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A list of love...

Loving: America, the Story of Us on the History Channel. Really well done with interesting graphics. All of the family has been watching it on our dvr this week!

Loving: planning for the homeschool geography tour. Each kid/family is working on a different country and we will host an open house for the families and neighbors to come see that homeschoolers really DO do school! Our country is Iceland. It's pretty interesting, even if they DO eat rotten shark meat... We're making a volcano and flag and translating phrases and bringing in a sweet treat and whales and fish (toys!) to hang up around us and, and... Man. I'm goofy excited about it!

Loving: Did you know that they now have other subjects on their site?!? Evan has been earning thousands of grains of rice while he practices his multiplication problems and grammar. Justin did some vocab work, too. He started at level 1 and grudgingly got several levels up. Evan is loving the idea that he is feeding someone with multiplication. "FINALLY! Finally there is a REASON for math, Mommy!"

Loving: getting to shop for next year's curriculum. I'm all freaky happy about it, too. My kids aren't quite as thrilled....

Loving: The Borders Summer Reading Double Dog Dare. Kids under 12 can read 10 books by August 26 and bring the form in for a free book (from their list). I think it's valid anywhere, but double check (ha!) the fine print.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

T minus 6 weeks

I am absolutely giddy that school is over in 6 weeks! Like, crazy happy. Endless days with no waiting for friends to get home and play. Long, hot, exhausting but lazy days that stretch into breezy nights spent watching children dashing between the lightning bugs, hoping their parents won't notice the late hour...

Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Food with Justin

Just a note to remind myself about the fun afternoon I had with Justin. He really loves to cook and prepare food (even though he won't eat it) and I absolutely LOVE the churrasco with green chimchurri sauce we made together for our Brazilian day with h.s. club! I wonder what we did incorrectly with the Brazilian cheese bread, though! The dough was very thin and didn't work well using their instructions, so I put the second half of the dough into mini muffin tins and they seemed to hold together better...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A bit of a ramble,..

When people say "the first year is the hardest! Don't judge homeschooling by the first year!" They mean it. It's TRUE. My kids and I have gone through so many changes this first year, that it's difficult to recognize my first posts on this blog. The challenges are different, the schedule is different, EVERYthing is different!

I think the biggest change this year happened for ME; within ME. My views on not only school and education but the government, the world, religion, my values... EVERYTHING. Everything has been affected by homeschooling. My opinions on what is "important" in life have become very vague. If my children never learn high math but are excellent in literature, what is the big deal? If my scientific child excels in his favorite subject but never reads "the classics", how will that affect his ability to have a happy, healthy life? Guess what? I was in "AP" (Advanced Placement) and Honors English throughout my high school career and I never once covered To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, or 1984! AND I SURVIVED.

One of the best differences though, is how I view what my children are learning. I don't give Evan or Corinne "tests". They just do work or projects and as they learn it, we move along to the next topic. I'll touch back on something again to see if it was retained and, if not, we just cover it again. No big deal. No pressure. They are both the smartest kids in their classes and it SHOWS in their confidence. Evan no longer compares himself to other second graders and thinks that he isn't very intelligent. It broke my heart to hear him say that, over and over, when he was in first grade! He IS smart! INCREDIBLY smart! He learns at his own pace and needs extra help on some topics, but his work is improving incredibly this year. I am extremely proud of his progress. And Corinne continues to amaze me with her eagerness to do schoolwork. Knowing that she would only technically be eligible for preschool this coming fall causes me to wonder at where she would be at, were we to send her off. She is definitely a self-learner and very creative. Some of the artwork and language skills that she manages to piece together, all on her own, absolutely astound me.

With Justin, his work is a bit more complex, so we do some unit work and actual tests. For example, during his Life Science studies, we will cover a chapter, doing the mini-quizzes at the end of each section. I will then make up a study guide for him, covering the key points throughout the unit. We work on that study guide until he and I are both satisfied that the material is stuck within his brain. And then he takes the test. If he gets 93% or higher, he gets $1.50 for his savings. (since we can't do awards for report cards, like lots of parents do). If he doesn't pass the test with an A (hasn't happened yet), he and I will cover the material again until it sticks. (I don't know if he'll still be eligible for the full $1.50 at that point, seeing as how it's never come to that!) Either way, I want him to work on something until he GETS it. Not until a teacher deems enough time has passed and he SHOULD have it. Yes, I know that this is not how "the real world" works. I know that in college or a career, he will have to move at everyone else's pace and retain information in that manner. But guess what? This isn't the "real world" and he doesn't have a career, yet. He is in 5th grade and is one of the lucky few kids that gets to receive all A's for his schoolwork, at his own pace! Sometimes, he breezes through units. Sometimes, life gets in the way and I delay a test for a little while. My point is that I KNOW that he knows the information we learned. I know that it isn't just rote memorization that will be lost once the test is over.

Hmmm. This was a bit of a tangent and I have 3 kids that are hungry... I suppose that I could go back and edit, but honestly, I am beat. The weather may have been rainy today, but we were still incredibly busy. I don't think we were home for more than an hour, yesterday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not a drop of Irish in 'em...

You can't really see, but that red squiggle is a snake that says "No Snakes!" on it and there are several leprechaun traps in the middle of the poster (above the leprechaun's head), just in case you wanted to know. We go all out for St. Paddy's day here. 3 out of 4 of us are even wearing green. Gooooo Ireland!


Seriously, St. Patrick's Day IS a big deal in Northern Illinois, so we did do some stuff leading up to today. Including, but not limited to: several books on St. Patrick's day and Irish legends, listening to Irish music to prove to Justin that there IS more to it than bagpipes and sad songs of war, and... well. That's about it. The poster, too, I guess. Hmm.

Considering we aren't even remotely Irish, I think that's pretty damn good. Oh! Wait! We contemplated making green pistachio pudding, but changed our minds and actually made butterscotch because, well. Butterscotch is tastier. But still. The thought was there.

Now I just need to get them interested in Black 47 (I might actually swoon a bit if I were to meet them. And I am not a swooner) and my Master Plan for complete control over my children will be fully engaged....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring 2010

Apparently, I can't post on this site unless the majority of it centers around photos. So be it. At least it's recorded, right?
BUSTED. He was supposed to be doing his math. He was farting around on the computer. It was NOT educational, despite his attempts to persuade me into believing otherwise.

Best benefit of homeschooling? Playing football with Daddy at 1:00 on a Thursday...

Pippi Longstocking's got nothin on my baby...
It's official; Spring is HERE! Fact proven by Evan's discovery of many, many worms under his basketball hoop. Worms are his second favorite creature. Second only to ants, which we are anxiously awaiting the return of...
He named them all. I believe this one was Squirmy. Or Frank. Pronounced with a British accent. Evan's had a fascination lately of speaking with a British accent. We've been reading all sorts of books on worms now. Did you know that some variations get to be 65 feet long? Yes, I have been dry-heaving a bit over the information overload, too...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Like a lamb...

A trip to Cantigny Park. I don't know why I forget about this fabulous place so often. I made sure to update my calendar with all of the new outings that are coming up. Everything from symphonies and Big Band concerts on the lawn ($5 a car!) to Lego train shows ($5 a car!) to Revolutionary and Civil War reenactments (I'll let you guess how much those cost... ) Between the First Division museum that my children never fail to be fascinated by, the endless gardens (a few more weeks and we can go to see the tulips and daffodils!) and the McCormick mansion (we missed that this time, but will go back again soon because, again, IT'S ONLY $5 TO ENTER).

Here are a few shots of the tank park outside the First Division Museum. I really appreciate the way that my children respond to my acknowledgments that yes, the guns and big ships and tanks are very cool but that each man who enters a war is someone's son, brother, father, husband and friend. Each man that never comes home is a loss so great that it can't be put into words. I want them to know that war isn't something we should ever forget, but it shouldn't be glorified or made into something exciting and fun. Taking them to museums and reenactments where they can get a tiny glimpse into the realities of war is important. Knowing that their Papa fought in Vietnam but can't talk about it confuses them. Allowing them to walk through the man-made jungle in the First Division Museum and then saying "Now imagine people are shooting at you. Imagine that you don't know where that enemy is. Imagine it is hot and you're hungry and scared. Now look to your right..." and there is a manikin, hidden in the bushes.

It opens up lines of conversation, that's for sure.

ANYway. Pictures. Here ya go.
Justin's favorite tank. Not sure why, but I'm sure he'd be willing to explain the details on it that are so interesting. He knew 90% of the tanks there, including information that wasn't on the placards.
The Mountain Climber award goes to.... Evan! He surpassed even his monkey sister. Up and down, in the slushy snow (42 Farenheit! Hellooooo spring!), he fought battles and fended off the enemies while his siblings clambered after him.
Yep. I was there. Hello, Me.
No idea how they got on THAT one...
Everyone finally had their own stick to shoot me with. Sweet kids.
Doing his math in a laundry basket...

Why yes. That IS Boba Fett on a blue Jell-O box. But what is it that Iron Man is leaning against?
Ah. Of course. A free sample from Kotex. Naturally.
My crafty moment of the month: Her expensive tights from Gymboree that I splurged on (when on sale) for Christmas 2008. The dress still fits (I bought it BIG) but the tights kept falling off her tush. So I cut off the feet and sewed them up. Then I cut off the tush, saved the elastic material and stitched it into the new seam by the thigh. Voila! Instant, homemade "Babylegs".
Our venture into origami resulted in a pig, a bat and a cat. I think we're going to make the frog that I used to make when I was little. It actually jumps! We used to do frog jumping races with dozens of origami frogs... Good memories.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recent stuff

"I want to bake lots of stuff, Mommy." says Justin. Ok, kiddo. Here's the pretzels we made. YUM-MEEE. We've also gotten REALLY adept at making homemade pizza and working on the homemade bread ideas...
Poor little homeschooled girl... Allowed to dress herself any which way she likes and to play in buckets of water to see which animals float... Also, the Barbies are welcome to visit in the water but must be naked or else Mommy gets mad. Ever try to dry a Barbie wedding gown? It's not a pretty picture...
Every day can be pajama day, if you want it to. Which we do on Monday, Thursday and Friday as we have nothing pressing on any of those days. Also, it's much easier to do your physical fitness in comfy pj pants than jeans...
Corinne is liking her new math games from the library book I borrowed. Mostly just reminders about using dice, bundles of ten and matching different types of numbers together. I think I'll make another set of cards with Roman numerals on them, too...

We are soooo glad that February is almost over. With March comes the possibilities of outings and field trips. Spring break is right around the corner and I know that we all need a week off of the handwritten stuff. Evan has been working harder with his multiplication tables and spelling, thanks to some short books from the library that group certain types of words together. He is basically learning new words each week without having the stress of "Spelling Tests". Justin alternately has fabulous days and horrendous days. There doesn't seem to be much of an in-between for him. Though he DID do wonderfully on his science test today! After that, though, the day went downhill and FAST. I think he was just eager to move onto his Birthday stuff, though.

Tomorrow will find us at the library getting the second book in The Hunger Games and then at our homeschooling group meet-up. It's been a while since everyone's been healthy enough to get together and we really miss the other families! We're doing a study on China which is an interest of Justin's. I think we'll also bring Evan's National Geographic map of China that has been taped and re-taped...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


And so the cycle of ups and downs continues. Today's ups:

~ made bundles of ten popsicle sticks for Corinne and encouraged Evan to be the teacher. She did really well and figured out the whole "2 bundles = 20 sticks" idea and it helped to reinforce Evan's math skills without making him feel like he was doing "babyish" work.

~ Justin studied for his 3rd chapter test out of his Life Science book. He continues to do well with the break-downs and seems to be retaining the information from week to week. I continue to like the layout of this book and hope that I can figure out a way to get him to like the Algebra one better.

~ I made several math skills sheets for Corinne for hands-on activities. I think I will encourage Evan to continue to be her helper or "leader" so that he can feel more confident in some of our school activities. Most of the time he feels defeated, even though the work I give him is completely within his skill level and abilities. It's frustrating for us both...


~ Ugh. PMS for Mommy means less than adequate patience for Evan's daily brick wall of resistance to all things school-related.

~ A cousin's husband unexpectedly passed away last night and this leaves me feeling reminded at just how short life is. I then begin to wonder at the purpose of education and all of the miniscule details that we think are necessary for life. That frame of mind is not conducive to a fabulous teacher.

~ I took my wedding ring off today for the first time in AGES. Nothing's wrong! I am just worried that the gold is way too worn around the diamonds (I already had one of its teeny ones in a baggie) and I cannot afford to replace the diamonds. So, it's in a hiding spot until we have money (HAHAHAHAHA) to fix it.

~ The pantries are empty and my pockets are, too. Waiting for Friday and payday...

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Very, very busy.

Trying to crush the darkness of February. Trying to create literary geniuses. Trying to cook food that is moderately healthy. Trying to defrost myself over the heating vent.

Succeeding and failing in all of the above. Will again post soon. Still teaching. Still alive. Still hanging in there...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ghetto Spelling

"Mommy, how do you spell 'eyeballs'??" Evan asked me as he filled in the MadLibs "plural noun" line.

"Break it down, hon. How do you spell 'eye'?"

"E. Y. E. ??"

"Yep. Now how do you spell 'balls'?"

(from the office, before Evan can respond, Patrick exhibits reason number 1,784 why he is NOT the teaching parent...)

"N.U.T.S. !"

Nothing but class over here, folks. Straight up, hardcore, CLASS.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kinda getting the hang of this...

The lessons for Justin are planned for the next 2 weeks (He does well with a firm plan of what is expected of him every day and likes to get most of it done as soon as he wakes up). He is LOOOOVING his Painless Life Science and will be starting the Painless Algebra book next week.

Evan's stuff for the next week is loosely inserted into a folder (he does better with a less rigid schedule). He is improving on reading due largely in part to his love for the Jigsaw Jones book series. His imagination never fails to astound me and his new love for all things athletic is pretty cool, too. I mean, how many 7 year olds do you know that can do over 100 sit-ups?

Corinne's desk was freshly cleaned off and I noticed just how much writing and math work she has been doing without my knowledge. She is well past the pre-school stuff and almost past the kindergarten curriculum! I am amazed at just how quickly she is absorbing the concepts behind the reading/writing process and the mathematics that she comprehends is also something to make me shake my head in wonderment. Is she really only 4 years old? Go Baby Girl!

We have Corinne's ballet class tomorrow morning, so I have the boys' schoolwork all packed up and sitting beside the front door so that they can do some of their work while she tiptoes around in her ballet slippers. (they each have a clipboard and clicker pencils. Ultimate in Coolness, apparently). The boys may grumble about having to go to ballet class, but they no longer feel as though being homeschooled isn't the same as being "schooled." It's nice to watch them help each other out and BE with each other on a daily basis. It's just nice to be with my kids every day and not feel rushed on our time together...

I kinda sorta almost feel like I have a handle on this homeschooling gig...

Which, of course, means that very soon, something will fall from the sky and disrupt all of my diabolical plans. Until that day, I plan on appreciating this moment of organized chaos in our school routine...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Should I be worried?

So, after our trip to the Museum of Science and Industry last week, Evan's mind is still filled with information on cloning, DNA and genetics. His brilliant idea tonight was as follows:

"Mommy! I had this great idea! You could take a human cell and put animal DNA into it and make a mixture of the two! Wouldn't that be cool? You could mix black bears, wolves (which I am, Mommy) vampire bats, and cheetahs! And then the animal-humans would attack the scientists and EIGHTY scientists would be killed and the animal-humans would escape!"

Ummm... Should I be worried? And also, doesn't this sound familiar?

Maybe I'm raising the next H.G. Wells?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A cozy, happy morning...

It's 10:52 am. Most of the schools near us are closed today or will be closed tomorrow. You know, a few (or 12) inches of snow and they get all wimpy about opening their doors. ;) My kids have been doing their work since they got up and are taking a late breakfast break of bacon and eggs and a kid tv show. This break follows Evan's own P.E. regiment (I do believe he can do over 100 sit ups and 50 push ups. HE'S SEVEN.), Justin's cookie baking break, several chapters of Jigsaw Jones read by Evan on the couch (in our jammies) and 15 minutes of absolute bliss where I stood by the stove frying bacon, listening to Justin explain a worksheet to Evan while Corinne colored paper doll clothing. All of this happened before 11 am and includes the two youngest kids following me into the snow drifts at 8 am to "help" clear the fluff off of the driveway before it piles up to my waist. And even though the house is quite messy and the laundry is beginning to form legs of its own and I probably won't get a shower in before the baby that I watch in the afternoons comes over, I am quite happy in my cocoon...

Today? Today is a good day.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Off and running!

Justin did half of Monday's work tonight before bed so that he could have more free time tomorrow.

Love it. LOVE IT.

I am really excited about a new book I picked up at a Borders that was going out of business. It's called Painless Life Science and seems to be written in such a way that Justin can cover a chapter a week and we can do a review and/or test at the end of the week to see how much he retains. It was 40% off (score!) and looks to have enough chapters for the rest of the year's curriculum. Plus, I was able to read the first few chapters and understand it without "knowing" everything. To me, that means that Justin will be adequately challenged without being overwhelmed. As I looked for a link for it, I saw that the author has several other books in the series. I am DEFINITELY going to keep it in mind when I look for new curriculum for the kids! I'll let you know how it works out!