The first three weeks

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At first I thought maybe it was a honeymoon period. But it’s lasted through three week (and a day), so I’m thinking this will just keep up. Homeschooling is going so amazingly smoothly. The things we are using are working great. The kids are cooperating beautifully. We’re loving it!

Ani works on her own (except most of chemistry). She’s enjoying going through the lesson plans she made. I am most impressed by how well (and easily) she is teaching herself ASL. Psychology is a bit overwhelming to her, but she is determined to make sense of it. Life of Fred Geometry ended up being a bit confusing so I ordered her Art of Problem Solving Geometry. Much better. Except she needs a compass and we don’t have one.

Cameron and Fritz are both so easy. They get right to work and keep at it, working steadily, until they are finished. Adrian is a different story, but I figure he’s only 6 and in some countries that means he wouldn’t even be in formal school yet. He reads better than he lets on and he’s memorized one poem and the definition of a noun. Nothing I’ve given him in math has even remotely challenged him yet. Who knows what he is getting out of stuff they do together. Sometimes he’s really into it, sometimes not at all.

I am loving the Peace Hill Press stuff we are using. Adrian is doing First Language Lessons 1. I remember some of the lessons and poems when I did them with Ani back when there was only one volume of FLL. Fritz is doing First Language Lessons 3 (day after tomorrow he starts learning diagramming!) and Writing With Ease 2. Both are perfect for him. Cameron is doing Writing With Style 1. I really went back and forth on that one because of his orthographic processing disorder, but I’m so glad I decided to go with it. He hates it (because it’s reading and writing), but he’s learning from it and it is working well for him.

I absolutely love Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra and Beast Academy 3. Once we figured out Pre-Algebra was not going to be self-teaching, but instead I needed to use it to teach the information to Cameron, it’s been pretty smooth sailing. I love the try-teach/learn-practice method. Beast Academy has been fun for Fritz so far. He does Beast Academy Monday through Thursday and a Life of Fred chapter on Fridays.

History Odyssey (Early Modern 1) is working well for all three boys. People told me it would be too easy and boring for Cameron, but it hasn’t really turned out to be that way. I do give him an extra assignment once a week and don’t make him do coloring pages. Fritz has almost memorized the rulers of England from Elizabeth I to Charles II. He’s just having trouble remembering Richard Cromwell’s first name (he remembers that it’s Oliver Cromwell’s son).

REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry is going well, too. It’s too easy for Ani, of course. She is doing Life of Fred Chemistry as well. And Ani and Cameron have a huge chemistry kit they use once a week. After doing it with me one day, we decided it would be best if Jamie did it with them. He understands chemistry much better than I do and so he can explain things better than “it worked because it just does.”

We like our other stuff, too. We’re using Discover the Latter-day Prophets and Hands-on Church History from Discover the Scripture for religion. Art and Music are from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We really did a great job picking curricula this year.

Now, if the next 33 weeks goes as well as the last three, I do think we’ll have had the best year of homeschooling ever!

Only homeschool moms get it

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Back in January we made the decision to pull the little guys out of school very quickly. We were so busy with school and taekwondo four days a a week for various combinations of people. Something had to give. We decided that something would be public school.

Seriously, homeschooling is so much less stressful and easier than public school. Every current or former homeschool mom I’ve told this to who has or had kids in public school totally get it.

For a while we only did taekwondo twice a week. We’re back to 4 days a week (two of those twice a day) and may have some combination of people doing up to 6 days a week soon, but it’s not stressful at all. Homeschooling makes life so flexible. It’s a wonderful thing.

School Takes a Really Long Time

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And I don’t mean school at home. I mean school at a brick and mortar school.

Every morning at 7:23 I hear the middle school bus pull up to the neighborhood stop. At the same time, my middle schooler is still in bed sleeping.

Every afternoon at 3:51 I hear the middle school bus pull up to the neighborhood stop again. My kids are all done with school at least two hours by then, even on days we go to taekwondo.

It really drives home just how long the kids were out of the house every day last year. A couple days ago, when the bus pulled up and Cameron realized he would just be getting home, he said, “I LOVE homeschooling!” He’s still not a fan of actually doing schoolwork, but he’s very happy with how much he can learn in a much shorter time.

So it turns out I am extremely competitive

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This summer our ward did an indexing challenge, youth vs. adults to see which group could get more points. In July I reported my points for the first time and had 11,000. The challenge ended yesterday. My final number? 100,160. Yeah. I’m insane.

In my defense, I am really, really fast at it (data entry and scanning for pertinent information are easy for me) so it really didn’t take as much time as you might think. I put indexing on my to do list and did 30-60 minutes every day.

That is until I got called to be the Beehive Adviser two weeks ago.

See, adult youth leaders’ points get counted with the youth’s points. I had gotten to the point where I was saying that my numbers just shouldn’t count because I had way more than anyone else in the ward. The day I was called into Young Women, I had 42,463 points. I decided it would be fair to leave those points with the adults and anything I got after that would apply to the youth totals.

Suddenly my older two, who had been telling me to stop indexing, were telling me to index as much as I possibly could. They even volunteered to do things around the house to give me more time to index. I said I’d try to beat myself.

And beat myself I did. And then some. It became a game, a competition with myself, for me. How long until I doubled my points after being called? How many more could I get? How many could I get in one day? Yesterday I was up to just under 95,000 points before church. I talked to the bishop and said I thought I could get to 100,000 if I didn’t have to report my final numbers until the end of the day. I like round numbers and 100,000 is such a nice one. He thought that sounded like a great idea.

About 9pm last night it happened. I finished a batch and the number of points was over that 100,000 mark. I jumped up and did a little happy dance. Everyone knew exactly why and celebrated with me. The youth get to claim 57,697 of my points, about 15,000 more than the adults get. I think this is quite fair since there are way more adults in the ward than there are youth. Never let it be said that I don’t love the youth of our ward!

Indexing is really fun, but I think I’ve earned a break for a bit. I figure a batch or two a day would be great. For now, it’s time to catch back up on laundry!

NOT Back to School!

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When Ani decided to be homeschooled again, one of the first things she said was she’d get to have a not back to school day again on the first day of school for the local kids. That’s been our tradition since she started homeschooling at 4. It was really sad last year to actually send them to school on that day and not do something super fun.

NOT Back to School!

So this year we didn’t just do one not back to school day, we did two! We got a great deal for one night and two days at Schlitterbahn. I guess we made up for last year.

NOT Back to School!

We all really liked the torrent river. They take the lazy river idea and make it crazy. The weird thing is a day later we were all kind of feeling like we were being tossed around by the waves and a little seasick.

NOT Back to School!

Most of the time Cameron was off on his own riding the slides or going around and around and around in torrent river.

NOT Back to School!

Adrian brought his froggy along. He won’t swim without it yet.

NOT Back to School!

Fritz got a little sunburned, but he sure did love being there. At the beginning of summer he wouldn’t put his face in the water. Five weeks of swim lessons later and the boy is part fish!

NOT Back to School!

Jamie got more than a little sunburned. He was pretty much a lobster by the end of the second day. I reapplied sunscreen often because after two sunburns this year (I swear the Texas sun is a different sun!) I was determined not to get another one. Jamie wasn’t so diligent.

NOT Back to School!

My friend’s family (also homeschoolers) met us there and Ani spent her time with my friend’s 16 year old daughter. They had such a great time together. I think Ani was swooning over this red velvet funnel cake.

NOT Back to School!

A rarely seen picture of me. I’m not usually a fan of swimming, but a mini vacation with a night at the resort and two 6+ hour days at Schlitterbahn to end the summer/start the school year was totally awesome and fun. We just may have to do it again next year!

NOT Back to School!

Scripture Mastery Clothesline

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Every year in seminary, there are 25 scripture mastery verses the kids are encouraged to memorize. This year, the boys are going to try to memorize those scriptures along with their older sister. I decided we needed a way to keep track of who has memorized what and came up with our scripture mastery clothesline now hanging on the dining room (aka place where all the school stuff is) wall.

Scripture Mastery Clothesline

I googled and found an outline of a t-shirt. Then I opened it in PhotoShop Elements and added a list of the kids names and added squares next to their names check off when they have the passage memorized. I made 25 t-shirts, each with a different scripture mastery verse written at the top.

Scripture Mastery Clothesline

I printed them out, cut them out, and used little alligator clips to attach the t-shirts to string like they are hanging on a clothesline.