Pictures by Ani

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Ani has a really good eye for taking unusual pictures. Sometimes she adds quotes to her pictures. All of these are pictures she took and edited using her iPhone. The quotes by President Monson and Elder Hales are from the October 2014 General Conference. The quote by President Uchtdorf (quoting Alma) is from the April 2014 conference. She made that picture at my request. I printed and laminated it to make a handout to give to my Beehives.

Pictures by Ani

Pictures by Ani

Pictures by Ani

Pictures by Ani

Pictures by Ani

Pictures by Ani

(Click on the image to see the full-size version. Feel free to download Ani’s pictures and share them!)

First Stories

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Last night Fritz couldn’t sleep so he asked if it would be okay if he wrote some stories. He even illustrated his stories. Here’s what he came up with (spellings and capitalizations are his):

The bear and ghoust
One day a frendly bear came. It met a ghost. It said im hungrey. The bear kicked the ghost over and over untell the bear lost its snack and the goust ate it.

[Note: He said he wrote "over and over" because he didn't know how to spell "repeatedly."]

The hungrey hippo
A hungrey hippo said im hungrey, feed me. He ate five houses and he was still hungrey. he ate the world and said im full.

[Note: This was inspired by Shel Siverstein's Hungry Mungry.]

The lost werewolf
A werewolf lost its pack and then day came and became human. After day the werewolf found its pack.

A werewolf in love
A werewolf loved a perosan named Stiles. He loved the werewolf. They made a poster of each other. Siles wished to be together. Then a twister came. And then the werewolf went to Stiles and the werewolf bit Stiles. They were both werewolfs.

[Note: Ani gave Fritz the prompt for this one (write a story about a werewolf who is in love with a human named Stiles). It is apparently a fanfic of Teen Wolf - which Fritz has never seen. He wrote "twister" because he did not know how to spell "tornado." He's pretty good with substituting words or phrases when he doesn't know how to spell what he originally wanted to use.]

What We’ve Been Up To

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We’ve completed 7 weeks of this school year. Only two more and the first quarter will be done. Time is flying, but that’s mostly because we’ve been having lots of fun!

Four weeks ago we participated in our second taekwondo tournament. We were there pretty much all day this time. Adrian did an extreme weapons form using nunchucks to the Mario theme song. Because of his age, he doesn’t get actually scored yet, but instead got 12 thumbs up.
What We've Been Up To

Fritz did an extreme weapons form using kamas to a Minecraft parody song. He also competed in sparring. He didn’t place in either category (but he did win his first bout of sparring!). His group/ring was huge and took an insanely long amount of time (they started over an hour before Cameron’s and finished about the same time as Cameron’s) and was very disorganized which was pretty disappointing and frustrating. Hopefully the next tournament in March will be better.
What We've Been Up To

Cameron competed in four events. He didn’t place in traditional form, got first in traditional weapons and sparring, and second in extreme weapons (kamas). He was also on the demo team for our school. They came in fourth.
What We've Been Up To

Jamie, Ani, and I competed at the same time and Cameron was keeping track of the little guys so no pictures of us. Jamie got first in extreme weapons (sword) and second in sparring. Ani got first in extreme weapons (kamas). I got first in extreme weapons (jahong bong to the Doctor Who theme song) and second in traditional form.

We do a lot of taekwondo. Someone in the family is usually there 5, sometimes 6, days a week, plus we practice at home. As they say, the family that kicks together sticks together!
What We've Been Up To

Ani and Cameron participated in a special class with Seth Austin three weeks ago. He’s done martial arts dancing back-up for various artists on tour, been in Sideswipe (all martial arts act in Vegas), and does stunt man work (including on Agents of SHIELD), among other things. They were both so sore afterwards. They kicked a lot and worked on tumbling, too.
What We've Been Up To

What We've Been Up To

Both Ani and Cameron are also training to one day be junior instructors.
What We've Been Up To

What We've Been Up To

Not to be outdone by Cameron, I also did some kicks down by the Alamo.
What We've Been Up To

My parents came to visit for 3 weeks. It was so great to see them. Adrian totally gave them a guilt trip when it was time for them to leave. He’s really looking forward to his “Honey” (what he calls my mom) being here permanently.
What We've Been Up To

Mommie, Daddy, Jamie, and I went to see Bill Cosby. He talked for two hours straight and was just so funny the whole time. Truly awesome!
What We've Been Up To

On Cameron’s birthday, I convinced him to go to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. I’ve always wanted to go to one and can never convince my family to go with me. I said it was only fair since 13 years before I pushed him out of my body with no drugs and he hurt.
What We've Been Up To

Last Saturday between Conference sessions we got some temporary pink dye and made Ani’s hair nice and colorful.
What We've Been Up To

Mommie and I ended up putting streaks in our hair, too. Interestingly, the pink turned purple in Mommie’s hair!
What We've Been Up To

And, of course, we’ve been doing school. We even mostly kept up with our schedule while my parents were here.
What We've Been Up To

What We've Been Up To

What We've Been Up To

Science (REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry) has been lots of fun. We observed how things do or do not dissolve in water.
What We've Been Up To

I put things (like peppermint essential oil and cinnamon) in balloons and the kids smelled them to see if molecules can escape through the balloon and be smelled.
What We've Been Up To

We made atom models of the first ten elements on the periodic table. The instructions said to use marshmallows, but we used playdough instead. The white are neutrons, the red are protons, and the yellow are electrons.
What We've Been Up To

And, one day, a two-headed monster attended our school.
What We've Been Up To

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.