Saturday, June 14, 2014

how i homeschool

micaela has a link-up that i can not resist.
i enjoy reading how other people school and of course i like to write about me.

how long have i been homeschooling?
i've homeschooled a total of 4 years, but not all together.
we started off in a catholic school- homeschooled for 3 years - a different catholic school - public school - and this past year we started schoolin' the boys at home again.
i like to think all this switching around has made my boys very flexible.  
we used to take it one year at a time.
however, this time we decided i will homeschool the rest of my life or at least the next 18 years.
but, we are the parents and that could change, but probably not.

what our mornings sometimes look like.

how many kids are in my family?
we have 5 boys and one due in november.
this coming year i will have boys in 9th, 8th, 6th and 4th.  i homeschool all of them.
don't forget the 2 year old to keep me busy.

our state laws...
i think they are very relaxed.
i send a form in saying what i plan to do with each child and their grade.
easy peasy!
i've been told those are just filed away.  i've never heard of anything being done with them.
children in grades 3-8 are required to take the iowa test each spring.  it only takes one morning.  we do have to take it at a state approved site.  luckily for us, we have a mother in our homeschool group who is 'state approved' to give the test.  the boys just spend the morning taking a test with all their friends.  they actually enjoy it.  my boys tell me it is much easier than the tests given in the public schools (which are a week long).
nothing seems to be done with the tests.
true story:
the first year one of my boys took the test, he did not do the english part.  like, it was all blank.  he just wasn't sure when to start, so he never did.  he scored in the zero percentile of that section. i was never contacted about his blank section.  it makes me wonder if the state even looks at the tests.

my homeschool philosophy or mission statement:
how about my goals instead?
our goal for our boys (and us) is for them to know, love and serve God in this world.  straight out of the baltimore catechism.
the way we see it, if we do those things, God will take care of the rest.  and yes, it is so hard to teach your children those things when you are not very good at it yourself.
i also want them to have a strong foundation in math, know how to write well and know how to learn.

my style:
i used to try to fit myself into one of those boxes, but not anymore.  i'm just me teaching my boys.

do i follow a set curriculum?
yes!  sort of!  only when it works.
i use the mother of divine grace syllabuses.  i really do like them.  we are not enrolled in the school.
i am good at switching things up when it gets boring or is not working.
for example, i have a slow reader.  he never reads all the books for history.  that would be way too much for him.
for math we use saxon.  i like it, but it is a lot of problems.  we never do a whole lesson unless we need the practice.
i have used math-u-see in the past.  i liked it too, but i was tired of all the little blocks and the videos.
this year i am going to use write shop 1 with my 2 oldest boys.  that is not on the MODG syllabus.  i don't have the confidence to teach my boys to write on my own.
oh, and i am using learning language arts through literature for my 4th and 6th grader.  it is what i used with my oldest boys.  emma serl's language lessons are good (what MODG recommends), but boring to us.
so, does that count as using a set curriculum?

a box fort:  all of these boxes are connected with boy sized tunnels running through them.

my best homeschool moments:
when my boys are learning.  that does not mean just book knowledge either.  last week husband spent some time teaching them how to tie knots.  one boy sat down with a book to teach himself more knots.  i like how he was teaching himself.  that will be useful in college.

my not-so-good moments:
first, when i loose my temper.  it could be because i can't explain something in a way they can understand or because they are being lazy.  i have gotten better at closing the book and walking away until later.
i think our relationship and showing love to each other is more important than any school subject.
second, when i over schedule us.  i can't teach and they can't learn if we are exhausted or we are not at home.

how do i stay on track?
this is not that hard for me.
i have lists (surprise!) and i know exactly what we need to do.  the MODG syllabus helps too.
last year we schooled 3 weeks on and 1 week off for most of the year.  the write shop lessons are set up in 2 week chunks, so this year we will go 4 weeks on and 1 week off.  the off weeks give us time to catch up if we got behind.  this is also when i have time to do projects for myself.

how do i keep the 2 year old busy?
i try to have a couple things (easy!) for him to do each week.  maybe play doh, paint the fence with water or sidewalk chalk.  he does have a school tub with his coloring books and markers.  he takes that very serious for maybe 10 minutes.  i read a couple of stories to him every morning so that he does get my undivided attention.  sometimes he takes his bath in the morning.  that could last for an hour.  i just teach from the bathroom floor.  but my real secret is that i never let the schoolin' boys take a break at the same time.  when they break, they automatically go to him since everyone else is busy.
there have been days that the boys are on their own until he goes down for a nap.  sometimes he needs me and i just go with it - this is where that off week is so handy!
however, i have never ever homeschooled with a newborn.  i know lots of mommas have done it, so i know i can.  but, the unknown...

homeschool advice i would give:
ask lots and lots of questions and then do what you think is best for your kid.  God gave them to you and He will show you what to do.  if what you are doing isn't working you can change it.
i would also say don't over schedule yourself.  give your kid time to be a kid.  but also make sure you give yourself time.  you have to refuel.

Friday, June 6, 2014


this is my favorite time of day right now:
just look at my connor!
we all lay down and read.
it is so quiet for like a whole solid hour!

bo christian takes his 3 hour nap.
the little black fan drowns out all the noise for him.

this forces me to lay down and just read.  i enjoy that.
i just started the lions of little rock.
then after a bit i doze off.

hot summer afternoons can be the best.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

may excursions

husband had been wanting a 4 wheel drive truck that would seat all his boys.
after going on an exhausting 3 day excursion to get an excursion, he finally got one.
if i had known how happy that truck would make him, he would have had one much sooner.
we call it the "blue beast", but really it is just a fancy piece of crap that loves gasoline.
and i must say, there is something sexy about a man that drives a truck with a bunch of boys hanging out of each window.

he took us on a camping excursion in his excursion.
i really do not like to camp, but i live with all these boys and a husband that love it.
so, i go because i love to be with them.
this time wasn't that bad.  except it rained a couple times every single day.
as we were packing up, i realized i hadn't taken a single photo.
here is what i got in a short minute.
this was one of his favorite things to do.
we decided to come home when he ran out of dry clothes.
we only brought bo's bike...
husband and the 4 big boys canoed.
we spent a lot of time on the river playing and relaxing.
some boys fished and some just threw rocks.
we had a great time despite the never ending rain.

husband then took us on another excursion in his excursion.
i'm not sure what to call it.  maybe...
trail riding,
driving on old logging roads???
whatever you call it, i don't think men with 5 children and one on the way do it.

this is how he felt about it:

the boys were assessing this situation to see if we could make it up and over this road:

i learned real quick when to roll up the windows so mud would not fly in the truck.
i also learned that this is not an activity to do if you don't like mud or laughing, screaming boys or if you don't like being jerked around.
also, his 4 wheel drive does work very well.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

my glasses and bump

i was never excited about my boys growing up.
i noticed that mothers of teenagers never had anything nice to say about them.  in fact, i have even heard mothers say not nice things about their teens in front of them!  it seemed that the moms always dismiss the unwanted behavior on the age.

well, this has not been the case for me.  at least not yet.
i enjoy my teens.  i like really like them.  i like to talk to them and sometimes i even find them very interesting.
although i must admit i do not think anything about r/c cars is interesting at all.
what i have observed is their behavior is the reflection of the people they are around.  if they are doing something really annoying, the husband or i probably do it too.

anyways we were having a conversation about contacts-
how i took care of mine, did they hurt...
at the end of the conversation, one boy asked what they were made of.
i replied plastic.
and then i freaked out.
i was putting plastic on my eyeballs every single day for all day long!
i don't even have plastic in my kitchen cabinets (besides the pyrex lids).

so, thanks to my boys who make me think, this is me in my glasses:

a 15 week bump picture too:

i feel way bigger than i look.
in fact, i didn't know i was so small until these pictures.
husband is right, i just look like i've birthed 5 kids.
and yeah, my shirt is a bit big.
it's this or regular shirts where i look like i'm rocking a nice beer gut.
i'll take the too big maternity!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

the bos

while i'm getting lunch together, 
he's just eating his apple chunks
while soaking his dirty feet
in a dirty pot.
(notice there is no water splashed out!)

just look at how long his 2 year old legs are!
his eyes are still so blue, but not as ice blue as they used to be.
he is the best little 2 year old i know.
i am so glad i get to spend my days with him.