Tuesday, July 30, 2013

T is for Town Hall Meeting and Being a Good Citizen

Eli is very active in Cub Scouts. He is a Webelos I this year. As we are in a very small town with a very small pack, volunteers are minimal. I decided to partner up with our cub master this year so that we could combine the Webelos I and II boys together and make scouting a little more exciting for the boys. Shelly was so overwhelmed with her responsibilities in the pack (her husband heads up the whole Boy Scout program, she is the Cub Master over all the cubs, and they are pretty much in charge of everything!). I love to plan, so, it only seemed natural to step up and help.

This month we are working with the Webelos I boys on their Citizen badge. One of the activities included meeting with a city leader for a description of his or her job. To make it a little more meaningful we, instead, took the boys to a Town Hall meeting last night.

Again, our town is so small. And, it's a pretty poor town. We have been informed that because of mishandling and oversight, our ambulance service is in extreme debt and is on the verge of collapse. If the service shuts down, all citizens of our town will have to rely on ambulance services in towns 20-30 miles away. In a life or death situation, 20-30 minutes (and we all know it would be much more) could be tragic.

The boys, in full Class A dress, marched to the front of the Town Hall meeting and sat on the floor. They didn't understand everything that was going on, but they had an opportunity to see what citizens of a small town do when there is a crisis. There was talk of fundraisers, donations, restructuring of billing and collection, lawsuits regarding the mishandling of the revenue, etc.

When we left I had Eli tell me what he thought was going on in there. He summarized the meeting pretty well, or at least understood that the ambulance service didn't have any money and might have to shut down. We talked about how the people of the town were being good citizens by coming to a meeting to discuss options and volunteering to pitch in to help with some solutions.

It was a really great lesson and wrapped up our unit so well.

Here are some other things the boys did in their Citizen unit:
  • We used the U.S. Flag unit study from SchoolExpress. (Do you get e-mails of their free weekly unit studies? All you have to do is enter your e-mail. This was how I got the U.S. Flag unit for FREE. It is now $2.00.)

  • They practiced folding the American Flag.

  • The boys worked together to make a poster about what it means to be a citizen. Then they each drew a name of one of the other boys and said a way that they have seen that boy be a good citizen.
  • They memorized our president, vice-president, governor, and the mayors of the towns in our area. For this they were awarded a patriotic bracelet and star cookies!

  • They are currently learning the 50 Nifty United States song that they will sing at our next Pack meeting. We are planning to have them make red, white and blue tie-dye shirts to wear at that meeting.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Last Week of Summer School

This will be our last week (well, couple of days) of summer school. Most weeks this summer, starting the first week of June, we have done schoolwork for 2-3 hours in the mornings, Monday through Thursday. We have logged enough hours that we can take off a couple of weeks from our regular school schedule in the fall to go to Florida in late September and to relax around the holidays. We plan to do some schoolwork today and tomorrow and then call it quits until Wednesday, August 14th when we will officially start our 2013/2014 school year.

It has been an amazingly great summer of learning and I totally plan for us to do this again next summer.
  • We have moved along in our learning of multiplication.
  • We have learned all of the letters in cursive handwriting.
  • We have finished some great read alouds (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Poppy).
  • We have completed the Summer Reading Program at the library with each child reading a large chapter book and 20 picture books.
  • We did a crazy fantastic unit on Life Cycles by observing first-hand the life cycles of frogs, butterflies, and chickens.
  • And we have done some fun art projects (review coming in a couple of days).
In addition we have taken swimming lessons, gone to Cub Scout day camp, had scouting activities, played a season of softball, gone to VBS, and more.

It's been a full and fun summer.

But we are ready for a two-week break. My birthday is this week. My brother, sister-in-law and baby niece are here for a week-long visit. We NEED to spend some more time at the lake. I have a couple of little projects I would like to do around the house. We are getting Kyndal's room redone in preparation for her move here in a month. Dawson is wanting to enjoy his last two weeks of summer before school starts again. And, I just want to get some reading done. Schoolwork is pretty much planned, but I just need to get a couple more things purchased and printed.

And on that note, I better get up and ready to start our day. How about you? Have you done summer school? Or have you taken the summer completely off?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Simply Summer

In our regular life this week…

Hi ... It's Grandma here. Do you notice anything in the following picture??

Yes, the windows are open because it's in the high 70's here in Missouri ... in late July!! Yes, I am talking about the weather again. (And my arthritis is flaring up, my dentures need a good soaking ... jk!) We are supposed to have unseasonably cool temperatures for at least the next week. It's amazing!! As I type this I am relaxing in my sitting room with a cup of coffee and a cool breeze blowing the drapes next to me. I couldn't be happier or more at peace.

In our homeschool this week…

We decided to up our math intake and have been doing two lessons of Math U See Gamma each day. The kids are working on simple algebra ... solving equations. And they have been amazed to see how algebra works in real life in the form of word problems. I have been amazed at how well they are now able to solve those problems without my help. We are also still plugging along with cursive handwriting. They have almost learned all of the letters of the alphabet.

In our continuing Life Cycles unit study, we observed our new Black Swallowtail that emerged from it's cocoon. It was beautiful! We gave it a day to adequately dry it's wings and then let it go outside. It flew straight up toward the top of the tallest tree and took off.

And now we have a new caterpillar in position to become a chrysalis.

We were a little worried about our first Black Swallowtail chrysalis because the second one emerged first. Then yesterday morning I got up and there he was.

We also returned the chicks to their owner last Saturday. I have actually missed their little chirps. It was fun to have them here. We learned that these particular chicks were bred as meat chickens. They grow incredibly fast and have to be butchered by the time they are about 3 months old because their backs and wings start to break. I found that to be very interesting.

The other thing we have really been concentrating on is reading. We finished up our goals for the Summer Reading Program this week. And, the kids got their awards.

We are also devouring another Poppy book by Avi, Poppy and Ereth.

The real award for me was when I told Eli, on Tuesday, that he only had two more picture books to read before his goal was finished and then he could go back to his chapter book. He said, "Thank goodness!" I reminded him that it was just a few short months ago that he freaked when he thought he was going to have to read a chapter book. Now he prefers them! Doing summer school was a very smart decision.

Homeschool Tricks and Tips ...

Now is the time to be on the lookout for used curriculum, and plan ahead! It's a good idea to have a general plan for upcoming years so you can snag cheap stuff. This year we are doing a study of United States Geography. Next year we planned to make Prairie Primer our unit study. A fellow TOS Crew member had the curriculum for sale for about half price, so I went ahead and snagged it even though we won't use it for another year. I had already bought the entire Little House series for $6 at a consignment shop a couple of years ago.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

It was a fairly quiet week in this area. We stayed home most days just doing schoolwork in the mornings and playing in the afternoons.

Eli had Scouts on Monday night. They are studying Citizenship and they made flag neckerchief slides out of safety pins and beads.

We did hit the pool on Wednesday, however, after it was closed for several days due to a pump break. We were afraid it wasn't going to open back up this summer, so were excited to get back there!

I also made a special trip to the Amish store to get peaches so I could make the following dessert. Yum!

Peach and Berry Tart ... by the time I took the picture, the peaches were browning.

Kyndal and Collin were here for the evening on Wednesday night. We had dinner and watched some t.v. while Collin went to play basketball. Kyndal suggested we come and go to a fun pool on Thursday, so Brynne went to Collins' parents' with them to spend the night. Eli and I met them at the pool and had a great day! The kids swam and swam and swam and Kyndal and I sat and had a good talk.

I know that this next year of her living here with me while she goes to school is going to be such a good year. It's fun to be a part of her plans for her future. I am going to do my best to cherish every day she is back home with me because in a little over a year, she will be out living her life on her own. It goes by so fast!

A favorite thing this week was…

Definitely redecorating our sitting room. And for the grand total cost of $0! We put up drapes that my mom took out of her dining room, pulled our love seat and ottoman out of storage (sorry, Kyndal, you might have to find another couch when you get your own place), and then even replaced some pillows on the couch with some that my mom took off their couch at their lakehouse. It all came together so perfectly and I have spent gobs of time in there this week. Really, every spare minute.

What's in the kitchen this week ...

Knock-off Chili's Cajun Chicken Pasta, fresh grilled corn on the cob from the Amish store, and Peach and Berry Tart for dinner Thursday night.

We also had a yummy italian roast and spaghetti this past weekend, salmon patties for lunch, and turkey burgers for dinner one night. It was a good food week.

What we're reading ...

Mom:  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, 

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. (lots of picture books)

Brynne: New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. (lots of picture books)

Read-aloud: Poppy and Ereth by Avi. We love these Poppy books!

Things we're working on…

Dawson and I are catching up on the first season of Orphan Black. Yep, it's another BBC series. This one, though, is not a period drama. It is an action-packed science fiction crime solving crazy show. We are loving it! It's a bummer that the second season does not air until next Spring (what is it with BBC shows only airing in the Spring?), but we are sure enjoying Season One now!

I’m grateful for ...

My home. Seriously, I absolutely love it. We do not live in the greatest neighborhood. (Really, in this town there isn't a "greatest" neighborhood.) But my house, itself, is absolutely perfect for us. I love it so much that I don't hardly want to leave it. It is cozy, comfortable, manageable, and full of love. I am so grateful for the contentment I feel.

In the garden…

What a difference about 6 hours makes. My spaghetti squash grows at a crazy rate. I seriously think it would grow before my eyes if I stood and watched it.

At noon.

At about 6 p.m. It gee a half inch in length and an inch and a half around.

A couple of days later.

I have cucumbers still growing, two kinds of peppers, lots of tomatoes ready to ripen, and we ate our first jalapenos. My herbs are added to our dishes almost every day. My only real problem is with my zucchini. They are dying off before they get fully grown. AND I WANT ZUCCHINI! I have two more that look promising. Let's hope!

What's coming up this week ...

My brother Tim, sister-in-law Shawna, and niece Bell are coming for a week long visit from Portland, Oregon. I am so excited to see them and get my hands on that baby!! I will also be having a birthday next week. And, we are celebrating living here in Missouri for one full year. Rick is here for the weekend and, is it possible, that we have NOTHING planned? And no honey-do projects? So far we have watched the newest Sherlock Holmes movie! Maybe we can all head to the pool one day.

On Tuesday night, I am going on a girl's night out with my sister, sister-in-law and a bunch of their girlfriends to the winery where Shawna and Tim had their wedding reception. I hardly ever go out, so this is going to be such a fun night! Then Wednesday I get to have brunch with one of my best friends in the world. I am so looking forward to that!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

This little guy was at the pool on Thursday. He stole a little girl's chip. Alvin! .......

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Button

This morning I have been playing around with My Cool Realm to create a blog button (thank you for the tip, Miranda!). And you can grab it, if you want, by copying the code under the button or the code just to your right.

Journey to Excellence

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Talk About Peaceful

There is nothing more peaceful than sitting in your sitting room, having a cup of coffee, watching the newly emerged Black Swallowtail butterfly dry it's wings in the butterfly habitat. 

Our first Swallowtail, that emerged last week, was a female ...

Today's is a male ...

(all images from PBase as mine are still on my camera)

It was such a wonderful surprise to see him in there this morning. I can't think of a better way to start my day. God is amazing!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FREE Knowledge Quest Ancient Greece ebook from A Child's Geography

Although we are not set to study the Ancients this year, we do have plans to tackle it in a couple of years ... probably for 6th grade. Knowledge Quest is giving away a FREE 52-page e-book on Ancient Greece!

I quickly downloaded it and tucked it away for supplemental material for when we study the Ancients. Basically they have provided the first section of "A Child's Geography - Explore the Classical World" into this one e-book. Head over there and download yours today! It is a $6.95 value and is recommended for Grades 1-8.

S is for Sitting Room

We have a house that was built in 1918. It has the original hardwood floors and baseboards ... loads of charm! We love our house! There is a room just as you walk in the door, off to the left, that is odd. It's not a bedroom ... no closet and no door into it. It's not a dining room ... the formal dining room is between the living room and kitchen. It seems odd to have two living rooms side-by-side with no divider. It's not an office ... there wouldn't have been offices in 1918. My mom suggested that it was a sewing room, perhaps? Who knows. All I know is that it has been wasted space since we moved here. We hung some family portraits on the wall, our family canvases, added an entryway table from our old house, and hung some leftover valances. But, otherwise, it has sat there empty.

You can kind of see the room behind Kyndal. It's pretty much empty.

When living in a small home you need to maximize every single space and make it usable. With a medium-sized family that feels very large when the older kids are here with their friends and/or significant others, it can be difficult for me to find a comfortable (and quiet) place to be. If the little kids are in the living room playing Wii, or if they are in their room playing and the older kids are in the living room watching a movie, I really don't have anywhere to go to relax beside my bedroom. And, my bedroom is not big enough for a comfortable chair so I have to sit on the bed, which I don't like.

I thought it would be so nice to have a comfy chair or couch to be able to sit on and read when I am needing some quiet time. And then I decided that the sitting room would be the perfect place for it! The problem? We had no funds to furnish such a room.

My mom made some drapery changes in her house recently so had four drapes that would match the room perfectly. I hung those and moved in our old green loveseat and the ottoman from the matching overstuffed chair. We had these wrapped in plastic and stored in our garage to give to Kyndal in a year or so when she moves out on her own. I had some trouble with furniture placement, but finally came up with an arrangement that is comfy and cozy! All I need now is a side table for the lamp. I am sure I can find one at a garage sale or consignment shop.

I love this space! I have moved my Bible, devotional and journal into the room, and I see myself there every morning having my coffee, starting my day. I also see many books read and power naps taken. It's also great because there is enough space for the dogs to join me ... and they are always joining me.

Now the challenge will be keeping everybody else out of my space! (In fact, yesterday morning Brynne came into it and said, "Well, it's nice to see you have set up this room nice for yooooouuuuu." I told her to scram. Then I sat down with my cup of coffee, my Bible, and my dogs. Ahhh .... )

The final space to tackle is the small dining space in the kitchen by the back door. Right now it's empty and is our dump-off spot when we walk in the door. I have plans. But, it's not going to be free, so I'll have to wait a bit longer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Family Weekend

We had a wonderful family weekend! We needed it so badly! Kyndal and Collin came Friday evening and brought some movies. After the little kids went to bed, us bigger kids stayed up and watched Identify Thief. Have you seen it? It's hilarious! Melissa McCarthy is so funny!

We had a full day scheduled on Saturday. Kyndal went to a job shadow at her cosmetology school in the morning, and the rest of us met her for a late lunch at Pizza Hut. We had a great time scarfing down pizza and playing silly games! At the end of the meal I gathered us all together just to tell them all (including Kyndal's boyfriend and Dawson's girlfriend) how important I think it is that we are a strong family that binds together and always turns to each other for support. The kids thought that I had a big announcement. One asked if I was pregnant .... Um, NO! and then Dawson said, "If we are moving back to Oklahoma, I'M NOT GOING!" I thought that was funny because exactly one year ago he was convinced I was ruining his life by moving us here! No, we aren't going anywhere. Our Family Day was exactly that ... a Family Day.

After lunch we went and bought movie snacks and then went to the movies to see Despicable Me 2. It is a precious movie and we all loved it! We saw previews for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 and decided that we would make this movie our next Family Day.

When we got home the big kids watched another movie in Dawson's room, Rick hung Dawson's new door to his bedroom, and the little kids and I played a bunch of board games ... Yahtzee, Old Maid and Uno.

Sunday was spent playing more board games, playing Wii, and redecorating our sitting room. I will be posting some pictures of that room later this week. It might be everybody's favorite room. The kids were all gathered in there talking on Sunday night. Dawson said, "Our house is so cute!"

I see more fun family days in our future in our home. It was a great time together!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Christi the Coupon Coach ~ Couponing Made Simple {Molly Crew Review}

 photo christithecouponcoachlogo_zpsbe2a70cc.png Extreme couponing. Aren't you just amazed with what those folks can do? ... Me? If I actually take the time to clip a coupon, you can almost bet I forget I have it when I am at the checkout. I go through phases when I think I am going to give couponing a shot, and then I fail miserably so give it up .. again. The Molly Review Crew through the The Old Schoolhouse was given the opportunity to review Couponing Made Simple by Christi the Coupon Coach. I was hoping that I might learn a few new things to finally making my couponing attempts a success.

 photo christithecouponcoachbook_zpsfd7911d1.jpg

Couponing Made Simple is a full how-to and why book about how to be successful at using coupons, written by Christi Bassford. The book is a very easy and informative read. It is a 123 page paperback book that I, literally, absorbed in a couple of hours. The great thing about Christi's approach is that it is couponing for real people! It's not a book on how to get hundreds of dollars of products for twelve cents (although I believe you probably could with her methods). It's more about how a real woman wanting to save money for her family accomplishes it with the use of coupons. The chapters contained in the book are:
  • Success Stories (reading about success stories was a good way to start!)
  • A New Way to Shop (don't buy what you need, build you eating based on what's on sale)
  • The Language of Couponing (what do all those abbreviations and terms mean?)
  • Organization System (the physical products you will need to stay organized)
  • Step-by-Step Process (the exact how-to)
  • Tips and Tools (extra things to think about)
  • Couponing Ethics (do things honestly, okay?)
  • Networking and Communicating (others out there are doing a lot of the hard work for you ... find out who they are and then share the information you find for others)
  • Bonus Section (other ways to save money)
  • Beyond Couponing (you'll just want to read that chapter and find out for yourself ... it's THAT good!)
Many of the things I read in Christi's book were things I used to diligently put to work in my life when we were very low on finances. And, many of those things worked! We saved TONS of money! I can remember going to the grocery store one time with my husband (to Walmart) and a friend of ours had a shopping cart full in front of us and spent $350. We had a cart that was more full than her's, and our total was $107. My husband was astonished! I used applicable coupons, only bought what was on sale (and built our menus around those sale items), and did lots of ad matching from other stores. This was about 10 years ago.

Times are different. Grocery stores don't have the sales they used to have. Inflation is ridiculous. The deals are harder to find. It takes more work. So, I don't do it.

I decided to put Christi's tips to work during the review period and see if I could actually save some money. But, unfortunately I found that the system, as good as it is, just does not work for our family at this time in our lives. And here are some of the reasons why:
  • We do not eat a lot of name brand food items and eat very little processed food anymore, so the usual coupons are not for things that we would buy as a family. 
  • I do the majority of my shopping at Aldi. It's just that much cheaper and I actually prefer many of their brands, especially as I cook from scratch. They do not carry many name brand items and they do not accept coupons.
  • I am someone who does not like change. We use the same toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, peanut butter, crackers, cleaning products, and more, that we have used for several years and we don't want to change what we use. I am not willing to change the majority of the brands I use, even if I can get them for free.
  • We do not have a major newspaper delivered to our town with coupon inserts, so I have to actually drive out of town (and spend gas money) to get such inserts. 
  • We do not have local drugstores with the amazing deals, like Walgreens and CVS. I have to drive at least 20 miles to get to one of these stores. And it's just not worth it to me.
  • Physically clipping coupons from a newspaper and/or scouring the internet for couponing sites takes a lot of time that I, unfortunately, just do not have.
The last time I was going to go to the store I decided to search couponing sites before I made our weekly menu and grocery list. Through all of the sites I found, I only found coupons for six items I wanted to buy. Then I realized that all but two of them I could buy cheaper at Aldi in their brand. And since I knew I would not remember the other two coupons when it was time for checking out, I didn't even add those brands to our list. It just didn't work, and I had spent about an hour trying to find coupons.

Even though actual couponing is something I am just going to have to give up on, there were other great tips in the book that I actually do use and will continue to use:
  • Watch store coupons! Our little mom and pop grocery store in our little town (of less than 3000 people) actually has some good sales on some items, like cereal. I have purchased some half price cereal to then get a coupon printed out at the register when I checked out that made me turn right around and go back and buy four more boxes which then got me another coupon printed off at the register on that transaction that I put in my purse and used the next day on another five boxes of cereal. I was getting name brand cereal for about $1.10 to $1.25 a box. These types of deals pop up pretty often.
  • Our local grocery store also has a service where they will send out a text with their daily/weekly deals. And, they are GOOD! I take advantage of those, too.
  • Finally, at our local grocery store, it is so small that I run through the meat, produce and dairy department (all on the outside of the store, so I go in a circle) to look at clearanced items. I get lots of good stuff really cheap. Then I build our meals around those marked down items. I also freeze a lot of them for later use.
  • Yard sales are not only FUN, but you can find some great deals! Each season I make a list of things I would like to purchase for our house and then hit the neighborhood garage sales. I am often able to mark most things off my list at a fraction of the cost. Right now I am looking for a large butcher block and a coat tree. If you find one at a yard sale, let me know, k? And, she gave a fun idea of taking all her kids to garage sales so they can purchase Christmas gifts for each other. Now THAT sounds like a great idea! We are going to do that one!
Am I disappointed with Christi the Coupon Coach's book, Couponing Made Simple? No! It contains a wealth of information, especially if you are new to couponing. In the right circumstances, I know that her methods would work for our family. In fact, I would bet other Molly Crew members had success using Christi's methods, so you should read their reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.


I took many things from Christi's book, and plan to hold onto it for future reference. Should our circumstances change or the structure of our economy change, these are tips that I will be able to use to help strengthen our family's financial outlook.

Couponing Made Simple can be purchased in paperback for $18.00 and in the Kindle edition for $4.99 from the Christi the Coupon Coach website.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Sitting, Sickness, Swimming, Surge and Squash+

In our regular life this week…

This week has been a much better week, but I have certainly felt the stresses of being a mom! Having adult children gives you that constant state of worry because you know that each and every decision made and step taken has a consequence. It's scary! It seems I have had a major-ish issue with each of the kids this week, right down to the little one. Being a mom is an amazing joy to me, but it sure does add to the gray hairs!

I finally got over my yucky cold on Sunday morning. I was literally on the couch all day Saturday feeling horrid! Eli woke up with the cold on Wednesday morning and now he feels terrible. I expect we'll each have had this cold before it's over. It's been passed from person to person. We are loading up on green tea, chicken soup, apples and rest. In fact, I pretty much quarantined us to the house the last half of the week.

Last night we had quite a surprise! I was fixing dinner. Dawson and Taylar were watching a television show in the living room, and Eli and Brynne were playing Minecraft in their room. We were looking forward to a cozy night of dinner and t.v. together. And BANG! ZAP! SPARKS! SMOKE! All of our power went out and there was a flash of fire outside the kitchen window as a power line fell onto my car. We had a power surge that blew a power line apart in three places! The inside of the house smelled scorched and I was freaked! I called my dad who called the electric company maintenance guy for our town (who is a local guy ... thank goodness). He came right over and got to work. We put dinner preps away, went to Dairy Queen for dinner, and relaxed at my mom and dad's watching Chopped. The fear was that the surge had zapped everything in the house. We were worried!! But, thankfully, everything remained in working order. Thank you, Lord! That was one set of expenses I just couldn't deal with right now.

In our homeschool this week…

With the completion of our swimming lessons, an out-of-the house appointment on Tuesday morning, and sickness, we haven't gotten a whole lot accomplished. We did do our handwriting and math daily (the kids were excited that they were learning algebra and division!), and did lots of reading, but that was about it.

We also had these little distractions!

My friend, Jamie, offered to allow us to chick-sit five of her newly hatched chicks for a few days because all of our chicks died last week during hatching. The kids have LOVED having them here to observe. Eli has been very attentive to their every chirp (in fact he was terrified for the first day that they might die, too) and Brynne has just loved to cuddle with them. Even the dogs sit and watch them. I'm gonna miss them when they are gone.

Plans for the new school year ...

Of course it's time to start nailing down the schooling plans for the 2013/2014 school year. We had such a great year last year, and seemed to perfect our "schedule", that we will pretty much be sticking to doing a lot of the same. Here are the general plans:

Bible - We will start each morning stick-figuring through the Bible continuing with Grapevine Studies: Old Testament Overview (Level 3-4). We loved this last year! Great way to start the day.

Grammar - No formal grammar unless we have a review product. We will be doing lots of reading and, I believe, grammar is learned this way.

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Success (4th grade)

Writing - WriteShop Primary Book B (we finished Book A and it's a great program)

Spelling - Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary by JacKris Publishing

Reading - We will read independently for 30 minutes each day and will have a daily read-aloud. This is just for fun.

Math - Starting with Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy by Glenda Brown James (6 weeks) and then finishing Math U See Gamma (multiplication), then moving onto Math U See Delta (division).

Unit Study - Our main unit study will be Roadtrip USA by Confessions of a Homeschooler. We will also continue to do some delight-directed, relevant or review product related unit studies. But the core of our learning this year will be on United States Geography and state cultures. I will probably do some of my reverse planning with plays, movies, book releases, and other activities that pop up, when we can fit them in.

Co-op - We are starting a VERY small Friday morning co-op with another family or two. We will be having a one-hour art class using The Usborne Art Treasury and then a one-hour class doing activities in companion with the book Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling (literature, science, social studies, and more).

Extra-Curricular Activities - Brynne will be playing volleyball and then basketball. Eli will continue with Scouts and plans to join a Saturday morning bowling league.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

It was our final three days of swimming lessons this week, and Brynne and Eli both passed Level 2 with flying colors! I am so proud of how much they learned in just 8 short lessons! They are excited to move to Level 3 next year that will have them doing lessons in the deep end. They already swim in the deep end, but the big kids do their lessons there so they are excited! (Eli was sick on the last day, so he just sat on the side.)

A favorite thing this week was…

A family movie day watching Despicable Me on dvd before Kyndal went for a job interview at the clothing store The Buckle. She got the job! This will be great for her once she starts cosmetology school because it's in the same town and she can work evening and weekend hours.

What's in the kitchen this week ...

No chicken nuggets, that's for sure! In fact, Eli said he won't ever eat chicken nuggets again. We did have some yummy turkey tacos one night and chicken fettucine (Dawson and Taylar's request) on another. And, I had a BLT for lunch with this guy from my garden ....

What we're reading ...

Mom:  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, Couponing Made Easy by Christi the Coupon Coach. (My reading has been very intermittent.)

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

Brynne: New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. She finished Life with Lily, closed it and said, "That was a good book!" We highly recommend it for the 2nd-6th grade age range!

Read-aloud: Poppy and Ereth by Avi. 

Things we're working on…

Being truthful. We have had a few issues with it this week that has caused some discipline to be administered. (Can you say 'no iPad?' .... gads!) It's so important to me for my kids to understand that I would rather know the truth, no matter how bad it is, than to catch them hedging the truth, withholding facts, or flat-out lying. It's so much worse after that because the trust is broken.

I’m grateful for ...

Open relationships with my older kids and how well we talk about issues. It makes me happy that I am the first one they call when they are having a problem, even if it's late at night. I am not always thrilled with the conversation we are having, but we are able to talk it through and I am glad that my kids trust me enough to turn to me for my advice. Communication is key to healthy relationships. I hope to remember that as I am raising my second set of kiddos. And this is the reason why truth and trust is so important.

In the garden…

Tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeƱos, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, cherry tomatoes, herbs .... they are all producing! Finally!!!

What's coming up this week ...

Tomorrow Rick and I are taking all four of the kids, Kyndal's boyfriend Collin and Dawson's girlfriend Taylar, out to lunch at Pizza Hut and to the movies to see Despicable Me 2. I feel like I just need to draw my chicks close. Life has made me feel disjointed, lately, and I just need my family for a day. Everybody is really looking forward to it and it's going to be a nice family day. We need it!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites: