Friday, May 29, 2015


Our year ran later then usual this year, between illnesses, snow days (because who wants to do school when even the university is closed and there is legitimate sledding in central TN?), and playing hookie a few times to visit family.  In Tennessee we have to put in 180 days for our school year, and we aren't allowed sick days at all.  But it is O-V-E-R.  Well, except that we didn't quite finish our speller.  We'll work on that a few minutes a day for a bit to wrap it up.  But our daily lessons are done.

We're actually looking at the possibility of starting our next school year soon to get some days in on those off days that there isn't anything to do and the weather is bad, in the hopes to enjoy more days in May next year.  We'll see how that goes.  We may not get to it if we're having too much fun, and just get back to the books in August.  We're keeping an open mind about it!

I thought I'd review some of the books we used this year (I'm not receiving any compensation, so just my opinions).

We tried Sequential Spelling this year.  I've really liked it.  The only down side is it has 180 days of spelling lists plus a few assessments, so that put us above our 180 days to start, then there are days that we just didn't do spelling through out the year because we had a packed day with something else.  So we're hanging on a bit after the year ends.

I also tried Learning Language Arts through Literature this year with Kate (4th grade).  I like how it was set up--it was easy to use and literature based, which is a big plus in our house.  And I didn't have to make copies.  I like the idea of cost savings of reproducible books, but I'm not sure I actually save any money on most workbooks, since I have to pay for copy ink.  And this way I don't have to think ahead to be sure I have the copies that we need or leave someone waiting while I run pages off.

We've used Singapore math again, which I really like the strong basis of.  We've also kept to Writing with Ease in the lower grades.  Like I said last year, I don't like it for third grade, but I really do for first and second.

We used the second of the Song School Latin books.  The book was great, though this CD wasn't as fun to listen to.  I still don't have a full grasp of the declinations, but hopefully as we go through it in a new program next year I'll learn even more.  I did take the final test on the website and got an A in the vocabulary for this year, so I've learned something with the girls anyway!  I was hoping they would each earn a 75% on that test, but they both exceeded that quite well, with an A and a B.  It is very long, so I don't think that they scored even as high as the words they know, since they were likely a bit distracted by the end.

I haven't loved the second level of Noeo for physics.  We didn't get all the experiment kits, since they were expensive, but did use kits we had or found locally, so we weren't left wanting there.  My complaint is that in using 'real books' they were redundant.  We would often read about a subject in The Usborne Science Encyclopedia and then read about it again in Mysteries and Marvels of Science.  It became so common that I would read only small sections of the second reading on a topic to cut down on the repetition that was annoying.  Sometimes there were things stated in a better way or some new information, but it wasn't my favorite science we've done.  It did have some good readers though--We liked Along Came Galileo and Archimedes and the Door to Science.  I'm not sure that we'll find a program we like better over all, but I think I'll be prepared to do a little editing if we use it again, as the Encyclopedia and Mysteries books are in both Biology and Chemistry as well.

We also followed through with the final year of Story of the World.  Honestly, the kids didn't like it as much.  There is much more war and people were much better at waging those wars too.  They way these wars were written was much more real to them than the ancient wars we'd covered in the past, and they are older and understand loss more fully.  Nate may really take to it, but the girls would groan, as nearly every lesson talked of death, destruction, and war.

Happy Summer Break to all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


We've never been big trip takers.  We started off our marriage with a short, three night honeymoon to a state park.  Since then, I can count on one hand the number of trips we've taken that didn't involve visiting family or friends, almost all of those while staying in their homes.

We completely splurged last week though.  We headed off to the beach in southern Alabama.  We looked at a few hotels, but due to our family's size there was only one place I could find that would allow us to stay there in the time frame we were looking at.  After seeing the price, I decided to look into renting a house.  For the same cost as that suite in the busy Pensacola area, we could rent a three bedroom house in a quieter place.  It did require putting down a nice sized deposit, but we cleaned up after ourselves and I've already been notified that the deposit is on its way back.  We also had the benefit of two bathrooms, a full kitchen and dining room table, plus beach things (beach towels, and folding chairs for our use, so we didn't have to pack them--a big deal with our itty bitty car and 6 people).  And the best part was our beach access was so very close.  We could have walked had it not been for the kids wearing themselves out in the water.  We only wanted to stay two nights, not sure how everyone would do and trying to limit our costs, and though many homes are only available by the week, we were able to find an accommodating place.  Anyway, I'd encourage families, especially larger ones, to look into this as a possible way to make your trip easier!

One of the side benefits of homeschooling is that we got to take our trip in the off season between the traditional spring breaks and summer vacations, so we spent our time on the beach with no one closer than shouting distance, if that, unless they were walking through.

 Cute little 'beach' house, though it wasn't directly on the beach.

 Our first night--it was so pretty and neat as a pin.

  Kate hung out as far out as we would let her get--riding the waves.

 Gabby hunted for shells and played in the water close to the shore.

 Nate built sand castles, ran the beach, and played in the shallows.

Ellie wasn't overly sure about the sand shifting under her feet with the waves, but she did like the 'giant sandbox.'

God really granted us a beautiful couple of days.  The weather was warm and the skies clear.

This is quite possibly my favorite picture of the trip!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Funnies

Kate: Ah, gum.  There are just so many wonderful memories with gum.

*     *     *     *     *

At bedtime prayers...

Me: I'm thankful for my best friend.

Nate: Who's your best friend?

Me: Your Daddy.

Nate (a little huffily): Oh.

Me: Well, who did you think was my best friend?

Nate: Me.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


For the past couple of weeks, Ellie has been waking up shortly after we go to bed sobbing.  Actually, not really waking up, more sobbing in her sleep.

When Kate was two, she went through a phase of night terrors.  They were textbook.  She screamed, wouldn't wake, and they were shortly after she went to bed.  We did some reading and started waking her with a cup of water to sip a few minutes before they usually began and in a few weeks she was past them.

Evidently Ellie has more in common with Kate than her curls.  I didn't originally associate her cries with night terrors because they are so much later in the evening, but as she shares a room with Nate, he may disturb her just enough when he comes to bed to push them later into the evening.  I got her up with a cup of water for a couple of nights, then I forgot one night, and she was up again.  So we're back to a sip of water at my bed time to head off the terrors.


The little man is 5 1/2 today!

1. What is your favorite color? orange
2. What is your favorite toy? crane
3. What is your favorite fruit? oranges
4. What is your favorite tv show? Rescue Bots
5. What is your favorite movie? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? batman shirt
7. What is your favorite animal? lions
8. What is your favorite song? The Truck Got Stuck
9. What is your favorite book? Diggerman
10. Who is your best friend? Cy
11. What is your favorite snack? chocolate
12. What is your favorite drink? lemon-aide
13. What is your favorite breakfast? Captain Crunch
14. What is your favorite lunch? peanut butter sandwiches and mac & cheese
15. What is your favorite dinner? pizza
16. What is your favorite game? Candyland
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? Rescue Bots
18. What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas
19. What do you sleep with at night? bear-bear and tag blankie
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? digger man and a firefighter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happiest of Days

Happy birthday to my best friend, who wears many hats, literally and figuratively:

 Baby Holder

Dance Partner

Fun Organizer


We hope you have a great day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

to all the Mama's who have cared for crying babies, held chubby, sticky hands, and walked through life with their little people.

 My Mama

My two grandmothers and Justin's maternal grandmother

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Funny

Kate: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Nate: At the space center!  I would go into space with the first monkey and take care of it.

Monday, May 4, 2015


 I didn't get our Easter posted, but there is a little lull this evening, so I thought I'd put up the cute kid pictures!
We had our normal passover dinner, but we bought a Seder plate this year.

We put our wrapped Jesus in the tomb on Friday, and he had risen when the girls and I checked on Sunday morning.  We woke the men folk and read the passage of the empty tomb from Luke.

Ellie got her first Easter basket.

Then there were all the pictures of the kiddos in the yard.  It was cool, but a beautiful day.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Last weekend we took the older three munchkins camping.  The older girls had a camporee for their AHG troop with a bunch of other troops in the area, so we went off to join the chaos fun!  Justin and I used to camp before we had the kids, but aside from his attempt to take Kate and Gabby on a night that ended up being too cold last year, we've never gone with the kids.  This required a bit more gear--the tent I grew up with wouldn't hold all of us, so we picked up a bigger tent and some camp chairs (we just had two little stools, which wouldn't work for 5 people)!

The weather was supposed to be truly atrocious.  We watched as the forecast changed from 60% chance of range to 70%, and it actually got up to 100%!  It did sprinkle on us a little that first evening as we set up, then it rained quite a bit after lights out, but the next day broke without any rain.  By mid-morning the sun was bright.  We did break camp after dinner that night because Gabby seemed to be having some fairly severe allergy issues.  We waited until after their evening activities were winding down to take off though.



The girls worked on badges, hung out with their friends, Nate made a friend and even took a nap under a tree.  Ellie made it through her first night(s) away from me, staying with my parents for the weekend.  I believe that she'd never been away from me for more than three or four hours before, so it was a big step.  She played, ate, and slept some.