Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday Funny

We were visiting my parents on Christmas Eve-Eve.  As we walked out in to the cool rainy morning for church, “Ah, it feels like camping!” 🏕


Monday, December 17, 2018

Kindergarten at Christmas Break

We've mainly worked in Five in a Row this semester, which I love.  We've done several fun books: Lentil, Cranberry Thanksgiving, and Ping to name a few.  Ellie is reading quite a few sounds, as we've passed the half way point in the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  Her handwriting has grown by leaps and bounds, having started the year only able to write the letters "ElliE."  She still gets frustrated in trying to make things fit on those primary writing lines, but she has gained a great deal of skill.

I did find that the Miquon Orange book I picked up was not quite where she was yet.  The first several pages were a great fit, but it quickly switched to written numbers, assuming that had been taught previously.  While Ellie could count, we hadn't taught her to read and write numbers.  (My stance is that school begins early enough, so we don't do 'preschool,' beyond reading with the kids.)  So we backed up a bit.  We've been working on a dot to dot book, which starts with 1-10 and a chart at the top, so she can be sure to be getting them in order, and moves up to 1-20 as well as a Kumon book for numbers 1-30.

This last week, we've worked on geography...from planet Earth to our particular house.  Here is our gal, with her work.

 Excuse my blotting skills, but I don't exactly want to give out our address!

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 5, 2018


A copy of the note I sent my Grannie on her very last birthday this side of heaven:

Dear Grannie,

Thank you for all the school performances, ball games, and church events you've attended.

Thank you for remembering that Chantel likes macaroni and cheese and that Drew's favorite is chocolate cake.  Thank you for making pineapple pudding for me when you made banana pudding for everyone else because you knew I didn't like banana.

Thank you for teaching us to eat watermelon with salt, that recipes are optional, and dinner is ready when the smoke detector goes off.

Thank you for teaching me how to do smocking by using gingham fabric to learn spacing, how to make a toy from a button and thread, and sharing how you rolled a hoop with the boys.

Thank you for the curtains you've made for homes, the quilts that we have slept under, and the doll clothes that have been played with.

Thank you for showing us a strong work ethic: the board being set up over the dining room table on Sunday evenings after dinner so you could work through the week; the years of hard work you put in raising a family, working a farm, and working away from home.

Thank you for letting me put your hair up in rollers as we watched Little House on the Prairie.

Thank you for reading the books you knew I loved so  you could learn more about me--from Anne of Green Gables to Les Miserables.

Thank you for supporting me when we started homeschooling the children.

Thank you for being Grannie to everyone who walked through your door, regardless of kinship.

Thank you for loving us all, listening to us all, and laughing with us all.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Funny

E: You always laugh at me when I get mad at you here (at my parents).

Me: I'm sorry, can you tell me what happened?

E: Don't you remember?

Me: No honey, can you help me understand?

E: I don’t remember!  

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday Funny

During a heated debate about which is better, chocolate or butterscotch pie, “Butterscotch is less verbal, which makes it better.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Our fellow is nine today!

 He is such a good brother, taking the fact he is surrounded by girls so often in stride.

He is pretty chill.

He likes ties and ripped up pants.

He loves tools, trains, and Trail Life.

We are grateful he is ours.

Happy Birthday, Nate!

Love always,

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Funny

As we use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, we start with sounds, not letter names.  Ellie was looking at her handwriting book, and I hear, “It's an u'side do'n 'mmm.'”

*A 'w'

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


H-A-Double L-O-Double U-Double E-N spells Halloween.

 The kids have been enjoying a book series called Keeper of the Lost Cities, so they decided to dress as characters from the books.

 Ellie is Bianna

Katie is Sophie

 Gabby is the alicorn, Silviney

 Nate is Keefe

Happy Trick-or Treating!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Here and There

We've had some fun busyness this fall.

Katie and I went on a camp out with another local AHG troop.  We got our tent set up, met with the other girls...then the storm hit.  It rained, it thundered.  Lightening struck the pole about 6 feet from where we were sitting.  We were very grateful that the proprietor of the place we were staying opened up her little shop, and we hung out there or on the porch through much of the night.

The leaders went to check tents and while all of them were a bit wet, one that most of the girls intended to sleep in had been left open when they walked away, and it was completely soaked.  Every blanket and pillow drenched.  Between that and the still significant chance of further lightening, we ended up sleeping (sort of) in cars and the young ladies who didn't have a parent present, shared the back of a truck with a shell...again thanks to the hospitality of the owner.

One evening recently, Gabby was able to act out the part of Fanny Crosby for Ellie's AHG unit.  Each of the levels has a name sake, and this was a way to teach the younger girls about their level's.  Fanny Crosby wrote a great number of hymns, so she talked about that, how she memorized scripture, and how she became blind as a baby.  It took Ellie a little while to be sure that it was Gabby.  She had been convinced the real Fanny was coming to visit.

Nate's Trail Life Troop met at a local battle field for the firing of the cannons.  While we were there, he worked on a booklet that earned him his Junior Ranger medal.

And here is a picture of Ellie as we are waiting on the older girls.  They are assistants in a set of swim lesson classes for people with disabilities.  They have enjoyed that a lot, but I won't post pictures of other people's faces without their consent, so you'll just have to imagine that there is a pool with lots of splashing and learning going on!

I'm grateful for this crazy busy life I lead!


Sunday, October 21, 2018


Autumn has finally arrived here in the south.  Long sleeves and crisp mornings.  I may still be wearing flip flops with my jeans, because I still don't like shoes.  The younger three spent all afternoon enjoying the afternoon in the yard without the mosquitoes.  The weather has been perfect, and the quiet afternoon was exactly what was in order for a Sunday afternoon.

Life is moving at breakneck speed!  Looking at the calendar will make one dizzy...  AHG and Trail Life, church volunteer positions, the older girls have the opportunity to assist in teaching swimming lessons to people with disabilities.  Katie volunteers with a local MOPS group to provide child care, and she took her very first paid baby-sitting job where mom isn't nearby.  Not to mention schooling kindergarten through 8th grade all at once.

We are getting in a rhythm for school.  I think I’ve finally convince Ellie that she does not need to work in a book eight hours a day for school, which was a real challenge as we started the year.  We're deep into our year now.  Over a quarter of the way through!  We've visited museums and parks; we've studied grammar and the War of 1812; we've counted by 10's and read Les Miserables (be still my heart...I do love that book).

I'm just trying not to blink these days, or I might miss a year or two!


Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Funny

Ellie, standing with her cup in front if the sink:

Me: “Do you want me to turn on the water?”

Ellie: “I'm getting the driplets.  You know, the tiny polka dots coming down.”

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Our beautiful Gabby is eleven today!  I can hardly believe it.

She is fierce.

She is loving.

She has her own sense of style.

She moves to the beat of her own drummer, at her own speed.

We love this girl!

Happy Birthday, Gabriella!


Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Our Katie is a teenager!

She is strong willed and caring.

She loves books!  Keeper of the Lost Cities and Harry Potter

The Greatest Showman is also at the top of her list these days.

She is so full of energy!

I love you always, Katie.  Obviously.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Our Elliana is five years old today!

She is full of energy and has orange bows with teal dresses.

She is funny and spunky.

She's learning to read and learning her numbers.
I think her greatest ambition is to weigh enough to ride in a booster seat!

Happy birthday to you, Ellie!

Love always,

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


I was always a reader, but I must admit, the past few years it has been harder to get through books further than the ones we're reading for school.  I've managed to get some reading done around the edges of our days lately though.

Everybody Always...finished.  I didn't agree with every word, but this was a great book about caring for our neighbor, especially that one you don't like.

The Daniel Dilemma...partway through.  Another book confronting living out faith in our current social climate.  I have been reading borrowed books from the library, so I’ve not gotten as far in this one, since I get to keep it.

Lessons my Father Taught Me...several chapters in.  A very interesting biography of Ronald Reagan by his son, Michael.  I was a child during the Reagan era so I remember his voice on the nightly news and the jelly beans on his desk in the Oval Office.  I also remember him campaigning for George Bush in my hometown.  He'd been shot several years prior, and while he was in the basketball stadium there was a loud crack.  He hit the floor, secret service men covered him.  He chuckled as everyone came to realize a balloon on the stage had popped.  It is great to read about this man from the perspective of one of his sons.

Persuasion...barely started.  I love Austen, but I do find books with lots of characters more difficult to pick up in the middle, which is how I read, in short bursts these days, but it is Jane Austen, a favorite.

What are you reading?

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Oven Disaster

So, there was a day this summer that I preheated the oven.  When I opened the oven door to pop the food in, however, there was a white light coming from the element in the bottom of the oven.  I've never see that before, and I don't quite think that an arc welder belongs in my oven.

I closed the door and turned off the oven.  When I checked, the burning had not stop.  I called for the kids to get their shoes, grab Katie's phone, and head for our 'in case of fire' meeting spot.  Thankfully, for some reason, Justin was home early that evening and thought to pull the oven out, as I was going for the fire extinguisher.  He unplugged it, and when we looked again, the fire was out.  Whew!

We debated for a few hours whether to replace the element or the range.  It was a bit of a toss up, not being certain that there was not a problem further back, but I read quite a few stories from people who had the same problem, and it seemed that just replacing the element fixed all of their problems, so it took a few days, but we got our new part and Justin put it in easily.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

P. E.: Climbing

One advantage of home schooling is that we can do things like head to places when they are quieter (when most kids are in school).  We visited the pool one day and we headed to a local climbing gym too.  We have great PE classes!

 Little Bit loves this, though if she looks down it is over.  By the end, she would climb a few feet and then drop, so the auto belay would swing her.

Nate was the first to make it to the top of a wall.

 Gabby climbs at her own pace, but she made some great climbs!
Katie, not to be outdone, also made some summits to the top.

 Justin made his way up on a rainbow climb (using many colored 'rocks' instead of just a single colored path).

I hate heights, but even I got up pretty high, though I climbed my way back down, instead of trusting the auto belay!


Monday, August 20, 2018

Start of School Pics

So, I might be a little late posting it, but here they are!

 Kindergarten!  She is so very excited about this and all it means--AHG, kindergarten at church, and perhaps most of all this book that means she gets to use scissors.

 3rd grade: Nate says this is his favorite book, "Because it is easy."  I guess we all need that thing we just 'get.'  It makes sense this would be his, since he has good dexterity.

6th grade: Latin is still at the top of her list.  I love that she loves it.

8th grade: Of course she has to be upside down!  She picked on of her history books as a favorite.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Funny

We've studied the Revolutionary War and are up to The War of 1812, so I think that is where this is coming from...

Ellie: First, they'll fire them.  That will kill them.  Then they will put them in jail.

* I think maybe we don't quite understand what kill means.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

New School Year

We began our year a couple of weeks ago.  Since Ellie has joined us, we have children from kindergarten up to eighth grade!  I've been staying quite busy!  Ellie thinks that she should be able to do all of her books every day (I bought books like cutting, thinking we would cover that once a week, rotating it with other books, like our reading skills, community helpers, and etiquette books).

Here are our books:

For Katie's 8th grade, we are continuing with Tapestry of Grace for literature and history.  We borrow many of the books from the library, but three of the books I purchased because of their on going use are here: Abraham Lincoln's World, From Sea to Shining Sea, and In the Days of Queen Victoria.  She is also covering Teaching Textbooks: Algebra I.  For Grammar, we are using Grammar for the Well Trained Mind, for both her and Gabby.  They find it challenging, but I do think it is a good challenge.  They are both also doing a Chemistry book.  We've not done much with textbooks in science before, usually using experimentally based or living books, but we are trying this, as we are heading into high school next year.  I also found the Just for Teen Girls: Bible Journal for the older two.  These will only last for the first semester.  I have a pile of books I'm going to choose from in the spring term, but I haven't settled on one yet.

For 6th grade, we are again using Tapestry of Grace, with a mix of the Upper Grammar and the Dialectic level.  I'm especially excited about Les Miserables (it is very abridged, but it is one of my very favorite books).  We also love Story of the World, which we are using with the Tapestry curriculum.  She is also using Christian Kids Explore: Chemistry, Just for Teen Girls: Bible Journal, and Grammar for the Well Trained Mind.  Keeping my students together whenever possible makes it much easier to keep up with everyone!  She is continuing with Spelling Power--we think she will be able to complete the entire book next year.  She is in Teaching Textbooks: Pre-Algebra.  Lastly, she loves Latin, and is going on with Once Upon a Time, in Latin.

 Nate is in 3rd grade this year.  Again we use Tapestry of Grace for literature and history.  He is in the lower grammar level, but I may choose some upper grammar assignments as the year goes on.  He is learning cursive with Handwriting Without Tears, which I used previously, since it is a simple introduction to cursive, without any extra flourishes.  He is in Singapore's Primary Mathematics 3B.  He too is using Spelling Power (though several units behind Gabby).  He has showed a great interest in astronomy, so while I intended to have him join the older two with the chemistry, we are letting him explorer his area of interest instead with Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  We used the text with Katie a number of years ago, but they have since updated it, making it hard to find the workbook.  Thankfully, someone local was selling an unused copy of the workbook.  We didn't quite finish the first Song School Latin last year, so we'll finish it this year before switching over to year two.  His Bible study is My Bible Journal.  It is much less a journal, and more a way to read through sections of the Bible and search for answers, highlighting key verses.  This seemed much more appealing to him than the coloring based journals I had been finding for his age.

Somehow our littlest is ready for kindergarten!  It is hard to believe this is our last trip through these books.  I didn't discover Five in a Row in time for Katie, but they are very much one of my favorites.  So far we have rowed The Story of Ping and Papa Piccolo.  I used the D'Nealian Handwriting with Nate, and thought it was a very good way to teach handwriting, starting with just lines and curves and moving on.  We are using Miquon: The Orange Book for the very first time, for math.  It is very hands on, which I felt would be a good way to start her.  Too bad for the others I hadn't found this one before!  So while Ellie must share me with more people, she does get a more experienced teacher!  Cutting has been one of the things she wanted to do the very most, so I got her a book just for that.  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, is such a great way to teach reading.  She's read a few words with the set sounds she's learned.  The Bob Books are for practice a little later.  My rule for getting a library card, is that the child has to read me a book.  These are perfect for that.  We are having Ellie watch What's in the Bible for her Bible, along with reading The Storybook Bible.  The video was an effort to give her something to do while I gave the older children some undivided instruction, but they all like it too, so sometimes they come out to see it when it is on.

So that's our plan for the year!  So far so good!