Homeschooling Through Transitions: the hard times and the happy ones

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**Originally published February 2016** I enjoy these practical tips, even now, during seasons of what feels like temporary chaos. My children are older now, we have a small farm, and much more on our plate in this season than normal. These have been wonderful reminders for me! Maybe they will help you as well!

My oldest child is soon turning 5 years old (say whaaaaa?).  I am by no means a homeschool expert; I have researched and read since I was 3 months pregnant with my first child, played around with schedules, dreamed of homeschool room ideas, used a few different curricula and tried different learning activities for my two oldest to try and find them the best http://quietinthechaos.com/free-dating-websites-ontario/ so that they don’t miss out on their education.

And still, I am a no expert; I don’t think we become experts until we have graduated at least 1 homeschooled child! Haha

In the last few years we have had several family transitions- 2 babies born, rather large moves (one cross country), and job changes for the husband (one job that meant a LOT of travel)- that means we have “schooled” through some tough changes.

No matter how uncomfortable or scary our changes have been for the kids, I have found that homeschool ALWAYS makes our home feel like, well … home.  After the latest move my daughter told us she didn’t like this rent house, it wasn’t home.  So, as any mama would do I stayed up that night contemplating what would make all the kids (because she was surely expressing what her 2 year old brother was feeling but couldn’t say himself), feel comfortable again, feel at home.

And I almost immediately knew it was school- school, our Bible, reading, activities, learning and working their brains together, that is what made our house home and gave our days intention.  Homeschooling isn’t just school- it is a lifestyle, it is IN the center of our home, of which the central focus is Jesus Christ.

Schooling Through Transitions:

1. Prioritize:

What is most important to your family?  For us it is reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and Bible/read alouds.  My kids are still very young (though my oldest is ambitious), so our main subjects that require “work” are only for the oldest: reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and copywork.

Science and art are on the back burner until the fall, after we move and get settled in the home we are buying.  (I did this because getting out all the things we need for science and art is a mess while living out of boxes, and keeping the  baby hands off of it in a home that is not exactly set up for homeschooling is hard!  But if your children are older and can work independently and more responsibly, then go for it.) 

Also, make sure you are doing work that everyone loves- because otherwise you are less likely to make it work during the transition.

2.  Start earlier than scheduled in the year:

Even year-round schoolers like us take a break and have a specific date in mind for introducing their full-on school year.  When you are expecting a new baby, or making a move, you know school is going to get delayed at some point.  For us, we have always moved school earlier, again prioritizing the most important subjects, and then taken a break when needed (the week OF moving/baby being born) and then slowly gotten back into the groove of things.

3. Get back into routine:

Most homeschoolers I have talked with or asked have said getting back into the routine of school after a big life event is not only comforting, but helps all the kids behavior wise as well. (And that is definitely true in our home!) 

Most kids do well with structure and expectations, so it would make sense that their routine at home helps with behavior and a sense of stability.

4.  Relax:

At this time, it will do everyone good to relax (I know, easier said than done).  We kept a general routine, but some days I had to get meals made for the week or things packed up for a move, so the kids just colored while we talked about the letters they heard in words I called out.  I know mine are young, but this would be okay to do with olders too!  Reviewing math facts, memory work, having them do copy work and art, etc can get you by until things become more formal after your transitions.  The beauty of homeschool is that in general, we can take breaks when needed and always have time to catch back up (there aren’t hours spent standing in lines, taking bathroom breaks, etc so we can do double the work in half the time when we really need to!). 

So breathe, Mama- relax and find learning opportunities in everyday life to make your life easier through this transition!

How does your family school through big life events?

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Friday on the Farm {May 20, 2016}

So this is titles Friday on the Farm … but it is actually Saturday on the farm.

This morning was full of lots of chores- watering the meat chicks in their brooder, weeding the garden, moving the tractor coop to the backside of the fence (the big white horse fence), and prepping everything to put the meat chicks into their tractor coop. This operation is only on a very small scale, but as you can imagine, some chicken farms will have tractors from sites like fastline to keep up with the workload.

I was able to get the meat chicks all caught, put into a box (it took about 5 trips from the brooder to the coop), and unloaded into the tractor coop.

BOY were they some happy little chickens!

meat chicks in PVC tractor coop-may 2016-QuietInTheChaos.com

They are going through 5 gallons of water in about 12 hours! Hopefully that will change since they are now outside where they will get moisture from the ground, grass, air, etc. Their brooder was in the barn tack room … let me tell you that was NOT pretty and I won’t be doing that again. There just wasn’t enough airflow, even with the window, and the ammonia built up SO quickly, I couldn’t keep enough fresh bedding added to it.

The tractor coop, provided they can keep warm, will be MUCH better! They are mostly feathered out, with a few bare spots which they will likely have for some time, as the last meat chickens did. And some still have fuzzy heads… then others are completely feathered out. We will see it goes.

This afternoon after naps, we all loaded up for a trip to Heaven, e-hum, I mean Costco. After we got home the kids played a while outside, then I started my chores.

The big girls gave left me some eggs in their nest boxes. They free ranged all day, and their feeder was empty so I gave them their new feed-which they LOVE! It is a custom, soy free mix. I will give details on that via another post, but I am so thankful to have found a feed mill that makes a custom feed. And inexpensive to boot! Woo hoo! It can also be used to finish the meat chickens off the last 3+ weeks! How great is that?

Egg Chores {QuietintheChaos.com}

I took a few shots of the garden- I can’t take credit for its beauty, other than for choosing the lovely 6 seater patio set;
my husband is the gardener! He gets it tilled, planted, weeded, etc. I just help with a bit of weeding, and of course harvesting. =) The potatoes, bell peppers, and tomatoes are looking great! The asparagus has given us a large harvest this spring, and we have let some go to seed. The peas look like they need a wee bit of help, but I think that is cause we have not weeded much the last week in all this rain.

The Garden May 2016 {QuietInTheChaos.com}

The electric fence has worked out well; one of the calves got out and went straight to the garden. When the fence zapped him he didn’t bother returning. =) It also keeps Thora and Charlie from trampling through it, killing the plants, as they play and romp. The brown box there is full of marigolds my husband started from seed; we will plant them in the garden later, just for some pretty color.

We also have a smaller garden that we have not planted, but is full of strawberries … we had intentions of killing everything in that bed and planting some squash, watermelon, corn, and okra. But all the strawberries are coming in like crazy! So hopefully the hubby will choose to let those be; our oldest is allergic but so far the other two don’t show symptoms of strawberry allergies. =)

After we got the kids in bed, we looked up and saw our Great Pyrenees, Thora, herding the calves from the front pasture, back to their pasture. Apparently they have found a high spot they can easily slide under the fence. She got them all the way to their gate by the time we made it out back. Thankfully they easily went in.

calves 3.5 months old {QuietInTheChaos.com}

You can see they are gaining well! We were hoping to just turn them on grass (you know … cow-newbies and all), but because they need extra protein and carbohydrates you have to feed them feed until a certain weight, or it will stunt their growth and cause other possible problems. I am going to see if my custom chicken feed lady can do a custom cow feed, too!

They are BIG babies- I have finally gotten the big, obstinate brown one to warm up to me. Now he begs for rubs and scratches; they both like to be brushed and will take scratches anywhere you are willing to give them! That shorter black one, Ketchup, is my buddy though. He has never been scared of us and is super friendly. (Yes, I love my cows. No, it won’t be hard to send them to butcher next year to feed my family).

After that, my husband rigged up the heat lamp in the tractor coop for the meat chicks. Really they are a week or so too young to go out, so we are just praying for a good outcome. But I couldn’t handle them being in that brooder any longer! It was just too much extra work and thus wasn’t fun for me, and didn’t seem like the healthiest option for them starting out. So, he hung a heat lamp that we will keep on at night, and plug into the barn. There is also a tarp acting to protect them from wind and rain. It is supposed to be warm the next 2 weeks (80 degrees and above) but of course, rainy!

meat chicks in tractor coop May 2016 (with heat lamp) www.Quietinthechaos.com

I think he has decided to get some more metal panels and place around 3 side of the coop so we can just start brooding them in the coop and no need to worry about wind/rain/etc.

My new laying chicks don’t even have a blog post yet! Aaaah! They’re already 3 weeks old, and feathering out nicely. We lost 2 of them-1 barred rock, and 1 rhode island red, right after they arrived. I quickly moved them into the garage where I could better control the airflow and temperature-they are brooding in a big (empty) metal water tank. They have done much better ever since. We have not been handling them very much, but starting this next week I think we will- I just didn’t want to stress them and lose anymore babies. But they seem more sturdy now, and they need to start earning their names!

So, that is pretty much it for today. This week J.Tom cut the yard and my walking path around the pasture. Gotta get back to regularly exercising before it is time to have this baby! (8 more weeks til due date!) I worked on getting what seemed like 25 loads of laundry done- Oh my goodness I am ready for sunshine again- I need my clothes line back! It makes things so much simpler.

The pond is full, with spring rain! {QuietintheChaos.com}

Thanks to the tons and tons of spring rain, we have a full pond, blooming flowers, growing garden, and happy animals. So, it has been a beautiful, blessed week on the farm!

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Preparing for Labor Naturally

For this pregnancy and labor, I did some things I have done before to prepare, but I also added in a few new natural ways to stay healthy.

Natural, healthy labor and delivery

We all know it is so important to stay (or get) healthy during pregnancy. Here are a few things I did for this pregnayc, labor and delivery.

    • Third Trimester Tea– Beginning in my third trimester I started drinking *a lot* of Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Third Trimester Tea. I like the taste, and drank anywhere from 1-4 cups a day.
    • Get plenty of rest– I got plenty of sleep. My husband joked about how I was in bed 18 hours out of the day … it is quote possible I was. I slept from 8:30 until 7 in the morning (most days), took naps when my children did (for 1-3 hours, and laid down in bed at 7 when the kids went down. This was mostly because I couldn’t sit comfortably with a baby in my ribs, but I probably would have slept that much anyway!
    • Exercise– honestly, I didn’t exercise this pregnancy like I did with my others. When I had the time I didn’t have the energy. I know exercise gives you more energy, but not when you have first trimester nausea and extreme exhaustion, or can barely move in the third trimester. I did walk to the park a lot with the kids, and in my second trimester I did quite a bit of at home work outs. But nothing as intense or regular as my first two pregnancies.
    • Eat well– Eating lots of healthy fats won’t make you fat (unless you coat them in sugar…). Healthy fats help every part of your body and baby’s development. From brain function to hormone production, healthy fats like organic farm raised eggs, avocado, coconut oil, grass fed butter, and natural peanut butter, make for a healthy pregnancy and baby! I ate a *lot* of eggs, and still do.
    • Fermented Drinks and Foods– Fermented drinks like water kefir and Kombucha are so good for your gut and immune system; they are especially beneficial to baby’s gut and developing immune system. I drank lots of kombucha with mint this summer, and we enjoyed our homemade fermented kraut, kimchi, and veggies all summer as well.
    • Cod Liver Oil, Iron, and Folate– I personally chose not to take a pre natal vitamin. I made this decision because typical prenatals are full of synthetic vitamins that the body does not absorb or process well. And also, because I couldn’t find one I liked with folate instead of folic acid. Typically though, my friend recently showed me a supplement similar to this l-methylfolate 15 mg, which includes folate. Anyway, I’m not getting pregnant again to try it, haha! So, folic acid is the synthetic, man made version of folate. Folate is the actual supplement you need for baby’s development- not synthetic folic acid. So I chose to take a pure folate supplement, and raw liver pills I made at home. I am always anemic, and most iron supplements cause constipation and are not readily absorbed in the body. I chose to buy grass fed, organic beef livers (from a local source I know and *trust*) and cut them into pills. I froze them on a cookie sheet and stored in the freezer for a few weeks. Then I took a few of them at a time, frozen, when I felt I needed an iron boost. The last supplement I took was cod liver oil, because of all the healthy benefits it provides through vitamins A and D.
    • Gentle Birth Formula– I will say, I believe this had the BIGGEST impact on labor and delivery for me. My water broke at 2:30pm, active labor/my contractions started at regular intervals 4 minutes apart, at 4:00pm. When I got to the hospital at 6:00pm I was 5-6cm! This has NEVER happened to be before; I have longer (12+hours) labors. This baby was born at 9:49, and was here in 4 pushes. It was seriously a 5 hour labor start to finish, from the beginning of contractions. And though I did cave and get an epidural at 7 cm, until that point labor was very manageable; not fun, but manageable. I truly believe this tincture helped my body prepare for labor. *it does have blue cohosh in it, but you can purchase the tincture without it*
    • Water, Water, Water!-I think it speaks for itself, but lots of water! I keep two bottles in the fridge and down one at a time; when one is empty I refill it and start on the other.

And that’s it! Those are the things I did this pregnancy to prepare my body for labor and delivery, and have a healthy baby. What do you do to prepare your body for pregnancy, labor, and delivery?

Disclaimer: I am NOT a health professional and this is not health advice. Please talk with your doctor/midwife before making medical and health decisions.

Weekly Wrap Up: September 6, 2014

{written week of September 6, 2014} Lexie has been very excited about learning time- she loves our “learning time books” (Sonlight read alouds) and doing her activities.  I had planned to sorta put school on the back burner these last few weeks before baby, but she is having no part of that This week Lexie (4) has been working on:

  • reading with AAR (she is doing great!) and sight words
  • writing numbers 1-10 with Singapore and identifying more difficult shapes (soon to be 3d shapes)
  • fine motor skills/writing & strokes HWOT
  • Bible, read alouds, and science with Sonlight
  • Bears lapbooks (she wanted to learn about bears)
  • we have also been playing with play do and Sands Alive for fine motor and creativity
  • writing words- she has “writing books” her daddy brings her from each country he visits.  She has been practicing writing out words phonetically.  It is amazing what she can write!  very proud of her

Max has also become VERY interested in our “learning time books,” aka read alouds.  He likes to climb in my lap and read with us, which is great.  He even retold a story (kinda..) to his daddy when he got home the other night.  He is also learning his shapes and we are still working on his letters.  For his birthday, my Granny got him this ABC puzzle by HAPE Toys; we *love* this puzzle because it allows him to manipulate the letters (standing them up, etc).  It is wonderful for tactile learners.  I hope to start Before Five In A Row with him after Christmas- I think he will really enjoy the stories and activities.

 

Enjoying AAR

Playing letter sound BINGO- part of AAR Level 1

Overall it has been a wonderful last few weeks in our homeschool, before we add another tiny human to our home!

Pregnancy Update- 39 weeks {last days as a family of 4}

Yes.  Hello there!  Coming at yah (still) 39 weeks 4 days pregnant.  Sunday the 14th will be 40 weeks.

39 weeks

one day I will be glad I posted this picture …

I will be honest, I didn’t think I would be pregnant this long, y’all.  I was sure baby would be here by now …  and I am trying VERY hard to be patient.  It is difficult, but the last few days I have felt better.  The baby has dropped so my ribs don’t feel like they are about to break in a million pieces anymore.  After 18 weeks of excruciating rib pain, that makes being pregnant a little more bearable.  I am also trying to savor the last days with my two oldest.

I’ve been having lots of contractions for the last week- and I don’t think they’re braxton hicks.  They tend to be painful & some nights I wake up thinking “oh, this is it!” … and it’s not.  They continue 5-10 minutes a part for hours and then just stop.  With baby dropping and evidence that I maybe have dilated a bit, I am encouraged that baby will be here before 41 weeks, but OH I hope it is sooner!  haha

I’ve been doing different exercises from Spinning Babies website to help get everything in balanced and in position; if there is no baby by tomorrow morning, I am probably going to run to my chiro and get adjusted.  Maybe that will get things going.

My doctor appointments have been fine- baby’s heart rate is good (140s), fundus height is measuring perfectly, my blood pressure is good, yadda yadda.  I had one pelvic exam at 37 weeks, but I won’t have anymore until labor.  Oddly, I saw a different doctor this week (my dr just didn’t have appointments I guess) and he said they don’t usually do an exam every week unless mom requests it.  In my experience all pelvic exams do is burst my baby-birthing bubble, because I never dilate or thin/soften much before labor anyway, they’re painful, and having a “stretch and sweep” has never resulted in me going into labor.  Baby will get here when baby gets here.

Thankfully, it seems they don’t push a lot of medical intervention here unless necessary, so I am hopeful the doctor will let me get to at least 41 weeks before he talks about induction.  The head of labor and delivery said they really encourage mom to walk around and move to labor, vs laying in bed (that’s a welcome change to what I had in AR!), you can have a nurse with you most of the time if you want (which I don’t…), and they will massage your back, hips, etc during labor!  (sweet!). So, I am looking forward to that part I think.  There are perks to delivering in a small town with more nurses than patients.  =)

I have been “nesting” I guess.  J.Tom cleaned out and organized the garage a few weeks ago, on Labor Day he helped me get all the light fixtures and fans down & cleaned, he dusted all the door frames and doors, and vacuumed the stairs.  He helped me get the curtains hung and the glider put in the nursery from downstairs.  I have all the baby clothes (boy and girl) clean and put away, and bought some newborn diapers for the weeks before we start cloth diapering.  The kids did the footprint paintings for the nursery- I’m not crazy about them, but it will do for now.  After baby comes and we finally settle on a name, I may make a wooden name for the nursery wall, but I am not sure yet.  We are all trying to keep the house semi-picked up and clean so there isn’t much to do once baby is here (aka, I can let it all go!).  The freezer is pretty full and the pantry is stocked.  Hopefully we are ready!

Then, the dog has gone into heat … so that is fun!  I am hoping that ends quickly!  She is wearing Lexie’s left over pull ups.  But, she is driving me nuts!  She is so … anxious.  And worrisome.  Poor girl, but we have done a lot of reading and just don’t feel comfortable spaying her this young.  JTom explained to Lexie that Charlie needed the diaper because she was ready to have pupppies, but mommy and daddy don’t want her to have puppies.  She didn’t ask about anything else, so we left it at that.. *whew* I expected a million questions like everything else …  Glad that didn’t happen!

There it is, our 39 week update.  Hopefully there won’t be a need for a 40 week update!  =)  We shall see …

Here are a few pictures from our last days (week) as a family of four!

last days as a family of 4

adventures!

last days as a family of 4

bubbles with Charlie!

last days as a family of 4

My little (tom-boy) lady

last days as a family of 4

wrong way!

last days as a family of 4

riding while daddy washes cars

last days as a family of 4

*aaah*

last days as a family of 4

York Children’s Museum

last days as a family of 4

driving on a “long trip” @ York Children’s Museum

last days as a family of 4

Cowboys!

 

Next time there will be three babies in our pictures!  =)

Preschooler {3 yrs old} and Toddler {23 mo old} Summaries

(Written Thursday, August 28, 2014)

17 days until baby wright #3 should be here (September 14th) … of course it could be more or less than that, only the baby and God know the plan.  I talked with my very sweet friend that is going to have Bug and Mister while I labor, and it feels good to know my babies will not only be safe and taken care of, but that someone else is praying about this for me.  God knows our circumstances, and theirs and we know He will send baby on when the time is right.

I woke up this morning, about 2:30am, to more storms.  We have had a TON of rain here the last 10 days, so much the trail and parks we enjoy most are flooded terribly.  (Good thing we decided not to have the birthday party at those parks, just in case in rained).  I couldn’t go back to sleep so I hopped in the shower and am drinking my first cup of coffee since July 2nd.  I quit coffee, mainly because I like it with cream and I am doing no dairy for baby, so this is really nice even if it is with rice milk.

I can’t believe that next week  my babies will be four and two years old!  I will begin with Lexie’s summary.

birthday dress

Proud of her birthday dress

To say Lexie is vibrant, happy, and full of silliness is an understatement.  She loves to play in her dressy dresses, go “camping” with Max, and read books (all. day. long).  She is currently reading the Bob Books: Advanced Beginners books.  You can read a bit more about that Here.

She enjoys our learning time together, helping me bake, and playing downstairs.  Of course outside is usually her very first choice of play time, especially if it involves water.  Developmentally, her language is amazing.  Her fine motor (writing) skills are improving, and her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.

If there is anything I can say about being a parent for the first time, it is that you can definitely go with your gut.  Lexie has always been very social, but despite being in daycare and Mother’s Day Out when we lived in Arkansas, she was/is still very introverted in a group.  Whether it is at daycare, library story time, or gymnastics, if it wasn’t her close friends and family, she wanted to sit by the grown up in charge and watch (she is my people watcher!) or play mostly by herself.  Today, she starts out that way in a new setting, but quickly warms up!  And just a few weeks ago at the neighborhood block party she jumped right into the festivities without needing us to encourage her at all!  My point is- we have never rushed her.  We did not push her to stay the night with family before we felt she was ready, participate in things she didn’t feel comfortable with, and here she is learning within her OWN boundaries how to feel confident.  There are definitely rules to raising an introverted child, and being an introvert myself I understand her insecurities and what makes them “flare.”

I love watching her grow and change, but am very sad my baby is almost four and not such a baby anymore.

Lexie and Max are sleeping in the same room now; it is going surprisingly well!  Hopefully it continues to go well after baby arrives …  Lexie wakes some nights needing to go potty, and sometimes that wakes Max up, but in the last few weeks he has gotten used to her being in the same room and he sleeps through it.

He naps in his crib from 12:15-2:30/3:00.  J.Tom comes home for lunch and Lexie spends that time with him; at about 12:45 she goes downstairs and has “rest time” on the bed down there.  She is allowed her books on the bed with her but must be quiet.  She does pretty good with it.

As for Max Payne, well he is a little “stinky pot,” as he calls himself.  He is TT potty trained; we are still working on poopy, which he usually does after he wakes up at nap time, but some days that isn’t the case.  I am not sure he has distinguished between having gas and needing to potty, or if he is just a bit afraid of using the potty?  Either way, he will get there and we have aaaall winter inside to get it down!  haha  In the mean time, we are down to using 2 diapers a day (nap and night time) and that makes this mama a happy camper!

He does and says everything big sister does.  Everything.  They are a mess together and I am thankful they are such good friends (for now..) and pray we can continue to foster that relationship as they grow.  He can identify many of his letters, but not all.  He just hasn’t been interested in learning them like Lexie was, and if there isn’t interest it just isn’t going to happen.  So I haven’t been pushing it.  He loves to count and read nursery rhymes.

Oddly, he isn’t a big fan of messy play or crafts.  He gets most interested in painting, but even that doesn’t hold his attention long.  He would rather be driving trucks and engines around on the floor and furniture.  =)  Or playing in water.  The boy still loves water, and being outside.  He and Lexie will spend what seems like hours downstairs playing pretend together.

At this point (well, for a while now), he is jumping with two feet, climbing everything he can get a foot on, and LOVES to bounce on the trampoline.  “Dog dog” is his buddy- poor Charlie girl puts up with a lot from Max!  He refuses to say Charlie, although we know he can.  She is just “dog dog” for now.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  =)

Best Buddies

loving on his “dog dog”

His personality has just blossomed in the last 6-8 months- he is funny, rowdy, and so sweet.  He and Lexie are both obsessed with their Daddy, and we are so thankful we have had this summer home with him.  It has been wonderful watching him do nap time with Lexie during his lunch hour every day, and eating dinner with him every night.

The Bears (that’s the boys, per Lexie) spend time together every night when Daddy gets home, just rough-housing and being “bears.”  Lexie gets a bit jealous; she is very much her daddy’s girl and wants to join them, but she loves to laugh at them and their silliness.  We try to encourage her to let daddy and Mister have bear time.  Both of them are super snuggly and I think they will do great with Baby #3!

 

 

 

 

trip to the county fair

petting the “baby cow” at the fair

enjoying the cool mornings

enjoying the cool mornings and teaching Max to swing

 

enjoying the cool mornings

Silly babies!

I really can’t believe we will be a family of 5 soon- Lexie and Max will both be such good big siblings.  *feeling blessed*

Weekly Wrap Up: July 11, 2014

The last week we have finally gotten back into a routine form our travels to AR and TN. We got all the hard stuff (unloading, unpacking, laundry, etc) done the afternoon we got home and madly did it pay off! We had the rest of that week to menu plan, get groceries, pay bills, and just get things back in order. The last thing we want to do is find payday loans in Texas, United States. However, if we have too, we will.

The following week we started back on our learning time routine. We did a quick review and a lot of playing. We have spent all morning, every morning, outside playing in the back yard, playing in the pool, eating apples, and playing with the dog. It has been wonderful!

Here are a few snaps I managed to take during this week:

Lexie found a picture of blocks in the back of her Highlights magazine and she wanted to build what they were building. I helped her with a few pieces- but I was amazed at how well she would perceive what they had done. Some of these were HARD!:

building blocks {Quiet In The Chaos}

We have read more books this summer than I think we did while stuck inside last winter. Mister has really become obsessed with reading books, and of course Bug wants to (read or) be read to all the time.

reading together {Quiet In The Chaos}

 

My children *love* to be outside- we spend most of our time outside when the weather permits. Lexie had a great idea when she wanted to combine their love for books with the great outdoors!

reading in their

 

Our sweet Charlie girl:

Charlie Our Springer Spaniel {Quiet In The Chaos}

Charlie Our Springer Spaniel- 11 months old, July 2014

 

As you know, we *love* the free and fun curriculum from This Reading Mama (we use it with our AAR). Here, Lexie is working on her new sight word, “me.”

Sight Word

The week wouldn’t be complete without baking something yummy. We made (whole wheat, NO refined sugar) chocolate muffins. Lexie just had to lick the spoon. =)chocolate muffins {Quiet In The Chaos}

Last week was a lot of fun- during all this fun, we also started potty training Max. I do have some SUPER cute pictures of that, but they’re probably not appropriate for the blog. haha

Monday the painter comes to paint Lexie’s room; then the kids will start sharing a room! *so scary* Just praying they get used to each other and sleep through the night fine. Lexie wakes up needing to potty and sometimes with night terrors, so that could be a problem. After Mister’s room (aka the nursery) the nursery is painted, I can begin decorating, organizing, and playing in the nursery. YAY! Eight More weeks until baaaby!

 

Pregnancy Update: 20 weeks

Last week we went to the doctor for our 20 week ultrasound.

Everything looks good- baby is a little above average on size, but really that is hard for even an ultrasound to know at this point.  Heart rate was 154 consistently and baby was super squirmy.  S/he was also very shy, covering their face and booty- not only could we not see the facial features but the tech couldn’t find out what gender baby was; legs were crossed at the ankles and hands were on the face the entire time.  In this picture you can see baby’s hand, and profile.  We will get another ultrasound at about 30-34 weeks.  Apparently our doctor likes to do ultrasounds twice- once in the middle, and once towards the end.

19w2d ultrasound

I am feeling good.  Some days I am up a few pounds, other days I am down a few pounds.  So I am still going with no weight gain?  =)  Belly is much bigger, and baby is kicking, moving all over the place and gets the hiccups a lot!  Lexie had hiccups all the time- I don’t remember Max getting them.  I just remember how often Lexie got them, and it was what seemed like all. the. time.

We are excited to still not know the gender.  We both almost caved the day before the scan, but decided we definitely do not want to know.  Our to do list for before pregnancy is sloooowly getting smaller.  Very, very slowly.  I am not sure that we will get bunk beds built, because A) I still want Max in his crib, and B) I don’t think JTom will have time to build them anyway, with all our projects and his traveling.  So, they will probably just share a crammed bedroom for a while.  I am okay with that.

In typical second-trimester style, I have more energy than I did during the first 13-15 weeks trimester.  I do have days that I am wiped out, but overall feel good.

So … yea.  That’s it for the half way point.  Yay!

Sonlight P4/5: What I think so far

After I wrote this post , I did a lot of praying, thinking, re-googling and reading, and a lot more praying.

The next morning I woke up, and began purchasing what we need for Sonlight P4/5 for next year.  Between Sonlight, Amazon, and eBay I got everything we need, plus supplemental materials, for less than the package from SL.  This is important to our family; we try to live on a budget and I needed homeschool for this year to fit into that budget.

Sonlight P 4/5 review Part 1

I don’t know if we will go with SL in the future?  I don’t know if it will (mostly) fit what I want for my kids as they get older, but I do know after looking in the instructor’s guide for P4/5, it will fit us perfectly this year!

In the Instructor’s Guide, I am excited to see (and wasn’t expecting):

  • extra activities, cognitive and hands on, that we can add into our lessons and Max can be included
  • room to write in other activities- like our extra memory work, math lessons, etc
  • character traits to focus on that go with the week’s memory verse (LOVE character lessons in this house)

I went back and ordered the binder and tabs.  The tabs (which are weekly) can’t be found elsewhere up to week 36, and the binders have their own reputation for holding up well.  I also bought extra color-coding stickers for our book spines, because I plan to add more books into our reading.  (I may get their P3/4 sticker labels for our BFIAR books, so I can organize them as well for Max later.)  We read a lot.  But what I like about adding in our own selections is that we can read them as quickly or as slowly as we want, and it just adds more great literature.

There are a few titles that I am super excited about; the The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature is one of them!  I think that will fit nicely with our Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects we will add in on our own, and nature studies.

Another title I think will be fun is the audio CD of American Tall Tales.  We love books on CD, and this looks like a great one.  We have the stories that go along with these in our book of Children’s fairytales and fables, A Treasury of Children’s Literature, though Sonlight doesn’t actually call for the physical books for them.

Now, I just have to structure out our extra memory work (poems), All About Reading, and Saxon math lessons into our schedule, and we will be ready to go!  Well, I also have to decide when we will begin, because with baby #3 coming in September, we will need to start early (probably August); but I also like the idea of just taking the month before baby to do nothing but spend time with the kids outside and hold the structure off until after baby comes.  Who know what we will do!  =)

Have you used Sonlight P4/5 in your homeschool?  Are you using something else?  Please share in the comments!

 

Spring is here! {2014}

{pictures March 28, 2014, on an oddly wind-free morning!}

This winter, Lexie learned to swing all by herself!  And, she can actually go pretty high…  Then I convinced her (why, oh why?!) to jump out!  She is very proud of herself.

Spring day play

 

Max learned to climb to the top of the swing set by himself this winter.  We will spend the spring learning how to climb down ….  haha

 

 

Max enjoying the warm morning

Look!  Green grass!  (and a sweet, worn out dog.)

 

 

 

Charlie enjoying the spring day

Are you spending time outside this spring?

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