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Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week ...

This was what will probably be a typical week for us. I've gotten up each morning for my bike ride and walk after taking Dawson to school, and then come home for a full day of homeschooling with Eli and Brynne. Dawson went to a couple of high school volleyball games (which thrills me that he is getting involved in the social aspect of school) while Eli, Brynne and I enjoyed a quiet night at home. On Wednesday nights, the kids and I walk up to church with a potluck item for dinner before I have handbell choir practice. It is really great to see my little ones interact with the elderly members of our church. Then they get to hang out with my niece, Rylee, in childcare. We go for walks and see lots of family. It's busy, but nice and steady.

In our homeschool this week ...

This has been a yucky week. Tuesday was horrid. As I sit here I don't feel like we did anything! But then when I look at our display wall, I realize that we did lots of storytelling, in written, artistic, and physical form. I had a hard time getting the kids focused because of all of their creative play. We worked all week on a WriteShop Book A writing project called "My Favorite Things." We started with a story web and wrote a "sloppy copy". Then I edited their work and they revised it into a final draft. Then they did illustrations. They wanted 3D characters that they could act out in their illustration, so I helped them cut them out and attach them with yarn.

"I am Brynne. I'm copying the ninja moves from Ninjago at home in the living room. I'm watching the Ninjago shows in order at 12:00 a.m. because I want to be a big girl." Do you notice that in her illustration  she is a princess doing ninja moves? Her 3D illustration is the tornado that the Ninjago characters turn into when they are starting their moves.

"I am Eli. I go under water in the pool at Johanna's house. It's fun at 1:00 p.m. because the sun is brighter. I learned to swim faster."  We used the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How model to come up with our facts. Eli's 3D character is a swimmer.

I realized that they were always asking how to spell the days of the week, so we took a break from All About Spelling this week to learn those words.

We also started back with MEP (Math Enhancement Programme). It has been our Favorite Resource this week and every week we have used it in the past. I have seen tremendous mathematical skills in Brynne as a result of this FREE program. It is a Hungarian model of mathematics and involves problem solving and reason. Most answers are worked out in the head in a puzzle-type fashion. If you are frustrated with your math program, I advise that you give it a try!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share ...

Sometimes even though the planner isn't getting the intended number of checkmarks for completion, much education is happening through free play.

I am inspired by ...

Other blogging moms, both veterans and not. Laurie from Keeping it Simple and Heidi from Home Schoolroom are two of my favorites these days.

Places we're going and people we're seeing ...

Brynne had her first play date this week with a granddaughter of one of my mom's friends (and one of my walking partners). Dawson has hung out with his new friends, Peyton and Aaron. They are going to be great friends. They come in the house and talk with me, and just crack me up with their teenage-boy conversations. We've visited my grandma, visited with my sister and aunt who were visiting, seen my parents and gone to church.

My favorite thing this week was ...

The study of the Fall Equinox we did today, including "Fall Things" Acrostic poems, and our summer/fall tree concertinas.

What's working/not working for us ...

EasyGrammar has been lagging along, so we have made a change.

Questions/Thoughts I have ...

This has to do with my tip above. When should you shut down your kids' creative play to "do school"? This week, they were in the throws of creativity! They spent hours this week drawing "characters" on paper and coloring them, cutting them out, and play acting with them. I was getting ready to get them moving with our assignments today, and then overheard them discussing how to equally and fairly divide 7 of their characters between the two of them. They did some mega learning, but at the expense of our scheduled lessons.

Things I'm working on ...

Balance in our school day. I want to figure out the right length of lessons, a good order of subjects that has us sitting and then up and around in good measure, and a way to get that ever-important read-a-loud prioritized. Is it always a work in progress? (Yes, I know the answer to that.)

I'm reading ...

For over a month I have been reading The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Reading has not been my priority. No wonder it hasn't been in our schooling either.

I'm cooking ...

Easy, kid-friendly food. And I am really watching Brynne's milk intake and making sure she is getting the right amount of fiber. Her tummy is really affected by those things.

I'm grateful for ...

The flexibility to take care of my kids' needs during the day when we are having a bad day. At school, they would have some troubles with a lack of focus. Eli would be toast if he didn't have a very caring, patient, and involved teacher.

I'm praying for ...

Kiley Palmer (please join me). She is the teenaged daughter of one of the homeschooling families in our Coop in Oklahoma. She was diagnosed with leukemia this week and had surgery to install a port for her chemo.

A photo, video, link or quote to share ...

What else has been going on around here?

Linking up with:


  1. First, I am smiling ear to ear! I feel famous. ;)

    Second, great week of learning!

    And last, that "creative play" question gets me all the time. Especially when my boys were younger. I almost felt silly yelling for them to get out of the sandbox (where hours of creative play used to happen) and come "do school". I tend to err on the side of allowing play, but school does need to get done too.

    I will add your friend's daughter to our prayer list.

  2. You guys DID do a lot. I know I always feel inadequate and then when I sit down to write out what we did, I realize we did more than it felt like. I think we homeschool moms have so many ideas swirling in our head, that we just never feel like we do enough.

    Monday was the day I wanted to ship Noodle off to the local school. We all have those days!

    I love the display of fall books!

  3. Some weeks are better than others, but the learning marches on (even if it's learning about patience and attitudes and challenging days). But it sounds that you DID get quite a bit accomplished! I agree about play...although I'll admit that I'm working on NOT interrupting play for school when it's very conductive to learning. Just today my youngest was building with wooden blocks, but I really wanted him to get his MEP done...It turned out that he was building The Spinx from our Ancient Civilizations (SOTW) reading! He went on to tell me all about it...and to think we could have missed this opportunity of engaged, child-led learning!

  4. I blushed when I read your post. That is a very high compliment considering I was inspired by YOU before I even jumped into homeschooling!

    I think our personalities are quite similar and I struggle with reigning in my type-A side constantly. I also went through a schedule adjustment from timed slots to a general to-do list. I am torn daily between starting our school day on time (which is important so my son is fresh for his reading program) and finishing what's on my list and interrupting creative projects. Many things in homeschooling I wish I could just "figure out" but I think you are right, everything from schedules to curriculum probably remains a work in progress as life and your children change over time. You seem to do such a fabulous job adjusting to meet your family's needs.

    Oh, and as a list-lover I find if I put READ ALOUD right on my list I am less likely to skip it to "finish" other things.

    Now I need to add making a summer/fall tree concertina to my list--that's a beautiful project!

  5. Looks like you had a full and wonderful week. I am going to check out that math site you posted seeing as math is our problem subject.

    Take care, Sherry

  6. I agree with everyone else commenting does look like you had a full week, even with whatever frustrations you felt. I understand what you mean about interrupting creative play to "do school". Everyone has to work out what works best for them and for their kids, but I value my girls' creativity and make sure to allow lots of time for it. With that said, though, there are things we need to make time for. I involve my girls in prioritizing and fitting everything into our schedule.

    Thanks for linking up with Favorite Resources :)

  7. I too am grateful that you have "the flexibility to take care of my kids' needs during the day when we are having a bad day. At school, they would have some troubles with a lack of focus. Eli would be toast if he didn't have a very caring, patient, and involved teacher." Believe me I AM!!!!

    1. Thanks, babe. It's an honor and joy teaching your children.


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