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Weekly Wrap-up ~ It Seemed to be Mostly About Nature

In our regular life this week…

I started off my week in Portland, Oregon, visiting my brother, sister-in-law and sweet baby niece, Bell. My parents and I had a great time getting to know our newest little family member. Rick took the kids on a special weekend back to Oklahoma to visit friends and have some fun staying in a hotel. Kyndal and Dawson also went back to Oklahoma to visit some of their friends and to go to their orthodontist appointments on Monday. Everybody made it back home by Monday (me at 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning).

After we all recuperated from our fun-filled weekend, we spent the rest of the week doing the norm ... church on Wednesday night and relaxation on Thursday night and tonight. It's been very cold, so snuggling in at home has been a necessity.

In our homeschool this week…

Tuesday was an educational computer and iPad app day since I was recovering from my weekend away. We got back into the full swing of things on Wednesday. We are now reviewing some new products for the Schoolhouse Review Crew in the areas of math, spanish, and science, so we are working hard. So far we have learned some new phrases and songs in spanish, are working on double-digit addition (our MEP mental math skills are certainly coming in handy), and have started learning about zoology in science.

Of course we are reading every day. Eli finished a graphic novel today and Brynne is almost done reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Eli is starting his very first REAL chapter book (not a graphic novel) next week. He chose Captain Underpants. Our current read-aloud is The Storm by Cynthia Rylant.

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

On Thursday we started a brand new co-op! We have been eagerly anticipating this opportunity and it did not disappoint. It is a larger co-op than the one in Oklahoma, and the kids attend enrichment classes instead of just having social opportunities (in Oklahoma they went to PE and music for co-op). Eli and Brynne are in the same class and are taking "Holidays Around the World" (geography) and "Water World" (science .. studying animals of the oceans). We will attend classes for 8 weeks. I am assisting in their classes.

My Favorite Resource this week was…
Our spanish curriculum we are reviewing is a big hit so far! I have caught the kids singing the songs provided (which I think is the point) and they have looked forward to working on it each day. They even want to go back and review songs that are not on that current day's lessons.

My kiddos' favorite thing this week was…

going to the park for a nature outing. We intended to spend our time collecting rocks for our rock observation worksheet (and we did collect rocks). But once there, the interest turned to the ice on the lake. We spent well over an hour trying to break the ice with a stick ...

having a sweetgum competition, to see who could throw them the furthest ...

observing things trapped in the ice ...

and watching geese walk on the ice ...

They were also pretty certain that the Snowy Owl had made it's appearance in Missouri. (It hadn't.) But, they thought all the evidence was there.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share ...

Don't create a dead-set schedule with no room for flexibility (unless you are a schedule control freak who cannot operate otherwise ... I am a reformed schedule control freak, so I can relate). However, our school days are SO MUCH BETTER now that we move around a lot, change up our subjects a lot, and do the unexpected. You never know what's going to come up, so we like to be flexible so we can fit things in we hadn't planned. This week, at co-op, the kids were given an "optional" notebooking page for Australia. They don't have to do it, but if they do they can earn prizes. Since they love geography, we added it to our schedule today and removed handwriting and a couple of other small things. We'll just pick back up with those things next week. No big deal.

Things I’m working on…

My ideas for my garden this spring and how I will incorporate it into our schooling for science. We are planning to use Square Foot Gardening as a curriculum. I cannot wait!

I’m grateful for…

the sacrifices that my husband has made and is making so that the kids and I can live the way that we are. I feel like he has taken on all of the burden of our circumstances and left me free to continue living the way that makes me and the kids happy. We miss him and know that the next couple of years will be difficult. But, I try to remember that it's only for a short time in the grand scheme of things, and we will be together soon and all the better for it. I hope that I never forget to tell him how grateful I am each and every day for him and his provision for our family.

I rewarded my kids this week by…

having some fun at the park, even though it was cold. And, Yes, I was there too!

Things you might have missed at Journey to Excellence ...

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

This little turkey let her daddy pull her tooth about as soon as he saw it. I had been trying to get her to let me pull it for about two weeks. It's funny, though, because she has lost each of her two teeth the TWO times I have been to Portland to visit my brother.

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


  1. Sounds like a great week. Hope you guys have a good weekend.

  2. HI Nicole -- I'm glad you got to see your brother - sounds like you had a great time.

    Everyone's posts today are depicting a lot of COLD weather. I wish we would get just a little bit of snow or ice --- please....

    Happy weekend!

  3. I love reading Aout your week. I'm sorry you whole family isn't together, but love your attitude about it. Yay for a new great coop. Sounds great. And....Glad you were there too ;)

  4. Ohhhh, Captain Underpants. I remember when Gage discovered that series. Brings back memories of what doesn't seem so long ago. (I'm in this phase where I get a little depressed when I think about how fast the kids have grown.)

    Always love peeking at your week. You manage everything so well.

  5. I second the advice to relax in your schedule enough to be open to unexpected opportunities! I, too, am a reformed schedule control freak, and we're all a lot happier now that I don't schedule every 15 minutes!

    Love the nature time at the park, too.

  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been a BIG part of our reading together time here with my youngest! He's NEVER asked to be read to until he started really getting into them around Christmas! Now he knows where the books are in the library and runs to get a new one each time we're in the library. (He can read them, mostly, but prefers ME to read them to him.) And Captain Underpants! Definitely interesting for most boys! LOL

    We started our gardening with Square Foot Gardening. Love that they have a unit study on it! I think you'll find it an easy way to learn about gardening! Keeping a garden journal is very helpful too.

    Cute toothless grin! LOL Love those!

  7. Portland? again? really? lol, I wont take it personal as I know how squeezing in family visits can be...BUT if you ever have a spare 20 min for tea/coffee I would drive the 20 min to meet you... just sayin' ;')
    square foot gardening is fabulous, lol, i try every year in some sort of way, but I do not have a green thumb so it always kind of bombs. Hoping my homeschool buddy across the street w/ the amazing garden will give me tips this spring *giggle, snort*
    Great nature pics!!!

  8. Holidays around the world sounds like a lot of fun. And hooray for flexibility. We had some unusual snow in our area this week and all of our plans went out the window when that showed up. lol

  9. Fabulous week, Nicole! Glad you got to visit with your niece. Our co-op starts back up on the first - we are pretty excited!

    We are loving the Spanish review item too! The songs are catchy and some are the same tune as the songs in the Latin program.

  10. Wonderful week. We threw our schedule out the window also. As long as we cover a portion in each subject each week I'm happy. Progress is our goal, even if it is at a slow pace.


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