Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Return of the Routine


Our support group had our annual back to school picnic this past weekend.   I have to say it was the most fun event we’ve ever had.   The weather was perfect, the group was lively and varied and the activities kept everyone engaged.  There were also some pretty friendly butterflies in attendance.


Sadly, our local public schools have not had a stellar week.  There was a school bus wreck that sent 20 students to the hospital, and the driver had to be airlifted to a major hospital.  One of the local high schools had a fire.   Most frightening was the lockdown of all schools in the county and city as police searched for the WDBJ7 shooter.  It’s definitely been a “glad we homeschool” kind of week.

Academics are going really well, and getting into a normal routine is wonderful for this slight control freak, ahem.

Latin has become a favorite subject, and Lindsey is doing very well with it.   You may recall we tried Latin a couple of years back and had to quit mid-year because it was turning this smiling child into a crying mess.   Taking a couple years off and then getting a different curriculum has made a world of difference!  Olivia is doing well with Latin too, but it was never a struggle for her like it was for Lindsey.

Pre-Algebra came out of the gates full speed, but thankfully Olivia has been able to hold her own so far.  The first test is coming up soon, and I’m hoping the word TEST doesn’t blow her out of the water like it did last year.   The 5th grader is finally past the “review” portion of her math program and is heading into new territory…so far, so good.

Language Arts has been moving smoothly.  Lindsey has finished her first literature selection already.  Olivia is doing well, and is about to start her first book study of the year.  Spelling is also going pretty good, even if the 5th grade words are crazy hard.

Science had to be tweaked a bit.  I’d bought Lindsey a workbook to go with her text book, and it’s DULL.  I decided to do away with the workbook and instead turn to notebooking and it’s been a much more engaging subject.     Olivia is working independently in science, and upon reviewing her work I find that “I can’t think of any” is the go to response when writing original answers in sentence form is required.   The aforementioned child now sees the error of her thinking and I expect a LOT more effort in the future, ahem.

Geography is going slowly.  We’re working our way through the United States a little at a time (again).  Child #2 can not for the life of her remember what country she lives in (I kid you not). 

Olivia is enjoying her typing class.  I thought she was putting in lots of long hours practicing…come to find out she’s found the font color and size buttons.  The majority of her typing time has been spent prettying up the rows of …sss fff jjj    Sigh.

Extra Curricular:

Ballet takes up most of our free time.  Both girls attend lessons 4 days a week.   Nutcracker role announcements and costume fittings begin this weekend.

Guitar is going.   Not necessarily good or bad, but going.  We’ve managed to break one guitar string, and I have yet to be able to figure out how to replace it (it’s an electric).  Piano is still steady on course for both girls.

Overall I’m pleased with our first two weeks of school.  I’m reworking my house keeping schedule to better suite.   How has your week been?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Host a Successful Back to School Co-op/Group Picnic


First of all, let me say I can’t take ANY credit for our support group’s picnic success this year.  We had a couple of creative moms who totally rocked it, so I’m sharing their ideas with you.   (And isn’t the sign absolute greatness?!)

First pick a great location, with lots of wide open spaces, playground and picnic shelter…and pray for a glorious 80 degree, humid free day in August.   A successful homeschool group activity needs fun things that everyone can participate in as a group, or in teams, such as sack races.



A water balloon toss is something that is really more fun the worse you are at it.  This is a great opportunity for bigs and littles to laugh and squeal together.  


This activity MAY turn into a full fledged water balloon battle.   This is GREAT fun.  Just make sure you have everyone help pick up all the little pieces of balloons off the ground when you’re finished.


Involve the dads and the babies….they like being around too.


Allow time for the kids to explore nature and to just play and be kids.






Oh, and yeah, have lots of food.   The menu could be simple like sandwiches/chips/cookies or a hot food potluck, dogs on the grill or even have everyone chip in for pizza. 


After all of the clean up is completed and the day is winding down be SURE to have the parents synchronize their leaving.  Once all the covered dishes and chairs are packed up, then it’s time to announce it’s time to go home   Obviously there will be some folks who have to leave earlier, but it’s often easier for everyone to leave at the same time than to try to pull your family out of the fun that’s happening.  This is especially helpful for the younger kids so that the day ends on a happy note with everyone leaving at the same time.

What helpful tips do you have for large group activities like this?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–The First Week Back

Olivia’s pointe shoes arrived Tuesday and I spent the evening sewing on her elastics and ribbons.  This whole ballet thing has been such a learning experience for me, as well as my dancer’s.


As you can see, she was quick to try them on and give them a test run, grins.


Our first week back to school has been hectic.  Actual academics have gone relatively smoothly, but I’ve been on the go all week with transporting family members to/from doctor and orthodontist appointments, board meetings and of course all those extra curricular activities.  Next week should be more low key (I hope).

In honor of the first day of school, we went out to lunch after our lessons were completed on Monday.  Tuesday was an “on your own” school day, because I was gone.  Wednesday was apparently pajama day as both girls wore pajamas for the majority of the day.  (Yes, that stereotype is completely real.)



Olivia’s main elective this year is typing/keyboarding.  She’s picking up on it pretty quickly.  I’d planned on having her use the freebie computer, but when I hooked it up I realized it’s missing a monitor cable, so I opted to let her use my desk for now.


Every day, right before lunch, this little lady comes to feast on the sunflowers outside our window.   We have had many belly laughs this week watching her eating habits.


See what I mean?


With the start up of school comes the realization that fall and winter are on the way.   We had a huge pile of wood delivered Thursday so we’ll be getting that stacked this weekend.


We had a really good week, despite all the running around and interruptions.   I hope you’ve had a great week too!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Homeschool T-Shirt Sale

Great Products is currently having their annual homeschool t-shirt sale.  Pick any shirt, any size for just $5.99.   There are loads of cool, fun and funky designs to pick from.

Homschool T-Shirt Sale - Regular homeschool tees on sale for $5.99 from Aug. 10 - Sept. 10, 2015








Giveaway:   Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers is giving away a family size order of t-shirts. Pop over to her blog to enter for a chance to win a family pack (2 adults and up to 5 kids)

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Carnival of Animals

This has been a crazy busy week.  33 ballet students came together to learn and perform Carnival of Animals in one week.  The performance will be Sunday, with a live orchestra (a first for most of these dancers).   The dancers and teachers have put in 27 hours at the ballet studio, not including a couple of hours on Sunday and then the performance.  I’m hoping to get photos to share with you.

The most important (to us) news is that Olivia was fitted for her pointe shoes this week!   Regular classes start Monday and the girls are all super excited to start en pointe.

Pointe Shoe Fitting 019

Pointe Shoe Fitting 020

In addition to the crazy ballet schedule, Olivia also had a 10 hour stint at the museum on Thursday.   Both first and second year JLS members spent the day at the museum cooking, playing games and having a barn dance.    First year students (like Olivia) left at 10pm and 2nd year students were allowed to stay and have a sleep over on sight.   Needless to say, Friday morning she was slow moving.

We’re also hosting a back to school bash tonight (Friday) for some of the girls friends.   I’m hoping to have photos of that for next week.

If you’re looking for a fun, low stress art project, check out our Joseph Stella Artist Study from earlier in the week.


This week’s recipe is Mock Egg-Custard Pie.   If you’re looking for a delish way to use up an over abundance of yellow squash, this is the recipe for you!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.

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