Friday, September 21, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - Post Hurricane Week

Sunday night into mid day Monday is when we had the heaviest rains from Florence.   County schools in our area were closed all day, city schools closed mid-day when they realized roads in the city were getting blocked by water.  Even the museum where Lindsey works had to close due to the flooding.  There was damage in our area, but thankfully nothing like they had originally told us to expect.   My heart goes out to those in the Carolina's who were hit with the worst of the storm.

Olivia's art project from last week was completed after my wrap up had gone live, so I saved it for this week.   Her assignment was to use watercolors, only blue and recreate a photograph.   She really thought outside the box, and this was her final project.  The photo does not do it justice.

Monday was not a "rain day" for us.   We had our regular lessons and each girl worked ahead a little bit to make the rest of the week lighter.   Olivia was supposed to have a volleyball game in the evening, but that was postponed until Wednesday night because of the rains.

Tuesday was just a normal day of school work for us.  The city schools went back, but county schools were still closed.  This meant Lindsey's volleyball in the evening was cancelled.   Olivia however still had her game (she plays for a private school).

Wednesday morning the new appliance repair guy came to look at my washer.  In just a few minutes he had it working, and it only cost me $59.   Much better than the other guy who said I needed a new machine.    Now I'm wondering if last year's refrigerator debacle could have been avoided.   Needless to say, I have a new appliance repair guy now.    The girls got their work done early and we met friends from our old co-op at 1pm to go bowling. 
Our evening was a bit rushed.   Olivia's volleyball game started at 5pm, and both Tom and I had to be at church by 7pm for the classes we teach.   Thankfully the game went smooth and quick and they finished by 6:30pm, so we were able to get where we needed to be.

Thursday I got to do laundry!  You might think this is nothing to be excited about, but I had to go to the laundromat last week and it cost me $12 to wash 4 loads of clothes...and they smelled funny after wards....shudder.   I was happy to have laundry day at home.   The girls got their schoolwork done pretty early and Olivia took a nap....this does not bode well.  I dropped her off at 3:30 to ride the team bus to her away volleyball game.  We all drove over to the game as soon as my husband got in from work.

Friday I dropped Lindsey off to work early.  They had several school groups in during the day and they had a barn dance with the kids.  Lindsey loved this part of her day.   I picked up groceries and let Olivia sleep in until I got home.   Once she was awake and functional, Olivia finished up her work for the day.   They had volleyball practice from noon - 3pm, which was odd/different.   While everyone was gone I worked on mowing our yard since there was finally a break in the rain and the grass is ridiculously high.

We've got a crazy busy weekend with volleyball (I'm coaching again), Olivia has an archery contest and then we're heading to my sister-in-laws house for "Mexican night".

Have a great weekend!
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - Week of the Hurricane

These weekly posts seem to come faster and faster.   It's hard to believe we've finished up our fourth week of the "new" school year.  I guess it's not new at this point, but it sure feels like it.

Our church hosts a huge children's/teens consignment sale twice a year, and this week is the "Winter" sale.   Lindsey put in 8 hours of childcare time on Sunday, and I worked a couple of hours in the evening inspecting items and getting things moved out to the sale floor.

Monday Olivia provided childcare from 9am - 2pm.   Lindsey and I dropped her off and then hit the grocery store to stock up on extra bottled water, allergy medicines and dog food in preparation for the hurricane.   That doesn't sound like a lot of preparation, but I typically keep 3 months worth of supplies on hand (canned foods, bottled water, hygiene items and toilet paper).   I just rotate through so nothing gets wasted/expires, but we've always got extra on hand, just in case.    We came home from stocking up and Lindsey knocked out her school work.   She took over the child care at 2pm to allow Olivia time to get home and get ready for her volleyball game.  Although this was the 5th game of the season, it was the first game in their division.   They dropped the match by a hair for their first "official" loss.   The official Hurricane Florence hullabaloo began for our area.  At the end of today we were being told by forecasters there would be "catastrophic flooding and damage" in our area.
Tuesday we were home all day with the exception of volleyball in the evening.   Olivia's volleyball team played her old team.   This was one of the best volleyball matches!!   Varsity plays best 3 our of 5.   We took game 1 and 3, the other team took games 2 and 4.   Game 5 only plays to 15 and it was a real nail biter.   Our girls were able to hold on and win in the end.  It was especially gratifying for Olivia to beat her old team (sorry if you think that's wrong, but there were reasons she decided not to play there again this year.)   I continued to monitor the weather situation.   At the end of today we were being told 10-12 inches of rain instead of the 24-30 inches predicted yesterday..

Wednesday we awoke to find that the storm had "shifted" and now our area is looking at "only" 2-4 inches of rain instead of the original 30+ inches they were saying.     Homeschool day at the museum was officially rescheduled to later in the week and workshops for the JLS kids for Saturday have been cancelled.  Our washing machine (less than 3 years old) decided to go wonky on me.  The sensor that tells it when the water level has been reached stopped working.  Thankfully I was home and working in the basement on something when I realized the water should have cut off and hadn't.   Crisis averted!   The repairman I called researched and said he thinks it'll be too expensive to fix.  I disagree, since I've had it less than 3 years. I'll be researching how to fix it myself.   Volleyball practice was from 4-6pm, then church at 7pm.    Things are looking up with the storm, we're down to 6-10 inches of water in our forecast.

Thursday morning the husband called to tell me that his work is closed Friday-Sunday and possibly Monday because of the storm.   Two hours later he called back to say they are working Friday now, and Monday won't be decided until Sunday night.  Crazy.     We headed out to the chiropractor then picked up regular groceries.     The outing put us behind on getting school work started.  Lindsey was still able to finish pretty early.   Olivia had to break for volleyball practice and then finish up when she got home.  I took Lindsey to her practice, then sat to read for a while.   Now they are saying we may only get 2-4 inches of rain from the hurricane....we shall see.

Friday Lindsey will be at the museum.   Homeschool day was scheduled for the day, but that got postponed due to the predictions for the storm.   Olivia has a regular day of school then she'll be off to volleyball.  After volleyball Olivia will be doing some babysitting for a Bible study group.    Today they've lifted most of our warnings as we all see that Florence isn't going to be  a threat to us.    I'm very thankful for that, and praying for those who are getting hit.

Here's to a safe weekend!

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up- Birthday Week

Monday was of course Labor Day, and it's the day we hosted Lindsey's 13th birthday party.   We just do simple, family parties with the grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. This year was a bit different since Olivia had volleyball practice ending at the same time the party started (originally it was running the whole length of the party) and my older brother had to miss the party because of his recent surgery.  We also had Becca with us for the entire day, so it was still a full house.
Tuesday was Lindsey's official 13th birthday.   Birthdays are holidays here in our homeschool, so my husband took a vacation day from work and after our breakfast of birthday cake and her present (books she'd requested) from us, we headed off to explore shopping in a different city, followed by lunch.   Then it was home for volleyball for both girls.

Wednesday the husband was back to work after his 4 day weekend.  He's already been scheduled for mandatory overtime, so he'll be paying the price for those days off, sigh.    School went pretty smoothly and we had plenty of time between lessons and volleyball.   Our Wednesday night church services started back this week, so we have to get back in that routine.

Thursday morning Lindsey had her annual checkup.  I didn't think she'd need shots, but apparently Hep A is now required due to all these crazy food contamination issues.   I told her to look on the bright side, it's one thing she wouldn't have to do to in preparation for a missions trip....that didn't make it any better for her.   However, seeing the "Hot Now" sign on at Krispy Kreme as we prepared to depart the city DID make it all better, so we stopped for warm donuts, grins.    School went pretty smoothly.   Volleyball ended for Olivia at 6:15 and started for Lindsey at 6:45, so we had to divide and conquer.

Friday (today) Lindsey will be working at the museum.   Olivia uses Friday's to get ahead in geometry and science and to get ahead in her literature selections.    There's a varsity volleyball game this evening and then the start of the overly hectic weekend!

In case you missed it, this week I also shared my review of GrammarPlanet.

Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GrammarPlanet (Review)


Today, I'll be sharing our review of GrammarPlanet.  This is an online product that can be used with those just learning the concepts of grammar through review for the older student.   The folks from Analytical Grammar are the masterminds behind this program, so you know right off the starting block that it's thorough.

For this program, you set up a master account for yourself, and then separate accounts for each child, with their own user name and password.   You also have to give their birth date, which I don't like.   Once the accounts are set up, the parent can see their progress from the main dashboard, and the parent also has the ability to erase results so a student can redo a unit if needed.   The student must log in from the main log in screen, they cannot just click on their account from the main screen.

The units consist of  printable teaching notes, (highly recommend for each lesson), video instruction with interspersed quizzing of material, followed by practice sentences and then a unit test.  The videos vary in length, but most are less than 10 minutes in duration. The student uses pop up windows to parse/label words as their part of speech.  It is recommended that students only work 10-15 minutes a day on the program.

Our review period was during the Beta Testing phase of GrammarPlanet.  If you've ever been part of a testing group, especially one that involves electronic technology,  you know that it's typically a bumpy ride.   This product was no exception, and honestly it was very frustrating at times.  Most of the things I'll mention have been addressed and fixed, but in all transparency I have to let you know that we had issues.

There were some inconsistencies that my kids and I found annoying.  For example in the unit on proper nouns the word "Sun" was taught as a proper noun because it's a specific planet name.  I'm good with that.  However, a unit or two later the word "sun" is used, in the same context and when you label it a proper noun you get it's now just a noun.     There were times where labeling the object of the preposition was marked wrong and listed as only being a noun, not part of the prepositional phrase.
My oldest daughter is really strong in grammar, and she's also grade driven, so to get something marked wrong that was right two sentences before really just ticked her off.   She spent a lot of time talking to the computer screen saying  things like "Have you lost your mind?"

My youngest daughter is not strong in grammar. She tries, but it just is not something that seems to stick with her.  Once the inconsistencies started popping up, she started getting confused and really frustrated, so I had to pull her from this review to keep from losing ground with her.  I decided to finish her sessions myself.  I FAILED a unit, not because I was wrong, but because the system had a glitch and said I'd gotten every answer wrong.  I could see my answers, with all the little "Perfect!" comments beside it, so obviously it was another glitch.  I'm really glad I was doing the work at this point,because it would have crushed Lindsey if it told her she got every answer wrong.  If you or your student does fail a unit, the student then gets "locked out" until the parent goes in and resets, and that unit must be done over until the student passes before moving on.

The folks at GrammarPlanet have been working long and hard to get everything working properly. They've listened to the Review Team concerns and been relatively quick to make changes. I think, once the kinks are ironed out, this is going to be an amazing product that really solidifies grammar rules and applications for its users.    

A lifetime, ad-free membership is $39, so it's money well spent and you'll have access to all the new material that is added as time goes on.

To read more Crew Member reviews of this product, click here.

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 2

Last Friday evening was Olivia's first varsity volleyball game.   The school that she plays for is a private, boarding school with students from all across the United States as well as international students.   Several of the girls on her volleyball team are international students and she's enjoying building friendships with them and learning about their cultures. Unfortunately, one of the international students, who was a starting playing, hadn't gotten her required sports physical.  The coach and the team found this our minutes before their game and had to rework the team and the rotations.    I'd like to say it ended well, but it didn't.   It was a learning experience for everyone from the athletics director all the way down to the girls who sat the bench.

Saturday the girls and I traveled a little ways to meet friends for a picnic.  I've been friends with this gal since 1994 and have watched her children grow up.  Her youngest, (in the 2nd photo) who is now expecting her first child, was the first newborn baby I ever held.

Sunday after church I had to work on final arrangements (and laundry) for the week.   After that was finished, I packed my overnight bag and drove 90 minutes out to my brother's house so that I would be able to get some sleep before getting on the road to take him for surgery.

Monday morning, 3:30 am the alarm clock sounded and our day started.  We were on the road before 4am.   We made the 90 minute drive across the mountain and were at the hospital check in by 5:30.   From 5:30-7:45 if was a never ending cycle of "State your full name and birth date.  What are you having done today?  Do you have any questions?"   Surgery went well and I stayed until about 8pm before making the trek home to see the family and sleep in my own bed.   The girls worked independently on school work, then Olivia had volleyball practice in the evening.

Tuesday I had lunch with a gal pal to celebrate her upcoming membership in the 1/2 century club, grins.   The girls got a lot of school work done.   Olivia had her first away game this evening.   The won their first game, then dropped the next three.   She's really having a good time with this team, so that's huge for her!  Lindsey also had volleyball practice in the evening.

Wednesday we got started on school early.  By mid morning I was packed and ready to head back to the hospital to pick up my brother.   The girls proceeded to finish their school day and piddle around the house on projects the rest of the day until volleyball practice.

Thursday the girls were again responsible for their own schoolwork and meal preparation.   Lindsey hemmed a pair of pants for Olivia and they worked on straightening up the house until time for her volleyball practice.  Lindsey then had her practice at another location. I was still out of town, but got home around bedtime.   I ran by the ballet studio and picked up all the bookkeeping work and got that knocked out after everyone got to bed.

Friday was basically  a repeat of the rest of the week.  I dropped Lindsey off at work at the the museum, then ran to get groceries before heading back out to my brothers. There was no volleyball so it made the day a lot less hectic for my poor husband, he's never had to be the parental taxi service before.

In case you missed it, I shared about our 2018-2019 Extra Curricular Activities earlier in the week.

Have a great week!
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