11 April 2014

10 April 2014

One Mother's Homeschool Days and so much more

January-March 2014

Where has the time gone.  I cannot believe how little time I have to blog.  I enjoy blogging but only when it's convenient rather than MAKE time for it in the past.  Plus I love looking back and be able to see where we were and how my family has grown and changed over the months and years.  The year 2014 has been full of life and I, along with my family are trying to enjoy each and every moment!

Our academic journey
2014 brings a new year for our homeschool.  This year I am schooling 7 children.  Our son will graduate this year and we have been blessed to add our niece Mauriela to our home, family, and our homeschool.  She fits in perfectly with my 5 girls.  And she is moving along very well with her cousins. And I'm sure that when the school year is over we will be sad to see her go.  However, there is a very big possibility of her return for her next year.  Back to academics.  We are keeping quite busy with 3 of the girls doing Sonlight, and 3 of the girls doing a more eclectic version of learning which includes ambleside online and memoria press! and LOTS of books from the library.  But neither is without our favorite tool for learning - our learning journals or common place books.  Here I am sharing some photos from some of their work.

My younger girls mapped out a route for a 'mock' trip.  We printed a road map of the state of Wisconsin and they located our city, then they chose a city they'd like to 'visit' and mapped out the closest route. They said though that the coolest thing about learning map work is learning that from East to West all major highways are an even number and all major highways from North to South are even numbers.  Fun little tidbits to know!

Here are a few from my older girls.  I love seeing the creativity that comes from each of them through their journals.  They are all so different and yet the same.  Full of fun and interesting learning.

Janai preparing a keyed map of earthquake zones.

I really enjoyed our study of the Netherlands.  The internet and the library are full of wonderful information.  Youtube has an incredible amount of videos on HOW the dikes work and how they are made.  Not to mention how windmills used to be used to divert the water and how they pulled it off. Very cool stuff. 

Here are some examples of my youngest girls' entries into their journals.

Mary's earthquake zones map.  We found a really neat printable online and they choose the colors of their choice to key in geographical areas.

Goals and or Ideas...With the addition of our niece coming in our home we have enjoyed redoing the girls' room.  We found really cool bunk beds online and they work perfectly for all 6 of the girls.  We ended up purchasing a full on full and one twin over twin.  The girls love them and are always switching up their sleeping areas with each other.  One would think having 6 girls in one room would be crazy but with ALL clothing downstairs in the laundry room and a walk in closet for all their "junk" it only leaves the beds and a table in their room with plenty of space left over.

I really enjoyed…Our small taste of spring.  Next week we are expecting cold weather again.  It's been a reeeeeally long winter.

Activities...I wrote a while ago that we were hoping to join the YMCA.  Well we did and we are really enjoying our visits there.  It's about 20 miles away so our days there are limited to only two or three times a week!  With such a long winter this year the swimming pool has been a huge hit to give the kids something to do.

What mother is wondering/thinking about...

 My favorite "Kids Talk Moment" When my daughter asked me if her puppy Saphira will go to heaven and will she see her ever again!  I love the sweet faith of a child.

What's cooking...Bread!!!  Every single night I begin soaking my whole grain flour in apple cider vinegar, butter, and milk and the next morning I add the remaining ingredients.  It's not unusual for me to make our own bread but these days I have an "extra fun" toy to make it even more enjoyable.  Last month I was very blessed to be able to purchase a Nutrimill grinder.  It is fabulous.  So much quieter and more efficient than my older one.  It's definitely one of the best ones on the market.

The simple life…Fresh whole grain flour, reading, writing, & arithmetic! I love the basics! Quite often, less simply is more.

Living with gratitude...As the photos clearly show we will be adding two babies into our family this year.  We are so very excited for Robyn and Luke, and Christie and Jeff as they each bring their first babies into the world.  Such huge blessings to say the least.

Robyn and Luke are expecting a girl in April

Jeff and Christie are expecting a boy in July

Favorite "Life with Kids Moment"

Walking through the room to go to the kitchen I said to Kaydee, "Good job Kaydee, you are really flexible."  Upon entering the kitchen I saw Kaydee stirring the oatmeal on the stove!  I stopped in my tracks, turned around and said, "Oh, Emma that was you.  Great job on your flexibility."  I love having TWINS!!!

What Mother is reading
Here is a short description from amazon.  Click on the link below to read more.  It really is an enjoyable read and very informative.

Free Range Learning presents eye-opening data about the meaning and importance of natural learning. This data-from neurologists, child development specialists, anthropologists, educators, historians and business innovators-turns many current assumptions about school-based education upside down. The book's factual approach is balanced by quotes and stories from over 100...to read more about Free Range Learning go HERE

Some photos to share.  I've said it a million times.  I love looking at their faces and seeing the interest they show while reading a good book or having an interesting conservation.  They engage themselves fully and it makes me feel like I'm doing my job.  The job I've assigned to myself years ago -  to give them the gift of loving to learn.  Not just 'doing something' because they have to but because they want to.  And of course it helps a ton when the work they are required to do is interesting and not boring and dry.

Some random pics from our "school days"

Tips or advice.  My kids love the library.  We always have.  But what I love is watching my kids choose what interests them.  Of course they have their "required" assignments of reading and study but seeing them in their element is what brings my joy.  Joy in knowing they are pursuing their loves and interests.  Not just with books.  But life in general.  Then I try to feed that passion if I can.  

While I'm speaking of books!  I love using whole, living books to learn from.  The stories are enjoyed while at the same time facts are learned.  And having them journal their reading and learning is the icing on the cake.  Truly brings home a lesson.

Pictured below are a pile of books belonging to my 13 year old daughter.  She is really, really interested in midwifery!  That's what makes being a parent fun.  Is watching their children grow into themselves through their loves and passions.  And a plus is that through homeschooling they also have the benefit of time on their side.  It's so great that they finish their assignments in good time because then they have the time to pursue their own interests and passions and don't have to worry about keeping up with dead lines and assignments from outside sources. 

Praying for...My kids as they work through our loss.  How do I even express the sorrow and sadness of our last weekend.  Our sweet puppy was caught in a trap near our home.  We were hoping that it was one of those things where the vet would clean her up and send her home but we were sadly mistaken.  The end result was we had to put her down.  My heart was broken for our puppy and especially so for my kids.  They were so attached to Saphira and our weekend was full of more tears, hugs, and cuddles than we've ever had before.

A couple kids got up early the next morning and this photo pretty much shows how our weekend was spent.  The girls especially just wanted/needed to be held.  It's Tuesday and and we are just now starting to see things turn around with them.  It was a very difficult time!  Saphira will be extremely missed.  She was basically our first dog so she was much loved.

We snapped a photo of Saphira on the way to the vet.  She was so calm.  Poor little thing.

05 March 2014

Powerful Oatmeal

How do you enjoy your oatmeal?  We have discovered many ways to enlist this power house food into our daily diet.  I have to say though that our favorite way lately has been to use these ingredients.  It hits the sweet spot in of the longest, coldest winter I can remember!

It keeps well in the fridge for several days.

First I soak it for up to 24 hours.  Picture above is 10 cups oatmeal, 10 cups water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup chia seeds. After the soaking period we pop some in a pan, add a bit of water to desired thickness, throw in some cinnamon, vanilla, honey, and butter.  It is so yummy and so good for you!  Add a bit to your favorite smoothie each morning for a great nutritional boost!

27 February 2014

When a book captures their attention

I love seeing my kids get into a book.  Here, Mary can't put down her American Girl book Addy's Surprise.  We love the American Girls series and thankfully they all have survived the many hands they have been in in our family.  But barely! Some look like they've been through a war but I am determined to see that they make it as far as possible and live long enough to be passed on to granddaughters.  My girls have unanimously chosen Addy as their all around favorite set of the first 7 sets published.  The Kaya series was the last one we bought because the sets that came after her simply didn't appeal to us.   History just seems to comes alive when taught through living books!  We'll read a few chapters, look some facts up online, maybe print of some coloring pages or worksheets on the era being  read about, bake and prepare meals, do crafts, and even dress up according to the era!  All and all, our whole family gets to benefit and be included in the learning and has a great time as well.

Along with the boxed sets of the American Girls books we have the cookbooks, craft books, and the world books to supplement them.   It is so very easy to create a unit study with these books!  We just pick and choose whatever suits our fancy and enjoy every minute of it.  And the best part of it all is they aren't even clued into the idea they are "doing school" because of how much fun it can be!  

The cookbooks and world books are FULL of fun facts, tip, and tidbits from a certain time frame and are enjoyed as much as the literature books.  And get as much use!

Janai is seen here reading Welcome to Kit's World.  She said her favorite "world book" was Kit because she loves reading and studying about the Great Depression!  If you get a chance to read any of these I recommend doing so and I hope you enjoy them as much as we have/do!

24 January 2014

Passages from reading for copy work

My favorite resources to use for copywork are mostly taken directly from our everyday literature.  Through copying passages from great books we allow our children to better internalize the abundant lessons and given the opportunity to pick the minds of great authors.  I like to go over the usage of grammar as well in the same passage being copied which drives home even more the lessons to be learned.  This works very well for living science and history books too.  By copying passages from whole, living science books children can learn "hidden science facts" without ever being privy to it.  I know it works great for us because even the thought of having to use a "textbook" of any kind gives my children a headache.  They have their place when certain information is required but I am amazed at how much one can learn from living books!

"None of us can stop ourselves thinking wrong thoughts, and it isn't much good trying.  But, Annette-when you come down in the morning and find this room dark with the shutters close, do you say to yourself, 'I must chase away the darkness and the shadows first, and then I will open the shutters and let in the sun'?  Do you waste time trying to get rid of the dark?"

"Of course not!" said Annette.  

"Then how do you get rid of the dark?"

"Well, I pull back the shutters, of course, and then the light comes in!"

"But what happens to the dark?"

"I don't know; it just goes when the light comes!"

"That is just what happens when you ask the Lord Jesus to come in," said Grandmother.  "He is Love, and when love comes in, hatred and selfishness and unkindness will give way to it, just as the darkness gives way when you let in the sunshine.  But to try to chase it out alone would be like trying to chase the shadows out of a dark room.  It would be a waste of time."

Revelations 3:20-Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.

Current family read aloud: Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John

20 January 2014

Colorado family Christmas 2013

We had an amazing family Christmas in Glenwood Springs, Colorado with our kids.  It was so great seeing our 4 married kids since they all live out of state.  We had family coming from Wisconsin, Idaho, Washington, and Arizona meeting up in Colorado with Juli and Kelly hosting.  She showed us a great time and we were able to make wonderful memories.  Juli you are great for hosting such a big crowd and we had a great time.  Earlier in the month we were able to travel to Ohio to spend a few days with my mom and celebrate Christmas early with her.  It is pretty safe to say that our December was busy and amazing.  I love our family.   (Unfortunately my pictures are few because forgetting about the camera is so easy to do when such special times are happening and I just want to enjoy the moments) Kelly bought a karaoke machine and we did manage to get lots of video footage which was great.  Many laughs accompany them!

Kim and Emma dreaming while in Ohio!

Brynlee, Juli, Ambreigh, and Beckham.  I love your sweet smiles.

Some fun snuggles during some family time!

Playing puzzles with Grandma!

Baby Vance loved his popsicles. And I love him!

Juli too her 5 baby sisters and her daughter Aubryn out for a girls night!  They had a great time enjoying some sweet treats and big sis taking them shopping!  Its hard to tell which one is the mom and big sis!  She's the one with the green sweats.  Such sweet ladies.  From left to right-Aubryn, Mary, Emma, Janai, Juli, Makenzie, and Kaydee

Apparently there is only ONE way to eat a chocolate covered strawberry.  Thanks Mary for the tutorial.

Colorado/Christmas/Family Fun

Christmas Eve day was we spent at the Glenwood Springs, Colorado Hot Springs pool with our family.  It began snowing during our swimming which made it even more special.  Thanks Juli for the family gift.  We had a great time!

Christie, Jeff, Robyn and Luke

Mary and Janai just in time for the picture!

Christie and Robyn

Instead of forming the line "outside" of the pool to wait their turn on the diving my family decided to stay put in the water rather than freeze standing outside the pool!

It wasn't easy to gather everyone together for a big group shot but we got a few together for a pose.  The others were off swimming or diving off the board!

We spent one of days in Manitou Springs and visiting Garden of the Gods with Aunts, Uncles, and lots of cousins!  Here are some of my girls posing with mama!

Makenzie and Mary


17 January 2014

Just hanging out!

Mary saw this homemade hammock on Pinterest and decided to give it try.  It turned out lovely and she spends quite a bit of time there!

Seeing Aaron off on his mission

Seeing Aaron off on his mission
We all love and miss you Aaron. We pray you will have a great and accomplished mission. You have chosen well.