Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2016

 We had a wonderful Christmas! Some highlights of this season:

our family went with several others from church to see the local dance studio's Nutcracker.

Army beat Navy!! (not exactly Christmas related but pretty exciting!) During the game, the boys were excited to have a friend over to watch with them, while the girls went to God's Girls.

We went Christmas Caroling at Haymount Rehab Center with our homeschool group/ God's Girls.

We delivered lots of Christmas cookies to neighbors.  One neighbor gave us a Bible with handwritten Bible reference in the front and another gave us Popcorn. While awarding prizes for our first annual neighborhood Christmas decoration contest,  we met  a neighbor who was in James' company at USMA. We loved seeing the lights around the neighborhood and took many trips around the neighborhood to see them.

We loved putting up the Christmas banner from Heather and Jesse tree from Janelle. We also loved reading Jotham's Journey and listening to lots of Christmas carols.

We drove down to Florida Thursday before Christmas and had a great trip. We played lots of lawn tennis, sang lots of carols, ate lots of delicious food, opened and enjoyed great presents.  We loved playing the Christmas carol game. We enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at First United Methodist.

Christmas day was very nice. We decided to give the kids cereal first thing to fill little tummies before stockings so we had more time to cook brunch. Everyone enjoyed their stockings and then we had delicious quiche. And then lots of wonderful presents!  Kids loved their remote control cars, drawing stuff, tennis racquet. This was the year of the red sweater! We had a great afternoon driving cars and playing lawn tennis before a delicious Christmas dinner of crown roast, ambrosia, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

What a nice Christmas!

Next year we may play this charades game/

Sunday, December 3, 2017

LewCrew Christian Academy 2017-2018

We are enjoying our school year this year! We love our homeschool group- Eday is one of kids (and my) favorite days of the week. The kids love all their classes and hanging out with friends. I'm glad we're starting at 1030 instead of 9 which is fantastic! Not so rushed and get some regular school in before enriching :)

We have really loved having all the kids studying the same time period. K is still following Ambleside Online but the rest of us are loosely A Modern Charlotte Mason. All studying Middle Ages. It's so much more fun learning history now!! I think I'm getting a much better idea about it than I did as a kid :)

We have watched some great movies that have added to our history fun like



Ben Hur (but the shorter animated version :)

and some Drive Through History.  We've also enjoyed Animated History with Pipo and recently found Prince Valiant.

We've just started reading Good-Masters-Sweet-Ladies-Medieval and we're really enjoying it!

Kids are reading lots and we just finished listening to Tales of King Arthur and the Round Table. Next audio book is The Little Duke. I remember liking it when we read it a few years ago and now that I realize it's set right before the Battle of Hastings I really want to listen again. The kids already think I'm obsessed with that battle and they've grown a lot bigger since then (I read it sometime in Baltimore, so it's time to listen again. That battle isn't any more special to me than any other but I'm trying to teach myself and the kids to have place hangers in history that you can know when something happened in relation to something else. Somehow we started using Math U See 100 blocks to talk about our timeline. so now whatever you're talking about we discuss which 100 block it would be on and where on that block. whatever works!!

We're also enjoying our Spanish and Latin books- both by Linney. A Modern Charlotte Mason recommended for Latin and we liked it- now it's a super addition to Spanish Duolingo.

Math U See works well for us for math- when someone mentions a math curriculum they love, I just plug my ears and say we're sticking with MUS- again if it works don't change it. (Plus if you've already bought almost all the teacher books, who wants to start over :)

K started Middle Ages IEW which again I really like- I think our tremendous trio (C, T, KG) will start IEW in January. We can't do it all at once. But the kids are all doing well with Spelling Power and Fix It Grammar.

K is following Ambleside Online Year 7. We are using Apologia Anatomy and learning lots!

Eday is terrific- K loves his 4 classes: Ted Talks, American History meets Critical Thinking, Public Forum, and of course Math Counts. Math is probably his favorite, then Public Forum. He went to his first debate tournament this weekend and really enjoyed it!

C enjoys scrabble and he and Trey both love their free period for soccer! Peacemakers was a fantastic class this fall that will help the boys in life. C is going to teach c in the spring! T is also really enjoying Math Olympiad.

KG has 3 classes this year- Budding Ballerinas, Elementary Art, and Hands On Science. She really loves Art!

c is in her first class (besides playground:). She really loves Budding Ballerinas and looks forward to it all week!

V is the PE mascot and enjoys playground time.

I'm helping teach my first class- PE. This year in addition to enjoying the classes and fellowship time, I'm really enjoying not starting until 1030. We aren't so stressed about getting there early and we get so much done in a short time Wednesday mornings. Love it!!

I'm sure there's a lot more I could write about our school year- I didn't include anything about Bible, vacations, field trips, piano practice, soccer, tennis, dance, park days, or the time we have at home to work on character, chores, relationship... but I'll end by saying we're very thankful for this opportunity to homeschool!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Homeschool Conference

We just got home from our first homeschool conference. NCHE hosted their 33rd annual conference- it was so good!
Here are a few things I want to remember for next time:

  • take a jacket, highlighter, snacks
  • some families tailgate in the parking lot (good idea!)
  • set a budget and wishlist before going- there really is a lot available there and it's good to know how much the items you really want cost before you start adding items! 
  • there are a lot of sessions where kids will really enjoy and learn too (my kids really liked Jonathan Morrow's talks- his notes are online now.)
  • when you're picking which sessions to go to- read both the session topic and the speaker's bio and notes if they have some. I missed a few sessions that I think would have been really good and went to a couple that I probably should have missed. Not that they were bad just it's really busy time there and you can't get to all of it.
The booths I spent the most time were IEW (they were very helpful), MUS (we already knew what we wanted but was happy for a little discount), Rainbow Resource (good prices and lots of selection). Kids loved Action Math Baseball

Now some of my lessons learned from speaker. 
  • A to Z Character Healthy Homeschool:  
    • do first things first. Model good behavior. OK to put academics aside to work on character. Goal to raise spiritually sensitive, mature, responsible adults
    • start the conversation of character: when we show Christ like character, we are winsome and reach the world.
    • Use Eph 4 put off old man, put on new man, when training children. eg "you may not covet, you must be thankful."... look in Proverbs and ask God to show 
    • Attitude is everything
    • Contagious Excitement- be excited about service. Celebrate "morally great" actions/ attitudes in kids ("you did great" plate)
    • Relationships are most important- pray for each relationship in family. Tough relationship. told him over and over "God chose him for your brother because He knew he was just the right brother for you."
Teaching the Classics from Seuss to Socrates. 
  • Ask key questions starting with young children and they will continue to ask those as they read harder books. 
  • who is protagonist?
  • what does he want?
  • why can't he have it? (peel back the onion)
  • who doesn't want protagonist to have it?
  • what kind of conflict? (5 types)
  • any other conflicts?
  • when is climax? (when you know what the outcome will be_
  • what idea is the author discussing
Cindy Rollins "Mere Motherhood"/ "Morning Time" Turn off the noise

Andrew Kern "How to cultivate attention"
when soil receives seeds, it starts growth. 
Give children a riddle to solve. You pay attention to things when you have questions- allow/ teach/ encourage questions. 
1. should he have done it?
2. what should have have done? 
3. find threads to compare- river crossings throughout the Bible ...
4. how do you define it?
5. how are things related?
"Quality of attention is determined by quality of questions asked." 

Thoughtful Apology

1.I’m sorry for …

2.It was wrong because
3.In the future I will…
4.Will you forgive me?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's been so long since I blogged

I really don't even know where to start...
so much learning, growing, living, ...
where to start? why haven't I blogged?
again busy learning, growing, living, (and I've had trouble downloading pictures- which that saying "a picture is worth a 1000 words" is really true- plus pictures trigger memories.

but even if I have trouble with pics- I want to remember. (well somethings, maybe I want the glossed over memory but I do want to remember.)

I just heard a podcast talking about keeping a book journal and encouraging students (or anyone) to write down what they want to remember.

so here goes:

I want to remember
-a team of loud boys so excited after losing their last game of the season that you would have thought they'd won the championship,

-a team of boys chasing one of the coaches (James) all over the field and the other team helping catch him

-a boy sweetly reading books to his baby brother on the couch

-a big brother on his own helping younger brother with his math

-a bunch of kids huddled on the couch quietly looking at a book together

-a family reading their Bible together first thing in the morning

- a family working together in the yard and then enjoying yummy pancakes, bacon, and eggs

-a group of younger kids having fun on the sidelines while big brothers play soccer

-a group of moms and dads cheering and encouraging kids throughout the soccer season

-boys loving playing soccer in the rain after an end of season soccer dinner

-a boy sweetly helping his little sister with logic puzzles on the couch

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ski Trip

 We just got back from an amazing ski trip! We were looking forward to the trip: Homeschool Ski days with French Swiss at Appalachian Mountain but it was even better than I thought!!

 We signed up a week or so before going and made reservations Meadowbrook Inn & Suites.  (The homeschool special rate was $60 per room per night.)  We followed waze directions and it was right at 3:30 hours to get there. We arrived at 9:45 and it took most of the time until 11:15 to get ready (getting signed in, equipment, a couple bathroom breaks- the 1 hour early recommendation arrival time would probably be plenty except we have two sweet little ones who need extra help.)

 I was a little worried beforehand about hidden costs but the only ones were $1 for parking and we decided to spend $3 per child for helmet rental. Even our 22 month old and 4 year old skied. My husband stayed with our almost 2 year old while the rest of us took the 1 hour included group lesson. One son snowboarded so he went with that group. They split the skiers into age groups. I stayed with our 4 & 7 old daughters while our other boys went with the 8-12 yo group. The 3-7 year old instructor was great with the kids and I'm glad we did the lesson but it was very basic. It did have them going down the smallest bunny hill at the end. We loved the moving carpet. Instead of the old tow rope you just get on the moving carpet and ride up the bunny slopes- so easy that even our under 2 year old could get on and off by himself after a few practices.

I loved the fact that Appalachian is pretty small. I felt safe enough that the kids could go on their own on the slopes that fit their abilities. All the slopes ended in the same spot so we could see them as they came down.
 There was a restaurant inside but we packed a picnic lunch and ate on the picnic tables on the deck. We got a medium locker ($3 plus $5 deposit for the day) to store the food and other stuff there. We left our diaper bag and shoes in the racks in equipment rental room.

 Included in the homeschool rate was a one hour group lesson, skis, boots, poles rental, and 8 hours of skiing. We skied until 4:30 and were worn out! (C on bench in equipment room after skiing)

 We checked into the hotel and were happy to find a Mellow Mushroom walking distance from the hotel. We didn't walk because we were exhausted but we could have- instead we did carry on. The hotel did not have a refrigerator in the room but did have a microwave near the lobby (which we needed to heat rice bags) and hot breakfast in the morning.

While Wednesday was beautiful and in the 50s, Thursday's forecast was high of 32 and dropping throughout the day. We woke up to howling winds (30+ mph) and decided to do something indoors and then head home. So we went to Mystery Hill I'd been there as a kid and we took Keegan when he was really little. It was neat to go back with everyone!
 The bubble room was there favorite!

This was the kids' other favorite part of Mystery Hill.
This picture doesn't show it but this was pretty neat- it looks like you're flying.
Next door we saw tons of Native American artifacts and antiques from the family who founded Appalachian State

We definitely want to go skiing again! Next time we will bring more water bottles- They did have a water fountain but the stairs are no joke in ski boots so maybe keep a bottle with your shoes in the equipment room. ! If it's warm out, we'll put the lift ticket on ski bibs (so we could take off our jackets.) They do have ski bibs for rent there- I think $5 each. next time we may end a little earlier and either drive back home that night or have energy for swimming after dinner.
We might try to get a group next time for tubing too!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

Yes, it's 31 Dec 2016 and I'm just now posting NYE 2015 pics. That's okay- it looks very similar to this year's pics (if I'd taken any this year.) Well the kids are 2-4" taller, V is awake a lot more, we no longer have our yellow fair cups, but we did have lots of the same fried foods. I do enjoy our NYE tradition of each person making an appetizer. In Baltimore, we went to BJs and everyone picked a premade appetizer that only required heating, now the food isn't any healthier but there is some more cooking involved. 
c picked pigs in blanket 
KG breakfast eggrolls
T crab rangoon
C beef empanadas
K honey BBQ chicken wings
D deep fried apple pie
M carrots/ Whitman's sampler that i forgot for  Christmas :(

I really enjoy our tradition of each person serving the food they made and as they serve telling the person what they love about them. So many different responses- so sweet to hear the kids say why they love us and each other. 

 This year James did go to the NYE service at Manna. the kids and I stayed home, v ran all over the place and then went to bed, the other kids played K's new game and wii. When James got home, we counted down and yelled Happy New Year! (I think it was 9 pm. And toasts of sparking apple cider.

Last year we went roller skating

with friends. Lots of fun!

This year we're going to a new church site. Praying for a great new year!! 

WFMD- I wrote this last Spring

That's Works For Me Day (since I'm starting this post on Saturday but have no idea when I'll post it.:)
I always liked the Works For Me posts but I really haven't been blogging or reading blogs much lately so I've gotten away from it. It's usually how someone shares something that's been working for them. but I've also like it as a way for me to think through the things that are working well for us. Because I know I need to be reminded about those! The things that are hard just scream at us for attention and seem to get it. And I know I do want to think about "whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  

So what is working for us? 

Job of the Day- we have a kitchen helper, water helper book straightener, chicken helper, and "cT" helper. I'm still working on getting the kitchen helper cooking more meals than breakfast but that's a start! I love that the kids love books. we are still working on people putting books away after they read them, but the book helper helps us to reset each morning The "T" helper job is still in the works- this was c helper but when she turned 4, she became a big girl. The chicken helper is a good idea that some do better than others.

Room of Responsibility- each week our biggest four are each assigned a room of responsibility- bathroom, living room floor, living room furniture, or ask mommy. It's their job to straighten (or clean for bathroom) that room each morning. 

Chore clip boards- James duct taped each of the kids' clipboards so it's easy to tell whose it is and put nails up on the wall to hang them. Each week I give the kids a chore chart that lists their chores for the week. A few change each week, lots stay the same. (I keep meaning to have the kids fill out their own and call it handwriting but I haven't been that organized yet.)

Rotations/ short lessons are still working for us. Some days better than others but it's amazing how much you can do it a short amount of time when you keep doing it lots of days! And I really enjoy that I get one on one time with each of the kids each day and reading lots of great books! We have branched out so "Spanish" now includes Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo, XtraMath, and Dance mat typing (occasionally- I'm not really sold on that one- seems more game than typing.) K keeping up with his own school is great! He's really plugging along. He loves reading and history which helps! 

Just keeping going with Math is working for us. No pressure of having to get done on a certain day. We can slow down when needed or speed up. Love going at the right pace for each!

Today Kathi Lipp's 2000 item declutter challenge worked for us. Well we modified it to 250 items but that's a start! The kids did great decluttering. Yes, they are excited about the "Clutter cake" I promised them once they reached 250. (Well once our junk food/ sweets fast ends 31 January.) They were so excited and did a great job! Yes, lots of it was little stuff but that's often what clutter is, isn't it?

I started this post with the plan of posting this link because my sweet baby boy is becoming more of a busy toddler than a sweet baby. How did that happen so fast? I'll soon need some ideas of things to keep him doing good! 

oh and I want to we're going to start hymns again. Reading this  made me want Hymns for a Kid's Heart but I couldn't find it online tonight. Maybe at the consignment sale coming up. Although I bet people keep that one if they get it.