What a game of catch up it is, too.
Blogging has taken a back burner for a little while, for a few reasons.
#1 - We are SUPER busy! Just flat busy, no other way to put it.
#2 - I am now solely dependent on my phone for pictures, which is fine - it takes great pictures, but I am trying to find the easiest way to get them from my phone to my computer in a way that doesn't try to save Every. Single. One. every time. I'm not real tech savvy so I am slow to try and mess with it.
#3 - The kids have testing (state mandated) this week, and though it's only one day - half a day, at that - I generally try to put a focus on the type of material that they will be facing so they are not surprised and ill-prepared for the final day.
I've pulled a few pictures together to try and give a good idea of some of the things we've been doing the last month or so, since the last time I posted. I still have a couple vacation posts I want to finish, and am determined to do that - before our next out of town trip, at least.
Here is our month in review:
*The Game Changers*
(the biggest changes that affect our daily and weekly routines)
*The Game Changers*
(the biggest changes that affect our daily and weekly routines)
I started both selling and using Plexus in the past month. It has truly been an answer to pray, specifically in the energy level! I have no more afternoon crash and bedtime crankiness out of exhaustion. But I'm not saying that as a sales pitch - just an update on how I'm making it through each day, by the Grace of God.
Baseball season is upon us. This is always a busy time of year, keeping up with practices and games. It's even more busy when I'm the only parent here to keep up with it all. That being said, Hoss L.O.V.E.S. this time of year and that makes it all worth it.
(what has been going on in school life, both pictures and updates)
In the middle of March the kids had their annual Solo and Ensemble for their homeschool music group. Hoss and Miss Priss (in general music ed) didn't compete, only performed with their class. A skit, various different instruments, including the kalimba, bell plates, boomwhackers, and many other fun ways to play with music. LM actually competed, in that she sang a solo, and received one of the highest ratings.
We got some new materials in recently, including a hundred board (above), multiplication board (below), and decimal board (two pictures down). In the picture above you can also see part of our Lego Timeline board that we have used for weeks while working on the Lego study we did. That was a fun one, but the kids were definitely past being excited about it, so we tapered off until we are now finished with working with it.
Hoss is past basic multiplication facts and the memorization of them, but it is never a bad thing to practice what you know. That being said, Big Z was over one day and it's very hard to have school when outsiders come in. I just realized that sounded a little creepy the way I said that, but it is hard to keep their minds on school when someone else is over that isn't a normal fixture in our day. So I challenged both of the boys, who had never before laid hands on this material, to work together to complete it. I quickly presented it to them and they worked on it until they were completely finished. The picture itself isn't such a great angle, but I was also working with LM on something so I had to hurry.
LM definitely understands decimals, from the use of money. But the decimal work has been on my wish list for a while. So, I bought some, and improvised some. I bought the board (from Kid Advance, I think it was) and found the small wooden cubes at Hobby Lobby. There are , like, 30 or 40 in a bag - maybe more - and I bought two bags. Thankfully, I realized that to an extent, I will be able to use the same cubes to do a little bit of a volume lesson with them and the brown (pink) tower that we have. Anyway, I digress.... I gave her the first lesson on decimals that a friend and teacher at our local Mont. school showed me, then showed her how to lay out decimals on the board. Apparently I was going way too slow, because after showing her ONLY numbers less than 1 unit, she wanted to do her own. Before I knew it, she had some number in to the millions on both sides laid out and was making up her own numbers that large just to get to lay them out on the board. So adding and subtracting will come next, which will probably go just about as fast, and then we can move on. She's definitely able to do this, in fact, I'm probably much too slow on getting the actual lesson to her. It is what it is, though, and I'm glad that even when I didn't have the material right away or when we've been so busy that I haven't made a point to specifically introduce something to her, just keeping her involved with LIFE, explaining things to her (and the other kids) teaches them so many things!
Hoss was working with turning improper fractions in to mixed fractions here. I had been out of town for a couple days one week and left some *busy work* with my mother, who had them, so that she could give them something to do if she needed that time. He was brushing up on adding and subtracting fractions, and I realized that I didn't look close enough at the worksheet I printed out (I can hear your gasp from here - a worksheet in a Mont. inspired homeschool? It would be no different in this case than having a work card system to move through, or anything else. He already knows the material and sometimes you do what you have to do!). I introduced the concept of a mixed fraction to him, again, because it's been a while since we've talked about them, and he was easily able to go back and turn every improper fraction into one that is mixed.
I thought this picture was so funny. One of the things Miss Priss had in her 'busy packet' of work were a few reading comprehension exercises. This particular one was just a 'finish the story' creative writing exercise. I told my husband her feelings about disobedient dogs came through loud and clear. :)
Our next 'focus study' is going in a geographical slant - I have been working to combine some Waseca materials, both printed and purchased (got the wonderful North America map stencil to start with!) to do a continent study. I'd like to turn it in to a biome/culture/historical study of each continent, the countries in the continent, and so on. I'm still working on preparing this material, though, so I'm not real sure when we will start to be honest with you.
A little practical life cheese cutting. Yes, Buddy Boy is wearing a pot holder, and No, I have no idea why. Nothing was hot, but I suppose he felt it was appropriate.
Buddy has also been in this massive sensitive period, the best I can tell. He has been using our open-ended play materials to build. Everywhere. Everything. He gets the wooden blocks, tangram/pattern blocks, Legos, cars, and Lincoln Logs out daily and builds different things with them. I love it because he is extremely absorbed in what he is doing and always has a story to tell me about what he has made, sometimes very elaborate. He tends to use his cars as the 'people' in his story, which is quite funny. His concentration has improved immensely.
LM is currently involved in a self-directed project of doing a report/presentation on Carl Linnaeus. We listen to a CD set called Jonathan Park, an excellent tool for families that believe in a young earth creation, and just recently one story involved Linnaeus in it's background. She has been diligently working on researching, working with me and Google Docs to prepare her main points as printables, and the finished product will be a presentation board that she will use to tell about what she has learned. I am looking forward to seeing her finish this, and she is really enjoying the work.
On the heels of LM, Hoss took her lead and is working on his own such project, but on John Adams. He has been reading books in the Adventures in Odyssey series that cover early America, and that may or may not be why he chose Adams. I do know that he spent the better part of an hour one day working on a list of people he wanted to research, finding birth and death dates and why they were important.
Miss Priss is - well, she's Miss Priss. She struggled through the last few days of working on her Lego Cards, which was one of the reasons why we let it taper off. She is enjoying working with multiplication and division, specifically word problems, of late.
Bug has been working to finish her addition charts, although slow going, and is still working through reading. Were it not for our busy life here lately, she would probably be a little farther along than she is. One thing that has improved is her ability to focus on her work. It might also be because I strongly felt that if she wasn't able to focus on her work by the end of the *school year*, I would be keeping her at a 'kindergarten' level next year. I may or may not have even told her that. What she doesn't know is that her work and what she could do would have steadily changed as she was ready. She just knows that if she can't focus on her work, she won't think she's in 1st grade. Mind games, maybe, but it has shown her that she does need to complete what she starts and has driven her to push herself harder.
Buddy is showing an increased interest in writing his numbers and letters. I purchased sand paper numbers recently, because I wanted them not only for him but also the younger two girls who sometimes still flip their numbers backwards when writing them, and he shocked me a couple days ago by pulling them out, looking at them, then covering them with his paper before writing the number on the paper. Not the traditional way, but it was his way and he was doing amazingly well at it. He is also writing, and just yesterday wrote his name completely for the first time. It was both sweet and sad, knowing my baby isn't staying a baby anymore!
I did take a trip about 2 weeks ago, as mentioned earlier in this post, out of town. Actually, out of state. Me, myself, and I drove ALONE to see my husband in the great state of Texas! What a trip that was, let me tell ya! It was a beautiful drive on the way there, but the way home - I drove a great deal of that through the night, which was hard on this non-night-driver.
I had no idea that there were such creatures as these monstrosities that met me on my way. From what I have read, these are 'Clean Energy Power Lines', but I'll be honest - driving through and seeing nothing but these things surrounding me on the trip was a little strange. So what do I do? Drive and catch a picture at the same time. Of course.(the link shared is not from a personal opinion perspective, just what I found when trying to figure out what these were!)
Teeth are falling out everywhere in our house. In the last week alone I think I have pulled three of four from mouths in the house. :) Just another sign that #babiesdontkeep!
Losing teeth and gaining family :) My three youngest children were a part of the latest wedding, when my sister-in-law got married a week ago. This is one of the harder parts of a military life - sometimes, you miss out on big events. My husband was unable to come for the wedding, but with the Lord's help, we pulled it all together and made it on time.
I am absolutely in love with this handsome little guy. Also, very excited! His wedding attire is going to, in part, double as Easter clothes this year! :) I can't get enough of him in that hat.
My pretty girls. I have been so blessed to have the children God has given us, and know I don't deserve to be their Mama, and that we have been given a most precious gift.
That is what we've been up to! I hate that this post was so long, and in my opinion, for myself, so overdue! :) When you get lemons, make lemonade!
I'm pretty sure Spring has sprung just about everywhere, so I hope if you are reading this, that the weather is nice, the days are fun, and God is blessing you, too!