Thursday, September 22, 2011


Tomorrow will be the end of our 3rd week of the new school year and tomorrow I will post my week in review to show what the girls have learned this week. However, tonight I want to post something I have learned this year that has made my life so much better as not just a homeschooler, but a wife and mother as well.

I have always had a problem with staying up late and not getting up till mid morning. It has eaten away many wonderfully planned school days and countless activities, both of mine and the girls. Because of our late start, we would rush to start our day and never get past the basics before it was time to pack it up and put it away for the day. I longed for more time to get things done around the house and I'll be honest I wasn't telling myself the truth when I said I would get it done after the kids went to bed. Because they were sleeping in as well, they were staying up late with me!

Then I found a wonderful web site called inspired to action and a plan they had called Maximize Your Mornings. In this group, you sign up for either a text, tweet or facebook group and you keep each other accountable for getting up in the morning, having quiet time with God and exercise. It was hard when I first signed up. I wasn't this jolly person that you wanted to be with, but over the weeks I began to see how much more I was getting done by getting up so early. I also saw that I was rubbing off on my family!

My husband has never been a morning person. He never wanted me to get up with him before work because he liked to roll out of bed, put his clothes on and grab something to eat on his way to work. Things started to change however when I started waking up earlier in the morning. I didn't wake him up, but I did make his coffee, cook him a hot breakfast and even put a lunch and snacks together for him. He started liking his wife getting up earlier! But even more than having a hot fresh cup of coffe and home cooked meal, he liked having a few minutes to speak to his wife. Now, he get's up early as well. We still have the coffee and hot breakfast, but now we even get to have a Bible study together in the morning. Talk about a blessing!

My children are also getting up earlier now. No more school days starting at noon, they start these days no later than 8:30. And we are getting more subjects in than ever before. Science is no longer just a quick read through and history is something we actually get to do hands on projects in now. The girls are happier than they have ever been and we are finishing our day early enough that they now have time to do extra things that they want to do like piano, nature study, art. And Mom? Yes, she now has time to do more things she wants to do.

Tuesday of this week, after the girls finished their studies, I was able to start a jean skirt that I have been wanting to make. Winter is coming up soon and I was down to just two jean skirts. So I pulled out my sewing machine and started piecing together my fabric and creating something for myself, something that I haven't done in years. Today I was able to finish my project and I feel so accomplished. I know that I no longer have an excuse to not being able to get everything done, I just need to make sure I go to bed on time and get up in the morning.

If you struggle with getting up, I encourage you to try inspired to action and see if maximizing YOUR mornings doesn't make a huge difference in your homeschooling day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lovely Week 2!

This was such a great school week! The girls are just amazing me more and more each day. It's weeks like this that I need to remember when I have those not so great weeks :D

We chased lots of rabbits this week for that even made my stomach curl (we'll get to that at the end).

New additions:
I guess I'll start with the newest pet LOL She showed up at our door...err, window a few nights ago and has been camping out on my porch. Such a sweet little kitten that has just made Punkaboo and Kypie (my cat lovers) melt. We haven't named her yet so if you have an idea let me know. We are going to vote on one in a few days. She looks mean in this picture, but she isn't. The wind was just blowing and she was cold :-(

Home Ec isn't really new for us, but we just started it again this year. We split so much time up between cooking, sewing, crafting and needle work. Right now we are doing cooking. The girls got to make their own pizza's this week and had a blast doing it! I know it really isn't a hard thing to do, but it was fun and I wanted to start off light.

We added our new science book in this week. I had done a sample lesson out of it last week and the girls really liked it so I bought the book. It's called Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space and is from a young Earth creationist point of view which is what we were looking for. I've always shied away from Earth science because I couldn't find something that I wanted to use. Because of our Christian views finding something that is based off of the Biblical account of history is very important to me. This week week we studied plate tectonics and caves. The girls are working on their science project of making a speleothem out of water, epson salts and string.
They really enjoyed their project and are looking forward to watching it grow. I'm happy that they are loving science and wanting to learn more and more about it!

We added spelling in this week as well and I am happy to say that all spelling words were mastered this week with flying colors!

Miss Punkaboo started cursive writing this week and did a great job learning all her vowels and the letters l, c, t and s. I was so proud of how hard she worked!

The younger 3 girls also learned about Early Britan this week and while we didn't do any "projects" from it this week, they still enjoyed the map work.

What we are reading:
Kypie read Beowulf this week and started Augustine Came to Kent

Ducky started The Magic Tree House Vacation Under thhe Volcano (which I know has HORRIBLE sentence structure, but it's a fun book and it goes with the science topic of volcanoes that we will be covering next week. 

Punkaboo has just blown me away with her reading! She is reading every children's story she can get her hands on and I think she will be in chapter books by Thanksgiving if not sooner.

I read Nowhere Caroline this week... ok in 2 days and it was OK, but a bit dragging. I'm going to be reading a book with my husband a book called Family Man, Family Leader. It's for the new Bible Study he will be doing at our church and I want to read it so I can better support him.

My oldest daughter, the Senior, is finishing The Help. It was a total pressure read as she has already read 95% of everything on her reading list for the year.

Speaking of the Senior:
She isn't studying much at home this year. She is mostly done with just a few things left to do. She is using Abeka's Economics course and enjoying it more than I ever thought she would! She has learned about Adam Smith and is on her way right now to the librairy to check out his book The Wealth of Nations (on her own doing LOL). She is of the opinion that she MUST read this book to understand the foundation of Economics. I'm a proud Mom...

This morning she gave her first oral report of the year. It also happened to be our first cold day of the season and we were NOT ready for it. She is sporting the I just grabbed the first warm thing I could find look and pulling it off well!

She was NOT happy with me after taking this picture LOL

And the rabbit? Oh yes, she was here... She was running all around as we did our studies this week.
Which brings me to the Eww moment of the week. Yep, the girls chased a rabbit, right to biology and dissection. Remember the new cat? Well she caught a mouse and ate it...well most of it. I was standing in the kitchen when I hear my youngest Punkaboo come running into the house telling me I have to go outside and see what they found. I follow and in tummy turning horror I find them looking and examing the remains of the mouse. Not grossed out, not making ugly faces, not running from it. No, they were trying to figure out what was what and I was the one that had to HELP them. So I hid my grossed out thoughts and went to work helping them. Oh the fun of a homeschooling mom!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why is there a rabbit in the classroom?

We get that a lot when people stop by and see our fuzzy white and brown spotted long eared house pet. Bunny Britches, a Mini Lop, has been a member of our family for a couple of years now. She has the cutiest personality and enjoys spending her days flipping cardboard tubes around her pen, exploring new mazes built from boxes by the girls and munching fresh spinach leaves and carrots before stretching out in her pen, giving a good yawn and taking a well earned rest.

However, Bunny Britches isn't the only rabbit in our classroom. No, we chase rabbits all day long as we flip through science books, history text and scriptures in the Bible. That's one of the best things about homeschooling! My girls get to stop at anytime, make a left turn and chase a rabbit as far as they want to go and when they get tired of chasing the 2 toned black and white Dutch rabbit, they can turn right and spend the next hour chasing the spotted chocolate Harlequin. Chasing rabbits is just something that can't seemed to be helped and with 4 girls learning at home right now, we have a lot of rabbit chasing going on!

Sometimes our rabbits even run together, like when we are studying pioneer days and a rabbit breaks loose and wants to know what they ate in those days and another rabbit joins in and wants to know not only what they ate, but how they cooked it, which leads to the next rabbit wanting to know where they got their goods from to even cook with! I'm telling you, we can be up to our eyeballs in rabbits after reading just one book.

The girls chasing rabbits is like watching Bunny Britches explore her box mazes. Each time she is let loose to run through them it's in a different shape with different areas to discover. She may start down one path only to allow her nose to take her down another path where she finds a carrot. Or she may start at the bottom and find a ramp that takes her to another level where a new toy awaits. There is always something wonderful waiting for her with each new adventure.

Some people would say that chasing rabbits is counterproductive. They would say that more time should be spent in text books learn the basic 3 R's. I however strongly disagree. Allowing my children the freedom to explore and learn a topic they find interesting seems not just like more fun, but it instills a love of learning that can't be forced on a child. My goal is to make them lifelong learners, not just students in school.

Our school year started this week and I have to tell you, I have already had to set a few carrots out to lure the rabbits back that my girls have chased. They've traveled to the center of the world and learned what it is made of. Then to help them remember they have created their own worlds out of paper mache with cut outs to see the layers of the Earth. They have ridden magic carpets to Ancient Rome and studied about Roman soldiers, conquered lands and the Barbarians that finally overtook them. And they have studied the scriptures that will guide them as they learn what it is to be a Godly Woman.

I'm looking forward to the weeks to come, the rabbits we chase and the places they take us. I'll be updating with highlight's of our weeks adventures and post pictures of projects made, cozy reading spots found and lessons learned. I hope you will join us as we chase the classroom rabbit.