Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday December 3 and 4

Yesterday we did part of school quickly in the morning then went off to a Strongbrook event. When we were home the kids fell apart and behaved poorly. We spent most of the rest of the time dealing with that and trying to stay calm and nice. Amy has been behaving well; it's Noel and Eliza not so much.


Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Wiggle


Stand and Share: Eliza's always so cute doing this. She usually talks about how much she likes primary and nursery.

Memorize Class: We started working on Soy un Hijo de Dios.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Family Reading: Little Britches

Family Work: Stuffed animals away in Benjamin's room.

Activity: Set up Christmas tree - we got part way through.

Class: Watch A Christmas Carol jr. Our neighbor was Tiny Tim and adorable.

Reading and Writing Class: Not a lot of interest today. Amy read a little. They played a little with paper. I read a little Constitution stuff and worked on a number puzzle.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday December 2, 2014

Choosing Day:Eliza

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: However you want.

Water Class.

Stand and Share - mostly skip

Memorize Class - Give Said the Little Stream

Pledge of Allegiance

Class: Amy and Mom math interview

Noel and Eliza went to Joy School.

Family Reading: Goldilocks and the Three Martians.

Family Work: Family Room.

Reading and Writing Class: the girls made puppets. Amy wrote a letter to someone and put it in the mailbox. Eliza painted. Little bits of reading here and there. I read from Teach the Children and took a nap. Amy and I sewed a button on an outfit of a doll she has. I interviewed Noel and Eliza about math. (Fun. :)

Closing Prayer: Mom

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday December 1, 2014

Had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: 1 Sun Salutation

Water Class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class: Give said the Little Stream

Pledge of Allegiance.

Science Class: Brainstorm things we may want to do an experiment on. Decided on Christmas tree. The question was how to make our tree stand up. We knew the stand it comes with does it. We asked if we could make at least the top part of the tree stand up with rocks. Everyone cashed in on hypotheses. Then we experimented and tried to make it work. We were asking questions and figuring things out as we went along. We managed to get it to stay up with six rocks distributed around the base of the tree. So we reached our conclusion and cleaned up.

Activity: Clue. Amy won. Noel was close. I was proud.

Family Reading: Finished Homer Price. Read Goldilocks and the Three Martians.

After family reading Amy, Noel and I were all in danger of falling asleep and decided that would be bad timing for family work. So we moved on to lunch.

Reading and Writing Class: the girls drew pictures and read picture books. I read Noel Miss Nelson is Missing I read half a chapter of All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience. It was about communication and was very good. I still hope to work on some number puzzles which is my math homework (and super fun) and my writing class thing to do today. I think I'll do it while the girls are at Let's Play Music.

Family Work: Laundry

Let's Play Music Homework.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday November 24, 2014

Last week we had what I will just call a "health unit" with doctors appointments, tests, and lots of phone calls to receptionists and nurses. Home school wasn't too feasible though Joy School still happened.

Today we are back to it. I have been getting excited about math games because I am taking a class about teaching math in AWESOME ways. We also finally got the family room downstairs cleaned up again and organized the games which always spikes interest. Today we decided to do a marathon of this form:

Everyone choose -
something to play
something to clean
something to read

That was each person's rotation. Then another person got to choose all that. Here's the way it actually played out:

Amy - play monopoly. We played three times around each. Amy kept going to jail so it actually took a long time. They stuck with it and did awesome. Noel bought every property she landed on and ended up with 4 houses on a yellow monopoly with no trading. Amy kept counting her money. It was awesome math. And I noticed an increase in Noel's ability to stake with it. Noel ended up winning. So fun.
Amy - clear off and wipe the table from breakfast
Amy - a chapter of The Fairy's Mistake

Noel - Clue. I was amazed at their abilities at this game. Neither had played it before. No strategy techniques like I use, but they got the point and showed cards and wrote on their little papers just the right way. I didn't even really think Noel would be able to do it. I was so impressed with her sticking to it. Both impressed me really.
Noel - Snow Clothes clean up
Noel - The House at the End of Ladybug Lane (one of many library books due tomorrow.)

Mom - Let's Play Music homework (over lunch)

Eliza - Hi-Ho Cherry-o! (This was Eliza's math practice.)
Eliza - Living Room Floor
Eliza - The Monster at the End of this Book

We also got to work on sportsmanship.

So much fun squished into today.

We also got to visit Activity Days and share about my mission.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday November 12, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

This morning Amy had an orthodontist appointment so we skipped opening routine of school. We called the appointment class.

Activity: Let's Play Music homework.

Family Reading: Fairy Realm (Noel's getting more interested. We read it last night too.)


Reading and Writing Class: The girls did art with construction paper, tape, scissors, and string. Amy read a picture book - A Letter to Amy. Eliza read it too. (Amy's next Magic Tree House is ready to pick up at the library so she wasn't sucked in. Noel never did choose to read anything. I read a little from The Promises of the Constitution and the Constitution itself. I also did a little research for some writing about the $20 bill. (I know; that sounds terribly boring. There's a purpose; I promise.:))

We're about to have closing prayer (Mom) and see if we can do a little service.

Monday November 10, 2014

We're Not Sick!!! YAY!!!

And school is back in session. :) It was nice to be back today. I can handle so much more helping the kids with stuff when that is my whole focus than when I think they (and their fighting) are getting in my way of something I wanted to be doing.

Choosing Day: Amy

Opening Prayer: Mom

Move Your Body: Move your arms by playing Bang!

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I shared that I'm thinking about taking a class (on teaching children math in a way that inspires me a ton.)

Memorize Class: Give, Said the Little Stream. We discussed the tongue twister alliteration of "grass grows greener".

Class: Family History - laminate and cut out parts of our ancestor game.

Family Work: Clean up chairs at our friends, the Downeys'. My kids (and I) LOVE it there and love Sister Downey. :)

Lunch and Family Reading time: Fairy Realm.

Reading and Writing Class: I read Teach the Children. Amy read Magic Tree House. I read The Fisherman and His Wife to Noel and Eliza. We're going to go see a play of it tonight at the library. Noel colored and cut out a bunch of secret service hearts. Benjamin avoided sleeping like crazy.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday November 11, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Took Noel and Eliza to Joy School.

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Move your feet. Lazy 8's with feet.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I shared about how excited I am that I am taking a class on teaching math in awesome ways.

Memorize Class: Give Said the Little Stream v. 2

The Pledge of Allegiance.

Class and Activity intermixed: Sorry! and little videos about space.

Pick up Noel and Eliza.

Family Reading: Read some of our friends, the Durrans' library books. We were picking the girls up from Joy School and got sucked in there. :)

Fairy Realm. Amy wants to read more and more of it. I am working on drawing Noel in whenever possible.

Lunch and Microwave Repairman visit.

Family Work/ Service: Visited a neighbor who was busy. So we stopped by another neighbors house and got to do a little service. Lots of fun.

Reading and Writing Class: Amy read Magic Tree House. Noel and Eliza colored on papers. I read a couple chapters in the book about math for my new class and part of All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience. I read Noel and Eliza Goldilocks and the Three Martians. Right now Amy and Noel are following along with a read-along of Skippyjon Jones. I'll see if Amy will write with me.

Closing Prayer: Noel

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday November 5 and 6

Yesterday we had a reading marathon audiobook style. We had a few audiobooks that were due at the library that we wanted to finish listening to. So we did. There was also painting and drawing going on. We had fun. I got some work done for Matt in the process.

Today I wanted to take advantage of Benjamin's nap to re-box the food storage that has been in our family room for a couple months now. Nearly got the job done, but I saved some for Matt because of all the heavy lifting. Yay for progress! The girls worked long and well on it. We needed a break afterwards. We decided to watch James and the Giant Peach. We listened to it (audiobook) not long ago.

Noel's primary teacher brought over a pile of Level 1 reading kind of books. Now Amy is plowing through all of them.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fall Break and Sick Days

Last week I decided to declare it fall break so I could get caught up on a few things that are less likely to get done when we are doing school. We went to the dentist. I researched and ordered a part for the fridge and 2 vacuums (a wet one and a dry one - we have lots of wet (and stinky) messes in our house.) I found a new doctor for my family. I prepared for election day. We had Halloween. It's nice to make progress. I have a few more things of that nature I want to do, but I got the ball rolling.

That new doctor I found came in handy today. Amy woke up struggling to breathe. All the kids (and I) have been sick at some point over the last week. So we went to the new doctor's office today. I like him! (That's a relief.) I'm planning to start school back up as soon as we're feeling well enough - whenever that will be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday October 22, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Cobra, Up Dog, Down Dog, Child's Pose

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I got monopoly money and taught the girls about making emotional withdrawals and deposits in emotional bank accounts.

Memorize Class: Give Said the Little Stream. The girls sang through it for me and did well.

The pledge of allegiance. I pointed to the girls one at a time to say a part. They really are getting to know it without trying too hard. :)

Science Class: From a book of weather experiments. Today we felt the difference between sun and shade on our skin.

Activity: Math game. Everyone counts either one or two digits going around in a circle. The person who says 20 wins.

Family Reading: Picture Book called grump. I am trying today to not be a grump after many withdrawals were taken from my emotional bank account yesterday. That book shows a mom struggling with her emotions while her baby does normal baby things. Then a I read a chapter out of the first Fairy Realm. I think it may have gotten a little interesting to Noel though she's determined to not like it. I think she will like it when it gets Fairy-ish, but I may be wrong.

Family Work: Clean out my closet. My shoe rack broke, and my shoes were crazy. Plus I had some maternity clothes still on the shelf to put away. Plus there were pants on the shelf that were non maternity that are my small size. I'm ready for those so I put them on hangers. It's time to put the bigger ones away. With my weight and frequent pregnancies, up and down we go.


Reading and Writing Class: Amy worked on a chapter book she's writing. Noel had a reading lesson. The energy in the room got CRAZY. We were all going to be getting worked up before long. The kids NEEDED a recess. (They had skipped their recess they usually take while I make lunch in favor of inside play.) So we just ended school early. I still intend to do my reading and writing (after I go put dinner in the crock pot.)

Closing Prayer: Noel

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday October 21, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: Catch

Water Class.

Stand and Share: The girls shared that it's almost Halloween. I shared with Amy and Noel - Eliza was at Joy School - the "tucking" story I told Eliza last night. (A tucking story is a story you tell to a kid in bed about your past.) How my mom used to tell toddler Amy "Go ni-nite. Wake up!" And Amy would play along. They all loved it and wanted to play.

Memorize Class: Sing all verses of Give Said the Little Stream.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Class: Talk about feelings and choosing what we believe and how we feel.

Activity: Watch Animaniacs episode.

Pick up Eliza and get so distracted with her friend's super fun back yard.

Family Reading: Home Price. We're nearly done. The kids want to read the sequel.

Family Work: Eliza's room and hallway.


Reading and Writing Class: Amy worked on a book she's making about a purple bear based on a dream she had. Noel wanted a Fancy Nancy reading marathon. We read 1 1/2 before she got distracted. I wrote out a bunch of projects I want to work on and looked up the Alpine School Board Debate info for tonight. I'm still wanting to get ready for tonight - debate plus library run plus handing off the kids - and read a little from one of my study books. The kids were starting to run around so I said we could have prayer and end.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday October 20, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: However you want.

Water class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class - Give Said the Little Stream

Pledge of Allegiance

Class - Sample of This Week in History. Kids decided on learning about Rubik's Cubes. We watched a couple youtubes and did a computer game and learned a little history.

Activity - Walk around the block.

Reading - Sir Cumference book and Little Britches

Family Work - clean Eliza's room

Reading and Writing Class - interviews with kids. Kids drew Halloween decorations. I read All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience. Worked on Jesus the Christ vocabulary list.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall Break Week

Since this week is fall break, we changed things up a bit. Monday I planned a game marathon, but the kids (mostly Amy leading) were obsessed with Art. Including sidewalk chalk. So we did that. We eventually played one matching game with the US Presidents. When we started I was amused with Eliza and her antics and not knowing how to play (since she's 3). By the end I was annoyed and impatient and concerned she'd lose the cards all over. Doh.

Tuesday was a library day. Story time. Checking out TONS of books. That was it for school. We came home and read some and just had a fun great day.

Wednesday I went to Strongbrook Women's Empowerment Group meeting. The kids played with other toddlers and home schooled kids. Then we bought a couple presents for birthday parties upcoming. (I would call that not having school.)

Today was a reading marathon. I invited the girls to come in their pajamas and read on my bed. I read to them picture books and our chapter books. I studied things I wanted to. I started a book that I am previewing for Amy to check for appropriateness. Amy and I agreed that we want to do those more often. Not sure what the other girls thought. Noel seemed to have a good time much of the time. But I think she would have liked it more if I read her whatever she wanted the whole time. I think in the future it would be good for me to not have my own agenda of books I want to read and study and be ready to just read with the kids a ton. I think that will help them enjoy it more.

It's been a fun week.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday, October 8 and 9, 2014


Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body Class: Cosmic Kids Yoga

Water Class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class: Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

Pledge of Allegiance.

Science Class: Observation using binoculars and magnifying glasses. We went on a walk and looked a bunch of stuff. I think the coolest was a heart shape in a spider's web. Then we walked to our friends, the Millers' to examine their sand. We ended up inside "helping" Anne do a project for our family work, but we weren't much help.

By the time we got home, Amy had a stomach ache. We put the rest of school on hold seeing if she'd feel better. She didn't the rest of the night. So that ended school. I did some study - reading and writing my own self.


Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body Class: Cosmic Kids Yoga

Water Class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class: Toy Boat

Pledge of Allegiance

Presidents Class: We made word strips of all the US presidents' names on them. I made another copy during reading/ writing/ drawing class. They can be a matching game. Or we can draw one out of a jar one day and learn something about that president. The girls were pretty into it. We got talking about how all of the presidents made some good and some bad choices. I told them that when I didn't like a president's choice it was because they didn't follow the constitution or they did things to hurt liberty. Those are the things important to me in leaders. I told them some people wouldn't want me teaching them that and wouldn't want me to home school but many people do. They were all for the fight for liberty. I love that. :) I mentioned to Amy that using these word strips would be like America Moment which we did last year. She said she forgot about America Moment and wanted to do it again. I'm all for it.

Rest: Noel said she had a stomach ache and wanted a rest so we got pillows and blankets and listened to Dr. Seuss's Sleepybook on the computer while resting. She wants to include rest time regularly at school. I'm sure not opposed.

Activity: Some random game outside that involved blindfolds, hiding pillows and a little hide and seek. Noel just loves to be in charge and to make up the rules and sometimes does it a little as she goes. You never quite know what we are doing.

Reading: Homer Price.

Family Work: Gather all the trashes from the house.


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: Interview day. Eliza wanted me to guess a secret with NO CLUES. She's hilarious. Amy and I wrote in her notebook as usual. Her goal is to read the whole Book of Mormon. I finished some previous time study. I still want to do a little Constitution study but haven't gotten there yet. Noel didn't get an interview. She fell asleep.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday October 7, 2014

Yesterday was a game marathon. The kids played Carcasonne, Mental Blox, Candy Land, puzzles. At Family Home Evening we played Bang.


Choosing Day: Amy

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body Class: One At Bat Each

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I shared my testimony of Joseph Smith.

Memorize Class: John 6:69. We also watched a Bible Video of it.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Then we did our morning routines which we hadn't done yet. I decided today to get an earlier start on school since Matt wasn't home (at the temple) to have breakfast with and knowing we'd have interruptions taking Eliza and Noel to Joy School. It turned out great. When I got back from dropping them off, Amy and I were ready for class.

Class: State Page. Amy didn't want to do it, even to choose. I had guessed she'd choose Idaho because she said the other day she wanted to choose states in the order they come in in the song she knows. She thought that was fine. She watched the state song video and put together a puzzle of the US right beside me while I made the page. I thought that was a great way to participate without doing what she didn't feel like doing.

Activity: Bang. We started right before I left to pick up the girls. Our little game of it took nearly an hour and a half! That's long. I almost won, and then Amy came back. If she hadn't blown herself up with dynamite, who knows how long we would have gone on.

Reading Time: Horton Hears a Who and Homer Price.

Family Work: Clean up dandelions in yard, and throw away some of the boxes in the garage. Get can to street in anticipation of trash day tomorrow.


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: The girls painted each other's faces. Amy played with Mental Blox. Noel is reading Eliza The Monster at the End of this Book. Now they are each reading a Fancy Nancy book - Noel out loud. It's awesome. Amy is writing in her notebook with me. I read half a chapter (long chapter) in Teach the Children. I added more to my Jesus the Christ vocabulary list. I have recently been reading Wuthering Heights and have found plenty of vocabulary words in there too.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday October 1 and 2, 2014

Yesterday we waited for Amy to clean the bathrooms, then went to Lowes for a mailbox then went to Babies R Us for a Baby Gate then went to Sprouts Market for some on-sale produce. We finally got home, all cleaned the downstairs bathroom, and ate some lunch. After lunch we painted the mailbox. Reading and writing class failed to catch kids' attention. However, because the purpose of the mailbox was to send notes and pictures and such fun things to each other, the girls kept coming back and having reading and writing class all day. It was a hit.

This morning we went to a neighbor's house to clean with others in the Relief Society. The woman had hurt her back and couldn't clean her house. I'll tell you what, a whole crew of women cleaning a whole house in a flash is amazing and like a dream for me. Months worth of work (at my pace) in a few hours. Incredible.

Anyway. On our way home, Amy suggested we go play for her activity. So we grabbed bikes and books and left for the park. We stopped on corners to read a book about sense of touch for our class. The point was that we could then touch things and experience what we learned. The best example was that we kept talking about receptors in our skin that detected hot, cold, and pain. We talked about that a few times.

When the girls didn't want to stop riding bikes to read, I took a nap on the tennis court. That felt awesome.

Then home. We read a chapter of Homer Price (the doughnuts chapter - classic) while I nursed. We never did get to the lunch portion of the day. Reading and writing class was only marginally interesting again. When I asked if the girls were just ready for school to be over they agreed. When I said that that meant it was time for them to clean up their fort, they suddenly wanted to go read and write. Noel read Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy by herself. (Awesome!) And she dictated to me a story about magically jumping from one big rock to another to get places faster (like across whole blocks.) She had made up the idea this morning, and we had discussed it a few times. Cool!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday September 30, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Dropped Eliza and Noel off at Joy School. (The teacher said Noel could stay and be a helper.) Quick stop at library to drop books off/ pick up a hold. It was a Magic Tree House Book. Amy is finished with it.

Skipped opening routine today.

Class: State Page - Connecticut (my choice). We got way distracted learning about Yankees and Yankee Doodle. Did you know it's the state song for Connecticut?

Picked up Joy School Kids

Activity: Play with tone bells.

Reading: Magic Tree House #4 (Pirates Past Noon)

Family Work: Living room and hallway


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing: Girls were into their sparks today. Noel wanted to learn a lot about Fancy Nancy. Did you know there's a musical of it? She colored a coloring page of it and was read a story online. Amy got interested in Robin (as in, Batman's sidekick.) (Did you know robin is the state bird of Connecticut? That's why she learned about Robin. We looked up images of robins when doing our state pages.) I was still interested in learning a little more about Yankee Doodle and Yankees. When Wikipedia mentioned A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain), I thought that sounded intriguing too. It mixes a few things we've become a little interested in - yankees and King Arthur.

I also updated my personal prayer list. My mom updated me on her investigators who are on my prayer list. I still have a tab open on my computer to read about "A House Divided" - Abraham Lincoln's speech.

Much better day than yesterday. I've been trying to ease up on myself about what time we start school - not stress about when it is. I think I've taken that farther than I want. Today I felt like we didn't have near as much reading/ writing class time as we wanted. (It's 3:41, and I'm not done. :)) I want to start school earlier. The routine and rituals for this year are definitely still being worked through.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday September 29, 2014

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

Today was hard but not the hardest. We almost canceled home school once and took a few breaks to cope. The girls caught on that I was upset and finally got themselves to clean up so we could get started. I feel naggy and like it is pushing my buttons any time someone argues or doesn't obey (which seems to be happening a lot.) It seems a shift in my thinking and some fun positive time together is in order. This is when it's hardest to want to spend fun time together. My impulse is to want kids to go away.

Still, I am proud of myself for how well I have done and of the kids for how well they have done. And I'm glad school's over for today. I'm glad these days are more rare than they used to be and that I am coping better with school than I used to.

When talking to Matt about doubts and concerns, he reminded me that I felt inspired about how to do our school and that I am staying in tune for more ideas. That's why I've been happy with the school. So doubts are not the messages to listen to. That helped a lot.

So what we did pull off:

Choosing Day: Me

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body Class: Baby yoga with Benjamin and dolls and animals. (This turned out to be my favorite part of the day.)

The rest of opening routine was meh.

Class: Told the girls about pedigree charts. We want to make one. I want to learn which ancestors were the ones to accept the gospel on each line. Then we'll learn their stories and act them out.

Activity: Make sparks books. The girls' excitement for this is awesome too. This was an idea I heard on the Not Back to School Summit. I've heard of the ideas of sparks before ( Mary Ann's talk I heard last week suggested helping kids 8-12ish take responsibility for their own education in part by keeping a sparks notebook where they write down things they want to learn about. Then the mom can help them learn about it or they can learn on their own. We started making ours. Turns out, the girls wanted me to color theirs the way I did mine. I didn't want to do that all day so I told them I'd do it during general conference this weekend.

Reading Class: Little Britches - less than 2 pages before I was too tired of kids interrupting and playing their own games.

Family Work: I was skeptical we could pull this off - especially me - with attitudes and feelings intact. The kids did better than I thought so that helped. We folded a load of laundry, and I taught them a little more of how to do that. (Not the kids' strongest chore.)


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing: Amy fell asleep. She has a stomach ache. Other girls are off playing. That's nice for me anyway. I wrote a letter to my parents. I did my study when I was up feeding and comforting Benjamin at 4 am today. So I think I'll just move on to some other tasks. Plenty to do.

I have hope that days like this will be less and less, that relationships will thrive and continue to grow stronger, that I will gain more self-discipline and capacity in my patience and parenting and ability to allow others to make their choices instead of trying to control them. I am grateful for hope.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday September 25, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: Swing and Slide

Water Class.

Stand and Share: I shared a little bit about what I have been learning about in the Home Education Council of America Not Back to School Summit.

Memorize Class: We watched a little video that taught us Psalm 107:1 to the tune of B-I-N-G-O.

The Pledge of Allegiance.

Rainbow Class: We read a picture book that taught a bunch of cool things. It suggested a couple pneumonic devices to teach the order of the colors. The girls drew rainbows. We tried to make rainbows on a CD, with a bowl by the window, and outside with the sprinkler. Then we came in the house and "asked the computer" why it didn't work. We found out the sun was too high in the sky so the angle wasn't right to create a rainbow. Maybe we'll try at sunset tonight. Cool stuff.

Major fight/ discussion. After 3 people (including me) behaved poorly we discussed what we did that wasn't helping our family and what we can do to help our family. We talked about a House Divided which I read about in scripture study and then looked up Abraham Lincoln's speech this morning. We talked about what would happen if we cut our house and how it would fall. Then we all talked about the things we chose that cut up our family. Then we moved to what would help us glue it back together - repentance and forgiveness, apologies and hugs. The girls have been talking about glue ever since while doing things that glue us.

Activity: Recess.

Family Reading (outside): Homer Price and The Giving Tree. I'm changing it up a little and letting the choosing day girl choose a little because Noel was really not liking Little Britches. It's still one of the options, just not the only option.

Lunch: Picnic. Amy was the cute waitress.
(We skipped family work because we were hungry. Then after lunch Benjamin wanted to nurse and the girls started reading. So we still haven't gotten to family work. I'm hoping I can rally the troupes to do it next.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: Amy finished The Magic Finger. I read from Resolved. We discussed a false principle that I found in there. Amy and I didn't agree with it. She and I wrote in her notebook about Magic Tree House. She read 5 MTH books yesterday. I would say she was sucked in. Noel and Eliza drew pictures a bit and stapled and cut out and hole punched papers. Now there are all those little paper punch things on the floor. (Cleaning the school room is also still to come.) Neither girl wanted an interview, but I got a few answers from Eliza about Joy School.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday September 24, 2014

Yesterday was another Joy School day at our house so we didn't have any school afterwards.

This morning I decided it was time for another library day. We had talked about learning about rainbows, and I wanted to check out some books about them. I also wanted to get another book for our ancient history/ mythology class. (Theseus and the Minotaur was such a great hit.) Plus we had an overdue book and a Magic Tree House book to pick up that was on hold.

We spent the morning getting ready - sorting through our 54 books already checked out and finding quite a few to turn in. We decided to shoot for getting there for Laptime and Storytime. We made it. After story time we read a few books together and played a little and then went to get a few more books.

We also got the first book in the Fairy Realm series to read together. I'm hoping it will be interesting for Noel - my child least likely to be interested in chapter books being read aloud. She still likes books well enough; I just want to make it a little more fun for her. Amy's not hard to please. :)

We got some more things to listen to in the car as well.

By the time we got home it was lunch time.

Reading and writing class found Noel playing with calendars and reading to herself, Eliza about the same. Amy read a whole Magic Tree House book and is almost finished with a second one, all in a less-than-two-hour reading class time. We read one chapter of the Fairy Realm book.

I did my Constitution study and worked on my vocabulary list. (I rotate through 4 different books that I study during reading and writing class, one each day of the week in theory. I am making a vocabulary list from the words I circled and wrote in definitions for as I have been reading Jesus the Christ. There are plenty.)

Closing Prayer: Amy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday September 22, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Mom

Move Your Body: Eliza led us in an awesome routine.

Water Class.

Stand and Share:Noel - We made cookies yesterday, and I want one right now.
Eliza - I can sing I am a Child of God by my own self. (But she wouldn't do it; she just told us she could.)

Memorize Class: Watch video of a silly song of the books of the Old Testament. I'm just looking around for what we may want for Memorize Class as Noel was really not liking it.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Class: The Value of Truth and Trust - a Value Tale book about Cochise

Activity: Walk/ ride to the park and play. Friends showed up too.

Missed family reading and family work in our playing.


Reading/ Writing Class: Noel had a reading lesson. Noel and Eliza drew pictures. I read Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Amy had some cleaning up that she ended up needing to do, and she ended up missing class and lying in bed. I read from All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell and worked on my vocabulary list from books I haven't known as I have read Jesus the Christ.

Closing Prayer: Noel 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday September 18, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

Pre-School Class (Meaning the class that happened before school "started", before some of us even ate breakfast or got dressed. That happens sometimes.) Let's Play Music homework.

Opening Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: A little baseball.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Another cute thing about Eliza is that she kind of sheepishly and shyly grins and runs to a couch after standing and sharing. It's darling. Today she talked about feeding her pretend Benjo and how he wasn't crying.

Memorize Class: Recite Amy's tithing poem. She quizzed me and cheered me on really cute. Noel's totally uninterested in memorize class.

Pledge of Allegiance: Only Eliza was interested again.

Class: Prepare assignments for Joy School. Noel has a secret one (I want Eliza to be surprised about it.) I realized it would work better to work on it after school. I asked Amy if she would be willing to read a story at school. She was willing, and I asked her to practice. She read well, even pretty quick. She did skip a few words and her intonation was on the boring end for 3 year old listeners. Eliza ran off early on in the story. I really wasn't sure what to assign to Amy instead so I told her I'd figure it out later and let her know.
Class part 2 was the revealing of a bunch of books I got yesterday at a book store when I went for a girls' night out with my friend, Anne. We had such a great time and got tons of books. I included a knocking for each of my girls. They were pretty excited.

Activity was more baseball/ recess. I stayed inside to get Benjamin to bed for the first while. Then, when I got outside we were hiding from and killing dragons.

Little Britches: Amy forgot to listen because she was reading another book. (I was tempted to interrupt her and ask her to book the book down but didn't because of recently reading this. On a side note, Matt and I also really enjoyed this article.) I wondered if just maybe Amy could read a book and listen to another book at the same time. Turns out, nope. She was in the zone with the book she was reading and totally missed Little Britches. She asked me to start the chapter over. Noel said she would like the book more if she could understand the words. I asked if she wanted me to stop a lot to tell her what was happening. Yes. I declined reading any more today because it was already 12:40, and I wanted to have time for our favorite class without skipping the others. We'll pick up on the same chapter next week but this time with more explanation.

Family Work: Eliza's room and the hallway. We just did Eliza's room yesterday and it wasn't bad at all. I usually would not let that fly - same room two days in a row - but I wanted to move on to lunch.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: Amy and I did our usually writing in her notebook. Today I wanted to do interviews - I want to make them Thursdays at the end of the day to make plans for the upcoming week. Today's topic was if anyone wants to change things about how we do our school. Now that we are three weeks in, I was ready to consider ideas. Amy had none. She likes everything. Wouldn't change anything. Awesome. She has a good attitude for the most part too.

Noel wanted to change nearly everything. I wondered what I may be learning about their personalities from this stark contrast. It is true that Noel has shown her dissatisfaction with certain aspects of school although her overall school opinion seems high. Still, she was bringing up stuff I never heard of. She may be one who likes to change things up a lot. Who knows.

Eliza said she likes reading and writing class and other silly things. She mostly just wanted to write names or some such. :)

We also read a couple picture books together. Amy and Noel have been asking for some individual time with me the last couple days. I thought that they would like to each get to choose something to read together. Amy has been saying she likes to sit by me and snuggle when we write in her notebook. Something good is happening there. :)

I haven't made it to my study stuff yet, and the girls have long since run off to play. It's good.

Closing Prayer: Noel

I have been praying for small ideas to help me make progress towards a few goals. They are mostly related to the ideas Matt and I had for what our kids and our family need this year. Many are unrelated to academics. Today I had the idea to look Noel in the eye when she's talking to me. We are trying to encourage expression from her, and I think that will help me really listen to her and show her respect. I also praised her like crazy for expressing herself really well one time today when she was upset.


Last night at the bookstore, Anne and I talked and talked, a lot about school stuff. I shared some ideas with her and some things we are doing and that I believe. Being in the bookstore got me excited and hopeful. I often feel that way when I think about the years and years of learning ahead of our family and what it's going to do for each of us to prepare us for life and personal life mission and teach us to be happy and make strong our relationships. I get excited specifically thinking about all the cool things I'll get to learn that I wouldn't if we weren't homeschooling. It's times like that that I doubt that I'll ever put the kids in school. (I don't ever think that I necessarily will, just that I always could if we decided that was what would be right for us. Seems like the chance are remote at this point, but who knows.)

Amy just came into the living room and got her school supplies, announcing that they were going to go have school. :) I guess the about 5 hours of school for today was insufficient for their appetite.

Wednesday September 17, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: However you want to move to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang music.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Eliza always says awesome stuff about joy school or home school.

Memorize Class: A poem about tithing Amy got at primary.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Class: State Page - Kentucky (chosen by Noel)


Little Britches

Family Work: Eliza's room.

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing class did not hold a lot of interest yesterday. Amy and I still did some writing. Noel and Eliza were totally off in la-la land. I finally decided to start making a poster that I want to use to track what books we read. They thought that was cool but still didn't really stay around for it. That's fine. I still have that to finish. And my Kentucky page. Everyone was faster than me on that yesterday so we just moved on.

We never even got to the closing prayer part. That's all fine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday September 16, 2014

I know I said I wasn't going to blog today, but we ended up having a great joy school day followed by some school. We just couldn't resist. :)

Joy School ended up being just Eliza and Quincy. It was so easy and fun. Our joy school days are shorter this year, so I cut out a few activities and recruited help from Amy and Noel. We still had a full (but not rushed or stressed) and super fun joy school day. And Amy and Noel were awesome at helping. At one point I actually had nothing to do.

After school the Joy School stuff that was left out suddenly turned the kitchen table into craft table. We did lunch and crafts and then morphed into reading/ writing/ drawing class. Now Noel and Eliza are playing adorable pretend play (the living room is a train). Amy is reading a very large pile of library books. Who knows when she'll stop. Love it.

A brief home school success/ testimonial about the power of free reading and writing to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing:

I just read something Amy had written to my parents. When she realized her word wouldn't all fit on one line, she hyphenated it, and finished the word on the next line. When I pointed it out to her and asked her how she knew to do it - I hadn't taught her - she said she has seen it done like that tons of times in books. Awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday September 15, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Dance to Music - a kiwi Christmas CD

Stand and Share: The girls passed. I recited a scripture.

Memorize Class: Same.

Pledge of Allegiance - Eliza did it today.

Class: Learn a song and prepare assignments for Joy School for tomorrow. (We won't be having home school tomorrow due to it being Joy School day at our house.)

We skipped activity due to a feeling of urgency and unsureness about the size of job of family work.

Family Work: Clean up toy room from a leaky pipe and lots of water. This is still in progress, but I got a pretty good assessment of the damage and situation. Plus we have a cooler catching the water. The most precious thing lost to this point was some bean bags. I practiced a lot of gratitude as I cleaned it up for so much abundance and for things not damaged. Also, I am glad and grateful we cleaned the toy room before this happened. Many more things would have been damaged, and much more work would have been necessary if that hadn't been done.

Lunch and Break Time

Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class. I started the girls going before I joined them, wanting to get the dishwasher going again. I am trying to get the house cleaned for Joy School and deal with the water in addition to normal work. I am also working hard on staying calm.

Finally I joined them. Amy and I wrote back and forth in her notebook about the pipe. The girls have been reading the Book of Mormon. I think Amy's example inspired Noel. So cool. I missed scripture study this morning due to sleeping in so that's what I have been working on once I joined the kids. We closed a little early, but I am wanting to keep studying a little more. Then back to work.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday September 11, 2014

Choosing Day: Noel

Opening Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: Dance video from youtube.

Stand and Share: Eliza - "I really want to play with friends because that's my favorite thing to do and I really want to after school. Done."
I shared that I listened to a talk yesterday that talked about how kids who fight and have attitude problems needed more family work. (Interesting because family work brings that out in my kids. Still, I agree and believe in that. I think family work blesses families a ton and that we will continued to learn lessons about how to do that well and to reap the benefits.)

Memorize Class: Nations of the World. This time we watched with the lyrics. That helped a ton. We're doing that from now on.

Pledge of Allegiance

Class: Art
Amy (As we were setting up for Art Class): I like home school! It's the best!
That's what I like to hear.

Noel just told me her painting is the shape of a pelelagram. She was saying parallelogram! I taught her that word a couple of weeks ago and haven't mentioned it since. I am so impressed!

pacipic - Noel's version of specific

I let the girls do whatever art thing they wanted while I nursed and looked up ideas for a simple art lesson. Noel and Eliza painted with watercolors. Amy made an awesome picture of a candy factory for Grammy and Papa. I found an idea to make a caterpillar. We watched a video of the Very Hungry Caterpillar then made it. It involved painting pieces of egg carton. We only have 6 colors of acrylic paint - red, yellow, blue, brown, black, and white. So we discussed primary and secondary colors and mixed to make the secondary colors. The whole activity was a hit. Amy had asked in her interview Sunday if we could have an art class. I was glad we obliged.

Noel was thinking about doing her music class homework for activity but changed her mind in favor of making puppets. We printed off cartoonish facial features and hands and feet and glued them onto paper sacks. Huge mess and funny creations ensued. Eliza was most interested in cutting up the papers into little pieces.

When a couple of us were done (not Eliza), I read Little Britches. The popularity of that book is growing. Noel seems to be coming around from thinking it's boring to liking it. Today we read a part where the main character, Ralph, is scolded by his dad for lying and for the impact of that choice on his character. He compares tearing down your character to pulling down part of your house and burning it when you are cold. After doing that too many times, there is nothing left. We discussed character and how you can build it or weaken it. I particularly wanted them to understand that Ralph's conclusion that his character was forever and irreparably damaged was in accurate.

Family Work today was tons better than yesterday. Still some prodding. Noel and Eliza cleaned up puppets. Amy and I worked mostly on toy room. Got the family room back to clean. It seemed like it took forever today, but we stuck with it and got it done.


Reading and Writing Class: Eliza started playing pretend immediately and distracted Noel. I am not sure what to do about this situation. I think it's great for them to play pretend. Especially I don't think Eliza needs to sit still for 1 1/2 to 3 hours reading and writing and drawing like the rest of us could do. Still, I want the other girls to participate or at least feel enticed to do so and not just have a free-for-all. Today I just let them play. I think usually I will tell Noel she needs to stay in the same room and be quiet so all who want to can participate. (I'm not saying silence; we interact during this class and have a good time.) I think Noel likes it, and she likes playing with Eliza so both sound good to her.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday September 10, 2014

Choosing Day: Mom

Opening Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: Echo rhythms.

Water Class.

Stand and Share: Shanigans. Everyone wanted to share a ton and fight. Amy earned a consequence.

Memorize Class: Same as usual.

Pledge of Allegiance: I did by myself. Attitudes were iffy at this point.

Class: Picture book bio of Beatrix Potter. Amy sate at most of class and read the Book of Mormon instead. She finally got curious and came over. It was interesting. The girls learned what a governess is (which made them want to watch Sound of Music. Who doesn't want to watch Sound of Music?) They also decided to get down all of our Beatrix Potter books and see if we have them all. (We don't, but we have a lot of them.)

Activity: Mental Blox. I won this cool game at the homeschool conference from a drawing. It has brightly colored different shaped blocks. You can build structures. They have cards with suggestions. The kids played with them however they wanted while I took care of Benjamin and bathroom break. They wanted to use the card suggestions to copy. They could copy just fine. What was harder to understand and do was follow the suggestions on the card that added to the pictured structures. It's really a bit advanced for them. But just playing and using their imaginations isn't. I like them to just get to do whatever they want with things like this.

Family Reading: Little Britches

Break/ Free Play Time. I struggled with some anxiety all morning, and by this point didn't feel up to dealing with work.

Family Work: (I listened to something yesterday that differentiated between chores and family work in how it is done and how it is perceived. I love the idea of it and am going to start calling this family work now.) All that said, attitudes were struggling today, mine especially. Even after the break I wasn't up to much. I kept working but felt annoyed by shenanigans and the mess. We were trying to clean the toy room which was quite messy. I finally snapped when a box was dropped on Benjamin's head (no big injury but still.) I took another break to calm down. When I came back, the mess was bigger (expected.) We decided we'll finish tomorrow.


Reading/ Writing/ Drawing Class: I tried to change the name to literacy class, but Amy doesn't like the idea. Amy and I wrote back and forth about books. I wrote Matt stuff on chat to help me with my mental health. I brainstormed limiting beliefs I want to replace. I read a Conference talk and part of Teach the Children. Noel colored a skeleton. Amy read Horton Hears a Who and a book about the Stupids (which we call the Sillies.) Amy traced Mental Blox and made structures out of the pictures she drew. Very cool.

Lots of struggles today with attitude and mood. It's a success when we keep trying to make things work and when we make things work under more difficult circumstances. Today was the first day that was somewhat difficult for this school year (sixth day, pretty cool to have 5 wonderful ones). I am learning a lot about how to handle things and getting good feedback about this year. I am so grateful I can homeschool.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday September 9, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

I took Eliza to Joy School before home school today. We were off to a slow start.

Prayer: Noel

Move Your Body: 3 turns each of Hide and Seek

Water Class.

Stand and Share.

Memorize Class: Nations of the World.

Pledge of Allegiance

(I list all of that for my reference. I'm still learning the routine.)

Class: Read Theseus and the Minotaur (picture book from the library. Yesterday I looked over a list I had that suggested books from long ago including some mythology. As I looked over the list, this is the book that stood out to me to check out.) This is a mix of History Class and Literature Class. On the suggestion of the authors of The Well Trained Mind, I want to focus this year on ancient history. This was our first day of this class, and it was a big success. Noel and Amy were both very interested. We even had some good discussion about it afterwards.

Activity: Youtube of Theseus and the Minotaur. That's how much Amy liked the story. Then we discussed how the book and movie were similar and different and why we liked the story and how the characters were.

Get Eliza from Joy School. Quincy came back with us too.

Reading Time: Little Britches

Chore: Wash window, dust, wash walls and floorboards in living room. I cleaned it up too. I would have vacuumed, but Benjamin was asleep. So I added that to my personal chore time which is after school. It is no longer clean as we decided to have Reading and Writing class in the living room.

Lunch: Amy wanted peanut butter/ banana/ raisin sandwiches. They were pretty good.

Reading and Writing Class (I want to rename it Literacy class, but the name has not yet stuck.):
Amy wanted to write back and forth with me asking questions. We talked more about Theseus. I attempted to ask the 5 types of questions and draw out more discussion. Her thinking wasn't very deep, but her perseverance in the activity was impressive. She got board but wanted to finish the second page of writing. I did ask her 4 of the types of questions. She had some good answers. I found the exercise a huge success. Noel wanted me to read her Fancy Nancy books. Afterwards we wrote a few of the fancy words in her notebook. (I want this activity to be a precursor to spelling/ vocabulary words.) She and Eliza colored in their notebook. Everyone wanted me to read them lots of books. I read some.

I studied Resolved. I think I am rotating through what I study between Teach the Children, The Promises of the Constitution, and Resolved. I may add another. I checked out Wuthering Heights yesterday but intend to read that in bed at night. I like free reading at that time, and I've been wanting to read that book for a long time.

For my writing class I worked on my Personal Prayer Roll. I'm making a list of things I want to pray for guidance and help with on a semi-ongoing basis. I include what effort I am willing to make in addition to my hope for blessings and inspiration. Then I will pray for one step at a time and the next action on the different areas.

Closing Prayer: Eliza

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday September 8, 2014

Choosing Day: Eliza

Prayer: Amy

Move Your Body: However you want

Stand and Share: Eliza and Noel shared about Benjamin.

Pledge of Allegiance

Memorize Class: Video wasn't working. We skipped.

Today for class and activity we had library time. That was preceded by a couple quick errands - Barnes N Noble and Target. I got my new glasses at Target, and I am so grateful for them.

At the library, I let each kid pick their age times two number of books. In interviews yesterday and at Barnes n Noble today they told me what books/ authors/ subjects they wanted to get this time. It took us a good while (plus saying hi to friends, paying fines, changing diaper, potty break, and nursing), but we got our 34 books (I got some too) and headed out. Impulsively we stopped at the playground for a short recess. The kids were all for it and then got back in the car well.

I almost couldn't get their attention for lunch, but we finally ate. They were antsy for reading and writing class - time to enjoy their library finds. We had a lovely nearly hour and a half of quiet reading. Eliza and Noel have been off for a while doing their own thing. Amy's still reading away.

I wrote to my parents, read introductory material on the Promises of the Constitution which I would like to study, and am now blogging. Plus helping the kids - read to Noel, read a book to Eliza that she may or may not use in her FHE lesson, traced Eliza's foot. It would have been way more if the kids had gotten their way. They all wanted me to read to them and help them draw.

Closing Prayer: Mom

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday September 4, 2014

Choosing Day: Amy

Prayer: Eliza

Move Your Body: Quick game of tag outside.

Stand and Share got a little ridiculous as Noel wanted to go get something and get it ready. I explained that it wasn't like that. Just stand and share something. I shared a little from my scripture study this morning about how Jesus fulfilled his mission when others tried to get him not to (not understanding his mission.) I said people in their lives may not understand or like or agree with the things they feel they need to do, their missions. But if God wants them to do something, they can do it anyway, no matter what people say. Just like Jesus did. They listened, and we felt the Spirit. I'm glad.

We forgot to say the Pledge of Allegiance today. That wasn't on the blog, but it's part of our opening routine. I'm still getting used to our routine and need a cheat sheet.

Memorize Class: Watch yakko. Transcribe nations.

Class: Read Beatrix Potter Story called Appley Dappley's Nursery Rhymes. Act it out. That was not going over so well. Then we decided to all be the little old lady that lives in a shoe and her kids. Somehow the shoe needed to look like a fort.

Activity: Battledome

Reading: Little Britches

Chore: Clean Benjamin's room. Amy was smart. She picked the cleanest room. We did it in 3 1/2 minutes.

Lunch. It was only 11, but the girls wanted to eat. I usually take a little break during or right around lunch. The girls wanted a picnic. I stayed inside with Benjamin and did a little puzzle on the computer for my break. The girls played outside. We were so ahead of schedule, and I think recess is important (and may be added to our schedule) for them.

Reading and Writing Class: So far Noel's coloring. Amy read a few picture books. Eliza colored with marker in a coloring book then colored all over her face. (Very normal.) Amy wants to play hero, and the fort is still up so it's not quite the pretty picture it was the other day. It feels a little chaotic in here. We press on.

A couple hours later: So it doesn't make sense for me to blog at the beginning of reading and writing class when there is still more ahead. It may become the last part. Noel ended up reading me a bunch of Bob Books. Amy wanted me to read her some of Illustrated Stories from the Book of Mormon. In an effort to encourage Amy to write, I wrote a question in her notebook for her to answer. I asked, "What do you want a friend to be like?" She answered: thme to shur. Them to share. Good one, Amy. I wrote to Noel, "Will you draw a house?" She obliged. Stairs and tons of windows.

In my pondering about how things are going, I am wondering about this class. It is marvelous; we really did have a good time. It's way too long for Eliza's interest and need for reading and writing time. I don't want to just "dismiss" kids one at a time though because then kids will think of this as the boring have to and as playing as the reward. They may start asking if they read/ wrote enough. (In keeping with food analogy, Did I eat enough for dessert? I hate that question.) So how to keep them all here but give them the freedom they need. Not sure. I'll keep working on that in the days to come.

I pulled off a little study myself. Started a new book, Teach the Children by Neil J. Flinders. I read the praise for the book and the forward. I found three words to look up, 1 thing to note, and a principle to mark. Also, I got very excited. That is the sign of a great book!

Yesterday Wednesday September 3, 2014

Choosing Day Girl: Eliza

Opening Prayer: Mom

Move Your Body: Eliza led us in some tricks. They were awesome.

Memorize Class: Watch the youtube. Listen again. Try to transcribe as many nations as we could.

Class: State Page. We have a different rotation for choosing what state we make a page for from last year that doesn't coincide with choosing days. So Amy got to pick. She picked Oregon.

Activity: Tricks.

Chore: Garage. Amy did awesome. Noel and Eliza had to go potty. Eliza had an accident. Noel was waiting for her to clean it up. I was in there with Eliza half the time helping her and keeping her company so she wouldn't be scared. So Amy did a ton of the work. We finally all helped.

During lunch my cousin, Kara called and invited us to go kayaking. So I decided that "reading and writing class" would be listen to an audiobook in the car on the way. And we had kayak class. Lots of fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to School!!!

I know most people have already posted about back to school, but we just started today. I say I like to have school from Amy's birthday to Noel's birthday and then take a break til we get through Amy's birthday again. Amy's birthday was Sunday and yesterday Labor Day. So today we are back. We have been excited.

I spent most of August praying and thinking and planning what to do this year. So I've adjusted the routine a bit. I told the girls and myself that we would have two weeks of trying out this routine before we adjust. That way we can get a real idea of what is working well and what isn't.

My impression of today is that it went well and that it could be better. There was some novel excitement and pleasure in some of the activities and some boredom/ noncompliance with other parts. Noel did the best. Amy had some attitude. Eliza started Joy School in the middle of the home school time.

Here's the first day sum up:

We got started about 8:30 with everyone done with their morning routine. That's pretty good for us I'd say. :)

Opening Routine
Prayer - Noel
Move Your Body - (The choosing day girl gets to choose if we exercise or dance or what. (We rotate choosing days at our house to decrease fighting. It's been awesome.)) - Noel led us in half a Sun Salutation.
Water Class - We all get a drink of water.
Stand and Share - Everyone who wants (always starting with Noel who we most want to encourage to express herself) stands up and shares whatever she wants. Announcement, recitation, something she's feeling, something silly, spiritual impressions. Can be whatever anyone wants.
Memorize Class - Today we brainstormed things we'd want to memorize. I think we're going to learn the countries of the world (via Yakko.)

I get to choose. Sometimes kids can help choose. I hope to include this in my prayer a little each morning before we start school so that we can choose well. I have lots of ideas and a few resources. And we'll go from there. (Today we organized school supplies, marking each item with a color of the person whose it is. We decided on two colors for each of us and bought school supplies accordingly. It was a big job to get it all organized, and mine still isn't done. The girls mostly liked this.

I plan to let the choosing day person choose activity most days. Today, we had a Joy School Meeting right after Joy School. So the kids got to play with friends for activity. That's an exception, not the norm. Normally we'll do an activity all together.

This one's mine. We read together a chapter book of my choosing. Maybe I'll let the choosing day person pick a picture book too if they want. Today we started Little Britches. Amy assumed it would be boring and then didn't want me to stop when I was done. When I asked a couple questions about what I had read, she totally knew. :)

As you can imagine, this was the "class" that went over least well at school today. I decided we'd let the choosing day person choose what room to clean and we'd all work together to clean up one whole room. Today Noel picked clean the van. We got most of the way through (after some prodding) and then people were all too tired.

Pretty self-explanatory. I also get a little break during this time to do a little puzzle on the computer (my entertainment of choice) .

Reading and Writing
I told the girls while they ate about this class. As soon as they clean up their lunch dishes they can go downstairs to the bean bag chairs with a pile including at least one thing to read and at least one thing to write with/ on or draw. As I ate I realized I was totally excited about this class. It had a different feeling about it than others. The girls seemed excited too. That's what we are doing now. Most days my writing will be blogging about what we did although I hope it's not all I have time for. I'm also excited to use this time for a little of my own study. That said, the girls are allowed to get one-on-one during this class. We can read together, they can dictate to me so I can write, and we can work on their individual educational/ fun goals that they need help with. That's the plan.

Overall, I'd say today went pretty well. Matt and I have talked a lot about how to make our school agency-based rather than coercive. I decided to design it like we do food. I offer nutritious and delicious (fun and enriching) things to do. Their requirement is to come and to not distract from others. For many of the activities, they do not have to participate. I do hope that there will be enough fun and interest that most will participate most of the time, but I know some things won't be appealing.The exception is clean up and the group chore. Everyone is instructed to do that.

It did seem like I gave a lot of instructions a lot of times today. So if that continues, I may change things up. That makes things less pleasant for all. In the past I have been a bit wishy washy I think about whether or not they should participate. (I believe in Inspire, not Require as a school principle. That led me to second guess myself and doubt a lot when kids didn't want to participate. Or I'd try to manipulate them without forcing them. I'm a work in progress. :) ) I hope the girls get used to what is expected of them (and not complain or have a bad attitude), and I hope they enjoy much of what we do.

My prayer this morning was that I feel normal. That means for me normal ups and downs in emotions but free from anxiety, particularly the debilitating kind that makes it very difficult to carry on with planned activities. That happened. I am so grateful! I don't feel totally zapped (although I think I would be if I didn't take the break.) I think ending the day with reading and writing will be awesome.

Yay School!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I've Got Sunshine

Today we did our normal opening routine. Daddy wanted us to make an Alaska page so we did. We talked a little about how cold it is and the interesting daylight patterns. I realized I have a good portion of the state capitals song we listen to memorized.

We read more of the blog about what we did this year for mom class. I think the kids would like that more if I had more pictures and videos. I hope someday to do that more.

Noel picked watch and act out some Mary Poppins for her activity. Then Eliza wanted to too.

Reading class was The Dance today.

Closing class was a family meeting to remind ourselves of the rules of outside play/ friend time. Then we headed outside for Amy's activity and friend time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

School Year Review

After dropping Noel off at Joy School, we stopped by Hilary's to check on her. She had a baby 8 days ago. I am wanting to help her if I can.

We didn't have much time after that so we decided to just have a little more interview for school. Pretty soon we'll go pick Noel back up. So we've been looking over this blog, reviewing things we have done this year and discussing them.

Then we played outside for just a few minutes before picking Noel up from Joy School. That's it for today. We have needed quite a bit of work on self-discipline and behavior and consequences lately, and I think that will be continuing today.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Think We are Back on our A-Game

Today was a lovely school day with good attitudes.

We finished our Pennsylvania pages. The state flower is called Mountain Laurel. Because we call my sister, Laurel, Burns, Amy suggested we call the state flower Mountain Burns.

Mom Class was interviews with Amy and Noel. Amy and I read through an interview we had done at the beginning of the school year about what she wanted to do this year. We discussed what we really had done. It was fun. I was pleased to see there really was quite a bit that we did this year though it often didn't feel like it. I hope to do a few more interviews during these last few weeks we are officially doing school for this year.

Noel's activity was called Crazy Crowd. No idea why. She just made up lots of pretending involving chairs, a bathtub stage, a boat made of the couch, a deer (Amy) who kept pouncing everywhere, a store made of the girls' bedroom, lots of sleeping. Noel just liked telling everyone who they were and what they were to do. I thought that without encouragement to wrap up, Noel very likely would have gone on forever.

Amy and Eliza chose outside play for their activities. That's still to come. Although they said it's raining, so we'll see what really happens.

Closing class was painting nails. Amy earned it for a motivator. Eliza and Noel happily joined in. Noel and Amy read their Book of Mormon reading lesson to me for reading class.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Flop

Wednesday's school took most of the day. Eliza chose Michigan for her state. We kept trying to come back to activities. Amy gave up talking for a while. I got frustrated and had to take a break. I would say it was a bit of a flop but an attempt nonetheless.

That day I was reminded that I prefer being done with school before lunch. Otherwise I don't feel we're ever done, and it messes with me.

We Love Rain

Today we started off rough. Amy was ready quite a bit sooner than others for school. Then she was coloring a picture that took long enough to not have her ready when we did start. She decided to skip doing a Pennsylvania page like we were working on. I still struggle with being ok with kids choosing out of school activities. That's how I want to be. Plus computers were having trouble. We use them a lot for reference when making our state pages.

For a lesson today, I asked the girls to read to me the rest of the reading lesson for our scripture study reading lesson book. Lots of resistance. Finally they both did.

Amy and Eliza wanted to go outside for their activities so we saved that for the end.

Noel had a difficult time choosing so we came back to her.

We read a couple library books for reading class.

Then Noel chose to play Memory for her activity. HER WAY. Which she made up as she went along. It wasn't really a game, but I think the main purpose was served. We all did something HER WAY and mostly stuck it out even though it didn't make much sense. I think Noel likes that.

Amy said closing prayer, and we went outside for more activities. We rode bikes and raced. My chain eventually fell off. Doh. Then we played some T-ball. It rained about half the time we were out there, and that made it more fun.

We were going to plant lettuce for closing class but decided against it in the rain. So we're done.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yesterday's School. Turned Out a Success After All

Amy picked Colorado for her state today. The girls each made a page and then fizzled out a little sooner than normal (at least for Amy). They started playing (mixed with a little fighting) while I finished my page.

I decided to introduce bones next and spent a few minutes looking for a fun way to do it. We ended up with a coloring page that helps you identify major bones and a toddler sized puzzle of a skeleton. The girls all lay on it to compare size. We sang "Skull, shoulder bones, patella, metatarsels" (head, shoulders, knees, and toes.) We watched a few awesome youtubes of "Dem Bones." (Check them out. I loved them.) Amy told me my activity was fun. :)

Noel chose trace hands and feet for her activity.

Uncle Remus came (me with Uncle Remus voice) to say clean up so we can read about Brer Rabbit. So we did.

At that point, we were done for a while. It was late lunch time.

Later Eliza and I sang happy birthday to Benjamin.

Amy had chosen T-ball for her activity, and when we were ready to play, it just so happened that about 10 neighborhood kids were here. So we played a full on t-ball game. Most kids were little so we were helping with rules. It turned out pretty fun. Amy got to be the team captain since it was her activity.

School was a Little Quick Today

We did Arizona for our state page today. When I talked about the population, one of the kids said that two of those people in Arizona were Grammy and Papa.

We looked back over this blog, reading what we did the first few months of school and looking at pictures and movies for Mom Class today.

Eliza chose dancing and specifically requested I dance with her.

Noel wanted to trace and laminate again.

We'll have bikes and t-ball in a little bit for Amy's activity. She used to choose baseball nearly every day when we first started at-home kindergarten too.

Reading Class was another Uncle Remus story.

The reason we went quick today was to get done before Sam comes to play. He'll be here any minute.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Library Day

Today we went to both Provo and Orem libraries during school time. Noel's joy school was canceled so she came too. We had books overdue at both. We recently went to Provo library and missed story time by a couple minutes. This time we wanted to check it out. It was a hit. Amy and Noel went into the bigger story time. Eliza (who is a month and half too young to go into story time though I think she'd do well with her sisters) and Benjamin and I went to the toddler story time.

Then we headed to Orem library to pick up a few things.

That was school for today.

This afternoon Noel had a reading lesson. (We re-checked out the reading lesson book.) As it's been cold, the girls have stayed in the house more and are currently thumbing through the library books that pile up from the shelves whenever we go to the library.

Monday, April 28, 2014

But Don't Skip Reading Class

Today I chose Rhode Island for our state. We read Bob Books for Lesson time. 

The kids got excited when they realized it was snowing so we're about to go outside for Amy and Noel's activity. It seems any time it's been a while since there has been snow, it's totally exciting again. I knew there would be at least one more snow because there always are some springtime snows, usually at least one in May. So I'm not as bugged as many people, but I'm not exactly excited to go play in it. But so it goes. 

We skipped to singing Eliza happy birthday for her activity and reading Uncle Remus for reading class. Those stories are fun to read, and the girls like them. Fun!

With that, we wrapped up, and we're about to head outside.

(The title refers to Amy's preference. She was fine with skipping closing class today and getting to the recess part. But she did not want to skip reading class. She likes that part.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our School Week

Last week and this week are our Joy School turn. So that sums up what we have done for school the Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last Wednesday we had a reading marathon. This Monday we had school but I didn't write about it. So here's the update from Monday and today:

Monday we made a page about California for our America books. Today was Kansas. The America book has been a hit so far. 7 pages. Almost no complaining or lack of interest. Good drawing. Increasing familiarity with states and their capitals. Good foundation for learning more about America in the future, I think.

Monday we listened to more scripture scouts for our sibling unit. (The kids don't know I'm trying to teach them something specific and about siblings. We haven't tied things together yet. It's a slow unit.) Today I played them a few songs on the piano.

Monday we sang Benjamin Happy Birthday for Eliza's activity. Today, inspired by my playing, she played the piano for a while and asked me to dance.

Monday Noel chose playing pretend for her activity. Today we made puppets. We were going to do something with them like have a show, but they took a long time to dry, and we never made it back to them.

Monday and today Amy chose playing with her new (from Easter) t-ball set for her activity.

Monday we didn't make it through closing routine but got derailed playing outside which became friend time.

Today we read a story about my great grandpa, Zech Farr, from his childhood for our closing class.

Then we read from the little book that tells silly pneumonic devices to help you learn the names of the U.S. Presidents.

We saved T-ball for last so that we would still do the other things. Outside play belongs at the end if we want to do our whole school routine.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Starting a Sibling Unit

Last week we had Spring Break like our neighbors and friends. It included Free Cone Day which was super fun.

Today we're back at it.

We did Washington for our state page for our America book.

Mom Class was listening to the Scripture Scouts tape about Joseph and his brothers. I am wanting to highlight to the girls the relationships of siblings in scriptures and church history and help them learn about developing good relationships with each other. It was an idea from Relief Society. As we listened, we'd stop and talk about how the brothers were treating each other and feeling about each other.

Eliza wanted to sing Happy Birthday for her activity. During one phase when Amy was a toddler we sang Happy Birthday to her Aunt Melissa's twin sisters every night. Funny.

Amy chose listening to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for her activity.

Noel wanted to play princess. It was a bit rough starting with everyone arguing about who was who and what to do. It finally settled although each kid seemed to be acting out a different scenario and trying to bring others into their plots. :)

Closing class was learning a little more about the lunar eclipse coming up. Matt told them about it during breakfast and wants to wake them up tonight to see it. Interesting. Did you know there will be four in the next 17 months with a solar eclipse mixed in there as well?

For reading class, I had the girls read to me the rest of the chapter we are on in the book we are reading for scripture study called "Teaching Your Children to Read Using the Book of Mormon." It has scripture story comprehension parts and introducing reading parts. So we do the scripture story parts in study. Other parts we do whenever we get to them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy Birthday and Learning about Maine

While Noel was at Joy School, we started home school.

Today's state for our America book was Maine. I picked. I'm interested in Maine from when I visited my sister in Boston a few years ago. I just heard about how fun and beautiful day trips to Maine were. Amy and I really like doing those America book pages.

We only had 10 minutes after that before going to pick up Noel so I grabbed the sparks station tub. It has random odds and ends to be played with however kids want but only during school. See here. We had a little mobile thing Noel made at Joy School, and empty oregano container, and little penguins that used to be my mom's pajamas. Amy decided we should fish. It was quick, fun and creative. And Amy decided she liked the spark station. She was making plans for another time of playing with it that gave me another idea.

After picking up Noel, we did the kids' picks. Eliza wanted us to sing happy birthday to each other. :)

Noel picked the game 100 and Out I taught them recently. We learned a little bit more of how to add in the process.

Amy chose snack time.

With that, we stayed at the table and did a crossword puzzle from the Friend magazine for closing class. Then I made lunch and read them an Uncle Remus story while they ate for Reading class.

After a week of touch-and-go sickness, it was awesome to have a school day with our school routine. This week we did have a couple reading marathons and one visit to laptime and story time. So those were fun too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pretend Birthdays, Wisconsin, and Games

Today we did Wisconsin for our America book. Eliza's choice. (She simply pointed.) The girls are getting more familiar with what we are doing, and I think it is running smoothly. Today it seemed we worked together better looking up information and copying pictures and sharing markers and taking turns. We listened to this over and over today:

I'm hoping that with no real effort on our parts we can learn the states and their capitals.

For our lesson today, I wanted the girls to work on reading, but Amy didn't want to. So Noel read me some Bob books, and we played with Bob flash cards a little.

Noel chose pretend play. She calls it "family. Amy didn't want to play. (She really wasn't in a bad mood, despite what it sounds like.) Here are some highlights of our game:

  • Visiting Daddy at work. No doors, only windows. Don't know why. Daddy always climbs through the window.
  • On the way to visit Daddy, we had to stop by a restaurant and the frosty store, made out of a huge frosty. The whole store frosty only cost $1. Amy ate it. Working at the frosty store was her first job. She wanted to get another one so it was ok that she ate her place of work. Mommy (Noel) ordered corn dogs and frosties for everybody.
  • Mommy bought a trampoline for Daddy's water birthday party. It was a Spiderman trampoline. After we jumped, we did some ice dancing for a party game. 
Pretty awesome pretend play.

Amy chose play Sorry! and eat lunch for her activity.

Then we skipped to our reading time and read an Uncle Remus story so we could then put Eliza to bed (which didn't stick.)

Finally for closing class we played Carcassonne. That game had the worst situation arise of the day. (School really didn't seem as bad as it is sounding on here to me.) At one point, I played a piece that blocked something Amy was working on. Apparently she had just the right piece to play the next time if I hadn't blocked her. She said she had already had that piece but had forgotten to play it. I told her that was her mistake and it was a bummer. (I'm not sure if she was telling the truth or not, but either way I think it was too late to change.) Amy became too despondent to play. She gave me an ultimatum that she would only play if I changed it. As she was having an attitude problem, I had no intention of giving in to her demands. Noel wanted me to. Amy finally messed up a little of the game and left. We divided the rest of the pieces between us and finished. She came in later and acted like she was going to mess it all up. I told her there would be consequences. She decided against it. Unfortunately, that was how school ended today.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Learning Sudokus

Today we were off to a slow start. Amy wasn't even ready when it was time for our late start. So I started with the other kids.

For our America moment, we played Bean Bag America. You throw bean bags at the America map and name the state you hit.

For introduce class, I taught Amy and Noel how to do sudokus. Noel really can do it with me asking leading questions. Amy has already started doing one on her own. They enjoyed it.

Noel wanted to play "Family" for her activity. Funny how she wants to pretend all the real stuff we do, just switching roles.

Amy chose lunch as her activity. So she just got to pick what we ate.

We also read a couple of Uncle Remus stories. Amy and Noel started making plans for how they could trick Brer Rabbit, sometimes as characters in the story, and sometimes as themselves.

Rough morning, but I think we salvaged school time.

In a couple minutes we are going to watch The Tale of Despereaux - which we recently finished listening to in the car - and fold laundry for our chore and our bonus activity.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Starting Our America Book and Uncle Remus

Today for school, I suggested to the kids we start a binder to include pages about different states. We started by making book covers. Mine included a sketch of America with some facts inside, similar to the facts I will want to find on the states. Noel drew California and Amy, Texas, not sure why. They seemed relatively enthusiastic about the idea at the moment which is cool.

For introduce class today, we learned about swords and guns, looking at pictures of real ones on google, and finding some printable of targets to shoot. Amy got a $1ish gun at the store today (which is already broken AND lost - we have a great track record.) She knew she couldn't even aim it at people and wanted some targets to pretend to shoot. We never quite got to printing them out. But they were still interested, and I felt pleased with myself for acknowledging and encouraging Amy's interest in something I am SO not interested in.

Amy chose outside play for her activity so I asked her if we could do it last. We often do not seem to make it back in to finish school when we go outside for an activity.

Noel chose pretend. She kept griping at Amy for not doing it her way. At one point they had a big argument about the origins of the pet giraffe in the game. Eliza was quite cooperative though. Towards the end, it was suddenly my birthday, and I was being handed pretend presents. I would unwrap them to find live ponies and horses. I never quite know what is wanted of me in pretend play, but it was exciting to see how good Eliza has become at it.

For closing class, I read the girls a little from a book about world religions. Each religion is summed up on a page with a few easy-to-understand paragraphs and a picture opposite. We read today about the Baptists. We found the sum um to include mostly doctrines in harmony with those that we believe. We talked about infant baptism and religious tolerance (although not quite in those terms.) I was pleased about how interested Amy was. (It's always hit and miss with Amy. Not sure if she will love or hate or whatever-in-between ideas I have at school.)

Reading class was a few Uncle Remus stories. They were totally a hit both with Amy and Noel. We read two then and three tonight before bed. I wondered if they were understanding at one point so I asked what they thought would happen. Their answers showed me they totally knew what was going on in the story. I have always loved those stories; my dad would read them to us. The only sad part of it is that the kids missed out on hearing these stories from my dad when he was here even though he read to them at bed time many nights. Oh well; they don't seem disappointed with me.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The day started with coloring because we still had markers out from coloring last night. That's an irresistible invitation.

I decided while the girls colored I would read them things about St. Patrick's day. We learned the history of St. Patrick last year so we added a little review of that and about shamrocks. We looked at pictures of leprechauns. Amy wanted to know why all the green.

I wanted to teach them about limericks. So I read them a few. We decided to write our own. Amy kept coming up with ideas for lines. Noel was good at coming up with rhyming words. I worked on keeping us in the rhythm and with coherent ideas. This is what we came up with:

There one day was a leprechaun
Who was falling asleep with a yawn
He started to snore
His job was a bore
He guarded his gold in the lawn

We wrote another one with more kid input that was about Benjamin sleeping. It didn't make as much sense and never got finished. Amy told me not to post it.

Amy requested we do a treasure hunt. While we were coloring, our neighbor put chocolate "gold coins" on our porch so we had the perfect treasure. Thanks to Elias!

I made the treasure hunt clues all be limericks. The girls read the clues themselves. (Noel even sounded out the word limerick; I was proud.) Then I reread them so we could hear the limerick rhythm and they could think about the clues. They knew just where to go. Noel found the treasure. Then we did a division problem, splitting the treasure between the girls. I taught them the word Remainder as our division problem left us with a remainder of one candy. (I ate the remainder. Yummiest remainder I've ever known. :))

I asked the girls what they liked about today. Pretty much all of it.

Here are my treasure hunt clues:
This clue is written for Amy
At school she stretches her brainy
A treasure hunt
Is what she did want
The next clue is with all the gameys

This next clue is all about Noel
Its secret I never will tell
She loves to dress up
And bark like a pup
As she marches and plays with a bell

Benjamin is our little baby
Is he the cutest? Maybe
Walk with your feet
To his new car seat
A clue is where his head will someday be

I hope you like reading my limericks
And trying to discern their little tricks
I have had fun
You are almost done
Find a clue where we have some bricks

We last learn about little Eliza
She’s learning to be very wise-a
If you look in her old room
You will see very soon
That you all have found the great prize-a