Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday October 9. 2015

School for the last month has been wonderful. I am loving Building Heroes Academy. I am happier with school than I ever have been before, less concerned and second guessing. That makes so much difference. Kids are behaving better than ever too with school. They don't like everything about it, but they do enjoy most of school and complain very little.

This week we started month 2.
We finished studying Joseph and started on Moses in History class. Lots of stories, activities, movies. Discussion about these prophets as heroes.

Still watching parts of speech videos each day which we started last month. The kids are catching on in ways I'm pleased with.

I was a bit behind reading our novel, A Wrinkle in Time. So we have been reading that this week and are going to start our next book next week. We're almost done! The kids were slow to love it, but they have come around and want to read all the books in the series.

Math class is focusing on creation stories and finding numbers in nature.

Science class for the month is starting out with worms.

Today we did a nature day and went up into the mountain. We had a marvelous time, playing in the water, looking for worms, eating a snack, watching the train, getting dirty. It was very pleasant for all of us.

I am so grateful I can teach my kids at home and learn these amazing wonderful things together!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

School's Back! September 8-10, 2015

We are back in school, and I'm excited about it!

We started Building Heroes Academy curriculum this year. It is a coordinated English, History, Math, Science curriculum with a focus on developing character and heroic traits. This year we focus on vision, this month on responsibility. This week's focus was - nouns, The Three Little Kittens, starting A Wrinkle in Time, Ancient Egypt, ancient and international mathematical styles, and grasshoppers & crickets. There are fun facts, activities, pictures, movies, and lots of ideas to use in teaching. So far, I love it. It's doable and interesting, and we're learning cool stuff. I am most excited about the idea of teaching character development throughout what we learn and through our normal life stuff.

We had school Tuesday, Wednesday, and today for this week and got all the week's stuff done! Monday was a holiday, and I have an event tomorrow.

I am also looking forward to a library day today and a school supplies run to get more organized for the year. We are also going to be setting goals and creating ideal life visions (hopefully next week. Noel's the only one who has started.)

We have some reading and writing class plans as well.

I really am glad to be back in school.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday April 22, 2015

Choosing Day: Eliza

Started school with a mini reading marathon. Amy and Noel and I sat around reading books that are going back to the library today.

Melissa recruited Vidalia, Eliza, and Noel to sweep the kitchen, so that counted as family work.

We did a lesson on order from Latter-day Learning curriculum.

Reading and writing class kinda just didn't happen too much. But a little. All good.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday April 20, 2015

K, you'd think I had a goal to post only on Mondays. Not so.

The last two weeks school was a little hit n miss. Two weeks ago we had two days of school then spring break. Last week we had Free Cone Day on Tuesday, Joy School at our house Wednesday and Friday, and a play date Thursday. So much fun.

Choosing Day: Vidalia

Today was Joy School for an exception because Hilary can't do it tomorrow. So I just had Amy and Benjamin. We talked about what books she had read. She practiced her story for me. We played Carcassonne.

Recess. It's a nice day, and we played outside for a while. Including Princess, Princess, Queen (like Duck, Duck, Goose)

Snack and Little Britches. We learned what winnowing was and talked about running away from the consequences of our behavior or facing up to them. 


Reading and Writing Class. Getting ready to go to the library tonight and drop off books. I read a Cam Jansen book. Amy's been into them so I decided to check them out.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday April 6, 2015

Choosing Day: Vidalia

Lesson: Last week of Jesus' life scriptures. We're on day 5 now. It's been a lovely unit. We'll see it through I think.

Reading Marathon.

Family Reading time: finished Fairy Realm book 2.

Family Work: Put away some of Noel/ Eliza's clothes.

Practiced my singing.


Writing Class - watch priesthood session and work on conference packets.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday March 30, 2015

I seem to have a pattern of only posting on Mondays lately.

Choosing Day: Vidalia

Reading and Writing Class first! I had some prep to do for the lesson so we switched things around. I practiced my singing and preped. The girls did some reading and writing and playing. Amy was working on a word search.


Family Reading Time: Fairy Realm

Family Work: Toy Room.

Lesson: The last week of Jesus' life - day 1. Read and act out.

Throw in the usual fights and delays and consequences and you have a picture of our day.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday March 23, 2015

Choosing Day: Vidalia (who moved into our house last week)

Lesson: Choose a story for our storytelling unit. With a good bit of chaos, everyone got this done. We called Grammy and Papa to listen to some stories of theirs. This took all morning.


Reading and Writing Class. I was going to do interviews, but we never got that far. Everyone did some reading and some writing. Noel and Amy did/ are doing their Let's Play Music homework including preparing new puppets.

It was a good school day, and I planned lots of things different than what actually happened. I still have some learning to do from time after time after time of following similar nonproductive/ nonhelpful patterns. Then again, it is challenging to have home school with lots of people with lots of opinions and try to make it productive, interesting, and engaging for all.

This summary hardly paints a picture of how the day was, but it is what we did.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday March 2, 2015

We are at my sister's for the week babysitting while she's out of town. Who knows how school will go as a result.

Today started rough and crazy, but after lunch we actually had some great school time. We have Sam with us at that point, and he is used to spending some time at our home school.

We had one-on-one classes - Sam and Amy and I played Sequence, Noel and I and Eliza and I did puzzles together. Sam, Noel, and Amy did Let's Play Music homework. Noel worked on her calligraphy writing. Amy asked to do a math lesson. Amy set up desks like she sometimes likes to do and decided the room needed to be cleaner to feel like school so she started cleaning. I love that.

The rest of the day was homework and chores with the other kids. It's busy with 9 kids and 2 different schools running.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday February 25, 2015

Monday Amy didn't feel well, and school was more focused on the other 2 girls. We played with puzzle blocks. Noel decided she wanted to write cursive. (Fancy and pretty? yes please.) We had one-on-one classes together. Noel picked Chutes and Ladders; Eliza picked Sequence for kids.

Tuesday was a Joy School day. Plus we had Sam over a little later.

Today was my choosing day. I picked a math game that Amy then Noel ditched out of. Eliza won. Not too popular today. The science lesson on the other hand - total interest. We tried to make devices with loops of strips of note cards and straws. We were trying to make things that could fly. I let the girls just experiment. (And neighbors came over to try a little later.) I may do another lesson where I show how it works. We talked about the law of gravity.

Family Reading time was a math story.

Family work was in the kitchen.

Reading and writing class we wrote to Grammy and Papa. Amy read from the Book of Mormon. Some picture books were read.

Eliza and Vidalia and I played Go Fish for one-on-one class.

Fun day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday February 19, 2015

Choosing Day: Amy

Class: State Page - New Hampshire

Family Reading - Fairy Realm

Family Work - kitchen


Amy and Noel had some scripture study together. Noel, Eliza and I drew some pictures. I wrote to my parents. Noel and I had a little interview. We watched a video from We're hoping to make our ideal life visions and record them.

It's been a challenging day with some good stuff happening too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday February 17, 2015

Choosing Day: Noel

Game: Go Fish

Lesson: Truth or Dare Jenga (we work on being silly and expressing ourselves by answering questions. This is a good thing, especially for Noel.)

Family Reading Time: Fairy Realm. Discussed military vocabulary and practiced a little of commands. We discussed what did happen and what will happen. Made some predictions. Talked about the suspense we felt last time about what would happen and if we liked what came about. (We did.)

Family Work: Living Room and Hallway.


Reading and Writing Class: Amy and Eliza were extremely slow getting their stuff. I was all over the place taking a shower and getting Benjamin to bed. Noel did a writing prompt in her notebook from Truth or Dare Jenga. I read a little of my math book. Eliza finally colored a picture. Amy and Eliza read from a massive pile of picture books. Noel and I are playing Monopoly for 1 on 1 class. I practiced my singing stuff while we played.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday February 16, 2015

Last week we had school. There were some highlights. I just didn't blog about them. 1 thing I remember is a Pinkalicious marathon on Thursday. We invited some friends over plus had a couple cousins to babysit. It was a success.

Choosing Day: Mom

Game: 10,000. (Some play a similar game called farkle.) It's a dice game I've played forever. I taught the kids some of the basic rules and lowered the score you have to get to win. Amy won in 2 turns. That's crazy and awesome. They did pretty well. Eliza counted the dice instead of scoring it the way the rules say. I'm proud of her for counting.

Lesson: Family History Lesson - looked for a story about my great-grandpa that my dad told about. Didn't find it. Looked at pictures of ancestors in the book.

Reading Time: Little Britches. Discussed "getting even," "standing up for yourself," swearing, people quizzing students to judge teacher. (My girls are fiercely loyal to me as a school teacher. :))

Family Work: Cleaned my room.

Reading and Writing Class: I wrote some thoughts about principles about money and read Teach the Children. Last week we started 1 on 1 classes. Everyone choose one to do with Mom. Today Noel and Eliza chose fairy tale movies, and Amy chose Clue. (The clue obsession is going strong.) I chose to practice my singing as I typically do.

I feel like I change things about school every day. Sometimes it's unsettling. Sometimes I am sad for what we used to do that we don't any more. So often I think of ideas to try to make it better. So often I am frustrated with what's not going well. Right now I am frustrated at how much resistance and talking back I get. (This is not new.) I want to limit the scope of the choices the kids can make when they get to choose so I have more say and structure and also make expectations clear about appropriate behavior. I want to enlist them to help make school better and clarify consequences for inappropriate behavior. Those are my latest thoughts. I am about to start a joy school unit on obedience and decisions so this is perfect.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday February 5, 2015

Today we played a game called Dice War. It's like War but with dice. Tried it out. It's ok.

Read a chapter of Fairy Realm and part of a chapter about a mathematician.

By family work, Amy was off pouting. We cleaned the family room and moved school downstairs.

Today at reading and writing class I let everyone sign up for a 1 on 1 class with me. Amy chose memory. Noel, a rolling around game. Eliza wanted a writing lesson. We looked for matches with our little letter cards and then wrote them.

I feel like I am never content with school and always frustrated that the kids don't do things the way I want them to. The balance of giving choice and following kids' interests mixed with wanting to inspire and invite them and wishing people would obey is so hard. I love lots of what we do but get frustrated nearly every day. I think some of it is unrealistic expectations. Also, we do some things well for a while then abandon them and do other things well. Trying to get better mixed with trying to be ok with how things are is hard too.

This week we tried to make it so we do group learning in the morning with everyone coming and individual learning time during reading and writing class. That's been an improvement.

I think one challenge is everyone thinking they get to weigh in on every little thing then making a mountain out of a molehill. (We taught the kids that phrase last night, and they wanted me to use it.)

This week Eliza had a library trip at Joy School, Amy had an orthodontist appointment, we had a short school day Wed. with Benjamin sick and snuggly. Just a little reading and one game.

I hope I can change my mindset and my systems and be content with school.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday January 28, 2015

Monday of this week I went to the State Capitol for citizen lobbying training. The girls played a couple games and read books with the babysitter.

Yesterday we had quite a bit of fighting disturbing our school. It was so unfortunate. But, as usual, the school part is enjoyable. Amy and I had a math lesson while the other girls were at Joy School. She taught me how to add. It was great and fun and a stretch for her. (She taught me how to do it no hands and without saying numbers and things like that. :)) Then we played Clue.

We skipped some steps because of being out of control. But we did have some reading and writing class with Sam visiting and helping the mood.

Today we had a dentist appointment. So we got a late start on school.

Noel and Eliza and I played a new game from the PERC. It was like Carcassonne but for smaller kids. It was pretty fun. Amy and I had a tiny math lesson with her giving a rough draft definitions of how to do math. We can test her hypothesis in the next lesson.

Then we had tucking story in the living room. All girls lay on a big blanket with their own pillow and blanket. I started to tell them about how I would write my own order of operations problems to solve as a kid. Then Amy told me to tell it fairy tale way. Suddenly the story was all about Princess Bonnie and her castle and other fairy tale-ish ornamentation. It was a success.

We followed that with a story of a 16th Century Italian mathematician name Cardano. Apparently he was a conceited hypochondriac mathematician and physician. We had some interesting discussion from that. Apparently Amy thinks all mathematicians should be righteous so this guy came as a bit of surprise to her.

Then I read Pinkalicious.

Then I became the book waitress. I took everyone's orders and fulfilled them, hoping I could keep their interest to read for a while. It worked.

I read Teach the Children - a very interesting chapter on Biblical and Book of Mormon systems of government and education. Then I wrote a letter to my rents.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday January 22, 2015

Yesterday was library day. Then we played Parcheesi, read picture books, had reading and writing class, and cleaned living room and kids' bedrooms for family work (not too messy.)

Today we started the day with a game we picked up from the P.E.R.C. (part of our library that lends games and puzzles and toys and all sorts of learning things). It involved adding, subtracting, and multiplying. We really hadn't discussed subtraction or multiplication yet, so I briefly explained it and didn't make the younger kids really do it yet. But Amy got it. She won as fast as is possible in that game to win (luck mostly). Fun game.

Then we had a huge break to deal with emotions and consequences and instructions.

For family reading time, we read a math picture book about measurement.

Family work was folding and putting away a load of laundry (and encouraging Amy to have a good attitude about it.)

Then we got out measuring tapes and rulers, inspired by our picture book. I taught them the basics, and we measured a few things. (We measured our feet. I kept saying, "your foot is not a foot" because none of our feet are a foot long. When I measured Eliza's foot she asked, "Do I no have a toe?" :))We also talked about which yard we were taller than, the front yard or the back. :)

Lunch. We discussed the term "units of measurement." I also told them they could have the m&ms from last night's babysitter if they could tell me how many each kid gets.

After lunch I got blankets and pillows set up in the living room. I invited the girls to join me for a tucking story event. (Tucking stories are storied told to children when they are being tucked into bed. My mom's term.) From the time my parents often told the kids the tucking stories, they most often refer to stories told about the teller's childhood. I wanted to tell them a tiny tucking story about my math experience as a child, how I loved it and made up problems to do on my own. They were excited to come to the event but then had a huge fight over who gets what pillow and what blanket. So the event was cancelled (maybe postponed.)

Reading and writing class was fun. I read a story to Eliza. Noel did a reading lesson and part of another. I finished my last Magic Tree House Fact Tracker that we had checked out for our trip. Amy read on her own. I prepared for Sunday's singing time and practiced my voice stuff. Now everyone wants a snack.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday January 20, 2015

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day so Matt had the day off. That changes things enough that we didn't have school. Pretended we had an extra Saturday (which we are always wishing for.)

Today we listened to a math story that I had checked out on audio from the library over breakfast. Then Amy and Eliza went to Joy School.

Noel and I did some move your body class (running on the sidewalk) and played Parcheesi.

When we picked the girls up we had a spontaneous game of tag and turns swinging in Quincy's swing.

Family Reading Time was finishing a book we've been reading for a long time, The Fairy's Mistake. Big library due date/ check out/ story time day planned for tomorrow. I've been trying to finish stuff up to not have to check it out again.

Lunch and more story listening.

Family work was in the kitchen today.

Reading and Writing Class - prepared for library day - everyone telling me what they wanted to pick up. There will be some spontaneous grabs too; there always are. I like to be organized when we get there so we walk around as little as possible.

Voice Lesson - This was my Christmas present - Yay! First one. I loved it. Now I get to add singing homework to my life.

More reading/ listening. Math homework.

I'm making dinner now - didn't get school wrapped up efficiently today. Lots of little things I wanted to do. I still have a couple books to finish (easy, short ones, nearly done) or finish skimming. Excited for next batch of library books.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday January 14, 2015

Yesterday was a Joy School day, but we didn't make it all the way through. Eliza had a huge melt-down, and I was pretty frustrated. So we ended early and finished today. After the attempt yesterday  we read quite a bit and did some dancing. I did math homework. I tried to not get too bugged. Not the best day.

Today was better. We read a math story and played a math game (roll the die. If it's even you gain points, odd you lose points. First to 20 wins. Noel won.) Then Quincy and Gavin came over for Joy School. It went better. Amy did a page of addition. She gets it all right by counting on her fingers. It's cool to wait a while on some subjects til they totally get it. I read to Noel and Eliza for reading time; Amy needed space at that point. Then we cleaned the living room for family work.

Let's Play Music listening homework at lunch.

Reading and writing class. I wrote to my parents. Amy read fact trackers and a picture book I think. Amy and Noel did Let's Play Music homework. I read a chapter of All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience and A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe. Sometimes I wish the only thing I did in the world was school because I love all the learning. Sometimes I feel like the only thing I do in the world is school. :) Sometimes it's the thing I least want to do. Today was good.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday January 12, 2015

Today we:
played Book of Mormon card game (like Authors)
did addition story problems
had a math lesson/ interview with Noel and Eliza
read a story about Euclid
ate lunch
colored and glued Let's Play Music puppets
practiced singing the states of the United States while pointing to them on the map
listened to Let's Play Music CD
read some of The Fairy's Mistake
passed off a whole set of Bob books
worked on spelling/ vocab from Jesus the Christ
read from Resolved
practiced tracing and writing numbers

(It looks like a lot when I say what we all did. Not everyone did every one of those things.)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday January 9, 2015

This morning was a Joy School day at our house. We worked on our goal charts and stories and songs about goals. After Joy School my girls were obsessed with working on goals. Noel's was to whistle. She makes one whistle noise and colors in a part of her chart. She's on her second one.

Amy is to drink 5 cups of water a day so she can only get so far in a day of working on it. I did ask Amy to trace and write some numbers as she tends to write them backwards. She traced each number 10 times and wrote it 10 times. At least. I was only going to ask her to do 1s and 2s, but she kept going and thought it was fun. Awesome.

Eliza decided for her goal to learn to write her name. I was blown away at her diligent effort. Filling in the sections of her goal chart is very motivating for her. She can write each letter. Then I asked her to write her whole name together. She showed a little perfectionism, changing pages over and over in her little book. I didn't see that coming. The z is hard for her. Once she writes her whole name all together, she'll be done with her goal.

The girls also kept wanting to play puppet shows. They were cute and fun.

One thing I was proud of Amy for this morning was how she encouraged and worked with others. She helped Quincy and Eliza work on an activity without intervening and telling them what to do. I was so impressed. Later she was ok with Noel going first at leading a puppet show. Amy did her part just as Noel said without trying to be in charge. This is a huge improvement for her. Yay for a good day!

Thursday January 8, 2015

Yesterday we had a slow, rough start to school (as we so often do.) Amy and I finally got to work and had a little writing/ interview time about math. I asked her questions about definitions like what is adding and how to draw pictures of 3 plus 4. Then we played a math game that Amy made up. It was similar to a couple games we had played the day before only it made far less sense. It still worked though. I was glad Amy was creating ideas. We wrapped up the math lesson with a math story. It was about a Greek philosopher named Thales who lived in the 600-500'0s BC. He was interesting. He figured out how to determine the height of a pyramid using proportions and lengths of shadows. We used that as inspiration and measured ourselves and our shadows. It didn't work too well since there was a lot of natural light. We started a book called Mathematicians are People Too. It was a hit.

Then we read from Little Britches. We learned yesterday that he called piggy back rides pick-a-back rides. We thought that was interesting.

Then clean up the school room and fold a load of laundry for family work.


Reading and Writing and Drawing Class found us working on Let's Play Music stuff, read some Pinkalicious, and I started a new book called The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe. That's for my own personal math study.

I may or may not be out of control. I started those two books at school, and we read the first chapter of The Phantom Tollbooth last night with Daddy for family reading time. That's a good one to read with Daddy cause he loves it. Starting three books in a day! Oh wait, I read a Magic Tree House fact tracker last night while trying to convince Eliza to sleep. Then I started another one. So I started 5 books yesterday! I am already reading a bunch. I'm out of control.

Despite the pretty little picture that this explanation of our school day paints, it was rather rough much of the day. Kids ignoring instructions and fighting and talking back. I don't know how we got that much done and still had the learning a good experience because the interactions between us were rather unpleasant in my opinion. I finally sent them all outside to play and took a break. I was so ready for bed by the time I finally got to go last night.

Wednesday January 7, 2015

We went to my sister, Laurel's house this day. I brought a few books for family reading and our math games for school. My 5-year-old nephew, Sam, loved playing math games. He wanted to play more and more. We did checkers style games and dice rolling/ adding games. Some timed, some taking turns. His attitude helped the other kids stay interested in having a good attitude and still playing. After a while of free playing, Noel came to me and asked what 8 plus 8 was. I asked her how she could know. Same jumped in and suggested using her fingers which she immediately did. With very little prodding, Sam and Noel combined came up with three different ways to add and one way to write an equation (Sam already learned at kindergarten). It was totally awesome.

We also read from our book The Fairy's Mistake and listened to Laurel read Lillianne's book. She's been writing it herself (dictating to Laurel.) It is SO AWESOME. We all loved it. It's spontaneous, creative, and engaging. Also, hilarious. That was a great reading class. Later Amy rewrote a book she already wrote.

It was nice to take a break from home because I still would love to be on vacation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

And... We're Back. January 6, 2015

I notice I just sort of disappear when it's time for a school break. I don't always see them coming. Even when I do, I don't always say - that's it for now.

Anyway, Christmas break started as many breaks do, when I simply don't manage to fit school into the day's plans anymore. December was spent with all the hulaballoo of Christmas programs, concerts, and recitals, as well as a long doctor's appointment. (That was the first two weeks.) The next week and a half was spent cleaning and packing and planning and shopping. I was more organized and neat on a vacation than I have ever been before, and it made vacation all the more lovely.

Then we spent 2 1/2 weeks including Christmas and New Year's in California and Arizona. Ahhhhh. It was lovely. We're back refreshed (mostly.)

We got home Saturday night, had a normal busy Sunday and spent yesterday trying to get things cleaned back up and organized.

Today we are back in the saddle.

I taught Joy School this morning. Then I couldn't resist having some school. Due to some personal things we have going on right now which will take from school time every day, I think I will only be able to have school go well if we simplify it still further. My hope for this month is to have a math class and reading and writing class and family reading time every school day. And if that's it, that's it. If I fit one additional thing in, I'd like it to be family work. Something like math in the morning when we get to it. Reading/ Writing in the afternoon when we get to it and for as long as it works.

Today I did my math homework and read up on the math curriculum we are about to start to prepare to teach Amy lessons. We also played a math game over lunch.

For reading and writing the girls colored and read a little.

If, like on vacation, my life was full only of reading and writing and drawing and math and games with my kids and others, I think it would be lovely. I guess I want a few more activites and responsibilities, but I do enjoy things simpler than my usual.