Showing posts from January, 2016

My 10 Favorite Things About Our Week

Most weeks we're just going day by day plugging away and while I enjoy our life and our homeschooling journey I rarely take the time to sit and reflect on each week.

This week I decided to challenge myself and list 10 things that made me happy about our week:

That Evan asked to have a sleepover with Alec EVERY SINGLE night.  They didn't get to have one until Friday but I love that they WANTED to have sleepovers and spend time together.Visiting my grandmother.  She's elderly, home- bound, forgetful, and utterly sweet.  I know my time with her is pretty limited and I was so happy to finally get there and see her.Going out to breakfast with my husband and two younger sons.  It's fun to relax and enjoy a meal together that I do not have to cook.We got snow!  Our first "real" snowstorm of the winter found us with just about 6 inches of snow.  I do not enjoy the cold or the snow but there is something so magical about watching the snow pile up and coat everything …

No Book Day-- Homeschooling Without Books

I was debating about taking a day off from school with the boys this past Friday.  We've been spending lots of time at home and doing a lot of book work; which is great but not real inspiring.  I have been feeling pretty blah and thought perhaps we needed a break; or more accurately, I needed a break.  But I knew we were going to have time off next week and wasn't sure I wanted two short weeks in a row.

Then I had an idea: we were going to have a NO BOOK day.  

Of course they could read stories and we did end up reading two chapters in The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw but we weren't going to use any other school books.  No journals, no workbooks, no math books, nothing that we did not find FUN!
I pulled out tons of art and crafts kits-- Aquarelle, Paint a Pet Rock, Paint Sea Life figures, Qixels, Loom bands, Model car kits.
I pulled out games--Silly Sentences, Gravity Maze, Sudoku Board, Story Cubes, Scategories, 10,000 Yahtzee, American Trivia, History Memory, Brain…

Weekly Wrap Up-- Year #4 Week 22

It was another fun week in our house.  We stayed home most days just venturing out for errands, to go to karate, and to visit with my grandmother.  We ran our No Technology for a day experiment on Tuesday and had a lot of fun talking about what we'd do differently next time.  Mostly the boys just played, watched TV, and did a bit of schoolwork each day.

Reading-- Alec finished up Diary of a Wimpy Kid Roderick Rules, finished up Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom,  read Diary of a Wimpy Kid  Dog Days, Tales of the Beedle the Bard, Poseidon and the Sea of Fury, Dragonbreath #11 The Frozen Menace, and North; The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration.  He also spent a lot of time pouring over his two new Pokemon guidebooks.  Writing it all out like this I'm floored over all the reading he's been doing!  Evan read Polar Bear Cub, Drop it Rocket, Tae Kwon Do!,  Buzz Said the Bee, Shhh! David's Reading (a short story by the author of No, David!), and discovered our Learn to Read w…

Choose Joy

Some days it can be hard to find the joy in homeschooling.

Our days feel so routine.

We start to just go through the motions.

The boys start to bicker with one another.

The boys start to complain about their schoolwork.

There is housework to get to and a seemingly endless number of tasks.

But I've found that when the drudgery is getting to me the most that's when we need to find our joy!

Here are some ways to find and choose joy in your homeschooling days:

Pull out some new materials (or ones no one has touched in a while)--   I find shaking up our routine often helps us to remember the joy and excitement of learning.Get out of the house!  One surefire way to have fun with my boys is to take a field trip.  Hands on learning is best and there is nothing like the excitement of discovering a new place or rediscovering the love of an old one to get us smiling.  Even just going on a nature walk or taking a trip to the beach and getting out in nature seems to help us all reset …

52 lists-- List #4; Current and Future Goals and Dreams

I think I may have groaned aloud when I saw that this weeks theme was:your current and future goals & dreams 

I'm not so sure I have goals.  Isn't that awful to admit?  I mean I know you are supposed to set and declare and goals.  That you should write them down in order to achieve them and that your goals help you decide on a course of action for your life... 

But honestly I'm not super goal oriented and I'm not much of a dreamer either.  

I am pretty down to Earth and realistic.  

I'm pretty content to take life as it comes and enjoy each day as part of my journey.  

But this is a list challenge and so come up with a list I must!  

So in brainstorming here are some of my goals for this year:

♥ Take a family vacation- anywhere ♥Loose those 10 pounds that I somehow gained over the past few months ♥Graduate the boys to the next grade in schooling ♥Paint the pillars outside; after 11 years it's time! ♥Get outside everyday even if it's only for 15 minutes ♥ Make…

Top 10 Non- Fiction Series About Animals

We have read many non- fiction books over the years.  There are so many wonderful books and authors out there that sometimes it can be hard to choose what to read next!

I have two boys that love to learn about animals and over the years we've found so many book series that we just love!

For my boys to want to read each and every book in a series it has to have lots of beautiful photographs and illustrations, there can not be so many words that it feels like we're reading a textbook, but there has to be enough facts that they're learning something new and interesting (not always an easy feat with my middle son!).

Here are our Top 10 favorite non- fiction books series about animals:
1.  Donald Silver's One Small Square series--  filled with facts, experiments and activities these books are a lot of fun for learning about animals and animal  habitats.

2.  Marianne Berkes Over in... Series-- Cute and simple rhyming stories that work on concepts like counting these series …

No Screen For a Day Experiment-- Our Results

Well, we did it! We easily made it through an entire eight hour day without screens.  When I first posted about our challenge (here), I wasn't sure how easy it would be, and while I can't say we breezed right through it, it really didn't seem like much of a challenge.

Certainly no one felt suicidal, sick, or edgy without them.

That said, I was surprised to notice how often I did think about using technology and screens throughout the course of the day!
Evan is my early riser and since I'm pretty much the only other one who wakes up early we have gotten into a routine where he watches videos and I get my stuff done around the house or work on my blog.  
Since I could not work on my blog, I settled at the table to work on other things.  Evan, however, had no idea what to do with himself and spent the first half hour or so of our day talking my ear off.  I had no idea how important that first  quiet hour of the day was for me.  Evan's non- stop talking was driving me…

No Technology for a Day; Our Family's Experiment

The boys were hard at work on their school stuff one day last week when I found an article about how one college tried an experiment to have their students go without technology for a day.

I was so stunned by what I was reading that I think I actually said "wow!" a few times out loud. Curious as to what had my attention the boys asked me what I was reading so I started reading the article out loud.

The boys were amazed that kids had suicidal thoughts and other physical reactions over having no screens for an 8 hour day and told me they thought we should run our own experiment one day next week...

So tomorrow we will not be using any screens for any reason at all.  No TV, No computer, No Wiiu or X box, No Radio or MP3 players, No smartphones (unless we break down and need to call for help).... No Blog!  

We're pretty sure this will be pretty easy but we did modify the experiment slightly due to the boys ages.  In the original experiment the kids were to spend a whole 8…

Writing Ideas and Activities

With our resolution to do add some writing into our days I knew I was going to need a nice long list of fun ways to incorporate writing in our schedule.  My boys are very resistant to writing and I'm hopeful that we can find enough fun activities to make this addition to our day relatively painless.  Some days we'll focus more on spelling, some days we'll focus on composition, some days we'll just write a little and other days we'll write a lot.  

Now that the boys are getting older my previous post on 10  writing and spelling activities for kids who hate to write needed to be updated.  Many of the ideas were no longer an option when I have a 6th grader that really needs to learn the fundamentals of writing and spelling.

Most of these are ideas I looked for with my middle schooler in mind. 

 In looking back through our blog, scouring Pinterest and checking out blog after blog here is a list of writing activities and ideas we're going to try (or re-try):
1.  Copywor…