Week in Review Feb 4-8

LOVED this week!!!

We had to cram, cram, cram everything we could into the morning hours since we had plans after lunch.

  • We started a quick study on volcanoes in science by watching a Bill Nye video on YouTube. We looked at some pictures on Google, and used google to answer several questions.
  • Math, WW, OPG, handwriting, SOTW, ETC, FLL, and bible studies were all done as well before lunch. Whew!
  • Drake is asking for more and more school work. He is working in ETC and doing some fun abc worksheets as well as a numbers workbook that I picked up from the dollar store. We’ll start some OPG work soon.
Working on ETC worksheets

He LOVES cutting practice!

  • We got ready for Nathan’s first district basketball tourney game. The boys AND girls both won the first round!!


  • Started the day with ES since it went so well on Monday. We read from the Usborne Encyclopedia of Our World about volcanoes. We’ll do the volcano experiment at the end of the week with Dad. We journaled in our science notebooks before moving on to mountains.  We read about mountains from the same book. We caused different kinds of snow avalanches, looked some animals who live in the mountains, and watched a video about the different types of mountains…all thanks to the Internet quick links in the Usborne book. 
Gabriel’s science journal page

Kaleb’s Science journal page.
Kaleb’s (2nd) Science journal page about volcanoes.
Drake’s science journal page
  • Read about Caleb and Joshua in our bible studies. The boys thought it was cool that we have our own Kaleb and Joshua. 🙂
  • Flew through math. Addition practice for Gabriel and time review for Kaleb.
  • WW, OPG, handwriting, SOTW, ETC, and FLL followed nicely.
  • After lunch, we did the first lesson in Writing With Ease. Very excited about this program! I’m starting both boys on Level 1. I told Kaleb if he did well for a few weeks, we could bump him up to Level 2. Kaleb and Gabriel enjoyed the first day!
  • Completed our school day before 2:30!!
Sometimes….Hazel feels left out and needs some school-time love.

Sorry about the red eyes. 🙂 He actually liked the writing activity in WWE. I’m shocked but happy!

Everyone working so nicely and quietly…two days in a row! Very soon I’m going to post about that green hanging file folder at the bottom middle of the page. It’s a part of our new organizational system that replaces the workbox system. LOVE the workbox system but it just wasn’t working well with my middles…maybe we’ll try again in a couple years.


  • Heard in our homeschool today:
    • “Thank you, abacus. I love you.”
    • “Mom, what’s 1000 x 1000?” One million, son. “Wow. Great job, Mom. I didn’t even know the answer to that one!”
    • “I want to make my 4 the way I like making it but I have to make it the way you tell me to. Even though I don’t want to, I’m going to because you said.”
  • A very quick let’s-get-it-done kind of day. Math, bible study, history, English, ETC, OPG, and handwriting all done…all boring. Ha!
  • We skipped science since we spent so much time on it the two previous days.
  • Re-started Galloping the Globe. This is our last try with this curriculum. If it doesn’t work, we’ll be looking for something else for geography. We googled the Great Wall of China and cities in China as well as Chinese farm life. Then we went on YouTube and found a couple good videos with some quick lessons in Chinese. {Look to the right of the YouTube page for more videos by the same group.} Found China on the globe which was easy since we’re studying China in SOTW right now and have been doing map work all week.  We won’t spend two weeks on China in GtG since we’ve covered China in the past. Moving on to South Korea next week.
  • Quick trip to town for a park play date before rushing home to grab the teen and head back to town for dinner with Grandma and Grandpa.
  • No pictures even. It was THAT kind of day! 🙂 


  • GtG-made this a priority in the morning to see if we can establish a good routine. Made  Chinese lanterns, started our Chinese dragons, and colored some coloring sheets as well as tackled another YouTube lesson and watched a quick video on the Chinese dragon dance.
painting their dragons. Finished product next week!

Chinese lanterns

  • We drew ducks from Draw Write Now when we talked about animals from China.


Drake–the blue circles above his duck are raindrops. 🙂

  • Talked bout Balaam’s talking donkey in Scripture Adventures. The boys LOVED that story!
  • Learned about Marco Polo in history. They couldn’t believe that his own family didn’t recognize him after so many years in China.
  • The rest of the day was pretty lazy. We did get some math done and a few other things.  Adding three numbers had Gabriel totally wigged out until he realized how easy it was! 🙂
  • I didn’t sleep well the night before so we took it easy.  We’ve had such a great week so far and accomplished SO much.
  • These boys who wouldn’t color anything with crayons to save their lives have turned out about 15 pages each in history, bible study, and GtG this week. Not sure what caused the change but it makes for an easier story time when their hands are busy!
  • Highlight of the day: co-op class enrollment! They are EXCITED!! Now we wait for co-op classes to begin in March…
    • Kaleb is taking a class on plants, a class on horses, and a MythBusters class.
    • Gabriel is taking a hands-on science class, a class on plants, and a MythBusters class.
    • Drake is taking a sign language class, a story + art class, and a playdoh fun class. 🙂 


  • Taking it easy today. Working on the three R’s first and then we’ll see how much we get done after that. Daddy is home so if we only get the three R’s done, I’ll be happy with that.
  • Picking up the public school child this afternoon and heading out for a fun family evening!!

Hope you have a great week as well. Happy weekend!!

Linking up:

It’s THAT time of year!

It always feels like a little restlessness, maybe even some boredom, starts slipping into our homeschool about this time of year. The cold weather plays a huge factor, although this year we have had several unseasonably warm days (and I’ve loved it!). 

For me, there’s a HUGE holiday let-down…when the craziness of the holidays is gone and our days slow down.  Ours lasts a little longer than some because my oldest son’s birthday is in January.

At times, it seems like the days start blending together. Same old, same old. Routine is good, but (honestly?) it’s a little boring. 

Like many other homeschool moms, my attention starts to drift toward the next school year. New, shiny books and materials. Curriculum changes. Evaluating our year to see what worked and didn’t. Preparing for the new year. NEW, EXCITING, FUN stuff!! 

This year has been no different. I started thinking about next school year sometime last week when I decided to give up on Rod & Staff English. I LOVE the program, but unfortunately my kids do not. It’s a source of frustration in our house. To be honest, even I have been avoiding grammar all together just so our days aren’t turned upside down.

We successfully used R&S with my oldest for three years. He didn’t like it but he did very well and didn’t complain (loud enough, I guess…). It works! I know it does. I hate to give it up but it’s time.

So I began to panic a little. I’ve never used anything else for grammar. I had NO idea what was out there, what would fit with my boys (who have completely different learning styles), what I would enjoy teaching (because let’s just get real here…if Mom doesn’t like it, it doesn’t get done).

As I began thinking about what new material we need for next year, I did something a little different. I evaluated myself and my ability to find materials that fit our family. How am I going about looking for new materials and how successful am I?  I found that I’ve been incredibly blessed. Ha! Everything we love just *happened* into my line of vision and straight into my lap. Everything we haven’t liked….it seems now that maybe I forced upon us because of recommendations, reviews, or simply *I* just wanted it.

Don’t misunderstand. Recommendations and reviews are good, very good and very useful. 🙂 I simply have found a few other ways beyond just those two that have helped me.

So I made a little list of the things I was doing when I found those items that fit our family perfectly.

  • Pray. Seems obvious, right? Apparently not for me. 🙂  Looking back on the curricula that currently fit our family, I can honestly see the times when I asked for guidance, even if the prayer was simply “Grr…I have NO idea what (or which) I should get!!! You decide!!” This is my best tool when trying to find that perfect fit.  Thankfully God already knows what will work…it’s just a matter of getting my own thoughts and desires out of the way, and actually listening to what He is saying.  Unfortunately, I can also clearly remember the times when I just wanted something because it seemed great to me…only to find out after the purchase that it just wasn’t what we needed.

  • Read. I’ve read MILLIONS of reviews. OK, maybe not millions but I have read many, many, many reviews well into the night…on many occasions. I bet you can relate. I am in no way saying reading reviews isn’t important but you have to go further.
    • Read homeschool mom blogs. There are so many curricula options out there…and it can be overwhelming. In my relatively young homeschooling experience, all homeschool moms LOVE talking about their curricula. What’s working…what’s not. Read not only how they *like* it, but read the weekly reports to see how it works in their home.  How are they using it? How much time is involved?  Is it open and go or does it take a little more prep work? Does it work well in small or large families? You’ll quickly see if it’s something you can actually implement in your own home.
    • Actually READ the material. Most companies have awesome free samples. Request them and spend time going through the material on your own. (Kind of obvious but I’ve bought before without even actually seeing the material for myself.)  If a homeschool mom friend has something you’ve been thinking about, ask to borrow it for a couple of days. Look it over. Ask her how it works in her homeschool.

  • Wait. Don’t buy the first or second or third thing you find. Can I be honest? I’ve been looking and looking for a writing curriculum for what seems like forever. Maybe it’s only just a few years though. I tried a few things, knowing it wasn’t exactly what we needed, but out of a desperation to be DONE with it. I wanted to be teaching not searching. I bought a book last year, took one look at it, didn’t really understand the concept, deemed it a bad fit, shelved it, and moved on. Tried something else that didn’t work, and pretty much gave up ever finding something. Then, as I was cleaning out the school closet last week, I found that book. I determined to read it again. I prayed. “Oh God, if this is THE ONE, pretty please make it obvious. If it isn’t, I need that to be obvious as well.” I have to admit, I am so GLAD that I didn’t get rid of that book. I didn’t exactly *wait* I suppose, but thankfully I did feel the need to hold on to it. I can honestly say this will fit our family. I know it because it’s the same way I felt about everything else that has fit us so well. If I hadn’t held on to that book, I’d still be searching….and frustrated.

  • Quit. Yep. Give up. I have tried SO hard to get a particular curriculum to work for us. SO hard!! I wanted it. It was cool and popular and fun and everyone else was using it with such great success!!!  I just needed to MAKE it work for us!  When I finally admitted defeat and chose to give up cramming it into our family mold, I opened up the opportunity to find the a better, more comfortable fit. Something that actually worked for our family.

  • Change. Be willing to try a totally different approach. Be open to different learning styles. If you’re stuck in a rut, pull yourself out and move in a different direction. People change, kids change, families change. It makes sense that, when something stops working for us, we need a change. When I find something that works, I want to stick with it….like forever Even if I see breakdown, I seriously don’t want to let it go!!! It worked once before. It will work again…right?! Sometimes we just need to recognize it’s time for a change…and give it up.

There are so many different methods to finding the perfect curriculum for your family. These are just a few of the things I have found that work for me (when I actually remember to apply them). I have had good success so if you’re stuck in a rut, maybe one or a few of my ideas will work for you.

I’m excited to share *what’s new* in our homeschool very soon!

Linking up at….

Week 21 Homeschool Report

Well I counted up the weeks and found that we just finished 21 school weeks. Now we didn’t work all week during a lot of that time since Daddy was home so much, but we’re counting it! Ha! We have roughly 15 weeks of schoolwork left so obviously we managed some work even with Daddy distracting us. 🙂

We jumped back into our science studies this week. It’s been sorely neglected. You know, I had ordered one of the books (like the main one!!!) needed for Elemental Science from Amazon before school even started. It never came. Then I had to find another and REorder. In the shuffle of school and fall sports starting and Daddy being home, we just kind of dropped it.

This week we learned about earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and volcanoes. We completed the earthquake and tornado experiments but we’re holding off on the volcano experiment until next week.
Of course the boys LOVED it. We watched videos of each natural disaster on YouTube as well as a couple on Tsunamis. We read a little about them and then did the experiments in the books. Then…my favorite part…we brought out our science journals that haven’t been touched yet, and wrote/drew about what we learned. I failed to get pictures of their journals this week but I did get a few of the earthquake experiment and a quick video of the tornado experiment. However, Blogger is being contrary and won’t let me upload the video. Maybe next week? 🙂

“Earthquakes are serious business.” “(They) can hurt and sometimes kill people.” “Sometimes they make big buildings collapse.” 

Everything else is going well. Kaleb is working on times tables and doing well, Gabriel’s phonics lessons are coming along nicely, and Drake is learning all about letters and numbers. Drake surprised me this week by wanting to write more and more. He spends quite a bit of time with dollar store alphabet workbooks, just tracing and writing those letters. 🙂

We had some excitement one day this week, and spend the night with Nana. Daddy was out of town. Nathan came home from school and told me about the three hour school lockdown that the school never called or texted me. Apparently a wanted criminal had escaped police custody near our home (!!!) and they had been looking for him most of the day. About the time Nathan was telling me about this, a storm developed in our area and knocked out our electricity. That was just a bit more than I was comfortable with handling on my own so we camped out at Nana’s house that night. 🙂  Thankfully the storm passed with no damage, the electricity came back on, and criminal was captured early the next morning.

The next day was less eventful.  A tree fell on our house. Thankfully it wasn’t a huge tree and actually didn’t do any real damage.

Nathan played his last jr high basketball game yesterday. Next time he plays a regular season game, he’ll be in SENIOR HIGH! Oh my gosh. Nathan turned 15 years old last week. I’m seriously thinking I can’t possibly be old enough to have a 15 year old who is almost in high school….can I?

Look how TALL that kid is!! (oh and someone always have to photobomb us! ha! PEACE!)

Outside of our homeschool which was great, it’s been quite a tiring week. 🙂  Glad to put this one to bed and start fresh on Monday. We are SO very thankful that, even with all the chaos, we are happy, healthy, and safe. Many blessings.

His breakfast smoothie was extra super yummy that day!

Good morning kisses from Hazel to Joshua!!!

Hope you had a great week and have a wonderful weekend! 🙂