Homeschool Co-op Day & Weekly Review

We had SO much fun with our first vlog.  The boys really got into it.  I wish we could have taken the camera into our co-op classes but I didn’t want to be disruptive or have other children on our video.  We did take a couple pictures!

Last week’s homeschool review:

Can I just say how much I love the Charlotte Mason method?  Every day that we get closer and closer to a full CM schedule, I love homeschooling even more.  I love our schedule right now.  It isn’t perfect…or even near but it is fun and SO educational.  My boys have commented on how much they love school now.  They love all the extra book reading, especially the read-alouds. They are thriving with the shorter work times. Our days are pleasant and organized and lovely.

Monday-Thursday:  Like I said, our schedule is still a work in progress.  As I get an aspect of the CM method down, I add it to our schedule.

Right now, we begin with Bible devo and study.  Then we break into some individual work.  We added a new spelling program, and while I don’t know how CM it is, it is working so well with my boys.  My oldest two at home do that while Drake starts his math.  Then we switch…older boys do math and Drake sits with me for his reading/phonics.  He has some reading disabilities but he is working hard and doing a great job!

Next is the bulk of our group work.  Our schedule rotates some within this group work.  By summer,  I will have the loop schedule figured out and we’ll be flying! After a bit more individual work, we take a break for lunch.  I love that most of our school day is finished by lunch!

After lunch, we do some chores and then enjoy some free time….boys outside, Mom in her craft area. We come back together for snack and literature time.  Then our day is done.  Boys usually back outside until Dad comes home. Or some time on the xbox if the weather is bad.

I still have several things to add.  I’m exploring options for handicrafts, drawing, and music lessons.

Friday:  Right now, we have two hours of co-op in the middle of our morning.  We end at lunch and then do all of our grocery shopping.  Once co-op ends in April, we will add subjects from home again. I’m  not sure how it will look yet though.

I can’t wait to share a more permanent schedule later on.

I hope you enjoy our first Day in the Life video.  We are definitely excited to do more in the future.

See you soon!
Chrsitie 💙

Meal Plan & Grocery Haul

Hello! I hope you all had a great weekend.  Ours was busy and SO fun.  We had co-op classes Friday morning and then the afternoon was spent grocery shopping. Then a lot of catch-up/cleaning on Saturday along with an evening of games with my oldest stepson and his family.  Then we lost an hour on Sunday! Ha! Church and an afternoon with my mom. We were just worn out from the activities and time change. I really didn’t want to do much today but rest and recover.

 I did have to finalize my meal plan and thought I would share with you. I have the grocery haul video at the bottom of this post.  I plan from Friday to Thursday since I always grocery shop on Fridays.  So let’s get right to it….

Friday: We had pizza. The boys had one from Aldi and I made a low-carb pizza for Bo and me
Saturday: We had a lot of yummy appetizer-type foods for our game night.
Sunday: We really didn’t have dinner. We kind of just snacked around and everyone fended for themselves.
Monday: Bruschetta Chicken on the grill with a side and veggie side.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!!
Wednesday: Fish and salad
Thursday: Grilled chicken/veggie kabobs

That’s it! Nothing inspiring.  I didn’t plan well last week before grocery shopping so our meal plan isn’t exciting at all. Ha!  I hope you all have a fabulous week! I hope your Monday hasn’t been terribly difficult with the time change.  I’ll see you later!

Below is my YouTube video of the grocery haul. I’ve just started on YouTube so be kind. Ha! It’s harder than it looks!!!

Christie 💙

February Recap

Oh man.  February was a tough month.  I feel like we were sick the whole month. Were we?! I can’t remember exactly. What I do remember is that we didn’t get a lot accomplished.

On the home front:  I caught a cold or some kind of virus and got very sick.  So. Sick. For three weeks. Then, in the middle of that, Joshua became ill.  When his fever wouldn’t break, I took the two of us to the doctor.  Thankfully, he tested negative for strep and flu.  The doctor didn’t test me because he said I had bronchitis and  pneumonia and would need the same meds anyway. He put me on a Z-pack which was awesome. I felt better in about a week, but that cough hung on for a couple more weeks.

The hubs and boys did manage to surprised me with fun Valentine’s gifts.

Then, as I was finally feeling well, Kaleb got sick. He just felt weak and tired, and had a fever.  Same as me.  After a few days of that, he came to me one afternoon and said he was having trouble breathing so we headed to the walk-in clinic.  The one Joshua and I went to was closed so we went to a different one.  Kaleb had two chest x-rays done. The doctor told me that he had a partially collapsed lung and that we needed to head to the ER!  He kept talking about chest tubes and maybe a transfer to Children’s Hospital!!  The ER doctor, however, disagreed and said it was simply a bad case of pneumonia. So a Z-pack for him too!

Needless to say, none of the projects I had planned actually got done in February. Really nothing got done.  The hubs, poor man…came home from 10-12 hour work days to cook dinner and clean house while I was sick.  I literally spent a month, just laying on the couch. Occasionally, I would get up and do things but I’d just wind up back on the couch.  Then the same with Kaleb for two weeks.

However, everyone was well enough to attend the much anticipated Newsboys concert at the end of the month!  Kaleb’s 2nd concert and a first for Gabriel and Drake.  Joshua spent the evening with his grandpa.  They had a great time and so did we. It was an awesome concert.  All that my boys were hoping it would be and, as a bonus, we received three meet-and-great tickets. Plus a gift card for two free t-shirts.  Drake decided he would be too shy to meet the band so he stayed back with Dad while I took Kaleb and Gabriel to get autographs.

Homeschool: While I was sick, we did nothing.  I couldn’t read aloud without coughing and couldn’t sit at the kitchen table.  The boys did an occasional math lesson….if they understood it on their own, but that is about it.  We watched some educational stuff of TV but mostly the boys just played and had a fun home-bound school break.

I did spend a lot of my sick time reading on my own.  I want to switch our homeschool approach to Charlotte Mason.  I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about her.  I started listening to The Delectable Education podcast which I love.  Between the podcast and books, I am SOLD! We tried it a little bit before I got sick and our school day did go a lot smoother.  I also realized a lot of our group work aligns well with Charlotte Mason’s philosophies so we’re not too far off base anyway. I’m excited to dive in deeper this month.

So that’s about it. Hoping and praying that March is much nicer to us.  We have baseball sign-ups, Drake’s birthday, and some fun field trips coming up.  Also our local homeschool co-op has started. Should be a fun and busy month!

Christie 💙

Have Faith & Remember His Love

My grandpa passed away this week.  He had been sick for many years with Alzheimer’s.  I hadn’t seen him in a very long time.  He was the best grandpa.  I have enjoyed spending time reliving old memories.

I was thinking of him when I came across a Documented Faith devotion on 2 Corinthians 4:18.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

As soon as I saw the little prayer printable, I knew I wanted to add it to my bible.  And the idea for the page just flowed from there.  As I sat at the table, staring at the little prayer printable, I thought about Grandpa and how unfair it was that such a terrible disease overtook him.  What would the last years of his life had been like if he hadn’t been sick?  How many more years would he have had to enjoy his grandchildren and great-grandchildren? And I thought about the toll this disease has taken on my grandma. She went to the nursing home every day to feed him lunch.  All of the heartache she must have felt over these years, watching her husband fade away.

As I sat there, I realized that we may never know why Grandpa had Alzheimer’s and it may never make sense to us on this side of Heaven.  BUT! That’s ok.  We don’t have to understand.  We just have to believe that God is a good, good God. He loves us so very much and he can use even this for His good. I also know that Grandpa is rejoicing in Heaven right now.  He is with Jesus and his baby girl.  He is in no pain. He has fully recovered his mind. He is at peace. 

Last night as I painted and stamped and prayed, the words to journal just would not come to me.  I left the bottom blank because I just couldn’t find the words that I wanted to write. 
Then, at Grandpa’s funeral this morning, one of the pastors mentioned this very verse and said that when we have faith, we live differently.  We live eternally.  We know that God (and His plan) is right and good. Our lives reflect that faith when we care for others.  Grandpa was a giver and a doer.  He was most happy when he was helping someone else.  He lived out his faith. He did it because he remembered God’s love and shared it with others.  Those are the words.  
I grabbed an extra program from the funeral home today.  I want to add it to the back of the prayer in my bible as a reminder that faith is living differently, giving and doing, sharing God’s love. I’ll always have Grandpa’s life as a reminder of what living a faithful life looks like. 
I’m so thankful for the years that I had with Grandpa. I’m reminded this week that life is fleeting.  We have a limited number of days to love others.  One day, I hope people say the same about me, that I lived out my faith, remembered God’s love, and shared it with others. 
Christie 💙

Oh, Charlotte Mason…I think I love you.

First, a little back story:
We have been homeschooling since 2008 when we pulled my oldest son, Nathan, out of public school.  Now, I have to admit that I love public school.  I loved my own school days and, up until this point in 2008, I had planned on being a public school teacher. I had no plans of homeschooling. Unfortunately, the school system didn’t want to work with us, concerning my son’s ADHD. His teacher actually told me that she would just rather I give him medication and not worry about the rest.  The rest…being a 30 lb weight loss in a few month’s time, depression, anger, and many other troubling side effects.  I decided that maybe I could just teach him myself and see how it goes. After all, I had planned on teaching a room full of students….how hard could one be?
I quickly realized that I knew nothing about homeschooling and turned to the experts….my local homeschool mama friends. We stumbled around with curriculum and schedule and life, really, for the first year.  However, I did my research and our second year was much better. Since Nathan was so used to public school, a mostly school-at-home approach worked best for him. By the second year, we added in Kaleb and just had fun. A lot of books. A lot of worksheets. A lot of crafts. A LOT of library time!
Soon after, I discovered The Well-Trained Mind forum board and was hooked! This approach worked well and was similar enough to our school-at-home that the boys never missed a beat.  We had a few GREAT years!
However, I began to notice a discontentment in myself over time.  I would drop this curriculum, add that one. Changed our schedule around. Nothing seemed to get us back to the joy that we had experience those first few years. I just became frustrated with all of it.  My oldest spent his 9th grade year in public school and I was kind of relieved.  Homeschool wasn’t fun anymore. Or even enjoyable. Or tolerable.  It was actually pretty terrible.  My youngers and I kept at it though.  I had a 3rd grader, 1st grader, and preschooler so I kept it pretty light that year. I combined all of the subjects that I could. We sat on the couch and read as much as we could. And I didn’t stress about the rest.  We found a little bit of our joy.  Nathan came back home in the 10th grade and we tried again. The joy didn’t last and we found ourselves once again miserable. I decided that maybe I just couldn’t teach upper grades, and my boys should probably go into public school once they reached a certain grade.
Fast forward to January of last year:
My oldest graduated with his GED. He just began to refuse to do schoolwork so I told him he needed to work on getting his GED before he turned 18.  On his 18th birthday, he passed the last test.  It took that smartypants only two weeks to take all of the required tests to receive his GED!!  That made me feel so much better about our homeschool. Even in the midst of struggle, he was still learning.
With a new school year beginning in the fall and the pressure of high school temporarily out of the picture, I declared Fall 2016-Spring 2017 the year of Fun School.  If it was fun and even remotely educational, we were going to do it.  And really we have. Three different sports in the fall. So many field trips. Fun days. Play dates. Parties. All the fun things.
I also declared this the year that I would figure out how to joyfully teach upper grades because my youngers were begging to stay home through high school. If they really want to stay home, I decided to find a way to make it happen for them.
Quite by accident, I found The Delectable Education podcast in December. A new homeschool mom had posted a question about Charlotte Mason. She mentioned that she had been listening to this podcast. I didn’t even consider it at first.  Honestly, I believed that it wouldn’t be a good fit for us.  I had looked at it before and discarded the idea….for some reason I can’t remember now. It wasn’t until last week (Jan 19th) that I finally remembered that podcast and decided to check it out.
After that first episode, I was hooked. I quickly realized that the parts of our homeschool that I loved and cherished actually followed the CM method.  Our morning time. All those books. And simple narration. I didn’t know that this was an actual method. I was just trying to simplify our homeschool.  The parts that I didn’t like, well, every one of them went against Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.  During the second episode, I listened while I pulled every living book on American history that I could find from our bookcases and stacked them in our living room.
We are only in our first week, but oh the joy. I’ve added a little to our morning time. I’ve lessened the time we spent on individual work. No more dawdling at the table for hours over math. We’ve spent less time on schoolwork but already covered more than we did in previous weeks. Isn’t that crazy?  No tears. No fussing. No homework.
I’m working on a more permanent schedule for us and would love to share it with you as soon as I have it finished. If you love the Charlotte Mason method, please comment with advice or maybe a book suggestion. I do plan on ordering The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, and of course I will continue with The Delectable Education podcast.
I am so excited to share the next few weeks in our homeschool.  Thank you for *listening* to my ramblings.
Christie ❤