Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Four kids.

Four different grades.

Four students needing instruction time.

How do we do it?  By scheduling out the wazoo!  

Here's a glimpse into our daily schedule (at least the one we're working from right revisions having been made yet, as it's the first week of school):

7:30-8 AM  
JSS and COS have b'fast with Mom, get dressed for the day, brush teeth, read Bible, feed dogs

8 - 10 AM
JSS and COS work on KONOS with Mom in the front room, which is shut up for the morning.
If JDS and AMS wake up (they get to sleep in) before 9 AM, they come down and have b'fast quietly in the kitchen.  They work upstairs on school, wash their own clothes, do their chores.

10 - 10:30 AM

10:30- Noon
JSS and COS work on Math with Mom.  Mom is also available for JDS and AMS should they need help on any subject.

Noon - 1 PM
Lunch and Little House (We are still working through the series on DVD thanks to Aunt Angie.)

1 PM - ?
All kids finish their subjects for the day, coming and going out of parents' bedroom for help, tests/quizzes, grading, instruction as Mom tries to rest her back before dinner.

5:15 or so
Dinner prep begins

6:30 PM
Dinner (and these days, we are eating that while watching the Olympics)

8 PM
JSS and COS go to bed.  The read before Dad goes up to tuck them in and pray with them.

9 PM
AMS goes to bed.  She may read also before Dad goes up to pray with her.

10 PM
JDS goes to bed.  He reads before Dad prays with him, too.

Here is a sampling for how our weekly schedule is looking this school year:

Church in AM, AWANA in PM with Mom & Dad going on a date while kids enjoy AWANA

AMS has a weekly babysitting gig mid afternoon.
JSS attends weekly Cub Scouts meeting with Dad.

JDS and AMS go to their "drop and pay" classes.
JDS has praise band practice late, late afternoon!

COS has ballet mid-afternoon.
JDS and AMS have their discipleship groups at church in PM

JDS has his "drop and pay" class again while Mom (with Jesse and Chloe) meets her prayer partner for lunch (kids play).
AMS has a weekly lunch date with Dad.

Soccer in AM, Library after lunch, school in the afternoons

Make-up days for any work not completed during the week for JDS and AMS; Family Field Trip day; AWANA fundraising some Saturdays

NOTE:  I have not figured out when I will buy groceries for the week yet!  : )

A Family First!

Yesterday we went to the "drop & pay" place where JDS and AMS are taking a class each this school year to meet their teachers (well, Job's was not there--family emergency--but we met AMS's, whom we adored!) and while we were there, we got...drum roll, please...their yearbook photos taken!  This is a family first for us!  (Our co-op last year did a yearbook, but is ended up being spiral bound, photocopied books.  This place does the hardbound, glossy-paged yearbooks that you imagine when you hear the word yearbook.)   

This was made even more memorable by Joanne Mott of Agape Photography, an AWANA Mom and sweet friend of ours.  We were having so much fun that we were told we needed to keep it down (insert blush) and Joanne assured the people behind us that she was only joking around with us so severely because we were good family friends.  : )

I hope you enjoy these pics of JDS and AMS getting their first school pictures made for their first professional yearbook (yes, AMS is barefoot...and check out JDS's "guns").

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School!

Yesterday was our first day of the 2008-09 school year!  As is our custom, we celebrated in style and started early with a Back-to-School party on Sunday.  We had a very poor meal, nutritionally-speaking, passed out new school books, went school supply shopping and even had an AWANA meeting in the evening (for the big kids going to Summit in April).  We reminisced about the summer, shared what we were looking forward to the most this year and had a beautiful memory-making time as a family.   What a day!

Then yesterday the big day finally arrived...the day I had been working toward, planning for and obsessively thinking about since February!  How did it go?  (I can hear you asking that already.)   I think it went quite well for a first day of school.  I was a little shell-shocked that with all of the months of prep time & planning I still felt woefully schizophrenic switching between teaching four grade levels all throughout the day, but I suppose a measure of insanity is to accompany a venture like home schooling, so we're all good-to-go over here and still excited for the year.

My highlights from Day 1:

*beginning the day with KONOS with JSS and COS (especially the circle hunt & ornament-making for our Attributes of God tree--see photos above)!
*AMS doing so well with her Algebra I!
*JDS & AMS not trying to sneak Facebook time during school hours!
*JSS's uber-enthusiasm after the Cub Scouts meeting last night with Simon!
*Getting AMS's Geography schedule for the year completed!

Prayer Request:
Please pray for me to have a spirit of peace.  I am truly struggling minute-by-minute with that and when I am feeling stressed (ie. not peaceful) I can easily become oppressive to the kids instead of grace-filled.  PLEASE PLEASE pray with me about this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Clowning Around at the Science Museum

The Circus is in town!  We've never been, mind you, but we *were* able to enjoy learning about the science behind the circus at a special presentation the Ringling Bros. clowns did at our local science museum last week.  I think it's a field trip the kids won't soon forget!  (Pictured above, four clowns in teaching mode; COS with her cousin SAF waiting patiently before the presentation began.)

And speaking of science museums, have you ever heard of the Association of Science & Technology Centers Passport Program (see  The reason I ask is that if you buy a membership to one of their member science centers then there is a reciprocating benefit for visiting all of the other centers.  What does this mean?  It means that I can buy a family membership to a science center and get in for FREE (most of the time) or at a significant discount at most ANY science center in any state and even in some foreign countries.  This is especially good news to home educators who utilize these museums to maximize the learning experiences of their children.  

Interested?  I recommend the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Texas because after researching the "best bang for the buck," this center came out on top with a family membership for only $55/year (see  NOTE:  You do not get the reciprocating benefit if you visit science centers within 90 miles of the center from which you bought your membership.  Translated, this means that if you live within 90 miles of one another, it would be to your advantage to purchase a membership outside that 90 mile radius so that you can get in free (or reduced) to any of them in your area.  You do NOT have to live in the town (or even visit that particular museum!) of the museum you decide to become a member of in order to become a member.

The same is true for zoo memberships, by the way.  But I will leave you to do your own research on that.  : )

God's Fingerprints, Part 1

God's fingerprints are all over our home school.  They always have been.  The reason why this is titled "Part 1" is because I am sure there will be many posts in the future about God's active role in our schooling, but this is the first one I'm sharing.

One street over, a neighbor was having a garage sale this past weekend.  I planned to take the kids over Friday afternoon, but one thing led to another and we ended up not being able to go until Saturday mid-day.  When we got there, most of the good stuff was already gone, as is the case with most garage sales by the end of the last day.  We let the kids look around a bit and we were doing some light browsing for anything we could use in KONOS this Fall when I spotted two containers FULL of spray paint.  We just so happen to NEED paint for our first unit, but these cans altogether were $10 (probably around 15-20 cans) and we (meaning my husband) only had $3 cash.  I bargained with her briefly and she consented to selling the whole lot for $3. When I got back with the money, she joked that she hoped we weren't graffiti artists.  We said, "No, we're home schoolers and need the paint for some projects we'll be doing in the Fall."  She immediately asked if we were interested in a large basket of miscellaneous crafting materials because she'd throw that in with the paint for $3.  Wide eyed, we thanked her profusely, each grabbed a box/basket to carry and headed home with a LOT of materials we'll be able to use this Fall and that would have cost a LOT of money if we'd had to purchase them at a store!  As a bonus, two of the containers of materials we brought home are baskets in excellent shape that we can use for storing the materials!  Oh yeah, God's fingerprints were ALL over this excursion...and how thankful we are that He cares to take such an active role in our children's education!