Sunday, February 18, 2018

Worst Week of My Life

Wow. A lot has happened since last time I wrote, and almost none of it good.

I went to Mexico with Dustin's whole business.

The trip started out magical. Kissing Dolphins magical:

But quickly things changed. I found out my brother had suddenly died.

I knew I needed to be by my mom's side ASAP. So I schedule the next flight from Mexico to Buffalo NY.

But before I left, some really bad news came in about Dustin's business. It all got resolved, and everything's fine now, but for that whole week, I thought the worst case scenario was happening.

Then dumb things happened like passport and drivers licence mixups.

Then of course it was a few days of mournful stress.

Then I said things to one of my brothers I really regret.

Then one of my sisters said things I really regret.

Then, on my drive home from the airport, I find out that I'm getting sued for a car accident that happened a year ago, and they lied about what happened.

SO yeah. Worst. Week. Of. My. Life.

And of course no school happened.

Actually my niece watched my kids, and they all got dental work while I was gone. I thought that going to the dentist would be a good thing since I hate taking the time out of school to get those kinds of things done. So they were productive while I was gone.

Before I left, we weren't getting as much school done as I would've liked. But I did get the house looking awfully perrrrrty:

Also, it was Maxwell's birthday:

And now. that we're back, it's been Valentines day. I made some pathetic Valentine pancakes:

But what was super cute was their art teacher had them create their own Valentines. This was Hyrum's:

She said he would make a good rock album artist. Haha. 

She's awesome and has started a China culture class because that's where she went on her mission (Hong Kong.) They celebrated Chinese New Year:

I'm glad they're doing something with social studies, because it's been on the back burner for us. They  have been steadily learning countries locations and where the biggest mountains and deserts etc are, but I have plans and they aren't being carried out.

In fact they have started asking for Social Studies lessons because they miss them. That's good. right?

I can and will step up. I must.

If you haven't noticed, I'm NOT in Vanuatu like my last post said I would be. After everything that happened that infamous week, both Dustin and I had no desire to go anywhere. We put our tickets on hold.

That meant I could buckle down on getting some school done.

Math has been really hard for Hyrum lately. He's been having to cover some really hard concepts like taxes added onto the cost of purchases, finding the area when the width and length are in decimals, and changing fractions into decimals and percents. 

I haven't been as patient as I could be with him going through this learning curve, and I really need to work on that.

Daniel's math has been pretty tricky lately too since he is now doing multiple digit multiplication. But we're getting it done.

Maxwell's done with his first part of Video Text. There are six parts, which means that he will be ready for the ACT in two and a half years if he goes at this pace. 

And William is doing great at Math lately. He ALMOST has his "Yellow is the Sun" memorized.

Which means he's doing addition like 5+3=8. Incidentally, he can also do 50+30=80.

And English? Well, as for Hyrum and Daniel, we continue to do daily reading, and Barton is finally part of our routine. They write journals every day and do spelling everyday, but that's usually on scraps of paper, and I don't really have proof for Westwind.

William is really getting his letter sounds down and is learning to write his lowercase letters. I've been thinking that since he's a summer birthday I might not put him in first grade next year. I think that will help in any standardized thing that he might be involved in. Remember how I said he's my most dyslexic to date? Yeah.

And Maxwell. he's been doing spelling and and typing and I have him write and I've tried a bit of Good and the Beautiful, but I know it's not enough.  I've been thinking that having him record his thoughts, write down what he said, and then we go through it until it's perfect, is a good course of action.

For instance, he got a Hardy Boys book from Westwind and read it in one day. I asked him to record a summary about the book, and He's been writing it out from his recording. I'll post it here when it's perfect. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I think I'll have him type it from his paper.

And for science. I did not do science the week I came back since I was suffering from PTSD, but this week we did.

We learned more about what made up the earth. We talked about the crust, mantle, and core. we talked about insides make up, we talked bout the rock cycle. We talked about the magnetic properties (again....I feel like we've talked a lot about that this year!) And we made our own compasses as part of this.

SO that's it! There's something reassuring about doing our school schedule. During that horrific week, it felt like the Universe was out to get me, and that things kept on being hurled at me, but when I got back home, the rhythm was good. Kind of like nothing crazy would happen because we were just doing our usual thing. That was good.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Summer School is Inevitable

Just incase anyone was wondering, there has not been another absolutely "perfect" day again. Very close on a few occasions, but yeah. Not perfect.

And yet my school will have to be on hold while I go to Mexico in a week for a business vacation. And then Dustin and I feel like we need to take a quickish trip to Vanuatu (just him and I) to check on things.

This is why I think summer school is inevitable. How can I hope to get through all the material I want to any other way? You know what? I have a busy life as a homeschool mom to these wonderful lovelies with learning disabilities! Check out my schedule to see what I mean:

Yeah. I'm little overbooked.

As far as the last month goes, (oops....haven't posted for a month....but hey, at least I'm in Cardston again, so I'm having regular contact with Westwind so no one is frustrated with my lack of writing but myself.) science has been the biggest visual accomplishment, so let's go through what we've done week by week before I talk about other things.

We did end up learning more about Mars. We even did this experiment where we had three jars of sand and one had a chemical reaction, one had no reaction, and the other had a reaction with something living (yeast.) This was to show how we can test for living things on Mars.

That day we also learned about the outer planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. I had the kids learn the saying "Many Vampires  Eat Monsters Jumping Squares Using Nuts" to memorize the planet order. I know most people learned "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" but I learned the Vampire one as a child, so we did that one.

The next lesson we learned about other elements of the solar system. This included the outer edges of system which of course includes Pluto. We learned about it's weird barycentre and created a model (btw my phone was in for repairs, so that's why I have horrible photos.)

Also, it included comets and we learned why the tales always point away from the sun.

The next class was about space exploration. We talked about natural and artificial satellites. We talked about propulsion, gravity, and exploration. Umm I can't find any photos. I think we actually did comets this day because we ran out of time on the other day.

Anyway, next class we talked about the moon. We talked about the phases and we had ourselves be the earth, this Styrofoam ball be the moon and a lamp be the sun. It really helped bring it home.

Although our faces weren't as close as this. It was just a cute photo. Anyway, I finally realized that the "dark side of the moon" is actually lit up by the sun as much as any other side, but is called the dark side because we never see it!  I don't know why this took me so long to realize.

The next lesson we learned more about the moon, but we also learned about the earth's rotation.

IT WAS PERFECT! Serendipity often happens with homeschool. It just so happens that I got to the point in the book where we’re learning about solstices on the day of winter solstice! We also learned about the Zodiac and why the suns rays effect different parts of the earth differently. 

Our next lesson (boy, just going through all these lessons makes me realize how much science we've really done! Go us!) We learned more about the earth's rotation. We learned about different evidence of the earth being round and the sun going around the earth. We watched this awesome youtube about the earth not being flat. It talks about a group of people who insist that the earth is flat. I loved it!

We talked about sundials, and I guess you can make a compass out of a sundial, but I couldn't figure it out.

Then we went on Christmas break. I told everyone that we could only do one science class a week from now on, and it was really good timing. One: because I was getting burnt out, and two: I was done with astronomy.

The first lesson of the year was about the study of the earth . We talked about fossils and geological history. We briefly talked about energy as well because of fossil fuels.

As part of this, we made our own "fossils" by taking tiny toy dinosaurs and pressing them in play dough and then putting plaster of Paris in the indents. 

And that's it! Whoo hoo for science!

Okay, so there were some good reasons why I did not have "perfect" days of checking off lists. One of the best reasons was when we went to the Buffalo jump field trip.

It was awesome! and such good weather. I thought it was really funny when they separated us by gender at one point. Hahahaha, they don't know how homeschool works. We don't care about being mixed boys and girls. To be separated like that is weird for us.

But anyway, they did an excellent job of teaching history using every method of teaching imaginable. I loved how First Nations were the ones teaching. How beautiful that they are the ones passing down their own history!

Hyrum made this video of it all:

Another reason we missed some school is because of the dentist. Unfortunately, we need more of these visits.

And of course it was Christmas. I planned on teaching throughout the break, and we DID, but, well, it wasn't as "check off everything on the list" as I would have liked it to be. 

My parents came, and it was wonderful because they would read to my mom which was a huge help. We all miss them!

And we did do all our classes, including swimming. This is not turning out like I had imagined. It was meant for Abraham mostly, but our swim teacher says he only knows how to teach my older boys. Not sure to do, but I'm teaching Abraham in the mean time.

And we've really enjoyed art. Look at some of the fun stuff we've done:

This is Daniel's Fox

And maxwell's nativity,

And Hyrum's Mushroom village.

Art has inspired us to do some art at home as well:

And even though we didn't check off ALL the boxes, we did do quite a bit English and math. William is plugging along. He's learning his lower case letters!

We've done more Barton. Not enough, but some

And I bought a new Grammar curriculum for Maxwell. It's The Great and Beautiful by Jenny Phillips. It's ALL THE RAGE in the homeschool world right now. Especially among LDS. I started out with level three because honestly Maxwell needs that level of grammar help.

Okay, so I think I'm caught up. We'll see about school in the future, but my MOTHER-IN-LAW IS HERE!!! We are decorating/renovating our house, and it's super exciting, but takes up all my time, and then it's off to Mexico and then who knows, and that is why I have to calm my worries by just telling myself I'll teach in the summer, but we'll be in England in the summer!!! 

That's an education in itself. Right?!?!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tuesday was a Perfect Day

Usually this time of year I'm counting down the days until we can have a Christmas break from school. But this year is different. I'm finally got on the school wagon, and I'm excited to keep chugging along! No Christmas break for us except for Christmas Day itself.

We've moved into our house. Well, we've moved our stuff into our garage, and some of our stuff is kind of where we want it or maybe where we know where it is. Hey, I was at least able to decorate for Christmas!

I feel like I am now on top of things. Well, as much as I ever have been. And, as my post title says, Tuesday was practically perfect.

We did EVERYTHING on our charts that I had wanted to do:

This includes spelling, reading, typing, writing, math (for those who were supposed to do it that day) and BARTON!!! You heard that right, I'm teaching Barton again.

I've always had Hyrum and Daniel read "Stand Alone" books to me, but I as for actual Barton lessons for them, I've left it up to tutors for the past year. Amalie was their first tutor in Sidney BC, then Joshua tried for a couple of weeks, and then Analaea (and sometimes Eliza) tutored them in Vanuatu.

They went through the whole book 4. (The hardest book in the Barton series.) But Analaea was burnt out by the end, and I seriously have no idea about the adherence to the system. So I'm reviewing the whole book and slowing down when we get to the Schwa lesson. On Tuesday we got through three lessons each!

Also, another thing that made Tuesday perfect, is that after they went to Westwind classes, we went SWIMMING!!

We went to the hotel here. I've got it set up so we can go everyday if we want to and have our whole family go (I paid for November and only went ONCE!) But now we'll go a lot because I've arranged an actual swim instructor to come Monday, Tues, and Wen. I need the accountability of an external person. I want Maxwell to have some aerobic activity and for my babies to learn to swim enough that they won't die when we go back to Vanuatu.

So yes, Tuesday was perfect. But that was the only perfect day in the past fortnight.

Last week Dustin was still gone. Enough said. Things are changing with his school there, and it looks like he will have shorter (one week to ten day) trips more frequent. That's the only way they think they can be effective.

I'm not very effective when he's gone, especially when I have a silly goal of getting all of my scrapbooking done by the end of's sales. But hey, I've gotten more scrapbooking done, and ALMOST caught up with my three oldest.

We did accomplish SOME things. We went to the Cardston's festival of lights:

It was weird but nice not to be on the committee or a volunteer.

Maxwell continued on his Write into Winter. He won quite a few things which made his day:

We also had the FIRST science club in this house!!! We focused mostly on constellations. I thought we had some pretty magical moments. We went into my dark storage area and brought out Maxwell's constellation globe. They passed it around while I read greek myths about the constellations.

They also made their own constellations and we talked about how constellations are completely dependent on your viewing perspective. The kids had a good question: How far away from earth would you need to be before the constellations don't look familiar? I have no idea. Good science fair question.

Also, they did go to all their scheduled school things, including Robotics where Maxwell made an epic robot he's very proud of:

This week was way more effective at school work, but it still was hijacked by things.

Monday we slept in so we missed the morning routine.
Tuesday was perfect.
Wednesday was Dustin's birthday and Blurb's deadline.
Thursday Naomi's family came over for a visit during school hours
Friday I needed to take Dustin's cracked phone into Lethbridge and went shopping for moving into our house.

This is homeschool. Things happen.

Thankfully, the optometrist's appointments were after school hours.

The boys all went in for their yearly checkup....that I never usually do... I had been worried about Abraham's one eye, but he's fine and William is the one who might need glasses in a year.

Also, on Dustin's birthday, I had the boys write to him for their writing assignments. Dustin thought they were so cute, and they really were:

Dustin got an aquarium for his birthday. A big aquarium. A really big aquarium. Even though we've just moved in and there a million honey does, Dustin has been spending his time with his new aquarium like a cute little boy on Christmas.

Now that I'm on track, William will get on track. He's usually the one to get put on the back burner, but not anymore. This week he's mastered his Magic "C"s in handwriting without tears.

For science this week we studied our solar system. Did I tell you we do science twice a week? (Well we're SUPPOSED to, and this week we did.) Well, I figured that since I was in Vanuatu for half this semester and who knows about next semester, we need to do double duty to get through the content.

The first lesson we talked mostly about planets' rotation around the sun and how gravity and the laws of physics (mostly inertia and centripetal force) effect all that. We also talked more about the sun.

As part of this we talked about how a spinning planet works like a gyroscope and gives it stability.

Friday's lesson (which I moved an hour later because I was late getting back from Lethbridge...I love the moms who are so easy going with me!) We talked a little more about the entire solar system, but then focused on the inner rocky planets. We'll need to talk more about Mars because we didn't get to some things.

And by the way, those books that were "lost" in the mail ended up being at Babb after all! So now I am definitely ready for teaching!

And that's it! yep. I know that I can do this! But don't ask about social studies. Oh bother, I need to figure that out now that I'm figuring out everything else! I've thought "oh bother, we travel as a family, they learn geography through osmosis." Not true I know. I made the next video in my geography songs series:

We'll get there.