Sunday, February 24, 2013


It seems that this time of year I always start to get a bit burned out.  I've had all year to accomplish things, but have I actually done anything?  I only have a couple months left to get my children where I want them, and they aren't close.  The winter is not quite over, and we are all getting sick of each other and are getting cabin fever.

The more I talk to other homeschool moms, the more I realize I am not alone. This time of year stinks.

I needed a pick-me-up.  That's why I felt so blessed to go to a forum where college students who were homeschooled talked with our group of homeschool moms.  These young adults were awesome.  There were about seven of them on the forum panel and they are going to Southern Virginia University.  They are all straight "A" students, and one is even the student body president.

They all had their individual story; from severe dyslexia to math deficiencies, however, they overcame all their hardships and feel blessed to have been homeschooled.

They shared what they believed to be advantages of homeschooling and what they wish had been different, and I thought it was important enough for me to record it here.

Homeschooling benefits:
*Work ethic/If I work hard, I can learn anything
*time to read
*life learning
*you get to audit college classes early
*see big picture/how things relate to real world
*learn to ask questions-helps at college where you make your professors into your mentors
*you have confidence and are teachable
*meeting different people and learning about them personally
*you learn responsibility with home and school
*you don't have to take a class to learn
*reading classics and relating it to you personally, to history and to God.
*your parents are more likely to be patient with your learning curve
*if their's a subject you don't want to study, you can figure out why and adapt.
*there's the example of your parents learning

Things they wished happened were:
*The example of their parents learning in areas that their children had troubles.
*one felt like there wasn't enough structure
*you always feel like you want to be better
*writing technically was not taught in some of their homes
*they didn't always wake up at a certain time.

I loved soaking all this up, but what I really loved was to see these happy, balanced young adults telling me all my efforts are worth it, and that even if I think I'm not doing it all, everything will work out.  They will all learn how to read. They will all learn how to work, and think critically and whatever they are deficient in, they will be able to still succeed.

Thank you thank you Heather Burton for arranging such an awesome morning!

Intense pain, moving, and school on the side

Long time no blog.

So a few weeks ago my brother-in-law casually mentions to my husband that he's going to drop the price of the house he's selling.  Fast forward to now.  We've bought that house and moved in.   CRAZY.

Goodbye old house, you were a good home. Here's a pic of last year during a homeschool get together.

My arm has been chronically hurting since I was in labor with William, and then I cleaned, painted, moved and cleaned painted and moved, and suddenly my arm hurt more then any pain I've had in my life.  I still--weeks later--can't move my shoulder.  I certainly can't "heil Hitler."---umm not that I would--we've been learning about him---okay. 

This is what I've looked like most of the time lately:

Not flattering.

But we have accomplished things, especially since the pain is gone and things are for the most part moved. So let's get to the recording of amazing things we've done---or attempted ;)

In science we had the funnest activity we've ever done: dissecting owl pellets.  AWESOME  I totally suggest doing this.  Even if you think you have a weak stomach.  It's the best treasure hunt/educational puzzle that nature ever made.

I got mine from Mountain Home Biological via Amazon, and they sent three charts with the pellets that made all the difference because we could really tell what the bones we were finder were.

Now that we are done with all the different classes of animals beside mammals, we have started on the systems of the body.  Our next science class we learned about bones.  We made our own backbone.  A ribbon was the spinal cord, a balloon the head, thread spools were the vertebrates, and thick paper were the disks.  It ended up to be fun and cute:

We also experimented with straws to show the interior structural support of bones.

And also, there was the homeschool science fair.  Maxwell wanted to do a shadow wall with glow in the dark paint and study what makes things glow.  I'm glad it was something so simple, because I was in the midst of pain and unpacking.

I was very impressed with all of the projects.  I love our group of homeschoolers!!!

It was a Valentine's Day party as well where they also made puppets.  This was one of Maxwell's creations.

As far as history goes, we talked about the Roosevelts and the new deal, but we never made a dam.

We learned about German money inflation which resulted in Hitler's rise to power.  A VERY important thing to learn in my opinion.  Especially since I feel like it's happening today to a certain extent.  Important to learn, but could be hard to teach.

Easy to teach when watching DUCKTALES!  Remember that show?  I used to watch it religiously.  Who knew it would aid me teaching my children economics.

The episode Land of Tra La La:

And the Episode Dough Ray Me:

Do an awesome job of teaching what inflation is.

We had our own simulation where they got more and more million dollar bills, but got less and less candies for their money. This is Hyrum pretending to be Hitler with his worthless money (that's what he told me he was when I asked why he made that face):

We also studied about Einstein.  I loved the book "What's the matter with Albert" I was glad we studied about Einstein the same time as the Holocaust because he was jewish and fled Hitler.  We were going to dress up like Einstein, and so I bought some fake fur to make wigs and moustaches, but I made a fatal flaw.  I bought it in the form of a bunny with my children present.  They would not let me cut this bunny up in the name of Einstein.  Oh well.

We have been learning about the holocaust, and I was surprised how many children's books there are about it.  I found hundreds!  I only rented about a dozen or so, however.  "The secret of the Village Fool" was one of my favourites so far. Along with "Number the Stars."

I remember reading this when I was about ten.  I liked it then, but now that I've read it again, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  READ THIS BOOK!  Maxwell totally got the message of this book.  I was proud of his insight.

And we made Star of Davids

And last but certainly not least Maxwell got baptized!!!

our devotionals lately have been focused around this, and now we are trying to memorize the articles of faith.  How blessed am I to see my children growing in truth and light.