Saturday, June 30, 2007

Our School Room

Every now and then on a homeschooling board I visit, someone asks to see pictures of other's school rooms. I finally took new pictures of our school room and thought posting an entry here would make it easy to share our room. It's nothing grand, but it works for us!

This is the view as you walk in the door. This couch used to be in our living room, but we moved it down here when we got new furniture upstairs. I'm looking forward to having a couch we can sit on without worrying about messing up the slipcover! Its matching loveseat is down the hall in the playroom.

This is the boys' work table, the whiteboard, and the boys' computer. I love the whiteboard, and could even use a bigger one at times. The posters are hung with clothespins on white nylon string that I ran through small screw eyelets. This allows me to change the posters out as needed.

This is a view from the whiteboard of my desk and our storage cabinet and shelf. Having a lockable storage cabinet for our texts has been a must for us. On my desk is my Brother DCP7020 copier/scanner/printer. I'm so happy that we bought this.

This shelf is new to the school room. It was in the playroom holding the animal cages, but now that we're down to one hamster cage I decided he'd be better of in the school room with us. It also provides a great place to store our art supplies, leap pads, and school room toys (fun, educational toys for the younger boys that are only allowed to be played with in the school room during school).

This is a picture of inside of the school cabinet. It holds all of our books and workbooks. On top are our everyday markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Down the hall is the playroom, so the little guys are still within earshot while I'm working with the older boys. The closet next to the cabinet holds all of my scrapbooking, crafting, sewing, and gift wrapping supplies. There is also another closet that runs under the stairs that serves as our "library".

With the ages of the boys, I find it easiest to have a room devoted to school. If we work at the kitchen table or patio, I tend to get distracted and lose boys (they finish what they're working on and wander off). But if we do want to work somewhere else, it's simple enough to carry our books to where we need them.

Friday, June 29, 2007

J's Fifth Birthday

Yesterday was J's 5th birthday. He's been counting down for around 49 days and was very excited that the day finally arrived. During his countdown he made sure that we would not be doing any school on his birthday. I made his cake in the morning (we saw this cake in Family Fun magazine, and while their example was green, J wanted a "sky blue dragon with red wings") and answered somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand questions about when Daddy would be home, when he could open his presents, when we would eat the cake, etc. It was a long morning, and they ended up watching Pooh's Grand Adventure and some PBS (hey, as L pointed out, the PBS they watched was science).

Cr came home around 3:30 and we loaded the boys in the van to get McDonald's and go to the park for dinner (we were so thankful J came up with this option and ditched the "Chuck E. Cheese for dinner" idea). After we finished at the park, we came home and had cake and J opened his presents. He received a Superman figure, an Imaginext Dragon, a pirate sword, a red razor scooter, and a bike. We hid the bike on the side of the house and hung his helmet on it. After he opened his presents inside, we suggested he take his scooter out front to test ride it and told him we thought his helmet was on the side of the house. He was surprised when he saw a bike "just his size!". We stayed out front for a few hours and all the boys rode their bikes (or trike in M's case). It was a fun day, and J is happy to be 5.

For those wondering , N is kinda-sorta walking. Not exactly in a straight line, kind of sideways. But he's made additional progress which gives us hope that we might be able to cancel the appointment in August.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Importance of Prepositions

Last night we held our Tuesday night family art class. We drew parrots, but that's not important right now. This isn't an entry on art; this is a grammar entry on the importance of prepositions.

The title of our art book is called Drawing with Children. I believe Cr got the preposition in the title confused, because he held a class in Drawing on Children. He said something about "extra credit". At least he used the washable marker that we give to M, and not one of the Sharpies the rest of us use.

He does look extra handsome with dark eyebrows, though, huh?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Wheelin'

Z learned how to ride his bike last night. Cr has been working with him this spring, and last night it clicked. We're so happy for him!

Our School Plans for the Fall

This year L will be in 3rd grade, Z will be in 2nd grade, J will be in Kindergarten, and M will be PreK. I finally placed the last of our curriculum orders this morning. Here's a list of what we'll be doing when our new year starts in August.


  • Saxon 5/4 (will probably start 6/5 mid-year)
  • Singapore Challenging Word Problems 2 & 3
  • Quarter Mile Math
  • Classically Cursive 3 (Shorter Catechism)
  • Classical Writing Aesop & Classical Writing Poetry
  • Spelling Power
  • Piano Lessons
  • Typing Instructor Deluxe
  • Saxon 3
  • Singapore Challenging Word Problems 1 & 2
  • Quarter Mile Math
  • Pentime 2
  • Classical Writing Aesop
  • Spelling Power
  • Typing Instructor Deluxe
  • Piano Lessons
  • Saxon 1
  • Singapore Challenging Word Problems 1
  • Quarter Mile Math
  • Pentime 1a-1b
  • Explode the Code 1, 2, & 3
  • Phonics Pathways
  • First Language Lessons
  • Saxon K
  • Phonics Pathways
  • Bob Jones' Foundation for Fours (just the Language Arts portion)
Group Subjects (L and Z, with J and M tagging along):
  • Latin for Children A
  • Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! Level One
  • Rod and Staff Bible Stories to Read Aloud
  • Story of the World 3
  • Oxford First Book of Art
  • Drawing with Children
  • How to Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Easy Lessons
  • Bellerophon Coloring Books of Great Composers
Now, to figure out the puzzle of how we're going to get it all done...and still have a somewhat tidy house and clean underwear. Oh, yeah...they'll probably want to eat, too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Somedays You Think They're Turning Out Alright...

and other days you have to rush out to the backyard to tell your almost 8 year old son not to use the aluminum baseball bat as a sword against his brothers, who are armed only with plastic light sabers and whiffle ball bats.

And his wide-eyed reply is "Why not?".

Monday, June 18, 2007

Latin, Greek, & the Potty

For those of you that have been waiting, tossing and turning at night while you think of me making this decision, I think I know what to do with Latin and Greek. I think I'm going to go with Latin for Children for the fall, and also do Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!. Level 1 is an introduction to the Greek alphabet. I don't know if we'll get to level 2, but either way it should prepare us nicely to add Elementary Greek on next fall. I know, you're glad I finally decided, I think (all these "thinks" are disclaimers that will allow me to change my mind if I want).

"And what about the potty?", you say. Yes. The potty. M is potty trained! This is the first time in 6.75 years that we've had only 1 in diapers. He has developed some odd habits, though. When he's got to go, he takes off his clothes as he's walking to the bathroom and leaves them in his wake. Except for his socks. And he sometimes forgets to put his clothes back on (okay, most of the time). Yesterday I found him standing over his basket of underwear singing, complete with hand motions, "Deep and Wide" in the buff. His brothers also told me he played his computer game time downstairs in the nude yesterday. He's been outside for most of the week in only underwear, and it's usually backwards, so he's flashing more of his rear end than he should. I apologized to the neighbor. His other annoying habit is flushing the toilet and then turning off the water to the toilet at the wall. But, I don't have to change his diapers anymore, so really, that inconvenience is a small price to pay.

And N is officially 19 months and not walking. I think we'll be keeping the August 28th appointment with the pediatric orthopedist.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Drawing With Children

L has been bugging me to add a drawing class to our school day. Since I can never seem to find the time during the day, we decided to do it on Tuesday evenings as a family. I'm using the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes. Last night was our second session and we each drew a bird.

These are in age order (Cr, Co, L, Z, and J). I think they all turned out fairly well, considering this was our first attempt and we only had half dried up Crayola markers to color them in. We had a lot of fun (although I know for sure now that the boys get their inclination to be class clowns from their Daddy).

Monday, June 11, 2007

We Have a New Addition

His name is Nemo. J talked me into another Betta fish when we went to Walmart Friday night.

Should we take bets on how long this one lives?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

From the Teacher's Desk

I've been thinking a lot about our school and what our focus should be. When I can't do it all, what can be allowed to fall to the back burner? What do we have to get done? I can't teach everything to all of them, so our ultimate goal is to teach them to learn and think logically. Our core subjects are math and Latin/Greek (in younger years phonics instruction is core until they are reading well). Piano should probably be next in line. These three subjects teach logical, ordered thinking. Latin and Greek also have the added benefit of teaching spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. Lest you worry, we also cover the more traditional subjects. We're doing a chronological study of history, various sciences, and language arts. But these are the things that can slide for a bit if need be.

This leads me to this point--I'm stuck. I'm trying to decide between Greek and Latin for the fall. Next year we will study both, but this fall I think we're still only ready for one. We'll finish Prima Latina this summer, so I need to decide what to do next. Prima Latina has been a nice, gentle study, but L and Z are at a point where we can and need to intensify our language study. I finally have it narrowed down to what texts we'd use ( Latin for Children or Elementary Greek ). Maybe I should just flip a coin, unless, of course, one of you wants to decide for me.

Oh, and I got to witness an "it's working!" moment a few days ago. The boys were outside for my quiet time when L came in and asked if he could take The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe outside to finish. I told him that was fine, as long as he brought it back in. He took it out and settled into a chair on our patio. A few minutes later Z came in and told me he had promised M that he'd read Beowulf and The Dragon to him. I told him that was fine, just be careful and bring the library book back in when he was done. He settled into a chair, with J on one side and M on the other and read Beowulf to them. It's always nice to have these visual reminders that what we're doing is working, and we aren't just crazy.

And we're back up to a scheduled three hour school day. L was starting to fall back to his habit of cramming 15 minutes worth of work into 3+ hours and I don't want to have to break him of that again come fall. If we all work diligently, we can actually finish in under three hours. One big addition is that M now has a 15 minute time slot for 1:1 time with me to do preschool work. I think he'll be thrilled, and it will be good practice since he'll be enrolled in the preschool portion of our Academy this fall.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Further Proof of My Southern Roots

School has been postponed today until after the running of NASCAR's Autism 400 at Dover.

Go Jimmie Johnson!

I'll Just Label This "Geek"

What does it say about me that in order to cheer me up on a bad day (I was exhausted and not feeling well and ended up staying home from church at the last minute), Cr bought me a P-Touch label maker and achieved that goal? He surprised me mid-afternoon, and I spent a couple of blissful hours in the school room happily labeling and organizing stuff. And looking for stuff to label. And thinking of all the stuff I could label in other rooms.

Guess I should print out a big "geek" label and stick it on my forehead.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Catching Up Ramblings...

Since I've last blogged, we've had Mother's Day, Our 10th Anniversary, and Memorial Day. All were absolutely wonderful.

For Mother's Day, we went out to lunch, and the boys gave me flowers, new cushions for the front porch swing, and a set of kitchen knives. The older 3 also each gave me a cookie mix, bracelet, and handmade cards they made at church. Then, during N's nap, Cr took the oldest 4 out to the park and to a store, so I had a quiet house for a few hours. It was a very relaxing day that reminded me how blessed I am to have my boys.

Next came our 10th Anniversary. Cr made all the arrangements; all I knew was we had a babysitter for 5 hours. The first place he took me was the highlight of the evening. We went on a short hike to the area where he proposed to me 10 years ago (we had a 3 month engagement) where he presented me the most beautiful diamond ring, and a card with a handwritten message that made tear up. Once we returned to the car, he handed me 10 long-stemmed red roses. This was followed by dinner at a nice restaurant--one with cloth tablecloths and without crayons. When we finished eating he took me on a tour of the facilities where he works (I know that may sound odd to some of you, but security at both places is such that I've been waiting to get an up close tour of his old job for 6 years). Then we came home to a house that was still standing, 5 happy boys, and a babysitter who said she would babysit again.

For Memorial Day, we took a picnic lunch to the mountains. We did a bit of exploring and played some catch and tag. After we came home, Cr played football with the boys and we grilled out and ate on the back patio. We went for a short walk, and then Cr played some video games with the boys. After all, according to Z, "Holidays are made to spend time with each other", backed up with L's "He's right, you know". It was a peaceful day that we all enjoyed--even J, who started the day out disappointed because we don't give presents for Memorial Day.

And in Judo News:

Z tested for his 2nd stripe yesterday and passed. He wasn't as nervous as he was last time he tested, but this time included a written test that he was worried about. But he did really well on both of them.

I tested for my Orange Belt and passed. I ended up doing my demonstration on Thursday night because the senior class was so small. I had to demonstrate 13 throws, 2 combination throws, 2 chokes, 1 arm bar, 2 counters, 4 hold downs, 4 turnovers, 5 escapes, as well the 6 falling techniques. I took my written test yesterday and barely passed that part (hey, remembering Japanese is hard!).

Finally, we're enjoying our slimmed down schedule for summer school. It's heavy enough to keep the boys out of trouble, but light enough that I feel like I'm getting a bit of a break. If only it would warm up (just a little!).