Home School 2016-2017

So I never ended up posting “The Plan” for 2015-2016, but it went swimmingly enough.

We ended up making some big changes for this year and that has made a big difference. Go figure…

First off, we pitched A Beka. Yes, it works for some, but not us. I mostly used it because it was what I was taught and was most familiar with, but it ended up not being a good fit for us. When I asked Buddy if the problem with ‘school’ was the books we were using or Mom’s bad attitude, he said, “Both”.  Hence, the subsequent big changes and soul searching.

Then I experimented with scheduling our days. That produced more stress than I expected. I had lovely ideas of time slots and promptly accomplished assignments, but no, again, at this time, super duper structure isn’t for us. The biggest surprise was that after I let go of the schedule and went with the flow more (so hard!) we actually got most of our stuff done, lots of extras, and even had a good time getting ‘er done. Perfect.

I should have done the ‘soul searching bit’ before the scheduling experiment, but I’m a slow learning and tend to learn best the hard way. So enter prayer and turning our home school over the the Lord, which, by the way, I always thought I was doing, but apparently was doing it mostly on my own. (Again, slow learner).

Now things have started to fall into place and this year has been quite lovely. Not without hiccups mind you, but much more peaceful and directed by the Lord as I turn to Him for wisdom and guidance.

Here’s “The Plan” for 2016-2017

Math-U-See Beta & Gamma (We go through the summer – loosely – so we need more math.)
All About Reading Level 3
All About Spelling Level 1&2 (Again, once the book is done, we just keep going…)
Baltimore Catechism (with Dad)
Art: Meet the Masters Track A
Library – READ!
Piano lessons

Math-U-See Alpha & Beta
All About Reading Level 2
All About Spelling Level 1&2
Baltimore Catechism (with Dad)
Art: Meet the Masters
Library – READ!
Piano lessons

Institute for Excellence in Writing:Primary Arts of Language (PAL):Writing
– Teachers Manual and DVD-ROM
Art: Meet the Masters
Library – READ!
Piano lessons
Color, color, color.
Soaks up everything from big brothers, as does Button.

And baby goes along for the ride.

We pray as a family daily, have play dates, live vicariously through friends and family who live on farms, have animals, and are cool like that, cook together, eat together, work together, and read a ton. There are books everywhere…

Life is one huge learning experience, and when I’m on my A game, we make the most of the opportunities that arise. When I’m not, we scrape by and keep trying.


June, July, August, September, October…

I can’t believe it’s November. Summer, where have you gone???

So before it snows, here’s what we did this summer, and fall…

::: You and Blondie went on a father-son camping trip. It was so strange for me and the girls to be home alone. We had a lot of fun, but were glad when you came home.
::: We signed up for swimming lessons at the lake this year, and although it started off a bit rough (Blondie hiding under a picnic table, refusing to let go of the legs of the table to go to his lesson), they ended well with all of you wanting to take lessons again next year (or so Blondie said).
::: You started a new math program this summer, and now that we are into November, we are well into Grade 1. You are doing excellent. I just love watching you learn and grow.
::: We went camping and it rained almost the whole time, and all of you got sick (not fun).
::: Your cousins moved into the backyard for 2 months while they tore down their house, built a new one, and brought their new twin sisters home (that was an adventure).
::: You started making breakfast for everyone in the morning. Now you are a pro at peanut butter and honey toast!
::: Music lessons are also in full swing again. You and Blondie are taking violin and piano, while Happy has started violin lessons.

::: You also went on the father-son camping trip, and took swimming lessons (though I barely was able to convince you that they would be fun).
::: You also got glasses. Long story short, you had been having headaches for awhile and at first we thought they were related to the treatment for hemophilia, but it turns out you needed glasses. You are way too cute in them, and we are so thankful the headaches have stopped, because if they didn’t we would have been off to see a neurologist.
::: As for the hemophilia, we thank God that it has been a very uneventful time (besides being hit on the head with a shovel), and that you have been handling your treatments so well. What a blessing…
::: The whole family went to our first ever family hemophilia camp. We all had a blast and are looking forward to next year and more frog hunting.
::: You turned 5 years old, and are now such a grown up young man. We got you a rock tumbler and we are all enjoying searching for rocks to tumble and watching them transform into smooth, shiny stones.
::: You have officially started Kindergarten, and though you like protesting school, I have managed to trick you into learning more than you know. It makes me smile when you surprise yourself by what you know and can do.
::: You mastered riding a bike on your own this summer and we had a blast going on bike rides together.
::: You love coloring and are getting better and better at it. I am very impressed at how focused you have been, the colors you use and how much you have improved over the summer.
::: This summer you found a snake. I was not impressed, but managed to convince you that it cannot sleep in your room, and that at the very least it could spend the night in the garage. Well, the next morning I was woken by two little boys with the question, “Mom, did you do something with the snake?” It was missing. In my garage. Several days later, my husband nearly jumped out of his skin as there was a snake in our entrance way. At this point, it took very little convincing that the snake would be much happier living outside. Goodbye, snake.
::: But “hello”, hedgehogs. Just after the snake moved out, we got two hedgehogs and have been learning how to be good hedgie owners every since.

::: I wish I had more of your joy. Our home is brighter because of you.
::: You have finally mastered some lessons that I have been praying would finally take, such as stop, come, and basic obeying (woo hoo!).
::: You are such a girly girly (love it!). Everything has to be pink and purple. Just the other day, I was getting ready for church and was trying on a few skirts and dresses. I put on a very purple and pink dress and you stopped, looked at me and said, “Mommy, you look like a princess!”. So sweet. But at the same time, there’s no stopping you from trying to keep up with the boys…
::: You. Love. Learning. Not only that, you love school. You are speeding through your pre-school books and are well into your 6th book already.
::: You also love reading. We have gone to the library a lot this summer and you and your brothers have picked out so many fun books that we have poured over.
::: Our cat comes when I call, and you have been trying to imitate me.  You say “Kit Kat, (and then click your tongue a few times)”. The cat never comes, but you try…
::: You have been working on getting your shoes on the right foot (and doing quite well for the most part). The other day you asked me if a particular foot was your “right” foot, I said yes, and then you proceeded to say, “and this is my wrong foot” referring to you left foot. We are never bored with you around, Happy.

::: You are army crawling around the house, going from lying on the floor to sitting up, waving good-bye, and clapping.
::: Teeth! You started having long naps and sure enough started growing some teeth. This month you cut 6 teeth (top centrals, and right lateral, bottom centrals and left lateral).
::: You are climbing stairs, standing on your own and waking around things. YOU TOOK YOUR FIRST STEP!
::: You are soo quiet. I keep talking about putting bells on you as you don’t make a sound as you wander around the house, sneak up the stairs, and cause general baby mischief.
::: You say “bye-bye”.
::: You figured out how to go down the stairs.
::: While you are still our baby and we still call you “Baby”, you turned one this summer and now are such a big girl.
::: You are signing alot.
::: When we ask you if the food is good, you smack lips. So funny.
::: We finally got the baby gates installed. What. A. Relief. You have been thwarted for the time being and it is so much easier to keep track of you now (though you do listen for the gates as they open and close and if someone forgets to close it, you try your best to sneak past if I’m not watching).
::: When we give you your food, you blow on it in case it is hot, and let’s not get started on the messes you make with your food…
::: You are nodding yes and no.
::: You absolutely love being outside. If the older kids are outside, you stand at the patio doors like a poor little puppy wanting to go for a walk until I feel sorry for you and take you out.
::: We are beginning to see a lot more personality and attitude coming out and it is so much fun getting to know you more, little girl.



My heart can’t take much more of these kids growing up so fast. Blondie just turned five. He was my littlest baby and now he’s such a grown up young man.  I feel so blessed…

Blondie, you bring SO much joy to our lives. You see life as one exciting adventure after another, and you bring us all along with you. Watching you and Buddy hang out and plan your next adventure makes we smile and wonder what kind of tale I will get to tell your grandparents next (and if you include Happy in your scheming, I know I better prepare myself for something big).  What an year we have had. From finding out you have hemophilia (and figuring all of that out), getting glasses, trying to keep you from literally climbing the walls, and simply trying to keep up with you period, has been more than I expected (or thought I could handle), but God is faithful and I praise Him for YOU. Happy fifth birthday, Blondie!

We had to start the day off with a birthday breakfast of some sort. This time round it was birthday cereal.

I wasn’t sure what he would think, but we got him a rock tumbler and the neatest book ever just about rocks. It was a hit (what a relief), and the rocks are tumbling as we speak…
DSC05055Spoiled by an auntie.

Help with the gifts.DSC05123 DSC05127Cake!
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Surprise! It was a pinata cake. IMG_5876 IMG_5878

Happy Birthday, Blondie! You are loved more than you know, and that is just the beginning of the love Christ has for you. Our prayer is that you would know His love for you and that that love would completely transform your life.

Cute As A Button

Shortly after Button was born, we were blessed with a baby shower by some very sweet ladies, and the theme was “Cute As A Button”. So in honor of that celebration of Button’s life, we had a button themed birthday. I use the word theme lightly, as the only buttons in sight were on the cupcakes…

Instead of birthday toast, we had birthday pancakes.

She was actually quite taken by her new clothes.DSC04972DSC04976DSC04945

DSC04949DSC04952 DSC04955DSC04963

This year went by much too quickly, but it has been so much fun watching you learn and grow. This year I have been deeply touched by the love that has flowed in our home as I watched how your siblings showed their for you and each other. The look in your eyes when one of them came to talk or play with you is so sweet. We are so blessed to have you in our family and we thank God for you. Happy Birthday, Button!

Pink and Purple!

Happy is 3!

What better way to start off a birthday than to have icing for breakfast?


Birthday toast – a tradition my mom did with us.


Time for a dance off!



This little girl loves all things pink and purple.



She nearly singed her hair.





I’m sure I’m going to regret this, but I got you a recorder (what was I thinking ?!?).


Happy Birthday, Happy! If I could only use one word to describe you, it would be JOYFUL. God has used you in a beautiful way to bring joy into our home. Thank you, little girl, for filling this house with your smiles, hugs, songs, ridiculous sense of humor, goofy laughs…we love you so much!