Wednesday, August 28, 2013


If you are a mother of a boy, you should be able to relate to this post.  Little Man is going through a major growth spurt!  It started last March and shows no signs of stopping.

My little guy has, well, always been little.  He has a very high metabolism and can put away food like a teenage boy.  It seems he is always hungry!  I don't know where it all goes.  He has always been skinny as a rail.  When he does get a bit of a belly, it quickly disappears, as he adds another inch of height!

In March, we bought size two baseball cleats.  I was concerned at the time they may be too large for him.  Hubby assured me that the cleats would be fine.  Little did we both know a major growth spurt was about to begin.

As ball season progressed, Little Man began complaining about his cleats.  I also noticed that they were a bit harder to put on his feet.  However, once we laced them up and went off to practice or a game, he quit complaining.  By May, it was almost impossible to put the cleats on his feet.  I really didn't want to buy another pair for two games.  So, we managed squeezing his feet into them.

I realized he was also growing upward by June.  He had put on muscle and no longer was the skinny little kid from March.  His biceps were becoming larger from swinging the baseball bat.  He jumped in size from a boys 5 to a boys 7.  I had to buy size 4 flip flops.  (Although, he really needed a 3.  He told me his feet would grow into them.  He was right!  By July, they fit perfectly.)

Mid-July came and it was time to sign-up for fall baseball.  I had him try his uniform on from the spring.  The pants had been six inches to long in March.  They were only three inches short now!  (He wouldn't wear them in the spring.  He wore a different pair, so I knew they had not shrunk from washing and drying.) 

Today, we went to buy cleats.  I held off this purchase for as long as I could.  The first practice is tonight.  I started with a size 4 cleat.  It was a perfect fit, but no room to grow.  I went and got the 4 1/2.  Plenty of room to grow, I hope!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaching Textbooks

We have entered our third week of schooling.  Thus far, I am pleased at how our math program is working.  I have tried different math programs over the past two years.  Egee's math workbooks were okay, but lacked something.  Little Man was very vocal about his math program.

My sister bought a curriculum set last year for her daughter.  The set had Teaching Textbooks as the math program.  My niece has struggled in math and never really liked the subject.  Teaching Textbooks (TT) change that for her.  No longer did she balk at doing math.  She understood the concepts being presented and was retaining it.

Egee is two grades behind my niece.  However, Egee has always done well in math.  The workbooks that we have used always presented the lessons in a unit format.  She learned a concept and practiced it for several weeks then took a test and moved on to the next concept.  The workbooks never went back to a previous unit of work.  I felt she was being programmed to learn it and then forget it.  TT does a spiral method of teaching math.  She must remember the concepts from previous lessons to answer questions on future lessons.

My sister told me I could have the curriculum that my niece used last year for Eggie to use later.  My niece was completing seventh grade and Egee was finishing fifth.  I decided to look at using TT 7 for Egee and just skip sixth grade math.  The placement tests on the Teaching Textbook site helped in my decision making.  I decided she could transition into TT 7 without a problem.

My next challenge was Little Man.  We stopped using Time for Learning last winter.  He did not like the little kid feel to the site.  I had him use apps on the Nook for math, but knew he needed more.  He does not like math drills or cartoon animals.  He was going into the second grade and Teaching Textbooks started at third grade.  I had to make a choice.  Little Man catches on quick when he is interested in a topic.  Math is one subject he likes.  Again, I looked at the pretest for TT 3.  Little Man wanted to be in third grade like his friend.  I talked to him about TT 3.  I told him I thought he could do third grade math.  He became excited at the possibility of being like his friend.  We went to the home school curriculum store and purchased TT 3.

Little Man is excelling at math.  He likes being able to change the 'buddy icon' for each lesson.  The lecture portion is short and interactive.  It gets to the point.  He is happy it is 'big kid' math.  I like that it spirals and he has to recall previous lessons.  He doesn't always like that.  For example, we have struggled with him learning the months of the year and days of the week.  These topics are not things he had given much thought about.  He lives in the moment.  However, TT keeps asking him questions about what month comes before or after another month.  He doesn't like getting the answer wrong, so he is finally internalizing the months of the year. Yay!  Same for the days of the week.

I hope they continue enjoying their math program!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Beach (Part II)

We are back to reality this week.  Our much needed trip to the beach flew by!  How is it that seven days spent at home doing the daily routine seems to creep by at a snails pace, but when on vacation those seven days move at lightening speed?  Here are pictures of our fun filled week.

 Our view of the marsh and ocean.

Heading to the beach. 

 He found a dead minnow.

 Walking the beach after high tide.

Jellyfish washed ashore. 

Playing in the sand. 

Love watching the shrimp boats! 

Waiting for food at Johnson's Creek Tavern. 

We spent a lot of time at the pool. 

Playing with new friends. 

Watching loggerhead sea turtles hatch. 

Frogs were everywhere!

A fun evening at Beaufort's Hwy 21 Drive In.  It was the kids first time!

All you can eat crab legs at Boondocks.  Yummy!

Toes in the sand.

Hunting Island Beach

Enjoying the surf.

Great beach for shelling.

Love this spot!

We had a blast!  Can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Beach (Part I)

We are taking a beach vacation this week. What is it about the ocean? The pounding of the waves, the chirping of sea birds, the smell of ocean air, the vibrant colors of sunrise and sunset that beckons one to it.

A yearly trip to our little piece of paradise is a must for us. In fact, we could easily move here permanently. I don't think we could ever tire of the beauty and mystic it holds.

The children have watched dolphins swim twenty feet from us. Last night, they  witnessed loggerhead sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean. We have observed lizards, ghost crabs, jellyfish, frogs, hermit crabs, snails, blue crabs,  and horseshoe crabs.  We can't wait to see and do more!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Late Night Party

I woke yesterday morning to the noise of children.  Now, I know that most of you do the same.  However, this is not typical for us.  The children normally wake between 7:30 am to 9:30 am.  When they do get out of the bed, they are usually quiet.

I got up and was immediately greeted by two wide awake children.  I asked when did they get up and I received a unison 1 am!  Whoa!  It was just turning twenty after seven and surely they meant seven.  Egee explained that Little Man knocked on her door at one and they couldn't go back to sleep.  They decided to watch videos in her room ALL NIGHT!

If this had happened any other night this week, it would not have been a big deal.  However, we had eye doctor appointments in the afternoon.  We needed to do school work, take a lawn mower to my sister, go to the eye doctor, and then to my mother's house.  A full day was scheduled.  I did not need or want grumpy children.

I started school work with them immediately.  I was afraid to wait for fear they would crash.  Egee was plugging along nicely.  Little Man was starting to take a nose dive half way through math.  I refused to stop and just let him snuggle in the bed.  (I know, mean mommy! If I let him get away with not finishing his work, he would do this again.  I wanted both children to see that their actions had consequences.)  Once he finished his lessons correctly, I had him get in the bed.  He was out in ten minutes.

Egee continued working.  She didn't seem tired.  I think she must have cat napped from one to seven and just didn't realize it.  She is usually a Grumpy Gus when she doesn't get her sleep.  She didn't complain while working.  She really seems to like our new curriculum.

I took full advantage of Little Man being out cold.  I was able to mop all the floors and clean the house.

We woke Little Man up ten minutes before we had to leave.  He was in a much better mood!  Egee was starting to fade.  She cat napped on the way to my sister's house.  I took the back roads and it gave her almost an hour to rest during the drive.

The eye doctor appointment went well.  Little Man, of course, did not want to go.  He does not like any type of doctor.  I was very apprehensive about the visit with him.  He surprised me and cooperated nicely.  Egee's eyes have changed some.  We discussed letting her wear contacts and the eye doctor said she could. She gets fitted for contacts in two weeks. (They didn't have a lens for her left eye and had to order it.)  Little Man's eyes haven't changed much.  Mine stayed the same.  At least, we are done for another year!

We went to my mother's house after our appointment.  The children were thrilled to be at MeeMee's house. They played with the dogs and visited with MeeMee.  We went out to supper with my mom and dad.  The children were really starting to crash by then.  They were beginning to get on each other's nerves.  I was hoping to get through the evening and back home before they exploded.

On the drive home, Egee finally crashed.  She slept a good part of the drive.  Little Man was trying to stay awake.  We made it home and off to bed they went.

Little Man slept all night and awoke at 8:30 this morning.  Egee is still asleep at 9:30 am.  I don't see partying all night in the future anytime soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Turtle Pond Part II

I moved our red slider turtles outdoors back in the spring.  Everything was going well.  The turtles enjoyed their new home, even though the weather was cool then warm and back to cool.  We added twelve feeder goldfish to the pond to eat excess turtle food and serve as a food source for the turtles, if needed.  With the continuous rain the pond stayed full.  A severe algal bloom caused a soupy green appearance for a week.  I purchased a fish safe algaecide and  the water cleared in three days.  All was going well after the algal bloom.

The kids and I went on a road trip mid-July.  I called Hubby to remind him to feed the turtles.  He did and text me that the water in the pond was low.  He added more water and everything was fine.  He left on his business trip with the pond full of water.  The kids and I returned three days, after his departure, and found a near empty pond.  The poor turtles and fish had about three inches of water in the pond!  I immediately filled the pond and sighed a breath of relief that the filter had not fried itself.

I have checked the pond around the sides for signs of where the leak may be.  I haven't found anything to denote a leak.  I have been filling the pond twice a day to keep the filter submerged.  This has become quite a chore and I do not want to leave it to my neighbor to take care of when we go on vacation.  She always takes care of the animals when we leave to go on trips.  We in turn take care of hers.

Today the children and I went to our local home improvement store and bought a new preformed pond for the turtles.  I hated having to spend the money ($100) on a new turtle pond, but I really had no choice. (Have I mentioned how expensive these turtles have become?)

I created a deeper end and shallow end for the new pond.

Fitting the 125 gallon pond into the KIA was a challenge.  I had to put down the second row seats and wedge it into the back.  Then I realized that Little Man needed to sit in the car to get back home.  So, I made enough room to get him in a seat and buckled.  Thank goodness I didn't have three kids with me!

We got the pond home and I needed to find a spot for it.  I liked where I had the other pond, but I really wanted to be able to see the turtles better.  I placed the new pond near the sidewalk and pool path.  I can look out my dining room window and see the bubbling fountain.

Ozzy is chilling in his new pond.  

The turtles were easy to move to the new pond.  I was very surprised.  No hissing or thrashing as I placed them in a bowl for transport.  The fish were more of a challenge.  We are down to just three.  The turtles have evidently enjoyed fresh fish over the past three months.

The orange objects are the fish.  They decided to stick close together.

Now, hopefully, the pond holds water and won't spring a leak!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not The Average Day

Today, marked our sixth day of school.  Not really a landmark day, but it was a test for us.  Our visitors spent the night last night and were here for our school day.  Now they homeschool as well, but typically an overnight visit results in a fun day off for all.  Not this time.  We were all going to do school work so that we could keep on schedule.

The kiddos were up and ready to play when I broke the news.  Yes, we are doing school work today.  I fed four children and wrangled them into the living room.  Our history lesson today was Noah and the Flood. They all participated in the question and answer session.  We discussed the colors of the rainbow and a few other random thoughts.

Princess showing me her work while Little Man concentrates on his math lesson.

Afterwards, I sent Egee to her room to work on her math.  Little Man positioned himself in front of the laptop at the dining room table.  I gave C-man and Princess some worksheets on math and reading.  Then sent them off to the living room to work together.

Everyone was content and working.  I could not have asked for a better school day.  Little Man, C-man and Princess finished their work in about an hour.  They were then sent out to play.  Egee then started working on her other lessons.  She was content and not upset about being left finishing her work.  (Yay!)

Egee brushing out Princess' hair to put up in a braid. 

The boys playing the Wii after their school lessons were complete.

I wrangled everyone back in the house for lunch.  After lunch, we piled into the SUV and headed to the dealership for an oil change and tire rotation.  My four 'ducks' marched right into the waiting room and sat in a row.  I passed out electronics to keep everyone occupied.  After an hour and a half, complete boredom began to set in to all four.  The lady sitting next to us was amazed at how good they were.  No one openly complained of the endless wait.  They looked through magazines and talked quietly.

Waiting on the SUV.

Once the SUV was finished, I took the kids by Mickey D's to get an ice cream treat.  They were ecstatic and on a sugar high for the rest of the afternoon!

We rounded out the day with a trip to the dojo for Aikido practice.  A good way to end the day!

Attack line practice!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


This weekend we have been blessed to have two sets of visitors.  My stepson came to stay with us for the first time in a while.  The children were excited that their half-brother was coming to see them.  He has been to the house, but hasn't stayed overnight in a while.

We had lunch at the local Mexican restaurant and went out for ice cream later in the evening.  The kiddos played video games and watched movies.  Little Man and D-man played catch, so that Little Man could show off his baseball skills.  Egee and D-man spent time talking and reviewing tastes in music.  We all went swimming Saturday evening and enjoyed each others company.

Today, we added two more visitors.  A family friend's mother-in-law is sick and in the hospital.  I know how difficult it is to have children in the waiting room of the hospital.  I text her and told her I would keep the kids.  She dropped them off and now the house is alive with children running around and playing.

I love being able to help out friends.  The kids love having others over and playing.  Tomorrow will be interesting when trying to get school work done with my two and adding two others to the mix.  We all homeschool, so I will come up with something for C-man and Princess to work on.

Now to bake brownies and keep everyone happy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Reasons Why I Love Homeschooling My Kiddos

1.  I love watching them get excited about learning. 

2.  I can spend time watching them grow physically and mentally.

3.  We don't have to rush. Late evenings don't have to give way to early mornings!  

4.  Mornings, afternoons, and evenings can be savored.  They have time to be kids!

5.  Sometimes you need a Sunny Day and not a Snow Day!  Spring fever hits hard around here!

6.  I learn things that I have forgotten or never knew!  They teach me so many things!

7.  They can pursue their own interests and we can count it as electives! 

8.  They don't think learning is just confined to a building from the hours of 8 am to 3pm. 

9.  We learn more in two to three hours than what is taught in 6.5 hours of school.

10.  We can take our time learning.  If they don't get it now, we can wait and try again another time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New School Year = New Schedule

I have changed up our school routine a bit this year.  Of course, I will continue to make changes as we progress in our studies.  That is the beauty of homeschooling.  If something isn't working, we just make a change.  Whether it be curriculum or scheduling, we are free to adjust.  

Last year, I gave the children Fridays off.  We did home economics, play dates, field trips, etc. on Fridays. Now with Egee entering the middle school years, I have adjusted the schedule.  It isn't a drastic change. When a typical school day only takes two to three hours to complete, there is plenty of time for other enrichment opportunities.  So, we will do school work on Fridays this year.  

What does our school day look like this year?

School begins between 9 am and 9:30 am.  (Egee is sleeping longer now that she has entered her tween years.  Plus, we have many evening commitments that get us in the bed late.  Thank goodness, I am not having to crack the whip and have everyone up and out the door by 6:30 am!)

As the children eat breakfast, I read their history lesson aloud.  I ask questions and relate various parts to things we have scene or heard before.  I love the fact that we can learn history together.  Plus, this year our history and bible are incorporated into one.  

Next, we put away breakfast dishes and begin lessons on the computer.  We don't always get dressed for school.  Most mornings we are still in our pj's working away.  

I have pieced together our curriculum using Teaching Textbooks for both children.  Egee is using TT7 and Little Man is using TT3.  I am also using parts of Easy Peasy and other things from the web.  I am incorporating the McGuffey readers into both of their curriculum, as well.  

Egee takes a laptop into her room and begins her lessons.  I have made a word document with her lessons and she follows the daily list of what to do.  She has reached the age that she is more independent and needs to take charge of her learning.  

Here is a sample of her schedule:

Little Man works at the laptop located on the dining room table.  I sit with him while he completes his work. Although, sometimes he wants me to be at a distance.  (He wants to be like his sister.)  So, I work in the kitchen and keep an eye on him.

Here is a sample of his schedule:

Notice I do not have times listed.  I don't want them to become pigeon holed into math should only take thirty minutes.  Some days math may take ten minutes, other days it may take an hour.  The point is to work at completing each assignment correctly and move on.

Egee comes in from time to time and asks a question or two.  For the most part, she is very self-sufficient. Her lesson take a two to three hours.  She use to be upset that her lessons would take longer than her brother's lessons.  I have explained that she is in higher levels and he is not.  This year with her entering the middle school grades, she seems to accept her workload.   

Little Man's lessons take about an hour to complete.  Of course, it depends upon how cooperative he wants to be!  He knows he cannot play with friends, the iPod, video games, etc. unless his work is done and it is done correctly.  Don't you just love leverage?  

Most of the time, we finish everything by lunch and the kids have the afternoon to pursue other interests.  It will be interesting on the days we have outside classes in the morning and they have to do work in the afternoon or double up work throughout the week.  Normally, we didn't do book work on those days.  But, it is a new year and a new schedule.

Well, here is to a new year of learning and growing!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to School

Today, we started our third year of home school.  It is amazing how fast the last two years have flown.  I now have a 6th grader and a 2nd grader!  We are truly blessed to have such an amazing opportunity to spend our days together learning.  I thank God that he has provided us with a wonderful provider (Hubby) to let the children and I spend our days together learning and playing.

I have spent many hours this summer putting together plans for school.  The children have enjoyed six weeks of summer bliss and freedom.  Although, we have had many learning trips during this time.  We are ready to get back to routine and start our school year.

This year's main curriculum:

Egee - Teaching Textbooks Math 7; Easy Peasy for English, Foreign Language, Science, Computer, and Logic; The Mystery of History Volume I; McGuffey's Third Reader.

Little Man - Teaching Textbooks Math 3; Easy Peasy for Language Arts, Science, Computer, and Logic; The Mystery of History Volume I; McGuffey's Primer and First Reader.

Of course, I have a variety of other things I include.  Games, puzzles, crafts, circuit boards, microscopes, videos, cds, etc.

We also have an array of library classes, music appreciation classes, field trips, Aikido, tumbling class, baseball practices, and play dates!  Whoever said that homeschoolers are not socialized has never met a homeschooler!

Summer Fun!

I have taken a month off from blogging. (Of course, you may already realized this.)  Mostly, due to the fact that we have been busy with fun summer activities.  The other reason, I just needed a break.  So, here are a hodgepodge of pics that depict some of our summer fun!

Trying to make brine pickles.

Enjoying Cooley's strawberries.


Rainy day naps.

Wandering if it will ever stop raining.

Popping fireworks!

Learning about worm composting.

Enjoying the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh, NC.

Hall surfing in the hotel.

Learning about the American Civil War in Richmond, VA.

Resting on the giant anchor outside of the Confederate Museum.

Resting after a fun filled day.

Eating at the Depot Grill in downtown Lynchburg, VA.

Enjoying the sites of Lynchburg, VA.

Creating a log house at the Mt. Airy History Museum.

Enjoying a chocolate soda at Walker's Soda Shop in Mount Airy, NC.

Learning about Native Americans.


Pool parties with friends.