Friday, September 12, 2014

Caedmon Turns 7!

We have a big seven year-old now! I can’t believe how time has flown. And we celebrated for an entire week.

The Thursday before Caedmon’s birthday, we invited two of our homeschool friends and their siblings (and Moms!) to go bowling with us. Oh, and we brought cookie cake.

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We had a ton of fun with these friends and are so grateful they could celebrate Caedmon’s birthday with us.

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Caedmon loves all things Minecraft these days, so of course he asked for a Minecraft birthday cake. It was my first time to use fondant, but I think I managed pretty well. We celebrated on Saturday, the day before his birthday.

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We invited some friends and neighbors to come have cake and ice cream with us.

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The kids had a blast, and Caedmon enjoyed his birthday celebration and gifts. And now, he’s a big seven year-old!

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Oh, and this kid enjoyed all the birthday partying, too. She’s already planning her next party.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

1st Grade and Mother’s Day Out

We did actually start 1st Grade and Mother’s Day Out. Our schools start early here, so we were actually in full swing by the second week of August.

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When Caedmon started 1st grade, he was about to turn seven, had already lost two teeth, and loves all things Minecraft. And yeah, when you homeschool and it’s still blazing hot outside, you wear shorts and flip flops to school.

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Honor is three and a half. She loves pink and purple, but is into superheroes too…thus the hand-me-down Captain America t-shirt she chose for her first day of class. With a bow, of course.

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They are both doing well and are enjoying their classes!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

End of Summer

Whew! It’s been a busy one around here.

Let’s see…what’s happened around here lately?

It’s been a busy summer over here. We visited family and have had enough guests ourselves to hang a Bed & Breakfast sign on the front door. We’ve picked strawberries and made jam. We’ve grown a garden with lots of cucumbers and made pickles. We’ve even made Lemon Zucchini bread with zucchini from our garden. It’s been busy, but fun.

We took a great weekend trip to Louisville. We toured the Louisville Slugger Factory, went to the Zoo, and the Mega Cavern (where Caedmon learned about the Cuban Missile Crisis). Also, Honor wiggled her little behind out of her booster seat at a restaurant and almost knocked out her front teeth. It was special.

You know what’s more special? The fact that the dentist instructed us to make her stop sucking her thumb so that her teeth would stay in her head. That has led to desperate things like cutting the fingertips off of gloves that have the thumbs sewn to the palm. And then safety pinning and/or taping said gloves to her sleeves. Then, I discovered that she can still get her hands out of the gloves, even while they’re pinned to her sleeves. I don’t know what to do with that girl some days.

We spent about a month passing around a lovely summer cold/respiratory virus. That kind of put a damper on the end of our summer. But we’re trying to make up for our lost pool time now that everyone has gone back to school.

We have started school. I know, it’s still super early. But public schools have already started here, and Caedmon was ready to go. We’re full-blown into first grade. I know this is optimistic in our second week, but I think we’re going to make it. And that’s a good thing. Honor starts back to her Mother’s day out program next week. Now, if only we can get the bedtimes under control again, we’ll be in good shape.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why Do My Children Hate Sleep?

This is a question I’ve asked for a very long time. But last night took the cake.

Honor has been through phases of terrible bedtimes. Ok, so maybe this phase has been going on since she was 16 months old. It’s been a long phase. I keep telling myself it’s a phase because that means it will be over one day. One day, she will JUST GO TO BED. No fighting, no fussing, no crying or whining, no getting out of bed 873 times. No parking myself at the top of the stairs with a wooden spoon. No sneaking up the stairs to catch her in the playroom long after she was supposed to be sleeping. No hearing Caedmon yell, “Mom! Honor’s in my room!” thirty minutes after lights out. One day. One day, both my children will sleep.

(Don’t crush my dreams, ok?)

The past few nights have been particularly challenging. Honor has been extra resistant at bedtime, and it’s about driven me to the brink of insanity. Who am I kidding? I was pretty close already. But last night? Last night was it. And I mean it.

I was worn out. I finally dragged myself to bed a little after 9pm, which is way earlier than I usually go to bed, and over an hour after Honor had “gone to bed.” (Yes, in quotation marks. Because she clearly hadn’t actually gone to bed.) As soon as I got settled under the covers, her shrill little voice yelled “Mom!” from the top of the stairs.

I joked with Husband that she must have a sensor that went off as soon as I got into bed. Because it seems that no matter when I get in the bed, she yells for me. It could be 9pm or midnight…she will yell.

I got up and walked to the bottom of the stairs. She was looking down at me from behind the gate at the top. I asked what she wanted. The words that came out of her mouth both made me want to laugh hysterically and scream at the same time, “Mom, why did you try to go to bed?”

That’s exactly what I did. I tried to go to bed. I suppose I just need to quit trying to go to bed. Maybe that’s the whole problem.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Pretty Cool Thing

Remember last year, when we went to Disney and I became completely obsessed with all the planning? Apparently, I’m not the only one that happens to.

I don’t know how many hours I’ve talked with friends about planning their trips. I’ve talked to just as many friends who want to plan a trip, but have no idea where to start and feel overwhelmed with all the choices. And let’s face it. Not everybody is a detail freak, loves to spend time on message boards, and creates spreadsheets and color coded lists for fun. 

My friend Jenna approached me with an idea to start a blog on Disney planning, focused on helping make things easier for families. Lindsey agreed to join us in this crazy venture, and together, we’ve started Real Mom’s Disney. We each get to share what works for our families, and you’ll get to see lots of things from three different perspectives. Feel free to email, tweet, or Facebook us with things you’d like to see on the blog or with Disney planning questions.

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We just launched the site last week, and there’s already some great content waiting for you!

Getting Started: Setting a Budget (and a free spreadsheet)

Crowd Calendars: Who, What, Where, When & Why

Budgeting for Souvenirs Without Breaking the Bank

 Getting Started: How many days should I spend in the parks?

We’ll have new articles up every day this week. Go check it out and let us know what you think!

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Monday, June 09, 2014

In Summer

It’s summer, y’all! We’ve been busy the past few weeks, but we’ve been soaking up summer as much as we can. I know some of y’all are just now getting out of school, but we’ve been out for almost a month. And we’re loving it.

Every day, Caedmon asks if he has to do school work. When I reply, “Nope, it’s summer,” it’s almost as good as saying, “It’s Christmas!” We’ve hit the pool, played with friends, gone to the zoo with friends, attended VBS, and finally played on the slip n’ slide.

Caedmon’s baseball season has started. He’s playing for the Bulls this year, and loving every second of it. (The teams are named after AAA baseball teams, so we’re the Durahm Bulls.) Honor is still so attached to the “baseball shirt” I made her last season, I hope I can convince her to wear the new team colors. Maybe since Caedmon’s jersey number is also her age, she will be more inclined to wear it. Who am I kidding? A new shirt with something ruffly on it? She’ll wear it. I might have a challenge finding a brownish orange ruffle, though. We may have to go with royal blue and be happy.

It’s no secret that Frozen has been everywhere lately. And I know that most of y’all are all about “Let it Go.” However, in our house, “Summer” is the favorite. Every time it comes on Disney Junior as a little between-show short, we stop what we’re doing, and we sing and dance. I think this sums up how excited we are about summer at our house.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1st Grade Prep

Even though I just recapped kindergarten, we’ve already moved on to 1st grade over here. Actually, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in 1st grade for a couple of months now.

I know. I’m an overachiever.

Actually, I just don’t want to spend my entire summer working on school stuff. So I’m motivated.

The way the homeschool year works here, we can actually start in July. So we will be working a few days over the summer, mainly to keep things fresh.

We’re expanding a lot this year. Kindergarten only had four subjects, and this coming year we’ll have eight.

Please excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag.

Yes, eight subjects. Reading, Writing, Math, and Bible have carried over from last year. We’ll be adding Spelling, Language Arts (Grammar), History, and Science.

Reading: We’ll use library books, and the reading lists from our other subjects will be our starting point. I will read aloud, we’ll read together, and he will read independently. There will be “school” reading, and “fun” reading, where he can choose whatever he likes. We also enjoy audio books, especially in the car. Hopefully we will expand from our Hank the Cowdog repertoire. (I love Hank. But we’re about to exhaust our library’s collection.)

Writing: We’re using Writing with Ease. I bought the hardback book and the workbook. The hardback book covers grades 1-4, and the workbook just covers 1st grade. I mainly chose the workbook because there is lots of copywork involved, and I didn’t want to have to write it all out beforehand. I like the concept behind this method, and it gives you the freedom to choose short or long passages depending on your child’s capabilities.

Math: We’re sticking with Saxon, moving up to Math 1. As opposed to last year, this year will have daily worksheets. Caedmon is already asking to start his new math, so I have a feeling we may be diving into this soon-ish.

Bible: We’re continuing with The Gospel Project for Kids, and we’ll keep the same general format we used last year.

Spelling: I decided to go with Spelling Workout from Modern Curriculum Press. We’re starting with level A. I hadn’t planned to purchase the Teacher’s Edition, but Husband found it at the used bookstore for $2.50. Score! I might be glad I have it – we’ll see! I think Caedmon will like the format – at least, I hope he will!

Language Arts: I chose First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind, Level 1. It’s scripted – so it tells me exactly what to say/do. Which is awesome. It will use copywork, narration, memorizing poetry, and picture study. I’m an English nerd, so I’m kind of excited about this one.

History: We will use The Story of the World, Volume 1. Caedmon is going to love it. Remember how he loves all the melee? I predict he will love all of the ancient warfare. I also purchased the audio version so we can listen in the car, and the Activity Book. The Activity Book comes with questions and narration cues for each chapter, as well as extra activity ideas and instructions, coloring pages, and maps. If I had to come up with all that stuff on my own, well…I wouldn’t. We’ll supplement with The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History and The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.

Science: We will study “biology” this year – animals, people, and plants. We’ll be using the DK First Animal Encyclopedia and the DK First Human Body Encyclopedia. I haven’t decided what we’ll use for plants yet, but by the time we get to that part, it will be time to get going on our garden again, so there will be plenty of hands-on. We will study 20 weeks of animals, 10 weeks of the human body, and about 6 weeks of plants. I plan to let Caedmon choose a new topic each week, and explore from there. We may study reptiles one week and elephants the next, and that will be fine with me.

I purchased all of our stuff thru Amazon.com. After scouring the internet, I found the best prices and availability there. Overall, I spent about half of what I thought I would. I know I could’ve waited until summer to buy more used resources, go to curriculum fairs, etc., but that just wasn’t going to work for me. There was no guarantee I’d find what I was looking for, and I didn’t find that most used prices were that much less than what I could purchase for on Amazon. Plus, I wanted it right now. A few of the resources will be used for multiple years, and we’ll (hope to) be using many things again when Honor follows in about three years.

So there it is…I’ll review all of these things at the end of next year, and let you know how it all worked for us. What are your favorite homeschool resources?

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