Sunday, August 28, 2011

School Year 2011-2012. The first week.

This is the story of a home school year, one husband, 6 kids, a puppy, 2 birds and a snake.

22 August 2011- Day 1

First day of school.  Luke (10th grade), Josh (8th grade, but doing all 9th grade work, so maybe he's really in 9th grade but who cares?), Caroline (6th grade- where did the time go?!), Jesse 4th grade (but probably doing all 5th grade work), Sophia (2nd grade and still learning to read), and Levi (2 years old) who now says, "I'm homeschooled".  He got a "school bag" today with a xylophone, playdough, colored pencils and paper- wahoo!

Luke missed the first day of school this year because when he asked if he could go to California this summer when his friend, Harley, from Germany goes there with his family, I said "yes" without looking at the calendar and noticing that it was the same week that I planned to begin school.  So, his first week of school will be spent visiting Hollywood, Laguna beach and surfing.  I'm sure he'll learn about the climate and geography of Southern California and he'll probably use some type of math to figure out how long he can extend his spending money for.  I'm sure there is school is in this trip somewhere.  Probably the biggest educational factor will be his ability to negotiate airline travel alone.  Pretty good for a 15 year old.

It was probably a good thing that he isn't here this week to experience first week of school difficulties.  I only had to deal with things that could go wrong with 5 people, rather than 6.  School began well and on time at about 815 with Bible.  It was actually enjoyable.Did you know it took over 40 men more than 1,600 years to write the Bible?  We read Psalm 119:1-16 which is so applicable.  Here it is in the NLT:
Psalm 119
1 Joyful are people of integrity,
      who follow the instructions of the Lord.
 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
      and search for him with all their hearts.
 3 They do not compromise with evil,
      and they walk only in his paths.
 4 You have charged us
      to keep your commandments carefully.
 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
      reflect your decrees!
 6 Then I will not be ashamed
      when I compare my life with your commands.
 7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
      I will thank you by living as I should!
 8 I will obey your decrees.
      Please don’t give up on me!
 9 How can a young person stay pure?
      By obeying your word.
 10 I have tried hard to find you—
      don’t let me wander from your commands.
 11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
      that I might not sin against you.
 12 I praise you, O Lord;
      teach me your decrees.
 13 I have recited aloud
      all the regulations you have given us.
 14 I have rejoiced in your laws
      as much as in riches.
 15 I will study your commandments
      and reflect on your ways.
 16 I will delight in your decrees
      and not forget your word.

Then Caroline had her first live online German class at 0900.  Well the Big Apple (computer) was not cooperating so I was running back and forth between the game room and the sitting room turning on and off computers and headsets.  The teacher actually kicked Caroline off the one computer that I got working because she was logged in on two computers.  Eventually we got that all straightened out and the only other student in caroline's class is named Caroline.  She lives in Louisiana and likes to shoot nutria and gators.  You have to have lived in Louisiana to know what a nutria is.  Most would describe it as a big rat. 

Then the math computer program that I successfully installed for Josh did not work.  I found out it was due to a production glitch that happened in the first few hundred disks.  Apparently, I was one of the first to order these new and improved programs.  The company almost  immediately sent me a link for Josh to complete his math on until we receive new disks free of charge. 

While Josh was waiting for the math debacle to be solved, he started his requisite science experiment.  I said, "Do you really have an experiment on your (my) first day?"  Yes, he did he assured me.  Maybe I shouldn't have told him where the box filled with the equipment for his experiments was located until tomorrow.  When he was almost done his experiment using baking soda, a battery, a wire and some type of liquid, he kindly invited Levi to watch him do his experiment.  Ok, a 2 year old in the kitchen on the counter...watching.  Shortly thereafter, came the scream that Levi wrecked his experiment.  Well, really, is that a big surprise?  Ok, Josh was almost done and he was able to see and do all that he was supposed to and write his report. 

Caroline diligently did her work today.  When we looked at her math we both forgot how to do the last few things she (we) learned last year, so we spent time today re-watching DVD lessons. We'll re-watch more tomorrow. 

On to the new spelling program for Jesse and Caroline which uses a cd player.  In preparation for the new program, I bought a new portable cd player and it works fine.  However, I wanted to play the introduction for all of us to hear and the external speakers wouldn't work with the new cd player....nor in the "Big Apple", nor in Levi's cd player.  Finally we got it to work on our very old laptop!  It took about 40 minutes to get the equipment needed to listen to a 6 minute intro.

Throughout the day, I did some school with Sophia and it culminated with me doing her science lesson at bedtime which worked well.  I may just schedule it at bedtime for this year.

Levi decided on this first day of the school year, that he doesn't need naps any more.   I keep explaining to him that does need to take a nap.  He won today, so since he was up I took him for the blood test he needed to see if he is allergic to ant bites.  He did really well. Sophia went along to see first hand how blood comes out of a human via a needle. 

I had dinner all ready, got Caroline to her soccer practice and when I told everyone it was time for dinner, Sophia informed me that Levi pooped on his rug and he won't come out of his room.  I told the kids they could start eating, got Levi cleaned up and sent him down to eat while finished cleaning up the rug.  When I was done everyone was done and gone except Levi so we ate together.  That reminds me, I need make sure and get dinner ready for tomorrow so I don't have to do it at the last minute.  Anyway...

I still have to add a few more classes in for each student, but we'll do that slowly I hope.  I guess this year we'll start slow, build up steam and either come to a crashing halt or phase out the year slowly...we'll see.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011- Day 2
Second day of school.  Luke is in California and Steve is in Virginia.  Guess which one experienced an earthquake?  Steve, in Virginia.  Five point eight.  Felt from Virginia to Maine. 
So today, we did Bible again and really enjoyed it.  Gen 1 and the 6 days of creation.  Just in case you are interested:
Day 1- heavens and earth
Day 2- sky, land and oceans
Day 3- plants, fruit bearing trees
Day 4- Sun, moon, stars
Day 5- Ocean creatures, birds
Day 6- animals and man

I kind of wondered why He created animals and man on the same day. 

The kids are memorizing 2 Tim 3:16-17 16 God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. 17 By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.

So, after Bible, I quickly got Jesse, Sophia and Levi in the car to get Jesse to his 0900 Robotics coop class.  I took Sophia so we could, in theory, get some of her school done while Jesse was in his class.  I took Levi’s laptop (educational game) for ammo.  We arrived a few minutes early and there were not very many cars there.  Not a promising sign.  I asked at the office if the Robotics class starts today and she said that classes start Thursday.  I said that we are here for the Tuesday class and she told me again that classes start Thursday, so our Tuesday class wouldn’t  start until next Tuesday.  Well I had to drop off a check anyway, so it was ok that we were a week early.  The other day I was an hour early for Sophia’s gymnastics and I said, “I’ve never been an hour early for anything”.

When we got home once again Josh’s math wasn’t working.  But since I am so tech savy, I quickly diagnosed and fixed the problem (I had to click on the internet symbol to get it on the right server or whatever it’s called).  

However, getting him into his online Open House for his literature class was a little more challenging and I had to revert to having him use my laptop instead of the “Big Apple”.    I expect to go through similar issues when Luke gets back. 

Jesse and I actually got to his science today so he knows what he has to do.   Sophia had to draw one of the insects we studied and it took about an hour for her to draw a Monarch butterfly after she repeatedly said, “I can’t draw it”.  It’s awesome.  I’ll have to take a picture of it. 

I reviewed about five math lessons with Caroline that she did last year but couldn’t remember how to do.  I did them with her last year and I couldn’t remember how to do them either.  It’s so nice to have the teacher manual.  Now we are pretty much pros at adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing  fractions with mixed numbers,  regrouping and unequal denominators.   

We went to the pool after lunch for a little while and, it turns out, there were three other homeschool families there too.  I wasn’t surprised.  Homeschoolers are pragmatic that way.  They are also seen at the library and Walmart during school hours, usually with 6-8 of their children. 

I can’t remember much else except that Levi took a nap today, I successfully got Sophia to gymnastics at the right time and Josh got to Boy Scouts. 

Hopefully I’ll get to do our first history class tomorrow with Caroline, Jesse and Sophia.  Then maybe on Thursday we’ll get to our first Latin class for the year.  

Wed, 24 August 2011- Day 3

Last night I prepared mac and cheese so I could put it in the oven for lunch and serve it with a juice drink, and I also got a crockpot chicken and spaghetti dinner ready to be turned on this morning.  It is so helpful to have one or two meals ready to just put in the oven or crock pot.

Levi did NOT wake up in the middle of the night last night wanting to come in my bed.  That’s because I put him to sleep in my bed so he was already there.  And, he slept in so I could work out this morning!   He wasn’t too tired last night so I put him in my bed so I could go down and make the meals for today.  He spotted a Boy Scout magazine by my bed and asked if he could have it.  That’s what put him to sleep.

We started with Bible again this morning.  Gen 2 talks about how man should not be alone and God gave him a helper and they are to live as one.  Wish I would have read that a little closer about 20 or 30 years ago.

Besides having to kick Caroline out of Bible class, for what appeared to me to be a bad attitude, it seemed like a pretty good day.  She came back in the class after a few minutes without any other issues. 

I actually got to do history with Caroline, Jesse and Sophia.  We are trying something a little different this year, so I’ll have to see how it goes.  My hope is that I won’t have so much to do to prepare for history.  

And, we even installed a typing program for Jesse and he did a lesson.  Now I have to get Caroline to learn how to type correctly.   Maybe we can start that tomorrow…or next week. 

Josh couldn’t get his math to work this morning again, but it was something minor and we got it going easily.  He’s taking Algebra 1.  His replacement CD for the math program arrived today, so tonight I need to install it…

We didn’t have to go anywhere today, but we did have an extra student for a few hours.  Sweet Hannah, our 9 yo neighbor, stayed with us while her mom had an appointment.  Her mom was gone a little longer than expected and Hannah ran out of work. I offered a Jonathan Park cd to listen to, but she didn’t want to and she entertained herself. 

Potentially the best thing that happened today was when I went to the commissary for 2 gallons of milk and a few more items and went through the express lane.  I had about 6 bags and they were on the heavy side.  The bagger said he should get me cart and I said I thought I could carry it.  He kindly said, “Are you sure?  I don’t want you to get stressed out.”  I’m thinking in the realm of things that stress me, carrying heavy grocery bags a short distance to the car without having any kids to herd, is not even in the radar.  But, I didn’t say anything….I just smiled kindly.

Josh had another open house today.  It was for his online history class.  He forgot how to access it.  And guess what.  It took forever for the “Big Apple” to load so we ran around trying to access the class on 2 or 3 other computers.  He got on and finished before his piano teacher arrived for his lesson. 

I think Luke is going to be behind since he probably missed both of his open houses today.  One for his literature class and one for his history class. 

By 1230 or so, we were pretty much done what we needed to do, except for Josh who was still in his piano lesson, so I took Levi and Jesse bowling for one game.  Levi has been asking to go for weeks.  I just let them play one game so I could get Levi home for his nap…which he took today.  Caroline and Sophia didn’t want to go.   I’m glad Jesse went because he knows how to set up and use the electronic score keeper. 

We ate at 5:00 so Caroline and Josh could eat before their practice/scrimmage.  I dropped Caroline off, made a quick stop at the commissary, got home in time to pick everyone else up and get to Josh’s scrimmage (with our canopy since it was 100 degrees out).  Then we went to Caroline’s soccer team parent meeting and got a Frosty before heading back to Josh’s scrimmage.  I think everyone got tired out today.

(Sophia's drawing of a Monarch Butterfly from Science Class)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Levi stayed in his bed until 5:10 AM, twenty minutes before my alarm was set to go off.  I brought him my room and hit the snooze button a few times before getting up to run.  I told Josh last night that I was going to run this morning and if Levi woke up to go lay by him.  I took Darby with me for few miles and when I dropped her off the house was quiet.  I ran six miles and when I got back Levi was still sleeping!  Whew. 

It rained today for about the third time this year.  The kids were so excited they made me come out and see it.  It was almost like when Noah and the people of his time saw rain for the first time.  Levi got his boots on so he could splash in the puddles when the rain was over.  Is that something every two year old does?  Does anyone remember doing it?  I remember all of our  kids doing it. 

Last night I put together a new recipe called “Family Soup” for tonight, minus the can of corn that I didn’t have.  I know I bought it for the recipe, but I think that the kids used it the last time they went fishing.  So, after Steve got back this afternoon from DC unscathed from the impending category 3 hurricane, I ran to the commissary for corn and a few things for Josh to take to “Beach Reach” Youth Group camp this weekend.  When I returned and added the corn to the crock pot I noticed that the food wasn’t hot inside like usual.  After a quick glance I saw that it wasn’t plugged in.  I’m pretty sure that happened about the time  Jesse said, “Mom, your Nook needs to be charged” (so he could play games on it).  Well, I have dough in the bread machine and even if our soup is cold, the pretzel bread will be hot.  I need to go twist the dough and put it in the oven now.  

I added a  handwriting class with Sophia today.  I’m waiting for a cursive book for Jesse and then we’ll start Jesse’s cursive lessons.  He learned it last year, but needs more practice.  Caroline also started typing lessons again today.  Jesse got the computer program set up for her and showed her how to use it.  Now, I just have to add language (English) lessons for Sophia; grammar and writing for Jesse and Caroline; Latin for everyone(?); and all of Luke’s online classes and we will have begun all of our subjects for the year.  Latin is an independent study for everyone except Sophia so I just have to show them what to do and maybe I have to check their work too. 

Sophia has gymnastics tonight from 6-7 and Josh goes to his Eagle board at 7:00pm. 

I’m writing this after Josh’s Eagle Board of Review.  He had to have 3 copies of his “book” which includes the specifics of his project, pictures of his project and massive amounts of administrative documents.  He was missing a few necessary signatures and seemed would we have to return in a month after we got them.  But, one of necessary signatures is from our neighbor and Steve got it and brought the paper and for the other, I called “information” to get the man’s phone number and the person in charge of the boards allowed us to get a verbal “signature” from him and he promised to send an electronic version tomorrow so that Josh could have his board tonight.  We were there doing all this for two hours and when Josh (we) finally got all that straightened out he was in and out of the board in about 10 minutes fairly confident that he would have his Eagle rank approved.  A board member came back to get Josh a few minutes later and invited me and the Scout Master, Kelly Halverson, into the room where they quickly congratulated Josh on his Eagle scout rank!!!!!  The whole process took about a year.  The men who were on the board were jovial.  Josh said they actually wanted him to get his Eagle rank unlike the last board that he went to.  Anyway, they told him that he could now sign “Eagle Scout” after his name.  They said when he applies for a job and has an employer he can put that he’s an Eagle scout by his name.  And here’s the interesting thing; that man corrected himself and said, actually it’s a responsibility that Josh has to let his employer know that he’s an Eagle scout.  That people have the right to know.  Wow.

Josh is so excited!  We got home around 10:00 PM.

I have to figure out if I’m going to take Josh just to speech class tomorrow or for all 3 classes:  Apologetics, Debate and Speech. Steve and  I want him and Luke to do all of them, but I’m not sure if it will be too much with everything else they are doing/ and that I want them to do this year.  If they do all 3 classes I will have to cut out a bunch of their other class….ugh….and I had such a good plan.  If they take all of the classes they will be amazingly prepared to speak well, get their point across and be an ambassador – leader with a Christian worldview. 

Friday, 26 August 2011- Day 5

I told the kids that we would be going to take Josh to Apologetics/Speech/Debate club today and that we would to the Children’s Museum in New Braunfels while he was in class.   So we worked diligently and Sophia did her math, reading, spelling, and her highlight was that I called on her to read 2 verses during Bible and she was able to do it!  Today she said, “I really like school”.  

Well, I neglected to tell Josh that I was going to take him to all 3 classes and not just Speech and he rebelled.  I figured we would just wait until Luke gets back and I can take them both on the same day to check out Apologetics and Debate.  So we had a change of plans and I was able to read more to Sophia and play “Go Fish” with her too.  I also showed Jesse and Caroline how to access their Latin schedule on line and we watched the introdection to the class on DVD.  We also listened to the pronunciation cd on the way to Speech class and Josh and Jesse said they already know all of this….score!  That should make it easier for them this year.  This year’s class reviews what they learned previously and then adds to it. 

I dropped Josh at the Speech class and then took Jesse, Sophia and Levi to a pet store to browse.  It was a great pet store with cool displays and painting on the floor.  It reminded me of Beth and Jim’s pet store in State College but this one is Texas size.  They had a Pot-Bellied Pig for $180, chipmunks, 2 cute puppies (Sophia always says cute before puppies which always makes me laugh because is the cute really necessary?), and other cool animals.  We got out of there without buying anything.  I almost got frozen pinky mice for Josh’s snake that he hasn’t fed in over a month, but I thought they would all defrost before we got home in an hour and a half.  It turns out Josh has frozen pinkys at home, he just hasn’t fed the snake.  He doesn’t really want it anymore and I think he’s trying to starve it to death.

Levi had a fever but he felt ok so I took him with me to NB.  I left Caroline at home.  I wasn’t sure if I should, but Steve works right down the street and she is responsible, so I did. 

Levi started not feeling too well and I gave him a drink and said that might help him feel better.  After a little while he said,”I still don’t feel better.”  He got Tylenol when we got home.

Then Josh left for Beach Reach with the Youth Group.  He was pretty excited about going for the weekend.

Steve and I went to a “get-together” with our Sunday School class.  Caroline stayed home with Levi and they watched movies.  Jesse and Sophia went to the childcare at the church and watched a movie, had pizza and played.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

I’ve been taking Darby with me when I run and she goes a few miles with me and then I bring her home and I go a few more miles.  Today she ran into my foot and I went down hard and fast.  I put my arm out to soften the impact and now I have a few good abrasions on my hand.  They make the burn I got from my new curling iron last week pale in comparison.  There were cars going by when I fell and I was glad I didn’t fall into one of them.  

Speaking of Darby, she is 8 months old now.  She is gentle and sweet and is much less energetic than Aussies.  She has one flaw.  She eats any and all food and a few non-food items too.  Last week one day she ate one of the new potted plants that was in our backyard.  They were the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen- periwinkle colored.  I knew I should have moved the matching plant, but I didn’t and she finished it off in a day or 2.  Yesterday I was unpacking a box with packing “peanuts” and I dropped one.  I don’t know where Darby came from but before the peanut hit the ground she had it in her mouth. I opened her mouth to retrieve it, but it was almost disintegrated.  She hasn’t died from anything she’s eaten yet, I think she’ll survive one packing peanut.

After Josh got his Eagle he said, “When did Luke get his Eagle?  I wonder if I beat him?”  I said I wasn’t sure of the date.  So this morning when I was changing sheets and I was in Luke’s room I looked at his Eagle certificate that is hanging on his wall.  His Eagle date was 25 August 2009.  Two years to the day before Josh got his.   Isn’t that wild?

Today we have to get Caroline’s soccer uniform for her club soccer team AHFSH Fire Black.  The uniform, which includes backpack, will be about $300.  Add that to the $1000/year fee and I’m not sure that we can do it.  We are waiting to see if FEAST has will have a middle school girls soccer team, but we don’t know yet.

Today we’ll sign Jesse up for Cub Scouts for the year.  He’s a WEBELO 1.  He has 2 more years of cub scouts (or just one if they complete 2 years of requirements in 1 year like Luke’s Den Leader did) and then Jesse will be a Boy Scout. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011
Josh came home from a youth group retreat this afternoon.  The retreat was beast.  He wants to go to all the First Baptist camps. 
The high tempertures for today through Wednesday....110, 109, 106, 102 degrees.  We’ve had over 30 days of over 100 degree weather.  Josh said Port Aransas was cool (the temp) felt like it was in the 90s. 
I set up my blog today.  Not sure how many people  I’ll give website to.  But, since I’m not too computer savvy it’s possibly visible to everyone who wants to read it.  Not really sure if that’s a problem though.  Who really wants to read a journal unless there is some inciting incident, some tragedy, well… something interesting.  And, there is the TV show about the homeschoolers with 20 kids, so maybe everyone who cares about this sort of thing has seen that show.  I’ve never seen but I’d really like to so maybe I could get some helpful pointers. 
We all miss Luke and we’re glad he’s coming home tomorrow.  Not sure how one more will add to the school workload.  

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