Christmas Time

Can you believe Christmas is only 6 days away?!  Where has the year gone?  I absolutely love this time of year!  The music, the shopping, the decorations, the movies, the lights, etc.....  I get a little sad thinking it will be over soon.  True confession!  My girls are at the perfect age to enjoy the magic of Christmas.  They are so excited!  Oh, if you haven't done so already, you must get your kiddo a personalized video from Santa at Portable North Pole.  FUN!

I have to share with you a tradition that we started this year.  You can find the original idea and post at this awesome blog from Confessions of a Homeschooler:  Mini Van Express.  I downloaded the tickets she provided, laminated them, and hid them in the girls' beds.  We got the girls ready for bed as normal - pajamas, brush teeth, potty, etc.  When they climbed into bed, they found their tickets.  I shouted, "All aboard! The Mini Van Express will be pulling out in 2 minutes."  (I had already placed their slippers at the front door and jackets in the van.)  I punched their tickets as they got in the van (and every time we got out and back in the van).  We drove around and looked at lights, saw Mr. & Mrs. Clause, and grabbed a snack.  It was a late night, but worth every minute of it.  Can't wait to do it again next year!

So, I actually got all my Christmas shopping done before Christmas.  LOL  I think everything is actually going to be here in time.  WooHoo!  I'm super excited about one gift in particular that I'm giving, but I can't share until after Christmas because I think she reads my blog.  I'll be sure to share afterwards though. =)  As for the girls, it's another Barbie year intertwined with Lalaloopsies, a password Diary, make up, and cheerleading.  What did you ask for for Christmas?  I'm hoping for Project Life.  =)

Is everyone on their winter break?  We started today.  The girls celebrated by wearing bathing suits and playing "beach" upstairs.  Hahaha!  Our post a little picture of the grusome scene they were playing earlier.  We are so going to enjoy our break!

Taking care of a lot of sick babies. 


Realized I hadn't checked in in a while.  We have been so incredibly busy the last few weeks.  I wanted to update you on a few things.  First of all, got yet another diagnosis on my eye and it was not Shingles - shew! I was told it was either "Pink Eye gone bad" or some sort of cold sore in my eye.  Fun, huh?!  In any case, I did get my 3rd eye drop and it seems to have done the trick!  :)  The real test will be to see if it comes back or not.  So far I've gone the longest without it returning.

Derek has been traveling a lot for work.  He spent a couple of days in New York, came home, and then went back for a week.  He's in Boston today and will be going to Arizona for a few days coming up soon.  We miss him when he's gone, but I'm so grateful for the opportunities that he has.  He truly loves his job.  He also has started the process of re-admittance to UT to finish up his PhD.  He's been so close for so many years.  He just needs to carve out some time and get that dissertation done!  :)  Along with his full time job and request to write 2 books by two different publishers... oh, yeah and the contract work on the side... I'm sure he can find some extra time here and there.  LOL Poor guy!!  I'm so proud of him though!
First public reading =)

The kindergarten class she was reading to

Maddie got to hold the "Old Lady" that swallowed a fly.

Speaking of being proud, Audrey read for a kindergarten class today.  She did soooo well!  Anyone that knows her personally will know what a big deal this is for her.  A dear friend of mine is a music teacher at a local elementary school and she invited us to participate in a special day that they have where everyone wears pajamas to school and read all day.  I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for Audrey.  She has been talking about it for several days and practicing on her reading.  We got to class before any of the kids did and she sat down in the teacher's chair with her books.  She was so excited!  But, you should have seen her face when the kids walked in.  All the color left her face and I could see the terror starting to move through her body.  Mrs. Susan started class by singing some songs and loosened everyone up.  Then she asked Audrey what story she wanted to start with.  She jumped right in and started reading.  Granted, she didn't smile or interact a great deal, but she made it through both books beautifully!  She started to ease up quite a bit by the second book.  Huge step for her!!  I was very proud.  :)  She said she really enjoyed it and wants to find some other classes to read to, so we will absolutely be doing that.  It was a great experience for both girls today.  They both got to participate in the whole music class and had a super time!

Audrey is doing fantastic in cheerleading.  They've won all 3 competitions so far.  They have state championships in December and then we're off to Florida for nationals in January.  I can't wait!!  Audrey is just blossoming.  :)  She is doing perfect cartwheels and round offs.  Her jumps are getting much better.  She has even started working on a front hand spring.  She's trying really hard to do a back walk over.  We're hoping to start tumbling classes as soon as cheer is over.

As for school, I don't feel like we've done as much "traditional" schooling lately just because of all the activities we've had going on.  We've done a lot more real life learning, which I think is extremely important, especially at this age.  We've been to the zoo.  She helped me prepare for a dinner party at church and learned how to properly set a table.  She's been doing a lot of workbooks and reading, which she enjoys.  The math seems to be too easy and she's getting bored, so we're going to have to reassess that.  As I have talked about before, she really dislikes handwriting.  It's not that she can't do it, she just doesn't enjoy it.  She has been asking for several weeks to learn cursive writing.  I bit the bullet and got some material for her.  Experienced homeschooling moms out there, do you think it's ok to start?  I don't want to jump in too early on things, but if it's something she really wants to learn, I'm thinking, "Why not?".   One thing we are doing next semester is a school one day a week at a local church.  She'll be taking some supplemental classes (Science, Art, Spelling, and World Cultures) on Mondays.  I think it will be great (for both of us) to have something a little different.  She'll enjoy being with other kids and I'll get some one on one with Maddie.

Maddie is doing well.  She seems to do wonderfully at school, maybe even a little too well.  She has a few boys that are currently fighting for her hand in marriage.  LOL  She has a few little girls that also argue for her attention.  It so stinking cute, really.  She's such a sweet kid and so happy all the time.  I'm also learning that she's a bit of a perfectionist and gets a little frustrating with herself when she doesn't do things exactly right.  She's starting to write more, but she wants to do it perfectly and gets upset when she can't.  We're working on it though!  My sweet girl will be 4 years old next week.  Hard to believe!  We're going to celebrate at school on her birthday since it is a school day.  Then, we're going to have a big birthday party at Monkey Joe's over the weekend.  She's super excited about that.  =)  She also just finished up her first session of gymnastics.  We're going to start a new session next week, but it is a combo class of dance and gymnastics.  Can't wait to see her do that!

As for me, I'm doing so much better.  I've got a lot of the anxieties I was having under control.  God has been so good, truly.  I feel blessed more than I can possibly express to you through this blog.  The group of friends that He has placed around me are amazing.  They are strong, wise women that I respect and admire greatly.  They have taken me in as though I've known them my entire life. God is so good!  We have also been quite busy with numerous opportunities to sing lately.  What a blessing it has been!  It has been quite time consuming as we rehearse and prepare new music to share, but I love every second of it.  It has really pushed me to do better and taken me out of my comfort zone at times.  I really feel like I'm learning and growing both spiritually and musically as never before. God is so good!

In closing, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there!  Thanks for hanging around even when it's quiet over here.  Take time to stop and think about what is most important in your life.  Never forget where those blessings came from!

Cheerleading, Birthdays, Halloween, and More!

Checking in, friends.  Didn't mean to keep you hanging on that last downer of a post.  I'm feeling a wee bit better today.  I actually went to the doctor this morning with what I thought was my 4th bout of pink eye!  Yes, I said 4th... in only 2 months.  Turns out I have SHINGLES in my eye.  How crazy is that?!  Needless to say, they are being more aggressive with treatment and I will be seeing an Ophthalmologist tomorrow.  Prayers are much appreciated as they said it is pretty dangerous stuff to have in your eye.  Leave it to me to be the weirdo.  LOL!

So, we've celebrated a couple of birthdays in the past few weeks.  Derek turned 37 and I turned 36.  Shew.  There, I said it.  I'm grateful for another year, but I'm not gonna lie... I'm a little freaked out that I'm crawling ever so closer to the big 40.  I do believe I will freak out when that time comes.  Ahhhh!!  Anyhoo... moving on.

My sweet little Audrey competed in her very first cheerleading competition on Saturday.  She did fantastic!!  I could not have been more proud of her!!  And, to top it off... they placed first!  It just does my heart good to see her so happy.  She truly loves it!

Yesterday was Halloween.  We started with a Fall Festival at church.  It rocked... as usual!  Then we met up with some neighborhood friends for some T&T fun.  Had a great time!  The girls looked adorable - if I do say so myself.  Granted, I don't think most people knew what they were, but hey - they were cute nonetheless.  :)  FYI, they were Lalaloopsy Dolls.  You can check 'em out here.  My girls love them!  Derek & Audrey picked up the wigs on a whim a few weeks ago when Maddie was sick.  We just found some cute outfits here and there to put together - and wha-la!  We have our own Lalaoopsy Dolls.

Since today is the first day of November and we're counting down to Thanksgiving, I wanted to say how grateful I am for my family.  They are incredible and I love them so very much!  My husband is fantastic.  He "gets" me.  He loves me.  He's an amazing husband and spectacular dad.  So thankful for that!  My kids truly light up my life.  They make me laugh.  They make me smile. They make me want to be a better person.  I love, love, love 'em!

That's it for now.  I thought I'd post some pictures of our recent activities... as well as catch up on some previous promised photos.  Enjoy!

These are the behavior lights I talked about here.

Little sister ready to cheer on big sister!

My cheerleader before the competition.

My cheerleader after the competition with her first place medal!

Our LaLaLoopsy Dolls

Our pirate ship in the front yard.  Ahoy, Mates!

Just one of those days....

I'm in a funk.  I'm feeling blue.  Call it hormones, perhaps.  Strange things are happening to this now-36-year-old body.  Could just be Satan himself trying to bring me down because he knows how much God & I have been talking lately.  Whatever it is, I don't like it.  I'm not feeling so much like myself these days.  And, why is it when we're down, we feel the urge to drudge up more sadness from the past in hopes it makes us feel better today?  Seriously, how ridiculous is that?

"Snap out of it already", I hear you saying from the other side of the screen.  Don't get me wrong, I know how good I've got it!  I'm blessed with an amazing husband who truly loves me as I am.  I have two beautiful, healthy daughters.  We live in a wonderful home with great neighbors.  I have an abundance of precious friends and a loving family.  I have a God that cares about me and accepts me in the raw.  I have it better than most, I'd say.  So, what's my deal?

I battled depression in my mid to late 20's.  I don't know if it was triggered by difficult situations of the time or if it's just a chemical or genetic thing since I know there's a history of it my family.  In any case, I'm feeling blah.  So, I'm going to go have some chocolate, take a hot shower, say a prayer, and go love on the blessings I have!  Thanks for letting me have a downer kinda day, friends.....

First Quarter - Check!

Hi, friends!  Happy October!  My favorite month of the year.  I love the cool fall weather, changing colors, and falling leaves.  (Ok, my birthday may have something to do with it, too.  lol)  I LOVE decorating for fall.  We totally splurged on a Halloween decoration (which we don't normally decorate for).  But, we love pirates and found one of those big lawn blow up pirate ships (Yeehaw!).  I swore I'd never put one of those things in my yard, but I love it.  LOL  (I'll take a pic tomorrow since I finally found my camera battery and am charging it now).  I'm still looking for the perfect wreath to hang on the door.  I may just have to hop over to Pinterest and find one to make myself.  =)

I'm feeling better.  Don't know if I shared earlier, but I had my third bout of Pink Eye in six weeks.  My face broke out terribly with knots, bumps, and splotches.  Turns out I had some sort of viral infection that seemed to overtake my left side.  (Several people said it looked like Shingles.)  Finished up my last dose of meds today and am starting to look more normal.  lol  Other than that, I'm just feeling a little run down.  I've had some emotional ups and downs.  I hate losing my patience with the kids, but I feel overly sensitive lately.  Don't know if its the virus, hormones, meds, or what - but it's not pretty.  I've had a hard time balancing everything the last week or so.  Story of my life, huh?  We're working some things out though and it really helps.  Hubby has committed to taking care of dinner every night.  It takes a great load off my shoulders.  He's an amazing cook and enjoys it.  I am incredibly grateful for that!!  I do all the other "stuff", but we are going to have a housekeeper start coming in once a month.  I'm super excited about that!  I just need a little helping hand here and there.  Between homeschooling, the kids, their activities, and church commitments - I just need a little fresh air.  What a blessing it will be!!

We are a quarter of the way through school.  Can you even believe it?!  I think we've found our groove. We still have our ups and downs, but that's part of the parent/child relationship as much as it is teacher/student.  We'll be finishing up our first I Can Read It book this week, as well as our first full unit (10 lessons) in Math.  That's exciting!!  We're still slowly catching up on Science.  She still loves her Bible and history stories.  Again, still not doing well with the spelling, but we're enjoying a great free website a friend recommended:  Check it out!  It has some great games to play using their spelling words.  We may start adding in the Sign Language soon, too.

We did get some disheartening news today that I thought I'd share.  I know it could be worse, but I'm honestly a little bummed.  Audrey had her repeat EEG a couple of weeks ago.  We were hopeful that she had outgrown the Epilepsy, but the seizure activity has actually increased.  The test shows that even on medication she is having seizures in her sleep, when she takes deep breaths, and now with certain lights.  We now have to be cautious of places with strobe lights, as well as monitor her television & computer exposure.  She can't sit too close to screens or watch in the dark (which isn't good for you anyway).  Her medicine is going to be slightly increased.  And, she we will have to continue the meds and monitoring for two more years before they'll retest her.  Again, I know that it could be so much worse.  We're truly blessed that we're able to treat this and keep it under control.  Please continue to pray with us that it will eventually go away completely.

Hello Fall!

Hello, out there!  Shew, have we had some happenings around here!  The blog is falling to the wayside again.  Sorry.  Where should I start?  How 'bout if I break down like this....

School:  We've almost completed 7 weeks.  We've had more good days than bad.  (Yay!)  I really do see some improvements in reading.   I'm working with her to build her confidence.  She is capable of reading much more than she is.  She surprises herself at times.  :)  We've just finished reading The Hundred Dresses and will be starting Johnny Appleseed this week in our read alouds.  We've discovered the books on CDs.  It's a great reward for her.  She just finished Beverly Clearly's Beazus and Ramona and is currently listening to The Secret Garden.  Her handwriting is continuing to improve despite her aversions.  :)  She's moving a little slowly in math right now, but I want to make sure she "gets it".  Still behind in Science, but we'll keep working!  She loves history!  Last week we starting studying Medieval times so the whole family went to the Medieval Times Dinner Theater last night.  The girls LOVED it!  Maddie was mesmerized by the horses.  :)

Health - I've been totally depressed about my health and weight lately.  I've had pink eye twice in the last month.  Then I had some sort of virus and my face broke out in sores.  Looks awful!  Then, got bit by a spider and my leg turned red and swelled up.  Not pretty!  I'm feeling better today.  I even got myself to the gym (and Greenway) and worked out twice.  Hubby and I rode 10 miles on the Trikes today.  It was wonderful!  Earlier in the week I walked a 5k.  It felt good to exercise again.  Gotta keep it up!!

Audrey - She had her EEG last week to see if the Epilepsy is gone.  We should have results hopefully this week, if not, definitely by the next.  I'm praying for complete healing!  I'm hopeful she can come off her medicine.

Craziness - Two nights ago, both of our cars were broken into.  Sucks.  But, I'm fortunate that they didn't take my van.  The spare key was in D's car, which is how they got into my van.  They only took my GPS (and a half a day of time lost hanging out with the police).  They hit several cars in our neighborhood and the one across the street.  I'm ok with the GPS, but admit I feel violated.  :(

Needless to say, with our week, we had an impromptu "fall break".  With Wednesday's EEG, I had to sleep deprive her the night before, so that day was out.  Thursday is my normal morning commitment to Bible Study, but the afternoon (usual school time) was filled with outings and getting the van fixed.  Then, Friday was a day with the police because of the break ins.  We will be finishing up last week's lessons this week and starting on the next week. Thank goodness for flexibility!

That's it for now!
Enjoying a day at the park

Fun times at the quiet park ;)

Line leader on picture day

BFF's waiting for pictures

One of Audrey's new favs - Pattern Blocks

Medieval Times - The knight threw the flower to Maddie =)

Perfect attire for our evening at Medieval Times

First Grade Picture Day

Picture Day outfit chosen by the 3 year old herself - and then there were press on Princess nails =)

Week 5 Recap

So the last couple of weeks have been a bit rough.  No pretty way to put it.  We've had some good days and some bad days.  Our schedules did change a bit last week with the addition of some activities, so we had to adjust.  Audrey just wasn't in learning mode so much.  We had a few meltdowns - and yes, I said, "We".  Mama's not proud, but it is what it is.  I'm better now.  :)  I will say that this week has started out MUCH better!

Despite the ups and downs, we did accomplish some things.  She continues to do well with her reading.  She lacks motivation when it comes to spelling.  She can spell most things phonetically, but that's a problem when it comes to double consonants and sight words.  Couple that with her lack of love for handwriting and I had to get creative.  I wrote spelling words all over the room for her to copy - on the chalkboard, whiteboards, paper plates, paper, etc. with different writing tools. It seemed to work.  She was more enthusiastic about copying and working on her words.

We spent awhile on Lesson 8 with math on finding the unknowns.  But, we did start Lesson 9 at the end of last week with adding by 9's.  We'll review another couple of days and possibly move on to adding by 8's the end of this week.

She loves history!  Last week we learned about the Vikings.  We learned about where they lived, what they did, what they ate, etc.  Audrey made her own Viking Longhouse.

We got through her Read Aloud early again.  We were reading My Father's Dragon.  Cute book!  We finished a few days early so I found a cool Lapbook for it online.  We aren't completely finished with it, but I'll try to remember to post pictures when we do.  This week we're reading The Hundred Dresses.  I'm not familiar with this one, but she's enjoying it so far.  Because she enjoys books so much, we picked up some books on CD at the library.  She has already finished Beverly Clearly's Beazus and Ramona.  We'll start on The Secret Garden tomorrow.  They're perfect when she's working on copywork or waiting for me while I pick up Maddie or something.

Confession - we haven't been working on science as much.  We had some experiments that we needed to do with the sun, but we had a week of rain and overcast, so it has fallen behind a bit.  No worries - we'll catch back up!  Same thing with our additional Bible Study.  I love the study, but we're a little overwhelmed right now.  We're still doing our daily readings in the Egermieres Children's Bible Stories and a lot of our literature is based on the Bible.  Additionally, we're working on her Sparks verses and stories.  We'll pick back up with the Apologia's 'Who Is God?' in a few weeks.

We started back to Awanas the 7th.  Maddie is old enough this year, so she is a Cubby.  Audrey is enthusiastic about her verses.  She's doing well!  We also started Children's Choir the same week.  Maddie is now old enough to participate.  :)  She loves it!  I'm teaching 2nd grade choir and love it.  Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to.

Art project - Painting with string

Audrey's Viking Longhouse

So proud

Had to throw one in there of our new student ;)

Day at the park

Good times!

In Our Class

Here are a few pictures of things we're trying this year.  So far they're working pretty well!

These are our workboxes.  I fill each box at night with her daily assignments for the next morning.  She works through them one at a time.  It lets her see what she has accomplished and what still needs to be done.  It helps me organize all of her assignments and make sure that we get through everything.  The boxes are just the right size to hold her books, worksheets, supplies, etc.

These are our rules.  I had an old frame and left over material from recovering her desk chair.  I just put the material in, printed out our classroom "rules", and taped them on!

This is our reward system.  We bought some colorful rocks from Michael's.  I already had a cute glass vase.  She sets a personal goal she wants to work for (right now she's working towards a new game for her V-Tech).  She earns rocks for completing her assignments &chores,  for not whining, for going above and beyond, etc.  Once she fills the vase, she earns her new game.  I figure she'll earn something once or twice a semester.
One more thing we do that I need to get a picture of, is a red/yellow/green light for behavior.  I just cut out a circle of red, yellow, and green cardstock and glued it to a black rectangle cardstock to look like a stop light.  I laminated it.  (I made one light for each girl.)  Then I took a picture of each girl and laminated them.  I added velcro stickers to the back and attached it to the "light".  The goal is stay on the green light.  If we have issues throughout the day and their picture makes it to red, they lose their outside play time with neighbors.  (I'm sure the consequences will change, but right now this is the "biggie".)  Yellow is seen as a serious warning.  So far nobody has made it to red!  =)

Week 3

Just sitting here eating some singed angel wings.  Ever had those?  They're just toasted angel food cake slices.  Yummy!  Anyhoo... gonna admit something gross.  I've got the pink eye  :(  I'm praying I didn't pass it along to 100 other choir members at rehearsal last night.  I've never had it before and thought I just had a clogged tear duct.  I woke up this morning with an incredibly unpleasant feeling in my blood shot eye.  I went to the doctor and she informed me of the "very contagious pink eye".  Great!  I felt pretty miserable this afternoon.  However, after my second dose of eye drops this evening, I'm finally feeling some comfort.  =)

Schooling is going well.  Man, am I grateful for the flexible schedule!  I've had to work in a few doctor appointments between Maddie's allergic reaction to a topical cream, my vertigo and pink eye.  We've been doing school throughout the day.  It breaks up the day nicely though.  She's doing pretty well, too.  She still has some aversions to writing anything, but we're working on it.  How do I encourage her to not be sloppy?  I'd love some suggestions!!  She can do her work, but she doesn't care that it's a mess.  And, she loves to doodle on all of her papers.  I'm ok with that except that I'd prefer that she not curly q all of her "g"s until I know she can write them correctly.  lol  As for math, we've sailed through to Lesson 8.  I think we'll be spending a little more time here.  It's definitely a new concept for her (and quite frankly, it seems pretty advanced to me for this young), but she's starting to catch on.  The manipulatives have really helped!  The concept is finding the unknowns.  (Think of finding X in an algebraic equation.)  I'm fine staying here until she's ready to push forward.  She's progressing well in her reading materials.  I just wish I could get her to want to read for fun on her own.  :/  She LOVES for me to read to her, so I do not discourage that.  We've moved on and added a lot to our reading list. 

Maddie started preschool Wednesday (Monday was orientation).  I think she's loving it.  She's going to the same Christian Academy that Audrey went to - and has the same teacher.  She loves that she has to take her lunch to school.  ;)  Here are a few pictures....

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Any of you ever heard of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo?  Well, after 3+ years of a spinning world, it appears I have been properly diagnosed and treated.  When I first started experiencing vertigo, it was ear issues.  I just assumed that's what it always was.  I'm usually sensitive to my left side and tend to "spin" when I lay on that side, turn my head too quick, etc.  A few months ago I went to the doctor because it was really bothering me and I just figured it was inner ear issues again.  Instead, my ears were perfectly fine and the doctor suggested it was Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.  She referred me to Physical Therapy for it.  Who knew you could get PT for vertigo?!  Let me tell ya though - it has worked!  Granted, the PT was NOT pleasant.  (Is PT really ever pleasant?)  Remember those little hand held games where you tilt it around trying to get the little silver ball in the holes?  That's what the therapist likened the treatment to.  She had to move my head around, make me dizzy, and readjust some things.  So far so good! 

First Field Trip

Friday the girls and I went on our first field trip of the year.  Audrey finished all of her lessons a day early, so we took a trip to Gainesville, GA to INK (Interactive Neighborhood for Kids).  We went last year on Audrey's only kindergarten field trip.  She loved it!  Maddie had not been so this was fun for her.  We actually bought a year family membership and will be able to visit a variety of Children's Museums across the country.  There are some in Atlanta, Knoxville, and Chattanooga that we'll easily be able to go to.  Looking forward to it.  Here are a few pictures from our day:
Serving in the diner.

Playing in the Vet Hospital.  (BTW, turns out we know that little boy's parents. Small world.)

Maddie weighing the dog.

Captain Audrey

Co-Pilot Maddie

Maddie loved digging in the garden.

Milking a cow!

She even added the boots.  :)

Grocery shopping (Mommy is the cashier)

Just her size.

She loves the Salon.

My little actress/model playing in the dress up clothes.

Actress/Cheerleader =)

Week 2 Review

I know, I'm jumping the gun a bit.  The school week isn't over until tomorrow, but we're really finished with the bulk of our stuff.  Tomorrow will be a good review and finishing up of some things.  We've been a little more flexible with our schedule this week.  The days were a little longer than the first, but we threw some extra "recesses" in.  ;)  Maddie starts preschool next week, so this is her last full week at home every day.  The girls have enjoyed playing.  No worries, we have gotten all the essential information in and even added a few things of our own.

Audrey has thoroughly enjoyed The Boxcar Children (ok, mommy has, too), so we jumped a week ahead and finished the whole thing.  She made her own diorama of the boxcar.  I was very proud of her creativity!  We also finished her reading assignments a day early.  She has done very well with her reading.  We've been talking about similes, commas, short a sounds, and double consonants this week.  We finished up with a creative writing assignment about her family.  It's always fun to hear what the kiddos think about their family!  =)

In our history core, we've looked at ancient civilization and Egypt.  We did some virtual tours of the Pyramids, learned how to mummify a person (which she thought was very cool, btw!), and made some Egyptian neck dressings.  Fun stuff!

The kid is going through math quite easily right now. She's a little bored.  So, we just touched on lessons  2-4 and started 5 today.  I have a feeling we'll be moving through to 6-8 next week.  I realize that most of this is review for her for what she already knows.  But, this will give us more time to get into the new stuff more in depth and not worry about not having enough time this year.  I think she's going to be fine.

Handwriting is still a bit of a struggle - an attitude struggle, that is.  I've done less "lessons" in writing and just made the corrections as needed through copywork in other subjects.  I have noticed an improvement already in these past two weeks.  :)

She's still not overly excited about Science, but we did work with the planets a little bit more.  We made our own mnemonic for learning and remembering the order of the planets.  (My Valentine Eats Mommy's Jellybeans Says Uncle Norton.)  We attempted a model clay solar system, but that was a project FAIL.  They looked pretty good, but wouldn't stay on their strings to hang.  Mommy clearly doesn't do well with some of these projects.  We're all suppose to be learning here, right?

We are continuing our reading through Egermeier's Children's Bible Story Book.  I really like it!  Audrey is retaining the information well.  I've found some great supplemental work to go along with it - like coloring sheets, puzzles, quiz sheets, etc. 

Derek started teaching Audrey Tai Chi today.  (Yes, dear, I know that is not the proper spelling, so feel free to comment with the correction.)  ;)  In September, D will be with Audrey on Thursday mornings while I sing and participate in our Women of Worship Bible Study at church.  D agreed to add this to their time together.  I think she enjoys in.

Did I mention we got a dog this week?  Yeppers - she still doesn't officially have a name.  Her original name is LuLu.  Her shelter name is Tootsie.  I don't particularly care for either, but we can't seem to agree on anything else.  ;)  She has enjoyed school with us this week, as well.

That's it for this week's review, though I will leave you with one funny.  Since we finished with the Boxcar Children a week early, we started reading The Secret Garden.  I had been reading to her for a while when she decided she needed to get up and do something.  She says, "Can you pause it?  I'll be right back."  Love that kid!
Math is much easier with a doggie on your lap!

The Boxcar Children Diorama complete with grass, real pine straw beds, Jessie & Violet, a clothesline, waterfall, swimming pool, and fire pit.

Daddy is a great teacher!

Week One Done

Well, we survived our very first week of homeschool!  Yay!  We had our ups and downs, but mostly ups.  I'm learning more about my child and her learning styles.  She is a pretty smart cookie if I do say so myself.  :)  But, she's also pretty darn stubborn when it comes to things she doesn't like..... handwriting.  We'll make it through though.  I did notice that she's singing her handwriting technique songs she's been listening to this week.  Maybe they'll help more than me standing over her telling her over and over how to do it.  :)  I thought I'd share a few things that I have learned this week:

1.  Be flexible!  I heard this over and over at the conferences I went to, but this week I discovered what it truly means.  A pretty little schedule written out neatly in an organized binder looks nice, but that doesn't mean we're going to stick to it exactly!  If she says, "Read me more", than by all means I'm going to keep reading!  If she wants to build more math problems and work through our science block - we'll do extra tomorrow.  :)

2.  Be prepared!  I did a pretty good job this week of being prepared, but one day I spent a little less time and it was the day that was the least productive.  It is important that I know exactly what needs to be done and have everything ready to go.

3.  No TV before school!  One morning I allowed her to watch a cartoon before class so I could get a couple of things done.  Not a good idea.  It immediately gives her an unproductive mind set and it's hard to get her back into the groove.  It's important to start school as soon as possible.  She did a good job sticking to her morning "Busy Bee's" routine.  We just have to jump into class afterward so we don't lose momentum.

4.  It takes time!  I spend a lot more time at night than I thought I would preparing for the next day's lesson.  I'm sure in time I'll have the hang of it and won't have to spend quite as much time preparing.  As for lessons, it takes us about 4 hours a day to get through everything.   Gives us a full afternoon to have fun and spend time together.

5.  Be creative!  Take every opportunity to teach.  It's about making the lessons come to life.  If she finds a bug and wants to know about it - run with it!  Turn it into a lesson and find out as much as possible.  If  something isn't working, do something different.  Teaching her without her knowing it is priceless.  ;)

6.  My kid is cool!  Not that I didn't know that before, but I've really enjoyed spending time with her this week in this capacity.  She's a smart little girl and she really enjoys learning.  I love watching her get excited about learning.  And, I'm grateful for the opportunity to share along beside her and not miss out on her education.

So, that's the wisdom for this week.  I'm sure there will be many more insights and "ah, ha" moments this year.

Happy Copywork =)

New roller paint and rainbows.

Prepping the box for our Solar System activity.

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