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Summer life…

This is Our July, while in the Middle of Moving…

My family spent 2 entire weeks prior to the 4th of July to decorate our church for VBS, along with many other amazing volunteers.

Our theme was Journey Off the Map,
so we went with a woodsy wilderness style.

My classroom ideas:

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Our sanctuary;
building a waterfall was a lot of work…

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My four yr old class was a busy but fun group!
Thank God (literally) that I had such fabulous helpers!
(I’d be the red-headed lady in the back).

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PACKING BEGINS

Yep, after VBS week, we began packing… books!

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and then I’d take breaks to enjoy the small moments of summer~

like playing outside…

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enjoying lunch dates…

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join a mom’s Bible study where kids are welcome…

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prep gifts for Nick’s 22 birthday…

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watched U.S.A. lose against Jamaica for the Gold Cup…

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and had friends over for a tea party…

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where the girl’s made fresh peach pie!  Mmmm….

Did I mention that I have been packing books?
Lots and lots and lots of books.  oh my!

We are fortunate enough to be able to move all said boxes of books to our new house earlier than the planned move in date.  So grateful!  It took 2 full truck loads of just the books (followed by all the bookcases) to move them all.  I quickly (9 hours last Saturday) unpacked half of them.  So now we have extra boxes to begin packing the rest of the house!  Ha!

Bonus event:
First night we moved boxes, we had neighbors introduce themselves.
A mom with her 13 yr old daughter and 15 yr old son.
The daughter had picked blueberries from our new house to make us these…

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Blueberry Muffins!  How lovely is that?!

In my spare time, I am planning out our preschool lessons for the year, deciding on our homeschool routine, creating a chore schedule, organizing our (new) school room, making a monthly meal plan, an organizing a preschool co op to join me on Tues and Thurs.    I am very excited to get settled in our new house to let the fun begin…  hopefully in about 2 weeks!  ~feeling blessed~ woo hoo!

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Traveling down the narrow road once again…

We like our tiny town.  It’s peaceful.

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Our view up the hill…

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on our road…

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and what our view is at the bottom of the hill.

Every time we go down our hill we get to view the beautiful Columbia River.

Our backyard is the woods

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where we enjoy so much of nature.

However, we still spend much of our time in our old small town;
co ops, dance lessons, church, etc..
Honestly, I travel to the small town pretty much twice a day.
It’s close enough to do that, but far away enough that it’s getting old.

So we prayed. 
We prayed that either we get plugged into our wee li’l community,
or seriously think about moving back to our small town again.

And we are moving.
A decision handed to us by God.
We will move, not to the small town we are originally from,
but it’s neighboring town between tiny town and small town.
I guess we will call it the in-between town (?).

We can continue to serve at our church.
Play sports, take lessons, and participate in community events.

The house is in a friendly neighborhood,
with great neighbors, some of whom we already know.
Our backyard is pretty big and backs up to some woods.
The house is beautiful and fits all of our needs.

Along with the move, comes another big decision.

CHILDCARE!

Oh, I am so excited for the opportunity to add some little people to my days again.  I have done childcare before for many years, and although, officially, I quite my business back in 2008, I really haven’t ever quit being with kids.  I still teach preschool ages for wednesday night church and teacher assistant for Sunday school, plus I’ve taught the preschool ages at co op for the past 3 yrs.  It just is my calling really.  I just love them.  Little people are such a treasure.

So we prayed, and with the move comes the opportunity to choose to do childcare again.  We will be in a great location.  So now I am praying for the child(ren) that may come my way, that we can love on the child and bless the parents all at the same time.   Working parents is tough stuff, and knowing your child(ren) are taking care of is so important.

What about homeschooling?  Is anyone wondering that?  We will still homeschool.
Honestly, with us down to only 3 homeschoolers this upcoming year,
and with them all having a self-led learning style, it will fit our days just fine.
In actuality, I homeschooled when I did childcare before.  The day routines flow smoothly.
I love that my own kids love to participate with the littles.
Katie (13) will help with crafts
Andrew (10) will help with story time.
and Bryson (7) will help with floor time (leggos, lincoln logs, cars, bristle blocks, etc).

I’m pretty much loving these ch-ch-ch-changes! 

The Days of May

Child #3 turned 18-
yes, no longer a child in reality, but still my child.

Some outdoor fun:

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Child #6 turns 7-
“the baby” who obviously is no longer a baby.

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and frankly, Bryson (7) is TJ’s mini-me!

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Then there was Mother’s Day…

me and my boys!

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as we went to Grandma M’s place to visit her!

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I’m pretty sure she enjoyed her time with us.

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Next came homeschool State testing,
which officially wraps up our school year for 2012-2015.

The results excelled some of my expectations, and was typical for some.
It definitely showed that time, consistency, and individual attention was effective for my Aspie child.
Unlike the previous 12 yrs of testing, I opted to test the kids additionally in Social Studies and Sciences.  I was curious as to what the results might be, with the awareness that we have not truly had any formal lessons beyond interest-led topics and good quality books (not text books).  They all scored average in Social Studies (which was not history based much to my surprise) and excelled in the sciences.  Hmmm, I guess self-led learning is efficient!  *love it!*

So with all this, comes the announcement of TJ’s graduation!
Transcripts, a diploma, and some family fun!

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* May was actually an emotional roller coaster of events;
from a recent loss of a beloved teen,
to reflecting previous losses of loved ones in this same month (3 to be exact),
to celebrating life and accomplishments and embracing joys in the moments…
I took time off from here (the blog) to regroup and regain a sense of normality.
I am well rested, reestablishing goals, and looking forward to a relaxing summer!

~simply grateful

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Our 6 week study on Human Anatomy.

Week 1:  Skeletal System

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We learned about the major bones and their overall purpose and had the “quiz” via stick it notes, followed up with a fun snack.

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Week 2:  The Muscular System

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Hopscotch, jumping jacks, sweeping, talking/eating, push ups, stair climbs, and running laps in our woods!!!
I think their muscles have a good idea of the lesson at hand. Ha ha!

Week 3:  The Respiratory System

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We used our lungs to paint lungs (aka straw painting);
played with balloons, bubbles, and ran in place… all ways to use their lungs.

Week 4:  The Digestive System

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Playdough intestines, a snack lesson on food traveling through the intestines, and labeling all the parts for an art assignment.

Week 5:  The Heart

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Learned all about how the heart pumps the blood as well as created our own “pumping” heart beat.  Fun stuff!

Week 6:  The Brain

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It was interesting to explore what parts of the brains functioned what area of our lives.
We had limited activities for this one, but a lot of discussions none-the-less.

Other fun resources:

Children’s Human Body Encyclopedia

Magic School Bus Flexes its Muscles  (Season 2, Episode 2) –
covers bones, muscles, joints, and tendons

Magic School Bus Works Out (Season 3, Episode 9)-
all about lungs

Magic School Bus For Lunch (Season 1, Episode 2)-
digestive system

Magic School Bus Goes Cellular (Season 4, Episode 5)

and of course Pinterest!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139: 14-18

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Mother’s Day…

a bit of a fog today.  A few days ago we lost a sweet young friend in a tragic car accident.
One of my preschoolers back in the day, now 17 and full of dreams… now smashed hopes.
Not really, for eternally, she is with Jesus… yet it is still painful.
and her family, her parents, her sisters, her brother, her boyfriend… all in my prayers.
No words really…   She had a heart like Jesus…
“Thank you Jesus for the joy you allowed her to spread in our lives and in our community…
may we continue to pay it forward in Your name”…

One thing about loss is that you appreciate what you have…

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My boys are good to me, and I am thankful for the joy each one brings to my heart.

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The girls add a sweetness that sprinkles my life with happiness.

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I love how we enjoy doing things as a family…
it’s a priceless gift really…

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one that adds grace to our days, love in our hearts, and gentleness in our attitudes.

Happy Mother’s Day all my lovely friends.
This day is a celebration to many, and yet difficult for others;
loss, broken relationships, heartbreaks of many kinds…
but there is still JOY because YOU were born! Carry on and be glorious…

“In the same way, let your light so shine before others,
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. ”
Matthew 5:16 –

sort of…

It’s coming to a close…

our School Year AND a Homeschool Grad

I haven’t had a chance to post much this past month on our schooling because, well, I am preparing for another homeschool graduate!

I have had a public school graduate (2007)
and a public school switched to homeschool (in 4th grade) graduate (2011)
and now my next graduate will be my first child who has mainly homeschooled through the whole process.

It’s been an amazing process… all 3 of them!

Here is my crazy homeschool crew this year:

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TJ, my senior student, has been my responsible, reliable, right hand man.
I have embraced and enjoyed my days with this child of mine.
No longer really a child but a man equipped to face the world.

We technically have 4 weeks of homeschool left.
I have kept things simple; read, write, do some math.
Why?  Well, because that is the core of why we do the Robinson Curriculum,
to keep our foundation strong when life ebbs and flows.
The rushing activities of preparing to wrap things up for my homeschooler
allows for us to also do some “free range” playing, in my presence of course.

Our Back Yard~ yes, it is the woods.

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The Park

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The River

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They play, and explore, and build relationships…
that will last a life time.

Meanwhile, I am wrapping up final lessons for said senior, creating his transcripts, planning his graduation activities, guiding him on building a resume, praying alongside him on selecting his future job of choice, and honestly, absolutely treasuring these last few weeks of spending my days with him.  The calm…caring…confident…character that he is.

It’s a blessed journey to be a homeschooler!

 Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

 

Year round homeschooling or traditional school schedule?
Do we take summers off?
Do we follow the public school calendar?

These are the questions I am frequently asked.
My lovely friend Nicole at Journey to Excellence recently shared her school schedule,
so I thought it was a good time to share ours also.

Our Basic Outline

9 weeks on, 2 weeks off
4 quarters quarters per year.
We grade formally per every 2 quarters (each semester).

We do not follow the public school calendar.
We did for many, many years, because frankly, my oldest son went to public school and it was easiest.  But then he graduated and life became much more flexible!

Our school year begins the first week in August. 
It’s hot, the kids are beginning to get antsy, and honestly, we simply enjoy finishing school in early May when our public school friends are still in school.  We take advantage of some fun field trips without things becoming crowded yet.

Another notable difference is that we do not take off ALL the random holidays that public school chooses to.  Instead, we often choose to study specifically on the topic, such as Veterans Day, MLK Jr Day, Presidents Day, and so on…. we do however take Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years off.

June and Julysummer vacation or a sunny education? 
Technically, we consider these two month to be our summer vacation,
but let’s face it, once you get in the flow of homeschooling,
learning never stops.
Summer is when you pull out all the fun topics you just didn’t seem to get to during the school year.
It is also a time to really explore some self-led interests with more freedom!

Our summer (2015) will include
Abacus math, more science exploration, and an emphasis on our foreign language interests…
as well as park days, beach time, hikes, and lots and lots of play time!

How does your family enjoy summer?
Do you have the usual school schedule?

 

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

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