Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bi-Monthly Wrap-Up - Dec 16

Sigh . . . apparently I decided to take a blog-break LOL.

Things have been chaotic. . .

For the last couple of years we have been casually house-hunting. We were happy where we are (renting), but figured if the perfect house came along . . . While we were in Florida, an e-mail from our landlord, detailing some changes they were making to our lease agreement made it apparent that we needed to bump up our house hunting.

Before we had left for Florida, a friend had told us that their neighbor was planning to sell his house soon and it might fit our criteria. So, while we were traveling, I e-mailed Penny and asked for more information about her neighbor's house. We went to see it the day after the girls and I got home. It was smaller than we'd hoped to find, but otherwise met our criteria pretty well. After much prayer and discussion, we decided to go for it.

Thus began the whirlwind of discussions with the seller, figuring out all the stuff the realtor would normally do (nice because no realtor fees, a pain because we have to figure stuff out ourselves).  In the midst of it all, our current landlord informed us that we could no longer store stuff in the farm out building "for free" and if it wasn't out in 2 weeks, would have to pay 3+ times the going rate for that size space (keeping in mind that a storage facility space wouldn't have broken windows that let in moisture and "critters" like this space did). I'm still baffled as to how we were "using it for free" when we were told when we were first shown the house that that storage space came with this house, but apparently since it wasn't specifically listed in the lease agreement, it didn't count, I told Rodney that I'm pretty sure the use of the driveway wasn't specified in the lease agreement either, maybe they'll start charging extra for that too . . . SO, we talked to the seller of the new house and arranged to move everything from the storage space into the garage at the new house while we continued to work to set up the inspections, closing, etc. We knew we were taking a "risk" moving stuff in before the inspections and such, but decided if we moved it all into a storage unit or down to my parents' garage we would for SURE have to move everything a second time. So might as well "risk" having to move it all back out of the garage at the new house if the sale falls through.

So now we have inspections scheduled for tomorrow and, assuming that all goes ok, closing is scheduled for the 26th.

Meanwhile, I've been having fun juggling the need to get as much as possible packed, with not knowing for sure WHEN we're moving and needing to continue not only living, but homeschooling, in the meantime. I originally figured I could hand the girls boxes and tell them to pack our books, but then I realized that we USE a LOT of our books . . . and we're NOT going to be able to instantly unpack all of our books (one of the challenges of the new house is going to be figuring out WHERE to have all of our books, the much more open floor plan of the living area is AWESOME but it means I can't stick a bookcase against every wall (more or less) like I have here. Additionally, the house is a cape cod with slanted ceilings upstairs, and upstairs will be the school room (and the girls' bedroom), so while I'm loving the thought of having a school room, the slanted ceilings means I can't line all the walls, floor-to-ceiling with bookcases. . . so anyway . . . it will all work out, but it meant I had to sit down and schedule out our curriculum more than I normally do, for a couple months and make sure to pull out the books we'd need during that time. So for most of the books, I just packed them and pulled out what I needed as I went. . . and for so many other things, it's been the same . . . Add in that this house is entirely too small to have TOO many boxes stacked around, and it's been a challenge. HOPEFULLY all will go well with the inspections tomorrow so we'll know abit more, and can for sure put more stuff in the garage and get REALLY serious about packing up EVERYTHING. . .

THANKFULLY, all of this happened during the "break" in reviewing for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I love, love, love reviewing for them, but am so thankful that we were able to just focus on our bare minimum schooling during this chaos. So what HAVE we been doing for school during all of this?

Bible:  In November we continued using Polished Cornerstones for morning Bible time. Starting the first Sunday in December, we began using Bartholomew's Passage for Advent. Last year we read Jotham's Journey and LOVED it! I didn't tell the girls that there were MORE books in the series, so they woke up the first morning of Advent this year to find the Advent candles set up (though I just used candle holders I already have, set in a circle, since the advent wreath is packed in the Christmas boxes that were NOT unpacked this year, sigh . . . ) and the new book sitting on the table waiting for them (shhhh . . . don't tell them I already have Tabitha's Travels for next year, hee hee), we are loving this one just as much! The biggest complaint is that they want to just read the whole story instead of reading a few pages per day LOL.

Evening Bible: The girls decided they want to learn Hebrew so, at least for the moment, we are using Read Hebrew Today to start learning Hebrew during our evening Bible time. For Hanukkah (this past week), we set it aside for a few days and have been reading Alexandra's Scroll which tells the story of the origins of Hanukkah.

History: We've continued with the Civil War - most days we manage to find time for read alouds, though as I've packed our books, I've found some civil war books hidden on the shelves so some days I just tell the girls to each choose one of those to read on their own while I pack LOL. We also finished listening to With Lee in Virginia by G.A. Henty, while in the car.

Math: This is new LOL.  Last fall I started thinking ahead to what we should use to "fill in the gaps" for the girls' math education as they are getting older. I am 100% sold on the idea of delaying formal math until children are older and am so glad we did that, but they are getting older and I like to plan things to death, so I started thinking about it, and in my research, I came across Life of Fred, the girls and I talked about it, looked at the sample problems, and it seemed like a good option for them. BUT at that point, I had said we would start through the elementary books starting next fall. And then, I was ordering something from a site that had free shipping if you spent x amount, and they carried the Life of Fred books, and ordering the first book would get me up to free shipping, so I went ahead and ordered it, so we'd have it when we needed it. And then all of the above mess with housing happened and I had very little time to devote to fun school stuff, but didn't want the girls to just sit and watch tv all day, or even spend all day packing and such, though they've done plenty of helping with that. . . so I went ahead and handed them the first book, showed them how to use it, and turned them lose with it. They LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! I have to tell them "you need to stop doing math" every day! Sassy (as usual, she works "faster", MiniMe is more thorough and methodical) was done the first book, begging for more within about 2 weeks. So I ordered the 2nd book, and told her it better last her until we move. But they didn't listen (MiniMe is running about 1 day slower than Sassy), so a couple weeks ago I went ahead and ordered several more so they can just keep working through them at their pace. . .

Science: We are listening to the Jonathan Park Adventures again in the car.

Language arts: They get this through reading for history, writing for fun, writing out the required "homework" for math, etc. As an added writing bonus for Hanukkah, our "Hanukkah Fairies" brought along a notebook this year. Each night they left the girls' a short message and finished up with a question for the girls to answer, so the girls got abit of extra writing practice in each day of Hanukkah answering the fairies' questions.

The chaos of the last while has meant we haven't really kept up with Little Bit's "Letter of the Week", but that's not all bad, since we took letter "W" with us on the Florida trip, so only had 3 weeks left. We've skipped some weeks, and spread things out, but we have worked through X and Y, and will probably spread out "Z" over the rest of the year. Then, depending how the timing of hte actual move goes, we may skip the first couple weeks of January, but hopefully by mid-January at the latest, we will start in with the same Waldorf preschool curriculum that the big girls started at this age. I'm excited to get back into it, it was a fun, program and I think not only will Little Bit enjoy it, but the big girls will have fun participating again as well :)

So that's what's been going on around here. .  . hopefully I can remember to update abit more regularly from here on out . . .

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