Thursday, February 27, 2014

U is for Unschooling

When my husband and I first considered homeschooling (when the twins were toddlers), I honestly thought the only way to homeschool was to buy textbooks and workbooks and sit at the kitchen table (or at cute desks you set up in another room of your house) and "do school".  Based on questions I often get from people when we're out and about, I wasn't alone in that assumption.

Thankfully, as I began to research and plan, I realized there is a whole spectrum of homeschooling available. On one end of the spectrum is school at home. At the other end of the spectrum is radical unschooling. Most homeschoolers fall somewhere in the middle. I don't consider us to be unschoolers, per se. I consider us to be eclectic (pulling pieces from a variety of approaches), leaning toward unschooling. But, since this week's letter is U, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some of the unschooling pieces of our homeschooling journey.

Unschooling probably has more different definitions as there are unschoolers. Each unschooling family has their own definition, and many other people have, often inaccurate, definitions as well. The most common, not-usually-accurate, definition is that unschoolers "let their kids do whatever they want . . . the kids play video games all day and don't learn anything". defines unschooling as a method of homeschooling that puts the desire, drive, motive and responsibility for life - this thing we call learning, or education - in the hands of the learner.

Interestingly, based on that definition, we most definitely ARE unschoolers. But, for the purposes of this post I wanted to tell you about a few times when their learning has been at it's most spontaneous.

Last winter, we moved. It was rather chaotic, with some major renovation projects that had to happen as soon as we moved in, on top of unpacking and getting settled. During that time, the most I could do for "school time" was to make sure we had something educational in the CD player in the car whenever we drove somewhere. I figured they were helping Papa with renovations, so that was adding in at least a little extra school, and that would have to do for the time being.  But they needed SOMETHING to do, so they decided to start a newspaper . . . they learned creative writing, I occasionally, pointed out spelling and grammar issues, and then, when I showed Lexie how to do the newspaper on the computer, she learned formatting in a word processor (and more spelling and grammar since those little red wavy lines made her more aware). They decided to "sell subscriptions" of the paper to their grandparents, and Daddy and I, so that added in discussions on marketing, pricing, etc. It turned a "lull" in our school into an EXTREMELY educational phase, all at their own instigation.

More recently Ashlyn came and asked to borrow the iPad one day. I didn't think much of it, until she came
down awhile later with a detailed diagram of the heart! At the beginning of the year, I mentioned to her that I'd found an online site with monthly art journal prompts, and asked if she'd be interested in doing that for 2014. She was, so at the beginning of the month I print out that month's prompts and hand them to her. One of February's prompts was to research and draw a diagram of the heart, and my child, the one who has had complete melt-downs when I suggest she look a word up in the dictionary instead of me telling her what it means, got the iPad, found videos and diagrams of the heart, and drew her diagram. Then, since it coincided with dh's visit to the cardiologist, the diagram led to a discussion about what the cardiologist had said, which sent her back, doing more research, and making her diagram more detailed and then explaining to Daddy exactly what was happening with his heart. So a "fun" art journal, led to a science lesson AND lesson in how to research information, a skill she has completely balked at up to this point :)

Those are some of the "big" unschooling episodes, but there are so many little ones in everyday life . . . as we've been learning about fractions in math, the girls roll their eyes at how EASY it is to multiply and divide fractions, because they've been doing it for years, when we double, or halve recipes while cooking . . . reading over my shoulder when I'm trying to hurry to finish a blog post about unschooling leads to a discussion about when/how/why to use those 3 dots . . . and the list goes on.

Whether or not you'd ever consider unschooling as your homeschool method of choice, I encourage you to look for those little everyday moments and encourage them! You never know what your child might learn, when given the chance to follow their own interests.

This post is part of Blogging Through the Alphabet on

Monday, February 24, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: KinderBach

Kinderbach Review
It feels like forEVER since I wrote a review, but the new review year is in full swing, and it's already time to write my first review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew in 2014! It's always easier to write reviews when we absolutely love the product, and this first review is very much an old favorite! In fact, this is our 4th time reviewing KinderBach! You can find our other reviews in the Reviews tab, above.

We reviewed The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership With Teacher Corner. These online video lessons are designed to introduce young children, age 3-7, to piano, and the idea of reading music.  The lessons are short (5 minutes, give-or-take) videos. Most days include a printable activity that is explained during the video. The program is set up to have 4 lessons per week, and includes 60 weeks.  The Teacher Corner is new (since we last reviewed this, or at least, it wasn't included in our subscription last time). It is designed for a teacher to use to teach the basic KinderBach lessons to a group of children and includes games, songs (mp3s) and printables, but expects the teacher to do the talking and singing that the "at home" section provides via video. This would be great for a day-care or co-op group. The Teachers Corner also includes a story book, song books and mp3 files (this is one example), and coloring books (this is one of them).

The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership With Teacher Corner is currently $95.88 for a one year subscription. Normal price is $130 for one year. Other price options, DVDs, an iPad app, etc are also available.

Since it had been quite awhile since Little Bit and I had reviewed this, we started back over at the beginning.

As I'd found to be true in the past, the lessons are usually 'too short" for Little Bit, and most days that she wanted to do KinderBach, we went through several lessons. Despite that fact, one of the things I LOVE about KinderBach is their short lessons. Yes, most of the time, my child wants to "keep going", but I'd much rather have it set up like it is, than to have the lessons be too long for a young child's attention span and have it feel "burdensome" to them.

The lessons use fun characters, games and songs to teach children where to find certain notes on the piano, and also how to count the different notes (with the little boy, Frisco "walking" to represent a quarter note - clapped while saying "walk", and "standing" to represent half notes - clapped while saying "stand-ing", etc), which fingers to use etc.

Little Bit is a big fan of "Dodi" the donkey (the first character we meet first. Dodi's house is the 2 black keys) and overall enjoys this program.  I noticed this time through that she sometimes got frustrated with the repetition . . . perhaps more of an issue because, while she doesn't REMEMBER doing these lessons before (though she DOES remember Dodi), she may pick it up more quickly since we went through the first few weeks of lessons twice when she was younger.

This time through she was much more interested in the activity pages, and also liked the printable coloring books that we received as part of our subscription. I couldn't resist snapping a picture of one of the coloring pages where she used lots of colors and stayed in the lines quite well, in my (rather biased) opinion, for a 4 year old :)

As I mentioned above, I like that the lessons are kept short, in keeping with the attention span of young children. Another thing I love is how quick and easy it is to "teach". When you pull up the video there's a link to print that day's printables, if any, or you can download a .pdf with several weeks' printables bundled, so that you can print a bunch at once. There's a short intro video at the beginning of each week to let you know what you'll need that week. I do wish, that, in addition to the video, it also provided a list, on the site, that I could glance at to see what supplies were needed.

I was also thrilled to find that we can watch the videos on the iPad. That made it easy to bring the iPad to the piano with us, when the lesson asked us to play a beat on the piano. It also meant that, on a day when I was busy with other things on the computer, I could ask one of the big girls to help Little Bit with "Dodi" on the iPad while I kept using the computer :) I had hoped to also be able to "cast" the videos onto the TV using our Chromecast device, but because the videos open in a pop-up window, I couldn't figure out a way to make that work.

All in all, if you're looking for a not too intense, way to introduce piano to your preschoolers, this is a great way to do it! You can sign up here, for free sessions, to make sure it's a good fit for your family.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 22

 I'll start this week's post with a few pictures from last week. I still haven't remembered to take pictures of the girls' closet (probably because most of my blogging is done when they're sleeping). But I did take a couple pictures of the pantry counter. I discovered that it's almost impossible to get pictures because it's such a narrow room, I can't get the camera back far enough to take a picture of the whole space, but here are a couple pictures at least.

This shows part of the counter, with appliances and related stuff, on top. Because the counter is high enough to accommodate the folding chairs, it left space above the cabinet that the previous owners left. So that creates a small "shelf" perfect for my stoneware muffin pans and the box of accessories for the food processor :) We also decided to set the cabinet a few inches away from the wall to make that shelf wider, and give room between the cabinet and the wall for trays and such.

This picture kind of shows the space for the folding chairs. The bags hanging on the left side of the picture are hanging from the wire shelving and hold garlic and onions :) 

The other project from last week, that I forgot to mention, was curtains in the living room. Last winter, I realized that it would be a good idea to have insulated curtains for the living room, but it was never a priority during the summer, then winter hit with a vengeance . The best I could do, with my complete lack of "building" skills, was to take some down comforters, and use large safety pins to hang them from hooks that were already on the top of the window. I could definitely tell the difference it made, but it wasn't very user-friendly, and in time, the safety pins bent and didn't work anymore. 

So, when my parents were here, shopping for and installing insulated curtains, was high on my list. So, when the snow allowed, mom and I went shopping :) Finally, we found exactly what I wanted (aqua-ish curtains) at a great price, on a clearance rack, BUT there was only one pair. I needed one pair for the big front window and, at the bare minimum, one additional panel for the front door (yes, it's weird to hang a curtain over the front door, but we usually use the back door and when I sit in that blue recliner I can feel the wind blowing through the cracks around the front door. It occurred to me that I could hang a curtain over it, using a long enough, high enough, curtain rod that, when the door is used, the curtain can be completely out of the way of the door). I did have a curtain on the smaller window behind the sofa that would have worked. Then, we found an identical pair, but in a grayish taupe color and decided it would work to use that color on the door and small window. So we had windows.  At another store, we found the throw and pillow that perfectly pulled together all the colors, woo-hoo!!! Now I want to find more blankets in coordinating colors to use in the blanket  basket instead of the hodge-podge I have in there currently, but at least we have insulated curtains up.  We also got insulated curtains for the girls' room and the school room (but again, I keep forgetting to take pictures.

While we didn't get much new snow this week, the old snow is still very much there, and too deep and icy to be worth playing in, so we spent our week indoors. For art one day, Little Bit made a "harp"/"guitar" from a tissue box and some rubber bands, and promptly started putting on "shows". She and Lexie spent quite some time "rehearsing" her show, in which she sang along with several "Sherrif Callie" (a Disney Jr tv show) songs, before calling Ashlyn and I, and several dolls, to be the audience. I videoed part of it, though it was pretty hard to keep up with her LOL. Now to see if I can figure out how to post it here. . . 

After her "show", she was available for photos, and Ashlyn humored her :) This also shows the curtain on the front door :) AND Ashlyn is wearing the blouse that she and Mama made :)
We've been enjoying learning about ancient history (after much internal debate, I've decided to use pieces of several curriculum options and essentially write my own curriculum. My hope is to make it available to others once we have worked through it and caught any major kinks. . . we shall see . . .).  This week we were primarily talking about Ancient Egypt, but we touched on other ancient writing forms as well, and, since all that darn snow makes it pretty hard to go out and gather reeds to make papyrus, we contented ourselves with trying our hand at cuneiform on clay "tablets". 

The big girls were very happy to be able to go to music lessons this week. We missed last week because of the snow, and in the meantime, while ordering Ashlyn's Book 2, I'd ordered some theory books, and books for reading music notes, for both of them (at their teacher's request), so they were excited to discuss these new books with her.  As an added bonus, Miss Pat had Little Bit "help" Ashlyn by playing the accompaniment part (just the same note at a constant rhythm) on one of her songs :) 

That afternoon, after stopping by the church to make sure the Sabbath School room was set up, we went to a small, nearby museum. They have an exhibit on ancient Egypt, which the big girls enjoyed, and Little Bit endured, thanks to some hands-on activities that were scattered through the exhibit, and then we headed upstairs to the traveling exhibit area, which currently has a Dora and Deigo exhibit. At first I wasn't sure she liked it, but finally she started to get into it, and wanted to stay longer when it was time to go. I assured her that we can stop by again while that exhibit is there. So that might become a regular part of our music lesson day for a few weeks, since that's the day that we are typically in that part of town :) 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

T is for Technology

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Technology! Can't live with it, can't live without it! Or something like that . . . I definitely have a love-hate relationship with technology! Without a doubt, our family would have to make some rather major changes to how we homeschool if it weren't for technology. I am thankful beyond measure, to be able to "google it" when my kids ask me a question I don't know the answer to. And, as they get older, they are learning to look things up on their own. Could they do that without technology? Sure, we could go to the library and hunt down the information, but technology makes it so much easier!

And now, in no particular order, here are some of the ways we use technology in our homeschool:

Lesson Planning:
From the very beginning, many of our "curriculum" choices have been based on free, online curriculum options often adapt them, but it's a great, easy, starting point.

  • We used this Preschool Curriculum when Lexie and Ashlyn were 4, and now we've been using it again with Little Bit.
  • We used this American History Curriculum from Guest Hollow when the twins were 5, and again, when they were 8.
  • Guest Hollow has many other free curriculum options here.
  • We are currently loving using Bible Road Trip, for Bible.

Once I have a general idea WHAT we'll be studying, I also use the computer to figure out how it all works together. There are numerous computer programs for available, and I've tried a couple of them, and looked into several others. Many people use, and love them, but they tend to not work well for our eclectic, year-round, travel-heavy approach, so after much trial and error, I've settled on Evernote (Exactly how I lesson plan in Evernote is a post of it's own, that I hope to write soon).

Record Keeping:
We live in one of the 5 "hardest" states to homeschool in, meaning we have lots of "hoops" to jump through. Without technology, I can't imagine creating the forms that I'm required to turn in, or maintaining the detailed records I'm required to maintain. I use a combination of Evernote and Google Drive, for this.

The Library:
Obviously libraries have been around for alot longer than computers and smart phones, but I am extremely thankful for the technology that allows me to reserve books from all over the county (or country if I use inner-library loan) from the comfort of my living room, and pick them all up at one location!

My Smartphone:
15+ years ago I remember wishing there was a way to carry my DayTimer, cell phone, and a book to read, all in one small device. Today, I have that, plus e-mail, and the entire internet, thanks to my much-loved smart phone! For homeschool purposes, it means I can answer those random "google it" questions wherever we are. It makes it easier for me to maintain shopping lists (I can type them up on the computer while I'm lesson planning, and access them on my phone when I'm at the store). And, fun educational games can help keep Little Bit occupied when we're out and about, or, once in a great while, at home.

Netflix on Demand:
While, much to my frustration, it seems that Netflix has removed many great educational videos in the last year or so, it's still a wonderful resource for videos on history, science, Bible, and whatever else we might be interested in.

I LOVE this!!! Chromecast is a handy dandy little do-dad that plugs into the tv and lets me "cast" all kinds of things from my computer, phone, or iPad onto our tv screen. This means that when I find an online video that goes along with what we're studying, we don't all have to cluster around my computer screen to watch it. I especially appreciated it last year when we reviewed an online sewing curriculum, and I could cast the video lessons onto the tv for Lexie and Ashlyn to watch.  My one complaint is that I haven't found a way to cast things that open in a pop-up window, so some of the online resources I'd hoped to be able to use this with, haven't worked. But still, this little piece of technology is WONDERFUL!

My iPad:
While I certainly COULD homeschool without an iPad, and did for several years. I SOOO love having it! I use it daily (and missed it IMMENSELY when I accidentally left it at a friend's house and was without it for a few days). On an average day, in addition to accessing the overall lesson plan, I use it to, review memory verses with Lexie and Ashlyn. Read the Bible chapters for Bible Road Trip, and access the day's discussion questions. I have all my poems and songs for circle time with the little ones, on my iPad, and built into that list is a link to the "background music" that I play while they do their calendar books (music playing helps them remember that it's not time for talking).  Depending on what we're reading for history, bedtime, etc. If the book is online, I generally read it on my iPad, using Kindle or a .pdf reader. And, of course, Little Bit loves to play educational games on the iPad when I don't need it for other things.

I don't actually own a Kindle, but I still love the whole Kindle concept! Kindle has free apps for computers, tablets, and smartphones, and I have the app on all 3! There are lots of free books for Kindle, some available all the time, others only for a limited time. Over time I've amassed a large Kindle "library" that we use often for school or just for fun reading. Also, when we need a book that isn't available from the library, I include Kindle in my price comparisons, and often will purchase the Kindle book instead of a "real" book. It often costs less, there are no shipping costs, and is one less book to add to my already overflowing bookshelves.

iPod Touch:
A couple years ago, Lexie and Ashlyn each got a used iPod Touch for their birthday. Essentially this is a smart phone minus the phone :) and it has been a great option for them! While they prefer "real books" they CAN read books on the Kindle app. They can play educational games from Sudoku, to games that let them set up and "run" a pet shop or other store, to angry birds (yes, it is educational! You have to figure out the exact angle to shoot the bird at to get it to land where you want, that's math folks!). They can "google" things (with permission).  Ashlyn recently wanted to know how a heart works, she googled, and found diagrams and videos explaining it all and, by the end of the day, was explaining to Daddy exactly how his heart works.

Last, but definitely NOT least . . .
 My Laptop:
Much as I love my iPad and smartphone, my laptop is still the thing that ties all the other technology together! My kids often complain that I'm "always" on the computer, which is a rather big exaggeration but I DO spent alot of time with this little device on my lap. All those things I mentioned above, like lesson planning and reserving library books . . . not to mention blogging, and shopping, yup, my laptop is pretty important :)

And those are just some of the ways that technology helps us homeschool!

Visit to see other Blogging Through the Alphabet posts.

Visit The Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog, on Tuesday, to see what other members of the crew have to say about technology in your homeschool.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 16

 Snow!!! That pretty much summarizes our ENTIRE week . . .

Sunday was Ashlyn's end-of-book 1 piano recital. The good news was, that day's snow held off and didn't come until AFTER her recital. The bad news was, due to snow or other commitments, most of the people we invited couldn't come. But she was ok with that, since she's not a fan of having an audience anyway.  I love that, at least in this area, she has a true, natural, servant's heart. When her teacher pointed out that performing is one reason to learn to play piano, she responded that she wants to be able to play in Sabbath School and things, accompanying others, not as the "star" :).  Anyway . . . Suzuki method, or at least her teacher, requires that, at the end of book 1, they play ALL the songs in book 1, and someone wrote a "story" that incorporates all the song titles. So, Lexie read the story and Ashlyn played the songs, but then, at the end, Lexie joined Ashlyn and played a couple of the simpler songs with her (which also required Ashlyn to transpose the songs into the correct key for violin).

And, pretty much as soon as the recital was over, that day's snow started. That night, when I walked by our bedroom, the streetlight was shining through the icicles that were hanging from the porch roof. I couldn't get a great picture, but the no-flash picture, other than turning them green, didn't turn out horrible (and as evidence of what kind of SNOWY week we had, now, a full week later, they're STILL there!).

My parents came up for the recital and stayed to get projects done.

Mama worked with Lexie and Ashlyn on various sewing projects, including finishing a couple dresses for Lexie, that were in progress last time we were at their house. I love how this one turned out! We'd gotten a plain red long-sleeve t-shirt at Goodwill, and then found the "wild" fabric on the clearance table at the fabric store. When my aunt saw them starting to lay it out, she suggested ric rac on the shirt to tie it together, and it turned out PERFECTLY. Lexie LOVES it and it mirrors her "loud" personality perfectly.

Papa spent his time getting lots of inside projects done around here. The week before he, with the girls' "help" had painted their closet pink. this week, he continued on that project by painting the shelves for said closet, purple. And getting them installed. Now the girls have a wonderfully more user-friendly place to store all their treasures (they have a separate closet for clothes). Pictures of this, and the other projects will come later, because I'm too lazy to go take pictures right now.

Another project that I'm THRILLED to have done is a counter in my pantry.  The pantry is a rather odd space that used to be a bathroom, but then had space "stolen" from it during a kitchen renovation (before we got the house).  The result is that it's narrow when you first walk in, and then opens up bigger once you're inside. The previous owners had set a spare cabinet in there, and at that point there was also a laundry sink in that space, but with the kitchen and bathroom on either side of that room, and laundry in the basement, I didn't need a sink there, so Dad took that out early on. I'd laid a large cutting board across teh cabinet and had my wheat grinder sitting on it, and LOVED not having to get it out, OR have the noise in the kitchen (though it's not as noisy as most) when I grind grain, so that was what finally helped me decide what I wanted to do with that space. Dad put a counter top across the whole length of the space, but raised it high enough that the folding chairs (we use a drop-leaf table, since there's no good spot for a table in this house, so when not in use, the chairs need a "home") can store under it, next to the cabinet. Now I just need to find a power strip (I'm sure I have one, just have to find it) and I can have ALL my small appliances, accessible and ready to use, without taking up valuable kitchen space. Woo-hoo!!!

Mom and Dad headed home Wednesday afternoon to avoid the . . . MORE snow (like a foot of it!) that came on Thursday, meaning no music lessons for the girls, but they did have fun playing in it on Friday (it snowed ALL DAY Thursday) and made some rather impressive snowmen :)

And we wrapped up the week with MORE SNOW all day Sabbath. There wasn't much accumulation, but it snowed all day long. Made for a very pretty day to snuggle up inside together :)

We don't do much for Valentines, but Mama gave Little Bit some stickers, which she had great fun sticking ALL OVER Daddy (after covering him with every single blanket in our living room blanket basket! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 9

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Snow, snow, GO AWAY!!! Sigh . . . yes, once again, our week was dominated by snow . . .

Sunday was, of course, the Super Bowl, which, quite frankly, none of us cared much about, but it was a good excuse to order pizza and have soda, as a treat and see if the commercials were amazing (the ones I saw weren't).

Monday we got our biggest snow, so far. A good 10+ inches! But more than the quantity, the exciting thing, for the girls, was that the temperature was hovering just below freezing so it wasn't too bitterly cold to be outside AND the snow was packable. They spent a good part of Monday, and some of Tuesday, building ice caves, although of course, being girls, they called them Princess palaces or somesuch LOL.  Conveniently, their chosen site was right outside the bathroom window, so I was able to snap some fun pictures from the warmth of the house :)

My favorite LOL

Needless to say, there was lots of INDOOR time as well (especially after we got a layer of ICE on Wednesday, making the snow alot less fun). Lexie spent that time, designing her own Indian (as in, from India) costume out of playsilks over her colonial shift :) 

 And the closeup of the "jewelry" . . . safety pins and beads :) She was pretty proud of herself :)

This was a week of new curriculum too . ..  which is kind of odd, in February, but that's the beauty of schooling year round, we start things whenever it works for us . . .

History:  After spending the past 3 years on American History, this week we jumped WAY back in time and started Ancient History.  I started with this curriculum, but after using it for a few days, decided it just wasn't giving the detailed tie-ins between secular and biblical history that I really want to be a focal point in studying Ancient History, so I also got Truthquest Beginnings. This is the curriculum we've used for American History the past 2 years, so I knew the author gives lots of great commentary, and also lists tons of resources. I'm finding that, not surprisingly, because many of these earliest ancient history resources are focusing on Bible stories, the resources listed, aren't as likely to be in our library, but the plus-side of that is, we can move more quickly if we're not trying to read quite so many books on each topic LOL.  For this first year, we're combining both curriculum, since I have them both, and I like some aspects of each. . .

We also finished up our bedtime Bible study, on Proverbs 31, and were just starting to discuss what we'd do next, when I decided to get the above mentioned, Truthquest. Since this first year is focusing so strongly on Bible history, especially in her commentary, I decided to use that for bedtime Bible at least part of the time. It will let us move more quickly through the "Bible story" part of history.  So that's 2 subjects that are new.

In math, we got hung up on memorizing times tables. The girls can calculate times tables with no problem, and can't see the value in memorizing them (in reality, they had all but about 5 memorized, but still . . . ) but then they were struggling with division because of NOT having the times tables memorized, so we were at a bit of a stalemate. . . they weren't REFUSING to memorize them, but they didn't see the value, so it wasn't as easy for them as it would have been if they' truly been on board. Finally, a few weeks ago, a friend mentioned that her daughter liked a book called Times Tales. I'd seen it recommended many times before, but it's sooo counter-intuitive to me, I can't fathom how it works . . . BUT . . . the day that my friend recommended it, the Times Tales website had the first half of their video  free to watch online (for 2 days only), so I had the girls watch it, and they LOVED it, so I ordered the DVD. All our snowy weather gave us plenty of time to watch the video, but I had to laugh when I glanced over to see HOW the girls were watching the video, both laying on the sofa with their heads twisted at the same weird angle, both kicking their feet in the air, silly kids! Of course, as soon as she saw me with the camera, Little Bit got on the sofa and was doing the same thing, but since she was in her underwear (yes, temperatures in the teens, our thermostat set in the 60s, and she's running around in her underwear half the time, sigh . . . ) I didn't take a picture of that :)

Our final new curriculum for this week is spelling/language arts. The girls have been asking to learn more about spelling, capitalization, and punctuation for awhile now, and I finally decided on the Simply Charlotte Mason's Spelling Wisdom, but we're also looking at each lesson for punctuation, and capitalization and such. I originally liked the idea of just pulling a paragraph from other things we were studying, and looking at it for spelling, punctuation, etc, but in the end, this curriculum won me over because it's intentional about making sure it covers the 6000 most used words in the English language.  So far the girls are loving it, and moving quickly through the first book :)

My parents came up on Wednesday evening, to help with some projects around here. All 3 girls had fun helping Papa paint their closet pink . . . this week he's going to work on putting shelves in said closet.

And that was pretty much our week :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 4

February? REALLY?! Where did January go? And will the snow never end?!?!?! (we got about 10 inches yesterday, ugh!)

Well, at least we enjoyed our final week of January!  We started out the week at Mama and Papa's. The girls, and Mama spent any extra time sewing. Little Bit did her best to stay in the middle of things, though she and Papa spent quite abit of time playing too :) Before we came home on Wednesday, they had completed one of Lexie's dresses, and had a good bit done on a second dress for Lexie, and a blouse for Ashlyn.

On Monday, they took a break from sewing to make pizza. Everyone got involved in that too :) And, of course, we all enjoyed eating it.

On Tuesday we headed to Berkeley Springs for a day of fun with our friends who live there. The HIGH temperature that day was something like 12 degrees (have I mentioned how DONE I am with winter, this year?), so it was a mostly indoors day, but all of the kids still had fun.

Lexie, Ashlyn, M & N decided to have an art contest where each drew a picture and then came and asked us moms to choose the best, without knowing who drew which. We chose to mention SOMETHING we liked about each picture instead of choosing the best, but more amusing, was the fact that within about 2 seconds of seeing the pictures, each of us moms could pick out our kids' pictures and which kid drew which picture LOL.  Which led to a new kind of "art contest". The 4 of them chose a "theme" and they all drew a picture based on that theme (we'd picked out who drew which of the first round based primarily on WHAT the pictures were of), that was a LOT harder since of the 3, only Ashlyn, typically draws flowers, their chosen theme. They were pretty excited to "trick us" on 3 of the 4 pictures :)  (had either of us seen JUST our kids' pictures, we could have done it, but throwing someone else's pictures into the mix made it challenging. The kids all thought that was pretty cool.

Ashlyn's getting ready for her end-of-book-1 recital, so any "extra time" was spent practicing.

Wednesday we headed home, and Thursday was spent with music lessons, errands, and re-doing the Sabbath School room at church for the new month (Noah's Ark).

To round out a week of fun, the girls went to visit Grandmom on Friday while I got some much needed alone time, and ran errands and did chores that are easier to do without quite so much "help".

Sabbath, Little Bit was the only one in Sabbath School (until the last 5 minutes or so), but she had fun helping to "build" the ark.  We even took a few minutes after Sabbath School, to set the room up for next week, so we don't have to find time to get over there during the week, considering how much snow we've gotten, and are potentially still getting this week, I'm thinking that's a really good thing.