Friday, August 22, 2014

Week 1 of School

Ah! We got a full week under out belt... 
Whoo hoo! 

It was a good one though.

To start our week off, Tim (daddy and principal) took all of our schooled kids (pre-schoolers don't "count") out for breakfast, then he does the official drop off to school... always with flowers for teacher.  It is our super fun little tradition! And yes... their backpacks are completely empty...

Week 1 Realizations....

I was super duper pleased to see only one of my kids had major "summer learning loss..."

We worked more on getting in a routine... learning how to do chores independently in the morning... taking morning showers on a set day... and keeping up our personal laundry systems!

Thea accomplished a WHOLE day of preschool! Yay me for actually getting it done!

I taught the children what the all important "selfie" is... so they could draw a portrait of themselves.

Then we did amazingly pointless, yet fun things like make models of our sister out of base 10 blocks... That's math AND art... right?

And I didn't go into labor while trying to clean (madly)!

Good times!

This year we have students in the following grades...

Just 30+ weeks more to go!
Oh boy...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

School Room ~ 2014/15

Not much has changed in the last year, but I noted, I didn't update what we had done last year in our homeschool space! 

Sorry this is so poor quality... I'll work on getting a better one, it is all that backlighting from the doors. BUT, it gives you a basic layout of our main schooling space. 

We also move over to our couches (to the right) and go downstairs often in our family room, but this is where we start our days!

Work table... with chore charts.

Independent and phonics work table.

Nature Nook

Thea's preschool work table.

Main Resource Shelves 
(left to right and top to bottom)
First Shelf: Mom's resources and main texts, Math resources and texts, Phonics resources and texts, Readers. 
Middle Shelf: Story of the World binders (color coded for each child), Addie's Resources (purple), Allan's Resources (yellow).
Last Shelf: Cora's Resources (pink), Eli's Resources (green)
On Top: Daily supplies like pencils, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils

Supplie Closet: Thea's Play/Preschool Bins and LOTS of books!

Elias' Chore Chart

Addie's Binders: Language Arts and Main Work (Calendar and Dictation) Binder

Addie's Resources Shelf: Math, Handwriting, Grammar, Writing, Binders

Mom/Teacher's Resource Shelf

Bible Bin
(back to front) 
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing
Found in Him (only for mom)
Exploring Grace Together
Teal Box: Scripture Memory Cards
Yellow Box: Catechism Memory Cards

Friday, August 15, 2014

She Can Laugh... with a Big Belly

So I dropped a log of frozen meat on the top of my large protruding belly. Don't ask how that happened, it just did... then I proceeded to have contractions (mild ones) for about 3 hours.

I am calling it the "frozen meat bonk induction method."

Except, it failed this time, as they stopped after I spent some time laying down.
I might try it again at 40 + weeks...
Golly my life is crazy!


A few nights ago I was kissing the boys goodnight when Eli looked up at my large globular middle and said, "It's not going to stay that way after the baby comes, will it?"

I said, "No, it will go back to normal... eventually."

He asked how soon.

I said, "Well, probably a week or so..."

He thought... then looked really sorry for me, "Oh, I thought it would look better right away, that's too bad, mom..."


Tim and I were going to go see the new Planet of the Apes movie on a date, and we watched the trailer that featured a portion of the first movie... a recap. Addie watched on, because we thought it wouldn't be too scary. We stopped it when it did get intense, but she saw the intro and main concept. 

After watching it she turned to Tim and said, "And that's why you don't give drugs to a monkey!"

I laughed for days after... 


Allan is such a chill person. Seriously, he NEVER gets worked up over anything. That's why we were all taken back when Tim was asking Cora if she had a best friend (she doesn't have any girls her age around at all). He suggested that maybe our friends new little boy (her age) that is coming home via adoption could be her friend. At this Allan started sputtering and saying "No... no... no... he's me and Eli's friend..." in a very impassioned way. 
We all busted up. Sorry Cora, our Ugandan friend is already claimed as Allan and Eli's friend. 


Just this...
Cora "cleaning"

I cannot wait to see what she is like as an adult, because she is seriously the coolest 5 year old I know.

And this... 
Thea "taking a nap".

One of the major downsides to having a (partially) white family... because I am 100% sure black families don't keep head scratchers like this around... Sad day!

House of Higher Learning 2014/2015 Curriculum Plan

I love this time of year! School supplies... planning... books arriving in the mail! It is nearly back to homeschool time!

This year our students are...

Addie - 3rd grade
Allan - 1st grade
Elias - 1st grade
Cora - Kindergarten, doing 1st grade work
Thea - Preschool

At our school I've taken what we thrived in last year and kept it and done some considerable tweaking in the areas we struggled in or didn't accomplish much at.

I love planning... yes, really I do... and this is what we are planning on doing this fall and winter. It follows our Scope and Sequence Plan and we continue to find that Story of the World is a great spine to hold our school up around!

Bible & Catechism

And our...

We will also continue learning the catechism and scripture memory during our morning worship time!

Memory & Dictation

Each morning we are covering a different area of memory or dictation work...

~Our Memory Work~

Daily - Math, counting or facts
Monday - Current Events, we will watch CNN Student News
Tuesday - Calendar
Wednesday - Science review
Thursday - Grammar review
Friday - Poetry reading or memory

Our 3rd Grader has daily dictation that coincides with her Lanugage Arts program.
Our K and 1st Graders will likely be working on writing short sentences or words pulled from their All About Reading curriculum or readers.

History & Literature

With just some of our AMAZING accompanying literature...



This year we will have children doing Primer, Alpha, and Beta (and moving up to Gamma) levels of Math U See... it should be interesting!
I am excited to see all my big kids doing math and moving along!


All of our children (except the toddler) are using All About Reading for phonics and spelling.

This year my oldest will be finishing up level 2 and moving into level 3 and my 3 middle children will be finishing up level 1. We find it to be a HIGHLY effective curriculum for even the most challenged learners! Love, love, love!

Grammar, Writing & Language Arts

Writing with Ease - Levels 1 and 2
First Language Lessons - Levels 1 and 2

I have also made Addie (grade 3) her own language arts plan that includes reading, writing and application of the skills learned in Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons.


Getty Dubay - Levels B and D

Last year, when I got this curriculum I was very unsure if I'd like it, after using it I've decided I do like it very much. It is easy to teach, straight forward and produces a script that I think is ascetically pleasing. Also, my children enjoy handwriting, and that is saying a lot!

Also, an interesting article on the importance of the practice of handwriting, particularly for children who struggle to read: What's Lost as Handwriting Fades


Unit studies in: Astronomy, Life Science, and the Human Body
We are trying out Lyrical Learning for the first time!


There is nothing better than a little A.A. Milne.


Our 3 year old will be doing a combo of Rod and Staff workbooks, play bins, activities and age appropriate literature. I gleaned some fun ideas from: Hubbard's Cupboard

Mom's Continuing Education

I'll be reading

and enjoying She Reads Truth (app)

That's it folks!
Happy school year!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Closing of the Summer

Camp is in it's final days for the summer of 2014. 
That is sweet and sad all at the same time. 

It's been a good one! 

This summer we've had some great times,
both as a camp family and
also with our greater "family" of full-time staff and summer staff!

We've seen campers grow and change...
God going big in little lives.

It is almost addictive:
Seeing God work...
Experiencing his power over sin and brokenness and the vast extent of his grace!

Thus ends our 9th summer at Cross Bar X!
I already can't wait for our 10th!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Knitting Jesus

In our program at Cross Bar X we do a portion of our day called “skills classes”. During this hour long block of time we teach our campers a definable skill that they can leave camp with. Often  it is things like auto repair, carpentry, baking, fitness, music or such. We have this built in to our schedule and believe fiercely in it because we know many of our campers don’t always get to learn hands-on, real life skills, because of the environment they live in and the struggles their families face in just surviving and making it each day.

I've taught our middle school and high school girl campers a knitting skills class for the last 7 or so summers. In knitting class the campers get their very own set of knitting needles and a skein of yarn to take home. It is always a highlight of my summer, and not one camper has failed to learn to knit after my skills class!

But, it is also about whole lot more than just knitting! One thing I quickly discovered is that while we knit often the campers start to unravel their stories a bit, share their lives and struggles and concerns. I’ve learned things that are deep and profound during our knitting classes about the lives of our campers. I’ve also gotten to share a lot of hope and truth of the Gospel as needles click and yarn is unwound.

This week we had 5 middle schoolers join Joyce (my fellow co-hort/teacher, and our favorite volunteer RVer) and I to learn basic knitting. During the week, one girl, "Dee" from Albuquerque shared that it had been her dream to learn to knit. I sort of snickered at her confession at first, thinking she might just be being a dramatic pre-teen... but then she shared that when she was little she'd see people knitting on TV and she'd go find pencils and string and pretend to knit... she shared how excited she was to learn! 

Excited she was! Through out the week she took off and really showed herself to be a natural with yarn and needles. Each class she made huge progress and wanted to learn more. In addition, to learning to knit herself, she served as translator to a fellow non-English speaking classmate. Her and I basically taught another girl to knit via translation, when my simply worded English didn’t cut it. It was amazing to see how well we all managed that little challenge between the two of us! 

Today was our last class. She showed up to class with a completed scarf…. lovely and without imperfections. Before the class she pulled me aside and said, “I know this is asking a lot, but if you have extra yarn could I take it home with me to do more?” I said I "wasn’t sure, but we’d see", as I want to keep things fair and not make other students feel bad for not getting another skein of yarn too. 

In class I showed her how to finish (bind off) her scarf and she sat happily with it around her neck just watching others knit with a smile on her face. I slyly passed her another skein of yarn and she beamed and started right off knitting another. 

After class I left and was about to get in my car when up ran “Dee” saying, “I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for your time and that you cared about teaching me to knit! It really was my dream, I know that sounds silly, but I’ve always wanted to learn, but I never knew anyone who could teach me! Thank you so much! I know you didn’t have to spend your time with us, that’s really cool of you to care about kids like that…” She hugged me twice and ran off waving her completed scarf in the air. 

Cross Bar X typically exists to share the Gospel… I have found, however, that often it is little things, like learning to knit, that allows kids to feel the love of Jesus. There is something about time and intentionality that opens hearts and breaks down walls. While I didn’t get to talk with Dee about Jesus, I know she felt loved and special and really if that was all she left camp with I'd call that a sweet success! The great thing is that I know, in addition to learning to knit, she also learned about God and his love (not just from me) but from her counselor and many of our other staff and Bible teachers. 

I am beyond thankful that God has allowed me to live and serve at CBX
Here our family gets the opportunity to be the hands of Jesus... the ones that knit up in love. 

“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I've come to a few realizations, recently...

~ There are a several things I have left to do in regard to nesting... none of them I can do on my own... I need help!

~ I have given up on pants. I doubt I will put on another pair of them for the next 6 (or sadly more) weeks until this baby arrives... they just aren't worth it any longer!

~ To say that, I will be wearing something... in the form of a skirt or maybe yoga pants, which I've never really counted as real pants because they are PAJAMAS or workout clothes... not pants. But alas, they shall have to do!

~ I am very round. Not fat. Not HUGE. Just very very basketball... watermelonish round. Which really feels the same as fat and HUGE. But doesn't look it so much. In fact, it looks much more freakish than if I just looked big...

~ From the back I look normal. Bonus!

~ I am also giving up on any shoes that aren't chacos or slip ons.

~ I am making my children... and shamefully our counseling staff, pick up things for me. It sounds like this, "Hey Turner (a male staff) I am not picking that up... sorry." (Shrug) Yeah, not really ashamed... they are all pretty accommodating too!

~ I base most of our outings on the following criteria: Is there easy to access bathrooms? Will the road be bumpy? Will it be too hot there? Will I have to sit very long and if so are the seats comfortable? Will I have to stand very long? Does it require me to have to talk to many people who might ask me annoy questions or be intrusive?

~ I realized the other day that the above qualifications pretty much rule out church...

~ Strangers have started saying I'm "a trooper" and giving me double takes... like they can't believe someone could be "that pregnant" or perhaps they fear I might ruin their dinners if my waters break spontaneously.

~ I internally cringe every time someone asks "How much longer do you have?" I contemplate lying and saying something much less than the six weeks (or more) that I know I truly have.

~ Then with out fail people ask, "Is this your first?"... to which I usually laugh... and say "Nope." and hope they don't ask anything else... Then they always do.

~ I am learning that counting the days down is not a good idea... it always seems very very far away no matter how you look at it.

~ I am ignoring the fact I have gone 12 and 9 days overdue in the past... that fact just flat out doesn't exist right now!

~ We still have no crib set up, no car seat, and all the other things most parents acquire and set up weeks prior to having a baby... and quite honestly this time around I am not a bit worried about it. What does a baby really need any way?

~ I am kind of becoming obsessive with cleaning in places I normally would never think to clean. I realized this while I was washing a wall. A week ago that wall looked perfectly clean, while cleaning it I realized (as the scales fell from my eyes) that it was filthy and bio-harzardous!

~ I've obsessed for days about what might be lurking under my bed and couches... I've tried, to no avail, to figure out a way I could move our king sized bed by myself... even thinking if maybe I got all our children involved we could used leverage to our advantage. The bed has stayed in place, only because I know my husband would be seriously displeased if it was moved...

~ Then I think again that I really don't want my baby being born on a bed where possible dust bunnies reside under it... paranoid!

~ My role of mothering 6 children has already started... I came to this conclusion as I got up one night at about 3 am to walk around to "rock" her back to sleep because she was keeping me up with her kicking and wiggling.

That's where things are at right now... Ready, but waiting.