Planning Prep

I am beginning the process of actually planning our next school year, and last night something dawned on me:

I have NEVER done two years the same.

How is that possible?  Truly, I’m at a loss.

Well, I’m not so much at a loss, as I’ve been pondering this for a day and half now.  And the thing I’ve come to realize is that it’s always the *how* we do school that is different.

This year is going to be so much different from last year.

In the process of deciding the best way to schedule our school this year, I keep going over stuff we have and how it can be used to make this year work.  We have a LOT of stuff.  Not even joking!  Although my friends frequently joke about how they like to do their “shopping” at “Christine’s Homeschool Library”; the amount of items I have is mind boggling.

Bizarre stuff too.  For example, looking through “music” not only do I have a massive quantity of books on the subject; I also have instruments (piano, trumpet, clarinet, flute, bagpipe to name a few).  Oh, and a recorder, pretty sure I have a couple of those.  mmm.  Yes, I’m not going there, but I’m pretty sure I have a lot more upstairs that I didn’t mention.

What are we doing for music this year?  Musicals!  Because I’ve never done that before and I think that will be fun, and I get BORED so easily.  Seriously, I don’t know how school teachers do it teaching the same stuff year to year.  I would lose my enthusiasm and my passion.

Anyway, I’m sitting here struggling to create something for my kiddos to do — something that will keep all of our interests and yet actually provide a solid foundation for their future.  Yet, as I sit struggling with the entirety of it all I find myself super-jealous of all those homeschooling mommas that do the same thing year after year.


That will never be me.

Events of the day

It was one of those days that simply would have been insane had Jay not all ready taken the time off.  As it was, we were able to “divide and conquer”; although, to be honest, I’m the one feeling “conquered”.

Jay took Mikhail to speech and then did the shopping.  And on that note you all should be impressed, as I actually had a list for him AND a weekly menu done.  (Makes it easy when one day is “traditional”.)

I, on the other hand, took Garrett  for a speech “interview” at an “institute”.  (It’s got a name, but that would give too much away — just be impressed with the “institute”.)  It took us 8 months to get seen there.

I was all excited because I thought this would be like a interview type deal where they would tell me when they would start taking Garrett for speech.

(Remember, he has verbal apraxia.)

It was an evaluation instead:  hearing and speech.  We were there for 3 hours!

I did get a good bit of cross-stitch done.

But, they interviewed me first.  They were utterly shocked when at the end of the interview I told them that Garrett did not know how to read.  (Felt that was important they know that as they were going to be testing him.)

Yes, my just turned 6 year old son does not know how to read, and we homeschool.  Oh heaven help us all!


He’s learning; he’s making progress, and he’s enjoying the ride. . .I’m good with that.  It’s not like he’s a highschool graduate who’s illiterate.

Then, came the testing for him, nearly 2 hours.  He got two breaks to get a drink of water.

The resulting conclusion of the exams was that he needs speech.

3 hours and I walk out of there knowing nothing more or less than the knowledge I had when I walked in there!

Same can not be said for the SLP (speech-language pathologist).

No, she learned that the reason we were coming is because we homeschool, and the city refuses to provide special ed. services to homeschoolers of school-age children.  (I have a rant here, so there’s no point re-hashing. . .)

“What?”  she asked.
“How can it be, that they can refuse you?  You pay taxes just like everyone else.  Your taxes go to the schools for that reason. . . .”

How, indeed!

She even *almost* accused me of not knowing what I was talking about.  It wasn’t till I listed off the state law, the Senators who are trying to change it, the title of their past bill, etc. that she honestly started taking me seriously.

Then she really started.

Indignation.   I think that’s the best word to describe her reaction.

Yeah, imagine if you were the parent.

My options for treatment turned out to be the “institute” which has an incredibly long waiting list, or the local school (which as she finally saw, was really not an option) or private SLPs.

. . . *sigh*. . .

She sent me off with the name and number of the “institute’s” parent advocate lawyer.


At least I arrived home to a husband who had done the shopping and even put lunch in the oven.

After hearing about my morning, he went off too.  About how “you” homeschoolers have to unite and start a movement and get this bill pushed through, so kids like Garrett could recieve services they need.

I reminded him that he was not only the other parent of Garrett, but considered a homeschooler as well. . . .

He said we need to start giving Garrett speech lessons at home on our own.

Yes, I will add that to the schedule, while I contine to take Mikhail to speech at the school (because he’s not school-aged yet).


Jay went shopping today, I mean, other than for groceries.  He went and bought 7 new windows for the house (our “extension area”).  He won’t put them up till spring, but he got them at this place that doesn’t really have a “stock”.  Kind of like a. . .What are they called?  . . .stores like Big Lots and TJ Maxx (I think).

Anyway, they just happened to have the exact sizes he “needs”.

He’s just all happy with himself. . .

Dreary Day

Perfect title for the “D” week. . .

Today is just one of those days. . .you know the type, dreary and cold and you just want to lay in bed and read.

We had friends over this afternoon. All the kids were getting rowdy and I was seeing myself popping a whole heck of a lot of Tylenol if I didn’t get the noise level controlled fairly quickly.

So, I asked them if they wanted to “do school”.

Mikhail was all over it! (He loves school.) Garrett looked at me slackjawed like how dare I suggest such a thing to guests. Our friends eyed me rather suspiciously. . .(They are homeschooled too, and maybe that’s why they were willing to give it a chance — or maybe they still just don’t know me well enough?)

Then, I explained that we could make dream catchers, and proceeded out the door. I had 4 bodies tear past me on the stairs and beat me to the table!

I think, all-in-all, they had a good time. I believe they got a bit frustrated at me as I wasn’t moving fast enough, but Hey! I’m only one person. Plus, this was a spur of the moment thing, so I was truly not prepared

*SNORT* — like I EVER am!!!

Jay took this week off. I think the “pretense” is to spend more time with his family, (ie, that’s what everyone at work thinks and he’s not denying it). However, he’s been working his tail off trying to finish off the windows he installed this spring. The molding around them that is. That man does beautiful work! I tell you, if I could somehow figure out how to keep him home and still get paid, our home would be awesome!

Well, my computer doesn’t like working in this weather either, and I keep getting connection “failure” warnings, so I’m going to attempt to post this and then start dinner.

Day / week in the life. . . DAY 5 (FINAL)

Good Morning.

 I’m going to run this one a bit different, or rather, that’s the intent.  Today’s post will be frequently updated throughout the day, and it will have times.

A warning, Tyler was caught earlier this week, doing poorly on a test, which required him to do the entire chapter over.  He is now behind in his weekly school schedule; so he will be  doing that work today (and probably some this weekend as well).  You will probably see multiple maths, English lessons, etc. next to his name.

Also, I want to remind everyone, there is no such thing as a “typical” homeschool day.  I do not have a loud, obnoxious bell in my house that rings when I should be switching subjects, or for starting or ending school.  If my kids have attitudes, I deal with them immediately — not send a note home.  And there is the “home” stuff that needs doing.

I do hope this has been helpful for some, possibly entertaining for the others.

0500 — my alarm woke me up.
0501 — Jay’s alarm went off
0501-0544 — laid in bed waiting for Jay to leave (he turns on all the house lights in the a.m. and that hurts my light-sensitive eyes)  Forgot he was waking and leaving later than normal (he’s normally out of the house by 0510).
0544 — heard Mikhail get up and run to the bathroom
0545 — Mikhail and I head downstairs, he goes to the couch and I to the coffee pot
0603 — Garrett comes downstairs
0608 — current time boys are eating Honey Nut Cheerios.  I have all ready been reminded that I promised water color painting this a.m.  Mikhail has told me that his bedtime bunny has a hole and needs to be sewn.  The kittens, all 5 pounds of them, are running pell-mell through the house sounding like a herd of elephants.  The boys are now discussing ice skating.


0633 — Tyler stumbles down the stairs, blinking in the light (he’s light-sensitive too)
0642 — Garrett and Mikhail are in seperate corners for being too loud (Drew is still snoozing)
0650 — I’m starting my breakfast

ASIDE:  This is an incredibly boring way to write out a day, isn’t it???  Or maybe I’m being WAY too specific.  (I am doing it this way based on a number of requests. . .I guess it forces you to “see/live” the details?)  Tell you what, I’ll back off on this a bit (for my own peace of mind — and you guys just really don’t want to know about all the potty breaks and what not, do you???)  And that way, we may all come out of this with our sanity intact.


0700 (like clockwork)  Drew comes down the stairs.  I think he’s slept in a total of twice this year.

Garrett and Mikhail set off happily (and loudly) up the stairs and actually remember, all on their own, to feed the kittens.

Tyler bundles up and is out the door with our dog for his “morning constitutional”.

Tyler wants a snake for a pet.  I don’t!  But, I’m trying to be “fair”.  I told him that he could get a snake as long as he was completely financially responsible for the creature and IF he could take the dog out without needing reminders for a total of 3 months.  I told him that back in July.  We are restarting the 3 month countdown (again) as of yesterdy.  The fact that he keeps reminding me, and that he’s getting further and further each time he goes for the 3 months, tells me that we will indeed have a snake for a pet someday. . . It gives me a while to “warm-up” to the idea though.

Drew just opened a junkie cereal and then looked up and asked me if we (the little guys) had all ready done our cereal mosaic project.  As soon as he saw the nod of affirmation he emptied that box in his bowl.

It’s now 0726, and time for us to do our morning routines.


0820  — Morning chores are done

Just fielded a call from Jay who needed a computer file for something he needs to do at work, that was on our computer.  Little guys got ready early and finished a school project from yesterday (involving cutting) while I finished getting myself ready and just finished picking up the 1st floor.  As soon as I find the paper they will be painting.

0837 — watercolor paper (that I know I have) can’t be found, so boys are using regular ole paper. (They don’t care, and in fact the only reason why I care is because I know I have some somewhere in this house!)  Tyler is in the midst of one math lesson; and Drew is just tromping upstairs to start his school.

I’m going to go do some cleaning whilst everyone is busy.


0923  vacuumed and mopped 1st floor floors (minus dining room and kitchen) and stairway.  (The dining room is Tyler’s job; the kitchen, Drew’s.)

Right when I went to clean there was a bit of a crash.  Razzle, our female kitten, decided to play with the cord on the venetian blinds, pulled them straight down on herself and broke one of the brackets in the process.  (All ready went down to the workshop and found replacement brackets, but can’t decide whether I should do it or wait until Jay gets home and let him handle it.)  Then, little “Miss Fearless” decided that playing with the vacuum power cord would be great fun.  The swiffer was highly entertaining too.  You know, if I went through life with her mentality, I might actually enjoy cleaning.

The boys took a break during their painting session to do some dusting for me. 

I despise dusting, and at this stage, the boys think it’s grand fun, so I take advantage of it.

Tyler has finished two maths.  Not nearly as exciting as it sounds as he just started a new book, so it’s all review at this point — it really shouldn’t take him long at all.

Right now the younger 3 of the clan are tearing around the downstairs with the dog.  I can’t quite tell if they are playing tug of war or “boxing”  (They watched Rocky for the first time last night.)  I think it’s some weird combo.   I also think I should probably call an end to it before “fist-to-face” contact is actually made.

I’m going to take the younger two upstairs and do some math with them.  Oh, no wait, we are going to do a bit more chores first.


Okay, Garrett and Tyler finished folding the laundry and we put it all away (2 loads).  Now the boys are eating banannas, because they were “greatly hungered”.  Must have something to do with the early wake-up. . .you think?

It’s 1002 and Tyler is starting his 3rd math of the day. 

The younger two and I are going to go upstairs and do some schoolwork, of some variety, that I have yet to decide upon (I’ll have to look at their schedule).  Actually, I’m thinking another cup of coffee right now might be good.  Then, we’ll go up and do school.


We did math.  We are finally up to 10, but they don’t have all their facts “set”.  And we did paperwork in math too. . .we have some directional issues that will have to be worked on.  Mikhail wants to always start at the bottom to write, and Garrett goes right to left.  I know this is an age developmental thing. . .  They got a bit silly, so I’m probably going to have to go over stuff again.  *sigh*

1100-1150 lunch — leftovers

Well, Garrett and I got into it right before lunch.  I don’t know what set him off, but next I knew he was screaming at me and storming off.  Aaaarghhh!  I truly, even now that he’s settled down, don’t have the foggiest what got him started.  I don’t like being screamed at though, and he got his heiney popped.

While we were eating got a call from some American Veterans organization asking for donations.  Did you know they calculate ~ 1/3 of homeless people in the US are veterans???!  I did not, so I did a computer search after lunch.  Found this.

This did start a good discussion during lunch amongst the olders.  Thinking about why they may be homeless, how help (and of what types) may be “served”. 

One thing to love about homeschooling, you get to see your kids use their knowledge and experience and pull from it all to come up with conclusions. . .all day long, and about many topics.

But now, lunch is over, Drew has done the dishes, and now all the kids have vanished.

Oh, wow, Tyler just came down and announced he was taking Inigo (the dog).  That child may make it through the day yet. : )

I’m going to put the little ones down for a rest in just a bit.  Hate to say it, as I know it will get ugly, but I’m actually hoping they don’t fall asleep.  I’d like to put them down earlier tonight.  Their older brothers are going to a birthday party this evening.  I could have a “date” with Jay 😉


It’s 1330, and I “squandered” that hour.

Played Collapse II and scored 617,863.

I was on the phone with Mrs. H (the birthday boy’s mom); his birthday isn’t really into later this month, and we’ll be going to a family party then, so that’s when we’ll be bringing our gift.

Also, on the phone with Jay, getting details ironed out, as he is taking next week off work as well.

One thing about being deployed is he didn’t lose any of of “use / lose” leave, so now he has all these extra days, on top of the 60 days he all ready has accumulated.

The little guys didn’t fall asleep. 

I played the “I-love-you-this-much” game with Mikhail.  I like that game!

I’m starting to feel “lazy”.  The day is catching up to me.  I have a couple of more readings to do with the younger two, as well as one more math, and their final letter page to complete (glue it together). . .oh, and a drawing lesson.

Tyler has done a grammar test.  He needs to do another lesson.  And we need to do a history (this is a subject I do WITH him).

Drew got caught playing his game longer than he had permission for.  I’ll have to come up with a suitable punishment.  He’s going to hate it, as I’m thinking I’ll give him 15 min/ day by my watch.  I think I’m too soft on him.

Drew needs to be dealt with in school, also.  His writing compositions are. . . .frustrating.  I need to deal with it, but at this moment, I’m too tired.

Well, Garrett just hit Mikhail (they were “playing”).  So, I need to get off and give these kids some direction.  I think the first direction I’ll head though, is toward the Tylenol.


1450 — snack time (boys are having pineapple fruit cups)  Mommy had 2 mini Hershey bars, but SHHH! don’t tell!

I somehow managed to save all the poetry reading for today.  I think it happened because I was trying to get all the library books back.

Anyway, we did our drawing lesson, and completed their letter page.  We are almost done with the reading and then we will do math.

Tyler is working on his 4th math for the day.  He tells me he’s done 3 grammars. . .I’ll have to double check.  He has a nasty tendency to only doing things halfway, especially if he’s doing more than one a day.  (Of course, if he hadn’t done so poorly on his test through sheer carelessness. . . .!)

Mikhail just tripped over the dog, so has an ice pack on his leg.

I don’t have a clue what to fix for dinner.  Something with chicken I think. . .


It’s 1530, and the little guys and I are done!  In fact, I think we have all reached our kapoot point.  We managed to finish our last math, but just barely.  Thankfully, it was just a matching game.  (I know it looks like an insane amount, but really the younger two boys only did 2.5 hours of “school work” all told.)

Now, I have to do checking on the older guys’ work.

I think, though, that this has gotten long enough.  Certainly I made up for yesterdays lack of posting, right?  If I start feeling energetic, which at the moment I positively am NOT, I’ll post more.

I guess, if anyone has complaint or comment, they will assuredy post it.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Day / Week in the life. . .DAY3

ooof. . .

My day really went all out of wack.

I had paperwork that needed doing this a.m. and took most of the morning.

Then, we had to run to speech class for Mikhail, followed by a trip to the library to return books, pay a $21! fine, and get books for next week.  Then, we had to go to Walmart for a coffee filter. . .that’s it, just a simple stainless steel < $5 coffee filter.

But, Mikhail was attacked by a monster.  The kind of demon that occassionally attacks even the most wary of kids. . .

“The Crank Monster”


First he was hot and wanted to take his fleece off.  Then, he wanted me to hold it.  Well, I just don’t believe it’s my job to hold such a thing.  That did NOT go over well.

Then, while we were waiting at the checkout, he realized in the process of taking off said fleece, that he had dropped his speech sticker.

OH! did the tears roll then!

You know, out of 4 kids I think I’ve had 5 embarrassing “fit” moments from them. . .3 have been from him.

Got to the car only to discover that the lost sticker was in fact stuck to the bottom of his shoe.  You’d think he’d have been happy about that!  But no!  The Crank Monster had bitten and was not letting go of my poor defenseless lad.

Ah, but the Crank Monster had to do battle with a warrior Mom; who was frankly not willing to put up with it. . .

We got home at 1302, he was in bed by 1307 and asleep by 1310.

Crank Monsters can’t battle whilst asleep.

So, I did battle with grading papers.  I despise grading papers, and therefore procrastinate more than I should.  There is something about reading a wrong math answer and realizing the child (YOUR child) got it wrong because they forgot to carry the two — which they wouldn’t have done had they SHOWN their work.  Or reading an entire composition with nary a period, “It’s there Mom, you just can’t see it cause your eyes are so old.”  Grrr.  Or, you get an answer to a question about the definition of “work” (in Chemistry), and the answer states “it’s all because of the definition of work:”  Oh help me!  At least that child had the sense to admit he had completely boloed that answer.

Jay brought me flowers, because I had “fixed” the sink yesterday. . . .it broke today.

Someone asked what I do different from public school

  1. I have a nightly parent / teacher conference
  2. It’s only the father of my students that ever attends
  3. We’ve been having a long-term affair 😉

(I apologize if you find these “flippant”, sometimes you just need a stress break, ya know?  However, I did put honest responses in my Homeschool Overload file. )

Here’s something I did today that’s somewhat similar.

I had a “Teacher Work Day”.  Except, 1/2 my students still did all their work.

Do you ever wonder about that “event”?   A “Teacher Work Day”?  That always annoys me when I see that on the school calendar.  I mean, if there’s only 3-4 times a year that the teacher has a “work day”; and none of the students come in on that day, what exactly are the teachers doing when the students are in class???

No, please, don’t be offended if you are a teacher!  Truly, I know that many work like dogs.  But, they need to come up with a better name, like maybe an honest one, “Teacher catch-up day”, or “Teacher Red Tape day” or . . .something.

Oh, and I had said that I’d talk a bit more about the older two.

Drew is basically on his own.  He prefers it that way; despises having to come to me for help.  I give him a weekly schedule and he does it.  Any problems or questions he comes to me.  Currently, though, we are fighting about foreign languages.  I “know” two (and that’s vaguely).  Jay also knows two — we overlap in one, Arabic. 

That’s what Drew wants to learn.

I remember how to ask “Where is the bathroom?” in Arabic.  (And the answer better be pointing.)

Jay does NOT like teaching.

So, I got Drew a computer immersion program.  He hates it.

I want to scream.

I’m trying to convince him Spanish is good.  He’s saying he wants sign language. . .


Tyler wants Japanese, but he’s not there yet.

Tyler, well, I have to be right on top of him.  If I’m not at least checking on him very frequently, then he’ll be gone.  He’s the Incredible Vanishing Kid.  Sometimes, it’s legit; he’s reading a school book in a different room.  However, it’s more likely that he’s trying to sham.  If he were in school, he’d be hurting, having assuredly fallen through the cracks long ago.  Part of the reason we pulled him from public school.  The funny thing is, he really enjoys school and learning, I mean when he’s talking to us about it.  But, when he’s talking to other teens. . .



I looked for a lapbook on time.  No one has done one, that I could find.  I thought about attempting to do one myself, but I didn’t have the oomph, and the book I would have used was way past due.

You’re curious about Lap books? (click the link)

I have one major roadblock in my head to creating lapbooks.  They talk about all the folds and shapes, etc.  But, I have yet to see anything that says, “a ______ fold would be perfect for these types of activities:——–.”

For example:  the wheel gizmo, it’s perfect for “stages”, like the life cycle of a frog, or butterfly, or plant, etc.

And I saw another thing, like a peek-a-boo book, which would be perfect for story sequencing.

I’m just saying it would be nice to see those little tidbits.  Sometimes, I just need a starting point.  At this point it’s like information overload. . .a parachute without any strings attached, to connect it to me, kind of deal.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Melissa Telling’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Another favorite is Amy Pak’s Time Traveler’s Series

I have to tell you, one of the things that I like most about both of these is the professional looking “outside”.  Please understand this is just me, personally.  I guess some would oppose them as they aren’t completely “home-made”.

I need to get back to the paper grading struggle.