Archives for posts with tag: homeschooling

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So, it’s official: As of Friday afternoon last week The Boy and I marked the completion of a 1/3 of his 5th grade year. We aren’t year round homeschoolers by any sense of the word. I really really REALLY love my summer break, and so does B. It’s not to say we aren’t learning year round because we are life long learners around here and reading and field trips and other educational things don’t go by the wayside just because it’s not a “school day.” But the type of learning that happens during the school year eclipses those other moments of “unscheduled” learning. Everyone homeschools differently and that’s what works for us. 

But I do have to say, I’m proud of our little homeschool for hitting this mark. Regardless of whether we’ve been traveling, not feeling the best, or field tripping we have schooled every day (except one day, which we promptly made up on a Saturday, true story). It’s not to say at all that taking a day off or relenting when a day throws some crazy curveballs at you is a no-no because those days are the best days to take off, I’m just glad we’ve been able to make it thus far on schedule.

It’s so easy, for me, speaking personally, as administrator, teacher, vice principal (if you will), to declare a no-rule day when things aren’t as neat or non-messy as I’d like them to be. But with everything I have on my proverbial plate (housework, dating my beau, daily devotions, playing with My Boy, taking care of myself, Penn State, and certainly not least B’s education) I know that if I make it a habit we’ll find ourselves less disciplined than I’d like us to be, and if I’m honest with myself the one set of eyes on me watching me and emulating me are the most important: those of my smallest B. 

Is it crazy hard juggling everything? Sometimes, if I think about it. But mostly it’s just a lot of planning, organization, and hard work. Do I always get time for myself. Nope. But that’s okay. The most important thing I’m doing right now is helping raise that little boy. And he’ll only be with me, totally mine, for such a short period of time. At some point he’ll move on with his life, as I pray he will 🙂 , hopefully marry someone who treasures him as much as he treasures her, and live a full and happy and meaningful life. Then I’ll have all the time in the world and I’ll miss these day to day “mundane” moments that bring me so much happiness and fulfillment. 

Gosh, when I was pregnant with B I never imagined our life to play out this way: neither the repeated deployments, nor the homeschooling. But all these things, and more, have created a sum of some amazing moments we continue to experience day to day. I’m so grateful for the time I get to spend with him day to day. I know I say that a lot, but it’s that whole glass-half-full bit that makes me the happy-go-lucky, talks-too-much, smiles-and-laughs-too-easily gal that I am. 

So, here’s to marking 1/3 way done with 5th grade! Here’s to the other 2/3 and all the memories to be made. 

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Last year we were fortunate enough to attend a performance of a Patrick Henry interpreter at Polegreen Church in Hanover County VA. Brooks and I walked away with a deep appreciation for the events and people that shaped Patrick Henry, as well as his role in American history.

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This year, as part of our planned co-op beginning in September with friends, we all attended a reenactment of the Second Virginia Convention at historic St. John’s Church in the beautiful Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, VA. The Second Virginia Convention is where Patrick Henry famously delivered his “Give me liberty or give me death,” speech.

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There’s something about history that gets me all kinds of excited. And I have to say, I love attending reenactments such as the one we did today because the passion of those playing various characters shines through. What a treasure, Richmond has, in not only St. John’s Church, but in those who work so tirelessly to tell this story over and over, year after year.

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Unfortunately, it’s not always a story that is appreciated for what it was, and what it continues to be today. But for myself, it’s a look into the past, an opportunity to be a “part” of that history, to relive those moments through fresh eyes and understanding, in appreciation for all the work and sweat and tears poured out by those who believed in such rights as liberty.

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One of my most favorite part of the afternoon, and there were numerous, was the moment before the reenactment began when those in the church sang the songs of our armed forces. The organist asked those who serve or have served in our armed forces to stand when their particular branch’s song was sung. Here we are in this beautiful old church, up in the balcony, and all around us, as we sing one song after another, various men and women in the crowd are standing to sing with pride the song of their particular branch. My heart swelled up with pride and admiration for these men and women, both young and old, who sacrificed or sacrifice for the same rights as those discussed at St. John’s Church so many years ago. I thought it rather fitting.

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As always, I’m so grateful for our group of friends, their fellowship, and their friendship. It’s friendships such as these that have made our homeschooling journey sweet and memorable.

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For those in the area, check out St. John’s Church if you are able. It’s definitely worth it. The neighborhood surrounding the church is beautiful and grand. The cemetery on the church grounds is incredibly interesting; but, more so than all that, you might walk away for a deeper appreciation for our founding fathers.

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Sometimes mornings are just hectic. Sometimes it’s just nice to sleep in a little. But then again, sometimes the alarm just doesn’t go off (or a super sweet husband decides you look so comfortable he’d rather you sleep in). Either way our busiest day of the week is Tuesday. Tuesdays are B’s class with the Athenian Academy. Tuesdays are 4H (every other week, thank goodness!). And Tuesdays are supposed to be a visit to a local museum. And Tuesdays are also supposed to be the day we finally check out a Live Action Role Playing group in Richmond (geeky much?!). So Tuesdays are not the day to sleep in, at all. They are the type of day I like to get up super duper early so that everything runs super duper smooth. Especially since I like to homeschool before the long day begins.

This Tuesday we slept in (I probably needed it). This Tuesday I felt quite strongly the house needed to be cleaned top to bottom (though it probably didn’t). And this Tuesday the morning was just crazy. I must have spilled everything I tried to pour or serve. It was just that kind of day. And the smallest furry member of our family had several accidents (Little Man).

So it was no surprise when Little B and I did not finish his schoolwork on time. But I was adamant we’d finish (though I knew we’d return home too late for it to happen). So we took our last two subjects with us: Writing and Literature (as well as a book on slavery we’ve been reading – just in case we had time to read and discuss it).

After his weapon’s class we found a lunch spot, snagged a table, had some awesome conversations, and then got to work. While B did his writing, I worked on my North American Indian class for Penn State (win-win).

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So although we didn’t check out the Kid’s Museum as we’d hoped, we had a lazy lunch, stayed on schedule, and had an awesome time at 4H. And the best part? Not having any homework (The Boy or myself) when we got home.

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Sweet.

Anyone who knows me remotely well enough knows how much I enjoy homeschooling Little B. I’ve put off enrolling him in public school a year longer than I had originally anticipated. Knowing full well this is our last year together is somewhat bittersweet. I am going to miss him like crazy, and I think it’s partly because we are literally always together, and he’s been my constant through all these deployments.

Our Mondays are usually pretty full, school wise. We do an average of an extra hour and a half of school work due to new spelling words, projects, etc. And today, of all days, I had so much I wanted to fit in, so I’m so grateful our schedule currently allows us to stay in on Mondays. I was half tempted to stay in my PJ’s all day – who would’ve known?!

The highlight of our school day was working on alliterations. I found some pretty sweet material on introducing poetry to kiddos in the primary grades, and Little B is so creative and silly he had us both in stitches with some of the stuff he came up with. I especially loved whipping out some Shel Silverstein to read with him. He’s one of our favorite authors, and I swear we could read his books cover to cover in one sitting.

Since our visit to the Austin Museum of Art with Big Brooks and his parents I’ve been itching to try my hand at monoprinting with The Boy. I was super excited to see some blog posts by The Artful Parent on the subject and then did some extra research on my own. We were able to view a video of monoprinting today as well as  some famous examples of monoprints. Little Brooks wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his prints, so the first runs were really tests to see what different amounts of paint, tools, or techniques would produce. We were both pleased with the results, and after an hour of monoprinting he decided he was done. And then it was my turn! I tried making a monoprint to send to Brooks, by writing out a phrase we say to each other a lot, only to realize that I forgot that monoprints create a mirror effect… so the writing was all backwards…

which reminded me of the time I painted Brooks’ jersey number on my face for one of his basketball games, but because I was looking at myself in the mirror it was actually backwards. Of course, I never figured that out. Brooks’ sister, Jessica, filled me in, all the while laughing. So I’m probably going to send it to him anyway, because, he’ll get it, that that was something I’d do.

The other highlight of our day was creating a “Daddy Put-Up Jar.” I literally stumbled upon this project by accident while looking for other stuff.

Here is the link: http://www.playfulearning.com/Playful_Learning/Blog/Entries/2011/1/13_Put-Ups_for_Daddy.html

What a great idea, to fill a jar with “put-ups” for D.Brooks! Little B was super excited about the idea and began listing all the reasons he’s thankful and appreciative for all his Daddy does, and why he loves him so much. Our plan is to keep the jar out where we can easily access it each day so that as Little B thinks of new put-ups he can add them to the jar. We’ll decorate a separate jar, and each month, in our care package to our soldier, we’ll send him what Little B has written.

Because we’ve done this deployment thing so many times, and because I’m pretty independent, and rather old fashioned to boot, our moments of separation go pretty smoothly, in that I’m not taking on any extra tasks or jobs that I wasn’t normally already fulfilling, other than the single parenting thing. From household chores to “administrative” things like registering vehicles, doctor’s appointments, sport sign ups, you name it, I typically handle it. All this self-sufficiency sometimes leaves Brooks feeling like he’s not 100 percent needed, which is so far off the truth, it’s crazy. So when I saw this project I immediately thought that not only would it be a wonderful way of affirming how much he’s loved and needed, but the very specific and concrete ways he enriches and brightens our son’s life. And more importantly how much his little boy adores him.

I usually sit down at some point during the deployment and write my beau 100 reasons why I love him. It’s never difficult, and always leaves me feeling like the luckiest girl in the world, and more in love with him than I can imagine is physically possible. For sure I’ll still do that this deployment but now Little B can do the same thing, in his own way, with the Put Up Jar. I love it!

So another day down, filled with laughter and joy, though we always feel the absence of Brooks beneath the surface of all we do.  Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll do our best to make the mostof it, creating memories to share with D.Brooks, all the while missing him continually … and it’ll be okay.