Saturday, December 29, 2007

Father Christmas Letter

Want to see what Father Christmas has been up to? This is the letter he left for the boys:

Dear Magnus and Thane,

First off, I must apologize for the lateness of this letter. I'm not one for excuses, but we've been having a most difficult time.

You both ask about polar bears. Well, without their help I might be writing this letter in a hut in the woods, instead of by the fire in my new home. Simply put, we were attacked. it seems a whole troop of arctic dwarfs has gone bad. we've been having trouble with them for some time-stolen toys, broken window, only they let all the reindeer out of their stalls-but nothing like this. A whole band of them, armed and carrying torches came marching over the hill. Treeble (he's the head elf here) went out to try to talk to them, but one of those dwarfs hit him with a club and knocked him down.

After that things got serious pretty quick. I sent Piffle (he was introduced to us last year as FC's special gnome friend he likes to play chess with) for help while the rest of us tired to hold off the dwarfs. We barricaded the door after pulling Treeble back inside. But they set fire to my workshop and a group of them climbed the snow cliff behind the house. They had gotten an ice giant from somewhere and with his help, they sent half that cliff down on top of us. The way the house shook-I was thrown off my feet!

I thought that might be the end of us, but just then, into their midst swept Rafner and his whole clan of polar bears. The dwarfs couldn't withstand the fury of those bears for long. And in the rear riding a little bear cub, smiling form ear to ear, was our dear Piffle.

The gnomes cheered when the dwarfs and the ice giant took to their heels, but it was clear I'd have to move. Those dwarfs smashed the stables, nearly burned down the workshop, and buried half the house with ice and snow.

So here I sit, mourning the loss of my pen, my sealing wax, and my seal, but thankful that no one was hurt (except for the dwarfs and a nasty bump on Treeble's head.), for my new home and for your letters. Piffle and Mother Christmas say "Hello", and we all wish you...
Merry Christmas!
(signed) FC
PS Hey boys! It's me! Piffle!!!I liked your pictures so much, I thought I'd draw you one! This is what those wicked dwarfs saw when the looked back!

The boys were so excited to receive FC's letter, they brought it directly to our room to read it without digging into their stockings and gifts. The boys especially liked the part where the dwarfs "took to their heels"! They both have used that phrase in some way or another. If I remember correctly, Thane actually said, "tipped to their heels"! It was pretty cute! We are looking forward to reading about the adventures FC, Piffle, Treeble, and Rafner have next year!

Weekly Report

I'm not quite sure what to make of this week. We weren't able to take Holy Communion on Christmas Eve, we've had the windows open due to the warm temperatures, I've been a little grumpy, and aliens have kidnapped my 6 year old! Here's the run down...

Monday...Christmas Eve...Collin decided to start a project with the boys. He has been reading The Hobbit to them again. One thing you have t
o understand about Collin is that when he reads aloud, he really makes the story come alive. He not only uses different voices for every character, he also makes scenes from the story using blocks and other props. The boys love it when Daddy reads to them. So, they each worked on making dioramas from their favorite parts of the book. Thane likes Smog's cave. Magnus likes the part where the Goblins are driving the dwarfs and Bilbo deep into the cave. Collin worked on the part where Bilbo is fighting the spiders. (I had some great pics of them working on them, but I must have deleted them by accident) This proved to be a bigger project than had anticipated so they are going to continue working on them. I'll post pictures when they are completed. That night, we all got dressed up for church, but we pulled into an empty parking lot. We thought we were meeting at 5pm at our usual meeting spot (a school cafeteria...we lost our beautiful church when we separated from the Episcopal Church and found leadership under the Convocation of Anglicans in North America) but we were wrong. We still don't know what happened. We headed home and had our own little worship service.

Tuesday...Merry Christmas...I felt like a little kid. I had trouble getting to sleep and then woke up at 5:22am! Thankfully the boys were up at 6:18 and so we got Dad up then. I was so excited for everyone to open their gifts. I love giving gifts to people
. Collin surprised me with this Venetian glass necklace from Kay Jewelers...
Apparently he set aside some of the money he received from the Peck Award he received earlier in the month. He said I was entitled to some of it too. What a sweetheart! Our individual libraries, the boy's Playmobil sets, and Collin's pipe collection, including a humidor, were also expanded. We had a nice, quiet Christmas at home.

Wednesday...After cleaning the house, we had our dear friends, Wes and Laura Beth, over. We love hanging out with them. Lots of laughs, Arrested Development quotes, philosophical discussions, and alcohol (within reason, of course. We are all responsible adults.). We are hoping to be at the same grad. school with Wes next year. It would be good for all of us.

Thursday...We were honored by being invited to a friend's birthday party. Yes, we look at it as an honor anytime we are invited to such occasions. We spent the early afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese eating pizza, playing games, and engaging in sensory overload. Collin has a theory about that place that I will post about at another time. It'll definitely make you think. Regardless, we had a great time celebrating our friend, Noah, turning 6!

Friday...We took advantage of the gloomy, gray, wet weather.

It began pouring rain soon after we got outside, but that didn't stop them from having fun.

As far as school goes...The boys worked on their dioramas and read non-stop. I was able to finish planning out our history for the year, as well as gathering materials and worksheets for Thane's ABC study this coming semester. I also decided against doing a plant study this year for science. We are just going to concentrate on the human body. I still have all of my planning left for that to do this coming week. Come Wednesday next week, we will be back on track and doing our "formal" studies. I think we are ready...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Show and Tell... Part 4

After we spent some time in Normandy, we spent an entire day traveling by train, bus and gondola to the Swiss Alps. We left Cherbourg, France at 7am and finally reached our destination (Murren, Switzerland) at 9pm. We actually caught the last gondola up to Murren and didn't know it. God totally had His hand on us during our trip many different times. (That picture is me standing guard with our backpacks in one of the many train stations we passed through.)

After a great dinner of melted cheese and potatoes, we walked around a bit before going to bed. The next day we went on our first hike. Holy Cow! Those Alps sure are steep! It was absolutely breathe taking! I have never seen anything like it. Not even in
WA! here are some of the great views we encountered. Even though I have a great camera (thank you, Collin!), these pictures don't do it justice...

While we were hiking, we came across an playground. I would be pretty impressed if kids could hike up there and still have the energy to play. Well, *we* found it in us...
(our favorites were the rope swing and the zip line!)

After our hike, we headed back to Murren and packed up our backpacks. We adhere to Rick Steve's philosophy of "Traveling Light". For a three week trip, Collin and I each have a pack that we load up with 4-6 interchangeable outfits, comfortable shoes as well as a nicer pair (for when we go out at night), travel size toiletries (although we buy some when we are there), a make-shift clothesline and clothes pins (we do our laundry in our room), a lightweight jacket, and a vinyl tablecloth (essential for picnics!) We also each carry a day pack (This is the one I have. Collin's backpack has a day pack that detaches from it) We carry essentials like books (I read Last Call by Tim Powers), magic soap (hand sanitizer...can't have to much!), Kleenex (for those "emergency" bathroom stops), sunglasses, maps, camera, and lots of water! Oh, and don't forget to always carry your passport and money in a money belt! Anyhow, we then hiked down to the small village of Gimmelwald. I don't think anybody would know of this place if it wasn't for Rick. BUT the great thing about it is, people STILL don't visit. It's too remote I guess. We like places like that though.

The next part of Show and Tell will include our adventures from Gimmelwald. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


12 ft. of pipe insulation...$3.49

50 ft. of sill seal...$5.99

1" x 22" x 22" Poly Foam...$2.17

1 roll of duct tape...$2.89

2 pairs
of youth size

boxing gloves...$19.98

Your boys thinking you are the coolest parents
in the world...priceless!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Our Savior is Born!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Weekly Report

It's the week before Christmas, Collin is finally finished with the semester, so we had an easy week this week. Here's what we did...

As far as school work goes, we did a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We also worked on and completed our first lapbook! We did one on the Nativity. It was pretty easy, but perfect for the boys. Here is how it turned out...

Monday...We met our friends at story time. Recently I have thought about not going this coming semester because it is a half hour away and is right in the middle of Monday morning. Not very convenient. But, I think we will continue. It gives the boys a chance to see friends, hear someone else read besides Mom & Dad, practice the art of showing respect to authority and peers, and to get some wiggles out with all of the crazy songs they sing and dance to. Besides, I am able to get that week's books and materials while we are there and *I* get to see *my* friends! :o) That night we went to an "Evening of the Arts" at the Homeschool Tutorial that Collin teaches at. We were entertained by the girl's choir, the theater class, and the Creative Rhythms classes. Afterwards, we browsed the "art gallery" and had desert. It was a nice evening.

Tuesday...I took the boys to be evaluated to see which level of swimming lessons to register them for. Wouldn't you know it? I have to take them to two different places at two different times on two different days! Oh, and I have to take the class with Thane! I am trying to not have to run around so much and be involved in too many things and this isn't helping at all. I'll just have to live with it though because I think it is VERY important for them to know how to swim especially since we are hoping to take them on a canoe/camping trip this summer. Then we headed to Biology Club where they learned about Bird and Butterfly Migration.

Wednesday...Collin and I went to kick boxing class.

Thursday...We went to book club. We read another great Jan Brett book and learned about "circular stories". The kids all wanted to take turns reading this week. It's great to see them all wanting to participate.

Friday...We all (including Collin) headed up to Nashville. Collin needed to pick up some transcripts to send to grad. school, but their offices had just closed 20 minutes before we got there. Ugh! So, we are headed back up there on Wednesday. Yep, the offices are open the day after Christmas. Pretty crazy! We had a nice lunch though and I got a lot of knitting done.
Speaking of knitting, Magnus started knitting his first scarf. He is going to be a "jack of all trades" just like his Daddy. A man who reads, thinks, boxes, sword fights, rebuilds transmissions, draws, and knits. I like men like that! And ones who aren't too proud to admit it either!

Well, not quite sure how much "school" is going to get done and frankly, I don't really care. I hope to do a unit in history on Friday, but we'll just have to wait and see. I have a lot of planning to do for the coming semester still. Until next week...pick up some trash if you see it laying on the ground! (more on that at another time...)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Show and Tell...Part 3

The day we left Mont St. Michel, we took a little detour to the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise. This ended up being a pretty emotional side trip. Sainte-Mere-Eglise is a small town in Normandy, but held great significance during WWII. June 6, 1944, better known as D-Day, Allied paratroopers descended onto the town in the early hours hoping to catch the German soldiers off guard. Little did they know, some buildings had caught fire so the people were up, out of bed, trying to put them out. The flames illuminated the paratroopers as they floated down. They were nothing but easy targets for the Germans. Many were killed. Paratrooper John Steele's parachute got hung up on the steeple of the church in the center of town. Because he acted like he was dead, he escaped with only a bullet wound to his heal. Regardless, Sainte-Mere-Eglise was the first town to be liberated.

The churches stained glass windows serve as a memorial to all the Ally troops who helped to bring Hitler's puppets down. If you look closely, you can see images of the paratroopers in the design...

It's really strange being in Normandy as an American. There are reminders everywhere of the wretched events that occurred some 70 years ago that we only read in history books. Overlooking our beloved town of Cherbourg is a German bunker, right there for all to see. Regardless of the image we, as Americans, think the French have of us, we (Collin and I) have seen their softer side. Our dear friends' parents lived through the Allied invasion. Dominique's mother, one of the sweetest people I am blessed to know, thanked us -*us* because we are American - over and over for saving her and her country. She loves the USA because of what they did. And her story is something else! (We love and miss you, Morvans!)

Anyhow, Show and Tell Part 4 coming soon....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Preschool Plans for Thane

I am very excited about the plans I have put together for Thane. He has been asking me to teach him how to read and write for a few months now. We've been working on writing letters at random, but it just isn't satisfying him. After revamping the coming semester for Magnus, I noticed we have 26 weeks (give or take a few!) left of schooling this year. So, I decided to give my youngest the desires of his heart and we are going to study a letter of the alphabet each week. By the end of the year, my hope is that he will be able to recognize (he only has trouble with a few now), write (he does pretty good), and sound out all of the letters. If he is able to read Bob books (and the like) that will be a bonus! Here's the plan...(I'll show you what we are going to do for the letter "A")

Tuesday...Introduce the Letter; color and complete worksheet; read a book about that letter or an object/event/person associated with that letter (see books listed at the end of this post); learn the sound/phonic this letter makes using OPGTR and the phonics poem in the book.

Wednesday...magazine craft (he will look through all of the magazines I have been saving through the years and have moved from house to house, for pictures of items that begin with that letter. He will then cut and paste them onto cardstock. At the end of the year we will "bind" it and he will have a great scrapbook of his letter work.), practice writing the letter, and practice the sound/phonic by reciting poem. more books relating to our letter and have Thane narrate the story through a picture drawn by him, practice writing, and practice the sound/phonic by reciting poem.

Friday... create mini book, practice sound/phonic by reciting poem.

Throughout the week, I have various coloring pages for him to color, we'll do some sort of craft activity associated with the stories, we'll point out the letter on signs while we are out, and we'll point out objects that begin with that letter.

As far as Math, I am going to teach him to recognize the written numbers and to write them. We are going to learn through playing the games in our Right Start curriculum, playing dominoes and other games like that, tangrams, bead patterns, and sequence type worksheets. I am also going to create a calendar for him to fill out each day with the date, day of the week, month, and year.

As far as History and Science, he will continue to sit in on these subjects with Magnus. He really enjoys the stories, maps, and crafts. He likes do to whatever his big brother is doing. Glad Magnus is a great example for him to follow!

Here is the list of books we are going to read and narrate...


Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish


Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Billy and Blaze by CW Anderson

Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett


Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


The Egg by MP Robertson

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper


Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue fish by Dr. Seuss


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone


Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton


The Iguana Brothers by Tony Johnston

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff


Bread & Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? By Carlstrom


King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood

A Kiss for Little Bear by Minarik


Little Bear by Minarik

Ladybug, Ladybug by Ruth Brown


If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett (retold and illustrated)


The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood

Noah’s Ark by Linda Haywood


The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

Owl Moon by Jane Yolan


A Puppy for Annie by Kim Lewis

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long


Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

Quick, Quack, Quick! by Marsha Arnold


The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf


The Turtle and the Hare

Little Time & the Brave Sea Captain by Ardizzone


The Umbrella by Jan Brett

Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss


The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


A Fox: The Sound of X by Alice K Flanagan

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss


The Yak Who Yelled Yuck by Carol Pugliano-Martin


If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss

I think this is going to keep us busy and Thane will get a lot out of it. It should give him a head start to the things I have planned to teach him next year in Kindergarten.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weekly Report

We were in "Survival Mode" this week. Collin was finishing up the semester with finals so he was pretty much out of the picture. It gets a little easier every semester, though, because we are learning what each other needs during this time and how to better communicate that.

Since we are going to "hit the books" and get down to business after Christmas, we took things easy this week and plan to next week as well. There is so much going on during this time, I don't want to be stressed out and I don't want my boys to be stressed out. Here is what our week looked like...

Monday...We went to the library for Homeschool Story Time. I was able to get some knitting done while we were there. Magnus also worked on his spellin

Tuesday...It was a gorgeous 76 degrees here, so we did some school work in the morning (spelling, grammar, and math) and then headed to a local park and went hiking with some friends. (no, Thane is not stepping on his friend's neck in the picture!) We spent A LOT of time throwing rocks into the river. Then we went to the park and let the kids play on the big toys before heading to Biology Club. There they learned about "foraging animals".

Wednesday...I know we did some school work, but I can't remember anything else. It is all a blur.

I know we did some school work, but I can't remember anything else. It is all a blur. Oh no! There's a glitch in the Matrix!
Oh, we had Book Club. We read another Jan Brett story and started a lapbook that we are going to add to. Collin had his last final and celebrated with our friend, Wes, who is home from grad. school. Then we all met for dinner with the addition of our friend, Laura Beth, who is Wes' sister.

Friday...Didn't do much of anything and I feel good about it.

Next week I hope to plan more for next semester as far as Thane's schooling goes. We will also do the basics (math and language arts). I'm thinking about doing a nativity lapbook with them as well. Guess we'll see what we are able to accomplish!

3 1/2 years down...5 1/2 to go!

We are officially off "survival mode"! Collin has successfully finished another semester. Now we get him all to ourselves until the middle of January. Well, maybe not "all". He still has a few graduate school applications to fill out and send, a paper and more research to do on Boethius so he can present it at a Medieval Conference in May, cars to fix, and some fiction writing to do. But at least he will be around! :0)

So, he only has ONE more semester left in his undergraduate studies! Yeah!

Oh, and his application to the UC Davis Medieval program will be completed and sent electronically tonight! Yeah! Collin finally has some free moments to give all of this grad. school stuff that has been looming around the attention that it deserves. I know it has been weighing on him. Once all of the applications are in, then we just wait...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Re-evaluating and Revamping

I have finally had some time to sit down and look at where we are at so far this year, evaluate Magnus' abilities and skills, and figure out what we need to do to reach our goals for the year. I am planning to look at Thane's skills in a few day and come up with a plan for him soon. Here is what I have come up with so far...

As of now, the plan is to move sometime in August to wherever Collin will be attending Graduate school, so we will stay here through July. Collin informed me today that he was offered an easy office type job on campus for the summer so that eases my mind a bit. Poppy and Nana will be visiting sometime in February, as may our friend from France. The boys and I are planning to take school on the road with our friends in their RV for a couple of weeks this spring. Collin will be graduating (Praise the Lord!) the first week of May and his parents (from WA) and mine (from IA) will be attending the ceremony. Then we will all be heading to IA for the next few weeks after graduation. During that time, Collin and I will go to MI for his research presentation at the International Medieval Conference. With that all said, I figured out we have about 30 weeks left to finish up school. I am going to plan for 26 though so that we can have some flexibility in our schedule. Especially around the time we will be packing and moving.

History...We are going to continue using SOTW vol. 1 three days a week. It is working for us as there is not a lot of prep time for me. We will listen to Jim Weiss narrate on the cd's and answer the questions in the AG afterwards. The boys will complete the coloring pages and maps. I hope to also complete at least one "hands on" activity from the AG a week. I am still giving thought to adding copy work and completing a time line. I have made beautiful time line books for the the boys and have purchased the Homeschool in the Woods time line figures, but I am not sure if I want them to work on them during the grammar years or the logic years. I am leaning towards the logic stage. I would also like to add more reading other than just SOTW. Collin was suppose to be reading some books to them that went along with the unit we were studying, but he is just way too busy. I think the boys would rather here their Daddy reading the Hobbit. I am going to have to do some more planning in this area.

Science...I am free from the bondage I created! We were, or attempting to, use Christian Kids Explore Biology. I think this is a good program, but it's just not for me. I felt it was lacking something. I am still not able to put my finger on it, so I decided just to change altogether. After Christmas we are going to study the human body for 15 weeks and then plants for 11 weeks when we come home from IA in May. I did away with the animal part of the program because we will be studying them with Apologia for 3 years after we do the Astronomy study next year. I am not sure what book(s) I am going to use for the human body and plant study yet, so I have some work ahead of me. I do know that we are going to do a lapbook for each unit. Regardless, I feel good.

Math...I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am so glad we switched from Saxon to Right Start. Magnus is excelling and is not bored with it. Thane has been watching his big brother and he is catching onto it quickly as well! Originally we were only doing math 3 days a week, but we are going to do it four so we can complete Level B by the end of the year.

Grammar...FLL is working well for us. We will do 4 lessons a week so we can be up to lesson 100 by the end of the school year.

Spelling...I am not sure what to do here. Magnus spells phonetically very well, but doesn't know the "rules". I am going to continue to have him work through Spelling Workout. He will finish Level A by Christmas and start Level B in January. I will continue to make up my own spelling word lists for him to practice. I will re-evaluate at the end of the school year and make any changes, if any, for next year.

Reading Comprehension...We are going to work on volume 2 and not finish volume 1 in Veritas Press First Favorites. Vol. 1 was too "elementary" for him. After looking through vol. 2, I think it will be more of a challenge. I may use this for copywork instead of making it coincide with history.

Independent Reading...Magnus is reading at a very high level. He always has his nose in a book. Collin and I are going to go through various book lists I have collected and choose books for him to read that are written well and are "meaty". No more Magic Tree House. We want to help him develop a desire and discernment for good literature. Being the book-made family we are, good literature is very important to us.

Fine Arts...I was trying to do this with Magnus on Monday afternoons, but we would never be home. We have 22 more units left in Artistic Pursuits (we really did not get far). We are going to have Fine Arts Friday. Magnus and I are going to do AP or a Composer Study Friday afternoons during his quiet time and Thane's nap time. I hope this will be the "cherry" on top of a full week of school.

French...We aren't doing a "formal" study, but haven't really been incorporating it into daily life like we had planned. I am going to make posters with vocabulary words, have the boys listen to our cd's and French audio books more often, and ,hopefully, Collin will be able to record his voice onto a memory cd (thanks to Mindy at Magnum Opus Academy for this idea!) for the boys to listen to that includes common phrases and such.

Our week will look like this...
Monday: Homeschool Story Time, errands, Chiropractor appt., library, and Chess Club
Tuesday: History, Math, Language Arts, and Biology Club
Wednesday: History, Math, Language Arts, and AWANA
Thursday: History (project), Math, Language Arts, and Book Club
Friday: Math, Language Arts, Science, and Fine Arts

I have a bit more work ahead of me, but overall I am very pleased with the changes we are making and the things we hope to get done. Now onto Thane...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weekly Report

What an incredibly busy week. It was full of the "s" word...socialization. Some planned, some unplanned. By the end of the week, I just needed to lock myself in my house and get some other stuff done. Here is what our week looked like...

Monday...After dropping Collin off at school (his Wrangler is leaking water and has a flat tire and therefore inoperable) we headed to the library for story time. While driving on the interstate, this library is about 20 miles north of our house, I noticed a rather loud clanking coming from the engine. I pulled off as soon as I could (my Dad drilled this into my head when I was younger). The oil was bone dry. Not good. I called Collin but he couldn't come to my rescue because he had no way to get to us. He (being knowledgeable about cars) was able to walk me through a series of steps (I do know a bit about cars myself) to see if it was drivable. Luckily my friend was also headed to the library and picked us up along the way. Once story time was over, we decided the Jeep was okay to drive, but Kara was going to follow behind and become my taxi the rest of the day. There wasn't any lasting damage to the engine, or so we think, so we are still able to drive it. Praise God! We also went to our Chess Club's Christmas party that night.

Tuesday...Craft Day! We spent the day at our friend's house making Christmas gifts for our family members. I really want to tell you what they were, but my family reads this. I can say that they turned out really great and am sure they are going to love them. That night we had Collin's Peck award ceremony. You can read about it here

Wednesday...kind of a blur. All I remember is going to Hobby Lobby with Kara and the kids. The boys had their "Happy Birthday, Jesus" parties at Awana and Collin & I went to our kick boxing class.

Thursday...I was in heaven! We went to the Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale. Everything there was 1/2 off and brand new! I spent a little more money than I had wanted, but I couldn't resist. I got quite a few gifts. Then we had book club. We read Jan Brett's Christmas Trolls. The kids loved looking for Hedgie and seeing the mischief he was getting into. They also all learned a new word..."sqabble". I'm waiting to hear it in a perfectly constructed sentence from Magnus' mouth. He loves using "big" words correctly. In fact, this week he said, "Mom, when I see them coming I will rap on the door to let you know." Why didn't he just say "knock on the door"? Well, he likes words. When he hears one he likes, he files it away and uses it at just the right time. I love to hear the things he comes up with. That night we went out to eat with some friends to celebrate a birthday. The boys were good, but very was I.

Friday...we stayed home all day (well, after we went to the Chiropractor) in our pajamas, listened to Christmas music and did school work. We were able to get caught up on our spelling, grammar, and math from the previous week and this week. I was also able to do all of the laundry and get the house clean.

Overall, it was a very productive week. I learned my limits, and my kid's, too. We were able to get some school work done, hang out with friends, and get some Christmas stuff completed. This weekend and next week we are taking it easy. Collin has finals next week. We are looking forward to spending more time with him once he is done with that and his graduate school application that is due the 15th (UC Davis).

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

And the Award goes to...

Last night the boys and I had the honor of attending an awards ceremony for Collin. Collin was nominated by two of his professors to receive the University's Peck Award. This award is given to outstanding English students for "academic excellence, professional promise, and potential for living the examined life with liberality and courage". Out of the nine people chosen to receive this honor, Collin was one of three undergraduates and the rest were graduate students. Dr. Philips introduced him as having "accomplished in his undergraduate studies what most graduate students and young professors hope to accomplish"! It's so great to have his hard work and dedication recognized by the University. I am very proud of my Husband!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

After church this past Sunday, we headed to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree. This was the first time we went to a farm to do it. A couple years ago we hiked in our back yard and cut one down, but we have moved since them...a couple of times. We had a great time even though it felt nothing like was in the mid 60's and spittin' rain. We found a great tree and the boys were a big help.

The boys are measuring it to make sure it is within the 6 foot mark.

The boys helping Dad cut the tree down.

My "big one" is getting even bigger! He loves to assist Daddy in things.

My "little one" is making sure Daddy is doing it right. We didn't loose the tree on the way home so I think he did!

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave!"

Magnus had the honor of placing the star on top this year.

Drum roll please....

We have a great tree and are very thankful for it!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Weekly Report

It makes me feel good to know that I am not the only one having a difficult time getting back into the swing of things after Thanksgiving. Most of my friends and several people on the Well Trained Mind message boards were also finding this week challenging. Nonetheless, we are doing what we can and plugging away, even if it is at a snail's pace.

We pretty much let spelling and grammar slide this week, but I'm not too worried about it. There's always next week...or the week after. :0) Besides, we sch
ool year round so we'll get through it.

Monday...the boy's had their very first chess tournament. Thane was the youngest, at 4yo. to compete. He is really good, and that's not just my biased opinion either. Several of the older kids came to me and commented on his thinking and playing ability. Magnus is also very good. He is able to think several plays ahead and therefore be very competitive. Out of the 6 players in their beginning category, Thane placed 6th and Magnus tied for fourth. They had a great time and really enjoy playing the game. Collin and I are hoping to get them a nice chess set for Christmas. Right now they are using a board they made
with cardstock and pieces made from legos.
Tuesday...We studied Chapter 12 The Middle Kingdom of Egypt. We learned how Egypt invaded Nubia and then how the Hyskos invaded Egypt. Magnus and I have been playing memory/matching games for Math. I just have to say, so far I love our Right Start Math program and I am very happy that I switched from Saxon. This is going to be a great fit for the boys. Thane has being watching/participating and also enjoying it. I plan on "officially" starting the Level A program with him next year, but I have a feeling he will whiz right through it since he is understanding most of Magnus' Level B. Granted, we are not too far into the program yet, but so far it is going great. We also had Biology Club today. Mr. Kyle talked about the constellations and informed the kids about the mythology attached to them. It was interesting for them.

Wednesday...continued learning about Middle Egypt and playing our math games. We also had our book club Thanksgiving feast to prepare for. We made place mats and finished reading The Magic Treehouse Thanksgiving on Thursday. The boys later went to AWANA while Collin and I went to dinner and to our kick boxing class. My left leg kicks are improving and that makes me happy! Collin has a lot of strength and control. I'm pretty impressed.

Thursday...we had our book club Thanksgiving feast. We have been
reading TMTH Thanksgiving on Thursday and doing a study about the Pilgrims. The kids made a place mat for the person whose name they drew out of a hat. We had turkey sandwiches, corn, carrots, stuffing, and cookies. I think we are going to do some Jan Brett Christmas stories and activities next. Collin gave me the night off. I went out to dinner with my girlfriend. We had some great conversation and were not interrupted by kids once! The server was, uh, very "attentive" though. We decided we need to do that more often.

Friday...let's just say we had a lot of lessons about obeying mom, being conscientious of others, and sharing. Lots of, dare I say it? SOCIALIZATION. We basically hung out with friends and played. The kids needed it and so did I. ChickFilA playland is a great alternative to the park when it is cold out. Also, after 5 months, we were finally able to get together with some very dear friends. A great time was had by all.

A look ahead to next week...Collin will pretty much not be available. It's the last week of classes so he has a lot of big papers due and then finals to study for. Oh, and preparation for the four classes he teaches at the Homeschool Tutorial plus working at the library. Oh, and I forgot to mention, graduate school applications are due too. And, he is going to have to find some time somewhere to fix the Wrangler. It's not working right now. So, my next week is going to be full of Christmas crafts, story times, puppet shows, book sales, and more SOCIALIZATION. We will also work on spelling, grammar, and more math games. May have to rethink science over Christmas break.