Friday, February 22, 2013

Homeschool stuff (LONG!!)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a homeschool post.  I did post the used-curriculum stuff, but I thought it might be encouraging to know that we are still plugging along here.

We started school in August and have about 10 weeks left.  Unbelievable!  It’s going by so fast!  We’ll be done the first week of May.  I just got my 4th and 2nd grader planned out through March.  Blue-Raspberry will be finishing Teaching Textbooks 4. That’s pretty exciting!  Strawberry is finishing Algebra 2 this week!  I love it when stuff starts dropping off the agenda.

I’ve mentioned a couple times how a friend of mine blessed me with an incredible amount of Sonlight material.  I’m still absorbing the magnitude of her gift to me.  I think it may be more than a gift from God, I think it may also be the “thing” that keeps me moving forward.  I’ve been homeschooling for 14 years!  That’s a long time.  I have at least 18 more years to go too.  Wow, I’m almost at the halfway point.  Interesting.  Anyway, sometimes it can get kind of dull using the same thing over and over again.  But this Sonlight stuff seems to be so interesting, if I can keep from expecting too much from myself and my children, I think this may get me through the rest of my homeschool journey!


I had to find a place to put all those books.  So, we went to Menard’s (which I personally detest) and found these black book shelves for under $15.00 each.  Oh what fun I had putting these together and organizing them!  Most of these books are for Sonlight, but I did move our science stuff out there as well.  I was able to put our graphic novels and other special books in a place that the kids could get to them without asking for help.


It’s fun to be able to display some stuff on top too.  Now these book shelves have overflown into the playroom.  Which isn’t ideal, but the kids are all in love with them so it worked out well.  Besides I’m still on this “get rid of stuff” kick so it keeps us from lining the wall with plastic toys.  I’ve gotten rid of some really special thing lately.


I put a few things on the shelves for Marshmallow.  She’s pretty good about not making a mess of my shelves.  Mostly she likes to push the books toward the back of the shelf.


I’ve got each shelf labeled by core level.  My friend was VERY organized and has each book labeled on the inside  for what level and what subject.  She made it so easy to organize them!  I think I am getting one more core, she loaned it out to another friend, if that’s the case I’ll have to  do a little rearranging but that will be a fun challenge. 


Since I was able to move my All About Reading posters, I had room to put a few things up to interest Marshmallow, these color cards and another of shape cards. 


This is our “All About” center.  I got rid of the easel and bunch of other little stuff that was hiding behind it.  This is much better place for that huge metal board.  I just flip it over when we aren’t using it so Marshmallow doesn’t try to start spelling words, which she enjoys VERY much.


The white board is often covered with Spelling too.  They are cruising through level 3.


My window to the world…our current Read-Alouds and the kid’s assigned Readers.  I’ve also got all our supplies hanging there  See all that white outside?  At least it reflects the sun and makes the basement even brighter!


These are my book baskets that hold the teacher books.  I’m thinking of getting another one of those black shelves to put there instead, some of those soft cover books are getting kind of mangled in the basket.

With all the other things going on, the hard emotional things of a healing marriage and a rebellious teen, I’ve been trying to simplify and streamline our day better. I’m so happy with how our school time is going right now.  We start about 8 and are usually done by 10:30.  I’m just working with Blue-Raspberry, Bubble Gum and Laffy Taffy, Strawberry is completely independent though she does spend most of her mornings down in the school room with us.

Here’s what we do.

I start Latin with Bubble Gum and Laffy Taffy while Blue-Raspberry does his math on the Lap Top.  Then I teach reading and math to Laffy Taffy while Bubble Gum does her independent work of: handwriting, math and reading.  While she is doing that Blue-Raspberry is working on his Latin, sometimes on the laptop, sometimes not, reading, and Word Roots.  When Bubble Gum and Blue-Raspberry are done, I read to everybody from our current Read-alouds.  After that we do grammar and spelling together and call it a morning.  Come March I’ll be including History in that schedule so it might take a little longer.  But I’m trying to cut myself a little slack and we only do AAS 3 days a week and Grammar 4.  Some of the younger kid’s things only last 4 days anyway, so if we get behind we can always make up stuff on Friday’s.  We’ve been doing our school time this way for weeks and it’s working very nicely.  Not too much for anybody.  They watch an episode of the Magic Schoolbus and the Kratt Brothers everyday for science.  It’s not ideal, but I figure it’s better than nothing and they ARE learning, so I’m satisfied.

On a side note, having a toddler in the schoolroom is VERY stressful.  If she’s not making  mess she’s unhappy about something, she wants somebody’s pencil, she wants a snack, whatever.  When I read out loud I have to be REALLY LOUD because she interprets my talking as, “it’s time to talk with Momma!”  Phew!  It’s exhausting.  Her presence is building character in each of us and for the most part she is delight, but I don’t want you to think it’s all perfect and wonderful.  The reality is, it’s difficult when she’s with us during school.  Thankfully I know this difficult time will pass, I’m just looking forward to that day with GREAT anticipation!

The Battle is the Lord’s,

Mrs. Taffy


  1. I love the peek into your schooldays. We watched a lot of science videos too and I think what they do is foster an interest in learning things, so you can go on and enjoy learning about the things you're interested in, on your own, when you want to know. Enjoy and don't let the teacher get burned out.

  2. Amen sister on the having a toddler in the school room. I am at a point where we only do school while she is napping, I kid you not. When my middle child was at this age, my oldest was 5 so we did school during her naps and that was enough. But now she is 9 and I feel like I skimp too much, but we get nothing done with her there. I noticed that early morning when we want to do school is her MOST active time and she is the most inquisitive at that time. We've tried everything, bring a novel box of toys each time and she still gets into mischief. Good to know we are not alone!

  3. Wow!
    You weren't kidding in your last school post when you mentioned being blessed by lots of books.
    Good for you!

    Even though I only have three kids. It seems their ages (13, 7, 3) and stages are so hard for me to tackle on school days. I think we get 2 solid days in each week at the moment. I struggle with feeling like I'm failing my oldest with school, but God bomps me on the head to remember that, that boy has read MANY, MANY, MANY books in recent years that he's retained knowledge from.
    I TRY to be Charlotte Mason Eclectic. I talk with my friends with 8-10 kids and their school days mostly FLOW from the sounds of it, because it has to.

    It's amazing how God has enabled us to go with the flow, to change the course when needed. You're doing it, I'm doing it. He's good!

    I know you're doing wonderful.
    Especially with all that's going on right now.
    You are walking on the water sister!
    Bless you and tomorrow is a new day to the new joy filled school week.
    JOY my friend!

    James 1:2-4

    My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

  4. I just want to say how encouraging this post is to me. From my my distant perspective, you are the home schooling queen and I can only hope to one day reach the level of organization and joy that you have in it. That being said, it's nice to know that having a little one in the school room is a challenge to you too! My mind feels like it's going crazy some days, because H4's favorite time to get into trouble to cry or beg for something is whenever I am trying to work with H3. And I only have these two!


Your comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!!