Spring temperatures, new curriculum, and visiting with grandparents made this a beautiful homeschooling week!
Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.
We spent the weekend visiting Grandparents! I got to see my Grandma who is 101 and has been living in Assisted Living since right before COVID shut everything down. I haven’t seen her except through a window (in the pouring rain) since her 100th birthday party back in January 2020. She is doing great and has a very nice place. My mom is nearby, so she and I went to visit together.
We also visited Ty’s dad and stepmom, Ty’s mom, and also his uncle who is recovering from heart surgery (we didn’t take the kids to see him since he’s still in a bit of a fragile state). While we there we got to see Ty’s cousins since they are helping to run errands for their parents while their dad is recovering. That was a treat since we haven’t seen them in YEARS.
Ty had today off, so we stayed over an extra day and took the kids to eat at the Mennonite-run diner we like to frequent when we are back in the area. I had the salad bar because I can’t resist the homemade garlic toast and cinnamon raisin toast they put on the salad bar. They make it daily from the leftover bits of homemade bread. It is soooo good!
Then, we headed to town to pick up 4 antique dining room chairs we had refinished at the shop we always take our stuff to. It’s a bit of a trek to take our furniture back there, but this guy is really good, and we plan to go to him as long as he is living and able.
That night, we grabbed chili cheese fries at another favorite restaurant (gotta hit all those favorites when we are back!), and took them over to my mom’s to eat before heading home.
When we got in (late Monday night), we unpacked the entire van and put everything away before heading to bed. Another perk of having big kids – I don’t have to work for 3 days after a trip to get everything put away!
Every morning, I try to “reset” my bedroom before I leave the room for the day. I usually have to dress the 4 year old and get breakfast for her and her older sister, but I do that in my pajamas and then head right back up the stairs to get myself and my bedroom ready for the day.
I tidy up the room, make the bed, get dressed, fix my hair, wash my face and brush my teeth. And those of you who know me best, know I also ALWAYS put on earrings. I may not have makeup on, but I almost always have earrings on!
The reason I like my bedroom to be reset each day is because that is my haven and my retreat. If I need to take a break or rest, that is where I go, and I want it to look relaxing and inviting. I need it to have as little “eye clutter” as possible so I don’t feel the need to go in there and work.
After I got everything in order, I went downstairs to eat breakfast and manage household things like going through the mail, kickstarting Table Chores, and getting school stuff ready for the day.
We started school about an hour later since we had been gone over the weekend and there was more to manage this morning than usual.
But, exciting times…we started Tapestry of Grace Year 2 today!
I bought Our Island Story after using a library copy while we were doing Peaceful Press’ The Kind Kingdom because it was so good!
The reason I read from 2 different history books is because SOTW helps introduce the stories and topics, and then I like to read from a book that is meatier and rounds out what we are learning.
When you are teaching multiple ages all together this is a good method because it’s ok if your little ones tune out a bit during the more meaty lessons since they’ve had a nibble of the information that is just their size.
We also did our GrapeVine Bible Study. We’ll move faster through our current week’s lesson since we only have 3 days of school.
READ >> GrapeVine Bible Studies Review
We also read in The Bark of the Bog Owl – we are so close to finishing it! Such a good book!
After Morning Time, I made myself some pork nachos…which the dog promptly ate while I was helping my 8 year old with math. Thanks, dog.
After making myself another lunch and making sure everyone else got lunch, I worked with Aspen on counting by 5’s – a concept that is stumping her (especially the number 15). I also taught Mercy how to cut and paste using her new Rod & Staff ABC books.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have used these simple workbooks with ALL of my kids. They are from a Mennonite company, so you will see head coverings and old fashioned names, but you also get missionary stories and educational concepts that are beautifully taught without a lot of silly busy work. My kids have all loved these books over the years, and I have never found anything better for my little ones to get them ready for real school.
After lunch I also downloaded Teaching Textbooks Math 3 onto our school computer for Creed to use tomorrow since he is finished with his Horizon Math workbook. He got to set up his own password (which thrilled him!) and learn how to do “computer school” like the bigger boys!
I listened to Garin and Micah’s piano practice and decided I needed to move them on to new songs. Megan (our 20 year old) had been teaching them piano in her spare time, but now that she is away at college, I guess I’ll try to take over. I played piano for 7 years, but I can’t say I feel adequate enough to teach much beyond where the boys already are. Micah (age 12) is particularly gifted at playing, so I may seek out a teacher here in the next few months.
When everyone was finished with school, I went upstairs to my “office” which is actually a desk in a corner of my bedroom, and got my latest podcast published. I’ve been a bit behind on putting out podcasts, so I was glad I could find the time to get it out.
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Since it was nearly 70 degrees out today, I sent the kids to play and Ty and I took a walk on post. There is a 2.1 mile loop around the golf course that we enjoy walking.
Before leaving for our walk, I put my 16 year old in charge of dinner. She made venison steak fingers and brussels sprouts. The kids have been begging for steak fingers since I made them a few weeks ago, so I thawed some venison round steak and Melia tenderized them and cut them into strips, dipping them in flour, then egg, then flour again and frying them in oil. So yummy!
That night, we had Family Worship in our bedroom since Daddy was tired from several late nights and early mornings in a row. We are using Stories of the Resurrection during Lent and singing from our family hymnals.
After Daddy fell asleep, the bigs and I watched a Bleak House episode on BritBox. It’s been a nice thing for us to do together in the evenings.
I got up early and washed my hair and enjoyed the quiet of the morning. It is cooler today, but still nice for February.
While the kids slept, I started working on a grocery list using my Master Grocery List as a guide. It is truly the easiest way to keep our pantry stocked. (And I seriously need to update that post!)
This Italian Seasoning batch used up the last of my herb garden crop from last summer. Glad it is about time to start this year’s kitchen garden!
Honestly, herb gardening is about the only gardening I truly enjoy. I’ve never been much for digging in the dirt, but I sure do enjoy being able to step outside my kitchen door and snip fresh herbs!
Now, back to that grocery list…
I finished it just as the kids were waking up for breakfast! I made the younger ones oatmeal and my 16 year old made pancakes for herself and some of the later risers.
Morning Time started with GrapeVine, then a new folk song (Buffalo Gals), then we moved on to our history and geography.
We are recapping the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the barbarian tribes, so today we marked off the 7 kingdoms in Britain and read from Story of the World and Our Island Story. There was a lot of reading today, so I tried to shorten the morning by not reading The Bark of the Bog Owl. The kids were having none of it, so we read on!
It was Creed’s first day on Teaching Textbooks. He did great! So strange to see him doing school on the computer. I guess this means he’s growing up. *sigh*
After so much reading and teaching this morning, I decided to take a break and eat lunch in my room. While I was there, I put the finishing touches on my GrapeVine Review and got it published.
I am way behind on writing my weekly Large Family Homeschooling post, so I wrote a tiny bit on that as well. Throughout the week, I jot down notes about my day in a notebook I keep on my desk in my bedroom and then transcribe it all into a post and add in photos I’ve taken and links to everything I mention. It’s not small job, but I do enjoy it and the feedback I’ve gotten from doing these posts has been tremendous!
Usually, we do Special Nights on Tuesday nights, but since this week has been a bit “messed up” due to traveling on the weekend, we moved it to tonight. It’s the 16 year old’s turn and we’ve decided to start taking the kids out to eat again starting with her. This is something we haven’t done for Special Nights since COVID began, and we’ve sorely missed it. Melia chose a gastro-pub Ty and I like to go to and had a burger with cheese curds on it!
When we came home, Ty and I stayed up entirely too late researching his family on Ancestry.com. We’re working on a family tree for the Roberts side – no small feat since it is such a common name and we don’t have a lot of information for his side of the family. However, we think we have it traced back to the 1700’s here in United States!
The late night found me groggy this morning! Thankfully, my 15 year old son made a nice, hot breakfast for the kids – eggs, bacon, and toast. I ate a bit of scrambled eggs and had a cup of coffee while I prepped for school (and woke up!).
A new book came in the mail – The Church in History – so we’ll be adding that to the rotation of books for Morning Time (or assigning it to the older kids – not sure yet).
Today, we tracked the Barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire on our map of Europe and also learned about Augustine.
We finished The Bark of the Bog Owl! I’ve already ordered the next book in the trilogy from Interlibrary loan. The kids can hardly wait! These books are definitely influenced by C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, and have a good mix of adventure and humor in them!
I had to race through the little kids’ subjects because I needed to eat a quick lunch and head to the city for a dermatology appointment. When I got home, I worked on laundry and tidying up the house since it seems to fall apart in my absence.
Our library was hosting a Zoom meeting all about Ancestry.com, so Ty listened in on that while the kids did the Friday house cleaning chores early since we are going to visit friends tomorrow! They don’t want to have to wait to leave until the chores are done in the morning – great incentive!
This morning, the kids finished up any chores they hadn’t done last night and we headed to our friends’ house about 90 minutes away. We’ve been friends for over a decade and we’ve tried to stay in touch and get together as often as we can, even when we lived much further away. All of our kids are close in age, and even the oldest daughter comes to visit with her 2 little ones because her oldest is my youngest’s age! Oh the joy of large families!
The kids played all afternoon while my friend and I talked. We usually combine whatever food we have on hand to come up with a meal for everyone, but it just so happened we both had planned on sandwiches and chips! My 15 year old had also made Thelma Lou’s Cashew Fudge to share with his friends. (He’s such an old soul!)
We drove home that evening and all went to bed early!
Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.