Curriculum issues and a family recipe project made this snowy week an interesting, yet cold, one!
Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.
This morning was very cold with lots of snow – beautiful to wake up to! However, it is way too cold for the kids to go out in, and they are bummed.
If you’d like to know how you can have a simple Morning Time, LISTEN HERE >>
During Morning Time, we learned about the folk song – Allouette – which basically is about plucking a lark because it woke you up in the morning! EEK! We’ve really been enjoying the lessons from A Folk Song a Week, you should definitely check it out!
We also did lessons in our new Grapevine Bible curriculum. (Review coming next week!)
From there, the kids headed off to their individual homeschool work. I check in with them periodically, and spend most of my time and energy working with the 8 and under crew.
Ty is off work today, so after everyone munched on leftover Super Bowl snacks, Ty and I headed out in the 4 wheel drive to check the roads. This isn’t something we do often, but Ty was getting a bit cagey and needed some fresh air – no matter how cold.
We ended up taking a package to the post office, and then going to a homeschool-owned coffee shop next door for coffee.
When we got home, I worked on last week’s Large Family Homeschool Life post. I was a little behind getting it written, but that’s the way life goes sometimes.
My 15 year old son has been working on a comic strip about a super hero named The Raven. He uses Microsoft Paint 3D and Word and then uploads it to Canva, which has a comic strip template. He was excited to show me the latest installment today!
Canva is what I use to make all of my blog graphics and projects, but it is also great for homeschool and homemaking projects! There are tons of templates and options to make your homeschool more interactive and hands-on!
Blake (our oldest son) called me before dinner, and we talked for quite some time about what he was reading in Colossians 2. It was a good discussion, and so nice to be able to have these spiritual conversations with an adult child!
After supper (which was more leftovers!), I did puzzles with the middle kids (who have really become the “big kids” since the older 2 kids have moved out). We set up a card table in the dining room, so we could work through some of the puzzles my mom and Blake’s girlfriend gave us.
They say puzzles help with depression and keeping your mind acute – a very good idea for these blustery winter months!
Baby Mercy slept late, so we were able to get in a bit of schooling before she got up. I love having her in the dining room with us, but there are many times she plays so noisily I have to send her out or shush her over and over again. (not my favorite thing to do)
We started the morning schooling with a couple of versions of Fairest, Lord Jesus from Great Hymns of the Faith (volume 1) from Music in Our Homeschool. This is the same company that has the folk songs class we did yesterday. We are switching back and forth, this semester to keep thing interesting.
Then, we did a lesson in Grapevine and read in The Story of the Romans. We did not read in Bark of the Bog Owl because by that time Mercy was up and fussing to get dressed and eat breakfast. I headed off to get her ready for the day, and the other kids went on to their individual school subjects.
Mercy’s Morning Chores include getting dressed, brushing her teeth and hair, cleaning her glasses, and getting breakfast. She still needs help with all of these things, but she is learning to do parts of each thing and then I help her finish.
While I was upstairs with Mercy, the kids worked through their usual routine of subjects. They each have a set order they work through that keeps them on track. I call this Autopilot Homeschooling because they do it automatically without a lot of prodding from me.
I recently set up Teaching Textbooks for the little boys on the laptop, so the 15 year old can do his math on the main computer without interruption. I really like the new interface for TT and it is nice we can use it from any device!
Aspen has been working in her Kindergarten books, and at 6, still manages to turn her numbers around from time to time. From what I’ve read, it is perfectly normal for kids to do this until age 8 or so. A lot of people worry their kids are dyslexic before this time, when really they just need more time and brain maturity.
Melia, Ty, and I met some old friends in the city for lunch. Sarah (from Sidetracked Sarah) and I have been friends for 16 years, and we get together as often as we can. If you’ve ever heard me talk about Freezer to Slow Cooker meals and how helpful those are for large families, it’s Sarah’s meal plans I’m usually speaking of. She’s fabulous!
When we got home, I put on a pork roast (made like this Electric Skillet Roast) for dinner, and then wrote an email for Raising Arrows readers.
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Ty came home from work and we ate the roast with a salad, green beans, pickles, and a dip with crackers. The rest of the evening was spent enjoying Micah’s Special Night.
Today crept up on me. It is the 13th anniversary of Emily’s death. Some years are easier than others – this being one of those years. Often, it is the days leading up to February 10th that are more difficult than the actual day. We miss her dearly.
After individual school work, we made lunch and the big kids and I shut ourselves in my bedroom to watch the BBC documentary series on Julius Caesar. After the Pompeii documentary last week, I didn’t want to scare the little kids, so I figured it would be better for just the 3 of us to watch it.
After that, I realized the comfy, but rather dumpy, clothes I had put on for the day were not helping my productivity. I decided to change clothes, and immediately found my attitude and motivation much improved! Perhaps other moms can get a lot done in sweats, but I am not one of them!
I decided to start going through some of the recipe cards in a recipe box I’ve had since we first got married. A few days ago, I ordered notebook divider tabs from Amazon because I’ve decided to tackle the HUMUNGOUS project of going through all of our family recipes and putting them into one notebook.
About a year ago, I purchased a recipe box from Etsy that I hoped would become a nice heirloom to house all of our family recipes, but it turned out to be less than perfect. The box was too clumsy and I didn’t feel like transferring ALL of our recipes onto bigger cards so they would fit in the box. (Sometimes you have to admit defeat and poor purchases and move on.)
After reading this post from Elsie at Richly Rooted, I began thinking back to my childhood when all of my mom’s favorite recipes were in an old self-adhesive photo album that looked almost exactly like this one:
While I don’t really think this is the best way to keep recipes, the idea of having them ALL in one (or maybe two) notebook(s), is VERY appealing and useful!
Here are the items I am using for this project:
So while I wait for the resources I purchased for this project to arrive, I got started looking at recipes and realized there are quite a few I have either never made or haven’t made in a really long time. There were also some I know I will never actually make because they either use ingredients I never keep on hand or they are too involved for my preference.
I threw away the recipes I’ll never make, and set aside the recipes that I need to try out. I started with a Crumb Cake that has been in the recipe box for YEARS. It turned out VERY crumbly, and while it was a delicious dessert for our dinner, it wasn’t worth keeping. I also made a Chicken Divan casserole for dinner, and that recipe is a definite keeper!
I figure this little project of mine will keep me busy throughout the rest of the winter months!
This morning after breakfast and Table Chores, we started in on our usual Morning Time, including a study of Nero.
After Morning Time, I sat down to help the 6 year old and 8 year old with their work, and quickly realized we had a serious homeschool issue that would require me to make a fast decision on curriculum.
For nearly a decade I have been using Phonics Museum to teach my children to read. I even wrote a review of the program many years ago (you can read it HERE). A few months ago, I ordered Aspen’s Kindergarten Phonics book, and when it came, it was VERY different from the old design. BUT, I thought it was simply the design that was different and nothing else. I WAS WRONG.
Besides the fact that the interwoven fine arts education that I loved about the program has been eliminated and replaced by cartoons, the wonderful story books from the original have been changed as well! That means Aspen’s phonics workbook does not match up with story books I already own! ACK!
So, I had to make a choice – buy the new story book package or try to find the old workbooks online. I opted for searching online and ended up buying enough workbooks to supply Aspen and Mercy (my last 2 readers). I found them at Thriftbooks.com, but you could probably find them via other sources as well.
Since I was on a roll ordering curriculum, I decided to purchase Mercy’s Rod & Staff ABC books (I have used these with ALL of my children, and don’t intend to stop now!).
I also found a copy of Story of the World volume 2 on Thrift Books, so I snagged that. AND, I have Before Five in a Row coming in the mail! Yay for fun homeschool mail!
Meanwhile, as I was searching for curriculum, Mercy was making her own worksheets! I could hear her saying to herself, “Color the circle blue.” She is so resourceful (and cute)!
Lunch was leftovers, and after we cleaned up, I headed up to my bedroom to do some decluttering while I listened to Mystie Winckler talk about decluttering in her membership class! Certainly kept me motivated!
One thing she said that really stuck with me is the fact that clutter isn’t about having too much stuff, but about having stuff that doesn’t have a home. In a large, homeschooling family you are going to have stuff (and quite a bit of it). That doesn’t mean you are a bad person. But your stuff does need a home, so that’s what I’ve been focusing on lately.
Later, I worked on taxes for the blog – not my favorite task. And since my recipe project stuff came, I spent time on that as well. The recipe I tried tonight was healthy homemade poptarts. They were ok, but a bit of a pain to make – especially for my size of family, so that recipe went in the trash.
It is bitterly cold out this morning! There has been snow on the ground much longer than we usually see it here. Often, our snow only lasts a few days, but here we are sitting at 6 days of below freezing temps keeping our snow firmly packed on the ground.
Fridays are always our house cleaning day (or Home Blessing as FLYlady calls it). After everything was clean, I worked on adding a cover and spine to my Recipe Notebook using Canva. Then, my 16 year old daughter and I headed out to the thrift store to find TeenPact acceptable clothing for her.
TeenPact is a homeschooling event that teaches kids citizenship and statesmanship. Kids learn about and participate in governmental procedure. All of our older kids have attended, and our oldest son even staffed the event one year.
Melia found quite a few things at the thrift store, and the price was right, especially with a Friday military discount. After we were finished, Ty told us to go to dinner together, so we headed to a local Thai restaurant. They were busier than I have seen in a long time, considering all of the COVID restrictions.
Ty fed the kids chips and dips and a mish-mash of other things from the pantry and refrigerator. I must say I am slightly jealous of how he doesn’t feel the least bit guilty over what he feeds the kids. I scrutinize every single thing I serve them for nutritional value, and he just mindlessly feeds them. I wonder what would happen if I didn’t take such pains to plan and cook meals? Ha!
Read more Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.