Thursday, March 29, 2007

Good deals

Deep Discounts:
DVD sale - lots of DVD's @ $5.89 w/ free shipping- including Princess Bride and Luther (but also includes many not so good ones) - sale ends tomorrow, Friday, March 30! (Think birthday and Christmas gifts!!)
Click here to view titles.

Milk @ $2.75/gallon (I'm not sure, but probably ends Saturday)

HEB: (Sorry if I steal your thunder, Candace!)
Sanderson Farms Whole chicken @ $0.65/lb.
white seedless grapes @ $0.97/lb.
zucchini squash @ $0.99/lb.
tomatoes on the vine @ $0.97/lb.
large seedless navel oranges @ $0.99/lb.

Breyer's All Natural Ice Cream (56 oz - I think this is 1/2 gallon) @ $2.88.

They have some toys on clearance. There were a few boy toys - some pirates, race cars, etc. and a few for toddlers - like Winnie the Pooh - but not alot of girl stuff. Here's the link.

If you know of any others, post them in the comments.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WFMW: dryer sheets

I admit, I thought I was the only one who did this until last month's Whole Hearted Mother's conference when we talked about laundry issues in one of our gab sessions. But I have a tip that will save you roughly half the money you spend on dryer sheets: tear them in half and use one sheet for two loads.

I know that may sound silly, but when you have a larger family, that means more laundry, and little things start to add up. I got the idea when I would take used dryer sheets out of a newly dried load, and it would still be a little stiff, like it still had some life in it. So since the loads didn't seem to need the whole sheet, I started tearing them in half. I tried it on all loads, and now I do it with everything except the load that has my husband's black dress socks. They are just too static-y without a full sheet.

Click here for other ideas for dryer sheets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tapestry of Grace

I have become a Tapestry of Grace affiliate! This means that if you click on my link on the right hand side bar or here, and order anything from Lampstand Press, the publishers of Tapestry of Grace, I will get a small commission from them with no additional cost to you. So if you are planning on purchasing anything from the Tapestry of Grace website, please use my link so I'll get credit for it! Don't forget they sell books as well!

What is Tapestry of Grace? It is a history, geography, Bible survey and church history, literature, writing, fine arts, governments, and philosophy curriculum, for all levels K-12. It utilizes "living books" at four different levels, maps, 12 levels of writing assignments, and optional assignments in electives such as art, philosophy, and government. It is the best of unit studies and classical methods made doable for all of us - while anyone can use it, it is designed especially with large families in mind. It travels through all of world history in four year plans, allowing all your students to study the same topic at the appropriate level.

The people who produce "Tapestry of Grace" have put three weeks of everything they produce online for free. They're offering a complete mini-unit on ancient Egypt, which consists of the first three weeks of "Tapestry of Grace," specially prepared evaluations materials, a comprehensive writing program, customized maps, hands-on lap books, and their unique new "Pop Quiz," which provides audio CDs so dads can come up to speed on what the family is studying each week. Here's a link to the new "Go to Egypt" site.

There's ALOT of stuff there, so feel free to browse and use either my link to buy, or my affiliate code when you order: TOGNB49

Monday, March 26, 2007

You know you're a homeschooler when...

I sent this around in an email a couple years ago, but lost it in a subsequent hard drive crash. I ran across it a few days ago, and thought it was worth another post. It still makes me laugh.

For those of you who don't homeschool, and so might not get the humor in this, let me just say that sometimes we feel pressure for our kids to be a certain way, even to other homeschoolers, whom we always assume have it more together than we do. Yes, that's ridiculous. Which is why this is so funny. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Sums

The sickness seems to be finally waning around here. I felt alot better yesterday, but had zero energy. I had to run to HEB for milk, eggs, and more medicine yesterday morning, and was crashed on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. Kelly said he finally feels a little better this morning - his throat isn't killing him, and he slept well (I think partly due to the NyQuil I ran out and got yesterday). So hopefully another day of rest will get him off to work tomorrow.

Brynna and Aubrey haven't had a breathing treatment in over 24 hours, so they seem to be getting better as well. They are still having to finish up the round of oral steroids. Lauryn isn't coughing nearly as much, and her nose isn't needing to be wiped very much at all, so maybe the light is beginning to show at the end of the tunnel.

We have the sweetest church family ever! We have had dinner brought to us the last two nights - both of which were very yummy. Plus another another church member brought us breakfast yesterday! This has been such a blessing for us. With Kelly and I both feeling like death warmed over the last few days, we were running out of leftovers and easy meals that Kora could throw together. So a HUGE thank you to all of you who have helped us out. It's rough when mom and dad are both sick, as well as over half the kids. I joked to our pastor that we needed to put a big "Quarantined" sign on our door, as this stuff was nasty!

Really, other than that, I have nothing else to catch up on. With Kelly home from work most of the week, and the rest of us just home, we are starting to get a little cabin fever-ish now that we are on the mend a little. We will all be so glad to get back to a normal routine. And a clean house. One look at our kitchen will tell you that it has been in the hands of children for far too long...

Lord, thank you for this time of illness and rest you have brought to our family. Thank you that we were able to avoid the ER. Thank you that Kelly had the time off to take. Thank you for our wonderful church family who has been such a blessing to us. Help us to be a blessing to them when they need help. Help us to rest in your wisdom and plan for our lives.

Most of all, thank you most of all for coming and dying for our sick and dying souls.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Isn't it romantic. . .

Actual Conversation in the housefullofgirls:

Aubrey: When I grow up, I want to move to Montana.

Kora: Well, it depends. You may not if you get married to someone in the Air Force. If you do, you'll have to go wherever the Air Force tells you to go.

Aubrey: Yeah, but since we don't know who we're marrying yet, we don't know where we'll live.

Kora: Yeah, because it's not like we can go ask someone to marry us.

Aubrey: No, we just have to wait around waiting for someone else to ask us. It's like sitting around waiting for someone to offer us food.

(Me in the next room, trying to not let them see me eavesdropping or hear me holding back barks of laughter.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Illness update - yep, it's actually worse around here...

Remember when I mentioned a few posts ago about some of our kids ending up in the ER with breathing issues? Well, we almost had a repeat today. Brynna woke up with severe breathing problems, a temp of over 102, and vomiting. We stuck her in the bathroom and ran the hot water for a steam treatment. That got her stable enough that we decided to wait and take her to our regular doctor. By the time I was ready to go, Aubrey had started having problems breathing so I took her with me so the doctor could listen to her as well.

Turns out she has bronchiolitis, which he said was a type of bronchitis. Aubrey has the same thing. It's viral, so we were sent home with steroids, a nebulizer and medicine for it for both girls. Actually I got scripts for them, and had to spend the afternoon chasing down a nebulizer that I could get today and that took our insurance, but that's another story. :)

But the doctor did give us the reassuring news that it is highly contagious and should probably make its way through the whole family, especially for those who have "twitchy airways." Did I ever mention I have asthma? And all our kids seem to have "twitchy airways?" They already are coughing their heads off. And Kelly has missed 3 days of work already this week, and will probably miss tomorrow. So if you could pray that we are all able to recover quickly from this, and that no one will have any further breathing problems, especially during the night, we would all greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WFMW: Library Elf

I know many families, and homeschooling families in particular love the library. Our family goes once a week, and not just to pick up books about Greece or Rome, but also because the girls and I love to read. I do buy a great many books for school, but we also supplement with library books.

Between the history books for 2-3 children, science books, literature books, plus what the girls call "fun books" - this is anything that is not assigned for school, although they do sometimes read "school books" for fun, plus my books (family, homemaking, biographies, history, as well as novels), we have MANY books checked out of the library at one time. We have an entire shelf in our front room that is the home of our library books when not being read. Kelly calls it "The Smith Branch of the San Antonio Library." Kora and I both have library cards, and between the two we usually have 40-60 books checked out at one time. Keeping up with them all used to be a nightmare until I discovered Library Elf.

This is a website that has partnered up with many libraries across the nation, thankfully including the San Antonio library system. It is a free service in which they send you emails reminding you of upcoming due books, any over due books, alerts you to any books that are ready to be picked up after you have placed them on hold. You enter all the library cards your family has, and it sends you one email for all of them. You also get to control the settings of how often you receive the emails, how many days prior to the due date, etc.

Before I signed up with Elf over a year ago, we had library fines on a regular (as in monthly) basis. These have virtually been eliminated (leaving me more money to BUY books!) since then. I now get an email the day before I go to the library with a complete list of everything due the next day. This allows me to make sure everything gets turned in on time, or rechecked. This is has been a lifesaver for me! My husband likes the drastic reduction in fines as well.

So if you utilize the library, DON'T leave home without Library Elf!

Warning: PG-13 content: so parents, be warned

I missed this article a few weeks ago, but this is how it starts:

A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the "gay" agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts, finding that they need the teachings to be "engaged and productive citizens."

U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf yesterday dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by David Parker, ordering that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality.

The article is reporting on a lawsuit that two Christian families brought trying to keep their ELEMENTARY age children from being taught that homosexuality is right at their public schools. The judge ruled that:

In the ruling, Wolf makes the absurd claim that normalizing homosexuality to young children is 'reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy.' According to Wolf, this means teaching 'diversity' which includes 'differences in sexual orientation.'

In addition, Wolf makes the odious statement that the Parkers' only options are (1) send their kids to a private school, (2) home-school their kids, or (3) elect a majority of people to the School Committee who agree with them. Can you imagine a federal judge in the Civil Rights era telling blacks the same thing – that if they can't be served at a lunch counter they should just start their own restaurant, or elect a city council to pass laws that reflect the U.S. Constitution?
This type of ruling was seen in effect even more recently when a high school in Deerfield, Illinois held a gay seminar for all freshman, making them sign a confidentiality agreement to not tell anyone - even their own parents - that they attended such a meeting.

We are often admonished that we can still send our kids to government school and also obey the instruction to bring our children up in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. For many years, Kelly and I have not believed this is the case. And not just because of the homosexuality issues. In spite of many Christian teachers and administrators who try their best, the government schools are firmly in the hands of government officials, judges, administrators, and unions who use the schools to promote, not a neutral atmosphere as they claim, but a very atheistic, anti-Christian atmosphere. Of which this particular issue is merely a symptom.

I often hear, "It's not happening in my child's school." Maybe not. Yet. But if they make a promise not to tell you, how will you know?

HT: Kim

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Four Year-Old Woes

As I look back at yesterday's post, I realize it sounds very whiny. Which I really shouldn't do, as it really hasn't been too bad, it just seems to hang on for a long time. Now I have children (and a mommy) who thought they were over it having symptoms again.

So to get my mind off the virus(es?) going around our house, I thought I'd post something funny. I don't know if it is true universally, but 4 years old seems to be a temperamental age for girls, at least for our present 4 year old. Come to think of it, I don't remember the older three being this... dramatic, but for Hailey everything is either agony or ecstasy. She cries easily (this being the agony part). And what, you may ask, would bring a girl with a loving family, a close church community, plenty of friends, and more toys than you need to open a store with have to cry about?

Well, let's take a look at what has caused her tears lately:

  1. "My ponytail holder keeps coming out of my hair!"
  2. "I can't find my pajamas!"
  3. (When told to pick up her room) "But it's too messy!"
  4. "My dresser drawer won't open!"
  5. "My dresser drawer won't close!"
  6. "I can't stop coughing!"
  7. "I don't want to watch that movie!"
  8. "Lauryn is looking at this toy, and I'm playing with it first!"
  9. "I want to play with this toy and Lauryn won't let me!" Obviously, the who-was-playing-with-it-first rule can be applied when it is advantageous and ignored when it is not by a 4 yo.
And my personal favorite....
10."Lauryn (her 2 yo sister) won't let me wipe her nose!"

Ah, the travails of youth. I am really praying that her husband-in-training somewhere is a very patient man.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Week 2

Will it never end?

Now Kelly has this cold, or whatever it is we have, and I am trying not to get it. If I chant "I am not getting sick. I am not getting sick." enough times, will it make it true? That my sore throat, aching back, and splitting headache are all imagined? Of course, Brynna, Hailey and Lauryn still sound awful too. Needless to say, our day did NOT start at 5 am. this morning.

Kora wanted to know why they had to do school work if we are sick? Does this logic mean I can quit cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of children when they are sick? Hee, hee. Good try though, kiddo!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Sums

Coughs and drippy noses are still the order of the day around the house. Brynna succumbed yesterday, Hailey still has a bad cough (9 days running now) and Lauryn still has a runny nose. I always get a little nervous when the girls get coughs like this, as we have a family history of these kinds of cough turning into croup, and the croup landing us in the hospital. Aubrey and Hailey have both been rushed to the ER and then admitted in past years, and we've had several close calls over the years when we almost took one of the girls in. So we've been monitoring them closely this week but so far so good. But this is two weeks in a row I have missed church - I feel downright pagan! :)

Kelly's been having some health issues in the past several months that have been very troublesome. But a couple of weeks ago we got ahold of some info on how diet and supplements can help, so he's been implementing those changes. And he has gotten markedly better over the last couple of weeks, and we are praying that he can continue to improve.

I received a phone call this week from the company that makes the software I use for my lesson planning. I had represented them at the San Antonio FEAST bookfair three years ago, manning the booth for two days. They need someone to work this year's bookfair in May, and were wanting me to do it again this year. It's a wonderful opportunity to earn some extra money - in those two days I'll earn most of what our curriculum will cost for all of next year for four girls. Then in June, I'm already signed up to work at the CHEACT bookfair representing Tapestry of Grace, the history, literature, and writing curriculum I use. That will earn me a free year plan from them. I am very excited and thankful for how God has provided for us for the next year's school needs!

I went shopping Friday night, and actually found two church dresses that I liked and that fit. This may not sound like much, but I always seem to have problems finding clothes - they seem as if they are made either for my grandmother's age group, or for, well, um, teenagers of questionable moral values. So I'm, always happy when I can find something that falls between those two.

It's a pretty low-key week, with the kids being sick and scouts being out for spring break. I have just a little bit more work left to get the kids spring clothing all situated - be glad when that is done. My MIL had her next-to-last chemo treatment this last week. Only one more, and then we are looking at surgery. She had to change oncologists, but the treatment itself is going very well. Thanks so much for keeping her and our family in your prayers.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some things only happen in the housefullofgirls..

Actual occurance in our house this morning:

(Youngest three daughters are finishing breakfast while older two are supposed to be doing chores.)
(Kora comes stomping into the school room where I am checking email.)

Kora (in that tattle telling voice we all know and love): Mama, Hailey has her fork stuck in her hair!

I rush into the dining room, and sure enough, there's Hailey with her fork sticking out of the back of her head.

AND... we had waffles and syrup for breakfast.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sale on Milk

CVS has a sale on their milk through Saturday: $2.49 a gallon for 1%, 2%, skim and whole. It does not say "with card" so evidently you don't need the savings card to get in on this. It does say limit 2, but I'll still have lots of time to stock up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Colds and Pirates

Now we have a houseful of sick girls. Or so it seems, anyway. Actually Brynna still seems ok, but the rest of them are laying around the living room underneath quilts. Seems to be just mild colds, but it is enough to make your head swim when you get up. So yesterday and today are movie days around here, the favorites seem to be the two Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Much as I don't like to see them feel bad, when they are only mildly sick, it makes for a rather easy day for me. They don't make messes, there are no lessons to oversee, and they are occupied with the movies.

The biggest downside is that we were supposed to host Bible study tonight. And now of course, that isn't happening. But I'm sure we will be back to our overly-busy selves soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A great deal on copy/printer paper

UPDATE: I ordered this late Monday night, and received it today (Wednesday) about 4 pm. The Office Depot delivery man asked me as he was setting two boxes in my entry way, "Was there a sale on this paper? I've been delivering alot of these boxes today."

I saw this deal on another blog tonight (Life in a Shoe), and had to go put in my order. This is a great price on copy paper - and it's delivered! My total was $16.37 for 5,000 sheets - that's 10 reams - of copy paper. You can go to for this and other deals.

Spoofee will tell you to:
1. Click here to go to Office Depot.
2. Search and Add 345603 ( Price : $5.59 ) - Buy 10 of these
3. Search and Add 429266 ( Price : $0.29 )
4. Coupon Price : -$31.00 | Code : 73649244
5. Coupon Price : -$10 off $25 | Code : 44141777
Final Price : $15.19 Shipped

This price doesn't include tax, which brings the total to $16.37.

Also, they have a good deal on the Logitech remote we have that many of you have suffered envy over. Spoofee tells you how to get this programmable remote for only $60! (We just priced this for my in-laws, the best price elsewhere was $99).

CompUSA has the Logitech Harmony 659 Advanced Universal Remote for a good price.

Pricegrabber Price : $110 ~ $120 Shipped

1. CompUSA Price : $89.99
2. Mail-in Rebate : -$30.00 (Exp 03/17/2007)
3. Recommended to choose in-store pickup to save on shipping.
Final Price : $59.99 After Rebate

I have found a new site to add to my internet wanderings!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Sums

TODAY Hailey was sick, so I stayed home from church with her, also keeping Lauryn home as well. One of the projects I'm currently working on is a roster/directory for our church, including pictures and everything. I'm having a couple of problems though. For some reason I can't get the pictures to print on the directory pages. I'm also trying to figure out a way to hide the ages of all the adults - I have a feeling some of them might now appreciate my advertising their ages in a church wide directory! So if you are a member of our church, please be patient, I am working on it!

'TIS also the time of year for one of my most dreaded chores: folding away last season's clothes and getting out this season's. Although I must admit, getting out the spring/summer clothing is much easier than getting out the cold weather things - there's so much more flexibility in the fit of dresses and shorts than in pants. I also love that the spring/summer clothing as a rule lasts longer around here. My girls are awfully hard in the knees of pants, so I am always grateful when we can put the pants away for several months. They don't look so much like ragamuffins in the warm weather! :)

It is also quite an organizational issue to figure out exactly what clothes will fit 5 girls, ranging in ages from 10 to 2, but who are only roughly 2 years apart. This means that we basically have someone in every size from 6x to 16, plus a 3T. Add in that there is no standardization of sizes, so if a shirt says it's a 10-12, it may in actuality fit my 5 yo. So I have to do a lot of "here, try this on." Needless to say by the time I go through folding away all the cold weather stuff, sorting through t-shirts, pajamas, shorts, swimsuits, jeans, pants, Sunday dresses, everyday dresses, tops, outfits, shoes, socks, etc. and figuring what needs to be purchased - all this times 5 girls, this project usually takes me the better part of one week (or two). So once it's done I always feel a triumphant sense of completion. I know, I know, sick, huh?

THIS week and next the girls have a break from scouts - it's time for the spring break backpacking trip and as we aren't taking part of the trip, we are off. Usually we take two weeks of "spring break" from lessons: one in February, one on April. But this year my MIL is expecting to have surgery around the 1st of May, and we are trying to finish up the school year by then. So we are just taking days off here and there, but are trucking right along. I am also beginning to look ahead to what I'll need to order in the next few months. We usually start a new school year right after 4th of July, going pretty much year round from there. And I LOVE the planning and organizing of the curriculum, combing through the phone book length Rainbow Resource catalog, planning out my year. I also love to look back at what the girls have accomplished over the year nearly completed.

Kelly now has me completely hooked on Sudoku! Not a good thing! Well, I'm sure everyone will be expecting supper soon, so I better go. Enjoy the later sunlight everyone!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Estrogen Overload

Today is Friday, and for a treat, we invited several of the girls' friends over for a good bit of the day. So all total there were 10 girls here today - my five, plus an extra 4 yo, 2 extra 8 yos, and 2 11 yos.

Brynna, Hailey and Abby were playing in the room which looked like the debris field from a Mattel factory explosion.

Kora and Aubrey's guests were all playing horses in one way or another all morning. This is a constant theme around our house.

Lauryn felt a little left out, and would sneak upstairs whenever possible.
But mostly she kept me company. After lunch the little ones went down for a nap and the older 6 went outside to play on the swingset and play tag.

We have alot of very happy girls at our house right now. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Homeschooling at the Academy, Part 3

After the girls finish math, we take a long lunch break, at least an hour and a half. We eat, tidy the kitchen, and the girls practice piano.

1:00 - 3:00 - This time is set aside for history and geography, writing, literature, and science - but not all on the same day. Mondays and Tuesdays are for history and geography. Wednesday we wrap up history for the week and start their writing assignment, which is usually related to the history assignment. Thursday and Friday are science days, and they also work on the writing assignment. The literature they work on throughout the week.

Geography is not really a separate subject - we just study the geography of whatever area we are reading about in history that week. Literature is also tied to the history - they read book written during the time, or written about people or events of the time period. We are studying Greece right now, for instance, and last week Aubrey read The Librarian Who Measured the Earth (about Eratosthenes) and Kora read Archimedes and the Door of Science. The girls all study the same time period of history, reading books and doing work on their own levels. This week Kora and Aubrey each read biographies on Alexander the Great, just on different reading levels. This year in science we are studying Botany (see right hand sidebar if you want to see what we use).

Fridays are a little different around here. We go to the library, and the girls do science, have piano lessons, go over Latin and Greek vocabulary and chants, and we alternate doing a little music and art appreciation: one week we do music, the next art, etc.

As for Hailey and Lauryn, they mostly do what they would do if their sisters were off at institutionalized school all day... they play and generally make a mess of the house. :)

But they also listen to me reading books, help me with laundry or making cookies, play games, etc. One thing that amazes me is how much the younger ones pick up from listening to the older girls. I've read teachers from the one room school house days write about this same phenomena.

The rest of the day is spent reading, playing, doing corrections, chores, dinner, and any evening activities. So except on unusual days, the girls spend about 5 hours (8:30-11:30 am and 1-3 pm) on academic pursuits (Aubrey actually doesn't spend this much time as her work load is lighter) plus time for corrections, which usually takes no more than 10 minutes. No homework in the evenings or weekends either. Plus we can take off whenever we want or need and not only during the summer. We wouldn't trade it for all the quiet, clean houses in the world!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Homeschooling at the Academy, Part 2

OK, I have to admit that I am a little surprised at some of the reaction from part one of this. Remember, this is not a blow by blow of what my day looked like yesterday. Just an outline of the general routine we have. OF COURSE there are interruptions, discipline issues, breaks for water and bathroom, pleas for help because of incomprehension. From my limited experience with other people's little boys, my girls aren't near as rambunctious (most of the time - they do have their moments), but girls seem to be worse about dawdling, staring out the window, and delaying the inevitable. But my older ones have finally figured out that they aren't going to get out of the work, so it is better just to hoe in and get it over with.

Which leads me to a question I had about not taking breaks. They do take breaks, but usually short ones before lunch. They go get a drink of water and go to the bathroom, or maybe change out loads of laundry, but we keep them short. I've tried a more broken up schedule, school for a while, then a 20 or 30 minute break, but it just doesn't work for my girls. They get into playing and then feel completely oppressed that they are ripped away from it just when "we had a really good story going." They would rather get all the work done and be through with it for the day. We do take a long lunch break both for eating and for piano practice.

Also , remember that this is just the time we have set aside for school. The girls know "school" time starts at 8:30. They know what their assignments are and start going down the list, so to speak. They take however long for each one it takes. But some don't take long. Dictation takes about 5 minutes. Kora's logic exercise (which she considers the most fun ever, she'd do them all day if I let her) takes 10-15 minutes. Spelling usually 15-20, grammar varies widely. Aubrey can often finish in 15 minutes, Kora takes 30-40 depending on the assignment.

Which leads me into the Latin and Greek. I had a few comments about that (although not in the comments section, as SOME people seem to be shy about posting on the blog). Aubrey is going through a very simple, beginning book that is meant for her age. Kora is in her third year of Latin, and she really likes it. She seems to have a talent for the languages, and wanted to do more. This fits in with our classical mindset, so Kelly and I talked last summer about it. We debated on adding Spanish (for obvious reasons) and Russian (we have Russian speakers in our close family, but I couldn't find any Russian curriculum for younger than high school). Koine Greek has a couple of things going for it: it is the language of the New Testament, and would make it easier to learn Russian in the future.

Plus - AND HEAR ME ON THIS - we take it very slowly. She is taking two years to go through the Latin book and over a year to do the shorter Greek book. We have "Greek days" and "Latin days." Mondays and Tuesdays, she spends a few minutes (about 10) going through Latin vocabulary and chants, but does a full Greek lesson (which takes about 30 minutes). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, she goes through the Greek flashcards and says her chants, but does the Latin lesson (same time frame). Even I am not insane enough to do two languages full tilt. Fridays she only does vocabulary cards and chants for both.

One last thing - the Greek curriculum is FABULOUS. It is called Elementary Greek. She is in Year 1. It is very well done, and virtually self-teaching. It comes with a cd that pronounces everything, a textbook, and a workbook. There are three years available; we plan on having Kora take four years (5th through 8th grade) on the three books, since she is doing Latin as well. If you are at all interested in learning Greek or having your child take it, I highly recommend it. Very parent-teacher friendly.

Well, I hope I haven't dug my hole even deeper. :) Part 3 will be more about my routine, I promise. And Kristen, no virtual tomatoes, please. ;)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Homeschooling at the Academy, Part 1

For the next several days, I thought I would publish a series of blog entries on what a typical homeschooling day looks like at our house. While all days are different in reality, I thought a glimpse into the normal routine might help some of the visitors to this blog. We have quite a split in the readers here - our families and family friends for whom we may be the only homeschoolers they know, and our church family and friends here, most of whom homeschool. But I get alot of questions from the first group, mostly along this lines of, "So what exactly do you guys do?" or "So how do you teach _____ ?" I don't expect these posts to address every detail, but I thought a glimpse into our lives might help our families and those of you who don't homeschool understand us a little better. So my homeschooling friends, please bear with me and don't think I am saying this is the way it HAS to be. This is just the way it is in our house, this year. This could all change next year.

Smith Academy for Girls
Current enrollment:3 (with 2 more in our pre-school department)
grades: 5 (Kora, age 10)
3 (Aubrey, age 8)
and K (Brynna, age almost 6)

5:00 - Yes, our day starts at 5 a.m. And no, there will be no pictures from this part of our day. I'm up, but it ain't pretty. Yes, I know this is disgustingly early, and no, I am not a naturally early riser. But we do this to have time to work out before the day really starts. From 5 until about 7:45 a.m. is set aside for exercising, making and eating breakfast, and showering. Kelly exercises first, showers, and is usually off for work around 6:30 to 6:45 while I am still running on the elliptical.

7:10 - Kora and Aubrey get up and get dressed, make beds, and read Bibles.

7:30 - Kora and Aubrey come downstairs, bringing any laundry from their room and bathroom that is to be washed that day, and start eating breakfast. Brynna and Hailey get up, get dressed, make their beds, and come down for breakfast as well. Lauryn gets up usually between 7:45 and 8. I get her dressed, make her bed, and bring her down for breakfast.

8:00 - Kora and Aubrey begin morning chore time. They unload the dishwasher, start laundry, clean the downstairs bath, etc. The other three are still finishing up breakfast.

Kora and Aubrey dusting the entertainment center.

8:30 - Lessons begin. From 8:30 to about 10:30 is usually Language Arts and foreign languages. Kora and Aubrey both do their grammar, spelling, dictation, and Latin assignments for the day. Kora also does a Mindbender (beginning logic exercise) and Greek.
Here's Kora using the dictionary for a grammar exercise.

Aubrey copying this week's spelling rules.

Brynna is still working through her phonics book, but we should finish that up next week. Today she was reading sentences like "The psychologist helped Eugene conquer his fear of spiders." She then has a page of copywork (handwriting), a page of math, and a spelling assignment. Her work generally takes about an hour.
Brynna copying sentences for handwriting work.

10:30 - Usually this is about the time the two older girls finish up their other work and start their math. This is not a hard and fast time - there's no bell ringing to tell them to change subjects. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that you work at your own pace. There's no waiting for everyone else to finish. When the girls finish one lesson, they put it in the pile for me to check, and move on to the next. Sometimes they are starting math at 10, sometimes 10:45. But this is about average.
Kora: Saxon 7/6 (sixth grade book); Aubrey: Saxon 5/4 (fourth grade book)

And this post is long enough. I'll continue about our day in part 2. If you have a question about something, please leave a comment, I'll be glad to answer. If you look over on the right hand side of the blog, there is a section on the curriculum we use if you are wondering.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Spring (and the in-laws) are on their way

This morning as we were driving home from the library, we saw the first bluebonnets of the season. Here in central/south Texas, nothing says spring like the wildflowers. I think I have a special affinity for bluebonnets, not really because they are the official flower of Texas, but because they remind me of my grandmother. My maternal loves bluebonnets. She has even planted some in her backyard, just outside the window beside her favorite chair. Every spring they take over more and more of their backyard but they are so beautiful. I can't look at a bluebonnet without thinking of Grandmama.

The wildflowers also remind me of the spring when Aubrey was 2. She couldn't say her l's yet. And she always called any yellow wildflower a "lellow bonnet."

And Kelly's parents are on their way down to San Antonio as we speak! My MIL is now on a three week rotation of chemo, and this concoction of chemo drugs in not near as hard on her body as the first round was. So she feels well enough two weeks after a treatment to come down for the weekend. Kelly's brother and family will also be joining us for the day tomorrow. This will be the first time since Thanksgiving that the grand kids have seen Kelly's parents, and the first time since she started chemo and lost her hair. My girls are very excited about seeing Granny and Granddad. We are thankful that she has something of a reprieve between treatments now.