Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mid Week blahhhhssss

Maybe I have spring fever?  I can't seem to get motivated or organized with the kids school.  It seems like I'm getting all the planning done but we're not falling through with everything or I'm not totally prepared like I thought.

Next week is spring break here.  I wasn't going to take it since we had lost so much time in our trip to Iowa, but I may have to.  I may take a couple of field trips so we totally don't lose our days and make the kids do math and reading on the others. 

I need to organize the girls room (again) and sort through clothes (again).  Maybe I'll get some sewing done and get caught up on reading for my class. I need to clean out some kitchen drawers and rearrange a cabinet.  I want to get really started on doing our digital scrapbooking.  I've made a list of photos I have on the computer and am organizing them to do a page for each child and then the family album.  My goal is to get this year and last year done to present them a scrapbook at Christmas.  Okay, so its March and I haven't started yet. 

Have a wonderful and blessed week!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Curriculum Review-Hands of a Child Notebooking Pages for Basic Survival Skills

I decided to stop doing Apologia General Science for the rest of the year.  Its a great program but I never seem to have everything I need to do the experiments and frankly, I'm too lazy right now to try to get it together.  TL was loosing interest anyway. 

Being a boy scout, he has a huge interest in Survival Skills.  Hands of a Child offers a new notebooking pack on just that topic.  I've always loved Hands of a Child for their awesome lapbooking packs.  TL was never found of them but my girls absolutely love them.  The notebooking pack has the same wonderful research guides with vocabulary and a wonderful source list.  The notebooking pages are beautifully designed, easy to fill out, and a wonderfully creative way to organize the information.  If only I'd had these when I went to school, I would have found it much more interesting, organized, and easy to learn.

I have given TL free reigns with this project pack.  I printed out all the research pages and the notebooking pages.  He is reading through and filling out the notebook pages as he goes along.  He is thoroughly enjoying learning more about survival skills.  I must say that I've really enjoyed reading along with him and I've learned quite a lot.

With over 400 lapbooks in stock, the ladies at Hands of a Child have quite a project also making notebooking pages for each one but it is a project that they are undertaking.  Now, if only I could give them my "wish list" of ones to complete first, then I would be a really happy gal!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Are these kids all yours?

If only I had a dollar for every time I'd heard that statement!!  Having a "large" family of five kiddos it somewhat odd in the military community.  Most have two or three at the most.  We get out of the truck and it looks like a clown car, they just keep coming and coming. 

Life is hectic with having a military spouse.  He's gone more than he's home.  I haven't been home in five years because my family is all on the east coast and we're stationed on the west coast.  That's one of the reasons we purchased this fifth wheel.  So I could travel and see the country and let the kids play with cousins that they hardly ever see. 

So that's the other live in a fifth wheel?  All the time?  Yep.  Right now we're stationary because hubby has been in one spot.  He's starting his workups for his deployment in 2014 so he'll be in and out.  The kids and I are packing up for the summer to escape the heat and heading north.  Next summer will be our big trip across country.  I can't wait.  TL  and I have been talking about trying to do Alaska in the summer of 2015.  He'll be turning 16, not able to drive and pull the fifth wheel but alot of help to me.

I love when people ask if these are all my children.  Except at the commissary, our version of a grocery store.  I mean really, who would ever bring extra kids to the grocery store?  lol

Homeschooling has provided us the opportunity to explore the world we've traveled in.  In the past ten years, we've moved five times.  Virginia to Japan, to California, back to Japan, to Washington state, and back to California.  Its the only constant that they have.  It also allows us to take time off when daddy is home.  We stay up late since dad usually works 12-15 hours days and get up late.  Once when we were in Japan, the boat pulled in for two days in the middle of the week and was going to be gone again for two months after being gone for three.  All those poor kids had to go to school, but not us.  We take off when it snows (well, okay it doesn't snow in California, but it did in Japan and Washington).  We love it!

Pop over to Kelly's Korner and visit some other "large" families!

Fifth wheel Friday!

So, here is the end of another week.  We had several interruptions this week.  We took off on Monday to head to Bakersfield to get some warranty work done on the fifth wheel.  The front air conditioner is now working!!  Some lights were repaired.  The door was fixed.  We are just waiting on the light bar in the back to be ordered and replaced and new couch cushions. 

I know some of you are wondering how we do school in the fifth wheel.  We have three "rooms".  My bedroom, the toy hauler area with the girls' beds, and the living area.  I can't fit everyone at the same table and I wouldn't want to.  They like to fight with each other so its easier to seperate them for my own peace of mind.

I started this with having some books in the girls room, some in the living area, and some in my bedroom.  It was driving me crazy.  Running from place to place trying to find the one thing I needed because it was put in a different location.  Now, all the books are here:

Above is the top of the dresser that's in the master bedroom.  It just fits everything.  The next picture below is my night stand, which doubles as our computer desk.

 Here's Bug-a-bug doing her math homework, Teaching Textbooks, on the computer.  By putting it up in my room, I can rotate the kids around and they have quiet to do their lessons.  Of course, usually the living room/kitchen floor is filled with baby dolls or playmobile or both.  The little ones can't get enough of them!

This week, Little Miss Trouble has been working on writing her name.  She's doing very well and really enjoys it!

We also had some coloring this week.  I took this picture of Monkey.  I didn't get the shot of the day she covered herself with purple marker.  Honestly, where do these come from?  Is there a marker fairy here?  I don't buy them and throw them out if I find them!

And of course, we had some engineering/math skills take place this week.  Legos are another favorite of ours.  I didn't bring many with us and I think I'm going to have to get some more.  There's no way I could find them in the storage unit.

Any other questions about fifth wheel living or doing school in our fifth wheel? 

Daddy also left this week for a few weeks which could be extended.  I hope to do a couple of field trips with the kids while he's gone.  We'll be busy with Awana games this weekend and finishing up bowling league.  We also have to put TL in another boy scout troop.  We had a bullying isssue the other night that will not be resolved.  I'm almost glad because we traveled out in town for this other troop and there's one on base that's much closer!!  I hope all goes well with this because Camperee is next weekend and they call out the Order of the Arrow candidates.  I hope that TL gets it.

I also started back to school this week.  It should be a fairly easy class, I hope anyway.  I have three classes after this and a clep test to take and I should be all done!!  yippee!! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I'm sad because we have to find a new boy scout troop for TL.  Its been a difficult six months at this troop.  The decision was not made lightly.  I hope that we'll be able to make the transistion to the new troop easily.

This week we had to take the fifth wheel in for some warranty work.  We left Sunday night since we had to drive two hours and parked overnight.  We were so excited to go to the "big" town which has many restaurants we miss.

We went to Golden Corral only two find over 100 people standing outside in the rain to get in.  Okay, no problem, Chick-fil-A is around the corner.  Halfway there, I realized it was Sunday and that they were closed.  We went to Outback Steakhouse instead.  It was still yummy!

The next day we went to Golden Corral for lunch.  I could have eaten there all day long.  Yummmmmmyyy!!

The repairs were made.  Our front air conditioner is now working.  The lights have been repaired.  New couch cushions have been ordered.  Ours are ripped in the seams, they have been since we moved into our fifth wheel. 

Now, daddy has left for several weeks.  He may come home for a day and then be off again for a few weeks.  And so the workups begin......

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly wrap up

This week has been really busy for us.  Karate starting practicing on Saturdays for a tournament in April.  Bowling league wraps up in a few weeks.  The girls are doing great in gymnastics.  Princess and Bug-a-bug just moved up into level 2.  Awana started practicing on Saturdays too for Awana games in a few weeks.  Boy Scouts is always busy and I started the girls in Girl Scouts for the rest of the year so that they can meet some girls on the base.  The homeschooling group is yucky and I think next year, I may try to start up my own group.  Like I have nothing else to do.

I'm busy working on lesson plans for the next week.  The history plans are going really well.  I'm starting back to school on the 19th so we took Friday off so I could finish up some paperwork and financial aid stuff.  Four classes and a clep test and I'll have my bachelor's done.  I've started looking into master's programs.  A master's should take me about 6-7 years to finish up.  One class at a time.

Here's how our school week shaped up:

History:  We finished up our Founding Fathers study.  I used the lapbook from Hands of a Child and TL did a ton of reading on six founding fathers.

Science:  TL is working on a notebooking pack from Hands of a Child on Basic Survival Skills.  He's really enjoying it.  The girls are working on finishing up a study of the human body from A Journey Through Learning. 

Literature:  Everyone is doing vocab skills, grammer, and the girls are working on phonics skills.  The girls are finishing up the first Magic Tree House book.  Princess is a little old for it, but she's always enjoyed the series.  I hope to start them on some "real" literature soon.  I have to go to the storage unit and dig out some of the books they need to read.

Math:  Teaching Textbooks is going great for the girls.  Trey is doing well with Saxon Algebra 1/2, although its hard to keep him focused to do his math problems everyday.  He's using his pencils as light sabres and playing with them instead of doing his work.

Writing:  Trey's finishing up his SWI course from IEW.  I'll be ordering the continuation class probably next week.  The girls are learning how to form and write paragraphs.

Spelling:  All are using All About Spelling and doing well. 

Geography:  The girls are working on a study of savannahs.  We should finish next week and then move into the rainforest.  TL is working on Trail Guide to World Geography.  He's almost done with that too.  He's also rememorizing states and capitals.  I didn't realize how many he'd forgotten.

What we're reading:

TL:  The Two Towers for his currclick class
       The Red Pyramid for fun

Girls:  The Magic Tree House
          the scholastic fairy books for fun and any horse books that they can find

Me:  I'll be starting Return of the King for TL's next read.  There isn't a currclick class for this one.  I also need to do some major reading for my english class I'll be taking.  I'm still working on Help for the Harried Homeschooler.  I keep putting it down and coming back to it.  Its really good. 

Anyone have any suggestions for books dealing with teens? 

I didn't have time to post Fifth wheel Friday.....well, okay I did.  I was just to lazy after spending a few hours on the computer doing taxes. 

To answer some questions about eating, here's a photo of our table:

We can fit all the kids around the table with a little squishing.  Kev and I usually eat at the couch right behind the table.  Sometimes, we put up the table in the back which has a couch all around it and we all fit there.  I just get too lazy to put it up all the time.  I'll discuss the challenges of homeschooling in a fifth wheel this Friday.

Have a wonderful and blessed week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


 I still haven't found a history program that I like that is affordable so I'm designing my own.  I'm too picky I guess.  I want to read awesome living books on history and study it chronologically.  So, we're going to use this as our spine:

Christine Miller has done a fabulous job of dividing history into manageable chunks.  Each section has lists of books divided by age and then by fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.  At the end of the section is a very nice timeline.  I've decided to pick and choose events from the timeline and cover them with books and activities.  Some events, such as Lewis and Clark, we'll be using lapbooks from Hands of a Child.  Those topics are covered very nicely and a little more in depth.  Hands of a Child is also making notebooking pages for all of their lapbooks.  With over 400 in stock, it will be a while before they get them all done, so I may end designing some of my own for TL.  He definitely doesn't like lapbooking anymore. 

I'm also utilizing my cd from Heritage History on American History.  This awesome and inexpensive resource gives you copies of living books that are an invaluable resource to all homeschoolers.  You not only receive access to awesome books, you are able to keep your bookshelves clear for more books to purchase for other subjects 

The Heritage History makers have other wonderful collections, including Greece, Rome and a new release of European history that I am eagerly anticipating.  I can't wait to see what treasures are located on this new cd that I can incorporate into our homeschool.  The books are broken into a book list and color coded according to reading level, which makes it easier to find books for your child's reading level. 

The list of books on the Early America cd is quite helpful.  I probably don't even need to go to the library to get a book that I can use.  My son is enjoying all of the books that he is reading on this cd.  We absolutely value all the books here!

I'll be posting our current lessons and ideas for projects, activities, books, and resoures as we go along.  I will also be designing some of my own notebooking pages for the kids to follow along as we go through this.  Another thing I plan on doing is making a review sheet for things that I really want the kids to remember.  I haven't been making the kids review enough of their history. 

Have a wonderful week!!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fifth Wheel Friday

We have many challenges living in fifth wheel.  The biggest is space.  Let's face it, we're seven people living in about 250 sq feet of space.

The biggest space challenge is books.  I love books.  I can't store/carry alot of books in here.  So, when we loaded the storage unit, I put all the book boxes at the front for easy access.  The only problem is that now I have to go through about twenty boxes of books.  The good news is that the school book boxes are labeled that way.  I'll take a picture this weekend when we go out there to get some books and show you what our storage unit looks like!!

Have a wonderful weekend!