homeschool winter days


We are finally getting back into a routine since the upheaval of Christmas vacation.  So far this week, homeschool has consisted of:

  • shopping for a new full-sized violin for Meg.  She grew out of her 3/4th size and has been playing on my old, cheap violin while we saved up for a new one.  Monday she and I went to the music shop and tried out several.  We took one home on trial, to let her teacher approve of...and she didn't like it!  I guess Meg and I flunked "tone" class...!
  •  Getting the kids used to working harder on our studies.  I've let them all slip into a routine of easy/lite work. Things are a changing here now.
  •  Meg and Josie resumed classes at Biola Star.


  • I started test-prep with Amie and Demi-Sky.  I've used Spectrum test prep workbooks before and for some reason I turned up my nose at the Buckle Down workbooks.  I can't remember what I didn't like about them now...except maybe that it has no answer key (I think you have to go online or something for it) but- we started using them and I kind of like them.  I am really liking the conversational tone and all the test taking hints/strategies they are pointing out/teaching.
  •  We are doing "Farmer Boy" as a read aloud
  • Demi is still busy with lacrosse.  They actually didn't take much time off during the holidays.
  •  Josie is neck-deep in graphic-arts work right now.  She wants to- kind of suddenly- apply to the local performing arts charter school.  She has to submit a small portfolio for round one of consideration.  It is really rather wonderful to have her so immersed in something she is passionate about.  It is kind of wonderful to have her totally "own" it all herself, nothing for me to do but encourage her and offer supplies.
  •  It's also a little terrifying for me.  I worry about how she will feel if she doesn't get in.  I worry about her getting in and not being here homeschooling.  I really, really worry I will screw something up and not get the right paperwork in or miss a deadline.  I'm on the verge of little mini-panic-attacks a few times a day over this...on the verge, not real ones. Yet.   Sometimes being Bridgit Jones is a hard burden... kidding. not.


  • We started reading Don Quixote before the holidays.  It is a wonderful illustrated version recommended by Susan Wise Bauer in Story of the World- which is one of the resources we are using in MFW this year.  Funny, I studied this book in A.P. English in High School but we didn't actually read it.  I am finding it hilarious!  Meg and Josie read parts of it at Biola Star in their text book, but they got caught up in it when I was reading it out loud the other day.
  • Today, (Wednesday) I took the show on the road and we did Math and read-aloud time at a local bagel shop for lunch.  I forgot how much fun, and how re-energizing doing homeschool out and about is...I will for sure have to set aside more time for outings that include study time.
  • Art class and piano classes, and violin class have all resumed.
  • homeschool winter days are full days.  How about you, are you getting back to a routine?

Simply Woman's Daybook, December 7

FOR TODAY... from My Daybook

Outside my window... I see the 3 youngest kids playing outside. Today was a beautiful, beautiful day here in So. Ca-in the high 70's.

I am thinking... about planning I need to do for the rest of the week, and about craft materials I need to pick up, if we are actually going to make crafts.  I am determined that busyness will not stop us this year from making winter crafts.

I am thankful for... my husband

I am wearing... jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a long gray cardigan.

I am remembering... things I need to do still.

I am going... to dance class after dinner

I am hearing...Josie practicing the piano, Sky using his saw in the garage.

I am reading... "The Life Study of Isaiah" and I just finished "The art of racing in the rain"- one of the best books I have read, and yet it captured me a little too much, I'm taking a break before I start new fiction.

I am hoping... that the washing machine repairman will arrive tomorrow with the right part this time. (the washer broke an hour before we left on our trip to Spokane...!)

From the learning rooms...the dining room is cluttered with our notebooks and math books from our learning time this morning.  Meg is at the table finishing her work.

A few plans for the rest of this week... to start a winter craft, Science and History in a big way for school, an Irish feis this weekend.

Pondering these words...

"I don't look back, but I know he's there.  I bark twice because I want him to hear, I want him to know.  I feel his eyes on me but I don't turn back.  Off into the field, into the vastness of the universe ahead, I run.

"You can go," he calls to me.

Faster, the wind presses against my face as I run, faster, I feel my heart beating wildly and I bark twice to tell him, to tell everyone in the world, to say, faster!"

                                                  -The art of racing in the rain by Garth Stein

the ending and beginning of this book are some of the best writing I have read.

From the kitchen... baking chicken for dinner.  I coated chicken in a mix of flour, pepper, onion powder and diced fresh rosemary, then put in a dish with chicken and rice soup.  It's super easy and Sky likes it.

Around the house... Sky just finished painting our bathroom, it is now brown, with one wall having stripes.  It was a little scary going for it, but it looks great. :)

One of my favorite things~ sliced apples with cinnamon. 

From my picture journal

new spelling notebooks for my 3 youngest students

Daybook, Tuesday March 23


Outside my window... a beautiful, spring day. The new fencing around the garden has gone up, seedlings are sprouting, the world is green!

I am thinking... about the laundry I need to start, and wondering what I should make for dinner.

I am thankful for... uplifting, encouraging music to brighten my day.

From the learning rooms... book work finished for the day, our last lesson was a read aloud of The City Mouse and Country Mouse- Teddy, Amie and Demi then drew a picture from the story and wrote a short narration.

From the kitchen...a pile of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, yum!

I am wearing...jeans and a t-shirt

I am posts, and a letter template for tomorrow's creative writing for the 3 littles- a letter written from City Mouse to Country Mouse.

I am going... to the store for dinner fixins, to the library to pay a fine (darn!) and to Irish Dance with Meg (she is the dancer, I wait...)

I am reading...The trouble with Boys and Balancing Acts

I am hoping... that the laundry will magically get itself done..!

I am hearing...the kids are all watching an animal show on discovery channel

Around the house...things are a mess from the school day, need to do a clean up.

One of my favorite things...the blooming wisteria bush in the backyard, it is beautiful and smells heavenly.

A few plans for the rest of the week: P.E. test for Josie tomorrow, art tomorrow. Wednesday is also BLT bagel day, yay!!

A thought to share..

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger." - Mark Twain

Here is picture -thought I am sharing...

The Simple Woman's Daybook is a weekly meme, hosted *here

Daybook, Monday February 8

Daybook February 8, 2010

For Today;

Outside my window... it is a clear, dark night. We had a beautiful clear, blue day here. Tomorrow we are supposed to get rain again in the afternoon.

I am thinking... about the things I need to prepare for tomorrow's Classical Conversations class. Also thinking about homeschool prep.

I am thankful for...the blessing of being able to go out on a date-night with Sky- to be able to eat out, even if it is only a burger joint, and the chance to spend a few quiet hours together.

From the learning rooms... Teddy did not come today because he was sick. Meg is still sick. I am counting today as a no-school day, but I still had Josie, Demi and Amie do math. We are playing with a free 30 day trial of Aleks math (it's an online program), so I had the kids spend some time on this today.

From the kitchen...Leftovers! Served up leftover ribs to the kids, Sky made them last night in honor of the Superbowl. There is also a pile of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made last night.

I am wearing... black pants and a sweater.

I am Playing with my camera and playing a bit with photoshop elements.

I am going... Actually, I am already at Barne's & Nobles after dinner at the hamburger place.

I am reading...
The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre
The Awe-Manac: a daily dose of wisdom by Jill Badonsky

I am hoping...that no one else at my house gets sick. That Meg is better by tomorrow.

I am hearing...jazz music playing at the B & N cafe

A thought I am sharing...

"Note to self: Think this- I am compassionate with the shadow aspects of myself. I'm only human but that's better than being a groundhog."
-The Awe-Manac

Around the house...I did some intense homeschool organizing for the week, but then left piles of notebooks around the dining room. Note to self to put it all away... Sky built and painted a storage shed for his woodworking stuff, he finished painting it today. The kids have a permanent village of playmobil stuff in my front room-at least it seems that way.

One of my favorite things... the wire basket I bought on clearance at Pottery Barn to keep our fresh eggs in. I knew it would look perfect, and it does!

A few plans for the rest of the week: CC tomorrow, work on finishing report card for Meg, the usual round of piano/violin lessons, art/fencing lessons and hockey game. I am planning on painting my chalkboard of ultimate power this week in the dining/kitchen area...or at least doing some prep work and begging Sky to do it for me...

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

my new basket, and yes, our hens gave us those eggs!

*you can join this meme over at The Simple Woman's Daybook

Daybook, Monday December 28

FOR TODAY... from My Daybook

Outside my window... I see stars and a dark night.

I am thinking... over the Winter Training we just finished, thinking about being a laboring priest for the gospel of Christ.

I am thankful for... family and friends

I am wearing... my p.j.'s and fuzzy socks.

I am remembering... the sound of 4,000 brothers and sisters in Christ singing Romans 16:25 & 27 together.

I am going... to go to bed soon, the first time before midnight in a week...yay!

I am reading... the newly released Christian Research Journal magazine.

I am hoping... that my dog's tummy issues are over.

On my mind... I need to call Gracefulmom and arrange to hang out before she flies home.

From the learning rooms...we have the week off, I am hoping to get some pre-planning done and to clean the learning shelves. Teddy will not be with us this week.

Noticing that... the house is getting back to normal now that most of our company is gone.

Pondering these words...

"God is not interested in our victory, success or our spirituality. He is interested in our gaining Him, in His being wrought into our being." -Ed Marks, Message 11, The Gospel of God in Romans

From the kitchen... leftovers, including leftover apple oatmeal, which is very good for dessert with ice cream!

Around the house... the kids are settling into bed, our last two guests are on their laptops.

One of my favorite things~ a newly bathed dog

From my picture journal

I went ice-skating with Meg!

*This Daybook is a weekly meme, you can go to The Simple Woman, to join.

Daybook, Monday November 23

FOR TODAY... from My Daybook

Outside my window... I see the darkness of day's end.

I am thinking... about the grammar lessons I plan to get through tomorrow before we break for the holiday.

I am thankful for... wonderful friends who are like family

I am wearing... my p.j.'s and fuzzy socks.

I am remembering... good company and nice conversation I had today with a friend.

I am going... actually, I went already to violin lesson for Meg, to the grocery store, to The Lazy Dog Cafe for dinner with Meg, Josie, Teddy and Teddy's Mom.

I am reading... Colossians and "The American Wife"

I am hoping... that my sister does come to town tomorrow and that I can meet up with her.

On my mind... baking I'd like to do for Thursday

From the learning rooms...the dining room is cleared off of our books for the day

Noticing that... The heater was left on when we all left the house, and the house is just right for me, temperature wise!

Pondering these words...

"Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here." -David Wagoner

From the kitchen... I've got nothing. Went out for dinner and Sky and the 2 littles went out, too.

Around the house... It's a quiet night here; Sky, Demi and Amie were unexpectedly invited to watch the Duck's hockey team play, from a private box. They are not home yet.

One of my favorite things~ gouda cheese. I am a sucker for sandwiches or pizza with this ingredient.

From my picture journal

Who are you? And, what have you done with my children? -a new form of sibling rivalry has reared its head with these too...suddenly Demi is worried that Amie will catch up to his book level in Math, and suddenly, Amie is determined to catch up to his book level in Math. They have begun breaking out the Math books on Sunday nights!

*you can join this meme over at Simple Women

Daybook, Monday November 16

FOR TODAY... from My Daybook

Outside my window... I see the fading of a clear, warm fall day. Fall leaves are on the ground in my backyard.

I am thinking... of the history lesson I am going to teach tomorrow to the 3 youngest students.

I am thankful for... my family

I am wearing... black cords, a brown blouse and mary janes.

I am remembering... that I need to get all my materials printed/put together for tomorrow's Classical Conversations class.

I am going... to dinner with Sky and then to Barnes & Nobles for dessert. I love date night!

I am reading... Colossians and "The American Wife"

I am hoping... that tomorrow goes well.

On my mind... lists I need to finish

From the learning rooms...the dining room is cleared off of our books for the day

Noticing that...the house is quiet after someone has gotten into big-time trouble!

Pondering these words...

"Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land that the Lord thy God has given thee."

verses we have memorized in our Classical Conversations class, I was able to use these in a very teachable moment today with one of my children.

From the kitchen...yummy cookies brought over by our neighbor

Around the house... our dog Emma is having a playdate in our backyard with her BFF, Bejou.
Amie and 2 neighbor friends are playing in the backyard, the boys are playing foozeball. Sky and Josie and Meg are out playing tennis.

One of my favorite things~ School house rock dvds. We watched "interjection" today for our grammar lesson with the 3 littles. They are so memorable and useful!

From my picture journal

you can join this meme over at The Simple Woman's Daybook

Daybook, Monday November 9

FOR TODAY... from Jenny's Daybook

Outside my window... I see a bright fall day, leaves are slowly falling from the trees one at a time.

I am thinking... of the endless must do list in my head...I really need to get it all down in one central spot, someday!

I am thankful for... my warm house

I am wearing... jeans, a red sweater and rainbow socks with mary janes.

I am remembering... the sound of my 'adopted' grandfather's voice, I get to hear him once in a while on our church's podcasts. He was on this morning, he died two years ago.

I am going... to Meg's violin lesson, to the pet store and to take Amie to buy a notebook-her heart is yearning over having a special one all of a sudden. Oh, and date night!! :)

I am reading... Colossians

I am hoping... my sinus headaches will go away

On my mind...classical group classes for tomorrow, need to prep

From the learning rooms...the dining table is a mess of books, a good sign that we learned something today

Noticing that...even though my house was clean yesterday, it is a mess today! What happened?

Pondering these words...

"We do certain things or refrain from doing certain things not merely because we love the Lord, but because we are living Him." -Witness Less, Life Study of Colossians message 41

From the kitchen...making pumpkin bread, yum! It says, 'fall is here'!

Around the house...Amie and friends are playing playmobil in the front room, Demi is skating in the house.

One of my favorite things~ pumpkin bread with almonds in it, not walnuts

you can join this meme over at The Simple Woman's Daybook