A Week of Camp

My babies went to camp this week. It has been my first real week without them. Sure, they’ve spent the night at gram and pop’s house or their cousins. But one night is not a week! I was a nervous wreck. I tried properly preparing them last week with a training boot camp of learning how to take showers by themselves (we are bath takers here) and making sure they knew address and phone number for pen pal exchanging and that they could still tie their shoes properly (you’d be surprised by how many times they slip their shoes on without actually ever tying them!).

By the pictures below you will see that they did absolutely fantastic! The camp very graciously kept us updated daily through their website¬†and emails. They put up daily pictures of the campers for us parents to download and share. They sent us a daily email letting us know that days events and general camp happenings. And they allowed us to email the kids daily. Each camper received their letter at roll call in the morning. It was a nice tangible way to stay in touch with them even if they couldn’t email back! Amazing how email turned into something actually important and how all other emails suddenly became very unimportant!

Gabe's Camp Group

Lily's Camp Group

Lily singing morning camp songs.

Gabe gardening for a service project.

Lily dancing.

Gabe and Lily at worship.

Gabe ziplining.

Half way through the week the camp correspondents took time to sit with each camper and talk with them about how their week was going. Then they wrote a personalized email to me about each of my kids. Gabe enjoyed ziplining the most and Lily said she loved swimming the most. But, I will admit, I cried when they sent this picture of Lily with a smile of utter joy on her face. This is after her brave attempt at doing high ropes. I was so proud it just bubbled out of me in a big gushy mess!

Lily doing high ropes.

Gabe at the talent show.

Half way through the week Luc also got to attend camp with his Pop at Grand Camp. He was counting down the days the moment the older kids left. I can’t wait to hear how his week went! He sure looks like he had a good time!

Luc visiting the barn animals.

Luc with Pop in the background.

Luc and Pop on a hayrack ride.

Pop singing Rise and Shine!

Grandpa is a great teacher!

Service Project

I get to meet the kids at a family camp worship time this afternoon and then visit their cabins and help them pack up. It will be bittersweet for them, I know. But I will be SO happy to see them again! I will be going with Delilah on Sunday and Monday to a Taste of Camp and she is getting very impatient for her turn. So I will be back next week with more pics and camp stories!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Sugar and Spice

What to do when everyone is at camp for the week and there are two little girls left?

A fancy tea party of course!

~ Menu ~

Constant Comment Herbal Blueberry Hot Tea

Pound Cake with Hand Whipped Cream and Sugared Strawberries

We first had to dress fancy. For Lilah Jane that was easy. For Ivy that was a temper tantrum and she ended up in a diaper only. For me that meant putting on heels which I NEVER do and a few of the girls bracelets. Lilah was thrilled that I was joining in the fun.

Next ~ set the table fancy with the doll tub overturned and covered in embroidered handmade stitches, fancy napkins, and the good china!

Set the music to Christmas jazz…don’t ask, it just works for us! ūüôā And watch our fancy clothes quickly fill up with tea stains, strawberry juice, and smeared cream. Lilah danced a bit making sure to take full advantage of her twirling skirt. And Ivy…well, Ivy decided she would feed Eli whipped cream from her cake. He loved it and our little party lasted about a half an hour until he was fussy and needed to nurse.

The tea smelled heavenly and made me think of fall and curling up with a good book. For now I’ll enjoy watching my girls be girls.

Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that’s what little girls are made of

Sunshine and rainbows
and ribbons for hair bows
that’s what little girls are made of

Tea parties, laces
and baby doll faces
that’s what little girls are made of

Hollow Overtures and H.O.R.S.E.

A growing boy asked me the other day as he was reading in bed (much like his momma), “Mom, can just you and I spend some time together tomorrow?”

“Of course,” I said kissing him on the head.

I’m ashamed to say…in my busyness I forgot. As did he. Or maybe he didn’t but just didn’t say anything to me.

So today I wanted to make it up to him.

“Hey…after I get the littles down for a nap how about all of us sit down and play legos together?”

The other siblings loved it. Him…not so much. He played. He made a token effort but it wasn’t the same.

Then, unexpectedly, after getting back from weeding a garden, “Hey mom, want to play a game of basketball with me?”

I dropped everything I was doing, said a thank-you prayer that the baby was asleep in his car seat and started dribbling. I’m 36. I haven’t touched a basketball since I was about 13. I HATE sports. Do you know what an act of love this was? But I saw how happy it made him. I saw his compassion with trying to give me second chances so I wouldn’t be out too soon. And…don’t tell anyone…it was fun! I may just do it again!

How to File Paperwork if You Are Not a Planner {a.k.a. Unschooling}

That time is upon us once again….

Yep, filing paper work with the state education board. Fun. Fun.

This is my yearly¬†quandary…

One of the huge advantages of homeschooling is following a MUCH more relaxed schedule. For us that contains a fair amount of unschooling…or child-led interests and rabbit trails. These really can’t be planned per say. But our state requires curriculum to be approved ahead of time. How do you balance¬†spontaneity¬†with a detailed plan to your state?

I do plan…in a general large-scale sorta way. We do history generally chronological. This year it will be modern history with an emphasis on the Great Depression, WWI and II, and the Industrial Revolution. But most of my planning comes in the form of strewing. I look for great living books to have on hand during chunks of learning time. I keep a running book list that I can use when purchasing on Amazon or at a library sale. We follow math and phonics in a somewhat sequential order but even these I hate to delegate to a “grade” because each of my children learn at different rates and sometimes we are still in the middle of a book when the school year “ends” and sometimes we are already in the middle of another book.

When I was trying to write out detailed plans to my state I was getting bogged down. What would we cover this year…when would we cover it…when would we be done? These questions my state would want to know and I would start sweating and becoming grumpy mommy as I desperately tried to put something on paper.

Don’t get me wrong…the planning part felt good. When I was done I felt this sense of accomplishment. Oh, of course¬†that’s what we’ll study this year (i.e. science lessons all mapped out in great detai)! Happily I would start our year and miserably I would end it feeling like a failure because we were SO off track. Never mind that my kids were learning at a rapid pace. Never mind that they had filled their time with way more additional learning then I had written down. All I saw was those original lessons plans with a big red F across them!

Then I came up with a brilliant idea. Why not just write down a Scope and Sequence based on everything I had? I just started typing by category. Math? These were the books I owned (text and living). These were the manipulatives I owned. These were the games I owned. I put general grades after them. For instance, after listing Math U See I put K-5th Grade in parenthesis behind it. Suddenly I began to see a skeleton take shape. Eventually this is what I would teach to all my kids through all of their elementary school years and some beyond. Before I knew it I had an 8 page Elementary Scope & Sequence that MORE than covered any paltry state requirements.

I am free! This year all I had to do was pull up that file, delete and add a few things and in less than an hour I was finished. Print. Mail. Ahhhh….THAT felt good! The best part? Doesn’t matter that I’m homeschooling (officially) three children all at different grade levels. This one paper covers them all. Doesn’t matter where we are at the beginning of the year or the end. We have the freedom and leisure to learn any of this stuff at our own pace and our state has the peace of mind that we will be covering all the bases…eventually!

Here is a peek at my copy (your own will, obviously, vary) as well as a copy of my statement about using living books as that inventory list is WAY too long to send my state!

Elementary Scope & Sequence

Learning History Through Living Books

Feel free to download and steal these and modify for your own use!

Happy planning!!!

(P.S. please let me now if these links do not download right and I will try to fix! I tested them and so far so good.)

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 

 

 

A Mother’s Heart in July

Remember how much fun the Fourth of July used to be?

Remembering doing snakes….

…and smoke bombs…

…and collecting confetti?

Remember the thrill of the food? Lots of snacks and chips and soda…one of the few times a year to indulge.

And the thrill of first twilight when you were allowed to do just sparklers as the anticipation of the night was building up in your stomach?

It is because I have these memories that I long for my kids to also. But I wasn’t prepared for the emotional change that motherhood brought to the fourth. When I was little I could barely sleep the night before anticipating a relaxing day off. Now I am trying to quiet the mother’s fear in my heart.

It’s the only time of year we purposely give our kids fire to play with!!!

Gun powder. Explosives. Fire. Kids and fresh flesh. Dads and over-zealous enthusiasm. Too much sugar. Stickiness mingling with smoke residue into indefeatable laundry stains. Toddlers missing naps. Babies scared of noises and wanting to sleep so badly. Bedtimes thrown off. Noise into the night. Its enough to throw any mom off her game.

Just look at this photo. Can you say heart attack?????

There is no relaxing conversation while sipping a cool drink on a summer’s eve with the twinkling bugs all around. There is only damage control. Most of my day is hemmed in prayer. All I can do is surrender my fear over to Him who is bigger than said fear.

As a homeschooling mom I think of the soldiers fighting as I hear the celebratory booming around me. I have real fears today but I cannot imagine the heart of those mothers during that tumultuous time of fighting. How many of them in the years to come were gun shy…literally…every time they heard the fireworks ignite the sky?

As much as I cherish these memories and pictures of childhood fan fare, I am acutely aware of how precious my faith is to me and that even on a day of me being hyper-sensitively aware of danger, I can fully cast off my cares on Him and allow peace to reign in my soul. There is true freedom in that and only that.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

Entrepreneurial Lemonade

What is a 5 year old boy to do on a hot summer afternoon after returning from the park and discovering the cooler jug of lemonade sitting on the porch?

Why make a lemonade stand, of course!

But it’s tough to find customers when your house is in the country. After watching him chase down the lawnmower man trying to entice him to buy a drink, I decided to throw him a bone. I went in and found some dresser change.

“May I please have some lemonade?”

“Sure, mom…orange lemonade or banana lemonade?”

Apparently if lemonade is yellow it can be banana lemonade even if there is no banana in it!

“Banana please.”

Here is what 25 cents gets me…

Guess inflation is going up!

His sisters took my lead and each bought a glass too…some with quarters some with pennies.

This boy is quite¬†entrepreneurial¬†considering he won’t do chores for money. But he has been learning math and counting and he has been watching his older brother and sister with their pursuits of earning and spending money. I think he wants some of that!

His take home pay…

53 cents…or, as he argued with his sister, $39! Well, tomato, tomahto…I’m just pleased he’s taking initiative!

And, because I couldn’t resist, a little girl drinking lemonade appropriately attired in a citrus dress handmade by grandma, passed down twice! Nothing could be sweeter to pair with a little sour!

Joining in the conversation…

The Homeschool Mother's Journal