Monday, December 30, 2013

End of the semester and getting ready to move

This semester overall has been pretty good. It is such a relief when your teenagers turn out to be nice people, and they start to really develop their talents and interests. We had he final performances for the Middle school girls. #1 accompanied the women's chorus and was then asked last minute 1 week before the performance if she could also accompany a couple of the other songs for some of the other groups. She did great. I am really appreciative of her choir teacher who took the time to work with her and help her get the songs the way needed to be for the performance. I was very impressed with the choir teacher overall, the kids looked like they were having a good time, they sang very well, the music they sang was really nice and the whole performance was just great to watch. I was a very proud parent, and very relieved since I have been #1's sole piano teacher all this time, the past 3 yrs. though I have just been more of a coach, making sure she practices, she is very talented and has done well, and I am glad I didn't ruin her! She is doing great and has definitely surpassed me on the piano. She also played the piano for jazz band. They did great too, and she had some snazzy, jazzy solos. Very fun, I'm glad she made some good friends there too. For math, I think she is finally getting it. She's much better at focusing and figuring things out, that is a relief too! So far teen years are pretty good! #2 started playing the trumpet this year. She loved her band teachers, they had really funny jokes we would hear about everyday. Her teacher also recommended that she be moved up to the next band class because she really did well on the trumpet, well actually a cornet. Anyway, it was a great experience. She also took art at the school and did well in that class because she loves to draw, a couple of her drawings even got selected to be put on display in the lunch room. She has done well with her at home school work too, academics is definitely a strong point for her. She is definitely growing up too, which is of course as always, good and bad. #3 did so much better with his school work without his little brother around. I taught Greek to the girls together and I was doing my boys together too, but it looks like for them the time I spend with them is more effective with one on one instruction for math and Greek. Having his little brother at school gave him some time to get ahead and gave me some good one on one time with him. It was great! #4 enjoyed school a lot. He made a lot of friends and his teacher really liked him. He really got tired of getting up everyday though. I think that was enough school for him to satisfy his curiosity and know that he could do it. I will be glad to have him home again, we missed him. #5 has been my easiest student so far. Reading has come the easiest to him, I'm sure a lot of it is because I'm more experienced, but this little guy is a quiet smart. He's not loud nor is he a show off, but he just does things and asks questions and reads. It's a little hard being the 3rd boy and always trying to keep up with older brothers, but he does alright. I tell him he's lucky to be in the middle cause he can choose to go with the bigger boys or the little boys, he liked that. For the 4 little boys, I have held singing time and story time so I can make sure to read to them. It is pretty fun. The toddler really likes books. I love having time with them. Not that it's not hard or demanding but it is very fulfilling, and they are sooooo cute! We are packing this week and hoping to get out of here as early as Thursday for New Hampshire. There will be all sorts of new adventures waiting there for us. I am really excited to explore and learn about a new place. I am excited to see what sorts of homeschool groups there are out there. It's looking like #1 will do full time school, the high school has 4 yrs. of Latin and about 15-20 AP classes. Those were 2 big reasons for us to homeschool high school, so we'll see how it goes. I hope she will also be able to participate in sports at least cross country and track. I am so looking forward to this! Oh and the trip out will be awesome too, everybody got a scratch magic book in their stocking and a travel journal. We are going to be on the road for 10 days because we're taking a detour through Memphis and Virginia to visit family. So much to observe along the way, I am just so excited!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Singing Time

I hold singing time for my littles about 3 times a week. What I found with my twins which was not the case with any of the other kids is that whenever we have singing time or recite a scripture or poem, they don't even try to participate. All the other kids would try to sing or say the verse and would demand a turn, not these guys. So I started singing time just for them. One of the twins would sing along, but the other would have nothing to do with it. So then I bought some new stickers, wrote out which songs we would sing and told them they'd get a sticker for every song they sang. It has worked like a champ and they both look forward to singing time. The one twin sings all the songs and he will sing with me and the older brother, but the other twin, the more stubborn and somewhat shy one will only sing by himself or repeating the song after me. This makes singing time take a very LNG time and it ceases to be much fun, but he is singing! Although yesterday he refused, one other time he just cried and ruined it for the other 2 who were really excited so, I learned to just go ahead without him when he doesn't want to, but I told him he couldn't cry and he fell asleep instead. So I think it is working, I think he will eventually join us in singing together instead of a solo all the time. Some of these kids come very very stubborn!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Greek Myths CD

I was so lucky this week to receive a new CD that tells the stories of some of the Greek myths through story and song. It happened to be a bit of a harder day for me, and I was the only one in the kitchen making dinner which actually doesn't happen that often, when the cd came so I went ahead and put it in the CD player. I LOVED it! It made me so happy. I really like Helen Slater's approach to the myths, in the beginning she talks about why the Greeks had these myths and how the myths helped them to understand the world around them and explain so many things. Her explanation is set to happy, uplifting music, and then after each story or part of a story she sings a song to go along with it and it was just so refreshing and fun. My spirits were instantly lifted, and it makes me happy just thinking about the songs now. My husband and kids all wanted to know what it was and we all enjoyed it and have listened to it a few times. I have a greater appreciation for the Greek myths now and I feel like I understand them a little better because of the CD. One of the songs is called "It's Never Nice to be Mean", and it goes along with the story of Echo and Narcissus when Narcissus was so mean to Echo and then Nemesis sings this song to Narcissus. One of the most valuable things I think I can teach my children is to always be kind, and apparently the Greeks also thought that was a good lesson to learn, but I didn't really realize that lesson was there in the myths until this CD. So I even incorporated this particular story and song into our family home evening lesson this week which was on kindness. It's nice to have different ways to share the stories, I am going to have to buy another D'Laires Greek myths book for the kids and brush up on it ( our first book was very loved and pretty much in pieces now). Very fun and very fun to be learning Greek along with it, really a fresh approach to the old myths. A big thumbs up from me! Here is the website if you'd like more info!:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Events Website --

So this post is just to let you know that there is a great brand new website out there where you can post your own events to the public or make them private, you can even make your own group for whoever you want to join, it's easy to communicate through the comments and it's easy to use and search. It is brand new, been out about a week, so most of the public events so far are in Utah, so definitely if you are in Utah, go check it out! Http://

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happenings-- #4 goes to school and other stuff

#4 was disappointed when his older siblings went to public school last year, at the girls' concerts as we were walking out of the building he said how he wanted to go to school. We told him he would get a chance. Then the following Friday he ran over to the park near our house because he saw some friends there, but they all left when he got there and never said hi. He told me he thought it was because he wears glasses. I assured him it wasn't. But he told me how much he wishes he had friends. Later when I talked to my husband about it, he said, well, let's send him to school. I of course don't like sending my babies off not to mention getting up super early every day, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it probably is the best thing for him. He is super smart although short for his age. His eyes are working pretty much normally now and his reading is consequentially better because of it too. He is ahead in all his school work and very conscientious about everything, so it did seem that it is time to let him grow socially and have fun at school. Our school and the teachers have been outstanding, so on Monday I got all the paperwork ready, and on Tuesday, he went to school for the first time. So far he is loving it. There were four boys in his class that he already knew and his teacher seems really nice. The only problem he had is that he was supposed to ride home on the train bus, but he forgot his lunch bag and thus got separated from his classmates after school and could not find a bus that looked anything like a train. Fortunately he had his cell phone and called home, but his sister answered and by the time I got there he had started walking home. But all's well that ends well. I do miss him, but he doesn't miss me and I am proud of him. It is also giving me some extra time with his older brother who got a little behind academically when he went to school last year and was getting frustrated that his younger brother could memorize faster and easier and may soon overtake him in Greek. So that has been nice. He doesn't have anyone to compare himself to anymore and he can feel good about learning and persevering which is what I try to emphasize. That boy is incredibly stubborn, but he will do just about anything to play screens, so it ends up working out fine. I also set the timer for him and tell him I need his undivided focused attention for the set number of minutes and he actually gets through his work pretty well that way with the promise of it only lasting a set time with an instant reward when he's done. It's also nice to have one less student to worry about, although #4 was pretty self motivated and easy, every little break helps. I bought the whole collection of Roald Dahl books at Costco the other day. All my readers love them and my new reader even read his first chapter book by himself that way! He is reading everything now it's great. My girls are enjoying part time school, but have expressed the desire to take more classes. I looked at the classes to see if it would be worthwhile for them to at least stay one whole day instead of one half day, but they just didn't appeal to me. Finally yesterday for the first time this year, they both got their school work done early and spent some time working on other projects. This whole year, they have just kind of lazed around and barely get their stuff done. The oldest spent a bunch of time adding music and special effects I to a movie the kids made last year. That's what I hoped my homeschooled kids would do eventually, I swear they don't appreciate the freedom they have, but maybe just maybe they are finally going to take advantage of it. It does help that we are more settled with the baby turning into a boy-- sad, but good. The twins are really into coloring. I bought a subscription to, they sent me a discount email and I signed up. I'm so glad I did. I love their coloring pages and their online workbooks. I am also using their state maps for geography. It helps that I am feeling better, I was sick last week and we didn't do hardly anything beyond the basics. I really love homeschooling even though it is dang hard sometimes, days and weeks like we've had this week make it all worth it. I hope it continues this week!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Busy but Rewarding week

So our extra curriculars are winding down. Flag football and volleyball are both over. The kids enjoyed them both and developed their skills and made some friends. Some of those football games were sure cold though! The girls had their band and choir performances this week and we ended with the Cub Scout pine wood derby. #1's volleyball team was excellent. They really played well and improved a ton, their coach was excellent, he knew the game and he really helped them. They took second in the tournament. The team they lost to had some really good players which our team did not. It was exciting to watch their games, they really did well. She played the piano with her jazz band and did great. She also accompanied the Song Bird choir. I really like the choir director and my husband was actually impressed with one of the songs and would have liked to hear it again ( which says a lot coming from him, he knows his music, he was not impressed with the orchestra at all last year). A lot of the girls said their parents cried on that song and my husband also said that it was really like the choir was complimenting her piano playing. Unfortunately, I missed the performance because my baby was screaming so loudly I had to take him outside, turned out his shoes were too small, it's partly my daughter's fault for giving us the wrong time we showed up an hour early and I never took his tight shoes off that whole time so by the time it came to be her turn, it was over for him. I was really sad to miss it, but I am so proud of her. I expect there will be many more performances to come and this is just some of the hardship of having babies and teens at the same time! She was scared to accompany the choir since she had never done it before, and she wanted to give up a few times, but she persevered and learned the songs well and did an excellent job. #2 had a really lousy volleyball team. They were so focused on having fun and trying to not make the girls feel bad about losing than they were on winning and doing well, that they lost every single game. It was hard on my #2, but she improved a ton. It was her first year playing and she was nowhere near getting the ball over the net while serving, and now she gets it over most of the time. She is playing the trumpet in band for the first time also and we enjoyed her beginning band concert. She is excelling in art and one of her pieces is on display at school for all to see. I am really proud of her too. We have really great kids. #3's football team didn't win any games until finally today they won their last game. That was pretty frustrating for my boy as he is a bit of a perfectionist, but with the help of Minecraft as a bribe, he made it to most the practices and games and he made some nice friends. His coach said that of all the teams he's coached since his son was in preschool, this team was his favorite. That was really nice and they enjoyed their pizza party. He also earned his Webelos badge in cub scouts and his Arrow of Light, I love the values the scout program encourages. #4's football team won every single game. My boy is the smallest on the team, but he scored a few touchdowns, pulled a few flags and had a pretty good time I think. Then we ended with the Pinewood derby. He did a great job on his car and won a few races, came in 2nd, 3rd and last a few times too. It was really a lot of fun to watch, and a relief his car did not come in last every race! I am really looking forward to having some freer evenings though, although we are moving into the holiday season, so I'm sure there will be plenty to do still!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sports, Gateway Museum, School

School has been going well. The biggest new change I have implemented is to make our big meal in the morning while the kids do their individual work and have it for lunch, which has been around 2:30 or 3:00, but the nice thing about it is with all our practices and games, I don't have to worry about making a nice healthy meal at 8 pm and then eat it at 9 which is what was happening. Now we eat at 3 and if anybody is hungry later, they can have leftovers or whatever else suits their fancy, I know they got their salad and veggies and smoothie in the morning and then everybody is more willing to help with the clean up in the evening too, except for tonight, we spent from 4:30-9:00 pm watching #1's volleyball tournament games-- so the kitchen is a disaster, but at least everybody got a good meal. Then I do group time after we eat and help the kids with the stuff I have to help them with. I am liking it. I'm trying to not get so caught up in a schedule. We will do what we can, it may not be everything I had hoped, but it is pretty good. #4 and 5 both passed their math test levels this week. #1 got an A on 2 of her assignments for independent study. We have some things to hit hard in other areas, but overall it has been a great week. We also went to the Children's Museum at the Gateway in SLC. It was AWESOME!! Maybe it's because I didn't have a tiny baby or because the twins are older and we went with friends, but my kids played the entire time we were there and did not want to leave after 5 hours!! It was so nice. They have really done a great job with that museum. I highly recommend it. We all needed that break, I didn't make them do any schoolwork that day. We need that sometimes, break up the routine and the monotony. The kids have done better with their chores (except for today) and the house is so much nicer to be in and I am not so stressed. It is hard to make them help, but it is good for everybody. The girls were even able to invite some friends over because we were caught up, that was nice. Sports have been really fun to watch this season. 2 flag football games on Thursdays and 2 volleyball games on Saturdays. Volleyball is pretty much over, I will miss it for the girls, they really love it and have benefited a lot from it. Just a couple weeks left of football and there is nothing til basketball in Jan. We may get a pass to the rec center and go swimming and play in the gym and run around the track once a week. It is getting very cold and Sports Day at the park has petered out.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Some burn out and some Illness

Some weeks are better than others! We were going strong getting a lot done, but one of the twins and the baby threw up this weekend and the rest of us didn't feel so great either so when it came to anything productive, we were not there this week. That's OK. We are all feeling better now and I'm hoping we can get caught up on our cleaning, that's really the worst part of getting sick is getting behind on stuff like cleaning. And then we'll be ready for a good week coming up. Plus we have a field trip scheduled with some friends which always makes the week go better. As much as I would like to just keep going strong all the time, life happens ad we have to rest and give ourselves time. Oh yeah, plus we had a birthday this weekend-lots of nerf gun wars have ensued this week and my and my husbands's anniversary. It was so fun to go out with him, we go out fairly often, but just for an hour or so, we took longer this time and went further to a fun little place, I loved spending more time with him. But wow, when we don't have our regular weekend time to rest, clean and recover from the weekend, I just couldn't keep up with everything, that's when I realized I had burnout and there were a couple times I just went and laid down because I knew I'd do better if I did, and I was right. The kids did most of their basic stuff and we'll do a lot today, but wow! And it's OK. The laundry is still waiting for me and so are all the other chores, we'll get there!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spanish Learning Help

I was so excited when I saw this post on teaching Spanish curriculum and it was full of resources. check it out: The links to videos is Spanish is exactly what I have been wanting. When I lived in Mexico there was no English TV so we watched everything in Spanish and we all became fluent. When I was out of the house, my family moved back down and there was another American family whose kids did not pick up the language, the biggest difference was that they had English TV, so we are going to give watching Spanish TV a try. We watched a cute show about a little for tree today, the frat one that comes up in the page. While homeschooling is a lot of work and is hard, I love working with my kids and helping them with their assignments and watching their progress. We are doing way better on chores too, I may have finally developed an after meal chart and a chore chart that work for us right now. I am really liking our schedule now too, get up get going get the core stuff done, take a break for lunch, I exercise, the kids play and then we have group instruction and finish up in the afternoon. Yay!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fun with science

This week went fairly well, I love having my kids home and .i love all our studying and learning. It is invigorating and fun to me. We are studying matter in science and we made some awesome stuff which sometimes acts a liquid and sometimes acts as a solid. Just mix 1 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water for some fun and a big mess we cleaned up multiple times, it was worth it though. We'll mix it with sand next and make moon sand. We've also got a couple different crystals growing. I love seeing the kids perk up and try stuff like this!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Week

It has been a short week with Labor Day, but we are plugging along. The boys are doing great. The girls are slow. They have a lot of catching up to do tomorrow since it's the end if the week. They have finished the lessons for .bYU independent study Algebra, but when we finally mailed in the first assignment, one got a C and the other got a D! So not acceptable!! So they double checked their next assignment and still did bad, I gave them a lecture and now this time one of them got an A! Yay! She is learning test taking skills and how to be careful!! We will see how they do n the rest of the assignments and then I will have them resubmit those low ones before they take the final. They are both enjoying their classes at school, they are both playing city league volleyball and making improvements, practicing etc. #1 has been really nervous and stressed about accompanying the choir, but it's going we'll and she is feeling a lot better about it. I am really liking all our curriculum, and sports day went pretty well. Everyone had a good time I think. And my husband is almost done with his website so we can figure out our next move. Yay! Life is good!

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Week of School

So we started school this week. I love love love our curriculum and I love playing teacher. I am so happy to have all my kids back home after sending the oldest ones to public school last year, this year will be one of filling in gaps and smoothing things out especially for the oldest and I am excited for her. I'm glad to have my boys back together so we can work on Greek. And it has actually worked this year. It is nice that the twins are finally old enough to entertain themselves and my wild 1 yr old. I got everyone's cubbies and books together early in the week, I printed off their lists so they know exactly what is expected of them. It feels good to be back in control. I do need to get our chores organized better, but I can see how it is going to be a good year. The biggest downside I see to this year is that we don't have many friends. I didn't want to do the activities our homeschool group chose this year, so we will miss those friends. We have started a homeschool sports day which will start next week, so hopefully there will be friends for the boys there. We just haven't made any good friends in our current church ward, there are some nice people and acquaintances, but no good friends for any of us, my husband, me, or any of the kids even though the 3 older ones went to public school last year, all their friends lived outside our ward boundaries. This makes homeschooling especially hard I've found through sad experience, because we still go to church without any friends and it becomes our main social interaction because we have to spend so much time at home studying, cleaning and cooking. It makes it that much more important to have good positive interactions outside of church. Because if church were to be our only social outlet, life can get depressing quick. That is probably the single most important thing sending our kids to school last year did, was to give them an opportunity to be judged and to compare themselves to others their own ages outside of church. And it was very positive. I am really grateful for that. The school administrators were super helpful and nice, the teachers were great and really cared about my kids. It was really really nice. I am a little worried about homeschooling with our ward the way it is now, just not having any friends and having to deal with very uncaring unfeeling people who really don't care about my kids or me or our family. It is hard. But we are working on moving. We almost signed a lease to rent a house in New Hampshire, but our better judgement took over, we have to wait for my husband's business to make money first. Patience! It took us a year to move an hour away, it will take some time to move further, but my husband already has a couple job options out of state if it doesn't work out, we just have to wait and see! So that was a big tangent, but that's where we're at. The girls are each taking a couple classes at the junior high, so I think they'll have the social interaction they need, the boys are the ones I worry about most right now, but they'll do flag football and our weekly sports day, so hopefully that will be enough til we move! I can't wait to move. I know there is no perfect place, but I'm ready for a new set of problems. I'm tired of Utah problems, give me New Hampshire problems or Texas problems or New Zealand problems or I would love to have some France problems. Not Germany though, forcibly removing the children of a homeschooling family recently, at least I can homeschool in Utah, everybody just looks down on it, but that's better than having the police take my children away. That is really sad. Counting Blessings!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ready or not School Begins!

I am excited and nervous about this year! The girls 7 th and 9th graders are pretty much independent from me this year. They are doing BYU independent study for math and their dad is teaching Latin and Logic. They will do science and history and religion with everyone and I will watch history lectures with them, make sure they are doing their reading and have them do a little writing, and drive them to volleyball and school, so I guess I'm still doing a lot, but it seems manageable. The boys' cubbies are all cleaned out. I wanted to have some new chore charts posted and have all their worksheets printed by tomorrow, I'm a little behind, but I'm pretty excited about it all so I'm sure I'll get some done tonight and the rest done in the morning. We are going to focus on our meal time chores this week, getting the kitchen completely clean after each meal, if we can do that combined with the kids keeping up on their zones, we'll be in much better shape as far as being organized goes. We have a lot of stuff to go through and throw out, we'll get there, this week meal time chores is our focus. Organization and cleanliness is a must if we are going to get anything done! Ready or not, the time has come!! We begin tomorrow!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

School starts next week!

We have had a great summer, lots of swimming TV and video games, my kids' dream come true. We have done some school work, but not a lot! My middle school girls will be taking a couple classes at the public school and doing the rest at home. We will take next week to get organized get notebooks ready to be filled and find all our books and lay out all the curriculum for the year. I am really excited, I don't have a newborn, the twins are potty trained, I think we may be able to accomplish a lot this year! Here is a piece from my 14 yr. old, she makes me proud. She is amazing I hope she continues to develop her talent and skill. I knew she makes beautiful music, I get to hear her play all the time, it has taken a while for her to figure out how to share it, we all had to go downstairs so she could record it, she also loves making videos, I didn't know she made the video too. I am proud and relieved, she's not raised yet of course, but wow, she is a great person and a wonderful daughter with a talent to share, and on a good path. Well, here you go:

Saturday, July 6, 2013


June was the month of camps. We enjoyed our time out of school, we went to 7 peaks water park a couple times, we started Logic with the girls, and have been focusing on piano and math for everyone. Then the 3rd week of June, #1 went to BYU music camp doing jazz piano because regular piano and violin were already filled. It was challenging for her, they really worked them, but she made some friends, enjoyed the fun activities and participate in a wonderful performance at the end of the week. We are very proud of her, she did well. She grew up a lot that week too. I think she understands a little better what college will be like and why we've homeschooled and what she needs to do from here if she wants of focus on music. #2 participated in a day camp where they performed Annie for kids in a week at UVU. It was fun for her too, and it was fun to watch. #s 3&4 had Cub Scout camp that Friday, and it was awesome. I was very glad they all had a good time and learned a lot. Then the next week, those 4 went on a backpacking trip with their dad and grandpa in the Uintahs, they camped next to Wall Lake for 2 nights. My husband and FIL said they did great and while they were tired, again I think they had a great time and learned a lot. We went and saw Despicable Me 2 this week in the theater on the 4th. We also colored American flags, talked about the Revolutionary War and watched big fireworks. It was a great way to celebrate. I can hardly believe June is over and my baby turns one this week! This summer is going much too fast!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Public school is over!

We made it! I am so looking forward to having my kids home again and to get back to our awesome curriculum and home life. So how did it go? How did the kids do? Do they prefer homeschool or public school? What did they like the most, what did they like the least? So let's start with #1, she just finished 8th grade. She was the most excited to go, and really needed to see what school is like, what kind of experience most people here in Utah have. She loved it. She made some good friends. Two of her teachers told her that they saw her progress from being a bit shy and reserved to being more outgoing and participatory. That made her feel good because she really hated it when people told her she was quiet-- her response to that became "no, I'm just thinkactive." And over the semester she became more talkative too. She was great about getting up everyday and getting all her assignments and reading done. She was also picked to be a soloist in her orchestra which she loved. She enjoyed watching the student news from CNN in her US History class. She loved science, she and a friend built a Rube Goldberg machine and got 3rd place. She learned a lot in drama and in creative writing and English. She got an A in math, even though she still doesn't like it much (her brain doesn't like being sooo exact). Actually she got straight As a 4.0 which we were surprised- we thought she had an A- in math, but then she got a certificate for a cumulative 4.0, so we'll see on the official transcript. So yeah, the girl rocked junior high! What she didn't like was PE and annoying kids mostly boys who would make the teachers' jobs extremely difficult. She was also very disappointed that most the other members of her orchestra were not nearly as excited as she was about practicing and doing well. She also wished the classes were a little more demanding. But it was a ton of fun! She prefers public school because more than anything else she liked being with other kids. My take-- I'm glad she liked it, I wish she hadn't liked it sooooo much though. I think she does recognize the value of her education thus far and I think her wondering mind of what would it be like? has been answered. In Utah there are few junior high to high school aged homeschoolers and there are a lot of good people out here so the schools are not scary yet, although I'm not sure how common core may change that at least academically. In Utah once the kids reach junior high, the best option may be public school because they need friends and some external validation at that age, and the schools can provide that. It was really good for our kids to see that when they did the homework studied and did well on the test-- basically fulfilled the requirements of the class, then they got a good grade. That has not always been the case in other organizations in which they have participated. If we were to stay here, I would have her at least take a couple classes at the local school. Utah is really good about part time enrollment. #2 also rocked 6th grade. Her teacher loved her and wished all her students could be like her. Everything was very easy for her and she loved all the extra projects and homework. She did them all on her own on time. I don't think I helped her with a single thing except to sign stuff. I liked the quote book she brought home, I liked the books the teacher read to them and I liked that she would play classical music and broadway musical scores for the class at different times. I think she learned some interesting things in social studies and science. Battle of the Books was another awesome program in which she also excelled. She made some good friends too and really tried to help anyone in the class or on the playground who might need it. She got to play her ukulele and sing for 2 talent shows. She got participate in a host of "advancement" parties and activities and a field trip. She also got straight As and earned the Presidential Academic Award and the Hope of America Award which was given to 1 boy and 1 girl in each 6th grade class. The only thing she disliked about school was one annoying boy who would bug her and touch her even though she tried to keep far away from him and the teacher talked to him-- he bugged everybody. Her absolute favorite thing was access to the library without having to rely on me to get her there. She was the least excited to go to school and would have been fine doing homeschool the whole time. She really liked it though and enjoyed that sense of belonging and community she had by going and also being recognized for her good work. My take-- bless this child! She really appreciates homeschool. If given the choice she would just go to junior high for a couple classes and do the rest at home. She sort of would like to go to junior high to see what it is like and her friends really wanted her to go, but she just told them that we won't let her because she needs to study Latin and formal logic. She is the least affected by social cues and what others think. She's just kind of in her own world and it is a lovely one. School was made for little girls like my #2! #3 just finished 4th grade. I also really liked his teacher and she seemed to really enjoy my #3. He really missed his free time, but he got up and made it to school pretty much every day. He got all his homework done and turned in on time. He was very diligent about it. He had a hard time with spelling because we just hadn't focused on it, so we worked on it and he improved quickly, also once he brought back a packet of tests and work he had done, I realized I needed to help him learn his spelling words better and help him review his vocabulary. Language Arts was the only class he didn't get an A in-- he got a B and the first time he got a B-, so he really did improve. He got a certificate for doing the best on a Dewey decimal assignment that he was proud of-- and he got a free burrito at Del Taco for it. He also played his ukulele and sang for his class talent show which I was happy about. I couldn't have him do any extra school type stuff at home after being at school all day. It was hard for him to sit and work all day, but he was OK with it as long as that was all he would have to do. Math was super easy for him. And he really liked it when they had people come and do demos for the 4th grade. The aquarium came and I think some Natural History museum at least. He also enjoyed his field trip and he loved recess. His least favorite thing was being hall monitor because he had to sit in the hall during recess and monitor. He also got to work in the lunchroom and came home with a little hat. His teacher told me that he was quiet and reserved at first, but that he found his way and made some good friends. The hardest part was missing his free time, but at this point he prefers public school. My take-- The most important lesson he learned in school is that you don't have to be perfect at everything. He is so much better now about practicing the piano and doing his chores. I think he learned some discipline at school and to do things even though it seems hard. I am really proud of him, but I missed him a lot. He is just a really nice boy to have around. For me-- getting up early everyday to make breakfast and lunch and making sure I had bread for sandwiches was hard. I really missed the flexibility we have with homeschooling to choose the schedule that works for us. At the beginning of the semester I made sure to read to them all and we kept up on piano lessons fairly well, but by the end especially after spring break, it was all I could do to get everybody to school, and they needed some down time, so I let that go. The boys participated in basketball, soccer and scouts, and the girls in choir and YW, and they kept practicing the piano but that was pretty much it. Also, so that we could have some family time together we would watch an episode of Donald Trump's Apprentice at night. The kids had some questions about business and we thought it would be a good way to educate them so I haven't even been reading any chapter books to them at night. Often #2 would call from the school needing me to bring something and especially at the end of the year, there were activities for me to attend. Also, to go to the dentist I had to go check them out of school and it always took a minimum of 10 min. which being time-challenged I never anticipated. Overall, it turned out how we had hoped. They went to school and conquered it. They weren't behind and they weren't socially awkward. They really liked it, and I am very grateful to their teachers. They did an outstanding job. I can't imagine teaching a class of 30 kids of varying abilities. They should be applauded for their work. I am also grateful to the kids for being open and welcoming to my kids. This is a very nice area to live in. And I am grateful for the school, they were well organized and well run. I am very glad that my kids got to have such a great experience. I don't think public school gets any better than it is here. But I am really looking forward to getting back on track. Homeschooling works well for us and we want to give the kids a strong academic foundation so that when they get to college, they can focus on things that really interest them or do whatever. We also really like our flexibility and the time we get to spend together. The kids are all a little behind our schedule but we'll adjust it. I'm looking forward to being the boss again and helping the kids with Greek, Math, Science, Latin, Logic, Spelling and all the reading we do together and all the field trips and all the extra projects that come up-- and of course some summer fun. I'm also hoping we'll have a better cleaning schedule where we can spread chores throughout the day. Aaah, it will be nice. I think we will start some tomorrow!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just a week and a half left!

My 3 older kids have done well in public school. They have all grown and proved to themselves that they could do it. I am really proud of them. They have made some good friends, I have been complimented and thanked for raising such nice kids to befriend other kids. They have learned some things we would have never covered. They've gotten to go on field trips and be part of performances. They have each been recognized for high acheivement in various ways. I am really pleased. I am also really glad that this time period is almost over. I am excited for them to get back to studying Greek, Latin, math at their own pace, lots of music, and more time together to work in chores and practicing and reading throughout the day instead of concentrated outside of school hours. I am also excited to go on hikes, to fun places and do learning activities at home and around. #4 has been making huge leaps of improvement in his vision. I am really proud of him. I didn't realize what he couldn't see until he could see it, if that makes sense. He has really missed his older siblings, but he has been a huge help with the young kids at home and he has stepped up and taken on greater responsibilities at home. I am very pleased with him. #5 is still very innocent and sweet. He is a true joy. He has a ways to go in learning to be more obedient and doing his chores better, but he does try and he is really good with the 3 little ones. He is doing great with reading, writing and math. He still likes to be read to and enjoys singing time. It makes me happy. My four older kids really don't like singing time anymore, and the twins don't like to sing or do actions, they feed off each other, one of them is extremely stubborn, but we still do it and I love that my little #5 still enjoys it. The twins are doing better potty training. I cleaned up a lot of poop today because of all the watermelon they ate, but overall, they re improving a lot. They love to be read to, they are learning the alphabet. They want to do their "math" too. They are still very high maintenance, but they can get in and out of the car now and find their shoes and it continues to get easier. They are also able to do some chores, and I can see how all of the sudden, they'll be boys instead of toddlers and able to do more and even be helpful. We are getting there. The baby is way cute, he is getting his top two teeth in and he is just a doll. Life is good. I think I'll take the little ones swimming tomorrow to end our school year, I'll have the two boys take their math tests and then we'll call it good for a couple weeks. Then we'll just have fun. I am looking forward to summer!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Khan's Educational Ideas

I think most homeschoolers are familiar with Salman Khan's videos and the  Well apparently he has written a book about his ideas for education 
And this article summarized them-- it's not long, but very very good.  Worth the time to read for sure!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break

Spring Break was Awesome!  I really hate school, we have to get up early in the morning again tomorrow and I haven't mixed the bread douggh yet to let it rise for lunches tomorrow and I'm tired!  Anyway, that is beside the point-- We went to Montana near Glacier National Park because we had a timeshare opening there and we had never been there so we figured-- let's go check it out!  It turned out to be very fun for all of us-- the kids were great in the car and our accomodations weredecent with a kitchen and laundry although outdated, it was kept up nice.  It was funny how my oldest kept commenting on how she liked that oven and that dishwasher and those lights and cabinets and how it was just like the old movie Freaky Friday.  Very funny-- it wasn't that old and not that different from our last house that was built in the late 70s, but whatever!  Kids are funny sometimes-- anyway-- we were right on the lake there, but the lake was extremely low, so much so that the docks were all completely exposed, when we called about boat rentals, they said it is like this every year and they don't rent boats until May or June.  Glacier was mostly closed and so wa the pool-- so not waht we expected nor what was described in the listing.  But it was beautiful, the weather was great, so we saw and did all that was open and all the was to see.  My husband and the five older kids camped in the woods one night, we threw lots of rocks into the lake, the kids waded around in the muddy freezing water and we took some really great pictures, and we decided to go home a little early and stay at Fairmon Hot Springs and enjoy the pool there for a night.  That was pretty fun, then we finished our drive home and completed our spring break vacation by riding Frontrunner adn Trax into Salt Lake  and eating at California Pizza Kitchen to cover 4 kids' birthdays.  It was a lot of fun and the twins had been waiting for their train ride.  And it was awesome to have some time to relax and recover and get things put away-- although there's still some to do.  Ugh-- getting kids off to school in the morning-- I'd better go to bed!

Education Fair

Our homeschool group sponsored an educational fair where the families could do a display all together or have each child do their own.  My kids love to print things and glue them onto to posters and make a nice big mess for days on end, so of course we participated.  #2 even skipped school so that she could do a display and presentation on foxes-- her very favorite animal.  She even found out that there is a breed that can be tamed and they act just like dogs.  She had the clever idea of printing out a lRge picture of a forest to use as her background.  It turned out great.  # 4 did his on the chin strapped penguin.  He also used a big picture for his background and did a great job.  #5 did his on the komodo dragon.  It was fun to do, and it was fun to see what the other kids had done.  Thank you homeschool group!  I really like these opportunities for the kids to get up in front of people and practice their presentation skills.  I thought everybody did a great job-- there weren't a lot, but it is still worth it to go ahead with it.

more vision therapy success!

We have been focusing on vision therapy for # 4 and have found thst he enjoys parching his strong eye to work his weak eye by playing games on the eye pad, instead of eye exercises being s chore, he actually asks if he can do them.  It does make it s bit of  pain when everybody else wants a turn too, but it's worth it, because he has now reached a new level of vision.  he is seeing things he has not been able to see before.  I am so happy about it and so proud of him, this journey hasn't been easy, but he has perservered and I am very pleased and happy with his progress.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Battle of the Books

They have a program at the school called Battle of the Books.  There are 20 books and they divide the kids up into teams and ask them questions about the books, and the team that answers the most questions right wins.  #2's team didn't do super well, but she did get to be on the all-star team.  To be an all star, she had to read all 20 books and get her signed papers proving she did so in first.  There were 14 all-stars.  They got to compete against the teachers in front of the whole school.  The kids won by a couple questions.  And they each got a trophy, a certificate, a t-shirt, and a free book.  Way to go #2.  She loves to read and I liked the books they selected.  It was a great program, I'm glad she got to be a part of it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Update on Choir

We had a bit of drama involving our church young women leaders-- ok so you are curious-- They held an activity for the 12-13 yr. old girls on hair and make-up at one of the leader's houses-- we decided not to send our girls to that one, just because we didn't feel good about it-- my husband took them on a daddy daughter date instead.  I was very relieved my girls didn't attend when I found out the next day on their facebook page that they had plucked the girls' eyebrows!!  I had no idea that was part of the plan, and to top it off, they did it all in conjunction with a lesson on inner beauty.  Talk about a mixed message!!  Anyway, when I voiced my concerns about it, they were defensive and not willing to work with me, so I diffused the situation the best I could, but they lost my trust.   I've had bad experiences with YW leaders in the past and I'm just not going to take any chances with my girls.  I understand that we are all learning and that people can grow into callings, but I need good role models for my girls at this time of their lives.  I'm not going to sacrifice their good feelings about themselves or confuse them by sending them into an environment that I perceive as unhealthy even if it is church with leaders who are called of God.  I am entitled to personal revelation for my family, and I feel like YW is not the best place for my girls to be right now.  They will still participate on Sundays, but the weekly activities will take a back seat to other activities that will help aid in their growth and development better as young women. 

Thankfully, choir had only been going for 2 weeks when this happened, and they were thrilled to have my daughters back with them.  My daughters are thrilled to be back and #2 even made the show choir this time.  I am thankful for Janeen Brady's Children's Choir.  She is a wonderful role model as is the director and the pianist, and I'm glad my girls get to associate with such nice people and such nice kids.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interesting article

I have been mulling over this article all day.

I think one of the most important things we can give our kids is to raise them to be independent minded, creative, responsible, capable adults.  There is a downside to this- and that is that they may not agree with you on things and they won't quite fit into society and may not accept identities that others may want to give them.  I think the parts about the development of the teen self are very interesting.  If a person has a good self- esteem and develops a healthy identity, then they will be able to accomplish whatever.  If they develop an unhealthy one, then welcome to a rough life. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Behavior Changes

So far the older kids have enjoyed school for the most part.  It has been about 2 months now.  They are all getting A's, and either 1 A- or for the boy-- one B- in Language Arts.  If he had been home, we would have hit language arts hard.  He is far ahead in math, but as is common with many boys, writing stories and reading books has not been his forte.  I didn't have to worry too much about language arts with the girls.  They learned grammar through Greek and Latin, and they loved to write stories and in their journals, and they both loved to read- they cared how words were spelled and they wanted their handwriting to look neat.  It seems that once a child turns 10, and I see that they are lacking in an area, then we hit it hard and it is no longer an issue.  That's what happened when my oldest was still working on Singapore Math 2B at age 10, that just wasn't acceptable, so I made her work 2-4 hours a day on math til she was all caught up.  Now she is in Algebra at home and getting an A in math at school.  My second daughter had emotional issues where she would blow up at people and lose her temper and cry and throw fits.  So we focused on that, when she would begin to get angry or upset, we would notice it and we purposely worked on it with her.  Now we hardly remember her tantrums or her tendency to get angry quickly.

Little #3 really wanted to go to school.   I thought that maybe the school would help his language arts skills.  I think it has helped some, but not nearly as much as we would have done at home.  I have been doing Spelling Power with him 3-4 times per week and I think his spelling has greatly improved.  After seeing this B-, I am also going to add journaling to his list of homeschool work he has do after school.  He really is doing much better at finishing his tasks and not procrastinating so much-- thank you Circe for the practice points chart idea.  It also helped him to see that I was not the only mom who makes her children do productive things after school.  We expanded it to include not only piano, but spelling and Greek.  After so many points he'll get a prize.  I also have him do 2 pages of a math review book so that he doesn't completely forget the things he's learned at home.  I do let him play as soon as he gets home and he does the work stuff usually after dinner.  We still have group time and I'm proud of the poems and scriptures they are memorizing.

Anyway,  this little guy has started to get a little grumpy.  I think a lot of it was that he was playing with friends right after school and just not spending enough time with us at home.  He is really good with his little brothers, he loves to hold the baby and he is really good at helping the twins and his other 2 brothers with whatever.  He is really a nice boy.  That had pretty much stayed the same until this past week and a half, then instead of helping everybody, he was annoying them and bothering them.  I knew it was too much time with friends and not enough time with the fam.  So on Tuesday, my girls had choir in Draper so I decided to not send him to basketball practice that evening and take all the boys to drop off the girls and then to the aquarium or park or something fun for them.  It's those outings that I miss the most not homeschooling, so I wanted to get it back.  Anyway, being the crank he has been, he didn't want to go, but I made him and once we got inside the aquarium, he was back to being his lovely self.  I think it was a good reminder to him that he is still an important part of our family and we have a good time together.  He has been so much nicer since then.  I went ahead and bought memberships, because the aquarium is so close to choir practice, we'll go fairly often I think.  The kids really liked it and I liked having my boy back.

I think the kids are more tired and it just makes them less tolerant of each other.  Their bickering is still pretty minimal, but it is more than when we homeschooled.  I think they just forget how to get along and they're tired.  With homeschool, we could easily take a day off or get up later if we stayed up late.  We don't have as much time to hang out in the evenings.  It's not bad, just different.  I'm really glad for the experience.  I think the schools really do try to help the kids.  Their teachers have been really nice, caring and helpful.  I am really glad to have the third party validation that my kids are as great as I thought, and I appreciate the quiet during the day.  It has been nice to not worry about my older kids during the day, and to not have to correct papers and follow up on assignments.  That is a huge advantage for this semester. 

As they get older, I definitely want them to participate in more outside classes-- it is really nice for them to work with other kids their own age.  My oldest has just loved the orchestra and is showing a renewed interest and love of the violin and music.  Her behavior has improved since going to school.  She is more confident.  She can see for herself that she is fine, she has friends and she is doing great at school.  She no longer wonders where she fits in and I think she trusts us as parents more, because she is starting to appreciate the advantages of homeschool.  We hope that she will take this renewed confidence and own her education and take charge, research and figure out what direction she wants to take in life.

My second daughter is so in her own little world, that she hasn't changed much with this experience.  She liked homeschool and would have been fine never going to school.  She has learned some discipline in getting ready on time and in organizing her time and her school work.  She has also made some good friends and I think been very encouraging and loving to those around her.  She doesn't notice cliques or people being mean.  She takes things at face value and if anyone was trying to make fun of her in a passive aggressive way, she wouldn't notice or care.  Her strengths are academic, so school itself is a breeze.  I don't think she realized how smart she is before, now she does, but it doesn't seem to affect her.  She is really trying to not lose things and not forget to do things- like chores and her lunch box.  She is a lot like me, it's weird when you have a daughter just like yourself.

So just like 3 weeks til spring break, and then 2 more months til summer.  We can do it!!  I'm so relieved that this is working out so well for everyone.

And for the ones still homeschooling, the kindergartner and the 2nd grader, they are doing well too.  They are becoming good friends.  #4 used to get very annoyed with his little brother, but this time has been really good for them to bond.  They are doing pretty well together and with the twins.  They have also had to step up a little bit and help more around the house and do things that the older kids would normally do.  #4 is doing pretty well with vision therapy too.  We went to the Gateway Discovery museum this month and walked around the gateway after.  It has been fun to hang out with these younger ones, middle kids who can easily get lost in the shuffle.  We had to ride the escalators a couple times and watch the coins roll to the middle of the coin throw.  We have also started playing the recorders.  Life is good.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


We have some very smart chickens apparently-- or maybe they are just freedom loving birds.  Anyway,  they got out of their coop and run area when there was still quite a bit of snow around the yard so they stayed in our yard and it was no big deal.  We didn't even bother locking them up at night.  But now, most the snow is gone and since our yard is devoid of grass and other interesting vegetation, those darn chickens go straight for the neighbor's yard.  Not nice for our neighbors.  So for the past 2 days, the kids have been putting the chickens back in the coop only to turn around 15 minutes later to find them escaped again.  The kids from the school bus come have come to help right when they get off the bus the past couple days.  Well, we finally had had it!!  #1 went out, gave them lots of fresh new straw, extra grain and plenty of water and most importantly found the holes where they were getting out, and they have now been contained for most of the afternoon.. Yay!!  We'll see what tomorrow brings!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some Music Education

One thing I have found surprising in our public elementary school is how little time is spent on music, art, and PE.  At our school, they rotate these subjects + computers every 3 weeks, 4x per week.  So they get to do one of these subjects every 3 months.  My daughter is finishing the music section and the teacher told them they would do a talent show so I got to go watch.  Only 3 out of close to 30 kids volunteered to participate and then when it was time, the teacher told them that they didn't have to do it, so one of the kids dropped out.  I was sitting there thinking, "why don't you encourage the kids to do something?  They need opportunities to perform in front of others!  They can do it."  So it was just my daughter and one other girl.  My daughter wanted to play her ukulele and when the other girl saw that, she didn't want to perform anymore because she didn't have an instrument, but I encouraged her, and my daughter was having a hard time tuning her instrument, so she went ahead.  I finally tuned the thing although I'm really bad at tuning ukuleles, I fianlly got it.  Anyway, the other girls sang some pop song, she did just fine.  I was glad that she had the courage to do it.  Then my daughter played and sang This Land is Your Land.  I was so proud of her.  It sounded really good, and I think the kids liked it.  It really is not difficult to play, there are only 3 chords in the song.  I wish all the kids could have the opportunity to do something like that.  They have been learning the guitar because the teacher said they were less expensive than the ukuleles, but they don't stay tuned, and there just really isn't enough time and the kids can't take the guitars home to practice. They also learned some self esteem song about how good they are to rock music.  It wasn't bad, but it did make me feel a lot better about the music education we've done at home.  I also will take my calling as primary chorister even more seriously-- it may be all the decent music some of these kids get at this age.

When my son had music, they learned the recorder.  He really liked it.  But wow, I think we as homeschoolers sometimes think they are doing so much at school and we may feel like we are failing because we can't do it all too.  The reality is that with 30 kids in a class and time limitations, they can't do a whole lot.  They spent at least 5 minutes getting everyone to be quiet and listen.  We have to do that too in homeschool too, but then we can spend more time with the kids and give them one on one instruction.  Anyway, this experience has been good for me too, to see what they are actually able to do in school.  It is worse than I thought in a lot of ways.  I wish the standards of excellence were higher.  But really, this just may be the best that can be done under this system.  Maybe we should be glad they get any music, art and PE.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Birding in Utah

Did you know that Utah is right in the path of many migratory birds?  One of our favorite things to do  this time of year is to go see the eagles.  They have a good roosting area around Farmington Bay, and I think this is the time to go.  We will probably miss that one this year, but we are going to check out the south side of Utah Lake since its close.  I was also happy to find this website full of info on all the birds and where to see them in the Utah:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences/ public school update

I went to my very first ever parent teacher conferences last week.  They both went well.  My 6th grade daughter's teacher had nothing but good to say about her.  She said that if all her students were like my daughter, teaching would be easy.  She participates, she helps in the classroom, she has taken a new student under her wing to show her around, she's very smart, catches onto things quickly and she is an amazing reader.  They have a battle of the books competition in March with about 20 books that the kids can read and then they'll answer questions about them in teams, and my daughter only has about 3-4 books left to read.  There are a lot of Newberry Award winners on the list and other pretty good books, so her teacher is impressed by that.  The only thing she could probably work on is handwriting and organization- she really is a lot like me-- organization has not been my forte either! 

My 4th grade son's teacher was also glowing in her report.  She said she is really glad to have him in her class, before he came there was only one other boy she could trust in the class, now she has 2.  I'm not sure how I feel about that-- good?? for my son.. but what's going on with those other boys?  Anyway, he's doing great in math, his writing ability is fine, he's slightly above reading level although with his stubborness it's hard to find books that will interest him-- she said she can help with that-- and he does seem to be reading more now.  He's one of the best at turning in his homework.  She said she can tell he's still trying to figure out the friend thing, but he does have a few friends.

Parent teacher conferences for my 8th grade daughter in middle school are in a couple weeks, but I expect to hear the same sorts of things.  She has straight As so far, except for math, there must be an assignment or test that she didn't take factored into her grade- her teacher is looking into it.  Anyway, she is really enjoying it, but also recognizing the disadvantages of it.  She really feels sorry for kids in her science and math classes who feel like they can't do it and have given up.  Math has not and still doesn't come easy to her, but she can do it with a lot of hard work, and she wishes those kids could have that opportunity also. 

So this whole experiment is turning out exactly as we'd hoped.  We hoped the kids would go to school, have their curiosity satisfied, be able to see for themselves the benefits of both public school and homeschool, gain confidence that they have learned and done what they needed to these past years of schooling.  Yay!!  I miss them, and I miss homeschooling them- especially the flexibility.  But I think they are learning valuable lessons in school that they couldn't get any other way.  It's all part of their overall education and preparing them for adulthood, and helping them make their own decisions and choices.  Phew!!  So far so good!!

My 4th grade son also got a glowing report. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Janeen Brady's Children's choir

My two older girls got to participate in a great choir last semester.  Janeen Brady wrote a bunch of music and songs I grew up with teaching values, safety, music and just fun-- you can check out her music at .  We use a lot of her songs in our own music time mostly for the younger kids and the older kids still enjoy the books and stories and the Safety Kids is a great way to teach safety.  Anyway,  when I found out she had a choir and my backyard neighbor's daughter was involved and we could carpool, it was set.  My oldest made the show choir, my younger daughter didn't make it, but did make the regular choir, there were a couple bumps with unexpected practices and performances, but it all worked out, and it looks like they have the kinks workd out for this semester.  My girls came home happy and excited every time they went, Janeen Brady's daughter did a fabulous job directing the choir and the girls really learned a lot. They gave 8 performances at various places and the music was beautiful and the kids did wonderfully.  They even got to make a CD at the end which my girls thought was pretty cool.  They gave all the kids opportunities to sing solos switching off at various performances, and my younger daughter got picked to do her solo part on the CD.  The choir was very professional.  My girls learned a lot about singing and performing and they made some good friends.  Their performances were very enjoyable and made me proud.

Alas, all things must come to an end.  The choir practices are about 30 min. away and with the 3 older ones in public school most the day, my husband and I feel like we need that time to be at home, practice the piano, do chores and spend time with each other.  Hopefully all my kids will get to participate again in the future.  Thanks to the choir!  If you live anywhere near Sandy Ut. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


So the 13 yr old finished her 3 rd day of middle school today.  She came home very excited because  she got 100 % on a math quiz ( they are doing stuff she did ages ago) and 100 % on a science quiz.  She was so excited because I think she was never sure about the homeschool thing and wondered if she would do as well as the other kids, I think she thought she may not be because math didn't come as easy for her as it did for her siblings, plus she was always the guinea pig in this whole homeschooling experiment.  I'm glad she likes it, but I do wish it was a little more challenging.  We'll see it's just the first week.  Her favorite class by far is orchestra, she loves the sound of all the instruments playing together.  I'm really thankful we were able to afford lessons when we did and that  she is able to use my great grandfathr's violin.

The sixth grader has decided that she likes homeschool better, but she wants to finish out the year in public school.  She is really enjoying the games and competition.  They have a list of books that the kids are supposed to read and then they are divided into teams and answer questions about the books they've read sometime-- it's called Battle of the Books.  She loves to read and has surprised her classmates, teacher and the librarian at her pace.  They haven't gotten to go outside for recess except for 2 days because it has been so dang cold here or the air is bad or both, so they have free time in their classroom and she hates when the loud boys make the "yacker tracker" go off and everyone has to put their heads down on their desks.  She  is pretty far ahead in everything, but she likes the games and reward systems and I think she is learning a few things. They rotate every 3 weeks between computers, music, art and PE.  She can't wait to do art.

The 4th grader has loved school, it has been about 2 weeks now, math is easy, he's a good reader, but I was a little worried about writing.  He says he has done fine writing, but he doesn't know how to spell anything.  So I pulled out Spelling Power which I didn't have to use long for the girls after awhile, they were able to teach themselves spelling because they liked writing their own stories and children's books.  I also had them write book reports and history summaries.  We were just starting that sort of thing with the 4 th grader and I didn't realize how hard spelling is for him.  He came home a bit frustrated because he said he doesn't know how to spell blue and he misses his free time and he doesn't want to do piano or Greek and this is his first year playing basketball so he's not as good as the other kids, and he said he wants to go back to homeschooling.  That was the first day he ever said anything about it.  So we have started Spelling Power which I think is an excellent program and I'm confident that it won't take him long to be a decent speller and to feel better in that category.  He said he still likes school and math is way easy-- they are memorizing times tables and multiplying double digits.  He has learned some songs on the recorder and liked taking our piccolo and base recorders to school.  He has been earning turtle tickets and happily does his homework.  But he would like to stay home just one day.  Good thing Monday is a holiday.  I think it will do him good to stick it out and finish.  If I thought he was suffering and that it was too much for him, I wouldn't hesitate to take him out of school.  But if he wants to come home because it's hard and long, I want him to stick it out and feel that sense of accomplishment when it's over.  So the plan is to focus on spelling with him after school.  We are cutting back on piano and Greek until he is better at spelling.  I will also have him write in his journal.

I miss having my 3 oldest kids around, but I think their school experience will really benefit them and give them a better understanding of the world and the people in it.  The kids at the schools seem very nice, they have been welcoming and happy to show my kids around.  The teachers seem nice too.  I have to admit that besides making sure I have bread made for lunches, sending them to school is easier on me.  However, I miss the flexibility we used to have to be able to plan a field trip together or to take a full day to do science or to go to the park and play basketball during lunch.  We are not going to participate in choir this semester after all, because it just takes too much family time after having them gone all day.  We like being together and playing games, reading, watching TV, playing the ukuleles or whatever.  We really value our evenings together with everyone and we don't want to miss that although the choir turned out to be a really great thing.  I wish the kids could do it again, but there is always a trade- off.

The 2nd grader had a hard time being left by his older siblings.  He really wanted to go to school too, but he is feeling better about homeschool and he and the kindergartner and becoming better friends and getting along fine.  They do yoga and aerobics with me and I give them extra screen time for that.  We also got a new front loading washer because the old broke, so they learned how to do the laundry today and helped me fold and put away a ton of clothes.  They finished their regular work and we read some more of Pinocchio.  It's nice to have them to myself and they are able to ask questions and I can explain a lot to them.

The twins seemed to be getting over their illness, but then they caught something else- the flu I'm guessing- throwing up, fever, and they still haven't completely gotten over the lingerin cough from the other bug they had.  So far the baby seems fine- fingers crossed.  So we have not been able to have a regular schedule yet.  But we will get there.  I really look forward to not having sick kids.  It is so sad when they are sick.  We have watched a lot of Dora, Diego and GeoTrax.  Now they are starting to get into Blue's Clues.  Thank goodness for NetFlix!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

First days at School

My 4th and 6th grader started elementary school on Thurs.  The 8th grader has to wait til the change of semesters and will start the 14th, but she has been practicing the violin, she auditions on Tues. for the orchestra.  The 4th and 6th graders are having a good time so far.  Their teachers both seem really nice, the school seems very nice too.  They each already knew about 3 kids in each of their classes and seem to be getting along nicely.  #3 came home with a Nintendo DS that someone gave him-- he has to give it back we told him.  He seems able to do the work just fine, he loved doing his homework of saying if the shapes are similar or congruent.  #2's class did a lock down drill and practiced hiding in the cloak closet. She was also a little frustrated with the loud boys in her class who got the whole class in trouble during recess so everybody had to put their heads down on their desk.  I guess the kids on the bus were really loud too and there was mud on the seats from kids standing up.  But they still like it, and I think it will be very good for them both.

I had a nice time with my 2nd grader and my kindergartner.  We missed co-op because the twins are still coughing a bit, but we did go to vision therapy and to the store where they got an extra treat-- I left the little ones home with their sister.  It will be nice to have some more time with these middle kids.  They always think they need to do whatever their older siblings are doing, so it will be nice to just do things for them.  We have a field trip scheduled to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point this month.   I think this is going to be a semester full of growth for everyone. 

I'm excited and relieved.  Change is good!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going to Public School!!

I LOVE homeschooling!!  I enjoy having my children home during the day.  I enjoy watching them progress academically, I enjoy reading to them and watching them do science experiments.  I like seeing them play together and help each other and I love to see them learn and grow in all different aspects.  I love the flexibility that homeschooling has given us.  We can take it easy when we're sick, go longer when we don't want to stop and we can move at our own pace- fast or slow.  The kids have all done extremely well this past year.  They continue to work through their math, greek and latin books, as well as reading many other books for fun and for learning history and other things.  We are settled again and have just been following our regular routine, and everybody has been moving right along in all areas.  I have loved it!!

The downside-- we have found few homeschoolers- especially families with older kids wanting to focus on academics.  The majority of our homeschooling friends either just have younger kids, send their older kids to public or charter school, or their focus is on US History and the US Constitution and Religion, and thus have no time or interest to do other things like science olympiad or 4-H.  The other problem is that here in Utah being still a bit of Wild West, there are no cheap community classes or rec. centers.  Extra classes are pricey and the kids in them usually live far away from each other, so it hasn't been a great way for the kids to make friends. The city recreation programs have been great, but each sport is only offered once a year and if there is a conflict with the time- there is no alternative league to join.  The kids have made quite a few friends at church and in the neighborhood which here in Utah is practically the same thing.  They have enjoyed being just down the street from the church and able to walk to so many friends houses.  The girls have also participated in Janeen Brady's Children's Choir which was a fabulous experience, but too far away for them to be able to meet up with friends from there outside of choir.  So most of the kids' friends go to the local public school-- they ride the bus and we can see the bus stop right out of our back windows at the little park.  This has led my kids to feel extremely curious about what school may be like.  None of them have ever gone to school, so they have no idea how good they have it.  They also have no idea what school is like or how they would fit in or not fit in.

My oldest child who is a 13 yog was especially curious and so much so that it seemed to be holding her back from doing things because she just acted so unsure-- like she didnt' know how or where she would fit into society or anywhere.  We talked about it for awhile and while we were planning to have her go for the full year of 9th grade, our ward got split and she lost a bunch of her friends and got some other things happened, so it caused us to speed up that proposition to the second half of 8th grade.  She was so happy when we told her that we had decided to send her to school, her younger siblings said they wished they could go too.  So we decided to send #2, 6th grade girl, and #3, 4th grade boy.  #2 and #4 would probably be just fine never entering a public school in their lives, but #1 and #3 are much more socially aware and curious-- and would really feel slighted if they were never allowed to go to school especially here where it is fairly safe and most the kids are Mormons also.

We also feel like it will be a valuable experience for all 3 of them to understand what public school is like and how most kids spend their school hours.  It is actually part of their education to learn how people live and learn here in Utah.  #1 already seems calmer and happier and more confident.  The other kids' friends are really excited to have them come and be in school with them.  I think it will be really good for all of them.  #1 is right on grade level and maybe a little advanced because of Latin and all the music and reading she has been able to do over the years, so I think it will be good for her to see that she really is doing alright and that she is smart and not dumb or behind because of homeschooling.  #2 is very far ahead because she is just academically minded-- she has been working through algebra 1 and Latin 1 and is just an amazing memorizer and reader.  So I don't expect her to learn much at school except to gain an appreciation for what most people do for school.  #3 is ahead in math and knows how to read, but he is a stubborn little soul who does not like to do anything he's not good at-- which would be spelling and language arts-- so I think the discipline will be good for him and I expect that his language arts skills will improve from going to the public school.  We had him practice spelling his first and last name a few times.  I'm sure there will be things that they love about public school and there will be things they will miss about our homeschool.

My greatest fear is that they'll love public school so much and learn so much more and better than they have here at home with me.  Our homeschool can be extremely chaotic at times.  The ideal situation would be that they go to school and have a decent experience, learn some discipline and see that they have been learning what they need to at home and decide that they love homeschooling too and want to come back and learn at their own pace again.  We shall see!!  We've always taken it one step at a time.  Our goal as parents has always been to raise our kids to be happy, healthy, confident and independent individuals who are able to do whatever they choose in life with confidence and hope.  So this step of spreading their wings a bit and going to school on their own without me or their father is actually kind of exciting for them.

I will miss them terribly, but I am excited and happy for them.  It will be an adventure.  They will still have to keep up with piano, math and Greek or Latin after school.  And they will be home by 3 p.m. so I'll still see them a lot, but wow-- change is afoot.

I decided not to send the 2nd grader and kindergartner.  They need to work on being nicer to each other and mature a little bit more.  They still seem just too young to send off for 30 hours per week.  I think this will also be an opportunity for them to become better friends and to be more responsible as the oldest children at home.  This will also give me more time to spend with them and the almost 3 year old twins reading lots of books and singing and doing art like I did with the older kids.  I'm sad and happy at the same time!!