Saturday, July 5, 2014

Moving the blog

I will leave this stuff here, but new posts will be found here: http://academichomeschooling.wordpress.com I hope you will follow me there, I've posted pictures, getting high tech!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer!!

My oldest daughter took off to music camp for the piano for a week in Utah. She flew by herself, my husband was able to get a gate pass to take her to the gate and her flight was non stop. She was a bit nervous, but she did great. She got to see some family and friends while she was there and she said she learned a lot at the camp. She started out worried because she felt like it was somewhat of a competition, but after some reminding of that it's OK and that she is there to learn and gain experience, she found her groove. She made some good friends and we didn't even hear from her for 2 days, phone issues, apparently. But I am very proud of her. She felt good about her performance at the end and she gets home tonight!! Yay!! This week we discovered our town beach at a smallish lake, it is so incredibly awesome. I could seriously just go there everyday and will for at least the next 2 weeks since my kids have swim lessons. So much fun. The older ones are participating on swim team. The sand is great and there are a lot of fish. My oldest son is pretty determined to catch one and is hounding us for a net. We also took the family camping with our ward (church). It was very nice and I'm glad to have such a nice support group. The kids had a fantastic time. We are still plugging along on our school stuff, but kind of took it easy this week with all the swimming and camping, somehow we are going to have to still get a few things done since we took so much time off to pack and move earlier in the year. I love summer!! It is just awesome to go outside all the time and I love the lake!! We aren't far from the ocean so I want to go there too!! Nature study!! We are also having fun with perplexors- logic puzzles and games. So uch to do and learn, so little time!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Bit on Teaching Kids Moral Reasoning, Logic and Relationships

This is from my husband, he really does find the greatest stuff and we are finally getting to implement some of these things, I'm really happy about it, here it is:

Here are a few things I've discovered that others might enjoy:

1. I've been reading some books about how to raise kids to not easily be indoctrinated by anything, political, religious, social, whatever. Something that stood out was the importance of teaching "moral reasoning" which is reasoning through your decisions about what to do and what is right. I bought the game Scruples (and the kid version) which is about what you would do when faced with certain scenarios of ethical dilemma. Most of the scenarios fall in the gray area and don't have an obvious right or wrong, so you have to do some "moral reasoning" to decide what you are going to do. Actually the game is guessing what your opponents will do. 

2. I got the kids some books of logic puzzles called Perplexors. There are different levels and different types. They are kind of like the questions you might see on the LSAT about there are thre people, with three colors of shirts, with three pets and they give you clues and you have to figure out which person has which color and which pet. That's just an example. The kids did a few and seemed to really like them. I think is is good for teaching logic before learning formal logic. 

3. #1 is going to fly to music camp by herself and be gone for over a week. I wanted to get her a prepaid Visa card to use for incidentals, ex regency, and just experience using cards for payment. It turns out there are a lot of prepaid cards but most require SSN, birthday, and address and you must be at least 18. However, I found that there are non-refillable MasterCard gift cards that have no fees except the initial purchase and they work immediately with no setup required. You can't get cash from an ATM and you can't use it online but you can do everything else. Initial fee is $5 and you have to fill them using cash. You can get them at Walmart.

4. I've been looking for a book ( or game, games are always better) on teaching what healthy relationships are, and which is geared to teens. There are a lot of books on healthy marriages and a lot of books on bad relationships of all types, but I was looking for something on what healthy relationships are. And not just romantics relationships, but between friends, with your boss, with a neighbor, with your parents, etc. I haven't really found anything that covers all that but I did find a good book on what it means to be a good friend. It's called "A Good Friend: How to Make One, How to be One" and it's geared towards teen. It's good for friend relationships but I'm still looking for the others. There are some good books on boundaries, but nothing yet on what healthy relationships are.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

NYC and Philadelphia-- Travel log

Our schooling for the week consisted of major field tripping in NYC and Philadelphia.  It is no small task to get 8 children around the big city, and we did it with few mishaps and to prove it, we are all home now and alive and tired!

Last saturday we drove down through Brooklyn and Queens to Statten Island where we took the ferry to Manhatten.  Our strategy for all of this was to have the 3 little boys wear flourescent yellow shirts,  the 3 bigger boys wore matching neon blue and white striped shirts and the girls had matching pink and purple tie dye shirts, but it didn't really matter because the oldest wore her sweatshirt over the top most the time.  My husband wore an orange shirt and the backpack with diapers, change of clothes, water and snacks and pushed the baby in the umbrella stroller, he would lead the way through the city and I brought up the rear holding the twins' hands most all the time.  That way when we got to stairs he could easily hold the baby and carry the stroller because it's fairly light.  The matching shirts made it easy to see that we had everybody and that system worked pretty well for us.

We were able to see the Statue of Liberty pretty close up from the ferry which was free although there were a lot of people.  Then we took the subway to Times Square, walked around a bit, we had some street falafel sandwiches, then we walked on over to Grand Central station and had dinner.  They had an amazing assortment of all different kinds of food and it was all good, Iwa s glad to get my salad and be able to buy fairly healthy stuff.  Then we walked over to Trump Tower and looked around because we have watched a few seasons of the Apprentice.  It was starting to get dark, but we were able to walk to the edge of Central Park and take the subway back to the ferry station.  One of the lines was closed though and we didn't realize it, so we had to do some backtracking, but we did make it.  

We headed on over to our timeshare trade hotel/condo in Pennsylvania, it was about 2 hrs. away and we couldn't find the check in office and it was late enough that they were closed and not answering the phone, that we had to get a hotel, so our cheap week, they gave us ended up not being so cheap, but I chalk it up to travel learning-- make sure of their hours and make sure you know where you are going.  The other places we've stayed with our timeshare have had 24 hr. check in, so that was not wise of me to assume in this case, but oh well.

We were unable to check in to our condo until 10 am so we missed church, but we were all pretty tired so it was ok.  The town in PA was actually pretty weird.  It was a beautiful place but the people there were just strange, really not helpful and hard to communicate with, it was just weird.  But the condo ended up being nice and big and the pool was saltwater so that was nice since it was indoor, we swam a lot. 

 On Monday we drove 2 hrs. To Philadelphia.  The tours for Independence Hall were completely booked probably because of school field trips, but we did get a tour of where the Congress met and where the the first passing off of the presidency took place.  It was actually pretty cool.  Then we walked over to the Liberty Bell and the visitor center.  I really enjoyed the film they showed.  We were not impressed with the overall presentation of it all though, security was very meticulous and the attitude of the rangers was authoritarian and a bit joking.  They didn't seem to have the same appreciation we saw displayed in Williamsburg.  That was all we really had time for, but there is a lot to see and do there, we went to Trader Joe's and got food for the week and drove past the Museums and the planetarium which looked pretty cool. We also drove along the river, I think Philly is an alright place.

Tuesday, my husband worked online, which is why we could just take off, he can work from anywhere. The girls did some of their online school and the boys slept a bunch.  My brother and his family got into town that evening and we had a good time hanging out with them.  It was really nice to be able to do that sort of thing again.  I am really glad they were able to meet us, it was a last minute thing, and it worked out pretty well.  I did a little bit of schooling with the kids on Wed. and we went swimming.  Thurs. we explored the area and got muddy in the Delaware River and played mini golf and Friday we swam a bunch and cleaned and packed.

Then on Sat. again since my husband didn't have to work, we were headed home and decided to hit the Metropolitan Mueum of Art in Central Park in NYC.  The place I looked at to park said it would charge $15 extra dollars for oversize vehicles, which we have a 15 passenger van, when we got there, the guy said his garage wouldn't fit our van.  I asked him where we could park and he directed us to a garage just down the street.  That garage could fit us, I got out to talk to them and make sure.  The manager didn't want to take us, but when I asked him where else we could go, he said they might charget riple and I said fine, we need to park somewhere, he reluctantly said OK!  I was so relieved because I think his garage was not even online and I don't know how we would find one that would take us.

We walked about a mile to the museum and through Central Park.  It was much more relaxed than the previous trip and more like what it would be if you lived there.  So it was nice for the kids to have this new perspective of NYC.  We ate bread and oranges for lunch in Central Park to save money and time and then we walked on overt to the museum.  There were tons of people outside on the steps and food vendors in front and lots of people inside, but the museum is HUGE, it really didn't matter how many people there were.  I wanted to make sure and see the Renaissance paintings so we went there first.  It was so cool!  It was really nice when saw one we recognized from our studies.  I was more excited than the kids though, but I was really glad we could take them there, because it is going to make our studies more meaningful and will give them points of reference when we study them again.  I think we will put more emphasis on art study now, especially with the access to art museums we have now.

For each of the areas of the world, they had large displays to make it feel like you were there, a cathedral type space for Europe, a pyramid type space, actually a couple, for Europe, a Roman villa, an Indin temple with an amazing ceiling, a Japanese garden, etc.  I really liked being able to walk through many cultures and periods of time of the world all in one place, I hope the kids remember and it gives them perspective now as we continue to study history.  So cool, we only lasted about 4 1/2 hours before the kids were just too tired to go on.  We really just walked through most of the museum, we skipped most the American and Modern stuff, but we saw most of what we wanted to see.  I think the kids especially liked the Anciet Egypt displays, but it was all fantastic and nobody complained til the end when their little legs were so tired.  Even the little guys were interested, there was so much to see.

On the way home I saw we would be walking past The Candle Cafe of which I have their cookbook and everything I've made from it is super good, so my family graciously stopped there with me and waited in the rain while they made us a $15 vegan quesadilla.  Then we made it to the parking garage, got our van and gave the guy a huge tip, he was only going to charge us $20, my husband gave him $40 and his response was totally worth it, he was pretty happy and told us it was no problem for us to park there.  

All in all it was a great trip, I'm so glad we could go.  


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Clarification of my previous post

I just want to make sure my homeschool groups in Utah know that I appreciated them and that my statement on homeschoolers in Utah was not describing all of the homeschoolers there, my friends and the groups we joined were great, and I do miss those good friends and hopefully they know me better than to be offended, but still, I felt I should clarify.  There were a lot of groups I did not join because I didn't like their philosphies and in the end, the best thing for my daughters in Utah was to do part time public school.  I need to be careful making generalizations, but generally, I did not like the prevailing homeschooling attitudes in Utah.  I find New Hampshire to be very different in that regard with a strong emphasis on giving their children a better education than they would get in public school.  It is refreshing!  I will add this statement to the end of the other post.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lots of Good Things Going On

We have had so much going on, and school really is smooth, although cleaning the house is not, ;).  Anyway, the biggest thing is that the 5 older kids are all doing Recreation Track and Field through our city.  It is also a USATF team, so the kids have the option of really working and going for it, or just doing it for fun.  The coaches are really professional and good working with the kids, teaching them to warm up and stretch in addition to helping them with their running form and doing the various events.  They've all had chances to throw the javelin and shot put, do the long jump and triple jump and try various races.  They will even get to learn how to do the hurdles.  Last Saturday, they got to do a fun run obstacle course at a beautiful horse farm in the country that was situated on a small lake.  I loved it.  In retrospect, one of the best things I did in High school was Cross Country and Track and I have kept up my running pretty much except when I was hugely pregnant.  I love it, so it really did my heart good to see my kids get to experience that.  It was hard for them, they ran 2.5 miles, but they all said it was fun and they would do it again!  Yes!!!

We took the kids to Boston last weekend, that is an awesome city.  Once my girls are finally done with their online classes-- we are definitely going to be doing more field trips around here.  Last weekend was fun though too with the fun run in the morning and then going to see American Idol's Alex Preston who went to our local high school.  It has just been great.  We are headed to NYC this weekend and Philadelphia, so excited!!  We've got matching shirts for the different groups of kids so we can keep track of everybody easier.

The girls have had some rough patches with their online school-- learning to use the computers more effectively, learning to take tests, learning to be accountable to a 3rd party.  It has been rather difficult, they have had to really step it up and have spent a lot of time on it.  They are both getting As in their classes, which is encouraging, I just hope they will get to the point where they can do it at a faster pace.  The boys are moving right along.  It makes me very happy to see their progress and watch the light come on when they make a connection.  It can be so hard to get them to focus and pay attention, but it is worth it.  We have not been able to do as much as I have hoped, bit we are building a very good solid foundation and I'm happy about that.

I love the homeschoolers out here, a bunch of them have advanced degrees and they are serious about education, it's such a nice change from the myriad of homeschool moms I interacted with in Utah who did not expend the required effort it sometimes takes to teach math in the name of not spoiling their kids' love for learning.  I have a lot to learn from these moms.  I love the environment here.  I actually get to learn from them instead of shocking them with the things I know and the things we do.  It is so nice.  They are giving me and my kids a higher standard for which to strive.  It's so nice to be validated especially for my kids so they can see that , wow, maybe my parents do know something!  I could seriously stay here the rest of my life and be just fine.  

Statement of Clarification Added:

I just want to make sure my homeschool groups in Utah know that I appreciated them and that my statement on homeschoolers in Utah was not describing all of the homeschoolers there, my friends and the groups we joined were great, and I do miss those good friends and hopefully they know me better than to be offended, but still, I felt I should clarify.  There were a lot of groups I did not join because I didn't like their philosphies and in the end, the best thing for my daughters in Utah was to do part time public school.  I need to be careful making generalizations, but generally, I did not like the prevailing homeschooling attitudes in Utah.  I find New Hampshire to be very different in that regard with a strong emphasis on giving their children a better education than they would get in public school.  It is refreshing!  I will add this statement to the end of the other post.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Williamsburg and Revolutionary War history

We took a week long trip to Williamsburg, we spent 3 days there and itw as just plain awesome.  I let my husband take the older kids to see and tour some of the stuff that the little ones just were too loud for, like the courthouse where they acted out a proceeding fort het ime and sentenced someone to the stockade for stealing a pig and attending aogan concert at the local church whichw as used then and still is in use now.  I did get to see the governor's palace and the capitol building where they made the laws for Virginia before the governor dismissed the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry ( that didn't go so well, they reconvened at a nearby tavern).  It was just super cool to be there where real history actually happened.  The kids liked it, but not nearly as much as my husband and I did.  Butt hey learned a lot especially since we have been waching the Teaching Company lecture on American history, it really made it come alive.  We also went to Monticello, and Jamestown.  They were both pretty good although the reenactments at Williamsburg really brought the whole thing to life.  We also drove by Yorktown after we  went to Jamestown, the 3 little guys were asleep and I was on my own and everybody was super tired, so we just looked att he battlefield from the car and took a pic of the monument.  There is actially a lot to do in Yorktown.  There is a state park where the battlefield is, then there is an old town complete with a beach and another hands on museum, so I really would like to go back there someday.  We also swam a lot and got to see my mom and my brother and his family.  It was a great trip.  I hope that revolutionary spirit stays with the kids, it was just good.

The following weekend, last weekend turned out to be not only Easter, but the anniversary of the battle of Lexington and Concord.  So there was a bunch of stuff going on all weekend.  Lexington is only about an hour away, so we drove down and saw some cool military stuff including a revolutionary band with fifes, drums and horns.  We also got a tour of the battleground which was awesome, and then we went and saw a reenactment of the Tower Battle which was supposed to represent a couple different battles, anyway it was mostly from the minutemen attacking the tedcoats on their retreat to Boston.  They started in a field, battled down through a wooded area and ended in another field, surrounding the british and firing their cannons.  We had awesome views of the entire thing and it lasted about an hour and looked very authentic.

Then we celebrated Easter on Sunday which was nice.  #1 accompanied the church/ward choir and the piece was beautiful, very nicely done, #2 sang with the choir, we have some very talented choir directors.  Then my husband took the 4 older kids to see thet reenactment of Paul Revere at midnight, the sound wasn't so good and they left a microphone on, so there were conversations and laughing that shouldn't have been there.  So that was kind of a heavy price.  Also, they slept in the van and then got up for the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington at 5 am, there were tons of people so the kids really couldn't see and it was unseasonably cold, so that was a very heavy price indeed, but worth it overall.

Needless to say , the kids caught up on their sleep Monday instead doing schoolwork.  But that's OK.  We  are plugging along on everything.  The girls are not enjoying their online school classes, because they are challenging, but also they have had some technical difficulties, hopefully we have them worked out now!  I hope they will feel a great sense of accomplishment when they are finally done!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Online classes, Choir, and Sick

The girls have been working super hard on their online classes.  We are hoping they will be able to finish by June 30 because that is the end of the year and they can only take 6 credits per year.  It is fairly flexible though so if they are close to finishing, they will still be able to take more classes for the following year.  The classes are fairly challenging though, and there are a few things the girls haven't done before like do a power point presentation, make a brochure, write arguments for and against certain  positions, run a scientific experiment complete with a theory, hypothesis and method and then write it all out and use graphs to illustrate the results, as well as graded quizes and tests.  They also have to make sure to schedule the oral assessments with the teacher and get their stuff turned in when they are done.  So it has had a learning curve for them, I'm hoping they'll get used to all that and start moving a little more quickly and use their time better.  If they can be done by June, they will have completed 4 full year classes in 4 months.  We'll see!!  But if nothing else whenever they do finish, I think they will have a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  I think they already recognize the value of it even though it has been hard.

#2 is 2 yrs. ahead taking Geometry and Latin, I'm sure she'd do fine in any of the 9th grade classes, so it is not too critical for her.  She really likes computers though and would like to program, so she's also taking a computer class that is the pre requisite for all the other programming and design classes she wants to take.  #1 is just right on track for finishing up credits for graduation, and we are hoping these classes will just give her a good transcript for when she applies to colleges.  It is a little more critical that she finish on time so she can take more credits this upcoming year or prove to the school if she decides to go full time that she can mange the harder classes.  We'll see though, for 9th and 10th grade, the high school here puts the kids in groups and they stay together like elementary school for the 4 core classes, just rotating teachers, and there are no bells and it is a pretty casual environment with little room for movement between.  She is also getting some opportunities to accompany and keep up her music.  I am going to need to start researching how to get a music scholarship and where.  I really don't know anything about it.  I woukd like to get her into lessons, but with the super cold winter, the price of propane gojng up and our house in Utah unsold, she will just have to keep going on her own.  I will probably order another keyboard for her so she can work on recording some of her songs and getting the music written, I think those things will help.

We got rid of all screens for kids except TV when I need it for the toddlers except on Friday and Saturday.  So the kids still earn minutes diring the week for finishin their schoolwork, but they don't get to play them until the weekend after their chores are done.  It has  een so much better!  All thise boys wanted to do ever was play video games!  Since we spent so much time packing, moving and unpacking and it was freezing outside and we didn't have most of our stuff, the screen time had gotten a bit out of hand.  And then with 8 kids and everyone wanting a turn, it had become ridiculous.  Even #7, one of the 4 yr. old twins, would say k mom After I do my math then  can play?  There was a lot of complaining and crying about it at first, but they have all koved on to playing board games, reading and going outside.  It is nice.

I have realized that my boys' lessons are much more effective when I do them individually which I had always done for math, but it has to be done for Greek also.  I did Greek with the girls together, but that hasn't worked with the boys.  #3 in particular does much better without his younger brother yelling out the answers first.  I have also learned that I have to do the middle often overlooked child #5 first or we may not get to him because the older kids all have these massive needs and his stuff really doesn't take long.  He is particularly smart, it is really nice to teach a smart kid, they make it so easy!

This week was super busy.  Monday we had some homeschool families from our town come over for Olympic Fun.  We did some races and shooting and sledding.  I think it will ne a nice social group for my older boys.  #2 had a great time running the event, she even made country flags and medals for the kids.  I like the people out here too, they are just so genuine, they're not like particularly outgoing or extra nice or anything, they just are who they are and don't put on airs.  It's very refreshing.

Tuesday, the kids performed for a nursing home with their choir and ensemble.  The residents really liked it and there was a lot of nice comments from workers walking by and just in general.  I'm really glad the kids have this opportunity, and the kids they perform with are just nice and genuine also, and they sound great.  It's just good.  Most of the kids in the ensemble and choir are also in our church ward, so it has been interesting to be on the majority side in the ward where I see more wardmembers outside of church than other ward members see each other.  The other members are so spread out that they don't all go to the same school, so that is quite a switch for me, since I was pretty much always on the outside at church since my kids didn't go to the same school everyone else did, so I like that a lot too.  But that was a busy day, we were near Costco and Trader joe's so we did that shopping and then I had to go to scouts and then everybody seemed to be getting sick.  I still made the kids do their schoolwork, but they all slept a lot and didn't get as much done as usual.  Then Thursday, the girls went to the temple with the youth group and Friday we had choir practice and stopped by the library (I'm trying the library again) and Saturday was a Relief Society activity and the girls were asked to babysit. And then my husband came down with the sickness and one of the twins puked, and so only the girls and I went to church today, but it was great, but now I have a headache, so good night, I'm gonna try to get a lot of sleep!

Looking forward to a calmer week, knock on wood!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Regular goings on

Our lives are quiet and comfortable we're getting things done, the house is cleaner, we're going to bed earlier, it's just a really nice season for us.  We only have 3 1/2 years til #1 will leave for college and then it will just keep going, kids leaving, and our lives will change dramatically over time, so I am just enjoying every minute with all my kids home.  Plus #1 may want to go to full time high school next year or the year after, so all the more reason to enjoy this season.  Our church group is fantastic, #3 is going on his first overnighter this weekend with scouts.  The girls are going to a girls' night out when he's gone.  I'll just have a house of little boys to myself.  Not sure what we'll do.  

The state of New Hampshire has an online charter school that is fantastic.  The girls are both taking online classes.  I am so glad they'll have an official transcript and grades, and they have a teacher that will correct their work.  I have been working daily with #3 on Greek and math, he is doing so much better at focusing and getting the work done.  11 yr old boys sure know how to push buttons and waste time!  The worst is piano lessons, I can't express the amount of patience and energy this boy's lesson takes.  But as with everything, he is finally realizing the quickest way out is to just get it done.

We have had to eliminate screens- all gaming that is during the week.  It is tempting to let the boys play when they are done with school and chores because they work so much better when they have something like that to look forward to, but it is such a hassle keeping up with everyone's time and inevitably after the computer and wii have been on for over an hour and they all need to go do something else, someone will cry because they didn't get their turn yet.  So we're back to screens only on Fridays and Saturdays.

We had a book club last week on White Fang.  The girls wrote really great papers on it and the kids had a pretty good discussion.  The kids performed for choir at a nursing home last month and did a great job and #1 got to play the violin with her ensemble at church.  I also took the girls for a trumpet and clarinet lesson.  We can't do regular lessons til moving expenses are settled and I think I'll try to find another teacher.  Also our huge propane heating bill is a big damper on lessons and classes, maybe our house will sell soon, that will help!

We have had a ton of snow, we still have a bunch of boxes to unpack, plenty to keep us occupied, I have been looking at museums, I can't wait to go!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How far we've come!

I found an old homeschool journal I kept of our schooling from 2005-2008. It is really interesting how much the same I am, the journal really mirrors this blog, what we've done that week, and writing something about each child. We did a lot back then, my oldest was just 6, it was really fun to remember some things and to think about everybody as babies.  It was also interesting to see that as babies my kids had a lot of the same personalities and tendencies now that they had then. Recording things is such a good thing to do.

 It feels really good to get back in control of my life, we had so many difficult situations coincide with the birth of our twins, that we essentially just survived, but did not thrive and sometimes we weren't sure if we were even going to survive. But we did and it was nice to read and remember some really good times in our lives before all the craziness hit.  And school has been going well here on the home front, it takes a ton of patience and work, but we are beginning to thrive and I just can't express my gratitude enough. I will post more about that later, for now I want to type in this funny occurrence in from our church primary program, FYI-- the primary is our church's children's organization and the program is done once a year for the entire ward/congregation.  I was the primary chorister for this program.  It was nice to remember I had good times at church there too!

This was written by me on Nov. 6, 2005

Sunday was the program.  The girls did a great job singing and saying their parts.  #2 had 2 parts and was so cute quoting Moses 1:39 from memory, it was really sweet how she said the same things at practice that she did at the program.  It was kinda hard because her 2nd part ended with Heavenly Father's plan which rhymes with eternal life of man from Moses 1:39, so it was a little mixed up, but very cute.  #1 needed only a little prompting but then she said her part perfectly and must have looked just adorable because there were a lot of sweet laughs.  I lead the music and all the children sang well.  #3 joined us for some of the songs, (he was 3 at the time and not in primary yet), and then he tried to climb up on the pulpit.  He finally went out to foyer with his Daddy, so my husband missed a lot of the program. 

It was really spiritual and very sweet.  Some funny things happened which I am sure not many people noticed. The primary pianist was just cleaning her glasses and they broke right in half.  She was really panicking and tried to put them on so they'd stay, but of course they didn't.  I had to stop looking at her so I wouldn't laugh.  She called to another primary person to come play for her and then she taped them together with blue tape, but finally got the attention of her husband who got a spare set out of the car, so it all worked out.  Then one of the Sunbeams (3-4 yr old class) threw up at the very end, but it was already over so no big deal!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Some Great Booklists!

Ok, so I've heard about Sonlight curriculum, but yesterday while waiting for choir, I got to discuss books with some other homeschool moms and they said throat Sonlight has great lists, so I checked it out and wow, they do!  All those books look great, I am excited to get some and get started! www.sonlight.com

Monday, February 3, 2014

book list I don't want to lose

I still love New Hampshire, it is so awesome! That last post was actually supposed to go on my venting blog, I try not to complain too much on here, oh well!! I will write more about that later as well as school which is going well. We've been to a science class taught at an environmental center in our town divided into 5 age groups, we have joined a choir and we joined a book club and a teen activity group, unfortunately the book club and teen group are going to coincide, so we will have to decide. There is a good online charter school that I will be signing the girls up for a couple classes. The high school turned out to be lame, so we are homeschooling everybody this semester again and won't be doing any part time. We have been doing aerobics and yoga videos for fitness instead of organized sports for various reasons. We will in the next month find some good music teachers and ensembles for the kids, hopefully start some karate or at least join the YMCA. scouts at our church is the best we have ever seen. All the scouts meet together as one group with the various classes being quorums. Young Womens is so much better than what we had anytime in Utah. The leaders are mature and have teens of their own, and the girls are all really nice and have been very welcoming to my girls. This is an extremely good move for us. I love our location, we have 3 acres at the end of a wooded lane, with tress everywhere, total privacy, cute little towns with a corner market and gas station, awesome local cafes and excellent variety of stores for furniture as well as the standard big box stores, the grocery stores all carry organic foods and high quality foods with few preservatives and chemicals. There is also a co-op I can order from weekly to get better prices!!! so far, I just miss my mom and the scenic Utah views, the weather is about the same as Utah so far, although it does get dark an hour earlier here than in Utah, that is a bummer, but spring is coming! I do appreciate the new scenery, I like the little roads and trees everywhere and cute little houses, everything is colonial style, I like that too. The people are fantastic, I have been welcomed to New Hampshire by every person I tell that I am new, restaurant people, gas station people, corner store people, people at church, at homeschool groups, even the guy who picked up the moving trailer. School is going well, unpacking is going slow. We've just left everything in the garage and it will take a while, we have a couple bookshelves up now so we can start putting books away. But the kids really needed to get back into their studies and I think they like it. I just got on the computer to print out their lists of assignments for the week and I found this booklist I wanted to remember and ended up writing a novel, oh well. Here's the list: http://info.infosoup.org/lists/ClassicsForTeens.asp this site has a bunch of great books listed I want my kids to read and that I want to read also. The girls read the Bronze Bow for a book club last week and they are working on reading White Fang for next month. I really liked the book club, parents were invited, but the kids were encouraged to do most the talking. It was a great discussion, hopefully we'll be able to work out a decent schedule, if not we may have to start a new book club.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I love New Hampshire!

OK, so we have moved, been here a week and a half.  It is so awesome!  People have been great, church has been great, the schools have not been so good, but there will be other opportunities here.  I am especially glad my kids will finally have a decent church experience.  There is a lot to get used to, I'm not used to being included at church, I'm not used to people acting normal and not purposely ignoring me or trying to avoid me.  I've forgotten how it feels to enjoy going to church too.  I feel vindicated in a lot of ways too, the contrast is stark in some respects.  It will take me some time to mull it over, and be ready to process it all.  I have decided to not talk about my past experience with people here, it doesn't do anyone any good and it just reminds me of the pain.  It's just time to look forward.  In time I will be able to compare and contrast and really learn from the whole experience.  But for now I'm just going to enjoy being left alone, being allowed to live my life the way I see fit and not having to expend so much emotional energy just to stay afloat.  Go New Hampshire, I love the "live free or die" state!  I'm sure I'll write more about it some day, but I am looking forward to some good times and meeting and getting to know some nice people and spending some good time with my family.  Life is good!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Learning from Living

We have enjoyed our time off school work, Christmas get togethers, parties and lots of saying good bye.  We spent more time with family and got to see most of our extended family.  My dad's side didn't get together this year, so we missed them, but we saw everybody else.  Everybody was great, there was no drama for us this year.  It was awesome to leave and feel a positive connection with everybody.  It was my favorite Christmas.  It didn't leave us much time for our usual family traditions and that was fine because we know we won't be here next Christmas.  We did have a nice small Christmas with the kids getting most family gifts for the trip,  tablets to be exact to make the 45 hrs. In the car go a little more smoothly.  Anyway, it was all good but very busy with us getting our van fixed up for the trip and packing in all the spare minutes.

The kids were doing well helping and things were running pretty smoothly except our sweet little dog got sick, she was shaking and trembling a lot, so we finally took her to the vet.  He told us it was a neck injury, gave us some medicine for the inflammation and pain and said she'd be fine in 2-3 weeks. She took her medicine that first day and was doing much better, but the following day we couldn't get her to eat or take her medicine, same the next day, she seemed to need to rest a lot and I thought it was just part of her recovery.  But the reality was that she would not eat and then she stopped drinking too.  The kids also found her outside fallen in the snow being looked at by a big black dog.  They carried her in, but she was super scared.  She never complained once or made a sound.  So we don't know exactly what happened, but by the time we realized she wasn't getting better on New Year's Day when we were busy loading all the heavy stuff and our vet clinic was closed, it was too late.  We ran her over to our neighbor who is our vet, but she was already 10% dehydrated.  He also said for her to go downhill so quickly there must have been something else going on or her neck was hurt much worse than we realized.

We were getting ready to take her to the emergency animal hospital, I ran in for my coat, #1 waited with her in the car, and when I came back, she told me the little dog was gone.  She had taken one last breath, stretched out and made a sound, probably her spirit leaving her body.  We drove a little ways because her heart was still beating, but I had to accept she was gone and we returned home, wrapped her in a blanket and our friend, the vet, came and got her.  Everyone was super distraught and very very sad.  It is terrible without her.  We also gave away our cat that day so it was a very emotional sad time.  It is super weird to not have a single animal to care for.  At one point we had goats, chickens, a cat and a dog.  I thought they were kind of a pain even though the kids do most of the taking care, now I realize all that care and work is so worth it.  Those animals are our friends and they are my kids' friends. 

Some of the kids are still having a hard time with her death, so it has given us the opportunity to talk about death and the grieving process.  Life is rough, and animals just don't live as long as people.  So we just have to remember the good parts and we have to think that it was her time to go,  we needed that dog, she was there for us when my husband started his job where he had to commute a lot, she was there for my daughter when all her friends moved away and our ward was crazy and she was so vulnerable.  The dog was there for me when I sent my babies off to public school for the first time and for when I became isolated this year.  In some ways, I think the dog or The Lord knows that happier times are ahead for our whole family and that it was time for us to face the future alone without our beloved dog, especially #1 who was the main caretaker of the dog and had the closest relationship with her and will be starting full time high school in a brand new place.  So for us the New Year is a fresh start in more ways than one.  

For me, Maple was my first dog, I did not understand dogs at all, I had no idea what we were getting into, this dog was sweet and kind and gentle and good with the kids, otherwise, she wouldn't have lasted.  Now that she is gone we all realize how much she meant to us, sometimes you just don't realize it til they're gone.  It is so much of what education is, learning about life and people and how we interact and now how important animals are to us.  I think even in her death, Maple has taught us a lot and we will all be better and stronger.

Will we get more animals when we move?   I would like to, but I also plan on visiting and seeing places and doing things, so it just may have to wait.  But someday, we will get another dog, not to replace our Maple, but because we understand the value of animals and how they show us what unconditional love really is.

In the midst of all this, we are still trying to move.  I took a day to mourn and rest, and I let the kids be distracted with media, so we are behind.  It looks like that may be OK with these crazy cold temperatures.  We are going through Memphis and up the Atlantic coast so we'll miss the worst of the temperatures, but it is still abnormally cold, there isn't a lot going on on I-40 so it's probably good we're not on the road right now.  We might be able to get out today, but we'll have to see on the weather, we don't want to get stranded somewhere or have it be so cold our van won't start in the morning.  So we'll see.

Lots of changes, learning from life!