So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Monday, January 2, 2017

Some Random School Pictures

A Big Change Part 2

If you haven't read the first part of this post, you can find it here. Otherwise, feel free to proceed. :)


After looking at several curriculums, asking my homeschool friends what they used, and even flipping through some sample books, I decided on a curriculum and ordered it (I even found the majority of it used -- God bless Ebay!).

At first, she told me several times that she missed her old school. I'm not sure why. Maybe just to be contrary.

She did get to talk to the teacher occasionally during conferences and at some of the classes we were able to attend. And she is a charmer toward any adult. Except me. And Daddy. So she didn't get to try to work her magic on the teacher anymore. The teacher was suddenly wise to it. Hmm.

After about a month, we began to figure things out. The meltdowns had mostly ceased with an occasional one here or there. And, then, suddenly, we had a great day where everything fell into place. Her day ended by 1:00. What!!

She decided this kind of school wasn't so bad. But she still wouldn't claim to like it.

She began to not mind reading either.

The last book we read in the online school was, it turned out, a 5th grade level book. According to the teaching manual, she should have been able to read the almost daily assignment of 2 chapters in about 20-25 minutes. Try two hours. Yes. Two hours!

When I found out what level it was, I fumed. She had struggled and cried about that book. And I had been concerned about some of the content that was above her understanding. Nothing bad, just beyond her maturity level. Concerned because they expected her to pull out all kinds of inferences about motives and such. I don't know any 8 year old who could have come up with some of it.

But, it turned out that she was right at average reading level for her age. The books she has read so far have been age appropriate with a few challenging words. She is mostly able to figure out how they're feeling and what their motivations are now -- not at first.

And for the first time, she is referencing parts of the books she read when she sees something that applies while we are out and about. Because the literature and the history are in the same time periods and work together, she has made more connections than ever before. The online school program was intended to work concurrently to some degree but the schedule the school administrators set up completely threw that by the wayside. So, every class, every lesson, every daily check-in  was on something different, even when they were on the same subject.

This has turned out to be our new blessing. And, the fact that Oklahoma allows me to do it legally is even more of a blessing. For the first time, I feel like she is actually learning -- not just getting it long enough to take a test and go to the next thing. I feel like this might be something she remembers later on. I feel like she is being educated.

Last week, my husband mentioned her 'old school.' For the first time, she told us she likes her new school better of her own accord. I consider that success.

If she ever says she 'loves' school, I will probably have a coronary. So I'll just be happy with liking what we are doing better. That definitely works for me. :)

A Big Change

In October of this year, we made a big change in our household.

I am a big fan of our online public school program.  I have not ever seen school at home done nor had I any clue how to do it. When I researched it for my eldest, I could never find any 'how-to' on it. I think that was primarily because no one wanted to be misunderstood as saying you HAD to home school this ONE certain WAY.

So no one ever gave any specifics. And if you looked for that or wanted someone to tell you how they did it, the only answer you got was that "you can do it however works best for you."

That didn't work for me.

I love to bake. When I do that, I always start with a recipe. I may decide to throw things in or change things up with wild abandon but I need something to start with -- something to inspire me. And after that initial run, I may not need or want a recipe at all. But I prefer to have something to start with.

Now I am a pretty confident baker. I, however, am not at all confident about how to be in charge of my child's education -- especially when I have never seen it done.

Having the online public school was a great blessing for that reason. Public school standards are the same no matter where the schooling is taking place. And they had no issues telling me exactly what they wanted me to cover.

Plus most of the teacher books would have very detailed instructions -- as in "Say:" this thing or that thing then show the child how to do this other thing. Etc. etc.

In addition, they had finally figured out how to show attendance without punishing those who worked ahead or just 'got it' in certain subjects. I loved it.

They provided all the books and manipulatives and even art supplies. They took care of things like standardized testing and report cards and records. Both my older two even got graduation ceremonies and public school diplomas. It was great and I saw no reason to change that.

But the online school was very different this year.

Someone in charge had decided that we weren't accountable enough or something. I'm not really sure. Unfortunately, the way they decided to change that is pile on more work.

On top of that, there is a BIG test at the end of third grade so all the third grade teachers were trying to get everyone ready for that. Unfortunately the way they did that was to pile on more work.

Do you see a theme?

We were working between 6 to 8 hours a day with about a 20 minute lunch and no physical activity -- just sitting in front of the computer, book in hand discussing the lesson. Many times we began in the morning and only stopped so that I could go start dinner. And that's when she would try to do her P.E.

What's more, she had begun to hate reading. She struggles with it anyway (in part due to having learned a different language for the first 3 years of her life, I think) but they expected so much from her on a daily basis that she just got overwhelmed by it. She got to the point that she literally began to tear up every time I asked her to read anything -- even a sentence or two.

Then, they sped up the pace. If we weren't working that full day, we fell behind. She began to have regular meltdowns and I had them right along with her. I never had time for anything. Just to go to the grocery store meant I had to leave a schedule of independent work for her siblings to keep her on while I was gone.

It was crazy. And for the first time in the 5 1/2 years that I have been doing this program with my children, we began to fall behind. This was the first year of those 5 1/2 years that I felt overwhelmed despite being the only year I had just one student. I had always had two before.

So, at the end of the first quarter, we left the online public school.

And, on the first day of the second quarter, we nervously began a home school curriculum.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Girls' Weekend 2016

This year, our girls' weekend ended up being quite a bit later than usual. We all had a lot going on and so we celebrated Rugrat's birthday at lunch and then headed off to Eureka Springs, AR.

We had just about made it there when a deer suddenly walked out of the night into my hood. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't just told Chick about 30 minutes earlier that I was going slow and trying to watch because deer were bad to come out at that time.

And it still wouldn't have been as bad if about 45 minutes before that, Hubby had not called to tell me that someone pulled out of a parking lot in front of my son on the main road consequently totaling the Civic he was driving (the air bag even activated). Fortunately, he was okay and the van was still fine to drive -- just not pretty. God was watching over us all.

Despite it's horrendous beginning, we still enjoyed our time together. We enjoyed the Christmas parade there and lots of shopping and sight seeing.

We even managed the short trip up to Branson one day.

Yeah. They certainly look like they're having a horrible time.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hubby's Birthday

He requested this cake, which promptly started sliding around as soon as I put it together and this is probably one of the very few pictures we have of it. I guess it's good that he thought it tasted really good.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween 2016

Annie (her favorite movie) and Daddy Warbucks -- or as I call it: photographic evidence of how much I love this child.

My bald cap had a point at the place where it was put together so it kept sliding up so that I looked like I had a baby bottle nipple on my head. It was rather aggravating. I actually had to buy a large boy's jacket because even the smallest men's ones were way too long for my short body. Further humiliation as evidence.

Obi Wan came to join us. Hubby was quite proud of his costume this year. He searched for it, purchased the parts, and put it all together with no help of any kind from me. :)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Six Flags over Texas

Shortly before our anniversary, Hubby came across a deal on season passes at Six Flags. So, for our anniversary, he and I made a trip to go check it out.

On our way down, he planned a few other stops.

One was our first visit to an IKEA. I know, we are certainly the wild ones, aren't we.

Then, we headed on to Six Flags. It was an awful lot like when we were dating again.

At least it felt that way -- like we were on a date at the state fair or something except, you know, we went back to the same hotel room.

Rugrat has a thing about the statue of liberty so we took this picture for her.

It was their annual Halloween thing so they had a lot of that kind of stuff going on.

We had so much fun that we decided to take the kids down. So off we went again the weekend before Halloween.

Chick's favorite ride is the swings, always and forever.

Rugrat found her hero in one of the stores. Her love of Wonder Woman is solely the product of the old television series that MeTV shows every Saturday evening.

They both thought the Batmobile was pretty cool though.

Guess who turned out to be a roller coaster fiend.

This one especially (the Judge Roy or something like that) was her favorite. She asked to go on it more than once.

We had a great time and actually had planned to go again for their Christmas thing but our time was gone before we could.

I'm sure we'll be making use of them again in the near future though.