13 December 2013


It's been an interesting year for science here. Sweet Pea is doing chemistry labs with a good friend of hers; they're each reading the text at home on their own. Rosie Jane is doing biology labs with a local co-op. She's really enjoying it, getting to see her friends and I'm happy that the biology labs are getting done somewhere else.

So far this year, chemistry has been going pretty well. She's doing understanding most of it and has had one tutoring session with a friend of mine that teaches chemistry in a local public school. She's really been enjoying the labs though. I think it helps to have her friend to do them with, plus they're actually kind of cool at least the recent ones have been. One week, they mixed up some chemicals and made the stuff that's inside glow sticks. Last week, they mixed up other chemicals, then heated them up, which caused a rather loud "pop." Startled Sweet Pea since although she read that it would do that, it was louder than expected. Yesterday, they mixed chemicals together (something about pH levels) and made pretty yellow, blue, and pink colors.

Can't wait to see what next week brings.

11 December 2013

Snow Days!

Snow days! Don't you love them? As a kid, to me they always meant a day off from school. As a homeschooling mom...my kids aren't quite as lucky. Oh, they do get to enjoy the snow, they just don't get a full day off to hang out, watch tv, do nothing like their friends who go to school.

When they were younger and we got snow, they were usually the first ones up and they were dressed and out the door early. They'd play in the snow for a while, until they got cold and hungry. When they came in, it was time for cocoa, breakfast, and a bit of school. When they had warmed up, gotten a few things done, and their friends were awake, they'd head back out to play again. Then it was time for more cocoa and finishing up school. And another round of playing outside, if their friends were still up for it although most of the time, they weren't.

It's only December 11 and there have already been two snow days here. We had a snow/ice storm Sunday night into Monday, then a snowstorm on Tuesday and the public schools were closed both days. Neither days would have been much fun to go out and play in, we just didn't get that much snow and too much ice. Monday they did a regular day of school; there was no reason not to. On Tuesday, we had a bit more snow and some cookies to make since we're close to Christmas. They did a bit of school, then went outside for a while. Snow days are more fun when there's lots of snow to play in.

If this portends what's to come this winter, it'll be interesting. I'll need to work to keep them on track on snow days so they can get the time off they need in February and March and still finish school by the end of May. At least they (and I) enjoy watching the snow fall so it's pretty easy to move to a room with lots of windows, watch the snow fall, drink some cocoa, and get math done and save the playing outside for later.

11 November 2013

Netflix and YouTube

This year Sweet Pea is studying the 20th century in history and literature. One of the best things about this time period is the development of cameras, video, tv, and computers. We are really taking advantage of resources available to us on the computer and other places to enhance/add to her studies.

Netflix is great. She has watched All Quiet on the Western Front, Saving Private Ryan, and The Great Gatsby already this year. I have a list of movies that we'll watch throughout the year that tie in with history. Some may not be specific history movies, like the war movies, but will be more to give a sense of the time period like The Great Gatsby. We're also going to watch a few movies instead of reading the book, partly to save some time. She's got a heavy reading load and a movie here and there instead of a book will be a nice change. Next up on the movie list is The Jazz Singer, the first "talkie" movie.

YouTube is also an amazing resource. We haven't used it much yet but I will be encouraging her to use it more, especially since she's moving into the 1940s this week. She's on it a lot, but mostly looking at music videos. I know there's videos of speeches, music concerts, and lots of other events that will tie in to her studies. It will be nice to see speeches and other things from early in the century instead of just reading the speech. It will give more of a feel for what was happening and how passionate the person giving the speech was at the time.

08 November 2013

Homeschooling Today

Right now my aunt, uncle, and cousin are visiting. They're actually staying with my mom, but we've been able to spend time with them. I enjoy talking with them since my cousins were homeschooled (I enjoy talking with them for other reasons as well). It's interesting how things have changed since they homeschooled back in the Dark Ages versus what I'm doing now with my girls. Knowing them, they were probably more of the unschooling/delight directed type of homeschoolers. While I would love to do that, it's not what we're doing and I'm not sure it would succeed well here. We're more of the "literature based and throw in a few interest based classes" types. But that's the joy of homeschooling, figuring out what works best for your family.

One of the great things of homeschooling now is computers and the access they give us to other things. My girls are taking a few online classes, obviously not an option before computers were found in the home. The classes they're taking are actually very different; two of the language classes are live and they can interact with the teacher and the other kids, the other language class has three live classes and the rest are recorded for the students to watch (no live interaction on those days, but there is a forum where you can ask questions later), and the other online class is a live class, but in lecture format, with an opportunity to ask questions at the end. There are other ways to deliver online classes but this is what my girls are doing right now.

The choices my aunt had back in the mid-80s were probably pretty minimal, if she was going with some sort of curriculum. She may have used what the schools use. Now, there's so many choices that sometimes it's hard to pick the right thing. I also think that there's some areas that are still lacking in homeschool materials or maybe there just hard to find.

I'm glad to have the ability to homeschool since I do think it's the best thing for our girls. They are learning, loving to learn, a trait which seems to be hard to come by in many kids that go to public school, and mostly enjoying school.

21 October 2013


Rosie Jane has been playing golf for about five years now. She's really enjoyed it and has seen her game steadily improve. She's taken lessons through the First Tee program locally and played with various relatives (her grandfather, her dad, her aunt). Now she's to the point of needing to step up her game and play more often on more challenging courses.

 This summer we went to the new Golfsmith store to check it out and also find her some actual golf clothes. She needed shirts that breathed as well as fit the golf attire dress code (collared shirt). Also, cut off shorts are frowned upon on golf courses, so we got her some shorts as well. Now we need to head back and get some pants for her since she's still playing this fall and it's much cooler.

This was her hanging out this summer before she was heading out for class.

First Tee has four levels of skills to move through and Rosie Jane has worked her way up to the last one. She passed the Birdie level this summer and just has Eagle left to go. The playing requirements are much harder, she has to play on a longer course with a lower score, and all her skills need to improve.

These last two pictures are recent when she was out playing with one of her coaches. They played Augustine Golf Club on a beautiful fall day. I managed to snap these from the deck at the clubhouse where I was waiting for them to finish.

She's got enough interest and passion for playing golf that we're looking into colleges that have a women's golf team. Her coaches have told us that she's good enough to play in college. We still have a few years to plan, which is good because the NCAA requirements are time consuming to document (for everyone, not just homeschoolers, although we've got to do it on our own with no school counselors to help). It will also take some time to find the right match with a school for her - one that has a golf team and has the major that she wants, which currently is marine biology but who knows how that will change in the next three years.

19 October 2013

What is this? Revisited

So earlier this summer I found something growing in my garden that I didn't expect. It was some sort of vining thing that looked like it was from the pumpkin/squash family or perhaps, but less likely, cucumber. At the time I took the first picture, it was just a vine with leaves. I watched it grow, put out flowers, and finally something else. Honestly, I'm still not exactly sure what it was that was growing. It was definitely some sort of squash or gourd. It was green with some yellow and it was round. I'm not sure it had a long enough growing season to mature, not knowing when it was "planted" nor what it was supposed to look like when it was finished. I'm hoping to get some yard work done soon to get things cleaned up for the winter so the wayward vine will be making it's way to the compost bin soon.

17 October 2013

First Steps Towards College

Not quite sure we're ready for this but the first steps towards college have been taken. Sweet Pea took the PSAT at the local high school yesterday and it sounds like it was quite the interesting experience. It also reaffirmed for her that there's a reason she chose to homeschool high school and she's glad that she chose this path. She was in a room that was a mix of public school kids and homeschool kids, including a good friend of hers. Among the interesting things that happened - the public school kids were reminded the day before the test that they had to bring a pencil and calculator if they wanted to use one. Guess they forgot as a few of them showed up with out either a pencil or calculator. They were admonished for forgetting, told they were setting a poor example for the homeschool kids (yes, the proctor really said that), given a pencil and told if they didn't bring a calculator, they would have to do without. You would think for all the standardized testing they do in the public schools these days that they would remember a pencil for a testing day! You would also think that they would be able to follow directions about how to fill out forms and sit quietly. Apparently not.

On the good side, after the nerves of just having to go over to the high school, Sweet Pea said she thought the test itself went well. She felt a bit rushed on the last part (a few things happened, like the class bell going off, that distracted her) but overall felt she did well. We'll get her scores in December along with her testing book and will see how she did then. Sometime in January, we'll start prepping for the SAT she'll be taking in May. We did very, very little prepping for the PSAT but want to make sure she's ready for the SAT. Her goal is to do well enough on it the first time that she only has to take it once.

So I guess now the college mail and emails will start coming in and a few more colleges may pop up on her list of ones to think about. Hopefully none of them will have any surprise requirements for homeschoolers. We've mainly been focused on one or two schools and they really don't require anything extra of homeschoolers. If she needs to take an SAT subject test, we'll have to figure that one out when we get to it and hopefully any that are required will be ones that don't need a lot of studying. I think the bigger issue here is fitting them in at this point. She's got a busy summer ahead and if she needs to have the testing done before applying, it could be tough to fit in.

So the first steps have been taken, now we need to see if there's more colleges she wants to look at, figure out all the testing that needs to be done, fit in some college visits, and keep moving forward. Most importantly, she needs to keep working hard this year.

04 October 2013


I had seen a short blurb in the paper a couple of weeks ago about a STEM Expo (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, for those not up on the lingo) that was going to be held sort of locally. After a bit of Googling to find the details, both exactly where it was going to be held and who was going to be there, I decided that Sweet Pea really needed to go.

For quite a while she's been talking about wanting to study meteorology; she wants to learn about extreme weather, especially tornadoes, so she can figure out how to help people prepare and survive these types of storms. And then physics came along and did not play nicely. She became really frustrated, having a strong desire to study meteorology but not really liking science and math. We looked at the class requirements at a couple of colleges and there's lots of physics, chemistry, and calculus, along with all the weather type classes.

I'm really glad we went to this expo. It was held in a mall almost an hour away but it was worth the drive. While there were a lot of booths she wasn't interested in visiting, she spent quite a bit of time at the NOAA booth (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) as well as a few others. Most of the booths had catchy names and interactive things for the kids to do. It was mainly geared towards middle and high school students.

We stopped first at the NOAA booth and she had a chance to talk to someone there that worked the night of the derecho that came through our area last summer. It was very interesting talking to him and I think she got a good inside look at what one type of meteorology job entails. He also was very encouraging, gave her some guidance on colleges to look at, suggestions on classes she could/should take in high school, and a few other tidbits.

We then wandered around to more of the booths, stopped at a few that looked like they might be interesting, and went back for the opening "ceremony." One reason we went back for that is that Josh W. a storm chaser was speaking. He showed his tornado equipment and talked a bit about what he does. We wandered around some more, stopped and talked with the people at the USGS (US Geological Survey) booth, although that was more for me than her. After that, she decided she had seen what she wanted to so we went back upstairs to the food court for lunch. Another stop at the NOAA booth to talk some more and try out the wind gauge, then we were on the road to home.

Learning about wind speed

Going was worth it because while it reinforced her desire to be a meteorologist, it also reinforced the science that was needed by someone who is doing what she wants to do. It was good to get more information about college options, professional organizations, and some other options that will be open to her when she's in college.

14 September 2013

A Crazy Week in the Books

I'm glad we made it through this week because it was a crazy one! We had several doctor's appointments that disrupted school on different days, dance classes started, online classes started, and we just got back into everything.

While Sweet Pea was in France, her Imperial Russia class started. It meets online Thursday nights. They're recording it so if you miss a class you can catch up later. We had one heck of a time trying to get into the recorded class so she could watch it before Thursday night's class. Turns out something got messed up in her settings; they finally figured out the problem and fixed it late Wednesday night. She did get to watch class 1 before class 2 so that's good. I just need to check and see if she had homework that she needs to catch up on.

Sweet Pea's French and Russian classes started this week as well. So far it sounds like they're just doing review but new stuff will pick up soon. She will be sharing (through interrogation) about her trip to France. Her classes are a little bit crazy and fun but she's learning a lot.

Rosie Jane's biology lab group met over at a local park on Tuesday. They were collecting pond water for their lab that they were doing on Friday. After she finished there, she went to the driving range to smack a bucket of golf balls around. It's not the best range but it did give her some practice. In a continuation of a busy day, we stopped at Subway to get lunch then I dropped her off at the preschool at church where she volunteers on Tuesday afternoons. She loves working with the kids and, although she was sad to not be seeing last year's kids (they're in kindergarten now), she was excited about the new class.

In between all that stuff, they did get some book learning and reading done at home. Sweet Pea is officially done with physics and is moving on to chemistry next week. I think she's happy about that! Rosie Jane is having a hard time with math. I want to make sure she's got this down well before we move on to harder things. We'll take the time she needs to really learn it before we move on.

We're going to enjoy our weekend, then jump into another busy week.

30 August 2013

The Start of a New Year

The start of a new year....the excitement of new books, a new grade, harder classes...these are all things we look forward to in our school. Sweet Pea is super excited about school this year. She'll be studying the 20th century and has been looking forward to that for a couple of years.  Rosie Jane being in high school is going to be a change but so far, she's doing well. She's staying up with her work and doing well in everything we've started, except math.

Right now Sweet Pea is in France. What a way to start off the school year! My mom is with her, they're on a tour that includes Paris, the Normandy beaches, and the Loire valley castles. They'll be gone 10 days, including traveling to France. So far, from the pictures I've seen in Instagram, they're seeing lots of sights in Paris and having great weather. Of course, this trip will count as a massive field trip for history, art, and yes, French. In one email she sent me, she said that she'd had some opportunity to speak French, but not much. I can't wait to hear about her trip when she gets back. She's really looking forward to the Normandy beaches. Before she left she and her dad watched The Longest Day and also the beginning of Saving Private Ryan so she had a better understanding about where she was going.

Not to be outdone in the fun department, Rosie Jane is getting in a lot of cousin time before school starts for them. We had to babysit one niece overnight and they had a great time together. My sister picked up one and dropped off the other. Now Rosie and her other cousin are having a movie marathon to end the summer; I think they're watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy. On Tuesday, it will be back to school for her so she's enjoying a few days off while her cousins spend the night. Her biology labs start on Friday which will be so good for her. She knows a lot of the kids that are in the class and she'll enjoy the social interaction (hopefully not too much!). German is still TBD as is Spanish, although I think I know what we're doing there.

This is the first year that I've felt so unorganized so late in the year. Usually I know exactly what we're doing and have it all lined up. This year, not so much. I still need to order the syllabus and teacher's book for biology, figure out German and Spanish, and actually, that may be it. I know Sweet Pea's chemistry stuff came in; her friend she's doing the labs with has it (her mom ordered it). I know this will all come together very soon.

Here's to a good year!

20 August 2013

The Junior

So hard to believe that we've only got two years left at home with Sweet Pea. We've been talking about colleges, what she wants to study, where she wants to go, all that sort of stuff. I think as homeschoolers we kind of need to start really thinking of these things a bit earlier than most families do. Getting into college as a homeschooler isn't generally a problem, there's plenty of schools out there that welcome homeschoolers with open arms. There's a few that have some extra hoops that homeschoolers need to jump through but really aren't a huge problem. Then there's others that aren't quite as friendly to homeschool applicants.

So what is Sweet Pea studying this year? Lots of fun stuff, things she's been looking forward to for a while as well as things she loved last year and will be continuing.

English, or more properly called Literature - she's also going to be using the Bravewriter Help for High School writing program. This will help them both learn how to better craft essays and the more analytical writing needed in high school and college. Kind of wish I had found this earlier in her high school career. She's also going to be using Sonlight's 20th Century Literature; this will give her more writing practice and lots of lit written in the 20th century.

History - she'll be studying the 20th century (using Sonlight). She has really been looking forward to this year and the chance to study more recent history. She is particularly fascinated with World War II and Russian history.

Science - finally finished with the "evil" physics and moving on to chemistry. She'll be using Spectrum chemistry and doing the labs with a friend. Hopefully they won't blow up our house!

Math - she loves Life of Fred math and insists that she's going to work through Calculus at home so she can find out how Fred became a math professor at the age of 4. This year she'll be finishing up geometry and moving on to trig.

French and Russian - she has loved learning both of these languages. She's moving into her third year of French and second year of Russian. French she really enjoys, Russian pushes her brain to work hard. She's continuing with Mr. G over at CurrClick.

Imperial Russia - this is another online class, done by Professor Carol. I've heard her speak twice at our homeschool convention. She has a love of Russia and music that can be contagious. She's also really funny and interesting. I think Sweet Pea will really enjoy this class since she likes everything Russian.

And finally, Art History - for this I've got two books for her to use as texts and she's going to be doing a lot of looking online at pictures. I'm also going to try to get to the art galleries in DC for field trips a few times this year so we can see some of the art she's studying.

We also need to get in some SAT prep since she'll be taking those later this year. I need to look up the dates and get that on the calendar.

I think she's looking forward to everything except maybe chemistry. She did say that last time she had some chem she found it interesting, hopefully she will again this year. I know she's happy to be doing the labs with her friend.

She's got lots of extra curricular stuff going on this year, just like her sister. They'll keep me running, but at least this year Sweet Pea can drive herself where she needs to go.

18 August 2013

My Freshman

This year should be interesting, both girls are in high school, with one we're starting to seriously think about colleges and all the entrance requirements and for the other I have to worry about NCAA requirements. Talk about crazy stuff!

Rosie Jane will be a freshman this year. With both girls, we've sort of left it up to them whether they went to public school or remained homeschooled for high school. Here, once you start high school at home, it's pretty difficult to re-enter the public schools later. I was really surprised when Rosie Jane said that she wanted to stay at home for high school. It kind of threw me for a loop for a bit since I had really thought she was going to want to go to school. After I regrouped and started planning for this year (and rough outlining for the next three), I decided it would work out well for her. Staying home will give her opportunities to do things that really interest her that she wouldn't be able to do otherwise. I'm working to find outside classes, be they in person classes or online, for her; she's my social butterfly and will do well in outside classes. Once she's old enough she can start taking some classes at the community college. Some outside accountability will be good for her.

We've had the discussion that school really matters now and she needs to buckle down and get it done. She's on board with that. Since she's a pretty good golfer, we're also looking to fulfill the NCAA requirements so she can play in college. Trying to follow the NCAA req's shouldn't be too hard, just a lot of paperwork. Hopefully in the end it will all be worth it and she can get a golf scholarship.

What's she studying this year? She's got some of the basics plus some fun things as well as plenty of outside activities.

English - she's going to be using a mix of the high school writing program from Bravewriter, some grammar work, vocabulary (BJU), and when she's done the Bravewriter program, she'll go back to the Sonlight language arts writing.

History - she did the first half of the world history program from Sonlight last year and will be doing the second half this year. She'll be picking up about 1600 and moving to the late 20th century. Last year she told me there was too much reading so I had planned to cut out about half the books this year for her. We'll see since she's already told me that she wants to read more than I had planned.

Biology - high school science is probably one of the hardest things to pick out. After a lot of looking around, I've decided to go with a typical high school text, Holt Biology and use the syllabus from Oak Meadow School. I still need to get this ordered, just a bit behind. She's going to be doing the labs with a local co-op. She'll have fun with her friends and I don't have to do the dissection with her.

Math - having some math issues but we're moving forward into algebra probably using Saxon. It seems to be a program that's either loved or hated and I think she falls into the "love" group. We'll see how it goes.

Photography - this is one of the fun classes. I got my husband the Great Courses photography class last year for Christmas to help him learn more about his fancy camera, how to use it and how to take better pictures. Rosie Jane has been taking a ton of pictures (thank goodness for digital cameras and their chips!!) so we talked about adding photography as a class and she's really excited about it. We'll be using the Great Courses as the base, then adding in some other things I've found.

Spanish - Rosie went to Guatemala this summer on a mission trip, came home and told me she wanted to learn Spanish. I was not surprised! I had signed her up for an online class, but it meets as a live class only three times during the fall semester. I wasn't crazy about that, I really feel for foreign languages that you need to get more feedback. I was talking to a friend of mine and she was looking for a fourth for a Spanish class, so Rosie Jane will be joining her son plus two other kids for Spanish. The teacher is a former public school French and Spanish teacher so I think it will go well.

German - yes, she still wants to continue with German even though she's adding Spanish. The unfortunate part is that Mr. G isn't continuing with German so I've been on the lookout for other options. I thought I had found a local teacher, but I think that her class is a year behind where Rosie Jane is right now. Now I'm on the hunt again. I'm either looking for a local teacher or tutor or if there's still room, I'll go with OSU's (Oklahoma State University) high school German class. I need to get this figured out in the next week or so!

PE - this is another fun one, that's also easy for me. Rosie Jane has been taking dance classes for years and is continuing this year. She's taking four hours of dance a week this year. Besides her dance classes, she's also got golfing, running, and biking that she's been doing that will count for PE this year.

I'll share her outside activities in another post.

11 August 2013

It's Getting Close!

We're almost to the first day of school here. Even though I don't have all the books we need yet, we'll be officially starting tomorrow but there won't be any classes. We're going on a field trip tomorrow to visit Bob at Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for teens and adults with mental disabilities. Actually, Rosie Jane is already there helping get things set up so just Sweet Pea and I will be heading down tomorrow. We'll all come back tomorrow night after the talent show.

There actually probably won't be much learning going on Tuesday either, maybe a bit. The girls have dentist appointments in the morning, then Sweet Pea has work and Rosie Jane has golf in the afternoon. I'm going to take some time with each of them going over more specifically what they're going to be studying this year and figuring out their schedules since both have online classes and Rosie Jane is taking her biology labs with a local co-op. We all need to know who has to be on the computer when for class and when someone needs to be taken somewhere for class. I especially need to spend some time with Sweet Pea going over her history and the expectations for it.

So I guess our "real" first day of school is going to be Wednesday. I need to remember to take first day of school pictures of my freshman and junior. Hopefully they'll put up with it.

28 July 2013

What is this?

If my girls were younger, this would make for a great science lesson over the summer.

I have no idea what is growing in my garden, most likely either watermelon or pumpkin but I honestly don't know yet. One friend suggested that it might be zucchini, yellow squash, or cucumbers, but that seems unlikely to me, unless the seeds were carried by a bird. Earlier in the year, Bob and a friend emptied the good compost out of the bin and put it in the garden. Later, I spread it out and these two plants started growing. Actually they could be different things, a watermelon and a pumpkin. I don't think they are squash or cukes since I'm not sure how the seeds would have gotten in the compost. The most likely thing, actually, is pumpkin. We usually throw our pumpkins in there after Halloween is over.

Oh, the lessons I could teach with this. We could learn about compost, what it is and how it's made, about worms and heat and water and how they all interact to make good dirt. We could learn about seeds, the parts of a growing plant (cotyledons, anyone?), disease, how much water and sun they need, how long it takes for a plant to grow enough to set fruit and how long that has to grow to be ready to pick. I'm sure there's more we could learn, like what to do with whatever it is that's growing in my backyard. Is it something to eat? How do we cook it? Is it a pumpkin that we can carve? If it actually was squash or cucumber, we could talk about how birds transport seeds and the role they play in the ecosystem.

Alas, my girls are teens now and I'm probably the only one who is curious about what's growing. They've both been busy this summer, Sweet Pea has only been home on the weekends, Rosie Jane has been busy golfing, babysitting, seeing friends, and more. Like I said, this would have made a great science lesson if they were younger.

18 July 2013

The Lazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Summer is supposed to be full of lazy days, especially if you're a kid. We've had quite a few of those, but it seems like we've had more of the crazy days. We haven't been nearly as busy as we are during the school year but a lot of our days have been full.

We went on vacation in May, came back to finish up school, then Sweet Pea was off to camp. That was the beginning of her summer at Camp Highroad, a high adventure Christian camp. She went that first week as a camper and had a great time. She had the opportunity to do the high ropes course, go creek hiking, night swim and night ropes, and lots of other stuff. Since then she's been back at camp as a CIT (counselor in training) and has two more weeks to go. She's working with the wranglers group so she's spending all her time with the horses. She was off one week but we spent part of that week out of town, so it wasn't especially relaxing for her. Once she gets home from her last week, she'll have a week to relax then we're going to start back into school. It won't be everything at once and we'll still be taking a few days off here and there but it will be back to school time.

Rosie Jane has been just as busy. She's been home more and has been able to have some of those lazy summer days but her time has been pretty busy as well. She's been babysitting for a couple different families weekly, taking golf lessons through First Tee, going to the senior high bible study at our church and the youth group at a friend's church. She also went to camp for a week and loved it. Right now she's in Guatemala on a mission trip with a group from our church. She gets home late Saturday night, then will have some well deserved rest before she gets busy again. She's got more babysitting jobs lined up, a couple of dance classes, hopefully a quick trip out to visit her cousins, and of course starting school again soon.

I really think that first week of August needs to be full of lazy, fun summer days. Maybe a trip to King's Dominion will be on the schedule, it just needs to cool down some. We'll enjoy some last lazy days before we head back to school.

20 June 2013

Out with the old, in with the new

I spent a bit of time yesterday clearing off the school bookshelves. I pulled off all the books, workbooks, etc. that we're done with for this year to make room for the new stuff. I found the history books that I already have for Rosie Jane for next year and put those on her shelves. I still have a bunch of stuff I need to order, which I'll be doing soon. Once I do that, those rather empty bookshelves will be full of new books, new ideas, interesting stuff to learn.Until then though, they're looking rather empty.

I still have a mess on my desk, grades that need to be finalized and put on the transcript, reading lists to update, course descriptions to write, and some other end of the year things to finalize. It will get done, just not this week. This week we're in the home stretch of dance and besides dance classes Monday and Wednesday nights, there's dress rehearsal tonight and tomorrow night, and the recital on Saturday. After that it will finally feel like summer - all the regular school year activities will be completed and we can move on to summer fun.

11 June 2013

Slinking into the end of the year

In a sense, the end of the year has snuck up on us. It's actually been a crazy spring! Snowboarding went into April, including a trip to Colorado for Nationals. We got back from that and were cranking out the schoolwork and planning for vacation. April and early May were busy months with school, dance, and work. We pretty much wrapped up school by May 15 and left for vacation on the 16th. We took a tour of the National Parks of the Southwest, hitting the big ones and a couple of small ones.

I was organized, planned ahead, and got the girls testing done before we went on vacation. The results came while we were gone and now I need to keep track of them until I get the paperwork ready to file for next year. I should probably do that soon, except it's not due until August and school isn't even out yet here.

We got back from vacation and they've got a bit of school to finish up. Sweet Pea is doing one more module of physics, reading some history, and yesterday she asked what her next school book was. She's got a stack of books in her room that she wants to read but I guess wasn't interested in any of them yet. Rosie Jane is finishing up her science as well and she'll be doing math through the summer when she's home. I feel like it was a frenzy of school, vacation, and now we're just slinking into the end of the year. Sweet Pea will be done as of Friday since after that she'll be working at camp most of the rest of the summer until early August. Rosie Jane will finish science early next week but she already considers herself a freshman. How did they get so old??

05 May 2013

Late spring

It's been a long few months. I'm happy spring is here, even if the weather isn't cooperating and it still feels more like early April instead of early May. We're working on mostly wrapping up our school year. Only a week and a half of school left, then we leave for vacation. After that it will be back at it but lightly.

Sweet Pea will have at least one more physics module to get through and history to finish up before she leaves for camp for the summer. Rosie Jane will be home for longer and will be working on math all summer when she's home. Algebra is really kicking her butt and we've already talked about her working on it all summer. I really think if she takes the summer off, I'll have to start the book over again in the fall with her.

The girls and I have already talked about next year and both will be home again. At this point, Sweet Pea has no choice and after we start next year, neither will Rosie Jane. It's very difficult to enter the public schools here once you've started high school at home. Probably the biggest disappointment about Rosie Jane not going to high school is that she won't be able to play golf for the high school team. I'm going to look into whether she can play on for a Christian school that has a girls' golf team. She's pretty good and I think with more coaching she'd be really good and could easily get a golf scholarship to college. I'm going to have to keep working on that one.

Besides finishing up the last bit of school, we also have to get in our year end testing for the state as well as figure out when Sweet Pea can take the CLEP test. Much to do as we wrap up another school year.

19 April 2013

Sports, part ii

Back to sports. Between my husband, my dad, and I we've managed to introduce our girls to two pretty expensive sports. They do love them though.

First snowboarding (and skiing). Sweet Pea LOVES all things snow and snowboarding. Bob took the girls to the mountain for the first time several years ago. Sweet Pea decided that she wanted to try snowboarding while Rosie Jane took to skiing. Rosie Jane will ski, if it's not too cold, the sun is out, and she's in the mood. She goes often enough that we rent skis for the season for her from the local ski shop. She was pretty reluctant to head to the mountain this year for some reason, then went one day and got a wicked sunburn. It was a beautiful day towards the end of the season, the sun was out, and it was warm....and I totally didn't think of sunscreen. After that day I made sure Sweet Pea had some in her gear bag.

Sweet Pea is the fanatic (said lovingly). She has loved snowboarding since the first time she went out. We rented her a snowboard for several seasons and bought her one last year for her birthday. She's finally stopped growing and has shown a continued interest so we knew it was a good investment. Last winter, we looked around for a snowboarding team and decided that the best one was the one at Massanutten Resort. Where we live, no ski area is close. The mountain she really wanted to go to has a ski team but no snowboard team. Massanutten has practice two nights a week plus both Saturday and Sunday. They only require attendance at one practice a week but we try to make it down to both weeknights plus Saturdays.

Last year was our year to figure out the snowboard team and also the competitions. She joined USASA, the snowboard association and competed in boarder cross. This year, we took another step and as she did well, she got invited to Nationals and competed there. She did well at Nationals and loved her extra day of snowboarding in Colorado. Looks like driving to snowboarding practice and competitions will be something that I'm doing for the next few years.

And then there's golf. This is Rosie Jane's passion. Many members of my family, including my dad and Bob, play golf. It's totally not something I'm interested in playing but she really does. A few years ago, I looked around for golf lessons and found that there's a First Tee Program here in our county. This is a great program because it combines teaching golf with life lessons. As the players move up through the program, the golf requirements get harder and the life lessons are deeper. Once they reach a certain level, and she's almost there, they can go to summer camp and get invited to tournaments.

Golf is one reason we thought about putting Rosie Jane into school for high school. Where we live if you homeschool, you can't be on the high school team. We've decided to keep her home, which means that it's going to be harder for her to play and get noticed by colleges. She's just going to have to work hard so she can go to the golf camps and tournaments sponsored by First Tee. One good thing is that there is plenty of money out there for female golf players for college. Now we just need to find her some (female) friends to play with so she'll keep her interest up.

So that's our sporting life, dance year round, snowboarding (and skiing) in the winter, golf in the spring/summer.

13 April 2013


I'll get back to the sports later. Right now I've got driving on my mind. Sweet Pea is finishing up her behind the wheel class and will have her license TOMORROW! I'm really excited, for both of us. She'll be able to get to Bible study and work by herself, and for me it'll free up about 4.5 hours a week that I don't have to drive her anymore.

Right now I was hoping to find an easy Excel report card that I can use. I need to make up one so she can get the good student discount on her auto insurance. I don't usually give the girls report cards, I just tell them how they're doing and they have a pretty good idea anyway. I do tell them their year end grades. Anyway, I can't find anything useful for high school that I can just plug and go and email to our insurance agent. Guess I'll work on something this weekend so he can add her on Monday.

Here's to safe driving!

08 April 2013


Our family has never been big into the typical organized sports so I'm amazed at how much of our life revolves around the seasons and the sports that come with them.

Neither of our girls were much interested in soccer. I really enjoyed playing soccer growing up and played for a high school team so I hoped one of them would play. We didn't really encourage soccer when they were younger since the games were on Sundays, which is church and family time here. When they got a bit older and games were on Saturdays, they were busy with other interests.

Swimming is another sport that never took that I loved. I swam at our pool in the summer and for the high school team for four years. They both learned to swim at the homeschool swimming lessons at the county rec center and did well. For a few summers we belonged to a pool and the girls loved going and playing around but weren't interested in joining the swim team.

So what have they done instead??

Dance  Both girls started dance when they were little. Sweet Pea took ballet, then added pointe when she was old enough. She really enjoyed it but had to quit when she started having ankle problems. She went to the chiropractor for her ankles and they finally decided that it was best if she quit. She still misses dancing. Rosie Jane started with a ballet/tap class, as she got older, it was just ballet, then she added jazz, then she dropped jazz and took Irish dance for a few years. She was really good at Irish dance but didn't want to practice but at the level she was getting to, she really needed practice outside of class. So she dropped that, at our insistence, and went back to ballet, adding jazz again and lyrical. As she got a few years older, she's added modern and pointe. I really like the studio they've danced at, it focuses more on dancing for the love of dance rather than competing or building professional ballerinas or dancers.

Horses Sweet Pea has loved horses since she was very little. When she was about 2 she wanted to learn to ride horses. That's a bit too young, but when she was 5 we started looking around for lessons for her. The stable that's down the street from us took students when they were 9. I really wasn't sure I'd be able to hold her off for that long and was fortunate to find somewhere else that would take her at 5 years old. The preschool she went to took a field trip to a local farm and the owner was doing lessons. I talked to her and in the spring, Sweet Pea started riding. She started taking lessons one day a week, we later added a second day as she got older (and her legs were actually long enough to reach the horse and not just the saddle), then came an opportunity to buy the horse that she was using at the time for her lessons. She still owns that horse and loves it; they both can be stubborn so they're a good fit for each other. She eventually stopped taking lessons (the owner moved on to other things), but still rides two or three days a week and now works at the barn two afternoons a week to help pay for the board. She loves her horse and did one or two local shows but has decided competing on horses just isn't for her. I have to agree. She doesn't really fit into the horse world. She wants to preserve her love of horses and is afraid if she has to work so much and deal with the pressure of competing that she would lose her love of riding. She wants to be able to enjoy having a horse, jumping on it and enjoying the ride.

Next time, snowboarding and golf, the seasonal sports that they love.

01 February 2013


In homeschool circles, January is a dreaded month. Of course if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, from what I hear it's the beginning of the new school year so there's lots of excitement over new books, new classes, etc. going on there. Up here in the cold north, Christmas is over and it's a long stretch of cold, dark days before there's another long break. It's more of the same (usually) as far as school goes, nothing new or exciting.

I usually don't mind January too much. It's good to get back to a schedule after a week plus off for Christmas. We're pretty busy in January, trying to get to the ski slopes for some winter fun so the month seems to go by pretty quickly. Once January is done, for the last couple of years, we have Christmas with Bob's family to look forward to in mid-February and the girls and I take our annual vacation to visit his sister in New Hampshire at the end of the month.

I think it's actually March that I don't like so much. Our fun vacation is over, ski/snowboard time is pretty much done, and it becomes a long slog for us to get through March and into April. We'll take a day off here and there but don't usually take a spring break. The plus side of that is finishing early - usually by the end of May or early June - but the downside is the long time between our February vacation and the end of school. At least by mid-April the weather gets really nice and school can be done on the deck or at least with the windows open (one daughter finds doing school outside very distracting).

16 January 2013

Celebration day tomorrow!

Tomorrow will be a day to celebrate, Sweet Pea is going to be finishing Algebra II. She's really enjoyed Life of Fred Advanced Algebra and will be moving on to LoF Geometry on Tuesday next week. She's already told me that she's got to get through Calculus at home (not sure I'll be able to help her with that!) because she must find out how Fred became a teacher at Kittens University at 3 years old.

Life of Fred is an interesting math series. It tells the story of Fred, in all his brilliance, and what happens in his life. The good thing about it is that it shows math in real life situations, although how some of us would ever end up in those situations, I don't know. It's also a math program that doesn't lay things out for you in detail. He gives you enough information to figure out the problem but in a way that really makes you think and work things through (and I have to say that I really like the name of the publisher - Polka Dot Publishing).

In other math news, Rosie Jane is going to be finishing her pre-algebra book next month and I've already got the algebra book ready to go. She's using a different book, LoF didn't work as well with her. She needs more...hand holding, shall we say and Teaching Textbooks is working well for her.

07 January 2013

Back to School

Today was back to school after Christmas break. We enjoyed out time off, spending time with family and at home for Christmas, then a trip to New Hampshire for some skiing/snowboarding. Now it's time to hit the books that we didn't think about for two weeks.

Considering that we haven't thought about school for that long, it went well today. I figured out where the girls were in most subjects, we still have a missing book and missing instructor's guide, but otherwise things went pretty smoothly. Looks like advanced algebra will finish up next Friday (which was the plan) and she'll begin geometry the following week and pre-algebra will be finished probably early next month and algebra will follow. I think I've timed things that history will be finished up before our vacation in May and the rest of the subjects will just be put on hold until we return or possibly for the summer. The only thing that may need to be finished up when we get back is physics since I borrowed the book and will need to get it back to my friend if she needs it in the fall.

So day one back is off to a good start, hopefully the rest of the week will go as smoothly especially since snowboard practice starts this week (for us).