Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nocturnal Tag Team (Guest Post by Domestic Imp)


I don't know what it is that the two youngest minions are up to, but it's become obvious, even to my sleep deprived brain, that there is indeed a plot in the works.

As Holmes would say, "There's trouble afoot!"

It seems, once I'm settled into bed, Cubby begins to wail.

Sometimes, it's as soon as my head sinks into my pillow.

Other times, it's just as I start to drift.

It used to happen now and again, but lately, it's an every night experience. I'm genuinely not sure what's worse, the instant wail, or the waiting til I start to drift wail, but I'm leaning towards the drift, because it's more of a tease...sleep so close, then so brutally yanked away.

Then, Boo gets in on the action.

His participation of the nocturnal game of Get Momma is to wait until I'm either in the midst of taking care of Cubby...or, just as I'm about to tuck Cubby in, thinking I'm home free and able to crawl back into bed, HE wakes up, and begins to wail.

Again, not sure what's worse,  being mid feed or change with Cubby, and hearing Boo wake, or mere steps away from crawling into bed myself.

And then it repeats, about three hours later.

I don't know how they're doing it, but they're decidedly working together. There can be no further doubt.

I thought that Boo cuddling, kissing, and babbling away at Cubby was a sign of brotherly love, and took delight in Cubby's reaction to him, the smiles, the huge belly laughs, and almost hysterical giggling.

Nope. They were making plans to coordinate their nocturnal domestic terrorism.

This is all their Dad's fault. They obviously get their devious plotting abilities from him. 

Everyone knows how innocent, pure of motives, and committed to peace and harmony of all mankind and Earth's creatures I am.

Not even my dog believes that.


This was a guest post by the hilarious Domestic Imp. You can find her blogging about homeschooling, parenting, and domestic.....bliss.... over at Not A Stepford Life.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

And in other blogger news:

My online friend has started blogging a bit more regularly, so I'd like to promote her blog, Not A Stepford Life. She is homeschooling her 5 kids and she is so much better at being funny than I am (and always wanted to be.) Her recent post over at Sandbox to Socrates, The Secret of Homeschooling, got promoted by Classical Academy Press on facebook! And this new internet celebrity is going to be guest posting here soon.

In other Sandbox to Socrates news, Where Is This Rest, And Where Can I Find It? is also getting a ton of view and I think helping a lot of moms.

And if you're not already a regular reader, Dusty has 10 days of giveaways over at To The Moon and Back that is halfway through. So check them out before they're over!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Supplementing FLL1, Lessons 51-60

A continuation of how we're adding to First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind: Level 1 to make it more kinetic learner friendly. (Click here for my posts on previous lessons.)

(Lesson 51) Bundle of Sticks

Lesson 51 has students listening to a story that tries to encourage family unity using the analogy of breaking sticks. So after we read the story and did the narration we did the obvious thing, we went out side to test if a bundle of sticks really is harder to break than a single stick.

(Lesson 52) Verbs!

Now that we're working with verbs, there is a LOT of moving and kinetic things to do. We used signs to help us remember the long definition of a noun. Once we figured out what we wanted the signs to be, the boys memorized the definition long before the book expects it of them.

"A verb is a word that does an action (walk in place)

shows a state of being (bring your hand down your torso, showing your self)


links two words together (link your index fingers together/sign for "friend")

or helps another verb."
(make a fist with one hand and lift it up with the other/sign for "help")

(Lesson 54) In Case of Emergency....

One of the things I love about First Language Lessons is that the kids end up learning a lot more than what you would think of when you think of "grammar." One of the things FLL1 works on with young students is memorizing their address and phone number. During these lessons we had a carbon monoxide scare (post to come) and we needed to call 911. That day after it was over I talked to the boys about calling 911, under what conditions they would be the one who would need to call, and what questions they would need to answer. We practiced them calling and having to give their address and phone number. I also made a paper and put on the fridge with 911 at the top and our address and phone number on it. Because if they are actually having to call, I don't want them to be stressed about having to remember; they can just read it off the paper.

The lessons and the poem we got from FLL1. The original link is to the author's printing press website, the picture is a link to the Amazon listing. I came up with the extra activities on my own.

Supplementing FLL1, Lessons 40-50

A continuation of what we're adding to lessons from First Language Lessons For the Well Trained Mind: Level 1 to make them more kinetic learner friendly. (Click here for my posts on previous lessons.)

(Lesson 40) Signing the Months of the Year

One of the ways I've been adding a kinetic learning approach to FLL is to use signs, especially with things Builder Boy is supposed to be memorizing. By the time we got to this lesson, Builder Boy already knew all the months of the year, so there was no issue here. But I wanted to link the signs for the months of the year here for kids who do not and would be helped by it. The links are from our favorite online signing dictionary, Signing Savvy.


(Lesson 43) "The Months" poem

I actually have no help for this one. For previous poems I had hand signs for words to help Builder Boy memorize, but we did not do that with this one. Because of what was going on at the time, I did not require memorization of this poem. But I do love the Knuckle Trick for remembering how many days a month has.

(Lesson 45) Noun Review

For review we used the index cards I made in the beginning lessons and I made a few more to mix it up.

(Lesson 46) Pronouns Hand Signs

I have no idea if my signs are the official ones or not; some are, some probably are not. Either way, they worked really well for us!

I, me, my, mine (point with one finger touching my chest, repeat, hand comes to my chest, repeat)


you, your, your (point at person speaking to, move palm facing hand toward person, repeat)


he, she, him, her, it, his, hers, its (pointing away towards an imaginary person for first five, "push" towards the imaginary person for last three)


we, us, our, ours (make a circle with one finger for first two, make a circle with open hand for last two)


they, them, their, theirs (make a circle indicating a group away from you with one finger for the first two, with your whole hand for the last two)

Pronoun Replacing Game

It's one thing to memorize "a pronoun is a word used in the place of a noun." It's another thing to physically replace the noun with a pronoun in a sentence! So that's what we did to help Builder Boy and Early Bird have a better understanding of what a pronoun is. I wrote out the sentences and used sticky note for the noun/pronoun swap.



The lessons and the poem we got from FLL1. The original link is to the author's printing press website, the picture is a link to the Amazon listing. I came up with the extra activities on my own.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Smile! Sunday #8

We actually have been attending church more than I've been getting pictures. It just been harder than I thought, being busy getting out of church with three kids now and everyone else is busy, too.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Time 4 Learning Review

I am overdue for giving Time 4 Learning their review, and I thank them for their patience. In November/December I accepted a month's trial free in exchange for an honest review. I don't have screenshots of the program like I prefer to have when I write a review because at the time my kids were using this online program I was dealing with postpartum depression. The timing was perfect because school was just not getting done when it was something I had to be responsible for. But the kids really liked doing school on the computer and would work away contentedly for some time.

There were several parental controls that I did not take advantage of, like setting time limits that had to be met before the "playground" unlocked and test score reports. I very much liked that kids were not limited to their own grade level, but had access to both one grade above and below thier registered level. Which was very helpful when you have a child that has asynchronous developments, or a child that finishes all of one level in a subject and wants to move on to the next without having to do every other subject in the level.

I did not regulate or dictate what subjects they had to do, but rather let them make their own choices. Most of the time they chose science or social studies, though occasionally they did some math or language arts. I do like that for the price of Reading Eggs plus Mathseeds you got ALL school subjects with Time 4 Learning.

I was not sure how much of the material my boys were actually retaining. They went through subjects very quickly at times, couldn't always tell me anything when asked, and often did poorly on the tests. But when it snowed outside, Builder Boy said to me "it must be zero degrees Celsius out there, because that's what temperature water freezes at!" so he clearly did retain some of it, because I hadn't taught him that.

Looking at what they had when I had access to it, I would not use it as my main curriculum. But as a supplement, a summer program, or a needed break for Mommy, it's very good and worth the money if you can afford it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Lady Bug is sick again, but we still managed to get a little bit of school done today, including what I had planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Here's the link to my lesson plan on Sandbox to Socrates.)

I admit, I hate teaching about sad things to my happy children. This is the first time we've ever really talked about discrimination and intolerance. My kids have learned to love everybody, so it's hard for them to understand why anyone would be mean to other people just because of how they look. Early Bird shared with us that at Sunday school some girls told him he could not play with them because he was a boy, and how sad that made him feel. I hadn't known that had happened! It make my heart hurt for him, but it certainly helped him relate to what we talked about today.

God Gave Us the World is a sweet beginner book for young children that answers questions as to why God created us differently.  God Makes Us Different by Helen Caswell is the next step to take it from bears (from God Gave Us the World) to people. We talked a bit about how boring it would be if everyone looked the same, and how on the inside we're all the same. There was also a brief rabbit trail about DNA and inherited traits.

Grandpa made a short video about what he remembers about the times, keeping it vague and not being specific until they are older. We also watched the Horrible Histories Rosa Parks Equality song.

The boys were surprised and happy to discover how many of their crayons could be used as skin colors, besides the usual "peach." They used their new discovery on a coloring page while listening to Reverend King's Dream Speech.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lesson Plan for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday will be celebrated this Monday. Our lesson plan is available at Sandbox to Socrates if you're interested in ideas for your own children.

Know a great resource for teaching about MLK that I missed? Please share in a comment below!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Smile! Sunday #7

Awwww! Even Lady Bug smiled for the picture! Early Bird, however, refused to be in it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Week 1 in Review

Early Bird's science Christmas present
Trying various kinetic ways to help Builder Boy learn telling time.

Early Bird's copy work!
Testing out the stick breaking story from a grammar lesson.

Coming out of depression, I'm focusing on every little victory. I did a full school week this week; the first full week since Thanksgiving. It was light, review for some of it, and only took about half the time it normally does. But we did seven subjects (handwriting, grammar, writing, spelling, reading, math, and science) for at least four days this week, which is the goal. It felt really good to get that done. We even successfully introduced our new subject, writing, using Writing With Ease. I wasn't expecting Early Bird to be interested, but he insisted and did just fine with narration. He even did his own copy work! Not bad for still not having been officially taught how to write.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Growing Green Onion From Scraps?

After the first week...
....still going strong after more than a month!

A while back while browsing Pinterest I came across the concept of growing your own vegetables from scrap leftovers. I have a black thumb. I literally cannot keep anything alive. (Remember our bean plant science study?) And the TWO different times I tried, I couldn't even get an avocado pit to sprout!

But I like green onion and don't buy it very often, so I thought "what's the worst that can happen? I just don't get any extra onion." So I tried it. I cut all but the white parts and the roots and stuck the bottoms in a cup of water in the kitchen window.

And what do you know, it actually grew! And kept growing, even when I cut some off! Some of the plants did not thrive, but enough did that we're eating green onion in our meals at least once a week! I just change out the water ever few days and try to keep it warm (since it's next to the window.)

So if you like green onion, give it a try! I'm thinking of trying celery next...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lady Bug is Five Months Old!

Lady Bug is now five months old (four months developmentally adjusted for being born a month early.) At her last doctor's appointment she was 11.5 lbs which is coming close to three times her birth weight.

Lady Bug turned five months old a few days after her very first Christmas. She didn't really do much beyond enjoy the pretty lights, but she is starting to occasionally show interest in her new toys. Her favorite things to look at are still her brothers, and she smiles extra big for Daddy.

She has been amazing; sleeping well most nights, and as long as someone is holding her she's usually not fussy during the day. Which, since I have been dealing with PPD, I am extremely grateful for.

When you look at her first month pictures and compare them to this month's, you can really see the difference! Especially next to that bear which has appeared to shrink! The nine month sleeper can actually be snapped at the top without being too baggy, though the middle and the legs are still too long and big.

Lady Bug is Four Months Old! (late)

Even though I didn't post them, I still managed to get Lady Bug's fourth month-by-month pictures done. I didn't remember until late that night, so the lighting is terrible, but the baby is adorable.

Lady Bug started smiling a lot that month, and it's beautiful to watch. She really smiles with her whole face. This month she out grew size 1 diapers and I officially put away all her newborn clothes. I love this dress and took a picture of her in it at two months, but it fit so much better at four months.

She fills out more and more, losing that preemie look she had at the beginning. I love her chubby cheeks; so pinchable and kissable!

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