Friday, January 19, 2018


I feel like I've come a long way as a homeschool Mom and mom in general since I last posted. But I feel like posting today, so I'm going to. So many things have changed in our lives. Tyler is done with training and now working at a "real" job. Which means he's also home so much more (7 days on and 7 days off). We moved to a whole different part of the country than either of us have ever lived before and are experiencing real winter for the first time. Lydia has encountered some major health problems that are changing the way she lives her life forever, and the rest of the girls are growing up. Overall, I like where we are as a family right now, for the most part.

Homeschooling has become more complicated with the addition of Adelaide and as Eleanor and Lydia progress beyond beginner and into more late Elementary-level content. I have to say, I was not meant to be a Kindergarten teacher. It just isn't me. I don't love reading picture books over and over, I don't like teaching phonics and handwriting, and I don't really like doing crafts. The exception being math. I do enjoy beginning arithmetic. That doesn't mean I don't do all that, but I have found ways that work for me and my kids. I use apps and shows to teach letters and blending for the most part, I use Audiobooks for longer read alouds for my girls, and I provide classes and materials for the girls to get plenty of craft/art exposure. But now that the older two are getting into more interesting content (to me), I feel like I'm finding my stride.

Both in school and out of it, the girls are beginning to take on more responsibility. They are able to do assignments with me nearby but not sitting there explaining every step. They are able to empty the dishwasher and fold clothes and straighten up rooms. Each of these milestones have helped me breathe a little more and make life less stressful.

We still love travelling. A one-day car trip doesn't even phase my girls. In fact they LOVE them. (That might have to do with the fact that they get to watch Netflix on their Kindles the whole time and eat yummy snacks). They still enjoy getting Jr. Ranger badges and seeing new National Parks and places they haven't been to before. We have plans to explore our new area a lot this summer

I have lots of things to work on still. One is my patience. Especially with Lydia. As she gets older her struggles become more and more of a family struggle and more often than I like I lose my patience after the literally 20th time redirecting her attention to a math problem or after she screams at me that she "hates" *insert subject/chore here*" I love that kid so much, there are just clashes that happen. A lot.

All that said, I am so glad we are homeschooling. I adore the freedom it is giving our family to spend time together and do what we want. School takes from about 8am-noon most days. Other than that we are free. And we take breaks whenever we have something better (or necessary) to do. I love that I am able to accelerate or slow down for each of my kids as needed. I was so bored in school and I love that I can teach them efficiently at their level and they are able to play and be kids the rest of the time. And I love that I can choose high quality materials that fit the goals we have for them. I love that this fall, when my Dad's health was failing and after he died, that we were able to drop everything and be with family for a few weeks without having to worry about the girls missing anything. I have totally bought into the homeschooling lifestyle.

Now, here's what we're doing now, going youngest to oldest:

Clara is now 2 years old. She loves to talk at you and expects you to understand every word and idea regardless of how it actually sounds. She tags along with what the big girls do. She loves to help and gets her own diaper and wipes when it is time to be changed, and once I have the courage, she's probably ready to be potty trained. For her "school," we count the stairs together as she goes to bed at night and naps. I also make a point to read at least one picture book to her daily, her current favorites being Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or "boom boom book," I Want My Hat Back or "hat book," and all Elephant and Piggie books or "piggie book." Also, that child is obsessed with Paw Patrol right now ("puppy show")

Adelaide is now doing a full load of school and I'd place her at about a first grade level in most things, except perhaps her reading.

Reading: She's not quite done with Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, but will finish in probably 2 months or so. Definitely before her 6th birthday. She also does Pizza Hut Book-It and is very proud of that fact that she read all of A Light In the Attic this month. She thoroughly enjoyed those silly poems.

Math: She's just a few pages away from finishing Miquon Red and starting Blue. That puts her at about a beginning second grade level in math. She is also doing Beast Academy 2A on the side. It is certainly pushing her but she seems to like math ok.

Language Arts: After she finished learning to write her letters, I started her on Writing With Ease level 1 and All About Spelling Level 1. She's doing well with both and doesn't seem to be struggling. Since I decided to skip doing formal grammar until the girls are ready for First Language Lessons Level 3, right now I'm doing informal grammar with her in daily life as well as the Well-Ordered Language Grammar songs from Classical Academic Press.

Piano: Adelaide does Hoffman Academy daily as part of school. She doesn't like the work sheets but seems to enjoy the rest quite a bit. She loves when she learns a song that she remembers her sisters learning.

Typing: All the girls are working on typing through They all went through DanceMatTyping twice before starting. This takes them 5 minutes a day or so, but they are all making progress and seem to enjoy it well enough.

Eleanor really seems to enjoy school. She's also my people-pleaser and the child that has half her school and chores done before I even wake up in the morning.

Reading: Every day Eleanor is required to read a "school" book for a half hour. That means a book from the library box that has to do with history or science probably. Or maybe a literature selection. She also has a book every month for Book-It that we decide together that she reads on her own time. And for every half hour she reads, she can get a half hour of screen time, so she sometimes reads extra for that. This month her Book-It book was The Invention of Hugo Cabret. She's also been really into Roald Dahl books lately, with her favorite being Matilda.

Math: Eleanor finished Miquon a few months ago. Right now, rather than pressing on, I'm spreading out. She's working on Beast Academy 3B and Redbird Math, Stanford's gifted math program. She's almost finished level 3 in Redbird, and I think I'll cancel our subscription for a while and focus on Beast Academy once our current one is up.

Language Arts: Eleanor is in the middle of Writing With Ease level 2. She also recently started First Language Lessons level 3 (grammar) and is doing well so far. She is in All About Spelling level 2. And she decided that she wanted to learn cursive, so I found some free worksheets online and she's teaching herself cursive (it's not a priority for me, but I definitely won't stop her!).

Piano and Typing: She does Hoffman Academy daily and TypingClub, the same as Adelaide and Lydia

Lydia barely tolerates school, but once she's in it she doesn't seem to mind it so much, it's just getting her started. With her (probably) ADHD and her (definitely) ASD, combined with her dyscalculia, I can hardly blame her. But I can try to accommodate her as best as I can.

Math: Math has been a constant struggle since she was 4 years old. While she hasn't been diagnosed with dyscalculia, it is incredibly common in girls with Turners Syndrome and she has all the symptoms. For a while, Christian Light Education math was working very well for her. But as time went on, her attention issues kept getting in the way and math time just turned into an hour-long frustration-fest for the both of us. I'm still trying to figure out what to do. She really enjoys Prodigy Math, which is a blessing because those silly video game pets are a great motivation to get her to do some math practice. Despite my misgivings, we're going to give Teaching Textbooks a try. They have a new online version that hasn't been released yet that we got in on and she'll be starting it on Monday. Teaching Textbooks is academically behind most homeschool math curricula, but by all accounts should fit our goals for her. Plus its flashy enough that I hope it keeps her attention and takes me more out of the equation, as I think I've become somewhat of a math anger trigger for her. So here's hoping.

Language Arts: Language Arts are were Lydia shines, which is so weird for me because she struggled so much with language and echolalia and still does to an extent. I honestly thought Language Arts would be to abstract for her to grasp easily, but I was wrong. I think grammar is her favorite subject. She does well at it. She's doing First Language Lessons Level 4 and is upset that there's no diagramming yet. About 2 months ago she finished Writing With Ease level 2. Dicatation and narration were getting old for her, so I decided to shake things up and I have her doing Writing and Rhetoric Book 1: Fable. She is loving it and is thriving. So much so that even though she is less than halfway through it, I already purchased the next book in the series (each book is supposed to take about a semester, although we're taking our time). She also continues to write her own little stories on an almost daily basis. For spelling, she is almost done with All About Spelling level 3.

Latin: I debated a lot about whether to start Latin with her, but since she likes grammar so much, I thought I would give it a try. She's about 1/4 of the way through Getting Started with Latin and is doing really well. She's translating sentences about as well as I am. And she's enjoying it a lot.

Piano and Typing: Same as her sisters.

All Girls and Other:
All the girls do a Kiwi crate monthly (thanks Grandma!), program our robots, play outside, play with Snap Circuits, and watch lots of educational television in the car. They are also taking swimming lessons and Eleanor and Adelaide are in tumbling lessons. All told, I think they are doing well!