Super Busy at Home

Family blog about homeschooling, autism, saving money, mom blog, travel, vacation, budgeting.

Gift Ideas for Homeschool Mom Appreciation Day, October 3rd

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Can you believe another year has come and gone and it is Homeschool Mom Appreciation Day again? Just kidding, I made this fake holiday up. The fake holiday is to be this Thursday, October 3rd. So be prepared. Parades will be going through towns. Mail won’t be delivered. Moms everywhere get the day off. It will be glorious. Come on, join with me so we can me this happen…

Well while it won’t I thought I would share with you some gift ideas for your registries for the big day…after all I know your family is busy stocking up on gifts galore to shower you with, right?

Here are some ideas:

Perhaps you’d like to show off your impecable grading abilities with some bling for your ride.



Can anyone else feel me with this? Or am I the only one looking around at the end of a homeschool day, wondering what in the world happened to our home…elephants? Angry gnomes?

And then there is this for all of the 999 cups of coffee you have to attempt to drink after reheating it versus that one each month that is actually warm and fresh.

But seriously, if this holiday was for real, this is what I would want:

This shirt is adorable, I love it!

And then there is this book, Teaching from Rest. You must read it yearly just to help you bring your crazy busy self back to center and to let all of the dust and chaos settle around you.

I love this French Press. I have one but took it down to the cottage to use as our coffee maker. If you’ve never tried coffee from a french press, it is a must! There is something so peaceful and calming about making it with a french press and also it tastes amazing! I love this one because it looks like it comes with a lot of accessories and it is gorgeous!

8th Grade Curriculum Choices for 2019/2020

As much as writing about our choices for Cal’s 6th Grade Year made me feel old, Emma being in the 8th grade makes me feel straight up ancient.

It’s been so fun though to watch her grow and mature through the years and I just couldn’t be prouder of her than I am!

8th Grade Curriculum for our 2019/2020 Homeschool Year.

And this girl is such a beauty, on the inside and the out. The boys are starting to notice too so Nick will definitely have his hands full in the coming years, I am sure.

This year after a lot of praying and debating we decided to stick with Classical Conversation again this year. In the end we decided to stick with CC and Emma just started her year in the Challenge B leve.

A lot of her curriculum is what they have chosen however the majority of it is not specifically a CC resource meaning that even if you are not part of Classical Conversations you may glean some of these resources from here and decide to use some of them with your kids.

That being said, here is what we are using:

Writing: The Lost Tools of Writing

Emma used this book last year as well. It seems to be a wonderful program however, we got a little busy last year with travel and felt like we got a bit lost in the program (see that pun? lol). This year we are gearing up to use the program again and I am trying to get a better handle on understanding the program so it will be smooth sailing all year long.

History: Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages

I dislike that Classical Conversations does not have an actual history program beyond the 6th grade. While I understand that they use literature to facilitate discussions involving history, I think there needs to be an intense study when the students are older about the cultural and psychological changes that take place among people and entire populations of countries surrounding the timeline of events. I find that to be something that is both fascinating and important in understanding the world.

To compensate for that we will be using The Story of the World. While this is really basic for Emma I think it will serve as an easy read that can them propel us onto deeper reading if time allows or at least to create opportunities for deeper discussion.

So we will be using the softcover chapter book by Susan Wise Bauer (the history reads like a story which we all LOVE!) and the Activity Book. There is an audio book of this available as well as tests. We don’t use either of those materials though.

Latin: Henle Latin, First Year

In true Classical Education fashion we will be doing Henle Latin for the second year. We started doing year one last year and will go through it again this year. Last year I felt like we started with a good base of knowledge based on doing Latin before we joined CC but as the year progressed we started knowing less and less as it got harder and harder. It was very graceful for us to know that we will be studying the same material this year, hopefully understanding and learning more through this second time around.

We will be using the paperback book, the Grammar book, and the answer key.

Typing: Jump Start Typing

This is an older program. Honestly I think I may have purchased it from a Scholastic Book Order when Emma was in preschool (gulp!) but it is still available. It works really well for us and is game formatted which both kids have enjoyed.

Science:

We will be following the CC weeks of Science and adding materials in that pertain to each week.

We will also continue with Kiwi Crates because the kids love doing those. So excited to do experiments with our kiddos who LOVE science! We are so blessed. Allow me to just randomly interject that little statement.

Geography:

We will be following the Story of the World’s maps as well as tracing maps that go along with Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations.

Math: Saxon Algebra 1/2

In total mom confession mode here I am going to share with you that I hardly ever do math with Emma. Maybe once a week. She gets it, her homework problems show that, and reading the work herself proves to help her understand the information better than me reading it to her or working it out with her.

However, we are starting to get to the point where I am going to have to actually do it with her. She is starting to have questions that for the most part I’ve been able to look at the book and figure it out but I can see that I am standing on the edge of the land where that just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

So this year I am planning on doing math with her. Sitting down and doing it myself. We homeschoolers call this “redeeming our education” meaning that we are relearning things that, let’s be honest, no one wanted to learn the first time around.

Other Activities Emma will be in:

Youth Group

Ballet

Piano


We will be adding in unit studies as we can and nature studies here and there as we have time.

So I’m curious. What are your curriculum recommendations? I love having new ideas so comment below!

I hope you have a lovely school year. Give me all of the coffee is what I’m feeling like right about now towards school, lol.



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Learning Time Management...even with Autism and ADHD!

Y’all. I’ve got to tell you. I love my kids. I think they are the coolest, most amazing kids ever. This is how moms are supposed to be, right? We all think this about our kids which I think is so amazing about mothers and motherhood. We all have these rose-colored kid glasses on and we think our kids are great and we know that our kids can do anything they want. This is how love should be. This is what love looks like.

I say all of this in the midst of the early morning while they both are snoozing upstairs. Yesterday was a peaceful day of laundry (on my part) and playing (on their part) and we all ended the day being snuggly and wonderfully happy. Summer days are wonderful for this kind of relaxation in schedule and in losing track of time.

But…

Not all days are like this. So many days are hard and painful. Difficult and stupid. Those are the days when things do not go as planned and when all of our expectations are not met.

As I have done this for years now, the ebb and flow of life itself, I have taken the time to step back and evaluate what makes the bad days bad in an effort to correct and tweak. Any corrections can make bad days better. That is what life is about.

One of the biggest things that I have discovered makes our bad days horrible is a lack of time management. We are all given the same amount of time in each day and no matter what we do, there is no way to obtain more time. There is no rollover plan. We can’t take hours from a lazy day and use them on a day when things are hectic and crazy. It doesn’t work that way. The only thing we can do is to figure out how to manage our time to make the most out of our days and to get the most done or to do our best with the time that we have.

We all have different ways that we manage our time. I know that I am obsessed with my planner and am even more so when times are hectic. However, not everyone works that way.

Emma tends to have a lot of the same brain wiring as I do. Some things are different though. For Calvin, things are a lot different than me. Which isn’t a bad thing but for me I have to work actively to come up with things to try to help him manage his time better. Some things work well and others do not. Like life, it is all trial and error. Thankfully after being a mom for 13 years I’ve figured out some things that work.

5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute remaining

Since my kids were little I’ve done this. I’ve noticed as they have aged they’ve been able to start doing feeling this on their own. When I tell them 5 minutes are remaining they can pretty well gauge when that time is up. When I tell them one minute is left they can feel when they need to be done with their time and move on.

Enter the visual timer

Especially when the kids were younger and couldn’t tell time very well (or at all!) we used this all of the time. Now we enjoy using it for things like piano practice and other things that they may not particularly enjoy doing every time and therefore the time seems to forever drag on. I enjoy that there is a feature for the light to turn to from green to yellow to red so there is a middle time and they can kind of gauge their time remaining using those.

Magic Toothbrush App

So this is of course for teeth brushing only but we like it to manage time spent on teeth brushing. This is an app where you push the go button and a toothbrush starts to clean foam from the screen to reveal a picture. Where the brush on the screen is brushing shows you were you should be brushing in your mouth. We love it! I love that I can know my kids are spending enough time brushing their teeth when they use it rather than 22 seconds and then they try to be done.

A Planner

This one is only for Emma…so far. I might try to get Calvin on the planner train but right now I think it would be more work than it would be helpful.

Emma on the other hand LOVES her planner. I surprised her when June camps were over with a new student Happy Planner. She uses it all of the time. It is a fun thing that her and I do together. We like to sit down and put stickers in our books and think of all of the ways to decorate. It’s an outlet for our creativity and it forces us to think of what is coming up in the upcoming days and to really focus and plan for things. It also has helped us to live intentionally through our life which I love. For time management it has helped her because she writes down all of her homework and activities to do and can visually see what all she needs to get done. It has helped her to not put things off until later that night and then forget she had plans and become frustrated.

Emma struggles with ADHD. With girls it is sometimes so hard to discern. With Emma her struggle with time management manifests itself in her becoming so, so frustrated with herself. It is hard to watch her beat herself up about missing deadlines or over committing herself to projects. The planner has really helped her and has helped me to aide her.

The Old School or Cell Phone Timer

Just a classic timer has helped us so much. Before things could take the kids forever. Now I will put a timer on for, say 30 minutes, and whatever math they get done in that time is what we get done. If I feel they didn’t put much effort into their work then I will start doling out homework but for the most part they work hard and stay diligent in their tasks. This gives them the peace of mind to only have to do math for 30 minutes and doesn’t make them frustrated when math takes them 2 hours and they still have a whole day of work to do.

Garmin Vivofit Jr.

We purchased one of these for Emma for Christmas. She had been begging for one.

We finally caved and I must say that we have been really happy with it. It has a stop watch feature and a timer She uses the time feature all of the time and I love that is has an alarm.

We will have her set it when they have electronic time so they know when their time is up. For her classes in homeschooling I will give her an amount of time to work on something and she sets the timer.

It also has reminders for chores and other things which helps her to keep on task and to remember what she needs to be doing.


So those are the things that our family uses to help us stay on task and help our kids with time management. Who am I kidding? And us! I use the cell phone timer ALL of the time!

If you have pointers or tips for things that help your family manage time better, please let me know! I am always looking for things that will help us to live more intentionally and use our time the best we can!

Pin to read later:

Helping Kids to Manage their time in school and throughout their day to live intentionally.













6th Grade Curriculum Choices for 2019/2020

Eep, y’all, can time please stand still? I don’t know how I became the mom of a 6th Grader who is my baby but I’m pretty sure someone is going to quickly realize I’m really only 15.

6th Grade Curriculum for our 2019/2020 Homeschool Year.

At least that is still how I feel. Is there a medical condition for never feeling like you are growing up and still feeling completely inadequate to adult? What is that called? Because I have that.

Needless to say Calvin is going in to the 6th grade or perhaps we should call it 6th grade-esque. We are after all homechoolers, folks. You know how we like to be all loosey-goosey with those rules.

This is the first year in a while that I am not changing everything under the sun for Cal in a wild effort to find something, anything that will help the kid to learn. Can we all get a Hallelujah because I am one happy momma that I am not having to spend hours reading scope and sequences for curriculum and compare them and stalk people on the interwebs who have used said curriculum to see if their children look relatively uncouthed from the curriculum or if it has changed them and not for the better. Like Becky Sue with that mule. Cross eyed one minute, straight back the next. Don’t buy curriculum that’s like the mule, folks.

All that to say I feel free but like I should be doing something. I choose to ignore that feeling most of the time and instead watch more Hulu. Hulu and I are friends.

As promised, today I’m sharing our 6th Grade Curriculum picks, so let’s get to it!

Here is our curriculum line up for this year.

Writing: IEW Medieval History-Based Writing 

Grammar: Essentials of the English Language

(Available to purchase if you are in the Classical Conversations Essentials Program). If we were not in the CC Program we would be doing First Language Lessons or Rod and Staff English. We’ve used both in the past and I really liked both of them.

History: Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages

We will be using the softcover chapter book by Susan Wise Bauer (the history reads like a story which we all LOVE!) and the Activity Book. There is an audio book of this available as well as tests. We don’t use either of those materials though.

Latin: Latina Christiana Level 1

Typing: Jump Start Typing

This is an older program. Honestly I think I may have purchased it from a Scholastic Book Order when Emma was in preschool (gulp!) but it is still available. It works really well for us and is game formatted which both kids have enjoyed.

Science:

We will be following the CC weeks of Science and adding materials in that pertain to each week.

We will also continue with Kiwi Crates because the kids love doing those. So excited to do experiments with our kiddos who LOVE science! We are so blessed. Allow me to just randomly interject that little statement.

Geography:

We will be following the Story of the World’s maps as well as tracing maps that go along with Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations.

We tried about 5 different math curriculums with Cal (that just made me think that maybe I’ll talk about that sometime) before we found this curriculum. It plays really, really well with the autism because it is very large concept thinking. Things that I never would have thought of. It’s also extremely out of the box thinking which seems to help pull Calvin in and keep him challenged on a fun level rather than being bored with the work. I highly recommend this math curriculum!

Other Activities Cal will be in:

Awana

Pottery

Piano

Parkour


We will be adding in unit studies as we can and nature studies here and there as we have time.

So I’m curious. What are your curriculum recommendations? I love having new ideas.

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6th Grade Curriculum for our 2019/2020 Homeschool Year.
6th Grade Curriculum for our 2019/2020 Homeschool Year.

How We Travel and Why Sometimes I Don't Post About It

I know that everyone loves to travel and get away. We do too! But for me, it is truly a fun time and a vacation if we can cross a new state off our list!

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We have been trying to get the kiddos to all 50 states. This trip of ours was out east and we were able to visit New York for the first time, making that our 29th State! Woo-hoo! We’re well on our way since we’ve passed the half way mark!

Our trip was already two weeks ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that long!) and we had such a relaxing time. We were able to visit New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Because we were traveling with Nick for work this wasn’t exactly an ideal route that we took that I would ever recommend it, but I’ll be posting individually about the places we went. I swear, sometimes it takes me the most time to come up with HOW to format telling everyone about our trips. Otherwise they can turn into these long-winded accounts of everywhere we went that get super confusing…nobody wants to read those and I certainly don’t want to document our wonders in that way.*

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So that is why it has taken me nearly two weeks to even mention that we were away, let alone where we went. The majority of our trip was spent in Pennsylvania. The kids and I ended Classical Conversations at the beginning of the month, hallelujah! I am feeling so burnt out with it all. I’ve been trying to pinpoint if it is with CC itself, the lack of time we have to study other things outside of CC, or something totally different. While I am still completely unsure about what it is that is troubling me I did know that I was ready for a break from CC and was ready to start something new. After a lot of research we decided to embark on a unit study. Knowing that we were going to be going on this trip and would be really close to Gettysburg is what made us decide to do a unit study on the Civil War. Emma loves history and Cal loves learning about the military so this helped them go hand in hand. A perfect pair for us!

I love when I can make our trips coincide with schooling. It’s a match made in heaven for me…after all like I always say, there is nothing more educational then walking in the footsteps of those who actually made the history you study in school. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! I love it so much. This is why we homeschool…well, that and I’m just about the nerdiest person ever but those two things, with their powers combined, are why we homeschool.

I also love when the places that we go allow us to explore more about our country or about our world in general. In case you’ve ever wondered how we pick the spots we visit, most of our travel has to align with where Nick is going on business. Then we get creative, spending weekends going around the area and discovering things that are a car ride away.

Friends, I’d love to know…how do you plan your travel? Do you look for unique adventures or do you relish going back to your favorite spots? Do you plan around your kiddos interests or around the destinations that you go to? Do you have any travel challenges (like all 50 states!) you are trying to accomplish? What do you love about traveling? I’d love to learn more about you and where you love to travel!

Comment below, kisses!

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