Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break is for the Feeble

It's been a busy week around here. Our kids got no spring break, simply due to the fact that we are just finishing up on week 24 of 36 of our "homeschool year". Which means we have set a new record for staying on track without falling behind!!! I wasn't about to break that just because everyone else is on break. 

We did, however, stick to a bit more of a bare-bones schedule. It freed up some time to do spring cleaning, the much less popular cousin of spring break. With eight people under one roof, this really is a year-round job that never ends. It keeps things looking okay, as opposed to catastrophic.

Also this week, I started planning next year's curriculum choices. In years past, I used to feel bad that I would choose different books for each child, each year, for almost all subjects. I knew there was no such thing as a perfect curriculum, but that sure didn't stop me from looking for it. 

Now going into my ninth (can it really be???) year of homeschooling, I have finally come to the realization that changing curriculum is a good thing. It's like crop rotation for the brain. Last year this time, each child had certain areas they excelled in, and certain ones in which they had gaps to fill. Now that those gaps have been filled, new ones created, and certain advances made, it is time once again to "custom tailor" what each child will be focusing on in the coming school year. Which isn't even going to start until early September, so I'm really on top of my game this year.

At the beginning of this school year, Becky was on the same level as Miriam in Math. By now, she has caught up with Miriam in almost all other areas, as well, so I'm pretty sure I will do a first grade level curriculum with both of them starting this fall. They are pretty close in age to begin with (1 1/2 year gap), and Becky is the little academic nerd type, while Miriam just loves to color, cut and paste, and find creative answers to any question, even if it's cut and dry like Math. In spite of their very different personalities, they work together really well, and Miriam enjoys doing the same thing as Becky but being slightly better at it. We will see how things go over the summer with Becky. Even if they just stay on the same level in, say, math and reading, that would save me a boatload of time and effort. 

Solomon, currently in 6th, is really hoping to skip straight to 8th grade come fall. We looked over the math and English books for his grade level, and he wasn't even going to start covering anything new until the last quarter of 7th grade. He said he'd rather study that stuff over summer break, and skip straight ahead. Again, we shall see.

Isaac and John are both doing very well, too. Isaac is a hard, and very neat, worker. Typically, he is the first child to finish up each day, and will then keep himself busy taking care of our animals, playing outside with Anna, or just sitting down reading. John, though very smart, is easily distracted, especially if there are glue, paper, or markers anywhere within his reach, so it's a challenge every day to keep him on task.

I do have ideas for what books to get for most subjects, and even made a little spreadsheet about it all. Nothing will be final, though, until I go to the homeschool convention in July, which I am already looking forward to.

In other news, my Dad arrived safely on Thursday night from Hungary. From his doorstep to ours, the trip was about 6,200 miles, and took a solid 24 hours (he changed planes once). I am SO looking forward to him cooking for us, especially the goulash he cooks in a kettle over an open fire pit (mine never comes out tasting near as good). He will also help me make my favorite meal for my birthday later this month, which I have not had in years - basically, we make crepes and stuff them with a savory meat filling, then bread and fry them. It's served with fries on the side, so it's definitely NOT a light meal.

Our pool is about to be fired up for the season, something that is always a major headache and financial burden because neither me nor my husband know much about pools. My husband likes to joke that Bible colleges should teach a course on pool maintenance, since it is so difficult, and pastors definitely need to know how to keep the baptistry functional. We have found one competent and honest pool man in the six years we have lived here - the uncle of one of our church members. He has done repairs for us here and there as necessary. A couple of weeks ago, out of nowhere, he knocked on our door to offer to get our pool fixed up and ready, totally free of charge - he just felt that God had laid it on his heart to do so. Unless you have owned an eccentric built-in pool, you will not know what a huge relief that was to me. Once the pool is back in commission, my husband has said that we will hire him to do the weekly maintenance, as that would be cheaper than us constantly breaking the equipment because we don't know what we are doing.

The weather has been beautiful and spring-like. Some years, we go straight from too cold to too hot, but this year the temperatures have been balmy. Isaac has had no more issues at all with his asthma, even though we still have had no rain in months. Whatever was triggering his allergies must have cleared out by now.

I rarely go to Sam's Club any more, but last week when I went to get office supplies, I found the most adorable matching Easter dresses for the girls. They will get these on Easter morning in their baskets in lieu of candy and toys. I still need to find matching shirts to wear underneath for all three, as well as make them hair bows. For the boys, I bought new swim trunks to ring in the swimming season.

Hm, that's about all I can think of for right now. I apologize my blogging has been so sporadic - lots of posts I'd love to write, but there just never seems to be enough time in a day. I am sleeping about 2 hours more per night than when I am not pregnant, which is really taking a toll on my "free" time.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. the two hours more sleep a night will help with the "cooking" of that precious little one. Sounds like the kids are doing really well in their studies. Keep up the good work, Kids! I really appreciate you giving us an incite to your busy life. Enjoy your dad's visit.

  2. Enjoyed hearing about your school days. :) The little dresses are really sweet.

  3. I completely LOVED the title because I so agree! Our school year usually starts in mid-July. Once we get back from our lengthy Christmas break, I feel like we are on the home stretch. Why on earth stop now when we could be done in April? The public school kids were out this week. But we did enjoy last week, as you said, a bare bones week.

  4. Those dresses are super cute! Glad everyone is doing well in school and I'm so happy your father has come for a visit. I hope you all enjoy your time with him!
    -Karen E

  5. If you ever have time, I'd love to see more on the process of curriculum choices. Now that Sonlight hasn't quite worked out for us, I am absolutely drowning in a sea of curriculum choices and am finding it hard to know where to turn. I'd love to hear wisdom from a mum who has been-there-done-that!!

    Have fun with your dad!!!!

  6. So glad your dad arrived safely! I know you enjoying having him here :) What a blessing !!!

    We don't take a Spring break either. I can't get myself to slow down at this point in the school year. Jada also may skip ahead this year. Why is it that they do soooo much review for over 1/2 the year, and dont start anything new till late in the year? I dont get it. Although, it's great for Brynn because it takes her sooo long to "get" something, she really needs the extra review. But I dont think that's typical.
    Anywho...the easter dresses are precious! Do you already have the ribbon for their bows? If not I have all of those colors and would love to make them and mail them down. Let me know!
    Of course I dont have them in front of me, so matching perfectly could be an issue. But I can always try and mail them and if it works, it works, and if not, you'll just have some new bows :)

    Well, enjoy the weekend with your dad!

  7. I love reading about your homeschooling, as it encourages me in my own so much! We don't always take a break when the public schools do either.

    So glad that Isaac's asthma has cleared up; that must be such a weight off your mind!

    The girl's Easter dresses are so beautiful. Lovely colours for the Springtime!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend too! :)

  8. As long as you get the break time eventually, and keep yourselves healthy in the meantime, the timing doesn't matter :) Good luck with the rest of the term!


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