Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Up for Review

Today we had our first homeschool review of third grade.  The county reviews do not stress me out like they do alot of my other homeschool friends.  I have never had a bad experience in the thirteen years I have been doing them so I don't find them to be something to dread.

We got to the library around 9:15 with my daycare child and my son.  I had decided to leave my granddaughters with their other grandmother because they can be a bit of a handful, plus lugging all my gear for school and 3 little girls didn't seem like a lot of fun.

Our review was with a new gentleman and it ended up taking 30 minutes, about 20 minutes longer than it normally does.  Everything went well and he got a good review.  The gentleman was kind and engaging and my son was polite.

After the library we picked up the girls and they were both crying by the time I drove the 2 minutes home.  The next hour was hectic, getting 3 kids fed and the baby a bottle and all I managed to inhale was a bowl of 3 minute noodles.  I finally got the older two kids down for a nap and Dakota settled watching a movie and then, of course, the little one was screaming because if she's awake, she's hungry lol.

I did get about an hour of quiet, maybe a little less, before the 2 year old granddaughter decided she didn't need her normal three hour nap and a two hour one would suffice.  I am sleepy, wishing hard for a nap, but instead, I will wait for my daycare child to be picked up at three and then take my granddaughters to Walmart with me while I pick up a few things I need for our pot luck tomorrow.  .....No, wait, just got a text from the mom that she won't be picking her daughter up until 3:45, not 3:00.  Can't take all 3 girls and keep my sanity, so it will have to wait til after dinner.  Ugh.  It's cold and it's just going to get colder when the sun goes down.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Add One and Stir

Today we added a new friend to the mix. Brooke joined us for daycare and she is six months younger than my oldest granddaughter.  We took my before/after care child to school and then when the granddaughters arrived we took 45 minutes to feed and settle everyone before starting our day.  It was really, really nice outside, so while Dakota did his morning work I let them go out on the deck after sweeping off most of the wet leaves.  Dakota and I did our math and spelling out on the deck....probably for the last time before April.  That's a sad thought.

When it was reading time and Koda went inside to read Mr. Popper's Penguin for our book club, I read Curious George and the Dinosaur Tracks to the girls and then we used magnifying glasses and followed our own dino tracks out to the picnic table on the deck and got to make their own dinosaur tracks by pressing their toy dinosaur feet into Play Doh. Dakota and I were able to get our language arts done and he read a short factual book on the Titanic during that time and his BrainPop then we fed the girls, popped them in for a nap and took our lunch break.

After lunch, while it was quiet, Dakota and I read the first three chapters of Tonight on the Titanic, by Mary Pope Osbourne and did our comprehension questions with that.  We watch a genetics video on BrainPop and he took the quiz to continue with our human development unit in Health.  He did the review questions he knew from memory for his Greek Myth class and watched a fun video and then for History we took a fun turn and he got to play a computer game called Warrior featuring Alexander the Great, as well as a Kindle game about the Titanic.

As soon as the girls left and I had gotten my husband dinner, Dakota and and I ran out to Dick's Sporting Goods and got him some cool new LeBron tennis shoes and then headed to his first 9U County team practice for basketball at Harundale.  His coach is a young man I knew when my older son played baseball and basketball for Harundale and whom I haven't seen since he was Dakota's age!  My son did very well, learning some great pointers and skills as he advances to a whole new level in the sport.  I enjoy this season very much.

At home it was a quick shower for him, a snack, printing work for me, a snack with my husband and then bed for all of us.  Time to do it all again tomorrow, just insert football in the basketball slot!

Monday, November 11, 2013

They're Back!!

Today Dakota and I are back to homeschooling while doing daycare, but with a twist.  Not only do we have 2 1/2 year old Natalie, but we also have 6 week old Rebecca.  And next week we get 23 month old Brooke!

This morning the girls arrived just as we got back from taking our M/T before and after care friend to school and we all had some waffles before sending my daughter back to her job with the Howard County School System.  I put the baby in the swing at my feet and Natalie went to play with her toys while Dakota and I started our day.  He did his morning work and wrote in his journal about his playoff experience this weekend.  He did some spelling, math and language arts and then, while Natalie ran in and out from the deck, we started our I Survived:  The Sinking of the Titanic book.  We talked about plot, conflict and resolution, figurative language and flashbacks in a story.  We have the book downloaded on our Kindles so we read the first three chapters, stopping to discuss things, and then he answered the chapter questions and we wrote down what type of conflict was noted on example one and what the resolution was.

By this time the little one was crying because she was hungry and the older granddaughter was beginning a slow decline so I knew it was coming up on naptime.  I fed the little granddaughter then put her in her chair and put the older one in to bed.  While Dakota read her stories I made her bottle and she went right out.

Lunch for both my sons and I was, at least, uneventful, but while I craved a 1/2 hour of quiet, Dakota decided he didn't want to disappear into his room with a tv show, but wanted to be out here with me, asking a dozen questions.  Sigh.  We decided we would watch a Magic Schoolbus video to help wrap up our energy unit and just before we got in in, my mom and stepdad came.  Oh boy.  My stepfather and Dakota wrestled and teased and wound each other WAAAAY up and my mom HAD to hold Rebecca, so she was partially awake.

By the time they left I had to practically hogtie Dakota to get him back down to a quiet state and rock the baby to get her to sleep.  We did get in that quiet half hour while the movie was on and I got to check my Facebook and email while Dakota watched Mrs. Frizzle and rocked his baby niece.

Our afternoon will consist of a written review of our energy unit, Part II of Chapter 25 in Story of the World on Alexander the Great and the fetal development BrainPop video and definitions looked up in the dictionary.  This evening will see us having breakfast for dinner then I have to do some PCA work before I can read or do chores or plan for some co-op lists I need to make.  I look forward to Mondays for their regular pace and quiet nights.  I also look forward to 4:30 when my daughter comes to pick up the girls!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


For my family, football is more than a's a way of life.  Since 1999, when my oldest son was six years old, we have spent most fall evenings at Lake Waterford, watching the boys go from green and inexperienced, to fierce competitors over a course of a few months is nothing short of amazing.  We have had our share of mediocre seasons as a family, but we have also experienced some spectacular seasons where alot of hard work paid off in a championship run.

This was, for all intents and purposes, Dakota's first real season of football.  He had played when he was very young (3-5), but he didn't like it and really had no part in the game other than standing on the field.  Now, at 9, he has accomplished so much. He is playing under his father's coaching and he has gone from scared and timid to an aggressive, intimidating offensive lineman who is a force to be reckoned with.  I am really excited to see what the future holds for him.

This season we went undefeated for the first seven games of our 90lb league.  No one expected it, but the boys grew, learning football and life lessons together and becoming a football family.  We lost the last regular game of our regular season, but still finished in the top eight of our state in our division and won our conference.  Last week we played the first round of the playoffs and won big.  The kids were so excited and looked forward to game two.  This week, in round two, we played a team that we had faced and beaten three times previously.  This match up, however, would not go as well.  The Bulldogs scored early and we kept looking for our big break....that one big play where our running back would break away to the outside and run untouched down the field for the score.  It wasn't to be, however.  We played hard, both offensively and defensively, but never were able to get to the outside or score.  We went into the half still down by a touchdown.  The second half came and slowly went and still, no one scored...not the Bulldogs again, but also not the Chargers.  At the four minute warning we knew we were in trouble. You could see the strain on the players' faces.  They wanted this so bad....but it was slipping through their hands like sand.  They did everything they could do....everything that their little nine year old bodies would allow them, but this time, we came up short.

As my husband, the head coach, gathered them together after the game there were lots of tears.  Tough little boys with eye black smeared on their dirty faces, devastated by the loss.  My son was crushed and his sobs were heartbreaking to hear.  My husband said all the right things and let them know he was proud of them.  The parents cheered for them.  We handed out trophies....but still their little hearts were broken.

And then we moved on.  We went out to our decorated cars and caravaned to the Lake, our team's home, and we had fun.  The boys went out with a football and played pickup ball.  The parents cooked and talked and then we all had burgers and dogs and cupcakes and chips.  It was quieter than it would have been had we experienced a victory, but there were smiles instead of tears and they learned that no matter what, life goes on.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Last Monday Just Us

Today is the last Monday of just Dakota and I.  Next Monday my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and my 6 week old granddaughter will be here from 8:30 to 4:30 and the following Monday, 23 month old Brooke will join them.  We will have lots of fun and find a new normal, but while I plan to enjoy these three little girls completely and totally, I also know there will be much more chaos and tears and shrieks of joy and shrieks of anger lol.  Newborns cry.  Two year olds cry and throw tantrums.  But they also give the best snuggles and say the cutest things.

Dakota and I got in a great Monday.  He did his morning work and then had a complete Social Studies lesson from Time for Kids on The Battle For Bats.  He read the magazine, did the work pages that went with it, watched a video off the website and took a quiz.  He started a new book called A Dog on the Titanic in preparation for our Titanic unit that will start tomorrow and run for about 2 weeks.  We will be using the I Survived series for our Literature and the lesson plans that go along with that.  We will be doing some research about the history and the people, as well.  I am not sure, however, that I want him watching the movie, mainly because the ending is just so haunting to me.

Dakota was yawning and complaining of being tired so we headed out for a "power walk" around the light rail and down the trail.  We saw a ground hog who saw us too late to avoid us and had to scurry about trying to find a way to hide.  It was pretty funny.  As we crossed the light rail tracks to come back there were deer bones everywhere from a little doe that met her fate recently.  We found rib bones, pelvis bones, jaw bones with teeth still intact and lots of vertebrae hooked onto the spinal column.  We could even piece them together some to see where the spinal cord would have gone.  Of course all the soft parts were gone, food for other woodland animals.  We did pick them up and examine them and they provided a great impromptu hands on science lesson.  After coming and home and washing up, Dakota had much more energy. He did his pretest for Spelling and did a lesson in Math before lunch and then we both took a break to have grilled cheese and soup on this very chilly day before getting back to work.

The afternoon had us going back over his journal entry to correct punctuation and capitalization and underline and circle nouns, verbs and adjectives.  We then started a new book called Punctuation Made Easy that I think we are both going to like alot.  We started the text and workbook portion of our new Energy unit in Science and kinetic and potential energy were really captivating to my little son.  When we finished there, we did chapter 24 of Story of the World, Volume 1, learning about how Sparta and Athens took on the Persians for a war, including the epic Battle of Marathon.  We also did the timeline and mapwork to go along with that.  To finish, we re-read half of the Greek Myth pages from his last co-op class two weeks ago (before the Halloween party) and answered some of the review questions his teacher had sent us.

Now it's a Monday evening, one of my favorites.  Dad is at college and the boys and I are relaxing at home.  I will get to read and watch some TV tonight.  I so miss my computer being wireless (due to a burned out adapter) but at least I can plan at the table and feel free to read when I am in my chair.

Tomorrow my husband has said he will take the day off.  Hopefully he sleeps in and we get a good morning in because when he's home it's much more difficult to get Dakota's attention.