Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the End in Sight!

Stone Fox paper

While we plan to do some schooling through the summer, the bulk of our school year is coming to an end.  I have mixed emotions about this.  On the one hand, I’m glad we’ll have a much looser schedule.  On the other, I enjoy learning right along with Babydoll!


Babydoll finished Stone Fox this week. She enjoyed it, but was a little saddened by the way the story ended.

She completed half of the test for the book so far {we were working ahead, so she’s got a bit of time to get the whole thing finished}, which involved choosing one of two writing prompts.  She chose to write a piece pretending she was a news reporter covering an event detailed in the book. She did such an amazing job on this, especially considering it was actually a fourth grade assignment.  Here’s a scan {beware, it contains spoilers!}:

Stone Fox paperStone Fox paperStone Fox paper

She enjoyed this assignment quite a bit!


We are done with the x9 facts! We’ve moved on to the x3 facts, and only have about 32 more facts to go to be finished with multiplication!!


Babydoll made Mexican rice bowls this week.  They were so yummy!  She also marinated chicken and salmon for me, and helped make the taquitos.


Babydoll continued to work in her Handwriting Without Tears book.


We began our unit on Medieval Japan this week.  We both love Japan!


Babydoll finally got the Top Secret Adventures she’s been waiting for!  This one was about Australia.  I took pictures this time around, so I’ll be putting up a post on that soon.


We finished our All About Spelling Level 1 materials. This was a breeze for Babydoll, but we hadn’t learned the spelling rules, so we’ve got the ones presented in this level down now.  We’ll move on to Level 2 soon.

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

Wedding Cake

In my life this week…

I was fairly busy the first half of the week making a wedding cake.  We started 72 hour kits and made a tornado using two 2-liter bottles {that was flippin’ awesome!}.  There was some soccer, and I finalized plans for a curriculum show and tell day I’m doing with a few other homeschool moms {should be fun}.

In our homeschool this week…

We finished spelling!  Yay!

We also started our last unit in history {Medieval Japan}!  Yay!

Babydoll memorized her x9!  Yay!

Babydoll’s only got 32 more multiplication facts to go!  Yay!

We’re halfway done with Stone Fox!  Yay!

We received our second Top Secret Adventures pack, a Little Passports package, our Audio Memory U.S. geography pack, and The Prairie Primer!  Yay!!!

My favorite thing this week was…

Wedding CakeSeeing the look on the faces of the bride and groom when they saw their cake was a great feeling. They loved it, especially the bride.  Vince works/is friends with the groom, and when I found out he was getting married, I told him I’d do their wedding cake as a wedding present.  The bride hadn’t planned on having a cake and really had no opinion on the matter, so she told me to just go with what I wanted.  I knew there was blue and there were hydrangeas.

So, having never met the bride in person {and I only talked to her once on the phone}, I decided to go with a style that would cover several bases:  girly, modern, and cool enough for a dude to like.  I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they see my cakes, but it’s always nice when you can tell that they are truly happy and touched by the time and effort you put into something for them.

What’s working/not working for us…

I continue to enjoy Babydoll’s enthusiasm when it comes to learning.  As a person who has a natural love of learning, I’m so glad that she wants to do school, she wants to read, she wants to learn, she gets excited about mastering a concept.

I hope she continues to enjoy this process; it makes each day such a joy.

Thoughts I have…

I know I continue to mention graduation {even though it’s been a month now…}, but I’m loving the fact that I’m beginning to feel happy again.  Not that I wasn’t happy before {I was} but it is different now.  I don’t have the constant pressure of school hanging over my head.

Sure, I’m still pretty busy {I should probably put not over-extending myself on my summer bucket list}, but I feel like I have so much more freedom.  I can do more things that I want to do, and I can put more {and better} effort into things that I should have been doing much better than I was {like cleaning the house or my wiseGEEK writing}.

I feel a bit more at peace and calm {although I still have breakdowns every now and then…}, I’m finding I’m looking at my family differently, with less stress and frustration {not because of anything they’ve done, just because of my over-extension}.

I’m loving it.

I’m also loving the community of women I’m becoming a part of. Through various blogs I visit on a regular basis, the Connections Network, my Blogelina blogging clan, and Twitter believe it or not {I know, I fought it for so long, but I’m really enjoying the “social” aspects of it}, I feel like I’m becoming a part of something.  Not only am I appreciative of the help in growing my own blog, but I’m happy about helping other women achieve their goals as well.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

I can’t find the exact quote right now, but while I was watching Oprah the other day {I heart Oprah, I’m so sad the show is over on Wednesday} she had a clip of Toni Morrison saying something to the effect of always look at your children with a twinkle in your eye when they come into the room.  She had a woman talking about how she applied that in her life, and she mentioned that she does that for everyone she knows.

I’ve become much more mindful of looking at my friends and family with a twinkle in my eye.  I love each and every one of them, and whether I’m having a bad day or a good day, they should always feel special and know that they’re cared about.


Awesome Linkage

  • Alice – I am loving Alice right about now.  I found this site via Lindsey at Mom & Wife.  You can order all of your household essentials {laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, tampons, stamps, toothpaste, paper towels, etc.} and have them shipped {for FREE!!!} to you in about two to three business days.  You can even set reminder emails so that you never forget to order them again.  The service is completely free {sans the cost of your items, obviously}.  Love it.  Placed my first order Sunday and got it today.  *squee*

  • Tips from the Pros:  How to Increase Your Web TrafficBlogelina has a wealth of wonderful links here from people like Darren Rowse {of Problogger/31DBBB fame}, all focused on increasing traffic to your site.  Who doesn’t want that?

  • Virtual Vacation Around the World – I am too freaking excited about this one!  Michelle over at Michelle’s Charm World is putting together a fun little shindig where you can travel to several big cities around the world once a week through summer.  She’s got an itinerary up and tons of great pictures and ideas to prepare for the journey.  Thanks to Danielle at Raising Little Rhodies for posting this.

  • Summer Bucket List – The linky list on Little Wonders’ Days is now closed, but you can still browse the list of summer bucket lists.  What a great idea; we’re compiling ours now and will share it soon!

  • Where to Donate Your Stuff – A great compilation of charities so you can narrow down exactly who you’d like to donate your things to.

So, You Think You Wanna Homeschool

All-in-One Curriculum

That all-in-one curriculum usually isn’t…

All-in-One CurriculumMany of you know the story behind why we started homeschooling.  If not, you can head over here for a moment and find out.  At any rate, we started our first homeschool year with K12.

I loved K12 initially, and I still do enjoy many aspects of it.  Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve learned that because each child is different, several subjects generally need to be taught differently.

This meant that the all-in-one K12 program wasn’t working for us.  Sure, Babydoll loves the history and science programs, but the math, language arts, music, and other components left something to be desired.

It wasn’t until our second year of homeschooling that I began to follow other homeschool mom blogs.  I quickly learned that there was a whole new world of curriculum out there.  I subsequently found items that met Babydoll’s needs much better than the all-in-one we were using.

That’s not to say that an all-in-one curriculum never works; I’ve heard of many homeschoolers who love them and use them for many years.  It can be a great option for many people.  I do, however, feel that it is important for homeschoolers to know about all of their options.

There are several ways to accomplish this goal:

  • Seek out homeschool groups prior to starting homeschooling
  • Ask other homeschool moms you might know for recommendations
  • Attend curriculum show and tell days
  • Just go with the all-in-one and work through it and evolve over time

We chose the last one, and know what?  We’re surviving, thriving even.  It won’t be the end of the world; you’ll make sure your children have exactly what they need.

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Limes

We had another fun week with a wide range of activities.


We continued reading Septimus Heap:  Magyk this week.  It’s still totally awesome.  Babydoll also began {and finished} the 2010 Newberry Medal winner, When You Reach Me.  She informed me today that it is her “new most favorite book in all of history.”


Babydoll is still working on memorizing her x9 facts.  She did a Math-U-See worksheet and did some flash card practice on the iPod.


Babydoll cooked chicken cacciatore stew for us this week.  I pretty much detest stew, but this was pretty darn good.  We also made peanut butter sandwich French toast and key lime pie.

We squeezed about 2.3 billion key limes for that pie; I had hand cramps for a couple of hours…  I definitely need a better juicer {you know, one that’s not plastic and cheap…}.


Babydoll continued working in her Handwriting Without Tears book.  She’s getting very good at cursive handwriting and can pretty much write in cursive without seeing the book examples.


We finally finished our unit on Medieval China.  We’ll start Medieval Japan next week.

We’ve got  busy week next week, but I’m hoping to get quite a bit more “book work” done.  Babydoll is waiting patiently for her new Top Secret Adventures to get here; maybe we’ll get to do that next week as well.