Back to School Links Galore! Collage Friday

We have successfully completed our first week back to school!   It never ceases to amaze me how much my children crave a routine!  

Our summer had been VERY relaxed, and this week it was back to getting up early (well, 7:30 for the kids and 6:00 for me) and accomplishing most everything by lunchtime.

Collage Friday is a way I document our weeks.  It is a record of what we have accomplished.  I encourage you to join me on this journey.  I use PicMonkey to create a collage each week.  It's easy!  

I have to share one observation about homeschool.  When my oldest child was in Kindergarten in the public school I was already worried about what sixth grade would bring.  I had heard (and done some teaching in) the dreaded MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Strolling through the store this week my kids saw this:

I didn't bother to pick up the books or look inside -- the covers pretty much just said it all.

Why is it that these years bring about such fear in parents and children - and our society in general?   I have friends sending their children to public middle school that are very nervous.   I have to tell you I AM THANKFUL WE HOMESCHOOL.   I do not have any worries about middle school.  In fact, I'm looking forward to a little more rigor to our days and my daughter being so much more independent.  

Also, watching moms and children at Target this week clammering for school supplies made me thankful we homeschool.  (Remember, we were doing this just three short years ago!)  I'm not providing 24 pencils, 10 pocket folders, 5 glue sticks, etc... that will get distributed through an entire classroom of children.  There is no pressure to buy the greatest backpack and lunchbox and it's actually pretty humorous when people see my kids and say "Are you ready for school?" and they respond, "We're already doing school!"

I AM IN CONTROL OF MY CHILD'S EDUCATION, and boy it feels good!

1.  A roadtrip to Alabama last weekend - I spotted this Oreo truck and had to Instagram it.   Come follow me on Instagram - I'm musicalmary.  Have you joined the Homeschoolers on Instagram?

2.  Anna working away. I am expecting much more of her this year, and I think she is responding well.   {I'll let you know how she responds after a few more weeks!}

3.  We are doing a unit on the UK and Olympics.   A lot of the notebooking pages we are using are coming from   What an AMAZING RESOURCE this has been for us.   Not only did they have an entire set about Great Britain, they also had pages for Handel, a composer we will be studying in this unit.  Actually, I think they have EVERYTHING!  

4.  Thanks to Spotify we have been listening to London Olympics 2012 while we work.  This is all of the symphonic pieces the London Symphony Orchestra played during the opening ceremonies.   

5.  My favorite resource this week has been GeoCards.  I picked them up at Hobby Lobby on sale last week so that we could finally cement the states and capitals.  They are such simple cards - big and sturdy and colorful.  There are also three different card games you can play with them.  I am happy to report that every member of our family knows all 50 states and their capitals!  

6. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law live on some acreage just a couple of miles from our house.  We are lucky to be able to go any time we want and pick blueberries, blackberries, swim in the pool, get sewing lessons... and it's so peaceful.   As the kids and I drove up earlier this week we spotted a deer - normally their are several just playing in the front yeard.

7.  I mentioned a road trip to Alabama last weekend.  While there we stopped at the cemetery where my mother-in-law is buried.   She passed away when Anna was just 2 and (although I didn't know it at the time) I was pregnant with Grant.   Going to the cemetery is a lesson in family history and so much more.   I'm thankful we could spend this time there, and then attend the 102nd annual family reunion.   

8.  Don't know if you can tell, but this is a LEGO creation of The Tower Bridge of London.  Grant loves building while we learn.

9.  Yes, I'm jumping in on the Chick Fil-A controversy.  We went to Chick Fil-A appreciation day on Wednesday and were delighted to wait in a 30 minute drive thru line.   I support the Cathy family and agree with their beliefs 100%.  I do not, however, like the rhetoric and nastiness that has prevailed from both sides of the fence.  In the picture is also my favorite bag, with is from Thirty-One, another Christian company.   I will simply say that I'm glad I can educate my childrnen at home, far away from the government controlled schools.   It's painfully obvious that government is trying to dictate EVERY aspect of our lives and it is frightening.

10.  Fresh Strawberry Muffins.  OH. YUM.  You must try them.  Gotta love Pinterest.  Speaking of which... have you joined Homeschoolers on Pinterest?


11. The hub of our homeschool - yes, it's the kitchen table.  I have an entire homeschool room upstairs, but I'm rethinking that space right now.   It is really more of a computer room/library/extra tv and playroom.   My kids are happiest downstairs, and I've set up our family room and breakfast area to accomodate school.   We have a formal dining room, so our meals can be eaten in there.   In my ideal world I would love to finish part of our basement, but right now that's not in the plans.  

12. Lots of LEGO creating went on this week, and it was at a higher level than it has ever been.  I know this is because Grant and I spent a day organizing his bricks last week.   I found these cute printable labels and now they are organized by color and/or theme.   He has kept them organized (he's a bit type A like his mama!) and is so much happier with this system.

Last but not least, those two big shots in the middle of my collage are the reason for all of this.

As I look at their faces - and it seems they have grown by leaps and bounds this summer - it hits me what a huge responsbility I have educating them at home.  I know, however, that I believe in a God that guides me through that education every step of the way.   How awesome is that?   

It was a busy week on the blog... just in case you missed something:

Curriculum Clean-Out -- I'm giving away 10 Early Readers!

Ten Things to Consider When Choosing a Math Curriculum 

Don't Lose Mom - a guest post from my friend, Christine

The Queen's Dolls - a fun and easy craft that goes along with our study of England - and a great read-aloud

The next month is going to be full of great information and inspiration in the Not Back To School Blog Hop.   Week 1 (next week) is Curriculum Week.  I'll be sharing what we are using this year, and WHY.  I hope you can link up and share your curriculum plans as well.  

As you can tell, there sure is a lot going on!   But, it's exciting because there is so much to learn and so much to share.   

If you are joining the Collage Friday linky, please be sure to abide by a few guidelines:

1.  Please grab the Collage Friday button (from here) and put it in your sidebar or somewhere in your post.  If you don't grab the button, please text link back to this post.

2.  Make sure your post includes pictures of your homeschool week - preferably a collage.

3.  Visit someone else on the linky list to gain ideas and show support.