Hitting Our Stride and a Field Trip - Collage Friday


Next week will be the beginning of our new school schedule.

The decision to join Classical Conversations has given me a peace I didn't anticipate. I knew we were ready for a change, but just how ready I didn't realize until the past couple of weeks.

A good friend of mine pointed out to me that my writing is "less searching, more settled and comfortable."

I think she knows me very well.

I felt a bit lost last year - we were schooling and things were ok, but I just knew they could be better.

Part of this was admitting to myself that both of my kids can no longer do their subjects together. They have grown into DRAMATICALLY different learners and I need to treat them as such.

My seventh grader needs structure, accountability, goals, and a similar peer group.  This means more independent work for her and different work than her brother is doing.

My third grader still needs to create, explore, soak up all the facts he can, and have more individual help from me.

I now see last year for what it was - a year of growth, searching, and ultimately -  decisions. 

Our school year has started and the changes are in effect and it's working beautifully.

{Can you hear a big sigh through your computer?}

 Anna's Week and Resources

This was kind of a practice week for Anna. Once Challenge A starts next week she will have lots of at home work.

We have a picnic (tonight) with all of the Challenge families in our community. I'm looking forward to sharing learning and life with them this year.


I took the above picture of Anna when we were swimming over the weekend. It struck me how DIFFERENT she looks now - with her braces and just changing so much. I will admit this has been hard for me to come to terms with. I'm sad my little girl is growing up. 

I think the transition from little girl into pre-teen/teenager is so hard. I can watch Anna daily forming opinions and finding her place in the world. It's not always easy, but I'm happy she is at home so her dad and I can guide her. I often wonder what it would be like if she had a pack of pre-teens guiding her all day every day... thank goodness she doesn't. 

In preparation for lots of math this year we played the Number Ladder Game. If you have never played, you really should!  The Number Ladder site is no longer available, but you can still buy the Number Jugglers book. My kids love it - it is a great way to practice basic math facts, and also great for those pre-algebra students like Anna.

In a tour of our learning spaces earlier this week I pointed out that Anna has her own study space upstairs this year. So far, so good. She has gotten lots of zebra accessories for her desk and has her own bookshelf and cubbies up there.

(She remarked to me that the only reason she would want to go to middle school would be so she could have a locker. My response to her: "You want a locker? I can BUY you a locker and put it in your room!" She just might take me up on it, too!)

I'm stressing mildly about Latin, but it will be ok! Reading the intro to her Henle Latin book together shed a lot of light on WHY we study Latin and the tremendous benefits studying Latin has in other areas of our lives.

I'm following the Challenge A guide to the letter. It details every single assignment for every single week and gives lots of helpful teaching tips for the parents. I am feeling equipped to give Anna the very best education possible - and I didn't have to cobble it together myself, which was giving me anxiety last year. 

She still had time this week to read voraciously and create with Sculpey.  She also committed herself to doing 45 minutes of Wii Fit each afternoon and also doing an ab challenge with her dad. I'm so proud of her for sticking with it! 

Piano lessons started back up this week and her children's chorus kickoff day is next weekend. 

She is going to be a busy, happy girl this year.

Grant's Week and Resources

My little stinker is happily back into a school routine.

God gave Grant the gift of being easy going, happy, and unflappable. 

The picture of my husband and Grant in the pool sums up his life right now - he lives each moment with gusto and joy. {I am trying to learn to be more like that!}

Grant's life is heavily revolving around baseball these days. We put together a huge baseball puzzle a few weeks ago and framed it for in his room, along with another baseball puzzle we had.

He is still enjoying all of the sports books by Matt Christopher - this week's read is Slam Dunk. 

Another favorite book this week was H is for Home Run.

Before Classical Conversations starts in 2 weeks I am doing a little bit of fun science with Grant - out of the Angry Birds Furious Forces book. It's been such fun! How cool is it to set up your Angry Birds game and play during the school day - the book even gives suggestions for playing the Angry Birds app.

There's also been a lot of LEGO buidling, and several walks this week where Grant has been practicing his "sprints" in preparation for fall baseball starting very soon. 

Oh, and he had his first piano lesson this week, too. 

He can't be old enough for all of this, can he?

People Amaze Me - Our Field Trip

* (Warning: this next part of the post can be considered a rant. Read at your own risk.)

We start our mornings with devotions and watching CNN Student News. We love the CNN program because it is short (10 minutes) and covers current events. It's appropriate for upper elementary to high school kids. (Plus it's kind of cool that the host, Carl Azuz, was a student of my sister-in-law's several years ago!)

I posted a picture of the kids watching CNN Student News on the blog's Facebook page earlier in the week. 

My goodness. You would have thought I had done something illegal. I got some very nasty comments about what a terrible way this was to start our day, why we should only watch FOX News, and how dare I watch the Communist News Network with my children.


People amaze me.

I doubt these same people would ring my doorbell and say these things to my face, yet they feel free to just type inane, hateful comments on Facebook. 


(Oh, and I also got a not so nice email from someone who was upset that I shared a blog post from Penelope Trunk. I just love how we live in a world where everyone is so FREE to share their opinions.)

While I do not always agree with some of the political leanings of CNN, I certainly enjoy their student news broadcast and want my children to be exposed to a variety of news sources. I want to teach them discernment and how to live IN this world (even though we don't have to be OF this world). 

So, if you are upset that we watch CNN Student New you probably don't want to hear about field trip to CNN Center to take a newsroom tour, either.

Tuesday morning we headed downtown to the massive complex of CNN Center, The Georgia Dome, The World Congress Center, and the Omni Hotel. 

We took a one hour tour of the CNN Studios and it was very interesting. The kids learned a lot about how a broadcast is done, different jobs people can have at CNN, and also they saw where Carl Azuz films the student news.

It's also just fun to go downtown. I remember being shell shocked the first time I had to navigate a big city (which wasn't until I was in college). I want my kids to know that just because it's big doesn't mean you have to be afraid to explore and try new things. 

After our tour we swung by my husband's office (which is just a couple of blocks from CNN) and we all went to lunch at the best restaurant ever, Home Grown.  

If you live in or around Atlanta, you MUST go there. I had the Macs Attack - fried mac&cheese, a hamburger patty, mozzarella cheese, spinach, bacon, and tomato -- on Texas Toast.  (ok, so I totally blew my diet)

Getting Personal

I have a very heavy heart right now - several people we know are battling cancer. My dear father-in-law is having some health problems. Another sweet friend is going through major family health issues. 

I'm learning that the only way to have peace is to stay steeped in God's word, pray, and then focus on my call to help others and educate my children.  We don't know the number of our days, and it's up to us to make each one of those days count.

Each morning as I am having my coffee and quiet time, I can hear the school bus outside. I can see parents taking their children to school. I am SO thankful to be out of the hamster wheel and really living life with my kids. 

I remember the days when we were all so disconnected because of activities and school schedules. I remember being at the mercy of the "school" for our entire schedule.   

Life doesn't have to be that way, and in times when there are illnesses or difficulties I am reminded once again why I believe so fervently in home education. 

A BIG Event!

Please mark your calendars, set an alarm - whatever you need to do - to remember the iHomeschool Network's Omnibus! It will be a collection of over 90 eBooks from well known homeschool authors.  SQUILT will be a part of this collection, so if you haven't purchased it, you may want to get it then.

Best news? All of the books together are only $25. 

Check here Tuesday morning (beginning at 12 a.m.) for the sale and it will continue through midnight on August 25. 


So, that's our week in a nutshell. Lots of learning, a fun field trip, and living life! 

How was your week?


** Please join me for Collage Friday! Share your photo collages from your homeschool week. I will delete any links that do not contain photo collages.

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