Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 157

Yesterday Sam did a very cool experiment for science. He was supposed to make oxygen from peroxide and yeast, and catch it in a balloon. Then he had to light a candle and put it under a jar; of course it would go out soon. So he had to take the balloon with the oxygen in it and put the mouth of it under the edge of the jar to see if it would sustain the candle. It totally worked! The joke around here is that experiments don't work, but it really did. And then we held the bottle (that had the peroxide and yeast in it) up to the candle for an oxygen boost, and it got so bright. Look how cool that is.

We watched a photography lesson yesterday. It was about finding color and how to use light with color and how light sometimes looks like it's coming from the color. We haven't done our assignment yet, but Rachel found a new setting on the camera the teacher talked about it. It's "white balance" or something like that. It makes the light a little more blue so it looks white and there are some other differences it can make. I hope we can learn some ways to take amazing pictures.

Of course it helps if you're taking pictures of amazing things like this:

That's all I got. It's late and I honestly can't remember what else we did that's interesting enough to tell you about. Haha!

See you next time!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day 156--It's Hard to Start a New Book

We were looking for a book for Sarah to read independently, and she and I decided it's hard to start a new book. First, you're not sure if you'll like it (we didn't have much luck liking the books we were reading last year). Then, you don't know the characters yet. It's hard to care much about them when you first meet them, so it's not that easy to pay attention. It feels like an emotional trauma to try to get into a new story.

Last night, I started reading The Pickwick Papers by Dickens. I've never read it before, and it was almost impossible to focus on the first few pages. I kept thinking if I could just get into it, I would be interested in the characters. Of course it didn't help that I was very tired and I only read two or three pages. I like to read at least two chapters when I start a book so I can have some idea what it's about.

So I was starting to tell Rachel about the conversation Sarah and I had had about it, and I said, "It's hard to start a new book." I was getting ready to tell her all that stuff I just told you, and she said, "Reading a book or writing one?" Haha! She reads all the time, but she's definitely got writing on the brain.

She decided to drop the online classes she was signed up for. She had been feeling like college isn't for her, but she also felt like she was expected to do it. Everyone does, you know. Really? No. I had wanted to tell her she didn't have to take classes now, because I had gotten the feeling she might be not wanting to do it. I think she wants to focus on writing right now, but she hasn't decided yet. Isn't it fun to have the entire world open to you? Everything is up for grabs. Maybe I need to remember that that's probably more true for us all than we think.

The girls were playing around with the camera the other day, and here are the fun action shots they took.

We need to watch some more of those photography lessons from The Great Courses. I'd love to learn what all those settings on the camera do. I got a tripod so I could have a better chance at the camera not moving when I take a picture. I must have shaky hands or something.

See you next time!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 155

This week has been so long! I have had a headache all week, and it's been hard to do much. Yesterday, Rachel taught Algebra. I'm not sure how it went, but they didn't finish the assignment. I didn't have any energy to help them with it today, so it'll have to wait. Maybe we should actually do it tomorrow. We never do school on Saturday. Not anything that feels like school anyway. But you know--life is school.

Jeff's been working a pretty late shift this week, and we've all been going to bed later and later. Of course, I never want go to bed at all when I have a headache since it feels better at night than any other time. It's been raining all week too, which drains my energy. Well, I guess next week can be a do over. I need that too often. Especially when school starts each year--seems like I get a headache within the first two weeks. But I guess it would seem that way since I don't go much longer than that without one anyway.

We started reading Frankenstein. I've never read it, but the back of the book talks like it's a terrifying horror story. That's hard to imagine since books like that take an inordinate amount of time describing anything. It's hard to be that scared when it's that slow.

Rachel's been looking into participating in a Civil War Reenactment next month. It sounds like fun, but I don't know if she can because it's at least a few hours from here and we don't know Jeff's schedule yet. They said we could sleep in a "period tent" the night before. That's really nice of them, but I haven't slept in a tent for over 30 years! It's not exactly my thing. I think we could just stay in a hotel. They have a dress for her to wear and everything. She was actually looking for a play she could audition for and found this.

All the plays are either on Sunday or they have swearing in them or they're for homeschooled kids that are actually still homeschooled. I told her she just needs to start a theater group herself and she can decide all that stuff. We met the perfect lady to help her with it last month. She directed a little skit thing at the Youth Conference the kids went to. She wrote it (including songs), auditioned kids, and directed it. And it was so good too! Rachel's wanted to do that since she was like 7 years old. Maybe now's the time.

See you next week!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day 154--My Kids Are SO Cool!

Ok, so I opened up Facebook tonight and found this!

Then after all my thank you's, someone else said they bought it and told her librarian about it who is going to introduce it to the teen writing group! And that she can't wait for the sequel--which is coming! It was very fun to have someone outside our family saying how great Rachel's book is. I loved seeing her face when she read this!

Here's a fabulous new picture of Wilson, Kamille and Eliza. So sweet. It's getting harder to be away from them. Oh how I hope they come to graduate school on our half of the country.

Sarah did an activity to learn how to use the microscope today with her Biology book. She was supposed to get some of her cheek cells on a slide and find them on each magnification. We had to try three times to actually get cells. I love how she keeps trying when things don't work out the first time. I just realized that! Sometimes I have the feeling that she gives up or gets upset easily when things don't work, but I think I've been wrong about that. I'll need to apologize to her for that!

Sam and Jeff measured the kitchen table in "cubits" and "fingers" (according to Sam's arm).


He had some huge number of fingers (the distance from your first knuckle to the end of your index finger) like 26 in the cubit (the distance from your elbow to the tip of your fingers). That's crazy. I bet mine's not even 20. He's got such long arms!

I have to say I'm so excited to write my homeschool book and set up a forum or Facebook page for people to talk about homeschooling. I would love to be able to let homeschool moms talk about whatever they need to in order to get and give support to each other. I know groups need rules, but it's exhausting to me to be in this certain group online that has so many restrictions. Maybe that's why I blog about homeschool. I can just talk about my experience and it's all good. Or at least it's all ok with you. Thank you for that!

See you next time!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Day 153--Much Better Day!

Today was so much better than yesterday. Algebra went very smoothly for Sarah and Sam, and science was a breeze too. We finished Jane Eyre yesterday, so I decided to read a quick and easy book before starting on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Don't laugh, but I started reading Harriet the Spy. None of us have ever read it. It's not our usual, but hopefully we'll get a giggle out of it. Harriet is 11 and she has a spy notebook where she writes all kinds of things about the people around her. Sounds pretty silly.

Rachel edited again most of the day. She thinks it's nice to not have school to do yet. She did look at some degree programs at BYU-I (Brigham Young University-Idaho) where she's taking online classes starting on the 25th. She's interested in International Studies, but she isn't sure how she would actually use that degree. So she found that they have a degree called Interdisciplinary Studies where you study two or three areas of emphasis. She was looking at some international stuff, but also some writing and psychology. It sounds perfect for her. I think she's pretty excited. She's planning to continue writing books, and she would love to travel around and write about it.

Considering how much Rachel has learned about writing by my editing her book with her, I thought that would be a great way to teach Sam and Sarah more about writing too. I'm not sure how to do it. I could have them practice on some of Rachel's writing. I thought it might be more fun for them if it wasn't there own. Or I could have them help me do parts of a book I'm editing for a young writer from a Facebook group Rachel and I joined. I could write something for them to edit, but I think that would be harder. I sort of self-edit as I go most of the time, so I don't think that would work too well. I think it would feel contrived.

I know you're not really supposed to edit as you go, but it drives me crazy to not like the way something sounds and then leave it to fix later. I think it would distract me more than changing it. I'm not saying I don't do plenty of editing after I write, but I do like to fix the glaring things right away. In fact, the longer I wait in between writing and editing, the more I see that needs fixing. That's why I like the style of this blog; it's out there before I can get any distance from it, so I can't change it. I also don't read it over later very often.

I just have to include another picture of Eliza Jayne. She loves the baby dolls!

Have a great weekend!
See you next time!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 152--It's Hard to Start

Why is it so hard? We always look forward to starting school each year, but it's never easy to do. I have this dream of how it will go when we start, but what we do doesn't look like that very often. This is my 20th year of homeschool, and I'm still figuring it out. But at least I AM still figuring it out.

I was explaining unit conversions to Sam today, and I realized that I knew just what to say. That's the first time ever! When Wilson did it, I had no idea at all; when Rachel did it, it started to make sense to me; when Sarah did it, I could help her figure it out but had to be reminded how each time. Finally today I remembered it and explained it clearly! I guess sometimes it takes years.

We got to have a short video chat with Wilson and Kamille tonight. They came and spent 10 days with us a couple weeks ago, and then they went to spend a week with her parents. So I had to have a little Eliza tonight. We had so much fun with them here.

That baby is the life of the party. She dances every time she hears any kind of music. Here they all are playing Clue. They're addicted to it when they're together. So much fun to have them all together. Jeff's got vacation in another month, and hopefully we can go see them. It's so nice to visit at their place. Totally relaxing.

I'm going to be really short today. It honestly wasn't that great of a day. But there's always tomorrow.

See you next time!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Day 151--First Day of School

Well, my plan of doing several blogs during summer break didn't really work out did it? We were so busy the whole time, which is unusual for our break. We went to Jeff's parents twice, Wilson and Kamille and Eliza came for 10 days, the kids and I went to a Youth Conference for a few days (I came and went, but they stayed at night), and we're probably going to see Wilson and Kamille again in August when Jeff has two weeks off. We're used to just sitting around getting bored during break.

So today when school started, it was almost surprising. I'm glad I don't feel the need to overplan. They started a new math book and new science books, but the rest will pretty much continue on like before with some new twists. It was strange to have Rachel not working on school with us. Her classes start July 25th, so she has a few more weeks. She's got plenty to do though. She spent the day editing the sequel to Becoming Sencra's Queen. Wait! You don't know she finally published it! We are totally excited! I have to say I'm jealous. I've been wanting to publish a book for so many years (way before she was ever born), and she got it done first. Here's the Amazon link if you want to read it.

Anyway, today she also did a lot of research for a historical fiction novel she's writing. I told her she's going to have to be the lunch lady. She can just cook lunch while we're working each day. She says she already does that! I guess she does. She's always the first one to think of even having lunch.

Sarah's so excited to be doing Biology this year. She loves science, and she loves the way the science books are written.

Sam got to start out with an experiment first thing this morning. He got to corrode a copper wire in baking soda water. And they both seemed to like Jacob's Algebra. I'm just going to use it for two years with them and call it Algebra 1 and 2.

I've been thinking about starting a writing workshop or group, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm not sure I know that many people that would be interested in coming. I might try it out with the kids first to sort of experiment with how to run it. We could just do it in the evening once a week and act like it's not school.

I've been doing a little editing for someone (other than Rachel) and I remembered why I love it so much. I don't have to make any decisions. With Rachel's book, we made the decisions and changes together. But with other people, I just suggest things and they do what they want. I love it!!

See you next time!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Day 150--Summer Days

Jeff's still spending time on his days off studying for his new job. He worked 3 weeks, got signed off to teach by himself, taught 1 day and then had a 12 day vacation! He studied during it, but he tried not to do too much. He says it takes everyone several months to get very comfortable. It seems like he's doing fine. He has been flying full time at least 9 years, so it's not really the "what" of teaching pilots. It's the "how" to use the simulator.

We had fun taking Rachel's graduation announcement pictures. Absolutely adorable!


I can never get the pictures lined up right on this blog!

We bought some tennis rackets a couple weeks ago, and we can't get enough! We've never played before. Well, Jeff has--30 years ago. We've been going every day, and sometimes twice. It's funny how we're good one day and stink the next. I guess it's like that with anything you're learning isn't it? Jeff says sometimes he just wants to hit the ball so hard; but then when he tries it, it usually hits the net so it's not satisfying. Haha. He really liked playing racketball when I met him. I think someone must have invented racketball when they were playing tennis and got tired of the fence around the court not bouncing the ball back to them. I can't believe how non-bouncy tennis balls are! They kind of look like they're in a puddle or sitting on a flat spot when they're just lying there. I guess that's so you can have more control when you hit them, but I wouldn't know. I have a hard time holding my wrist firmly enough to keep the racket from pivoting in my hand. It's so fun though. We should have done it a long time ago.

Wilson and Kamille are coming in a couple weeks! I just know I'm going to be overcome by the cuteness. Aren't you?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day 149--Last day of school!


We didn't do much today for our last day. Boy do we need a break! Jeff starts vacation after he gets done with work tonight. Yay!! I think we could all sleep for a week. Some of us have had light colds and we've been staying up so late this week. Jeff's new hours are crazy too!

Rachel got her diploma in the mail today from the umbrella school we use to keep our records. It was pretty exciting! Perfect timing too, right?

I can't remember if I've ever shown you any of the pictures we've taken for our Etsy shop. So here are a few I like.

I'm seriously about to fall asleep, so I'm going to stop here. But I'll be back! For now, I'll keep heading toward 200 days.

See you next week!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 148--Two days in a row!

I've been terrible about writing lately, but I'm actually doing it two days in a row! Tomorrow's supposed to be our last day of school, and then Jeff's on vacation until June 1st. Sam has 10 more pages to read in his science book, but Sarah's going to have to read hers during the break if she wants to finish it. I don't really mind her not reading it all, but she wants to. She likes to get done with things.

We've been reading Jane Eyre. Did I tell you it's weird? Jeff keeps saying he wishes we could talk to each other like they do all day. I think we just wouldn't know what each other is talking about. I don't want to sound negative; we like the book. It's a good one for vocabulary building, like The House of Seven Gables. I still underline book titles. I've heard that it's acceptable to italicize them now, but I haven't decided to yet. Anyway, there was a major plot twist that none of us were expecting today. I won't say what, so I don't spoil anything for anyone that hasn't read it. But I was totally shocked! I don't know what will happen next. There's so much of the book left. At least 1/3 of it.

Rachel is figuring out how to graph her findings from her journaling study. The sample of people was so small that I'm not sure the data reflects what it should. But it's good. She's been dragging her feel about it; she'd rather work on Becoming Sencra's Queen. She really just needs to write something about it. It doesn't have to be much. Or very formal. I'm starting my final edit of her book today. It's hard to start over. It is so much work to publish a book.

I guess I'm finding out what I'm getting myself in for with the books I'm working on. I plan to self publish all of them. Well, I might see if a publisher will take the one about weaknesses. My audience is mostly members of my church, and there are a few publishers that concentrate on that market, so we'll see. I think it would appeal to anyone though. It's partly about how we shouldn't be defined by our weaknesses. About how there's so much more to all of us than that.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 147--Not to test

I decided to go with the teacher evaluation and not the testing! The kids are ecstatic. And I just love the assessor. I talked to her on the phone and she is so easy-going. She only wants two samples of work, and she's happy. I told her I wasn't sure how I felt about someone else having an opinion of what we've done, and she said she didn't have any opinion about it. I love that! I know that might not be best for everyone, but it works for me.

We have just two more days of school left, and it's almost impossible to do any "work" that looks like school. You know I don't need it to look like school at any time during the year, but it certainly doesn't look like that in May. Here's what it looked like today.


The van air filter needed changed, so they got some real-life skills with Dad today. Also, I had Sam go up on the pretty tall ladder and clean out the gutter. I think there's a picture of that too, but it's not on the computer, so you don't get to see it.

I've been thinking about what to do with this blog after I get to 200 days. Actually, I'm probably close to that for school; but since I didn't write every day, I'm only up to number 147. I might change the nature of the blog. Instead of just talking about our days, I might talk about some aspect of homeschooling. If I did that, it wouldn't be every day (which isn't too different). What do you think? Leave me a comment and tell me if you've enjoyed just hearing about what we do from day to day or if you'd like to have my opinions about homeschooling.

I will tell you that I'm working on a book about my philosophy of homeschooling--relaxed but not irresponsible. I have no idea how long that will take though. I'm really hoping I can get it out next year. I'm totally excited about it. But first I'm going to finish my book of writing project ideas. I also have one started about weaknesses. So many books, so little time!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 146--To test or not to test?

I think I might not do standardized testing this year. The law allows for teacher evaluation too, so I'm looking into it. I like the testing, because I can do it all myself; but it's a little stressful, because . . . well, you know. It's crazy to think that all kids learn the same things as other kids at the same age. It doesn't even work in schools or even in classes in the same school. It's obviously not possible for it to happen in homeschools. So I might have found an evaluator that doesn't need to see too much of my kids' work. I don't really save work, and we do a lot of talking in our homeschool. So there's not a huge paper trail. Sam and Sarah are pretty excited at the prospect of not testing. I haven't decided yet.

Sam found a nerf dart in the backyard while we were mowing the other day. It fits his gun, so he's been having fun. It flies much faster than the ones we have. They've been shooting a balloon like shooting clay pigeons. Someone throws it and someone else has to aim far enough ahead of it to hit it. Now they're setting up dominoes and shooting them down.

Jeff's been a school-boy for a week or so. He's studying hard for his new job. He's been getting up early to study while the house is all quiet. He's such a good example. I'm not that diligent with my studies. That's why I'm going to have to pay for extra time to finish my degree when I get to the end of 8 years and still don't have it. Maybe his stuff is more fun to study than mine.

Kamille finished going through Rachel's book, and Rachel's finished editing from her suggestions. Now it's my turn. I really need to get on it, because Rachel's thinking of entering it in the Amazon Storyteller Competition, and the deadline is next week. Maybe I'd better go work on that now. After I make some cookies!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Day 145--It's Natural

I heard about a study showing that college graduates are twice as likely to be successful at work and in life if these few conditions existed at college:

-teachers that encourage students to follow their dreams
-teachers that cared about the students as people
-teachers that got students excited about learning

Doesn't that sound like homeschool? But how do I make sure it sounds like my homeschool?

I guess it looks like helping Rachel edit and publish a book, giving Sam endless hours each day for stop-action videos (and sitting on the bathroom floor all day to help him film), or letting Sarah play the piano twenty-seven times a day when she might be doing other school stuff. Like staying up late at night to talk about something that concerns them, not making them do dishes when they have dry hands in the winter, or having someone else scoop the cat litter when the person whose turn it is feels yucky.

As for getting them excited about learning, that's a harder one. I think if I get excited about learning something, they follow that example. It's just that sometimes I forget to be excited. I get in a rut or can't find anything new to think about, or I'm tired. But I know it works. So being the mom is really the best way to point our kids toward success at work and in life. Don't we care about them, want them to have their dreams, and want them to be excited about learning? What better person to do that than their moms--dads too!

I had to laugh tonight when we were reading Kamille's email about chapter 4 of Rachel's book. She was talking about a line the main character says to someone, and Kamille referred to it as flirting. Rachel didn't think it was flirting at all; and it cracked me up, because of course it was! I guess I need to teach them more about that. I told them that if you make a cute little joke with someone you think is cute, that's flirting. They couldn't believe it. Rachel said that sometimes if a guy at church comes up and is nice to a girl, the girl will say that the guy had flirted with her. Rachel says she always thinks he was just being nice and normal. She's even told someone they guy was just being nice. I told her never to tell a girl that thinks she's been flirted with that she hasn't; just leave it alone! Too funny.

We did a lot of school today. It was so nice. We're still reviewing math, and we will be for another week. They're just reading through the rest of their science books. They're still reading things for American History. George Washington Spymaster and The 5000 Year Leap. Rachel's neglecting researching for her paper on expressive writing because she's too excited about editing her book, but she'll need to do it in the next 2 weeks. It's hard for her to want to finish her math book, since she knows that the online college she's going to use has one very easy math course that she'll be required to take. Really, really easy. I did the whole course in one day. She going to use the same college I'm using for my online degree. And we had a big conversation with Sarah about how everyone is not a math genius like she thinks they are. It's hard to be a teenager.

See you next week!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Day 144--Crazy week

Jeff started his new job Monday. He's packing his brain with info and coming home after work! I'm going to love this! It was so fun to have to save him some dinner tonight. I need to think ahead and make sure he has food to take for lunch each day. Not that they really take time to actually eat lunch. I guess he could at least keep Larabars in his pocket.

On top of job changes, I've had a terrible headache this week. I'm sorry if you've been looking for a blog post and not seeing one. Everyone's finished with Rachel's research study participation. Now she just has to look over the results and see if she can make a conclusion. She also needs to read more about what others have found. I got her the book Expressive Writing in order to do some studying. I also thought some of us might find it helpful to use the method to deal with stress. We've had a lot of changes in the last couple years, and hopefully this can help us relax a bit.

Sam finished taking the pictures for his video tonight. Now he just has to put it into iMovie and do a little editing. Good thing, too; because the deadline is May 10th. It looks so good. He's got several different scenes in it; and it's pretty funny. He's worked so hard planning and building and shooting. I think there are around 200 entries so far.

We've been reviewing math before we take the standardized tests. It's not fun reviewing math. Reviewing other things can be fun, but not math. I mean maybe it's fun for your family, but not here. I think we're going to need to continue reviewing during summer break. I really don't want to do that, but they forget so much after just a few days, it seems. And if we actually take off 6 weeks like I'm planning, we'll have to start over.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 143--I'm a Homeschool Supermom!

I'm a homeschool supermom this week. I spent at least 4 hours sitting on the bathroom floor yesterday helping Sam set up a very cool Lego beach scene and take shots for a stop-action video. It's an important one for a contest. He works so hard on these. The first session we had was a couple hours long; and after it was finished, we found that the lighting was too varied. It was making the video flash as it played. He was not happy. So I decided I was going to work on it after bedtime so it would be dark outside and there would only be lamplight. He and I worked another couple hours and went to bed at midnight. But it came out so great! It looked amazing.

Tonight, we're finishing up with the beach. He's doing all the work this time, but I'm still sitting on the floor giving moral support. We made the water out of unflavored gelatin and blue food coloring. It looked so cool. It looked like ocean water in motion.

I say I'm a homeschool supermom, but I haven't figured out a way to help Sam keep from getting upset when things go wrong. He really wants it all to be perfect. Wilson is a perfectionist too, but I don't remember thinking he got as sad about things going badly. As I think about it now, I suspect he just didn't say anything. Just kept it to himself. Now he's studying the relationship between perfectionists' beliefs about emotions as related to whether they hide their emotions. He's waiting to hear back about whether he's going to get a grant to do study on it this summer. I suppose he knows quite a bit about hiding emotions because of perfectionism. I used to wonder if he had any emotions when he was a teenager. He's good now though. I think being married helps. Especially to Kamille; she's amazing.

I decided we're going to be done with school May 19 instead of June 2, because Jeff has a vacation from May 20-31, and I know enough about us to know that we're not doing it after then anyway. We're set to take our standardized tests the week of the 15th, so that's perfect. We've been feeling so done anyway. It's a relief to be done for the year soon. I'm going to make better plans for next year, and Rachel will be here to help me, but not under my educational supervision; so I'm looking forward to that. She's going to do online classes and help with and a few other projects I've got going. She'll keep writing books as well. We're very close to publishing her first one. I'll let you know when you can get it on Amazon.

See you next week!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 142

I need to get Sam and Sarah writing something. They decided they want to do a project together about how cats hear, and something about cats and music. They found some article about cats not liking people music, so some scientists composed some music just for them. We saw a video of a couple cats just sitting by a computer listening to it. I thought it was pretty funny, but you never know. I think it was on PBS.

Sam's been working hard on his latest stop-action video for the Lego contest. He's been working on it in my closet so the lighting never changes. He says you can't do a decent video in natural lighting if it takes very long, because of how much the light changes coming in a window. So he's got some lamps set up in there to keep the light even all the time.

Rachel's research is going well. She's having people take an emotion survey every night for 12 nights, but the middle 4 mights they have to write in a journal. We're doing it, but we forgot tonight, which is the first journal day. But we can keep track of our days more easily than we can for the other people who volunteered, so we're just going to start our journal days tomorrow. Don't tell anyone!

We're so close to being finished editing Becoming Sencra's Queen, I'm tempted to stay up tonight and get it done. After we finish, we're going to send it to Wilson and Kamille for a read-through. Then off to Amazon for publishing!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 141

Earlier today, I posted a quick tip on the MyWritingCheck instragram account that said to look up a word in the dictionary that you think you know, and see what else you can find out about it. I love doing this. I've done it with lots of words. You can get so much more meaning from what you read, write or say when you know more about the words you're using. So later I found Rachel looking up the word hand. Really, hand.

I guess Jeff had asked why Sam was carrying a glass of milk in some awkward way, and Sarah said something about "that's why they call them hands." I don't know, but when Rachel looked up the word, she actually found out something new. About the word hand. It actually has a lot of ways to use it, which we know; but did you know that a bunch of bananas is called a hand? You should pick a word and go look it up. But I like to use my big, 6 inch thick dictionary--not the internet.

We started reviewing the Pre-Algebra book today so Sam and Sarah don't forget what they've done this year. I need to order our standardized tests soon, and we need to make sure they have everything down before they take them. Although I don't time the tests, so they can think about what they're doing. So that makes it a lot less stressful.

We had to do a bunch of cleaning today, because the owner's mom came to check on the house. The owners live too far away to check on things, so their mom comes every once in awhile to look around. They're all so nice. We finally sent the signed lease renewal tonight. Jeff's going to try driving from here for his new job--it's an hour away. We've had so much stress lately that we thought we wouldn't add to it by having to find a house and move right away too. We didn't have long on our lease, so it would have been a time crunch to move.

Rachel started working on the cover for her second book, so we can put a picture of it and a summary at the back of the first one when we have it printed. It's hard to find pictures that look good with the colors they have to pick from on the Amazon book creator thing. I wish you could make up your own colors; but it's pretty easy to just plug things in, so I shouldn't complain. She's finished typing the sequel, so now she's gone back to working on another book she had started last year. I think it's set in the 1840's. How fun would it be if she could make a living writing books?! Of course, I would be totally jealous. I should have started that at 18! Here I am at 46 just now working on getting my first one published this year.

See you next week!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 140--Excitement!

Yesterday was panic time. We had a thousand questions to answer. Should we take a job that only pays half Jeff's salary to have him home more? Should we continue to lease the house we live in? We can't do that if we take the low-paying job. Should we buy a small house so we can have the option of the low-paying job so we can have him home more? Should we apply for another job that pays the same as he makes now, but he'll be home more? Should we just keep the job he has now that drives us crazy because he's gone so much? We were almost dizzy with options and opinions yesterday.

So we decided to call today and take the low-paying job, because we really need him to be around more. We didn't like it, but we thought we'd do it. And I had an appointment with a realtor to see a small house today. We also thought we'd go ahead and apply for the job that lets him be home more and make the same money he makes now. We didn't expect to hear about it any time soon. (Both these other jobs are in the training department where he works now, and he's had them both before.)

But first thing this morning, he got a call offering him the job at the same money that he makes now. The guy was going on about how great Jeff is and how he's excited to have him. He's going to be a flight instructor. He might even start in a couple weeks. Amazing! I cannot wait. It's incredible to me how much my external circumstances affect my feelings. I want to be happy no matter what, but I've noticed it really makes a difference to me what's going on around me. I need to work on that. I don't like it.

Rachel got about 17 volunteers to participate in her study about the emotional effects of journaling. I can't wait to see if it turns out like we're thinking, with people feeling better after writing in a journal. I bought Expressive Writing by James Pennabaker and John Evans. It's so interesting, but not surprising. Rachel's not asking people to do expressive writing though. That's where they write about traumatic events. We didn't want to ask people to get themselves all upset, so she just asked them to write about something that may have irritated them that day as well as regular journal stuff.

Sam's been working hard on his newest lego video entry. He decided to do it in my closet this time so there wouldn't be any changing in natural light to make it look different from frame to frame. It looks great so far. I think he only has a couple more weeks before it's due.

We've been taking Sarah out to practice driving every few days. She's totally adorable. Don't they all look like babies when they start to drive? She's getting more confident every time. She felt like she was a little reckless today. I told her I think it's just that when you get a little more confident or comfortable and learn new things, you try them out and it feels like getting worse before you get better. That's they way it is when we learn anything isn't it? Like when she masters a song on the piano, then moves on to a harder one. It feels like you're starting over. I guess you are.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 139

Ok, so I've had a migraine this week. Yesterday I was wondering what I could put in a blog about a migraine day, and Sarah told me all about what she had done. This is exactly what she said: "I did the dishes, I read my book, and I did something else. Oh yeah, I got dressed. I didn't brush my hair though." Really, that's it. Well, I know she did some cooking in there. But Rachel spent yesterday typing the sequel to her book, Becoming Sencra's Queen. She doesn't have a title for it yet, but she's kicking around something like, Sencra's Fate. I can't wait to read it. She won't tell me much about it yet. I guess she wants to finish typing it first. She writes them out by hand while sitting in bed at night. I usually write by hand first too--just not this blog.

Sam worked on Lego stuff the last couple days. He's entering another stop-motion video contest. This time the winner gets his animation put in with the credits at the beginning of the Lego Movie! That's pretty serious. Also, they get all the sets from the movie, which haven't come out yet. He's dying to see them.

This morning Rachel was reading How They Learn by Cynthia Tobias, and she had us cracking up. They have learning types listed--more like personality types. She decided which one of them each of us is and read to us all the things that bother us or that would help other people get along with us. It was completely amazing. We felt like they had a hidden camera in our house. There are 4 types in the book, and the three kids and I represent one of each type. No wonder we're all crazy! Poor Sarah is the most organized one and has to put up with all of us and our chaos. Well, Sam's not chaotic, but he ignores the chaos. I don't think Sarah can ignore it. Wilson's just like her, but I think he could ignore it pretty well; so I guess that's how he survived.

When I asked Rachel if she had decided which one Jeff is, she didn't know yet; and Sam said, "He's unexplained." Which cracked us up further, because that's the truth! I think Jeff is the same one as Sarah, but I'm not completely sure. I know that he doesn't love my papers and books on the floor, but having them there is the only way I can find them. When someone cleans the room, I have to go around asking where it all is. And they're never quite sure. If I put it all away, I'd lose it. If it's right there on the floor, I'm good. In fact, here's the stuff by my bed right now. This isn't much, because I had to clean it up recently. Jeff thinks I'm going to fall over it one day, but I never do. I guess I know it's there even if I'm half asleep.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Day 138--Busy

It's nice to relax this evening after a busy day. First thing this morning, the plumber came and fixed a couple things I've been neglecting to tell the landlord. Just a couple slightly leaky faucets. He had to change the whole kitchen faucet. I was a little worried when he went to buy a new one that it would be one with a low spout. We have some very large pots and pans and I wouldn't want to go back to a low faucet. When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago in the old house, we put in a high one and I have loved it ever since. The plumber got a high one, but I don't think it's quite as high as the old one. We'll see when I have to wash a giant pot.

While the plumber was here, we tried to do math; and that was a bust. I actually got angry at Sam because he kept saying I wouldn't tell him what he was supposed to do. I kind of got loud (while the plumber was out), and then I realized that Sam hasn't been understanding this thing I've been saying all year. He just had gotten the problems right because. . . well, I'm not sure how he got them right. I know I was helping him through a lot of them, but I didn't realize he just didn't know. I guess we have more work to do after all.

After lunch, we went to the hardware store where my dad works to get a couple things. His boss lets us buy things at cost like employees. She's the owner, so that's okay. We made Rachel a set of keys--house and car--since she has her license. Now I won't find my keys lying around near my purse, but not in it. We also got some play sand. I love my teenagers that still like to play in the sandbox. I think it's relaxing to run their hands through, and feet. I guess big people play on the beach, so that makes sense.

After seeing Dad at the hardware store, we went to their house to see if they needed any floors mopped or toilets scrubbed. They needed both, so we did that. Mom said we brightened her day too. She didn't know we were coming. She fell down recently and she's still a little sore, so I want to check on her a little bit, and I like surprising her by swooping in to do some work that's not easy for them to do. Sam dusted ceiling fans with a long handled ceiling fan duster. Next time he's going to scrub the one in the kitchen. The dust on that one was stubborn because of humidity in there.

Tonight, we made stir-fry vegetables and I sat on the deck watching everyone play frisbee. I also worked on my writing project book. I came up with a name for it that I love. I always have to name everything before I can do too much work on it. I actually have the names for several books I need to write.

I came up with seven categories of projects and made a list of the ideas that I have for each category so far. I was thinking I should have about the same number of projects for each in order to have some uniformity. So I counted the projects on each list, and there were seven on every one of them. So I guess I don't have to come up with any more to even it out; I just have to give some details and find samples of my kids' writing or write samples for them. I am totally excited about it. Aren't you?

See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Day 137--I'm an unschooler (this week)

Every year in May, we get tired of having school. After we've finished our standardized testing, I guess we just lose motivation. I haven't even ordered the tests yet, and we've already started feeling like we just want to be done. We have 8 weeks left. That's kind of early to be wanting to stop. I wonder if it has to do with Rachel graduating. She's giving us all senioritis; I'm sure it's contagious, and she definitely has it. She only needs to finish her math book and do the research project, but she just doesn't want to. Poor thing.

So this week we haven't done anything structured. We've been reading Jane Eyre, doing some random Strayer-Upton math problems, talking, talking, and talking. And Sam's been making some new stop motion videos. Oh, and we've watched several episodes of My Favorite Martian from the 60's. I've had my brain on some things I need to do to get out there a little better, and Jeff's just been tired because he's working early mornings this month.

We've taken Sarah out driving a couple times. She's getting better each time, but she used the wrong pedal once and got confused and flustered. I had her pull over, put it in park and think about what the pedal does as she stepped on it (going back and forth between the pedals several times). Then the next time she had to use the break kind of fast, she said her foot went right to it. I'll have to remember that technique for other things I teach them.

So I say I'm an unschooler this week because we've been doing what we want, reading what we want, and just thinking about what we're interested in. It's good sometimes. I mean we do that all the time, but not only that. We didn't feel very productive sometimes; and when Jeff called during the day and asked what we were doing, I didn't really want to say that we weren't doing anything much. Maybe next week we'll be less tired. I just haven't been able to shake it. Of course staying up late doesn't help.

See you next week!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Day 136--Better off with Siblings

On the radio, we heard that people are less likely to get divorced if they grow up with siblings. They said that by the time you're 11 years old, you're spending 1/3 of your time with your siblings (that is really sad). They said that for each sibling you have, the chances of divorce go down 2%. I thought it would be much higher. So Rachel said that when you get to spend 3/3 of your time with your siblings, it would go up to 6% per sibling. So clever!

Sarah observed that people in families can ruin each other's lives. And I said that may be true, and of course family members have a big effect on each other. But that's just what we do, right. We can have a huge positive impact on each other in a family, though. Feelings can be so contagious, can't they? Whenever someone's grumpy, the rest of us are. I know that happens at your house too. But if somebody's dancing around to bouncy music, the mood in the entire house lightens. Let's be clear; Jeff's the only one that does that in our house. But it makes us all laugh.

We listened to a speech about the power of words by a performance psychologist this morning. I've never heard of a performance psychologist. It was about positive and negative self-talk. We've had a lot of negative talk around here for a while. If we say this or that is terrible, then we get around to telling ourselves bad things about what we do or think or are. The guy talked about training an olympic skier and how she went from a nobody to being in the olympics in seven months by hard work and positive self-talk. It's amazing to think about, and I can see it in my own life. I wish I had known years ago, because I would have tried to change what I've been telling myself for a long time. I guess I better start now.

I couldn't resist this picture. It's from when Wilson and Kamille were here last.

Kamille posted a little video of Eliza taking a few steps on facebook today. She'll be 10 months on Thursday. How can she get cuter every time I see her? I guess that'll go on for years.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 135--Communication Game

We played the communication game tonight. You know, where one person has their eyes closed and they draw exactly what another person tells them to draw. I went first with Sam telling me what to draw. I knew I was going to draw a face, so I guess I had an advantage. It came out pretty well. Sam did a great job of telling me which way to move my pen and when to stop. Here's my face. I'm not sure if the pointy thing on top is hair or a hat.

Rachel had a little trouble giving exact instructions to Sarah. Here's hers. I just don't know what to say about that. I was there, and I still don't know what happened!

Sarah had another driving lesson in the cemetery today. Jeff gave it this time. Although it was very hard for me and Rachel not to give our opinions too. After Sarah got finished, Rachel jumped into the driver's seat to drive home. She said she needed to after that. I found myself wanting to tell Rachel what to do all over again. She didn't love that, but she understood it.

Since we finished Sam and Sarah's math book, I just had them do some multi-step money problems today. I thought they were fun, but Sam thought we were reverting back too far to the basics. I'll have to give them something hard tomorrow. I'm planning to have them do the unused pages from the student book during the next 9 weeks. I think it's 9. I can't believe Rachel is graduating in 9 weeks. Crazy! Then Sam's going to be in high school. Grown-ups! I like my teenagers.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 134--Our Anniversary

Yesterday was our 28th anniversary! Most people are surprised that I've been married that long. While I have started to look my age in the last several years, I got married at 18. So I'm a little young to be married 28 years. We made a nice dinner last night to celebrate, but we ate with the kids. We just didn't want to cook for us and them, since none of us can eat out because of allergies. But after dinner, the kids went to a party--Rachel drove them! So Jeff and I hung around the house for a little while. It was relaxing.

He's been taking Sarah out for driving lessons. Today they went on a road that has a 50 mph speed limit. She didn't go that fast, but I wasn't too happy about it. I don't think she's ready for that yet. There are a lot of 45 and 50 mile an hour speed limits around where we live now. When Rachel and Wilson learned to drive, we lived around a lot of 25 and 35 mile an hour limits. I liked that better. I guess we'll get through it, though.

Rachel's been driving Sarah and herself to an early morning scripture study class for high schoolers that our church has. It's called Seminary. They haven't been able to go before, because I couldn't get up that early to take them. It starts at 6:00 am. When I was in high school, my class started at 5:30! I had to wake up at 5:00 and leave 10 minutes later. Thankfully, their class is only 5 minutes away. They've been tired, but they like it a lot. They're studying the New Testament this year. Next year, Sam will be going since he'll be in 9th grade. Rachel's graduating, but she'll take them to Seminary so I don't have to wake up.

I can't remember if I told you that Rachel decided to stay home next year and not go to college yet. She'll take some online classes and help us start our business. I'm hoping that by a year from now, Jeff will be able to quit his job and we can just do our thing. I know that's probably crazy, but you have to dream big if you're going to dream at all. He's got vacation next month, so I want to spend it making plans and getting things started more aggressively.

Here's Sarah's first driving lesson! Love that face!
See you next week!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 133--New Drivers in the house!

Rachel got her license! And Sarah got her permit! I didn't let Rachel drive home though, because I had forgotten to tell the car insurance guy and I wanted to be sure we were covered properly. It's all good now. I gave Sarah her first lesson on the way home. We went to a cemetery to get her started, and it was so perfect. There are several roads and stop signs, but not any traffic. When Rachel and Wilson got their permits, Jeff was with them and took them to a parking lot to get them used to controlling the car; so I had no idea what that was like. Oh my! They actually can't steer the car straight at first, can they? It was pretty cute though. She did a great job, but I don't know how anyone takes an extreme beginner onto the road right away. Seems stupid. Maybe people don't do that. I think we'll have at least a few more parking lot/cemetery lessons before that.

While we were at the license bureau, I realized something. You know how the workers always have a reputation for being grumpy? Well, as I sat there watching, I realized that everyone that goes in there has no idea what to do. Then the worker gives instructions about this or that and you have to pay attention and you're probably nervous. At least everyone in the exam station is nervous. So the worker thinks you're stupid. Then the worker gets impatient and treats you that way.

The guy we had sort of mumbled and when Rachel asked him to repeat something he was very slow and way to clear, like she was an idiot. Then Sarah was so nervous, she signed her name wrong which led him to treat her like she was stupid. Ok, so it's probably hard to be patient when everyone you deal with looks like they never use their brains. I started to have sympathy for the workers, but then I decided they could have thought of all that and my sympathy went back to the public. I told the kids that maybe when they all leave home, I'd get a job there just to be nice to people that are nervous or that come in thinking the workers are all grumps. They thought that wouldn't be a very fun job though. Maybe not; I guess I'll stick to writing.

The kids didn't have school today, except for going to the license bureau. That's definitely educational. We went from there to my parents to make and eat dinner and then to the store. We're kind of exhausted. A little My Favorite Martian before bed relaxed us though. Now I don't want to go to sleep. I'd be a great second shift worker.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 132--Instagram

I decided to make an Instagram account for MyWritingCheck to see if I could get the word out a little more. I had no idea! I should have done that months ago. I don't know how it will turn out, but it looks like you can connect with a ton of people--fast. We'll see. While I was doing that, Rachel came along and made an account for That Family on youtube too. We actually had to name it thatfamilyonyoutube, because thatfamily was taken already. In fact, there were tons of thatfamilies, or  some variation of it.

Tomorrow is the day Rachel's taking the driver's test for her license. I hope she doesn't get too nervous. She drives totally fine, and she went through the maneuverability cones at least 5 times in a row without any trouble at all. I need to go make her some keys and get her a phone. Sarah's taking the written test for her learner's permit tomorrow while we're at the license bureau. They're both so cute!

I made Sam a new list for school. I don't want to have to make a new one every day, so I made one that has the whole week on it. But I highlighted each day's stuff in a different color. So he can look at it tomorrow and all the stuff in blue is for Wednesday, and each day has its own color. So I can just do them both once a week. I hope he likes that just as well, because I will never remember to do a new one every day.

Sam's using Duilingo to learn Danish, and it's so fun for him. They always have funny sentences to translate. Stuff like, "The duck is eating a potato." Or, "The turtle is reading a book." Jeff says it's probably easier to remember words when they're used in a silly way. I imagine he's right. Sam's doing great remembering everything. Jeff's dad is using the same website to work on Spanish. I should ask him if they have silly sentences for him to translate. I suppose it would be for every language. I guess I did that sort of thing when the kids were younger. Maybe I should go back to being more silly. If I wasn't this tired!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 131

Sarah's been reading about Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity, and then today she came to an experiment about it in her science book. She took the couch cushion and put a marble on it. Then she put a heavy rock on it to see that the marble rolls down into the dip made by the rock. The cushion represented space, the rock was the sun and the marble was Earth I think. It was supposed to show space bending the path of objects with mass. I think we're going to have to read a little more about it.

Sam started reading The Real George Washington this week. He's really liking it. He says it looks like the kind of book that would be wordy and formal sounding, but it's not that way at all. I was only going to assign him 10 chapters, but he'll probably want to go on reading it after that. I haven't read it yet; I guess I'll have to.

It's after midnight, so I'm going to bed. I'll have a longer post tomorrow. See you then!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 130--We finished our math book!

I was just telling Jeff that the lists I made for Sam and Sarah were causing me a little stress, and Sarah's eyes got wide and she said, "You're not going to stop making them are you?" I told her I'm not going to stop, I just need to find a way to not feel pressure from them. Seriously. It's just written down instead of housed in my head. Where is the pressure coming from? Anyway, the idea is for them to figure out how and when to get that stuff done, so I HAVE to let them. Which takes the strain off me, right?

The weather has been nice here and the kids love to play back porch badminton. Totally cute. Here's a picture. If it's been raining any time recently, the back yard is soaked. I think there must be a two inch layer of dirt over rock, and rain never soaks in. The only problem with playing on the back porch is losing birdies into the gutter. Sam's tall enough to stand on a stool and get them out of the lower gutter, but I think there might be a few permanently up in the second story gutter. I wonder what else might be up there from people who have lived here before.

Sarah started talking about changing her research topic again! She'll never get over that disease. I don't think I want her to change it. She just needs to have it as narrow as it can be. I also need to help her understand the academic and very wordy, scientific articles I found on migraines and weather. I don't know if narrowing it to migraines and barometric pressure is too narrow though. We'll have to do some more looking around.

We finished the Math U See Pre-Algrbra book the other day! Now we're going to review all of that and use Strayer-Upton and Ray's Arithmetic books for fun and complicated real-world problems. Also, I need to go over metrics with them. We haven't really done that in an organized way. They're kind of shaky on percents too. I might use Strayer-Upton or Ray's for that. They're so straight forward. This is what Ray's says when introducing percents: "Any percent of a number is so many hundredths of it." Then it says, "One percent, 1% is 1/100 or .01" Plain and simple. Love it.

I think I finished my advertisement for to put in my umbrella school's yearbook. They're letting people with businesses place ads in it. So here's mine. I'll probably change it three more times before submitting it, knowing me. It's the editor in me. That's why I just type this blog fast every night, read it over once, and hit publish. No looking it over and over.

See you next week!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day 129--"We learned from Gomer Pyle"

We like silly old TV shows, and Gomer Pyle USMC is one of them. The other day, we watched an episode about Gomer having a craving for Welsh Rarebit. We didn't have any idea what that was so we looked it up. It's basically toast with cheese sauce over it. We've been reading Jane Eyre, and they mentioned it in there. We were so proud that we knew what it was--all because of Gomer Pyle. See, you can learn from anything!

I like the schedules I made for Sam and Sarah. I really shouldn't call them schedules; they're just lists of what to do. They can choose when and in what order they do them. The only thing is that I feel this pressure to have them do everything on the list. Normally, I just tell them what I want them to do as we go along and it's nice and relaxed. But now I feel like I have to make sure they're doing things.

I know it's a good idea to have the lists because of my health stuff, but I don't like the feeling it gives me. I just know I'm going to be disappointed if Sarah's not finished with everything at the end of the week, but I never was before. It's ridiculous. I need to just give it to her and let it go. I wonder if I can do that. This is the reason I never buy other people's lesson plans or any packaged curriculum. The bizarre feeling that I have to do what it says just because it says it.

Sam just about finished his cooking merit badge last night with the other boys at church. I can't believe how much there is to it. There are pages of requirements. That's part of the reason that merit badges have never been that much fun to do. They have to explain all these things about cooking and safety and how to do it. I think they should just have to put there hands on it and show how do it. I guess they have to do that too--at a campout. I know it's scouts; but let's face it, those boys are going to do much more cooking in a kitchen in the future than at a campout. At least anyone in my family is.

I need to get on with writing a book. I have several started and ideas for others, but I think I'll do my book of writing project ideas. I think I can get that one finished most quickly and it goes with that I have going already. Rachel and I are getting close to being finished editing her book. We had wanted to finish by the first of this month, but migraines took over. I should be good for the next couple weeks. I can't believe my daughter's going to have a book published before I do. I've been wanting to do that for years and years! Guess I'd better catch up!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 128--It's Monday

Sam loved his campout! I guess he did a lot of scout stuff and maybe even made it to some rank. I know nothing about it. But he had a great time. He sure smelled like smoke when he got home though. I cannot stand the smell of campfire, indoors or outdoors. I can't seem to get rid of that awful smell. His metal thermos bottle even still smells like it after at least two washings. It's metal! How can that be? The laundry room still stinks too.

I finally made schedules for Sam and Sarah (with only 11 weeks of school left). I made Sam's for just one day and Sarah's for the week. I need to make a week's worth for Sam, so I don't have to do it every day. At least he knows just what he's supposed to do tomorrow. I hope Sarah remembers to spread her work out over the week so she doesn't get caught on Friday with an unreasonable amount left to do.

Rachel finally got started on her research today. I think she decided exactly what she's going to have her volunteers do as far as expressive freewriting to see how it affects their emotions. If any of you want to volunteer to do it for her, comment below. I think she's going to have each person fill out a chart about how much of certain emotions they felt each day for several days and then do the writing for something like four days and continue to fill the chart out to see if it makes a difference. It's supposed to really help. I can't wait to try.

Sarah started studying for her driver's permit. It's totally boring! Jeff took her out to the car and showed her a bunch of stuff about the pedals and controls and everything. I think she liked that better than studying the boring law book. The book is as confusing as they could possibly make it. They had this ridiculously long description of turning left from the left turn lane into the leftmost lane of the road you're turning into. It was completely confusing. She's got a week to study enough to get her permit, because Rachel has an appointment to get her license next Tuesday and we're doing it at the same time.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 127--Crazy Campout!

Sam is camping in the rain and cold tonight. It's a scout thing. When I dropped him off I told one of the leaders that I think only men would camp in weather like this. I'm not man-bashing; I think men are great, but you know any mom would have cancelled camping in the rain, sleet, hail, and nearly freezing weather. Well, we wouldn't have planned it for March would we? Sam's excited, but I just can't stand the thought of him out there. I know Rachel was probably right when she said, "You're thinking he must be miserable, but he's probably having a great time." But I can't stop being the mom.

I've been lying around on the couch all week with a migraine, so we haven't had much school. They've been reading books and taking care of me. I guess that's about it. Sarah started reading the book of laws so she can get her driving permit. Rachel's got an appointment to get her license a week from Tuesday. Neither one of them are excited about the test part. I also think Rachel doesn't want to just drive off with a stranger testing her. She gets nervous with any kind of test, and being alone with a stranger isn't her thing either.

We decided not to buy any house right now; we're just going to rent this one for another year. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a gas line and a new oven though. The owner of the house said he would split the cost of the line with us, and any house we do buy later probably won't have a gas oven anyway so I'd need to buy one. I just need the cooking to be easier than it has been for the last year and a half. I feel like we don't eat as well as we used to. The stores are further away, the fridge is a side by side that doesn't hold anything and the oven drives me nuts. I have a spare fridge in the garage, but something's wrong with the freezer part. Maybe I'll have that fixed and bring it in. If the owner doesn't mind his oven in the garage, maybe he won't mind his fridge out there too.

Jeff's been trying to get us to learn some swing dancing, which is pretty funny. So here's a little video of us trying to figure that out.

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 126

I didn't post yesterday after a very long day of cleaning. Normally I don't spend the whole day cleaning my house, but we had to let a realtor show it to someone for our landlord. Maybe if I spent more time cleaning, I wouldn't have had to do it all yesterday. We really liked the realtor, so we had her come over today to see about helping us find a house to buy now that our other one has sold. I'm becoming very tempted to buy the one we live in.

We decided to buy the traffic cones. The other kids will be able to use them too. So Jeff took Rachel out yesterday to teach her how to get through the course. It was pretty fun. But we went to a church parking lot today and found they had cones all set up for people to use! I guess we didn't actually have to buy them, but they're used now so. Rachel did a great job; she's totally ready. Of course.

Rachel practiced finding the volume of a cylinder with Sam and Sarah. They're getting close to end of the Pre-Algebra book. They're pretty excited. After we get the book finished, we're going to review everything and use Ray's Arithmetic to do real-life problems--from 100 years ago! I love those problems. Especially now that I learned that thing about ratios last week.

We're reading Jane Eyre. We've only read a couple chapters; and although it's kind of depressing so far, it's well-written. And Rachel says it gets less sad. I think we'll like it. The kids went to the youth activities at church tonight, and Sarah made "slime" out of glue, water and borax. It's a total homeschool thing, even though we've never done it. Does that make me a bad homeschool mom? Nope! The stuff is like the texture of egg white, and it breaks in half like styrofoam or something. Very weird.

She also did a quiz thing with real life questions like when are taxes due? and how many pints in a quart? and how much would a family of 5 spend at the grocery each month? She didn't know when taxes were due, but she knew most of the other questions. She said the other girls said a family would spend $400 a month at the grocery. Sarah said $1000. It's actually more than that for us with our food allergies, though. Sounds like fun activity. Rachel played chair soccer and Sam planned a campout for this Friday with the scouts. All in all a good evening.

See you tomorrow!

Oh, and we got some cute pictures of Eliza. You want to see, right?


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 125--Homeschool Moms Are So Smart

Sarah was reading about Newton's Laws, and she asked me what the second and third ones meant. She read them to me, and I explained each one. Then she said the nicest thing, "Homeschool moms are smarter than other moms." Of course I agreed, laughing; but she said, "I'm serious. I've made observations." I love it. She says it's because we remember all that math and stuff. Actually, I don't know if I remember anything. I've just learned it for real in my adulthood. And what about all those public school moms who are physics geniuses?

She continued to read past where Newton's Laws were stated and the book had explanations right there, of course. Then she asked me about something on the next page, and we talked about it for a bit. And again, the book answered the question. I love how it always tells you something big and then says something like, "You're probably wondering. . ." Sarah says they're so smart always knowing exactly what you're thinking. She's right.

Rachel was working on ratios in Algebra 2 and I learned something that opened up a world of math problems for me. I cannot believe I never figured this out before! A few months ago, I was doing a problem out of Ray's Arithmetic and it was something like, a certain number of sheep and cows were in a field and there are twice as many sheep as cows, how many of each are there? I got out beans and did it by hand. Trial and error until I had it. I couldn't imagine how to do it mathematically. I'm so silly.

So I know the total number of animals (let's say 39), and I know the ratio of sheep to cows (2 to 1). Now I just need to think of the ratio of sheep or cows to the total animals. Sheep to total: 2 to 3! That's unbelievably what I never thought of. I could only imagine the total as 39. So I just set up the proportion: 2/3 = x/39 and get 26 sheep. Same with cows: 1/3 = x/39, and I get 13. I had racked my brain and just could never do it. Funny.

We went and looked at a house to buy today. It was a total bust. The pictures online always look so good. I wish our lease wasn't up in less than three months. I'm certainly not going to buy something just because of that, but the landlord wants a whole year lease--no partials. Maybe we'll just stay another year and relax since we don't have to maintain two houses any more.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 124

I decided to teach Rachel the maneuverability stuff for getting her driver's license, so she called and asked the BMV if she could practice there where they do the tests. They said they used to have people do that, but they kept having their cones stolen so they took them in at night. We thought we could probably just go down there and use them during business hours and if it looked like someone needed to do their test, we'd just get out of the way.

So we went all the way there (it's at least 20 minutes away), and there those cones sat unused and ready for us. But there were big white signs at the entrance, "DO NOT ENTER." I figured we better not enter. The driving schools near here don't have cones set up. There's one pretty far away that has them set up, but I don't know if they'll let us use them either. I can't help but think they could just make the cones permanent at the BMV and leave them there for people to practice with. Do you seriously have to pay for driver's training to be allowed to use any cones? I can totally teach my kids to drive. I've been doing it a very long time.

We started reading the Lamb's Tales Much Ado About Nothing. We're planning on reading the play when we're done with that. Sam and Sarah openly admitted they weren't listening. I was reading in bed, but still. I've never read this one, so I only know what it says on the back of the play. I haven't read a whole play aloud to them before. I've tried but never could figure out the best way. Should I give them parts? I only have one copy. Should we pass it around and take turns reading the parts? That sounds like a mess. Seems like it would be boring if I said who was speaking each time. Maybe I should just get more copies and assign parts. They would probably remember it better if they "played" a character anyway. Maybe even understand it better too. And it just might be more interesting that way. They think the stories are a little messed up. Bad homeschool children.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 123--SOLD!

We did it! We finally sold the house. It closed today--for real. I had my doubts right up until the buyers walked in. But we're actually finished. I'm so glad it sold before we had to start mowing the grass again. And it'll be nice not to have 5 toilets to scrub any more. The three toilets we're actually using are enough. The buyers were really happy too. They absolutely love the house. They think it looks like a doll house. Maybe that's because it's so small.

The closing was at 1:00 and we didn't get much school done before that. I'm still not exactly sure what the kids did while we were gone. They did make a yummy cherry crisp for lunch. I don't know what we'll do about making all the desserts we want after Rachel goes to college. I think she's just about decided to go away to the college she's been thinking about. It's very far from home. I'll be sad.

Tonight, we started sewing on a quilt top that I volunteered to make for a homeless shelter. Several women at church are making them, and then I guess someone else is going to put them together with the batting and the backs. Everyone took turns sewing. The boys have never used the sewing machine before. Jeff was good at it of course. It's like driving or flying an airplane and he's got both of those down. Well, maybe it's not really like that. Sam did a great job too, and he thought it was more fun than he expected. It's powerful to be able to use the sewing machine. I'd like to get each of the girls a machine and have them really learn it. I wonder if Kamille would learn to sew if I got her one. She doesn't do any sewing at all now. Maybe I'll ask her.

We also wrote everyone's assignments on the board for the week. Well, we wrote Rachel's for the rest of the year, Sarah's for the week, and Sam's for the day. I love homeschool. I can see what each of them needs and try to figure out how to give it to them.

See you tomorrow!