My Five Students

My Five Students

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Unconventional School Day

It was a lovely 75 degree day here in St. Louis on the 14th day of November. How can anyone spend a day like today indoors? Especially when we are heading into winter.

We packed up all five kids and went to the park. Annie and Noah recently joined the Missouri Conservation Department's "Conservation Frontiers" program. They brought their binders to the park and went on a nature hike. We stopped to throw rocks into the lake and observe the wildlife. This is their element. My kids would live here if they could and I love that about them.

They even made little leaf boats with rock passengers and we watched the wind blow them "out to sea".

Daddy helped them do the ropes course. They did pretty well, but then again, it may be because he bribed them with animal crackers.

I think the girls had a pretty fun time too.

These are just a few of the things I love most about homeschooling, family togetherness and freedom to explore the world around us. No, we didn't finish our math worksheets and we didn't read the prescribed chapter in our history book. But that's what tomorrow is for.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My son is a perfectionist, to put it simply. If he can't do it perfectly he won't do it at all. I remember one day, while he was in kindergarten, he messed up writing the letter B so he tore up the paper and threw it away. We struggled trying to learn how to read. He wouldn't try. All summer he would put on the most pitiful face and tell everyone that he didn't know how to read. So imagine my surprise on the first day of 1st grade when we sat down to sound out some words and he did it perfectly with no hesitation. I guess I should have known he was holding out. That's his way and I supposed I am just going to have to learn how to teach that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life-Changing Times

The last few months have been very busy months. We have been trying to adjust to our new normal. My very difficult pregnancy was followed by a very difficult birth. I will spare you all the details, but on March 25, 2011 Violet Grace and Caroline Angel made their glorious debut. They are very good babies but the fact that there are two of them makes things complicated. The first time they were both crying and I was home alone... Let's just say that mom's should have more than two arms.

Right now most kids are going back to school. We would normally start about the third week of August but this year we will be starting after Labor Day. I have already started logging hours
though. Annie has already read three classic books. You homeschool moms know that you log everything that you can. We have done some art projects and the kids have been watching science shows on Netflix. I think with our crazy year it will be easier on us if we ease into our school year. It should be fun. I may need to change the name of this blog from The Happy Homeschooler to The Crazy Homeschooler.

Caroline-left, Violet-right

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"Surely, I must be in the presence of greatness," I often tell myself while attempting to teach my third grader. "She has to be one of those type of people who don't fit the mold and yet change the world." Some days that gets me through. See, she has been blessed with her daddy's wonderfully imaginative mind. That typically means long, difficult school days filled with frustration. Writing is a chore. Staying on topic is work. Math is a bore and English is a waste of time. Much of the day is spent bringing her back from wherever she went in her head.
Now, don't get me wrong, she is brilliant. By the end of kindergarten she was reading ten-letter words all on her own. I pretty much taught her the letters and their sounds and she took it from there. She can spend half of a lesson totally uninterested and yet know all the answers. She loves anything that requires creativity, like music, art, and literature. She can finish a novel geared for children older than her in an afternoon.
This school year has really changed the way that I teach. Third grade has brought on more difficult work than we saw in second grade and a lot more book work. It took me a while but I think that I have learned the tricks that I need to know for helping my dreamer to learn. We often break up the book work. For example, she may do three lines of math problems, a cursive worksheet, three more lines of math, some English, and so on. When she gets real antsy she will take a break and jog around the yard or do jumping jacks. She is also very competitive. If left alone she could take all afternoon to do a few lines of math but if I time her it's a whole other story. We keep track of her best times and she is always trying to beat them. She loves history and science so I strategically time them for when I need to reign her back in. We have recently discovered lapbooking and it has worked miracles for us.
With all these tricks we still have bad days but it is so much better than it's been in the past. I have no doubts that if she were in public school they would want her on medication. She would be one of those tragic cases of a smart girl that was left behind. I am so grateful that homeschooling gives me the ability to see what she needs and to understand the way that she learns. I may say it tongue-in-cheek most days but I really do believe that she is a unique type of person and I fully expect her to go far.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Challenges

This has been a crazy school year so far. In August we found out that I was pregnant and in October we found out that we were having twins. In mid-December a problem was discovered that resulted in a week long hospital stay. I am now on bed rest until these babies decide to make their grand arrival, which, hopefully, will be March but could be as soon as early February.
This has really made schooling a challenge. Thankfully, the hospital stay occurred over Christmas break. Since we started back we have done a lot of "non-traditional" study. My kindergartener has befitted from a lot of art projects and number games. My third-grader has also done art projects and played games as well as read several historical fictions and classic novels. She has learned how to crochet and is getting very good at it. We still try to fit in actual bookwork as much as we can, but the normal school day around the dining room table has been put on hold.
I am so thankful that homeschooling allows us the flexibility that we need to make this work. I know my children. I know what they know and what they need to learn. In this stressed time we can focus on what they need most and have fun with the rest.
I can not finish out this post without mentioning the one who makes all of this possible, my husband. He has been completely wonderful. He takes the kids where they need to go, drives me to and from numerous doctor's appointments, cleans house, cooks dinner, does laundry, puts kids to bed, and still finds time to sword fight with our son (Nerf swords, of course). He has made all of this seem as though it's not so bad.