Saturday, September 13, 2014

First Day of School 2014-2015


This year I have a 7th grader (how is that possible?), a 4th grader, and one that is learning more than I can possibly imagine.  He may just end up be the smartest kid ever!

Lillie began her Challenge A program with Classical Conversations (CC) a few weeks before we actually started our school.  The program runs for 30 weeks and needs to be finished by a certain date so we had to start.  Camille started her Foundations and Essentials classes with CC a couple weeks after we officially started, but we went ahead and began math work and a few other things.

This year will be a hard one.  Partly because the amount of time I have to spend with the girls has significantly decreased since Alexander is so active.  Thankfully he is taking good naps most days, but as the year progresses I imagine that will change too.  Also, I have a 7th grader.  This is a hard year just because of that transition, but the amount of work Lillie will have compared to last year is amazing.  I am in awe at what Challenge A provides in terms of material she is learning as well as skills.

I still wish she had a true class for this, but we felt pretty strongly about going ahead and doing it this year even if no one joined us.  And they didn't, so it's just us.  Next year for Challenge B that will not be an option.  The material she will cover, in my opinion, cannot be mastered effectively without a few others.  She can learn the material, but the conversations really matter a lot more starting in B. So we'll figure all that out as the time for it approaches.

For now Lillie works about six hours a day on six subjects.  She is actually trying to master a tool by using a subject as the source. I had typed up information about each subject, but then realized it was just too long for this post.  So that will come later.  Just know there have already been a lot of prayers, angry words, and tears and mostly all that from me!  As I talk to other moms of other 7th graders, both home schooled and traditionally schooled, I am finding this is just what happens.  We seem to all be struggling.

Sweet Camille is enjoying the 4th grade so far and experiencing a few big changes as well.  She has more independent work this year mainly for when Alexander is awake and I cannot instruct.  Also, since Lillie is spending her time differently, Camille and I are alone for her school.

Most home school moms prefer to teach "across the grades" for things like science, history, Bible, etc.  And I used to think that worked for us.  But I think I am finding this new way works so much better for me and the girls for many reasons. Camille enjoys spending time learning with just me (and some days Alexander) and prefers for me to walk through things where Lillie has always wished I would give her more independence. The balance is being able to find time to do that and not neglect checking what Lillie is doing.  I'm finding out the hard way she still needs a lot of accountability!

The first picture of all the kids at the top shows how I hope our year goes--everyone still and looking at the camera.  Those last two are how I imagine we will spend lots of days--someone wanting mommy all the time (oh, that is what it feels like every second of my days!), papers wrinkled, one girl smiling trying to make it work, and the other just ready to stop!

But we will take the good with the bad and through it all I will remember how much of a blessing it is to do this.  Not all blessings seem perfect all the time because most things just aren't! We'll manage to learn more than we set out to learn--things about ourselves as individuals, things about our family, and most importantly, things about how God loves us and provides for us even in the small everyday things!

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, September 12, 2014

Silly Faces

Alexander is the master of silly faces.  


Lake Trip 2014

I mentioned in the last post that we went to the lake for a few days to celebrate Camille's birthday. We typically stay longer but this year it didn't work out which was actually for the best given that Alexander is into EVERYTHING! And at the lake there is no way to baby proof.  So baby-proofing consists of either putting him in a walker and having him cry after about 2 minutes, or following him around.

Here are a few more photos from our weekend.


And before you have a heart attack or think your eyes are deceiving you, let me tell you that it is in fact Lillie and me on the tube.  I have never gotten on the tube before (I have a horrible fear of water) and probably will  never do it again unless my life depends upon it.  And maybe not even then.  But I can at least say I have tried it and use that to make encourage my kids to try scary things.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Double-Digits to Camille!

You may have thought we totally forgot about Camille's birthday, but you would be wrong!  I just did not have time to blog about it. She had requested a party this year for family and a few friends and she also wanted one friend to spend a couple days at the lake with us.

Camille LOVES all the mustache stuff you see.  It started about two years ago when Alex got a tee-shirt with a mustache phrase on it after giving blood.  After it shrunk, he gave it to her to sleep in.  And she does.  Every night.  And since that time, she has loved all things mustache.

We got a young lady at church to make us a cupcake cake in the shape of a mustache.  Alex and glued together some wood mustache cut-outs and skewers for the girls to paint.  We used those later for a "photo booth" that we had in the den.

It was a lot of fun. Lillie is old enough to pretty well take care of any party details.  I take care of the food and she plans the rest.  The girls all had a lot of fun!

The following day we heading to the lake for a few days.  Camille had the usual donut birthday breakfast, followed by something we don't get too much of around here anymore...

She enjoyed some birthday tubing and also an oreo pie that she requested.

It's so hard to realize that this sweet girl has reached the age of 10!  She is one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet and we are so happy to be able to spend another year with her!

Monday, September 1, 2014

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Science Camp

I suppose I need to be playing catch up again, but we won't talk about that.  But over the next few weeks if you see posts from June and July you will know why!

Lillie had the fabulous opportunity this summer to attend a GEMS science camp at an army base in a neighboring town. It is my understanding that there are only a few in the entire country.  If you have one nearby I would highly recommend you check it out!  All Lillie had to do was fill out the application and write a short essay.  We got the confirmation a month later that she got in!  I believe they said that there were over 100 on the waiting list for our location this year.

Lillie at graduation, receiving her diploma.

I am not sure how excited she was to begin with, but after the first day she was hooked!  The camp was about neuroscience (each year is different) and they did lots of experiments on the five senses.  We would pick Lillie up each afternoon and the entire ride home she would talk about what all they did that day.

 The entire class with the team leaders.

Here are a few things that I can remember: they made a pin-hole camera, they did a baby food taste test (gag!), they helped make a pair of glasses, and they made a set of speakers.  I cannot remember all the other things.  They even got to tour a black hawk helicopter and meet a visiting general!  He came around and talked to each group about what they were doing.

 Lillie and her team leader.

The last day the parents were able to go and see some of what they learned while they performed experiments on us.  I was so impressed with how professional the camp was and especially with those working directly with the kids.

Oh, and did I mention that each student got a stipend at the end of the week if they were there each day and on time.  I think this is why Lillie signed up to begin with since she is more of a zoology kind of gal.  However, after going she said, "I would have done that without the stipend!"  That's the sign of a fun camp!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Today in History...

This happened one year ago today...


I can still vividly hear our doctor say "It's a boy" sometimes when I think back on that day.  I love the emotion in her voice. I think she was just as anxious to find out as we were!

Happy Birthday to the sweetest, happiest, and dare I say, smartest one-year-old around!

I sometimes think back on life before Alexander.  Even though it's only been a year, it just seems like he's been part of us all along.  So thankful that God saw fit to give us one more!