Just like that, January is over and February is here. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at large family homeschooling life this past week.
Remember that the days don’t have to be fancy or impressive to matter. What you are doing each and every day is so important. So make the most of each day that you have with your family. You will not regret it!
Here are some highlights from our homeschool and life this week.
My oldest daughter, Jayme, has been teaching her younger siblings to play the recorder. Originally it was just Jeff and Ellie. But, Sydney decided to use some of her birthday money last November and buy a recorder of her own. (We like this one for beginners – don’t go with the ones from the Dollar Store – they break easily and don’t have a great sound.)
She keeps practicing and has successfully learned a couple of songs.
I love watching my kids grow in an area where I don’t have a lot of skill or talent. So fun.
Music doesn’t always sound beautiful though, especially when the kids are just learning. One day several of the younger kids created their own instruments to use in a family game. That was a very loud part of the day…
But, they did learn more about rhythm and sound waves. They figured out how to play louder and more quietly based on how hard they struck things.
Arts & Crafts
We don’t have a set “curriculum” we’re using for art this year, but it is a subject we try to do a lot of. My mom helps with this, and this week she helped Simon create his first oil painting. He did such a good job, and was so proud to bring it home.
He learned so much about shadows and light sources, and making different strokes.
In addition to more structured art time, crafting plays an important role in our homeschool. The kids love creating things and seeing how they can use their skills in new ways. Ellie this week turned some boxes into a backpack. It was fun to watch her bring her idea to life. And then she made one for Brynna too.
It’s amazing what kids can do with a knife, scissors, yarn, and some empty boxes. Allowing them to creatively use objects has created more learning than I could ever hope to teach. There is something about the power of thinking of an idea and trying to make it happen that is so important for kids.
Fun & Games
Learning through play is a staple of our homeschool. It’s why I created my curriculum, Teaching Reading Through Play.
Almost every day, we play board games or engage in other fun activities as a family (or in small groups.) So many learning opportunities happen naturally when you have fun together.
This week, Jeff and Ellie played Disney’s Villianious each day. They are trying out each character and figuring out different strategies to use. A few times in the week Bryan, Jayme, and I joined in on their fun. This game has quickly become a new family favorite. I’ll do a more in-depth post about it one of these days, but it is a strategy game that is perfect for kids from about fourth grade and up.
We also got a new game to review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. We’ve played it twice already, and it just arrived the other day. This one is called Continent Race, and I’ll be doing an in-depth review of it in March. It was a fun way to learn more about the countries in different continents, and just to work on geography in general.
Board games aren’t the only way to learn through play. A while ago, Jeffrey used some of his profits from his lawn mowing business to purchase a Mario themed slot racing set. He sets it up every so often, and he and his siblings race for hours. They experiment to see what different ways they can set up the track. Then they practice keeping the race car on the track.
It’s a lot of fun to watch, and see them learn about momentum, friction, force, and more while they’re having a good ol’ time.
Preparing for a Travel Trailer
Bryan has been working hard to schedule meetings for our ministry. We will be presenting our burden for Missionary Acres with churches around the United States this year. So far, we know we will be going to Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri in 2020. This will be the most traveling our family has ever done.
And we are looking forward to it.
But, it means we need a way to be more self-contained on trips. When you have to have two hotel rooms each night, lodging quickly adds up. So do food expenses. So, we’ve been praying for funds to purchase a travel trailer. And God provided!
We are so excited to find the right trailer and make the purchase soon. But first, we had to get our van ready. That meant having a trailer brake controller installed.
We took it to Randy’s Auto Service in Chewelah, where Bryan used to work, and they did a great job (like always!). Now the van is ready to pull a trailer when we find one. The kids are really enjoying looking at pictures of trailers on Craigslist and other websites when we find them.
It’s fun to imagine life on the road, and we are looking forward to many new experiences being added to our homeschool through our travels. We’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos about travel trailer life, and talking about what things we will bring along and what will not.
Hands on History
I’m using Story of the World Book 1 with Jeff and Ellie this year, to begin their world history studies. We have the activity book to go with it, but don’t always select projects to do from it. But this week I wanted them to work together to do something they’d find challenging. Pushing your kids a little to do things they wouldn’t normally do helps them realize what they can accomplish when they put their mind to it and try.
To create a woven basket using newspapers as reeds.
First they had to roll the newspaper pages into tight tubes and secure them. Then they had to use a stapler to put them together into a basket.
It took a long time, and some help from Daddy, but they stuck with it and did it.
Then they had to see if it’d float. So they stuck a baby doll in it Moses style and put it in the bathtub. It stayed up! But please disregard the naked, colored on baby doll…it was the only one in the doll bucket that was small enough to fit inside the little basket they made.
It’s so important to me that my kids learn how to cook. So, I gladly welcome them into the kitchen with me. Yes, it’s messy. But, I love time with them, teaching them skills they will literally use for the rest of their lives.
This week, Bryson helped me make pretzels. We have soft pretzel bites every Tuesday for lunch this school year (annual meal planning saves so much mental stress!)
His job was to take the bites and put them on a greased cookie sheet. He also got to drop some in the boiling water for their bath, but that job ended pretty quickly when he discovered he could really make water splash when he chucked them in. Boiling water splashing isn’t a good scenario…
Eating More Produce
One thing we try to do is to get everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables. I used to order boxes of produce from Bountiful Baskets. I loved the variety, and the convenience of not having to go to the store to get delicious fruits and veggies. But those need picked up in Spokane early on Saturday mornings. And they’re only in our area every other week. It doesn’t always work out with our schedule.
So I was thankful to learn about Imperfect Foods. I just had my second box delivered this week, and I’m always impressed by the contents. The produce looks like typical garden grown to me – not all perfect like you’d expect to find in the stores. Look at the size of that carrot for instance – it’s huge! And some of the onions are losing their peel. There are minor blemishes on the pears and apples.
But nothing that we’ve experienced in this minor imperfections has made the produce unusable. It’s all been delicious.
And here’s the thing…if you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, you have to buy more of them. And when it’s easy to buy, you do it more often. And it doesn’t get much easier than having them delivered to your door…
So check out Imperfect Foods if you want to make produce buying easier.
The kids really enjoy the fruit. Blood oranges got their stamp of approval. So did parsnips. Yum!
And as they help chop vegetables for meals, they get to practice even more kitchen skills.
Ellie is also working hard in the kitchen, and she’s making many things on her own now. This week, she asked if she could make Bryson’s birthday cake on her own. So she used two box cake mixes and did the math to double the other ingredients. She did a great job and it tasted delicious.
Speaking of Bryson, it’s so hard to believe that he’s 3 now.
Time sure flies, which is another reason I’m so thankful to be homeschooling my kids. I would completely miss them like crazy if they had to spend the vast majority of each and every weekday out of the house.
Enjoy Your Week
No matter what your week holds, take time to enjoy it. Spend time with those who matter most to you, and be intentional.
Thanks for being here, and taking a peek into our large family homeschooling life. It can be crazy at times, but I can’t imagine life any other way…