Monday, September 5, 2016

Back to School and Back to the Blog

My last blog post back in April feels almost like yesterday and yet, years ago. Isn't life like that though?

I often wonder why I keep this blog up for all to see, but then I think, it is a piece of me, a little snippet of time, and I do like to share homeschool and faith resources, even if it is sporadically done. Plus, personally, even if no one reads my blog any more, I find it therapeutic (except uploading pictures - I dislike that with our very slow Internet access).

So what's been happening these last months?

The kids and I have spent much of our summer at the community pool. It has been a HOT and DRY summer in my corner of Ohio. I love swimming. It is an activity I can do almost no matter how I feel (really bad days aside).

Mr. A is settling into his diabetes diagnosis like a champ. He and his brother just had a fun weekend at diabetes camp a few weeks ago, and eagerly look forward to next summer. He really is doing well.

All the kids are growing, eating, learning, fighting, playing, and just being kids.

My husband is busier than usual with work and dealing with gallbladder issues. Thankfully, we seem to miss each other for our worst moments so we can help each other. Plus, the kids have really stepped up helping with meals, cleaning, and keeping each other occupied.

As for me, let's just say that my body crashed this summer. I was glad though, as my annual thyroid tests finally came back "normal high" but with positive Hashimoto's antibodies. This means another autoimmune disease and confirms what I thought was going on but tests were always "normal" for the past three years. The doctor is willing to treat me according to symptoms and not just lab work. Hopefully he keeps his word. It also means, now that I'm regaining some energy thanks to a tiny little pill that I take each morning, that I can look to the autoimmune diet again. Please pray that I can stick with it. (In the past, I would do fine, have a long crash and be unable to cook.)

With my summer crash, I questioned this homeschooling business. Could I do it? Could I do another year feeling as I did? The fatigue didn't come out of the blue. I have dealt with it for years now. But did I want to battle through another year of homeschooling? Last year was tough. There was no joy. It seemed as if we were working all the time and still we were behind (or so it seemed). We had no time for "fun" schooling. Faith studies was reduced to a prayer and reading from Faith and Life. Daily Mass was out of the question. I was unable to even make Sunday Masses at times due to headaches, the inability to wake up, or being in enough pain that I couldn't drive. What was I going to do?

Well, after as much thought and prayer as I could summon, I still felt homeschooling was the best option, at least for the boys. I really questioned sending the girls to school (second grade and pre-k) but in the end thought that keeping to a school schedule (and homework) might be more stressful on me than keeping them home. I also really looked at what the kids were doing in school, and reminded myself - again - what this journey was all about, and it's not just academics. (Thank you, friend, for helping with this. You know who you are.)

We are about a month in, and I have to say I really like our schedule this year. And that's with starting out school still feeling like a zombie.

So what are the kids doing?

Miss Z (Preschool)
  • Finishing her ABC book with numbers, shapes, and colors. I still have empty pages so we may add to it yet.
  • Reading - Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons. She does about a page a day of this. FYI, this is her doing, not mine. She asked to learn. I read to her, she "reads" to me, and she listens in to read alouds to the other kids.
  • Writing - again, her doing. We do sounds from the reading book onto a notebook. She also uses any paper or workbook ABC page she can.
  • Any kind of preschool workbook or coloring book. This girl is a machine. I let her do as much or as little as she wants or I can handle.
  • Preschool Co-Op: I'm sharing hosting with a homeschool mom for a once-a-month preschool co-op. Miss Z is so social I really wanted to do something, This is part of that "fun schooling" for us. The big kids will get a chance to relax and play with other older siblings while preschool goes on.
  • Mini themes that I'm using file folders to create "books" of info for her as she learns. We just started this with an "All About Me" folder.
Miss L (2nd)
  • Faith and Life, grade 2 (book and activity book)
  • First Confession and Holy Communion Notebook
  • First Communion Catechism handwriting (using the Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism)
  • Horizons 2 Math (though she's wrapping up #1 as she needs more practice)
  • Faith and Freedom Readers (Seton)
  • More Story Time Treasures (Memoria Press)
  • Writing with Ease 1
  • Cursive handwriting
  • Apples and Pears Spelling (this is new and so far, it's a great fit for my two spellers)
  • History: American Girl Study
Mr. D (4th)
  • Faith and Life, grade 4 (book and activity book)
  • Study Guide for the Mass (with his brother)
  • Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism #0
  • Horizons 4 Math
  • Faith and Freedom Readers (Seton)
  • File Folder book reports - 1 per quarter
  • Writing with Ease 2/3
  • Apples and Pears Spelling (he is loving this and time will tell if the lessons stick)
  • Daily Grams 4
  • Journal
  • History: American History (with his brother) using living books and notebook work from Homeschool in the Woods
Mr. A (6th)
  • Faith and Life, grade 6 (book and activity book)
  • Study Guide for the Mass (with his brother)
  • Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism #1
  • Math-U-See
  • Faith and Freedom Readers (Seton)
  • King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table matchbook report
  • Writing with Skill 1
  • Junior Analytical Grammar
  • Vocab notebook
  • Journal
  • History: American History (with his brother) using living books and notebook work from Homeschool in the Woods
Science is altogether using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Anatomy. I purchased the journals that go with it and it's worked well for us. We also take time to watch faith videos from Formed. Our current watch is Steve Ray's Footprints of God.

Please note that though I list a pile of resources, not all are used every day. Our day is generally a piece of faith and math, some kind of reading, some kind of grammar and/or writing work. I had to shelve history and science a bit as I recovered from the latest thyroiditis flare but I hope to bring that back in shortly, possibly using Saturday for science. Like any other homeschooling year, plans constantly change, but somehow, come end of year, the kids move on and up.

Finally, and I am so excited about this. Even in my misery, this forming group inspired me and gave me something to look forward to, I (God) brought together some Catholic moms and daughters to form a Little Flowers Group. There are ten girls and just enough moms so that each can take the lead one month out of the wreath year. I want to blog more about this for sure, but blogging is not in my top priorities so we'll see.

Most of all, this year, I want to reconnect, to appreciate each day, to accept each day - good and bad, and to enjoy my family.