Monday, April 30, 2012


Monkeyboy wakes up in a terrible mood from his afternoon naps.  Today was no exception.  I offered him a gumball in the hopes that it would curb some of the squalling.

About twenty minutes later, he came back to me and said, "Gumball."

Noticing that his mouth was empty, I responded with, "No way dude, not until we find out where the last piece of gum went."

He shot me a grumpy look, so I decided to re-phrase my statement in a way I was sure he'd understand:  "Monkeyboy, where did the other gumball go?"

He flashed me a grin and lifted up his shirt to expose his belly button, giving his tummy an emphatic pat.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I woke up suddenly during last night, drenched in sweat and with a horrible taste in my mouth.  I thought it was kind of weird, but turned over and went back to sleep.  When I woke up this morning, I felt incredibly tired and bleary-eyed, but forced myself to go through the motions of getting ready for the day anyway, because that's my job.

So I slogged my way through a shower, drying my hair and putting on make-up.  I knelt down for my morning prayers and could not form a cohesive thought to pray about.  I got up and made me some toast with extra jam and then laid down in bed in hopes that the food would make me feel better.

It didn't.

I became more dizzy as time went on, and Michael ended up staying home from work so I could go to the doctor.  This happens from time to time, ever since I was a teenager, but it's now at the point where it's happening more often, and I have a husband who needs to be able to go to work and I have my own school to run.

They drew my blood and I'm waiting for the results.  I spent the rest of the day laying down and trying to not to puke.

This is why I don't have an awesome post to share with you today.

Which is too bad, because life is pretty good 'round these parts.  I love spring so much!  Everything is vibrant and growing and beautiful.  My favorite time of year.

Perhaps I can share more with you later this week.  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

2011-2012 Weekly Report:
Yes, We Have Been Doing School

Did ya miss us?  Huh, huh?

My last weekly report was posted just over two months ago.  Rest assured, we have been doing schoolwork in the interim!  Life just gets busy like that, and weekly reports don't happen during those times.

So here we are, basking in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.  The Brookelets are reading quietly in their beds after running themselves red-in-the-face at the park after lunch.  I've spent the last half hour 3-hole-punching completed schoolwork for filing and now I'm just plain ol' in the mood for writing up a weekly report.

Math:  As of today, Bluebird is plugging away in Saxon 3, Penguin is happily skipping along through Saxon 1 and Junebug has begun Saxon K.  I now schedule two hours for math each morning in order to fit all three of their lessons in.

Bluebird is struggling with learning her Multiples of 7 facts.  She had an oral assessment today where she was supposed to count by 7's out loud and she only made it to 21.  (She almost had 28, but she keeps saying 29 instead...and then she's completely lost after that.)  She struggles a lot with memorizing her number tables (that's what I'm going to call them until I come up with a better term) simply because she doesn't grasp the concept that they are something to be memorized instead of learned well enough to answer the questions for that day.  If it's part of that day's lessons, we're golden and it's learned instantly; if it's something she has to remember for the long haul, she balks at having to hunker down and do the work of committing it to memory.  It is scary how much like her mother this daughter is.  Enough said--I get it!

Penguin is loving math.  She has learned her doubles addition facts up to 5 + 5 and she is just so stinkin' proud of herself and her flashcards!  After we finished her worksheet today she noticed that her next lesson will start having addition fact drills and she is thrilled to be such a big kid that gets to do DRILLS!!!  It is adorable to watch her as she moves ahead in this subject.

Junebug is faring perfectly well with Saxon K.  She likes any excuse to play with the manipulatives, and she's on a big "Mommy is the best person in the world" kick right now, so she doubly loves sitting in my lap while we do math together.  I wasn't thinking about starting her in Saxon K until her fifth birthday, but she begged me for a few weeks straight to do math with her too, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to hop in now.

Penmanship:  Bluebird's in the beginning cursive book and Penguin is in the first grade manual print book.  They're both doing well.  Bluebird has her meltdowns when she's speeded along and not done something according to the instructions and I require her to erase it and do it correctly.  But that's to be expected.

Phonics:  Penguin's coming along.  I've started asking her to read the instructions on her math worksheets and was pleasantly surprised when she was able to read almost all of the words.  She's great at sounding out words.

SpellingWe are switching programs.  You've been reading about my apprehension over whether we should stick with Spelling Workout, and I finally found a program that seems like it will work better for us.  I asked around quite a bit; and, for what challenges and strengths we are working with, almost everyone I talked to recommended All About Spelling.  I just received the curriculum earlier this week and I plan to start using it next week.  I'm going to have Bluebird and Penguin start at the beginning together and let them go at their own paces; I expect Bluebird to get through the first level rather quickly...or, at least, I hope she can get through it quickly.  I'm hoping the multi-sensory approach will help "fix" the spelling rules into Bluebird's mind.  I'll keep you posted about how it goes for us.

Grammar:  We're going along.  I should probably start Penguin on FLL 1 now.

Writing:  Uh...haven't done much of that.  Big plans for it next week.  I should probably start Penguin on WWE 1 now as well.

Reading:  We've read through a number of re-tellings of Shakespeare's plays.  As a result of the recent testing I subjected the girls to, I need to step up the difficulty of Bluebird's reading assignments.  I'm also going to start her on a vocabulary curriculum at her reading level.  I figure that's what I can do to keep her progressing, right?

History:  We are through the unification of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella.  The girls really loved the story about Isabella stealing her brother's horse to meet Ferdinand in secret; oh, the princesses-and-romance land where little girls' minds love to play!  Bluebird drew an incredibly detailed picture of Ferdinand and Isabella's wedding, and Penguin had fun using her new window markers to do her narration on the sliding glass door.  (Why not?!?!)

We've resurrected the practice of listening to our history on CD in the car.  Love it.

Science:  Astronomy still.  In an attempt to reclaim the hearts of my younger children, I've decided to spend this quarter learning about the Solar System and various things that relate to it.  Bluebird already knows it, but I'm doing what I can to give her more in-depth reading material on each topic.  We're spending a week on each planet/feature, and they draw a picture or two throughout the week and I've promised to have their pictures laminated and bound when we're done so they can each have their own "Space Book" to keep on the bookshelf.  There is much enthusiasm in Brooketopia over each individual's Space Book.

Art:  Bwa ha ha ha ha.

Seriously though, I really need to make this more of a priority.  The Brookelets are an inch away from declaring mutiny against me.  I'm just tired of cleaning up all the tiny bits of construction paper and sequins from the carpet from their non-school hours art projects that I just don't have it in me to encourage more of the same.  Goal for next week:  1 art project, planned in advance and everything.

Music:  Bwa ha ha ha ha.

*sigh*  Yeah, I'll get on it...

Overall:  Yep, school.  I recently had a big epiphany regarding my attitude towards homeschooling and am making some small (and one big) adjustments to better align my heart with my work.  I'll probably write about them later, but homeschooling is going a whole lot better now because of the mindset adjustment.

We're almost done with this school year.  Seriously.  June is the end of it.  We've only got about ten weeks left, which is crazy.  It feels like I just started reading through The Middle Ages with them; like we just did the big Celtic Smackdown only a month ago!  We're almost done?!  Whoa.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sarcasm is not Junebug's Strong Suit

We stopped for our mid-morning snack today and I served caramel popcorn.  Junebug polished hers off quickly and came into the kitchen to ask for another bowlful.  I eyed her for a moment and said, "I don't know...I think you're growing pretty fast as it is.  Eating extra popcorn just might make you grow some more."

She stopped in her tracks and a puzzled look came over her face.  In a quivering voice she said, "But...I thought that's what you wanted me to do."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mr. Monkeyboy, Almost Two Years Old

Hi, sweet boy.  You are almost two years old.

You are huge, you are energetic, you are lovable.

I love your big teeth.  And your thick little feet.

I love the way you say yes.  ("Yesh.")  I love your emphatic nod when you say "yesh."

You love trains, tractors and trucks.  We have to stop everything and race to the window whenever a train goes by or the garbage truck appears.  Thomas the Train is a big deal around here these days.

You like to eat meat.  Doesn't matter what kind it is, if we tell you it's meat, you're eager to give it a try.

You'll eat anything Daddy eats.  You sit next to him at dinner and he just pushes food from his plate over onto yours when you start pointing at him.  You want nothing to do with me giving you food.  It's all about Daddy.

You climb onto the counter so you can get apples.  But you're not content with one apple, you have to take a bite out of every apple in the basket and put them all back.  (I know I'll think of this quirk fondly in the future, but right now it's costing me a lot of money!)

You wake up from your afternoon nap everyday in a horrible mood. The only cure is to let you take a bath.

You love your kee-kee. (Blankie.)

You love to put on your shoes.

You laugh. You have the most adorable, throw-your-head-back-and-chuckle-from-the-gut laugh. And the weird goat laugh.

You slap.  Hard.

You scream.  Loud.

You talk with your eyebrows.

You kiss and hug.

You smile for the camera.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First Nature Hike of 2012!

It's great to head outside once again!  We took our first nature hike today and enjoyed feeling the sun on our faces and having the freedom to just run.

We walked along the trail next to the river and were largely unimpressed with the grays and browns of early spring, but I think it will be fun to return in a couple of weeks and witness the "greening up" of the landscape.

There are information posts set along the trail and I assigned Bluebird the task of reading them aloud so we could all learn together (and afford her some needed reading out loud time).

We saw a robin crashing through the underbrush, which is always a nice sight to remind one of the impending arrival of spring.  The girls were largely uninterested in said robin because he made a whole lot of noise and scared them into running away from that area of the trail.

Monkeyboy was overjoyed to be given his head and just allowed to run to his little heart's content.  Poor boy, hardly any backyard and being cooped up all winter, he was all smiles as he huffed about behind his longer-legged sisters.

Trying to keep up at the end as his sisters ran to play on the playground.
It was a short and sweet little walk, just enough to stretch our legs a bit and start getting our skin used to having the sun shine down upon it.  Hurray for spring!  I'm looking forward to our future excursions during the warmer weather.