Thursday, December 2, 2010

Father/Son Bonding Over Baking

My husband loves making Christmas Cookies. The past few years he hasn't had time but thanks to a recent surprise of knee surgery he's home for a few weeks during this precious Advent season.

Right now, as I write, father and son have kicked me out of the kitchen and are making Peanut Butter Blossoms.

There is nothing more precious in this entire world than a father spending time with his child creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cinderella's Gettin' Ready to Try on a New Shoe

Okie dokie.

MFW is finally on it's way and the extra books I needed to complete the set are mostly here. Still waiting for the box from MFW and the box from THL Curriculum Shop to arrive.

Meanwhile we're "getting ready". Clearing out the schoolroom so we have more workspace and less play space. I'm considering picking up a folding table for art projects and the like in there or possibly moving my sewing table from the kitchen to the schoolroom so we could use that. Not sure yet which way it's going to go.

In the meantime, we're trying to get the house in better shape in general. I have a goal that by the end of October meals are eaten AT the table, schoolwork is done primarily IN the schoolroom, toys remain where they belong and we conquer the clutter monster before Christmas arrives. Oh yes and the piano needs to be unearthed since DS wants to start learning how to play.

So much to little time to do it in! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Accidental Lessons

So DS has been struggling greatly with finding good friends and understanding why it's important. On the way home he was asking me why we were trying a new church and couldn't go back to the old one. The short answer of that without pointing fingers is, churches with unsupervised, undirected Sunday School are a problem.

So when we got home, I took a big bowl of water we tinted blue with food coloring.
Then I took a little clear cup (the top of another bottle) and put 1 drop of red food coloring inside. I told him the blue water was "friends" who didn't have good behavior and weren't nice.

I floated the cup on top and said, "Okay - so if you just see them around and bump into them once in awhile, they don't really affect you, right?" and he said yes.

I said, "Okay, but the more you know them, the deeper in the water you go" and I kept pushing it down until the water spilled into the cup and turned the cup's liquid purple but not far enough for it to leak the red out and I said, "So, what happened to you?"

He said, "They turned me purple."

I said, "Right, they affected who YOU are by their actions."

Then I poured out the purple and said, "Do you see any red in the water? Did you change them or did they just change you?" and he said it hadn't changed.

So I rinsed out the cup and put in a few drops of yellow food coloring and a bit of water so it looked yellow instead of orange and I floated it again and said, "Okay - now let's pretend that the blue water is your good Christian friends with good manners and who are kind to you."

I started to push it down talking about him being friends with them and kept pushing until the cup was at the bottom and had overflowed with first them turning him green and then him turning them green. I explained how they helped him and he helped them to become better because they enhanced each other instead of turning each other murky. He got all excited and got the point that by surrounding himself with good friends he's helping them and they're helping him.

but that wasn't the best part...

The BEST was the accidental lesson afterward!!!

So I poured the green water into the tub because J3 was going to take a shower.
and turned on the shower and he looked in and said, "The water is turning the green clear."

I said, "Okay - so think of the water like Jesus washing the sins away" and went back to what I was doing totally oblivous and shut the shower curtain while I got him ready to get cleaned up.

I'm heading out of the bathroom and he pulls the curtain aside to get in the tub and says, "Mom!!!! LOOK!!!! JESUS WINS!!!!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gearing up for 2010/2011 School Year!!!!

We're so excited to be home and getting settled back in. A quick shout out to my DEAR friend Tina H who has been instrumental in helping me get my bearings this year.

Curriculum is changing and should be arriving in the mail no later than next week. Everything but Math U See (MUS) got thrown out and we're starting from scratch this year with new and exciting things that we just can't WAIT to tackle.

For those wondering what on EARTH we're doing over here (other than my neighbors who don't have access to my blog *wink*) this year we have already begun: Handwriting Without Tears (HWT), All About Spelling (AAS), Math U See (MUS), Spectrum Language Arts, and some homemade unit studies. I am ECSTATIC to be announcing that we will be beginning Adventures in My Father's World (MFW) in just a week or two. We're THRILLED to be able to offer these opportunities to our son and he's beyond excited to begin.

STAY tuned this year for seeing what the world brings to our humble family and how our journey, complete with it's hairpin turns and dangerously fast accelerations, shakes out.

((((hugs)))) to our friends new and old! :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"We're Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy...."

It's officially spring here in Montana and that usually means road trip time for our household! Today was laundry, luggage locating, and printing off all the necessary school and other stuff for the road.

This trip will take 3 days. It will take us through 5 states and will be approximately 20ish hours on the road with plenty of time for stops and fun on days 2 and 3. Activities for J3 are as listed below:

Day 1:

Working on Nouns (SchoolHouse Rock - Grammar Rock and 2 worksheets)
Vocabulary Worksheet for new book
Reading Time
Playtime/Relax Time
Lunch w. Homeschooling Friends along the route and playtime at the park
Playtime/Relax Time (hopefully sleep time!)
Addition Practice (Hot Dots Flash Cards)
Craft time (coloring)
Reading Time
Adventures in Odyssey (1 lesson)
Creative writing (based on AiO lesson)
Dinner @ hotel and swimming fun!

Day 2:

Noun Review
Reading Time
Playtime/Relax Time
Lunch at Space Aliens
Working with Adjectives(SchoolHouse Rock - Grammar Rock and Alien Adjectives sheet)
Addition Practice (Hot Dots Flash Cards)
Craft time (pipe cleaner creations)
Reading Time
Adventures in Odyssey (1 lesson)
Creative writing (based on AiO lesson)
Dinner @ hotel and fun time at indoor playpark (likely necessary - rain is expected)

Day 3:

Grammar Review
Reading Time
Playtime/Relax Time
Lunch where we land
Working with Verbs (SchoolHouse Rock - Grammar Rock and 2 worksheets)
Addition Practice (Hot Dots Flash Cards)
Craft time (your choice)
Reading Time
Adventures in Odyssey (1 lesson)
Creative writing (based on AiO lesson)
Dinner @ Grandma's!

Intermittent road stops will DEFINITELY be made complete with beach ball, frisbee, and bubbles! We're looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rounding another corner

Curriculum selection for 2010-2011 is under way here at Purple Heart Academy. We're currently hunting for a good grammar program - that's about it.

Looks like the tentative roll call for "2nd Grade" will be:

Math ~ Math U See (if it ain't broke, why fix it? - we LOVE this program!!!)

History ~ Homemade program. We're moving into my "specialty" areas in history and I'm greatly looking forward to just having fun with history instead of trying to "conform" to a curriculum that just doesn't light J3 up.

Science ~ Homemade program. Same as above - the "official" texts just made us sad so we're sticking with our own homemade program that's directed delight driven.

Language Arts ~ Reading to coincide with the history and science.

Spelling ~ Still in Question - leaning towards Spelling Workouts.

Grammar ~ LOVE Language Fundamentals by Evan Moor - I think that's going to be a DEFINITE program for us this year....but still debating with some other good stuff.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hard to Believe

We're down to "catching up" on Math (thanks MUS!) and other than that schooling has derailed...I'm okay with that.

We're doing a "home assessment" of our own based on grade "standards" in a few weeks. I'm going to create a "self-report card" so that I can look back and see what we have mastered vs. where we were when we brought him home.

I'm glad to have the chance to do this and KNOW that we're doing it right. There isn't a single subject where we haven't made immense strides of progress...

But more importantly - we're a FAMILY again. We CHOOSE this life...and I couldn't be happier with it.

I almost gave it all up a few days ago with the chance of a "good job".

I was out of my mind.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Heather Awards

I would like to personally thank all the people that made this year possible. We're almost at 1 year into homeschooling and ARE 1 year from when I began considering bringing DS home. So allow me to be blatantly clear with the Heathers.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my friends at THL. Without their support and unerring devotion to homeschooling I don't know that I would have had the courage to begin this journey, much the less see it through.

Secondly, I would like to thank my family for their unerring support and fantastic willingness to step in, step up, and help out.

Next, I would like to thank Elaine, who recently shipped me a set of "old school" Hooked On Phonics which DS blew through the entire box of level 2 today...minus the chapter books which he would like to try to finish no later than Sunday.

Finally, I would like to thank all of YOU, the individuals along the way who made all this possible. Without each and every one of you I would not have been able to do this!

Thanks for everything and goodnight. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Whew! What a ride!!!!

Well, it's official!!! We're done with the diagnosing appointments and onto the fixing it appointments! Physical therapy twice a week now until who knows when.

As for school J3 and Mom took an extended field trip to Chicago where we went to the Museum of Science and Industry, Lake County Museum, Kenosha Public Museum, 101 Dalmations the Musical, and who knows what other educational experiences. We dined on Japanese, Chinese, French, Mongolian, Italian, and I can't remember what else!

Overall, it was a wonderful trip and once we get done with getting Mom's tooth fixed we'll be back on schedule.

I can't wait to get back into the swing of things, but until I'm feeling better, that's definitely NOT going to happen. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Water Pumps, Mr. Mom, and Val's Radiator! Oh My!

So our trip to Billings for an appointment was, to say the least, an adventure. I can, however say that if it weren't for the water pump on the Jeep deciding to blow up as we coasted into Billings, we would never have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful people at Val's Radiator who are truly wonderful and amazing human beings.

The owner of Val's was kind enough to give us a ride to our appointment while they worked on fixing our Jeep and while in the car, he brought up how thrilled he was that I was able to be a stay-at-home Mom who homeschooled and told me he didn't envy my job.

Which made me briefly reminisce about last summer when Jeff took J3 for 7 whole days while Mom went home to visit family and work at a conference.

Which reminded me of the song "Mr. Mom" by Lonestar. I thought to post the lyrics here for those of you who need a smile.

"Mr. Mom"

Lost my job, came home mad.
Got a hug and a kiss and "That's too bad."
And she said, "I can go to work until you find another job."
I thought, "I like the sound of that!
Watch TV and take long naps.
Go from a hard working Dad to being Mr. Mom."

Well, Pamper's melt in a Maytag dryer,
Crayons go up one drawer higher,
Rewind Barney for the 15th time,
Breakfast 6, naps at 9.
There's bubble gum in the baby's hair
Sweet potatoes in my lazy chair
Been crazy all day long
And it's only Monday, Mr. Mom.

Football, soccer, and ballet
Squeeze in Scouts and PTA
And there's that shopping list she left that's 7 pages long.
How much smoke can one stove make?
The kids won't eat my charcoal cake.
It's more than any man can take being Mr. Mom!

Well, Pamper's melt in a Maytag dryer,
Crayons go up one drawer higher,
Rewind Barney for the 16th time,
Breakfast 6, naps at 9.
There's bubble gum in the baby's hair
Sweet potatoes in my lazy chair
Been crazy all day long
And it's only Monday, Mr. Mom.

Well before I fall in bed tonight
If the dog didn't eat the classifieds
I'm gonna look just one more time....

Cause, Pamper's melt in a Maytag dryer,
Crayons go up one drawer higher,
Rewind Barney for the 18th time,
Breakfast 6, naps at 9.
There's bubble gum in the baby's hair
Sweet potatoes in my lazy chair
Been crazy all day long
Oh! Been crazy all day long
And it's only Monday, Mr. Mom.

Balancing checkbooks, juggling bills,
Thought there was nothing to it
Baby now I know how you feel
What I don't know is how you do it!

Honey, you're my hero!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Psalm 23 for Homeschoolers

written by Heather A. Hummert

The LORD is my Principal, I shall not want.

He maketh me to rest in my Bible, He leads me beside other homeschoolers.

He restoreth my soul.

He guides me in the paths of curriculum in His name's sake.

Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of CPS, I will fear no evil, for HSLDA is with me;

My Rod and Staff, it comforts me.

I prepare a table daily for the presence of my children.

He annoints their heads with knowledge; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness, mercy and love shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Life's Inevitable Interference (and a Workbox Update)

Well, we now know 3 things.

1. Trying to school when Dad is home and awake is completely pointless.
2. We will now have a 4 day school week...I give up.
3. We are officially in LOVE with our Workboxes.

And there is something to be said for the amount of "schooling" that happens off the books.  I learned LONG ago to include this in my "state hours" because I was seriously shortchanging DS if I followed the "school only happens during school" mentality.  For example, as I write this he and I are "passing notes" ala Kiddie Study Hall.  But he's writing willingly and spelling well.  Making sentences, using grammar.  Why shouldn't it count!?!?! :)

Now - as for life - I've decided officially that trying to school 5 days a week may be ideal for the public school system but it is not, indeed, ideal for MY school.  Neither is trying to take Sat./Sun. off when Dad is off on Wed./Thurs.

That said, we will not have a "normal" school week for us until mid-February anyway so there's no point in trying to create "the perfect schedule" when one can, in fact, not be implemented and/or tested anytime in the near future.

And so, on that note, I have taken the effort to wing it on a slightly more "advanced" schedule.

Here's the game plan.

Every week we will complete:

30 min. of reading a day me to him (regardless of school day/no school day)
20 min. of reading a day him to me (regardless of school day/no school day)

Approx. 1 Chapter of Story of the World
Approx. 1 Unit of R.E.A.L. Science
4 pages (2 printed back to back) of Explode the Code per day (until we hit a block where it gets difficult)
1 session of some kind of Math U See working together and/or independently
1 page per day of "work" of A Reason for Handwriting

and 1 lesson from Beyond the Code every 2 weeks (unless he really enjoys it and then we'll do one a week - I'm flexible)

And that's it.  The rest is fluff.  Art projects and extra reading, playing on the Leapster and sculpting with MoonSand.  As long as I can accomplish the above (and I KNOW I can), I'm home free. :)

And I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blessings Falling Alert and Workboxes: Day Two

Special shout outs to the following lovely and wonderful people in my life:

My dear friend Cynthia who has offered to take on extra babysitting to help us get through this CRAZY appointment schedule.

My neighbor Ben who was kind enough to dig out our driveway from the snow with his front end loader so I can leave the house at will again. :)

My son - who spotted Ben and went immediately to write him a thank you note.

Workboxes: Day Two

Whew!!!  WHAT A HUGE IMPROVEMENT!!!  Now if I can just get Dad to lay off the Wii during school hours (part of why we're needing a "schoolroom" I'll be in business!

Even with that said, we got everything done by lunchtime (despite a late start) and today we accomplished:

Box 1: Weather Station
Box 2: 1 page from Explode the Code (will be 2 tomorrow - wanted to see what happened when we removed the sheet!)
Wii Sports
Box 3: Art (cutting and pasting)
Box 4: Skip Counting CD
Box 5: Moon Sand
Box 6: Spelling Activity
Box 7: History Reading with Mom
Box 8: Create Decimal Street (we start Math U See soon so this gives him a chance to orient himself while we're waiting for the student books to arrive.)
Box 9: Science Lab with Mom

Wow - what a difference!!!  Creating Decimal Street (as a lapbook by the way) took WAY more time than Mom had planned so we stopped for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich break and went back to work.  Still done in time for "lunch" even though we'd already eaten because we were so hungry!!!

Today was nearly flawless and brought me right back to the reasons I chose to try this in the first place!  It's so beautiful to see something so simple in action.

Oh, we had a question about "filling" the boxes - for me, I schedule a week in advance and do my printouts and put them in a folder organized by date.  Then it's just plug and play.  It takes me less than 15 minutes to set them up each night, about 1 hour of planning and printing a week.  That's it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Workboxes: Day 1

Schedule in boxes:

Box 1: Weather Station (where he records the time, temp, and current precipitation)
Box 2: Science Reading sheet (w. Mom)
Box 3: Spelling List
Box 4: Make January Calendar (color the page and copy the numbers on (then bring to Mom to put on important family events)
Wii Fit
Box 5: Math U See Manipulatives play (we make Decimal Street tomorrow)
Box 6: Explode the Code
Box 7: Leapster - Jedi Math (for 15 min) - which he opted out of - fine with me. :)
Lunch (a fatal error)
Box 8: History Reading (w. Mom)
Box 9: Skip Counting CD

And that was our day.  With the exception of Explode the Code (not Explode the Code problem - flashback to K in ps problem), it went GREAT up until Lunch.

And then I let him eat

It was a healthy lunch!  HONEST!!!

And I just couldn't get the focus back for the other two activities.

So about 4 songs into the CD (which he normally LOVES), Mom dismissed him for the day.  30 minutes later after I'd calmed down about the gremlin that had infiltrated my child we sat down and had a discussion about how we could make it better for tomorrow.  He said have lunch a bit later and do everything before.

And I thought - I have a wonderfully bright child.

So we've adjusted the plan and I'll let you know.

Even WITH these interruptions we FLEW through school. :)  Good stuff these boxes!!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Workboxes - Ahoy!!!!

After diligent arguing with velcro we now have found that workboxes can be a success - if you buy velcro that is already sticky.

Aside from that temporary hang up, our workboxes have been a success!  DS was so excited about them that we're doing a mini "training day" with a little "mini schedule" of 10 slots and 4 boxes (just so he can see how it all really works).

It's going VERY well!!!

Once we have the boxes set up and ready to rock for tomorrow this evening I will be back to post pictures of what it all looks like and how it works.

Tomorrow get ready for the Workfolders post!!!!  Tomorrow we will be debuting our "workfolder" project which is workboxes with a space saving, travel friendly, and budget friendly spin.

And we'll do a cost comparison of workboxes to our workfolder system, since we have done both in our home!!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

And here we go again!!!

Well, looks like my well laid plans just got thrown another few wrenches.

The good news is the VA has already scheduled disability compensation hearings.

The bad news is that one of the two appointments we can't make without DH having to take more time off work.

And he can't take more time THIS MONTH because of all the OTHER appointments we have scheduled.

So...umm.....welcome to my world.  How do I fit two more road trips in before I take a trip home....

.....and can I maintain my sanity in the process.

For more information on what's going on, please visit:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year and Second Semester

Whew!!!!  What a ride!!!!

Well, we're officially 6 months into our homeschooling adventure!!!  It's UNBELIEVABLE to think how much has changed and shifted since we began.

I rest comfortably in the arms of Christ and the knowledge of my homeschooling sisters.  The changes not only in homeschooling, but in our family have been quite literally the stuff of miracles.

Since it is, indeed, a New Year and a new decade, I thought it might be a bit fun to recap both what has been accomplished IN my life in this decade and what has been accomplished in the past year.

When I entered 2000, DH and I had just barely started dating by a few days. :)  I was still living at home with my parents and going to college.  DH and I got engaged near the end of 2000 and I married into the military in 2002 and had DS in 2003.  DH was deployed in 2004 and wounded on Jan. 26, 2005.  Jan 2007 he was medically discharged and shortly after started with BNSF as a foreman.  April of that year saw our move to Montana.

My how far we have come!

This past year, in Jan, DS was still in ps and I was fighting with the teacher daily and threatening to pull him out at least once a month.  In May, I finally made good on my word swearing those doors would never darken his mind again.  In August, I began to meet many of you, my dear homeschooling friends and embark on a new adventure.  During August was also when they began the diagnosis process for TBI as well as the treatment phase for DH's other disabilities.  By November, he was already diagnosed and I was already picking out curriculum with DS.  :)

Hard to believe it, but on Jan. 25th, he will be in treatment for the TBI and our lives will be moving forward again.  In 3 days we start our new curriculum for homeschooling and "officially" begin working on making everyone's worlds move forward.

Thanks for hanging in with us - it's been a WILD 6 months but we know we're exactly where He wants us to be and precisely placed by His divine wisdom.

Our prayers go out to all of you for the New Year and Decade.  May peace, joy, and hope reign in your life through His will.