Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Week, Briefly (In Which We Build Small Cabins)

We dove into our full schedule.


It was a big day.

Preschool story of the week:  Hansel and Gretel

Morning Meeting:  we're still working our way through the same January materials that we've worked with off and on this month.  We did sing The Living Christ, though, and Ladybug sang with so much of her heart and soul that we couldn't hear the accompaniment.

I smiled.

The older girls scowled.

They just can't remember when they sang with the same enthusiasm.

Small, quiet moments with Dad are such a treat!
Ladybug loved, loved starting up her phonics and math again.

Mister Man and I read a chapter from Bowser the Hound.  I asked him if he wanted a piano lesson because he'd told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to learn to play the piano, but he preferred to build with the Playmags instead.

The older girls thought having a full, uninterrupted morning to work was a dream come true.  Pixie said, "I can't believe how much I've gotten done this morning!"

Little Princess spent a long time working on Times-Alive, learned about diagramming subjects and verbs, and wrote a paragraph about why she likes to read.

Nature Angel has finished the Times-Alive program already, so she returned to her Math-U-See multiplication drills, but she also did a full Saxon 5/4 lesson.  She picked up on her language arts program, and faithfully completed everything but dictation.  "Mom, can I just wait until tomorrow to do dictation, so I can have an easier first day?"

I couldn't say no.

Academy was energetic as we practiced letter identification and letter sounds with Baymax's new floor ABC puzzle and a set of ABC activity cards.  We cooled off by reading about bears and hedgehogs (both hibernating animals) in our animal encyclopedia.  We're also enjoying a poem together this week--even though there's no snow on the ground.  Kids can dream, right?

Symposium was so lovely to conduct while the younger crowd had quiet time.  We still had toddler antics distracting us courtesy of Lola and Baymax,

but overall it was so, so, so much easier to read, talk, and write than it was last semester.   We did dump On This Day, and we skipped poetry work, but we did a lot of history review, filled in a map of Asia (Pixie was still able to correctly label every country, but the other kids mostly moaned and groaned about how much they'd forgotten), worked on Spanish with Rockalingua and, read about cartoons and tapestry weaving via What Makes a Raphael a Raphael, and studied a bit of Beowulf.

Brother is hooked on Playmags right now.  He's learning a lot about geometry and engineering every time he plays.
 The sun came out in the afternoon, so the under 10s bundled up and played outside.  After I moved some laundry and did a bit of dinner prep, I put on my own coat, grabbed Theo and his leash, and took the kids on a walk.  We focused on signs of winter and played a game in which we spied items that are brown.

And Theo is turning out to be a therapy dog.

These two are learning monumental lessons in caring for a living creature, overcoming fears, and finding personal peace and centeredness as they interact with our darling puppy.

The evening got really hard when one of Pixie's youth leaders at church continued to be judgmental and unkind to Pixie--even when Pixie went to her and formally forgave her for a previous offense.  We spent a long time crying and talking and searching the scriptures for comfort and counsel.  We are well aware that the Lord uses imperfect people to do His perfect work.  We accept that challenges to our testimonies are a part of this life.  We also trust Paul's teaching that "all things work together for good to them that love God."

But, oh!  It can be so hard to live through the hurt!

Our evening reading provided a safe, comforting ritual to prepare us all for bed.

More of the same--minus the growing pains, plus a few unique moments of its own.

In Academy we focused on science--hibernating bears need fat to stay warm.  We greased one hand with shortening and left the other bare.  We plunged our hands in ice water to see which hand stayed warmer.

During Symposium we studied Moorish Spain.  I showed pictures of walled cities and mosques that I actually visited 25 years ago when my dad took us kids to Europe for a 90 day backpacking tour.  My kids said, "You've been everywhere!"

That's not actually true, but I do hope to inspire them to travel someday.

I wish I could take them all on a 90-day backpacking tour through Europe now. . . but only when I pretend it wouldn't be hard.

After a rapid trip to the library, I piled the kids and Theo into the van for an afternoon at the park.

Honestly, even the trees are starting to think it's spring around here!  It's going to be a slap in the face when winter comes back.

Another good, solid school day.

Mister Man is enjoying doing lots of math for his school.

During Academy we continued our study of hibernation by "foraging for food" (searching out hidden graham crackers) to get nice and fat and then curling up in a den (blankets over the living room couches) to sleep.  Once we finished our lesson, the kids extended the imaginary play on their own for another 45 minutes or so while I made lunch.

After our usual map study, Spanish practice, and art appreciation, the older kids and I finished our lesson on Moorish Spain.  The highlight of our Symposium was when I asked the kids to narrate what they could remember about a portrait by Raphael, and Little Princess, after sharing her insights during her own turn, whispered a second answer into Rose Red's ear because she was stuck.

Rose Red was good natured about the ribbing she received.

Ladybug has been loving looking at books with Lola and Baymax this week.
Later in the day I reviewed some of Rose Red's schoolwork (she's currently reading Our Island Story, working in a Math Mammoth workbook about decimals and percents, and has begun an Economics course).   It turned out that she'd skipped the assigned vocabulary words, and I was firm in having her complete her assignments correctly.  I handed her a dictionary and went to the kitchen to do some dishes only to hear her say, "Supply and demand; definition."

I peeked out to see what she was doing, and she had her phone out and was giving it verbal instructions to look up her vocabulary words.

I smiled.

Actually, I look up words online most of the time, too.

Don't know why I even thought to hand her a dictionary.

I put the dictionary away and left her to her work.

She got it all done.

In the evening, Sir Walter Scott stayed home with the 5 youngest, while I took the others to the church with me for New Beginnings and Activity Days.  Little Princess and Ladybug enjoyed watching the big girls in their element (but they enjoyed the ice cream afterward most of all), and I was really impressed with how well Pixie conducted herself around the youth leader that has been hurting her.  She was always polite and respectful and accomplished her goal of setting a good example for the younger girls.

She also received her Honor Bee!

She's already begun to work on her second YW Medallion.

These awards are simply an outward manifestation of the true goodness in her heart.

Before lunch we did lots of independent work, and Academy was a very simple journal narration session.  The kids either told me about bears/hibernation or about our nature walks this week or about the activities we did.  I like hearing from them, and they seem to like watching their words appear on paper.

Theo the puppy at work teaching our toddlers to be both gentle and brave.
I mentioned on Wednesday that Mister Man is loving math . . . well, on Thursday he completed 8 full math lessons just because he wanted to.  He's really, really loving math right now!

After lunch we headed off to our first day of dance for the semester.  It went very, very well.  My class of miniature students seemed to mature by leaps and bounds over the break; they were able to pay attention and follow directions with me for 25 full minutes, allowing us to review our whole dance and still be good natured by the end. ;)

As joyful as it was, we still came home drained, so we ate an early dinner, read stories, and headed gratefully off to bed.

I noticed in myself a sense of contentment that has long been missing.

I made sure to thank Heavenly Father for such a gift.

Cousins' Book Club day!

We read Tree of Freedom back in November when we were supposed to have this meeting, but life happened, and our meeting happened now instead.

I'd planned to run through a mostly normal morning and then adjust our afternoon when our cousins arrived, but what happened was that we ran through a kind of normal morning, making room for new experiences as they arrived.

Nature Angel and Ladybug bundled up (25 degrees outside) and gathered 4 crates of sticks.  They tried to cut the sticks themselves, but it was too hard, so I did the cutting while they did the holding.  I found out it was sunny and gorgeous outside as long as proper winter clothes were on, so I cancelled Academy, calling the little boys away from the Playmags and outside to play.

Pixie created a coloring page and did as much of her independent school as she could.

Sir Walter Scott ran to the store for apples and canned biscuits (for apple turnovers).

Belle took Theo out to exercise then did as much of her independent school as she could before lunch.

So did Super Star

Rose Red wrote her economics essay twice, but when I asked for another revision, she balked.  So I gave her a final grade on what she'd produced. 

I guess that's how it is in college, so it's good practice now.

(I tell myself that to keep from feeling discouraged.)

Ladybug did a reading assessment that is part of her curriculum and worked very, very hard to understand that counting numbers follows a pattern.

Mister Man did a whole lot more math.

Little Princess did all of her usual school and then entertained Lola and Baymax (see, I'm trying not to call them "the babies") for a couple of hours.  She was such a sweet, attentive little sitter.

The cousins arrived after lunch.

We reviewed some plot elements and talked a bit about symbols in the story.  Then we broke to 3 different stations.

Station 1:  Build a log cabin out of stick and playdough
Station 2:  Color the coloring page Pixie made
Station 3:  Make apple turnovers

After all that was done we just talked and played as family.

I love my family.

And now I am crazy tired. . . happy . . . and tired.

Ready for the change of pace the weekend brings before a new week starts again.

(linking here)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Painting Sticks--A Lesson for Mom in Child Development

 I really do love our A Year of Playing Skillfully manual.  The pictures and descriptions are so lush and gorgeous that I am inspired (in spite of myself) to organize great projects for the kids to work on.  Even though all of the ideas can be found online for free if I just would open up Pinterest more often, I love having them organized and separate from the computer.   My binder sits on my counter top at all times, and as I make dinner or pause for a cup of herbal tea, I browse through it for preschool inspiration.

One of January's ideas is painting sticks.  It's a good process-over-product activity, and we have sticks in abundance in our little half acre of woods.  With zero trips to the store and an hour of prep time (gathering sticks, finding paint and brushes, and covering the table with paper), the kids had a fun activity that engaged them for an hour or more.

I haven't done a painting activity with the kids in many months, but I've noticed significant development in Brother's and Little Brother's drawings.  In the year and a half he's lived with us, Brother has grown from making faint scribbles on a page to making deliberate lines and circles to drawing faces with arms coming from their ears to making people with heads, necks, bodies, faces, arms, and legs all reasonably appropriately placed.  Little Brother has grown from not even being able to hold a crayon (I'm not kidding) to successfully make a mark on paper through the same stages as Brother to arrive at drawing heads with limbs.

Having done much reading about how significant and universal these drawing stages are for kids, I assumed that similar growth would show in their painting.

Not so.

Brother and Little Brother were playing with building toys in the bedroom, and they were slow to clean up, so they joined the painting activity late.  While they were off playing, I watched Lola and Baymax get started.  They dipped their brushes in multiple colors on their palettes (ice cream bucket lids), brushed their sticks a few times, stirred their paint colors together, brushed their sticks a few times, stirred their paint some more, and generally explored the supplies.  They were far more interested in discovering the qualities of the paint than they were in actually painting anything.

This seemed reasonable for a 24- and 25-month-old.

In the meantime, Nature Angel, Little Princess, and Mister Man were painting patterns and designs on their sticks.  They were mixing colors with care, cleaning their brushes between colors, and generally really focusing on creating works of art.  This seemed appropriate to me for ages 9, 7, and 5.

Ladybug's (age 6) first instinct was to glop the colors on, but being sandwiched between Nature Angel and Mister Man at the table, both of whom were painting with great care, she stopped herself, watched what she saw around her, and began mimicking the more developmentally advanced behaviors.  This, too, seemed appropriate for her experience.

Then Brother and Little Brother joined us.

(I have no pictures of them painting because once they joined the table, the babies started to be done, and I was up to my eyeballs in cleanup and paint refills and moving wet, finished sticks to the other table to dry)

The first thing they did was to mix their paints together into brown and green slop.  They stirred and stirred and stirred.  They dumped paint into their water jars.  They dumped water onto their paint palettes.  They swiped at their sticks a few times and went back to stirring and dumping.

They are 5 and 4 years old.

They were playing at the same level as the 2 babies.

I was dismayed at first. 

I felt they were wasting their art supplies.

But I repeated the mantra, "Process over product" several times in my head and after one false start at telling them to stop playing like the babies were, I bit my tongue and let them experiment at the developmental level they are currently at.

I'm trying to respect who they are instead of who I think they ought to be.

When Ladybug and Mister Man needed paint refills and I obliged, both Brother and Little Brother asked for more paint, too.

I mentally shrugged my shoulders and gave them each a little squirt of new paint.

Instantly it was mixed right into the glop they already had.

They talked excitedly together about how their paint had changed colors (it hadn't--at all).

I bit my tongue (again) and watched, trying not to judge--trying not to make my kids reproduce the same gorgeous art that appears in the A Year of Playing Skillfully manual--but to give room, to give opportunity, to observe and to learn.

What did I learn?

I'm not really sure.  I've been hoping to process some learning and invoke a bit of self awareness through the process of writing, but I'm left with only a sense that Brother and Little Brother are who they are.

Which is, I suppose, a really important lesson to learn.

They need to grow through various developmental stages at their own pace and in their own way.

I need to be patient, give them room to grow, and appreciate who they are right now.

Honestly, it's worked so far for drawing, building, and table manners (sort of).

Why not painting as well?

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Week, Briefly (In Which We Ease Back into Life)

The big ice storm never materialized.

I'm not complaining.

We were going to be tucked away at home resting either way, and we were prepared with wood for the fireplace, flashlights, and plenty of food and water.

We never pulled out any flashlights, and the day was simple and quiet as most of us gathered energy for a return to regular life.

Except for Belle and Super Star.  Some of us opted to get all three bugs at once, but they got theirs one at a time, and they're still coping with the worst of influenza.

Sunday night we picked back up with our bedtime reading aloud, starting The Wind in the Willows and The Great Gatsby for the older kids.

We only added 4 school components back into our day:
   Preschool Story Time (this week we're reading Cinderella)
   Morning Meeting
   Signing Time--1 episode after lunch (ABC Signs this week)
   Afternoon Walk

The weather is springtime mild right now.  We put on our boots and took Theo (the puppy) out for a walk--just me and the 8 younger kids. :)

It's the first time some of us have been outside in 2 full weeks.

We only made it around the block, and even part way around some of the kids were coughing hard.  We truly are barely convalescing, so within 45 minutes of starting out, we were home again and playing quietly with wooden trains and Zoobs.

It was enough.

We just maintained what we started on Monday.  Though Rose Red and Pixie did return to seminary after a long Christmas/sick break.

Listening to ourselves review The Family: A Proclamation to the World was laughable--hacking coughs and froggy voices trying to lift in song.  At least our efforts were a private blessing.

Rose Red and I talked about high school and college and life dreams.  She's such a square . . . or triangular . . . or diamond . . . or trapezoidal . . . peg trying to fit in a round hole.  I'm trying to help her see that round holes aren't the only ones.

She picked up the copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens I purchased at a thrift store a few weeks ago (and left lying around on purpose) and has been reading it.

"Mom!  I'm a totally defective teen!" she exclaimed, half-laughing and half-serious.  "I have every bad habit listed in the book and not one of the good ones!"

I wished I could have disagreed with her, but she's right.

I laughed with her and offered some encouragement and mother-love.

I hope this is the beginning of something good.

Because she's really a good kid at heart.

Darling Pixie had a spa day for Ladybug, Little Princess, and Nature Angel.

These little sisters felt they'd died and gone to heaven with their big sister.

These are Mister Man's painted nails.  He was devastated to have been left out of the spa day treatment, so getting his nails painted was his consolation prize. :)

We ended the day with reading (Ladybug, Mister Man, and Little Brother and I began Moominland Midwinter).

 More of the same, though I did add in our new school day component that the kids want to call Academy.

So we have Morning Meeting for everyone, focused on spiritual development; Symposium for the older half dozen or so kids, focused on various social sciences, arts, and languages; and Academy for the younger half dozen or so kids, focused on pre-school and early-school skills and social development.

After spending a good deal of time praying and pondering over what needs attending to in our homeschool, I felt prompted that the littles need more focused attention from me.  The summer and fall were very good for outdoor/independent play, but seasons come and go, and so do the needs of the children.  So, after even more pondering and prayer I am moving our Symposium to the afternoon and adding in Academy in the morning.  We'll mostly use A Year of Playing Skillfully as our guide, but we may do just about anything I feel motivated to incorporate.

Our first Academy activity was painting sticks.

It was an interesting experience for which I want to write a separate post in order to process through what I saw in each kid's development.

In the afternoon we had to switch Signing Time DVDs because the ABC disk was cracked and wouldn't play.

I made it to the grocery store where I spent double our usual weekly budget stocking up on basics on which we were running low and meat deals.  With a few fresh bread, milk, and produce purchases, we'll easily sail through 3 weeks of meals, keeping us within our monthly budget.

After unloading the van, I took the kids and the puppy up to the soccer field to run around in the winter sunshine.  Our noses were too runny, and our bodies were too weak to last long, but it was good for us to make the effort.

In the evening the older girls (minus Belle) and Sir Walter Scott headed off to the church for youth activities, while the rest of us were tucked into bed by 8:30.

We focused on reading The Great Gatsby for the book club meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon.  Once we worked our way through our morning routines and got the littles settled in playing with various building toys, the older girls and I read a chapter together.

Then we broke for me to give the littles some attention.  For playschool, I printed a bunch of cutting practice pages.  Simple ones went to Brother and Little Brother.  More challenging ones went to Ladybug and Mister Man.

Rose Red worked on her application for Girls on Ice.
Pixie napped . . . so did Super Star and Belle.
Nature Angel and Little Princess practiced their times tables with Times Alive--a fun review product we received earlier in the week.

Various small people felt very wiggly, so they bundled up and spent time outside.  When I searched for them to call them to lunch, I found them examining seed pods, taking the pods apart and making plans to plant the seeds and wait for them to grow in the spring.

After watching more Signing Time, the littles had quiet time while the older girls and I read 2 more chapters of Gatsby.

Super Star thinks it is a terrific book.  I pressed her to explain, but she answered, "I don't know, Mom, it's just really good.  I'm really enjoying it."  I dropped the issue in favor of seeing if our book club leader could elicit a more thoughtful response.

The late afternoon was filled with haircuts, indoor play, and outdoor play.

In the evening we read (The younger reading group and I finished The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel) and went to bed early.

We spent the morning finishing The Great Gatsby.

Pixie made Candy Cane Brownies to take for dessert to our teen book club meeting in the evening.  The little kids colored and played (mostly) quietly.

For a little while, I watched Baymax and Lola interact with Theo while he napped on Rose Red's lap. Baymax is very, very scared of dogs, and one hope I had in getting a puppy was that a puppy is small enough to be less scary than a full grown dog.  My hope is proving fruitful, and Baymax reached out with one finger to touch Theo's ear.  It was clear that he was exercising great courage, and he was so pleased with himself for being brave.  Lola is a true animal lover, but it still takes some courage to approach an animal as bouncy and uninhibited as a puppy, and she was loving on Theo so tenderly.

I wish I had a picture.

I spent time trying to figure out what to do with Rose Red for school this semester. 

This afternoon I'll be driving the big girls up north to our book club, and Sir Walter Scott will run the show.  He's not feeling great, but he's been resting up for a couple of days, and he'll do fine while I'm gone.

Saturday night is a "Royal Ball" for the youth ages 14-18 at church.  Hopefully it will be lots of fun.  At the very least there will be lots of fun as my girls spend hours getting all gorgeous beforehand.

(linking here)

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Week, Briefly (In Which We Are Still Sick)

It's officially Influenza A . . . and some other random viruses  . . . that we've been sick with.  It has been truly horrible, and I spent some time wishing badly that I could just check the whole family into the hospital for a few days . . . or at least hire a nurse like the ones from 100+ years ago that would come and take over care of the household.

All 14 of us were down at once.

I haven't totalled up the numbers, but I can tell you that we've gone through a lot of acetaminophen, ibuprofen, snot, vomit, fevers (up to 104.4!), mugs of herbal tea, sleepless nights, movies watched, and pounds lost.

Every single one of us has lost weight--a blessing to a few of us, a problem for most of us.

We're still convalescing, and I'm not sure we can handle starting school back up even next week.

We are, however, sitting around watching awesome documentaries on Netflix--at least 12 hours' worth this week.

Documentary school is cool.

(linking here)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: Yearly Membership at

In my years of homeschooling my growing family, I've discovered one truth:  Our needs change constantly!  What draws the family together one semester drives us apart the next.  What lights up the eyes of one child sends the next sobbing to her bedroom.  What works for one season is impossible to maintain the next.  I find that every 3-4 months (not quite a full semester, by the way) we need to assess what's still working, what has stopped working, and make some changes.

Interestingly, 3 1/2 months into our school year--just as the babies' nap schedule started to change, Rose Red's Spanish class ended, and our energy started to flag in general--I received a Yearly Membership to

That very Monday, the first one in December, Nature Angel looked at me with slumped shoulders and asked, "Do I have to do my [language arts] today?"

She is regularly a faithful, obedient student.

And it is important to me that school is joyful to my children.

I believe in doing hard things.  And I believe in doing work we don't necessarily like doing (I don't love laundry, but I do it anyway).  But when I looked into her tired eyes and thought about all of the work she's diligently accomplished so far this year, I couldn't bring myself to say yes to doing language arts.

And I had a new Yearly Membership to

"Come with me!" I invited with eyes wide and a big smile on my face.

She sat down next to me at the computer and we started exploring.

My Nature Angel is an artist, so once we were logged in we clicked the "Browse by Subject" tab.

"Art" was the first subject listed, so we clicked it and began browsing.

We read the summary for All about Art, the first course in line, and found out it was geared for 1st-3rd graders, and further reading of the course description let us know that though it looked fun, it would be too basic for my 4th grader.

So we browsed on.

We found Art Appreciation:  South African Art.  Nature Angel lit up, "South Africa!?!  I want to do this!"  We studied the course description, reviewed the recommended lesson plans, and she was utterly hooked.

So was I.

We downloaded the entire course, and Nature Angel started studying.

The course is relatively self-contained--the biographical information, art concepts, and photos of the art are all part of the downloadable text.  We provide the art supplies ourselves.  Sometimes she does some online research about an artist.

Because Nature Angel loves to draw we modified the lesson assignments a bit to reduce the amount of research included so that she could spend time mimicking great artists.

Her version of "10 People in a Mopipi Tree" by Walter Battiss
We quickly ran into a snag--Nature Angel needed long hours to study and draw, but the computer needed to be free for the rest of the family, too.

I turned to my phone.

I had to spend significant time conversing with customer service to be able to get the site to work on my phone.  I think it is because I have a Windows phone, and a lot of sites are wonky when it comes to Windows phones.

The customer service folks were available, knowledgeable, and dedicated.  At one point I had to cut off an online chat to take care of my kids, and I never picked the chat back up.  Within hours I found an email from customer service following up on our interrupted consult.   I used email to continue communicating with customer service until I was able to get the site to work.

Once we had access via my phone, I downloaded the lessons, and Nature Angel used my phone screen to study the art.  She loves how portable my phone is, taking it from dining room table to kitchen table to basement floor--wherever her art supplies and a bit of privacy happen to be.

Her assignment was to create a Thanksgiving themed painting.

So, for my 4th grade daughter and for me, finding Art Appreciation:  South Africa at was a win-win.  She got a break from her regular school subjects, and I got a girl happily reading, studying, researching, writing, and drawing.

Nature Angels' copy of tradition Bushman art
Then it was time for Super Star to need a change of pace.  She's 14 and (for record-keeping purposes) in the 8th grade.  She recently completed an elective and was in need of a new challenge.

"What would you like to study?" I asked.

"I don't know," she replied morosely.

"Come with me," I invited, and we turned to to see what we could find.

This time I pressed the "Browse by Grade" button and clicked on 8th grade.

The "Foreign Language" tab caught her attention, so we clicked it to see what we could see.

Her eyes lit up when we got to French.  We clicked the "about" button to get a general sense of the course,

then we clicked the "lessons" button to see what they were actually like.

It took us about 5 minutes to decide this class would be awesome!

Thinking ahead to the fact that Super Star will be in high school in just a matter of months, I quickly checked to see if the high school level French class was the same or different--might as well challenge her with a 9th grade course at this point.

It was the same.

So we downloaded the first unit.

And ran into a snag; none of the audio would work.

Ta-da!  Customer support was online.

Within 15 minutes, we had the problem solved, and Super Star was studying her first French lesson.

Listening to the alphabet in French and following along on the page
She spends 15 minutes a day on her lessons (because that's a good amount of time for her--it would be very easy to increase or decrease the time spent), and she's loving them.  They include pronunciation, memorization, culture, conversation--everything that makes up a solid French class.

I'm going to count it as her first high school credit when she finishes the whole first year's work.

I've spent additional time browsing the site, and there is so much to explore!

*I've found a computer/business class that I'd like Rose Red to take.
I really like these printable pages that I can lay out across my counter to scribble on and compare lists
*Pixie is interested in exploring the photography classes.

*The preschool/preK classes aren't online games at all!  (That's a plus in my book!)  They're a variety of lesson plans for delightful hands on, literature rich, science rich, creative activities.

*There's a book list that is organized topically and sorted by approximate age/grade level interest that has me salivating and spending joyfully large amounts of time at our library website making book requests.

*I've begun using the complimentary Silver Membership to Applecore Recordkeeping System included with membership to to track my highschoolers' work.

*There's an included custom schedule builder that allows you to create and save all kinds of schedules and record keeping documents to your own computer.

There's a whole lot more.

Too much to even describe.

At first, I was utterly overwhelmed.

But as I spent time exploring I got excited to have such a rich treasure trove of curriculum options available right at my fingertips . . . right when we need them . . . without having to order new products, spend more money, or worry about whether I'm "getting it right."

Our needs change a lot in our busy household.

These changes mean we need to shake up our school routine a bit.  I'm tickled that the changes we need to make are easy to take care of with the myriad resources in available through the Yearly Membership at

Click the images below for more information and reviews.