How awful is this? We’re in week 27 of our school year, and I’ve written zero reports. That pesky little thing called “life” just keeps getting in the way! Well, today I’m sitting here looking at this:

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There’s nothing really to do other than stepping around scattered Lego Duplos with my cold feet and drinking decaf. Today happens to be the umpteenth snow day (or ice day today!) for our public school friends, making the public school schedule this year actually relevant to our life for the first time. Saturday make-up days affect rec league sports, Scout activities, etc. Well, even this Saturday’s scheduled make-up day has been cancelled due to the slushy mess, fallen trees, and power outages. Sigh.

So what have we been up to this year? Fourth grade, second grade, Kindergarten, and preschool. Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, soccer, and basketball. Geomissions: Latin America (which reminds me…I need to start working on my Argentina presentation), teaching a bit of piano, and, of course, church involvement. That’s why I haven’t written anything all year. I’m slap worn out! The fact that I’m sitting here now and typing this probably means I’ve forgotten about something else I should be doing. Well, until I’ve discovered what it is, I’m going to try to write a few coherent words about our homeschool this year.

For history this year we’re working through Tapestry of Grace Year 4. Right now we’re about to finish up the Vietnam War. For science we finished Apologia’s Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures last week. We desperately need a field trip to an aquarium to sorta wrap things up. Unfortunately, the closest we’ve gotten is ordering calamari as an appetizer a few weeks ago. 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ve decided to change gears a little bit in science, and this week we started Science in the Beginning by Jay Wile. The next book in the series, Science in the Ancient World, is coming out next month, and I’m very interested in maybe using it next year while we’re going through ancient history. I really love Apologia and will probably read through some of the other books during upcoming summers….assuming that I like Wile’s series enough to stick with it. So far we’re having a lot of fun with the first chapter on light. Although, cramming four kids and myself into our 15 sq ft half-bath to do “dark room” experiments has been a little trying.

I’ve tried to stay on top of art and music this year with Harmony Fine Arts 4, although I did drop the ball in the middle of the year with George Seurat and Maurice Ravel. I managed to pull things back together for Picasso and Rimsky-Korsakov, and now we’re in full swing with Georgia O’Keefe and Stravinsky. We’ve done a good bit of art with chalk pastels this year, mainly copying paintings in a Drawing with Children-style. This week, instead of doing O’Keefe style art, we decided to draw Dr. Suess characters in honor of his birthday. I included the drawings in the individual sections below. The Grinch is rather popular in our home! Here are a few of our art projects from this year. The duck is Z-man’s and the Picasso belongs to Sassafras.

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I’ve been trying to do better about read-alouds this year. Recently we’ve read It’s a Jungle Out There, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. At the moment we’re reading The Magician’s Nephew.

Sassafras:

This year Sassafras has really been enjoying AHG. We’ve gone camping a few times, and she’s gotten really good at tying knots. In the picture below she has used a double half-hitch and a taut-line to tie herself to her chair. Now if she would just tie the Z-man to his chair!!

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Sassafras has a full plate this year….probably a little too full. She’s doing a good bit of stuff from Memoria Press, including First Form Latin, D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, Christian Studies II, Classical Composition: Fables, and Geography II. And then there’s math, grammar, spelling, CLE Reading, and of course, the history and science that I’ve already mentioned. What have I done to her?! Ack! No, really…it hasn’t been impossible…although I have let her cut a few corners here and there when I felt things were getting a bit much. The Greek myths are really something extra that she could have done without this year, but she’s been learning a lot, greatly facilitated by the audio book (Yes, we outsource the pronunciation of all those Greek names to other people…and we don’t feel guilty about it!).

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Z-man:

The Z-man just completed his Wolf badge in Scouts. He’s a little disappointed that the Scout camping trip was cancelled this weekend due to ice. 😦

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I finally threw in the towel with Rod & Staff Math once he finished Math 2. It’s just not worth the fight. He sees the page of problems and completely shuts down. I’ve switched him all the way to Singapore, which we were just using as a supplement before. He does much better with it, although I don’t like how it’s arranged, and I really want a traditional math program mixed in. I don’t think it has enough practice or enough review. Of course, the small number of problems gets two thumbs up from him! I’m thinking about having him do Teaching Textbooks next year along with Singapore. He’s enamored with anything on the computer, and he’s already enthusiastically completed all the sample lessons online. We’ll see. I need to find it at a good used price.

In art this week, he decided not to jump on the Grinch bandwagon. The Z-man presents the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz!

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Little Man:

Little Man is doing so well on his reading! He’s finally able to sit and read early readers all by himself, so we got him his own library card a few weeks ago. He finished Sonlight’s Grade 1 Readers today. Woohoo!

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Right now Little Man has his first loose tooth. If it doesn’t fall out soon, one of two things (or both) is going to happen: He’s going to either starve to death or I’m going to pull my hair out from all the drama.

BREAKING NEWS! Little Man has just lost his first tooth while eating popcorn! The tooth in question is now missing, either mixed among the popcorn kernels or in his stomach. Z-man suggested we search his poop for it.

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Doodlebug:

Doodlebug will be four years old this month. She’s expecting great things, including pierced ears (not!), no rail on her bed (probably), playing with her sister’s Playmobil and Legos (“Not likely,” says her sister), and graduating to “big kid” status (She’ll be four going on twelve). The world is a brand new place when you’re fowuh!

For preschool she does a few Kumon workbooks and has just started the Explode the Code phonics primers. We tried a few months ago, but she was hearing cows and sheep at the beginning of “fence” rather than an “f” sound. 🙂 I think she’s finally getting the hang of it. She has also really enjoyed Teach Your Monster How to Read, although she does snicker at the British pronunciation of zebra. Do the British really say it with a short e? I had to consult the dictionary to confirm that they do.

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The Rest of Us (Me, Hubby, & Max, a.k.a. The Dog Who Forgets He Was Rescued):

This year I think we’ve been running on pure coffee. (We bought a Bunn. It produces caffeinated heaven in three minutes.) Well, no coffee for the dog. He probably needs a valium. I don’t think he and Doodlebug mesh too well. He has a secret plan to frame her for some massive disaster in hopes that she will be kicked out of the house. However, keeping Doodlebug around guarantees that he will– at least a couple times a week– receive breakfast or supper twice, not to mention receiving numerous dog treats from her hand while the rest of the family isn’t paying attention. He’s currently weighing the pros and cons.

In our spare time we watch a little Doc Martin and some other British shows. I try to get some reading in when I can. I’m currently reading Moby Dick….and I’m stubborn enough to get through it. However, they haven’t even made it on the ship yet, so maybe I shouldn’t be so optimistic. Actually I really have enjoyed the first 16% (Kindle-ese).

And some weeks I get in on the kids’ art. By Friday afternoon my brain is fried, and it helps to do something different.

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And finally, since so much time has passed since my last update, I want to include a few of my favorite pictures from this year. Enjoy!

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