Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Week with a Spot of Sewing

My friend is home from the hospital and doing well.  Her kids are happy to have their mama home.

We got back to art this week!  The first project involved soft pastels, which are messy.  We keep diaper wipes with the art supplies for things like this.

Our first project involved creating an animal shaped stencil and then using pastels to color around it several times.

Then we put a small piece of cardboard under the stencil and glued it onto the page, creating a 3 dimensional effect.

Still loving the Can Do Cubes.  Actually, we're still enjoying the Jolly Phonics books, too.  Katie's working through book 2 now.  Here, she's using the cubes to spell out words.  I find myself reaching for these when Katie misspells a word in her spelling book so I can show her the way it should look.  Especially with 2 letter vowels and ch, sh, th, etc.

Math drill work.  Not a favorite, but a necessary evil.

When my friend's kids were here last week, I made a discovery.  We had no crib sheets.  After Luke left the first time, I decluttered down to just two of them:  the ones I made for him and Katie when I decorated the panda room.  When he came back, we used them to death.  He often slammed his face into the crib to self sooth, and I'd go in to get him in the morning and find blood (from his nose) all over him and the crib.  When he moved again, those two sheets were gross, so I threw them away.

After having to "make do" with what we had around the house while we had 6 spare kids here last week, I decided we should probably have some crib sheets.  And since I have oodles of fabric, I should make them.  Left sheet is a travel print with landmarks from around the world.  Center sheet is fabric from Alaska.

Sheet on the right is a purple calico print.  If you're curious, this is How I Make Crib Sheets.

Our second art project this week, also from the Home Art Studio 4th grade DVD, was treat bags for Halloween.  The tutorial was on how to make a monster or Frankenstein treat bag, but she mentioned you could also make them to match a costume.  I told Jack and Hannah they could choose.

Jack decided to go with a monster, and Hannah decided to match her costume.  She's going to be a tiger.  Katie was working on her math, but I made her a panda bag to go with her panda costume.

When I pulled out the pipe cleaners chenille stems, Jack played with them for a while, and ended up chained to his chair at one point.  Boys!

Our finished treat bags.

What's this?  We're at another pumpkin patch?  Yes.  I confess, I'm really, really enjoying being able to get out of the house and meet up with friends to enjoy all the special fun that only happens in the autumn.

We hung out with some other homeschoolers we don't get to see very often at our local pumpkin patch.

It was really, really good for Jack to get to run with a flock of boys his age.

Hannah and Katie had a great time, too.

We went on a hay ride.

 They posed for silly pictures.

And they got to pet animals.

It was perfect fall weather; sunny and nice, with lots to see and do.  I took new pictures of Jack, Hannah and Katie to update the blog sidebar.

My China trip is only a couple weeks away now, and I'm starting to get things ready.  We got a letter from Josiah, and we heard from his commander when graduation will be, so it looks like we'll be traveling again for that, just a short while after my return from China.  Exciting!

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Monday, October 17, 2016


I have really enjoyed being part of the Homeschool Review Crew and getting to try out a wide range of educational products.  I had never heard of Educeri... Educeri a division of DataWORKS prior to receiving their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service for review purposes.  We received a full year of access.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

While Educeri is an online program, it's different than the online programs we've reviewed in the past.  Those were designed for the student to be online and interact with the computer to do the lesson.  Educeri is designed for the teacher to be online and have access to lessons and resources for doing the teaching to their students.

There are dozens of lessons available in a wide variety of subjects.  They range from kindergarten level through high school level.  I found a lot of lessons in both the kindergarten and the first grade sections that would be good for Katie to do.

Here, Katie is working on a worksheet printed from the first grade lesson Memorize Addition Facts.  The way we used Educeri for this lesson was to have Katie stand next to me at the computer, while I clicked through the slides and taught the lesson.  Katie has a basic grasp of addition through her regular math curriculum, but I liked presenting the materials in a slightly different way, and having her learn new vocabulary, including the word "memorize," which I had not thought to define for her prior to seeing the Educeri lesson.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

With Jack and Hannah, we started with a lesson on commas and quotation marks.  Again, this was review for them, but it's an area I felt they could use additional practice in.

We went over the lesson together, and then I had them do a page from the printable student handbook each day for a week.

In Jack's math, he's been working on fractions, so I thought presenting the Generate Equivalent Fractions lesson might be helpful for him.  Sometimes approaching something from a slightly different angle helps a concept click.

Since he's older, the way we used Educeri together was for him to sit in the chair and have control of the mouse, while I hover and explain and say, "Click next," a lot.

There are also a few "teacher development" lessons.  Homeschooling is very different from classroom schooling, so they did not apply to our way of doing things, but I found them interesting to read over.

In this picture, Katie is doing a handout from Answer Questions About a Story.  We read the story together, and then Katie answered the questions beneath it, demonstrating that she understood what happened in the story.  This was from the first grade section.  I would love to see Educeri add similar reading comprehension lessons to all the elementary grade levels.

We've been using Educeri for about a month now, and I feel like we've barely waded into all the options available for us.  I can easily see us continuing to refer back to these lessons to teach a variety of topics as we come across them in our usual curriculum.

Educeri would also be a super fit for a classroom teacher who is new to homeschooling and wants a familiar framework for presenting lessons.

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

You can connect with Educeri on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (which includes a board of printable classroom posters).  To read what over 60 other Crew families have to say about their experience with Educeri, please click the box below.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Our Week with Extra Kids

This post may be light on pictures.  A friend of mine is in the hospital, and her six kids have been hanging out here most of the week.

I was calling Sam one day, and went to see why he wasn't answering.  I guess he's not too old for naps, after all.

The kids had chocolate covered gummy bears and apple cider as snack, from our trip to Apple Hill.  We, of course, had to listen to the gummy bear song while they snacked.  It was a favorite when Jack was a toddler.

Monday, we did some schoolwork first thing in the morning and then went on a field trip.

Since this is the pumpkin patch time of year, I have been saying yes to all the various pumpkin patch opportunities that come along.  I'll share pictures from that later.

Katie and Hannah chose to use gold glitter and Mod Podge to make their pumpkins from Apple Hill all sparkly.  They turned out beautiful!  I want to get a white pumpkin and use light turquoise glitter on it to make an Elsa pumpkin.

I chose to melt crayons on my pumpkin from Apple Hill.  Totally did not go how I imagined it would, but I'm okay with how it turned out.

Unfortunately, it was super messy, and pretty much everything in this picture got spatters of crayon wax on it, including Katie's geography book, the pencil sharpener, and our paintbrushes.  Definitely an outside project next time.

I ended up with crayon all over my hands, too.

Jack used a Sharpie on his pumpkin.

Which inspired the girls to do Sharpie drawings on their second pumpkins (from the pumpkin patch trip).

I've become a more relaxed mom with my younger kids than I was with my first few.  I hardly ever wanted to get out markers, let alone set the kids lose with Sharpies.

3 of our pumpkins sitting outside.

Speaking of outside, the kids and I made a trip to Green Acres recently.

They helped me pick out some autumn colored flowers to spruce up the front yard a little bit.  Unfortunately, some of them have already been eaten by local wildlife.  Grr.

After baths one night, I paid Brianna in chocolate chips to braid one of my friend's girls' hair while I braided the other's hair.

These guys have kept us on our toes this week.  Jack and Hannah have been super helpful with them, though.  I can actually switch the laundry or use the restroom while the two of them follow them around and make sure they're safe.

Sometimes I impress even myself.  Mornings around here have involved getting 11 kids up, dressed, fed, and dropping 5 kids off at schools in 2 different towns, and getting home about 2 hours after my alarm went off.  (Sam gets to sleep in.  Lucky guy!)

Big news this week!  Miss Katie has lost a second tooth!  This time from the top.  She's got one bottom and one top tooth that are both loose.  No apples for her these days.

We got a chance to catch up on some math during Jack's speech therapy.

We'll do a bit of weekend schooling to make up in math and spelling, but other than that, I'm not going to stress about our time off.  Would it be wrong of me to call these days "community service?"

The leaves are starting to turn, and it's rainy today.  Summer is officially over.

Prayers appreciated for my friend who is still in the hospital.

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