Wednesday, July 22, 2020

2020 Quarterly Goal Update 2

Hard to believe we are more than halfway through this crazy year! Even though it has been the weirdest year I've probably ever experienced, I think it has gone by just as quickly as other years.
At the beginning of 2020, I set some goals for my life and family and planned to blog about the progress on these goals every quarter, to help me stay accountable. A little over halfway through the year, and here's where I'm at! 

done in progressnot started
Health Goals
  • Get a thermography scan   no progress on this. Haven't set up an appointment yet, but now that things are opened back up a bit more, I would like to do this very soon.
  • 150 workouts 82/150 After starting off the year a little rough with some illnesses, I have really been able to catch up and make great progress the last few months! If I continue at this rate, I will more than meet my goal by the end of the year.
Spiritual Goals
  • Memorize 52 bible verses 27/52. I am working on 27 & 28 right now and and it's week 30. So I am a few weeks behind. Technically I have more actual verses memorized than this, because some of what I've memorized has been 2-3 verses together, but I've counted those as one. The thing I'm struggling with most is the references.

  • Study 8-10 complete books of the bible 4 down (Jonah, 1 Peter, Hebrews, Song of Songs), 1 in progress (2 Peter)
Home Goals
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned This was so great! We had the entire house done and I'm so glad we did! I think from here on, we will try to do half the house each year. 
  • put the finishing touches on master bedroom DONE!! (Still need to get some pictures! I need to add the bed skirt, which I've had for months, but haven't put on.)
  • more security measures put in place We've added some things, would like a couple more additions still 
School/knowledge Goals
  • Make a school plan for next year for the boys This has been a funny one. We did have a plan in place for them to go to an alternative kindergarten program next year, but we are rethinking that now. I am 99% sure I know what we are going to do (homeschool) and have ordered their curriculum, but haven't officially withdrawn them yet. So I've made more than one plan for them already this year ;) 
  • Start teaching music at home Done! We used Prodigies for all the kids this spring. Our subscription is currently on hold for summer, and I'm not sure that we'll continue it in the fall. 
  • Find a social studies curriculum that fits our family better for next school year I ordered Notgrass History's Our Star Spangled Banner and I am excited to use it with the girls!

  • Read 30 books 18 read, 5 in progress currently. Reading has not been a problem for me this year!
Personal/Random Goals
  • Find & invest in a good pair of gym shoes Bought a pair of Nike Metcons and loving them!
  • Blog twice a month This has been a fail. I only blogged once in April-June. I think I could definitely still get 24 posts by the end of the year, I just didn't do well with the consistency of twice per month.
  • Get plans in place for 2021 family trip Technically this is done, because our plans are that we are not going now. Thanks, Covid. (I'm sure we'll still go on vacation(s) next year, just not the big one we had planned.)

  • Stay within budget for eating out category every month So far so good! 
  • Finalize our will Finally have made some progress on this!
Family Goals
  • Have girls be able to shower themselves This went so much faster/smoother than expected. They're 100% on their own now and I'm completely out of the picture. Next up, the boys! 
  • Girls clean their room with 0 help 0 progress on this lol. They can do some, but not all. We are having their new dressers delivered tomorrow (several months delayed also thanks to Covid) and this will help a TON. I expect we'll still be able to accomplish this by the end of the year, if not before.
  • Teach the boys all letter names/sounds They know some. We haven't worked on much this summer, but we'll hit it hard again in the fall!
  • Have girls be able to prepare a lunch for everyone Haven't even attempted this yet. Also, can I change a goal? I decided it would be way more beneficial for everyone for them to be able to fix their own breakfast. So come fall, they are going to be responsible for getting their own breakfast every morning. Everyone wakes up at different times, and this just makes more sense. Plus, they will be able to fix all but 1 or 2 things that they like to have, with ease and on their own. So I'm changing the goal to this, to have them doing breakfast on their own this year.
  • 12 date nights that aren't just going to dinner 5/12 (I think). Things were weird for awhile there, but we've made some progress this summer. We did do a weekend away which I'm counting as one of these, but was really should count for several since we did a lot of stuff while we were away!

Monday, July 20, 2020

First Family Camping Trip

At the end of May, we decided to take the kids camping! The girls have gone once before, about 5 years ago, and the boys have never been. So this was really the first time we've all gone together and the first very memorable trip for both girls. 
We have a large 10 person tent, that ends up not feeling very large when you add an air mattress and 4 sleeping bags! So we were "roughing" it (although I don't consider it that rough when there's an air mattress involved.) We thought we had an outlet in the back of our van, so we brought an extension cord to plug into and inflate the air mattress (which has the built in blower thing). It turns out it was our old van that had the outlet so I had a moment of panic thinking about sleeping just on the ground, but my husband carried the mattress over to a site that had electric and asked if he could blow it up, then carried it back over his head once it was hero. 
The campground we stayed at was about an hour from our house and is a Jellystone camp, which are all franchises so all a little different, but family friendly. There is a lake for fishing, swimming, boating and has this very cool inflatable jumping/obstacle course thing, a river and you can go tubing, a beach that our campsite was right next to, pool, and playgrounds. There are activities a few times a day, movie night Friday nights, hay ride Saturday nights, etc. Well I had called the week before to ask if things were all open back up post isolation and the lady on the phone told me yes. Turns out, nothing really was. So we couldn't do the lake, pool or obstacle course, playgrounds were roped off, and most of the activities weren't actually happening. It ended up being fine because it was not really water weather (high was around 70) and the kids had enough fun just exploring and playing on the sand at the "beach" (which had a large drop off right into a river, so we couldn't really wade out into the water or anything). 
We got there Friday late afternoon and set up our campsite while the kids played on the beach. I tried to do a lot of food prep ahead of time, and be strategic about what we brought to eat. After we got the camp set up, we made walking tacos on my husband's griddle over the fire. The kids played a ton around the campsite and beach that evening. We brought walkie talkies so our older kids could explore a little on their own if they wanted to, so my oldest took those and wandered a bit, and we generally just relaxed the evening away. 

We got in our tent around 9:30 once it was fully dark, but it was probably 11 before everyone around us got quite and we could all get to sleep. The kids did so great! I was worried about how they would sleep on the ground, when they would wake up with the sun coming in, etc. The lows got down into the 40s, so even though we brought warm pajamas, sleeping bags and extra blankets, I still wasn't sure if they'd all wake up freezing, but they did well! Everyone stayed pretty bundled up and I think I'd rather be cold then hot and sticky at night (due to the midwest humidity). 
Saturday the kids actually slept in later than I expected! I cracked all the eggs at home and diced up some veggies, so that was an easy breakfast we just had to cook up. We also surprised the kids with hammocks, so those went up first thing in the morning again (we had hung them later in the evening Friday) and were a huge hit! 

We spent most of the day Saturday at the beach and exploring the grounds. They set up laser tag at one point and tons of kids came from down where the RVs are for that. My oldest had fun doing that. We also attempted fishing, but had no luck. My middle daughter and youngest son spent just about the entire weekend at the beach....I felt like we would go hours without seeing them because they were just over there digging and burying and playing (we could see them from our campsite). Saturday lunch we made grilled cheese and dinner we let the kids roast hot dogs and brats over the fire. 

Even though we had planned on it being a lot more activities, it ended up being a really nice and relaxing weekend away. The kids did so well sleeping in the tent. I don't know that I would want to go for much longer than 2 days just because of the logistics of packing things for a family our size, but I think 2-3 nights is totally doable for us and everyone had a lot of fun! 
On Sunday, we were going to maybe try to do peddle boats, but we were all kind of ready to get going home by mid-morning. I had made muffins at home, so we had those for breakfast, and the kids were able to go to a craft time while my husband started breaking down the camp. Then, they played at the beach for awhile longer while we took down the tent and packed everything up.

 Camping is definitely a ton of work, but I think prepping so much in advance made it a lot easier for me to just unplug, relax and enjoy the weekend with my family! I'm hoping we can go again for one more weekend in the fall once it cools down a bit! 

Monday, June 8, 2020

End of the Year Homeschool Update {2019-2020}

We are done with our (bizzare!) school year!!! 
I wasn't entirely sure when we would finish up. We started after Labor Day, and then took a few weeks off throughout the year for holidays and family visits and such. For the last month or so (this was written toward the end of May), as we've been finishing up a subject, we're just done with it. So we were down to just doing math & language arts, and then for the last week and a half or so, just language arts which was only taking about a half hour - 45 minutes per day. As of Friday, May 22, we are finished with 1st and 2nd grade! 

This was definitely a unique and interesting year with being in quarantine, having enrichment classes cancelled, etc. I am grateful we were in the position we were in and didn't have to navigate figuring out how to homeschool on top of other huge life changing things. 
My 2 sons were attending half day preschool 4 days per week, but when they left for spring break March 12, they never went back since the schools closed. Having them home full time was a bit of an adjustment, and I did start working with them on preschool at home, but overall it went well and everyone did ok with it. 
My daughters usually go to 5 hours of enrichment classes each week, but those were also cancelled mid-March. We didn't have any more visits from our supervising teacher, all of the field trips and activities were cancelled and we were home, which is definitely different even though we were already homeschooling. 
Even though we had some curve balls thrown at us, the last quarter or so of school did go very well. The girls learned a ton this year. I love doing their end of the year assessments for language arts and seeing how they compare to the beginning of the year! They are much more fluent readers than they were 9 months ago. They have more knowledge, more skills and are generally just more mature. They're growing up so quickly! My oldest is halfway done with elementary grades! 

We ended up getting through the first book of the New City Catechism Curriculum, and a few questions into the second book. We did several review weeks throughout the year, to make sure my girls really had it down pat. I mentioned in my last post that we are considering using this for our family worship nights next year, so we may or may not use it for Bible in school next year. I do have my eye on something else for them that I'm excited about! 

For history, after we got bored with The Good & The Beautiful Year 1, I used some things that I already had printed out from TPT units last year, but honestly we just kind of fizzled out with social studies after about another month or so (around the time coronavirus hit). I just didn't push it. I'm still not sure what we are going to use for social studies next year. They're still young enough I just really don't want to push a bunch of historical facts that make them bored and they don't remember anyway, so I'm looking for something a little more engaging. 

Science, we did end up doing our human body unit, which I think was a great introduction to the human body. I think it will be great to go back to that topic in a few years and expand on it a lot more! We did not end up getting around to our bees unit, but I have some fun plans for that next year! Science was a lot of fun this year, and the girls really enjoyed it and I enjoyed teaching it more than years past. 

Language arts went very well this year! I don't have a whole lot else to say about that. I am SO looking forward to using the new edition of The Good & The Beautiful level 3 next year! I have been eyeing the beautiful new editions of level 1 and 2 and was bummed we couldn't use them. I am excited for a more streamlined curriculum now that they've changed a few things! This curriculum has worked very well for us the last 2 years. 

Well, math took a huge nosedive for us this year. I'm still not entirely sure why it went from working so well to....not. We were using CTC math this year (online, with me not really teaching, but helping where needed) and it was going so great until a few months ago. There were a lot of frustrations with each question that wasn't correct (because it instantly tells you whether it's right or wrong) and I think maybe one of my daughter's expectations of just going through the questions once and being done was off. If she didn't "pass" by getting enough questions right, she was really upset that she had to do more. I also think there wasn't enough review (well, none unless I did it), and maybe not enough math basics/facts taught. For example, in the multiplication unit, there was a lesson on counting by 3 and then after that one lesson, they I guess were just expected to know 3's. I personally think that takes awhile of reviewing and continuing to practice a  concept, not just seeing it once and knowing it. We have really struggled with math curriculum and just still haven't been able to find the perfect fit. I could see us using CTC again in a few years once more of those math basics and concepts are really solidly down and understood, but I am exploring another option for next year, which will be back to me teaching math, on paper, and more review and emphasis on facts each day (while still introducing new concepts). 

Handwriting & typing went well the rest of the year. Typing was really pretty sporadic throughout the year. Since they're still quite young, I just wanted them to start getting familiar with the keyboard, and they did. We'll keep using Typing Club next year. Handwriting was great this year! I will go ahead and order level 3 for them for next year (which will be mostly cursive!!!) but they'll finish up their level 2 book first! 

Per usual, this year went faster than any other has before. We had a really great year, despite all the changes and craziness, and we are still loving homeschooling! 
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