Weekend Review: Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Early this week, I realized just how close standardized testing and evaluations are, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Remember that panic I went through a couple months ago? Well, I had a slight relapse. Homeschooling in Pennsylvania can be a bit stressful because of all the requirements we have to deal with, but being an unschooler here is new to me, and I started freaking out with worry over how we’re going to comply with these rigid laws. Our state requires us to keep portfolios with work samples, and since my kids are more hands-on, I became quite fretful.

I even went against every instinct I have about learning and started having the kids do an activity with me everyday, just so I’d have some sort of work samples. They really didn’t mind it, as we just incorporated a lot of what we learned from our nature walk on Saturday and went from there. On Monday, we examined, drew, and labelled a wild onion that Arianna brought home. We also studied some moss that Bailey brought home and discovered that moss does not have actual roots but little root-like structures called rhizoids. Arianna actually got really into it and went on to dissect a pine cone, a nut, and a wild potato from our outing. We never even knew that wild potatoes existed before this. I mentioned to her that the root of a yellow flower she was looking at looked like a little potato. She cut it in half, and we smelled it…definitely a potato. Google confirmed our suspicions.

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The kids also painted little wooden butterfly cutouts.

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On Tuesday, we discussed the differences between plants and animals, and the kids each drew their own version of a plant/animal hybrid. Dillon and Devin have been playing WOW often, and Arianna is still into her theatrical makeup. We made fruit salad for dinner that day, so the kids had a great time helping me cut fruit. (Actually, I didn’t have to cut any of it- they did it all!)

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Wednesday we watched a cute YouTube video of a photosynthesis rap song. Afterwards, we discussed the root words of photosynthesis and chlorophyll, and the kids made word scrambles using plant vocabulary words. The kids enjoyed watching a documentary about insects on Netflix called “Microcosmos.” We’ve also been reading Farmer Boy and have been discussing the many responsibilities of pioneer children. I’m hoping this will help to curtail their whining over their chores…
Wednesday night some of the kids went to Kingdom Builders, and Arianna went to youth group. I had nursery duty, so I stayed in there with Kenzie.

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On Wednesday evening, I got some exciting news…I found an evaluator who also has ten kids and is an unschooler. It was like a big weight lifted off of my shoulders. Part of the reason I’ve been so nervous about work samples is because of evaluations. I’ve always turned in extremely thick portfolios before, and I wasn’t sure how my evaluator would react to a much thinner binder. This new evaluator is much more relaxed, and since she is also of the mindset that children are always learning, the amount of samples makes no difference to her. Hallelujah. Big exhale.

On Thursday, I informed the kids that they no longer have to do activity time with me, unless they want to. They all said that they actually thought it was fun and will probably continue to do things with me sometimes. That made me happy because I really did enjoy it; I just didn’t enjoy feeling compelled to do it to please the bureaucracy. Learning should not be forced. Period. Ireland was the only one who opted to work with me today, so she made a plant lapbook, and we talked about why plants are important. Speaking of learning by choice, today was my third day of learning German through Mango Languages. I was able to start at Chapter 6; I took a placement test because I did take six years of German in school. I’m having a lot of fun with that. The younger kids have been on coolmathgames.com and Khan Academy brushing up on their math and logic skills. Ireland has been requesting math “schoolwork” quite a bit, so I’ve been printing a lot of Pre-K worksheets for her. Arianna still likes to cook, so after baking a cake, she helped me make stuffed peppers for supper. Yum.

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Kenzie has started pushing her little stroller around the house. She’s not going to be a baby much longer. Sniff.

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Friday will probably be a low-key day. Saturday, Devin has drawing and painting class, and Sunday is her art show. And Caollin and London will finally be getting baptized on Sunday! The water heater for the baptistry had broken, but the replacement was supposed to come in today. They’re so excited.

What have you done this week? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!

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Weekend Review- We Got Out of the House!

This has nothing to do with questions, but Kenzie looks cute, doesn't she??
This has nothing to do with anything, but Kenzie looks cute, doesn’t she??

As far as the past couple of months have gone, this has been the busiest week inside the home and outside of it in a long time. Snowfall has finally come to a standstill (I hope I didn’t just jinx it), and we’ve actually been able to get out of the house. Progress. Yay! I’m actually really excited from the change of pace. It was loooong overdue.

On Sunday we finally got to church after missing a full month because of the snow. We had a guest speaker who talked about her years in foster care and an abusive marriage, but how through it all she was triumphant because of God’s grace. I’m glad that my kids were there to hear her testimony.

Monday our church had free haircut day- a Godsend for our family. I took eight of the kids with me, but only four of them actually needed haircuts. The other children like to go because there’s free food,

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free stuff,

You can kind of see the free tables behind Arianna and Caollin.
You can kind of see the free tables behind Arianna and Caollin.

and there’s a huge gym to play in.

This really is a great ministry because they advertise it throughout the shelters in the area, so we get to provide some comfort to those who need it the most. Besides that, the hairdressers give great haircuts!

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Some of the hairstylists are church members. Others are generous people who donate their time every month for this good cause.

On Tuesday, Arianna, Devin, and I all got to go to WIN- Women’s Inspirational Network, also at my church. We always look forward to this because it’s a great time to hang out together. The younger kids all play in the nursery with volunteers. Bless their souls. I alone always dump seven kids off with them. Anyway, we get to see friends,

Devin with two of her friends
Devin with two of her friends
When God made Arianna, he broke the mold.
When God made Arianna, he broke the mold.

eat from a delicious pot luck meal, and hear a guest speaker. This month we had a beautiful woman from the Philippines speak about growing up as a squatter only to have God do amazing things in her life.

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We always have a wonderful vocal performance, too.
We always have a wonderful vocal performance, too.

And to put the icing on the cake, this was our raffle night. Proceeds will go to scholarships for women who cannot afford to pay for the women’s retreat. There were so many prizes, and my daughters and I all won something. Arianna won three necklaces, Devin won a basket of jewelry, and I won a basket of medicine and first aid supplies (always needed in this house), a basket of toiletries for my husband, and a toy kitchen for the kiddos.

Just a glimpse of the raffle prizes
Just a glimpse of the raffle prizes
My prize stash
My prize stash

Wednesday Devin had to go back to the eye doctor for a contact lens check and to order her contacts. It was pretty packed there, so Devin had her nose buried in a book, while Luke just had fun browsing.

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The rest of the week was, as always, filled with gaming and creativity. Arianna is going strong with her theatrical makeup.

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Lapbooking and making story books were also hits this week.

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Lastly, Arianna made a flower headband, and Brendan came for a visit when he dropped Dillon off. Dillon has been with him since Tuesday. Brendan even took him for a haircut because he didn’t feel like going for the free haircut Monday.

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Isn't he handsome??
Isn’t he handsome??
Just kidding.
Just kidding.

Friday will probably just entail some more grocery shopping and more spontaneous learning.

What have you done this week?

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Weekend Review- Creativity Abounds!

Caollin made this just this morning- the idea was completely her own!
Caollin made this just this morning- the idea was completely her own!

We’ve had quite a fun week here at the Sangrey House. To top it off, our snowfall was measured in inches this week, instead of feet, so that was a big plus! (Sigh of relief). I think actually seeing the sun this week has had a positive effect on all of us. It’s been long overdue!

On Monday, I finally got my implanon removed, so that’s a huge weight off of my shoulders. Arianna went with me and had the pleasure of watching them take it out. “I could see your meat, Mom!” Yeah, great. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I had my head turned the other way. Although she’s only 12, she also got to listen to my doctor badger me about birth control. Even though it was uncomfortable, it was a good opportunity for her to see me stand behind my pro-life stance, so some good did come out of it.

Devin went to the eye doctor on Tuesday for her contact lens teach. She’s waited so long to be rid of her glasses, so she’s really excited. Arianna also got to watch her lesson, too. (She’s just been around for everything lately!)

Wednesday, my husband had a vacation day, so we headed out to Staples for a new whiteboard to replace our chalkboard.

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We had the chalkboard for about seven years, so it served its purpose, but it was time to move on…and the fact that my kids colored all over it with crayon didn’t exactly help, so I really couldn’t use it anymore, anyway. After picking up a few more things there, we headed to Dollar Tree for some bins for organizing and some odds and ends for crafting.

Other than those few excursions, we’ve been homebodies the rest of the time…and that’s the way I like it. All of the kids have been so creative this week in so many different ways. And the thing is, I didn’t initiate any of these activities. Everything was their idea. (Although I did print out some free placemats to color from Write Bonnie Rose.) This is why Dollar Tree is so great. I’m able to get all sorts of goodies there for $1 each, and the kids’ imaginations soar!

Making foam crafts
Making foam crafts
Caollin making her little robot person. She inspired the other kids to make them, as well.
Caollin making her little robot person. She inspired the other kids to make them, as well.

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Dillon spent hours building World of Warcraft Lego sets this week. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Several of the kids built with the Lincoln Logs, too.

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I almost forgot. Devin, Arianna, and I also went to A.C. Moore for Devin’s art supplies and to Party City for Arianna’s theatrical makeup. Devin has just started taking a drawing and painting class at the local art school, and, so far, she loves it. Arianna is still obsessed interested in makeup of all kinds. This week she’s made her own lip balm and makeup remover.

Attractive, right?
Attractive, right?

She’s really starting to rub off on Caollin and London because now they’re trying to do theatrical makeup on the little ones. Today London decided to put red nail polish all over Summer’s hands to look like “blood.” Yeah, apparently, I’d better watch her more closely.

Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and Bailey have all been busy writing stories on the laptops. Okay, Bailey was only copying words out of a book, but he’s 6. I was really excited to see him doing that.

Score!
Score!
Caollin writing and illustrating her story
Caollin writing and illustrating her story

Lastly, my husband got World of Warcraft, so Devin, Dillon, and he have been spending time playing that together. In truth, I wasn’t too thrilled about this, until I found out that there’s so much to it. I almost did a backflip when I saw the kids using maps to navigate around the worlds. Geography- check.

Friday I expect to be more of the same, although we will be going grocery shopping, so there will inevitably be a conflict over who gets to go with. I’m not taking all ten of them. That’s for sure!

Kenzie never makes it into my posts, so here she is!
Kenzie never makes it into my posts, so here she is!

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Have a good weekend, everyone!

How’s your week been? Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

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