Well, May has certainly been an exciting and busy month in our home. No field trips to a strawberry farm or the wildlife reserve as I hoped. However, we officially welcomed Baby K into the world. She was born almost 2 weeks ago and we are SO glad that she's here!!

Baby K just before we left the hospital
Portfolio Review and Umbrella Group
Earlier in the month, I had my homeschool portfolio review, which went great. Next year, we will do our reviews under a local church's umbrella group, instead of with our county's reviewer. We are prayerful that this will be a good fit for our family. Any other homeschoolers have experience with an umbrella group? If so, what has it been like.

Summer Schedule
We finished out all of our subjects, except for English, Math, History, and P.E.. These we continue over the summer because: 1) I don't want them "rusty" in their reading/writing/spelling; 2) Math, well I don't want them rusty in that either; 3) we like history, so we keep reading about it, and 4) Husband and I want fitness to be a way of life. During the summer months, our school schedule is heavily adjusted: school for 2-3 days per week and only1/2 days (with the exception of Math, which is each day for 30 min.); free reading everyday; little to no history writing, just reading, lots of swimming and some sports drills. Right now we are only doing Math for 30 min. each day due to the new baby adjustments going on around here. We hope to phase in the rest bit by bit over the coming weeks.

I also do the bulk of my planning for the upcoming school year in the summer. I've tried to do it in the spring like other homeschooling mama's, trying to take advantage of the "early bird" specials and all. But, I've realized, it just doesn't work for me, so it's out for now.

Tiny Tots
My 1 and 2 year olds are busy little bees. They are fun to watch, but oh, must they be watched!! My 2 yr. old is learning numbers 11-20, and I am reinforcing letter sounds. The1 year old is trying his best to sing the alphabet song. A, B, and C are pretty clear, so are E, G, and I. Any other letters are left up to one's own interpretation. :) Building blocks and running into the couches (yeah, I know. . .) are what keeps them happy these days.

The little boys, a couple of months ago
The Outdoors
Our tomatoes, green peppers, and lettuce are growing beautifully. The peppers and tomatoes are flowering and we have a few of each beginning to grow. The lettuce is in abundance and I've been enjoying fresh salads every day (thanks, Husband!) The kids are enjoying checking on our tiny garden and reporting to me what's happening. Sorry, no pics! I haven't felt like venturing into the yard just yet.

This morning, my husband spotted a pileated woodpecker on our Science Tree (dubbed so because we find all sorts of insects in and on this tree). He was a pretty big bird; as Wikipedia puts it, this woodpecker is crow-sized! He made a small hole in our tree much larger and he hung out there enjoying his findings while we ate breakfast. Our patio door leading to the back yard is located in our dinning area, so you can imagine the conversation this bird sparked. For fear that I'd scare him away, I could not take a good picture. But here are some I found so you can see what one looks like.

photo credit

Well, that does it for homeschooling in May. I hope your homeschooling is going great, as you wind down and/or gear up for the summer. Even if your children are in a traditional school setting, remember: All learning begins in the home; you're teaching them something.  Let's make it count, Ladies!!!

Introducing Baby K:
My "Sweet #6"
You can read more about her birthday HERE.

She's Here!!!!!!

by on Saturday, May 24, 2014
 Introducing Baby K: My "Sweet #6" You can read more about her birthday HERE .
Well, I thought I was going to be able to update what we were learning back in March, but that just didn't go the way I planned. So here we are, at the beginning of May, and I've remembered to update you on what we've been working on. Most of it isn't anything fancy, over the top, or something that you probably haven't seen before. So, I'll just post a few highlights. It is a blessing to learn at home.

We're continuing to memorize The Ten Commandments, word for word, according to Exodus 20. We are just finishing the 4th commandment (keeping the Sabbath day holy) and the kids are enjoying the challenge. Click here if you'd like to see an example of what Scripture memory looks like in our home. We are also memorizing Isaiah 53:5, which is a verse near and dear to me, as my mom would pray this with my brother and me each night at bed time.

We were glad to participate in a local university's homeschool music program. For 8 weeks, homeschool students from ages 8-18 can select an instrument and take free lessons, provided that the parent supply the instrument. The "trade-off" is that the lessons are taught by music education students, which gives them hands-on experience in teaching. We participated in this program 2 years ago, and that is when my oldest daughter fell in love with the flute. As a result, we surprised her with a flute for her 10th birthday and she named it "Clarice," and she hasn't stopped practicing ever since. My 9 year old daughter chose to learn the viola, and let me tell you, she was ecstatic! She has a pretty good ear for music and learns pieces by ear very well.

At the end of the 8 weeks, the children in the program have a recital for the parents to show off their new skills. Both of my girls did a great job! And, I was especially surprised because my oldest daughter performed a solo that she "forgot" to tell me about!! She was the only soloist in the entire program and my heart was beaming for her. In addition to the music, this program has reinforced that hard work, diligence, and dedication produce good fruit.

SJ with her teachers

TM with her teachers

Here are some books that we have enjoyed reading:

Product Details
This is our current read-aloud;
it's great for boys and girls, as well as multiple ages

Product Details
My oldest daughter (11yrs) is reading this
series and is loving it!
(You can find these in the Kindle store at really low prices!)

Product Details
My 9 yr. old daughter is reading this and is
learning a lot about a person's character.
(It's currently free on Kindle!)

Product Details
My son (6 1/2yrs) has been enjoying this series
for the last year and half or so. He is just reading
through them at his own pace and mama's glad because
he reads them willingly, on his own!

{Science: Gardening}
'Tis the season for planting, finally! With all the winter weather this spring, I didn't know if we'd get to this point. As part of their science, the kids are responsible for helping plant, feed, and water our plants this spring. During our planting, we have had some good discussions about what plants need to survive, the benefits of good soil and mulch, how worms help in the garden, etc. This is what we've planted: a maple tree, 3 bushes, 6 dwarf spruces, daisies, asters, Roma tomatoes, bell peppers (green, red, yellow), and Romaine lettuce. It was fun to go to our local gardening center and selecting items as a family. Even the kids commented several times about how much fun it is to have a family project like this; so it's been great all around.

Husband and the kids named this maple "Bill Harrison" LOL!
Yes, we name our trees.

6 dwarf spruces before we planted them along one of the fence lines.
This red maple was planted 4 years ago (I think). Her name is "Myrtle Jr." ;)
Oldest son instructing the younger on
how to mix Miracle Gro' with water. ;)

Well, that about wraps things up for our April highlights. This month, I hope we are able to get in a couple of field trips before my baby girl arrives. . .perhaps to a strawberry farm and a wildlife reserve. We shall see. . .

What's been going on in your homeschool? Are you nearing the end of the school year, or do you school year round?

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