A Step Into A New School Year

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Today we started our 14th year of homeschooling!! Wow, 14 years! This year we have kids in 2nd, 4th, 8th, 10th and 11th grade. Our oldest son will be starting at West Coast EMT in September, this will be the first year not having him home with us all day.

This year brings many changes for us, we have joined a charter school, we only have 5 kids we are teaching, we have 3 in high school or doing high school work, Justin won’t be home with us during the day and of course we have the challenges of Paige’s illness and her diminished capabilities. I am sure that it will take us a little bit to find our new ‘normal’ and get into a groove that will work for us.

For our first full day ( we started 3 weeks ago with limited subjects to slowly work up to today), things went really well. We started only 15 min late, which was a huge accomplishment (we need up about 2 hours earlier than we had been getting up). We had minimal technical hick ups. We got everything done on our schedule ON TIME. We had school work cleaned up and chores done with time to spare before dad got home. I would call that a successful day.

Paige was able to be in the living room and table with us all day. She wasn’t able to write, but she was present and listened to the text, watched the videos and participated in the experiments. I know this won’t be the case every day, but was pleased with how well she did today. Of course her memory isn’t what it should be, so I am not sure how she will do on the quizzes on Friday, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. Today we are just thankful that she was able to stay awake all day, participate in the lessons and be with us.

We started our day with Bible. The older kids are doing a unit that I got from School House Teachers, it is helps them build a strong foundation in their faith. They watch a video and answer questions and write essay answers. They aren’t so sure they like it, but we will give it several weeks before we scrap it and move on to something else. I am doing a foundational study with the littles also and this week we are learning about heaven. Their memory work is John 3:16. I didn’t take any pictures of their activities during Bible.

After Bible we moved onto science. The older kids are doing chemistry this semester. Today’s lesson was an introduction to the states of matter and physical and chemical changes. We have done this before, so we won’t spend a lot of time on it. To help reinforce their lesson, we made root beer floats. I thought it was a good way to discuss solid, liquid and gas and physical and chemical changes. And of course they tasted good.


We started a new program with the littles for their science and today we learned what a scientist does, how they observe, measure, record and share. We did several observation activities and then we took turns describing things around us in detail. We also learned about biomimicry and how scientists use nature to create things that are useful to us. We read about how velcro was invented, who invented it and that it was inspired by burrs that get caught in clothing. We looked up other examples of biomimicry and discussed them. I was able to tie this into Bible a little bit and we talked about how amazing our God is that he created all of these animals and things in nature that have such amazing characteristics. Things that we don’t really notice or normally pay attention to, are really quite amazing!

Our art for this semester is Famous Artists and Art History. I have tried for years to find an art study/unit that my kids will like and until today I have been unsuccessful. We have scrapped so many art programs it isn’t funny. My kids are great at being creative and making crafts, but they aren’t so good at art, and this has always made them dislike art. So, over the summer I wrote my own unit on famous artists. We will learn about where they were born, what type of art they created, what their art was called and more. We will look up and mark their country of origin on our map, we will read biographies, we will watch videos, we will view their art, we will visit museums and we will recreate their art. Today we started with Van Gogh, ya know I would pick the Dutch artist for our first week. We found Southern Netherlands on our map, we watched a movie, we read about Van Gogh and we painted “A Field of Poppies”. We will continue our study on Van Gogh on Thursday. van gogh

The kids were each given a piece of paper, a pencil, paint brushes and water colors. They started by sketching light lines as guides for their painting. They then started painting the grass and meadows, then the sky, then the details. Each picture is so different and shows the personality of each child.


This is Bryce’s picture. He even added a mini pig in his picture for me. He was upset that I said he couldn’t add an alien space ship though.
This is Paige’s picture. She is our little perfectionist, so not having things just perfect was hard for her. But I think it turned out great. 
This is Chloe’s picture, she wanted to paint her hill pink, like a unicorn. And the meadow (the peach area) has a garden, not just flowers. Those are the pretty squiggly lines. 
Samantha, our little painter, made this one. She wanted the colors a little less perfect and tried to spray her picture with water when she was done, and it didn’t have the effect she wanted. It kinda washed her trees out and the flowers started to run, but she said she was done and didn’t want to do anymore. I like the way it turned out though. 
And here is Blake’s painting. See how his flowers are in rows and have some order to them, this is how Blake lives life. Clean, clear lines and order. I wonder where he gets this from…cough…his dad…cough…they are twins!!

After art we had lunch then moved onto Mystery of History Volume One. We started Mystery of History last year and went straight to Volume 4. I knew that Justin and Paige would not be schooling with us long enough to make it to Volume 4 and I wanted to them to have a good understanding of the birth of our nation and the sacrifices many made for our freedoms, so we started at the end 🙂 I loved MOH of so much, that we decided to start at the beginning this year.

Volume 1 starts at creation and will take us to the resurrection. Today we read about the first 2 days of creation, it is review for the older kids as we have done this lesson several times before, but we still read Genesis 1, did some puzzles, colored some coloring pages, made a hand print craft with the littles and had a couple of snacks.

We had the vanilla and chocolate Oreo’s, they represent day and night. We also had jello cups that represented the heavens. We made a hand print craft for days 1 and 2 and we will continue with the other days this week. I will have these pages bound and keep them. I think this will be a great memory to hang onto and pass on to them someday. 

After all of our core lessons were done we went on to FUNday Monday. On Monday’s we will do fun experiments, activities, STEM lessons, build things and just do lots of fun things together. I have a whole pinterest board with ideas I have wanted to do that don’t really fit into a lesson, we will do these on our FUNday Monday. I would really like to make a pumpkin chucker in October, but aren’t sure that will happen.

Today we did baking soda experiments. I thought we could tie these experiments into the kids other science lesson. Chemical and physical changes, states of matter, observing, measuring and recording. Our first experiment was the ‘snake’. I have seen the video going around Facebook and pinterest and wanted to try it. Our first attempt didn’t go so well. I bought lighter fluid (like for a bar b que) and it didn’t burn hot enough. I guess I needed the lighter fluid for actual lighters, who knew?! (Justin did, just not me) Justin suggested we use nail polish remover since it burns hot…we started over again and used the nail polish remover and it worked. It was cool to watch for the first 5 min or so, then they got bored. It doesn’t ‘grow’ very fast so they lost interest quickly. We left it ‘growing’ on the back patio while we started our next experiment. Once it was burned out they went out the ‘play’ with the ‘black snake’. They were surprised at how light and airy it was. It broke apart easily and became like powder. I had the littles describe it to me and make observations.


We started our second experiment and juiced 4 different citrus fruits. We used our senses to describe the juice, acting like a scientist. The kids then took turns pouring the juice into cups that had 1/2 tbsp of baking soda. We watched the reaction and talked about what happened. The grapefruit bubbled small bubbles and didn’t reach the top of the cup, the orange juice made bigger bubbles but didn’t reach the top of the cup, the lime juice started slow and made small bubbles but got bigger and it reached the top of the cup, the lemon juice bubbled quickly with large bubbles and bubbled out of the cup and all over the table. Bryce and Blake were the only daring ones who tasted the fruit juice and baking soda, both deemed it ‘disgusting’! (I was able to tie math into these experiments with the measuring)



Our last experiment was blowing up a balloon with gas made from baking soda and vinegar. Our first attempt (the orange balloon) didn’t work so well. We didn’t have the balloon on right and it blew off and sprayed us with baking soda. The next attempt (the white balloon) did better and filled up well. They were able to get the balloon off of the bottle without it losing the air and tied it to play with.



It was good to have fun with hands on experiments that reinforced what they learned in their science lessons.

Today was a good day. We laughed a lot, learned a lot and had fun together. I am BLESSED to be able to be mom AND teacher to my kids. I don’t take it for granted, not one day, and I am thankful to have a husband that works hard to allow me this opportunity.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope it goes as well as today!




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