Who would’ve thought

Sometimes homeschool lessons are a struggle–a whiny, grumbling, slumpy, flopping over struggle. And we just had a major ah-ha moment over here. Because who would have thought? When something (math) is too easy, the level of grumping/flopping/whining is the same as if that something (math) is too hard. WHAT. And sometimes you have the type of kid that is just prone to careless errors, and no amount of repeating addition facts within a sum of 20 is going to change that, and it turns out that kid is totally ready to do triple digit addition and subtraction with regrouping within 1,000. And suddenly the grumbling has decreased, though 7+2 sometimes still equals 10 (except it totally doesn’t), but 674-325=349. Who would’ve thought.


A Monday in May

Had a rather feel-good day…plenty to do and accomplished a balanced amount of homeschooling (something I’ve been striving to do). I always wish I could look back on more glimpses of “a day in the life” for what our days looked like at any given time, so here was today, a Monday in May.

8:00am – Out of bed, me drinking coffee, Lily eats cereal and reads a book from the Mallory series by Laurie Friedman, one of her most recent favorite finds at the library.

9:00am – Reading together and “school work”…We read Your Fantastic Elastic Brain; What Do You Do With An Idea; and Billions of Years, Amazing Changes (a book about evolution). We wrote her writing assignments together for tomorrow’s homeschool co-op classes (formal paragraph from a 5-finger outline, and creative writing where she’s doing some Little House on the Prairie fanfic). She dictates, I write…her hand doesn’t keep up with her brain and I’m aiming to separate “writing” from “handwriting” to ease frustration and increase creativity. We worked on math (Math in Focus 2A, chapter 4 on bar models with addition within 1,000).

10:00am – Lily plays with Play-Doh, I go take a shower. She moves onto playing with dominoes which then quickly become building blocks with cars added in.

11:30am – We meet her violin teacher for a sushi lunch date (teacher is my cousin’s wife), and head to her house afterward for Lily’s violin lesson.

1:30pm – Lily rides her bike up and down the block while I open all the windows in the house and sew a quick project. She joins me in sewing and sews a mini quilt for her dolls.

2:30pm – We try a guided mediation on Youtube…something I’ve been meaning to try but have never carved out the time to do with her. She thought it was pretty boring 😉

3:00pm – We walk to the Girl Scout troop meeting at the neighborhood grade school.

5:00pm – Dinner

5:30pm – Walk to the park

7:30pm -Time for family board games! We’ve recently picked up a ton and now enjoy Hive, Quirkle, and so many more. We played Roll For It and Mobi Max tonight.

8:30pm – Bed time…we read a chapter from The Shores of Silver Lake and then it’s lights out until tomorrow.


Fundraising for World Wildlife Fund

Lily has decided that she would like to collect donations for World Wildlife Fund. She is selling her artwork, and I created some listings on my old Etsy link). They are available for digital download, too. Here is a link to her fundraising page: tiny url.com/LilyWWF.

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How in the world have seven years passed since this kid made me a mom. SEVEN YEARS. We’re solidly past pre-school age and very much have a kid. A real kid. A kid-aged kid that is all real and kid-like and not at all little or toddler-ish or tiny and OMG SEVEN YEARS OLD.

Celebrations were wonderful. We had a birthday party at our house for family, on her actually birthday we went to the Choo-Choo restaurant in town with friends for a birthday lunch delivered by train, and the following week we went to downtown Chicago for an American Girl store shopping spree with another friend. I think she had a great time 🙂




Homeschooling, spring 2016, age 7


I don’t touch this formally as her love for books is strong. She’s breezing through a lot of the American Girl series currently, and likes some “easy” (for her) series like Heidi Hecklebeck. She also really liked Iva Honeysuckle and wished there were more than two of those. She has a Goodreads account that I use for book suggestions by adding in the titles that she likes.

Once again we briefly used this “reading level assessment” and she could get through the 5th/6th grade words with ease. I was actually pretty surprised at that, I wasn’t expecting that ability to keep going at this steady rate. In our use on MobyMax.com she’s testing at a mid-3rd grade reading comprehension, which seems about right based on what I’ve observed.




Lily attends weekly homeschool classes held by a group of families at our local library. This includes a writing class where she completes assignments in class and at home each week. During class there is free writing (sometimes from a prompt) and listening to everyone share. For homework she has creative writing (she likes to create what I can best describe as fanfic, such as more American Girl stories, or expanding on Winnie the Pooh class tales) and she also has formal writing where she makes a “five finger outline” and expands it into a paragraph on alternating weeks.

Using Handwriting Without Tears books have recently come back into favor because I have promised that once her printing improves a bit and stays consistent that we can begin working on cursive. She is very excited for that!



Math continues to ebb and flow. For a while she liked Khan Academy, but that fell out of favor. Then we were doing Life of Fred, but when she got stuck in “Cats” and started back in at “Apples” she revolted at the thought. We’ve touched on Kumon workbooks, random math games and just writing down/shouting out math problems randomly. MobyMax.com has been a great addition to our routine (it fits in a few times a week) and her math skills are getting stronger with practice. It’s been a difficult lesson to realize you have to work at some things–that not everything just makes sense right away.



Science-y stuff just keeps happening informally and happily. Nature class with our homeschool group is a great exposure to a lot of things, as is just living life. MobyMax also has science units that she’s enjoyed so far.



An art class is also included in our weekly gatherings at the library, and they vary from painting to drawing to repurposing recyclables. I’ve noticed a decrease in art-making at home and I’m not sure why, though I’ve made note to create more opportunities.



Story of the World Volume 1 on audiobooks is still a hit, and I really ought to add volumes 2 and 3 to her little iPod. She’s definitely getting into reading historical fiction for pleasure, so I will continue to encourage that. We also attend a monthly class at our local history center which touches on various topics from Abraham Lincoln to Frida Kahlo.



Lily LOVES playing her violin. She started in October of 2014 and has continued to practice just about every day since then. I’m continually amazed by how much she keeps improving at (what I consider) a difficult instrument. My brass-playing brain can’t wrap around all those strings and finger positions!


Physical Education

Also tied in with music is her ballet classes at the local park district. She’s finally at the point in the school year where they start working on the dance routine for the end-of-year recital, and she really enjoys memorizing the routine.



Lily is also involved in Girl Scouts at the local grade school with friends that live on our street (amongst others who attend that school). They meet monthly and so far it’s been a nice addition to her activities. Other than that we make sure to schedule playdates with friends at least weekly. Life has hid a good groove, lately.


Try Something New Every Month: Double Knitting

What’s that old saying? “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…”

Well, I tried something new this month. And tried. And tried. And tried. I actually lost track of how many times I cast-on for this Longcat Scarf (Ravelry link).

This was my first time attempting double knitting and I made the mistake of just skimming a few Youtube videos because it looked easy enough. Well, it’s not. I continually ended up with purl wraps on the wrong side of whichever side I was working. That doesn’t look good…



Then all of a sudden I had a lightbulb moment and it all made sense and I was doing it! It was working! And then I couldn’t keep track of the chart because I was distracted and counting wrong and it was all terrible and I had to frog it again.


I decided this was going to have to be a quiet at-home project, at least for the start, and I took an evening and tried. Again. A few more times. And  for seemingly no special reason it worked! I made a cat butt!

Sure, there’s an oops-stitch there, but I think it looks like a heart on the cat’s knee so I’m okay with that…

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Are you doing a TSNEM project for February? You can find the link-up here!