resident student, in miniature


Wherever we go, he goes. We love having the little guy around for school and field trips!

Did you know that he is actually a geography whiz? Okay, really he just likes our plastic blow up globe because it looks like a ball. He likes it so much that his mommy caved and bought him his own. I like to think he’s just plain ol’  genius. Having the little guy around makes missing my other nephews and nieces bearable. :)


He even took these with my camera (no help…okay maybe a little):


Having our resident student around has been so much fun. Can’t wait for the Holidays.

monthly review, september 2010


Great Harvest Bread Company:


The children learned about every step in the bread making process from harvesting the wheat to baking the finished product. They each got to take home a delicious loaf of bread and cookie. We L-O-V-E Great Harvest Bread Company.

Park Excursion:


We didn’t think  the turtles were real because they sat so still on the rocks, but then started to head for the shore:


As you can imagine, the children now want a pet turtle. We are actually more likely to cave to this request than the ever so popular dog request. What we didn’t get a picture of was the rabid birds attacking our Cafe Rio deliciousness. We ended up throwing a bunch of our food away because the pigeon problem was so bad. They were even dumpster diving right in front of us. I try really hard to forget their beady red eyes staring up at me from my Pork Salad.  Note to Self: No More Eating at the Aliante Dinosaur Park!


Language Arts:


–mastered beginning blends…difficult accomplishment for ELL learners

–copywork, copywork, copywork

–definition of a noun…lots of proper noun practice

Memory Work:

–Articles of Faith #7, 8, and 9

–Poems: Caterpillar and Work



–counting by fives and tens (Nikki)

–carrying and regrouping (Ezzy)

–Times Table memorization: zeros, ones, twos, and fives (Danny)

–basic math facts (Juan)




–discovering all things Ancient Egypt

–Making Cuneiform Tablets (Sumer)

And just for fun:



Science–curriculum just arrived last week

Piano–still trying to find my pedal and plug from the move

Book List–for the blog

this is why i do it…


1. Nikki decoded the difference between the “ones” and “tens” columns–FINALLY

2. Ezzy proved mastery in carrying double digits–FINALLY

3. Danny melted down during reading–UNEXPECTED
–my little perfectionist. We are so much alike. We want to be great the first time, at everything. So we had a long mommy-son talk about it. The great thing is that I connected in a way that I haven’t really been able to with him before.

4. Juan P. woke up on the wrong side of the bed–YUCKY
–he has yet to do his reading lesson, which proves that everything is not peachy all of the time!

5. All four ninos are on the cusp of memorizing Article of Faith #9–in one afternoon

6. We had time to discuss (not just read about) Christ’s Atonement
–the ninos’ questions were so good, they are slowly emerging into Logic stage. Sweet!

7. We checked on our clay Cuneiform tablets (pictures coming), which are in the process of drying. And we read about Cleopatra.

8. Perhaps most important, we continued learning the beginning blends.
–these are so hard for my ninos. They love substituting (r) for (l) in words like blood, flock, click, etc…I spent almost an hour with each child plucking through this for the second day in a row. Attention they just simply can’t get in a full classroom. Plus, I love them more so I push them harder.

9. Right now they are using their Cuneiform chart to make up secret codes for their daddy, just for fun. School was out 45 minutes ago.
I guess I know what Adam will be doing after dinner. :)

homeschooling? yes, we are!

In 2008, the children started in public school as soon as we brought them home from Colombia. I pulled them from school shortly after Spring Break 2009 for reasons mostly having to do with bonding and attachment rather than academics. School was a real struggle that first year for all of us for SO many reasons. So I brought them home and spent some time getting to know them better. We did basic skills work…number and letter recognition, etc., but mostly just having fun. It was valuable time that I spent establishing myself as mom–and all that means–and teaching the children what their roles are in a family. I had missed so much of their little lives that I simply was not ready to give them up!

After the Holidays of 2009, we re-enrolled the children at their new school across town:

  1. I felt like we had sufficiently bonded. The children had matured a lot in that time, and their language skills were much improved. They were better able to respond to change.
  2. The house we moved into was simply too small for me to effectively school. Call me a wimp, but at least I know my limits! :) Since we were in that house for longer than anticipated we decided to send them back to public school.

Now, two years later, we have brought them home again. This time around it looks more like “school.” We have a schedule that we adhere to. I follow a specific curriculum in each subject area, and I have everything laid out in my lesson plan book. But we also have enough flexibility in the schedule to deal with life as it comes. I am schooling four days a week, with Friday being a catch-up, organize, field trip, errand day. Actually, our intention is to school year round with small breaks here and there. I am hoping that a year-round consistent schedule will help the children to continue “catching up.”

We have been schooling for a month now, and I can honestly say that I have not been overwhelmed with the task at hand. It is fun and rewarding and actually super exciting. (that probably has to do with the fact that I LOVE teaching. Perhaps having experience in lesson planning, pacing, learning styles, etc helps. I know a common complaint of homeschooling moms is that they can never seem to get to all their material. So I took that into account when I was planning out our year. That has helped a ton.

Now that the kids’ language is improved, everything else is easier. I am better able to assess where the true holes and gaps are in their learning. I am able to understand better how each child processes a new concept. And the kids are just plain ol’ excited about learning–always have been. Of course, there are other reasons we think homeschooling is for us, at least right now. Yes, I have complaints about the current condition of our school district. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that prefers having my children near me instead of away from me. Yes, we put religion and God at the forefront of our learning and our day. Yes, I believe that my children will be better prepared for life if I am the one socializing them–not 25 seven year olds. But those are all points of discussion for another post.

I am hoping to be better at taking pictures and doing updates weekly. I know the kids will have a blast looking back on these posts in 20 years with their own children. That makes me smile.

When my children leave my charge as an adult I want them to:

*be caring citizens of their community, country, and planet.

*have a deep love of God, Country, and self.

*be able to debate intelligently, to listen carefully, to speak kindly.

*know who they are, and know what they believe, even when those beliefs are not popular.

*and of course, be super smart! :)

lunchtime ramblings

Danny: Mom, what do pandas eat?

Me: Mostly Bamboo.

Danny: Oh, okay.

Nikki: Mom, what do piggies eat?

Ezzy: Out of the garbage can, duh.

Nikki: Oh, okay.

*worried look on her face. mom secretly laughing inside*

Nikki: Mom, do I have to eat out of the garbage can?

Mom: No, Nikki, you can continue to eat at the table like all little girls.

*all other children, as well as mom, laughing out loud this time for a good five minutes*

Apparently we tell her that her room is a pig pen a little too often because now she actually thinks she is a little piggy. And as soon as quiet time is over, I am going to help Danny look up information about Panda Bears–his newest obsession. Yeah, like Kung Fu Panda had nothing to do with that spark. Or the fact that his stuffed panda accompanied him through his circumcision surgery yesterday. I love it when I have all four ninos home. It just feels right. :)

The Pros of Homeschooling

After much pondering and research here are my lists of pros
1. Teacher/Student ratio: How many times as educators and as parents do we find ourselves wishing class sizes are smaller.
2. VARIETY and control over curriculum: There are so many different subjects and projects I want my children to be exposed to. There’s no way in the current public school structure this can happen. Whether it’s spending four weeks on a novel unit or deciding between Spanish or Latin for the year, the children and I have control over what to focus on. I can focus on things that I think are important for EACH child.
3. BONDING and attachment opportunities: Homeschooling can supply much needed time together for the adopted child. I’ve already lost the early formative years of my children’s lives. The more time I have with them the better.
4. FLEXIBILITY: I want to teach my children at the library, on Friday field trips, out at Red Rock, in India, and in the backyard. None of us learn the same. And although teachers, me included, try their best to reach all learning styles and differentiate instruction-it is IMPOSSIBLE due to class sizes and shortened periods.

I love teaching. I’m really good at it. I can’t escape the gnawing feeling in my mind and in my heart to not put this off. There are many other pros like avoiding the crassness and crudeness of the general student population, time for religious education, and flexible vacation times. But mostly I want to be with my kids and use the talent I’ve been given for good.