Today we finished Norway! We read a nonfiction book from the library about Norway, and then read “Good Babies” (a story about a human family and troll family–trolls feature prominently in Norwegian legends), “Master Maid,” “Olle and the Troll,” and “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” We also did the Norway page from the Usborne Sticker Book Around the World, which the girls love and wish had a page for every country. Tomorrow, on to Sweden! I’m rather excited about Sweden, as we’re going to be reading four of the Flicka, Dicka, Ricka books, which I think are just so very cute. I’m not sure if we’ll do two or three days for Sweden. It might depend on how much time we have tomorrow, since the girls have Mother’s Day Out earlier in the day. Emily is interested in Sweden because of the American Girl, Kirsten, who came from that country. It looks like we’ll have about three weeks left here before we leave. So depending on how much school we get done during that time, we might get as far as Germany (hitting Sweden, Finland, France, and the Netherlands along the way).

The girls have been spending most of the day outside lately. It’s been nice and warm, and lovely on those days it’s not raining. I finally got the grass cut today, as it was the first non-raining day in a while. The grass I planted in the backyard is starting to come up ever so slowly. I hope it gets established enough to survive on its own when I leave! Mostly I’m excited about moving to our new house and getting set up. I love unpacking almost as much as I hate packing.


Ants, ants, everywhere

Spring is here, and with it all the lovely aspects of warm weather! And by “aspects” I mean insects. We’ve had a mild ant problem in the girls’ bedroom. There’s one particular window where ants seem to like to come in. I’m a little concerned that they’re carpenter ants and have a nest somewhere in the walls, so I put out traps that are supposed to work for carpenter ants.

The problem is that Charlotte is terrified of ants. And by terrified I mean practically phobic, hysterical screaming, may make herself throw up with terror. This is less than a fun way to welcome a lovely season. I try to kill any that I see when I’m trying to get her to go to sleep, and breathe a sigh of relief that her bed is on the opposite side of the bedroom and so she’s unlikely to get any in her bed (otherwise she might never sleep again–seriously, these things are like the clown in a Stephen King novel to her). Her bed is also starting to get crowded again. She loves to have so many books and stuffed animals and dolls in there… I’m looking forward to getting settled in our new house and getting a second bunkbed, so we can put her on the bottom of one and give her some room to spread out. It’ll be a huge relief. I keep hearing things fall off the bed in the middle of the night.

Still trying to pack the house. Or, all the stuff in it, really. Did you catch that I said ALL the stuff? Packing is a pain in the butt. There are so many odds and ends, things that don’t quite fit into boxes, things that go together that you’d like to pack together only they don’t fit in the same box, and things that you need until the last minute so you can’t pack them now, so that you’re constantly making decisions. I sometimes feel like, “Just throw everything into a box and be done with it,” except that you CAN’T! The boxes have to be full and the weight has to be supported, which means that you can’t just throw things in boxes, you actually have to look for the right stuff so that it all fits together. Ack.

Last Wednesday while the girls were at their Wednesday morning program (I know, their Wed. morning program is on Wednesdays, how shocking), I managed to clean their room, then drag all of their clothing bins out of the closet so I could get everything all sorted and packed. And then I promptly ran out of time and left bins all over their rooms. Smart penguin, ha, because now they’ve been getting into the bins and everything is all helter-skelter… so tomorrow is Wednesday again (or, rather, today is, because I NEED TO GO TO BED but also want to stay up late writing this blog), and hopefully tomorrow I will get all the bins properly sorted, labeled, taped shut, and back in the closet. Because I’m sick of tripping over them and also starting to get suspicious that the girls are arranging them into walls for “houses” and that I will find secret hordes of dolls and tea sets when I move the bins.

On the homeschool front, we have finished Ireland and we’re on to Scandinavia! Emily told me today, befuddled, “Ireland is Ireland and it’s a separate country from the United Kingdom! But Scotland is part of the United Kingdom! Isn’t that weird?” So she has sort of learned something, at least, on a 6-year-old level. I’m also busy being obsessed with making plans for next year, when we start Sonlight’s “Core B: Introduction to World History, Part 1.” I’ve found a bunch of books on ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China to add, hoping to make it last at least a full year (since we do year-round) or maybe even 18 months. I have some readers for Emily, so I’ll make her a little schedule of when her reading is due, I think she’ll get a kick out of that. I might even have her reread the pertinent Magic Tree House books when we get to those subjects, as I think she’d enjoy that. She already asked me if there will be Magic Tree House books at our new library after our move. Oh, and I need to remember to warn my husband that she’s going to be asking for a tree house. Hopefully not a magic one.

Wrapping up England

We’ve been doing some of the books for England out of order a bit, but I think we’re finally at the point of having just a day or two left. We have one mini science experiment (fairly simple, balancing a marble on an index card on a glass and sliding the card out to watch the marble drop, learning about Newton, since he was English), a couple of stories about John Wesley, and, well, all but one chapter of Paddington Bear. I think we might read another chapter or two and then continue the book as a bedtime story, if the girls are interested. Since we’ve gotten better about getting devotions done every night, the bedtime story has fallen by the wayside, so maybe I can try to revive it.

I’m trying to really buckle down and get some serious packing done for our move. The hardest part to figure out is our bedroom. Since Megan sleeps in there, I can’t really work on it during her naps or when she’s down for the night without waking her. I contemplated putting her to bed in the playroom this evening, then moving her back up to our bedroom after her first feeding, but I just don’t want to deal with disassembling and reassembling the pack and play. I think what I might do is to pull anything I can out of the bedroom that can be easily transported elsewhere to be packed up. Then just finishing the last stuff when she’s awake. I’ll have to see how well that works. If I just plan on doing it in small bits, it might possibly work out okay. In general, though, I think I’ll focus tomorrow on getting anything done that I can pull from that bedroom, and then also work on packing up the homeschool stuff. Might be a short school day tomorrow!

I did make a box store for the girls this evening. A while ago we had a large delivery from Amazon (diapers and stuff) that came in a giant box, and I’d been meaning to make a box store like the one here: Ours will definitely not be nearly so cool, as I didn’t have the time and don’t have the special colored tape and such. But hopefully the kids will at least find it mildly entertaining for a few days. Might as well let them enjoy the box until I have to break it up for the move (not attempting to transport a giant empty box, even flattened). Maybe once we’re settled in our next place, I’ll try to time a couple diaper deliveries to come from Amazon together again, so we can get another giant box. 🙂 Or we could, like, order a fridge. For the box, you know.

United Kingdom!

I haven’t updated for a while, I know. Honestly, I just keep forgetting. Sorry!

We’re up to the United Kingdom on our little tour of the world geography program this year. We’re finishing up England, and we’ll look at Scotland and Wales, then move on to Ireland. After that, it’s Scandinavia and then Western Europe.

I’ve found a good system for getting library books in good time. I have a Google Calender reminder set every Wednesday to put books on hold, and which week of books to put on hold. So each time I get a new reminder, I put a set on hold. It’s enough in advance that I can wait until they pretty much all arrive, then pick them up at once. It helps that I have a teacher’s account on my library card, so I can check the books out for a longer period, and don’t have to worry about turning them in too soon.

We’re reading about William Tyndale, and coincidentally, my friend Jenny (my little Jenny is named after her) just gave Emily the book “The Queen’s Smuggler,” one of the Trailblazers series that is about William Tyndale. I’m not sure if her reading is at the level of the Trailblazers books yet, so I guess we’ll see! Right now, Emily is really into the Imagination Station books and the Three Cousins Detective books, and is also reading some Magic Tree House books. I got a selection of mysteries (her favorites) that looked about the right level from the library (the A to Z mysteries, etc.), to see if she was interested in any of those. She loves to read and goes through books so fast! We gave her the latest Imagination Station book for Easter on Sunday and she finished it this morning.

I also found some fun books for Jenny at the library today where the parent reads the left-hand side of the page and the child reads the right. I don’t remember the series name, but they have titles like “Pirate Pat” and “Miss Moss.” She wanted to start with “Miss Moss,” so we read that one this afternoon. And, of course, Charlotte is still all about the “That’s Not My…” series by Usborne. She did branch out a bit today and get “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?” today. She spent about half a hour pointing to the animals and saying, “Red bird?” “Yes.” “Green horse?” “No, that’s a blue horse.” “Blue duck?” “No, that’s a yellow duck.” Red appears to be the only color that she’s reliable on. 🙂 We’ll get there.

Megan is 5 months old! It’s amazing how fast they grow. I’ve been trying to really enjoy these baby days, in case Megan ends up being our last. I’m already a bit sad how quickly the newborn stage is over and how it’s almost hard to remember how small she was. I wish I was better at taking pictures. I just never think of it!

I’m starting my planning for next year now. We’ll be doing Sonlight’s Core B once we finish our geography program, which I’m guessing will be around September, but it will depend on how much time we lose with moving and getting settled in our new place. I do tend to find that the kids behave better when we get at least a little school done each day, though, so hopefully we won’t miss too much. We don’t follow the school year, as we school year-round and just start the next thing when we’re ready for it (for instance, Emily is doing Singapore Math 1, which is split into 1A and 1B… but we’ll just switch to 1B whenever she finishes it, regardless of time of year, and when she finishes 1B we’ll switch to 2A, also regardless of time of year). But there’s a bit more planning involved with doing a Sonlight core, so I’ll probably order it a bit in advance of when we need it so that I can preread and prepare stuff, etc. I’m hoping to add some additional books to some of the major cultures that we’ll be studying: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and China. I got some ideas for books for Egypt, Greece, and Rome from Veritas Press, and I’m hoping to see if any are at the library when we arrive at our new place, so that I can get an idea of whether they’re worth adding to the core. India and China are a bit harder. I have some interesting readers planned, but I might see what else I can find as well. I don’t really mind if the core takes a bit extra time to get through, as we have the summer to school, and it wouldn’t hurt for Emily to be a bit older before getting to some of the cores. At the same time, I also don’t want to stay on a civilization until we’re bored to death of it. So it’ll be a bit of a balancing act. I got some kits that are from Hands and Hearts and have what look like fun, interesting activities to go along with some of the cultures, so I’m hoping that will make it a bit more hands-on and fun for a 6- or 7-year-old and a 5-year-old who is tagging along (because of course she’ll want to do the crafts).

I’m really excited about starting Core B! While I’m enjoying doing our geography curriculum, I will look forward to be doing a real Sonlight core again, and having the core chat and everything. And a new set of readers for Emily!