I feel like we are off to a pretty good start this school year and we are settling into a routine.

The hardest part for me about home schooling and the part I like the LEAST is the juggling act of wearing both the hat of mom and the hat of teacher.  The kids don’t understand that my making them do a subject they don’t like doesn’t make me a mean mom, it makes me their teacher.  That is a struggle.  I am just hoping and praying that these struggles will produce character… godly character in all of us. 

I think my favorite part of homeschooling is the actual  mom part… getting to be with my kids more and them getting to be with each other.  As I write this my oldest and youngest are playing football in the backyard for recess.  If my 10 year old was away at school they would not have this time together… nor would they have the moments of talking around the lunch table.  These are the moments I cherish… these are the ones I have to hold on tight to when we are crying over wrong math problems and struggling to recall declensions and arguing over who gets to use the computer first.

These moments…


Always, always when they work on jingles or recitations or memorizing, they are upside down… not sure if it helps them sink in better to their brains or not. 


As part of art (something that I am SOOOOO guilty of neglecting) this year I bought some cards which are so so cool.  They have pictures from several paintings at the National Gallery of Art.  Each picture has a set of 2, one that is a close up of the painting and the other has the whole painting and the title and artist.  On Fridays we play Old Maid, or Go Fish, or matching using these cards and it is helping us get face time with these famous paintings.  Then I plan to use these cards on a field trip later this year where we will go on a scavenger hunt to find them.  This has been fun.



His favorite subjects are history, literature and writing.  He loves working on his writing projects, especially when he gets to type on his computer. 



IMG_5775And her subject of choice is and always has been math.  This girl LOVES numbers like I love words.    Nothing starts her day off better than jumping in on some math.

Science this year is AWESOME!  There are TONS, TONS of labs to choose from each week.   I really, really hope I can keep up with this, b/c I think these will prove to be the moments we all savor the most from school this year.

We made and experienced an amorphous solid this week using cornstarch and water.  (it was so so cool)


And we learned about freezing points and even lowered the freezing point of water by using salt and making frozen apple juice.


This was fun and tasty and something everyone could participate in.


It was good for me to stop and reflect on the good moments at the end of this week, because to be honest, the moments aren’t all good.  It’s messy… messy b/c we are living life while doing school… and messy b/c we are shaping character while doing school.  There is disrespect, and disobedience, and selfishness and fighting, and laziness… there is a short tempered Momma wearing her pjs’s reheating her coffee and desperately yearning for a few moments of peace…


This week in Science the kids learned about matter, mass, volume, and density.

This week in Science Mom learned that if your going to do an experiment involving food coloring, you should do it OUTSIDE.

Everything was moving along nicely.  The kids had finished all of their morning assignments and we still had about 20 minutes before recess.  Perfect, I thought, we’ll do our science lab.  I was feeling so on top of things because I had even looked ahead earlier in the week and made sure we had all the ingredients we needed… I made a run to Target yesterday morning for the necessary alka seltzer to make it all fizzle.

Our goal:  to make “lava lamps” 

The purpose was to discuss density. 

Ingredients needed:  water bottles, oil, vinegar, food coloring, and alka seltzer

I even raided the recycling can at the gym yesterday for empty plastic water bottles. 

Things were going great.  It worked just like it should and we were all enjoying it greatly. 

photo (4)

I was so excited.  I snapped a quick pic to post of our fun science class.


The book said you could put more than one tablet in, once the bubbling had settled down.  The kids were having so much fun, I went ahead and let them put in another one.  I was being careful and even put paper towels under the water bottles incase they leaked a little.  The book also said you could shake the bottle.

Well the next thing I know, my 4 year old is holding the bottle to shake it when suddenly the lid pops and we have an explosion. 


Oil, plus vinegar, plus BLUE food coloring is everywhere

the floor

the ceiling

photo (3)

Pictures don’t do it justice. 

We quickly take our clothes off and run them to the wash and then start scrubbing.


…. just when I think we have it all, I see another little blue dot way over by the back door… or on the chairs at the school table at the other side of the room.  The bottle exploded between the kitchen island and our stove


I had to scrub oily dye from the chairs at the table, the floor by the door, the dishwasher, the window behind the sink… all the cabinets….


The kids were champs.  The all jumped in and helped where they could. 

Mopping the floors has been on my to do list for 2 weeks now and kept getting moved… I had officially taken it off the list until next Sat… but then science class happened.  I had to scrub up the oil.  At least the kitchen floor got mopped… and I finally tackled those dust bunnies on the wall above the stove.

Our ceiling has a nice oily blue spackled pattern on it, that I have a feeling will be there until we try to sell our house years from now.

Whew!  All I can say, is that is a science experiment I am sure we won’t forget anytime soon. AND, I am so glad it is Friday… bring on the weekend folks!

And so a new year begins… this morning was our first day back at the tutorial.  I can’t believe it marks our 6th year of homeschooling.  What a blessing this community had been to our family. 

Here we are starting 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades!


“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11

Our youngest child had his first soccer practice this week. 

first practice 2014

As I struggled to put him into his shin guards and knee socks and cleats, all while watching him grin from ear to ear, my mind drifted back to going through this same right of passage with his older siblings….

Fall 2009

first soccer game


Fall 2010


Grace preps to make a soccer goal

Spring 2011



Gosh…. look at all those chubby cheeks and teeny tiny legs chasing after those soccer balls….

I love pre K soccer… I love the way they swarm after the ball like a hives of bees…I love how you either have to convince them to chase that ball or remind them not to steal the ball from their team mate..they are so clueless and adorable at this age. 

I also love that finally after years of sitting on the sidelines at soccer games, baseball games, flag football games, gym meets,  jiu jitsu tournaments and countless practices, FINALLY it is his turn to be on the field and THEIR turn to cheer him on. 

So fun to be a soccer mom again!

I feel like the month of August is much like the 9th month of pregnancy.  I go into crazy nesting mode as I gear up for another school year.   There is the ordering of curriculum… then the purchasing of school supplies… then the organizing of the binders… and cracking open that homeschool cabinet which ALWAYS turns into the junk closet over the summer.  Ya know, the “Company is coming and I need a place to hide all these papers and misc junk from the kitchen counters,”  place….

Then in addition to all of the school prep, I go into crazy nesting mode on the house… deep cleaning and purging and organizing… b/c much like in pregnancy, I know free time is going to come to an end soon and it will be ALL I can do to keep dishes washed, clothes washed and groceries bought… scrubbing the bath tub and mopping the floor typically fall to the wayside until the next school break.

And so I clean and organize and do all I can to prep for the new year.

This year I have spent a GREAT amount of time and thought into changes I want to incorporate into the new year.  I intend to be way more structured this school year than in years past and I’ve been trying to work out the best system for that.  I think I have it figured out.. it will take a few weeks to see if I need to adjust the schedule any. 

We started back with school at home this week.  We did math, spelling, handwriting, memory verse, typing, flashcards, reading and art.  It’s been kind of nice to have a week of adjusting back to school without our FULL back to school schedule.  It has helped iron out some kinks and give me some time to do more prep work.  Next week the tutorial starts back officially and we will add Latin, History, Science, Grammar, and Writing to our school day assignments.  I am both excited and nervous.  I will have a 5th, 3rd, and 2nd grader this year.   I also have a “very eager to start learning”preschooler.  I think this will be my hardest year yet of homeschooling, which is why I have spent weeks trying to plan and organize and set things in place.

Our first day was rough.  There was literal weeping and gnashing of teeth.   But, we plowed through and day 2 was MUCH better. 

I think I will need to take it one day at a time… and I think I am going to need to bathe the year and each day in prayer.  Patience and discipline and perseverance are going to be needed… and I know I can’t rely on my own strength for any of that.

Ever since we signed our 4 year old up for soccer, he has asked when fall is… and my answer is always, “After Labor Day.”

So with Labor Day behind us, I guess I must officially bid farewell to summer.

If I am honest, summer break is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling… we work hard during the school year, but when our curriculum is done mid to late May, we play hard until fall.  And I love it.  Summer is one of my most favorite seasons.

We traveled.

 IMG_2830We had a really good time together.


We spent time with cousins.


And grandparents

nana boattraining camp 2014


We stayed home. 


We swam.


We visited friends.


We camped.


It was all I wanted it to be and more. 


We watched movies… I introduced the girls to two of my favorites, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.  My oldest son finally got to watch all of the Harry Potter movies, something he’d been waiting 6 months to do since he had finished reading the series. 

We listed to the Chronicles of Narnia on CD.  It was my first time hearing the stories and the kids and I were instantly drawn into the world of Narnia.

Another big part of the summer of 2014 for our family, was making some healthy lifestyle changes.  We changed the way we eat, taking refined sugar and white flour out of our daily diet.  This was a huge adjustment to me as a cook and I spent A LOT of time relearning how and where to shop and how and what to cook for the family.  Scott and I started exercising.  It has been hard work… honestly, the hardest I have EVER worked to get in shape and become healthy, but I can proudly say at 35 I am the strongest I have ever been.  What a fabulous feeling!

What a wonderful summer it was.  Long and fun filled.  Capped off with our 13 year Labor Day tradition of a weekend away with friends who feel more like family…


And now after weeks of deep cleaning, organizing and brainstorming ways to be more efficient and keep on top of our schedule, it is back to the books at the Circus House.  Yesterday was our first day of school at home and to be honest, it had several bumps in the road… This morning was better.  Next week, we are back at the tutorial and fall is official in full swing. 

So long flip flips, bring on pumpkin everything….