There have been a bazillion things going on here since my last post that it’s not even funny. I really don’t know where to begin! For starters, we were inundated with more winter weather than we have seen since the 80’s and, if I don’t see another snowflake for a few years, I’m good with that. LOL Even the kids, who were completely stoked for the first couple of snows were over it by the time we got ice and our power was out for 3 days. You learn a lot about each other when the power is out and it’s not all pretty.
The first night was kind of fun, a bit like camping out.
After that, things deteriorated pretty quickly. It actually made me wonder how people live on the streets, totally exposed to the elements, and I vowed to donate time or money to those suffering in that way. Just one night of sleeping on a cold, hard floor with next-to-no covers, shivering to beat the band and I woke up in tears. Yes, I realize other people have things way worse but I am not a “roughing it” kind of person. Camping is off the list FOR SURE now.
A few days later the power was back on but then we were left with this massive mudpit in the backyard. The day before the icestorm hit we had a couple of trees taken out. This is what was left after the ice and snow melted away. Isn’t it beautiful?
Now, it hasn’t been all bad. Nowhere close. In fact, things are going pretty well! Those trees I mentioned up above? Well, we had them taken out because we are adding on to our home and I couldn’t be more excited about that! We have lived here for 10 years and, while we have a very nice, modest home, our kitchen left much to be desired. It is the size of a kitchen in an apartment (maybe!!) and isn’t very accommodating for a family of four, especially when the kids want to hang out in there, too. So we are getting ready to put in the foundation of our addition and it is really, really exciting!! I will post more about that in the coming days.
In other news, the boys and homeschooling is going incredibly well. For a long time we were unschoolers and that fit well with our life at that time. Now that the boys are older, we have moved towards structure, not too much, and that has been accepted by them without complaint. I have mentioned before that we use Teaching Textbooks for math and I cannot express enough just how wonderful this program is. Both boys absolutely love it and have moved through it at a great pace. Iain started in November of 2012, doing 5th grade math (he would have been in 8th grade in school) and quickly moved through it, wrapping up in April of 2013. We took some time off and he picked up with Math 7 in the Fall of 2013. He just finished that and is now working in the Pre-Algebra course and he was able to skip ahead to lesson 50. Watching his self-confidence bloom while working this program has been nothing short of amazing. It reinforced to me that math really doesn’t have to be started until much later and that kids can learn a lot in a condensed period of time. His younger brother has had a very similar experience. He is working right now in Math 7 (he would be in 6th grade in school) and is doing so well with it.
In NC we are required to administer a standardized test each year. For the last couple of years we have done a fill-in-the-bubble type test which takes days to complete but this year we went for something different, the Woodcock-Johnson III test. This is much better for kids who might struggle with reading or for those who might need more time to complete tasks. The boys average scores were both above grade level. As a homeschooling family, the worry is always in the back of mind, “Are we doing enough? If they had to go to school today, would they do all right?” The test, although it is a hoop I hate to jump through, does a lot to alleviate any fears and doubts I have about the path we have taken with them. They are happy. They have time to spend on the things they love to do and they are learning at a fabulous pace. I cannot complain about that.
Something else we have just started doing is Latin. When I was in school, Latin was the class that was taught by the quirky, bookish teacher who always looked harried, with mussed-up hair and crooked glasses. The kids who took it were the ones I perceived to be serious students. Everyone else took Spanish or French. When I was researching languages for the boys to take, I came across a pin on Pinterest that led me to this site, Visual Latin. If you are considering a language for your kids to learn, download the sample lessons on their site. The teacher is FUNNY. Not Robin Williams funny but he is so engaging and we love it! Just in the introduction I could see how learning Latin actually makes learning other languages much easier and I wished I had taken it in high school! I might have done better in French. The boys love this class, too. They find the instructor very entertaining and the lessons are short so it is a win-win. Once we’re finished with Latin, I think we’ll move on to another language and see what happens there.
One thing that is a struggle for my oldest is spelling. He has dyslexia and dysgraphia and spelling is not something that comes naturally to him. We are still trying to find the thing that fits him best and will help him with his spelling. He also has ADHD so memorization is a challenge, too. I’m not stressing about it. I am hoping that the Latin work will help somewhat but we have also just started an online course called, Reading Horizons. Right now, it seems very remedial but I am hopeful that the pace will quickly pick up and Iain will begin to gain confidence with his spelling, just as he did with math. My youngest takes after me and spelling is just second nature to him. He just inherently knows how to spell and that has been good for him.
Well, I guess that is enough for now. I hope all is well in your world and please stop back by for updates on our addition. If I can figure out how to do it I will upload a pic of our architect’s drawing as well as the kitchen plan I designed! Stay tuned!