Monday, August 24, 2015

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho...

It's back to Scouts we go! Connor has decided not to play for the Chargers this year. However, he is going to return to his boy scout troop. He will be a little bit behind his friends who didn't take a hiatus, but I am sure he will work hard to catch up. It may not be in his sights yet, but making Eagle Scout would be such an honor. As much as we will miss chanting "Hit Somebody!" this season, I feel this is going to be a great decision for him.

Canon and Caleb are thrilled that Pack 5 activities have resumed. Caleb is a Wolf this year, and Canon will be finishing his final year (Webelo II) as a Cub Scout. He will cross over into Boy Scouts and join Connor in Troop 5 this coming February. He is over half way to earning his Arrow of Light, the highest award a Cub can earn, and the only achievement that will carry over into Boy Scouts. I am so proud of all the boys, and I'm so thankful for the godly men and women who take time to invest in my boys' lives.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A TOS Review: Alpha Omega Publications

Alpha Omega Review

D is for Duck. G is for Girl. S says "S", but it also says "Z". Hard C. Soft C. Vowels! Consonants! Syllables! Oh, my!! Grammar can be scary for kids, and all the rules of the English language can seem very overwhelming. But putting those many rules into practice with a curriculum that helps you learn in a fun and entertaining way can make schoolwork go from a time of torture to a time of proud achievement. Alpha Omega Publications gave Caleb and I the opportunity to hone these and many other skills with their Horizons 2nd Grade Phonics and Reading Set.

Alpha Omega Review

AOP has a long history of success in the homeschooling community. They are well known for their Christian based learning and they have been recognized and awarded by TOS Magazine, Practical Homeschooling, and was chosen the Top Homeschool Curriculum of 2013. They provide curriculum in cd-rom, online, student-paced, teacher-led and unit study formats. Horizons is their teacher-led workbook program.

The Horizons Phonics and Reading Set comes with 2 Phonics Workbooks, 2 Readers, and a Teacher's Guide. There are 160 lessons and 16 tests to cover for the school year. The workbooks are fully illustrated, brightly colored and greatly engaging to Caleb. We haven't done a lot of workbook, seat-work type learning with him yet, so he finds the workbook pages fun when he and Mommy sit together to figure out the pictures. His penmanship is improving with the work, too - which he is quick to point out to me!

There have been some frustrating moments, however. Sometimes the pictures were very hard to discern. For example, in Lesson 5, there is a picture of a girl walking through a red door. The word it was supposed to represent was arrive. There is no way I would have come to that conclusion, let alone Caleb on his own. I suppose I was expecting this to be more of an independent type learning time, but with the difficulty of some of the words, I understand why the teacher should be with the student at the time of completion. The Teacher's Guide has a very specific guide on how you can teach this curriculum that I probably should have implemented from the get-go. :/ Here is the recommended teaching format:

"The student is to complete the activities after you have gone over the instructions, discussed the pictures, and reviewed the words." [emphasis mine]

Mom fail #33790, not that I'm counting.

The Readers have excerpts from poems, short stories and classic novels, Robinson Crusoe being the main text. Caleb is loving the stories! The adventure and thrill of exploring nature really has struck a chord with him, and I'm so glad he is enjoying these abridged chapters. We sometimes switch off on the reading - he'll read a few paragraphs, then Mom reads one - so it goes a little quicker and he has a chance to rest (being 7 is exhausting, you know!). The Teacher's Guide gives you a few comprehension questions to go over with the student after the reading. These are a great jumping off point for further discussion, and it introduces terms and ideas in literature that I wouldn't have thought to introduce to a 2nd grader. We have already talked about characters, setting, plot, and theme - not necessarily using those words, but definitely preparing the student for future literary analysis in a fun and nonthreatening way.

I will definitely continue using Horizons with Caleb this year. He is a very busy boy, and he doesn't like to sit all day for schoolwork. But he is happy to work alongside me one-on-one for his Horizons books. That's a sell for me!

To follow AOP on social media, they can be found on the following sites:


To find out what other AOP products were reviewed by TOS, check out my other review crew members here:

Alpha Omega Review

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, August 17, 2015

First day of FACTS 2015 - 16 school year in the books. We will call it a success...yeah, we'll do that...hey, we finished, and everyone is breathing, so SUCCESS I say!!!

Connor and Chloe seemed to have a grasp on everything pretty quickly. They are both working mostly independently this school year, with frequent checkins with Mom. Of course, their workload is pretty light since co op doesn't start for 2 weeks, but they seemed to enjoy easing into the school year.

Caleb and Canon, of course, had a few more bumps. When you integrate a 2nd and 6th grader into the same subjects, you can't expect them to work at the same pace. Plus, Mom had to stop and take care of the babies repeatedly, so Caleb would see it as an "opportunity to learn creatively"  - that is, sneak off to play trains or Lego for a few minutes. Grr...

Kelly started his school year today, as well. This house is going to be on a weird schedule for the next year, but with God...we will make it.

Now time to head out for Scouts and ice cream. Praise the Lord for ice cream!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


What do 6 kids and a mom and dad (well, not the dad, he's driving) do on a 3 hour drive to their campsite? Sleep, read, and...oh, yes, sleep! It's been a nice and quiet drive to say the least! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Boom!

Eleven isn't a very big milestone. It wouldn't seem like anything special occurs when turning eleven. So why did I wake up this morning and feel like he grew overnight?? This once chubby, grey-eyed, quietly charming baby boy is now a skinny, grey-eyed, quirky and often loud man-child. He is our thinker. He is our special one. Oh, yes, they are all special. But something about Boom has always brought out the fiercely protective mama bear side in me quicker than any of them. Maybe it's the fact that he has eyes that seem wise beyond his years. Maybe it's his unusual way of stating things in ways that makes even the smartest adult stop and ponder a point. Maybe it's the way his stoic attitude refuses to cry when he is hurt, but you can see his pain in every pore. Maybe it's the way he wants to comfort someone who is hurting, probably because he feels their pain with such empathy. Maybe it is how he looks at life and just...goes for it. He amazes me with the questions he asks, the statements he makes, the man I see him becoming. But...I still see the baby boy, too. So for now, while eleven seems so young, maybe inconsequential. I celebrate it. I celebrate my baby boy, my man-child. My Boom. Happy Birthday, my special one.