Block Five 2016/2017

2017 started off a little rough emotionally, but school-wise it started off well.  The first block of the year was a lot of fun for everyone.


Grade 4-Local History

Parks’ block began by looking at the Native American tribe that inhabited our area before the European settlers came, which was the Catawba Tribe.  We visited the Charlotte Museum of History which had some information on the tribe (and a  TON of information on the beginnings of Charlotte, the biggest city that we are near and the where many of the NC history stories that we have read about take place).  He then looked at the town that we live in, Cornelius, and how it has changed over the years.  Our area was drastically changed in the 60s when the area was flooded to build a lake.  We visited the Energy Explorium for our area which had a terrific history of the area and pictures of the area before and after the lake was built.  He finished up the block with a study of his choice which was Blackbeard, a pirate who resided in NC.  Overall, I think Parks really enjoyed the block.

Grade 6- Economics/Business

Sawyer’s block focused on business using the book Striker Jones.  I am not a business person.  When I did this block with Sims, I used this book and Sims really enjoyed it!  Well, Sawyer did too.  Each chapter had vocabulary and insightful questions that got everyone discussing business!  During the field trip to the Charlotte Museum of History, the guide spoke about bartering and trading which was perfectly timed with her chapter.  She also interviewed several people about their jobs and what kept them at their jobs (she was pretty shocked to find out that money was not enough to keep people at their jobs).  She wrote a business letter to Jelly Belly about her love for their product!  We also went to watch the new movie, “The Founder.”  After that movie, she wasn’t so sure how she felt about being a part of a big business in her future!

Grade 8-US History 1910-Modern Times

I wanted to try to make history more relevant for Sims during this block, and I think it worked.  We did history backwards.  I had him look at 2016 (the year that he turned 13) and describe historical events and his life.  We then went back in 10 year increments to look at what happened during that decade.  He also interviewed people of different ages.  During each interview, he asked: in what year was the person 13? what and where were the activities that the person participated in? what big events in history does the person remember? what was an event that had a big impact on the person’s life? anything else that the person wanted to add?  Most people did not know what was going on in the country, such as the depression, the vastness of the wars, the economic ups or downs, etc.  Three of the four field trips tied in very nicely with this block for him.  The Charlotte Museum of History was filled with information on the area from the present time back to the 1700s.  The movie, “Hidden Figures,” went through civil rights, the cold war, and the space program (and many more historical events).  Finally, the Energy Explorium went through the impact of electricity through the US and many other changes in the US over the past 100 years.  Like Sawyer, we had SO many amazing discussions, looked through videos, and made so many connections during this block.  Sims also learned how to make a simple power point presentation during this block as a way to make an outline for the century.


I love it when all three blocks come together so nicely.  They all had pieces that tied them together.  We read about many business practices during our local history and US history blocks that put what Sawyer was learning into real life.  We learned how the small town that we live in was impacted by events happening around the US.

A Week in January

What a roller coaster of a week!  We are finally beginning to look a little bit more like our “normal” selves today, but the rest of the week was a whirlwind.  We are in the process of redoing our floors, which I found out means “pretend like you are moving out of your house but you don’t.”  We have stuff EVERYWHERE and of course, I enjoy complicating everything.  Thus, we cannot put it away until we go through it ALL!  So we spent the week in chaos.

When your children and yourself work best with routine/rhythm and organized chaos, then insanity occurs when you replace your floors.  LOL.  So Monday and Tuesday were spent ripping out the old floors, painting the subfloor, and moving stuff around.  Wednesday the men came to put in the new flooring.  We were off of our game.  Our rhythm was out of whack.  I thought that I was going to lose it.  Then I noticed our little cockatiel, Honey, was lying down (if you know anything about birds, then you know that they do not lay down).

Everything stopped.  We all gathered around each other on the couch snuggling our little bird on our chests, taking turns as she took her final breaths.  That moment brought us back.  We had small backyard funeral for her and then walked up the road for some lunch and a slow afternoon.

So far 2017 has brought us two sinus infections, a trip to the emergency room and two pets passing on.  I do not want you to think that I am negative about this as I am not.  These events have also taught us all some important life lessons and brought my children together.  My kids argue…..ALOT.  However when the times get tough-aka, someone is sick or one of their pets die or someone is hurting, they come together.


A Day in the Life 2017- Friday

I am posting our activities each day for the week in preparation for the Day in the Life series on Simple Homeschool.  I always enjoy reading through these posts. Yesterday’s post is here.

I am actually writing this on Tuesday the following week, so I am not positive how accurate it will be.

715 I woke up and got ready for the day.

745 Everyone was up and moving in the kitchen.

830 15 minute clean up.

900 The kids take classes on Fridays one town over.  This morning, Sims realized that all of his books for his class were still at the lake house (I guess this means that he did not finish his work for this week).  Typically, we head out around 930, but this morning we have to leave earlier to go by the lake house first.

1000  We arrived at the classes.  Sims headed into his physical science class.  Sawyer, Parks and I go to an empty class room to work on a science program with one of their friends.  The kids are building a glider but they realized that they did not have all of the instructions, so they spent the hour learning how to call the maker of the program.  During this time, they also built different types of gliders with cups, plates and paper and tested them.

1115 I took my three kids out to lunch at a local pizzeria so that we could watch the inauguration.

1230  We headed back to class.  Sims went into Literary Analysis.  Sawyer and Parks played Forbidden Island with some other kids that were there.


145 Sims and Parks headed back home with my friend while Sawyer went to her class.  At home, the boys ate snack.  Sims headed out to fish.

330 I got home with Sawyer and I, honestly, do not remember what we did!  I know that I cooked dinner but that is all I remember.

700 I headed over to the lake house for a ladies night.  Sims was still there fishing until about 10.  The other two kids hung out at home with their dad.

I do miss our Friday hikes.  I like that Sims is getting some exposure to a different type of class and a different type of teaching, but the opportunity cost is big in my mind.  I hope everyone had a terrific week and that you check out the Simple Homeschool blog!  I find lots of neat tidbits of information from reading them.  This week, I read about a mom who does a Monday meeting with all of her kids to review the work from the week before.  I may try this in February with our next block.  The blogs are not to compare ourselves but to learn from each other.  I love how different everyone’s days look!

A Day in the Life 2017-Thursday

I am posting our activities each day for the week in preparation for the Day in the Life series on Simple Homeschool.  I always enjoy reading through these posts. Yesterday’s post is here.

Today we had a slight change in our day.  Usually the kids ride horses on Thursdays but it was canceled.  Here goes.

640 I woke up, started working on my plan for the class that I taught, showered and blogged.

745 Everyone was up.  We all ate breakfast and I worked on the crust for dinner tonight (broccoli quiche).

840 15 minute clean upimg_1136

900 Group work.  Group work on Thursdays is usually just a check in and a time for everyone to discuss their main lesson work.  Today, Parks showed everyone a map of Cornelius in 1911.

930 Everyone began their independent work.p1130277

1045 We headed out to a local park for the kids to hit a mountain bike trail (this is the time that we usually would be at the barn).  I sat and worked on my class plan, journaled and worked on planning for next week’s school.  We ran into a lady who we seem to run into a lot around town and chatted with her for a bit.

1245 We came home and everyone ate lunch.

130 I headed out to teach my class (I teach a class where I break down yoga poses so that they are doing them properly and I teach about protecting your back).  While I was gone, the kids worked on school work and the boys built a bike course in the back yard.

320 I came home only to pick up Sawyer and head to the doctor.  She and Parks are fighting sinus infections that we cannot seem to beat with neti pots, mucinex and altered diet.  I hate to do it, but we are resorting to antibiotics.  Ugh.

445 We got home at 445 and I began cooking dinner.

545  The kids began watching Ben Hur and I headed out to the Ada Jenkins Center where I volunteer at the Free Medical Clinic.  While I was out, the kids ate dinner, watched a little more of the movie, and went with my husband to get a haircut.

940 I finished up at the medical clinic and headed to the market to get gauze for Sims (he got stitches last Thursday and ran out of gauze).

1005 I got home.  Sims was still up waiting on me.  We got his cut covered and I headed to bed.

A Day in the Life 2017- Wacky Wednesday

I am posting our activities each day for the week in preparation for the Day in the Life series on Simple Homeschool.  I always enjoy reading through these posts.  Yesterdays post is here.

Hump Day!  Thank goodness for Wednesdays.  Today was nice and slow-the way homeschooling should be, if I believed in should be’s.

715 I woke up and showered ate breakfast and read the new Reader’s Digest that came in.

745 Parks woke up and ate breakfast

800 Everyone is moving.  Everyone came in and ate breakfast and rummaged around.

900 I called a quick meeting to discuss the weekend and do some planning.

930 15 minute clean up.

945 We met in the sunroom to do our group work.  While I was reading, Parks worked on art projects-aka, paper airplanes that flew over my head while I was reading.  Little did I know that he was passing notes.  I guess when you don’t sit at desks or have cell phones to text with, you still will find a way to communicate with your fellow students.

1040 Everyone made a snack/early lunch? Parks and I worked on the computer looking at old maps of our area.

1115 I took the dog for a quick walk while the older two worked on math.

1135 (very short walk) I met with Sims about planning his project on US History and helped Sawyer with her math.

1230 We headed out with some friends to see the movie “Hidden Figures.”  AMAZING movie!!  It had everything-good actors, education, music, math, and a feel good story.


330 We got home.  The kids headed out on their bikes with their friends while I worked on laundry and putting away items from being out of sorts the past couple of weeks.  I could use another whole day to catch up.

500 Sims and I headed to the market to pick up items for his dinner.  When we got home, he went to work cooking.

545 We ate dinner and played the game, “Ticket to Ride.”


800 Nick and I watched a movie and the kids got ready for bed.

900 The house was quiet except for our movie and our laughing.

A Day in the Life 2017- Tuesday

I am posting my daily schedule and activities for the week.  I enjoy doing this each year to review where we are and how we are doing.  Yesterday’s post is here.  Today was another busy day.

715 Woke up and chatted with Nick.  I woke up late.  I was sleeping so soundly that I did not hear Nick get up and leave to go work out.

745 Everyone started getting up and heading to the kitchen for breakfast and to empty the dishwasher/feed the pets.  I worked on my journal for a bit and got the supplies ready for the lesson today.

840 15 minute cleanup (If you are curious what this is, it goes like this.  Each person is responsible for one room for the week.  The room must be tidy, dusted and vacuumed.  After that is done, everyone is responsible for their bathroom as well.  This method has changed our lives as far as cleaning goes.  I highly recommend it. I read about the concept on another homeschooling family blog.)

900 Group work.  We discussed World War II, more business math and worked on a map of present day Cornelius.

1000 Everyone began their independent work and I went among each of them doing individual lessons and helping where needed.


I am hoping this person is coming back.

1130 Sawyer took the dog for a walk.  Parks was tinkering with a project, and Sims was still working on math.

1200 Lunch and laundry and shower.

p1130258 much laundry!

100 We headed out to drop off the boys off at the lake house so that they could ride their bikes home (they left them there).  Lucky for me, my dad pulled in the street right as we were leaving.  The boys jumped out of my car and into his.  Sawyer and I headed north for gymnastics.  While Sawyer was in gym, I headed out to run a couple of errands.  I am trying to finish up the rooms that we are redecorating, but I am not having much luck. On our way home, we picked up the groceries (yep, I order my groceries online and pick them up.  I find that I save a lot of money and don’t waste as much food this way. I felt odd about doing it initially, but now I am comfortable in that decision).

330 Once we got home, we decided that we would hit a local mountain bike trail.  I wouldn’t normally try to stuff this in, but the kids got bikes for Christmas.  We have been so crazy that we haven’t gone mountain biking with them yet.  It is supposed to rain for the rest of the week, so today seemed like a good day to go.

530 The boys cleaned off the bikes and got them off of the car.  Sawyer and I worked on a quick dinner.

615 We headed back out.  Sims went to scouts.  Parks and I headed to BMX.  Sawyer relaxed at home.


800  Parks and I got home.  He and Sawyer got ready for bed and then drew for a bit.

900  Nick met Sims at scouts and brought him home.  Everyone headed off to bed soon after this.

Today was another full day.  We should all sleep well!