The Top Five–Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2023

After last year’s “Top Five” list of things I was looking forward to, this one seems pretty tame…there is no big trip to Disney World on the horizon, after all! But there are still things I’m anticipating in this new year…let’s take a look!

  • That 90s Show–I know it’s silly, and I really hope they don’t screw it up, but I’m really looking forward to Red and Kitty being on my TV screen again…hopefully I’ll like the rest of the characters, too!
  • Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait–I can’t wait for this biography of Queen Elizabeth II to be released in the US! Yes, I could have just imported it, but I figured I could wait a few more months. I’m pretty choosy about what biographies of the Royal Family I read (I don’t want anything too tabloid-y), and this one is from an author I feel comfortable supporting. Hopefully I’ll learn something new!
  • Coronation of King Charles III–This is a bittersweet one for me, because part of me still can’t believe Her Majesty is gone, but I am looking forward to seeing what the pomp and ceremony of a coronation looks like in the modern day!
  • Graduation–Turkey and Bunny are both graduating from community college with Associate’s Degrees this spring. This is another bittersweet thing for me, but I’m so proud of them and how hard they’ve worked, and I can’t wait to see them accept their degrees!
  • Trip to Toledo–The boys and I have talked about taking a trip to Toledo to see the Mudhens play and eat at Tony Packo’s (it’s a M*A*S*H thing), for several years now, and hopefully this summer we’ll make it happen! If we’re really lucky, we’ll also stop in Cincinnati and see Fritz the Hippo before he gets too much bigger!

So, there’s a look at some of the things I’m most excited about in the new year. What are you looking forward to?

The Graduates

The big day is here…Turkey and Bunny are now high school graduates!

We had a small, family celebration, but I tried to make it as special as possible.

Bunny also had an Animal Crossing graduation party!

I made their favorite dinner:

And java chip Oreo truffles for dessert:

I don’t know where the years have gone, but I do know that I am very proud of them, and excited for the next chapters in their lives!

2020-21 School Year–Week Thirty-Four

Hymn of the Week–“Go, My Children, with My Blessing” (Lutheran Service Book #922)

This is the final wrap-up for the 2020-21 school year!

On Sunday, we visited the Missouri Botanical Garden…not really a field trip, but we’ve gone so few places in the last 15 months, I thought it deserved a mention.

As for the school week, we just worked on finishing everything up. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug submitted their final final papers…I was very impressed with the wide range of topics they chose (Turkey looked at the character of Frank Burns from M*A*S*H and why he’s no longer a caricature and thus no longer funny, Bunny wrote about whether Benedict Arnold was a hero or villain, and Ladybug discussed major events of WWII). Moose finished up his year of distance learning…it certainly wasn’t an easy way to experience his first year of high school, but he did a great job! Turkey, Bunny Ladybug, and Chickadee all finished their final science chapters. Ladybug and Chickadee were also excited to take a look at the crystals they’ve been growing:

And then the day I’ve been dreading all year…Turkey’s and Bunny’s graduation day. I’m so proud of them, but I can’t believe I’m losing half of my students at once!

As always, we ended the year with a Lego set…this time, the Medieval Blacksmith. It’s a really cool set…I especially love the color scheme!

One last time…my students:

This year has been, at times, impossibly difficult, and I wasn’t always sure how we’d make it through. Now that it’s over, though, I find that I’m sad to see it go. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime situation, with all five children learning at home all year. While I hope never to live through a pandemic again, we definitely made a lot of memories, and there are things I will definitely miss.

To end the school year, I will leave you with some wise thoughts from Wade:

K to 8

Today, Ladybug graduates from eighth grade! Here’s a look back at every first day of school she’s had, from kindergarten through 8th grade:

And a last day of 8th grade picture, too:

On to high school!

The First Day of School…and the Last

I don’t always have photos taken of me with my students on the first or last day of school in any given year, but as it turns out, I did have a photo of Turkey, Bunny, and I from our very first day of homeschooling way back in September 2008, and I made sure to take another today to commemorate Turkey’s and Bunny’s high school graduation.

I guess the experiment we decided to try for one year turned out ok!

Eighth Grade Graduation

Tonight is Moose’s junior high graduation. Since I couldn’t get a cap and gown picture (the school never even made it to the point where they would order them before things shut down), this one outside of his school will have to do!

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A Weird Turn of Events

Today was Moose’s last day of school before his graduation tomorrow. I was surprised to find that it was almost more difficult dropping him off for his last day of Early Childhood Education than it was dropping him off for his first day, two and a half years ago, but for completely different reasons.

When I had to leave him at the school that November day, I was so worried about how he would do. He couldn’t talk, and so I worried about how he would communicate with his teachers, and let them know what he needed, as well as how he would communicate with us when he got home, to let us know how his day was, and if he was happy at school. I worried about him being just barely three, which was, (and still is), in my opinion, too young to be away from home, at least for a “normal” child, (which, of course, he was not).

Today, my worries are about the future. How will he do in Kindergarten? Will he be able to keep up with all that’s expected of him? Because the expectations will be higher, and to be perfectly frank, Kindergarten “counts.” He *has* to be there, while ECE was always optional, and we could have removed him from the program at any time, if it hadn’t gone well.

Now, I know he’s surpassed what I thought he could do in ECE, so I’m assuming the same will happen in Kindergarten, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised, (and reassured). But I also know that things will be hard for him…I don’t know how hard, and I don’t know in which ways, but he will have struggles, I’m sure. And I would do anything to be able to take those struggles away from him, because I don’t want to see him get hurt.

And so, just as I did the day I first dropped him off, I shed tears. Not because I didn’t want to leave him, which was the source of my tears that first day, but because now, I don’t want him to have to leave the comfort and familiarity of the program I was so worried about leaving him with in the first place.

Kindergarten Graduates

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Please let me take a moment to brag on Turkey and Bunny.

Today was their last day of Kindergarten!

It has been an interesting journey over the last year–it was almost exactly a year ago that we made the shocking decision to homeschool.  Frankly, there are times when I am still surprised that we are doing this.  I had no idea what to expect when we started this adventure–would Turkey and Bunny learn well? Listen to me? Be able to accomplish all the things they needed to do? Would they like homeschooling? Would I? There were so many unknowns stretching out in front of me on that day last September when they had their first day of school, and yet here we are, at the end of our school year.

Let me just say that they both far exceeded my expectations.  From how quickly they both picked up reading, to Bunny’s almost frightening abilities with geography, to Turkey’s precise printing that puts my own to shame, they both excelled in their first year of school. I got to observe many interesting things about them, some of which were no surprise (Turkey is a very precise color-er, from crayon selection to staying in the lines, while Bunny doesn’t take even a moment to contemplate color choice before scribbling across a picture–nothing new there!), and some which shocked me (their abilities in the areas of memory work and learning the Six Chief Parts of the Catechism blew even me away!).

I also discovered that they are almost completely different people when we enter our schoolroom–more respectful to me, far more polite to one another. They also listen better and follow directions with less trouble when we’re in school. I know that for children who go away to school, whether public or private, they often display far different behavior from what they exhibit in the home, but I didn’t expect to see that dichotomy within my own home, as we transitioned from playroom to schoolroom.

So, I count this year as a success.  I still consider myself to be doing this on a year-by-year basis–if things ever really turn south, for whatever reason, including me not doing an adequate job of teaching them, or them losing respect for me as teacher, I will consider enrolling them in the public school. For now, though, I think it’s safe to say that this is working out just fine, and we’ll be staring First Grade in our little schoolroom come August.