Ready for the First Day of School!

Our super-fun summer has just sped by, and tomorrow it’s already time for the first day of school! To make our last week of vacation extra special, I prepared everyone’s favorite meal (with some exceptions…for example, no one was allowed to request Thanksgiving dinner!). Our lineup for the past week was:

  • Amanda–Reuben casserole
  • Turkey–Stromboli
  • Bunny–Brazilian black bean stew with Pao de Queijo and Brazilian lemonade
  • Moose–French toast with bacon and cranberry-pineapple juice
  • Ladybug–Creamy onion soup with Irish soda bread and pumpkin fizz
  • Chickadee–Mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon
  • Ryan–Cock-a-leekie pie

Tonight we had a “Farewell to Summer” dinner of hot dogs (including Chicago-style and chili dogs) and brats, with a special cream puff dessert:

The school room has been cleaned and organized, and for once, there really haven’t been any significant changes in the way it’s arranged! We’ve either found a really good layout that works for us, or we’ve run out of room to make any changes…or most likely, a combination of the two!

And the First Day of School outfits are ready to go…we’re going with a Harry Potter theme this year!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our 11th year of homeschooling. As always, I am both excited and terrified, but one thing is for sure…I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Ready for the First Day of School!

We had our End-of-Summer-Back-to-School-Super-Fun-Barbecue 2017…ribs, corn on the cob, salt & vinegar chips, and root beer floats for dessert:

The school room is clean and organized, with all this year’s books ready and waiting:

The first day of school outfits are ready to go:

So, that’s it. Summer 2017 is drawing to a close, and we’re ready for our first day of the new school year!

First Day of School 2016

As you’ve probably guessed by now, today was the first day of our ninth year of homeschooling! This year, I’ll be teaching two eighth graders, one fourth grader, and a cute little pre-kindergartener!

As I traditionally do, I prepared the school room before I let the children see it. I handed out the schultüte and all of their new workbooks, placed some of the books we’ll be using this year around the room, and displayed the Lego set I purchased for this year:

I love our calendar…we’ve been using it since our very first day of school in 2008!


Of course I had to take lots of pictures of my students!


We didn’t do every subject, but we did get to work on the basics:

Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug worked on building their new Lego Architecture set, a model of the Burj Khalifa:



Chickadee doesn’t have the fine motor skills (or patience!) for a Lego set like that, yet, but she did have fun working with the pattern blocks!


Here’s a look at this year’s arrangement of our school room:

And even though it’s not something I’ve done every year, I had Ryan take a picture of me with my students:


Today was a great start to what I hope will be a great year of school!

2015-16 School Year–Weeks Fifteen and Sixteen

Last week was kind of crazy, due to a two-day week of school for Moose (two scheduled days off and one snow day), and a lot of furniture moving, so I decided to just wait until today to do a two-week wrap-up!

We started Mr. Pipes Comes to America last week. So far, we’ve enjoyed this book, especially as it has tied in nicely to our history studies, which have focused on the American Revolution. It has, so far, been the book with the fewest familiar (to us) hymn writers, however!

In math, Turkey and Bunny have been working on permutations and combinations. Ladybug had been revisiting Roman numerals and working with different forms of measurement. They’ve come to the halfway point in their workbooks, which feels like quite an accomplishment!

We finished Farmer Boy this week…Ladybug is looking forward to beginning Charlotte’s Web next. Turkey and Bunny are still working through Tom Sawyer, and we’re all looking forward to finding out what is going to happen next in that story.

Turkey and Bunny are continuing to learn about geology in science. We’ve been focusing on fossils so far this week. Ladybug is learning about eggs, after having finished the chapter on nests.

Our history lessons have focused on the early wars fought in North American thanks to the European colonization of the continent. I always enjoy a visit to the time of the Revolutionary War, so I’ve really enjoyed our studies. We’ll be learning about the early days of the new country of the United States of America next week.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we have rearranged our school room yet again. The bookshelves from our library/guest room have been moved into the school room, so now all of our school stuff is in one place. It’s kind of cozy this way, and even though it was a lot of work moving all of those books, I really like it!

2015-16 School Year–Week One

This week, we began our eighth year of homeschooling. The school room looks pretty much the same as it did last year:



We had a fun project on our first day of school…building the Lego Ideas Birds set:


We eased into our subjects as the week progressed. We did religion, math, and language arts (except vocabulary, which I’m waiting to start until next week), every day, and slowly added in science, our literature studies, and our fun Friday subject for the year. I’m saving history, as we’re going to be doing something special for the next few weeks, before we start volume three of the Story of the World.


Here’s hoping we have another great year!

The Great Schoolroom Rearrangement of 2014

I’ve been thinking about a major schoolroom rearrangement for a while now, but I was afraid to do it because it involved moving a lot of stuff up and down the stairs (not to mention figuring out how to remove and then reinstall the gate at the top of the stairs!). Last night, I decided it just needed to be done, so Ryan and I moved a bookshelf and a couch downstairs, and another two bookshelves and an almost couch upstairs. It was a lot of work, and involved a lot of cleaning once I discovered how much stuff had gotten trapped under the couch in the schoolroom. Several hours of hard work later, though, I’m very pleased with the end result:


I think this is the most efficient use of the available space. Before, the corner bookshelf was almost impossible to get to, even for the children, and Turkey’s desk space was very cramped. Now the whole room is much more walkable, and the storage is much, much better. I hope I don’t think of any other ways to rearrange it for quite some time…I’m not sure my back could handle it!

The School Rooms

I’ve shared a lot of pictures of our school room in the past, especially since I keep rearranging it! This year is no different, although the rearranging has been fairly minor compared to some of the other times I’ve moved things around!

We added a computer desk to our layout. No school computer yet…hoping to have the money to add it sometime this school year!


And since we put the desk where one of the bookshelves was, the shelf had to be moved, as well. I kind of like it over there by the window. Some poster and banner rearranging was also necessitated by these changes.


Since so much of our guest bedroom is also used for school purposes, I guess it’s fair to say we have school rooms. Our library is in this room, as is a new storage area. I’m loving this little shelf/basket system I picked up on sale at Target…there’s enough room for each child (plus the teacher), to store stuff!

There’s not much else I can do to move things around, unless we replace the couch with a chair for the teacher. We just don’t have any more space for new furniture, and I think I’ve finally come up with the optimal arrangement for the furniture we do have!

Rearranged (Yet Again)

OK, I’m not going to say that this is how the school room is going to stay. I’m just not. Because every other time I’ve said it, it’s turned out to be untrue. So, this is how the school room is going to stay for now.




I took the five main bookshelves out of the school room (again), and moved them into the room that used to be Chickadee’s room/the guest room (again). Now it’s back to being the library/the guest room, just like it was before Chickadee moved in (she’s in the room with her big sisters now)!


I don’t mind having a separate library. It was nice having the bookshelves in the school room, but because Turkey and Bunny’s desks were in front of them, they were a little inaccessible (mostly to me…the children didn’t seem to mind), and Chickadee wanted to pull all of the books off the shelves every day. So, I removed the bulk of that temptation, even though there are still some books she can make a mess of if she’s so inclined. I did have to steal a bookshelf from another room in the house to complete this set-up, which I’m not thrilled about. The bookshelf was not absolutely necessary where it was, but it did serve a purpose. As it’s necessary for the school room, however, the school room wins!


So, this is the current state of our school room. I still have a long-term plan that involves getting rid of the couch, and putting in a computer desk, and a comfy chair for the teacher. When that happens (since that’s probably two years down the road, at least, Chickadee should be a little less mischievous), I may bring the bookshelves back in, but I’m not going to make any specific plans about that now. For today, I’m just happy to be done rearranging all of the books and the furniture yet again!

School Room 2013-14

The school room hasn’t changed too much for this year…I did add another bookshelf for my teacher’s guides and our references books in the last remaining space, and this year, we will have three banners up year-round, but the general layout is the same:





I do have a long-term plan for this room, that may or may not ever be implemented. If we ever get around to replacing the couch and chairs in our living room, I plan to bring one of those recliners upstairs, and get rid of the school room couch. This would be a little bittersweet, because I do love when we snuggle on the couch and read, but on the other hand, if I just had a cozy chair instead (because the teacher needs a comfortable seat!), it would free up room for a small desk with a school computer, and maybe even one more bookshelf. If I can make all of that happen someday, it will be the homeschool room of my dreams (although, it’s already pretty darn close!).

The Final Rearrangement

Technically, I don’t think this really counts as rearranging the school room (which I said I was done doing). But I really wanted to find a way for our folding table to stay up permanently, because we use it for so very many things…puzzles, games, building projects, science experiments, and crafts, to name a few. The only way to really make room for the table, though, was to take the sectional sofa in the room apart, and slide everything toward the window.


In the end, I think it worked out well. The end of the couch is against the wall, so you don’t really notice the missing arm on one side. We have full access to the window now, which is nice, and the heating vent is no longer blocked. I don’t know that the room suffered at all for that (it wasn’t totally blocked, and there is a second vent), but it’s nice to have it back out in the open.

I’m done now. Other than adding a second cabinet, which I’d love to do at some point, but isn’t really in the budget, I can’t really think of a way to improve our school room set-up. I’m excited to get back to work on Monday, in our new-and-improved (again!) school room!