Weekly Wrap Up: It's Been A While, and Having Teenagers Is Hard Work

I realized yesterday that it’s been a few weeks since I posted a weekly wrap up. We took a week of fall break in mid-October while Rachel spent a few days with my sister-in-law’s learning how to sew in a sewing boot camp of sorts. We started back full swing the next week, but we also now have a teen employee in the house. Charles got a job at Chick-Fil-A. He’s liking it and doing well. But, because he doesn’t drive yet, it’s added a whole new dimension to my taxi cab routine.

I’ve also been blogging the 31 Days of Literature Unit Ideas during all of October, and that has kept me super busy here on the blog. You can see links to all of the completed units here. I didn’t manage to finish all 31 in October, but I’ll be picking up the rest this month in the midst of some other regular blogging.

All of this has conspired to keep me pretty busy, and I’ve let the Weekly Wrap Up slide. But we are still in the throes of school and extracurricular fun. So…here goes.

Weekly Wrap Up- Our family and homeschool adventures

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Rachel has had a real itch to learn to sew. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sewing challenged. Kathryne sewed for a while and had a few lessons, but it had been so long ago, she wasn’t sure she could do it. So, my sister-in-law volunteered to take Rachel for the weekend and give her a little “sewing boot camp.” She actually learned lots and made several projects between Saturday and Tuesday when she came home. Here’s Blondie modeling one of her aprons.

I got a little creative as well and made a homemade cake. I almost hesitate to admit that I had never made a totally from scratch cake and icing. I found this recipe online for the chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I use gluten free flour that is a good one to one substitute. It’s my favorite- Krusteaz. The cake turned out pretty good. I wasn’t wild about the rich icing, but the kids were pretty big fans. I’m just pleased to announce I’ve made a homemade cake and icing. And, I’ve just blown the theory that all homeschool moms grind their own wheat and make everything from scratch.

Halloween fell last weekend, and because it was on a Saturday, we made big plans for trick-or-treating and hanging out. The big kids also went to watch the football championships of the Crusaders, the local Palmetto Football League that they played and cheered for last year. After the game, we all met up for trick-or-treating along with a friend. Ashlyne made up her own costume this year. This is Detective Bunny, using one of the incredibly cute Sun-Staches, I recently came across. Rachel is a ballerina…of course.

The whole gathered crew- our friend was Darla from Finding Nemo, complete with a baggie of water and a fake fish. Kathryne, who declined to trick-or-treat this year, wore normal clothes in the style of Kate Austen from the t.v. show lost, which Kathryne and I are watching on Netflix. Ashlyne and Rachel are here as ballerina and Bunny. And Charles…couldn’t decide what to wear. He ended up wrapped in bubble wrap with a cowboy hat and bandanna. Why? Who knows? They did successfully fill bags with candy, though, which Rachel says has to last her until Christmas candy. I was quite impressed with someone who handed out dental floss in their bags in loo of candy.

Believe it or not, we do accomplish school in the midst of all this craziness as well. I’m still loving that I do school with Ashlyne and Rachel- especially when I get to read out loud. Because it’s already happened with Charles and Kathryne, I know the day is coming soon when they’ll work independently for the most part. I’m not looking forward to it. The main thrust of our studies this year is Notgrass’s America the Beautiful history course. We’re supplementing American history-themed literature. We’re also doing two things that have come to be favorites for all of us.

Analytical Grammar is the grammar I used with the older kids. Because we follow many Charlotte Mason methods, I haven’t taught formal grammar in elementary school. We waited until middle school age with the older kids- grades 6 and 7 when we started. Following a recommendation from the Simply Charlotte Mason site and after hearing a presentation at a homeschool convention, we chose Analytical Grammar and loved it. I completed the program- a three-year grammar program with a mechanics and punctuation mini course- with the big kids and intend to start it with Ashlyne and Rachel next year. But I happened to come across an awesome freebie a couple of weeks ago- the Junior Analytical Grammar student book download- for FREE! (The freebie is sadly over now or I would have shared the link.) I downloaded it and printed a book for each. You can purchase a teacher book, but it’s pretty easy to figure things out from the student book- especially since I have used the course before. The course is a slower and more gentle introduction to the basic parts of speech. The girls are actually really enjoying it as well, and I’m glad they’ll have had the basics when we start the full course next year.

Another publisher we’ve been loving is Grapevine Studies Bible studies. I’ve had the opportunity to review several this year, and another is coming soon as a Crew review. We’re currently using the Creation to Jacob Old Testament study. We’ve also used Ruth and Moses, and I have plans for The Birth of Christ around the holidays and then Esther. Grapevine is so unique because you literally draw stick figures to illustrate the Bible that you’re learning. You can read my review of Creation to Jacob coming soon, and you can find Grapevine Studies here.

You could certainly tell we were a homeschooled family this past week. At one point, we had three science experiments going on in the kitchen. Kathryne had water freezing in this cylinder to study the difference in volume of ice versus water.

Charles was…and is growing mold on bread so that he can analyze it under the microscope. And the egg was bathing in vinegar to dissolve the shell. You never know what you’re going to find around the kitchen here.

One tidbit I haven’t mentioned on the blog yet is our impending move. After my dad passed away this summer, we’ve been talking with my mom about possibly moving in together. She has really wanted to do this, and we’ve thought it would be a good idea as well. We discussed building on where we live, but we don’t have a great place. So we began looking for a house with an in-law apartment or basement that could be made into an apartment. We’ve had a few houses look good and had even put a contract on one which fell through when the inspection came back with many, many issues. Last weekend we looked at one more…and all fell in love. The upstairs has three bedrooms and two baths…like our house now. The downstairs is a full walk-out basement with a living room, two bedrooms, a full bathroom and a counter for a small kitchenette. We’re moving forward quickly on this one and are hoping to move in around Christmas time. It makes for lots of busy around here!

This week is shaping up to be a fairly “normal” one for use- Charles working, dance for the girls, gym for Ashlyne, classes for Kathryne. 

I’m linking up this week with:

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