Friday, April 24, 2015

Typical Week–Friday–Day Five

This is the last day of my “typical” week here on my blog.

Overview. Day One. Day Two. Day Three. Day Four.

Fridays are great days!  It just feels so good to wake up and know that it is Friday!  My alarm was set for 8:45 AM as a treat, but I woke up at 8:00 AM…oh well….

8:00 AM – wake up

8:15 AM – I am in my running clothes because with a quick text, I scheduled a run with my friend up the street at 10:30!  woo hoo!

The boys are playing legos and D (age 8) requests waffles for breakfast!  Good choice!

8:30 AM – I make waffles for everyone using my current favorite recipe.  The kids get some morning chores done and I make a phone call to cancel a doc appointment…waffles are cooking!

9:00 AM – I send the boys to wake up T (age 10) and we start eating waffles. 

Fridays tend to be lazy morning.  We chat, eat, laugh and relax.  There isn’t a ton of rush this morning.

9:30 AM – We begin school in the dining room.  Everyone is goofy and annoying each other with singing, so in hopes of making it better, I put on Pandora Radio.

It didn’t end the silliness or singing….so for your viewing enjoyment….

Somehow in all of this, math begins to get done.  The boys finish up all of their schoolwork pretty quickly.  K finishes up hers pretty quickly today as well.

10:30 AM – The kids take a break to play Wii.  They are excited because the boys sold their old toys to buy a new Wii Motion Plus Remote.  This means they can play a particular game they enjoy that requires that remote.

I head out the door for a run in this beautiful weather!

11:30 AM – My run is done and I am showered and ready to move on.

We sit on the sofa to read two chapters of, Trumpet of the Swan.  Everyone is enjoying this story!

12:00 PM – Lunch is served! 

12:30 PM – We complete our Friday Freewrite.  We do this every Friday.

Today’s topic: You are moving away and can only take with you what will fit in one suitcase.  What will you bring?  The goal of freewriting is to transfer the thoughts in your head to the paper without a whole lot of stopping to think.  You just write what is on your mind. 

While the girls and I do this for 5 minutes, the boys draw pictures.  After the girls and I share our freewrites, the boys dictate their thoughts to me and I record it for them.

One HUGE message that I try to convey to my kids is the writing isn’t handwriting, but it is THOUGHTS and IDEAS!  You can be a good writer and hire someone to record your thought for you, so I am willing to be that transcriptionist anytime.

12:45 PM – The kids head outside to ride bikes and play while I gather some curriculum for a friend.

1:30-3:30 PM – We head to the Falls Dam area of Falls Lake, which is less than a mile up the road.  Friends meet us there and we spend the afternoon playing, gathering rocks, digging in dirt, and wading in the water. 

It was a perfect end to the school week!

The rest of the evening included a hair cut for me!  Lots of neighborhood playtime.  And friends over for dinner!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Typical Week–Day Four–Thursday

The basic layout of our studies is here.  Day One is here.  You can find Day Two over here.  And Day Three is written in this place.

7:15 AM – EARLY is the alarm today.  We have a doctor appointment at 8 AM for my oldest.   My son, D (age 8) is reading on the sofa when I show up downstairs. 

When I remember, I put out various library books on the sofa before I go to bed.  If I do this, then he is always reading a good book when I come down.  Today he was reading a book by Mike Venezia about the life of Michelangelo.

7:30 AM – I wake K (age 12) and make breakfast for everyone.  Once everyone is settled, K and I head out to her appointment.

7:45-9:15 AM – K and I are at the doctor.  The other three will eat and play together, probably on Minecraft, until I get home. 

K and I are able to hit Harris Teeter for a few items on our way home.

9:15 –  We are home!  I have to make a few phone calls to schedule another doctor appointment, so I let everyone finish up 15 more minutes on their “screens”.

9:30 – The girls begin school and the boys play legos.  This little routine has been working well.

Now, lest anyone think our days are all smooth sailing, today was not.  The girls were not focused.  There were silly arguments going on.  This meant that 45 minutes later, both girls were still working on math.

10:15 AM – the boys join in for school work.  Tricia has had it and goes out to ride her bike.

10:30 AM – K has finished math and grammar.  We finish up getting her letter in the mail.  (she wanted to print a picture for an autograph request)

10:50 AM – D (age 8) is done math and copywork.

*BREAK for everyone

11:00 – They all head back in so I begin asking trivia questions from our Professor Noggin Country cards.  They take over and I wash windows as we try to answer questions.

11:15 AM – My younger three set up a game on the porch; K and I chat while she works on deleting instagram pictures on one of her accounts because she wants to take it in a different direction.

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11:45 AM – LUNCH! 

While eating, we read  from the Bible – book of Mark.  I read D’s grammar lesson out loud to review with everyone.  He is memorizing the definition of an adjective, so I name a noun and the kids rotate naming an adjective to describe it.

Then I read the next chapter of Trumpet of the Swan.

12:30 PM – Morning chores.  Then free time.

*I did not run the dishwasher last night, so I had to run it this AM, so everything about morning chores happened really late today

1:15 PM – Three other families come over to participate in history activities.  We meet every three weeks to do the “crafty/art” stuff from our history curriculum.  (no one every gets to it at home on our own, so this gives us some fun group dynamics AND crafts)

Today it wasn’t my turn to plan, so I just have to set up a table in the front room and let the planning mom take over!

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The kids made spears, knot counting strings, and played Trivia.

2:20 PM – The history group ends and my kids play outside and on the porch again.  In addition to the game on the porch, they smash things with hammers in the garage for awhile.  They were given corn kernels to smash at our history group today and after smashing kernels, they move on to various objects in the recycling bin.

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3:00 – I take K to volleyball.  The younger set had to put away the hammers before I left!!!  They are back on the porch.

3:30 – I am debating a run on the treadmill when a good friend from MD calls.  Clearly, I postpone my run to chat! 

4:15 – I hope off the phone and begin to lay out the school work for tomorrow.  It is at this moment that I realize that D still has his Explode the Code to complete and T isn’t quite done her math.

4:45 – D completes his Explode the Code as I put in a pizza for dinner.

5:00 – We eat dinner and get ready for evening activities.

5:15 PM – K arrives home and grabs some food.

At this point, our school day is done other than T’s math, which she’ll have to do after soccer.

Thursday nights are a crazy night until soccer season is over.  Both girls have a sport at 6 PM, so the boys join me at gymnastics with K.  Eric takes T to soccer as he is the coach and it would be hard for him to have extra kiddos there.

By the end of the evening, I am beat.  Thursdays are long enough, but the added early AM and volleyball was killer.  Schoolwork is laid out.  Books are on the sofa for D.  I am done.

(But T is not.  Math still sits.  Until tomorrow when she has to finish today’s work AND do Friday’s)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Typical Week - Day Three–Wednesday

You can find our basic subject outline here.  Day One is here.  Day Two is here.

Now for Wednesday…

8:00 AM – alarm woke me.  I showered and dressed because I have an appointment this AM.

8:30 AM – I head downstairs.  Both boys are there.  I make them some quick breakfast, scramble 2 eggs for me and eat.  K (age 12) wakes up.

8:45 – I wake T (age 10) to say goodbye and then I head out. 

8:45-10:15 AM – I attended a consumer research group to give my opinion on siding.  I earned a $75 AMEX gift card for my opinion so I took it to Harris Teeter for groceries.  (exciting stuff, huh?) 

During this time, the kids had no internet because it is acting up, so they couldn’t get on Minecraft servers.  Instead, the played Mario Party 8.  It’s basically a board game on the Wii. 

10:15 AM – I am home and let them finish up their game while I unpack groceries and make a phone call about the internet…which I got fixed!  (it was easy this time…it rarely is, so that is great news)

10:25 – T admits that she hasn’t eaten breakfast, so she makes herself some food and grabs her math to work on while she eats. 

K and D (age 8) start school (math) at the dining table while C (age 5) plays Legos.  I help them as needed and then ask C to come do his school work.  We all sit and work.

I picked 2 Bob books for C to read to me today.  After the first one, he tells me that he doesn’t want to read the second one, so I read it to him instead. 

(I try to be flexible with my kids moods and energy.   You will no longer find me in schoolwork battles….we have worked through much of that.  A post for another time….)

11:00 – C is done all of his work.  K is done all of her seatwork.  D is finished math.  T is finished copywork and math.  The boys head off to legos and K heads off to the trampoline.

**Normally K has reading to do, but the year is winding down and she is finished her history titles and has finished her literature title for this month.  We aren’t starting anything new until we return from our vacation.**

11:15 – T has now finished grammar and we started to do spelling, only to realize that she had finished the book and I don’t have the next level.  SO…she is done for the day and she heads outside.

At this point everyone is on bikes and playing in the gorgeous weather.  I HAD planned to do a letter writing activity before lunch, but it is too nice outside.

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Instead, I took the book One Crazy Summer to read on the porch while the kids played. 

(I am reading one of K’s literature assignments this month and she REALLY enjoyed it.  A lot of her discussion/information was about the Black Panthers and I was curious, so I decided to read it.  I don’t read all of her titles every month anymore)

12:00 PM – We all came in and made lunch.  While we ate lunch, I grabbed one of the library picture books to read.  It is about the invention of the printing press, which reinforces our history reading from yesterday.

12:40 PM – I decide to fit in that letter writing assignment.  Every year I try to walk the kids through a formal friendly letter. 

After going over the basic format, I tell them that they can write ANYONE they want.  It can be someone famous, a family member, or a friend. 

K decides to write Erica Beirman, the actor who plays President Snow’s daughter in the Hunger Games movies.  T decides to write a letter to Patti Labelle to explain how much she enjoyed her dancing on DWTS.  D and C decide to write Notch (creator of Minecraft) a letter and ask for additional creations in the game.

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(NOTE: It appears that Notch left Mojang, so the letters are going to head to Jeb.  Probably via email)

1:15 – We have to wrap up the letter writing, though only T finished.  T put her letter in the mailbox and she and I headed to her art lessons.

1:15-2:45 – T takes private art lessons every other week.  I sit in the waiting area while the other three stay home.  The boys are excited to have the internet back on and they are home playing Minecraft.  K is in charge and she is probably instagramming and finishing up her letter.

2:45 – We arrive home and finish up the final three letters to get them in the mailbox.

At this point, the school day is done.  Everyone does as they wish. 

This means that T did her morning chore from yesterday AND today, then she ran to her friend’s house.  (I do lose track of chores….it is my on-going weakness)  She played at the neighbor’s till dinner. 

The boys played legos, read books and then went to the neighbors house at 4:30 so I could take a run.  (They hang out there for supervision)  At 5:15,  they went outside with their neighborhood buddies – lots of weapons are always involved in the neighborhood games…nerf swords, pop guns, etc.   Plenty of boys on the street!

K went to a volleyball clinic from 3:15-5:15.  As soon as she walked in the door, she checked to tell me about volleyball and ran right back outside with the neighbor. (who was at the volleyball clinic with her)

T showed up with her friend from the neighborhood and they had written more letters to mail.  (school inspires play….always)

6:30 – We ate dinner and I realize while eating that I never read, “Trumpet of the Swan” to the younger three.  SO, after dinner, we read our story.

NOW the school day is done.  Whew.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Typical School Week–Day Two–Tuesday

I am in the midst of recording our typical school week and today was day two. 

I started by listing our curriculum and you can find Monday here!

8:15 AM – alarm wakes me up!  I get dressed in workout clothes because I have found that it is one sure way to get in a workout when the time works out.

8:30 AM – the boys are up and playing.  D (age 8) is very interested in words and we began the day with a discussion about “light” as in weight vs. “light” as in bright sunshine.  I was going to make breakfast for the boys, but D had already taken care of that!!!  He made breakfast for himself and C (age 5) 

There are things about this “growing up” that I love!  Self-sufficient kids is a bonus!

8:45 AM – Made my own breakfast.  Rubber bands flew over my head while I ate it because the boys were shooting them.  Then D sat down to read our latest issue of “Time For Kids”.

9:15 – The boys did their AM chores while I woke the girls.  Then we began schoolwork.  I helped D with math while C played legos.  K (age 12) came down and we worked on her math.  T (age 10) was still in bed.

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Both boys finished up all of their seatwork.  K finished grammar, math, and literature and went off to work on the book she is writing.  

10:00 - I FORCED my little T out of bed. 

Then I called my mom to chat while the boys played legos and the girls chatted.  D followed me around asking to play computer!  ARGH!

10:30 – I read two chapters of, The Trumpet of the Swan, to T, D and C.    Then we discussed what to do for Tea Time Tuesday.  Many times we go out for a snack with our poetry books, but we decided to bake a cake and cookies instead today.

10:50 – The three younger kids helped me bake a chocolate bundt cake while K made candied peanut butter oatmeal cookies.  (This was not good for my “don’t eat any sugar” week)

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11:30 – The boys got on the computer to play Minecraft; K took her freetime to do gymnastics; T finished up her math and then had free time. 

I slipped downstairs to the treadmill.

12:30 PM – We made lunch while listening to our history audio CD’s – Story of the World.  They ate while I was still chopping up things for my salad.

1:00 – I ate while they played.

1:15 – We gathered to do our history discussion and mapwork at the dining room table.

1:35 – T and I sat down to work on her spelling and grammar. 

1:50 – We went into the kitchen for Tea Time Tuesday.  We ate cake and cookies while reading poetry by Jack Prelutsky.  Then we read the Bible.  (We are reading through the book of Mark)

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2:15 – Freetime/Playtime for everyone!

At this point, formal “school” is done. 

The rest of the day:  My oldest had a volleyball clinic from 3:15-5:15.  I took a run with a friend to get some time outside!  Later in the day, D  and I played a math game (24) on the porch.  Then we went to the neighbors to watch our older girls and their friends put on a show.  They gave awards to our boys! 

Side note:  I cooked bone-in ribs for the first time tonight for dinner – they were DELISH! 

School work is ready for tomorrow!  The next two days are busy ones!!!

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(You’ll notice that C has 2 Bob books instead of his phonics book out.  I also put out a Countries of the World geography game to remind me to play it sometime tomorrow for fun – maybe at lunch since we don’t have history tomorrow)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Our “Typical” Week–Day One–Monday

I decided to record our week this week because it is a “typical” week.  Typical means it is filled with doctor appointments, sports commitments, and play dates.  

In my most recent post, I outlined the basics of what my kids study each day, but this is what it looks like practically….

sometime in the 7/8 AM, the boys woke up.  They can read, play Legos, or watch a show.

8:15 AM – my alarm went off.  Up and at ‘em! 

(uh…this is the beauty of older children…when there were children 3 and under, my morning didn’t begin with an alarm clock after 8 AM….)

8:45 AM – I went to check out some curtains for sale on a neighborhood website.  I was back in 5.

9:15 AM – breakfast for boys and K (age 12).  T (age 10) was still asleep.

9:45 AM – T woke up and stayed in bed for a bit to read. 

Boys began playing legos after doing their morning chores. (C empties kitchen recycle bin into garage large bin; D empties the silverware from the dishwasher)

K finished her chore (empty dishwasher, other than the silverware that D does). Then she and I worked on her math, copywork and grammar.  It was an easy day for math, so she did 2 lessons.  We are working on labeling parts of speech for grammar and this lesson was about prepositions.  She memorized most of them in previous years, so it was pretty easy.  While we finished up her work, T had breakfast.

10:30 – schoolwork with boys.  I worked with them simultaneously as C needs me to sit with him, but D (age 8) was pretty independent today so he sat across from us and worked.  K was next to me, finishing up.

T, who only recently ate breakfast, did her morning chore (using the swiffer in the main rooms) while we worked.

11:00 – C is done kindergarten work.  D is done everything but his grammar, so we finished that – working on contractions

Meanwhile,  T began working on lessons – she actually did her copywork and grammar in bed the night before because she stays up late, so she only had math and spelling to complete.

11:30 – T and I left for allergy shots and she brought her math to finish.  We went by the library to pick up books on hold as well.  K stayed home with her brothers and the boys played Minecraft while she worked on a story she is writing.

12:30 – Lunchtime!  While eating, we listened to the audio CD of Story of the World.  Today we learned about Martin Luther and his 95 theses and then Henry VIII, his 6 wives and his split from the Roman Catholic Church

1:15 – Clean up lunch and return to the school table to discuss our history via comprehension questions, complete a Tudor Family tree and fill in our map.

1:45 – I had to head to a doctors appointment.  I had not gotten to our read aloud title yet, Trumpet of the Swan, but T was eager to play with friends when I got home, so she read two chapters on her own while I was gone.

While I was gone, the boys played Legos and Wii.  K worked on the story she is writing.  T played Wii with the boys.

3:00 – I returned.  The girls headed out with friends.  I read two chapters of Trumpet of the Swan with the boys then the school day was declared “done”.

**I realized too late that T had not done a spelling lesson today, so we’ll start with that tomorrow.  It happens…

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Typical Week of Homeschooling–Introduction

I think one of the questions I am most asked about homeschooling is, “What does it look like?”  or “What do your kids do all day?”

So I thought I’d blog a “typical” week by sitting down every night and recording our school day. 

I picked this week because we have “something” going on EVERY DAY.  Last week, we didn’t have anything going on and we had a very productive, relaxing week.  That is NOT typical, so I didn’t record that week.

BUT FIRST, let me give the general overview of school around here!

My children are in 6th, 4th, 2nd and kindergarten.

Right now (as it is always changing) it is working best to lay out their school books the night before with assignments marked for them. 

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Below is their basic outline for each day, but keep in mind that these assignments and choices reflect my beliefs and philosophies.  They are not reflective of all homeschoolers.  For some folks, I am too workbook-y and for others I am not workbook-y enough.  It is the balance we have found (after SEVEN years of attempts) and it works for us right now.

Kindergarten

Writing.  (5 minutes) I have a lined paper notebook and he tells me what word to write.  I write it and he copies it.   Earlier this year he made it through all of the letters, so we began basic “copywork” which involved him copying a few words that I wrote: his name, his birth month, etc.  One day he told me that he didn’t want to write the ones I picked.  He had his own words to write, so now he tells me the words he wants to write and I let him copy them. 

Phonics (5-10 minutes)  We are working through, “Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.”  I am a FIRM believer that children will learn to read when they are ready if they are in literature rich environments AND have some basic phonics.  That being said, there are days we don’t do any phonics and there are days we read a few Bob Books.  He wasn’t ready in September, so we tossed phonics all together until January and he seemed to learn it more quickly, so we are taking it slow and enjoying the process.

Reading.  (20-30 minutes)  This is NOT phonics time, but time when Mommy reads some good literature aloud.  This is KEY for our homeschooling and something that I think is really important to a solid education.  He listens along with two of his siblings.  We usually are reading through a chapter book of some sort, but we also find great picture books.

History/Science.  (15 minutes- 3x a week)  Our family did science in the fall, so we are studying history this spring.  We are reading through “Story of the World” and are in Volume two.  C (my kindergartener) listens along and answers questions during our discussion, but doesn’t do the map work with us.  I do point out places on our large world map to him. 

Math (5-10 minutes)  Workbook Page in Singapore Earlybird Math. 

Second Grade

Writing.  (10 minutes or less)  D is now doing copywork so he copies a passage from our literature book or something I have written that reinforces his grammar.  I write the passage or sentences in his copywork binder and he copies them under my writing. 

Reading.  (20-30 minutes)  D has always been a reader.  He reads all day long.  He loves science books, comic books, history books, and even art books.  Anything I pick up from the library can be found in his lap at some point during the week.  D also listens to the book that I am reading aloud.

Grammar.  (5 minutes)  We are working through a book called, First Language Lessons.  The lessons are all mainly oral lessons and memorization.  Sometimes we use his copywork passages to discuss grammar as well.

Spelling.  (5-10 minutes)  Explode the Code workbooks.

History/Science.  (15/20 minutes – 3x a week)  Science was completed in the fall.  Now we are studying history using “Story of the World”.  We are studying the Medieval Time Period this year.  We complete 2-3 chapters each week, complete with maps.

Math.  (15-20 minutes)  D is working in Singapore and he completes a multiplication fact sheet each day.

Fourth Grade

Writing. (10 minutes or less most days; 20-30 on days with writing projects)  T also has copywork passages from our literature book.  In addition, she has writing assignments/projects at the end of each of our monthly literature books.  (We use BraveWriter – A Quiver of Arrows guides

Reading. (20-30 minutes)  T reads a book each month for her book club, a little each day.  She also listens to our read aloud title each month. 

Grammar.  (5-10 minutes)  T is working through Grade 4 Daily-Grams.  It is a one page spiraling grammar review with about 7-8 questions/activities to do each day.  We also use our Quiver of Arrow Guides to have grammar discussions about our copywork each week.

Spelling.  (10-15 minutes)  All about Spelling.

History/Science.  (15 minutes)  *See 2nd grade – T does the same thing.

Math.  (20-30 minutes)  Singapore Math lesson.  She also completes a math fact sheet each day to learn her multiplication facts.

Art.  Tricia takes private art lessons because she has shown such a great interest in this area.

Sixth Grade

Writing. (10 minutes or less many days; 20-30 during writing projects)  K also completes copywork passages each week from her own literature book.  She is working through “The Arrow” titles on her own this year.  At the end of each title, she has a writing project/activity to complete.  This year she has enjoyed Wattpad for publishing her own fan fiction.  Her current title is a Hunger Games Fan Fiction story that puts the characters in modern day, complete with texting one another.

Reading.  (30 minutes)  K reads 30 minutes a day.  She reads the assigned title from “The Arrow” each month.  I also assign a historical book or some other title each month.  Once she is finished those, she free writes.

Grammar.  (5-10 minutes)  We are working through Winston-Grammar Basic this year.  it has been a great fit.  We do 2-3 lessons a month and she is also working through Daily-Grams to reinforce different grammar ideas.

Math.  (20-40 minutes)  Singapore Math.

History/Science.  (15/20 minutes - 3 times a week)  *see 2nd and 4th grade.  In addition, K has some extra titles to read.

Everyone

We implement the BraveWriter Lifestyle in our home as much as possible.  So in addition to the basics above, we have Tea Time Poetry on Tuesdays.  We also do Freewriting on Fridays.  All four children participate on Tuesday and Friday.  The boys draw pictures during Freewrite time and then they dictate their stories to me.

BraveWriter has a daily writing tip email and we often use these during the week for a fun writing activity.  (most take just a few minutes)

Art for all four kids takes place in a once a month co-op class.  In addition we do various art activities at home during the year. 

Nature Study has been a part of our homeschooling to varying degrees each year.  We haven’t done as much this year, but it ebbs and flows.

We love field trips in all subject areas.  Field Trips are a HUGE part of our schooling!

And THAT about sums up our curriculum at The Wilson Academy. 

Next I’ll record each day this week….our “typical” week….

Monday, March 23, 2015

Homeschooling

The fear and the stress of thinking I’ll miss something

or should have done something that I haven’t

or should have done it differently if I did.

 

Should they be studying Latin?

 

The voice of public school past saying it should look this way

or has to include that

or must involve a lot of paperwork.  tests.  grades.  more writing.

 

I am pretty sure all homeschooled kid learn to speak in Latin

 

Will I fail them?

Will they get into college? 

Will they wish they had gone to school?

 

Our 14 weeks of Latin study should count for something.

 

The voice of those looking in wondering how many hours we spend each day.

how I calculate grades.  credits.  hours.  transcripts.

wondering how I know if my kids are “behind” or “ahead”

as if those things exist

 

Balancing a middle schooler and kindergartener and two in between…

 

Don’t you need more workbooks? 

Oh gosh, we are relying too much on workbooks.

Should they be reading more?

We need more nature time outside!

They have way too much free time

         and then not enough within a few days.

Can the Discover Channel just count as Science for today?

Until I am in the mood to do experiments all throughout the kitchen.

 

Veni, Vedi, Victus Sum

 

In the end

success ebbs and flows with this thing called homeschooling

I learn to appreciate my changing moods

my conflicting voices

my constant questioning

my daily grind

 

confident that most of these voices, questions and conflicts are universal to all moms.

well, other than the Latin part

 

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