Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houle School 2017-2018

We finished the first installment of Game School a little while ago and I am exhausted.  Implementing the first two days of THE PLAN is wonderful and exciting and takes every last brain cell in my possession.  Homeschooling truly IS every bit as wonderful and dreamy as Instagram makes it out to be, but there is also a giant sacrifice involved. And this sacrifice is required on the daily.  A lot of the time it feels worth it, but sometimes the lies and fears creep in and I wonder if it is. 

After kicking myself in the shins a bit earlier this afternoon and questioning why it seems to take me an entire day to accomplish what others seem to knock out in a couple of hours, I received a beautiful text from a veteran homeschool mom. 

"I hope your first two days
of school have gone well. 
You are using your time,
your resources, your strengths 
and your talents well in educating 
your children academically, emotionally 
and spiritually.  Well done."

Have you ever received a text like this? Have you ever sent one? 
So thankful that Jesus uses friendship like this.  It's beautiful and extraordinary to me. 

So then I cried and decided to look through pictures of the past two days.

Planning for this year was such a joy.  I felt a giant amount of freedom and planned for loads of margin and tucked all of our wonderful curriculum into our weeks.  It felt great to plan and it's been (for the most part) a ball to see it play out the past few days. 

Avery was the first one up the morning of our first day.  Here she is checking out the art cart. 

I always wrap up our school supplies to open on the first day! This year they opened movies and games, mostly because of Julie Bogart's influence on our home school and my heart.

Going into this year, I knew (for the most part) what curriculum we'd be using, but I wanted a way to easily insert that curriculum without planning too far in advance.  

rightstart with ashton. 

This year, every single day of our week is slightly different.  Monday and Thursday are more traditional.  Tuesdays will be for Poetry Teas or Game school and Fridays I am blocking off a chunk of time to rotate us through some of the lifestyle I would like to implement from Bravewriter. 

I feel like I've been living in the dark ages, but this is my first year to use a calendar app for school planning.  Let me tell you, I am loving it. 

Our morning time looks slightly different each day, so I love that I can click on the day's time-slot of morning time and receive my very own pre-selected list for our morning time that day. 

I firmly believe in decision fatigue, especially when dealing with so many parenting decisions and being bombarded with questions all day long.  As many things that you can have pre-decided for that day the better.  Which is why I am always armed with my breakfast and lunch menu starting a new school year.  Match a pre-selected breakfast and lunch menu with a click list order from King Soopers and you reserve brain power for homeschooling and parenting.  Planning for meals frees up space and time and energy in our actual home school days.  It's way too easy to forget that we have two meals in the middle of teaching and when people get hungry it can create stress and decision fatigue. 

The kids weekly planning sheets are also meant to free up decision space in my brain.  This is a weekly planning sheet that I hope to fill out each Sunday.  It has a spot for the kids to mark when they finish their morning routine, a spot for their daily chores, a place for me to fill out their independent work and a place to fill out their one on one time with me for the week. 

You'll notice that Avery's Tuesday and Friday "work with mom" columns are all crossed off, that's because I only have one on one time with her on Mondays and Thursdays.  Budding independence! She's doing SO much more of her math on her own these days.  

I made myself a similar planning sheet for more of a big picture view of our week.   On Friday, are we watching a movie, going on a nature hike, going to the art museum, having one on one time? Is this Tuesday a game school day or a poetry tea time day? I'm hoping that looking at this on Sundays will help me wrap my mind around what our week as a whole is going to look like. (forgive my handwriting, I'm considering doing a handwriting book alongside the kids....this confirms the need for this.)

Game school! Sum Swamp and Destination USA. 

We are going to the Grand Canyon with Dave's family in a couple weeks.  I'm hoping to use morning time and our history slot to do a deep dive into learning about the Grand Canyon before we go! Today we did an oil pastel abstract that was supposed to represent the canyon. ;)

Our first day took longer than we imagined, as always.  After dinner, Avery and I still hadn't finished our Arrow work for the day and we both wanted to finish the first chapter and so after Ian and Ashton were in bed we lit candles and got to work. :)

Ashton is going to continue using Phonics Road this year.  We love their literature study of Little House in the Big Woods. 

I am still trying to figure out the balance of letting inspiration and the Holy Spirit lead our days while also having a default plan and basic structure and routine to follow.  I am less flexible in our routine than I care to admit and almost need be flexible to be on the plan in order for me to actually be flexible.  ;) 
And even as I say that, I can feel and am trusting that the nutso, controlling pieces of my heart are being gently peeled away.  

Let it be true. 


Curriculum list!

In the Hands of A Child : Grand Canyon lap book

Science In the Beginning

Beautiful Feet Books Early American History (we should FINALLY finish this year)

Right Start Mathmatics

Math Lessons for a Living Education

Winter Promise Horse Science

Life of Fred

These language arts programs are all through Bravewriter
Partnership Writing and The Arrow (Avery) Jot it Down and The Quiver of Arrows (Ian and Ashton)

Phonics Road to Reading and Writing

All about Spelling (just Ian)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

4th of July and other summer things

sandra elliott was so sweet to capture some great family photos while we all waited for fireworks on the kissing camels golf course. what a beautiful, fun filled evening. 

these are my cousin kayla's two little girls!  we love emi and anna and it was so fun to be with them on the 4th!

what fun it is to watch their friendship grow.  sweet, sweet girls!

the kids loved these wearable bubbles! they were hilarious!

red heads!  missing aunt sharon!

i can't believe how cute and OLD she looks here. 
waiting for fireworks on kissing camels driving range.

in the pool on the 4th!

eating donuts on a string at the pool on the 4th!

i love it when she brings a book into the kitchen and says, "mom, listen to this." 

quiet reading hour.  ashton is reading farmer boy and ian is copying the big picture story bible into a word document. they're sweet, aren't they?

this is a weird picture, but Ashton has named this spider that has constructed a web between our grill and our deck.  she checks on him every morning and collects ants to put on his web.  ha!

last summer and fall the girls fell in love with sunny and splash.  they had their first legit lessons on these two and we leased them for 2 full days in the fall.  we hadn't seen them in 9 months and i arranged for them to have another lesson on sunny and splash.  they were in heaven seeing these horses again!

taking a break and getting some snacks between events at gymkhana.  

looking through their summer notebooks!

play doh restaurant with bree!

these four had a great time at vanguard's VBB this year!

we absolutely LOVED reading james and the giant peach together.  i had grand plans of making a peach pie and watching the movie together.  except the movie was DARK and kind of ruined the whole story for us. :(

the morning of their last day at rmca.

i don't think he could love baseball more. 

when they are all playing a sweet little game together i have to take a picture. 

ian's team got to walk around Coors Field before a Rockies game.  it was pretty awesome and they looked SO little out there!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

this is our home, this is our school.

our spring semester of school was fabulous.  days off for museums. a deep dive into viking studies. tea time with our great grandmas and lots of baseball and horseback riding.  it's a continual paradigm shift for me to see all of life and each and every experience as their very education, but it is completely worth all of the prayer and forced removal of expectations to get my mind and heart to where they are right now. these are the days. this is our home. this is our school. 
this is our life. 

fine arts center. 

little sis waits for her turn on Four.  that messy red braid? too much. 

how many more pictures will i get with a cocked little red head in pig tails?

this day we did not do math.  we did not do spelling.  
we watched youtube videos about the history of the costumes from all of the Star Wars movies and then went to the Denver Art Museum to see them all on display.  
this was the day i stood at my kitchen sink weeping with gratitude for the freedom the Lord has brought to our homeschool this year. 

all about spelling outside.

an easter timeline by ashton kate. 

a brand new reader to entertain me during meal prep.  
a most handsome one at that. 

easter week notebooking. 

ian led his fellow baseball players in the little league pledge.

viking shields.

first gymkhana of the year.  ribbons all around!

"keep up your courage, Sarah Noble!" 
wig wam making. 

easter tomb biscuits with a couple neighbors

dying easter eggs.

viking exhibit!

i adore this photo.
in her cowgirl hat. 
working on her Horse Science.
at our kitchen table. 

gg velma's birthday tea party. 

ian's little kindergarten nursery rhyme night. 

spring recitation night.
houle kids memorized psalm 91, this is my father's world and two passages from a midsummer night's dream.