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A Week Long Snapshot Of Our Life, Day 5

Our school week, week 9

Friday, 10/17/14

This morning I got up, gave the baby a diaper and bottle, then got in the shower by around 8, making Shawn get up to watch the baby. I got ready, then put her in the high chair and gave her breakfast and left her and the other kids with him as I had to take my mother to an appointment.

Today she had to have a bone marrow biopsy of her hip due to pain they haven't been able to figure out (x ray looks fine, blood tests all negative, an unexplained abnormality on MRI) and she wanted me to keep her company until they were ready to actually take her back for the procedure. So I did that, followed by getting a few things at the grocery store.

While I was gone, Shawn and Alexa cleaned the kitchen, then the kids did some school.

Alexa did a Teaching Textbooks math lesson, read a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time, and read an assigned section of a book called Renaissance for Story of the World supplemental reading. She did most of a grammar assignment on parentheses and dashes.

Ben did Reading Eggspress, played Timez Attack, and had silent reading time.

Then Shawn made brunch and they all ate (I had grabbed a bite on the go).

When I got home we brought stuff in, put it away, and Alexa finished her grammar assignment, then looked through the newspaper for articles showing people fulfilling their civic duties and responsibilities while Ben did handwriting practice, took a spelling quiz, and read some more.

Then I had the kids get ready and I took them to their homeschool bowling league and stopped at the library.

At home Alexa continued Civics by brainstorming a list of qualities of a good citizen in various areas such as family, law, religion, environment, government, local community and humankind and called two relatives and interviewed them to see how answers compared.

We also took a while to look up and listen to a bunch of songs, trying to choose a show time for her to song at an audition she's going to Monday evening, and she went upstairs to practice once she'd picked one.

Ben and I read some poems together.

We relaxed and did our own thing, had dinner with Shawn when he came home, did our own thing some more, and I went up with the baby around 9.

It's possible I'm missing something as I didn't really have time to/bother to take notes during the day today so I'm writing this up from my phone just before bedtime.

There are things I know we didn't get to today- a health lesson and a read aloud for Ben. Finishing up a civics assignment, something for science (not sure what), and watching a health documentary for Alexa. We will have to do those things this weekend.

This weekend, on top of school catchup, Alexa has a judo class and has to clean her pig sty of a room on Saturday, and Ben is having a play date with his cousins.

On Sunday Ben has a soccer game and I'm taking Alexa in the evening (with a friend and her daughter) to a haunted hayride thing.

So that's our version of homeschooling real life. Sometimes it's a juggling act but we make it work!


A Week Long Snapshot Of Our Life, Day 4

Our school week, week 9

Thursday, 10/16/14

Last night wasn't too bad- I think the baby woke once when Shawn moved her to the crib, but he got her back to sleep. Then she woke around 7 AM, had a diaper change and a bottle, and fell back asleep in my bed. At 8 I moved her to the crib and she stayed asleep, so I went downstairs.

Melissa was still here waiting for the van to pick her up for her day program, so I asked her to clean up all toys etc from the living room and computer room floor while she waited.

I cleared the kitchen table, loaded and ran the dishwasher, washed bottles and a skillet from last night, made coffee.

Alexa came down on her own while I was doing this so I had her clean the litterbox, sweep the kitchen floor, and vacuum the living room, and by 8:35, we were ready to get started with school.

She began with grammar, rewriting 8 sentences to show proper use of parentheses and dashes.

9:05, she did three pages from the math section of a standardized test prep book as she has to test this year as per PA Home Ed Law but hasn't had to previously test since 5th grade, so I wanted to get an idea of where she stood now.

9:30 we took a breakfast break- some toast with butter and jelly for me, toast with instant oatmeal for Alexa.

9:45 Alexa read a picture book called Uh-Oh, Leonardo! For Story of the World supplemental reading. (She gets a kick out of the fact that I will still let her read picture books here and there and I'm fine with it since it's just a supplemental book to a program we use as supplemental curriculum).

10:10 AM, she started civics. First she did a section on agriculture for her report on France. Next she did a writing assignment on qualities of being a good friend, neighbor, and citizen with examples of each, plus commenting on whether it is possible to always obey the law but not be a good citizen and whether it is ever possible to break the law and still be a good citizen.

Ben came down at 10:30 while Alexa was doing civics and I gave him some toast for breakfast. At 10:45 he did social studies/art- the sun is out for the first time all week, so he drew a picture of our house and the houses on either side, then drew a picture of the sun where it appeared in the sky in relation to the backs of the houses (and was to continue doing that every couple of hours throughout the day, weather permitting).

Adelaide woke up at this same time, and gave Ben silent reading time (The Witches) while I gave her something to eat. Then she played in the living room and Ben did Reading Eggspress, Timez Attack, and Teaching Textbooks at the computer.

As for Alexa, she'd spent forever in the bathroom and then walked up the block to the convenience store for her dad, so it was about 11:45 before she was ready to sit down and wrap up Civics. The last thing she had to do was look through the newspaper and clip articles demonstrating citizens fulfilling their civic duties and responsibilities, paste them into her book, and sum up which duty/responsibility was being fulfilled.

Ben moved on to doing a Teaching Textbooks math lesson.

I decided to rearrange the two shelves I use for the kids' school books, moving Ben's to the lower shelf where he could reach more easily and Alexa's to the upper.

12:10, Alexa did science, just answering a question about what two simple machines make up a pair of scissors, then moved on to her Teaching Textbooks math lesson.

12:20, Ben did science, using the wind vane he'd made yesterday, a compass, and a digital thermometer to observe and record today's wind direction and temperature.

At this point Ben had free time, and Alexa finished math with just enough time to get herself ready, have a quick sandwich, and get in the car to go to her public speaking class.

While she was in class, Shawn and I took Ben and the baby to Long John Silver's for lunch and root beer floats. Then Shawn went to work, I picked Alexa up, and we came home.

Ben recorded the sun's position in the sky again, then the kids all went to the playground together for a while.

When they got home, Ben and I watched The Lion King for this week's musical while Alexa read a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time and practiced voice.

When the movie was over I read aloud to the kids from The Whipping Boy. Shawn came home during this and we made dinner and all did our own thing. I retired with the baby to bed/TV land, and that was about it for today!

More tomorrow!


A Week Long Snapshot of Our Life, Day 3

Our school week, week 9

Wednesday, 10/15/14

Last night after I posted yesterday's entry, I moved the baby to her crib, tucked Ben in for the night, read a bit, and dozed off. I'd only slept a few minutes though when Ben came into my room at 11:30 because he was scared.

I let him climb into bed with me where he tossed and turned for a half hour before finally settling into sleep around midnight. I fell asleep again around 12:30- only to have the baby wake up around 12:50. She came back into bed with me, too (good thing it's a King sized bed) and I tried unsuccessfully to fall right back to sleep with her, but nope, she was wide awake and wanted a bottle.

She proceeded to stay awake a while and finally drift off only to wake up again anytime I moved so much as an inch. Tried once or twice to move her back into the crib- she wasn't having it. And so it was after 3 AM (and another bottle later) by the time I was able to fall asleep. At 6:30 I woke and moved her into the crib, then fell back asleep till a few minutes after 9.

I felt so refreshed this morning.

At 9:15 I had Alexa (who was up and mid math lesson) grab the baby and bring her downstairs for a diaper and breakfast so I could grab a shower. Because I hadn't taken one yesterday and felt icky. I even shaved my legs. Because I hadn't in forever and felt icky.

After I was showered, shaved, dressed, and ready I went downstairs and walked into a complete disaster of a kitchen.

Alexa had to leave for her music lesson (it's just a couple of blocks so she walks) so I had her take the litter and garbage out, then I asked Ben to watch the baby while I spent over 20 minutes cleaning the kitchen. (He did an alright job watching her, even if she did pull a book off one of my bookcases, get into her wipes and pull a bunch out, and shut my computer off).

I finally sat down with a cup of coffee around 10:15 and asked Ben to try to wake Shawn up to give me a hand with a couple things. (Shawn is a tattoo artist who owns his own shop and therefore doesn't go to work until later in the day and pretty much sets his own hours). I sent Ben up again at 10:30 then gave him breakfast (after assuring him that apple pie was not, in fact, a breakfast food).

At 10:45 Shawn came down and had to unclog our kitchen sink. The baby was being ridiculously fussy- kept wanting me to pick her up, then would immediately wiggle to get down, then act like I had mortally offended her and whined to get picked back up. This happened over and over, so I stuck her in the Beco carrier for an hour where she was perfectly content even if I did occasionally have my hair pulled.

Ben did a Reading Eggspress lesson and played Timez Attack. I kept reheating and sipping my coffee. Alexa came home and helped Shawn with the sink a bit, then went back to doing her math.

I finished reading Chocolate Fever to Ben, had him do some handwriting practice, and we read poems aloud. He wrote five spelling words in sentences, made a wind vane with his dad for science out of a straw, a pencil, and card stock, and had silent reading time (The Twits by Roald Dahl).

Alexa had lunch then did a couple pages of test practice while Ben did his Teaching Textbooks math lesson.

For the third day in a row it was cloudy and/or rainy so Ben still couldn't do his assignment of observing/recording/drawing the sun's position in the sky at various points of the day. He will get to it eventually!

Shawn started some laundry before going to work, the baby had lunch and went down for a nap. Ben had lunch then free time on the computer.

At 1:20, Alexa wrote her vocabulary words in sentences. She did a grammar assignment on colons and semicolons, rewriting sentences to show the proper punctuation.

At 2:15 she started civics. She clipped newspaper articles that demonstrated people fulfilling their civic duties and responsibilities and pasted them into her notebook, summarizing in writing which duty or responsibility was being fulfilled.

Next she wrote a paragraph for her report on France, doing the section on language.

Lastly for Civics she had to choose one of the responsibilities of good citizenship and do a writing assignment on how fulfilling that responsibility contributes to the common good.

While she was doing that, I had Ben do his "cooking" project for this week, which just involved making sparkling grape juice, then I asked him to straighten up the living room (mostly toys).

A few minutes after 3, the baby got up from her nap. I changed her and hung out with her while she played. She was in a much happier mood after her nap!

Alexa only had some reading left for school but I let her take a break to have a snack and play a card game with Ben, then I had her do the reading. Assigned literature was a chapter of A Wrinkle In Time, and for Story of the World supplemental reading she got to read a nice easy Magic School Bus book, Lost in the Solar System.

With official school stuff done (and before dinner time for once this week haha) there were still a few things that needed doing.

I had Alexa feed the cat and turtle, unload the dishwasher, and clean the toilet, sink, and mirror in the downstairs bathroom. I packed a lunch for Melissa and gave her, Ben and the baby snacks (Alexa made herself a snack, too). And Alexa uploaded a new video to her YouTube channel, of her singing Titanium. She's got such a beautiful voice, no idea where it comes from!

Shawn came home and made dinner. I went through Alexa's Girl Scouts fundraiser stuff. And that was really about it. Soccer practice for Ben was canceled due to the rain. Alexa usually has a sewing class Wednesday nights but her friend's mom is the one who takes the girls and she had a dentist appointment this evening, so everyone did their own thing until bedtime.

More tomorrow!


A Week Long Snapshot of Our Life, Day 2

Our school week, week 9

Tuesday, 10/14/14

Last night I had insomnia. Woke around 3-something and didn't fall back asleep till maybe 7:30 (which included changing and feeding the baby at 5:30 and getting her back to sleep). So at one point I turned off my weekday alarm, the one I usually have set to make sure Alexa is up for school no later than 8:30. I figured I'd wake up whenever I woke up (or whenever the baby woke me up again), and if Alexa didn't wake up on her own and got started a little late with school, so be it. Sometimes sleep is the most important thing anyway.

As it turned out, baby and I slept till 10:15 and Alexa (8th grade) was already downstairs when I got there and had gotten quite a bit done. She'd done her morning chores (unloading and loading the dishwasher, cleaning the litterbox, sweeping the kitchen floor) and had gotten some of her school done, having been downstairs since 8 AM herself.

She'd done a grammar assignment on colons and semicolons, rewriting 8 sentences to add the proper punctuation.

She'd done a Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra lesson on making unit conversion tables.

She'd done science, drawing a picture of a tool that is a wedge being used, showing all the forces that were acting in the situation, and using arrows to show the direction in which the forces were acting.

And she'd started her civics, answering a question in writing about the difference between civic duties and civic responsibilities, and providing three examples of each. She was in the process of reading the newspaper, looking for news articles to clip that demonstrated people fulfilling their civic duties and responsibilities. So she continued with that.

Ben, 3rd grade, had done some school on his own, too. He'd done silent reading, a Reading Eggspress lesson, played Timez Attack, and done a Teaching Textbooks Math 3 lesson.

So this was a great start to my day! Although, let me reassure you that this does not mean my children are unusually perfect. In fact, the first thing I saw when I woke up was a text message from Alexa's iPod saying "I'm going to freakin kill your son!!!"

Apparently while she was doing math, he stood next to her saying over and over "get me a book, get me a book, get me a book," and wouldn't leave her alone until she was ready to put her math lesson aside for a moment. When she asked him to take the bag of dirty cat litter out to the garbage, he said he didn't want to get out of the comfortable recliner and wouldn't help her at first. When he'd finally done it and she told him to wash his hands, he wouldn't listen at first. So I had to have a chat with him.

I took care of the baby, made coffee, etc. and had Ben read me the last chapter of Charlotte's Web while Alexa finished with her news clippings.

At this point I inquired about whether the kids had fed themselves breakfast. They hadn't, said they hadn't been hungry. So Shawn made eggs and toast for everyone and once again we had a very late morning meal.

After we ate, Ben did grammar, properly punctuating some sentences I wrote for him with periods, exclamation points, and question marks.

Now it was just about noon. I read to Ben from Chocolate Fever, and Alexa wrapped up civics by reading and writing about French food for her report on France.

Shawn, meanwhile, headed over to the neighbor's to continue working on my car. Yesterday they'd put in a new water pump and thermostat and flushed the radiator and put new antifreeze in. Today they planned to do brake pads and calipers on both sides and put oil in the car.

The baby pulled some books off one of my bookshelves, ripped some pages out of one of them, went down for a nap.

At 12:20, I sent Ben to take a break and play in his room. He couldn't do social studies or art again today as it is still very cloudy and he's supposed to be observing, recording, and drawing the sun's position in the sky at various points in the day.

When Alexa finished writing about French food, I reviewed her writing and had her edit it and reword certain parts that she had just copied and pasted word for word from her source.

The kids got ready and around 1:30 a friend picked them up to take them over to the Y as my car was still not done. At the Y, Alexa went downstairs to work out, and Ben participated in homeschool PE.

I relaxed a bit then cleaned the upstairs bathroom (it was so gross!) before getting the baby up from her nap and hanging out with her.

My car was finished just in time to go pick the kids up from the Y so my friend didn't have to go out of her way again. We stopped at the library, then went home and had a late lunch.

Ben then did his own thing (played outside with little girl next door, then went on computer) while Alexa and I watched a documentary for art, as we do every week. This week we watched "Helvetica," and it was I think the most boring documentary ever created. I'm not sure how anyone came up with 80 minutes worth of discussion on a font, but they did!

And it took longer than 80 minutes to watch- bathroom breaks, interrupted by conversation, having to chase the baby away from the bookcase (and finally resort to turning it around to face backwards), but eventually we got through it. And when I decided to mess with Alexa and told her that next time we would watch Times New Roman and that there was an entire font documentary series and that we'd watch them all, I thought she might kill me haha.

When it was over I had the kids go bring down any laundry or trash from the upstairs rooms and bathroom and had Alexa wipe down the window ledge and moulding around the bathroom window as we are painting in there soon.

She then did a couple pages in a test prep workbook as it's a standardized testing year for her, while I reheated leftovers for dinner.

She also had time to read two short picture books for Story of the World supplemental reading (The Planets, and Children of the Sun), and then we ate.

By now it was almost 7:30. I had promised I'd run her to the store to buy a magazine she's been wanting, so we did that, and I told her to spend a few minutes practicing voice before reading her magazine and cutting posters out and whatever it was she wanted to do, as that was the last thing on her list for today.

I took the baby up to bed as she was very tired (I'd attempted a 5 PM nap but she'd really resisted and gotten hysteric) and watched some tv while she fell asleep, instructing Ben to go up to his room by 10 PM and the girls by 10:30.

So, that was our Tuesday! More tomorrow!


A Week Long Snapshot of Our Life, Day 1

Our school week, week 9

Ok- so I haven't been blogging about our school days in over a year, it just became too much after the baby was born and Alexa started her last year of middle school and so on. But I'm going to blog about our day to day life just for this week, as I've noticed several people in a couple of my homeschool groups on Facebook who are new to homeschooling asking about how people juggle their days, their schedules, and what it all really looks like. So here's what it looks like for me, with a husband, a 22 year old special needs daughter (mild to moderate retardation), a 14 year old 8th grade daughter and a nearly 9 year old 3rd grade son to homeschool, and a 13 month old baby. I'm doing it for one week because our days vary and that will create a better snapshot of what life is like than one day would. Here goes...

Monday, 10/13/14

Today is Columbus Day but we don't do anything special to observe it and we don't take the day off because we plan our own family vacations and days off, not necessarily going by what the public schools do. We prefer to do those things on off seasons and days, when there are no crowds or extra expenses to contend with.

Today I woke Alexa, my 14 year old 8th grade daughter, at 8:15 AM. She got ready, we went downstairs and spent half an hour straightening up/doing chores. I made my coffee and we started school just before 9:00 AM.

We started with Oak Meadow civics. She read lesson 9 in her civics book, "Duties and Responsibilities of Citizenship." She then looked through the two recent newspapers we had for articles that demonstrated citizens fulfilling their civic duties and responsibilities. Whenever she found one, she cut it out, pasted it into her news article book (a spiral bound sketch pad) and wrote a comment for each identifying the specific duty or responsibility being performed.

Lastly for civics she worked a bit on a report she is writing on France as part of her immigration project. Today she did the section on religion in France.

By the time she finished Civics, it was after 10:30. We didn't have to stop because a bell rang, if we wanted to get a little sidetracked by conversation we could, she just worked on her assignment until she was done. Civics is always one of our more time consuming subjects.

Anyway, this is actually almost unheard of, and not at all the norm here, but the baby (13 months) and my nearly 9 year old 3rd grade son, Ben, were still sleeping!! (Yesterday had been a long, late day at the Renaissance Faire). My husband was still asleep too, but sleeping this late is common for him. I decided they'd all slept long enough and I woke them all up.

I had Ben sit and do a Reading Eggspress lesson at the computer followed by playing a few minutes of Timez Attack and had Alexa do assigned reading (a chapter of Clara Barton, Healing the Wounds, taking notes for a future report). I used that time to change the baby, give her some milk, cuddle with her a bit.

When Shawn came down, he made banana pancakes. Alexa helped and unloaded the dishwasher and we all had brunch together.

Around 11:45 we were ready to resume school, however, things got a little off track as things tend to do. My car needed repairs and was not available to me today, and I dislike driving my husband's car, having long grown out of the habit of driving a stick shift, so I asked him to run a few errands today- grocery shopping, picking up my oldest special needs daughter from a friend's house where she'd slept over last night, and he had to go to the auto parts store. But he decided he didn't feel like doing all that alone and wanted to take Alexa with him.

Okay. Whatever. One of the perks of homeschooling is its flexibility. Stuff to do during the day? No biggie, homeschool in the evening now and then. I try to just roll with it whenever possible, it all balances out. So she went off to run errands and spend time with her dad, and Ben and I did school.

Ben did a Teaching Textbooks math lesson. He did some handwriting practice. He finished the last few pages of a book he's been reading for silent reading time (Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great). I read a folk tale aloud to him. He read a chapter of Charlotte's Web aloud to me.

We read some poems together and he copied one into his main lesson book and worked on memorizing it. He wrote five spelling words in sentences. I read aloud to him from Chocolate Fever.

That was all I had for him for today as the cloudy weather didn't permit his social studies activity for today, so he was told to straighten his room and then was able to play on the computer and do his own thing.

Meanwhile the baby had been playing nearby in the living room, free to approach me when she wanted attention as we were working at a little card table, and at some point I put her down for a nap.

Shawn and Alexa got home just before 3, and we ate lunch (pizza they brought home) and put groceries away. I know, crazy meal schedule, but it happens like that sometimes.

At 3:25 PM, Shawn went across the street to help his friend work on my car. Alexa finished reading the last few chapters of a book called Galileo for supplemental Story of the World reading. I changed the baby who had just woken from her nap and fed her lunch (a jar of sweet potatoes, some Cheerios, and milk).

Around 4:00, Alexa did vocabulary, alphabetizing and defining this week's vocabulary words, which stem from her civics lessons. This week there were only five words (it varies). The book recommended choosing five more words from her reading, but I didn't bother. She's pretty good with vocabulary already.

Today's grammar assignment only consisted of reading a few pages in the book Writing For 100 Days, so that didn't take long.

While she did those things, I set up a fire safety program for the homeschool meetup group I organize, took a phone call about my oldest daughter's special needs services, and tried not to freak out every time the baby climbed up onto the couch (she just learned that today). I decided it's low to the ground, it's carpeted, and it wouldn't take many falls before she learned to get herself down safely, right? (Right. After three falls in which she did not get hurt, I watched her climb down backwards, safely and intentionally, a few times in a row)!

At 4:30, Alexa did science, which for today only consisted of reading a short lesson on wedges and levers. It took like five minutes.

When she finished that, I had her sit at the computer and do a Teaching Textbooks math lesson. She's not a big fan of math, and math is another of her more time-consuming subjects, so I usually try to have her get it over with early in the day, but it just didn't work out that way today.

At 5:40, with two problems left to do (today's math took her longer than usual, lots of tedious multiplying and dividing and multi-step unit conversions), she took a break to walk Ben to soccer practice for me, around the corner from our house, finishing the last couple of problems when she got back.

She then helped me prepare dinner (meatloaf and mashed potatoes) while the baby hung out in her high chair and had a snack, and went to pick her brother up from soccer while I finished up.

Ben took a quick shower, and then while the meatloaf was baking and the potatoes were cooking, she watched the baby while I took a quick shower, too. Because I hadn't even changed out of my pjs all day and decided last minute to invite our neighbor (the one helping with my car) to have dinner with us.

At this point, the only things left on Alexa's school list were:

Watching a TED talk for a public speaking class she's taking (so I had her do this while keeping an eye on baby, while I showered).


Music practice (I told her she could skip this for today).

After my shower, I hung out till dinner was ready. Threw some green beans in a microwave steam bag, set the table, etc.

Took the meatloaf out when it was time- only to discover that somehow I'd screwed it up royally. The meatloaf was way too loose. Called Shawn over (really, he's the chef of the household) for help and we had to turn it into a variation of shepherd's pie instead. Good times.

We ate, around 8:30 PM. And it actually turned out pretty awesome tasting. Thank goodness. (We'd smooshed the "meatloaf" into the bottom of the glass dish, spread a can of peas and a can of corn over it, then a layer of a gravy Shawn whipped up, then a layer of the prepared mashed potatoes, topped all that with shredded cheddar cheese, and stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes).

Alexa got the baby changed and into pjs for me after dinner while I cleaned up the kitchen, then she helped her older sister pack a lunch for her day program while I got the baby to bed (which means I got into bed with the baby and read until she fell asleep knowing I'd fall asleep myself soon after and that Shawn would eventually move her into the crib.

Shawn and his friend went back across the street to his friend's garage and continued working on my car, and will continue working on it tomorrow, too. It needed quite a few things done to it.

And that pretty much wrapped up our very long Monday!

More tomorrow!

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper Roll

Dedicated to:


Without whom this book would not have been possible.

Once upon a time, there was a Mommy who got tired of being The Only Person in the house to properly hang up a new roll of toilet paper when the old one ran out.

One day, She decided to just stop doing it and to see how long it would take before Someone Else in the Family would change the toilet paper.

The Mommy lived with a big, strong Daddy, and a 21 Year Old Girl, and a 12 Year Old Girl, and a 7 Year Old Boy, and she knew that all four of them were smart and capable enough to change a roll of toilet paper.

She knew this because They could do things like read and write and count and draw pictures and make up games and ask for spending money, and, in the Daddy's case, go to work, and They wouldn't be able to do any of those things if They weren't capable and smart.

She was sure that if She just waited long enough, One of Them would realize that No-One Else was changing the toilet paper anymore and decide to do it themselves.

On the first day of the Mommy's experiment, Someone finished the roll of toilet paper and set a fresh roll on top of the empty cardboard tube in the holder.

The Mommy was not surprised by this. She knew She'd have to be patient for longer than a day to see any change.

On the second day of the Mommy's experiment, there were TWO empty cardboard tubes sitting in the holder, and a fresh roll on the back of the toilet tank.

The Mommy was not surprised by this either and idly wondered how many empty cardboard tubes would eventually pile up in the bathroom.

Maybe they'd pile all the way up to the ceiling and No One would be able to use the bathroom anymore! Maybe they'd overflow and spill out into the rest of the house and turn into such a huge mountain of cardboard tubes that They'd have to move out!

On the third day of the Mommy's experiment, though, the Mommy saw that Someone had thrown away the second empty tube and set the fresh roll on top of the original empty tube in the holder.

The Mommy was proud that Someone had taken some initiative, at least, and glad that multiple empty cardboard tubes would not build up in the bathroom and the rest of the house and that They would not have to move after all. But She did wonder why that Someone couldn't have thrown away BOTH empty rolls. Because the Mommy knew it only took a matter of seconds to remove an empty tube from the holder. She'd done it many times!

On the fourth day of the Mommy's experiment, things were the same as they were on the third day- with the current roll just sitting on top of the original empty roll in the holder, looking uncomfortable and out of place and practically begging to be changed.

The Mommy was beginning to lose hope that Anyone But Her would ever change the roll of toilet paper. But She was determined to be patient just a while longer. Surely Someone would notice that the toilet paper needed changing! Any day now Someone would do it!

Then, on the fifth day of the Mommy's experiment, something funny happened.

She was in the bathroom brushing her hair and the Daddy was in the doorway talking to Her. The Daddy came into the bathroom, got a piece of toilet paper, and started wiping the edge of the sink where it was a little wet. Then the Daddy said, "Isn't anyone ever going to change this thing?!"

(He meant the roll of toilet paper).

The Mommy tried very hard not to laugh out loud. She had, after all, been wondering the very same thing Herself. She wondered if the Daddy would do it, now that He'd obviously noticed the situation and brought it up to Her. She even sent telepathic thoughts in the Daddy's direction as hard as She could, mentally encouraging Him to go ahead and change it.

But the Daddy didn't change it.

He finished wiping the sink, and He walked out of the bathroom.

On the sixth day of the Mommy's experiment, there were once again two empty cardboard tubes in the bathroom. And this time there was no fresh roll sitting on the toilet tank. Instead, the Mommy saw a small stack of napkins sitting on the tank.

Now, two steps outside of the bathroom, there was a basement door. And a step or two inside that basement door, there were some shelves. And on those shelves, there were some fresh rolls of toilet paper.

The Mommy decided that having to open and close a door was too hard an obstacle for Her family as it was apparent Someone would rather walk further into the kitchen, which required more steps, and use the rougher napkins on Their tender bits, than have to open a door to get toilet paper.

Since that was not acceptable to the Mommy (the Mommy preferred softer material on Her tender bits, plus Internet Friends told the Mommy that napkins can cause plumbing problems!), the Mommy told Everyone not to do that again, and directed the 12 Year Old Girl to put toilet paper in the bathroom. The Twelve Year Old Girl did so, leaving the fresh roll on the toilet tank.

That night, the Mommy decided that She was going to have to start dropping some major hints for Her Family. She took a sharpie marker into the bathroom and scrawled a note on the empty cardboard tube that was still sitting in the holder. It said:


The Mommy also wrote a note on the second empty tube that was laying on the floor. It said:


On a square of toilet paper that had drifted to the floor and had never been picked up, the Mommy added:


The Seven Year Old Boy was the first to notice the message. He called out, "Why is there writing on the toilet paper?"

The Twelve Year Old Girl, her curiosity aroused, jumped up and ran into the bathroom to see what He was talking about. She read the notes aloud, then came into the kitchen laughing, and asked the Mommy, "Did You write that?!"

The Mommy said, "Yes," and the Twelve Year Old Girl laughed again.

Neither the Girl nor the Boy threw away the garbage or changed the toilet paper, though.

On the seventh morning of the Mommy's experiment, She peeked into the bathroom to see if anything had changed overnight.

It hadn't.

But a short while later, the 21 Year Old Girl went in to use the bathroom. When She came out, the Mommy peeked in to see if She had done anything about the situation in the bathroom, and saw that She had merely moved the fresh roll from the toilet tank to the top of the empty cardboard tube in the holder.

The Mommy threw up Her hands in despair. This was getting ridiculous! She decided to drop just One More Hint before throwing in the towel completely.

She decided that She'd write about her Experiment and print it out with pictures and give it to the Daddy to read to the Children as a Bedtime Story.

If No-One took the hint after that and changed the roll of toilet paper, the Mommy thought She might move.

Choose Your Own Adventure:

Do You...Go change the roll of toilet paper and throw out any empty tubes?

Or...Help the Mommy pack?

(And Anyone Who thinks it would be funny to say, "Help the Mommy pack!" will be spending tomorrow cleaning the Entire House by Themselves).



No, really. That was the end. Now Someone go change the toilet paper roll!

This means YOU!!!

Life Without School!

Man Is Born To Live, Not To Prepare For Life. -Boris Pasternak

September 24, 2013

Baby Adelaide will be a 4 weeks old tomorrow. I'm slowly adjusting and trying to fall into a routine. Shawn has been back at work for a while now and sadly my meal deliveries have ended. I really feel that a new mother should have family and friends available to deliver meals until baby's first birthday. At least. :)

I still spend almost all of my time nursing or pumping, holding the baby, changing the baby, etc. So far she wants to be held and/or nursed most of the time and when I try to lay or set her down in a cradle, swing, carrier, etc, she wakes up within minutes and cries and I have to pick her up and rock or nurse her again.

I squeeze in bathroom, shower, and meal breaks, and have started fitting in some errands and outside activities here and there. I feel like I don't spend enough time with the other kids, really, but so far they seem okay with it and are all really good about helping me out as necessary.

A friend of mine took them recently to a program called Attack at a science museum, I took them to a playground with homeschool friends, and between Shawn and I we've managed to keep up with their various activities- soccer for Ben, judo, guitar, and girl scouts for alexa.

I plan on resuming schoolwork in about a week, which seems SO soon. I hope I can keep up with everything!


Life Without School!

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I have no time to take notes every day at this point, so my blog will be sporadic for now.

Baby Adelaide is two weeks old today, and my life is a constant cycle of supplementing, nursing, pumping, changing diapers, rinsing pump parts, and trying to squeeze in bathroom, meal, shower, and sleep breaks in between, and trying to pay a little bit of attention to the other kids!

The past week we've spent time with Shawn's mother and sister and brother and his family, including celebrating his mom's 80th birthday which was nice.

I've been able to get out of the house here and there- I accompanied Shawn to Ben's soccer game on Saturday, had a doctor appointment, went to the store once or twice. But it's not easy yet!

The kids do their own thing, and help me with the baby and the house. It is good that they are old enough to amuse themselves and old enough to be mostly self-sufficient and old enough to help!

Shawn went back to work yesterday which was kind of scary! But friends started delivering some dinners to us which was really nice and incredibly helpful. Highly recommended to do for any new mother.

More later!


Life Without School - A Baby Is Born! :)

Life Without School!

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things. -Plato

Monday, August 26, 2013 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So, apparently kids around here would have been starting public school Monday! Alexa and Ben already have just about 4 weeks of the school year completed (Alexa is one history assignment, one science assignment, and a little Story of the World reading shy of that).

But this morning I had to go to my last non stress test, and then we did all necessary laundry and house cleaning, Shawn hung some towel hooks up in the bathroom, we picked up my car when the brakes were done, stopped at Lowe's for screws for the crib, and went food shopping.

Shawn's mom came over and will be staying with us for a while. We hung out with her and relaxed a bit, then Shawn finished putting the crib together and attached the mobile.

Later, Shawn's mom watched the kids and he and I went out on a date night, out to dinner and a movie. We saw Kickass 2.

Tuesday, I slept in as I had some insomnia last night, showered, Shawn made waffles and bacon for breakfast. WE'RE HAVING A BABY TOMORROW!!!

We straightened up, I dozed off in the recliner, then took Alexa to her guitar lesson from 1-1:30.

When I got back, we went to the store quick just for supplies for dinner, ate lunch, then Shawn and his mom and Alexa started preparing the brisket and veggies so it could cook for a few hours.

I relaxed a bit, took Ben to soccer practice. At home, we ate dinner, Shawn and I ran to Walmart for a few last minute things (where I felt rather crampy), and his mom watched the kids and taught them to play poker.

Wednesday- well, I was supposed to get to the hospital by 6 AM for my scheduled induction. Instead, I woke at 3:15 AM, got up to pee, and as soon as I stood up, my water broke in a huge gush!

I woke Shawn and he grabbed me a towel. I called my doctor, rinsed my lower body off quick in the shower, put on clean clothes, packed a few toiletries, and we headed to the hospital.

At 8:33 AM, On Wednesday, August 28th, I gave birth to an 8 lb 1.5 oz, 20" long baby girl, who we named Adelaide Elizabeth!

Update, 9/5/13:

I stayed in the hospital till Friday then came home.

Breastfeeding had a rough start with a lot of difficulty latching. We were at the pediatrician Saturday and Monday and worked with a lactation consultant and there are several concerns about supply, so I've been busy supplementing, followed by nursing, followed by pumping, and it leaves little time for anything else. I've been tired and stressed and weepy. But also totally in love with this tiny little girl, who we've taken to calling Adelaide Lemonade, or Floppy, or Snort. Or in Shawn's case, Puddin' Pop.

I've had very little time for the other kids which I feel some guilt about, but at least they are old enough to understand the kind of care and attention a newborn needs and can entertain themselves and each other, and can help out. And their grandma is here from Florida and spends time with them, too.

Using a Boba wrap I did manage to accompany Shawn and Ben to Ben's soccer practice yesterday, and Shawn was the one who took Alexa to her guitar lesson. He took her to her orthodontist appointment today, too, and did the grocery shopping on his way home. He's been a big help!

I am very glad the kids and I got a month of school done over the summer so I can take this month off without feeling stressed about it!

More when I can!


Life Without School - First Soccer Game

Life Without School!

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. -Dr. Seuss

Thursday, August 22, 2013 - Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thursday morning, I had a non-stress test. I sopped to get an insulin refill, then went home and hung out with Shawn. Alexa came home from her sleepover and we had lunch and did some chores.

Alexa and Ben had dentist appointments. No cavities!

We did laundry, and I had Alexa do science, drawing a map of the solar system, and Story of the World, making a "Magna Carta" for her bedroom and making "King Richard's shield."

I took Ben to soccer practice while she was still working on that stuff and then the girls did their own thing till I got back.

Friday, we slept in a bit, had breakfast, did morning chores and more laundry.

Wrapping up week 4 of school with Alexa (it was my goal to get in four weeks before the baby comes), she did health, taking a quiz on bike safety and designing a bike tag with 5 bike safety tips on it.

For history she read about "enlightened despots," then picked one to read more about and did a brief writing assignment on their reign and what entitled them to be called an "enlightened despot" rather than just a "despot." As it turned out we had a book here on Ten Great Queens and Catherine The Great was one of them, so Alexa read the chapter on her and then did her assignment on her.

We finished up the laundry, Alexa vacuumed for me, and then I dropped her off at a friend's house for a few hours. At home Ben played on computer, I had a meeting with Melissa's services coordinator, then just relaxed. Alexa came home with her friend a little after 7 and her friend slept over. Ben went outside for a while and played with little girl next door.

Saturday, I took Alexa to judo class, dropped off her friend who had slept over, and went home to relax a bit. Alexa showered, changed, and packed an overnight bag, we had lunch, Ben got ready for his soccer game then played on the computer till it was time to leave, while Alexa read from Magna Carta for Story of the World supplemental reading.

When it was time, we picked up my mother-in-law and went to Ben's first soccer game of the season.

When I went to drop my mother-in-law and Alexa off at my sister-in-law's, as she was sleeping there tonight, we were invited to stay for dinner. I had to go take Ben to do his soccer pics first, then stopped home to change and grab bathing suits as it was so hot out.

At my sister-in-law's, we dunked in the pool, ate, visited a bit, then went home to shower and relax. When Shawn came home, it was his last day of work and the start of his baby vacation!

Sunday, we straightened kitchen, had breakfast, Shawn mowed the lawn, and I ran to the pet store for gecko food.

After lunch, we went to my sister-in-law's for swimming and a BBQ. Back at home, we started some laundry, brought Ben's old crib up from the basement, partially put it together, and thoroughly cleaned it. It was pretty dirty from sitting in the basement for several years!

We also couldn't find the right screws to be able to finish putting it together, so on top of a bunch of other things on my to do list, we will need to stop at Lowe's tomorrow to buy some and finish it then. At least staying busy will help pass these few days until the baby comes!

Anyway I had all the kids shower and I showered, I packed Melissa's lunch for tomorrow and Shawn and I dropped my car off to get the brakes done tomorrow.

More later!


Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, arts and crafts, Girl Scouts, Judo, singing and music, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 8, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 13 months and my little ray of sunshine. :)

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secularly homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!


Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


Welcome To My Blog!


The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log


Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

UPDATED!My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3UPDATED!

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper


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