Summer's gone?!?

It's so hard to believe it's half-way through August already.  What a summer, though!  Most of our summer was spent preparing for our trip to Turkey.  We had a blast, although there were some hiccups back home with the kids.  John (6) suffered from severe homesickness but those who had him -- church friends the Snyder's -- did a fabulous job with him!  Elizabeth (7) also came down with strep throat while we were gone but, again, thanks to church friends - the Pituch's - and Jonathan's mom, things turned out pretty well (although it would have been nice if we could have avoided making Ms. Charissa and baby Lucas sick -- sorry guys!).  Nathan (12) and Caleb (8) were in South Carolina with my parents, Timothy (3) was with Elizabeth at the Pituch's, and Lydia (2) was with Jonathan's parents (Elizabeth joined her there after her strep diagnosis).  Again, we say thanks to all those who helped.  We couldn't have gone without you guys, obviously, and we cannot say "Thank You" enough!  (If you follow me on Facebook, there are some pictures there.  I'm too lazy to post them here -- sorry!  Maybe another day....)

Right after returning from Turkey, I jumped in (almost literally) to preparing for homeschooling.  Spent 3 hours one day ordering curricula.  Wowzers!  But I think we've got almost everything ready to go.  In fact, 99% of our stuff is here and the kids (primarily Nathan) have asked to start early!  When we homeschooled in the past, I always started the day after Labor Day and had planned to do that again.  But I think this is it....  My "plan" (ha ha!) is to sit down with them Monday and go over "stuff" plus spend some time decorating their bags I bought them from Oriental Trading to keep their books and stuff in.  Then, Tuesday, I guess we'll start.  After reading some homeschooling blogs and talking to a few homeschooling moms, I've decided we're going to try a 4-day school week.  Mondays will be kept "free" for things such as field trips, doctor's appointments, errands, and deep housecleaning.  We plan on evaluating where we're at as far as the school year goes come Christmas and if it's not working, we'll go back to a 5-day week.  My primary reason for doing this is that, while homeschooling Elizabeth (and rushing those in public school to school), I never felt like I had enough time to do housework AND school on the same days.  Seemed like the days I focused on cleaning, little school got done and vice versa.  So I hope this "fixes" that.  Elizabeth's portfolio evaluation went VERY well which has bolstered my confidence quite a bit.  Here's what we're planning on using this school year:

~Nathan, 7th grade:
*Math - BJUPress Pre-Algebra (we went with a "standard textbook" in hopes that a video series Jonathan's discovered on YouTube for free will fill in the gaps; again, we'll evaluate as we go and I have "Teaching Textbooks" and "Math-U-See" as potential back-ups)
*Science - Apologia General Science
*Grammar - Easy Grammar Plus (plus Mom's creative writing course)  :)
*History - I'm doing a history/study of the 50 states on my own, with "Draw and Write Through History" and "The Star Spangled State Book" as jumping off points

~Caleb, 2nd/3rd grade:
I say 2nd/3rd because Caleb could really do most, if not all, 3rd grade work.  However, he insists he "can't skip 2nd grade".  :)
*Math - MathUSee, Beta
*Science - Apologia's "Exploring Creation Through Astronomy"
*LA - "First Language Lessons For The Well-Trained Mind", level 2
*History - same as with Nathan

~Elizabeth, 1st/2nd grade:
Elizabeth was in 1st grade this past year but she's not technically ready to move on to 2nd grade in reading/writing and language arts and will probably take math a lot slower than Caleb (but that's okay!)
*Math - same as Caleb
*Science - same as Caleb
*LA - "FLLFTWTM", level 1
*History - same as Caleb

~John, 1st grade:
*Math - MathUSee, Alpha
*Science - same as Elizabeth
*LA -same as Elizabeth
*History - same as Elizabeth

So......here we go!  We wish everyone a blessed school year and hope you all have enjoyed your summer!  Won't be long and we'll be talking about Christmas (?!?).  Yikes!  :)

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