First Day of HOMEschool and Family Home Evening!

 Yup! We started school this year on Labor Day which, I admit, was kind of weird.  But we had some momentum and the kids were excited, so we went with it.  It ended up being great though because Chad was home and able to start the morning off with their annual Father’s blessings.  It sure helps them feel special and tightens the bonds we share. 
 This is from right before…
 A Father’s blessing is an opportunity to give guidance and comfort to a child.  It is one of my favorite family traditions we have.
 I know it brings the kids closer to their Dad, helps me know what to focus on as a mom and I DEFINITELY appreciate that extra spiritual boost in my role of teacher before starting a new school year.  I love getting to transcribe what he blesses the kids with too and the really thoughtful, inspired insights that come.  They give me direction.
 When you homeschool 3 kids there’s some juggling.  Here’s Sammy doing some learning games with the cat keeping him company while I spent time with Sophia.  He was so peaceful and I was proud of him for being able to spend some time by himself.

 Sophia jumped right in!   Although there are always challenging moments, sometimes REALLY challenging moments, I was really proud of her to see so much “clicking.”  This year the times tables and division are really happening! It feels so good to see that because it can take a LOT of FAITH to be patient with someone’s special learning curves.  It helps me recognize my own learning curves in my ability to be patient and try, try again!

 This is our cat, Cole, checking out our first science project of observing caterpillars turn into butterflies.  He was VERY curious…a little too curious!

 Sammy is officially in kindergarten! I was so proud of how he handled school like a pro! First, he spent time with Sophia who is VERY eager to teach him and has been doing a great job of that over the past several weeks.  When she needed a break though because “he doesn’t want to learn to read TODAY!” I decided it was time for him to spend some time with me. 
 Here he’s drawing “LOTS of money” because Money starts with the letter M.

 I can never get enough of those EYELASHES!!!
 Here we drew a dog together for the letter D.  He drew on “a little tale like those pit bulls have.”
 Taking a break from book work to check out the caterpillars again!  I love educational distractions!
 Michael surprised me by writing out his own school and chores schedule.  It was very thorough and I was so proud of his initiative!  This is exactly what we’ve been hoping would happen in their learning.  Sophia has been just as dedicated with her list too.  Even though they might lose some steam they really do want to do the things on their Learning Lists.

 More caterpillar time.  Everyone needs breaks!  Especially when melt downs happen.  Because they do.  This time when it happened, since Chad was home, I invited him to come have a midday family prayer with us.  We needed it.  We needed some extra peace and comfort.  Nobody was pushing anyone especially hard, but it takes time to learn things. That’s OK.  Sometimes we need to be reminded of that, and the Holy Ghost is so good at bringing things like that to our remembrance when we invite him in.
 Michael decided for writing practice he wanted to write a letter to his Grandma.  I love this personal-led learning!  We did some proofreading together and then it was good to seal up!
 The kids did art while I read aloud from our science books and Daniel Boone biography.  It was a good peaceful way to wrap things up.  I love reading aloud!  Of course one thing leads to another, so when the Daniel Boone biography mentioned small pox I put on an episode of Little House on the Prairie to show what a quarantine was like.  We watched and they asked questions while we folded laundry (LOTS of it) and got it put away.  

 RECESS!!! FREE TIME!!! This is what they wanted to do: Build forts and play with their monkeys.  They attached strings to them to make them like puppets!  FLYING PUPPETS!
 I love her spinning, curly hair!
 The set-up was very impressive.  Can you see the cell phone that’s the “TV” for the little critters?  These apartment forts they make for their animals have all sorts of amenities!  And it’s a lot to pick up later, but I try really hard to just “enjoy the moment” and “enjoy the chaos”.  I know I’ll miss it when they’re grown up and gone!
 Since we’re learning about Daniel Boone, and I wanted to make the first day of school special, we decided to have a backyard cookout.  So it was hobo dinners!
 I love seeing them help each other, which is necessary when I’m taking pictures (or so I tell them), and gives them a great opportunity to grow and serve.
 I had some FRESH SAGE from a neighbor!!! YUM!!!
 The kids jumped like monkeys with their monkeys while their food cooked.
 I was so captivated by their play, their joy, their wonder.  I didn’t get any pictures of the food cooking or even close, staged photos of their jumping.  I just stood back and took it all in.
 
 MAGIC.  That’s what my heart felt while I watched them.  Even though I had been frustrated during different moments of the day and needed that prayer midday to regroup, again, like always, it had been worth it.
OK.  Maybe I staged one photo.  But I had to get a still shot of them with their monkeys!
They threw those monkeys HIGH!  Can you see the pink blur?
  Daniel Boone may not have had root beer like this, but I’ll take any excuse I can get to buy old fashioned root beer!  The kids loved how it kept bubbling over.
 For Family Home Evening we talked about the Word of Wisdom and listened to the entire 89th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.  We may have had to pause it 3 times within the short 5 minutes because kids had to use the bathroom, but we made it through!  We talked about the healthy vegetables in our dinner and asked for ideas of how we could do a better job taking care of our bodies.
We came up with the ideas of planting a garden, exercising, and making sure we stop eating when we’re full.  Here are some tomatoes from our garden!! Yes, we’ve finally got a handful!! Victory is sweet and delicious!!
We also had s’mores, because how can you have a backyard fire without s’mores?  Sophia made hers inside out!  We talked about how it’s OK to have some sweets sometimes, but to just make sure we don’t have too many.  I bore my testimony of health.  It felt really special to tell my kids about the health and wellness book that will be published in e-book form in one week!  It felt great to tell them from my own experience that I know these principles of wellness are true and an essential part of our happiness.  
 
 “Mom! Want to watch me buck?!”  “Sure, honey.” Don’t your kids ask you that question?
 Her brothers were already inside, getting ready for bed, but I had to say yes.  I knew it would make her feel proud to show me.  What did another minute really matter?  Totally.  Worth.  It.
 Just look at that smile!  I helped make that happen by just stepping back and giving her the time to be herself.
 
I’m so thankful I can homeschool my kids.  I’m thankful for the freedom of religion we have in this country.  I’m thankful for my health and all I’ve learned that helps me, one day at a time, to mother my children.  I know it’s a privilege.  I know it’s a sacred responsibility.  And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Love, Eva