And Now We Wait….

Junebug had her Vocal Quality Audition for All State this afternoon. The process for this audition was new this year (not that we would know any difference). The students had a number of songs to prepare (Junebug had 6, some high school students had 8). A couple of weeks ago they were told one of the songs they would have to sing in the audition and what measures would be graded. Today when they arrived at the audition, they were told the two other songs they would be singing. Once they had their music marked and ready, they were allowed to hear what each choir’s recording would sound like. For the actual audition, they had to go into a room where they would record their songs. They had to sing a vocalise (something like a warm-up), then each song selection. There was not much time between the vocalise and the songs or between the songs. They were told to just throw their music down on the floor as they finished a piece because everything would go so fast. Afterward, they were allowed to listen to a very brief portion of the recording to show that there were no technical problems and had to sign a paper. These recordings will be sent to adjudicators who will judge all of the auditions in the state. Even though Junebug and her friend K were the only ones auditioning for the Treble Choir in the district, there are no guarantees that they will be selected for All State. They are competing against everyone else in the state. The teachers could not tell us how long this process will take so we may be waiting for a couple of weeks to find out their scores.

Junebug felt like she had messed up somehow during her audition, but couldn’t tell me how or even which song. After talking to her some more, I think that she didn’t like hearing the sound of her own voice on the recording. She has mixed feelings about whether or not she wants to go to All State still.  I think she is finally getting a little bit excited about the possibility that she might make it.  We found out that she is in a good position after the written test and sight reading test so there is a good chance.  She is proud of what she has accomplished and I am proud of her for always doing her best.

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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


She passed!

Junebug passed her All State tests today! She only missed 3 questions on the written portion of the test, and scored 18 of 24 measures on sight reading. I am tickled that she did so well. She enjoyed the experience (like I hoped she would). There may be hope yet.

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


All-State Update

Tomorrow Junebug will take her All-State written and sight singing tests. She has worked very hard and is doing very well, but still seems anxious about the whole experience. I had recently come across a neat way to encourage my children concerning their schoolwork, and planned to put something together in the next few weeks, but decided Junebug needed some specific encouragement right away. I had the chance to run to the store tonight and this is what I made (with a little help from my husband). At the very least, she will appreciate the candy. Hopefully, after tomorrow, she will have a new perspective and will be glad she had this opportunity.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized



We are just beginning week 4 of our homeschool year. We are adjusting to the new changes and challenges. Junebug is enjoying her chorus class. The kids in the chorus class have been very welcoming to her (and a bit curious about homeschooling).  She had auditions for Aladdin last week.  We should find out next week what part she will have (if any).

The travel arrangements for Junebug have worked out okay for me because our wonderful neighbor takes her to school in the morning so I only have to pick her up when class is over. It isn’t always easy getting her up in the morning, but she hasn’t missed her ride yet. That gives me some time to do some chores, or have some alone time with Spike for reading or doing lessons.

Most afternoons, we have had All State practice for Junebug.  Fortunately, we only have to drive to the high school for that.  It is much closer and means we don’t have to drive through 3 school zones to get to practice.

All State is a controversial issue in our house.  It has been a lot of hard work on Junebug’s part.  She is really doing well though.  She understands the theory parts, and can sight sing pretty well.  She has more trouble with the rhythms than she does the pitches (which really is the hardest part for most people).

Our problem is that the test is only one week away and she wants to quit.  She has worked so hard and wants to throw in the towel before she even has a chance to see what she can do.  For the time being I have told her that she has to keep going.  The teacher has invested too much time working with her to quit now.  Junebug has invested too much time and energy to quit now.  I have invested too much time, energy, gas, money, and patience to let her quit now.

While I don’t want her to feel too much pressure, I realize that this is the first time she has had this kind of challenge.  I only want her to complete what she has started and do her best.  If she does not make it to All State, that just means we will have one less thing to worry about in January.  She will also have had one more new experience.  I really won’t be disappointed unless I know she didn’t try.

I think her main problem is that she knows that it is very likely that she will not get a perfect score, especially in sight singing. I believe that she would rather not try than try and fail.   Even if she fails, she has done more and learned more than most of the other children in the class, just by participating.  How do I help her see that this is a safe place to fail?  How do I help her get past her perfectionism when I can’t always let go of it for myself?

This is just so hard.

I’d better start saving up to pay for her therapy (and mine) twenty years from now.  We may really need it.

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in homeschool, Junebug


New Year, New Challenges

I set a date.

I thought I was giving myself plenty of time.

I was wrong.

Monday is our first day of school and my dining room table is covered with textbooks, workbox stuff, lesson plans, and school supplies. I should be working on cleaning up the school room, but here I sit at the computer putting off what needs to be done.

Why don’t I feel ready this year? I have filled in lesson plan pages, but feel like I don’t know what I will even teach the first day. I have made a schedule, but feel like I can’t possibly have it right. I just know it is all going to fall apart in the first 5 minutes of our day. I want our routine back, but fear I don’t know how to have a routine anymore. I am overwhelmed at the thought of schooling my two children, putting food on the table, keeping up with the laundry, taking care of our new (to us) pool, and trying to keep our home livable.

So I am doing what I always do when I feel overwhelmed about something. I am avoiding and procrastinating. I had hoped that after 8 years of homeschooling, that things would get easier in terms of getting ready for school. I am learning that every new year presents new challenges.

When we first began our homeschooling journey, I became pregnant with Spike. I schooled through morning sickness and exhaustion. The next year, I had just started learning how to teach with a baby in my arms, when we had to move. By the next year, we found out that Spike had food allergies and I had to learn to cope with that on a daily basis (which was so very overwhelming at the time). Each year brought new challenges. When Spike began Kindergarten, I couldn’t fathom how I would teach two children who were so far apart in age. Last year I discovered work boxes.  It was a lot to set everything up, but I think that it was the single best thing I have ever found in my homeschooling journey. It made our school day so much better, that I thought we would have smooth sailing for the next couple of years, at least until Junebug started high school.

Now we have another new challenge before us. Junebug is enrolled in a chorus class at the local middle school which means that she has to be up and dressed and out the door early every day. It means that I have to drive to town at least once if not two or three times a day because of afternoon practices.   It means that we can’t take our schoolwork with us and go spend a few days with the grandparents.  It means that we might miss some field trips or co-op classes.  Her teacher wants her to try out for the All State choral competition and audition for a part in a major musical production.  That means that a subject that has always been on the sidelines is now a major priority.

I keep telling myself and Junebug that this is an great learning opportunity.  Junebug has the opportunity to learn music theory, how to sing and act on stage, a little about healthy competition, and a little about what public school is like.

My lessons will be different from hers.  I will be learning to trust God to work everything out for our good.  I will learn once again that His plans are not my plans and that he will carry us through this year’s challenges as he has the challenges of the past, with grace and mercy every day.

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in homeschool, Uncategorized



We have one more week until our first day back to homeschool. This has been a very busy summer to say the least, and only in the past few weeks have I had time to do any planning for the school year. Fortunately, because the FPEA convention was in May, some of my planning was done before summer started because I had to know what curriculum I wanted to purchase at the convention (at least until I got there and found something better).

Since I had my curriculum mostly purchased, all that was left to do was figure out a plan to implement it all. Though we have been homeschooling for 8 years (beginning when Junebug was 4 years old), this part hasn’t gotten any easier.  I think the main problem is that I know that however much I plan, I can’t plan for everything. The perfectionist in me wants to plan every minute of our day.  The realist in me knows that the more detailed I make my plans, the more likely they are to fail.

Last year, we began implementing workboxes.  This seemed to be a happy medium that allowed me to plan our day, without getting stressed if a subject took a little longer than expected or we had something interrupt our day.  While I still plan to use workboxes, I feel the need to make a schedule. so that Junebug has things to do independently while I work with Spike,and Spike has things to do independently while I work with Junebug.  This is where I get stuck every time.  I’ll be ironing out a rough schedule this week and hope that it is flexible enough to work for us.

I did manage to get my planner and daily/weekly log put together.  Want to see?

These are just some simple planning pages.  I use these for the times I actually try to sit down and plan out our week.  It doesn’t happen very often, usually just for the first two or three weeks of school, then intermittently after that.  I keep these pages in a separate book from my daily/weekly log that is required for our homeschool records.  Here is what that looks like.

I have been making my own planners for the last few years.  I don’t think I could ever go back using a regular planner now (even though some are very tempting to buy, just because they are so pretty).  One day  I will figure out how to make mine look pretty too.  Right now space is a priority over appearance.  I also have pages that I use from Donna Young like calendars, attendance pages, grade forms, curriculum keys, etc.  All of this is bound with a spiral binding at an office supply place.  I love it because it lays flat, and I can take it with me easily.

In addition to these pages, I have made plans for Science and History that are somewhat flexible.  Even though the plans are set up in weeks and days, we will just do the next thing if something keeps us from our plans one week.  I will probably put these plans in a binder, just because I will need to have them separate from my plan book and my daily log for easy reference.

This is just the first page of Spike’s Science plans.  Junebug is doing a different level, but the plans are set up the same way.  History plans for Spike are similar as well.  I am still working on Junebug’s history plans. I am almost halfway through though.  I don’t see finishing those until I have to.

Do I really have to?

*Disclaimer – None of my lesson plan forms are completely original.  I have stolen borrowed ideas from other people over the years, taking what I liked and leaving what I didn’t.  


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Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Happy Wormy Birthday!

Happy Wormy Birthday!

Tomorrow Spike turns 7 years old!   I just can’t wrap my mind around that fact.  My baby is going to be 7 tomorrow.  He really isn’t a baby any more though.  I am going to have to face it.  Here are 7 big things about my big boy, Spike.

1.  He can ride his bike like a big boy now.  He finally learned to ride his bike without training wheels this week.  His daddy has been after him for this past year to take off the training wheels, but Spike wasn’t ready.  Wednesday morning he asked to play outside. I told him that he could ride his bikes with Junebug.  He went outside and came right back in to ask if I would help him learn to ride without training wheels.  I told him I would and was surprised to find that he had already taken the wheels off by himself.  He asked me to steady the bike while he got started, and he just started riding.  He practiced until it got too hot (which didn’t take long) and would take a break. After a little practice, he got the hang of getting the bike rolling himself and that was it.  He just needs to practice turning and braking, and he’ll soon be keeping up with his sister.

2.  He is a big help to his daddy.  It doesn’t matter what his daddy is working on, Spike wants to be right there with him helping however he can.  Even if all he can do is watch what is going on, he will be right there taking everything in, learning all he can.  He is learning to be a man.  He is learning about fixing cars, making home repairs, planting a garden, and running a business.  More importantly,he is learning to be a man who takes care of his family, who takes pride in his work, who serves others with gladness.

3. He is a big help to me.  Back when he only two, he wanted to help with my chores.  I started by letting him empty the dryer.  Back then he would climb inside the dryer to get out all of the clothes.  He is always asking for bigger more important jobs to do.  He doesn’t always like the jobs I give him, but he usually does them well. He loves it when I give him a new job that feels important.  I love his willingness to help.

4.  He talks big.  People have said of both of my children that they sound grown-up when they talk.  Spike has a way of talking to people of all ages.  He can carry on a conversation with just about anyone.  He does sometimes seem to lower his voice when he talks to certain people, especially if he wants to sound like he knows what he is talking about.  He likes to talk about the Gators and joke with the men at church who root for the Seminoles.

5.  He plays big.  Even though he only has an older sister who is very girly and does not like to play rough, Spike has not let that stop him from being the tough guy.  When he fell off of his bike a couple of times, he didn’t quit.  He got back up and tried again.  He can hold his own when another rough and tumble boy comes around to play.  While it isn’t easy for this mom to watch her boy wrestling in the floor, I realize that it is good for him to play in this way.

6.  He thinks big.  Spike is my thinker.  He thinks about so many things and tells me what he thinks.  He asks hard questions.  He tries to figure things out for himself (which sometimes gets him into trouble).  He is a bit of a schemer at times, but is usually honest about it.  He thinks about God and talks about him.

7.  He has a big heart.  I’ve said it before.  There is nothing like the love of a boy for his mother. There is something special about the way Spike loves.  He can melt my heart faster than anyone.  He still likes to sit in my lap and let me hold him.  He knows if I haven’t hugged him enough in a day and tells me so.  He keeps me in line and reminds me of what my priorities should and should not be.

I am so thankful for Spike.  He is a wonderful blessing from God to our family.

For his birthday, he requested a party at Mega’s (my mother’s) house.  He asked for spaghetti for dinner with cake and ice cream.

He has really gotten into gardening this year and wanted a garden cake.  I envisioned a cake with green icing and candy flowers or at least vegetables and fruits made from candy.

That is not quite what he had in mind.  He wanted something more down to earth.  He wanted a cake that looked like worms were crawling out of the dirt.  Since it was what he wanted, and it sounded easier than my version of a garden cake, I followed his wishes.  Here it is.

I forgot to put crushed oreos on top of the icing before I started putting the worms on the cake so it looks like mud, not dirt.  It is lopsided and has some major cracks in the top from putting the worms in, but he seemed pleased with it.   That is all that matters, right?

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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


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