Homeschool 2014-2015

This year the kids and I've been doing homeschooling.  It's been an interesting year with ups and downs; at times I didn't like it and I was ready to send them back to public school immediately, and other times it's been so great to have everyone home and spending the entire day together learning.  It's been hard because I also teach piano lessons and do medical transcription and I don't feel like I can put my all into it with the time I have to work.  The year really flew by though!  I worry I'm not teaching them enough or keeping up with school standards, which is completely normal I'm sure for people just starting to homeschool.  I know the boys have really enjoyed it!  They like having more time to play of course!  We are still debating about next year if we will continue to homeschool, well mostly me.  Bryan doesn't like the factory-type learning that is currently in public schools and thinks homeschooling is best for our boys.  I like the idea of it and when we started brainstorming last year about doing it, I had all these grand ideas and plans, but things never seem to go as planned and the day totally changes when one child just doesn't want to do anything, or they are fighting all day, or don't want to listen to me and would rather play Legos.  There are good days too, but overall it just seems like they would do better listening to another adult than their parent, since they already have to listen to us on so many things.  So I don't know.  They were going to a school out of our boundaries and I don't know if they have room for them to return there, and I know my kids only want to go there and not to a brand new we'll see. 

We concentrated on reading, grammar, and math with little bits of science and history videos.  I'm afraid to get behind with their reading and math, so that was our main focus for the year.  We used Singapore Math.  We also used the Brain Quest books for their grade that have all the subjects, which we are still trying to finish through the summer as a review.  They were reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which I really wasn't happy about, but it really got Austin motivated to read.  Now that they've read all of those they have been reading their scriptures and the friend magazines for their reading time.  It was nice to be able to go to the Rec Center and have the pool practically to ourselves while other kids were at school.  We also went to Corn Belly's in October for a field trip.  They were supposed to go to this really cool place in Pleasant Grove that is like a space station and you get to pretend your on a space mission with a group of kids.  My kids were too nervous and shy about it, though, so we didn't end up going and I sold my tickets to someone else.  I took Austin and Aubrey to the Scera shell play "Pinkalicious".  They both enjoyed that.  It's also been great that Ethan has such a love for technology, drawing, and Apple products like his dad.  He bought Bryan's old iPad from him and uses it to draw.  He also has learning apps, a Spanish learning app he's been working on, and he's been keeping his journal on it, which he writes in often.  His thinking is a lot like mine was when I was little, though, where in my earliest journals I would write everything I did in my classes at school, where I wish I would have written more about my feelings or thoughts etc.  Ethan's been going most Thursdays to Bryan's studio.  He takes out the trash, dusts, mops the floor, and straightens up, and then he will draw or learn something from my brother Jake about animation or from Bryan about drawing on the iPad.  He loves going there and says when Jake's there it's so much fun. 

We have downsized a lot of our stuff the last year, and the boys pretty much just have a huge bucket of Legos.  They have a few other toys here and there, but Legos are pretty much Austin's life.  All through the school year when he wasn't learning, and still a lot during the summer when he's not playing with friends, he's building Legos.  Aubrey has started to enjoy them this year as well.  She loves things her brothers love and will go in their room and take stuff to play with......which the boys aren't usually too happy about, but sometimes they are nice and let her play with stuff.  We went to story time at the library a handful of times during the year for Aubrey.  It seemed we had a lot of illnesses through the winter months, though, and ended up inside a lot. 

In January or February I added one more day of teaching piano in Alpine instead of doing medical transcription on Wednesdays because Aubrey is slowly transitioning and not wanting a nap every day and I was finding it hard to type so much with her needing me while she's awake.  Then she was at my mom or sister's when I taught.  Now that it's summer I've condensed it into one day of teaching in Alpine and one day for Provo.  I didn't like going up twice a week to Alpine, though, it was pretty hard, so I'm not sure what to do when school starts again or if I can fit everyone in the same day or not; and my sister is way too busy to babysit with being a single mom of 5 kids who are in all kinds of sports and activities where she is constantly running around.  My mom has my brother's kids living at her house and having my kids as well was getting to be too much for her, as well, with the energy level they produce when they are together; so now Bryan is going to be working from home on Monday when I go teach in Alpine and we'll see how that goes.  I wasn't planning on teaching too much after Aubrey, and didn't for a while, but I felt strongly that I should teach again.  It's nice for me to have two part-time jobs like that so I don't get burned out from doing one.  I like to mix things up. 

I've had all my pictures from last year on a harddrive and my Mac computer died and now I'm on a PC, so I haven't been able to access them to update my blog.  I then decided to use Instagram as more of my 'blog', but I don't think I like it as much; so I will eventually catch up the last year of what's been going on because I feel like it's good to have the blog for family history. 

This ended up being more of an update than about homeschool, but I'm glad I've caught up on where we are in a few areas of our life. 

Christmas Dance

I am way behind on this blog right now. Since my Mac died I haven't had a way to access my pictures from my harddrive other than what's on my phone. So before I do any catching up I just had to post this sweet video of Ethan dancing with Aubrey on Christmas. We stayed at my in-laws for Christmas Eve. The kids love it. The boys pack a suitcase about a week in advance they are so excited, (even though Grandpa and Nana's house is just about 7 minutes away). Nana was sharing one of her new favorite (old) songs and the kids just started dancing. It's moments like these that make me so happy to be a mom and melt my heart.

YouTube Video

Halloween 2014

For Halloween the kids and I went to their old school Westridge to watch the Halloween parade.  The boys had fun seeing a few of their school friends.  One of Austin's friends, Alex, was so excited to see him he kept yelling his name.  It made them kind of miss school, since we are homeschooling, but just their friends and nothing else. ;)  We also went to the trunk or treat at our church parking lot.  It was funny to see Aubrey's reaction to trick-or-treating.  I helped her hold out her bucket as someone dropped in candy, and the look of pure excitement as she started to realize it was for her, and that if she continued to hold out her bucket to each car we visited she would get more candy.  She was holding out her bucket to everyone!  Then Bryan and Thomas took around Ethan, Austin, Thomas, and Alana to do some more trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  Bryan was riding his penny farthing and somehow tweaked his back and they had to come home.  He pulled something pretty bad and couldn't move very well for a few days!  

Fourth of July 2014

This year's 4th was a blast!  

But first here's a picture of Aubrey reading a book in the car. :)

First we headed over to see the balloons.  We walked of course because it's nice and close! One of the nice things about living in Provo.

We got an even better show of the balloons at our house.  A couple landed at the park just down the street, and one landed right in front of the church where our ward Scouts do a 4th of July breakfast every year.

Here's Aubrey's pouty face where she tries to keep it in.  She's jealous Brady has the bubbles. ;)

Our friends/neighbors rented this huge blow up bounce house/slide, and we ended up putting it by our house since they don't have a yard right now, and there's a lot of room for everyone to run around and play.  We had a huge neighbor/block party - so much fun!

One of the many times Bryan's hackey sack has gone on the roof.  It's been a summer routine now playing hackey sack in the evening with all the neighbor dads that will play with him ;)

My friend Jessica brought water balloons and we played some water tossing games.  This was also lots of fun, almost more for the adults than kids, ha!

Jessica's husband Greg is always trying to get Aubrey to look at him, because she gets shy and will avoid eye contact.  It took awhile for her to warm up, but when she sat on this bike, he pulled her around and then she liked him.  His son Brady was trying to help push-he's so cute!  They are just 6 days apart!

Water slide fun!

We had three BBQ's set up behind the slide where there was a little shade since it was SO HOT, and everyone brought their own meat and a dish to share.  We are going to have to make this a tradition it was so fun!  We also did our own fireworks and could pretty much see the ones from the stadium of fire as well.  We (Bryan, all his siblings, and spouses), all got Bryan's parents tickets to go to the Stadium of Fire for their birthday.  They had Carrie Underwood this year, and Studio C (BYU comedy show).  We had a slight scare with one of the fireworks that was defective and instead of going up went out.  It actually lit some bushes on fire next to our house, but thank goodness we have a power hose and all the men got it out quickly!  It scared some of the little kids, especially Austin and our friend's daughter Alana.  They were saying how much they hate fireworks and they never want to see them again! ;)  We have such an awesome neighborhood full of great families!

Ethan's First Job

My friend asked Ethan if he'd take care of their garden while they were out of town for a few weeks.  He brought in their mail and watered their garden and plants.  He did a great job.  He's very smart with his money and just saves and saves.  In fact, he tries to get his younger brother to buy him stuff so he doesn't have to use his money. ;)

Aubrey wanted to help too! :)

June Fun

Bryan was so busy finishing up the images for Hale Center Theater that he wasn't able to go to the play with me, so I took Austin.  He needed some Mommy time so it worked out great, especially because he LOVES Peter Pan.  He was nervous at first when we got there and didn't know what to expect with Hook, but he soon was laughing and loving it and wanted to be just like Peter Pan.  They did a wonderful job.  

Splash pad fun at the park on Center Street, Provo.

Aubrey trying to decide if she likes the splash pad. :)

Scout Fun Day.  They did things like the three-legged race, tug of war, and a huge twister.  It was fun, but Ethan doesn't really like these kind of activities.  He liked tug of war, but nothing else.  

One of our nice neighbors held a fun chemistry science camp class for two weeks, twice a week for free!  The boys learned about atoms, the periodic table and the chemical elements.  She taught them a concept and then they would do an activity.  They did rockets, magic tricks, made atoms, and learned about the rainbow and about colors.  So fun!  Here's a cool song by They Might Be Giants about the elements.  Meet the Elements

Aubrey enjoying the pool and then the park.

Aubrey dressed up for Flag day.

Bryan went to Colorado for a photo shoot, so we went up to Alpine to visit my grandparents, the kids' Great Grandpa and Grandma Newman.

Love this mountain view

Ethan's been trying out my old roller blades.  We went down the Junior High's track and he held onto Aubrey's trailer while I rode us around.  He can go without holding on, but it was more for fun.

Brady's older brother, Adam, who loves to make Aubrey laugh.  They are playing ring around the roses.

Went to the park with some neighbor friends.

We had a surprise BBQ party for Barbara's 60th.  

Hanging out with Grandpa

Chasing Aubrey

Aubrey slow dancing to some music.

Another trip to the duck pond, this time with the boys and their friend Nash.

Aubrey was in heaven with the BYU stairs.  She absolutely loves climbing stairs.

This is our weekly routine of walking to church.  Can't help but take a picture each time. :)

Up at my Dad's for Sunday dinner.  My mom was out of town to Tara's.

Finally got Ethan's tire fixed so we went on a bike ride on the Provo trail and stopped at the skate park on the way.

And by the tree swing and river.

Had the sweet sister missionaries over for breakfast, Sister Jensen and Sister Lani.  Aubrey loved them.  Sister Lani sat next to Aubrey for breakfast and kept helping her while I was getting things ready.

The BYU Bean Museum was closed for about two years, I think, while they did some reconstruction, so we all went as a family to check it out.  It was pretty cool.  Things were pretty crowded in there before, so they had more room to spread it out.

I know these are all practically the same picture, but she's making different faces in each one and they are all so cute!

I love this hair piece and I tried to snap a picture before Aubrey yanked it off!  It's so cute, I wish she would keep it on.

Aubrey and her cute pigtails.  

Bryan and another neighbor dad, Thomas, have been building a dam over at the river.  They left a little area open so they could ride the kayak down it.  We went back just one week later and the rise in temperature made the water level go down so much in just one week!

Here's a few videos of the fun-

"Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things." ~Pierce Harris
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