Saturday, May 28, 2016

High School

Wow, now that the 2015-2016 school year is over for all public schools in our area, it is reasonable to say that DS1 is entering high school!

As we contemplate graduation requirements, we are considering having him write a blog as his record keeping / portfolio for the next 4 years. He didn't balk at the idea this morning, but it didn't seem to excite him either.

As a non-accredited private school, we get to make up our own graduation requirements. We'll probably make them up as we go, as we do most things around here. However, I do think it is good to look ahead and think about what might be useful for him to know and/or have done when "graduation" rolls around in (approximately) four years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not Back To School - Again

FLICT hosted a Not Back to School park day today!

I wasn't able to attend, but DH & our boys had a good time. The temperature was in the 60s, so no one played in the water feature at the park. They took a croquet set, which was a hit.

Last week I learned that a few of FLICT's original families are not staying in the group, so I was sad that "it's happening again." It is tough to form a cohesive group with a bunch of people who thrive on being independent. FLICT is still together, though. We'll adjust and keep going. There are families in FLICT that I have known for 8, possibly close to 9 years. There are also some that I have known only slightly over a year. They are all great people, striving to do the best for their families. Unfortunately, that means we won't see some of them as often, but with the way things go in this town, I'm sure we'll run into them once in a while.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It Is Fall Again

Here we go again... the start of a new "school year."

We've been to one Not-Back-To-School park day, and DS1's co-op classes have started already. The class that I'm teaching at our co-op starts the Monday after Labor Day.

Our life-adventure / vacation for this year starts in a few days. We weren't able to take a vacation this summer due to DH's job. So we're driving cross-country (west) in the fall, instead of cross-country (east) in the summer like last year.

Our activities for this "school year" include WWHM which we call "Monday School" (it's a co-op ministry), Boy Scouts, twice-weekly PE classes, FLICT (see previous post), handbells, Theraplay, barbershop singing, and church activities. And that list is just things that include the boys. :-)

Monday, September 02, 2013


We are now part of yet one more homeschooling group. This is good, though, because FLICT is a very good fit for us. It is the next in a lineage of groups of independent minded, yet not isolated, homeschoolers in our area.


Free Learning Wichita is FLICT's full name. (ICT is Wichita's airport abbreviation and a well known local shorthand for our city.)

We have 10 families in the Facebook group. I think 7 of them came to our first group event. We had Wii games, Lego, Zometool, chalk drawing, Minecraft, some other computer games, In a Pickle, chess, some other board/character games, Magic the Gathering, toddler-sized blocks and puzzles, lunch, babies nursing, moms chatting, and probably several other activities that I missed seeing. All in just over 2 hours! The church building was left as clean and tidy as we found it, and kids and adults want to do it again.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time Flies

As I was preparing to post about our second "Not Back to School" gathering this fall, I decided to scan my archives and read some old posts. Wow, this blog has been around over 9 years! My tickers at the top show how long since I became a SAHM and how long DS1 has not been going to "building school."  It says 6 years. Did I count kindergarten year? No. It wasn't mandatory, and I didn't register with the state until he was 7. Wait, that's wrong, He's starting 6th grade, so if it has been 6 years already, then I did count K.

I have been getting my boys' grades and ages mixed up a lot this week. Just yesterday I told someone that DS1 was "10, almost 11, no 11 almost 12." Actually he is almost 11 and a half. His brother is "9 almost 10." I'm also confused about what grade to say they are in. DS1 is the age of most public school sixth graders, that would put him in middle school. However, back-in-my-day 6th grade was still elementary school, so when I say he's a middle schooler or a "youth", my brain thinks Jr. High and 7th grade. Do you see why I keep getting confused?

A few weeks ago someone asked me if the boys were at the same grade level in some subject (math, I think). I honestly didn't know how to answer that. Since we don't follow a specific curriculum that has grade levels, I don't even know what other kids learn in any particular grade or at a particular age.

I do know, however, that DS2 can do mental math like no one else I know. Once he learns (or figures out on his own) a math concept or a computational trick, he owns it. When he reads or hears something he absorbs it. He likes to read and hear things over and over, then he will be able to repeat (with understanding) those concepts and scripts at any time. He also likes cartoons and toys that are intended for much younger kids than himself.

DS1 will watch videos for hours and absorb the content. Last week he watched all 12 episodes of America the Story of Us over 3 days. He has also watched the entire The Universe series, both of which are History Channel series intended for an adult audience. With all the rain we've had this month (Our city was within 1" of beating the record for the most rain in August before the month was half over.), we had a discussion about extremes and mathematical limits because DS1 learned on Mythbusters that you don't stay drier by running in the rain instead of walking. I tried to convince him that since Mythbusters was obviously wrong at the extremes, then they were wrong period. His argument was that they were talking about normal human speeds, so they were still right.

We've come a long way, and I'm so fortunate to be doing this with them!

Friday, July 05, 2013

It seems that I am experienced.

I gave a 20 minute talk at my Science Camp reunion today about using Zometool to teach geometry at our homeschool co-op. There have been quite a few people want to talk with me about various aspects of homeschooling since then. It is quite nice to feel like I know what I'm talking about as well as being sought out for my opinion and experience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Transcripts Already?

I am currently (yes, really, right now) listening to a live webinar from Lee Binz of The HomeScholar about high school transcripts.

Since I tend to be inconsistent about keeping up with all of my good intentions, I figured if I got started now and practiced a little, maybe I would be ready when the time comes.

Some interesting tidbits:
  • Boys Scouts can probably be counted as PE because of all the camping and hiking. It can also be "leadership training", especially for boys who end up earning Eagle rank.
  • Dance could be PE or Fine Arts. 
  • High school level work taken early may be counted as a high school credit. (Think advanced student.)
  • When including these early classes, put the year the class was taken not "in 7th grade."
  • Any work done while high school age may be counted as a high school credit. (Think remedial student.)
  • College level work may be counted as a high school credit. (Think dual enrollment.)
  • Keep a transcript even if they don't think they are college bound. (Opinions sometimes change, or the transcript might come in handy for other purposes.)
  • Determine credit count (1 or .5) based on books or hours.
  • Activities can be counted as a class or as an activity, but shouldn't be listed as both.
  • Unschooling life learning activities can be tracked by topics and hours, then grouped together. When a group reaches 120-180 hours, you can describe it as a class.
  • Classes taken away from home (co-op, online, public school, summer camp/school) can be listed on your transcript, but you should include the title and grade as listed by the source.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Time Flies

I'm considering starting a new blog of our traveling adventures. In the process of getting ready to do that, I became aware of how long I have been blogging. Even though I don't post regularly anymore, it still amazes me that LILLILY will be 9 years old this summer!

My tickers show that I changed careers over 6 years & 9 months ago. We are just about to "finish" our 6th year of not going to school. My very first blog post was almost 12 years and 2 months ago. I won't go into how old I feel when I look at those time frames, I'll just say that technology changes. :-) It always has, and it always will. It's a good thing that I believe in LIFE LONG LEARNING!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Saving Space And Money On Souvenirs

As we travel, we often smash pennies as one of our souvenirs. I recently found some great RVing blogs. One is She has several blogs on several topics. I found this great post: Simplified Travel -- Saving Space And Money On Souvenirs --

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stephanie S. Tolan

I like this lady's website! She wrote Is it a Cheetah? which I first read on Hoagies' several years ago. I plan to check out Tolan's books from the library! She gets kids like mine!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's That Time Again

Time to load up on cheap school supplies.
Time to start going to "Monday School" (our co-op).
Time to plan a not-back-to-school party with HANCK.
Time to freak out about "not doing enough."
Time to examine our schedule and figure out when we will actually be at home.
Time to daydream about sending the boys away on the school bus and eating bon-bons all day.
Time to research curricula, virtual schools, and our local school district.
Time to think about all of the things that I wish we had done differently last year.
Time to realize that I don't have to be perfect.
Time to appreciate the opportunities and resources that we have available as homeschoolers.
Time to set some goals for this year.
Time to adjust my thinking.
Time to be confident.
Time to learn together!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The United States Mint: Quarters & Dollars

We have found almost all of the state quarters, and now we are filling our book of America the Beautiful quarters. I'll take a look at these lesson plans from the US mint. There are also lesson plans for the $1 coins.

I was disappointed to find out that the presidential coin series had been suspended, but I was glad to discover that the remaining coins (from President Arthur onward) will still be produced. They will only be available for collectors. The number of coins minted for each president is down to less than 10 million (as opposed to almost 100 million for Lincoln and over 300 million for Washington). They can be purchased in rolls or bags from the US Mint for about 10% over face value.

100 Best Children's Chapter Books of All-Time

We have read a few of these great books already. Several of them are part of Sonlight, and several of them I have purchased with the intent of reading them with the boys later.

As I was reading the comments, I could almost hear my mom (a children's school librarian).

Thursday, July 05, 2012


DS1 really enjoys science, particularly astronomy. While at the library Tuesday, we checked out Discovery Channel's "How the Universe Works." After yesterday's announcement by CERN of the discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle, I thought the topic deserved some extra research.

DS1 watched the first episode of the DVD, Big Bang. We discussed how the scientists don't talk about God, that some Christians don't believe the science, but that we believe they can both be true. God made the universe happen, and the scientists are just figuring out how it happened.

I did internet searches for "Higgs boson" and "CERN discovery." We watched videos describing Higgs field, Higgs boson, and how scientists are searching for it. We also watched several news reports about the discovery, and the next videos we watch will be the CERN ones and more from .

As Huckle, Lowly, and others (from Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries) would sing:
"Looks like we've got a mystery! Who, what, why, how? Who, what, where, when, why, how?"

Who?   God
What?  create universe
Where? everywhere
When?  at the beginning of time (billions of years ago?)
Why?   hmmm? because God can? for relationship with creatures?
How?   see "science"

Friday, May 04, 2012

DS2 created this logic puzzle today.

Max, Mark, Sam, Sally, and their parents played croquet. 

Can you figure out the turn order? 

  1. Max wasn’t first nor last. 
  2. Sam after Mom. 
  3. Mom after Sally. 
  4. Sally First. 
  5. Mark before Dad. 
  6. Check stake for color order.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The TAG Project

I haven't blogged here in quite a while, but some recent activity on TAGMAX email list prompted me to go to The TAG Project website again.

There are several things about my boys that are challenging. One is education. In many ways I see myself in them. I also see their uniqueness and how they are not only different than me, but also how they differ from each other.

Monday, November 07, 2011

10 Days of Blog Hopping

I ran across this blog post about 10 days to a peaceful home. Not surprisingly, I can't find the original source again. That's what happens when you follow hyperlinks on the internet. In characteristic "web" fashion, that post has several links of other "10 Days of" bloggers. So here is the list that I want to follow for the next 10 days. Some of them are homeschoolers, which is why I am posting here, on LILLILY.

Heart of the Matter - the organizer. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Boys being boys

My new favorite blog is Skipping School. A recent guest post titled "Boys Will Be Boys—Even When They’re Unschoolers" caught my attention enough to share it with anyone who actually still reads my blog after almost a year of inactivity. (Hi Cindy!)

I don't like fighting. Or arguing. So when my boys disagree in voices that sound like arguing to me, I get upset. It also bothers me that their favorite Wii game is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It's a fighting game with Nintendo characters, but you can fight against another player, not just CPU players. Some of the characters use special Nintendo powers, and some use bombs and guns. My boys also like any game that blows up things or creatures. I'd prefer they stick with virtually blowing up things, not creatures, especially not creatures that makes noises and squirt red when they die. But I'm not a boy! 

However, I was a tomboy. (Is that term even used anymore? It's certainly not PC.) I pretended a bent stick was a gun. We played cops & robbers, kidnap, and many other imagination filled games as a kid. I was sometimes the bandit/kidnapper/thief and sometimes the cop/sheriff/rescuer and sometimes the victim. We used to tie each other up to the fence, a tree, or the pole in my friend's basement. It was great fun. Even considering my "macho" games as a young girl, my boys are different than me.

Of course they are different than me! They are wonderful unique individuals. In each of them I see aspects of myself. He is his mother's son. He is like his dad. He is who he is!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Sample of Building School

DS1 is going to get a sample of "Building School" next week! He is participating in Camp Invention at his cousins' elementary school. (They will both be there also.) It is 5 days of 9:00-3:30 structured science fun. I am very sure that he will enjoy the content, but I'm not sure how he will react to a full day of "school" with so many kids for 5 days in a row.

This spring we were at "Monday School" (WWHM) from 10:00-2:00, an hour of which was lunch and play time. He has been to scout camp that was all day (and overnight), but it only lasted 3 days. I'm actually very excited for him.

DS2 and I will have Monday through Wednesday together, then on Thursday and Friday he will be at Cub Scout day camp with Dad. I'll be all alone Thursday and Friday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

When does school start?

That question is difficult to answer when you don't ever really stop.

We have less structure and fewer scheduled outside activities in the summer. Today most of the public schools in our area started. The one that affects us the most starts on Friday. So when do we start our new "school year"?  Today? Friday? Next Tuesday when PE starts? The Monday after Labor Day when Scouts starts? Or when I get our supplies, plan, and schedule at home set up?

In the past our marker has been HANCK's Not-Back-To-School party. There isn't one scheduled yet. That is partially due to so many different schedules in the area, partially due to the weather being so hot last week, and partially because no one has said, "It is at (this) park on (this) date."

Thursday, August 05, 2010


We have some swallowtail caterpillars! I got several a few days ago and thought I starved them, but 2 started moving when I put dill in their container. Add today's 2 or 3 and we might end up with quite a flock of butterflies in 3-4 weeks.

The boys seem quite interested. We have talked about their food, the life cycle stages, and different types of butterflies already. We googled to find some pictures and information about how to keep them. (Plastic baggies won't be sufficient for very long.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

Back-to-School sales have been going on for a couple of weeks now, and my year-long discount at Sonlight is about to expire, so that must mean it's time for fall school planning.

The boys have really been enjoying listening to fiction lately. Both audio books and Daddy reading at bedtime have been quite popular. That's good because we will be doing more read alouds this year than in the past. Math has been more formal lately, too. We have some new supplies that will work well with our workbox-like system for organizing our day. And I plan to go shopping for cheap notebooks, paper and markers today or tomorrow.

The only activities that are definite at this point are Cub Scouts for DS2 & ALEKS math. Almost definite are Scouts for DS1, WWHM for pre-Lego Robotics, and PE somewhere. Sonlight will play a big role again; I will attend the monthly fellowship, and I'm sure we'll go on many of the field trips (that will be planned next month).

We have been doing PE with Angels Academy for the past 2 years and the boys have made some friends there, plus Coach Dave is really great. This year they will be in the same class, so we would only be there for 1 hour, and I would most likely have the time to myself. YMCA Homeschool PE is on the same days, and since I don't really want to double up, I have a dilemma. At the Y I will be able to work out, which I need to do, and it is much closer to our house. The cost for the Y even comes out slightly cheaper since it is twice a week all the time for both boys, plus my workouts would mean that our Y membership is getting used (unlike during the past several months).

Also, there is HANCK. I'm sure we will have plenty of opportunities for park days, field trips, and playdates with our HANCK friends. We usually start the year off in August with a Not Back To School party at one of the parks with fountains on the first day of public school.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What we've been doing

A couple recent discussions have led me to want to make a list of what we have been doing for educational activities. Some of the following are at home, some are with formal outside classes, and some are informally with friends.

DS1's "2nd grade"
  • Sonlight Introduction to World History, Part 1 (Core 1) for History, Geography, Literature, and Bible
  • Handwriting without Tears
  • Sonlight Readers
  • ALEKS Math (3rd grade Mathematics with Quick Tables)
  • Singapore Math (1B and 2A)
  • Math - various other critical thinking, logic, and gifted workbooks
  • Sonlight science books & other Usborne science books
  • Science projects & experiments from various sources
  • PE - weekly classes, Track & Field meet
  • Sports camps (6 weeks each) - cricket, soccer, dodgeball, tennis, gymnastics
  • Photography camp (1 week)
  • Dance - fall - intro to tap, jazz, and ballet, with recital
  • Music - fall & spring, with recital
  • Spanish - fall & spring
  • Chemistry - fall (Real Science 4 Kids - Pre-level 1 Chem)
  • Global Art - spring
  • Cub Scouts - Earned Wolf rank & many beltloops, pins, & arrow points
  • Bowling - spring
  • Kid Zone (weekly Bible school) - fall
  • Classical music study
  • Banking, budgeting, and money management
  • Technology - typing, word processing, spreadsheets, graphics
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Community Service - monthly Grocery Relief / Angel Food distribution
  • Sleepovers (here, at a friend's, and camping out in a tent)
  • Treasure hunts, codes, and mazes: both creating for friends & figuring them out
  • Field trips (some might have been last year (1st grade), I'm going by memory not my calendar): Kansas Air Museum, a tractor factory, a bakery, the zoo, Exploration place, Pumpkin patch & corn maze, Cowtown, Wichita Historical Museum, Boise Discovery Center, Great Plains Nature Center

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A mom comments on Davidson Young Scholars Program

I need to get around to filing our paperwork with Davidson. This past September we had both boys go through some testing at the Gifted Development Center in Denver.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Pains Nature Center field trip

The Wichita Sonlighters group went to Great Plains Nature Center today. We had a wide age range and about 10 families, so the group was split.

While Nathan took the older kids outside, Patty took the younger kids to a classroom for an up close and personal view of snakes and other reptiles and amphibians. (Later the groups traded places.) The kids got to touch the snakes, salamander, and lizard. Did you know that GPNC has no poisonous snakes because there are none native in this area?

Outside, we looked for wildlife. Our group saw a turtle, a woodpecker, a great blue heron, and many ducks. Everything else has started winter preparations. We also learned how to tell a male fir (or was it spruce?) from a female. The female is the one with the little blue seeds.

Inside, my kids enjoyed the Habitat Hall with its many hands-on displays about the great plains. We also picked up the current free "Faces of the Great Plains" poster of Colorful Songbirds.

My boys had been to the trails before, but never inside. This was my first time there. We will definitely come back again!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A positive story

I found this story, Home schooling the cast of Snoopy the musical : The New Yorker, via a homeschool email list. It's about homeschoolers and it's completely positive, wow!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Plans for this year

Today has been a big day for prep work! First I ordered Core 1 and LA 1 from Sonlight late last night, then this morning I went to orientation for new Wichita West Homeschool Ministries members.

I've been mapping out our fall schedule, and I can't believe how "booked" it is. But I actually think that is going to be good, especially for me.

* Monday morning is a new co-op for us. DS1 will have RS4K Pre-Chem & Spanish. DS2 will have FIAR & Music.
* Monday evenings are Scouts. DS2 wants to be a Tiger, and based on age we could let him do that. If he were in public school he would be in K this year, but since he will be 6 in September, we might be his First Grade year, in which case he would qualify. This COULD be a really good thing... a quiet evening at home alone for me!
* Tuesday morning is PE.
* Wednesday may be another music and/or art type of class. Last fall DS1 did dance & music at enCompass, but didn't want to repeat the dance. If they had something like music theatre for 7 yr olds, he would love it. They don't have their fall schedule out yet, though.
* Wednesday evening we have church activities
* Thursday DS1 will have sports camps. They are 6 weeks at a time, but he's only doing 3 of the 12 for the year, so most of the time we will be at home. These are with the same coach as PE.
* Friday may be a gymnastics or rock climbing class at the Y. The homeschool schedule isn't available yet, even though the regular Y class schedule is ready.
* Saturday morning is going to be "Science experiments with Dad" time. DH really wants to do it, so I'm good with that. We'll be using last year's Science K from Sonlight for now, then I'll order Science 1 when they either get finished with K or get bored and want new books and experiments.

Other curricula include Handwriting Without Tears and Math On The Level. DS1 is finishing up Math-U-See's Primer, but I think we will forgo Alpha and keep doing real-life math instead. That seems to work well at this point.

I've come to the conclusion that we will do AT MOST one more activity. DS1 took a photography class at City Arts in July, which he really enjoyed, so that's on the table, too. If I'm smart, we'll hold off and add something in the spring if we're itching for more, either art, music, or something at the Y, but certainly not all 3!

We also have Sonlight Family Fellowship field trips once a month. Those have been very enjoyable this past year, and I suspect we will participate in most of them.

Plus, in case we are ever just want to play with a bunch of friends that are not part of Sonlight or WWHM, HANCK (Homeschool Activity Network - Central Kansas) has people organize play dates sporadically yet frequently.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Postcard Swap followup

Since we are just about ready to start a new school year, I thought I'd post a followup to our Sonlight Postcard Exchange. It was mid-spring before we got the last of our sent out. We received cards from all but 13 states (and DC). It was loads of fun, and I'm sure we'll do it again when we are actually studying US history with Sonlight. :-)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Free Range Kids

I think I just found a new favorite blogger. This is about Life and Learning, so here's a link to go read -- I think it fits here.

My boys get to play outside without me there, but I do check out the windows often. They go to the mailbox without me to take "outgoing mail", but since they can't reach all the way to the back of the box, I have to go with them when we are getting the mail. We have a small park a block away. I can't see it from my house. So far we all go together, but there are 2 ways home, and I have let DS1 go "the other way" and meet us there. I can see the day when I will let them play at the park without me; maybe next fall when school is in session... it will be "recess" for them. :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Roadschooling, day 8

Day 8 was only on the road when we were returning the RV and running other errands, but we did have a very interesting conversation about language arts. DS2 asked, "What is the subject of Geronimo Stilton? I know that Mr. Morton is the subject of the Tale of Mr. Morton." (Mr. Morton is the subject of the Subject/Predicate Schoolhouse Rock grammar song.) We defined and discussed subject, characters (main characters and supporting characters), setting, and plot. I really think they both understood because we used various TV shows and books as our examples.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Roadschooling - days 6-7

Day 6

DS1 learned how to "break camp" this morning. He helped Daddy get things ready to go before we left, and he helped with the checklist, also. We spent a lot of time driving today. We had a couple of nice visits with DH's relatives and got 2 free meals, too. DSs got a bit antsy at both places, but they amused themselves fairly well. At DH's aunt & uncle's they invented a card game, using a cribbage "29" score board to keep score. At DH's cousin's, DS1 taught our hostess how to play Black Box, which is a logic/geometry game. Both boys also enjoyed playing a verbal game they call "Guess Why". It's based on the book Q is for Duck by Michael Folsom and Mary Elting. A sample is, "E is for food, guess why? Because you eat it."

Our only touristy activity was stopping at Carhenge, an amusing replica of Stonehenge, near Alliance, NE. After we found our campsite at Enders Reservoir state recreation area, we tried out DS2's telescope. I think something inside was out of place, because we couldn't see anything through the telescope. We could, however, see many many stars with the naked eye. Even without a star chart DH and I were able to identity several constellations. The boys recognized the big and little dippers.

Note to self: If driving an RV, stay on paved roads after dark OR check out the park/campground before spending 2 hours with relatives around dinnertime.
Another note to self: When backing an RV in the dark, on a narrow, bumpy, dirt road (because doing that is less treacherous than going forward), the outside guide needs a flashlight to shine on herself so the driver can see her hand directions.

Day 7

This morning was beautiful. We got to see the campground, too. :-) We ate breakfast outside and took our only family pictures (of all 4 of us) with our camera's timer. DS2 got to push the button because he could run fast enough to get into place. We had a picnic lunch at a rest area in NE and also stopped to run and play at our favorite I-70 rest area near Ellsworth, KS. Entertainment today consisted of Black Box, several different card games, and the CD Rhinoceros Tap.

Now we're happy to be home. The food (of which we took too much) is put back in the frig and pantry. Blankets are back on our beds. Everything else is in the living room, waiting for tomorrow.