2018 Semester End and Christmas Break

Semester End and Christmas Break

We never stop homeschooling, not really, but the next two weeks will see a vastly reduced schedule as we relax and enjoy the holidays.

We are a little behind, right at 42% of our total 1,000 of required study and 33% of that in core classes.

Here is the way it works for homeschooling in Missouri:

1,000 hours per year of instruction, with 600 of those hours must be in core studies: reading, language arts, social studies, science, and math.

This is my spreadsheet (although the one I look at is a pinch bigger!).

Each week, Em fills out the weekly study sheet as we go through the different assignments. At the end of the week she hands it into me and I update the Excel spreadsheet with what was studied and assign time estimates to all of them.

For example, practicing her spelling list consists of saying the words out loud and writing them. That and the test takes around 1/2 hour, so I enter it under language arts as .5 hours. Well, I would except that I also add in the reading aloud, independent reading, creative writing, et cetera, which varies from day to day.

And I have my spreadsheet formulas do the rest.

Considering we took a month-long break for Em to go to Europe, it isn’t any great surprise. And it shouldn’t take long to catch up.

In the Spirit of Toothpaste

I love books. As in, I really, REALLY love books.

And of all the things I hope for in raising my kids, it is instilling that love of books in them as well. Nothing makes me happier than seeing one of my kiddos curled up in a chair or bed with a book in their hands.

It’s like this cosmic thunderbolt that hits at that soft part of my heart and says, “YESSSSSSS!”

My eldest got bit by the reading bug at around age eight. It’s when I saw that look in her eyes, one that said, “Do I have to do xyz? Because really, all I want to do is stay in this amazing world I have dipped my toes in. Can I stay here? In Narnia? Forever?”

Em took a little longer. And honestly, I’m still trying to figure her out. She is a puzzle box I am determined to find the key to.

Em at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas

Em loves for me to read to her. LOVES it. Right now we are reading The One and Only Ivan, which is heartbreaking, yet beautiful, and at times funny. She is enjoying it, but a book she absolutely loved was The Toothpaste Millionaire, which we just finished.

Who knew that a fictional story of an African American boy in the 70s inventing a basic version of toothpaste that turns the entire toothpaste industry on its ear would be so appealing to her. But it was.

She was so sad when it ended. I’ve ordered Danny Dollar Millionaire, which may or may not be as appealing. I’ve also ordered the Tuttle Twins, the first book in the series, on the advice of another homeschool mom. Who knows, perhaps they will capture her interest as much as The Toothpaste Millionaire has done.

Meanwhile, though, it inspired us to try our hand at making our own toothpaste. Em wanted to try vanilla toothpaste, I wanted peppermint toothpaste. We used the following recipe:

  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda
  • Vanilla extract (or spearmint) to taste
  • 2 Tbsp stevia or xylitol (we used a combination)

Em wasn’t happy with her toothpaste, not at all. She said the baking soda made it taste too salty.

Years ago, when I would visit my maternal grandmother over the summer, I would inevitably forget to pack toothpaste. My grandmother, Mum, had been in dentures since her 30s and was a frugal soul. She provided me with a box of baking soda to use when brushing my teeth.

Go on, try it, it tastes about as awful as might imagine it would. In any case, I sort of got used to it, enough so that I could manage to use what we have made, at least for the foreseeable future.

So it looks like I have a lot of toothpaste to go through. I combined it into one jar. I’m pretty sure it will last me around two years!


Super Milk and Benefiber

Little Miss had her three year checkup a week ago and I was dismayed to find out she has only gained two pounds eight ounces since coming to stay with us in April.

She is so small for her age that she is 4th percentile in height and 1/10 of the 1st percentile in weight. Way small. I thought Em was little (she’s 12 and just now in size ten clothes, at least 4-6 inches shorter than all of her friends), but Little Miss just blows her petite little self right out of the water.

I had slacked off on the pushing foods routine – frankly, it got stressful for all involved. We kept urging her to eat, insisting she eat plenty of proteins, and not leave the table until her plate was nearly clear. In return, she at slower and slower and slower. We will put her in her seat first and set a plate down in front of her. My dad will be next, then the rest of make it to the table.

Little Miss is still eating after every one of us has finished, left the table, and even washed the dishes!

“She is considered moderately malnourished,” the doc told me, “We really need to get her weight up.”

She suggested we NOT give her Pediasure since it is full of sugar, the high-fructose corn syrup variety. I agreed, that would be an awful way to teach her to eat more! So instead, she suggested we give Little Miss super milk – full fat milk mixed with a splash of cream. We already only stock whole milk and also cream, so this worked out perfectly.

Each morning she gets a cup full of super-milk before she goes off to daycare. Sometimes she even gets a spoon or two of peanut butter. The problem, though, is now she is constipated thanks to all of the extra milk. So now we have to give her a small amount of benefiber, balancing keeping her regular with not giving her too much fiber and her losing/not gaining weight again.

Poor kiddo – all we want is for her to be healthy!

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