Home School Progress Report: Week 11, Year 2


We dissected crayfish!

Earlier this year, we ate at a crawdad boil, and now we have also dissected them. Caleb, my animal conservationist, was not so enthusiastic about these activities, but he handled it well.

When we went to the crawdad boil, Caleb enjoyed playing with the live crawdads, so you can see why he flat-out refused to eat them. It’s not a good idea to bond with your food before it goes into the pot.

He handled the dissection activity, a few months after the crawdad boil incident, much better since we only saw them dead.


Joshua, who loves to eat anything with meat on it, was really into the dissecting. For the rest of the day, he kept asking me when we were going to get to eat crawdads or crabs again. Such a carnivore.



Classical Conversations is the coolest home school group ever.


He had fun too, but I’m not sure if he actually touched one.

That was two weeks ago. This past week we dissected OWL PELLETS! We learned that owls eat a ton of rodents, as we found gobs of tiny rodent skulls. Sorry, or you’re welcome, I didn’t take any owl pellet photos.

Now onto a monumental day in my life…….

The Day I Taught My Children a Little Taco Bell Appreciation


That day of the power outage, we decided to eat out, which we rarely do. Joshua started in with the McDonald’s begging. That had me thinking…..”Blehhhhh. Uhhhhh. Groaaaaaan. Nooooooo!”

No! You know what? No.

Alan pulled into a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut.

Then he pulled back out, “The kids will hate it. Let’s just go to McDonald’s,” he whispered.

I couldn’t take it. Not another single time. “Alan, you know what? The kids will LOVE it. Only Joshua will complain. Do you know what he is??  He is THE SQUEAKY WHEEL! Oh! That is so what he is! We all constantly bend over to what the squeaky wheel wants, just like the rest of America, but you know what, there are FIVE other people in this car who will not complain at all. It’s ONLY Joshua. He is going to have to get over it. Let’s go to Taco Bell!”

I could feel the excitement rising in my heart. I love Mexican food. In fact, Joshua was made out of Mexican food. I ate so much El Chico when I was pregnant with him. He has no idea.

Alan agreed to my ideas. We parked. Sure enough, the squeaky wheel began to squeak.

The other children cheered.

The whole town was there, so we had to wait forever for Dan and Caleb’s tiny pizzas, but that’s okay because I talked Joshua into ordering a TACO.

He ordered a Cool Ranch Doritos taco, and he liked it so much, he wanted to order MORE!

Do you think I’m too excited about my Taco Bell victory? How much McDonald’s have you endured over the past 10 years? You don’t want to know how much of it and Papa John’s I have had to stomach.

Yo quiero Taco Bell. hehe!

In other news….


Caleb is flying high in math.

I’m happy to report that my second year of teaching 3rd grade math is going much better. Fourth and third grade math are so much alike that I can actually teach them together now, which is awesome.


I looked up and noticed Daniel had matched up all of the sticks with the same numbers on them. Way to go, Dan!



No, we don’t have chickens, but we have friends that do. I’ve always said that little boys belong outdoors on a farm. Someday, boys, someday.

(But of course, you know that I certainly do not belong on a farm…I don’t camp or touch animals other than cats. I reluctantly pet people’s dogs to be polite. These boys continue to change me, so who knows. Maybe someday I too will belong on a farm.)

With home schooling, the line between home time and school time often becomes extremely blurry. The after school learning hours are often equally valuable for both us and for the kids.

Check out this cultural learning that we did recently. Our Cambodian- born neighbors brought this dessert for us to try. it was delicious!


dessert, all wrapped up in banana leaves


It had bananas and beans and sugar. I don’t know what else. It was delicious!


Here’s a little overview of what we learned this past week:

-The Age of Imperialism (Queen Victoria’s rule over India was our focus.)

-We were supposed to learn to skip count by 14s, but I thought it was more important to go back over 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s.

-We are really good at memorizing our prepositions. So far we have learned about-outside.

-We made a seed plant poster about types of seed plants: monocots, dicots, and conifers.

-Joshua wrote a short essay about the origin of the word “tantalize.” Did you know it comes from a Greek myth about Tantalus? I have learned so much from teaching my children!


Caleb at soccer practice. We’ve enjoyed watching him play forward this year!


I’m off to take the boys to Caleb’s soccer game. Alan and Joshua went off hiking today, in honor of Joshua’s 10th birthday. 10!! We are so proud of him.


Happy birthday, Joshua! Big brother extraordinairre!

Joshua had a blast for his 10th birthday. We had all the neighboring kids over for pizza, cake, and bike riding. They did a bike race and a foot race. Joshua came in 2nd of 11 kids for both races, just 1/2 second off from the winner.

We even bought Joshua the game he was begging for this year: Skylanders Super Chargers, and we kept it a secret, telling him we were not buying any video games. Ha! He was so excited. I’m also happy to report that you CAN beat the entire game in 2 days, using only the 3 characters that come with the game. We didn’t buy any extra little men.

Hope you all have a weekend that’s as exciting as Joshua’s has been!




  • McMom

    BAAAHHAAAAAHAAAA! I am laughing so hard at your Taco Bell story. I can see you saying that EXACTLY. “No! You know what? No.” That is so hilarious. And Alan, whispering. Joshua, made of Mexican food. Ha ha ha! The biggest whiner IS like the squeaky wheel – I agree. Good call and glad it worked out so well!

    Dissections – that’s big stuff! Remind me to tell you about me and high school lab partner, who would spray Binaca breath spray all over our speciman. I never touched a single one of those wretched animals. So gross. I had to suck it up when I became a science teacher, obviously. But, ewwwwww.

    “I don’t camp or touch animals other than cats. I reluctantly pet people’s dogs to be polite.” TRUTH. HAAHAA! I feel you!

    Go Dan, making up his own activity! Such a clever cookie 🙂

    Fun dessert too! Sounds like a very exciting week. I am going to be laughing about this one for a few days.

    • I had no idea that you were grossed out by the dissections. You and Caleb would get along well. Can’t you see Alan with the whispering? He always says I am the most indiscreet person ever. Ha!!! Oh, I get it. I’m like your mom, and you two have tried to swing to the polar opposite with the whispering. YOOO-HOOOO, ELLEN! 🙂 I would totally do that too. He says it doesn’t help when he whispers and I answer back out loud. So glad someone can relate on the dogs. And must they jump on my legs and get my pants dirty? I will be totally cool on the outside, but on the inside, I’m calculating how little contact I can make and still be polite. 🙂 Do you camp?
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      • McMom

        Heck no, I don’t camp. Why would anyone subject themselves to that?!? I’ll take the comfy mattress and regular bathroom, thanks 🙂 HA – yes, Alan and I are both scarred whisperers. With Greg, I try to whisper to him and he can’t hear me at all, so we just have no conversations in public. So, tell Alan he’s got it good. Dirty dogs – YES. And when they rub their snotty noses on my hand, I want to vomit.

  • Janet

    Loved this post. Matter of fact, today we took the kids to the JSU homecoming parade and we could have parked in a Walgreens parking lot and been right in front of the parade route. Alyson looked at me like I had 3 heads and said, “No! Do you see what is directly across the street? There would be no end to the begging!” (It was a McDonalds, and she’s had her fill of McD’s, too.). So we parked in a church parking lot and strolled about a block to the parade route. Afterwards, when trying to choose a place for lunch, Beau got his way…and we ate at Taco Bell. Alyson says he’s been eating Mexican food since she was pregnant with him, but I like the way you put it. Beau must also be made of Mexican food!
    When his class (first grade) was doing some of their journal writing at the first of the school year, he wrote that his favorite food is Mxucan (phonetic spelling). We got a good laugh over that.

  • Jen

    I am not sure Taco Bell can be considered Mexican food (purist here) but I would take that over Mickey D’s all day long!! I wish I could have tried that dessert wrapped in banana leaves! That looks amazing!
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