Friday, August 6, 2010

Those Last Minute Preparations for School

I have spent this week tying up all of the loose ends so that we can begin our new school year on Monday, August 9th. So much to do, so little time!

The older three children have running camp this week, so I have made the 5 hour round trip to running camp twice already this week, and we have to go back one more time, Saturday morning, to pick up the girls. Actually, Jimmy is going alone to pick them up, so the little ones don't have to make that trip again. The reason that we have gone twice already is that the boys had camp from Sunday night until Wednesday morning, and the girls have camp from Wednesday lunch until Saturday morning. It is hotter than normal around here. The heat index on most days is 110-117. HOT! The bunkhouses at the camp are not air-conditioned, so after one night of misery, the campers moved their mattresses into the air-conditioned dining hall to sleep.

While the different children have been gone, I have worked busily getting ready for school. Monday, the girls and I cleaned house for 4 hours. We really cleaned! I am thinking that I won't have time for such deep cleaning again until December!

On Tuesday, I mowed the grass. Now this is monumental, because I have never mowed the grass in my entire life! But Clay was at running camp, and our yard was beginning to look like a jungle. For the past week, it has come a downpour every afternoon, so neither Clay or Jimmy could do their mowing. Jimmy does all of the riding, edging, weed eating, and blowing, and Clay push mows the smaller yard around our house. Tuesday morning after I got home from my run with Lynn, I decided that since I was already extremely hot and sweaty, that was as good of a time as any to attempt to mow the grass. It took me 2 hours! I think it was 110 degrees by the time I was done. I also figured out how to start the blower, and I blew off the sidewalks and patio. I also mowed a small portion of our steep hillside, but I wasn't strong enough to do much. When I was finished, the yard looked fantastic!

I have read two of the readers for Core 5 Sonlight this week, Henry Reed, Inc. and Call It Courage. I am going to try to read all of Julie's and Clay's readers so that I can discuss the books with them, and also so I can determine how well Clay is comprehending what he is reading. This is the first year that I am requiring this much independent reading for Clay. I am about halfway through Olivia's first required literature book, Mere Christianity. I am really enjoying this book. I also want to be able to discuss the books that Olivia will be reading too.

I typed the last course assignment sheets for the year...a daily schedule of how many pages/chapters to read for Julie and Clay. I didn't want them asking me every day, "How far do I need to read today?" It really won't be an issue for Julie. I suspect that she will read more than enough each day, and finish each book way ahead of schedule. However, I also suspect that Clay will read the minimum amount required each day, and I want a little box that he can check off when he is done.

I shopped for our Back to School Treasure Hunt treats. Typically the day before we actually begin school, we have a pre-school day. On this day we begin with a treasure hunt. I make 5 sets of clues, one set for each child. They start with the youngest, and one at a time follow their clues until they find the treasure. The treasure is a school-related item. I will blog all about our pre-school day after we do it! This year we will have our pre-school day on Sunday afternoon. I also use this day to show the children their new school books and explain to them how they will be doing their schoolwork.

One more thing I did this week was to update my calendar. I have a calendar on my phone and laptop, which are synced and very handy, but I still like to write everything down in an old-fashioned planner. I began by noting all of Jimmy's days off for the upcoming year. Since we don't do school on those days, I need to know when they are. Next I transferred all of the events from our local homeschool group's yearly calendar to my calendar. I added all weekly lessons and practices, vacation weeks, trips, appointments, etc.

I think the last school-related item is to buy a few science supplies. I have purchased various science kits throughout the years, and they are labeled and stored in a closet in our schoolroom. These kits have basic science experiment items. I printed out the supply list for each module for all of our science courses, and most of the items I still lack can be purchased at the grocery store. I will buy what we need for the first few weeks of school this weekend while I am grocery shopping.

Today I plan to finish up my "to-do" list, play dolls with Leah (she asked me to do this today when I was putting her to bed last night), make my grocery list, and catch up on all laundry so I will be ready to wash the girls' sweaty running camp clothes when they come home tomorrow.

I think I will be ready on Monday!

One last thing....
Courtney over at Living Peacefully Less Stressed (I love that blog title!) asked me to link my Schoolroom Tour post to her Yay For Me blog carnival. So click here to see the Mr. Linky. I also recommend that you spend some time browsing Courtney's blog. She offers many practical tips about organizing (my hobby!) and reducing stress in your life.



  1. I am in the final prep. stages myself. I am getting excited so it is hard not to plan TOO much and then overwhelm myself.

    I talked to Tracy Vainisi Wednesday night and found out that her daughter went to running camp with your kids :) I just met her but was excited to find another homeschooler. It is a small world in NEMS!

  2. Hi Roan! This is Kimberlee the Thirty-one consultant! I saw your comment on Courtney's blog about a paper 31 catalog. I couldn't find your email address on your blog, so I decided to leave you a comment :) My email address is If you will email me your address I will pop one of our new Fall catalogs in the mail to you next week. I can also add you to my email newsletter list so you can keep up with the monthly specials.

  3. Thanks Roan! I so appreciate your encouragment through your blog, comments on my blog and such references to Living Peacefully Less Stressed :)

  4. Talk about a busy week, WoW!!! You seem to be very organized and I am impressed. But then again, after you have home schooled for several years you learn that is the key to survival for the year. What you have done will pay dividends throughout the school year. Also, I understand not mowing the grass ever because my husband takes care of all our grass for us and is training one of our sons to help. However, since we are moving across the country in less than a month now and will be living in our own home I suspect that there will be a few times that I will also be mowing the grass. Also, I will be thinking of you as you are enduring this grueling heat. It sounds like you might enjoy some reprieve from all of this heat. After we move, I will begin blogging a lot more often. Thank you for continuing to be a reader on my blog.

    One last thing, since you home school are your kids involved in a cross-country running program? And how did you get them involved in things such as running camp? When we move we will have access to other home schoolers (unlike we have here where we are the only home schoolers) and I would like to get them involved in something.

  5. Wow! You were certainly busy! I'm proud of you that you mowed the lawn....I think it's relaxing. Can't wait to keep reading as you start your school year. Thanks again for all of your encouraging e-mails, Roan. I really appreciate it!