Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sonlight Questions Answered

I can't remember the exact questions that readers have asked me about Sonlight, so if I don't include the information that you are wanting, please leave me a comment.  Some of these questions have been asked by people in person or email, and some of them have been asked by blog readers.

1.  Were you happy with how you organized your Sonlight binders last year?  You can click here to read how I did this.  Yes and No.

For next year, I am still using the big blue Sonlight binders with tabs.  I am still placing each week's Instructor Guide pages and the Language Arts IG and student pages behind the appropriate tab.  But, I am NOT placing the notes from the Readers, Read Alouds, and History/Geography sections behind each week's tab.  I know that if you don't use Sonlight, you have no idea what I am talking about!  I did not like moving those pages from week to week, and I don't think that I used the questions and vocabulary discussions as much as I would have if I had kept them all in one place.  The Sonlight binders have tabs numbered 1-36 for you to place each week's IG pages behind.  Then they also have tabs labeled Readers, Read Alouds, and History/ Geography.  I am going to keep all of the notes for these sections behind their tab.  The book notes are printed in alphabetical order by title rather than chronologically (in order that you read them), so I will just flip to our current book.

I am going to change my "working binder" a little bit too.  Last year (well, this year that we are still finishing!) I was using only two Instructor Guides, so I pulled out 3-4 weeks of each IG and placed them in one "working Sonlight binder".  I left the huge blue binders on a shelf in the schoolroom.  By the end of the year, I have found that as I finish a week of Sonlight, I like to put it back into the blue binder.  So, when we begin our new (4 cores!) school year, I am going to use a separate binder for each core.  In each binder I will keep the current week's IG pages plus ALL of the tabs for Readers, Read Alouds, and History/Geography.  As I finish a week of Sonlight, I will trade those IG pages for the next week's ones.

2.  How do you organize all of those Sonlight books?
In my previous post I shared how I have sorted, labeled, and stored all of our Sonlight books in my den.  For the upcoming school year, I will be doing 3 cores that will require my participation.  Olivia will be doing core 100, and the upper level cores do not require the parent to read aloud.  

I have three small baskets that I keep on a sofa table.  Each basket will be for a separate core (for us, Core pre4/5, Core B, and Core D/E).  Each basket will store its core's binder, timeline figures, timeline book, and the Sonlight books needed for that week's reading assignments.  We do most of our reading in the den where all of the books and baskets are stored, but sometimes we read outside or in another room, so having all that I need in a small basket allows us to move around easily.

3.  How do you do more than one Sonlight Core, and why do use more than one Sonlight Core at one time?

I use more than one core because I just couldn't figure out a long term plan that would allow each of my children to do all of the cores that I wanted them to in the order that I wanted.  Plus, I really don't mind reading all of those books all day!  I love to read to my children!

So, how do I actually use more than one core at one time?  Well, I literally read out loud at least 3 hours a day.  The planning for Sonlight is really nothing.  You just open the IG and do what it says.  There is time spent up front--gathering, unpacking, sorting, labeling, storing--the books and the IGs, but after you do that, there really isn't much else to do.  Well, actually there is one more big thing to do--I pre-read (skim mostly) all of the readers for my older children.  I do that for two reasons:  1.  So I will know if a certain child actually reads the book (I can discuss the book with this child if I have read it too).  2.  Some of the books I omit after reading them, for a variety of reasons.

A typical school day using multiple cores of Sonlight looks like this.
1.  Bible lesson with all 5 children.
2.  Core reading to one child, other children do independent work.
3.  Switch to core reading to another child.
4.  Switch to core reading to another child.
5.  While I am reading to one child, at first the others do their independent work.  If they have done all they can alone, then they usually come in the den to hear the books.  
6.  Sometimes most of all of the children want to hear books not in their core instead of doing their independent work.  I normally allow this, and then they get back to their independent work later.
7.  After I have done all of my reading, I start with one child and just work my way through them one by one helping them with the rest of their schoolwork.
8.  Yes, school takes us until around 3:00 or even later most days, but that's ok.  My children LOVE the Sonlight books, and I treasure all of the hours I am spending on my couch surrounded by my children listening to me read.

If I left anything out, please let me know!
I'll post pictures later--my camera battery is dead.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Working Hard!

Microsoft Office Free Clipart

I haven't set aside any time for blogging lately, because I have been busy...our new weekly chore system is working, but I am still training Leah and mostly Sam for their jobs, so that takes extra time.  Actually working a little bit every day to keep up with the housework takes time too, but the plan is working!

I am still doing Insanity and running.  I completed day 21 (or 22, I can't remember) of Insanity yesterday.  The workouts are getting more doable, but I am still somewhat tired because at least three times a week I am running and doing an Insanity workout in the same day.

All of my Sonlight books and a few other school books as well have arrived, and I have been busy sorting them by category.  Recently I cleared out several bookshelves in our den to make room for all of our Sonlight books.  I had previously kept the Sonlight books in various places all over the house (each core all together).  Since we do all of our reading in the den, it just made sense to me to shelve them all in there.  Of course doing that opened a huge can of worms!  I had to make room somewhere else in the house for all of the books I removed from the den bookshelves.  And then I decided that while I was sorting the books by core (I have books from 8 cores now), I would put colored stickers on the spine of each book.  Each core has its own color of sticker, and that way when my girls remove a book from the shelf to read (happens every day!), they can easily return them to the correct shelf.  My den looks like a real library!  I labeled each book with the letter of its core as well as its classification (RA= read aloud, R=reader, H=history).  I just wrote these letters on the stickers, stuck them on the spine, and then covered the sticker with a clear piece of tape to secure it.

I am still planning to post more about Sonlight.  Someone had asked me about doing more than one core at a time, and I wanted to share my thoughts about that.  

I hope you are having a productive week too!  Enjoy the work!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's been a while since I have shared my menu, but we have still been eating!  Here is this week's menu:  nothing fancy, but most of it is relatively healthy. Sam requested chicken and rice casserole, and it is NOT low calorie or low fat!  But is does taste good, and I have not made it in months!  We eat homemade bread with most of our meals.

  • pasta salad, fruit salad
  • baked fish, brown rice, green salad
  • shrimp fajitas, frozen pink fruit salad
  • stuffed bell peppers, strawberry congealed salad, corn
  • baked chicken strips, brown rice, green salad
  • chicken and rice casserole, black eyed peas
  • spaghetti with homemade sauce
I hope all of you have a great week!  Plan your menu and enjoy eating meals with your family.  You can visit Org Junkie for more menu inspiration.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gumtree 10K 2011

Last Saturday was the annual Gumtree 10K and 2K.  Our entire family (and many, many of our friends) participated in this fun race.  Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay ran the 10K, and Leah, Sam, and I ran the 2K.  While Lynn and Kelly and their son Parker ran the 10K, I kept up with their other children, Carson, Jared, and Avery, who also ran the 2K.

As with most races, some of my family members were pleased with their race times and others were a little bit disappointed.  But overall, they all had a great day!  This is such a fun race--a time to visit with lots of friends and family.  My parents came to watch and to help me watch Leah and Sam.  The weather was actually COLD, and so my parents also helped to keep Leah and Sam warm!

 Leah and Avery--running partners!

 Julie--she ran this race about 30 seconds faster than her previous week's 10K (the Coke 10K).  She was happy!  

 Clay ran about 30 seconds slower than the week before--he was a little bit disappointed--he had set a pretty high goal for himself.  But, he should be proud!  A 45:35 10K is awesome!
 Olivia was ok with her time.  She had a stomach ache, so she ran pretty well considering that!

Sam with his "race packet".  This was the highlight of running the 2K for Sam--getting a race packet.  We gave him his race packet after the race.  He promptly took his race t-shirt out and put it on!  He as proud to have completed the race.  He told his sister, "I know it's called a Fun Run.  It is a run, but it's not all fun! 

Congratulations to Jimmy who set a PR in a 10K.  He completed the race in under 44 minutes.  I am going to have to check on everyone's official race time, and then I will put them all in the sidebar under race results.

Fun race, fun day!

Next race:  the Frog Level 5K (Leah and me) and the Gibson Guitar 5K (Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay).  These races are on the same day, but in different cities and at different times.  Our whole family will be attending both!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chores Checkup

For the last couple of months I have bemoaned the fact (to my running friends, my husband, and my children) that my house has gotten really dirty!  I have been keeping up with the laundry and the daily tidying, but my cleaning has been sporadic.  During the final weeks of my marathon training I was so physically tired, that I just began to neglect a little bit here and there.  I was too tired to do any cleaning, so I felt guilty enforcing my children to do their weekly chores....and you know how that goes.....the Mama doesn't check to see if the children are doing their chores, and eventually the children stop doing just slowly happens.  Occasionally I would have a free afternoon or morning here and there, and I would try to clean a huge part of my house all at one time, and I would get overwhelmed (that's an understatement!)  Slowly, I have gotten discouraged by my lack of housekeeping, and I wasn't sure how to catch up!

Yesterday, as I was whining again about my stress over my dirty house (and the fact that we couldn't just take a whole school day and clean, and besides it is just too much to do in one day), Olivia and Julie said, "Mama, why don't you just tell us what to do each day.  We can divide up the work that needs to be done, and we can get the house all cleaned, and we can keep it clean."  Those precious daughters of mine sat at our kitchen table and in about two minutes divided up the cleaning tasks among themselves and made assignments.  In fact, they told me to refer to the chart I had made them almost two years ago.

They were right.  I just needed to divide up the work (tweaking my two year old chart since Leah is more of a help now, and Sam can pull his weight now too) and assign the tasks.  It really was that simple.  My children are so wonderful about helping....they just need direction and routine.

So today I reworked and retyped two chore charts for my helpers.  Chart One lists the daily morning and afternoon chores that each child does every single day.  These are chores like:  make bed, tidy room, brush teeth, empty dishwasher, sort dirty clothes, put away clean clothes.  I also assign different areas of the house for each child to tidy each afternoon--kitchen table, bar, den, outside toys, schoolroom, etc.

Chart Two is listed below.  These are the chores that are done weekly by each child--one chore for each day Monday-Saturday.  We usually do these chores in the afternoons.  If there is a day that we cannot get to these chores, I will not panic.  We will get to them the next week!    By following Chart Two, I think that I will have my house under control in a week or so!  I still need to do some deep spring cleaning--baseboards, ceiling fans, windows, etc., but I plan to tackle those chores after we get the general cleaning routine down.

One note:  I have a housekeeper that cleans the main floor of my house once a week--that's why my chores don't include major kitchen, den, or master bedroom cleaning, vacuuming or mopping.  I am so grateful to have the help!  That leaves the upstairs and the basement for the children and me to keep clean.  We can do it!

Here is the current Chart Two.

dust room
dust sewing room
clean girls' bathroom
vacuum room, hallway, sewing room
dust room
dust black desks
clean girls'  bathroom
vacuum room, hallway, Leah's room
dust room
empty trash cans all over house

vacuum room, bathroom, stairs to upstairs
dust room
sort recycle basket
clean den doors
dust room
sort recycle basket
clean front doors
clean boys' bathroom
full laundry day
clean laundry room
change sheets (3 beds/week)
vacuum kitchen/den/basement stairs

clean out closet and drawers (pick one thing)
dust basement, wipe countertop
tidy sewing room
clean out closet and drawers (pick one thing)
basement bathroom, workout equipment
tidy sewing room
take trash to road
clean out and vacuum van
get trash can from road, burn trash
clean off porches
sort recycle basket
schoolroom marker board
tidy sewing room
sort recycle basket
wipe off little table
clean off porches
microwave, kitchen sink, computer desk
vacuum basement
vacuum kitchen, den, basement stairs

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

Every once in a while I read a book, and when I am just a page or two into the book I can tell that it's going to be one of those books.  One of those books that I will begin reading again as soon as I finish it the first time.  One of those books that I will read again and again.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is one of those books.

About ten years ago I first read Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell.  I have since reread it about twenty times.  About five or six years ago I first read Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl.  While I have only read the entire book, cover to cover, once, there are parts of it that I have read and reread numerous times.  Both of those books are those kinds of books.  The kind of books that you mark in, underline passages, carry around with you to read in your spare time....the kind of book that ends up with spills, water drops, and dirt on it and inside of it--all signs of a book that is really read.

I am about two-thirds through with One Thousand Gifts, and it is really a good book.  My sister-in-law, Megan, sent it to me a while back, and I am ashamed to say that I did not make time to begin reading it until two days ago.  (I am currently swamped with reading my children's Sonlight books).  Already this book has changed my moment to moment thinking. Ann has put into words the struggles that I feel on a daily basis.  I know that thanksgiving produces joy.  I tell my children and other people this all the time.  But, I from time to time forget to apply this principle in my daily life.  But it is so true!

Thanksgiving produces joy.

Every time.  Being thankful for every moment, every crisis (small or earth-shattering), every smile, every mess, every single thing.

I have much more to say about this book and this concept of being thankful.  I hope to share my thoughts about One Thousand Gifts and my study of the book of James in the future.  

Why don't you join me in looking for things to be thankful for today?  All day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Leah's Keepers at Home Awards

 This precious cake was made by one of the mothers.

Last Monday night we all (except for Jimmy who was on call) attended the annual Keepers At Home Awards Night.  Leah is my only daughter who participates in Keepers now, but it is my ninth year participating (Olivia and Julie did this for many, many years).  I feel like I am the oldest mother there!

Each year at our final meeting, the Keepers invite their entire family to enjoy a potluck meal and awards presentations.  The girls are awarded pins for completing the requirements for various homemaking tasks.  The pins Leah earned are:

  • Bible Memory, general (learning one verse a week)
  • Bible Memory, the Books of the Bible
  • generosity
  • lapbooking
  • beading
  • hospitality
  • art
  • letter writing

 Lilly Grace, Leah, and Avery

Each mother presents the pins to her daughter.

I have really enjoyed the years I have spent with my daughters in Keepers at Home.  It is such a positive and practical organization.  I am looking forward to taking Leah to Keepers meetings as well as work on earning pins at home for many more years.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Insanity Day 15

Today was Pure Cardio, and it was Pure Torture!

Actually, it is getting a little bit easier to keep up with Shaun T. and his crew.  I did the entire warm up sequence, all three sets, without stopping once.  Now that's progress!  I am also experiencing greater flexibility, and I cannot believe how much I sweat while doing these workouts.  I have two fans blowing on me constantly, yet still I am dripping, soaking wet.

I am still experimenting with scheduling both Insanity workouts and running.  This week my plan is/was to do Insanity on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, while running on Monday (4), Wednesday (8), and Friday (4).  Tomorrow I may run and do the Cardio Abs workout from Insanity.

I am going to skip the Fit Test from now on.  I did it again on Sunday, and it made me feel really bad again.  I improved my numbers in all of the drills, but I had some pretty severe knee pain from one of the exercises (an exercise that I did today, pain free--power jacks).  I think that the warm-up in the Fit Test workout is not enough for me, and also there is too much rest time in between each drill (2 minutes).  It is my opinion that the drills are too intense to be done after a 2 minute break--for me, my muscles are just not staying warmed up enough.  Who knows?  But I do know that both times after doing the Fit Test, I felt terrible.    The Fit Test exercises are ones that you do on other days during the regular workouts, so I think that once very two weeks I will just count how many I do in a minute when we do that drill in the middle of a workout.  I can chart my progress that way.

Here are a couple of quotes from Shaun T. during this morning's workout.

"I am really nervous about the workout we are getting ready to do.  Really nervous!"
He said this at the end of the stretching after the warm-up--very encouraging!

"I am so tired that I can't think of the name of my exercises!"
He said this toward the end of the workout, when he was fumbling for the name of scissor kicks.

My friend Celee is also doing Insanity.  She started after me and has already completed Day 16!  She is pretty much doing it 6 days a week like the program intends for you to do.  It is nice to have a friend (even a far-away friend) to share your workout experience with.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Mother's Day

My children made sure that my Mother's Day was fantastic!  They worked hard preparing handmade gifts for me (I'll treasure them always!), and then they gave me the gift of an afternoon of relaxation.  They all worked together to clean the kitchen and tidy up the house while I sat by our pool and read.  All afternoon.  It really was a delightful day!

 Sam gave me a piece of sanded cedar.  He said that I could carve something in it to decorate it.  He also drew a picture of me.

 Olivia crocheted me a bouquet of flowers.  So pretty!  She also made me a beautiful card that will double as a bookmark.

 Clay whittled me two butter knives of cedar from our woods.  He made me a pretty card too.

 Leah made me a notebook, and she sewed me a pocket that she filled with candy.

Julie made me a beautiful card and painted a lovely canvas.  

I have the very best children!  They are so thoughtful, generous, hard-working, loving, and kind.  They truly make my job as a mother a joy.  I cannot imagine having any other full-time job than the one that I am blessed to have--a full time wife and mother.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coke Classic 10K

Yesterday was the 30th annual Coke Classic 10K in Corinth.  Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, Clay, and I joined over 1200 other runners to run this fantastic 10K.  The weather was pleasantly cool!

Several of the Spartan families met us at Jimmy's parents' house to park and walk to the race start together.  That was a lot of fun!  I am guessing that there were close to fifty of us who visited with Granmomma and Pop early, early yesterday morning!

 Grace, Leah, and Silly Sam, getting ready to walk downtown for the race.

 Julie and her friend Lexie

Russ is one of these young, fit men who can just show up and run a 10K race without any training!

Jimmy's sister, Jenny, graciously agreed to watch Leah and Sam, plus she helped my friends Kim and Jimmy Killough watch Lynn's children who did not run (three of them) plus Kim's own two non-running children.  I think that's eight in all--counting Jenny's own child, Grace.  

 Sam, Jared, Avery, Leah, Grace, and Caroline
Patiently waiting for the big race to begin

 Clay, flying across the finish line!
Clay set a PR at this race--
He will be catching his daddy before we know it!

 Here is Clay admiring his Coke bottle trophy.  These trophies are so cool, and everyone really, really likes winning them.  Olivia, Julie, and Clay all have won a few of these over the years.  Jimmy and I have not!  
Until this year!

 Clay, second place in his age group

 Julie with her coke bottle!
2nd place in her age group

 Olivia with her coke bottle AND a huge trophy!
1st place in her age group, and she set a PR.

Our marathon Koach, Mr. Kenneth Williams, is the director of this popular race.

 Olivia with Koach

 Guess who won a coke bottle this year???
Jimmy ran a PR AND he won 5th place in his age group!
We are all so happy for him!

 Our family (minus Leah who had gone over to the Green Market with Aunt Jenny) with Koach

Well, I did NOT win a coke bottle!  But I did set a PR!  Yay!  I have checked off my final running goal that I set for myself about a year ago.  I wanted to run a 10K in under 55 minutes.  My previous PR for a 10K was 55:43, and I ran that at this Coke 10K two years ago.  Yesterday, thanks to my running buddy Dorothy--who is super encouraging and kept me right on pace the entire race!--I met my goal!


So now my goals are all checked off!  I do have one more tiny running goal!  I have modified my original marathon goal.  Previously I just wanted to complete a marathon and survive the training, but now I want to run one more marathon (Dec. 3), and finish in under 5 hours.

After the race and the awards presentation, we joined the Mims and Killough families plus Aunt Jenny at the Green Market in downtown Corinth.  This market features locals who sell handmade or homegrown items.  Megan and her sister had a booth there yesterday.  Very cute!

Then all of us walked back to Granmomma's and Pop's house and spent the whole day eating lots of good food, and also playing and visiting.  Later in the afternoon, Jenny organized a small "surprise" Mother's Day party for Megan.  

Here are some pictures of the boys playing outside.

It was a fabulous day spent with friends and family.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Homeschool Graduation

Last night was our annual Homeschool Graduation ceremony.  This event honors the kindergartners, the eighth graders, and of course the seniors.  Julie was an eighth grade graduate this year.

 Kara Beth, Lexie, and Julie
Sweet eighth graders!
I can't believe that in four years they will be seniors!

 Ashley and Olivia
10th graders--just two years until they are seniors!
Ashley and Kara Beth are sisters, and they have been friends with Olivia and Julie since they we moved to Tupelo almost 11 years ago.




Friday, May 6, 2011

A Math Question Answered

One of my readers asked me about Horizons math, so in answer to her question, I am going to just going to share my homeschool  math history.

My 16 year old used Horizons math from grades 1-6, then she started Teaching Textbooks (TT). Horizons used to stop at 6th grade.  She has used TT for grades 7-10, and I plan for her use TT one more year.  She has Algebra 2 left.  For her (and my other children's) senior year, I plan to have them take Intermediate Algebra 1st semester and College Algebra 2nd semester at a local community college and earn dual credit (high school math and college credit as well).

My 13 year old used Horizons math from grades 1-5, and then I switched her to TT in grade 6 (I originally considered 6th grade Horizons to be very difficult).  She is on track to continue with TT through 11th grade just like child #1.

My 12 year old used Horizons math from grades K-4, and I switched him to TT in grade 5 (I had a kindergartner and freshman in high school that year, and I chose TT because he could do it completely alone.).  He is now in the 6th grade, and after doing 5th grade in TT and half of 6th grade in TT, I decided that the TT in the lower grades was just too easy, and I put him back in 6th grade Horizons.  Horizons 6th grade lessons are 3 pages per day.  He began in January doing 2 pages per day, and I plan for him to take about half or more of 7th grade to complete this course. Horizons now has a 7th grade course, called Pre-algebra.  I will put him in that course in the latter part of 7th grade and have him complete it in 8th grade.  For 9-11th grades he will do TT Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2, and then the college classes.

My 7 year old has completed Horizons K and is currently doing the 1st grade book.  My plan for her and for child number 5, who will begin K next fall, is to do Horizons for grades K-8, taking three school years to complete Horizons 6 and Pre-Algebra.

My opinion overall of TT from Pre-Algebra on down:  TOO EASY!  When my older children switched from Horizons, they did not learn one new thing for an entire school year!  Not one thing!  I could have easily skipped a grade when moving them over, but decided to just let them have a "review year".

I have been concerned about the difficulty of TT in high school, but did not know of another program to use.  I train my children to be independent learners, and I need a course that can explain the concepts to the student.  TT does this, but I was unsure of its thoroughness.  In my local homeschool circle, I have two friends who are math majors and teach at community colleges part time (they also homeschool).  One of them uses Math U See in the lower grades, the other uses Horizons.  For high school level courses they are making up their own math curriculum.  That is not an option for me!

A couple of months ago, one of my math friends, Kathy, came over to my house and actually looked at my Algebra 1 and Geometry TT books.  She studied them for quite some time and came to the conclusion that they are the best of the choices that are out there for non-math teaching parents.  She recommended that I do just like I said, use Horizons (which she felt is best) until 9th grade, and then use TT for 9-11, and then the college plan I talked about.  In order to adequately prepare for the ACT, she suggested that I purchase an ACT math review book from somewhere like Barnes and Noble, and have my 10th graders and up work in it for 10-15 minutes a day.  That will help them be familiar with how the questions will be asked on the test.  She felt like they would do fine in college, since they are self taught....if they can master a high school math course independently, then they will do fine on the college level when they have a teacher to explain things.

If my children were/are interested in a math career, I would use the TT Calculus book instead of taking the college classes their senior year, or begin Algebra 1 in 8th grade and then do Calculus in 11th grade, and college classes in 12th grade.

So there you have it!  My opinion on Horizons math and Teaching Textbooks.  As in all academic subjects, my goal is for my children to be independent learners.  If I can teach them how to learn, then they can succeed in any area.  I have written about this before--teaching my children to become independent learners begins in Kindergarten.  It is a gradual process, and by the 7th or 8th grade, they can complete almost all of their schoolwork independently.  I am not trying to be lazy or anything, I am just trying to equip them for a lifetime of problem solving and self-educating.

Have a good math day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tupelo Children's Mansion 5K

Last Saturday, Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay all ran the Children's Mansion 5K race.  Some member of our family has run this race every year since they began it.  It was perfect weather for a race--nice and cool.  Lynn, Kelly, and I enjoyed watching everyone.

Julie with her overall female award

 Olivia receiving her award--2nd place age group

 Parker and Clay after the race
Clay set a PR in this race!

 Leah and Sam in Uncle Kelly's truck with Stephen

Clay and Jimmy after the race

Insanity Update

Well, I have survived 12 days of Insanity!  In fact I did 6 days in a row!  I have really surprised myself.  It actually has gotten easier each day.  I still can't keep up with Shaun T. for the entire workout, and my stomach doesn't look like his....but I can tell that I am getting stronger.  I can now do the first full rotation of each set of three, most of the second set, and I am still hanging on (sometimes barely) for the third set.  At first, I couldn't even stay with him for the first set.

I am resting from Insanity until Monday.  I am running a 10K race on Saturday, and I really want to have a good time.  My PR for a 10K is 55:43 (two years ago), and I would really like to beat that.  We'll see.  Many of our Spartan runners and their parents are running this race, plus some of Jimmy's cousins, and I think his brother, so it will be a fun day!

Whatever your fitness goals are--persevere!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Your Questions Answered

I am going to answer two running questions tonight.

1.  How did your children get involved in the Spartans Running Club?

About three years ago, when my children had already been running almost 2 years, I heard that there was a lady who was coaching a homeschool cross country team.  Coach Heather had organized this team about a year or more before I ever heard of it.  Heather is a former cross country high school runner and she coached cross country at a public school for a while.  She homeschools her own four children, and she is super fit and a natural at coaching and motivating young runners.  She is now the cross country coach at Blue Mountain College, and she still helps coach (along with Coach Sheri) the Spartans too.

We began attending Spartan practices three years ago, and it has become one of the highlights of my children's lives!  They have made great friendships, learned the importance of teamwork, and improved their physical fitness along the way.  The Spartans have grown to around 65 runners, whose ages range from 5-18.  We have a competitive team for grades 6-12, and a fitness team for grades K-12.  The xc team runs in cross country meets in the fall, and all of the runners participate in local 5K and 10K races throughout the year.

2.  What advice do you have for a beginning runner who wants to train for a marathon?

Well, I was not a beginning runner when I began training for my first marathon, so I am not sure that I can offer advice!  I would Google "beginner runner marathon training plans" or something like that.  I know that this website, Marathon Training, has an 18 week mileage build-up plan that readies you for an 18 week marathon training plan.

When I decided to train for my first marathon (back in early January of this year), I had been running for almost 4 years.  I began running in March of 2007.  Also, I had run 10 half-marathons, and I had a weekly mileage base of 30 miles for around 3 months.  When I first began running, my weekly mileage was 10 per week.  After several months of 10 miles per week, I increased to 15 per week, then 20 per week, and then 25 per week.  When I got to 20-25 per week, I began running half marathons.  After a year or more of half-marathons, I increased my weekly mileage to 30 miles per week.  For all of these years I ran these miles in 4 days.  I only started running 5 days a week about a month into my marathon training (when we got into 35+ miles a week).  Also, for the last year and a half or so, I have kept a long run once a week at 8-10 miles.

So, I guess that I would advise a beginning runner to first of all build up their weekly mileage base, and then read about marathon training from several different sources.  I do recommend the website I mentioned earlier, as well as books by Jeff Galloway.

Happy Running!


Do You Have a Question?

Thank you for all of your comments about how to handle comments. If I knew how to set up my comments so that when you left a comment, it would show me, but not the general public your email address, I could just answer your questions that way. But I am not sure if Blogger has that option.

I like visiting your blogs and answering your questions there, but then someone else may want the answer too.

I have tried answering a few questions by commenting on my own post, but if you are like me, you probably forget which post you asked your question on. And if you are like me, your blog reading time is limited, so you don't want to spend most of your time scrolling through old posts to see if your question is answered.

All that to say, that I think what I am going to do is take your questions periodically and answer them in a new blog post.

I have to cook supper right now, but I plan to post my first "Questions Answered" post hopefully tonight or early tomorrow morning. We will see how this all works! I surely don't pretend to be an expert in any area, but I can offer you my opinion and what has worked for my family and me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Monday!

It's Monday, and it's going to be a pretty good day here at the Johnson homestead!

First of all, Jimmy is off work, so we have no school today. Instead, we are have a home economics day. We will be doing yardwork before the rain comes and lots of laundry. We still have piano lessons and running practice this afternoon, but it is nice to not have to fly through schoolwork in order to be ready to leave at 1:30. We rarely have off days on Mondays, so today is a nice treat.

I will do Day 10 of Insanity today. I am so happy that I persevered with this exercise program. And to think that I quit after the first workout! I am finding that I can do to more and more of the workouts each time. Today's workout is my favorite: Cardio Recovery. That means no jumping around! Just stretching and strengthening. I will also run 3-4 miles this afternoon.

I do not have a Menu Plan Monday today. I did not grocery shop this weekend. I took a look at my pantry, my overflow pantry in my laundry room, and all of my refrigerators and freezers, and I decided that we have enough food. We are eating what we have for this whole week, or until all of the food runs out. I will have to buy some milk today, but that is all. We will be having a creative supper menu this week.

My Sonlight order for the next school year arrived a couple of days ago. I have not even opened the boxes, because I know that Olivia and Julie will devour the books! I need to sort them all out before I turn the girls loose! I also try to hide the books that will be read alouds. I will be doing the following cores next year:
Core 4/5: Sam
Core B: Leah
Core D&E combined: Clay
Core 100 Olivia

Poor Julie does not have a Sonlight core for next year. She will be doing Geography using Around the World in 180 Days (modified) and Mississippi History. I will supplement both of these courses with lots of good books!

I ground my wheat berries for the first time yesterday, and the bread was absolutely delicious! It was the best bread we have ever had! It really was that good. So fresh, so light and fluffy. I love my Bosch and my Nutrimill.

Well, I think that's all of the report for this Monday. What are you doing today?