### Beep... Beep... Beep.

That's the sound of me backing up a little bit in our math work. Time to review some concepts and get strong before we move to the next level. I've discovered that the children could use some review in long division, multidigit multiplication, word problems and tally graphs. I think every now and then, it's useful to throw a review sheet at the children and see how they do. It helps me to know where their areas of strength and weakness may be on work we covered recently.

We have an anniversary coming up! We will have been homeschooling two years as of November 18. I bought little bottles of bubbly cider and we will make a cake! Elf wants *extra homeschool* to celebrate; can he have (shaking) mooorrre worrrk pleeease? Well, maybe if you're really good, kid.

Elf just learned to do long division. You see, it LOOKS hard, but it really isn't if you line your numbers up correctly. We need our math so that we can work at the Keebler factory properly, doubling and dividing recipes and all. I can't believe that still really works on Elf. I'd tell him about how all elves are naturally good at (fill in difficult subject), and he usually works very hard on it because if all elves can do it, and he's an elf, that must mean HE can do it! He has not yet asked me to back up my assertions with any data, which is just as well. I am sorely tempted to make a pretend blog about elves for that inevitable day. Once when Elf was sleeping, I put cookies in his hands and woke him up. He was so happy that he brought those cookies home from the factory for breakfast!! Oh, I'm mean, but I have so much fun being that way. The kid is going to be nine next year, so I'm enjoying these moments while I can. Note to self: make sure the cookies are KEEBLER brand, not Nabisco, next time. The joke doesn't work with Nabisco cookies as well once he gets into the light.

Emperor has been enjoying the McGuffey reader I bought at the Jesse James farm. He likes the pictures and wants to be first to read the story lessons. I think his favourite so far is a poem about a little white kitten that goes out and gets dirty playing where it shouldn't. Emperor's nickname during homeschool is the "Peanut Gallery." He will know all the answers instinctively. Even some longer division answers, he doesn't need paper to do. It's very annoying. Sometimes, though, in his haste he will multiply when division is called for, etc. So I'll ask Elf if he's going to listen to the "Peanut Gallery" or come up with his own answer. Usually, the Peanut Gallery is correct, though. I don't know how you can jump, twist your body around and generally not even be looking in the right direction and still get the answers right. Love him, though. Emperor has asked for only a half day on the homeschool anniversary. :]

1. these long divisions are a bit longer, so they might help you.

2. Gosh I wish my kids asked for more homework.

That is awesome that you have made it through 2 years and your kids sound like they have learned so much!

### Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK.

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series.

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

### Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

### Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap!

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D!

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: