Sunday, November 29, 2015

Not the Reaction I was Expecting


While she posed for the obligatory photo of such an amazing accomplishment-- 


--her overall reaction has not been what I expected. 

Maybe it hasn't hit her yet that she has reached her goal because her story isn't actually finished. 

Maybe she can't really wrap her head around how huge of an accomplishment 30,000 words is. 

Maybe I didn't make a big enough deal out of it.

She IS relieved that the pressure is off, but also concerned that without the pressure, her novel will not get finished. I assured her I wouldn't let her novel go unfinished. There are too many people who want to read it! 

So, here are some writing related photos from the last week or so. 

After breakfast, she sits down and starts her writing with no complaining. 

Sometimes doodling helps the writing process. Sometimes. 

Marveling over the diminishing pencil. 

and then using the longer one to pick her nose. 

24,000 words- another milestone!

My nightly ritual of typing up Emma's writing from the day. This night I had "help" from Jared and Bailey. 

Much needed rest/nap on Thanksgiving. 

So close to the next milestone!

Yes! 27,000 words!

Surrounding herself with our encouragement. 

Writing despite the fact that she's really cold (from eating ice cream for breakfast).

Write-in at Hastings. 

Starting a second notebook and writing up the last of her 30,000 words!

I think as the day goes by, her massive accomplishment will start to sink in. And if not, maybe the surprise new sled and our family sledding adventure/celebration scheduled for later today will help!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

I am just going to pretend that I have written more recently then February 2015. Yikes!

Seeing as I could spend the next week writing about all that has happened so far this year, I'll spare you all and just stick to the highlights.

Uh, actually, I'm gonna skip the highlights. Thanks to a concussion (or multiple concussions) sometime between April and June, my memory is worse than normal.

Enough about me!

I am so proud of Emma. The list of reasons would be long to list and probably not super interesting to read, so let us focus on the biggest reason I am so proud of her right now.

She's writing a novel.

No, seriously, the kid is writing a novel, like tens-of-thousands-of-words type novel.

Apparently November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Basically you spend every day in November writing with the goal of writing a first draft to a novel by the end of the month. You pick a word goal, and work hard to achieve that number by the 30th. I first heard about it last year, but we were no where ready to tackle a writing project like this last year. But this year, for whatever reason, it was in the cards.

Emma and Chicago

A little back story. In September, the place Emma does her horse lessons, Windy Walkers, got a new horse. The horse is named Chicago and he is beautiful. Emma and I both fell in love with him when we first saw him. We of course asked Joeleen (owner of Windy Walkers and Emma's instructor) about Chicago as soon as we saw her and she explained that no one wanted him because he has an ugly scar on his forehead under his forelock (think bangs). So, while Emma was riding, I went over and gave Chicago a little love and checked out the scar. Yup, ugly scar, but hardly visible under his forelock. Then it hit me. The scar is in the perfect spot for Chicago to have been a unicorn and have had his horn cut off!

So, being the homeschooling mama that I am, I told Emma that by next week she needed to write a short story about how Chicago lost his horn. She loved the idea and so did Joeleen.

The short story was written and it was pretty good, but then I realized that NaNoWriMo was coming up. I also remembered that they have a young writers program with a workbook for the kiddos to fill out during the month of October to help them plan out their novel.

When I suggested to Emma that she turn her short story into a novel, she was a little hesitant at first, but once she started filling out the work book, I think the story started to grow in her mind.

Emma's writing space

Fast forward to today, November 17th, 2015, and this kiddo of ours has written (by hand no less) 15,177 words. I know this because I type up her work every night before I go to bed.

Just for a little reference, 15,177 words takes up 22 pages in a word document typed up in size 12 Times New Roman font, single spaced.

If we were to pretend that the average book is about 1/2 the size of a regular sheet of paper, that would mean that currently, her book would be about 45 pages long.

And she has another 15,000 words to write to hit her goal of 30,000 words.

She blows my mind everyday how much she adds to her novel. Yes she goofs off, fidgets, pees a LOT, doodles, and talks to me if I am in the room, but on average she is writing over 1,000 words a day. One. Thousand. Words. Per. Day. That's six hand-written pages in her notebook!

She's going to need a new pencil soon!

Man, I can't explain how proud of this kid I am.

A few days ago she was stressing over not hitting 15,000 words on the 15th (she started out her writing a little slow, but I didn't want to overwhelm her before she even got started). When I mentioned to her that she has written more for this novel than her Da or I have ever written for a single college paper, she seemed to feel a little better.

A daily dose inspiration in the form of a quote. 

While our lives are mostly about supporting Emma in her novel writing, we try to make sure she gets some mental breaks. Today we stopped by a local pond for a quick walk. It was wonderful (despite the crazy wind).

Emma and Bailey at Powwow Park.

So, that is our life right now. She spends the majority of every day writing, and for the most part she enjoys it. That being said, we are all looking forward to November 30th, and the break she will get from writing during the month of December.

Because once January rolls around, that's when the revisions begin!

Monday, February 9, 2015

School Schedule: 9Feb15

Home Economics- She made her own eggs with "cheese" on them. 

Monday- We had co-op today, she learned about Kenya. We started playing chess without the cards today and she wrote a postcard to a friend. 

Tuesday- Math- Finish chapter 6 of Math Mammoth. She will also work with Skylar in the evening on some sort of math, probably something from Horse Lovers Math (I really want to get their workbook for Emma to work in next, but the shipping is outrageous). 
Spelling- pop quiz on the new spelling list, followed by a short story with some of the spelling words. 
Piano- Lesson #4. We keep putting this off. 
Fitness- She has swim lessons (plus an extra hour of swimming before lessons) and we need to walk Bailey. I also need to get in a run, so she will either run with me, bike or play in the kids area at the gym. 
4-H- She took photos for a photography project yesterday so I will print up the pictures and she will finish the project. 
Art- We will be learning about the Cathedral of Brasilia and doing some sort of worksheet/activity to go along with it.

We also need to get eggs, drop off recycling and visit the library at some point tomorrow. 

Wednesday- Math will be some sort of game, I will let Emma choose, I need her to write a letter (and I may ask her to sneak in a few spelling words), she will practice the piano, she has gymnastics, we will listen to SOTW and that will probably be it. 

Thursday- To be truthful, I haven't planned that far out yet. Math will be more of Math Mammoth, hopefully starting chapter 7, writing will be cursive practice, more piano practice, swim lessons and some work on one of her 4-H projects. 

Friday will be for anything we didn't get done during the week. 

If you are interested, you can follow us on Instagram. I'll try to take a photo everyday of Emma while she is working on school work. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

School Schedule: 6Feb15

Yes, I do realize that it's Friday. I decided not to bring my laptop with us to NH and there was no way I was writing a blog post on our tablet.

Anyway, the week of the 26th went, well, it went. We did get spelling done, some math, some SOTW and cursive practice. We didn't get letters written, art done or piano practiced.

But, some weeks go that way.

This past week we did get some school work done, even with a trip to visit family thrown into the mix. We got spelling done and some math. Today we got more spelling done, writing, lots of math and two walks done.

Seems we really like spelling.

Two spelling lists. 

Aside from the "school" learning, Emma's week was full of learning. 

Learning patience

Learning to "teach" reading

Learning about wildlife of New Hampshire

Learning that she really is good at puzzles

Learning that loosing matters less than the joy of the game and good company

Learning that snow days are really awesome!

Learning that clams are yummy

We'll probably try to get a bit more school work knocked out this weekend, but there is a possibility of horse lessons this weekend, so we will see. 

What did you learn this past week?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

School Schedule for 26Jan15

26Jan15 School Sch

Monday- Yesterday we got a lot done! It was gorgeous outside so we did most of the work on the deck. Pages 99-107 in her Math Mammoth work book. We really need to get more of this knocked out so it will probably be center stage for the next few weeks.

For spelling we are using this list. Oddly enough (especially for those that know me), Emma enjoys spelling.  While Emma was outside running around and I was doing dishes, I called the words out to her and had her spell them out loud. She thought that was funny. Later we sat down and did the quiz again with her writing them down.

When Gramma was visiting last time she wrote up a bunch of cursive writing practice sheets so Emma got started working on those. She really loves how fancy cursive is.

Piano didn't happen yesterday and neither did art.

Emma listened to a few chapters of the Story of the World (SOTW) while feeding and training Bailey last night, then worked on some of the coloring pages. We'll knock out the maps at some point, but they are so zoomed it that we may just look in one of our geography history books to get a better idea of where the events took place.

Animal Geography also didn't happen. We will add it somewhere later in the week.

Exercise- this one was fun! Emma, Bailey and I met Skylar at Gibson park. Emma rode her bike while Skylar, Bailey and I did a C25K workout. We were moving for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday- I love Tuesdays for many reasons. Emma has swim lessons, which she kinda likes/hates but we make her do because she really needs to know how to swim. I have roller derby tonight, which is awesome! But best of all our friend Skylar comes over to hang out with us then get some math work in with Emma. It's great one-on-one non-parent time for Emma and it gives Jared and I a better sense on where Emma is in math. Skylar, as a teacher, is better qualified at assessing that kinda thing. Plus, Skylar is just awesome. We might have to kidnap her and take her with us when we move.

Emma will write a letter to GG Steffen today. I might even have her sneak in a few of the spelling words that she was having trouble with and I may ask that she write one of the sentences in cursive. We'll see.

Today is 4-H dog project day. While we are still learning a lot about how 4-H works, we are all enjoying it. I'll write something specifically about 4-H in the next few weeks.

We'll try to get a little art in today. If I can find the art curriculum thing that I printed out. This house is too big. Piano will also get worked in somewhere as well.

Tuesdays are also errands day, so after swim we will run around and get stuff done- pick up eggs, recycle, maybe get an oil change in the car, etc.

Wednesday- Math will be some sort of game. I'm not entirely sure which one, but it will probably be multiplication based.

Writing will involve a short story using a few randomly picked spelling words. Perhaps I'll be sneaking and have her make up a story about the Cathedral of Brasillia and illustrate it to tie art, writing and spelling together. Again, if I can find the art papers.

More piano practice. Typically she likes to practice the piano, but at the moment she only knows two really short and simple songs, so I think she gets bored. There are a few games we can play to keep it interesting, so we might try some of those.

We have plans to meet Skylar Wednesday morning at the park for another C25K session. Not sure if Emma plans to ride or run, but as long as the weather is nice, it won't matter.

Gymnastics! Emma is loving gymnastics which is such a relief. With the crappy weather we have been having, horse lessons have been on hold. Even when it's gorgeous like it has been the last two days, the ground is too wet really for safe riding. The poor kid was desperate for some sort of activity and gymnastics has been working out. Plus, she read an article about trick riders and it has her intrigued. She needs gymnastic skills if she someday wants to do that.

SOTW- This is such an easy one. We may just start listening to the chapters in the car, then go back later to do the coloring sheets and the maps.

Depending on how the day goes, I will have her work on her animal geography sheet. I will explain more about these later.

Thursday- We  have homeschool co-op this day, so most of the day is devoted to that. Emma also has swim lessons and this Thursday she has an orthodontics appointment. We also need to get packed and ready for our trip to NH so who knows exactly how much will get done. If we do get school stuff done at home, it will most likely be math on the computer, spelling practice, and piano practice.

If we have time she will work on her 4-H photography project and some Writing With Ease.

Friday- We need to be to the airport a little before noon, so if we get any school work done this day, it will all be on the plane. We will try to get a run in at the park (or gym if it's too cold) in the morning, but it depends on how packed and ready we are the night before. I plan to pack her spelling list, some easy math games, a journal for her to write about our trip and photos of Bailey (at Emma's request) so she can make a collage.

Well, that is what the week looks. Now I need to get my butt moving so we can get Emma to swim lessons on time.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Work Schedule and Accountability

Accountability. That, to me, has been the hardest part of being a stay-home-homeschooling-mama. In a 9-5 job, you have co-workers relying on you to get your portion of the work done and you have a boss to answer to if the work isn't done. You also have a pay check, recognition and social interaction as motivators for a job well done.

Reading about Breyer Model Horses

Don't get me wrong. Emma and Jared are my co-workers and my bosses, but they are pretty lenient. Emma is more than happy to sit and play a game of chess or get caught up in a good book at the expense of a sink full of dishes and school work unfinished. Same goes for Jared. 

Reading "Bone" by Jeff Smith

And for the most part, I am with them. But with this giant house and Emma now being nine, I feel more pressure to keep the house presentable and to make sure Emma is learning at least the basics. 

To be fair to Emma, Jared and myself, she does know a lot of the basics. She has a fantastic grasp of the English language -though we need to work on spelling- and can add just about any number you give her -here we need to work on subtraction-. She understands the concept of multiplication, but we need to start exposing her to division. Geography is fun for her and she can name all the continents, knows which U.S. states are which and even some of the capitols. 

Working on her spelling list. 

Anyway, you get the idea. 

So, I need some help. From you guys. Each Monday I will write a post explaining what Emma and I will be doing for the week. I will also post pictures each (or most) days on Instagram. The following Monday I will give a quick recap of what we got accomplished. 

What do I need from you?

Check up on us. Send an e-mail, reply to the post, send a text, give us a call or Skype with us. Heck, you can even send Emma a letter or post card asking her specifics about something she is doing. 

So as not to overwhelm myself, I will post our plans for the week tomorrow. In the meantime, I would love some tips on what you do to keep yourself on task and your house clean!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Learning Life Skills

I am always amazed at how long I can go between posts. Oh well, such is the way life goes.

Over the past eight months, Emma has been busy learning a lot of life skills:

In April she learned how to ride her bike with pedals.

In May we took a family trip to Boulder, CO and Gramma met us there. We had a BLAST and got to explore a lot of cool towns and a museum.

In June she and I both got started with archery.

In July we went camping with friends and she got to go off and explore just her and her friend.

In August she got to spend a week at a friends house while Da was laid up in the hospital and I was hovering offering my support and help.

In September we decided to move to a bigger rental house so she got to learn (again) about packing and all that moving involves.

And this month? This month with all the extra room we have, she and I have started to learn woodworking.

Our First Woodworking Project 13Oct12 (14)
Wall Frames
'The Handbuilt Home' by Ana White

Our First Woodworking Project 13Oct12 (3)
Measure twice and all that. 

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Yup, bought some new tools today.

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Da was nice enough to take photos. 

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Another new tool. This one is going to get us into so much trouble! It's so easy to use, Emma can set it up and use it on her own. 

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Our First Woodworking Project 13Oct12 (76)
Da really wanted to give it a try as well. We decided to let him.

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That cordless drill is really heavy for small hands. Emma had a hard time with it also...

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A quick demo of how to use the sander.

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She's a quick study. This wasn't her favorite part as she didn't like how numb her hands got. 

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These hands sure do look cute though. And capable. So incredibly capable. 

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She even did a great job cleaning up after the project was finished. 

We really had fun making this. If the lumbar is already cut, I have a feeling Emma could make this entire picture frame on her own. Especially once we get her tools that fit her a little better...

The sawdust had hardly settled and she was already off to paint her new picture frame!


I can't wait to see what she ends up doing with her new picture frame!