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DITL Homeschooling

Large Family Homeschool Life – 1/25/21 – 1/29/21

An anxious week for mama, but still kept going with our study of ancient Rome, decluttering the kitchen, and taking our little one to her eye appointment in the city.

Read all of the Large Family Homeschool Life posts HERE.

Before I jump into this week, I want to preface it with the fact that my healthy anxiety flared this week for a couple of reasons –
1 – At the advisement of my doctor, we tried an experiment with my iron supplements that did not work and left me quite depleted in iron. Anemia is a huge trigger for my anxiety.
2 – Hormonally, this was a rough week for me.

I don’t talk a lot about my health anxiety, but people who know the story of our daughter Emily, know the trauma we have survived has left its own set of scars. This week was hard.


It is a dreary day and I am tired. In fact, it seems everyone is sleeping in today, and I’m ok with that.

I served leftover pancakes from Keian’s birthday yesterday and sausage links for breakfast. I had apple oatmeal. The kids tried to talk me into having his birthday cake for breakfast!

I turned on Celtic Woman radio on Pandora in the living room. My 16 year old daughter likes more upbeat music and tends to turn on the Alexa in the kitchen first thing in the morning. But, I need more calm to my morning, and Celtic Woman radio provides that.

School didn’t get started until nearly 11 am. Between Ty having the day off, phone calls from my oldest son and the couch repairman, and the kids slogging along all morning, it just didn’t feel like a school day.

We met for Morning Time in the living room. I kind of miss the days when I always taught school from my rocker in the living room. Our living room was much smaller and cozy back then – and filled with less children.

READ >> Simple Homeschool Organizational Systems

Because I started reading The Story of the Romans aloud to the kids from the beginning a little bit late in the sequence of Tapestry of Grace lessons, I feel like I can’t move on with their history until I am “caught up” in the book to where Tapestry moves on to the next lesson. That is one thing that sometimes plagues me about TOG – the fact that they don’t always read an entire book or they skip around to match a book to their order of lessons.

READ >> How We Do Tapestry of Grace

After Morning Time, I helped the 6 and 8 year olds with their Math & Phonics. The 8 year old is reading well enough to participate in Bible reading in the morning, but the 6 year old is just beginning. (I’ve mentioned before that I prefer to only teach one child to read at a time.)

I read The Snowy Day to the 4 year old and helped her glue cotton balls to a blue piece of construction paper to make a snow scene. The 6 year old joined in, but the 8 year old complained that all the projects I do with the little girls are so babyish. He forgets how we did projects that were “babyish” when he was younger too.

After a lunch of leftovers, I decided to sit by the fire and read from Stillmeadow Calendar. Such a lovely book! I’ve been reading much of it aloud to the kids when they are in the room.

I got out some meat for the week and puttered around the kitchen a bit, before settling back in to read the first 3 chapters of Capturing Saddam. (Reading the 1st 3 chapters of a book is a suggestion from Elsie of the Tea & Ink Society. It gives you a good start into a book and helps to hold your interest.)

Ty met the interrogator who wrote Capturing Saddam, and our copy is signed. This isn’t my usual fare, but I needed something different to read and I usually have at least 3 books going at once.

Ty asked if I wanted to go out for an impromptu date night, so we headed to a nice little steakhouse and we both had a spinach salad with steak and feta and hot bacon dressing. As goes with most of our “dates,” we ended up doing a little shopping. The big purchases of the night were 2 lamps for each of the kids’ rooms. It’s part of my new bedtime routine to have lamps on instead of the overhead (brighter) lights.

Speaking of our bedtime routine…

We shut the TV off and devices go away for 1 hour before the littles (ages 12 and under) go to bed. The lights are kept low and the activity is also kept low key. It’s a bit later in the night than we were putting the kids to bed because they were lying awake for hours! When I checked a chart for how much sleep they should be getting, I realized they were getting plenty of sleep and trying to put these night owl kids of mine to bed so early was pointless. I do intend to move their bedtime up a bit, but for now our plan is working fabulously!

After the littles went to bed, Ty and I and the big kids watched an episode of Decoy on Amazon Prime and I put together a freezer breakfast recipe for Ty and I for the next morning.

I went to bed early due to exhaustion from anemia. I will be thankful when my iron levels are better.


Mercy woke up quite chatty this morning because she has an eye appointment with her retinal surgeon. She likes to tell the story of how they check the lasers in her eyes to make sure her eyes don’t break. 4 year olds are so scrumptiously cute!

Everyone but Mercy got breakfast on their own. We rarely have breakfast as a family. Daddy rarely eats breakfast, so eating together has never been a habit. Instead, I keep the kitchen stocked with breakfast foods, and everyone gets their own.

READ >> DIY Breakfasts for Homeschooling Families

Morning Time was Visual Latin, The Story of the Romans, and Bark of the Bog Owl. I also passed out new reading assignments to the kids, and got Creed his own Science.

I always start the kids out on Christian Liberty Nature Reader K when they first start reading well. The books are very simple and engaging and not quite as daunting as the Apologia Elementary books I move them to once they finish Phonics.

For Mercy’s “school” time, I had her sort animal crackers. Honestly, fruit loops would have worked better, but animal crackers seemed a bit healthier.

That afternoon, I took Mercy to her retinal appointment. Everything is in tact and looking good. He was impressed with how well she behaved and followed along. He doesn’t need to see her for a year now!

Read more about Mercy’s condition here.

The furniture repairman came to work on our couches. We purchased a 5 year warranty with the couches and have more than made our money back on cleaning and repairs! Totally worth it!

For dinner, we had fried ham, hash browns, zwieback, broccoli, and some gingerbread our 14 year old son made. Zwieback is a traditional German Mennonite bread I learned to make when I was a kid. I need to get the recipe up on the site because it is super tasty and hearty enough to take care of a large family.

It’s Creed’s Special Night, so he watched Toy Story and played computer games and hung out with mom and dad.

I did manage to get a Fit2B workout in before bed. I’m following one of their many “pathways” because it is just too cold to get out and I definitely need the stretching aspect that is built into nearly every routine.

By the way, you can get FREE WORKOUTS in your inbox every week when you sign up for Fit2B emails! These workouts are fantastic and I almost always do every single one.



It snowed overnight and was beautiful to wake up to!

Morning Time was cut short because I wasn’t feeling well. My ears kept closing in and buzzing (due to the anemia and the anxiety it is causing). While I rested upstairs, my 10 year old son made a worksheet for his 4 year old little sister who had been begging to school all morning.

So cute! And she was so happy!

After I got some healthy food in me and a short walk, I decided to let the kids go out and play in the snow. They had so much fun sledding and running and eating the fluffy white snow. They came back in and made snow ice cream because they just couldn’t get enough!

Our Snow Ice Cream Recipe

8 cups of fresh snow
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
flavored extract

Mix & Serve!

I squeezed in a bit of reading in Stepping Heavenward. I read this book when I was a young mother, and am enjoying going back through it as a more “seasoned” mama. Such a good book!

For dinner, I made an egg casserole that used up some sausage I had on hand and the last of the zwieback. It was a hit!


I had a good night of sleep and feel quite rested and less anxious. I’ve been doubling up on my iron, hoping to get things back under control.

I had some yummy Banana Breakfast Cookies made from sugarless peanut butter, bananas, oats, flax meal and chia seeds. Delicious!

We added a fun new piece to our Morning Time – folk songs and hymns! We are going to be alternating between 2 classes from Music in Our Homeschool – A Folksong a Week and Great Hymns of the Faith.

We did our last lesson in Visual Latin (we didn’t do the entire class since we were doing it as a family for Morning Time), and I read in The Story of the Romans and Bark of the Bog Owl.

Today was an exciting day for our 6 year old – she read her first words!

She struggles quite a bit with her schoolwork, so it was such a joy to hear her read!

As the kids got lunch, I hand washed a sweater and hung it to dry in the garage on a drying rack I purchased years ago at Aldi much like this one:

I try to avoid buying clothing that must be hand washed, but this beautiful purple sweater was on sale, so I caved. I may end up regretting it!

During the early afternoon hours, I did lesson planning to finish out Tapestry of Grace Year 1. This video shows my rather unconventional way of lesson planning for TOG:

As I was working, I got a call from our daughter at college. She hasn’t been updating her phone and decided today was the day to try to update 2 years worth! It locked up her phone and after exhausting all our options, we decided the only answer was for her to head to the local Apple Store and have them reset it to factory settings. This whole mess prompted me to back up my phone and computer – which was no small task!

The kids wanted to play in the snow again, so that was what I used as incentive to get the whole house tidied up spit-spot. I’m glad the kids got another day in the snow since I’m pretty sure it won’t be here much longer with mid-40’s in the forecast.

While the kids were out, I decluttered the top drawer of the coffee bar in our kitchen which basically serves as a catch all. Truth be told, every drawer in that desk-turned-coffee-bar is a catch all! My plan is to continue the decluttering process over the next few weeks.

One thing I found in this drawer was my old Emily Photo Album. This little book was something a friend put together for me to keep in my diaper bag for those moments when I just needed to see her little face.

I no longer carry a diaper bag, and I do not grieve as hard as I once did for my little girl. I decided the safest and best place for her photo book was in her hope chest – another gift from a friend to keep her belongings in. (You can read all of Emily’s story HERE. And if you or someone you know is grieving the loss of a child, you can find many posts and resources on my Grieving Mother page.)

That evening, I spoke online to a group of homeschool moms in Waco, TX about chores and homeschooling. It was a fun evening of fellowship.

Check out my latest homeschooling podcast >>
Homeschooling Multiple Ages (part 1)


Another good night of rest. I lingered in bed a bit before getting Mercy ready for the day. By the time we got downstairs, the older kids had started their General Tidy. Yay!

It was Keian’s turn to take off from Friday chores because he was the latest birthday kid. Aspen (6) and I did most of his chores, minus sweeping the porches since there is still snow. Together, we tackled cleaning the dining room (which includes scrubbing and polishing the table), the kids’ bathroom, and tidying up the coat closet.

After everyone finished chores, the kids asked what foods I would like for my birthday this weekend. I came up with 2 things I really wanted – Cuban sandwiches and Swedish Tea Ring. Thankful to have a 16 year old who can whip up such treats!

The 16 year old and I took a walk around the neighborhood while the kids played. When we got home, I found my new Grapevine Teacher’s Manual had come! I immediately sat down with it and planned out our Bible lessons for the upcoming week.

One of the great things about this curriculum is that you don’t have to do much planning at all – it truly is open and go!

We rounded out our homeschool week with a dinner of pork chops, corn, salad, and Scotcheroos. Yummy!

Large Family Homeschool Life – 1/25/21 – 1/29/21

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