First Day of School!

Yesterday we went back to school for the 2017-18 school year. As is typical as we get back into the groove, the day was long, but good, too.

Cameron has seminary at 7:15 this year. That is so much better than 6! The boys and I got ready for the day and I made breakfast (cinnamon rolls) while he was there. When he got home, we ate breakfast while watching CNN10.


Then we moved into the dining room for grammar and spelling. We are using IEW Fix-It Grammar (The Nose Tree).


In addition to going over the sentences and copying them, the boys are also circling the letter chunks (like they did in Spelling You See the last couple years) and diagramming parts of the sentences.


Then we did geography. We are studying Turkey (using Layers of Learning) for the next two weeks. We did map work.


We learned about camel wrestling and made little paper camels.


The boys did their on their own work including Spanish (for Cameron and Adrian) and Latin (for Fritz), math and reading.


This year all three boys are assigned to learn about whatever they want however they want. Adrian has chosen to do science experiments and record what he learns. He played with the super absorbent polymer that is in baby diapers. He was fascinated by it.


Adrian finished school about 2 and the other two around 3:15. Considering we went to taekwondo and so were gone for a bit over an hour in the morning and then had to make lunch and eat it before getting back to school, I figure that’s not bad for the first day of school.

For snack, we had some hazelnuts. Adrian was not impressed.


For dinner, we had ajvar, a dip made with eggplant and red bell peppers, kebabs and rice, and kuru incir tatlisi (poached stuffed figs).


Back to School

We went back to school today so, as usual, I took pictures and asked them some questions. This year is different, though, because now that Ani has graduated from high school, it’s just the three boys and me.

(See how they looked and what they said last year and the year before.)

age 15 years 10 months, 10th grade
Favorite food: Food
Favorite movie: Baby Driver
Favorite book: Tunnel in the Sky
Favorite song: Stole the Show
Favorite subject: PE
Favorite activity: Sleeping
Favorite color: Pink
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 147 pounds
Wants to be when he grows up: Taekwondo instructor




age 11 years 1 month, 6th grade
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite movie: None
Favorite book: Percy Jackson series
Favorite song: Goner
Favorite subject: Reading
Favorite activity: Gaming
Favorite color: Dark Blue
Height: 4′ 8 1/2″
Weight: 93.5 pounds
Wants to be when he grows up: Coast Guard nurse or medic




age 9 years 2 months, 4th grade
Favorite food: Potatoes
Favorite movie: None
Favorite book: None
Favorite song: Beauty and the Beast
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite activity: Science experiments
Favorite color: Yellow
Height: 4′ 3 1/2″
Weight: 71.5 pounds
Wants to be when he grows up: YouTuber



Bonus: Heather, age 39 years 4 months, teacher
Favorite food: Salad
Favorite movie: Miracle on 34th Street (original version)
Favorite book: Emerge series by Heather Sunseri
Favorite song: Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
Favorite subject: History
Favorite color: Purple and sometimes green

NOT Back to School Day 2017

Somehow we’ve already reached the end of the summer and it’s time to go back to school. But, as is our tradition, today while kids all around us went to their first day of school, we played.

We started off with crepes, Nutella, and turkey bacon for breakfast.

The went to Main Event and played some games. Space Invaders has gotten quite the modern update!

We played some air hockey and skee ball. Those games can be pretty intense in our family.

Giant Connect 4 turned out to be way more fun than you might think. And also pretty intense.

Cameron picked up a pool cue and started doing the jahng bong form right in the middle of Main Event. (Note: Cameron hates this picture because his stance is awful because he was just playing around.)

Fritz and Adrian attempted the gravity ropes. Several months ago, my brother came to visit and we went to Main Event. Adrian tried the gravity ropes, but he got too scared and came back down. This time he was determined to make it across. Fritz got too scared this time, but Adrian made it!

(Video of Adrian being brave.)

We played a game of laser tag before we picked our prizes and headed out.

We had pizza at Luciano’s for dinner. They have some of the most amazing pizza and their gluten free crusts are really good.

We ended the day with shaved ice from Bahama Bucks. Fritz said he must be making a whole lot of dopamine because he was feeling so happy.

Check out previous years’ Not Back to School Days: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. (I missed blogging about Not Back to School Day in 2011 and they went to public school in 2013.)

Getting Ready for School

School starts for the 2017-18 school year in four days.


Part of me is excited and part of me is totally not ready for summer to end.


I’ve been collecting what we need for the first few weeks and getting it organized.


Monday is our annual NOT Back to School Day celebration.


And then on Tuesday, we’ll get to work and begin 35 weeks of 4th, 6th, and 10th grades.


We almost missed the eclipse. For some reason, I was thinking it would reach its peak (about 60% here) a little after 2. A little after 1 Jamie called and asked if we were going out to see it. Oops. We ran out and took our pizza pan with us and made lots of tiny partial solar eclipses.

What We’ll Be Learning When

When we start back to school in just over a week, we’ll be using year 2 (with a few science topics switched for ones from year 1) of Layers of Learning for our all together work (history, geography, science, the arts).

Weeks 1-2 (August 29-September 8)
Byzantines, Turkey, Climate and Seasons, Byzantine Art

Weeks 3-4 (September 11-22)
Barbarians, Ireland, Forecasting, Illumination

Week 5 (September 25-29)
Islam, Arabian Peninsula, Clouds and Precipitation, Creative Kids

Weeks 6-7 (October 2-13)
Vikings, Norway, Special Effects, Viking Art

Week 8 (October 16-20)
Anglo Saxons, Britain, Wild Weather, King Arthur Tales

Weeks 9-10 (October 23-November 3)
Charlemagne, France, Planets, Carolingian Art

Weeks 11-12 (November 6-17)
Normans, Nigeria, Stars, Canterbury Tales

Weeks 13-14 (November 27-December 8)
Feudal System, Germany, Earth and Moon, Gothic Art

Weeks 15-16 (December 11-22)
Crusades, Balkans, Satellites, Religious Art

Weeks 17-18 (January 8-19)
Burgundy, Venice, and Spain, Switzerland, Humans in Space, Oil Paints

Week 19 (January 22-26)
Wars of the Roses, Russia, Health, Minstrels and Plays

Weeks 20-21 (January 29-February 9)
Eastern Europe, Hungary, Metals, Printmaking

Weeks 22-23 (February 12-23)
African Kingdoms, Mali, Carbon Chemistry, Textiles

Weeks 24-25 (February 26-March 9)
Asian Kingdoms, Southeast Asia, Non-Metals, Vivid Language

Weeks 26-27 (March 19-30)
Mongols, Caucasus, Salts, Fun With Poetry

Weeks 28-29 (April 2-13)
China and Japan, China, Electricity, Asian Arts

Week 30 (April 16-20)
Pacific Peoples, Micronesia, Circuits, Pacific Island Arts

Weeks 31-32 (April 23-May 4)
American Peoples, Canada, Technology, Indian Legends

Weeks 33-34 (May 7-18)
The Renaissance, Italy, Magnetism, Renaissance Art I

Week 35 (May 21-25)
Explorers, Caribbean Sea, Motors, Renaissance Art II

Multi-Generational Living… Again

My parents were supposed to move to Texas shortly after we did. We bought a 5 bedroom house with them in mind (no stairs to the front door, craft room, big master suite on the main floor, laundry right outside the master suite). And now we’ve lived here over 4 years and they are still in Maryland.

Life happened in the last 4 years. My uncle got very sick and my mother cared for him until he passed away. Then my dad got pancreatic cancer and had to go through major surgery and chemo. They tried to put their house up for sale last year, but the realtor just disappeared and never listed it. It was finally put up for sale (with a different realtor) this spring.

They knew their house needed a certain buyer, but they weren’t in a hurry and were willing to wait for the right person to come along. They live in a house built (by my grandparents) in 1945 on 8 1/2 acres with a couple large fields and lots of woods. It’s about an hour outside of DC in a relatively rural area.

The right person (well, couple) has come along. They are a young couple who grow organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Because of various reasons, they most likely will not actually close on the house until December (but possibly October). But the contract is signed. My parents have sold their house.

So, in a few months, we’ll be back to having three generations living all together. In the meantime, we need to finish the boys’ room, move the WiiU/TV to their room, finish cleaning out my parents’ room, clean the shelves in the craft room off (yet again), and who knows what else to prepare for their arrival and merging their stuff with ours. It’ll be a new adventure!