{SQT} How I’m Still Spending Time At Home With The Kids

The good news is, the air conditioning is finally fixed on our van. The bad news is, not having a van for the week meant no beach trip. But we’re planning on visiting the shore next Tuesday so hopefully the weather cooperates. (Affiliate links below- you’ve been warned!)

I managed to get the kids hooked on Horrible Histories this week. I usually allocate some time in the afternoon to educational videos, and until recently Fulton and Teddy have been binging on Brain Pop and Simple History. But I saw Horrible Histories was free on Amazon Prime, so we gave it a try and all of us enjoy watching it (even if there is a lot of potty humor). It’s amazing the crude historical facts the boys can remember vs actual useful information.

Fulton wound up with a few games for his birthday this year; one as a gift, and two he bought with a birthday gift card. I’ll admit to not being a huge board game fan, but he picked some winners and so we’ve managed to enjoy several family game nights recently. Seeing all Fulton’s gifts meant Teddy needed to use an old gift card as well, and he purchased an escape room game. He selected a pretty difficult level without realizing it, so we’ve continued to work on it as a family over the course of a few days.

I was lucky enough to get to preview Wanderlight, a new video game being released next month by Loyola Press. A Catholic video game to distract my kids during a never-ending quarantine? Yes please!! I thought it was a very nice looking game; it definitely has an early Final Fantasy type feel. It was easy to figure out what to do and where to go. However, Teddy and Fulton have actually played some old role playing games (anyone else familiar with Master of Monsters?), and games like Overwatch, Fortnight, Minecraft, etc., so unfortunately, this game did not hold their interest for long (despite much enthusiastic hyping up by moi). There was no fighting, no conflict, and no way to screw up and accidentally die. I would not be able to use this game as an incentive for them.

However, if you have younger kids who don’t have older siblings and a father who’ve robbed them of their innocence with tons of video games, they might really enjoy Wanderlight. There was quite a bit of reading involved, but if your child is at a solid first or second grade reading level, it shouldn’t be a problem. It would definitely be something you could allow one child to play independently while you worked on schoolwork with another. The game ties in facts about the saints, scripture, and the sacraments in a fun conversational way while your character, the Pilgrim, completes simple quests. Once released, it will be available on PC and tablet with a yearly subscription and parents and CCD teachers can use it in conjunction with Loyola’s faith formation programs Finding God and Christ Our Light.

Right now, if you’re familiar with Trogdor, Horrible Histories, and old 16 bit video games, you’re probably judging my parenting real hard right now. But the really responsible part of me did some pretty cool science stuff this week too. First, Fulton, Teddy and I finished up a chemistry lapbook we started a couple months back. I bought it YEARS ago to complete with my older kids (thinking they’d each make their own) but Addie and Byron basically thought lapbooks were invented as torture devices and we could never finish them without me taking over and doing all the cutting, pasting, etc. myself. So the few “we” finished were “family” lapbooks rather than individual lapbooks. ANYWAY….I decided while the boys were distance learning and not doing much science (which they both really enjoy) we’d take our time and work through some fun chemistry lessons. And because I knew they couldn’t complete the lapbook, I put it together myself, adding flaps as we learned things, with them helping to color or paste as they were able, and it was a much more enjoyable process. (I will be happy to show it off to you next time you stop by.) To wrap up we also did two big messy experiments; the ol’ Mentos in the Diet Coke, and Elephant Toothpaste. And then, even though we didn’t cover cells at all, we decorated cakes like cells because it gave me a reason to buy nine different kinds of candy. (And maybe all that sugar was my way of coping with not going to the beach. Don’t judge me!) So yes, I did just try to make myself sound like a good parent because we made messes and ate candy in the name of science!

Hard at work creating cells. Also- if you want to cut shapes out of Fruit Roll Ups, take the plastic backing off first.
Sampling the organelles. That’s a mighty delicious cell wall!

Since I’ve obviously earned your respect and admiration, let me know what homeschooling questions I can answer for you. While I know lots of people are praying they can send their kids back to school in the fall (I’m one of you), I know many people for a variety of reasons have decided to switch to homeschooling for next year (I’m also one of you). I’d like to do a series of posts to help all new homeschoolers plan for September. I’m thinking…

  • How to Start Homeschooling Your Elementary Student
  • How to Start Homeschooling Your Teenager
  • How to Start Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child
  • How to Homeschool in Difficult Circumstance

Homeschooling isn’t always the answer; I know that first hand. But if you want to give it a try, I can offer you a unique perspective that many homeschoolers can’t, and hopefully set you up for success (or minimal screaming) your first year out of the gate. Let me know if you have any other questions I can answer for you; either in one of the above posts, or in a different one. I’ve seen several other bloggers writing similar posts, but even though I would never claim to know it all, I hope I can provide some really practical advice you might not find elsewhere. And maybe I’ll throw in a pun or poop joke- who knows? What other homeschool blogger is offering that?

Now it’s your turn to blog something horrible you shared with your kids this week. Link it up below and be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts and judging your parenting!

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  1. I would love to read your posts on homeschooling, and forward to a friend. I always appreciate reading what you have to share.

  2. It’s almost eerie to read this post, because I, too, tried lapbooking with my now-teens and it was a no-go, and today I’m about to do a lapbook with their 6-years-younger sister, *and* we’re about to embark on a week of Model Human Body Systems in Cake Form. There will be a trachea made of gummi Life Savers. I’ll let you know when I stop barfing. Thank you for the solidarity!

  3. I look forward to your advice about homeschooling. I know that it will be very well-written (i.e: will make me laugh instead of making me bored) and you’ll tell it like it is (instead of acting like you have everything totally together down to the last detail like we all do on the Internet.) We’re going to try homeschooling my teenager for the first time in the fall and I’d love tips on how to do it with minimal screaming. I’d love to know more about what teenage homeschoolers need to know/do to apply and be ready for college, and also what to do about the worry that you’re going to overlook something important and leave gaps in their education despite your best efforts to cover everything.

  4. I have learned to NEVER judge another Mom’s choices. As my own mother used to tell us over and over, “different families do things differently.” šŸ™‚ Also, I know pretty much nothing about video games, so I couldn’t really pass judgement anyway! šŸ™‚

  5. I would love to read posts about homeschooling. Iā€™m especially interested in how you choose curriculum and how you balance the varied needs of all the kids (especially when you had little ones).

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