Nov 30, 2012

First Semester Best and Worst

I simply refuse to believe that our first semester of CC and homeschooling is complete! Wow! This is a good time to take stock and look back at what worked and what flopped. And here we go... ;)

Things that Rocked!

1. Map friends! Geography is so much more fun when you can make little story lines to go along with it and use your kids' favorite characters. See post about that here.

2. Memory Work Board. It was just great to have the material for the week always out in its own space. Out of sight, out of mind, right? However, I did make a big boo-boo with this, which I'll discuss in the Fizzle part.

3. The Map Friends Book was a huge hit! This has been a great way to use our map friends in a smaller space. Love it! See post about the book and how to make your own here.

4. Field Trips! Our family went to the Nashville Parthenon during Week 3, and we visited the Tennessee Aquarium after studying vertebrates and invertebrates. Good times!

5. The Math Review Book was also very, very effective at daily math memory practice. See post here.

6. Our CC group is just plain awesome! We love, love, love everything about CC and our community, and Mary has an enthusiastic, joyful tutor who loves on her kids. Perfect!

7. Mini Timeline Cards! God has blessed me with a wonderfully patient husband who scanned in every single timeline and president card and then shrunk them down to the size of baseball cards. How cool is this! I've really enjoyed having the minis for timeline review. And they're just sooo cute! See post about these here.

8. Geography Cards! These little picture cards have been great for reviewing our weekly geography. These can also be made into a fun review game by having kids randomly pick a card and then locate the place on a map. Quick and easy! Crecia at CCing it one day at a time came up with this great idea, and she has them all on her blog. Be sure to check it out! To see my post on them, click here.

9. Missionary of the Week! Mary has really gotten into this, so that's certainly a plus. See post and our Christian missionary/hero schedule to go along with Cycle 1 here.

10. Cycle 1 Memory Work Flip Chart! Oh, this has been such a blessing to me as I plan for each week. I love not having to flip through that big ol' Foundations Guide! Check it out here.

11. Timeline Card and Bible Story Integration Schedule! I used the book above to help me correlate Bible stories and our daily CC timeline card reading. This worked out really, really well, even though we didn't stay on-schedule too much. ;) Since timeline repeats each year, we'll definitely be doing this again next Fall. See post here.

Things that Fizzled

(Oh, my! If this isn't a 'fizzle face' then I don't know what is! Poor girl!)

We didn't do a lot of extra stuff outside of our CC memory work this semester. Mary's only four, so aside from reading, we just stuck to CC stuff. So, I don't have too many little fizzles to share (simply because we didn't really do much). However, I do have one big, super-duper failure: I let school come before my husband. 


It hurts me just to write that. Sigh... Yes, it's true. I am a very 'extreme' person, very passionate. I'm either all-in or all-out. (funny side story: I remember asking my mom not too long ago which way she puts the toilet paper roll in the bathroom. Paper under or over? She said, "Over the top, just like everything else we do!" Ha! I am JUST like her! Yes, everything usually is over-the-top with me.) So, when we started CC in August, and Mary did so well memorizing the first weeks, well, I jumped on it. We reviewed ALL the time. At the table, in the car, just whenever and wherever. Mary didn't mind much, she was soaking it up, and I loved seeing her learn. However, all was not well with the hubs...

too much review at the table led to this:

Sad, huh? I could tell it was really starting to affect our marriage, which is very embarrassing to admit. I mean, who in the world would let CC review come between her and her man? Me. Yes, sad, sad, sad.

Well, a very sweet reader sent me an email a while back and clued me in. At first, I'll have to admit that I was a little offended. I mean, really, who does she think she is! She doesn't even know me! But God used that email. God used that sweet friend to show me what I was doing in my home, in my marriage (thank you, R, for your honesty and openness.). My husband read the email and nodded his head. Yep, he agreed with her.

Double ouch.

I prayed a lot. Pouted a lot. I asked him what would make him happy again, and he said to stop reviewing at the table when he's home. So, we (reluctantly) stopped. We put the Math Review Book away and cleared all the school stuff off of the dining room table (but he said the memory work board was okay - whew!). It shouldn't have been a big deal, but it was. Mary was doing so well, would she fall behind if we stopped reviewing so much? The answer is yes. Yes, she did fall behind. She doesn't know a lot of her skip counting, Latin, and some Science.

Does it matter? 


After only a couple of days, God had restored my man to me. Oh, how wonderful it is to have him back! Aside from our relationship with Jesus Christ, nothing is more important than our relationship to each other as man and wife. The whole incident really opened my eyes and prompted us all to take a step back and just breathe.

We're much more relaxed now...

finding a good balance at home...

and sharing a lot more smiles with each other (by the way, that map behind me in this picture has now come down. Ha! I now refuse to let school spill into every room. Yes, I believe learning should happen all the time, it's an on-going thing, yes, yes, but I don't need a visual aide in every living space, not anymore!)

So, that's the best and worst of the Strouds' first semester of CC and homeschooling. Good lessons learned by everyone, especially by over-the-top me. I'm so thankful to God for the blessing of being able to stay home and do this, for honest friends and readers, for a patient and longsuffering hubs, and for sweet girls who are always ready to forgive. What a beginning!

This post is being submitted to Half-A-Hundred Acre Wood's CC Monthly Blog Carnival for November.


  1. I loved reading this!!! Thanks for your honesty. :) sounds like you and i are very similiar. :) I, too, am over the top...and have mellowed week by week as the semester rolled along. I've had to remind myself to focus on all the things they ARE learning rather than all of the other things I wanted to do with them. Why is it easier for me to focus on the negatives of what we're not doing...rather than the positives of what we ARE doing!?!? I'm reminding myself to take a breath and enjoy the ride! :) Hoping I'll continue to be "CHILL" next semester. let's hold each other accountable to that, want to!??!!?

    1. Ooooh! Yes, Suzanne, let's absolutely hold each other accountable to being more chill next semester! And I'm glad you're over-the-top, too! ;) Oh, and I've been LOVING all of your holiday posts!

  2. This is a great post. I think God was trying to teach us both some lessons (mine was submitted to the carnival as well).

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Crecia, God has taught me much more than I've taught Mary this year. Ha! Glad to see you got Carnival to work for you, too! Have a great week, friend! :)

  3. Love your honesty and here's hoping your 2nd semester is great!! Love you girl!!

  4. Love this blog. Question: were the skip counting practice pages on CC Connected? I love how they illustrate the process of getting from 0 to 9 to 18, etc. Thanks for being real!!!

    1. Hi, Cindy! Yes, the math review book is all of C3, and I list the pages I used in the review book post, which should be linked by the picture in this post. It's been really helpful! Thanks for the love, friend! :)

  5. How fascinating that a reader emailed you about your prolific memorization work. . .and so amazing that you didn't dump her right in the delete bin. :) Thanks for sharing your teachable heart, I'm sure it wasn't easy.

    God keeps bringing you up in my mind, and so I wander back here to see how you are doing. I just want you to know I so enjoy the "voice" of your blog, even though we've never met.

    1. Oh, Danielle, it sure wasn't easy to read that email. It was hard to admit that I wasn't putting my husband's needs first. But, God certainly planned everything just right, as always, and things are much better now. I really do enjoy sharing my fizzles because this is usually the only place I will. If you were to see me in church or the grocery store and ask how things were going, you'd get a, "Just fine! How about you?" I feel like everyone's lives are so busy, it's hard to have a deep conversation with anyone sometimes. So, I have my conversations on here, with myself. Ha! But I'm very glad that here, too. And thanks for your kind comment, friend! :) I hope to get back to posting more regularly after things get settled with Anna. Today is her MRI to check for any brain tumors, so after that, things should be a little more mellow around here.


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