Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with winter and spring in the same week

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Weekly Wrap-Up

Happy Friday, y’all! I hope you’ve all had an excellent week. I know talking about the weather is boring, but living in the South, you have to get used to crazy weather. Wednesday, it was sunny and 72 degrees – gorgeous! Yesterday, schools were close due to impending sleet and icy road conditions in the 30-something degree temps.

I am so ready for spring.

Monday was one of two days I dread all year – our bi-annual trip to the dentist. I didn’t used to mind going to the dentist, but the older I’ve gotten, the more sensitive my teeth have gotten. Add to that the fact that we all have back-to-back appointments and it makes for a very long day that I absolutely dread.

The one redeeming fact is that we knock it out in just two trips a year. Plus, this time Brianna had to come straight from school and Brian had to come straight from work, so I only had to stay long enough for Megan and I to get our teeth cleaned. Poor Josh had to stay the entire time because he and Brian had somewhere to be immediately afterward.

I’m not going to lie – he was really irritable when they got home. You know what, though? I so completely understood, that I just ignored any and all grumpy behavior. Three hours is a long time to sit in a dentist’s office. I’d have been irritable, too.

We got some very sad news Tuesday night. Megan’s gymnastics coach is moving out of state next month. We are so disappointed. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few months I’ve said how much I love her coach. He has a way of pushing the girls to do their best, but always with humor and encouragement, never with any kind of intimidation or negativity.

We are hopeful that they’ll find a wonderful new coach, but it’s really like having your grandpa move away.

Last week, my friend, Jamie, posted about a dog-training tool she’s been using with great success, the “shaky can.” When I read about how well it’s been working for her, I had to make my own shaky can to try with my dog, Peanut, who barks at everything. This includes barking at the people who live here when they come home – even after he has seen them and knows exactly who he’s barking at.

The can has worked wonders! It has provided just enough distraction to get his attention and he now understands the command, “Quiet.” He also understands that when he is quiet, he gets a treat, so I’ve gotten lots of expectant looks this week.


The shaky can has worked so well that we were able to have a friend come inside and chat with us for a little while Tuesday night without having to put Peanut in another room. And, when Brianna came home Wednesday night, he wasn’t perfectly quiet, but it was much more bearable than usual, the barking didn’t go on as long, and it was clear he was trying to contain himself – and I didn’t have to use the shaky can to accomplish that.

There have also been lots of times where I’ve let him bark when there is something to bark about. As I’ve explained to the kids, the goal isn’t to never let him “talk” – it’s to teach him to be quiet when he needs to be.

Did you catch any of my articles on About.com this week? I offered suggestions for Spring Cleaning – Homeschool Style and posted a tutorial for making a St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin for preschoolers. You can, if you’d like, subscribe to the About.com Homeschooling channel RSS feed.

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

I would try to come up with something really interesting to say about school, but there’s not too much excitement in, “so, my kids worked independently in their workbooks all week.”

You know what is exciting about that? The kids like the workbooks and they do work independently. That means that suddenly, I have time for things I haven’t had time for in years. I’m finally starting to feel like I have a handle on my online work and my housework, though I’m much more apt to spend my time on my online work. It’s more fun.

Still, it wouldn’t make me sad to get back in there and start learning alongside them again. I’ll do whatever works best for them, though. I do plan on taking them with me to the curriculum fair this year. If they’re going to do workbooks, I want them to see what their options are and make sure we have the best fit for each of them.

Now, it’s off to get prepared for a busy weekend. It’s the kind of busy I like – lots of fun stuff for the kids to do, but not a bunch of craziness for me. Win-win!

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. We are really blessed with a quiet dog, for which I am eternally grateful as for me there is nothing more irritating than a continuously barking dog. So pleased you managed to find something which has worked so well. Yay Jamie!

  2. Peanut is a cutie! Glad to hear the shaky can is working. I love how living in the South means you don’t have to like the weather :). Just wait 24 hours and it’ll change up. 😉 Have a great week and I hope you guys find a great coach soon!

  3. I will need to look into the Shaky Can! Our dog barks at the T.V., especially if there is any sort of animal on it. He has even recognized the music from certain commercials or shows with animals and will come running from another room in the house barking like a mad dog at the TV. We have to gate him away from it, whenever we want to watch a show or a movie! Thanks for sharing.

  4. My SIL used a shaky can for her dog too – I well remember that! With our puppy, the best thing we’ve done so far is get bells to hang by the front door so she can let us know when she needs to go to the bathroom. Woot – it’s working!! 🙂

    1. I had a friend try that with the bell. I want to try that with the next puppy – you know, a long time from now. 🙂

  5. Our weather wend from 50’s to pouring rain, to ice storm and 10 inches of snow in less than 12 hours. It’s crazy stuff!

    So sorry about the coach moving. I hope that doesn’t squelch her enthusiasm for gymnastics.

  6. I have been following your weekly wrapups and enjoying them. I just wondered what type of workbooks you were using in your homeschool, or what publishers you liked best?

    1. We’re using Landmark’s Freedom Baptist curriculum right now on the recommendation of a couple of friends. It was kind of a quick change in January without a lot of time to shop around. The jury is still out. We’re a Christian family, but it’s still very evangelical for our tastes. I’d prefer they stick to the subject matter and not get into their own theology quite so heavily. We don’t hate it, but we don’t love it either. We are going to look at some other options for next year. I don’t think we dislike it enough to say that we absolutely won’t continue with it, but we do want to see what else is out there.

  7. Isn’t it a little sad to see them growing up and leaning towards workbooks and texts? Sometimes I long for those fun, creative, more hands-on projects (like lap books) that my kids liked when they were younger! They were more work though for sure!

    1. Yes, it is sad. It was totally their choice, not mine. Workbooks make me want to poke my eyes out. 🙂 I won’t lie and say I don’t like the extra time I’ve got now, though.

  8. Good luck with the new coach. The coach can make so much difference to the child’s passion for any sport – at least in our experience.

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