All About Learning

Yup, here’s an update for you!


Sydney passed off All About Spelling Level 1! I think she already spells better than I do 😉 She was so excited to pass off the last of her lessons and then help me get prepared for Level 2, her favorite is the Word Jail for those pesky rule breakers. After her first lesson in Level 2 she complained that our jail didn’t have anyone in it.

Jordan told me I’ll need to devote a whole room to all the rule breakers in the English language. He’s very supportive that way.


This year Miss Audrey has been working her way though All About Reading Pre-Level 1. They have it divided into 3 sections, capital letters, lower case letters, and then the sounds. She just passed off all the capital letters, so we were getting ready to change our chart, and start reading a new book! She was very excited to be 1/3 of the way done. She can’t stop talking about how she can’t wait to learn to read next year. <3


Christmas with the Shermans

So it’s taken me a while to get these up. Why? Because I was slightly upset when we did these pictures. Because they weren’t “perfect.” Not everyone was smiling, I was running back and forth to my camera, that sucked I really should buy a remote. After torturing my family tying to get what I thought was the “perfect” picture I gave up and realized I had several good shots, I’ll just change out faces and completely photoshop my family’s Christmas picture.

I loaded the pictures all into Photoshop, picking out the best ones for each of us where we look our best. I started swapping before I suddenly realized: HELLO?! You’re family isn’t perfect! Zachary’s silly smile is great. But Audrey’s face where she’s trying so hard to show her “pretty” smile is JUST AS GREAT.

So here’s my family on Christmas Eve and on Christmas NO PHOTOSHOP.


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Speaking of not always looking perfect….


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This year we did a Secret Santa, each kiddo drew another siblings name and then I took them on a date to pick out a $10 present for their Secret Santa.


Zachary had Sydney and he bought her a My Little Pony t-shirt.


Audrey had Zachary and she bought him a plane.


Sydney had Audrey, and she bought her a Princess Aurora barbie and Hello Kitty socks. I love the look on Audrey’s face here!


Sydney’s New Milestone

Here’s a story for you. A little over six year ago I had this beautiful baby girl named Sydney, who had an amazingly beautiful head of hair.

At around 3 months she started drooling like crazy and biting anything she could get in her hands. Clearly my beautiful child was an over achiever and would be getting her first tooth very soon.

When she turned six months I eagerly checked her mouth daily, but was disappointed that my screaming, drooly, teething monster baby’s pain was not to be relieved anytime soon. There was no tooth coming in yet!


Around 8 months old she stopped sleeping through the night, and started screaming and running temperatures. Surely that tooth must becoming in soon, right?

At 10 months, that tooth finally broke through, and a week later it was met by a friend. There were no more teeth that first year.


Fast forward to Kindergarten and all her friends were losing teeth. If I had a dollar for every time she told me, “But, Mama, Hannah is younger than me! Why did she lose a tooth first?!” or “Mama, Taylor has lost FOUR teeth and I don’t even have a wiggly one yet!” I’d be rich. Jealousy was very high for my Sydney Capri. And all she wanted to do was have gaps in her teeth like all her friends.

Well, on December 10th, 2013, Sydney’s dream came true when she lost her first tooth.


Upon inspect this first baby tooth I remembered all the time I spent rocking her back to sleep, trying to comfort my very unhappy and very upset baby. All the times I pinned her down to make sure her teeth were perfectly brushed. No cavities yet. All that work and she just goes and yanks that tooth out of her mouth. Seriously? It was very humbling.

While I was astonished by this tiny tooth, Sydney was over the moon. She walked up to Audrey and goes, “You might have a hard time understanding me now, because I lost a tooth. So I might talk funny, because I lost a tooth.Can you even understand me? I lost a tooth, so you might not be able to!”

Audrey just put her hand in Sydney’s face and told her, “Don’t care!” (Secretly she really does care, and now she cries because she’s “never going to lose a tooth!”)


The Pumpkin Patch

One of my favorite family traditions is to go to the Pumpkin Patch every year!!! We have so much fun!

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We asked the girls what they wanted to do first, but there wasn’t much point, they ran straight for the pony rides. This year I decided that we would go earlier in the October. Normally we go the week before Halloween and it’s usually packed, cold and muddy. Last year it rained on us. I was not disappointed in my decision to go at the beginning of the month! The girls ran right up to the pony booth and were able to get right on! In the past we’ve waited through three pony rides before finally getting to get on the ride!

After the ponies they decided they wanted to get their faces painted. Sydney got her usual mask, and this was Audrey’s first year getting a “big girl face painting” (last year she got a stamp) and she chose a rainbow. Zachary got a stamp of a pumpkin on his face for the first time!

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Next we launched pumpkins, and because my kids have the best/silliest daddy in the whole world they each got a chance with Jordan to launch their pumpkins. Zachary was super excited!

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While we were washing hands after the petting zoo, Audrey ran over to the stand where they sold kettle corn and caramel corn, and swiped a bag. She walked over slowly, grabbed a a bag and RAN away quickly. No one even noticed until we yelled after her. She looked so proud of herself! A few hours later, after we’d gotten our pumpkins and were waiting for Jordan to come back after he loaded them, I bought Audrey a kettle corn. Excited is an understatement.

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Looking forward to carving theses pumpkins!


First Day of School

We started school on August 19th, Sydney is in 1st grade. As as per tradition, we made up our white board.


It’s become a bit of a tradition to torture all children take pictures of these beautiful siblings on the first day of school, regardless of who is actually being formally taught. I’m not exactly sure why Zachary wasn’t in this picture….


This year we are participating in a church co-op preschool called Joy School. Audrey’s first day happened to be the day before her tonsils were removed, so she missed the second day, unfortunately. Her first day was September 10th.


This sweet girl could probably have fit in her Hello Kitty backpack, but she insisted upon having it, and she LOVES it. She had a blast and was so excited about Joy School. I didn’t tell her she would be missing the second day or that she would be missing her first day of dance class. Shh, it will be a secret 😉

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See? I tortured them attempted to get a picture of the three of them together.

Audrey and I debated for almost an hour about her outfit for her first day of Joy School. She HATES jeans, and even sweat pants. She recently discovered leggings and told me, “I like it when my pants are CLOSE to my body!” She has about 10 pairs of adorable Sydney-hand-me-down jeans that she refuses to wear. And all the leggings she has go with specific outfits (I’m kind of a fashion police to my kids…) but we finally agreed on an outfit. I’m glad too, because the last time I tried to force her to wear jeans she tried to take them off in the doctor’s waiting room. That was awkward.


Curriculum for 2013-2014

webSydney is a First Grader!!!

Writing: Writing With Ease, Level 1 & First Language Lessons, Level 1
History: Story of the World, Ancients
Spelling: All About Spelling, Level 1 (we are repeating to make sure it’s solid.)
Math: Math-U-See, Alpha
Gospel: Discover the Scriptures: The Book of Mormon
Read Alouds: Sonlight Core B
Readers: Sonlight 3rd grade readers
Science: Apologia Astronomy
Art: Home Art Studio, 1st Grade
Geography: Expedition Earth
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears, 2nd Grade

Continuing with piano and dance (ballet/tap III)

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Audrey is in Pre-Preschool!!!!

Um, yes, that’s a thing…

Pre-Reading: All About Reading, Pre-Reading

She also joins us for Expedition Earth and Gospel. She is participating in Joy School this year with friends from church, and continuing dance class (ballet/tap I.)


Happy Birthday, Sydney


This big girl turned SIX today!

Seriously. She turned six. How is the even possible?


Dear Sydney | The End of Kindergarten


Dear Sydney,

Have I ever told you how much I love having you as my first born? You have taught me how to be a Mama, which is the best title I hold. I am honored to be your mother. I can’t believe we have finished up your first year of school, Kindergarten is over! I love that I have gotten to be there for all of your important “firsts.” I was there when you took your first breath, when you learned to roll over, learned to walk, and said your first (and favorite) word, “Hi!” I am glad that I was there when you first learned to read last year. I have enjoyed watching as the world of words has opened up to you, and watched as you devoured book after book. I love that you use your gift of reading to read to others, you are an excellent story-teller already! Audrey and Zachary love it when you read to them, and I love that you do it often.

This year you learned to skip-count by 2s, 5s, and 10s; you learned how to tell time. You’ve almost mastered shoe tying. All of your teeth are still in your mouth 😉 You learned to add and subtract numbers. You, my dear, are brilliant, and I hope you never forget that. I hope you always enjoy reading and making up stores. I am so proud of you when you play piano, “Old Pig Donald” is my favorite. We raised caterpillars into butterflies, Olive went from tadpole to frog, and we hatched chickens.

Thank you for being my first born, thank you for being my practice child. You have been incredibly patient with me this year when I wasn’t always sure what I was doing, thank you! And most of all, thank you for taking this homeschooling journey with me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t wait for 1st grade!

I love you very much, my Sydney Capri!
Mama <3


Dear Sydney, First Grade Edition


Camping, Crazy Style

It’s been four years since Jordan and I took the kids camping. That statement should probably read “It’s been four years since Jordan and I took the KID camping.” Because four years ago we only had Sydney.

I’m talking tent style camping, sleep on the ground camping. We went cabin camping back in 2011.

The night before we went and bought Audrey a sleeping bag, and Sydney a big girl camping chair. Along with all the food we would need. Jordan and I debated the need to bring hot dogs if we were making tin foil dinners to eat. I insisted they were needed.

We got all packed up and ready to go. We get there and our camping site is basically a swamp, so we got a different one, higher up. As soon as we get there the girls say they have to use the bathroom. So Jordan takes them on his way back to the car to get the rest of the stuff we need. It took him 3 trips. Zachary and I got everything set up, Audrey had refused to use the toilet giant stinky hole in the ground.

We started a fire, everyone was getting hungry. But it was the weirdest fire ever. It burned through the logs of wood really quick, but the fire wasn’t very hot. We burned through 5 logs of wood and most of the small pieces of fire starter wood in an hour. Luckily Jordan had the foresight to buy us precooked and seasoned chicken to go in our tin foil meals, so the chicken was warm but none of the veggies were cooked, at all. And it’s a good thing I insisted upon those hot dogs because we ate them! But they were brown on the outside (and a few were burnt) and still cold on the inside.

And then Jordan decided (with two logs left) that we had better make those S’mores NOW before we ran out of fire. Only to realize that he had taken the graham crackers out of the bag and left them on the counter. Half S’mores aren’t very good, in case you were wondering.

Zachary started to get tired at this point, and the girls wanted to go exploring. So Jordan took them, while I tried in vain to get Zachary to sleep. He HATED the tent. As soon as he was in it he started screaming. He hated the sleeping bags. He huddled himself in the corner with his blanket and took turns screaming and sucking his thumb. I was sure we were in for a LONG night.

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When Jordan and the girls came back, Sydney was crying because a bush attacked her. Audrey was crying because she had to pee. Zachary was just crying, still. So I took Audrey to the toilet giant stinky hole in the ground. I told her I would use it first, hoping that it would convince her to use it. It didn’t. I asked her if she wanted to pee in the toilet or in the woods. She told me, “I want to pee in my jeans, okay?” Um, not okay. So I held her on the giant stinky hole in the ground and held my breath and prayed that she would finish peeing before I passed out. Thankfully, my prayers were heard. And she felt much better. But insisted upon not using the potty here again.

It was now dark, and we had no more wood, and it was getting cold. It was time for everyone to go to sleep. Audrey passed out quick. Sydney talked to Jordan for a while. Zachary insisted upon snuggling in between Jordan and I, and was only happy when he was snug between us both.

But Z woke up every 1-2 hours, screamed, walked around, fell over, and then fell back asleep. At 3 am I woke up and every inch of my body hurt. I am far too old to be sleeping on the ground. And Jordan is far too stubborn to ever let me buy an air mattress. Apparently it’s not camping if you have an air mattress. Luckily he was stiff too, so he said when we go camping again (in 4 years) we can buy one.

At 4 am Zachary and Audrey both woke up and were crying. By 5 a.m. Jordan decided it was time to bag it, and go home. We lasted the night, that was good enough, right? So I packed the inside of the tent while Audrey and Zachary screamed at me. And Sydney slept peacefully. We packed up, and left.

Before the camping trip I told Jordan about my very first camping experience when I was only 3 or 4 years old. We drove to the Redwoods in California. Every ten minutes I asked if we were camping yet, and was always told no. Then finally we got there, and it was time to sleep in the VW bus we drove there. “So you just drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and then you sleep?!” Yes. “Wow, camping sucks!”

As we were pulling away from Paradise Point I turned to Jordan and said, “Wow, camping sucks!” Then we laughed at our adventure.

And on the way home we stopped by Krispy Kreme, and bough some (ha!) donuts. We planned on having diabetes for the weekend. No worries, we’re better now.



A friend from church has a chicken farm, and several months ago she hatched some chicks. I had said that I wanted to do that with Sydney, but couldn’t because we don’t have any place to keep chickens. She offered to let me borrow her incubator, lend me some eggs, and take the chicks back when we were tired of them. What an amazingly generous offer! We were pretty excited!


   We started out with a total of 16 eggs. And during the 21 days of incubation Sydney and I researched and read about the chicken stages, and what the chicks looked like at different points.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it) only 2 chicks hatched. We woke up on March 28th, 2013 to chirps, and found a sweet little chick all hatched and walking around. Several hours later the second chick hatched, and we got to watch him come out of his shell.

The second chick (named Buttercup) was very weak from it’s hatching, and we thought for sure that it wasn’t going to make it. It just laid down, not lifting it’s head for the first 36 hours. So we went to the feed store and bought our chicken supplies and we bought two chicks that were female. We knew it wasn’t good for chicks to live alone, they need buddies. If Buttercup made it then my father-in-law had offered to take the female chicks. We named this little yellow hens Lemon and Clover.

On March 31st we woke up and found Clover dead. We were told later by my friend that it is very common for feed store chicks to die, they go through so much in the first few days. Well, we didn’t want Lemon to be by herself, so my friend said she would take her as well. At this point Buttercup started to do really well! Walking around, moving, s/he was going to make it for sure! He was running around with Lemon and Kookaburra. Until April 2nd, when s/he died in the middle of the night :(

We kind of lived in fear about Lemon and Kookaburra for the next several weeks, but they got bigger and stronger and became great buddies.




About a week before we gave the chicks back to my friend she called and told me she had gotten a bunch of feed store chicks and all had died except one, and was wondering if we could adopt her, so that she would have buddies. We agreed, and Sydney named her Cougar.




I’m pretty sad that the only pictures I have of Buttercup and Clover are on my cell phone. And that the only one of Buttercup is of him(?) very weak and laying down. But this was a fun science lesson, and the kids LOVED it!