Summer Craziness!!!!

Summers are C R A Z Y here!
We LOVE the mild mornings for outdoor play.


They were enjoying some morning “coffee” in the crows nest. Most mornings are beautiful and our play yard is shaded wonderfully till about 10:30am.

This is normally where we play for the first two hours of our “movement” part of the day.



We really do enjoy the “hot” parts of the day in the school room. They can be active, yet not risk heat stroke!


We also love the hot afternoons for some much needed school time in the cool comforts of AIR CONDITIONING!
Yep, the open window explains why it was still so warm in there! 🙁


This is what happens when the two year old is tired and hungry AND it is lunch/nap time. Poor baby!


This particular day I was calling around for counter tops during school and time got away!  AWAY so much that princess put herself down for a nap! 🙁

We will work HARD on phonics.

We will hopefully drive home the basic addition 1 to 5.

HOPEFULLY, the oldest three will learn to write numbers to nine and all of their alphabet. (Sidewalk chalk is an amazing gross motor writing tool!)   I hate the clean up, but when the physical therapist and mom say  “use YOUR muscles”!  It is awesome for following those directions!

We school year round here.   Summers are much lighter “office” work, but still very strong on academics.   There are lots of adventures, from play dates, dinners out, hands dirty in various activities, LOTS of movement and songs.

 How do you do your summers?


Venus JonesVenus loves giving us a glimpse into her crazy, busy life as mom of 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.

24 hours in Jonesville: Chaos Can Have Calm

This post was written by Venus of Mommy Bear Blog. She  has the desire to impart to all homeschooling moms that even though life is chaotic, it will all still be OK. After all, she’s living proof!  You see, she knows all about chaos as she is raising many special needs children!  
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This blog will be long, but I am hoping that it will help a mom be encouraged that chaos can have calm!

A typical day in Jonesville.

I am taking you back a few months ago. This will be a single, stressed out day here in our lives that we all lived through and can tell about.  Now that’s something to be thankful for!

We will start with that Monday, April 14, 2014. We were all (by all I mean, 8 kids, 2 adults) getting up and getting ready for a day on the road to meet with our oldest daughter. She was interviewing a potential school for the fall and needed a doctor checkup. So being the awesome family that we are, we loaded up and headed out to cheer her on.  I got up at my usual 6 AM time for coffee and a shower.  I got the “bonus babe” up and all the littles to dress them.  Then, my husband and teens get up.  (Something is wrong with this picture, right moms???)

We were on the road by 8am. We had just dropped the “bonus babe” off at the local school. Our oldest son was staying home because he had to be at work by 11am. This was his 18th birthday, but his present would come two days late in the form  of airline tickets to see his best friend in Wyoming.

It was a cold morning. Warnings of flurries were up. They should have been a watch!  We get about 30 miles in on this adventure and the snow and dirt are blowing!  Visibility is only about a mile!  We press through and make it in time for the first appointment.

We get to the beauty college and my dear daughter is all excited!  She was dressed with makeup and ON TIME!!! For this child, THAT IS AMAZING!  She has NEVER been my morning child and she too had to drive in some flurries. 🙁

We tour the facility and she is beaming!  She runs out to tell dad that this is what she wants to do! We look over the list to see what we can help with and discuss financial options.  She is overflowing with excitement for this newest part of her adventure!

Next, I make contact with my sister -in-law since we are in her neck of the woods. They were just finishing up a doctors appointment with my niece and nephew. We decide to meet at a local restaurant and have lunch. Until she is finished, we will run to Target for some water, since mom forgot! 🙁  While there, I change my mind on restaurant and let my sister-in-law know.

At this point I have: the unloading of everyone and announcement of needing to potty, 6 little kids melting down because mom won’t answer them “what’s for lunch?”, a husband wondering why we are killing time in a place that is never easy on his checkbook, a 15 year old son just wanting to get to chat with his sister without interruptions and a daughter looking for new foundation. Did I mention I also sell Mary Kay and had just placed an order??? Why did she not tell me??? Gotta love that girl!

We survive Target and make it to McAlester’s for lunch. We get there and they have no potatoes, which happens to be the only thing my daughter eats off their choices! AHHHHH  I finally get her to try a chicken sandwich.  She refused to eat it because it was frozen, not fresh and tasted rubbery!  That girl!  The rest of us eat our lunch!  Baby A had an issue with little cousin A stealing her fruit.  She about lost it with the baby!  She kept telling her, “no baby! that is mine!”.  Adorable, yet a teaching moment for mom!  Mom needs to work on my “baby” learning to share more!

We made it through lunch and decided to head to the mall play place.  It was quiet and only about three children until my crew walks in! 😀  Yes, the lady with 6 small children and 2 older ones.  Then my sister-in-law came in to join us.  YES, we ROCKED that place! 🙂   The kids played for about 45 minutes.  Of course we had a blow out with little A.  Big A brought her to me and said, “mom, I think A is going peepee?”.  I ask her why she thinks that and she just turns little A around.  YEP, it was clear that she had peed!  Her britches were wet and getting more wet as we observed.  So being the awesome mom I am, I walk her to the end of the food court with urine approaching her knees to change her.  In the bath room, I contemplate…Do I just throw her pants away or take them home to wash??? In a ziploc bag they went.  Now we are walking back to the play land with all eyes on my diaper clad, half naked child as she LOUDLY proclaims the names of most everything we pass in a flash.  Yes, I did let her rejoin her siblings for the remaining time at the play area.

Now we are off to sister’s doctor’s appointment.  I take her in and my awesome husband is on baby duty.  Him, 6 littles and a teenager in the van for almost 2 hours.  Every mom out there is on the edge of their seat wanting to know if my children were still alive at the end of this appointment??? The answer is, YES.  He made our 20″ TV able to hold the Ipad so they could watch Planes for the first time.  It worked great!  He also got a call to do a check on that location for a jack or something. My husband is a communications manager for a larger university in Texas.

So my sweet teen was on baby duty now!   All this while we get a call from the school that our “bonus babe” was not picked up timely and that her teacher had her out front ready for the friend to pick her up.  Finally, we see our daughter’s doctor and then we are given a new medicine and on our way!

Now we are off to Walmart for her meds, potty breaks, a snack for everyone and drinks.  That was an adventure!! Of course I could not decide what I wanted for everyone to eat and just impulse shopped.  Walmart, low blood sugar, busy like it was gonna close or something, tired and hungry kids…..Not a good mix!  We got out items, lost the husband and kids, got her medicine, finally checked out and was back to the loading dock to get ready for hugs and goodbyes!   Hugs and goodbyes were done. Now time to set up kids with a “snack” at dinner time.  Got them set up and ready for the 3 hour drive home.

Three wonderful hours later we are home and ready for bed.  We fed them their actual dinner, dressed them for bed and I ran to pick up bonus babe.  Now that everyone is in bed, the big people can eat and see how the birthday boy enjoyed his day of quiet.

Not the most adventurous day on the planet, but it is the day in the life of “Jonesville”!!!!


Venus JonesVenus is a veteran homeschool mom to 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.

Setting Up Learning Centers in My Home (cont’d)

This post is a continuation of a post explaining each of the centers in the Jones home.  In it, I explain why we use each center and to whom they’re catered to.  To read the original post, click here.  

Setting Up Learning Centers in Our Home -

This is some of my thought process on creating centers here in our home.

I usually try to set a center up geared toward each of my children.  Remember, today, they are 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, and 6.
Some of my centers overlap children, but I usually intend that center to enrich one particular child.

Example, the HWT (Handwriting without tears) center is usually geared towards my 6 year old daughter.  She is finally able to focus long enough to do 3-4 letter word copy work!  WOOO HOOO
With all of her processing delays, this has been a HUGE hurdle for her!

My 5 year old son that arrived at 17 months old. He has ADHD like crazy, FAS,  and SEVERE sensory issues.  I usually try to focus on his strengths during centers because of his lack of focus on “hard” tasks.
Usually the center focused on him is something like the Spielgaben kit or pattern blocking and repeating.  He loves puzzles and spatial challenges.

Dear 4 year boy that has only been with us for 22months.  He has dyspraxia.  This makes a lot of things not “work” right.  I usually focus on a coordination activity or vestibular stimulation.  Examples would be: the mini trampoline, bouncing on the peanut, arm walks on the peanut, scooter board adventures, using the wiggle disks as a walking trail are just a few ideas. Here is a blurb about dyspraxia.

A person with dyspraxia has problems with movement, coordination, judgment, processing, memory and some other cognitive skills. Dyspraxia also affects the body’s immune and nervous systems.

Now to my 4 year old boy that we have had since he was 7 weeks old.  He has FAS like biological siblings, but is on target. Has MAJOR sensory issues.  There is not much he can’t figure out!  I usually do his center last.  He gets leftovers because he can write his name, color whatever, walk on anything, jump, bounce, scoot and everything in between very age appropriately.

Sweet little 3 year old daughter.  She breaks your heart! She had fetal drug exposure and the effects have been so detrimental to her!  She is 3, but her reasoning and processing are only about 15-18months most days.  She is sweet and stubborn so we know she is ours! LOL  I usually do some sort of pattern material on the mirror or light table for her.  She has glasses and they are very strong. 🙁 She also works well on the mini tramp.  We do a lot of work with her in therapy to get her more independent. 🙂

Now to the baby of the group.  She arrived at 7 weeks old and looked like a starving stroke baby.  She did not move the left side voluntarily.  She now is 23 months old and in to everything.  Her rationing and emotional outbursts are the only signs to the outside world of her fetal drug exposure.  She roams the centers and usually has a puzzle targeted at her.  She is the biggest JOY to be around with her wit and personality.  They are both very present and dominating, most days.


Venus JonesVenus is a veteran homeschool mom to 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.






Setting Up Centers in My Home

“Centers” are easier for us.  I set up 5-8 “centers” 3-5 times a week to let the kids rotate through. At least one of these “centers” is next to mom to work on fine motor handwriting.  They include things like play dough, a light table, mirror work, a mini trampoline , pattern blocks, coloring, sticker pages, scooter board running, pegs, and the list goes on!  We are like a mini therapy center here with the EIGHT hours of therapists we entertain each week.  If it is a therapeutic device designed for under age three and costs less than $45, we probably have a version of it!

Here’s a few pictures of the centers we have set up so far:

Need to get some of the energy out!

Need to get some of the energy out!

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A favorite center around here!  The kids will be so excited when the neighborhood grows!  Our PT is bringing us another play house.

A favorite center around here! The kids will be so excited when the neighborhood grows! Our PT is bringing us another play house.

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This kit is fun!!!!

This kit is fun!!!!



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Tracing her letters

Tracing her letters

Build it and then write

Build it and then write










He LOVES to play in the play house. :D  He will be a good dad, one day!

He LOVES to play in the play house. 😀 He will be a good dad, one day!

This is how I’ve organized my centers. I am using the “scrapbook” organization boxes because they are easy to stack and semi-clear for easy viewing.  I place each center into each of these boxes (assuming it will fit).


They are so easy to use! LOVE the deal I got them for too!

They are so easy to use! LOVE the deal I got them for too!

I am planning to have boxes geared towards therapy days and non therapy days.  Mondays and Wednesdays, we have 2 full hours of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy simultaneously. This consumes a BIG chunk of time from 8:30-10:30 AM.

Another approach I am thinking of trying: Subject boxes for when we only have a few minutes here and there.
I can set up a handwriting or a reading box in a Target shoe box type of box. These are more child friendly and they could be a bit more independent.

My goals this semester are:

Phonics recognition to beginning to read
Phonetic sound awareness
Letter Identification
Independent copy writing
Independent letter copy work
Letter formation
Single digit addition
Oral counting to 50
Number writing to 20
Grouping in groups up to 10
Learn to listen for details in a story and recite those details
Learn to draw a picture and tell some facts about it
Start a 50 states study with the colonies in the forefront

Keeping the above goals in mind, we should have a great semester!  Below are some fun therapy pics from our house! Hope you enjoy!

Setting up Centers in My home


 Do you use centers in your home?  Tell me how you differ in setting them up.

Venus JonesVenus is a veteran homeschool mom to 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.

Rethinking Our School Year – Thoughts From a Mom of Many

I am working on changing our schooling.  Part of me is like, “YAY!!”. Part is like, “ARE YOU CRAZY?!”
My youngest six children, do not have the pencil to paper control that my older children had at their ages. Nor do they have the ability to grab and run as fast as the older kids. They are all adopted and have had rough beginnings. This is my reasoning for switching gears.

I am excited and terrified in the same thoughts.

I have depended on a FABULOUS curriculum for 13yrs. It has never lacked as far as standardized testing measurements.

I am tossing Sonlight around, but it is so against my personality. It has the best lesson plans that I have seen.   My Father’s World looks awesome, too! I have been using their 2/3 programs for the last 2 years. It just doesn’t have enough structure for me in the Elementary years.

The more I think about these ideas, the more I think, “Let me just use what we have for Kindergarten!”.

We have Kindergarten Touch Math, Sounds Abound, Handwriting Without Tears (Pre-K and K complete), history & science from my favorite curriculum, and TONS of manipulatives from various things.  We even have a Spielgaben kit coming the second week of January.  I think it might just work.  I will be doing this “experiment” from January to May. We will be able to see what we can and can’t accomplish with what we have on hand.

I think with our occupational therapist here a couple of times a week; along with our physical therapist, we can have a great semester this spring!  Also, we have some really awesome classes at our KB Coop this semester. 🙂

Now to just figure out what to do with my 14 year old entering High School….

The more challenges that come, the more that I look at online public schools. Then, my stomach hurts because of how much it goes against what I have spent 14years putting into his little heart!  It is heart breaking for me.
As I look at my little children, known as my “littles”, I know we will dissect whatever we do to make it work the best for them.  They are the focus of change.  My teen will either start an online public school or continue in my favorite curriculum.  I should be decided in the next week. I have a few more phone calls to make and it will be decided.  I am looking into trying to figure out a work box system that works for us. One that is “filled” once a month and worked out of by all seven of us and our therapists.  When I think of it that way! That is NINE people working out of one box!  What on earth am I thinking?!

I am looking forward to this challenge and many more new ones in 2014.  It will be the last year of my 30’s, so I plan to figure out the next 30 years in the process. 😉  The next 16 of those will be homeschooling my children who have some very challenging, special needs.

Venus JonesVenus is a veteran homeschool mom to 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.