Jan 202011
 

Wow, two weeks down of school basically this year. I can’t believe it.

Last wee, we were working on our memory verse, and Bugs insisted it was Aversions 6:2.  We were working on Ephesians 6:2….It took three days to get it straight finally. But man, it sure was funny!

The public school children had two snow days the start of last week. As homeschoolers, we didn’t take the snow days.  Even though on the second public school snow day (taken because it was so cold, not because the snow was blowing) I gave the Bugs the option of skipping school for the day and she insisted on doing it anyway. No big deal. She loves doing school.

So far, we are ahead in the main things. We are doing the Developing the Early Learner workbook series.  Over our Christmas break, we misplaced book 2 somehow…..So, since we were nearly done with it anyway, we went ahead and started book 3. We were scheduled in our curriculum to start it on Friday the 14th but went ahead and started the Monday before so she could do some workbook.  As of this writing, we are close to a fourth of the way through this 60 page workbook….Once the Bugs starts on a few pages, she insists on doing more. And more. And more. We are a bit ahead on phonics instruction too.  Though we’ve had a few days when we just couldn’t remember the sounds we knew the day before. On Friday of last week, Bugs came in and woke us parents up and we quizzed her on some sounds that words start with and what letter makes that sound and she got the letter C and it’s sound correct.  Later during school, she is shown the C flashcard and looks at me and pulls whatever sounds she wants to say and then informs me that since she told me and Hubbs this morning she didn’t need to do it again. We had quite the talk about doing our work, even if it is boring or seems strange to keep answering the same thing again and again (I could just imagine that one in a public school classroom.  The letters and phone calls I would be getting…)

Since we are doing Sonlight’s P 4/5 this year, the read alouds are pretty much on target.  For this core, the read alouds consist pretty much of different short stories, Mother Goose rhymes and things like that. Honestly, not a big deal if we end up having to skip a day or so and we can’t catch it back up.

Today I re-introduced handwriting.  My desire was to teach cursive first.  I have taught in schools before (private Christian schools) and the first one I taught at, we introduced cursive writing in kindergarten.  Those children had the most beautiful penmanship, and I agree with the cursive first philosophy.  The second school didn’t teach cursive until second grade, and since I taught a combined first and second classroom, I went ahead and let the first graders learn it too.  The first graders had better handwriting in cursive than my second graders did. I had tried a bit of cursive with the Bugs, but her fine motor skills, while still in the normal range, are on the slower end of normal.  Not a big deal since she spent her early developmental time working on her brains (believe me, this child is smart). So after failing before Christmas to try cursive with her, I went ahead and tried some print.  It was a good decision.  Today we did the capital A. After showing her three times, she started on her own, and let me tell you, she did beautifully! I was so surprised. She then went a bit A crazy and wrote A anywhere she could.  Even on some unlined paper and those were nicely done too. I guess that she was ready, and print is the way to go with this child.  I don’t know what we’ll be doing with the Beans yet though.  Guess it is too early to tell.  Though, she was sitting with us for handwriting time and decided she needed to try it too.  So I got her out some paper and showed her how to make her A. She made a few fairly nice Hs and then turned them into people. Then insisted I needed to draw dresses and shoes on them….Yeah, I can’t draw. She loved the pitiful result though.

This week we are also working on a review item for the TOS Crew.  Be looking for that review February 11th. I have another review item I’m needing to get downloaded but that has to wait until my husband is home from work so he can install it on the main CPU.  It runs Windows still and the laptop no longer does.  And for some strange reason, very few things are installable on a Linux based device like schooling helps.  It is rather annoying because we would love to give up using Windows totally but can’t because of a few things that aren’t compatible that we use. Oh well, in a perfect world…

Right now, the Beans is having massive jealousy issues with me and the Bugs and school.  I try and do something with her before we start school and she’ll have nothing to do with it.  So, then I start school and she’s trying to crawl into my lap between me, her sister and whatever book we are reading and will grab my face and try blocking my view of the book. If we are at the table working on handwriting or something, she’ll come in and try to stop me and force me to pay total attention to her.  I’ve tried diverting her attention elsewhere, tried spending time with just her before we start school, tried doing something for just us after school,tried giving her her own “school”  but nothing seems to be working.  Bugs works best in the morning not too long after breakfast, we’ve tried doing school after lunch while sister is having her “nap” time (she’s been starting to give up her nap recently) and that doesn’t work.  Bugs is wearing down a bit by then and her attention isn’t there anymore (have to admit, by that time in the day, I’m not wanting to do much either).  Do you deal with this too?  Please share what you do to curb the attention hogging behavior of your littles while trying to do school with the bigger ones.

So, that’s where we are at the moment.  Plugging along and doing quite well. How are you going? Feel free to share.  Or even tell of something really great you’ve found.  I’m still looking for options for next year! (but then, I love looking through curriculum, I’m kind of crazy like that…).

Rearranging and Randomness

 Beans, Bugs, curriculum, family, girls, Homekeeping, TOS  Comments Off on Rearranging and Randomness
Jan 182011
 

So, is it a bit disturbing that the girls are squeezing their Bob the Tomato bean bag and turning the water red with his juice? (yes, we’ve been discussing Moses, and they have seen an animated 10 Commandments recently)

This morning, Hubbs and I were awakened by the Bugs jumping into our bed exclaiming that her brothers had gone hunting for a bear for us. She has a very active imagination apparently.  The boys returned and brought back a bear for everyone.  Beans got the baby bear, Bugs got the sister bear, Daddy got the big giant bear and Mommy, well, she got the short bear.  My husband just cracked up laughing when the Bugs proclaimed that I got the short bear. Yes, I’m short.  I’m hardly five foot two. My husband is more than a foot taller than I am…

My husband and I are in the midst of a massive rearranging of our furniture.  This is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  Saturday and Sunday were spent in emptying the HUGE roll top desk in the living room to prepare to move it to the front bedroom which is becoming our office (it used to be the guest room until we needed the bed in there for the Bugs). We also moved a very large set of full bookshelves in the front room and cataloged every last book in them on Collectorz. Those shelves alone have just under 250 books on them…We didn’t realize how much they were all worth either until we did this.  Oy, books are expensive if you buy them new at full cover price (thankfully we buy them at garage sales, used book stores and use gift cards and such.  I haven’t paid full price for a book since my birthday in November when I finally broke down and bought one that I had been wanting for several years since I couldn’t find it elsewhere). Tonight we are going to get a few more things moved in the front room (it had turned into a catch all for junk) and get the desk moved in there and hopefully our large brown recliner. Then we can get our couch out of the kitchen, get the ottoman where I want it and shove the large blanket chest in a corner until I get the master bedroom cleaned up and the recliner in there into the living room (it’s much smaller than the one in here now) and then the blanket chest is going to our room.

Craziness, I know.  And now I’m contemplating either in the spring or in the fall (probably fall) of repainting the front office room, putting the girls in that room, repainting their room, me and Hubbs moving in there and turning the master bedroom into a larger office/study and school room. That is going to be a TON of work and I know when we get this round of organizing done, Hubbs isn’t going to be too excited for another huge project like that. I think we shall wait until fall though.  By then our finances will be better and I have a few other things I want to do this spring.

Well, enough lolly gagging around.  Time for school. Which has been going well thus far this semester.  Bugs is on target for the plans in The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. We are ahead in the Developing the Early Learner workbooks (she loves doing those) and are on target for our read alouds (however, for preschool, it is just short stories, not like we are reading HUGE chapter books yet).  This week, we are also doing the Puffer Fish study from the Curiosity Files from The Old Schoolhouse as a review item.  That review will be up on February 11th.  Be looking forward to it!  Let me tell you, the girls are loving it so far. So am I.

Ok, really going to get on with the day now. Expect a school review sometime this week and perhaps a discussion about what I’m looking at for next year.  Yes, I’ve tweaked it again 😉.

Dec 312010
 

Wow, this year has flown by for us!  Seems like yesterday we were celebrating New Years 2010.

Do you make resolutions? I didn’t last year. Or the year before.  I hated not being able to achieve them or being unrealistic. However, this year I have decided to make a few goals if you will. Goals sound so much better than resolutions, don’t you think?  Resolution can have such a negative feel to it, and always be about things you don’t want.  Like I resolve to not eat as much chocolate.  Sounds like a bummer, doesn’t it?  However, setting up goals to eat healthier sounds and feels like much more of an achievement.  Like in January, we will make the switch to home cooked breakfasts, and only have cold cereal as a special treat.  February we will…..  See, doesn’t that sound much more manageable and nice?

So, here are the goals for 2011.  Of course, I reserve the right to change and modify these goals as I see fit…..

1. I will actively seek a healthier lifestyle for me and my family.  To do this, I will change the ways we eat to healthier options, make even more food from scratch and slowly weed out the processed snacks, cold cereals and such.  I personally will strive to do some sort of exercise four or more times a week. (hopefully I can afford that exercise video I’m really wanting soon)

2. I will work on simplifying our life. To do this I will sort through our belongings and get rid of clutter, maintaining a better cleaning schedule, and putting together and using a homemaking/keeping binder. (if you use a binder system, what do you use? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? I’m starting one from scratch). We will work on having carved out family times to bond as a family. Also in the vein of simplification, we will work on getting totally out of debt this year except for our mortgage (which is very possible). We have a few payments left on the car and my student loans need finished (which should be taken care of most if not all with the tax return). Then, we shall begin saving for a larger vehicle to pay cash for and for home repairs that will be needed in the near future.

3. Homeschooling will be a bit more structured this semester.  Last semester ended up a bit more spontaneous than I like to be. A lot of learning did take place, but not the way I would have preferred…..I also will not plan a whole semester of lesson plans in one sitting.  I learned not to do that one last semester. I will take the time to plan every week or two so I can adapt to the changes in schedule I know will take place. I also will be more intentional with schooling the Beans.  She’s been picking up a lot on the fly, especially with phonics while I’m teaching the Bugs and she would probably benefit from the extra time and attention.

So, there are three goals for me.  Some easier to implement than others. And it will take time. I don’t expect to wake up in the morning and be fifty pounds thinner, all the cold cereal purged from our house (well, we aren’t even there at the moment) and have perfectly schooled children and a house totally in order. Changes like these come in baby steps. A little bit of progress and success at a time.  With diligence and prayer this is all attainable.

I want to say thank you to my readers for sticking with and reading this past year. I really appreciate it..

My Children are So Precious!

 Beans, Bugs, homeschooling  Comments Off on My Children are So Precious!
Nov 192010
 

No, I’m not biased now, am I?

The girls are in their room playing right now as I’m sitting here working on Lappy on the couch.  Bugs just told Beans, “Did you know that God made you?”  I’m beyond overjoyed to hear the Bugs teaching her little sister the way of faith as she knows it.  Beans did answer yes.  I guess they are listening when they are being taught!

Speaking of teaching, Bugs read the word “Spot” and the word “pop” with very little help in sounding them out this past week.  We’ve been using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons but gave that up a month or so ago.  Bugs was horribly bored with it, and they have lines, dots, and then the symbols for the sounds each letter makes over the vowels, and when we would go and sound out the same word in a “real book” that was in the text, Bugs couldn’t do it.  Even after she had just done it in her text book.  It took me a week to realize that the reason she was having that kind of trouble was because in the “real books” the words didn’t have the symbols and stuff surrounding them. So, we’ve been just sounding out various words while we read and she seems to be progressing much faster and it seems a lot more natural.  I do have another phonics program picked out that we may be getting, I’m not sure yet (our finances don’t have any wiggle room for extras at the moment). We’ll see.  Maybe I’ll get it for her for Christmas.  Ha ha, somehow I don’t think she would like that very much.

Beans is coming along in her speech.  She is a lot clearer than she was, which is a relief. When she is tired or in a hurry you have the most trouble understanding her now.  She can say her sister’s name very clearly and yells for her to come here, I want to show you something, and loves to tell strangers at the store that she is two.  However, she is very advanced physically.  This child is a natural at judo. She’s been tagging along in the school lessons for the Bugs, so I know she is picking stuff up, but how much, I’m not totally sure.  Now to just get completely potty trained and I will consider her graduated from toddler-hood into preschool-hood.

The girls are great friends and typically play very well together.  They make up stories and act them out, they look out for each other and of course, they do have moments when I think they would like to strangle each other.  Bugs figured out how to tattle tale and Beans is already learning to do the same.  I’ve tried every tactic I can think of when the Bugs comes and tattles on her sister, from totally ignoring it, to just saying thank you and repeatedly explaining to her that the only time I want her to come and tell me what her sister is doing is when she is going to get hurt or is hurting someone else.  (yes, I’ve explained time and again what tattling is to her, but her response is always, “I was just telling you.”)  If you have any suggestions on how to deal with this, I would appreciate it. Or stories of how you survived this stage….

Homeschooling has taken more of the unschooling approach this fall.  We do the Developing the Early Learner workbooks when we feel like it, and then it is at least twenty pages straight (yes, Bugs gets on a kick and then we have to do it for at least an hour or so)  We got half-way through book two in two days. They are a great book series on helping develop visual perception, listening skills and early writing skills, I highly recommend them.  I have seen them at many great retailers online, so do some searching to find the best price.  We’ve been reading a lot, which is always a good thing, isn’t it?  We make a trip to the library at least once a week and we fill a huge bag full of books.  In fact, I was using a medium sized bag, but after the fourth week in a row trying to juggle it, the girls and the minimum of five books that didn’t fit in it, I upgraded to a larger bag.  We still have the overflow problems….I think I see the bag and in my mind it is like, oh, we have so much more room and then I over compensate. My husband just rolls his eyes at us with how it seems every time we end up with more books than I can comfortably carry in the bag.  Oh well, at least I have a terrific chiropractor!

I have a ton of writing to get done and scheduled, so this post must come to an end.  I’m trying to schedule posts to make it easier on myself.  It is either that or do housework this afternoon.  I think I would much rather write 🙂.

Sep 202010
 

image

The girls found this snake while playing outside this evening. I’m surprised I could get this picture snapped, I am not found of snakes. I would have gone running for the hoe to chop it’s head off if it wasn’t on the edge of the recently deflated pool I’m trying to dry out to store for the winter.

If you have any idea what kind it is, please let me know. I don’t know this stuff, as much of a country girl I am and want to be, I don’t know snakes.

THANK YOU!!!!!  One of my Face Book friends told me from the pic I posted there that it is just a common grass snake, also known as a racer due to it’s stripes.  Not poisonous, but I wasn’t worried about that, but still a tetanus shot if bit..