Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tag, tag, and more tags!

So I've now been introduced to the bloggy world of tagging. Some find this to be an annoyance but I have not been blogging long enough to be troubled and am always looking for a way to pass on strange and useless information!

So I'll start with a tag from Doing The Next Thing and also from Life with My 3 Boybarians. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

The nearest book to me is "'You Can't Make Me!' (But I Can Be Persuaded):Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child" by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias:

"That is not an SWC trait. That is sin, and anyone can do that. Again, let me take you into the mind of an SWC when it comes to following the rules. You need to know two things: ..."

How's that for a cliffhanger, huh? I bet you're all drooling to go out and grab this book right up! Lol! Yes - we have a SWC (strong willed child) but I'm not sure that this book is really giving me much guidance. I guess that's one of the reasons I'm only on page 101 so far!


Tag meme-thingy #2

Blogging With Purpose AwardRules:

1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.

2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.

3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.

4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to the above linked site.

I've only been blogging for a couple months now but I know that I started with the purpose of being a resource and encouragement for other HSing moms looking to (or already) classically schooling their kids. After all, happening upon Trivium Academy is what motivated me (and I would tag her if I knew she hadn't already been tagged a million times).

Tag meme-thingy #3

Here are the rules:

1. You must post the rules before you give your answers.

2. List one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name).

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and that they need to read your blog for details).

(I have never liked my middle name! It's rare that anyone even knows it but here goes!)

B: Balloons are my favorite party decoration - I can't get enough of them! They make me feel like a child again. Silly but true!

E: Eager to please others. I have a golden retriever personality which can be good for making friends but not for having good boundaries. I would like to say 'no' more often and be better able to argue my convictions.

T: Time constraints really stress me out! Having to get somewhere on time using causes me to start barking at everyone and anyone in my family (which is way not ok and something I am working on harder recently) and I always performed terribly on timed tests.

H: Hermit crabs (named Junior and Snuffy) have been randomly in my dreams since I bought them for the kids 5 months ago for Jefferson and Reagan. Weird? Yes. I think that I'm subconsciously terrified of killing them and then having to explain it to kids who've never lost a pet before! Again - silly but true!


Tag meme-thingy #4

First, the rules, which are important, because they also tag — randomly — six more people to join in the fun:

  • Link to the person that tagged you
  • Post the rules on your blog
  • Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  • Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

I was tagged by Darcy. Six non-important things about myself:

  1. I joined the crew team my 1st year in college because the poster said "No experience needed".
  2. I love saurkraut - especially the real, homemade fermented kind.
  3. I had my fourth baby at home with just my dh and a great midwife.
  4. When I was working as a structural engineer (pre-kids, pre-snot, pre-circles under the eyes), I tried to design a roof in Phoenix with a SNOW load. *hehehehaha* (It was more embarrassing at the time than funny!)
  5. I was a marching band "fish" in H.S. and I love the show "Blast" based on a drum corp.
  6. I love Pilates (it makes that beloved post-baby dough-roll over the pants disappear!) but can't find the time for it!

Tag meme-thingy #5

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! Feel free to award people who have already been awarded…


Holy cow! That's a lot of people to tag and I'm not sure who really wants to be tagged. But here goes:

Ok -that took way too much time. Now you all know way too many useless things about me. I guess I need to focus my next entry on something more important now, huh? And I know some of you have gotten these tags b4 - I won't be offended if they get dropped. Just wanted to let you all know that I really enjoy your blogs and want others to drop by them as well! Thanks!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Top 5 Favorite People

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This one's a bit old - none of my kids were even born. But it still cracks me up to see it! Dh and I were in Phoenix for my younger brother's wedding (2001) and the wedding photographer wanted to do a family shoot (since we were all together) out in the beautiful desert sunset. To get the shot that she wanted, she had my brother sit down and as you can see, he sat upon a common desert plant - jumping CACTUS! My dad had to pluck itfrom his behind while we all cracked up!

...the mouths of babes!

Reagan is sometimes in a world of her own! This week at the dinner table we had pizza. This is a treat around here and made her very happy.

R: "I have to sneak up on it and bite it!"
Me: "What?"
R: "The crust, Mommy. It doesn't want to be eaten. So I'm sneaking up on it!" (as she attacks it like a ravenous wolf - wouldn't want it to have a chance to run and hide!)

And yesterday I took Jefferson and Reagan to the Y to observe the karate class that Jefferson will be joining soon. The instructor came over to talk with us and asked her is she wanted to take karate.

R: "I already have some of this."
Mr. D: "You do? You do some karate already?"
R: "Yeah, I do my dance class on Mondays!"

(Oh, yeah -totally the same thing! She must have thought the boys were just dancing across the room - with a few grunts and yells and funny white dance clothes!)

Head on over to Not Before 7 for more:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 16

What a successful week for us at Heritage Academy! The Lord has been faithful to bless us and answer my prayers for harmony in our house this week. He allowed me to be humble and ask forgiveness of my children when I fail (most specifically when I raise my voice - something I have posted about and resolved to work through) and thus draw my children to me. When they know that I am not being proud just for the sake of control or stubbornness they are willing to open up and to keep their hearts soft. Oh, how much easier it is to reach a willing heart than one that has been hardened by a sharp word!

With 3 good weeks behind us, I can almost (and I mean 'almost') say that we've found our groove again! I am figuring out how to balance the baby's feedings with Jefferson's lessons, as well as keeping up with Adam's (and soon to be Reagan's also) special non-allergen rotation diet. We are reading whenever we have a free minute and taking the one hour that I have while Lincoln sleeps to get through math. I have replaced my nap after lunch with an hour of science or history so that dh doesn't have to do it in the evening (week 14). It was nice of him but not easy to keep Jefferson motivated and focused when Daddy is home!

I am still trying to figure out how to include Reagan and Adam in the morning lessons and make sure that they are getting enough attention. I have started Reagan on the phonics flashcards from Christ Centered Curriculum which we used for Jefferson last year. I like Phonics Pathways (suggested by Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise in "The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home")but was just so pleased with the progress that Jefferson made with CCC that I know it's a great way to start Reagan also. I will hold off on the workbook and penmanship until next fall but feel that she's ready to learn to read soon. She has an amazing memory and is so proud to show Daddy what she remembers!

Adam, at 2 years old, requires quite a bit of attention right now (yes-I hear you veteran HSing moms chuckling at that understatement) and I haven't found a solution that both gives him the attention he needs and keeps him out of trouble. Always looking for ideas here! So far I have found that taking numerous breaks from Jefferson helps keep the whining down.

However, there's no comfort for him when he's sick with a virus (which seems to be always - we are still looking for this diet to change that). So for this reason we struggled to get through the end of the week since all four kids were sick and thoroughly snotty by Thursday. But with strength that is greater than my own, I did not pull out my hair or run up and cover my head in my pillow! I will admit, however, that I dared to daydream on occasion about the scrapbooking that I wished I could be doing instead of drowning out a screaming toddler while wiping the snot off my dd and reading a science lesson. But alas, that was just a daydream! And it was nothing compared with the joy of experiencing Reagan's smile as she flies through her alphabet, or Jefferson's excitement at discovering cool things about crabs!

So for this week I will meerly post a few nice photos since my time is short and sleep is calling:

Jefferson was excited to learn about crabs this week! When asked what he has observed over the past few months about his 2 hermit crabs, he at first said,"I don't know." But with a little help he was soon spilling all the details including his favorite part - discovering that one of them had changed shells while he slept!

I call these 'Variation on a Theme' since Reagan was totally excited to get to color some 'Egypt stuff' with Jefferson. Hers turned out girly purple while he spent time on the intricate patterns of the necklace and headset!
Jefferson keeps telling me that he likes my blog - I think it's just because I am proud to show off his 1st grade work here!

I bought a new hanging file and folders. Next week we conquer the task of organizing Jefferson and Reagan's work into daily folders that they can learn to manage on their own (thus hopefully giving them a feeling of responsibility for their own assignments). I would also like to get their weekly chore chart completed - we have been quite lax and inconsistent in this area. But there has never been more need from this tired, multitasking mommy than now for them to get a few things done that lightens my load!

Until then!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Just thought Jefferson's face was funny in this one! He loves his 11-week old baby brother but can't seem to handle all 17lbs of him yet!
Head on over to Wordless Wednesday on 5 Minutes for Mom to enjoy more great pics!

I Pushed Jesus

I have had it placed on my heart for quite some time that I need to deal with the part of me that allows my tongue to be destructive in the lives of my kids (and dh too). You can see that one of my resolutions this year is to "speak in a calm tone at all times." Yes, this surely brings a chuckle from some or even a pang of understanding. As SAH moms, we are constantly barraged by noise, various bodily fluids, chaos, stress, time constraints, and the will to disobey (displayed uniquely in each child). I grew up making noise and surely making my mother crazy. But I don't recall either parent yelling at us.

So where my tendency to raise my voice comes from is unknown and also unimportant, as I am responsible for my own actions now. And I am not just speaking about yelling when a child doesn't obey the first time. I also speak of the times that I 'bark' at the kids to command control rather than using a serious but loving tone which commands respect and obedience. How many places does God's word speak of the ability of the tongue to tear down and destroy? I have decided that I don't want my voice to break my children down just so that I can be in control! I don't want them to fear me - I want them to fear the Lord. I want to learn how to use a gentle answer to turn away wrath. I want my words to be a balm on their hearts.

Imagine my conviction when I turned to Proverbs this morning only to have this verse (14:1) jump into my heart:
"The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands."

Now, the Lord has not made me perfect b4 giving me these precious children. But He wants me to grow and become more like Him daily. His purpose for me is that I would build up the house which He has given me! Some of you may not struggle in this area, but for me this requires gallons and gallons of prayer. I have a daughter who is only almost 5 who challenges us daily with her yelling, controlling bossiness and a 2-year old who is quick on her heals. The burden for me is that they are only reflecting the behavior that they see in their mother! But I want them to mirror Jesus and not my sin.

When I keep Him in front of me, hand Him control, and act humbly toward my children - these are the ways He makes me more like Him!

Because I know that I am not the only one who struggles with this area of sin (and it can be called no less than that), I want to post this article on the matter. It really spoke to my heart and I have printed it out as a daily reminder.

"The Shocking Truth — I Pushed Jesus!" by Barbara Smith
Can we talk about "yelling?" Yelling is a problem in lots of Christian homes. (How's THAT for a generalization?) Well, it was in mine, anyway! I resorted to hollering to try to recapture what I thought was clearly out-of-control. Roaring, like a hungry lion, and greedy to have what God was withholding, I blustered, meaning to scare people into doing what *I* wanted them to do. So, I yelled; letting the ones entrusted to my care know that I "let loose" before I let God restrain my frustration. What has come out of my mouth when I yelled proved to any who was within range, that Christ was not ruling me. I am not proud of this. Yet if repeating what a mess I made, helps you to put aside verbal assaults in your home, then I am willing to tell you what not to do.
As Surely as if I Had Pushed Him . . . From the moment that anger flashes through my soul, exploding out of my mouth, I am shoving the Savior off HIS rightful throne, telling Him to "Take a back seat. I'm gonna deal with this!" (Read Matt 15:11) Whether it was discovering an undone chore or lessons, braving adolescent sassing, contending with inoperative appliances or coping with my own aching body, too many occasions became an excuse for letting anger flash out on my tongue. For years I lost battles to angry outbursts, until my husband intervened and got my attention. After one truly unfortunate exchange between my dear child and me, my husband made each of us separate and read Scripture:
"And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, {the blood} of Christ. (1 Pet 1:17-19)

This was almost seven years ago. Almost five years before this humbling experience, I heard a familiar chorus: "I love you, Lord and I lift my voice . . . Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear." Believe me, the Lord Jesus has gotten a royal ear-full from my mouth! And He has not treated me as my sins deserved. However, the Lord is not through with me yet, and He is not through with you, either. Here are some concrete principles you can put into practice to lower the volume in your home.

Overcoming Outbursts
1. "Venting" your emotions is the first step to ruin! (Prov. 13:3) By guarding your mouth, you preserve life — yours and theirs. Remembering my child's little face, startled, frightened and tear-streaked, and seeing the stunned looked in my husband's kind eyes, are self-inflicted thorns that I must trust God to use for HIS glory. I failed here so often — and had to learn so many BITTER lessons because I yelled. Stuff a sock in your mouth, if you have to, before you yell at the children or the husband God gave you! Yelling becomes a deadly pattern of emotional responses that the enemy will use against us, perhaps even deafening our little one's hearts to hear the Savior for an unnecessary season. (Prov. 18:7) It isn't that God cannot or will not overcome the enemy. However, by indulging our tempers by yelling, we give valuable ground to the enemy.

2. God has an opinion on your predicament. God knew the dimension of the problem of angry outbursts, for we can see a bit of HIS heart, when we search for the words "mouth" or "tongue." He formed the mouth so that we might be like Him, and speak. (Exod. 4:11) He warned us to be on our guard — lest the mention of false gods is heard from our mouth. (Exod. 23:13) When we yell, we are not proclaiming God's praise, but heralding our capitulation to the idols of our souls. When we holler we make a sad choice, not to restrain our souls. We speak, therefore, in the anguishing, complaining bitterness. (Job 7:11)

3. Choose whom you will serve: God or self. On any given day — facing anything from a sticky kitchen floor, soggy bath towels, a dented fender or a deficit bank balance, we always have a choice: we can strengthen those we love with our mouths. With the solace of our lips, we can lessen their pain. (Job 16:5) We can speak with wisdom or understanding. (Ps 49:3) When things go wrong in my home (that is when "I" am not getting "my" way) I *could* let the overflow of my words be filled with praise. Praise that God has allowed the rough patches? Exactly! When appliances break, or when the lessons go slowly; when the money dries up and the health fails; or if the kids get cheeky — choose to praise God. Believe that He will use my disappointments and griefs for His glory, *all day long.* (Ps 71:8) The psalmist made a choice. That was to tell of God's righteousness — and His salvation. Surely *that* choice would be a more delightful recitation to my family's ears than an angry spewing of troubles. (Ps 71:15) Yet, I have ignored the comfort of my children and my husband and even my elderly mom, I am sorry to report. Why? Because MY comfort zone was breached with the common little consequences of the Fall. (As in Eden) On too many occasions, I chose not to utter TRUTH, but to entertain wickedness with my lips -- loudly. (Prov. 8:7-8) I blew through some major teaching occasions because I chose to yell. How many more problems did I engender because I would not lower the volume to discuss critical problems? (Prov. 21:23)

4. Remember, quashing rebellion is not *your* problem! Am I saying we should become milk-toast mushy and spineless in the face of provocation? NO! When the kids are resisting instruction, it is a spiritual problem — and yelling is not the solution. Our lungs are not big enough to holler away rebellion! Kids' hearts can harden when their parents keep the volume of their frustration loud, and parents can miss hearing God's quiet voice. If we follow our Father's example, growing quiet in the face of opposition, often we can head off disaster by asking God to show US what to do. So, if angry outbursts of frustrations are wrong from the kids, they are wrong from the adults — period.

5. Keep your eyes open -- and ask for help! It is not the frustration we have to avoid but we must allow God to transform our responses to it. We will not do this in our own strength; none of us can restrain this amazing little muscle that God gave so that we might be in HIS image! My husband's prayers truly helped — so, please, ask for help.
Proverbs — the book of WISDOM — says the godly woman is one upon whose lips is the teaching of kindness; for "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly. (Prov. 15:1-2)

© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
Permission is given to reprint any of Barbara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and Web site address.

...the mouths of babes!

Here we are at Tiny Talk Tuesday again and the kids have me laughing up a storm with their cute words!

Reagan is growling in frustration about something with which she is playing when I hear,
"I'll just deal with it!"
(Uh, I don't actually recall saying that to them so I'm not sure where this phrase came from!)
Jefferson: Mom, can I vacuum? Please?
Me: No, you may not!

Yes, this sounds crazy. I mean, what mom would say no to a kid asking to do a chore, right? But you've gotta know my son to get this. We just purchased a new cordless, lightweight vacuum to use for the daily pickup of kitchen crumbs. When something like this is new, it is considered almost the same in value as a toy to Jefferson. So all day he was running down the battery by vacuuming over an already clean floor. By dinnertime dh and I had had enough! But we did find the quote amusing!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Week 15

This week was rather uneventful for us as far as school lessons go but definitely successful. I am sooooo glad that we were able to persevere and get through it. Dh was gone 3 days (which always makes things harder) so I had to give up sleep and give the baby his midnight feeding each night. This week makes me think of the word intentional - a word my friend at Smooth Stones Academy used to describe her plan for this year. Since I tend to get overwhelmed easily, I remembered to think back to Jeremiah and determined to step through each part of the day deliberately.

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and hope.' Jeremiah 29:11

When I remember that God has a defined purpose for me, I can get things done with more than just a 'survival' mentality!

Our spelling lessons are so simple that I wonder if they are making a difference. I'm thinking of going through half of SWA again since we have the time and they are more interesting than my copywork list. Hmmmm...
We covered 5 different types of suffixes this week. It's the 2nd time we've gone over some of the rules so I could tell he seemed to remember as he was spelling them.

His reading was great this week as I have started requiring that he choose the books that he wants to read first thing in the morning. This way seems to motivate him to get them 'out of the way' so he doesn't wonder when in the day Mommy will say that he's read enough. These books occupy that large amount of time that it's still taking me to get everyone fed and dressed in the mornings now (post baby) and keep him in the learning mode. I was having trouble getting him to focus on lessons the last 2 weeks since he would waste that morning time playing and fuss when asked to concentrate on learning. Now he seems to feel like he's accomplishing something, I'm not having to hold his hand so much, and he's dragging his feet less when it's time for 'tablework.' This has been one of our biggest adjustments since Lincoln arrived - thus teaching me (and Jefferson) how to be more flexible and still get things done! Yippee! :-)

Jefferson still dislikes this book and I'm not sure what to do about it. The trouble is that since he's reading now, he can much better deal with larger or more difficult or unusual words when they are in the context of a story. So he doesn't enjoy exercising his brain on 'left to right', 'brake it into syllable' practice in the form of word lists. I know that it's building his ability however and so we will continue intentionally! We've finally settled into doing this while I nurse - it's seems to be just the right amount of time.
This week we covered (sorry -can't type in the diacritical marks):
oo, ood (i.e. good, look)
3 consonant beginnings (str, chr, etc.)
short e=ea ai
short i=y (in the middle of a word), ui
short o=a
short u=o, ou, oo, a

Our penmanship work was only in the form of spelling copywork and grammar copywork (from FLL). Nothing from SOTW or History Scribe this week.

More work on gathering proper and common nouns this week. I know these lessons are easy but have decided not to worry about what he's learning here since I know that he's gaining a good base from the reading and other subjects that he has.
Jefferson started working on a new memory piece called "Hearts Are Like Doors." It's fairly simple so I'm sure he'll have it finished soon.
We addressed an envelop to ourselves, and copied names of family members this week.
This was a cool week for math comprehension, not just for me but for Jefferson too! We worked on using our base-10 cards (ALRightStart) to visibly 'trade' units (i.e. if you have ten ones switch them for one ten).

This week we continued our journey through SOTW by learning about the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (when Egypt invaded Nubia and when the Hkysos invaded Egypt). I did not have time to get supplemental books from the library this week as I am still barely getting the lessons in. I feel like Jefferson is getting jipped here but I know that we will cover this subject again and we have done a few projects b4 the baby came along. He is happy to do the mapwork and the coloring pages though.
What I really want to get started is his timeline book! I've got a blank spiral bound timeline book but haven't had time to sit down and plan it's start. Once we get it started it will just be a matter of adding info from each SOTW chapter. I'll let you know when this happens - I just need to be intentional with this and put a plan date on my calender!
This week we learned about loads of different frogs and toads. Jefferson can't get enough of this stuff! I'm using a great animal encyclopedia (The Enclyclopedia of Animals by Amber Books) that I found at a discount store which has lots of extra info about many different species. Each page has vital statistics, key features, comparisons to animals in the same family, and (Jefferson's favorite) a map showing where the animal can be found on the planet. He was too hard on himself and didn't want to draw the toad sloppily on his page, so he had me draw th outline for him to color.
My goal for next week is to be satisfied with taking intentional steps rather than beating myself up for not reaching my unattainable, high and lofty goals for Jason's education at this difficult period of adjustment in our lives. God is good and has plans for us better than I could plan myself, so I need to let Him guide us!

Friday, January 18, 2008

I love Technology!

I'm always looking for a way to make teaching Jefferson easier. By the time he is 18 he will say to me, "What's a tapedeck, Mom? What do you mean 'video tape'? You took pictures on film?"

So I've been thinking about getting him some cool little audio tool to carry around that will help him with him memorization (now and in the future - classical education is full of memory work, for those that don't know). I found a link to free download to Audacity from Trivium Academy so that I can record pieces he needs to work on.

The coolest thing I've found so far is from Best Buy - it's the Insignia® - Pilot 4GB Video MP3 Player with Bluetooth Technology . Looks like a pretty neat little gagdet so I'll talk to dh about it. I'll let you know what I find as I research this issue. I think that it's neat but am wondering if I really need something with video capabilities for him or if I should just consider it a toy as well as a tool? He is my oldest and more responsible than the others, but still - he's 6.

Maybe I'll just get one for little ol' me? ;-) Or maybe I'll win one? 5 Minutes for Mom is even giving away a free one with headphones!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I have sooooo been waiting for this day, when Jefferson could read to his younger siblings! It's just so sweet! It amazes me mostly because Reagan never sits for anything for too long!
This 'little' guy (10 weeks old) goes by many a name: Budda Belly, Lumpy, Mr. Toad (for the wide belly). You can see why! He is just EDIBLE!

Check out Wordless Wednesday from 5 Minutes for Mom for more funny pics!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

...the mouths of babes!

Most families see a very defined difference between the first and second child, the first being kind of bossy with the second following his lead. But in our house we were blessed with a dominate first as well a bossy second one who can hold her own! So when they were 'racing' their vehicles around the house last evening it didn't surprise me at all to hear Reagan yell,

"Hey!! We can BOTH be the leaders! We can BOOOOTH be leaders!!"

Boy - there's no holding her back!
And again with the black grapes today:

Jefferson says at lunch,"Mommy, why do your cheeks taste wrinkly with these?"
Me,"Your cheeks taste 'wrinkly'?"
Jefferson,"Yeah, these grapes make them taste wrinkly. Why?"
Me,"The insides of you cheeks?"
Jefferson,"Yeah, they taste wrinkly all over when I eat these grapes!"

Uh....what does one say to that? :-) We're still working on descriptive words around here!

Be sure to visit Not Before 7 for more amusing "kid" talk on:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Week 14 (Finally!)

We successfully completed our first full week of school since b4 Lincoln was in the hospital! It was a really tough week, trying to balance Adam's new rotation diet, get all the kids ready in the morn' by my wee little self (dh just can't keep headin' in to work at 9!), and getting most of Jefferson's lesson completed. Granted Monday was miserable and the laundry is ALL still in baskets (and don't even look down at my floors! Yikes - Adam could snack all day on the crumbs alone!). But the Lord has shown me that I AM capable of what He has called me to in this season of life!

Since this is my first true 'weekly report' since I started blogging, I'll start each subject with a summary of where we stand so far.

We finished SWA b4 Lincoln came along and so I am using Phonics Pathways to make up my own lessons. First he copies the 5 or 6 words that I've chosen, while I explain the particular rule/s that he needs to remember in order to spell them correctly. Then I have him spell them one by one on a blank sheet of paper. It really only takes 10 mins at most and we're really only reinforcing what he's learned earlier in the year. But I just didn't feel like SWA sank in very well so this is just a way for me to get some repetition for him on this skill. We only got 3 lessons in this week which is enough, in my opinion.

Jefferson is finally past his readers and into a variety of easy, short books such as 'The Cat in the Hat' and 'Green Eggs and Ham.' If left to his own devices he would still choose short, easy books (which are okay but not heavy enough for him to stretch himself) but will persevere through harder ones such as "Paddington Bear" and "Thomas the Tank Engine." These are still slow but he is not as nervous about "to many words" on a page anymore!
Jefferson read outloud to me about 30 to 45 minutes per day. I wasn't able to read to him more than 20 minutes per day this week however. I need to be doing so every time I sit down to nurse.

We are working through Phonics Pathways this year. It has been a great supplement to his reading and great for teaching him spelling/phonics rules. This week we reviewed:
vowel diphthongs (oi,oy,ou,ow)
adding suffixes to -y, -ie, -f

So far, we are working through First Language Lessons. Don't know if we will stick with this next year, but will plan to see it through this year as I can't take time to figure anything else out these days. This week we went through lessons 25 to 27 - all building on the definition of a noun.

Memory Work:
"Hearts Are Like Doors" by anonymous (FLL)
Phillipians 4:13
I need to pay more attention to his memory work and also remember to keep reviewing past pieces. I think I should keep his 'Memory Work' practice log over with the books we use daily instead of on my desk.

Right now this is just copywork and practicing penmanship. Soon I hope to add short dictation also. Tis' the season for ....

... thanks you notes! Our motto this week was 'New day, new note'! Lots of gifts means lots of thanks-you's.

We switched to AL Right Start Mathematics this year since I was not having fun teaching math last year. ALRS uses TONS of manipulatives, abacus work, and card games, which Jefferson loves. So you won't be seeing many worksheets as they are few with this curriculum. I feel like we are going over a lot from last year but that the repetition is worth it if it gets solidly into his head. Basics are important after all.
So this week we worked more with right triangles, continued with 'warmup' stuff (months of the year, days of the week, count by evens/odds -just simple memory stuff), working with large numbers (understand the value behind them), adding tens & ones, and 'trading' (ie. 22 is the same as 2-tens and 2-ones).

Wow are we behind here! But oh well -Jefferson still loves it and looks forward to it. Continuity is troublesome here so I'm looking into TOG (Tapestry of Grace) for next year. But that's a story for another blog! This week we (or should I say dh, since he's trying to lighten my load a little by doing the lesson in the evening) learned about Africa and Ananti the Spider out of Story of the World:Volume 1.

We're even more behind here! Jefferson loves life science so far even though we've really only just begun. I've taken the lesson plan from Trivium Academy and chosen the animals that Jefferson wants to learn about. We've learned about habitats, camouflage, types of food, and different classes of animals. Friday dh hubby took him to the pet store to take pics of animals from different classes to put on the wall in their different habitats (each drawn earlier in the year). Here are 2 of his favorites and his bean/lentil lizard:

Notice the lack of any Bible time here. B4 the arrival of Lincoln, dh was getting the kids up and reading and discussing with them and reviewing memory verses while I made breakfast. The kids loved it (and so did I). I hope that we can get back to a good pattern again soon as I prefer for them to have this teaching from the spiritual leader of the house.

So that's it for this boring blog! Check in later for something more interesting (if I have enough brain cells left this week to think of anything interesting)!

Wordless Wednesday

You know something is up when you are teaching your 1st grader and the 4-yr old is giggling nonstop in the other room with the 2-yr old! This is what I found INSIDE Adam's onsie when I found him walking around later!
Apparently Reagan thought it was funny to put everything she could find down the back of his shirt. I thought it was funny how it made him waddle when he walked!
Check out Wordless Wednesday from My Three Boybarians for more funny pics!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Time to do the Can-Can!

This was my mentality when I awoke today, day 3 of our 2nd attempt to get back into school :
  • I can't balance all this.
  • I can't get all the kids dressed and fed.
  • I can't get all of Jefferson's lessons in today.
  • I can't get the house clean - even slightly clean.
  • I can't call my friends bcuz I can't get anything else done and don't dare waste time picking up the phone.
  • I can't get myself moving - I've didn't get enough sleep.
  • I can't deal with all the different food that all the different people in my family are eating (dh and I are cutting sugar/flour while Adam is on a special rotaion diet)!
  • I can't get dressed - I don't have time ... the baby is crying.

So what a pitty party!! Waa, waa poor little me. Sometimes I just forget to take things one step at a time! So now I've decided that I need to remind myself to do the 'Can-Can' instead when I feel like this. Here goes (starting with the most important reminder):

  • I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)
  • I CAN slow down and breathe for a minute.
  • I CAN pray - I am NEVER alone nor forsaken (even if I feel like it).
  • I CAN take one little step at a time.
  • I CAN hug a kid or two or three (or even four).
  • I CAN sip a cup of tea (thanks to Kuerig single cup brewer).
  • I CAN put on the praise music - we ALL feel better with a little dancing.
  • I CAN make a mental note of all the things for which I'm grateful (this one REALLY helps).
  • I CAN choose to have a better attitude and remember that God is in control!

I know that I tend to get overwhelmed, but stepping back into the 'Can-Can' is so helpful on mornings like this! And the truth is that the Lord won't give me too much -He is happywith me and loves me! So how do you deal with those crazy mornings? If it's rough going and you find yourself slipping into the party of pity for you - go ahead and remember that little french tune!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Why do you homeschool?

As a fairly new HSing mom, I am always interested in the input of others who have gone b4 me and those with me in this journey. For a person like myself who loves to have everything laid out and checked off, discovering the flexibility of homeschooling has been a little scary to tell the truth! But knowing the enormous benefits that come to my children with this type of education, dh and I felt it would be the best choice for them. I love that each child can learn at his or her own pace! I remember struggling greatly in school when I couldn't grasp a concept at the same time as the rest of the class - the stress of it was awful. I also love that we can spend so much more time on topics we enjoy (music, art, foreign languages, science, history, etc.) rather than wasting time learning things that we as a family don't agree with anyway (i.e. evolution, sex education, tolerance programs, etc.). Homeschooling curriculum can mirror that of the publics school or can be custom designed based on interests, skill level, progress level, and learning styles (just to name a few)! HS kids learn how to live in society by interacting with a wide range of people rather than learning social skills from a group of immature peers ( a position that they will never again be in as an adult) and wide range of activities (rather than just a classroom learning environmnent).

I could go on and on - I am just so pleased with how God has lead us to homeschooling! So I'd love to hear - how did you find yourself homeschooling? Check out this site to take part in her poll!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

Jefferson had me rolling on the floor with laughter today. Out of the mouth of babes (or in this case, an adorable 6-year old) come the craziest things!

1. The kids were both folding laundry today when Jefferson held up a pair of my underwear and exclaimed loudly,"WOW! These are REALLY big ones!"
(hey, give me a break kid - I only just popped out my 4th kid 8 weeks ago!)

2. Jefferson,"These grapes taste like how your fingers taste when they get wrinkly in the water!"
( that a bad thing? anyone know how wrinkly fingers taste? just try black seedless grapes to find out!)

Be sure to visit Not Before 7 for more amusing "kid" talk on:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Still Struggling to get back that "Groove"!

I don't know what I was thinking to think that I'd be able to get even 3 days of school in this week! I only scheduled 2 weeks off for Christmas, and ended up taking one of those b4 Christmas, due to illnesses. So I really wanted to get back into our lessons this week. My parents took the 2 oldest for the past, long weekend, leaving us with only a 2-yr old and 2-month old. I thought this would allow me to get tons accomplished! I wanted to catch up on all the laundry, housework, meal planning/groceries, plan Adam's special allergen-free meals, and make sure all 1st grade lessons were in order. However, it seems that feeding a baby every 3 hours is really taking more of my time then I thought it would. I mean, I can't just feed him and then throw him in the bouncy seat for another hour until his naptime! I know he doesn't require much, but he needs attention too, leaving me with only the 1 1/2 hours increments in which he sleeps. Add to this another "baby-on-the-verge-of-pneumonia" scare and I achieved very little this past weekend. So needless to say, I don't have enough wits about me to do anything other than having Jefferson read, read, read for this week.

How do you other homeschooling moms make it through the infant stage without jipping the older kid/kids? I would like to have it together by now (Lincoln is 8 weeks old) and find that "groove" that we seemed to have b4 the baby came. I know that Jefferson is doing well with his languages (still needs more reading practice) and even math, but can someone tell me - will I be able to catch him up in history and science? I know that this is doable, I just sometimes need to hear from others who have made it through this point.

I want to be where Trivium Academy is - she's come to a good place in her planning and curriculum choices where she is excited and enthusiastic about where they are this year. Not Before 7 understands our battle with illness since Thanksgiving and still has her sense of humor, therefore reminding me to keep smiling. Smooth Stones Academy recently blogged that she is coming out of this baby phase, reminding me that I'm not the only one here and that change will come soon. And the leading mom from Lighthouse Learning Co-op recently gave me a sweet training idea (involving M&M's) for my strong-willed (and sweet-toothed) daughter, reminding me to always be open to the advise of others.

So when I can barely get everyone dressed and fed by 10am (it used to be 8am for us) and can't see the days lessons through the pile of dishes on the counter, or over the screaming 2-yr old, I am thankful that God has given me other homeschooling moms for support. I really enjoy getting the perspective of those who have gone before me, or even those in the same place in life, whether they be co-op, church, or blog friends. I know that the Lord has provided all that I need in order for me to obey His calling to educate my kids at home. The enemy may throw a lot at me some days, but not more than I can handle. I hope that one of the things I learn in this process is how to help and encourage other homeschooling moms when they find themselves at this point also!

So for now, I will keep on keeping on and check things off the 'List' one by one. I will pray that God helps me to be ready for better structure next week, so that we can be on our way again to our homeschooling "groove"! And I will remember to thank Him for all you other homeschooling moms!