Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

It takes such effort and concentration to get one's first piece of birthday cake into the mouth! Happy 1st Birthday Lincoln!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Normal frustrations, I'm sure...

So I'm sure I'm not the only one who deals with such things, but refuting a negative attitude during lessons is becoming more of a struggle as the kids get used to this homeschooling thing. I'm finding it hard to divide between the teacher-me and the mommy-me and I think this is showing up as more occasions for discipline occur during lessons.


I guess this is just one of the realities of being a home educator that is starting to set in. Or maybe it's just part of our personalities clashing as the kids get older and more independent? I mean, Jefferson and I are practically identical so when my tendency to be controlling or bossy comes out in me and in him at the same time -it's a recipe for arguing and tears. And then, why is it that a 7yo boy is so insistent that he already knows everything anyway? And when the slightest request for repetition or giving of direction on my part causes Reagan to whine and fuss so the lesson gets dragged out forever, I have to bite my lip and persevere in my own self-control. Her slowness in accepting my direction or her insistence on completing a sheet perfectly, makes me want to pull out my hair at times.

If I didn't have the Lord Jesus as my savior, I would be angry and sad and hopeless and frustrated (actually I likely wouldn't be homeschooling, as He is the one who called us to it). But I am so thankful that He helps me to remain calm, to be better than I was yesterday, to show patience in the face of 7yo attitude and 5yo whining, and to show love instead of barking my anger. I am never more aware of the difference the Lord makes in my relationship with the kids than during school lessons sometimes, since these can be such testing times. I am so very far from where I think I need to be, but I pray for His grace to cover my failures and I am thankful for each opportunity that I have to spend teaching them through my actions and responses.

3rd week of our 2nd term - excitement of the new year wearing off. Yeah... just normal frustrations, I'm sure...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Lincoln is the one our 2.5 yo calls "Pat, pat baby!" (as in fat, fat)! Quite an armful for our oldest, but Jefferson is so proud that he can lift him (although you should see him get down to put his legs into it!). At one year old, Lincoln is weighing in at about 28 lbs and he's breaking my back with his fatness...
So much for "wordless"....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Never enough time, huh?

Lincoln's first birthday party is at the end of this week - party prep ALWAYS makes me crazy (just ask anyone in the house - they'll tell you I stop talking and start barkin' a few days prior). Add to that that I'm trying to stuff 4 days of lessons into 3 (Reagan's in a Tues. class for 6 more weeks), we're having out of town guests in a few weeks, and the weather is fabulous (calling me to outdoor chores), and we've got a recipe for crazy busy around here.

By 9pm I just don't feel like sitting down to blog/surf/shop/research curriculum. We are in our 2nd week of our 2nd term ad I still haven't finished my Term 1 progress post (for my sake - none too interesting for anyone else). Thankfully, lessons are going well.


Right now I'm breaking my own rule about sitting at the computer before lessons are finished for the day. Lessons, dishes, dinner prep, window washing, laundry are call calling....

So another time for this....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Adam loves playing with Daddy's glasses!

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Friend

Of what value is a good friend? Can we ever truly measure?

I have found (as you may have also) that homeschooling can take so much time that I don't have (hmmm... or should I say 'make' in order to take due responsibility) enough time to connect with other homeschooling moms, to develop and cultivate relationships that support the path that God has put me on, keep me spiritually nourished, as well as enable me to encourage and be of use to other women on this path.

This is why I am so pleased that God has placed another wonderful family in our lives! Today we had over a mom and 3 of her 4 homeschooled kids, whom my dear mil recently introduced to us. I met her a few months ago at her home and drooled over her spacious and organized lesson room while Jefferson played outside with her kids. I noticed right away how gentle her nature was and how kind her children were. She is interested in the same type of nutrition as I am, has 3 kids of similar age as mine, uses Sonlight curriculum. She and her dh manage a campground facility and have done great things there in the short time they've had the job.

Today we got to know each other better amid (amazingly!) 7 kids. Hers were so well behaved that I prayed silently that our little bolt of lighting (Reagan) wouldn't let loose one of her lovely tantrums. But then I realized that she wasn't the type to judge anyway - phew. Jefferson was at ease and acting like himself (he's usually quieter with new people), Reagan dove right into the mix, and I was surprised that 2.5 yo Adam warmed up so quickly too. Of course, kids know when someone is a "kid-loving" kind of person (aka "genuine") and he loved it that their mom got right down to play with him. I just love people who are able to love other people's children! Their visit was lovely but when it was time for them to go, their mom said, "Children -it's time to go." And guess what they said (practically in unison!)? "Okay!" In my mind, my jaw dropped. But with their good behavior, I guess I wasn't really that surprised.

What a blessing that God places people like this in our lives, huh? I am so glad to meet someone with whom I can feel comfortable and share my journey as a mom and teacher as well as to find kids that my own kids enjoy so much. I am so glad that God provides friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Uh oh - new addiction on its' way!

My sil was kind enough to call my scrapbooking supplies out of hiding and invited me to crop last Friday. It had been 12 months since I poured over my most favorite hobby and in the 6 hours that we were there I almost got 2 pages done (don't even ask! I am way too particular about my pages as well as the fact that my creative brain was rusty).

As I was lamenting the fact that I just don't have the time to sit down to crop the beautiful photos of my favorite little people, the Crea.tive Memo.ries consultant introduced us to the company's new digital scrapbooking software. I had always said I wouldn't scrapbook digitally - I never liked what the pages looked like and I love the hands-on feel of scrapbooking with paper. But since blogging has taken over most of my spare (did I say "spare"? HA!) time, I recently realized that my blog was becoming my 'scrapbook' - my journal and heritage of our kids.

So when I found this CM digital software that produces beautiful pages as well as being convenient (I already almost live in front of this screen), I could not resist! I bought it and have spent too many hours playing with it already! I don't know how to use all the features yet but here are some examples of my practice. I think they turned quite well and I can't wait to do some more! What do you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2nd Grade Science

We are finally feeling more in the groove about science around here. I hadn't gotten our astronomy lessons planned when we started in August so we were just working on finishing up our plant lapbook from the summer.

But four weeks ago we finally started in on Exploring Creation with Astronomy (Young Explorers Series) by Apologia. Initially, I thought that it was a little too heavy for 2nd grade and that we would have to spend 2 weeks on each chapter. But I have been pleased to discover that it fits Jefferson perfectly this year! He is interested in the topic so he is listening well and understanding most of it. I am finding that we hardly have to review our vocabulary cards - the book reviews many terms as it goes and builds upon previous concepts.

As for projects, the book offers from 1 to 2 per chapter, some some quite easy and some more in depth. Each chapter also has an assignment for the student's 'Astronomy' notebook. We have been using the blank sheets from History Scribe for these assignments. Jefferson illustrates what he las learned and then writes his narration (with my help still). So far he has in his notebook, the sun, Mercury, Venus, and a mnemonic sentence he made up to help remember the order of the planets (My Very Easy Motorcycle Journey Seems Uniquely Normal Presently).

We've blown up balloons and hung them so he can see the difference in size. This was time consuming and then they didn't stay inflated for more than 2 days, but we had fun doing it and seeing how the planets compare. We've made a Mercury out of flour and craters with pebbles dropped into it. This week we poured hot butter over a mountain of flour to show how the lava on Venus flows and then hardens. We skipped the solar eclipse viewing box until we are ready for an actual eclipse. And we looked through The Astronomy Book (Dr. Jonathan Henry) from the Wonders of Creation series for more creation based info - nice book but a little over his head right now.

Can't wait to continue our exploration of God's universe! After our next week's break, it's on to Earth, Mars, and beyond.....