Sunday, March 27, 2011

4th Grade Mini-Office

I have lamented my lack of wall space in this house & our school room/kitchen eating area since we bagan home schooling. Having been educated in a public school class room, I have the notion in my head that I need to have all kinds of visuals hung up for my 'students.' But I do not have space for much more than a large map of the world and alphabet flashcards around the top of the room. I have managed to put our list of important 'scriptures' in a tiny spot and have hung a bit of grammar examples on the window.

I have noticed that Reagan sometimes mixes her letters up and seems to search for something to copy (the alphabet is up high, behind where she usually sits) and will look for examples of grammar on the window with each weekly grammar lesson. And even though Jefferson is in 4th grade, he will sometimes forget a cursive letter, composition revision symbol, or grammar example as well. Since we don't have space, I cannot have reminders for these things on the walls for them as they write and learn.

So, a friend from our home school clued me in to these cool things called "mini-offices" - lapbooks which are fiiled with reference charts for the child to have when working. I made one for Jefferson first. The idea is that you take small versions of graphs & charts that a child would normally find on the walls of a school room and you put it in a lapbook that the child stands in front of his or her workspace as he or she works. This space acts like their own little 'office'! It provides all the basic reminders they might need as they write & learn and also helps to block out some visual distraction from other kids. Each mini-office can be tailor made for the student or for the grade or for a specific subject which is being focused on.

I find that Jefferson uses his mostly when he is writing something but he'll often refer to it for the maps or spelling words (days of the week, months of the year) as well.  I will try (I seriously can't recall where I found most of them!) to provide links to the sources of some of the charts & graphs if I can so you can make your own! Here are some photos of what his looks like:

This side holds:
The Writing Process
Key Proofreading Marks
Months of the Year (ours is homemade)
Skip Counting Chart (from our math  book)
Fraction Chart (from our math book)
(I also had to paper clip a list of 'transition' words after I laminated. It wouldn't fit but it seems to help Jefferson's compositions)

This side holds:
A Celsius & Fahrenheit Chart
World Map (Continents & Oceans only)
Map of the United States (state name & abbreviation)
American Wars list (homemade)
Books of the Old Testament
Books of the New Testament
Presidents of the United States (photos & dates in office)

Here are some more links & resources for mini-offices for various ages:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Precious Cargo

Tired me with tired Baby I trying out a sling (ya think she likes it??).
 Four weeks old here:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baby I

I'm thinking we'll just be calling her BabyI around here.  I know, I know...she won't be a baby forever. But if all goes as we plan (no comments from the peanut gallery please!), she will be THE baby around here!  It'll have to do (couldn't very well choose her birth name based on what I wanted to call her on my silly blog now could I?).

So here are more photos of her growth over the last few weeks (she is now 6 weeks already - ackk!).


Monday, March 14, 2011

More of New Baby I

With a new baby who is growing at the speed if light, I am thankful that I live in the age of digital media and can try to capture some of her preciousness in photos! These are all from her first week....

Found a finger to suck on!
Nice & filled out for a 3-day old!
Her Great Grandmother (can't get this one rotated - grrr...)
Chillin' with her Auntie M (my little sister)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Introducing Our Newest Blessing!!

Since I haven't been blogging very often this school year, I haven't had the time to harp & complain about journal my 5th pregnancy.  Consider yourself lucky - I was not a happy camper most of the time and I was hoping through it all that this meant I was carrying a baby of the 'female' type! So you get to skip all that jazz and get right to the good part - the sweet, precious, adorable, tiny, unique, and beautiful BABY!! (But first you must sit through the gorey details of the delivery.... hey, I want it written down for the kids' sake!)

Our duedate was January 23rd but I felt nothing close to being ready by that time. January had been particularly stressful for this momma since Reagan had developed chronic diarrhea after a stomach bug (from which we all recovered) and we didn't know why she was so sick. We finally got a colonoscopy scheduled for February 1, *knowing* that dh would be able to take her. We fully expected that I would be home with the new baby.

But durned if that little thing didn't want to bake extra long! She was just nice and comfy and I guess this momma still needed to be available for her other little girl in her time of pain and need.

So NINE days after our duedate, on February 1, Reagan goes in for her procedure and I start feeling what I thought were more braxton hicks contractions after she left. I fed the other kids, got dinner in the crockpot, sat and *listened* to my contractions, read the kids books, and *listened* again. By 11:30 I realized  that those tummy muscles were hitting me every 12 to 15 minutes and I had better doggone well get my bathroom floor scrubbed clean (isn't that your first thought when you realize you're in labor??)! Talk about last minute nesting! My cleaning lady had cancelled that very day due to all the nasty ice we had and I couldn't stand the thought of my midwife seeing the dirty floor (that is, IF she could get there through that nasty ice we were having). What a sight I was, if you could imagine me, hugely pregnant, on my hands & knees in the bathroom and then running around hollaring at the kids to vacuum the floors and pick up toys!

I had started this day out thinking there was no way the baby would come if not by now and that I would just have to be pregnant forever. I gave my dh an awful computer virus for his first birthday gift of the morning and a birthday cake made out of paper (since Reagan was too sick to eat cake, none of us would have it in front of her). It was February and I could not believe there was still a baby inside of me and that I would have to struggle through with a loopy prego brain teach yet another day of school, when all I wanted was a *break* from school (if that's what having a baby really is - lol!). And then there was Reagan, who needed her momma and daddy to help her through her pain and her hospital procedure. The baby just would not be allowed to arrive on this day.

But alas, after I made lunch, my mother-in-law brought Reagan home at 12:30 and my contractions jumped to regular 2 minute intervals. For this reason, dh harped on me for not calling the midwife ASAP and for fixing lunch instead. Thankful to have childcare already there (in the form of a doting grandmother) and a daughter who finally had a diagnosis (albeit, not a good one - ulcerative colitis), I headed upstairs to labor and wait for the midwife and her nurses (who were all soooo lovely, by the way! I felt so comfortable with them). 

The rest is quite boring and likely TMI for ya'll to read anyway. Suffice to say, that 4 hours and 15 mintutes after those first contractions, our second daughter arrived (rather quietly - not much of a screamer, that one) and stole our hearts away! We were not surprised at her size or that she looks more like my dh (he has dominant Romanian genes in his side - just take a look at his mom!). We were not surprised at how amazingly beautiful she felt in our arms either. We were not surprised at how happy we felt to finally see her!

So, may I introduce our 5th child and 2nd (much prayed for by Reagan who "already has enough brothers but if it's a boy,I'll love it anyway") daughter:

Isla Jane
February 1 @ 3:44pm
10lbs and 22 3/4 inches

A lovely birthday gift for which Dave was thrilled! No - that is not a typo - she is a nice big girl (but thankfully smaller than her last two brothers were!)!  Her name is pronounced "eye-luh" and she is 5 weeks old as I post this, so I will just stick the newest shots of her here and post others as I have time. Reagan is so thrilled to have a sister and the boys are enthrhalled with her as well! I can not figure how to give her a *presidential* name for this blog - 'Eisenhower' just doesn't seem to suit a girl. So I welcome any suggestions for a bloggy name for her!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Reagan Looks Better!

Reagan was very, very sick for the entire month of January and had begun to look thin with circle under her eyes.  She couldn't concentrate on school, so we let it go. She was not very happy or smiley at all through all her pain.
(Her sickest point - the day of her colonoscopy AND the day of her sister's birth)
But I'm posting this, to show just how much better she is looking after a diagnosis and 5 weeks of anti-inflammitory meds. She has gained weight, has returned to school, and has been able to share in the joy of having a new baby sister around here (of whom I will later post photos!)!  I'm so happy that she's feeling better and I thank God!!!
(New haircut & a happy smile!)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pre-baby photo (Jan 23rd but posted post-baby) of me and my girls! Reagan is 7 1/2 and I am only nine days from delivering her baby sister. Rae wanted to "dress up" for church (methinks she was tired of my lazy pregnant 'just shove some jeans on' mode).


Wordless Wednesday - Our Young Man!

As if Jefferson isn't already looking like such a young man (age 9 1/2), he had to get glasses in January (2011) which just make him look so much older!  Sigh.... no more little boy here...

 But at least his growing means some great benefits for Mommy & Daddy: snowshoveling (still willingly) for instance!  :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sweet Dreams

(December 3, 2010)
I love the sweet & caring personality of my firstborn son. It's moments like these, where he doesn't fuss or fidget or complain of irritation, but rather just enjoys the moment and realizes that it's precious which make me so proud of him! Lincoln has not been sleeping well at night for many months now and it takes it's toll on him (as well as us). So after lunch during the kids' movie time, he just fell right asleep on Jefferson's shoulder and stayed there.