Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sunflower Art

We had more fun with pastels today! Thank you Hodgepodge! Today we went with the Sunflower Tutorial. We had a lot of fun and it didn't take very long. And the mess was actually quite minimal ;-)

Here everyone is working diligently.

Here are the results! (From top to bottom) Little P; Peanut; Munchkin; and, of course, Mom ;)
I love the embellishments everyone put on theirs!

Until next time...


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Art Lesson

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a year since my last post!  Time sure does fly :)  A lot has happened since my last post, but catching up will have to wait for later.

Today I want to post about our art lesson.  First, I should mention that I am not at all artistic, lol.  So teaching art has always seemed rather daunting to me.  However, I recently came across THIS PAGE (thank you Pinterest, lol) and thought, "hey, that doesn't look too difficult!"  So, I got a couple inexpensive sets of soft pastels at Michaels and decided to give it a try.  I just got cheap sets to start with so we can play around with them and see if we like them before making any kind of big investment on a better set.  If we decide we like them (and I think we will!) I'll probably go to the art store in downtown and see what they have for nicer pastels.

Anyhow, on to the lesson! We followed the A Path To The Beach tutorial since it was labeled as the first one.  Here are our results :)

Everyone working very intently!

Top is Little P's, middle is Peanut's & bottom is Munchkin's

And for those of you who know that my house is blessedly small, you may want to know how we chose to display our new creations!  I used some 3M sticky things (I don't remember what they are called!) on the back of some clothes pins and attached them to the wall above the front door.  Here is a picture:

Thank you so much to Tricia (and Nana!) at Hodgepodge for sharing their knowledge with the rest of us!



Monday, April 2, 2012

It's been a long year...

...that has gone by super fast.

Ya, I know, that doesn't make much sense.  But, trust me, if you'd had the year I've had, you'd totally understand.

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  I kept meaning to, but life just kept getting in the way.  Then it just seemed like it's been so long, why bother?  After my miscarriage, I really just felt like I was in a fog.  Then I found out I was pregnant again.  I wasn't sure I was ready to be.  After all, I was still grieving the baby I had lost.  I was on a crazy emotional roller coaster, both excited and terrified at the same time.

The pregnancy was difficult, but I made it through.  That wonderful blessing is now a smiley three month old baby boy :).

Meet Bug, the newest member of our family:

Amazingly, through it all we still got a lot of school done.  We did take December off (no matter how hard I try to school through December, it never happens!) and most of January.  The kids were chompin at the bit to get back into things.  I was still in the hospital the first time I was asked "when are we going to start school again?", lol.

I was worried that the long time off would have set Peanut back in her kindergarten work, but, surprisingly, she seemed to be more ready.  She was retaining things much better and hardly struggling at all.  Consequently, she breezed right through the rest of kindergarten, we finished Friday.  I was planning to do some miscellaneous lapbooks and such for the rest of the year and start 1st grade with her in September.  But she has done so well since January, I decided to just jump right into 1st grade now.  I was going to start today, but I didn't get all the planning I needed done over the weekend (oops!).  So I'm hoping to get that done today and hopefully start tomorrow.  Today we all worked on an Easter poster.  I was going to have them all do lapbooks, but when I realized how much printing that would entail, I decided we would all do a poster together!

When everyone is playing nice.........

Munchkin is also breezing through her work.  We are only a little over half way through Creation to Greeks, but she is done or almost done with everything else.  I need to get some planning done for her too, lol.  I'm going to switch up our language arts.   Instead of Language Lessons, Pathways and Sequential Spelling, I'm going to try Learning Language Arts Through Literature.  I'm going to stick with Wordsmith Apprentice for now, but may leave that behind in the future as well.  I'm hoping this switch will work well, but we'll see.  She's also just about finished with MUS Gamma, so she will be starting Delta as soon as it gets here.

School is always better with a baby :o)

Little Man has really been pestering me to "do school" as well.  He's frequently not satisfied with the "school toys" (aka, MFW Preschool package) anymore.  So I've started doing an ABC notebook with him.  I've been mostly using the printables I found on Homeschool Share, but have found some of my own here and there as well.  He's really loving it and enjoys getting to show off each new page to Daddy in the evenings.  I have no idea what we will do when we finish all the letters, though!  I'm thinking maybe do something similar with character traits.  I need to do some googling!  I'm also thinking he may be ready to start kindergarten in the fall.  We'll see though, he will only be 4.5 and I don't want to push him too fast.

Bits has been my most challenging right now.  I have a bunch of toddler activities for her, but she doesn't want to entertain herself with them.  She wants to be in the middle of what everyone else is doing.  I'm really struggling to find the balance of spreading my time between all four (and taking care of a baby!).  So most mornings are rather chaotic, but, amazingly, we still manage to get it all done!  And usually before lunch ;o)

So that's kinda a quick recap of what we have been doing and where we are.  I plan to keep blogging and getting new things up in a more timely fashion ;o)


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Todd was WRONG!

OK, maybe not completely wrong, but.............

Today was not a good day.  

It started out OK.  Everyone did their morning chores and got ready for school. Little P even put his breakfast plate in the dishwasher without a fight!  No one argued when I said we needed to clean off the entertainment center before starting school.  Then we started school on time (well.... almost).  

And that's when things started downhill.  

Little P and Little Bits insisted on playing nerf guns in the livingroom, making quite the ruckus, while I was trying to read the history lesson.  But a raised voice (once or twice) and we made it through.

Then we started on Kindergarten.........And things got worse......Way worse.

Today's lesson was our first introduction to reading a simple story.  We were working our way through and she got stumped on a word.  No big deal.......sound it out.  But she wasn't getting it.  The kicker?  She had just read the word FOUR times in the previous sentences!  My mind just couldn't wrap it's self around the idea that you can struggle with a word you've already read 2 seconds before.

And I found myself getting frustrated.  Really frustrated.  And (I hate to admit it).....Angry.

I finally threw up my hands in defeat and stomped into the bedroom.

I texted my frustration to my husband (it's easier for him to text than call when he is at work) and he responded "right" with words of encouragement.........."You can do it."

And I got angrier........

Now, let me deviate from my story a little and back to Todd.  Todd Wilson is one of my favorite homeschool speakers.  He's funny and real and I can relate to him.  His concept of "be real" is great and something I think we homeschooling moms tend to ignore. 

Hubby and I heard him for the first time a few years ago when he came to our states' annual homeschool conference.  One of his concepts that really stuck with us then was the idea of "shutting the escape hatch".  In other words, committing to homeschool and taking public school off the table.  So, Hubby and I did just that.

For a while things seemed great.  But then I started feeling like I was clawing at that escape hatch, trying to reopen it on a regular basis.  After several blow-ups, I finally put my finger on the problem.  I explained it to Hubby this way:

"It's as if we were both in a room and closed the escape hatch and then I turned around to find you had snuck out of the room and locked me in by myself."

Ouch!  Well, after a long heart-to-heart and some reorganizing of our homeschool, things got much better.

But lately I've been feeling like I'm back to clawing at that escape hatch.  And today, things really came to a head.

One of the things Todd stresses to homeschool dads is to be encouraging, especially when your wife has a bad day.  My hubby has latched on to that and has always been very encouraging.

However, today I finally discovered something about myself....... Encouragement doesn't help!  Well, at least not on a bad day.  'Cause, don't get me wrong, I need encouragement just as much as the next homeschool mom.  But, when I throw up my hands in defeat and stomp out of the room, the last thing I want Hubby to say is "you can do it!".  'Cause what I hear is "you have to or I won't love you anymore".


What I need is for Hubby to give me "permission" to take the day off, to take a break.  I already feel guilty for walking away, but know I'm too frustrated to go back.  So when Hubby says "you can do it!" I feel like he is pushing me to go back.  

And I know I can't.

Thus, I feel like I have failed him and he won't love me anymore.  So my only solution is to accept failure and put my kids in public school.

Thankfully, all these realizations have helped and Hubby and I have had a heart-to-heart this evening.  He is more than happy to simply give me "permission" to take the day off when things aren't going well and I'm beyond frustrated. =)  

So, I'm laying all this out there just in case I'm not the only one who feels like this (Please tell me I'm not the only one?!?) and it may help someone else.  

And, Todd, if you ever read this, maybe just a little clarification from you that not all homeschool moms are made exactly the same?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Week of School

Well, we did it. We finished our first official week of school {yeah!}. And without any serious meltdowns or temper-tantrums...........from the teacher anyway, lol.

I decided to go with My Father's World again. We enjoyed it last year and, while I debated on coming up with something on my own to save on money, in the end I decided (well, truthfully my husband decided) my sanity was more important! I'm just not very reliable when I try to come up with my own lessons. I tend to not do them rather than figure out how to. So MFW is a really good fit for us (read that ME, lol) as I don't have to do a lot of teacher prep or planning of my own. I can just open the manual and go!

Munchkin doing her reading assignment.

I also decided to stick with pretty much everything else we were using, although, I did switch our writing program. MFW recommends Writing Strands (level 3 for Munchkins age), but it just really didn't work for us. Both she and I were ending up frustrated every time we worked on a lesson out of it. So, after a little research, I decided on Wordsmith Apprentice. So far we are really loving it. She loves the idea of being a reporter and the lessons are short enough to keep her interest, but challenging enough that she has to really think and apply herself.

I've also added in a few things. First is A Reason for Handwriting Transition. We've used this book (and the one before it) before, but it was rather hit and miss. I decided to more "formally" schedule it this year as I think her handwriting could use some help. Second is a workbook called "Comprehension Detective". I've felt like her reading comprehension hasn't been as good as I'd like considering she is reading above grade level. So I got this book to work on a couple times a week to try and improve that area. I also have a book of Multiplication Practice Tests (that comes with a CD as well) and Times Tales that I will add in as I see a need. Right now they are not scheduled, but I have them on the shelf ready to pull out if needed.

I started Peanut with MFW Kindergarten earlier this year. We've taken some time off here and there, so we are only finishing up lesson 12. So far we have been really enjoying it. I've been trying not to go too fast or push too hard because Peanut has needed more time to be "ready" for school. But I do think we are finally there {yeah!}. I'm hoping to be able to move into MFW 1st grade after the new year.

Peanut working on her Picture Cards
(notice the Ocean poster from week 9 in the background?)

Little P has been mostly tagging along with both Munchkin and Peanut. (All three of the kids participate in most of the group stuff in Creation to Greeks, although Munchkin is the only one I "require" to do the notebooking and other written assignments.) He knows most of the songs in the Kindergarten program and is starting to recognize some of the letters. But he's not ready to do more yet :o). He does frequently do his own version of the worksheets (both from K and CtoG) and has his own notebook to put his schoolwork in.

Little P working on a coloring worksheet.

Little Bits has thankfully been napping during school time. She has become somewhat of a handful, always wanting to be involved. However, her involvement usually entails taking all the pencils out of the supply tote, dumping the crayons out and throwing them around the room, or writing/coloring on my lesson plan! Occasionally she likes to take whatever worksheet one of her older siblings is working on, which prompts them to grab for it, usually resulting in said worksheet getting torn. I'm hoping that by the new year (when she'll turn 2) she may be ready for some more independent toddler activities and not be so focused on getting into whatever her siblings are doing. (Hey, I can dream right?!? LOL)

Peanut and Little P working on their individual worksheets.

This was supposed to be a post about our first week, but it seems to have turned into a post about our curriculum for the year! Mostly that happened because I don't have much to report on this week. It did go well, we got a lot accomplished. We studied Creation and started our timeline (picture of that coming soon!). We also did our version of a Sabbath meal. That was fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We may try to do it again sometime. They did have a science experiment, but daddy did that with them, so I can't really give an update on that!

So, that's our first week in a nutshell and where I see our year going. I hope to get a post up soon detailing some of the scheduling and organization that I have implemented this year, but I need to get pictures taken first :o) Hopefully I'll get to that in the next day or two. Until then...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A new schedule

A couple weeks ago, I saw THIS post with the idea of a visual schedule. I immediately loved it! I've tried a schedule several times, but every time I failed. I've mostly followed the MOTH system, but I always seemed to "fall off" the schedule and never figured out how to successfully get back on. However, I have noticed that Peanut does much better with a schedule. She needs to know we are doing this, then that, then food (she's all about the food, lol). So I've been trying to come up with a way to do a schedule that works for both of us. I'm hoping this idea will be a perfect fit. It's still a schedule, but easy to change on the fly if necessary.

Now, this post will also show that I am not a very good blogger, lol. I failed to take pictures of each step, so only have pictures of the final project. I'll do my best to walk you through how I did it, though =)

First, I created a document in word with all the items we would need on our schedule. I added a clip art that "matched" the item to make it easier on my non-readers. I then printed them on regular paper, 5 per page. I cut them out and glued them on a slightly larger piece of scrapbook paper.

I then glued it on some foam board. Finally, I added a strip of magnetic tape on the back.

My Hubby then took the cabinet doors off our old BBQ and mounted them on the wall for me. Wala! Ultra cool visual schedule.

Close up of the top panel.

Close up of the bottom panel.

Wanna know what the best part is? I used materials I had on had, so it only cost me $3.99 for the magnetic tape! We haven't "officially" started using it yet (I only got it finished last night, lol), but I'm really excited to start. I really think it will help us stay in a routine.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Where has the time gone?

Wow, I've been seriously slacking with updating my blog! Where have the last few weeks gone? I feel like I've simply been in "survival" mode. Just get the basics done. Ever been there?

I'm horribly behind in menu planning. I didn't even make a menu last week (or go shopping!) Somehow we made it all the way to Saturday without eating out or take out! Definitely have to go shopping this week, though. We are seriously out of staples.

We have been busy, though. It's the end of the school year. So there is that push to get everything done before the weather gets too nice and you don't want to do school anymore =) Munchkin had to test this year. It was the first time for both of us. She did really well, though, I'm proud of her. A little weak in math, but we knew that going in. Now it's time to re-evaluate curriculum and determine what to do for next year. I think we'll probably stick with MFW, but I may switch a few other things around. We'll see.

Peanut has been doing really well in school as well. She finally seemed ready for "formal" schooling around January, so we started her in MFW K. She's taken to it like a duck to water =) Little P has also been working with us some. It won't be long before he's ready for something more formal as well. Little Bits has truly become a "toddler terror", lol. She does her best to disrupt school as much as she can. Thankfully she naps most mornings, so we can get something accomplished!

We also made it up to my parents "cabin" for our annually Memorial Day trip. It was cold, it actually snowed on us! But the kids had fun (as always) even if I was a little whiny =).

We just celebrated Munchkin's 10th birthday. I can't believe she is getting so big, she's going to be a 5th grader next year! {Yikes!} She's definitely turning into a little lady. Makes me feel old {sigh}.

P.S. What's a blog post without pictures, lol? All the pictures in this post were taken last weekend at a marsh that's near the "cabin".
Background Papers and Embellishments Created by Marie Stones