Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

School’s Not in Session Today (or, This Will Be Random)

Monday, January 24th, 2011

No Monday school this week, simply because we didn’t make it to church. A combination of waking up too late and realizing that all four of my kids seem to have caught Baby Schel’s cold. Nobody’s too far under the weather – just lots of snot and a mild cough.

You may (or may not) have noticed that I did not write anything on Saturday. I really don’t know why that is. It just didn’t happen.

Saturday was unusual for us. He traded days with a co-worker, working her Monday shift, and took Saturday off. Our church’s teens hosted a “Parent’s Day Out” fund-raiser, that I would have loved to take advantage of. However, I seriously did not remember that Levi would be off, making it worth it for us to do so. I feel so badly that we didn’t take advantage of their event for our date Saturday. Next time, I will!

Levi took me out for probably the best date we’ve had in months! We tried a place, new to us, downtown.

We were told it was the best Greek place in town, because, you know, it’s run by “Real Greeks!” So, their food is actually authentic. I had the Spanakopita, which is filled with all kinds of spinach-y deliciousness. Levi had a gyro, which was also good. I love good food. I loved the homey atmosphere.

After that, we had some time to kill, so walked down to a local coffee shop to enjoy a mocha and a game of Othello. I’d never played before (didn’t get a pic, dangit), and I won! I love beginner’s luck. It was so nice to walk around downtown and spot some restaurants we’ve never been to, and figure out which one’s we’d like to try. We both love trying new food, even if it doesn’t turn out to be that great. Conversation with an intelligent man, who is completely in love with me, over a plate of food, without the kids is such a novel experience, it would be hard for it to be ruined by bad food. Or that run-on sentence.

We made our way to the theater, where we indulged in a non-dollar movie: True Grit.

It. Was. Amazing. The dialogue was a riot, Matt Damon made a wonderful nincompoop, and Jeff Bridges? Well, he’s Jeff Bridges. He was wonderful. However, it was Hailee Steinfeld who stole the show. Go see it. Worth every dime.

Cold Stone topped off our evening, thanks to a half-price gift certificate, after which we stopped by a RedBox and rented The Social Network. (Two movies in one night – we are such wild things!) A powerful movie about how easy it is to let anger and jealousy undermine any relationships worth having. I was really, really impressed.

That’s all I really wanted to say about that.

In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of what school looks like most days now:

And Schel showing her interest in wooden puzzles, and how they work:

Told you it was going to be random. It’s all I’ve got today.

How was your weekend?

~Tiffany

If Today Goes as Planned…

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

…we will have had our first full week of school since Thanksgiving week. Talk about a “Holiday Break!” Eesh. I think that’s the one plus about homeschooling: that we can take breaks whenever we darn well please. I’m thinking school won’t end until the very last week of June this year. Oh well. It’s not like we’re going anywhere anyway.

For Christmas, I bought the kids some dinosaur excavation kits from Usborne books, and we’ll be cracking those open today. The girls will do a stegosaurus, the boys a T-Rex. We just did a very short unit on archeology and how it helps us learn about world history, and the kids became extremely interested. Durin now wants to be an archeologist when he grows up! I have to admit that visions of my boy in desert garb, sweating over a delicate fossil in the hot sun in a faraway land danced through my head. I liked that picture very much! So, I want to give them a small taste of what it’s like to excavate something, and put it together.

They’re a little young, but they’ll have me to help and guide. I’m hoping Daddy will want to participate too, since he has a long weekend this week, and the kits will take several days to complete.

I have been getting tired of just reading to the kids about things – and while they enjoy the pictures and information, they were getting burned out just listening too. Being newish to homeschooling, I wasn’t really sure where to look for hands-on things. A lapbook didn’t appeal to me at this moment. I wanted something in three dimensions. Then, I was invited to my friend’s Usborne show. I’d forgotten about this wonderful company that makes educational books and kits for kids of all ages – up through high school! I’d been introduced to the company through another friend before, but hadn’t really thought about it until the recent book party.

Needless to say, I have found yet another great source for hands-on reinforcement of what my kids are supposed to be learning. Lydia has been complaining that she has a hard time remembering what we learned “last week,” and I am hoping this helps.

I’ll take pictures of the kids using their learning tools from Usborne soon, so you can see what we’re doing. Also – I have to be honest, I’ll be hosting my own show on the 20th, in the hopes of earning some more tools for the kids, and I’ll be sharing the link to my e-show here on the ol’ blog, just in case you want to help me out by trying some of their books out on your own young’uns! 🙂

As for homeschooling, we really are having fun learning together, and most days are going more smoothly than before. I still enjoy just sitting at the table with the kids and doing our lessons together.

Oh! Before I forget! Audrey informed me during Christmas week that she is ready to learn how to read. So, she had her first phonics lesson two days ago. We’re going to take it slow, but she is quick to remind me that she needs her reading lesson! She’s very eager, and I’m sure she’ll pick up on it quickly. I have to say that teaching my kids to read is my very favorite part of this whole thing, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing it “click” inside their little heads, and seeing their confidence grow. There is nothing quite like it.

Pray for me as we keep walking this path. It’s a harder one than I thought it would be. It’s a good thing it’s also more rewarding than I thought it would be, or I would have given up long ago.

So, how was your week? Good, bad, ugly?

I’ll see you all for Monday School, right? Go into church tomorrow morning with an open mind and heart, and ask God what He wants you to learn. You might be surprised! Then, come back and share it. Write a post, or just let me know in the comments Monday morning. I’d love to learn from you, too.

Adventures In Homeschooling

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Here it is. Turbo’s first completed worksheet in his writing & reading curriculum. We have had a bumpy start, to say the least, in our homeschooling venture. And I take all the blame. I have not given the kids the structure they need in general, so how was I supposed to give Turbo the structure he would need in his schooling.

Well, since we half-started, I have finally put together a home management notebook (a.k.a. “family planner” or what have you). It’s still not entirely complete, but at the very least, I now have monthly and weekly calendars in there, as well as a “daily docket” to keep my priorities on target.

Which means that all I have to do is now in one place, and I’m beginning to see how I can give our days some structure without suffocating anyone. Just getting that done has already made me feel as though a burden were lifted off of my tired mom-shoulders!

I think that weight was my overloaded brain.

Now that I have an external brain, I feel much more light-headed. Wait…that doesn’t sound great either. Let’s try that again.

Now that I have an external brain, I feel much more put-together. There. I like that better.

Anyway…that was a rabbit-trail and a half. I was fully intending to tell you only about my great achievements slow progress in getting homeschooling off the ground. Hm. Sorry about that.

I have had to make many calls to homeschooling veterans, inquiring therein about how to get a boy to focus. Through this, I have learned to lower my unreasonably high expectations (the curriculum expectations are high enough), to be patient with my boy, and to take my time with him.

I truly enjoy sitting down with him now, and we get through our lessons with fairly little to-do. The one pictured above is the final result of much practice on the clipboard, which comes with a handy clear plastic sheet to cover the paper, and a marker to practice with until the student is ready to make his “permanent” copy directly on the paper to put in his very own book.

Needless to say, Turbo is very proud of his work. And I am too. Next stop will be actual letters!

Well, I don’t want to ramble, although I could. I just wanted to show off his work to Granny & Grandma, whom he asks about daily. We just thought you’d like to see it. And, I think you can click on the picture to enlarge it – he writes very lightly right now, so I’m sure it’s difficult to see unless you blow it up.

Paper Brain

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

When I was in high school and college, I functioned really well when I learned how to use a day planner. I abandoned the use of my paper brain after I got married – life just wasn’t that complicated any more. Then I had kids.

I am now feeling a burning need to have my brain at my fingertips again. But, instead of buying some fancy-schmancy overpriced leather-covered paper brain…I am going to make my own. I have lots of ideas – most of them stemming from this post over at Simple Mom. I’m excited to do this project, and can’t wait until I start using my paper brain!

So much of my home organization is scattered – I have the dinner menu on the fridge, my address book in the desk, my appointments on a wall calendar, and the rest in my head. Not a very good system for me. I’m overwhelmed by all that needs doing – especially now that I’ve added homeschooling to my repertoire.

What…was I thinking? 🙂

I am so inadequate for this task of motherhood…let alone teacher! But…like Sara told me earlier today, maybe God wants me to grow and stuff. Yeah. That’s probably it. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I believe Sara is right.

So, I’m growing. And it’s kind of annoying. And grand. All at the same time. And I’m getting a paper brain.

Please tell me I’m not the only one God is forcing to grow…please!

First Day of School (?)

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Turbo’s first day of kindergarten was today. Well, I use the word “day” rather loosely, seeing as how we spent all of twenty minutes out of this momentous day on a basic lesson in numbers. It felt odd to spend so little time on it…

Coming from public school, I’m used to spending much more time on things because an entire classroom of kids has to “get it” before we can move on. Here, I’m only concerned about one. Cool.

What about reading and writing? Well. I chose to go with The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading, a rather classical approach to learning. At least that’s what they tell me. (I still feel like a giant ignoramus when it comes to all this stuff.) What I neglected to check was how much preparation I need to do before we begin our actual lessons. It’s nothing major, just some basic stuff. So, I will not be commencing reading and writing lessons until Monday.

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures. This first one is his little school area, complete with the desk I found out in the playhouse in the backyard. It’s old, and a little beat-up, but serves its purpose well. I’m going to try and find a little stool for him to use. In the meantime, he’s using my big ol‘ rolling desk chair. Whatever works!

Here’s Turbo doing his first worksheet. We’re using Math-U-See, which utilizes little blocks for everything. He really enjoyed that, and wanted to keep playing with the blocks all day. I told him we needed to keep them just for school, and offered him his legos instead. That was good enough.

What you don’t see in this picture is that poor Turbo is not wearing any shorts. I have yet to put away three – count ’em, three – baskets of clean laundry belonging to my short people. They’ve been waiting for me for about three or four days now. This is when I really thank God for homeschooling! Sigh. When does it end? I ask you.

I apologize for not having any deep reflections, wise insights, or even amusing anecdotes about his first day of school. It just didn’t feel like we really started, even though we did. I have to admit, I kind of feel like I missed out on watching my big boy walk away to a classroom with his Spider-Man backpack, without looking back.

As much as I would hate to spend his first day of school crying, part of me wondered for just a bit if I really made the right choice. But it’s only a small part of me that wonders. The rest of me knows that I did. And I look forward to the years God allows me to stay home with my kids, however long that may be.

School Today? Probably Not.

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I was hoping to start kindergarten for Turbo today, but I don’t think we’re quite ready. For one thing, I still need to put the routine ideas rattling around in my head onto paper. Just to see if I’m being realistic. For another thing, I need to prepare a little better for the reading and writing portion of his curriculum.

At least Levi & I were able to arrange the office to accomodate Turbo’s cute little red desk, thus creating a little homeschool nook! I can’t wait to go to the store today and buy a map or something else equally schoolish to hang above it!

Basically, this week is going to be the bootcamp of preparation, organization, and lots of prayer!

I’m just so glad that I live in a state where I don’t have to actually report anything to do with school until my son is seven years old. So, I have two years of trial and error to go before I have to tell the state that my son is a genius. (He might be. You never know. *wink wink*)

Well. Now that I’ve rambled in a rather aimless fashion, I will now let you go about your day. With promises of pictures up on the ol’ blog by the end of the week. Hopefully, these will include Bubbers’ 1-year portraits, which is also on my list this week!

I have quite a week ahead of me, don’t I? What’s yours look like?

Weekend Linkityness

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

~OR~ Something to Keep You From Jealousy While I Go Camping!

We are camping this weekend. At a state park. Hey, we gotta start somewheres, y’know! Anyway, here are some interesting tidbits I’ve come across this week. Between these links and the three posts I put up only yesterday, you should be kept nice & busy until I get back!

The Unaccountability Partner
Prodigal Jon waxes eloquent on the difference between an encourager (which we all need), and an unaccountability partner (which we don’t need).

Strutting Away. Not in the Bible.
Lessons learned by Antique Mommy from her four-year-old cutie.

I also have a bunch of financial links for you this weekend. Since I couldn’t choose between them, I’m posting them all in no particular order:
Financial Independence Day
Making Adjustments to Your Entertainment Budget
Teaching Your Kids Financial Responsibility – Paying for College

Here are a couple of homeschooling links I found that were very encouraging to me!
Too Much of the Wrong Kind of Socialization
Are You a “Real” Homeschool Mom?

And…Links to the curriculum I’m going to buy for this coming fall.
Math-U-See
The Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading
Five In a Row
This last one I’m going to use with all three of them. It’s really cool – we’ll be going to the library every month, picking out the books, and doing different activities that help the kids see that they can get more out of a book than just a good story and pretty pictures. Needless to say, I’m all excited!!!