Thursday, March 31, 2005

Nothing Much

I just wanted jump in and say hey! So HEY! We have been busy around here, but with nothing very exciting. Discussing house renovations, trying to decide between what needs to be done and what we want to do. This has been an ongoing process for about, oh 7 years now, ever since we moved in. We are also trying to decide what our goal is with this. Are we going to move closer to dh's work, will we be putting the house on the market sometime in the next year? So on. I have spent much, much time on the phone with handymen and contractors setting up appointments. Joy, Joy!

Yesterday I finally got fed up with waiting to get some things done and started on the renovations. I took down the awkward railing on our front porch which the previous owner had installed. I also started laying out brick for our patio that will go off the front porch..


I know that it looks a little uggh right now, but we are going to lay a brick patio between the front porch and the tree.

Took K to the dentist today to look at a tooth that has been worrying me. The tooth is okay and we will just keep an eye out on it. The important thing is that we have finally found a dentist office that I think that we can stand going too. The technician was actually able to get my 2 1/2 yr old to sit still and have an x-ray made, without restraints or sedation :) I forgot to ask if she would want to babysit on occasion.

I will not be online this weekend as we are taking a quick family trip to go celebrate my BIL's 50th birthday. Will back Monday, right now I need to go pack and deal with folding mt. laundry.



Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Carolina Blue Skies

Even though I am the furthest thing from a Carolina fan, I can appreciate Carolina blue when it is in the sky. The weather has been grand these ast two days and we have been enjoying it. It is hard to settle down and get those things done that need to get done, like school and housework, when we have days like this. But I have to say we have been fairly successful combining the two. I am not striking 100% on my to do list, but we are hitting at least 90%.

We are managing to hit at minimum devotions, phonics, math and reading each day for MB. She has come to expect these and lets me know when we have not done it. I am really using this Spring to learn more about the best ways to work with MB on her schoolwork, so we have tried a variety of different things. I have noticed that for MB it is always best if we start with phonics while her mind is fresh, then math is a reward for her when we are done.

This morning I tried to do the phonics lesson first thing before we left for preschool. It did not turn out well, it was just too early for her mind to concentrate on it. So we will have to do phonics after lunch when she gets home T,W, an TH. Not ideal, but school should only be for another six weeks. Then we can go with the schedule that really seems to work on Monday and Friday.

Then we have breakfast and do devotions while we eat. Then we go over each of our daily to do lists that are on the white board. After we dress, MB helps me get the chores started for the day. I spend some time with K getting her started playing or doing an activity and putting little EM down for her morning nap. Then MB and I sit down and do a phonics lesson. We generally move straight from that to a math lesson because that is 'fun' to MB. Right now that takes us all of about 40 minutes. Then it is music or some other physical activity type game that we play with K. Then we have lunch during which I generally read a story. After lunch they have free play, hopefully outside, while I do a few more chores and spend some time with little EM. Then we have 'snuggle' reading and put K and EM down for their afternoon naps. Then we will knock out anything that we have left or projects that the little ones might be in the way for. Then the two of us have rest time for an hour. After rest time they play, most of the time with the other kids in the neighorhood who are home from school and I try to pick up around the house and start dinner.

Those days we seem to have the best attitudes in the house and everything just seems to flow. I am really looking forward to more of my days being like that.

I got a good surprise today. One of my friends in the neighborhood came over and offered me two white boards that she did not need anymore. Cool. I am not sure where I will put them yet, but they will definitely be useful!



Monday, March 28, 2005

Organizing and Celebrating

This weekend we celebrated Easter. It is to me the most special and holy of the churches holidays. It is the physical fulfillment of the promises that God has made to each of us. Holy Week is the week of emotions - expectation, anger, sadness and overwhelming joy. It is also a tough concept to pass on to the girls. Truthfully K is still too young and is somewhat oblivious to the story although she did sit with us all week through the reading. This is the second year for MB to really get into the story. Last year she listened to the stories and she remembered the main events. This year was the year for questions about the story; Why, who, etc. Every year I hope that she will continue to grow in the story, because it is not just a story of our Lord Jesus, but in many ways it is a story of all of us.

My only downer about Easter is the whole bunny/basket thing. I don't choose to do it for the girls. I believe that this holiday is too important to be corrupted by the stores and chocolate manufacturers. I do let them participate in Egg Hunts earlier in the week. Yet, MB is 5 and becoming aware of others and their customs, and I have also experienced the look of longing on her face. What made it even worse was that we attended my in-laws church for service on Sunday and at their children's message the very first question that was asked by the teacher was "Who got Easter Baskets this morning?" and the next was "What was in them?" I was awarded a 'Look' from MB. Then at lunch at my MIL started asking about it and telling me that it doesn't have to be chocolate, and so on.

It just so happens that I did buy them some new things this weekend, new spring clothes and even splurged on a copy of The Incredibles for the family. But I didn't put them in a basket and pretend that a bunny came to deliver it before daybreak. I will not even pretend that there is an Easter Bunny - MB asked this year, and I told her the truth.

I don't know why churches have allowed this to happen, an in many ways encourage the eroding of the Easter celebration. But I don't believe that we need to let children believe in an Easter Bunny for the first eight years because the real story is too graphic. It can be really amazing to learn what children can handle if given a chance and are taught it in a loving way.

Enough of my Rant on Easter...

This weekend I also began organizing. Starting with our extremely large number of books that were spread all over our house. If there was a flat surface there were books, books on the floor, books in the bathroom, books, books everywhere! I organized the books and re-purposed one of the bookshelves in our family room. It now contains the school books and resource materials along with music. The basket for the on-going reading books has been cleaned out and resorted. And the cabinets below have had the games and art supplies reorganized. I feel energized just by getting this done. I wish I had taken a before picture, but don't have any good ones that show the space (it is not something I have ever wanted highlighted). Here is the after shot, this could loosely be considered our 'schoolroom.'

Did anyone else happen to catch the beginning of the Little House on the Prarie miniseries on ABC Saturday night. It was excellent (IMHO), they managed to stay very true to the book. I probably would have overlooked it had I not read an article in our paper earlier in the week. It has restarted an interest in the books by MB. We are supposed to attend a party next Saturday night, but I believe that I will have to be home by 8:00 to put the girls to bed so that MB and I can watch the next hour of it.

The computer has sucked enough time from my day.

For as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:22


Thursday, March 24, 2005

A Whole New World

I have to remember to let my dh know tonight that we have officially entered a whole new world. Time to lock the door and buy that gun he keeps saying he is going to have when the girls bet interested in boys.

My daughter getting her own wheels (2 that is) is now attracting the older boy (7-8 yr olds) population of our neighborhood. Since she is not to leave the vicinity of our yard, they are coming to her to have their races.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I just wanted to download our recent school activities.

The good first.

Math is great. Monday we received our order for the Rightstart materials. I ended up ordering the K kit, even though MB is working closer to a grade 1. After looking through it, I decided that the Level A will be great for us to work through this Spring and Summer. Even though it is a lot of review, it is hands on and moves fairly quickly to material that MB will need to absorb. Not to mention it will help both of us learn this particular approach towards early math. I figure we will probably finish sometime in early-mid fall and then she will move into Level B. MB is totally excited about it and is loving the Geoboard and Abacus.

MB has pulled out an introduction to Map Skills workbook that I had picked up at some time. She is enjoying working through that.

Learning to ride the bike has been great (see pic below). Everyday we have been out there. And now she is a full-fledged bicyclist. It was great watching her learn, I would describe what she needed to do then she would tell me to leave her alone and she would go and figure it out on her own. She had a lot of falls but she never became discouraged and kept at it. As she has been learning on the bike she has gotten a sense of achievement that is carrying over into her reading.

Now for the So-So

I am still struggling over the phonics. MB doesn't dislike actually doing the lesson, but struggles with it for some reason. We are using 100 Easy Lessons, she learns the sounds easy enough, then struggles with sounding out the words. She will sound out the individual sounds, then when she goes to say the word, says a word that doesn't even come close to sounding like the word. For example she sounds out "ear" then says the word "meat." This morning I became frustrated, so called a 10 minute break. Then as I was walking up the hall I heard her sound out and then read correctly without hesitation the sentence: "Mad at me". Grumble, Grumble.

All this taken into account her actual reading is coming along by leap and bounds. She is reading for me willingly and each day is reading more independently.

I had my mom, who was a 1st grade teacher before there was Kindergarten, observe us these past few days while she was here. I wanted to know if I was doing something wrong, or if I needed to try a new approach. Her review was that MB is using the phonics lesson as a control issue. She also believes, like I do, that MB is actually learning to read through a more whole word, memorization technique that she herself has developed. So we are going to finish out 100 Easy Lessons since she does not actually balk at them. At the same time we are just going to keep reading and do more work with sight words.

More importantly I need to become more relaxed over the whole reading thing. It has become too important for me, personally. I am a reader. I don't remember learning how to read, because I learned so early that to my memory I have always read. It just blows my mind that my daughter who can remember just about everything that is ever said around her, have a vocabulary of a much older child, and enjoys solving puzzles in her free time, should struggle so much over reading. This is totally the wrong attitude and that is up to me to change!

Pictures and Such

Here are some pictures from our field trip to the zoo and MB's big achievement this week.

This is K, petending that she is part of the chimp family. Sometimes I believe that she actually belongs there. :)

Here is MB in front of the elephant that came right up to the viewing area. Considering this was the one thing that MB wanted to see on the trip it was wonderful.

MB on her bike. considering she just had us remove the training wheels Saturday afternoon she is really scooting all over. She is so proud of her new skill!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Movin' and Groovin'

We had a great and wonderful weekend here. Saturday morning, MB and K went with their aunt to an Easter Egg Hunt. I was able to go shopping for more art and school supplies, then I hit the library without children. That afternoon we had excitement when MB decided to remove her training wheels from her bike. She was a trooper with all the falls, but she finally made it about 20 feet and used her brakes to stop. Sunday and today we have had to go out and continue the lessons. It is so exciting to watch her take off on this new level of independence.

Sunday was wonderful. Church was great, I love Palm Sunday. Especially the music on this day. Both little EM and K fell asleep during the service, which made it a very peaceful service for dh and I. After church we came home to watch State's basketball game (NCAA tournament). State actually upset #2 UConn with a thrilling finish. GO PACK!! After that I cleaned the house while dh and the girls finished digging the ditch for the new driveway drain. Then my mom arrived for her visit.

Today, with the weather being so good we made an impromptu visit to the Zoo. Which was really enjoyed. I will have to post pictures later, but MB really wanted to see the Elephants on this visit. The elephants are generally so far from the viewing area that it is really hard to see them. Not today!! One was extremely close and we were able to stand there and watch for a long time. The girls got to watch it drink water from the water hole. I got some good pictures.

On the way home MB reminded me that we needed to do her phonics lesson. Suuurrre thing!!
But when we got home the Math kit had arrived!! So first we had to open that and examine all the neat peripherals.

We did the phonics lesson and I can really see it starting to come together for her. If nothing else she is not complaining and is starting to have a sense of accomplishment from it.

When we were done, she couldn't wait any longer for her 'math.' So I let her pull out the geo boards. She and K spent 20-30 minutes making shapes. It was great to watch MB show K had to make them. As much as they push and prod each other, this is when I can really see the caring come out.

Tonight I attend a meeting of the local WTM group. I am looking forward to it.

Have a great one!


Friday, March 18, 2005

"I Kind of like this"

That was what MB told me after our phonics lesson today. What a turn around from just three days ago when I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall. Today it was easy. We sat down did the lesson and it was over. I know that she is somewhat bored by some of the repetitiveness of it, so I try to be aware and really on emphasize the repitition where I see mistakes being made, or if she starts to get a little lazy. She was surprised when we got through it so quickly, so I did make a point of praising her and letting her know that when she doesn't fuss through the lesson we do get done quicker. I do hope that she keeps this feeling for a little while longer.

We blew off some of the housework today and the homeschool park day to go have lunch with daddy. That was nice. The wonderful people he works with had really blessed us back when little EM was born and we had yet to find a Friday when someone wasn't sick or the weather wasn't horrible. So I took the girls to visit his office and let them meet EM. Then we went and had lunch. Even managed to catch part of the NCSU b-ball game.

By the time we got home it was after 2pm. The big girls wanted to play outside. Fine, after three days of bad weather I was kind of tired of being cooped up with them too.

The only thing besides the phonics lesson that we have really done today was making "Rainsticks," our art project for the end of our Spring Weather topic we have worked on. Tonight we will probably do some more reading and maybe watch a segment or two of the Insectia dvd.

Day good, DH home soon, no plan for dinner yet. So I better head on.



Thursday, March 17, 2005

Better....and Better

Today is our 'friday', or it could be our 'sunday'. Whichever way we want to look at it.

MB had fun at school today, they had their St. Patrick's Day party and an Easter egg hunt. Plus it was their last day for a week. I am so glad that there is only six weeks left.

MB sat down this afternoon and did her phonics lesson with NO complaints. Stunned Mommy. Then she helped me put together our new swing for little EM (Engineering class?) And she finishd it all off by asking for some more math sheets.

Tomorrow we are going to do some art and science projects, always favorites around here. And if the weather warms up, see post below, we may make it over to the local HS group park day.

And since I have sat down to type this we have received out first order of books -- Yeah!! And then MB brought the mail in and I have finally received our refund from the OB's office for my pregnancy with little EM. I am dancing while I am typing.

To top it all off I am looking forward to a women's get-together at church tonight and dh has offered to keep the big girls for me!!

I feel like I am sitting in the cat bird seat right now.

Peace to all...


Let's Check the date...

Okay it is the 17th. Let's see what Month is it....March. That is interesting; nothing is blooming, the trees are just beginning to bud, and what is that stuff falling from the sky this morning?


When did I move up north?

Spring, Spring, you cannot get here fast enough for me!




Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Update on "Torture"

Wanted to give a quick update regarding my vent below. The rest of the day went better, and a couple hours after the "lesson" MB came to me and wanted to read two Bob Books that she has recently been struggling with. I would say that she read them at about a 90% profeciency. She then took the next one saying that she wanted to practice with that one. So maybe it will all be worth it, knowing that I will probably go through the same tomorrow.

I realize that over the past month my dh and I have introduced s few new routines and rules. We have tried to introduce them slowly and individually, and until the past couple of days I had not seen any backlash to them. And I don't think I am seeing anything truly 'negative', I just think MB is trying to see what the new boundaries are and if the old boundaries are still in existence. I am hoping that in a few weeks I will not even be able to remember the past few days.

Got good news this evening. Our Rightstart materials should get here Friday. I so need some direction there, because I am having so much trouble keeping up with her in math. I spend so much time looking for materials and games for her math, and she flies through it so quickly, with excellent recall, that I am just running out of energy when it comes to that.

It is bedtime for me.



That was torture

Upon second thoughts I have added back in phonics practice with MB and we are again attempting to work our way through 100 Easy Lessons. MB is very impatient and wants to move through things as quickly as possible, especially sounding things out. She would much rather memorize a word and move on. I am being mean and putting my foot down on this. She does not struggle with the work, but just doesn't want to do it. We have been working on phonics again for over a week. She knows it is the one thing that we will do each day and we will not do math or science until we have it done. Twenty minutes is all I ask of her.

We just spent an hour-and-a-half on one lesson. On every single thing I had to refocus her back to the lesson. She would sound out a sound or word perfectly, then I would have her do it again and she said that she couldn't. I stuck with it, because I don't want her to think that she will be able to get out of it by acting that way. But I know that my blood pressure was through the roof. I even had to walk away at one point.

The past couple of days it hasn't just been the phonics, she has been whiney and uncooperative. Did the real MB decide to go on vacation and leave me the alien again?



Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Good Days

The past couple of days have been really good. The weather on Sunday was spectacular, and it being March meant only one thing, thunderstorms, rain and cold weather the next day. Yep!

Sunday after church I dragged the two big girls to go for a walk around the local lake, about a 2-mile walk on the path. DH stayed home with little EM to watch the ACC basketball final. Spring was in the air and it seemed that everybody was ready to be outside. I made two big mistakes though. Thinking that we were going to play at the playground an just walk down to the lake I did not throw the umbrella stroller into the van to take and I wore slide tennis shoes with no socks. The walk around the lake consisted of me hefting around my 30lb deadweight 2-yr-old for at least half of the walk. Not only is she solidly heavy, but she does not hang on to help me out, no she likes to lean away from me so that she can see all that is going on. When we got back to the playground I slipped off my shoes to take a look at my aching feet and my little toe was twice the size. Upon closer examination I realized that no, it wasn't swollen but I had a blister the size of my little toe.

On the good note we saw lots of ducks, some swans, a heron and turtles sunning themselves. We even stopped to listen to the bullfrogs. In a few more weeks we will go out their and see the babies like we did last year.

When we got home it was time for DH's outing. Tis the season to start swinging the clubs. He took MB with him, as she is good at locating golf balls in the woods :) I got to stay at home with two sleeping babies. I put my sore feet up and began reading Jane Eyre. What a Sunday.

Monday was good too, although the weather was ugh. We got up and knocked out reading practice first thing. Then spent some time on our seasons/weather theme we are doing. After that was free play and mommy chore time. After lunch we watched the first DVD in the Insectia series. It is a little over MB's head, but she generally does pick up something from documentaries. This DVD has four segments, the first one was Living Art. It was about insects as art. Very cool, especially some of the people in the rainforest taking beetles and other insects and stringing them as necklaces. And for those of you who may find that a little creepy, some actually wear live beetles as broaches. They take the beetles and attach rhinestones and other decorative elements to the backs, without hurting the beetle, attach it to a clasp and wear it as it crawls around. I will not be rushing out to buy this new piece of jewlery. MB thought it was cool.

After that was over, MB got into our weekly folder and pulled out all the math sheets I had planned for the entire week and completed them. Okay, back to the computer for me. I have ordered Rightstart Math and am hoping it will be here sometime this week. Maybe that will keep her busy :)

Today starts my dreaded 3-day week. Preschool every morning. I am trying a new routine for myself. After changing the girls' routines over the last month, I have decided that it was time I got back to morning bible and prayer time for me. So I have added an extra half-hour to my morning. I hope this will help me get going and stay focused on my purpose during the day.

Good times, Peaceful times.

Wishing the same to all of you.

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the universe. Hebrews 1:2


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Faith Cultures

Today as I was reading our local newspaper I came across this article. It discusses a study that was done on how teens from a variety of religious backgrounds "cope" with adolesence. Those from a LDS family cope better in all the major measurements.

I want to ask those out there who are LDS or knowledgable of LDS culture to tell me how. What do they do that the rest of us are missing. I am not looking for discussions on faith and what is right belief or wrong belief, but family culture.

How can I make sure that my children are able to grow and internalize a faith system that belongs to THEM? To me this is what is important, they have to carry the faith. It can't just be their parent's beliefs, then they don't own it.

I found it interesting and something to think about as I raise my children. I want to give them all the advantages I can for adolesence, because it sure scares me.

Let me know your thoughts.



Saturday, March 12, 2005

Where do the days go...

There were times in my life when at the end of the day I felt that I had accomplished so much. My to do list would be marked through, and my day was over.

Now, even though my to do list is still marked through, I find myself wondering at the end of the day where my day had gone. If my to do list didn't have marks through it, I would not remember what I had done. Either my cleaning is totally undone by the daily activities or my activities are those that are invisible to the human eye, like teaching the girls.

Here it is 9:30 pm, and I feel like I have only been awake for two hours. The day has gone by in such a snap. My list is marked through and a new one started for tomorrow. Yet, I look aroun my house at all the little jobs that still need to be done....

Maybe tomorrow.

Today was beautiful. And I should have gotten out to enjoy it. I meant to. Instead I kicked the big girls and the husband out with orders to clean up the yard from our storms this week and to not come in until I told them they could. I was able to clean the floors. I mean really clean the floors, move furniture and get in all the crevices, instead of my quick mop up the spots or just hit what is visible.

It was nice to get that job done and to see my floors shine, until I went into the kitchen later and my shoes stuck to the floor. I begin to mumble to myself about children and messes, you know, when my husband said that he was the one that spilled sweet tea on the floor. {{{Steam rising from ears}}} Well at least he fessed up, he could have kept quiet and I would just have blamed the girls.


On a school note, since our main schooling days right now are Friday-Monday. We had a somewhat productive day, not as much as Friday since it is the weekend and Daddy is home. MB continually surprises me with her math ability and understanding. I spent over an hour on the net last night trying to come up with some new math ideas and sheets for her to use until we get a math program. This morning I was pulling together her folder for the day and I was trying to figure out which sheet to use and she looked over my shoulder and verbally completed all of the patterns on the worksheets. Poof!! Not to say I am not pleased that she picks up so well, but I keep ending up a step behind her in math. So today I ended up ordering RightStart math program. I was going to wait and begin an actual math program next fall, but I need something now to help me out.

We actually made it through her read aloud today with very little fussing. That is an accomplishment. The other thing we fcused on today was some writing practice. Otherwise I pushed her to stay outside as much as possible, since it was somewhat warm and sunny and our forcast for the rest of the week is not very good.

K is really concentrating on her verbal skills and is becoming so much more fluent and understandable. Potty training is still good days and bad days. Some of it is the learning process, but I know that a least a couple of times she has purposefully had accidents, kind of as a way to let me know that she does have control over some areas of her life. Unfortunately, she is not aware that her big sister used to use this very same tactic (If she wanted to change outfits and I wouldn't let her or once when she wanted out of her car seat) and it doesn't really get to me. "You want to pee in your pants, fine. You are the one who has to feel it."

Anyway, my day was good. Normal, always nice.



Friday, March 11, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

The water glass according to Us

I will take a bite of Sarah's meme.

The water glass according to my family.

MB - It doesn't really matter if it is half-full or half-empty, but whatever I say everyone else better agree with me, because I am THE BOSS.

K - Ohhhh! Look! Water! Let me dump it so it will be empty. That will really drive MB nuts.

EM - Water. Glass. What are these things that these giants keep talking about, all I know about is the huge mammary gland, and it better be full.

DH - It is neither half-full, nor half-empty. Now will you stop worrying about it, honey!

Me - Half-full, but I am going to constantly check to make sure that it doesn't drop any lower.

That was fun! Thanks Sarah.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Looking for a book???

K was looking for a book today. What book? I don't know, but I am guessing she didn't find it.

On a positive note, it gave me the push I needed to reorganize the books in their room an find the books on Spring and Easter I want to use over the next couple of weeks.


I have updated sidebar

Just a quick note to say I have updated and added a few more links to my sidebar.

Not a whole lot to comment on today. The girls have been in some sort of whine and fight mood the last couple of days and I am just about worn out by it.



Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Getting Going

I am gearing up to get things going this spring for MB. Something that I will call School-Lite. I am going to try and use these months to test some methods before we really get going in September. I would start earlier, but we had already scheduled MB for several different out-of-town activities this summer in preparation for her actually going to school.

What we have been doing is reading, more reading, geography in relation to reading, arts and crafts, and math. Every now and then I would actually add in a fun science project, that of course related to something we were reading.

I went to Wal-Mart this morning and picked up some poster board and a dry erase board to better organize our days. I want to have on the poster board the activities that will not change over time, like 10 minutes reading practice, 15 minutes independent math activity, 30 minutes quiet independent reading (mommy break time). This will give her something she can put a sticker by each day that she completes the activity. On the dry erase board I want to list out the specific lessons or activities that I want to complete that week. When we get it done, MB can then mark it off.

I am hoping that this will make the transition easier for MB and help me out. I struggle in the middle of the week because she is in a preschool three mornings (TWTh) and it is a struggle to do much in the afternoon. We always do much more Friday-Monday, because I can get the day started with a focus. This will not be an issue next year, but it frustrates me right now.

It will also help to remind me when I get caught up with the other two or housework that I need to stop and focus on a project for MB.

Some of the projects that I am planning are:
Spring Weather (This will be an extended one because we are going to graph the daily Hi temps over a month to show how it gradually warms up in the spring. We are going to also study thunderstorms and wind)
Animal Life in the Spring
Plants and Flowers
Planning and Planting a Garden
The Easter Story
and The Legend of the Sanddollar.

I figure those studies will take us to June, and then she will be off to visiting various family members off and on through the summer.

I found a cool site with really cheap materials and activities, A to Z Teacher Stuff last night. I already have a few things on my wish list there.

Better go, got to get shoes back on the Toddler. (Bracing self for the scream)



Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Mommy Moments

Last night I composed in my head a wonderful post that I wanted to share. Do you think that I can remember any of it? Chalk up another one lost to mommy brain.

Oh, my we just had the freakiest storm move in on us. I was sitting at my computer and looked out and could see a wall of wind coming. The pine trees looked like they were about to take flight. I grabbed the girls an headed for the hallway. I am back now. But that brought to mind probably one of my biggest weather/nature fears. I am absolutely terrified of tornados. I have never been in one, and the closest I have ever come is watching waterspouts moving in from the ocean. I could never live in the midwest for this very fear. We have enough scares of them here in NC for me to stress out anytime we have thunderstorms in the spring. I can and have handleded dealing with hurricanes my whole life. They get my adrenaline pumping too, but at least I can do some preparing.

Okay, since I can't come up with what I had wanted to share yesterday I will just tell you that we had a beautiful day with temps in the '70s (thus the storms today). We played and we did some school. We just basically enjoyed each other.

I love that our school day never ends, because it sure is great when MB lets me know at 9:00 pm that she finally understands a concept that I have been trying to teach her for a few weeks. She is ready for bed, but her mind is not so absolutely worn down by trivial things that she can still think about math or nature. But to be there for that clicking moment when it finally all gets put together in her brain.

I am off to go find a website that will tell me how long the human tongue is. For some reason she has that stuck on her brain and wants to know, so I live to serve.



Monday, March 07, 2005

The Weekend

This is weekend went well. I spent much of Friday evening and Saturday compiling a tentative plan for HS MB next year. I also got some good ideas from the TWTM bulletin board about introducing more organized school to MB. One suggestion that I got was to gradually increase the different subjects we are studying, instead of hitting her all at one time with a new schedule. This made me step back and really evaluate what we already do and I was actually surprised to see how much we are doing. We already do a biblical story and then two other reading times during the day. At least four days a week we work on MB's reading, not including the time she spends on the computer doing self-directed phonics drill and the other phonics games we play just on a whim throughout the day. We also seem to do math as an everyday thing, although she may not actually sit down and do a math worksheet but every so often (then she will do them until I make her stop).

Writing is an area that we need to work on. Not because she can't or doesn't like to, as she will often go off and write me notes all the time. But I have not been very rigid with her in her actual handwriting, and since she does enjoy the process of writing, I think it will also be a good vehicle to for helping with memory work and sight words, while improving her handwriting.

Organized Science and Art are hit and miss, although in the course of every day she does something along those lines because they are the two subjects she loves the most.

So to facilitate her transition from less organized to more organized I am going ahead an implementing 2 organized science activities a week this spring. We are going to take advantage of our spring here and do a nature study on Spring. We are going to study weather changes, and teach her how to record and graph numbers. We are going to observe changes in the plant life over the next few months. And I am going to have her help me plan and plant our garden this spring. I figure we will get some weather science, biology, and earth science in while also working on her recording and observation skills.

I don't want to introduce too much this Spring because she will be traveling and involved in daycamps this summer and really will not be home that much. We will have to start over some this fall, but hopefully by then it will look more like fun and less overwhelming.

We will also probably school throughout the day for this first year. I have also observed that in the morning she enjoys more of the hands-on interactive learning activities, early afternoon we slow it down with reading, computer time, independent art projet and quiet time. And then in the evening is when she most likes to tackle things like workbooks and sheets. So this is the routine I will probably use to start things off on, since she is already used to this.

The motto I am going to try to remember for the next year is "Don't make too many changes."

On Sunday I tried to make up for lost time by working on my proposal for the Holy Spirit bible study that I have to make to our church board on Wednesday. I have a pretty good Purpose and Format presentation for the board and have a draft of topics that will be covered in the study. I spent hours Sunday weeding through the overwhelming numbers of good scripture passages on this topic. My draft really moved easily until I was trying to wrap up the last day and then I got stuck because of all the information and not really knowing how I can fit it in with the time I have. So I put it aside for a few days to let the Spirit guide me in how He wants me to finish the study.

Other notes from this weekend. The weather was good and we spent a lot of time outside. In fact today is supposed to be in the low '70s so I see us being outside quite a bit today. Celebrated my MIL's bday on Saturday, and my dad and stepmother stopped by Sunday on their way through town for a short visit with the girls.

I am off to prepare for the new day.



Friday, March 04, 2005

A Tentative Okay

We will be homeschooling next year, if I don't lose my nerve. My husband and I sat down and talked last night and I was surprised that he really did not put up much of an argument. He felt that since I had spent almost the last two years researching HS than I was the better one to make the decision. His only real concern was the intensity of MB, and "Wouldn't you like to get rid of her for a few hours?" No, but there are times I would like to hang her upside down by the ankles. And like he said, what will she really miss not being in school for the first year or two that we can't giver her here. And if it ends up being a miserable experience for any of us, she can go to school at anytime.

That being done, now I am nervous. I have a general idea of the curriculum for her for next year, but can I pull it off? Her reading is hit or miss right now, and it mainly depends on her mood for the day. I am guessing it will click sooner or later. She struggles with phonics. She doesn't like doing it and she does seem to have some disconnect with hearing and distinguishing the separate sounds within a word, a problem that I actually have. So I need to find a way to work with that. She loves to write and learns most of words through writing them so I need to use that tool for her. I am not worried about comprehension as we have been reading The Chronicles of Narnia and she comprehends easily and loves doing activities related to whatever book we are reading.

For the rest I would like to do TWTM for the literature/history/science rotation and for math she is on a 1st grade level already. So now I have to figure out programs or texts to supplement our kind of relaxed life-learning that we have been doing. She loves hands-on things and using her whole-boy to learn with. So I guess I will be doing research for the next few weeks. I would like to figure out how to start with a minimum output of money. I am hoping using our existing resources that maybe we can get started in the 200-300 range. Is this reasonable?

I need to purchase the History resources and a math program. Supplement math with a computer program. And a science book that will cover the human body when we get there. We have an awesome library a couple blocks away from our house which I am sure we will be using exhaustively. Are there other suggestions?

We are going to meet the local homeschoolers for park day this morning (brrr).



Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Right On

This test totally pegged me.

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (37%) moderately low which suggests you are worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Orderliness (53%) medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.
Extraversion (28%) low which suggests you are very reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Have a great evening


What to do? What to do?

I am again revisiting whether or not homeschooling MB for another year or going ahead and placing her in Kindergarten.

My husband is really not keen on homeschooling at this point as he tends to be someone who does take the path of least resistance. The schools where we live are good public schools and seem to be successful with their students (compared to other public schools if you know what I am getting at). My daughter loves to be around others - children, adults, whatever she is an extrovert. I have two other young children at home, and MB tends to demand attention when she is home. These are the pro-public school points.

On the other hand, It is public school and they have a curriculum that generally leaves me banging my head against the desk in frustration whenever I look at it. For example by the end of K a child should be able to count to 30, recognize five basic shapes and tell you their colors. They will also exhibit pre-reading skills of letter sounds an knowing the difference between a letter, a word and a sentence. These are skills MB worked on when she was 3.

Also, she has recently begun to tell me she doesn't want to go to preschool anymore because she is bored. That she is tired of coloring and working on letters and numbers that she already knows. She wants to stay home with me and 'play school.' This is a good preschool and their curriculum is just another version of what she will have next year at school. The only reason I am still pushing her is that it has an excellent program for introducing children to faith and bible studies, and the grandmothers are paying for it and want her to go.

I don't want school to become something that she endures because she has to, like it was for me. And I don't want the reason we send her to school to be so that she can play with others.

The gift that I want to give my children in their lives is a love of learning. I want to teach them how to learn, not just have them learn to parrot back the information that the teacher wants to hear. I want them to never want to stop learning about stuff, whatever it is in life. I want them to be able to read the bible in any version and actually understand what it says. In Proverbs we are called to be wise, this to me isn't just having knowledge but knowing how to find answers and knowing when you don't know. This is not the education they get in public schools, and by the time they get to college today they are so burnt out on school and the parroting behavior is so ingrained that many cannot even form educated opinions of their own.

MB is an active learner with a huge interest in science - physical and life science. I fear that because she basically uses her whole boy when she is learning, that she may end up being labeled hyperactive or even ADD. And I would love to be able to continue working off her love of science to introduce her to other things.

So now I am in a quandary. I know what my heart is telling me - Homeschool - it is what I have wanted to do for several years. MB and I have spoken about it in general terms, and the only issue she had was not being able to ride the yellow bus, but she patted my arm and said, "That's okay we have the green bus." (Our van is green). My husband on the other hand is going to take persuading on this, and if we don't all agree then I am going to have to let her go to school with my prayers for success.

I am currently in contact with a local HS group in my area and will probably attend a park day in the near future. I hope and pray for some resolution soon, but until then I guess I should probably actually send off for a copy of her birth certificate in order to register at school since registration started a month ago.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.