Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy Weekends

I guess I am just one of those wacky people, but our weekends are always much more stressful than our weeks. I look forward to Mondays. Sundays are downright painful for me now. This weekend was just exciting, fun-filled and exhausting.

After my last post on Thursday, I have even more wonderfully sad milestones to note. Emily, after many, many months of semi-potty training and taking breaks from the process. Has decided that she wants to be BIG, "like Katie". This means that she will now wear underwear, something she absolutely and emphatically refused just a few weeks ago. She knows the process and will wear undies - hopefully, soon she will put the two together. But we are getting there. And, yes she isn't a baby no more - as she tells me.

And, speaking of the baby, sniff sniff. The baby is walking. The end of last week he started taking a few stumbling steps. Saturday as I sat on the sofa I kept hearing him laughing in the hallway. Robbie has this wonderful deep tummy giggle. I get up to check on him, and there he is... taking a step and laughing, taking another step and laughing. By last night he was taking five to eight steps between DH and I. And, he will hold on to one of my hands and just walk and walk.

Here is the picture I promised of Mary's gappy smile. The next tooth is already wiggling and if I could get her to eat a candy apple she will have a bigger hole there.

It has been a big week for us - first lost tooth, potty training and first steps.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The best part of my days

are spent watching the kids play. Sometimes together and sometimes apart. I am sitting here late tonight looking over an entire Little People village. A place Emily has spent the greater part of her day. It is a great and wonderful gift I have received to be here with her, and the rest, each and every day to watch them grow, change and make sense of the world they live in.

It isn't just watching Emily in her pretend play, it also their outside play, the plays, shows and dances they perform. Each child at their own stage of development - each giving me a precious insight to themselves.

Too soon children are asked to grow up, put away their childhood and become little adults. Homeschooling protects that childhood just a little bit longer. Learning and play cannot, and should not, be removed from each other.

We were reminded today of how short childhood is and how quickly the children are growing. Mary has hit another milestone today - she lost her first baby tooth. This has been a much awaited event for her, but oh too quickly for me. I'm sad and excited, much more so than I imagined I would feel about a simple tooth. I'll post pictures tomorrow.


More days like today

I am loving the gray, drizzly, cooler weather. After six straight months I was tired of the sun, and I think the local weatherpeople were getting a little concerned about their jobs. Not much to forecast when it is sunny & hot every single day...

DH took one of his days off today. Getting to that time of the year where they start hounding him to use some of days off. Since he is in the house I've been pushed aside by the children...not complaining. He took the big girls to gymnastics, allowing me to stay home and waste time on the computer.

I've got Caribbean-style black bean soup in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Hoping to bake a loaf of bread this afternoon to go with it. And, laundry is getting washed and dried.

I've also been online trying to find some solution to my camcorder problem. I ordered what Sony told me to order - and surprise, surprise it doesn't fit. Nope, same type that I could have bought at the half-dozen local stores I went shopping before talking to Sony. My last gasp effort before giving up and trying to buy another new-used camera on Ebay, is to post a wanted for the cable on Freecycle. I'll see if anything comes of it.

Time to empty the dishwasher while I have no 'helpers'.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy Wednesday

We were rained out of the "Native Life" classes Mary and Katie were to attend today. We badly, badly need the rain and will make-up the class later.

We didn't make it to Piano class either, as there was a very nasty thunderstorm banging around at the time we needed to go. The kids made the best of the situation:

We've also painted - mainly paper plates to look like pumpkins. I wish I could have taken pictures of that, but my girls decided that painting is an "au natural" activity. Especially after participating in a mud fight outside shortly before.

We are living up to the blog title today.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday at home

We got to stay home today!!! Yeah

So, we were able to play catch up on some work and projects we have not been able to get to with all our running around. Kitchen chemistry was the big deal today. It was Mary's project, but everyone was excited to watch the litmus testing. Last week we read the chapter on acids and bases in our chemistry text, but never got a chance to do our experiment. This experiment was particularly interesting for me, as I did a science fair project on household acids and bases when I was in the 3rd grade.

I found the set of red and blue litmus at the local school supply store to be inexpensive and we used clean baby food jars to hold seven different substances found around the house.

Katie is still enjoying using her new math book. She asks to do math every day.

Mary is beginning multiplication in her math book. Today it was so nice she took it outside where it was "quieter".


Our Homeschool Today

I checked in at Denim Jumper today and someone was asking for pictures of our 'homeschool'.

We've been homeschooling 'officially' for two years. But, my collection of homeschool materials dates back to even before I was born. My mother was an elementary school teacher turned media coordinator. My home was always filled with books (free reading and research), games, art supplies and manipulatives, and I have just continued this style of decorating.

We don't have a particular homeschool area - we just do 'school' wherever it seems right at the time. I have tried to corral most of my materials in certain areas, but I consider everything in our house a resource - including the kid's toys.

Once I saw the request I took pictures of what it looks like at this time - halfway through our day. I wish I could say that it is generally cleaner, or more organized. But, I won't lie to you. What it looks like today is actually better than normal. But, this works for us. And, we are too busy having fun to worry about clutter normally.

We split the den so that the back half is our office/homeschool storage area. Here are the two desktop computers. The larger desk is also my home office.

Another view showing the bookshelves and the 'quiet' area (the desk in the back corner). With all of us in a little space, we need somewhere a person can go to work in quiet.

The 'quiet' desk and our calendar. The desk also serves as the weekly stacking area. What we are currently working on is kept here.

This bookshelf stores this year's books. It also holds the vast majority of our school supplies, arts & crafts supplies and science stuff.

This unit holds a lot of the board books for the younger set. The baskets hold math and phonics manipulatives and games.

Our kitchen table. The number two spot in the house to find us working. The family room-kitchen-eating area is basically one room, and where we spend the majority of our indoor time.

The Family Room...this is homeschool central for us. The sofa is almost constantly in use. This bookshelf holds a lot of children's books that my mom gave me from her years in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. These are books that don't fit in the girls' room. I also have some reference books and general workbooks/coloring books for when the children want those. This is also the home of our music library. There is another bookshelf on the other side of the room which holds my books (household, cookbooks, general reads), games, puzzles and various preschool materials.

The girls like to hang their stories, pictures and other things they find interesting on this wall. My Robbie being all cute and having his lunch while I run around and take pictures.

Our coffee table in the family room. This adjustable-height, folding table was bought specifically for this purpose. Marker and crayon easily come off this surface. There is the old, beat-up laptop that I use when children take over the office computers.

I think of this area as our 'prechool'. The younger ones spend a lot of their time here. They can draw at the coffee table, play with their toys. Puzzles and games are kept in the corner.

That is generally it - although other areas of our house are just as important to our schooling - the kitchen for chemistry and home economics, the garage for big projects and the great outdoors for nature studies and general running around.



Sunday, October 21, 2007


I am having to recommit myself to our simple, frugal lifestyle. Over the hot, hot summer I lost a lot of energy for doing much beyond the basics. Stuff has started creeping back into the house and somethings that need a new home had not been sent off yet. The holidays are looming in front of us and the weather is very nice and energizing - so I've started working on decluttering. If we are going to continue living in this house for any length of time we cannot continue hanging on to things that we don't need anymore. And we need to stop buying stuff!!!

I started in the garage this weekend. The cleaning crew while we were gone on vacation had really started this for me. They got rid of the obvious trash and I had plenty of room to work in there yesterday. I managed to get boxes up on the shelves, sorted some toys that had ended up in the garage, put books on the bookshelves (yes I am that bad that I have bookshelves and books in the garage), and filled the trash can with even more trash. I've also freecycled just about all the baby/infant stuff that was really the space hog in there. Two dead, won't charge, powerwheels are by the curb to see if anyone will pick up.

The garage has all kinds of space...and hopefully more when DH is able to install our new-to-us stove in the kitchen. I'm thinking that since the kids have enjoyed having the extra play area when it was only semi-clean, that maybe I may give them a portion of the garage and put down those rubber floor mats for them to play on. Even though I can't turn the whole garage into a playroom for them, yet, it will give them another area to be messy - that isn't where the little ones can get into it.

Friday, we did an 'errand day'. I've been putting off and putting off trying to get out and run some errands alone or with just Mary (so she can pick out some clothes that she needs) - but it isn't looking like I will get that any time soon. So, we hit Goodwill to look for some fall & winter church clothes. Mainly tops to go with her skirts since she won't wear dresses. We were not hugely successful in that regard, but did find some long-sleeve t-shirts that she would wear, a pair of black velvet jeans for her and a t-shirt that says "Where the Wild Things Are" and has pictures of the monsters from Maurice Sendek's book (which is one of our favorites). I also picked up a couple of shirts for Robbie. I did look for at least one item for the other two, but there wasn't much in their sizes and their clothing drawers are overflowing from hand-me-downs already. I spent less than $20 which I thought was great.

Since we were half-way there, we went to Aldi's to do some grocery shopping. It has been months, which is really a waste considering how much I save there. I managed to get all but three things that were on my grocery list for the rest of the month - and spent less than $60.

Slowly, we will get back on track. I've already started whispering to the girls that they need to pick on or two things they really want for Christmas/birthdays. It is going to be a tight season - but they don't need much. We already own half a toy store in this house. I was going to ask for a new camcorder, as I would really like a digital one and the one we have no longer has the AV connector and the battery won't hold a charge. But, I started doing some research and found that I could get a new AV cable and battery for the old one for less than $50, and a new basic digital/dvd camcorder was going to be 10x's that. So my own wish list is very short now.

The children have had a good weekend and have all seemed to recover from their colds well. Mary had a soccer game yesterday morning, and the team is really starting to look cohesive with only two more games left. DH took the girls to the State Fair in the afternoon, we had received some free ride tickets so they only had to buy the admittance tickets. Today, Mary and Katie have gone with some friends to a Corn Maze thing and DH is playing golf. The little ones and I are just hanging around doing some cleaning and other piddling stuff.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trying the Sunshine Cure

Our home has been overrun with a 'cold' virus. Robbie was the first one to come down with it, and it has just moved up the line to me since then (skipping Katie who never seems to come down with the run-of-the mill illnesses - just the big ones). Since it is more aggravating than disabling, we've been trying to spend as much time outside enjoying our warm fall weather.

We went to the park Monday morning, walked to the grocery store Tuesday morning for some items (1 mile there, 1 1/2 miles back as we cut through the neighborhood to avoid the high schoolers letting out for lunch), and to another park yesterday after Mary's piano class.

We stilled managed to do our schoolwork Monday and Tuesday, but yesterday I was really feeling the effects of the cold, and fell asleep while the girls were watching "Tom and Jerry" with their lunch. Which basically precluded anything academic being completed.

This afternoon we are supposed to have rain and thunderstorms, so I'm thinking we may actually do some 'work'. We have managed to keep up with our readings, thanks to some evening snuggles and the girls starting to enjoy and ask for our assigned reading outside of 'school' time. Mainly, we have project work left for this week - Chemistry reading & lab, art project (straw painting) and the geography unit.

We'll see how much we get to this week.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm losing my mind

For this week I picked out the 'perfect' poem for Mary and I to work on from this book. When we came home from the park this afternoon I pulled it out of the bag, along with Now We Are Six, Katie's poetry book, so that we could work on their poems.

Why were they in the park bag?? Well I have this alternate universe in my own head and I just know that we will go to the park and be sitting there watching the clouds float by, and Mary will say to me - "Gee Mom, I sure wish you had a book of poetry to lay here and read to me."
And, I want to be the perfect mother and be able to whisk out whatever they so desire it. So, I end up carting around this way too heavy bag everywhere we go - and I still never seem to have exactly what they want. Hint: it is never a book of poetry.

I remember going to the bag and pulling out both books at the same time. Now We Are Six, is sitting on the kitchen table. But, I cannot find How to Eat A Poem ANYWHERE. I have searched in bags, under bags, bags that haven't been out of the closet in six weeks. The book disappeared in less than 60 seconds.

I really hate losing things like this. It will drive me nuts until it reappears.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weekly Update

We had a very good week and stuck to our plan for the most part. What we didn't get to was our drawing and coloring activities for science and geography. Otherwise we accomplished enough through Thursday to basically take Friday off. Mary has loved her new typing program, which also includes phonics instruction, completing the first 10 exercises this week. Katie has been spending her free time on the computer with StudyDog and Starfall, two phonics/reading programs. The weather has been great for us to get outside this week. And, Mary has been putting her new insect collecting skills to use.

In the car:

Since we finished God's Troubadour: The Story of St. Francis of Assisi earlier this week, we re-started Wind in the Willows. Listening to audio books has been a great way to sneak extra literature into our day. We have also been listening to Common Bird Songs in the car. This was purchased on a lark during Dover Publishing's recent sale. But, it was a big hit with the girls.

What we have done this week:

Geography - Look What Comes From Italy
Home Ec. - Cooking
Science - Nature
Music Practice
Music Appreciation
Bible Reading

Bible Reading
Science - Chemistry
Science - Nature

Bible Reading
Science - "How the Eye Works" Unit
PE - Soccer

Bible Reading
Geography - Counting Your Way Through Italy
Science - Nature
Music Appreciation
PE - Gymnastics

Home Ec.
Science - Nature

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cow's Eye Dissection

Mary asked "How do our eyes work?" the other week. Which, in turn became a little mini-unit this week in biology. We've had a good time with this unit. I picked up a couple books at the library, found a few websites and played with a magnifying lens.

One website that I found I put on my maybe list. It actually has a short movie showing and explaining the dissection of a cow's eye. This is part of Exploratorium, a science museum in San Fransisco. It was a maybe because, like any dissection it could get a little graphic.

I told Mary about it and talked about the fact that she would see someone cutting into a 'real' eyeball and pulling apart the different parts. She wanted to try it. So we watched for a couple minutes and then she said that she didn't want to anymore. Which was fine, I turned it off. Later, though she came back and said that she really wanted to see it again. Now that she knew what was involved she was ready for it. And, she did. We had a great conversation about how things do look different than you imagine from just seeing a picture in a book. Her biggest concern was for the poor cow they took the eyeball from. So, I had to explain to her that losing the eyeball was the least of that cow's concerns.

Here is the link to the 'eye' page. There is also a photo link if you don't want to actually watch the video, diagrams of the the eye and other eye-related activities.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Time! I finally am having some time.

I promise, I will eventually get over how thrilled I am about our homeschooling this year. But, please bear with me as the last two years have been kind of a hit-and-miss proposition finding our groove. And, I can't describe how wonderful it has been these last few months upon finally hitting on something that does seem to work for everyone. Bonus for me is that I am finding that I actually end up having some time here and there to get things accomplished without totally calling off school.

The part I think is working the best has been the 15-minute rule. Everything, barring some of the projects (art, science labs and so forth), are done in 15-minute spurts. Then we change gears and work on something else. I try very hard to make our readings 10-minutes or less to allow for 5-minute discussions.

The results have been more trips to the parks - playgrounds or walks, which have made everyone happier. I have found Mary and Katie very willing to do whatever I ask them to, because they know that it will not take very long. Mary has even taken on doing more than I ask -- I have heard of this before but never actually witnessed it with my own eyes. Today she did an extra page of math, because it looked interesting, and an extra story during reading time because she figured I was going to make her read it tomorrow anyway. Also, I had only planned on Mary doing the first three lessons in her new typing program this week - as of this evening she had finished lesson 9.

And, TIME. Suddenly, school isn't some day long exercise for us, mainly because of arguing and negotiating on every single assignment. I am letting Mary and Katie sleep in, so we don't even get started with 'elementary' school until 10am. The earlier mornings for me are spent with some light chores, computer time and spending some time with Robbie and Emily, my two earlier risers. I can read with them, build with blocks and talk with Emily about what is going on in her Little People village that has been taking up floor space for the last week. Everyday it is a different story.

We start 'school' around 10 and finish no later than 3, most of the time closer to 2. And this is including small trips across the road to the park and lake, or play time in the yard, classes out of the house two days a week, lunch and just general other time eaters. When it is over I still have energy to do other things.

Today, I tackled the piles of stuff that seem to be everywhere. Piles of books that had not been re-shelved when we finished them, piles of completed work, piles of newspaper clippings and mini-pages my mom had brought up. The school area looks actually usable now. And the calendar has finally been hung. Now, I just hope I can find everything when I go to look for them.

This post is so exciting I am actually nodding off while I am writing it. I better go...



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oxidation and Mounting Crickets

Today could be referred to as "Science Day." We ran our chemistry experiment on chemical reactions - "Steel Wool Wonder". That was such an easy experiment. We just took a steel wool pad (no soap) and soaked it in vinegar. Then wrapped it around a small thermometer and stuck it in a jar w/lid. Five minutes later (or just enough time to read the sections in her chemistry book on chemical reactions) we checked to see if the temperature had increased compared to the base temp we had taken earlier in the jar. And, it had.

We left the steel wool pad out for the rest of the day to see what would continue to happen, and came home to find it extremely oxidized this evening.

This afternoon, Mary also had her second Wildlife class of the semester. This month it was on 'Insect Investigations', and I wasn't very sure what they would be doing as their activity. It turns out that they taught the children how to begin their very own mounted insect collection. Complete with directions of how to soak the live insects in polish remover. I can't make up my mind how I quite feel about this. On one hand, I tend towards the position to observe only and do no harm. But, then again there are about a billion insects (in my yard) and it is a good way to study and learn about insects for my budding entomologist. That was only part of the class, they also taught them how to identify various insects and label - always good skills to have. She brought home a pair of mounted crickets. Apparently when she caught them they were 'mounted' and would not come apart until the dip in the acetone.

We also completed: one section of math for each of the girls, chapters 2-3 of Genesis, free play with magnetic letters (Emily), rhyming bingo (Katie), nature hike (all). And, Mary on her own has completed the first seven lessons of her typing program. During all our driving time today we finished listening to God's Troubadour: The Story of St. Francis of Assisi that I had downloaded from Librivox.

We just ran out of time, and energy, before we got to copywork, reading, literature and geography today. That is why there is always a tomorrow. And, speaking of, I better finish my to-do list for tomorrow and get some sleep.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Fall Cookies

The calendar says it is Fall even if the thermometer doesn't agree. Mary has been chomping at the bit to use the fall cookie cutters I found in the dollar area of Target last week. Being slightly lazy, and not very good at making sugar cookies anyway, I bought a roll of pre-made cookie dough while grocery shopping on Sunday. And this morning we made the cookies - working as fast as we could because the dough kept getting all soft and sticky.

But, once Mary worked her icing magic - they turned out very well.

I can't say that the girls were really excited about re-starting school today. But by the time we came inside from our morning outside break, they settled in and we were able to move through our various activities pretty well.

We even made it over to the local park after lunch, but before nap time. The girls are in a scooter phase and spent their time riding all over the paved paths while Emily had the entire playground to herself. Robbie wants out of his stroller a lot more now, but until he is walking and the mulch isn't so tempting to put in his mouth, I'm not about to let him crawl around the playground. I actually was able to sit and read a little bit...

Now to update our daily journal and head to bed.


Our Weekly Plan 10-8-07

With the beginning of our Fall Quarter I've decided to try something different. At the beginning of the week I will post my 'plan' for school and at the end of the week do an update about what went well, what didn't and so on. Since I see my blog every time I go to the internet maybe it will serve to remind me that I need to be doing something else. I don't lay these things out by days - but it is our list of things to cover/do over the next week.

Week 10/8
Genesis Chapters 1-8

"Brave Three Hundred" Fifty Famous Stories Retold
"Hercules and the Wagoner" Aesop's Fables
"The Old Orchard Bully" Burgess's Bird Book
"The Night Moth with a Crooked Feeler" Among the Forest People

Reading/Phonics Lessons (15 mins per day)

Math (Horizons):
Mary - pp.114-118 (Problems Marked) Gr2
Katie - pp.9-16 GrK

Re-read Chapter 3
Experiment - Steel Wool Wonder from 101 Cool Science Experiments p.72

"How Eyes Work"
Read: Sight
Watch: Cow's Eye Dissection
Experiment with lens from broken magnifying glass
Draw the eye and label the parts

Nature Walk (2 days)
Listen to Bird Songs tape and look through accompanying book
Insect Investigation Class at NC Wildlife (Mary)

Color: Italian Flag
Read: Look What Comes From Italy
Mapwork: Find the two independent city-states located within Italy
label and color the three regions of Italy
Listen: Berlitz Children's Story in Italian on Computer

Psalm 1
10 mins Journaling daily

Read, Write and Type - Lessons 1-3

Other Activities:
Bake & Decorate Fall Sugar Cookies (M)
Wildlife Class (T)
Piano Lesson (W)
Soccer Practice (W)
Gymnastics (TH)
Museum of Natural Science (F)


Friday, October 05, 2007

Park Day

After Wednesday I just kind of gave up on trying to get back to school this week. What was the point - too many other fun things were getting done. By Thursday afternoon we had just about hit our saturation point with a lack of 'schedule' and mom-guidance. The girls had been wanting to go to the park since Wednesday, but one thing led to another until it was Friday morning and my only goal (besides the three loads of laundry) was to get them to the park before it started raining.

Which park to go to was the big discussion of the morning. We are lucky that we have a lot to choose from - each with their own pros and cons. It also means that everyone has a different 'favorite' that they want to go to. I finally had to step in and make the decision that we would go to the park that was on the schedule for our hs group's park day today. Mary, really didn't want to go - she wanted us to go have our own park day. I was thinking that it is the beginning of the school year and a good time to see if she could click with anyone new.

I should have listened to Mary. The playground was packed. Mary, who generally will make friends with anyone at the park was kind of snubbed by the other girls who are always at park day. I was my general anti-social, inept self when it came to the whole small talk area. The one time I went up to talk to an acquaintance - Robbie picked that time to have a big spit-up moment.

The best part of the day was when the girls took their scooters and we all went for a walk around the small pond - as a family group, alone.

I just need to stick with the small group of homeschooling mothers I have come to know from other small group events. Neither Mary nor I do well thrown into a large, chaotic social affair. And, we always have more fun doing what we want to do when we want to do it.

As someone who does try to find the positive/interesting part of everything, I just have to say that being at that particular park today one could believe that homeschooling was a mainstream occurrence. Not only was the local group I belong to taking over the upper, large playground area, older kids were walking along the ponds and trails or playing in the sand volleyball pit. There was also another homeschool group at the other playground/shelter areas actually conducting co-op activities. There had to be at least 60 children of various ages at that park - and I only saw two families that had obviously just brought their toddlers to play and were wondering what the heck was going on.

I'm not surprised, necessarily, because this area is so accepting of homeschooling as just another school option. I never run into anti-homeschooling sentiments from other ps parents. In, fact I am always hearing about what a wonderful option homeschooling is, how great that I can do it, etc. This evening I ended up having a long conversation with Mary's soccer coach - who, among other things, was telling me all about the benefits of homeschooling and how he wished he could do it for his daughters. Homeschooling is huge here - the schools are so overcrowded that many now are on a year-round schedule so that they can fit more kids into the spaces. The public school system should be paying us to not add our offspring to the already overloaded system.

It did end up being a good day. The schools had one of their half-days today, so friends were waiting to play as soon as we came home from the park. And, I did get the laundry done!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No School?

Granted our house looks like a Little People toy store has plopped itself in the family room, and we have spent our fair share of time on the computer today, and Cinderella III was on repeat in the DVD player all afternoon - But as I sat writing in our homeschool journal this evening at soccer practice I was amused to hear Mary tell a teammate that she didn't have any school today. It always makes me chuckle (and grimace in case an adult overhears) when I hear it.

As she was making this comment I was listing:

~ piano lessons (M)
~ Journal Writing (M&K)
~ Reading Lesson (M&K)
~ Research dogs' ability to see color (M)
~ Look up the words imagination and imagine and discuss how we use it (M&K)
~ Counting to 10 in Spanish (M)
~ Went over 10x's and discussed how any number multiplied by 10 just has a zero added (M)
~ Zoo Tycoon (M)
~ WebRanger Website (M)
~ Read and discussed an article in National Geographic on the Crystal Cave found in Mexico in 2000 (natural gypsum crystals the size of cars) (M)
~ Researching whether glow sticks will glow longer when placed in the refrigerator or freezer. Discussed how this would make a good experiment for the science fair in February (M)

And later this evening we have read a couple of stories from the CM reading list for the week.

I asked her about it this evening and pointed out all the things we had done during the day, so she clarified and said that "Fun" school doesn't count.

Okay....But it is back to the grindstone next Monday. I'll make her open her math book so that she can say she has had school.



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

He's One!!!

Today is Robbie's first birthday!!! We actually celebrated his birthday last week at the beach, so today is kind of a low-key, family thing. In fact, dh has to work the late shift, so he isn't home for the festivities.

I took the children out this morning to Target to pick out their gifts for him (nothing like last minute) and we picked up some cupcake liners and sprinkles. When we came home Mary made the cake & cupcakes, by herself, including icing. And, this afternoon a few of the girls' friends have come over to have a little impromptu birthday party for him.

Other than party preparations we have had an interesting unschooling day. It is so hard to get back into the groove after vacation. Mary made a list of the things we needed from the store. I gave them a $30 limit on gifts for Robbie - they could chose to buy one big thing or a few smaller ones. Mary kept up the running tally in her head to figure out what they could get for him.

While at Target I had to walk through their 'dollar' area, and picked up a journal for Katie who had been wanting one since Mary got hers a few weeks ago. This afternoon Katie has occupied herself with writing rhyming words and other various things in her journal.

Mary has been working on her WebRanger badges online with a resurgence since earning a real-life Junior Ranger Badge while at the beach last week. Today her activity was unscrambling safety sentences. Honestly, I wouldn't have thought she could do it. And, in my defense she wouldn't if I was the one handing her a worksheet with sentences to unscramble.

It has been a good, quiet day, so far. Very different from this time last year - I don't even want to go there.



Monday, October 01, 2007

Home, again

I've spent the past couple of days unpacking and washing, and just generally sorting out the house. I'm missing the relaxing view of the ocean from the back deck, but I guess I will adjust back to real life sooner or later.

I came home to two pleasant surprises...first, dh had arranged with his sister and mother to come over and do some cleaning in the house. I kind of knew about this, but had tried to discourage it. DH says I have control issues, but I kind of get a little creepy about people coming over to clean my house. I was really worried they would 'clean up' all my piles, but they didn't, and the house did look all shiny when we came home. It was nice to come home to, but then of course, I got all wound up about having to unpack everything into this nice clean home.

The second surprise was two boxes from Dover Publishing. When my mom was up here a couple weeks ago she asked me to do a wish list for them while they had their sale going. We are going to have a lot of fun with all the new books and coloring books. It was all I could do to not stop unpacking so that I could open the boxes and just stare at the shiny new books. But, I persevered and it was a treat for all of us after the car was unpacked and everything put away where it belongs.

The girls have been busy playing with friends since we returned. Mary and Katie have been giving anyone who will listen an education about North Carolina Lighthouses. One of their highlights from the trip was earning the Junior Ranger Badge for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We could not leave the island until we stopped and presented their activity books for the badges.

Now, it is time to ease back into our normal routine. 'School' resumes this week and all the other coordinating activities. While we were gone I did sign us up for a Geography Fair with our local HS group. We are going to do Italy since Mary had already started learning about it recently. We have a couple months to work on it - but if we just set aside one day per week to concentrate, Dec 6th will be here before we know it.

Back to work :)

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.