Monday, July 27, 2009

Trying to get organized

We start school in only a couple of weeks and I have been very lackadaisical about getting ready for it. I'll take all blame off me and put it on the fact we have been traveling a lot and the weather has been too nice to spend much time inside organizing & thinking. But, the temps are now above 90, with humidity and the mosquitoes are attacking en mass. So, time to get ready for August.

Big strides have been made since we stopped school last Spring. I take no credit for it, the kids are just finding their own stride. I'm having to re-think where to start this year with each of them. Emily has managed to finish all pre-K and most K-level math workbooks I have laying around. In most areas she is ready to begin the 1st grade materials I have. But, she is only 4 1/2 and has some perfectionist issues that are limiting her writing at this point. I would not even be pushing her to do anything, as I tend to try to delay "academics", but she wants her school like her sisters.

Katie has discovered the fun of reading. She is working through her own personal list of books for Barnes & Nobles Summer Reading program. It has been a lot of fun to sit with and listen to her read, and laugh, and laugh some more. She re-reads passages she finds particularly amusing, over and over.

Mary has decided that writing and reading can actually be useful. Being away at camp with the only contact with us being emails & letters has jump started this. She still doesn't LOVE reading or writing, but I'm not so concerned about her being able to keep up with 4th grade this year.

I've had a general idea of what we are going to cover this year for awhile, with a short list of books I would like to use. But, as money continues to be tight I'm trying to figure out what we already have that can be used instead. I did order Math Mammoth for Katie & Mary, and my mom is going to order The Story of USA to use as our history spine this year. Mary's reading is going to be based on the books she will be reading for US History. I have readers for Katie and Emily. I'm on the fence about a penmanship program this year. I already have materials for Language Arts/Grammar. Science is Earth Science, which I have a lot of misc books and workbooks to use for this...along with the library.

Now I just need to sit down and layout at least the next couple of months. Something to do for the next few weeks.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Update from the Suburban Homestead

Finally a day to relax! Since coming home from "vacation" we have been in go-go-go mode. The big thing was getting the old living room divided and finished so that Mary could have her own room and it also gave us a den/kids hang out area. I am so happy to say that we finished that project last week while Mary was at Girl Scout Camp.

I wish we had done this project sooner. Being able to move all of Mary's stuff into one place has cleared up so much clutter. Once her bed was out of the girls' bedroom there was all of this space. Which meant that I could also move all of Katie and Emily's things into their room, including some of their toys being stored in Robbie's room. For three days I did little more than move belongings around and getting them out of the common spaces.

Even though it is Mary's new room, all of the kids are thrilled with the outcome. In the den, their computer is now positioned in such a way that they can watch shows on the computer, just like the TV. Robbie has fallen in love with the Woody the Woodpecker & Speed Racer cartoons on Hulu. Katie and Emily have all sorts of room in their bedroom to pull out dress up clothes or play with their plastic animals.

When I have not been organizing and moving furniture around I have been trying to keep up with the garden. It has produced beyond our expectations this year and every few days I am putting more tomatoes and zucchini in the freezer for this winter. It is such a blessing to us now as each month our budget is becoming tighter and tighter and I am worried about later this year when our mortgage re-sets for tax & insurance increases, along with the health insurance increase I am sure is coming in January. Putting food away right now is about the only thing I have been able to do to prepare. We have been eating out of our meat stockpile in the freezer when we have been home this summer, reducing our grocery expenditures. But, that extra money is going right into the dental work I've been having to have done.

DH is slowly working through the huge pile of logs we got free when our neighbor lost his oak tree this Spring. He is getting down to the logs that he will need to use a splitter on. We will have a nice woodpile to depend on to help out our winter heating costs. DH even recruited Emily to help him move the split logs.

She was so cute hauling all the wood through the backyard...even in her inside-out clothes. She managed to make two trips for him. I was impressed.

We've got a couple more weeks of camp, day-camp and sleep-away camp, followed by another week away visiting family. Then we will finally be home and settling in for awhile as no more trips are planned at this time. At some point I have got to make some decisions about school for this coming year. Some plan for how we will be spending our days. LOL. All I know at this point is that I want to get Math Mammoth for the kids, Mary & Katie will be doing US History I, Mary's reading/language arts is going to be combined with History, and we are going to focus on Earth Science. Oh, and Emily wants her school too!!!



Monday, July 06, 2009

Back from vacation

Returning from spending almost the last two weeks at the coast visiting my family. It didn't find take the girls too long to find their favorite place to be...

But, we didn't spend every day at the beach. We visited the Hammocks Beach State Park Learning Center where we learned about sea turtles. We did not take the ferry out to the island as it was one of our 100 degree days and did not feel up to the boat ride.

The next day we drove to the tiny town of Aurora where there is a fossil museum sponsored by a local phosphate mining company. The fun of this visit is digging in the pit for fossils...

In less than an hour of digging we found more than 100 sharks teeth and various other fossils of ancient sea life. I also learned that fossils of walruses have been found in Eastern NC, dating back to the last ice age.

After two hot days out and about, we spent the next couple of days close to the shore and visiting the aquarium. At the aquarium we saw an awesome presentation by the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter, including a Peregrine Falcon and a Barred Owl. The presentation was so good that we decided to go take a tour of the facility when DH came down over the weekend.

DH was able to join us Friday evening and stayed through today, returning with the rest of us. The kids had a lot of fun once Daddy got there.

Drowning Daddy seemed to be the hit game. Along with floating along doing nothing.

For the Fourth of July, Mary and Katie went with my Dad and Step-Mother to Swansboro to hear the Beach Music band and watch fireworks. DH and I took Emily and Robbie down to Sound where we got two firework shows for the price of one...without all the noise. I also found out just how awesome my camera is.

We left Katie behind to attend her day camp and spend the week with my Mom. I'll be spending the week trying to help DH finish Mary's new bedroom he built while we were gone and packing Mary for Girl Scout camp next week. It just keeps going!!


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.