Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent 2010 Week 1 - Christmas Tree

We got off to kind of a slow start this year. We had a CRAZY busy Thanksgiving complete with lots of family, lots of food and lots of snow which of course meant lots of sledding! Brant left right after Thanksgiving for a week in Florida and I did my best but Advent took a back burner until Dad got home. We spent this weekend really whooping it up and putting together a plan to get caught up on our readings. Every year we do a "Progressive Tree" and decorate it every night through Advent completing it Christmas Eve with the kiddos new ornament and the star. This year's tree adventure was rather mild compared to years past. We opted for the tree farm rather than the expedition to the mountains. No worries forgotten twine or chainsaws. It was quite pleasant and I am very thankful for the Shelton's Tree Farm in Cashmere.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Violet's First 6th Birthday At The Beach

When we asked Violet what she wanted to do for her birthday she said that she wanted to visit Beach Grandma (aka Gram Pam, Grandma Beach) and make bead jewelery. Both Brant and I immediately said "DONE!" with great enthusiasm. Brant was stoked to spend the weekend on the beach with his mom and I also loved the idea of fall days on the beach, but truthfully I was just as excited as Violet to play with beach Grandma's beautiful beads!Simon making sure Violets new necklace is attached properly.

Violet busy at work making her bracelet.
Just look at all that fun! I must admit I am becoming addicted!
Gram Pam and some of her beautiful work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Changing Plans!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us and grandparents are coming to town so today I was gung-ho at getting 3 days of school done in two days. This means I needed super on-it school age kiddos and cooperation from the youngers as we were plowing through lots of lessons. I was sure it was possible from the vantage point of "technically" we can accomplish the allotted work in 2 days...however I was aware Benji may have different plans since he's 4 and gets rather bored and destructive around 12:30. Ether way I knew we could get the work done even if it wasn't pretty. I am one of those people who likes to make plans and stick to them even if everyone around me is miserable. I am usually so into my plan that I may just make myself sick or near to tears in order to take it to its intended fruition. Well, we were up, fed and doing a quick house pick up when the plan started loosing its momentum and I began to internally panic (realize it was only 8:30am). Benji began his typical lack of self-control over toys which gave me prime training opportunities...over and over again...After about 30 minutes and several trips to the "proverbial woodshed" Benji was calming down and ready to move on. PHEW! Time to start school! I was walking down the hall-way holding Benji's hand when Miss Vi walked passed us saying "Be-en Tage knocked over ALL your guys"...Sure enough Ben flipped out...again...and we were back in the bathroom/woodshed. We prayed and I sent Benji on his way, but first I made Miss Vi ask him for forgiveness for provoking him...She did so and Benji headed back to the castle full of playmobil to continue his battle between good and evil. Vi then turned to me and said "is it time for school?" and I said "It will be after we take care of your sin in "the bathroom"." From that point on her little emotions went from a sweet, precious young girl to an ugly, possessed, strong willed little sinner. So much for my school day plans and honestly I was at peace because I knew her little heart was way more important than reading and math. After HOURS ( I am not kidding) of bathroom time, bedroom time and bible reading time Brant came home and helped us sort out the mess. All three boys were off playing war, my house was wrecked, there was nothing for lunch and I really wanted to cry. But I just remembered in all things give thanks, which is what I did. Benji and Vi were both pooped from their morning of soul training and Tage, Simon and I were able to accomplish quite a bit this afternoon. I do believe God rewarded the boys and I with a very productive afternoon. If I had done my typical clenching of fists not willing to let go of my plan type behavior today could have been quite ugly. I am constantly shocked at my inability to ask God what His plan is for us before I make my own. I am hoping days like today will help me remember to go to Him first, and then make our plans.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Curriculum Choices

Here is what I know so far...

We are joining an informal co-op this year called Classical Conversations. It is informal since it is new to our community and we are starting a bit late, we are hoping to have a formal campus next year. Classical Conversations will meet once a week and will introduce our lessons and memory work for the week. Subjects covered by C.C. are math, science, literature, Latin, history, geography and fine arts.

Difficulty keeping up with reading was one of the main reasons we brought the kids home to school. We have taken in lots of information on different phonics, language arts and reading programs and have decided on the following.

Teaching Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Writing Road To Reading Phonogram Cards and Interactive Cd
Sonlight Launguage Arts 2 Reading Program

As for math, all I have to say is I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful he likes math (I do not) and is willing to help teach it! For now since Tage and Simon are so close in age they will be doing math at the same level. They are welcome to move through their books as fast as they want! OH!! I almost forgot...We are using Singapore Math Level 2.

Learning Curve

Before I get to far into this post keep in mind that I have been homeschooling all of 4 days so please do not take this as an advice/ I know what I'm talking about type post. This is mostly a post for me to document all of the bazillion things I have had to research, decide on and act on over the past two weeks. I have learned a lot about myself, my kiddos, my relationship with God and what an absolutely amazing husband I have!

Things Learned So Far:
(In addition to being reminded how none of this is possible without God's help,kindness, love and mercy, and how thankful I am for a husband who is actively participating in schooling our kids and structuring our day.)

1. A home school cannot possibly function without a printer!
We purchased an Epson Stylus NX420. It's a beauty! It's a wireless printer, which means you can simply pick it up and move it where ever your little heart desires! I am fanatically opposed to computers and all their clutter, cords and massive dust...which is quite humorous since I am married to a computer geek and we have at the moment 3 computers networked together throughout our home. Oh and don't even get me started ranting about all the random hard drives, software and other unmentionable computer pieces we have scattered all over the house!:)

2. Finding the right tables or desks for your schooling area is key! I love these desks from IKEA! They were only $20 and they are working out quite nicely!.

3. A friend of mine suggested a whistle for outside games and such. At first I chuckled and wondered if that was really necessary since I only have 4 kiddos.....YES it is necessary. It has come in handy for play time and get their attention time. I love it and so do the kids!

4. It is ok for the kids to have lots of snacks! The first day I was hard core no more than one snack from breakfast to lunch. Benji was a puddle by the end, so I have been providing several snack opportunities throughout the morning and that seems to be helping a lot. All this learning business is hard work!

5. Even though they are home they must raise their hand to speak! We have 4 kiddos...4 grades...and only one of me. In order for us to come out on the other side loving one another we need to be sure to use our manners and wait to be called on before speaking.

6. We are training them how to be schooled at home before we dive into our hard-core curriculum. Since they have been in a day-school setting we wanted to be sure they understood what it means for mom to be their teacher.

7. Freshly cleaned carpet and freshly painted walls did my heart good when thinking I was going to be spending a lot of time in one particular room of the house. I know many people may roll their eyes at this...But hey, that's who I am like it or not! There is a fresh/newness about our home school room that I love.

8 Who cares if the dishes (or the laundry) are done. I can do them later!

9. Celebrating accomplishments is a must! Today we had Wendy's for lunch to celebrate our first successful week of homeschooling.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Very Busy Saturday - Picture Diary

Our day started with an 8am football game, then dance and the Harvest Festival! Next week we add soccer...oh and swim team!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seasons Change

(I just love this picture of Ben...totally unrelated to this post...:))

Here we go again! A new school year has begun and I was supposed to have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, kindergartner and Pre-kindergartner all at The River Academy. I was supposed to start my new job as the Director of Advancement at The River Academy AND the First Choice Pregnancy Center of Wenatchee had offered me an amazing part-time development position as well! We have moved from infants/toddlers to school-age kids and it was time for us all to move to the next phase...kiddos to school and mom to work to help pay for school! I can honestly say this is the year I have been dreaming about and have spent many hours working and planning to get it all organized. Little did I know God was in the midst of planning too. It was happening right before my eyes and I was so focused on my own selfish day-dream of big kids, school and work that I failed to see Gods hand closing doors and opening new ones! God very obviously closed the door (for now) at The River Academy and opened the doors at home...They are WIDE-OPEN here at home! We are all home now and I have become an educator, a teacher...A job I can honestly say I would have never wanted! I am seeing the flaws in my selfishness and I am thankful for this opportunity to nurture the soul of my children and to help them develop a love for learning and a love for the Lord our God. We are participating in a home-school co-op called Classical Conversations and I can't wait to get my hands in all the wonderful history we get to study! I have so many thoughts I hope to have time to share. For now this is all...Blessings on all your adventures this school year!