Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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Somebody please tell me.

How did this ...

become this ...

so quickly?

Happy sixth birthday to my sweet baby!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 291 - 300

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Wow ... up to 300 on the list!

291. For a good first week back to school. And for me not flipping out too much when I realized that changes needed to be made. Okay, to be honest, there WAS a little stress (um, have you met me?) but there was not outright panic. I'm calling that a success.

292. For this week of birthdays at my house. The little one turned six (yesterday) and the oldest turns 13 (next Sunday). My children are such blessings!

293. For watching the middle and little ones play together so sweetly for several hours. These two aren't the closest of my kids, so it's an extra special blessing to see them playing together so nicely.

294. For an awesome haircut and color. Sometimes it's the little things that can be such a boost!

295. For watching the confidence of one of my kids just blossom. I have a couple who have my personality and tend to be a little shy, so it's great watching them come out of their shell a little.

296. For the completion of the construction in the house. Both bedrooms look so nice! They're both pretty bare bones right now, but pictures will be coming soon, I promise.

297. For a very nice, but too short, visit with my parents this weekend, and enjoying the three "T" boys as well.

298. For birthday cake.

299. That the birthday cake is nearly gone.

300. For a big six year old who knows he is not too big to snuggle his mama. :-}

I will be linking up with today.  Feel free to hop on over and read other gratitude journals, or start your own!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up -- Week 1

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Woohoo, week #1 is done!  It's been an interesting week ...

The oldest:
Her Heart of Dakota curriculum is PERFECT for her.  I was worried that it was going to take her way too long to complete a day because there is a lot of reading and journaling.  It is actually just perfect!  She started off learning about the times right after Christ, and about some martyrs.  She's also reading Beautiful Girlhood and started a Shakespeare overview.  In science, she is starting with astronomy.

We decided to change from Bob Jones English to Easy Grammar.  We don't actually have the Easy Grammar curriculum in yet, but I am looking forward to it for several reasons.  One - DVD time is a hot commodity around here, and Easy Grammar doesn't require a DVD player.  Two - I think it will take considerably less time, even doing it for a whole year rather than a one semester course (which BJU is.)  Three - we're already using IEW for writing, and she already has an excellent grammar foundation (thank you BJU!) so some skill maintaining is really all that is required at this point.

Math is rocking along, as is Texas History.  (Oh yeah - we were going to hold that off until next semester, but while we were holding for English/grammar, decided there was no time like the present, and let's just go ahead and get Texas History done.)

Writing is rocking along as well.  We got a great start with this last year and then decided to just start over rather than picking up where we left off, so this is all review to her right now.

I think this is really going to be a great year for her! 

The Middle:
We discovered very quickly that we needed to revise the Heart of Dakota plans for the middle one.  (Remember that the girls both did Creation to Christ last year.  It was a struggle for the middle one, so we dropped her down a level for this year.)  We were originally planning to stretch Preparing Hearts for His Glory over two years.  I did not realize that there is quite a skill jump between the Preparing level and the Creation to Christ level.  She breezed through day 1 and I realized that we needed to not do it half speed, plus we needed to add the extension package.

(NOTE TO SELF.  When you plan lessons six weeks in advance, DO THEM IN PENCIL.)

I think she really is going to love this curriculum this year, and I am excited about it for her. I think once we have the kinks worked out with the schedule and figuring out exactly what she needs to do every day, she is going to love it.

She is doing well with her Bob Jones English and reading, and with her Teaching Textbooks math.

The little one:
Woohoo for no changes necessary!

His Heart of Dakota curriculum has been fun this week.  He's a squirmy little boy, so it's great that the readings are short.  We do school with him about 15 minutes at a time in several intervals throughout the day, and this week it has worked well.  He is very clearly still adjusting to school and figuring out what is expected from him.

His phonics/reading BJU class is going well.  Again, it's taking some adjustment to get him to focus well.  (Funny - he can sit and watch Phineas and Ferb and not move, but I put in the kindergarten dvd and he turns into a squirmy worm!)  He's figuring out how it all works though, and I'm proud of him.

We're still a bit at a loss for math.  I bought him a Singapore math book then realized that he was a little past where it started.  We're going to finish it up in the next couple of weeks and then go to ... something.  Maybe just the next Singapore book.  I really don't know yet.

All in all, it's been a very good first week.  Yay for getting back into a routine!  The kids have complained about getting up earlier, but in all honesty, I think everyone is happier when we have a schedule and normal daily plan.  (Or maybe it's just that *I* am happier when we have a routine ... and when mama is happy ... you know the rest.)

I will be linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers today.  :)  Hop on over and see how other first weeks went!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just some random stuff.

Pin It 1.  The little one said something funny the other night.  "Mama!  That is LOADED!!  You shoot the WALL, not the SISTER!"  This was after I picked up his Buzz Lightyear shooter thingie, aimed at the middle one, and shot her.  OOPS.  Who even knew he had a clue where the little disks were?  Things I never thought I'd hear my kids say ...

2.  The oldest and I watched American Ninja Warrior the other night.  Oh my heavens.  We loved it and were amazed (and a bit horrified, to be honest) through the whole thing.  I cannot believe we invested two hours into that show and NOT A ONE of them made it through the third course.  I don't usually get into shows like that but I hollered out "NOOOOO!" just like the oldest did when the last guy was SO close and didn't make it.  I can't imagine the strength it takes to do that.  Can't imagine.

3.  The house is back in order, mostly.  I still need to put the little one's books back on his shelf, although I was actually planning to just randomly scatter them through the house, because no matter how much effort we take to put them neatly on the shelf, within minutes they will be scattered randomly through the house.  Why not just save some effort. 

4.  Because I evidently have expensive taste, the kids don't have bedding to match their new pretty rooms yet.  In time ...  Their rooms look FABULOUS though!  I keep seeing the red wall in the little one's room out of the corner of my eye as I'm in the living room and it is continually taking me by surprise.  I love it though.  I had a huge "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?" moment while the paint was going up, but after it was all dried, I love it.

5.  There will be a school report tomorrow.  Remember my last post said I was trying to be flexible?  Yeah, that.  For a preview of things to come, we're also changing some things up for the middle one.  Thankfully the little one seems to not need any changes at the moment.

6.  Is this the most boring post ever?

7.  We are all very excited today because the little one's lesson involves cupcakes.  We are all wishing we were still in kindergarten and thankful for a little boy who loves to share.  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First day report

Pin It Flexibility.  A skill I'm working on.  A skill I currently do not possess.

I believe I'm going to need to change a class for the oldest.  I know, this is not really a crisis, but I've had everything laid out - either physically laid out or laid out in my mind - for months now.  Realizing on day 1 that a change will very likely be necessary has me a little stressed.  It will be fine though.  It's a class at which she excels, so it will be fine to change everything up at the last minute.  Right?  RIGHT??

Other than that, day one went smoothly.  The middle one had the easiest day.  She finished early and enjoyed everything she did.  WOOT!  The oldest one had a long day.  I guess that's to be expected.  (At least the change mentioned above will cut a bit of work out of her day.  I think.) 

The little one cracked me up.  A fair portion of his curriculum consists of me reading to him.  He was flipping all over here and there.  I asked him what he did last year when Mrs. Russell read to him and he said he sat on his mat like he was supposed to.  Um.  Not sure if I should go get the boy a mat or what.  hehe ;) 

First day of school pics:
MY BABY!!  How could he be in kindergarten already?

My sweet 5th grader.  I hope today was a preview of a great year for her!
The oldest, saying "I cannot believe my mom is making me take a pic with this dorky sign."
One more thing ... it's not only public school moms who cry on their baby's first day of kindergarten.  :-}  I just can't figure out how that happened so quickly.  It really does not seem possible. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

And so it begins ...

Pin It The 2011/2012 school year that is! The home construction is finished just in the nick of time. There is still work to be done, but at least all of the furniture is (mostly) where it belongs. We have discovered that I have very expensive taste so the decoration of both bedrooms will likely take a while. I'm okay with that. Mostly. We are cash only and intend to stay that way, and let me tell you, that is sometimes TOUGH with two who enjoy instant gratification! Pics of the redo will come eventually, but I want to wait until it's done. Right now both rooms look like big ole' messes with really pretty walls, trim, and doors.

Oh wait. This post was supposed to be about school, wasn't it?

I am so glad to be getting started. I think every one of us will be happier with a normal routine and schedule. Or at least I will. And if *I'm* happier, everyone else will be too. :-P

I know I posted our curriculum choices already, and I really want to commit to a weekly wrap-up, both for my benefit for future reference, and to connect with others doing the same things. I don't think I've posted our schedule for the year though. I'm sure there will be some tweaking required because I don't know exactly how long our Heart of Dakota curriculum(s) will take. I know how long it took last year, but I'm not sure I can use that as a basis for this year because that was two kids together and a third one not in the mix. I had to have a plan to start with though, and here it is.

8:30 -- oldest does English with DVD
9:15 -- oldest moves to computer to do math
middle starts Reading on DVD
little one starts Heart of Dakota with mama
10:00 -- oldest starts Heart of Dakota independently
middle one goes to English on DVD, then to Heart of Dakota reading
little one does math with mama, then playtime
11:00 -- oldest works on writing (Institute for Excellence in Writing) with mama and does dictation for spelling
middle one moves to the computer to do math
little one moves to the DVD player to do his phonics

12:00 -- hopefully all of the above stuff is done and we have lunch

1:00 -- everybody goes to Heart of Dakota. The little one might be done now, I really don't know yet. We might do our read alouds all together at this time, or just see what works. Looking at this, it looks like the two younger ones will need me at this time if the little one isn't already finished, so we'll see how this works. The middle one will be doing her history and/or science projects at this time, and when those are finished, so is she.

2:00 -- everybody should be finished by this time except the oldest, who hopefully will just have some independent reading left.

So, this is clearly very much a work in progress. That's okay, we have a plan to start with and can adjust as we need to.

I went through and looked at the school room posts all around the blogosphere. To be honest, I was so envious of all the gorgeous dedicated school spaces I saw! We don't have a dedicated school space. We have the family room, the kitchen, a bedroom, and the living room. I remodeled my house (AGAIN) in my mind to carve out a space. It was gorgeous. It had a DVD player, a school computer, maps on the wall, a humongous bookshelf, and comfy chairs. It was so fabulous.

Then I remembered my children. Have you met them? Miss "please leave me alone because I prefer complete silence while I learn." Miss "I am so easily distracted I need a room with nothing moving around." And of course Mr. "I am a loud noise covered in dirt and my favorite thing in the world is annoying the snot out of the middle one."

Our school space is perfect for our needs.

They all move around from one room to the next, they all have their space, and distractions are at a minimum. As much as I would love the school room I daydreamed about, it would likely be an exercise in frustration for all of us.

Giggle ... I realize I have barely blogged all summer long and then made it up all in one blog post!

YAY for the first day of school!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 8/5

Pin It The Homeschool Mother's Journal

I've seen this link up here and there and haven't ever participated before.  But now, I'm sitting here avoiding the laundry and sink full of dishes, and proud that I accomplished something homeschool related, so I want to shout it out!  LOL

In my life this week…
There has been much chaos. LOL Redoing a bedroom, a spastic refrigerator, and nothing in its usual place. This is not good for for my mind, which operates so much better when there is not clutter! 

In our homeschool this week…
We are getting there! I came back from the conference, as always, all inspired but with the realization that some of the inspiration was a little idealistic. It's good to be aware of that now! I have gotten our schedule put together and the first six weeks planned out. I'm DELIGHTED with this! 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
This is a very practical tip, but it has helped me. Take your worktexts that have tear out pages to an office supply store. For about $3 per book, they can spiral bind them and VOILA no more loose pages covering every flat surface in the house. At the end of the year, you've got a nice completed book to file away. 

I am inspired by…

Remember I just got home from a homeschool conference. Right now I am inspired by Sally Clarkson. I bought a few of her workshops on CD at the conference. She just encourages me so much! 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
The main place we are going these days is Lowe's. I think I have used an entire tank of gas going to Lowe's and back. It will be awesome (and oh yes, there will be pictures) when it's done! 

My favorite thing this week was…
Last night. I looked at my planner and saw plans written through all of September. Makes me so happy!  And I'm also going to have to throw in that the meal I had last night for my birthday might have been my other favorite thing.  YUMMY~!!

What’s working/not working for us…
I am loving Heart of Dakota curriculum and it worked so well for us last year. 

Questions/thoughts I have…
How on earth am I going to take the curriculum that I loved so much last year for two children and split it into three children doing their own? We'll see ...

And the mail just got here and it's time to pick up my daughter and I suppose I shouldn't avoid the laundry any longer because I think it's giving me the evil eye, so I'll close for now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Not" Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week

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I thought maybe I'd ease into blogging again by joining this blog hop.  We loved all of our curriculum choices last year, so we're continuing on with them this year.

The oldest:  8th grade
She will be doing Bob Jones Writing and Grammar 8 this year.  She is actually just going to be doing the grammar portion of it this year.
She will be completing IEW, which we started last year, for writing.
She will be doing Teaching Textbooks for math.
She will be doing the Resurrection to Reformation study from Heart of Dakota for history, science, and Bible, with a lot of extras thrown in (like poetry, art, and spelling).  She did Creation to Christ last year, and OH, how we loved it!  I am very excited to see what this year is going to hold!
She will be doing Switched on Schoolhouse Texas History in the spring as well.

The middle one:  5th grade
(Let me just take a moment to GASP.  Eighth and fifth grade?  Wow.)
Her plan is pretty easy this year, and I am anticipating a good year for her.
She will again be using Bob Jones for English 5 and Reading 5.  She is well familiar with these, having used them since first grade.  We are former homesat customers, and have DVD's for classes from K4 - 8th grade. 
She will again be using Teaching Textbooks for math.
She will be doing Preparing Hearts for His Glory from Heart of Dakota this year.  She actually did Creation to Christ with her sister last year, and I know it's weird to go down a level, but she is not ready to go up a level, and I would actually like her to repeat the Creation to Christ curriculum when she is in 7th grade, so I think it's going to work well to have her do Preparing spread over two years.  This will cover her history, science, poetry, art, Bible, and spelling.

And, the little one:  Kindergarten  (also unbelievable.)
His plan is very simple this year.  He is ready to learn and asks me two things just about every day.  1. Can one of his friends come over, and 2. Is it time to do some school.  I'm anticipating a fun year with him!
He will be also doing a Heart of Dakota curriculum.  His is Little Hearts for His Glory.  (Yes, I am a bit nervous about running three HOD programs at the same time.)
He will be doing Bob Jones K5 Beginnings for phonics, reading, and handwriting.
He will be doing a Singapore Math workbook.  I'm really not sure where we will land for math.  I'm really not sure exactly where he is now, so this is the one area that might change quickly.  We may end up starting Math U See Alpha pretty quickly, or sticking with this workbook, or really I don't even know.

Okay, so that's it for our curriculum choices.  It looks so overwhelming to see it all written out here!  (No, it REALLY looks overwhelming now that it's all sitting on our bookshelf!)  I am very excited to see what this year holds for us though.  :)

I will be linking up with Heart of the Matter today and plan to join in with all of their August blog hops as we get ready for NOT back to school!

**NOTE -- I would love a "buddy" who is going through the same HOD curriculum that we are, so please be sure to leave me a message if you are!  Especially the RtoR.  I'm a big fan of comparing notes and sharing ideas along the way!