Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Houses...The Easy Version

For the last 3 years Sissy's Girl Scout council has sponsored a Mom and Me gingerbread house morning which she really enjoys (the girls make the houses - not the moms). The houses are made from graham cracker covered small (empty) milk boxes. This year as we were leaving they had a TON of the boxes left over, so I grabbed a few to use at home. This morning seemed as good a day as any to decorate our houses. (Isn't this the cutest picture of Sissy concentrating so hard??? She loved using the decorator bottles from Pampered Chef, they are perfect for kids hands!)

We used vanilla frosting in a can, mini marshmallows, twisted pretzels, M&M's, Fruit Loops, Rice Chex and various candy we had in our candy bucket. The kids had such fun.

As much as I love to do crafts, I am fully aware that I enjoy doing crafts. I do NOT really enjoy setting up crafts for the kids to do. Is that terrible? Please tell me there are more moms like me out there. HOWEVER, when I do drag out the stuff for them to do a craft, I try to show them how to use the supplies and then walk away. Otherwise I'm sure I'd be giving LOTS of "suggestions" on how to make theirs look just like mine. Last year at the Girl Scout event, I sat across the table from a mother and her 9 year old daughter (we'll call her Susie), and I watched in horror as the mom created the ENTIRE house. Poor Susie sat with her arms folded across her chest as mom painstakingly created a house. I was determined NOT to do this today! So, other than helping Sweet Baby put the walls on, the girls did the entire project on their own.

Here is my favorite photo of the morning! Sweet Baby kept giggling and saying "This is my first gingerbread house ever!"

Now, to be completely honest, the reason that I was able to leave the girls alone and let them create however they wanted, is because I was sure to grab enough milk cartons so I could make one to. Isn't it cute?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Prayers for Rashelle

Please be in prayer for my sister-in-law Rashelle. Rashelle is married to my husband's brother Josh. She is in her early 30's and the mother to our beautiful nephew (4 years old) and niece (nearly 16 months).

Rashelle recently found out that she has cancer. This doesn't appear to be a little cancer either. (Is there such a thing?) They have diagnosed her cancer as Mediastinal (thymic) large B cell Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes that started in her thymus. They removed a large tumor (the size of a small melon) from her chest area, partially attached to her lung. Currently they are testing her to determine if the cancer has spread to her bones. She had her first round of chemo last week with many more to come.

Unfortunately Josh and Rashelle live in Arizona so we cannot be of much help, but we are praying and I would ask that you pray for Rashelle, Josh and their children. If you have children of your own, imagine the thoughts that would be rushing through your head as you prepare to fight a battle like Rashelle is facing right now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Traditional Holiday Joys

One thing that is fun about being a parent of my own is creating various holiday traditions with my family. Every family has them, some more than others. One holiday tradition that never became one when I was a kid, but I always wanted to do, was baking Christmas cookies and decorating them. I've tried making Christmas cookies several times, but it rarely is fun because I either can't roll the dough out because it gets to warm and sticks and breaks, or I roll them to thin and then they burn. Last year I tried a cookie spritzer that I purchased from Pampered Chef and even that never worked correctly..I haven't taken that thing out of the box since!!!

This year I asked Paula Dean (my dear friend Jennifer who is a Paula wanna be) if we could come to her house and she could instruct me. This way our children could do the decorating together and we could get some deserts made for the 40th birthday party we were throwing for a friend the next day. We had so much fun and by the end of the afternoon we had some yummy cookies and the kids had a great time. I'm actually going to try my hand at making some all by myslelf, later this week....I think I'll even let the girls help - he, he, he...

These two photos of Sweet Baby experiencing her first sugar cookie experience tells it all doesn't it? The fun that can be had while experiencing what some may call "small" events. Not to a 4 year old! She has rolled out many a play dough ball and used cookie cutters on it, but to know that it will be baked and turn into some yummy goodness was to much excitement for her!

And here is Peanut.....

Finally, a picture of all the kids when the fun was done...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just When You Think....

You need to send one of them back to public school, you have a day (or two) like the one we are having today. I know the photo is odd but let me explain it (please ignore the pile of clothes on the floor in the background because that is actually mom's fault and the large spot on the floor that the grey "moon" piece is partially covering - that is bag balm that the younger girls rubbed into the carpet about 3 years, bag balm DOESN'T come out of carpeting so keep it away from young children.)

I had to take this picture because after we finished school this morning the three of the girls tore off to one of the bedrooms to play (first amazing thing that happened....they NEVER play in their rooms, they ALWAYS drag their junk into the main living area). I was so giddy when I realized they were happily playing with the wooden train set. Why is this so amazing? Well, Sissy is 9. 9...most 9 year old girls now a days don't play with the wooden train set that has been around since they were 2. Somehow that is one sweet thing I have noticed since homeschooling began. My oldest isn't as concerned with growing up fast any longer. She happily plays My Little Ponies still. She isn't sitting in her room listening to High School Musical as much as she used to and I LOVE it! I just want her to remain a little girl as long as she can and I have noticed an amazing slow down in her desire to grow up. Most girls her age long ago gave up My Little Ponies for playing with Bratz dolls and putting on make-up "for fun". So, when I see her excited to play with the wooden train, it is a good day!

So, what does this have to do with my first statement? There have been several days since we started school that I have seriously considered sending Peanut back to public school in the fall. She has a hard time focusing (which dissipated last year by October, I think it was all the order and structure of school) but especially she is always preoccupied with playing and doesn't want to do school. It is "hard" and "boring". The crazy thing is, it isn't hard for her. She has no trouble doing ANY of the work...she just doesn't want to.

So, on those days when I think she would do better in public school or I would do better having her in public school, we have a few days where I see the rewards of homeschooling. Rewards like:

1) The girls being so excited to play with one anther that they forget to pester me :)
2) Much less fighting between the kids than even 6 months ago
3) A child who finally says, "I love spelling!"
4) Hearing the younger girls say, "No, don't take Sissy to the store with you, we like her home, she makes stuff fun!"

Those are just a few of the rewards we have seen and each one of them is precious to me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sweet Christmas Angels

Last night was our church Christmas play. Sissy, Peanut and I were all in the play and it was such fun doing this activity together. We didn't have big parts. Sissy had the most lines at about 3 or 4! Peanut didn't have a speaking part at all (except for singing various songs), and I had one line that numbered 3 words! But it was a great experience. Sissy thought she would like to see what it took to put on a play so I figured if she was going to be at the church 2 nights a week for rehearsals, I may as well help out as well. Here is a photo of the girls in their angel choir costumes, after the play was over. I had Sweet Baby jump in as well hoping we could get a cute picture for Christmas cards this year.

If you have never read the story of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, you have to get the book! It is a very fast, funny read that makes for a great read aloud for kids, even for adults. When we were reading the book for a read aloud, I saved it for the evenings, when my husband was home, because he liked to sit and listen to the story as well! If you click on the title of the book you'll be directed to a site that has a few sample pages of the play and you can get an idea for the mood of the play. The book is right on with the play and can be found online and more than likely, at bookstores.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Snow Day!!

Look what it has been doing in Michigan the last 2 days - SNOWING! The girls were so excited yesterday as snow started falling, but there wasn't really enough for snow balls and snow angels....until they woke up this morning.

The schools in our area aren't closed today, but my girls aren't sitting in a classroom dreaming of 4:00 when they would get home and finish home work and then play, they are having fun in it now. We woke up, had waffles for breakfast, did some chores, did math and then it was off for "recess". When they come in we'll start learning about birds in science and read some more in our Happy Birthday Kirsten book, do a spelling lesson and maybe another chapter in Little House in the Big Woods.

I've been struggling a bit since returning from Disney. Peanut (the 6 year old) doesn't want to do anything school related. Everything is met with resistance, everything is "to hard" except it really isn't. In reality she just doesn't want to sit and do her work. She wants to play all day. I've been very frustrated and feeling like maybe she needs to be in school next year. But then we have a morning like this and I can't imagine her being at school not sharing in this fun. I'm still praying, praying God will direct our family and show me as often as He can that we are making the right choice for each of them. I understand they are all different, maybe they aren't ALL meant to be home schooled....being a parent sure isn't easy! But, when we slow down and just stop all the noise and chaos and just look at faces like these....

it seems that parenting is doable. If with nothing more than love.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Fibbed....

OK, OK, so I fibbed. I love these photos of Sweet Baby and Pooh, so I had to share!

When I began planning our meals I planned for us to eat breakfast with the Princesses because I knew that Peanut would love that and typically, Sweet Baby goes along with whatever her bigger sisters enjoy). After all our meals were planned, Sweet Baby announced that she wanted to eat with Pooh and Tigger (That's my girl! Mom has always loved Pooh!) At that point in time there were no more seats available at that particular dinner. However, she didn't get it. She continued to insist that she wanted to eat with them. Finally about a week or so before we left I just said, "We aren't eating with Pooh, I'm sorry. They don't have room for us."

However, on our first full night we weren't hungry till nearly 8 pm and attempted to get a table at the Crystal Palace (Pooh's restaurant of choice)...we could see Pooh milling about from outside (Sweet Baby had her face pressed against the windows staring at Pooh, I hope the people trying to eat their dinner on the other side didn't mind). Anyway, they were able to get us a table if we were willing to wait an hour. Since it was late in the day and we were just starting to get hungry, we didn't mind grabbing a bench and taking a load off. Imagine how excited Sweet Baby was when we told her that indeed, we were eating with Pooh after all!!

Last Disney Photo

I promise...unless you want more! I mean I did take 487 photos!!! But seriously, here is the only photo of our family in front of the castle. I can't believe the trip we have waited for so long is over in just over a week....almost makes me weepy. Seriously though, the last night in the parks we were at Magic Kingdom and watched the Spectro Magic Parade. We decided to skip the fireworks because the kids were tired and only I REALLY wanted to see them. So, as we were trying to get out of the park before everyone else did, I actually teared up and started crying. daddy said, "Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me?" But my sweet Sissy said, "I'm glad you are crying, I felt like crying but was afraid someone would tease me!" HMMM, you mean like your dad?!?!?

If I didn't say it, it was a fabulous trip. We were eating dinner tonight and out of no where, Peanut says, "Wow, I really miss the Buzz Lightyear ride." Hey...that's what it is all about isn't it? Simple pleasures.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ridin' Around the Kingdom

My girls have never been to an amusement park. We took Sissy to Six Flags when she was 2 but obviously she can't remember it. Sweet Baby and Peanut weren't too excited for any ride that had any speed at all to it. (However, they rode Soarin' which made you feel like you were flying over trees and water). Here is a picture of the girls and I on the Mad Tea Cups ride. Sissy wanted to spin us like crazy but the other two weren't to fond of that!

One of the rides that Sweet Baby had talked about ever since we started planning this trip, was the Dumbo ride. She loves elephants and especially loves Dumbo. Do you know how hard it is to find Dumbo on anything? Even at Disney World! I NEVER did find a t-shirt with him on it! Anyway, daddy took her on Dumbo so mom could take a photo! She almost backed out but when mom reminded her that she enjoyed the Flying Carpet ride with Aladdin, she jumped on and loved it.

Sissy is a lot like her dad and I. She LOVED the rides. So much so, that she skipped waiting in line to see certain characters just so dad could take her on more rides! She rode the Tower of Terror 2 times, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and her favorite.....Mt. Everest (at Animal Kingdom). We lost count how many times we rode that one! It doesn't go upside down but has a doosey of a drop and does go backward! Here is a picture of her and one of the boys we traveled with (you can see Mt. Everest looming in the background). We were lucky enough to travel with another home schooling family, some dear friends from church. After spending 10 days with each other, we've become much closer I think!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Disney Through a Child's Eyes

Late Tuesday night we returned from a 12 day vacation...we drove the family to Orlando for the girls first ever trip to Disney World! It was so wonderful! We had been saving for this trip for 10 years so it was much anticipated. This is my all time favorite photo from our trip:

Peanut was the PERFECT age to take to Disney. She is a 6 year old girlie-girl who loves princesses, Tinkerbell and anything magical. This photo was taken as we arrived at the Magic Kingdom. We walked down Main Street and headed toward the castle. As we got closer music started and an announcer stated that a stage show was about to begin - right on the stage in front of the castle. As we watched the show, all the girls were excited to see Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and all their "friends" come onto the stage. However, this photo shows the complete awe that Peanut felt when the princesses came out onto the stage! Isn't this what Disney vacations are made of?

Sissy wasn't as excited to see the different characters as Sweet Baby and Peanut (are you kidding me? I even get excited when I see different characters! I took about 6 photos of Mary Poppins!) However, we had heard that they did a High School Musical street show. So, imagine Sissy's excitement when we found exactly where that show would be and we were able to grab a front row seat! As the float came down the street with it's music going, she was all smiles. The different dancers sang and danced to new songs from High School Musical 3 and at one point even pulled her up to dance with them! She loved it!

Sweet Baby enjoyed seeing all the characters. I don't know that she had a favorite, but I really like this photo of her with Minnie.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carving Pumpkins

We carved pumpkins last night....ok, to be fair - dad and kids carved pumpkins. I have always hated the feeling of pumpkin goo. Ever since I was a kid. As an adult it is no different. gets the gooey job and doesn't seem to mind. What I love about this photo is how Sweet Baby is working on her pumpkin but yet has her left hand planted firmly on daddy's arm. She "can do it herself" you know! But of course she doesn't want dad to far away from her!

And here is another shot of her "doing it by herself". She is such an independent little stinker! Look at how determined she is to just cut that darned pumpkin to pieces!! Luckily the carving tool is one of those very dull little saws that children such as her can use - without damaging their fingers! Of course I was paranoid the whole time she was going to slip, but every time daddy tried to re-direct her cutting angle she would get really angry and pull away and say, "Dad! I can do it myself!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Mom, That Board Is Magic"

One thing that our 4th grader really struggles with is spelling. When she was in public school I would do practice tests with her Monday-Thursday night and at least one of those nights she would end up in tears. I on the other hand find spelling to be very easy. However, just because I can spell doesn't mean I can teach someone else how to do it!

We started our school year out using Spelling Power. This program is a huge book of word lists that you work through. I thought it was just what we needed. Give me some word lists and we'd practice those words each week in different ways and we'd be all set right? Well, it didn't work for us. Within the first month she was crying because she had had the word "neighbor" on her list for over 4 weeks.

I was talking with another home schooling mom and friend, she suggested a program called All About Spelling. She was kind enough to let me take Sissy down to her house and run a lesson through and see how it worked for her. It seemed fine, so after only a little thought, I purchased the first level of the program. I'm not very good at describing exactly how it works, you'll have to check out the website but for my daughter, it has been a lifesaver. She actually told someone the other day that her favorite subject is spelling! She is actually learning spelling rules right now and feels much more confident and understands why we spell words a certain way.

Both the girls are doing the same program and they are on the same level. To some degree I can see it only ocassoinally frustrating our 4th grader that her 1st grade sister is keeping up with her spelling, but I think the fact that the oldest is finally "getting it", overshadows the frustration.

So why did I title my post like I did? Because one day last week we she had been writing a story and spelled "leaned" instead of "learned". Should be a simple fix right? I think so, but for her it isn't. So I told her to go to "the board" and "segment" the word (AAS lingo) and see if it helped her to move the letter tiles around. Yep...she did it...first try! She was so proud of herself! I almost cried because I was so excited for her!!! She looked at me and said, "Mom, I think this board is magic."

Another Art Lesson

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted! Really, we have been doing school! Sissy had another art lesson today with Don West from Christian Art For Kids . Here is a photo of her work in progress. Yes, she really drew that bee herself! Isn't it amazing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Photos From Greenfield Village

I have several favorite homes in Greenfield Village which I love to walk through. They include slave quarters, plantation homes, a home from the south in the 1930's owned by a black family (this is awesome because they actually have old newspapers covering the walls to keep the cold out and a chicken coop out back, all set on a dirt lot). Another house that I love is this one:

It is a stone building that I honestly can't remember where it is from or the time period, I think I have only ever went inside a couple times, mainly I just enjoy looking at the building itself and the gardens that surround it. I hope you enjoy these photos...

Sissy found these bright pink plants to be very interesting. I believe they are a species of coleus. I could be wrong so feel free to correct me!

A Wonderful Fall Family Day

This past Saturday we skipped violin and headed to Greenfield Village in Dearborn (a living museum with homes from different places and historical time frames). We had such fun. We have been to Greenfield Village a couple times in the last few years. I have always loved Greenfield Village (American History was one of my favorite subjects in school) and since we have been studying colonial america for school, we thought it would be fun to return this year. We decided to hope on a cool fall day, and that is just what we had. It was beautiful. In this picture, we were at one of the last homes on the tour - a home from about 12 years before Felicity's time, so it tied in to our study perfectly! The gentleman from this home was showing the girls a bench that father's used to teach their children how to carve wood. The father would sit on the left hand side and the son would sit on the right hand side and watch and learn. He asked the girls if they knew what the definition of an "apprentice" was. I was so giddy to hear Sissy tell him the answer right away, after all, in the Felicity stories her friend Ben is the apprentice to her father, so we have talked about what an apprentice was several times. She got a high-5 from the gentleman and was very proud of herself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Co-Op Field Trip

One thing that made me think that homeschooling could work for our family was a visit to a homeschool co-op. The co-op is called Hometeam II and meets in Ortonville, MI. I visited it back in March when I was still trying to determine if this was something I felt confident enough to do. I remember at one point having tears in my eyes because I was convinced that I could do this. Because there is a waiting list, I was so blessed to get a spot in this group. Sissy has already made a friend who passed her a note the other day when Art was over, it read "You are my new BFF" (best friend forever). It was Sissy that we were concerned would really have trouble dealing with not being around her friends at school. She is somewhat shy, doesnt' have the highest self esteem and doesn't seem to make friends as easily as Peanut, who can make a new friend at the grocery store!
This week we went to Cook's Dairy Farm in Ortonville to see the calves, learn about the milk process. See the room where the milk is bottled, pasturized, walk through the barn where the cows are all lined up and even see some pigs. The girls thought it stunk. It did. It was a farm. The highlight of the visit was the REAL ice cream we had at the end of the trip. Peanut specifically loved seeing the 3 calves and feeding them hay.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

WOW..I Never Would Have Thought

Our oldest has never really enjoyed coloring or drawing. Our middle one will sit for lengthy periods of time coloring and likes to draw various things but our oldest has never really cared for it. That's ok with me but I was thinking that when she got to elementary school she would enjoy drawing more because they would teach her how to draw. Boy was I wrong! Our school was like most, there wasn't enough funding to have many art classes (1 class every 15 days or something like that) and what they were calling "art" was not what I remember as art. They never used paint, they didn't teach drawing at all...most of it was just a time waster. So, I was thrilled to learn about a man named Don West who teaches home schooled children how to draw. His classes fill up quickly and I'm not surprised. The classes are about 3-3 1/2 hours and are only $10 per child! More importantly, look what my 9 year old "I don't like to draw" child brought home after her first class last week! I was shocked! Not only was I shocked that she brought this picture home, but I was even more pleased that she continued to say, "Mom, that class was so fun. I love Mr. West! He kept talking to us while we worked and would yell out, 'Praise Jesus'. He's fun!" I guess she'll return next month!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Violinist?

We aren't one of those families where the kids do 100 different activities, mainly because the cost is so high! When we discussed home schooling we agreed that the girls would need an activity all for themselves and we would have to work it into the family budget. Peanut will be playing violin with the Flint Institute of Music. They have a wonderfully affordable program there and she was just thrilled to be at her first class today. A friend of hers from Kindergarten is doing the same class so she was really happy to see her as well.

An Art Lesson

I don't know how many of you know this, but art in our public school is terrible. Since kindergarten my oldest has brought home maybe 2 projects that I felt were ones that the teacher took any real time and thought in teaching the kids. The other projects were scratch art boards (to me, this isn't art) and pieces of plain white copy paper turned into to a string of Christmas trees (mind you the only "stuff" on the trees were drawn in pencil). So, I was looking forward to doing some art projects and even bought a book about teaching art using Caldecott award winning books. We haven't had time for art yet (I feel just like a public school!) but yesterday Brooke was watching Curious George the movie (her favorite character ever!) and there was a bonus feature titled "How To Draw George" so we all (yes, even mom) sat down to draw George. How fun! This is a picture of Sissy when she was all done and I think she did great! If you know of any art videos that show art lessons to elementary aged children, can you post a link here. I'd love to get my hands on some videos like this so we can ALL have fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tiny Tots for the Tiny One

3 years ago Peanut joined Tiny Tots rather than pre-school and last year Sweet Baby took part in it. Tiny Tots is a program for 3 and 4 year olds that meets at a local Lutheran church once a week for 2 hours. It is a sweet program where the kids get to make a craft, learn bible songs, hear bible stories, and learn how to play with other children. My kids love it. Sweet Baby is going to continue with Tiny Tots this year, we'll see how it works into our school day. Luckily it is just down the street from our library so more than likely we'll take our work there for the 2 hours that Sweet Baby is having fun. Yesterday was the information day and meet your teacher day at Tiny Tots. It was just an hour and Sweet Baby actually cried...when it was time to go home! She said "Mom, I don't want to go! It wasn't long enough."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Mom-led Field Trip

To end our week we went to For-Mar, a local nature preserve, to look at various mammals and feel their furs. We've been there as a family many times over the years and it has always been enjoyable for the kids. Since we are studying mammals and how can you tell if an animal is a mammal, I thought this would be a fun trip out. I had created sheets for the kids where they were required to find a mammal and tell the colors in the fur, the texture of the fur and if the furt was on every part of the mammals body or not.

Sweet Baby (4 years) was watching what was going on and asked if she could write as well. So, I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote things like "bear", "wolf", and her request - "mammals are cool" so she could trace them! We had hoped to take a picnic lunch with us and take a walk around the pond and in the woods but it is raining here in Michigan so we skipped the outdoor activities.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"OHHHH, look!"

We are studying mammals using the God's Design science program and I LOVE it! We all LOVE science right now. They use short lessons that both girls can understand. We discussed the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates the first week. Now we are onto the characteristics of a mammal. The girls are going to research an animal of their choice and prepare some notebooking pages or a report on the animal they chose. It was no surprise that Peanut chose her favorite animal, the polar bear. Sissy couldn't choose her favorite, the panda bear, because she had already done a report on it last year at school. So, she chose the cheetah. See all the "stuff" we have borrowed from the library! The table is full. Even Sweet Baby wants to "research" an elephant, her favorite animal.

Anyway, while looking through a wonderful encyclopedia of animals that we checked out from the library, they landed on bats and it showed a skeletal drawing of it and I hear Sissy say, "OOhhh look, see, that is the vertebrate like what we talked about last week!" I love seeing them learn from one another!

You Can't Do This In Public School

I require both Siss and Peanut to do private reading each day...usually for Kira about 1/2 hour (that seems like a long time for a 1st grader but she is reading some 2nd grade books and LOVES to read so she doesn't mind) and an hour for Sissy. I have some books chosen that are MY choice like Sissy will be required to read The Courage of Sarah Noble and Peanut just finished ALL 3 of the Frog and Toad books in 3 days! They are also still encouraged to read books of their own choosing (which they do). Today it was a pretty day and when Sweet Baby and Peanut took their nap, Sissy was found on the swing set reading. It occurred to me that she wouldn't be able to do this in public school!


Things are going so well. My kids are getting along so good. Mom isn't as frustrated or stressed as I have been the last couple years. What is happening?!?!? If this is what homeschooling is all
about, I'll take it!

Monday, after the 2 younger girls laid down for a nap (yes, my 6 year old still takes naps, but she asks for them usually!), Megan and I went outside to "her garden". Daddy tilled her a small area for her own place and she chose to plant sunflowers and pumpkins. She didn't mind watering "her garden" but when we reminded her that she should really be weeding her garden she replied with, "I don't even want that dumb garden!". Nice attitude huh? Anyway, we did the whole "plants can't grow if there are to many weeds, it's really sad that you don't want to finish a project you started after daddy took the time and energy to get you started". She did weed several times and now....she can see the fruits of her labor!

When she got all excited with the stuff she has grown, I said, "What about hating your garden now?" She said, "I like it now, but I did hate it this summer. It was nothing but a bunch of dirt and some weeds!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Great Day

I love great days! Nothing special needs to happen, but God just finds ways to remind us how blessed we are. We had a day like that on Saturday.
We had decided to go to Kennsington Metropark and take a picnic lunch and visit the farm area they have there. The weather was beautiful...just how I like a day in enough for a sweatshirt, a slight breeze but the sun is shining! We found a picnic spot on the lake and had hamburgers. The girls played a bit on the swings nearby and then Kira and I took a walk around part of the lake. After our lunch we went to the farm, had a hayride, the kids made honey butter, learned how to make granola, we saw some farm animals, and just really enjoyed each others company. I love days like this!

Monday, September 8, 2008

On To Week Two...

Whewww! Week one is done. What a week. I had several people ask me how the week went and I can tell you that I told everyone that my biggest suprise was how well behaved Sweet Baby was! Sweet Baby is 4 and has quite a demanding and strong willed personality. I was dreading how to keep her occupied and quiet so the other girls could work and we could get through the things I had scheduled. She amazed me and pretty much played by herself most days during school. A few times she joined us at the table to do things like lacing cards, matching letters, looking through seek and find books...she was really great.

Last week we had a light week. Due to the holiday weekend we didn't start school until Tuesday and I have scheduled our Fridays as library day/field trips. We do a spelling test each Friday and will use it to catch up on anything we didn't get to. Because we had discussed the differences between a biography and an autobiograpy, we went to the library on Friday and I showed the girls where the biography section was. Peanut was thrilled to find a biography about Walt Disney that she could read so we brought that home!

The girls worked on handwriting, math, spelling, history and science. On their spelling tests Peanut got all 5 of her words correct and Sissy got 9 out of 10 correct. She has been struggling with the word "neighbor" for some time.

In History we talked about the colonies, why the colonists left England, they drew a flag of England and labeled the colonies which gave us a chance to see how the borders of the colonies were different from the same states today. The girls also used the Map of Felicitiy's world to find various buildings on the map.

We are reading a biography about George Washington it is the Childhood of Famous Americans. I have to admit it isn't all that exciting, but so far it is about his early childhood, something both Megan and Kira can relate to.

One of the exciting things (and suprising) is that I scheduled them to do silent reading. Sissy was to read My Father's Dragon and I gave her about 2 weeks to finish it. She had it done in 2 days, took a test on the Book Adventure website and got 100%! Peanut was supposed to read Frog and Toad Are Friends and I gave her a week to finish it. She finished the 1st day and recieved 100% on her test as well.

The 2nd night I was feeling guilt again for denying the girls of the opportunity to make new friends at school. When I prayed with Sissy that evening I asked God to bless us in our schooling adventure. When the prayer was done she said, "Mom, home schooling is so much better than public school. In public school there are like a million kids in class and you don't even get to do all the things the teacher wants you to, or ask questions. Home schooling is so much better and I hope we do this next year." My husband pointed out how great it is that God speaks through our children!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Love a Good Contest...And a Good Book

Shannon over at Song of My Heart (I adore her blog header!) is having a contest to win a copy of Draw, Write, Now. I LOVE those books. I've been lucky enough to find a few in our library but would love to own a copy! If you check out this blog entry you too can enter to win!

Funny Mispronunciations

When dh got home last night I was having the girls tell him what they learned. We were talking about the first colonies...I asked our 6 year old to tell dad about what she had learned..She pulled out the map of the colonies which she had colored and started reading the names of the colonies, when she got to New Hampshire she said "New Hampster"!!

Then she showed him the flag of England that she had drawn and when I asked her to tell daddy who the king of England was, she was very proud to say, "King Georgia"!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 1

Our first day of home schooling has come to an end. It sure went well! I was surprised as Sissy came out of her room at 7:10 this morning all dressed (in a dress and leggings none the less!) I said to her, "One great thing about home schooling is you can stay in your p.j.'s if you like." She responded with "No, I want to dress for today." Sweet Baby tugged at my heartstrings this morning when I overheard Sissy say to Peanut, "Today is the first day of school!" Sweet Baby's teary response was "No, I don't' want you to go!" Sissy was thrilled to tell her that they are staying home and won't be going anywhere.

We continued our yearly tradition of the girls picking whatever special "1st Day of School Breakfast." They all chose muffins, so we had some chocolate chip muffins and blueberry muffins. After muffins we were waiting to see the school bus drive down the road and wave to it. The girls ran off to do their morning chores and while they were in their rooms I went to each of them and genuinely told them how glad I am that they didn't have to get on the bus today. I couldn't imagine having them both gone all day...especially Peanut!

I know that our schedule will take some getting used to and we'll end up tweaking it..But today it went like this (I was SHOCKED how well we stuck to it! )

8:30 Morning chores

9:00 Prayer

9:10 Math

10:00 Handwriting

10:15 Spelling

10:30 History

11:30 Break till lunch

12:30 Lunch

1:00 Language Arts

2:00 Silent Reading

I hope I'm not cramming to much into a day. Sissy (9 years old) thought the day was long when she looked at it written out this past weekend, but really it went well. I was especially impressed at how well behaved Sweet Baby (4 years was). She played alone most of the time and sat at the table with us for about a total of an hour and a half today looking at books and playing with some alphabet pieces I gave her.

Here is a picture of Peanut after finishing her handwriting/copy work lesson for today. She practiced A and then did their memory verse for the next 2 weeks, which is John 15:13 Greater love has no more than this, than he who lays down his life for a friend. As you can tell, for a 1st grader who is still working on forming her letters, to write an entire verse and have it look so good is something to be proud of! I hadn't intended on expecting her to do the whole verse, but she just ran with it!

The best part of the day was when Sissy said "I love this, I want to home school next year to!" Granted she said this within the 1st hour of the day!!