Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Well, I know it's been a while since I've posted, and I plan to get better about that! But we've been plugging away and things were going good and then we kind of derailed a bit. My husband worked from home a lot during the beginning, and I wasn't sure if that was a great idea, but now that he's not working from home so much, I realize how good I had it! Him being here allowed me to get out when I needed to and get some brief shopping done or appointments, etc. The kids are really old enough to take care of themselves, but we need a warm body here to make sure they don't kill each other.

But now that's all gone, and the kids are with me the entire day, whether I get my hair cut or have to do an hour of grocery shopping, and let me tell you, some days it's great and we get along and love each other and then some days, I wake up! I don't know why but my kids fight. A lot. It drives me up a wall! I don't understand why they have to be so mean to each other, and then I get mad and end up yelling, and then they're mad at me, and I'm looking for the nearest school to stick them in.

So we're working on changing some things up, making a schedule and trying to stick to it is first on the list. I thought it would be nice to be a little laid back, sleep in, get up when we want, eat breakfast, then leisurely start school when we wanted, but guess what? They never wanted! So now I have to crack the whip, hide the remotes, turn off the Xbox under threat of death, and then I'm the mean parent the rest of the day, when normally, I am SO not the mean parent! So we have a schedule now and no TV or games until at least 2 in the afternoon. We'll see how long they can go before they mutiny.

And I've had to make some curriculum changes as well. I see that Regan is still struggling in her spelling. Well, not really struggling, that would imply an effort make on her part. She doesn't really try, I don't think she cares if she spells a word right or not. I remember spelling being a big deal to me (still is) but I would look words up in the dictionary or ask someone out of fear that I would spell something wrong! I was in spelling bee's several times growing up as well, and while I'm not the perfect speller I was back then, I'm still pretty decent, and scoff at people on Facebook who can't manage to get a status update posted without butchering the English language! (Fat-fingering a mobile device doesn't count!)

So I'm getting her a new spelling curriculum and hoping that helps. Also, I've put off writing for both of them, didn't feel like I could do writing with him, and not her, and didn't feel like she could write well since she can't spell at all, and so she could write a 3 page story and I wouldn't know what it said anyway. So with the new spelling, we will be adding a writing program.

We also got a new math, Math-U-See, and I purposely got a grade easier for them so they could build up some good foundational skills. Regan is doing well, she has days where she can knock it out easy, and days when she struggles, but overall I think she's progressing well. Riley on the other hand, is flying through the book and will be caught back up in no time. We began the year with him not knowing his times tables without using his hands, and now he's learning them much faster, and knows a lot more.

So, it's now towards the end of year 1, and I at first started this thinking I would only do one year at a time, but I think we will continue. I think having a schedule will help, but now my main issue is thinking maybe I should get a kit. If I had a "6th Grade Kit" I would know at the end of it, he knew 6th grade stuff. So, I go back and forth with that one, and haven't decided yet, so that's my current dilemma. Overall, I'm glad that we're homeschooling, and I think we're closer, the kids are learning more and having more fun, and we're all much more relaxed than before. So, that's kind of our mid-year update, and I promise to do better in the future!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Caterpillar by Christina G. Rosetti

This is Regan acting out her poem. One of her "classes" is called First Language Lessons, it's a grammar book that teaches parts of speech, dictation, memorization, etc. This is the first poem that Regan had to memorize. She is also, as part of her lessons, supposed to learn how to speak in front of a crowd. I don't think she is gonna have any trouble in that department!

Monday, August 24, 2009

When School Gets Boring

One thing I've been noticing lately...workbooks can be dull. I'm trying to get the kids a good foundation early on, I don't want them to start thinking it's all play and no work. But sometimes, it's just like pulling teeth to get them to sit down and focus on school work. I think we needed a fun break. Luckily for me, there sits my brand new dishwasher box. Now, what is more fun to a kid than a ginormous box?!

So I cut a door in one side, put the bottom on the top to block out the light, grabbed some floor cushions from our reading area and Viola! I'm back to being Fun Mom and not Boring Old School Mom! We all had fun with it. Regan drew pictures inside, so we talked about the nomads and the Egyptians, and how they drew on the cave walls and that's how we know so much about that time. So see, it turned into a school lesson after all!

And even Ricky got in on the lesson!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nomad Housing

In our history this week, we've learned about nomads and how they moved from place to place and built a home from tree branches and leaves, and that got the kids minds rolling. They wanted to build a nomad hut. Sure, sounds like fun, and since David got a tree-trimmer-on-a-stick-thingie (that's probably not it's technical definition) we've been hacking away at our overgrown trees out front, so we happened to have nomad hut supplies galore.

But, they jumped the gun, and came running inside to tell me that they built their nomad hut, in the back of our fence, which just so happens to be in our not-so-kid-friendly neighbors yard. I let them take some pictures of it, but told them just like the nomads were always on the move, it was time for them to move too, PRONTO! Preferably BEFORE the neighbors got home and found a huge stash of dead tree limbs propped up around their tree.

I hear Regan after she gets it all moved and re-set up in our front yard, "I better make an A on this project!" It was funny, and I'm glad that they enjoyed it so much and learned a lot from history this week. And yes, the hut is still up in the front yard, the neighbors have also enjoyed having a great place to play hide and seek.

Oh, and Regan only wanted her and Riley in the picture, she wasn't too happy that I said our neighbor, Little Tony could be in the picture, and she let it be known. So, we still have to work on our social skills!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Still Swinging

I should say, still trying to get into the swing of things! I originally wanted to do a 4 day work week, I hear this isn't uncommon among HSers. So it's been my goal to get our work done by Friday so we can take off for fun/educational things on Fridays. This week we had a little kink, I had to babysit my 2 nieces, which was fine, but we ended up not doing any work that day. I think the kids are tired of doing workbooks all the time too, so I need to switch some stuff up. Either do some workbooks first, then do something else and come back to it, but I see their eyes glazing over after a while of sitting at the table. The key here is flexibility, right?! But, so far no complaints really, they've been getting their work done, I just think it's going too fast. I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something important, when after 3 hours they're all done, it just seems like it's not enough! They aren't learning enough! But, I think that's also about average, so I need to readjust my thinking on that. I have the list of subjects they need to learn, we have our books, they are learning, I shouldn't worry so much about time and schedules and all that I guess.

We're doing Story of the World vol. 1 and they are really enjoying it. We're studying the Ancients, and right now it's nomads and their lifestyle, so the kids come up with some interesting questions, they want to build a nomadic type house, and eat some weird foods, and all that. I'm glad they are getting into it, and seem to enjoy history as much as I do!

Next week I will have my nephew all week so it will be another lesson in flexibility, we'll see how it goes. He might just get a week of school before school!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Official Start Day

I have been telling the kids that we would start school "officially" the Monday we get back from vacation. The kids went to church camp, David and I went to Vegas, so I felt like it was time to get back in the swing of things. Their old school started last week and they are on the year round schedule and I really want to stick close to that.

My big problem is I still don't have a math curriculum or a grammar curriculum for Riley. Oh well, time to jump in, right?! So it didn't exactly go as I had planned. My plan was somewhat ambitious I guess, I wanted to be up at 8 (which isn't likely to happen after staying up until 1) and have the kids spend a few minutes cleaning up in their room, and then eat breakfast, do our devotional and then start on school.

In actuality, we didn't start until around noon, I passed out the school supplies I bought for the kids, we went over some of the rules, which are basically the same as what they've had in school before, no name calling, no talking while I'm talking, and other than that, I'm pretty flexible. Then I went over the subjects that we'll be doing this year, and let them know if it's too easy or too hard, we can adjust, this is to see where we are. We started off with our Bible Devotional which we all really enjoyed, and they had some things to add that they had learned in church, which makes me think they DO actually listen back there!

I had them each start their Spelling Workout book, chapter one, and they both thought it was super easy, but Regan misspelled one word, and Riley misspelled two, so I think we're okay there. Then I did some grammar work with Regan while Riley worked on some spelling some more, he has twice as many words as Regan so it took him a little longer. We did two lessons in her grammar book because it's a 1st/2nd grade combined book, and I didn't want to start in the middle, so I figured we would double up as much as we can, so she can get a better foundation.

And then I had them each do a few pages in their cursive handwriting books, which they both enjoyed. I know it won't always be this short, easy, or pain free, but for today, I feel like it was a success.

Another thing I did, I got them each a cute mini-notepad, and a pack of smiley face stickers. I told them each time they impress me, either with good behavior or with getting their work done in a timely fashion, I would give them a sticker, they can earn more than one a day, and they won't ever lose any. After one page gets filled (I'm thinking it might take about 15 on Regan's, 20 on Riley's since his notebook was bigger) then they can pick a random toy out of the bag, or a special field trip or treat. I picked up some small items at Target this week too, just for this occasion, so I hope it works. They did pretty good today and they each got one sticker.

And Ricky is our new mascot kitty, he jumped up in the middle of the table and stayed right smack dab in the middle of us until we were all done.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nerves are Kicking in!

I have decided to start home schooling the first week of August. All of a sudden, I am freaking out. Am I ready? Do I have what I need? Am I *really* going through with this? Sometimes I lay awake at night and worry if I'm making the right decision. My kids don't always get along, are they going to kill each other, or turn on me, while we are "at school"? Lots of questions, no answers until we just jump in.

I have a friend who is also on this journey with me, home schooling different age groups for the first time, and she said she will start with just a couple of basic courses, and slowly add a few in here and there. That sounds like a good plan to me, much better than my original plan, which was to do like I normally do, dive head first without looking! I was thinking we would just do it all from day one, but now I'm rethinking my strategy.

I still need a grammar course for Riley, and I haven't ordered Math yet, but at least with that one, I KNOW which one I'm getting. The grammar, I have no clue. I am thinking I need to make a trip to the bookstore with notebook in hand and find some recommendations. But, I have enough here to keep us busy for a while, if I do decide to take the baby step approach.

But still, when the kids are out playing (which let's face it, doesn't happen all that often right now since it's been hovering between 105-107 for days) but when the house is quiet, and I have time all to myself, I think, wow, I'm really gonna miss them being in school for 7+ hours a day. But then I remind myself why I'm doing this, I want to be closer to my kids, I want to have more input into their lives, I want to get to know them better, and mold them into the people that I think God wants them to be. Then, who cares about a little peace and quiet, right? I have their futures in my hand. Yikes, scary thought!!