Category Archives: Home School

Babies and Bugs

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So we were able to finish up our third week of homeschool on Friday!  We usually won’t do school on Fridays, but Monday had us away from home for ophthalmologist’s appointments, so we had a make-up day yesterday.  The flexibility that homeschool affords is so nice.  But I will say that the structure it creates is amazing as well.  This is just what we needed.  Less time is wasted, more time is spent together.  There is an incredible level of intentional parenting going on.  I am learning to play and interact more.  We are connecting better.  Attitudes are seeming to be better at times ( although one child is coming to terms with all the changes, and that’s been dicey a few moments).  I know that everybody has their own opinions, and different things work for different families.  But this homeschool business seems to really be for us so far.

I have had to make a few changes.    I was using The Big Picture Bible Timeline for L&S, but it seems to work better for us, if they follow the same schedule as Andi, sans worksheets.  They can still do some of the activities that Andi does (like make a Creation mural), but I found that TBPBT just wasn’t necessary for us.  Also, I had prepared to use Apologia Zoology 1 for our science curriculum.  It didn’t work for us at all.  I was a bit bummed about it, because it is a great curriculum, and I was pretty excited to use it, but it was too much.  I don’t think my four and five year old can grasp lift and drag, or binomial nomenclature.  So we quit.  And now I am so super excited!  I decided to conduct an insect unit with the kids instead.  My kids love finding critters of all sorts.  We can’t walk from the door to the van without somebody looking for roly poly bugs.  So a friend has lent me some Abeka insect cards, another has allowed me to borrow a few insect books, I have pinned like a crazy person on Pinterest, I will get some more books, and I am putting together my own insect study.  I want to do a general insect study for a week or two, then break it down into ants (ANT FARM!), butterflies, grasshoppers, something that I haven’t decided on yet, and spiders (and why they’re NOT insects).  The kids are stoked!

On another note:  The weather was gorgeous today.  Today gave us a fall preview.  I know it will get hot again soon, but today was fall.  It was windy, cool, and overcast.  Perfect.  We spent all day outside doing yard work and catching critters.  All in all, we caught an estimated gazillion millipedes, 3 frogs, one very well camouflaged caterpillar (that somehow escaped….unless his camouflage is better than I think), a giant grasshopper, a mysterious bug,  three snails, a small grasshopper, and a cricket.    Then we bought crickets for the frogs to eat.

Watching the joy in my kids today brought tears to my eyes.  I am so grateful for all that I have.  The lawn mower and a thousand other things are broken, but none of that matters.  What matters is seeing my son throw handfuls of grass into the air exclaiming, “This is the best day ever!” and making clipped grass angels in the backyard.  What matters, is seeing my other son walk in the grass by himself, walk on the trampoline, and walk across the rough patch of cement…none of which he could do before today.  What matters is hearing my daughter read to me about the United States presidents’ pets.  What matters is hearing my other daughter squeal and giggle about the 3 inch long caterpillar inch-worming his way up her arm.

Before Sawyer, Caleb and I went back into the house later in the evening, we stopped to play just a little more.  We have a persimmon tree.  Only thing is–persimmons are nasty.  So what do we do with them? Hit them with a baseball bat, of course! Actually Caleb has a thing with hitting stuff with a baseball bat. He let me have a turn, and now I understand why.  Nothing is more therapeutic or satisfying then when you connect your bat to a piece of fruit, and it is utterly obliterated!  And what’s even better….according to Sawyer, every time I hit one, I got a hundred points!  At one point I had a few hundred points, and Caleb only had a couple of points.  Then Sawyer started deducting Caleb’s for various reasons! When Caleb protested Sawyer replied, “Tough luck, kid.”  He also said that each time someone missed the ball….well, fruit actually.  He tried to hit a persimmon a few times, but the bat is way too big for him.  But he pitched quite a few.  He did well.  Sawyer always amazes me at how well he can throw.  Maybe baseball is in his future.  I tried to enroll him into “soccer ball”, as he calls it, but we missed sign ups by 3 days.  I was worried he would be upset, but he said it was OK, because he really wanted to play basketball instead.

I enjoy my kids so stinkin’ much.  Even when I drag them to the grocery store at bedtime for groceries.  Each time I put an item in the buggy, Lilly scanned it and told me how much I owed her.  At one point, I had to give her three dollars, and I received $100 back in change.  I really like doing business with her.  And from an education stand point, she pretend counted my change each time.

I am amazed at my kids’ progress in the past three weeks.  We have emerging readers in the house!  And the two youngest are also doing so well with their other subjects.  Andi is impressively remembering things, and she is breezing through most of her curriculum because it is review for her at this point.  I can’t wait to move past that stage and give her a little challenge.

 

First Day of Home School and a Boden Update

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Well we survived the first day of home school!  Everyone was in a good mood for the most part.  Now Andi is finishing up her English assignment while the little ones nap.

It went well today, but we have a few wrinkles to iron out.  I am still not sure what Andi should be doing while the little ones are doing things with me, and vice versa.  But everyone loved the work, which included, worksheets, morning meeting, memory verse, catechism, Bible study, English, spelling, math–with towers, numbered jumping jacks, numbered spins in the spinny chair, and numbered laps around the house!, reading, coloring and more.  It was good. I think they think I overhyped it a smidge.  Andi is currently alternating being super excited about home school, and super bummed about missing friends at public school. So all you local home school readers…..Wanna have play dates sometime?Andi 3Lilly KSawyer K

I have had a few people ask what we are doing for Boden’s education.  The truth is, we didn’t know what to for a long time.  Today he did some activities on his level–putting blocks into his giraffe toy, playing with his turtle mirror, and he listened to our Bible story.  I was going to start teaching him his colors today with bandanas, but apparently those have scattered to the four winds, never to be seen again.  I will have to buy some more soon.  They have them at Hobby Lobby for about .89 each.  My thought is that I should be able to ask him to find a color, and he will be able to pick the color out of the laid out bandanas.  As far as education goes….He will be going to school. GASP! It sounds harsh to send him and keep the others at home, but I am trying to approach the kids’ education on a child-by-child basis.  Boden was an orphan for 12 1/2 years.  I am so scared to send him to school.  However, our school district has a wonderful special needs/life skills educational co-op with the next town, and I think this solution will work for us.  We should be able to get him in school for only half a day each day. That way he is home the majority of the time to still work on attachment (which is going great!), learn how to be in a family, and learn things that pertain to our family life.  I can’t have him gone eight hours a day.  It wouldn’t work for teaching him and attaching with him, and he just doesn’t have the stamina to put up with a 40 hour week. At least 8 of the 12 years he wasn’t with us was spent with absolutely no stimulation or education or playing or toys or walking at all….that does something to a person.  He is very fast and easily overwhelmed.  Also, he will be receiving PT, OT, and Speech therapy while is at school.  I am so relieved!  We were doing therapy multiple times a week, but the closest place to us was an hour away.  It ran our lives for us. SO this program seems like a great solution.  We are waiting for evaluations =)

BodenBoden2OK this is a combo-post.  So the other thing I wanted to mention was Boden.  He has been home for 9 months and 5 days.  He is growing a lot (Has went up 1.5 shoe sizes, has gained 16 pounds, and grown 3 or 4 inches), he is doing great, and is making tons of progress.  In the mornings, he opens the pantry, brings me the PB for his oatmeal, brings me a banana, throws the peel away, opens and closes the microwave, pushes the start button, opens and closes the microwave when it’s ready, gets me a spoon, and puts the PB up and closes the pantry door and turns the light off. AMAZING! We put him on the potty several times a day, and when he uses it, he likes to flush and close the lid ( that’s better than my bio kids!).  He also hates to chew, but will.  He knows what we are saying for the most part, and follows directions (or chooses not to, thank you very much!).  Boden walks all over the place now.  He paces and practices a lot.  When we first got him home, he had newborn soft and wrinkly feet. Now they have calluses–proof of all that hard work!  He walks with his left leg locked because that knee is out of place, and the orthopedic dr. doesn’t think we can fix it because his patella is misshapen.  Eyes and ears appoinments are coming up.  We have already done a lot of medical work, that I won’t delve into.  After 8 months, he finally decided that he could do patty cake on his own, and he can do signs for “more”, “eat”, “please”, and sometimes “mama”.  He does the motions on his own, but he likes for me to hold his wrists while we do them.  Boden fits into our family so well, it’s like he has always been here.  He loves having a family.  He loves having an Andi as much as he likes having a mama and daddy.  He is starting to follow Lilly and Sawyer around, and he is interested in what they’re doing, but after never playing for 12 years, he still doesn’t know how.  His favorite things are music, vibrations, chocolate, piggy back rides, and currently, Andi’s Skip-it

I guess that’s it. 

A New Adventure

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Tomorrow we finally start a new adventure that I have been tirelessly working on for months now….HOME SCHOOL! 

So here’s the back story: I used to be one of the people who swore they were not equipped with the knowledge or patience enough to educate their children at home.  That home school was never done right…that public school was the only way to go. Hahaha! I think my former self is rolling in my proverbial grave!  Then I thought, “Well, maybe I could do this…but what if I screw my kids up?! What if I don’t know what to do?” So I heard of this amazing home school co-op in our area, and I was instantly convinced that is was the answer I was looking for. Only one little word held us up–policy. The policy at co-op is that a family needs to home school alone for a year if their kids are coming from public school. Oh the humanity! Oh the tears! I think for a couple of days I went through all the stages of grief (how many are there? Like 47?).  What was I to do? Put them in public school and give up because I didn’t have the accountability and support that I thought I needed? Uh no.  Not this mama.  I got over it, realized it wasn’t personal, respected their policy (and hope to try co-op in a few years!).  I also realized that I was looking for a safety net, and was relying on outside help to get me through this new endeavor, when I should have been seeking out God’s plan for us. I am thankful that He shut that door for the time being so that we could move forward. And then realized that there was a lot of Godly home school moms who were veterans at this, and I set to gleaning wisdom from them. One mom that lives across the country from me, that I’ve never actually met, has been invaluable to my experience.( I love my Taylor Tots!!)

Getting so much advice, looking through curriculum, deciding what my home school philosophy (fancy, huh?) should be….was OVER. WHELM. ING.  I fretted, and lost sleep, and cried….But months and several hundred dollars later  I figured out how I want to operate, how my kids learn and function best, and found curriculum. 

Tomorrow is the big day. I am giddy. And a little sick to my stomach! I want to remember all of this, and honestly share with you our victories, hard times, and everything in between.  I don’t know if any of you are interested, but I will be glad to go back and read.  I would love some encouraging comments and nice words.  Criticism, not so much.  I am tired of answering the “Why?” question and trying to defend our decision. We’re home schooling because. That’s the answer I’m giving now =)

So for anyone interested, here’s our curriculum: 
Andi is in third grade, operating at an advanced level.  She will be doing the following:  Saxon Math 4/5, Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, Phonetic Zoo, Shurley English 2 (but she swears she knows it all already =/), Veritas Genesis through Joshua. For Literature, we are doing a comprehensive study of all the Chronicles of Narnia Books.  For History, we are studying biographies, and are reading through the stack of “Who Was…” biography books.  ( I wanted to survive this year, and felt like adding in a legit history curriculum might have done me in for year one! Andi is third grade and the babies are in K, so I thought this would be an OK thing to do…and it is…because we home school!). We will also be sprinkling in some home making skills and journaling.

Lilly and Sawyer will be in Kindergarten. (Side note: Sawyer is 4.  He is already pretty good at letter recognition/sounds,  CVC words, and number concepts, so I am making it easier on myself and starting him with Lilly, who is 5.  I have found ways to teach him out of the seat, in a hands-on way, and will make allowances for his age and gender.  If there are two math work sheets, he may just do one. I do also understand that he may progress a little slower than Lilly). This is what they’re up to this year:  Saxon K Math,  Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1, The Big Picture Bible Timeline, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons(I hope this goes by quickly, then I would like to use Saxon K Phonics…you got Saxon K Phonics I can buy? Let me know!) They have supplemental worksheets and activities, and their curriculum includes learning great things like calendars, patterns, tangrams, and memory verses and catechism questions and lots more.

 

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So that’s it.  I will try to keep you all updated, as I know you are all waiting with bated breath. Pray for us and wish us luck. I hope we survive!!!