Friday, June 26, 2015

Three months later...

So, I have a million excuses for not blogging but none of them matter, so let's just fast forward.  It's 6 AM and I was up very late last night, but for a few minutes I am by myself with a cup of coffee, so here's the condensed version of the last three months:
April:  inspector came and said our house passed the final inspection on the first go, we hightailed it into moving mode and got our kids, our stuff, and ourselves to the country!  Took a little break from school work so we could get settled.  Rachel and Ford took training wheels off their bikes and never looked back!
May:  planted a garden for Mother's Day, Allen screened in the back porch and added a deck, driveway was passable so people began venturing out here.  Science units finished up with the solar system for Rachel and plants for Ford.  Girls had their first ballet recital and loved it.  Pool opened and swim team started.  Baxter moved to a big boy bed.
June:  Ford turned SIX!  He had an awesome day with Popsicles at swim team in the morning, Zaxby's for lunch at Allen's school (he's teaching summer school), and then a party at the pool with all of his buddies.  On Father's Day, Allen built a tree house for Ford for his birthday.  Rachel finished 1st grade and Ford is so.stinking.close to finishing Kindergarten (just two math lessons left!).  Three big kids swam in the first two swim meets and are so proud of themselves!!  Baxter is so happy out in the country and loves to roam all over (while pumping one arm back and forth :). Ruby has decided to do Pre-K work in the summer so she can start Kindsrgarten in the Fall...she's already halfway through the Primer math and able to read almost two boxes of Bob books.

It's been incredibly amazing to be out in our own space and see so much science and nature up close. When life gets stressful inside, we put on shoes and hike down the driveway and suddenly everyone's happy.  I look forward to making so many awesome memories in this house and on this land.  Fall is my favorite time of year and I am highly anticipating watching the beautiful sunsets and seeing the vast amounts of stars while sitting around a campfire.  Life is great and we have so much to be thankful for (even when the laundry is piled up and the floors are a mess!).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wrapping things up

We are at that horribly frustrating, yet incredibly exciting point in construction where we could be moving into our new house any time now.  The weather has not been on our side, but now that it's Spring, we're hoping Mother Nature will be kind enough to provide sunshine for the people installing our septic system (super essential!) and pouring out concrete for our back porch and carport (super helpful!).  In anticipation of moving, I have been trying to pack things up a little at a time and I am now down to the bare necessities which includes school work!  We finished up our Fairy Tale and Tall Tale units, our unit on the Revolutionary War, and we have just three more days in our current math units.  Last fall I bought some workbooks for the kids that have reading/writing, math, problem solving, and following directions activities.  I think next week we'll just stick to the workbooks and throw in some Easter art activities.  I have run out of energy to be too terribly entertaining and most of our toys are packed up, so here's hoping for lots of sunny days and excellent recess weather in the next two weeks!  Then we can get down to business after Spring Break!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hard to keep up with...

Doesn't he look so sweet and innocent??!?!  That smile...makes me forget what a handful he's become!!

Even sitting in his drawer chair and playing quietly, I think he's thinking about what his next move will be!

We have been having school time in a basement for almost 8 months.  It has been a hard to place to do school work!  It has its perks such as: not being in sight of the TV, not being near the kitchen--two things that easily distract my children--and having plenty of space for school work, art work, Legos, etc.  Lately, though, it's become extremely difficult to get work done and have any sort of concentration (I call it Distraction School!).  Baxter has discovered every nook, cranny, and sharp object in addition to climbing the stairs.  Ford figured out how to climb to the top of the poles holding up the house. Ruby uses the poles to practice twirling without getting dizzy in preparation for her Roller Derby career.  Rachel has found all kinds of National Geographics and books from the 70's...she's getting an interesting individualized education to say the least! 
So.....I moved it all upstairs!  The only toys  left in the basement (besides the poles) are the Legos and the play kitchen.  I'm going to lose my mind if one more person asks for a snack at 8:15 or to watch shows every ten minutes, but at least I'm not chasing Baxter out of the "workshop" or off the stairs or worrying about how many little Lego hats he's swallowed.  Our time here is less than the Pilgrims had to endure on the Mayflower (66 days I learned yesterday), so I can do this but holy guacamole I can't wait to be in our baby-proofed, kid-friendly, belongs-to-us house!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Snow Days? No way!

February seems to have taken the role of "in like a lion" this year, so let's hope March will start becoming lamb-like!  This is crunch time for our house, so the weather has not been helpful to getting people in and out of the land to get work done!  However, Allen has been fortunate enough to be able to work at the house on the snow days where students didn't have to go to school.  Now we have three painted bedrooms plus most of the rest of the house painted.  I think we're down to bathrooms, closets, and the dining room left.  Our kids have been dying to play in the snow all winter and were so glad to be able to sled last week.  However, I was also able to get lots of school work done with them despite the snow days that other schools had.  I explained to the kids that we could take a few days off at Spring Break or finish before summer if we kept on working!  They were more than willing to trade in a couple hours of reading, writing, and arithmetic to be able to play outside more when the weather becomes nice!  We are all on pins and needles waiting for the day that we can move into our new house and we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel now.  It's nice to know that snow didn't wipe out our Spring Break when we will be hopefully filling up the house with out things and getting a lot more time to play outdoors.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

In other news

Brief run down of school over the last few weeks (since I've been neglectful to blog about it!)

Ruby has one more capital letter to go (J).
Ford has finished all lower case letters and is working on sentences.
Rachel is half-way through her Kick-Start Cursive book and loves it!

Language Arts:
Ruby has started the Bob pre-reader books.
Ford is reading up a storm and is learning about Folk Tales.
Rachel is looking at Fairy Tales from different countries.

Ruby can repeat all the math concepts everyone else is learning...
Ford can add 9 to any single digit number.
Rachel can round, estimate, and add thousands, ten-thousands, and hundred-thousands.

Ruby and Ford are basically meterologists after learning about Weather and the Seasons.
Rachel can tell you all about matter and is properties plus how to measure length and volume.

Social Studies:
Ruby has been reading about Native Americans.
Ford is starting a unit on Columbus and the beginning of America.
Rachel is moving from the colonization of America to the Revolutionary War.

Everyone is taking art classes when there is not snow on the ground.
The girls have begun preparing for the ballet recital in May.
Rachel is moving along very well in violin.
Ford is ready to start soccer!

All the trim is up, final painting should be done in the next few days, then floor, then electrical/plumbing/HVAC final...trying to go as quickly as possible despite the weather!

"Everything popular is wrong..."

I recently read that quote by Oscar Wilde.  Albert Einstein is the one who said, "What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right."  I like what Wilde says and I completely agree with Einstein, but I think I'd change both of those quotes a little.  My take is that what is popular is usually what is easiest.  Or maybe, popularity comes from what is convenient.  Everybody is aware of the fact that we live in a world  where convenience sells.  The next latest gadget becomes popular because it makes something happen faster.  Or it means you have to do less work.  I always get this other quote a little wrong, but my Dad had a quote that said something like, "Fast, cheap, or can only pick two."  This is a lot of rambling to get to a point that's been rolling around in my head...
Homeschooling is not ever going to be the most popular option because it's not easy, it's not cheap, and it's not convenient (for most people).  When you put hardwork into something, you appreciate the outcome so much more.  I prefer homemade bread to storebought bread and part of it is because I know how much work I put into it and I also know exactly what ingredients are in it.  I prefer homemade school because I know how much work my kids (and I) are putting in every day and what knowledge is being poured into their brains.
I don't feel the need any more to defend our decision to homeschool, but any time I'm looking up curriculum or school ideas, I always come across a blog or a discussion where people are still arguing over the merits of homeschooling.  I think the bottom line is, some people will never think homeschooling is a good idea because they don't want to put in the work to follow through with it.  I completely agree that not everyone was cut out to homeschool, but I do feel that every single parent who is willing to put in the effort is capable of providing an education for his/her children.
My thoughts are completely unorganized here (mostly due to lack of sleep and limited time to type before I forget what I was going to say), but the bottom line is, every time I see people defending their choice to homeschool, I want to write to them and say, "Hey, it's your life!  Who cares what other people are telling you!!!"  A good parent wants what is best for his/her child and if you feel you are being a good parent by homeschooling your kid, then do it.  I promise people are always going to find something wrong with your choices whether it be the kind of car you drive, the neighborhood you live in, or the school you send your kids to every day.  Once people realize you are not changing your mind to homeschool, they will move on and find something else to criticize.  A lot of times, though, they are questioning and critical because they can not fathom the idea of A) spending that much time "trapped" in a house with their kids (the snow days have proven that!!) or B) putting so much time and energy into creating the curriculum and making decisions about what their children should be learning.  Public education is a right in our country but that does not mean we have to use it.  I'm smart enough to know that I have the right to bear arms, but I don't really think anyone wants me carrying around a gun.  I'm also smart enough to know that I can provide the same or better education at home that my children can receive for "free" in a public school or for "not-so-free" in a private school.  Guess what?!?!  It won't be the first or last time that I'm not popular!