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!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Evolution of Sleep

First month...can't discuss it or no one would have children...good news is you don't really remember what you did that month even though you were awake 23 hours a day!

Second month...routines begin to establish...nursing mothers are excited that kids sleep for 2 hours at a time!  Formula-fed babies seem to hit this stage of, "Hey!  I can sleep all night!"  I'll never get it...

Third can move...routines schedule

Fourth can roll over...will sleep beautifully until he or she remembers how much fun it is to roll over...solid food supposedly helps baby sleep longer but rolling over trumps that!

Fifth month...rolling over helps baby get self back to sleep and Moms start remembering where they put clothes other than sweat pants

Sixth should be able to sleep 8-10 hours with no problem...word of warning--your kid won't ever like doing what he/she "should" do...luckily naps are more predictable during the day

Seventh figures out sitting up in the crib means he or she can scream louder for you in the middle of the night, especially if teeth are coming (don't worry, teeth take their sweet little time)

Eighth month...can't remember, I'm usually pregnant again by this point

Ninth month...guess who wants to practice crawling in the crib at midnight?!?!

Tenth month...the best month of sleep you might ever have!  Two naps a day, 8 hours at night, I love 10 months old!!!

Eleventh month...screw it, they can pull up and try walking at midnight, circling the crib regularly, oh and some kids think this is a great time to try crawling out of the crib!

Twelfth month... Big month...babies say things like, "Hey!  I don't have to nap in the mornings any more!" And then sleep more at night.  Then they miss their morning nap, so they fall asleep at 11:30, don't take an afternoon nap, fall asleep during dinner until you pick them up and then stay up until 10 pm.

Thirteenth month...wean the kid completely and you've got no Hail Mary at 2 AM when the baby just.won't.sleep!!!  But after three nights or so, they get it.  They start realizing that you mean it that you won't them to sleep ALL NIGHT in THEIR OWN BED.  For me, this is when they start to get it. Okay, Mama, I'll take one good nap during the day and I'll try my best to sleep through the night, all night, in my bed.

Second year...kid figures it out, parents wake up to see if kid is still breathing because there's something wrong with a silent night, oh, and if there are other kids in the house, they wake up the not-so-much-a-baby

Fourth/Fifth year...naps disappear, coffee becomes more important in the afternoons

Teenagers...can't prepare myself for this other than to know that it will be really weird to be the one waking THEM up!!!  Payback's Hell...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

So much to say

There's a lot going on in our world right now and I just have not had time to sit down and get my thoughts organized enough to blog.  Every day I think about things I want to mention in the blog and then I just don't get it out down.  Let's see if I can remember, in no particular order, what I've been meaning to write...

1.  2014 resolutions...I wanted to pay off debt and run 13 miles.  Debt is sort of paid off...building a house has made it necessary to use a credit card for building materials and such but we paid off what we already had in debt and hope to be back to zero when we settle up with construction loan (hopefully soon!).  I ran 13 miles on Thanksgiving Day at the beach and it was great!  Unfortunately after that I stopped running and are my way through December!  So...

2.  2015 resolutions...Weight, Water, and Wealth.  Between the last little bit of baby weight and the weight I put on over the holidays I have about 20-30 pounds to lose.  I am keeping track of how much water I drink with an app on my phone because I have been really bad about hydrating myself.  I want to spend less and save more so I'm going to try the Today Show challenge of saving $1 the first week, $2 the second week and so on until the 52nd week of the year. I think I'm going to try it a little differently but with the same amount of money.

3.  BAXTER IS ONE!!!  My sweet baby boy is one year old, can walk, is totally weaned to whole milk, has 6 (almost 8) teeth, and can get anywhere he wants to go (so ready for a one story house!!!). He weighed in at 20 pounds and had five shots at his check up.  We had a great day on his birthday going to a children's museum and eating Mellow Mushroom-his favorite!  He also got to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream for his birthday cake and he loved it!  Such a happy, adventurous guy!!

4.  School and schedules--we're slowly getting back into our groove, ballet is back, violin starts back this week, and art starts back in 2 weeks.  In school it's time for Social Studies.  Rachel is learning about the Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations and Ford is studying Native Americans.  These units will not win be any mother or teacher awards but they're getting some background knowledge!  Everyone is reading Aesop's Fables.  Ford has started addition facts.  Rachel is adding three numbers in columns.  Ruby is almost through the alphabet and ready for her first handwriting book.

I'm sure there are typos and there's more to say but I just spilled my coffee and Baxter isn't interested in entertaining himself, so there's your update!