Monday, February 20, 2012

A Monday

7am:  Kids awake asking me in loud whispers if they can go into the living room.  And is it a free day for the Wii (NO).

7:30am:  Reese returns to the bedroom to inform me she is hungry. 

8:00am  I finally drag myself out of bed to make breakfast (cream of wheat).  Kids eat and disappear to play.  They are being nice to each other.  I eat breakfast while checking email and facebook.

9:00am  Kids want to watch a show.  They asked nicely, so okay.

9:45am  I manage to get in the shower.

10:00am  Eli decides to take a bath.  Reese heads to the schoolroom to work on her Bible work.  Math lesson with Reese.  She is currently working on a review of the first chapter of Singapore Math 2a.  We played a place value math game.  Eli gets out of the bathtub.  Math lesson with Eli.  Read "Jack and the Beanstalk" for a second time.  Listened to Reese read some poetry.  Eli says he is hungry.

11:40am  Went to kitchen to fix Eli a snack and realized it's almost lunch time.  Prepare mini pizzas with leftover dough.

12:30 pm  My pizza is done so I sit down.  Try to convince Eli to eat some of his food.  Reese is done and off playing.  Eli leaves to see what she's doing.  Art projects in the form of little books are happening.  Eli writes a book about his hair, it's very funny. 

1:00pm  Kids and I go out to return some library books and hit the post office.  Realize in transit that the PO is closed because it is Presidents' Day.  Darn.  Kids want to go to the natural grocery store, and we sit outside Starbucks for a little while.  Books are back at the library so it wasn't a total loss.

2:00pm  We return home and I announce that cleaning must occur.  Kids work on their bedroom while I goof off on the computer and drink my coffee.

2:45pm  Room clean, clothes put away, living area decently picked up. 

3:00pm  Wii time!  Reese decides to read one of her American Girl books.  TV turned on and it is discovered that Clifford is on PBS. 

This part of the afternoon is our free time, so I'm thinking I'll do some sewing.  Kids are allowed to play Wii.  I ponder what to make for dinner. 

Tomorrow I might gently encourage more schoolwork, or not.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of play and how to balance academic work with original organic things that come from just goofing around.  Would Eli have written his little book if I'd pressed him to "do his boxes?"  I don't know.  Would Reese pick up a book on her own if I pressured her to do more and more schoolwork?  I don't know that either. 

I'm also looking at curriculum for next year (or whenever we finish our work for this year).  I really still want to do Ambleside Online because I LOVE it.  Reese and I would never have read a lot of the literature we've read this year without it.  I checked out the AO curriculum through 12th grade and I really do love it.  I know I would learn a thing or two as well if we keep up with AO.  However, I realized that Eli may not be ready for the rigerousness of AO Year 1 next fall.  I'd like to take another year and get him reading.  But I'd also like to add to his schoolwork, maybe in history or geography.  I can take pieces of AO Year 1.  And I also realized that at some point, I'll be working with two different years in AO, and I think that might make me crazy. 

I also love the curriculum laid out on the Simply Charlotte Mason website.  What I'm considering is using their history/geography modules so Reese and Eli can learn those things together, which would free me up to do less planning and separate lessons.  I'm still considering.  Both curriculums would provide a more than awesome education, so I think it might come down to what I like better.  We shall see.

Well, I'm going to have my "free time" now.  :)  Happy Monday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saying Goodbye

My Vinnie, the monkey tailed cat, Oliver's bizarro twin.

As patient as he could be with the kids.

Part of life is saying goodbye.  Vinnie lived a good life, he was a good cat.  I'll miss the heck out of him.  Goodbye, Vinnie Kittie.  I hope I see you again someday, Big Kitty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Homeschooling Looked like Yesterday...

After waking up and convincing everyone that breakfast was a good idea, Reese and Eli took turns on their little black computer.  They like to look at toys on Amazon and dream, haha.  I worked on the kitchen which needed a LOT of help.  Reese found her copy of Beezus and Ramona and did some reading.

At around 9:30, we decided to turn on PBS kids (no spongebob during "school").  I snuck into the shower, had a meeting with the principal, then suddenly realized it was almost 10:30am.  Kids dressed, grocery list, and out the door.

Reese and Eli weighed vegetables and fruits for me at the store.  Eli learned about apologizing when he ran his cart into someone else's cart.  Much negotiation about snacks and treats.  Explanations about why mom is NOT buying macaroni and cheese for a while.  Pop number quiz at the bulk bins.

Back at our apartment, the kids remind me to get the mail.  I guess it's been a few days.  Magazines galore!  We all sit down with Highlights Magazines and read together.  Those Timbertoes!

Time to pick up the house and vacuum!  Kids pitch in, job sort of gets done.  Mom only threatens to get out a garbage bag once or twice. 

Kids are restless and picking at each other.  Time for a nature walk.  Bread scraps are gathered.  Eli hollers the entire way to the lake.  Oh well, fresh air is good for everyone.  The flock of coots cheers everyone up and bread is scattered.  Will the coots jump and beg for bread?  Of course!  Pictures taken by all of us, prompting a chat about zooming.  Much running and laughter.

Moods are better on the way home, and 3pm has arrived.  The school day has officially ended, time for Wii. 

Did we crack an official school book?  Nah.  Did we all learn a lot anyway?  Definitely.  And tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A new week

I both like and dislike Mondays.

Dislike because usually it's catch up day from busy weekends. As in, the house hasn't really been cleaned much in a few days. Today I did some laundry and managed to keep the kitchen looking decent. The living room...well, it needs the help of a vacuum. I'm putting it off until tomorrow.

I do like moving on to a new week in Ambleside Online. Just to give you an idea of how our weeks go, here's our schedule for Week 18:

The Bible -- We try to remember to start the day with a verse or a story.
An Island Story: chapter 11 "The Story of How the Giant's Dance was Brought to Britain" --we listen to this on CD
Fifty Famous Stories Retold: "Sir Philip Sidney" (1586) and "The Ungrateful Soldier"
Burgess's Bird Book: choose one chapter based on geographic region and season. -- learning about Cambodia
Aesop's Fables: "The Lion, the Bear and the Fox" (pg. 37 in the Milo Winter version) and "The Hares and the Frogs" (pg. 39 in the Milo Winter version)
Trial and Triumph: chapter 5 "Ambrose Bishop of Milan" (339-397 AD) We don't do this...too scary.
A.A. Milne: a poem a day (Reese reads either to herself or aloud to me)
Blue Fairy Book: "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" (A wicked Magician and his wicked Brother are killed) OR "Why the Sea is Salt" (a greedy man tells his brother to go the Dead; a ship sinks and all perish)
Paddle to the Sea: chapter 14 -- This is our geography, and sometimes science, all about the Great Lakes.

The readings and lessons are spread throughout the week, usually 1 or 2 a day. In addition, every day Reese does a math lesson. We alternate between grammar and spelling. Reese often chooses to paint or draw during her free time. Eli works on various letter and number activities. Today he wanted to work in his kindergarten math book, so we did some together. We read the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

The kids spent about half an hour writing valentines, and played legos. We also went on a fabric hunting adventure with a friend.

It's just about 4pm. Schoolwork is done. Any moment someone is going to ask about the Wii. I'll probably do some sewing, and in a bit I'll work on dinner (stir fry).

It feels like it was a busy day, and it looks like that on paper. Sometimes I struggle with the proof. The house being clean certainly isn't it, haha. However, the kids seem happy and are definitely learning.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Friday

Homeschooling to me is a mixture of experiences.  Some experiences come from books, some come from living life.  Friday we decided to do some living and went to a homeschool group function at Pizza Hut.  I'm pretty sure I smiled the whole time.  Seeing a bunch of kids all hanging out, coloring, laughing, eating pizza, treating each other's just awesome.  And the moms were nice too.  So after about four months here in Dallas, I think we have our homeschool group.  I hope they know what they're getting into, haha.

I also took the time to direct some clean up of the house.  I sometimes feel like we should have a cleaner home because we're in it all the time.  However, if I spent all my time cleaning, homeschooling would go right out the window.  So we try to balance the cleaning with the learning.

Then Eric took us out for dinner at a sushi restaurant.  Eli, the expert of dumplings, approved of the restaurant.  The sushi was great (veg rolls for me, if you were curious how a vegan eats sushi), and it was a lot of fun.  After that, a trip to a store for some vacation clothes and shoes.

I like busy days like Friday.  Good times.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bringing it back?

I'm considering getting this blog going again.  It would be a place to keep track of the things we do.  In the spirit of it, here's today's list:

Math lesson for Reese
read several Cambodian folk tales (funny)
Reese read aloud from AA Milne
language lesson for Reese
Reese looked up her Bible verse for the day
Eli watched the Alphabet movie
lots of legos
Reese worked with watercolors
Read half of Aladdin from The Blue Fairy Book

We're in week 17 of Ambleside Online, Year 1 for Reese.  Eli is, well, he's Eli and very much does his own thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some pictures...

Well, we've been getting back into a routine of sorts, which keeps getting interrupted by silly things like ct scans and blood draws. Boooooooo. I went back and forth about starting a schedule, but in the end I knew it wouldn't work out for me. Instead, I decided to go with a list of things that need to be done for homeschooling. So far, so good! I created a pocket chart for Reese and Eli, and it's easy to see what we've accomplished and what still needs doing each day. I'm gearing us up to start Ambleside Online Year 1 this fall.

And of course, sewing has happened. I made this cute little dress for Reese. It's a tester pattern, and I think it's great! She does, too.

And I have to show off this scarf that a friend gifted me for Chrismtas. She made it, isn't it the best?? The weather here has been chilly enough to use it, too.