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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Some Things I've Learned...


Well, the school year is officially over for us...but the learning never stops around here and I like it that way. Now that grades are reported and the paperwork is done, I'm throwing caution to the wind and taking the summer to regroup and re-evaluate. I have learned alot this year...about my kids, and about myself and re-figured alot of things I thought I had all figured out. I thought that I would share some of these lessons with you...knowing that you probably have already learned them all you homeschoolin' mamas.


* It is possible to have too much "fun": Now, I am all about keepin' school fun and relaxed and entertaining, but I have a tendency to over book when it comes to my lessons "plans". I sometimes think I have to have about 10 fun weekly activities to keep my children engaged, only to find that they would rather just color and have good book read to them. Not to mention the unreal amount of stress and pressure this puts on me to try and hunt stuff down. All I do when I pile up the "fun" is set myself up for dissappointment...and it's not the kiddos fault...it's mine for having such lofty expectations.


*My kids don't have to be experts and know it all's: Another of my tendencies is to be thorough and think that I have to drill every single detail into their heads. It's as if I think I'll never be able to cover the topic again so they have to get it all in one swoop. Really, I should just be happy that they know one or two details about a given subject.


*Though history and other such subjects are fun, the focus of these early years ought to be giving the kids the skills they need to self -teach, such as getting them to the point where they can read fluently and problem solve, allowing me to take a more hands off approach someday and giving them more control over their minds and education.


*THey'll do it when they're ready: It being anything. Read, write, whatever. I need to remind myself that every child is different (praise God for that) and will do what they will do when they are ready and any attempt on my part to force them to do things before they are ready is futile and vain.


*My "school" doesn't have to resemble a public school in any way : A good friend of mine and I were talking the other day and we both agreed the hardest thing to do as a homeschooling mom from a public school background is to rid our brains of the public school mentality. Public school functions like it has to given the situation. All their methods are geared for lots of kids and one teacher...it is impossible to do otherwise. But I have the blessing of a one on one teacher student relationship with my own child. That being the case, I can tailor make and accomodate the learning environment for each child. What works for Lillie, won't for Jack, but I have the opportunity to accomodate the differences. My kids don't have to be fully dressed to learn. We don't have to read by the time we're done with 1st grade or write by the time we get out of Kindergarten, I'm not going to label my child below average for not being up to the standards of the public school system. Learning does not happen only between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm, but it happens every second...every moment they learn something.


These are a few lessons that stand out that I will certainly keep in mind as I "plan" for my next year. I am always amazed at how God shows me things and teaches me through seemingly mundane daily happenings. My desire for my children is to have them grow up to love Him and serve Him, love and serve others, and not have so much "knowledge" that they don't have any common sense. Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 25, 2009

On This Day 4 (and 2) Years Ago...

Well, time flies...whether you have fun or not. But I wouldn't trade the roller coaster of emotions and the memories God has blessed me with when he gave me my children for anything in this world...not even a lifetime supply of Starbucks Frappacinos. Two of my little ones turned another year over yesterday, so I thought I'd share a few pics I have of them spanning their relatively short lives up to this point.
Jackson Cole : May 24th, 2005
Chloe Madeline: May 24th 2007




Happy Birthday Jack and Chloe!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Lazy Days...

The other day I had to take my van in to get the tire fixed. I dread doing such things with all three children in tow. I remember the last time I was at this particular establishment getting my brakes fixed and I had all three kids with me. Let's just say, I figure you need to exercise your imagination...I was smack in the middle of potty training Jack and Chloe was a tiny baby and I was there for right at 2 hours. I'll let you ponder the details. Suffice to say, the man behind the counter either remembered me or had kids of his own because he could sense the urgency of my situation. He informed me, sadly, that I could be waiting a bit to get in. "Okay." I said." We'll just go over and the kids will play with your toys in that corner." Now, the kids were well behaved, but this guy wasn't taking any chances apparently because 10 minutes later they were rushing my van in and fixing my tire. I have found that you recieve faster service if you bring your brood of tired hungry cranky little ones into places like that. Not that I would take advantage of such a scenario...
Anyway, it was a perfectly lovely day so I told the kids if they were good I'd go buy some cheapo sand toys and a box of cheese crackers and we'd head to the park for an hour or so. Well, lucky for them and me, they were good so we had a great little outing that only cost me 2 brain cells, one handful of hair, and $5. Not a bad deal in retrospect...
One of Lillie's friends (whose a very generous child) decided to go into house cleaning mode and gifted Lillie with a great doll house and furniture and all manner of girly pleasures. I only wish my kids would be so giving...the only thing they ever give me is a hard time. Now, I am apt to notice small things that really don't mean much and totally overlook things that probably require more attention. But while the kids were playing with the doll house this morning, I noticed something on the porch that just made me bust a gut laughing. Of course, being a photo junkie, I had to take a picture. I'm not sure if they meant to put this there or not...

Yep, lets get in closer. That is a little plastic dolly toilet on the porch of this pretty doll house. Well, folks, what can we say...we're from the south and we need to maintain our stereotypes.
Got the sewing bug again, finally. Made this today, sans a pattern.

You know...one side of that tie is lower than the other...hmmmmmmm. Okay, that's driving me nutso. Gotta fix that.




Okay, this is ridiculous. Something is off with that skirt...I think it's too long and needs to be seamed down a bit. It is tied in the back...guess I need to see what it looks like on Lillie. Oh yeah, and in case your curious (but not the least bit shocked) that is the cord from my disconnected fire detector...it makes a wonderful place to hang up finished goodies...

I tried to get a close up of the fabric...it is so fresh and springy...just love it...Kinda looks blah and blurry here though...man I wish my camera had a macro focus....


Have a blessed day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lazy School Dayz...

Well, we've only got two weeks of "official" school left this year then we start back "unofficial" schooling. We never stop learning, so to say the "school year is over", that's not entirely truthful. "Official" at my house means lesson plans and grade keeping and attendance forms etc. "Unofficial" is my favorite...no more teaching , no more "official" books, no more sleep deprived, sugar hyped students dirty looks (mostly around reading lesson time). This last "official" month of school this year has been very laid back...almost "Unofficial" in nature. I have abandoned all plans and we've just gone with the flow and had alot of fun doing it. Topics are all across the map, no obvious tie-ins...just whatever looks neat at the library. I found a great series of books on the lives of African animals, so we've been reading those and using our story journals again. I have figured out how to print directly on index cards and so life is good. I was printing, cutting and pasting the fact cards for their story journals, so now this particular means of "notebooking" has been made easier. If you're not familiar with our story journals, it is merely a composition book with pockets on each page. EVerytime we read a book, we write the date, author, title and illustrator and then I give the kids fact cards to go in the pockets. So, they can look through their journals and remember the book and learn some great and interesting things pertaining to the subject matter of the book.

Jack's cards are pre-printed, but Lillie's are trivia, fill in the blank type cards she writes in by herself. As much as I love lapbooking, this is alot easier on me and serves the exact same purpose. Lapbooking will be alot more fun when the kids are old enough to read and write and be trusted with sharp objects and glue. We made paper bag puppets of the animals we've studied and the kids put on a puppet show for me which mainly consisted of the animals arguing about who was prettiest. It was quite amusing, but I wouldn't nominate it for an Academy Award for best screenplay anytime soon.

You'll thank me for not having audio on this one...

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After we study an animal, we add them to our animal classification chart...

I did not know this, but no two zebra's stripe pattern is the same. See how educational homeschooling has been to me? This reminded me of this activity on fingerprints that I had been looking for an excuse to use. The activity quickly went from scientific to artistic as the kids started going nuts with the ink pads and making fingerprint pictures.

Everyone's fingerprints, though different ,will fall into one (or in my case, more than one) catergory: Loopy, Whirly, or Archy (those are my technical terms for it). Low and behold, everyone in the house is Loopy except for me...funny, I always thought it was the other way around. I had a little of all of the patterns.Well, I found a neat book at the library about being a nature detective and it was focused on animal tracks, so we read that one and plan on making some plaster casts of tracks next time we go to dad's on a nature walk. We've had alot of storms and rain recently, so the other morning we read a book about lightning and thunder, a book about how animals sense the weather, and one of our fave books "Thunder Cake" by Patricia Pollacco. It's a really great book and you should check it out if you haven't already. There is a recipe for Thunder Cake in the back you could make during your next storm!

Played outside alot this week as the weather has been very pleasant. Planted a truckload of hostas the other night and the yard is shaping up. I love my front yard when it's in bloom and the grass is mowed and the bird's are swarming the feeders...especially early morning when it's quiet.


Been some cookin' goin on as well... videoJackson: Pancake Flipper Extroidinaire

On a side note, if you don't mind...say a prayer for my sis-in-law Cassie as she should be in the hospital and ready to welcome her second baby, a boy. We can't wait to see Gavin Lane!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Did A Really Dumb Thing This Morning...


Coffee brewed on the stove must not have the same special powers that a cup of coffee out of the ole' pot does. I am so used to a morning routine. Get up at 5 am, wander about considering whether or not to set the alarm for 6 am, most likely do that very thing, wake up again at 6 , start making JOdy's lunch and breakfast. I am so used to getting my fave coffee mug down, putting sugar in it and then dumping an obscene amount of vanilla caramel powdered creamer on top, that this morning while I was mixing a big pitcher of Kool-Aid for the kids that I suffered a brain glitch and must have mistook the pitcher for my mug (how I wish I could drink 2 quarts of coffee without repercussions) and dumped vanilla caramel coffee creamer in with the Kool-Aid. It was....interesting....to say the least. The creamer clobbered on up to the top and I was left wondering if there was any other place for me to go but a mental health facility. I'll spare you and not post the recipe, okay????? Unless, of course you think you might like this sort of drink...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Old School Perks...


Well, it was bound to happen. After 10 great years together...it's over. My trusty coffee maker has...sniff...died. (What? You thought I was talking about my marriage for a second...didn't you? NOpe...he's still hanging around :) I can not describe the sense of loss I feel this morning... I got that coffee pot at Big Lots my senior year of high school in anticipation of flying the coop. It went with me everywhere I moved , stuck with me through thick and thin, good and bad times and it has pumped out thousands of cups of coffee...maybe hundred's of cups. Together we've made it through many early mornings. She's been faithful.


I knew it was coming. Last week I went to turn her on and...nothing. After praying (Hey, don't laugh...God wants us to take everything to him...right?) I flicked the switch several times and she roared (sorta) up. As the week progressed, it took more and more flicking. Well, this morning I went to fire her up , like so many other mornings before, anticipating another cup of coffee with vanilla caramel creamer. Flick. Nothing. Flick, Flick. Nothing. "COME ON GIRL...Perk for momma one more time." Flick. NOthing. Smack. "Oh, sorry girl, didn't mean it. It won't happen again." Flick, Flick,Flick, Flick , Flick, AARRRHGGGGGH, Flick , FLick, flick, flick. Nothing. Nada. Lifeless. Well, now what? Guess I'll go old school. So, I took out my filter with my Dollar General Knock-off Arabica inside, tied it with a twist tie and dropped it in a pan of boiling water.


Being the sentimental tight wad that I am, I probably won't go out and buy another coffee pot anytime soon. Oh how I will miss her "perkiness" in the mornings...


Monday, May 4, 2009

Photo Catch Up...

From time to time , I save up random pictures and make one reallllllllllllllly looooooooong post. And, well, I suppose it's your lucky day...cause today's THE day...

This is Josie and I know it's hard to believe from these pictures, but the kids adore her.Not a lick of road rage in this one...She's having a "MOMMY MOMENT" ( "Where are my keys???? And, where are my kids???)Josie and Tucker in a disgusting display of affection....Tucker loves his puppy.Nature Walk at Dad and Mom's. The kids ran hard and played hard literally all day.A little artist...Some nosy brother trying to tell her that that looks nothing like a dog...Little artist lamenting that no one understands her creativity...Lillie is a very good sketcher (She'll bring you a picture and you'll ask what it is and she'll tell you, and it actually looks like what she says it is...AMAZING) and has really taken to drawing , so I am encouraging it. I can't draw...at all...a lick, so it would be nice to see her become a master of the pencil.Jackson...on the other hand. I love this goober...he spent 10 minutes staring off into the woods and then scribbling furiously on his paper. I thought, "Man he is really in the groove of things. " When he emerged from his creativity I asked what he had drawn. He looked at me like I ought to know what it was and said "It's a dinosaur" in a very condescending way. I smiled. Wasn't aware there were dinosaurs in these here parts. Round these parts, we believe in the value of hard work. It's something we want to instill in our children...that and it means I don't have to clean out the scummy garden spot pond :) Jackson is a HARD worker (except when it comes to cleaning the house) when he's outside. He stayed at my parents a weekend or two ago and helped shovel mulch and was just as happy as a hog in a slop bucket...even earned $2.00 (of which I informed him that it bumped him up into a higher tax bracket (like 97%) and that I'd gladly hold onto it until it was time to file his return. He agreed. He didn't care about the money, he was just pleased to have done the work. Here's proof that my boy don't shrug work at all and that he's a pretty tough little goober... Ladies, rental fees start out at $10 an hour, if you're interested.
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Have a blessed day!