Monday, September 29, 2008

I can't stop!

I am out of control. I can't seem to stop. And as soon as I'm done with this blog, I'm going back to it. I am planning curriculum for next year. How sick is that? We are six weeks into our school year and now I'm planning next year. There has got to be some kind of support group out there.

A friend of mine gave me some books the other Friday at the park. I looked through them a little, but didn't really get into them until I got home. One of them is God's Design for Animal Life book. It has text and questions and quizzes and all that good stuff. Now it would only get us through half a year, until Christmas break. But I figured we could do the human body for the second half of the year. On the Internet I go to see if I can find a book like it.

When I signed on I read the one email that I had. It was from another home school mom inviting us to her house on Thursday's for a quick science lesson and experiment. The curriculum she was using was God's Design For. She even included the website in her email. And sure enough, there it was. It was made by the same company that created our science curriculum this year, only under a different name. And they have the human body. But it gets better.

As I was looking at it trying to figure how I wanted to separate the sections and plan lessons, I realized that the material would have to be supplemented. Some I will supplement with the library, but there are a ton of great web sites out there and that would be one less trip to town. And since we go to town five days a week now, one less trip would be great. I have a membership that is about to expire for a teachers website that has printables and different resources. I got on the Internet and went through their curriculum and my book, and downloaded and saved the articles and worksheets I want to use to supplement. And I listed all the ones that I saved on a sheet of paper I clipped to the inside of the book. Sounds great. Only we won't be using it until next year!

This is my cry for help. I am a junkie and an addict. I need professional help. Or a donation to the Kula A Hale Na'auao Akamai so I can get all the curriculum I ever wanted.

And on a side note: here's a baby girl learning to read update. Today we had about thirty minutes of reading time. The big girl and the boy sat down with their books and I sat down with the baby girl. We read "Fun with Dick and Jane". It's a collection of many Dick and Jane books. The baby girl had to read Spot every time she saw it. I had to nudge her, but after awhile, she got used to seeing it and just said it when it was her turn. Then I pointed out words that she has been reading in her lessons. She sounded them all out and got them all right. At one point all the words in one sentence were words that she could sound out. And she did. I told her she was reading a real book and the connection was made. I could see the shades lift off her eyes and the dawning of new knowledge. And she was so proud of herself. I am so very proud of her and you should be, too.

Have a great day!

Light Bright Fun

When it was the boys turn to spend the week with his grandparents, he brought home a light bright. His grandmother, hubby's mom, loves to visit thrift stores, or as she affectionately calls them, junk stores. And the kids get to go with her. This is the fun they have been having for the last few weeks. I didn't think to take the pictures until a few days ago. So here are the pictures of the genius stuff my kids can do with a light bright.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Science Experiment

Hubby has been working so much lately, he hasn't had the time to do our science experiments. Well, today was the day. He got home a little early from work and got started after he changed his clothes. The experiment was about heat and cold.

You need a plastic bottle with a lid, a straw, some modeling clay, tape, and a small piece of cardboard. Cut a hole in the lid of the bottle. Try to make it just big enough for the straw. Fill the bottle with water and put the lid on as tight as you can. This helps create pressure. Stick the straw through the hole about half to three quarters of the way. Use the modeling clay to put around the straw where it comes out of the lid. You want to try to seal the hole, smoothing the clay out as much as possible. Tape the cardboard to the straw, with enough room to make markings. Let sit for one hour to settle.

After an hour, you put mark where the water level is. You can drop food coloring in the water before sealing the lid to make it easier to see the water level through the straw. Place the bottle in a bowl of hot tap water. Watch the water level rise as the water heats up. Mark the top level of the water. Take the bottle out of the hot water and place it in a bowl of cold water. Mark the lowest level of the cold water.

It turned out to be pretty fun getting the bottles together. It was trial and error with the lids and straws and the modeling clay. But hubby finally got it done. Yea hubby! While he was putting the experiment together, I sat down and wrote a quick 4 question quiz to make sure the kids were paying attention. It worked. I know how my kids get. I posted some pictures.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whoo Hoo!!

It's Friday, it's Friday. We love Fridays. Friday is the day we can be with our friends and laugh and play and have lunch. Friday Rules!

It has been a long week. The issue this week has been the lack of motivation on the part of the kids. I've been motivated to get it done. Granted we had a busy week, but still. There were some nights that the kids were working at 6pm. That was their own fault by the way. We had over two hours to work in the mornings before we had to get ready to go, but they chose to play instead. I absolutely guarantee that no work got done for the twenty minutes that I was showered and dressed. Our errands were to places that we weren't going to be very long, certainly not long enough for them to get any work done. And they chose not to bring their work in the van.

One night, hubby was working outside and the baby was jumping on the trampoline. It was killing the kids to watch her outside while they were working inside. The big girl got done first. It took her all of ten seconds to get outside. The boy just couldn't help watching his sisters outside, and that killed him. I went outside to help hubby move some stuff out of our shed, and the boy was beside himself. I had to stand in the kitchen and make him work. He only got to go outside for about twenty minutes. And before you start feeling sorry for him, you should know that one of the places we went was church. And the boy ran and ran for the whole time we were there. He also got to run at one of our other stops as well. So I don't want to hear it.

The big girl got that way by the end of the week. She was great at the beginning, but it was so busy, I think she just couldn't get into the groove. She fought the good fight, but alas, she couldn't hold on. She and I had a couple of discussions and she seemed to perk up, but pretty soon, she was back at slacking. Even with that, she is such a great child. I am such a lucky mama to have my children. She got finished before the boy a couple of days this week and that's rare. She was happy, happy, happy the day she got done first and got to go outside. You could see the flush of freedom on her face.

The baby is doing so good with her lessons. I save all the work she does as well as her siblings. By Florida law you have to keep a portfolio or a sampling of their work. I keep it all because I love having it. I've been showing hubby her work, but he hadn't heard her read yet. So I dragged her book out and had her read for Papa. She did so good. She sounded out her words and read for him. He couldn't believe the progress she has made. He told her how fantastic she was, and she just beamed. She almost glowed she was so happy.That was such a great moment for them to have and I'm really glad I was there to see it.

Here was our big lesson for the week. We had a science quiz this week. We reviewed on Wednesday using the same questions on the quiz. When the kids took the quiz on Thursday they bombed it. I was so upset. I thought how in the world could they have answered the questions the day before and not answer them the next day? My feelings were that although the information and questions can be tailored to fit younger elementary grades, I try not to do that too much. It will help the boy in the long run, and I've already seen a difference in the way the big girl thinks and answers questions. But then I thought that maybe changing the format of the questions would help them. So I retyped the quiz using some matching questions and answers and the kids did much better. I had three Q&A type questions, and they did better on those, too. I think the next quiz review, I'll have them do the Q&A type questions for the review, but retype it in a different format for the actual quiz. We'll see how they do.

The two big kids wanted to take their scooters to the park today. I let them with the understanding that when we start our next week, we won't have another one like this one. I told them that they couldn't bring their scooters next week, or play Club Penguin, which is an online "club" from Disney. They have to earn scooter and computer time now. They seemed to be agreeable, but we have to actually get to next week.

We always have a good time at the park. And the weather was fantastic. It was about 85 today and was partly cloudy and gorgeous! Two of my friends stayed and we were the last families there. We decided at one point to take a walk around the park. We ended up doing four or five laps around. It was fantastic to be with friends and enjoying the splendor of a blue sky day. I needed the camraderie of these ladies. Without it, it would be impossible to keep my sanity somedays. Its comforting to have the support of people who share common ideals and goals.

Monday I had a dentist appointment, so hubby did the schooling. I didn't fuss about the way he did things, because he got it done. They got a little bit of a late start, but the kids seemed to be good with it. It threw me off of my week a little. It was slightly past 11 when I got home, and all was well.

I love the fact that hubby will step in when we need him to. I've been slowly going over where everything is and how to keep the records and all that stuff. He also is our experiment guy. He's worked really late the last few weeks, so we're a little behind, but we'll get caught up. It makes me love him even more that he supports and wants to be included in our schooling. He is a wonderful man and father and husband.

Enough for now. It was a great week. It was an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and go new places. We expanded our vocabularies, our horizons, and our minds.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scared of California

Let me preface this blog by saying that I am a child of public school. For good or for bad, I loved my high school and my high school years. I missed my ten and twenty year reunions and it killed me. My parents did the best they could and my mom even wanted me to go to private school. I said no.

I have several teachers that were mentors to me. They were there when I needed someone to be there and didn't think I had anyone. My mom worked several jobs to keep us afloat and spent quite a bit of time away from home. I am not judging and I completely understand the need and the want. And times were much different now than they were then. But I had people that cared about me and took an interest in my life. They wanted to make sure that I turned into the best person I could. That being said, here goes.

The state of California had taken steps to stop parents from homeschooling their children. Certain individuals think that a parent can not teach their child without a degree. One official is quoted as saying "a primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism, and loyalty to the state and the nation." Yes, and isn't that what we are trying to do? Let's start at the beginning of that statement, shall we?

We don't "train" children. They are not animals, they are children. They are meant to laugh, play, love, and bring joy to the world around us. I teach my children that they should treat each other with respect in order for them to be treated with respect. I teach my children that we are very lucky to live in a state and a country that allows us the freedom to learn at home. I teach my children that the world is much better with "please" and "thank you". I don't train them to do anything.

If the schools are doing such a bang up job at "training children in good citizenship, patriotism, and loyalty", why was voting so low for so long? That would show that we are good citizens and have loyalty and are patriotic. Why is it that more people vote for American Idol than President?

But here's the comment that really got me: "children need to be in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety." Where do I start? How about the fact that my children are in a place with someone who has the responsibility of their well being? That would be home with their mother. Duh! And on his days off, with their father, too. So the daily thing I have covered. Daily they are told that they are loved and appreciated and brought into this world and this family by the loving hand of God. Daily they are told that they did a great job on something, usually several times. Daily they are thanked for a job well done on whatever their endeavor. We do not have the perfect family, and my children do get disciplined. But they know they are loved no matter what.

The big girl came home from school one day almost in tears. I asked her what was wrong, and she said her teacher had said she was stupid. That is one of the smartest children I have ever known. That is not because I am her mother. It's because she is super smart like her mother. I was furious. I calmly asked if she wanted me to talk to her teacher and she said no. On the inside I was raging. I let that one slide, but waited to see if it happened again. The day I signed the paper work to homeschool was the day the teacher called my daughter pathetic. What the heck? The only reason that b***h didn't end up on the floor that day was because we didn't have bail money. So I told my nine year old daughter that she was none of the things her teacher had called her. And then explained that she didn't have to go back if she didn't want to. She stuck it out until Christmas break, which was all we were waiting for. It was only a couple of weeks, and she seemed happier knowing that she wan't going back. It was almost like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

Let's go to the next part, shall we? Something like "observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety." There is someone out there who can protect my kids better than I can? I would really like to see someone who can do that. Have you ever gotten between a mother and her kids at someplace like Disney or SeaWorld? It's like invoking the wrath of the mama bear. I do not know of anyone that can protect my family better than I do. They are protected physically, mentally, and spiritually. It seems that it should be my job and my hubby's job to love and protect our children. We do it for the love we receive from our children. There is nothing like having your children greet you at the door when you get home. And it doesn't matter if I've been gone two minutes or two days. They are bright, giving, loving, funny, precocious children that love to use their minds and their imaginations. They are being brought up to know that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.

I know that these people meant well in their intentions. I know that they wanted to protect children. But they went about it in the wrong way. Its as if parents have no rights or say in the education of their children. Its as if we could not possibly have brains enough to teach our children anything. I can tell you that a college degree doesn't make you smart. It isn't like the scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz". We don't get a piece of paper with our name on it and are instantly smart. There are people that are intelligent and well rounded that never went to college. Or they went to college, but never finished. I'm one of those. But I can teach my children. I don't have a degree, but I'm not ignorant.

Thankfully, the court reversed their decision. And Gov. Schwarzenegger even threatened to establish new homeschooling laws that would protect the families. He says that the parents have every right to offer a great education to their children. You go, Governor. It has opened new avenues for the homeschooling movement.

Some of the reasons we decide to homeschool had to do with our values and the quality of life we want for our children. I knew one other mother in the big girl's class, and none in my son's. I was a stay at home mom that was very involved in my children's classes, but I didn't know their friends' parents. I know all of their friends' parents now. The park friends we meet each week at the park. The church friends all go to church with us. And we have actually socialized with them. It's not just waving hi across the parking lot. I know the parents of their dance friends, and even dance with some of them in my own class.

My daughter needed a safe environment where she wasn't brow beaten and made to feel inferior. My son needed a safe environment where he could stand up and work, instead of being forced to sit down. my children need to feel loved and nurtured.

This is a different time than it used to be. And parents need to be aware that your rights are in danger. Not just the right to homeschool, but your right to have any say in their education. We chose what we did for our family and it was the best decison we ever made. We want a better education and a better life for our children than the one society says they need to have. It may not be a decision you agree with or like. But you have to agree that at least we had the right to make that decision.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's a "stay at home mom"?

It has been a busy few days around here. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm coming or going. I have to write everything down or I lose track of our lives. I wonder sometimes when that happened. Without our calendar, I am lost. I had to schedule a dentist appointment yesterday, and almost couldn't do it as I stood at their calendar. Their calendar doesn't have my schedule on it. Luckily I picked a day I didn't have anything else going on. Anyway, here's where we've been.

The boys got back from their camping trip on Sunday. My poor boy was eaten up with sand fleas and mosquitoes. And his body doesn't react very well to them. We had to cover him in Gold Bond Sunday night after his shower.They had such a good time. They had a couple of times that hubby and the boy clashed a little. They both need to learn to pick their battles. But if you ask them they had the time of their lives. I love a little male bonding.

The big girl was supposed to go camping instead of the boy, but she had a birthday party on Saturday. She was a little shy at the party, but got into the swing of things after a little while. She said later that she was glad that she had stayed for the party. That made me feel a better. Hubby is trying to plan a trip in about a month to take her. I told him to be careful about the sand fleas.

Today was a running day. We had our volunteer work at the church today. We stock the shelves at the food pantry our church runs. It's a great program and the kids love it. It makes them feel like they are helping people. I like the fact that they are learning about giving back. I have noticed they don't ask as much for things now. They still ask, just not as much. And the kids feel important. I think that's a good thing, too. Don't we all like to feel special?

I had to talk to the our Associate Pastor about funds for our after school program, then we got started. We had quite a lot to do today. It makes me feel good that our church and the congregation are responding to the needs of the community. Sometimes we all get caught up in how important we are to ourselves. Which brings me to the next activity.

The boy had a doctor's appointment. We had to leave a little early, but I wanted to make sure that we got everything done. So after walking around the campus to find a key to our activity center, where their was more food waiting to be shelved, I was a little frustrated. Which meant I was fussing at the kids. They were actually pretty good. The boy was having a few issues today, but he got over that thankfully. The boy's allergies are still allergies, see you in six months.

Then it was across the road to get a pair of shoes for the boy. We bought him a really good shoe and spent a lot of money last time we bought him shoes. I was hoping that they would last a while. They didn't. He has a hole in one of them. On top. How do you get a hole in the top of your shoe? Wal Mart had athletic shoes for $8. We found a pair that he liked, and they fit. We got back out to the van and he had to put them on right away. I didn't have a problem with that. He didn't take them off until he was forced to take them off tonight at bedtime. He loves his shoes.

Then it was our last stop. We had to go to the grocery store. Yes, I could have done that at the last place, but I had a really big coupon for our local grocery store. It was $10 off an order of $50 or more. And I had coupons for a few of our other things that were $1 off. I was feeling proud of myself using buy one get one free deals on top of that and saving $45. I love when that happens.

And then it was time to go home and make lunch. And put away groceries. And school. We hadn't even done that yet. By the time we got home, it was after 1. By the time I got groceries put away and lunch made and served, and we ate, it was after 2. Then we got started schooling. It started a little rough. I didn't feel like the kids were listening when we were doing our science.

I was reading a sheet that had the atmospheric layers with their names and some stats. They were fidgeting with stuff and talking. So while we read our on line article together, I made up a 5 question test on the printout they weren't listening to. The kids were shocked that I had done that. But I bet they pay closer attention next time.

Hubby wasn't working overtime today (boo hoo), so I asked him to take the baby to dance class. He said she did a great job. She loves that class. She gets so excited when it's her turn. Hubby asked her if she wants to take hip hop like her sister, and she said no. She wants to be a ballerina. I hope she does. I think she would be fantastic. When they got home I fed them dinner and then they got ready for bed.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. That's our very busiest day. And I get to dance! I'm posting some pictures of the boy with his cousin while they were camping. Mine is the cute one with the longer hair.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Weekly update

Whew! It has been a long one, let me tell you what. We got off to a busy start again this week. I feel like the world is spinning sometimes.

Monday started pretty well. The boy is starting to get more and more antsy. He's about to drive his mama a little nuts. And it seems like he is having hard time keeping his mouth shut. He has a comment for everything. At one point I told him to go play and he had ten minutes. He came back ready to work, and he did pretty well for awhile.

I don't mind if he stands while he works. At least he's working. And in a public school they would be fussing at him for standing. Some times you just have to move. And I don't know many seven year olds that can sit still for long. But when he started dancing, I had a couple of issue. It would have been alright if he had worked and danced. But that wasn't the case. And that irritated me. And he knew he was pushing my buttons. So I pushed his buttons. The rest of the week, he started to mellow out a little, but it was touch and go for awhile. We both needed park day come Friday.

The big girl was fantastic this week. She had some grammar issues last week, but she ended up doing really well. She started a new topic this week. And kicked butt at it. She had a couple of attitude issues, but I feel like we worked through them pretty well.

Her dance class was Monday, and she rocked it. She is such a good dancer. And she loves dancing. This is her third year in this class, and I think come next year, she may be ready to move on to something else, either a more advanced class, or maybe a different genre entirely. She always seems a little shy and nervous when class starts, but she rocks it every time. And by the end of class, she's smiling, so yea!

I am so proud of her. What an amazing young lady she is turning out to be. I thank God for her. I told her the other day that she was meant to be our shining light. She is beautiful, smart, funny and has such a great personality. She can be shy when you first meet her, but then she finally opens up and the fun comes out.

And the baby. We had our issue last week with her reading lessons, but this week she was fantastic. We didn't have one issue. She has done such a good job. We are on lesson 18 of the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". The downside about the program is that by the 10th lesson or so, I think the child loses interest. They are ready to read already. But if you hang in a little further, it starts to pick up. And she is already sounding out words and reading the sentences in the lessons. We've had to work on her speech as we go along, but that has improved already as well. We're still working on a couple of things, "th" is still a little difficult for her.

She loves her dance class. She gets mad when somebody else gets ready for dance class. She wants it to be her turn. Don't we always want it to be our turn. I'm glad she loves it. I hope we can all dance forever.

Hubby and the boy went camping at the beach this weekend. They went with hubby's brother and his son, and hubby's dad. They took the metal detectors and fishing poles. They have a campsite almost right on the water. The last time I talked to them, they hadn't found anything worth anything, but they were having a good time. They're going fishing later. At least they aren't fishing for dinner. They could starve.

The girls and I went to a birthday party for a friend from church. She is a really sweet girl and she and the big girl are really good friends. She goes to public school and her friends from school were there. The big girl felt a little left out, but once eveybody got in the pool, they loosened up and all played pretty good together.

Tonight, I have to clean out my tub. I have a nice big tub and some bubble bath just screaming our names. So I'm gonna go take a bubble bath.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What a day

Today is Wednesday. To some it signals the middle of the week. Only two more days until the weekend. Some call it "hump day". I call it the busiest day ever.

On Wednesday, we get up early, which for us is about 8. Ok, for Mama, its about eight. The two big kids are up about 7 or 7:30. Sometimes they get to kiss Papa at the back door. Usually, Papa has to come wake me up for a Mama kiss. But, I digress. I try to get everyone started about 8:30. That gives us an hour and a half before I absolutely have to get into the shower. We can get all of our together stuff done and move on with the day.

By eleven, out the door. And sometimes that's like pulling teeth. We go to the Parents' house and drop off kids. Thank goodness. Then off to dance class for Mama. I love my tap class and I highly recommend that you take one, just for you. I cannot imagine doing something that is much more fun than that. And hey, this is a family blog so clean your mind up.

Then back to pick up the kids. We need to hurry, so come on. Thanks for keeping the kids, see ya next week. Then to church for JAM. It's our Wednesday afterschool program at church, and right now we are in the planning stages, so it's just meetings. Soon it will out until 6. Some parents are chronically late picking up their kids. I know this ahead of time so I am prepared. Then home to cook dinner.

While dinner is cooking, the kids are doing the schoolwork that they didn't finish that morning. And the are whining about it because they are tired by this point. I don't make them take it to the Parents's house because that's just cruel. And any hopes of them working at JAM instead of playing with their friends would just be mean. After dinner and schoolwork, showers and bed. That will probably be closer to 10 than 8.

And then there's spending time with my husband. After the kids go to bed, it's time to snuggle and cuddle. Fine, you got me. We're usually in bed falling asleep with the TV on. But at least we are snuggling and cuddling.

So, that's our Wednesday in a nutshell. It is busy, busy, busy. But I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. And the best thing is how flexible we can be with the school work. Everyone knows work can be done ahead of time, or caught up by Friday. Because Friday is park day and we can't go until all the work is done. I do have some rules.

Hubby says I'm crazy to put this on the internet, for security reasons. But we really don't have anything. All of our stuff is old and worn out. But it is late, and I think I need a little snuggle time, and cinammon toast. That sounds like a good midnight snack.

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Double Digits!

Today was the big girl's birthday party. What a good day it turned out to be. Hubby and I have been cleaning for three days trying to get the house in order. You know how it is, company's coming, straighten up.

We invited a couple of people from church. We also invited a couple of families that we home school with. And then, of course, there were the cousins. Only one family pod showed up, but that was alright with us. The big girl had a great mix of friends, and got some really cool stuff. I hope you had a great party, baby! I attached some photos so enjoy.

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Another week gone. I don't know how it happens, but it does. And this week, specially today, has been a doozy. Hubby has still been working a ton of overtime, and I am feeling it. Isn't it amazing when that happens?

The week itself started fine. The big girl started her dance class this week. She was so happy. She also looked like she was tired as all get out when we got there. She had fallen asleep in the van on the way, and wasn't really ready to get up. She has lots of people in her class from last year, but she also has new people. One of them is a friend of ours so that's good for her.

At one point, she looked like she was going to cry. That broke my heart. But after about 15 or 20 minutes, she perked up. She was bebopping, or should I say hip hopping, right along with the music. She loves her class so much. I think most of that is her teacher. Miss Tiffany rocks. She has choreographed some really great numbers that have been "borrowed" by other dance schools in the area. How crazy is that? But the big girl loves to dance. She is ready for Monday so she can go back.

The baby and I had some issues on Tuesday. She decided, rather tearfully, that she didn't want to learn to read anymore. I could have wrung her little neck. She and I just decided to butt heads and neither one of us was backing down. She yelled at me, which I do not tolerate. I yelled at her. I even called hubby at one point and told him that I was done. She is four and she doesn't have to learn right now. Know what he did? He yelled at me. I told him where he could stick his attitude and it wasn't a very comfortable spot. I told him if it was that important to him he could teach the blah, blah, blah to read.

After we both calmed down and talked about it, we worked it out. I decided to give her a day and let her calm down, too. It worked because we did another lesson today. And she read a whole sentence. She was so proud of herself. It was like the connection was finally made. So tomorrow, we do one more and see how it goes.

And what can I say about the boy? He is the one and only and he knows how to push all of our buttons when he is in a creative kind of mood. He didn't stop running his mouth today until I put the wooden spoon on the table with us. It was driving me crazy. My comment as I did it was something along the lines of I'm not scared to use it. He knows it, too. He shut his mouth for a little while, but that was all I needed. Some days he has to comment about everything that comes out of anyone's mouth. But I love those kids.

I have taken on a role at our church working with our after school Wednesday program. We no longer have a Children's Director, Christian Education Director, or Youth Director. And boy, do we ever need them. Anyway, we are a little late getting the program started and haven't even done that yet. The big girl is having a bday party this weekend, and I need to focus on her for now. So Monday morning, I go to church to get all the forms done and ready to be printed and sent out. Some have to be delivered to the elementary school that is close to us. Then I get to do a quick inventory of supplies we already have, and supplies we need and, oh man, do I feel like I got in over my head sometimes. But one step at a time is all I can do.

Thankfully, tomorrow is park day. I love Fridays! I get to hang out with some really great people and so do the kids. We have dance tomorrow night, a bday party on Saturday, and the big girl's party on Sunday. We will be busy, but I'm praying for fruitful.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Here she is

They just do not get any more beautiful than my babies. Her is my baby at dance class. This is actually the second class. I forgot the camera last week. She absolutely loves it. I hope she enjoys it as much as her brother and sister do. It has done so much for them in regards to self confidence and balance and strength and socialization and I could go on and on. And it's tons of fun. Enjoy!

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Weekly Update

We have had a busy week. It has been productive, eventful, challenging, and glorious all at the same time. So, in a nutshell, here's the rundown.

School went really well this week. We had a little bit of a challenge during our history one day. Our history is done as a read aloud, by me, and then a set of questions follows, and then activities. Apparently, Wednesday of all days, the kids weren't really listening. So this week we are changing the format for that. This week, the kids will be reading with me. We will share the responsibility. That way, they will have to pay attention to read their part of the passage. So, there ya little scalliwags!

I have taken to making a short question and answer page for our science. It has basically the same format as the history. When we use our text book (for lack of a better description), it's only one page. That is followed by a series of questions, along with vocabulary words. When we use our book, attention spans are not a problem. But I printed some of our on line stuff before I realized that I really didn't have to. When we do those, the kids have a tendency to zone out. This was not a problem last year. So now, I glance through the reading the night before and do a quick 7 question follow along. They have to listen to the text to find the answers. We treat it like a scavenger hunt and the kids have really enjoyed it. I know they are listening and I know that they are engaged. Thishas been a learning process for all of us.

We started dance again this week. The big girl has to wait until Monday, since last Monday was Labor Day. She is champing at the bit to get started. She's watched her little brother, little sister, and her mama dance and she feels like it's her turn. Well, hang on honey, your turn is coming.

I get my crown on Monday. Can you hear the excitement in my voice? I know that they want to schedule a deep cleaning, but with our benefits, that may have to wait until the new year. But who knows what our benefits are going to be then. With the issues the company has had with benefits, and delaying the choosing of benefits for next year indefinitely, I'm not sure where we are going to stand with that one. If you stop and are thinking about me at 9am Monday morning, say a quick prayer.

I get to take the kids with me to the dentist. Hubby is working. And working. And working. And did I mention that he is working? He had 48 hours of overtime last week. Not the last two weeks. Just last week. But he worked all seven days of the work week. He had one day off, Sunday, then was back at it. He has 23 hours of overtime for this last week. He was supposed to be off today, but he's working. And his day off next week has already been cancelled. We are not complaing by any means. We were able to make a couple of pretty hefty payments on some credit cards. I get to go do our household shopping tonight all by myself when he gets home tonight. He understands that while he's been working so have I. And I need some time to myself.

I got our Pizza Hut Book It stuff in the mail yesterday. Homeschool families are able to participate in the program which I think is fantastic. I sat down and created a form for the big girl and the boy so we can keep track. They have to read 10 books each month to get their certificate. I love the fact that we are included in a program like that.

We've been listening to "Eragon" on CD. I started this thing last year where we read a book that has been made into a movie. After we read the book, we watch the movie and try to find the things that are different, things that are the same, and things that were not what we thought they would be. That has been fun. Anyway, we started reading "Eragon" last year, but what a huge book it is. There was no way we could have finished it. So we have had a really good time with the books on CD. The movie, by the way, is so completely different. We have also done "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". And after "Eragon", which has fourteen discs that take at least an hour apiece, we are going to do "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". We've seen all the HP movies that are out, so we list things with that after the disc is done. "Eragon" is so different, we quit listing, and just listen.

Last night we finally did the big girl's birthday dinner. Bless her heart, she gets dumped on so bad during her birthday. Specially since it was last month and we hadn't done it yet. But with hubby's overtime, we finally had the money. She wanted to go to the Outback and have ribs, so we did. Earlier this year my mom and stepdad came to visit and we went to The Outback. The big girl had a bite of her Uncle Jessie's ribs and thought they were fantastic. She kept that with her until her birthday and that's where she wanted to go and that's what she had. We were so glad to finally be able to do that for her.

Next Sunday we are doing a friends and family cake and ice cream day for her. We did a "just us" cake and ice cream, but we haven't done a big one yet. I don't expect much family to actually show up. Hubby's brothers suck when it comes to committment like a birthday party. It's alright when it's their child. Oh, don't get me started! Sunday is going to be fun for us anyway. When is cake and ice cream not fun?

We are all a little bummed that this weekend we didn't get to go to Disney's Night of Joy. It is a weekend long event at Disney that features concerts from some of the country's best Christian bands. We all would have loved to go. Hubby and I tried several times to win passes, but there was no way we could have afforded to take all five of us. But, hopefully, next year.

So there is the run down. I hope everyone is enjoying this look into our family. And for those of you who are a little nervous, upset, or generally not happy with the decision to home school, I hope that this gives you a little piece of mind. For those of you who are pleased with our decision, I hope this gives you comfort and we thank you for all your support.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I did it!

I got through the baby's first dance class. She was so good. And how adorable is that sweet face when her hair is in a bun. You can see all the goodness and light. It sure brought back memories.

When the big girl started dancing, her brother was three, she was five. They put these adorable girls in pink leotards and pink tights and their hair pulled back in the same room. I always said the dance teacher went out back before a class and slammed a beer. And when the classes were over, she slammed another one. When I told her that, she laughed and said that was probably how she should do it. She says it's the thought that all the kids get to go home when the 45 minute class is over.

The big girl was so cute in her pink leotard. Because she started a little "late" for dance classes, she only had to take one year of the next class, half and half. No, it's not the stuff you put in your coffee. It's half an hour of ballet and half an hour of tap. She didn't much care for that class. She was ready to move on. But she did really well, anyway.

The next year she took jazz. She really loved the movements in that class. We used to walk through the store, or the park, or wherever, and one of us would go, "Jazz hands!". Then we would all do jazz hands. It was kind of funny. Sometimes we still do that. Her next class, and the one that she is in her third year of, is hip hop. She loves that class. I am so glad. I would love for her to take a ballet class. But the money isn't growing on trees anymore, so that's out.

The boy had to take two years of the half and half class. He was so done with it. He was ready to move on as well. The jazz teacher took a chance on him and let him take jazz a year early. And he was fantastic. But if you know the boy, you know he is a major ham. He loves the spotlight. He certainly didn't get that from his mother or his father. I like it when I'm in my element, not when I'm in front of a huge audience. Not the boy! He's taking jazz again this year. He's another one I wish would take ballet. It is so good for your body.

So here we go, embarking on yet another journey of dance. I hope the baby loves it as much as her brother, sister, and mother. I highly recommend you take a dance class. I love my tap class. And don't worry about rhythm, or coordination, or any of those other excuses you might have. Half the people in your class don't have any either. Get off your butt, and do it. Dance, dance, dance!

Have a great day!

Today is the Day

Today is the day that our baby starts dance class. She is so excited. I am to a point, but this is one of those milestone moments. She is finally able to start, but that means she is old enough. I didn't think that she would ever be old enough. I relate this to the first day of kindergarten. With the other two, it wasn't a big deal.

The big girl started when she was in kindergarten. She wanted to be a ballerina. So I looked into dance classes and off she went. The boy watched her dance and decided that he wanted to. So he started the next year, before he started kindergarten. But this is my baby. I guess it's always worse with the baby. But I am so glad my babies dance.

I love what it does for them. Not that the boy lacks confidence about anything he does, except spelling, but it is so good for all of them. So, short post today. But as soon as I get the pictures, maybe I'll post them for you.

Have a great day!