Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Daybook, 'Cause I'm Tired, but I Want to Blog

Oh, I would love to say this is a quiet day. It kind of is, but there are chores that need to be done and my house is a sty. We've spent 3 going on 4 days being lazy, lazy, lazy. It's time. But first, I blog, because I really don't want to clean my house.

  • Around the house: as mentioned in the opening paragraph, it's a sty. There's 4 loads of laundry on my love seat. Stella has chewed her duckie until the stuffing has fallen out and she refuses to vacuum it up. The dishes are overflowing the sink even though I already loaded the dishwasher once. I will not mention the huge pile of curriculum I need to take pictures of and post online to sell or the way I have to dig through the pantry to find anything or the fact that I still need to clean out the recital bag. Crap. I think I just mentioned it. Well, there you go.
  • I'm listening to: something I swore I would never listen to. There are tap shoes tapping in my house. The big girl will take tap this summer for summer dance. The only problem is that she'll miss the first week because of camp. She also wants to try out for company so that means she has to have tap. Which she's never done. The boy, the baby, and I are teaching her some simple, basic steps to get her ready and hopefully keep her from getting too far behind. So, because I love her dearly, I'm letting them tap in the house. Thank goodness for iPods and earphones!
  • From the garden: something is eating our tomatoes and it better not be you!! Something has taken to gnawing parts of our growing tomatoes. If they would finish one, I would be OK with that. Nope, it gnaws a good chunk out and then goes to the next. We tried neem oil and a pepper spray, but it rained. And rained. And washed it all away. We haven't tried again because it's been raining every afternoon. The next few days should be good and dry so we'll try again then. The lettuce in our tower is amazing!! I go out every day and pick some for us and trim the ugly leaves for the chickens. There's not much ugly out there, but I do what I can. The chickens are loving it as much as we are!
  • From the kitchen: with the 4 day affair that recital is, there was much driving through, but not much cooking. I have more than made up for that. Hubby, too. Sunday morning, hubby got up bright and early and made us pancakes. That man makes the best pancakes. Ever! Last night I made a turkey and lots of stuff to go with it. Hubby asked if it was Thanksgiving already. Homemade hamburger helper has become a staple in our home. This time I added carrots and broccoli so it was a one dish meal. It was really a couple of dishes, but that's ok, too. The frig is loaded with leftovers, so I shouldn't have to cook today.  
  • I am reading: Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen. It is the story of a young girl from Rwanda that lost her entire family. Holy cow!! I can only read it in bits and pieces. My heart aches. Our after dinner book is A Wrinkle in Time. I tried to get the big girl and the boy to read it and they both declined. Grrrrrrr. I figured the only way I would get them to is to make it our after dinner book. We are all enjoying it. Just goes to show, I do know what I'm talking about. Most of the time.
  • From the schoolroom: Not much! This is part of our summer break. I decided not to summer school. We'll be at the dance studio a couple of days a week and nobody will want to school when we get home, specially me. This summer will be the summer of PE and fine arts. Bowling and dance on our schedule and a trip or 14 to Disney. The most pressing thing I have to do right now is get the portfolios together for the kids' annual eval. I'm working on it! We did a lot of work this year. Next year will be no different. I've already put the new stuff in the school drawers and have made a list of school supplies we need for next year. Pencils are NOT on that list. I must have hundreds.
That's about it for now. I might take a nap. After the laundry gets folded and all the unexciting, but very necassary chores get done. Or I might wait to that stuff until after my nap. Yeah, you know where this is going. Sweet dreams!

Have a great day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dance the Night Away

This past weekend was our annual dance recital. The kids worked really hard this year. It was an amazing show!! The kids each got to take 2 classes this year and they loved it. I have to say I think it was the best show yet! I got a couple of pics on dress rehearsal night, but sort of forgot after that. I did manage to get some on the last show night because I was bound and determined! I did a lot of running from back stage to the audience to see my babies dance. Good thing I knew the cute guy working the door. That would be my fabulous hubby!!  

 This is the costume for the big girl's jazz number. That's her friend K. The song was "Lights". They had folding chairs they used that were strung with, what else, fairy lights. They were amazing!!

This is the baby's jazz costume. The girls had a new jazz teacher this year. Mr. Matt is phenomenal! I love his creativity and the way he pushes the kids to do their best. When they say I can't do that, he asks why not. This was the girl's first year of jazz and she loved it. She got lots of compliments on her performance.

This was the baby's tap costume. I wish I had gotten a full cotume shot, but I didn't. This is the only reason she wanted to change out of her jazz costume! This was her 2nd year of tap. She got booted up to the third year class. She's fantastic! She gets her talent from her big sister!

This is the boy backstage. This year the boys didn't have a real dressing room. They set up a makeshift room backstage and the boys made the best of it. This is the boy's friend JT. This is the boy's tap costume. It was a '50s themed number, complete with cool car. He rocked it. Duh!!

The baby and the big girl were in the same dressing room this year. Having them together was a huge help come costume change and call time.

The boy striking a pose in his ballet costume. He's a funny one. He loves ballet and he is so good at it. I've told the kids they all have to take ballet. It is a must have for a solid dance foundation.

And again I didn't get the full costume. The big girl and the boy had ballet together this year. They were phenomenal to watch. Can you tell I'm a proud mama?

And because I can't let my kids have all the fun, even I danced this year. I took hip hop. The cutie patootie on the right is our dance teacher, C. I love to watch her dance! She is so creative and her numbers got rave reviews. We did an '80s workout theme. I had the best time!! My dance mamas rocked it!!

When the big girl was about to start kindergarten, she said she wanted to be a ballerina. We haven't looked back. It has been such an incredible journey to watch my kids over the years. The two oldest are talking about trying out for dance company. That would definitely be an adjustment for us. We've talked about the commitment and what it means and they are both up for it. This was the best dance year yet. We are so sad recital is over. It came so quick and was over even quicker! We are so excited for next year. We're so excited that we're taking summer dance!!  Can you tell we love to dance?

If you missed the show, I am so sorry. I think the dances this year were so good and you could tell everyone worked extremely hard to make it a great show. I hope you can make it next year!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Changing and Rearranging

So, how many times can I change my mind about the next school year? As a woman, about a million before we actually start. We haven't even finished this year. The good thing about that is that we are down to 3 days!! I scored a huge deal on curriculum. I mean GINORMOUS. I sold the Apologia we had from co-op last year. I had been meaning to post it, but I was lazy. Within a few hours of finally getting it listed on a couple of resale sites, I had a buyer. And within a day, I bought a box of curriculum for the same amount I got from selling the science. It's BJU Press, which I have really come to like. More importantly, the kids dig it. I got just about everything I would need for 10th grade. The set included world history, grammar and composition, literature, biology, Spanish, and bible. Holy cow!! And after talking to the kids about next year, they wanted a change, too. Well, ok. Here's what we're doing this time. As always, watch for updates, because I'll probably change my mind. Again.

  • History:  The big girl was going to do American history. I absolutely love, love, love teaching American history. But the big girl wants to study world history. Doh! Fine. Good thing I just happen to have some. There will still be additional reading for her, because I am a mean mama that way. The boy and the baby were going to do state studies. I figured it would coincide with the big girl. Yeah, no. They want to do a study of Ancient Greece. The boy is very much into Greek mythology, so how can I say no when he looks at me with those big, brown eyes? Like this, "NO!" But I didn't this time. After talking to the baby about it, she agreed. So, world history for the big girl and Ancient Greece for the other 2. But there will be American history next year, dangit, if I have to strap them all to a chair!!
  • Language Arts: As much as I love history, I wanted to be and English teacher. The English language is so convoluted and hard to get through. I figured if I could help even one person navigate it, then yippee. I guess I'm helping 3. Score! I was going to use A Beka's World Lit, but we are going to use the BJU Press for her. I like the way it's set up. I like the info that's in there. I like that it makes her think a little more. She is also going to use the Grammar and Composition. She hasn't had much of either, so there you go. With those 2, however, I don't think she's going to have much time for the vocabulary I have for her. That stinks, but if there's time next year, she can use it then. Or, I have it for the other 2. I am looking for the A Beka Grammar and Composition II for the boy. He hasn't had much of that either and I think it would do him good. I have the teacher's manual and even had the opportunity to buy it last year and didn't. If I can't find it, I'll drop back and punt.    
  • Science: I am running a science co-op for high school biology. I had the most amazing biology teacher and loved it. I have some friends that are not comfortable with the upper level science and I am cool with that. My friend M will be teaching the younger kids, which is 4th-7th grade. I had planned to use a plethora of science unit studies I've downloaded over the years for the boy and the baby. Instead, they'll participate in the co-op. And, really, it takes one thing off of my shoulders. Yea for that! I am going to need something off my shoulders.
  • Summer School: I had planned to start when the 2 big kids got back from camp. Now, I'm thinking about summer dance. It's just 3 weeks, and the classes the kids would take would only be one day a week. It would give the kid a chance to try something that they may be interested in, but not sure if they want to invest a whole year to. The big girl is thinking comtemporary, the boy is thinking jazz, and the baby is thinking hip hop. The boy has taken jazz before, but not with Mr. Matt. He has learned so much in 4 months of spins, leaps,a nd jumps with Mr. Matt, he may take jazz again next year, but he wants to try the class first. That would mean dance one day and school 1-2 days a week, but only for three weeks. I want to take July off since we start school in August. So maybe no summer school. Oh, I know the kids will be incredibly upset. Actually, I would get the Mom of the Year Award if I cancelled summer school. Well, crap.  
Not much changed, but enough to make me scrap my original plans. The big girl and I are going to sit down one day after camp so she can do a mock lesson plan. She'll be putting together her own lesson plans next year with some help from her mama, at least for a little bit. We are hoping to take a mini vacation this summer. Just a couple of days somewhere away from the house. A little down time before we start the mad rush that is our school year is always much appreciated. A month on the beach would be amazing!!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

School's Out for Summer...Only, Not Really

We have 7 days of school left. Count 'em, baby!! We're ready. We got a late start on Monday and the boy said we should call school for the day. Um, no. So much to do still and we are headed into the home stretch. Then I looked at where they were in all their school work. Ugh! We need to summer school. Well. Crap.

Part of this is my problem. Well, duh, since I set the pace. I didn't realize with some of the big girl's curriculum that when she takes a quiz, she should also complete a lesson. And really, when she takes a test, she should also complete a lesson. Some of her tests can be as many as 6 pages long. In my defense, though, if I followed the teacher's guides to the letter, she would school from 9 in the morning until 7 or 8 at night. There is that much info that needs to be covered. It's set up for school, but not really homeschooling. It has homework, but we didn't do the work like homework. I assigned that for the next day. And that throws us behind. I had a friend that used this curriculum at the private high school she attended growing up. She said it was intense. When everyone in college was complaining about the workload, she was breezing through it since she had such a heavy load in high school. Which brings us to point 2.

There is so much work in high school. In our public schools, the students don't go all day, every day. They have early dismissal one day a week and they are on an A/B schedule of alternating days. The big girl does almost everything every single day. She has a much heavier load than some of the public schoolers we know. Some of the seniors I know go for one class, then they're done for the day. What?!?! How did you get all the credits you need and still manage to get out early? That is not happening here. My friend S has her daughter start math in June because her work load is so heavy when her co-op starts, that she would never get math done. Although we aren't starting new stuff, I feel like if we don't try to finish some stuff, like math and grammar, the kids will be behind before we even start.  

 I was speaking to my friend G about biology co-op next year. She started 9th grade with her oldest in April and will work all summer. If they are diligent, he will be a 10th grader come September. When he gets ready to graduate, they will have a few extra months to work on credits he may need. I totally get that. My big girl will graduate at 17 and won't be 18 until the following August. If she needs credits, we'll have time. I would rather get as much done now, and not be scrambling come graduation time. I like the "be prepared" way of thinking G has.

I know there are people out there that think homeschoolers are lazy. The reason we keep our kids home is to indoctrinate them in a way of life that is unacceptable to "society". That we buy faith based curriculum because we are religious fanatics. I am a Jesus freak, but that isn't why. To tell the truth, I homeschool my kids because I know they are getting a top notch education. I know that the curriculum we use, faith based or not, is challenging and will help my kids in their future endeavors, regardless of what those endeavors are. I homeschool because I love my kids and they will be grown and gone before I know it. I homeschool because it's the best thing for our family. The summer school thing stinks to high heaven, but we have to do it. I'd rather take a vacation.

Have a great day.