Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It Takes a Village Part 2

There are 3 very key people in our village.  My dad (Tom) my mom (Mimi) her husband (Papa Gerry.)  Without these 3 people, I don't know how I would survive some days.  There are countless other friends and family members that are always willing to lend a helping hand, and we thank God for them every day. 

In my last post (which got posted 5 days after I started writing it,) it ended with a new project for us to start.  My goal was to paint the bird house Thursday afternoon.  My son ended up breaking his leg (an entire other blog!!) so the painting got put on hold, so I pushed it to Friday and then to Saturday.  The house has been a little crazy with all the chaos involving Max's broken leg.  People coming and going, kids being shuffled around while we took Max to numerous doctors appointments and not really any sort of normalcy going on.  Any of you that know my kids, know we need some sort of routine or things get a little crazy!

In comes the village.  Instead of trying to find just the right time to paint the bird house which can be a little tricky when it is 1 on 4, I asked my mom if she was up for it.  She took the 3 older kids Saturday afternoon and were able to successfully get that bird house painted.  2 on 3 is way better odds when paint is involved =) 

Not only did the kids have a great time, a huge mess was not made.  Well, there is always Max and he, of course, tried to eat the paint.

Addison and Laney decided they wanted to have a pink bird house.

And Max wanted a green roof.

And the finished product...

Monday, August 20, 2012

It takes a village...

So, we've all heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child."  Well, I am truly blessed to have a village and what a wonderful village it is!  It is my hopes and dreams to use that village to help with our homeschooling. 
  • It will give the kids a change of pace and keep things fresh.
  • I certainly don't know everything!
  • It will give family members and friends the opportunity to share their knowledge with our children.
  • It will teach the kids they can learn anywhere, any time and from any person.
Well, I thought I would put the village to work and it was a success!!  This week we read about Noah's ark and one of the fun projects to go along with is was to use a hammer and nails.  I asked Papa Gerry (a general contractor) if that would be a fun project for him to do with the kids and he was all for it!

During the day I decided it would be a good idea to practice before we got out real hammers.  I got some styrofoam and golf tees and let the kids hammer away with their toy hammer.

Addison was very precise and hammered those nails all the way down.

Laney would hammer for a bit and then move on to the next one before she was finished.

And Max would hammer as hard as he could.  Not much aim, but when he hit a golf tee, it went all the way through with one hit! Notice Laney backing away on the side of the picture.

Now, for the real deal.  Over to Papa Gerry's house we went and he had everything covered.  First he got out a work bench just the right height for the kids and showed them how to nail.

Then, he helped them each individually to make sure they got the hang of it.

After a bit of practice they were able to build a bird house together.

The best part about building the bird house is it gave us another project to do.  We got to paint it! 

To be continued...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We made it!

Well, we have week 1 under our belts and I still have enough energy to blog about it!

As most of you know, we chose Sonlight as our curriculum this year.  After tons of research, I thought it was the perfect fit for our family and I am feeling very happy with our decision so far!  A quick overview of what I will be teaching.  I started the girls on the pre-k core which includes bible, geography, history and science. I put them both on K language arts. Addison on 2nd grade readers (she is currently reading at 4th/5th grade level, but I wanted this to be fun. She stills likes pictures in her books, after all, she is only 4) and Laney on 1st grade readers. Addison on 1st grade math and Laney on Kindergarten math.

Over the past weekend, my husband and I gathered supplies and got organized for the week.  I planned absolutely nothing for Monday (no errands, no out to lunch, no play dates, nothing) I wanted to see how the day would go and get a feel for this "homeschooling thing."  Let the week begin!

Monday was a great day, but a learning experience as well.  I am sure it is no surprise to anyone, but Addison was totally into it and Laney was only into it when something sounded interesting to her.  We did get everything accomplished I wanted to, but some minor changes needed to be made.  I thought we would start by reading stories on the couch (I was so excited about this.  I had a happy picture in my head of me and kids cuddled under a blanket reading our books) however, that came to a screeching halt when Max kept jumping around on everyone and no one could hear or see the pictures.

Change #1 - Read stories while having meals/snacks

I was starting the Language Arts section for the day and the concepts seemed so simple.  They wanted me to spend an entire week on the letter F.  They both understood the concepts, but the writing part was the problem.  Addison was great writing what I asked, but Laney wasn't much into it.  I tried helping her and she seemed frustrated, so I just let it go, she just doesn't have the motor skills yet.  Later that night, I was thinking to myself, "what in the world am I doing?!?  She is only 3, why would I try and make her write?"

Change #2 - Let Laney join in on writing when she wants to.  We also started writing letters on the chalkboard which she loved, plus Max can join in.  DON'T try and have Laney sit down and write on paper!

As far as the reading and math are concerned, they are both doing great.  They think it is so special when it is their turn to read to baby Ella and they actually can't wait to hear what comprehension questions I have for them.  The only thing I have had to adjust here is allowing Addison to read more.  Since the day we got her readers, they have been up on a book shelf and she has been dying to read them.  I have been attempting to follow the reading schedule, but she still wants a variety.  I think she has already done 3 weeks worth of reading.

Change #3 - Let Addison read at her own pace even if it is faster than the "schedule" we have.

Once I made my minor adjustments, the rest of the school week went great.  The kids were into everything we did.  If they would be playing, I would ask "who is ready for more school" and they would come running.  We did lots of crafts and art projects, sang songs, danced around and just had plain old fun. 

There was 1 major improvement I would like to note.  I usually have the kids play in the basement (that is where we keep the majority of our toys) for a while in the morning.  It was just recently that I let Max go down with the girls and it has always ended in crying.  I could maybe get 10 minutes out of it.  However, during school, I call it "free time" and they will all happily go down and play without any arguments until I call them back up.  I haven't let them play for over 30 minutes by themselves yet, but this is a vast improvement!

All in all, a great week!  I am feeling positive about what we're doing and where we're going.  One of the best parts about it is that we were still able to do all the fun stuff we normally do.  We went to gymnastics, play dates, park, pool, and even ran some errands.

I'm off to prep for week #2!