June 30, 2008

Adventure at Sea

OK, so we were not quit "at sea" but we were sure having fun. Lots of little critters to look at and water to jump in. We managed to get up and head to the tide-pools this morning before going to gymnastics. Lots of fun had by all. Wish I could show you more pictures but some have friends in them and I don't think I need to show of my friend's kids. :)

Nothing better than a summer day soaking up the sun and exploring. Unless of course it is sitting on a chair soaking up the sun. Will be doing that tomorrow at a different beach.

Here is the beautiful area where we were. Lots of boats and beautiful rocks and of course an incredible ocean to look at.

Here is J, climbing around on the rocks. They had so much fun exploring and finding things that we were not allowed to take. Yep, that was a bummer! There were some great treasures but they had to leave them for the next person to enjoy. Love the idea, in theory, but it is so hard to do.
J even brought a book to read. I had to crop out his friends but yep, he was reading as usual. Makes me smile every time!

Here is K and M. They were not quit as sure about walking around where the waves could splash them but they still had lots of fun.

And of course E just loved it all. She had sand all over and probably even ate some. She just seems to go with the flow of whatever we are doing.

It just amazes me that this beautiful beach is 15 minutes from my front door.

June 28, 2008

Language Arts

I mentioned that I found a science curriculum for next year, but did I mention I found something for Language Arts that I think is really going to make a difference?

I just have to say that LA is one of the hardest subjects for me to teach. It isn't all of LA that I find troublesome. I seem to be fine in the first couple of years, teaching reading and the mechanics of writing. It is writing and grammar that really get to me. I actually start to have panic attacks when I try to figure out some of the grammar terms. I go right back to being that child in school that just doesn't get it and I have no one to help me. I think teaching this subject scared me before I even started.

I have tried to use Sonlight LA. In fact this past year I had planned to switch to something else because it just wasn't working for me or for my children. Then they re-did their LA and I got a little hope, thinking maybe now I could understand how to teach it and it will work for us. It ended up being another year of frustration and struggle not just for me but also for my son. I don't blame it on the curriculum. I know for many this curriculum is wonderful and they love the results. It just isn't for us. I have to have a curriculum that I understand and I can teach. I realized as I evaluated this year that I need something that spells it all out for me and explains things along the way. I get frustrated if I have to try to search for information. I get really frustrated if I don't understand why I am supposed to teach something a particular way or how to teach it. I loose my kids if I have to stop and go look something up.

In looking for ideas and direction for next year I, of course, put out the question to other home school moms, in the hopes that someone would have some ideas for me. That is how I found a book that isn't even published yet (planned to be released in a couple weeks) by Susan Wise Bauer. It is called The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Instructors Text. There are workbooks being written too with the first one being released at the same time as the text and the second one following in August.

Normally I would need to hold the book in my hand or at the very least, be able to read reviews about it first. What sold me on this book was the sample pages that I was able to download, especially chapter 3 on "Why writing fails". Those sample pages explained so many things and helped me understand the how and why of teaching this subject. I am so excited to get a hold of this book and see if it is as good as I think it will be.

If this book is what I think it is, I will add in some grammar for my oldest and continue with reading and Explode the Code with my younger two and we are set. My oldest consumes books and has better comprehension and retention than I do, so there are no worries there. It is writing and grammar that were giving me panic attacks.

June 25, 2008

Boring or Exciting!

Why is it that some people who blog have such entertaining days, weeks?

I read a couple blogs and they always seem to have something going on. Could it be that my life is interesting and exciting and I just don't know it? Maybe it is all about telling the story.

Lets we went to swim lessons, came home for a couple hours, then went back out to play at a friends pool.

Lets see... Elianna put her hands in the toilet twice, pulled stuff out of the trash a few times, threw a tantrum or two and put her hand in the toilet one last time because she had not had her hands washed often enough today!

Nope! Not interesting. On the other hand, I think boring is good too. At least it is less expensive than broken bones, car accidents, etc.

If I had to choose... boring it is!

OK...Seriously enough playing in the toilet!!! While typing this post Elianna got into the bathroom and was in there laughing and splashing.


June 23, 2008

It is THAT time of year again.

No, I am not talking about summer swim lessons, although we start today. I am not talking about going to the beach, playing with friends, VBS, or going to the pool. I am talking about the time of year when all good home schoolers evaluate their year and plan for the next.

In all honesty, I normally have my new books by now and am organizing and processing things for our year. I NEVER got that excited about school when I was doing it. Why would it be so exciting to plan for my kids? Could it be that learning together is fun? Shhh, don't tell anyone that you can have fun learning. That might make everyone want to home school.

I have been spending a lot of time the past few days looking at curricula and trying to decide for next year. I am of course using my favorite resource, Sonlight, for most of our studies. However after trying to make it work for us/me, I will not be using their language arts program this time around. I have tried for three years to make it work and it just isn't. I don't blame the curricula, I just don't think it is a good fit for the teacher. I have decided if the teacher can't work with it, it isn't helping anyone.

I am also changing science. I fell in love with one of the books we briefly used this past year and found out there are more. The book that we enjoyed will be a perfect science spine and we can add in other books as needed (or wanted). The series I fell in love with and more importantly, that my children all seemed to enjoy and learn from, is the God's Design science series. There are 11 books in all and they have been written for multiple grades to use at the same time. I have the Animal Kingdom book and we are picking up the other two in this series to use next year. I would love to get them all together but we need to pay for all those other great books I need too.

One of the struggles we had this past year was combining three different grades and still have time for all their independent work. It is actually about getting it all done while keeping a toddler out of trouble and safe.

This science appeals to me on several levels. The reading is fairly short but packed with interesting information and for my hands on, visual learner there are note-booking suggestions. For my auditory, "don't make me do projects" son, there are the " What did we learn?" and the "Taking it further", sections. I will also pull out additional reading for him. For my little one that just graduated to first grade, listening and a little note-booking will be more than enough.

Just placed an order with Rainbow Resource Center yesterday and managed to put together enough things I needed (that would be need vs. want) to receive free shipping. If you don't know about Rainbow, you need to go and order their catalog. They have great prices and their catalog is larger than my phone book (believe me, that is huge).

Still trusting that I will be able to order my core 4 books before I actually have to start school again.

June 21, 2008

How do bloggers think of things daily?

I have a couple home school blogs that I read often. I don't have time to read every day but I manage to stop in once or twice a week. I am amazed that they write something new almost every day.

How do people come up with something to say every day?

Are they the people that talk non stop anyway?

Or maybe they are just really wise. I am guessing they wouldn't consider themselves really wise.

Maybe they just like to talk and no adult is around to hear them all day. Is this their way to use up all those words that women supposedly need to use? I say supposedly, because there are some like myself, that don't really NEED to use that many words in a day.

I must say, there ARE some really entertaining blogs that I read and they seem to get more attention than the "wise" ones. Why is that? Are we lacking for entertainment in the 21st century?

Somehow, I doubt that!!

Maybe we all just need an excuse to smile or laugh in our day. I know that I love to read funny stories as much as the next person. I am sorry to say to those few people that pop in here, you probably won't find me all that funny and I definitely don't feel wise.

June 17, 2008

We all love a giveaway!

I love the home school community both locally and on line. There just seems to be a special connection and a support network built into this life of home education. Recently I had a fellow home school mom from the Homeschool Lounge approach me to see if I would be willing to participate in a blog giveaway she was doing. I was delighted after reading through her blog to be a part of this giveaway week.

So... Today is the day. I encourage you to go to her blog and enter her giveaway. She has listed my offer today but there will also be more items throughout the week that she will be offering so be sure to check back often. I know that there are some from the Schooling at Home Etsians (SHE) team that are also giving away items this week.

June 15, 2008

A Nanny, A cook, A Teacher, and A Maid

My kids and I had an interesting conversation yesterday. No one told me before having kids how entertaining they would be. I am not one for remembering exact conversations (a talent that would be very handy at times). I usually just remember more of the feeling I had while talking with someone so this won't be their exact wording but close.

M: I wish we had four moms.

Me: Why do you want four moms?

M: One for each of us.

Me: So are you saying you want to be an only child? So you have one mom per kid?

K: No mom, that would be boring. If there were four of you then you wouldn't have to spend all your time cooking and cleaning. You could just do art work and play with us.

Me: (Getting my attention with the art work comment). So... what your saying is we need a cook and a maid?

J: And a teacher.

K: And I could cook so you don't have to. (K is learning to cook these days and is ready to open her own restaurant. She is 8.)

Me: So what your saying is we should have a nanny, a cook, a teacher and a maid.

Them: Ya!!

Me: So what would mom do all day?

You can make jewelry, and other art work.

Now at this point I am thinking this is sounding pretty good. Then it hits me, yes I do four (actually five if you count making and selling jewelry) peoples jobs every day. Wonder what I could get paid if I hired myself out? ;)

They decided in the long run that they wouldn't actually want four moms just some people to help mom so I could have more fun. What a great idea!! What great kids I have!!

June 10, 2008

First Beach Day of Summer

June gloom greeted me as I rolled out of bed this morning but it was not going to detour us from the day's goal. We are going to the beach for the first official beach day of summer. We actually had a beach day this spring, and it was a fantastic day, but this day is special. It means that we are officially starting our summer schedule.

We were even more organized this year. At the suggestion of a friend, the kids had packed all but our lunch into the car the night before. They even made a checklist AND made sure I remembered the sunblock. They were so excited that they were trying to put swim suits on at 7:30 this morning. At 10:00 they were getting so impatient that they were picking fights with each other. As I packed up the lunch and got my stuff ready they got to finish a page of math. It kept them occupied for that extra 5 minutes. Of course if they were doing it for a regular school day they could have dragged it out for 30.

Have to share a couple pictures. Most had friends in them but these I can share.

You need to notice the rash guard that the little one is wearing. A home school mom from our Etsy team made this. If you click on it you can visit her shop. She has some really cute ones and it is a great solution for the beach or pool. The savings I will have on sunblock alone, will pay for it.
Isn't it cute?
For those of us that actually showed up on this overcast windy day. We decide we need a t-shirt that says "Beach Warriors" on it. We are the ones that go to beach day no matter what the weather does. I am not sure what that says about us. We are either very desperate to get out so the kids can play or we are just dedicated to showing up. Whatever the motivation is, we always have fun being together!

The kids have a blast and there are friends for everyone.

June 9, 2008

BC Days

That would be Before Children days...

Yes, we all know that there were lots of things we did before having our own children. We don't always admit to them all.

One thing I enjoyed in my BC days was going to concerts. I went to see people like Amy Grant, Imperials, Michael W. Smith, Rich Mullins, Dallas Holm, Petra, Steve Camp, Keith Green, and many others in high school and college. Yes, I just aged myself.

I have also enjoyed seeing Jars of Clay (before anyone even heard of them I saw them on a university campus in Utah), and many others.

James Taylor has always been a favorite concert. He must have liked Utah since he came there often and I saw him whenever I had money to go.

I don't get to go to concerts anymore. I have however discovered that you can see a lot of groups on YouTube. I am putting in one of my favorites. There are other songs I like better by Jars of Clay but I love this one.

June 5, 2008

Trying to keep on track the next few days.

It is so nice not to be running off to ballet lessons or soccer soccer practice this week. I almost feel like summer is here. Or at least it is coming. We are trying hard to stay on task these next few days. It will be hard for me to find a stopping point when we didn't finish everything.

I have not checked it all off, so I don't feel like it is finished.

We have not come to the end of our math book, the girls won't be finishing up an Explode the Code book. They actually finished one a few weeks ago and started the next one.

There are still more books to read (isn't there always more?). I still have more IG pages to go.

Maybe I should consider making a revised list so I can feel like I came to the end of something before starting our summer schedule. Yes, we will have a summer schedule. I am thinking even a half hour a day would not be total torture and still feel like summer.

Always more books than time...

There has also been jewelry making in the midst of this end of school, beginning of summer days. I guess I am looking forward to July 4th. The past two nights have found me with a lot of red, white and blue beads and a few stars thrown in for fun.

June 1, 2008

It all ended...

...thank goodness!

Everything came to an end last week. Well, everything except school that is. We just finished up ballet with a very long performance yesterday. I can't believe my toddler sat through almost three hours of dancing. The girls were all beautiful and did an awesome job.

I love the ballet classes I have the girls involved in. The dance recital was such an afternoon of worship in dance. It was not about the girls showing off or how much makeup they could cake on. It was dancing for the Lord. The title of the recital was "Celebrate Jesus". That should give you an idea of what it was. My favorite again this year, were the dances that were student choreographed. These young girls have so much talent.

Soccer ended! No more practices twice a week and no more Saturday games. They all had fun and it was a great experience. We love the Upward program at a local church. The sports have turned from a very stressful time to a very positive and fun time. Much better choice for this family!

Awana is over! No more rushing around to get everyone out on Wednesday night.

And last but not least, bible study ended too. WOW! Just looking at all the things that ended this week makes me tired. How were we keeping up with it all? Oh yea! That's right, I wasn't!! Maybe now I can get caught up with laundry and dusting.

I am so grateful for all the fun things my kids get to be involved in but sometimes it is just to much for this "want to be at home," introverted mom.

Now I get to plan for swim lessons, gymnastics, trip to Idaho (I hope!) and beach days! Trying not to overbook for the summer.