Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Week of School

Monday I arose early to don my classic jumper and put my hair in a nice bun before making a lovely breakfast at 6am. Then I woke the cheerful kids who promptly dressed and arrived for breakfast, and devotional, and began working on science right away.....

WHATEVER! (not that there is anything at all wrong about doing it the above way--it is just so not me!)

So back to what life really looks like this year........I did wake around 6:30 to make coffee and walk the dog (its our communal time) and then came in to wake the kids around 7:05. They were happy to drink some coffee -yes we feed them coffee, and they are fine, I promise- and watch some PBS until 8. Then it is tv off! They go to play and are called to a simple breakfast around 8:10. I had been doing some laundry, cooking and getting school lessons ready for little kids. We pray, eat, and read aloud from Family Pilgrims Progress, then clean up breakfast, make beds brush teeth and they are free until 8:45. Actually, most played, but Jacob was so excited about science he started that. We had devotional at 8:45, then at 9am Jacob and Emily worked on Language Arts, while I taught math and language arts to the three youngest. Then I called out spelling to the two oldest, finished some house stuff and set out food for supper. At 10:30 we exercised and did some PE (homeschool family fitness book). At 11 we came in for history all together, then had lunch and hung out enjoying life until 1pm. We all did chores and at 1:30 I read stories to the littler ones while the older ones did bible reading and math (normally it's Jacob's science time too, but he did that bright and early). We played games and watched videos and talked and built playhouses and went outside, and then at 3:30 we had drawing lessons. The littlest was worn out so she napped. At 4pm we headed to the library to search for stuff for our units, free reading books, videos, and did some coloring and played checkers. Headed home a bit after 5 to throw supper on the grill--yummy! Went swimming at 7 and came home for some light "homework" with dad before getting ready for bed and a new day. Of course, we had some rough spots during the day, like sibling arguments and refusal to eat food served, and throwing fits over not finding swim goggles, but mostly it was a fabulous day, and quite typical.
Oh, and I do NOT wear jumpers--mostly a skirt and t-shirt, or capris and tees--hair in clips or braids or headbands, and bare feet! We DO cook a lot from scratch. And we have a flexible school schedule, though it is regular, and a monthly menu plan, and weekly chore chart to keep life sane.

There, that was just a peek at a day in the life of this homeschooling family. All in good order.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

Oh, I could have added a thousand photos for this post, like sleeping kids, kids on bikes, kids in snow, kids in swings, kids swimming, kids at the beach......but I went with kids at the arboretum because we just went and it is always so beautiful there. (Well, the exception is the kids in the first photo which is actually at the sprayground playground)
Walking through the gardens is just a breathtaking experience. The kids even love going and seeing the flowers, the ponds, the fish, the gardens, and the waterfalls. Each season is magical at the arboretum.
And in summer there are gorgeous butterflies everywhere--this one was just inches from us. The theme was Peter Rabbit and they had the cutest displays. This butterfly had better watch out, though...he is in Mr. McGregor's garden!
This was taken in a section where all the Beatrix Potter characters had their own special house of foliage, fully decorated with mini yards and houses you could walk into. This was the main one.
The five most special children and loving together each day!
I love this picture. Purples are lovely, and so is Elizabeth, the most active and dramatic of the kids.
Jacob is growing up too fast. He is going to be a teenager next year...oh, so handsome and intelligent and creative.
Our little favorite 6 year old in the world, he is full of mischief and adventure every day.
Kimberly is a doll, so sweet and kind, yet fiercely independent.
And Emily, the most caring and generous of the kids, a helper in every way.

They are all such a blessing and they bless my life daily.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Week to Go!

One week until we start "school". Are we ready? Of course :) Yesterday we had our co-op planning and the kids got enrolled in some great classes like phonics, cooking, politics, speech, martial arts, greece and rome, colonial america....and I get to teach Greece and Rome! I volunteered of course. My plan is to use the Drive Thru History dvd as a springboard, and supplement with a hands on kit from the Estes family stock. There will be lots of bible and biography study too--so exciting!

As for the homefront Kimberly will be learning through manipulatives alongside her siblings. Jordan is beginning to learn to read with Learning Language Arts Through Literature, and starting first grade math with Saxon. Elizabeth will use the same programs as him, just on a 2nd and 3rd grade level. She has also started Spelling Power. Emily is using the same literature and Spelling, but is moving into Teaching Textbooks for math. Jacob is using the same lit and spelling and math as Emily, but his is pre-algebra level. JAcob and EMily are also using a bible based writing lesson book from Institute for Excellence in Writing, and Writing Strands. The whole family will do KONOS unit studies and Mystery of History volume 1. Jacob, being middle school is taking Apologia general science, too. Late in the afternoon we will be using a variety of drawing and art and music curricula, and Rosetta Stone Spanish. The kids who read, will read the bible daily and the two oldest will have book studies in A Young Man/ A Young Woman After God's Own Heart. And we always have morning devo time with scripture memory, singing, bible and character training. And I do solemnly promise to do my best to keep up with read alouds this year!

For extracurricular, Kimberly plans to do homeschool gymnastics, Jordan wants to try scouts, and Jacob, Emily and Elizabeth will take musical theater classes. We may try some intramural sports with a different homeschool group, and some of their social activities. All but the two youngest will participate in LTC at church and Jacob will do some youth group stuff. We plan to visit the zoo, go to some plays, see the DSO, and who knows what else!

Sound busy?? It is, but it will be a great year of learning and growing together, and we will adjust where necessary.

Monday, August 9, 2010

making a change

It has been 5 years since I exercised regularly, so this morning I got back on that horse! Well, so to speak--I am SO NOT country. But i did get up at 6:30 to walk. It was great! I hope to make it a weekly habit. In the past 5 years I have had a new baby and taught some PE classes and worked out with my kids for PE, but nothing just for me. Workout speaking, that is. So here I go again. Forty is great!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Makes me Hungry!

So I am browsing my blog list and The Pioneer Woman has this giveaway for a FABULOUS LeCreuset dutch oven in PURPLE! It is SO COOL! So I enter the giveaway (but I will never win it....:( ) Keeping my fingers crossed...oh the stuff I could cook in that beauty!
Anyway, I am becoming addicted to her recipes....I mean, those sliders look awesome, and we are so making that cheesecake with blackberries! It's like Paula Deen, only cooler! And she is not far away either. Just in Oklahoma, and has a bunch of kids, and homeschools. She's on the top of my list for sure! Check her out if you haven't already. Ree rocks!
Well, I better clean up breakfast and get some topping on that Key Lime Pie I made this morning. Hope your day is blessed!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kimberly Turned FOUR!

This is her jungle cake she requested. She gets to keep the animals. As usual, all the kids helped bake and decorate it, and we had a fun mess!
She loved to hear everyone sing to her. What a classic Kimmie face!
She got a doll with stroller, playdough ice cream factory, matching game, treehouse playset, bracelets, bubblebath and fuzzy slippers, and some cash. She was very happy to have everyone come over and play.
And she requested a pinata. The kids always love that. Poor little pony, his head was severed! But he was delicious inside...
I just can't believe she is 4! Part of me would love another baby to raise, and part of me says, "you are not quite ready for that...look at all you have going on with these five...they need you." So if it is meant to happen the Lord will take care of that in His timing, because my timing is really not a good idea. But leaving the toddler years forever seems so horrible to me. But I suppose we all grow old and that time has to come......sigh.

the days of our lives

Some days it is just a big old soap opera around here and I feel like the total failure! It is so hard to daily try to meet all the kids needs for love and education and attention without getting overly frustrated, and then to mix in church activity, and extracurriculars, and playdates with friends, and limit the media usage, and let's not forget about visiting, there are seriously not enough hours in a day! Do you ever go to bed and pray for 2 hours because you just pour your heart out about how to be a good wife and mom, and not ruin your family in the process??? I do! But I tell you the honest truth, without the Lord, I would fall to pieces some days! He is my strength and my rock and the one who guides me and reminds me of what my purpose is. He tells me to slow life down and focus on the important. So if the math gets slighted and dinner is late so we can do some essential character training, it is OK. Sometimes after a rough day, we just decompress at home with a walk or a swim or games, or a family devo instead of Wednesday bible classes. I know we shouldn't skip services, but sometimes we need each other's unity and choose to worship that way, instead of going in separate directions for bible classes. The family as a whole loves it. We are all going so many directions that we need that family togetherness.
So, as I get ready for this homeschooling year I am trying to make sure we do not overschedule our life, especially the evenings, and trying to make sure we cover the necessary curriculum for everyone, which can be a real juggling act when you have a preschooler, a first grader about to learn to read, a struggling reader, a mostly independent worker, and a middle schooler that has heavier coursework. But mostly I am striving to make sure we daily praise the Lord, learn His Word, and bring all our behaviors and choices back to Him. I want that lifestyle to permeate everything, and for the family to be central. I want to spend time with these kids doing the things that need to be done and the things they enjoy. This is our only chance to be with them this often and it is flying by at lightspeed. And fitting in everything is such a challenge. Really, it just can't be done--not by me anyway. Something has to give, and we are going to mess up and miss things, probably some really important things. But with the help and guidance of the Lord, I pray everyone will grow up happy and safe and polite and responsible most of all devoted to God.