Sunday, December 30, 2012

All the way.

This week has been an off week for us as we celebrate Christmas in Ohio with our family.  It's been nice to have a break from all things school, house, and moving related.  All too soon, we'll be back to the grind so a break is definitely welcome right now.

I suppose there isn't much to say on my homeschool blog when we're breaking from school, but it did occur to me that I would like to take a minute to discuss a topic that comes up every time we visit Ohio.  Inevitably, I get asked the same question every time we're around family and friends.  Sure, there are several inquiries into our homeschool and our lifestyle, but I suppose the question that I'm asked the most is..."When are the kids going to public school?" 

I try not to take immediate offense to that because typically none is intended.  However, I sometimes want to ask why they don't feel like I am doing an adequate job schooling the kids.  Is there something specific they are concerned with or am I doing something completely wrong? 

For a long time, my answer was always, "I only know what we're doing this year, I can't tell you what the future holds for us past that time."  But my answer has since changed.  My feelings on the matter have changed, too.  What I want to say, but don't always, is that I never plan on sending my kids to public school.  Yep, that's right, I plan to homeschool them ALL THE WAY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL!  

Is it a monumental task?  Yep, but so is parenting.  Will it be significantly more work that what I have now?  Absolutely.  Will it be worth it?  Undoubtedly. 

Why am I some adamant to do high school homeschool style?  Truthfully, my issues and concerns with public school don't end at 8th grade.  In fact, my issues and concerns become greater! I know I need to prepare all of us for a job so large, but I know I can handle it.  Even on the worst days of homeschooling, I know we can handle it. 

I'm not exactly sure what my plan is for high school.  Right now, I'm seeing that each of the boys have different homeshool learning styles and that would definitely make things a little more complicated, but I'm confident that I'm up for the task. 

With all that being said...why is it that on some days fourth grade seems pretty daunting?  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas time!  Our house is a flurry of activity as we prepare for our big trip to Ohio.  We're busy packing for our trip, packing our belongings into boxes as we get ready to move, shopping and wrapping gifts, and closing on the house.

Being busy with so much going on, school has become rather light around here. :)  As we approach having some time off for the holidays, I'll have the opportunity to reflect on how our year is going and where I'd like to see it go in the future.  I'll post about our new year's goals and then the more realistic goal list in next week's end of year blog post. 

I know one of our biggest areas of focus will be writing.  I definitely want to cultivate good writers and right now, I have grumpy writers.  I think one of my biggest problems is assigning Adisson a topic and expecting him to write about it well, as opposed to allowing him to choose a topic so he writes what he's interested in.  So, I guess it's a process for both of us.  Finding some writing tips on better paragraph writing, sentence structure, and different writing techniques will be important.

While we are busy and have a lot going on, the tragedy in Newtown isn't far from my mind.  It's hard to grasp the fact that while I'm preparing for Christmas with my three wonderful children, 20 families had to plan a funeral for their child.  It's difficult to come to terms with that.  I know of a few families that have decided in the last week that homeschooling may be the route they would like to pursue.  While I will never doubt or downplay the benefits of homeschooling, there's a lot of thought and consideration that goes into deciding to educate your child(ren) at home.  There's a great article written on knee-jerk homeschooling that is worth the read. 

Well, we have a lot of stuff to do and only one adult here to get anything done.  I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases and I'll be back before the New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

With the angels, let us sing.

Tonight I'm going to write about our week last week of homeschooling.  But I feel the need to tell you that the events that took place on Friday in Newtown, CT, have weighed heavily on my mind for the past three days.  I've hugged and kissed my boys so much this weekend that they've started walking in a large circle around me to avoid anymore squeezes.  The tragedy has broken my heart, like it has so many others.  Yes, our lives still carry on in this house with all of the things we are trying to get done, but that's because my kids don't know much, if anything, about what happened.  Because in our school, we're all safe and together everyday.  And I thank the Lord for that.

We close on the new house this week and with our trip to visit family fast approaching, our school days are becoming shorter and shorter.  This week, will be even more chaotic, but I'm pretty sure that will be the case for the next several weeks as we approach holidays, a homecoming, and a home moving. :)

The boys have had a little time to get their school work done.  Actually, they have plenty of time to get it done, but don't stay on task well if I'm not hovering over their shoulder.  I've got a mountain of boxes to pack so I can't stand beside them each minute of their school day.  I'd like to say we could get some school done while we're traveling across a few states, but I doubt that will happen.  I might glean a few tips from some roadschooling folks, but I'm not anticipating getting too much done--regardless of how many hours we spend in the car!

This week, I had a few people approach me about homeschooling. I LOVE to talk about homeschooling.  I know I make it sound really easy (when on one hand, it is and on the other, you feel like you might possibly pull your hair out), but I definitely want to give people the encouragement they need to get started.  One lady was concerned about getting started with her visual-spatial learner.  I naturally suggested that they check out Time4Learning and even try it out for a few weeks because I thought it could be a good fit for her daughter.  I know not every curriculum is for everyone, but like many other homeschoolers, I share what works for us, what didn't, and why.

Tomorrow, and every day this week, will be mind-numbingly busy...leading up to two very busy weeks in Ohio while we try to cram in as much visiting as possible with everyone...and then moving, moving, moving when we get home.  But everyday, I get to spend the day with my boys.  And everyday, I get to be so happy that they are home with me.

In my thoughts and prayers you remain, those whose lives were forever broken in Newtown.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A busy month already.

Last week was a good week!  We got quite a bit of school done.  I planned on taking Friday off because I had my treatment that day, so I scheduled around that.  That turned out be a great blessing because Friday was a horrible day.  My treatment was exhausting and painful and I just wanted to sleep it off (no rest for a mama holding it down without Dad, though).

Adisson started his new Science unit on sound.  We were both very grateful to be done talking about energy.  It was a really interesting unit, but it was pretty deep and I sometimes had a hard time explaining things when we had questions...thank goodness for the internet.  Fortunately, when Adam is home, all science questions get fielded by him as he's much more capable of handling that subject.

He also started a new unit in Social Studies--early America.  That time period is clearly his favorite and I know he's very excited to be starting that unit.  It's a long one and will take up most of our remaining year so I'm happy he enjoys the topic so well.

He continued working on all of his language arts.  He's pretty good with vocabulary, spelling, etc. but he doesn't particularly enjoy it.  My saving grace is how much he enjoys the time he gets to play hangman, at least I know he's learning something while playing a "game."  We're still battling it out with math.  He's getting a Kindle for Christmas so I'm hoping to add some really fun math apps on it...maybe we can try yet another venue for learning his math facts.  I hate to see him struggle with it. :(

Zander, my lovely little Kindergartener, practiced more of his reading skills.  He's pretty good but still lacks the confidence I wish he had.  He's getting some new books for Christmas so maybe that will help him feel like he can read as well as I know he can.  He's also learning how to write his middle name.  He really doesn't like to write his whole name at all and I remind him that he's my only son without two first names, so he should be grateful!! :)  He doesn't mind too much when he gets a handwriting worksheet, though.  Something about calling it a "worksheet" is enough to convince him to write with minimal struggle.  I don't get it, but whatever works.

My Jaxy is been as ornery as ever.  Last week we worked on matching, memory games, and distinguishing numbers.  He's pretty quick.  I wish he knew his colors a little better but apparently that's not been on my to do list so he hasn't picked it up too quickly.  The little guys are getting tablets for Christmas as well (that's about all they are getting) so I'm hoping we can play together on it to see what cool learning apps are available.  He plays this fun game on my Nook, well, we play it together and it's about numbers, shapes, colors, fruits, etc.  I'm hoping to find something like that for him.

I ordered a few school supplies last week and I'm excited to put them into practice once we get moved.  I've been thinking a lot about how our school room is going to be set up when we get to the new house.  I want to do things the way I want them to be, not just the way they have to be because of the furniture we have, the layout we have, the stuff we have.  I want things to be intentional, not just because.

We're also in the middle of all things Christmas.  I am hoping to take this week and spend some time working on some fun Christmas traditions.  I hate to take too much time off because January is going to be a month of chaos for us as we welcome Daddy home and we move and get settled.  But it is what it is.  This is our life, it happens.  I just want this time to be fun for us even though we have a million things to do.  :)

Off to plan out our week and spend some time on my handmade Christmas goodies. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bring on December!

So my kiddo turned 10 last week.  How did that happen? Wasn't he just a toddler?? :)  He was very excited about his birthday which was a pretty mellow affair here at home.  We did a few more things over the weekend, but I'm hoping we can do something pretty cool when his Dad gets home.  We're going to Myrtle Beach in January for a Scout overnighter, so hopefully we can go a day early and get to do some fun stuff then.  Anyway, here's a few pics: 
Silly boys!

Fun with party hats.

His "Minecraft" cake.  Ughhhh.
Last week was a pretty good school week. I would have been happier to continue our momentum and keep on working (instead of breaking for Adisson's birthday) but I suppose that's a perk of homeschooling....birthdays off.  

Adisson's been learning  about plots and setting in Language Arts, changing money in Math, and prepping for tests in Science and Social Studies.  This week, he'll be taking his chapter tests on Force and Ancient Civilizations.  We're still working on his multiplication facts, little by little we're getting there.  

Zander is doing really well with his beginner reading.  For Christmas, the boys will be getting books of some sort and I think I'll get Zander some more beginner books.  He really likes to read them and we only have so many.  He's really good at his phonetic reading and reading comprehension, but he could use a little extra practice.  Last week, we also decided to make flashcards for his sight words. He loves math and overall just loves his school work.  He doesn't love handwriting, but I think that's mostly Adisson's doing because he complains so much about handwriting! :)

Jax has been having tons of fun sorting colors this week.  He keeps sorting different colored beads into empty milk jug lids.  I don't know how that became a "game" really, but I think I just pulled a few things out of his busy box a few months ago and we came up with that sorting game rather randomly but it's one of his favorites.  

This week will be a good week for school.  We've gotten of schedule a little bit with Adam being away for work so we're going to get back into our regular routine.  That will help ensure we get everything completed each day.  

Here's to another fun week of homeschooling!