"For thus says the Lord: Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:12-13

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First week of School.

So Maria is somewhat officially a kindergartner.  She is the "right age" to go now, so when we meet someone and they ask her age, and she says she's five, this is usually followed up by, "Oh, so you'll be starting school soon."  To which Maria answers, "Not yet.  In the fall.  We're homeschooling now, but in the fall I'll do dance class and Living Bridges enrichment day."  So I suppose that will be the "official" start of school in her mind.

She generally follows this up with a brief ballet demonstration, so I'm never able to judge people's reactions to the news that we're homeschooling.  Jim however has noticed that most people just abruptly change the subject, as though Maria has just revealed some dark family secret.  Unless that person is a teacher or former teacher, then we usually get enthusiastic questions about how "it" works, this schooling at home thing.  They want details and thankfully, are generally supportive and encouraging. 

Perhaps our experience is not typical.  Maybe we have yet to meet the really opinionated anti-homeschooling crowd or maybe we'll get more negative reactions later when Maria's older.  If we continue that long.  I plan to take it year by year, and see.  This seems the best way to handle schooling.  Kids grow so fast;  Maria's needs may be drastically different in a year's time.  Our families needs may be different too.  But for now this is the way things are.  I just hope that I can step back from all the planning to enjoy it.

One thing I realized this week is that I tend to overplan.  I always think that I can get more accomplished in a day than I actually can.  I broke things up in 15/20 minute segments.  I tried to pad the schedule with 5 minutes of transition time between each subject.  However, I forgot to plan "getting Joshua down for his nap" time (20/30/40 minutes?!?  really, just go to sleep already!) and I think that trying to have Maria do 4 math worksheets in 15 minutes was a little over the top, even if it is review.  So I'll be tweaking things for next week.  I'll also change up the toys available for Joshua, and hopefully make a better schedule for Amelia Although painting works, I think that using all of her new watercolor paints in a two weeks time would be a bit much.

Here are some pictures from the week:
I set the table with some new school supplies and special back-to-school clogs that I found at a consignment store.  Joshua got a building set, also from the consignment store.

Maria modeling her new "reticulated" clogs.  Giraffes are her favorite animal, so she has been wearing these lot this week.

Amelia got purple clogs, and there's the paint.  It's mostly gone now.  At least the black is; she seems to be going through a dark period in her painting.

Joshua was with me when I got these, but he was still pretty happy to see them.  Any ideas about what they are?  I know I've seen them before somewhere, but I don't know what they're called.

The girls doing math.

Joshua found this toy downstairs and became engrossed, so I brought it up to the schoolroom.  It's a house and garage, with people blocks and car blocks.  If you put the blocks in the top of the house or the garage, it will name the block (ie,  "Mommy!) and play a little song.  He sat and played happily with this for nearly an hour.  Then he left and came back to it several times.  It's nice to see his ability to concentrate developing.  Plus it's nice to have something that will keep him busy so we can "do school". 

 Sometimes the bin is just as fun as the toy.

Maria, coloring a cricket anatomy worksheet.  She decided to color each part different colors, so she could see them all easily.  We cut it out and put it in her nature journal.
Amelia's paintings.

A fawn munching the leaves of the dwarf sumac tree that fell into the yard during last weekend's rain.  We watched her for a while from our classroom.

As always I have more pictures that I'd like to share, but I have to go cook dinner, so they'll have to wait.  Hopefully I'll get some more up later this evening, after I get my lesson plans done.

Our schoolroom.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here's the line-up.

We've started school for this year .  Maria will be doing Kindergarten/1 grade level work, though by the school district this would be her Kindergarten year.  I'm planning to have lots of Montessori style activities for Amelia to do and possibly some for Joshua too.

Math: Math-u-see, Primer & Alpha
Reading:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons; Phonics workbook; Faith and Freedom Readers; Bob books, Dr. Seuss, etc.
Handwriting: Seton 1st Grade; Writing Can Help; copywork
Religion: Image of God Pre-K/K
History: Connecting with History; Story of the World Vol. 1
Science: Handbook of Nature Study; ; Handbook of Nature Study blog
Art:  Mommy It's a Renoir
Music:  36 Latin Hymns; classical cds

I still need to work out how to do the history stuff.  There's a lot to cover, so I'm thinking that I'll probably let use this for next year too. For religion, I also have Faith and Life: Our Heavenly Father and the First Communion Catechism.  I may switch to these at some point during the year, or just wait till next year.  Right now I have Amelia working with Maria during Math time, but she's moving a little slower.  I want to move Maria quickly through Primer, as it's mostly things we've covered already.

I hope to have some time in the next few days to post some pictures of our classroom and the kids working.  But right now I'm hearing a strange thumping upstairs, so I think I should investigate it.  Sounds like naptime is over.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some pictures of the kids so my Aunt will stop bugging me. :)

These are from a few months/weeks ago. The most recent ones are stuck on the camera, as I keep forgetting to get new (lithium) batteries for it. I have regular batteries that would work to let me upload the pics, but if I put them in I'll forget to get the lithium ones and then I'll be stuck somewhere with dead batteries ('cuz the regular don't last as long) and I'll be really upset that I can't take pictures and post them to my blog for my dear Aunt to look at. (Hi, Aunt Rosey! I think you're the only blog reader that I have left. :) )

Look what I found!

Yep, that's Amelia.  She was two months old then.  And rather grumpy.  Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be posting new pictures.  Hmmm.... Let me see.  I stopped posting at Eastertime.  So I'll start way back then.  :)  This should be fun.
Joshua's first time in a swing?  At least the first time this spring, I think.  He definitely liked it.

Hey, who's that handsome man in a suit?  Right there in front.  Yep, that's my Eagle Scout husband, with current and former members of his Scout troop, which celebrated 50 years this year.  Very cool.

Some memorabilia.

Jim looking dapper.

And not so dapper.  But definitely manly.
Yep, that's the washer he's fixing and it still works too.

What's that?  Oh, right.  I'm supposed to be posting pictures of the kids.

Here's some from our co-op's preschool.  Can you find Joshie in the second one?
Yep, crying.  I don't remember why.  But the other kids are cute, right?

Here's one of Amelia in our yard.  She's bringing me a dandelion, her favorite flower.  See how happy she is.  This is why we won't get "real" grass, there'd be no dandelions and Amelia would be sad.
  This give me a chance to finally blog a great Amelia quote:  We were at the playground and Amelia came over to me and said, "Mommy, I gave that girl a dandelion so when meanness happens she can raise it in the air and make happiness again."  Yep, no real grass around here, just lots of happiness.

Maria all girly in the stream.  She was afraid of getting her dress wet.

Joshua and I, a self potrait.  I look ok, 'cept for the large hat.  J
oshie looks stunned.  Too much fresh air perhaps?

Family walk.  No chance we'll blend in; such bright colors!

Ack!  What's he doing here?

Whew!  Good thing he's sleeping.  And there's very thick glass.
This was from our mother's day trip to the zoo.

So is this.  They were having a culture fair - Asia and the South Pacific.  This was Kung-fu.
Jim was very pleased indeed.

The girls are such hams.

Joshua liked the hippo statue.  Even though it was seeringly hot.  Yikes!

Hey, look!  A hedgehog!

And some hippos!  
My favorite.  Don't laugh.  
And yes, it's because I would love to lounge around all day mostly submerged in a cool pool of water.

Right, back to the kids.  This was from Mom's birthday trip to the Penn State Creamery (and later dinner).
Joshua's wondering, "Where's mine!"  He did have some too.  And he was very happy with it.

Jim did this.  They're lying outside the Palmer Museum on campus.  See how happy they are to oblige daddy, and lay on the dirty cement in the middle of the hubbub of graduation weekend.  (Yes, some poor planning on our parts...maybe next trip to campus we'll be able to get a picture of them at the Lion Shrine without having to wait in a ginormous line.)

Our toad.  He lives under a tree root right along the path in the woods.  He's almost always there.
Amelia was beside herself with joy when he peed on her.  She thought it was the funniest thing since we saw the hawk pooping.  Yep, she's recently potty-trained, how could you tell?  :)

Our second favorite spot to play in the creek.

 Amelia pushing Joshua on the swings.  These two are gonna have some good times together.

This group is from the girls' dance class.  
I have some video of their "recital" but I'll figure out how to post that some other time.

Amelia at the hairdresser, getting ready for her first haircut.

She looks a bit concerned.

But she did great, and it was just a quick trim anyway.

Joshua got his hair trimmed too!  At least most of it.  A boy can only sit still so long.

Especially when there's a cute dog to chase around.

Maria got her hair trimmed too.  But she's an old pro.  This was her third haircut.

Whew!  That brings me up to the end of May.  I'll have to do June/July in the next post.  Which I'll try to get to this weekend.  :)  Really.