Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Starting out Sick

Does it ever seem to you that when you start to "turn over a new leaf" or institute some kind of "big" change in scheduling or how you deal with your kids or work or whatever, that before you can really get the good habits firmly established you get sidelined with some sickness? It seems that way to me. Maybe it doesn't happen every time, but it happens often enough for it to feel like it's every time. Sure enough starting school is no exception. I shouldn't be too surprised. After all Hurb does work in the public school and comes into contact with any number of icky germs. I'll go ahead and let him take the blame this time around though I don't think there's really much point in trying to figure out where every illness came from. Hurb came down with a cold a couple of days ago. Night before last our littlest Sweetie-Pie got me up 4 times in the night when I finally figured out she probably had it too, and yesterday Lad #2 was having royal meltdowns because "buggers keep coming out of my nose!" Yep, we're dropping like flies. Last night Sweetie-Pie got me up more like 6x's though I stopped keeping track. All I know is I saw a lot more of the 12-4 numbers on the clock than I like to see! Bubba and I have been okay through the onslaught so far, so we've been slogging our way through school. However, my throat is getting scratchy and I heard him sneezing recently, so I have a feeling we'll be keeling over soon. So here's the question, when do homeschoolers get sick days? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Keep Swimming...

Today is Tuesday on our first full week of school, and already we are dragging. I know it's because we still have to get our schedule all figured out and meshed, but it's a discouraging day and it's only 9am!! The lad woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. He grumbled through each of his responsibilities (chores) this morning, whined about his brother looking at him, slammed cabinet doors and stomped on the floor in anger, then cried because his fingers and knee hurt. *sigh* I knew that starting school in this frame of mind would be nothing if not worse than helpful. So I gave him one of our calm down toys and sent him to a chair to "chill" before school starts. Yesterday he was rather frustrated with his writing page. I knew that we were going to have issues this way since he is such a perfectionist. So today since he couldn't do everything just right, he doesn't want to do it at all. We,'ll be taking a little extra time together today during writing. And we'll do it while his brother is in bed for nap, so that should be motivation for him to want to do it, since rest is not his favorite thing to do. I'm also going to be splitting up their responsibilities so that they have fewer to do in the morning and some to do in the afternoon. That may help. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 1

DSC_4752 Well, the deep breathing helped. :) Today was our first day of school. Bubba was ready and willing to be engaged by it. I didn't make a bit "to do" about the first day of school this year. I know I probably should have, but I didn't have it in me. Perhaps next year, and the years following, I will be able to make a big special breakfast, and have little back to school treats on a happily decorated table and all. This year I was just trying to survive the process. We did survive though, and I'm happy with the school choice that we made for our lad. He did a fantastic job with the video. I sat with him and we both stood and were seated and responded when we needed to. He followed his teacher's instructions very well, and I was pleased by his responses to the whole experience. Today was a short day. Mostly we just established class habits, and some basic listening/responding skills. He did do one work page, and he enjoyed that. This curriculum is indeed very structured, but knowing my lad as I do, I think that he will thrive on that structure. I can't provide that ridged of a structure in every day life. It goes against my grain, and I can only function well in a "lose structure" and be relatively sane. ;) So I'm happy that this video school is going to provide a bit more of that for him. One of the things I was looking forward too with this curriculum/video was the Bible time. I love the stories that he will be learning, and the scripture that he will be memorizing. He’s already learning the Lord’s prayer, and today’s Bible story was about heaven and the things that will be there and things that will not. There is a very strong gospel emphasis to their Bible stories in K-5. I’m happy about that since I know that Qade is approaching that age where his tender heart will be able to understand his need for a Savior. I’m praying that it will be this year! His brother and baby sis will sit in on the Bible time too, so that they will have some involvement in "school" too. This is just the first step, and I know there will be more to come, but for some reason taking that first step seemed to be the most difficult.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Deep Breaths

Tomorrow is THE day we start school! Today I have been browsing the video manual and trying desperately to wrap my head around this whole thing. I don't feel ready, but I'm convince that I wouldn't feel ready no matter how long I put it off. :) We don't have a "school room" but we have some desks and a laptop ready to go. We don't have our pencils sharpened, but we DO have our school supplies. I don't know why my heart feels so anxious over this step. It may be for a lot of reasons. My own anxieties over school in the past, the difficulties that I've had with my children this summer, the physical hurtles that have been bugging me lately (can anyone empathize with the crippling effects of a migraine?) as well as a host of other things that could be contributing to my reluctance to get this ball rolling. Regardless of all of that, we are going to start tomorrow. It's earlier than what I want to start in subsequent years, but I guess I'd rather start early and finish early, right? Besides we have a trip planned and would like a little wiggle room in our Fall schedules. Homeschooling perk!! I keep preaching to myself that this school is going to be a good thing. I am excited to see what our Bubba absorbs since I know his brain is like a little sponge right now. Still, I have that old "butterflies in the stomach" feeling that I've always had since the time I was itty bitty when faced with something new and unknown. My lad gets that way too. It's uncanny how sometimes I can totally understand him, and others I have no clue, ha! Anyway, wish us luck... or better yet, pray for us. I'm hopeful that this school year will see many awesome things happen in our family and each of our kids. I'll keep you posted (providing I survived) on how our Tomorrow goes. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catching Up

I've known that this whole school thing was quickly approaching, but I guess I wanted to get the most out of summer without putting too much brain-power out in preparing for school. Ha ha! Yeah, you veteran homeschool moms will laugh at me or roll your eyes at my inexperience, and you're perfectly welcome too. It's true I should have started getting better prepared earlier, but I didn't. And it's not just a novice mistake, I've been a teacher before, remember, so it was just reluctance and denial on my part. ;) Anyway, we don't have a room in our house that can be a designated school room. I'm not sure yet, how I feel about that. But we do have a desk in the lads' room, and were recently given 2 actual school desks to figure out how to use. I already know that we are all going to start out the school day together with the pledges and Bible story. Likely, since my oldest lad will be commandeering my laptop for his school videos, we can do that part in the main house area, or at the dining table. After that, he will be able to take his video to his room where, hopefully, distractions will be much less since the other 2 will be occupied in the rest of the house. That's the plan anyway. I have this premonition that the younger 2 are not going to be content to "miss out" on all the fun that big bro is having with his video school, but we're all going to have to make adjustments. The 2 school desks I plan to use for arts/crafts time with the older 2 kids. The preschool curriculum and the k5 both have plenty of art projects that they will love to do. But for this week I am playing catch up by trying to get our "responsibility" cards in order and the sticker chart set up the way I want it. Problem is I haven't figured out exactly how I want it yet, so it's a challenge. ;) Fortunately the videos have not arrived yet, so I feel, however misleadingly, that I still "have time" to get all of my thoughts and loose ends in order before we officially start. Hope it all comes together so my mind can feel a bit less frazzled.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

School Shopping

This week I took advantage of my parents being here to whisk off my 5 yr old to do a little school supplies shopping. :) Since this is his first school experience I wanted to be able to have a little one on one time with him. I've realized that getting good quality one-on-one time with each of my kids is SO difficult! Anyone else have this problem? I know it's good to spend time with them together, of course, but I strongly believe that kids thrive on having good individual time with their parents. I only have 3 to juggle and I know a lot of people with more on their plate (kids and responsibilities), but this is an area where I need to work much harder for sure! Anyway, the lad and I really enjoyed our time together. "Town" is a 45 minute drive away, and since his seat is in the "back back" of the vehicle we didn't do much chatting on the way. Once we got to the store though I made sure he was very involved. His first question was "Do I get to go inside with you?" Yeah, most of the time my Hurb and I tag-team when we're in town shopping to avoid having to unbuckle/buckle 3 car seats multiple times. The lad was happy as a clam when I assured him he would NOT be staying in the vehicle by himself. ;) I let him help me choose the supplies. He could pick the color sharpener he wanted, a pencil box and some folders. He did a great job, though I think the special "Hot Wheels" motorcycle that he got to pick for losing his tooth eclipsed all of the school "stuff." I'm not a crafty mom, so it was with some fear and trepidation that we browsed the craft aisles. I was happy to see that the majority of the projects for his art are pretty well contained in the book. Some cutting and gluing is the majority of the involvement there. The list did included glitter as an *optional* item, but the thought of glitter gives me hives, so I compromised and found some glitter glue stuff that I think will give an appropriate amount of bling to any projects that need it. ;) After our successful shopping excursion, and oil change, we went to lunch together at our favorite 'chicken and fries' joint, Wendy's. Ha ha! Surprisingly though the lad asked for a "little hamburger" this time around. Guess he's tired of nuggets. We chatted over our lunches and enjoyed our frosty desserts while chatting about things we could see out the window. The lad was mostly calm and well behaved with very minimal whining while we were out. Not the norm for him in our whole family unit, which makes me realize all the more how vital it is for him especially to have more individual time. Good times with the big boy! Now we have all the "supplies" we need to begin school. Still waiting on the videos, but I'm not in any hurry, it's still too early in August. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Excitement!

The other day the UPS man pulled into our drive and I asked my Hurb, "Did you order something?" because I certainly wasn't expecting anything. Much to my surprise the order was for ME! It was our school books! My mom (who homeschooled us remember) happened to be here visiting, and was so happy that the books came while she was here. She remembered the excitement of book shipments when we kids were homeschooling. I didn't really remember all of that, but as we cracked open the box and delved into it amidst 3 pairs of excited little hands, some of it started to come back to me. We ooo'd and aaaa'd over flashcard sets, and arts/crafts books and phonics. It was a different perspective for me being a first time homeschool mom. But watching my lad as he parked himself by the box on the couch to slowly flip through the workbooks and ask questions about the contents made me inwardly resolve to make this a positive experience. I know there are going to be hard days along the homeschool road, but I don't want my kids to dread school. I want them to look forward to learning and the process of gaining new information. Even as I have been browsing my 'teacher's manual' for our curriculum it boggles my mind just how much they will learn. The lad is excited to start after seeing his books, and he asked several times if his videos had come and when they would arrive. :) I'm happy that he's looking forward to it and I hope to keep that enthusiasm going. Our other little lad felt a bit left out since none of these books were for him. Since he is 17 months younger than his big bro, but has an Oct birthday, he will actually be 2 years behind him in school. However, I know that he has always, since he was itty-bitty, strived to "catch up" to his brother, and has actually passed him in several ways. So he will be doing preschool for 2 years. I pulled out a preschool workbook and let him flip through that while his big bro was browsing his new books. It worked, and he sat there quietly, even passing on a popsicle! to look through his school book! Kids want to learn, that much is plain!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The cusp of school

Cusp is such a cool word. ;) Glad I'm a homeschool product and have such a vocabulary at my fingertips. ;) The public school here starts school tomorrow. (!!) I know this because my Hurb teaches in the high school. Last week they had to go "back to work" Wed-Fri for the mandatory meetings and some preliminary stuff, and tomorrow the SIXTH of August, (also our 7th anniversary just as a random fact) the kids are coming back for another year at the grind. Having been a teacher myself, and now married to one, and on the verge of starting our own small fry to school for the first time, I can honestly say it IS a grind! When school starts the first week of August and lasts till the last week of May, that is a L-O-N-G grind. The kids feel it, and the teachers feel it. What happened to summer? What happened to being a kid and getting such a good long break that you were actually excited to go back to school because you had become bored with all the freedom of summer?? That's how I remember it. I remember as a kid feeling shocked when some of my friends had their school schedules changed to start the end of August! *gasp* Not only that, but in my Hurb's school, at least, they are implementing a new daily schedule that has the kids IN CLASS till 4:30 every day. What?! They are kids! This is school! It's not a JOB! Well in some ways it is a job. It's a big job for kids to learn and absorb so much information. If you overload the system they will stop absorbing. In my mind it's absolutely ridiculous for children to be cooped up in a school for 8 hours (or more) a day for 10 months of the year being force fed "education." They grow up fast enough. When do they get to be kids? So as I sit here on the cusp (love that word!) of school starting, I'm very thankful that we have made the choice to homeschool our lad. I know that I would NOT be ready for him to start school tomorrow, even if he was ready, and I'm glad that I have the option of putting it off for a couple/few more weeks! :)