Thursday, September 5, 2013

Well, we're all still breathing

Well it was a hurkey-jerky start but school is underway! Here we go!! The first day of school is NOT my favorite. Granted today could have been made easier by better prep on my part. Perhaps I'll remember that when the time comes NEXT year. ;) But honestly, we just needed to dive in and get 'er going. So that's what we did. I felt a bit like a chicken with it's head cut off running around between 2 boys trying to work through various issues like not being able to find the earphones, not being able to hear the teacher, not being able to move from one video section to the next without the whole thing starting over, the computer "spitting out" the DVD's, not having crayons, needing a pencil sharpened... you get the idea. :) Plus now I have an almost 3 year old little girl who doesn't know what in the world to do with herself now that there is no one to irritate or no one irritating her all morning. Plus having to work in the feedings and diaper changes and naps for the twins. Yes, I was ping-ponging all over the place today. So no, the first day(s) of school are not my favorite. Once the lads know their routines, and we've got all the technical glitches worked out (some of our computer components are pretty old and finicky) and once I've got some better ideas in the bag for keeping lil/big sis out of everyone's hair and occupied and engaged, then I think it'll be a nice thing to have school to keep us all busy. For now however, it's enough that we're all still breathing at the end of the first day!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

School Begins... almost

Today was supposed to be our first day of school. I guess technically the day BEFORE was because that was the day AFTER Labor Day. Is that confusing or what? But the twins had a checkup, complete with shots, on Tuesday and the grandparents were here to help out with all of that. All of that to say that school is actually going to start... tomorrow. ;) Yep, it seems pretty late to some, but I like to enjoy our summer as I've mentioned. And as of now we don't have any extended vacations planned, 2 infants remember, so I don't anticipate missing too many days. We'll see. Life happens ya know, and the benefit of homeschooling is flexibility! Oh yeah! Anyway, I did manage last week to finally go through the boys school books and organize them in the cabinet. Some of them thrilled me, like the reading books my 1st grader is going to be using! Aesop's Fables and some poetry and lots of cool readers that I even remember from school! But then I caught a glimpse of the "speed drills" book and got knots in my stomach. They are using the same curriculum that I grew up on, remember? It's been updated and changed of course, but I still remember certain things like speed drills and how much I loathed them in school. School wasn't something I enjoyed but rather endured. So occasionally those feelings will come back! Still I'm mostly optimistic about this year. I think that having the 2 boys occupied with learning during the mornings/early afternoon will be good. Plus I think the fact that they are both doing it will help my less than enthusiastic one feel more like doing it. Maybe?? One can only hope I suppose. So I'm mentally gearing up for school tomorrow. Once again I don't feel like I'm completely on top of it. The computer isn't yet set up on the desk for one of them, and I haven't even glanced at their video manuals yet. But, thanks to my mom, they have something "special" to greet them for their first day of school and that's something. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013


We missed summer. Well I did anyway. Our twin girls decided to make their debut a little too early and ended up with a 6.5 week hospital stay. I was with them the entire time, and feel like I completely missed out on summer with my older kiddos. That and because I think it's just the way it should be, we won't be starting school here till September! ;) That'll show em! I'm taking back summer!!! :) Today is the first day of school in our area for the kids. August 5!! So sad. Seriously it does make me sad. Those poor kids. It also at the same time makes me thankful for the opportunity I have to keep our kids at home and make those decisions about when to start school (at a reasonable time) and end our school days at a decent hour as well. So really, I've come a long way from where I was mentally last year at this time, ha! This year will be interesting as we are adding a video K-4 program for our second son. He will be 5 in October, but I didn't want to start him off too early in school. However, he is SO ready to be learning and begs constantly for more school. I'm not sure he's really MY child, ha ha ha! So I abandoned my original plan of just doing preschool worksheets with him for another year and we took the leap into an actually structured school day program with him as well. He's beyond ecstatic and can't wait to start! He got his kid-safe headphones from UPS the other day and was thrilled beyond belief to have them. He asks multiple times a day if his videos have arrived yet, and reminds me that a "few weeks" is too long for school to start. This program that he is doing is an actually 4 year old kindergarten, not just a preschool program, so I know that he will be challenged not simply entertained. I'm looking forward to that. Our oldest is in first grade this year, and I'm a little concerned about his response to the longer school days. He wasn't too into school last year and we had many go-rounds about getting it done. It's an experiment. Sorry, oldest child, but you get to be the guinea pig in the family. Once I moved him out to the living room to do his work things seemed to get better though he did still like to complain about school. He seemed interested in his "new" DVD teacher however, and I'm hoping that having his brother "in school" as well will give him a little more motivation to apply himself. We'll see how it all goes. For now we are going to enjoy the rest of our summer and pity our poor friends who have to be in school already! :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One Day at a Time

We are, all of us, more than ready to be done with school for this year. Our Lad had his sixth birthday yesterday!! Some of his questions about turning six in the week leading up to the monumental day were, "Will I have to do school on my birthday?" and "When I'm six will I still have to do Kindergarten?" :) He's always looking for an angle to be NOT doing school. And I confess I'm not that "into it" right now either. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. After finally deciding within myself that we WILL be done with school by the last week in May even if we're not "done" it's been harder to really stay on task. The twins are growing good, and on target size/weight wise. I'm thankful for that, but it does make me feel quite heavy and clumsy and less patient than usual. So we've been "fudging" school a little bit. I've been tracing out some of the words on the Lad's writing pages to 1) Make it easier for him to get the letter formation and 2) Cut down on the mass hysteria that "too much" seat work causes in his little life. I've found a few tricks that have been helping us out in this last dash toward the finish. The boy, I've discovered, really likes to be out where the family is. That's not really an "ah-ha" moment, I could have told you that before, but keeping him on task with school while his little brother and sis run races through the house is WAY too difficult for me to manage right now. BUT one day I plugged in some good headphones into the laptop, parked him at the bar and let him do his work there. It was like a completely different experience for ALL of us!! I've also started to let him use markers, colored pencils or crayons to do both his numbers writing and cursive writing. Apparently making each sentence a different color makes writing much easier to actually do! I've broken up his seat work too. He usually has 3 pages to do for seat work and I let him choose 2 to do before recess and one to finish up after. So far that has been cutting down on the meltdowns that result in us still trying to get through school at 4pm! I admit that this whole homeschooling adventure is an experiment in what works for US. I'll never be the mom who has all of her school supplies in perfect order, or every day of the year mapped out in excellent lesson plan form. I'm always going to "cheat" a little here and there to just "make it through" and I'll break from the 'norm' to try things differently and see if my littles take to it any better. We will be starting the experiment afresh with first grade in a few months. Plus 2 new family additions. But I'm not going to start thinking about all of that right now. Today it's just enough that we made it through school, and tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Fever

Well, my big plans for doing "regular" school during spring break totally broke down. We had family in and through and it just didn't work out. Oh well. The best laid plans of mice and men... or something. Anyway, we got maybe 2 days of school done through the week. Better than nuthin' I suppose. So we are still behind in school. I've just kind of accepted the fact that we may not get through every lesson by the end of school. I'm not doing school past the last week in May, so we'll do what we can do. Any left over lessons/pages I think we will do as review times during the summer. With twins joining the family I have no idea how well any scholastic plans will work out, but in my head I have an hour or less of "school review" each day with the Lad. I have been saving the pages labeled "extra practice" in a folder for summer. I know he needs to keep working on writing and reading especially. Hopefully just doing it for a little while will not cause stress issues for the child. ;) He does need to work on some of his cursive letter formations (capitol letters especially) and getting his blends and sounds down faster. I know I haven't been as "present" with him in his school this year, but the pregnancy and other factors have made it more difficult. I was discussing with Hurb last night about how next year I think I will need to keep him in the living room with headphones during school so that I can monitor his involvement much better. Live and learn. This year hasn't been perfect by any means, but it has showed me that homeschool is possible, and that my monkeys WILL learn even if we don't do school "perfectly" each and every day. :) Sill I want to be improving too, so hopefully the "summer school" plans and changing things up a bit for next year will make a positive difference.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Catch up and Saturday School

Last week we passed the 100 day. I had been building this up in the lad's mind because he has learned to count to 100 so it is an important number to him. We didn't do anything "special" though I had thought about doing some 100's counting activities, but no. I explained to him that after lesson 100 we would only have 60 days of school left! He got pretty excited about that. ;) As I mentioned in my last post a zillion years ago, we were going to try to catch up during Jan by piggy backing school days. However, the lad reverted to fighting me about school, so we were lucky to just get one regular day done. PLUS I was dealing with morning sickness.... or all day sickness if you like. ;) That's right! Our home is growing by 2! We are having twins!! So on top of all that comes along with pregnancy, school is just something that we're coasting through right now. The Lad has learned his entire alphabet, and his short and long vowel sounds. He is starting to learn to write the capital letters in cursive now that he's been through all the small letters. He is doing simple math, and doing well with it, and we are reading through his "I Can Read" books. I think we're making a success out of this first year, even if we've hit some bumps along the way. I have had him do his "main" subjects a couple of times on Saturdays. Though some weekends roll around and the last thing I can even think about doing is school. So we don't. :) I will be evaluating his lessons each week from here on out and we'll be skipping a few that don't seem "vital." I know that it is not an ideal way to do school, but we have to adjust for things happening in our family. He will not be taking an official spring break, but using those days to catch up a bit too. The truth is, we don't know how this summer will look with the babies on the way, and there is no way we will be doing school through June and July. So there it is. :) On the whining about school front we have made progress recently. I had a serious chat with the Lad about his attitude towards school. We talked heart to heart, and I let him know that I knew he could have a happy heart about his school. We agreed that on days when he didn't complain and did have a happy heart, that he would get to play games on the iPad after school. We also agreed that if he chose to complain he would not get that privilege. The first day it was wonderful!! The second he reverted and lost his play time. He has been doing consistently better since then, and that makes each day much much easier!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Behind for the Holidays

So we are behind in school. It's official. I figured it may happen, but I was kind of hoping it wouldn't be till later in the year. We are 2 school days away from being 1/3 of the way through school. I had great ideas of having some "extra" days of school during Christmas break. However the way things have worked out that has not happened either. Surprised anyone? ;) Oh well. There's a time for School and there's a time to break from school. Right now it is a break time for sure! Once school starts back up in Jan though, I have a plan! My idea is for Qade to do a full day of all his classes and then a second day of the "main" subjects till we get caught up. I know it may deteriorate into being just 2 days of main subjects, but we've got to get it done. Perhaps some would argue that activity time and oral language development ought to be "main" subjects and given as much weight as phonics and numbers, but I disagree. And there will be time for music, art and poems once we have caught up to where we need to be. So wish me luck for January. It'l be a challenge to convince the lad that it's how we need to do things for awhile, but it will be worth it in the long run. Doing school all summer is NOT an option for us.