## Thursday, November 29, 2012

### Yes, We Are Still Homeschooling

While I have fallen short in keeping up with this blog, I have managed to keep going with our homeschooling. Our routine has gotten a little hairy, but we are trudging on. A couple of months ago, I decided to help my best friend out and started to homeschool her little boy in her home (right along with Adelle and Jonathan). I store our essential supplies, ones we use on a daily basis, at her house and transport supplies we need for special projects. My BFF lives in the next town over. It takes about 25-30 minutes to get to to her house from ours, so the 3 of us are out the door by 7am. This has taken some adjustment... mostly on my part. Of course, not being at my own house, I've had to readjust my cleaning routine (which I'm still working on, esp the laundry). I must admit that I fight exhaustion continually. However, this post isn't about venting all my woes. I wanted to catch up on where we are in our homeschooling.

PHONICS
Adelle has learned how to read 3-4 letter single-vowel words and is learning what sentences are. Jonathan is sitting in on her lessons so he knows all the letter names and sounds. He even knows the vowels from the consonants! He spaces off when it comes to blending letter sounds.

MATH
Adelle has learned so much in math that I cannot begin to type it all here. She is learning the value of coins. She can count to 100 and recognizes numbers all the way up to 60. She has begun addition lessons and knows how to read o'clock times on the analog clock (1:00, 2:00, etc...).  Jonathan can count to 100 too and recognizes numbers up to 60. He can even tell you what "family" a number belongs in.

WRITING
Adelle has learned how to write almost all lowercase letters (minus about 3) in cursive and even a few single-vowel words. She can write numbers 0-10 as well. Jonathan is still pre-writing, but he was eager to try to trace numbers earlier this week and he did very well staying on the lines.

BIBLE
They're having way too much fun learning new Bible songs (My God is so Big, Father Abraham, The B-I-B-L-E, etc...).  They have learned about 8 memory verses and they are also learning about different Bible characters. This week we've been talking about the prophet Elijah.

PIANO
Adelle is learning the piano very fast. She has learned quarter, half and whole notes. She has learned the meanings of forte, piano, treble clef and bass clef. She is learning the note names and how to play alternating left hand to right hand. Her newest lesson is learning the C-scale (for all of you musical people out there). She will learn a couple of Christmas songs over these next couple of weeks too.

Can you sense my pride in these kids?? Both of them amaze me ALL THE TIME!

## Saturday, October 6, 2012

### The Homeschool Mother's Journal #5

• IN OUR HOMESCHOOL THIS WEEK... We were on vacation! We explored the Natchez Trace, played at new-to-us local parks, the boys went up to the Car Museum in Tupelo and we enjoyed feeding, petting and looking at the animals at the state fair. We had a blast! The only "school" we did this week was handwriting practice. Adelle needs all the practice she can get.
• MY FAVORITE THING THIS WEEK WAS... Having my husband home with us!
• I'M COOKING... We tried homemade pumpkin pancakes made with REAL pumpkin.  They were delicious!... So wonderful that we had them for breakfast twice this week!  {smile}
• I AM INSPIRED BY... My husband. He is so gentle and patient with our children... a character quality that I strive to attain.
• I'M GRATEFUL FOR... This chance to be able to homeschool my children; to love and play with them.
• SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK... "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, and love and discipline."  2 Timothy 1:7

## Wednesday, October 3, 2012

### Jonathan is Pre-writing

I watch my children develop and grow with complete fascination and in awe of God's creation of the mind and body. It never fails to amaze me when both of my children reach developmental milestones and/or master different skills.

Last year, Jonathan was all about scribble, scribble, scribble. Of course, this time last year he was still 2 years old. I tried to get him to start tracing his name with dry erase markers. He just scribbled, scribbled, scribbled all over the sheet protector. I didn't mind that. {smile}

We are 2 months into the 2012-2013 school year. I just began prewriting exercises with him 2 weeks ago and Jonathan is showing more control of his crayons and markers.  I am currently using My First Book of Tracing by Kumon.  In these pages, Jonathan is supposed to draw a line from one little picture to the other matching picture. He traces straight and curvy lines up and down, right and left, diagonal both ways and even loops. Excellent cursive writing prep!

He traces one page, front and back, per day. I didn't have the next page in his tracing book with me one day last week (we are currently homeschooling at a friend's house). I had to think quick {gotta stay on target}. I have a cookie sheet from Dollar Tree that you can write on and wipe off with a dry erase marker {an accidental discovery}. I had my pom-pom magnets with me too.  IDEA emerges! I set up a prewriting activity by placing 3 or 4 different colors magnets at the top of the cookie sheet and then placing matching pom-poms at the bottom. I had him draw different lines as said in previous paragraph from one pom-pom to the matching pom-pom.

Then I placed pom-pom magnets in the middle of the cookie sheet and showed him how to draw loops around them.  He thoroughly enjoyed this activity and he was VERY independent about it too.  {SMILE}

I am thoroughly enjoying homeschooling my children!

## Thursday, September 27, 2012

### The Homeschool Mother's Journal #4

• IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK... I had another "Lord, I can't do this on my own" break down the other night. I must say that I stress out sooner, anger builds oh too quickly and my focus switches to myself when I don't pray and read God's Word on a daily basis. Not that I am any more "spiritual" when I pray and read the Bible, but I am strengthened and can LOVINGLY guide my children when I commit myself to these particular activities.
• IN OUR HOMESCHOOL THIS WEEK... We've had sickness this week, so we read books, put puzzles together and watched a few educational shows on PBS for a couple of days.
• PROGRESS REPORT... Adelle was able to read several single-vowel words this week!
• WHAT'S WORKING/NOT WORKING FOR US...We're using A Beka for K5 lessons with Adelle (well, for everyone b/c everyone sits in on her lessons). We're using the very basic phonics, writing and numbers. I like the way phonics is going. I can't decide if I like the numbers part or not and we're taking the handwriting slower. I had originally planned to do lessons year round, however, I'm finding that I need to rethink this. I am thinking that I will tweak my plan that will allow us to charge on with phonics and numbers with handwriting being the majority of "lessons" throughout the summer (along with fun summer activities!).
• I'M COOKING... Nothing to speak of. I'm in a rut. I need some inspiration!
• MY FAVORITE THING THIS WEEK WAS... All the cuddle time Adelle and I shared this week while she was under the weather.
• I AM THANKFUL FOR... our homeschool support group!
• SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK... "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

## Monday, September 17, 2012

### Blend Sounds and Bible Lesson

Our phonics and numbers lessons are so short that we combine 2 lessons into 1 pretty well. Even though we are going to be a little behind this week (due to multiple doctor/dentist appointments), I didn't feel too bad about making today a review and art day.

Adelle has begun to learn blend sounds in her lessons. For a review, I made a simple bingo game. I traced a small hexagon pattern onto construction paper, wrote in all the vowels, t & l and then all of those blend sounds.

Adelle and Jonathan played this together. I said a blend or letter sound and they had to find the letters on the page. Jonathan (being only 3 and not ready for blends yet) listened for the single sounds and Adelle listened for the blend sounds. Both children are doing very very well.

We've picked up our Bible lessons again with Day 4 of the Creation story. I've kinda put the Bible lessons to the back burner for a short time simply b/c I had a hard time figuring out how to get it in with everything else.  (So so bad of me!)

We played 'Egg Carton Shake', a number recognition game that I talked about in a previous post. Today's game had numbers up to 4 and a cat and a dog. This game is mostly for Jonathan, but Adelle gets a kick out of shaking the egg carton too.  :-)

Adelle has also been working on her handwriting. She's learning how to write in cursive (different, right?). The curriculum has been moving a little quick (in my humble opinion) with those lessons, so I've slowed it down a bit and giving her lots of tracing practice. So far she's learned how to write all the vowels, letter t & letter l (all lower case). Letter l giving her trouble, so she's really practicing those before we move on to the letter b, which will be tomorrow.

And we just can't leave out all the life skills that they're learning along the way.  :-D

It's been a CrAzY Monday with a crazy rest-of-the-week in store. Nonetheless, I LOVE homeschooling my children!

## Friday, September 7, 2012

### The Homeschool Mother's Journal #3

• In my life this week... I feel like I have failed at everything this week. However, God is good. His grace is sufficient and I will get back up and keep going.
• In our homeschool this week... In my previous post, I wrote about finally figuring out a routine to keep us on track. This new routine will go in effect Monday. We can do it!
• I am inspired by... the Charlotte Mason (teaching) Method. While this isn't our main curriculum right now, I do like what I am reading about this teaching method. We certainly are going to implement CM's scripture memory method
• My favorite thing this week was... the extra day of family time together we had due to the holiday. :-)
• I am reading... I started Love Takes Wing, the 6th book of the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke
• A quote to share... "Put a helmet on!" ~ says comedian, Brad Stine, when things are so obvious that it's stupid to even go there.  I like to holler this line a lot.   :-)
• Scripture for the week... Galatians 6:7-9 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

## Wednesday, September 5, 2012

### Our Daily Routine

We started school about 4 weeks ago (right?). Adelle started piano lessons and Jonathan will start Kinder TOT this week. Now that we are in a groove, I think I finally have a schedule routine figured out for each day.... and every day looks different.

THE DAILY PLAN:
Get up and dress
School lessons and activities - includes Bible, story, phonics, math
Library Story TIme (Wednesdays)
Free Play (Usually outside)
Writing practice/Seat work
Piano Lesson (Tuesdays)
Chores
Help with Laundry
Practice the piano (Wed -Sat, Mon)
Play learning games on Leapster Explorer (only 30 minutes)
Free Play (usually outside)
Dinner at the table with the entire family (includes Grandpa and Grandma)
Bath
Reward Chart
Bedtime Bible story/Prayers

Jonathan (MON-THURS)
Get up and dress
School lessons and activities - includes Bible, story, phonics, math
Library Story TIme (Wednesdays)
Kinder TOT (Thursdays)
Free Play (Usually outside)
Nap Time (anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours)
Help with chores
Help with Laundry
Play learning games on Vtech computer (only 30  minutes)
Free Play (usually outside)
Dinner at the table with the entire family (includes Grandpa and Grandma)
Bath
Reward Chart
Bedtime Bible story/Prayers

FRIDAYS
Friday is usually a fun day - free play most of the day, or field trips, play dates. We'll do school "work"  if we need to review some things or if we get a little behind (or need to get ahead).

Being a visual person, I have all this recorded on paper, I drew out each day individually(i am that visual) and put these activities in time slots, however, I made this schedule as a guideline to help keep us (me) on track. We may not follow the planned schedule at the exact time listed on the paper, but we are doing everything in the same order.

Whew! These are some pretty eventful days!

## Wednesday, June 13, 2012

### Dear God ~ Create in Me a Clean Heart

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away fro Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit."  Psalm 51:10-12

Dear God,

How dare I try to be fake before You!; Almighty, all-knowing God of the universe. You see everything; Right through this flesh into the depths of my soul. Neither my thoughts nor my motives can hide from You. You are the very One who created me! You knew me before I was ever in my mother's womb.

This anger and pride deep inside of me does no surprise You. You are never caught off-guard. You know my thoughts. You know my desires. You know my heart. It is impossible to fool You and yet here I am plotting the dialogue to be spoken before you as though my pretty words impress You; as though eloquence can cover my wretchedness.

You are God.  I am woman.
You are holy.  I am wretched.
You are truth.  I am deceit.
You are worthy.  I am evil.
You are love.  I am hate.
You are pure.  I am stained.

Is there hope for a wretch like me? Where is my faith? Where is my trust? Where is my belief?

My soul is dying. My heart is parched. I stand at the well of living water. I am dry and thirsty, yet I just stand. Unbelief and fear shackle my wrists. Pride and anger shackle my ankles.  I am dying to break free.

A broken and a contrite heart You will not despise.
Deliver me, O God, the God of my salvation!

## Tuesday, June 12, 2012

### 10 Goals to Tackle This Week

Last week was just an off week for me.  I don't know what happened, but I just didn't get very much accomplished.  :-(

Last week's goals:

* Reorganize toys.  This goal is just going to have to come off the list. It's so not a priority right now.

*Exercise 3 days.   Only 1 day last week......   Not good.

*Get up at 6:30am 3 days.   I was wide awake and up 2 days!

*Catch up laundry by Friday.  Again, I got it all washed but not put away.

*List needed school supplies.  Going to have to do this very very soon.

*De-clutter piano and surrounding area.   I got the piano itself cleaned off, but the surrounding area is still cluttered.

*Clean out refrigerator

*Clean out children's closet - take out winter clothes. Doing this one means sorting out the clothes I'll consign and the ones I'll donate.

*Learn to use the weed eater.  I was mowing when my wonderful husband came home and so he just started up the weed eater and went to work too. Maybe I'll learn next week?

My goals for this week:

*Exercise 3 days.

*Get up at 6:30am 3 days.

*Put away all the clean laundry by Friday evening.

*De-clutter piano area.

*Clean out children's closet.

*Learn to use the weed eater.

*Read more books to the A & J.

*Teach A & J 2 new songs at the piano.

*Mail Father's Day card to my dad.  I'll deliver his gift in person when I travel back up to KC next weekend.

*Learn to use the weed eater.

## Tuesday, June 5, 2012

### Sidewalk Chalk Paint

I absolutely love when I set out to try a new activity and then one learning opportunity sprouts after another. We found ourselves going with the flow of learning experience to learning experience this morning.  Today's activities happened to have revolved around sidewalk chalk.

I cannot tell you how much we enjoy sidewalk chalk! I found the initial idea at Mama to 4 Blessings, which lead me to the very easy recipe for sidewalk chalk paint at  Meet the Dubiens blog.

I just made a bowl of equal parts cornstarch and water. I then poured the mixture evenly into muffin tins and then added the food coloring to each muffin section separately.

This was certainly an interesting activity. The paint seemed kinda runny and didn't spread very easily on rough pavement. Lucky for us, the "porch" is smooth.

I tried to demonstrate the difference of the appearance of the paint when you first apply it to the ground and then its appearance after it dries. The sun on the left is wet.  That same sun on the right is dried.  This impressed me very much.  :-)

Leave it to Jonathan to put his knee right in the paint.  No worries though; it dried just like chalk on his leg so it was easy to clean off.

When we used up all the chalk paint, I decided to get out our store bought sidewalk chalk. As we drew on the concrete, we talked about the differences and similarities between the sidewalk chalk and the chalk paint.

We ended the activity by "washing" away the chalk using spray bottles; an excellent fine-motor development practice.

Both children said they liked using the chalk paint rather than sidewalk chalk.  We will certainly find ourselves outside painting more often than not.

## Monday, June 4, 2012

### 10 Goals to Tackle This Week

When I meet one goal and I can't think of what else needed to be done, I go back to my visual reminder.  Making this weekly list is very helpful!

Last week's goals:

*Reorganize the children's toys.  I have yet to accomplish this one! It's just a bottom priority.

*Take a brisk 20 minute walk at least 3 days.  I really need to reword this one. Mowing the grass, chasing the kids around the yard, etc.. are giving me the same amount of exercise as walking briskly.

*Plan dinner menu for June.  I have to do a month at a time... it's just easier for me to look at the whole picture.

*List needed school/crafts supplies  I still have a little time to get this one done.

*Rework daily schedule routine.

*Catch laundry up by Friday Technically, I didn't have to wash any more, but I still had to put them all away over the weekend.

*Clean the van inside and out.  Inside done, outside not done.

*Declutter my bedroom dresser.    YES!

*Get up at 6am at least 2 days this week.  6:30 both days. Think I'll revise this goal a little.

*Mow the grass.  I like doing this chore! I think I want to give this job back to The Man!  LOL  (j/k)

My goals for this week:

* Reorganize toys

*Exercise 3 days

*Get up at 6:30am 3 days

*Catch up laundry by Friday

*List needed school supplies

*De-clutter piano and surrounding area.   I have clutter bug problem.....

*Clean out refrigerator

*Clean out children's closet - take out winter clothes. (you'd think I'd already done this by now!)

*Learn to use the weed eater.  I've mowed for 3 weeks now and no one has gotten the weed eater out.

## Thursday, May 31, 2012

### Dear God ~ The Heavens & Earth Are Yours

"The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours, The world and all it contains, You have founded them. The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. You have a strong arm; Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. How blessed are the people who know the jouful sound!"                                                             Psalm 89:11-15a

 This was my view from the front porch as a storm approached from the west.
Dear God,
This could not be a more perfect morning. I am sitting outside listening to the thunder in the west and watching the sun disappear behind the increasing clouds in the east. Your handy work is truly more beautiful than I can describe! Your glory is manifested in the splendor of wildlife. From the stars down to the earth worm, I am amazed at how nature "works". You are phenomenal! How can we look around and not know, not believe, that You created everything? I scan the horizon and all I want to do is sing Your praises!

Who is like the Lord? Who is like the Lord?
Creator of the earth, ruler of the universe
Who is like the Lord?

Who deserves the praise? Who deserves all praise?
Creator of the earth, ruler of the universe
Who deserves the praise?

There is none above Him! There is none beside Him!
There is no one like the Lord...  No one like the Lord!

## Tuesday, May 29, 2012

### 10 Goals to Tackle This Week

I was able to cross off 7 out of 10 last week!

Last weeks goals:

*Reorganize the children's toys.  I just didn't make it that far.

*Take a brisk 20 minute walk at least 3 days.  Technically, I walked only 1 day, however, all the walking and swimming we did over the holiday weekend, I will consider this goal to have been met!

*Plan dinner menu for next week  I'm just going to see what we have in the kitchen and take it day by day.

*Look over K5 curriculum for next school year.... list necessary supplies and make prep work to do list.

*Rework daily schedule routine.  I've got to get this done this week!

*Catch laundry up by Friday (Who wants to do laundry on the weekend?)

*Clean out the van - vacuum and wash windows

*Pack for holiday weekend camping trip. (to the beach!!)

*Get up at 6am at least 2 days this week. I got up at 6:15 one day and 6:30 the 2nd day.  That's close enough to mark it off, right?

*Write and mail thank you cards.

My 10 goals for this week:

*Reorganize the children's toys.

*Take a brisk 20 minute walk at least 3 days.

*List needed school/crafts supplies

*Rework daily schedule routine.

*Catch laundry up by Friday

*Clean the van inside and out.  I'm actually halfway done with this one. :-)

*Declutter my bedroom dresser.

*Get up at 6am at least 2 days this week.

*Mow the grass.  I like doing this chore!

## Wednesday, May 23, 2012

### A Mother's Day Miracle

Writing about Adelle's birthday yesterday got me thinking back when she was still in my womb.  I have a very interesting story (I think it's interesting anyway) about her birth date and time that I'd like to share.  Don't worry, this won't take long. I promise!

My paternal grandfather passed away about a year or so before Adelle was due to enter the world. She was due May 15. I was close to my grandpa and I thought it would be fantastic if my first baby could be born on his birthday, which was 5/14. I cannot tell you how much I wished and prayed for that to happen!

Being that I had absolutely no control over Adelle's arrival time or day, all I could do was make my small request known to God and then cross my fingers. God is in control and He always has a plan; usually it's better than our own plans!

On Mother's Day, May 13, 2007, I began to have contractions in the very early morning hours.... say about 2am or so.  I labored and worked all day! After enduring the majority of my labor pains at home, with the help of my dear husband and best friend, I finally had to get to the hospital. It was around 3:30pm or so when we got to there.  I had no drugs. Laboring and pushing and pushing; I had no more strength left. With one final push, Adelle Marie took her first breath!

Not only did God Almighty walk me through a pretty good pregnancy and bestowed upon me the best Mother's Day gift ever! He also honored my grandfather and delivered Adelle at 5:14pm!  Do you see it?

Is that cool or what?!?

## Tuesday, May 22, 2012

### Rainbow Birthday Party

We just celebrated Adelle's 5th birthday! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. I know this sounds so cliche' but it seriously seems like she was born just YESTERDAY!  We don't go all out for birthdays, but we decided when she was a baby that there would be select few birthdays that we would celebrate big. Turning 5 years old was one of them.

The Decorations:

We started by deciding on a theme. Adelle choose a rainbow theme.  Yay! That theme is pretty easy to plan coordinating decore, food and games.  Then I started to make my own decorations.  I began the process about a month ahead of time, using the few minutes I have in the evenings to wind down.  I cut up one-inch strips of construction paper, different colors, to make paper chains.  One sheet of each color made for a pretty long chain.  We saved some money there because I already had the paper and this would take the place of crepe paper. Then I bought a couple of sheets of poster board (\$.30 per sheet at Walmart) to make a couple of signs.

The Activity:
There were so many rainbow activities and games that we could've done! I ended up using a simple open-ended activity:  WATER COLOR PAINT!  I purchased a set of water color paint for each child that were present. The kids painted if they wanted to. They certainly didn't have to take part, but they still received a paint set.  That was our party favor; our thank you for celebrating with us.

The Cake:
I saw so many designs and ideas that I seriously couldn't decide upon until the very last minute!  Anyhow, I ended up meshing 2 different ideas together.  You can find the tutorials here and here
The square bottom of my cake is chocolate and I just used a box mix. I baked it in my long cookie sheet, so it was long and thin. I cut it in half and put it on top of each other layering the middle with a thin layer of homemade buttercream frosting and then frosting the top and sides.  Then I "glued" my rainbow cake halves together leaving the sides unfrosted. I picked up the rainbow shape cake, centered it over the square cake before setting it on top. I frosted the entire rainbow shape with more buttercream frosting.
Let me stop here and say that my frosting was back to room temp before I started to work with it again, but it was crazy difficult for me to work with! It just wasn't spreading easily at all, but it was the BEST part of the cake!  Ha ha ha!
Anyway.  I was so frustrated with the frosting that I used rainbow twizzlers to cover the top of the rainbow cake and used sprinkles all around the rest of the cake.  I made my letters out of construction paper circles glued to craft sticks.
I want to mention that the rainbow INSIDE the cake was a big big surprise! Everyone oohhed and ahhhed over it.  That was my favorite part.... it made me smile!

I consider this birthday party a huge success!

## Monday, May 21, 2012

### 10 Goals to Tackle This Week

I follow Jenny's blog at Get 'Er Done, Momma! and she has given me a great idea that will help me keep things rolling smoothly.  She posts her goals to accomplish for the week on Mondays and then does her best to get them scratched off the list throughout the week.  Thanks for this fab idea, Jenny!

Now, if you know me, you know that I am very forgetful and that is very irritating. Keeping a list in my head does not work at all for me. So, I have decided that I would give this a try.  I will list only 10 (my list could get very long!) goals to tackle every week.  I will not only post them here, but I will post them on my fridge so I can remind myself of what it was I wanted to accomplish during the week.  I am a visual person. Writing things down and looking back it will keep it fresh in my mind.  I will also not beat myself down if I don't accomplish every single goal listed.

My 10 goals for this week:

*Reorganize the children's toys.

*Take a brisk 20 minute walk at least 3 days. (i hafta start somewhere!)

*Plan dinner menu for next week

*Look over K5 curriculum for next school year.... list necessary supplies and make prep work to do list.

*Rework daily schedule routine. (We need some changes.)

*Catch laundry up by Friday (Who wants to do laundry on the weekend?)

*Clean out the van - vacuum and wash windows

*Pack for holiday weekend camping trip. (to the beach!!)

*Get up at 6am at least 2 days this week. (stop sleeping in, Cyndi!)

*Write and mail thank you cards.

Next week (on Tuesday since Monday is a holiday), I will let you know which goals I achieved and list some new ones.