Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WW: Road Trip to Pey's

After a busy Saturday all of us "doing our own things", Brian suggested a Road Trip on Sunday. While at first I was hesitant, I am thankful we made the decision to jump into the car in the morning and trek to visit the family;)

We spent most of our late morning/early afternoon with my dad (Pey).


He's been fighting colon cancer for almost 10 months, over 20 chemo treatments now! I know not every day is easy, but to see the peace he has is inspiring. He knows he is very ill but is still willing to make an effort to enjoy the days he has been given.

One of the funniest things happened while we were at Pey's. A knock on the door and there is one of my aunts, an uncle and their 3 pooches. They needed a Road Trip and had come to see Pey, too:)


What a treat though to get hours with my dad, aunt and uncle. Since I've gotten older and started my own family I have seen less and less of our extended family. So it was nice to catch up with them, hear of their travels (and get some ideas!!!) and do a little walking down memory lane:)

The kids loved their little dogs...

and I think the dog liked the attention, too!



We made a few stops, too!! Trader Joes:) A craft store to find a project for the girls that "fits" into history! To meet my sister's new little dog, CLifford;) And to see Grammie at work on the way home!!

I long but great day!! We will do it it again:)

More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go
and any other linkys I find !!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday

In Everything

After finishing a reading lesson with Chris (6 yrs old) last week...

Chris: Mom! I read that in a zip! I've never done that before!

Yay:) So thankful he's catching onto reading... now if he'd be interested in reading books on his own instead of only looking at the pictures:) In time.... I know;)


In the van, driving home after a quick grocery shop with two very hyper kids and they are still at it!!

I holler back to them," You all need to stop before one of you gets hurt!"

Lydia (5 yrs) responds back, "I know we're both going to get hurt because we are both hitting each other!"

Sunday morning we went on a road trip to visit my dad. In the car I wanted to read the Bible to the kids for a bit. I started in John which is what I was working through last week for my class. Funny enough though I had forgotten that the first chapter or two contained the story of Nathanael (our little Nate's namesake).

So we had a discussion about the kids names... what they mean and who the characters were in the Bible.

Sometime in the conversation it all started to make sense to Chris:) He says, "So I am Christ and Nate has to follow me!"

And there is humility;) LOL!!

Obviously we reminded him that his name means "Christ bearer" and that we were praying for him to be a Christ follower as he grew into a young man!!


And now it's your turn:

The button code should be working this week!! Thanks for your patience:)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up:Little Indians & a Great Week

I feel this was a great homeschooling week for us:) Sure, there were some not-so-perfect moments:/ But when I look over the week I remember lots of fun projects, some beautiful weather and ways that I tried to  enjoy my kids during school.

One change that we tried this week was having the older three miss their afternoon "rest". It was very nice only doing our "book work" in the morning (math, Grammar, spelling, reading) and then spending a few hours reading "living" books that fit our historical time period, reading our history lesson and doing "projects" while Nate napped.

I liked it because it made our mornings seem less "frantic" going from one lesson to the next to "get it all done before lunch". And when Nate was fussy I pulled him into my lap for a quick snuggle or two and then he was good and he'd go back to play:) I felt like our mornings were less stressful... I checked chores, we made lunch together... it was nice.

But I'm not totally convinced it's good for us. The kids were a little more fussy in the late afternoon. Or they tried to sneak in a late afternoon nap which messed with bedtime. And I had NO time to work on my classes which meant I had to stay up later in the evening!

So we'll see if we keep it? It might be that a couple of days they rest and a couple of days we school in the afternoons! And it's really hard not to have any "down time" during the afternoon.

We are continuing to read a story at a time in our Story Bible. Again, I just love the discussions that come from it and the beautiful examples of Jesus that we've been reading.

And the kids continue to work through their Awana verses:)

I've blogged before how the kids and I worked through and memorized most of 1 Corinthians 13;) And at the beginning of February I hung up some hearts we made some years back that have the characteristics of love sorted by things that show love and things that don't from I Corinthians! I have enjoyed having them still around ... I've noticed more and more the kids reading through the characteristics. How sweet to have those hidden in their hearts. Now it's all of us practicing them with each other;)

Language Arts
Here are some of the highlights of our week while we practiced reading, Grammar and spelling!

Lydia practiced the hard sounds and soft sounds of "g" and "c". I had made this little sort for Anna... funny that Chris and Lydia have also gotten to use it:)

Lydia found her like spelling words using finger paints this week... a little twist since she usually just circles them with marker.
Chris practiced his "oy" words this week... and we used foil to practice reading /oy/ words spelled "oi" !!

Yes, this was "school":)

Yes, this was "school". He was shooting letters taped to the window to spell his spelling words. He LOVED it and knew all his words by the end of the week... and even spelled them again for me at bedtime Sunday night:) My boy likes to be active;)

Last week the kids also composed their kitten stories and "presented" them to us at nap time! It really was fun to see a simple idea turn into a little "project".

Just some highlights of our math lessons this week;) All the kids completed 4 lessons:) 



We started the week finishing off last week. We finished reading some chapters of Sign of the Beaver and a book about growing up in Colonial America. After finishing Sign of the Beaver one afternoon, the Chris wanted to make "bear claws" for a bear claw necklace.


This week we read about the Boston Tea Party. We completed our narration, colored a picture... and then one morning I told them we were going to make Indian "hats" and then they had to dress up to look like Indians using the clothing they had. It was what the colonists who boarded the ships to dump the tea did. So they had fun coming out in their colonist-want-to-look-like-Indian clothing.



We attended a field trip this week at the library. The topic of the presentation was "Taking Care of Our Teeth". The kids heard about the different parts of their teeth and the ways to take care of them. The presenter also talked a little bit about visiting the dentist (something we still haven't done with the kids).


They had a little "experiment" that used a hard-boiled egg and a cup of soda. The point was that the sugar and acidity of the soda actually breaks down the shell of the egg. They said we could try it with juice, too!! That sounds like a great "experiment" for my reluctant brushers:)

Nate manages to keep himself pretty busy in the mornings while we school:) I thought it was sweet when he colored a picture one morning and wanted to hold it up so I could take a picture;) Love the drool marks... classic Nate!

After our program at the library we went to the park! The weather was beyond gorgeous! It was nice to be there with some friends and to our surprise more friends showed up to eat lunch:) I really hope we all can make "park afternoon" a regular thing... it was soo refreshing for us all:)

When we returned home that afternoon, we had more friends come over to our house!! The kids had a good time playing with this sweet local family and a little friend they brought who instantly clicked with Anna;)

A great week!!
We're linking up to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and 
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Saturday, February 25, 2012

House Update : Signs of Progress

SOOC Saturday

After the months of looking for housing and then waiting for the loan...

it's really nice to see signs of progress:)

BIG truck tracks to the lot.

Two temporary buildings.... sounds better than Porta-Johns, right:)

Mounds of dirt to level off the place for the house.
And the lines for electricity... this was an answer to much prayer last week:)

And we met our contractor!! A nice guy who seems to really know his stuff and doesn't mind answering all our "newbie" questions!

And we asked him the BIG question, "When it will all be ready for us?"

His answer was "120 days from when the house is on the lot."

NOT what I wanted to hear :( 120 days is a LONG time... but I was glad that it was said. I know a little more how much longer we have before we have to start packing up.

And as much as I want the process to go faster, it will probably be VERY nice that my college classes will be over and homeschooling (at least our core work) will be completed before we will move. Again, not the timeline I wanted... but it's probably the best for our sanity;)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moments to Remember: Kitten Stories

All week my kids have been diligently attending to these two!!

In fact, it's been a little bit of a challenge to get them back inside to get their morning chores and schooling done.

Wanting to NOT making our chores and schooling seem burdensome, I called the kids in with a "project" idea. They could write a story about what the kittens do when they are doing school.

I really thought the kids would groan, you know the whole "this is another one of Mom's goofy ideas to make us do schoolwork". But instead they got right to work, thinking of things the kittens would do and asking me how to spell words;)

I posted Lydia's already... but here it is again, too precious not to share again:)


To my surprise, when we settled in for devotional/reading time, the kids had their stories in hand. They wanted to read them to each other:) This turned into some "public" speaking 101... in Chris' bedroom and shirtless, of course!!




They had a blast! And it was a good "experience" for my "shy" kiddos who have NO intentions of participating in any activity that draws attention to them or they have to speak/sing in front of other people.

It was good for me....

I've been wanting to add some creative writing to the agenda and I never find the "right time". This was a great reminder that it doesn't need to be perfectly "timed". Just using a situation or interest of the kids can be magically turned into a fun "project" that can include writing, Grammar, creativity, art/drawing and yes, in this case some not-so-public speaking;)

 And it was good to laugh with them and praise them for their creativity and effort!

They all worked hard to have their stories about the kittens without ANY "encouragements" from me to finish... and that was really NICE! Definitely a Moment to Remember during all those other times when "encouragements" are needed :)


I feel like I could "crash" on the floor next to him these days.


I'm not sure if it's just that my days are busy. My nights are late. And the weather these last two days has been too pretty to NOT enjoy!! Or maybe the kids' "germs" finally got me :/

Hoping to update with some house progress;) And some good tweaks to our daily schedule... yes, again:) Flexibility:)

But for now...


Listen to the kids this weekend!! And as they marvel you with their wisdom and crack you up with questions.... blog it:) And come link up to Tiny Talk Tuesday on Tuesday :)

Also please go and congratulate Aliesha on their new baby girl, Cordelia Mae:)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NOT ready to be a Pet Owner, but then...

they finally adopted us!

Collar (Lydia named her and spells her name this way!)

and Daisy

They are good with the kids.


And the kids adore them:)

We had wanted to wait on pets until we moved:/ But they have made their home over here and the kids are ecstatic to have pets:) And I have to admit they are pretty easy and very sweet:)

I guess it was time!!

If they look familiar to you, they've been blogged about before...
in October when they were tiny and my kids were trying to catch them and then last month when they were the ONLY ones invited to Lydia's birthday party for them :)

More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go
and any other linkys I find !!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday

In Everything

I have a WAY with computers. It's totally genetic;)

One afternoon as I was attempting to get my "work" finished Lydia (5 yrs) woke up early from her afternoon siesta;)

I began fussing at the computer that was locking up on me (in the middle of grading assignments!!).

She looked up at me and asked,"Are you talking to yourself or to me?"

After months of debating about whether we were adopting our neighbor's stray kittens, the kittens have adopted US! They wandered into our yard last weekend and have settled right in:)

The kids made a little "bed" for them in Daddy's enclosed garage... a diaper box and lots of warm out clothes tucked way in the back of Brian's garage.

We were talking to Lydia about the responsibility of taking care of these cats once they are ours. Part of the conversation went like this...

Us : Lydia, kittens turn into cats and can live a long time. Are you willing to take care of Collar (yes, her new name for Fuzzy) until you are 15 and almost driving a car?

Lydia: Oh, yes I am! I will feed and pet her every day!

Brian: We need this on video;)

Honestly, Lydia IS the most attentive to the kittens. She dragged us out to "check on them" at least 3 or 4 times Sunday in the chilly rain!! They were always snuggled together in their little "bed"!

The guilty child will remain nameless for this Tiny Talk...

AS I mentioned yesterday, I am trying to work with the kids on obeying right away... with words and feet going in the right direction! So one afternoon I called the older kiddos down for reading time. I heard three little "yes, M'am... ok, Moms". And then two little sets of feet coming running by to get ready to read.

The third set?
I call to the child who did answer but didn't move.

Then I hear, "I can't come down right now. I am using the potty and don't have any toilet paper! Can you bring some up?"


And now it's your turn :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up : Solution to the Spelling, Colonial Times, Obedience Basics

Somehow around sicknesses, Daddy having a sick day and Valentine's Day, we managed to complete a little schooling;) As usual, we didn't complete all that I had in the plans but it's always nice to look through the week and be encouraged by what DID get completed;)

We continued to read and discuss New Testament stories about Jesus and His life and teaching.

Also chugging away at those Awana verses;) I love to see the kids excited about their verses... practicing with one another, listening to the CD that comes with the Sparks books and then reciting them for Brian and I when they think they can say them from memory!

Language Arts

IMG_9413After sharing my "concerns" about Chris not doing a "formal" spelling program this year, I found a simple resource that had 1st grade spelling lists. The list included both sight words and families grouped together. Since I wasn't sure where to start, I sat Chris down and just started testing each sight word and one (or two) family words from each section.

My fears were quickly relieved as I saw how well he did... much better than I thought. Now granted they are VERY simple words. But I guess I felt like I didn't have to "worry". And since he LIKED the "testing" we did it a few mornings. He liked stopping when his wipe board was full;)

The best thing was that after each "spelling session" he wanted to write a sentence or two with the words from his board:) That was cool !! Love this picture of him sounding out a word for his sentence!


I jotted down all the words he needed to work on and made a little list of activities for him to do with his review words. Sometimes I forget that he is a young 6 and that he still really likes for things to be "fun"... who doesn't:)

To add something extra to Lydia's spelling time. I gave her the little letters to see if she would use them to practice spelling her words, she was a little hesitant at first but then loved using them... pulling them out each day after that to "practice". Although she would have easily written the words for me, those little letter cards (or ABC magnets) were a great way to do spelling without writing;) Nice to do something a little different!!

We walked out of the library last week with our bag bulging;) Anna eagerly dove into reading;)

Anna's highlight this week was starting to memorize a new poem. It was a poem by Emily Dickinson about the colors of a sunrise and a sunset:) So Anna decided to try to paint a sunrise and sunset using the colors in the poem.

Saxon gets such a bad rap for being boring;) It is black and white... no colors! It includes lots of work for the kiddos! But the hands-on activities in the lessons are great! My kids look forward to math each day... we'll the lesson... sometimes not the fact sheets and practice sheets:)

Our favorite activities of the week;)
Identifying "double plus one" facts and finding the answers

Using linking cubes to find the difference of two numbers

Sorting shapes using their attributes.... color, size, shape, # of sides.

Anna had to figure out how many ways she could make $.25 using pennies, dimes, nickels and a quarter

I mentioned last week that we were going to stick with Colonial America for a little bit. Story of the World has some jumping around to see the global perspective, but I feel like we would get more from our studies if we stick with one area for a little while. And we have a lot more reading options by staying in Colonial America for a little bit and getting to read and read.

Last week we started with the little wars starting in England and affecting settlements of English, French and Spanish colonists. And then we moved onto the French and Indian War (or Seven Yrs War). The kids did their maps and listened to the chapter;)

We found a good video series about the French and Indian War from the North Carolina perspective. Not very long but just right for my crew;) I know they watched a couple of the parts a couple of times;)

The first book we read was The Matchlock Gun, it was a very thrilling little read. Then we starting working through some books about Daniel Boone!! And the kids and I began reading The Sign of the Beaver together (we're still reading!). After reading this afternoon, the kids got into some clay and tried to make bear claws like the Indian boy in the story had made after he killed a bear.

We also have a fun book about growing up in colonial times that we've all had a chance to look through... can't wait to read some with them:) And this week we get to talk about a tea party:)

With all the sickness and the day of the doctor visit, I did very little with our bird watching :( On Monday morning the kids and I looked through some pictures of local birds. We used the map to see if each type would be visible during this season and what sounds they made.

We collected pine cones, but never made our feeders. :( My kids reminded me DAILY! Maybe this week... just for fun and to feed the birds;)

On Friday on the way home from the doctors and while picking up Nate's prescription we stopped at the "pond" next to Walmart! The kids enjoyed trying to count all the seagulls that have taken over the pond. There were over 30:)

We did continue with our elements memory work. One day we'll get it;)

From a couple different sources (mostly reading What We Wish We'd Known and about the chores of colonial children) and preparing our family to move into the new home, I've been convicted that I've slacked on the training my children in obedience and helping around the home.

 I've really made an effort this last week to "stay on top of" our morning chores. The kids already know their chores and understand HOW to do them, but I have slacked in CHECKing to be sure they are completed to the child's ability. 

And after a few events this past weekend, I was further convicted about obedience issues. My kids are super kids, but it seems like little seeds of disobedience are starting to sprout, again, ... complaining, ignoring requests, or not completing tasks asked at all :(  It's back to the basics...
Obeying.... Right Away, All the Way and with a Happy Heart

Would you believe only Anna could remember that phrase??

And I always hate when authors say they are teaching their kids those things and don't explain HOW. This is what we're trying this week...
  • making it a "game" to be the first child to respond when called
  • checking to be sure the tasks we ask of the children are being completed
  • "do over"... when they respond with complaining and whining,  they can ask again the correct way
  • spending time together (games, chores together, reading, interest in what they are doing
Off to play Legos:)

Here's to a new week:)