Saturday, January 21, 2012

Home Educating Family Publishing

Home Educating Family Publishing
Great contest over at Home Education Family Magazine! These flip charts and helps for times tables are super helpful!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Snow and a Party!

We had our first snow last week.  A dusting really, but the kids were thrilled to wake up to snow:)  It was pretty darn cold, windchill around 14, that day, but of course they had to go out and play for a bit. 

Then, today we hosted the family birthday party for Jack, who will be turning 10 on Tuesday!  What in the world????  Wasn't he just born????  Seriously, he is such a great kid - loves the Lord, his family, friends and neighbors and so enjoys being outdoorsHe gets a kick out of racing his RC car with his Dad, and proving his me wrong when after I do a read-aloud and wonder if anything I ever read will sink in, he blows me away with all that he's retained! We can't wait to see what God has in store for him and what he will do for the kingdom!

From his Aunt Erin and Unlce Jason and cousins, He recieved a cool RCcar stand to hold his car up off the table so that he can work more easily on it.  From Poppy, he got some new tires, and some cool cash from his Grandma and Granpa.  We dug into a white cake frosted with chocolate icing and a whipped cream middle, per a request from the bday boy himself!
It was a fun day - one we get to repeat next Sat. when some of his buddies come over to help celebrate:)  Normally we do it all on one day, but with the boys getting bigger it just seemed more logical to spread it out - for my sanity as much as anything!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Indoor Picnic

I needed to reorganize my homekeeping binder, and for reasons that escape even me, I decided today would be a good day!  Yes, right after doing the breakfast dishes and before beginning our school day, I busted open every binder/folder/pocket and emptied it all out - onto every available surface. 

So when lunchtime rolled around I had to get creative as to where we could eat!  Indoor picnic anyone?  4 kiddos definitely thought that was a great idea!

So happy I can please these sweet faces some of the time:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year Changes

When we returned from our Christmas travels, we cleaned house and then I cleaned my brain:)  I spent a whole day prepping for the upcoming semester.  And I learned a painful lesson about myself.  We lament Jack's lack of diligence on an almost daily basis around here.  It has worn me down as his mom and teacher more times than I care to admit.  However, as I was looking back over our fall semester it became clear how little we had accomplished! And how that meant our spring would be so full and rather crowded with academics - squeezing out some of the fun things I had hoped to do.  Alas, it is all moi.  In my own sin, my own laziness, lack of diligence, I had allowed the kids to not complete work, to push it off til tomorrow, or a handful of tomorrows.  An eye-opener for sure!  Thank goodness for grace and mercy, because after spending some time in prayer about the whole matter, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a "system" that we have now implemented.  The Workbox system, originated by Sue Patrick, was meant to keep children who had troubles staying focused, on task.  I had briefly discussed this with Jeff in the late summer, but dismissed it because the original plan calls for a lot of space, space that we simply don't have to use with shelving and shoeboxes.  So I decided to modify it, and after looking at many others' modifications, came up with our own Workboxes.  Simply put the assignments/daily work is put, in order needed to be completed, in a tub/box.  I print of a weekly schedule, from an Excel spreadsheet original, and put that on a clipboard which goes in the front of the tub.  Each student can then grab their own weekly work agenda and begin working independently.  Of course there are times/courses which require my assistance, but that's built into the schedule.  When an assignment is completed, the child removes that subject/binder from the tub and places it on our homeschool bookshelf, thus emptying the tub one task at a time.  It is a great visual cue that work is indeed being completed and they can see and "end in sight."
                                                   Here are our super fancy workboxes:)

                   The bookshelf where completed work is deposited, albeit, not very neatly!
I have used a planner for myself and the kids' work, but transferring it on Sunday night to the spreadsheet keeps it all rather neat and orderly.  It also gives them ownership of their assignments.  Our first day back was not great, but I really think it was a much due to the fact that we had taken such a long break, as it was the work itself.  More importantly, it was the first time in forever that we completed all of our assignments!  Every single one of them!  Today was much better and Jack completed much of his work in a timely manner and without complaint.  Yeah!!!  Time will of course tell how it really plays out, but I'm hopeful:)