Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winding Down

We are only 5 days out from Christmas and we are winding down our homeschool term here.  The changes we made, leaving our unit study method, and returning to our Classical model, has made a huge improvement for me.  We are also pretty well scheduled, using the Maxwell's "Manager's Of Their Homes" as our model.  Our master schedule is color-coded and hung where we do school so everyone, even the littles, know exactly what they should be doing and when.  While there are some days that are a bit less rigid than others, we all know the schedule is there to keep us on track.  It's helped my mood and attitude tremendously, in that I was definitely feeling some burn-out symptoms after Thanksgiving.  Part of it was due to the curriculum issues but the other was certainly because I felt so out of control when it came to how our time seemed to be wasted day in and day out.
We have also been able to work in fun stuff, like the Christmas parade, almost daily walks after lunch, mommy/daddy Christmas shopping, and even a couple of child/parent dates.
Here's Ryan on one of the garden sculptures at Crystal Bridges museum.
 Jack and Ry
 Ella-Kathryn and Ry...Will was there too, I just never got him to be still long enough for a pic!
 Jack's scout pack went to the reenactment at Prairie Grove Battlefield.  It was a huge production, to commemorate the 150th anniversary and we had a great day.  Here are the kiddos at the one room school house.
 Jack and Me waiting for the battle to begin!
 Managed to squeeze us all in this shot:)
 Sweet Ella-Kathryn covering Will's ears during the last skirmish of the day.  He really does not like loud noises and I forgot the big ear protectors that we usually have on hand for this kind of thing (and 4th of July:))  The re-enactors were literally right in front of them - I filmed some of the fight and it is quite loud!
 This silly boy wearing his daddy's motorcycle helmet.  Jeff rides for the Sheriff's Dept and does so for some of the local xmas parades - sadly we missed the ones he was in this year.
Here they are bundled up for the Bentonville parade.  Doesn't Jack look thrilled:)
 My little human chain - stacking firewood on the back porch. It was so cute to see Jack loading Ryan up into the wheelbarrow for the trip back to the wood pile.  Ryan loved it! On Wed. we had temps in the 60's and that night we even were under a tornado watch.  Then Thurs. it was in the 30's and we had snow flurries!  Welcome to AR!   Thank goodness we got a fire going early this morning because right as our lunch was finished cooking, our power went out for a few hours.  School was officially declared out for the rest of the day!  Ryan is napping, and the other kiddos are out playing with our neighbors - it is eerily quiet in the house right now...just waiting for one of my people to need me:)
So now we have one more day of school left and then the weekend is devoted to cookie baking, present wrapping, and celebrate Christ's birth and for our family to arrive from FL and TN.  We are so excited to see everyone!
A few more things I want to note:
*In our advent reading this year we've been tracing Christ through the bible from Genesis on.  One of our stories included Jacob's death - ryan remembers this at every reading now and reminds us to pray for his family:)
*Ryan said "awww poor baby" when I told him that baby Jesus had to sleep on hay when he was first born.
*While math continues to be a difficult subject for Jack, I have definitely seen improvement this year.  Praise God!  He is even beginning to do work independently - this is huge for him!
*Ella-Kathryn loves to do pre-school with the little boys and so I've scheduled a half hour for her every day to have fun with them.
*Will is learning to read - it is so much fun to see the light bulb moments when the letters form words in his mind and then he realizes that he's just read a sentence!
*Jeff passed his real estate exam!!!!
*I got to have a night out with Mel and Kimberly - God has blessed me greatly with these friendships - I am so undeserving of this gift, but I will take it gladly!
*I have a bad case of babyitis...crazy I know, but I am missing having a newborn in the house.
* the kids beg Jeff on a weekly basis to please adopt a baby girl.  He is still a firm no in this area:) Although I count it as nothing short of a miracle that he admitted that he had prayed about adoption!
*I was on the phone with Karen one morning and she had to hurriedly hang up because something had happened with Case.  While explaining to my kids that I was off the phone and didn't know what had happened to Case, Will piped up, "I bet I know.  Emily probably put make up on Case."  What in the world?!?!
*Ryan is still coming into our bed at night - never the same time or anything, and I am of two minds on this.  One part of me is tired of the bed hog visiting each night.  The other is holding onto this because he is the last baby in the family and very soon will genuinely be too big for this!  One night I did say to him, "let's go back to your bed like a big boy."  To which he very politely said, "No thanks.  I like your bed."  Sorry folks, I can't say no to that!
*Ryan is struggling lately with using the word "hate" - which we don't allow in our house. Last night I finally broke down and put some vinegar on his tongue and told him that his ugly words made us feel yucky like the vinegar did in his mouth.  then I gave him some honey and reminded him that God tells us that our words show others what our heart really looks like - and that when we used our words to tell others nice things etc. they feel loved.  He seemed to understand (we'll see how long it lasts) but the funny part was as I was coming back into the living room, Jack turns to me and says "Mom, I really liked how you handled that.  What a great teaching moment.  Dad should learn from you mom."  Ha!!  Thanks Jack!

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