Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Those Age Old Questions...

Why are you going to homeschool?

Depending on how this question is asked you could receive a range of responses from me, along with a range of tones/attitudes. I am going to respond to this as if I were asked in a generally quizzical manner by someone who may want to give homeschooling a try themselves.

1. No one other than myself (my wife and the boys' dad too.) will have my child's best interests in mind.

2. Who better than myself to insure that my son is learning all he needs to learn at a pace that works for him?

3. I know he won't get lost or left behind OR on the opposite end, he won't be bored with what is being taught.

4. The student/teacher ratio is perfect. In a classroom of 20 some odd children (give or take) it can at times be difficult to give every child the attention he/she needs and deserves. I say this from my experiences in PS.

5. This one is a HUGE plus! We get to make our own schedule. If we want to sleep in one morning we can sleep in. If we want to "skip" school in order to go do something fun, we are able to without getting an attendance notice. If he wants to do extra-curricular activities that may only be offered in the middle of the day he can. Best of all, if my family wants to take a vacation for 3 weeks, we are free to do so and can still bring school with us. 

6. Probably one of the best reasons I can find off the top of my head is that we don't have rules as to how we have to do things. He won't have to sit in a classroom for 6 hours a day with about an hour of time away from his desk. We can school for an hour in the morning take a break for a few hours and come back to learning a little later in the day. If he is having an off or particularly moody day we can take a "mental health day" without any repercussions. 

7. I have a complete say in what he is learning and how he is learning it. I have realized that quite a few parents homeschool for religious reasons, which is fine. We are not a religious family but there are things that are left out of structured learning in PS that I may want him to learn about. If I choose to incorporate religious history into our lessons just for diversity and so he is able to hear multiple different belief systems, then I can do that. 

Those were a few of the not selfish reasons, now on to the selfish reasons. 

1. They are me babies and the thought of them being somewhere that I am not certain they are being cared for properly shoots my anxieties though the roof! Especially with the amount of school shootings you hear about. 

2. This may or may not be considered selfish I suppose it just depends on your viewpoint, I want him to stay little as long as possible. In PS that can't be guaranteed. They grow up too fast as it is. 

Don't you think you will get tired of them being home all the time?

First of all, NO! Secondly, for days where I feel I may need a bit of a break or some me time, they have grandparents who are MORE than happy to have them for a few hours and get in some much wanted snuggle time. Also for days where I may need a little space, they have their own bedrooms equipped with TV and a playroom full of toys to keep their little minds and bodies busy. 

Aren't you worried they will be "weird"? What about socialization? 
 (Insert blank, huh? stare here.)

I honestly don't even feel the need to respond to this one ever but I get asked quite frequently. If you so much as take your child to the grocery store they are getting socialized. If you take them to a public playground where other kids are playing, they are getting socialized. If you take them to a museum, a gallery, a sporting event, guess what? They get socialized. Even my terribly shy 5 year old eventually opens up to the kids around him and makes fast friends. Almost every town or city has a homeschool group that you can join to find others in your area who homeschool as well, this opens up a world of possibilities for group lessons and the like.  
So NO, I am not worried they will be "weird" and even if they are weird, so what?

Here is how I see it, who knows more than you what is best for you, your child(ren) and your family? No one. You do what you feel is best your family unit and don't let "mommy wars" or nay sayers stop you. It has taken me 20 of my 26 years on this Earth to realize that, one, I will never be able to make everyone happy and two, I honestly could not care less what others think about the decisions that I make in the best interests of my family. 

Did I miss any good reasons as to why to Homeschool? If you have a different reason(s) for doing it, let me know I'd love to hear! Also how do you deal with some of the negative, stereotypical questions/concerns when people hear you intend to or are homeschooling?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our First Day Was...

...let's just say, less than perfect.

G woke up this morning in a great mood. He was so geared up for school that he kept asking me if it was time all through breakfast. It gave me such a positive outlook on the day ahead and I was excited to begin. 

Trouble struck as soon as we sat down in the classroom. He instantly didn't want to do anything. It was a fight to get him to do calendar time. He did however enjoy filling in our thermometer and asking me what the C and F stood for. Once the fight over calendar time was over it was time for warm ups. For warm up first he traces the alphabet mostly to insure that he remembers them all as well as their sounds. He also enjoys telling me a word that each letter starts. For C he told me Celsius and for F he told me Fahrenheit. Second he traces numbers 1-35. We had less of a struggle during warm ups thankfully. 

Since he has been so excited to learn to read recently I thought starting the morning with reading would be a good way to go. It wasn't. He raced through the 'AT' family words no issue but as we started to do our 'AP' words he decided it was time to zone out. Instead of attempting to sound out the words he guessed. 
I won't lie. I was frustrated. After arguing through the worksheets that went along with his lesson it was clear that we both needed a break. 
     G                                            Baby K

In order to keep us both from exploding we decided to head into to town to check out some thrift stores. It was definitely needed! 

After a few hours we returned home and he was more than ready for math! YAY! 

This boy gets his love of math from his Momma and Daddy because I sure am not a fan of math. English is my thing and I get a little upset by his love for math at times. But hey! A love of learning is a love of learning right? 

He raced through his math in no time and with a smile on his face the whole time! 

Once he finished his math I sat down at my Cricut and started to cut the decor for the walls of our classroom. He was so intrigued by the machine that he began asking if I would show him what buttons to push. How could I not? He was thrilled! During the period of time I was cutting out letters we experienced a flash flood in our area so we opened up the windows and both boys stood at the window with our window markers. 

G drew the weather:

In a very serious tone he told me: "Mommy, if I get X-RAY'd (electrocuted) I will go ZZZZZZZZZZ!" At first I had no idea what he meant. Then a bolt of lightning hit and he said, "See mommy! It will make me like an X-RAY!" This was definitely a highlight of our day for me. How awesome is it that he made the connection between lightning and electrocution like he did when we haven't ever discussed it! 

I will admit this morning I was near a break down. I honestly was thinking that maybe homeschooling just wasn't for us. I feel like there is a picture painted of homeschool parents and I have no idea where this picture comes from, but in my head when I hear of people homeschooling all I see is butterflies and sunshine and happiness. I learned first hand today that that is not the case! Being a homeschool mom is like taking being a stay at home mom, multiplying the number of kids you have by at least 2 and dividing yourself in quarters. (This is how I felt today!) I found a great support system via facebook full of homeschool parents who were more than happy to share with me that they all have days where they want to rip their hair out and on those days when it is more than they can handle they take a "mental health day". I was told to not give up and to keep moving forward and adapting to what works for my family. 

Let's just say that after today, I am ready for tomorrow! 

Do you have any homeschool horror stories? If so I'd love to hear about them as well as how YOU cope when things get out of hand. 

You can find us and follow our journey on:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tomorrow is...

Tomorrow is G's first day of school! 

We have had a pretty hectic summer! We moved to a new house in a new town. We are no longer in the city and are looking forward to beginning our homesteading journey, but that's not why you are here! 
In this amazing new house of ours we are fortunate enough to have a HUGE playroom AND an extra bedroom which has been deemed our classroom. Most may not understand just how excited this makes me but let me tell you, I am more excited than baby K when he realizes we turned Frozen on for him! (That is pretty dang excited!)

Having a designated classroom will help G stay focused on the task at hand without the distraction of a T.V. or his brother playing/bothering him. 

This is what our classroom currently looks like but take into consideration that it is a work in progress!

This picture shows what will be his main learning area, with his desk and resources. On the wall under the window are our day starters. Each sleeve has a different activity that he will sit down and complete after Calendar Time.

On this side of the room is our Calendar area. I haven't completed it yet but I'm in the process of making letters to go above the calendar that say "Today is...". There is also a thermometer print out next to the calendar and I am getting an actual not digital (so analog?) thermometer that we will put outside. He will check what the one outside says and then fill in the one on the wall. I also intend to put up a complete "The weather outside is..." area on this wall which we will complete when we first walk through the door. 

On the bookshelves seen here, the one facing us has a bunch of sensory/science/art materials on it. The one that isn't facing us has binders full of worksheets and resources on it. 

On the wall which would be on your right facing like the photo above, is where our sensory table is but that can be pulled out to use this wall when we do things with our overhead projector. 

It is all about utilizing this small-ish space completely without seeming like we are cluttered or cramped. 

I have been asked a few times about what grade G is in. He is almost 5, this would put him in Pre-K due to the birthday cut off, however based on what he knows I put him between Pre-K and first grade. He knows quite a bit already that is taught in first grade. I have been "scolded" for "schooling" him before age 7 before but I can honestly say that I have not forced him to learn like we do. He constantly asks if we can learn to read, or if we can do math. The way I see it, why shouldn't I encourage and go with this attitude and love of learning something new! I feel like homeschooling allows us to do this in a relaxed setting where he won't be forced to learn more than he is ready to take in. If he wants to get started early well sure son we can get started early. 

Are you a homeschooler? What do you enjoy most about your kiddo's schooling, whether homeschooled or not? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trying Something New: Kids In The Kitchen

G has been showing a lot of interest in helping cook.

In an effort to further motivate him to learn the ways of the kitchen we have been making snacks that he can help with. This has prompted me to start a blog segment that I will call Kid's In The Kitchen. 

Since so many of my readers are mommy's I am sure you have seen the Disney Jr. segments That's Fresh. In the short they highlight an easy, delicious and (don't tell your kiddos) healthy snack/meal. Every time this segment comes on G tells me he wants to try it. So today's snack was one that we got from there. 

Here is a link to the video itself which will give you the recipe.
Here is what our's looked like.

Using a butter knife, G cut the watermelon into cubes.

He then added his greens.

His cheese.

Finally his watermelon and his dressing.

 It was so much better than I imagined it was going to be and probably the best part in my eyes is that it got G to eat leafy greens! Talk about a challenge but he looks to be enjoying it doesn't he?

Next week we start school and G can not wait! I am so happy that his want and love for learning is returning right in the nick of time. Summer is coming to an end and it is time to exercise the mind again.

Kids In The Kitchen is something I want to post about at least once a week. I will share the recipes we use or the idea behind what we decide to make each week. Mostly they will just be snacks but at times we will do meals. 

I love feedback. What are your thoughts on weekly installments of K.I.T.K? Do you have any recipes we may enjoy making together? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

'Tis The Season!

I know it has been forever since I have updated here. I apologize for that!
With the wedding over with and the holidays in full swing I have still been feeling rather lazy. I haven't felt up to setting up our activities like I should be. It makes me feel like a bit of a failure, but such is life I suppose. I choose to call it an end of the year break. Once the new year begins it will be back to business though!
Anyway, we started The Elf on The Shelf tradition this year. I was so excited when our Elfie came in the mail! After reading Gage the story and taking extra care to explain to him that the elf could lose his magic if touched, I asked him if he would be excited if an elf were to show up at our house. He was definitely excited by the thought of an elf visiting.
Our elf first made his appearance a week ago today, I went through the process of asking Gage what he wanted to name him. He wanted to call him Elf I was able to talk him into Elfie instead. For his first appearance it was nothing special, he arrived on our dining room table with a little note for Gage about naming him and reminding him that he tells Santa about how his days go and to remember to be a nice boy.
At the end of the day on day one I had set up our train around the tree for the boys. This was of course extremely exciting for them. So for day 2 of Elfie being with us he showed up on the train I had set up the night before. Let me just say Gage got such a kick out of this!

 (Elfie's train ride)

Day 3 we woke up to find Elfie was playing Lego chess with Yoda.
Day 4 Elfie had managed to zip line across the entrance to our bedroom.
"Wrecking Ball" is a little joke between our roommate and myself so I of course couldn't resist recreating the meme circulating Facebook right now!
This morning when we woke up we found Elfie was tucked nicely away in Gage's stocking.

These are what our elf has gotten into so far and I am looking forward to continuing this on until Christmas Eve.
Gage turns four tomorrow so I have quite the exciting idea planned for Elfie. I really hope he gets excited!
This is our first year with this tradition, how long have you been doing Elf on the Shelf? What idea suggestions do you have for our Elfie? How old is/was your LO when you first started it and do they get excited by it?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Favorite App Friday

It's finally here! FRIDAY!
Friday means it is time for Favorite App Friday. This is something that I will be making a weekly thing and I am even going to try to get some other mommy blogger's in on the fun. Fingers crossed that goes well!
As much as I hate to admit it, technology plays a HUGE roll in our lives around here. We have smart phones, iPods, iPads and game systems. We limit how much time Gage is allowed to be on the devices of course and he is limited to educational games and apps only. He doesn't fight us on that because he LOVES learning. Favorite App Friday is all about our electronic educational journeys!
The majority of the apps that I will discuss will be free. There are a few that I have paid for though and I will try and showcase the ones that are on the cheaper end. I am not a huge fan of paying outrageous amounts of money for learning apps that may or may not catch Gage's attention.
For our very first post I will be going over the app:
Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers

This app cost us $2.99 and let me tell you it is worth every penny. Gage loves watching Team UmiZoomi on TV and getting to interact with Millie, Geo, and Bot on this app gets him excited to learn math!
With my absolute hatred of math I am extremely open to anything that gets him excited to learn it! There are so many games to play dealing with different sorts of math. You can also buy an expansion pack to add more games if you'd like. I don't remember how much the add on is because we haven't yet purchased it but I plan to in the near future.
Now you'll have to excuse my terrible photos! I did my best.
This app deals with so many aspects of learning numbers and math. It deals in number recognition:

 You have to pop ONLY the bubbles with the number matching the one on Bot's tummy.
At first Gage didn't quite understand this and just wanted to pop every bubble on the screen but as he gradually picked up number recognition he has gotten much better. This is definitely an early stage recognition game.

(Sorry these pictures are upside down)
The race through Umi City game is a harder number recognition game. Bot will tell you which number you have to go under and you have to swipe UmiCar to the right lane.
Another game on the app, Toy Parade, deals with numerical order. You have to place the toys in the correct order before the parade can begin. This is one of Gage's favorite games on the app.

 On the more advance end, there is a game that deals in addition and subtraction. This is definitely my favorite game on the app because it is pushing Gage to go farther than what he has learned so far. I have slowly but surely been weaning him into addition and subtraction, he now walks around the house saying "OK mommy how many are left" or "If we take away this many what's left?"

As far as learning apps that we have tried go, this one is by far our favorite. Gage and I both love it and have an awesome time playing it together.
Does your little one have a favorite learning app? If so leave it in the comments below and if we haven't already we will give it a try.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I love October!

We had quite the week around here!
On Monday, Dennis came over to join the boys in play! Since fall, well mostly October is my favorite time of year I decided we would paint some pumpkins.
As you can tell, I couldn't find my masking tape so I used duct tape to make the boys' initials.
 I am extremely new to using paints other than finger paints with the boys so I made a bit of an uh oh here. I used tempera paint to have them paint there pumpkins. While they all had an absolute blast painting there pumpkins, as they were drying, the paint was flaking. I did however use a purple acrylic paint as well and the purple held without flaking so only parts of them flaked off. 

 These were our end results.

 Sticking with our pumpkin theme I printed up some Pp sheets and the boys used stickers to decorate the P's.

 Even our snack was pumpkin related! They decorated there own cookies and of course gobbled them up as fast as possible.

 We also made masking tape mummy's this week! Everyone got in on this one even K.

Since it has been a while since I've done a DIY like this one I tried my hand at making some wonder dough. You can see this one in full here:
I have to say that Growing A Jeweled Rose is my favorite as far as activity ideas for the littles! She is always posting so many awesome ideas!

 The boys loved it. They rolled it and squished it and described what they felt. The only downside to this is that I probably used way to much paint as it dyed all of our hands. Luckily it washed right out though!

 On Thursday night we had a pumpkin carving party!
 The boys are not really fans of strange feeling things. Gage reluctantly helped gut his pumpkin.
 X and R each stuck their hands in once but were instantly over it.

 Needless to say our pumpkin party turned into adults doing all the work while the kids ran wild in the backyard!
Check out our end results though! Not bad in my opinion!
This Friday I will be starting something new on my blog. I will be posting one of our favorite apps a week. Favorite App Friday! I will go over why we love each app as well as what benefits it has.
Does your child have a favorite app on the iPad/iPhone etc.? Let me know what it is below so I can check it out!