Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chilly fingers are hard to type with.

Brrr!!! We were supposed to go to a local petting zoo and playground for our weekly homeschooling meetup, but it is REALLY cold, and we are REALLY tired. So instead? We are doing our work in jammies drinking coffee and hot chocolate. After we do our schoolwork, there are peanut butter cookies begging to be baked by 3 little kids.

Corinne and I have already spent an hour doing sweet watercolors. Fall scenes, ballerinas, dragons, everything. Very random and very tiny, cute pictures. Rediscovering my love of painting and drawing has been a big plus for me. And it's been showing the kids that EVERYONE does art. That's a big deal for the boys. They aren't as imaginative when it comes to arts and crafts as I'd like, and I think being able to just paint or draw SOMEthing helps you in other areas. I.e. I have a 10 year old boy whining behind me that he caaaaan't just "write" a paragraph about dolphins without having specific instructions!

Coffee. More. Coffee.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

A few lessons learned

Lesson 1: If Mommy hurts her neck doing something that was meant to be helpful but ends up being not a brilliant idea (like, say, she does a backwards somersault for Cub Scouts even though she's 33....), it's ok to skip the math pages that Evan doesn't understand. It's ok to have him read 10 books to Corinne instead, especially since his reading skills need lots of encouragement. It's ok to cop out of one or two subjects when the teacher (ME!) is screaming in pain. We can make it up later on (most of the work got bumped back a day and I've just reassigned the missed work to this week, instead).

Lesson 2: Poker is great for number recognition, money skills, and encourages critical thinking. Also, Justin will be in good form for his college dorm days since he kicked my ASS on Thursday!

Lesson 3: They ARE learning. A LOT. A lot, a lot. No less than they would in public school. The material they are working on may be simultaneously on higher levels AND lower levels than public schools offer, but they are on THEIR levels. My kids are learning what they don't understand yet, and we're focusing on what they need to improve upon. And it's being done without hours and hours of time at p.s. and then hours and hours of exhausted arguments over homework. Homeschooling IS working for my family. I can see this and it's extremely encouraging.

Lesson 4: Sometimes Mommy is too ambitious. Sometimes I need to step away from the curriculum and exciting projects and remember each child's learning style and speed and just let them absorb it a little more slowly. Sometimes a 7 year old just needs to run laps around the house when printing out ANOTHER tricky word is just too overwhelming...

Lesson 5: My kids are so much happier. SO much happier... It's kind of sad, actually, to think of all of the years that we forced our square-pegged Justin into the circle-shaped schools. It just wasn't a good fit and his edges are still a bit banged up from it. With a little bit of work, we can sharpen them up again. I like having a square-pegged boy.

Lesson 6: I love these art sites for kids!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Some pics. Some captions. Enjoy.

Baking brownies in the afternoon, just because we can! My kids are excellent egg-crackers and I've been making a conscious effort to have them read the boxes or cook books as we bake. Corinne and Evan are already grasping the whole "fraction thingy" much earlier than I expected!
Not brownies, but one of the biggest perks of homeschooling: home-baked breakfasts without the rush to get it down the hatch and get out the door. Today we made baked French toast and it was HEAVENLY to eat it with my children at 9:00 am. It baked while Evan did spelling. If that's not a perfect way to start a school day, then I don't know what is!
Best $1 I ever spent at a clothing/toy sale is this floor desk. Evan does 90% of his work here...
Her handwriting is going to quickly surpass Evan's. I'm keeping that fact on the down-low, though... Can't be beat by a PRESCHOOLER, you know!

Guitar Hero TOTALLY counts as music appreciation. Ok, ok... I know. I'm working on something a little more educational. But, for now? This will have to suffice.
I dug out my good old Discovery Toys to find other preschool stuff for Corinne to occupy herself with while I'm working with the boys. She is adoring the shape sorter, even though most of these foam pieces have cat teeth marks on them...

Both of the boys are working on lap books right now and I'll update more about that once they're finished. I'm finding that they are a great stand-in for the traditional book reports or class projects that children would normally work on in a public school classroom. Plus, they're perfect to use as a marker for that question every homeschooler hears: "What did you learn this year?"