Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Little Goober

Figuring that if Bluebird was going to earn her Daisy Flower Center by the end of December, I decided this morning that we should start reviewing the Girl Scout Promise so she could slowly commit it to memory.

I asked Bluebird this morning if she remembered what she needed to do to earn her Daisy Center for her uniform. (Recite the Girl Scout Promise from memory and tell me what it means.) She remembered and asked if she could see the Promise written out, which I handed to her.

Two minutes later she announced that she was ready for her test; she stood up, made the sign and rattled off the Promise perfectly.

I just sat in my chair and frowned at her. (It wasn't intentional.)

I asked her to do it again. She did. I asked her to do it yet again. She did.

Then I asked her to explain it to me. She did.

I put my hand over my eyes and made a slightly baffled sound; when I looked up, she was smiling at me smugly and said, "I get my Daisy Center now, don't I?"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekly Report: November 9-13, 2009

I spent a lot of the week recovering from something, so school was hit-or-miss.

This picture was taken as part of Bluebird's math lessons this week. We needed to pick a tree outside to observe throughout the year. This lesson was talking about the autumn season and even asked her to draw a picture of it and write a few lines about what she saw. We're a little behind in the math book, so it didn't match up with our autumn season quite that well--the tree is rather naked and it snowed the next day. (In fact, it's snowing pretty heavily right now as I type...)

Rabbit's hand, modeling what we did as part of Fun Friday.

We also continued with drawing exercises from Drawing with Children, and Bluebird did a fantastic job with her copying exercise. (Rabbit is still working on being able to draw a circle.)

We also had Music Appreciation--playing with Play-Doh while listening to "The Nutcracker." I hadn't scheduled any specific music for November, so I simply asked what they wanted to listen to and wasn't surprised that they went with that choice.

Bluebird wore her Daisy Scout uniform and made the Girl Scout Promise for the first time. She won't earn her Daisy "center" until she can say the promise from memory and tell me what it means. (I have no idea how long this will take; I'm hoping by the end of December and keeping my supplies ready at hand in case she speeds through it.)

After that, she'll start working on ten individual petals that go around the center, each one representing a different part of the Girl Scout Law. I'm tentatively planning on spending a month on each petal, doing some activities and reading books about those particular characteristics (Honesty, Courage, Using Resources Wisely, etc.). There are then two different books with accompanying mini awards to work through and we'll spend time on those and hopefully finish them all up by the time she enters the second grade and moves on to Brownies (and "real" badges!).

Michael and I have been discussing the possibility of pulling Bluebird out of public school and we decided in this last week that it would be a satisfactory choice. I'm now trying to decide when to pull her out--right away, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Kindergarten has not been detrimental, but it requires a lot of additional effort; and I'm not a big fan of the extra work when I'm already teaching her. I am thankful for its existence while I was sick and could hardly hold my head up, let alone conduct school; and I'm thankful for the experience of finding out how "important" scissor and coloring skills are because it's one of those things that I brushed aside as "they figure it out eventually."

I still hold firm to that belief, but I also realize that in some instances it's a good idea to just go with the flow because it eases the worries of other people who are already freaking out about their social development--presenting a child who can't cut a thing and has no idea how to color in the lines doesn't exactly say "Doing a good job" in regards to your teaching efforts. Usually I'm a tad bristly about bending to soothe another's worries, but in this instance I'm not going to fight back too much and just include some cutting and coloring experiences as part of our preschool curriculum. People won't worry that I'm raising misfits and I won't have to endure raised eyebrows or field stupid questions about homeschooling. Win-win. (Well, at least in that particular instance...)

I'm pleased with this decision to homeschool exclusively. I'll need to make a greater effort to make sure that it doesn't affect our home life, as I tend to talk about nothing but homeschooling or want to do anything but plan and prepare for future activities. Michael has asked that I balance that behavior. Fair request. Now, to figure out how to implement it...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dancing to "The Nutcracker"

We awoke to a healthy dusting of snow outside our window this morning, which prompted me to turn on some Christmas music during breakfast. Bluebird wrinkled up her nose at my choice and declared, "Not that Christmas music! Let's listen to The Nutcracker!" (This utterance warmed my classically-trained musical heart immensely...) I obliged her request, which quickly resulted in all three girls vacating their chairs so they could dance/twirl/fall down in dizzy heaps of giggles.

And then, much to their delight, Daddy joined in:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anne of Green Gables...Re-Incarnated

I've been battling a little yuckiness lately and my husband tried to cheer me up with the "Anne of Green Gables" DVD from Netflix.

I watched it a few nights ago and found myself shaking my head in amazement as I realized that I knew a very literal Anne Shirley in my own daily life...my eldest daughter.

It was an eye-opening moment for me. Anne Shirley is a vivacious, life-loving ball of energy who dreams ALL THE TIME and talks just as much. On screen and in the book, I love her dearly and adore her quirks and enthusiasm for life. I get frustrated with all the well-meaning adults who get so easily frustrated with her and refuse to recognize how special she is.

My dear, sweet Bluebird never stops chattering and is always planning some grand scheme and wanting to do more and is so easily distracted by some errant passing fancy. She makes up new, dramatically descriptive names for EVERYTHING and always speaks with exclamation points at the ends of her sentences. I've been getting a little frustrated with her attention span lately and can't even begin to estimate how many times I have told her to STOP TALKING SO LOUDLY! (To which she responds by whispering her next sentence and then forgets about being quiet and starts talking at full volume with the next sentence.) She sings while she does just about everything and the last two weeks of school have had me sounding like a broken record: "You don't need to sing about or talk about everything I ask you to do; just please focus and do your work."

But this brush with Anne Shirley has softened my view of my girl's behavior and tendencies...they are special and meaningful parts of who she is. I'm determined to appreciate her enthusiasm and zeal a little more and to stand up for her when other (older) adults tell her that her chattering gives them a headache.

Anne of Green Gables is a beloved heroine of literature...and it's her "frustrating" qualities that make her so lovable. I need to appreciate those qualities in real life people as well...although I'm still going to request for a stop to the singing while she's doing schoolwork, as she is thoroughly incapable of writing or answering anything correctly while she's concentrating on her lyrics.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Sources

Heather asked where I got my books. Here's the info:

Just about everything can be purchased on Amazon.com.
I know for sure that I've purchased the following at Amazon:
Drawing with Children
Phonics Pathways
Handbook of Nature Study
Reader's Digest North American Wildlife

I've purchased my Kumon workbooks at Latter-Day Family Resources (LDFR), which also has a physical store as you enter Salem from Spanish Fork. I can't remember what the name of the physical store is because it's owned by my friend, Diane Hopkins, and I just always call it "Diane's Store." My girls love that store!

The Daisy Scout books I purchased at the Girl Scout office up in Orem, although I have seen them offered in the Girl Scout online store. I've never ordered from the online store and I don't know if anyone can just order leader manuals without entering special codes or something like that.

You can purchase the Saxon and Singapore math materials at Diane's Store/LDFR, but we originally purchased ours from Learning Things (Saxon K and Manipulatives) and Rainbow Resource Center (Saxon 1).

And then, of course, we have our weekly trips to the library; which keeps us well-stocked in reading books. I try to curb my desire to buy all the picture books they want because they're just so expensive! Oh, to have an unlimited homeschool budget...

Hope this answers your question! :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mastering the Calendar

I am a calendar fanatic. I have a planner in my purse, a calendar that pops up when I turn on my computer, a birthday reminder poster, various calendars throughout the house and a big school calendar on my pantry door.

This is hardly an efficient use of calendars.

With my calendar bounty, I was starting to miss appointments and birthdays because what was written on one calendar wasn't always written on the other. And then my darling Little Lamb ransacked the bin of wipes and "cleaned" my birthday reminder poster on the wall. I needed to consolidate. I decided to keep the planner in my purse because it was super handy, especially when out and about at various medical facilities--just write in the next appointment, no need to clutch an appointment reminder card until you can get it home and safely transfer the data.

All the other calendars--needed to become just one. I decided on our school calendar: it's in a central location, impossible to miss and would also serve the bonus of teaching the girls about keeping track of important dates.

I purchased two packs of little cupcake cut-outs and filled one in for each member of our enormous extended family (noting the actual birthday on the back of the card). In case you're curious, there's forty something different cards there.

Each month has its own special date cards, so I threw the birthday cards into their respective bags.

I also bought a pack of assorted shapes and had them laminated. (Sorry, no picture.) Each shape has been assigned to a member of our immediate family and will serve as reminders for appointments and other obligations. I simply write the appointment down with a wet-erase marker on the family member's designated shape and stick it up on the calendar.

And here it is, the Household Calendar, Simplified:



It's calmed the craziness down already. Bluebird received an invitation to a birthday party last month, and when we walked into the house I just the invitation on the day of the party. No need to write it down and I had a very constant visual reminder of its impending arrival. I also happen to live in a ward that is very good about leaving reminder notes of upcoming ward activities on my door, and those just get stuck on the appropriate day. No mess, no fuss.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekly Report: November 2-6, 2009

It is absolutely insane that it's already November!

We instituted our first official "Fun Friday" this week and it was a huge success! We started with the beginning lessons from Drawing with Children, which Bluebird grasped extremely well and Rabbit tried to keep up with (and did pretty good for a three year old).

I had planned to do an art project involving tissue paper and cutting out leaf shapes, but then Rabbit begged me for three days to do some painting...and really, it's all about them and what they want, right? So painting it was.

I expected these two activities to take up somewhat close to two hours, but they were done with both in an hour and a half, and they had sped through their morning chores in eager anticipation of Fun Friday, so we were actually left with a whole extra hour of school time, but with no plan. We sat down and brainstormed other ideas of how to use the time and Bluebird meekly reminded me of all that Daisy Scout stuff that's been sitting in the closet for months...and then we received correspondence from the head Girl Scout office that very day about selling cookies. I guess we're going to start back up with Girl Scouts. (She's very excited to start earning her petals.)

Bluebird
It really is amazing what little people can do if you're just consistent with them.

Her penmanship is really improving and she's even starting to be able to write a lot of letters and numbers without needing a model in front of her to copy. She struggled and struggled with the numbers 6, 8 and 9; but then 8 became rather consistent and 6 is starting to look like a 6. 9 is a bit of a mess--she wants to go the opposite way and then bring the line straight down through the middle of the circle. It will get better with practice, it's still a very new area. We sent out a lot of cards this last week and she wrote messages in every one of them, only asking me to spell out the words as she wrote them.

We started with the "___e" endings in which the "e" makes the vowel say its name and she understood it just fine. She really is sounding out these words and it's cute to listen as she starts on a word with an "e" at the end because she'll start reading the short vowel sound and then quickly shift into the long vowel sound when she realizes that the "e" is tacked on it. I don't know why it's so interesting to watch and listen to her doing this, but it is.

Math is math. I think I'm going to stay with Saxon. Singapore moves quicker, but I'm a big fan of repetition and getting your facts down cold, and she likes doing the same thing over and over again because she enjoys showing off that she knows something so well. And really, we're in the grammar stage, so speed isn't the priority. (Is it ever?) It's a good fit, and it's nice to finally settle that debate in my head.

Cutting is going well and we added in the Easy Telling Time book this week. She has not been a big fan because it focuses on writing numbers for the first few pages and that's not something she particularly enjoys. But it looks like this next week will see us actually telling some time, so I think her enjoyment level will increase.

Rabbit
I started her on the Kumon Tracing book this week (gotta keep things fair--sister got a new book, so Rabbit needed a new book too) and she is LOVING it. I'm keeping her to two pages a day, but I imagine she'd do ten a day if I'd let her. I think it's wise to start a kid in a Kumon workbook at the middle age they suggest on the cover, if only for the sanity of the person helping them through the workbook. The Cutting book has been some real work, and we're definitely seeing progress, but it's been a far more positive experience to start in a book that she doesn't have to struggle so hard to "get."

Little Lamb
She's napped through all school sessions and been preoccupied with her breathing treatment hyperactivity, so not much learning to report upon. She has learned how to sit still through an entire breathing treatment though, which I'm very grateful for.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Future Nature Study Ideas

We were going to do a nature hike this week, but then the girls were sick so we put it off again...and my camera's been very neurotic since our trip to the sand dunes, but Michael took it to work yesterday and had one of "his men" take a look at it and clean the sand particles out of it and now it's working semi-well.

I'm thinking we'll start looking at animals. November's a great time to find migrating fowl and bustling turkey farms. Last week there was a Canadian Goose gathering at the waters by my husband's work, which would have been fun to observe from a distance. (And from a distance only...I've seen what a peeved Canadian Goose can do to both children AND adults!)

And perhaps some leaf studying as well...I was originally thinking that last week's snowstorm soggied up the batch, but we kicked and skipped our way through some beautifully crisp leaves yesterday at the library.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hopped up on 'roids

Bluebird brought home a sniffle-bug from Kindergarten last week and Little Lamb caught it. Now, as some of you may remember, Little Lamb caught RSV last winter and it has definitely messed with her lungs. What has given Bluebird a slight cough and a stuffy nose has give Little Lamb a full-blown respiratory infection and she's had to start breathing treatments to help her get through it.

Albuterol sulfate turns Little Lamb into a raging bull. She's smiling like a maniac and moving abnormally fast and will totally charge into anyone who is standing in her path. It's kind of funny, but also annoying because her favorite target is Rabbit (who is only about four pounds heavier than Little Lamb and a total pacifist). I feel like I'm about to go crazy with the continual tornado that is my baby girl and the havoc she inflicts as she sprints through the house. 'Roid Rage is not good in someone with extremely limited reasoning capabilities!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here Comes Thanksgiving!

Amidst all the headless chicken shopping we did to get ready for Halloween, I managed to purchase a magazine or two boasting photos of glorious roast turkeys and mouth-watering desserts upon their covers. I've been caught numerous times over the weekend flipping through their pages and dreaming of the sumptuous feast I aim to prepare in a few weeks hence.

I'm hoping for a big, BIG crowd at our home. Realistically, all potential guests live some distance away from us, so it may just end up being the Mr., Mrs. and offspring. I love to entertain, I love to cook and I love it when my home is filled with chatter and the smells of wonderful food together.

This year I'm going to be a little smarter about it all and test-drive new recipes before the big day.

Some potential Turkey Day candidates include:
New York Cheesecake with Glazed Cranberry topping
Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans
Turkey Breast stuffed with apricots and dates (In case of a Mr. and Mrs. dinner)
Baked Macaroni and Cheese (New version--I keep trying to find a homemade version that the girls will prefer over the blue box...every time I dump that packet of powdered cheese over the noodles, I cringe a little.)
Green Beans with Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan Breadcrumbs (Because the idea of Green Bean Casserole this year is making my stomach turn.)
Celeriac and Yukon Potato Puree (So crazy, it just might be good...)

Any new recipes that you've been eyeing? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Michael's View on Bluebird's "Coloring Skills"

When she hands him a picture she's colored/drawn for him:

"I spend more time figuring out what it is than she does in drawing it."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hyper Halloween

My dad asked for a shot of all three girls together; and sadly, this is the best shot I could get. You cannot get children to stay still very long when it's time to get candy from their neighbors.

My cute little family.

Little Lamb was supposed to be Tinkerbell, but it's so cold here that we opted for her being a piggie.

Bluebird and Rabbit thought that their glowsticks made great light sabers...Bluebird was even humming the theme to "Star Wars" as she struck. This was the best shot I could get of Rabbit's Penguin costume...I didn't get to making the hood, but I thought it was pretty cute regardless.

Michael's pumpkin creation, Mumbles from "Happy Feet." (In case you haven't noticed, we like penguins in this house.) A teenaged boy told me that our pumpkin just made him "feel all happy inside." I don't know if that was a play on words, but it made me smile.

And we have survived another Halloween. Does anyone else feel like nothing is going right for the whole 30 minutes before you get the kids out the door to get started trick-or-treating? My girls were running around the house, bouncing off of each other and screaming with glee and I was trying to wrangle them into the bathroom for hair and "make-up" and it just was not working. And then I ate some candy when they left because I was so frazzled...hee hee.

They are now tucked away safely in their beds, each clutching their still-glowing glow stick (Bluebird is trying to read with hers) and twitching from sugar overload. (Glow-in-the-dark spazzed-out kids...it's a sight to behold.) I'm covering the door as the older kids finish up with their parties and begin with their own trick-or-treating because Michael is so proud of his pumpkin that he doesn't want to bring it inside. I'm going to call this one a success.

Weekly Report: October 26-30, 2009

Where in the world did this week go? Oh, that's right, we played in the snow and got ready for Halloween. That's enough to make any week fly by!

Frustration of the week that has been mounting for many weeks: Kumon, seriously, if you're going to make a workbook that requires the pages to be removed, how about perforating the pages? The pages in your Cutting book are incredibly difficult to remove from the binding and I am not going to cut them on that skinny little margin like you suggest. (Have you tried fitting scissors to that margin? I highly doubt that you have.)

General Observations:
How much is a laminator? I'm finding that there are all sorts of things that I wish were laminated in this house.

Don't expect a 20 month old and a 3 year old to share crayons or markers peacefully. Just get them each some of their own. (And a huge thank you to Crayola for creating triangle shaped markers and crayons for little ones...no more rolling off the table!)

I love Jen over at Wildflowers and Marbles. She has some awesome ideas, two of which I'm thinking of adopting here in our homeschool as well: the Morning Basket and the idea of Fine Arts Friday. Not so much "Fine Arts" at this point, but we've already dubbed Friday as "Fun Friday," so I'm thinking about placing more emphasis on art and creativity by exploring all the different artistic mediums and stuff like that.

Percolating on the subject of Charlotte Mason's Habits.

Bluebird:
Really, her name should be "Anxiety" or "Worrywart" or something like that. With the cutting workbook, she usually does two pages per day and her little sister does one. On Tuesday, Rabbit was really enjoying cutting time and asked to do another page. Bluebird froze in mid-cut, whipped her head around and screeched, "She's going to catch up to me!" And then she started cutting furiously and begged to do four pages instead of her regular two so she could stay ahead of Rabbit.

Now don't get me wrong, I totally understand the whole older child syndrome/sibling rivalry bit (BTDT), but this behavior seems a bit excessive in a five year old. I'm left pondering as to why she cares so ardently at such a young age already. The rest of the day she sped through all her work (with all the sloppiness that such rushing will produce) in order to get further ahead of her sister. The curse came true: I did have a child exactly like myself, just as my parents threatened. I'm trying to figure out how to help her through these quirks so she won't spend so much of her life being in a state of perpetual competition and anxiety.

She's getting through the cutting workbook really quickly (shocking) and I'm enjoying starting the morning with some fun workbook pages, so I'm going to look into acquiring Kumon's Pasting book and Easy Telling Time book. (She wants a watch for Christmas, but can only tell time to the hour...)

We had Parent Teacher Conferences this week and so I went on Thursday (after having to re-schedule when my babysitter forgot that she was going to babysit the girls and went on a hayride instead...). We talked about her academic abilities for fifteen seconds, which are great; and spent a whole lot of the rest of the time discussing her coloring skills. Really, if I had known it was this big of a deal, I'd have spent some serious efforts on coloring with her as a toddler. Who knew? Argh. There's the part of me that says, "Oh my goodness, it's just coloring! She'll figure it out!" and then there's the side of me that says, "Break out the coloring books, we need to catch up!" I really believe she's just one of those kids whose muscle coordination in her hands is just a little slow in developing and I don't think it's a good idea to stress her out about it...it will come when it comes, I've yet to meet a ten year old who couldn't color. I really want to just bring her home.

Rabbit:
I'm amazed at how her scissor skills are progressing! My hands would literally start to sweat at the thought of helping her hold her paper for cutting, but now she's started telling me that she's going to do it by herself and her cuts are definitely evolving from the crazy jagged splinters into almost smooth lines. She finishes a page and then proudly declares, "And when I'm a big girl I'll get a glue stick!" (?) Alright...

Little Lamb:
Has forgotten how to stick stickers and now just brings the sheet to one of her sisters and waits patiently for them to remove some for her to use. Is crazy jealous of Bluebird and Rabbit's scissors. Enjoys her own crayons and markers immensely.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Snow!







It doesn't matter how old you get, there's just something about the first snow of the season.
We heard about its impending arrival last night and both I and the girls woke up in eager anticipation this morning...but no snow. Then, at little after 8:00, it started to rain. About ten minutes later I noticed that the rain was starting to look a little plump, and about ten minutes after that we had full-fledged snowflakes. I wanted to cancel school for the snow day, but Little Lamb takes a nap from 9-11 so going outside wasn't even an option until after lunch. We did school, taking plenty of time to run to the window to check on the snow, and then ate a hearty lunch before heading outside.

A good day. We heart snow.

This Morning...

I have two very excited girls who are taking forever to eat their pancakes because they keep running to the window to look at the falling snow. They're certain we are in the midst of a blizzard and that we'll soon have ten foot drifts of snow to make amazing snowmen. (Expected accumulation: 1-6 inches)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random Thought

If Baby #4 turns out to be a boy, I will have to change the name of the blog.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pictures in No Organized Order

Sometimes I have pictures that I really like that I don't have any particular mind to blog about and they sit on my hard drive, unshared and abandoned. Here's a few random photos that I happen to like, but have no particular stories to tell in connection to them.

Watching the "Splash Dog" competition at the Soldier Hollow Sheepdog Festival:

Rabbit flying a kite at the Spanish Fork WindFest:

Flying kites together at WindFest:

Michael on the zipline at WindFest:

I just like this picture of her...I'm inordinatey fond of the color of her shirt and so happy to have found it (it has a penguin on it). I love little girls in pigtails and she just looks like such a three year old in this picture:

St. George Temple

While we were in St. George this last week, we also visited the St. George Temple:





Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekly Report: October 19-23, 2009


We had no school whatsoever this week. (Bluebird went to Kindergarten on Thursday and Friday only.)

We spent a good deal of the week down in St. George, and then the remainder of the week unpacking and cleaning up the house. I've started teaching Bluebird how to fold clothes and she is now responsible for her own clothing in regards to folding and putting away. She struggled against it the first few times, but now she's resigned herself to her fate and follows through with minimal verbal reminders, which is awesome for a five year old. It's nice to reduce my folding load by 20%.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sand Dune Princess

Michael had some work to attend to down in St. George, so we packed up the whole family and drove on down for a few days. While we were there, we visited Snow Canyon National State Park and made our way over to the sand dune "sandbox." Little Lamb loved playing in the sand and I got some really cute shots of her!







Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekly Report: October 12-16, 2009


I know you've missed these. :)

With the return of my good health, came the return of homeschooling to our home. We had a very good week--Bluebird thoroughly enjoyed doing school, Rabbit is showing signs of school readiness and has started asking to do more school, and Little Lamb is content to color her little heart out while her sisters work on their projects. I don't feel like everything is quite organized yet, but that's to be expected...it will work itself out eventually.

General Observations:
It was a mistake to buy Bluebird the 50 pack of pencil crayons for school this year. It's simply too many color choices for one little person. In her math lessons she gets to color squares and she takes forever to complete it because it takes her 1-2 minutes per square just to decide what color to use! She's also enormously fond of teal, and tries to use it interchangeably as blue and green. I've had to outlaw teal, saying that it is neither blue nor green and that it's just simply teal. In the future, Kindergarteners in this house will get the basic eight color set of crayons.

After hearing concerns from Bluebird's Kindergarten teacher about her lack of scissor skills, I invested in the Kumon "My First Book of Cutting" workbook for her to practice. Seeing on the front cover that the book is aimed at 3-5 year olds, I also bought one for Rabbit. She's enjoying "cutting time" immensely, but is not grasping the idea so well. I think three may be too young for the cutting workbook...but then, she's loving it, so is it too terribly bad? Perhaps we'll buy another one when she's technically in Kindergarten and she can do it over.

Bluebird:
Has done gloriously well with reading. We finished up with "-ch" and "-tch" endings and are starting to move onto "-ng" endings. She repeatedly has a hard time with words ending in "-itch" and always throws an N into the word, pronouncing it "-inch." Odd. Practice will fix it.

At what age are children expected to completely color in an object and stay within the lines? She's now trying to stay in the lines instead of just scribbling in the general vicinity of whatever object she's coloring, and has no interest in completely filling whatever she's coloring. A large part of me doesn't care too terribly much because I figure it will just come to her as she gets older, but I've heard concerns from Kindergarten about this "issue." I'm thinking I'm going to leave it alone...or should I address it?

This girl is a visual learner. If she sees it, she'll most likely remember it. Auditory is practically worthless to attempt with her. Chore time was a nightmare until I made up charts and now she'll easily read down her list and complete her tasks without me having to remind her seven times about what she's supposed to be doing. (I'm the same way...seriously, this child is an exact replica of yours truly...it's really eery.) But in one of her math lessons this week, she had to answer orally what we were doing and I could tell that it was difficult for her to voice her answers. Give her a piece of paper and she'll write it, no problem. Ask her to answer you verbally and she struggles. Should I push for more verbal answers or just let her go along as we've been going along? I figure, even though she doesn't like the verbal/auditory route, it's a heavily-used method in daily life alone, so we should probably practice.

Rabbit:
She's going to cut off my fingers. But we're having a lovely time.

My philosophy in regards to early childhood education is mellowing out. With Bluebird, I was so eager to start teaching her as soon as I thought she could possibly handle it, and she did really well. But I feel like I was focusing too much on academics throughout her toddler and preschool days. Rabbit is now at the age where I was really starting to do actual school stuff with Bluebird, but it was so much work and it moved so very slow because of the young age. I'm thinking that we'll just leave academics until she's actual Kindergarten or Pre-K age...what will we lose? She'll pick it up faster then and I'm realizing more each day that it really doesn't matter how ahead of the game they get.

However, she is asking for more school. I need to figure something out to appease her request.

Little Lamb:
Turns out she can color. And stick stickers. I'm amazed by little people.

All in all, a good week. I need to think up things to do in the afternoon after rest time because they're running around the house screaming and driving me crazy. Bluebird and Rabbit have both been begging to do art and crafts, so I guess I need to come up with some ideas a few times a week. It's funny, I loved arts and crafts as a child and was so frustrated with adults who wouldn't indulge my crafting desires, and now I'm making the same half-hearted excuses to not do arts and crafts with my own children. Ugh, it's just such a big mess! But really, contained mess or hyper screaming combined with tearing the house apart? Tough decision, right?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Afterschooling

I'm feeling monstrously better now and can even get up and get ready in the morning. This has led to the re-instatement of our homeschooling endeavors, despite the fact that Bluebird still warms a seat in her afternoon Kindergarten class. I do not like having a foot in both worlds and have repeatedly asked my husband if he's OK with me pulling her out of Kindergarten come Christmas break, but he remains sympathetic to the public Kindergarten cause. (And who could blame him? I could suddenly get sick all over again, pregnancy is so annoyingly unpredictable.)

We've picked up where we've left off and it is so nice to do school with my girls again. Bluebird loves the attention and is an intense learner, so I always feel good about giving her more opportunities to learn new things. Rabbit is hastening to drop her routine of watching Playhouse Disney so that she can "be a big girl" and do school with her older sister.

There is one major thing I don't like--I think Kindergarten is teaching Bluebird to "read" using the sight word method, and since we're using the phonics method the two worlds are starting to butt heads. (If I had a nickel for every time I've heard Bluebird say, "But Kindergarten says...") We've had to step up our phonics instruction and having her read aloud to me because she was really starting to muddle things up. As of this week, I think phonics is winning again and she's able to sound out words correctly as before.

I must extend a hearty expression of gratitude for Kindergarten's emphasis on teachings kids to write, as my previous attempts had been completely in vain. She still doesn't like to write, but she'll do it because she knows she has to do it. Not exactly the best case scenario, but...well, I don't know, she's writing now and I'm relieved about it.

So technically, we're "Afterschoolers" instead of homeschoolers and I'm just going to be OK with that for now. (Although, technically TECHNICALLY, we're "Beforeschoolers.")