Friday, September 16, 2016

Historical Fiction Reading Projects

Today the kids presented life-sized characters from the books they have been reading.

Kent with Joris

Kent read The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum and made a posterboard character with cloth clothing.

Katy read A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff and made a paper doll character.
Katy with Dina
Kaomi read Pioneer Cat by William H.  Hooks and made a mask for her to become her character.

Kaomi as Kate 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Little Fun at School

     This year I have 6 students and 2 babies.  I was feeling overwhelmed by trying to teach from 3 teacher guides and keeping up with grading and making sure everyone was completing their assignments in a timely fashion.  I also have 1 student who I was feeling needed a lot more teaching with instruction and less assignments to have to read and complete on her own.  So when we restarted at the beginning of August we decided to try something a little different.
     Now I have one main teacher guide, I copied a couple assignments from another one for one of my students and I'm using a very small amount of the third teacher guide.  We've combined everyone into one class wherever possible.  I'm finding my days much easier to get through and we are all working together, so everyone's assignments are similar and easy for me to grade.
     My 3 oldest students bring their assignment notebooks to every class and I give the assignments for everyone or individual assignments as needed and they write them down.  For any assignments that I need to make sure are completed or are due at a later date I write down the assignment on a master checklist along with the "due date" and check them off when they are complete.  Having my master list helps me to know who still has to finish an assignment and helps me remember to check up on each person as needed.

   So you may be wondering how does this all fit together.  We are using a structured day with scheduled time for individual work, classes I teach, and Kindergarten.  Kent (7th), Katy (6th), and Kaomi (4th) begin their individual work at 8:30 every morning.  I write the list of individual work on a white board and the fist three to four items are what they need to make priority for this time.  It usually begins with: study dictation, science, math, and complete any previous assignments.  While they are getting started I am finishing up getting the babies fed and settled for the morning and making sure I have everything I need for the day ready (including my breakfast if I didn't get it earlier).  Often I send Felicity (Kindergarten), Clark (Kindergarten), and Quinn (preschool) to play outside in the backyard.  Sometimes they play for 20 minutes and other times for an hour.  At 9:30 we all join together for Bible (everyday) and Biblical Worldview ( 2x/week).  We complete reading and I give assignments and then the oldest three work on their assignments until 10:25.  At 10:30 I try to have some activity boxes out for the Kindergarteners and preschooler.  They have fun playing while I teach Language Arts.  Language Arts consists of dictation, grammar, writing, and reading.  Usually, we work through those items in that order.  Sometimes there is just an assignment for them to complete by the next class, and other times there is instruction time.  If anyone needs to work directly with me for one of the assignments we try to fit this in before 11:30, when I teach Kindergarten and Preschool.  From 11:30-12ish we cover math, fine motor skills, handwriting, and storytime.  Then we break for lunch.  We meet back again all together at 1:30 for history often the babies are with us during this time as well.  Felicity, Clark, and Quinn each have their own history notebook that they draw a picture that I assign them to work on while I am reading the lesson.  Today they drew Patrick Henry giving his speech :)  After history I read storytime to Kaomi, unless our lesson was a long one.  Then I teach reading to Felicity and Clark.  They each need to work with me by themselves, so I rotate who begins, since there are some days that I can't fit teaching them both in.  I try to be done with them by 3:15 and then I am available to the oldest students if they need to see me for any of the assignments they are working on.  I try to be all done being the teacher by 3:30, so I can take a short break before afternoon chores and dinner begin.

     Overall I like the way this is working for us.  The older kids don't have quite as much freedom as they've had before to just plowing through everything and finish quickly, but they are welcome to do that with their individual assignments.  We are definitely seeing where they need to work more on their own time management, but hopefully we can continue helping them learn and the skills that go along with that will grow too.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 2016 Update

     This month we celebrated the 4th of July with a family get together with Jeff's brother and their famliy at their home and and evening fireworks watched from our front yard.  The fireworks weren't as fun as sometimes, but we enjoyed spending time together.  The weekend of the 4th Jeff and I tackled a few projects around the house and got Quinn moved upstairs to the boys room before putting up some decor in the nursery and moving Kade into the crib.  Colt (our night owl) still sleeps in the living room or master bedroom, but I hope to transition him to the nursery soon.
     Then Katy and Kaomi went to VBS at our church, followed by a busy week cleaning the bedrooms.  Kent got to take a trip to New Mexico with Grammy and Jeff's sister and brother-in-law.  Then Katy and Kaomi attended Kid's Praise Camp at our church for a week and participated in three productions of "The Kingdom Connection" and they really enjoyed it.
     I've also worked on cleaning my closet and bathroom this month trying to tackle some much neglected cleaning before we start back to school.  I worked on some school plans and have redone our schedule to include most of the kids in several of the classes we have this year.  We'll see how combining grades works for us, but just looking at our tentative schedule is providing a sense of relief for this teacher/mom who was having trouble trying to fit in "everything" for three different levels.  We have plans to start back to school on August 8th, so this next week we will be trying to put any final details on getting ready for school and I am going to work on cleaning my sewing room/guest room.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Colt and Kade - 1 year old 2016

They're ONE!!

Colt and Kade

Colt (1)
Kade (1)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 2016 update

School's finished for May.

Planning for next school year is in progress and all books are ordered.  Most of them have already arrived.  We start school again in June, but I haven't decided exactly when yet.

Kids have been playing outside, digging a hole in the backyard, and making "pets" out of roly-polies.

I picked our first green beans of the season from our small garden this morning and am looking forward to serving them for dinner.  Our garden is also proficiently growing volunteer basil plants.  A few other things that we planted are growing, but several seeds didn't sprout this year, so I am hoping to make it to a garden center to get a few extra plants sometime soon.

I've enjoyed having a little extra free time and playing the piano for a short while.

The twins are growing again and Kade likes to get out and crawl or cruise around.  Colt doesn't mind staying in the play-yard, but he's only been crawling for a short time.

Even though we don't have school, the kids seem to be getting up earlier in the morning than they were before school ended, so I've been having to enforce our morning quiet time until 7:30.  Some children have a harder time being quiet than others :)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Are Your Children a Burden or a Blessing?

Earlier this year I had a short conversation with a seasoned mom who mentioned that her now grown children told her they felt like they were a burden to their mom while they were growing up.  She said she never meant to make them feel like that and admitted that she was very busy with normal life, a child with special needs, and getting a home business off the ground.  She said she probably had too much on her plate.

As I’ve pondered her words, I’ve prayed that I haven’t made my children feel like they are a burden in my life.  If I have made them feel that way I hope that when they are grown they will not remember, unless they also remember that I love them and I worked hard to make them feel like they belong to our family.

What can I do to make sure that my children don’t think they are a burden?

Note:  I started writing this post a few months ago and had plans to add scripture to help remind us that the children God has given us are a blessing from him.  If God gives a blessing, who am I to undermine him by making my children feel like they aren’t a blessing.  Since I've been busy and haven't I wanted to post these thoughts anyway.

My prayer for those of you who read this post is to ponder the idea of how you look at your own children or other family members.  Do you treat them like they are a burden or do you strive to enjoy them, no matter how busy you think you are?

Friday, March 4, 2016

March Break

This week we've had our break from school.  The kids have been enjoying the lovely weather and just having time to play and pursue their own interests.  I had a list of things I wanted to work on this week, too, but so far only 1 of the items has been cross off the list.  That item was cook bacon.  Two other items have been partially completed.

Since it can be discouraging to not get the things done I wanted to do I started making a list of all the things that I did do.  It helps a little to see the things I've done with my children on their week off of school and to know that I'm just being a mom and doing what God created me to do.  Taking the week off of school means I don't have to teach, but my children still need me and my wishes aren't necessarily something that gets to take first place.  Putting aside my selfish desires is hard.

Here's the list of just a few of the things I've done this week:
-went to the library
-went to the playground
-baked cookies with a few of my children
-helped paint shape and race cars (3 days)
-built Lego's with Quinn and Clark
-cleaned part of my desk
-took care of some of the mail pile (4 days)
-read stories to littles
-ate chocolate
-enjoyed dandelions
-stayed up late playing peek-a-boo with the twins, because baby laughter is so much fun
-walked to the end of the street and back (4 days)
-played outside x2
-listened to Clark and Quinn signing songs while they were coloring
-made hot chocolate
-got school plans ready for preschool and kindergarten next week
-worked a Sudoku or two every morning while drinking my coffee
-watched a movie with the kids

I'm not ready to start back to school on Monday, but I still have the weekend to hopefully finish getting school plans ready.

Monday, February 15, 2016


I just want to curl up in a corner and cry rather than muddle through whatever we are supposed to be doing.  Instead I pray, let the babies scream, wash the dishes, and clean the kids closets (they are helping), while wishing I was brave enough to take eight kids to the grocery store.  We are really supposed to be working on school, but I wasn't prepared so they are having life lessons instead.  Maybe I'll be ready to start school tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Clark's REALLY Good Memory!!

Wow! Clark must have a really good memory. 

Today for snack I served him a heart shaped cake.  He proceeded to tell me that he remembers that I (Mommy) ate these when he was a baby in my tummy.  I don't remember eating these then, but who knows :)

He was very excited to have one of these for snack because he said he had never tried one of these before.

(The photo-bombers were completely not planned, I had a picture without them, but thought this one was more interesting.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

De-cluttering in 2016

Last year I participated in a 34 week home de-clutting/cleaning.  The weekly challenges were just what we needed to make some great progress around the house.  I wasn't able to finish the challenges, but knew decluttering is a process that needs to be done regularly.  This year I am going to attempt joining a 91 Day Declutter Challenge.  While I don't plan to blog about it each week I am looking forward to seeing how much I am able to tackle just by doing a little bit everyday.  I'd encourage you to tackle the clutter in your home and free up some space that you've been finding annoying.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year! -2016

A new year, with new things to do.  So far my calendar for the year is pretty empty and I'm happy to keep it that way.  I like to stay home and do stuff with my family.  Trying to get out for outside activities can be quite overwhelming by the time we've managed to gather everything we need and get buckled into seat belts.  I'm hoping for another fun year.

Here's a funny story from December.

Two of the kids had dentist appointments one morning at 10:00.  I worked really hard despite several things that wanted to attempt delaying us and managed to get out the door and we pulled into the parking lot two minutes before ten.  Everyone lined up next to the van as I got the twins into their stroller.  We bustled into the busy dentist office and I started to sign the kids in when the receptionist said, your appointment is at 1:00 this afternoon.  Talk about being frustrated, but I smiled said something about practicing a trial run and we loaded back into the van and went home where I fixed my breakfast and then hurridly got lunch on the table for the children so that we could be back at the dentist by 1:00.  We made it on time to the 1:00 appointment, and the receptionist jokingly asked if we could move our appointment to 3:00.  I laughed, but am so glad she was joking, because if she wasn't I probably would have gone home and cried.