Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving right along

We are moving right along around here. Getting into a rhythm and while it has been difficult at times, I would say on the whole we are adjusting well. Tuesdays will be reserved here on the blog for sharing things that we have been doing or are gearing up to do.

1. Next week the kids will be presenting their inventions and filming their one minute commercials. 
  • Bradford has built a "prototype" for a plane that runs on water instead of fuel
  • Cameron is keeping his invention top secret, which leads me to believe he has no idea what he's going to invent ;)
  • Riley has changed her mind 2342 times and just can't decide which one of her creations to bring to life.
2. We are planning a small garden with some pots the previous owners left. If you know of fun little plants that we can keep alive please let me know!

3. Cameron has flipped to the back of his math book (Saxon 5/4) and showed me he can do the problems on the last lesson.  "Now what?" He asks. 

4. We are practicing for our lip sync challenge. Look for that soon!

5. Next week we are looking forward to a zoo scavenger hunt!

Oddly enough my biggest challenge when the kids were in school is still my biggest challenge in homeschool. LUNCH, ugh, why do they have to EAT errrrryday? Looking for easy, healthy, ideas. EASY being the key word here. 

Tomorrow (or later this week, I am non committal remember) I will be talking about this little reminder......

Monday, August 11, 2014

"We will be there unless we are not there....then we won't be there"

The most non committal commitment statement ever! I say it often, because that is about all I can give right now. There are 203842 variables with having kids and multiple that by the number of kids to get a true number. I can just about commit to waking up in the morning, then once I wake up, I commit to getting out of bed, then I commit to making breakfast (pouring cereal)....see where this is going? My commitments are minute to minute. It is the only thing I can guarantee. I can meal plan, lesson plan, all day but nothing is set in stone and I have to be able to morph and maneuver all the variables with ninja like skills.

When it comes to homeschooling, committing to anything beyond the day is terrifying to me. I start thinking about the days, weeks, months and YEARS that I am faced with and it isn't easy. Especially when I spent the first years of Cameron's life counting the days until he started school! We plan on homeschooling until 8th grade, that is 8 more years of homeschool.  Currently we take it day by day because that is all I can give. Each day we are making memories, learning, and working together to achieve a common goal: the next day, when we wake up and do it all over again. 

Not everyday is great, this one today was FULL of ups and downs. I hardly slept last night due to a fussy baby, so I woke up wondering how I was going to make breakfast. I didn't have to, my oldest was making everyone oatmeal when I woke up. MY OLDEST, not Riley, but CAMERON, made all the kids breakfast. School in the morning was smooth and with one lesson left after lunch I could see the homestretch. Of course that last lesson was rough due to some attitude and anger, but we made it, another minute, of another drop in the bucket of this 8 year journey. Small victories, lead to bigger ones and bigger ones lead to the end result.  

Here is a small video of Simon. He desperately wants to be upstairs with his siblings. He has been up there before and he played until he fell asleep. I imagine it was the best day of his seven months so far. He tries everyday to get up the stairs.  He can crawl to the first step and has figured out how to stand. I know what its like buddy, wanting that end result so bad, but thinking you'll never get there. You will get there, and when you do it will be a great day for you. I will cheer you on along the way and can't wait to meet you at the top. Don't worry if you fall, I will be right here, it is a long way but you can do it!

I imagine our Heavenly Father saying the same thing to all of us. He can see the stairs, every one of them and He knows the obstacles we must overcome. I imagine him saying, "you can do it, trust me, I know what is at the top and it is going to be worth every battle you fight to get there, you will fall but I will be right here. Trust me." 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

He makes all things beautiful... Our time in pictures

Today was a bit off, I am allowing myself those days. Days when speech therapist are late and it throws the timing off. I will not let them ruin our time our my attitude. We pick up and we move on with happy hearts. 

Moments to remember
Bradford working on the letter "B" 

Riley working on phonics. She always picks her BFF shirt that she made with her BFF. I will always let her. 

Pretty pencils

Colors to choose from

Little(ish) boy doing high school vocabulary. 

Every thing has a place

Find the pikachu every morning keeps the kids engaged


Beauty behind the mask

Amazing young man behind the mask

Daddy's mini me

Silly stuff is allowed....

.....And babies are too (this is old, he has two bottom teeth now!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 Things to Make (homeschool) Life Easier.....Ooops SIX

I have been homeschooling for like a second (a year technically) so I am hardly qualified to write a post claiming to have all the answers. I have however, been a Mom for roughly nine years and a good  decent one for 3(ish). So here are 10  SIX things that can be applied to just about anything to do with parenting, modified for homeschooling. This is when things are good, and by good I mean everyone is healthy! I realize this may not always be the case. 

Of course I changed it to six....10 is way too hard and I am notorious for not following through. 

1. Stay one  23412 steps ahead. 

   This is hard, but worth it. I have failed miserably at getting up before my kids, mostly because I have one that gets up before the newspaper boy. So I do my stuff the night before. I prepare outfits, if we are going to be around other humans. I plan our following school day, and make the house tidy before I go to bed. This helps me not lose my Religion in the morning trying to make up for what could have already been done

2. Meal Plan 

    Most of you probably already do this but it has changed my life and attitude towards dinner.  I HATE HATE looking at the clock at 3pm and being like "oh crap we have to eat dinner....again!" Like I forget everyday that dinner comes. I have started meal planning and it takes away that surprise element that dinner somehow brings.  We have a little meal planner and I sit down sometime on the weekend, pull up Pinterest and figure out all of our meals and then shop for them.  I start prepping during lunch or after school and it has made my life exponentially easier. 

3. Put your phone away during the day. 

   Look, I love candy crush and guess the 90's picture as much as anyone but they are major distractions for me. MAJOR. If I have my phone in my hand I am texting my friends about how insane my kids are, checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, ALLL the blogs, and probably even the news in Canada if I am bored enough. PUT IT AWAY, if you're like me, lock it in a drawer and reward yourself after school. I am the worst offender but changing this has made my homeschool life easier and smoother. 

4. Sleep

   I have completely forgotten how wonderful this is but I hear great things, so IF you can get it GRAB it!

5. Relax

   Smile, and let go of the schedule, the expectations and just chill. I know that the baby is going to cry, my toddler is going to throw a fit when he can't sit by his sister, and someone might kick their lunch plate off the table. When I am resolved to the fact that kids are just kids, then I am a much better mother. Sure I get mad and yup I even yell. BUT I also apologize and move on. This is probably THE hardest for me but I am learning to be better and I am seeing major results in my kids.

6. Create a routine for your kids
  I know I said let go of the "schedule" but I feel like "schedule" and "routine" are two different things.  I started this because I was tired telling the kids every morning to do the same thing: get dressed and make your bed. In our home we have things you do because you are a member of the family and getting dressed and making your beds are two of them!  They are not allowed downstairs for breakfast unless those two simple task are complete. They know it, I expect it. 

6 ways to make homeschool life or any life with kiddos easier, now for some daily  cuteness   survival pictures. 

Bradford talking with Elijah about hot and cold
Simon messing with my order....but he's cute so I'm cool with it .
We usually end our day with science because the kids love it!
Making a model of a cell

Friday, August 1, 2014

Why I homeschool, and why I hope it doesn't offend you

We all feel the need to explain ourselves lately don't we? I can not count how many articles I have read recently about "why I choose this" or "why you shouldn't say this to me"

Why? Why, does it matter to the world why you do what you do? I had an amazing conversation on this very subject the other night at dinner with a group of girlfriends. I learn a lot from these women, one has taught be how to simplify my world, one has taught me to really listen to people and try to understand where they are coming from and one said that the only reason people have a problem with the choices you make is because they have a problem with the choices they make. Whoa, that right there is powerful!

So that being said, I hope I can shed some light on some things that will help others understand that homeschooling has nothing to do with anyone personally, but it has everything to do with a personal decision for our family.

To the teacher: You are amazing, inspirational and I look up to you all. I don't homeschool because of you or your peers. I admire you and your peers for your ability to make a difference and touch the lives of our youth.  The most inspirational person in my life (my grandmother) was a teacher.  She was incredible. I also have many family members who chose this as their profession. If I had a career I would most likely be a teacher as well.

To the public school parent: I don't think for one second that I am better than you. In fact some days I honestly think about joining you. I admire you for being so involved and doing amazing things to support your child and their teacher for their education.

To the private school parent: I was you. I miss being around you, so many of you are my friends and selfishly my biggest fear in all of this is losing touch with you. One day things may change financially for our family and we will return. I pray this will be the case. I also pray for Holy Trinity and fully support the success of this amazing school.

There it is, why we homeschool doesn't matter, what matters to me in all of this is that the people I love don't feel like in any way this should offend them or their choices. I have AMAZING support and am so blessed for this opportunity.

Now moving on, this will be our story. I can guarantee it will be messy, I pray it will be successful and I promise to post the good with the bad and maybe even the times where I am knee deep in the weeds and am ready to throw in the towel. Something our youth minister said at mass the other day really stuck with me.  I don't remember word for word so forgive me if its not exact but he was talking about how some people might not feel qualified to help with high school students then he said "none of us are qualified, but God qualifies us." I feel like that is going to get me through the hard stuff. This is my vocation, and God will carry me through.