Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homeschool Gems

These are some simple but heart-warming gems from my kids.

The Bear (6) said, "I'm going to make this snake attack more menacing!" as she was playing with Squeaker's new stuffed animal.

Buddy (5) said, "There's 9 people in the theater. I counted them!" And, "Can I make another book?" This from the boy who wouldn't sit still to read ONE PAGE in an early reader or a few math problems!

Squeaker (3) said, "That's a stop sign. STOP!" And, "Will you hold my hand?" Melt.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dealing with Miscarriage: PART 4

6 Things People Don't Know About Miscarriage

(This is all from my own experience, your experience may be totally different.)

1) It is isolating. Other people don't want you to keep bringing it up, so you don't. But it's the only thing you think about for a long time. It's the only thing you want to talk about, even though no one else wants to hear it any more. Other people don't understand that it lingers.

2) You go through labor. In order for you body to expel its contents, your uterus goes through contractions that get increasingly worse. You bleed heavier, pass clots and finally pass a larger mass, and then the bleeding slows down over the next few days. My very first miscarriage was extremely painful. The second was just REALLY BLOODY. The 3rd was uncomfortable but manageable with ibuprofen. The 4th just felt like regular menstrual cramps.

3) You were connected. A positive pregnancy test TOTALLY changes your life. Whether it was just 5 weeks or 13 weeks, you've spent time day-dreaming about your new baby. You've looked up your due-date and thought about what other life events are happening around then, what trips you might have to cancel because you won't be able to fly, or how you will rearrange your house to accommodate new baby things.

4) It's all valid. No matter what kind of emotional rollercoaster you get on during this journey, it's all valid. Other people may want you to "snap out of it," but your anger, frustration, depression, guilt, relief, exhaustion, happiness or confusion is valid. All these emotions are yours and you're allowed to feel them for as long as you feel them. You may be able to move on quickly. It may take months. Weeks after #2 I showed up at an exercise class...and burst into tears. Months after #1 I was still angry at other new moms and their babies. Don't ignore how you feel. Try to process your feelings by talking with a trusted friend or your spouse, writing them in a journal or talking with a grief counselor.

5) The statistics don't matter. People will try to tell you the statistics, that half of all women will have a miscarriage or blah, blah, blah. Knowing the statistics doesn't matter, it doesn't make it easier to have lost your baby. What does make it easier? I always appreciated hugs and visits from friends.

6) "Staying Busy" doesn't help. I was always really busy. With #1 I was half way through my elementary education program; I was taking 16 credit hours and doing student teaching in a month. With all the rest I've had 3 young kids that I homeschool. But being busy just takes your mind off your problems. It doesn't help you process your emotions. You need to sit down and think about how you feel and why you feel that way. When you're ready you need to start sifting through your emotions rather than letting them pop up in public situations.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 of this series)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Carnival of Homeschoolers: September

The new carnival of homeschoolers is up. You can find it HERE! Unfortunately, my link is under my old name (Mama Laws), but the link will still take you to my current blog. Happy reading!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Interest-Based Learning: Week 5 Wrap-up

We had, yet again, a week where we seemed to follow no schedule. This occurred for several reasons, mainly my parents visited and I went through a miscarriage...yes a miscarriage, you can read about that here. Here are the things we were able to accomplish.

Field trips to the beach, avenue of the giants and the zoo with grandparents:

On-site classes and extra-curricular activities:

And the last two days of this week we spent a lot of time enjoying our hobbies. The Bear spent several hours doing math on prodigygame.com and working on a quilt for her cousin in Washington. It is really fun to share the love of sewing with her. She is very motivated and doing a great job working the machine and iron on her own.

Squeaker has been sick, so we've snuggled a lot. And Buddy started drawing awesome pictures of insects (all summer long he's been capturing and releasing insects and arachnids). He really dove into this project and started copying down the name and definition of the insects he was drawing from a bug book we own.

I love having the freedom to let the kids work on the things that interest them. It's been hard for me to step back and say "yes" when the kids ask to do certain things...like get out the sewing machine/anything that will take time or make a mess. But I'm trying really hard to help them do what they want so they LOVE doing their work of learning.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dealing with Miscarriage: PART 3

WARNING: this series may contain graphic material pertaining to my experience in miscarriage.

(Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4 of this series)
One year after my IUD was placed, it became dislodged. I removed it. The desire to have more kids began to grow. It took about 3 months for me to finally get pregnant, I found out Christmas week. After my previous pregnancy, I was very nervous it would be another molar pregnancy (even though the odds of having 2 is EXTREMELY RARE).

I had two scans. At the first one I was told my dates must be off because the fetus was too small. I immediately started freaking out. I bled on and off for the next two weeks as I waited for my next scan.

Snuggling with my nephew!
At this scan I was told nothing had changed inside my womb and that it was considered a blighted ovum, where no baby was growing, only the placenta. I chose to wait out the miscarriage. It took about 2 more weeks for everything to pass. I miscarried this year on Valentine's Day, just a few hours before we held a party for the Bear. It was one of the most miserable days ever. I plastered on a smile, took a bunch of Advil and sat as much as possible during that 2 hours.

I was miserable and thought that I really never would have any more children. I didn't think I could stand the debilitating emotions that accompanied pregnancy and the loss of pregnancy. I felt defeated and deflated and very sad.

Luckily, I have a fabulous friend who gave me amazing comfort and advice during this time. Even though I felt very depressed I continued to drag myself to playgroup and other activities with my friends. It took a couple months, but I finally stopped feeling depressed...but even more baby hungry than before. The mistake I made was cutting myself off from my dear friend who was pregnant at the time. I, once again, was depressed and didn't want to make her feel bad because she was pregnant and I wasn't.

Jump ahead another 7 months: We had planned on waiting until Christmas but were surprised when we found out I was pregnant a week ago! I was so excited that I immediately got on Amazon and found this shirt to be my Halloween costume! I sent it to my husband so it doubled as my announcement to him as well. I was so giddy and happy that I didn't think anything could go wrong. And then I started bleeding. I was incredulous, how could this be happening again!

I've been quite sad this week. But writing down my experiences has been really helpful. I'm glad that my kids didn't know. I told the Bear and Buddy about being pregnant during my second miscarriage experience. They were really upset when I told them that the baby was gone and that made the whole experience so much harder for me.

Dealing with a miscarriage is very complicated emotionally. On one hand, you feel like you should be able to just move on. People treat you like it's not that big of a deal, especially if you're in your first trimester or already have kids. And while you think you should just be able to move on, it's not that easy. I hope my friends don't think I'm that downer friend that they try to avoid, but more importantly I hope some women find these posts helpful in some way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dealing with Miscarriage: PART 2

WARNING: this may contain graphic information pertaining to my experiences with miscarriage.

(Part 1 of this series)
Fast forward 6 years: I have 3 great kids. The youngest is about to turn 1 and I just found out I'm pregnant again. This wasn't planned and I wasn't ready. I totally freaked out!
The day I found out I was pregnant

After a few days of being distraught by my unexpected news I realized something. I realized I was growing another little baby and this baby needed to know that I loved it. So I started working on my attitude. I ordered a maternity swim suit and a couple new maternity tops to help me get excited about being pregnant again!

I just started feeling good about it all, when I went to my first doctor's appointment. This was a new doctor to me but he was very talkative and friendly...until he started the scan. As soon as that picture popped up he clammed up so fast!

Obviously, this wasn't my first rodeo either; I could tell that what we were looking at did not look right. There wasn't that funny little black and white gummy bear on the screen. I said, "That isn't right is it. What's wrong?" Of course he didn't want to give me bad information or make me worried so he back-peddled out the door and gave me a referral to the hospital.

I sobbed as I walked down that long corridor all alone. I sobbed as I sat in that waiting room full of strangers eyes on me. I didn't even care. Let them all stare at me, I knew what news I was about to get. After I'd spent the last weeks working so hard to be happy it was all being ripped out of my hands again.

It took weeks to get the news. Then weeks to finally schedule the procedure...because it was summer and the doctors were all out of town. I spent weeks knowing that I had a molar pregnancy...potentially cancerous cells growing in my womb. And then the bleeding started. I was 13 weeks along and my D&C wasn't scheduled for another 3 days.

My kids during the week I found out I was miscarrying, they didn't know I was losing it yet.

I passed huge clots and the bleeding was super intense. My nurse friend told me to get to the hospital and that she would take my kids to church and take care of them while we were away. We brought our little children (1, 3 and 4) in their little footie pajamas to her house. I couldn't even get out of the car to walk them in because I was bleeding so heavily.

When we walked into the ER they had to check how heavily I was bleeding (as though I didn't know what heavy bleeding was. By this time my pants had been soaked nearly to the knee.)  I remember the doctor's response. He sounded surprised at the amount of blood. What does it mean when an ER doctor is surprised at the amount of blood he sees?

I was convinced after this ordeal that I wouldn't have any more children. I got an IUD so I could stop having all the emotions connected with pregnancy. I didn't want to be the downer friend any more. I wanted to just be happy again. And I don't know if it was really the IUD or the fact that we moved twice within 6 months...to different states...but I was an emotional wreck for the entire year I had the IUD.

(Continue reading Part 3 and Part 4)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dealing with Miscarriage: PART 1

WARNING: This series of posts may be considered graphic and contain adult content pertaining to my experiences with miscarriage.

"But you have three beautiful, healthy kids!" they always remind me. And it's true I do. But that doesn't alleviate the pain and sense of loss for the future I had already started to create for my new baby.

It's happened 4 times now. I have officially had more miscarriages than full-term births.

When I read about other moms I couldn't understand why they would keep trying. Why after going through this horrifying emotional roller coaster would you volunteer to try again? WHY?

Why? Because I love my kids. Yes, they're frustrating and we have bad days. But they bring me the most joy I've ever felt. I work hard with and for my kids every day and it's the most satisfying job I've ever had. And if there is a possibility to add more joy to our home then I want to. It's not selfish. And though some people may think it's insane to volunteer for more work (and yes frustration) I would love to add another child to our happy family.

My first miscarriage was by far the worst. It was also my very first pregnancy. I was happily married, young and getting close to finishing college. I was about 9 weeks along when I went in for an internal scan and the baby was only about 6 weeks along, no heart beat, and I had been spotting for a day or so. It was a horrifying ordeal. I felt like I'd been sucked into a void.
This is me back in 2007 with my hubby, hoping to be pregnant

All the plans for the next few months of my life had just evaporated. There no longer was a need to figure out where to put a crib or where I was going to get a crib. It was all gone. And then the bleeding got heavier and (although I didn't realize what was happening to my body at the time) I went into labor and had to flush my little baby down the toilet.

I had never been so devastated. How can you just flush it all away? I screamed and cried. And part of my happy-go-lucky nature died that day.

I spent months being obsessed with babies. I had a horrible time going to church because everyone either was adopting or announcing their pregnancy or bringing home their newborns. Everywhere I looked was a reminder of what I had lost and what I was afraid I would never get. "You're so young. You have plenty of time to have babies. It's going to be OK."

(Continue reading Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4)

Monday, September 21, 2015

For New Moms: Extracurricular and Homeschooling--What to do With Siblings

All three of my kids are currently in different activities. None of them are in the same classes, which means I do a fair bit of running around AND 2 kids are always sitting through one of their siblings class.

Buddy and Squeaker coloring away during the Bear's tumbling class.

This is what I do to manage siblings during extra-curricular activities:


1. Have a plan: if you have a plan for how things are going to go you will be less stressed out. Figure out how long it takes you to get to the activity so you can leave in plenty enough time. If you don't leave on time, you'll get frustrated with all your kids and that's not going to make it any easier to keep it cool once you get to the class. Keep calm and plan on!

 2. Activities: what are your kids going to do while they wait for brother or sister? Is there a playground nearby or a corner with books and toys? For Squeaker I usually bring a coloring book and a box of crayons or let her play Starfall games on my phone. Buddy and the Bear usually bring along math or a library book.

 3. Food: every mom knows that when kids get bored they are either going to get crazy fussy or mysteriously hungry (Seriously? We ate 30 minutes ago!). When are your kids going to eat? Is there time before, in the car or after class? If you have a plan then you can quell all the begging for food. You should also prepare your kids for their food schedule. I tell mine what the plan is so I don't have to listen to the incessant questions about their next meal; they already know that after gymnastics we eat a snack or that between on-site classes and martial arts it is time to eat in the car.

The Bear and Buddy doing school work during Squeaker's gymnastics class.

4. Take a Deep Breath: honestly, you're going to have days where you think you must be crazy: your kids are wild, you have no patience and you feel like exploding. Take a deep breath. You are all going to survive the next hour! And don't let older moms (your neighbor, that grouchy old man, etc.) who have forgotten how hard it is to have littles make you feel bad. You're a great mom trying to give her kids great experiences who is just having a rough day.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sticking to a Schedule: Week 4 Wrap-Up

Last week was a bit of a bust as far as a "normal" routine. I felt like a crazy lady trying to keep up with all my kids' activities and zero math was done.

This week was very "normal" because we didn't have any random trips out of town and stuck with our schedule. This may be because I took preventative action on Sunday to ensure a "successful" week.

I wrote down all the times we had appointments and classes first. Then I looked at our Italian unit and figured out what activities we still needed to finish and added them in throughout the week. Then I added in some Life of Fred and writing activities. I tossed in a couple reminders (to remember to go to the grocery store while big kids were in a class and to bring money for the Italian teacher). And finally I figured out our main meal plan and added that in there! If for some reason we didn't do an activity on the day it was planned we did it the next day.

We still had lots of free time to play with legos and stuffies. And now that I stopped drilling Will in math and writing he has really blossomed. He voluntarily makes up little addition songs, creates mini books about math and practices writing his name. It's been a GREAT WEEK!

It also poured buckets in the morning this week. My kids had so much fun exploring in the rain and mud. It's been so dry all summer that they forgot that water turns dirt black, they were amazed by this transformation. Squeaker (3) also had a blast watching the effect of transferring her wet hand-prints onto dry concrete.

My parents are coming into town this weekend, so our schedule may be a bit wonky this next week as far as getting much "schooling" done at home. But that's the benefit of homeschooling! We get to enjoy life's events rather than miss them!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Get Social Media Icons on Your Blog: for Beginners

I know this isn't my usual topic of conversation here at Homeschooling Housewife. But I was so excited about figuring out how to put my nifty social media buttons on my website that I figured I should share it! If you're looking for great homeschooling reading check out my side column for my most popular posts!

I found several great tutorials on how to go about getting social media icons onto my blog, and I wouldn't have been able to figure it out without them...but for some reason all the icons wouldn't work using their methods, so I had to figure my own way to do it! And trust me, I am not very tech-savvy...I'm one of those "a year after everyone else is sick of this new tech-ware I'm finally starting to use it" kind of people.

Here are my step-by-step instructions to getting social media icons on your blog!

  •  Get Icons: look here or here to find the icons (the image of the social media network you want your readers to see) that fit your blog. This is going to take a while to find the perfect icon, be patient...it's worth it! 
    • Once you've found icons that you'd like to place on your blog, download them, crop them if necessary and save individual files of each icon you plan on using.
      • I made a brand new file on my desktop so I could easily find them again
  •  Upload Icons: now you need to get your icons into your photobucket account. I had no idea what photobucket was before I did this...take a deep breath, it's gonna be ok! All you have to do is sign in for your free account using your existing facebook ID or start a new account through them. 
    • once you're into your photobucket account hit the UPLOAD button (which will take you to a new page) and drag your saved icons to your "bucket." 
  •  Get HTML code: it does not matter if you have no idea what that is, all this step includes is clicking on the correct link--you CAN do this! 
    • 1-click on any of you icons, this will take you to a singular view of that icon.
    • 2-on the right side of the page you should see a list of options under a title that says "SHARE THIS PHOTO." That list includes: "Email and IM," "Direct," "HTML," and "IMG." Do you see it?
    • 3-click on the link next to "HTML." You only have to click it once. By doing so it will copy that link for you!
  • Open HTML widget on Blogger: On the dashboard of your blog there is a list of ways to view your blog on the left side of the page. Near the bottom of that list is "Layout," click it. Here you will see the rough outline of how your blog is "Laid Out." In one of your side columns hit the "Add a Gadget" button, this will bring up a list of gadgets you can add to your blog. Click on the gadget for HTML/Java Script (probably the second one on the list), this will open a new window that says, "Configure HTML/Java Script."
  •  Paste icon link into HTML window: In that new window that just popped up you're gonna paste the icon link from photobucket in the square titled "content". You can either right click your mouse and select "paste" or you can hold down the "CTRL" button and then hit the letter "v." Your code should immediately pop up in that window.
  •  Highlight icon: you should still be in the "Configure HTML/Java Script" window. In the "Content" header bar (above the square where you pasted your icon HTML code) on the right side of the bar there are the words "Rich Text." Click on that. Now you should see the social media icon in that same box you pasted the HTML code! *MAGIC! You need to double click on this icon until it gets highlighted, not just the box around it but the transparent blue color over the entire icon. YOU'RE DOING GREAT AND YOU'RE ALMOST DONE!
  •  Link icon to your social media page: now you need to make a link between the icon and the social media page you want it to take your readers to. 
    • Open a new tab or window in your internet browser and sign yourself into your social media account. Navigate to the home page of your account and highlight the URL (the http://wwww.facebook or pinterest/yourname that is at the very top of your web page). Now copy the URL by right clicking and selecting "copy" or holding "CTRL" and hitting the letter "c."
    • Once you've copied the URL click back to your open window for blogger that has your highlighted icon. Find the button that looks like the earth with a little chain above it and click it.
    •  This will bring up another window that says "Enter a URL" with a long rectangular box in which to do so. Paste your social media page's address into this box and press the "OK" button.
    •  You will once again see your "Configure HTML/Java Script" window. Hit the orange "Save" button at the bottom of this window. The window will close and take you back to the"Layout" page of your dashboard. Hit the orange "Save the Arrangement" button at the top-right of the screen.
  •  Check the connection: Hit the "View Blog" button to view your live blog page. You should now see your awesome social media icon! Click on your icon. It should redirect you to your social media site!
  • Repeat: if you want more than one social media icon you need to open up the widget you just finished. You can do this by clicking the fix it button that looks like 2 crossed hammers at the corner of the widget. Make sure that you're in the Edit HTML setting (you'll see the HTML code for your photobucket if you're on the right screen) and paste the other icons you want to see on your blog. Then switch over to the "Rich Text" view and link up the new icons with your other social media sites!
 I really hope this helps you! It's so fun to have all your social media linked up and for your readers to be able to follow you on pinterest, instagram or whatever you love to use! Good luck!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unit study: Italy

 Over the last two weeks we spent about an hour a day talking about Italy. (We chose Italy because the Bear recently started taking Italian lessons.) Here is a rough outline of what we did each day...that ended up turning into 2+ weeks instead of 7 days.

Working on maps of Italy
  We started out just discussing Italy, looking at the geography and locating its volcanoes (my kids are a little obsessed with volcanoes). We watched a couple National Geographic videos about Mt. Etna and discussed everything we could remember about Pompeii and Vesuvius.

These are the books we started with to get an idea of what Italy is all about. My kids did NOT want me to stop reading the "See You Later Gladiator" book. I probably could have read it all in one sitting because they were so enthralled by the action and characters. (It's also only about 10 chapters long.)

 I also absolutely love this social studies workbook and we use it whenever discussing a country. It has great basic facts for kids about different countries and good suggestions for activities and food to try...like recipes for crostini and gelato. We also made panzanella, biscotti, risotto, muffaletta and identified 11 different types of pasta: spaghetti, vermicelli, linguini, tortellini, rotini, farfalle, penne, fusilli, rigatoni, radiatori, ruote. My favorite food event was when we were eating frittata and the kids wanted to know how to say "eggs" in Italian (uova). Then they wanted to know how to say, "Eggs are yummy" in Italian (uova sono gustosissimo).

Reinforced Pisa
We learned about the Leaning Tower of Pisa through this video and the first 10 minutes of this video on YouTube. We discussed the problem with the tower, the foolish man who built his house upon the sand, and what we need to build strong foundations. Then we built our own towers with marshmallows and toothpicks.

Library books on Michelangelo
After we spent about 2 days doing a broad over-view of Italy and learning about major land marks we started learning about major artists from Italy. We found awesome books from the library that helped a lot. We also watched this video of Michelangelo and this one of Leonardo. I did my best to point out composition, color, and form in the different pieces of art. We also compared and contrasted their lives (like neither considered themselves painters: Leonardo was a scientist who studied it through art and Michelangelo was a sculptor being forced to paint by the Pope).
Neptune with trident

We listened to Vivaldi and Puccini as famous examples of Italian composers. And we listened to Holst's "Planets" as we drew (or built out of legos) the Roman Gods. We also read some Italian fairy tales.

A victorious Mars

Overall it was a fun experience and it helped to focus our discussions and learn new tid-bits of information. If you need more ideas or specific links, check out my pinterest account where I have an entire Italy board.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Background!

Hopefully my new background didn't make you think you showed up at the wrong blog! I really wanted to incorporate some of my kid's real artwork and finally figured out how to do that and make it look good too. This was a watercolor painting by the Bear.

Homeschooling is Not a Competition

While reading this article about reading readiness, it hit me! I have felt like a successful homeschooling mom because the Bear (6 years old) is a precocious learner. Although I have provided the materials for her to learn the 3R's, I've also been taking credit for her natural propensity for book learning. "Look everyone! You can't judge me for homeschooling because my child knows how to read!"

I'm not successful because she's "advanced" for her age...I'm successful because I'm doing my best to provide her with the things she needs to thrive.

The same goes for Buddy. I think I've been so worried about being a failure because he isn't "advanced" in the 3R's for his age. I've been thinking that maybe I haven't spent as much time with him or given him what he needs to be like Ruth. But that isn't the case at all. I am being just as successful with him as with her, because I'm giving him what he needs to thrive...space.

I'm no longer pushing him to sit and sound things out or drill him in math facts. I'm letting him play with numbers and make his own name tags and experiment with scissors and paper. And I know that when the time is right he'll figure out how to read, just like Ruth did.

Everyone knows babies have a large range of when they begin to walk and talk. So why do we allow public schools to tell us all children should be reading at age 6 when some children aren't developmentally ready yet? In my case it was fear. I was worried I wasn't doing it right and didn't have faith in the learning process.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Teaching My Kids: the hardest part of my homeschool year

"The hardest part of homeschooling is TEACHING MY KIDS." This sounds like a ridiculous thing to say...isn't that what homeschool is?

Well guess what, IT'S TRUE! It's not that my kids are difficult or challenged in any way. For me it's that they are wonderfully individual. And because of that I can't just use the same curriculum.
I already have to wade through all the curriculum and options for the Bear to find what fits her needs and wants as a little learner. And instead of being able just duplicate that the next year for Buddy I have to start over completely! Which shouldn't be surprising, they're DIFFERENT PEOPLE with different learning styles, talents and interests.

It's like when they were babies. I thought because Buddy was baby #2 that I'd have everything figured out already...and then he got bruised gums from teething. It was the most horrifying thing I'd ever seen: big purple lumps where those dang teeth had been moving up and down for 2 weeks. But I digress...

In the introduction to "Better Than School," John Holt wrote, "It is tempting to think that most children have rather more orthodox ways of exploring and making sense of the world. But it is not so; all children move into the world in personal and idiosyncratic ways, and no two do it alike."

Although its not easy figuring out what is best for each of my kids, I feel more dedicated to this idea. I truly struggled to figure out what would be best for my little guy. I spent several hours before we began our official school year selecting curriculum...and then when I realized he hated it I didn't know what to do! It took me over a week of constant fretting to figure out I needed to let him play school games instead of trying to drill him! (The Bear loves to sit with workbooks and I just assumed Buddy would like them too.) If you'd like to read more about this "epiphany" you can do that HERE, HERE, and HERE.

My promise to my children, and to myself, is this: I will do my best to revel in all of our differences. We are all gloriously unique and I am going to look for each of our strengths so that we can better emphasize them in our learning.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Changing Homeschooling Plans/When Life Happens: Week 3 Wrap-Up

So I made all these changes to how homeschooling is going to work for us (which you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE)...how did the first week go?
Well, Monday and Tuesday we went out of town! We took advantage of not needing to be back in school on Tuesday and spent the day at a music store, swimming at the lake and eating out! It was glorious to revel in the freedom of our schedule!

Wednesday we spent the morning catching up on some of our Italian unit (which I will explain in a post coming up). The kids were so excited to get back to work after our break that it almost made me wish we had stayed in town! Wednesday we also had some on-site classes and gymnastics for the girls. While the big kids were at their classes, Squeaker and I put on joy-school with our friends.

Thursday, I felt totally burned out after attending our play-group, drive-thru lunch, Italian lessons and speech class. I also started to feel really stressed that we hadn't done anything but read a few books in the morning because I slept in...so we went to a park near our house. And then I remembered that I had to return our library books still! Ugh.

Luckily, my husband got home early and sent me off while he watched the kids and helped them do their chores. I happily went to the library and then down-town. I ate a chocolate filled croissant then spent an hour and a half in a used book store.

Friday I have a sewing group that I go to while the Bear and Buddy are at on-site classes (History through art, choir and group dance). Then, they requested a trip to the beach...and because we've had a totally off-kilter week that's what we are going to do! Our Italian unit will have to wait until next week. I was really beating myself up about that earlier today, but my little outing really cleared my head. We didn't spend any time doing math workbooks this week, but that's ok! Life happens and my kids aren't any the worse for it. Next week we'll pick back up on our book learning and start Life of Fred: Apples!

So, how did I do in my first week of our new routine? Well, I was feeling like a failure because I had certain ideas about what our routine would be, about our structured "school time," and what we would accomplish in the week. Those things DID NOT HAPPEN. But, we had a great week together, still had some great conversations, discovered a new park and I got some mommy time. So all-in-all, I'd say it was still a good week even though my pre-determined goals were not achieved.

Don't forget to check out the Weekly Wrap-up HERE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Using TV to Teach

We do not watch much television in our home (basically none during the week and almost a free for all on Saturday). That being said, TV has actually spawned some AMAZING CONVERSATIONS with our kids. We like to sit all together and talk about our shows while we're watching and after we've watched it for days! This gives the kids a chance to process all the information they are getting.

Usually the kids ask about how realistic the TV show is, since most of our entertainment is fictional (although we also LOVE to watch nature documentaries on Sundays). So, here are a few examples of shows we have watched and how they spawned educational conversations.

Dr. Who: lead to a conversation about clocks and how mechanical things work. We checked out books from the library and learned about how cogs work.

Young Justice: we talked about sharp shooting, family history (hubby has a great grandpa who was an AMAZING shot from horseback), and watched videos of real people shooting with bow and arrow as well as with guns.

Tremors: guessed and then defined the word tremor. Then predicted what the movie may be about based on that word.

Again, this is similar to taking time at the grocery store to MAKE that experience an educational opportunity. If you sit with your kids and talk about the media you're consuming, even if it is the silliest thing (like superheroes), it can be educational! Happy Homeschooling!