Sunday, February 27, 2011

l.i.f.e. ACADEMY

Weather Study in One Hour?

We made bird feeders by smearing peanut butter on a pinecone, then rolled it in bird seed. Katie was hanging Andrews' pinecone when it began to snow...

15 minutes later, Nick fills the birdhouse with bird seed... usually the friendly backyard squirrel eats most of the seeds. =)
An additional 15 min. later, the ground is lightly dusted with snow...

Yes, add 15 more minutes and the sun was brightly shining...

We have been waiting patiently on weather predicaments for our meteorology study... let's just say we have not had many hand-on lab work. clouds, wind, rain, snow... time to move on...


Rocketry... this month shall be full of explosive fun! woot! woot!
We needed some pep to our motivation; this shall be the right antedote. =)

Bible- The book of Luke... we are reading, praying, and preparing for Lent.

History- The Constitution... ok, we got sidetracked with some American Revolution, specifically some of the many battles of the day... so we have not got past the Preamble of the Constitution. *sigh* My schedule may be off course a bit, but we are always learning. Onward to Article I, II, III, IV.

Economics- (Nick)- He has read his required reading assignments, so current events is a weekly assignment. I must say, with all the hub-bub in Wisconsin, it gave us a great discussion on economics. (I can be opinionated on policitical rhetoric, so we just won't go there, eh?)

Literature- same as last month, because we are *still* waiting for availability at the library!
Nick- Johnny Tremain
TJ- Valley Forge
Katie- Winter of the Red Snow (Dear America series).

English- punctuation study - end marks, quotations, colons, semi-colons, apostrophe, commas, hyphen, & underlining.

Fine Arts-
composer- Antonin Dvorak
w/ Slovonic Dance no. 7
artist- Claude Monet
w/ Tulips Fields with Rijnsburg Windmill
poet- Sylvia Plath
w/ Tulips- interesting enough, although about tulips, is more about her hospital stay after having her appendix out- a fun fact for us since our 2 oldest boys have had theirs out. =) (gotta keep those boys interested ya know? ;^)

French- we are incorporating daily usage into our days, even the littles are catching on.
Our formal studies will include things we have, things we do, and a fluent discussion on money.

Kindergarten- Andrews basic 3 R's lesson plan is working out well. I have discovered that since this approach is direct and to the point, he is more willing to add some fun. I am laying out learning trays (Montessori style) on fridays. Andrew does them, Bryson loves it too!

TOT school- letter study of the week for Nn, Oo, Pp, & Qq. Will post last month activities in a later post...

On a side note... is anyone else ready for spring?

color, sun, fresh air = a bright new outlook don't ya think??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is true beauty?

I had an interesting conversation with a wonderful friend. She is one of my bestest friends, and I think she is beautiful. The more I know about her, and how she handles the tough stuff in her life, the more beauty I see. This friend has two daughters whom I adore. Remember that I only have one daughter? This daughter of mine is so much different to raise than all.our.boys! Our conversation led us to a "tween" topic. A parenting book on tween girls recommended (advised?) that tween girls need to go shopping. Mom's like me, whom don't care for shopping, should learn to like it. Shopping makes tween girls feel pretty.

Now this is where it gets touchy.

If you like to shop, so be it. If you like to shop... a lot... that is your business, your thing, your money. If you like the hip cool newest fads, for yourself, or your daughters... there is nothing wrong with that. My friend is very wise and clever with her money, and they dress very stylish, and carry it with class.

It just isn't MY thing.

I like nice. I like practical. I really enjoy an outfit w/ fun accessories that match. I even think dresses would be fun if I wasn't so round. =)

My hard question is...
Does our apparel make our beauty?
Does our size define our beauty?
Does our hairstyle/make-up/nails create our beauty?

What makes you feel beautiful?

I spent many years with an eating disorder. The more perfect I strived to be, the uglier I felt. My younger years were full of fun hip clothes, fabulous hair, a small size, and a big flirty smile... yep, them were the days...
The days of shallowness, emptiness, being at a loss.

The more I played around with my image, the less I knew who I really was. I was searching for an outer validation to an inner void.

I still don't feel pretty, but a few things (despite my appearances) makes me feel beautiful...

*when my littles love snuggling up to me & find comfort in my extra padding.
*prayer walking~ a good brisk walk while praying, ahhh, fresh air & mental clarity.
*when I am just being me on an average day and dh stops abruptly to glance at me and says "do you know how beautiful you are?"
*reaching out & listening~ when the Holy Spirit leads you to talk to someone, and you do, and you find out they really needed someone to know they mattered.

So I tell my 9 yr old dear daughter that regardless of the clothes she wears, and the fashion she likes, and the girly things we will do together... she is and always will be beautiful. There are always things about us that are not good enough in the world's opinion, and I share the importance of letting God's love define who we are...



inner beauty reflects
what we do
and who we are,
right where we are!

Friends, you are beautiful!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Family Ramblings...

Bryson is a big boy now. No more diapers! This would be the first time in 22 yrs without diapers being in our daily routine... seems as if we would get one young child out of diapers, another child would be on its way... well, not any more.
*sigh* Yes, we are done. I love those baby days! but I also love those preschool years, middle years, teen years, and yes, those adult years... all the different seasons of parenting are a gift in themselves... I love being a mom!

"The Move" saga continues....
for my newer readers, our family was from small town nowhere, and due to a company expansion, moved into big city somewhere. This journey began almost 2 years ago. Our "house belongings" are still in storage. We have lived alongside my dear m.i.l. & s.i.l (*wave* to Michele & Chanelle) for a season, and are currently living at my parents. They love us here, we love reconnecting a closer relationship with our kids & grandparents.

Fred will be wrapping up the BIG job up here, and it looks as if sometime this summer we will be moving back down towards Oregon. I want to move back to small town nowhere (in Oregon), but Fred wants to stay in Washington. He is not fond of the State income tax of Oregon, can't say I blame him.

I am not fond of the labels/requirements of homeschooling laws in Washington, and I want to be left to my own accountability in Oregon. (*note: we already over exceed what Washington tells us we "have to do", I just don't like being told to do it. petty? yes! but I also don't like to be told to tip a waitress; I am already a great tipper... add the $ amount to our bill, and that is all they get, rather than my usual appreciation. - it's just me, I am a brat that way).

Anyways, back on topic... the MOVE... so it looks like in the summer future we will be finaling having our own house again. We are hoping Fred's mom will come join us when we move, but we also don't know the details of that commitment.

The move...
Don't know when, exactly;
don't know where, exactly;
just know changes are coming...
Ha, how's that for an update?

Joe, our oldest son, has been stayin up here with us for the past month. He works for/with his dad at the Company. Joe has his own place down in the vancouver area, so it is nice to see him for a bit.

Nick just finished up his soccer season. He had fun playing at a higher level. Now we are focusing towards his graduation this May. Oh my, the years do fly! He is still pondering the "what to do after highschool" options...

TJ has been pretty laid back through this transition journey. I think once we move he has some interests he would like to check into... more fishing, a gun/archery club, soccer possibly... he will be entering his highschool years this fall, which I feel is a perfect time to look into a variety of interests. I really enjoy homeschooling those last years!

Katie-girl is preparing for a dance recital for this June. She was advanced up 2 classes this year, and will have 2 parts in the recital. She is pretty excited- Sleeping Beauty is the theme. Katie has been about math lately, as in quite reluctant to get it done; I find it humorous cuz she is good at arithmetic,

Andrew is finally falling into a good school routine. I will probably continue his schooling through the summer. It will be more hands-on, montessori led activities as I want his curiosity to be stimulated... I will share more of my ideas on that later....

Bryson is, well, Bryson... rambuntious, active, fly-off-the-seat-of-his-pants excitement! No dull moments with this child around. Spring will be a very good thing for this wild-child. =)

Our School week:

We have fabulous friends coming to visit with us Tues-Thurs, so schooling this week will be low key. I think I will officially call it a mid-winter break. Nick injured his *right* hand during the soccer tournament this week-end, thus minimal 'writing' is probably necessary. I will assign a fun read for each one of them, continue our nightly read aloud on George Washington, and make our week full of some "rocketing" experience! lol, just got a book on Rockets; who knew so much fun could be found in science, technology, engineering and mathmatics? too much fun to call it school, right? ;^) We will just label it "something to do"!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Simple Life


A handmade Valentine from Katie-girl...

A hand-knitted garland & paper hearts....

Dinner of steak, mashed potatoes, corn, & these biscuits...

I attempted a Velvet Cake... decorated by the kids!

We are blessed with a houseful, and oh-so-thankful...

All the kids took turns making heart-shaped cookies,
Yes, even Joe is joining the fun!

The grandparents enjoyed steak dinner w/ us, but now are tucked away in their room for a movie night...

while the rest of us play some good ole family board games. =)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Blues?

The Ho-Hum-Dol-Drums?

Facing the mid school-year hump?

Lacking energy while the kids seem to be over-energetic with all things disorderly?

Yeah, our last few weeks have felt like this. =)
We took Friday off (call it an inservice day).
The older kids like these days:
popcorn & movies, board games,
a day free from routines.

Montessori Moments~

For the Littles I layed out some
in random places.

The kitchen table had a Ladybug craft (This is our Ll week), & a phonics tray. These were a hit once they finally saw them (discovery was part of the fun).

On the coffee table I layed out math manipulative blocks.
1 thru 10.

Bryson loved them, and TJ joined the fun. They made a stair tower.

Sissy created animals with them.

Dad & biggest brother Joe came home a little early;
the littles were thrilled!

Dad added a spinning skill to our learning trays.


the event

not a bad day with such random ideas =)

I *heart* homeschooling!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I *heart* my husband!

I had one of "those" days...

ya know...


didn't get enough sleep...

house is

a back-slidden-potty-trainee...

a not our usual smooth school room adventure...

can't seem to find a way to sneak into the shower...

kinda day!!!

Then the husband come home from a hards day of work...
and his wife has no interest to figure out something for dinner, AND wants to sit on her bum to watch not one, but two episodes of her favorite show. :^/

(nice, huh?... yeah, not so much)

He cleans the kitchen spotless, then fixes dinner, (yes, this is pitiful, I do know this), and strongly directs the older children into pitching in with the rest of the house disaster...

and as I feel like the loser wife of the century, I add to my by saying "hmmm, couldn't handle my day off eh?" (like why start a war? sheesh, what was i thinking?)

and dear Husband says in his matter-of-fact, plain, simply-stating-a- truth, calm-sorta-way...

"There is too much to do around here for any one (1) person"


If he only knew that I LOVE...

doing his laundry so he always has the clothes he needs ready to wear...

keeping the house tidy so that he feels invited in after work...

pulling off a descent dinner to feed his stomach & warm his heart...

to keep finances in order as to be good stewards of his hard efforts of daily work...

schedules that keep our kids eager to learn, especially when dad is home to share with...
that helps me feel like a person (aka wife) again.

One of "those" days are rare, and it isn't pretty, but my man loves me anyways...

Thank you God for such a man as this! =)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Learning w/ the Littles~

Andrew style

I discovered something about Andrew.

He thrives on the 3 R's concept.

I base Reading & wRiting on this simple format.

We study a page,
one page,
for an whole entire week.

Mon: use words/letter sounds to create flashcards. I read the entire page to him.
Tues: I re-read the story. He sounds out the flashcards. He wRites the words on no-lined paper.
Wed: He reads flashcards, then sounds out the story (w/ guidance); he then uses the flashcards to create (imitate) sentences.
Thurs: review flashcards, reads story, writes out one sentence. (I emphasize the need for a capital beginning and an end mark).
Fri: reads flashcards and story, has an oral spelling test for the words, and writes one sentence from dictation.

We do also work on word families in free time at his will:
this week is the ~at family.
And I just introduced
word ladders
to him, and because he knows sounds so well (since age 2) this has been very successful!

aRithmetic studies is currently addition facts. These particular flashcards we use have been excellent for visual comprehension! I have subtraction facts lined up and ready to use next!
And since I am sharing links from this wonderful lady, I mine as well add the plug that we use (& I love) her Letter-of-the-Week preschool program. =)

check list~




& story time.

I find it best to do storytime in the evening, then in the morning he can narrate back to me. This seems to help him with retention/comprehension.

What I discovered about Andrew is that *fluffy* curriculum overwhelms him. I have homeschooled for 9 years, and have ran daycares/preschool programs much longer than that. I love the fluff! The songs, crafts, fingerplays, etc... I love the eager eyes of a young child having fun learning & playing all at once!

But our Andrew is
special. He already has an overactive imagination, so additional imaginative stimulation only agitates him. The more he thinks it is suppose to be fun, or my delight in his learning is expressed, he quits. period.

Most kids thrive off of positive reinforcement; Andrew will do school work because that is what is done at our house.

He sees our other kids "do" school, they have a list to check off, it gets done; so he does his. I don't clap & "woot woot" at my senior student who finishes a difficult economics book, or do the happy dance when Katie gets 100% on a math test, so Andrew (being who he is & how he functions) does not want that fluff either.

The other kindergarten victory for Andrew is his ability to hold his pencil correctly...finally! Let the writing begin...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Got love?

Valentines' Day is a holiday with such mixed messages.

I love the decorative-ness of it. Red is simply my favorite color. Hearts, lace, roses... This is when I am grateful for having a daughter, one whom squeals with glee at decorating for any holiday, but this one definitely has a feminine flair to it, don't ya think?

I do not care for Valentine's Day in itself. The commercialism, the pressure it puts on men, the expectation of 'want' that is pushed for us women. The idea of a holiday telling my husband that this is the day he HAS to tell me he loves me, that he should be getting me a mushy card, that he is suppose to buy me flowers, balloons, and a fabulous child-free romantic dinner out... this whole idea makes me nauseous...

this is when I hear all the wonderful stories of woo-ing that other husbands do. This is also when I hear of hurt feelings of a wife that didn't quite get what she was hoping for. This is when I cringe at the store that seems to scream at my husband to not forget his wife on this oh-so-important-holiday...

this is when I smile...
as I reflect at all the ways my husband tells me he loves me on a daily basis.

~He works hard everyday, both physically & mentally- always without complaint.
~He is incredibly patient, even on the days when he is exhausted.
~He is the one that originally initiated me to stay home to be full time mommy! WOW, that in itself was probably the one most important gift he has ever gave me.
~He knows how to make me smile with the simplest of a whisper & a glimmer in his eye.
~I love when he takes all the kids out to play- all.of.them.- great bonding time with the teens, and the littles run off a lot of extra energy, and I am finally able to get things done in the house. =)
~It is wonderful when he participates in our family reading time in the evenings.
~I appreciate that he never balks at my lack of skills in the kitchen (really, I am quite pitiful at cooking).
~I love that he is fully supportive of our children having a home-based education!

He loves me as-is~ the frumpy days, the energetic days, the pull-my-hair out days, the have-it-all-together days, my roundness days, my fitter fitness days, my house-is-a-disaster days, my compulsive-clean-every-nook-and-cranny days... through it all, Fred always loves me.

So as Valentine approaches, and the sweet nothings of romance begin all around us...

I'll quietly whisper thanks to the good Lord for this amazing man who completes me...

For ever, for always, and no matter what.....