Saturday, September 22, 2018

A look at our week

 Here is a look at how I have organized myself to do Kindergarten with V this year.  I have based a good deal on the advice of other homeschooling moms at the forums of Ambleside Online and I encourage anyone struggling to take the time to read that information.  I am totally new at homeschooling, but so far this method is working for us.
Last weeks schedule.

I've been a bullet journal user for a while. It's been the easiest way for me to keep track of all my scribbled papers and to look back and remember what I am always forgetting.  So integrating my homeschool schedule with my bullet journal was important to me.  Pictured above is our week at a glance.  At the top (mostly out of the picture) is our weekly appointment list.  On the left is the day of the week and date followed by appointments that we have that day.  

Then is our daily work list.  My goal is to do these lessons 5 days a week, so I simply check off items as we complete them in our day.  To the right are things I wish to do weekly.  Followed by a list of all the books we are currently reading.  My goal is to read a chapter in each book weekly to keep them somewhat fresh in our minds. At the bottom are the things that are newly added.  We read Chanticleer and the Fox at the Library so I wrote it and checked it immediately.  Later when I am updating her list of books read I can add it there.  

As far as when I get things done, in V's list of to do's in the morning when she does things such as brush teeth and get dressed we read the Bible and a poem. This way regardless of how the day goes the most important item, and a frequently overlooked item are completed.  While J is at school we try to spend time on either an outdoor or physical activity.  This could be our Nature walk, playing at the park, or swimming at the Y.  After we get J and have lunch, during nap time, we do copywork, math and our readings.  Our copywork is one word a day usually, and the words we copy this week are the words she tries to visualize and spell next week. Then V does art, handiworks, or piano independently.  The music we play during meals, or playtime.  We sing together when we go for walks as the current folk and hymn are ones I happen to already know.  Her memorization verses are written in her notebook which she carries in her backpack, so anytime in the morning when we have down time she pulls it out to practice.  Sometimes, we don't have time to do it all, and honestly I don't worry about it.  My priorities right now are building good habits, and spending time outside.  If anything I think she spends too much time on schoolwork.  But when she is after me all day to "do school" I have plenty of things to choose from.

Meanwhile, J loves school still.  She loves getting her own snack (no surprise there) and she has a lot of fun playing outside.  Her teachers and peers have been after her about her finger sucking, so hopefully we see a reduction in that soon.  Otherwise she hasn't had any bad days yet!  I worried about her one day when there was a thunder storm, and the teachers confirmed that she was upset at the first boom, but after seeing that her friends didn't react she was calm for the rest of the storm.  So perhaps that fear will resolve itself.  While she still comes home quite tired, when she wakes she is excited to play all her new games with Sis.

If you have questions, or if you have suggestions on things I haven't considered please comment below. 

A "story" she wrote during free time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Day 1 is in the books . . . well kinda

There they are - ready to conquer the world!

School year for 2018-19 is officially begun.  J. wore her new school outfit - and loved it.  She wasn't too sure about the belt at first, but it grew on her.  She didn't want to take it off to go to bed!  Seems like the first day we always have just a bit too much time to get ready in the morning.  We could have left an hour early, easily!  We picked up S. on the way so he could be there, he snapped a couple pictures at the school, then in we went.  J. stopped to chat with the receptionist on her way by, wanted to make sure she saw how cool her PJ Masks backpack was.  Then she found her locker no problem.  After getting some help from her teacher Ms. Sara on putting away her water bottle she immediately found some work and sat down by Dixie.  S. and I said good-bye to her back, and she responded bye without turning around  The next time I saw her was at pick-up and she was exhausted!  Kid was so tired I didn't think she'd make it through lunch.  And for J. that's saying something.

The kinda part came in on V.  Last night she had a fever, said her knees hurt, and had a headache.  She was super low energy, and low appetite.  After some meds she crashed for the night.  So we didn't go into today expecting a whole lot.  She wanted to get dressed up for her school pictures so there she is venturing into the world with Sis.  She endured J's drop-off like a champ, maybe because she didn't have the energy to fight it. And ran a couple errands with me before she was too tired to go on.  When we got home she laid down and looked at picture books for an hour or so before having the energy to do school.  I didn't push her at all, but I think when she was too supremely bored to stand it she would come ask to do something.  So in little spurts throughout the day we got her calendar set up, decided on some pre-drop off chores, and did a bit of Bible, reading, and math.  We sang a folk song when walking to pick up J. and she listened to some classical during quiet time.  She didn't have the health for much physical activity so not a lot of outdoor time, but for a sick day I'd say we did pretty well.  We'll see how she's feeling tomorrow.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Kindergarten for Smoochie

With September fast approaching we are getting more and more ready for school, but not exactly the way we had planned.  

J will be starting preschool at the same Montessori school V attended. In fact right now we anticipate her being in the same classroom that V was in, with one of the same teachers.  Hopefully this means a tear free beginning, and an easy transition.  J was very excited for the open house days and while I am not sure if she completely understands V won't be there, other friends will quickly distract her.

The surprise for the coming year is V. I've decided to homeschool her for Kindergarten, and if we get along fairly well to continue homeschooling her for the foreseeable future.  Surprising, right? Around Christmas last year I was looking for a book list, a couple actually. I wanted a list for me to use at the library, but I also wanted one for the girls of those great kids books one really shouldn't miss.  As I wandered the interwebs I found AmblesideOnline. It is a booklist from K - 12 that I fell in love with.  The books on there that I was familiar with were all favorites, which means the ones I wasn't familiar with would probably be pretty great.  It broke things out by year so I could read to her without overwhelming her. And I pretty much fell in love with everything I read.  At first I just planned to use these books as bedtime and family reading stories.  But the more I learned the more I felt that this was something I really needed to fully embrace.  So here we are becoming a homeschool family. 

V. seems to be excited about the idea of spending more one on one time with Mom, but whether she really understands she wont be going to a classroom full of friends remains to be seen.  She is such easy disposition when it comes to sitting down and doing lesson that it really makes the idea of it less overwhelming for me.

Will we love it? I don't know.  What I am certain of is if I didn't give it a try I would forever be looking back and wondering. So here we go.

If you are curious about what exactly we are doing check out the AmblesideOnline website.  We have already finished the Year 0 books.  Year 1 is intended for 6 year olds, so we are doing a modified year 0.5 that is discussed in the forums.  We will officially start Year 1 next year between January and April depending on how things are going.  Meantime there will be lots of nature study, handicrafts, poetry and RightStart math lessons. Year 1 free reads, spanish, piano lessons and art projects.  

If your have questions or concerns about how we plan to make this work - or things that I may be overlooking - let's chat!

If you love bookstores as much as I do and want some titles to look out for here are a the ones for Year 1 that we haven't been able to find a hard copy of locally.   However, they are all either available at our local library or through the public domain to read on the ipad.
  • Benjamin Franklin     Ingri D'Aulaire  
  • Buffalo Bill      Ingri D'Aulaire
  • A Child's Book of Poems     Gyo Fujikawa
  • King of the Golden River     John Ruskin

Monday, March 20, 2017

They say every kid is different

Veda finds an acorn hat.

Me: Did you find a treasure?

Veda: YES! (Proceeds to save cap to show Daddy, finds a box to keep it in, collects more caps to compare them.  Starts to collect acorns to find ones that will fit with the caps.)

Jovi finds an acorn hat.

Me: Did you find a treasure?

Jovi looks at me like I'm crazy takes the acorn hat from the sidewalk and throws it in the bushes. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Parachute Fun

Well, it has been an active fun filled day - and it's only just begun!!  We woke up to a snow covered world this morning.  It made for a nice break from the grey that Iowa winters usually entail.

This mornings big activity was going to the library for Parachute Play.  It's a popular program, and requires registration which is a bummer. We missed out on it previously because it fills up very quickly.  It is once a month, so I'll be registering again for April really soon.
There were some other programs for kids going on at the same time as this one because when we got to the parking lot there were school buses, and general mayhem.  I ended up parking by VF's school and we walked through the skywalk to reach the library.  I'm sure we were quite the sight to drivers below. I had JA in the Moby wrap, a backpack diaper bag, and carrying VF for part of the walk it was quite a workout. I was glad that I left 20 minutes early though because we made it just in time!
VF saw the parachute through the window and was so excited I had to drag her away from it to go in the door around the corner.  Silly kid.  As soon as we hit the room she was peeling off the coat and shoes and racing out to run with friends.  Now I remember playing with a parachute a couple times at school when I was a kid, and can I don't remember it being as much of an arm workout!  Why don't gyms have a parachute workout class?
Veda ran and sang and had a really great time.  After class the instructor blew some bubbles, which of course was a hit.  I haven't let VF blow any indoors, and she hasn't wanted to go outside to do it.   So it was a well timed side activity for her.  Afterward I saw there was a concert for kids in the auditorium that was just about to start.  So we popped in for some impromptu music fun.  It was a very talented and patient quartet.  They have to be when a train goes by and half the audience runs for the windows!
Both girls loved the show. We were due for a potty break so off to the bathroom to change a diaper, assist VF and generally juggle everyone and everything.  I know this isn't what you come here to read about but just know - the bathroom struggle when outnumbered is real.  Poor Jo was laying on coats so I could wash my hands!  Next we went down to the kids library so VF could play while JA ate.  I would have gone straight to the car - but JA was a bit upset at being overdue.  So after playing with trains and eating it was a quick scurry through the sky walk and back to the car.  The downside of parking in front of the school is that we needed to move the car before pick-up.  I can't say that no one was upset about a vacant car in the pick-up line; but I can say that no one was inconvenienced.  We were on our way as the first child exited the building.

That's my morning.  I'm exhausted, but grateful that both girls are down for a nap. Now if only it lasts a bit longer I'll get some sleep too!