Monday, November 28, 2011

Play and Book Fair and More Debating.. oh my! :)

We all were sick last week with bonkus in the conkus and Lulu and I had ear infections.. .good times! But we survived and are now back up and running. Before that all happened, though, we were invited to see Bug's class do a play called "How the Turkey Got Its Colorful Feathers". SOOOO cute!! Here she is - dressed as a lamb for her part in the play, and then they did some songs, etc. She painted the picture she is holding.

The kids all did a great job - it had to be unnerving to walk out and see all the parents watching, but they were pros! :) It was very fun to watch. We also go to visit the book fair while we were there. Good stuff all around.

Which leads to my latest homeschooling thoughts... being sick this weekend, I had to spend a lot of time resting and laying low. It gave me time to think some more about all of this. I am someone who likes to make a decision, solve the problem, get it all resolved, and move on to the next issue. So this whole 4-years-of-debating-whether-to-homeschool-thing can be crazymaking. Each time I think I'm decided, something makes me re-think it all. Arrgh.

The reason we sent Bug to school was because hubby and I both loved school. We liked the yearly traditions, the new clothes (that was more me! :) ), the new school supplies, finding out who the teacher would be, seeing what friends are in your class, etc. And that all started on Day 1, or before. We loved being part of that school community. And we didn't want to "take that" from Bug. We found this wonderful little school - high ranking, in a lovely community, and they say it's like a private school education for free. And truly, it is.

But 4-6 weeks in, I started feeling like it wasn't anything special. I posted about that at the time, and got caught up in the idea of homeschooling again. Because, after all, if there wasn't going to be that sense of community and the excitement of school, and that was our main reason for sending her... why do it? The class was great, her teacher is amazing, the Spanish 2x/week? Love it! But I didn't feel that indescribable "thing" we both were remembering.

Well, I guess as adults, the whole "yaay we are all together doing this school stuff and neat things together" community thing doesn't automatically click on Day 1, like it does for the kids. Over the past month, I have started to really feel like this truly IS the amazing little school we thought it was. The play, the book fair, the report cards (so exciting!), a classmate's birthday party, etc. It's all coming together and hubby and I are starting to feel that "thing" we loved as kids. Bug's enjoyed school from the beginning, but she's really hitting her stride and was so excited to see her friends this morning after the long weekend. Her report card was great - she is learning new things and cute songs... I guess maybe the first month or so is review or catch-up? Because they have done some NEAT things since then.

If anyone out there is reading all my blog posts, it must feel like I go back and forth back and forth back and forth... and I have been. Even before this blog, in my other blog... this was the topic of much debate. But I started this blog so I could honestly write down what I feel about all of this and where we honestly are at. So that's where we are at. Back to where we were over the summer... in love with Bug's school.

We'll see where this journey takes us! :)

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lulu - It's Starting!

When Lulu plays, I leave a puzzle or shape sorter type toy next to her, to spark her interest in them. Sometimes I sit and do the activity and she watches me and thinks about it a bit. This morning, I put a puzzle next to her with the pieces removed (the fish/turtle/crab one in the background of the pic below). I sat at my desk near her to catch up on email, and I heard these increasingly frustrated sounds coming from her. I looked over and she had put the turtle and crab in, but was struggling with the fish. I helped her with it and got out a simpler puzzle:

She's getting it!!! Matching up the shape with where it goes and working to put the piece in. My heart was singing. :) I have said before that this is the age where I started "teaching" Bug at home.. but I haven't wanted to force Lulu into it. I wanted it to start organically like it did with Bug. Lulu has been starting to recognize numbers lately (thank you Umizoomi! :) ) and a couple colors. And now the puzzle - yaay! I think she's about ready to do more purposeful learning activities!!

I'm beyond excited that we are embarking on the homeschool journey with our baby now. It's been so rewarding and precious with Bug; I am looking forward to adding Lulu into the mix. :)

My joy was overflowing, so I thought "Blog Post!" :) Thanks for sharing in my happiness!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Our little two-week break is now over and we are back to afternoon school this week. Grandma D returned home the first week of November, and then last week we had flu shots and check-ups and a holiday (Veterans Day). This is a great time of year for homeschooling, so we are excited to be back to it. So many fun lessons and crafts... ahhh the holidays are upon us. :)

I am learning that the biggest requirement in homeschooling is flexibility. Right now we are in a weird situation, with "school-school" in the morning (Kindergarten) and some supplemental school at home in the afternoon. For a little while we were doing a full curriculum (almost) every afternoon. But that's a little bananas and quite frankly, too much for me to handle. (I'm also still working about 12 hours a week from home.) So our new incarnation is to have one subject a day and just focus on that and have fun with it for an hour or two. We are focusing on 1st grade lessons during our school time at home.

Today was math - yaay! We played Frog Pond Fractions and discussed how subtraction and division take away, while addition and multiplication add. We talked about halves and quarters, etc. Then Bug did some worksheets.

Thinking ahead to next year. I am more and more sure that we are going to homeschool, so I've got a lot to prepare and plan out in the months to come. Good thing I LOVE to prepare and plan and organize... can't wait! :)

For you homeschoolers out there, how do you do the major curriculum planning? I'm assuming if I take one Saturday a month, say 4-6 hours, that would be enough to plan the outline for the next month and place my Amazon (or wherever) order for supplies, etc. And then each evening, maybe 30 minutes to make sure everything is set up as needed for the next day?

I really want to set up a great system and make it as organized as possible to avoid burn-out. I'm sure I will burn out occasionally, but a minimum of that would be ideal. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Giving Thanks

We are so thankful here - it's finally autumn weather!! The leaves have started to turn color and fall. Here is one off the tree in our front yard:

Although the tree still looks like this (below) - we are getting there! Bits and pieces of yellow and brown throughout the tree. Slowly but surely...

We had a grand time gathering up leaves the other day. I'm sure they will be put to good use in some autumn-y craft we come up with. :)

And here is our weekend project - our Thanksgiving Advent calendar. I love Facebook - this idea was linked to on a page I "like". Here is the link for the directions if you are interested, and to give credit where credit is due! I made some changes - used a foam tri-fold board I got awhile back, and some tiny kraft envelopes I had bouncing around. I had some scrapbooking paper and stickers from the Target $1 section, so this was a really cheap project!

We are going to start tomorrow, and fill each pocket with things we are thankful for each day. Then on Thanksgiving, we will read them all. Genius! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween! & Maps

We have been doing all sorts of autumn/Halloween activities and crafts here. We went to the pumpkin patch with Bug's school. Here she is on her search for the best pumpkin:

And Lulu came separately with Daddy & Grandma to join in the fun. (Mainly because Ms. Lulu is having a rough time with being away from Mama lately...) She had a great time in the pumpkin patch.

School-wise we are in a bit of a belated fall break. Grandma D is in town and we've had Halloween activities and the field trip, etc. going on. We will start up again later this week. We have been working on maps. I got a great book at Lakeshore Learning for K-2, intro to maps and directions and how to read maps, etc. It's been great fun. Here is Bug thinking hard about where something is on her map. :)

I have also started teaching subtraction. The worksheets for this aren't sparking Bug's interest, so we started out using They have a balloon-popping game for subtraction. She loved it, and cruised up to Level 3. I don't know what I would do without the Internet!!! Thank you Al Gore. :)

Homeschooling update: Still seriously considering doing it full-time next year. I've been feeling that way for a couple months now, so we'll see what the future holds for us education-wise. :) I am feeling very blessed these days to have the opportunity to teach my daughters. There are days I fall into bed exhausted beyond belief, but I love every moment of it. Okay, well maybe almost every moment of it. :) It's about 95% happiness and roses and 5% battle of the wills. Pretty much like parenting!

We hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween trick-or-treating with your little ones! We had a blast. Lulu was getting the hang of it by the end. She started saying "ick-or-eat" and "thank you byebye" and even a few "a. ee. awoeeen"s thrown in as well. Say that last one out loud and you'll get it. :)

Happy November!