Looking towards next school year

I wanted to participate in this weeks Top Ten topic of “Ten reasons I am excited about this new school year” But to be honest {and I feel horrible in saying it} I’m just not that excited about it.

Maybe because I’m still not entirely over this year. I still have the baggage of unfinished curriculum and the fact that some of that work is still sitting in their workboxes in our school room waiting for day when I dredge up enough gusto to go re-organize or convince the kiddos that schooling in July is fun.

But  most likely it’s because last year was such a struggle with Zack and school. Everyday it was like pulling teeth to get him to do his work. It didn’t matter that I was practically standing on my head juggling sight words, phonics games, math facts and read alouds to get him excited about learning. He just wasn’t.

The thought of dragging him kicking and screaming through the school day doesn’t excite me.

I have even daydreamed about putting him in school {wince}. I’m just being honest. Of course I don’t believe this is the “magic fix”, but at least I wouldn’t feel like I was to blame for his lack of love for learning, I wouldn’t feel like… I was the failure. {sigh} All those careful eyes that have silently been watching me, already questioning my judgment could turn their focus elsewhere- (If those eyes even exist). Of course I would never dare…or would I?

I take this before the Lord almost daily. I know we will get through it,  I can already hear the words of countless wise women, women whom I respect and love sharing their encouraging words and thoughts with years of homeschooling or childrearing behind them -reminding me that he is still young. I have time. Don’t stress, he will come around.

And I know that they are right. He doesn’t have to love school, as much as it kills me to say that and hurts my pride just a little…I’ll admit. But I want him to love learning. I want to find what he delights in and give him the opportunity to grow that. That will be my project for the new year.

So although I haven’t mustered up the excitement about the new year –just yet, I’m trusting that I will come around. After all, who doesn’t like a fresh start?

 

Linking up with Many Little Blessings 10 Reasons I’m excited about the new school year.

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I’m Moving! Blogs that is.

It is something that I have been working on for over a year. But because I’m computer illiterate and the fact that I keep having babies i.e. No time in my life, I haven’t had time to sit down and really mess around with this blog. But today I did it. Long story short, I moved this blog over to my own domain and that is where you can find me now. So please change my address in your favorites/blog links and if you are following me please go follow me there as well. If you stop by here and find me…absent, I will be hanging out at motheringwithgrace.com

I have learned all kinds of things about importing and exporting and I had to re-learn a bunch of things that I haven’t had to think about since starting this blog years ago. {insert, lots of head banging against the wall} but now I have arrived in the {dot} com world. Ha! What will I do next? {said in my evil, take over the world voice}

My Advice {for what it’s worth} to homeschool newbies

If I was honest, the first day of every school year is met with a lot of trepidation. I begin to wonder if we are doing the right thing? I wonder if this is really what God wants for our family? And the all important, will my children feel like we held them back from something better? You can read how I really feel about this here.  All of this might be partly due to all the hype that happens at the beginning of every school year. The talk of school supplies, new teachers, new clothes, new, new, new. And for us it’s just the same. same. same. Thankfully I can usually pull it together in order to get on with the year…or at least the first day of school. It also helps that I have such a wonderful support system. Which brings me to number one on my list of advice for new homeschoolers;

1. Find some support, you will need it. This might come in the form of a few good friends who are also homeschooling, a homeschool group or even some online buddies. I couldn’t imagine not having someone to laugh, cry, share fears and shamelessly complain to about a bad day. Not to mention there are just things that only another homeschooler can understand and offer advice on.

2. Make sure your spouse is on board. It is hard enough to homeschool without the support of your spouse. If the two of you can’t agree on the issue of homeschooling, it might not be where God is leading you right now- I think this is especially true if the spouse that doesn’t agree is the husband, much prayer is needed if this is the case.

3. Don’t spend a lot of money on curriculum your first year, or any year for that matter.  You never know what will or will not work for your children and you will just be upset if half way through you find that, that expensive curriculum you bought isn’t working for you. There are so many used curriculum stores you can visit in store or online, as well as Ebay, Craigslist, friends, and even garage sales that you should be able to find just about any curriculum out there for a good  price. If you decide you love it then you can always buy it new for the next year.

4. Along with number 3, it’s ok to stop doing something that’s not working for your family.  If you and your child are miserable don’t be a martyr to the curriculum.

5. My Well Planned Day Planner had an article in it this past year that I thought was great. It reminded us that God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. The suggestion was to for us to work 6 weeks and take a week off. I loved this idea and began to incorporate it into our schedule. This gives all of us time to rest, take a break and gives me time to plan for the next 6 weeks. We will be doing this again this next year. I didn’t calculate how many days in the year that gives for actual schooling so if your in a state that requires you school a certain amount of days you might need to add that up.

6. Give yourself a break. Sometimes life happens and things don’t work out the way we expect them to. School might not happen every day and that’s ok. We are teaching our children to be flexible. 😉

7. School needs to be a priority. I know that sort of contradicts the last point but it should at least be a priority in the sense of it should come before friends, hair appointments, phone calls, house work, etc. Not that those things are not important, I love a clean house- but there will ALWAYS be house work. It’s so easy to be distracted and before you know it you have lost half a day to unimportant things and it’s hard to get the kids back on track.

8. Don’t compare your children with other homeschoolers…or other children at all for that matter. Our children are all unique, they will all learn to read at different times, have superior musical abilities, be good at sports, etc. We put undue stress on ourselves when we are comparing what our children are doing to our friends children.

9. Know when to get help. Don’t think you have to be the all in all for your children. If they need speech therapy by all means get it for them. If they are struggling in math get them a tutor. We can’t be experts at everything. Being part of a co-op is a great way to help lessen the burden with tougher subjects.

10. **** Make sure your spending time with the Lord regularly. Without the grace of God to sustain me I’m not sure I would make it most days. I know I’m not the only one that feels this way… can I get an amen?

I’m linking up to Many Little Blessings 10 tips for New Homeschoolers

Craftastic

girlsnight

I mentioned we were going to do a craft day this past weekend and we did! It was such a fun productive afternoon and evening. I didn’t get home until almost midnight! We didn’t plan on the theme being a pinterest party but it turned out like that. Just about everyone had some craft that they had pinned and were just waiting for the perfect time to do it. I’ll be sharing some of the great projects that everyone made over the next few weeks.

Even several of the snacks were pinterest finds. Man I love pinterest!

So we crafted, ate, chatted, had a few dance offs…soooo wished I had pictures of that, and laughed…and laughed. We even had time to end the night with girly manicures. Thankfully I have the world’s best husband so I got to hang out and enjoy myself child-free. Love that man.

Here is one of the projects I worked on.

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I took an old brown cabinet door that I picked up at a garage sale for $1.00, Loosely spray painted it white, used a rubber stamp and a piece of burlap along with a little black paint and some Modge Podge to create this:

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I’m not sure if the picture does it justice, I think the modge podge was still drying. It was a cheap and easy project. I am working on a “wall” project in our family room so that is where it will most likely go.

This picture was my “pinterest” inspiration:

board

If you are lazy and like the look,  the picture came from Etsy. If you want to purchase one similar to this check it out here: 

And of course every good craft day has to end with a manicure, right?

Thanks Rebekah for sharing your stuff. Lovin’ my nails!

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Linked up today with: Singing Three Little Birds,  Making your home sing Mondays and Raising Memories

My entry into Inspire Me Monday, sponsored by Appliances Online and their best Washer Dryers

Field Trip Friday

Living near a city has it’s perks, one of them being the opportunity to frequent the museums and zoos in the area. Because we are so close we have memberships to the Science museum and the zoo. It’s perfect because in the good weather months we can be outside at the zoo and in the bad weather months we can go to the museum.
Last week we visited the Science Museum for their Super Hero day. We listened to a presentation on the history of comics and then enjoyed the exhibits. They encouraged everyone to dress up as their favorite super hero, but only Zack wanted to actually wear his costume. Zoe settled on on a justice league shirt.

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Meeting up with Batman {Zoe’s secret hero}

On to the rest of the museum… we visited the Risk exhibit first  I only took one picture here. Must have been distracted. DSCN1338

A Bed of nails!

Next the Grossology exhibit which is currently visiting our museum. Yuck!

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Of course the kiddos had a blast with this exhibit!

Pinterest Love

I have yet to be steered wrong with my Pinterest experiments. I’m very excited because this weekend I’m going to have a whole day to craft and you can bet I will be crossing off a few things from my craft board {honestly, if you have no idea what I’m talking about you are missing out } Hopefully I will have some of those to share next week. But in the mean time this is what we have been enjoying.

porkchops

Honey Glazed Pork chops. These were good.They had a nice flavor and were tender.  I wish I would have had more time to marinate them, but it was a last minute decision to make them. We will definitely try them again.

southwest Chicken

Southwest Chicken. You will have to go to my food board for the recipe, there was no link. ;( This was really good but only after I added some more spices, and a bit of ranch dressing. I only added half of the Rotel otherwise there was no way my children were going to eat it. I will put these back on the menu because it was so quick and easy. We served it wrapped in a tortilla.

cheesecake bars

Carmel Apple Cheesecake Bars– Oh, dear. These are delicious. And yes, they are as sinful as they look. You don’t even want to know about the butter! If you have some time- because they do take time, and you have some place to take them- so you don’t eat them all yourself… and then blame me, they are completely worth it!

scarf

T-shirt Scarf – And to prove that I don’t just use pinterest for eating, I made this cute scarf {soooo easy} at a women’s fellowship.Seriously, anyone can do it if you have a pair of scissors and a T-shirt. 

 

Again, These lovely pictures have been hijacked from their original source.

Top 10 questions I’m regularly asked about homeschooling and other things…

I am often asked a lot of crazy questions about homeschooling or just our life in general…{not that our life is so interesting, or even strange} but in general when a non-homeschooler hears that we homeschool there are inevitably some questions that are asked.

So here are the most common questions I get.

1. Don’t your children drive you crazy? How do you stay at home with them all day?

Yes. My children drive me crazy- most days. They are young, loud, busy and there are 4 of them. But I love it. I feel so blessed. I never forget that I am living my dream. These moments are fleeting and soon they will be gone. I drink up the time I get to spend with them now. And when I feel like I really need a break I go to Starbucks!

2. Aren’t you afraid they won’t be socialized, or have any friends?

Nope. My children are drowning in friends. Homeschooling allows me the opportunity to help my children choose the right ones. But even if my children weren’t  “drowning” in friends I wouldn’t be worried.

3. Are you going to have any more children?

Oh, if only I wasn’t asked this question at least once a week. I used to think, while pregnant, can I just deliver this one first? I don’t know if more children are in our future. I feel blessed to have the ones we do and at a peace with our current family size.

4. Will you homeschool all the way through school?

I hope so, Lord willing.

5. How will your children get into college?

The same way yours will, through hard work, perseverance and lots of applications. Many schools accept homeschoolers even several Ivy League ones. Our children will have to take the same tests public school students do to earn acceptance into them.

6. Being a teacher makes it easier for you right?

No. I think it can make it harder. I catch myself trying to impose “school ideas” into our schooling and it just doesn’t work. Not to mention that my education taught me how to work within a large classroom with many students, teaching to whole groups in the most effective way. Most of what I have learned doesn’t transpose to my own children.

7. What curriculum do you use?

In short, I use an eclectic mix of things. This coming school year I will be going into unchartered waters for me and using My Father’s World. But I will also be getting my feet wet with some classical learning ideas.

8. Are you ever worried you might not teach your children something they are suppose to know?

All the time. Every now and then I do testing or compare my children’s work to state standards, but after the initial irrational fear is gone, I realize that my children are doing just fine.

9. What do you do with the younger children when you are teaching the older ones?

Olivia works right along side of us doing her own “school” She colors, counts, does puzzles, stamps, writes, etc. I am working on putting together more of program or curriculum for her for next year, but I’m not going to push her. We will do school only as far as she wants to. Often she just plays and I’m perfectly ok with that. The baby adds some challenges to our day and  I’m sure next year will be interesting.

10. Do you really grind your own wheat, and make your own bread?

Yes. Ok in full disclosure, only on good days. Or when I jump back on the health bandwagon after being reminded of how good it is for our family, or just when I have a real craving for hot out of the oven fresh bread. We do however always make our own pizza crust.

 

I’m linking up with Many Little Blessings today. Go there for other Top Ten Questions asked. I had great fun reading through others.