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Monday, September 17, 2012

Turn, turn, turn...

As the actual season is changing (chilly mornings, final garden harvests...) we seem to be turning towards a new season in our own little family.  The little guy is 2-1/2 now and naps are slowly slipping away, right through my fingers it seems!  He still naps most of the time, but once every week or every couple of weeks, we will have 1, or 2, or 3 days without a nap.  It is a hard adjustment to make for me, but I think hardest for big sister who has come to enjoy that quiet time every afternoon with her dolls and special toys she doesn't want to share, and of course, with mama!  She asks when "mama-time" is every day and rushes off to play quietly in her room while I get her "baby" brother to sleep.  Although they have their moments, they really are so sweet together and big sis is so patient with her very rambunctious little brother, so I look forward to giving her that one on one attention too.  You know, the kind that isn't constantly interrupted by pulling a naked child off the table or counter, or the kind that doesn't need to be diverted by a suspicous rummaging in the fridge and an insistence that he CAN pour his own milk from the full gallon, or the rushed trip to the potty, or the "Mom, he's HITTING ME!" Yikes.  Rambunctious doesn't quite describe this kid, but we love him anyway :) 

In any case, we have pushed through those napless afternoons when they happen with lots of outdoor play time, sometimes a special snack for all of us, and some quiet cuddles on the couch while I TRY to nurse him to sleep!  In turn, my sweet girl and I have enjoyed some special cuddly reading time after the little guy crashes out at 7:00 p.m.!  I didn't realize how much I missed snuggling my girl to sleep-I always do bedtime by myself with both kids, pretty much since he was born, so we have gradually moved from an hour of tummy rubbing and cuddling while I nursed a newborn into having my daughter pop right into her bed after storytime to fall asleep by herself (in the same room though) while I nurse her brother to sleep. 

I almost think this no nap traded for a super early (and easy!) bedtime might be worth it, but only time will tell how this season will turn...

In other news, we enjoyed an end of garden feast for dinner of fried green tomatoes plucked fresh from our vines and sweet potatoes dug up today!  I am already missing summer!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Beginning again

Tomorrow is our official first day of "school" for our kindergartner and our toddler tagging along.  Of course, this is completely arbitrary, but since she is seeing a lot of her friends heading off to the first day of school and getting a little jealous of the resulting fuss, we decided to make her day special too.  We had a special dinner this weekend, complete with kid-made cupcakes-and will do a first day of school picture tomorrow morning.  So many cute ideas on pinterest for back to school!  I love the chalkboard with the date, grade, and what they want to be when they grow up-what a great memory!

We are using Five in a Row as our main curriculum this year.  I am an unschooler at heart, but need a little bit of structure or we tend to do a downward slide into getting crabby and tired and hearing lots of whining, so this relaxed, literature-based program is our compromise!  We have also been doing Explode the Code for phonics and Right Start Math for...math :) I have big plans to incorporate Spanish this year too. 

I so love to look at my beautifully organized spreadsheets and binders, review my daily plans for the week, and admire the stack of books I ordered from the library ahead of time to complement the week's topics.  Because I know-KNOW-that in a few short weeks, this will be out the window!  I am sure we will still get ideas from the curriculum, but I will be so shocked if we are following it this closely come mid-year.  But I could be wrong-this is what happened last year when I tried to plan everything out, but honestly we didn't have enough to keep us occupied academically, so perhaps this year will be better.  She seems to thrive on structure and routine, but also needs lots of open play time (she's an introvert like her mama!).  So, basically I need to structure lots of unstructured time into our schedule! 

I'll update on how this first week goes-we are reading the Story of Ping and doing lots of activities about Chinese culture, with maybe a quick trip to Chinatown or at least a Chinese restaurant (random side-note: I cannot, for the life of me, spell the word restaurant correctly.  I have to look it up every time.  This is one a few words that constantly trip me up!)

I hope everyone is enjoying this slow edging towards autumn..I adore summer, but find myself looking forward to those crisp, cool days as we enter the new season. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life has been pretty crazy lately.  Mama has been working late at night, leading to some cranky mornings.  Do you ever notice how the days when you especially need to just be left alone, the kids pick up on this crabby vibe and respond by being extra special needy? Oh boy.  This has led to some serious situations the past few days/weeks, often culminating in my feeling angry and frustrated, and then guilty.  It is hard to be patient and kind and loving all day long when all you want to do is just sit down and rest quietly alone, with no little monkeys climbing all over you and clamoring for attention. 

We've been trying to keep busy, since those lull moments are often the hardest.  Lots of outdoor time, lots of running around and playing while mama tries to get the laundry hung up or the garden weeded.  Not a whole lot of schooling going on lately, though C (my 5-year-old) has been asking for lots of science experiments and "fun" math.  Those, of course, were my two least favorite subjects as a kid, so it is funny to see her so into it.  She is still refusing to practice anything having to do with reading, but will sit and listen to me read for as long as my voice can hold out!  I am making peace with not keeping up well with my planned lessons for the summer, but hoping that we can overcome this period of exhaustion to plan some fun stuff for the fall. 

And really, what else do kiddos need in the summer besides sunshine, daily raspberry picking in the yard, and watching our garden grow? They are happy, healthy, and growing, and I am just trying to remember how amazing they are even in the midst of desperately needing some quiet time of my own.  Time really does move too fast!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Loving Summer

There is something about this burst of summer weather that is so uplifting and motivating.  The last few weeks have found us to be either crazy busy with birthdays, special events, etc. or unable to get the energy to do...well, anything.  At first, I was panicking about nothing getting done.  Then I was letting it go and being okay with taking a few weeks off of schooling and just focusing on getting the basics together and actually enjoying said birthdays and special events.  But after a week of recovery last week that I mostly spent reading on the couch and being tired and dreary, I finally pulled myself together with a little help from the goregous, sunny, 80-degree weather kind of day we had today. 

So what do I consider a productive day?  Well, let me tell you, I felt like super woman today and I don't want to hear any evidence to the contrary!  Somewhere around 6 or 7 loads of laundry washed and hung out on the line? Check! (The scariest part is the number of loads still to go--eeek!).  Simple and fun reading/phonics game thought of, created, and played with daughter? Check!  (Finally got her interested again!) Just-for-fun cupcakes made? Check!  Cleaned out (very filthy) car? Check!  Played in sprinkler with kiddos? Check!  I feel like I am missing a few things, but rest assured that this was a hugely productive day compared to last week! Plus, I ended the day with the majority of the house straightened up and no dishes in the sink-always a treat in the morning. 

Maybe the difference wasn't just the weather, but the fact that we were up and out of the house early for us taking step-daughter to school and stopping for bagels.  But don't worry, this will not stop me from lounging over my morning coffee tomorrow :) 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yikes!

I just spent WAY too much time perusing preschool homeschool curriculums, despite the fact that I did this exact same thing  a couple months ago and decided on what I wanted for this year.  And I just did it all over again with pretty much the exact same choices.  Oh, and did I mention I should have been working during this time?!  Admittedly, my options are somewhat limited due to finances, but this is getting a little ridiculous.  I have a few favorites, but I like something different about each one.  Some curriculums seem a little too stilted, scripted, something that I just can't see myself doing.  It sounds good on the page, but I don't want to preach at my kiddos, I want to learn with them.  I'm toying with the idea of just putting together my own thing, I'm reminding myself that, hello, this is preschool and we don't need to do anything formal or put together, and then I am freaking out about the idea that sometimes I strongly suspect I have no freaking idea what I am doing.  Hence: Yikes!  Well at least I have a clear idea as to what I will be laying awake in bed thinking about tonight...!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Confidence

Possibly the hardest part of our decision to homeschool was having the confidence to say, you know what, I CAN do this and I can do a darn good job at it too.  I'm still working on this.  It is so easy to look at public school and say, well, sure they have problems but they also kind of have it all covered, academics-wise with teachers who actually study this and have often taught for years.  I may be college-educated, but I am still stumpted by 95% of the questions my 4-year-old asks me on a daily basis!  Then again, I was in school to be a teacher too and I sure didn't know it all-in fact, that kind of knowledge can really only be gained with experience, which I soon will have as we start this journey.  My kids and I might learn together, but then again, isn't that the great thing about homeschooling? 

I still have moments of panic-like when I saw a fellow homeschoolers blog with kids the same age as mine-complete with a spreadsheet marking out her math and history curriculum plan for the year.  Let's just say that I, um, do NOT have a similar plan.  But really, I"m okay with that.  This doesn't make me a slacker, it just means we have different plans and ideas and another great thing about homeschooling is that we both get to do what we want and it is OKAY!  So, we will head on into this year with not much of a plan, but lots of good ideas and hopes and dreams.  I hope somebody who stumbles across this little blog enjoys following our progress and development-we are excited to experience and share it-with confidence!