Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mumbling Gibberish

Today is the type of day that makes me feel blessed that I am able to stay at home with the kids and home school. If for no other reason, these (semi) quiet mornings when I get up before everyone else to allow myself a little space for thinking. There is only one person in this whole world that I agree with completely and I like to touch base with her on occasion.

School for us has been going steady. Jared is finally progressing in math. It almost brings tears to my eyes to write this. I have struggled so long and hard with math for him. I finally found his motivator. If he does not do well (misses more than 4) he cannot play any video games until he 'brings that score up.' Little did I know that this was the way to go. The kid works harder on math than I have ever seen. One point for mom.

The oldest is focusing on Horse Quiz Bowl. He loves random facts and cannot wait to compete in the competition this weekend. It has been fun to quiz him. I think that he will do well. He is very competitive so I have been talking to him about focusing on having fun- not worrying. The sun will rise again and set again if he doesn't win. That is such a hard concept to learn. He is also running for a State Award in horses. This required that he write a three page story, formal business letter, ten page activities log and three page picture collage. For a 14 year old, that is a lot of work. He did it quickly and well. I was impressed. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether the kids are behind, ahead or right with their peers. It seems that he is doing alright.

We took the kids into the Lego Store, American Girl Place and the aquarium. It was really fun. The kids learned a lot. I love hands-on learning. Not only was the aquarium a great learning tool- the Lego Store has upgraded and moved. It now has a pretty cool computer aided design program that the children can access. The kids seem to love it. They create their lego design on the computer and then build it. We are planning a trip back to Chicago in April and will hit the Museum of Science and Industry- Mythbusters are coming in. We will also make the trek to the Lego Store again. It is a tradition for us!

I have been struggling in the area of not comparing my kids to the other kids. As the boys are now attending Youth Group functions- there is constant opportunity for me to see them interact with the other kids and see their weaknesses. I remind myself that I see their strengths as well and they do have many. Just in the last couple of days, I have had to work hard to see my kids for exactly who they are and respect that in them.

Homeschooling has been such an amazing journey for our family. I think it is one of the best decisions my husband and I made. Believe it or not, we knew that we would home school when our oldest was about 18 mths old- that was before the middle son was adopted and long before Jacie was a 'twinkle' in any one's eye. That seems like a lifetime ago.

My duties keep calling- literally. They keep walking into my room and talking to me which makes it difficult to form coherent sentences. I had better sign off before I start mumbling gibberish and rocking back and forth. Hope that all is well for you.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life in the Hangman's Noose

This picture is a great indicator of how my home school days go...

I had to laugh when Jared came up wearing the hangman's noose- obviously his brother got ahold of him! When I told them to work on their knot tying- I didn't mean on each other.

The boys are also working on their second paper of the year. I am a little bit of a task master about writing because I believe that it is important to be able to express yourself verbally and on paper. Their first assignment was on an animal. It was 5 pages long with 5 sources (1 Internet, the rest books.) They really did well. Jared is VERY dyslexic so I am still trying to figured out some of his paper. I will proofread it and give it back. Then they will have 2 weeks to fix it and return. Their second paper is a little easier- 3 pages, 4 sources. It is about something in science. I am curious what I will get in return. I love that fact that we are able to work on writing in a relaxed format in order to learn it and still like it- that was one of my goals when choosing my teaching style. I really wanted the children to gain a love for education. They also just completed the Novel in One Year Curriculum and are looking forward to the Sci-fi one (second year.) They will start that as soon as I get my ducks in a row and order it. Man, teachers today...

This is black history month and since Jared is black- I had tons of information to use for him. It is such an interesting part of our home school- having such cultural differences among the 3 children. Our exchange student offers another cultural experience. No wonder we have been called (jokingly of course) The United Nations Clan.

Jacie is still working through her reading and basic writing. As I said earlier, it is very important to me that she enjoy reading so I am taking it slow. I do a lot of reading to her like I did with the boys. It is harder for her because the boys grew up listening to me read, visiting book sales and spending long afternoons buried in books. She did not. Having been here only 1 1/2 years and turning 10 in April has brought a different scenario to the table. Truthfully, it has stretched me as a teacher. I have to admit, I got comfortable with the 2 boys and knew how to get the best from them. In the past 1 1/2 years, she has changed homes, changed countries, changed cultures, changed languages, had 2 major surgeries...need I say more. Just reading it makes me tired. I think that is why I am so happy that we chose to homeschool her- she has so much more time to focus on learning in an informal way.

On the whole- this little family that I have been blessed with is growing and developing. I couldn't ask for more- it is such an interesting journey.

~Camo Pants