Friday, August 31, 2012

our homeschool space

As promised I thought I'd give a little rundown of the homeschool space
and links to where I got the things you see.
It was fun to have a reason to spend a little money transforming 
our kitchen nook into a learning space.
And let me tell you, they've already come in handy!

These number cards are from Children Inspire.  I had made them 
a favorite on etsy a long time ago.  And this was the perfect reason to get them.

The map, I just couldn't get it out of my head.
After seeing it in Dirtsa Studio's shop.  
I asked her if she creates for homeschool families.  
She doesn't, it's just an aesthetic that she likes.
I love that it's cool and vintage, and so very practical.
I asked for the one that includes Hawaii and Alaska
because we very much love Hawaii.
The girls are already enjoying coloring and writing on it.

And I knew I wanted to have a print that summarized that feeling of
PLAY that I decided I needed to bring back with me from our recent vacation.
I have long loved the designs by Katie Daisy at the wheat field so I went straight to her shop.  

But choosing was hard, so hard.
I finally decided upon this one with the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote.

If you have read my post titled free you'll get why.

The C.S. Lewis print is a free download from Jen at the logan family
I had pinned it long ago, and found that the color scheme works perfectly.
Plus what a cool C.S. Lewis quote.

I added a couple of gold frames from Marshalls with pictures of the girls playing in the sea.

And this is how we're displaying our A,B,C's. 

Since we've been through traditional school for awhile, 
I know that most kids need to reference their A,B,C's from time to time.
Having them up and easily accessible isn't just for fun.
It's necessary.

I wanted to buy some cute print, really.  I wanted to get this one from
Stephanie Fizer Coleman at the Fox and the Teacup.
But truthfully I knew that the letters needed to be more prominent and straight forward.
So I decided to just scan a sheet from a workbook
and then I changed the background color to one that I liked
and knew the girls would too.

I enlarged it to 11x17
and painted an existing frame I had from red to a fun aqua.

And finally, for our calendar.  Again, I want it clear and up for them to reference.
But I didn't want it to completely feel like a primary colored classroom calendar.

What I decided to do was to design a layout in photoshop.
I had a frame that was 16x20.
To make sure nothing gets cut off, the design is 15 1/2 x 19 1/2
With the glass on top I can write and wipe off as the months go by.
And they can add little doodles too.

If you'd like to use this framed calendar for your home or
family use I've made it free through google docs.

I had it printed at a local office store on 16x20 paper.
I brought the frame with me to make sure it fit exact.
Not all 16x20 frames are exact, mine was a little smaller.

Enjoy, and if you decide to use it I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

day one

Who cares that we went right back inside that door to begin school.
I still wanted to document this momentous first day.
And when I asked her to pose with a smile, she spontaneously broke out into this happy dance.
That's what you want to see.  Excitement for learning.
And Lord willing I pray we can end this year with that same feeling.
Both of them were over the moon to begin homeschooling today.
She woke early to find the table ready.
And couldn't wait to dig into the surprise set of clay I left out.
I couldn't have asked for a better day.
You know how very much prayer and planning went into this.
And I sort of jumped in both feet first not sure of how it would really be today.
And praise God, it was peaceful.
I felt the Lord with us.
And I felt my heart warm.
Watching them learning and working together.
Both said their favorite was this teddy bear math manipulative activity.
 And a game of hide and seek with sight words.
Each taking turns hiding and finding.
And of course reading the cards once found.
I have found through their regular classroom experiences
and even at Lindamood Bell that rewards for trying hard
and doing your best work well.
So I adopted something similar using these Dr. Seuss cards I found at Lakeshore.
Each time I'm proud of them for working hard, trying, or helping they get
to add a sticker.  It's definitely a positive way to encourage cleaning up too.
When three cards are filled we'll cash them in at the Target dollar bin or dollar store.
I know all days won't be this smooth and I know we're starting out
with things already covered for the most part.
But I'm just thankful and so blessed the beginning of this journey is off
to a great start.
We have big plans to keep this as fun as possible.
And not to lose all those great things about kindergarten,
like a party on the 100th day of school
Oh and I've so very much been wanting to share with you a post
about the kitchen nook that I've been diligently changing over
into a homeschool room.
I took this as an opportunity to support some etsy artists whose work I admire.
That post will come soon, but here's a sneak peak.
The whole thing just makes me smile.
 And I created some fun things too that I'll share
with you soon.
And this is a part of the scripture I've chosen for the year.
Something I want to hold onto and remember.

It's Romans 15:13
"I pray that God, the source of hope, 
will fill you completely 
with joy and peace because you trust in him.
Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."

What a powerful promise to claim over our lives.

To overflow with confident hope through His power.
To be filled completely with joy and peace, 
because I trust in Him.

That is what led me here.
And I want to stay in that place.
And teach my girls to live their lives this way.
And so with confident hope I'm jumping in with both feet.
Because I trust him.

392. smooth mornings
393. kid's making their own lunches
394. a gymnastics class for homeschoolers
395. new friends through this new adventure
396. that happy confident sheer joy on her face
397. books on tape
398. a drive not as bad as anticipated, most of the time
399. help lining up
400. plans for fun party favor making
401. a clean space
402. instrumental praise music
403. an absence of stress
404. being the home where friends want to visit
405. dinner plans
406. seeing my son spread his wings
407. & being a leader in creative play 
408. hearing them say, "I liked our first day."

I went into this wondering if I could meet their needs,
would I be frazzled, would I misplace things?
Would I hold their attention?
Would I be able to navigate around difficult moments to
help things make sense?

And I realized first of all, we all already do that naturally as moms.
We are their first teachers.  This is more instinctual than you think.
(I'm speaking to myself)

And there are absolute directions for everything.
I'm not making this up.
I'm following directions.
I'm tweaking it when needed.

And when my daughter says I'd like to circle that with a heart instead.
Or can I color the whole thing in, instead of just the part it says.
Well, as the teacher I get to say, "Sure go ahead."
Because here she's not going to get in trouble for not following
the directions absolutely.  Plus she asked first.

Speaking of that I came across one of the most interesting
articles about education that I've read in a long time.
It was titled, "Would You Hire Your Own Kids?"
I really believe in what Tony Wagner is talking about.
His site has plenty more to dig into too.

We've wiped out that stress of studying for the test.
Or the anxious nights and mornings about school.
With that gone, we're all more at peace.

And finally, I realized they are eager learners.
They want me to pour into them.
And they have the most forgiving, sweet spirits.
Even if I do mess up, they're not going to hold it against me,
because I'm their mom.
And they love me unconditionally.
What an honor it is to get this chance to pour into them.
All the while, I most certainly will be learning right along with them.

For the "Not" back to school blog hop I'm linking up to, I'm supposed to give a run down of our day.
Ok, so now you get to see how super crazy our schedule really is.
We have a ten year old in school, many cities away from where we live.

So I rise at 6:10, get some exercise while the coffee is brewing.
I read my devotionals & drink that coffee.
My youngest wakes on her own around 6:45
At 7:00 I wake the other two.

They eat breakfast and get dressed and I shower.
We're out the door at 7:50.
I get back home with the girls at 9:15.  

Yes. It's that long round trip because of the distance and the traffic.
Long story short is the school moved, but it's his fifth grade year.
He has six kids in his grade and really wanted to finish out his
elementary years with them.  I feel like I need to honor that.

So the girls are so excited to start by 9:30.
We do our devotional, opening prayer and discussion
about the calendar, day, week etc. and then move into math.
We break by 10:00 for a snack.
And then from 10-11 we did language arts, handwriting,
and spelling.
At 11:30 I read to them till 12:00 and had them read a little to me.
Then it was time for lunch.
I'm easing into this, not trying to do too much right away.
And this felt like the perfect place to take a break.

Today we we had the best of intentions to start a new tap class for Ava
and ballet and tap for Audrey.
So we needed new, bigger shoes.
After lunch and some free play time we headed out for the shoes
then off to pick up brother at school.
From there groceries for the week.
Which put us in pretty bad traffic getting home.
Thank goodness for books on tape.
We've been listening to "The Secret Garden".
Once home I had enough time to throw the food that would spoil in the fridge.
We then raced through bad traffic again to make it to the 5:30 class 
in the nick of time.

Oh I forgot to mention they ate while we
grocery shopped.  It's a funny habit of ours.

But thankfully, because of that the girls weren't starving.
The classes, didn't go so well.

My poor daughter who struggles with dyslexia
and an auditory processing disorder found all the combinations too fast 
and I saw her holding in tears as she struggled to keep up.
She is a great dancer, but it was too much and way too much noise
for her to handle.  

So we left with her in tears begging to not go back.
The teachers were so kind and did their best.
But not everything is a good fit.
And Audrey, well she felt a little too old for her class.
So we'll keep looking.

Anyway, that put us getting home at 7:00 to have our real dinner.
My best laid plans were also shelved 
in exchange for turkey dogs, green beans and left overs.

My son showered, but the girls we skipped bath in light of how late it was.
Then it was off to bed for all, including me.
I had one of those nighttime naps, which I woke from
to remember I wanted to write this post.
And now it's officially midnight and time to clock out for good.

Did that just bore you to death?
I hope not. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

instagram friday

Finally taking some time to link up and share our Friday instagram shots from the last week.
Here's just a little snippet of some of the happenings here.
Some I want to write more about, but haven't had the time.
If someone could cure the problem of sitting down at night and falling asleep,
I'd love to know. 
I'm just so tired by that point these days.

Pictures 1-3....look at our garden grow!
She was so excited and amazed after we returned from a four day trip to visit grandma & grandpa.

Pictures 4-6 our homeschool space a.k.a the kitchen nook coming together & in use

7. A baby owl the kids found in their playhouse.
I was literally so close I could have touched him.
We almost thought they were tricking us.  
It looked so much like a stuffed animal.  
Super sweet isn't he?

8. my daughter is always flipping her shoes off.
She put them here while running to play at the park
and I thought the leaves and colors were so pretty.
My 10-year-old son said, 'Oh mom, not another
instagram picture.'  He thinks I'm a little crazy.
But I say, it's an easy way to feel creative.
And I need to feel creative wherever I can squeeze it in!

9. a super cool new restaurant in Carlsbad.
Sort of like a food truck, with a lawn & adirondack chairs.
All waffles made into sandwiches, both sweet & savory.
And a glimpse there of cousin Michael.
Eventually I'll post more about our visit to San Diego.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

a new first day

Wow.  Just wow.
You see this young man?
Beginning his last year of elementary school.
Today I kept having serious flashbacks to this five year old little boy 
starting his kindergarten year.
How fast it has gone.
 His sisters are so proud of him and adore him.
If he only realized the weight he carries in their eyes.
I of course was slightly embarrassing him at school
snapping pictures with his friends.
And in the class.
I loved this little set up.
 And the girls, they got to do their first homeschool gymnastics class.
We met some nice new friends.
And Ava said, "It was awesome, I wish we could do it every day."
I'm still busily preparing for our first day on Monday.
Soon, very soon there will be a post on my curriculum choices.
And I'm about to pick up our big brother, praying he had a wonderful first day!