Friday, November 30, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
In fact, our little kindergartner had a very successful school day today. He "officially" began learning how to read! Of course he's been in the process almost since birth, but today he wrote out sounds that I dictated to him, and then I helped him sound them out rapidly so he could hear that they actually spelled a word when put together. I helped him with c-a-t, and then he totally got it with p-a-t, m-a-t, and s-a-t. He was so excited!! So we made a simple sentence using these words and he read it for daddy when he got home.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So they each got spankings (like a principal would have given back in the day!) at 8:00 pm tonight and an appropriate lecture.
I am hoping and praying for a much better day tomorrow. And I am so thankful for a supportive principal.
So, starting very young (age 1) I would fold up their pajamas after getting them dressed in the morning and ask them to pull open the drawer so I could put them away. I would fold up their blankie and then give it to them and say, "put this on your bed", then they would lay their pacy on top of the folded blankie. In this way they were beginning to learn how to care for their own personal things.
Then when they are around age 4 they get a checklist to hang in their room. Yay! A checklist! (I'm being slightly facetious here). I sit down with each child and make this together with them. It has both words and pictures on it, since at this age they are not yet reading. It is divided into morning and evening, with a sun beside the morning chores and a moon and stars beside the evening chores. We talk about each item as I draw the corresponding picture. This checklist slides into a page protector and then gets taped up somewhere at eye level in their room.
Here is one of our checklists up close:
This has helped them know what I expect them to do in the morning and evening. After they have become very proficient at completing their checklist on their own, we start working on doing it within a reasonable amount of time. I keep timers in all our children's bedrooms, and for their checklists I usually set it for 10 minutes. The older 2 boys no longer need to look at their checklists to know what to do (and in fact a couple items on their original checklist no longer apply), but I still say, "go do your checklist" and they know what I mean. If the checklist is not completed when the timer dings, some form of punishment follows. Right now it is the taking away of a nickel (remember they get 10 each morning?). I have taken away up to 5 nickels for this offense, depending on the circumstances, and I have to say that most of the time the children are pretty good about completing their checklists thoroughly and quickly.
This has eliminated so much frustration for me, because I don't have to stand there telling them each little thing to do, and the checklist can be the bad guy. If I notice that something on the checklist is not done and the child is already downstairs, I will find them and ask, "do you have the freedom to be downstairs?". This forces them to go upstairs and look for themselves to see what was left undone. Hopefully it is training them to be more OBSERVANT!! (I cannot tell you how many times I have said, "pick up your socks" and they cannot find said socks even though they are practically standing on them!).
This has worked very well for personal chores in our home. I would still love to hear more ideas about what has worked well in yours!
I started a new book this past weekend called "The Out of Sync Child" which describes Sensory Integration Dysfunction and how to treat it. I began reading this book with our 2 year old in mind, since he has so many food texture issues, hates getting his hands messy, and has problems with some of his clothes (the way they fit, the way they feel, and the tags bothering him). But as I have been reading I am having huge bells and whistles going off in my brain about our 7 year old. Enough bells and whistles that I am going to pursue evaluation with an occupational therapist (starting with our pediatrician). Grandparents (and anyone else who feels led!), please pray that we will have wisdom and discernment in this process.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I have often pondered the best way to accomplish chore training, and have looked around me to see how other families train in this way. When I saw someone (with 15 children!) doing chores with all her children at the same time I thought, "that must be the way to do it". So I tried it that way and felt terribly guilty for the high level of frustration and impatience I felt. Then I tried to do chore training with just one child at a time. This was much easier on my patience and frustration levels, but I struggled with feeling that I *should* be able to have them all present to learn a specific chore and doing it individually meant that I would have to repeat myself 5 times.
As with many areas of parenting, I have come to the realization that there is no "right" way to do chore training, but just what works best for our family. I have only been a parent for 10 years, but already I have passed through many different stages, and my degree of patience has fluctuated alot depending on what stage we happen to be in. When I am potty training someone that requires all my patience, so I am not really good for lots of other chore training. When I am nursing a baby I am more physically tired and not able to handle lots of other things. I have learned to give myself grace in this area. And to keep praying about it, asking the Lord to fill up what I am lacking. And I am seeing that some of these things get a lot easier as our children get older!
So what does chore training look like in our family? Sometimes we all do chores together. And sometimes I train one child at a time. Sometimes we are really good and do them daily. Sometimes we play catch up on Saturday. Holidays have lent themselves really well to additional chore training, and this Thanksgiving was no exception. I had a talk with the children on Tuesday evening, explaining that Wed was our prep day for our Thanksgiving Feast (we hosted my husband's family) and work would be required from everyone. On Wed morning we woke up and I assigned jobs. We all worked together on cleaning and baking. It was really fun to work alongside my children! (Note: I am not currently nursing a baby or potty training anyone!!).
First, our resident indians A and L washed the stairwell wall with baby wipes. This is visible from our front door and was pretty covered with dirty fingerprints.
Next we worked on the pies. We made a pumpkin pie.....
...........and a cranberry/raspberry pie that is to die for!!!! (I can say this because it's not original) :-)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"Give Thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." ~ Psalm 100:4-5
Some of the many things I am thankful for......
Jesus. He loves me, died for me, and gives daily grace. I cannot imagine my life without Him, nor do I want to try.
The truth, accuracy, faithfulness, power and permanence of God's Word. How precious it is!
My hubby, who loves me no matter what.
The beautiful colors of fall!
Plenty to eat.
Safety and freedom. In our studies this fall as we have learned about colonial times, I have been reminded over and over how God is the common thread throughout history and how He so often orchestrated events "just so" during the founding days of our country. I am amazed and grateful.
The opportunity to homeschool our children. How I love learning with them!
The privilege of being a mother. Who would have thought back in the days of our struggle with infertility that I would be the happy mother of 5 children??! Indeed we are very blessed.
My good health, and that of my family.
My friends - they are jewels in the strand of my life!
Books, and the gift of being able to read well. Thanks mom and dad!
The godly heritage that is my past. What incredible people I come from!
The promise of heaven.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
A holding up his special letter.
Showing off the model of the solar system that son G received in his solar system class on our last day of co-op. Proudly hanging in the room he now shares with A! Yes, the planets glow in the dark. They are very cool.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
In my colonial america class we dressed up as pilgrims and indians and had a Thanksgiving feast. We ate turkey, corn, pumpkin bread (which the children made last week!) and venison. The venison was pretty popular!
I was so proud to display the artwork of my drawing students. They worked so hard!! Here is one of the scratch off projects that was just completed that day (can you tell it is a set of 3 insects?), and the next picture shows their first project which was a teddy bear picture done in charcoal.
Friday, November 16, 2007
When it's late at night and the project needs to be D.O.N.E. I am all about finding shortcuts. So instead of a zipper, here's my method of closing the skirt:
Thursday, November 15, 2007
In spite of the illness, here is what we have learned about this week:
Separately: Each child continued in their appropriate math books. Daughter G got 100% on her multiplication test! And son G also got 100% on his addition/subtraction test. We love, love, love Math U See and only wish we had discovered it earlier. We began using this curriculum last March and have found it easy to use, easy to understand, and oftentimes fun to boot! It teaches for mastery, so you cover the same topics in depth for a long period of time rather than a huge mixture of new material/review material every week.
The 3 middle boys also worked in their phonics workbooks, and each child worked in their age appropriate copybooks. Daughter G learned more about limiting and descriptive adjectives. Sons G and L learned "nk" and "ng" words in spelling. Son C began learning about the letter "t" and wrote a page about corn in his book about fall (he dictated to me and I wrote what he said except for the word "corn" which he wrote himself).
Daughter G began learning about speech writing and picked a topic. She will be writing her first speech and presenting it at our unit celebration sometime before Christmas. She also had a sewing lesson this week (with the machine), more on that tomorrow for Sew Crafty Friday.
Son A learned that "A" is his special letter! It's so cute, he really knows it now. Whenever he sees an "A" anywhere he will say excitedly, "that's my special letter!"
The middle 3 boys worked on memorizing verses from their Awana books.
Together: We went on a nature walk and collected leaves. We learned about the Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island Colonies (I learned so much!! This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling, I get to learn together with my kids!!). We worked on our history lapbooks, including a color coded map showing which of the 13 colonies were northern colonies, which were middle colonies, and which were southern colonies. We finished "Sign of the Beaver" for our literature selection (having sick kids is very conducive to reading aloud!). Great book! We took the week off from Science.
G putting leaves in her flower/leaf press.
The middle boys doing pizza math!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Worked on the mountain of laundry our day of sickness created.
Cleaned the kitchen. Mostly.
Scrubbed both toilets thoroughly.
Supervised school lite.
Read 6 chapters of "Sign of the Beaver" outloud. It's too good to put down!
Worked more on the mountain of laundry.
Realized I would not get my colonial dress sewn in time for our Thanksgiving feast at co-op this Friday.
Dispensed numerous cups of juice.
Rocked a feverish 2 year old (I don't think this is the same thing we all had).
Took a nap.
And now I'm off to bed! Good night.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So, no school today!
I remember when I was pregnant with our third child (in three years) being worried about how I'd handle it if they all got sick at the same time. And you know what? God's grace covers that WHEN it happens. It's not easy or fun, but we get through it one hour at a time, by God's grace. And the silver lining is that maybe I can lose a few pounds this way??
So, I'm going to go read a few chapters of "Sign of the Beaver" to the kiddos and then put EVERYONE down for naps!
Monday, November 12, 2007
5 year old C: Zorro is way better than Wesley! (at swordsmanship - Mommy disclaimer: none of the children has even seen Zorro, this comparison exists in their imagination only)
2 year old A: Mawage is what brings us togethah today. (quoting from "Princess Bride")
10 year old daughter G: My brothers are a mystery.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Since then, mommy force field has been used frequently around here. One of the beautiful things about mommy force field is that it can be activated with only one hand, and sometimes in a pinch, with just the spoken words. I have activated it while browning hamburger, changing a diaper, helping someone brush their teeth, and while sitting at the piano.
So I just want to inform you all that I. Am. That. Hero!!!
Friday, November 9, 2007
This will be a treat for those of you who love traditional hymns. I love all kinds of "songs, hymns, and spiritual songs" but seldom get to hear traditional hymns sung by a large choir with a large orchestra backing them up. I listened to this with tears streaming down my face today. It's long but well worth it.
In my drawing class we began a "scratch off" project we hope to display next week. A's preschool class is also having a thanksgiving feast next week, and they made indian headbands today.
L made this styrofoam and feather turkey in his art class.
Playing horse and warrior!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Can anyone help me find this?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Yesterday we went shopping for things to pack our boxes. We had such a fun time and the children were really into it. Our boys packed a box for a boy (naturally!), while our daughter packed a box for a girl. This year we bought shoe box sized plastic tubs so the children who received them would have a durable place to keep their special things after opening. Please consider getting involved in this wonderful ministry!