Update On Us

We homeschool year round, but I have the summer off to some degree. My kids have planned it all out and will be dictating their routines for the most part. A few things are mandatory they must stick in here and there, drum lessons, horse riding lessons, piano lessons, volunteer work, etc…and they have decided to have specific days. ie: Monday is math day, Tuesday is history day, and so on…they plan to make their tv shows, iPad apps, board games, outdoor play, kitchen experiments, etc revolve around the theme of the day. Example, today is spanish day, so they will switch the language to spanish on the DVDs they watch and instead of their go to Pig Latin kid talk, they will attempt to speak spanish when possible, etc…

I do feel like I need to give an update since it’s been a LONG while since I’ve shared what were up to.

A while back I decided to do an experiment and give the kids what we called a “FREE WEEK”…

…in a nutshell, the kids were responsible for their sleeping times, eating times, food choices, entertainment and education. In a very free willy nilly sort of way. I was here to help them when they asked but overall they were in charge of themselves. I deleted everything from the calendar for a week. (Including canceling lessons they did not want to attend)

The point for me was to get a good idea of what they were capable of, how they handled their choices, where they still needed me to guide them, where they were more self sufficent, etc…

I do think much longer then a week is needed for a true assessment. Because a week does feel in some way like a holiday rather then a time to put on your boots and get to work.

I discovered (and more importantly THEY discovered) there were still many areas mom was very needed! Which is a good thing IMHO!

They were very curious why no friends came over to play. I asked them if they arranged any play dates. Hmmm might be the reason. Planning is needed to make things happen. Good lesson for them to learn.

Why they don’t have any clean pants. I asked if they did their laundry? Hmmmm must wash clothes in order to have clean clothes. Another good lesson…but mostly they just realized mom does the laundry and didn’t this week, so they opted to wear alternative outfits over the favorites until mom washed again. (Which spurred mom to buy separate laundry baskets for each child and unknown to them, they are slowly learning to take over their own laundry washing, drying, folding and putting away! Darn sneaky mom!)

Aside from a few really good learning opportunities/discussions. And great examples of what could be handled better, it was a blissful week for ALL of us.

We all were doing exactly what we wanted all day long for an entire week! Yes I did not hear one single bicker from the kids. They were so happy doing their own thing. I accomplished a ton because they didn’t demand as much of my attention as they normally do.

HOWEVER the amount of Minecraft they played was insane for my liking. (I fondly refer to Minecraft as Mindcrap, even though I know there are lots of great learning opportunities around the game…it’s the intensity of time suck I don’t like)

Since it was free week, I figured eventually my son would have his fill, get a neck cramp, something and stop playing…nope, he played the entire week nearly all day every day! My daughter would stop mid day and go do something else, but come back to it in the evening.

They did build some amazing structures, learned a bunch from tutorials online, took on challenges and played well in each others worlds. But like I said the intensity of the Minecraft take over was not a long term OK thing with me, so we had a little Minecraft detox the following week. We are now back on a healthy level of video games from mama’s perspective.

Aside from free week, we’ve had horse riding adventures, rock climbing adventures, and a bunch if fun with friends. Spring time always sheds away the winter chill and gets us outside and active.

image

I think repelling is what they love the most!

image

image

And shortly after this adventure they wanted to practice bouldering (no harness, height they are comfortable with jumping down from)

image

image

Recently, my daughter took some of her girl friends on a trail ride (some of her friends had never been on a horse, so you can see trail walkers near each horse for the riders safety) my son played Mindcrap with his friends (the brothers of the horse riders) it was a perfect day for all involved. Haha!

image

image

While school kids are finishing up their last few weeks of school, I hear my public school mama friends tell me about their busy end of school year calendar chaos. It reminds me how very blessed we are to be homeschooling. We are enjoying all this warm weather having fun with friends and not in a busy chaotic frenzy.

Advertisements

Tis The Season To Be Busy…Fa La La La La La La

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog, because life just has a way of speeding by during this time of the year. We arrived home from our vacation and came home to boom boom boom a long list of events…We start off with Harvest, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah this year for our Jewish friends) and POOF Christmas is right around the corner.

image

On this particularly busy day, it was a super crazy day. I was going all day and exhausted. The kids were off playing and I saw a window for myself to just have a calm quiet cup of tea. I made myself a cup of tea, got a book, a couple extra cushions for the patio chair, settled myself down. Look over and see this! Seriously! Really? You gotta be kidding me! Ever have days like this!?! Well you aren’t alone! 😉

Here is a photo blog of what has been keeping us so busy and hopefully that will release me of my poor blogging skills guilt! (there’s always hope right!?!? ha ha!) It should make the family happy to have current photos of the kiddos doing what they do. 🙂

image

Harvest Time – We generally spend a little time in the vineyard picking grapes with the crews. They often will save us a small plot to pick, because to be honest the crews are MUCH MORE efficient then we are. They can clear three or four rows in the same time we pick our small patch. But it is still fun to be a part of the harvest, eat a few grapes, dodge a few bees, learn hands on what a harvest really is about.

image

Horse riding lessons – Each week the kids have horse riding lessons with an amazing trainer. Each week they alternate between English, Western & Vaulting lessons. Their balance and spatial awareness is growing leaps and bounds! In this photo the horse is walking. She is learning various vaulting skills at walk and trot.

image

Science Experiments – This was a science kit explaining quick sand. After this experiment I found a better recipe online and we created a larger bowl of “quick sand” that occupied the kids for days and sadly killed many small plastic animals. (no worries though, all were saved by the dishwasher!)

image

image

Pumpkin Patch Farm With Homeschooling Friends – we spent about 6 hours at this farm enjoying every aspect of it. Seeing the fields on a tractor hay ride, running thru hay mazes, feeding the farm animals, shopping their fresh product, eating yummy treats in their restaurant. It was a great day and the kids (mama too!) were tuckered out afterwards!

image

And of course we carved pumpkins…Jack O’lanterns are always so much fun!

image

More BIG NEWS – “Mom Dad, come see” – sooo we head outside and there she is, riding her brothers bike without training wheels. Apparently big brother helped her learn how to ride his bike. We were able to see the first steps as he ran behind her on his bike, hilariously cute! So dad took the trainers off HER bike and she “relearned” on her bike…she is very proud of her new-found skills!

image

image

And of course “SCHOOL TIME” – both kiddos enjoy desk work (believe it or not!) I have my theories on why my kids think school work is fun…pretty much has to do with the fact it’s THEIR CHOICE.

image

“SURFING” on Grandpa’s back – I remember doing these things with my dad as a child and it’s fun to see my kids enjoying the same adventures. He would throw us up in the air, across the pool, we’d swim on his back and pretend he was a dolphin, Surf across the pool on his back. And it appears he still has the touch!

image

Homeschool Park Day – Halloween party for the homeschoolers. Some people believe homeschoolers are unsocialized and they never get to play with their peers. I will tell you during this fun adventure I heard a lot of the kids using their words to say things like “please pass the stickers” or “thank you” I didn’t see any pushing, shoving or grabbing going on. I’d say they were very well-mannered and displayed great social skills.

image

Trick or Treat – Halloween is always fun! This year we celebrated with some friends. The kids ran from door to door and then afterwards enjoyed a good old fashion candy swap. I think all the kids felt they came out ahead!

image

School Math the next day included Candy sorting, charting, adding and the kids favorite SUBTRACTING (aka eating!)

image

Homeschool Park Day – Each week we get together with homeschool friends for park day and it is always so fun to see the older kids helping the younger kids and all the kids having fun together just being kids! I love it! So much joy!

image

We made a little road trip to see JACK HANNA in action! he brought a bunch of wild animals to share with us and teach us some interesting facts about animals and various areas in the world.

image

Our reading tree is SLOWLY filling. We actually have read way more books, but we unfortunately keep forgetting to add them to the tree. Each item is for a different reading situation, the animals are for chapter books, acorns for readers, leaves for story books, etc…

image

Rain Gutter Regatta – This is a cub scouts event. The boys build sail boats and then using their breath power they blow the boat in a race down rain gutters. Its great fun and the kids all design great vessels!

image

More School Time – they love their desks and it cracks me up every time they happily work away at their desks asking for more work.

image

Another opportunity to do some math, geography, foreign language and character work – each year about this time, Samaritan’s Purse puts on the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD program http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and each year I give the kids a budget and a list of approved items. I take them shopping and they can choose what they want to go into their shoe box. They need to stay within budget. They need to scout out items that are on the list and fit in their box. They deliver the boxes to a local church and see all the work people put into making Christmas special for others. They learn about giving. We purchase tracking codes so we can track what country our boxes go to and learn more about that area. And they HOPE a child will return a letter one day. This year we wrote our letter in a couple of languages hoping someone would translate for the receiver. We shall see.

image

image

image

We read a bunch of books on nature and animal tracks. One of the books suggested looking for an OWL during the day. So we headed out in search of tracks, owls and owl pellets. (which is owl puke, some people think it’s poop. The owl eats a WHOLE mouse and then the fur and bones bundle up together during digestion and the owl pukes it out)

We did find lots of tracks, bobcats, deer, pigs, coyotes, birds, and our dogs! ha ha! At the base of several trees we searched for owl pellets. We looked at the tippy tops of many trees. No owls and no owl pellets. But lucky for us, Amazon.com sells owl pellet kits and has two-day shipping! ha ha!

The kits are great, because they come with little bone charts and the kids can pretend they are paleontologists, digging around for bones and then placing them back together to see if they have a whole animal!

image

When it was all over the kids drew pictures and wrote about it in their nature journals.

image

On occasion we get to do school with our homeschooling friends.

image

and we also get to do pizza parties and arcade games with our homeschooling friends.

image

image

image

We have a few family traditions that make our Thanksgiving one of our favorite holidays! For starters we eat venison instead of turkey. 1) we’re pretty sure they had venison at the first thanksgiving meal. and 2) no one in our family likes turkey, so who wants to spend all day cooking a big old bird no one will eat. We have a TURKEY SHOOT, which is great fun! The kids blow up surgical gloves and we decorate them to look like turkeys. Take them down to the shooting range and take turns shooting the turkeys. (We use both rifles and bows) And last but certainly not least, we have a pumpkin toss. And all of those pumpkins we collected are tossed down the canyon. We see who can throw the farthest, highest, funniest, etc… Then we hike down the canyon and smash the pumpkins open, getting any aggression out on the poor little pumpkins! ha ha! But this opens them up so nature can take its course and the pumpkins do their part in the cycle of life.

image

And then comes the food coma! I couldnt eat another bite!

image

image

We also have piano recitals that keep us moving and grooving!

image

Before you know it, it is Christmas tradition time! Poof, three months has flown by! This year for the first time, the kid’s gingerbread houses don’t look like a candy/frosting factory puked on them. This is the first year they both decided to follow some suggested ideas in the directions! I was both impressed and sad to be honest. I was impressed with how well their houses came out (one is in the background, but you can still see it, lovely icicles!) But I was sad to know their childish glops of frosting and uneven gum drops were days of the past now. It has spurred a field trip. We are going to go check out a bakery that makes professional gingerbread houses and see how they do their amazing decorating tricks.

image

image

And with Christmas comes the shelf elves! Meet Sir SugarSocks MacMistletoe and his lady elf friend. They get into mischief in our house on occasion, but for the most part they are decent elves that simply report to Santa how the kids are doing throughout the season!

Please forgive my lack of blogging lately, but as you can see we have been keeping busy with events, friends, family and school.

Friday – Day Five

Well today daddy was home and that is always a nice treat!

He started the day off with a hilarious question…he is scanning the terrarium that still does not have a lizard in it, but does have a rotting strawberry and a dozen crickets.

We decided to leave the strawberry in there and do a science experiment on mold…haha…seriously, it was a decision the kids and I made on purpose…haha…that sounds so homeschooler. haha!

Anyhow, as I’m making a cup of tea, I hear him ask kindly:

Honey how long has that strawberry been in with the crickets?

It is very difficult to type out his tone of what he’s really saying thru his sweet gentle question: what he is really saying is more on the lines of…are you aware there is rotting food in the tank here? (As if I honestly would have no clue) and Do you plan on cleaning it out or just leaving it there? He is pretty disgusted…lol…

I can’t help but laugh when I reply, yes I know it’s there we are doing a science experiment, please leave it alone…haha!

My son woke up and immediately wanted an audio book.

image

Today the kids had horse riding lessons. They are learning Western, English and Vaulting. Today they practice Western.

image

Some stretching exercises first…

image

image

My daughter was still sleepy…lol

image

Time to ride…

image

image

Piano lessons…

image

image

Random playtime…

image

image

image

Both my kids found this toy interesting, when they are generally geared towards a much younger audience…however, I will admit I found myself sliding the beads around a few times myself and all we need to say is I’m MUCH older than the audience that typically plays with these haha!

image

image

After piano, my daughter wanted one on one time with daddy at the shooting range. So they went off to shoot targets and I took my son out for a frozen yogurt treat.

image

When we all gathered back together, my daughter once again (has been asking for months now) asked if I will please dye her hair pink. I think about the kool-aid trick and there is no way I could get her roots with boiling hot kool-aid…so I swing into the drug store and poof there it is, her dreams of pink in a box!

Daddy misses her sweet blond hair…but girls just wanna have fun! Haha! I figure its best to express ones self under parental supervision than explode with teenage rebellion one day.

image

Book time…

image

A basher book on creative writing arrived in the mail and the kids were checking it out. My son will be working on creative writing a bit more this coming year.

image

They always find time for jumping…

image

image

image

When my husband put the rabbits in for the night, he noticed a toad trapped in the rabbit hutch. He got the kids to come see the toad. After they got a chance to pet the toad, then they released it back into nature.

image

image

And that is all I have for you today…kids literally read themselves to sleep tonight. Everyone is out like a light…

Goodnight! Have a great weekend!