Monday, October 24, 2011

Becoming Intentional


Being intentional comes to some people know checklists and organization. For me it's like fighting up hill with a grizzly and sometimes that grizzly is me. When I decided I was going to homeschool I knew I would have to be more intentional. Some weeks are better than others. The biggest amount of planning comes from my three year old. 

If I want to be productive at all I have to have things planned out for her, otherwise she makes her own fun. Normally I use Sunday afternoon to print out worksheets and activities for her. If I am not intentional about this it can ruin our whole week. Trust me I have learned the hard way. I also keep a list of busy ideas in a spiral. The days of thinking on my toes are long gone. Anyone with multiple children understands this. Having a list of extra things to do can save the day!

What about housework? This continues to be a struggle for me. It was not my best area even before I had kids. I think all homeschoolers struggle with this some because our kids are always home. There isn't that break during the day where you can focus on nothing but cleaning. It helps me to have certain chores my kids do every day. Another thing I tend to do is start one thing, get distracted, and start another. By the end of the day I have a number of things started and not so many finished. So I am trying to remember to focus on one thing at a time. I remember one day I got the idea to dig up all the dandelions in our yard. Of course I started but never finished. When my husband got home he thought there had been an armadillo visit. Honestly he never knows what he might find when he comes home poor guy. 

Also as moms, we need to remember to let some things go. If we don't we will spend our whole life doing. This is the fast road to burnout. Any time I feel myself getting grumpy, it is usually because I have not taken some time for me. When was the last time you were intentional about  a break? I am going to be intentional about sitting down and drinking my coffee this morning before I start the day.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 10/16/11


 In My Life This Week: I've spent some more time reflecting on me and my interests outside of kids. I love to write and blog, yet don't always give myself the freedom to take that time for myself. I find myself feeling guilty for such a small pleasure, especially if the house is super messy. Yet, if I use the couple of hours that the baby is sleeping to do housework I will not get any writing done. So, I have just got to give myself the freedom to write. 

Painting with Marshmallows
She loved this matching game from TOTSCHOOL!
Here I caught him totally engrossed in one of his science books.
In Homeschool This Week: This week really seemed like a blur. Brylee worked on the letter E. I have been happy to see the changes another year older brings for both Brylee and Bodie. For Bodie there are certain things I can have him work on and not have to be right there the whole time. At this point it doesn't allow me much freedom because Brylee does need me right there for most things that she is involved with. However, her attention span is so much better this year that I am not running through as many activitiesBodie is a really good reader but this year his reading is taking off! Several times he has gotten quiet and I've gone to see what he is up to and I catch him reading a book. This makes me so happy. The only draw back is no more skipping parts when I am doing his night time stories, he catches me every time. 

Helpful Tips or Advice To Share...... Last week we really struggled with silliness during school time. It's not serious stuff that he should really get in trouble for but annoying and things that would never fly in a group. This is probably a drawback for the homeschool thing. An example: we don't raise our hands to ask a question because right now it is just me asking and mostly Bodie answering. At church and in other group settings when the teacher is asking a question he just blurts out the answer.  So this week we have worked on raising our hands and not making little noises that are distracting to everyone. But, also I have been trying to come up with ideas for rewarding good attitudes and behavior and correcting the bad. A lot of things Bodie does is just annoying so I wanted a way I could discourage that. I decided on a ticket system much like we do at church. He and Brylee get tickets for working together nicely, being polite, staying on task, not whining when I ask for something to be done etc... If they have five tickets at the end of the week they get to choose something out of the prize box. If they have ten or more they get more fun things like extra free time, extra mommy time,  a camp out in the livingroom, movie time, or whatever else they might think is really special. The hard part: they get tickets taken all week too for negative behavior like whining, arguing, not staying on task, fighting, or whatever behaviors you do not like in your household. I'm still in the try out phase right now, but am hoping this will work. This week I graded behaviors with a curve a bit because I wanted them to get in the prize box so they could get something cool ( i picked out some cool stuff) and hopefully give them more motivation to get in there again. This next week I will be a little stricter and we will see what happens.

Embarrassing Moment This Week....... Our neighbors went out of town this week and we were feeding their animals. They have a whole row of round bales right out in their front yard that the kids like to play in and around. After throwing hay to their goats, I looked around to see my daughter in all her bare butted glory squatting down for a pee on the grass. The outfit she was wearing that day was a one piece type romper that you have to take off from shoulders down if you need to go to the bathroom. Needless to say all was out for the world to see. Now this would have been ok if she had bothered to get behind something,(after all she did not pee in her pants) but the spot she picked was in full view of the people right across the road and also anyone who happened to drive by. So I am sorry to anyone who might think my children are little barn kids......they are!

Questions....... How does everyone else get all their housework, schoolwork, laundry done during the week. Any helpful tips?  


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 9/27

It's amazing what a week off can do to your perspective. It sounds kind of funny to be wishing for a week off this early in the school year, but it was actually way over due. Glenn and I really have not had a chance to get away in a very long time. So it truly is not that I wanted a break from school, but just a break in general. It gave me a chance to do some reflecting on my life, on school, and the kids. It gave me a chance to think on my goals for the year and what is working and what makes me tense. We had a great time just relaxing, no agenda, and a change of scenery.
Fishing makes him happy.

In My Life This Week: My time off led me to remind myself .......again that I keep putting us in a box. I have such advantages at my fingertips and I keep forgetting this and keep trying to put us in some standard classroom type setting. I find myself becoming an easily irritated teacher. Upon reflection I realized I am not happy when I teach like this and honestly my kids are not either. I'm an outdoors girl and when I put us in the "classroom" setting I feel like I all I love is escaping. Once I finish school I feel like I have to run around the house trying to do chores, get supper on, and then it is evening and I might not have even gotten a chance to be outside. So I am reminding myself again that the world is our classroom. Also, I'm on  a quest to get back some of my identity and enjoy things I like. This week I got on a green broke horse for the first time in over a year. I have not been riding much at all, something I miss dearly, so it felt great but also a little scary. I'm not in riding shape and that messes with your mind because I know one silly move from a green horse could end me up on the ground easily. I also know how hard that ground can be and how much older I feel without moving to the ground in rapid speed. So I had to swallow the knot in my throat and hope he was as ready as I thought he was. Thankfully besides being a bit sluggish and trying to figure out my requests we had a decent ride and I felt like I'd over come a huge mountain in my mind. YAY!

In School This Week:

We spent more time outside. We had been studying Lewis and Clark's journey, read the book and watched a short movie on it. So we decided we'd try out our own map making skills and draw a map off our back pasture. The kids put on their backpacks, took their notebooks and binoculars and off we went on our journey.


I don't know if he's Lewis or Clark, but he's leading the way.

Our letter for the week was C so we decided that was a great time to make cupcakes.

Brooke loves it when the letter of the week involves eating something.
Here we are doing a few more fun things that start with the letter C.

What's working what's not: I am really liking Abeka phonics and language from a teaching aspect, but I also liked Sonlight's creative side. Since I actually have the Instructor Guide for Sonlight's language I pick out some of the creative things they have listed. I feel like it makes it really well rounded and Bodie seems to enjoy it. The work sheets are super easy for him, but he struggles with the creative things. This gives a chance to use both.

I am inspired by: classical education. At this point it is still intimidating to me, but I can really see the benefits and may try more of it as time goes by. Any advice? Pointers.

Questions I have: Has anyone done classical and standard education? What are pros and cons of each?

I felt like it was a great week back and am excited to what this next week holds as well.

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