Oct 28, 2008

Another one done!!!

Thanks sooooo much again for all the well wishes over the weekend. DD's surgery went extremely well yesterday and she will be coming for a few days respite at our house tomorrow (Wed) to recuperate. 2 for 2!

Oct 26, 2008

Carved and Poked Pumpkins

Here they sit on the front bench -
our carved and poked pumpkins!


Frankie the Werewolf!

And Smiling Jack-O-Lantern.

Oct 25, 2008

"Onlies"

I get a newsletter every so often from Home School Inc. and it had an article in it that I thought was very interesting, insightful and right to the point, so I thought I would share it here!

Socialization Strengths of Only Children

Do you have an only child? While most "onlies" would love to have siblings -- and many still will -- there are positive social strengths to be gained by being a homeschooled only child.
A week ago, we did a Quick Tip on the built-in social training-ground for children with siblings. Only children who are homeschooled also have a built-in social training-ground. It may be less obvious to your only child, but it's there.
The first reason for their positive social skill development is because they learn very early that others jump to the conclusion, even before they've met them, that only children must be spoiled! So onlies start out having something positive to prove about not being spoiled and being able to share. Only children in homeschool families also learn very quickly that there's no free lunch when it comes to other children wanting to play with them and be with them. If they want other children to come over to their house, and if they want to be invited back somewhere, they need to be the kind of friend that other children want to have. They also need to be the kind of guest whom other parents want to have in their home.
Onlies learn that complaining is a pain. They learn that sharing is a must. They learn that they need to be a friend worth having if they want to have friends. Even though at their own home they don't have siblings, only children also learn how to wait...they wait for friends.
Families who homeschool only children tend to seek out support group classes and field trips possibly more often than other families. Families who homeschool only children also seek out playmates and sponsor projects at their homes. They tend to invite others over quite a bit. But those activities alone do not build social skills. They are opportunities. Onlies learn how to share, help others, and work things out constructively with other children, or they don't get a second chance with that child who just came over to play, or with that family. They learn how to be considerate, interesting, and not selfish, because when they don't do those things, they are not invited back. It's tough! For onlies, the real world starts right away.
There's a second way that onlies build social skills. While only children may have many things and resources that some children in larger families don't have, there are also very high expectations on them. When grandparents and other relatives come to visit -- there's no question about who will stop playing and come (right away!) to be polite and talk and listen to the relatives. It's not someone else's turn -- it's the only child's turn -- every time.
Onlies do have the benefits that we all see. They tend to be showered with love and attention and lots of resources. But in that shower of attention, they learn how to negotiate with parents for a little less attention, rather than more. If you have an only, help them see the positives. Help them with these opportunities to build their social skills. Give them some space and cut back on constantly bragging about them to others. Relax and see, and help your only to see the value of what they're gaining as an only-child homeschooler!

© 2008 Home School, Inc. 2700 South River Road Suite 106 Des Plaines, IL 60018 (800)760-7015
Break Time is delivered to registered and subscribed users of www.Home-School-Inc.com.

My only does a great job in most situations, but she does have issues when in large groups as well as dealing with younger (3-5 years) siblings. We often have her friends here so that they can play without being bothered by little brothers (which most of her friends have) and her friends often like the break from their siblings. KM's friends that are onlies also have most of the traits mentioned. I think that this article really hits all it's points right on the mark!

The only thing I think it left out is the strain that is put on parents who homeschool onlies to be the playmate, teacher, and parent. It can be a struggle, especially on those days when you just can't manage to get a playdate, there are no classes or events scheduled, you are sooooo tired and your only has decided that they NEED your help because they HAVE to build a fort with the couch or that their Barbie needs to buy new shoes but their is no cashier in the store!

I would not trade my only for anything, but I am ever so glad that KM is close with my younger siblings and her relationship with SC is priceless!

Do you have an only? Can you think of any unique challenges that haven't been mentioned?

Oct 24, 2008

You are all great!

Thanks so much for all the wonderful emails, notes and prayers!
LP made it through her surgery fabulously and without a hitch!
One down - one to go!
Your support and well wishes are appreciated more than you can know!

Oct 22, 2008

Oct 21, 2008

Practice, Practice, Practice

She has been focused and is practicing the keyboard diligently lately, with much improvement!

video

video

However she is convinced that she has to play one handed as she says that
"the left hand just doesn't work the way it should!"

Oct 20, 2008

Yup - It's Official!

We Love Fall!!!KM's interpretation of the "Green Man" changing through the season!

Oct 19, 2008

Thoughts of upcoming weeks ---

My blogs may be short or far between over the next few weeks as we will be spending lots of time visiting and helping out with medical things in our "outer" family circle. I say "outer" family in reference to those who do not live under my roof. My family has so many layers, twists and combinations that it can get a bit confusing for those of us in the family never mind anyone on the outside looking in. I love all aspects of my family and of course want to be there to support them as much as I can.
On top of all the medical things going on, we still only have one car! Hopefully by Tuesday CJ's truck will be out of the body shop and I will be able to drive his little "BIC" car ~ we call it the disposable car, because he bought it last spring when the gas prices hit their peak for $600 and it paid for itself in gas savings over the truck in about 3 weeks time ~ which will make life a bit easier so that I won't have to keep juggling to borrow MC's car.
Speaking of MC, she is newly pregnant and moving on Halloween! So I am sure that you can only imagine what a stressed out ball of who knows what she has been as of late!

Okay - Enough with my ramblings!
We will be juggling our own - and others - doctors' appointments, 3 birthday parties, having SC nearly everyday, clubs and coop classes, our normal everyday stuff, and anything else that comes our way over the next few weeks!

BUT WE WILL MAKE IT!
We always do!
We will breathe through it...
and we will make it!

Oct 17, 2008

Writing Tales

I have mentioned SEVERAL times that I have not been able to find something that I thought would work for KM for writing - well I think I have found the solution!

I am sooo excited about this program - I came across it on one of the secular yahoo lists that I belong to, and after looking at it for a few days decided that for the affordable price I really couldn't go wrong!

Here is the summary of the program:
Writing Tales is a comprehensive writing curriculum that teaches from a classical approach. Lessons and practice in grammar, spelling, vocabulary and handwriting are also included. Level One is written for 3rd-4th grade ages, or middle grammar level students. This consumable workbook is meant to be used in tandem with the Writing Tales Teacher's Guide.

So I ordered it and arrived today! I haven't been able to put it down! It looks like it is going to be the perfect direction for her! I like the aspect of the them re-telling classic stories with the room for creativity, instead of the strict retelling that can be rather boring. I also really like the fact that it has co-op lesson plans included. I think we will have to tweak some of it a bit, like leaving out the copy-work, but for the most part I think it is going to work out! I will be sure to let you know how things are rolling as when we start using it!

Oct 15, 2008

I WON!!


Choosy Homeschooler picked me as their weekly "Wednesday Winner"!!!
So I get to spend $50 at Discovery Toys!
I can't wait to get some new things for SC!
I will let you and Choosy Homeschooler know what I think of the products we get!

In the meantime, you could be a winner too!
It is so simple to enter just sign up for their email newsletter!

GOOD LUCK!

Oct 14, 2008

Pumpkin Painting

Since KM was little we have always painted pumpkins so that we could decorate for halloween with some, before it is time to carve them - we don't let the carved ones hang around for more than a week! So on our way back from co-op yesterday we stopped at a local farm and picked out our pumpkins for the season!

Today SC got to paint her first pumpkin!
She did an awesome job, picking and swirling the paint!
When she got bored, her house kept her entertained!
While KM took her time with her "Vampire Princess"!


With bloody fangs -


and streaked hair - of course!

We used some print outs to add the eyes, nose and mouth to SC's swirly pumpkin!

Oct 13, 2008

Classics Children's Stories

Since we are always looking for free online resources for audio books, clips, videos and whatever, I thought I would share this site that was sent through one of my favorite secular homeschool groups.

Kiddie Records Weekly - Classics from the Golden Age

Introduction

Kiddie Records Weekly began in 2005 as a one year project devoted to the golden age of children's records. This period spanned from the mid forties through the early fifties and produced a wealth of all-time classics. Many of these recordings were extravagant Hollywood productions on major record labels and featured big time celebrities and composers.

Over the years, these forgotten treasures slipped off the radar and it became our mission to give them a new lease on life by sharing them with today's generation of online listeners. Each week throughout the year we added a new recording and before we knew it, our one year project turned into three! Although we will not be continuing beyond 2007, Kiddie Records Weekly will remain online and we will update the Bonus Records section every now and then.

So whether you are hearing these records for the first time or reuniting with a childhood favorite from long ago, we hope you take great pleasure in your trip down memory lane!


We were checking the site out a bit this evening and KM asked if we could listen to them in the mornings during breakfast, I thought that was a lovely idea! I feel it is very important to have at least some grasp of classic stories as they are constantly referred to in everyday life.

Oct 11, 2008

Distinct Sense of Style

After KM got back from her evening out with her aunt she said that the woman at the salon said that she had a distinct sense of style. She wasn't really sure if it was suppose to be a compliment, but she liked the way it sounded and so we looked it up:

distinct (dĭ-stĭngkt') pronunciation
adj.
  1. Readily distinguishable from all others; discrete: on two distinct occasions.
  2. Easily perceived by the senses or intellect; clear: a distinct flavor.
  3. Clearly defined; unquestionable: at a distinct disadvantage.
  4. Very likely; probable: There is a distinct possibility that she won't come.
  5. Notable: a distinct honor and high privilege.
I thought is was actually a very accurate description of her!
Here is why they thought so:

She is not one for conformity!
Don't know where she could possibly get that from!

Oct 10, 2008

Week in Review!!

Lots went on this week...
here are some pics!First day of coop - busy busy!

A day with my nieces! OR will be 2 in about 2 weeks and SC is 16 mo.
They had a great afternoon playing together

Then my brother got home from school and all h@@@ broke loose!

SC learned how to use the stool to help with the dishwasher...
she has been fascinated by it since she could crawl -
don't know why, but I am not going to complain!
CJ had Monday off due to rain, so he had time to make an awesome gate
to keep the dogs off and SC on the back porch!
This will help with my sis's fears a bit!
(not of the dogs, but of SC running around the house and out into the street!)


Since it has been so wet in the mornings we also decided to put the house on the deck for the season, this way it will dry quicker and we won't have to deal with the soaking wet grass in the morning either.

Although our trip to the zoo started off with a bang...
or it was more of a crash really...
none of us were hurt and KM and I got some great shots of the animals.
The gorillas come right up to the windows and start posing as soon as they see flashes going off!

KM took this one of the wildebeest.
I absolutely love the lighting through the trees!
When we came out of the gift shop this peacock was just strolling around.
The leopards were a bit tricky to get and I am surprised, due to the lighting that these came out at all.
I had to share this one because we never knew that the giraffe's had to spread their legs like this in order to eat from the ground.

So my thoroughly exhausting week is over and done with - nearly, of course MC will be over in a bit to take KM out to get her nails done and go for dinner (part of her bday present), so CJ and I will be going out to eat as well, I still have to go to the insurance inspectors tomorrow to have pics taken of the car, we never got to our election studies or music theory for this week so we will have to do catch up on those tomorrow, KM has her best friend sleeping over for the weekend, I have lesson plans to get done for next week,.... and about 50 other things I can think of off the top of my head - does it ever really stop? Does the "To Do" list ever really get completely finished?

Well, none the less, I will be taking it at a bit of a slower pace as we will be down a vehicle and since CJ's truck is still in the body shop from his accident last month, we will actually only have one drivable car! We haven't had this happen for years! Oh well things happen for a reason. I am most thankful that there were no injuries and we have insurance to cover everything. KM's only concern after the accident was whether we were going to still get to go to the zoo! Gotta love the minds of kids!

Oct 8, 2008

Project Update - 2

I have made a lot of progress on getting the pics in our main PC more organized, but I still have a LONG way to go and therefore have not even started to scan KM's baby pics that we don't have in the computer yet. I have been making moving right along with the VHS to DVD conversion though, because I can get it started and then I can walk away and do whatever while it uploads, it is SO easy!

I have converted about half and then I will start to edit, compile, add and take out sound and hopefully get it all onto one or two DVDs with different chapters and such.
I have done this before with pictures but never with video so it will be interesting to try it out.

I am SOOOOO tired!!!

I could stay in bed for a week curled up as comfy as this:

Whom ever thinks that homeschooled children are not socialized should come and visit us this week!

We haven't stopped, it is only Wed and tomorrow is the only day this week that we don't "have" to be somewhere! I am sooo tired!

I have many "guru" types in my life, for various aspects and my very favorite ~all knowing~ homeschool guru mentioned one time having "Go Days" and "Stay Days" and sticking to them. On Go Days you have classes, do errands, have appointments, etc. On Stay days you stay at home all day - for the most part, a quick trip to the store for milk is permissible, but not much else - there really isn't anywhere that you "HAVE" to be. She tries to plan and schedule things around those days so that the kids know what to expect, she can get things done around the house and no one gets burnt out!

My new strategy ~ once I get through the rest of this jam packed week ~ I am going to try to have three out of seven days be stay days each week. Not that we will have full GO days four days, but we need to have three days that we are home. One day for laundry and cleaning, one day for baking and pre-cooking, and one day for mom to not loose that wonderful sanity I have been gaining.

I will say that KM has been incredibly receptive and cooperative this week on the go schedule - far better than she ever has been before! I however feel like I could keel over at any second and sleep for a month.

How does your family juggle the hustle and bustle that homeschooling and life can bring!
I will let you know how this system works out for us after we have tried it out a bit! Please share any tips, strategies or rules that your family lives and learns by!

Oct 6, 2008

First day back at co-op!

It was our first day of fall session with our local coop group and we had such a great time! It was so nice to see everyone and meet lots of new families that have joined. We had the most wonderful brunch - if there is one thing us homeschool moms know how to do, it is feed people! - the younger kids got to play in the wonderful space that we are so fortunate to have available to us and the older ones started their economics class for exchange city.
We are so fortunate to have this wonderful supportive group of families around us! It is such a diverse group, but everyone is so warm, welcoming and open!
We are very excited about our upcoming sessions!

Oct 4, 2008

Fall is really here!

It went below 40 degrees last night
and you can feel the wonderful fall chill in the air!
So we spent the afternoon trying out new recipes for zucchini bread, brownies, and cranberry bread - from scratch, which was a bit scary for me - pork, stuffing & vegetable casserole, and indoor s'mores. I love to bake, but generally take the easier quick bread mix route as baking just makes me nervous since I can't really taste anything along the way, like I do when I am cooking. You have to give blind faith to the recipe gods that they are being nice to you and everything is going to come out just right. Luckily today most came out fine, the only thing that could have been a bit better was the brownies, don't know what I did wrong, but they just seemed a bit dry. I usually make them more cakey so tomorrow when I make them into brownie bites for our coop on Monday I am going to add an extra egg to the recipe and hope for the best.

With oil prices still pretty high and the forecast of a VERY chilly winter on the way, CJ and our neighbor spent the day gathering and splitting dead wood from our yards. We had a wonderful fire going this evening to eat our indoor s'mores by!

Although we have had a wonderful summer, I am ever so glad that things have slowed down, CJ will be home a bit more, I get to be cozy in my sweats and fall is truly here!

Oct 1, 2008

Scary moments

Though I have tried to stay as positive as I can lately, it seems as though every time I turn around another scary moment is smacking me in the face. DD and LP have been spending many days at the doctor's as of late for various things, while some more serious than others it is very nerve wracking to wait for consultations and test results for loved ones.

Then today at lunch we had one rather scary moment, here in our own house. KM, SC, CJ, and I were all having lunch together when suddenly KM said, "What does it mean if I can't see right here?" and she pointed to her left side. Upon further questioning it seemed that she was having throbbing pain over her right eye, as well as loss of left peripheral vision. To avert the panic that was rising in my stomach, I immediately called her doctor's office, spoke with a nurse, made an appointment and had her go lay down until it was time to go. She was asleep within minutes -while I sat trying to not panic - and when I woke her up an hour later to go to the doctor, her vision had cleared. When we got to the doctor's, KM was very thorough in answering all the questions herself - she can be so mature when she needs to be - and the doctor felt incredibly certain that it was a textbook migraine attack. She suggested lots of rest, documenting all attacks, and ibuprofen to help when one hits. Since KM will be seeing her primary care at the end of the month for her yearly physical, we did not need to schedule another appointment before then.

So now we sit and wait to see if another one hits her...I am soooo not good at waiting.
I feel like this is all I have been doing lately. Waiting to hear back about someone's something!