Monday, April 22, 2013

Little Achievement

Last night, after I tucked the girls into bed, I walked into Wiggly's room to tell him goodnight.  He was laying in bed reading Super Fly-Guy.  All by himself.  Without me prompting, "Why don't we read a book?" or "Have you done your reading today?" It was awesome.  He was a couple pages in when I plopped down beside him to listen.  Did he miss some words? Yes, but that's ok.  He's taking interest in reading and I'm doing back flips, I'm so happy for him.  And for those of you who have had struggling/reluctant readers, you know it's a HUGE step.

Husband was just saying how impressed he was when they were at the store picking out golf balls, Wiggly was working to read the words on the packages around him.  He's never tried to do that before... and I'm just so proud of him.

Just thought I'd share our little achievement :0)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Let's Make a Schedule

Although I don't know of I can openly admit this to many people (especially my husband), I have found that since I becoming a SAHM, I do not operate around the house as productively as I did when I was working. There... I said it. I may have been crabby and overwhelmed 110% of the time when I came home from work every evening, but I still managed to feed everyone, keep filth from piling up around the house during the weekends, and usually had clean clothes for the family to wear for the week ahead. My house wasn't spotless by any means, but it was good enough.

Once I began staying home, my husband and I both had these thoughts of grander that the house would be properly maintained, the kids would be spotless, and cleanliness would all just magically come together, mostly because well, I was HOME now. All you veteran SAHM's can openly laugh at me now... Now, while I am SO much happier and more relaxed, (this is as a general rule, I DO have my moments) the house work has not magically fallen into place like I though it would. I would even say that our house is dirtier now that we're home all day than when I was working and only half-cleaning. It's taken me two years to say it out loud, but I NEED A SCHEDULE.

I've seen those "clean your entire house in 30 minutes a day!" schedules on Pinterest... I've even tried a few of them, and none of them have stuck. The only thing I've discovered is that there's no way I can vacuum/scrub/wash/wipe ANYTHING in my entire house in 30 minutes, even if I DID do it every week. But really what it comes down to is that the schedules I've tried created by other people just haven't fit for us. Then I read other people's advice about being flexible in your house cleaning and fit it in 10-15 minutes here and there, but the problem with that is that I'm TOO flexible (and a horrible procrastinator). If I didn't fit it in today, ah, I'll just do it tomorrow... or the next day, or the next... or just whenever...and Surprise! It doesn't get done.

So the epiphany I've had recently is this: I need a set schedule to operate in order to be productive. Period. One that needs to be set in stone, not just a rough idea in my head. Homeschooling may have been just what I needed to get this started. I understand that if I don't have a schedule for homeschooling, nothing's going to get done, and my children's education is a little more important than a clean house. And following along with homeschooling, my two oldest are at the age where some they can have some responsibilities of their own in helping around the house. As it stands, once we start homeschooling, my idea is that chores will be done before we start school at 9. And if the kids are going to have a set schedule for chores, so should I. Other people's schedules weren't working, so I created my own that I'm hoping will work for our family. This will probably need tweaked once we implement it, but hey, it's a start...

April's Home Schedule
(appox. 45 min.-1 hour each day)

Daily- dishes, wipe table/counters, general pick-up, sweep hallway as needed
Kids chores/pick up playroom

Week 1-Monday- vacuum & dust Living/Piano room

Tuesday- vacuum & dust Bedrooms, vacuum Hallway

Wednesday- clean Master Bathroom

Thursday- Meal Planning/ Grocery

Friday- clean Laundry Room/ Hallway, Half-bath

Saturday- clean Kitchen, do Laundry

Sunday- do Laundry, gather trash

Week 2- Monday- vacuum & dust Living/Piano room

Tuesday- vacuum Bedrooms/Hallway, clean/vacuum Playroom

Wednesday- clean Kids' Bathroom

Thursday- Meal Planning/ Grocery

Friday- clean Laundry Room, hallway, half bath

Saturday- clean Kitchen, do Laundry

Sunday- do Laundry, gather trash

Some of these chores I'll be able to enlist my kids' help in, which will be good for them. I tried to organize the cleaning according to "zones" in our house... Our bedrooms are in one section, and our larger kitchen gets the brunt of the "filth" during a week's time, so it gets a day all to itself. And lastly, I included meal planning/grocery because I try to only go to the grocery once a week. I enjoy knowing what meals I'm going to make during the week; it really takes the guess work out of "what am I going to make for dinner?" But, planning it all out and going through recipes usually takes me an hour, so I wanted to make sure it was on a set day. Also, Thursday afternoons and Fridays are hopefully going to be our out and about days where we can take day trips, run errands, and make appointments. The plan now is to not homeschool on Fridays.

If you're giggling at my nativity in my attempt to tame my house, just know that I'm laughing too... If it all falls apart at my fingertips, all is well...we'll just go back to the drawing board and try, try again. :0)

Friday, April 12, 2013

I love my Laminator!

Hello! I just wanted to share with you all how much I love my laminator as I continue to prepare to start our homeschooling adventure this summer.  
I am SUPER excited about homeschooling; Wiggly, less so.  We talk about it frequently and he knows that he's going to be going to school at home, but he tells me he's sad about not being able to see his friends everyday.  I feel for him.  I told him that there's a group of other homeschooled kids in our community (a VERY small group) and he'd make some new friends as well as keeping in touch with his old friends.  He's still going to be in cub scouts and sports activities.  I hope he comes around and isn't too upset about taking him away from his social group.  Homeschooling is definitely out of the norm for our small, rural community. 

Ok, I got off topic... on to my laminating adventures! 

 We bought the Scotch Thermal Laminator and it was the last one our store had in stock. It has been very much worth the investment so far, mostly for Miss A's preschool activities.  The paper activities are going to last so much longer than just plain card stock.
Our laminator in action... Laminating the Chicka Chicka letters for the tree and letter E activities from Erica's Letter of the Week Curriculum.
As I was laminating and trimming, Miss A couldn't wait to try out her new "school stuff".  Here's she's working on a lacing card.  

I also decided to get the Chicka palm tree and monthly calendar laminated, but had to use our local printing shop because the pieces were bigger than what my laminator could do... I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but I didn't ask for an estimate... it couldn't be more than $30... I've run things through the laminator when I taught school and I know it's not that hard. They called me last week to tell me it was finished... the total is $103.  My fault for not asking how much it was going to be before I handed the stuff over. Hard lesson learned... (gulp) 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Update: Broken Hearted over Public School

So I got Wiggly's report card and I thought I'd update you on what it said. If you'd like the back story connected with his post, here's the link to my first post... 

Anyways, I haven't really talked to his teacher since then; it could be just me, but I feel like our encounters (which are one or two days a week when I pick him up for piano lessons and during library time) since then have been awkward. I still don't quite know what to make of our last meeting; now that I can look back on it a little less emotionally connected, I feel like maybe she was just venting to me because I was there. Maybe she was feeling a little frustrated that day (and maybe about more than just my son). I don't know for sure why she said what she did when she did, but I do know that we're almost done with her... Yay!

So, Wiggly's report card. I opened it holding my breath; I wasn't sure what bad things might be in there. Frankly, I'm tired of negative remarks and comments about my son and his "wiggly" behavior, so I was bracing myself for the worst. Reading: B+. Math: B-. Language Arts: B. Science and Social Studies: S. Is this my son's report card? My son: who needs to be on medication to help him focus in class? My son, whose teacher discussed possibly holding him back in 1st grade another year? I'm confused. If he's doing so poorly in class, then why does he have all B's? Needless to say, I was so proud of him. It can't be easy for him to be with 26 other students all day long and stay engaged long enough to learn something. Good for you, man!

However, moving on to the "Personal Development" section of his grade card, he received an Unsatisfactory in the following categories: Listens Attentively, Follows Directions, Uses Time Wisely, and Study Skills. Am I surprised? No. Do I see this same behavior at home? Yes, sometimes I do. Do I think there's something wrong or abnormal about his behavior? No, I honestly don't. He is a little boy, not a lumpy sponge that just sits there and absorbs all the information you hurl at it. The only real thing I determined from his "Personal Development" grades is that he's probably a little immature. Do they prescribe medication for that? I don't think so...

Now, has his report card from public school changed how I feel about homeschooling him after this school year? No not really, and I thought that maybe seeing him be successful might change my mind. But it hasn't. I just think about how much he'll grow and learn if he has a teacher working one on one with him all day everyday, and how much more engaged he'll be in learning when he isn't limited by what can be done in a public school classroom. I'm excited for him!

A couple days ago, I got a taste about how much fun homeschooling's going to be. While Wiggly was walking up our long driveway, (we live in a woods off the road a little bit), he brought me a long piece of grass covered with slimy, round snotty-looking things. He was so excited, guessing what they might be. We put on our mud boots and trekked down to the water puddle where he found them. We talked about the habitat where he found them and what the slimy stuff might be. He guessed they were frog eggs of some sort. When we got back to the house, we looked up frog egg pictures and information about frog eggs. HE determined that yes, they are more than likely wood frog eggs based on the pictures, descriptions, and the habitat in which we found them. We're continuing to observe the eggs in their habitat, but seeing his excitement and the level of engagement in learning about these mysterious blobs made my day. THIS is the curious, nature-loving boy I know...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Our Evolving Classroom

Hello!  I thought I'd share with you our classroom as it stands now. I've been collecting odds and ends for storage, but after doing a little bit of bloggy browsing, hopefully our classroom will be a little more organized in the near future.  A little back story about our classroom... Husband and I originally finished our attic space above our garage with a guest bedroom in mind. But since the room is so long, I decided that it could be a sewing/scrapbookig room also.  Well, crafting for me turned into a mutual room for crafting with the kids too, and has since slowly evolved into a classroom.  Not a guest bedroom or even Mommy's crafty room...The kids' classroom.  (Yet another room in the house the kids have taken over.  Guess I'll have to move my crafty stuff to the man cave in the basement... sorry honey.) I will apologize up front for the pictures being of poor quality; I'm still trying to figure out how this blogging thing works... bear with me.

And yes, the bed is still in our classroom at the moment.  But here's a look at the "classroom" portion of the room.

 Storage is a problem right now, but I ordered some shelving on sale from Target.  I'm pretty excited about having some actual organized shelves with bins.
Because of the roof line, I'm facing the challenge of wall space to hang maps, a white board, and other teaching materials... It's only about 48" on the sides, although there's plenty of space in the center of the room to go vertical. I've thought about getting one of those office dividers to create more wall space... except for the part that they're ugly...not that the kids will really care.
 This is Wiggly's work station.  I've adopted the workbox station from Confessions of a Homeschooler, although I've seen quite a few other homeschool blogs using the same/similar system.

And this lovely machine is my printer/scanner/copier.  It's an HP Laser Jet Pro 200.  I love that it's super easy to use, and I can print from my iPad and iPhone.

Sorry again for the bad pictures;  I'll get the hang of this blogging thing eventually... Update: The bookshelves from Target came in the other day, so I'll try and get (better) pictures of the more organized classroom soon :0)