Saturday, August 27, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast :-(

The blessings and curses of being a Mother is seeing your kids grow up.  I am so proud of my little munchkins because it seems like they are taking on more responsibility every week.  However, seeing them getting older kind of breaks my heart a little because I want them around forever.  I don't want them to move away.  I want them to stay in my house....FOREVER.  That's not realistic, and I know that, but come on!  Can't a Mother dream?
My son...has taken to the role of being the big brother like nothing that I've ever seen before.  He is always willing to go and check on his sisters and help them out with whatever they need.  He's constantly looking over my #2's shoulder, making sure that she is doing things the right way.  It drives her bonkers too.  She says that she likes to do things herself, but she is so quick to run to him for help.  I also can bare witness to him taking care of his youngest sister.  He can't stand to see her cry, and when she fusses after she wakes up from her naps, he is ALWAYS the first one in her room.  She reaches out to him, and he picks her up right on out of her crib.  He even feeds her for me on occasion (like when I'm driving and she's starving).  I love it!  I can literally see him becoming a man....a good man.  He's only 9 for pete's sake!  
My #2 is growing up waaay too fast.  She has already well developed crushes on Justin Beiber.  She probably has crushes on some of those Disney Chanel kids who, in real life, are still milking it for all that it's worth even though they are in college already.  This makes me nervous, but to be honest I'm not surprised.  I had "boyfriends" when I was in kindergarten.  At least I think that I did.  Ehh!  She wants to help me all the time, which is great, but most of the time her helping just translates into being in my way.  I have given her a little chore which she hasn't started complaining about yet.  
Scrub Scrub Scrub, little one!
She loves to play with my hair and put on makeup.  Oh my goodness!  It's hard for me to breath when I think about her being a teenager.  She might be a little high maintenance.  Oy!  

The thing that I do love the most about them getting older is how inquisitive they are.  They are ALWAYS asking questions about God, Jesus, yes even death because they are interested in Heaven.  They are always talking about other people and what they are going through.  I love hearing them speak what's on their hearts.  When they are able to set aside themselves and focus on others, I can see that they truly do have giving hearts.  This makes me so happy and proud.  I know that when they get older and they harness their giving spirits, then God is going to bless them abundantly.  I can't wait!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First week of home school

Welp, our first week of home school has come and gone.  
Yes, we only have school 4 days a week.  Why, you ask?  It is because normally Friday is my hubby's day off, and we like to do family stuff on that day.  If we have school, then we have to put off family fun until we're done.  This is another reason why we are annoyed with the traditional school hooplah.  We wanna do what we wanna do, darn it!
Enough of that!  I want to share how well our first week went.  Albeit, we did not have our curriculum to work with.  It hasn't arrived just yet, so I had to take it upon myself to find free curriculum and worksheets on the internet and use those instead.  My hubby told me last night that he thinks that I am awesome because I am doing this.  That alone give me motivation to push onward with home school.
The most difficult part this week was trying to balance teaching different grades.  This week was just a review of what they've previously learned, but finding that balance so that they could focus was a tad hard. I had to set my daughter up with independent work so that I could work with my son on the harder things.  Then I had to do the same thing for my daughter.  Sometimes my son would take longer to finish his work and we had to wait to move on to the next phase of learning.  It was a little frustrating, but that IS one of the things that we love about homeschooling.  My son can pace himself if he needs to without getting frustrated by the need to "hurry up".  My daughter loved it!  She would wake up every morning begging to get started.  Love it!!!
Then there was the struggle of home school rules.  
I have only 3 rules:  Listen to Mom, Don't fight or argue, and above all else, Don't cry!!! 
 I set up a star system.  They both have 3 stars up on the board.  I will take one away if they break the rules.  They can earn their stars back if they are loving and encouraging.  
I also have a goody jar and if they are able to keep all of their stars on the board then they will get a goody at the end of the day.  If they are able to keep all of their stars on the board for an entire month, then they get to have a very special "Daddy Date" with their...Daddy.  My hubby quite likes being the ultimate prize.  So far, they've messed up enough to loose their Daddy Date prize :-(  They were able to keep their stars up there for a few days and get something from the goody jar.  
What's funny is that the moment that they argue/fight, cry, or don't listen, I'll take a star down and then my son/daughter will immediately compliment each other in an effort to gain a star back. 
Ahhh, I love my kids!   
I am really getting a lot out of teaching them.  I honestly thought that I would feel more frustration than fulfillment.  It's been the opposite which is awesome. I love spending time with them and being able to witness their educational growth.  I gotta say, it makes me feel kind of like Super Mom.  

Here's a picture of what our classroom looks like:
Can you guess which State we are learning about this week?  If you get it right, then you'll get something special out of the goody jar :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why I Chose To Home School

Lately, when I've told people that I've chosen to home school I've been given the following responses, "Really?  That's awesome!  I wish that I could do that." and "Really?  Why would you want to do that?"
So, I thought that I'd take this post and explain a little bit why I/we have chosen to home school.

The #1 reason why is for my son.  

He is going into the 4th grade, and for the past 3 years I've had nothing but trouble from his teachers.  They always seemed to have issues with him.  Whether it be he doesn't sit still, he's too imaginative, he's not learning fast enough, he's too emotional, blah blah blah.  
One thing that his teachers all had in common was their unwillingness to help my son.  They all said that they wanted to help, but when approached with the idea of an IEP, his last teacher snubbed her nose at the idea.  
The bottom line is that my son is always in his own head.  He's always thinking about things and he has a hard time focusing on subjects that are not fun or interesting to him. Which only causes frustration for his teachers when they are trying to manage a classroom full of 25 + kids.  

To quote Uncle Buck:  "I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a sillyheart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good."  

My daughter on the other hand is another story.  She's only been through Kindergarten and hasn't really encountered learning difficulties yet.  The only negative thing that her teacher had to say was that she talks too much.  She's a girl!  Get over it!  She might struggle with some things, and she might not.  Regardless, she can learn at her own pace and hopefully excel in learning at home. 

Reason #2 is because my hubby and I like the flexibility of home school.  We like that our kids can learn at their own pace without having to meet "industry standards".  We also like that we can move around, if needs be, without having to make our kids change schools.  The hubs and I have moved so much for work and such, and we never know what is coming next in life.  We pray all the time that God will lead us to where ever He wants us to go.  We are willing to move to another country if He sees fit.  Homeschooling gives us a little bit of that freedom.  
Another added bonus is that now we can go on vacation whenever we see fit.  Since my hubby works for our church he almost always has to work on major holidays, and then we have to cram a short family holiday in before the kids go back to school.  Not any more!  Now we can go and stay for as long as we want without having to worry about making it home in time for school to resume.  

Reason #3 is honestly for religious and personal reasons.  We, by no means, want to shelter our children or preserve their innocence forever.  Yet we do think that they should learn about certain things that are in this world from us......not the school system or other loud mouthed kids.  It's the old "garbage in, garbage out" kind of thing.  Without proper understanding of certain things in this world my kids can get the wrong ideas. You can assume what you want by the former statement, but it is what it is.  It is our jobs as parents to guide our children to the Lord and the path that He has set for them.  To instill compassion and love for other people and to see God's beauty in this world.  Homeschooling gives us another avenue to do that.  We can integrate Bible verses and Bible stories into their every day learning.  This way when sin comes a knocking, they can hopefully be a little bit more prepared to understand what is going on and to battle it.

I hope that this helps those who are questioning why we are doing this.  We are very excited to get started.  I plan on blogging about this new life adventure as much as I can.  My hope is that other Moms out there will be encouraged through my home schooling adventures.  It's not as hard as you think.  I know that a few years back when I first thought about doing it, I was afraid and intimidated because I am not a patient person.  Bottom line, children's education is more important than my patience issue.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is a month too long to be on vacation?

To be honest, I don't really know the answer to that question.  I think that after 2 weeks, the "vacation" aspect turns into just being away for a stinkin long time.
This does not mean that I didn't have a great time in Texas!  There were so many things that I loved about my trip.  However, being away from my hubby that long was pretty unbearable.  We missed each other so much and he missed so many Texas "firsts" that I wanted to enjoy with him.

Here are a few things that I did without my husband:

Roller Derby y'all
Swimming at the green of Barton Springs
Swimming at Krause Springs
Taking a ride on the Zilker Zepher
Picnic with our 2 oldest kids at Zilker Park
Getting lost in Austin....thrice
Hanging out with my CA friends.....thrice, again
Amy's Ice Cream
Torchy's Tacos....yuuuummmmmyyyy
Hey, Cupcake!...yuuuuummmmyyyyy
Vacation Bible School with a small church so much better than the mega church one that my kids attended in June because they actually got to know the people who were teaching them
A day trip to Dallas
Getting pulled over by a Bee Cave cop for going 13 miles over the speed limit at 1:30 in the morning.....COME ON!
Having the air conditioning go out in my parents house for half the time that we were there
Baby sitting 4 kids plus my own the kids loved it, but I didn't. I sure could have used his help with this one
Our daughter's 6th birthday
Eating camp food for almost 2 meals a day for 29 days
Seeing our baby roll over back to tummy for the first time

We (my kids and I) had so much fun on our "vacation".  I tried to shove as much as possible into our visit as I possibly could.  There are a few more things that I wanted to do, but couldn't.  I will just have to wait till Christmastime is that correct grammar?.

I'll post a bunch of pictures on my next blog post, but I just need to rest now.  Yes, I'm still suffering from the the phenomenon known as "the time change woozies".