Monday, August 29, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Ok, Ok, here it is. I kept promising and guilting myself, until finally I could get organized enough to write about our workboxes. This is our second year of using workboxes and I love them. Let me say that again--I love them! If you are not familiar with workboxes, I will give you a quick tutorial, but what you really need to do is check out Sue Patrick's workbox information here.
Each afternoon, during quiet time, I fill boxes for Firefly and Bug. I work off of a schedule that was written out over the summer--you can find something like it here. So, for Firefly, here is an example of what is in her boxes:
Bug's boxes are currently filled with things like: puzzles, stringing beads, iPad time, popcorn kernels and measuring cups, and one or two boxes to do with me, like Five in a Row or ABC activities. (Mostly things to keep him occupied while the rest of us are working).
In the morning, when it is time for them to work independently (mostly), they can pick a box to work on. I used to try to put the boxes in the order I wanted them to work on them, but I always got it wrong and all three kiddos would need me at the same time. Now I just let them pick.
We have time / options to use all the cute "fun stuff" that I am forever picking up for school and then dumping into the never-never-land of my office closet. Each week I pull a few things out of there (quickly, before it all collapses on top of me, ha!) and add them to the workboxes for educational breaks.
It helps all members of our family to feel like they have some control. Because, of course, I can't be such a Type A personality and not be raising mini-control freaks as well, right? I can control what gets put in the boxes, so I know what needs to be covered. They can control which subject to do when. Theoretically, at least, it's a win-win.
What I Don't Love About Workboxes:
It's a little frustrating, sometimes, to have laid out so plainly in front of me what we clearly didn't get done in a day. That's why I re-fill the boxes early in the day. I just keep the number on the one(s) that didn't get done and voila! It looks like it was meant to be added to the next day!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I'm laughing (a lot)!
This schedule is no longer working for us.
So I was going to re-write the post, make it look all pretty and neat, and re-post it under "What a Day in Our Homeschool Life Really Looks Like", but, you know what? Our days are never all pretty and neat, and I'm betting (or, rather, really, really hoping) that yours aren't usually either.
So instead I'm just going to *update* this old post with what is working *today*. I'm guessing that a month from now I could update it again, but hey. In the homeschool fantasy life that I live in, we call it Flexibility.
Yeah, there we go.
Without further ado, I present: Different Days in Our Life!
**Well, I still tend to get up really early. And, believe it or not, I'm still going to Cross Fit a few days a week. But I'm not still dumb enough to drink a Diet Coke or eat a Blizzard and THEN try to go.**
**We have changed things up a bit here. I, mean Mommy extraordinaire, have now asked for all kiddos to do their math as soon as their breakfast has been eaten and cleared from the table. We do our Bible lesson for the day and morning prayers as soon as everyone is actually AT the breakfast table, and do math as they finish eating. I've found that this way, (1) the math tears are out of the way early in the day, and (2) the two most important subjects (or one most important and one least liked) have been taken care of. If we get off-track and do nothing else all day, those have been finished. After math, we rush into the mad dash of morning tasks. And yes, I still hide in the bathroom.**
**Yep, well this was a great idea. But we don't really do it anymore. I don't know why we dropped it, because it's way important for her. I think once we move (which should happen soon, theoretically) we will incorporate this again.**
**We aren't doing group first thing anymore. When each kiddo is ready, we just go ahead and begin the independent box work. I take turns with each when they need me for a "Work With Mom" box. Turtle is back to me scheduling the work for her. Seems she was getting pretty overwhelmed trying to do it herself. My goal for her is back to independently time managing.**
**Yep, still controlled chaos. Usually from about nine or so until about 11 or 11:30.**
**This still works. Probably because of our "books at the lunch table" thing.**
**Our "One More Thing" time has become our group activity time. This "thing" is usually history reading, timelines, art learning, or other activities. I'm still loving One More Thing.**
**I will never not love Quiet Time.**
**Yep, still that soccer family. Never seems to end. The only difference in this part of the routine now is the addition of an Art Class on Wednesday afternoons and CCD on Tuesdays that eat up this time.**
**This still happens, too.**
**So it's a period of always-changing, ever-adjusting schedules that we fit our days into. As soon as we seem to figure something out, something will always change. Hey, that's the fun of it, right?
Looking forward to hopping around to see your days!**
Homeschooling Schedule by Julie @ HighHill Homeschool
Curriculum Fair: Week 5: The Nuts & Bolts: Pulling it all
Together by Leah @ The Courtney Six Homeschool
Schedule's Working! by Eunora @ All Things NoriLynn
How do I do it all? by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest
Curriculum Fair--- Wrap-up Angie @ Petra School
Curriculum Fair: 5 Ways to Use an iPad in Your Homeschool by Pam @
Peek Into Our School Day by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool
Day in the Life... by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
and Life: How we get it done by Jen @ Forever, For Always, No
at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama
a Grip on Things by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Home School a part of LIFE by Cindy @ For One Another
Where's That Pencil Again? by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings
About Homeschooling I Really Didn't See Coming by Letha @
Kids, and a Frazzled Homeschool Mama leads to Controlled Chaos! by
Laura O from AK @ Day by Day in Our World
Virtual Curriculum Fair – Nuts and Bolts by Kristen @ Sunrise to
on Top of Everything by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning
Thursday, August 18, 2011
We were really, really, really ready for summer (which is why it came to our house in early May).
So, yes, we have been working really hard this summer. Her Occupational Therapist found several visual processing issues that have been addressed. Her psychologist and psychiatrist have OK'd her medication levels. We have started all kinds of alternative medical practices.
I have prayed. I have tried my best to get my mind right. She is excited about school. Our principal is fully behind us.
And last week, at her OT re-eval, her OT was glowing. Positively thrilled. All kinds of excited about the documented progress they had made. "She's doing great!" actually even came out of her mouth.
**Side note here. I used to be that therapist. I spent years working in Early Intervention. I know how they / we think. I recognize the excitement over baby steps. For Pete's sake, I can clearly remember having tears in my eyes when one of my little ones pointed to her nose upon request for the first time. She was two. Now she's nine. I remember.**
So I should have recognized it when I saw it from the other side. The parent side. Instead, I got all caught up in it. Yay! That's wonderful! She's doing great! (Be careful, here. This is the path that leads to the expectation of "fixing" her.)
And then I started asking the questions.
Really, I should have quit while I was ahead.
"So, let me get this straight. When we are trying to cut, she should be able to do it?"
"Yep. That's right."
"When we are working on copywork, she should have no trouble?"
"Yep. That's right."
"Her hands are not getting tired from holding the pencil?"
"Yep. That's right."
Again, I should have quit while I was ahead. But I didn't. (Do I ever?)
"So, realistically, while I am working to plan out our school day, what is a realistic amount of time to expect her to sit and focus on, or complete, a task?"
"About fifteen minutes."
Next time, I promise, I will quit while I am ahead.
Are you kidding me?!
What on earth would we be dealing with if this kid was in school--for six and a half HOURS?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that jazz.
In fifteen minutes, we have just managed to open our books to the right page.
We have just managed to finally find a pencil that works.
We have just managed to get ourselves under control and NOT throw a tantrum about doing the work (and that includes a five-minute stint in our bedrooms--well, Firefly's bedroom. I usually don't have to send myself, although that has been known to happen.)
I don't really know what to do with that. Really throws a monkey wrench into planning a school day, though.
I know. Baby steps.
We'll take what we can get.
Actually, I'm glad I asked, although I was less-than-thrilled with the answer. Nothing like setting us both up with incredibly high, impossibly high, expectations.
So we're working through it. Trying to manuever through the school day with fifteen minute bursts. I'm working on my patience.
And we're going to work really hard.
Maybe, by December, we'll be up to seventeen minutes.
(Hey, a girl has to dream, right? ; )
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Wordless Wednesday. Or Why You Shouldn't Let Your Four Year Old Play on Your Cell Phone to Make Him Be Quiet at Doctor's Appointments.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
And thank goodness that I had looked ahead to see what was coming and remembered to take pictures! This week we get to showcase "School Pictures". Seems kind of a broad topic.
I hope you all are enjoying your start of not-back-to-school.
Friday, August 12, 2011
We had done (more than) our share of soccer camps, short half-day camps held at our familiar soccer fields and filled with lots and lots of running, kicking, physical activity.
Then I discovered this great summer camp opportunity. It was a full day based out at a Girl Scout campground. It offered lots of swimming, hiking, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, etc. All the different "real camp" things that I remembered doing when I was a kid.
Wow! What better way than that for Firefly to spend her day? She would get to be outside, get to be running, physical, climbing, discovering! Sounded just right up her alley, right? A perfect fit and a magical way to spend eight hours.
So I signed both girls up. And I even looked for some fun things for Bug and I to do together in our "found" time. We talked up camp. The girls looked it up online and were super-excited. I packed lunches, bathing suits, goggles, bug spray, and lots and lots of sunscreen.
And off they went on Day One.
And Firefly hated it.
The kids were mean.
It was too long.
She was really hungry.
She had to wear socks and sneakers.
They didn't get to __________ (each day a new complaint here).
And worst of all, there was thunder.
Look. I know that I am a control freak. (And, yes, I know my friends are rolling on the floor laughing here at the understatement that I just made). That is probably the biggest reason that I struggle so hard with Firefly, truthfully. But I am at a loss here. I can control how much and what kinds of food I pack her. I can control which clothes she has to wear. I can control earplugs when sounds are too loud, sunglasses when the sun is too bright, a relaxing bath when the world is just too tough.
But I can't control thunder.
And just so you know, we live in Florida. Thunderstorms are an everyday occurence during the summer months. Everyday. Firefly has had plenty of experience with thunder. But when she heard it at camp, she lost it. Truly lost it. Sobbing, out-of-control, lost it. Refused to budge, do anything at all, lost it.
Alienated herself from possible friends, embarrassed her older sister, annoyed counselors kind of lost it.
Some days, I'm at a loss myself, ladies and gentlemen.
And it strikes me yet again that I have a special needs kiddo.
And one that I truly do not understand.
This wonderful, magical, nature-y (yes, I know that's not a word), picture-perfect childhood memory camp experience that I thought I had organized for my girls turned into a torture session.
And guess what?
Mom of the year that I am, I made her go three more times!
Denial is a wonderful thing, sometimes.
We role-played the thunder thing.
We practiced deep breathing.
We gave suggestions for things to tell herself when she *thought there might be thunder coming in the next two hours*.
I equipped Turtle with some "in the moment" suggestions.
I talked to the camp director.
I offered my phone number over and over again.
Every day, guess what?
She flipped out.
I guess I have learned my lesson about summer camp for next year.
I'm still struggling with why, though. Which part of this was so wrong when it seemed like it would be so right?
Will I one day understand?
Why am I trying so hard to understand when what I need to do is parent?
Is there a difference?
Arrgh. Here we go with all of the questioning again. And, I guess, back to the answer. We are all wonderfully made. God knows what He is doing. I can do all things through He who gives me strength. God knows what He is doing.
If only I did!
But I do know one thing. I'm thankful that during the school year there are no summer camps.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
in my life this week. . .we are getting back into a routine! *whew* I am way too much of a Type A personality to have so much unstructured time! So I was really thankful for getting back to school / routine / even soccer (did I really just say that?!) Structure makes for a happier Mommy, and we all know what a happy Mommy means, hee hee!
I'm linked up this week with Kris from weird, unsocialized homeschoolers, and at the Homeschool Mother's Journal. Hope you all are having a tremendous week!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
So that's our schoolroom. We are blessed with this extra room that we added to our home with the arrival of Bug a few years ago. It's a cheery, spacious place to spend our days. Now, if only we could label ourselves "cheery" as we spend our days there . . .
Happy schooling, everyone!
Friday, August 5, 2011
In our homeschool this week . . .I'm getting really excited! We have spent this week preparing for our "official" first day of school, which is next Monday. I'll post about our traditions later. Just let it be known that the schoolroom is clean (!), new workbox numbers are cut out and laminated, new schedules are made (and also laminated), new maps are hung, and "study buddies" have been purchased. It's getting closer, and I'm getting giddy. (How embarrassing!)
Questions or thoughts I have about homeschooling? How long until we lose this wonderful enthusiasm this year? How can I make it last longer?
A photo, link, or quote to share . . ."Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks--take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks--and He miraculously makes it more than enough." Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts.
I hope you all had a wonderful week!