Thursday, October 28, 2010

Falling In & Wrapping Up

Fall is the spot between the rock and a hard place for me.  I enjoy the beautiful oranges, reds and yellows it produces but hate what it arrival signals- the end of summer.  More importantly preparation for icy cold cheeks, boots, and bulky jackets have me looking less than pleased.

Lately we have enjoyed warm fall days with walks on the trails outside our house.  The sun smiles with us as we walk as many places as we can.  We have also enjoyed other orange sittings with pumpkin spotted porches and scarecrow lined yards.

Fall reminds me that no matter where we are as a family you can usually find us where there is a hope of a little orange infused ray.

Here's our week:

Eggs were on sale so I froze a few - 5 dozen to be exact!

-Home school meet up with Shannon and Family (Who can beat great company and a trampoline?)
-Sleeping! (I'm sure my children are on their knees thanking God as we speak!)
-Staying on top of my laundry- Again! Yeah!!!
-Kiran's rainbow-fest birthday

I wish I could have:
-Not given Cohen anything rainbow!

What they learned:
They learned about the number 10.  

What I learned:
That I can and need to control the words I allow to form in my mind.  It totally changes my attitude and the mood in the home.

That's our week in a nut shell.  Hope your week was as fruitful!

Thanks to Home school Creations for hosting this blog link!

Homeschool Creations

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mother's L.O.V.E

What a great day today turned out to be.  I learned so much today.  Lately I have been in a very reflective mood.  I have been wading in my pool of decisions.  At the top swimming with me are my children's needs.  I may not be the greatest friend, wife, daughter, cook, homemaker etc... right now but I know that more than anything I have to be a good mom.  When people say, "you're such a good mother." I scoff at them, roll my eyes looking into the backroom of our lives.  My thoughts swivel back and forth between the present and the stacks of chaos that I am leaning up against.

For the first time in a long time I felt a sense of pride (in a good way) about my role as a mother.  Everyone who knows me knows I struggle with yelling, gentleness and general sweetness.  The lack or abundance (regarding yelling) made me feel like I wasn't a good mom.  I wanted to join the club of good, sweet, house in order, and generally calm mothers.  I wanted my ducklings to line up in a row and my kitchen to sparkle (even with all the lights on).

Today I felt different.  I spent the day at a new friend's house with her children (who are also home schooled.)  What a treat for our family.  We were immediately put at ease and our children played very well together.  Because there were very few discipline issues (thanks to the trampoline, healthy snacks, and great parenting (you go Shannon)), I could focus on being a mom.  I know discipline is part of motherhood.  At times it feels like that is all I do.  At the end of the day there is little room for anything else.  Today I discovered what a good mother feels like.

It is a realization that:

you are determined to put your children above your own comfort.

your ducklings depend on you not just for food and housing but for smiles and laughter.

your smile and laughter (even due to a whoopee cushion- thanks Susana!) creates so many strings of giggles.

your body was made to hold, heal, hear them through the waves of life

a day of  laundry, (warm) ovens, videos, every toy out of place shows that love is written on the walls of your home

it takes a village of families to raise your children- and thank God for that!

Today when I looked at my children I saw that they are so easily inspired to love and their hearts stretched while my touch softened.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Homeschool Co-op

Since deciding to home school I struggled with the idea that my son would miss the interaction he had with the children in our community.  Yesterday I took all four children to the co-op meeting for the first time.  I was worried that there wouldn't be enough structure for him.  To be honest I didn't know what to expect and I didn't expect much.

Well I was pleasantly surprised.  This week's focus was on the heart.  (Initially I thought this was going to right over Cohen's newly 5 year old brain.)

 There were about six stations where children learned various things about the heart:
1. They learned that the heart is pump and got to pump "blood" from one bottle to the next.
2. They got to learn about how the lungs and the heart work together with our blood cells.  (I was surprised how focused Cohen was for this bit.)  I thought for sure it would be too much and he would lose interest.
3.  They learned that their heart is the size is their fist and got to locate the heart.
4.  Cohen got to listen to an adult and a child's heart thanks to a parent (who is a doctor) and could let 6 children listen at once.
5.  This parent also brought in a model of a heart. Cohen really liked opening this model and seeing the inside of the heart.
6.  Children also got to learn the difference between a valentine heart and their heart.
7. Cohen's favourite: Smelling, seeing and touching a real cow's heart!  Thanks to another parent!

That is a REAL cow's heart Cohen is touching!

Initially I thought that this segment was going to be too much for the kids and they would misbehave.  Cohen was very well behaved and didn't blink throughout the entire explanation of how the heart works.  I realized that this is what was missing for him at school.  He needed a challenge.  In order to stay focused he needs to learn things that are new and interactive.  How blessed we are to find this home school co-op!

-Home school Co-op: Who can beat a real live cow's heart.
-MOPS started!  It was great.

What's That? (What you might have heard if you were a fly on the wall.)
-"Mama I love you very much.  You are a good cook and maker." ( I needed those words this week!)

I wish I could have:
-Let sleeping dogs lie!

What they learned:
They learned a whole lot about the heart and blood cells.  We also learned about community helpers.

What I learned:
I learned that I love being with my children even though it totally exhausts me.  I also learned that a good night's sleep is essential!

That's our week in a nut shell.  Hope your week was as fruitful!

Thanks to Home school Creations for hosting this blog link!

preschool corner


Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sleeping Mommy & The Beast Day 1

I can only imagine!

On my other blog I started a sleep challenge.  I want to see if more sleep means a better mood, better day and of course a better mommy.  I set a bedtime (for myself) for 11:00 PM.  It is 10:38 right now so I am hopping I can stick to my timeline.

Last night I got to bed at midnight.  I slept until 7:00 and actually felt like getting out of bed.  I had lots of energy so we walked to the library ( a 30 minute walk each way).  It was great to walk on our trail filled with colour, foliage and life.  The air seemed cleaner and I was able to keep a pretty good pace.  I even tolerated the constant chatter from my eldest.

We enjoyed a day at the community centre filled with the gym, library and more gym time.  I even looked forward to the walk home.  I had the energy to make dinner and serve it on time! I got to read them 2 stories before dinner and put everyone to bed on time.  Maybe there is more to this sleep thing.

As far as homeschooling goes- I found that I didn't feel as irritable throughout the morning and early afternoon.  I was actually interested in answering the millions of questions my son had and I managed to play basket ball with my sons.  Stop laughing!  I used to be somewhat athletic you know! Again, maybe there is more to this sleep thing.

Anyone have any sleeping tips for me for the rest of the week?  (I signed out a book - A Good Night's Sleep.  I am not sure how helpful it will be.)  For the record, I found that the library could have used more books on sleep for adults alongside the ones about babies and sleep!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Counting on Counters

I didn't realize how much I took my double sided counters for granted in my teaching days!  All I have are transparent bingo chips.  I turned them into double sided counters by putting stickers on one side and cutting around the chips.  When I was in a rush I stuck star stickers to one side. They worked out great.  Here are 2 activities we did with the counters:

1. Shake and Spill: We are still working on the number 5.  Thank goodness we hung around because my son finally understands 5.  The shake and spill game can work for any number.  It is very common in grade 1 classrooms.  You put 5 double sided counters in a cup.  You shake it and you spill it.  You record what you get.

2. Sound Boxes:  This is another activity I borrowed from my Reading Recovery teacher days.  A great activity for teaching children to hear the parts of words.  Make a space for each letter sound.  Get a counter for each letter sound as well.  As you (first) or your child say the sound move the counters into the corresponding spaces.  This will help children isolate the sounds in the correct order and location.

Looking forward to hearing about your uses for bingo chips/counters!

On another note, check out my post at Blissfully Domestic about growing faith in your children.
Click here!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Look What the Boys Are Getting For Christmas!

Loving This!

I found this cute local on-line (what a concept) store.  Little Ras makes the cutest children's clothing I just had to share.  We are getting these cute capes for Christmas presents for the boys.  You can order the exact colours you want.  We are going with green and blue capes with orange circles and brown trim.  I can't wait.  I considered getting pink and brown capes for the girls but they are a little young.  Truthfully I wanted one for myself but... the line has to be drawn somewhere.  Don't you love when you stumble across something so delicious?

Personalized Children's Cape

Thursday, October 14, 2010

First (Homeschool) Birthday!

Yesterday was Cohen's birthday.  He turned 5.  He was so excited and I was so disappointed.  I wanted to have the main floor decorated with balloons and streamers and signs.  I also had plans for making his favourite meal and his choice of cake.  When the kids (or adults) don't have a party we keep it simple.  I  wanted yesterday to be all about Cohen and I wanted him to beam with happiness.

In the past I have shared that Cohen struggles with being impulsive and needs hundreds of reminders a day to stay out of trouble.  As a way to help him stay off the walls we limit sugar and restrict dyes or preservatives.  Ha! Okay so I should have known I was setting myself and him up for a challenging day. Forget the natural high happiness brings when you know it is your birthday.  Try adding sugar and dyes on top of that and we have a very long day ahead of us.  

Here is what I wanted our day to look like:

7:00 AM -decorate main floor and make banana pancakes
8:00 AM -clean the massive mess in the kitchen (I must have been crazy!)
9:00 - 11 AM - Homeschooling, snacks, playtime while I baked his birthday cake (Coconut Cake with Lemon frosting- This is my son you are talking about!)
12- Lunch
1:00 - Nap for little kids, quiet fun activity for Cohen while I prepare his dinner choice (Chicken fingers from scratch & mashed potatoes)
3:00- Cohen does his paper route (Yes! He has one!) 
         Bake Apple Pops for Cohen's Awana group for his birthday (I used puff pastry instead- super easy!)
4:30 -Dinner  with Cake
5:30 - Quiet reading, quiet music, quiet anything!
6:00 - Leave for Awana
8:45 - Bed for EVERYONE!

Now let's check in to reality shall we!

7:00 AM -distant memory, I just remember a messy kitchen and serving left over oatmeal for the kids.  (At least it was home made and had real bits of apple and cinnamon in it!)
8:00 AM -clean the massive mess in the kitchen.    Look at the messy kitchen and throw my arms up in the air.
9:00 - 11 AM - Homeschooling, snacks, playtime while I baked his birthday cake (Coconut Cake with Lemon frosting- This is my son you are talking about!)   Yet again what was I thinking?  We went for a walk to the library.  It was a beautiful sunny fall morning.  I was going to make this a workout but instead we ended up strolling and looking at what ever caught our eye.  We did a quick photo shoot at the bridge.  It was wonderful!

12- Lunch Snack.  (Thank goodness I pack a snack.)  We went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for the cake and dinner.  Better late than never. Cohen bought his siblings YOP (family treat) with his birthday money.
1:00 - Nap for little kids, quiet fun activity for Cohen while I prepare his dinner choice (Chicken fingers from scratch & mashed potatoes)  Walked home with a neighbour we met up with at the store.  Cohen got to run the entire way.  He was so happy to be so free!
3:00- Cohen does his paper route (Yes! He has one!)      Cleaned the kitchen (8 hours late) and started making dinner and the cake.
     Bake Apple Pops for Cohen's Awana group for his birthday (I used puff pastry instead- super easy!)
4:30 -Dinner  with Cake  Made Dinner
5:30 - Quiet reading, quiet music, quiet anything!  The family ate while I made the apple pops.  I wish I had an apple cutter.  They ended up looking like little pies rather than apples but they were very tasty!
6:00  6:33 - Leave for Awana (We were late- again!)
8:45 - Bed for EVERYONE!    Cake for EVERYONE!  We decided to save the Awana volunteers the pleasures of teaching Cohen on a sugar high!  Can we say a collective AMEN!  Cohen was so happy with his cake.  He got 2 pieces!

9:15- Everyone to bed.  Cohen told me it was the best birthday ever.  He said his favourite part was buying a YOP for his brother and sister with his birthday money.  My heart softened.  What made this child's birthday wasn't the fancy well put together plans I had laid out.  It was spending time with his family and seeing happiness on their faces.  He read his birthday card one more time and said, "God made me because he really wanted me here."  I just love that he felt that and knew it was true. 

How was your homeschool birthday?