Monday, May 24, 2010

A little excitement for next school year!

A few months ago, I posted two product reviews as part of the application process for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew for 2010-2011.

Last Friday, I received a very official looking e-mail notifying me that I was selected to be on the crew. I don't yet know what sorts of wonderful materials I'll get to try next year, but I'm still excited. I'm on the younger crew, which means that I'll primarily get materials to use with Lauren and Brennan. I'm sure some of the products will carry over to Addison, too.

I'm really hoping that I can find some awesome things to use with Lauren. I have some Sonlight materials to pull out of storage for her, and I'm trusting that God will send more materials that will work well for her (or help me figure out what will work well with her).

In another month or so, I should get a list of which vendors are participating this year. If all goes as planned, I'll start reviewing things later this summer. How exciting!






Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My future marathoners




On your mark....




When Addison was four, I saw an ad in the base paper for a Kids' Run, and she ran her first race that weekend. Wasn't she a cutie?











A year later, we had just moved to the DC area and saw an advertisement for the one at Bolling AFB. Both Addison and Brennan got to run in that one. Since then, they've run in the Kids' Run a few more time, and they ran last fall in the Healthy Kids' Run in conjunction with the Marine Corps Marathon.

This year, both Addison and Brennan trained for the Kids' Run. Tim's been running in the afternoons and both of them have been going along. I think their longest run was about four miles, and they both expected to do well for the 2 mile Fun Run.









Brennan finished in 16 minutes, 36 seconds:








Addison finished less than a minute later, at 17 minutes, 26 seconds:







When we registered the big kids before their race, they offered a race t-shirt to Lauren even though she was too young to officially run (even in the half-mile division). After the last runners finished in the two-mile division, I talked Lauren into running around the track. I didn't time her, but she ran more than she walked:









I have a feeling there will be more races in the future for all three of these cuties.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Me -- A Schedule?!?

A few weeks ago, our family met another homeschool family at the park for the afternoon. We claim that our kids love to hang out with each other, but secretly I think that the moms get more out of our playdates than the kids do.

Lately I've been in sort of a homeschooling funk. We usually manage to get schoolwork done, but it usually isn't pretty. I start and stop throughout the day, put out fires here and there, and occasionally I check independent schoolwork at night and find that it really didn't get done.

The other mom shared with me how her family had recently developed a school schedule and how they had found it was making a huge difference. I was skeptical. For at least the past four years, I've been juggling so many different appointments that making a schedule seemed impossible. We still have plenty of appointments these days, but they are more consistent from week to week. There really isn't a reason why I can't have a schedule.

I'm slowly taking baby-steps towards a schedule. For the past few weeks, I've served breakfast at approximately the same time everyday. I have little benchmark goals throughout the day. For instance, I try to get Lauren dressed by 9 so that I can work one-on-one with Brennan between 9 and 10. (It doesn't take the whole time. I just aim to get spelling, grammar, etc. done by 10.) I then attack most of the reading for the day, both our read-aloud and our history readings. We move on to lunchtime, and then I'll finish up the loose ends before quiet-rest-time at 1. Like I said, it's a rough schedule.

I'd love to say that I'm a "schedule-convert". Maybe someday. I am starting to see the benefit of having a schedule for our schooldays. Overall I'm less frazzled, and the kids seem to be at least slightly less resistant to getting our work done. It is still far too easy to get sidetracked with something that I'd like to do on the computer, though, and I have to remind myself that it's better in the long run if we do our schoolwork before we run to the library.

Even the rough schedule that I'm following now helps to get everything done in a more mannerly fashion. Today I fudged around the schedule a bit so that I could listen to a session of This Old Schoolhouse's Homeschool Expo. The session was fabulous, but perhaps I should've waited for the mp3. I hoped to move our read-aloud time to after lunch, and I found that nobody had the attention span for it anymore. Perhaps the hour of TV I let them watch earlier zapped their braincells. Or, perhaps we all work better with a plan.

Who knows -- maybe I'll become a die-hard schedule addict. Someday I might even come up with a schedule along the lines of Managers of their Homes. If I became that organized, I might even find enough time to update this blog regularly. Or, perhaps I'll just continue on with our rough guidelines to keep us on track. My rough outline keeps me on track enough to get the important stuff done, is flexible enough to allow for the unexpecteds, and just basically seems like it's more "me."
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