Sunday, August 28, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal -- August 28, 2011

The Homeschool Chick

In my life and in our homeschool this week...
The second week of school was a bit more manageable in some ways and a bit more crazy in others. Some of the new curriculum doesn't seem quite so daunting, and the new therapy schedule doesn't seem quite so out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the evenings started to more closely resemble the chaos that goes along with school year activities. Addison's Youth Choir rehearsals started back on Monday nights, and Brennan had his last summer Cub Scout activity on Tuesday (the regular scout meeting night).

My favorite thing this week...
Lauren and I have been studying a poem as part of her Kindergarten reading/writing program. On Friday morning, she took the poem sheet off of the wall, held it up, and read it to me. I know that it was only part reading and part reciting, but it was still awesome to see her excited face as she read it.

What's working/not working for us...
I'm beginning to have a love/hate relationship with our new workbox system. I love that we're getting so much done. I guess I also love that they keep me accountable to make sure everything is prepared in advance. I don't love the time that I'm spending organizing everything each night, but I'm hopeful that it'll get easier as the year goes on.

A photo, video, or quote to share...
In honor of Addison's first week back at Celebration Singers practice, she posted the following quote as her Facebook status. She actually saw it when my dad posted it earlier this summer and waited until last week to repost.

"You don't sing because you're happy, you're happy because you sing." -- William James (American psychologist and philosopher)


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reading Aloud Challenge -- August 25th

I can't help but start of this week's Read Aloud Challenge post with a picture of what my three kiddos were doing while I read one afternoon this week. Yes, three children, three coloring book pages, one big bin of markers, and no fighting (at least long enough for me to take the picture).



As I had hoped, we finished The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. We've settled back into a school sort of mode, and I finally made a decision about which Civil War story to read first. We're now several chapter into Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. At the moment, we're not doing a formal study of the Civil War, but we are discussing the things that come up in the story. For instance, today we pulled out a map to see why the Union victories at Ft. Henry and Ft. Donelson were so important and why they brought so much hope to the Northerners. Addison is currently reading Jeff Shara's Gods and Generals, and she's finding it interesting to see the war from two different perspectives -- the southern Illinois family with divided loyalties in Across Five Aprils and the armies fighting in the eastern part of the country in Gods and Generals.

As I had hoped, I was able to start reading the first "real" chapter book to Lauren. (I have a hard time with counting Junie B. Jones books and especially with admitting that one of those was the first chapter book she heard in its entirety.)

We also read an assortment of library picture books during her school time. Corduroy by Don Freeman is one of the books included in Before Five in a Row, and we also read the sequel A Pocket for Corduroy.

The other day at the library I found a new book in the Ladybug Girl series by David Soman and Jacky Davis. Not only did I read Ladybug Girl at the Beach, I also found a cool website that Lauren enjoyed. (www.ladybuggirl.com)


If you'd like to join the Read-Aloud Challenge fun, be sure to stop by my friend Debra's blog at Footprints in the Butter. She started this friendly meme so that we can be more intentional in making time to read aloud to our children.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reading Aloud Challenge -- August 18th

Now that we're back in our school schedule, we've made a lot more time for read-alouds this week.

I'm currently reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to Addison and Brennan. Since we took a long reading-aloud break this summer, it seems like we've been reading it forever. I hope to finish in another few days. We're getting to the exciting part and only have six or eight chapters left.

After we finish this book, we're going to choose something related to the Civil War. We have a few options that I read to Addison about four years ago during our last Civil War study. She likes both of my first choices, so I don't know which one we'll start with.

Lauren and I read lots of books together this week. I'm currently reviewing Before Five in a Row and therefore chose one of the books used in that curriculum to start the week. After reading Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom for several days in a row, we headed to the library to find some more of the titles in the series. I believe the original book is far better than the sequels, but Lauren seems to enjoy them all equally.



We also read Yellow Ball by Molly Bang (another Before Five in a Row selection). Lauren's main curriculum is IEW's Primary Arts of Language, and it included a few stories to discuss this week. I remember reading Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and a few Aesop's fables. 



Of course, no week would be complete without a Junie B. Jones book or two (or five). We often read several chapters at a sitting, but I'm not sure we finished one this week. Sometimes Lauren prefers to start a new one instead of picking up where we left off earlier.

Next week, I hope to report on which Civil War book that the big kids and I have decided to start as our new read-aloud. I also hope to report that I've finally started reading Lauren's first real chapter book.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blessings -- a video that touched me

I rarely repost things to my blog. This video is wonderful enough to make an exception, and I pray that it will bless you.

I've heard this song on the radio a few times and was thrilled when I found out that my husband already had a CD copy that I could load onto my iPod. Last Sunday the following video was shown at the church we attended in Fairfax, Virginia (www.fxcc.org). Val and Sam, you both did an awesome job.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We've completely lost it

Maybe the first official week of school stress is getting to us. Overheard late this afternoon:

"No tea, no tea, la, la, la, la, la."
"Idiots! There will be tea."
"But you said..."
"I will make tea! And you will never go thirsty again!"

"Oh, I just can't wait to make tea!"

"Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful drink. Hakuna Matata, Ain't no passing craze. It means not thirsty for the rest of your days. It's our problem-free, tea recipe... Hakuna Matata."

* Tonight's comedy break was brought to you by Cristi, Addison, and the Lion King.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who's Birthday?

I have a confession to make. I'm perhaps the worst birthday celebrator in the world. Really. I'm not sure the last time I was on time with a card or a gift. My sister jokes that someday she'll find a package in her mailbox, and she won't know if I wrapped it in birthday paper because it's belated from last year or because it's early for next year.

Lately, Lauren's been quite obsessed with birthdays and birthday parties. I should take a minute to explain that she has a whole class full of imaginary friends -- too many for me to count. It's not at all unusual for her to spend much of her day wrapping her toys up in construction paper so that she can throw a birthday party for an imaginary friend.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. (The gift will be in the mail sometime, Dad.) I called him late yesterday afternoon, interrupted his birthday dinner, and let all three kids holler, "Happy Birthday!" at the top of their lungs on the speaker phone.

At our dinner less than an hour later, Lauren pipes up and says, "Tell Daddy who's birthday it is."

I think.... and then I think some more. I didn't remember pretend birthday preparations that day, but perhaps I had missed them while I was juggling school assignments for the big kids. Finally I give up and guess. "Jose? Lennie? Grace?"

"No, Mommy. It's Colonel Opa's birthday."

Thankfully she hasn't mastered rolling her eyes at me yet.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The 2011 Camp Wamava Photo Awards (part 2)

Longest lasting friendships

Most inspiring teachers (with one missing from the photo)

Best little brothers

Biggest catch without a real fishing pole

Fiercest Competitor (note the look on her face as she reaches for the ball)

Prettiest Spectator

"Chicken? Who you calling Chicken?"

Best harmonies

Best Wolf in Yellow Pinnie 

Most ambitious art project
(pulling that big of a rock out of the creek; painting it was easy)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The 2011 Camp Wamava Photo Awards (part 1)

Coolest Camp Family
(aka the photo contest judges)

Grossest Camp Picture

Coolest Kids (self-proclaimed)

Biggest Staff-Brat Perk

Most campers taken out in a single jump

Greatest American Super-heroes


Best High School Musical Poses


Best Royal Make-up 
Worst Chorus Line Dancers


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Heart Birthday!

July 28, 2011



Two years ago, we were praising God in the Cardiac ICU at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Two years ago, Lauren received one of the most precious gifts anyone could ever give -- a new, strong heart.

She's come an awful long ways since the days spent tricycling through the halls of the hospital, hooked up to a constant IV infusion that kept her heart healthy enough to wait for a transplant.

This year Lauren celebrated her heart's birthday at Camp Wamava -- a week of singing with the campers, long afternoons spent playing in the swimming pool, and lots of time to explore and get dirty.

Nothing made my heart happier than to see my little girl enjoying something so normal. When I saw her walking up the hill to arts and crafts with a rock that she had chosen out of the creek, I couldn't help but smile.

Some people may have only seen a cute little kid tagging along with the her mom to teach at a week of camp. Some of the campers may have only known her as the little kid that requested good songs (Blessed Be Your Name and You Never Let Go) during morning devotional time. Many of our friends at camp know her as the baby everyone prayed so earnestly for.

I know her as our miracle.

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