Thursday, September 8, 2016

1 Month into School

Remember in my last post when I said that my creativity is very minimal...


Well I did add an anchor chart...and wanted to add a few others but I became sidetracked quickly.

Hy-Vee does a "back to school" walk which we really enjoy. We don't need the pencils and rulers but the boys get snacks making the first week of school more exciting. We also get these pictures



The first day of school was not at all like I hoped nor expected. I have this dream of how it would go perfectly the boys be thrilled and everyone pays attention. Then I have my expectation which is usually more in line with reality, kids groaning but cooperative, house slightly messy, and going slightly over our goal time to end the day (11am)



Reality for this day was far from my expectations...I may have threatened and really thought about sending them to public school. That is how our first day went. By the way there is nothing wrong with public school which is why I seriously thought about sending them but I also know they don't want to go which is why I threatened it as well.


I am just going to be very honest here. Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. In most cases it works for us but I do get frustrated at times. It probably was not the smartest idea to begin babysitting again the same day as we started school but we did. Aside from one child being extremely emotional because it had been a month since I watched her and she had to adjust back to our schedule, a 6 month old teething not just one but 4 teeth at once they were actually the behaved ones. My boys woke up on the wrong side of the bed. They forgot we had bought them donuts for their breakfast and threw a fit that they were hungry before realizing I had their food already on the table waiting for them.


After that it was on me because we decided not to adapt the 3rd grade curriculum for Kindergarten. It is easy to do but I already own the Kindergarten stuff and that is part of my OCD. But they (Sonlight) changed the format of the teaching manuals for 3rd grade making it very confusing for me. It is no longer laid out day by day of what we are doing but basically the whole week summary. Anyway I was not as prepared as I thought I was. Then came spelling and well I am still not sure I like it but can see the benefits of it. I figure we can stick it through at least a couple of months and then if I don't feel like he is progressing I'll switch it up. That is the Awesome thing about homeschooling I am in control and if something doesn't work then we'll adjust. Tears may have been shed by everyone that day but we learned from it.


Tuesday was so much better. Instead of 6 hours it took 4 hours. And 4 weeks later we have a pretty good routine down making school only about 3.5 hours. We do our read out-louds as bedtime stories. And my oldest does his Bible reading right before that. It has become one of my favorite routines.


Do we still have hard days? Oh yes, but not as hard as that first day. We have already taken a week off, that was last week while my husband was home.

My youngest loves school, he is eager to learn new letters and work on math. My oldest dreads math now but is very good at it. He didn't want to learn cursive (he hates change) but loves it and is starting to look ahead so he can learn more letters to spell his and his brother's name.

And if you are curious those 4 little teeth finally did come in and the little guy is back to napping and being content watching us. His sister also back into routine joining us in learning letters and colors and just taking it all in.

Here are a few more pictures we took for "First Day" even though it was a week in, after the dust had settled ;)









Tuesday, August 2, 2016

School Preparation

It is that time of year again...Back to School...and again I have fallen a bit behind schedule but it was worth it.

My goal to begin school was August 1st but with so much that had happened this summer and most of it in June/July I have slowly pushed our start date back to August 8th. Oh I guess if this is your first time reading it may help to know that we homeschool.


The good news is that it has not taken me by surprise like so many other times, no I have been working on things for a while now. I ordered our material in May, tried to get the bathrooms finished up in June (we are SO close), started a routine including cleaning in July, and organized/purged our classroom in August. So organizing may have started in July but I finished today and hung our bulletin board boarder.


One of the reasons I fell behind wasn't the sickness, vacation, or even the collapsed sewer line (yep you read right). It was that my boys went to spend 4 days with my parents unexpectedly one of the last weeks in July. It was the weekend I had planned to do some of the fun stuff of picking out new outfits and items we may need for school. Even though we homeschool it doesn't mean that we can't join in the fun of back to school shopping. For us we get to wait until things go on sale but there are a few things like decorations that help get them excited to start.

The time away was good for both them and us. It has been a couple years since my mom had them for a couple nights but I was a counselor at camp only about 30 minutes away, otherwise it had been since before my youngest was born. I missed them like crazy but we are planning to do this more often so they can spend time with family.




My husband and I tried to make the most of it trying to come up with places we wouldn't normally go with the boys or at least places that would be good to try before taking them. It was hard coming up with ideas, but again we only had an hour between the time I mentioned the idea to my mom and her picking them up. They live 2 hours away and she was in town helping a friend so it just worked out perfectly. When my husband was working or studying I spent my time watching movies and doing absolutely nothing...again playing a part in the delay in school. :)

Now we are close to my next goal date and I have just found out I am babysitting the first 3 days but I plan on having activities for the little girl to do and just hoping the baby sleeps through the morning. He really is a good baby so I think we should be fine.

But my dilemma comes back to we haven't decorated or planned anything special to mark the first day of school. Every year I have these grand ideas in my head, pinned to pinterest, maybe even supplies bought but so far this year I come up blank. Looks like it may be a surprise to all of us.


This year I have done something ahead of time, that I haven't done since my oldest started Kindergarten...read ahead and planned. Usually I wait until the last minute to put my teacher books together and then usually I do about 4 weeks at a time. Last night I copied and assembled 12 weeks until the ink ran low and I completely ran out of paper. I actually had to go find 5 pieces to finish but we made it. This also caused me some anxiety because 3rd grade seems to be so different than the last 3 years. Maybe once we start it won't be so bad but it does feel a little overwhelming.

Let's see what happens in the next 5 days...


Monday, August 1, 2016

Inclusion

I go back and forth on whether I should do a post on this because it is personal. Yes all my posts are about my personal life but these are my emotions and these are people that I don't want to hurt even if my feelings have been.

I have always been the "third wheel" except in the congregation I grew up in. Maybe because I was the oldest but there I had a place and friends. I joined clubs, sports, pretty much anything to try to make more of a difference...ie make real friends...through middle and high school. Don't get me wrong I had some very close friends but by the time we got to highschool we had different paths but still I considered them my best friends. We don't talk now, it was more that we all just drifted apart, separated by states, interests, beliefs...just life.

Then there was the classmates I got along with but never cool enough to hangout with outside of school/sports. Maybe my problem was that I had a goal of getting along with everyone. I had my "enemies" yet I still tried to be cordial to them.

College was a little different because there were only a few people I saw frequently. Again we didn't hang out outside of class much but I am still in touch with most of those who I did. Facebook has been a huge help in that aspect.

There was one friendship during my college years that has continued granted on and off but it is one of those that we pick right back up where we left off. Sometimes I really want to ask what made us drift apart for the year or so that maybe we weren't in contact as much but I know it wasn't just their fault. I have a phone and email too. Not only are we friends but our children have grown up as friends which I am very thankful for and hope they continue to be great friends.

Now I make friends easier with those older than me. Again maybe it is because I didn't have others my own age growing up. My parents worked at a retirement center which I spent a lot of time at, I was the oldest child in our congregation and the closest female was 5 years younger or about 12 years older than me. Socially awkward  was and is who I am.

Maybe I try to hard but I'm at a time in my life where it feels like because I don't have close relationships like others that my children suffer too. When I look around I see women as best friends and their children as best friends hanging out, inside jokes, getting together for lunches. It makes me a little jealous.

Especially when my children are not invited to those birthday parties or asked to come play. I begin to think maybe it is because of me that they don't want their kids around mine. Maybe they think I don't have well behaved children, maybe I'm not crafty enough, or stylish enough. Oh my head spins and I have a good cry.

Then I realize I'm not alone. There are others that don't get invited to every thing or included in the inside joke. While it hurts I need to pick myself up and teach my boys it is not about being included but trying to include others into our life. It may not be reciprocated and we can't invite every single person to everything thing but we can try to make every person feel special in those moments we have with them.

Opening doors, saying hello or at least giving a smile, doing what is right by putting God first. Taking the worry and burden off our shoulders and living a life following Christ. Usually when I start feeling down I realize I haven't been great about studying God's word.

Kristen Duke has a couple posts on her blog that have really hit home and helped me through some of these rough times.

Conflict
Senitivity