Friday, August 3, 2012

I Hate the GPS

So, I was sitting with a herd of moms today at a homeschool park day, when the topic of whether we encourage our children to be flexible or not arose.  I had said something about intentionally not telling my children what I was planning or not planning on doing on the weekends (because I do not want to nagged to death).  This brought me to the place where funny lives. I told the feral mamas,  "Sometimes, I don't even know where I am going.  My husband will call and ask me where I am and I tell him that I do not know, because I don't.  Once I was totally lost and ended up in the foothills of the mountains at a Russian U-pick (which was super tasty) and I just started back in a direction that felt right (you know, like in my bones).  I eventually came upon a yard sale.  After choosing a few items for purchase, I asked the yard-sale-havers if they knew where we were and how I might go about getting back to the highway. A week after that I happened to stop at another yard sale (I do love them so) and my 3 y/o asked me if we were lost."
The feisty ladies said, "You should have a GPS." "I hate the GPS, with it nagging ways and sultry, hussy voice, intruding into my life, bossing me around." There.  Now you know.  Don't try to lie.  I know you hate her too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in the 'Hood

Fine. I guess I am not livin' hard. But, this doesn't mean I cannot form a gang of crafting mommies set on causing a ruckus. Who is with me?

Friday, January 14, 2011

When Your Crafting Habit Begins to Take Over

I saw this cartoon today while looking at the Lion Yarn Website. They have free patterns. Why was I looking at their site? I already am working on a project (a cute, soft, brown, wool baby hat with ears and a muzzle). I already have monkeys to be made. I already have more gnome materials. Why would I be searching that site? Because folks, I am a crafting addict.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Manage Toddlers (or babies) While Homeschooling

See this dragon? He is a whirling dervish of destruction. Ya, he looks sweet enough but we all know that dragons will either burn you to a crisp with fire or eat you if you let them. Toddlers are a lot like dragons. Having a small dragon in your house while you are trying to each exponential math would be awfully distracting too. So, how do we handle dragons, or toddlers, or babies, while homeschooling?

Step 1. Train your dragon.

All peaceful households with children that you will ever visit have one thing in common the children have been trained and it took time and CONSISTENCY. I know this sounds like no fun and one would think that it would take a long time. Put those thoughts out of your head. They won't help you and are therefore a waste of time.

The training philosophy you hold to is your business but do pick something and go with it. During school hours I give my toddler things to do that are not a huge disruption (play dough, paper and pencil, paper with scissors, quiet toys, etc.). I keep my toddler with me. If my toddler is within arms reach than he is most likely not trying to flush something down the toilet, or pulling the cat's tail, or undoing all my housework. He sits on my lap. He plays by my side. He sits at the table and plays "school" while I help his older brothers. If he begins to misbehave, I handle things promptly. If he becomes a continual distraction ( and every child has their moments) then I set him in his bed for however long it takes me to get his brothers back cruising along on their lessons (typically about 5 minutes) and then I deal with him. I think it is important for the little people of the house to know that their disruptive behavior is not going to bring everything in the household to a screeching halt. That would be too much power for a toddler to handle.

Babies can be trained too. I have heard of people training babies to sit on a blanket and play with toys during school. I just wore my baby. It was simpler for me. I have always encouraged my babies to be cheerful. I do this by being cheerful with them myself and by holding them often. It works. :)

Step 2. Be Aware. You wouldn't turn your back on a fire-breathing dragon...don't turn your back on a toddler.

We all know the things that toddlers can do. I turned my back on my 3rd born once when he was a toddler only to turn back around and find him to have a mouth full of potting soil and my freshly planted flowers all dumped out of the pot. Cute. Cute and mildly annoying.

If a toddler doesn't have the opportunity to cause mischief then there will be no mischief to distract you or your other children from your studies. A problem prevented is a problem solved.

Step 3. Wear your armor. You wouldn't go into battle without wearing protection, or bringing a sword, or bringing provisions for the journey.

I know my toddler will want snacks, drinks, multiple things to do, a nap, and my attention. I prepare for these things.

It says in the Bible that we need to wear spiritual armor. Do this by praying and reading your Bible. When I run out of steam, God's word comes to me and keeps me going.

Step 4. Be patient. Dragons are unpredictable.

My toddler (baby) will be a toddler (baby). So, I try to keep myself flexible. I also try to be patient with myself. I cannot do it all and I will never be anywhere near perfect. I too will get grouchy, tired, and bored. Sometimes I also just need to cry. Moms and toddlers can be alike sometimes.

Happy dragon wrangling!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homeschooling Books, Living books, Whole Books

I thought that I would share what texts we are using for school today.

Spelling Power I like this book because it covers all levels of spelling. It is simple and quick.
New World Dictionary I picked up my copy at the local thrift store. Dictionaries are great tools, not just for reference, but for actual lessons. Today the bigger boy will be looking up more obscure words from their reading assignment.
Simply Grammar A very useful book because you can repeat lessons as need be. I find the boys often "brain dump" basic grammar rules, not in their writing, but in being able to articulate which is a linking verb or which is an adverb.
Treasure Island I checked this out last night at the local library. I am reading it myself to better check the boys' comprehension level and also to pullout words for their vocabulary lessons. This book seems to me to be a perfect boy book. I am always on the hunt for adequate boys books (not just dribble).
CLP Nature Reader 4 Why this book is so inexpensive and others are so expensive, I shall never understand. All levels of the CLP Nature Reader series are great. Even though the boys are mainly doing 5th grade level work, this little book is still useful for facts and a quick check on comprehension because of the questions at the end of each section. Non-fiction tastiness.
A Child's History of the World An pricy piece of literature which I found rather cheaply at a used curriculum sale. I love the way history is presented, not dry and burdensome, but rather interestingly and rich.
Drawing with Children All my children are enjoy art and drawing. I appreciate the systematic way she approaches art.
MCP Mathematics Levels B, E, F I didn't add a link here. They are sufficient books. I found that I detest Saxon math for being convoluted so I switched to this no nonsense math program.
CLP Phonics Level A I like things simple, simple and direct while being fully sufficient. Boys like things simple too.
Handwriting Without Tears grade 1 I tend to try to keep the boys either on grade level or above. I find if you do not tell them that something might be too difficult for them, they just do the work. :) This is a good, solid handwriting curriculum. I do follow-up with a more rigorous curriculum later, such as CLP handwriting.

So, this is what is on the table today. Tomorrow we add science (Apologia Science) and drop the history.

Happy Schooling!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lentils With Smoked Sausage Soup

Stop it! Stop it right now! I will have no ugly faces made at the mention of the word lentils. I can hear the naysayers already, "Lentils taste like dirt.", "My mother made lentils once for me when I was a child and I hated them.". Etc. etc. My lentils are delicious. My mother also made lentils that I refused to eat (sorry mom) but these are not your mother's lentils (sorry again mom).

Lentils with Smoked Sausage Soup

4 T olive oil (or coconut oil) into your pot.
Add 1 chopped onion & 1 1/2 c. shredded cabbage and saute until onions soften.
Then add I crushed clove of garlic and saute a bit more.
Follow with 1 pound of smoked sausage (veggie sausage is fine, turkey, regular)
saute a bit more and dance while you do it (It makes the soup taste better.)
Add 6c. water, 1 lb bag of lentils, 4 cubes of broth bouillon, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 2 t thyme, sprinkle of cayenne (optional), S & P to taste.

Cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. This soup is just as lovely, if not better, the day after. My children joyfully eat this soup. My husband asks for this soup. This is guest worthy soup. Try the soup! :0)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Way Little Boys Play

As a mother of four sons, I thought I would impart some of my hard won wisdom about the world. Boys do not play like girls (I have addressed this in an earlier post but today's antics brought the point anew to my mind).
For Christmas my 11 y/o received an airsoft gun, a bow and arrow set, a survival knife, and a guitar. The first thing that boy did was to go out into the front yard and use all the ammunition he had to shoot many tiny holes into the guitar box. Then, he took his bow and arrows outside to shoot them as well (Yes, his first few shots were at the box but then testosterone took over, warping his brain, and he shot an arrow directly above himself into the sky...and watched it coming back to his general direction. Yes, I opened the window and informed him that that was perhaps the most foolish thing I had ever seen and that if he did it again that I would be forced to confiscate the weaponry.). The knife was examined carefully, used on some branches, and now clings, proudly, to the side of his jeans. After all of this the boy finally sat down to play his guitar. He loves his guitar but he needed to get out the destructive, or protective, or whatever you call it, done with before he could sit down and be creative and quiet.

The incident that was the impetus for this post happened this morning. I had locked myself in the bathroom so that I could have a mostly uninterrupted conversation with my husband on the phone (Listen, it is the only room in the house with a lock on the door and 2 y/o will not leave me alone on the phone. He yells into the receiver the whole time about wanting to talk.). All mothers know that when you are on the phone is when the real ruckus begins. There was hooting and hollering, crashing and banging, caterwauling and wild rumpuses. In the midst of the chaos, while also listening as attentively as I could to my husband, I heard my 6 y/o yell out to my 9 y/o, "Get on the ground with your hands behind your back!" We have obviously been watching too much Cops. I told my husband who laughed the proud dad laugh. And, then I had yet another thing to add to my list of things that my sons do that I never did and never thought of doing.