Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20

On break for the holidays. Season's greetings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13

Many are celebrating the feast day of Saint Lucia today. It's significant to me for another reason. Though I was born in the states, my mother is St. Lucian and I lived there till I was 6. I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years visiting my family there whenever possible. Today is St. Lucia's National Day. Today, we will light candles and bake bread among other things. Wren really loves this story about Lucia's generosity and we have already read it twice today. I think I will surprise the kids with some Lucian food for dinner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10

I've done a few things recently in an effort to enhance my daily rhythm and streamline things at home. First, I started menu planning. Using alliteration, we gave each dinner night a cutesy meal name. For instance, we have Meatball Mondays and Focaccia Fridays. The kids love knowing what we're going to have and I love not having to figure out what's for dinner at the last minute. I do about two weeks' worth of grocery shopping at once, filling in with fresh fruit, veg, and milk as needed. We eat out less this way b/c I'm prepared.

The second thing I did was to buy each family member a different color towel and washcloth. I read about a variation that called for a bias tape loop attached to same color towels. That wouldn't work for us b/c everyone would claim they didn't see the loop, couldn't tell what color it was, etc. Now, no one will "accidentally" use my favorite towel and then crumple it up in a corner for me to find still damp a few days later. Ahem.

The most recent change was to our school schedule. We are not going to do every subject every day. L suggested it and really, as simple as it seems, I had a revelation. I'm going to make two week plans just like I've been doing with dinner. The first week, we will concentrate on Math/Social Studies on M/W/F and Language Arts/Science on T/T. We will reverse that the second week. The kids will continue to journal and play math games daily, so they will never have a day without math or language arts. I'm also staggering lessons. I noticed Robin works best before his sibs are up, so we try to get his work done first, then Wren, then Finch. Already, things are...I don't know how to describe it. Lighter? More fun? I no longer feel bogged down by our work load. I've also lightened up on Finch, letting him do as he'd like. If he wants to read the same Bob book every day, fine. If he doesn't want to Explode the Code, fine. I don't blame him, I find it pretty dry myself. That was also L's suggestion. I think my husband is a homeschooler at heart. An unschooler even!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8

Yarn Along {inspired by Ginny}

We're headed to NYC soon and the baby needs some cute new winter accessories. On the hook is a Brrr baby beanie. I can't believe this is going to be the first hat with earflaps I've ever made! I plan to add a little flower on the side. I'd forgotten how much I love to crochet and the almost instant gratification it provides. The yarn is some mystery yarn that I've had forever. I'm going to make a pair of matching mittens too as the last pair I made is way too small.

I'm still reading and loving Trust the Children. A conversation with L last night helped me to realize I need to change my approach when it comes to teaching math. I mentioned that our social studies and science lessons which are much shorter than our math lessons seem to "stick" with the kids more. We use a combination of videos, hands on material and a smidge of bookwork for those subjects while math is mostly worktexts. I was flipping through Trust the Children and came across several ideas we are going to try right away.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3

I've seen this on some homeschool blogs and decided to keep a little list this week so I can make myself feel like we've accomplished something. Heh.

Language Arts


Social Studies

two years ago
  • Dec 1 marked the 55th anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott. We discussed passive resistance, racism, segregation and did an activity from Teaching Tolerance.
  • Dec 1st was also World Aids Day. We talked in simple terms about HIV/AIDS.
  • Even though we know a bit about Hanukkah having an immediate member of the family who celebrates, we read a little more about its history.
  • We played listening games b/c when no one is listening, things can get nuts pretty fast. We played a "hot potato" type game where I counted out musical and they passed the "potato" on different beats. I think I read about it in Trust the Children. We also played Simon Says (I bet I could get them all out...and I did eventually!).
Notes for the week:
  1. Despite saying that I was opting out of all activities this spring, it looks like we're joining a small co-op. Open mouth, insert foot. Story of my life.
  2. I am considering switching Wren's math program to something requiring more instructor input and less mental math. I'm surprised to see she needs so much guidance when I thought Robin was the one who would need the help!
  3. My printer had a fit and decided to reject an ink cartridge that was already in use. Seriously? Maybe it just couldn't handle the now daily usage that comes from us being homeschoolers. I'm in the market for a laser printer anyway.
  4. I planned on buying a large world map...until I found one in my closet!
  5. I'm also in the market for some "all-in-one" language arts and I think Writing Tales will fit the bill!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1

Yarn Along {inspired by Ginny}

I started this scarf as a holiday gift for my step-dad last year when I was pregnant with Lark. It's the scrunchable scarf, but for some reason, I've got k1p2 instead of k2p1. Who knows what was going on in my pregnant brain! Anyway, after learning about the minimalist knitter's handbook via Rockin' Granola, I decided it was time to either frog or finish all my outstanding projects. This went into the finish pile. I wish I had noticed that I switched patterns after picking it back up before doing 5 inches of work. *sigh* So, I frogged again, and this is where I am now. As for the book (How Did You Get This Number), I've been on the library waiting list for this book forever. I loved her last book and this one is just as funny.