Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010

We sold our house! Yay!  Our closing date is at the end of July so we have one month to find a rental house and move out... AND start ground breaking on our new house (ideally we would like to start as soon as possible after we close). Yikes! It is going to be a busy month

So, that's our big summer news. In other day-to-day news, the boys are doing great and growing like little weeds. I think Ben must be going through a major growth spurt because he is really clumsy right now. He fell down while we were out walking yesterday evening and skinned his hip and elbow. Poor little fellow. Nick's behavior has definitely improved, although I have seen bits of the more volatile behavior during the past week, when we were very busy making suggested changes to the house. He has a hard time dealing with this type of activity but, hopefully, we are learning how to help him get through these times a bit easier. He is such a fun, happy child. It makes me sad to see him start acting out, while knowing it is due to the changes and chaos going on around him. Yesterday we just stayed home, relaxed, played, teased, tickled, cuddled and had a fun day and he was his old self again and he is doing well today too so I know that helped. Now that I am aware of the pattern, I think we can take steps to help him through the majority of the upcoming major changes.

The dad has been taking one of them with him when he runs errands. I find it interesting that, most of the time, it is Ben who wants to go and Nick who wants to stay home with me. Nick has always been a real daddy's boy and Ben tends to be a bit more of a mommy's boy right now, so this has surprised me.

A week or two ago, the dear husband and I split up and each of us took one child out for breakfast. He took Nick to IHOP and I took Ben to The Village Inn. The waitress was talking to Ben (he is such a non-stop talker these days) and she asked him how old he was. He said "I'm four and she (pointing to me) is 47. Half the time he has told whoever he meets everyone's age, that he and Nick are not twins but are brothers, are adopted, from Russia, etc. within the first 3 minutes of meeting them. People really get a kick out of him.

Must go now. Sorry I have not posted any pictures in a while. I will try to do that soon.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

I have been doing a lot of research on the homeschool front, trying to get prepared for August. I was just talking to the husband about how difficult it is, as a newbie to this, to pick curricula. First I have to determine whether or not I think I can teach it. After reviewing many, many different options and considering this is all new to me, I think I need to go with something that is pretty well laid out and scripted. After using scripted materials for a year, or a few years, I may very well be able to move towards a more flexible, less scripted type of option but, for a newbie like me who is still a bit unsure of myself and a bit nervous, I think going with the scripted options are probably a pretty good approach for now. Then I have to try to determine which options might best fit the learning style of the boys. During these younger years, my best guess is that the more fun, hands-on, games type of learning (where possible) will be what they would enjoy the most. These typically require more mom time but, at this age (non-readers), everything requires mom time anyway.
We are planning to 'officially' start homeschooling in the fall. The boys and I have discussed it several times. I think Ben is definitely ready but, the other day, Nick said he just wants to play. Of course he does not turn 5 until November so I may just need to be very flexible with him until after the new year and gear up a bit more then, if he seems more ready. I will play it by ear a bit with him and see how it goes. When he sees Ben learning, he may just decide he wants to do it too. Regardless, I plan to start out slowly, probably only doing Bible/devotion/memory work, phonics and handwriting work to begin with, with some artwork thrown in.

There is a children's Bible I have been wanting to order for the longest time, as it seems to be mentioned everywhere I look, it has been around for a long time and people rave about it. I found out today that the owner of the used homeschool bookstore has a copy she was planning to resale so she is going to sale it to me. It is the Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos so, if it is as good as the reviews indicate, I plan to start out using this and also my regular Bible, along with some children's devotion materials we already have. We have always read from the children's Bible at bed time and we may still continue to do so, as it will be one less thing that is added to our school day and it is a nice way to end the day. So we may just start out our school day with a devotion and some scripture memory work.

For phonics we will continue on with the OPGTR, along with some little phonics games and time for them to read to me, only we will begin doing it on a daily basis.

For writing we will be using Zaner-Bloser Handwriting K.

I am planning to create a book basket of good literature I have selected for us to read during the school year. I will set aside at least 30 minutes each school day for read alouds and we will likely spend more than 30 minutes, since the boys really enjoy this.

I might finish the day with some sort of art project, since they really enjoy this and it will seem like a treat to them. I'll play this by ear because, by the time we get to this, they might just be ready to go play, but you never know.

My initial thought is that I will work with one while the other one plays quietly in another room or outside and then they can switch places. If this doesn't work, I might have to find some file folder games to keep them busy.

So, we will do this for a few weeks, until we get our routine down. We will likely start out with shorter time frames and we will build to 15 to 30 minutes each for Bible, phonics, handwriting and read alouds. I don't have a good feel right now as to what the optimum teaching time will be for them. It will depend on whether they really enjoy it or whether they are not so into what we are doing. I will adjust accordingly this year, since they are technically still PreK4.

After we are comfortable with our new routine, I will add in Right Start Math (possibly sometimes supplemented by either Miquon Math or Singapore Math) and All About Spelling. We will again start off slowly and build up our time to 15 to 30 minutes.

I think my overall target for time will be 2.5 hours (or less) in the morning for Bible, phonics, handwriting, math and spelling. Bible, math and spelling we can all do together and then I will need to do phonics and handwriting separately, I think. I may find that we could do handwriting together but math and/or spelling has to be done separately. I will adjust as necessary. I am thinking we might save read aloud time for the afternoons but we'll see how it goes.

So, I think that's it. I think that's the plan, for now. I plan to be very flexible and possibly push some of it off until January, if I find they are simply not mature enough yet. They have both shown that they are ready cognitively to learn to read so I won't be as flexible with that.

And with that, quiet time is over and we are late today so I need to go wake up Nick. Otherwise he will be wide awake when it is bedtime. I have tons of pictures I need to post...and many other things I need to do. I will get to eventually:). Bye for now.