Sunday, February 23, 2014

Home Schooling

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I don't actually "home school" but I do my version of it. What does it entail? And why do I do this?

I am a stay at home mom for a 5 and 3 year old. My oldest son is in kindergarten 4 days a week until 12:45. During that time, I like to make certain that my younger son is getting good quality time with me. This isn't always the case, and recently I've been disappointed in my being engaged enough, but I am back on track!  My youngest son doesn't go to preschool and won't go to school until he is 4 1/2 (or so). I want to make certain that I am still enriching his life and offering him things that are happening at preschool.
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How do I schedule the week?

Every Sunday night I write my "lesson plan." This gives me a calendar glimpse of what the week has in store for us. Then I distinguish our days. Some days stay the same every week.
For Example: 
Monday- Baking Day
Tuesday- Painting Day
Wednesday- Hiking Day
Thursday- Puppetry Day
Friday- Cleaning Day

Within those days, I will add additional things that I would like to focus on.
 For Example: the alphabet with my youngest son and numbers and math with my older son. I always have more baking and cooking time then just on Monday. I also do things like laundry that I have my youngest separate all the laundry into piles by person.  

I also write out my "circle time" plan for my youngest. After dropping my older child off at school, I head home and start our "school." We do about 20-30 minutes of circle. 

We start with this morning song:

Good Morning

Good Morning Dear Earth (hands as if holding earth on abdomen)
Good Morning Dear Sun (stretch arms above head in a circular arc)
Good Morning Dear Trees (stretch arms to side, like tree branches)
And the Flowers Everywhere (hands holding flowers on ground)
Good Morning Dear Beasts (hands as if petting a dog,etc..)
And the Birds in the Trees (hands “fly” away like birds flying away)
Good Morning Dear You and Good Morning Dear Me. (hands reaching to each other, then hands cross over our chest)

We then continue with a morning verse and a story. This week we are reading the Sun Egg. 
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After our story we have a snack and start working on our baking day. I usually choose a bread to make so he is able to knead the bread. Some days I will do muffins or the like. 
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We then will take a walk around our neighborhood for some sunshine and outside time. This week we plan on spending time at our creek. 

I tend to base my days on being outside. We enjoy nature walks and finding gems of places in our little town. Last week we were busy "fishing" in our pond (with a harmonica of course). 
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The one thing I have found by keeping a consistent rhythm is that my children thrive off of a rhythm and I do also. It's great to see them contribute to our family life and to see them learn in ways that are through every day ways.  It's also nice to see them gain confidence in areas that I would some times just like to hurry through. It's a lesson in breathing for me! 
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Here are the books that I am using this week. I have loved all three of these for being guides into our rhythm:
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

His Heart

This week is all about hearts and love! I don't even like Valentine's day, but I find myself a little too excited about hearts and stuff. Maybe it's all those Valentine's we've been making, but more than likely it's all those pins on Pinterest. 

Thinking of such wonderful hearts... my sweet boy has one of the biggest. Hudson has always been very open with his heart and his need and want to share his love with others. He thinks up wonderful gifts for his friends, he holds relationships very dear, and he has a great connection with his grandparents (and even great grandparents). My mother in law gave him this hat after her mother passed away. This was Great Grandma Betty's hat and my mother in law thought Hudson would like to have it. Hudson holds this hat as such a treasure and each morning he "gears up" for school and asks "Where's my grandma Betty hat?" I know that grandma Betty holds a special place in his heart and he feels her presence every day he puts this hat on.
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This boy of mine is such a gem to be a parent of. He is both courageous and daring, yet loving and soft. He is strong and athletic, yet gentle and calm. He is your typical boy, yet not your typical boy. I love how he cares so much for other people. One example is that it's been a huge adjustment for him since I have cut out gluten. The other day, after we had been baking, he asked me to try what we were making. I told him that I couldn't try it because it had flour in it. I wasn't really thinking that would effect him and within seconds he had tears running down his face. He sobbed while telling me he was so sad that I wasn't able to have any of the treats we make. He told me that he would take care of me and that he and his daddy would make me gluten free cookies soon.  Those moments, I just cherish him.

Hug your little ones and love their hearts! They are such joys. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaching through hands, heart, and head

I am a firm believer in teaching through life practices and using your hands, heart, and head.

Hudson decided he wanted to make a pillow for his Valentine. He made a very sweet embroidered heart shaped pillow for her. There was so much thought and feeling that went into each stitch he made. He was so very excited to make this for her and of course his brother then wanted to do the same thing.
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I was reluctant at first to try embroidery with my three year old, but he loved it. With each stitch I would say "under" or "over" and it was great to see him get the concept of under and over. We did color selection and he learned how he couldn't just put the needle in anywhere he wanted. He also learned a great deal of patience when the thread would come off the needle. He was very excited to finish his project for his Valentine.
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It's amazing when we take real life concepts and use those as methods for teaching. They both used their hands and put their hearts into their presents. They had such pride in their work and little did they know, they were learning concepts along the way.
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Valentine's Crafting: 90's style

Looking for a quick and satisfying Valentine's craft? I've just the thing.

Yesterday my boys decided they wanted to make "neon heart shirts!" They love neon! The brighter the better in their opinion. So, we rummaged around for some paints and bought a couple of shirts and got to work.

(my youngest son made a shirt, but he did it while in his underwear.. I am not so cool with kids in underwear pictures).

Here are the needed supplies:
Fabric Paint
Sponge paint brush
Masking Tape
Cardboard for under the shirt

First you make lines with the masking tape. The kiddos will paint the shirt between the lines.
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Next, grab your paints and let them paint away. Careful to make certain they don't paint over the sides and onto the table..
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My kids wanted to alternate their colors
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Once it dries, peel the tape back and see the cool lines
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Now you can outline the heart and then paint inside the heart
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My son outlined his in black and then decided it looked "too perfect" and decided to graffiti it a bit
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Ready for Valentine's Day!!!
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Our Time is NOW...

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It's amazing how one day you look and your second child and he is already Three. Someone told me, awhile back, that the second child is so different than the first. In so many ways, but mostly in the fact that you really can't dedicate as much time to that one child. I thought I would be different.

Disclaimer: I know I do a lot with my kids, but some times I look at Nolan and feel like I just don't give him enough, and some times I really feel like I am failing him.

Nolan, either by nature or default, is a very independent child. I think I have fallen for this fact that I just don't have to interact with him as much as I did Hudson (a very NOT independent child). While I was working this past semester, it would be painful to even pull out the paints. It seemed like a chore even though it was something so easy. I found myself spending a lot of time at coffee houses and running meaningless errands. I thought that the four hours we had alone together could be used for cleaning house, doing chores, but not too much interacting. It really didn't hit me until I stopped working and I've been available to my kids all day. I didn't realize how little I was putting forth for my second child.

Having one child is (ahem) pretty easy to motivate. It's you and this one being. I was wiping out projects left and right. We were baking, hiking, exploring, etc. It was new and I was new to the Stay at home mom gig. When they napped, you could get stuff done. You actually had a good 2-3 hours to yourself. That's when a lot of those chores were done. Fast forward to your second child and you want all those things, but you ask yourself, "do I really want to paint again today?" "do we really need to go hiking, it's raining outside?" I've realized I have become that mom. Always putting so much effort into my first child, but not nearly enough into my second.

But, the one thing I can do, is change.

I am so happy to be spending so much  more quality time with my little guy. His face lights up when I sit down to play with him. To spend more time engaging in things and not spending as much time focusing on the things for just me. I watch as I start welcoming him to help me with things, at first he doesn't have any motivation to help, but then he starts to open up to it. I know it's because I haven't included him in so many of my daily tasks.

Nolan loves to bake, and now that's a part of our weekly rhythm:
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And paint: 
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We are not sending Nolan to preschool next year, and it's my responsibility to meet him at his developmental stages. I am so excited to have our little nook of preschool homeschooling. 

Because before we know it, he will be going on 6 and heading to first grade like his big brother. His time is now, OUR time is now. 
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