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Today was a strange day. My original plans for the day were foiled again, but C’est la vie. On the brightside of  that whole thing is that the kids were able to relax and get some computer and reading time in. We started reading Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

I was very happy that when I began reading the first paragraph, K noticed that the story was “similar” to that of The Secret Garden. Phew! That means he is listening even when he’s sitting on his head while I read. Lol.

After reading, they went off to enjoy the rest of the day doing their usual Friday activities, while I stood home and attempted to complete housework. Things like putting away the winter clothes, now that I’m pretty sure that it won’t snow or ever fall under 50 degrees for the next few months. In between that boring stuff I searched the web and found some cool FREE sites. We’ve used the last one listed for about 3 days, which I highly recommend since I found DD on it this morning :-)

This is free access to Scott Foresman’s Online Writing and Grammar Handbooks. You have access for grade K thru 6th.  You can also find worksheets that go along with their Reading books if you use them.

Online Grammar and Writing HandbookThe Online Grammar and Writing Handbooks are in Adobe® Acrobat® format, for which you will need to use Adobe’s Reader® software.

http://www.sfreading.com/resources/ghb.html

This Free site offers a nice amount of educational games. I found it via Facebook :-) The site is easy to use and games are categorized by grade level. Once again K thru 6th.

http://www.gameclassroom.com/

This site is by far our absolute favorite!! Here you can find really fun vocabulary games from grades K thru 12th!  The sites motto is “Vocabulary Can Be Fun!” And they are right :-)

http://vocabulary.co.il/

Hope you find these useful :-)

Dear Diary,

I first started blogging so that family members could view our goings on. Then I stopped because being on the computer so much with homeschooling stuff was driving me crazy. I only started up again, because I was inspired by the kids blogging. I do that a lot… the “following” what my kids do. I believe that they are the one’s truly teaching me. Anyway, I looked back at my defunct blog and reminisced about the fun we have had, and was shocked by how much they have grown since I created this blog. But, now I think that a blog is an important tool for my family. A sort of keepsake, that they will have stored, safely in cyberspace. I want my blog to express how much I love them, how goofy we are, and how much we have grown as a family. I guess my blog is really a little bio about our lives, that later (hopefully much later), will serve as a “letter in a bottle” for them. My hope is that they too, continue blogging and enjoy looking back at their own stories and adventures with laughter and maybe a little embarrassment ;-)  So, if this blog/post is read many years from now, I would like to say:  I love you C & K  :-*    <3

Kids are GROSS!!!!!

Today a Facebook conversation was brought up about weird and gross things kids do. I realized I was not forewarned about these idiosyncrasies. So I decided to provide any future parents that may stumble across this blog some “heads up.”

If anyone has any more stomach turning facts about kids please let me know and I will add them to this PSA.

8. Your son will have terrible aim, and you will be cleaning pee off the bathroom wall for many years.

7. Your kids WILL chew on someone else’s chewed and disgarded gum.

6. Projectile Vomiting, is not that gross. What is gross, is the child that vomits in their sleep and lays right back down in it!

5. Boys will not learn to “wipe” themselves…EVER!!

4. When you finally realize they are no longer picking their noses…it’s because they have learned to quickly pick and eat it!

3. They will lie to the end about having brushed their teeth.

2. They will stick chewed up gum any and everywhere in their rooms. Along walls, beds, nightstands etc…

1. They will pick their noses and wipe it on their beds or along the wall of their bed. This though is a sign that they are no longer eating it.

The weather has been downright gloomy the last few days. We were able to see the sun shine on Monday, and enjoyed the bulk of the day at the park after our Latin lesson with our friends. We have an amazing 12 year old friend who has been teaching herself German. Her wonderful influence on my DD, now has C taking German lessons via Powerspeak ( www.powerspeak.com ) along with the tutelage of her dear friend :-) Before Latin class, C & M went off on their own to work on some German. After Latin we all went to the park, the kids played baseball (we have a wonderful hs’ing dad who takes time to coach informally), and we moms do what we do… TALKED our butts off. Eventually the girls went off and continued their German lessons in the park. I love that C has found such wonderful friends that inspire her to learn and to be a good person.  The photo below is of the two girls working on some German (notice their smiles) :

Since then we’ve been doing the usual “in home”  school work. DS is back to work on Time4Learning ( www.Time4Learning.com ) .  Last year I cancelled our subscription to the program, but I realize that between the two of them, I have ZERO time to myself. At least with this site they can work independently and I can go off and do other things around the house.

Today they both worked on some art projects, K finished his. LOL. He likes to get it over and done with as quick as possible. We read a sweet story by Lynd Ward, The Biggest Bear. He wanted to draw a picture of himself hunting a bear (which is more like a cub.LOL). I hope his art teacher sees this, so she can see that he has come a long way from his stick figures :-)

He has a neck!!

DD read another mermaid novel, and is working on copying one of the beautiful drawings in the book. I like that she takes her time when it comes to her art work, but sometimes I wish it didn’t have to be such a big production. This is what she has done so far (keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll add some color):

I have a few changes I want to make for the next school year. I more than likely will be changing their math program to Teaching Textbooks ( http://www.teachingtextbooks.com  ). I’ve been reviewing the program and think it will help me NOT pass on my math phobia to the children. All other subjects will go unchanged since they are working great! Woohoo!

Today started off well. The kids enjoy almost everything I throw at them, granted it has taken me a couple of years to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. They love science, math is still fun and K’s phonics program still is “cool” in his opinion. But today I found myself becoming frustrated with K and his reading progress, C was already reading by his age and although I know each child is different I do find myself wanting him to “get it” already.  K is a very sensitive child, so when it comes to being strict with his reading, I tend to wimp out. He is able to read his level 1 readers and stumbles a bit with level 2′s, but I do see that he is well on his way to being a fluent reader IF I don’t lose my patience. What I think my problem is is that he is involved in other activities where most of the children his age are already reading fluently and probably at least at a 2nd grade level. And now that mommy syndrome of comparing my children is in the mix. I know if he was enrolled in “school” he would be reading as well as his sister did at his age. Or if I cracked the whip and made him sit for 45 minutes he’ll be up to par with his peers. I recall getting his sister to learn to read was a nightmare. She hated the mundane and repetitive assignments, and the homework would make her cry almost everynight. I really want him to be willing, and dare I say happy to do his assignments and LOVE reading. I don’t want him to come over to the sofa with a negative attitude about having to read. BUT, I also don’t want him to feel like there’s something “wrong” with him not being able to read text smaller than a 16pt. font. When he sees large print he will attempt to read it, but average print size he considers “too hard” for him.

So here I am awake at 2:15 a.m. wrestling with the mommy demons. Do I crack down, so he can be just like the other kids his age…or do I let it happen naturally (of course with guidance and continued work)? I’ve read every article with every pro and con to the subject. None of them being of any use when you’re in the thick of it. What’s ironic is that it was always such a simple task getting former students to read. Whether the curriculum’s method turned them into true readers, I have no idea. I will stay up for a half hour more printing out some more “fun” phonics games and we’ll see if they are a big hit tomorrow. WooHoo. Did I mention he hates practicing his handwriting?? Oy, that issue is for another day! :-)

A Good Week

 

This week we took another trip over to Pennsylvania. We visited my brother and his family, we spent the gorgeous day out hiking along a trail that follows the Lehigh River and a small canal in the town. We moved back to NYC from the area about 3 years ago. It is a very picturesque town and the region as a whole is beautiful. While living there, I felt very lonely, I did make many acquaintances, but never was able to find a close or dear friend. Since I am a very social person, this did cause me bouts of depression, so I made the decision to move back to NY.  I do miss some of the things that drew me to that area, but I am a much happier person here.  Forever, I will credit much of my happiness to the incredible friends that I have here (old and new). 

This week the kids also had their swimming, AWANA (bible study), piano, and their usual academics. During the Spring and Summer, we concentrate a lot on biology.  Even in NYC  nature abounds, if you learn how to look, ( I mean really, did we have to drive down to Philly last week to hang out with Waterbugs???? ) We are using a science curriculum called Real Science 4 Kids to go along with our own “discoveries.” C has decided (for now) that she wants to become a Marine Biologist, and save orphaned and injured mammals. K, wants to “study” fish.  I’m sure we’ll go through many more career choices as the years go on. BUT, I can say that their ability to make contact with hideous creatures makes these jobs a cinch for them.  My children are not squeamish about things, thankfully, they were saved from inheriting my weak stomach :-)

The kids have also spent quite a bit of time blogging this week. My boy has been convinced to blog as well and is doing rather well, especially since he is dictating his thoughts to me.  I wonder if he’ll have as much to say when HE has to type it?

All in all, this week,  has been marked by many blessings and much gratitude on my part.

Have a wonderful weekend :-)

Apparently I haven’t blogged in over 2 years. I decided to visit this old page due to my kids new involvement in blogging. A friend also suggested that I should blog, and I recalled my defunct page. So here I was, scrolling through old photos and posts becoming ever-so-aware, that my babies have done a lot of growing, maturing and learning. The same families we hung out with before, still have a very strong presence in our lives, and have now metamorphosed into true friendships. Friendships of which, have been greatly needed at moments when I thought about giving up this life.  They’ve kept me strong and laughing and focused on our education.

C is now in “4th” grade and K is in “1st.”  I recently administered a standardized test for C, and she (thankfully) did very well.

K is showing more confidence with his reading, and makes attempts to read his encyclopedias on his own.

We are now using a hodge podge of books and websites for their academics. I am still an eclectic homeschooler but now with a dash of Unschooling :) We have “formal” lessons, only because the children LIKE to have some traditional experiences. If something is not being enjoyed, it gets “cut” from the schedule or we find a better way to work it in.

We are heavily educated by our group activities, trips and everyday life. The little guy now has learned many multiplication facts and most importantly knows what multiplication means. He can even tell you the square root of numbers up to 144!

My girl now shows a great interest in history and geography via, her love of mythical creatures. She continues to paint and draw her little heart out and does have a passion for it (I think).

I, in turn, have learned how to take their interests and turn it into an adventure in learning. I have also been taught that children are capable of making their own educational choices if we just listen.

All of what we have learned, is due to the amazing friendships we have developed. Our homeschool community is the backbone of our lives.

I am not sure if I will continue to post, maybe my children’s blogging fever will take control of me. We will see :-)

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