Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finally, Preschool is planned!!! (Well, sort of)

I am setting out on a new adventure next year. (It actually started this year, but without much to do.) All of my older 3 children went to preschool. They LOVED it! I loved it! I also loved that they were given a ton of basics that helped me get them going when they began Kindergarten at home.

Now, in our new location, I do not have access to that wonderful school with those wonderful friends. So, I am now doing their preschool. This has intimidated me for awhile. After all, I hadn't taught any child "from scratch" before. Would I really be able to do it? As the time has come nearer to begin, I have realized that I have everything it takes!

I have been amazed by all the home school blogs that are out there, especially the ones focusing on preschool. It has been so much fun looking, reading, and printing all of the fun things to do. I think I have a basic list that I will now call my "Preschool Curriculum."

Here are some of my favorite preschool blogs:

Confessions of a Homeschooler
Mama Jenn
Homeschool Creations
Family Style School
Chasing Cheerios

As far as "curriculum" goes, here is the list that I plan on drawing from for my 4 yr old's school:

Letter of the Week - Confession of a Homeschooler
Raising Rock Stars Preschool - 1+1+1=1
Totally Tot Trays - 1+1+1=1
Melissa & Doug puzzles and games
Lauri puzzles and games
Kumon workbooks: My Book of Easy Mazes, Let's Sticker and Paste, My Book of Tracing, My Book of Cutting, My Book of Number Games, My First Book of Drawing
Heidi Songs Singable Songs for Letters & Sounds

I will, of course, also include many read aloud story books.

Whew! Now, I think I better start collecting all of this and at least planning out several weeks in advance. Sunday night planning/organizing/gathering might take a while now! (At least we won't officially begin until September.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today in the life of homeschool...

As each school year begins to wrap up for the summer, I always start planning for the next. Just as I think I am burning out, I actually switch into high gear and get really motivated to reevaluate and improve our current system. I also like to research and make sure I am using the best thing for each child.

This year, I am spending A LOT of time on blogs. I had no idea that there were so many ideas out there! My favorite has been She is unbelievable! She has so many ideas! Plus, she likes to try curriculum and products out for companies and then report how she liked them. I found several things from her referrals. It is really mind boggling and a little overwhelming how much information there is out there. Still, it is only serving to excite me about the promise of a fresh start in Fall. I love this feeling. I love the naive, romantic excitement to return. All of the reasons that I went to school to teach Elem. Ed., all the reasons that I want to home school come rushing back and I feel optimistic once again.

This next year I will have a child in PreK, 1st, 3rd, and 4th! Plus, we can't forget about the Tiny Tot that will be making our day interesting! I now have a spread sheet of what and when for each child. Hopefully, that will help a little.

I think I am leaning toward using the Workbox System. Has anyone out there used this? I HAVE to figure a way for each child to know what is next and seamlessly move onto the next thing. I also HAVE to come up with children to be more independent at times so that I can focus on ONE. We will see. Right now, I am trying to find something that will work like the recommended boxes without the cost. If the system works for our family and it is going to continue, then I will probably want the carts, but I can't spend that kind of money not knowing.

I am now looking forward to our May HOPE meeting. HOPE is the support group for homeschooling moms that I am apart of. May is our curriculum discussion. It is always good to hear how others are doing things and even organizing their time. I also like to get my hands on actual copies of some of the books I have been thinking of.

All this makes me think of You've Got Mail, where they talk about how they love Fall and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. Ahhhhh! I know, I am a dork!

Biggest Loser

Taking what we are learning in the previously mentioned book (I really have a hang up with the name), and following the 30 day Jump Start from Biggest Loser, Chris and I are starting to do better in May. This weekend will be my last hurrah with a women's retreat that I DESPERATELY need! I refuse to care about what is going in my mouth this weekend. BUT THEN....

I was just watching The Biggest Loser tonight and several of the people had lost 125-185 pounds in 15 weeks! That is NUTS!!! I don't have anywhere near that much to lose and I thought it would most likely take over a year. I can buckle down for 15 weeks! We will see...

I have never started something like this and stuck to it. As we get older, though, the health issues are more pressing. I have 5 kids that I need to teach good habits to, have energy for, and to LIVE for!!! So, I am trying again, this time with success as my goal!

I know that I should now proudly post a before picture, but NO WAY!!! If all goes well, then I will post a before AND after when I reach my goal. Until then.....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The crazy cycle

I know I am not alone when I say that everything feels out of control. Well, I can't say EVERYTHING anymore (thank goodness!). The house has been cluttered and crazy, school has been haphazard, eating habits horrible, exercise none, budget control lost, sleep deprived............ Have you ever been able to relate? Maybe not.

Well, we are finally on track with school, and even though there isn't a pretty schedule in place, we are getting it done. I haven't figured out the scheduling dilemma since we added our new baby 4 months ago now. The only thing that has a time, is that everyone must be awake, dressed, teeth and hair brushed, beds made, and downstairs eating breakfast by 8am. If we accomplish this, we are off to a good start. Then we throw school in as it fits, usually while I am nursing and they can gather around me on the couch.

The house is feeling better. The kids are finally consistent in their chores. Actually the big change is that I am finally consistent in holding them accountable for their chores. So, we all feel better that the general living areas are clean. Now, I have to figure out how to get to the closets and clutter places while managing, parenting, teaching, nursing, cooking, etc. That is something I am working toward.

What is really crazy right now is my self control when it comes to eating. Lets just say there is no self control. I was just starting to do well, and then we visited family for Easter. All the social food and Easter candy threw me into a tailspin. I am over weight. I have low energy. We are all gaining. My husband has high blood pressure. I have many heart problems in my genetics. We HAVE to get this under control.

I have recently been reading The Flat Belly Diet book. I really hate the title to this book. It kept me from picking it up for a long time. It just sounds like a fad diet. It is very interesting, though, and may help with the heart issues. Now, I just have to begin......again. I also have to get my tennis shoes on and put in my exercise video again!!! Why is that so hard? Whenever I actually exercise, I always feel better and start eating better. So why won't I get going? Actually, the main reason right now is that there are only so many hours in a day. My plate is VERY full right now with the baby. Still, it only takes about 30 min., so I don't have much of an excuse.

So the personal battles continue. I just keep repeating that "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." I know treating my body well is part of God's plan for me. I know that training my children up is part of God's plan for me. I know that being a good steward of all these blessings is part of God's plan for me. I know that loving on my kids so that they learn His love is part of God's plan for me. So, because of Him, I have hope!!! One step at a time, my life can be in the order it should be in. God is a God of order not craziness. I will fail every time I try to accomplish all of this by myself. With Him, ALL things are possible!!!!

Noah 4 months (March 30)

Noah is so much fun at 4 months. His face absolutely lights up when he sees a family member. He LOVES to talk, chew on his hands, suck his thumb (my first), and grab at toys.