Thursday, July 5, 2012

Benjamin is 4yo

I do have a couple of pictures.  I can't believe that Benjamin is 4 years old.  He is my baby...ok while not officially my baby anymore..that title is officially held by Violet...aka...the baby.  He is my baby boy.  I have it on good souther mom authority that your youngest boy is well....your baby. 

He got a buzz lightyear birthday cake, a new bike and helmet, an imaginext dragon thing with 2 guys on it and a remote controlled car.  Oh and I special  super cool flashing light and funny noise gun. 

He was totally ridiculously excited about it being his birthday.  He kept excitedly saying it was his birthday.  I know all kids are excited about their birtday..but there was just something extra hilarious and endearing about Benjamins' excitement today.  His birthday cake was "the best birthday cake ever", he kept hugging his presents saying he loved his birthday presents before they were even unwrapped.

I know that every parent thinks that each of their kids is totally awesome...and i am no exception.  Benjamin is totally awesome.  I love the way he talks with his hands...it is hilarious.  I love the way he asks "what are my other options?" when we tell him to do something...like go to bed.  I love the way he gets all fidgety and huggalicious when he is excited.  When keith was putting on a fireworks display for us last night..he kept yelling "thanks dad" and wanted to get up and run give him a hug every time he lit a good firework.

Ben is my baby.  He is stubborn, smart, loveable, and so sweet.  As far as I am concerned he can stay this adorable and toddler-iffic forever. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

the new school year

The new school year for Lilianna officially starts this week.  Her school year runs from July 1- june 30th.  This will mark the beginning of her second full year of homeschooling and I am really excited about this year.  We are adding a whole new level of organization which is aimed at developing her initiative a little more.  She leaves for camp this Sunday for 2 weeks and when she gets back we are going to be ready to start full tilt.

Our curriculum is a little hodge podge.  Language arts and math is still K12.  Science is going to be a mixture of unit studies and time4learning.  K12 was just a little too experiment heavy for me.   History is sonlight and I am adding in lots of extra historical fiction for each section.  I think we might try time4learning's composition program time for writing...an 8 week course online and see how that goes.  Electives are dance, singing, and guitar lessons and we will keep k12 art.  We have a lot left in our bible program from last year so we will continue that . 

I have this idea in my head of a laminated wall poster with little pockets for days of the week down the right hand side.  rows with each subject area and popsicle sticks color coded and decorated with assignments written on them.  As she completes the assignment she can move them over to the day pocket. 

If she gets all of the mon-thur assignments done, she can choose 6 sticks from the wildcard section...fun things she likes to do..watch things on pbskids.org, read a book, play logic puzzles, do an artbox.  She can pick out her friday schedule. 

I am thinking about putting together a work box too, so that her assignments will be easily accessed by her so she can have the initiative to get things done.  I have had trouble getting art projects done because I am not always present during school time...so I am going to put together art boxes...everything needed to complete a project in a box she can just grab...read the directions and go to town.

The most important thing for Lilianna is she needs to get a really good night's sleep and she needs to be able to start her assignments and get them done early in the day before she gets too tired or wound up. 

In August it will be just Lilianna and Violet that will be home during the day, so I hope moving work time to the morning will make it a smoother process. 

Last year I tracked hours and we fit school in when I was available to do school with her.  While we got lots done, I think that I had too many subject and a really high bar for accomplishing volume of work.  We are paring down this  year into more manageable chunks and a more organized daily routine.  I am going to approach assignments on a daily basis and track days instead of hours.  I think these changes will improve our school.

I have been working on my parenting mojo...reading new books, watching video series etc.  One of the videos I watched said...there are no perfect parents only parents that are working on it.   haha...that is me.  I think that is me as a homeschooling mom too.  When we first pulled Lilianna out of school, the remainder of second grade was sooo much better than the previous 3 years of school.  Last year was challenging at times.  It was easy to forget what a different and happier little girl Lilianna became after pulling her out of school.  I say without a doubt and without question that homeschooling Lilianna has been one of the biggest joys in my life and continues to be.   I am far from perfect at the homeschool thing...but I am working on it and Lilianna is a lot happier (even if she won't admit it!) and it makes me happier too.

Anyone else have suggestions for keeping stuff organized or really cool ways of helping kids feel motivated and take initiative?

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power