Friday, September 11, 2015

Crazy Start to the"New" School Year

Well, normally I'd say we're all set and breezing through the beginning of the new school year. However, this year that's not the case. It seems that when we bought our new home in Kentucky that the previous owners were hiding a few facts. Such as the presence of mold in the house due to the last flood in the area. Because of that we have had to leave that house and begin looking for another one.

We're currently staying with some family while we look. Some of the school books had to be tossed, some were accidentally left in our storage unit, and the rest we were able to remember and bring with us.

Currently we're doing our lessons first thing in the morning while Mommy drinks coffee. And while all planned lessons are getting done, we're having a bit of trouble getting back into our usual rhythm.

I have no doubt that we'll be in our groove before long but the adjustments are interesting. In the meantime I'm doubling up on my coffee.

On a non school related note, I managed to severely bruise one of my knuckles and I'm still not sure how I did it.

And on a crafting front I've been very busy working on, and filling, baby set orders.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sunshine and Smiles

Some of you wonder why we put priority in outside time, some of you are wondering why we use the 1000 hours benchmark, and there's some of you who don't really wonder about it at all.

Nearly two years ago I was surfing the web, just attempting to find interesting ideas, and I ran across the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge. I read the articles, I did some independent research, and I came to the conclusion that 1000+ hours outside is MUCH better than 1000+ hours of screen time.

The first year we didn't make the 1000 hour mark, this year we're on track to get more than 1000 hours. There's no true sign up for the challenge, you keep track of your own hours, and you can be part of the community on Facebook doing the same thing. In the past two years so many people have learned about the challenge it's simply amazing.

Try making it a priority this week to get outside more and away from screens. Watch your children have fun and explore. Look for their behavior changes with less exposure to screens.

They're not going to become perfect children just because you limit the time in front of screens. You're still going to occasionally deal with them having attitude issues. But, I've noticed that with less exposure to screens their attention spans increase! Making other areas of our day easier.

So, Google the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge... look them up on Facebook... and then just try getting outside more this week. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Holy Cow... It's June Already!

Wow! Last time I checked the year didn't go by so fast! We're still trucking along with our lessons and attempting to finish settling into the new house. Even though we moved here last fall we're not 100% settled in since there are several home improvement projects we have in mind and I hate getting a room all situated only to move everything again to repaint or something else.

We have enough room for a separate school room and haven't gotten around to seeing if we like the idea in this house. Lessons at the kitchen table where I can do laundry while teaching or make lunch while keeping an eye on the campers seems to be working for now.

We're not going to stop our lessons at all this summer and we're not even lightening up the lesson load. Not because we're behind because I'd planned the year out this way. We took a lot of time off during the move, a few solid weeks at Christmas, and I knew we'd be home for most of the summer.

Everyone's lessons are going well and each of them have specific goals to hit before the end of summer. These are goals I've lain out with their needs in mind...

Peanut is working hard on her writing, blending sounds in spelling, and word recognition. She's not a fluent reader but she's beginning to pick up words she sees frequently. I'm not pushing reading to the point of pain but we work on it daily and we'll get there eventually. Reading and proficiency in basic mathematical facts are her main goals for the summer.

YCJ is also still working on her reading. Her dyslexia makes this a little complicated for her but she can, and does, read when not pushed until she stresses out. Her main goals for the summer are: more proficiency in reading, more of the multiplication table memorized, and the ability to write short book reports on her own.

ECJ just keeps trucking along. With most subjects not causing him issues. Although he's still struggling with note taking and more mature report and research writing. All of that is on his goals for the summer list along with completing a book called Algebra Without Tears so that he'll be able to jump into algebra one come fall and skip over pre-algebra.

I'm doubtful we'll do much inside home improvement over the summer as we have several outside projects on our list as well. During the summer I'd much rather be outside if possible, unless it's too hot and then I don't want to do much of anything.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Update on Our Lives

Goodness gracious! It's been a little while since I made a blog post! 

We had a wonderful visit with our family over the Christmas holidays and a pretty uneventful trip home (though we did have a sudden repair we needed to do to our van before we left). And as wonderful as it was to be with our family we were happy to be home with our own things and our animals. I know just about everyone has to agree that there really is "no place like home". The dogs were over the moon that we were home and the friend who watched the animals did an awesome job!

It took a few days to get back into our routine since we really just "decompressed" for a few days. And now we're pretty much back into "the swing of things". However, we have adjusted our weekly schedule to make it so that our "on" days are: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sat. And our "off" days are Thurs. and Sun. ...

These really aren't "off" days as Thursday is usually spent in exploring topics that interest us individually and Sundays are spiritual days. Learning is done on both days ... just not text book learning. So far this is pretty much working for us. It means we don't have two days off in a row making Mondays (or whichever day we decide to start on) all the harder to get moving on and it allows for a break in between formal lessons so that none of us overload too much.

We've been enjoying Kentucky weather so very very much! Although it's cold around here right now (it IS winter after all) we've only had a little snow and that was Nov. 1st!!! So, we've had some temperatures that have kept us indoors but not mounds and mounds of snow which we're thouroughly enjoying right now. I LOVE snow ... to look at. I HATE shoveling, frozen gloves and children, wet sopping floors from dogs going in and out, slick roads, etc...

Our 2015 goals are moving along pretty well (they were pretty broad after all)... My crochet orders are coming in, Peanut is learning to use her easy bake oven (and helping Mommy cook) as well as working with play money to "get the hang of it", YCJ has been working on her music, and ECJ grew 1/4 of an inch!!! Our home renovations won't begin until further into the year when the weather warms up some more and we're a long way from getting to the place we want to be by the end of the year.

Are lessons happening every day? Nope. Not. At. All. ... Why not? Um... Why should they? Most days we're "supposed" to do lessons we do break out the books and do our lessons. Some days we break out puzzles and books and work on our states, story telling, reading, or just plain fun. Every single thing we do I could give you at least one aspect of it that we're learning from ... How? Well, we've been doing this awhile now and you start spotting what I call "non-learning/learning methods". By that I mean measuring while cooking, nature shows we get caught up in on PBS, finding items at the library, random questions that lead to research and curiosity, etc...

So, we're on track goal wise and lesson wise (mostly, we still have a bit to catch up on from the move but not much) and since we school year round that's just fine with us.

Now, since Peanut is finally sleeping through the night (first time since the move that I was able to give her melatonin to help her sleep) I'm off to bed myself. Time to rest and spend a few minutes with Daddy then go to sleep for a peaceful night without a six year old putting her knees into my back ;-)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Goals for 2015

I could sit here and tell you that we accomplished all of our 2014 goals but we didn't since we forgot half of them...

As for 2015 it's safe to say we have a few goals... 

Home repairs/remodel:
We have at least two rooms to repair flooring. Three - four rooms to paint. Remodel entire back room (living room). And add another building to the property.

Finish current grade levels no later than the end of June. Cover pre-algebra with ECJ over the summer so he can begin algebra one in the fall. Look further into what methods and curriculum we'll be using next fall. And join at least one co op.

My crochet business:
I got a good start on it last year, the website and Facebook page are almost ready to go public. Need to increase both sales and stock. Do more craft fairs and get business cards made up.

Wants to grow 3 inches. Find part time work this summer.

Wants to improve music skill, reading, and crochet. Has plans on buying her own dog.

Wants to have her own diner with her easy bake oven food, where we pay for her food so she can buy more food kits. Says she's going to "master money".

I'm sure there's much more we could plan out... But, I'm happy with these (mainly) generalized goals... It makes at least part, of some of them achievable.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Life Gets Busy

It seems like no matter what you do life ends up getting busy!!! More so if you're moving, during the holidays, or when you've already got a lot on your plate.
Many of you remember that we spent awhile in September packing up the house we'd almost finished the way we wanted. We moved in early October to another state and it was over two weeks before we were able to move into our new house. Then it was already Halloween!!
November showed up and went by in a blur! Lots of yard work comes with two and half acres in the fall! Thanksgiving was spent at the new house where I mangled the sweet potatoes.
Which brings us up to December.... So far this month we've taken down and old fence in our front yard, burned leaves, torn down an old block building, and drove almost 700 miles to be with family at Christmas!!!
We've still got tons of things to do when we get home... But, it'll be 2015 by then so I'll worry about that when the year rolls over.
For those of you curious (and who haven't found us on Facebook yet) we've already logged over 400 hours since September towards our 1000 Hours Outside Challenge. Our second time taking the challenge is going much better than the first so far!!!
I'll be back in a day or two to share our plans for 2015 and later in the week I'll review 2014  :-)

*this post was written on mobile*

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Whew! We're Doing Good

Soo much stuff happening in the blogosphere! I've been peaking in at all of my favorite blogs. But, since we've moved south I haven't managed one single blog post...
Not because we had nothing going on (TONS happened), not because I didn't want to share (because I've managed to keep up fairly well on Facebook), and not because I couldn't find time (though we were busy)...
It's because we've been busy living that my blogging got put on the back burner. It took time after we'd already gone south to finish the paperwork on the house, then cleaning, moving, unpacking (mostly), Halloween, lessons, Thanksgiving, outside hours (we're racking them up this year), projects around the house, crafts, and gift making I wasn't sure we'd make it this close to Christmas!!
More details to come before the week is out. Merry Christmas, y'all!!!!