Thursday, March 17, 2011

Do You Want My Posts Emailed To You, Or NOT! No Worries Either Way.

So, this post will require a response for some of you. So please read on.

I will be deleting my "email post to..." email addresses next week UNLESS you comment and tell me that you want to keep/start getting my posts sent to you through email. Just know that I honestly will NOT be offended if you do not want these posts as emails!!! I understand the need to be picky about emails, and I publish a lot of posts on this blog. So, send me an email or make a comment here IF YOU WANT EMAILS. If I don't hear from you, I will not put you on the email list. Nuf' Said. Just let me know. Thanks!

JJ! Can He REALLY Be This Old!?

I can not believe that JJ is almost 8 months old. Good Heavens, if I have another baby the poor little soul won't have ANYTHING written about them. I barely have any individual posts about JJ.

My precious Mr. Smiles is sitting up all by himself. He scoots all over, rolls around, and pulls himself where he wants to go. He babels up a storm and sometimes I swear he's saying words that make sense. JJ is the apple of his brothers' eyes. Oh how they love him, and he LOVES them!!

JJ officially became my first baby who required me to feed him in a quiet private place. He became way too distracted to eat otherwise. Now, at 7+ months old I am working on weaning him to a bottle. I need to be able to take things that aren't necessarily good for a breastfeeding baby. And, I REALLY need to sleep through the night. So, we're hoping to help JJ eat more during the day and require less throughout the night. Right now he's drinking 50/50 breast milk and formula bottles and doing well during the day. But I really don't want to bottle feed during the night. So we're working on that. I will stop pumping milk next week.

JJ has had an ear infection for the last month. Uggg! Two rounds of antibiotics. JUNK! I finally started in with the garlic oil drops and On Guard doTERRA Essential Oil blend (THANKS Jared and Heidi!!!) Today is the first day in many many days that I haven't had to give him IBProfin. I hope he continues to get better.

This big little man weighs in at at least 18+ pounds and wears 9-12 month sizes.
Oh how precious he is! He makes me baby-hungry!

Our First Week At Home: Using Moving Beyond the Page Curriculum

I have a moment (a rare occurrence these days.) So I'll give an update on how we're doing with our new routines and happenings.

HOMESCHOOL: Great!

So with that said... See Ya!;)... Just Kidding.
Let me give a few details.

We had a short week this week. The Big school had Monday off, which meant Papa had Monday off. So our first day was Tuesday (it's Thursday today.) So we've had three days of following the MBTP Program, Seminary, and Math. With playgroup and St. Patrick's Day mixed in. I think it's safe to say that it's been great!

I really enjoy the MBTP program. It's not too easy and not too hard. It doesn't take too long, and it's not too short. It's perfect for our schedule (around 2 hours or less). The only part Jakob doesn't Love is the handwriting pages. But that's just him. H would LOVE it if "Creative" handwriting was allowed. So, it is a tolerated Need for Jakob.

Our school week is Monday through Thursday. However, I'm going to hold school tomorrow for Jakob because one of the lesson's fit in with our family plans (we're going to a discovery park.) I'm really looking forward to the upcoming week as well. Jakob will love it, it's all about exploring our environment. One of my favorite things about MBTP is their Final Projects. The kids are able to create a project that is an overview of all that they have learned in the unit. LOVE IT!
MBTP covers phonics and handwriting. But probably not enough for very beginning readers. So I will be using another program to help me stay on track with Jakob's reading. I'll tell you about that in the future.
Wednesday and Thursday are Jakob's official Math Days. He goes over to a friend's house for a math lesson. THANKS Tammie!!! Randomly through the week I will be using our purchased math program as well.

And Seminary: Ahhh, that has been very special! I call it Seminary for lack of a better word. In reality, it's one hour where Jakob and I play some sort of game, craft, or activity that focuses on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I lay the babies down for naps, whip up a tasty treat, pull out the scriptures and the game, and we visit. This week we talked about the First Article of Faith. I was tickled to find that Jakob already has it memorized from Primary. We worked on a word search and a color by number page, all the while talking about God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost. We also talked about heaven, our accountability, life and death, the fact that Father created the Map back to heaven, Jesus Christ established the Way for us to follow the map, and the Holy Ghost is our guide (which tied in to our Wednesday school lesson on What is a Map?  This part of my day is just a big hug for the bit of sacrifice I make to have Home School with my boys. And yes, it is Very Worth It!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let's Talk About Home School

Mama's PrayerOur home is more at peace when we can roll with the waves of life together rather then sailing the storm in separate ships. I pray that this continues to be so.

If you've  followed my blog very long, you may have noticed that we have suddenly taken Jakob out of "the Big school" and will be starting Home School on Tuesday. Are you wondering why?  Let me tell you all about it.

I'll try to keep the reasoning short, because the fun part is the future.

THE REASON
Let me set and keep the record straight, the Fredonia Kindergarten teachers are Great!! I am a critical mother who expects a lot from anyone who teaches my children. These teachers reached and exceeded my expectations. Jakob steadily progressed while in their care. He has learned the basics of reading (this is huge for me.) His math skills and knowledge are great. I am amazed at how much these teachers are able to teach the kids! I personally believe that the full-day kindergarten program is a good idea for the majority of the students that attend.  The only struggle being the added homework. It wasn't a problem at first. However, it did become an issue for us as time went on. But it wasn't THE issue. A parent can monitor and adjust their child's homework to make it work for their family, that's my opinion anyway.

THE issue was, the lack of peace within our home during the after-school hours. I began noticing a pattern that was developing. The daily routine was smooth sailing from 8A until Jakob arrived home from school. From that point on it felt like the negative energy was a winding top which was eventually released and the house was filled with a frenzy of high strung emotions.

We would ask Jakob to do his chores (gather the eggs) and then do his homework. Immediately he would collapse on the floor in a heep of overwhelmed emotions. In the meantime Snack needed to be offered, dinner needed to be prepared and cleaned up, showers should be taken, and evening clean-up fit in. Not to mention that there is still the homework issue (sit down and read, choose and print out a few pictures for a collage, find something that starts with "B", AND somehow allow Leif the time to write a 2 page paper, Oh, and on occasion there needs to be a grocery or feed store trip during that time too.

So, for some families this is just Life. They have to make it work, and they do. But fortunately, for us, it doesn't have to be. I am home, and home school works for us. Some people have been afraid that we are teaching Jakob that it's okay to "quit" when the going gets hard. The thing is, Jakob doesn't even think of this change as "quiting" or "getting out." School is school for him. Whether it is at "the Big school (public school)" or at home. He studies and learns. The main differences are the lack of a lunch room, an official recess, and extra kids. We took this decision seriously. We all prayed about it and after explaining the reality of what home school is (real reading, math, science, and history lessons, not just fun and games) We let Jakob make the final decision. We were willing to make it work either way.

Luckily, Jakob had one full week where he was sick and needed to stay home from school. He was well enough to have school at home. So I through some things together and we gave it a trial run. We all loved it. The most noticeable difference was the lack of "high strung-ness" throughout the day. We were able to follow a routine that allowed us to meet everyone's needs by the end of the day. It was great! During the week I asked Jakob if he missed his school friends. The fact that he said he didn't was surprising to me, but comforting as a mother who wants her children to enjoy each other's company. As the "sick week" came to a close I talked very openly with Jakob about the realities of home school. I told him what it would be like and what would be expected of him. I then sent him off to school with the assignment to pray about what was best for him and observe how he feels at the Big school, and make the decision. He decided to come home for school.
No Problem! Welcome Home!

Sorry, that didn't end up being very short. But if you're still with me here's what we've planned for the rest of this year and in to the summer.

THE PLAN
I spent hours looking through the hundreds of home school options. We wanted something that didn't lean too far one way or another towards faith and studies,we didn't want to be attached to "the system", and we wanted it to feel organized, easy to implement, and EVERYTHING set out and given to us in the curriculum kit. I think we found it!!

We are using Moving Beyond the PagesThe program is a literature based curriculum. They provide all of the lesson plans, activity pages, and manuals online or in tear-out page book form (we chose online.) They also send you all of the books that they use within the year of school and any other learning tools that are needed. Their ages 5-7 program implements reading-handwriting-phonics, science, and social studies within their everyday curriculum. They have a separate recommended math program (which we will be using.) We feel like the program isn't too liberal or conservative either way. We paid $300 for the year's worth of curriculum.

The joy of home school is that we CAN talk about the gospel. So we WILL! We will have Seminary each day as well as the other studies. We have just about enough time to study one Article of Faith each week. That's the plan.

There is one little girl in our ward who was also in Jakob's school class. She only goes to school 1/2 day. So she misses the math portion of the school day. So we are thrilled to have the opportunity to do our math portion of the day with her! I'm thrilled to have support in this area as it it by far my greatest weakness in this whole experience. Awesome!

As summer arrives I hope to include more of our friends into our everyday school. Since we ordered the program in the middle of the year we have several units that we can use throughout the summer. This will make for a Great Summer School program!

If any of you (who live in our area) are thinking about homeschooling any of your children, or you know someone who is, please let us know or send them our way. We will be starting a Home School Co-Op and I hope to eventually have a few families or more that we can rotate with to bring some fun and variety to our home school experience.

Stay Tuned for the Adventure!

Foto Friday March Week 2

We stopped at a huge pile of gravel on our way up North. It was a great distraction from the long drive. 
Good Times, Indeed!
JJ Crashing with Uncle(s) Jared and Nate Hunt 

 Cove Fort, a great little piece of Mormon Pioneer History. Leif and I would love to build a fort like this someday for our family and family members to share. Seriously! (this is the South side view, it wraps around and forms a U shape. It has their gardens (and animals) in the back behind the fort with a large courtyard in the middle. Love It!
This is the upper level, look out balcony.
This Elder (Senior Missionary) was great! He gave us a little toy at the end of the tour.
The missionary had Jakob close his eyes and point to a Book of Mormon, and with a smile told Jakob that this is the place where he will serve his mission someday. He pointed to the Russian Book of Mormon. Look out Russia, Here He Comes!!
I FINALLY found a decent Gluten Free bread mix (Pamela's Products) and made a decent loaf of bread in my Great Breadman Bread Machine. I think it will only be up hill from here as I continue to learn the machine and mixes. Thanks Love for making my life easier (buying the bread machine.) 
MY HERO'S!!! These wonderful men spent the whole day Saturday putting this dishwasher in. Ahhh, I can not tell you how wonderful this gift is. I didn't even realize the difference it would make! As I sit here, the day's dishes are being washed. My sink has been clear for TWO DAYS. I was able to bath the baby without major surgery. Amazing! THANK YOU Leif and Baron Parents for getting this for me! Truly, Thank You!
BTW: Doesn't Leif look HOT! MMM, and he's Mine! I'm a lucky woman!;)
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