Saturday, July 12, 2014

A true blessing...of curriculum :)

A couple weeks ago I found out at the last minute that a local private school was closing down and they were selling everything they have. I went to the sale and was amazed. I was able to get some great deals on book shelves, library books, learning and "regular toys", wall posters, and CURRICULUM. I mean really really good deals. I was so thrilled. I posted on our local homeschooling message board but with me finding out so last minute and the sale being on a Saturday not many families could attend. Luckily one of the ladies at the sale offered to meet with some of the homeschool ladies another day in the week so others were able to benefit from the sale.
Then came the following Tuesday, the day my husband and I were going back to the school to pick up the bookshelves we had bought. I learned that all the extra curriculum was going to be thrown out because the school had no place to get rid of it. They didn't have the money to ship it overseas or even across the country and offers of donation to public libraries had been turned down. This was good curriculum, Abeka, Bob Jones, BJU and others. This is curriculum that some may struggle to buy, especially someone with multiple children, especially in this area that has been so hard hit by unemployment. Text books, workbooks and even the teacher's guides.  My husband and I thought about it and decided we HAD to take it all, take it all and find homes for it. We spoke to the lady and she agreed to let us have it all. Not being prepared with boxes, we loaded all the books up in our van and MIL's truck, then drove up and unloaded it all into our dining room. I had moments that I thought maybe I made a mistake, all these books piled in my dining room. Was I crazy? Maybe, but today I can say that I am so glad we made that decision. I am not one bit sorry we did.

I took a day organizing and sorting all the curriculum by grade and subject and then notified every homeschool message board I could find in the general area and even a state wide one. FREE curriculum for anyone that wanted to come pick it up. I held two open houses and anyone could come between 9-5 to go through and take what they wanted/needed. After that I opened it up by appointment.
I was absolutely amazed with the number of people that came. I met so many homeschool families and heard stories from most of them. Why they homeschool, struggles they have, joys they have, etc. People told their friends and more came. Some came to pick up for themselves as well as for friends that lived even further away. Some came from hours away. My two favorite stories: the lady that told her friend about the offer. Her friend  homeschools 8 children and has fallen upon some hard times and wasn't sure how they were going to do it this year. She literally cried when she heard that we were giving away the curriculum. Then the lady that had just decided to start homeschooling. They had decided for sure to homeschool one child and were unsure on the other two. She told me that after this offer and another for cheap curriculum she didn't feel she could ignore God's call to her to bring the other two home for school as well. mean my husband and I were used by God to speak to someone. What a great feeling. What a true blessing this curriculum has been to our family and to many many more families. We still have a small amount left but I will find it a home :)
So there you have it, the story of the surplus of curriculum!
(PS. please forgive my errors in writing today, I'm feeling a little bit of brain fog and didn't put my glasses on when I started and was too lazy to go get them after I did)


I would also like to take a moment to wish my amazing husband a Happy Birthday today. He is a loving and supportive husband and a man with a huge heart. He didn't bat an eye about us taking this project on! I love you babe!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EEEK...has it really been that long and It's okay if they aren't ready

So today while commenting on another blog I signed in using my Google acct. It's been a long time since being on my Google account so I clicked on my name and it brought me to my blog. My blog that I haven't wrote on since my baby was really a baby. My blog that I said I would post on every day and then maybe just once a week, etc. Well, I guess I didn't do so well on that. I am going to forgive myself though. Heck I am raising 5 children (the youngest 3 now and the oldest 15), and not only am I raising 5 kids but now that my husband is traveling for work I am responsible for them on my own a good percentage of the time. So I think I will come back to my blog, it's a nice release of my thoughts. However I make no promises that I will post every day or even every week. I will post when I can, when I have something to say and when it's possible.

So It's July now and I am gearing up for our new school year. I haven't really came down from last years though. I am doing kindergarten and pre-k with my two youngest over the summer. Last fall I was all set to start kindergarten with my 5 year old and guess what....she wasn't. She was absolutely not ready to start. I freaked out for a very short period of time and then remembered one of the great benefits of homeschooling, she didn't have to be ready yet. So we stopped, no begging for her to try, no frustration, we just stopped. The world didn't end, no one was putting me down, she wasn't all of a sudden sooooo far behind others. She played and did normal kid things and I continued life as normal. Then earlier this year a light bulb came on, she started soaking things up and had this amazing desire to learn. SHE was ready. We started slow, just getting a feel for what she knew. Amazingly she has a natural gift in math. Easily doing 1st grade math her head. However her reading skills were less than stellar :) (no honey, c c c does not say dog). Once summer hit and the other kids were done with school I started with Zoey. We are doing "How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" and using a pre-k/k workbook to work on other concepts. I also print out 1st grade math worksheets to keep her passion of math alive. Lilly (3) loves to sit with us and does the work right along side us. She isn't grasping the reading part but is definitely grasping the letter sounds and that is great. Back to Zoey though, I really cannot emphasize enough the difference 6 months made in her desire to learn and her ability to learn. I think what I really want to say is it is okay to not follow the traditional school schedules. It's the beauty of homeschool, working with the strengths of your child. Not fitting them into a box and expecting them to accomplish everything they can on our schedule but allowing them to accomplish things on their schedule. Learning isn't a chore to Zoey now, it's not confusing and frustrating, it's fun and exciting. Her eyes light up with amazement in herself when she grasps a new concept instead of getting upset because she didn't understand before.

I have to go feed these children now but my next post I will tell you all about the surplus of free curriculum I got and what I did with it :) It's really a great story and you won't want to miss it

Until then,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Day in this Momma's life

I belong to a wonderful online group and we decided to do "A Day in the Life Of" Posts so we could get to know each other a little better. I am way behind on mine, however I get to blame the move because my camera was MIA for a little while. This post may be a little picture heavy and a little Lilly heavy as well but the group I belong to is geared toward my newest baby so that's why. Now mind you, just like your child seems to be feeling fine once you get them in to the dr, my usually hectic chaotic crazy life went really smooth today :)

We started our day at 0830. Lilly, Zoey and I all sleep together so I get to wake up to two of the most beautiful faces in the world.

Straight to the kitchen for some breakfast. Zoey had a granola bar, Becky had oatmeal, I had a granola bar and Lilly had eggs. Connor gets up early so he had already ate and did his morning chores and hygiene and was already in playing on the xbox.

Everyone is up except for Maria so I head up to wake her up and she is NOT feeling it but this mean momma triumphs.

Now it's 9:15 and everyone has 15 minutes to finish their hygiene, breakfast and free time before school starts. I helped Zoey get dressed, checked up on facebook and my message boards and played with Lilly for a few.

9:30 time to start school. Of course now everyone needs a drink or has to pee because apparently the 15 minute heads up wasn't enough :)

Whew we made it and only 15 minutes behind schedule(that is really good for us) We started our day with spelling. This week the kids all have the same spelling/vocabulary words, because I felt we needed to review some common homophones. We work on a worksheet together and Zoey does a cpl pages from her pre-k workbook. She is only 3 so we do not do any formal learning with her. However, sometimes she wants to do "school" too so I bought a pre-k book at Wal-Mart that we work on. I am in the room pretty much the whole time as the kids are doing school so we have to be creative to keep Zoey happy. Aside from the workbook she also does tot trays, reads, builds with Lincoln Logs, watches TV or just plays. The tot trays are something that I happened upon and fell in love with. Zoey loves them too.

1/2 hour of spelling/vocabulary/handwriting done and now on to math. Maria is working in the LifePac curriculum this year and really likes it. Connor and Becky have workbooks that were given to me by a local public school. We work on math for a hour. Becky and Connor are a little distracted today so I know a break is going to be needed soon. They did math for 1 hour then language for 45 minutes. Connor and Becky both use Time4Learning for the language program. Online learning is great for Connor and Becky benefits from it with her language only.

1200 Connor and Becky are done with math and language and alternate taking Zoey outside for 15min so she can swing and play. They needed the fresh air as well. After taking her out they had free time. Connor watched some TV and played video games and Becky made binoculars out of toilet paper rolls for herself and Zoey. Maria joined Becky and Zoey when she finished her language.

Lilly fell asleep about 1115 after nursing. I have a rocking chair in the class room so she can sleep on my lap, which is where she ALWAYS naps....until today. I needed to put her down for a minute around 12, so I laid her on the living room floor fully expecting her to wake but she didn't. She actually stayed asleep. This is a FIRST. She slept there for almost a hour. I took the little bit of free time to help with binoculars, watch Zoey swing, make a quick post to facebook about my incredibly sleeping baby and make lunch.

Of course as soon as lunch is ready Lilly wakes up...Great timing. We have peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, chips and a piece of cherry chip cake. Lilly gets a jelly sandwich and some vanilla yogurt and a tiny bit of cake with no icing.

After lunch the kids have about 15 minutes before we need to get back to school work. They play, listen to music, etc.

1:30 time for social studies/science. Right now we alternate social studies and science(I think we will keep it this way). Connor has his Time4Learning for both subjects. Becky has LifePac for science and a McGraw/Hill text book for social studies.

The kids were working pretty independently on their school and Lilly was cooperating so I took that time to do my chores real quick. I had to clean the kitchen, unload and load the dishwasher, pull meat out for dinner, clean the dining room, my bathroom, the living room and the school room(it gets pretty messy between Zoey and Lilly).

Surprisingly we are done at 2:30. This is a rarity as we usually are not done till 330/400. I was very happy with this and so were the kids. They did their own thing and Lilly and I played on the floor and practiced walking. I tried to get Zoey to take a nap because she was a self proclaimed grouch today. Lilly nursed and went back to sleep on my lap for a hour and a half. Since everything was done...I let her sleep. I played on the computer, made some phone calls, watched some tv with Zoey while Lilly slept.

5:00 rolls around and it's time to start dinner but my friend Lorren has now got me wanting Subway and my sister says she has coupons for it sooooooooooooo.....Subway it is :) I get Lilly and Zoey dressed(Zoey for the 3rd time) and wake up Jerry. Maria and I take the little ones to pick up dinner. We always eat dinner together whether it be at the dining room table or the coffee table it is together.

After dinner, Jerry goes to Redbox to get the movie Thor for the family to watch. Zoey was asleep(way too late in the night but she needed it) but Lilly was in a playful mood so I wasn't able to watch the movie.

I made smoothies for snack about 830...yummmmmy. Lilly liked them too. A little too much, I had to hide it from her.

930- time to lay out Jerry's work clothes and pack his lunch. Yes I do these things, not because I have to but because I like doing them. Then I try to get a half our in on the treadmill but Lilly isn't cooperating so I only get 15 minutes in.

1000- Connor and Becky both go to bed(Becky is a half hour late)

1045- Maria watches the baby so I can take a quick shower then I take Lilly and Zoey to bed. Lilly goes to sleep quick however it is now 1215am and Zoey is still awake laying next to me watching The Goodnight Show on Sprout. I knew that late nap was going to bite me in the butt.

Tomorrow I will do it all over again but probably not as lucky on the staying on schedule thing.We also study art and music but not today and we will be starting Latin soon, just waiting till we have a better handle on our routine.
I'm sure to most this is a pretty boring day but I wouldn't change it for the world. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with my kids(not a luxury many can afford now) and I feel even more blessed to be able to homeschool them. I don't feel it is for everyone but I am grateful for the choice.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Our school room

So, we got all moved in to our new house. We've been here almost 2 months now and I am still in the honeymoon phase. I love this house and know that it is the house meant for us. There are so many things I love about it but tonight I'll just share my FAVORITE room with you. I was happy to have an extra room that we could store our school stuff in, and at first that is how I pictured it, just a room to store stuff in and maybe a computer or tv for the kiddos. As things started going in to the room it became my favorite room and I could sit in there and just design it in my head. I had no problem doing our school work at the kitchen table or in the living room on the couch but that was before I had the room to have a designated space for school. I really believe we all will be comfortable doing our school work in there. I decided to share some pictures with you, especially for those curious homeschoolers that love to see other people's school spaces. There are a few things I still want to add. Some bright colored valances will be nice. I would love to find some bean bags for the kids to sit and read on and a bright colored clock but here is what we have so far.....

The brown shelf has all our leisure reading books, the colored tubs on the bottom have paperback books, chapter books and scholastic books. The blue tubs on top are workbooks and the white basket is full of readers. The shelves up top are filled with textbooks, curriculum, art supplies, basic school supplies, and past years binders. The two posters on the wall on the right are Dr Suess numbers and alphabet. Drawers on the right house craft supplies, legos, and lincoln logs.

 This is the chalkboard we made. We bought a piece of birch plywood ($8), a can on tintable chalkboard paint ($8). We put 2 coats of paint on, hung it on the wall and then just put a bulletin border on it. You can use chalkboard paint directly on the wall, but this wall is paneling and I didn't want the lines. Oh, and I still have 3/4 of a can of chalkboard paint left :)
This is the computer end of the classroom. It isn't quite done yet. I want to hang the sombrero by the maps and put the Japanese dolls(the ones on window) on a shelf as well as add all the other items that Jerry has collected in his travels.

 I love these. I found them at Wal-Mart today while grocery shopping. They were on clearance for $4 for the set. They are dry erase circles that stick to the wall but can be removed and re-applied. I gave each school age child one for their daily schedule.
Okay last picture. This is our table that we found at a garage sale for $15. I have to give Jerry credit for this one since he is the one that said we should get it for this room. I love it and it fits perfectly in there. It's a great size so that we can work together but not be right on each other either. My white board is essential to me. The posters on the wall are times tables and addition facts. The lower ones on the right are shapes and colors.

Well, that is our school room. We are very proud of it and very grateful to have a special space just for school. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Be careful what you wish for

It had been one of those days and it wasn't even half over. I had house to clean, kids fighting, and 2 little ones wanting my attention. I needed to go to the store but the baby was actually asleep on my oldest daughter, so after some thought I decided to sneak out with just the 3yr old. The baby always goes with me because she is a momma's girl and cries for everyone else. I knew I just needed a cpl things so I did it, I left.
On my way to the grocery store  I was reflecting on my typical busy hectic morning(I don't encourage reflecting while driving). I caught myself day dreaming(again not recommended while driving) about what things would be like in a couple years. You know, how easy life would be when Maria could drive to the store to get milk and Zoey and Lilly would be old enough to entertain themselves. Lilly would no longer be nursing so she wouldn't need me 24/7. Connor and Becky would be old enough to be lost in their own worlds instead of fighting over whose turn it is to pull who on the wood floors sock footed. When homeschooling would be easier because the younger ones would be sitting and doing work as well and someone else could make lunch so I could continue with another child, etc. etc etc..
Then I heard a little voice that snapped me back to reality,
Zoey~ "mom, I see you"
Me~ "I see you too"
Zoey~ "You're my best friend mom"
Me~ "swallow, deep breath..."you're my best friend too Zoe, I love you"

Why on earth would I want even one day to pass faster than it has to? Sure Maria could drive to the store for me, but then she will also want to drive other places and be even closer to being out in the real world. She'll be an official teenager this year and that's growing up too fast already. I should be grateful that Connor and Becky are even talking to each other, soon enough will come the day when they are more wrapped up in their friends to play with each other. Lilly is my last baby, the long nights and tied down days won't last  long. She's almost 8 months and is already learning that there is a world outside of me, even though she's not quite ready to explore it, she soon will be. I will have to bribe her to come snuggle and as for nursing, the time will come when she no longer physically "needs" me. And then...then there is Zoey I look at this amazing beautiful little girl and think, why, why would I ever want to rush time....I'm still her best friend.
Don't get me wrong, there will still be days that  I daydream, but I'm sure one of my amazing children will snap me back to reality(hopefully before I wreck my car).
So take a deep breath mommas, our jobs are hard but one day we will miss the hectic crazy days.
Now I'm off to make my best friend mad because she is STILL awake and dancing on the bed :)